Sunday, December 07, 2008

D+1: Situation report


I had tentatively planned on liveblogging yesterday's Libertarian National Committee proceedings, but didn't. Here's IPR's thread, including direct transcriptions of Twitter streams from both people at the meeting (including Michael Seebeck and Angela Keaton herself) and remote observers (including me).

Recap from bottom line perspective: We got a win by decision with an all but actually scheduled rematch ... when we deserved, and should have had, a win by knockout.

Given that five of the LNC's 17 members had voted to remove the witch trial of Angela Keaton from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting, and that only six votes would be needed to defeat the motion to suspend her later, the Starr clique was in trouble from the start.

Substitute Grand Inquisitor (None of the Starr clique's principals were going to personally expose themselves on a project as speculative as this one) Stewart Flood's presentation of "charges" and "evidence" against Ms. Keaton came off as the clown show it was. Accounts from on the spot describe open laughter from the audience and a public near-nervous-breakdown on the part of Flood himself.

Keaton acquitted herself quite well, speaking in her own defense, according to the descriptions I received. She denied the LNC's authority to dictate what opinions she would express or how she would express them, or to abuse "executive session" with impunity for the purpose of facilitating the Starr clique's attacks on her. Wish I could have been there to see and hear it.

Seeing that a vote to suspend on the "charges" and "evidence" as a whole clearly wouldn't pass, another clique lackey, Dan Karlan, attempted to divide the matter into 11 separate questions, hoping for enough votes on any one of those questions to achieve the goal of suspending Keaton. Apparently that was a little too openly Vyshinskyist even for Keaton's opponents.

We had them on the ropes. An up-or-down vote on suspension would have failed and the matter would have been closed with the Starr clique prostrate and bleeding on the mat ... and then Michael Jingozian jumped in and (incidentally? Intentionally? I don't know) saved the clique's bacon with a substitute notion (which passed) to refer the matter to a committee.

There are now two future possibilities: The thing will be allowed to die in the dark, reducing its negative impact on the clique's image, or it will be brought back at some point when the clique thinks it has the votes to win on a suspension resolution. Either way, the clique managed to get out of a broken-jaw-and-concussion situation with no more than a broken nose and black eye.

Dammit.

Keaton's still playing it smart. She's already issued a one-sentence statement: "I will under no circumstances submit to any committee investigation." If these bastards want to take her down, she's going to do everything she can to force them to throw their punches in public for all to see. But this thing is still not over.

Next steps:

- The executive committees of at least three state Libertarian Parties in the region represented on the LNC by Stewart Flood passed "yo, LNC, knock that shit off" resolutions before this weekend's meeting. Since their own regional rep ignored their clearly stated positions, they should now act to remove him and replace him with a representative who, um, represents them.

- States in the region represented by Dan "let's divide the question until we get the outcome we want" Karlan should also consider finding new representation on the LNC.

- Now's the time for good candidates for Chair, Secretary and Treasurer to make some hay. Kick your opponents when they're down. Really. As Heinlein pointed out, if you won't kick them when they're down, no point in kicking them when they're up (and they will get back up). Yes, it's a year-and-a-half until the next LNC election ... let the early birds help the LP rid itself of the worms.

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