Libertarian 'Dream Team' Pushes for Victory
by Rand Fanshier, July 13, 2003
The Dream Team, Three Months In
Reaching this point, three months into the effort to revitalize the Libertarian Party of Colorado, it is time to clarify in my mind and for all concerned, the rather simple strategy that was born November 5, 2002 at the Jefferson County election party in Conifer, Colorado. This strategy led to mostly "Dream Team" candidates being elected to board positions at the April 2003 LPCO convention, and all kinds of progress this year to date in the LPCO.
The following are "Dream-Team" realized working projects, and I'd like to include all board members and others who were not on the original "Dream Team" as they have been supportive in the implementation. The "Dream Team" is no longer a specific set of individuals, now it is a movement:
This welter of activity does not happen without a vision. Instead, it is the result of goals, which coalesced at the April 2003 LPCO convention. What I intend to discuss today, is two entrenched LP problems most if not all of the above activity has been designed to attack. In addition, I'd like to affirm that the goal of the "Dream Team" is to move the Libertarian Party into position as the most popular political party in this state, and turn Colorado itself into the first "Free State".
The first of the problems is, and has been, that Libertarians by and large are a considerate and non-intrusive bunch. They traditionally have been of the mind to allow new members "find their way" into the party. For most of its history, the LP has been a matter of "personal choice" and even though proponents would argue strongly for the ideals or philosophy, they would try to distance themselves from too strongly influencing or --gasp-- persuading individuals to change their party affiliation. There is an area we call our "comfort zone", in interactions with others, that without sufficient cause we will not step over. For instance, asking a stranger the question "Will you, right here and now, register to vote Libertarian?" is a toughie for many Libertarians and crosses that line.
The second strike against the Libertarian Party is this unspoken but easy to recognize attitude among the membership, that our ideas will gather ascendancy when some elusive "natural leaders" or qualified office-holders take up the Libertarian credo and begin governing with Libertarian principles. This is a mental sophistry --an excuse that shows Libertarians have been giving lip service only-- to the idea of personal responsibility. When our candidates show up in casual attire to public debates, when they do not have the "next easy step" ready to announce to the public but instead treat the voting public like an unapproachable adversary, lobbing grenades into the public midst in the form of impossible-to-implement and often shocking policy, it is clear that many Libertarians have sold themselves on the notion that someone else will be winning the hearts and minds of the voters.
LPCO Campaigns Director Michael T. McKinzie and I, along with several others, identified the preceding two major problems within the Libertarian Party last year. We decided that by shifting the Libertarian approach to just these two matters, the party would be vaunted from "amusing political sideline" into serious contention with the Republicans and Democrats. To state the solutions concisely:
1. Instead of the traditional "hands off" approach to acquiring new Libertarian Party members, we are pursuing both permission (would you like to take this short quiz to find out where you stand politically?) and interrupt (Ad-based) marketing approaches using the traditional F-A-B (feature-advantage-benefit) sales tools which have proven to sell everything from dishwashers to home computers to the Republican Party. In addition, we are promoting and pursuing direct telephone communications daily and weekly in order to enroll volunteers for activities.
2. Rather than allow "line-holders" or self-appointed "pundits" to create our public image and public policy, we are creating a candidate program including training videos, pre-written position statements, and other tools common in organizations that want to get the job done and know how to do it. In time, we will not find Libertarians anywhere arguing with the public, putting down government as an institution, disrespecting the office they are campaigning to win, or engaging in other behaviors known to be consistent with "losing."
In conclusion, after a three-month effort, the "Dream Team" is seeing progress in shifting the Libertarian Party to counter its timeworn problem of lack of assertiveness and terrible sales techniques, and the problem of unprepared, embarrassing candidates or spokespersons winning media focus. The "Dream Team" goals include a party that doubles its registered membership annually and Libertarians holding public office because they knew how to do what is required to win elections!