Category Archives: Exclusive 2008 Libertarian National Convention Coverage

Paul Jacob Tells his Story at the Libertarian National Convention

Back in November of last year, I shared the story of Paul Jacob, Susan Johnson, and Rick Carpenter. Together, they are sometimes referred to as “the Oklahoma 3.” Their crime, “conspiracy against the state” (what we know as petitioning the government for a redress of grievances) could cost them 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

The allegation against Jacob, Johnson, and Carpenter is that they illegally participated in petition drives as they had not established residency in Oklahoma. Jacob insists that they made a good faith attempt to abide by the law. Jacob pointed to a Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling regarding a petition challenge to the state’s ban on cock fighting as a basis for establishing residency:

I also asked the folks at National Voter Outreach whether there had been any challenges of petition drives on the basis of residency, and whether any ruling on same had been issued by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. I received a copy of the court’s decision in a challenge to an initiative to ban cock-fighting. In that decision, circulators were challenged for being “out-of-state” circulators because they had moved to Oklahoma during the petition drive and because many lived in hotels during their residence in the state. According to the information I received, every circulator in the cock-fighting ban petition who declared him or herself a resident was ruled to be qualified to circulate the petition, regardless of how long he resided in the state or whether he lived in a hotel. The only circulator disqualified had listed an out-of-state address on the petition form.

This is a short video I took from Paul Jacob’s speech at the Libertarian National Convention.

Paul Jacob Tells his Story at the Libertarian Convention

I spoke briefly with Jacob before he left for the airport. He seems confident that he and his co-defendants will not be convicted for exercising their First Amendment rights but he mostly wants his story to be told.

***Clarification***

David writing for Free Paul Jacob linked this post (thank you David) and wrote the following about my statement “He seems confident that he and his co-defendants will not be convicted for exercising their First Amendment rights but he mostly wants his story to be told” at the end of his post:

Doubtless not intended, but this almost makes it sound as if Paul would be okay with being tossed in the hoosegow so long as he can get his story out there. Paul wants to tell his story, defend the right of citizen initiative and the Constitution, and not be unjustly imprisoned for the “crime” of participating in an Oklahoma citizen initiative drive in which he and others involved in the drive acted in good faith to comply with Oklahoma law governing citizen initiative drives. He’s standing up for his own rights and those of all of us simultaneously. But most important here are his own freedom and the well-being of his family, which are being unjustly jeopardized.

David is right. I did not intend to make the impression that Jacob would be okay with being a political prisoner; I could have phrased this better. As is evident from Jacob said he told his daughter, clearly he understands that he could do time for his political activism. What he told me was in response to my question asking if he thought he would prevail in court. When I say “he seems confident,” I mean that he seems confident that the system will ultimately work the way it’s supposed to. I am similarly confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule the right way in D.C. v. Heller (ruling that the right to bear arms is an individual right rather than a collective right) but I also understand that there is a real possibility that the court will rule the wrong way.

I think Jacob wants his story told for at least 3 reasons:

1. By exposing this injustice for what it is to the nation and the world, the courts will know the eyes of the world are upon them. This exposure can only help his case (if this case was not publicized, there’s a much greater chance that the AG and the courts would get away with prosecuting and convicting Jacob under this grossly unconstitutional law).

2. Jacob does not want others to be intimidated by the government, especially when others decide to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

3. His case could bring about change in Oklahoma for the better as many citizens would be outraged at the prospect of “the Oklahoma 3″ being put in prison for rights we generally take for granted.

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Concluding thoughts on the 2008 Libertarian National Convention

First of all, I would like to thank Andrew Davis, the Communications Director of the Libertarian Party for granting the new media in general and The Liberty Papers in-particular full access to the 2008 Libertarian National Convention. To say that attending this convention was a thrill would be an understatement. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the candidates, the delegates, fellow bloggers, and generally be in an atmosphere of people who value liberty (it was very strange to witness a presidential debate where I agreed with most of the statements about policy and philosophy).

