A Tale of Two Boo-Boos

The prostitute on down on 14th Street says she’s practicing abstinence, the used car salesman says every car he sells is in perfect condition, and “The candidate for congressional District 10 says he is not using media.”

The latter statement is from the subtitle of an article about Texas Libertarian Party congressional candidate Michael Badnarik.

Wiki defines media this way:

Media (the plural of medium) is a truncation of the term media of communication, referring to those organized means of dissemination of fact, opinion, entertainment, and other information, such as newspapers, magazines, cinema films, radio, television, the World Wide Web, billboards, books, CDs, DVDs, videocassettes, computer games and other forms of publishing.

I’d suggest that the Houston Chronicle is not merely media, but would also be considered mainstream media. The mistake is probably the fault of a copy editor, as the writer covered the following:

However, Badnarik plans to bypass broadcast media and take his message directly to voters in the 10th Congressional District, which stretches from Harris County to Travis County, by handing out video discs explaining his positions. He faces incumbent Michael McCaul, a Republican, and Ted Ankrum, a Democrat.

I know some of my friends will criticize Allen Hacker for not using commercial advertising, but it clearly makes sense in this case. Take a look at the major media markets in the congressional district and you’ll see that most of them cover significant areas outside the district. Thin gerrymandered districts that only encompass the outside regions of the two major metropolitan areas in the congressional district make broadcast advertising pretty expensive for any candidate, much less a Libertarian running on a low budget.

Targeting district voters with a CD-ROM makes perfect sense. Direct mail campaigns make sense. Billboards make sense. Dumping half a million into advertising in other congressional districts does not.

I did talk with Allen Hacker and it does seem that Badnarik stepped on it with one small issue. Hacker confirmed Badnarik’s quote about being the only “true Libertarian” in Congress if he’s elected. In the libertarian world, we are used to the differentiation between Libertarian and libertarian, but this isn’t so apparent to the rest of the world. I’m told there was no intent to slight Representative Ron Paul, and my understanding is that there is an apology being e-mailed to Dr. Paul at this moment.

UPDATE: Here’s the apology I mentioned:

Mr. McVicker,

I want to thank you for writing the article which appeared in today’s Houston Chronicle. Your headline, “Badnarik tells delegates Libertarians can win” summarizes precisely the message that I hoped to express in my keynote address. I also want to thank you for quoting me accurately, which is the most any politician can hope for. Unfortunately, in my desire to stimulate the enthusiasm and passion of the delegates I regret that I expressed myself inaccurately. When I said that I hoped to become the first “real Libertarian” in Washington, my intended meaning was that I hope to be the first “declared” Libertarian in Washington. My poor choice of words could be interpreted to suggest that Dr. Ron Paul (R-TX) was not a “real Libertarian”, which was certainly not my intention. Nothing could be further from the truth. Congressman Paul is the hero of every liberty-loving American, and certainly everyone in the Libertarian Party.

In fact, I have explicitly patterned myself after Dr. Paul, with the hope that he will be my mentor (if and) when I win my congressional seat in Texas District 10.

Yours in Liberty,

Michael Badnarik
Libertarian Congressional candidate District 10

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. “Congressman Paul is the hero of every liberty-loving American, and certainly everyone in the Libertarian Party.”

    Mr. Badnarik should speak for himself. I have little time for Ron Paul, as he not only quit the party to support the GOP agenda (and majority leader), but he also has been playing interference for social conservatives on the whole gay marriage issue.

    Oh, sure, it’s nice he doesn’t like the Patriot Act. Whoopee. Too bad his presence in Congress has done nothing to stop it.

    A Congressman with an (L) after his name would do much more, be a lot more useful, and more likely a hero of LPers.

  2. I wish him well but suspect he’ll be luck to reach double digits and suspect the maximum will be around 15% and the most likely result around %7 give or take a point or two. I’m not wishing it just saying it most likely.

  3. Brian, do you expect Ron Paul to single handedly stop things like the PATRIOT Act from passing? “Dr. No” is reknown for voting all by himself fairly frequently. You have no idea the kind of courage doing such a thing requires. Especially when the media is engaged in propagandizing the popular cause du jour that you are alone in voting against. PLUS, you know that Congress is corrupt and there is a lot of opportunity to get special benefits small and large.

