We have a current national leadership ('scuze me, there was a little vomit at the back of my throat when I had to put the two words together in the context of the LP) that has become an appendage of the Bob Barr presidential campaign, to the continuing detriment of Libertarian candidates across the country. Let's have some examples:
A) The LP national website has been re-designed to mimic the Bob Barr website; at that it is static, clunky, and user-unfriendly.
B) Said website provides only a single page on Liberty Candidates '08 that does nothing beyond posting the names (and sometimes photos) of candidates in no apparent order, with no context, and no meaningful links. [Three examples: Mike Munger in North Carolina, Scotty Boman in Michigan, and Allen Buckley in Georgia have obviously put time and effort into the design of their campaign websites; unfortunately, the LP page doesn't link to any of them, but links to static pages on the NC, MI, and GA state LP pages.]
C) There is absolutely NO COVERAGE of the hundreds of Libertarian candidates running around the nation. No coverage of Munger's successful fight to get into the NC gubernatorial debates. No coverage of the Texas GOP trying to con Libertarians off the ballot in the Lone Star State. No coverage of the unprecedented coverage that Georgia newspapers are giving Allen Buckley.
D) No fundraising by the essentially defunct Libertarian National Congressional Committee, which is supposed to be out there raising and disbursing funds to our candidates.
E) No policy stands or useful positions, or even discussion of the Libertarian platform. Instead, we have this idiotic pseudo-blog by Andrew Davis whose two most recent posts are (I swear): an abortive idea about using Craigslist to sign up campaign volunteers and a brief recitation of the ways in which Bob Barr differs from John McCain and Barack Obama.
F) And meanwhile, we have Shane Corey sending out suggestions to Barr supporters that they defraud talk radio hosts around the country to get plugs for The Man with the Mustache. That'll really build up local media enthusiasm for covering our candidates, right?
I'm going to piss off the people who have supposedly put together this abortion of an operation by sending them this post. Don't get me wrong: there are good people on the LNC, and you certainly can't hold Mike Jingozian or Mary Ruwart responsible for the current state of affairs. Nor can you do anything but admire Angela Keaton for her lonely fight for some kind of responsibility or accountability in LP operations.
The rest of you: are you just frauds, or what the hell are you thinking? It doesn't even take a lot of money to provide rudimentary support to our candidates. Here's how you could have started--if you were really interested:
1) You could have provided leadership in helping to identify four or five major unifying campaign themes (maybe even have thought up some useful sound bite names for them) like energy policy, jobs, foreign policy, etc., and actually commissioned some thoughtful position pieces by Libertarian thinkers out there for use by all of our candidates. You know that Mary Ruwart would have written on education and the FDA, that Steve Kubby would have written on the drug war, and so on. Then there could have been an issues bank with facts, figures, arguments, and talking points available to any Libertarian candidate who needed them.
2) You could have actually gotten together a list of candidates, with up to date linking information, assigned an aggressive information coordinator, and actually started covering our f**king candidates. We could have had lists of appearances, You-Tube URLs, links to local press coverage. Unfortunately, since you didn't actually seem to give a crap about our State candidates, we had to wait until August when George Donnelly did your damn job for you.
3) You could have gotten a competent website designer (and there are plenty of them in the LP) to create a simple website template for our candidates to use. With an issues bank in place, with decent news coverage of LP candidates across the nation, and this template, it would have been easy for our candidates to have attractive, professional-looking, consistent websites operating in support of their campaigns around the country. Hell, you could even have taken a little of that pocket money the LNCC supposedly raised and used it to purchase server space for those candidates who couldn't get access to it any other way. But you didn't.
4) You could have actually created working fundraising mechanisms (or at least provided guidance on the site) for local and State candidates instead of attempting to pull all the money out of the atmosphere to do ballot access for Bob Barr.
5) You could have insisted that the Barr campaign actually link its activities and press releases to more of our down-ticket candidates. [The Barr-on-Iraq/Iran foreign policy press release could have been--in these days of word-processing--have been sent out to different States with different down-ticket candidates' names attached: "That's why you need to think about voting Libertarian this year, for the Barr/Root Presidential ticket, and for Chris Cole as your Senator from North Carolina." See they've got this neat feature called "find and replace"...]
If you haven't gotten the point yet, it's this:
We're not going to elect Bob Barr as President this year, and we will potentially waste the largest Libertarian voter turn-out ever because the national party has not lifted a damn finger to help out our State and local candidates.
I'm sure that there are some factual errors in this rant. Maybe Bob Barr actually has sent out tailored press releases and I missed it. Maybe the LNCC actually raised a few hundred bucks for somebody and sent out a check by midnight runner.
But the substance of this post is grimly, dismally accurate: the Libertarian Party currently does not have a national leadership organization that is either willing or able to do what needs to be done to gain electoral success.
The Libertarian movement, such as it is, currently resides in the leadership of active State affiliates, each of whom is struggling without resources to reinvent the wheel every week because the people we actually pay salaries to have failed.
Yeah. That means you.