Saturday, May 17, 2008

Digression: My presidential endorsement(s)

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of KN@PPSTER that I heartily endorse Steve Kubby's candidacy for the Libertarian Party's 2008 presidential nomination.

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but not a big one, that I also endorse Dr. Mary Ruwart's candidacy for the same nomination.

I've worked with Steve on his campaign since near its beginning, and my belief that he's the ideal candidate to carry our party's banner into the general election has only grown stronger over that time.

Even setting aside the fact that he and I agree on most policy issues, Steve is possessed of the one quality that I believe, more than anything, the party requires: He's a fighter for freedom. He's gone out there and struggled for liberty. He's put his own freedom, his own health, his own life on the line for ours. And as a result, many Americans are more free than they were before.

I do not state this lightly: Steve Kubby is the Eugene Debs, the Nelson Mandela and the Martin Luther King, Jr. of the Libertarian Party, all rolled into one. I believe that we should both honor and burden him with the nomination, because I believe that he is deserving of the honor, and because I know -- because he has proven -- that he can carry the burden.

As a delegate to the national convention, I will proudly vote for Steve Kubby on every ballot until he is either nominated or eliminated. And, should the latter occur, I will consider myself the first member of "Draft Kubby for Vice-President," regardless of whom the presidential nominee is. There is no potential LP presidential ticket that would not be stronger with him on it.

Can he win the nomination? In my opinion, it is still possible. To quote Kubby himself, in response to a journalist's inquiry on his strategy:

Some of the other candidates are counting on media coverage and money to carry the day in Denver. They hope to win on the IMAGE they've generated: "I'm famous. I'm successful. Lots of people might vote for me."

My goal is to get into the candidate debate -- there are minimum support levels required for that, and I believe I will meet them -- and to win on SUBSTANCE. I believe I can show the delegates that my candidacy best represents the party we all belong to, the goals we want to achieve, the message we're trying to get in front of America. That's my "Hail Mary" play. Some of the other candidates will be campaigning on how far down the field they might be able to move the ball. I'll be campaigning on the fact that I'm the guy who's taking the ball in the RIGHT DIRECTION. I believe the delegates will respond strongly to that message.

'nuf said.

Now, to Dr. Ruwart. Yes, I also endorse her candidacy; if Kubby is eliminated, I will vote for her on subsequent ballots until she, too, is either nominated or eliminated. By way of disclosure, I have also played a minor role in Dr. Ruwart's campaign (with the full knowledge and consent of Steve Kubby).

Dr. Ruwart is a long-time party activist who has demonstrated, over and over, her absolute commitment to the Libertarian Party and to the freedom movement. She's an exemplary communicator of a consistent libertarian message. I don't mean that I agree with her on every jot and tittle of libertarian theory or the implications thereof. I don't have to -- it's enough for me to know that she values freedom as the highest political goal and that she will not be turned aside in her pursuit of that goal.

Instead of quoting Dr. Ruwart, I'll quote an historical figure whom she, to my mind, greatly resembles in effect, if not always in tone: William Lloyd Garrison.

On this subject [slavery], I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; -- but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.

Tone, of course, being relevant, it should be noted that Dr. Ruwart is sometimes called "the Libertarian Party's sweetheart," for good reason. Her approach is one of seeking common ground and persuading those around her to come together on that ground. She takes that approach both in and out of the party, and as a communications approach it strikes me as highly effective. Unlike Garrison, who thundered, she communicates in dulcet tones ... but like Garrison, she stands fast on the rock of principle and will not be moved.

Kubby is an uncompromising fighter. Ruwart is an equally uncompromising ... conciliator ... if that makes any sense. She does not sacrifice principle, but she advocates it in a way that seeks to "overcom[e] animosity or hostility."

While I am of the strong opinion that the LP needs a fighter, I'm of the even stronger opinion that the LP needs an uncompromising standard-bearer. Kubby and Ruwart both fit that bill, and so I am comfortable supporting both of them.

The ideal LP ticket, in my opinion, is a Kubby/Ruwart ticket. A Ruwart/Kubby ticket would be nearly as good. If for some reason neither of them receives the presidential nomination, then my order of preference for the vice-presidential nomination is the same -- Kubby for VP, or failing that, Dr. Ruwart, assuming that either one will accept. They've both earned our support, they both deserve our support, and it is in the Libertarian Party's best interests, both short-term and long-term, that they receive our support.

Yours in liberty,
Thomas L. Knapp
Delegate from Missouri

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