    I agree that having a Congressman with an “L” by his name would probably be powerful, but aren’t we more concerned with what they are actually DOING over there rather than what their names are and what brand suits they wear? I guess you’d just as soon be glad Ron Paul wasn’t there at all. Ron Paul does a lot of work for the cause the of liberty, the LEAST of which is his voting one way or the other on a bill all by himself.

  4. Many if not most Americans have computers, but how many are going to take the time to sit down a put a CD in about a candidate for office and watch it?
    I tend to think that this strategy relies too much on the comsumer.
    I’d suggest that they consider going back to the time proven mailer.Personally I’d like to see an issue oriented newspaper sent to every possible voter.

  5. I disagree with Stephen. Radio ads are inexpensive and at the right times you can get many people listening to them. Now TV ads in this particular district would not be wise to run. Austin must have what 4-6 local radio stations? Local newspapers might work too. We can’t ignore all broadcast media in general. But Allen’s running the show-I hope his choices of ignoring certain media doesn’t hurt Michael.

  6. A Republican candidate in NC used DVDs taken door to door and ended up coming from behind to win a primary. This was during the 2004 election. Not only did he hand out cds/dvds, but his volunteers would display the campaign program door to door on a laptop they carried. Either way, this is a very smart use of technology and I think I’m liking this direction.

  7. Only one problem Cameron-we don’t have enough volunteers to do that sort of thing to be able to duplicate that kind of sucess therefore we have to do it the old fashioned way, unless we call on Libertarian volunteers nationwide to ascend to the 10th District to help Michael (fat chance). What we need is what the RNC and DNC do: Call on faithful party voulnteers and college students to do a 72 hour blitz and descend on the races that will help the candidate. Right now we can’t even agree which direction to take as a party.

  8. Chris, how do you know how many volunteers we have? Unless you have moved recently, I don’t believe you live in Texas. We had over 30 volunteers show up in Austin alone recently for an event and we get more everyday.

    But you are right on the second part – we need the ability to descend and blitz.

  9. Jon, I believe Chris’ comment is based solely on numbers, and was not meant to be insulting. Getting one campaign worker to visit each house and show the DVD is a great idea, but it’s very labor intensive, and we just don’t have the kind of precinct-level organization and sheer level of manpower to do that. Unless you are super organized in that district, which would be awesome!

  10. I understand that certain political nuances may cause some to feign more support than they would in a vacuum. I also understand the importance about being positive about this campaign. However, it is difficult to bet on a horse that has just gnawed off its own leg.

    I can’t believe this defeatist strategy even merits discussion.

    TV ads being shown out of district may be a concern due to cost, but media is required to create some buzz about a candidate and philosophy many voters know little or nothing about. Certainly those in neighboring districts have family and friends in District 10. And media requests, and interview possibilities would surely be more frequent with some exposure, right?

    Radio, as Chris mentioned, is very affordable and sans TV, is easily the best way to familiarize votes with the situation and, I dunno, maybe try to get their vote!

  11. The DVD strategy alone is dead at the starting gate. Other candidates have used it in the past with dismal results. The success story candidates certainly didn’t use play-it-yourself video without TV or radio.

    Asking a voter to watch a DVD is asking someone who my never have heard of Badnarik or the LP to take their time and effort to learn about the campaign. It is not marketing to presume the average voter willing and able to watch a video. The message needs to be taken to the people first, and then excited voters can use the DVD to encourage their liberty-minded family and friend to vote with them. Stand-alone it is a vulgar display of idiocy and the whole plan smacks of sabotage.

    Why not hire a skywriter to print ”Vote LP” in the heavens? Nevermind””someone in District 7 might see that.

    I wonder if Hacker has a bet with someone on how few votes he can get Badnarik.

  12. I’m bitching about what I understand was a decision not to use broadcast media. That was reported, and allegedly followed by a corrected report. As you didn’t fly in here with the speed at which you always defend your tender sensibilities and point out that it was untrue, we can only assume that it is true.

