Libertarian Jackass

"Life is short, but truth works far and lives long; let us speak truth." -- Schopenhauer

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Just as Nader calls for the impeachment of President George W. Bush for sending thousands to their deaths based on "false pretenses," here's one idea for stirring up trouble in the 2004 Presidential election:
Why the Time is Ripe for an LP/Nader Anti-War Fusion Candidacy
Both for tactical and strategic reasons, Nader is the man to go to in 2004

With the approach of the Libertarian Party national convention Memorial Day weekend, the party has a chance to gain national influence and prominence in the 2004 presidential campaign. How? By nominating the only fiercely anti-war, pro-civil liberties candidate with national clout, Ralph Nader, as its 2004 presidential candidate. Mr. Nader for his part will have to agree that his running mate be selected by the LP. But it's a win-win situation. Nader gets what he wants, namely, access to a majority, if not all, state ballots. And the LP gets one of its own as the vice presidential candidate with national standing and odds-on access to the vice presidential debates. If the LP is to survive and thrive, it must orchestrate a campaign of tactical emphasis that puts the Libertarian Party in the thick of the fight for a sane foreign policy, by attracting the growing ranks of anti-war voters. Its candidate must have the national gravitas, and that is exactly what Ralph Nader would give the party in the 2004 election. Nominating Nader, who has already drawn the endorsement of the Reform Party, would result in a national political earthquake that would roil the war party.

Selection of the traditional LP presidential ticket from within the ranks, will guarantee the party an asterisk, relegated once again by the national media who will focus like lasers on Bush and Kerry. Like a crazed aunt, a traditional LP ticket without a national stage and its candidates extremely low on funds, will be assigned to the electoral basement, once again out of sight and out of mind of the vast majority of voters.

To be sure, in a fusion candidacy, that is sure to draw from independents, third party supporters, and undoubtedly attract the growing ranks of disaffected republican and democratic voters, Mr. Nader is no doctrinaire libertarian on every issue. He does not need to be, except where it counts on the most pressing national issues.

Mr. Nader is overwhelmingly libertarian when it comes to war and the debacle in Iraq. Nader is supremely libertarian, second to none, when it comes to civil liberties and the pathetic Patriot Acts. And Nader is superbly libertarian when it comes to the decades long and disastrous drug war and the corrosive effects upon personal responsibilities and freedoms.

Remarkably, Nader and the LP cross paths on the most important libertarian bedrock fundament, and already one of the most critical issues of the 2004 election, the War inIraq . With the war party gearing up for Syria and Iran it will of necessity have to gear up the draft, if it hopes to social engineer Damascus and Teheran. With no chance of the LP capturing the White House in 2004, the strategic LP political fight is about the totally unnecessaryIraq war and focusing the national debate through third party positioning and muscle flexing.

But more importantly for the LP, a Nader/LP ticket would generate immeasurable quantities of PR, translating into a surge of new interest, donations, energy and excitement, and respect, which could only serve to catapult the LP into a more viable and politically acceptable national party. A threshold of which the LP has never approached in its three decades existence.

To be sure, Team Bush is going to want Nader, like never before, in the presidential debates in hopes of splitting democratic voters and walking away with the election. With Bush tanking in the polls, it would amount to political suicide if they don't include Nader. And in the vice-presidential debates, a LP vice presidential candidate for the first time in history would be pitted against Cheney and the Democrat candidate.

If the Libertarian National Committee can embrace the pro-war, pro-Bush, nationally syndicated talk-show radio host, Neal Boortz, who identifies himself as an LP member, while daily urging his national radio audience to cast their vote for Bush, the LP could do no harm by embracing the fiercely anti-war, anti-Patriot Act, and anti-drug war, Ralph Nader as this year's presidential nominee. In this instance, any crying wolf about a LP sell-out ring cynically hollow.

Finally, after more than 30 years in the political wilderness, the LP has a singularly historic chance to vault itself into the ranks of national respectability. If the LP proceeds this election year as in years past, as just another exercise in voter education and outreach, then the party may very well be staring into its own abyss. The time for the LP to step out of the comfort zone of low national expectations is now.

Paul Farris
Austin, Tx

Mr. Farris, a long-haul Teamster by night, holds a masters degree in international relations form Boston U, is a veteran of Gulf War I, a Libertarian Party activist and was a LP Congressional candidate in 2002.
UDPATE: In response to a few reader emails, let me say that I am interested in this Nader scenario not as a political means to increasing freedom (economic or otherwise). I don't vote nor do I think meaningful change comes through politics. Also, those supporting Kerry only as a means to dethrone Bush, I think, are misguided. If nothing can be achieved politically, the best we can hope for is a) the entertainment value of watching the Establishment candidates (both pro-war) squirm and b) promoting an anti-war message, which I think is much more important in the long run than a simple anti-Bush message.

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