Monday, June 02, 2008

Tie-breaker? Spoiler?

Anonyman sends this interesting link, from the NYTimes.


...[T]here is the Libertarian Party and then there is the libertarian — small-“L” — state of mind. Those who do not necessarily vote with the party but identify with some of the core libertarian philosophy — a small government with minimal reach into people’s personal lives, and minimal foreign entanglements — may be a potent, if unpredictable, group of voters.

“I think one problem the Republican Party is facing in the Mountain West is that the social, cultural and religious emphasis of Republicans in the last five, six, eight years has run against the libertarian grain,” Mr. Cook said. “When these people signed onto small government, they weren’t just talking about money. They were talking about small government, period. So when government dictates anything, whether social, cultural, religious or anything else, they take a dim view of that.”

Libertarians trace their historical roots back to the Enlightenment and views of the rights of the individual that informed the Constitution, which they say should be strictly interpreted. As might be expected from a group placing a high value on individual freedom, they are a diverse bunch, animated by different issues, whether gun rights or drug legalization or cutting taxes.

When libertarian ideas gained in popularity in the 1970s, it was in part from public discontent with big-government efforts like the Vietnam War. Lately, libertarians have focused on issues like the war in Iraq, which they oppose in common with many Democrats, and school choice, which they favor along with social conservatives.

Many view Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, with suspicion if not disdain, despite his opposition to government pork, a maverick image and roots in Arizona, home of the Republican Senator Barry Goldwater (he of “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”). They oppose Mr. McCain’s support both of the war and campaign finance restrictions, which they see as a curb on free speech. Meanwhile, liberal Democrat though he may be, Senator Barack Obama, Mr. McCain’s likely foe, may attract libertarians not only because of his antiwar views but because, like Mr. Paul, he has had great success organizing support via the Internet, where a libertarian spirit thrives.


Anonymous said...

The most important question this article raises:
Are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie schizophrenics?

A couple of Julie's takes seem a bit off to me, with #3 being kind of offensive:
1. Ayn Rand ~ libertarian, but Ayn Rand <> libertarian
2. How is supporting the impeachment of Clinton non-libertarian?
3. "Obama... may attract libertarians...because, like Mr. Paul, he has had great success organizing support via the Internet, where a libertarian spirit thrives"

Maybe the LP slogan should change from "The Party of Principle" to "The Party of Medium". After all - it's not what you say, but how you say it.

Anonymous said...

The bit at the end about Obama and the internet is a little silly, but the primary argument is correct as regards the Mountain West. As the founding chairman of the LP in Idaho, we struggled to make advances precisely because there is a strong small "l" libertarian wing that continues to exist in the GOP in Idaho and is prevalent in the large number of non-affiliated voters. The 24% vote for Paul in the GOP primary was an indication of the relative size of libertarian sentiment here.

The attractiveness of Obama is precisely that he opposes the war and that he is not a Neocon.

Bob Barr might attract some protest votes, but his record on the drug war is atrocious and frankly he reminds me too much of the Neocon preoccupation with intruding into people's private lives.

Idaho's small "l" libertarian-minded independents and Republicans also have a history of being willing to punish apostates by voting Democrat.

McCain will take Idaho, I have no doubt, but I would not be surprised if his margin is much smaller than any other recent Republican candidate.

Anonymous said...

Every time I think about voting for Obama, I think about my wallet. Then I'm for McCain again. McCain can be re-educated. Obama has gone over to the Dark Side.