Monday, April 21, 2008

Libertarian Party convention biased in favor of one candidate.

This blogger has had serious reservations about the Libertarian Party for some time. My concern is that it seems to run a lot of individuals for office who are clearly not libertarians. Now the Libertarian Party is holding their presidential nominating convention in Denver and it looks rather uninteresting. The speaker line up, for the most part, is rather poor.

My biggest concern is that the organizers are appearing to treat the candidates unfairly. They are giving the worst candidate a leg-up over all the others. Right-wing, social conservative Bob Barr has been given a prominent speaking slot at the convention prior to the presidential nomination.

Barr is the only presidential candidate being given a speaking slot. He is a keynote speaker and given a full hours worth of valuable time before the actual vote. The only other time that the other candidates are scheduled is a presidential debate, which they will share equally with Barr.

I suspect that the conference asked Barr to speak prior to his announcing his candidacy. And while I think it to be questionable to give Barr any speaking slot, because he is so anti-libertarian on so many issues, I can understand possibly having him speak on a topic where he actually is good -- there are a couple issues where he is a libertarian.

But any such justification, weak as it was, for having Barr as a keynote speaker went out the window the moment he announced he wanted the LP nomination. By keeping Barr as a keynote speaker the organizers appear to be endorsing the most unlibertarian of all the candidates. Even if they aren’t intending to do that they give the appearance of having done so. At the very least they are giving him an unfair advantage. Surely any sense of honesty or fairness requires that Barr be removed as a speaker immediately.

There is nothing the organizers can do to diminish the publicity they have already given Barr. But they can rectify this bias in favor of one candidate by deleting Barr from the speakers list. No one seeking the LP nomination should be given such an advantage by the convention organizers. Nor is it possible, or wise, to offer all the candidates one hour of speaking time. Such an offer would dramatically increase the number of rather sad candidates seeking the nomination. Every wacko in the party, and there are many, will crawl out from underneath his rock and announce his candidacy for no other reason than to numb the delegates with his own idiosyncratic views on some arcane and unimportant topic.

While I question the validity of inviting Barr to speak at all, due to his incredibly bad record in in Congress and to continual statist positions, I can see no justification for the conference organizers to continue to give Barr this unfair advantage. It smacks of bias on their part, which I don’t think was there. However, if they don’t rectify the situation they will prove that the bias exists. Either that or they will show they have no concept of a fair convention.

Photo: Previously this blog has discussed the disgusting record of Bob Barr. I referred to his giving a major address to the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, which was the old White Citizen's Council under a new name. This antiblack, antiJewish organization is basically a front for Klan types. (Of course such bigotry fits well with Barr's antigay bigotry.) At the time I did not have the photo I include here. It is a bit grainy but it shows Bob Barr as he is speaking to this group of bigots -- gee won't the LP look great with him as their candidate! Bob whines that he didn't know he was dealing with racists. I would have thought the flag of the pro-slavery Confederacy behind him would have clued him in. Certainly two minutes on the groups website would have removed any doubts. Accepting Barr's excuse leaves the debate between whether he was just stupid or just bigoted. Of course, the third alternative is a bit of both. Take your pick. As for me I'd rather have a candidate who is neither.

UPDATE: We have just heard that Bob Barr will not be a keynote speaker and that he has been replaced. Conference organizers did the right thing and deserve support doing the right thing. Now let us hope the delegates do the right think and reject Barr completely.

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