Red Flag in the LP

Monday, May 18th, 2009

In the last two weeks I’ve spoken at two Libertarian Party events–at a meeting of the Clark County, Nevada party last week, and at the Indiana/Kentucky state party convention this past weekend. Both events went well, and I met some great people.

At both events, my own speech was preceded by a speech from Wayne Allyn Root, the party’s candidate for vice president in 2008, and who has apparently already made himself a candidate for the 2012 nomination.

I won’t comment on the bulk of Root’s speeches, because I was invited to both events as a speaker, not as a journalist or a blogger. But I will comment on one thing Root mentioned in both speeches, because it’s essentially public information. In touting his ability to win high-profile media coverage, Root mentioned in both speeches that he is now a weekly commentator on Michael Savage’s weekly radio show.

I’m not a member of the Libertarian Party, so perhaps my advice doesn’t mean much to them. But I’m going to give it, anyway:

Stop this, now. Either persuade Root to stop going on Savage’s show, or show Root the door. I’m all about building coalitions where appropriate. But there’s nothing remotely appropriate about Michael Savage.

Michael Savage is a raving bigot. He regularly uses phrases like “turd-world countries” and “ghetto slime.” He once wished rape on a group of high school girls who make trips into San Francisco to feed the homeless. He’s a blood-thirsty warmonger, and a feverish culture warrior. He once said on the air that, “”When I hear someone’s in the civil rights business, I oil up my AR-15!” On social issues, he’s far to the right of just about every elected Republican official I can think of. He has wished AIDS and death on homosexuals. He regularly denigrates drug users. He is virulently anti-immigration. In short, there’s nothing remotely libertarian about him.

If Root’s aim is to take the LP in the direction of Michael Savage, the LP should distance themselves from Root right now.

There’s nothing honorable to be gained from this.

MORE: It’s worth noting that Root features his Savage commentaries at the very top of his website. I don’t really care how many listeners Savage has. He’s vile, and hostile to any reasonable conception of libertarianism.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

79 Responses to “Red Flag in the LP”

  1. #1 |  Marcus C | 

    When I saw you were scheduled to speak at the same events as W.A.R. I thought about saying something about it, but I decided not to. I mean I was trying to think of some stupid joke about how sleazy that guy is.

    Anyway, a LOT of Libertarians ( big L, small l, anarchist, reformist, whatever) know all about that guy and how awful he is. For example, at independentpoliticalreport dotcom ( a blog about 3rd parties but majority LP activists as writers and in the comments) there is a lot of discussion about WAR and a lot of negative opinion. I don’t know if I’ve ever read about the Savage appearances, though. I know he does a lot of Fox Business and other Republican venues. Hell, he wrote a book called “Millionaire Republican” and is writing a book now called something like “Conscience of a Libertarian: God (wtf?, Guns, and something.”

    Unfortunately there is probably a never-ending struggle between Libertarians and Republican Parliamentarian Assholes for control of the LP and a lot of people like used car salesmen non-libertarians like Root.

  2. #2 |  Jason Briggeman | 

    Third-party organizations have no leverage against their own candidates, because they have nothing to offer the candidates or to threaten to take away from them — and when it comes to the Libertarian Party in particular, there is no respect within the rank and file for any form of leadership. So there’s no one person or small group with the power necessary to act on your suggestion or any suggestion for reining a candidate in.

  3. #3 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    Michael Savage?!! WTF?!!! If this waterhead Root ends up as standard bearer for the LP in 2016 they might as well fold up their tent and call it quits.

  4. #4 |  UCrawford | 

    There’s nothing remotely libertarian about the 9/11 “truthers” either, but there’s a wide acceptance of them in the LP. Just one of many reasons why the Libertarian Party is a huge waste of time…trying to create a cohesive platform for them is like trying to herd cats. Angry, often stupid cats who are more interested in scratching each others’ eyes out than in doing anything tangible or useful in the real world.

    Although I completely agree that Root’s a fool for getting involved with Savage…that guy’s a dead-ender. Just saying that when you consider the myriad of other ridiculous views (and people) that plague the LP, Wayne Allyn Root’s political affiliations are just the tip of an ugly, ugly iceberg. I don’t know why so many “leaders” of the LP have the urge to tie themselves in with the dregs of politics like Savage and the “truthers” but frankly I doubt that problem’s going away any time soon…Bob Barr’s the only prominent Libertarian I know of who doesn’t fall into that trap and the LP still has a lot of people who despise and distrust him. That’s why they’ll probably never achieve anything and we’re better off trying to take over the Republican party.

  5. #5 |  Scott | 

    Given how man smart libertarians there are out there, I find it fascinating how utterly inept and pointless the Libertarian Party is. But then again, if you compare the idiots who are the leaders of the big two parties compared to who is actually “smart” within the party, I guess it’s not that different.

  6. #6 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Well said, Radley! This is horrible.

    I’m not an LP member, and I certainly have some issue with their platform, but this is disconcerting. It simply encourages the far-left notion that libertarians are just conservative Republicans who smoke pot. This is bad for libertarians and bad for liberal “fellow travellers” like me who consider libertarians to be, essentially, my liberal cousins (who I probably agree with 75% of the time). I think Root is primarily just a business conservative looking for an opportunity to get attention anyway. His committment to freedom is pretty questionable.

  7. #7 |  UCrawford | 

    Scott,

    Given how many smart libertarians there are out there, I find it fascinating how utterly inept and pointless the Libertarian Party is.

