Saturday, May 19, 2007

1971 - 1977 The Early Libertarian Party




 

Most Americans know now that there is a Libertarian Party and associate it with marijuana legalization, yearly tax protests on April 15th, and no longer quite young men who live in their mother's basements, sleeping on Star Wars sheets. While it is politically incorrect to engage in stereotypes it is also true that stereotypes exist because they contain a grain of truth.

But the above ignores the real significance of the Libertarian Party and the movement that preceded it Third parties have driven the evolution of political thinking since the calcification of the two party system which effectively reformatted American politics in the aftermath of the Civil War. 

So third parties, while they do not elect do direct the political dialog and so exercise far more power than is normally ascribed to them. This was how the Socialist Agenda became adopted by the Democratic Party in the first half of the 20th Century. But the impact of the Libertarian Party and Movement has far more directly impacted politics as we see it today. How that happened shows just how connected those in power really are. 
 
You will see parallels here that will remind you of those who now control the Republican Party. That is not a coincidence. The Libertarian Party, as are all organizations, is a tool people use to carry out action working together. This is equally true for a political party and the Girl Scouts. However, with organizations that fail to agree on their goals or how to achieve those goals more than cookies can be sold. This was the case with the Libertarian Party and, for that matter, with all political parties. 
 
The Libertarian Party, referred to as the LP by much of its membership, started in a living room in Denver, Colorado on December 11th, 1971. While the LP remains small in numbers that Movement has taken over the Republican Party, displacing the previous ideas with their own through a process of slow but steady adoption. 
 
The tail is wagging the dog and the dog was asking for it. This has been true of the relationship between the Green Party and the Democratic Party, also.

Nixon and his politics must be credited with the surge of popularity that swelled the ranks of the Libertarian Party for the last two years of the Nixon Administration beginning with that auspicious moment in the living room of David Nolan then the LP was founded. 
 
David Nolan, a graduate from M. I. T., had been a member of Young Americans for Freedom and Students for Goldwater and a leader or active in similar groups since the heady days of the Goldwater Campaign. The bubbly bottles of 'Goldwater' were not alcoholic but the ideas were intoxicating, firing their proponents with zeal. 
 
In early 1971 David Nolan was a candidate for Vice Chairman of the National Young Republicans and missed winning that office by one slim vote at their national convention. Emil Franzi, who Nolan would later know well in the Libertarian Party, had suggested that the California Chapter 'Unit Vote' , meaning that the delegation be polled and vote as for a single candidate. If this had happened Nolan would have received at least 10 additional votes and been elected Vice Chairman of the Young Republicans. 
 
So do the accidents of time determine more than we know. Soon, Nolan was working on the article for the Individualist, a libertarian oriented magazine. 
 
Individuals across the country had been debating and making attempts to establish a base of operations since election day, 1964. Their hero, Senator Barry Goldwater, lost but they did not give up. 
 
In August of 1971 the Nolan article appeared in one of then three publications that knit the nascent movement together. "The Case for a Libertarian Political Party," appeared in the Individualist; it had been in process for several months prior. Within a few days of Richard Nixon's television appearance on the 15th of that month to announce his Wage and Price Controls Republicans all over the country had dropped out, disgusted. Young, intelligent, and activist oriented Republicans signed off on the party of Nixon. 
 
In New York an attorney named Ed Clark called his wife, Alicia Cabo Clark, to vent his rage. Alicia, the daughter of a former Mexican Senator and the CEO of a multinational Corporation, sympathized. One of the things that had brought them together was their shared belief in the ideas of freedom. The Clarks also left the Republican Party. Clark would become the third Libertarian candidate for President and Alicia would eventually serve as National Chairman. 
 
The article written by Nolan had called for the creation of a political party not primarily to elect candidates but to become a voice for the unadulterated ideas of individual freedom. It was aimed at a group of people who shared many of the same ideas about how the world should be, ideas that started with Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein, and Ludwig von Mises for their generation but which resonated with the ideas of Thomas Jefferson. 
 
Wage and Price Controls would prove to be an absolute failure. The controls did not stem inflation and yet, with the logic of other government programs, continued to be used as a tool until 1980.

Similar scenes played out all over America as young people who had worked feverishly for Goldwater and burned their draft cards as members of the Libertarian Caucus of Young Americans for Freedom, began to coalesce into a group.
 
As Nixon settled into a grumpy retirement in Yorba Linda, California on August 8, 1974,
the newly fledged Libertarian Party was experiencing a surge of growth and excitement along with internecine warfare. 
 
The LP began as an organization that looked to individuals to take action themselves because the moral structure for individual rights viewed these as existing before any government people might adopt. This was the mission statement of the Declaration of Independence; it was not the structural reality of American politics. As the structure of the organization congealed a conflict of visions began, pitting the top down style of traditional American political parties with the spontaneous, local organizing that had characterized its first several years. 
 
