Munger for NC Governor--2008!!

Recording the campaign activities, events, and happenings of the Munger for Governor campaign.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Microsoft: Evil, or Incompetent

I have been going nuts trying to create a web site that will look more or less the same in both IExplorer and Firefox.

Tried using WORD for just a quick and dirty page, and it wasn't surprising that that didn't work. Looked okay in IE, but no graphics and scrambled positions of text in Firefox. But WORD is not really an HTML editor...

So, I switched to FRONTPAGE. Considered DREAMWEAVER, but it was 4 times as expensive, even with an education discount. FRONTPAGE should work, right? It is at least a real HTML editor/web page program.

WELL....not so much. The page looks okay in IE, but still none of the graphics show up in Firefox. So I just simplified it.

Suggestions? Similar experiences?

Cato Policy Report

Here is a link to a very interesting conference put on by Cato Institute, particularly John Samples and Michael McDonald.

Bradley Smith, one of my favorite people, was there. Good to talk to him. I really think that campaign finance, at both the federal and state levels, is going to be one of the most difficult and important policy problems we all face in the next decade. If people don't trust elections, they start to think of government as simply a means of exercising power.

Libertarians hardly trust government, but a government that muddles through with mediocre policy inititatives is better than a government that tries to solidify power for the majority, and for organized interests. The key to understanding good campaign finance law is to recognize that we require an INDEPENDENT source of power. Private contributions, from private citizens, control government excess. Public financing, or other protection for the state-sponsored parties, is a recipe for tyranny. I made some of these arguments in my Senate testimony on McCain-Feingold, and it is something I will talk about now and again in the future.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Thanks to SGR

My thanks to the good folks at State Government Radio, in Raleigh.

Special thanks to Rick and Donna Martinez, for putting on an interesting and lively show.

The show was broadcast on May 18, and they did a very nice job with it.

PEOPLE AND POLITICS - Heard at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 3, 7 and 11 p.m.
THE RACE IS ON: Libertarian gubernatorial candidate and Duke political science chair Mike Munger talks politics and provides insight into campus life in the wake of the lacrosse scandal. Rick and Donna Martinez report. Listen at 8 and 11 a.m. and at 3, 7 and 11 p.m.

Rick recently became an "out" ex-Republican. He's wavering on the full declaration of Libertarian Love, but I'm working on him.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hall of Fame

I have written (and talked!) about the ballot access problem.

Let me acknowledge some good people who have taken it upon themselves to do the work of democracy, not just signing the petitions themselves but actually working to persuade others to do so.

Betsy Newmark, Raleigh
Alex Rosenberg, Chapel Hill
Kathy Schultz, Raleigh

Let me be clear: these folks may, or may not, "be" libertarians. They may not vote libertarian, in fact. But they think that other voices should be heard, and aren't afraid that someone might be confused by having a real choice, rather than just an echo.

Thanks, and good on ya! I now have more than 50 brand new signatures to send out to headquarters.

Monday, May 22, 2006

An Important Appeal

An important appeal, from Jennifer Schulz.

I just contributed $500 to the legal fund. But that's a drop in the bucket. We need LOTS of people to make contributions.

And let's solve the ballot access problem once and for all, so that someone besides the state-sponsored parties has a voice.

Financial Reporting

Wow! The financial reporting requirements for running for office are pretty daunting. I have some background reading law, and regulations, but the number and variety of reporting categories, and the paperwork for setting up officers (especially a Treasurer), and a campaign organization take a long time. Eight separate forms so far, and I'm not finished.

And this is just so you can start to run for office! Just so you can get permission from the state either to spend money, or receive contributions.

Check out this tome. They did publish this guide, and it has pretty good instructions, but it doesn't tell you enough about the web sites to go to. Once you figure it out, I have to admit the state has done a pretty thorough job of documentation.

But there are some pretty threatening claims there. And, as I have argued elsewhere, the problem is "controlling legal authority."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

World's Smallest Political Quiz

Raleigh's News and Observer did a nice job on the "conservative and liberal" question in their Q section today. (This link will go away; I'll get something more permanent).

