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Sunday, May 25, 2008

LP Convention -- Live

3:17 (EST): C-SPAN is covering the LP Convention in Denver (so is Reason's Hit & Run, the American Spectator blog, LewRockwell.com, and many others). The first ballot of voting just passed. The results are as follows:

Bob Barr - 153
Mary Ruwart - 152
Wayne Allyn Root - 123
Mike Gravel - 71
George Philies - 49
Steve Kubby - 41
Mike Jingozian - 23
Christine Smith - 6
NOTA - 2
(the LP has a policy of including NOTA in all of its votes)

Mike Jingozian and Christine Smith did not get the required five per cent to get on to the second ballot.

UPDATE 1: Jingozian endorses Mike Gravel. "Let's put together a ticket that can make history," he said.

UPDATE 2: Smith bashes Barr. Big-time. Says he at the top of the ballot doesn't represent Libertarians: "You conservatives say you believe in liberty and small government, but you rubberstamp medicare, medicaid, and vote for the war and Bob Barr is not a libertarian, we don't trust you!" (To heckles and boos from the floor).

UPDATE 3: Smith carries on talking to the C-SPAN people claiming that she got lots of phone calls from Libertarians saying they want nothing to do with Bob Barr, and that they will leave the LP if Bob Barr is at the top of the ticket. "This man has a lot to prove before he becomes the standard bearer for the Libertarian Party.

3:40: UPDATE 4: Here comes the SECOND BALLOT...

Bob Barr - 188
Mary Ruwart - 162
Wayne Allyn Root - 138
Mike Gravel - 73
George Philies - 36
Steve Kubby - 32

...still no majority. It's going to a third ballot. Steve Kubby is out.

3:46: UPDATE 5: Steve Kubby is giving his speech to loud applause. "It has been such an honour and such a pleasure to return from Canada to the warm embrace of fellow libertarians... Now comes the time for me to say good bye, and to turn my support to a candidate I have known for over a decade, to a candidate who I know will transmit the purest and clearest message to fellow libertarians... and so, my fellow libertarians, I endorse Mary Ruwart."


Bob Barr - 186
Mary Ruwart - 186

Wayne Allyn Root -  146
Mike Gravel - 78
George Philies - 31

Philies is off the ballot. Ruwart and Barr are tied, with Root in a close third. Hard to know where Root supporters will know if it gets that far (and it looks like it will. I don't think the Ruwart supporters will budge, and neither will Barr's). (The LP is now putting up the results on their website).

Philies gives his speech. He won't speak ill of any of his fellow Libertarian candidates, he says, and then goes on to say nice things about all of the candidates. To rousing applause (and probably because of the anger generated by the Ruwart-Barr fight), Philies says, "The enemy is not in here, it is out there!"... "The enemy is the far-left Hilary Clinton, and the far-right John McCain. And let's get it right for once, the enemy is Lyndon LaRouche [LaRouche gets called out? Good lord...]"

4:25: I didn't know this (because I haven't really been following the ins-and-outs of this presidential primary), but Hit & Run (David Weigel) points out that, in spite of the nice things said by Philies in his speech to all of the candidates, Philies was busy angrily denouncing both Ruwart and Barr in prior events and speeches. Turns out Philies has strong support from the LGBT community, and clearly that group isn't over-the-moon about Barr (or, I guess, Ruwart). What does this mean? It means that Philies supporters are unlikely to break toward either Ruwart or Barr, and might get behind Wayne Allyn Root.


Bob Barr - 202
Mary Ruwart - 202

Wayne Allyn Root -  149
Mike Gravel - 76

Yikes. Mike Gravel is off the ballot. Philies supporters appear to have broken for both Ruwart and Barr. So just ignore what I wrote a little earlier.

4:48: Mike Gravel gets pigeonholed by a couple of Libertarians, and they're wondering who Gravel supports. He told them he voted for Wayne Allyn Root, even though he won't officially endorse him. And he won't give a speech, saying that his political career is now over. He says he's a writer, and he'll write.


Here we go... FIFTH BALLOT:

Bob Barr - 223
Mary Ruwart - 229
Wayne Allyn Root - 165

Ruwart is in the lead for the first time, but not by much. It all hangs on Root supporters now.

Root's speech (Weigel says he'll endorse Bob Barr): "I've got news for you. It's not over, it's just starting. With your help, it's just starting. I'm going to need your help, because I would like to be part of a Barr-Root ticket in 2008. Bang! Here it is, plain and simple: You gave me the votes... I'd like to spend the next four years beside Bob Barr learning [politics], and then I want to lead this party in 2012."