The Libertarian weapons of choice in their war for the soul of America would be ideas; these activists believed in the concept of individual rights; they assumed the battle would be won in their lifetimes but did not account for the need to translate the ideas and words into behavior that sent the same massage. The fact that words mask behavior as well and as often as they match action was a slow lesson to sink in. Thirty years later the lesson would remain yet to be learned. 
 
Even in those early years all was not sweetness and light and unanimity. Libertarians come in several varieties and these fell, roughly, into two categories, limited state or minarchist, (which has nothing to do with Rhode Island but with the eventual size of the government envisioned as necessary to the smooth functioning of American society) and anarchist; anarchists are those who think you can realistically return control to individuals using only cooperation and consent. Note that used in this way 'anarchy' does not mean the lack of order but spontaneous order or dynamic, quantum, ordering for human action. 
 
Disagreement on this issue nearly destroyed the LP at its third convention. A convention had taken place the year before in Strongsville, OH from June 8-10
 
At the 1974 Libertarian National Convention, held in Texas, the issue of planks to be added to the platform erupted into vitriolic debate on whether the platform would reflect the minarchist or Anarchist viewpoint. 

From this threat to the very existence of the LP the Dallas Accord was born. This mutually useful and gentlemanly agreement mandated that planks would all allow for how a state would function if it existed and not assume the existence of a state. Thus peace was restored in Libertarian Land. 
 
It was at the 1974 Convention that a young guy not long out of college was elected National Chairman. That was Edward H. Crane, III. The man who managed Crane's floor campaign would also manage all the significant floor campaigns for the first decade of LP history. That man was John Hix of Fresno. Hix's involvement with the LP was fortuitous for Ed Crane. 
 
Over the next several years more young people left the Republican Party, propelled by the ideas on individual freedom and economics expressed by Libertarianism. Ideas have always been the building blocks of human society and Libertarians believed they were building a new world forged from the unrealized vision of the American Revolution. Those ideas included personal accountability, control of their own lives, and free markets. Libertarians viewed these ideas as their distinct heritage. The existence of the Libertarian Party provided the medium for popularizing those ideas and served as a meeting place for like-minded individuals.

The Ideas of Libertarianism




Nolan, along with most Libertarians, had cut his teeth on the writings of Robert A. Heinlein and Ayn Rand. He was one of many who followed that same intellectual path to adulthood, surviving the trauma of the break up between Rand and her First Disciple, Nathaniel Brandon, in New York in 1969 with the closing of NBI, the Nathaniel Brandon Institute. NBI, which taught the ideas of Rand as the philosophy of Objectivism, was named not for her but
for her disciple and lover, a man twenty-five years her
junior.

In the mid 70s the Libertarian Party was a hot bed
of activism, excitement, and ideas. The first two

presidential campaigns sent a message of local organizing, educating on the ideas of freedom, and individual cooperation. Volunteers and activists spent their own time and money on projects they devised. It was a spontaneous ordering of energy that would be stifled by the emergence of influences whose attempts to redirect those energies to their own purposes were largely successful.

Political parties are designed to be miniature bureaucracies; the rules and practices imposed by government makes it difficult to avoid the pitfalls of that system and no one really tried because the issue was not raised at the time. There was a vague agreement that freedom was the destination. There was no thought to how freedom for everyone could be achieved in the absence of other, formal means for ordering society. In the early years most activists assumed there was agreement on the mission, never considering how that mission would be accomplished. .

The model for organization adopted within the LP began with local organizing and swiftly moved towards a centralized system of control, enforced by rules and deception. Some few state parties resisted this, for instance Maryland, adopted operating rules that helped keep an internal bureaucracy from developing, but in the 70s this was still far in the future.

The potential for abusing power is the most attractive of nuisances. The egos and personalities who were attracted to the potential for power brought with them assumptions about how organizations must operate that ignored the need to devise real alternatives to those that had been produced by a society that assumed the existence of government at every level.

The Icons of Libertarianism

Robert Heinlein



The front line issues as seen by libertarians reflected their youth and the fact that most of them were male. This was natural. Each of us sees through the lense of our individual assumptions and experiences.

Therefore the Vietnam War, the illegality of pot, economic issues, and gun rights dominated the minds of most activists who were also living out the sexual revolution. The most emotionally compelling heroes of the movement were the idea spinners who spoke through the images of fiction.

Robert Heinlein's “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” Ayn Rand's “Atlas Shrugged,” brought the emotional focus that popularized the ideas considered in such nonfiction works as Rose Wilder Lane's “The Discovery of Freedom,” and Isabel Patterson's “God of the Machine,” and more academic treatments. In much the same way Harriet Beecher Stowe's “Uncle Tom's Cabin” had penetrated the mainstream of American consciousness a century before, Rand and Heinlein achieved in the 20th Century presenting ideas woven into fiction. 
 
