None of the LP's presidential candidates excite Libertarians, much less "ordinary" Americans, as does Ron Paul. I know one California LP stalwart who kinda likes Kubby, but reserves his enthusiasm for Paul. I prefer Phillies to Kubby, but I want Paul. (My second choice is Karen Kwiatkowski, who likewise isn't running, yet.)
Why are the announced LP presidential candidates failing to excite the membership? How did we attract such a sorry bunch? Alas, it's true. And if you think that I've left the Libertarian reservation, consider the following:
On December 9, Stephen Gordon reported on ThirdPartyWatch.com that "In a move most unusual for this body, the Libertarian National Committee just adopted a resolution encouraging Ron Paul to seek the Libertarian Party presidential nomination ... The resolution recognized Paul’s standing and history with the Libertarian Party. It also recognized a renewed passion that Paul has ignited across America ... The motion was raised by former Congressman Bob Barr and approved unanimously by the body."
That's right, the LP's leadership has practically endorsed another party's presidential candidate. Unanimously.
Gordon quotes from the resolution: "In the event that Republican primary voters select a candidate other than Congressman Paul in February of 2008, the Libertarian National Committee invites Congressman Ron Paul to seek the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party..."
So the LNC recognizes that our current presidential candidates are, well, they're not exactly Ron Paul, are they?
Many Libertarians are thrilled with America's excitement over Ron Paul, particularly the enthusiasm he inspires among youth. I've heard LP members theorize that once Paul loses the GOP nomination, his supporters will swarm to the LP, especially if Paul runs on it. (They'll even come, if not swarm, if he doesn't.)
I agree. But some Libertarians have postulated a "dark side" to the Paul phenomenon. They think that Paul is competing for "our" money. One party pundit wrote that 70% of all LP member donations are going to the Paul campaign, the remaining 30% to all LP parties and candidates (national, state, and local). I suspect this pundit pulled that 70% out of his a--, but I agree that some of the money that went to Paul would have gone to us.
Not everyone thinks so. A longtime L.A. party officer (and Paul contributor) opined to me, "Yeah, right. As if all that money would have gone to the party.)
In any event, the whole thing may be mute. Within hours of the LNC inviting Paul to seek the LP nomination, Paul declined. A few Libertarian bloggers are already attacking the LNC for their resolution, claiming that both Reformers and Radicals are upset with the LNC over this.
I disagree. The LNC did good.
Neither do I blame Paul for declining the LNC's invite. He's still in the GOP race.
But should Paul court the LP presidential nomination at the May LP convention, I'll still vote for him. And I suspect most delegates will as well -- both Reformers and Radicals.
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