To clarify what I mean by "distinct liberal bias": I haven't been here long. I normally post on various political subreddits at reddit.com, but I do visit this forum occasionally. Mostly for DT discussion. Very recently I noticed the Political/Religious board and decided to check it out, and from what I've
seen there's a liberal bias. There are certainly a few dissenting voices here, but trust me it's much more liberal than you may believe, this coming from a relative outsider.
On that note, may as well start with questions!
Where do you see the libertarian movement going? Ron Paul is out of the picture, but he absorbed most of the existing interest during the primaries, leaving the actual Libertarian Party completely on the sidelines. Overall, do you think RP helped or hurt the movement?
The libertarian movement is growing, I don't think there's any doubt about that. The internet has proven to be a very powerful tool in linking like-minded people and allowing organization that would not be possible 20 years ago. I think the bigger the internet becomes, and the less people rely on older media, the more libertarianism (and other political schools of thought) will grow. Ron Paul absolutely helped the liberty movement, having a consistent messenger who's been doing the same thing for 30 years has provided libertarianism a powerful "base" to jump off of. Now he's not the perfect libertarian, he's more a Constitutionalist, but what makes him likable to us is his ability to say he personally believes one thing, but at the same time recognizes that the federal government should not be the instrument to implement his beliefs. I think that if there's one thing that he's done to hurt the movement, is he's got it in some peoples head that he is
the movement. Hopefully after Tampa he'll explicitly tell some of his more ardent followers that the movement doesn't end with him, which I sadly think a few of them believe.
Going forward, I hope we're able to find more than just one standard-bearer for the movement. The tea party movement has yielded a few good Representatives and Senators as Republicans. Justin Amash is my favorite, he hasn't missed a vote, and he explains every vote he makes on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. He's exactly the kind of Representative everyone of his colleagues should strive to be. Rand Paul is also pretty popular among libertarians. No doubt he's not his father. He's much more willing to "play politics" than Ron, but I think it's exactly that which will yield him real results (compared to Ron's rather dismal record at actually passing legislation).
Unfortunately, as the tea party has grown, the Republican establishment has seen its potential and, at least I believe, has tried to take it over. It started as a purely fiscal movement, aiming to reduce the size of the federal governments budget and spending, but it's slowly but surely become more and more about social conservatism, which I think will be the death of it.
As far as the Libertarian party, I think it's doomed to fail just as all third parties have since the turn of the 20th century. It's currently the largest and fastest growing party in the US, but unless they can get legislation changed to be more accepting of third parties (alternate vote system, percentage based representation rather than winner-take-all) and get their candidate in the debates (you have to be polling at 15% to get in the national debates, which his clearly a move by the Republicans and Democrats to keep third parties out) they won't see any major success. What they need to do is start from the bottom and work their way up, getting members in local positions, then get them in State Legislatures, and then finally move towards National positions. Anything other than that will result in failure, in my eyes.