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2004 CONVENTION REPORT
(The 2004 Libertarian Party Convention)
by Carol Moore  6-22-04 Version
2004 Convention photos
Official Convention Minutes .Doc file
Carol's report on 2002 convention

Get some of the great Libertarian Party
buttons Carol sold at the Convention

SEE - SECESSIONISTS FOR BADNARIK

LESSON FOR 2008: WE NEED FULLY INFORMED DELEGATES
    Negative Campaigning || Chronology:  | Presidential lobbying  | Drew Carey | V.P. Lobbying  | Boortz Protest   | Presidential Debate Transcript  | Presidential Balloting  | Badnarik Acceptance  |  Crickenberger Memorial | The TroikaVote Buying Issues  || Post-convention Gripes and Kudos || Fully Informed Delegates

      I am fully supporting Michael Badnarik, our 2004 Presidential Candidate, barring some major deviation from the Libertarian Party platform which he stated was his campaign platform. I am hopeful Badnarik and his campaign team can at least compete with the Harry Browne campaigns in outreach and effectiveness.  And I love Badnarik's optimism in his acceptance speech: Well, if I can win the nomination, there's no reason why I can't win this election. The definition of synergy is 2 plus 2 equals 8.  What we have in 2004 is a unique opportunity to change the world.
      Badnarik won the nomination not just on the strength of an unexpectedly impressive debate performance, compared to somewhat flawed ones by his opponents, but also because of a "pox on both your houses" attitude by many delegates against one or both of the two major candidates for alleged "dirty politics."  Thus some number of delegates voted for the most low profile candidate, the one who stayed out of the fray -- i.e., "The Stealth Candidate" or the "Accidental Candidate" -- despite ignorance of his particular issue and organizing short comings.
      I think it is important to a) define what is and is not "dirty politicking" and b) review our processes of informing delegates about candidate so that 2008 delegates are fully informed in their choices and are better able to decide what is relevant information and what is "smear" information.  In this way they will not reactively vote against candidates based on confusing true but negative information and false information or "dirty tricks."  Even now too many supporters of the two leading candidates are angry about their "more qualified" candidate losing because of perceived "dirty politics" and therefore are choosing not to support Michael Badnarik actively.
     Below I quickly review the "negative/dirty campaigning" issue before the convention, then report chronologically on the convention and on post-convention gripes and kudos, and then finally propose a "fully informed delegates" group for 2004. 
Unless otherwise noted, photos copyright Carol Moore 2004.  Photos may be used only with permission. Lots more photos on my photo page.
     When you finish reading this report, and visiting the photos page, see Thomas M. Sipos' Hollywood Investigator report.

NEGATIVE VS. DIRTY CAMPAIGNING IN THE 2004 NOMINATION CAMPAIGN
       If you start with the principle that is acceptable for anyone from independent media to candidates themselves to criticize candidates for real policy differences or personal or political failings ("legitimate negative campaigning") but it is NOT acceptable to exaggerate real issues or fabricate phony ones ("dirty politics/smear campaigns"), you have an excellent guideline for judging the 2004 Libertarian Party presidential nomination campaign.  Overall, I find that Aaron Russo himself, and some of his campaign staffers, were far more guilty of dirty politics -- creating false issues, making false charges, insulting the other candidate -- than either the Gary Nolan or Badnarik campaigns.  Some Nolan supporters, as well as more independent critics like myself, definitely engaged in harsh negative campaigning on a number of legitimate issues where Russo was vulnerable; it was not necessary to make any issues up!
      David Mooter, who vacillated between supporting Russo and Nolan, wrote in a "Libs4Peace" yahoogroup message after the convention, referencing Russo's debate speech:  When Nolan attacked Russo, he would only attack a campaign position of Russo without naming Russo, but he never attacked Russo's character. So it was *very* disingenuous of Russo to try and take credit for a political truce when he was the only one waging war. Heck, one only has to see how clean the race was before Russo entered to see where the problems came from. 
        I myself became particularly annoyed at Russo because of his rude treatment of Nolan and other libertarians, as well as his megalomaniacal boasting about his amazing powers to transform the party, which too many libertarians fell for. See full details at my "Russo v. Nolan" web page. (Yes, I should have included Badnarik, and I certainly had things to say about him, but like everyone else I foolishly counted him out of the race.)  Contrary to what some Russo supporters  insisted, I did not consider myself a Nolan supporter -- at least not until the second ballot of the convention voting process when I finally started carrying his signs and voting for him.  It took me that long to overcome my wariness that certain parties I distrusted enthusiastically supported Nolan, and my concern that psychologically Nolan was too reactive to issues like the 9-11 attacks. Nevertheless, I felt he was the most promising of the three candidates.
       The unfair attacks on Gary Nolan were instigated by Russo himself, and spread by supporters, especially "Communications Director" Tom Knapp of Missouri who originally worked with Russo in his Constitution Party.  Russo's attacks on Nolan continued even in his concession speech!
       It was certainly legitimate for Russo and his supporters to make issues of whether the Nolan campaign intended to stress television advertising or "in your face" activism, or his some of his early, rather rash statements on Afghanistan, the Geneva Conventions and collateral damage. (As we would discover only during the debates, however, Russo himself had a worse stand on terrorism -- he thought as president he had the right authorize "police actions" to capture or kill any alleged terrorist anywhere on the planet, without congressional authorization!  I now call him Aaron "Ariel Sharon" Russo.) 
      However, it was not legitimate to infer or state that because Nolan refused to make a very possibly un-deliverable promise -- that he would put 50% of funds raised into television advertising -- that this meant staffers would just pocket the money in big salaries, as Russo frequently charged the Browne campaign had done.  I  wrote extensively about the failings of a variety of partyarchs when I was running for LNC Secretary in 2002.  However, I don't hold the paranoid conspiracies some libertarians do about their evil hold over the Libertarian Party, ones they also fed Russo.  Additionally, Russo's nasty "joke" against Nolan regarding his Lebanese heritage --  "He's an Arab. Let's kill him." --  showed the kind of animus motivating the man, something likely to spill over into dirty politics.

        Constant allegations of guilt-by-association, be it past Republican associations or alleged close current association with the  "Bergland-Browne-Cloud machine" were unfair.  Most obnoxiously, less than a week before the Convention, Tom Knapp issued an "exposè" based mostly on guilt-by-past-Republican-association conspiracy theory; one Nolan web posting advising a depressed young man with homosexual leanings to get therapy; and one totally false allegation of bigotry against Native Americans.  It took the Nolan campaign several days to verify that the non-libertarian accuser confused Nolan with another talk show host named Gary who had made the bigoted comments. (See details at Russo v. Nolan page.) Only after this incident did we learn that Nolan is, in fact, part Native American. Knapp retracted his statement on only a couple of lists where he had posted it and never apologized.  He certainly was not "fired" by Russo for his deed, as he wrote he feared he would be.
      Meanwhile, Russo's own insulting, crude and even buffoonish behavior -- plus his constant boasting that only he, as a successful and well-connected Hollywood producer, could save the party from it's "loser" mentality and status -- generated legitimate criticism, and even outrage, from various libertarians on e-mail lists and during the convention.  Much as Russo blamed this on Nolan, he really had only himself to blame.  In fact, he had so many obvious failings worthy of exposure, I myself in my role of "gonzo reporter" ("Russo v. Nolan" page) found little time to spread my own "conspiracy theory" -- my fear that once he got the nomination Russo would return to using the "enforcing immigration laws" issue to attract money from bigots who want to keep Mexicans, Muslims and Arabs out of the country; a theory based largely on Russo's own history and statements.
      Lacking a real libertarian press that can investigate candidates objectively and spread legitimate information and criticism, we need a "fully informed delegates" group of libertarians committed to doing just that.  The perfect example of this need is how angry some delegates -- and his new campaign manager -- were when they found out only after Michael Badnarik was chosen as the L.P. presidential candidate that he did not use a driver's license and had tax issues.
     


CHRONOLOGY OF THE CONVENTION

Travellers' Woes
     With hundreds of delegates flying to and from the convention, it was inevitable that a few would run in to some sort of hassle.  First, Gary Nolan himself discovered that after months of flying around the country he was suddenly on the 'No fly" list.  According to Tom Baxter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution "an AirTran ticket agent told [Nolan] he could not get on a flight to Atlanta because his name was on the list used by the airlines to screen suspected terrorists.  Airport police cleared him to make the flight to Atlanta after determining the name on the restricted list was that of a Gary Nolan Craig, Nolan said....He said he was told he would continue to have a problem flying if he didn't get the matter cleared up. 'Obviously, it's a flawed system and this is just another example of what could go wrong,' Nolan said."   Hmmm, wonder if Michael Badnarik will run in to any problems when he starts flying. (David Mooter photo)
     After the convention, delegate Carole Ward was ejected as a "security risk" from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport after showing several military recruits a Russo for President poster of President Bush made up of the faces of soldiers who died during the Iraq war.  She disputed airport officials' claims she was being overly aggressive.
    I myself took the bus both ways and, yes, they do search bus passengers' carry on luggage.  But less predictably and less thoroughly than airline passengers--even on the way back from Atlanta, when a passenger attacking a Greyhound bus passenger out west was in the news.  I probably could have gotten away with taking photos of the searches, but it did not occur to me.  However, I do have lots of photos of the convention.  A few of those  are interspersed below.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 26

Platform Committee Meeting

    The 2002 Libertarian Party Convention voted to allow the 2004 Convention Platform Committee to attempt to reformat the entire Libertarian Party platform so that each plank would contain sections on: the Issue, the Principle, Libertarian Solutions, Libertarian Action/Transition. (Transition statements, of course, are not binding on state parties or candidates who can propose more or less dramatic transitional stands.)  It was also authorized to create relevant language in sections where language did not exist, as well as other changes, subject to approval by delegates.
     I was active on the "lpplatform-discuss" yahoogroup reviewing the evolving reformatting and making suggestions, especially to the  sections on the Internal Security and Civil Liberties, War on Drugs, Non-intervention, Foreign Aid, and Secession, mostly in consultation with members of the "Libs4peace" yahoogroup.
     I came in early on the second of three days of deliberations and found the committee often to be picky on minor details while quickly dispatching weightier ones.  The major example of this was the failure to change the plank on immigration.  While minor tweaking in the transition section could have satisfied many of those who fear inundation by welfare seekers, criminals and terrorists, the only proposal quickly discussed and abandoned was a complicated reformulation of the whole theory.  Instead a Platform Committee member was charged to write a memo on why it was too difficult to change the platform this year.  Nevertheless in both days of deliberations I found the Committee to be quite reasonable -- especially since they accepted, with minor tweaking only, most of the major changes Libertarians for Peace and I had proposed. 

THURSDAY, MAY 27

Platform Committee Meeting
    
In the half day devoted to the Platform Committee meeting Doris Gordon and others who would outlaw abortion yet again wasted more than an hour of valuable time with proposals that would allow libertarian candidates to freely promote all sorts of onerous federal, state and local laws to regulate women's bodies and lives.  Despite the small number of libertarians who would outlaw abortion, the committee gave three such proposals far too much attention, before overwhelmingly rejecting them.

