It has been an honor and privilege to serve all of my many friends, fans, voters, contributors and most importantly, the Libertarian Party as the nominee for Vice President of the United States in 2008.
I owe so many of you a debt of gratitude. Without your support, a Las Vegas oddsmaker, small businessman and home-school dad could never have become the nominee for Vice President of the United States for "America's Third Party."
I can think of so many friends who have voted Republican or Democrat their entire lives, yet immediately embraced my candidacy out of pure friendship and love.
I can think of so many close friends who called after stepping into the voting booth — friends who are ultra successful, impressed by very little in life — yet called to say how amazed they were at pulling a lever in the voting booth for a Vice Presidential nominee they actually knew for the first time in their lives. I got such a kick out of your comments!
To name a few special friends and contributors: Joe Sugarman, Phil Gordon, Dr. Loring Jacobs, Gino Nardone, Doug Fleming, Art Tuma, Richard Bronstein, Ralph Hake, Don Cowles, Greg Raymer, Wil Rondini, and Mike Costache. And my dear friends who provided counsel and advice every step of the way: Doug Miller, Roger Harrison, Hollis Barnhart, and my attorney Lee Sacks.
I can think of so many in the Libertarian Party who took me under their wing and gave me their heart and soul and precious time. To name just a few: Aaron Starr, Kevin Knedler, Lou Jasikoff, Travis Nicks, M Carling, Mike Ferguson, Kevin Takinaga, Scott Lieberman, Dana McLorn, Bruce Cohen, Bette Rose, Allen Hacker, Jake Witmer, Bob Sullentrop, Rowan Wilson, Stewart Flood, Dan Williams, Steve Kubby, Ron & Marcia Nicks, and of course our LP Chairman Bill Redpath. I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. I'm sure I've missed someone — and for that I am sorry. Please know that I wish I could name everyone who ever offered me a hand.
Then there was my TEAM ROOT staff (when running for the LP Presidential nomination) of Mark Schreiber, Martha DeForest, Jeff Dimit, Richard Burke, Sam Goldstein and Peter Beary. Thanks to all of you for giving so much. I can never hope to repay you for all you did on my behalf.
And of course my TREMENDOUS thanks to my loyal and dependable webmaster Will Habdas- who designed and managed my web site.
Then there are the many volunteers who picked me up at airports (I immediately think of Beau Cain), drove me around, wrote me letters and emails filled with advice (that must have taken you hours to write). And all of the executives and staff at the Barr campaign. Thank you so very much for your time, your thoughts, your advice.
And finally there's Bob Barr — who took me under his wing and treated me with love and respect. Bob, we are friends for life. You are a true American patriot and hero.
But it is my family that deserves the biggest thank you of all. My wife Debra and the â€œgang of fourâ€�- my 16 year old daughter Dakota who gave my nominating speech at the LP Convention; my 8 year old son Hudson; my 4 year old son Remington Reagan; and my new baby girl Contessa. I love you all. I thank you for your love and support. But most of all, I apologize for all the time away from you over the past 18 months. You are the reasons that I sacrifice so much for the cause of freedom. You are the future I'm fighting for.
As a complete newcomer and outsider to Libertarian politics and the actual LP, many of you in the party welcomed me immediately and made me feel at home. Some of you recognized the potential I had to offer this movement and took the time to educate me in areas where I needed it (and I'm sure, still do). My knowledge grew tremendously and in many cases, my views changed dramatically. Many of you told me that I won you over as a result. I really appreciate the honest hearing you gave me and your willingness to bring me into the Libertarian fold. I'm in this for the long haul and it is my hope that I will eventually win over the few skeptics that remain.
Thanks to all of you for your support and contributions to my campaign.
The results of this election were both positive and negative. The Barr/Root Presidential ticket received about 500,000 votes. That is the 2nd highest vote total in LP history (37 years). And we achieved that success under perhaps the most difficult circumstances ever — a media PERFECT STORM of interest, hype and adulation for Obama. And on the other side…a record level of hype, fear and panic by Republicans and conservatives towards Obama. Third party candidates were literally shut out of this election. Yet within that 2-party tsunami, Barr/Root still scored the 2nd highest vote total ever.
Perhaps most significantly, Libertarian Party membership levels are up dramatically across the country. LP membership grew by 30% to 50% in many states during this election. That is no surprise considering the record level of mainstream media coverage generated by the Libertarian Presidential ticket. I'm proud to report that Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root have built a foundation of credibility for the Libertarian Party.
On the other hand, despite that success, I was personally disappointed. I set my goals high — as I have always done as a businessman, CEO and entrepreneur. I was aiming for the one million vote threshold. Back in August when Barr/Root had 6% in the national polls it looked like it was possible to attract millions of votes. That 6% was the same number Ross Perot polled back in 1992, when he was invited to participate in the Presidential debates. That exposure to millions of voters allowed Perot to finish with 19 million votes and just under 20% of the vote for President of the United States.
