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

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”     Thomas Jefferson

July 20, 2009

Don’t Blame Me Just Because I Voted For Bob Barr

by Doug Mataconis

Over the weekend, Melissa Clouthier took the time to take to task those of us who refused to compromise our principles last November and voted for Bob Barr over the atrocious McCain/Palin ticket:

DontBlameBobTShirt[P]eople are coming out of the woodwork saying, “Don’t blame me! I voted for Bob Barr!” I ask you, Is that something to be proud of?

John McCain was a terrible candidate for a myriad of reasons I won’t list here. Rather than blogging anything negative, many times, I just held my tongue. (Other times, not so much.) Why? Do I and all conservatives who voted for John McCain lack a spine and principles? Some would say so. Did I hold my nose and vote for John McCain because I’m a conservative sellout?

I voted for John McCain for precisely the reasons we’re seeing right now. President Barack Obama is a statist. He’s a socialist. He wants to remake America into some liberal delusional utopian fantasy and he’s damn near succeeded at every single thing he’s wanted to do.

My brother was in Venezuela last week and talked to a local businessman who marveled of Chavez,”It’s amazing how much has changed in four years. How quickly it happened.” And it wasn’t good change. And he wasn’t hopeful. Do those who voted for Obama honestly think a slide of Venezuela-like proportions is impossible?

President Obama is a disaster for America and I hold those who voted for Bob Barr every bit as accountable as if the so-called principled person voted for Barack Obama himself. It was a vote that aided and abetted an enemy of freedom. How can a freedom-loving person be proud of this?

First of all, it’s worth noting, as Bruce McQuain does, that those of us who voted for Bob Barr can hardly be blamed for the outcome of the election:

Bob Barr pulled all of 511,324 votes. Statistically that’s 0% of the electorate. Had every Bob Barr voter voted for John McCain, he’d have ended up with 58,854,995 votes instead of 58,343,671 to Obama’s 66,882,230.

So, even if Robert Stacey McCain, Jason Pye, and myself — along with 511,321 other people (or those 181,818 people, like Leslie Carbone, who voted for Chuck Baldwin) — voted for McCain/Palin rather than Barr/Root last November, it would have had absolutely no impact on the election. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome. Heck it wouldn’t have even shifted a single Electoral Vote. Therefore, the good Doctor’s assertion that Barr voters are in any way responsible either for the election of Barack Obama, or any of the policies he’s implemented is simply wrong.

Clouthier acknowledges this simple fact in an update to her post but goes on to insist that McCain would have been better as President, from a libertarian perspective I assume, than Obama has been to date, but that statement belies that fact that John McCain was never the conservative that his supporters claimed he was:

On the issues, John McCain isn’t much better. The difference is that McCain campaigns on rhetoric that makes you think that he believes in individual liberty, self-reliance, and small government. The reality of a hypothetical McCain Administration, though, is demonstrated quite clearly in his response to the financial crisis, his support of the bailout, and his insane idea to have the government buy-up and renegotiate distressed mortgages. These are not the policy proposals of a man who believes in the free market.

Moreover, McCain has run his campaign in a manner that is at the very least offensive and borders on an insult to the intelligence of the American voter. He selected as his Vice-Presidential running mate a woman manifestly unqualified for the job. He engaged in the pointless, some might even say reckless, stunt of pretending to suspend his in response to an economic crisis that he obviously had no real understand as to either the causes or the remedies. And, most recently, he engaged in nearly two weeks of relentlessly negative campaigning that concentrated not on the issues facing the country, but on his opponents alleged associations with someone even he admitted was a “washed up terrorist” and, in the process, brought out some of the worst in his supporters.

I said a long time ago that I would never vote for John McCain based solely on his manifest disdain for one of the fundamental freedoms in the Constitution. Now I can say that, even if he had never sponsored McCain-Feingold, his conduct during the course of this election has demonstrated to me that he is unfit to be President of the United States

The prospect of as President John McCain serving, as he would have, with a Democratic-controlled Congress should not be one that anyone who calls themselves a limited-government free-market fiscal conservative would look forward to, and it was in that spirit that Leslie Carbone made the conservative case against John McCain back in October:

If McCain is president, thanks to conservative votes, it will be McCain, and his fellow anti-conservatives–both those philosophically opposed to small government and those so philosophically unmoored that they have no convictions at all except power–who continue to shape the right-of-center side of America’s political conversation. And that will mean continuing to fight destructive Democrat policies with destructive Democrat-lite policies.

