The bad news: Almost all of that money was raised for, and donated by people expecting it to be used for, a specific purpose -- producing the campaign's first television commercial -- and we're not touching it for any other purpose.
The worse news: The Oregon Libertarian Party's state convention at Sunriver Resort (near Bend) is this weekend.
That last bit may not sound like bad news, and in the normal course of things it wouldn't be. But here's how it is:
Steve Kubby's car is an older vehicle that we'd really rather not see him driving over mountain passes in March. As a matter of fact, we'd really rather not see him driving over mountain passes at all in March.
Right now, that looks like it's the only way he's going to get to Oregon ... and he is going to get to Oregon if I have to throw him over my shoulders and carry him. That's something you don't want to see.
We'd prefer to rent a more suitable vehicle -- or, better yet, put him on a plane.
I'm going to explain why you should help us do that in a minute, but first I'm going to issue my little "matching challenge."
I just contributed $10 to the Kubby campaign. That may not sound like much to you. If it doesn't, good -- go ahead and get out your credit card, because I'm asking you to kick in a picture of Al Hamilton, too.
Look -- I even made it easy for you (PayPal is the quickest way to get money directly to the campaign; checks or contributions via our "regular" credit card processor are welcome too, of course, but they take time to get from hither to yon).
One more bit of disclosure for you: Yes, I'm Steve's communications director and, for all intents and purposes his acting de facto campaign manager at the moment. What I'm not is a paid employee of, or commission fundraiser for, the campaign. If you contribute right now, not so much as one thin dime of that money will end up in my pocket. I'm a continuing donor to, not a financial beneficiary of, this campaign. I've added a code to the PayPal button above so that we know your contribution came via this site, but that's purely for data-gathering purposes. If you don't believe me, feel free to use the button on the campaign site instead.
Now ... why should you care whether or not Steve gets to Oregon this weekend? You're not from Oregon, are you? Maybe you don't even think that Steve is the best candidate for the Libertarian Party's 2008 presidential nomination. Maybe you support one of those other guys.
However, I'm assuming that you want there to be candidates for the LP's presidential nomination ... and that you want the race for that nomination to be competitive.
As of their 2006 year-end FEC reports, Steve Kubby and George Phillies had raised a combined total of less than $20,000. George raised more than Steve; Steve raised more from contributors than George (i.e. most of George's contributions came from George -- laudable, but not valuable as an indicator of support from others).
Meanwhile, the pundits are saying that the "major" candidates plan to spend about $500 million each trying to get elected.
People ... if you want competitive LP presidential campaigns, you have to pay for them.
What, did you think that airline tickets grew on trees or something? Sorry, it doesn't work that way.
We can do a lot of things with not much money, but that only goes so far.
We can do a web site on the cheap if we have to (and as you can tell, we have).
We can produce the weekly podcast for the cost of the phone call.
We can get Steve on every radio show that will agree to have a third party candidate.
We can blog and Digg and Slashdot and LTE all day long.
But if you want Libertarian candidates out there on the trail, live and in color, ya gotta pony up.
Your ten bucks helps Steve get to Oregon, but there's more to it than that. It doesn't just get Steve to Oregon, it helps you observe, compare and contrast the candidates who are asking for your support.
Even if you've already chosen "your" candidate, do you want him or her to just take the nomination in a walk? This should be the time when we're putting our candidates to the test, bashing them up against each other to see what falls off.
And please, don't give me any guff about "waiting to support the party's candidate after the nomination." Bullshit. What's the use of "supporting the party's candidate after the nomination" if we aren't willing to fund a process that gets us the best candidate possible to support?
Or maybe you're supporting Ron Paul. If so, then you shouldn't give ten bucks to Steve. You should give TWENTY. In order for Paul to get a real shot at the GOP nomination, he needs to be able to point to a Libertarian Party that's prepared to fight the GOP for the libertarian vote -- and that might TAKE that vote if the GOP nominates Mitt McGiuliani.
Raising a few hundred -- or better yet, a few thousand -- dollars this week is important in so many ways I can't count them all. Not just to Steve Kubby and his presidential campaign, but to the party and the movement. As George Phillies likes to say, 2008 is too late. If we don't start financing our candidates now, doing so later will just be a useless gesture.
All right, shoot me down in comments. But first, make that contribution.