Badnarik Begs for Another $200k…

I am honestly a little shocked to see this email request for another $200,000 or so for the Badnarik campaign. Considering they only got 4% of the vote, I can’t really understand paying off more of the debt than absolutely has to be done. That amount appears to be $65,000.

Allen Hacker’s final report for the campaign is not worth $100,000+. Honestly, considering the absolutely awful results, I’m not sure that it’s worth $1,000.

However, I don’t completely blame Hacker for the poor showing, as I know some of you probably do. I think the key element here was Badnarik himself. I’m sure he’s a very nice guy, a very dedicated guy, and all that jazz.

However, when Hacker states that “Michael has retired from political candidacy”—I hope he means for good, and not just from this campaign. He had no elected experience. He had no relevant professional experience. He had no personal wealth. He had very limited resume of community involvement. Plain and simple… Michael Badnarik was not qualified, by normal standards of what voters expect, to be elected as a Congressman.

Badnarik is now working as an account representative for a political and novelty bumpersticker mail-order business. That sounds like a good job for him, and hopefully he’ll stick with that instead of launching yet another campaign in two years.

Anyway, here’s the e-mail from Hacker…

(I don’t want to see this get into the extremely negative, personal attacks in this thread. It’s counterproductive. Please try to remain civil in the comments area.)

Allen’s Update, post-election #1

Greetings & Salutations!

Well, the 2006 elections are history, nobody did well except the statists, and your Party needs your help now more than ever. In the animated contest for freedom, there’s not much left to lose. So, what’s the best, most effective thing you can do now?

Permit me to shock and amaze you: contribute to the Badnarik for Congress campaign!

What’s that you say? It’s December! The election’s over and we’ve been humiliated? Maybe, maybe not. There is entirely another way to look at it.

We set out to run a legitimate campaign against the big boys, the way the big boys do it, and to the extent we were able, we did exactly that. We started with as good a chance to win as the democrat had when he jumped in. Better, actually, since he was an unknown with no party support and no money—yet he beat the incumbent in Travis County. Overall the incumbent only won 55% of the vote. That alone is proof of our first premise: that pretty-boy billionaire on the fast-track to the White House was (and remains) vulnerable. The fact is, give either challenger another $300K last August and the republican would be history today.

For this campaign at least, that part really is over. Michael has retired from political candidacy, returning to his constitution classes and the private sector, joining thebumpersticker.com with Rick McGinnis. Michael is an account rep there, so invent a reason to need a couple dozen freedom-oriented or cult-challenging bumper stickers and give him a call, help those guys out: sales@thebumpersticker.com or (512) 873-9626. To get an idea of the wealth of witticism they offer, visit libertystickers.com as well.

So, if Michael’s out of the scene, how does it make sense for me to ask you to contribute to the campaign when it’s over?

Because it’s not over.

First, we can’t close the committee until all the debts are paid. That’s a basketful of thousands, right there, that Michael has to carry until it’s paid. That’s right, federal candidates are personally responsible for their campaign debts, and they can’t be forgiven or negotiated away because that makes them campaign contributions under campaign finance law. Michael could be in debt the rest of his life, and I could be stuck filing meaningless quarterly reports even longer than that.

You really don’t want that, and here’s why. There’s an unexpected benefit to the party yet to be realized from this campaign, and I won’t be in a position to produce it until the committee is closed. Think of it as an extension of the educational side of our campaigns: educating ourselves!

You see, for the past 20+ years I’ve been a private business consultant, specializing in vision clarification with owners and executives. It’s a weird specialty that depends on a peculiar talent, of which I seem to have a remarkable share of. As a result of honing that talent in my practice, combined with 35 years’ LP experience culminating in this campaign, I am uniquely qualified to analyze the LP’s difficulties. I have the right attitude as well: where others see impediments and problems, I see patterns and possibilities.

We’ve been accused of risking the LP’s future with this campaign. The argument has been that by raising so much money and talking about winning, We have set everyone up for a huge disappointment, which will in turn stall everyone’s fundraising and support for years to come. Balderdash!

What we have actually done in pushing the envelope so far is to peel back the scab hiding the chronic infection that has been keeping the LP anemic and unhealthy all along. By going for the whole enchilada, we aggravated every failure mode the Party has ever adopted. We incurred so much wrath from some unfortunate souls that they actually began a proactive underground counter-campaign to sabotage our fundraising. And they succeeded, too, to the degree that the Party itself has institutionalized their ways of stopping everything good anyone tries to do as a libertarian activist, officer or candidate.

For just one example, consider that in a party whose highest social value is the free market, when you get accused of corruption because you expect to be paid for your work, almost no one defends you. That’s two crimes, actually. But most important, why does it happen? I know the answer; it’s startling in its simplicty and far-reaching in its consequences. I wouldn’t have seen it had we not done this campaign. We can now do something about a problem we had no chance of dealing with before.

That’s just one of several tactical traps libertarians are plagued by, that a small but highly effective band of saboteurs use to keep the pond small and to keep themselves looking like good, hardworking big fish. I now know who they are, how they do what they do, how they are enabled, and why they get away with it. One of them has actually confessed.

I’ll be revealing why, even though these people and what they do will be our most difficult problem to solve, they aren’t even close to being our worst problem. That would be the fatally-conflicted value that’s embedded in the libertarian thought process but must be excised if we are ever to succeed. That’s the one that keeps me smiling to myself, remembering the old Confucian admonition, “Your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness.”

Don’t you just want to know what that is, and get it resolved?

So, what has your money bought, since it wasn’t victory at the polls in TX CD10?

Well, once the bills are paid and I have the freedom of mind to compile everything, you’ve sponsored a final report and a libertarian manifesto for the future. An analysis and a plan, if you want them. From a top consultant in his field, one who routinely doubles and triples his clients’ operations within the first year or two.

Do you want the LP to double by the next election? Do you want us to finally achieve public acceptance, even public endorsement and finally, electoral victory?

Yes, I know, some of you don’t, but I’m talking past you to the ones who do.

Don’t you just need to know how to accomplish those 6-7 milestones I listed in my August “Plan B” update?

So here’s the deal. First, we pay the debt. Then we build the party and the movement, and ultimately, we take back our freedom.

When you think about it, there’s no way to put a price on that, yet in our case reality has put a price on it nonetheless. That price is simply what it takes to clear the campaign and free my attention so I can deliver on the future instead of forever deal with the past.

How much do we need? Is it even possible to raise it at this point? Let’s put it into real terms. We began this campaign with a donor list of about 6500 contributors who had given a bit over a million dollars to the presidential campaign. To date, fewer than 2000 contributors have given just over $430K to date, and many of them are new donors. The average is about $136 per contributor, more that what it was in the presidential campaign.

From this we see that some 4600 of those who contributed in the presidential have yet to contribute their $136. So paying off the debt completely from this one email is entirely possible. In fact, we wouldn’t even be able to accept the full amount possible because in winding down a campaign we can’t accept more than we owe.

Still, think about it: 4600 times $136 totals over $625K. That’s way more than we’ve already raised! Do you see why we thought we’d be able to raise the money to win? A mere $750K would have done it, had it come in soon enough to support all the environmental reprogramming that needed to be done.

Ah, well, that part is water under the bridge, as they say, and I choose to look to the future. And these numbers say that in the immediate future, we can still raise the close-out amount.

The debts include unpaid staff, ongoing rent, database/reporting service fees (which will never stop accruing until we close the committee), the monthly bills in general until the committee is certified closed by the Federal Election Commission, and the LNC for an unpaid portion of our advertising purchase for the national convention in July. And, my consulting fees (almost all of which have been held in abeyance until now)

Just for reference, for non-financial reasons the 2004 presidential committee didn’t close for some 8 months!

Our reasons are purely financial, so we could close this thing as of December 31st. And if I get paid and don’t have to scramble to reestablish my business right away, I’ll get directly to the documentation I mentioned above.

Again, what do you get for your money? You get the solution to our problems as a party. Cheap at twice the price!

And what is the price? I won’t know exactly for a couple more days, but it’s about $65K if I don’t get paid but the staff and vendors all do. If I were to get paid what was originally agreed to, $5K per month ($75K for 15 months) and 15% of fundraising (another $75K on about $600K total after direct expenses), the total is more like $215K.

None of that first $65K can be negotiated or discounted. However, any portion of my own pay can be converted to volunteerism, so falling short on that amount won’t be a killer, but if I have to scramble, that could delay my delivery of the final product.

The entire amount would work out to a bit less than $50 each if all you who haven’t contributed yet did so now!

Of course, more than half of you won’t do it no matter what, and more than half of you who do, will send less. So the necessary average contribution goes back up to the actual average for the campaign, $136. Which means that the more financially-healthy among you should contribute at least $250. (Pushing yourself to the limit, if you can afford it, is fine, too!)

This is such a silly exercise, really. Everyone on this list pays more in illegal taxes every year than we were originally asking, and yet we have had to beg for most of what we’ve gotten so we could have a shot at going to DC to defend your money (and your liberty). Do you see the dark humor in that? Are you ready to put an end to that paradox?

