Sunday, May 25, 2008

LP Nomination Live-Blogging

12:26- Just about prepared, as Jingozian's nomination speech time is running; only Gravel to go after him. Eight candidates made the cut.

The first ballot begins with New Hampshire- I've got my spreadsheet ready to give totals and percentages. I just hope I can keep up with the speakers...

12:29 PM: By the way, the rules are these: after every round of voting, the single lowest candidate- plus any candidates that poll less than 5% of the delegates- will be eliminated from consideration. NOTA is always in consideration- the LP can, indeed, choose to nominate nobody for President. My prediction is that Ruwart will take an early lead, but the longer the voting goes on, the more the voting will favor Bob Barr.

Incidentally, there is one noteworthy item from the nominating speeches: in his nominating speech, Bob Barr finally outright apologized for his errors while in office, in particular the Defense of Marriage Act. He hasn't apologized for being anti-pagan that I know of, but he's admitted he was wrong about the drug war and about gay marriage. My view is that he should have done this long, long before, or else waited until 2012 to run... but we'll see how it works out for him.

12:34 PM: HOLY SHIT. Jingozian swings right from his own nominating speech to be the first person to speak on behalf of MIKE GRAVEL. As he says, it's got to be an all-time first in Presidential politics. (It also shows the weakness of BOTH Jingozian and Gravel.)

12:42 PM: Gravel himself still manages to combined boredom and nuttiness in a single package. You'd think that'd be impossible, wouldn't you?

12:49 PM: FINALLY. Gravel's done- bring on the votes.

12:50 PM: The Barr people parade in front of the delegates. Massive booing. Dumb stunt. The chair calls the credentials committee report- total delegates 652. (It was near 900 in 2004.)

12:55 PM: Here we go... I'd intended to list the delegates per state, but I think one state didn't have anybody, which means my transcription got messed up along the line somewhere. California has 106 delegates; second is Texas with 37. No other state has more than 30. The magic number to nominate is 327.

12:58 PM: My error- Georgia has 35. Looks like the only no-delegate state is North Dakota.

1:01 PM: Dave Weigel of Reason is on C-SPAN while the balloting goes on. There needs to be a rules change- states vote in the order that their ballots are ready, to save time. Especially on the first ballot, with all the state-pride speeches.

1:06 PM: And Colorado has 30. Oops again- and that one should have been obvious, since this is Denver after all...

1:09 PM: While we're waiting- Delaware, Hawaii and Vermont are the one-delegate states.

1:15 PM: Incidentally, anyone reading this who's an LP person- the one word I'd use to describe the delegates, as a group, is white. Outreach to minorities is a must, and quite frankly you're not going to be successful there until and unless you learn to listen instead of preach...

1:18 PM: The C-SPAN cameras walked past a couple of people- presumably a Ruwart activist and a delegate- discussing a Barr-Ruwart ticket. The Ruwart person made it clear that she would not be Barr's running mate- too many differences, he said. One has to wonder about party unity, no matter how this comes out...

1:22 PM: Hm- they're counting the written ballots before any spoken balloting. Are they even going to DO by-state speeches? Did I waste my time making my spreadsheets? If they do dispense with speeches, it'll be that rare thing- a sensible LP procedure...

1:24 PM: No- there will still be by-state announcements.

1:27 PM: Gravel camp caught on C-SPAN cameras; they're predicting Ruwart and Barr, in that order, on the first ballot, with Gravel only marginally ahead of Phillies. One minute warning.

1:34 PM: Beginning with New Hampshire- bloviation ahoy. SHUT UP AND PRODUCE RESULTS, DAMMIT.

1:36 PM: The chair doesn't know alphabetical order.

1:39 PM: Early results don't look good for Bob Barr- with four states in he's tied for a distant third with Gravel.

1:41 PM: Bearing in mind that the states do NOT vote in unison, and there's a lot of scattershot votes... states won: NH - Ruwart/Phillies split; NJ - Root; NM - Ruwart; NY - Root; NC - Ruwart; OH - Root; OK - Barr/Kubby split; OR - Jingozian; PA - Gravel; RI - Phillies; SC - Barr; SD - Root; TN - Ruwart; TX - Ruwart; Utah - 3 way split; VT - Ruwart; VA - Barr; WA - Gravel.

1:52 PM: More states won- WY - 3-way split; AL -Barr; AK - Root (no votes for Gravel); AZ - Ruwart; AR - Daniel Imperato (!!!).

1:57 PM: Georgia comes in big for Bob Barr- 33 of 35 delegates. Other states won: CA, CT for Root; DE - Ron Paul(!); DC, FL - Barr; HI, ID - Kubby; IL - Ruwart.

2:01 PM: There will be a second ballot- not enough votes outstanding to push any candidate over the top.

