The December California Freedom was sent to the printer before Thanksgiving. I finally got my paper copy. Here is my editorial from the December issue, below:
Barr/Root finished 4th among 2008's national tickets. As of November 15, 2008, Barr/Root have 510,447 votes, behind Nader/Gonzalez's 697,128.
Barr/Root also rank 4th among LP national tickets to date, percentagewise. A few days after the election, Alexander S. Peak at the Last Free Voice blog crunched some numbers. He reports the following vote percentages: Ed Clark in 1980 (1.06397%); Harry Browne in 1996 (0.50468%); Ron Paul in 1988 (0.47137%); Bob Barr in 2008 (0.40145%).
Barr improved on Harry Browne in 2000 (0.36472%) and Michael Badnarik in 2004 (0.32491%), but Barr failed to bring the LP back up to 1996, 1988, or 1980 levels.
Root, who's already running for 2012, stresses in a press release that Barr/Root got the second highest number of votes among LP national tickets. Browne pulled the third highest number of votes: 485,798 in 1996.
But that was 12 years ago, when the U.S. population was smaller. Do those 12 years really matter?
The Census Bureau estimates the U.S. population in July 1996 at 265,189,794. The July 2008 estimate is 303,824,640.
That's 38,634,846 more Americans. The LP should get more votes just by standing still and doing nothing. Thus, the better measure of success is not vote numbers, but vote percentages.
Some provisional, absentee, and write-in votes remain to be counted. The 2008 vote totals may change slightly. The percentages shouldn't.
* No Perfect Storms
Root adds that Barr/Root "achieved that success [their vote total] under perhaps the most difficult circumstances ever -- a media PERFECT STORM of interest, hype and adulation for Obama."
Yet at the Denver convention, Barr, Root, national LP leaders, all were saying that 2008 was the perfect storm for the LP to get millions of votes. They promised big, despite the Obama phenomenon already being well established.
Were Barr, Root, and LP leaders so politically clueless? Or were they intentionally over-promising to encourage support and donations?
Root now says: "I was aiming for the one million vote threshold."
This is rewriting history. While campaigning for the nomination, Root repeatedly guaranteed two million votes, minimum.
I've observed the LP for thirty years. Every national election is supposed to be the perfect storm. Truth is, every election is the same. There are economic woes. Foreign turmoils. Demopublicans who hate their party, but hate the other party more. Competing third parties. Unpopular incumbents. Biased media. New media. Young people seeking change.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
I wish LP officials and candidates stopped over-promising. I recall some national LP junk mail in the 1990s, promising a Libertarian majority Congress by 2010. Short term, slick salesmanship may squeeze out a few extra donor dollars. Long term, it breeds disappointment, cynicism, and members walking out when utopia fails to materialize.
* Ron Paul
Ron Paul was an officially certified write-in presidential candidate in California.
LPC activist and former state chair Gail Lightfoot recruited 55 libertarians to file as electors for Paul with the California Secretary of State. Gail was Paul's certified VP candidate in California.
This means that write-in votes for Paul will be counted.
Paul was on the Montana ballot, on the Constitution Party line. "Pollster" at ThirdPartyWatch.com offered some telling insight: "In Montana, with 74% of precincts reporting, McCain is leading with 49.6% to Obama's 47.2. Ron Paul, who didn't run an official campaign at all, and tried to get his name removed from the ballot, is sitting on 2.1% of the vote. Barr has 0.3%."
With 100% of Montana reporting, the vote totals were McCain (241,816), Obama (229,725), Paul (10,499), Nader (3,649), Barr (1,341).
* Herding Cats
On November 4th, I attended a libertarian election night gathering in Culver City. Nine libertarians came. Some were registered Libertarians, but not dues-paying LP members. Some visa versa. Some were "philosophical libertarians" with no party ties.
I polled everyone on how they voted. The results:
Bob Barr ..... 1
Alan Keyes ..... 1
Barack Obama ..... 1
Ron Paul ..... 2
Did Not Vote ..... 4
The Barr voter is a registered Democrat. The Obama voter is a registered Republican. Both Paul voters are registered Libertarians.
I don't know how that Keyes voter is registered. He's a dues-paying national LP member, though he's not in the state party.
Among the four non-voters: One never votes, out of principle. Another didn't vote because her registration was screwed up. (She didn't ask for a provisional ballot; I gathered that she would have voted for McCain.) The other two sounded apologetic for not voting, as if they knew they should, but couldn't find time. They didn't tell me who they would have voted for.
I was one of the Paul voters. California has yet to count write-in ballots.
* Pro-War Obama
Obama has picked Congressman Rahm Emanuel for Chief of Staff. Congresswoman Jane Harman is being considered to head the CIA. Both are pro-war Democrats. Google them.
Emanuel also sponged off Freddie Mac. Says Wikipedia: "Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac") by then President Bill Clinton in 2000. His position paid him $31,060 in 2000 and $231,655 in 2001. During the time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities."
Idiots, including some "libertarians," had accused Obama of being a Marxist, Muslim terrorist. I'd always told such idiots that, no, Obama was just another pro-war, corporate socialist, in the McCain/Palin/Clinton mold.
Already, Obama has proven me correct.
* 2012 Presidential Race
Angela Keaton is running for the 2012 LP presidential nomination. Michelle Shinghal is her running mate. Their campaign has a Facebook account.
Tom Knapp is running for the 2012 LP and Boston Tea Party presidential tickets. His website: Knapp2012.com.
Wayne Allyn Root, Barbara "Joy" Waymire, and Robert Milnes have announced intentions run for the LP's 2012 presidential ticket. Milnes also ran in 2008, but few people were even aware that he existed. His campaign was limited to blog postings. He has yet to update his 2008 site for 2012.
I've heard that Mike Jingozian plans another run, though that's unconfirmed.
Blog rumors have it that Bob Barr may run again, but he has yet to say so.
Ron Paul is also rumored to be mulling another presidential run. But on which party?
This Feels Like the Most Boring Presidential Election Since 1996 - In 1996, everyone knew Bill Clinton was going to be re-elected and no one thought for a minute that Bob Dole was going to beat him. This election is just...
5 hours ago