Signal Intelligence About The LP

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Nolan Volunteers as Ron Paul's LP VP

LP founder David Nolan writes on LPradicals Tu Dec 18 to game what he calls the unlikely possibility of Ron Paul seeking the LP nomination:
This could be a good thing _IF_ he's willing to emphasize the issues where he is in sync with our core beliefs. And so far, those are the issues he's stressed in his campaign to date: anti-war, anti-tax, sound money, restoring civil liberties, etc. One determining factor as to his being our nominee will be his choice of running mate. Ideally, he will let the convention make that choice. If he tries to impose a non-libertarian choice on the delegates, this could be a problem. And ideally, those of us who favor a hard-line, consistent approach will be able to unite behind a preferred choice. (I'm available, if needed, as I am now semi-retired and financially secure.)
I think the delegates would rubber-stamp pretty much anybody Paul wanted as VP, and with all due respect to Nolan, I doubt Paul would constrain himself to such a traditional LP insider. Paul himself already mentioned two excellent choices -- Walter Williams and John Stossel -- neither of whom the LP could ever hope to recruit on its own. But since I still think Paul is very unlikely to put an anticlimax on his R3volution by repeating his 1988 LP race, the most interesting question becomes: is there an LP candidate that could hope to get Ron Paul's endorsement?

Paul has publicly said that his endorsement could only be won by a firmly antiwar candidate, so that rules out Ron Paul fan Wayne Allyn Root. George Phillies has effectively called Paul a "homophobic bigot", and so nominating Phillies would pretty much write off not only a Paul endorsement but also the bulk of Paul's r3volutionaries. I can't imagine Paul endorsing Christine Smith, so only Steve Kubby would have a prayer of getting any kind of Paul nod. I doubt Paul would be willing to fully endorse (much less campaign for) an LP candidate foreordained to win the traditional meager LP vote share, but even an expression of approval or appreciation would surely clinch the nomination for Kubby.

Nolan segues to the LNC inviting Ron Paul to try the LP as a fallback nomination:
If Bill Redpath (or someone) did not contact the Paul campaign in advance to see how they'd react, then the LNC is a bunch of idiots. And if someone DID contact the Paul campaign first, then why did they proceed with the resolution? Weren't they told that there would be an almost immediate public rejection of the invitation? The timing seems even odder in light of the fact that Eric Garris at antiwar.com was in the process of putting together an ad for the February '08 issue of LP NEWS, wherein a "blue ribbon" list of Libertarians would have done just what the LNC did in December: asked Ron Paul to seek our nomination. The ad was to appear right AFTER the February 5th Mega-Primary, when it will almost certainly be clear that the GOP will not be nominating Dr. Paul. Redpath knew of this plan, and told Garris that there was something "secret" in the works. Clearly, he was referring to the planned LNC resolution. But why put the Paul campaign "on the spot" in December, thus virtually forcing Dr. Paul to say that he will not run a third-party campaign?
But LP Executive Directory Shane Corey had already answered Nolan's question in a Dec 11 interview with Steve Kubby. He explained that LP National has been under blistering heat from the LP's rank and file to do something -- anything -- to support Ron Paul. So they did all the Bylaws would let them do, and were promptly and viciously attacked from both sides: some Paul supporters idiotically complained the LNC should have unilaterally endorsed Paul (and restored the Platform), while some LPitarians complained that the LNC wasn't putting the Party ahead of the cause of liberty. One such was George Phillies, who replied that we need to elect to the LNC "at least one" person who
would opposes the use of theft and fraud in our internal party spending, namely the fraud of telling donors that the LNC is raising money to support the Libertarian Party, and then taking the money to support a Republican.
He also said one unnamed LNC member
gave the LNC a fraudulent statement of his conflicts of interest, namely failing to disclose that he supports *two* Republican Presidential candidates.
Meanwhile, Tom Knapp advised the radicals to respond to a Ron Paul coronation by
horse-trad[ing] for [...] a radical VP candidate as the price of not having a down-and-dirty public nomination fight. Yes, the radicals would lose such a fight by an overwhelming margin ... but we could lose it very VISIBLY. If we have the chance to extract a price for putting on our Sunday best and our brightest smiles, we should do so.
Heh. Please, Tom, hurt us mainstream Libertarians with the problem of more LP radicals lying down in front of the Ron Paul steamroller. :-) Much of the its weight will come from the 17 radicals I've already spotted riding it.

