Stays in Vegas? Yeah, right …

And I always thought this would be
The land of milk and honey
Oh but I come to find out
That it’s all hate and money
And there’s a canopy of
Greed holding me down
—”Tones of Home” by Blind Melon

OK, maybe not hate, money and greed, but at least a lack of basic good judgment coupled with a bad case of opportunism at the expense of loyalties owed.

Martin mentioned that his company is currently working on the site for BJ Lawson, a Ron Paul Republican running for Congress here. I hollered from the audience, “hey! that’s my district!” Martin then said what a great candidate Lawson is and I replied, “yes, I am planning to vote for him in November over Susan Hogarth.” This caused widespread and sustained laughter all across the room. More telling is that absolutely no one even suggested to me that it was inappropriate for our Political Director to openly state that he would vote for someone else when a Libertarian would be on his ballot in that race. It would be the first time in my life I would do so.

[editor’s note: Final sentence of the quote above added pursuant to the quoted inividual’s repeatedly stated belief that it’s important and that omitting it indicates that I’m trying to hide something – TLK]

That’s Sean Haugh, national political director of the Libertarian Party, recounting his experiences at last weekend’s Libertarian State Leadership Alliance conference in Las Vegas in a message to the North Carolina LP’s online discussion list (subscription required to view).

Errrrrr .... what’s wrong with this picture, folks?

Imagine, if you will, Coke’s marketing director showing up at an industry conference and jumping up when Pepsi is mentioned to yell “yeah, baby! I’ll have a Pepsi, not that crap my own company bottles!” How long do you think he’d remain Coke’s marketing director?

In the last three months, the Libertarian National Committee has endorsed a Republican presidential candidate “invited” a Republican presidential candidate to seek the LP’s presidential nomination, LPHQ has sent out fundraisers in the guise of petitions to that Republican candidate to do so, and now the LP’s national political director publicly proclaims his intention to vote Republican rather than Libertarian down-ticket as well.

In an email exchange on this, Mr. Haugh says that he stands by his comments, and doubly so to me, because he, um, “refuses[s] to coddle people who deliberately damage the party.” After three days of non-response from LPHQ (executive director Shane Cory was privy to this correspondence), I have to assume that the LP sets a lower coddling threshold for its political director than he sets for everyone else.

Cross-posted at KN@PPSTER

61 Responses to “Stays in Vegas? Yeah, right …”

  1. Kris Overstreet Says:

    Thanks, Tom, for stating yet again the reason why I left the LP.

    Even with Ron Paul apparently not running third party, his candidacy continues to work to destroy the party.

  2. NewFederalist Says:

    Gee, I wonder why the LP is not taken seriously!

  3. Wes Benedict Says:

    Both Susan Hogarth and Sean Haugh asked me to resign from the LNC in 2007 for donating to Ron Paul’s campaign so it might be fair for me to say “screw them both (Sean and Susan),” but I’m not going to say that. ;-)

    The Libertarian Party needs to grow and so I want both of those highly defective Libertarians to hang in there since they’re what we have to work with and if either were to disappear, I doubt more effective people are ready and willing to step into their positions.

    Lawson’s website says:
    As your Congressman, I will work for an orderly and immediate military withdrawal from Iraq.
    http://www.lawsonforcongress.com/issues/national-security/

    I haven’t researched this race, but does Lawson’s stand on the war suggest the Republican Party is likely to nominate someone else or else is he running in an un-winnable district?

    In any case, I much prefer Libertarian Susan Hogarth for Congress.

  4. ElfNinosMom Says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. It would surprise me much more if someone involved had actually done the right thing.

    For the “party of principle” there sure are a lot of extremely unprincipled people in the LP.

  5. Matthew Sterba Says:

    Ron Paul proved the point that the LP is worthless! He has done more to promote and spread the message of liberty than ALL of the LP campaigns put together. He did this because he is in a major party and was able to get his message out. The LP hurts the cause of liberty by drawing away liberty minded individuals from the major parties. If you want libertarian ideas to advance, the Libertarian Party must shut it’s doors and realize that indeed this is a two-party system. I’m not saying that I like it, but that’s the way it is. Look at the 2000 election. Ideologically Nader was closer to the Dems, and that is who he drew supporters away from. Let’s wake up and start building a massive libertarian movement within the GOP.

  6. Wes Benedict Says:

    Matthew Sterba,

    I don’t know the exact numbers, but I’d estimate Libertarians spend on average about one penny per vote (of course that figure varies drastically). Diverting those pennies to either the Republican or Democratic parties would have a negligible affect since they’re known to spend $10 or more on average per vote. Not bragging, just being honest.

    On the other hand, money isn’t everything. Time and effort counts too. Are you saying that people like me have such a mega-impact that we could have a huge impact on the Republicans or Democrats? In a Donderic way, I’d like to say Wow! Thanks for that supreme vote of confidence and respect for Libertarian effectiveness.

    Separately, while I am a former Republican, I think Bush I and II were far worse than Bill Clinton. Couldn’t see it when I was a Republican. The Republican Party sucks worse than ever. If sticking with the LP truly hurts the Republican Party as you’re suggesting, that’s another reason I’m sticking with the LP.

  7. Trent Hill Says:

    Knapp,

    Gotta disagree here. B.J. Lawson is very libery-friendly and I dont vote according to party lines,but according to candidates.