    I suspect that’s because the Libertarian Party is a dysfunctional organization at the local level. Sure, occasionally you get a smart guy like Barr in charge at the top, but what is one guy going to change really? If you look at the party at the local levels, far too much of the state and local membership consists of people who were too incompetent, alienated, or insane to cut it with the GOP. The Libertarian Party was formed from the top-down, not the bottom-up, so it’s essentially centrally-planned…and we all know the common failures in that. The party is rotten at the roots and that’s probably not going to change.

  8. #8 |  Tokin42 | 

    #7 | UCrawford | May 18th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    …too much of the state and local membership consists of people who were too incompetent, alienated, or insane

    When I was a younger man I went to a liberterian gathering in Indy, they should have been selling T-shirts with “incompetent, alienated, and insane” so at least I could have left with a cool shirt.

  9. #9 |  SJE | 

    I wonder if part of the problem with the LP is akin to the anarchists…a group of people who don’t like government is not necessarily a good starting point for a political party.

    Cato has done so well, IMO, by staying on the sidelines and criticizing both sides.

    Alternatively, LP should focus on local and state government first. Its a good training ground, and you can focus on immediate issues like schools, taxes, corruption, etc. I know that some prominent gay donors have been focusing on local and state politicians regarding gay issues, pouring in money to defeat the most egregious and hateful pols, and forcing the others to change their tone.

  10. #10 |  SJE | 

    Also: Radley is right on. W.A.R.’s palling around with Savage is a ticking bomb, like Ron Paul’s newsletters. Even if he had no realistic chance, RP gave a great forum to libertarian ideas until the newsletters came out.

  11. #11 |  Rogier | 

    Libertarian are not joiners. That’s pretty much by definition. As a result, they can’t organize a proper bake sale, let alone a political party.

    It’s bad enough (though still plenty flabbergasting) that people like Neal Boortz and Glenn fucking Beck can call themselves libertarians and keep a straight face. Bob Barr is only shades better. Wayne Allyn Root … ah well, what’s one more crass rightwinger in a growing faux-libertarian pantheon of them?

  12. #12 |  airforce | 

    I’m no great fan of Wayne Root, and I haven’t listened to Mike Savage in years, but I can’t fault him for going out and getting all the publicity he can. Like it or not, Savage’s show draws millions of (mostly bored, I’d imagine) listeners, and it’s as good a place as any for Mr. Root to voice his ideas. More power to him.

    I haven’t been a delegate to the LNC since the 2002 convention in Indianapolis. That was the first convention where I really noticed a divide between the rank-and-file members on the floor, and the leadership on the podium. I could go on and on about that convention, but the end result of it was ZERO outreach to the average voter.

    At the time, two prominent members of the Militia Movement, Ron Herzog and Charlie Puckett, were in in prison on trumped-up gun charges. Speaking to individuals and small groups of delegates, I raised a couple thousand dollars for their legal defense and to help support their families. When I asked for five minutes of time to speak from the podium, the answer was no. They didn’t want to be associated with the Patriot and Militia movement.

    Apparently, they didn’t want to be associated with anyone else, either. They’re candidate in 2004, Michael Badnarik, got three or four votes, as I recall. And Bob Barr, the best Libertarian candidate ever, got no support from the new left libertarians in 2008.

    The LP is a party in disarray. I hope they can pull it together, but I’m not holding my breath.

  13. #13 |  Thane Eichenauer | 

    I agree with post #12 above. If Wayne Allen Root is willing to take the time and effort to arrange his life and appear regularly on a radio show and share the Libertarian message, that is a good thing.

    I would imagine that he will offer a needed counterpoint to Michael Savage.

  14. #14 |  Dave Krueger | 

    In general, I would much rather the Libertarian Party pick a candidate based solely on his understanding and dedication to the principles of individual liberty rather than his mainstream clout. I didn’t like voting for Barr. A Republican can’t morph into a true libertarian over night.

    I keep getting the impression that the mainstream media think that libertarians are a splinter group comprised of disgruntled Republicans. As far as I’m concerned, libertarians can’t do enough to distance themselves from Republicans and “conservatives”.

    Most people I know won’t vote libertarian because they don’t want to “waste their vote”. Personally, I have never been bothered by the fact that Libertarian candidates lose. I vote for them because they stand for principles I subscribe to. But they wouldn’t have to wonder very far off track for me to give up voting entirely.

  15. #15 |  SJE | 

    #12 and #13. There is a difference between being a guest, even if frequent guest, and being an official weekly commentor and proud of it (according to WAR’s website).

  16. #16 |  Mike T | 

    And Bob Barr, the best Libertarian candidate ever, got no support from the new left libertarians in 2008.

    Why would left libertarians support a right libertarian like Barr? Left libertarians cannot imagine how someone can be both an advocate of individual rights and yet hold personal social conservative views on morality.

  17. #17 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    As a yellow-dog Democrat, I ought to be happy that the other parties can’t get their act together. History has made clear, though, that power that is effectively unchallenged is never good, even for the party in power. The intellectual implosion of the Republican party would be enjoyable (it certainly is well-deserved) if it weren’t for the lack of any credible counterweight to the Democrats.

    People on the left do seem more willing to criticize Obama than was the case for conservatives and Bush (e.g., Glenn Greenwald, Robert Scherer), but that is a poor substitute for a viable second (or third) party.