Two more things. First and unfortunately, those few among you who maxed out in the general election cycle can’t help us out with this; the $2100 limit continues past the election. But your willingness to go so far with us was more than appreciated. Of course, you can still fundraise for us. Tell your friends!

The rest of you existing donors can also chip in.

Second, if we can’t accept more than we need to zero out the committee, and all of you suddenly get generous this fine holiday season, how do we stop the influx to prevent excess contributions?

When we reach the limit, we’ll break the PayPal and Complete Campaigns payment pages so you can’t contribute any more. Incidentally, that’s also one way for you to know whether we’ve made it. If those links remain live, we’re still needing your help.

Now, I know some of you are thinking that I must have brass whatsits the size of the moon, to come around and ask for 50% more money after allegedly blowing the biggest wad a Libertarian congressional candidate has ever raised. That’s okay, you can think of it that way if you insist. I understand that some of you will refuse to change your thinking despite wanting change from everything and everyone else. To those of you who choose that path, I say, sure, you can stay the same. But know this: if you don’t change neither does anything else around you, and that’s the problem. (When you read the report, you’ll see why I say that.)

The rest of you are who I’m really talking to. So, let’s get with it. This is not about your hard-earned hundred bucks, it’s about the LP getting the desperately missing knowledge whose absence has been stifling it all these years.

Ultimately, it’s about the future of freedom in our world for the next ten thousand years.

Go right now to Go to www.badnarik.org and click that Donate button as quickly as you can.

Yours in appreciation,

Allen Hacker Badnarik for Congress campaign manager

PS: It costs money to send out these updates, and there are a lot of you who have never helped. My thinking is, if you still haven’t contributed after this, you probably don’t even want these emails. Therefore, to cut costs and create a passive ask-off for continued non-contributors, on about Dec. 15th we’re going to deactivate everyone from this list who hasn’t contributed at least $10 since July 1, 2005. So if you’ve not yet contributed at least $10 to the congressional campaign and you want to remain active on this list, which will enable you to get Post-election Update #2 and learn what Jon Airheart and I are up to next, you know what to do.

Go to www.badnarik.org – click Donate Today! – and co-sponsor the next step!

334 Responses to “Badnarik Begs for Another $200k…”

  1. NewFederalist Says:

    Wow!

  2. Chris Moore Says:

    “I don’t want to see this get into the extremely negative, personal attacks in this thread.”

    Austin, do you honestly think that is possible? ;)

  3. George Phillies Says:

    Let me be entirely positive.

    There are orthodox methods that the FEC will explain to you for cancelling debt when there is no likelihood that the debt will be paid, for example, the candidate is no longer active in politics and will not raise money. You need but talk to your FEC contact. They may want to wait a while.

    Tell your California database operation at $500 a month that the contract is ended: they should send you the backup of the data base, and clean you out of their servers.

    By the way, you are only the second most expensive Federal campaign we have run. Carla Howell’s US Senate campaign was bigger. And she spent her money more effectively.

  4. Nigel Watt Says:

    I have one positive thing to say: libertystickers.com is awesome.

    Other than that…

  5. Tom Bryant Says:

    I hope that this isn’t too negative…

    Seeing the report has no value to me. The claim that 750k would have enabled Badnarik to win shows just how little the campaign has learned. Also, the description of the report sounds a lot like “Allen Hacker’s idea on what the LP should be.” I get plenty of similiar reports from various blogs and personal discussions. I don’t see any promise of a detailed analysis of where and how the campaign money was spent. And it would have to be quite an impressive analysis to show that 750k would have achieved victory considering that 400k garnered 4%.

    The fundraising method used is not likely to inspire contributors. There was far too much “selling” of Allen Hacker as the uniquely qualified person to set the LP right, and no solid explanation of why the campaign did so poorly. I can’t imagine too many non-contributors being inspired to contribute based on the threat to remove them from the mailing list. I don’t see the wisdom is shrinking your list of supporter.

    Personally, my take on this is that rather than being introspective and analyzing what the campaign did right and wrong, Allen Hacker is just going to write a report blaming others for everything.

    For what its worth, I gave nearly $1000 to Badnarik’s presidential campaign, raised another $5000 for him, attended his constitution class, and contributed about $100 to his Congressional run.

  6. ms Says:

    He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and got 4 %. yet he wants now to be paid more money to tell the LP how to win elections. Its like Michael Dukakis giving advice on how to run for President. Let Hacker write an email promising never to be active in the LP again and then he might got a lot of contributions.

    Also how much money does it cost to send an email. I always did it ofr free or set up group to send updates.

  7. undercover_anarchist Says:

    1. Fraudnarik deserves to be in debt for the rest of his life. Good. I hope he can never get credit again. Oh wait, he doesn’t even have a fucking driver’s license, so that’s not much of a penalty.

    FRAUDNARIK DESERVES TO BE IN PRISON. Lifelong indebtedness and a shitty job as a bumper sticker salesman is too goof for him.

    2. I’m supposed to feel sorry that Hacker has to file reports until the debts are closed? Why doesn’t he just give back the $100,000 that he embezzled from the campaign and call it even?

    HACKER DESERVES TO BE IN PRISON. Lifelong report filing and the end of his career as a politican consultant are too good for him. Maybe he can also become a stationary salesman like our hero Fraudnarik.

  8. Tom Bryant Says:

    On 10/18/06, the campaign was in debt $10,000. I’d say that is a reasonable amount of debt to carry over.

    http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/cgi-bin/cancomsrs/?_06+H6TX10098

    So what did the campaign spent $55,000 on in those last three weeks? There were no TV ads. There were no extra billboards. There weren’t many radio ads (if any). How much did the smile brigade really cost?

    Something smells very fishy here.

  9. Timothy West Says:

    maybe the fact that he was the 2004 Presidential nominee and the process of how he got to do that, and then do this, needs to be examined.

    maybe there really are institutional failures relating to the LP and how it is run that might be helpful to change and stop repeating if those advocating same were not hounded and attacked as “unprincipled” in some manner should be examined.

    maybe attention should be paid to why the LP cant sell it’s product to anyone but a tiny fraction of members or voters – and stop making excuses and talking bullshit after 35 years. This is little different than the 2nd Harry Browne Campaign in 2000.

    when you widen the underpinnings of LP thought beyond the non force principle to include and enfranchise all types of libertarians, and then stop attacking them like jackals and hyenas when they show up, the LP might start making a difference. Until then, nothing anyone does will help. The LP is in a philosophical prison of it’s own making.

  10. Mike N. Says:

    2. I’m supposed to feel sorry that Hacker has to file reports until the debts are closed? Why doesn’t he just give back the $100,000 that he embezzled from the campaign and call it even?

    Agreed. 100%.

  11. Mike N. Says:

    Something smells very fishy here.

    Agreed. 100%.

  12. Roscoe Says:

    It’s called chutzpah and anyone who falls for this and sends a contribution deserves to be ripped off. I’m surprised the e-mail didn’t mention some Nigerian manager who had a few million $$ sitting around that he would give you if you’d only help him out.

  13. Allen Hacker Says:

    Hi Tim,

    You are the most astute observer here.

    You all have many legitimate gripes. You just don’t know what constructively to do with them. The answer to that is what ‘m promising.

    My final report will focus particularly on my own failings as well as the people who sabotaged the campaign. There was nothing in my email that said I was blameless or that I was blaming anyone else in the sense of shunting away responsibility.

    And I think the hint was directly obvious that I will forgive whatever I don’t get paid as soon as I can close the campaign.

    As for how easy that is, George, it’s not as simple as you try to make it sound, and I say this next despite the fact that I like you personally. As with the details on how much of McCaul’s money he could spend in this campaign, you miss the mark. Perhaps for this reason more than any other, your inattention to detail, you should reconsider your bid for the presidential nomination, thus to avoid the possibility of your becoming yet the next LP embarrassment. You are, ultimately, unsellable as well.

    Thanks, Austin.

    0

  14. Carl Says:

    “We set out to run a legitimate campaign against the big boys, the way the big boys do it, and to the extent we were able, we did exactly that.”

    Therein lies the problem. Third party politics is not “big boys” politics. A third party campaign is about acquiring one’s base and convincing that base that the campaign is for real. A big boy campaign is about getting out the vote of an established base and grabbing some swing voters. The game is different.

    A big boys campaign puts a great deal of emphasis on name recognition—useful for getting swing voters. Name recognition doesn’t do all that much for a third party candidate with little base.

    Big boy campaigns can raise money just by offering influence. A third party campaign needs to show that it can build the party, promote certain issues, or actually win in order to provide value to donors. “Smile if you love liberty” does none of these things.

    The idea that a doubling of funds could have produced victory defies credibility. It might be theoretically possible: if the first $400K was mostly eaten up by overhead, then the second $400K could have increased outreach by a factor of ten, but if this was the case, it does not reflect well on the campaign.

    I think the campaign might have been able to raise that extra $400K or so had it generated more evidence of effective outreach early on. Bumper stickers, TV ads, yard signs etc. should have been produced earlier, even though doing so defies conventional wisdom. Remember, third party politics is about base building, an effort that must begin much earlier than swing voter campaigning. That said, even if such efforts were as inefficient as the professionals maintain, they should have been done to reassure the donors.

