Sunday, March 12, 2006

As the Miller told his tale

Interesting situation here in Missouri. Keith's laid out some of the details, but I've been following things myself. Some thoughts:

For more than 100 years, American political parties picked their own candidates -- and they picked them using whatever methods they wanted to use. Matter of fact, the government didn't even print election ballots: When you voted, you either wrote your own ballot or, if you wanted to vote "straight ticket," took one printed by one of the parties. There were no "ballot access" laws. There were no laws to force parties to let non-members run for office on their tickets, or to let non-members decide who would run on their tickets.

That's the way it ought to be -- and the way it would still be if the Democratic and Republican parties hadn't had the pants scared off of them by various third parties and decided to "protect the public" from having real choices with ballot access laws that, in some states, are more restrictive than Iran's.

Anyway, in 1992, the Libertarian Party made it over those hurdles in Missouri and, ever since, has been an "established" political party with "automatic" ballot access. Since that time, our understanding of the ballot access laws has been that anyone can run for the Libertarian Party's nomination to any office in a "public" primary, and that we have to accept them, and to accept the primary's results. Thus, we've had real libertarians run (sometimes expensive, and sometimes losing) primary campaigns to keep assorted racist morons, convicted violent criminals, etc., off our ballot line.

Last week, we found out that we were apparently wrong: The Democratic Party returned the filing fee paid by the candidate mentioned above, and said they weren't interested in having him on their ballot line. After that it gets a little fuzzy, but it looks like the GOP did the same thing. So, he's filed to contest the Libertarian Party's primary ... and tonight, the state executive committee will take up the matter.

If the Democrats' interpretation of the law is correct, then we've wasted time and money in the past, and I'm glad to see that we have the option of no longer doing so. Glenn Miller is obviously not a partisan Libertarian -- he's apparently tried to file for office twice in the last week on other parties' tickets, and he maintains a web site for yet another party of his own. He's just making up his partisan affiliation as he goes along, and neither the parties involved, nor the public, are well-served by enabling his fictionalization of that affiliation -- only he is, and it's not our job to feed his appetite for self-aggrandizement at everyone else's expense.

If Miller wants to run for Congress, he's free to do so. Let his "White Patriot Party," or himself as an individual, meet the (admittedly bogus) ballot access laws (by gathering signatures) just like everyone else, instead of trying to hijack the efforts, and the ballot lines, of others who want nothing to do with him.

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