Skipped Libertarian National Committee ("LNC") Meeting for Meeting and Greeting
    As a recovering LNC junkie, I'm proud to say I skipped the meeting.  But if you want to find out what happened at both meetings, see the Sean Haugh's report on LibertyforAll.NetOf course, if I had attended I might have seen the mysterious Joe Seehausen, rumored to be the LP National Director. Unlike the ubiquitous Steve Dasbach, he is a true many of mystery.  Happily, LPNEWS editor Daniel Cloud was around a good deal more and was very forthcoming on various LPNEWS issues.  George Getz was seen from time to time.  Doubtless he spent a lot of time on the very effective comedy routines he does for every National Committee meeting to convince them he's doing a great job getting the Librarian Party, or whatever it's called, in the public eye.  The definition of an "apparatchik" is a person who is better at keeping the job than at doing the job.
    Instead I sat out in the lobby, making buttons for sale and giving out a couple dozen free secession buttons to promote my web site Secession.Net.  One of the people who stopped by and took a Secede! button was Fred Collins, an elected libertarian from of Michigan. Later I would meet Nolan supporter Barbara Goushaw and in our "hellos" I could almost hear us both wondering: "Now what is it I've heard disreputable about her?"
    A couple of the "fun" buttons I was making were "Don't Buy Hollywood Hype" and copies of the original "Mad as Hell" button Aaron Russo distributed with his video of the same name a few years back.  Russo, who already was trolling the lobby for votes, barreled up to complain that I could not sell the button because he had "copyrighted" the artwork.  Dubious, I asked him to prove it, and he stalked off, probably deciding he had bigger fish to fry than copyright disputes with me.  I ended up giving most of them away to friends who misguidedly supported Russo.
    Later as I walked by Russo, a woman with him -- who I later learned was his wife -- asked me to show her just how Russo had "sexually assaulted you." (See Russo v. Nolan page.) I explained he had merely made what might be considered a sexually aggressive move when I was asking him an embarrassing question about his $20 million dollar movie failure, lunging at me crying out "Fix my belt buckle.  I can't get it in the hole!"  Not surprisingly, she laughed it off.
     Russo continued making snippy comments when ever I passed by, once joking "freedom is for everyone, except Carol Moore." I replied to his taunts with "Secessionists for Russo!"  I had promised Russo that if he did get the nomination and lots of publicity, I was going to be an opportunist and start "Secessionists for Russo." Later it occurred to me that it was a good idea to put such a page up for whoever won the nomination, since all have stated they would not use military force against secessionists.  See Secessionists for Badnarik.
    Gary Nolan also appeared in the lobby Thursday evening engaging in more low key conversations with various libertarians.  It would be another two days, only after the debates, that I finally saw Michael Badnarik circulating in person.  I never got around to speaking to Badnarik until after the second ballot when I told him I was starting Secessionists for Badnarik. (Two Nolans photo by David Mooter.)
     Note that in my one conversation with Sheriff Richard Mack who was running for Governor in Utah he admitted he favored secessionism.  He has since dropped out of the race to be one of the 12 finalists on Showtime's American Candidate television show.  But I doubt he will be promoting  secession there.



FRIDAY, MAY 28
       As mentioned above, you can review the Official Convention Minutes .Doc file  Also see David Mooter's report on speakers on the "Libs4Peace" yahoogroup, since I missed most of them.

Platform Retention

      One of my pre-convention projects was to send a Pro-Choice Libertarians letter to delegates encouraging them to attend this early session of the convention and vote to retain the Women's Rights plank of the platform that had been retained by only 53% in 2002.  In case it did not pass, a couple of us had some protests planned, but our efforts were unnecessary -- a reassuring 75% of delegates voted to retain it.  All other planks also were retained.

Treasurers Report
      Frankly, I wasn't paying attention, knowing that generally things were better than they had been, but the party still was in debt.  (Later a few people opined that if the LNC didn't "cut off" some of the "life memberships" bestowed years ago for dubious reasons, the party eventually would go broke.)  However, at some point Geoff Neale thanked Jim Lark for writing a "very very" large check -- and that we could check the FEC reports to see how large -- when the party was in deep financial trouble.  I later congratulated Lark for doing the right and honorable thing. 

Platform Committee Report
     Despite my Internet activism, I tend to be more reserved from the floor -- if only because I figure most people have heard more than enough of me already!  However, seeing a short line of those commenting for and against reformatting the platform, I decided to speak up for it.  Stating my name and describing my reputation as a "nitpicker" who had been reviewing the process for months, I said I found the results not perfect, but "pretty good" and supported the reformat. Several people later told me that helped them decide to support it.
      As it happens I was a bit confused on the motion and didn't realize the platform committee wanted us to vote the whole thing up or down, something I had initially opposed.  I voted against doing so -- even as I began to think it was probably the best thing to do, rather than ratify plank by plank and only get half way through the platform.   After the body voted to accept the "green sheet" reformatting, Platform Committee member David Euchner of Arizona yelled out, "Fraud, fraud on the convention!" But I think his complaint was overstated.
     As it turned out, we had lots of time left over for nitpicking the substantive Platform Committee proposed changes on the "beige sheets," as well as the rest of the platform over the next two days. (Delegates obsessively revisited the plank on Space Exploration!) But even those changes made turned out to be fairly innocuous.  The most seriously statist or just irrelevant proposals were quickly shot down. (See the Convention Minutes for changes if they are not yet up at LP.org/issues/platform.)
     After acceptance of changes to the Secession Plank, Platform Committee Chair Michael Dixon thanked me from the stage for my help with wording, given during the Platform Committee meeting.  Another win for this rowdy secessionist!


Presidential Lobbying Continues
     Needless to say, WHO should be the Presidential nominee remained the main topic of most conversations, and most conversations revolved around the more visible Russo and Nolan.  Both had two or three Question and Answer sessions with delegates in their campaign rooms off the main floor.   Badnarik did have a well-placed table that included a television showing a short video about him.  (David Mooter photo.) Despite Russo's boasting about his television advertisements, the television showing it was placed in a far corner of the tabling area.  The Nolan campaign had made some videos but decided they were not good enough to display.
     Russo's room was packed with expensive literature, posters and stickers.  The most memorable was a pale green endorsement sheet from North Carolina libertarian Rachel Mills featuring a sexy picture of her and the title "Mr. Rogers of Tony Soprano?"  She wrote, in part: "Its (sic) like - do you want Mr. Rogers or Tony Soprano fighting for our freedoms?  That, I think, sums up the difference in personality and approaches of Nolan and Russo."
      Why Mills or Russo thought comparing Russo to a criminal thug would impress libertarians I never could figure out. "Thug" was one of the several disparaging remarks I heard various libertarians make about Russo during the weekend.  Nevertheless, many libertarians were supporting him, some refusing to admit to themselves just how out-of-control Russo was, others admitting it but willing to take a chance that the publicity he promised would outweigh any potential public embarrassment.  "I'm a gambler," said a couple of them.
     However, Russo sabotaged his own campaign with his antics.  Even little things count.  One delegate said he decided not to vote for Russo because he felt he was insincere because he never looked him in the eye.  Another said that standing in a line in front of Russo listening to him smacking his gum for several minutes was the last straw.
    D.C. delegate Kat Kelly reported to me that Russo remained obsessed with me even in his campaign talks. At one point he grabbed and hugged a balloon and then said, "Oh, no.  Carol will say I'm sexually harassing the balloon!" (This story was mentioned in the
Reason article excerpted below.)   One delegate shared an Illinois state convention story that convinced him to reject Russo.  At the convention Russo started rocking back and forth on a loose, squeaky podium and then said, "Bette Midler taught me that move!"
      Delegate David Mooter, who did toy with the idea of voting for Russo, described his run in with Russo in a "Libs4Peace" yahoogroup message: "After watching Russo talk to people, I warmed up to him more than before. So I walked over to him to give him a chance to win me over. He pointed to my Nolan sticker that [Nolan campaign manager Steve] Dashbagh (sic) had just given me and joked that I should "Get rid of that fucking thing". In social circles it would be funny. But for a candidate, it is unprofessional. And if a reporter stood next to me and overheard that then it would look quite bad for us if he put that in the newspaper. So later on, I asked Russo about this and past public behaviour in his press room and he rudely interupted me before I could finish my question, so I had to talk over him to finish." 
        Mooter also reported Russo's response on what he would do if he was not nominated.
"Russo said he would probably leave the LP and leave the nation. In other words, he said that if we don't make him our top dog then he's taking his toys and running home without us. No offer to continue the fight! I read this as meaning he really has no loyalty to the party."
     Some Russo supporters learned that I was giving out a legal sized leaflet titled: Is Aaron Russo Fit to Be the L.P.’s Candidate? detailing his outrageous behavior at libertarian events and his ten years of failed projects.   I handed out only about 70, mostly to people who were undecided and/or had little information on the candidates.  I just wanted them would have a context in which to regard outrageous Russo behavior they might witness themselves, i.e., to be fully informed.
       However, I soon noticed that Russo's dark shirted aides (his "Las Vegas thugs" as one delegate labeled them) seemed to be keeping tabs on me.  One noticeably followed me around when I was distributing Secession.Net literature, until he was assured it was not anti-Russo literature.

       I caught parts of Gary Nolan's presentations in his campaign room a couple times. Once, walking in toward the end, I heard Gary say "Send the ATF to Fallujah!"  I was alarmed. Nolan wanted the U.S. government to impose gun control on the Iraqis?  I asked someone who had witnessed the whole talk and he had meant just the opposite: Fallujans would take care of the ATF if they tried to take away their guns.  Hmmm, was Nolan unleashing his inner Arab?
      Another time I heard Nolan mention briefly that he was talking to friends at the Democratic National Committee about their recommending to him financial donors who wanted to help him take votes away from Bush.  His campaign manager Steve Dasbach later explained that they presumed this source of funding would occur only if the race was close in the Fall, and only if donors approved of the libertarian message in the television ads.
      I thought this was a fascinating idea that should have gotten out to the delegates.  As was the news that Nolan had been put on the no-fly list.  And the facts about Nolan's "melting pot" heritage - part Lebanese, part Native American and part Irish.  This failure to get out the message -- including in not having a table in the main concourse or showing a video -- was part of the reason Nolan lost.  It seemed to bolster Russo's claims that only he could get the message out to the American people, driving potential Nolan votes to Russo.

Drew Carey for President

    Since I was determined not to vote for an announced candidate on the first ballot, at some point it occurred to me to vote for Drew Carey.  I'm a long-time fan and was delighted when he replied to hearing that George Bush wanted him in his 2000 Inaugural Procession by saying: "Why does he want me?  I'm a libertarian?"  Advocates for Self-Government features a Drew Carey page.  I immediately made a "Drew Carey for President" button and stated promoting him as an alternative to NOTA on the first ballot.

