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The sweet taste of vengeance

The Republicans and their alter-ego Democrats have for decades used their control over the system to give Libertarians no end of grief on our ballot access campaigns. I remember one Libertarian pundit in the eighties commenting ‘it is easier to get on the ballot in Nicaragua than it is in the United States’.

Their mis-use of power has become more and more egregious these last few years. I still keep tabs on Pennsylvania because that is where my absentee ballot goes. The last time I voted I had to return large parts of it blank because the LP was not on it. On top of that, Democrat Murta’s people pulled some real low-life shenanigans to prevent our candidate in his district from running against him. I got the that story via private communications with the Pittsburgh LP of which I was a long ago member.

This year it is the Republicans taking the low road in Pennsylvania. I suspect we will defeat them in court there, but I and most LP supporters are not of the victim mentality. Simply responding to their efforts is just not satisfying enough.

Fortunately we have an opportunity to turn the tables on them in Texas. It seems both parties failed to deliver their papers to the appropriate authorities in Texas by the time of the legal deadline. This is Texas law. Had it been our party, we would have been shut out, no questions asked. move along now boy. We would have had no hope of getting on the ballot.

The Republicans and Democrats are different. They are the ruling class. Laws are made for us, not for them. So the Texas authorities have attempted to waffle around the problem. I am sure the Texas legislature will do whatever needs to be done to assure the McBama twins are on the ballot if they can get away with it.

Normally this would just be done behind the scenes in a ‘gentlemanly arrangement’. But not this time. We are going to rock their boat and with some luck teach them the bitter taste of their own anti-democracy medicine.

I remember several years ago when I commented on ‘having my right to vote stolen’ in Pennsylvania, some one commented my vote was not stolen because I could always do a write in. So if by chance we block Obama and McCain from the ballot in Texas this year all you Republicans and Democrats should not be at all fussed about it.

After all… you can just write in your candidate.

19 comments to The sweet taste of vengeance

  • Note this story:

    Texas Secretary of State spokesperson Ashley Burton said that upon further checking, “Both parties filed before the deadline. We expect their amended filings after both parties finish their nominating process at the conventions.” Texas law, changed in 2005, requires that the parties submit their candidates names 70 days before the election. Problem is, neither party has gotten through their nominating process. The Texas Republican Party listed John McCain and “running mate” as their candidates, with an amended certification after the GOP convention in St. Paul. Obama and Biden will be certified after the Democratic Convention.

  • Sigivald

    While I agree that the LP should be on the ballot more, I don’t think that’s the real problem the LP has.

    The real problem the LP has is its platform.

    I’m reasonably libertarian-leaning (and registered independent). I read Mises and Hayek for fun. But I didn’t vote for a single LP candidate in the 2006 election for anything more important than minor state offices, because the Party has gone off the deep end.

    Until the LP abandons isolationist foreign policy (and at the individual level a disturbing tendency to conspiracy theory of the Truther variety, etc.) they’re just not getting my vote, much as I’d like the war on drugs to end, and a less active government.

    (Sadly, in any case, I don’t think the LP is in any position to do much about any of it. The overwhelming power of fringe elements takes the party far too far from mainstream America to get significant power and thus make change.

    The best hope for the LP to do good is to popularise libertarian ideas and influence the big parties and the electorate at large. (In fact, I think the best way for libertarians to do good is not to join the LP, but to spread ideas. Think-tanks and articles, ala the LA, do far more good than some blue-skinned freaks.)

    Some people might see this as a defect in the American political system, but I see it as a strength; any system that would let a minority LP be super-influential would also let the Greens or Socialists be the same. I prefer stable moderation to a Parliamentiary influence-brokering.)

  • Midwesterner

    This may be a problem:

    (b) A political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees placed on the ballot, without qualifying under Subsection (a), in each subsequent general election following a general election in which the party had a nominee for a statewide office who received a number of votes equal to at least five percent of the total number of votes received by all candidates for that office.

    However the law is pretty convoluted and there may be a case to be had. But they better file fast.

  • Midwesterner

    Although this

    (2) before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before presidential
    election day, the party’s state chair signs and delivers to the secretary of state a written certification of:
    (A) the names of the party’s nominees for president and vice-president; and

    (3) the party is:
    [. . .]
    (B) entitled to have the names of its nominees placed on the general election ballot under Chapter 181.

    Certainly suggests they have a case.

  • walt moffett

    Good luck, schadenfreude is best enjoyed with a good lager and mesquite smoked barbeque.

