Commentary on the LP National Convention & Speaker “Controversy”

I know I haven’t been writing as much lately, but I still have an occasional Facebook rant that warrants its own post. The original post may be updated more recently, so keep that in mind, but here’s my rant on current drama in the Libertarian Party because there are claims that the LNC allegedly “rejected” Ron Paul as a speaker. This is inside baseball crap, so if you’re not involved in the LP or interested in it, totally skip this one. Trust me.

Rant ahead. 

Original Facebook post of this rant can be found here with comments.

It appears a caucus of the LP has some LP members (and non-members who like to be opinionated about what the LNC should be doing) up in arms about an alleged “refusal” or “rejection” of Ron Paul speaking at the National Libertarian Convention in July.

I love Ron Paul (besides abortion and borders where we disagree, but I love him like a cantankerous old-world grandpa) and I worked for him during his presidential run in 2008. I’m a big fan of Ron Paul. I’ll be seeing him this month at Anarchapulco.

I’d love to see him at the LP convention this year. I’m also not bothered if he ISN’T at the convention this year. There are other speakers I would also *love* to see including, say, Snowden via teleconference. There are TONS of great speakers out there, including some already booked and up on the website. Yes, Ron Paul is well-loved, and a big name in the greater libertarian movement.

There are a few articles and other posts floating around with some information that might be a bit confusing/misleading, I wanted to point some details out.

I comment as a bystander – I am not on the LNC or the Convention Oversight Committee. I’m a former state Vice Chair, someone who has attended several national conventions, and spoken at one. I’ve also watched LP drama for 22 years so I have a lot more context for things than some newer members.

  • I see a number of people upset that “the LNC” would “choose Beck after rejecting Paul” which is a complete misrepresentation of that exchange (made worse by the fact that multiple publications have them presented in the wrong order). Glenn Beck was suggested as an option (not an official speaker, I believe the committee may have been talking to/about him – in the delegates group they’d previously asked our opinion on him), but that happened BEFORE the Ron Paul exchange. The screenshots are dated: before Dec 1st (Beck conversation) and Dec 7th (the Paul one). Anyway, they didn’t “choose Beck”, he was someone they were openly CONSIDERING and asked opinions on.

 

  • Why Beck? I don’t love him either, but Beck openly denounced and left the GOP in 2015 – and interviewed Sarwark (2017) & Johnson (2016). The Libertarian Party is a political PARTY that is trying to take down the two party system. Beck is a public figure who spoke out against the major parties, and supported us. There was no confirmation as to whether this was a *serious* proposed speaker, just possibly someone they were considering reaching out to.

 

  • Ron Paul, regardless of how much we (mostly all) love him, spent the majority of his political career in the Republican party AFTER being a Libertarian nominee. Yes, I understand why, but when a party, which is partisan, is trying to message “leave the old parties behind, join the LP!” it’s a little hard when an aspect of Paul’s success happened because he was a RINO. Perhaps other factors include when he endorsed the Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party) over the LP nominee in 2008, or when he referred to Bernie Sanders as the most pro-liberty candidate in the race in 2016. Or when he speaks critically of the LP in a way that doesn’t indicate “join it and make it better!”. As a longtime member of the LP, it can be a bit frustrating. I say this only in LP context. I love Ron Paul in other settings. However despite these differences, the LP gave Ron Paul their Hall of Liberty award in 2016 (“This award honors lifetime or significant achievement that has made a lasting impact on the Libertarian Party and/or libertarian movement.”). He is neither disregarded nor hated nor “rejected” by the Libertarian Party or the Libertarian National Committee.

 

  • Ron Paul wasn’t specifically invited to speak nor did he inquire to be turned away. Someone (I believe Michael Heise) suggested him via FB message, as well as proposing they may be able to raise the funds to cover his fee, and then the Chair of the Convention Oversight Committee (Daniel Hayes) appears to have tentatively agreed in October (according to screenshots). THREE months later, with no indication that money had been raised, no indication a speaker agreement had been reached, no indication that Ron Paul confirmed, there’s another screenshot (Dec 7th) with Daniel Hayes saying “Ron Paul is definitely out”, linking to an article with some negative LP comments provided by RP. Heise, instead of trying a different approach, such as lobbying other members of the committee (the whole list + contact info for some is on the website, both the LP’s and LPMC), he decided to publish screenshots of a conversation with Daniel Hayes and presents it as a scandal? Which is then picked up by small news sites and used to attack the party and leadership? Congrats on making your party look bad. That’s pretty classless, and stinks of opportunism. Stop wasting everyone’s time with this nonsense. Like mine, because I can’t stand by and watch reactionary FB posts of people who don’t know more of the story and just saw a shitty headline. Seriously, the amount of time it’s taking me to review the facts and write this, someone owes me like $150.

