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Libertarian Voters:

Interesting article by Ryan Sager on Reason about the libertarian vote:

The Cato Institute has done excellent work over the last few years tracking the shift in the libertarian vote—the roughly 10 percent to 15 percent of the American public that can be categorized as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

Based on an analysis of the American National Election Studies, Cato found that between 2000 and 2004, there was a substantial flight of libertarians away from the Republican Party and toward the Democrats. While libertarians preferred Bush by a margin of 52 points over Al Gore in 2000, that margin shrank to 21 points in 2004, when many libertarians—disaffected by the Iraq war, massive GOP spending increases, and the campaign against gay marriage—switched to John Kerry.

Polling on libertarian voters is somewhat sparse during elections, but there are a couple of data points and some broad trends that can give us an idea of where things stand now. An early October Zogby Interactive poll found that self-identified libertarians (about 6 percent of the poll's sample) give McCain only 36 percent of their vote, lower than the 45 percent and 42 percent Zogby found them giving Bush in the last two elections. The libertarian voters claim to be defecting mainly to Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr and other third-party candidates, not to Obama. A Gallup poll conducted in September, which identified libertarian-minded voters with a series of ideological questions about the role of government in the economy and society (pegging them at around 23 percent of the electorate), found that only 43 percent of these voters plan pull the lever for McCain, slightly fewer than did for Bush in 2004. The Gallup poll also finds a significant uptick in libertarians planning to vote third-party, with 3.5 percent supporting Barr.

What I think is going on here is a general perception among libertarians that there is really no difference between McCain and Obama, so you may as well vote for Barr. McCain and Obama both are pretty statist, Obama moreso on the economy, McCain moreso on foreign policy. And McCain-Feingold is a true abomination. In which case it is a toss-up, or may as well vote for Barr (or I've also heard that Chuck Baldwin guy that I don't know anything about). Several of the libertarians in the American Conservative's issue on "Who are you voting for?" take this position as well.

One reason I speculate that this is what I "think is going on here" among libertarians is that until fairly recently this is exactly what I was thinking, even until relatively recently, and I was genuinely on the fence between McCain and Barr (acknowledging that Barr is both a bit of a nut and has some statist tendencies himself). But one reason why I linked Pete duPont's sobering WSJ column the other day is that I have slowly come to the conclusion that as bad as McCain is, Obama really is much, much worse than I realized for a long time. Maybe I'm just slower at this than others, but it really took a long for it to sink in to me exactly how far left Obama really is. On every single issue that I am aware of, he seems to be at the far left end of the Democratic Party spectrum. I mean really out there.

I think that my slowness to really pick up on this was due to several factors. First, Obama's demeanor is essentially moderate--he doesn't come across as a Howard Dean crazy type. I think this leads one to assume his policies are moderate. Second, my resistance to McCain was really quite strong--I've criticized him here before, especially for the way it seems that he approaches problems. Third, until recently McCain has really run a terrible campaign in terms of explaining the differences between himself and Obama in terms of illustrating exactly how far left Obama is. Fourth, because of media bias, the media has tended to reinforce the idea that Obama is a moderate and not to highlight the embarrassing parts of his message.

Perhaps most fundamentally, given the history of the world over the past 25 years I think I just had assumed that no serious politician or thinker would in this day and age hold the sorts of views that Obama seems to hold. Raising taxes in a recession, protectionism, abolition of the secret ballot for union elections, big spending increases, nationalized health care, and most appallingly (to my mind) the potential reimposition of the "Fairness Doctrine"--I mean this is pretty serious stuff. And when combined with a Democratic Congress, I think we may be talking about (to use Thomas Sowell's recent phrase) a "point of no return." I guess I just assumed that Obama would be sort of Bill Clintonish--"the era of big government is over" and all that stuff. That he would have absorbed the basic insights of recent decades on taxes, trade, regulation, etc.

What could we expect from McCain? Not much--but holding the status quo on some areas and perhaps a few improvements in others. Perhaps an end to the incontinent spending of the past few years. Elimination of earmarks. Free trade. No fairness doctrine (campaign finance reform is bad, but I think the Fairness Doctrine is much worse). A much better health care insurance policy. I'm not as optimistic as some of my friends that McCain's judges will be good, but I think Obama's judges likely would be really bad.

So what does this add up to? I totally can appreciate the view of libertarians who fundamentally don't see any real difference that matters between McCain and Obama and so will vote for Barr or another third-party candidate. I think that is a completely reasonable position.

But as I've looked at the actual policy positions of the two more closely, it seems to me that Obama really seems to be pretty far out there. He is no Bill Clinton. And from what I can tell none of those libertarians or conservatives who are Obama supporters are attracted to because of his positions (other than those who care strongly about the Iraq war and foreign policy), but rather because of who he is. Obama is a compelling personality. But in reading these encomiums to him, I haven't seen any explanation as to how Obama's policies on tax, trade, spending, or regulatory would be friendlier to individual liberty than what is likely to be McCain's (as weak as those will be). As someone observed somewhere recently, this is about the first time in history that you have endorsements from people who endorse Obama on the hope that he won't do what he says he'll do rather than because of what he says he'll do.

Thomas Sowell described the choice the other day as "a choice between disaster and catastrophe" which doesn't seem that far off for someone who believes in limited government and individual liberty.

Anyway, after really exploring their policies a bit more closely, I have finally come to the conclusion that as bad as they both are, there really is in the end a pretty significant difference between the two of them. Especially when you throw into the mix a Democratic Congress, perhaps with a veto-proof majority.

I can see why other libertarians may not see a big enough difference between them to really matter and will vote for Barr (or no one). And I think that is an eminently reasonable position in this election. But having read the Reason article, and having been in the same spot until relatively recently, I figured I'd mention my thinking.

Update:

In my initial post I had misplaced my phrase about what I am most appalled about--the reimposition of the fairness doctrine, which I have now corrected.

Nunzio:
I'm libertarian and I voted for Kerry in 2004 and Obama's fiscal policies bother the hell out of me.

Obama's a smart, engaging guy but he seems not only to believe in raising taxes and spending to achieve his vision of social justice (which I don't share) he seems to think that his personality and ability to transform us will make us so less self-interested that his programs now will succeed even though they have failed miserably elsewhere.

Besides, after 8 years of W., McCain does not look bad at all to me.
10.29.2008 9:39pm
Brett Bellmore:
It's not just that choice between a disaster and a catastrophe, it's also that the recent occasions where I've voted for the lesser of two evils have proven to me that they're never as "lesser" as you were led to believe.

I think you mean filibuster proof majority, it's not like Obama is going to be vetoing a lot of Democratic bills, but I understand where you're coming from. But suppose it's that same Democratic majority, and Mr. "History of reaching across the aisle" somehow squeezes into office? The only currency he's going to have to buy a Democratic legislature's cooperation is helping to defeat Republican efforts to slow the Democratic tide. Just like Bush, getting Republicans to vote for measures they'd instinctively have opposed coming from a Democratic President.
10.29.2008 9:40pm
Gherald (mail):
Link to article referenced.

Even more recent stuff from Reason:

http://www.reason.com/news/show/129248.html
http://www.reason.com/blog/show/129741.html

The middle link has a poll that shows a +15 Obama lead among libertarians in July. I wonder where that stands now.
10.29.2008 9:42pm
Bold:
Obama is NOT in favor of imposing the Fairness doctrine. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6573406.html
10.29.2008 9:44pm
LN (mail):

he doesn't come across as a Howard Dean crazy type


Offtopic, but seems like a good excuse to flashback to May 2003:


LiberalOasis: What do you think were the motivations for the Bush Administration to go to war with Iraq?

Howard Dean: I can't speak to his motives, because I can't read his mind.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, though, and presume that he believes Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to our security.

I happen to disagree with that; I think we had Saddam pretty well contained. My problem with the war in Iraq isn't with motivation; it's with justification.

I don't believe the President was able to show that Iraq was an imminent threat to our security; his whole rationale for using force was based on the idea that they might be a danger to the United States at some point in the future.

Frankly, I've never understood why he was concentrating on Iraq, which had been successfully contained for twelve years, while every day a country like North Korea develops its nuclear capability.


What. A. Nutjob.
10.29.2008 9:45pm
Mark F. (mail):
I'm a libertarian who voted for Barr (with strong reservations), but if I felt I had to choose between the two major party evils, I would go with Obama because I think the Republicans need to be punished and put in their place for 8 years of war, torture, lying and fiscal irresponsibility. And here's another reason to vote for Obama: President Sarah Palin. Ought to give you a real fright before Halloween.
10.29.2008 9:50pm
Calderon:
Of all the things that concern me about Obama, the Fairness Doctrine is pretty far down the list. While I agree it's pernicious, I seriously doubt it would withstand a constitutional challenge today in the Supreme Court. That's especially true if it applies only to radio and not television. I strongly believe that the courts would say with the proliferation of cable and the internet people are free to get whatever opinions they want and so there's simply no benefit to the Fairness Doctrine to offset its speech-controlling effects.

The other items you lists such as "Raising taxes in a recession [for higher income brackets], protectionism, abolition of the secret ballot for union elections, and ... big spending increases, nationalized health care" are all far more likely and summarize most of the problems I have with him. Indeed, with the democratic congress I'd say all of those except perhaps "protectionism" are inevitable if Obama is elected. The other one I'd add is "humanitarian" military intervention in other countries, which rarely seems to have any beneficial effects.

By contrast with McCain I'd think we'd see a fair amount of gridlock on issues and difficulty in passing spending increases. We'd likely see immigration reform, which the Republican party would get some credit for which could effect future elections.
10.29.2008 9:52pm
LN (mail):
I think Todd doesn't seem to take socialism seriously enough. Did you know that Governor Sarah Palin used to be a socialist?


We’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.


Shouldn't Sarah Palin have learned the lessons of Soviet Russia (of all places)? Who will Professor Zywicki vote for now?
10.29.2008 9:56pm
hawkins:

the roughly 10 percent to 15 percent of the American public that can be categorized as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.


While not to the extent of true libertarians, I believe the vast majority of the country can be categorized as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. And many more of the ones I know vote Democrat.
10.29.2008 10:05pm
Fedya (www):
Apparently Todd is in a state that's a toss-up.

I'm in New York, where the wicked Eliot Spitzer got close to 70% of the vote, and it should have been clear to any thinking person that he had spent the previous eight years abusing the AG's office for political purposes. There's no way a Republican is carrying this state, so a vote for Bob Barr carries no cost.
10.29.2008 10:06pm
LN (mail):
Sorry for being too lazy to look this up, but how exactly did Bob Barr become the Libertarian candidate this year? My impression of him was that he wasn't libertarian at all before. If you're a third party picking up protest votes, why not get some ideological clarity?
10.29.2008 10:09pm
geokstr:
LN:

We’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.

So how exactly does sharing the revenues from a state's national resources equally among all its citizens, rich and poor, compare to taking wealth from citizens who have earned it and giving it to others who have not?

That's the lamest moral equivalence I think I've ever seen. Simply because two phrases contain the words "share" and "wealth" does not make them mean the same thing.

I'd love to see the "logic" by which you arrived at your conclusion.
10.29.2008 10:10pm
frankcross (mail):
As someone observed somewhere recently, this is about the first time in history that you have endorsements from people who endorse Obama on the hope that he won't do what he says he'll do rather than because of what he says he'll do.

I don't think this is even remotely true. I know Republicans who voted Republican because they believed that the party wouldn't do what it claimed on cultural conservative issues. I suspect that was true of a lot of people.
10.29.2008 10:10pm
Nunzio:
Hawkins,

I think fiscally conservative means you don't think the federal government should be funding Head Start, NCLB, etc. or creating new agencies like Homeland Security.