  18. #18 |  Michael Chaney | 

    You also missed the part where Savage/Weiner claims that most kids diagnosed as autistic are actually just brats who need to be put in their place:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/business/media/22sava.html

    Really strange.

  19. #19 |  » Radley: Right Again. | FR33 Agents | 

    […] Second, Radley notes a disturbing development in the Libertarian Party. It seems the front-runner for the 2012 LP presidential nomination (and 2008 VP candidate), Wayne Allyn Root, has been bragging about being a weekly contributor to Michael Savage’s radio show. I’ll let Radley do the heavy lifting: Michael Savage is a raving bigot. He regularly uses phrases like “turd-world countries” and “ghetto slime.” He once wished rape on a group of high school girls who make trips into San Francisco to feed the homeless. He’s a blood-thirsty warmonger, and a feverish culture warrior. He once said on the air that, “”When I hear someone’s in the civil rights business, I oil up my AR-15!” On social issues, he’s far to the right of just about every elected Republican official I can think of. He has wished AIDS and death on homosexuals. He regularly denigrates drug users. He is virulently anti-immigration. In short, there’s nothing remotely libertarian about him. […]

  20. #20 |  B | 

    I’ve always had a gut-level revulsion to WAR that I’ve never really explored. Thanks to you Radley, I no longer feel that I need to.

    I’ve considered myself a libertarian for as long as I’ve been able to vote, but I haven’t supported the LP in a national election since 2000. Badnarik was (and is) a fruitcake, and while I appreciate what Barr represented in an attempt to mainstream the LP, I just can’t forgive him for his decidedly un-libertarian political career prior to this decade.

    Keep it up, LP. I’m sure you can win an election without libertarians…

    (BTW…I choose to believe that Michael Savage is a performance artist…)

  21. #21 |  Dakota | 

    This is exactly why I never label myself as a libertarian either big or small “l”. You just get associated with pricks like these two.

  22. #22 |  HaciendaMike | 

    When Root mentioned appearing on the Savage show during his remarks at the Clark County LP, I immediately wrote him off from any future consideration and tuned out the rest of his remarks. Anyone who enables Savage, granting him legitimacy by appearing on his show is not a person who I would choose to support.

    As I remarked to State Chair Joe Silvestri after your remarks, the problem with the LP is that most of the candidates they field are so far off the wall, the haven’t got a snowball’s chance in a Vegas summer of being elected. Case in point, Radley, was the rude buffoon who was throwing paper and playing with a child during your presentation. When I moved to the back of the room and asked the county chair who this clown was, he informed me that it was the previous state chair of the party.

    While I renewed my party membership at the function, I remain convinced that the LP will never amount to anything unless people of more quality and less weirdness become candidates, both for political and party offices.

  23. #23 |  Tannim | 

    Anyone who thinks Barr was “the best LP candidate ever” must be smokign some pretty strong stuff. Barr was by far the worst LP candidate ever, and plenty of Libertarians not on the left were repulsed by his nomination, which involved delegate stacking and smear tactics on other candidates. Root was no better, and still isn’t. Both are just opportunists that are about as libertarian as Scooby Doo is a cat.

    Yes, there has been a long-standing rift between the membership and the so-called leadership. The members do have a minority in the leadership, and the discontent with the majority is at the highest pitch it has been at in years, meaning 2010 is going to be a watershed event and the GOPitarians will be run out of the Party so we can finally do WTF we’re supposed to be doing in electoral politics instead of pissing away another 35 years. There are a lot of dedicated members working to fix the ship, but we can’t do it alone and every member that cares about the LP is needed to clean these MFers (Republican Parliamentarians was mentioned) out of the leadership.

    People can complain about the LP all they want, but that is simply a symptom of the problem–too many whiners and not enough doers. I’m a doer, and many activist members I know are doers. Are you?

  24. #24 |  airforce | 

    #14 | Dave Krueger | May 18th, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Most people I know won’t vote libertarian because they don’t want to “waste their vote”. Personally, I have never been bothered by the fact that Libertarian candidates lose. I vote for them because they stand for principles I subscribe to. But they wouldn’t have to wonder very far off track for me to give up voting entirely.

    I’ve been hearing those same words for thirty years now, and I’ve voted for my share of losing candidates. That doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the LP’s inability to even have any influence in an election, or the public debate that precedes it. It’s great being a “party of principle,” but what’s the point if no one’s listening?

    Both the Libertarian and Constitution parties have messages that appeal to a great many voters, but we just haven’t been able to get our message out. Ron Paul, despite all of his shortcomings, was able to mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers and donors, and got his message across far more effectively than his poll numbers would ever indicate.

    If third parties are ever going to do anything, they need to get real. Hire professional pollsters and public relations people, find a message that resonates with their base and with the electorate, and mount an effective campaign.

    Did you see all those tea Parties last month? There are millions of people dissatisfied with both the GOP and the Democrats. 2010 and 2012 should be years where both the Libertarian and Constitution parties surge against the established parties. If we don’t take advantage of this NOW, we may never have the opportunity again.

  25. #25 |  airforce | 

    And would somebody pleast tell me how to do that “quote” thing? The first paragraph in the above post was supposed to be a quote from Dave Krueger’s post.

  26. #26 |  ClubMedSux | 

    “Left libertarians cannot imagine how someone can be both an advocate of individual rights and yet hold personal social conservative views on morality.”

