Friday, October 29, 2010

California Libertarian fail

I was a big “L” libertarian. I paid my dues, went to meetings, and participated in my small way. But then things got weird. Big “L” libertarians in California are good in theory, but bad in practice. I backed away after a few righteously scary experiences. I stopped paying my dues, stopped reading libertarian websites, and I even stopped blogging about them because it felt like I was picking on the short bus kids.

BuenaParkSignsDuring this election season I kept notes. I wanted to know how effective they would be in trying to reach out to me since I was not participating in this year’s futility, but I’m still registered as a Libertarian voter. In years past there were the obligatory calls for donations, signatures, and canvassing. And occasionally, I would be asked to man the phones. This year – nothing. I don’t know who is running for office, what they stand for, or more importantly, what they need. I have received no mailers, no phone calls. and no requests for aid of any time. Even the normally active old nutters have paid me no attention. I can only assume they are preoccupied with something else.

And it’s silly – I write a blog. I can help. I get more hits in a week than the local libertarian blog gets in a year. And the same holds true for the state parties’ blog. If I write about an issue, it will place high on Google the next day. Do they care? No. Since I’m not aligned with the current power structure, I don’t exist.

I see the old schisms are still active. The Libertarian Party of California does not list my local Orange County chapter as active. I see that Chuck McGlawn is still writing his rants for the local LPOC. At least I can use the Libertarian voter’s guide to help me understand how to vote in this election cycle. No… wait. The LPC does not have a voter guide that I can find. The smaller LPOC has one for voter initiatives, but only hints at a candidate guide in an oddly written post. I also see that Bruce Cohen is stilling calling for reform in the California Libertarian party. New flash Bruce – the reform effort failed and the Tea Party Patriots stole anybody who wanted to help.

What’s wrong with the libertarian party? Everything. The LPC website has a whopping 33 registered members. Internal power struggles and political rifts work to make sure nothing coherent comes from the state level. At the LPOC it’s a one man show. Chuck McGlawn writes most of the content and alienates people with his incessant and pointless rants. People don’t listen to Libertarians because they are irrelevant. They are irrelevant because they are obsessed with the unachievable and come off like true believing nutballs. I thought that the Tea Party would seal their doom this election cycle. It looks like they have. At least Tea Party have a nice voter's guide. Why don’t we?

And one other thing – A voter guide needs more that a yes/no recommendation. This is a sample from the LPOC (I added the bold emphasis).

  • Proposition 19     VOTE YES
    Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed
  • Proposition 20     VOTE YES
    Redistricting of Congressional Districts
  • Proposition 21     VOTE NO
    Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles

I want to know why I should vote yes on 19 (don’t bother to tell me, I know why). When I talk to normal people (non-libertarians), I want to present a cogent argument that does not make people think I’m crazy. That would be a useful voter guide. Telling the 500 libertarians in the OC how to vote is a waste of time without more meaningful content. The least we can do is write position papers (or posts) and then link to them so that our members can pass them on to others. But no – we do it our own special way, and fail.

DaleOgden Dale Ogden is the Libertarian candidate for Governor in California. Based on a first impression of his website, I can’t vote for the guy. He has clown font syndrome. The poor guy, I wonder who did his website? My bet is he gets less than 5,000 votes state wide. He can’t even figure out how to use Twitter. He has 80 followers!

What are his key positions? He wants to roll back spending to 1998 levels (voters read massive state services cutback). He’s an open carry proponent (let’s make CA like TX), and he’s a global warming denier in the greenest of green state (a man with a death wish). His big three:

  • Reduce spending by California state government at least to 1998 levels
  • Reduce state employees' salaries and pensions to private sector levels
  • Reduce or abolish state income taxes & reduce sales taxes

Do any of these speak to California’s voters? No – most voters read them and think the positions are unwise, or worse, destructive. There are so many non-crazy ways to say the same thing, and people will listed to the message.

  • Reduce frivolous government spending
  • Balance the budget and pay down our dept
  • Reduce taxes
  • Cultivate a pro-business environment

But this is why liberations in California always fail. They take the nutball trail. Good luck Dale Ogden. You will need it.

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