13 comments:

Kn@ppster said...

Brian,

I'm not sure why you think I favor radicals "lying down in front of the Ron Paul steamroller."

On the contrary -- what I've suggested is that if Ron Paul throws in for the LP presidential nomination (which he will most certainly win), radicals should consider throwing in WITH him -- for a price.

Political conventions can be put to multiple legitimate uses. Among those uses is the showcasing of factions' programs, with the factions using whatever floor/face time they can scrounge, including through their placement of candidates into nomination to represent the LP as its presidential candidate.

If Paul DOES throw in, why should the LP's radicals forego such an opportunity and line up behind Paul with smiles on their faces, rather than using the most media-soaked convention in LP history to make their case?

The only reason I can see for them to forego that opportunity is because they're get something in return -- for example, a radical VP candidate (who would showcase their program in a way that demonstrates party unity rather than highlighting party divisions).

You yourself have characterized Paul as the "Teflon Libertarian Moderate." Okay, no problem -- if Paul throws in, the "reformers" are not just getting the presidential slot, but filling it with the best-known LP candidate ever. This gives radicals the opportunity to find out whether or not the "reformer" big tent guff is for real. If it's for real, the "reformers" will be willing to accept a radical on the bottom of the ticket. If it's just guff, the "reformers" will show the American public a public bloodbath rather than share the party with radicals.

Brian Holtz said...

My point was that it's odd that you consider lying down in front of a steamroller to be a threat of some kind to Paul supporters in the LP. (As for Paul staffers/handlers, I doubt they'd worry much either, given the likely TV ratings for our NatCon. You may have a point there, but I wouldn't know.)

"Big Tent" for me doesn't mean a quota system for our various schools of principled libertarianism. It just means that the LP scrolls and leaders stop claiming that only one variant of one school of libertarianism is the most principled. Since political realities have ensured that almost all LP presidential nominees have distanced themselves from "plumbline" extremism either during or after their campaigns, I've never been too worried about radicalness on our presidential ticket. Instead, I worry there about gravitas, movement commitment, political maturity, and non-kookiness -- a scorecard by which your guy Kubby outshines the rest of the LP field, and is in the same league as Ron Paul.

paul said...

paul) Brian, thanks for linking. I'll add you to the blogroll too. LastFreeVoice is back up BTW.


"I think the delegates would rubber-stamp pretty much anybody Paul wanted as VP, and with all due respect to Nolan, I doubt Paul would constrain himself to such a traditional LP insider."

p) I think you're right.

"Paul has publicly said that his endorsement could only be won by a firmly antiwar candidate, so that rules out Ron Paul fan Wayne Allyn Root. George Phillies has effectively called Paul a "homophobic bigot", and so nominating Phillies would pretty much write off not only a Paul endorsement but also the bulk of Paul's r3volutionaries. I can't imagine Paul endorsing Christine Smith, so only Steve Kubby would have a prayer of getting any kind of Paul nod."


p) Hopefully you are correct, but I would be interested in elaboration. Why do you think Kubby would be more acceptable to him than Smith?


"I doubt Paul would be willing to fully endorse (much less campaign for) an LP candidate foreordained to win the traditional meager LP vote share, but even an expression of approval or appreciation would surely clinch the nomination for Kubby."


p) Probably correct as well.

"...George Phillies...said one unnamed LNC member

gave the LNC a fraudulent statement of his conflicts of interest, namely failing to disclose that he supports *two* Republican Presidential candidates."

P) That would be Bob Barr. You posted about it, but probably did not read the actual list of candidates he gave money to.

Of (R) presidential candidates he contributed significant sums to both Ron Paul and Gilmore (who I think dropped out, or at least has not been in any recent debates).

He also gave a lot of money (through his leadership fund PAC) to the LP, but the bulk went to various Republican members of Congress, such as Larry Craig and Jeff Sessions.


