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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eggs and Baskets, Not Bombs vs. Bayonets

Timothy Ahern wrote:

TA) when the Libertarian Party focuses most of its attention, resources,
and strategy on developing a national campaign it is being delusional (TA

Agreed. Luckily, the LPUS and LPCA aren't doing that. The LPCA hasn't
devoted any of the resources it controls to federal campaigns. The LPUS
devotes very little of its resources to "national campaigns", with the
exception that it spends money (usually in conjunction with the LP's
independently-funded presidential ticket) on ballot access.

LP candidates, and their donors, are the ones who decide what races the
LP focuses on. Much of that focus is on unwinnable races, for the very
same reason that Mr. Ahern seems to think that ALL of it is on such
races -- namely, we don't get much attention for winning winnable
races. For example, Mr. Ahern doesn't seem to know that the LPCA just
scored its biggest electoral win in years, and arguably as big as the
biggest we've ever had before (at least that I've heard of). How many
people even know what two victories I'm talking about? If you don't,
then THAT is the real problem here.

Another example: we've had a long-time city councilman (who even served
as mayor) in a small town in California, but until recently nobody in
the LPCA seemed to know about it. Every time we think we've found all
the Libertarians in office, another one gets discovered. That's great
news every time it happens, but it's also a cautionary tale to people
who say the LP community should put all its eggs in the
farm-team-strategy basket.

Sadly, the previous big LPCA victor that I alluded to before is someone
who quit the LP in 2003. She cited two reasons: 1) the LP's focus on
unwinnable races, and 2) she had been burdened by the party's
"unrealistic" platform in every election she had won -- even though her
office is nonpartisan. Well, we've fixed (2), and (1) remains something
of a misconception. It's the LP's candidates and donors who decide
where the resources of Libertarians go, and I agree that most of us
(including me) haven't been putting enough of our candidate/donor
resources into winnable races. My penance is that I just signed up for
four years of waterboarding -- the Purissima Hills kind, not the CIA kind.

It's time for Libertarians who trumpet the farm-team strategy to step
up. How much did they contribute to or volunteer for the big victory
that was just won? (Full disclosure: I was focused on my own campaigns,
and didn't contribute to any others.) How much will they contribute to
that victor's next campaign? How much will they contribute to the LP
office-holder who is already credibly vowing to top that success? (I
know Bruce won't, even though he's happy to bash the current LPCA
leadership with their own farm-team cudgel when he thinks he can get
away with it.)

It's important to both push the farm-team strategy as well as to run
unwinnable races that maintain ballot status, publicize our ideas, and
publicly measure the pro-freedom vote. With the platform fixed, I don't
see anything stopping farm-teamers from pushing forward. We can walk
and chew gum at the same time.