Russo Appeared as Nolan Quote Distributed at Gay Libertarians Meeting
   There were meetings of two different gay libertarian groups, on Friday and on Saturday nights.  I was told by an attendee at the first one that Russo popped his head in and said hello after one of his supporters distributed a sheet containing Gary Nolan's advice to a 26 year old man who was depressed about his virginity and homosexual urges.  It read: "Kevin, get some counseling. There is NO genetic link to homosexuality. There are thousands of former homosexuals. I can connect you to them if you want. (with discretion) If at the end of the day you decide that you can't change then be careful and try to be discreet. Good luck!"  However, during the meeting several gays defended the statement as merely responding to one individual's depression and uncertainty about his sexuality, and explaining he had the option to choose between being or not being homosexual, a perfectly libertarian sentiment.  I do not know if Russo circulated the quotation at the second event.

Vice Presidential Race    
        I had heard Richard Campagna speak in May in Maryland and was impressed by his intellectual credentials (multiple degrees, multiple foreign languages), his grace under Russo fire ("Get out of here, Richard, you can't be my V.P.") and his extensive plans for setting up election year debates on college campuses and other venues throughout the country.  At his suite Friday night I first heard him speak more on the issues.  Despite a little too much emphasis on the Constitution, I found him to be an eloquent and personable speaker. (David Mooter photo of Campagna at his table at left.)
       Later I spoke to him about my own views on the Constitution -- that it was a failed experiment, in large part because majority rule and representation are inherently pro-special interest and anti-liberty, ideas expressed on my page Secession.Net. Much to my surprise Campagna said he was familiar with my page and my arguments and found them very impressive.  Needless to say, he had my vote for Vice President at that point!
      I did not see or meet Vice Presidential candidate Tamara Millay -- Tom Knapp's significant other -- until Saturday.  I was impressed by what a sensible woman she is. Of course, by that time I had already been wearing my" TAMARA, DUMP KNAPP AND I'LL VOTE FOR YOU" button for two days.  I told her that a number of unpleasant episodes with Knapp over several years convinced me he was an "abusive personality."  She took it in good grace, as she did her eventual defeat.  Knapp, who demanded his own "TAMARA, DUMP KNAPP" button was less than gracious when I finally gave him mine after she was defeated for Vice Chair. "Fuck you, Carol," he barked.  I never did run into the other candidates for V.P.


SATURDAY, MAY 29

Neal Boortz Breakfast
        In November 2003 libertarians discovered that Neal Boortz again had been invited to speak at the Libertarian National Convention, despite his not only supporting the Iraq War but calling for the FBI to investigate peace activists, which would include many libertarians!  (See my "Why Libertarians Wanted to Boot Boortz" page.)
      Additionally, Boortz writes in his
biography:  "I am, however, toying with the idea of running for President on the Libertarian Party ticket after I retire from talk radio. I'll run just once --- and just for the hell of it."  Boortz was threatening to have a very corrupting affect on the party.
      Libertarians immediately started a petition to "Boot Boortz" and soon after one demanding he debate a libertarian. 
Boot Boortz from LP's 2004 Convention Petition    Debate Boortz at LP's 2004 Convention Petition  Within a few months the petitions gained over 800 votes.  Libertarians for Peace, and doubtless others, will request the 2006 convention committee NOT invite Boortz to speak since this might be seen as favoritism to a potential presidential candidate. (David Mooter photo.)

      While we were led to believe Boortz would just have speaking time during convention business, he ended
up speaking for the Saturday breakfast to almost a thousand libertarians.  However, after the Convention Boortz denounced the party in a Townhall.com article "Blowin' Smoke," partially because of the brouhaha but mostly because of libertarian activists' alleged obsession with legalizing drugs.

Simultaneous Western Alliance Anti-War Demonstration
       In response the Western Libertarian Alliance sponsored at the same time an Anti-War Demonstration attended by a couple dozen people not eating at the party-sponsored breakfast.  It featured Aaron Russo, Gary Nolan, talk show host Charles Goyette, Western Alliance activists Ernest Hancock and David Euchner and me, reporting on Libertarians for Peace.

      Nolan clarified his position on invading Afghanistan -- that it should have been done only if Congress had gotten information which convinced it there was reason to invade.  Russo bragged that his Rasmussen poll showed that 14% of 500 people agreed with him that the U.S. should withdraw from Iraq and that if he did a poll showing 15% percent of people did, he could get into the debates.  However, he did not convince me that 15% agreement on one issue translated into the kind of full support for his candidacy that would impress the debate commission.  He also took the opportunity to say, "I wouldn't use military force against anyone -- accept Carol Moore."
      Before the Alliance event I leafleted hundreds of libertarians entering the Boortz breakfast, distributing Libertarians for Peace, left over Middle East peace literature and "No Boortz 2008" stickers.  Another fellow whose name I forget handed out dozens of "Libertarians Against War" buttons.  LNC Secretary Bob Sullentrop gave one of my stickers to Boortz who wore and ridiculed it because it was not a button. If I had know he was giving it to Boortz, I would have given him a button. (They're available at http://radicalbuttons.com/liberty.html) Not only did the Atlanta paper carry the story, it ended up in the Washington Times: He cracked up the breakfast crowd by making fun of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ("Never trust a politician without knees"), razzing friend and conservative radio perso
nality Sean Hannity ("Baby Jesus") and taunting conventioneers who wore anti-Boortz lapel stickers in protest of his support of the war in Iraq ("If you can't afford a button, get a new cause"), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports...Mr. Boortz's pro-war stance runs counter to Libertarian ideology and prompted some to petition that he be removed as a convention speaker... Mr. Boortz, who on his show egged on antiwar Libertarian protesters throughout the week, ended his morning monologue by saying: "I'm really disappointed there were no raucous demonstrators."

Candidate Platforms Announced
      The Libertarian Party platform requires that Presidential candidates present a campaign platform to delegates for approval after nomination.  Chair Geoffrey Neale announced that Gary Nolan's was available at the front of the state and that Michael Badnarik was using the Libertarian Party platform as his campaign platform. (When I forgot that fact the next day during all the excitement, I asked Badnarik himself whether he had distributed his platform.  He reminded me that the party platform was his campaign platform.)
       However, nothing was said about Russo's platform.  I was rather annoyed, wondering what Russo might be hiding, and told his campaign manager Stephen Gordon that Russo better get a written platform out there quick or some of us would challenge Russo's candidacy.  He ran around and got a bunch of the 1/3 page glossy sheets Russo had been distributing and had a volunteer distribute them.  The problem was that one version included "protect our borders" and one did not.  So if Russo had won the nomination he would have had some explaining to do.

Platform Committee Report
     Most of the business meeting was spent tweaking the platform.  Rogue delegates did not rouse the body to mischief, as in years past.  At one point there was a quorum call and I was number 82 - the number of Davidians the government killed at Waco. I controlled myself and did not call out that fact.  (See my book The Davidian Massacre.) 
Again, see the Convention Minutes for changes if they are not yet up at LP.org/issues/platform.

Presidential Candidate Debates
    The debates included only Michael Badnarik, Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo.  David Hollist was not included because he had not answered questions on a form provided by convention organizers.  (To be actually nominated from the stage candidates only had to collect 30 signatures on a petition.)
    Below is a description of the high points of the debate with verbatim comments in italics (taken from someone else's transcript) and a few comments in brackets.  It should be noted Gary Nolan had a sore throat, needed a glass of water and a lozenge to continue, and cut short some of his answers.


Moderator:  First, we are going to hear from Mr. Michael Badnarik of Austin Texas. He is a computer programmer and technical trainer. In the 1980’s he worked on the stealth bomber project at the Diablo canyon nuclear plant in California. For the past three years, Mr. Badnarik has been teaching an 8-hour class on the Constitution. He recently published a book on that document title Its Good to be King, The Foundations of Freedom.

Badnarik: Good evening fellow delegates.  Good evening fellow Americans. I would like to share a quote from George Washington. “Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” If you lived in a log cabin, you’d require fire for your survival. You would use the fire to heat your home and cook your food. Fire is such a necessary part of your survival that you create a special place for fire. It is called a fireplace. Government is necessary for our survival. We need government in order to survive. The founding fathers created a special place for government. It is called the Constitution. Any time the fire is in the fireplace it is a good fire. Anytime the fire gets outside of the fireplace, it is a bad fire. Conversely anytime the government stays within the limitations of the Constitution, it is a good government. Anytime the government is outside the Constitution it is a bad government and it is time for us to stomp it out. My job as your presidential nominee and as president of the United States would be to limit Congress to article 1 section 8 of the Constitution and dissuade the Supreme court from trying to legislate from the bench. Thank you very much.

Russo:  I feel like this is my Bar Mitzvah.  There's been scuttlebutt between my campaign and Gary's campaign.  Gary and I had a meeting other day.  We agreed no matter who wins, we'd support the other person.  The bickering and character assassination is going to stop.  We’re the party of principle.  Four months ago Richard Winger convinced me to jump in.  I've gone from long shot to even money.  Being a producer I can bring the LP to where it's never been.  I'm beating Ralph Nader on Internet visits.  I'm running TV prime time commercials NOW.  My poll puts me first cause stop Iraq War and bring troops home. 19%.  Now have to make sure we have ballot access.  If I win tomorrow, the next day I’ll be raising money to make sure Ohio, Pennsylvania, any other state that needs ballot access, to make sure on the ballot.

Nolan:  I want to educate voters.  I want people to be safe, to live in safe neighborhoods, to see the benefits of liberty. We can create jobs, improve the country by following the Constitution. Let’s go to the top!

Moderator:  Should our trade policy continue along the path to a more open global market and what if any protections may need to be put in place for Americans workers?

Nolan:  I favor free trade.  I'm not in favor of NAFTA or GATT which are not free trade.

Russo: I'm for free trade and against GATT; it is thousands of pages.   The federal reserve has the raised cost of living and hurt us economically.

Badnarik: The United States is the greatest economic country in the world. Not because of government regulation but in spite of it. NAFTA and GATT have about as much to do with free trade as the Patriot Act has to do with liberty. How can we possibly have free trade when Alan Greenspan can jockey the interest rate up and down. If Alan Greenspan sneezes in the morning, the Japanese stock market drops 20 points. We need to get the government out of regulating trade, so that American workers can do what they do best and that is to create wealth.

Moderator: One of the hottest political issues in the country this year is the issue of whether persons of the same sex should be allowed to marry and assume the same legal rights and responsibilities now afforded to men and women who marry. Would you state your position on this issue and talk about how that fits into your general philosophy as a Libertarian?

Russo: The right question is "Should the government license marriage?" They didn’t license my Bar Mitzvah.

Badnarik: The declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. And in 1776 that is exactly what they meant. Women could not vote, women could not own property and blacks were considered property. After 200 years of enlightenment, we have realized that gender and race are inappropriate distinctions for determining who has individual rights. Anytime the government gives you permission, they let you know that you have permission by giving you a permit or license. If you have a marriage license, what do you have permission to do now that you did not have permission to do before who gave you that permission, and where did they get the authority to give you that permission in the first place. You have the right to live with anyone you want. It is not the government’s priority to set those standards.