I guess you could call Obama fiscally conservative because he wants to have balanced budgets, unlike W. But other than Iraq, Obama would increase spending way more than W. For those who think W. spent way too much, Obama is not a good alternative.
10.29.2008 10:11pm
Waldensian (mail):

Thomas Sowell described the choice the other day as "a choice between disaster and catastrophe" which doesn't seem that far off for someone who believes in limited government and individual liberty.

Thank you for this absolutely classic example of overwrought libertarian hand-wringing.
10.29.2008 10:11pm
Anon Y. Mous:

Mark F.:
I'm a libertarian who voted for Barr (with strong reservations), but if I felt I had to choose between the two major party evils, I would go with Obama because I think the Republicans need to be punished and put in their place for 8 years of [...] fiscal irresponsibility. And here's another reason to vote for Obama: President Sarah Palin.


I agree with much of that. I ellipsised out the bit about the war, as I disagree there. As for Palin, I agree, but probably in a different way: I would like to see Palin as president. With a McCain loss this time, she might very well be the nominee in 2012.

One other reason to not want McCain to win: if it's Obama and a Democrat congress enacting all the statist stuff they have planned, at least the Democrats will get all the blame. With McCain in there, reaching across the aisle, the blame for the disaster will be shared by the Republicans.
10.29.2008 10:12pm
EH (mail):
Palin was a dealbreaker. Frankly I'm most surprised that only 3.5% of libertarians are voting for Barr!
10.29.2008 10:12pm
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
I have such hatred towards Bob Barr. When he was in Congress, he was a tow-the-line right wing Republican. But now what he's out of power suddenly he figures out that the drug war is futile, that the Bill of Rights worth protecting, and vocally adopts other libertarian principles (so much so that he's the Libertarian (capital L) candidate for president. Government shouldn't interfere with our lives, coming from the man who sponsored the "Defense of Marriage Act." Ugh. I hate you, Bob.

Why didn't Barr speak up when he held office and could have done something? He was a huge supporter of the drug war back then - only now that his opinion is meaningless does he figure out that it's bad. I don't believe in "better late than never" in this case. Fuck you Bob Barr. Destroy the country when you're in Congress, then see the light and figure out how the country is being destroyed once you're out of office... what a jackass. He should have just stayed a right wing republican moralist and while sucking whipped cream off of the tits of strippers.

Fuck Bob Barr. If he was going to turn libertarian, he should have done it when his opinion mattered - when he had a vote in Congress.
10.29.2008 10:14pm
LN (mail):
geokstr: so you have no problem with the state owning collective resources, and then distributing the generated revenues equally among all its citizens? LOL.

On the other hand, Obama thinks that we should return tax rates to what they were in the 1990s, or lower. That's redistribution of wealth! He's a dangerous radical!
10.29.2008 10:15pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
Hmm, at least according to
this article Obama is on the record as not supporting the fairness doctrine:
10.29.2008 10:18pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Obama is a compelling personality. But in reading these encomiums to him, I haven't seen any explanation as to how Obama's policies on tax, trade, spending, or regulatory would be friendlier to individual liberty than what is likely to be McCain's (as weak as those will be).


I can give you an answer here, but it may not be very close to a Libertarian perspective (I consider myself a "libertarian" and a "republican" but refuse to identify with the parties and hence don't want to use capital letters).

Anyway, here are a few points to consider:

1) McCain's health care proposal would be a total disaster without massive *federal* regulation. This means that in order to make it work, medical insurance regulation would need to be moved to the federal level. This means in actuality less competition for balance in regulation and a growth of the federal government. If we could strip out Obama's plan to open up the federal government insurance pool, his plan would actually reduce the federal government's role in providing medical insurance (and I think this is a matter for writing to congressmen to make sure this one element can't pass).

2) In the end, what helps ensure our liberty against the state is a strong tradition of civil liberties. McCain, aside from the torture issue, has a pretty bad record in this area (McCain-Feingold is the example you mentioned, but also see retroactive immunity for telecoms, etc). Obama's record here is far better.

3) I am not yet convinced that either politician understands what is required in Iraq and is prepared to do what is necessary, and both politicians' plans carry strong dangers of instability to our country. (BTW, I opposed getting into Iraq in the first place, but did support the surge because it was linked to what I saw as necessary political reforms.) On the whole I think Obama's plan is slightly less risky but I don't think that either one "gets it." What is really necessary is to tie American support to political progress. The surge did that and worked. We need to continue the process.

Otherwise there is a big problem. We will never see an institutionally conservative president, nor will we really see a president push for small government across the board as anything other than an excuse to cut some things he doesn't like and expand regulation in others. It is oneof those things that if you accept the job, you accept the idea that the powers of the office are useful and to be preserved. And this is why I fear we will eventually slide into autocracy.

Otherwise you post is well thought-out. I am largely hopeful about both candidates but it may be that I am just comparing them to the last several administrations :-)
10.29.2008 10:21pm
VA attorney:
frankcross: That is one of the justifications implied in Christopher Buckley's endorsement.


"[Obama] is also a lefty. I am not. I am a small-government conservative who clings tenaciously and old-fashionedly to the idea that one ought to have balanced budgets. On abortion, gay marriage, et al, I’m libertarian....

"But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves."


http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/
2008-10-10/the-conservative-case-for-obama/2/
10.29.2008 10:24pm
Virtual Exile (mail) (www):
I do agree with Bruce M. about Bob Barr. A pox on them all. Libertarians don't vote.
10.29.2008 10:26pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I do agree with Bruce M. about Bob Barr. A pox on them all. Libertarians don't vote.
BruceM has nutty views on lots of issues, so there's no point in pointing out to him how his own view is nutty, so I'll just point out how the view itself (which I've heard other libertarians express) is nutty.

Libertarians are a small enough group already, and you want to run someone out of the movement because they didn't see the light quickly enough? How many libertarians started out that way, as opposed to liberal or conservative?
10.29.2008 10:35pm
loki13 (mail):
Libertarians are a small enough group already, and you want to run someone out of the movement because they didn't see the light quickly enough? How many libertarians started out that way, as opposed to liberal or conservative?

I started as a libertarian, but then I got more friends and stopped playing Dungeons &Dragons. Also realized how horrible of a writer and shallow of a thinker Ayn Rand was.

Sometimes I miss the D&D though. Libertarianism? Not so much.
10.29.2008 10:43pm
Raghav (mail) (www):
Perhaps most fundamentally, given the history of the world over the past 25 years I think I just had assumed that no serious politician or thinker would in this day and age hold the sorts of views that Obama seems to hold. Raising taxes in a recession ...

As opposed to instituting a spending freeze?

... protectionism

Seriously?
10.29.2008 11:05pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
then I got more friends
Your post was almost believable, until that claim.
10.29.2008 11:08pm
Gilbert (mail):

But one reason why I linked Pete duPont's sobering WSJ column the other day is that I have slowly come to the conclusion that as bad as McCain is, Obama really is much, much worse than I realized for a long time


You must mean that once you decisively chose your candidate you chose to demonstrate tat post links to spurious articles trashing the other guy, because there is no way that a thoughtful person such as yourself could seriously think that all the charges in that article are attributable to Obama (as opposed to generalized far-left-hippie-radical-whatevers), much less be persuaded not to vote Obama because of them.
10.29.2008 11:19pm
David Warner:
Loki13,

"I started as a libertarian, but then I got more friends and stopped playing Dungeons &Dragons. Also realized how horrible of a writer and shallow of a thinker Ayn Rand was.

Sometimes I miss the D&D though. Libertarianism? Not so much."

Moved on from D&D? Maybe you could tear yourself away from WoW long enough to read some real libertarian writers. Like, say, Hayek, or Friedman, or this.


Todd,

As libertarians have moved left, so have significant chunks of the non-brain-dead left moved libertarian. Judging by his writings and his actions, Obama's first-hand experience with the very non-libertarian left, and the failure of his efforts there, has moved him in that direction himself.
10.29.2008 11:19pm
LCDave (mail):
The B&C article linked twice above does show that according to Obama's press secretary. he does not want to re-institute the fairness doctrine. He just wants network neutrality (par 4)
10.29.2008 11:21pm
byomtov (mail):
Hmm, at least according to
this article Obama is on the record as not supporting the fairness doctrine:


Yes. But it doesn't matter. Conservative reasoning on Obama goes like this:

If he says something I disagree with he's a [socialist, communist, terrorist, etc.]

If he says something I agree with he's lying.
10.29.2008 11:26pm
hawkins:
Nunzio,

Did not mean to imply Obama is fiscally conservative. I believe a good percentage of the public is more fiscally conservative than Dems but more socially liberal than the GOP. For many, including myself, the social issues are more important than the fiscal issues. So while I may actually agree with the GOP on a greater number of issues, I vote Dem because they support more of the issues that are most important to me.
10.29.2008 11:29pm
Anony:
I'm in the same camp as Fedya. As a New Yorker, we all knew two years ago that the state would go for whomever the Democrats nominated. Altering the outcome is not possible, so might as well vote for the Libertarians. If they somehow got 5-10% of the popular vote, that would make headlines. Therefore my vote is worth more to the LP, so that's who I voted for (via early voting today).

Re: Bruce_M: I don't trust Bob Barr's sudden conversion at all. Not because he saw the light late in life, but because his conversion happened altogether too fast to be believable. The guy was a drug-war gay-marriage-amendment Republican only a couple of years ago on the national stage. The turnabout seems more a quest for power than a belief in libertarian values. I voted for the ideas, not the man.

Bob Barr - despite the fancy clothes, he's still just an elephant.
10.29.2008 11:35pm
Morat20:

Perhaps most fundamentally, given the history of the world over the past 25 years I think I just had assumed that no serious politician or thinker would in this day and age hold the sorts of views that Obama seems to hold. Raising taxes in a recession,


That particular statement makes it REALLY hard to take you seriously.

Yes, his plan includes tax hikes. And tax cuts. And while I realize it's Economics 101 that "you don't raise taxes in a recession", Economics 102 starts talking about what amounts to a tax cut or hike, where to aim spending in a recession, and all the other practical aspects of fiscal stimulus in a recession.

Not every dollar of federal spending is equal in terms of fiscal stimulus. As such, not every dollar of tax is equal. Some do more for the economy, some do less.

I hope to God you only make overly simplistic decisions in politics, and not in your day job.
10.29.2008 11:39pm
Potted Plant (mail):
Todd Zywicki notes as one of Obama's problematic positions that he's going to raise taxes in a recession.

I'm not in favor of higher taxes any time. But can someone please explain how we're going to pay for increasing entitlement programs (whether or not Obama is elected), our global military commitments and the recent $1+ trillion bailout unless we raise taxes? Really, what's the alternative?
10.29.2008 11:41pm
Anony:

Potted Plant (mail):

But can someone please explain how we're going to pay for increasing entitlement programs (whether or not Obama is elected), our global military commitments and the recent $1+ trillion bailout unless we raise taxes? Really, what's the alternative?


We'll keep doing what we've been doing since WWII - borrow and print.
10.29.2008 11:45pm
Patent Lawyer:
Anony &Fedya--I'm in the same boat, but with added reasoning. I agree with Todd, McCain is by far the lesser of two evils this time around. But I'm in New York, so I can't actually do anything to get him elected president. So we go to the next goal--trying to make it clear that a substantial portion of the electorate wants to move in the libertarian direction. The best possible situation to my mind would be a McCain electoral victory, but a McCain popular vote loss caused by Libertarian spoiler votes. That's the strongest way to get a libertarian message across through this year's vote.

So, I'm voting for Bob Barr--even though I don't think much of his character or of the current Libertarian party.
10.29.2008 11:49pm
Obvious (mail):
Todd, unless you're in a state where polling shows the race tightening to 50.000001/49.999999%, your argument creates no compelling motivation to vote for McCain.
10.29.2008 11:52pm
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
David: I didn't say Bob Barr should be run out of the Libertarian party, or even that Libertarians should not vote for him. I only said I hate the man for towing the GOP party line when he was in power, and suddenly seeing the light once his opinion no longer carried the weight of a lawmaker. He's not the only politician to speak out against the drug war only after he left office (as an example). I hate all of them. Barr is just the most recent, and most egregious example.