“Shrugged,” and Fountainhead were in effect intellectual bodice rippers that today still sell more books than anything else but the Bible. “Stranger in a Strange Land,” the novel Robert Heinlein wrote to break the stifling contract he had tied himself into for writing juvenile potboilers became one of the influences that supercharged the sexual revolution as groups experimented with alternative forms of marriage and grokked the winds of social freedom. 
 
Robert Heinlein's many science fiction novels continue to be read by new generations despite the fact they have been outdated in many cases. Written as juvenile potboilers they became classics, reframing the ideas of human organization through stories that allowed young readers to think about alternative forms for human society. 
 
The willingness to think outside the box characterized the libertarian movement in these early years. 
 
While no one much thought about it at the time a wrestling match was taking place between two men who would be acknowledged as the greatest writers of science fiction in their time, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. The battle between centralized power and cooperative action took place simultaneously to the beginning of the libertarian movement. This theme repeated itself in science fiction and also, some years later, in the Libertarian Party itself. 
 
The early years of libertarianism were filled with battles over ideas, and egos were very present in those ongoing wars for a share of the intellectual market.

The Market in Markets

Always present in economics were the many works of Murray Rothbard. Rothbard, growing to intellectual maturity in New York in the years that preceded and included the Second World War, was a diligent student of economics, history, and politics. An economist of rare insight, Rothbard prodigiously produced books and papers that included incisive points on the cause and effect of Austrian Economics. 

However, Rothbard liked internecine warfare the way some men like football and beer; through the late 60s and 70s Rothbard engaged in political maneuvers using ideas like Conan the Barbarian used his trusty club, ripping his way through the developing libertarian movement leaving a reputation for dissension in his wake. 
 
Murray delighted in the blustering idea battles of politics that took place as he attacked what he characterized as the 'libertarian right,' digging his own divide between the admirers of Goldwater and the 'libertarian left.' He had initiated this avenue for activism when he lead a group of Libertarians into the convention of the Peace and Freedom Party in 1968 in an attempt to create solidarity with the new left that was less than successful. This approach was a product of his upbringing and the cultural icons of his youth, which were populist and socialist; Rothbard celebrated the success of the 'common people' without really understanding that viewing people through the lens of labels limited his understanding of the very human action he was trying to change. 
 
Rothbard, who was too young to serve in WWII and too old for Vietnam, never faced the violence of war and sublimated a male hankering for war in his approach to political action. He was short, plump and academically brilliant. His oversights were few but significant and replicated the mistakes of the previous century, setting the stage for yet another round of idea manipulation to be played out through the 80s and 90s.

Not himself inclined to take such conflict personally, he did not realize that he was accumulating a reputation that would eventually exact unexpected costs. Rothbard and his cadre of 'left libertarians' had left the Peace and Freedom Convention far less peaceful that it had been, although Eric Garris, an early Libertarian and founding member of the Radical Caucus, would work as an organizer for the Peace and Freedom Party's efforts for ballot access. 
 
Unaware of the dynamics in play he set himself, and the Libertarian Party, up for as successful a take over as any in history. Actions as well as ideas have consequences and the personae who present those ideas become part of the message conveyed to those whose ears – and eyes, who are taking it all in.

1977 - 1979 - Bill Hunscher and Roger MacBride


The Crane Machine's Presidential Campaign

At the close of the '76 presidential campaign most Libertarian activists believed that the future was going to be about fighting for individual freedom. But behind the scenes personalities were beginning to grate on each other and the divergence of goals, personal, social, and political, were getting ready to unleash a tsunami of conflict.

Roger Mac Bride had a good friend named William Hunscher. Hunscher was a former Army Col. who had the unusual background in the LP of military training. Bill joined the military serving in Germany with the First Airborne Brigade. He found himself jumping out of airplanes - and also being trained to command and accept responsibility for a full range of needs related to his position. He had always been chosen as a leader in school, and so military life continued his life training in this regard. His military service lasted from 1960 - 1964. 
 
He told friends he would not trade the years for anything because of what it taught him. Bill had four much older brothers who all served in World War II with distinction. He said also that he would not want to do it again. He was a strong, forceful man who was used to being in charge. His career after leaving the military would take him into the application of technology to business. 
 
After leaving the military Bill’s first entrepreneurial start-up was Terminal Systems. This company became a success, first being listed on the the New York Stock Exchange, and then being bought out. After that success Bill started FasFax, producing point of sale terminals for fast food restaurants. 
 
