GOP operative joins Libertarian Party

Roger Stone, a long-time Republican operative, has bolted from the GOP and joined the Libertarian Party:

The Grand Old Party has lost Roger Stone. The once-golden (if wild) child of right-minded Republicans has broken ranks — and left his past behind.

“On Monday, I left the Republican Party changing my Florida voter registration to the Libertarian Party,” he wrote Wednesday on his “Stone Zone” blog. “. . .To put it bluntly the Republican Party is hopelessly [expletive] up.”

His withering assesment of the GOP extends to its top contenders for president: Mitt Romney “converted to conservatism” to run; Newt Gingrich is a “thrice married ego-maniac with delusions of grandeur”; Rick Santorum “a religious fanatic who would tell other people how to live.”

Harsh words — but not surprising for anyone who’s worked with the flashy political operative and self-described “GOP hitman.” Stone, 59, was one of the most sought-after party insiders back in the day: He worked for Richard Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President and administration (and has a tattoo of Nixon on his back), Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, teamed up with famed political consultant Lee Atwater and had a hand in the 2000 Florida recount circus. He is famous for his political aphorisms (“Stone’s Rules”): “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”

Stone had already said nice things about Gary Johnson, who he endorsed back in September. Johnson is now running for the Libertarian Party’s nomination. Stone voted for Ron Paul, presumably because Johnson was off the ballot, in the Republican primary in Florida, which he declared to be his “last official act as a Republican.”

In his very long, but well thought out post, Stone also gives a nod to many of the state Libertarian parties, including Georgia:

My first experience with the Libertarian Party was in New York where a small faction of anarchists held a state convention while refusing to allow all candidates access to the rules and a list of the voting delegates. Joe Stalin would have been proud of the tactics used to nominate a non-libertarian registered Republican who had only recently run as a candidate for the left-wing Green Party. But these childish tactics are not the norm in the largely democratic Libertarian Party. I have found Libertarian Party activists in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Colorado, Washington, and Michigan have proven to be democratic, reasonable, dedicated and interested in victory.

This is what many of us, especially here in Georgia, have tried tirelessly to accomplish. Unfortunately, we are too often sidetracked by others who are seemingly content with being social group that whines endlessly about the two major parties and too often let personal issues with others get in the way of actually getting things done. It’s a very small minority, albeit very vocal and distracting.

With that said, there are more people interested today in the Libertarian Party with being part of the dialogue, rather than alienating everyone. But we’re still a long way off from where we need or want to be.

Disclosure: I was named Gary Johnson’s state director here in Georgia just a couple of weeks ago.