Friday, August 8, 2008

Libertarians and those Statehouse races, pt II

When the Democrat Party leader wanted to claim the Republicans were strong-arming the LP and engaged in shady dealings in a meeting between Craddick staffers and the LP party officials, LP party chair Pat Dixon issue a lengthy refutation of the Democrats' 'vapid rhetoric'. An excerpt:
My counterpart in the Democratic Party, state chair Boyd Richie, is now proclaiming that the speaker is using unethical tactics by using his office and staff to strong-arm Libertarians off the ballot. ... I find this vapid rhetoric to be utter hyperbole.

To suggest that these dealings are shady is easily refuted by their openness. The accusation that we are being strong-armed is dubious, since Mr. Richie was not in the room. I was in the room and I can tell you that the accusation is without basis. We were invited to participate and it was our decision to do so, so how were we strong-armed? The claim that it is unethical to use state-funded office and staff to discuss politics is so ridiculous that Mr. Richie should be embarrassed when voters read such inflated rhetoric. Every informed voter would not be surprised to find that politics are discussed in the state capitol by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Pat included mutliple digs at both major parties but especially the Democrats, including: "It has become more clear that the Democratic Party does not offer any commitment to the principles of individual liberty and social tolerance that the voters expect."

You gotta give Pat Dixon some credit. He's shoved the Democrats' rhetoric back in their face, and in pointing out the above-board nature of the discussion with Craddick's staffers, has declared independence from both major parties.

That still leaves open the 'spoiler strategy' that we noticed at Travis Monitor, that appears to have been expressed by the Texas LP chair, which Craddick and others, like Susanna Hupp, have expressed concern over (since it would get Republicans defeated) and which seems to be confirmed in this Wes Benedict (LP executive director) view of key Statehouse races. The LP has been paying attention to key swing and close races and noticing how the Libertarian vote could make the difference in getting Democrats elected over Republicans. It might be a reasonable strategy if the candidates they were possibly undermining were the GOP worst offenders on libertarian issues, but the unfortunate part from a fiscal conservative GOP viewpoint is that good candidates like Bryan Daniel in HD-52, Bill Zedler HD-96, Bill Keffer, Tim Kleinschmidt HD-17, are on the hit-list. These are just the races that are must-wins for conservatives, fiscal and otherwise.

It's unwise to expect the Libertarian Party to respond to calls to stop the spoiler strategy for the sake of Republican candidates, but it is important for voters to know the impact their votes can have. Check your race before you decide to cast a vote that 'wont matter anyway' - maybe it will!


3 comments:

Randy A. Samuelson said...

I gave Benedict's report some credibility until I read some of the comments at the bottom. One that struck me was the "ousting of Tim Kleinsschmidt" in HD 17.

Kleinschmidt was never ousted. He has never been elected to the State House. He challenged the incumbent Robby Cook and gave Cook an unexpected race.

The LP candidate may have made a difference, but in reality, it was the incumbency of a popular Representative in Cook that carried the race.

I know it is the prerogative of the Libertarians to run, but it would make sense for them to analyze the candidates first. There are plenty of races in which the Republican is very strong on many fiscal positions that the Libertarians preach. In races like these, it would be wise for the LP candidate to withdraw as the Republican candidate adheres to fiscal values of the RPT platform.

MJSamuelson said...

Pat Dixon may have no allegiance to either the R or D party, but one has to wonder about Wes Benedict. Benedict's goal is the elimination of the Republican Party in this county, and he may well succeed if Republicans in Travis County continue to "run to the middle" or ignore their fiscally conservative base for much longer.

Of course, his strategy only succeeds in electing and entrenching liberal Democrats, and one has to wonder if Benedict, in his analyses of down-ballot races, has noticed that.

Freedom's Truth said...

"There are plenty of races in which the Republican is very strong on many fiscal positions that the Libertarians preach. In races like these, it would be wise for the LP candidate to withdraw as the Republican candidate adheres to fiscal values of the RPT platform."

Wisdom versus bull-in-china-shop power-plays ... that is the question.

The LP should rate all the incumbents on an LP index and go after the incumbents who are the 'worst'. But then I'm a Republican not an LP person. I think the LP is counterproductive.