    Seriously? How hard is it to understand that somebody can decide, “I believe x but respect the rights of others to not believe x”? I suppose my personal social views on morality fall somewhere between conservative and moderate, but I don’t believe the government should legislate my notion of morality nor that of anybody else. I suspect there are a lot of libertarians out there who fall into the same camp, and I have to think many left libertarians can not only imagine this fact but actually acknowledge it.

  27. #27 |  ClubMedSux | 

    And would somebody pleast tell me how to do that “quote” thing? The first paragraph in the above post was supposed to be a quote from Dave Krueger’s post.

    Just type

    before the quote and

    after the quote (only no spaces between the angle brackets and the word “blockquote”… I had to include the spaces or it would’ve thought it was actual code).

  28. #28 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Dammit… Did it even with the space. Just go to this link: http://www.w3schools.com/TAGS/tag_blockquote.asp

  29. #29 |  airforce | 

    Thanks!

  30. #30 |  Steve LaBianca | 

    “Either persuade Root to stop going on Savage’s show, or show Root the door.”

    I have advocated for about a year and a half for W.A.R. to quit this charade and go back to the Republicans. He is a boil on the entire libertarian movement.

    Despite the fact that W.A.R. is a quick study, his comments in 2007, made many, many times referring to “islamofascists” is way too telling of the core beliefs of W.A.R. Even a quick study has to go through a complete transformation to be a libertarian. W.A.R. still has a long way to go, and I sincerely believe that he will never get there.

  31. #31 |  Mattocracy | 

    I read all these comments about Libertarians being disjointed and can’t come together to form strong candidates and the like. But I think a lot of the commentators are a prime example of why Libertarians have a hard time fielding candidates.

    “Libertarians are this, Libertarians are that, but me the commentator, I ignore the fact that I represent that which I accuse others of.”

    If you don’t want Root to take over the LP like the neocons took over the GOP, stop bitching, get involved in the party, and push the wackos out.

  32. #32 |  Chris M | 

    Small-l 4 life, amirite???

  33. #33 |  Poly the Tick | 

    I left the LP 10 years ago–when it became obvious that the party leadership had completely abandoned the principles of liberty for the “Big Fish in the Small Pond” syndrome.

    There are still a few “real” libertarians around: L. Neil Smith, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, others not so well known–even Balko on a good day (though too often he ridicules principled libertarians in favor of feel-good lefties. As individuals, they pursue their own projects. Too many are growing old and passing on. Many are hunkering down and doing what they can to pay the mortgage and feed their families.

    The dream of the LP is dead. Reforming it is even more pointless than trying to reform Nancy Pelosi or Charles Schumer.

    The LP gutted its platform. A party with a platform devoid of principles can have anyone as a candidate. Thus David Duke and Lyndon Larouche can run as Democrats and W.A.R. can run as a Libertarian. That path to liberty is now a tarpit.

  34. #34 |  Starchild | 

    Radley,

    Thank you for saying this. I couldn’t agree more. About Savage, and about Root. To add my own brief Savage anecdote (the final straw that convinced me, after having tuned in his show a few times, that he is a lunatic who nobody should be listening to) urge listeners driving cars to run Critical Mass bicyclists. As for Root, Steve LaBianca’s assessment mirrors my own.

  35. #35 |  Terrorific | 

    That’s why they’ll probably never achieve anything and we’re better off trying to take over the Republican party.

    “We” will never take over the Republican party, and why should we want to? Right now the party is comprised primarily of warmongers, religious nuts, and nanny-staters in general. Where do those people go? Will they stop voting? Create a new party? Nah, they’re staying put, even if they have to get quiet for a few years.

    Do you think we can convince them? Believe me, if they’re so stupid that they can’t understand freedom already, any conversion will simply wash away once they get comfortable.

    The ignorant redneck, anything-to-win, sentiments expressed by people like Lindsey Graham ARE the republican party. Those are the people in it, plain and simple. Could you sit down with them and discuss the non-aggression principle without them suffering from severe cognitive dissonance? No. They are a lost cause, especially if they’ve ever worn a uniform or gotten a paycheck from the government.

    Fuck those people. Stop voting entirely. Secede yourself, as I have.

  36. #36 |  Terrorific | 

    @Poly the Tick

    Right on. We need more hardliners unwilling to compromise. People with some balls. Guys like Bob Barr, Root, and other pseudo libertarians are unprincipled at best and….well….BORING at worst.

  37. #37 |  KBCraig | 

    Frankly, I’m disappointed with Savage for having W.A.R. on his show. Between the homeopathic “medical” advice from Savage, and the faux-libertarianism of Root, I figure we’re better off with Savage.

    Savage is what he is: sometimes war-monger, sometimes curmudgeon, sometimes bigot, always anti-status quo. Like many so-called “libertarian” celebrities, he’s flawed, but useful. When he’s right, he’s [b]very[/b] right.

  38. #38 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    Savage is a disgusting creep and bigot. He is the sort of ally who is worse than no ally.

    To add to his obnoxiousness there were his recent remarks denigrating a transsexual murder victim. I have transsexual and intersexed friends and know about the level of violence that there is against them especially in the US. This is one evil that you cannot blame government for, except for prosecutorial and police inaction. And this only reflects community attitudes.

  39. #39 |  the friendly grizzly | 

    @ 38 Lloyd Flack: Savage has an obsession with sex that makes that of a 15 year old boy look mild. Especially his obsession with homosexuality.