"Heh. Please, Tom, hurt us mainstream Libertarians with the problem of more LP radicals lying down in front of the Ron Paul steamroller. :-) Much of the its weight will come from the 17 radicals I've already spotted riding it."

p) Make that 18. I don't believe the Radical Caucus would be doing itself any favors by trying to stop whoever Ron Paul would want for VP under such a scenario. All we would accomplish is to lose ourselves members and support for platform and LNC proposals, etc.

The only area where I disagree is in characterizing Ron Paul as all that moderate. On some issues, sure. But...he is very closely aligned with Lew Rockwell, who is hardly moderate. His numerous "no" votes in Congress are not moderate, nor is his strong language on the war issue and stated unwillingness to endorse a pro-war candidate. Many moderate libertarians would, I'm sure, consider any talk of abolishing the federal reserve to be extreme, or am I wrong? And I doubt you'd catch many moderate libertarian candidates on the Alex Jones show (Ron Paul has been a guest several times).

Brian Holtz said...

Pauli, Tom Knapp has already said what needs to be said about Christine Smith, and it would be ungentlemanly of me to pile on.

Thanks for the clarification about Barr. I saw the name Gilmore on the list, but I hadn't seen him in any GOP debate and so didn't think about that entry any further. Can you give any more details on how Barr "gave a lot of money (through his leadership fund PAC) to the LP"?

I'd love to add you to my list, but you only recently came onto my radar, and I don't (yet) associate your name with the bitter criticisms of LP reform/reformers that my 17 have so clearly made. :-)

Saying Paul is radical because Rockwell supports him blatantly begs the question of whether Rockwell is being hypocritical in supporting him. Saying Paul is radical compared to other members of Congress is obviously not the same thing as saying Paul is radical compared to LP moderates. This LP moderate was frankly embarrassed by Paul fleeing on Meet The Press yesterday from the ideas of abolishing public schools and Social Security. As for Fed-ophobia and Alex Jones, you're confusing radicalness with kookiness. I agree with Brian Doherty, who writes:

BD) Paul's concern with immigration is of a piece with his right-populist strains, an obsession with "sovereignty" that feeds his fevered opposition to international trade pacts and the UN. Combined with his strong emphasis on trash-talking the Federal Reserve and advocating a return to gold, it's the sort of thing that strikes many other libertarians as, if not inherently unlibertarian, sort of cranky and kooky, and that led me to note to The New Republic that many libertarians (though not me) think of Paul as a bit of a yokel. (BD

Eric Dondero said...

Man, this is getting good. I speculated last week at Libertarian Republican Blog that Lew Rockwell might have been behind the whole Ron Paul/LNC deal in South Carolina to try to embarrass the LP, and now you're telling me that I might have been right on with my suspicions.

Eric Garris works directly for Rockwell as his Top Website guy.

It's clear now that they were manipulating this whole thing, but what I can't quite figure out is to what aims?

Tom, help me out here. What's your theory?

Kn@ppster said...

Eric,

My theory hasn't changed: In my opinion the Paul campaign knew about the LNC's "invitation" in advance and approved/encouraged it -- not to "embarrass the LP," but to start turning up the volume a little on the very high likelihood that Paul will, in fact, seek the LP's presidential nomination if he doesn't come out of Super Duper Tuesday looking like he can win the GOP nomination.

When Paul jumps the GOP ship for an LP candidacy, he needs to be able to say to his current non-LP-infatuated supporters with a straight face "I never said never," and "I told you there was a chance this would happen."

paulie said...

BH) Pauli, Tom Knapp has already said what needs to be said about Christine Smith, and it would be ungentlemanly of me to pile on.


P) I agree that Tom has covered the issues with Christine quite well. I'm just not sure that, if Ron Paul were to endorse an LP candidate, he would particularly care about those particular issues.

BTW, Pauli is here

http://pauli.net/

I'm here

http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com

(this comment is brought to you today by the letter E).


BH) Thanks for the clarification about Barr. I saw the name Gilmore on the list, but I hadn't seen him in any GOP debate and so didn't think about that entry any further. Can you give any more details on how Barr "gave a lot of money (through his leadership fund PAC) to the LP"?

p) It's all right there in the link you provided. I believe it says he gave $2,500 to the LP (LNC), although I would have to go back and check.

