By nature political conventions are dull. Most conventions seem like quasi-coronations, whereby the primary contests have already given the nomination to a particular candidate. Libertarians are different. All delegates come to the nominating convention unbound to any candidate. It makes for what is known as “retail politics”, where the candidates sell themselves to the delegates, a feature usually seen only in the early primary and caucus states like New Hampshire and Iowa. This brings a very real dimension to both the delegates and the candidates themselves.
The business of a convention is not just to nominate the party’s ticket, but to conduct party business as well. This is where it gets somewhat boring, yet somewhat exciting too. For someone like me who used to watch C-SPAN for hours you will understand where my excitement and enthusiasm comes from.
The debates held this morning dealt with the changes to the by-laws of the party. I will not go into great detail over the changes and debates, as those minutes will be available later. It did not take long for the temperature to rise as an issue regarding the Oregon delegation came up. Apparently there are two factions in Oregon claiming to be the sole affiliate to the national LP. The one recognized by the LP chose not to send a delegation to the convention, whereby the other did. After a short debate the chair did not recognize the Oregon delegation, yet opened the doors to those delegates to sit with any states that had open spots available. The remaining changes dealt with rewriting or omitting certain words or phrases from the current by-laws. The best way to describe this process would be to invoke the image of sausage making, a process where the end result is more palatable then the rest.
The afternoon session dealt mainly with hearing from the platform committee and the ensuing debate on the platform. There was a motion to delete the abortion plank, with several new proposals that were contingent upon the original motion. The original motion did not pass and the abortion plank remains. The current wording of the abortion plank reads as follows: “recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.” As expected the meeting was adjourned with more than 1/3 of the remaining proposals left to be taken up in the morning session.