Saturday, November 11, 2006

Quit Trying to Become CEO without First Getting Experience in the Mail Room

As usual, I am reading and hearing Libertarians expound on another election in which we didn't get very many people elected.

There is a good reason for this. We've been trying to get Libertarians "hired" to Chief Executive Officer positions without first getting experience in the mail room.

This must stop.

No more wasted energy on US House, US Senate and Presidential races. No more wasted energy on statewide, state legislative and countywide offices. None of this until we have become the party of town, city, township, school board and comparable political office.

The only exceptions are when ballot status requires running for one of these offices, or where running someone for these offices is part of the strategy of getting someone in lower office elected (which happened in Indiana with one lower office and almost in another).

We should not discourage those who are competent from running for these "CEO" offices if they insist on doing so. But we should make it clear that they will get no official Libertarian support beyond ballot access.

Indiana is electing Libertarians to city, town and township offices. We are doing it regularly. We are still not concentrating on doing so. After today's meeting of the Central Committee of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, we are going to concentrate on winning city, town and township offices.

We want to win - and we now know the answer is staring at us squarely in the face. We must start with the mail room positions first.


Rex Bell said...

There were 4 townships in Wayne County where all we had to do was sign up and we could have had someone on the Advisory Boards.

I don't have any answers on how to get people to run. Any ideas?

Mark W. Rutherford said...

It's not easy, as you know for you did recruit some candidates and one in your county was elected this year.

It's a topic for a seminar, but it generally takes:

1.) Constantly being on the outlook for individuals in a community who are respected and are libertarian in nature. These are often identified through friends, neighbors, newspapers, attendance at governmental meetings, etc.

2.) Asking scores of people to run with the hope of getting a handful - there will be a lot of rejection by potential candidates.

Rex Bell said...

Candidates for higher offices also bring more exposure to the party. At least in my area, township candidates are rarely included in media coverage or debates.

I agree that getting people elected to these offices is important, but I also think that lessening our attention on party recognition would be a mistake.

Once again, I have no answers. Just trying to figure out how to do what we've been doing, only better.

Kenn Gividen said...

What's the point of having a political party if no one (or hardly anyone) gets elected?

I like the idea of running quality candidates (Schansberg, eg) for the "top of the ticket" exposure value. It lends credibility to the mailroom candidates.

However, the Phil Miller strategy -- fight a war you can win -- makes sense.

Suggestion: Hire the pros.

I realize we're all seasoned experts in the art of campaigning, but hiring a competent company to evaulate campaigns for their winability factor and to handle the campaigning would catapult our efforts above the Rs and Ds who also also view their crappy yard signs as works of genius.

Does anyone recall the name of Roman emperor (general?) whose success was attributed to engaging only in military campaigns he knew he could win?

Mark W. Rutherford said...

Kenn - I tried to get the Central Committee and others behind hiring professionals this year. A husband and wife team was available who are Libertarians and make their living helping Ron Paul and Republicans in Texas get elected.

They offered to exclusively work from June through the election for us at a very fair and attainable price.

It went over like a lead balloon. I choose not to neglect and sacrifice my law practice to try to make it work since it looked to be a lonely endeavor.

Mike Kole said...

My belief is that we have had a culture within the LP that enjoys running for high office safe in the knowledge that victory is very unlikely. It gives cover to run one's mouth in a self-serving, but ineffectual way.

We are rounding the corner towards a liberty loving culture that also sees value in holdingoffice- not for the purpose of wielding power but of keeping that power under wraps.

We're getting there, in my opinion.

J. A. Thomas said...

I ran for a high office to gain exposure for the party in my area. Now that people have seen a local on the ballot and several times in the paper, they are more willing to talk openly about the Libertarian party. In my mind the exposure was worth 20 times what was spent on my campaign. However I agree that now we won't have to deal with party recognition we can concentrate on local races in this area.

Kenn Gividen said...

Columbus has a Democratic council member who was opposed by a Libertarian last election. He didn't campaign; didn't even show up for the forums. Arrogant. He's a sitting duck if we run a strong campaign against him next election.

Anonymous said...

With all the unopposed local candidates the R's & D's ran this past election, it would seem an obvious strategy would be to focus on those races.

Can we find out that info before we nominate our candidates? I was kicking myself when I saw some unopposed races in my district.

Mark W. Rutherford said...

The information is available at clerk's offices across the state. Most of it is on-line.

R',D's and L's have until July 3rd to fill vacancies from primaries and conventions. If after a primary or convention the clerk tells you a party hasn't filled a slot, there is a chance the party won't fill it. It is never certain until the deadline though.

leon dixon said...

If it is decided to not do major races a listing of libertarian positions could be drawn up and the other candidates could compete for the libertarian endorsement. While it might often be withheld from one or both, at times it could make a difference. We ought to continue filling in our data base so as to be able to exercise influence when we have the means to do so.