Ben Brandon Leaves LP

And may I just be the first to say :(…

Yeah, it’s a blow to the LPGA but it looks like he’s still another Ron Paul for the movement. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

The state’s only Libertarian to be elected to a county leadership post is no longer a Libertarian.

Dade County Commission Chairman/Executive Ben Brandon said he is switching back to the Republican party, the Republican Liberty Caucus, to be exact.

“It’s essentially the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party,” Mr. Brandon said.

Once in office, he said, he found that his party label prevented him from contributing to some policy discussions, especially on the state and federal level.

“This in no way indicates any ill will toward the Libertarian party,” he said. “It’s just an admission that this is a two party system, and if you want to be effective and contribute something you need to be one of those two parties.”

Sad to see for the LP but I imagine Brandon feels that he’ll be able to strike a greater blow for liberty in the GOP.

Stuart Richards

Stuart Richards is a 26-year-old land surveyor based out of Portland, OR. He is a left-leaning geolibertarian and (theologically) liberal Christian, and has been blogging on and other libertarian sites since 2004.

  1. Well, best of luck to him. I think it is more important to be in a position where you maintain your ideals and have more power to affect change, then to keep a party name. Libertarianism isn’t just a party, it’s a system of ideas and ideals. You can take the man out of the Libertarian party, but you can’t take the libertarianism out of the man.

  2. The LPGeorgia is in the best position its been in for years. Ben stopped talking to us three months ago; I’m sorry that he has chosen this route… but to each his own.

    The LPGeorgia will continue to build and show the world that the Libertarian Party can compete with D’s and R’s.

  3. On a semi-related note: anyone else here find something odd about Libertarians getting elected to little local positions where they don’t have much impact regularly? I mean, considering the general philosophy it sorta defeats the purpose IMO. It’s not like a Libertarian County Commissioner can tell the feds to go screw themselves if they come to enforce a bullshit law (well, I suppose they could, but it wouldn’t go very far).

    Granted, I dunno what this guy has done while in that position, but under an ever-increasing central gov’t in DC it doesn’t seem like people in these spots have much power to fight for freedom. If I’m talking outta my ass here then feel free to correct me.

  4. I gotta disagree with you here, Stuart. I have no problem with people who think that going GOP is the way to get elected and exert an influence, but that’s just plain not the case with Ben Brandon. Exactly the opposite, in fact.

    Brandon ran for school board as a Republican, and lost.

    Brandon ran for county commission as a Republican, and lost.

    Brandon ran for county executive as a Libertarian … and WON.

    So how does that translate to a GOP affiliation being “more effective?”

    As far as “participating in policy discussions” goes, being elected on a third party ticket indicates a much broader mandate than just being another guy with an “R” next to his name in a room full of’em.

    I suppose there might be other reasonable explanations than the one I came up with, but I haven’t seen any yet. As far as I can tell, Ben Brandon wasn’t able to climb the GOP ladder on his own, so he conned Libertarians into giving him a boost and then decided he didn’t need them any more afterward.

  5. We’re delighted to have Ben Brandon join the Republican Liberty Caucus and pursue an influential advocacy position within the Republican Party.
    Brandon is still a libertarian, but he has recognized that the best strategy for advancing his ideals is through the GOP.
    Local elected LP officials like Brandon hold management positions, with little opportunity to change policy or influence state or federal legislation. We’re looking forward to an opportunity to support him in future Georgia elections.

    [Westmiller is RLC National Chairman. Over 140 endorsed RLC candidates across the country can be found at: ]

  6. b-psycho,

    You write:

    “On a semi-related note: anyone else here find something odd about Libertarians getting elected to little local positions where they don’t have much impact regularly?”

    A couple of points contra that:

    1) Unless your daddy was president or something, the way to “high office” is usually through “low office.” Dick Gephardt started out as a Democratic committeeman, then a city alderman, and so forth. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt used to be my county clerk.

    2) Local office often has a bigger impact than federal office. I live in Greendale, Missouri. My congresscritter is one of 435 votes in the US House, which is one part of the passage of legislation that may or may not affect me. My city alderpeople are each one of five on a board whose every vote affects me directly in one way or another. My congresscritter has never left a notice on my door threatening me with a ticket if I didn’t put up guttering along a particular gable on my house.

