Memo to the Libertarian Party: Maybe it is time to "Just Say No"
It pains me that I so often have to point out the difference between a libertarian (small l) and a Libertarian (Big L). A Libertarian is a member of the Libertarian Party (LP), and a libertarian is someone who subscribes to the libertarian ideology. I would love to choke the guy who decided he should name the party after the ideology.
I am telling you this because I am a libertarian. I have often thought about becoming a Libertarian, but quickly realize that I would end up wasting my energy. The LP is a party that is so focused on ideology and so unfocused on actually achieving some sort of victory that I often wonder if the LP was conceived during some LSD induced Ayn Rand Book Club meeting.
The conservative pundit, Ann Coulter, wrote recently that she attempted to run against the incumbent Republican, Chris Shays (CT), on the LP ticket for her district's house seat
Here). She didn't expect to win, she just wanted to soak enough votes from Shays to cause his loss. She is still bitter about Shays anti-impeachment vote and was hyped up to run as an LPer, but got caught in the same trap that I find myself in.
She negotiated with the Connecticut LP for several weeks and found herself in agreement with many of the issues on the LP platform. Then she hit the wall. The LP continues to make the abolishment of drug laws their lead issue. She suggested that they back burner the issue, until some of the other Socialist Beasts of Government were slayed. She was met with staunch opposition to this idea and was declared to not be a "True Libertarian." She is now vowing to write regular editorials on the idiocy of the decriminalization crowd.
The idea of repealing the drug laws makes sense. This crusade about the idea does not. There are many people out there looking for better representation then the two big parties can give them. Leading with the drug issue only serves to turn them off to the rest of your views. An individual's ideology evolves over time. Most of us at one time were either fiscal conservatives or social liberals and found that our views changed as we matured, and could not in good faith continue supporting the Republicans or Democrats.
Unless you want to continue on being a "fringe" party, you need to realize that the drug issue is a polarizing one and doesn't increase your party's chances for optimum exposure. This would be the same as Republicans running under the slogan of "We are going to stop you from killing your babies," or the Democrats running with "We want to assume complete control of your life." It may be in their platform, they just don't shout it from the rooftop.
Every four years, the LP runs a presidential candidate that barely registers with the voting public. This is a colossal waste of money and time. If you could just focus your attention and funds on winning smaller races, much like this Connecticut race, you may find a victory. All it takes is one small victory to legitimize the party. If you want to win a smaller race, you will have to do exactly what Ms. Coulter said you should do; Back burner the drug issue.
Say what you will about Ms. Coulter, but she would have brought the party some press (couple that with the fact she is a babe, and you don't win friends by pissing off the hotties). The
strong headedness of the platform has now turned her against you. You turned a potential friend into an enemy. So the next time you are sitting around at your party meetings quoting Adam Smith and wondering why your aren't getting any attention, I wish you to keep this in mind: Victory can serve your ideals better than your idealism alone.
© The Cynic, 2000
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