Friday, May 23, 2008

Just so you know

Most of my LP convention blogging is at The American Spectator blog. Just woke up from a three-hour nap -- trying to recover from the exhaustion caused by riding 20 hours in a van to get here. (The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a story about the guys I rode with.) If you think jet lag is bad, you should try van lag.

I really needed the rest because tonight's Bob Barr's big delegate reception party. Barr is a well-known party animal, so I need to be at my best if I'm ever going to keep up with him.

UPDATE: About to get in the shower to get ready for the party. In my Pajamas Media convention preview, I quoted Daniel Adams:
"I think the Libertarian Party’s going to see what organization looks like," the Georgia LP chairman said.
And Team Barr has indeed fielded a very professional operation, including endorsements and liveblogging. They're also canvassing the delegates and compiling a database of the results, putting together a list for use in whipping votes when the vote comes Sunday.

UPDATE II: Out of the shower now, ready to describe a little bit more of the Barr operation here in Denver.

Last night, Stephen Gordon chased me away from the sidewalk cafe outside the lobby bar at the Sheraton, where he was convening a meeting of his floor whip team. Then this afternoon, I saw Gordon outside the entrance of the hotel, scribbling down information on a canvass form -- pre-printed sheets with spaces for the delegate's name and state, his preference for candidates, his key issues, etc. Gordon was completing two of these forms, and then shoved them into his portfolio, which I could see contained a thick stack of completed forms.

Not long afterwards, Daniel Adams walked up and suggested that three of us grab drinks. Gordon and Adams discussed the results they were getting in the canvass and were pleased at the number of delegates who were supporting other candidates, but listed Barr as their second choice -- a key point, if the balloting goes multiple rounds.

While we sat there, another member of the Barr team (whose name I didn't catch) walked up and asked Stephen if he had more canvass forms, which Stephen gave him.

Canvassing is one of the most basic elements of political organization, and so far as I can tell, Barr is the only candidate doing an organized canvass of the convention delegates. This could be a decisive advantage in the nominating process.

On the other hand, there are some delegates beyond Barr's reach. I just talked to one of them, a longhaired young man from West Virginia, who was wearing a button declaring himself a member of "The Libertarian Wing of the Libertarian Party" (a Radical Caucus slogan) and another button supporting Susan Hogarth for an LNC office. Hogath is a Ruwart supporter whom I met in my April visit to "Ruwartistan" (a/k/a, North Carolina).

The size of the "anybody but Barr" delegation is at this stage unknown, except perhaps to Gordon's canvassers. Two days into the convention, however, the Barr team seems confident and cheerful.

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