Friday, July 10, 2009

Tickled pink

By the Libertarian Party lately. Since I'm usually at the front of the line when it's time to bitch, I like to acknowledge the good stuff as well.

- Wes Benedict has been hired to serve as the party's national executive director. He's not a fire-breathing radical, and that's fine by me. He's competent (as executive director of the Texas LP, he grew that party's membership, budget and candidate base), he's always respectful of people across ideological lines, and he understands that the ED's job is to promote the party, not set (or re-set) the party's line. I think we're going to see good things happening at LPHQ with Wes at the helm.

- Here in Missouri, the Greene County LP is definitely raising the bar. They've always been a solid party, and a couple of years ago, they finally elected their first Libertarian city councilperson, Doug Burlison, in Springfield, Missouri's third largest city (population 150,000+). This year, they not only elected a second councilman, Robert Stephens, but did so in a run-off election in which the final two were both Libertarians. And a couple of weeks ago, a third Springfield Libertarian (Teddy Fleck, the Missouri LP's 2008 candidate for Lieutenant Governor) was appointed to the city's traffic advisory board.

Solid party, elected officials ... and now they're beginning to move to the front in a big way, beyond mere representation and into overt leadership of the council. Burlison is now publicly pushing for repeal of a bad, stupid, anti-freedom city ordinance.

Specifically, it's an "anti-gay" ordinance. Seeking its repeal takes a lot of guts in a place like Springfield. The city is the buckle of the "Bible Belt" -- headquarters for several evangelical Christian denominations, including the Assemblies of God and home to several Pentecostal and Baptist bible colleges. It's smack in the middle of the state's very conservative 7th US House district, represented by Roy Blunt.

I'm not putting down Springfield, mind you. I lived there for many years (Doug was a volunteer on my 1997 campaign for city council), still have family there, and love the place. But this is obviously a bit of an uphill battle, and I'm grateful to Doug for leading the charge.

- I got a snail mail fundraiser from LPHQ the other day. For the first time in a long time, it wasn't one that tried to tickle my non-existent conservative funny bone. Great theme: Envelope disguised as a brown paper sack, slugged "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch." The pitch letter was from Tonie Nathan, the LP's 1972 vice-presidential candidate, the first woman and the first Jew to receive an electoral vote in a US presidential election for vice-president (h/t -- Richard Winger; Barry Goldwater, doh!). Someone at LPHQ seems to have finally realized that "disgruntled Republicans" aren't the LP's only potential supporters.

Good stuff, and very encouraging. See? I'm not all negative.

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