Nolan: You shouldn't need a license for anything.  Marriage is for lovers, not the government. Get the Republicans out of our bedrooms.

Moderator: Libertarians advocate reducing the role of government and increasing private enterprise. But in the past year or so we have seen some disastrous cases in which private contractors hired by the United States to work in Iraq, have engaged in price gouging on one hand and been associated with the worst excesses against Iraqi prisoners. It does not look like the privatization of war is proceeding very well. Using libertarian principles, how would you straighten out this mess?

Badnarik: The first thing that I would do would be to correct the characterization of our companies in Iraq as private enterprise. When the government allows one specific company to go into that country with carte blanche to do whatever they want, that is a government-controlled monopoly. It would only be free market if there were other companies there to offer competitive services and competitive prices to keep the services down. And also to allow the Iraqis to chose which of those companies are providing a service. None of those conditions exist, so it is not a free market system in Iraq.

Nolan: End the occupation of Iraq is first thing to do.  If there is no competition, it's not a free market.

Russo: The US has become a fascist country.  The government and corporations come together to stifle the people.  What is happening in Iraq is part of facets government.  The corporations are mercenaries.  They and we don’t belong there.  We started pre-emptive war and made the world more dangerous.  China and Pakistan can invade other countries and say terrorism.  Terrorism is a buzz word. Private enterprise does not belong in war.

Moderator: There are a lot of things about the Patriot Act, the War on Terrorism that you might chose to criticize and that your party has been critical of. So lets turn the clock back to the morning of September 11, 2001. From that crucial point could you lay out briefly how you would have coped with the threat facing the nation and what would have hoped to accomplished by now.

Nolan: Get the evidence to Congress and let them decide whether or not declare war anywhere. It's not a job to abdicate to the President. If the evidence had said yes, in this case, go after the Taliban who were protecting Al Queda.  Weakness in the face of aggression invites aggression.  If you have the evidence, you need to respond. That said, we had no reason to invade Iraq.

Badnarik: Libertarians are very strong on defense, but we also want the evidence. We need to know exactly who did what and why. Congress has the power to declare war. They also the power to issue letters of mark and reprisal. Instead of sending 100,000 troops overseas, we could probably send a smaller group of US navy seals or Army rangers and get the people who actually did this, but we need to have the evidence. Congress does not have the authority to grant the president carte blanche to go off to do whatever he chooses to do. [Inaudible] …that concerned about the fact that Osama Bin Laden was originally labeled as the culprit who perpetrated this atrocity. How have we gone from Osama Bin Laden to Saddam Hussein? Where is the logic that allows us to switch from Afghanistan to Iraq?

Russo: Well, we finally have division in our thoughts.  If I were President on 9-11, I would have gotten evidence of who did it, shown to people. I would not have gone to Congress to declare war. I would have gone, no matter were they were, whoever did it, I would have gone  to any border with a police action, not declared war, and gotten the SOBs who did that, no matter where they were the world. I don’t think a war against some force, we don’t know who it is, is a war.  It’s a police action.  And the Congress doesn’t have to go to war for a police action.  And I certainly would not have removed the Taliban or invaded Afghanistan with our troops. As a matter of fact, what happened was the Taliban said, give us the evidence and we’ll give you Osama Bin Laden.  And Bush said, I don’t have to give it to you. I’ve already given it to Tony Blair.  As if that mattered.  I would not have invaded Afghanistan but I would have gotten people who did it by police action and not have declared war.

Moderator: When Janet Jackson's breast was exposed, during the Superbowl halftime this year, Congress moved very quickly and bumped up the penalty from $27,500 to $500,000. Howard Stern got bumped off the clear channel network. Two local DJ’s here in Atlanta got fired, and yet the photos from Abu Ghraib have been broadcasted and published all over the world and the most widely sought website according to a story last week is the one that shows the Alan Berg beheading. Should government have any role at all in enforcing public decency and what should it be?

Russo: If media spent as much time on the Patriot Act as Janet Jackson’s breasts, we wouldn’t have the Patriot Act.  We have to close down the FCC. We decide our own decency. Some people don’t like my own standards on decency.  I’ve been criticized. Get government out of decency questions.  Government is there just to protect our freedoms.

Nolan: When you are exposed to something you find offensive, censor your self.  Turn it off.  That’s censorship.  To rely on the government to determine it is a false sense of security. Turn it off.  Best way to force them to change their ways is to lose numbers.  Let the free market decide.

Badnarik: I did not see the halftime show. But I am certain that Janet Jackson is not the most obscene thing that we have seen on television. When we have a democratic president using the Oval Office on a regular basis for his little tryst, I find that far more offensive. I find it very offensive when the government tells me what I can and cannot watch. I actually find Jerry Springer far more offensive and so I turn him off. Individual people should decide what is or is not obscene and they will make that decision by watching or not watching reality TV. Censor yourself.

Moderator:  Libertarian ideas have a lot of influence on both sides of the ideological divide but the pool of voters with a completely open mind is getting smaller. So from this starting point how do you propose to build the Libertarian Party. What opportunities are there right now that the party could take advantage of to increase its influence?

Nolan: People who don’t vote don’t see any difference between two parties.  But there is a difference.  Which special interests feed at the trough.  We offer opportunity to take lives back. Fiscal conservatives can’t vote for Bush.  Republicans doing 7-10% government growth.

Badnarik: As I have traveled back and forth across the United States campaigning over the last 18 months, one of the things that has been most striking is the number of democrats and republicans that are becoming disillusioned with the status quo. City after city I have non-libertarians asking me what they can do to change things. And after I explain the libertarian platform to them they go, “Well of course, that is exactly what we think the United States should be.” Out of all the possible voters, the people that are eligible to vote, sadly only 20-25% actually take the time to go to the polls. That leaves 75% of the people who are unwilling to vote for the lesser of two evils. If we can get the libertarian message out there, we can take that 75% and we can make a significant change in government. Help us get that message out to the people.

Russo: If we can get the message out. That’s why I’m running.  I’ll get message out.  We need television advertising. Thirty second TV commercials. We need campaign managers. We don’t have any. Like Dick Morris.  How to get the message out?  I’m here because I can get that message out with: TV, polling data, publicity, ballot access.  We need polling data.  Our poll showed we beat Kerry in non-voters.  We need TV.

Moderator: Our senator Zell Miller, here in Georgia, has been one of the very few people in Washington to suggest that the nation’s current military could warrant a return to the draft. It has been argued that a draft system without the exemptions of the Vietnam era might have a great democratizing impact on the country. But it’s also been predicted that such a change would swiftly lead to an end of all consensus over the war on terrorism. But given the current pressures on the volunteer military and the reserves is there any justification for a draft?

Badnarik: Imagine! People are not volunteering to go to foreign countries and die the way they used to! Imagine that! In World War II, when Americans believed in the issue young men were lying about their age to get into the military early. Americans rallied behind that war. If you can not get your citizens to rally behind your war, perhaps, just perhaps it is invalid war. The United States has far more military than any other country in the world. We have military in 130 countries around the world. Instead of doing international offense, perhaps we can bring those soldiers home for Christmas and Thanksgiving and limit them to doing national defense.

Russo: I’ve been fighting the draft since December.  My petition has been signed by thousands.  The Department of Defense took down their notice for volunteers for draft boards after I put it up on my site.  Hillary wants the draft.  It’s in committee in Congress til after the election.  We have to bring home troops and close military bases.   Make America a nation that protects its own borders – but I don't mean put troops on border, don’t misunderstand me.

Nolan: We don’t need a draft.  I want to hear about Bush and Kerry’s peace history, not war history.  What’s the exit strategy for Germany? (He loses voice here.).  What about Japan? Korea?  We are not the world’s police department. Bring the military home.

Moderator: Your party has proposed a number of market based solutions to our health care problems. I would like for you to focus right now on the area of prescription drugs. Drug companies argued that the higher costs of drugs in the United States underwrite the research, which continually improves the quality of their product. But the doors have been opened now for Americans to purchase drugs in Canada. The cost of prescription drug benefit programs have turned out to be far larger than it was represented. We seem to be coming to a critical point in this question. What should the government do if anything with prescription drugs?

Russo: Get the government out of health care. Drugs are not their business.  I'm a devote of alternative and preventive medicine. Build up your immune system so you don’t need drugs.  Our job is to build our immune system.  Cost of drugs comes because of federal regulations. The federal reserve drives up cost of everything so they are no longer affordable.

Badnarik: Congress doesn’t seem to know anything about the Constitution which is their job. How much less do they know about medicine? Government regulation drives the cost of producing these drugs. It costs a billion dollars to get a drug from the table, the science table, out to the market place. You the consumers are ultimately going to pay that price. American drug companies sell those drugs to Canada. And when Americans try to purchase those drugs at a cheaper price the FDA says you are not allowed to do that because those drugs are not safe. If those drugs are not safe, why did you sell them to Canada? Any time the government does anything, it drives up the cost and it does not work. Get the government out of medicine.

Nolan: Get the government out. It costs one billion dollars to get a new drug through the development process.  No one overseas can compete with that and drugs become a government protected monopoly.  There is a 10 year delay that cost thousands of  lives, which is the most expensive aspect. Get rid of FDA.

Moderator: One of the things when we went into Afghanistan and Iraq was that we were bringing the benefits of democracy, the free market and social tolerance. We have insisted that women be included in government councils in Afghanistan and imposed a flat tax on Iraq. Can you export ideas like that and what larger responsibility does our country have to bring two other parts of the world the ideas that we believe in?

Nolan:  It's not our job to export ideas, get involved in nation building.  Bush promised not to.  But we are.  Don’t export our beliefs.

Badnarik: First of all, the Founding Fathers loathed a democracy, calling it a tyranny of the majority. The United States is not a democracy. The United States is a constitutional republic based on private property and individual rights. In the 1860’s we passed the 13th Amendment, which presumably eliminated slavery and it took well over 100 years to erase the racial hatred between the whites and the blacks. How does the American government think that they can go into another country and override thousands of years of culture? It is not our job to export anything except products and services.

Russo: Michael took my speech away. In a democracy 51% of people can control 49% - that's not freedom.  99% of the people can’t take away your rights. America not supposed to be a democracy so when we send troops overseas, it's no good. Leave Iraqis to their own self-determination.

Moderator: This is a related question but may be one that is a little more involved. How much can the United States do and how much should it do to either restrain or encourage the Israeli government in its efforts to combat Palestinian terrorism?

Russo: My personal view, and I’m a Jewish boy, is the U.S. government has no place in Israel or Palestine.  If I was President I’d go there, explain why they should have peace, and if they can’t get peace, go kill each other and leave us out of it.  We can’t get in other people’s battles or they become your problems. We are not the policemen of world.  We need freedom here.  Freedom is answer for everything. Get out of Israel.

Nolan: We have no place in the Middle East.  It’s not for us to settle how they make peace. History shows we’ve done nothing but exacerbate the problem.  Any taxpayer working hard should be enraged that their money is sent to any other country, including Israel or to support Palestinians.  Let’s stop creating enemies.