 

  • “The Libertarian Party”, Nick Sarwark and the elusively non-specific and oft-referred to “LP Leadership” are not the decision makers regarding whether or not to invite Ron Paul as a speaker. There are 7 members of the Convention Oversight Committee. Nick Sarwark, current Chair of the Party, has no part of deciding which speakers are chosen (I’m sure they’ll listen if he recommends somebody – job perks, but he doesn’t make the decisions). The Convention Oversight Committee is made up of 4 LNC members and 3 non-LNC members. If you’d like to join it, reach out, volunteer, get involved, and show you’re game for the grunt work, and you may find yourself appointed (or elected to the LNC if you run and shake enough delegates’ hands). Even not as an official member, you can be involved – there’s work to do! The Committee has been discussing various speakers amongst themselves and with delegates. Factors include cost for various speakers and the overall message/context. Contact them and offer to help. Here’s the list of current Convention Oversight Committee members:
    • Whitney Bilyeu
    • William Brackeen
    • Sam Goldstein
    • Daniel Hayes
    • Drew Layda
    • Alicia Mattson
    • Erin Adams

 

  • 71republic would do well to NOT seriously misrepresent my boyfriend’s position on LP leadership. His issue is with the delegate pool and LP members.

 

  • In case you wondered: the Libertarian National Committee is not the reason we had Johnson/Weld. The 2016 convention delegates are. That was 518 out of 869 delegates (Johnson) and then 441 delegates out of 872 (Weld). I was a delegate that year – I voted for neither of them.

 

  • If you want the Libertarian Party to change, join your local affiliates, become a delegate to national (consider also doing some time as a state executive committee member, try that out – yes “doing some time”, you’ll soon learn that being on an excomm is kind of like being in prison or hell) and get to know your fellow delegates and run for party office. Before doing that, familiarize yourself with the bylaws of the LP, and whether or not what you want to do is actually possible in the position you’re running for.

 

  • Rule of thumb: the LP is kind of like the government “should” be. I can’t believe I’m saying this but bear with me. The Libertarian Party and its National Committee operates within a certain set of rules in a certain way and has a set of narrow parameters for its operation and responsibilities. If you want to do something that the LP isn’t currently doing, consider either the slightly increased flexibility of a state party, OR just doing other shit independently (or with a group). The *majority* of things that people propose doing “FOR” the party IF they get elected to party office don’t actually require that position. You can make advertisements, collect petitions, organize volunteers or run campaigns without ever being an elected party office member. You can volunteer to help with our social media, coordinate speakers, build up the state parties, or any number of things without EVER being elected as a party office member. The LP is actually actively in favor of decentralization as an organization. Less control. Less power over what affiliates, members, or candidates do.

 

  • As Judd says, the LP is a place where people waste time and resources fighting over positions of no power. They’re not supposed to have a lot of power. Most of the issues I see people having with the LP have to do with the LNC *not* doing something. Because it’s not supposed to. The LNC operates in a very limited capacity. It has a strict set of bylaws. It’s like if the government actually obeyed the constitution. I know you’re not used to what that would look like, but welcome to the LP, where it actually happens and it’s really frustrating but it’s actually how it’s supposed to work.

 

  • Basically the majority of pro-liberty shit you want to accomplish (besides running for office) should generally be done outside the LP. Like LP is government, and the rest of the movement is the free market. Got it?

 

  • I usually don’t comment publicly too often on inside baseball about the LP because frankly, much of my audience are not libertarians or LP members and I don’t want to amplify LP drama. Be like me (usually), don’t amplify LP drama. Amplify good things.

I think that’s it for my rant right now. If I think of anything else, I’ll add it to this post.

Amusing followup of a wicked classy troll can be found here.

And then my follow-up, meme style, can be found here.

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