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Posts Tagged ‘Libertarian Party’

Virginia Libertarian gubernatorial candidaete Rob Sarvis

Virginia Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis

This week, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis will be making a multitude of campaign stops in the central Shenandoah Valley.  These events mark his first trip to the area since securing the party’s nomination back at the Waynesboro convention in April.

First, on Wednesday, August 14th, Sarvis will give a speech on the steps of the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County courthouse beginning at 5:30 PM.

From there, he will travel to a meet-and-greet at the home of a local supporter who lives just west of the city.

Then, on the following day, he will converse with voters at Wright’s Dairy Rite in Staunton from 4 PM to 5 PM.  Wrights’, for those who don’t know, is a 1950s style burger and milkshakes diner that has been in operation since 1952 and is located at 346 Greenville Avenue.

Afterward, starting at 6:30 PM, Robert will address the Staunton Tea Party.  These days, the Staunton Tea Party holds their monthly gatherings at the VFW on 212 Frontier Drive.

Lastly, on Friday, Robert Sarvis will tour the Rockingham County Fair for a good portion of the day.  This year, the Libertarian Party has a booth alongside the Republican and Democratic Parties.

As the 2013 election season begins to kick into high gear, it should be interesting to see how many times the various statewide candidates visit the Valley.  Only a few weeks ago, E. W. Jackson held a particularly successful fundraiser on the campus of James Madison University.  With both Rockingham and Augusta Counties being typically among the most Republican (if not the most Republican) localities in the state coupled with cities like Harrisonburg and Staunton, which have been trending Democratic in recent years, the area provides a variety of political opinions and perspectives.  And, given that none of the statewide candidates have opened up a considerable lead in the polls thus far coupled with the relatively untested variable of the Libertarian Party and Robert Sarvis, politics in this part of the state might be a bit more entertaining than it has been in previous cycles.

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SAMSUNG

Photo from Bridget & The Parrish Campaign

On Monday evening, a handful of liberty-minded political activists gathered at a coffee shop in Lynchburg, Virginia, for two purposes.

The first was for the reestablishment of the Libertarian Party in the region.  Although politically influential a decade or so ago, the local Libertarian effort has diminished considerably in recent years.  This newly refounded group seeks to bring together Libertarians, not only in the city of Lynchburg, but also the surrounding counties of Campbell, Bedford, and Amherst, and even the nearby county of Appomattox.

In addition, yesterday’s meeting gave these Libertarians a chance to speak with Jonathan Parrish, the Libertarian candidate for the 23rd district seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.  Mr. Parrish is challenging T. Scott Garrett, a Republican first elected in the 2009 cycle.  According to his campaign website, Parrish’s three priorities in this race are: cutting taxes and spending, fighting for the legalization of marijuana, and reforming the school system.

There is little doubt that the Virginia Libertarian Party is expanding their efforts; besides the Libertarian affiliate in Lynchburg, another group is taking shape a hundred miles away in Harrisonburg, and there are likely more yet unreported.  In addition, they are running a considerable number of candidates this November.  Including Robert Sarvis, the second ever Libertarian candidate for governor, and Jonathan Parrish in the 23rd, the party is contesting a total of six seats in the House of Delegates.

More information about the Lynchburg Libertarians, including dates of further gatherings, can be found on Facebook or meetup.com.

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From Madison Liberty

Tomorrow, Monday, September 17th, Judge Jim Gray, the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate, will be on the campus of James Madison University.  Madison Liberty is hosting the event.  As their name implies, they are a liberty-minded group of students at the university.

The gathering itself will be taking place starting at 3:30 PM on The Commons, which is next to D-Hall.  For non-JMU students, a parking pass is available at parking services, located in ground floor of the parking deck beside the football stadium on Champions Drive.

Whether you consider yourself libertarian, conservative, liberal, some other political persuasion, or even those who are not particularly informed, tomorrow provides another excellent opportunity for the students of James Madison and the surrounding community to expand political dialogue and learn more about Gary Johnson and his running mate, Judge Jim Gray.

You may have forgotten, but tomorrow is Constitution Day, the anniversary of the signing of our Constitution.  How better to commemorate the day than by spending an hour with Jim Gray alongside a bunch of students who actively seek to restore and expand our freedoms?

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I admit that I don’t visit the Libertarian Party‘s website very often; maybe a couple of times a year.  But, when I stopped by today, a recent poll caught my attention.  It asked, “after hearing that Osama bin Laden was killed, what are your feeling about the War in Afghanistan?”  Out of the 4,516 respondents, a considerable majority, 66%, answered that, “I supported a withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan even before bin Laden died.”  A small contingency, 9%, holds to the belief that, “I don’t believe the story that Osama bin Laden was killed recently.”  Although it is true that the Obama administration has not offered any hard evidence that bin Laden, to simply dismiss the claim represents, in my mind, a disturbing trend toward a total distrust of government and the rise of wild conspiracy theories.

Personally, I favor the viewpoint held by 13% who say that, “I now favor a withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.”  After all, the whole purpose of the mission was to bring justice to the people who attacked the United States on 9/11/2001.  And no, unlike the 9/11-truther movement, I do not think that Bush brought down the towers, but rather it was a small group of Arabian Islamic radicals headed by Osama bin Laden.  Unlike in Iraq, in Afghanistan we had a clearly defined mission, capture or kill Osama bin Laden.  Considering that goal is accomplished, it is time for our soldiers to head home.  They should not be used as domestic Afghan police or to rebuild bridges and schools.

