As a long time libertarian, registered Libertarian and an occasional dues paying member of the LP, I'd like to dedicate this article to you. I'd especially like to reach those members who are feeling left out, or have been looking at recent events with a jealous eye.
I want to remind you that the Presidency is a single office. A plethora of local, state and national offices could potentially be gained if only you will view the current situation as an opportunity rather than a reason to wail at lost momentum.
Let's face it, 300 odd LP office holders is something for which the LP can be proud, but it is a pittance. Yes, the powers that be have, at every turn, attempted to thwart our progress. Tweedledee and Tweedledumber write ballot laws to prevent "Libertarian" from being listed next to "Democrat" and "Republican". They erect quota s to prevent access and they take public money (our taxes!) for their own campaigns while denying it to our candidates (not that they'd necessarily take it).
I have spent many hours dreaming of a time when libertarian ideas could be juxtaposed against the American version of Bolhshaviks and Menshaviks upon a national stage. If only [Harry Browne, Michael Badnarik, Ron Paul, Andre Marou] could have participated in the Presidential debates, we'd win in a landslide! Something like that anyway.
Well, now that has happened. We were right. When a libertarian is allowed a voice against arch-rival statists, the public responds favorably.
The Libertarian Party been hindered by the GOP and DNC resulting in less than stellar results. However, there are no valid excuses for the paltry showing libertarians have thus far achieved.
Ron Paul is an example we should study. While he did take up the Libertarian mantle for the 1988 Presidential bid, he chose a practical route. This route allowed him to build an unmatched libertarian resume by anyone this past 40 years, Republican, Democrat or Libertarian.
The Libertarian Party has not fared as well by avoiding the practical. This isn't to say that the LP and its advocates have not helped to advance the cause of liberty. Far from it. What they haven't done however, is amass resumes, the listed accomplishments of which instill pride and trust.
The LP may have a record it could use to market itself but it has poorly represented that record and has barely even attempted to present it. People are now flocking to Ron Paul because he has a solid, uncompromising, public record. People may disagree with his stands, but they couldn't argue that he hasn't held up the libertarian ideal.
The LP has an opportunity tap into the Ron Paul movement by joining it. In the 20 years that I have been a libertarian, there has never been so opportune a moment, so hot a fire, so young the people joining in order to grasp freedom.
Think of it! And think of the prize. It will be a frustrating prize indeed if won and there are no libertarians in Congress or the Senate. What does anyone expect one man to do? Do you really think that 535 statists will just roll over for a libertarian President? Sure, he will have an army of unelected citizens jamming the phone lines, but that is not nearly enough.
Why couldn't the LP join this movement and support it wholeheartedly? Why can't the LP, which touts itself as a free market advocate, listen to what the market is saying? If it doesn't, then it will spend the next 40 years marking time or perhaps simply withering away.
This could be our year if egos are put aside. Rather than a step backward, it could be a giant leap forward. The LP could learn something from this experience and it could gain some very loyal allies.
The libertarian message is being delivered on a national scale. Those libertarians seeking lesser offices have a great opportunity. Half the Congressional House is up for grabs next year. Look at Congressional approval ratings. Not only are GOP candidates losing their base, but the Democrats have also by their actions squandered what good will they had after the elections. Incumbents misunderestimated Bush's incompetence and put their eggs in his basket back in 2001 (Patriot Act) and again in 2003 (Iraq War) and 2005 (Patriot Act II). They believed electoral support for the war was infinite and didn't even consider that it might evaporate. This year the Democrats plundered themselves even further by failing to defund the war. This last failure is having a very noticeable impact on their constituency.
Democrats who cast their lots with Bush, and there are few who didn't, are as vulnerable as they've been since 1994. Republicans have their loyal following, but it won't be enough to save them in 2008 barring another catastrophe at home.
Anti-war, anti-government candidates will have the most to gain if they can take advantage of this exploding grass roots movement. Come the elections, if the voters recognize candidates as a real alternative, no matter the label next to their name, the results could be quite surprising.
The LP has a real opportunity to begin building resumes. While in public office they could finally deliver what they've promised for over 30 years. Assuming, that is, LP members are not interested more in the party abbreviation next to the candidate than actually working to achieve a government that respects its boundaries.