A couple weeks ago, I mentioned a Brookings correspondent's report that Chad Haber and Annette Bosworth had lured students to a campaign event with an ad in the SDSU Collegian promoting marijuana legalization. The comment section lit up with a discussion of who actually placed the ad.
Let's look at the ad in question first:
The ad states that it was "Paid for by the libertarian Party." The ad refers to the Facebook page for the marijuana legalization organization South Dakotans Against Prohibition. It identifies no individual organizers or speakers. Staff at the SDSU Collegian did not identify the the representative of the Libertarian Party who submitted and paid for the ad. We can only hope the advertiser's check did not bounce the way the SDLP's check for SDAP organizer Ryan Gaddy's lawsuit did.
So we don't know who actually signed the check for this ad. But we do know what the ad says. It promotes the September 3 event as a chance to...
- get free food,
- "meet the libertarian party," and, most prominently,
- join a "grassroots digital media movement" to end cannabis prohibition.
I spoke with Nate Cacy, an SDSU student who attended the event at Hillcrest Park. Cacy says the first promise was absolutely true: free food was present.
The second promise is arguably true, if the Libertarian Party now consists of Chad Haber and Annette Bosworth. Haber and Bosworth were the only two organizers who identified themselves at the event.
The third promise, however, the thrust of the ad, proved entirely false. Cacy says that in the half hour that he attended the event, he heard not one word about legalizing marijuana. Haber dominated the event, talking nearly the entire time about his own candidacy for attorney general and, in Cacy's view, coming across as somewhat rude.
Haber exposed that rudeness most clearly when he took a moment to interact with his audience of four (Cacy reports seeing three other spectators, as well as a young unnamed companion helping Haber and Bosworth). Haber asked what issues the youth consider important. Cacy mentioned discrimination and cited LGBT equality issues as an example. Haber said to Cacy, "Oh, so you're coming out to everyone?"
Cacy is still wondering just what Haber's intent was with that comment. I'm trying to figure out how Haber's comment is any way an appropriate response to a voter who raises an important electoral issue.
I'm also trying to figure out the logic that gets a party to advertise an event around Issue X and then play a switcheroo in which one of its candidates shows up unannounced at the event and talks all about himself and not at all about the issue that drew people to the event.
Ah, but it's been a while. I almost forgot: if we're talking about Chad Haber, we're not talking about appropriateness, logic, or truth. We're talking about false advertising and self-obsession, the cement blocks to which the South Dakota Libertarian Party has chained itself.