Badnarik: Our founding fathers were very wise. In George Washington’s farewell address, he encouraged us to establish economic ties with all countries and establish entangling alliances with none. When we make ties, we establish at least one enemy. If we give money to one government, the people they are fighting hate us. Occasionally the government in its very finite wisdom chooses to fund both sides of the encounter, apparently believing that by giving both sides money, both sides will love us. Apparently, it never occurs to Congress that if we give money to both sides, both sides will hate us for funding their enemy. People within the United States are free to do anything they want with their personal funds, but it is immoral to tax Arabs and send that to Israel, or to tax the Jews and to send that to the Arabs. We need to stay out of entangling alliances.

Moderator: For those who believe in the free market, a trip to the pump these can be a real test. Gas is up over $2 in much of the country and while that price may come down, many experts say that we are about to enter into a period in which oil and gas supplies will not be able to keep up with skyrocketing demand particularly China. What is your outline of a national energy policy and how would you implement it?

Nolan: Let oil companies build refineries and explore for oil. The could drill the whole Alaska oil area from an area the size of Dulles Airport. We need competition in the marketplace.  Let the free market do job.

Russo: There’s only a six week of supply of oil in Alaska.  I don't want to see drilling off the coasts.  We need alternate energy. The oil companies are just part of the fascist government.  I'm against destroying the environment.  I don't like the libertarian answer. Just suing polluters is not a very good answer on the environment.  We must find alternative means of energy.

Badnarik: I am flattered that so many delegates here at the convention consider me a constitutional expert. Allow me to impress you with my economic wisdom. All you need to know about economics is the law of supply and demand. When the supply of something goes down, the price of it will go up. And as the price of gasoline goes up, the consumerist at the pump is going to provide the incentive for finding alternative sources. If we continue paying $.75 a gallon, there is no need for alternative fuel supplies. If we get the government out of regulating medicine, the economy, and everything else, then the free market will find its own course.
 
Moderator: There has recently been a very popular movie which spelled out some very drastic possibilities of global warming but in addition to that, there have been serious studies by the Department of Defense and by an international recognized group of underwriters raising serious questions about what could happen in the decades ahead if the climate were to change. Should that be a concern of government at all and what would a libertarian administration do about that?

Badnarik: Again, the free market is probably the best way to handle any problem. Government has power and when you allow government power to influence a situation there is going to be corruption. If we have scientist who out there doing studies on global warming and we get back information to the general public, once again the free market will allow us to control the situation. No body wants to live in a place where the ice caps are melting and San Francisco is flooding and if we get that information to the people and offer logical reasonable alternatives, people will follow their survival [instincts] and do the right thing.

Nolan: If you are concerned about environment go after the big polluter, the government.  Take away sovereign immunity and make them accountable.  Don’t allow government to control fishing rights. Government doesn’t protect environment. People do.  EPA protects polluters.  Polluters control the EPA because Congress gets money from polluters.

Russo: What are we talking about?  Should government address global warming?  No!  I’m very concerned about environment but I think the free market, there must be a lot of money to be made to stop it.  But we do just have six weeks of oil in Alaska.  We’re past peak oil in the world.

Moderator: A lot of economic indicators are up right now, but job production and public confidence in the economy continues to lag. What needs to be done to get the economy back to where it was in the 90’s, or can we do that or in a libertarian administration, should you do that?

Badnarik: The Libertarian Party would first of all eliminate the IRS giving everybody in the United States a 35% pay increase instead of a $300 rebate of your own money. [Inaudible] …20% of the costs of goods and services goes to filling IRS forms. So the cost is going to drop by 20%. The economy would skyrocket with everybody having all that loose cash in their pockets. The other thing that we have to do is eliminate the Federal Reserve. Between 1776 and 1860, we had zero inflation and the American economy was stable and strong. We established the Federal Reserve in 1913; they have been printing fiat paper money ever since making your money worthless. We have to get back to a commodity-based currency so that we can essentially have a stable economy.

Russo: The 1990s economy was pushed by the Federal Reserve, derivatives, too much credit.  We need a stable currency, a stable environment. Now everyone is in debt.  They want you in debt all the time.  Shut down the Federal Reserve.  We need a non-inflationary economy where the value of money doesn’t change.

Nolan: Russo and Badnarik are right about getting rid of fiat currency and the Federal Reserve.  We have to quit punishing Americans for working hard.  Let’s reduce the size of government to constitutional limits, get rid of the IRS.  So you can buy safer car, put your kids in better school. Get rid of the income tax and regulations crushing business.

Moderator: It does not take a libertarian to realize that in Iraq the United States has entered into an expensive and long term commitment with no certainty of the outcome and a declining consensus whether it was worth doing in the first place, but where is the next long term foreign policy commitment that a libertarian should be alert to? What other problems in what other countries around the world are warning signs that libertarians should anticipate could cause a long-term commitment to in the future?

Russo: Close all our military bases over seas.  Bring the troops home. Stop meddling in other people’s business.  We need free trade, then we won’t have problem overseas.  The U.S. spends more than the next 25 countries on weapons.  We are the imperialist nation in the world today. Let’s lead by example and not by force.

Nolan: Until Canada or Mexico attacked, there would not be much to worry about.  Every time we choose up sides we create an enemy.  Stop choosing sides and there won’t be a problem. Keep lines of communications open through trade. No one wants to shoot their customer.

Badnarik: We do not need to be involved in foreign entanglements. We do not have any one particular place that we need to avoid; we need to avoid them all. Bring our troops home so that they can be home for the holidays and we do not need to have nearly as many USO shows.

Closing statements

Nolan: Take back liberty, freedom, the Constitution. Create a strong economy for poor and middle class. Protect the environment. The Constitution is a blue print for government. The benefits to liberty are endless. We are the only party that is able to fulfill that promise.  Bring the vision of liberty backs.  Cynics think we can’t get federal office, but dare to dream.  I dare to dream can bring back liberty.  We can put libertarians in federal office. We can make great country. Believe in self. Bring America back. We can do it.

Badnarik: The preamble of the Constitution establishes some of the reasons why that document was drafted. In part to establish justice, promote domestic tranquility, and to provide for the common defense. The Constitution establishes the principles for peace and tranquility. Every time we abide by the Constitution, we get peace and tranquility. Violating the supreme law of the land gets the opposite. It destroys our economy, gets us entangled into foreign wars. It is principles sent down to us by our founding fathers. As the libertarian candidate, I frequent face the ‘wasted vote syndrome’. People tell me that I’m a good candidate. They believe in what I stand for, but they cannot bring themselves to vote for me because they do not want to waste their vote. If you were in prison and you had a 50% choice of lethal injection, a 45% chance of going to the electric chair and only a 5% chance of escape, are you likely to vote for lethal injection because that is your most likely outcome? Your survival depends on voting for escape, even if that is only a 5% chance. If you continue to vote for the Democrats or the Republicans, you are committing political suicide. The only chance we have of saving our constitutional republic is to vote Libertarian, even if that is only a 5% probability of getting into office. We have to demonstrate that we are not satisfied for the status quo. Voting for the lesser evil and your candidate wins, you still get evil. The Libertarian Party is the party of principle. We have candidates in every state in every county that are principled, passionate and articulate. Please vote Libertarian and help us restore a free country.

Russo: Let’s have more than a 5% chance.  People say libertarians are radical. What is really radical is government making law without authority.  Pre-emptive war.  Patriot Act. Welfare state and redistribution of wealth.  Arresting and jailing people for owning and bearing arms.  Free speech zones.  When I’m president all America will be a free speech zone.  Military draft. Arresting disease ridden people for smoking a weed called marijuana. I have inhaled.  Bush and Kerry are telling us we have a real choice.  We do, me.  What do you tell kids when they ask how America got like this?  I’m fighting these people. I'll anything to win and stop this government from doing what it is doing. We must no longer be a debating society worrying about the freedom of an ant or a flea.  If they won’t let me in the debates I’ll do civil disobedience and stop the debates from happening.  We aren’t property of the government. Government is the property of the people.  All your freedoms all the time!

Saturday Night Parties
       Saturday night I took a quick trip around the parties.  I first went to Badnarik's small bedroom which was jammed with people ecstatic about the great job Michael had done in the debates.  Then to Nolan's large suite where an equal number of people could spread out more comfortably. There several people moaned about Gary's losing his voice and also commended Badnarik's great performance.  Also there I met Gary Nolan's sister.  The Irish part of her heritage was more apparent than in Gary.  By the time I got to Russo's campaign room everyone had gone into the Jimmie Vaughan concert and Russo was pacing the hall ways, still buttonholing delegates and giving them his song and dance.


SUNDAY, MAY 30
      The first business Sunday morning was election of the presidential candidate.
      I quickly made up a DREW CAREY 2004 - 2008 sign and lobbied for my candidate as delegates entered, to the merriment of all.  On the back was a
the well-known collage graphic of President Bush made up of photos of Americans killed in Iraq, Russo's best leaflet.  I had a big "X" through it, especially for C-SPANs benefit.

Presidential Balloting
      Eight hundred and eight credentialed voters packed the hall.  The candidates nominated included Michael Badnarik, Jeffrey Diket, David Hollist, Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo. However, Geoffrey Neale announced from the floor that votes for other candidates would be listed on the ballot and only if their names were submitted on a piece of paper.  I quickly ran up to the secretary with Drew Carey's name. 
       Spear Lancaster nominated Gary Nolan. Jeremy Keil seconded as did Jim Gray, Teresa De Bellis, Mark Rutherford, Mike Ferguson, and David Nolan.
       After some technical problems with Aaron Russo’s video, Rob Kampia nominated Russo.  Kampia, head of Marijuana Policy Project, recently put Aaron Russo on his board of advisors. John Clifton, Robert Prechter, Richard Mack, Ed Thompson, and Barry Hess seconded.
       David Macko nominated Jeffrey Diket. Greg Cahn seconded. Then Jeffrey Diket conducted a rant emphasizing the evils of abortion.  Delegates booed frequently.  Nevertheless, in my opinion, if Diket or some other anti-abortion fanatic starts collecting signatures in 2008, we should have a pro-choice woman collect signatures and get up there and spend her whole time denouncing those who would outlaw abortion.  (Later Jim Gray of California moved to suspend the rules to change from “30” to “100” the Bylaws’ stipulation of signatures required for nomination. The motion failed.  If he had upped it only to 50, it might have passed.)
       David Hollist nominated himself, explaining his views on contract insurance.
      

Finally, Pat Dixon nominated Michael Badnarik. Alan Weiss, Fred Collins, and his mother Elaine Badnarik seconded.

       Considering the cheering for Badnarik, Nolan and Russo seemed evenly divided, for the first time I felt I could relax without fear that Russo would get the nomination.  First ballot voting was announced on a state-by-state roll call basis with lots of eloquent descriptions of the respective states. 
        Unfortunately, our shy Chair did not state "the District of Columbia, the only state with a majority female delegation."   We had three women to one male.  A second male, Rob Kampia, was an alternate.  He hung around the table, hoping one of our delegates would not show.  But all did.  Our delegation voted two for Nolan, one for Russo and one for Drew Carey.

