Libertarian candidates talk their talk

The Libertarian presidential candidates made their pitches to the 600-odd state delegates Sunday morning. Here’s some highlights of their speeches.

Wayne Allyn Root came up first, of eight presidential candidates to take the floor:

The New York-born son of a butcher and Vegas oddsmaker has generated a good deal of support during the convention. His daughter, Dakota is a poised and enthusiastic young woman who has been working her Dad’s booth.

He’s been continuing his chant throughout the convention:

ROOT for Liberty!

ROOT for Freedom!

ROOT for America!

ROOT for the Libertarian Party!

Bob Barr, the former Republican Congressman from Georgia, actually apologized for his past support of the Defense of Marriage Act, and vowed he was the only candidate with the ability to play with the big boys and girls:

“I have made mistakes,” Barr told the crowd. “I apologize to that.”

However, he said, if nominated he would work to repeal the DOMA, and to restore the rights of Americans. He also mentioned that he has lived in a number of foreign lands, including in Baghdad, in Tehran and other places where citizens didn’t have freedom.

“The Libertarian Party knows no fear, that’s not part of our agenda or my wiring. Make me your nominee and I will make you proud .. we will send shock waves not just on Capitol Hill but around the world.

“The world will once again look to America not with fear in their eyes but with love.”

“As Libertarians let us march together. I may not have come to the party as quickly, but don’t hold it against me ‘cause I’m a newcomer.”

Candidate Christine Smith, who followed Barr, didn’t hide her disdain for Barr’s claims, tarring him a neocon and a Johnny-come-lately.

“I greet you in love,” Smith started out. “I’ve never been in the middle of a crowd of such liberty-minded individuals.”

She originally had a gung-ho speech prepared, but decided to temper it in response to what she has witnessed during the convention, and in America. The blood is on the hands of George W. Bush and his gang, and, after the deaths of millions of human beings and decades of invasions of sovereign nations, it is time to put someone on the Party ticket who is a true Libertarian woman, Smith told the group of mostly white, middle aged men.

“And I love you, I love you,” she said.

Then she leveled her not-so veiled barb at Barr: “Let’s not let the neocons corrupt this party, ‘cause then the party will have no hope,” Smith said.

Mary Ruwart is well represented, with lots of supporters waving signs with a big red heart in the middle of a blue circle with her name. Translation: I Heart Mary.

She is a medical and pharmaceutical research scientist, who, one of her nominators says, can appeal to women on the presidential ticket in the likelihood that Hillary Rodham Clinton won’t make it.

“She is a woman who absolutely believes what she says — she is the candidate with the most testicular fortitude,” says supporter Jerry Hess.

“If I can talk to people about assisted suicide from the pulpit of a Christian church, I can talk to anyone,” Ruwart begins her speech.

And finally: “We’ve got to pull as a team — we have got to be the Libertarian Party; not the right faction or the left faction, ‘cause there is no such thing as the right faction or the left faction, there is only Libertarianism.”

George Phillies has been running on the claim that he’s the credible candidate, running the credible campaign. Taking obvious jabs at the very recent conversions of Barr and former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel, his supporters note that, “George is not going to embarrass this Party with his past.

“He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk,” says one of his nominators. “Ten years ago he was a Libertarian; 10 years from now he will be a Libertarian.”

“He will not be a Democrat on Tuesday or a Republican on Thursday.”

For his part, Phillies keeps it short and sweet, and modest. He believes he’s the best choice, but concedes that if he wins, “Gold bars aren’t going to rain from heaven.”

Steve Kubby has Libertarian Party founder David Nolan’s support.

While nominating the candidate, Nolan notes that Kubby, an ardent advocate of legalizing drugs, won’t wander off to some weird place,” like advocating a fair tax or flat tax.

Nolan highlighted the millions of people who are victims of the war on drugs, who have been “damaged or destroyed by the government.”

“They’re mad as hell,” Nolan says.

Kubby himself has a couple of choice nuggets:

“Welcome to the second American revolution” he says to cheers.


“This is the party of F.U.N.” to more cheers.

Michael Jingozian has what has been termed as “rock star status,” and his supporters make much of the fact that he has the most “sophisticated PR database and knowledge of utilizing online videos and e-mails.” But then, during the presentation, his video falters.

One of Jingozian’s nominators uses the stormy ocean analogy.

We’re in the midst of a perfect storm — the debilitated state of the country and the rise of Michael Jingozian. “Let’s follow him through this storm — instead of a sea of red and blue states, we’ll have a sea of gold, a sea of gold states!”

Lot’s of cheers in anticipation of “gold states.”

During the stream of a video that Jingozian’s campaign subsequently aired, the claim was made the, “running a campaign is like running [a] company.”

But several times, the video inexplicably retools and runs again, or fades out without explanation. When Jingozian finally takes the stage, he tells the crowd that, “I’d rather be playing with my three little kids than be running.”

He doesn’t know everything about the 3 trillion dollar budget, but he does know that “our money should stay at home at our dinner tables.”

“I admit I don’t have much political experience,” – and that means he doesn’t have much experience “talking out of both sides of my mouth,” Jingozian says, to much laughter.

“I don’t have experience pointing the finger — maybe giving the finger,” he says to more laughter.

Mike Gravel is up next – the last one to take the stage for the morning. But it is candidate Jingozian who provides the stunner – by staying on stage to nominate the man he’s running against:

“This might be unprecedented in American political history,” Jingozian says of his support for Gravel, the former Alaska senator who abandoned his Democratic quest for the White House earlier this year.

“Who’s ever heard of a presidential candidate nominating a presidential candidate?” Jingozian says. “But as you know I’m not an ordinary politician, and these aren’t ordinary political times.”

Then he calls Gravel “an American hero and a true Libertarian.”

Gravel takes the stage and declares: “What’s going on here is a miracle.”

“If you have any suspicions of me, don’t worry,” Gravel assures the crowd. Specifically he’s talking about guns. He even has a gun, though his wife isn’t pleased about it. “I will honor your positions on guns.”

He also underscores his ardent support for civil rights, a woman’s rights to choose and civil liberties for gay rights.

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Cara Degette

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