On Monday July 28 I received a call from the office of speaker Tom Craddick. It was an invitation to meet with chief of staff Terrell Smith to discuss issues of common interest. I am always happy to engage in respectful discourse whenever possible and happily accepted the invitation. Our executive director Wes Benedict accompanied me to the meeting at the speaker's office on Monday, August 4. The meeting could not have been more respectful and professional. We did discuss our honest differences of opinion and commitment to grow our party. We stated that while we have some common ground on economic issues, we feel that the Republican Party has departed from the principles of the free market and that we intend for our candidates to do their best to grow the Libertarian Party.
In response to this, my counterpart in the Democratic Party, state chair Boyd Richie, is now proclaiming that the speaker is using unethical tactics by using his office and staff to strong-arm Libertarians off the ballot. He claims the speaker is trying to manipulate the election through shady dealings.
I find this vapid rhetoric to be utter hyperbole.
Mr. Richie should understand that the Libertarian Party has met with Democrats and Republicans over the years, and we are more than happy to accept their invitations. Instead of bitter partisan attacks, our party wishes to sincerely discuss issues of concern to Texas voters. The volume of these invitations have increased now that we are larger and stronger. The Ron Paul campaign motivated many liberty-minded people to become active.
To suggest that these dealings are shady is easily refuted by their openness. The accusation that we are being strong-armed is dubious, since Mr. Richie was not in the room. I was in the room and I can tell you that the accusation is without basis. We were invited to participate and it was our decision to do so, so how were we strong-armed? The claim that it is unethical to use state-funded office and staff to discuss politics is so ridiculous that Mr. Richie should be embarrassed when voters read such inflated rhetoric. Every informed voter would not be surprised to find that politics are discussed in the state capitol by Democrats and Republicans alike. When these two parties engage in partisan bickering over creating gerrymandered voting districts to benefit their party, does that use tax-funded resources to undermine the electoral process?
Boyd Richie should understand that unlike his party, Libertarians remain committed to the principles of individual liberty and social tolerance. We do not have a presidential candidate that votes to allow the federal government to listen to your phone calls without a warrant. We don't have a candidate for U.S. Senate whose position on the Iraq war is incoherent. We do not have candidates for the State House promoting statewide smoking bans, illegal cheerleading, and casting votes for absent legislators.
It has become more clear that the Democratic Party does not offer any commitment to the principles of individual liberty and social tolerance that the voters expect. Even former Republicans like Kirk England can become their candidate. More voters looking for these principles realize they will only find that commitment in the Libertarian Party.
It is my hope that the voters will make their decision on these important issues and have choices on the ballot that represent their sincere interests, instead of partisan hyperbole. Let us also hope that, regardless of the outcome in November, respectful and constructive dialogue is welcome and common ground can be sought.
The longer this story stays alive, the more opportunities Texas voters have to take a look at Libertarian candidates.
Keep talking, guys.