  8. Jeff Wartman Says:

    “Gotta disagree here. B.J. Lawson is very libery-friendly and I dont vote according to party lines,but according to candidates.”

    Totally and completely irrelevant. Sean Haugh is the political director of the Libertarian Party. He shouldn’t be openly endorsing candidates from another party when we have a candidate of the LP in the race, regardless of the likability of the candidate.

    This is politics 101. Is this really that hard for people to understand?

  9. Jeff Wartman Says:

    Wes,

    I don’t have any problem with individual members of the LP supporting whatever candidate they choose, whether they are Libertarians or not. What is wrong is for people in a position of leadership in the party, like Sean Haugh, to openly support candidates of a different party when we have candidates of our own party in the race.

  10. Dave Williams Says:

    “Separately, while I am a former Republican, I think Bush I and II were far worse than Bill Clinton. Couldn’t see it when I was a Republican. The Republican Party sucks worse than ever. If sticking with the LP truly hurts the Republican Party as you’re suggesting, that’s another reason I’m sticking with the LP.”

    Wes, I concur. That’s why I have recently departed the GOP for the LP. We had war with Bill, but we had bigger war w/the Bush’s… Who would have ever thought that fighting people living in caves would’ve turned into this shit sandwich.

  11. Brent Says:

    Maybe the libertarian party should start endorsing liberty-minded Republicans rather than putting competition up against them. Problem solved.

  12. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Despite my differences in approach and tone with Sister Hogarth, if this all went down as reported, Haugh acted highly inappropriately. Lawson may well be someone who is preferable on the issues, but I find Knappster’s Coke/Pepsi analogy to hold in this case.

    Stratetgically, it seems appropriate that Haugh not provide support to a Hogarth for Congress run if there are other, better uses of his time, i.e., stronger L candidates. Factoring in the competition—in this case, Lawson—seems fine. Haugh might even have privately suggested to Hogarth to run in a different race, given Lawson’s presence in the race.

    I don’t find the analogies between Coke/Pepsi to apply in the RP case. The LNC was clearly recognizing a special, one-off situation, one that doesn’t appear to be working out. It was a calculated risk.

  13. Eric Sundwall Says:

    Other than a sustained whine about loyalties and intrigue, why is this post appropriate on TPW ?

    Kn@ppster fine, otherwise its just insider BS. Five paragraph justification to follow I’m sure. Is there no room for some ribald jocularity on occasion without such intense and annoying navel gazing ?

    The Coke & Pepsi analogy is always weak. If anything, the LP is Royal Crown. Market monopolies are not equivalent to political ones or the implied state of contractual obligations under the terms of employment. Granted a paid position within the LP is different than an elected one.

  14. jre Says:

    And as we all play parts of tommorrow,oh, no, no

  15. jre Says:

    OOPs! I meant….

    And as we all play parts of tommorrow,oh, no, no
    Some ways we’ll work, in other ways we’ll play, yeah, yeah
    But I know we can’t all stay here forever, oh
    So I want to write my words on the Face of today
    And then they’ll paint it up.

    Blind Melon
    Shannon Hoon remembered

  16. Eric Dondero Says:

    Yeah right. Bush sucks “far more than Clinton.”

    Never in modern history has a single President appointed more libertarians to cabinet level and other administrative posts than George W. Bush.

    Even Reagan’s libertarian appointees pale in comparison.

    Just two months ago, Bush appointed prominent libertarian Wall Street free marketeer James Glassman to oversee Diplomatic relations abroad.

    Gayle Norton served as Bush’s Interior Secretary for 5 years! She is the former State Chair for the Colorado Libertarian Party, and was an “Ed Clark for President” delegate in 1980.

    SHE WAS THE FIRST FORMER OR CURRENT LIBERTARIAN PARTY STATE CHAIR EVER TO SERVE IN A PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION!!

    Anyone who was around the Libertarian Party in the 1980s and ‘90s knows of Williamson “Wild Bill” Evers. He ran the Bergland for President Campaign in 1984. He served as a 20-year Libertarian National Committee member at every conceivable post. He was a member of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.

    Bush appointed Dr. Evers to two Educational Advisory Committees, including sending him to Iraq to advise the new Iraqi government on Educational Reform.

    Gerald Reynolds, a self-described “libertarian” and African American headed up the Civil Rights Commission appointed by Bush. One of Reynold’s appointees was former State Legislator Leon Drolet, a hardcore libertarian Republican and close friend of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, to head up the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

    Numerous Cato scholars and Reason Foundation policy wonks have received Bush appointments.

    Yet, leftwing Libertarians still come up with ridiculously inane rants like “Bush is the worst President for libertarians, blah, blah, blah…”

    Get your heads out of your asses will ya. Would you rather have a President who scorns libertarians, and doesn’t appoint them to any positions whatsoever?

  17. Matthew Sterba Says:

    Wes,

    I appreciate your comments but my point was not a simple as “the LP hurts the GOP”. I’m saying that it splits the vote among liberty minded individuals and ends up hurting the cause of freedom in this country. If I truly believed that the LP was viable then I would have stayed with them. However, in the past 35 years we have not even seen one congressman elected. Every presidential election we hope to get at least one percent of the vote and call it a victory. Trust me, I’m as unhappy with the GOP as anyone but I just don’t see another way (especially since the R’s and D’s make the rules). I will concede that the best thing that could happen to third parties is for the public to demand the concept being pushed by www.opendedates.org , but I don’t see that in the future.