Weigel had the inside track. There are boos here and there, and now a crowd is chanting "Mary!" But I predict it will be to no avail. Root supporters are probably going to go for Barr, and Bob Barr will be the Presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. (Okay, it's not over yet, and strange things might still happen. But Barr looks to have a lock on it).

5:05: Barr and Root shake hands and hug. They give the peace sign. They stand next to one another, while the crowd chants "Barr-Root, Barr-Root..." I'm not sure if Barr was expecting this. He looks a little blustered--did Root just make himself the vice-presidential candidate without Barr's knowledge?

Clarification: The LP will vote for a VP nominee as well, so it's not up to Barr to choose a VP. That means Ruwart supporters could still make her the VP.

5:17: Will be interesting to see how the culturally left wing of the LP react to a Barr win, and a Root VP spot (if that comes to pass). Barr and Root represent the culturally right wing of the LP. Will there be an organized walk-out? That's what the comments at Reason suggest, and all evidence points to some sort of a scene should Barr win.

5:22: Weigel says Ruwart will endorse Steve Kubby for VP.

5:32: Here it is the SIXTH BALLOT:

Bob Barr - 324 (54%)
Mary Ruwart - 276 (46%)

Bob Barr will represent the LP in 2008. It's official.

5:40: What a squeaker... Bob Barr is about to speak, but it looks like he has a lot of work to do to bring the Party together and to struggle for that roughly five per cent national vote total he may get in the next general election.

8:02: Wayne Allyn Root is, indeed, the VP candidate for the Libertarian Party.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on May 25, 2008 | Permalink


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Other than you and the other guy, Yashimoto or something like that, does anybody really give a s**t who wins this?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-05-25 3:10:12 PM

Check out the number of comments on the Reason blog, The Stig. Lots of people care. I suspect Republicans were hoping that Barr would lose, because Barr could cause some trouble for McCain.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-05-25 3:26:24 PM

Stig, there are many people interested in watching this. Here's a list of blogs (including The Shotgun) who are watching the convention http://www.jacquelinepassey.com/2008/05/where-to-find-coverage-of-the-libertarian-party-national-convention.html. Thanks Peter for your great and detailed coverage.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2008-05-25 3:50:40 PM

Goddamnit. We don't need this shit when we're trying to beat someone as dangerous as Barack Hussein Obama.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-05-25 6:39:20 PM

Are you sure they'll take votes from republicans Adam? Some of these folks want change. Isn't that Obama's platform?

I'm not very political, but the birth of a new party is reason to take notice.

Posted by: dp | 2008-05-25 6:50:52 PM

It's not a new party, dp. Just a new leader. And my guess is that the party pulls primarily from the right. If not, it certainly will with Barr at the helm.

Adam, you're either too partisan or too patient. Something has to be done to bring Republicans back to the house Reagan built. Watching oil execs pleading before Congresss was like a scene out of Atlas Shrugged. America needs to return to its constitutional roots. Maybe the LP can help in this regard.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-05-25 7:02:50 PM

Goddamnit. We don't need this shit when we're trying to beat someone as dangerous as Barack Hussein Obama.
Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 25-May-08 6:39:20 PM

Who's the we? Aren't you a Canadian citizen that lives in Vancouver? Can you vote in the US election? You sound like a reverse version of Zebulon Punk. Neither of you live in the country you seem to be so concerned about.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-05-25 9:32:22 PM

Right Matthew, I was referring to it's recent uprising. I've never seen as much attention given to Libertarians over the Ron Paul movement. It's easy to forget they have a lot of elected members, and a steady following.

Posted by: dp | 2008-05-25 10:09:52 PM

Yes, Matthew, something has to be done. But why do you think that it's going to be done at the Presidential level? All that this effort is going to do is take some votes from McCain. Barr has no chance of winning, no chance of getting into the debates, nothing except being disruptive.

I've got an essay in progress on this topic but, basically, the Libertarian Party is a giant exercise in pointless moral posturing. Want to bring change? Get people with libertarian views elected to Congress, maybe even to the Senate.

That could be done. This, though, is just a pointlessly destructive exercise.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-05-25 10:10:43 PM

Adam -- I agree it's destructive. I'm not sure it's pointless.

I'm looking forward to your essay on the topic.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-05-25 10:48:07 PM

I had to look up what you meant by LGBT community.


Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-05-25 11:57:56 PM

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