The target on top of LP hill

While Tom Knapp writes at TPW, he has also told me that he tries “not to use TPW too much for campaign propaganda.” However, he’s written what I predicted yesterday would soon start: An attack on Wayne Allyn Root because he has now surfaced as perhaps the leading Libertarian Party presidential contender. To be clear, I’m not going out of my way to promote or attack any of the LP contenders, but merely making a best guess as what may be considered newsworthy by the readers of this site. In fairness, if Mr. Root would like to respond to these allegations, he has my phone number and e-mail quite handy.

At least Knapp has the testicular fortitude to call his attack pieces attack pieces: “No messing around here: This is an attack piece. There’s no other way to describe it, and I’m not going to waste time trying to convince you that it’s something else.” Others often mince words about such things.

Here are the nuts-and-bolts of Knapp’s article. First, the nuts:

Let’s tackle the “mogul” angle first.

At this time, Root’s company (W Technologies, Inc., formerly Winning Edge Technologies, Inc., formerly GWIN, Inc.) is apparently a dead stick. Here are some highlights from the company’s Business Week profile:

– The company sold its operating assets in September of 2007. – In November of 2007, the company’s auditor reported to the SEC “an unqualified opinion expressing doubt that the company can continue as a going concern.” – Late last month the company defaulted on a payment due of more than $90,000 against promissory notes of more than $450,000. The profile is pessimistic: “If the Company cannot reach a restructuring of the notes, which have an outstanding balance of approximately $456,522, the Company may have to seek bankruptcy protection.” – The company’s market cap of about $390k is less than the outstanding debt it’s trying to restructure (is there other debt? Well, the company’s best performance in the last four years has been a $1.2 million net loss, so …). Its 52-week high stock price—which it hit last May—was 3 cents per share, and as of Valentine’s day it stood at eight one hundredths of one cent per share.

I’d say we’re waaaaaaay out of “mogul” territory here. The business is neither huge—its market cap, if liquidated, wouldn’t buy a nice house in the Bay Area—nor successful. It’s a bust.

The “busted” bolts:

The Las Vegas Better Business Bureau lists 14 complaints versus Root’s company over a period of 36 months, with only five of those complaints resolved to the BBB’s satisfaction and none of them resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. Among the complaints are one for “deceptive sales practices,” two for “unauthorized credit card charges,” and one for “unauthorized bank debits.”

Scratch the cheap gold paint Root has dipped himself in, and what you find beneath doesn’t look much like a “business mogul” or an “entrepreneur” or a “small businessman.” It looks a lot more like a con artist—specifically the kind known in the sports betting world as a “scamdicapper.”

Knapp suggested that two LP candidates (Kubby and Phillies) may not make the same claims of financial success, but he does state the claims they make do make stand up to scrutiny.

25 Responses to “The target on top of LP hill”

  1. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Gordon,

    Well, you know … for very good reasons (including but not limited to your promotion of me as such), my reputation for the last few years has been “attack dog.” It’s easier to own it than to escape it, and it can be an asset (I think my non-”attack dog” writing skills are enough to get me work, but it can’t hurt to have candidates thinking “Jee-SUS … I wouldn’t want THAT GUY working for my opponent … I’d better hire him first!”).

    Now, here’s the thing about Wayne Root:

    I’ve corresponded with him a bit. He seems like a nice enough guy. I’d bet money he doesn’t beat his wife or kick his dog. I’m sure he loves his kids and that the tear sliding down his cheek when he stands for the Star-Spangled Banner is real.

    BUT —nothing I’ve written about him is false, and none of it is secret. It’s all out there. The financial stuff is well-documented, and the reputation stuff, while necessarily subjective, isn’t just something I pulled out of thin air—a few minutes of Googling pulls up a widespread and frankly expressed low opinion of his operations. If I can find that stuff (and I found it easily), so can a cub reporter for the New York Times ... and if the New York Times has reason to take notice of Root’s presidential campaign, they’ll find everything I’ve found and probably a lot more.