Rejecting McCain, on the other hand, gives us time and space and, most of all, integrity, to recover the principles that made Ronald Reagan the most successful president in modern times, and, in so doing, repair the conservative cause.

Clouthier, on the other hand, took the opposite approach:

John McCain was a terrible candidate for a myriad of reasons I won’t list here. Rather than blogging anything negative, many times, I just held my tongue. (Other times, not so much.) Why? Do I and all conservatives who voted for John McCain lack a spine and principles? Some would say so. Did I hold my nose and vote for John McCain because I’m a conservative sellout?

Which is worse ? Supporting a candidate you know is “terrible” and staying silent about his many, known and obvious, failings ? Or supporting a candidate that clearly stands up for the principles you believe in even though you know he is going to lose ?

Quite honestly, I can’t fathom a scenario where Clouther’s support makes more sense than Carbone’s.

Finally, Clouther seems to think that libertarians are little more than impatient Republicans and that we all just need to sit down, shut up, and take our medicine:

Libertarians don’t help anything by flopping around at the edges and indulging in third party fantasies. Libertarians needs to put their formidable energy into the Republican party at the bottom and take the party back to constitutional greatness.

The biggest mistake that Clouthier makes is assuming that libertarians are, or at least ought to be, naturally Republican. While the Republican platform does lean libertarian when it comes to economic issues, and Republican politicians and pundits tend to use limited government rhetoric that clearly appeals to libertarian ears, the reality of Republican governance over the past decade leaves much to be desired. It was a Republican President and Congress that gave us Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and an unprecedented increase in the surveillance of our daily lives. It was a Republican President and a Republican Congress that allowed government to grow at a rate unseen since the days of LBJ. It was a Republican President, and the Republican leadership in Congress, that gave us the TARP bailout. It was a Republican President who bailed out the auto industry even after Congress had voted against it. It was a Republican President who doubled the national debt over the course of eight years. And, it was a Republican President and Congress that single handed-ly destroyed the credibility of the Republican Party on economic issues.

Given the way that it’s performed over the past decade, there’s no reason to believe that the Republican Party will govern any differently than it has in the past, and no reason for libertarians such as myself to sign on to the Republican agenda.

It’s a story we’ve seen play out before. Obama will, most likely, fall victim to the economic realities that make much of what he wishes to accomplish impossible. Republicans will come back to power. Government will continue to grow. Deficits will rise. Freedom will erode. And, then, when it all goes to pot again, there will be those like Dr. Clouthier telling libertarians that they just need to buck up and be good little Republicans.

Sorry, but I’ve already been burned once and it’s not going to happen again. That’s why, when November 2008 rolled around, I voted for Bob Barr for President. When it comes to lesser offices and future elections, I’ll vote for candidates who actually believe in limited government and free markets regardless of which party they belong to. If neither of the major party candidates fit that bill, I’ll vote for the Libertarian Party candidate, or I won’t vote at all.

The Republicans can have my vote back when, and if, they earn it.

Originally Posted at Below The Beltway

TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2009/07/20/dont-blame-me-just-because-i-voted-for-bob-barr/trackback/
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23 Comments

  1. “Which is worse ? Supporting a candidate you know is “terrible” and staying silent about his many, known and obvious, failings ? Or supporting a candidate that clearly stands up for the principles you believe in even though you know he is going to lose ?”

    Bob Barr and Wayne Root are not libertarians according to any definition of “libertarian” that I know. That they were selected by the delegates at the LP Convention says more about the LP delegates and their desperation to have candidates with name recognition (in the case of Barr) than anything else.

    Even had the delegates selected folks with “perfect” libertarian credentials, they would have gone nowhere in last year’s election. The allocation of Electoral College votes as implemented by the States makes voting for one of the two major party candidates the only viable option if one is going to vote. The choice is unfortunately the lesser of two evils, but admittedly, it it still evil.

    The LP Presidential candidates have been an electoral joke. In 1980 Ed Clark garnered almost a million votes, and no candidate has come close since. Here we are 29 years later and I don’t suspect the 2012 LP candidates will approach Ed’s total.

    Voting for LP candidates does arguably hurt is at the State level where those votes generally would have gone for Republican candidates who subsequently lost to Democrats. Would it have slowed down the rush to total statism? Perhaps.

    Please note: I am a former two-term chair of the LP in Kentucky, but no longer involved in organized libertarian endeavors.

