Friday, October 06, 2006

First Look 2008: Series End

I doubt that my endorsement carries a great deal of weight, and to the extent that it carries any at all, it would be silly to assume that that weight is all positive. Furthermore, I had intended to refrain from actively involving myself in a presidential campaign for some time yet. It's still early, and I'd hoped to be more chronicler than participant until some time next year.

But ... I'm beyond the point where I can honestly posture myself as an objective observer. Early as it is, and even knowing that the field of aspirants to the Libertarian Party's 2008 presidential nomination may grow, I've settled on a candidate to support. Please don't think of this as an announcement/endorsement so much as a notification that from here on out, where the nomination is concerned, I'm no longer engaged in analysis and journalism, but rather in support and propaganda. The "First Look" series ends now.

Order Kubby 2008 buttons from RadicalButtons.ComSo: Why do I support Steve Kubby for the LP's 2008 presidential nomination and for election to the presidency of the United States? I've offered a few reasons elsewhere. I'd like to add a few more to the list (but first, to mention that you can order Kubby 2008 buttons like the one pictured on the left at Carol Moore's site):

- Taking solid libertarian positions on the issues isn't everything -- but it's the first thing. Steve Kubby isn't the only candidate I expect to see campaigning on a truly libertarian platform, but he's one of them.

- Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future success ... but that's the smart way to bet. Steve Kubby is not the only candidate who has previously engaged in credible political efforts, but his record on that point does stand out from the field both externally (as one of the leading activists in putting Proposition 215 in California over the top) and internally (among the announced candidates, he has received a higher percentage of the vote in internal LP elections at national conventions than any of the others).

- It's inevitable that Steve Kubby will initially be painted as a "single issue candidate." As you'll soon see, he isn't ... but even though the accusation is and will remain incorrect, it is also useful. In a tight 2008 election to which other issues are central, it's very possible that a Kubby candidacy will finally break the duopoly logjam on the drug war and that we'll see one or both of the "major party" candidates trying to outflank us by coming out in favor of medical marijuana ... and maybe even more than that (industrial hemp, reining in the FDA on supplement/treatment issues, etc.) in search of those last few "marginal" votes.

- If the LP has a future, that future lies in appealing to a number of huge unrepresented constituencies ... on the Left. We've given the Right its shot and then some. It's time to admit to ourselves that that approach has failed. Those Republicans who were going to defect to the LP have already done so, and those who remain in the GOP -- "libertarian" Republicans included -- have amply demonstrated that party loyalty trumps their interest in liberty. It's time to go after the anti-war, anti-drug-war, pro-immigration thirty-somethings who have (sensibly) never trusted the Right and who have voted Democrat as "the lesser evil" (if they've voted at all!) for the last 16 years while the LP has positioned itself as "to the Right of the GOP." Steve Kubby is not the only candidate who can appeal to these voters (George Phillies is an ACLU leader, and Christine Smith is obviously sensitive to Left appeal -- witness her admiration for Gore Vidal), but I believe that Kubby will have the most cachet with that demographic.

- The LP presidential campaigns have become serious very early in this election cycle, and that's a good thing (for which George Phillies deserves much of the credit). I want to see the LP's presidential candidate get a good "running start" and as a matter of fact, I hope that the Libertarian National Committee schedules the presidential nominating convention for the earliest possible time under the bylaws (I believe that would be the autumn of 2007) so that the LP has a nominee campaigning as the nominee for a full year and then some instead of just a few months. In my opinion, Steve Kubby is the only candidate who has a chance of building the kind of momentum which could withstand a "late entry" candidacy by The Evil One or some similar "same old Right-Wing-Lite" candidate who would piss away yet another opportunity to build a bigger, better, more successful and more relevant LP.

Since I'm in propaganda mode, I haven't really covered the down side of the Kubby candidacy. Frankly, I don't know if there's a down side to cover (I'm sure one or more commenters will believe there is, and will be happy to explain). It's too early to tell what kind of campaign organization he'll put together, whether he's got a good fundraising strategy in place, etc. And that's probably the ultimate reason I've decided to sign on as a supporter of, and volunteer for, Kubby's campaign ... this is too important to not get started on now.

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