    There have been others that railed and screamed and had tantrums in public about “the gay agenda” blah blah blah. They turned out to be closet cases. Is Michael Savage a, well, “thilly Thavage”?

  40. #40 |  Billy Beck | 

    Always recall what Frank Chodorov said about voting.

    “You’re trying to clean up the whorehouse and keep the business.”

    You might think that you have a problem with Michael Savage, Radley, but your problem is a lot bigger than that.

  41. #41 |  Ken Moellman | 

    Where to even begin?

    As the state chair of LPKY, and a primary decision-maker on the convention planning committee from the LPKY-side, I was extremely excited to have Radley, Wayne, and Daniel come and speak. We believed that, combined with workshops and whatnot, we offered something for everyone at the convention, and I think that we did.

    As one who personally came to libertarianism from the right, I think it’s good to market to the right, at this time. The Republicans have AGAIN failed to follow through on their promises (many of those promises built on libertarian principles), which provides an opportunity to convince people to check out the LP. We don’t have the big budgets to market to people en masse. We take advantage of what we have available to us.

    The Republicans had promised smaller government, returning power from the feds to states, no nation building. These are all libertarian principles. Returning power to the states equates to a less intrusive federal government. Smaller government is less taxes. No nation building means we’re not expanding our armies into yet more countries. Yet, Republicans did ALL of these things in the past 10 – 15 years. This is an opportunity to help people, who believe in these principles, to wake up, find a platform which is consistent, and to come to the LP.

    As I’ve told many of our LPKY members; by the end of this year, when the left is all out of hope, and all out of change, we’ll begin a new era of recruiting from the left. That should balance out the party again and keep us top-center on the Nolan chart.

    Obama, during his campaign, promised not to raise taxes on 95% of people. He raised cigarette taxes, which effect over 20% of people. So he’s already failed his tax pledge. Many believed he would pull troops out of the Middle East as soon as he took office, and he’s instead expanding our intervention there. Meanwhile, Pelosi continues to open her mouth. We need one more major failure from the Dems, and it will be open season for recruiting from the left.

    Why recruit from the right and the left? Because we need more members. Because it’s not that hard to do; we’re ideologically consistent.

    I’ve shown people something similar in the past; look at the halfway mark between centrist and libertarian. Anyone who is above that line is a friend. Anyone who is south of there, to one line past the center, is a potential friend; even those just below the center line, towards authoritarian, may just be confused. Anyone below that line is a lost cause.

    Where Savage himself ends up? That’s for someone else to decide. But I know some of his listeners, and they can lean our way. If I can get someone that they listen to, to allow Wayne to speak and promote liberty, associated with the LP, it make them more open to listening to me, and hearing our message. Savage, as anti-freedom as he can be, can open doors for me, because he creates discontent with the status quo.

    What I believe we (the LP) needs, is a “Left Version” of Wayne; someone to run the Left Wing media circuit. Does anyone know this person? Are we looking for this person? What can we do to promote this person, get them on MSNBC, Air America, etc.?

  42. #42 |  Paul | 

    Libertarians and the Libertarian party have so struggled for mainstream acceptance they have repeatedly done stuff like this. Root is just the latest example.

    Instead of trying to get everyone to like them, they need to simply get the message out. Ron Paul’s run in the primary, while statistically a non-event, got some news coverage and got some people thinking. The tea parties got a little more. Rely on the principles and the ideas, and eventually, there will be a bottom up transition back towards Liberty.

  43. #43 |  Poly the Tick | 

    One problem we libertarians face as the Libertarian Party self-destructs is that that they will drag our good name through the dung-heap until it means something completely different. The W.A.R. thing is another step in that direction.

    The same thing has been done with the word ‘Liberal’, etc….

    I’m waiting for ‘Anarcho-Capitalist’ to mate with ‘Statist-Tyrant’.

    The left wing has radical enviro-nuts, AR wackos, etc. that pull the rest of the movement and the country in their direction. The right wing has radical pro-lifers, John Birchers, Klansman, etc. For better or worse, they often attract lots of media attention with their ideas constantly floated as trial balloons to mold public opinion. Everytime PETA, HSUS or GreenPeace squeaks it is top story on the Evening News.

    Our movement needs more vocally RADICAL libertarians like Vin Suprynowicz, L Neil Smith and Will Grigg.

    The tea parties were a great idea — though as always the Republicans jumped in to try to take ownership and defuse them.

  44. #44 |  Radley Balko | 

    Mr. Moellman —

    There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to the right, though Root comes off too much like a used car salesman for my taste. My impression is that he’s much more about promoting Wayne Allyn Root than he is about promoting libertarian ideas.

    The problem is that Savage is well beyond “the right.” He’s a populist and a reactionary who plays to people’s basest fears and bigotries. It isn’t that he has occasionally said some offensive things, it’s that he builds every show around denigrating immigrants, blacks, women, homosexuals, and drug users. He isn’t a “sometimes warmonger” as someone wrote above, he is a blood-thirsty war monger who wants to nuke the Muslim world.

    I’m not even sure what the leftist equivalent of Savage would be. Maybe if the Nation of Islam had a radio show.

  45. #45 |  Thomas L. Knapp | 

    “Barr was by far the worst LP candidate ever, and plenty of Libertarians not on the left were repulsed by his nomination, which involved delegate stacking and smear tactics on other candidates.”

    1. “Worst candidate ever” is pretty subjective. In terms of vote performance, Barr performed 2nd best of the LP’s nine presidential candidates (in 10 elections — Harry Browne was the LP’s nominee twice) in terms of raw vote totals, and 4th best in terms of percentage.

