A Potential Libertarian Presidential Candidate

Thomas Knapp just wrote a good analysis about a potential Libertarian Party presidential candidate I could get excited about: Karen Kwiatkowski. Anyone interested in LP politics will have to read the whole thing. Here’s the beginning:

Since at least as far back as 2004, when she spoke at the Libertarian Party’s national convention, Karen Kwiatkowski (Lt. Colonel, USAF, Ret.), has been frequently mentioned as a prospective 2008 LP presidential candidate. By virtue of the lack of binding primaries and caucuses that get other parties’ candidates out on the stump and under the microscope early, it becomes especially necessary for Libertarians to do a little digging. I’ve been doing “the basic look-see” on Kwiatkowski. Time to share my findings and conclusions:
Assuming she enters the race, and barring the entry of a former US Representative, US Senator, governor or senior executive branch or military official in the race, the LP is unlikely to see a more qualified prospective nominee than Karen Kwiatkowsi. This is not an endorsement (yet) — just a statement of things as I see them.
Kwiatkowski has three degrees, two of them in public policy areas: An MA in Government from Harvard and a Ph.D. in World Politics from Catholic University. Her third degree is an MS in Science Management from the University of Alaska. She authored two books on foreign policy before she became a public figure, both of them published by institutional military presses.
Kwiatkowski was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force in 1978 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with 25 years of military service. During her career, she served in Alaska providing “logistical support for missions along the Russian and Chinese coasts;” did tours of duty in Spain and Italy; worked at the National Security Agency where she apparently did public affairs work (including speechwriting for the director of NSA); then served at the Pentagon, first in sub-Saharan African policy and at the end of her career at the Near East/Central Asia desk.

In his critique, Knapp brought up one point with which I disagree and missed one which surprised me a bit:

Kwiatkowski is not a “perfect” candidate. It would be nice if she’d made full colonel or even picked up a general’s star, or served on the National Security Council…

The Oliver North for Senate campaign is one of the case studies Knapp and I use in our campaign management course. While North lost his bid for Senate, the Lt. Colonel rank was clearly not detrimental (I worked on that campaign when I was a misguided Repubican) in his race. If Kwiatkowski could raise money (or emulate other campaign activites) like the North campaign did, she’d actually have a shot at the White House.
The point Tom missed was Karen’s last name. Considering there’s a chapter in our text (unfortunately this one is not on the Internet) on the topic of cumbersome last names and the last candidate we mutually worked was for a guy named Badnarik, I’d have thought he’d have made some comment about that. Good thing I don’t grade his papers in class.
Knapp brought up other minor potential negatives, but in general his review was glowing. My perception is the same. I haven’t talked to Kwiatkowski in a couple of years, but I think it’s time to give her a phone call to see what’s up.