  18. RHM Says:

    That’s why in spite of some good ideas, people do not take the LP seriously. Face it, they always manage to come off flaky.

    RHM (www.thecandidacy.com)

  19. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Dondero makes somewhat good points. That Evers and Norton got reasonably high posts in the Bush Admin may simply be a function of life cycle: enough Ls are in their 40-50s to be plausible cabinet and sub-cabinet secretaries. Makes sense, since most of the development started in the late 70s.

    Nevertheless, the Bush Administration has set back the cause of liberty, as I see it, despite these appointments. The Iraq War is IMO a huge mistake, which obviously Mr. Dondero disagrees. Actual domestic policy has generally been poor, too. It certainly has been in real dollars.

    Time will tell, and we should have some patience in this ranking matter, but I see Bush II as in the LBJ/FDR type category…poor to among the worst. If things don’t degenerate much further, Bush will not fall to Truman levels.

    To me, Nagasaki was the single most dysfunctional and misguided act in human history, so of course I’m biased.

  20. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Eric,

    You write:

    “[W]hy is this post appropriate on TPW ?”

    1) Third Party Watch offers news and opinion on third parties.

    2) The Libertarian Party is a third party.

    The Libertarian Party’s political director publicly proclaiming his support for Republican candidates over their Libertarian opponents is both newsworthy and opinionworthy for a site that offers news and opinion on third parties.

    TPW is also implicitly an advocacy platform for both its authors and its commenters. Did you read the last paragraph of the post? I made a reasonable effort to address the situation semi-privately in email to the LP’s executive director, cc’ed to the political director. The executive director has been substantially non-responsive, and the political director’s response has been actively hostile.

    Believe it or not, I’ve come to prefer doing the LP’s dirty laundry without hanging it out in public first when possible. Mr. Cory and Mr. Haugh had three business days to responsibly engage the situation. They chose not to. So, I turned the heat up a little. They’ll get right or they won’t.

  21. debra dedmon Says:

    if every Libertarian changed thier registration for Ron Paul , would he have won?

  22. Kris Overstreet Says:

    Ron Paul proved the point that the LP is worthless! He has done more to promote and spread the message of liberty than ALL of the LP campaigns put together.

    Yes- but he also associated that message with the lunacy of conspiracy theory and the lie that the Republican Party welcomes those who support small government. As a result, he’s turned a lot of people off of the small-government message, and lured a lot of other people who support small government into the Republican fold… where they will support John “Bush’s Third Term” McCain.

    The Coke & Pepsi analogy is always weak. If anything, the LP is Royal Crown. Market monopolies are not equivalent to political ones or the implied state of contractual obligations under the terms of employment. Granted a paid position within the LP is different than an elected one.

    Eric, the difference is that RC Cola occasionally sells a bottle or two. The vast majority of voters who try LP Cola regard it as political ipecac.

    Get your heads out of your asses will ya. Would you rather have a President who scorns libertarians, and doesn’t appoint them to any positions whatsoever?

    Apparently Mr. Dondero believes that it’s quite all right for a president to grab unconstitutional power and destroy fundamental liberties like habeas corpus, trial by jury, presumption of innocence and protection from unwarranted search… so long as he knows the right people.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    debra,

    You write:

    “if every Libertarian changed thier registration for Ron Paul , would he have won?”

    No. There just aren’t enough. In order to have a shot at the nomination, Paul had to pick up support from the GOP’s social conservatives (which he tried very hard to do). Most of that social conservative bloc ended up split between Romney and Huckabee.

  24. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Concur in spades with Knappster. There’s only 15K LPers, numbers that wouldn’t shift most State primaries, much less the GOP nationally.

    RP seemed a bit trapped. Banking on a base of conspiracy theorists and bigots is a poor starting point. Sure, they’re motivated, but thankfully there aren’t too many of them.

    For the LP to be successful, there’s a vast middle that’s our natural starting point. That necessarily means losing the reducio ad absurdum extremism that throttles us.

  25. Wes Benedict Says:

    Capozzi says:
    RP seemed a bit trapped. Banking on a base of conspiracy theorists and bigots is a poor starting point. Sure, they’re motivated, but thankfully there aren’t too many of them.

    Wes says:
    Capozzi, do you think comments like that are likely to encourage Ron Paul supporters to join the LP, or do you think those comments will drive them away (regardless of their 9/11 views)?

    Capozzi says:
    For the LP to be successful, there’s a vast middle that’s our natural starting point.

    Wes says:
    I think McCain and Clinton are in the middle. Republicans and Democrats talk differences, but more and more they occupy the middle. I think you’d find lots of Republicans claiming McCain is too close to the middle and likewise for Clinton. Obama, on the other hand, is not middle of the road.

    Capozzi, you’re a jerk to Ron Paul supporters, you stereotype all of them as racists and conspiracy theorists, and you’re ignorant on positioning just like a majority of the LP Platform Committee this time around.

  26. Ha Chew Says:

    There is about 225,000 people registered as libertarian, in those States that require a person to register their political party. I don’t know how many of those are Libertarian Party supporters, there are currently about 105,000 people who the LP states are LP Members, with 15000 to 20000 who pay LP dues. Paying dues to the LP in its own right very, very important for it keeps the LP affloat.

    Hm, side note we should thank those members like Bill Redpath, Dr. Jim Lark and others who have contributed a large amount of money and time that without the LP probably would not be around today.