Based on the comments we normally receive at The Liberty Papers, I always knew that libertarians (even within the Libertarian Party) are very diverse when it comes to particular views but generally agree on the Lockean principles that we at The Liberty Papers champion: Life, Liberty, and Property.

What I saw at the convention reinforces this belief. The MSM will likely show the, how should I say, the “more colorful” individuals who are part of the liberty movement. What I saw, however, were “normal” people, young and old of every background one could imagine who happen to want to reduce the role of government in all of our lives.

One of the readers asked me to ask the question (paraphrasing): “What has the Libertarian Party accomplished in recent years in advancing the cause of liberty?” Regretfully, I never got around to asking that question but I believe I have the answer. While it’s true that the Libertarian Party has not had a great deal of success at the national level, I discovered that grass-roots efforts of party activists have succeeded in electing Libertarian candidates and passing legislation at the local and state levels which truly advance liberty. During the nominating speeches, one state chairman after the next gave examples of how their efforts in their respective states fought the government and won. The cause of liberty is by no means a lost cause.

With Bob Barr representing the Libertarian Party in this election, I believe he will be a force that John McCain and Barack Obama are going to have to deal with (but especially McCain). No, I was not sold on Bob Barr prior to this convention and he was not my first choice. There were too many unanswered questions. Based on how he has answered those questions and admitted his past mistakes and has promised to correct them, I can honestly say that I can enthusiastically and in good conscious endorse Bob Barr for President of the United States*. This is not something you see everyday in politics or in life.

Will Barr be the next president? Not likely. But I will say that his mere presence, especially if he can get into the debates, will force the Republican Party to rethink their big government policies. They will live to regret nominating John McCain as their nominee as Barr takes votes away from him in November. They will have four years to live life in the minority wondering how they can regain the trust of the American people.

And as for the Democrats? The American people will see that Barack Obama will not have the answers to our problems. We will not be taxed and regulated into prosperity. We will once again be reminded why government is not the answer to all of life’s problems but only makes those problems worse.

The question then will be what are we going to do about it? Only time will tell.

***UPDATE***

The VP Results are as follows:

Vote 1
Root: 269 (49%)
Kubby: 209 (37%)
Williams: 40 (7%)

Vote 2
Root: 289 (51%) **WINNER**
Kubby: 255 (45%)
Williams: 14 (3%)
NOTA: 6 (1%)

Root was my preference but I think he will add a great deal of energy to the ticket (Energy? Root could solve the energy crisis by himself!)

» Read more

Libertarian Party selects Bob Barr as 2008 presidential nominee

Libertarian Party Press Release:

Libertarian Party selects Bob Barr as 2008 presidential nominee

Former Congressman plans to take the White House as Libertarian candidate

Denver – The Libertarian Party has nominated former Congressman Bob Barr as its candidate for president for the 2008 election.

“I’m sure we will emerge here with the strongest ticket in the history of the Libertarian Party,” Barr stated in his victory speech shortly after being selected as the Party’s nominee. “I want everybody to remember that we only have 163 days to win this election. We cannot waste one single day.”

More than 650 Libertarian delegates met in Denver from May 22 till the 26 for the 2008 Libertarian National Convention. After six rounds of voting Sunday afternoon, Barr was selected as the Party’s presidential nominee.

“We’re proud to present to the American voters Bob Barr as our presidential nominee,” says Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis. “While Republicans and Democrats will fight for their own power in November, Libertarians will fight for Americans. Bob Barr is one of the strongest candidates in the Party’s 37-year history, and we look for him to have an enormous impact in the 2008 race. Republicans and Democrats have good reason to fear a candidate like Barr, who refuses to accept the ‘business-as-usual’ attitude of the current political establishment. Americans want and need another choice, and that choice is Bob Barr.”

The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

For more information, or to arrange a media interview, please call Andrew Davis at (202) 333-0008 during normal business hours, or at (202) 731-0002 during any other time. For an interview with the Barr campaign, please contact Audrey Mullen at (703) 548-1160.

