Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Marianne Williamson, Democrat for Congress

Marianne Williamson is an "Independent" running for Congress in California's 33rd district.

She doesn't hide that she is a "progressive." She is proud of it.

Now, there are good things about progressives, but also much bad, at least from a libertarian perspective. But curiously, I get a sense that many libertarians feel good about Williamson's candidacy.

I specifically choose the word "feel," as opposed to something more cerebral. It's as if some libertarians want to believe in Williamson, much like others want to believe in UFOs.

Williamson does have some appealing factors: 1. She's running as an Independent; 2. She's a political outsider; 3. She's an attractive and charismatic woman.

That last factor, however shallow, is also a biggie. When presented with a politically blank slate (i.e., an independent outsider with no electoral history) -- but a slate that's attractive and charismatic -- then voters are inclined to project their political hopes and fantasies onto that slate.

But Williamson is far more of a Democrat than some libertarians may wish to acknowledge. We know this because Williamson says so.

I received a mailing from "Independent" Marianne Williamson wherein she says:

"I am also a lifelong Democrat, though I'm running for Congress as an Independent. Why? I can assure you it is not because I wish to make war on the Democratic Party. On the contrary, I do so in the hopes of contributing to the restoration of the principles that I've always thought -- and which many of us still believe -- are the party's backbone."

The mailer also says "Join Democrats You Trust in Supporting Marianne Williamson for Congress" and lists some of those people:

* Former Governor Jennifer Granholm.

* Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

* Congressman Keith Ellison.

* "Co-Chair, Obama 2012" Eva Longoria (yes, the actress).

For now, I am undecided as to who I'll vote for in the 33rd C.D. I'm not aware of any Libertarian Party member who has a chance, so, yes, I'll consider voting for a lesser evil. And while Kucinich's endorsement is a positive for Williamson, Ted Lieu's support of SB 980 is a positive in his favor.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Congressional Candidate Ted Lieu Skews Libertarian on Rights of the Accused

California State Senator Ted Lieu (Democrat) is running for Congress, hoping to replace retiring Congressman Henry Waxman.

I won't call Lieu a libertarian. I'm sure he's taken many "progressive" positions I dislike. But he's currently sponsoring a bill that should please libertarians.

According to Gary Walker, writing for The Argonaut (April 2, 2014):

"Lieu's Senate Bill 980 would compel police departments to allow inmate defense teams to conduct DNA testing on biological case evidence and allow courts to act against law enforcement officials who destroy DNA evidence in violation of state code."

I especially like the part I put in boldface. The article continues:

"Law enforcement agencies are currently allowed to destroy biological evidence six months after a conviction, but Lieu's proposal would extend the timeline to a full year. It would also mandate that DNA evidence be run through the FBI's Combined DNA Index System in cases where DNA evidence is found not to match a suspect or inmate.

" 'I think one of the greatest injustices that a government and a society can commit is to wrongly convict an innocent person,' said Lieu, a former Air Force Judge Advocate General prosecutor.

"Since 2000, there have been 244 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States, including eight in California, according to the California Innocence Project, which is co-sponsoring the bill with the Northern California Innocence Project."

You can read the full story here.

I don't know who I'll vote for in June, in California's current Top Two primary system. But Lieu's support of Senate Bill 980 is a consideration. Not just for the issue itself, but because it indicates his willingness to support the rights of the accused, in the interests of truth and justice.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Libertarian Party of California Attracts New Low in Delegate Count

The recently concluded Libertarian Party of California 2014 state convention has attracted a new low in delegate count -- 44 delegates (according to Independent Political Report).

I've previously reported on the declining numbers of delegates attending LPC conventions. Here are the numbers I have. If any are off, please let me know.

2005 ..... 134

2006 ..... 91

2007 ..... 101

2008 ..... 73

2009 ..... 77

2010 ..... 68

2011 ..... 52

2012 ..... 78

2013 ..... 68

2014 ..... 44

I find it noteworthy that while the LPC convention in 2009 and 2014 were both held in Visalia, there was a decline from 77 to 44. 

Ironically, while the LPC's delegate count is declining, its voter registration numbers are up. I suspect many of these new LP registrants are former Republicans who register LP as a protest against an ineffectual GOP that's unable to decrease state spending. Progressives disgusted with Democrats are less likely to re-register as LP.