And my views are not nutty, Orin simply doesn't agree with me and makes a point to attack me. I think he uses me as a proxy for other bloggers at the VC whom he doesn't wish to attack. He'll bash me for taking a position that a quick search will show that Ilya or Eugene has espoused. But this is (in part) Orin's blog, not mine, so he always gets the last word - which is how it should be.

Anony: I too question how someone could go from gay marriage amendment drug warrior republican to preaching libertarian values overnight, but whatever his reasons I don't see how it could possibly be a quest for power. Since when is turning libertarian/Libertarian a means of getting power? Barr has said he was wrong, said he sees the error of his ways. Whether he's being honest is really a nonissue to me - I could care less. He was adamantly anti-libertarian when he held a seat in Congress, so he can go fuck himself.

I think a lot (well, a significant portion) of politicians hold libertarian values but keep them to themselves, because they know that if they come out against the drug war, they'll be called soft on crime. They know if they come out against gay marriage ban amendments they'll be called tools of the homosexual agenda. They know if they come out for less government entitlements they'll be called racist. So they just shut up, tow their party lines, act like loyal drug warriors, and never even consider voting their consciense lest they stir the pot. But once they are out of office, they feel safe speaking their mind. They'd be hypocritical if they said they had held these views all along so they have to say they just had a change of heart and recently saw the error in their way. I think this is what happened with Bob Barr.

But that just means they're cowards. Of course, if they had run on a libertarian platform they would never have won office in the first place, so I suppose they do have a duty to their consituents to uphold their campaign promises and be the elected official their consituents voted for.

That means the real problem lies with stupid, unedicated, irrational, lazy, hypocritical voters who have no understanding of the issues they think they're taking a stand on come election day. Democracy is premised upon an educated, intelligent, informed population. Democracy does not, and cannot work with a voting base that only cares about sports, American Idol, and not being killed by criminals/terrorists.
10.29.2008 11:56pm
Raoul (mail):
Elections have consequences; it is not only Obama but the entire change in government; and yes, this is like 1932- the government total GDP will now near 50%-why? because private industry and the GOP screwed up; and the political leaders in the Republican Party and its supporters can only blame themselves; history does teach one thing-we are not turning back- the good news? a majority of Americans will be better off- that's how bad it has been for the last ten years-as to the future of conservatism? Look at England. BTW-in the scheme of things, the fairness doctrine really is near the bottom of the barrel in policy changes-modern communications have rendered the issue obsolete.
10.30.2008 12:06am
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
What it ultimately comes down to me is self respect. When I look at the way Ron Paul and his supporters were treated during the primary, it's clear most of the Republican establishment looks at libertarian leaning voter's with utter contempt. Even worse, they feel they can openly express this contempt and still get our votes out of some mistaken belief we don't have the guts to walk away from them.

It's not just that they disagreed with his policies, they went out of thier way to humiliate and belittle him and his supporters at every oppurtunity. I still remember the rolling eyes and the scornful laughter at the debates. I still remember Hannity accusing us of being in league with Al Qeda. I still remember Michael Goldfarb's (McCain's communications director) editorial telling Ron Paul voters to "get lost".

I simply can't vote for that, no matter how bad the alternative is. I don't know about other libertarians, but ultimately, for me this election is about spite. In the last eight years, the Republican party has betrayed me in every way imaginable and I intend to make them suffer for it.
10.30.2008 12:10am
Is this really happening?:
Here in California, we're in the same boat as the NY'ers. Obama's got this state in the bag and the only rational choice is to vote for Barr. I might not agree with the man, but my vote is louder in a third party column.
10.30.2008 12:15am
LCDave (mail):
It is understandable to loathe the Republican party.It is understandable to hate McCain. Maybe next election get more involved in the primaries because unfortunately for those of us that feel betrayed by the right, it is still a two party system in this country. I just don't see how letting Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do whatever they want while BHO is filling every Art.III court with raging liberals is a good idea. Cutting off your own nose to spite your face may sound like fun at first, but you have to be willing to live with it for a long time.
10.30.2008 12:16am
wolfefan (mail):
Hi -

Here's another Reason article from some libertarian writers, including Postrel, Epstein and others, on their views of Obama...

http://www.reason.com/news/show/129248.html

I've never understoond the view that Obama is some really, really radical far left guy; his voting record, taken as a whole, does not reflect that, and I just don't get the basis for Todd's overheated rhetoric. (And Todd, Pete duPont? Really?) I can't find the reference right now, but one of the Conspirators a month or two back linked to a website that does comprehensive analysis of congressional votes (as opposed to the cherry picking of votes that most such ratings provide) which put Obama pretty much in the mainstream of the party... the most liberal senators were Feingold and Sanders, and Obama was nowhere near them on the charts. Someone else may have this at hand and be able to post the link.
10.30.2008 12:16am
Anony:
Bruce_M: Perhaps "power" is the wrong word. Maybe "status." Barr turned libertarian and immediately won the party's primary. He's a big fish in a little pond now.
10.30.2008 12:17am
wolfefan (mail):
Whoops - I see that Gherald beat me to it on the link.... apologies...
10.30.2008 12:17am
American Psikhushka (mail):
Morat20-

Not every dollar of federal spending is equal in terms of fiscal stimulus.

It is to the extent that, after you've paid for essential services, the most solid long term fiscal stimulus comes from leaving it in the private economy. In other words not taking it from individuals in the first place.
10.30.2008 12:21am
Mark Rockwell (mail):
Nothing is more libertarian than protecting marriage against other, non-state-sanctioned religious interpretations of marriage!
10.30.2008 12:24am
MarkField (mail):

On every single issue that I am aware of, he seems to be at the far left end of the Democratic Party spectrum. I mean really out there.


Really? He's on the far left of telecom immunity?

C'mon, this is simple hysteria on your part. I can assure you that I'm FAR more liberal than Obama (at least based on what he says in his campaign), and there are many more like me. He's not only running as a moderate, the Democratic party has shifted to the right over the last 40 years. Relatively to that scale, he's not all that liberal.


I think we may be talking about (to use Thomas Sowell's recent phrase) a "point of no return."


From your lips to God's ears.
10.30.2008 12:39am
KG2V:
I'm one of those people who was polled by Zogby, who's a Libertarian (self identified), who voted Bush, who said he will vote Barr this time. Want my logic?

I live in NY State (NYC in particular) McCain has NO chance here in NY - Obama is up by double digits. Kerry was ONLY up by single digits 4 years ago, so I said "Bush may only have a snowballs chance, ut it's a chance", so I voted Bush. This time around, McCain has NO chance here in NY, so I might as well vote Barr

If there was any chance of McCain taking the state, I's vote McCain, but
10.30.2008 12:41am
Can't find a good name:
I don't know if Obama is the most liberal member of the Senate; there are several senators who could contend for that title.

But the Americans for Democratic Action, which is the leading group that rates members of Congress from a liberal point of view, has found him to vote consistently on the liberal side. The ADA chooses 20 votes each year to rate members of each house of Congress on.

In 2005, Obama received a 100% rating from ADA, and was listed as one of their "Senate Heroes." However, he was one of 22 senators to receive a 100% liberal rating from ADA that year.

In 2006, Obama received a 95% rating from ADA. The only one of the 20 key votes where he voted against the ADA position was the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement (Obama voted in favor of it).

In 2007, Obama's ADA rating dropped to 75%, but that was because he missed 5 of the 20 key votes. He did vote for the liberal position on the other 15 key votes.

So for his first three years in office, on 60 votes deemed key by a liberal organization, Obama voted for the liberal position on 54 of them, against the liberal position on 1, and missed 5 of the votes.
10.30.2008 12:57am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wolfefan:

I can't find the reference right now, but one of the Conspirators a month or two back linked to a website that does comprehensive analysis of congressional votes (as opposed to the cherry picking of votes that most such ratings provide) which put Obama pretty much in the mainstream of the party... the most liberal senators were Feingold and Sanders, and Obama was nowhere near them on the charts. Someone else may have this at hand and be able to post the link.


I think you might be talking about the Poole-Rosenthal scores, which show that Obama is roughly at the center of his party.
10.30.2008 1:05am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
geo:

So how exactly does sharing the revenues from a state's national resources equally among all its citizens, rich and poor, compare to taking wealth from citizens who have earned it and giving it to others who have not?


The "state's national resources" don't convert themselves into "revenues" via some magic, invisible process.

If I do all the work involved in finding the oil and drilling the well and pumping the oil out of the ground and finding customers and delivering it to them, and then the government takes some of that money away from me and gives it to you, then the government is indeed "taking wealth from citizens who have earned it and giving it to others who have not."

But it's perfectly fine when Palin spreads the wealth around (and she drastically boosted the payments, which is probably one of the main reasons she was getting high approval ratings). Here's why: IOKIYAR.

And of course that's the same reason that no one accused McCain of being a socialist when he opposed the Bush tax cuts a few years ago.
10.30.2008 1:17am
fnook (mail):
Message to Todd Zywicki: attacking Obama as a radical left winger is difficult to do with any credibility from way on out in the wingnutty pastures of the right.
10.30.2008 1:35am
Jmaie (mail):
I can assure you that I'm FAR more liberal than Obama

You say that like it's a good thing! Just kidding, but how would you compare with any of the recent democratic candidates (say from 1980 onwards) and could you be elected?
10.30.2008 1:57am
JRD (mail):
California libertarian (little "l") who voted for Barr because, like the New Yorker, the vote for the Republican is wasted in this state. Unlike some here, I do see major differences between McCain and Obama on tax and fiscal policy issues, but on all other issues, it's like the South Park episode: Turd Sandwich vs. Giant Douche. It is somewhat ironic to see parts of McCain-Feingold coming back to haunt its sponsor as Obama deftly sidesteps the measures that were supposed to promote "fairness", and protect the public from those bad-ole hit pieces. If I weren't concerned more about the fiscal issues with Obama, I would be more pleased to be seeing McCain hoisted on his own petard.
10.30.2008 2:25am
Vermando (mail) (www):
Interesting post. I am voting for the fellow, mainly because the current GOP seems filled by Palinesque anti-intellectuals thugs and, on the intellectual side, utter hacks who need to be shown the door, but I would be lying if I said I was not holding my breath about what the Obama-Reid-Pelosi axis will bring. If I am paying 60% taxes a few years from now while living in an Argentinesque protectionist Republic, I am going to be seriously ticked.
10.30.2008 2:37am
liberrocky:
All I have to say to libertarians who vote for Obama, Suckers.

Here is a guy who has supported the worst excesses of the American left: income redistribution (His own words and voting record), voter fraud (ACORN), campaign finance fraud (his campaign purposley turned off credit card verification), urban machine corruption (Rezko, Alexi Giannoulias), union intimidation (Card Check), national health care, gun control (and shamelessly lies about it even though the documentation exists in his own hand writing)

and you brilliant libertarians think that this guy, with a super majority democratic congress and a fawning media is NOT going to create the most intrusive, corrupt, government we have ever seen?
10.30.2008 2:56am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lib:

voter fraud (ACORN)


I've put quite a bit of effort into trying to find proof that ACORN's work has ever led to single fraudulent vote. I have found no such proof. Have you?

campaign finance fraud (his campaign purposley turned off credit card verification)


You're suffering from a fundamental misunderstanding with regard to how this works. A very clear and helpful explanation is here. Keep scrolling and read all the subsequent comments by morat20.
10.30.2008 3:19am
Syd Henderson (mail):
"While libertarians preferred Bush by a margin of 52 points over Al Gore in 2000"

"lower than the 45 percent and 42 percent Zogby found them giving Bush in the last two elections."