    And another good general rule: donors to third party campaigns are not customers; they are investors, and investors in a problematic startup at that. As such, they should be treated like venture capitalists.

  15. Jason Gatties Says:

    I’m starting to kick myself for supporting him in 2004.

  16. Mike N. Says:

    I’m starting to kick myself for supporting him in 2004.

    From what I can tell, he actually ran a somewhat honest campaign in 2004. It is when he brought this lunatic crook Hacker into his 2006 campaign that everything went to shit.

  17. Tom Bryant Says:

    Libertarian positions can sell very well. Or they can not sell at all. The difference is in who is selling and how. I’ve seen libertarian candidates win 70%+ of the vote campaigning on strictly libertarian positions. I’ve seen candidates fail miserably and succeed beyond expectation with a change in campaign management.

    There is no secret to getting libertarians elected. You have to do a lot of work both during, and more importantly, before the campaign. As Austin touched on, Badnarik has no political resume. Without that, and without millions, you have no chance to win.

    Get involved in your community. Serve in a committee. Know the issues. Know the movers and shakers and become their friend. Develop a relationship with the local reporters. Speak out at public forums and government meetings. Then…and only then…think about running for office.

    Unless you win the lotto =)

  18. Doug Craig Says:

    btw George Phillies for president already has bumper stickers. They are free for the asking just email me.
    hankreardan@yahoo.com

  19. Chris Moore Says:

    Badnarik did as well as could be expected during the presidential campaign in terms of vote totals and specifically in terms of dollars per vote. Russo or Nolan may have done a little better, but would have had a little more money as well.

    I am interested in what Allen thinks the Badnarik campaign did wrong and right. I’m not interested in hearing about fictitious “saboteurs” and what he thinks is wrong with the party and its supporters. I’m certainly not interested in giving the campaign any more money to get this information, specifically because Allen’s tone leads me to believe I’d get more of the latter than the former.

  20. Kris Overstreet Says:

    Tim,

    Badnarik got elected entirely due to the convention debate. At that debate Nolan was too moderate and noncommittal for the purists. Russo was openly unorthodox on key anarchist points, which lost him those votes. Badnarik, on the other hand, preached the straight anarchist, purist party line in an engaging and positive way… which gave him the base he needed to pass Nolan and eventually win the nomination.

    Badnarik was the purists’ baby, plain and simple.

  21. matt Says:

    Maybe it would be a good deal for everyone if Badnarik retired from campaigning, but it would be awful if he retired from the liberty movement. This guy is passionate and articulate, and I don’t think he’s a crook. I’m all for crapping on this guy Hacker, but Badnarik himself has always impressed me.

  22. Allen Hacker Says:

    Carl,

    All good discussion. But here’s a thought. No state has LP registration above 2%. Thus any votes we get over 3% (given that not everyone votes) are probably from outside the party. This is particularly true given that many many libertarians will vote against a fellow libertarian they don’t like personally.

    So, if I ran a campaign to only make the libertarians happy, I would market only to them and their friends, and be cosmically fulfilled if we get more than 2%.

    Yes, it’s about building our base in most cases. There might be exceptions where it makes sense to go for a win, but either way, until we develop correct marketing, we’re going nowhere.

    I intend to take that marketing beyond just selling the candidate to include positioning the party and handling our PR issues, particularly damage control against party pretenders and saboteurs and wild-card misrepresentations of what the party is trying to do.

    That’s what this campaign was designed to do, but it did in fact require more funding that “conventional wisdom” was prepared to tolerate.

    That last part about the pretenders and saboteurs will no doubt invite quite an uproar because it will have to begin with discrediting the idea that any wild-eyed fanatic with a problem with authority can go out and define the entire party and lbertarians in general to suit his own antisocial purposes.

    If we have the guts to do what’s necessary, we will grow big through a small subtraction as we “lose” maybe another 10% of our “members” but begin to attract and retain more sociable and rational people who may only be 70% convinced but will work 100% to achieve 50% of what we radicals want. Which would be, I am certain, more than 90% of what we will ever achieve on our current path of oblivious unenlightened self-interest.

    Yes, the donors are investors. But that investment goes beyond getting the inevitably disappointing vote totals. (We did increase ‘participation’—in Texas there is no party registration). It has to include institutional learning. Of course that will require culture shock as we motly band of uninformed opinion-spouters grow up to do real-world R&D and advance the LP from being the party of opinion to the party of applied principle.

    If you give my update a careful read without your own expectations coloring the message, you will see that I am asking functionally non-libertarians to carry this last part of the burden: the 4600 presidential donors who haven’t contributed. AND, invisible in the nature of a mailing list, the remainder of the 10,200+ people that the update went out to who have never contributed. That’s maybe 4500 people who’ve shown interest but never done more than request a bumer-sticker or brochure.

    What none of you are aware of yet, and there is much like this that won’t come out until I report because it’s such a big sublect, is that every time I send out an update, more and more of those dry spots become donors. In fact, while a few armchair quarterbacks were being encouraged on this blog by a traitor and an agent provocateur to shred me for the Plan B update, the first contribution that came in from it was $1000 from a previous non-donor. Then over the following week, while too many HoT and TPW commenters were busy creating their own private Idaho, several more as-yet non-donors gave us $1000 or more and that email raised easily more than $20,000.

    We had every reason to hope, then, since money was obviously out there, the only source of opposition we saw were the usual suspects in the gallery.

    There was another negativity that we uncovered out in the field, but not until we we hit campaign season and had to go out and try to campaign without a marketing budget, and that was how truly deep is the hatred the voters actually have for libertarians.

    I knew there was a problem, I did the marketing survey mysef. That’s what the Smile billboards and brigade were the beginnings of: a subcampaign to rehabilitate libertariansim as a political concept in our district. I couldn’t say so, and got a lot of flak from people shooting at me in the dark (still do), but that part of the campaign was more important than early amplification of Michael’s name and qualities as the alternative. There’s been complain that we did no general mailing, yet when I asked for the money to do it and door-hangers, what came back was criticism.

    Yes, our problem within is as big as the one without. And as for them, the still-unedicated public….

    It’s true, they hate us. Our predecessor candidates and activists have made it cear to them that “we” want to destroy the only world they know, but offer no viable subtitute that they’ve been able to understand. And they would rather see us dead.

    So PR is our biggest challenge, and internal misrepresentation is our greatest enemy. That’s shitty candidates, infighting executive committees, superego would-be opinion-makers who undermine everone else without even trying ot meaning to, and generally, otherwise a-social nerds who think that their one area of talent (usualy with inanimate objects like computers) gives them an ipso-facto qualification in every endeavor of life, even though by and large they can’t get a date and nobody but their own kind respects them.

    Don’t fool yourself for a moment that the voters can’t see all this about us. After all, as in my consulting business where everything I know I learned from my clients, eveything I know about the true public perception of libertarians was given to me by the voters of TX CD10, and it ain’t pretty. It also wasnt pretty the way it was delivered. You guys are amateurs when compared to the visious wrath of a Christian fundamentalist (the majority in our district) who can show us (did show me) from our own literature and campaign statements over the years, that all we really want as individuals (we don’t have a true group) is their daughters (or sometimes, sons), naked on their backs and out of their minds on drug, uncaring as to who is impregnating them at the moment.

    The cruel joke is that they don’t know or want to know that that is exactly what many of their daughtrs and sone are doing twice a week at college.

    Moving back to the point, the most unfortunate comment in this thread is Tom Bryant:

    “The fundraising method used is not likely to inspire contributors. There was far too much “selling” of Allen Hacker as the uniquely qualified person to set the LP right, and no solid explanation of why the campaign did so poorly. I can’t imagine too many non-contributors being inspired to contribute based on the threat to remove them from the mailing list. I don’t see the wisdom is shrinking your list of supporter.

    “Personally, my take on this is that rather than being introspective and analyzing what the campaign did right and wrong, Allen Hacker is just going to write a report blaming others for everything.”

    AH: It appears that, like too many people, Tom is only reading for what he wants to find and is not paying attention to the message. In this update I’m solicting the edge, thanking the mainstream donors, openly saying that this is not the report, and laying out a plan. But Tom wants everything he wants right now without regard to what it takes to get it.

    And that’s a damn shame, because all prior campaign support was definitely apprecated, even his. Or would have been—buthe’s not in our dabase has having given anything at all!

    Is this yet another pretender trying to paint himself credible by telling you what you’l believe without questioning, so you’ll accept his criticism as being meaningful? I’m sorry, it could just be a cowardly donor writing under a nom de plume, but I’m twice shy now, having proven that pretender on this blog actually control the conversation and tone.

    It’s okay with me that so much shallow pontificating happens here, if it can happen without the lying and intentional sabotage.

    Here’s the surprise: I used to be just like most libertarians. So now I’m like the reformed smoker: intolerant of the foolish life I’ve left behind. I apologize for that. But I don’t apologize for my confidence, there’s too much real-world non-LP-approved evidence to support it.

