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May 31, 2004 6:52 am


Libertarian Convention



Like Roderick Long I too watched the Libertarian Convention mainly too see old friends on television. Lately I have been much less involved with Libertarian politics than previously, so I had never seen or heard Michael Badnarik before and must say he greatly impressed me. Listening to him during the candidate’s debate and to his speech at the very end I thought an approach that uses detailed knowledge of the Constitution presented in an engaging manner could be a very effective tool for the promotion of liberty, it is too bad far too few people will ever get to see it. The media is going to treat him as if he does not even exist.

I could imagine Aaron Russo getting himself on the Tonight Show, Oprah Winfrey, or at least the Daily Show. I do not think Michael Badnarik will ever get within a hundred miles of those programs. Mind you it is not his fault. He has done an outstanding job to get this far, he will make good use of whatever opportunities he garners in the future, and he would make an infinitely better President than the one we are going to get. However, the mainstream media in the past has treated Libertarian candidates as though they were invisible and this practice will not change unless the candidate goes around it and forces the media to cover him with his own fame. Now, I am not saying that Russo has the requisite fame to compete in a meaningful way with Bush and Kerry but I do say he had a lot more potential to acquire that necessary fame than Badnarik does. I like Michael Badnarik a lot and will be very proud to vote for him; yet, I cannot help but think the Libertarian Party made a big mistake today.

I sincerely hope Badnarik proves me wrong because we really need someone to turn this country around. If anyone still does not believe that we are moving step-by-step along a path that ends with us living in a totalitarian hellhole they should read this article by Beverly Eakman (thanks to Jeff Schaler) on the growing practice of declaring mentally ill those who hold “wrong” opinions.


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Otto M. Kerner - 6/1/2004

This is only a problem if people outside the party notice it, which would depend on what he happened to say when. That's why nominating Russo would have been a gamble, and possibly a big disaster. But it also might have been a windfall if the stars aligned. Is there perhaps an ethical issue with nominating someone like Russo? Maybe, but it's not like he's accused of being anything more than obnoxious.


Roderick T. Long - 5/31/2004

Well, there are loose cannons and then there are loose cannons. This is the Aaron Russo who responds to questions from women in the audience by saying "No, I won't sleep with you" or comes down off the podium and asks them to help him adjust his belt buckle. I had reached the point where I would rather have run nobody for president than run Russo.


Keith Halderman - 5/31/2004

I think you are right on point. Russo being a bit of a loose cannon was an asset because he would command more attention and that is what is needed. Remember the old Hollywood maxim there is no such thing as bad publicity.

The big problem with the Libertarian Party is that they worry far too much about turning people off and far too little about turning people on. The party is different from the Republicrats in more ways than just in how it would govern if in power. It is different in the way it has to approach politics.

However, the lets be more like the other parties crowd is clearly in charge. This is evident in the nomination of Badnarik and the timid way in which they are approaching the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs. Instead of demanding that the other parties justify the enormous harm that it does they play right into their hands by avoiding it as much as possible. Not one question about it during the convention debate just like the 2000 presidential debates.


Otto M. Kerner - 5/31/2004

Like a lot of people, apparently including those at the convention, I was becoming disenchanted with Aaron Russo. But I still think he would have been a better candidate. People opposed him because they thought he was too risky and might embarrass the party. This rests on the assumption that the LP is something too valuable to risk damaging. It's not. They had really better be willing to take some risks, because they aren't accomplishing much the way things are going.

I still can't quite figure why Badnarik didn't run for vice-president instead of president. Perhaps he was thinking the same thing himself during his acceptance speech. He sure would have trounced that dope Campagna.

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