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Friday, September 12, 2008

The Barr/Verney Playbook

Bob, offering the VP spot to Paul was an insult to him and his informed followers, even if it might be useful to fool the modal uninformed Paul fan.  The smarter way to do it is like Baldwin, who says he wouldn't have run if Paul were still running.  That's actually true of Barr too, but saying it doesn't fit into Verney's playbook.
George, touch√© about Barr making the VP offer to Paul, but let's not pretend that wasn't a poke in Paul's eye.  (Let's also not pretend that the LNC wants you instead of Barr on any state's ballot.  I voted for you in the California primary, in the California convention, and on the first ballot in Denver, but I say that any effort by you to obstruct the will of the Denver delegates is shameful.  If Barr needs to be dumped, that's for our elected reps on the LNC to decide, not you.)
Tom, Barr's talking point this week was not that he is the "anti-Paul", but that any real leader for Liberty should stand above traditional American politics as both anti-Left and anti-Right.  Barr should have stood next to Nader/McKinney/Baldwin and welcomed their advocacy of the libertarian view on these four issues.  He should have then encouraged them to see the Libertarian light on the other 23 planks of our platform, and he should have politely disagreed with Ron Paul by saying it's more important to vote FOR Liberty than to merely not vote for the lesser of two evils.  THAT would have been real leadership.
Of course, what really happened was that Barr and Verney thought the Paul event did not fit into their playbook, in which Barr raises $20M, polls high enough to create pressure for 3-way debates, and has a chance of becoming another Ross Perot.  Too bad you can't be Ross Perot on a Libertarian budget, or even on a Ron Paul budget.  Yes, it was a shame that Ron Paul held an event that was designed merely to increase the Protest vote rather than the Liberty vote.  However, that's still a damn poor excuse for not using that stage to politely make the pitch for Liberty.
Chuck is clearly right that Root was the best speaker available to us.  Please point me to any speech by any other 2008 LP candidate that is better than what Root gave on the steps of the California capitol.  An excerpt is two minutes into this video:  I'll grant that Kubby is better in a radio show format, especially where he is the host.  I'll concede that Ruwart is best at soft-selling freedom to otherwise unreachable leftish prospects with a low propensity for conversion.  (But how many former fans of nationalized healthcare has she brought into the LP? Show of hands, please.)  I'll also assert that Phillies is who I would want a more-intelligent-than-average listener to hear, and such are arguably our most important prospects.  But for a crowd or a random listener, Root sells the libertarian brand better than our 2008 field (including Ron Paul), and perhaps as well as Ed Clark did.
I don't quite remember Barr claiming that he could bring the Paul vote home in November; can you provide cites for this?  I do clearly remember Ruwart hinting at the possibility of a Paul endorsement, which of course was unrealistic -- and which, if procured before Denver, would have easily earned her the nomination (and my vote as well).  I also remember Barr supporters arguing convincingly that Barr would get unprecedented amounts of free media, but I was concerned that it would be media exposure that wouldn't be used much to promote the libertarian brand -- as opposed to promoting constitutionalism, conservatism, and Barr himself.  (By contrast, Root's strategy for self-promotion is to become more famous by promoting libertarianism.)