Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Libertarian Party of Alaska on Sarah Palin

Eric Dondero - a blogger and self-described "strong on defense libertarian" - raised an interesting point in the comments section of my "Welfare State of Wasilla" post from earlier this week. How can I claim that Sarah Palin isn't a libertarian, he asked, when the Libertarian Party of Alaska endorsed her in 2006? My simple answer is that I certainly don't take political positions because the Libertarian Party tells me to. But his question did get me wondering: How can the party of small government endorse a woman who's spent most of her career fighting for more federal pork?

I couldn't find an answer online, so I called some of the phone numbers listed on the contacts section of the Alaska LP web site. I reached party Secretary Rob Clift on the phone and asked him if I could ask a few questions for the blog. He was happy to talk.

First of all, Clift wanted to make clear that the Alaska LP did not endorse Palin. They said that they liked her, as did LP gubernatorial candidate Billy Toien, but there was never an official endorsement. Clift also said that the state party won't endorse the McCain/Palin ticket, though he might vote for them.

But why? For one thing, Palin's always been friendly to the party, Clift said, speaking at a few of their meetings and asking for their support. He also said that he sees her as a straight shooter, who doesn't try to hide her disagreement with libertarians on drugs, abortion and other social issues.

But what about the elephant in the room: her love of federal pork? On this point Clift was a bit apologetic, but not really phased.

"There's definitely a lot of federal money coming in here," he said. But the federal government is taking advantage of the state in numerous ways, such as controlling many acres of its land and restricting its shipping. "So you can see why we might like to get some of those earmarks. Get our money back."

Palin is, by Alaska's standards, not a big pork barrel spender, he said. Plenty of Alaska Libertarians support her, he added, and aren't bothered by the pork.

But what would she do about big spending as a federal politician? Clift said he didn't know.


Don said...

Excellent work. Thank you. Don The Libertarian Democrat

Eric Dondero said...

Oh my gosh! You all just got smacked by my old friend Rob Clift. Fantastic. You've made my day. Gotta call Rob up to thank him. This is too funny.

Would you be so kind to outline Rob's exact quotes so that I may put them up at Libertarian Republican blog?

Ahh, not matter. Gonna just reprint excerpts of this article at the Blog.

Thanks again.

My gosh this is funny. At least you guys were honest. I'll give you that much. You could have easily deleted Clift's responses which were directly opposed to your line. So, you do get a good grade for honesty.

Mark said...

Thanks for the link, Eric. I think you misunderstand the nature of my conversation with Rob, though. I called him to find out why the Alaska LP supported Palin, not whether they supported her.

P.S. - Rob's exact quotes are the words between the quotation marks.

Anonymous said...

I would certainly be more predisposed to support a Vice Presidential candidate who attended several Libertarian Party meetings, was friendly with libertarians in her state, and actively sought libertarians' endorsements when running for Governor, in stark contrast to a Senator who has not given libertarians the time of day or has not been audience to their concerns.

I'm not quite sure as to why small 'l' libertarians would even contemplate supporting an individual with Senator Obama's positions. Radical leftist LP Libertarians, perhaps, but not libertarians.

I appreciate your desire to 'play up' Senator Obama's Libertarian-like positions on social issues, many often confuse social liberalism with social libertarianism however, and Senator Obam is a social liberal, most decidedly not a social libertarian. A very important distinction.