    Dr. Paul attempted to win the nomination of a political party that doesn’t believe in the same things that he does, like small government, Bill of Rights, individual rights etc. If he should retain his seat in Congress he will once again be the lone voice. Dr. Paul has gained some great hard core supporters, but inside the Republican Party they will go largely ignored, like Dr. Paul is.

  27. Hugh Jass Says:

    Why is he being chastised for supporting a small-l libertarian who has a better chance than the LP candidate does? If there are liberty minded people running in any party, we should support them. Should the LP also support Gene Flynn over the most reliable congressional libertarian since Harold Gross, simply because the former has the LP label? Or should the Libertarians not have run a candidate in the Maryland Senate election, just because Kevin Zeese was a Green party member? I’m not saying that the LP nominee in this district isn’t sufficiently libertarian; I’m just saying that it is a bad idea to curse our ideology to political irrelevence just because the messenger is a member of a different political party.

  28. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Wes,

    What I actually said was:

    “Banking on a base of conspiracy theorists and bigots is a poor starting point. Sure, they’re motivated, but thankfully there aren’t too many of them.”

    This doesn’t mean that ALL RP supporters are either conspiracy theorists or bigots. It certainly appears that some are, however. I consider this element not especially desirable for the LP; they may or may not join the LP. Of course, a lot of RP supporters are just anti-war, limited government folks, and they most certainly should be invited to join.

    The middle I was refering to, Wes, are the independents. These folks tend to be skeptical of big government “solutions” (left) and kleptocracies (right). I’d tend to think we’re ALL ignorant to some extent, Wes, myself included, but perhaps you have it all figured out. Since you don’t know me, however, consider asking first before opining. Making accusations may make you feel “tough” or something, but your attacks on me and other LPers whom you don’t know seems unlikely to gain you allies…just a suggestion.

  29. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Wes,

    BTW, I personally am an RP supporter. I’m neither a conspiracy theorist nor bigot.

  30. Gene Berkman Says:

    Without getting into the specific merits of the North Carolina congressional race, let’s talk about Pepsi. I used to work for Shakey’s Pizza as a “bartender ” – or rather, soda jerk, in reality. After I was there a couple months, Shakey’s stopped offering Pepsi, because Pepsi owns Pizza Hut, and corprate management decided they did not want to support the competition.

    At Shakey’s, a glass of Pepsi would sell for 65 cents, of which the Pepsi company might get 5 cents for the syrup. Shakey’s clearly gained much more than Pepsi by selling Pepsi products, but they shot themselves in the foot because they had a Knappster like view of loyalty.

  31. Dave Williams Says:

    “Yet, leftwing Libertarians still come up with ridiculously inane rants like “Bush is the worst President for libertarians, blah, blah, blah…”

    Get your heads out of your asses will ya. Would you rather have a President who scorns libertarians, and doesn’t appoint them to any positions whatsoever?”

    Eric, I’m not a left winger. I do oppose larger federal government (Example: 60billion to education), larger wars (Example: Iraq) and larger fiscal deficits (Example: 9 trillion in the hole) all of which are a direct result of GW’s administration. I might even mention his support of John McCains ‘Amnesty’ bill, illegal immigrants are a financial burden to taxpayers just like me all over this country.

    I think it’s great that any Federalist Republican NEO-CON President would appoint opposition parties (Libertarians, Democrats, etc…) & people of diverse ethnicities (Colin Powel, Condi Rice, etc..) to our government, we are all Americans. GW just went to far pursuing the NEO-CON dream, your dream Eric.

    So in conclusion, I pulled my head out of my ass when I departed the now defunct GOP and joined the LP. The question I put to to you sir; When are you going to pull your head out of GW’S ass?

  32. Eric Sundwall Says:

    TK - Pick up the phone instead of relying on email. I’m always amazed at how often libertarians don’t do that.

    Did Mr. Haugh say he was supporting Republican candidate(s) or does he just have problems with a particular libertarian candidate (perhaps expressing a common sentiment a little too loudly – granted, not entirely cool in my book – but I’m willing to forgive given some proper context . . . ) ? It’s one thing to indicate a personal voting preference, it’s another to abrogate the duties of one’s office with a blanket betrayal across the board. I simply don’t think that is the case here.

  33. Jack Tanner Says:

    I support Ron Paul and other candidates, regardless of their political affiliation, who I believe will vote to reduce government regulations and spending.

  34. Sean Haugh Says:

    I love how everyone who feels it necessary to spread this quote around always omits my very next sentence: “It would be the first time in my life I would do so.” (Voting for anyone over a Libertarian, that is. I’ve been voting since 1979.) Although I guess I do understand you’d have to make that edit, considering otherwise you wouldn’t have the room to make the political points you’d want to make off this.

  35. Tam Says:

    See – this is why I dispise the party system. The gentleman in question simply stated that he was supporting who he thought was the best candidate – since that was not a member if his party, all holy hell is raised.

    The problem is when people think party should trump who the best candidate is.

    Oh Dondero – gotta laugh that ya try to convince everyone Bush has liberatarin credentials based on people he appoints to positions…

  36. johncjackson Says:

    Well, if this guy is like most “Ron Paul Republicans” he will finish 4th or 5th in his primary with 1% of the vote anyway. Unless there is no “’traditional Republican” competition.