  7. Ben Brandon used the Libertarian Party to get elected. Once elected he jumped ship. The Badnarik Campaign Team helped to raise $1000’s for Ben’s campaign. He should return the money he stole from the party so we can use it to advance liberty not his personal politcal agenda. Ben claimed he was being excluded from state and federal policy issues because he was a Libertarian. The truth is, he was being left out of the Republican social scene and it was affecting his social life and ego in Dade County Georgia. He went out of his way to notify the media of his exodus in a effort to damage the party. What ever positive effect Ben had on the party was washed away by his desire to poke the LP in the eye on the way out the door. I believe his re-election is questionable. What party would ever trust him now? JB

  8. I thank Ben for running as a libertarian, for helping the seniors in his county not have to pay the education share of property taxes, and I regret the vitrol aimed his way. Based on what I know, I dont think he deserves it.

    If the LP had a ounce of sense, it would be taking his senior exemption bill from Dade County, supplying it to every country and state level LP candidate where such a exemption makes sense ( not already covered by homestead exemption for example) and run every candidate on this issue. He beats a democrat and a republican on this one issue, but nothing happens. This should be in the face of every voter in every state where it applies.

    At some point, a political director with the balls to POLITICALLY DIRECT would be a really good hire for the LP. Admiral Colley…..come in, Admiral….

  9. I agree with James Bell’s comments.I donated about $250 to Bens campaign and I’d like to see that money returned, but I know it will not happen.

    Ben led a group of “republicans in disguise” when I was the LPGa Platform Chair in ’05 to garner just enough votes to kill several “Republican weeding” platforms, such as a statement of secularism and a nod to the chaos of Christian dominated politics.

    You know, things Republicans would find offensive.

    While the majority ruled for the changes, he managed to garner just enough votes to kill the proposals with arguements like “we would run off any disgruntled Right Wing Christians with these planks”. As if….

    Oh BTW, the ‘primary’ purpose of the plank changes were to ferret out the “closet Republicans” in the group (a long standng fear I have with the LP, a la Bob Barr, et. al.) It did the job, and it looks like my instincts were right.

    We were, in the words of the blogger “pwn3d” (owned).

    This news absolutely disgusts me.

  10. I imagine things like this wouldn’t happen if the LP ran libertarian candidates instead of Republican candidates.

    I’m still trying to figure out exactly what this means:

    Once in office, he said, he found that his party label prevented him from contributing to some policy discussions, especially on the state and federal level.

    Did the other county commissioners refuse to let the Chair speak because he was a libertarian? Why does a county official need to discuss state and federal issues? Was he afraid that he would not be as popular with the other commissioners if he discussed things he claimed to believe in?

    I’m not sure how Brandon figures he can be elected as a libertarian but can’t lead as a libertarian. But, it sounds like Brandon may have been less than honest with the LPGA.

    Oh my, how shocking that a Republican politician would be dishonest!

  11. So he’s basically saying “being a Libertarian doesn’t give me enough personal power, so I am going to join the GOP, shill for religious-right candidates as part of their ‘libertarian’ caucus, and get myself some power baby!”

    Remember, someone who fervently wants to be a politician for a good long time probably should not be allowed to be one.

  12. There is NO libertarian wing to the GOP. Electing any Republican only makes them stronger. As they are now more statist than Democrats every Republican, no matter who they are, ought to be defeated.

  13. The sad thing is except in Dade County most people in the state did not know he existed. When he ran he did not want our vulunteers up there helping.All he wanted was our money.I have been involved in the GA. Libertarian party for a while.Ben Brandon has had little effect on the party except for bragging rights.I believe he could have handle this better.BTW the Liberty caucaus is not the friend of liberty.

  14. “Brandon is still a libertarian, but he has recognized that the best strategy for advancing his ideals is through the GOP.”
    Nope. He’s not a libertarian and likely never was. Just a weasel disguising himself as a ferret. This is what “political expediency boils down to. Lies.

  15. did he, or did he not, take a shitload of poeple off the property tax rolls who had no business paying the education share of that tax in any case?

    Thats pretty libertarian to me.

  16. The seniors tax issue was NOT Ben Brandons idea, it along with most of the other issues were brought to his campaign by local supporters, he has let them down too, by claiming their ideas as his own.