Blogging Live from the Libertarian Party State Chairs’ Conference

The worst part of almost any conference is the session right after lunch. Everyone tends to stay up late drinking the night before and drag in looking a bit worse for wear in the morning. After staying awake though the morning sessions, lunch break is always a relief. However, the first session after lunch is often the worst one of all.

I’m sitting in Phoenix in the FEC Compliance Session at the Libertarian Party State Chair’s Conference. While the information presented is certainly very imortant to state parties and campaigns, it isn’t enough to keep my sleep deprived and recently fed body from falling alseep. In order to keep you up-to-date while I try to survive the post-lunchtime blahs, I thought I’d provide a few updates from the conference.

The ballroom was packed with people watching the new Aaron Russo documentary. The reviews I heard about the film were mixed, mostly very positive. Russo covered enough controversial material in the film that most people will have one or two points of contention, but the overall response seemed incredibly positive. It started by dealing with IRS abuses, covers the Federal Reserve system, various abuses of civil liberties, and ends with Real ID and RFID implants. As one would expect of him, Russo closed the movie with a strong call to action.

On the personal side, Russo is growing his hair out a bit longer. The combination of the hair and improved health has Russo looking as young as I seen him look for some time. Michael Badnarik showed for the conference, as well. He is looking well and seems energized, too. I spent most of last night juggling between their tables at the hotel bar.

Sam New and I gave the presentation on the Libertarian Leadership School presentation in the morning. From my perspective, it went well. The audience asked reasonable questions, and seemed enthused about the new project. George Phillies raised one question about federal law and educational activities which I missed, and I understand that he and Sam New will be meeting to discuss his issue.

Bill Redpath announced his intention to run for LNC Chair. According to his campaign flyer, his platform has five key components:

  1. We need candidates, money, and electoral reform.
  2. The LP is a political party and needs a political director in the national office.
  3. Ballot access must be a core function of the national party.
  4. Change the election method of the National Committee.
  5. It’s too expensive to be on the NatCom.

Indiana state chair Mark Rutherford made a pretty exciting announcement. Penn and Teller have just filmed pro-LP footage, which will be put out in DVD format. David Owens described the content as being critical of both the Republicans and Democrats. The final version will probably run six to seven minutes long, with 50 especially tailored endings, one for each state. The neatest thing is the message from Penn Jillette: Get off your asses and get involved!

Sunday morning update: Michael Dixon told people at our table at the bar last night that he intends to run for re-election for LNC Chair. George Phillies and Ernest Hancock announced their intention to run for the same position, too.

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. I’m curious if you had a chance to discuss using open tools for online political use. As a matter of example, the LP group on is now the #5 largest group (and still waaaaay underrepresented considering there’s like 3000 LPers just on MySpace).

  2. I was disappointed. You say nothing of his conspriacy mongering, his international bankers and CFR plots which are off in loony land. I had supported Russo over Badnarik. After the film I won’t make that mistake again.

  3. Anonymous,

    This is not directed at you as you have seen the film and I have not. This is directed at many other people who have not seen the film, but continue to call it a conspiracy theory. Some Libertarians will even try to censor debate on these issues in the name of being elected.

    I have not seen the film but I am surprised with all the evidence of international bankers, the CFR, Real ID being placed in your drivers licenses starting in 2008, the government tracking you through your cell phones, people still won’t wake up. They find it easier to call everything that makes them feel uncomfortable a conspiracy theory.

    If you want evidence of international bankers, the CFR, Skull and Bones, and others I encourage you to read a 1987 book by Larry Abraham titled Call It Conspiracy. A lot of what actually most of what Mr. Abraham said is still true to this day and can even be seen more clear.

  4. I’m curious about this Penn & Teller “pro-LP footage”. Is it just critical of Democrats and Republicans, or does it also explicitly advocate the Libertarian Party itself? And you said the final version will be 6-7 minutes long, on a DVD?

    What do they plan on doing with this footage?

  5. I hope they plan on making ads out of it and being able to raise enough money to make them count. This party is dying for media to be generated, but the money to actually put anything on TV just isnt there. (yet)

  6. The Penn Jillette state videos are a smart move for him if he’s considering a 2008 run.

    I’d really like to see one of the South Park guys run for governor of California as well if we’re hypothesizing on celebrity candidates again.

  7. Holy shit, is he really? That is a fantasy of mine:

    “Penn and Teller for President in 2008, they’ll make the government disappear!”

  8. If Penn and Teller ran for President, since they are celebrities they would get national attention. They would draw the apatheic out of the woodwork and would stand a good chance of trouncing the R&D candidates.

    Penn and Teller for President in 2008
    “Government is BULLSHIT!”

  9. Gordon,

    I hope you had a chance to tell Pat Dixon about as well. The Texas LP website does not even have an events calendar, which is a shame. How do they expect the LP to succeed without an organized grass-roots base? Unless they actually think they can get their shit together and start acting like a real party at the State and National levels… but I don’t see that hapepening. Perhaps their egos are bigger than their britches… I dunno.

    Anyway, is free and has a lot of potential. The Texas LP should consider adding it to their site. I have made the request to the “Executive Director” of the Texas LP and received the typical arrogant response that goes something like they are too busy for silly stuff like that… SIGH

  10. Mike,

    Wesley would probably be a better contact for this. However, I never thought to speak to either of them about it. I can pop them an e-mail, tho.

  11. There’s something wrong with your blog.

    There’s no date and time stamp on the permalink.

    The first indication of date and time comes in the reader comments.

  12. I think the Texas LP has their base fairly well organized, if the 2004 ballot access drive is any indication — I recall they gathered around 80,000 signatures in two months, even with Republican and Democratic primary voters off limits on petitions.

  13. I am in Texas and became chair for Collin County just before ballot access petitioning started. I have to say that we worked our asses off on that job, but we still had to hire petitioners. Pricey. And poor Wes- whatever trick he used to stay sane should be studied and bottled. We had to be very creative- some of us were threatened with arrest for petitioning in public areas. A free tip for any group seeking ballot access: I found that riding our DART train back and forth across town was a good way to A) be comfortable (TX has some crazy weather) and B) have a constantly renewed audience.

  14. Anyone interested in getting their ballot access drive done right should ask Scott Kolhaas. He did a good job when he was in Illinois in 2000-2002. I think he’s the chair now of the Alaska LP.