    I don’t need your money personally. Any day, I can start a new business and make a million dollars in a year. I’ve done it twice, will do it again as soon as I’ve shed the shackles of this campaign. And I’ve put my money where my mouth is. I spent or forewent over $130,000 supporting the 2004 campaign. And I honestly don’t expect to see much if anything of the $150,000 I’m not going to get paid here for living in shared-housing poverty for the last 15 months.

    I just had this perhaps child-like notion that like any other social operation, the LP and its candidates should become viable and fiscally responsible within the free market rather than charities whose loudest proponents demand that its activists (sometimes the same people) become slaves to the mission and sacrifice themselves to the common good.

    Damn! I guess I’m saying that the LP subculture is a rude form of neo-Marxism.

    That is the first thing that has to change. Maturity should follow.

    All will be revealed. Meanwhile, please stop the griping and get to some productive work.

    0

  23. Allen Hacker Says:

    Hey, Chris Moore,

    Did you happen to notice that your “I’m not interested in hearing about fictitious ‘saboteurs’” comment ended up almost immediately after Mike N’s comments? You know, Mike Nelson, the self-confessed saboteur I’ve been referring to all along?

    You do your credibilty great harm when you ignore what came to light right here on the blogs while you were reading and posting back in August and September.

    Maybe you didn’t mean to lie, but the saboteur is not fictitious. Please, please, please, start confronting reality.

    0

  24. Stephen VanDyke Says:

    Clearly we should purge the party of anyone who questions why $400k dropped on a campaign doesn’t buy a single television ad.

    /rolls eyes

  25. Mike N. Says:

    You do your credibilty great harm when you ignore what came to light right here on the blogs while you were reading and posting back in August and September.

    You mean he should ignore the fact that you were getting paid $100,000+ to spend all day scaring away potential donors/supports on blogs?

    And you wonder why you are such a failure?

  26. Allen Hacker Says:

    Dear “Rolling-Eyes” VanDyke;

    Asked and answered and you know it, so what are you really trying to do here?

    Just so those not here previously can know, here’s the answer, for what, the fifth time between Hot and TPW?

    Austin is divided into four congressional-district pie slices, Houston into seven. If you buy a TV ad in Austin, 75% of the people who see it can’t vote for you. In Houston, 86% who see it can’t vote for you.

    It’s a suicidally bad investment, that’s why!

    Kindly now, move one, will you?

    0

  27. Mike N. Says:

    Clearly we should purge the party of anyone who questions why $400k dropped on a campaign doesn’t buy a single television ad.

    Don’t forget yard signs. King Hacker is adamantly against campaigns wasting money on yard signs. Overpaying the incompetent campaign manager is much more important.

  28. Stephen VanDyke Says:

    Your comment shows how little you know about the media. If you were such a hotshot campaign manager, you would know by now that the only way to get media coverage for third parties is by buying up ads with them. It sucks, yes… but it’s the truth.

    Your campaign barely registered a blip on the local media’s radar, which means you barely registered a blip in the voters conscious. Media buys aren’t as much for the voters as they are for the press that follows it. You should know better than to throw that straw man argument at me.

    I am also extremely uncomfortable with the way you handled campaign finances by funneling it through your private company for ultimate disbursements (to protect those people who were working on the campaign as you told me). For a party that prides itself on government transparency, you sure as hell know how to make us look hypocritical in that regard.

  29. Allen Hacker Says:

    Hey Guys,

    Here’s a little quiz for you.

    We didn’t buy TV because it was a bad investment. But we spent $7200 on a very nice billboard facing a daily viewership of 116,000 people who saw it 3-6 times a week for 7 months or more. The neighborhood included 2 precincts that were won, and 5 more almost-won, by the previous CD10 LP candidate.

    Repetition is the essence of advertising success. Those 116,000 people saw us an average-projection 15 MILLION times.

    Neither of the megaparty candidates advertised in that neighborhood until a few scattered last-week road signs, and the no-name democrat carried it in a landslide.

    Q: Why didn’t any reasonable number of those people vote for us?

    A) They can’t read.
    B) They can read, but they only read HoT and TPW.
    C) They like free porridge.
    D) No-proof electronic voting machines owned in part by the incumbent.

    0

  30. Stephen VanDyke Says:

    No Allen, I will not “Kindly now, move one [sic]” because frankly I gave you plenty of rope on HoT during the campaign season (even asking Nelson to bit his tongue on posts).

    I did this because I figured if the naysayers were right, you’d hang yourself and it would curb the inevitable accusations of sabotage (guess I was wrong about that).

  31. Stephen VanDyke Says:

    “D) No-proof electronic voting machines owned in part by the incumbent.”

    So now Badnarik lost because… IT’S A CONSPIRACY?!?
    Jesus Allen, you’re really grasping at straws here.

    PS- Here in Ohio we bought 30+ billboards for one month for slightly over $10K. Maybe dollars are worth less in Texas, it could be a… conspiracy.

  32. Allen Hacker Says:

    Sure, Steven,

    Perhaps we had an honesty-above-all policy that prevented us from prostituting ourselves to the media, and planned to go around them directly to the voters. And maybe we’d have been successful with that strategy had no one listened to your single-solution pontifications?

    Perhaps we should even have bought all that air time exclusively on Clear Channel stations so the incumbent would profit personally from an obviously illegal transaction. After all, we need them so badly, don’t we?

    Or is it that you want us to need you that badly?

    The answer me this. How is it that we got invited onto KLBJ without having bought anything from them, the co-hosts had an outright argument on the air right afterward about having Michael on because one of them doesn’t take libertarian candidates seriously, and then, after spending thousands with them for ads, we didn’t even get a call about our press release accusing the incumbent d illegal fundraising?

    Your theory doesn’t hold up, no matter how hearfelt you may believe it.

    The media is bad, but not the way you think.

    0

  33. Allen Hacker Says:

    Steven,

    I accuse you of selective focus. You chose D) and turned it into a conspircy ridicule? I offered up the choices that have been suggested to me. One or two of them, even, in jest. I didn’t say which, if any, I think it is. So stop trying to put your words into my mouth.

    And what’s this denial of the sabotage? You saw Micke Nelson’s confession just like all the rest of us did. Why do you choose to ignore it?

    What’s wrong with you?

    0

  34. Mike N. Says:

    The answer me this. How is it that we got invited onto KLBJ without having bought anything from them, the co-hosts had an outright argument on the air right afterward about having Michael on because one of them doesn’t take libertarian candidates seriously, and then, after spending thousands with them for ads, we didn’t even get a call about our press release accusing the incumbent d illegal fundraising?

    Well, after meeting Badnarik in person and if you are anywhere near as nutty in person as you are on blogs… I can understand perfectly why they would ignore you.

    Oh wait, lemme guess. It was those damn “sabatage” blog comments that no one (especially voters in TX-10) reads….

  35. Mike N. Says:

    The answer me this. How is it that we got invited onto KLBJ without having bought anything from them, the co-hosts had an outright argument on the air right afterward about having Michael on because one of them doesn’t take libertarian candidates seriously, and then, after spending thousands with them for ads, we didn’t even get a call about our press release accusing the incumbent d illegal fundraising?

    Well, after meeting Badnarik in person and if you are anywhere near as nutty in person as you are on blogs… I can understand perfectly why they would ignore you.

    Oh wait, lemme guess. It was those damn “sabatage” blog comments that no one (especially voters in TX-10) reads….

  36. Stephen VanDyke Says:

    I called to get some confirmation on my numbers:

    21 total Lamaar billboards
    1 other billboard
    10 8’x4’ vinyl signs on private property

    Total: ~$10K

  37. Tom Bryant Says:

    Allen,

    The donors gave you plenty of money for general mailings and door hangers. The campaign decided to spend the money elsewhere. $400,000 is more than enough to print out yard signs, run ads, and do mailings as evidenced by the Jon Coon campaign for Senate (statewide race that earned 4%). When one campaign can do X, but another better financed campaign cannot do X, many see it as suspicious.

    I’m not sure why we need to fork out $200,000 to get a report of how the campaign spent the first $400,000. Harry Browne managed to report on his Presidential campaign without asking $200,000. Badnarik’s team in 2004 did a report without asking for $200,000. Many see that as suspicious.

    You blame the hard-right majority in your district for your failure. If they hated you so much, why did you pick that district? And I find it hard to believe that that hatred could be wiped out if your campaign had raised $350k more. Those two statements just don’t add up to me, and many see that as suspicious.

    You may think that your request is “In this update I’m solicting the edge, thanking the mainstream donors, openly saying that this is not the report, and laying out a plan” but perception is what counts the most. You have alienated donors in the past, and I believe you have alienated more donors with this email. Specifically the threat of removing names from email lists unless they fork over $10 for a report.

    “I don’t need your money personally. Any day, I can start a new business and make a million dollars in a year. I’ve done it twice, will do it again as soon as I’ve shed the shackles of this campaign.”

    Yeah…you know, that’s probably not the best thing to say when you’re asking people for $10.

    Heck, at $1 million a year, you should be able to make $60k in three weeks – just in time for the New Year’s.

  38. Roberta Says:

    And I quote, Mr. Hacker:

    “Just for reference, for non-financial reasons the 2004 presidential committee didn’t close for some 8 months!”