    Comment by Horatio — July 21, 2009 @ 6:52 am
  2. Cliff Notes version of Doug essay: “So what if my vote was a meaningless act, as it, combined with all the others who voted like me, had zero chance of impacting the outcome? I could have just saved myself the trouble and stayed home in bed, but that’s not how I roll, baby. In my spare time, I also argue with my neighbor the evangelical minister over the non-existence of God, wash my car right before it rains, and flirt with Lesbians.”

    LOL.

    Ah well, at least we didn’t get stuck with that “manifestly unqualified” moose hunter only a heart beat away from the presidency, but were instead blessed with that brilliant scholar and statesman, the Honorable Joe Biden – such a huge improvement over what Caribou Barbie would have brought to the table.

    Comment by southernjames — July 21, 2009 @ 8:02 am
  3. Bob Barr and Wayne Root are not libertarians according to any definition of “libertarian” that I know.

    I can’t see how you can say that based on what the two of them have written and said in public over the past several years.

    Do you not think it’s possible for people to change their mind ?

    And I’d rather have had the LP nominate Barr and Root than someone like Mary Ruwart who has some rather bizarre ideas about children and sex.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 21, 2009 @ 8:18 am
  4. southernjames,

    If you think things would be any better under President McCain, you’re kidding yourself

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 21, 2009 @ 8:19 am
  5. In the short run, things would without question have been better. McCain would not have gone on an international apology tour for Amerikka’s past sins; not have crammed through a 787 Billion porkulus bill that hadn’t even been read first before getting passed, and is not in any way truly intended to stimulate the economy; would not have nominated that pathetic Sotomayer to the SC; would not have nationalized most of America’s domestic auto industry, and would not at this moment be attempting to rush rush rush through a government takeover of the health care industry before his approval ratings drop so low it becomes impossible. To name just a few.

    But in the long run, it is (one can only hope and pray) probably MUCH better for the future of conservatism that that heinous “Maverick” McCain is not in office for several reasons. First, the audacious, in-your-face socialist re-making of America, being RUSHED into place at a breakneck pace, is so intensely over the top that it might be what it takes to finally wake up the masses. It should hopefully (one can pray) result in sharp blow back in 2010 and 2012….Versus the slower “drift” leftward towards ever encroaching Nanny Gov, which would have occurred under Hillary or the Maverick, and which might have kept people sleeping.

    Second, McCain was a lot like Obama and the Dems in too many ways – for example, he too believed in that great con job of our age, and was in favor of the Crap and Tax. More Bush-like “DemLite” policies would have just provided fodder for the Dems to blame anything and everything which DID go wrong, on those evil “conservative” Republican policies. The national unemployment rate we currently have would be getting trumpeted as a national catasrophe, and a result of McCain’s “continuation of Bush policies” right about now – as opposed to barely getting a mention in the Obamedia. As would the daily combat death stats — which are getting as bad now as the worst days of the Iraq war – but yet, unsurprisingly, are NOT front page news any longer, since the current CIC has a “D” next to his name.

    But with iron control of the house, senate and WH, they can’t blame conservatives, conservatism, or the GOP for this nation’s problems. Oh I know Obama will squeeze every last ounce out of the “I inherited this” blame Bush routine for as long as he possibly can. But that excuse has an expiration date which is rapidly approaching…

    Comment by southernjames — July 21, 2009 @ 9:49 am
  6. Wow james, dipping into the republican kool aid early today!?

    Yes I doubt he would have apologized for anything, and instead of porkulus we would have simply gotten 4 or 5 more checks at $600 each for every man woman and child.

    He suspended his campaign to the throw the weight of his support behind TARP, the biggest nationalization program yet, so I don’t see how you are so certain that he would not have done the same with Detroit.

    Yes he would not be looking at any health care reform simply insurance deregulation, code word for more regulatory capture and accounting shenanigans. Again it was the neo cons who started the nationalizing/socializing of this nation and I really don’t think he is Mavericky enough to have not succumb the power that goes with nationalization once that genie was let out of the bottle by Bush, power is why these schmucks sell their souls to get elected.

    Comment by SWilliams — July 21, 2009 @ 11:52 am
  7. In spite of Mr. Moderate Maverick’s MANY shortcomings, one has to be completely delusional to think that McCain could have been worse, six months in, than the absolute clusterf–k who got elected. The One has been an unmitigated disaster overseas; and domestically, what has happened since Tarp, is dwarfing Tarp.