  • Ian B


    I think what’s interesting to explore is what counts as crazy and why. Me, I’m not an isolationist, rather hawkish in fact, but it’s odd that we find the idea of not starting wars to be fringe and crazy. It’s certainly a valid point of view, even if one doesn’t agree with it.

    Meanwhile, in the mainstream we have all manner of policies which are either demonstrably crazy or would have been seen as fringe insanity only a few decades ago- the war on drugs, creationism, “windfall” punitive taxes, nationalised child rearing, gay marriage and so on.

    What really matters isn’t how crazy an idea is, it’s working that magic that makes it part of the received wisdom and pushes it into the mainstream. The Left are experts at doing that, by organisation, propaganda, recruitment of interest groups and so on, and have thus dragged the “centre” way over towards their position from where it was in the past. They have effectively cultic recruitment and expansion techniques. The rest of us who aren’t in their cult have entirely lost as a consequence- only really the religious right in America has mounted any effective resistance, which is why their craziness still gets heard. Which is why Europe, having no equivalent, has entirely fallen to the Left, and our elections now consist of “which left wing nutbar do you want this time?”

  • naman

    I sympathize, but I LIVE in Texas and I would have to live with the consequences if your little joke backfires and I’m stuck with 4 years of Obamania and his Marxist ideas!!! Go mess around in someone else’s election…

  • tdh

    Years ago, the Supreme (?) Court ruled, in Burdick v. Takushi, that voters had no right to cast a write-in ballot — despite that this had been the original, uninfringed voting right under the Constitution. (Ballots printed by states, and thus subvertible by them, came a century or so after the Constitution.)

    The Bipartisans deserve to be kicked off the ballot when the violate procedures that would be enforced against others. Usually this happens when one of them gets it right and the other doesn’t; they’ve tried to avoid the embarrassment of both missing it.

    The courts are so corrupt, I doubt that any written law can constrain them any more. Pity Adams won over Jefferson on this.

    I might cast a blank this time, but a chuckle from TX sure would be gratifying to hear.

  • Brett L

    So, just so I’ve got this straight… You would happily disenfranchise the 94% of Texas voters who vote major party because the guys who run for your local Congressional seat are dicks? Or because some blog commentors are dicks? You may note that describing sizable sections of either group as dicks is tautological.

    Principles don’t come with schadenfreude exemptions. If it is wrong to do to the LP — and I believe it is — than it is wrong to do to the major parties.

  • William H. Stoddard

    I believe that the way you deal with a bad law is to enforce it, and keep enforcing it till it gets voted off the books.

    For example, in the early 19th century, there was a British bloke who was accused of rape. So he showed up in court in full armor, with a sword, and told the judge he was ready to face his accuser or her champion. The prosecution wasn’t willing to go for trial by combat. So the judge checked the lawbooks, and found that the laws allowing and regulating trial by combat had never been repealed, and let the defendant go. And very soon afterward, Parliament passed a law abolishing trial by combat.

    If the Texas legislature has passed a stupid and abusive law, and they get nipped by it, let them suffer. It will give them a reason to change it.

  • Pa Annoyed

    “I think what’s interesting to explore is what counts as crazy and why. Me, I’m not an isolationist, rather hawkish in fact, but it’s odd that we find the idea of not starting wars to be fringe and crazy. It’s certainly a valid point of view, even if one doesn’t agree with it.”

    It seems to be a question of whether your state should be able to fight wars in defence of liberty, or whether it can only do so in defence of your own liberty.

    Although foreign policy is the big split within libertarianism, one of the big things I’ve seen that puts people from outside off is the apparent kookiness of their anti-government obsession. And there is a tendency to prioritise issues based on their violation of ideological principles rather than their impact, and to insist on an extreme ideological purity in policy. For people who have been content with the state for many years, but are starting to think maybe a few things need fixing, borrowing a few libertarian ideas and arguments may be of considerable interest, but actual Libertarian rule doesn’t look attractive at all.

    But in any case, inserting libertarian thinking into government is the wrong place to put it. It buys into the socialist belief that the government leads and the people follow. The social structure of the nation is a catallaxy, built up from the interactions of people finding ways to get along at every level, and the politicians generally follow the mood of the people, not the other way around. (It’s a two-way process of course, as they all are, but there’s more of us than them.) There is an increasing tolerance (in Britain, anyway, and I suspect elsewhere) for totalitarian interference in the interests of the common good. It’s not universal, but I’ve had enough arguments with ordinary people over issues like smoking bans and carbon footprints to know that there are huge numbers who actually agree with it, or at least go along with it, and are happy for the government to interfere. This is where the government’s totalitarianism has come from, and where you need to apply your influence.