    &

    “I don’t need your money personally. Any day, I can start a new business and make a million dollars in a year. I’ve done it twice, will do it again as soon as I’ve shed the shackles of this campaign.”

    I think you should put your money where your mouth is and do your business thing, make your million, and retire the debt personally.

    And that’s my two cents….(of which I will not be donating to your failed campaign)

  39. Tom Bryant Says:

    I will give Allen this, he does have some intelligence to hold off on the “TV ads are a bad investment” until after the campaign. If he had gone into fundraising on that slogan, he wouldn’t have raised nearly as much.

  40. Tom Bryant Says:

    “Q: Why didn’t any reasonable number of those people vote for us?

    A) They can’t read.
    B) They can read, but they only read HoT and TPW.
    C) They like free porridge.
    D) No-proof electronic voting machines owned in part by the incumbent.

    Does anyone else see something missing from the list of the four possible reasons for not getting votes? Something that a very arrogant person would leave out when discussing reasons why an endeavor has failed?

    I’d submit the following:

    E. A lack of TV ads
    F. A lack of significant radio ads
    G. A lack of direct mailing
    H. A lack of door-hangers
    I. A lack of door-knocking
    J. A lack of political experience (no prior public offices held) on the candidate’s part
    K. A lack of political experience on the management’s part
    L. A combination of various items from E-K.

    But let’s not look internally, let’s just blame all our failures on the religious right, the free-porridge left, and conspiracy theories about voting machines.

  41. Carl Says:

    Allen: you need to market to libertarians and their friends if you want them to keep sending money. Doing some bumper stickers, yards signs, etc. early on can be thought of as a fundraising expense.

    In the field, yard signs primarily serve to lepeople know that the candidate has some support—assuming one can find people willing to have them in their yards. They are a signal of electibility, not desireability.

    I realize that the libertarian brand has been ruined by the radicals, but I don’t think that “Smile if you Love Liberty” is going to change that image. But the key point that I was making is that “Smile if you Love Liberty” is not going to thrill either LP partisans or related interest groups. A campaign that puts of “Legalize Hemp” billboards is going to be of interest to hemp legalizers, even if the campaign has no chance of winning. A campaign of “Get Us Out of Iraq” is going to be interesting to peaceniks. A campaign of “End the Income Tax” is going to be of interest to anti-tax folks.

    Granted, such edgy messages can hurt electability. But many of us never thought Badnarik to be that electable in the first place, long before any sabotage broke out. To win without a strong local base requires having more money than the major party candidates have. And the LP just does not have that large a fundraising base.

    The wild-eyed fanaticism is built into the membership pledge. At least in 2004, Badnarik endorsed most of it, using the 2004 party platform as his campaign platform. While Badnarik has lots of charm, his message from his writings still are very radical to those who pay attention. And people pay attention to those who pay attention. (see Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point”)

    Regarding television: don’t the cable companies offer geographic focus?

  42. Mike N. Says:

    To win without a strong local base requires having more money than the major party candidates have. And the LP just does not have that large a fundraising base.

    And that base just got a lot smaller. I would imagine a great number of donors weren’t expecting $100k+ of their hard-earned donations to go into Hacker’s pocket, unecessarily expensive office space and on and on….

  43. George Phillies Says:

    As some of you will recall, I have prviously noted that Michael Badnarik did unusually well for a libertarian, both in fundraising and in vote percentages.

    Lest I be misunderstood, I did not mean to imply that the debt forgiveness process is simple. It is complex, must be applied uniformly across all vendors, and must be convincing to the FEC. The FEC is very suspicious of people who say they have no cash. On the other hand, they can look at the candidate’s tax filings for a few years, see that he has only had minimal income, look at a net worth, and look at a record of no further political activity, and agree that there is no blood to be wrung from this stone. At that point, debt forgiveness applies. In defense of Mr. Hacker, if he has already billed the Badnarik campaign for his work then there is a fine line between ‘saying it is voluntarism’ and ‘converting debt into an illegal excessive personal campaign contribution’, and those of you referring to debt of this sort should read the regulations carefully before saying the debt can simply be forgiven.

    I file with the FEC myself, for my PAC, and if fundraising is on hiatus the effort required to file is quite limited.

    I am not sure what Mr. Hacker’s reference to Badnarik’s opponents is supposed to mean, with respect to my comments. I had not been thinking of them.

    With respect to the national convention, note that in the penultimate round a very small number of votes separated Badnarik and Nolan, and if that very small group of people had voted for Nolan, Badnarik would have been eliminated first and the next round would have been Russo vs Nolan.

    Finally, please recall that after serving Aaron Russo as his national volunteer coordinator, I was able with some effort to convince the powers that be that Michael Badnarik needed a national volunteer coordinator and I was prepared to serve in that role. It was my privilege to have supported both of their 2004 campaigns in this way.

    To see me on video http://www.phillies2008.com and click on the New Hampshire link near the top of the page.

    George Phillies

  44. Stephen VanDyke Says:

    If you guys haven’t noticed already, Hacker refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for $400k being blown. It’s always someone else’s fault that he couldn’t raise more than that to (I presume) blow just as well.

    I wonder who he blames when his Rice Krispies are soggy.

  45. Mike Linksvayer Says:

    Can the campaign sell its donor list? If I were a marketer I’d love to have it. Fools are pure gold.

  46. Rev Bill Williams Says:

    Praise Jesus—I just gave to the Badnarik Campaign simply because the esteemed Mr. Hacker has the grande cojones I’ve ever seen in even asking for this money! If they just didn’t go to Outback so much on the campaign trail—then perhaps they wouldn’t have any debt to pay off!

  47. Doug Craig Says:

    If some will send me $200,000 I will send you a report on all the campaigns in Ga.I will then deliver it in person then I will then wash you car make you breakfast dance a Irish jig then share some of my Irish whiskey then go to the Islands for a few months and send you some pictures.Then laugh all the way to the bank.

  48. paulie cannoli Says:

    Tim

    maybe the fact that he was the 2004 Presidential nominee and the process of how he got to do that, and then do this, needs to be examined.

    What do you propose?

    maybe there really are institutional failures relating to the LP and how it is run that might be helpful to change and stop repeating if those advocating same were not hounded and attacked as “unprincipled” in some manner should be examined.

    Of course there are institutional failures relating to the LP and how it is run that might be helpful to change and stop repeating, but this is an entirely separate matter from the issue of how hardcore the party is ideologically.

    Ideologically extreme groups ranging from the Soviet Communists to the German Nazis have been extremely effective; in fact, tiny political cults like the Trotskyite factions, LaRouchies, and Fulani/Newman crew get a hell of a lot more done vis-a-vis their numbers than the LP.

    On the other hand, political history is rife with meaningless, ideologically centrist or unclear efforts which sputtered and went nowhere, as well as movements which sold out and found no one was buying.

    This incessant linkage of procedural and ideological reform of the LP is in fact part of the problem, not the solution.

    maybe attention should be paid to why the LP cant sell it’s product to anyone but a tiny fraction of members or voters – and stop making excuses and talking bullshit after 35 years. This is little different than the 2nd Harry Browne Campaign in 2000.

    when you widen the underpinnings of LP thought beyond the non force principle to include and enfranchise all types of libertarians, and then stop attacking them like jackals and hyenas when they show up, the LP might start making a difference. Until then, nothing anyone does will help. The LP is in a philosophical prison of it’s own making.

    This “ideological prison” idea seems to based on the view that all we have do is offer a moderate position and we’ll suddenly become a major party or something close.

    However, this ignores all the procedural roadblocks – from ballot access to straight ticket voting devices and party loyalty, from the corporate money/insider expert news source/ newsworthiness-results catch 22, and most importantly the “wasted vote” calculation in the winner-takes-all electoral system – preventing a new major party from forming.

    In fact, the last one that did form did so at a time when ballot access barriers did not exist, corporate political donations weren’t anything to speak of, a modern national/international media didn’t exist, the country’s population was tiny compared to today, and one of the two major parties in existence at the time had just collapsed.

    In the modern era of mass political spending, mass media, and ballot access barriers the LP has already done better than any other political party over its entire lifespan. It’s true that some parties have garnered larger national top-of-the-ticket vote totals and been elected to higher offices, but they fizzled quickly, never built a lasting farm team of lower level candidates to nearly the extent of the LP, and didn’t leave any tangible ideological legacy.

    In size, scope, endurance and diversity the LP and libertarian movement is roughly similar to the socialist parties and movement of 100 years ago. Various socialist and communist parties formed then, while other socialists infiltrated the major parties or functioned in various non-partisan advocacy groups. Some of the most extreme of these parties ended up taking over countries.

    If the LP and libertarian movement is interested in practical success, it ought to study that tactical history closely.

    The Reform Party, John Anderson, etc., aren’t really good role models to emulate.

  49. michelle shinghal Says:

    I was on the let’s see what happens train months ago, and now I see a train wreck. Mr. Hacker should detail the expenses. I like Badnarik, but his campaign manager is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

  50. paulie cannoli Says:

    Badnarik got elected entirely due to the convention debate. At that debate Nolan was too moderate and noncommittal for the purists. Russo was openly unorthodox on key anarchist points, which lost him those votes. Badnarik, on the other hand, preached the straight anarchist, purist party line in an engaging and positive way… which gave him the base he needed to pass Nolan and eventually win the nomination.