Live Blogging the Libertarian Convention Vote

To win the nomination, a candidate has to earn a majority of votes. Most likley there will be several rounds of voting. I’ll post the totals from each round.

1st Vote

Bob Barr 153 (25%)

Mary Ruwart 152 (25%)

Wayne Allyn Root 123 (20%)

Mike Gravel 71 (11%)

George Phillies 49

Steve Kubby 41

Mike Jingozian 23

Christine Smith 6

None of the above 2

Total votes 579*

*Ron Paul, Penn Jillette, and Daniel Imperato also received votes but where not considered part of the tally

Jingozian and Smith are eliminated; Jingozian throws his support behind Gravel.

Smith is outraged that Bob Barr has the lead; tells delegates to support “a real Libertarian.”

2nd Vote

Bob Barr 188 (30%)

Mary Ruwart 162 (26%)

Wayne Allyn Root 138 (22%)

Mike Gravel 73

George Phillies 36

Steve Kubby 32

None of the above 1

Total votes 630

Kubby eliminated; backs Ruwart.
» Read more

Post-Debate Press Conference

Stephen and I attended the post-debate press conference last night where candidates fielded questions from media and bloggers. Stephen asked a question to the candidates about pardoning non-violent drug offenders.

The video is divided into two parts. The first is Mike Gravel. He was in the room before the other candidates and kind of took over the podium and took several questions. LP Media Communication Director Andrew Davis politely asked him to let other candidates come up and take questions and Gravel cocked an attitude. I’m not faulting Gravel, but he could have handled it better.

Here is Gravel:

Here is the second part of the press conference video. This has all of the candidates answering questions from the media:

Live Blogging the 2008 Libertarian Presidential Debate

7:06 p.m. Barr admires Ayn Rand.

7:10 p.m. Gravel describes the problems associated with the two party system, incorrectly calls the U.S. a democracy, slams big oil, and champions the Libertarian Party.

7:11 p.m. Phillies says vote Libertarian. Describes himself as “the centrist libertarian.” Slams the Bush Administration.

7:14 p.m. Network Down. Sorry.

7:20 p.m. Jingozian’s philosophical hero is Ben Franklin

7:21 p.m. Mary Ruwart’s philosophical hero is also Ayn Rand.

7:23 p.m. Steve Kubby’s philosophical hero was Nolan.

7:25 p.m. Root’s is Yogi Berra

7:30 p.m. Phillies says we should bring the troops home.

7:31 p.m. Jingozian says war in Iraq will not end if Barack Obama is elected…vote Libertarian.

7:33 p.m. Root says war in Iraq was a mistake. He supported the war in the beginning but now says it was a mistake. All future wars must be authorized by congress.

7:35 p.m. Barr says that we should have a defensive military policy rather than offensive.
» Read more

Interview with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Wayne Allyn Root

Liberty Papers: I’m here with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Wayne Allyn Root and Cornelius Swart of The Portland Sentinel

Portland Sentinel: Okay, so how did you feel about yesterday’s debate based on the rankings?

Root: I don’t think that really had anything to do with it. This is a very different crowd. The debate was not the same crowd as what’s going to be at tonight’s debate. That debate was all the more liberal candidates of the Libertarian Party.

I was the only candidate that is perceived as a conservative that had the chutzpah to show up and face down that crowd and I think they loved it. And I think I will be everyone’s second and third choice in that room. In matter of fact I know I’ll be lots of first choices, I got a whole bunch of tokens there but more importantly I have everybody’s second and third choices and that’s what’s going to win this nomination. No one’s going to win it on the first ballot.

Its going to be won more between the second and the sixth through eighth ballot. And I believe the likeability factor as a second or third choice of conservative Libertarian delegates will absolutely determine the final one. I’m very confident that I’m everybody’s second or third choice, because I’m friendly with everybody and I’m a good guy. And I think that’s very important. I know the issues, I’m the best communicator by far, I’m the best guy to put on national TV. I can put a positive face on this party’s vision and image.