2:04 PM: Other states won: IN - Root; IA - Phillies; KS - Barr; KY - Root; LA - Root; ME - 4-way split; MD - Phillies; MA - Phillies; MI - Ruwart; MN - Root/Barr split; MS - Ruwart; MO - Barr; MT - Phillies; NE - Ruwart; NV -Gravel (no Root votes).

BARR 153, Ruwart 152, Root 123, Gravel 71, Phillies 49, Kubby 40, Jingozian 23, Smith 6, NOTA 2; write-ins Ron Paul 6, Penn Jillette 3, William Kohler 1, Daniel Imperato 1.

Jingozian and Smith are gone. Smith's votes, I predict, go to Ruwart; Jingozian's to Gravel; the others may go every which way. Also expect some drift away from Root, Gravel and Phillies.

2:17 PM: Jingozian endorses Gravel. No surprise, especially after he put Gravel's name in nomination. Condition: he wants the VP slot. Smith endorses (who cares? She got six votes!) anybody but Bob Barr... she has the hate on... she REALLY has the hate on... boos louder than cheers, thankfully.

2:21 PM: Smith is now talking to the press basically saying that Bob Barr is no Libertarian, and the party will break if Barr gets nominated. But, of course, she welcomes all people into the Libertarian Party... provided they were never prosecutors, or Republicans.

On the totals- the LP official total shows Kubby with 41, not 40; otherwise my math matches theirs.


BARR - 24%
RUWART - 24%
ROOT - 20%
GRAVEL - 11%
KUBBY - 6%
SMITH - <1% style="font-weight: bold;">2:34 PM: Damn dialup. Anyway, compare the above with my predictions:

BOB BARR - 20%

Root and Barr stronger than I estimated, and Ruwart and Smith MUCH weaker than I estimated. Even as a former Libertarian with no intention of voting for their nominee, that makes me feel a bit better about their prospects. Who knows? Maybe the day will dawn on sanity...

2:38 PM: No state-by-state results per se from now on- not enough time. Overall results-

BARR 188 (+35) 30%
Ruwart 162 (+10) 26%
Root 138 (+15) 22%
Gravel 73 (+2) 12%
Phillies 36 (-13) 6%
Kubby 32 (-8) 5%
TOTAL (not including write-ins- at least one write-in for Steve Colbert): 630

Kubby out- Phillies apparently not.

I can't keep up with the spreadsheet readoff they're doing, so my own spreadsheeting will lapse.

Kubby out will be a boost to Ruwart.

2:46: An attempt to suspend the rules to dump Phillies off (and save a ballot) failed by overwhelming boos. Steve Kubby was going to speak, but that plus a point of information seems to have scrambled that- wait, here we go. Kubby rambles, buttering up the party as he goes- how wonderful, polite, civilized Libertarians are. (Wasn't he listening to Christine Smith's rant?) Anyway, he endorses Ruwart- no surprise- as "the purest voice for Libertarians."

2:51: You know, it was a scandal in 2004 when Gary Nolan asked to speak after he was eliminated to pledge his support to Mike Badnarik. Now, it looks almost like tradition. Myself, I think it's a good thing- helps speed the process up, fulfills the political rights of the candidates and their campaigns. So long as they keep it short, well and good.

Joe Johnson is speaking while the third ballot is ongoing. He says that Libertarians have to get elected in order to understand what it's like- and that philosophy and debate are by no means enough. ABOUT TIME, TOO.

Ruwart herself is on C-SPAN now, saying it for herself: she won't be VP for any non-principled Libertarian (Barr, Root, Gravel). Her hang-up: Barr won't yet support legalizing hard drugs, only marijuana.

3:08: The more Ruwart talks, the more she sounds like Hillary Clinton: "Vote for me or my supporters walk."

3:11 PM: Third ballot results:

BARR - 186 (-2) 30%
RUWART - 186 (+24) 30%
ROOT - 146 (+8) 23%
GRAVEL - 78 (+5) 12%
PHILLIES - 31 (-5) 5%

Now the question- which way does Phillies go? Will he go reformer (Barr) or party loyalist (Ruwart)? My money's on Barr, but I'm not confident...

3:15 PM: And here comes Phillies... to endorse everybody, or nobody...? He makes the point that most of his (Mass.) delegates are neo-Pagans, but in the next breath says, "The enemy is not HERE- the enemy is OUT THERE!" No endorsement of any specific candidate. Hm.

3:26 PM: C-SPAN drifts past the Barr and Root campaigns. The topic of discussion: does anybody have the first goddamn idea which way Gravel's delegates will go? Answer: hell no. Personally, I think Gravel can't help but endorse Barr, if he endorses anyone (which he might not).

3:33 PM: Fourth ballot:

BARR - 202 (32%) (+16)
RUWART - 202 (32%) (+16)
ROOT - 149 (24%) (+3)
GRAVEL - 76 (12%) (-2)
NOTA - 3
TOTAL - 632

Gravel out, 5th ballot...