Something's wrong here. Are you sure that first statement shouldn't read 25 points?
10.30.2008 3:41am
pmorem (mail):
Jukeboxgrad

morat20's analysis is incorrect.

The Obama campaign has not been doing Name Verification.

Doodad Pro and Good Will were accepted, processed, and only noticed months later by people outside the campaign.
10.30.2008 6:21am
KG2V:
Jukeboxgrad
"I've put quite a bit of effort into trying to find proof that ACORN's work has ever led to single fraudulent vote. I have found no such proof. Have you? "

Yes and no. Back when my wife and I were first married (read 1988) it was time to change our registration. We were walking doen the street near the "Main Library" here in NYC. We came across a table of folks handing out literature and registering people to vote. We both filled registration cards. Come November and the election, my wife (a Democrat) was registered. Me (a Republican)? Nope. A bit later, that registration drive was investigated, and I first heard of ACORN (I had saved the literature, so I know it was them) - it seems that 100% of the registrations they submitted were for the Democratic Party. Yep, they tossed my registration in the trash

So, in 1988, I missed the one any only General Election I've ever missed (I will admit to missing a few Primaries over the years, but none since 1992). So, was it vote 'fraud'? If the only way you define it is "folks who vote who shouldn't have", no, but if you include making sure people who should be able to vote, can't, yes, I've seen it
10.30.2008 6:30am
MisterBigTop (mail):
True libertarians are going to be very upset eight years from now. Obama is Big Government's Reagan. Whatever one thinks about our current President, you can't really say that he is effective in any area. There won't be anyone who became a supporter of ______ thanks to Bush. I doubt the same will be true for Obama. Leftists love him not just because he agrees with them, but also because he has the charisma and charm required to start a movement.

IMO, McCain is the safe choice. Very little would be done with the Dem congress also in power. Can't say that's a bad thing. This country needs a cooling off period after the last eight years.
10.30.2008 6:37am
Angus:
To me, McCain is not a safe choice at all. He'll end up being surrounded by the same old moralistic, intrusive culture warriors who've polluted the Republican party over the last 20 years. Plus, his willingness to threaten military action as a first response in any situation is terrifying. I honestly think that with McCain in the Presidency, we'd be in wars against Iran and North Korea by the end of his first term. Possibly Russia as well, with the potential backdrop of a full scale nuclear war.

Am I one of the few libertarian leaners (albeit left-libertarian) who believe that the military is far too large and bloated? After all, the founding fathers despised the idea of a large standing army. As it is, we've spent more on our military in recent years than the rest of the world combined.
10.30.2008 7:24am
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
Anony: Barr already had status as a diehard GOP conservative who lead the charge to impeach Bill Clinton. He could have gotten even higher status if he'd turned into a liberal democrat. I don't know that libertarianism comes with any status (at least not any positive status). Granted, you're right in that he quickly became the Lib presidential candidate. But everyone, including Barr, knows that he has no chance of actually winning the presidency. Do you think he became a libertarian because he saw it as the quickest way into the White House? I'd find that hard to believe.

Regardless, I greatly resent any elected official who turns libertarian after he/she leaves office and no longer has any power. Barr is the most egregious example of this, and I'll say it again - fuck you, Bob Barr. Mr. Family values who has been married 3 times, who cheated on his second wife with the woman who became his third wife, who refused to answer questions under oath during his divorce proceeding, who licks whipped cream off of strippers' tits, who voted for the Patriot Act, who voted to prohibit medical marijuana, who was such a right-wing anti-liberty, pro-hypocrisy nutjob that the Libertarian party was instrumental in Barr's defeat in 2002.

But now he's out of power and has come to the realization that the drug war is a failure. Too little, too late. I hated Bob Barr when he was in congress, and I hate him now, even though he says he's changed his mind and now agrees with me. He can go fuck himself.
10.30.2008 7:28am
Angus:
who licks whipped cream off of strippers' tits
This suddenly makes me want to vote for Bob Barr.
10.30.2008 8:02am
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

I've put quite a bit of effort into trying to find proof that ACORN's work has ever led to single fraudulent vote. I have found no such proof. Have you?

This is a good point. Note that several people connected with ACORN have been connected with fraudulent voter registration over the years, with several pleading guilty to both state and federal charges of election fraud:

10/07/08 - ACORN Vegas Office Raided in Voter Fraud Investigation
04/06/08 - Ex-ACORN workers plead guilty to fraud
12/21/07 - Eight ACORN Workers Arrested For Election Fraud
10/26/07 - Guilty plea over phony voter forms
07/26/07 - Felony charges filed against 7 in state's biggest case of voter-registration fraud
05/17/07 - Former ACORN worker pleads guilty
11/01/06 - ACORN Workers Indicted For Alleged Voter Fraud

Clearly, there is an issue with some ACORN workers and election fraud.
10.30.2008 8:33am
interested observer:
mccain could easily be as left wing or more leftist than obama. obama might wish to hold something back for the second term, and would remember bill clinton's first two overreaching years.

mccain is more of a known quantity -- a squishy republican. we know how they behave as executives with large liberal democratic majorities. See arnold schwarzenneger, bill weld. Even GHB in many ways.

even as legislators, this type is likely to give it all away when things hang in the balance (as they would with mccain being the only possible impediment to democrat nirvana): jim jeffords, doris allen.

mccain is already on record as an anti-wall st. populist, a global warmer, an enemy of the first amendment, and in no way is he good on anything libertarians care about. his election would slow down the necessary process of destroying the republican party so that something worthwhile could take its place. voting for barr, for this virginia libertarian, is easy.
10.30.2008 9:35am
pdxbob (mail):
I'm in a blue state as well, so voting for Barr - as Fedya notes - carries no cost.

Though I had to hold my nose when I voted for Barr, if I had voted for Obama that would be cutting off my nose to spite my face. Surely there are other ways to knock some sense into the Republican party other than fostering 4 to 8 years of unbridled progressive enthusiasm?
10.30.2008 9:41am
Cornellian (mail):
Republicans need to be defeated in this election, and probably the next one as well, in order that they have an opportunity to purge the party of the wingnuts who have poisoned it over the past 20 years, just as Buckley purged the John Birch types. That the Democrat is Obama is either irrelevant, or an incidental bonus, depending on your point of view.
10.30.2008 9:48am
pdxbob (mail):

For many, including myself, the social issues are more important than the fiscal issues.


Maslow would like to have a word with you.
10.30.2008 9:58am
Aultimer:

Mark Rockwell (mail):
Nothing is more libertarian than protecting marriage against other, non-state-sanctioned religious interpretations of marriage!

Except getting government out of the marriage (and who's sexing who) business, maybe?
10.30.2008 10:18am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
pmorem:

The Obama campaign has not been doing Name Verification.


I responded to you here.
10.30.2008 10:41am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
kg:

100% of the registrations they submitted were for the Democratic Party. Yep, they tossed my registration in the trash


Proof, please.

if you include making sure people who should be able to vote, can't, yes, I've seen it


You mean they prevented you from checking, prior to election day, to make sure your registration had been entered correctly? And they also prevented you from filing a provisional ballot on election day? Because unless they did both those things, then they weren't "making sure people who should be able to vote, can't."

On the other hand, if you want to see how hard the GOP works to make sure that "people who should be able to vote, can't," then educate yourself about caging.
10.30.2008 10:41am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

several people connected with ACORN have been connected with fraudulent voter registration … there is an issue with some ACORN workers and election fraud


There is a very material difference between these two things:

A) Registration fraud
B) Voting fraud

I realize there is some proof of A (although very little, once you separate rumor, speculation and allegations, from actual proof). But as far as I can tell there is this much proof of B: none. Zero. Zilch. Nevertheless, McCain said this:

Acorn … is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country and maybe destroying fabric of democracy.


A better example of irresponsible, incendiary hyperbole would be hard to find.

What I asked for is proof that ACORN's work has ever led to single fraudulent vote. Can you show me any? So far, you haven't.
10.30.2008 10:41am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
cor:

Republicans need to be defeated in this election, and probably the next one as well, in order that they have an opportunity to purge the party of the wingnuts who have poisoned it over the past 20 years, just as Buckley purged the John Birch types.


That reminds me of Chris Buckley quoting his dad:

I've spent my entire lifetime separating the Right from the kooks
10.30.2008 10:41am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
pdx:

Surely there are other ways to knock some sense into the Republican party other than fostering 4 to 8 years of unbridled progressive enthusiasm?


Let us know when you invent those "other ways."

Maslow would like to have a word with you.


Of course Maslow would say that physical needs take priority over social needs. But he would also say that a small change in physical welfare could be less important than a large change in social welfare. So you're oversimplifying.
10.30.2008 10:41am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
interested:

the necessary process of destroying the republican party so that something worthwhile could take its place


Well said. I think it's worth repeating what John Cole has said about "the new Christian Nationalist party:"

the narrowing of the Republican party down to the vicious, ignorant, bitter core of Palin acolytes and Rovian hacks is a good thing, and the Christian Nationalists that will take over the party will be more than willing to throw aside the McClellans, the Powells, the Buckleys, and everyone who they deem has shown insufficient fealty to the cause. We should support that. The more we can marginalize the rancid remains of the GOP into a discredited Palin wing, the neo-cons with their hillbilly yokel Christian right front, the better.
10.30.2008 10:42am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ault:

Except getting government out of the marriage (and who's sexing who) business, maybe?


I think he was trying to be ironic.
10.30.2008 10:42am
Designbot:
Did you even read any of the comments on your last post?

How can you think that the "most appalling" view of Obama is his supposed desire to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine, when the only statement his campaign has made about it is the unequivocal: "Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters?"

It doesn't get any clearer than that, yet you're (once again) acting like this is a fundamental plank in Obama's platform. You are simply not arguing in good faith.
10.30.2008 10:54am
Calderon:
True libertarians are going to be very upset eight years from now. Obama is Big Government's Reagan. Whatever one thinks about our current President, you can't really say that he is effective in any area. There won't be anyone who became a supporter of ______ thanks to Bush. I doubt the same will be true for Obama. Leftists love him not just because he agrees with them, but also because he has the charisma and charm required to start a movement.

I think true libertarians probably will be disappointed for a long time, though I'm always a pessimist. We had about 20 years in the US (1980-2000) where some policies that would be considered libertarian were followed, though obviously none of the governments during that time were close to "libertarian" We probably won't have even that limited amount of fortune again in our lives.

Given business cycles and how in 2012 we'll likely be in growth times again, Obama would really need screw things up and create a prolonged slump to be voted out of office. The only things I can see that he might do with that result are trade protectionism or change the corporate tax code to cause all corporate income to a company headquartered in the US wherever earned to be taxed at 35%. If he doesn't do those either of those things or they don't have much of an effect on the economy, then the era of ever increasing government will be back with no one in sight to try to put on the brakes. At this point to me, it seems more reasonable to give up libertarian ideals and just focus on getting my piece of the government pie and encouraging the use of government power to curb activities I don't like.

Am I one of the few libertarian leaners (albeit left-libertarian) who believe that the military is far too large and bloated? After all, the founding fathers despised the idea of a large standing army. As it is, we've spent more on our military in recent years than the rest of the world combined.

Angus, I completely agree with this, especially with the fall of the Soviet Union. We should let the military naturally shrink through attrition, higher standards, and less recruiting. If Barney Frank would use the money saved by a 25% decrease for deficit reduction instead of other spending, I'd be all for it. If we reduced the size of our military, reformed Medicare payments, and pegged the age of full social security benefits to life expectancy increases, the country would be on a much firmer path for the long-term economic future. But none of those things is going to happen under Obama, or McCain for that matter.
10.30.2008 11:09am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
MarkField wrote:

Really? He's on the far left of telecom immunity?