I think everyone knows now for sure that I’m in no way, shape, or form [that I] am really the conservative candidate. I’m actually a moderate, mainstream, Libertarian who’s both right and left. I’m not threatening anyone to the left. I think before last night there were a lot of people who weren’t quite sure which camp I was in. Maybe they were worried I was in Bob Barr’s camp but its pretty obvious I’m not.

Portland Sentinel: How are you different from Bob Barr’s positions?

Root: Well, lets start with a different issue because, I’m not being a typical politician trying to dodge your question but I really mean this. It’s not issues that are going to determine the race. It’s going to be personality that determines the race. And that’s the most important thing you should look at besides the issues. I’m not saying the issues aren’t important but personality is 60% and issues are 40%.

Personality, the proof of that I’ll give you great examples from both the right and the left.

From the right: Barry Goldwater was the original founder of libertarian thought. Lot’s of the people in this party were disciples of Barry Goldwater in ’71 when this [Libertarian] party was founded. They based it on his philosophy. Now I know that there’s also Ayn Rand, Murry Rothbard, and it goes on and on, but the founders of this party, that circle were all Barry Goldwater disciples. Barry Goldwater was a great guy with a great message but he lost in a landslide. Sixteen years later Ronald Reagan took the same message and won in a landslide. Same message.

On the left: George McGovern had a liberal message and lost in a landslide. All these years later, who has the exact same message as George McGovern? Barack Obama, the most popular politician in America. He happens to be my college classmate, class of ‘83 at Columbia University. Barack has a great personality.

So whether you are from the left or the right you have to grudgingly admit it has nothing to do with the message it is the sales ability of the messenger. We are a nation that likes to hear positive message. Ronald Reagan would say things in a positive way and Barack Obama says a liberal message in the most positive way I have ever heard. Most liberals speak in a negative, angry, way. Barack Obama speaks in a happy positive way. He’s the Ronald Reagan of liberals and I’m the Ronald Reagan of libertarians. I did great at every part of the debate except when I brought up Reagan’s name. Mike Gravel went into a tirade about Reagan and blah, blah, blah.

He totally misrepresented my words! I went out of my way to say “I’m not talking about Ronald Reagan’s politics.” I’m not saying I defended what he did in office. I’m just saying that as a communicator, you have to grudgingly admit that the guy was fantastic and that’s the reason he won. It had nothing to do with his views, America liked him.

That’s my message. I can be the Ronald Reagan of this party. Not to say I agree with all of his politics, forget about the politics. Maybe I’ll want to change that for this crowd: I could be the Barack Obama of this party.

[Laughs]

Liberty Papers: But are your policies the same no matter what your crowd is?
» Read more

Seven Candidates Qualify for Presidential Debate

Press Release:

Seven candidates qualify for presidential debate

Half of candidates vying for nomination cross threshold for debate participation at the 2008 Libertarian National Convention

Denver, CO – Half of the candidates vying for the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president have qualified to participate in tonight’s presidential debate at the 2008 Libertarian National Convention.

Since the beginning of the convention on May 22, the 12 presidential candidates who made the trip to Denver for the National Convention have been petitioning Libertarian delegates for their support in the form of delegate tokens, which go towards qualifying candidates for certain events at the national convention. Candidates must collect 30 tokens in order to qualify for a 16-minute nominating speech to be given on Sunday before the voting begins. For the presidential debate, candidates had to collect 10 percent of the delegate tokens available by Saturday morning. That number was 57.

The candidates who qualified for Saturday’s debate are as follows:

Bob Barr (94 tokens)
Wayne Allyn Root (94 tokens)
Mary Ruwart (94 tokens)
Mike Gravel (67 tokens)
Mike Jingozian (63 tokens)
George Phillies (62 tokens)
Steve Kubby (60 tokens)

“We’re very excited to have a healthy number of candidates involved in tonight’s presidential debate,” says Libertarian Party National Media Coordinator Andrew Davis. “The competition that it will bring will only improve the political discourse at our convention. Republicans and Democrats could learn a thing or two about the inclusion of multiple voices in presidential debates, which ultimately is better for the nomination process and helps delegates choose the best candidate for the party.”

