Bill Still’s “Address to the Libertarian Nation” Contains New Proposals, Disagreements with LP Positions

The campaign of Libertarian presidential candidate Bill Still has been relatively quiet of late, but Still has returned with a new video addressing “the Libertarian Nation.” In the video, he offers new clarity about his views on a wide range of issues — a first for Still, who has previously focused on monetary reform to the exclusion of a comprehensive platform.

You can read Still’s new platform at the link above. Here are some highlights:

- Still’s views on some issues are similar to those of many other Libertarians. For instance, Still supports withdrawing from the United Nations and evicting the UN from New York City, withdrawing from the World Trade Organization, eliminating the income tax, ending the war on drugs, and cutting government and welfare spending.

- However, on other issues, Still displays issues that are different from those in the LP’s platform. Still advocates raising tariffs to rectify the US trade imbalance, establishing a consumption tax, enacting campaign finance reform, increasing the authority and budget of the Securities and Exchange Commission, maintaining a weakened version of the welfare state, building a border fence, and using federal power to invest in Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-oil technology (an idea most prominently advocated by Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer).

- At times, Still goes out of his way to draw contrasts between his position and the Libertarian one. Examples: “One of the planks of the Libertarian National Party is basically open borders. I think this stems from the old anarchy branch of the Libertarian Party. How can you call yourselves a political party and subscribe to any form of anarchy? I just don’t get it.” “The Libertarian position is that private charities can and should take over. This position has merit, but it will take sometime to get Americans used once again to supporting such charities.”

Still’s announced opponents for the LP Presidential nomination include R. Lee Wrights, RJ Harris, Roger Gary, and Carl Person. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and 2008 LP vice presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root are still mulling the race. The nominee will be chosen at the LP’s convention in Las Vegas on May 4-6, 2012.

17 thoughts on “Bill Still’s “Address to the Libertarian Nation” Contains New Proposals, Disagreements with LP Positions

  1. Jeremy C. Young Post author

    Now the editorial (and I hope the above came off as unbiased reporting, rather than editorial content):

    I think Still is an interesting figure who brings a lot to the table for a third-party presidential run — just not for the LP or any currently-existing third party. Still’s problem is that his views are just too idiosyncratic for today’s political system. (I have that problem too, so I’m sympathetic.) He is certainly a libertarian-aligned individual, but his proposals don’t seem any more Libertarian to me than those of Mike Gravel. More importantly, they seem less Libertarian than those of Gary Johnson.

    I think the window of opportunity has closed for Still here. Johnson’s entry into the race reshapes the campaign in a way that streamlines the nomination. You vote for Johnson if you want a major national figure who can get media attention and raise money, and who’s pretty libertarian on most issues. If you want a plumbline libertarian who will never say an un-libertarian word to the media, you vote for Lee Wrights. I think for some people Wayne Root might be an attractive compromise, as a guy who gets national media attention but who is also heavily involved in the party. And I think there’s still a role for RJ Harris, especially if Root doesn’t run. But a guy like Still? If you want a “big name” at the top of your ticket, you vote for the former Governor, not the guy who makes videos on the Internet. If you want a true-blue Libertarian, Still isn’t going to cut it. There’s really no place for him in this race any more.

  2. Matt Cholko

    That’s an interesting analysis Jeremy, it makes perfect sense, and I don’t disagree. However, we are still several months away from the convention, and you never know what could happen.

  3. RedPhillips

    Still best hope is if he can bring his own people to the convention. Still’s views may be “just too idiosyncratic for today’s political system,” but they make sense if you understand where he is coming from. He is essentially a modern day Greenbacker and his views are very much in line with the populist views of that time period.

    Still’s problem as far as the LP nomination is concerned is that he isn’t simply a single issue candidate who can adapt his other views to suit the party. Instead he is coming from a very specific place policy wise and certain issue clusters flow together. The Greenbackism, maintaining the social safety net, immigration, tariffs, campaign finance reform, etc. are an integrated whole.

  4. Jeremy C. Young Post author

    Red, how do you square old Greenbackers like James B. Weaver with ideas like cutting welfare spending and ending the War on Drugs? You’re absolutely right, though, that Greenbackism includes things like high tariffs. I didn’t think about that.

  5. Peter Orvetti

    The “About” page on his website makes it hard for me to take him seriously. Besides the fact that one of the first things he tells us is how much he weighs, a lot of the details just seem odd for a presidential candidate: his mother still drives at age 90, he “controls the iris settings” on the cameras at his church’s TV studio, etc. Fine, but why is this at all relevant?

    And “New World Order: the Ancient Plan of Secret Societies”??? That smacks of tinfoil-hattery.

    Also note that he has had local leadership roles in the Democratic, Republican, and Reform parties. He seems like a gadfly.

  6. RedPhillips

    I like Bill Still even though I disagree with him about a lot. As I said before, he has the essential ingredient that all third party candidates need, crazy hair. But why does he refer to himself by his last name only? Is it a play on words? “I’m Still reporting from Washington.” Otherwise it sounds odd.

  7. Thomas L. Knapp

    I suspect his policy differences with the putative “mainstream” of the LP are too many and too severe for him to get the nomination.

    But still, bravo for communicating his positions honestly and in a positive, engaging manner.

    Red FTW — the hair is probably good for 10% on the first ballot, at least.

  8. RedPhillips

    Interestingly, Karl Denninger is his state coordinator in Florida.

    Tom, I’m trying desperately to grow crazy hair, but my hair won’t cooperate. I just end up with needs a haircut hair.

    Jeremy@4, I had the same thoughts. I’ll let you know my take tomorrow. I have to go to bed.

  9. Trent Hill

    As usual, Peter Orvetti hits the nail on the very odd head. His “About Me” section is just bizarre.

  10. RedPhillips

    I don’t know about that Trent. He runs a financial website. He first came to my attention because he was out early with some YouTube videos suggesting that Obama’s long form birth certificate was forged. Others people clearly knew who he was and followed his website, but he was new to me. He is a somewhat cryptic Greenbacker on his website, but he doesn’t like gold and is critical of Ron Paul on gold.

  11. ralph swanson

    What is the psychology of people who want to run for President in a party they don’t get–and of those who take them seriously?

    Throw him to the wolves…

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