Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Always do your own research: Why I won't be donating to Freedom Slate '08

I've been surprised at the number of Libertarian blogs (including some I hadn't read before) who picked up my post Forty Bucks for four Libertarians on July 4? [I'd particularly like to thank ElNinosMom at Last Free Voice and G.E. at Independent Political Report; by the way, GE, think you could get Austin to fix the login procedure so I could actually comment over there?).

What interested me the most however was this exchange in the comments a LFV.

disinter wrote that instead of following my $10 for each of four candidates strategy

you could donate here:

To which Art Torrey responded,

Took a quick look - and I could be wrong, however NONE of those names looked like any that I recognized from past LP involvement - and most of the organizations mentioned were recognizeable RP groups….

Nothing “wrong” with that per se, but my impression of a lot of RP folks is that they tend to be heavily on the social conservative side, and often times much more problematic from a Libertarian standpoint than RP himself is (which is bad enough by some standards) -

No attack on any of the candidates named, I’m not familiar with them, so I make no comment, other than to advise caution…

Also note that according to the note at the bottom of the page, this is a commercial fund raising venture, with a private company getting an unspecified share of the take raised via that website - again, nothing wrong with that, it’s free market in operation, but you might consider whether the candidates might get more “bang for your buck” if you donate directly to them rather than going through a third party that will keep some of the booty…

And disinter replied (omitting the version that posted incorrectly for the one he corrected):

Took a quick look - and I could be wrong, however NONE of those names looked like any that I recognized from past LP involvement -

Nope, and every one of them are more Libertarian than Bob Barf.

and most of the organizations mentioned were recognizeable RP groups….

Yes, they are all Ron Paul Republicans - that are more libertarian the the LP’s prez candidate.

If you're a regular reader, you know I'm a skeptic. So I went to Freedom Slate '08 myself, and examined the web sites of all 23 candidates, each of whom has signed an agreement with FS '08 to give that web site a portion of the proceeds rather than receiving every dollar you send. [This, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing; for some of these candidates a percentage of money they'd never otherwise see is certainly better than nothing. I've just always hated professional solicitation organizations.

More to the point, however, is the slate of candidates.

Only four of twenty-three candidates who will benefit from your donations are actually Libertarian candidates (Allen Buckley, Michael Benoit, Dan Druck, and David Casey).

One of the twenty-three candidates (Dave Brownlow) is a Constitution Party of Oregon candidate.

One of the twenty-three candidates (Allen Stevo) lists himself as an Independent.

The other seventeen of twenty-three candidates who will be receiving part of your money are Republicans. disinter claims that they are Ron Paul Republicans, and several of them make that claim on their sites.

However, there are some more disquieting items to consider.

Several of these candidates (and if you want to know who, you're going to have to your own research or else spend your money blindly) put forth immigration policies that are on a par with, or even less Libertarian, than that recently promulgated by Bob Bar.

Several of them are inflexibly anti-abortion rights and willing to use the power of the State to enforce their views.

Very few of them actually talk about social issues like same-sex marriage or the war on drugs, and more than a few describe themselves as conservative rather than libertarian/

Worse still, of the seventeen Republican candidates, seven of them (Peter James, Delia Lopez, Collins Bailey, Mike Hargadon, George Lilley, Chris Dyer, and Dean Santoro) do not describe themselves as GOP candidates anywhere on their sites that I could find. [It is possible I missed it, but I went through multiple pages on every site.] I actually had to Google each of them to get their filing status to discover that they were GOPers.

I know that eight years of Dubya has trashed the Republican brand, but I remain profoundly wary of somebody who will run as the candidate for a party he or she is not willing to identify. Certainly Ron Paul has made no bones about the fact that he is a Republican; and I admire him for that honestly.

I just wonder how somebody stands up for your rights in Congress if he or she cannot even admit to being a member of an unpopular political party.

As for the three Libertarians aside from Allen Buckley (about whom I have already written much and endorsed), I know little or nothing about Dan Druck, Michael Benoit, or David Casey. I will, however, remedy that deficiency and have a report by the weekend at the latest.

As disinter suggests, voting for individual candidates who will advance the cause of freedom without respect to party labels is a legitimate strategy.

This year, however, it's not mine--for three reasons.

Reason one: I'm still interested in building a national Libertarian Party, not reforming the GOP. To do that I need to encourage people who actually have the courage to run as Libertarians if that's the value set they endorse. Moreover, at this point I simply don't know if those seventeen Republicans, one Constitution Party member, and one Independent have Libertarians running against them. So, no matter what, I would not even consider donating to them until I was absolutely sure I was not engaging in the same behavior that Bob Barr displayed when he chose to give money to GOPer Saxby Chambliss over Allen Buckley in the Georgia Senate race.

Reason two: I hate the United Way. Really. When I give to charity (or political candidates) I want all the money to go to exactly the causes or the candidates I prefer.

Reason three: it's hypocritical for me--or other Libertarians--to deride Bob Barr for his waffling on same-sex marriage, the war on drugs, or the Patriot Act, and then blindly send money to candidates who--in many if not most cases--have not published stands on those issues. From a reading of the positions of at least four or five of these candidates, there is absolutely nothing in their position on social issues that sounds even vaguely Libertarian. And I am--I'd hasten to point out--such a pragmatic Libertarian that a lot of people have trouble thinking of me as one.

So I won't be sending my pitiful pittance to Freedom Slate '08, and if my opinion sways you at all, neither will you.

Damn it, pick out candidates you have actually researched.

Don't be another mindless lemming. There are already millions of them sending money to the Demopublicans.


disinter said...

Did any of them vote for: the patriot act, illegal wars of aggression, the creation of the Dept of Homeland stupidity, or the war on drugs? Did any of them work for the CIA for nearly 10 years and still advocates foreign intervention? Were any of them a drug war prosecutor?

Didn't think so. I will be sending at least $1,000 to FreedomSlate08 on July 4th. Barf, the fascist, will never receive my support - no matter how many neolibertarians apologize for him.

Anonymous said...

It's this same idiot thinking and stupid rhetoric why the Losertarian party will always remain far behind. With any luck, nobody will read your idiot rant here and donate to the freedom slate candidates that will change government.
what a moron you are

Arthur Torrey said...

I think your question is somewhat disingenuous Disinter - In order to have made those votes, it would have been necessary for them to have been in office to do so...

Failure to have been previously in office to accumulate a negative voting record does not equal a POSITIVE record.

You are of course entitled to make your donations wherever you wish, (and I won't give Barr a dime either) but I won't give to someone that appears from their campaign site to WANT to build up a Barr type record if only they could...


disinter said...

Substitute "voted for" or "worked for" with "support" and the questions are just as relevant.

Arthur Torrey said...

This is where you loose me a bit... You object to Barr, I've been presuming because of his past record / campaign platform, as do I.

You suggested an alternative support strategy, and I looked at it, saw a few things that raised caution flags in my mind, and reccommended further research.

Our host DID some research, and found several red flags that suggest at least some of the candidates are worse than Barr - but you say you want to support them anyway - initially because they don't have Barr's past voting record. I pointed this out, and you said
'"Substitute "voted for" or "worked for" with "support" and the questions are just as relevant."'

If that is the case, then per the research mentioned in the parent, at least some are as questionable as Barr, so returning to my earlier question, I don't understand the enthusiastic support?

(Note, this isn't intended as a personal attack, but I'm trying to understand where you are coming from...)

ElfNinosMom said...

You are very welcome, Steve. :-)

By the way, the offer for you to contribute on LFV remains open. Anytime you decide you might want to take me up on it, just send me an email to enm dot lastfreevoice at gmail dot com.