    The idea that libertarians would be more effective running as Republicans ( “Ron Paul” ones anyway) is absurd. it is true that LP candidates for major office end-up with very low vote totals, but “libertarians” in the Republican party barely even make it to the ballot. And if they do, the Republican party probably “lets” them get through in a heavily Democratic district where they don’t want their establishment candidates embarrassed.

    When this election cycle is over I would like someone to track and share the following results: How many “Ron Paul Republicans” ran for Congress ( the ones I know of are considered nutjobs and probably couldnt be elected to lead their own household). How many even made it past the primary. And how many were actually elected?

    I suspect the last answer will be the same as the answer to the following question: ’ How many LP candidates were elected?”

    The Ron Paul Republicans, much like the Ron Paul for POTUS campaign, will have no positive lasting effect and will only serve to damage the libertarian movement and LP.

  37. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Sean,

    What “political points” do you think I’d “want to make off this?” I am not, nor do I intend to be, a candidate for LNC, if that’s what you’re implying. Nor am I seeking (nor would I likely accept) employment by LPHQ.

    The only “political point” I have in mind is this one: I’m getting renewal reminders from LPHQ lately. I’d like to think that if I send the national LP $25 or some other amount, that money won’t be used to put LPHQ employees on planes so that they can attend events where and publicly bloviate about the virtues of voting Republican rather than Libertarian.

  38. Eric Sundwall Says:

    If this is reporting of the ‘news’ it is 1) irresponsible 2) not relevant 3) not credible.

    1. Any ‘Senior Editor’ who can’t pick up the phone is just making a cub reporter mistake. If the ‘news’ makers won’t answer or respond to the quiries there are other issues at play.

    2. Sean Haugh has a long track record of decency and integrity within the LP, the ‘fact’ that he may have said such a thing should raise some warning flags and the idea of context is relevant. As Mr, Haugh seemingly indicates, it was taken out of greater and simple context.

    3. Because Mr. Haugh is suddenly found defending himself ‘in forum’ if you will, the credibility of the piece should be questioned. If the reporter can’t hammer out these issues before hand, the whisper of muckraking wouldn’t be without merit.

    If the piece is ‘opinion’ it cloaks itself in fact based assertion and simply reeks of Knappsterism – that is, hipper than thou speak and reference which plenty of ‘shoulds’ and prescriptions for the whole of all Libertarian action in that limited sphere. To say it is a hack job might be severe, but perhaps apt.

    The fact that Mr, Knapp operates in the capacity of counsel for a LP Presidential candidate does in fact open up the possibility of the political. While no job or position might not be sought at the national party or LPHQ level, certainly the interests of a non-Republicanist party has been expounded elsewhere. This could lead one to imply that indeed politics is an issue in this post.

  39. Jake Porter Says:

    I can’t figure out what is so difficult to understand. Libertarian Party members are free to support whoever they wish. Libertarian Party staff and LNC members have taken a responsibility to the party to build the Libertarian Party not any other party. They are not free to support whoever they wish as long as they hold those positions of power.

    If I am an investor of Lowes I can still go to the Home Depot to buy tools. On the other hand, if I am the CEO of Lowes I imagine I am CEO for the reason to benefit Lowes not to go around promoting Home Depot. That means I would never take a position with Lowes and then order the company trucks to start delivering to the Home Depot because it would be harming Lowes. Likewise, Libertarian Party staff and LNC members should promote the Libertarian Party not any other party and if they cannot do that they should resign their positions immediately then they would be free to support whoever they wish.

  40. Jake Porter Says:

    See – this is why I dispise the party system. The gentleman in question simply stated that he was supporting who he thought was the best candidate – since that was not a member if his party, all holy hell is raised.

    Members are free to support whoever they wish. People who take positions of power within the party have a responsibility to the investors of the party to only promote that party not any other party. It would be very bad to start having party staff giving resources such as the software to make phone calls and be paid for their time to promote candidates of another party. Supporting pro-life and anti gay marriage Republicans is not why I sent the Libertarian Party my money and don’t want my party to become associated with the Republican Party.

  41. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Eric,

    You write:

    “Any ‘Senior Editor’ who can’t pick up the phone is just making a cub reporter mistake. If the ‘news’ makers won’t answer or respond to the quiries there are other issues at play.”

    Both Mr. Cory and Mr. Haugh did in fact “answer or respond to the queries.” Mr. Cory’s response was non-substantive, i.e. it did not attempt to address the issue at all. Mr. Haugh’s response was hostile. I don’t see what the use or non-use of old communications tech has to do with it.

    What you seem to be hinting at is the possibility that the piece was written either in knee-jerk, jump-the-gun mode, or that I attempted to create a false impression that the matter had been taken up privately first when it had, in fact, not been.

    Neither of these is the case, because that is not the way I do things with respect to LPHQ.

    By way of example, consider the case of the “delegate allocation renewal email.” It was sent at the end of December. For some reason, I didn’t get one (LPHQ probably has a different email address on file for me if it has one at all). However, I saw a credible report from a long-time LP member who isn’t given to cerebral hemorrhages over LPHQ stuff, and got a phone call from a fairly new LP member, both of who read the email as saying “if you don’t send $25 today, you can’t be a national convention delegate.”

    If I operated in the way that you’re suggesting I operate, I would have immediately popped up an opinion piece about those dastardly SOBs at LPHQ and how they were trying to get renewals through deceptive marketing practices.

    Have you seen that piece? No, you haven’t, because I NEVER WROTE IT. I asked Shane for a copy of the renewal email. He sent one. I verified for myself that it did not use unclear or deceptive language. Finis. There was no need to write a story because there WAS no story.