    2. I was a delegate to the 2008 LP national convention and worked for two of Barr’s opponents for the nomination. I saw no evidence whatsoever of “delegate stacking.” The trigger event for Barr’s nomination after he came in behind Ruwart on the fifth ballot was his deal with Root, who was eliminated on that ballot. Root threw his support to Barr, and Barr in turn endorsed Root for the VP slot. I suspect that Root’s supporters would have been more inclined to Barr than to Ruwart even without that deal, though. Like it or not (and I didn’t), Barr’s nomination was legitimately won.

    3. The main “smear” (one which Radley fell for, by the way) was of Dr. Ruwart, on issues surrounding child pornography and age of consent. While some Barr supporters did get involved, the only campaign which formally and overtly pursued it was the Root campaign, not the Barr campaign. Root’s manager, standing in for him in Indiana on a multi-convention weekend, flogged the matter at that state’s convention.

    I do agree that any association with Savage is bad for the LP. Wayne has responded to Radley to the effect that all media access is good media access. I doubt Wayne even agrees with himself on that. Would he appear on a show hosted by David Duke — or by Osama bin Laden? Savage isn’t a “conservative,” he’s a professional hatemonger — a terrorist wannabe who lacks the courage of his own convictions to actually strap on a bomb or a gun and go to work.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  46. #46 |  John | 

    Radley, have you ever thought about making a Presidential run? You’re a good speaker and writer. You have a fairly high profile in the news media. You’re not a raving lunatic. The Libertarian Party needs such candidates.

  47. #47 |  Tokin42 | 

    I happen to be with both Ken and Radley on this one. I’m not much on ideological purtiy (If we agree on 70% of the issues then I’m not sure how much more we can ask for) but at some point we have to draw a line. Radley, though, has at least been consistent on this issue. He came out against Ron Paul after the newletter racism fiasco came to light and now he’s pointing out the same problems with savage. I’ve never listened to savage and don’t intend to start now, but if he’s as big a bigot as Radley claims then everyone, regardless of political leanings, should shun his program. If we all can’t agree that racism is ignorant, then what can we all agree on?

  48. #48 |  fishbane | 

    Like it or not, Savage’s show draws millions of (mostly bored, I’d imagine) listeners, and it’s as good a place as any for Mr. Root to voice his ideas. More power to him.

    As they say, you’re known by the company you keep.

    A big reason why I’m not a member of the LP.

  49. #49 |  Ken | 

    I’ve said this before elsewhere, but it’s fun so I’ll say it again: Michael Savage is talk radio for Beavis and Butthead: guitars go gunge gunge gungadunge weedly weedly weedly, ESPLODONATIONS!!!!!1!!leven!!!, “psychological NOOOOODITY huh huh huhhhuh hh huh.”

    Root is a good fit on Savage in this regard: Root isn’t worth beans on the Second Amendment either.

  50. #50 |  J sub D | 

    I normally reserve my profanities and obscenities for Hit & Run, sparing the erudite and polite people here from crudity.

    Fuck Wayne Root. If Satan existed he and that piece of scum Michael Savage would be fucked for eternity by a queer jihadist in the filthiest corner of Hell for all eternity.

  51. #51 |  J sub D | 

    I really really would like a preview function. ;-)

  52. #52 |  Tom G | 

    I’m in agreement with all who think Savage’s program is publicity the LP doesn’t need. I was never impressed by Root either, once I saw he was running.
    Comments at #6, 14, 24, 33, 35, 36, 40, and 43 have summed up my feelings very well.

  53. #53 |  Cynical in CA | 

    I suspect that Savage is simply in the entertainment business a la Tom Leykis, Howard Stern, et. al., the shock-jock genre. Savage more likely than not doesn’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

    However, in his novel Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut was spot-on when he wrote, “We are who we pretend to be, so we must be very careful who we pretend to be.”

    As for Root’s relevance and the damage done to the LP by his affiliation with Savage, well, how exactly does one advance liberty by joining a Statist enterprise? Is the LP relevant in any way to advancing freedom?

  54. #54 |  Bronwyn | 

    I’ve only heard Savage once, on NPR last week. He foamed at the mouth and declared that he had better things to do than to listen to some mouthbreather backwoods idiot from Iowa (a caller). Neil Conan graciously told him to please do so.

    He was a complete asshole, which I hoped was just his schtick, but am afraid is his true personality.

    I wouldn’t want to be associated with him for any reason.

  55. #55 |  Aaron Starr | 

    Radley,

    I doubt Mr. Root would turn down an opportunity to be a regular guest on National Public Radio or to have a weekly column published in the New York Times.

    And I’m sure that those who control these two media institutions support an increase in the size and scope of government, but it would be illogical to conclude that a guest or columnist endorses those views on that basis.

    There may be other reasons to be critical of Wayne Root, but I’d be concerned that the line of thinking you present here (i.e. attacking a person because of the speaking venue afforded to him) might give people the false impression that you are intellectually vacuous.

    Respectfully,

    Aaron Starr

  56. #56 |  Mike T | 

    Seriously? How hard is it to understand that somebody can decide, “I believe x but respect the rights of others to not believe x”? I suppose my personal social views on morality fall somewhere between conservative and moderate, but I don’t believe the government should legislate my notion of morality nor that of anybody else. I suspect there are a lot of libertarians out there who fall into the same camp, and I have to think many left libertarians can not only imagine this fact but actually acknowledge it.