    But I am no kool-aider, SW. (Although I really don’t know what the hell a “neocon” is supposed to actually BE in reality, other than seeing it used as a convenient insult name used for ad hominem purposes by any Bush hater who has never forgiven the 2003 Iraq war decision to go “nation building”. And sometimes as a code word for “Jew Conservative” by anti-semite progressives).

    In case you missed it, I thought I made it pretty clear that I loathe McCain. As do most if not all political conservatives. And nobody gets more official GOP Establishment Kool Aid than McCain. And I also pointed out that Mr. Moderate DC Insider, is a proponent of Crap and Trade, Border Amnesty, and all sorts of other Bushy, Big Goverment, Nanny state stuff.

    There have been a lot of “voting for the least worst choice” elections in my lifetime, (oh God, how the memory of having to pull the lever for Bob F–king Dole still stings) but I’ve never seen it to the extent I saw it this time around I almost sat this one out. I’ve never come closer. But at the last minute I decided that I just had to vote against the Chicago Marxist Community Organizer – and Florida being a swing state, and having close outcomes (2000 ring a bell?) every vote is important.

    And so I voted against HopeyChangitude, and I’ll admit – I kind of voted FOR Caribou Barbie, in spite of McLame also being on the ticket. She caught my fancy in a contrarian – “up yours MSM” -sort of way (if t.v. celebrity talking heads and others from the “smart” set scream loud enough and long enough at me about how I MUST think, I tend to react in an opposite “FU” sort of way). Yeah, that may not be logical – so sue me. But at any rate, she beats the hell out of Joe the Moron Biden, any day of the week.

    I don’t know – does that make me one of yer evil “neocons?”

    The GOP establishment kool-aid, in case you haven’t noticed, is finally being rejected by a huge percentage of the uncompliant, outside the beltway, rogue base. You know, the bible and gun clinger types who have in the past, been more or less obedient and fallen into line. Bush’s final couple of years, followed by McLame on the ticket, was the final straw, for millions. And I have just recently read that the 2008 turn-out was actually substantially less than 2004 – and it was largely GOP conservatives who sat this one out. Certainly not progressives who were totally energized by The One.

    Whether the national GOP can now reform itself, and become an actual alternative to the Dem party, as opposed to a ‘lite’ version of it, remains to be seen.

    Comment by southernjames — July 21, 2009 @ 1:12 pm
  8. Anti-Semite progressive? I’ll put that on my business card and see if takes, sure as hell beats the current Papal Puppet.

    The kool aid is in believing that we would be in any different place than we are right now if JM had won instead of BO.

    Conservative sounds great, it is a strong word but in the absence of leadership it is absolutely impossible to implement those ideals, so as much as you may despise the oratory skills of “The One,” rehash his every word and prove it to be one more brick in a wall of Marxist lies, whoever wins the position of challenger in 2012 will be doing nothing more than blowing smoke when he/she gives pretty speeches scratching your conservative itch and in 2014/19 you’ll be singing the same tired song about how this last one wasn’t a true conservative and you got duped again.

    Maybe instead of attempting to define differences in what has become two definitions for the same bag of shit it would be better to spend the time asking why democrats and republicans simply vacillate between socialist with an R and socialist with a D. The bottom line is there is no one on the horizon in either party who will be willing to bite the donor hand that feeds her/him and take down wall street/insurance/big business and until that happens you won’t get fiscal responsibility, smaller government…

    Anyway there are bigger problems in the world today, are you getting any news down there on this Marve torn ACL thing?

    Comment by SWilliams — July 21, 2009 @ 2:09 pm
  9. Don’t blame me. I didn’t vote for Obama, McCain or the conservatives that the LP nominated. Actually I resigned from the LP quite happily.

    Shame on Mataconis for trying to use the smear that the Barr/Root people spread about Ruwart. It was a total distortion of what she said and only unethical scum would spread it about.

    Comment by CLS — July 21, 2009 @ 11:07 pm
  10. CLS,

    I read what she wrote and, frankly, found the characterization to be largely to true.

    The larger point is this —-

    (1) you have to be a deluded Kool-Aid drinker to think that someone more “pure” like Ruwart would’ve done any better in November than Barr/Root did.

    (2) the value of the ability of candidates like Barr to bring disaffected Republicans in the Libertarian fold should not be discounted.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 22, 2009 @ 4:02 am
  11. “The value of the ability of candidates like Barr to bring disaffected Republicans in the Libertarian fold should not be discounted…”

    Oh really? Candidates like BARR??? I discount it. Let’s review, shall we? Bush had an approval rating in what – the 20′s? McCain was loathed by the conservative base of the GOP which, when they do come out and vote, have given the GOP the WH in every election since 1964, with the exception of 1976 and 1996. (1992 was an anomoly; Perot voters handed Clinton that election and those who argue to the contrary are ignoramuses, and not worth debating). Millions stayed home this time; and millions of others ONLY voted for him due to Palin being on his ticket.