Hunscher, a model for American success, had been committed to the ideas of freedom his entire life, having encountered Ayn Rand while building his own career in business. In 1974 Bill met Roger Mac Bride. Over the next several years the two would become good friends. Both were committed to building a viable alternative to the political system that had brought the LP into existence. The Mac Bride campaign had accomplished much and Roger briefly considered running again to be told that there were factions within the LP who would actively oppose him. Instead, Hunscher agreed to seek the nomination.

While both Roger and Bill were very well off their money had come from the entrepreneurial efforts of Rose Wilder Lane, in Roger's case, and from his own business savvy in the case of Bill Hunscher. These sources for wealth, derived from books that carry a subtext for individuals living and caring for themselves, and wealth created from providing products to the market that would reduce the cost of doing business, epitomized everything that Libertarianism actually said. They would be opposed by even bigger money derived from big oil and government contracts. 
 
Hunscher's model for a presidential campaign was for local organizing and a full time presidential candidate; this followed the Mac Bride model that had worked to empower local organizations in 1975 – 1976. Hunscher started his campaign for the nomination in 1978. He committed to a full 18 months of campaigning, self-funding part of the campaign, and to leaving the local organizations stronger and more autonomous. 
 
In the period between the end of the Mac Bride Campaign and the nominating convention for the 1980 presidential ticket several things had happened in the Libertarian Movement that would impact the future direction of the LP and the action that would take place in the constellation of think tanks that spun off from that explosive energy. 
 
The largest Libertarian National Convention ever held took place at the Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles in 1979. As had been the case four years before the need to qualify the ticket for the ballot made it essential that the ticket be known beyond doubt far in advance. When the first attendees started to trickle into the hotel that September 4th Roger Mac Bride and Bill Hunscher had been in town for several days meeting with delegates. The Hunscher Campaign had run into some problems early on due to needed changes in the head quarters, back on the East Coast. One of these changes had been the firing of Michael Emerling, later Michael Cloud, as Hunscher Campaign Manager for incompetence. Emerling – Cloud would play a pivotal part in later chapters of LP history that recycled the pattern for power conversion first seen with Ed Crane. 
 
Hunscher had spent months traveling across the country, attending state conventions and meeting delegates. He had pledged to give the LP a full time candidacy and along with traditional fundraising put his hand in his own pocket.

1979 - Campaign for the Libertarian Nomination


Author Injection: (Author injections make it possible for me to talk about personal experiences and insights that as the Author I would skip. Freedom was not about making the least ethical people rich; it was about freedom for everyone.)

In 1979 I was wearing several hats. While serving as Southern California Vice Chairman and the first LP Party Chairman for Los Angeles County I was also Chairman of the local region of the California LP for the San Fernando Valley. This meant I had to make sure our local organization, which had been pretty dead when I moved there from West Los Angeles, was rejuvenated and able to undertake the goal of having a full slate of candidates on the ballot. That meant coming up with candidates and money.

(items with this graphic are available on my cafe press site, in the Libertarian Legends Section. There is also a Ron Paul section, if you are interested. People seem to like those parts.)

Cunningly figuring out that people would always come out for food we put on a crepe dinner and then a Picnic. I personally wrote up the flyer for the crepe dinner, describing the food in graphic detail. RSVPs started coming in the moment they hit the mailboxes. It was an all you can eat event as was the picnic.

Any event sells better if you provide celebrities. The upcoming nominating convention was bringing in multiple libertarian celebrities and we made use of that to persuade Roger Mac Bride to allow us to honor him at a Birthday Party. Roger was always a good sport and was happy to help out. 
 
A few days before the Bonaventure Convention began the San Fernando Valley, known then as Region 11, threw a Birthday Party for Roger Mac Bride that would fund its slate of candidate for the next year. It was Roger's 50th birthday and he spent the day chatting with activists, candidates, and their families at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. We had arranged for a cake and a case of very good wine, chosen by Bob Binsley, one of our local candidates. 
 
The Mac Bride Picnic netted nearly $2,000.00.

Two of the fundraisers we did were the Dessert Book and the Atlas Slugged baseball shirt designed for the monumental softball game wherein the Atlas Sluggers challenged the Rest of the World to come and have at it. My kids were the cheerleaders in outfits that coordinated nicely with our blue and gold shirts with the Atlas Slugged logo. We narrowly missed being sued by Jack Dean, the originator of the Sam Adams Award, who did not notice that the bases were cardboard. I had never actually seen a softball game that had fancy equipment, one of the outcomes of spending my life with my nose stuck in a book. 
 
Naturally, we lost. But to play The Rest of the World All Stars had had to pay for the Picnic so the campaigns won and that was the idea. 
 
We cut the costs of campaign literature for the slate of candidates by producing artwork that could change out one side to put in the name of the candidate, his or her race, and a statement. This cut our costs and kept us within the budget. Budgets were something that Ed Crane never seemed to understand but he had his own personal billionaire. 
 