The debate will take place tonight at 7:00 PM (MST), and will be moderated by Fox News contributor James Pinkerton. The debate is scheduled to be broadcast live by C-SPAN.

As of noon on Saturday, more than 620 delegates had registered for the convention.

A nominee will be selected by delegates on Sunday afternoon.

The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

For more information on the convention, or to arrange a media interview, please call Andrew Davis at (202) 333-0008 during normal business hours, or at (202) 731-0002 during any other time.

Scenes from the Libertarian National Convention

This first day of covering the Libertarian National Convention has been very exciting so far. I haven’t had an opportunity to spend much time at any of the events but I have been talking to delegates and presidential candidates (interviews will be posted later). Jason Pye has been busy posting his experience and insights at the convention at JasonPye.com.

Booths at the convention

Booths at the convention

Libertarian Presidential Candidates George Phillies and Mike Gravel

Libertarian Presidential Candidates George Phillies and Mike Gravel

Steve Kubby

Presidential Candidate Steve Kubby

Presidential Candidate Christine Smith – I spoke to her briefly before the pre-debate tokens were counted. Smith is not a fan of Bob Barr or Wayne Allyn Root; she thinks they are Republicans running as Libertarians. She did not receive enough tokens to participate in the C-Span debate but she is still technically running.

Libertarian Party platform debate winding down

Stage set for the C-SPAN debate; the last debate of the Libertarian Convention and the 2008 campaign.

“Blog Row” – Spot set aside specifically for bloggers throughout the convention. This was taken during the debate (left to right, myself representing The Liberty Papers, fellow Liberty Papers contribuer Jason Pye, Dave Weigel from Reason, and Drew Ferguson from Liberty magazine.)

Post debate press conference (Left to Right: Dr. Mary Ruwart, Bob Barr, and Wayne Allyn Root)

Barr campaign’s hospitality suite after the post debate press conference

Bob Barr’s first press conference as the LP’s nominee

The Liberty Papers to Cover the National Convention in Denver

The Libertarian Convention of course! Which convention did you think I was talking about? The Libertarian National Convention will run this Memorial Day weekend beginning on Thursday, May 22nd and ending on Monday, May 26th. I plan on attending the convention representing The Liberty Papers as a citizen journalist on Saturday, Sunday, and possibly Monday.

My press pass will give me the same access as the MSM outlets (though some events will be reserved for “invited media only”). The events which I believe I will be able to get into include the platform debate, the presidential debate, national chairs debate, presidential nominating speeches, presidential election roll call with acceptance speech, the first press conference with the LP Presidential Nominee, and much, much more.

Fellow Liberty Papers contributor Jason Pye will also be attending the convention as a delegate.

Usually, The Liberty Papers does not have a great deal of activity on the weekends as far as posts are concerned but this weekend will be much different. Expect periodic reporting from the convention beginning Saturday. I’m going to try to score some high profile interviews, will post lots of photos, and possibly post some video for your consumption.

It’s my goal to bring the convention to The Liberty Papers’ reader. Any suggestions for what you would like me to cover, who I interview, and what questions you would like me to ask would be greatly appreciated!

**UPDATE** Jason Pye will also be adding content to The Liberty Papers throughout the weekend:

I am taking a video camera and a laptop and will be updating daily both here and The Liberty Papers. You may even see a post or two over at Red State.

There will be a few battles between moderates and anarchists, mainly over the platform and Bob Barr. Over a beer not too long ago, I told Daniel Adams, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Georgia, that I expected a walkout of different factions at some point during the convention.

Pye has much more insight to the inner workings of the Libertarian Party than I do, so I think his take on the event will be very interesting. Between the two of us, I think we will have the convention covered quite well.