Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Freedom... refer[s] to a social relationship among people -- namely, the absence of force as a prospective instrument of decision making. Freedom is reduced whenever a decision is made under threat of force, whether or not force actually materializes or is evident in retrospect.”     Thomas Sowell

April 15, 2008

Should Libertarian Republicans Just Swallow Their Pride And Vote McCain ?

by Doug Mataconis

That’s the argument that Steven Maloney makes at the Libertarian Republican blog:

If you listen to Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton) on the campaign trail, you hear some scary things. They portray “too many Americans’ as one step away from economic and social disaster. They see as people badly in need of major assistance – their assistance.

John McCain, imperfect as he may be, sees a very different America. It’s the same country whose liberties he was willing to give his life for in Viet Nam. We may not agree with him on every issue, but we can’t disagree that a love for liberty is at the central core of this man’s being.

Even Bill Clinton has said of McCain: “He’s given everything he has to his country – except his life.” President Clinton has never spoken truer words.

In contrast to McCain, Obama essentially portrays America as something resembling Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” where “ignorant armies clash by night.” As “Lexington describes Obama’s world-view, America is “a coalition of groups that define themselves as victims of social and economic forces, and . . . [where] its leaders encourage people to feel helpless and aggrieved . . .”

If Obama becomes President, we would become a society of “victims,” all of us clamoring for the government to bail us out of our misery. That would be a disaster not only for libertarians, but for all Americans.

I hope all libertarians do the right thing: voting for John McCain. Also, ask your friends and family members to do the same thing. The future of liberty in this society depends on free people standing up and supporting a man who has devoted his entire life to defending American values and liberties. John McCain is the right man for our cause.

But there’s another side of the story.

The election of John McCain as President would effectively destroy the Republican Party as an avenue to achieve any reduction in the size, scope, or power of the state.

Whatever he might be, it is fairly clear that John McCain is no libertarian. He was the chief sponsor of a law that eviscerated the First Amendment in a political campaign contest. He supported the Patriot Act. His one saving grave is that, unlike George W. Bush, he recognizes that torture is not a legitimate tool in the War on Terror.

Beyond that, though, there’s no reason to believe that a McCain Presidency would be any better than a George W. Bush Presidency. And no reason to believe that John McCain has any greater respect for civil liberties.

No, I’m not going to vote for John McCain. And I’m not going to urge anyone else to vote for him.

And I’m not going to vote for Barack Obama either.

My vote won’t change the election, but, unlike 2000 and 2004, at least I won’t have to spend four years rationalizing to myself why I voted for someone who stands for everything I disagree with.

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14 Comments

  1. My vote won’t change the election, but, unlike 2000 and 2004, at least I won’t have to spend four years rationalizing to myself why I voted for someone who stands for everything I disagree with.”"

    well said I voted for W in 04 just as a block to John Kerry who scared the bejesus out of me and I live in Florida a big swing state. But I will not do it again, I’m voting with the LP wether it be Barr, Ruwart, Root or someone else

    I’ve been kicking myself for 4 years and I’m too bruised to take any more

    Comment by bob — April 15, 2008 @ 3:55 pm
  2. I have always voted LP, but GW has moved me give my vote a little more weight this go-round (no offense meant – sorry if offending, but to me this is a sad truth).

    Until very recently, Obama supported the decriminalization of cannabis.

    I ‘cling’ to the hope that Obama was merely playing politics when he changed his status on this issue. Tolerance for non-violent, consentual acts is a hard pill for ‘free’ Americans to swallow.

    Some social liberalism and tolerance would be a breath of fresh air, given these long years of stale religiosity and ‘tough-on-crime’ politicians. My ‘hope’ is that an Obama presidency will bring a little more Tolerance into the White House.

    Freedom mandates Tolerance.

    Comment by juxtapostle — April 15, 2008 @ 5:35 pm
  3. No, I’m not going to vote for John McCain. And I’m not going to urge anyone else to vote for him.

    And I’m not going to vote for Barack Obama either.

    Neither am I. In fact, I don’t plan on voting in November.

    Comment by Kevin — April 15, 2008 @ 6:03 pm
  4. My Russian Girlfriend had an interesting observation. After listening to both Obama and
    Hilary these many weeks, she looked at me and said
    “these people are “Bolsheviks.” “A bunch of Marxist/Socialist.” “I left Russia to get away from these idiots.” I had to agree with her.
    Our founding fathers could have designed a socialist system of government if they thought it best. They did not. The Pilgrims tried it their
    first year on North American soil. They nearly starved to death as a result. I will vote against
    the “Bolsheviks”.

    Comment by Richard Thomas — April 15, 2008 @ 6:58 pm
  5. Why should I vote for McCain when there will be someone that agrees with me on almost every issue running from the Libertarian Party?

    Comment by Ben — April 16, 2008 @ 7:18 am
  6. My own expectation about voting is as follows – if one of 2 people running for the LP nomination gets their party nod (Kubby or Ruwart) I will vote for the Libertarian Party candidate. Otherwise I don’t intend to vote at all.