Even posted "The World's Smallest Political Quiz." Well done, N&O. They are giving Libertarians a place at the table. If we don't take advantage, that's our own fault.

News and Observer Article

My piece in the Raleigh News and Observer, on "Why 'Liberal' Has Become a Dirty Word"

Liberal a bad word?
In the French sense, it became so

I did a Google search on "liberal" and "dirty word." They occur together more than 220,000 times.

So is liberalism a politically viable viewpoint in the United States today?

Origins tell us something. The oldest sense is "liberal arts," intellectual pursuits without practical purpose, suited for free citizens with free minds. The first uses of "liberal" in English described someone who was generous in bestowing wealth or gifts. Nothing dirty so far, right?

It was with the twin revolutions at the end of the 18th century in America and France that the word developed two senses, and they were often in tension.

In Britain and America, to be liberal meant to be tolerant of other points of view, to be free from prejudice. The clearest exponent of this view, still a hero of the libertarian right, was John Stuart Mill.

The French liberal, however, implied not forbearance but action. For proponents, liberal simply meant an advocate for freedom and democracy, including economic equality. But to many American conservatives, liberal meant a pursuit of lawlessness, a French-inspired disrespect for tradition and a desire for radical leveling of wealth and status.

By the end of the 19th century in the United States, the meanings of liberal and liberal had been absorbed by a powerful political force: progressivism. Progressives believed in the evolution of human affairs. They advocated women's suffrage, the temperance movement, anti-trust regulation and the creation of a professional Civil Service.

But embracing these progressive ideas got liberals into trouble and changed what they stood for.

The turning point in ideas about government was the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. It changed our character, it ended for many people the sense of optimistic self-sufficiency they had been brought up with and it turned us back from progressivism toward liberalism. Liberalism came to mean that concern for the poor is not just a sentiment, but a motivation for policy. Liberals fought for reforms that built a wall of government resources around those who were least well-off, a dam holding back a tide of poverty, ignorance, starvation and disease.

And it worked, as politics. Regardless of what you think of the New Deal, the Great Society programs of the '60s and the scores of other programs focused on social ills, they were wildly popular. The Democrats controlled the House of Representatives for decades and from 1933 to 1969 held the presidency for seven out of nine terms.

More recently, however, liberalism has stopped working. Many of the core beliefs of liberals are still present in American thought and culture, but for a politician to call herself a "liberal" is suicide in most jurisdictions. The reason is that the French sense won the war of meaning, and Americans rejected that view of political life. Doctrinaire ideologues, insisting on a particular conception of equality at the expense of liberty and on a narrow secular interpretation of the rhetorical space of public discourse, hijacked liberalism.

It was a Pyrrhic victory: In winning control of the Democratic party, they lost the confidence of voters. Liberalism was reduced to an interest group code phrase: "Vote for me, and I'll give you other people's money."

It doesn't have to be that way. Thousands of Americans are struggling to return liberal ideas to our public discourse. These views may seem rusty and in need of some oil. But their essential power is unchanged, and their appeal is timeless. A celebration of individual liberties, a tolerance for all points of view, an openness to change and a fundamental belief in the promise of human cooperation live still at the core of American liberalism.

Michael Munger is chairman of the Political Science Department at Duke University. His own political philosophy is libertarian.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Campaign Trail

A photo taken during my speech in Burlington.

(nod to Susan Hogarth, who needs to switch to more decaff)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Public Choice Outreach

I will be returning to the "Public Choice Outreach" conference at George Mason this July. A photo from last year's very interesting discussion....

Setting up shop....

Yesterday I was the luncheon speaker at the Libertarian State Convention for North Carolina. (Link to speech here....)

Today I am officially announcing my candidacy for the Governorship of the State of North Carolina. This blog will focus on campaign activities leading up to the 2008 election.

One of the most important things I will be following is the efforts of the Libertarain Party to gain ballot access!

More soon....please check back often!