The whole Afghan adventure should provide a sobering lesson regarding foreign policy.  Supposed allies propped up with massive funding can turn against us.  After all, we poured considerable wealth into Afghanistan in the 80’s to fight the Soviet Union.  Although that mission was successful, it did spawn unintended consequences once those former “freedom fighters” turned their eye on our own nation.

Anyway, it is time for a new poll on The Virginia Conservative closely mirroring the one on the Libertarian site.  What are your thoughts on the matter?  Do you agree with a majority of Libertarians, neo-conservatives, myself, or do you hold some other opinion?  Feel free to add your comments as well.

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This evening, I received a rather interesting email from the folks at Campaign for Liberty.  Embedded within were two video links from South Carolina politicians.  One is Senator Lindsey Graham and the other is Governor Mark Sanford.  The comments that they make really strike at the conflict over the future of the Republican Party.  Before I continue, you should watch both…


The first point I’ll make concerns Lindsey Graham.  Notice that when a member of the crowd calls him a hypocrite, he doesn’t deny the claim, only pointing out that “I’m a winner pal.”  Now perhaps he touches on the subject during the obvious gaps in footage, but don’t you think it strange that he immediately counters with such a line?  Is he saying, “I may be a hypocrite, but as long as I keep getting reelected, it doesn’t matter”?  Is that the kind of politician you want representing your interests in Washington?  Then he goes on to bash Libertarian ideas and calls himself a Republican.  Note that he doesn’t say he is a conservative, but simply a Republican.  He then touts the merits of winning.  Now, perhaps you might think from my earlier article, The Minority, that I hold winning in high esteem and that I dislike Libertarian ideas too.  It is true that winning is important.  If you are unable to achieve victory in an election then you will find it difficult, if not downright impossible to promote your philosophy and agenda.  However, one should never sell out one’s constituents or principles for the mere sake of victory.  If you do, then you seek to serve only yourself and your own ambitions.  As for our Libertarian friends, I would argue that I have more Libertarian leanings than your run-of-the-mill Republican.  You all have points with which I agree as well as ideas to which I am opposed.  Regardless of your own personal feelings about Libertarians, how many administrations, either Republican or Democrat, have actually successfully reduced the size and scope of the federal government?  As far as I can tell, these days it is all about advancing one facet of the government over another.  As either a Conservative or a Libertarian, doesn’t such a realization deeply disturb you?

Then, we have the response by Mark Sanford.  Unlike Graham, he embraces overarching Libertarian principles and is proud of the supposed slur.

Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that the Libertarians and the Republicans merge, because there are a number of issues of great distinction between the two, especially when it comes to some important social issues.  But, I do think that the Republican Party must reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibly and uphold the distinct rights of states and individuals made subservient to the federal government.  People like Governor Sanford display this conviction in both word and deed.  On the other hand, politicians like Senator Graham seem to concern themselves with maintaining their own power and advancing the federal government to suit their own designs.  Given a choice, I know which of the two I’d prefer leading both the Republican Party and the nation.

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Despite the lyrics of the Green Day song, I doubt that very many people “want to be the minority”.  Now today’s discussion of minority has nothing to do about race, but rather ideology.  However, as I’ve said in the past, it makes no sense to rectify past discrimination of certain races by promoting racist policies toward another group.  Is the only solution to ending racism by enacting discriminatory laws?  But I digress…

In politics, to be in the minority often means a lack of power, prestige, and respect.  Who cares to join a movement that cannot ever affect policy?  Not many people.  From my experiences, that one point is the greatest failing of the Libertarian Party.  Many active Libertarians I have met seem perfectly willing to maintain their minority status.  Without reaching out to a broader base, all that they will ever be is a discussion group, pontificating about their vision of a perfect society, but never taking the necessary steps toward making their dreams a reality.

The same could hold true for limited government conservatives in the Republican Party.  There exist factions of the Republican Party (the so-called moderates, the neo-conservatives, and the blind party loyalists) who don’t want to see us succeed.  They have either embraced the notion of big government or refuse to take a stand on the important issues of the day.  Like so many facets of life, the easiest path in politics is to accomplish nothing.  If a politician or party doesn’t either pass or promote legislation, then no one will rise in opposition to them and they can hold power for a long period of time, generating kickbacks for themselves and their faithful supporters.  Except for the whole kickbacks thing, the American political system was intentionally designed to slow and outright prevent new laws.  The founders of this nation developed a system of governance and Constitution that they liked and didn’t want the next generation to radically rock the boat.  For the most part, this system worked until politicians and parties fell down on their duty to defend the nation and it’s Constitution from all enemies.  While big government liberals actively continued repeatedly to press for the expansion of the federal government, conservatives, for the most part, have quietly acquiesced or, even worse, joined in, looking to gain benefits for their constituents.

Although some people are enamored with the prospect of a third party (and I’ve written about the topic a bit), unless such a party supplants and replaces one of the two major parties, it will always be the minority and thus ignored.  Names do change, but realistically in the whole history of American politics, the only party to achieve such success was the Republican Party, who formed after the splitting of the Whigs.  Most Americans really do not give 2¢ about politics and so, in truth, all political movements are minority movements; still, of those who are politically active and influential, I do not want to be part of the minority.  I honestly believe that the only realistic path to success is to push the Republican Party and Republican politicians (kicking and screaming if necessary) back to the principles of limited government conservatism that they claim to hold.  Should politicians or leaders balk or act contrary, we must withdraw our support and find new candidates to replace them.  To use a plant analogy:  although some of the branches are rotten and in need of pruning, the solid roots of the modern Republican Party alone make it worth retaining.  We must not be afraid consistently and ardently to champion our values and compel our representatives to do likewise.  Otherwise, be prepared to remain the minority.

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