In response to a reader's letter about the kiddie-porn furor with Libertarians, Jeremy Lott writes:
It's very likely that [LP presidential contender Mary] Ruwart's writings on kiddie porn -- and, ahem, the amplification of those writings by certain media outlets -- cost her the nomination. You're welcome, Libertarians.
Very accurate perception, Jeremy. During the presidential balloting Sunday at the LP convention in Denver, I was told that delegates were discussing the fact that both the Washington Times and Denver Post had picked up on the kiddie-porn angle about Ruwart. This was said to have influenced Wayne Allyn Root's decision to endorse Bob Barr after the fifth ballot.
I asked Root about this later Sunday, and from his answer -- he said he had been told about the newspaper stories, but hadn't seen them -- it wasn't clear whether that was the most important factor in his decision. (I think Root and Barr were simpatico all along, although Root obviously might have resented Barr's late entry into the presidential nomination contest.)
Still, some delegates and candidates were aware of the media interest in the kiddie-porn angle, and obviously they could see the potential for this explosive issue to do serious damage to the LP's reputation. I don't doubt this concern helped prevent a shift toward Ruwart in the later ballots.
By the way, giving credit where credit is due, it was an anonymous commenter at Third Party Watch who first raised this issue against Ruwart, which was subsequently publicized by David Weigel, thus contributing to the "Fear and Loathing" paranoia on the part of some Libertarians about a Richard Viguerie-led Republican plot to take over the LP. Considering that the kiddie-porn issue was also mentioned in a May 3 blog here and reported by Phil Klein, I'm surprised no one has tied AmSpec to this alleged plot. Did I miss a memo from Conspiracy HQ?