    There is a growing constituency out there for you who oppose this trend, but they’re not ready yet for the rest of your ideas. You might be better off trying to infiltrate the mainstream media than government.

    I get the impression that they like to keep the LP off the ballot not because they see them as a direct threat, but because they split the vote of all right-thinking people, letting the wrong people into power. It’s an unavoidable weakness of democracy.

  • tdh

    According to the September 1, 2008 issue of Ballot Access News, “… in 1996, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that if a party nominee loses ballot position because of an error by a state party official, that mistake may be overlooked.” It is rather optimistic about this precedent’s making the “January 2 [notification deadline for unqualified parties] unenforceable.”

    W.r.t. the PA case, it points out that “Stabile’s complaint depends on an invalid assumption …” — so if the courts there don’t screw up, Barr should be on the ballot.

    Oh, well, I guess we’ll have to rely on punchline Presidential candidates to provide the entertainment this year.

  • Pa Annoyed: The problem with the LP is not that it’s Kooky. It’s that the LP has not yet learned that idealism is only half of an effective philosophy. Libertarians can make the case that their ideals would be good and workable in the long run if they were implemented, and many people may see the logic of their position, but it is not possible to prove that an ideal would be workable if tried, and there are compelling arguments against such ideals.

    What the LP needs to do is to understand gradualism, and learn to take steps in the right direction. I am not talking about compromise, I am talking about breaking issues down to the details. You may have an ideal for an issue, such as abolishing social security. This may be a great thing in the long run, and many people would agree, but most would not. The case that can be made is that Social Security is flawed at best, and is becoming too great a burden on the producers of the country, and so reduction steps need to be taken, or at least steps to hold the line. Also, steps should be taken to reveal the real costs of it, such as placing the cost entirely on the taxpayer, not the taxpayer’s employer. This way, people see exactly how much they are losing to the program, instead of just thinking that they are underpaid (when, in fact, their employer is covering costs they do not see, such as half of their social security tax). Steps like these are much easier to accomplish, and they are steps toward the ideal, which is the final goal. Far too little emphasis has been placed on the practical application and the step to take to reach a goal.

    Even if we could get a majority vote on the ideals of the LP being good, it would be devastating to implement them overnight, and any party or person with the power to do so would be tyrannical. The checks and balances are there for many reasons, not the least of which is to avoid radical changes, both good and bad. A severe shift in the safety nets of the country would cause as much or more harm than good because of the short term consequences.

    As for vote splitting, I have no problem with the LP splitting the so-called “right thinking” vote. Voting the lesser of two evils only perpetuates evil. The impact of a lost election on the “right” (if republicans can still be called that at all) due to a 5% or 10% showing by the LP would be massive, sending a message that they are losing support by slipping too far left or too far authoritarian. Furthermore, a strong showing in the polls gets the LP on the radar, helping to promote its ideas and ideals. If one thinks long term, one realizes that the negative impact of an authoritarian government hastened along by a split vote will only galvanize the populace into resisting that authoritarian rule. Also, the loss of one election in order to send a message to one of the more likely parties that they may pay enough attention to to actually change what they do is a small price to pay, even if we get saddled with Obama for a time in the process. It is worth it.

  • Pa Annoyed


    I don’t disagree, but I’d like to note that I was careful to say “apparent kookiness”. And I’m not so much talking about, say, the idea of abolishing social security, but the corresponding belief that social security is a malevolent conspiracy on the part of the bureaucrats and klepto-crypto-Marxist politicians to perpetuate the dependency culture that maintains them in power; when people start talking in matter-of-fact terms of the coming police state, or even claim that we live in a totalitarian police state already; when they give the impression they want to keep their guns so they can one day form a militia and fight the state. It’s not stated that way in the official manifestos, but the attitude leaks out.

    I know all the arguments, and sympathise to a degree, but it’s a point that I’ve disagreed with since my very first post here. In concentrating on government (and our own governments in particular), they tend to ignore every other threat to liberty (and there are many) and it sometimes leads to a peculiar-looking prioritisation of issues.

