Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Living it up


Steve Newton writes:

This is my challenge to Michael Munger, Thomas Knapp, Brian Miller, Less Antman, and all the others -- from Mary Ruwart to Mike Jingozian and George Phillies:

We've got Barr/Root now, so let's take a shot at making them live up to the principles they claim to represent.


Hear, hear. But let's take this from the top.

The Libertarian Party nominated Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root for president and vice-president on Sunday. A case of redass for us radicals? Well, yeah -- we came to Denver looking for a fight, and we lost. The bruises are still fresh, but the fact remains that the nomination was legit. It was by the book. It was as accurate a reflection of the desires of the party's membership as our processes were able to produce.

So, even if I agree that we got lemons (a claim to which I decline to stipulate, dammit), I'm far more interested in making lemonade out of them than in just sitting around sucking on them for the next five months.

Look ... petulance is a tool of limited utility, and we're past the point of that utility now. Maybe Barr and Root need us, but nattering from the sidelines isn't going to convince them of that.

It's time to get with the goddamn team, folks. I guarantee you that Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root are going to lend a much more attentive ear to the lady who writes a $2300 check or the guy who volunteers to clean the bathroom at the campaign HQ than to the allegedly yellow-dog Libertarian who's still ragging on them after they've convinced a majority of LP convention delegates to vote for them.

How do we "make them live up to the principles they claim to represent?" By helping them do so.

Maybe our advice will fall on deaf ears, but I don't think so. I've been corresponding with Wayne Root ever since before he declared his candidacy, and every time I've offered him positive, sincere advice he's jumped on it. Every. Time.

I doubt I'm the only person that's true of. I mean, c'mon ... nobody slammed Root the way I did pre-nomination. If he'll listen to me, he'll listen to you, too. He'll just listen better if you're working with him instead of against him. My experience is that he wants to learn, that he's willing to listen. I had genuine doubts about his sincerity, but now that he's our VP nominee I've declared tabula rasa -- clean slate -- on that and will trust him until and unless he gives me reason not to.

There may be a little more of a "professional campaign bubble" around Congressman Barr that could insulate him from The Unwashed, but if so we're a lot more likely to pierce that bubble with a supportive attitude than with "now see here ..." And while I agree that his "conversion" has been less than complete by radical standards, my considered opinion is that to the extent it has taken place, it's been sincere.

So let's change the tone, Steve. We can't "make" Barr or Root do anything. They've already won the prize as far as the party is concerned. They've got the nomination, and if they run a big campaign its funding base will have to come from beyond our small party anyway. What do they need us for? We know what they need us for, but it's a lot easier for them to understand that they do need us if we approach them as members of the same team rather than continuing to treat them as opponents.

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