Libertarian Party Convention Underway
I'm not in Denver today, but I am keeping a close eye on the Libertarian convention, as a nominee for President will emerge. Here are my main interests in a nominee:
1. Carry no baggage. I was cheering Ron Paul until his ties to racist garbage were revealed. At that point, Paul became something worse than a poor ambassador for liberty. He tarnished the very idea, because people associated Paul as liberty itself. We can't have that in the Libertarian nominee.
2. Be a real communicator. Michael Badnarik won the 2004 nomination on the strength of one performance at the Libertarian convention in Atlanta, sweeping many delegates off their feet. We soon learned that one speech does not a communicator make, as Badnarik was not covered by the media, and worse, he opted to sit at "the kiddie table" of debates- the forums for the excluded minor party candidates. Our nominee cannot be one who self-marginalizes by accepting exclusion. Our nominee must make America take notice. Most of our candidates are not capable of that, frankly.
3. Focus on real campaigning issues. I love the Constitution, but the American public neither knows about it nor cares. Our nominee has to get over this, and get to topics of substance that the public does care about. In my opinion, a winning trio is Iraq, our financial crisis/jobs, and health care. I don't want a nominee who is talking to me. You already have me. I hope our delegates have this wisdom, for once.
Overall, Bob Barr is my #1 choice, because he can fulfill #2 & 3 better than any of our candidates. However, he does have baggage, both ideological and in act, and running as the most conservative, "I'm more Republican than the Republicans" candidate in a year where the Republican brand is the greatest possible albatross is a very bad idea. Barr needs to change his tactics.
Mike Gravel is the other big name, and I have to say that I was impressed with his fire and his clarity when speaking at the Indiana Libertarian convention recently. Unfortunately, Gravel does have some baggage, in the sad image of being a doddering old man. I'm sure that's why he came out to Indy with such spunk. I don't see Libertarians nominating him, though, as the Democratic Party is such a pariah within the LP because of Dems' positions on all things economic, and Gravel will be met with great suspicion accordingly. Gravel is my #2 choice, though.
Mary Ruwart is a favorite of many Libertarians, because of her ability to communicate ideas, but her baggage is so overwhelming that she would make Ron Paul's racist connections look very welcome by comparison. I think most people who read regularly know that I would support almost any Libertarian candidate come November. Not this one. The media will never give her a chance to talk about anything but her stupid, foolish comments about child pornography. She can't pull a Ron Paul on them and say she didn't know they were written. They're in her book, "Short Answers to Tough Questions".
Apart from that, I find that the remaining candidates are all very similar. Sure, they differ on this issue or that, but what they have in common is this: They aren't raising big money. They don't sweep you off your feet. They haven't gotten any noteworthy positive media attention, no matter how long they've been at it. They are run-of-the-mill candidates for the Libertarian nomination. If any of them win, we are guaranteed continued obscurity in a year when the nation needs liberty more than ever.