Playing from the inside
In May I did an Examiner piece on the Coalition to Reduce Spending, a group which was co-founded by a former Ron Paul campaign operative with the aim to endorse candidates pledging to (of course) reduce spending.
Well, today I found the following in my e-mail box, with the headline “Johnson, Paul Campaign Talent Combine to Help Liberty Candidates Win.”
Struggling libertarian political candidates and advocacy groups now have a chance to succeed in races where the establishment might otherwise prevail. Seven of the most successful individuals who have variously worked on the Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Gary Johnson campaigns (among many others) have combined to form Liberty Torch Political Consulting, LLC. The firm aims to change the outcome of elections around the country and get more freedom-loving candidates elected to office than ever before.
The common name between the two groups is Jonathan Bydlak, who is president of the CRS. I must be on his e-mail list.
Now that’s not to say I have anything against the group; in fact, I’d love to see plenty of pro-liberty candidates win. But it has to be said that this team doesn’t necessarily have a track record of success, unless you consider Gary Johnson’s nomination as the Libertarian candidate a smashing accomplishment. Yes, Ron Paul has been successful in several House elections but he never accounted for a significant part of the presidential vote, nor did Johnson. Only Rand Paul has seen a major electoral success, and that was in Kentucky – not exactly a key swing state. So what would they really bring to the table?
I suppose their apparent focus on winnable local races is a good one, since there are hundreds of local and state seats up for grabs this year. Obviously there’s a significant pro-liberty media presence out there, so local races which aren’t going to be decided mostly on who bombards the airwaves with the most frequent and dirtiest thirty-second commercials will be a natural market for the folks at Liberty Torch. Adding a little national panache to these local races may help tip the scales in a few of them.
While he’s not necessarily the poster boy for pro-liberty followers, the way Scott Brown nationalized a Massachusetts U.S. Senate race seems like a good model to follow – in Maryland, Dan Bongino has taken a few pages from that campaign. Having a broad network in media can help to some extent, as can some creativity and plain talking. But you need to have the boots on the ground, too, and consultants are no substitute for a good candidate. (Notice the two commercials I cited backed candidates who lost their election – one in the primary and one in the general.)
But it’s interesting to see our side playing the same game as the high-powered Beltway politicians play. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?