    McCain was trumpeted by the opposition and by its cheerleaders in every (non-Fox News) media outlet as representing a continuation of the 20′s approval rating, Bush. McCain’s running mate, in spite of being the only one of the four with any executive experience, and with a stronger resume as the No. 2 on the ticket than the opposition’s No. 1 – was transformed into a Dan Quayle with a Vagina in the most breathtaking media smear campaign I have ever witnessed (and unlike almost everyone here whose political memory goes back to the 90′s – I voted for Gerald Ford over the Grinning Jackass in my first election) and was officially declared “manifestly unqualified for the job” of VICE president. (An audacious declaration, when compared to the total moron she faced as the opposing VICE presidential candidate).

    The opposition was the most inexperienced, unqualified, empty bullshit rhetoric, far to the left of the mainstream (if you paid ANY attention to his PRE-candidate voting record, public pronouncements) candidate imaginable – and unappealing to anyone other than progressives, minorities and others who were enthralled by what he historically “represented”, disenchanted moderates who were convinced that “change” was really needed and McCain was going to be Bush’s third term; and the delusional who weren’t paying attention and really believed he would be a “pragmatic centrist” which he has shown he is most certainly not. (SW? Have I pegged you?)

    Here we have two of the most unappealing candidates imaginable…..Republicans WERE both disaffected, and disenfranchised — in the millions.

    All told…the perfect storm for a viable third party candidate. Another guy like PEROT, who actually swung the outcome of an election with a truly incredible 17 (or was it 19%) of the vote……

    And yet – - Bob Barr pulls in a GRAND total of 500,000 votes. As you pointed out – 0%, and of ZERO consequence as to the outcome. And you already have 300,000 registered Libertarians as a starting base! So this means Barr pulled in a whopping 200,000 extra votes, correct?

    So tell me again about Bob Barr’s great appeal and abilities to attract voters.

    SW – you say:

    “whoever wins the position of challenger in 2012 will be doing nothing more than blowing smoke when he/she gives pretty speeches scratching your conservative itch and in 2014/19 you’ll be singing the same tired song about how this last one wasn’t a true conservative and you got duped again.”

    I didn’t feel duped after 1980. Did you? Was Reagan 80-84, no better or worse, and no different than a second term of Jimmah would have been? Of course, that sums up our current problem doesn’t it. There IS no conservative leader right NOW on the horizon. And Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee or whoever gets the 2012 nomination probably will just be blowing smoke. (Both of whom, I dislike. So no fear of me being duped by them).

    You are right – there is indeed a lack of conservative leadership right now. BUT there is, finally and long overdue, the beginnings of a groundswell to throw the “socialists with an R” OUT of the party.

    Arlen Spector leaves – and to the great surprise of both the National GOP and to the Media, the party PEOPLE shout – “GOOD RIDDANCE.” And an example I have mentioned before – Marco Rubio – he has an uphill battle against the GOP Establishment’s Golden Boy, our Gov. Charlie (“Socialist with an R”) Crist. But Crist is being threatened at least. So….hopefully that groundswell will grow and from it, some true leaders, not currently on the national radar, WILL emerge.

    As for Marve – lucky for us he can’t play in 2009 anyway.

    Comment by southernjames — July 22, 2009 @ 5:12 am
  12. SJames

    Perot voters did not hand the election to Clinton. Conservative voters and other populous republican voters did. If these voters would have voted for the most conservative candidate who had a chance to win, Perot would have been our President instead of Clinton. Instead they decided to vote for Bush I since he had a R behind his name. They certainly did not vote on conservative principles as Bush I had already left those high and dry. And then those same idiot voters voted for Bush II expecting something different. Maybe it is the other way around and the Bush I and II voters are the ignoramuses and not worth debating as they probably voted for McCain as well again expecting something different. Maybe a few finally got a clue and either didn’t vote or voted for someone without a R or a D behind their name. A hell of a lot more of them will have to get a clue or we will be stuck with the “One” or some other shitty republican candidate that acts like a democrat (ie Bush I, Dole, Bush II, McCain) for quite some time. The last time the Republicans actually had a conservative candidate was way back to Reagan and maybe you could excuse voting for Bush I the first time around but not the second.

