“I’ll tell you what, this whole thing’s been a big-time learning experience, for sure,” Ramsey says.
He and Bates spend about three-quarters of their time on the road, meeting with potential donors, going to conferences, and recruiting state leaders for the group. Bates says their two biggest obstacles, at this point, are dehydration and lost iPhone chargers. He bought a hot-pink charger for Ramsey that would be harder to overlook, which seems to have helped a bit.
“You know they make the Bluetooths for your phones, which allows you to go hands-free and frees up your other hand, but that drains your battery too fast,” Ramsey says. “So I’m honestly thinking about taping my phone to my ear. You wouldn’t laugh too hard, would you?”
Ramsey explains, “I think people are so put out with the system, they’re pumped up and they’re ready to see a different way of doing politics.”
For the two of them, that means finding a chairman for every state and hunting for candidates to run in the 2014 cycle. Their first goal is winning, which might explain why they’ve been more successful than more true-blue libertarian groups. That’s also part of why they’ve chosen to work through the Republican rather the Libertarian party.
“A lot of people think it’s a scary word,” Bates says of libertarianism.
Instead of taking the third-party route, they hope to push the GOP in a more libertarian direction by supporting socially moderate, electable fiscal conservatives. Their long-term goal is “purging neoconservatives out of the Republican party” in primary elections. He says they’re also both tired of Republicans’ “medieval” take on social issues. “I think Republicans are losing so many arguments right now that they can’t afford to be losing no-brainer demographic certainties like same-sex marriage,” Bates says.
Bates and Ramsey are hoping that, as the rest of the Republican super PACs reconsider their approaches, they’ll take a page from Liberty for All’s winning playbook.
— Betsy Woodruff is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.