    The first round ballot results were:
    Russo         258   33.16%
    Badnarik    256    32.90%
    Nolan        246    31.62%
    Diket             4      0.51%
    Carey            3      0.39%
    Hollist            1      0.13%
    NOTA         10     1.29%

      No one bothered to vote for Neale Boortz, despite his presidential ambitions, as expressed on his biography page.  David Mooter photo of Gary Nolan and Erica Brown sitting with Ohio delegation.

      The original more lengthy process was amended from the floor so that only the top three candidates advanced to the next round and the candidate with the fewest votes on the latest ballot would be struck from subsequent ballots.
       My candidate Drew Carey having been struck from the ballot, it was time to make a choice.  So I voted for the least of three evils -- who I thought would make a pretty decent candidate as long as he didn't talk much about all the reasons we should have invaded Afghanistan -- Gary Nolan.  I took up a sign and started moving through the aisle chanting: "Vote for Nolan.  He's the sexiest!"  I mean I didn't want anyone to think I took all this too seriously.
      As we waited for the second round ballots to be printed, I noticed Rob Kampia chatting up our most naive delegate. 
Kampia is infamous in the marijuana movement and D.C. local activism for questionable tactics.  I knew he was up to no good but was too busy campaigning to eavesdrop.  However, when I came back to vote I discovered that delegate had gone to lunch and Kampia would be replacing her Nolan vote with a Russo vote.  When she returned just before the third ballot she explained what had happened.  Kampia had given her his $100 banquet ticket -- and then convinced her to just give him a chance to vote.  "And he was so nice to give me the ticket, I just had to say yes."  See Discourse on the Ethics of Vote Buying below.  On this ballot D.C. voted two for Nolan and two for Russo.
      I noticed Russo and some of his heavies hanging around Badnarik's seat, which happened to be close to mine.  I snapped a couple of photos of them, which Russo was too engrossed to block, as he had my earlier attempts to photograph him. Later I heard on the C-SPAN broadcast Russo telling Badnarik that he'd be delighted to have him as his Vice President.  Perhaps Russo hoped that if Badnarik lost the next round he'd get up and endorse Russo and give him the nomination, after which Russo would endorse Badnarik for V.P. Of course, one Nolan delegate also told me that Nolan had asked Badnarik to drop out and endorse him, and then to become Nolan's V.P. However, Nolan's campaign manager Steve Dasbach denies such a thing happened so that obviously was wishful thinking on his part.  The air was thick with rumor and intrigue.

    In the second round, the results were:
    Russo         285    36.40%  (compared to 258 first ballot)
    Badnarik    249    31.80%   (compared to 256 first ballot)
    Nolan        244    31.16%   (compared to 246 first ballot)
    NOTA          5      0.64%   (compared to 10 first ballot and 8 for other candidates)

       Evidently, a lot of Russo people who partied too hard Saturday night came in to vote only on the second ballot.  Also, while Russo gained 27 votes, Nolan lost 2 and Badnarik lost 7.  One has to wonder how many other Rob Kampias were out there playing switcheroo - and using what incentives.

Nolan Concedes
    
After Gary Nolan was eliminated, a motion to allow Nolan to address the convention was made and approved heartily by delegates. Nolan gave a passionate endorsement of Michael Badnarik, something which I  thought was done frequently in political races.  I certainly remember this sort of thing from the old days when Demopublican conventions were competitive.  However, even though doubtless no more than a dozen delegates voted for Badnarik soley on Nolan's recommendation, later many Russo supporters would complain bitterly about it and some even talked about a Bylaw to prevent it!
     In Nolan's defense Randall D. Langkraehr wrote on June 7, 2004 on the "Badnarik2004" yahoogroup:
  "No one spent more time with each other than Gary Nolan and Michael Badnarik long before Aaron Russo ever appeared. They traveled the country together, and went from opponents to close friends, putting up with the same hotels, restaurants, travel problems, killing boring time between events, etc., fighting along side each other when the going got tough. They were friends that had survived the same trials and tribulations together."

Badnarik Wins
    The third round of voting would decide the nominee.  By this point I realized that the party was safe from Russo's ravages.  More than enough Nolan voters would vote for Badnarik to clench the nomination.  So when I noticed Badnarik was free I rushed up to him and told him I was starting "Secessionists for Badnarik" and even showed him a draft button.  He nodded approval -- or was it just dazed nodding from his victory over Nolan and his obvious coming coronation?
      D.C. on this ballot voted two Badnarik, one Russo and my NOTA -- just in case the poorly organized Badnarik never did get a Presidential campaign together, or went off on some wacky constitutionalist tangent.  After all, I wouldn't want anyone to hold me responsible.  In such event, I could even wear proudly one of my Don't blame me, I didn't vote for the bastard buttons.

    In the third and final round votes were:
    Badnarik    423      54.37%   
    Russo        344      44.22%
    NOTA         11       1.41%
  
Delegates broke into the customary cheers.  I even pulled out my sequestered kafiya (checkered Arab scraf) and threw it up and down in front of C-SPAN cameras a few times.  As I illustrate on my photo page, it was good to be able to finally relax in my street clothes after all that prim and proper politicking, per this David Mooter photo.

Russo Concession Speech
       Delegates also allowed Aaron Russo to address the convention and he took one last public opportunity to attack Nolan.  But at least he did encourage his supporters to stay in the party and support Badnarik, something that those still attacking both Nolan and Badnarik should remember:
    You know I could not have lost to a better man than Michael Badnarik, I want you to know that. I have enormous respect for Michael and he has my full support and he is a great guy. When I got into this race, I was not sure why I was getting into it. I told you Richard Winger first called me and said because I was thinking of running as a libertarian, and Richard Winger called me and said, "get into the race" and I did. I was not sure if I was in this race so I could lead this party, or just make sure that Gary Nolan didn't. I am really glad that Gary Nolan is not leading this race. [Boos from the audience]
      I know I expected that, but there is a wing of this party.
      I always put out my most sincere and best efforts. Everything I have done has been for the cause of freedom and liberty and nothing more. All I want to say, everybody, all my supporters, many of supporters, have said that they want me to run for vice president, which I will not do. Many of my supporters have told me that they want to leave the party if I do not win. Please don't do that. Don't say Yeah. The libertarian party has to move forward and you have a wonderful man.
[Cheers from the audience].
     You have a wonderful man in Michael Badnarik to do that. I hope that everyone here supports Michael and gets behind him. Michael's biggest obstacle is going to be raising funds. Michael is not a man of wealth and he is going to have to raise money and I hope everyone here realizes the fight that we are having takes money. Michael needs it desperately. So while you are here, please donate generously to Michael. Give him the traction that his campaign is going to need. Freedom is not cheap. We have a man here that has been driving around a car.
     Everybody respects Michael. Knows what he has been up to. But he cannot do it alone. He has gone this far and it been amazing. I really thought Michael did not have a chance at one point, but yesterday he rose to the occasion and he did a great job. I do not know if you all understand how difficult it is to be road. Particularly without any money, scarping along giving classes, doing the kind of things he is doing. You should not allow his presidential race, as his race for this nomination. All of you have been supporting Michael and screaming and yelling, and I applaud that. That is not enough guys, You better dig into your pockets and get your checkbooks out and start writing Michael some big checks. Clapping and screaming is not enough. Write those checks and help this man! Thank you.


Badnarik Acceptance Speech

   
      Michael Badnarik accepted the nomination, surrounded by his family and friends, and thanked his supporters.  Opening with a pronounced exhale, he stated “Never in my wildest dreams."  (David Mooter photos of Badnarik with his family on stage, and
signing official acceptance papers.) Excerpts from the text below.

     Pheeew.  Never in my wildest dreams.
    This was not my idea.  I was running for a state house race in Texas.  And I was invited to be a warm up speaker for another candidate in San Antonio.  They invited me to do a 30 minute warm up speech so I went down and took advantage of the microphone and I did my best to urge the crowd to support liberty.  And I got a standing ovation.  I was very flattered and I said, "Well, maybe I'm getting the hang of this" 
     So I went back to Austin and I called a friend of mine and the first thing out of his mouth was, "We want you to run for president."   And I said, "Of what?" He said, "Of the United States."  And I said, "What have you been smoking?"  I really thought they were kidding and didn't understand why they thought I should be out here representing the party. 
     Twenty years ago I started studying the Constittuion.  As I started studying the Constitution I became very confused. As I looked at the Constitution and then I looked at our government, I couldn't see a relationship.  I imagined that if I continued my study I would find statutes and other levels of law that would succinctly connect the two together.
      I don't remember the day or the moment that it actually dawned on me, but the reason we cannot see a connection between the Constitution and
our current government is because there is none.  I find that unconscionable and totally unacceptable.
      My friends told me that I teach this Constitution class, that I express the libertarian message, and that by running for a higher office I would be able to reach a wider range of Americans and help spread the libertarian message.  And I thought that was a valuable and honorable use of my time.
       At the beginning of this campaign I decided this campaign would be a success if I simply did my best.  We operated on what would be generously known as a shoe string budget.  The only reason that we are in Atlanta at all is because of a steadfast refusal to give up.
       The primary focus of my campaign has been to be absolutely true to the libertarian principle.  And I hope that your nominating me indicates that you recognize that I have done my very best to support our principles.
        I won't take up too much more time but I absolutely must thank the people who are standing behind me on the stage. (Father, mother who gives short talk, girlfriend, campaign aide.)
        Well, if I can win the nomination, there's no reason why I can't win this election.
       The definition of synergy is 2 plus 2 equals 8.  What we have in 2004 is a unique opportunity to change the world.
       As I have travelled around one of the things that I have discovered is that there are strong libertarian groups in all of the states, working hard, dedicating their lives, their fortunres and their sacred honor.  We have all been working, but unfortunately because we lack a system of communicatin there is a feeling frequently we think our group is the only group that is working for liberty.
      All of the states have been very very hospitable.  I appreciate your support. (Thanks Oregon especially, describes its organization and that he was impressed by lack of derogatory words and "no dissent.")
      The Libertarian Party has a very unique opporunity.  What we need right now is synergy. The Libertarian Party has a habit of focusing on the details.  Arguing the fine points. Splitting hairs ad nauseum. 
       As Benjamin Franklin said, "The amount of our disagreements are far outweighed by the things that we do agree on."  I am truly truly honored to be your nominee and I guarantee will work with every ounce of energy I can possibly muster.    All I ask is that you put your differences aside and let us work together as a party. 
       2004!  We're gonna do it! Go L.P.!

       As delegates left the room many dropped by the Badnarik table and left large checks.  With the help of his new campaign staff he raised $20,000 at the convention.

Vice Presidential Balloting
      Nominations put four Vice-Presidential candidates in the race. Tamara Millay nominated herself, seconded by Jim Lark, Lorenzo Gaztañaga, and Heather Scott.  Edward Noyes nominated Richard Campagna, seconded by Clyde Cleveland.  Scott Jameson nominated himself.  Finally, Glen Tatum nominated Garrett Hayes, David Chastang and Garrett Michael Hayes seconded,
      However, before the voting Presidential nominee Michael Badnarik addressed the convention for five minutes per the Convention Rules. However, he declined to declare a preference for running mate.  (One can imagine the bullying harangue Russo would have delivered to support his favorite candidate!)