    You wouldn’t know that based on half of the responses here or at Reason to any form of social conservatism. After all, only bigots and statists believe that homosexuality is immoral and that abortion is an individual rights issue for the child, not the mother.

    The row over Ron Paul during the Republican primaries shows that left and right libertarianism are only superficially the same movement. There really is no such independent ideology as libertarianism. It is simply a variation of existing left-wing and right-wing ideologies.

  57. #57 |  Christopher Monnier | 

    I guess we’ll have to start using the term “classical liberal” again…

  58. #58 |  Ken Moellman | 

    We may have to agree to disagree here, but I really do think that not all of Savage’s listeners are bad people, and in fact some could be steered our way, just like the Beck 9/12 people. These are people who are discontent, and open to solutions they once would not have considered. Our job, as either Big-L or Little-L libertarians, is to present a calm, rational, and consistent platform and case to these people. It won’t scare them away, and it’ll bring them into our ranks, where we can continue their libertarian education. It’ much better than the alternative.

    I think the Left equivalent to Savage would be Olbermann.

    I had a much longer post before, but it got wiped out due to a glitch on my side. Probably better that way anyway.

  59. #59 |  Fascist Nation | 

    There is very little libertarian about the Libertarian Party. Rothbard was right. Let it die.

  60. #60 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Most of us here (I’m guessing) know the progression people take on their way to, thru, and beyond the Libertarian Party. As such, I think the LP has accomplished little more than sometimes catching disgruntled Dems and Repubs, while also serving as a rest area for folks on independent discovery trips. Any discussion of what the LP should do, has done, or is doing now is too much discussion. This doesn’t mean that libertarianism is not worth discussing…just that the LP is not a mechanism by which libertarianism is implemented or advanced.

    I believe Radley’s point is that the LP, by virtue of its principles, has enemies and Savage is most definitely an enemy. An LP leader should know this. WAR’s participation with Savage tips his hand at his game of self promotion rather than true leadership. The LP would be better served to look elsewhere.

    There really is no such independent ideology as libertarianism. It is simply a variation of existing left-wing and right-wing ideologies.

    Or the other way around. There are no independent ideologies such as left and right wing. They exist only as extreme interpretations of libertarianism.

    Hey, the Constitution looks mostly libertarian to me…until it got corn-holed by politicians and the New Deal.

  61. #61 |  mdh | 

    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree here. While I may not agree with everything Wayne Root says or thinks (and he’s moved closer to me over the past two years based on the progression of his policy statements), I think he’s been doing a lot of good stuff.
    Why does it matter who he’s preaching to? I go out and talk to everyone from gun enthusiasts to union members to queer activists to anti-war activists to disgruntled paleo-conservatives to… well, plenty more. My message is clear. My message doesn’t waver. I’m sure that plenty of the people I’ve brought the message to are wholeheartedly unlibertarian and anti-freedom. I don’t care. My role is to educate them, not to give a damn what their opinion is to begin with. Sometimes I succeed and often I fail to make an immediate impact. More often, however, I’ve planted a seed. If Wayne Root is planting seeds in just some of the anti-freedom minds he touches (though I’m sure plenty of people listen to Savage just because they love to hate the guy, and are not as anti-freedom as we may suspect), then he’s doing good work, and I support it all the way.
    We’re not big enough that we can be so selective of who we’re willing to talk to or which outlets we’re willing to use. Even if we were, I don’t think we should be. As long as our message is a consistently libertarian message, we’re doing good work. Wayne Root may not be a perfect libertarian, ideologically. Of course, for everyone who’ll say he isn’t, there’ll be a person who says he is, and a person who says that anyone who doesn’t advocate immediate anarchy is not libertarian, and the list goes on and on. What Root is doing is helping our party grow by getting some name recognition, at the very least. At best, some of those seeds he’s planting are going to sprout and those people are going to become future activists, future libertarians. I wasn’t an ideologically pure libertarian when I first voted for Badnarik in 2004. It’s a progression and takes time to read, to learn, to understand why the consistency of our ideology works so well. Why freedom works so well. Let’s all help to usher these people along down the road that so many of us once walked, rather than scorn them for their unlibertarian pasts.

  62. #62 |  Kevin Dean | 

    Damn… I forgot that the Libertarian Party claimed to care about liberty.

    I mean… George W. Bush was elected on a platform of smaller government, I assumed the Libertarian Party’s “freedom” stance was kicked to the side when they started advocating aggression and tyranny.

    As such, I’m not surprised.

  63. #63 |  airforce | 

    Why does it matter who he’s preaching to? I go out and talk to everyone from gun enthusiasts to union members to queer activists to anti-war activists to disgruntled paleo-conservatives to… well, plenty more. My message is clear. My message doesn’t waver. I’m sure that plenty of the people I’ve brought the message to are wholeheartedly unlibertarian and anti-freedom. I don’t care. My role is to educate them, not to give a damn what their opinion is to begin with.

    Well said. When I tell folks the government should have no hand in deciding if gay marriages are valid, I also tell them that I, personally, would not. I consider homosexuality to be a sin, and conferring upon this vile sin the sanctity of marriage is outrageous. I would immediately leave any church that performed a gay marriage.

    Using force to nullify a gay marriage, however, would be even more of an outrage. I have no right to do so, and neither should the State.

