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Libertarian Blog Watch
June 2, 2004 — 5:00 pm

This past Sunday I had the occasion to sit down a bit and watch some T.V. While flipping through the channels, I stumbled upon the Libertarian Presidential Convention. I’ll admit right up front that I haven’t paid the slightest amount of attention to any goings on in the Libertarian party for quite some time. In fact, I had no idea who the candidates where.

Well, there are worse things to do on a Sunday afternoon, so I sat down and relaxed to C-Span. In the end, Michael Badnarik was the winner (after three very close votes). Apparently, this was somewhat of a surprise to everyone involved, including Badnarik. I was pretty impressed with his acceptance speech. So much so that I decided to download and watch the actual Libertarian Presidential Debate (available on C-Span) which took place the day prior.

I’m rather impressed with Mr. Badnarik. In fact, I may even be persuaded to actually vote this year. That remains to be seen though. I spent part of today culling various Libertarian blogs for opinions about the Badnarik nomination. Here’s what other well known Libertarians had to say:

Bob Smith from No Force NO Fraud:

Michael Badnarik may be the epitome of an American citizen candidate, drafted and endorsed to run for the highest office we have. It is no accident that his campaign opponents had nothing but good things to say about him. I met Michael when he attended and spoke at our Minnesota LP convention. He is hardly a typical politician. He listens more than he speaks, but when he does speak, it is from his heart with sincere, bold, and well-considered words…

I know that a great many of you reading this are incensed about the loss of 800+ of our best and brightest in a war that should never have been started. Badnarik, when elected, would bring our troops home from Iraq immediately. That position alone should be enough to get you to help him and vote for him. He would put an end to the disastrous War on Drugs, and much more that you are likely to find refreshing and positive. He is obviously a man to whom honor and honesty are much more than slogans.

As a Libertarian, I’m proud to have Michael Badnarik representing our party. I strongly urge you to get to know him, and to seriously consider just how wonderful it would be to have an honest man sitting in the White House.

Justin Raimondo from Antiwar.com:

I note, with sadness, that the Libertarian Party has chosen to commit suicide rather than grow up and become relevant. As a former member, I watched their recent national convention on CSPAN with growing horror as it became plain as day that they were going to reject a strong antiwar presidential candidate, Aaron Russo (who also used to be Bette Midler’s manager, and made it big as a Hollywood director/producer), in favor of somebody I never heard of — and, given what I saw at the convention, hope to never hear of again. Nor do I expect to be disappointed in that hope. The media is going to totally ignore the LP, Nader is going to suck up all the third party attention, and this CBS story will have turned out to be the journalistic equivalent of vaporware. If I were Karl Rove, I’d be celebrating about now.

Karen DeCoster:

I mean, come on, Badnarik in 2004? Justin Raimondo is right: if this is the best the Libertarian Party can do, RIP indeed. This is nothing against Mr. Badnarik personally, but philosophically, he offers nothing that isn’t tediously conventional and entirely placating. This interview here was so sleep-inducing, I started speed-reading it, and still couldn’t finish it. He’s talking about the same old things that are becoming backseat issues, like the UN-world government stuff. Like Justin, I had never heard of him either.

I’m not a “fan” of any of these LP politicos, what with their redundant sales tax pitches and all, but Aaron Russo probably offered a more exciting candidacy than the unknown Badnarik. He was legitimately interesting, if not for his background alone. Is the LP bucking for one-tenth of 1% in this year’s election?

Thomas Knapp from Rational Review:

Now, I don’t regard Michael Badnarik as a Kept Woman Libertarian or as a Cargo Cult Libertarian. The fact is that the machinations at the convention weren’t about Michael Badnarik, they were about Aaron Russo. The Kept Woman Libertarians couldn’t stand the thought of the party moving in a direction uncontrolled by them, led by someone who has an actual record of political accomplishment beside which their thirty years of failure pales. The Nolan Republicans couldn’t stand the thought of the LP being effective this November. Working together, they cut the best deal they could: Torpedo Russo and hope that Badnarik can be manipulated or will crash and burn. As I’ve said, Badnarik may very well surprise them … but the intent is discernible.