If Obama is far on the left on this one, so am I. Telecom immunity moves us towards autocracy in an unacceptable way. I think that in this regard, McCain (who voted against immunity) is far more statist than Obama, as is Clinton (who voted "present").

Also since this was widely supported by the GOP and really does undermine our republican institution, it shows you how "republican" the Republican party really is.
10.30.2008 11:13am
gappy (mail):
Like many here, I strongly dislike many of Obama's economic recommendations, his acritical acceptance of entitlement programs, his cosy relationship with unions. Yet, after the Iraq war, Abu Ghreib, the Patriot Act, Terry Schiavo, I feel that Civil Rights trump marginal tax rates. The GOP must go back to be the principled party of limited government, fiscal restraint, and liberty. Nativist and isolationist tendencies must recede. Currently, the best conservative commentators (Sowell, Will) have little positive to say about conservatives, and focus on attacking the other party with alarming tones. This is a symptom of deep trouble. We should, for one thing, go back to ideas because, after all, "On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées.".
10.30.2008 11:14am
mj:
Todd,


"I guess I just assumed that Obama would be sort of Bill Clintonish--"the era of big government is over" and all that stuff."


Let's also keep in mind that the real Bill Clinton was not the Bill Clinton described above or the Bill Clinton as judged by his accomplishments. Bill Clinton ran as a moderate, appeared to be a moderate, and yet his first action upon inauguration was to attempt an unprecedented government intrusion into healthcare. Only after this initiative was defeated did he return to the moderate positions he ran on. If "moderate" Bill Clinton's first instinct was to sprint left, what can we expect from Obama? "Sprint" doesn't begin to define it.
10.30.2008 11:19am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
It doesn't get any clearer than that, yet you're (once again) acting like this [reimposition of the "Fairness Doctrine"] is a fundamental plank in Obama's platform. You are simply not arguing in good faith.


I think Zywicki is just inadvertently giving us some important information about his own concept of "fairness."
10.30.2008 11:29am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
calderon:

We should let the military naturally shrink


I just want to observe that I find it startling to run into someone who is willing to say this out loud. That is, someone who is apparently not a Democrat, liberal, or some other form of terrorist-loving anti-American.

It seems to me that among so-called 'conservatives' and Republicans, that no principle is more sacrosanct than the idea that the military couldn't possibly ever be too large or too strong. The statement you made would be complete political suicide inside the GOP, right? It would generate the kind of derisive howling that was directed at Ron Paul, right?

I'm just wondering what this tells us about the future direction of the GOP.

gappy:

The GOP must go back to be the principled party of limited government, fiscal restraint, and liberty.


But the military is granted a colossal exemption from the principle of "limited government," right? Just wondering.
10.30.2008 11:29am
Ben Franklin (mail):
I'm a libertarian and I have finally come around to voting for McCain. It's not that Obama was ever an option. Someone who openly touts in his autobiography that he seeks out radicals and Marxists for his companions and mentors is of course disqualified from holding any position of authority... whether dog catcher or code enforcer it matters not.

But with the Republicans voting to throw money at the sub-prime mess without eliminating the loan gaurantees that started the whole thing I have decided not to vote for either of my Republican senators this go around. The anger in the small business community over that fiasco is palpable.

McCain doesn't understand the constitution or the philosophy that made America what it is so he is likely to do damage to them. Obama loathes the constitution and American ideals. He will do damage on purpose and makes no bones about his intentions. In his mind it will be America's just punishment for all of the victims it has created. This mindset was made clear by his answer to the question of whether he would raise the capital gains rate even if it brought in less money and hurt the economy. He said it was a matter of fairness so he would do it anyway. You see, in his mind tax policy is a means of punishment for our sins.

My main concern is trying to sell some portion of my business before the golden child puts his redistribution plans in place. I didn't work without pay for three years starting my own business just so that when I have finally built something of substance some indolent POS can take my money as a handout. I have created hundreds of jobs over the last ten years that have helped people who are deserving of being helped. People who are trying to make it themselves. If I have to pay for all of the others as well then there is really no reason to go on. All of my work will be undone.

My other main concern is how to keep my child from being forced to labor in Lord Obama's mandatory community service fields. This angers me to no end. His conscription of our children for purposes of political indoctrination and self-aggrandizement is something that is only done by third world dictators. The same goes for the fairness doctrine. The left always wants to shut down the opposition outlets... just like Chavez and his bunch of goons. One only has to look at the treatment Joe the Plumber received for daring to ask an impertinent question to see how this is all going to play out. These are dark days indeed for those who love liberty.

The democrats in congress have no love for economic liberty of any sort and only care about our social freedoms as a means to set one group against another and garner more power for themselves. They are the most feckless, economically illiterate and ill-willed collection of rogues to ever hold office in our country. There isn't a single one of them who is fit to work as a used car salesman let alone set our energy policy. Watching them discuss economic policy is like watching a bunch of cavemen sitting around trying to figure out how a television works. They like the pretty images but don't have a clue what it all means or how it got there.

So to sum up;
1: The government will take our money.
2: The government will give it to those who support its goals.
3: Those who disagree will be silenced.
4: The children will be indoctrinated.
5: The media will see to our continued re-education.
6: It will all be for our own good.
7: Michelle Obama will finally be able to be proud of her country.

Welcome to the new American Gulag my friends.
10.30.2008 11:34am
Calderon:
It seems to me that among so-called 'conservatives' and Republicans, that no principle is more sacrosanct than the idea that the military couldn't possibly ever be too large or too strong. The statement you made would be complete political suicide inside the GOP, right? It would generate the kind of derisive howling that was directed at Ron Paul, right?

JBG -- probably, though it would depend on some extent in how it was pitched. For example, someone arguing that the US's fights against terrorism in the future will depend more on intelligence and urban warfare and less on pitched battles, and so we should shift resources to the first two items and spend less on our "standard" military that might be better received. Or if it was cast as partly nationalistic saying that we don't need a huge standing military all the time since we're so awesome that we can instantly build a huge military when necessary (as in WWII) it might be somewhat better.
But on the flip side there are other issues besides the military that likely would be considered suicide to tamper with (such as Medicare, social security, or raising taxes on the lower and middle classes) and so it isn't unique.
10.30.2008 11:53am
TEvanFisher (mail):
As I've stated elsewhere, my vote is for Barr. Bruce M might hate the man, but as someone who has met him a few times and shared a beer with him, I believe that Bob is genuine in his conversion. He won the LP nomination in a series of fair votes, and he is the best choice on the ballot.

I know, I know.. he was a horrible Republican when he was in Congress, but I have to admit, I was a Republican at that time too.

People change. People come to realizations. Barr, for one, has admitted his mistakes and asked the LP, and specifically the Outright Libertarians, to forgive him. How often to politicians apologize for their votes and positions (as opposed to their sex, drug, and money scandals)?

For those of you who think that voting McCain will somehow protect you from a terrible statist regime, consider the history. The modern Republican Party has proven that if it is in power, it will expand the size and scope of government without regard for the Constitution. However, when not in power, those same Republicans will sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reasons. In short, a Republican minority likes to dress up in libertarian costumes and rage against the Democrat-controlled machine (while secretly hoping that they can one day sit at the controls again).

If McCain wins, the Republicans in Congress will roll over and rubber stamp his big-government policies. If Obama wins, the Republicans will be a useful opposition force.

I don't recommend this as rationale for voting for Obama, but by all means, vote your conscience. Vote as if your vote is the one that decides the whole damn thing and feel good about yourself the next day.

A final word for Bruce M and other Barr haters:
Remember that Libertarian candidates across the nation will benefit from Barr votes, so even if you dislike the man personally, think about voting for the cause he represents. Also, come to the 2012 LP Convention and vote for the candidate of your choice. Instead of bemoaning the nominee, try participating in the process.
10.30.2008 12:02pm
MarkField (mail):

how would you compare with any of the recent democratic candidates (say from 1980 onwards) and could you be elected?


I'm probably more liberal than any of them on civil liberties issues (on which I'm pretty libertarian). On economic issues, I can't remember well enough to say.


If Obama is far on the left on this one, so am I. Telecom immunity moves us towards autocracy in an unacceptable way. I think that in this regard, McCain (who voted against immunity) is far more statist than Obama, as is Clinton (who voted "present").


I'm a little confused by your comments here, but I agree that telecom immunity was a very bad idea, and I was so angry with Obama about it that I stopped doing anything to help him get elected (though I will vote for him).
10.30.2008 12:02pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

What I asked for is proof that ACORN's work has ever led to single fraudulent vote. Can you show me any? So far, you haven't.

I was clear in what I posted:

I realize there is some proof of A (although very little, once you separate rumor, speculation and allegations, from actual proof).

Agreed. Please read my post again. There was little rumor, speculation and allegations. Of the stories mentioned previously, there was:

- Twelve pleas of guilty to federal election fraud (Missouri)
- Three guilty pleas to state felony charges of providing false information on voter forms (Washington state)

Many of these workers were voter registration recruiters for ACORN.

Found some additional info:

10/22/08 - Ex-ACORN aide held in voter-registration fraud (he worked for ACORN when the alleged fraud was committed. It should be noted that ACORN notified law enforcement when they suspected possible wrongdoing.)

This is not to say there is not other wrongdoing by other organizations and individuals - there is. But ACORN seems to have a number of arrests, indictments and convictions for election related charges. Maybe that's because they are a good-sized organization.
10.30.2008 12:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

Please read my post again. There was little rumor, speculation and allegations.


These are the headlines you posted:

10/07/08 - ACORN Vegas Office Raided in Voter Fraud Investigation
04/06/08 - Ex-ACORN workers plead guilty to fraud
12/21/07 - Eight ACORN Workers Arrested For Election Fraud
10/26/07 - Guilty plea over phony voter forms
07/26/07 - Felony charges filed against 7 in state's biggest case of voter-registration fraud
05/17/07 - Former ACORN worker pleads guilty
11/01/06 - ACORN Workers Indicted For Alleged Voter Fraud


Three of those refer to a guilty plea. That's what I call proof of something. The other four refer to an "investigation," or people "arrested," or "charges filed," or people "indicted." That's what I call various forms of allegations. You just said this:

There was little rumor, speculation and allegations


4 of the 7 headlines are describing "allegations." I don't call that "little." A better word would be 'most.'

Ex-ACORN aide held in voter-registration fraud


That is yet another story about an arrest. That is an 'allegation.'

But ACORN seems to have a number of arrests, indictments and convictions for election related charges


One more time: "arrests" and "indictments" are a form of "allegations." I asked for proof. That means convictions or guilty pleas. You have now cited 8 articles. 5 of the 8 are about allegations.

And this many of the 8 show proof of voter fraud, rather than just registration fraud: zero.

One more time: I asked for proof of voting fraud. Most of what you are showing me is allegations regarding registration fraud.

One more time: what I asked for is proof that ACORN's work has ever led to single fraudulent vote. Can you show me any? So far, you haven't.
10.30.2008 12:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ben:

So to sum up


I'm surprised you didn't mention the gay abortions (H/T to PC).
10.30.2008 12:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
calderon:

it would depend on some extent in how it was pitched


Thanks for that clear and intelligent answer. I agree.

there are other issues besides the military that likely would be considered suicide to tamper with


I agree with that too. I'm in favor of means-testing, and other similar ideas.
10.30.2008 12:39pm
Festooned with Christmas tree ornaments:
Todd, in the words of Andy Dufresne, How can you be so obtuse? Is it deliberate?

As noted by other commenters in this thread and the previous one, Obama's only statement on the fairness doctrine said he was against it. So your concern on that score is unfounded unless you have decided without evidence that he is lying.
10.30.2008 12:56pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:


You've got a point.

We'll agree to call "arrests" and "indictments":

"allegations."