    Badnarik was the purists’ baby, plain and simple.

    Gotta diagree with you there. Both Nolan and Russo diverged from some ZAP libertarian views (for example, Russo on environmental issues and Nolan on the Afghani war/occupation) but then again, Badnarik is a Constitutionalist who claimed that government, when constrained by the Constitution, is both good and necessary – not exactly a purist Anarchist position. None of the candidates were anarchists or purists.

    Personally, as an Anarchist, I was a Russo supporter and continue to believe he would have been far and away the better pick. I liked the issues he emphasized and the way in which he presented them. Other anarchists I know were also supporting Russo.

    Badnarik benefitted from being most people’s second choice. The bad blood and relatively even strength between the Russo and Nolan camps neutralized each other. Badnarik also did relatively well in the convention debate. He mostly got elected because he was not much disliked by anyone yet.

    In fact, it was the Nolan faction which threw its support to Badnarik to get him over the top, because they found him preferrable to Russo. By and large, Nolan supporters who found Badnarik preferrable to Russo were not anarchists or purists. They were more likely to be moderate and/or conservative-leaning, in political views as well as personal style.

    So, if anyone was behind the Badnarik nomination, it was the corporate suit and tie/Republitarian crowd. And no, I don’t mean every single Nolan supporter, since I know a few whose second choice would have been Russo, but the bulk of them, including Gary Nolan himself.

  51. Timothy West Says:

    I’m just really sorry that the LP cant confront itself and see both itself for what it is internally and what it seems to non-libertarians externally.

    there is not, and never will be, a way to “fix” the LP without starting to acknowledge and repair the damage done by 35 years of what is at the least, a serious mistake in judgement by David Nolan and the founders of this “party” that political effort was last on the list of things to do.

    “Maybe we might even get some libertarians elected!”

    2006 is a very important year – the year the LP started to realize how much damage has been done becuase there has not been a real political party all these years that could both defend and articulate liberty in a manner americans could vote for. If there had, we might not be so bad off.

    I’m sitting here just thinking how much has been wasted. I’m sad. I hurt. Someome maybe will offer me a tissue or some other glib comment.

    You confront your demons and deal with them head on or you continue the evasions. Thats the choice. I hope someone in the LP has enough balls to say 06 is the final straw and that we are going to approach 08 as a real political party and shove the non force principle into the toilet.

    just persue public policy goals that do he same thing, and it fixes itself.

  52. paulie cannoli Says:

    daughters (or sometimes, sons), naked on their backs and out of their minds on drug, uncaring as to who is impregnating them at the moment.

    The latter is certainly a neat trick.

  53. mark s2 Says:

    I think I have the best response to the Hacker email and request for more money (besides the $100 he got from me during the campaign). When I got it, I hit the ‘delete’ button. Nuff said.

  54. paulie cannoli Says:

    D) No-proof electronic voting machines owned in part by the incumbent.”

    So now Badnarik lost because… IT’S A CONSPIRACY?!?

    I don’t dismiss conspiracies out of hand. As a former career criminal, I was involved in a few, and as a former government independent contractor, well, the less said about that, the better.

    I know enough about black box voting to give it a great deal of credence.

    However, no black box voting scam is going to convert a win or near-win to anything like 4%. That’s ridiculous. To be able to successfully steal an election, it has to be close to begin with, or your effort would be far too transparent.

    Nor is anyone likely to bother to shave 8% down to 4% – what would be the point? If Badnarik’s actual vote total was above 8% or so, shaving it down to 4% would have been too blatant.

    We didn’t buy TV because it was a bad investment.

    I would have to disagree. Sure, having a gerrymandered and mostly rural district isn’t ideal for media buys, but so what? There’s a reason why all other candidates in such districts who can afford to buy ads on TV.

    For one thing, your rural voters do almost universally watch some TV, and their stations will be out of the nearest big cities. They may also be influenced by friends and relatives in their media markets but outside the district itself.

    Also, what about future possible statewide runs or redistricting? Those media dollars aren’t wasted completely.

    Stephen VanDyke pointed out another big reason for Tv ad buys.

    Another is to increase your donations. Quite likely, you would have received more donations, bigger donations, and more repeat donations if you had more of a tangible result to show for what you spent the money you initially raised on.

    But we spent $7200 on a very nice billboard facing a daily viewership of 116,000 people who saw it 3-6 times a week for 7 months or more. The neighborhood included 2 precincts that were won, and 5 more almost-won, by the previous CD10 LP candidate.

    Yes, but what did the billboard say? Was it anything that would inspire someone to vote for an alternative candidate? And how many billboards did you say you had again? As you say yourself….

    Repetition is the essence of advertising success.

  55. Kn@ppster Says:

    If Michael Badnarik had polled 10-15% or better, it would have been reasonable to simply reiterate what we’ve learned from past campaigns: In order to be competitive, a Libertarian candidate for races of this scale doesn’t just have to raise money on par with his or her major party opponents, he or she has to raise more than they do.

    $400k+ for 4.x% requires more explanation than that . In general, the explanation is simple: The campaign was poorly run. It’s the details of how it was poorly run that are important. Right now, the only “lesson learned,” whether that lesson is accurate or not, is “never, ever, ever hire Allen Hacker to run your campaign.” Presumably Mr. Hacker would rather we drew other, different lessons … but doing so is impossible without the information that he intimated earlier would be coming, but now seems to be demanding another $200k for.

    The “we were sabotaged in the blogosphere” dog just isn’t going to hunt. Criticisms of the campaign appeared on only a few blogs, and mostly down in the comments at that. More than 175,000 individuals voted in the Texas CD 10 election, and there’s just no reasonable case that any significant percentage of the 169,000 (give or take) who did not vote for Badnarik chose not to do so because Michael Nelson slagged Allen Hacker on Hammer of Truth. Don’t get me wrong—it would be great if HoT was that influential, but it just isn’t.

    Furthermore, to the extent that blog coverage was skylined, it was skylined precisely because the campaign had almost zero apparent “mainstream media” presence. It might not have received the attention it deserved had it competently sought that attention, but we’ll never know because it didn’t competently seek that attention in either earned or paid media. Those who didn’t go looking for Badnarik didn’t hear about him. Those who did go looking for Badnarik were forced to the blogs alone for lack of any other coverage.

    I still resist the portrayal of Michael Badnarik as “Fraudnarik.” I’ve known Michael for several years. I’ve worked with him. I trust him and I know him not to be personally greedy. I know this because at a low point in his presidential campaign, when he was down to his last $250, he pulled out that last $250 and gave it to help bail someone out of jail. He was paid back the next day, but he couldn’t know that he would be. And yes, that someone was me.

    In my experience, Michael hits the road, works his ass off, and listens to and trusts his campaign manager and staff on the mechanics of the thing. That works great when the manager and staff are locked on and doing what needs to be done, and in a perfect world that’s exactly what a candidate should be able to do. An actor (and in many ways that profession parallels political candidacy) should be able to act, confident that the stage crew has the curtains, lights, camera, etc. under control and that they know better than he how to manage them.

    In this case, it’s obvious that Badnarik’s campaign manager and staff either didn’t know what to do, or didn’t do it. But, once again, that’s a general statement. It would be really nice to have specifics so that we can avoid fiascos like this in the future.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

    P.S. I’ve already seen my first “after that $500 to Badnarik and the election results, my wife has put her foot down about contributions to LP candidates” letter in response to a Kubby fundraiser. This is going to affect LP candidate fundraising, no two ways about it. It would be nice to get some useful data on why and how it occurred.

  56. Allen Hacker Says:

    Michelle,

    You’d feel better if you didn’t read these blogs. You know nobody gets an even break here, and measured discourse is impossible. If you think what you see of me here pissing on fire ants is all there is, then go ahead and hate me. Listen to Tim West, instead. He’s the most sensible commentator here.


    Sorry Austin, there’s just not enough value possible here. Read the thread, notice how much information the critics ignore and how they then say that you didn’t say the stuff they ignored…. Or how, as in the case of Tim, they just ignore intelligent comments altogether.

    They’re just here to kep themselves busy, can’t think of anything constructive to do. That’s the persistent word-twisting critics. I’m not sure what’s wrong with everyone else. Maybe they’re still hoping that you’ll get the blog you meant to start.

    0

  57. paulie cannoli Says:

    Perhaps we had an honesty-above-all policy that prevented us from prostituting ourselves to the media, and planned to go around them directly to the voters.

    That could have worked too. Take your initial FR and invest a good chunk of it into professionally produced video. Say 15-30 min long, perhaps. Then copy a ton of DVD and VHS tapes. Put a DVD into your next FR lettter and say something like “your last contribution allowed us to produce this video, if yopu give us X amount more we will distribute one to every voter in the district” and then if you raised the money do so.

    If you get enough additional money, have a campaign volunteer or employee actually delivery every copy to the voter, or as many as you can afford to. Not enough money or manpower? Follow the district mailer up with direct mail and/or phone calls.