    Would anyone consider me a “perfect libertarian?” Probably not. Frankly, I don’t think such a thing even exists.

    Mr. Balko is right, Mr. Root looks and sounds too much like a used car salesman to suit me. I was rather disappointed that Bob Barr chose him as his running mate, though I understand why he did. But give him a break. By appearing on Savage’s show, he’s doing what he can to advance our cause.

  64. #64 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    By appearing on Savage’s shows you implicitly say that Savage’s views are worthy of respect not just tolerance. But Savage’s views are not deserving of respect. They are vile and contemptible. In the name of freedom of speech we have to tolerate them. But it is immoral to condone them.

    By appearing on his shows you make the implicit statement that the areas where you disagree with him are not of great importance. But they are not unimportant and you discredit yourself by not distancing yourself from someone like him. The price of reaching out to his listeners is too high. You loose more than you gain.

  65. #65 |  Brandybuck | 

    Everytime I wonder if I made the right decision in leaving the LP for the GOP, along comes a story like this to affirm my choice. Hoping the LP can field a winnable candidate like like hoping your Sunday school children’s choir can win Eurovision.

  66. #66 |  strat | 

    The most ironic thing about Michael Savage, and one about which I wish I’d called in about during my brief evaluation of his program is that his rants about “borders, language and culture” sound almost exactly like campaign speeches by French politicians.

  67. #67 |  Mara | 

    #24 — airforce — May 18th, 2009 at 9:25 pm — Did you see all those tea Parties last month? There are millions of people dissatisfied with both the GOP and the Democrats…If we don’t take advantage of this NOW, we may never have the opportunity again

    too bad the tea parties got hijacked by the racists, homophobes, and Republicans. I mean look at who was at the top of the organizational pyramid – Dick Armey’s “Freedom Group”, the Drill-baby-drill organization “Don’tGO” and last (but not least) the so-called “Americans for Prosperity” bunch. They stole the idea from Libertarians and astro-turfed it into a protest by, for, and of Republican conservatives (complete with ubiquitous anti-Obama and anti-liberal protest signs).

    Where were the Libertarians? Where were the fiscally conservative, socially liberal Libertarians?! Where were the regular Americans who just wanted to protest the obscene bailouts, and don’t necessarily hate Obama? Nowhere. The face of these protests are Republican faces. For gods sake…FOX NEWS was providing links to site coordinators!

    Sure, emulate the Tea Parties (they were originally Libertarian anyway) but I suggest you call them something else, because that designation now belongs to the Republicans.

  68. #68 |  truthynesslover | 

    Libertarians are for the most part trustfund babies angry that their easy money is taxed and loners who resent having to pay for other people kids education {since they themselves can find women to procreate with}.They for the most part are hopelessly selfish fools living in a world of warcraft fantasy land disconnected from and felling of obligation to the community.They live their lives with deep seated resentments and your suprised people like Savage would be a beacon to them?

  69. #69 |  Brian | 

    Root is a Vegas guy, betting on the odds. The only one who has something to gain from this is Root. More than likely he is on Savage’s show for the big numbers. Secondly, I like listening to Savage for the entertainment value. He’s ridiculously funny in the way Archie bunker was. No radio pundits sway my opinion. I like the fact Savage practices free speech and takes no prisoners.. I like the fact he’s pretty brilliant. I like the fact he’s a reformed liberal.

    If YOU have something against free association that is YOUR problem.

  70. #70 |  Brian | 

    I meant FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION, of course.

  71. #71 |  Brian | 

    I’m completely floored that anyone who agrees with this article – let alone authored it – considers himself to be a libertarian or open-minded. A libertarian can only spread his word on another libertarian’s radio show? Seriously? Radley I agree with your Reason/FOX NEWS stuff 95% of the time but this is truly unreal. I had to read it a few times to make sure it wasn’t a joke. As a matter of fact, I read the article before I knew who wrote it and my jaw literally dropped when I saw who it was. I was brought here via Sullivan. Wow.

  72. #72 |  Brian | 

    And I read your stuff on FOX NEWS! HA! How ironic Is this article?!?!

  73. #73 |  libertariangirl | 

    Nevada apologizes to Radley for abhorrent behavior of former Chair , Jim Duensing

  74. #74 |  Morning Links | The Agitator | 

    […] Thomas Knapp reviews already declared Libertarian Party 2012 presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root’s new book, and finds it lacking. My dustup with Root here. […]

  75. #75 |  jb | 

    Billy Beck got it best of all.

    He might have used his favorite term–Endarkenment.

    I have no dog in this hunt, since there is no hunt.

  76. #76 |  jb | 

    Savage’s schtick is to expose.

    He does it quite well. So many squeal when stuck.

  77. #77 |  Bonnie S | 

    I care more what W.A.R. is saying than where he’s saying it, but no-one’s talked about that.

  78. #78 |  Wayne Allyn Root: Bonkers | The Agitator | 

    […] Party. Root has also indicated that he plans to run for president in 2012 under the LP banner. I criticized Root last year for boasting about his appearances on Michael Savage’s syndicated radio show. […]

  79. #79 |  Wayne Root’s vow to testify at Rev. Manning’s Obama Birther ‘trial’ draws catcalls from Balko, Mataconis, others | Independent Political Report | 

    […] Party. Root has also indicated that he plans to run for president in 2012 under the LP banner. I criticized Root last year for boasting about his appearances on Michael Savage’s syndicated radio show. […]

Leave a Reply