There's a joke making the rounds that the Libertarian Party would like to dispel.
Q: What is a Libertarian salad?
A: Lettuce alone!
Libertarians prize individual rights, say party leaders. But really, the emphasis on "individual" ends there. They're tired of being alone. They'd love to make more converts.
In fact, Libertarians are aggressively pursuing voters in the region, seeking to raise the profile of their party's presidential candidates. (There's at least 8.)
This weekend in Malvern, Libertarians from Pennsylvania and New Jersey will hold a joint convention scheduled to run three days at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center.
"Everyone's invited," said James C. Babb, a small Main Line businessman and organizer of the weekend gathering, which begins tomorrow. "Saturday is the best day for someone who is not already a party member."
The confab will give regional Libertarians an opportunity to size up eight presidential candidates before the party's May 22 national convention in Denver, Colorado. About 200 delegates are expected to attend the Malvern event.
Babb said he's routinely asked why the Libertarians even bother to run a presidential candidate.
"People say, 'Gosh, you're never going to win. Isn't it a wasted vote?'
"But voters are really disappointed with the Democrats and the Republicans right now," Babb said. "This is an opportunity to make a statement."
The Libertarian party platform, Babb said, reflects the values of the Founding Fathers.
Babb said the party stands for a humble foreign policy, a sound currency, protection of individual rights, the elimination of taxes, an end to the war on drugs, no torture and no wiretapping.
He said the Republican Party had used bait-and-switch tactics to win the White House for the past eight years.
"They promised no nation building and invaded Iraq. They promised fiscal conservatism and they brought us a $3.1 trillion budget. And that's just one year's worth of squandering."
Democrats, he said, haven't done much better.
"They swept the House of Representatives promising to get us out of Iraq, but they've continued to fund the war and they've failed to protect civil liberties."
Bill Redpath, the national party chairman, will also attend.
Among the candidates wooing voters in Malvern this weekend include:
Bob Jackson, 68, born in Woodbury, NJ and a 1961 graduate of Lehigh University. An inventor and engineer now based in Michigan, Jackson operates import-export businesses Triax Inc. and Jackson International.
Michael Jingozian, 48, an Oregon entrepreneur and founder of Angelvision Technologies, an internet marketing firm.
Alden Link, 76, businessman and entrepreneur from White Plains, New York. He owns Sundance Industries, the nation's leading manufacturer of wheat grass juicers.
George Phillies, 61, M.I.T. trained chemist, former Libertarian congressional candidate, ACLU activist, and resident of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Wayne Allyn Root, 47, a Las Vegas-based sports oddsmaker, author, self-made millionaire and television personality.
Daniel Imperato, 50, of West Palm Beach, Fla. Businessman and self-described former semi-pro hockey player, Papal Knight and Knight of Malta.
Christine Smith, 31, a humanitarian activist from Golden, Colorado and author of A Mountain In The Wind - An Exploration of the Spirituality of John Denver.