I think it was $1,000 or $2,000 to Ron Paul and either $500 or $1,000 to Gilmore, and the entries specified that both contributions were for the presidential race. The rest of $30k or so went to Republican congressmen.


BH) I'd love to add you to my list, but you only recently came onto my radar, and I don't (yet) associate your name with the bitter criticisms of LP reform/reformers that my 17 have so clearly made. :-)


p) You have a point there. I'm not very bitter right now. But I do disagree with Ron Paul on the issues you cite in that post, wouldn't want to make those views part of the LP platform, and yet I support his presidential campaign - not exclusively, and not without reservations, but I support him in both word and deed.


BH) Saying Paul is radical because Rockwell supports him blatantly begs the question of whether Rockwell is being hypocritical in supporting him.


p) It's not just that Rockwell supports him. Ron Paul is heavily involved in the Mises Institute, its events, has helped raise money for them and, in fact, I have read that he turned over his list to them rather than to the LP after the 1988 campaign. If I understand correctly, he has been sharing contacts with them ever since.

Lew worked in Ron Paul's office and on past campaigns. He set up a whole new financial structure for LewRockwell.com because it is now effectively a campaign vehicle. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he has registered to vote for the first time in many years because Ron Paul is running.

Well prior to the campaign, they have been publishing Ron Paul's speeches and articles for years.

Many of the areas where Ron Paul disagrees with the LP - e.g., abortion, immigration - are areas where Rockwell and most of his writers do as well.

As for the other areas of moderation you cite, I think Ron Paul would probably go much further if he could in a Rockwellian direction. The only difference is that Rockwell is an opinion writer who generally eschews practical politics (and thus has the luxury of advocating absolutes), while Ron Paul has to deal with political reality as a politician.

It's pretty clear, at least from where I sit, that Ron Paul's ideas are applied Rockwellianism (or late-Rothbardianism). I only know Lew a little bit personally, but I gather he would say the same thing.



BH) Saying Paul is radical compared to other members of Congress is obviously not the same thing as saying Paul is radical compared to LP moderates. This LP moderate was frankly embarrassed by Paul fleeing on Meet The Press yesterday from the ideas of abolishing public schools and Social Security.

p) In some areas, I think he is clearly radical even by LP standards. I think he is trying to pick his battles to some extent in order to build a political coalition. Given that he is actually "at the table" to a much greater extent than the LP is, I am much more apt to be OK with him doing a small amount of horse-trading.

Of course, I would love him to stand up against government schools and SS. I'm sure he probably does oppose them. As president, however, the most he could do would be work towards getting the federal government out of education, which would be a big step in itself.

He has no need to derail his campaign explaining complete separation of school and state
when it is not within presidential powers at all anyway. As for SS, I believe that as a practical politician he has to address some way of transitioning out of it, since many people have paid into it their whole lives. Radicals don't always oppose transition programs; what we oppose are planks which make government larger in some areas while cutting it in others.

I can't find the article by Anthony Gregory right now - but he says Ron Paul has actually said with pride that he receives support from anarchists. How's that for radical?

BH) As for Fed-ophobia and Alex Jones, you're confusing radicalness with kookiness. I agree with Brian Doherty, who writes:

BD) Paul's concern with immigration is of a piece with his right-populist strains, an obsession with "sovereignty" that feeds his fevered opposition to international trade pacts and the UN. Combined with his strong emphasis on trash-talking the Federal Reserve and advocating a return to gold, it's the sort of thing that strikes many other libertarians as, if not inherently unlibertarian, sort of cranky and kooky, and that led me to note to The New Republic that many libertarians (though not me) think of Paul as a bit of a yokel. (BD


P) Well, any radical position can be termed "kooky" by some. I would call him pretty radical on that set of issues, except immigration, where I don't agree with him at all.

-p

Eric Dondero said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric Dondero said...

Tom, great theory. I agree. You've got it pegged.

