Fri 20 Apr 2007
There is a poorly researched article about the Libertarian Party at HPR Online (http://hprsite.squarespace.com/libertarians-raise-barr-042007/). Among other things, it says:
Barr’s ascension to a leadership position in Libertarian Party is part of a broader strategic shift for the organization. Stephen Gordon, the Libertarian National Committee’s political director, told the HPR that the party has come to realize that “in order to expand our electoral base we have to open up our tent.”
It is a very entertaining statement that bears little (if any) resemblance to reality. In 1988, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) became the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. “Barr’s ascension” is not a strategic shift, just a repeat of a failed strategy. Libertarians are managing to reinvent the flat tire (again). Barr is not the Libertarian Party’s first former Congressman.
Additionally, the claim that Gordon wants to “expand our electoral base” is also detached from reality. The failed Iraq Exit Strategy is a perfect example—anybody who disagreed with it was accused of being a “purist.” They were censored from LP publications (I was one of them), until many finally came to the conclusion that it made no sense to contribute time or money to an organization that disregarded its own principles and platform.
Stephen Gordon was one of those leading the charge to alienate and drive out anybody who disagreed with the LP’s Iraq Exit Strategy. And, the LP’s Executive Director, Shane Cory, was the one in charge of censorship. There were many in the party who thought that having an Iraq Exit Strategy written by a college intern was a little embarrassing—especially when it contradicted well known and respected libertarian think tanks like the Cato Institute.
And, the proof of these failed strategies is there for anybody who wants to examine it. The number of elected Libertarians has declined, the number of subscribers to LP News has declined, the annual revenue has declined, the amount of press coverage has declined, the number of active state parties has declined, the number of candidates has declined, and the Alexa rating of the web site (which LP Executive Director Shane Cory once pointed to as an indication of success) is on a steady decline (from 16,000 in Aug. 2005 to 60,000 today). Pick a measure and it has declined.
The real question is: How much longer before the LP recognizes that it is on the decline and makes substantive changes? That decision will be up to the Libertarian National Committee, but reading the minutes of their meetings makes it clear that they are oblivious to the condition of the organization that they have been entrusted to operate.
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