    Comment by Tom G — April 16, 2008 @ 9:53 am
  7. hmmmm,

    If the republicans wanted to be inclusive to libertarian ideas why did they treat Ron Paul as they did?

    If the Republicans wanted the libertarians to be supportive of their nominee why did they label the libertarians as crazies and kooks?

    From the numbers they have been putting out for years, the republicans shouldn’t be concerned. after all those libertarians are too small in number to affect the outcome… Remember? Long-shots, Also rans,

    If the white house is handed to the democrats, the republicans have no one to thank but themselves. No one to thank but their current president. No one to thank but their incumbent republicans at the federal, state, and local levels who have abandoned their principles, and alienated their voter base.

    Don’t blame the libertarians who’ve sounded the alarm for decades, and are steadfast in their principles, to the point that republican leadership considers a flaw.

    Comment by Brad Forschner — April 16, 2008 @ 10:02 am
  8. “The only wasted vote is one you cast.”

    I’ll probably vote for he LP candidate, unless it’s Bob Barr. I would never vote for McMonster.

    Comment by James Babb — April 16, 2008 @ 11:03 am
  9. [...] though given my posting of late it won’t be much of a surprise. But I did want to pass on Doug Mataconis’ take in passing along that LR link: The election of John McCain as President would effectively destroy [...]

    Pingback by The Crossed Pond » Libertarians for McCain or Obama (and a quickie roundup of my take) — April 16, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
  10. GW & the Republicans have had the executive, legislative and judicial powers to call their own for… how many years now?

    They have had full reign to push their agenda, and WHAT DO WE SEE?

    Expectedly we see that they are socially conservative.

    Less expectedly we see that they only pay lip service to being fiscally conservative.

    Big Spender + Social Intolerance = Republican

    What is WRONG with you people willing to continue the reign of this disgusting regime? These Republican bozos deserve prison terms more than terms in office!

    Comment by juxtapostle — April 16, 2008 @ 1:56 pm
  11. Voting for true libertarian candidate is like voting for Nader- it makes a statement, but does not actually help a single libertarian policy get passed. Same goes for not voting at all. Remember this isn’t a “sum of” situation, but an either or. If you don’t vote for the one close behind, you’re basically voting for the frontrunner.

    Sometimes what you’re left with is just picking the best of the worst. I agree that both candidates have huge negatives against them, but the key difference is that (no matter McCain’s words) wars eventually end and we move on.

    But once you implement socialist entitlement programs, you can never go back. People consider them their “right” to have them. We will become France, and China and India laugh at us while they borrow our 20th century formula for success. Thus, while Republican big government is indeed a problem, Obama’s ideas are more permanent, more long-lasting in their damage to the economy, and thus more dangerous. I would vote McCain.

    Comment by Student — April 16, 2008 @ 8:58 pm
  12. haha – Republicans – long lasting damage to the economy – hooo! ain’t that a riot.

    relatively, look at the tremendous damage that the previous Democratic president incurred.

    riiiiiight.

    I think Tolerance is the biggest problem that America faces right now, a problem that lies at the very heart of the World’s biggest problems. Which is why I have more fear in the conservative cloud of social intolerance that is darkening our country. A cloud which the Republicans happily seed.

    The Democratic party is more tolerant than the Republican party. Sad that tolerance should be a Party issue. In America, freedom should be at the core of every party.

    Since I’m on the subject of intolerance:

    Polygamy – I have heard NO debate in the media as to whether a ‘free’ nation should be menacing these (odd) mormon folks. Is this not subject to debate?

    Punish those breaking statutory laws, but to declare a way of life that dates back to the dawn of man as illicit is twisted. (No, I’m not mormon)

    Comment by juxtapostle — April 17, 2008 @ 1:36 am
  13. I’m liking Bob Barr at the moment. He isn’t perfect but he’s the best choice at the moment.

    Perhaps McCain will do what the Republican base wants by bringing about Armageddon. 4-8 years of a Democrat administration maybe just stalling the inevitable. These people really want to be raptured into heaven and are organized to make it a reality!
    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/2008/02/the_maverick_an.html

    I wonder if the Neocons realize that they have allied with people who think they are shaping events so only 144,000 of the Jewish people live. They sure have different understandings of the aftermath of “Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran.”
    http://www.washingtonspectator.com/articles/20080401ministerofwar.cfm
    http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/05/06/int05024.html

    Lowe has strong praise for the late Admiral and also told me, in an interview on Sunday, that Senator John McCain’s father “would be turning over in his grave” at his son’s association with the American Christian right and elements in US government who want to fight preemptive and preventative nuclear war.
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/3/17/154959/535

    For some mysterious reason John Hagee doesn’t foresee the US in the great battle of Armageddon (the war to control the oil of the Middle East according to himself). At least we get to start the fireworks in Iran right?

    Comment by uhm — April 17, 2008 @ 2:51 pm
  14. Uhm, your comment about the Religious Right’s belief in armageddon are on the mark.

    Comment by juxtapostle — April 18, 2008 @ 2:51 am

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