    So, which is better: Me taking Root down before he’s nominated, or the New York Times or CNN or Fox News taking him down after he’s nominated, the first time he gets enough attention for it to be embarrassing?

    FWIW, I don’t agree that Root is a “clear frontrunner” as you called him the other day, or even “the leading Libertarian Party presidential contender.” He has a slight momentary advantage in a large field, but as the field narrows, it looks to me like most of the other candidates are more like each other than like Root, and their delegates more likely go to each other in turn of elimination than to Root. Also, three months is FOREVER in politics.

    There could be new entrants into the campaign or one of the existing candidates could pull off a coup and break out. Right now, it’s just a muddle. But … Root’s done well enough that he’s a threat to the party, and the time to stop him is now, before he has a chance to be the one to break out and then crash and burn at the moment of maximum public exposure.

    The LP has a poor record of vetting candidates, in part because the mainstream media doesn’t do our heavy lifting for us. That leaves us vulnerable. We’ve been lucky several times. We won’t stay lucky forever, and this year in particular it looks like we may get a shot at some media skyline. I’d rather that skyline didn’t look like the “after” portion of an urban disaster film.

  2. Joey Dauben Says:

    I find it interesting that people are now beginning to see what I saw several months ago in Wayne Allyn Root’s campaign: that he is the front-runner for the LP nomination.

    And boy did the attacks start coming at the start.

    I was an original supporter of WAR (still am, but I’m a Republican) and still got hammered; people tried to demonize WAR and myself for Eric Dondero reaching into the race, but ah, it’s nice to see that WAR might one day become the standard-bearer for the LP, a huge boost in credibility.

  3. Garth Marenghi Says:

    The LP has a vetting process.

    1.)Does the candidate live up to Gordon’s hype?
    2.)Does the candidate withstand Knapp’s scrutiny?

    If the answer to those questions is NO, then you don’t have a candidate. Next.

  4. Hugh Jass Says:

    Given that the LP candidate traditionally gets only 0.3-0.4% of the vote anyway, we really don’t have anything to lose by nominating Root. Worst case scenario, we just get the usual numbers.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Hugh,

    Wrong. Worst case scenario is we get moderately bigger numbers because we get more publicity—but that those numbers represent a firm CEILING for the foreseeable future because we got that publicity by running a carnival sideshow candidate like Root instead of someone with a smidgen of credibility.

    We want more votes this time, and more votes than that next time, etc., not a few more votes this time for running a practical joke instead of a presidential campaign, and a whole bunch less in the future for the same reason.

  6. DenverDelegate Says:

    Two words about the importance of vetting and getting past the hype: Richard Campagna.

  7. C. Rivers Says:

    I would be a Kubby supporter, but if Root get the nod I’ll be voting for Obama, or not at all.

    C. Rivers

  8. Ha Chew Says:

    NOTA gets my endorsement

  9. Chris Bennett Says:

    Don’t forget I’m running for VP and I have one great thing going for me: I’m not Richard Campagna, I don’t have a dead person endorsing me (Had Aaron Russo been alive, he would have probably endorsed me) and I don’t have a large cache of future pledges to hand to the presidential ticket once nominated!

  10. Red Phillips Says:

    OK, please educate me. What was the issue with Richard Campagna?

  11. Hugh Jass Says:

    I didn’t know much about the LP ticker last time. What was wrong with Campagna?

  12. Hugh Jass Says:

    I didn’t know much about the LP ticker last time. What was wrong with Campagna?

  13. Jose C. Says:

    First some self disclosure. I was at the California Party convention and I support and voted for George Philies at the straw poll.

    When I first read this article I thought about Hillary Clinton and the attacks she is giving to Borack Obama. Are these attacks by the Steve Kubby campaign a sign that the campaign is in trouble? Steve Kubby has not won a primary, caucus, or straw poll. The other major candidates, Root, Phillies, and Smith have won. I know these are beauty contests but they do give us information as to the support the candidates are receiving.

    I am sure if Steve Kubby had one a primary, caucus, or straw poll his campaign would publicizing the victory(s). As they should. I see nothing wrong with Root publicizing the victory and his front runner status. I belive Wayne Root is the front runner.

