Saturday, December 22, 2012

Co-founder of the original Republican Liberty Caucus appointed by incoming Republican Governor to North Carolina budget directorship

by Eric Dondero

In 1990, as many LR readers are aware, I founded the Republican Liberty Caucus. I launched the group nationwide, including the states of Florida, New Jersey, and Virginia. My co-editor of LR Clifford Thies, was right there, joining our effort just weeks after we launched.

But I got the idea of the Republican Liberty Caucus from a small group in North Carolina. The RLC name came from a local political action committee formed to help elect Art Pope to the North Carolina legislature. The North Carolina Libertarian Party had lost their ballot status in the 1988 election cycle. NC was one of four states where the LP did not qualify '88 Libertarian Presidential candidate Ron Paul and running mate Andre Marrou for the ballot. That year, disgruntled NC Libertarians, like Stacy Powers, Stan Ayeres, Bobby Yates-Emory, Vernon Robinson and Pope decided to try their hand at GOP politics.

Pope was a well-to-do local businessman. He had served a stint as State Chairman for the Libertarian Party in the early to mid-'80s. He was also active in the steering committee of the 1980 Libertarian Presidential campaign of Ed Clark and running mate billionaire oil man from Kansas David Koch.

It worked. The RLC centered around the Raleigh-Durham area, elected Pope to the state legislature. He'd go on to serve two more terms. Though, the NC RLC disbanded in '89 soon after Pope's election. By the time I got to them, they were defunct. Pope and Ayeres gave me permission to use the RLC name, and the rest is history. (Pope did stay in touch with me for years after.)

Anyway, this news comes to us today. Most in the libertarian movement may not be aware of its historic significance for the libertarian wing of the GOP, and for the Libertarian Party.

From Huffington Post, "Art Pope, Koch Brothers Ally, Picked To Run North Carolina Budget":
On Thursday, when the incoming North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) announced that Art Pope, the state's single largest donor and a founding board member of the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, would be in charge of his state's budget as deputy budget director.

Pope, the millionaire discount store chain owner, has spent years building a massive conservative infrastructure in the state in the mold of the national network funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. He has built think tanks, funded scholarship programs for conservatives, founded the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity and, in the past four years, pumped more than $3 million into political campaigns that have successfully flipped the state's government into full control of the most conservative elements of the state Republican Party.
Of course, the leftists at HuffPo denigrate Pope's selection. But we in the libertarian wing of the GOP are simply elated.

Congratulations Art Pope! What a long strange trip it's been.


The Right Guy said...

Things are looking up. I can see the dog catchership in Murphy being available when he's done there.

Eric Dondero said...

Jim, you gotta understand in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we libertarians were an absolute pariah in the GOP. We couldn't get our foot in the door for nuttin'! The religious right ran the party with an iron stick.

We libertarians were written off as "drug legalizers."

And if we managed to show up to a GOP event the Republicans would say to us: "Don't you have your own party? Go back to the Libertarian Party."

This may seem small to you, but it is a monumental achievement for Cliff and I, and all of us, including Alan Turin who also goes way, way back, who have been fighting to build a libertarian presence in the Republican Party since the 1980s.

Eric Dondero said...

If I had said to Art Pope back in say 1991, you know one day a Republican Governor will appoint you to be his budget director for the state, he would have laughed me off the phone.

The Right Guy said...

I think they still are.

Eric Dondero said...

No way Jim. No fucking way. You cannot begin to imagine what it was like in the Republican Party late 1980s, early 1990s.

It was all abortion round the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And if Republicans weren't talking abortion it was "Fight the Drug War!"

Horrible times for Libertarians. We really had only one place to go back then, and it was the Libertarian Party.

Problem was the Libertarian Party was incredibly ineffectual back then, much worse shape than they are today.

They had maybe 48 elected officials in contrast to the 300+ they have now. They actually had considered disbanding the party after the Bergland disaster in 1984.

Believe me, it is far better to be a Libertarian today than it was in the 1980s.

With one exception: The Libertarian Party back then was much more libertine. I swear. Going to an LP meeting anywhere, but most especially in California and Florida was like going to one big swinger's convention: Sex, booze, rock 'n roll everywhere you turned.

We were shit out of luck in the political world, but damned if we didn't know how to party back then.

Eric Dondero said...

And that's part of the reason why Republicans backed then had great suspicion of us. They knew we were big partiers.

Hell, one year the Libertarian Party of Florida had Bob Gucionne of Penthouse as their guest speaker at the State Convention. He showed up with two busty chics on his arms.

The Religious Right really hated us Libertarians back then.

Ironically, the only "in" we had in the GOP was with the moderate wing, the Ripon Society, the tiny group headed by Ann Stone called "Republicans for Choice." And a new group that had just been formed of gay Republicans called the Log Cabin Clubs.

Erich Domdero said...

The lesson here is, donate more money than anybody else, get a political appointment? This is news?

Eric Dondero said...

It's not news for non-libertarians. The news is that an original libertarian from the 1980s was just appointed to a top position by a Republican.

You're not a libertarian, so you obviously don't care.

ajnock1976 said...

The big issue that allowed for the libertarian re-entry into the GOP was the end of the Cold War.

Once that was over the basis for libertarians re-entry was established.

I was in the LP up to 1991 [serving on the LP judicial committee]. I joined the RLC right before our planning session [April 6, 1991] at Roger MacBride's home in Naples, FL. In fact my FB page has Eric, Roger, Alan Lindsay, Rex Curry & moi as my picture.

yours for nostalgia

Alan Turin

Erich Domdero said...

An original libertarian that made huge donations and got a political favor out of it. Remarkable news.

Chuck said...

Everything is remarkable to the subhuman...and ironically, nothing. A humanoid form, but a soul of cardboard. What a waste of an existence.

The Right Guy said...

Yeah, but it's recycled cardboard.

Erich Domdero said...

It is hilarious that you guys are proud of bribery.

Chuck said...

What would an ape know of pride?

Erich Domdero said...

Lions have prides. Apes have shrewdnesses.

Chuck said...

"Lions have prides. Apes have shrewdnesses."

No. Apes have troops. A troop of apes.

You don't even know enough to be a good ape. I think cunts like you deserved to be collectively called a Herpes of Cunts.

"How many cunts did you see?"
"A whole Herpes of Cunts ran by. Little ones. Big ones. All sizes of Cunts in that Herpes. They must've been on their way to an outbreak."

Erich Domdero said...

You seem to have a lot of arguments with the English language. I bet it's your least favorite subject. Your favorite is probably lunch.