It Usually Begins WithÖ Michael Badnarik?
by Jerome Tuccille
guess it was predictable. The Libertarian Party, faced with the
opportunity to select a candidate for president who had millions
to spend on his own campaign, who had achieved a measure of fame
in Hollywood as a producer of films and a consort of celebrities
on the order of Bette Midler, and someone else with no money and
zero name recognition, choseÖwell you know the answer; I said it
was predictable, didnít I?
Now, let me make it clear that I have nothing against the putative
LP presidential nominee Michael Badnarik. How could I have
anything against him since I know nothing whatsoever about him except
for a brief litany of his achievements reported in the media? And
thatís precisely my point. Nobody knows anything about him.
No one has ever heard of him except for a handful of troglodytes
who bestowed the nomination upon him in Atlanta, Georgia, over the
recent Memorial Day weekend. The LP has displayed a genius for assigning
itself a role in American politics akin to irrelevance, and I am
sad to say that this record of genius is likely to remain unbroken
as campaign 2004 unfolds during the months ahead and Ralph Nader
continues to capture all the attention given to third-party candidates
for the highest office in the land.
It would be wonderful if Badnarik were able to find a way to transcend
the morass of obscurity that third-party candidates with no name
recognition and little or no money inevitably find themselves mired
in, but I wouldnít bet the farm on it. In fact, I would be more
inclined to lay odds that this LP candidacy, like so many others
in the past, will die a slow death by media neglect during the months
remaining until November.
Sadly, it didnít have to be this way.
Aaron Russo was the one candidate (arguably one of two) who had
some sliver of a chance to make a splash for the LP this time around,
to make the media stand up and pay him some attention as he laid
out his plan to trim the size of the overstuffed, all-powerful,
gluttonous beast we call the federal government. Money and celebrity
endorsements are two of the ingredients needed to insinuate oneself
into the publicís truncated attention span, and Russo had both of
them at his disposal. Supposedly, Badnarik bested him and Gary Nolan
(the third viable contender for the spot who inexplicably threw
his own support to Badnarik) in a debate before the vote took place,
and many libertarians are more interested in scoring ideological
debating points than they are in having a genuine impact on the
society we live in.
I have no idea how good a candidate Russo would have been had he
been able to secure the LP nod. One esteemed libertarian told me
heís "rich as Croesus and crazy as hell." But rich and
crazy isnít bad when the society you live in is populated by obese,
brain-dead couch potatoes who believe war crimes are perfectly fine
as long as theyíre committed by red-blooded American "heroes,"
when the president of the country can barely string a sentence together
without the aid of his speechwriters, when the same gentleman can
scarcely make a policy decision without the imprimatur of his own
vice president, when the nationís intelligence agencies make an
end run around the accepted rules of warfare in an undefined "war
against terror," and when an opposition party with any guts
would be screaming for the presidentís impeachment the way the Republicans
did over the adulterous behavior of his predecessor. The average
American is criminally ignorant of his own heritage and about two
cheeseburgers away from a coronary at any given moment. An LP candidate
crazy enough to grab the electorate by the throat and shake it out
of its comatose state would have been an ideal choice this year.
An LP candidate with deep pockets and enough fire in his belly to
make his voice heard above the usual cacophony of nonsense that
fills the ether in an election year might have been the right ticket
for success this year.
late. The LP has blown yet another opportunity to have a genuine
impact on the political life of the country. I hope Iím wrong, but
come November, chances are it will once again settle for the usual
"less than one percent of the vote." Ralph Nader continues
to give the Democrats fits that he could cost them the election.
George Bush and Company have no such worries about an LP threat
to their own constituency.
Tuccille [send him
mail] is the author of 21 books, including It
Usually Begins With Ayn Rand, It
Still Begins With Ayn Rand, and most recently of Alan
Shrugged, a biography of Fed chairman Alan Greenspan. In
1974 he was the Free Libertarian Party candidate for governor of
© 2004 LewRockwell.com