Libertarian Party Convention Recap (Saturday)

From our Cleveland headquarters, Hammer of Truth brings you news of absolutely nothing except that the grass grew some today and it was good barbecue weather. Sadly, I was glued to the Internets trying to find out what was going on in Portland, Oregon and C-SPAN wasn’t cooperating with my demands (seriously, does anyone have video in the wild?). So we leave the heavy lifting to other bloggers who are braving the haze of Portland patchouli to bring you real coverage.

Austin Cassidy’s Third Party Watch has someone taking very good notes, as there’s a 5-part 7-part series detailing what Joe Magyer’s impressions are of the LP Convention in Portland (part one, two, three, four, five, six, seven):

Oh, snap, Carl Milsted just took the podium. I reaffirm my belief that he looks like Mick Jagger. He gave a brief speech supporting adjusting the bylaws to make the tent for the LP a bit larger. This short speech was followed by lively discussion from both camps. Literally, there are more people lined up to speak on this issue than any other.

Specifically, the issue is whether or not to replace Article 7, Section 1, which reads, “Members of the Party shall be those persons who have certified in writing that they oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.” with the phrase “A member of the Party shall be any libertarian who has self-identified as a member.” The hard liners reject this change, while the more open tent style LRC types support Carl.

The motion failed. We will now proceed to 10 minutes of debate on the proposal that was given.

[…] We’re now about to take a 2/3 vote to accept the motion”¦

The motion failed.

Lunch time.

There goes fixing the pledge for another two years (but not the debates, gnyaaaa!). The alternatives were actually pretty decent, it’s too bad they didn’t pick this very simple message: “Members of the Party shall be those who have certified in writing that they support smaller government, lower taxes and more individual freedom.”

Don’t miss Friday’s 3-part series as well (part one, two, three):

As the meeting was going on, other LP superstars, including Hammer of Truth and newly anointed LP Communications Director, Stephen Gordon, were in and out of the audience. I was glad to see Stephen there, regardless of his opinions on the Libertarian Reform Caucus. Our party leadership should certainly keep their ear to the ground and, well, this is as ground as ground gets.

Good lord, do I get superstar status if I go to one of these things? if so… I’m soooo not missing 2008.

Over at the LP Blog, there’s a few more updates (part one, two):

Former Congressman Barr told the breakfast attendees what action the Libertarian Party needs to undertake to take to be a “protector of liberty.”

Barr issued a virtual call to arms:

“To be a true and meaningful protector of liberty as a political party, an organization must be … organized … prioritized … committed … serious … It cannot spend its time and resources nibbling at the edges of the fundamental problem facing America today – the loss of liberty at the very hands of government – but must instead truly join the battle; lead the fight.”

Score for the people who want to actually get the LP to actually participate in uh… politics, I’ll give the reformers their time to shine now, but by Monday I hope the closure of the debate there will transform into energy into activism and eagerness to engage our audience instead of another internal bickering fest for two years (I can dream, no?).

If anyone has photos or video, feel free to drop them our way… we’d especially love getting after-party photos with Michael Badnarik doing keg stands (rumors on these Internets I tell ya!).

24 Comments
  1. I hate to say it, but if this convention only attracted 350-500 people nationwide, then PorcFest a week ago was a very close second. That means, we just need to arrange the next LP convention in New Hampshire, and we can nearly double attendence, since I know few of the PF attendees were going to the LP convention.

    (and for those paying attention, that means roughly half of the activists out there (assuming that both events are roughtly representational) are now either FSPers or seriously considering join. No wonder we don’t have 20K, it’s quite possible that there just aren’t that many Libertarian activists in the US.
    Good thing we don’t need 20K to make a difference here. A mere 1K is likely enough according to many of us in the know.)

  2. The paragraph quoted from Mr. Barr’s statement could as easily be taken as a ‘purist’ call to arms.

    Medical marijuana = nibbling.

    End to prohibition = truly join the battle.

    Etc.

  3. Except that that wasn’t at all his point, but sure, David. As I understand it, he was saying that the party needed to get into the fray of politics.

  4. Here’s a email straight from Portland:

    This is very brief, cause I couldn’t remember great details from quick phone call, so here’s the gist of what Bernard wanted me to convey…
    We pretty well lost on the Pledge but he thought it was close to 50/50 on the vote…

    Platform consolidation of 48 planks.

    End result 44 planks voted down (history making vote!)

    4 Remain.

    Fair Tax idea didn’t make it…
    They made a good change on immigration but then mad an amendment which basically did away with what was good…
    That’s pretty much what I remember the immigration one is a bit sketchy but I think that’s what he said, all in all it sounds like we did pretty good! If I hear more, I’ll send it out… Anyone who is aware of folks not on these mailing lists, that you know would like to hear this info please forward.

    Thanks, Ron

  5. Everybody should just chill and let everyone get home and see what the final results are. The platform news sounds good, the pledge news bad. Everyone will have to make future decisions on what they do now.

  6. Well, I think the platform was the more critical of the two. We’ve made a lot of progress since 2004; we have Zero Dues and an end to UMP. If we can make progress on the platform this year, then I think we can mobilize much better to kill off the pledge in 2008.

