Tuesday, May 27, 2008

National convention notes, part 1

Well, everyone, I'm home. I apologize for not blogging from the national convention, and for podcasting not nearly as much as I'd planned to.

Explanation: The hotel's Wi-Fi sucked, and I was never able to keep a connection up for more than a few minutes. I was also unwilling to cloister myself in the media room, away from the action, to use Ethernet. And the hotel seemed to have been intentionally designed to be mostly dead cell phone space. Finally, there was just too much to do.

Do? What was I doing? To some observers, it may have looked like I was mostly running around with a glass of bourbon and cola in hand, hitting on women and raising general hell. In fact, what I was doing was constantly lobbying. My job consisted mostly of talking to people about Steve Kubby and Mary Ruwart, in that order -- and lining up support for them in that order as well. When I wasn't actually on the floor, that's what I was doing.

As the convention approached, it looked increasingly unlikely that Steve Kubby would have a real shot at the presidential nomination. Still, the man is a machine. He kept working at it, hoping for a breakout in the debate (see Badnarik, Michael, 2004). I lobbied desperately to keep him in at least nominal contention ... and to position him as a VP likely if eliminated.

A word of thanks to several candidates: Mary Ruwart, George Phillies, Mike Gravel, Christine Smith. Those four candidates donated excess "tokens" to get Steve into the debate. Smith in particular took a bullet for us: When we were four tokens short of the debate threshold, she handed them to us without batting an eye. She had 36 tokens of her own at that time -- enough to secure time for nominating speeches, but not debate participation. The Kubby troops then "paid it forward" -- Michael Jingozian was within shouting distance, and we helped put him over the top. Then we went to work for Christine as well ... but we just ran out of time.

I went to Denver without a great deal of respect for Christine Smith, and she showed me that I had misunderestimated her. I was not in the hall for her post-elimination speech, which I understand many disliked, so I can't comment on that. What I can comment on is her dedication to the Libertarian Party and to keeping it a libertarian party. She proved to me that that dedication is total, and I'm ashamed I ever doubted it. THANK YOU, Christine.

Next, I'd like to dispel some rumors about Mary Ruwart as a vice-presidential prospect. I was fortunate to be there to see what happened (and to have worked on both her campaign and Steve's). Here's how it went down:

When Kubby was eliminated from the presidential contest, he strongly endorsed Dr. Ruwart. After that, she told him that if he ran for vice-president, she'd support him.

When it came down to that question, I asked Steve to call Dr. Ruwart. After all, her promise of an endorsement seemed to be reasonably predicated on the notion that she'd be endorsing him from her own position of presidential nominee. After her own elimination, the circumstances had changed, and she owed Kubby nothing on that score.

Steve never doubted Mary's offer of endorsement, but at my urging he said he'd call her -- and as he was reaching for the phone, it rang. It was Dr. Ruwart, urging him to run. She strongly believed that Steve's prominence on the issue of the drug war would make him a better "balance" for Bob Barr, and that it would also create a good media angle ("former drug warrior, former drug war POW run together"). At this point, Dr. Phillies had also asked Steve to run.

I don't believe that either Dr. Ruwart or Dr. Phillies supported Steve because they were "unwilling to serve" on a Barr ticket. I believe they both felt that Steve Kubby was just the better option for the party in these circumstances. I happen to think they were right, and I thank them for acting on their convictions. I just wish we'd been able to turn those convictions into an actual nomination.

What I saw this weekend in Denver was case after case of nominal "opponents" of my candidate putting the party's prospects before their own ambitions -- and my own candidate doing so as well. These people are heroes for freedom, and I'm always humbled in their presence.

Some other humbling stuff: I met two guys this weekend who say they read KN@PPSTER: Glenn Jacobs, a/k/a Kane, and comedian Doug Stanhope. Stanhope even bought me a drink and had his picture taken with me and Paulie Cannoli. Wicked cool.

In the not-quite-kiss-but-still-don't-tell-too-much category ... wow. I try to party credibly hearty when given the opportunity, but I can't hold a candle to my fellow Libertarians. There were wheelchairs for those overcome by my gigantor-sized bottle of Old Crow. There were buckets for vomiting in for others of similar disability. There were answer-the-door-in-nothing-but-a-bath-towel incidents (and I will never have need of Internet porn for inspiration again after one such; eternal gratitude is in order). There was booze ... lots of booze ... and other stuff as well.

More later -- I'm writing this after 13 hours in a van en route from Denver to St. Louis, so I just wanted to hit some interesting stuff. It gets even better. Out.

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