In the immediate wake of the Picnic I learned a valuable lesson on the mind set of the Crane Machine. At our executive committee meeting for the local region the report on fundraising was read; the money raised was in the bank and the campaigns were ready to go. A long time activist raised her hand to suggest that the money be donated to the Clark Campaign. I did not say a word but if looks could have killed her body would have been stretched out cold. She had not been of any conspicuous help with the events but I knew, because she had told me, she had been fraternizing with Ed Crane. 
 
The money stayed in our own Treasury. But having listened to her reasons for this proposal, that focusing on the top of the ticket would be a far better use of the money she had not helped raise, I gained an insight into the mind set of Ed Crane that would be borne out over and over through the next decades. 
 
End Author Moment.

The opposition to the Hunscher nomination was not focused around Ed Clark as a candidate, but around Ed Crane and the kind of campaign he would run with funds provided by the Koch Brothers. Koch money had put the Libertarian Party on the ballot in California and was spent lavishly on everything but resources for local organizing. The Clark Campaign bifurcated inquiries to the campaign and only those who made low levels of donations were shared with local regions. Those in the 'alpha' group, meeting local activists expressed surprise that there was already a local organization there. 
 
Crane was not liked. Even with billions on tap obtaining the nomination for Clark was not easy. If Ed Clark had not been well liked and respected in his own right it would have been impossible. So unpopular was Crane at that point that he could not assume the title of Clark Campaign Chairman and instead a beard was used to hold that title in the person of Ray Cunningham, a former Libertarian mayoral candidate from San Francisco; Cunningham had no control over decision making. 
 
Ed Clark was an attractive, intelligent candidate who as far as any of us could tell had no input on issues or campaign strategy. He was articulate and good natured but he was chief legal counsel for Arco, with offices in the Arco Towers in Downtown Los Angeles and he could spare only four months for active campaigning. The campaign, as designed by Crane and laid out before John Anderson was in the race, was structurally flawed as an electoral strategy to build an effective organization for promoting local solutions to social and political issues; it was also flawed as a vehicle to secure serious attention for the ideas of freedom nationally. 
 
The battle for the nomination had been intentionally deceptive. Material that would have made delegates aware of the intention of the campaign were withheld and attention was focused on the glossy materials and the exciting possibilities presented by having a billionaire as the vice presidential candidate. Money is always seductive. 
 
Crane had persuaded the younger brother of Koch Industries, David Koch, to run for the vice presidential nomination. Both he and his brother, Charles, were at the convention for the occasion. Crane had seen that fundraising would be far easier if the billionaires who were funding Cato were also funding his first chance for calling the shots in presidential politics. 
 
Concern and outrage over the control exerted over the convention program reached a peak in the spring of 1979, necessitating a meeting between Crane and activists from the Southern California area. The meeting took place at the home of Bruce Lagasse, a former LPC chairman and resulted in some grudging additions to the program by Crane. One of these was a workshop by Michael Emerling, another was an evening of folk music by a software engineer named Craig Franklin. 
 
The lies retailed by Crane and Co. included hiding their intention to run a campaign that presented as 'low tax liberal.' This was known before the nominating convention. The presidential candidate in fact was presenting not so much his own views but the strategic vision and views of Ed Crane. The effect of this was to reinforce an internal party culture that used lies to achieve its goals as a matter of course; a sort of early Straussianism served up without the underpinning of ideological justification. Crane acted as if local activists were incapable of organizing themselves. If this was so one had to wonder how he thought they would manage to govern themselves if libertarianism was successful. This question, among others, was never formally raised in the discussions of goals and strategy that evidently never took place. 
 
Deception practiced by those in control and justified as necessary because those perceived as 'lower down' in a hierarchy is the classical justification of any tyranny. The issue of transparency in government and the right of the people to have all of the information essential to make informed decisions had been defenestrated before the LP was out of the single digits. This would prove to be a constant over the next decades. 
 
The Clark – Crane Campaign reinforced this message by running a very much top down campaign. It did nothing to encourage or build local organizations. This reflected the organizational philosophy of Ed Crane and not that of the Clarks. 
 
The issue of local organizing had been decided; the issue had never been formally raised. 
 
Cato had been organized in 1977 when, in the wake of the Libertarian National Convention in San Francisco, Ed Crane moved to D. C.. Crane was just leaving the office of National LP Chairman and at the close of the convention had announced to an elevator full of libertarians that he was, “going to Washington D. C. to get rich.” That he accomplished.

1980 - The Crane Machine in operation


And to Grab Control you need to be sneaky

NOTE: I'm leaving this small piece mostly as it was when originally written, which was before Hart Williams called me to find out what I knew about Crane, Howie and their lick-spittles, brown-nosers, and lackeys.  