You should know that some of the articles that I noted were arrests and indictments that later led to guilty pleas. For example:

Of the four people noted in this story, three of the people noted as being indicted in that story pled guilty as noted here. The fourth, Kwaim A. Stenson, pled guilty (looked it up on PACER).

Of the seven people indicted in this story, three pled guilty (story here), and of the remaining five, one failed to show up for her arraignment and a warrant carrying $10,000 bail for her arrest were issued, charges against one person were dismissed, and the remaining three pled guilty (story here). Please note that one of the people claims that ACORN knew nothing of his illegal voter regulation activities prior to his arrest.

Of the eight workers indicted for election fraud in this story, all eight pled guilty to federal election fraud.

Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.


One more time: what I asked for is proof that ACORN's work has ever led to single fraudulent vote. Can you show me any? So far, you haven't.


No, and I don't believe I made the allegation that ACORN's work has definitely led to a single fraudulent vote. I believe it is reasonable to consider that ACORN's work has led to fraudulent voting - just a hunch based on the number of guilty pleas of ACORN employees in just the last two years.
10.30.2008 1:39pm
mike lawson (mail):
i early voted for Barr for the reasons stated.
i'll sleep well now.
10.30.2008 1:55pm
Kirsten (www):
Former NJ supreme court justice Andrew Napolitano had an op ed in yesterday's WSJ about the Constitution that details how egregiously the federal government has expanded its powers over (in his words) "virtually every generation and during virtually every presidency."

If only this were discussed more openly!

IMO, we need to find a way to educate more Americans about the Constitution as a document that limits federal power. I believe this is the key to defining a core set of political values that people can both understand and that will give people a ruler by which to measure candidates regardless of their nominal political affiliation. It will provide a more solid and therefore lasting foundation for the "small government" notion that inspired so-called Reagan Democrats.

Obama's appeal is that he knows how to use uplifting rhetoric. He is dangerous however because that rhetoric is in the service of an ambitious expansion of federal power.

People need to be inspired -- it's human nature to want to align our actions with ideals. Therefore, IMO, if libertarians want to play a meaningful role in politics in the future, we have to find a way to inspire people to value our Constitution (the actual Constitution, not the imaginary document they think they know). I don't see any other way -- everything else devolves almost immediately into arguments over who gets a bigger piece of the public pie. Bleh.
10.30.2008 2:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
kirsten:

we need to find a way to educate more Americans about the Constitution as a document that limits federal power


Good point:

Government agents should not have the right to stop and question Americans anywhere without suspicion within 100 miles of the border


That covers about 2/3 of the population.

Obama's appeal is that he knows how to use uplifting rhetoric. He is dangerous however because that rhetoric is in the service of an ambitious expansion of federal power.


Anyone who voted for Bush is in a weak position to whine about "an ambitious expansion of federal power." Especially if that whining only just started. Where have you been?
10.30.2008 2:19pm
Leland (mail):
I already voted. However, I must admit that my reasoning was very similar to Todd's. There was a period in which I thought Obama wasn't a major threat, and so I could vote Libertarian (even if I laugh at the concept of Bob Barr being one).

What bothers me isn't what Obama is saying. It is the fact that he has never voted against the far left of his party, and listen to what those people are saying...

Do I support nationalizing the oil companies? No way, but did Obama or other Democrats distance themselves from Maxine Waters on this comment? No.

Do I support cutting defense spending 25%? Perhaps not very libertarian of me, but no way. However, Barney Frank, who just pushed for bailing out his Fannie Mae buddy (literally), would cut defense to pay for a socialist agenda. Both McCain and Obama voted for the bailout, neither really supported it, but Obama has suggested cutting defense to pay for his education agenda.

I'd love to hear a Democrat suggest that Canada's Human Right's Commission is something that should never happen in the US. Instead, both Congresswoman Pelosi and Senator Reed have supported bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. Other Democrats suggest this could happen in the first 100 days. Perhaps it won't survive Supreme Court review, but many thought the same thing about campaign finance reform.

I can provide many other examples, but when I considered who would oppose some of the laws that the Democratic Congress was suggesting; that helped me to make my mind on who to give my vote.
10.30.2008 2:27pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

You should know that some of the articles that I noted were arrests and indictments that later led to guilty pleas.


Yes, I considered that possibility, and yes, I only judged the headlines. Because I had a very strong hunch that if I plowed through all the stories I would discover that they did not contain what I challenged you to present.

Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.


Thank you. But what it caused on this end was something other than confusion.

I don't believe I made the allegation that ACORN's work has definitely led to a single fraudulent vote


Fair enough. But so many people seem to be confused about this that a lazy reader could have seen your answer and walked away with the impression that you had actually answered my question.

just a hunch


I have "a hunch" that Dubya tortures puppies. "A hunch" isn't worth much, and "a hunch" is definitely not a basis for McCain to say this:

Acorn … is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.
10.30.2008 2:35pm
John Skookum (mail):
Mark L: here's another reason to vote for Obama: President Sarah Palin. Ought to give you a real fright before Halloween.

Why? Apart from abortion and gay marriage, she's far and away the most libertarian candidate in the race. Even on those two issues, she has not lifted a finger to impose her religious views since she won the Governor's seat.

I happen to think she is much smarter than people have judged her on the basis of a mere 90 seconds or so of flubbed interview questions, and that her instincts, principles, and common sense are in the finest American tradition. She would make an excellent President. She does not scare me in the least.

LN: Did you know that Governor Sarah Palin used to be a socialist?

That's a crock. If you want to argue that the oil companies ought to be allowed to pump oil off public lands without any royalties or severance taxes, feel free, but I don't think even most libertarians will agree.

And Sarah had the right idea what to do with the money after she renegotiated the severances with Big Oil. I would also note that she negotiated predictable, stable severance taxes instead of vindictive "windfall profits" taxes, which is another sign of her good judgment. A pity she didn't point out the difference to dumbass Joe Biden when he left her a perfect opening in the debate.

If Barack Obama had been in her place, all that money and then some would have been spent on new government boondoggles. And when Obama speaks of sharing the wealth, he's talking about the sweat off Joe the Plumber's brow, not natural resources held in trust for all citizens. The people of Alaska own that oil. They do not own Joe the Plumber, you, or me.

There is simply no comparison to be made between the severance taxes refunded equally to all citizens by Gov. Palin, and the punitive, incentive-killing taxes for which Obama proposes to single out higher-income individuals.
10.30.2008 3:00pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

"I have "a hunch" that Dubya tortures puppies. "A hunch" isn't worth much, and "a hunch" is definitely not a basis for McCain to say this:"

Agreed. I would not expect people to put any more weight on my hunch that anyone else's, depending on the matter.

And the statement you provided made by McCain is ridiculous.
10.30.2008 3:06pm
LN (mail):
<i>There is simply no comparison to be made between the severance taxes refunded equally to all citizens by Gov. Palin, and the punitive, incentive-killing taxes for which Obama proposes to single out higher-income individuals.</i>

Absolutely. And this isn't just a matter of speculation either. Most people here are probably too young to remember, but we once had an American socialist President who imposed punitive, incentive-killing taxes on the population -- the same tax rates Obama is proposing, or even higher. This man nearly killed off capitalism in America.

His name was William Jefferson Clinton. Look it up in the history books, because unfortunately there are too few people still around today who were there when he ruled America with his iron socialist fist.
10.30.2008 3:24pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
What exactly is a statist foreign policy? I was under the impression that in our system of government Foreign Policy is one of the defined functions of the Federal Government.

Are we building an empire ala the Brits? Or liberating countries and then helping them to work out their own destinies?

Is the world more libertarian with a self governing Iraq? Or would it have been more libertarian with Saddam in charge?
10.30.2008 3:25pm
Dennis Todd (mail):
I posted the following in the comments section of Sager's post, linked above:

Socially liberal libertarians face a tough choice with consequences no matter what they do. Go with Republicans and deal with social conservatives or abandon them to give the totalitarian economics of the Democrats an electoral advantage.

It seems though that 'socially liberal' libertarians have failed in the relationship with social conservatives. The libertarian ideal is rooted in the self-evident individual right to live free and own the product of one's labor. Social conservatives believe the same but that such rights are endowed by our Creator.

The goal then, should be to move society away from the past 80 years of coercive centralized collectivism back toward principled collectivism, which acknowledges the needs of the poor and persuades other free citizens to volunteer their individual lives (ie, time and money) to help those in need.

Small 'c' communism works when members of the collective are free to join or leave or maybe even tailor their level of commitment. That's what civic organizations and churches ARE!

On issue after issue dividing us socially, the one common thing should be freedom - freedom to live by one's own conscience, up until it violates the rights of another.

Up to here I would hope most libertarians agree, especially on the last point. But when the right to life is raised in opposition to abortion, the coalition fractures. Can this issue be resolved in a way which satisfies both sides?

Here is where socially liberal libertarians need to compromise. For one, it is inarguable that human life begins at conception. The genesis of every person began with a male and female parent joining chromosomes to conceive a new code which immediately begins replicating cells (ie, 'living').

Second, the mother-child relationship is unique among individuals due to the host role of the mother.

It makes sense to admit sexual intercourse is how two people create a new person and that respecting innocent life is vitally important. But how to square this seeming common-sense proposition, supported by law where unborn children are killed without parental consent, with the widespread practice of the child's life being subject to the mother's convenience and/or pride (in most cases)?

Change the law to reflect unborn humans as chattel property until born. In this manner we can all then admit the obvious - that abortion ends an innocent human life - but that if it is a sin, the state can leave judgment to God and/or the conscience of those involved.

The same is true moving away from government run education to government funded/privately run to privately funded endowments for universal education. But that means allowing parents the choice of schools friendly to Young Earth Creation 'Science' or Wiccan 'Gaia Theory' or secularist scientism.

Eventually students with brains enough to handle the rigors of college level learning, will have to confront modern science. For those who don't like religion or find it irrational, this is where the many converts to materialism occur.

The bottom line regardless is of freedom to believe as one wishes to the extent allowable by the rights of others. Religious conservatives, the so-called extreme ideologues of the right, are much, much more inclined to hear the individual freedom argument than the extreme ideologues of the left.
10.30.2008 3:32pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Oh. Yeah.

I see a lot of blame re: statism going to the parties and the candidates. Which is a fools game.

We have elections. We get the government we deserve. If True Libertarians™ had enough of a constituency at least one party would be running a libertarian candidate. (the closest we have to that ideal is Palin)

You want a more libertarian government? Get a more libertarian people. Of course changing people's minds is a lot harder that changing candidates. No wonder few want to do the work. So we get endless bitch fests about how inadequate the candidates are.

I'm voting for McCain to slow the slide some until I can change enough minds. And I refuse to cry about it.
10.30.2008 3:35pm
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
Remember that Libertarian candidates across the nation will benefit from Barr votes, so even if you dislike the man personally, think about voting for the cause he represents. Also, come to the 2012 LP Convention and vote for the candidate of your choice. Instead of bemoaning the nominee, try participating in the process.

I really dislike the notion that third party candidates "steal" votes from one or more of the other parties - it makes it sound like votes belong to the Democrats or Republicans by default. Yeah, I known we have a two party system and in a sense, votes sorta do belong to them barring any additional options. But it's a post hoc way of thinking and devoid of respect for the democratic process. I hate blaming Nader for Gore's loss... Gore should have been a better candidate. While it's true that any Libertarian candidate's votes will likely come more from people who would otherwise vote Republican than Democrat (Barr used to be a Republican), votes are not earned until they're cast. The best way to make sure your guy wins is not to plot for third parties to steal the votes from the opposition, but for your candidate of choice to get your vote and support. Again, the whole "Third party candidate X cost real-party candidate (D or R) the election" is based on the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

I'm a small "l" libertarian, not a capital L Libertarian (Member of the political party). So I really don't care who the Libertarian party nominee is. I just hate Bob Barr for the positions he used to espouse while he was in office. I only care about his personal life (multiple wives, infidelity, divorces, strippers, abortions) insofar as it conflicts with his "Mr. Morals" family values, "pro-marriage" persona and makes him a hypocrite.