Frankly, I think that Badnarik will surprise everyone. The Kept Woman Libertarians are trying desperately to take over Badnarik’s campaign. If he’s smart and independent — and he is — he’ll notice that these are the same people he just beat, and rely on a combination of the Young Turks who got him this far and such real professionals (as opposed to the former used car dealers who usually masquerade as professionals in the LP) as may come over from the Russo campaign instead of letting the failed LP establishment impose the usual failed campaign approach on him.

L. Neil Smith from The Libertarian Enterprise:

It gives me more pleasure than I can possibly express to be able to announce (to the three or four cave-dwellers who haven’t heard the news yet) that the Libertarian Party’s nomination for President was won on the third ballot this past Sunday, May 30, 2004 by Michael Badnarik.

So thoroughly out of step have I become, not only with the culture I grew up in, but with the political party of my own choosing, that it’s a rare luxury for me to see an individual I was among the first to recognize as worthy and endorse, actually win. So I am happy for myself, as well as for Mike (who richly deserves the honor) and for an LP, that, at this desperate and crucial moment in its own history, as well as that of America and the world, sorely needs a nominee of this quality.

Claire Wolfe:

Badnarik. Wow, that was a surprise. For once the guy with the purest heart and the most radical libertarian view triumphed in an LP convention. This is a guy who — Bruthah! — ditched his SSN and declared himself free.

If I’d have been at the convention casting a vote (which thank heaven I wasn’t) I’d have had a hard time deciding between him and Aaron Russo. Going in, I’d have leaned Russo, just because he’s a man who knows how to make noise — and noise is needed in this year when the LP can give anti-war, anti-big-spending folks their only real choice. Wouldn’t it be cool if the Libertarian decided the race between the two opportunistic (as in “opportunistic infection”) warmongers, rights-haters, and welfare staters the Rs and Ds are going to try to sell us? But whether or not that happens, it’s great that Badnarik came from behind like that. What a story! What an American. Everyone who meets him is very impressed.

Karen Kwiatkowski from LewRockwell.com:

I attended the LP convention (even gave a talk) and while not a delegate, nor much of a Party person, here are my observations.

1) Right before the convention, my father (lifelong Republican) bent my ear on taxation, spending, American socialism and war. All critical of the Bush Republican agenda and performance, and against Kerry as well.

2) Afterwards, my dad had watched the debates and said the LP had no chance — they turned him off even though he agrees with the basic premises of constitutional government, republicanism, entangling alliances, and fiscal restraint.

3) Badnarik communicates the LP position on these areas as well as or better than any candidate.

4) All three of my teenagers attended. All chose Badnarik as their favorite because they liked his death row voting analogy. Me, too.

We are going to capture people’s imagination not because we are radical in speech or style. We are going to win because we are radically right, and because over 50% of Americans at heart, already agree with our positions. Gentleness can also be revolutionary!

Emiliano Antunez from The Price of Liberty:

The selection of a Presidential candidate is not equivalent to selecting the parish priest (bad analogy) or canonizing the next saint. Conventions and the parties which hold them should be concerned with two things One; does the candidate espouse the views of the party and Two; which candidate can be the most convincing while having the means (or the ability to garner them) to be able of spreading the word as far and as wide as possible. In this way (realistically) the Libertarian Party delegate’s failure is of biblical proportions.

Personally Badnarick is more than likely a very nice person (and no one doubts his knowledge and commitment to the constitution). But that’s not what’s at issue here, what is, is whether those who voted in the Libertarian National Convention did so with the best interest of the party in mind? Or where they out to give the nation the equivalent of an electoral “macho flash?” Unfortunately this November, like many that have preceded it will be a disappointing time for Libertarians and in turn for the cause of liberty and individual freedom thanks in most part to the very people charged with their defense and preservation.

Roderick T. Long:

While none of the three contenders has the glibness or the gravitas of Harry Browne, I had grown increasingly disenchanted with Russo, and Badnarik seems fine (a bit weak on abortion — perhaps he needs to read today’s post from Charles Johnson — but acceptable), so I am reasonably content with the outcome.

Badnarik for President!

Keith Halderman:

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.

So, there they are. And there we are, lucky we.

Ok, ok, I stole that line from a Gore Vidal essay (scroll all the way to the bottom).

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— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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