    Splitting the vote on the lesser of two evils perpetuates the greater evil instead. The trouble with the “sending a message” argument is that the message they get may not be the one you intend. The message they’ve got is that you’re troublemakers, which is why they try to exclude you from the ballot. If 5% try to tell the 95% what to do, or else they’ll inflict Obama on the world, it won’t make them any friends. People may prefer to fight and lose than to surrender their own favoured policies. And there’s no point in them changing to suit that 5% if they lose 10% of the middle ground in doing so.

    Or having lost to Obama, they may well think they’re not left wing enough.

    You have to persuade people that your policies are better, to get them to change theirs voluntarily in your favour. Your strategy might work, I can’t say for certain that it won’t, but I personally think it’s unlikely you’ll get anywhere by threatening them, which will give you four years of policies inspired by Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers all for nothing.

  • I think the biggest problem with the LP right now is that it nominated Bob Barr with a straight face. The party traded its integrity for name recognition and ballot access.

  • Dale Amon

    I would strongly disagree. Barr is probably the first person we’ve nominated who could actually govern as President. I’ve been watching him closely on his media appearances and he has done more good for us in a shorter period of time than any one we have ever run.

    It’s time to grow up and start thinking about winning. It may not be this time but we are growing in influence. It takes staying power and with over three decades under our belts people know by know know by now that we are just not going to go away.

    And we are not going to vote Republican.

    As to the Chicken Littlers. I have listened to your arguments for as long as I have been a Libertarian. Which is very nearly back to ‘In The Beginning’. From the arguments I really could not tell the difference between a Republican and a Democrat. The Falling Sky crowd all sound exactly alike and have never changed their broken record sound.

    The sky didn’t fall in 1980 when I voted LP and Ronald Reagan won, to the dismay of my musician friends who were telling me I was wasting my vote… nor did it fall in 2000 when Republican friends were telling me that it would fall because we’d get another 8 years of Clintonesque policies.

    I firmly believe it is not going to fall this time either, and if you want to talk about silly, that is what I think the crowd who fear Obama and think he will preside over a Stalinization of America.

    It’s just an election. The two don’t actually differ by much on the things I care about, ie they are both fellators of dead Ursids. So I really do not much care which one wins. I care about building our parties strength. That inevitably means the party will become less of a Librarian party of purity and more of a governing party. That is life.

    Now, the big question is, if the Republican leadership does decide to move left after a loss, can we attract the libertarian side to splinter off of them?

    That is what I would like to see.

  • Midwesterner


    Another possibility is that the Republicans will shift libertarian. I endured a number of speeches from the convention and while most were as expected, several people showed moves in a libertarian direction from their previous positions. Even what’s his name, the preacher fella, sounded like somebody had hit him a glancing blow with a clue-bat.

    Parties seek power which means seeking votes. As people communicate without the MSM censor, they are moving libertarian. I’ve had an inkling this has been happening for some time but even so, the Palin nomination blindsided me. Yet more so the response. I’m really looking to see how this plays out.

  • Dale Amon

    Midwesterner: I agree. That is an alternative scenario. If the Republicans move up the diamond instead of left, they could do the opposite and split a bug chunk of the LP off.

    Either scenario requires the existence of a strong upper pole. They are not going to move our direction without a reason.

    In the end I don’t particularly care whether they move left and a large splinter joins us or they move up and we splinter and join them. The end result is a resurgence of Liberty and a redefinition of center, one that has moved UP our way.

  • Paul Marks

    If the Republicans lose this time they will move – to the left.

    Assuming I am totally wrong and there are future meaningful elections (as you know, I do not think there will be – as the left will control the media totally as opposed to just most of the media) the Republicans will give up opposing wild spending and go in for “social justice”.

    Already Fred Barnes (of the Weekly Standard) has been nosing around Britain praising Cameron and co for doing just this sort of me-to-ism.

    Sure the Weekly Standard is supporting McCain now – but should he lose the line will change.

    “Too rigid, even lost Iowa because he would not go along with the eth subsidy”.

    And so on.

    It would be back to big spending “compassionate conservatism”.

    “But then the L.P. will….”

    Then the L.P. will carry on losing elections, as it has since 1972.

    By the way I think John Hospers was its best candidate – had I been a citizen of age (and I was neither) I would have voted for him.

    After all the election was safe for Nixon (so no “let the other side in” argument) – and I do not like Nixon anyway, so no “vote to show support” argument.

    So supporting Hospers would have been the correct thing to do in 1972.

    I doubt he would have gone off to Red China to bow to Mao.