Also, Bob Barr is not for drug legalization, only for state regulation, so I don't see how he can possibly be a real Libertarian/libertarian. No L/libertarian believes the government, state or federal, has any business regulating what we voluntarily put into our own bodies in the privacy of our own homes.
10.30.2008 3:38pm
Bill2 (mail):

"I know Republicans who voted Republican because they believed that the party wouldn't do what it claimed on cultural conservative issues."


Assuming you mean "cultural" as "Christian" - just what, exactly, has it done on such issues besides talk?

Overturned Roe - not.
Passed a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage - not.
Prayer in public schools - not.
School choice - not.
Creationism in the public school curriculum - not.
10 Commandment plaques in public schools - not.
"Saved" Terri Schiavo from getting her plug pulled - not.
Saved Judge Moore's 10 Commandments monument - not.

I could go on... but they seem quite ineffective to me. There's only thing on the list that would actually be possible with either amending the constitution or holding the White House and the Senate for about 20 consecutive years (and I mean Christian Conservatives holding them, so as to appoint a majority to the USSC that is basically Christian Right activists). Such a degree of Christian Right dominance probably isn't even possible in Alabama, much less at the national level. So, the only one realistically possible would be school choice, and I'd think libertarians would prefer that to a public school monopoly.

Supporting the Democrats out of fear of the Christian Right seems rather like supporting the Kremlin c.1952 out of fear of Franco's Spain.


"Hmm, at least according to this article Obama is on the record as not supporting the fairness doctrine:"


Do you think he'd veto it if (when) the Democratic Congress puts it on his desk?


"Palin was a dealbreaker."


Oh, good grief. This is so silly that I can't wrap my mind around how any libertarian could actually think it. Palin's a Fundy - so what? As I wrote above, they are quite ineffective at accomplishing anything even with a GOP Congress. Nor has she ever emphasized Fundy issues in the way she conducted herself in office.

There are distinct differences between what Obama would sign and what McCain (or Palin) would sign, from among things that a filibuster-proof Democrat Congress is highly likely to pass...

Substantial and strongly anti-growth tax increases.
Substantial new entitlements that the leftward ratchet will insure we can never get rid of.
Renewal of the AWB (which is in the 2008 Democratic Party platform)
The Fairness Doctrine (again, BHO may not call for it, but they'll pass it without his needing to do so &he won't veto it).

There will also be a distinct difference in how an Obama and McCain (Palin) administration is likely to handle things on the executive side that should matter to libertarians...

Treaties (that the Democratic Senate will surely ratify) surrendering US sovereignty to various "international organizations", anti-growth "environmental" treaties, UN anti-gun initiatives, etc...
Court appointments (that the Democratic Senate will surely confirm) leading to the application of foreign law to the interpretation of our constitution, possible overturning of Heller (certainly no extension of it to the states or holding DC's feet to the fire on implementing it).
Renewal of the Clinton-era administrative war on FFL's (here's a little quote from the anti-gun Violence Policy Center: "When President Clinton took office in 1993, there were more than 245,000 Americans holding Type 1 Federal Firearms Licenses. Because of changes in the management of the licensing procedure made by the Clinton Administration and due in large part to changes in federal law related to gun dealers, by February 1996 the number of Type 1 Federal Firearms Licenses had plummeted to 142,220").

Meanwhile, let's say McCain get's elected and has the big one dancing at the inaugural ball, and just as Palin sits down in the Oval Office she's possessed by the ghost of Jerry Fallwell. She can actually do what about the Fundy agenda? With a strongly Democratic Congress? She's not amending the constitution or getting her appointment of Pat Robertson to the Supreme Court confirmed, and short of that the Fundy agenda isn't going anyplace. Pretty much, she’ll be limited to saying things you don’t agree with in speeches. However, given a strongly Democratic Congress, our money &guns are significantly safer with either McCain or Palin in the Whitehouse than with any Democrat who could actually get his/her party's nomination.
10.30.2008 4:06pm
Ken Nelson (www):
I'm registered Republican but philosophically libertarian.I register Republican because in American elections the winner takes all. That means a vote for Barr is a vote for whoever (Democrat or Republican) is worse from a libertarian view.

McCain and Obama suck, but practically speaking McCain is closer to economic libertarian views. Neither is particularly close to cultural libertarian views (drug legalization being the prime example).

My recommendation... if your state is going Red for sure, vote Barr if you must make a statement. If blue or purple, vote McCain as I think it is pretty obvious that Obama is far worse from a libertarian perspective.

Ken Nelson - www.kennelson.com
10.30.2008 4:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
skookum:

her instincts, principles, and common sense are in the finest American tradition


She has told a stunning number of outright lies. Like this one. You call that "principles?" You have exceptionally low standards.

If Barack Obama had been in her place, all that money and then some would have been spent on new government boondoggles.


You mean like a gorgeous, expensive hockey complex in a town where the high school is nationally known as a "dropout factory?"

Or do you mean the fifty grand she spent remodeling her office?

Or do you mean the way she charges the state for her kids' travel, like four nights in New York in a $700 room?

Is that what you mean by "boondoggles?"

the severance taxes refunded equally to all citizens by Gov. Palin


Spreading the wealth is still spreading the wealth, even when the GOP does it.
10.30.2008 5:33pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bill:

Supporting the Democrats out of fear of the Christian Right seems rather like supporting the Kremlin c.1952 out of fear of Franco's Spain.


Your argument would be more convincing in a world where the USSC had no importance. There's a fine balance there. You gloss over this reality.

Nor has she ever emphasized Fundy issues in the way she conducted herself in office.


She hasn't been there very long. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. Likewise for Jesusland.
10.30.2008 5:33pm
davod (mail):
"Obama is NOT in favor of imposing the Fairness doctrine. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6573406.html"

If you believe this, have a bridge to nowhere to sell you.
10.30.2008 5:37pm
Sagar:
there is a good reason to vote for obama: if he loses, half the country will always believe that had he won, he would have healed the planet, moved the oceans back, and brought the world together. his presidency is the only way for many to actually understand the consequences.

I early voted for Bob Barr - though I dislike that guy as much as i dislike the other 2 candidates - so Libertarian Party will have at least 2 or 3 % of total vote.
10.30.2008 5:37pm
Sagar:
jukebox,

Are you seriously arguing that "equally distributing the royalties from state mineral (or any natural resource) rights to all of the citizens" is same as "taking money from those who earn it and distributing it to those who don't"?
10.30.2008 5:47pm
davod (mail):
"If I do all the work involved in finding the oil and drilling the well and pumping the oil out of the ground and finding customers and delivering it to them, and then the government takes some of that money away from me and gives it to you, then the government is indeed "taking wealth from citizens who have earned it and giving it to others who have not."

Rubbish. You are paying the government for using and extracting resources from goverment land.
10.30.2008 5:53pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
What exactly is a statist foreign policy?


I don’t think that there is such a thing. Libertarianism pretty much stops at the water’s edge and doesn’t have anything to do with the relations between governments/countries which is what foreign policy is.
10.30.2008 5:54pm
Jeff the Baptist (mail) (www):
It seems to me that among so-called 'conservatives' and Republicans, that no principle is more sacrosanct than the idea that the military couldn't possibly ever be too large or too strong. The statement you made would be complete political suicide inside the GOP, right?
Do you know who coined the term military-industrial complex and warned of it's dominance? Eisenhower. Which party did he belong to again?

I'm a Republican who works for the military and I fully expect our current levels of spending to drop within the next presidential administration no matter who wins. I don't think the current spending levels are necessary if we aren't actively fighting two wars and, once the wars are over, I'd like to see spending drop by a quarter or a third. Use that extra money to restore a budget surplus and pay down the national debt.

Why do Republicans hate Defense cuts now? Because we're at war! The Democrats seem addicted to cutting defense spending on arbitrary calender-driven schedules. Because that worked so well for Nixon in Vietnam. You need to draw down on an event-driven basis that meets objective requirements for national defense, not based on a calendar date.

Nor do I hear an admission that steep defense cuts are not capable of paying for any significant level of entitlement growth. Social Security requires about as much of the Federal Budget as the DoD/WoT. If you combine the Federal Healthcare programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP, they are also comparable in size to the DoD. Defense cuts are not going to pay for significant expansions in any of these programs.
10.30.2008 6:27pm
Jeff the Baptist (mail) (www):
2) In the end, what helps ensure our liberty against the state is a strong tradition of civil liberties. McCain, aside from the torture issue, has a pretty bad record in this area (McCain-Feingold is the example you mentioned, but also see retroactive immunity for telecoms, etc). Obama's record here is far better.
Unless you count the 2nd amendment as a civil liberty. If you disregard the ACLU's take, then Obama is no better. With the Joyce Foundation, Obama literally lead a vast left-wing conspiracy to abridge a constitutionally enumerated civil liberty throughout the 90s. You can't say that about many people.
10.30.2008 6:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
sagar:

Are you seriously arguing …


davod:

Rubbish …


Spreading the wealth around is spreading the wealth around, even when the GOP does it. Pay attention to how Palin herself describes it:

And Alaska—we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs. … It’s to maximize benefits for Alaskans, not an individual company, not some multinational somewhere, but for Alaskans.


Did you catch that? Alaska is "unlike other states in the union." In the worker's paradise of Alaska, "collectively Alaskans own the resources." Excellent! "Collectively." Alaska is a collective. And that's great. Know why? Because "we share in the wealth." What a great idea! Share the wealth!

The situation is summed up pretty nicely here:

For her part, Sarah Palin, who has lately taken to calling Obama “Barack the Wealth Spreader,” seems to be something of a suspect character herself. She is, at the very least, a fellow-traveller of what might be called socialism with an Alaskan face. The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government’s activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year’s check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269. A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.” Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it (“collectively,” no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist.


And speaking of Karl the Marxist, which pinko came up with the idea the government should own all that land, and all that oil? Doesn't Palin believe in free markets, and private ownership? Why would anyone think the government can manage that land more efficiently than a private company would? If it's OK for the government to own all that land, why not just let the government own all the land in the whole state? What's the difference? Because it's a good idea to "share in the wealth," right?
10.30.2008 7:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
jeff:

Do you know who coined the term military-industrial complex and warned of it's dominance? Eisenhower. Which party did he belong to again?


Jeff, we're in so-called violent agreement. I'm well-aware of all that. Trouble is, Ike is spinning in his grave. As the saying goes, this is not your grandfather's GOP.
10.30.2008 7:36pm
Bill2 (mail):

Your argument would be more convincing in a world where the USSC had no importance. There's a fine balance there. You gloss over this reality.


I don't think so:

"With a strongly Democratic Congress? She's not amending the constitution or getting her appointment of Pat Robertson to the Supreme Court confirmed, and short of that the Fundy agenda isn't going anyplace."

Without 60 solidly Fundy Senators, nobody is getting on the USSC who is enough of a Fundy activist to overturn the numerous precidents that would have to go in order to impliment most of the Fundy agenda. I don't think we have one such Justice today, so the Fundies would really need five such appointments. That's just not going to happen. However, there are a host of issues that should be of concern to libertarians on which the court is indeed finely balanced on the whim of Anthony Kennedy, and replacing any one Justice other than the liberal four with another liberal would tip the court sharply on those issues - much to the detriment of the libertarian point of view on those issues (RKBA, affirmative action, invokation of foriegn law as precident in US domstic cases, etc...).


She hasn't been there very long. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. Likewise for Jesusland.