Murray Rothbard was arguably the most influential voice for Austrian Economics in the world; he was asked to serve on the Cato Board of Directors and was given stock in the enterprise. Being an economist does not usually make you rich, so a little stock meant a lot of to Murray. 

Murray Rothbard enthusiastically supported the Crane Machine and the Clark candidacy going into the nomination process. After the campaign's lackluster showing in November of 1980 Rothbard used his Libertarian Forum to exhaustively critique the campaign and the White Papers Crane had produced; these glossily produced policy pieces effectively superseded the LP platform and were produced under the direct oversight of Ed Crane. There is no evidence that Clark himself had any input in the matter. The subjects included the privatization of Social Security. 
 
The criticism from Rothbard focused on Ed Clark in the immediate wake of the Clark Campaign. Clark had been left holding the debt Crane and the campaign had run up in the last few weeks. This focus on Clark by Rothbard continued until Rothbard was ousted from the Cato Board in January of 1981. In the immediate aftermath of that highly irregular proceeding, which took place at the Cato Board Meeting in Oklahoma, Rothbard began characterizing Ed Crane as the personification of the devil. But Crane had consistently used the same methods, deceit and misdirection, to achieve his goal, which was a concentration of power that remained in his own hands as he slid from position to position within the LP. This should have come as no surprise to Rothbard. 
 
At the close of the 1980 presidential campaign Crane still had absolute control of the National Libertarian Party; he had hired most of the employees and they were personally loyal to him. Many among these individuals, who were listed by Rothbard in Libertarian Review, remain active today in the constellation of nonprofits that are funded from the same sources as Cato. All of these individuals became wealthy because of the association; some few were well to do before they got to know Ed Crane, but those were the exceptions.

Author Digression:

The White Papers were a great potential resource for local candidates. For Congress they provided a well thought out plan for action that could be used to make libertarian candidates sound far more knowledgeable and well briefed than they generally were. For state level candidates they provided insights unusual even in major party candidates. 
 
The first time I saw a sampling of the White Papers I lusted after them for my candidates. The San Fernando Valley had a full slate and I wanted to thriftily have full set copied for each candidate. Chris Hocker was pointed out to me as the Commissar of White Paper Copies. 
 
For the next three years I requested, asked, demanded, and pleaded for a set. I even offered to pay money. No White Papers appeared through they were promised several times. 
 
Finally I got the Chris Commissar on the phone and he told me to memo him. I promised to do so and sent on the request forthwith. Again, they did not appear. This was the second round of elections I had been through without the White Papers. I had first asked for them in 1979. So finally I sent the following to Commissar Hocker. I know it was not exactly nice but I was getting pretty annoyed.


Note of A Political Nature to Chris Hocker
Privily speak I of promises well made
For I would have you know I them remember
For pen to paper thus I put - for so you bade,
And hearing thus your words could I malinger?

You said that you would give me many wonders
For papers writ with wisdom good and clear
That Clark did read to parry many blunders
Of policy when run he did last year.

And murmured you of booklets that you wrote
Designed to teach my candidates of things
That will make them yet less clumsy with the votes
And credit to the cause of freedom bring.

So find the stuff - tout suite, and make it fast!
For I needed it all months ago, you ass!

I sincerely apologize for calling Chris an ass. He is really rather nice for a toadie or lickspittle, there being two of the terms used by everyone to refer to the hierarchy within the Crane Machine. Murray Rothbard called them Craniacs, actually. The levels of status went: Crony, Toadie, and Lickspittle. It is very possible Chris was a Crony, level B. I was never sure which he was but I am sure he was a very high ranking one, which ever category he fell into. 
 
The Clark Campaign was a real disappointment after the warm, friendly, experience of the Mac Bride Campaign but everyone pitched in and tried to make it work. I was asked to be co-chair for the Clark Campaign for California along with a friend of mine named Gary Meade. This changed afterwards. Crane was always a great one for rewriting history. But I did not mind, I was relieved that I did not have to shoulder any of the debts. 
 
The Most Magnificent Moment of the Campaign was planned for autumn and was called, Alternative '80. The idea was a series of events across the United States linked by television. Today that sounds like nothing much but then it was a Big Deal. The Central Diamond in this tiara of triumph was to take place with a posh event attended by hundreds or thousands of people at the Century City Hotel. 
 
The Clark Campaign shipped in an organizer to handle this, which was a good thing because we already had our hands full with local campaigns and fundraising. I suspect that rather than kindly intent what was going on was a centralizing of control but as it turned out in this case that did not matter.

The day came and hundreds of people did in fact turn out for the lavish event and for the great food. The television worked and there were celebrities. Sort of. Honestly, I did not think of Howard Jarvis, who stole Proposition 13 from Libertarians who lived in the San Fernando Valley, a celebrity. Perhaps my standards are too high, however. 
 