3:36: Massachussetts, Phillies' state, went Ruwart 4, Root 1, NOTA 1.

3:43: I'm surprised Root has lasted this long. Hell, I'm surprised Gravel lasted to the fourth ballot- I'd have thought Phillies would out-do him. Apparently Gravel is not going to do an endorsement, either- at least not before the fifth ballot is done, which it just about is.

3:46 PM: C-SPAN catches Gravel- no official endorsement, but on the 5th ballot he voted for Root. Root. Who'd have thought it?

3:50: And C-SPAN stays on Gravel. Gravel thinks that the LP won't get much done without him as standard-bearer, but his preferences are, in order, Root, Barr, and Ruwart.

3:56: Fifth ballot...

Ruwart 229 (+27) 37%
Barr 223
(+21) 36%
Root 165 (+16) 26%

Root's out, and I suspect Barr wins...

4:00 PM: Will Root endorse? Here he comes... "It's not over, it's just starting!" Yes, actually, it IS over, Wayne... but he endorses Barr and asks to be Barr's VP.

4:02 PM: "I've been respectful of all the other candidates from day one." Oh? What about Ruwart? It was your campaign, Mr. Root, who reminded us all of Ruwart's child-porn gaffe...

4:07 PM: Barr and Root side by side. Nobody should doubt that this, or something much like it, was in the works long before today. It's only logical.

4:13 PM: I don't care that I'm not a Libertarian anymore- I actually regret not being in Denver this weekend. Maybe I should ask around and see if people are willing to donate to make me a full-time political reporter, or something... nah, too many bloggers like me as it is. I'm not a journalist, I'm just a man with opinions.

4:16 PM: Closing in on four hours... and then there's the VP vote after this... the Ruwart people keep trying to get a chant up for "Ma-REE! Mar-REE!" I only hope it's the last rally for the anarchist wing of the LP. I'm not fond of Barr, but if Obama has a meltdown and/or doesn't get the Dem nomination, I might consider voting for Barr. I'd never vote for Ruwart, even if she was the only option against a Bush third term with Bill Clinton as VP.

4:22 PM: Incidentally, I'd rather see Gravel than Root as Barr's VP. In addition to the press and credibility, I'd rather have a boring nut than a truly annoying used car salesman infomercial mogul.

4:25: Yes, I do still have feelings about the LP. I really wanted the moderate part of the party- the part that favors smaller government but gets off the bus long before anarchy- to do well. It's the purists in the party that tend to ruin it for everyone- especially when those same purists run eagerly to Ron "GOP Only" Paul whenever he crooks a finger. There are a lot of outright loons in the LP, but there are some good ideas and some good people in the party- if only the anarchists didn't drown them out or run them out.

4:31: They're being VERY careful with this one, or else there's something strange going on... they keep going through the ballots... wait, here we go...

Sixth ballot:

Barr 324 (+101)
Ruwart 276 (+ 47)

Barr wins- BARELY, 54% to 46%.

4:33: Ruwart speaks... she's thanking her campaign staff... she had the support of the Neales, which alone would be enough for me to lean against her, even if she wasn't a total anarchist. She thanks her supporters. She doesn't endorse Barr, but she's not badmouthing him like she was on the convention floor between ballots all afternoon. I guess that's something- she's not leading a revolt or a bolt from the party. One wonders what her supporters will do- follow her example, or take their bats and balls and go home...

4:40 PM: Barr speaks. More flattery of the LP. Steve Gordon, formerly of Third Party Watch, stands directly behind him on the platform. The thank-yous are interminable... and I use that word with FEELING... where the hell is the "time's up" cowbell? And he quit without endorsing Root for VP... interesting...

Barr wins AL, AK, CA, DE, FL, GA, IA, KS, KY, LA, MN, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, WY

Ruwart wins AZ, AR, CO, DC, HI, ID, IL, IN, MA, MI, MT, NE, NV, NH, NC, OR, TN, TX, VT, WA, WV, WI

Split ME, MD, MS, NM

NOTA wins CT

4:58: David Weigel of on C-SPAN again. He comments that the party platform has been pruned down considerably, but is no longer something opponents can use as a weapon against LP candidates- which, in my view, is a good thing. Weigel all but says this effort was due primarily to Barr supporters. Weigel supposes that Barr will bring in some Ron Paul voters, but points out that Barr will have to "do a little more grovelling" to get LP and Ron Paul voters come November. Weigel predicts Kubby will upset Root for the VP slot.

5:04: Dammit, the VP contest is going to cut into my vigil for the Mars polar lander, which is scheduled to land in less than two hours...

5:21 PM: And C-SPAN is not, after all, going to cover the VP race, which means I'm wrapping up my live-blog of this and switching over to NASA TV to see if the Great Galactic Ghoul swallows up another lander.

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