During the balloting, a moving tribute to the late Ron Crickenberger was presented.

Ron (right) and I spearheaded this October 2000 libertarian demonstration at NBC News in D.C. when they refused to put Harry Browne on the air.  NBC soon relented and Browne was interviewed a couple weeks later.


      The results of balloting for Vice-President were:
      Campagna    353    56.39%   
      Millay           220    35.14%
      Hayes            36      5.75%
      Jameson          7      1.12%
      NOTA            10*     1.60%

     Being a big Campagna fan, I was very excited about his winning and went about cheering him.  Additionally, considering all the debates he already had set up, he at least might be able to keep Badnark busy over the next few months.  After celebrating on stage with his family, he posed for photos with Michael Badnarik.

Ratification of the National Platform
     As Geoffrey Neale was about to begin nominations for Libertarian National Committee Chair and Vice Chair a delegate rose to protest that we had not voted to accept the Michael Badnarik's Campaign Platform, per the Bylaws.  Neale responded that since Badnarik's Campaign Platform was the party platform, and the convention had accepted all planks of that platform, he didn't think it was necessary to do so.

Election of LNC Chair and Vice Chair
    Compared to 2002 when the Chair race was the big excitement, these races were hurried and anticlimactic.  In short, Michael Dixon won for Chair with 435 votes.  George Phillies 90, Earnest Hancock 40, NOTA 6.
     Rather than vote for NOTA to keep sure-winner Dixon's head from getting too big, I voted for Dixon because of the soon proved unjustified fear that the vote might go to a second ballot.  Or was it because Dixon made that nice thank you from the stage about my help on the secession plank?  Ask Dr. Freud. (Which reminds me, I never did meet a certain psychiatrist so I could discuss with her the Bill Clinton School of Psychiatry and larger than life show business types, but you'll have to read my Russo v. Nolan page to get the joke.)
    The Vice Chair race was more competitive.  Popular LNC member R. Lee Wrights was running against California cable television producer Mark Selzer who is famous for obnoxiously berating libertarians for not being polite.  (His former claim to fame was bringing Jewish Defense League member Irv Rubin into the party.  However, since Rubin's 2001 arrest for planning bombing attacks on a mosque and an Arab-American congressman's office, and his suicide in jail before trial, Selzer has dropped that reference from his biography.)   The vote was Wrights 338, Selzer 160, NOTA 6.

The Banquet and Badnarik's New "Troika" Campaign Team
     Full disclosure.  A Russo delegate gave me TWO free tickets to the banquet.  But that was after the Presidential race was concluded and she developed other plans.
     Barbara Goushaw -- who was slated to do fundraising for the party at the banquet before she had any idea she would be running Badnarik's campaign -- was quite manic and in super-fundraising mode.  She was over $30,000 of her $50,000 goal by the time we left early.

    It was during dinner I learned Goushaw was married to Fred Collins and that he and she were now managing Michael Badnarik's campaign.  I knew enough about them to sigh with relief: Someone who knows what they are doing is in charge!
     According to a June 5, 2004 Jim Allison email on the "libertyworks" yahoogroup the "Troika" - Goushaw, Collins and Greg Dirasian - has the following record of success:
      1994 Jon Coon, US Senate, 4.5%, raised over $200,000
   1996 Jon Coon, State Representative, 15.4%  4942 votes
   Fred Collins, Berkley (pop 17000) City Council, Winner
   Fred Collins, Berkley (pop 17000) City Council, Re-elected
   Fred Collins, Berkley (pop 17000) City Council, Re-elected
   2001 David Eisenbacher, Troy (pop 80000) City Council, Lost   (3rd
place of 8)
   2002 David Eisenbacher, Troy (pop 80000) City Council, Winner (1st
place of 5)
   2001 Andrew LeCureaux, Hazel Park (pop 30000) City Council, Winner
   2003 Erin Stahl, St. Clair Shores (pop 68000) City Council, Winner
(2nd place of 6).
   2003 assisted Andrew LeCureaux's 2003 successful Re-election campaign
   2001 Martin Howrylak's successful city council campaign, Troy
   2003 Martin Howrylak's successful re-election city council campaign, Troy
      Also see Daniel Cloud's LPNEWS article about the group.

MONDAY, MAY 31

Discourse on the Ethics of Vote Buying
       When I woke up early that morning it occurred to me: ROB KAMPIA BOUGHT A VOTE!!  So I set out first thing to get leading libertarians' opinion on that "Here's a banquet ticket - PLEEEZE give me a chance to vote," incident and the phenomena in general.  In speaking to people I also was told that Russo -- who had mentioned funding the Ohio ballot drive in his debate speech -- had tried to "bribe" the Ohio delegation.  However, an Ohio delegate later clarified that a Russo supporter had approached their Chair and pledged 50% of Ohio's needed funds for ballot access, an offer he was making to all needy states. Nevertheless, only three Ohio delegates voted for Russo on the last ballot.
       Not surprisingly I heard a range of opinions on the vote buying tactics. They ranged from we better start taking this issue seriously to we might need a bylaw on this to that's just a matter of personal conscience to let's set up tables in the lobby and sell our votes to the highest bidder in the free market.
       However, I believe this is one of those areas of political activity where free market principles cannot be allowed to triumph.  If elected officials votes cannot be bought, delegates nominating such officials should not be allowed to have their votes  bought.  Of course, defining what is innocent or acceptable lobbying for votes, what borders on bribery, and what is blatant bribery can be more difficult.  (For example, when bribery is used as a guilt or other psychological tactic, as opposed to a straight out quid pro quo, as happened in D.C.)  At some point we should put together a spectrum or grid chart and explore the possibilities for further discussion, including perhaps by the Libertarian National Committee and the Bylaws Committee.


Election of Libertarian National Committee Secretary, Treasurer,  At-Large Positions and Judicial Committee members
       The credentialed delegate count reached its peak of 818 at this point.  Given only one nomination, current  Secretary Bob Sullentrup, the Chair's request for a voice vote met with no objections.
       In the Treasurer's race delegates faced a choice between CPA Aaron Starr, who already was the California representative to the LNC and long-time LNC member Mark Nelson who had been overseeing the overhaul of the budget process.  Members voted to keep both on the LNC:  Mark Nelson, 271, Aaron Starr 111, NOTA 6.
      Delegates elected three old timers as At-Large representatives -- Mark Rutherford 260, Bill Redpath 200, and BetteRose Ryan 199.  New blood included Texan Rick McGinnis 210 and Admiral Michael Colley 197.    Because previous LNC member Sean Haugh also received 197 votes, the Chair put their names into into a paper bag and Ken Krawchuk (PA) selected the piece of paper with Admiral Colley’s name. 
       Poor Sean!  If only I hadn't been so fair waiting patiently for a missing delegate to appear and instead run up and deposited our ballot.  That delegate gave Colley the tie vote.
     This year the convention actually got to electing the Judicial Committee.  New members included David Nolan 194, Fred Collins 153, Phil Miller 118, Richard Kerr 116, Rich Maroney 99, Rock Howard 97 and another tie - Greg Clark and Nick Sarwark, 88 votes.  This time the tie was broken by lot and Sarwark won the position.  (Sarwak had done a great speech nominating a young libertarian for At-Large in which he called for the Libertarian Party to more actively recruit young people, women and minorities.  Notice there is just one woman and no people of color on the list above.  What's wrong with this picture?)
    At some point during the morning balloting Michael Badnarik's new campaign manager Fred Collins was given the stage to announce that he wanted to quell some rumors: Yes, it was true Michael Badnarik did not have a drivers license, but he would not be driving during his campaign.  And, Yes, there were some minor tax issues but the issues would be dealt with so they would not interfere with his ability to campaign and fly around the country.  This would develop more in the LNC meeting later that day.

Resolutions

    Mark Hinkle (CA) proposed and the delegates passed he following resolution:
 
     Whereas Aaron Russo and Gary Nolan have contributed time, money and commitment during their race for the nomination as our presidential candidate; and
       Whereas Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo have brought excitement and enthusiasm to the Libertarian Party throughout their race;
       Therefore, the delegates of the 2004 Presidential Nominating Convention wish to express our profound gratitude for their support of the Libertarian Party.
 
    Michael Gilmos de Lemos (FL) proposed a resolution for the body to accept the Strategic Plan developed by the Strategic Planning Team authorized by the LNC - and at a cost of over $100,000. After several rants from delegates about the evil LNC trying to impose the (relatively innocuous) plan upon state parties, the resolution failed.
    David Macko of Ohio rose to read a lengthy resolution in which the Libertarian Party would call for the impeachment of President George Bush.  This was greeted with both cheers and jeers.  I quickly wrote a one sentence version, rather like the 1998 "Impeach Bill Clinton" resolution that passed after my urging during my speech nominating myself for LNC Secretary.  However, before I got to make that friendly amendment someone opposed to the resolution demanded a quorum call.  It was obvious that there was NOT a quorum of the full 818 delegates at that point.  According to the minutes, "Orders of the day closed the convention at 12:25."  In other words, the Convention had run out of time.

LNC Meeting
    Yes, as a recovering LNC junkie, I skipped this one too!  Again, you can read all about it in Sean Haugh's report at LibertyforAll.Net.  The section relevant to the Presidential campaign reads:

3. Presidential campaign
    Fred Collins reported on the status of the Badnarik campaign. They had raised almost $20,000 just in the previous 24 hours. Coordinators had already been recruited in a majority of states, and many key volunteers had already presented themselves, including a scheduler and data entry help.  
   Collins declared that the media of the campaign would be television, and that the majority of funds raised would go into TV advertising. The national party and the campaign will most likely enter into data sharing agreements more similar to the 2000 campaign, than the 1996 campaign when the two operations were merged at national headquarters.
    A brief discussion of some concerns about Badnarik ensued. While the LNC members were reticent to name the concerns, they were clearly referring to the facts stated in Badnarik's published writings that he has resisted federal tyranny to the point of renouncing his social security number, refusing to carry a state-issued photo ID, and not filing income tax returns because the taxes are not legitimately owed. Although many LP members find this behavior admirable personally, the worry is that this will not be viewed so sympathetically by the general public.   
    Collins said he had begun to address these issues directly with Badnarik. He vowed that he would either fix the problem to the satisfaction of the party or resign his position as campaign manager within two weeks. The sense of the board was a willingness to give him this time. Considering that Badnarik boarded a plane the next day to appear on C-SPAN's Washington Journal program in Washington DC, one may presume that he had a valid photo ID which would allow him to fly. This item bears watching, and may merit a future special report.


POST CONVENTION GRIPES AND KUDOS
    
A few well known libertarians who had not followed the campaign closely complained about the Libertarian Party choosing the allegedly least qualified candidate.  But others applauded the conventions choice.  A few excerpts from longer articles below.
   