    Comment by TerryP — July 22, 2009 @ 7:52 am
  13. 1) The majority of libertarians voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because of his stances on the war, executive power, perceived moderation on fiscal issues, and generally because he was a likable man. Also, libertarians were disgusted by McCain’s political views and Palin in general. In fact, in Reason’s pre-election poll of contributors, editors, and prominent libertarians, Obama was the preferred candidate, even over Bob Barr.

    2) If Republicans want libertarian votes back, they have to earn them. They have done nothing since November 2008 towards that end.

    3) I’ve come to the conclusion that voting and even participating in the political process is ultimately a waste of time. The focus needs to be towards resisting the state by any means necessary.

    Comment by Kevin — July 22, 2009 @ 8:22 am
  14. No one at the Barr campaign ever smeared Mary Ruwart as part of any campaign strategy and it is a damn lie to suggest otherwise.

    Comment by Jason Pye — July 22, 2009 @ 8:27 am
  15. “Conservative voters and other populous republican voters did. If these (??) voters would have voted for the most conservative candidate who had a chance to win, Perot would have been our President instead of Clinton.”

    That makes no sense whatsoever.

    Yes it indeed WAS “conservative and populous REPUBLICANS” who voted for Perot.

    And…Yes THEY (those “conservative and populous republicans”) WERE…the “Perot voters,” who …..pay close attention now……HANDED the election to Clinton.

    IF those “conservative and populous REPUBLICANS” (aka nowadays they are generally the Palin lovers who attend Tea Parties) and who were never going to vote for Clinton in 1000 years, had INSTEAD joined the squishy moderates with the “R” (aka, McCain supporters) and voted for Bush Senior…..Bush Senior beats Clinton.

    So I’ll repeat it again for you. Perot voters comprised primarily of conservative REPUBLICANS split from their own party, and therefore split the GOP vote in half, and therefore caused the GOP candidate to get fewer votes than the Dem winner.

    There is a school of thought which impacted a lot of voters and led them to hold their nose and vote for e.g., Bush Senior, McCain, etc. which was: “Do you want someone is wrong half the time, or someone who is wrong all the time?”

    For you Libertarian purists, it is more important to be right than to win, and you will vote for the “right” candidate, regardless of whether he has any chance of winning. That makes sense if being right is more important than winning. And also makes sense if there is TRULY no difference in how the recession is being handled, tax policy, health care, national defense, foreign relations, between McCain and Obama. SW thinks there is no difference – zero, none. Perhaps he is right.

    Comment by southernjames — July 22, 2009 @ 9:02 am
  16. “The majority of libertarians voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because of his stances on the war, executive power, perceived moderation on fiscal issues, and generally because he was a likable man.”

    Gee, how’s that working out for you? Great decision, there!! Brilliant!!

    Stance on war? Following Bush’s plan. For awhile at least, until he ends up screwing up the military’s morale, and also puts ignorant civilians in charge of Pentagon on-the-ground strategy, which will torpedo any chance of success in the Afghanistan. EVERY Democrat president does this -they can’t help themselves.

    Executive Power? Can you say 32 czars? And ya just gotta love all that promised “transparency” we’re getting. (As in, zero) LOL.

    Moderation on Fiscal Issues? If quadrupuling the national debt in one year is moderation, I’d sure hate to see what reckless hyper-spending looks like! How many multi-trillions is the CBO up to in its estimates, now?

    I’m sorry for my country and my children’s future that you were so naive.

    Comment by southernjames — July 22, 2009 @ 9:18 am
  17. SJames,

    Note I never said I voted for Obama. I was one of the proud non-voters in 2008 and that was really only because Bob Barr wasn’t on the ballot in my state.

    Jason,

    The “smear” that Ruwart’s supporters whine about is simply someone quoting her exact words on the issue of children and sex. As the saying goes, the truth hurts.

    Comment by Kevin — July 22, 2009 @ 9:44 am
  18. James:

    Conservatives who abandoned their principles supported the Republican ticket and still LOST (as Doug points out in this post, third party supporters had negligible impact on the outcome).

    You say it’s better to support a party that has a chance to win that is at least right half the time than stand on principles and lose.

    Half the time? If the GOP supported small government/pro liberty principles half the time, I’d reconsider supporting the GOP again. I don’t think the GOP is right even 25% of the time anymore.

