Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Plans B, C, D, and E -- A gracefully-decaying strategy for winning increasing levels of individual liberty

The Ron Paul Blimp and massive donation days are great! They will likely win Ron Paul the NH primary, and maybe the IA primary! ...But, even if they don't, the smart, well-organized pro-freedom movement has a plan B and a plan C and a plan D. Down along the pike at plan F, it becomes important that we never gave up our guns...

But I want to focus on the coming shift from plan A to plan B, because _libertarians_always_screw_this_one_up_! I've seen this happen many times. My theory?: The same part of our brains that is good at assigning values and picking up on contradictions gets us motivated at the chance of winning office with a good candidate (a high value to us). We overlook their minor practical shortcomings in favor of their philosophical strengths. We see their value, and think others do too. But they don't, the candidate fails to win election, and then the "losertarians" throw up their hands in despair and drop out of politics after the disappointment.

Often, a simple plan would have kept them "in the game" longer, and that "longer" would have been enough to reap massive rewards (like in IL in 2006, one of our more spectacular recent failures, where we set the stage for major party access during 3 long years of hard work, and then let a few dilletantes take the LP over, remove us from the ballot, and allow the Green Party to use our prior efforts to run a nobody who then won the Greens major party status in IL).

Let's face it, are the state-worshipping socialist masses more intelligent than most libertarians? No. --But they have historically been more MUCH MORE determined to win office than we have.

Ron Paul is the only libertarian thus far to put a friendly face on freedom long enough and strong enough to win higher office. As such, he's got a good chance at winning BOTH elections, because people want freedom, but they don't want to learn a new word and define freedom consistently as libertarianism (this is a minor oversimplification for the sake of brevity).

But Paul still might not win. We have to face reality.

And that's why the LP is welcoming him with open arms (should he not win the R primary) they rightly should.

Now then, there is a movement within the libertarian party that seems to not care about a candidate's electability. They have a 'pie in the sky' idea that we will continue to ignore the electability of our candidates, and gradually people will seek us out. Perhaps this is true. However, it would probably take the elimination of elections to get people to pine for the days when they had a libertarian choice. ---At which point we will no longer be an option anyway.

Therefore, I strongly support giving Mr. Paul the LP's ballot access to work with, IF/WHEN he does not win the Republican nomination.

Were he to accept the LP's offer, and choose someone like Wayne Root ( ) as his VP running mate, it would open up the libertarian movement to electoral success before we are pushed through the rapid succession of plans C, D, and E.

I don't recommend anyone else for the VP slot, unless someone like Walter Williams wants it (I can dream, can't I?). The other declared LP candidates have not grasped the basic concepts inherent in successful marketing of the libertarian message. Kubby is seen as "the pot candidate" and would marginalize us even more than Badnarik did. (I roughly agree with Liberty magazine's "darkhorse" assessment of Badnarik, although I believe him to be a fairly good speaker, and more than principled enough to represent us.) I think Badnarik is a great person, but a weak presidential candidate. I also believe he lost to two vastly superior _candidates_. By underlining candidates in the previous sentence, I differentiate a libertarian candidate from the following:
1) libertarian philosophers
2) consistent libertarian radicals (often dedicated to a single principle within a platform of many principles, above all other factors)
3) libertarians who agree with a certain strategy or approach (but who may or may not be electable, or even likeable)
4) libertarians who are good speakers, but not good at: accessing the major media, fundraising, targeting and motivating libertarian demographics.

It is vitally important that we, the libertarian movement, provide a viable avenue for Ron Paul's success in the coming election, NO MATTER WHAT.

A Paul / Root ticket has already been suggested by Root (as has a Paul / Kubby ticket by Kubby, in all fairness to Kubby). The difference between a Paul/ Root ticket is that a Paul / Root ticket could actually win the presidency, and would almost certainly win well over 5 million votes.

Coming from a National election where the Libertarian Party totalled 5 million votes would be a HUGE achievement, and one that is easily built on, if we keep our eyes on the prize: A "night watchman" government that is limited to protecting individual freedom.

As a final note, both Root and Paul openly support a Fully-Informed Jury Amendment, so even if you don't like the fact that Root is not a radical anti-war libertarian philosopher, if he won the VP nomination, and then found himself in the presidency, we would still see the wars against private property crippled overnight, via the FIJA Act, and via the executive pardon.

