Monday, July 03, 2006

2006 Libertarian National Convention, Mike Sylvester's take

I had a great time at the 2006 National Convention. My wife (Karena) and I flew out last Wednesday morning. We spent Wednesday checking Portland out.

Portland is an interesting city. It is a very "GREEN" city. There is a large population of homeless people in Portland.

Thursday we went White Water rafting on the Clackamus river,. We took the full day trip and had a great time. There were four of us in the raft plus one guide.

The guide was great. We also had a couple of recent high school graduates who were up from California. They absolutely hated our current President...

Everyone was thrown from the raft and into the river at least once except Karena! I was thrown into the river once, and everyone else (INCLUDING our guide) was thrown in twice. It was GREAT. I highly recommend it.

We walked around Chinatown that night.

THE DAY BEFORE
Friday we went to Powell's Books and walked around Portland.

At 3 PM I went to the Libertarian Reform Caucus meeting. There were about 15 people at the meeting. About 10 of the attendees were members of the LRC. A couple of candidates for LNC came and spoke. Chuck Moulton (Our new Vice Chair) attended and gave a brief speech. Chuck Moulton is a member of the LRC!

We talked about the LRC and got to know each other a bit.

The opening reception followed. My wife and I attended and talked to quite a few Libertarians. It is a lot of fun to be among about 300 other Libertarians!

After the reception we knocked off and went to bed...

Day one

The convention proper was quite interesting. There are better accounts of it elsewhere online. I will just give you my feel. I LOVED IT. I plan on going to ALL future National Conventions.

Before I get started the Chairman did AN OUTSTANDING JOB and should be commended. Michael Dixon ran one of the best meetings of this kind I have ever seen. The LNC will miss Mr. Dixon for sure. Bob Sullentrop (Secretary) also did a great job and should be commended...

One of the first things that happened is the platform retention ballot. Basically all delegates are given a ballot and you can vote yes or no for every plank. You can also vote to either keep all or remove all. Realize that the way the By Laws are written the platform must be approved EVERY convention...

This vote was taken in the morning.

Three major things happened this day in my opinion.

The first is the Platform Committee gave their report and made some recommendations on amending some planks. They proposed planks that were markedly better then the previous planks. The Platform Committee DID A GREAT job. They are all to be commended. They have a website and allow everyone to participate who wants to. They worked hard.

They made a set of proposals in mass, and believe it or not, the convention accepted their proposals en masse without too much arguing. It was very encouraging.

The second thing that came up was removing or amending the pledge to join the LP. The LP has had a pledge for a long time that some of its members do not care for. It follows: "I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals." The LRC wanted to remove the national Pledge. This would make it not a requirement that each member of the National Party agree to the pledge above.

I have always and am still 100% against this pledge. I am a Constitutionalist. We have a right to keep and bear arms for a reason, just like our Founding Father's. I am 100% in favor of changing or removing the pledge.

In fact, Indiana is one of MANY state affiliates of the LP that has already removed the pledge to become a State member...

The first proposal was to remove this pledge. It needed 2/3 to remove it. We had about half, so we lost...

Next another person tried to amend the Pledge. They wanted it to basically say that Libertarians pledge to work for smaller and less intrusive government and to work to protect individual freedoms. This did better, but, still failed to get 2/3. It had 55% + support.

So in the end we had to retain the Pledge which is VERY unfortunate.

The third major item this day were the results from the first ballot retention vote. The body ended up voting to remove almost the entire LP Platform. The vote averaged ABOUT 51% to remove the planks and 49% to retain. Realize each plank had its own results.

UNFORTUNATELY, PER THE BY-LAWS, ALL OF THE PLANKS WE MODIFIED EARLIER IN THE DAY WERE RETAINED EVEN THOUGH ONCE THE VOTES WERE TABULATED WE HAD ACTUALLY VOTED TO REMOVE THEM! This is a problem with the by laws and the way the convention was setup...

So per the by laws all of the planks we modified were retained. The Convention voted to remove almost the entire rest of the platform...

Per the by laws we had to vote again the next day on this matter...

Note. Here is how the voting went. About 45% of the delegates voted to kill all planks, about 45% voted to retain all planks, and the other 10% had mixed ballots and these few people are the ones who determined what happened. A swing vote if you will...

At the end of Saturday there was a lot of confusion because the above results were not known when the convention ended for the day...

That night I went and found Chuck Moulton. Chuck was a candidate for Vice Chair I had ever met; however, I knew he was a member of the LRC so I wanted to support him. I went to his Hospitality Suite early and he was just getting ready to setup 20 minutes prior to his start time of 9 PM. I help Chuck setup his suite and as we talked I learned that Chuck does not drink alcohol. I quickly decided I would be the bartender and hand out the beer... I am good at that...
It gave me a chance to talk to a lot of people and get a feel for the convention. I tended bar from 9 PM until 1:30 Am... It was a blast...

Day two

Several important things happened today.

First was election of officers.

There was a three way race for Chair. I voted for Bill Redpath and he won fairly handily. I do not consider myself a supporter of his; however, I felt he was the best choice out of the three who ran. He has some hard shoes to fill and I hope he can handle the job as well as Mr. Dixon did.