On the way out I did have one moment of amusement and illumination. I had attended the event with a fellow activist, Janice Vargo. She and I, without any plan that this would happen, found ourselves climbing into an elevator with Ed Crane and Charles Koch. For once Ed was quiet and Charles was talking rather heatedly. In this way I learned that Alternative '80 had lost a quarter of a million dollars instead of making a profit and, worst of all, Little Brother David had to use Capital instead of Interest to pay for it! (Exclamation point is his and not mine.) Even billionaires have their limits. I somehow did not feel sorry for Ed although he looked very sad right then. Charles Koch went on to vehemently demand that Crane either focus on Cato or the LP, but not both. 
 
It was a good moment. But we discovered that Crane was not going to accept this kind of limitation, even from his own personal billionaire. 
 
End Author Digression:

The ideas of Libertarianism were about individual rights, individual action, and taking back power for the individual. The absent but needed component for allowing individuals to exercise their own power were alternative organizing structures that allowed individuals to make their own choices and so exercise both control and personal accountability on the most local level possible. Many had originally seen the LP as the natural starting point for this.
However, the structure adopted by the LP as a political party centralized power and there was no means for exacting accountability. The By-Laws had mandated a Judicial Committee to meet as needed but no rules, standards or protocols had been created or evidently even contemplated. As a result it was not useful as a means for resolving conflict, becoming itself a weapon of political warfare.
The problem of ensuring accountability is one that systemically plagues government today and this is mirrored in all the political parties through which the people are forced to act. It is a curious oversight that Libertarians, theoretically committed to the concept of individual rights and accountability continue to fall for the trappings of power and control.
The lack of an effective, internal mediation agency would soon cause shock waves to ripple through the LP.

The LP organizes itself around presidential campaigns for the most part, but in the wake of the Clark Campaign talk started on giving the LP different leadership. The race for National Chairman became a hot issue and three candidates eventually threw their hats in the ring. One was John Mason from Colorado, running as a unity candidate. The Crane Machine opposition was Kent Guida from Maryland. But the surprise candidate was Alicia Clark.
The Crane Machine worked hard for Guida but made it clear that they preferred Mason over Alicia. On the last ballot the Crane Machine delegates had thrown their support to Mason, so this was the outcome they least preferred.

Alicia won. Crane, even with Koch money, was just too much.

Alicia was dedicated to decentralizing the LP but much of her time was spent fighting battles with the National Chairman, Eric O'Keefe. After months spent trying to work with him Alicia fired him and had the locks changed on the National Office. The guy she chose for this was Craig Franklin, the folk singer who Crane had slighted at the Clark Nominating Convention. Franklin also was on the Judicial Committee.

Alicia was far better qualified to be National Chairman than the other two candidates on the basis of her background and experience. When she married Ed Clark she was the CEO of a multinational corporation with headquarters in New York. She had an earned Ph. D. in Chemistry and her family had been prominent, and dedicated to reform, in Mexican politics for many years. Despite this, the Crane Machine treated her with barely concealed contempt and concealed the facts on her background where ever possible as they had done, evidently by their own internal policies, with Hunscher and others. 
 
The Judicial committee would be called to act for the first time in LP history before the Crane Machine was finished. 
 
Firing the director of an organization is the prerogative of its chairman normally, and this firing was supported absolutely by the bylaws. That did not stop the Crane Machine from trying to overturn the firing, however. The rancor and vicious assaults on Alicia and the new Director astonished those attending but were very much in line with a cadre who had been ousted from a sinecure they assumed they would control in perpetuity.

The Crane Machine: Who is Edward H. Crane, III?
















 Character matters.  Now we understand the impact of psychopaths on every part of our world.  

The only question left to answer about Crane is this.  Is he a psychopath or was he just going along to get wealthy and have sex with every women he met?  

It is clear that one of the possibilities that pulled Bill Clinton into politics was the presence of women, mostly willing. Sex is one of the three basic human motivators, these being sex, money and power. Power is actually also the means by which many people get the two former, so we have to keep this in mind. 
 
That said, it is natural that politics tends to pull in people who are highly motivated by the attractions of power and its adjuncts, money and sex. It also follows that those who are in politics who are so motivated tend to want to grab as much power as possible to realize these unstated goals since if they were open and transparent about it, for instance if they said, “I want to have sex with every good looking woman in this room.” this would not further these goals but given what events had told us about Bill Clinton we can imagine Bill thinking just that. 
 
But Bill is not the only man in politics, and not the only man whose sexual ambitions powered a drive for power.

