I missed a lot of chances to point out a lot of people who embarrass pro-liberty folks during my unplanned vacation from politics. However, just as I'm coming back, I get handed a whopper by a man who I've considered a corn flake since at least September 2004.
Michael Badnarik first ran for office in 2000, seeking a seat in the Texas legislature. In a two-way race against a Democrat he got 17% of the vote- about average in a better-than-average year for Libertarians in Texas. In 2002 he entered a three-way race and pulled about 2% of the vote. With this experience, and pretty much nothing else, under his belt he entered the race for the Libertartian Party nomination for President in February 2003, about the same time as talk show host Gary Nolan. Despite raising the least money of the three frontrunners for the nomination, and despite losing seven primary elections to Nolan and winning none, he came from behind at the national convention to win nomination on the third ballot.
I'd heard Badnarik speak before the nomination, and I was less than impressed. Badnarik was actually poorer than I was at the time- he didn't even have a car to his name! His speech centered on a plug for his self-published book It's Good to Be the King, restating its basic premise: you don't have to ask government permission to exercise a right. He took this position to extremes- he advocated the right of felons and lunatics to purchase firearms without restriction, he called for the total repeal of all traffic laws, and he supported the position that persons descended from people who were citizens prior to ratification of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, not being subject to the laws thereof as stated in that amendment, were exempt from all laws passed by the federal government.
After his nomination, things only got worse. The Troika- three activists whose campaign management had led to modest successes in Indiana and other Midwest states- took over Badnarik's campaign and forced him to tone down his message. It came out that Badnarik had not paid a dime of income tax for seven years- had not even filed, despite having more than enough income to make it required. Badnarik had left California for Texas, by his own admission, solely to avoid having to register his firearms. Badnarik had no driver's license- because he regarded government-issued identification as an invasion of privacy.
Despite all this, I endorsed Badnarik and supported him to the best of my ability once he was nominated. (Let's be blunt- the alternatives were Bush, a pro-war Democrat, an elderly and senile if not insane man best known for killing a model of automobile, and a pair of unknowns representing the Green Party and Constitution Party. Compared to them, Badnarik was Solomon without the temple and the 700 wives.) Although Badnarik set a record for Libertarian performance in Texas and especially in my home county, his nationwide result of 0.36% of the vote underperformed both of Harry Browne's runs. I'd thought, at the time, that his career as a Libertarian candidate was over.
In 2006 Badnarik ran for US House, while at the same time making large talk about using a Congressional seat as a springboard for his 2008 Presidential run. This time his campaign manager was one Allen Hacker, an unknown who claimed experience and success as a marketing manager and consultant. (I've posted about him before.) Badnarik's campaign was pitched to Libertarians as the one place to concentrate all fundraising- the one race that could be won on the federal level. The campaign raised over $400,000, draining other campaigns of fundraising opportunities.
In a three-way race Badnarik ended up polling only 4.6%- only slightly higher than average for a three-way race and behind two or three (depending on how you count it) other Libertarians running for Congress in Texas in three-way races, one of whom spent not one penny on his campaign. Although Hacker's blatant misuse of campaign funds did a lot to ensure the defeat, the final blame must be laid at Badnarik's feet- for hiring Hacker, for sticking by Hacker and his "spend big, advertise small, secret plan" policies far beyond the point where they had obviously failed.
For his positions, for his campaign tactics, and for his results, Badnarik deserves the title of Corn Flake. However, that was all long before I began this blog, so it doesn't count... or didn't count, until now.
You see, Michael Badnarik- who has retired from political candidacy- has publicly endorsed Congressman Ron Paul for President in 2008.
Ron Paul is a Republican.
Yes, he's a life member of the Libertarian Party, and yes he appears regularly at LP events, but he's said repeatedly that the Libertarian Party should be dissolved and its members join the Republican Party. Furthermore, he's said repeatedly that he will not seek the Libertarian nomination if he loses the Republican race. (In Texas, in fact, he CAN'T be the Libertarian nominee- if he files to run in the Republican primary, he becomes ineligible to appear as an independent or on any other party's ballot spot in November.)
For telling Libertarians to abandon the only party that represents smaller government and support a candidate seeking to directly succeed George W. Bush... plus all the other dumb shit he's done... Michael Badnarik, this week's Corn Flake!