  7. It ain’t goin’ too bad. Some reform is happening.
    Unfortunately there are just over 300 delegates. I’m drinking a beer so I don’t remember the exact number. The reforms have to remeber that change in a political organization can take years. Damn good video of the party’s past. Whomever did that gets big applauses.
    Stephen Gordon needs to slow down though. He’s running around like a whirlwind.
    M.H.W.

  8. I think the pledge was worse, but what I was looking at was TOTAL inclination of those delegates to agree with us. I have heard from 4 different sources now that if the pledge vote had been simple majority vote instead of 2/3rds, the pledge would have been altered in some manner.

    That’s not bad, considering we basically made up about 12 to 14% of the delegates going in. Carl and the gang convinced a hell a lot of them to go our way.

    I’ll have to see the new platform and reports from everyone that was there, give everyone a week off from LP junk and see where we go from here. I think the will of the caucus should be heard and acted upon. It’s time for some consensus building based on what everyone wants to do the most.

  9. 2006 LP Convention = ~400 attendees (total) with party membership of ~7000 (I heard this today and can hardly believe it… someone *please* correct me) trying to change a country of ~300,000,000

    2006 Porcupine Freedom Festival = ~400 *effective* activists with over 7,000 signed participants and friends trying to change a state of ~1,200,000.

    Raw numbers – the Free State Project is 250 times more concentrated than the LP.

    My observations: the FSP activists are more results oriented on average, have experienced more demonstrated success per activist-year, are working in a far more freedom friendly environment (NH v.s. the whole U.S.)… and have WAY more fun ;) ;) ;)

    V-

    P.S. Very few people went to both events. Lots of people at the LP convention have told me they wanted to go to Porc Fest but came to Portland instead. Wonder if they’ll choose Porc Fest over the LP convention in ’08? Maybe Seth’s onto something :)

  10. hell, an army of 7000 is more than enough to make this thing happen, we just have to be fast, sly, and smart.

    next, i wanna hear that we have 7000 bloggers, then 7000 running polititians, and we’ll see what happens from there.

  11. Tim sort of has it right. The plank retention ballots were tabulated and the results were not announced during the convention. In the history of the party, no plank has every been deleted through this mechanism.

    However, after recess at 6pm, LNC members were told that after removing some 15 planks from consideration through this process because those planks were altered and merged today leaving maybe 8 planks that were agreed to today. Of the remaining 48 planks that were untouched today, 44 did not get 51% for retention. There is conflicting information about what will happen Sunday, but it appears that there will be another 51% vote to affirm deletion of those 44 planks. So the planks are only half-way to being deleted. This is all based on rumor and speculation from multiple sources, so this info might be erroneous.

  12. Wow, I have been mentioned on Hammer of Truth. Let life as a celebrity begin!

    As long as your celebrity status doesn’t prevent you from accurately transcribing my motions and amendments.

    :)

  13. One of the interesting things about this is to watch the candidates for LP office at work. Chuck Moulton has swamped me with paper and asked to vote for him. He has passed by my table at least once an hour working the members to some degree or another looking for the votes.

    I have stood a few feet away from M Carling on a number of occassions, but not once has he talked to me about his campaign for V-Chair, or handed me a piece of paper, or asked for my vote.

    The non-aggression principle is fine up to a point, but if we want to change the political situation in this country we need to get aggressive about doing so in a big way.
    M.H.W.

  14. “I have stood a few feet away from M Carling on a number of occassions, but not once has he talked to me about his campaign for V-Chair, or handed me a piece of paper, or asked for my vote.”

    I’m feeling you, Michael. As strong as I think M’s resume is, I think a lot of delegates will simply think of the fact that Chuck has been all over shaking hands and passing out what I felt to be useful information, while I didn’t even know what M looked like until I was told it was him speaking on his candidacy this morning.

    Oh, and Nick really has been killing me this weekend. Joking aside, Nick has had a very strong, positive contribution to the convention. He also has the best Well Spoken/Age ratio in attendance.

  15. Those last two comments sum up what I said about M Carling and Tony Ryan when I nominated Chuck Moulton. They’re both good libertarians and would have been good in the role of Vice Chair, but Chuck reached out to everybody.

  16. There is a rumor that LPUS has 7000 members, but this does not agree with the data the LNC was given a month ago, as published in Let Freedom Ring (at http://www.cmlc.org ) which spoke to 13500 pledge taking members and 1500 other donors.

    There was an effort to amend the pledge to give it some political content iirc smaller government, lower taxes, and more liberty or something to that effect. It failed.

  17. FYI. news.google.com shows NOW mainstream national coverage of “Libertarian Party Convention” Well, the main thing is none of these “libertarians” who struck secession from the ballot will use military force against secessionists, right? Also, there will be a loud secessionist running for the LP nomination in 2008 – who’s volunteering? And maybe a really short secessionist platform to replace current gut-less mess that doesn’t even mention getting out of Iraq. Have you heard the DEMOCRATIC PARTY has an IRAQ CAUCUS that wants out. What a joke.