James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, January 14, 2005

I'm Now a Democratic Stooge

Eric Dondero is hurt that I supposedly dissed his beloved Republican Liberty Caucus, even as I encouraged libertarians in GOP dominant areas to help build it up. He charges that I implied that the fledgling DFC was as successful and established as the RLC. "Sorry that you feel that way."

All I wrote was: "Building up the Republican Liberty Caucus and the Democratic Freedom Caucus will probably do more good than focusing on getting 1% of the popular vote for President or 5% in a local or statewide race."

The RLC has had some success, while the DFC barely exists. So let's build on the RLC's success, and, when and where the Dems are too strong, establish and build up the DFC.

I have never given to or received a dime from the Democrats, never attended a meeting, and my last vote (among very few) was for Poshard for Illinois governor in 1998 (against George Ryan - 'nuff said). Some stooge. Dondero is also incorrect that I have links to Democratic organizations. One libertarian Democrat's blog, and that's all.

That said, in some places Democratic organizations are too strong and powerful to beat - and they also are diverse in their views. Where's the best place for outreach, especially in sending a pro-liberty message to minorities? The Democratic Party.

Here's Dondero's article:

Libertarian Republican Political Report
Special Editorial
by Eric Dondero R., Editor, LRPR
01-10-04> >
(For publication and dissemination)
The case of "libertarian Democrats" way over-blown
by Eric Dondero R.

Lew Rockwell published an article on his highly-acclaimed "Paleo-libertarian" web site by James Leroy Wilson last Friday, Jan. 7, about why Libertarians should now consider joining the Democrat Party, and forming a "libertarian caucus." Wilson wrote in the lead paragraph, "Ever since the Iraq War started, if not before, many radical libertarians who long believed that the Right was less bad than the Left have reconsidered their position. Whether there should now be a libertarian wing of the Democratic Party remains to be seen. What does seem evident today is that there is greater common cause among radicals of all stripes. Neo-confederates despise the Bush Administration just as strongly as Greens."

He went on to compare a burgeoning "Democrat Freedom Caucus," with the long-established Republican Liberty Caucus, mentioning both by name. He made it appear that both were equally successful organizations, and that both were doing fine work for the cause of liberty. Interestingly, he seemed to diss the Libertarian Party strategy and instead encouraged both the RLC and the so-called DFC strategies as superior options for political libertarians.

Wilson is a Democrat Party stooge. A quick visit to his web site has links to Democrat organizations with no links to any GOP groups.

He's attempting to play a little trick very common in politics; If you are not nearly as successful as your opponent, try to gloss over your smallness and make it appear like you are just as big and bad. Underfunded candidates with less of a support base pull this trick all the time in primaries and general elections. Wilson presumes that his reader is gullible enough and sufficiently politically inept to fall for it.

If there is such a bastion of libertarianism in the Democrat Party waiting to be found and cultivated, then why is there no such thing as a libertarian Democrat elected official?

At the moment, there are 2 solid hardcore libertarians in the US Congress under the GOP ticket - Ron Paul and Jeff Flake, and 3 to 4 more Republican Congressman that are libertarian-leaning if not outright libertarian, including Rohrabacher of California, Otter of Idaho and Feeney of Florida.

On the state level there are over 20 identified hardcore libertarian Republicans. The List includes very many former (and 2 current) Libertarian Party members who ran and won on the GOP ticket. It also includes a great many friends of the Libertarian Party, not too mention others who are frequent guest speakers at LP functions.

People like Michigan State Representative Leon Drolet, a diehard Ludvig von Misien on Economic issues, and self-described "Pro-Life libertarian Ron Paulist." Leon is so hardcore that he doesn't even cast a vote on the House floor without first checking to see if his position jives 100% with Murray Rothbard's "Libertarian Manifesto."

Then there's former (technically current) Libertarian Party members Washington State Rep. Toby Nixon and Oregon State Rep. Gary George. Toby also serves as RLC State Coordinator.