    Asking people to repeatedly drop money into a black box and then expecting your FR not to drop off over time is incredibly unrealistic. This would have been the case even without critics and, by your description, saboteurs.

  58. paulie cannoli Says:

    I accuse you of selective focus. You chose D) and turned it into a conspircy ridicule? I offered up the choices that have been suggested to me. One or two of them, even, in jest. I didn’t say which, if any, I think it is. So stop trying to put your words into my mouth.

    Well that would require taking one of the following seriously…

    A) They can’t read.
    B) They can read, but they only read HoT and TPW.

    These can be dismissed out of hand.

    So it must be:

    C) They like free porridge.

    Well, OK, most people do. Yet Libertarians have been known to get well above 4%.

    Ron Paul, although he runs as a Reptublican, doesn’t exactly go around promising free porridge, and he’s been in office long enough for people in his district to know what he’s up to. Yet he manages to get re-elected. So much for the Goldilocks theory.

  59. paulie cannoli Says:

    I like Badnarik, but his campaign manager is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

    I apologize in advance because I really like Michelle, but I just can’t resist.

    Why were you letting him into your mouth?

    (I kid, I kid…)

  60. Kris Overstreet Says:

    Allen:

    There were at least two, maybe three, LP paper candidates for US House in three-way races who got a greater percentage of the vote than Badnarik did… without spending a penny.

    By contrast, the other active campaigns in Texas- my own for state rep, ditto Matthew Mosely, Rock Howard for state senator, even Bob Smither- showed a greater than average vote total for their efforts.

    There are only two explanations, and they are not exclusive: either Badnarik is a bad candidate, or the campaign was badly run.

    Speaking as a candidate, I found it nigh impossible to get donations from Libertarians in no small part because the Badnarik campaign- “all in one basket” strategy and all- drained the coffers dry. If Badnarik had even done as much as 10% in his three-way race, perhaps there might be some justification… but he didn’t do as well as some of our paper candidates. That means $400,000… enough to have given between six and eight state representative candidates spending parity with their big-party opponents… was completely, totally, and utterly wasted.

    Tell me, why should we, as investors in liberty, give you a penny more?

  61. Andy Says:

    “We didn’t buy TV because it was a bad investment. But we spent $7200 on a very nice billboard facing a daily viewership of 116,000 people who saw it 3-6 times a week for 7 months or more. The neighborhood included 2 precincts that were won, and 5 more almost-won, by the previous CD10 LP candidate.”

    Those billboards were extremely lame. “Smile if you love liberty” and “Property, Security, Prosperity” are not attention grabbers. This was the kind of fluffy CRAP that Democrats and Republicans can get away with but do NOTHING to build a “third party” candidate.

    Here are some billboards that would have gotten people’s attention.

    “IMPEACH BUSH! Libertarian Michael Badnarik for Congress”

    “LEGALIZE MARIJUANA! Libertarian Michael Badnarik for Congress”

    “BRING THE TROOPS HOME! Libertarian Michael Badnarik for Congress”

    “TIRED OF DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN LIES? Libertarian Michael Badnarik for Congress”

    “ABOLISH THE INCOME TAX! Libertarian Michael Badnarik for Congress”

    Would these billboards offend some people? Sure. But these people aren’t going to vote Libertarian anyway so the heck with them. The focus should have been put on the people who would have seen those billboards and thought, “Right on!”

    I think that Michael Badnarik is a good guy and a decent candidate. The problem with this campaign was the way that it was run. I donated $100 to Badnarik’s campaign for President and $200 to his congressional campaign. I ASSUMED that the campaign was going to do TV advertising. If I would have known the way that they were going to piss away the money I wouldn’t have donated anything.

    Just because only part of the district was in Austin is no excuse for not running TV ads. Remember that a big part of Libertarian campaigns is to SPREAD the Libertarian message. If I was in charge of the campaign I would have made a TV commercial (and not some LAME AS “Smile if you love liberty” CRAP) as soon as the funding was available. The commercial could have been posted on-line and could have brought in a lot more donations.

    This had to have been one of the worst run campaigns ever and likely destroyed the future political prospects of a decent man.

  62. paulie cannoli Says:

    The “we were sabotaged in the blogosphere” dog just isn’t going to hunt. Criticisms of the campaign appeared on only a few blogs, and mostly down in the comments at that. More than 175,000 individuals voted in the Texas CD 10 election, and there’s just no reasonable case that any significant percentage of the 169,000 (give or take) who did not vote for Badnarik chose not to do so because Michael Nelson slagged Allen Hacker on Hammer of Truth. Don’t get me wrong—it would be great if HoT was that influential, but it just isn’t.

    Let’s be generous enough to suppose that Allen does not mean anything quite that ridiculous. Give him the benefit of the doubt to assume he means that the saboteurs ruined their national libertarian fundraising efforts and that in turn translated into lower than expected results at the end.

    Even then, you are correct – the main reason their fundraising fell off was because of how they spent, or, rather, how they did NOT spend the money initially raised (on tangible early results that could be parlayed into repeat, additional and increased donations). “Saboteurs” were very secondary to that – and, in fact, given their spending choices and the internally critical LP /libertarian movement culture, which they were well aware of before they made their campaign management and spending decisions, “saboteurs” were entirely predictable.

  63. George Phillies Says:

    Andy writes “If I was in charge of the campaign I would have made a TV commercial (and not some LAME AS “Smile if you love liberty” CRAP) as soon as the funding was available. The commercial could have been posted on-line and could have brought in a lot more donations.”

    In fact my campaign posted to my site http://www.phillies2008.com a series of storyboards (concept videos) sketching what ads might cover, followed by an almost completelyready real ad, opposing the war. Work is now underway to run the final ad in select markets soon.

    “King George W has been spying on you” is fairly radical. That one is a concept video not yet ready for braodcast.

  64. michelle shinghal Says:

    Mr. Hacker,
    You should know that I am the Michelle from HoT who asked for you to be let alone to run/ruin the campaign as you saw fit. I am the same Michelle who supported Michael in both of his campaigns. Because I write these blogs, I am offended that you would ask me not to read them. You had my support months ago, and as I said in a recent email (TX newsgroups), you seem to be hanging by a noose of your own design. I told people to keep tight lipped until after the election season. I told them that they did nothing to promote liberty or its party by bitching before the results were in. Now you tell me to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain?What is that old movie line? Something about being weighed, measured and found lacking?

  65. michelle shinghal Says:

    told should have been asked- i am hoping that you guys knew that without this comment

  66. paulie cannoli Says:

    Well, the 2006 elections are history, nobody did well except the statists,

    Hold it…hold it right there.

    What are you talking about?

    I’ve detailed lots of good news from the elections on this site and elsewhere.

    In short:

    The voters top three priorities were ending the illegal
    occupation of Iraq, stopping the destruction of civil liberties in
    the name of the war on terror, and ending corrupt pork barrel
    spending (such as the military-industrial complex). If the LP
    hammers away at those priorities strongly, consistently, and
    unwaveringly for the next two years, we will be in a great position
    to challenge the major parties – especially the Donkey Show Party
    which is likely to sell out the will of the strongly antiwar
    majority who elected them.

    Their Kongressional Kangaroo Klique is “ruling out” impeachment
    hearings for the war criminal Bush Gang, keeping the (disastrous)
    course in Iraq and Afghanistan, preparing to roll over for the
    executive dictatorship, and will almsot certainly be just as corupt
    and wasteful as the NSGOP bunch (or at least nearly so).

    Their likely 2008 nominee Madame Clinton is a rabid, foaming at the
    mouth warmonger and no friend of civil liberties or the taxpayer.
    And all of this is also very much true of NSGOP frontrunners Benito
    Giuliani and John McCain.

    There is definitely an opening for the LP - as long as we make make
    ending the wars, preserving our civil liberties from their
    destruction in the endless “war on terror,” and ending regime waste
    and corruption our top priorities.

    and your Party needs your help now more than ever. In the animated contest for freedom, there’s not much left to lose. So, what’s the best, most effective thing you can do now?

    Permit me to shock and amaze you: contribute to the Badnarik for Congress campaign!

    Good God….do you honestly expect anyone to take this seriously? Sure, it has shock value, but then again so does a car wreck.

    There are hundreds, no, wait, thousands, of things which can be done right now. Looking forward to 2008 by donating to a candidate (say, Steve Kubby) might be among them. Perhaps a winnable local race in 2007. A good citizen initiative in your city or state. National ballot access. Educating your friends and neighbors about the philosophy of liberty. Reading a good book. Buying stock in a silver mine. Building an underground bunker. Learning more about offshore banks. Learning more about making home videos. A rollicking good mudslinging session on your favorite debate blog comment section. Hell, a juicy rare steak and spreading some holiday cheer at your local neighborhood titty bar.

    Anything but the Ghost of Christmas Past coming back up like the bile-ravaged remains of some leftover Election Day Turkey that had been left out for a month, went very very bad, and then got eaten by mistake after a twelve pack and a half of warm canned Natural Lite slammed down quickly after a long overdue yet unforeseen bitter break-up with your ex- live in girlfriend.

  67. Stephen VanDyke Says:

    Running a Libertarian campaign from the fundraising side is 100% about tangibles.