I just can't believe though, that Paul had the best intentions with that solid "no" to the LNC immediately after the resolusion. It's counter intuitive. The LNC got royally embarrassed by Paul's swift rejection.

And now you're saying Paul will return to them in a few weeks and say, "Golly gee guys, I shouldn't have rejected your offer so fast. Sorry. But here I am, and I now want your nomination."

Not saying you're not right. Just saying, I don't think it's going to be that easy for Paul to waltz right in now and get the LP's undying support.

Surely, there are some LPers, party loyalists, who were super pissed off and insulted by Paul's swift rejection?

If not, the LP is beset with more Girlie men roll over patsies than even I could have ever imagined.

paulie said...

Eric, thanks once again for putting me in greater danger from people who have threatened to kill me.

Pity, I was beginning to like this place.

Oh well, since Eric can't respect my privacy, I'll be leaving now.

Kn@ppster said...

Eric,

You write:

"I just can't believe though, that Paul had the best intentions with that solid 'no' to the LNC immediately after the resolusion."

If Paul said "a solid 'no'" to the LNC, he said it in a closed room with nobody but him and them present, and everyone involved has kept silence about it since.

What Paul did IN PUBLIC was have a spokesman say "no intentions," which has been the line all along.

That's very different from "a solid 'no.'" In politicalese, it's tantamount to a "hell, yes -- but I can't say so yet" ... which is exactly why Blitzer and Russert hit him with questions about it, which he also refused "a solid 'no'" on, which was probably the whole idea in the first place.

IMO, the whole LNC resolution thing was a coordinated activity. The Paul campaign knew about it in advance and approved/encouraged it (maybe even asked for it in the first place!); its movers on the LNC knew precisely what the reaction would be and why.

Paul could shut down speculation about a third party run right now, with "a solid 'no'" -- his supporters consider him "Mr. Texast Straight Talk," and that would simply be the end of it as far as they're concerned. Instead, he's hemmed and hawed on it for months with the "no intentions" weasel, and IMO the LNC resolution incident was specifically intended to encourage and increase such speculation.

Brian Holtz said...

Eric's comment was: "Paul F****** is correct here. Not only is Lew Rockwell close to Ron Paul, Rockwell pulls Ron Paul's strings. He's the man behind the curtain. Ron Paul barely makes a move without Rockwell signing off on it. And I'd say a good 50% of what you read in publications, newsletters and stuff, under Ron Paul's name is written directly by Rockwell."

Eric, Paul is pretty consistent about not wanting his last name to be used, and has left very few traces of it on the net. Unless there's an overwhelmingly powerful reason to use it, please elide it here.

paulie said...

Brian, thank you for your hospitality and consideration. Eric is well aware that I don't want him to use my last name, and does it out of spite.

I don't particularly want to die for having the right to express my views quite yet, just because there are (among others) military trained and experienced killers who are on the terrorist watch list for using violence against peaceful antiwar protesters who have threatened to kill me for disagreeing with them.

One wonders what level of privacy Eric thinks people should be able to decide for themselves. He has no problem with posting his street address and telephone number all over the internet, but what about those people who do? Is he going to go around posting their address or phone number? Maybe he'll go around digging up people's SSNs and addressing them that way, or posting their medical records next?

Just what you would expect from an avowed fan of the usapatriot act, wiretapping, secret prisons, "extraordinary rendition" and all the rest.

At some point, there must be some level of privacy that even Eric would want. If it isn't up to each person to decide what level of privacy they require for their own safety, who is it up to?

By the way, I looked it up again. Barr gave $1,000 to Gilmore, $1,000 to Ron Paul, and $2,500 to the LP, as well as about $30,000 to Republicans for Congress. Steve Gordon said he's looking into this.

I disagree with Tom's theory about the LNC endorsement being orchestrated with Ron Paul staff. I think the explanation is much more simple; LP members have been pressuring LNC and LPHQ endlessly and emphatically, and they responded to the pressure. They may be trying to put out the welcome mat, but it's probably wishful thinking.

If Ron Paul does decide he wants the LP nomination, however, I don't think he'll have any serious opposition. Some candidates would then drop out, and others like Phillies would stay in and get crushed.