    “If the piece is ‘opinion’ it cloaks itself in fact based assertion and simply reeks of Knappsterism – that is, hipper than thou speak and reference which plenty of ‘shoulds’ and prescriptions for the whole of all Libertarian action in that limited sphere. To say it is a hack job might be severe, but perhaps apt.”

    Hmmm, now it’s getting interesting.

    I’m not sure how the very specific argument that LPHQ employees should, in their public statements, boost Libertarian candidates rather than Republican candidates, and especially rather than Republican candidates at the expense of Libertarian candidates, is in any way a “prescription for the whole of all Libertarian action.”

    Thanks for coining the term “Knappsterism,” though. I’ll try to live up to your hipper than thou estimate of it, first of all by replacing the “a” with an “@.” I am also accepting donations so that I can buy a leather jacket like Nick Gillespie’s, and perhaps a pair of Beatle boots.

    xoxo
    Kn@ppster

  42. Balph Eubank Says:

    Well, publicly opposing Susan Hogarth is a good way to support the Libertarian Party!

    Not technically correct, perhaps, but quite practical. Hogarth puts a face on the LP that is appealing to may 5000 nationwide. Endorsing nearly anyone remotely libertarian over Hogarth is party building.

    Mr. Haugh is political director, not Director of Parallel Universe Metaphysics. His job is to sell the LP as a practical tool for liberty. Endorsing Hogarth is detrimental to the ends of doing politics.

    Dissing Hogarth in favor of a liberty-minded major party candidate is how to appeal to those who want liberty in our lifetime. The LP could be a pro-liberty tool were it to focus on campaigns where the major parties are equally bad.

  43. Sean Haugh Says:

    Thanks Eric, but I hardly feel defensive here. I reply because it amuses me and I am taking a half-weekend away from my real job of recruiting candidates (just passed the 500 mark!) and getting the party on the ballot in as many states as possible. Once I get back into working this evening or tomorrow morning I’ll lose interest in this thread again.

    Now all can see why that extra sentence must be ignored at all costs. To include that in the quote would keep Knapp from telling the deliberate lie that we’re talking parties or brand loyalty here and not about two particular people. Every time Knapp uses the plural or any labels to refer to these two candidates, he has to oppose the plain truth. Breaking ranks for the first time in 29 years hardly establishes any kind of pattern.

    Let’s go with the sales rep analogy: I guess at KnappCo, if a sales rep points out that a product is defective or toxic, he would be fired and CEO Knapp would try to publicly ruin his career. At all the companies I’ve worked in real life, including my current one, I’ve considered it my moral duty to blow the whistle on any products or services that would harm my customers.

    I love my party and its ideas, but all that is rendered meaningless if you forget that ultimately politics is always about people. Indeed it is my intense love of my party and desire to bring real Liberty to the people that causes me to speak my mind. If you expected me to start lying just because I took this new title, well, sorry to disappoint you. I’d like to think we are better than the partisan hacks who have ruined our republic in the quest for their own power and riches.

    And that kind of brings us full circle. Knapp reveals his true character with his first paragraph. He lifts another quote out context to imply that I am motivated by money and greed, and then immediately admits that was a lie just to get your attention.

    Keep it up! I appreciate the coverage because I’m hoping that people who are doing a websearch on Lawson will find this post and realize that they have a home in the Libertarian Party. I’d much rather reach out to the multitudes of honest libertarian-leaning voters than to mollify liars and slanderers who claim to be already on my side.

  44. Eric Dondero Says:

    No “Tam” ( a fake on-line name if I ever saw one). Not trying to convince people that Bush has “libertraian credentials.” Simply pointing out the hypocrisy of the vast majority of Libertarians. If this had been a Democrat making such appointments they would have been praised to the tilt, by Reason.com, Cato, TPW, Liberty Papers, NolanChart.com, Liberarian Girl, you name it.

    LP Libertarians just make it a sport to bash Republicans. And they will NEVER acknowledge anything good a Republican does outside of Ron Paul (and occasionally Tom McClintock.)

  45. Garland Says:

    What it all comes down to in the end is what’s most important: voting for someone who is pro-liberty or voting for someone because they actually have an “L” beside their name?

    The answer is that it is the former, not the latter, that is the most important. That is why I support BJ Lawson and you should too. He is pro-liberty and that is what’s the most important.

    Susan can run in the Forth as a Libertarian, and she will lose. BJ can run in the Forth as a Republican, and he will win.

    Yes, electability matters too and should also be considered. Susan Hogarth cannot and will not win. BJ Lawson can win. It’s as simple as that.

    Coke? Pepsi? Who cares? So long as the after taste is liberty.

    So you can vote for Hogarth, who will lose. Or you can vote for BJ Lawson, who can win, and help him win. It’s your choice, but voting for someone just as pro-liberty as another candidate because that candidate happens to be a member of the Libertarian Party is exactly the kind of thing that will keep liberty candidates out of office. It is also exactly the kind of party-minded mentality that we need less of, not more of, in our country and in our government.

    BJ Lawson can beat David Price. Hogarth can not. So do you want a chance of beating gun-grabbing, high taxing, big spending 22-year incumbent Price? Or do you wanna keep him office, see nothing change and see the status quo remain the same?