Alaska State Rep. and self-described "gun nut" Vic Kohring of Wasila is a friend of the Alaska Libertarian Party. His colleague State Senator Lyda Green, also from Wasila, describes herself as a "libertarian" and recently attended the Alaska LP State Meeting.

Maine has a newly elected libertarian State Legislator, RLC State Cooordiantor Ken Leland.

Then there's California's Number One libertarian hero State Senator Tom McClintock who will be the keynote speaker at the upcomming Libertarian Party of California Convention in February.

Numerous other libertarians with strong ties to libertarian organizations, including the LP, serve in state legislatures around the country. There's Rep. Slom in Hawaii, Senator Bob Hedlund in Massachusetts, Rep. McConnell in South Carolina, Rep. Suzanna Hupp of Texas and 3 more in the New Hampshire State House.

On the Statewide office level there are elected libertarian Republicans like Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, the RLC Texas State Chairman and Rhode Island's US Attorney General Brad Gorham, a close friend of the deceased Roger MacBride.

There's even a few libertarians in the Bush Administration. Of course, most notably, there's Gayle Norton, Secretary of the Interior, who is the former Libertarian Party of Colorado Chair. But there's also Lynn Scarlett, formerly with Reason Magazine, also at Interior, and Gerald Reynolds, a self-described libertarian, President of Bush's Civil Rights Commission.

Locally, there are even more elected libertarian Republicans, folks like Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, a self-described "Ron Paulist," former Libertarian Party National Committee Member Williamson "Bill" Evers at the Santa Clara County Board of Education in California, and City Councilmen Bonnie Flickinger in Fullerton, CA and Jimmy Blake in Birmingham, AL - both ex-LPers turned Republican.

Why the laundry List?

As a reference point to judge the size and success ratio of the libertarian Repubican movement with the so-called "libertarian Democrats."

And just what is that success record?

The so-called DFC has been around for about 5 or 6 years now. It's fair to ask how many "libertrarian Democrats" have been elected since. By the RLC's fifth year, 6 libertarians were serving in state legislatures around the nation.

I once inquired about this to the so-called DFC. I received a response back from their Director to my question, "Can you please name for me a single elected libertarian Democrat in the country."

He responded promptly with two names.

I know what you are thinking; former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles and current New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, right? That's what I thought too. Both are Dems with a slight bit of a libertarian streak in them - Richardson having actually cut taxes and Knowles being pro-gun and pro-drilling at ANWR. Maybe Zell Miller, Bill Nelson of Nebraska or even Jerry Brown?

As I read down his reply I was aghast. Nope not Knowles or Richardon. Not even Brown.

The two best examples of elected "libertarian Democrats" in the Nation according to the so-called DFC?

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold and Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett.

(I'll give you a second to catch your breath.)

It'd be pretty hard to find a more hardcore socialist, anti-libertarian Senator than Feingold, he's not even worth a comment. But many outside of Texas perhaps are not familiar with Doggett. This is a guy who campaigned bitterly against Ron Paul in his election campaigns in 1996, 98 and 2000. Doggett (and Cong. Chet Edwards) were Ron Paul's fierces opponents attacking Dr. Paul even worse then Paul's Democrat opponents, painting him as an "extremist right-wing gun nut radical."

Doggett represents ultra-liberal Austin, and has the reputation of being the most anti-liberty Congressman in Texas, besides perhaps Sheila Jackson Lee.

And this is the guy the so-called DFC holds up as one of the two standardbearers of "libertarians in the Democrat Party."

Are there any other "libertarian Democrats"? Feingold and Doggett are laughable picks. But looking at this from an unbiased perspective, ask yourself, has there ever been in your time in th libertarian movement, a case where a Libertarian Party member has left the LP, joined the Democrats, run for state house or Congress and won. Think about this for a second. Can you think of any such instance?

Actually there was one. In the late 1990s there was a guy named Steve Villaincourt who lost the Democrat Party primary for State House in a tiny New Hampshire disrtict. He jumped on the Libertarian line, and amazingly won election. (Not to bore you with details, but Villaincourt was a well-known and respected Democrat who lost the primary in a fluke to a lesser-known candidate). For one year, NH State Rep. Steve Villaincourt served as an actual elected Libertarian-Democrat. The LP didn't know exactly how to take him. But it didn't matter, for in his second year in office, Villaincourt, ironically, promptly switched to the GOP.