Bob and I were not invited to the national debates, damaging our chances of becoming a credible third party threat to the GOP and Democrats. I can only imagine the results had I been able to stand on a national stage with Sarah Palin and Joe Biden and call them both sell-outs for supporting the bailout- the greatest taxpayer rip-off in American history. I can only imagine the final vote tally if I'd been able to show American voters how it was the federal government that caused our current economic crisis…how big government doesn't have the solution- they are in fact the problem. If I'd had the opportunity to stand on that national stage and point out factual examples of the damage done in the past by big government, and proven that both major parties support ever bigger government. If I'd been allowed on the national stage to call the GOP and Democrats "big and bigger, dumb and dumber." I believe Barr/Root would have surpassed Perot's modern-day third party record of 19 million votes. But alas, it wasn't to be.
So, what did we learn? As I see it, there are two important lessons we can take from this campaign.
The first is that ideas alone are not sufficient. Yes, good ideas are critically important to us libertarians, but good presentation skills trump all when it comes to the voters' decisions. Obama's election proves a good communicator can change everything.
Barry Goldwater had great ideas, yet still lost in a landslide. Reagan took many of the same ideas and won in two landslides. The only difference was his ability to communicate, educate and motivate voters.
The same storyline holds true from the left. George McGovern lost in a dramatic landslide. Yet Obama, who is to the left of McGovern, won with his McGovern-like socialist ideas. Why? Because of his ability to communicate, educate and motivate. Obama is the Reagan of the left. The message did not win this election- the messenger did. Obama excited and motivated voters- and then built one heck of an organization to get them to the polls.
By the way, exit polls prove that a majority of Americans saw Obama as the tax cutter of this election. This election was NOT a repudiation of conservative or libertarian free-market fiscal policy. To the contrary, the candidate who made the case that he'd cut the tax burden of the American middle class won. That was Obama.
America may not realize it, but they just voted for four years of socialism…or at best, Europe's version of big government "social capitalism." But here's the good news: Even after a "perfect storm" of media hype, adulation and bias towards Obama, 55 million Americans still voted against Obama. That's a heck of a base to build from.
After four years of dramatic tax raises for the people creating the jobs and risking their money on businesses and investments…while redistributing their earnings to people looking for handouts…I believe America will be looking for a 21st century Barry Goldwater by 2012. That base of 55 million will grow by millions when they see the damage Obama's brand of Big Brother socialism will do to the American economy.
But being a good communicator is only half the battle for our party. To succeed we must (while being friendly, respectful and professional) be loud-mouthed, aggressive, opinionated and colorful — literally oozing ENERGY to catch the media's attention — to rise above the millions of voices out there. I did that as our Vice Presidential nominee and I intend to continue doing that for our party in the future.
I'm proud to report that I attracted national media that no LP Vice Presidential candidate ever has before — FOX News Channel (numerous times), FOX Business Network (numerous times), The Mancow Show (numerous times), TIME magazine, Newsweek, the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN/Money, The Financial Times, Comedy Central, Slate, Reason, American Spectator, New Republic, Columbia magazine, dozens of poker and gaming publications, and hundreds of radio shows across the USA.
I was even interviewed on numerous occasions by the biggest national radio shows of England and Canada to explain the U.S. elections and the role of the LP. I made numerous appearances on the BBC — broadcast worldwide.
Those appearance were all as a third party V.P. candidate. Usually a third party V.P. is as lonely as a Maytag repairman. I dramatically changed the role, exposure and media credibility of the V.P. Can you imagine the publicity I can generate in four years at the top of the ticket?
The second lesson is that it is critical we start earlier during the election cycle. We do not have the luxury of starting with a recognized brand name that people will choose at the ballot box at the last minute, without having to weigh the alternatives.
As a candidate, I wish I had started four years ago. With that in mind, I'm busy writing my Libertarian book:
The Conscience of a Libertarian:
Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Gambling, Guns & Tax Cuts
My book will be released in May 2009 by one of the world's biggest publishers — accompanied by a major media campaign. And I now have serious interest for my own nationally syndicated political radio show called ROOT FOR AMERICA.
With your support I will continue to work hard for our party and our principles. I plan to hit the ground running with four years of nonstop media appearances…four years of serious fundraising…four years of contrasting our ideas for smaller government with those of our new President Barack Obama, my college classmate.
With your support I will present the perfect polar opposite to the new President that will be running the country for the next four years. We will put forward a high-profile vision in contrast to Obama's big government agenda. We will offer all of America the libertarian alternative of the low taxes, economic freedom and personal freedom offered in my adopted home state of Nevada; and contrast that with Obama's attempts to impose upon us the big government, high taxes and "Nanny State" philosophy of his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
Now is not the time to stop. Now is the time to turn up the heat. The campaign continues from here. This is not the end. This is just a small beginning. I am excited, PASSIONATE, and ready to get to work today toward 2012 and beyond. I hope to have each of you by my side.
As Yogi Berra would say, "The future ain't what it used to be." This isn't your father's LP. The future is bright.
I can hardly wait!