    Again, your choice, but something everyone here should consider because if you vote for Hogarth you’re increasing the chances of Price keeping his seat and nothing changing. If you vote for BJ Lawson, you’ll be supporting a liberty candidate with a chance to win and you will be helping increase his chances of beating Price with your support. Real change will be possible

    Think about it. If you have a legit beef with BJ’s stance(s) on issue(s) and that is why you’d support Hogarth over him, then fine. But if you’d only support Hogarth over him simply because Hogarth has an “L” beside her name and BJ doesn’t than you need to seriously rethink your priorities.

    What really matters to you? What’s most important? Getting a member of the Libertarian Party in office or getting a liberty candidate in office no matter what party they’re affiliated with? No matter what trivial letter they happen to have beside their name?

    I thought the self-proclaimed “party of principle” would understand principle over party better than anyone. That it’s someone’s PRINCIPLES that matter, NOT their party.

  46. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Sean,

    You write:

    “Now all can see why that extra sentence must be ignored at all costs. To include that in the quote would keep Knapp from telling the deliberate lie that we’re talking parties or brand loyalty here and not about two particular people.”

    I just added the quote to the story, with a note as to the reason. Happy now?

    “Every time Knapp uses the plural or any labels to refer to these two candidates, he has to oppose the plain truth. Breaking ranks for the first time in 29 years hardly establishes any kind of pattern.”

    The plain truth is that the political director of the LP publicly stated his intention to vote for a Republican candidate, specifically as opposed to a Libertarian candidate. If you want to discuss patterns, the relevant topic isn’t your personal history but the fact that your conduct fits into a recent pattern at the LNC/LPHQ level.

    Garland,

    Interesting that you should bring practical politics up, because it does actually have some bearing. Mr. Haugh will probably not be able to follow through on his state intentions of voting for Lawson vs. Hogarth, because Lawson is about as likely to win the GOP primary as Hogarth is to win the general election.

    I admit that I probably should have mentioned this, but I thought I should go as easy as possible on Mr. Haugh and not point out that what he was doing had nothing to do with some amorphous sentiment for “increasing liberty,” etc., and everything to do with slamming one of his own party’s candidates with whom he has some kind of personal pissing match going.

  47. Sean Haugh Says:

    Oh I see now, it’s actually true because what you wrote means something other than what your words plainly said. Thanks for clearing that up Tom.

  48. Garland Says:

    Tom,

    If you think Augustus Cho, BJ Lawson’s primary opponent, has some great chance of winning the primary you are quite mistaken. Cho has no money, no organization, no staff and very little support. Some of the party elites may support him, but not all, and the average voter does not know who he even is…

    BJ Lawson, on the other hand, has a staff, money and an active organization. The word is getting out about his campaign and he’s getting new supporters everyday. Cho is not. BJ Lawson is reaching out to voters. Cho is not.

    Anyway, my hope is that Libertarians will take an honest look at BJ Lawson and his views on issues and then make their decision on who to support based on that and not write off BJ simply because he doesn’t have an “L” beside his name.

    It’s about liberty and advancing it, not about party. I understand this and I think the majority of the LP understands this, but sadly not all. I wish more did.

  49. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Sean,

    What I wrote meant precisely what my words plainly said. The relevant issue is whether or not the political director of the LP publicly announced that he’d vote for a Republican over a Libertarian, period.

    Whether or not that political director was being realistic in assessing the chance that he’d have the opportunity to do so is a separate issue (one which doesn’t reflect well on his intelligence, but that has little to do with his understanding of the constraints of his job).

    Whether or not that political director was making a strictly political statement or just playing the dozens with someone he doesn’t like is also a separate issue.

    The political director of the LP publicly announced his intention to vote for a Republican over a Libertarian. Which part of “that is WAY fucked up” do you not understand?

    As to whether or not I write what I mean, well, let’s put you to the same test. You implicitly accuse me of a) lying about you and b) slandering you. Do you mean that? If so, are you willing to provide examples or present evidence?

  50. C. Rivers Says:

    Sean why do you support Mr. Lawson instead of Ms. Hogarth?
    C. Rivers

  51. Itch Says:

    Wes and Bob the Liberal, taking it outside. That’s manly. I respect that.

    Eric, Sean and the Knappster duking it out. That’s manly. I respect that.

    Kris Overstreet, a little weird. That’s ok. We accept that.

  52. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Quoth Eric Dondero:

    “LP Libertarians just make it a sport to bash Republicans. And they will NEVER acknowledge anything good a Republican does outside of Ron Paul (and occasionally Tom McClintock.)”

    Your problem here is revealed in your wording—to you, politics is “sport.” To LP Libertarians it is a serious matter. De Gaulle didn’t play footsie with the Vichy regime, and LP Libertarians shouldn’t coddle Republican collaborators. If necessary, we should fight you until hell freezes over, and then fight you some more on the ice.

  53. Susan Hogarth Says:

    C. Rivers asks:
    Sean why do you support Mr. Lawson instead of Ms. Hogarth?

    After 50 messages, someone finally asks! I confess myself to be very curious about the answer.

    Eric Sundwall writes:
    Sean Haugh has a long track record of decency and integrity within the LP, the ‘fact’ that he may have said such a thing should raise some warning flags and the idea of context is relevant. As Mr, Haugh seemingly indicates, it was taken out of greater and simple context.