    Want raise money to run a television ad? Go ahead and shoot the damn thing… put it on YouTube and ask for money to do it professionally if need be. This applies to print, door hangers, flyers… whatever.

  68. paulie cannoli Says:

    What’s that you say? It’s December! The election’s over and we’ve been humiliated? Maybe, maybe not. There is entirely another way to look at it.

    Yeah, if you take enough acid and squint long and hard enough.

    Of course you got humiliated.

    Anything else would be a gross distortion of the obvious facts.

  69. michelle shinghal Says:

    Paulie,
    You eat at titty bars? Brave dude, brave.

  70. paulie cannoli Says:

    The fact is, give either challenger another $300K last August and the republican would be history today.

    Yeah, right.

    Perhaps this would be true if you gave the D 300 k. Even then, perhaps not, in a very conservative district – had the D been close enough, the Rs would have made shoring up support there more of a priority, and spent more there themselves – probably ending up with about the same results they ended up with but in a more expensive fashion.

    And the fact that it was even that close has to do with a strong anti-incumbent, anti-GOP and pro-Democrat (as the designated non-R) sentiment this year.

    Give you another 300 K? With lots of luck, it may have gotten Badnarik all the way up to 7 or 8%, with most of that 3-4% difference coming out of the Democrat’s total.

  71. paulie cannoli Says:

    Paulie,
    You eat at titty bars?

    Not normally. Those are two separate expenditures.

    BTW, as adventurous as that may be, it’s still not as brave as letting Allen into your mouth (again, I kid…)

  72. paulie cannoli Says:

    Michael could be in debt the rest of his life, and I could be stuck filing meaningless quarterly reports even longer than that.

    I kinda feel bad for Badnarik. Kinda.

    As for Allen, perhaps a cosmically appropriate punishment for him would be to do nothing but file these meaningless quarterly reports over and over again for all eternity. Or at least a few aeons.

  73. michelle shinghal Says:

    I have been trying not to say this, but the only man I let in my mouth is the doc. Of course, he tells me that he is checking my throat. Tongue depressors have changed recently, right??

  74. paulie cannoli Says:

    That’s right, federal candidates are personally responsible for their campaign debts, and they can’t be forgiven or negotiated away because that makes them campaign contributions under campaign finance law.

    At best a half-truth. The number of former federal candidates who skip out on their campaign debt is legion.

    Fair warning to those who accept checks from campaigns close to election time, particularly if they also at the same time accept the attendant pleas not to cash said checks immediately.

  75. paulie cannoli Says:

    I have been trying not to say this, but the only man I let in my mouth is the doc. Of course, he tells me that he is checking my throat. Tongue depressors have changed recently, right??

    Probably. To be honest, I don’t really know much about letting men into my mouth. But it sounds plausible.

    Your husband’s a doctor? Lucky girl…

  76. Andy Says:

    “In fact my campaign posted to my site http://www.phillies2008.com a series of storyboards (concept videos) sketching what ads might cover, followed by an almost completelyready real ad, opposing the war. Work is now underway to run the final ad in select markets soon.

    “King George W has been spying on you” is fairly radical. That one is a concept video not yet ready for braodcast.”

    It sounds like George Phillies is off to a good start.

    We should applaud George Phillies and Steve Kubby for starting their campaigns early. I hope to see more effective outreach from both candidates as well as anyone else who jumps in the race.

  77. paulie cannoli Says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to introduce our next speaker, the one and only legendary businessman and consultant, Mr. Charles Ponzi….

    Hold your applause. Mr. Ponzi will speak now…..

    You really don’t want that, and here’s why. There’s an unexpected benefit to the party yet to be realized from this campaign, and I won’t be in a position to produce it until the committee is closed. Think of it as an extension of the educational side of our campaigns: educating ourselves!

    You see, for the past 20+ years I’ve been a private business consultant, specializing in vision clarification with owners and executives. It’s a weird specialty that depends on a peculiar talent, of which I seem to have a remarkable share of. As a result of honing that talent in my practice, combined with 35 years’ LP experience culminating in this campaign, I am uniquely qualified to analyze the LP’s difficulties. I have the right attitude as well: where others see impediments and problems, I see patterns and possibilities.

    We’ve been accused of risking the LP’s future with this campaign. The argument has been that by raising so much money and talking about winning, We have set everyone up for a huge disappointment, which will in turn stall everyone’s fundraising and support for years to come. Balderdash!

    Thank you. Thank you. The donation plate is being passed around. Remember that the more you give, the more you get back in return.

  78. paulie cannoli Says:

    For more about our featured speaker

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzi

  79. paulie cannoli Says:

    What we have actually done in pushing the envelope so far is to peel back the scab hiding the chronic infection that has been keeping the LP anemic and unhealthy all along. By going for the whole enchilada, we aggravated every failure mode the Party has ever adopted.

    So it was a pre-planned experiment to expose LP weakness and failure? Nicely done.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Con_artists

  80. michelle shinghal Says:

    Yep, hubby is a doc. Unfortunately, some people are calling for those in his profession to be sued if they fail to put on their naggy housewife hat. (see reason.com h&r and the whole smoking thing) If that happens, I think, for him, his tongue depressor will get smaller*** .

    ***size doesn’t change, but male perception of income/depressor size is mostly in his head anyway

  81. Andy Says:

    “Personally, as an Anarchist, I was a Russo supporter and continue to believe he would have been far and away the better pick. I liked the issues he emphasized and the way in which he presented them. Other anarchists I know were also supporting Russo.

    Badnarik benefitted from being most people’s second choice.”

    I agree. I supported Badnarik after he recieved the nomination but I think that Russo should have been the nominee. Russo had more charisma, more money, and more name recognition.

    I had the chance to speak to Aaron Russo recently and I told him that I thought that he should have been the LP’s Presidential nominee. He said that in retrospect that he’s glad that he didn’t get the nomination because not getting the nomination gave him more time to work on his movie, “American: From Freedom To Fascism.” I wish that he could have done both.

    Aaron is cotemplating another presidential run but this time he’s leaning towards trying to win the Republican nomination by winning the New Hampshire primary or running as an independent. He mentioned something about the Libertarian label scaring people off. I’d support him if he changes his mind and decides to go for the LP nomination again.

  82. paulie cannoli Says:

    And they succeeded, too, to the degree that the Party itself has institutionalized their ways of stopping everything good anyone tries to do as a libertarian activist, officer or candidate.

    For just one example, consider that in a party whose highest social value is the free market, when you get accused of corruption because you expect to be paid for your work, almost no one defends you.

    There’s some truth to that, but it begs a question:

    paid for what?

    I’m all for rewarding success. I can see some justification with rewarding a good honest effort which had some reasonable hope of some success.

    Rewarding an admitted attempt to push the envelope of endemic failure seems somewhat less justifiable.

  83. Andy Says:

    “The fact is, give either challenger another $300K last August and the republican would be history today.”

    This sounds like something that the government school teachers union would say. Give us more money and we’ll get better results. Nevermind the fact that they already recieve plenty of money and nevermind the fact that everytime they get more money there’s no real improvement.

    If 4% of the vote is the best you can do with over $400,000 then I’d say that your campaign plans were flawed.

  84. matt Says:

    Quote:
    I called to get some confirmation on my numbers:

    21 total Lamaar billboards
    1 other billboard
    10 8’x4’ vinyl signs on private property

    Total: ~$10K
    Endquote.

    $400,000 – 10,000———————$390,000 dollars worth of unaccountability!

    All that money and no doorknob mailers or ad buys?

    I suspect fraud or at least greivous waste. I heard someone riffing on how much money was spent at steakhouses, but I don’t know have any concrete information about that. I’m just not sure how the money was spent.

    What I am sure about is that getting rid of the NAP and running (further) towards the center wouldn’t have improved anything. In 2006, a firm “bring home the troops” platform would have gotten you at least 30%, in any district in the country. Paulie’s other proposed “bumper sticker” ideas would’ve gotten you 5-10% too. Moderate libertarians will NEVER effect change at the ballot box. All they’ll do is waste money and allow the Republicans to move further right.

  85. paulie cannoli Says:

    But most important, why does it happen? I know the answer; it’s startling in its simplicty and far-reaching in its consequences. I wouldn’t have seen it had we not done this campaign. We can now do something about a problem we had no chance of dealing with before.

    I believe in free market competition. I too know the answer, and will sell it for a mere $150,000, well below Allen’s asking price of $200 K.

    This is a limited time offer. Operators are standing by.

    The first twenty callers will be entered into an exclusive lottery to win a first crack early peek at the information, plus an all expense paid weekend at a fabulous time share resort in beautiful Grand Island, Nebraska.

  86. paulie cannoli Says:

    If 4% of the vote is the best you can do with over $400,000 then I’d say that your campaign plans were flawed.

    Unless your campaign plan had been to expose LP weaknesses.

  87. Andy Says:

    “The “we were sabotaged in the blogosphere” dog just isn’t going to hunt. Criticisms of the campaign appeared on only a few blogs, and mostly down in the comments at that. More than 175,000 individuals voted in the Texas CD 10 election, and there’s just no reasonable case that any significant percentage of the 169,000 (give or