    At least with the Democrats, they are right about half the time (maybe more) on social issues and some actually seem interested in doing something about the prison industrial complex and reforming the criminal justice system (meanwhile, Republicans are happy to continue this insanity so they can tell voters how “tough on crime” they are).

    Yes, Libertarians lost yet another election (which I’m sure came as no surprise to most Libertarians) but the Republicans lost as well, even as they compromised more and more of their principles. Republicans not only lost the election but even more tragically, their principles.

    Libertarians lost the election but have not lost our principles (though, I suppose the most hard core Libertarians would disagree). I voted for Barr with a clear conscience; can you say the same about voting for McCain?

    Comment by Stephen Littau — July 22, 2009 @ 10:50 am
  19. “I voted for Barr with a clear conscience; can you say the same about voting for McCain?”

    Answer: Yes. Trying to prevent the election of who I felt would be (and who is exceeding my wildest negative expectations) the worst president in my lifetime, ended up becoming my primary priority….After MUCH soul searching and reflection and prayer.

    If I lived in a Blue state that was going to go to Obama no matter what I (and five thousand of my neighbors) would do — THEN I WOULD have either stayed home or thrown away my vote on a third party candidate, proudly draped in my “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag – Mr. Ideologically Pure – that would havd been me. Yessiree.

    But being a Floridian, a virtual 50-50 state where an entire national election can be swung by 500 votes – - I concluded that my vote was too important to throw away on the “Constitution Party” candidate, or the Libertine Candidate or the guy from the Greenpeace or Greenland, whatever. (Was there a NRA rep I could have written in? Hmmmm). My conscience told me that I needed to try to prevent the election of the far left socialist, even if that meant being forced to vote for the center-left socialist and then go home and vomit afterwards.

    And since I tend generally (not hard core, but lean) towards being one of those hated (by you Libertarians) “social cons,” on many issues, the Dems position on “social issues” holds little appeal and they would not be right “half” the time on those issues for me.

    Back to McCain — Since seeing what is transpiring, since the election, it is probably and hopefully much better for the future of the GOP that McCain lost. My hope is that the frenetic rush to “not waste a good crisis” will cause a backlash, and a re-birth of conservatism as a movement. And the McCains and the Spectors and the Bushes, and Rockefellars, will get their asses booted back to their Martha Vineyard yachts.

    So – I am sad Obama won, but yet I am also glad McCain lost. I hate that Obama is my president, but I do not want McCain as my president either.

    And as I’ve said on this site until I’m blue in the face – there IS a growing rebellion getting underway with conservative republicans – as much as you like to stereotype and lump everyone with an “R” together….and also pretend and delude yourselves that the rebellion is some sort of grand Libertarian “awakening.” It ain’t. YOU guys don’t want to acknowledge it, but the conservative R’s who are rebelling against the Establishment Big Gov GOP are for the most part, also those dreaded social cons. Flag wavin, Jeebus prayin, gun clingin, Palin lovin, red state rubes. (DHS Alert!).

    Comment by southernjames — July 22, 2009 @ 12:24 pm
  20. Sjames

    I don’t care if we call the people who voted for Bush squishy moderates, conservatives, populous republicans, or idiots the fact remains if they would have voted for Perot instead he would have been President instead of Clinton. Bush had his chance in his first four years to sway conservatives, libertarians, independents, and others to continue to vote for him and he failed. If there is anyone to blame it is Bush himself, the republican elite who made him their candidate, and the “squishy moderates” that continue to vote for a candidate just because he has a “R” behind his name. Don’t blame the rest of us for having such a worthless candidate that so many people decided it would be better to vote for Perot because he more lined up with their values in spite of not having a “R” behind his name.

    What is even worse is that the republican elite still haven’t figured it out. They continue to give us worthless candidates (Dole, Bush II, and McCain. About the only reason that they win at all is because the Democrats do such a poor job when they are in power that just about anyone can look better then keeping them in power. How else can you explain Bush II being elected. Bush I was a disaster. Why would anyone think his son would be any different, unless of course you are a “squishy moderate” or an idiot. Or maybe that is the bigger problem. The republican party is no longer generally made up of conservatives, but mainly made up of “Squishy moderates”. That is at least how they have governed in the last twenty years and the so-called conservatives just kept voting for them. This year like in 1992 many of the conservatives or whatever you want to call them finally after fifteen years or so got a clue and decided not to vote for a candidate just because he had a “R” behind his name. Unlike in 1992 there was no other candidate that most felt comfortable with so they just didn’t vote.