In all American history, Steve Villaincourt may be the only single person ever to have served in elected office as a Libertarian-Democrat.

Now ask yourself how does that 1 year of Villaincourt compare to the List of all-time elected libertarian Republicans?

We are talking about Vermont State Rep. Roger MacBride in the 1960s, US Senator Barry Goldwater in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, US Congressman Ron Paul first in the 1970s and 80s, and now currently since 1996, US Congressman Sam Steiger (AZ) and US Congressman Jim Hanson (ID) in the 1970s and 80s. Plus all the current elected libertarian Republican Congressman, and Federal Appointees, past and present including folks like fmr. OMB Director David Stockman under Reagan and also Economist Martin Anderson. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, former libertarian State Reps. like Alaska's Ken Fanning and North Carolina's Art Pope in the 1980s, Michigan's Greg Kaza, New Jersey's Randy Corman, Colorado's Penn Pfiffner and New Mexico's Duncan Scott in the 1990s, and the over 20 current libertarian State Reps.

Where is the "libertarian Democrat" to compare to Ron Paul? Where is the "libertarian Democrat" version of Leon Drolet?

Ask yourself, does it make sense to even utter the acronym "DFC" in the same breath as "Republican Liberty Caucus."

*Note - Eric Dondero Rittberg is a former Senior Staffer for US Congressman Ron Paul, is the Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus, and is the owner/caretaker of one of the Nation's most complete libertarian historical archives. > > (To subscribe to the Liberatarian Republican Political Report, published approx. twice a week, send an email request to http://us.f524.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=ericdondero@yahoo.com or call direct at 979-799-7077)


  1. Eric Dondero is really a fool if he believes that the RLC is the only viable vehicle -- and no other vehicle -- to turn the libertarian movement in a powerful political force. The thing is if that, if such a force were to come into existence, it would be one controlled entirely by the GOP.

    It's also foolish of Dondero to think that he, along with his fellow libertarians, can take over the GOP.....when more than 90 percent of the conservatives, religious or secular, -- or in this case, "neoconservatives" -- will ever let him and his so-called libertarians dominate the GOP. His tiny sect of regulars barely exist on the political radar as it follows.

    If libertarians want to make some progress at the political level, then they can do either one of several things:

    a.) Run as candidates on the GOP banner, pushing for pro-freedom measures pragmatically and incrementally. (But of course, those measures can be repealed, null and voided, or even defeated at any time.)

    b.) Run as candidates on the Democratic Party banner, pushing for pro-freedom measures pragmatically and incrementally. (Same as above.)


    b.) Run as candidates on the LP banner, pushing for pro-freedom measures either ideologically and without compromise or pragmatically and incrementally. (An LP candidate has a better chance of pushing them pragmatically and incrementally than in an ideological and purist manner, but of course the same setbacks that I stated above can and will most likely occur.)

    As far as I'm concerned -- and in my opinion -- libertarians are better off educating people on the fundamental principles of libertarianism on a private level and doing so on a voluntary basis, rather than trying to use the power of the state to coerce people into living in a libertarian state. After all, most people do NOT like it when Libertarians -- or even libertarians in either major party -- use the power of the state to force freedom on them when they don't want the welfare-warfare state ended....regardless of the consequences.

    Like I said before, libertarians are in a better position to educate people on a private level and let the entire system of government implode....because we can't stop the growth of the leviathan any more than we can stop the earth from revolving around the sun. We could possibly slow the rate of government growth down, but we can't stop it. What's done is done. Libertarians as well as libertarian Republicans and Democrats need to learn this, or otherwise the libertarian movement will never grow but continue to stagnate....as it has been for a long time.

    That's all I have to say on the matter.


    Yours Truly,

    Todd Andrew Barnett

  2. But should we bank on the long-term implosion, or should we fight injustice today, where we see it?