  14. Chuck Moulton Says:

    Tom Knapp wrote:

    [Root] has a slight momentary advantage in a large field, but as the field narrows, it looks to me like most of the other candidates are more like each other than like Root, and their delegates more likely go to each other in turn of elimination than to Root.

    Ordinarily such an observation would make perfect sense, but how do you square it with California’s instant run-off vote results, where second, third, etc. choice anti-Root votes could find their way to another candidate?

  15. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Jose,

    You write:

    “Are these attacks by the Steve Kubby campaign”

    Check your premises. I am not the Steve Kubby campaign.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Chuck,

    You’re right—the California IRV results aren’t consistent with my theory on where votes will go as candidates are eliminated.

    Then again, votes for Gibby the Cat and Wayne Allyn Root aren’t consistent with the theory that this was a serious straw poll.

    Apparently Californians were feeling silly last Saturday. I have faith that they’ll get serious between now and May.

  17. Carl Says:

    Tom is correct in pointing out such things NOW. Skeletons should be exposed before nomination.

    And those who question Kubby’s health and probation conditions are also correct in bringing up such questions.

    Better to run NOTA than to run an embarrassing campaign.

    Or run Christine Smith if you want a lean mean anarchy machine.

  18. Chris Moore Says:

    Or run Christine Smith if you want a lean mean anarchy machine.

    None of your government, all of the time!

  19. ElfNinosMom Says:

    I agree, it’s best to bring up these concerns before the convention. It’s better to do a dry run of potential issues, to make sure we don’t nominate someone who turns out to be a complete embarrassment, than to not do it then find out the hard way that we’ve nominated someone with more skeletons than a graveyard.

  20. Jose C. Says:

    “Then again, votes for Gibby the Cat and Wayne Allyn Root aren’t consistent with the theory that this was a serious straw poll.”

    I take the straw poll very seriously. It saddens me someone voted for Gibby the Cat. Gibby the Cat is not eligible to be President. If the person who voted for Gibby the Cat felt that much distaste at the thought of voting for one of the candidates they should have voted for NOTA. This is not a game.

    We have Americans dying in illegal wars abroad, Americans unable to get alternative healthcare that might save their lives, an educational system that does not educate our children, we have a bankrupt nation, and wars on Cancer, poverty, pollution, that have failed. This is not a game. Unfortunately someone treated as a game by voting for Gibby the Cat.

  21. disinter Says:

    What is the purpose of publishing this ad hominem nonsense?

  22. disinter Says:

    to make sure we don’t nominate someone who turns out to be a complete embarrassment, than to not do it then find out the hard way that we’ve nominated someone with more skeletons than a graveyard.

    Like John McCain’s? Rudy Giuliani? Hillary Clinton? Barack Osama?

    You are also assuming that anyone pays attention to the LP candidate, or even knows who he/she is.

  23. paulie Says:

    “And those who question Kubby’s health and probation conditions are also correct in bringing up such questions.”

    Kubby is not on probation any more, has received apologies from the Sheriffs in the counties involved, and is in the process of having his record expunged.

    While he was on probation, the conditions were not nearly as restrictive as they were rumored to be.

    The only thing that prevents Steve Kubby from traveling more extensively is lack of money. This is a condition all the candidates for the nomination share except those who have contributed substantially to their own campaigns in the LP this year.

    Steve is also in generally very good health, except that he has had the flu for the last couple of weeks, which hurt his performance in Vegas and San Diego and has as a result created the perception – at least for the moment – that Wayne Root is out front.

  24. Garth Marenghi Says:

    Mr. C.,

    Me thinks that your Gibby the Cat supporter was making a statement. One that you are not ready to hear. It is nearly 90 days and no qualified candidate has emerged for the Libertarian Party. Nothing but horror and spectacle can emerge from the bowels of the Party of Priciple.

    The Libertarian Party is in a dark place.

  25. usadog Says:

    tree you we apple trust letter dog water stay ibm night

Leave a Reply