Notes in the Margin – Justin Raimondo
I note, with sadness, that the Libertarian Party has chosen to commit suicide rather than grow up and become relevant. As a former member, I watched their recent national convention on CSPAN with growing horror as it became plain as day that they were going to reject a strong antiwar presidential candidate, Aaron Russo (who also used to be Bette Midler’s manager, and made it big as a Hollywood director/producer), in favor of somebody I never heard of -- and, given what I saw at the convention, hope to never hear of again. Nor do I expect to be disappointed in that hope. The media is going to totally ignore the LP, Nader is going to suck up all the third party attention, and this CBS story will have turned out to be the journalistic equivalent of vaporware. If I were Karl Rove, I’d be celebrating about now.

It Usually Begins With… Michael Badnarik?  by Jerome Tuccille
I guess it was predictable. The Libertarian Party, faced with the opportunity to select a candidate for president who had millions to spend on his own campaign, who had achieved a measure of fame in Hollywood as a producer of films and a consort of celebrities on the order of Bette Midler, and someone else with no money and zero name recognition, chose…well you know the answer; I said it was predictable, didn’t I?
...The LP has displayed a genius for assigning itself a role in American politics akin to irrelevance, and I am sad to say that this record of genius is likely to remain unbroken as campaign 2004 unfolds during the months ahead and Ralph Nader continues to capture all the attention given to third-party candidates for the highest office in the land. ... The LP has blown yet another opportunity to have a genuine impact on the political life of the country.  I hope I’m wrong, but come November, chances are it will once again settle for the usual "less than one percent of the vote." Ralph Nader continues to give the Democrats fits that he could cost them the election. George Bush and Company have no such worries about an LP threat to their own constituency.                       

The Accidental Candidate - by Jim Lesczynski
       The tortoise won the race. While all the "smart money" was on movie producer Aaron Russo or talk show host Gary Nolan to get the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination at the national convention in Atlanta last weekend, mild-mannered computer programmer and constitutional scholar Michael Badnarik surprised everyone, including himself, by emerging as the victor on the third ballot.
      When you're an unknown even in the small pond of the libertarian movement, that's really saying something. However, what Badnarik lacks in credentials, money or celebrity he makes up for in sheer earnestness. He is our very own Mr. Smith going to Washington, wearing his heart and his principles on his sleeve...
       So how did Clark Kent emerge as Superman? I've seen a lot of theories thrown around the Internet since the convention adjourned, but in my opinion there were three major factors that contributed to Badnarik's upset victory. First, he absolutely kicked butt in the debates. For somebody who had flown so far below the radar,
he rose to the occasion at exactly the right moment, on national television and when many delegates were seeing and hearing him for the first time. (I know I wouldn't have been able to pick Badnarik out of a lineup prior to the debate.) Second, Russo and Nolan had mediocre to poor debate performances. I had seen both men do much better on other occasions. Russo gave credence to the fear that he was somewhat of a loose cannon and soft on
libertarian fundamentals by flubbing a question on the environment and mocking a free market solution. Nolan's answers were for the most part acceptable, but canned. He made Al Gore sound sincere.
       The debate was sure to generate some support for Badnarik, but it would never have earned him the victory without the third and deciding factor, which was the bad blood between the Nolan and Russo camps. I don't know who decided to "go negative" first, but as far as I could tell Russo rarely missed an opportunity to
take a shot at the Nolan campaign instead of just focusing on his own message.....
       So where does that leave us? In my opinion, it leaves us with a really terrific candidate. Michael Badnarik has a way of, as his campaign slogan puts it, "lighting the fires of liberty one mind at a time." I knew a few true believers in Michael as early as last January, but I didn't believe it myself until I saw him with my own eyes. He is principled, intelligent and immensely likable, a natural-born teacher.

The Libertarian Party Stays the Course: Reports from a political convention full of both surprises and the status quo by Brian Doherty
     "We fight for freedom, which everyone wants, so why are we nowhere?" asked Libertarian Party (LP) presidential nomination hopeful Aaron Russo to a room of 30 or so supporters and potential supporters at the 2004 Libertarian Party National Convention in Atlanta on Saturday. On Sunday, he won the first and second ballot for the nomination, only to lose the third...
      What the 808 delegates who met in convention assembled over Memorial Day weekend voted for fit in with my previously presented theory of third parties like the LP as consumption expenditures—something people support just because they enjoy it, not necessarily to win elections or change the world. A certain narcissism seemed at work in the delegates' selection of hard-traveling Austin-based former computer programmer and freelance lecturer on the Constitution Michael Badnarik as their man, after he arrived as a distant third in a field of three major contenders: The delegates voted for the man who was the most like them, who presented in the most professional way the modal opinions and views and style of a Libertarian Party activist—quiet, intense, no deviation from the catechism, more concerned with eternal ideological and philosophical verities than the political events of the day. As to whether that is the best strategy to win lots of money, attention, and votes in a national presidential campaign, well, we'll know come November....
         Russo was winning, but he was not to win. He had a style that some delegates from the South and Midwest fretted would not sell back home—brash New York ethnic, throwing around the word "baby," cracking jokes, grabbing floating balloons and nuzzling them, then mock-complaining that one of his vocal opponents would probably call that sexual harassment, openly announcing he had no intention of being polite in what he called our war against our own government, segueing from a mention of orgasms to introducing his wife. He swore he'd disrupt any presidential debate he wasn't invited to with civil disobedience; he called the U.S. "imperialistic" freely; he was very concerned with eliminating the Federal Reserve and talked about it anytime he had an opportunity; and he proudly and loudly admitted to having smoked pot....
        Still, it was clear to most people with a sense of the floor that his first place showing on the first two ballots was it for Russo. Roughly speaking, most Nolan voters would not have minded voting for Badnarik, and vice versa. But many of them had very bad feelings about Russo. "Loose cannon" was the phrase I heard most often—they simply were uneasy with his style and thought he'd embarrass them....
      As one longtime LP watcher told me after the stunning result, on one level it was clearly for the best. Nolan and Russo were both selling the proposition that they would run the most aggressive and professional campaigns. If they were such great campaigners, how is it that Badnarik, unable to afford even a bed, much less hospitality suites or strategy rooms at the Marriott, beat them?...

In Praise of the Libertarian Party - by Harry Browne - June 4, 2004        
      With the Libertarian Party (LP) on television last weekend choosing its presidential nominee, it’s time for the smug, superior types to come out of the woodwork and tell us what a sorry spectacle the party is.
       Every four years around this time we get statements like these from libertarians who aren’t in the party:
       "The Libertarian Party has finished its regularly scheduled exercise in futility."
        "The LP has displayed a genius for assigning itself a role in American politics akin to irrelevance."
        As though that weren’t bad enough, disgruntled party members also level broadsides when they don’t get what they want:
        "The LP attempted to shoot itself in the foot by not nominating [Aaron Russo] for president."...
        The armchair quarterbacks pay no attention to the obstacles that the LP is up against. Nor do they recognize the tremendous good the LP does...
       America is a two-party nation because the politicians have used the force of government to make it so.
       The Republicans and Democrats have imposed the two-party system on us with five major types of laws. These laws not only place direct obstacles to electoral breakthroughs, they also affect the way the media and the public perceive third parties — thus creating enormous resistance to Libertarian breakthroughs....
       So why does the Libertarian Party run a presidential campaign?...
      Having a Libertarian candidate lets millions of Americans know that there's a large number of people who think as they do — who want to get government out of their lives, who want them to be free to live as they think best, not as George Bush or John Kerry thinks they should. Such a campaign gives hope — no matter how faint — to people who had long since given up on the idea that anything would ever change or that government could ever be cut down to size...
      If the Libertarian Party didn’t exist, we would have to invent it. but, fortunately, we don’t have to....


FULLY INFORMED DELEGATES PROPOSALS FOR 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

1.  PROPOSAL 1: LNC QUESTIONNAIRE

       As the representative of members, the LNC could issue a detailed questionnaire to candidates and print up the results in the LPNEWS and at the convention. While many libertarians distrust the LNC's objectivity on this issue, if it were to put together a questionnaire well before there are announced 2008 candidates there would be less suspicion. (Note: The Convention Committee did provide a questionnaire to Presidential candidates to decide which were eligible for the debate, however this was not distributed to delegates.) Please e-mail your LNC representative if you like this idea.

2.  INDEPENDENT FULLY INFORMED DELEGATES GROUP(S)

      WHEREAS many Libertarian Party delegates learn too little about Presidential candidates personal histories, political positions and strategies and campaign organization;
      WHEREAS opponents and/or supporters of one or more candidates may circulate exaggerated, fabricated or false information about candidates that needs to be corrected quickly and accurately;
      WHEREAS many delegates sometimes need aid in differentiating between legitimate criticism and unfair smears;
      WHEREAS there is insufficient libertarian press to help inform delegates;

      PROPOSED: At the beginning of the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nomination process several independent libertarians who are not committed to any candidate form a "fully informed delegates" group to issue detailed questionnaires on issues, strategies, campaign organization and personal matters to presidential candidates and to retain good relations with all campaigns in order to get full and speedy answers to important questions.  The group will have a web page,  discussion group and e-mail list in order to get out full and fair information, deal with rumors and expose smears and dirty tactics

     If this sounds good to you, please save this section to your hard drive and if I do not or cannot start or encourage others to start such a group, please feel free to do so yourself.  If necessary, start two or three such groups, and may the best group get the highest ratings from the delegates!



Discontinued page:
SECESSIONISTS FOR BADNARIK/
CAMPAGNA
http://secession.net/4badnarik
4badnarik(a)secession.net

Michael Badnarik
Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate 2004

BADNARIK.ORG
Richard Campagna
Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential Candidate 2004


Mr. Badnarik told 2004 national Libertarian Party convention delegates that his campaign platform will be the Libertarian Party platform, which includes the below on secession.  He has stated publicly he supports the political right to secede. He was told about the intention to form this group at the national convention.  Mr. Campagna assures us he is a big fan of decentralist alternatives and the secession strategy.

READ: WHY LIBERTARIANS SHOULD EMPHASIZE SECESSION AND COMMUNITY AUTONOMY


Libertarian Party Platform On Secession
http://www.lp.org/issues/platform
(Note: reformatted platform will be on web page soon; this is from secretary's notes)

III. Domestic Ills
Section 16 - SECESSION

(The Issue):  People are forced to be subject to governments and to participate in their programs, usually as providers of financial support, regardless of their wishes to the contrary.

(The Principle):  As all political association must be voluntary, we recognize the right to political secession.  This includes the right to secession by political entities, private groups or individuals. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.

(Libertarian Solutions):  We support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their affiliation with any government, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by those governments, while in turn accepting no support from the government from which they seceded.

(Libertarian Action/Transition):  As a transition step, we support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their participation in any government program, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by that program, while in turn accepting no benefit from the program from which they seceded.




Whenever government becomes destructive of these ends
(life, liberty, pursuit of happiness),

 it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,
and to institute a new government. 
Declaration of Independence of the American Colonies, 1776


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