Friday, July 4, 2008

This is NOT an anti-Bob Barr post--even though a lot of people will read it that way

Recently checking his website I discover that Bob Barr's campaign has reached its July 4 goal of $88,000 (they stood at something like $91,000 a few minutes ago).

We know, of course, that this will be followed by the next fundraising objective....

While it's unlikely in the extreme that the Barr/Root ticket is going to raise the $35 million or so Bob predicted at the national convention, a few million will undoubtedly come his way, primarily from former Ron Paul supporters or the conservatives who've ditched Senator John McCain.

Likewise, despite all the news of infighting and ballot-burning, the national Libertarian Party is constantly asking for my bucks to support ballot access.

Meanwhile there are literally hundreds of Libertarian candidates around the country running for local and State offices with barely two dimes to rub together.

Michigan Senatorial candidate Scotty Boman has just clawed his way to $3,000.

North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Dr Mike Munger raised $5,000 on the first day of his two-day Money Hand Grenade.

Others, like Jason Gatties (running for Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees), Jan McKay (running for NC State Senate in District 15), or Thibeaux Lincecum (running for the US House of Representatives in Maryland District 4) obviously can't afford the investment necessary to raise serious campaign donations.

As with McKay, many of our candidates haven't got websites up and running yet, and thus don't have any mechanism for even accepting online donations.

So I've got, as Jonathan Swift would say, A Modest Proposal.

It has two major parts:

Part One; Stop giving money to the Barr campaign.

I'm serious. Bob Barr is going to collect far more from disaffected conservatives than Libertarians could ever donate. Moreover, it is Barr who benefits most directly from every dollar you send to National for ballot access.

Part Two: Adopt a Libertarian candidate in a local or State race, and commit to a minimum monthly donation for the next for months.

If you were to send $100 to Barr/Root, you would join a legion of people (admittedly much smaller than the Obama or McCain legions, but still) ... or you might just be purchasing an air conditioning unit.

But if--like Shirley Vandeventer (the Delaware Curmudgeon and a fine weekend biker, food-porn-loving libertarian)--you decided to send $25/month to Jan McKay, you can be sure that she'll remember you as she prints campaign fliers she could never otherwise have afforded....

What's at stake here are two different views about building the Libertarian Party.

In one view, every four years we have the opportunity to place a presidential candidate in front of the American people to educate them about the ideology of Liberty, and when that candidate garners 400,000, or 4,000,000 votes we do what? Go home and congratulate ourselves that we have affected the national discourse?

In another view, we use our limited resources to improve the campaigns we can run at the local and State levels, and actually do the tough work of building a political movement from the bottom up, that gains momentum as people across the country begin to realize that our candidates actually do what they promise to do.

Especially this year, when our own presidential candidate is controversial enough within our own ranks that many Libertarians (like me or Tom Knapp) have found themselves unable to support him despite their best efforts, we have to think about making chicken salad out of chickenshit.

Think about it this way. My incredibly bad guesstimate is that the regular readership of the major Libertarian blogs is no more than 500-1,000 people, tops. I doubt that most Libertarian candidates for local offices are reading these blogs--if they are actually running campaigns, they probably don't have the time.

But if 1,000 Libertarians each agreed to find $25/month over the next four months for an adopted candidate (in or out of their own home states), we'd raise $25,000 a month for local and State races--$100,000 in all.

What could Jason Gatties, Jan McKay, or Thibeaux Lincecum do with an extra few hundred bucks?

Somewhere out there is a Libertarian candidate in the right district, in the right race, who could actually win with our support.

Forget Bob Barr. Forget donating to National.

Adopt a Libertarian candidate this month and start to make a difference.


Waldo said...

What happened to all the gamblin' money Root was going to drag in?

Anonymous said...

I think that you are half right. I agree completely that local races count. Your money has a bigger bang for the buck locally. I disagree with you that the Barr campaign is not worth your money.

If Barr can get ballot access to all 50 states, raise money and continue to register in the polls. It will do for the Libertarian Party what Nader did for the Green Party. You need to walk and chew gum at the same time. You are building a movement. Take advantage of what comes.

Brian Miller said...

Here's a big honkin' story that nobody's covering...

Where's all the LNC money going?

The Barr campaign.

When the LNC asked for money recently, they encouraged everyone to send their cash to the Barr/Root ticket instead.

So the LNC is basically broke, according to various insiders.

All that cash Barr has taken in has come at the expense of LNC, Inc., which now is facing an impending financial crisis.

It also shows that fundraising the last couple of days for Barr, prior to the holidays, was VERY slow.

Finally, it seems unlikely that the campaign (and the LNC) has the organizational capability and the funds to get on the ballots in remaining states.

Brave-face spin is lovely, but things are starting to look like a disaster -- we're less than 4 months from Election day, and there are still over a dozen states lacking ballot access; the LNC doesn't have the funds to make ballot access happen; the LNC is going broke; and the Barr campaign has a knack for spending money faster than it can raise it.