The Vice Chair race is the one I worked on. I convinced several delegates from various states to vote for Chuck Moulton. He is a member of the LRC and believes in reform. I am a strong support of Chuck Moulton. I am glad I was able to tend his bar and help run his suite. I am sure that I helped get him some votes!

The Treasurer race was ugly. Remember Karena went with me and she spent some time looking at both candidates literature, the LP financial statements, and listening to them talk. I did not support either candidate. Bill Redpath vocally backed Neale over Nelson and Neale won well over 3 : 1.

No one else ran for Secretary Bob Sullentrop was the only person to run. Secretary is a THANKLESS job and Bob does a great job. If you ever meet Bob, please thank him for his hard work. He is a great LNC Secretary.

Eight candidates ran for 5 at large positions. Before the results were tabulated I predicted the winners and the order. I picked all 5 winners and had the order that they finished correct except I had #4 and #5 flopped.

After the elections were over we moved on. We were told the platform retention vote was too close to call...

Many resolutions and amendments were discussed. This process was relatively encouraging. We reach a lot of consensus and were able to move them them in a simple manner.

Two were VERY encouraging for reform minded libertarians.

The first was a proposal to impeach GW Bush. The proposal had a lot of inflammatory and unneeded language. We defeated it.

Any other LP Convention would have passed it easily. We actually beat it and it was not adopted. We beat it rather easily...

The next one was a condemnation of the UN and the UN small arms ban proposal. This proposal had two paragraphs that un-necessarily attacked the US government and the entire UN. We were quickly able to muster the support needed to strike the two offensive paragraphs. We then adopted the resolution.

These votes were very positive and would not have been possible in previous years...

We tried to then delete the entire platform but failed. We had slightly less then half those present support removal of the entire platform...

We then found out the results of the second ballot retention vote. We voted to remove all the rest of the platform except four planks. That was awesome. The vote was very close. Some votes were determined by ONE VOTE. Most were determined by 3-4 votes...

The convention was then adjourned about 90 minutes early.

After the convention there were a lot of dazed and shocked people. We just eliminated most of the platform, we nearly changed the pledge, half of us wanted to remove the pledge entirely, and we passed few resolutions that would not be favored by a moderate Libertarian such as myself.

It was a great feeling...

I feel that I was on the losing side of four votes during this convention that really mattered. That is not bad.

1. I wanted to remove the Pledge and lost.

2. Once the Pledge was not removed I wanted to change it and lost.

3. On Saturday we adopted an improved immigration plank; however, a last minute amendment added "removing all quotas." This hurt the plank...

4. We lost on the taxation plank. The LP still advocated 0 taxation which is against the Constitution and is too anarchist for me...

All in all I am excited and am looking forward to the 2008 Convention. I will make a beet now. I think it will be in Austin, Texas.

Mike Sylvester





10 comments:

Bartleby said...

The second thing that came up was removing or amending the pledge to join the LP. The LP has had a pledge for a long time that some of its members do not care for. It follows: "I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals." The LRC wanted to remove the national Pledge. This would make it not a requirement that each member of the National Party agree to the pledge above.

I have always and am still 100% against this pledge.


- - - - - - - -

Just out of curiosity: Did you ever take this pledge?

Mike Kole said...

I did.

Jeff Pruitt said...

The LP will NEVER be a serious option in this country with a 0% taxation plank. Reformers should put as much effort as possible into defeating the anarchist wing if they truly want to become a viable party...

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Jeff:

You are right. We almost won that one at the Convention.

We will win that one in 2008.

Bartleby:

I refused for several years. IN 2004 I signed it...

Bartleby said...

Well, I'm mystified. "I have always and am still 100% against this pledge."

And in 2004 you signed it?

What'd they do, hold a gun to your head?

This puts me in mind of our fine 3rd District Congressperson, Mr. Souder. He was, judging by his actions, 100% opposed to the idea of limiting himself to a mere six terms. But somebody twisted his arm up behind his back until he said that's what he'd do.

That's what I like about the LP. It's a party of principle. You don't see deception from its officials, the way you do from those accursed Dems and Reps.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Bartleby, Bartleby, Bartleby:

I do not think we should have a Social Security system at all; but, I pay my payroll taxes.

I do not think I should be forced to wear a seatbelt; but, I wear one anyway...

Get it?

Robert Enders said...

It means that Mike will not advocate the initiation of force to achieve a political or social goal while he is a member of the National LP. The State LP did not require the signing of this pledge.

I have a question for Mike Sylvester. What social or political goals do you think might require the initiation of force?

I personally signed the pledge and I stand by it. However, I don't think that the LP should exclude people on the basis of their beliefs, but rather on the basis of their actions. If you believe that intiation of force is ok, that's fine. If you practice the intiation of force, that's not acceptable.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Robert:

An event similar to the Boston Tea Party...

Chuck Moulton said...

Thanks for helping with my hospitality suite!

We actually did boot the taxation plank. It was not successfully amended by the convention; therefore, it was booted when it wasn't retained in the retention ballot. However, the preambles remained intact and they talk a bit about taxation.

http://www.lp.org/issues/platform_all.shtml#ii

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY!
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