So let's keep the blimp flying, and let's send Paul another big Money "Shot", on the anniversary of "the Shot (at the Presidency!) heard 'round the world!" April 19, whether he wins the Republican Primary or not. (A nice aspect to the viral marketing would be to show an animation of a google map of all of the meetups for the mainstream candidates, and then show all of Paul's meetup groups! He blows all their numbers away, clustering North America, and even has groups all around the world.)

...And no defeatism if we don't win in 2008 (on the first serious try!) We're up against the weight and resurces of a gigantic socialist police state. Small victories are still victories. They keep us in the game, and can be built off of. If we walk to where the play is, we are still in the game and can still win. If we throw our hands up in disgust, give up, and go home, we are certain to lose. Electoral freedom is well worth fighting for. If you think about the alternative, you know I'm right.

We should fight hard in 2008 no matter what, knowing that we will not likely win, and we should be scaled up to win in 2012 or 2016 or 2020. If we had been fighting this way since 1980, we'd already be in the whitehouse. Root has already said he will run again, and has PROMISED to bring in at least 3 million votes THIS TIME (from his loyal base of gamblers as well as a built-upon coalition), NO MATTER WHAT.

He can deliver, with Paul or without, but he is also not delusional (a good sign!). With Paul, he might actually be elected as VP. Without Paul, he will bring in around 3-5 million even if Paul doesn't run.

We don't want to split the pro-freedom vote (and yes, I know it's machiavellian, but we don't have IRV yet or proportional representation yet, so we have to plan around the deficiencies of our zero-sum game system). We want a plan going into the LP convention that makes sense, and decays gracefully. We have a national LP that seems fairly intelligent, and seems to understand this (something that was rarely true in the past).

So let's make April 19 a money "shot heard 'round the world!" Let's bring Paul's supporters into the fold. Let's announce it loooooong in advance, and channel it to whatever the best choice for freedom is AT THE TIME. Let's know in advance what we're going to do, and then follow through with it.

...And let's have it go to Paul as a Republican (plan A), to Paul + the LP candidate (plan B), or just to the LP candidate if Paul is then out of the picture (plan C).

I don't want that last option. It is a suboptimal choice, and it would be the worst option of the three. ...But we would still be in the game, and the IDEAS OF FREEDOM would still be well-represented in 2008, allowing anyone who actually researched Paul to vote their principle(s).

The last time that I failed to attend the LP national convention, I erroneously believed that one of the "top two" candidates would certainly win.

I hadn't counted on the ability of "losertarians" (who richly deserve that hated title) to screw up absolutely anything. Sadly, I found 10 people who agreed with me, and had also written off attending for the same reason. So if we had all showed up, Gary Nolan or Aaron Russo would likely have brought in well over 1,000,000 votes, establishing us as a serious threat to the establishment.

...But that's what happens when you go into battle without a battle plan!

I strongly suggest that we correct the areas in which we have traditionally been weak, so that we are not supporting a weak candidate that has no ability to communicate with people who are not already radical libertarians. Let's make sure that --no matter what-- we have such a strong libertarian showing in the next election that the political world sits up and takes notice, and starts offering to sacrifice the more odious parts of its police state if we will only agree not to oppose "their candidate". Let's wield our political influence like a brick bat, and stop allowing doors to be broken down during 2am drug raids, because we wanted to run a candidate who was a 100% purist libertarian philosopher.

I'll take someone who is 90% libertarian and can win over someone who is 100% libertarian and has no media, no money, and no ability to run a serious campaign.

April 19th this year should be our "Battle Of Saratoga". Our "Timothy Murphy" may be unknown at this point, or he may be Ron Paul, who has already shown so much promise as a marksman. But we should be certain that we have at least one more marksman, in case Timothy doesn't show up for the battle.

...Because we can't afford to lose our "Battle of Saratoga". The Country of America needs to be reborn, because it is unrecognizable in its current state. If we fail our American tradition of moving towards a new liberty, we will deserve the hatred of our children and their children.

I encourage the adoption of multiple backup strategies that are optimized for success AND for damage control (optimax strategy), because I don't want to be a member of America's "hated generation". I don't want myself to be a contributor to the phenomenon described in Leonard Peikoff's "The Ominous Parallels". And I am, and you are, as libertarians, smart enough to plan ahead.


Jake Witmer

Ron Paul for President of the United States of America
Wayne Allyn Root for President of the United States of America