Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who's our man (or woman) in 2012?

The Libertarian Party desperately needs a good candidate in four years, so perhaps it isn't too early to start talking about who that person should be.

Over at Reason's Hit and Run blog, Nick Gillespie has tried to get the discussion rolling by mentioning two people: Michael Munger, a Duke University political science professor who ran for governor of North Carolina this year, and Angela Keaton, identified as a Libertarian Party activist. Both seem initially more attractive to me than Wayne Allyn Root, who already is running for the nomination.

At first blush, Keaton seems to be kind of a performance artist candidate. I haven't seen any sign of a real organization. Then again, she works for the folks at, so she seems likely to be strong on the peace issue, which will likely be an asset in four years, when the antiwar crowd has had time to become disillusioned with Barack Obama. It's really too early to express an opinion, but I've "friended" her on Facebook. A campaign Web site or blog would be a nice sign of seriousness.

As for Munger, I followed Nick's link to a Reason article about him and found that Munger said he was aiming for a final result of 3 percent to 4 percent of the statewide vote. He finished at 2.85 percent.

This is a big deal, because it bespeaks a Libertarian candidate who actually understands politics -- a 3 percent showing is GOOD for a Libertarian. He's also intelligent and well spoken.

Munger is currently planning to run for the North Carolina state senate in 2010, but his blog seems to refute the idea that he's running for president; in this post, he mentions the Reason post but says Gillespie is "having a little fun." I wrote to Munger, and he confirmed that he's not a candidate for president until at least 2016, and maybe not then. Still, he bears watching.


Unknown said...

Honestly, I think Libertarains should not pour limited resources into a Libertarian Presidential race. But concentrate on a few races nationally which either have a strong potential to win or are necessary to maintaining ballot status. Running a presidential candidate as a paper candidate. And locate individual Munger type candidates in various state races. It is more important to break through on a partisan race than to run another 3% presidential loss.

John Famularo said...

Any talk of presidential race strategy or tactics is just so much logorrhea until the LP can settle on an unambiguous and specific mission statement.

As I see it, the LP mission statement while never articulated is understood to be.

"Maintain existence as an organization called the Libertarian Party and attract as many self identified libertarians as possible to be members and donors."

The strategy since 1974 has been to appeal to as wide a variety of "libertarians" while carefully avoiding alienating any faction.

The manifestation of this strategy is to answer "yes" to all questions.

Should we run a presidential campaign? Yes
Should we run federal candidates? Yes
Should we run Statewide candidates? Yes
Should we run local candidates? Yes

The real answer sometimes is "no".
Can we do all these things effectively? No.

Dow we have a model for electoral success? No.

Do we have a model for political success AFTER election. No.