Let’s look at two of the biggest fringe movements in Minnesota politics today:
First; the “Ron Paul” faction in the GOP. Mostly in the GOP, anyway; they skitter back and forth between the GOP, the Libertarians, and the “Splendidly Above It All” party. (And bear in mind – I agree with 80-90% of what Ron Paul says).
Then – the “Independence” Party; the party that has had precisely two elected officials and two unelected ringers in its entire history; Ventura and liberal-Republican Senator Sheila Kiscaiden, who left the GOP in 2002, and skipped onward to the DFL in 2006 (In addition to Dean Barkley’s month in the US Senate, moderate Iron Range DFLer Bob Lessard joined the IP for his lame-duck term). The party hangs on to relevance – its “major party status” – by dint of the fact that it manages to eke out over 5% in at least one state-wide election every four years.
The party was founded, essentially, by “good government” moderates; fiscal sorta conservatives and social mostly liberals. And that’s who they’ve run for office; among the endless stream of trivia questions that are the Indy Party gubernatorial candidates, we’ve had:
- 2002 – Tim Penny. Former moderate DFLer who got left in the middle as the party swung to the left.
2006 – um, who knows? I coulda swore they nominated someone, but even Wikipedia doesn’t say. Peter Hutchinson – a moderate Democrat education industry thinker/bureaucrat.
- 2010 – Tom Horner, former liberal Republican who, in his entirety, was intended as a spoiler to the Emmer election. And it worked.
So what does this tell us? Ventura – Libertarian In Name Only. Barkley and Penney – fiscal moderates who epitomized the IndyParty’s loooove of tinkering with the wheels and levers of government. Lessard and Kiscaiden – a moderate DFLer, and a liberal Republican who turned DFLer when the IndyParty ceased to amuse her. Horner: a big-government IR-era not-conservative-at-all Republican in the Arne Carlson mold.
It’s a party that – to the extent that it has principles – is all for “good government” (best described as getting the biggest bang we can for our ample tax bucks) and social liberalism.
“We anticipated we were going to have a Senate endorsement battle, but Hannah Nicollet recognizing that we did not have a candidate who was up for endorsement for governor talked to her family, talked to advisors and came to the leadership before the endorsement started and asked if she could seek the endorsement for governor,” said party chair Mark Jenkins.
Nicollet backed libertarian former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul for President in 2012. She saidshe still supports the majority of that party’s fiscally conservative, socially liberal platform.
So a “libertarian” “supports” the “majority” of a party whose platform traditionally reflects the desire of big-government wonks to play with the wheels and knobs of goverment – which is ostensibly anathema to Ron Paul and, supposedly, the libertarian-Republicans that the IndyParty is courting with bald-faced desperation?
Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t personally find some resonance with some of Ms. Nicollet’s policy stances. I do. But then, I’m a libertarian-conservative, so that’s not a real stretch. What is a stretch is that the Indy Party – founded by and for people who like to marinade themselves in the sweet smell of “good government” – have suddently had a sincere conversion to “libertarianism”.
So what could possibly be behind this seeming change of political heart on the IndyParty’s part?
I’m going to guess “a sizeable donation from Alita Messinger and her DFL-supporting deep-pocketed friends, suitably laundered to conceal the appearance of a paid spoiler”.
That’s a guess. Nope, no evidence. Not yet.
Just speculating, here.
PS – there are some in the Twin Cities “libertarian” community – Ron Paul supporters and the “Magnificently Above It All” faction – who insist, sometimes with a straight face, that…:
- I’m not a Libertarian
- That I’m a “shill for the Weber-Meeks Cabal”
- My opposition to certain fringe-Libertarian figures makes me “establishment”.
- My long involvement with True North, coupled with the fact that True North had no “Ron Paul” sympathizers among its writing staff meant that I’m “anti-liberty”.
To which I respond:
- On the one hand, stipulated. On the other? I will suggest that my show and blog do at least as much to advance liberty as does the current incarnation of the “liberty” movement.
- I’ll “Shill” for any cabal that wants to pay me to do it – and not cheaply – and I’ll disclose it fully. The news that I’m their “shill” will no doubt amuse Vin Weber (whom I’ve never met or associated with in any way) and Annette Meeks (a social acquaintence). I’ve never received a dime for my opinion, outside of advertising and donations to my annual fund drive (and there’ve been no donations from anyone’s cabal, either)
- If fighting against divisive, self-promoting glad-handers who do more harm than good to the liberty and Second Amendment movements is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
- What, Craig Westover is chopped liver? True North, in which I’ve had no day-to-day involvement since December of 2013, actively solicited “libertarian”, Paul-affiliated writers. None stepped forward. My theory; precious few among them feel any need to convince anyone outside the echo chamber.
That is all.