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Carl Pope

Carl's new weblog:
Taking the Initiative.

Field Notes Archive

Which is worst?
Vote for the Bush administration's
biggest folly!

Carl Pope's Field Notes

28, 2004

Atlanta, GA

I finished my Southeast swing, and the spring book tour, as a keynote speaker to the Presidential Nominating Convention of the Libertarian party in Atlanta. I'm going home tonight, after spending 33 days on the road since the beginning of April.

What's been astonishing to me is how many people who voted for this President the last time are angry, disappointed, and not about to do it again. That's been true everywhere I've gone. And it's true here as well.

I'd been invited because younger libertarians, and the party chairman, want to reach out, as they say, "to the left." I decided to acknowledge the controversy that the invitation generated by opening with, "The face of collectivism is here. Here I am -- the Nanny State made flesh."

My loudest applause lines, though, came when I went after the Administration for not being conservative -- the audience yelled "they're not even Republicans, they're imperialists." And when I said, "In a tribal sense, my enemy's enemy is my friend. And none of us is very fond of the Attorney General," the audience went nuts. The only strong disagreement was over global warming -- about half this crowd still thinks the science has been hugely exaggerated. Overall, though, the reception was remarkably friendly.

And libertarians from the Florida Gulf Coast are just as fired up by the red tide as the Sierra Club members I saw yesterday in Tampa.

Kerry may have his Nader problem -- but I think Bush will have a problem of his own. (Since this convention actually chooses its nominee at the meeting, though, that problem doesn't yet have a name.)