Author's Digression:
 
I have known about Ed Crane since the early 1970s. I sent him the button above during the Clark Campaign. I met him for the first time at the California LP Convention in 1977 where I was serving as assistant manager but I had heard about him much earlier. When you are working in a movement with the same people for many years you get to know them pretty well both directly and through the reports of others. Small communities are like that. Politics is all about people and their relationships and, as the saying goes, if you let them keep talking you find out the truth. Applied to character this means that over a period of time you see the interior, hidden contours that define character of the individual written out through the life they lead and how they handle life's challenges and temptations. The first inkling I had to Crane's personal character came at a party I attended at the home of Sarah O'Connor Foster, an activist living in the Sherman Oaks in around 1975 – 1976. 
 
When you go to a party that is mostly libertarians and take your small children along you spend most of your time sitting watching them play. I was doing just that when I fell into a conversation with a woman I will refer to as Rebbecca. Rebbecca was married but had no children., as I remember. As we shared stories about the libertarian personalities and campaigns we had experienced Rebbecca brought up Edward H. Crane, III. I had heard about him but he had moved on to National politics about the time I became active very locally in West Los Angeles. Rebbecca recounted to me her volunteer activities on behalf of freedom with Ed Crane. The story was so incredible that it was hard to believe but over the next several years I bumped into another woman who told much the same story.

Rebbecca was scheduled by Crane to come into his office and work for a period of one hour. She spent the first half hour typing and the second half hour in sexual congress with Crane. Departing, she met the next woman scheduled. I told you it was incredible. My mouth dropped open. This was strange even for Libertarians. 
 
From one of the locals who worked with Crane I also learned that when he entered a Libertarian event he would scan the room for the youngest, dumbest, woman present who passed his standards for acceptability and engage her in conversation, passing her his room key as soon as possible. I did not believe that one either until a good friend told me about her 30 minute interlude with Ed under exactly these circumstances. 
 
I had never seen Crane until the 1977 California LP Convention. As assistant manager I was sitting next to Roger Mac Bride, our speaker and guest of honor, at the head table; I had also picked Roger up at the airport. All of a sudden someone sat down next to me and introduced himself. 
 
Frankly, my first thought was that my brother had gained weight. Cap, my older brother, stayed thin during that period of his life because he was still flying for the National Guard while attending law school and working as a legislative assistant in Sacramento. He had served in Vietnam as a Load Master and been decorated for bravery. 
 
Ed Crane looked just like a softer version of my older brother. I told him that and continued talking to Roger. I have never spent a significant 30 minutes with Ed Crane and do not see the attraction myself. Over the years I was told also that Crane insisted on photos accompanying the forms used by interns who were applying for scholarships for Cato Seminars. Women were the most likely to be chosen, especially if they were attractive.
Women working at Cato are required to have sex with Ed Crane. This came from a very reliable source who has asked to remain nameless who was telling the story of a young woman who was distraught because she was informed of this, naturally after she had been there for a while, and did not want to comply. I was given to wonder if this requirement was disclosed before she was hired and if the Koch Brothers know they are subsidizing Crane's sex life.  The answer to the question is now in.  Koch Truths
 
Over the years I bumped into Crane at events. At the first large Reason Foundation Dinner in Los Angeles we attended as a family, myself, my husband, and three daughters, 16 – 26. I found my oldest daughter chatting with Ed. He looked annoyed when he saw me until I brightly asked him if Morgan had introduced herself. Then he realized that this lovely young thing was my daughter and turned slightly white. There was a slight history there.

After my first encounter with him in '77 I started watching him at these events and noticing the pattern he had for engaging young women in conversation. So I started making it a practice of spending time chatting with him when he was 'hunting'. He hated seeing me looping over to say hello, but what could he say? I know I was breaking the rules about ignoring his behavior but I really enjoyed it and also viewed it as a sort of rescue mission. I am sure at the moment he realized this was my daughter he was thinking about what I would have done if his ploy had worked. 
Crane used power to get sex but that is not to say that Crane was absolutely unwilling to share or that he failed to recognize that sex was a useful commodity in other ways.
There are an unusual number of good looking young women employed at Cato, I noticed that when I attended their Gala Dinner in D.C. In 2003. I am sure that many donors find that the benefits of affiliation with Cato are rewarding in many ways. 
 
Crane is married to a woman who was married to his best friend before he started an affair with her. He was disinclined to marry her when she came up pregnant and refused to do so through the next two children as well. Then, by report from a very close source, he told her he would marry her when he could do so in Red China. This looked like never at that point. She waited. When the climate of politics changed, opening up the China Wall, the wedding took place in Red China while they were there on a political junket. 
 
The odd nature of the above reports over a period of many years and his tendency to grab control by any means possible lead me to the conclusion that Ed's work in the cause of liberty may have an agenda that has more to do with personal gratification than with inherent rights and that he may not understand that this kind of behavior is not generally acceptable even if someone really is as wonderful as he thinks he is. 

I have wondered from time to time if Bill Clinton was Ed's understudy. 
 
End Author Digression: