[Note: This is intended as the first in a series of articles about likely or prospective 2008 Libertarian Party presidential candidates]
Since at least as far back as 2004, when she spoke at the Libertarian Party's national convention, Karen Kwiatkowski (Lt. Colonel, USAF, Ret.), has been frequently mentioned as a prospective 2008 LP presidential candidate. By virtue of the lack of binding primaries and caucuses that get other parties' candidates out on the stump and under the microscope early, it becomes especially necessary for Libertarians to do a little digging. I've been doing "the basic look-see" on Kwiatkowski. Time to share my findings and conclusions:
Assuming she enters the race, and barring the entry of a former US Representative, US Senator, governor or senior executive branch or military official in the race, the LP is unlikely to see a more qualified prospective nominee than Karen Kwiatkowski. This is not an endorsement (yet) - just a statement of things as I see them.
Kwiatkowski has three degrees, two of them in public policy areas: An MA in Government from Harvard and a Ph.D. in World Politics from Catholic University. Her third degree is an MS in Science Management from the University of Alaska. She authored two books on foreign policy before she became a public figure, both of them published by institutional military presses.
Kwiatkowski was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force in 1978 and retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel with 25 years of military service. During her career, she served in Alaska providing "logistical support for missions along the Russian and Chinese coasts;" did tours of duty in Spain and Italy; worked at the National Security Agency where she apparently did public affairs work (including speechwriting for the director of NSA); then served at the Pentagon, first in sub-Saharan African policy and at the end of her career at the Near East/Central Asia desk.
I won't go over Kwiatkowski's libertarian media credentials (most libertarians probably know her from LewRockwell.Com, but there are others). What's more important for a prospective presidential nominee is how much exposure she's had to the non-LP public. From various sources, including Wikipedia, I've tried to get a picture of her media profile and split it into two components:
Material Kwiatkowski has authored: Anonymous columns for David Hackworth's site prior to retirement; weekly columnist at Military Week since 2004; articles published in Ohio Beacon Journal, Salon, The American Conservative, Huffington Post; various radio appearances including PRI's "Democracy Now;" and appearances as commentator in at least two documentaries on terrorism. Her two aforementioned books are African Crisis Response Initiative: Past Present and Future, US Army Peacekeeping Institute, 2000 and Expeditionary Air Operations in Africa: Challenges and Solutions Air University Press, 2001.