    Comment by TerryP — July 22, 2009 @ 12:27 pm
  21. “And as I’ve said on this site until I’m blue in the face…”

    Now I would have bet money you’d more likely be red in the face. Ah well, they’re only devalued Federal Reserve notes.

    I would add a few of points.

    1. Any third party is hamstrung by current election laws. In order for such a party to have a ghost of a chance to actually win, it would need a self-funded billionaire candidate (a la Perot), or some Teflon Celebrity.

    2. Focusing on the Presidency is arguably far less effective than focusing on a wave of successes in Congress. Congress (specifically the House, if we bother with rules) writes the checks. For fiscal policy, at least, this would be a lot more bang for the buck (if you’ll excuse the expression).

    3. It doesn’t matter who we vote for or what office they hold, big government advocates are the current trend. Very few go to Washington to “not do stuff”. Until and unless the zeitgeist of the American population changes to recognize that government is for protecting rights, rather than equalizing outcomes and nannyism, the public and the media will continue to support bold promises, smooth talk, and a tightening grip.

    So who does a libertarian vote for? In my case, I wouldn’t sleep well knowing I voted for a statist. The hypocrisy would undermine any standing I’d require to assert liberty as a solution. So for now, I’m stuck with voting for “the most libertarian” candidate, rather than “the second least statist”.

    My darker side shares SJames’ itch that the train wreck being orchestrated by President Obama and the Democratic Congress has some small chance of snapping Americans out of this trend. I don’t hold much hope for that kind of change.

    Comment by Akston — July 22, 2009 @ 6:22 pm
  22. Make that: “the second most statist” :-)

    Comment by Akston — July 22, 2009 @ 6:25 pm
  23. “Any third party is hamstrung by current election laws. In order for such a party to have a ghost of a chance to actually win, it would need a self-funded billionaire candidate (a la Perot), or some Teflon Celebrity.”

    Yeah, but if I try to make that argument on this site, that this is a two party system, and a third party CANNOT win, I get a “can too, can too, can too” from somebody who thinks all the millions with an “R” should be in lockstep over all issues, and therefore – why didn’t those fools get themselves into lockstep and ALL vote for Perot. While at the same time on this same site I read pissing and infighting back and forth over guys like Ron Paul, among members of a party that has 300,000 people as opposed to tens of millions.

    Don’t rip on tens of millions of Republicans for failing to be homogenous and uniform, until you can get your own teensy and miniscule political movement together on the same page.

    “Focusing on the Presidency is arguably far less effective than focusing on a wave of successes in Congress. Congress (specifically the House, if we bother with rules) writes the checks. For fiscal policy, at least, this would be a lot more bang for the buck (if you’ll excuse the expression).”

    Let me know when the Libertarian party finally makes that rather obvious discovery, mmmkay? I’ve been voting since 1976. In the past 32 years, the Liberts sure have made real inroads in working to become a growing presence at the local, and then state, and then congressional level, now haven’t they. Is the Libertarian party any more relevant and any more of a political force, today – than it was 20 years ago? If so – where, exactly?

    “It doesn’t matter who we vote for or what office they hold, big government advocates are the current trend. Very few go to Washington to “not do stuff”. Until and unless the zeitgeist of the American population changes to recognize that government is for protecting rights, rather than equalizing outcomes and nannyism, the public and the media will continue to support bold promises, smooth talk, and a tightening grip.”

    First, the “public” and “the media” are not one and the same. The media’s vote for Obama was around 85-15%, versus the public which was 53-47%.

    Aside from that, is the solution to hold out for “perfection,” and cast vote after vote for candidates who not only have zero chance of winning, but more often than not also have little chance of even swinging the outcome one way or another?

    Or is it to try to make PROGRESS and try to slowly move the behemoth in the right direction? Reagan himself was far from perfect and had some Nanny State positions; he himself did not reverse the number of regulations contained in the Federal Register – he only managed to slow down the growth. Yet if came back today, I suspect that half of the people who post here would still holler for Ron Paul or Bob Barr and try to gin up enough meaningless third party votes -which would have the effect of….giving the election to the Dem Statist.

    The challenge as I see it, is not to try to convince more of the 40 million (or whatever the number is) with a “R” next to their names, to jump ship and come join in with the 500,000 who like guys like Bob Barr or Ron Paul. The challenge is to reform the party to which those 40 million belong, so that it puts forth candidates who espouse more of the Libertarian ideals of smaller government and liberty.

    Just my opinion.

    Comment by southernjames — July 23, 2009 @ 6:15 am

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