She was mayor for 6 years and governor for two. She left a record remarkably free of attempts to turn either Wasilla or Alaska into "Jesusland". In fact, she vetoed a measure to deny benefits to gay couples - hardly the action of a budding theocrat. Not that it matters, because no realisaticaly conceivable Fundy electoral victory is going to produce the conditions necessary for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. It is a windmill for Quixotic Fundies and a bogeyman with which the left frightens gays &their socially liberal/libertarian friends.

BTW, the whole "Jesusland" thing is a canard. The Religious Right is mearly one of several factions in the conservative coalition, and as I pointed out they have been remarkably unsuccessful at accomplishing any of their agenda when the GOP has been in power. The other factions depend on the energy of the CR, but have been much more successful at getting what they want when the GOP is in power - pro-growth economic policies, big defense, resisting pressure to submit to "international institutions", precluding additional gun control and even advancing pro-gun legislation (although more at the state level than federal - concealed carry, preemption laws, etc...). Truth to tell, all the CR really gets from the GOP is lip service, and I suppose one of these days they'll recognize it and bolt (but I hope that doesn't happen until I'm dead &gone, because their cooperation is necessary to avoid a permanent liberal Democrat majority that I don't think any sort of libertarian or conservative would like).
10.30.2008 7:36pm
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
Bill2 the republicans were unable to unilaterally change the social issues you list because it's not up to them, it's up to the Supreme Court. And they have tried as hard as they can to get the SOCTUS to rule in their favor on those issues. They've consistently lost, and have decided that their best strategy is to pack the court with conservative, christian, theofascist judges. And that's precisely what they're doing with Roberts, Alito, and all the other Bush nominees to the federal bench. O'Connor is gone, Kennedy is the swing vote now, and if the republicans get their way, they'll get to replace Ginsburg, Stevens, and Souter with neocon religious nuts who won't hesitate to shit on stare decisis by overturning roe v. wade, allowing flag burning bans (without a constitutional amendment), requiring prayer in public school, allowing all christian religious displays on public property (but nonchristian displays will still violate the First Amendment), etc.

The fate of the supreme court, and thus the fate of our liberty, hangs in the balance. You seem to think the GOP can change supreme court precedent merely by getting elected. No, they need to pack the court. All other attempts have failed. That's why judicial appointments and "litmus tests" are so important these days.
10.30.2008 8:24pm
ThomasD (mail):
so you have no problem with the state owning collective resources, and then distributing the generated revenues equally among all its citizens?

The existence of a State presumes some non-zero amount of collective resources. This is why libertarianism is a wonderful principle, but an impossible form of governance.

I'm not even going to get into your interpretation of equality.
10.30.2008 8:24pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Bruce_M Wrote:

Democracy does not, and cannot work with a voting base that only cares about sports, American Idol, and not being killed by criminals/terrorists.


That has to be the best quote of the day.
10.30.2008 8:42pm
David Warner:
Einhverfr,

"That has to be the best quote of the day."

Kinda. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Except, you know, Hitler.
10.30.2008 9:10pm
Bill2 (mail):

They've consistently lost, and have decided that their best strategy is to pack the court with conservative, christian, theofascist judges. And that's precisely what they're doing with Roberts, Alito, and all the other Bush nominees to the federal bench. O'Connor is gone, Kennedy is the swing vote now, and if the republicans get their way, they'll get to replace Ginsburg, Stevens, and Souter with neocon religious nuts who won't hesitate to shit on stare decisis by overturning roe v. wade, allowing flag burning bans (without a constitutional amendment), requiring prayer in public school, allowing all christian religious displays on public property (but nonchristian displays will still violate the First Amendment), etc.


Got a little news flash for yah - Roberts &Alito are no such thing. They are judicially conservative, which means they will reject BOTH the leftist arguements about the "living cobstitution" and the CR's arguements about the bible taking precidence over the constitution.

Your wording "neocon religious nuts" betrays your ignorance like a dunce cap on your head. Neocons are secular conservative Wilsonians, many of whom are not even Christians, much less fundamentalist Christians. The so-called "religious nuts" of which you write are Christian Conservatives. Any overlap between their agendas beyond generic opposition to the "let's remake America in the mold of Western Europe" left is coincidence, and if the Left went poof in a cloud of sulfuric smoke tomorrow they'd be at each others throats the day after.
10.30.2008 10:08pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bill:

She was mayor for 6 years and governor for two. She left a record remarkably free of attempts to turn either Wasilla or Alaska into "Jesusland".


The day that she mostly stopped being a governor in order to become mostly a national candidate, she had been a governor for less than 21 months. She is also shrewd enough to not play her cards all at once. But she still showed signs of where she wants to take things.

There's her proclamation of "Christian Heritage Week," which "plucks Founding Father quotes out of context to give misleading impressions about their views on the role of religion in society."

There's her practice of using state funds to attend religious events:

An Associated Press review of the Republican vice presidential candidate's record as mayor and governor reveals her use of elected office to promote religious causes, sometimes at taxpayer expense and in ways that blur the line between church and state. Since she took state office in late 2006, the governor and her family have spent more than $13,000 in taxpayer funds to attend at least 10 religious events and meetings with Christian pastors, including Franklin Graham, the son of evangelical preacher Billy Graham, records show.


There's the report that Palin apparently became mayor by (in part) suggesting that her opponent (Stein) wasn't Christian. See also here and here.

There's her saying "teach both" in response to a question about creationism (although she backpedaled the next day).

There's her replacing Monegan with Kopp, even though she knew he had a history of sexual harassment. And then she lied and pretended she didn't know this, even though there's proof she did. But she hired him anyway, because he "was a rising star in Alaska's Christian conservative movement."

Then there's her palling around with "religious leaders who practice a particularly assertive and urgent brand of Pentecostalism known as 'spiritual warfare.' "

This is not my idea of "remarkably free." All these signs point in one direction: Jesusland. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just not where I want to live.
10.30.2008 11:24pm
David Warner:
Bill2,

Engaging with certain posters just provides more free airtime for beyond-Axelrod attacks. This is the fourth time I've counted for this one. Poster beware.
10.30.2008 11:34pm
Bill2 (mail):
jukeboxgrad: You are totally making a mountain out of a mole hill. None of that petty crap exactly adds up to channeling Cotton Mather. And what if it did, as I said if she got in the Whitehouse and was suddenly possessed by the ghost of Jerry Fallwell, the most she could actually accomplish is to make speaches from the Bully Pulpit that lefties &libertarians wouldn't like. Threats are defined by the combination of capabilities and intentions. The worst intentions in the world are rendered impotent by the lack of capability (not that I believe Palin has such intentions - just that if she did the lack of realistic capability to realize them would render her impotent).

The left, on the other hand, has the intention and is poised to gain the capability to put a full spread broadside into the good ship Liberty. Capability and intention, baby, capability and intention.
10.30.2008 11:41pm
Bill2 (mail):

Engaging with certain posters just provides more free airtime for beyond-Axelrod attacks. This is the fourth time I've counted for this one. Poster beware.


I've been leaning to that conclusion myself. However, I'm seeing it as a broader opportunity to address a more important audience - not those already committed to the left like our good friend whom I've been debating, but libertarians who are questioning their movement's de facto alliance with the right. I honestly believe that, properly considered, from the libertarian viewpoint the right is the lesser of the two evils by a long sea mile. I believe that the rational libertarian will see that the issues on which they agree with the generic right outweigh the issues on which they agree with the generic left, and that the Christian Right is in fact a paper tiger not to be feared sufficiently to drive the wise libertarian into the arms of the left.
10.30.2008 11:50pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
This is the fourth time I've counted for this one.


Some of those things I've said more than four times, and some of them I've never said at all. So I wonder how you got "fourth time." Mean? Median? A number that popped into your head? Just curious.

Put I always did want to have a personal comment auditor, so keep up the good work. If you continue this fine performance, I'm going to have to get you your own green eyeshade.
10.31.2008 12:29am
David Warner:
Bill2,

I wish you well with that, but be aware that you're dealing with a savant with a great deal of time on his hands and the zeal of an Inquisitor in his heart.

"I believe that the rational libertarian will see that the issues on which they agree with the generic right outweigh the issues on which they agree with the generic left, and that the Christian Right is in fact a paper tiger not to be feared sufficiently to drive the wise libertarian into the arms of the left."

This is true re: the Christian "Right"*, but I believe you underrate the repellent power of other elements on the Right (the fiscally incontinent combined with the World Policers, for instance) as well as the attraction of certain elements on the left who have become more open to libertarian (at least in a relative sense) approaches.


* - the putative threat of the Right is the marriage of Altar and Throne, in modern terms, Church and State. The whole point of the Assemblies (note the plural) of God or independent Bible Churches is a protest against Church with a capital C, i.e. organized religion. This is in contrast to, say, the Southern Baptist Convention or the Roman Catholic Church which presented a very real threat to liberalism throughout the world for centuries. The supposed "fear" of the Christian Right is little more than fighting ghosts or a convenient outlet for bigotry without social approbation.
10.31.2008 1:15am
Bill2 (mail):

This is true re: the Christian "Right"*, but I believe you underrate the repellent power of other elements on the Right (the fiscally incontinent combined with the World Policers, for instance) as well as the attraction of certain elements on the left who have become more open to libertarian (at least in a relative sense) approaches.


Being "fiscally incontinent" is not an element of the ideology of any flavor of conservatism. It is a something just about all politicians (regardless of party)do as a pragmatic excercise in getting themselves re-elected. About the only difference is that the ones on the left want to cover their spending with anti-growth tax increases.

About the only thing I can think of where the left is more libertarian than the right is on the previously discussed CR stuff. The left hasn't been falling all over itself trying to "redeploy" out of the war on drugs. Historically, they have involked it as a justification for their war on guns. Meanwhile, there are a couple of conservative factions that are not into the globocop thing, either.
10.31.2008 8:59am
David Warner:
Bill2,

"Being "fiscally incontinent" is not an element of the ideology of any flavor of conservatism."

Perhaps the real and the ideal need to have a little pow-wow.

"It is a something just about all politicians (regardless of party)do as a pragmatic excercise in getting themselves re-elected."

As they once lopped off one another's heads to gain power. Progress can happen. Takes work. If you've forgotten where you're going, all the pragma in the world ain't worth much.

"About the only difference is that the ones on the left want to cover their spending with anti-growth tax increases."

So you're saying that the piles of foreign debt we've run up are spurring growth presently? No, the difference should be less spending, not that conservatives favor taxing future generations despite their lack of representation instead of the current generations who demand the overspending. This non-left liberal would sign on for that (conservatives who fight spending).

I think the left is demonstrably less libertarian on religious issues, likely because its control of the de facto established church of school/media/law brooks little dissent or threat thereof, however pathetic. I also think that even a McPalin administration will see significant cuts in military outlays and commitments. Not all that great an idea to give one's opponents a huge peace dividend to spend whenever they manage to win office.
10.31.2008 8:43pm
sookie (mail):

As someone observed somewhere recently, this is about the first time in history that you have endorsements from people who endorse Obama on the hope that he won't do what he says he'll do rather than because of what he says he'll do.

I don't think this is even remotely true. I know Republicans who voted Republican because they believed that the party wouldn't do what it claimed on cultural conservative issues. I suspect that was true of a lot of people.


I'd agree. Hoping against hope that the social con's wouldn't have much sway it was my vote both times because I couldn't bring myself to vote for Gore or Kerry. However I did vote for bigger Dem representation in congress both elections.

Bush would have been a far better president (maybe not great) if he'd have had a strong opposition from at least one house in congress. He never even knew what a veto pen was until after the 06 election.

I'm voting McCain for gridlock (sort of).
11.1.2008 10:03am
davod (mail):
Do you know who coined the term military-industrial complex and warned of it's dominance? Eisenhower. Which party did he belong to again?


This is taken out of context. Read the whole speech.
11.1.2008 4:13pm