Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On Angela Keaton and Ron Paul

My editorial in the January 2009 issue of California Freedom, which subscribers should have received by now:

Some of our best libertarians -- our most principled and productive libertarians -- are outside the party. For instance, Ron Paul. And joining him now, Angela Keaton.

* Angela Keaton

Angela Keaton resigned her At-large seat on the LNC shortly after their December meeting, during which she was subjected to a silly and unimportant disciplinary hearing, orchestrated by LNC Region 4 Representative Stewart Flood. Michael Seebeck reports on the meeting on page 1 of this issue, along with links.

Most of the charges against Angela were of her publicly criticizing the LP and its leaders, with her usual irreverent wit. She'd also joined a Boston Tea Party Facebook account, thus lending support to a competing political party. (Whereas Bob Barr only contributed millions of PAC dollars to GOP candidates running against LP candidates, while he sat on the LNC. Small potatoes compared to a Facebook account.)

Yes, Angela speaks freely and doesn't care if she offends. She can be abrasive and blunt and impolitic. She does not easily tolerate fools. She asks tough questions of LP leaders, and demands strict adherence to principles. A no-nonsense nun, ever ready to smack mushy-headed libertarians with her ruler. Or with a funny zinger.

I wasn't at the LNC meeting, but like others, I followed it live on IndependentPoliticalReport.com. IPR eyewitnesses reported that, as Flood presented his "evidence," attending activists began to laugh. So did some LNC members. Flood grew ever more irate, which increased the laughter, which further incensed Flood.

Judging by the laughs, the funniest exhibit in Flood's case against Angela was a photoshopped image of her and LP Treasurer Aaron Starr, posted on Angela's Anarchist Bitch blog, captioned: "Luka Skywalker meets her father, Darth Herr Vader."

In describing the event, Thomas Knapp said: "Stewart Flood's presentation of 'charges' and 'evidence' against Ms. Keaton came off as the clown show it was. Accounts from on the spot describe open laughter from the audience and a public near-nervous-breakdown on the part of Flood himself. Keaton acquitted herself quite well, speaking in her own defense... She denied the LNC's authority to dictate what opinions she would express or how she would express them,"

Flood's resolution moved to suspend Angela's LNC membership, to be rescinded upon her submitting a letter, for publication in the LP News, apologizing for a laundry list of alleged misdeeds.

Rather than suspend or clear Angela, the LNC sent the matter to committee for further investigation. To which Angela replied: "I will under no circumstances submit to any committee investigation."

Angela resigned a day or so later. She cited health reasons. Eric Garris, her boss at Antiwar.com, issued a letter saying that Angela's LNC work was interfering with her duties at Antiwar.com, and she must choose one or the other.

I've heard rumors that Garris was merely offering Angela a gracious excuse to exit. One longtime Los Angeles LP officer opined to me, "I think Angela just got tired of all the petty b*llsh*t on the LNC, and said 'to hell with it.' And I don't blame her."

Angela Keaton will now devote her full time to Antiwar.com and the cause of world peace. The LP's loss is humanity's gain.

* Ron Paul

On December 13, 2008, the California Secretary of State issued the official results for the 2008 presidential race, write-in votes included. They are:

Barack Obama ..... 8,274,473
John McCain ..... 5,011,781
Ralph Nader ..... 108,381
Bob Barr ..... 67,582
Alan Keyes ..... 40,673
Cynthia McKinney ..... 38,774
Ron Paul ..... 17,006
Chuck Baldwin ..... 3,145
James Harris ..... 49
Frank Moore ..... 36

The top six names appeared on the California ballot as candidates for the Democratic, Republican, Peace and Freedom, Libertarian, American Independent, and Green Parties, respectively. The latter four were officially certified write-in candidates.

Most Californians were unaware that Ron Paul was a certified write-in candidate and that votes for him would be counted. Even so, Paul pulled over 17,000 votes -- without appearing on the ballot, without a current campaign, without the public even knowing that he was a viable option.

Imagine how many votes Paul would have won had the public known that write-in votes for him would count?

And how many additional votes had Paul been on the ballot?

Even many Libertarians were unaware of Paul's official write-in status. Some told me after the election: "I'd have voted for Paul, had I known my vote would count."

Chuck Baldwin was the Constitution Party's write-in candidate. The American Independent Party (which had been the CP's California affiliate) split over the war issue. Baldwin supported the CP/AIP's traditional noninterventionist position. Alan Keyes was the choice of the pro-war faction. A California court ruled that the Keyes faction was the legitimate AIP representative, so Keyes's name appeared on the ballot.

James Harris ran on the Socialist Workers Party. Frank Moore ran on the Just Makes Sense Party. Moore has been described as a "performance artist," so his campaign might have been an extension of that, rather than a serious political endeavor. His running mate was cable access TV "sex therapist," Dr. Susan Block.

Curiously, both Harris and Moore received under 55 write-in votes. One must obtain signatures from 55 pledged electors to be a certified write-in candidate in California, so it seems that even their electors didn't want to "waste their votes" on Harris and Moore.

On December 14, the Constitution Party's Bill Lussenheide reported on IndependentPoliticalReport.com: "There were three counties in California that did NOT count the write in votes for either Chuck Baldwin or Ron Paul. [And presumably, not for Harris and Moore.] Their totals should not be considered complete. [They are] Del Norte County, Mono County and San Benito County."

So it seems that Paul received more votes than recorded in the state's "official" report. Which is somehow poetically appropriate, considering the candidate and the state.

As Joseph Stalin reputedly said: "It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes."

* LP Conventions

I congratulate the LNC on one good decision. The 2010 LP national convention will be held in St. Louis. Good choice. A cheap locale for most povertarians, conveniently situated in the middle of the continental U.S., and not in some pricey state like Hawaii, or on an expensive cruise ship. Room rates are $109 a night.

The LPC state convention will be held this April, in Visalia, California. That's near Fresno.


paulie said...

OK to republish on IPR with credit?

Thomas said...

Sure, go ahead.

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