    But if that something isn’t, please tell us all about your plans to use TV and radio broadcasts to promote your candidate. If you have no such plans, let the bitching commence and stop pretending to be surprised that people bitch when their campaign contributions are pissed away on marketing gimmicks in lieu of something sustentative.

    If we’re bitching about something that isn’t why in the hell wouldn’t you just correct our assumptions with the truth instead of challenging us to a verbal volley? Or would that cut down on the number of times the name “Allen Hacker” is displayed on a web page?

  13. Artus,

    Learn to read. In particular, read Steven’s commentary above. Michael didn’t say what the headline professed, and Steve was commenting more on what the headline said and how it was an error.

    You really should stop thinking that you are so important to me that I need to tell you anything. Start making constructive comments and that might change. I don’t expect that will happen, however, when your most significant word is “piss”.


  14. Allen,

    Personal attacks are a nice touch. I don’t harbor your self-centered delusions, so I wasn’t implying that you need to tell “me” anything. I had hoped you were smart enough to understand that I was suggesting you explain away the myths any who would question you have fallen victim to as you assure us we’re “bitching about something that isn’t.”

    I am quite able to read. At your request I re-read Stephen’s commentary above. I understood what Stephen was saying the first time I read his post. I understand what the error was. Nothing in my prior comments indicated otherwise.

    You are obviously confusing “constructive comments” with ass-kissing. It would not be constructive to applaud bad decisions. It is not helpful to serve in the cheering section of failure.

    It is constructive to say, “Hey, this is a terrible idea. Radio ads are vital, especially in the absence of TV ads. Why aren’t they going to run radio ads?”

  15. Sorry I didn’t frame the edges of my comment with sugar-coated Hacker is the best comments. Perhaps we can meet in the middle on my tone and I’ll keep the comments and questions direct and less-opinionated. I’ll try it this way:

    Are you going to campaign on the radio? If not, don’t you feel that radio presents the best dollar-to-voter marketing strategy?

    Will you answer that? Pretty please?

  16. Artus,

    He can’t answer that simple question because it might violate his policy of not telling people about his super-duper-ultra secret campaign stragedy. Besides he rather argue with us and waste campaign donations than knocking door to door and getting Michael some votes. But wait, the Almighty Allen Hacker says we aren’t allowed to criticize him but he can criticize us. Keep asking question we might get an honest answer after the election.

  17. Actually, Chris, I just don’t have patience or time for ignorant sarcasm and stupid accusations.

    Artus, thanks for the civility. I assume you noted from Stephen’s comments that he and I discussed (yup, he called and asked a question, something I actually appreciate very much) _television_ as the broadcast media we’re bypassing. That’s what Michael meant, even if he didn’t say it perfectly.

    We haven’t said or meant to say that we won’t use cable, internet, or radio. In fact, we’ve already used radio.


  18. I am excited about Michael’s campaign and glad to be a supporter. I am impressed with his efforts and wish him the best. I hope all Libertarians will support with their contributions of time or with money or both, either his campaign or some other Libertarian campaign that they prefer. As the American Revolutionists persevered and won we can, too.

  19. That was a split-post done all at once, Allen. I’ll stick to the armistice if you will. I will confine myself to remarking that it was never indicated that you were bypassing a broadcast medium, but simply not using broadcast media. As radio stations broadcast their signal, we were all stewing at that decision (what we were fed, not an assumption). It seems clear that you knew of our discussions on that point and it would have been nice for you to clear that up.

    From this posting:

    I know some of my friends will criticize Allen Hacker for not using commercial advertising, but it clearly makes sense in this case.

  20. From the Wiki definition quoted in this posting:

    ”¦those organized means of dissemination of fact, opinion, entertainment, and other information, such as newspapers, magazines, cinema films, radio, television, the World Wide Web, billboards, books, CDs, DVDs, videocassettes, computer games and other forms of publishing.

    So it was clearly indicated that the campaign was “not using commercial advertising.” And you (or someone) allowed it to appear that way. Hence our ire.