    Eric, Thomas is quoting Haugh himself bragging publicly about his ‘funny story’. He includes a link to the entire discussion. The ‘context’ it came up in was that I evinced concern that the LPNC’s state political director was filing for office as a Republican, and Haugh felt it was a good time to trot out his ‘funny story’ about his public trashing of an LP activist and candidate from Las Vegas.

    Frankly, that Haugh makes his public declaration of voting Republican over Libertarian in my case into an exception should be seen not as a mitigating factor, but as a symptom of his unprofessionalism (and, as Knapp points out, of the Republican trend with National staff in general). He’s using his paid position within the LP (which, as a monthly pledger, I help fund) as a platform to spew personal venom in some childish game of I’m-more-popular-than-you.

    As further evidence of Haugh’s unprofessionalism, his response to my rather mild (considering the provocation) rebuke was the following. Notice that in the first line he conflates the ideas of professionalism (which is what is to be expected of the LP’s paid political director, and which is what I accused him of not being) and Christianity (which I couldn’t give a flip about). Haugh writes:

    While it is true I could be more Christian about it, it’s not my fault that people found my remarks so amusing, nor that no one faults me for making public fun at your expense. Maybe you should ask yourself why you have become at best a laughingstock within the party nationally. After all, if anyone still respected you I wouldn’t have received such a reaction.

    Really, folks, the entire LPNC is a national joke because we still coddle destructive personalities like Susan Hogarth and Carl Milsted. I’m really getting tired of fielding the question, “what the hell is wrong with you people?” when I travel to Libertarian events outside our state.

    To that end, I am considering moving at the state convention (where I still do get to be a delegate) that we bar any active member (past or present) of the Reform or Radical caucuses from representing our state as a delegate to the national convention. It’s time we took out our own trash.

    I don’t think this is the sort of behavior a professional working for the LP membership should be displaying, and I am awaiting a public apology from Haugh and/or a rebuke from his immediate supervisors. But don’t worry about my health, because I am not holding my breath :-/

    I find the comments of another LPNC member and longtime activist to be the best response:

    As to “what the hell is wrong with [us] people,” I answer that a good part of our problem is that people claiming to be leaders in our movement make posts like the one above. If you are tired of the question, you have options. Quitting is one; holding yourself as an example of high standards of decorum and professionalism is a better one, though much harder.

  54. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Re: professionalism and Sean Haugh:

    Haugh has a history of unprofessional outbursts. While serving as the (paid) Executive Director of the LPNC as recently as 2005, he wrote the following in a private email which (naturally) showed up later in a public forum:

    > Connie, you’re right I probably never will be a success in politics
    because I believe it’s about doing the right thing, not sucking the right dick. A lot of fucking gall to speak of principle while breaking a promise.

    This is not the sort of correspondence I want to see the LP’s paid staff engaged in. We all make mistakes, but most of us learn to apologize for – rather than brag about – our mistakes.

  55. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Susan,

    Actually, the sentiment expressed in that last email is something I could have written myself (and, in fact, more or less have, both privately and publicly).

    Thing is, Mr. Haugh’s Vegas remarks weren’t “the right thing.” They were very much the wrong thing.

    What Mr. Haugh does in the voting booth is his business. What he does as political director of the LP is the business of every LP member who pays his salary, buys his plane tickets, and rents his hotel rooms.

    I don’t know if there’s a specific clause in the policy manual stating “the political director shall not fly to Las Vegas, publicly endorse a Republican candidate over a Libertarian candidate, then brag about it.” Some things are so obvious that they shouldn’t have to be spelled out in minute detail, and there’s certainly an analogous provision in the party’s bylaws: Under those bylaws, a state party could be disaffiliated for doing as an organization what Mr. Haugh did as a party employee.

  56. Susan Hogarth Says:

    I wrote: I evinced concern that the LPNC’s state political director was filing for office as a Republican …

    Since this announcement, another LPNC activist has announced as a Republican candidate. After several years of collecting signatures to get nearly 100,000, and with the end in sight needing only a few more thousand signatures, LPNC activists are deciding to run as Republicans.

    I can’t say I blame them when they see the reception Libertarian candidates get form the national political director, and when they see the state political director’s ‘leadership’ in running as a Republican.

    I am very discouraged.

  57. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Knapp,

    Remind me to call for your dismissal should you ever write so vulgarly while working as a paid staffer for any organization we are both in. Thanks!

    ;-)

  58. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Susan,

    When I run for political office or speak for any subdivision of the LP, I try to keep my public use of the f-word and such to a minimum (that minimum being zero).

    However, you identified the email you quoted as “private.” I don’t concern myself with the private behavior of LP employees or officials, or for the most part with the use of, um, “candid” language in any case.

  59. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Knapp: Understandable. However, the private correspondence was Party business. The correspondent in question had promised (or so Sean thought) a substantial donation, then changed his mind. No one should be that shocked and dismayed at the change-of-heart of a prospective donor.

    As Outreach Director, I should hope I’d never be so stupid as to send someone that sort of message. It’s ammunition, for one thing – and indeed it did wind up on some public forum where it made the LP look ridiculous. But beyond that, it’s just … unprofessional.

  60. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Susan,

    You write:

    “the private correspondence was Party business.”

    Er … I see. We’re using the words in different ways.

    I’m using “private” to mean “personal, rather than in one’s capacity as a party employee or official.”

    You seem to have intended it to mean “presumably confidential.” Now I understand.

  61. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Knapp,

    Sorry, yer right. My bad. I simply meant one-to-one correspondence, not written-as-civilian correspondence :)

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