Signal Intelligence About The LP

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Two Cents on the LP Chair Race

Here's my current two cents on the Chair race.

I love George's centrist libertarianism, and I like a lot of George's ideas about focusing resources on practical politics, but his over-the-top criticisms of other LP leaders (and Ron Paul) have made him a divisive figure -- and not even on ideological grounds.

Mark is more radical than I, but he's a big-tent inclusivist who seems to have little interest in re-opening the ideology/platform wars. I love his description of the LPUS as a service organization, that should cater to more than one type of Libertarian customer.

Wayne is libertarian enough for me if you pick the best passages from his book, and I would love to see him be the LP's chief salesman for a more balanced/centrist libertarianism a la Phillies. Whether the LP should use him as a chief salesman for "Reagan libertarianism" basically depends on how ideologically well-grounded you think the LP is. I know of only one person (Rothbard) who was ever able to personally move the LP's ideology, and Root is no Rothbard. I think the LP's ideology can easily survive Root, but I do worry that he doesn't correctly brand libertarianism as an alternative to both liberalism and conservatism. Also, I worry that he lacks the LP-internal experience to handle the administrative and mediating responsibilities of Chair.

The good that Hancock does for the movement is best done the way he's been doing it, through Freedom's Phoenix. As Chair he would be ideologically and factionally divisive, and there's little reason to think that he could (or should) turn the LP into another Freedom's Phoenix operation.

So my ideal Chair would have Root selling Phillies-style centrist libertarianism while channeling many of Phillies' practical proposals through a Hinkle avatar with Mark's administrative and mediating experience. :-)

But no such candidate is running. So I wonder: can Root be trained to position the LP brand appropriately, and can the LNC/HQ function effectively with him as Chair? People worry about whether Root is using the LP, but I don't worry about that very much at all. Libertarians of all people should recognize that voluntary association is positive-sum. We should blatantly "use" Root as long as we think he is a net positive for LP outreach and branding, and if he stops being so, then we should not hesitate to disca -- I mean, disassociate from him. :-)

I also wonder: why can't Wayne be chief salesman as a Vice Chair? He's already making an impressively prodigious sales effort with no LNC portfolio whatsoever. Hinkle would be much more able than Phillies or Hancock to use Root for LP outreach, and Hinkle would be the least divisive choice for Chair -- and a safe choice as an administrator.

Root was very smart to effectively renounce a 2012 presidential run. If he can improve his antennae about Libertarian branding, and convince us that he can run the LNC/LPHQ, then he will be unstoppable for Chair, and deservedly so. As it stands now, it seems like a toss-up between Root and Hinkle.


Anonymous said...

Root renounced a bid for the 2012 Pres. nomination? Not when I talked to him in Austin. In fact, he made it unabashedly clear that that was why he was running for chair.

Barry Hess

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