Whatever Happened to the Libertarian Democrat?

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer becomes a star by ditching his limited-government bonafides

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is a loud-mouthed gun owner. Wayne La Pierre himself once flew to Montana to hand Schweitzer a National Rifle Association endorsement. In office, the governor has stared down Homeland Security capo Michael Chertoff (on anyone’s top three list of scariest Bush officials) and helped deal a killing blow to Real ID, the odious legislation that would create a national identity card. All this and more has made Schweitzer the embodiment of that elusive political species known as “libertarian Democrat," mostly Mountain West pols who were pro-gun, anti-tax, anti-PATRIOT Act, and lifestyle pluralists.

Yet none of Schweitzer's limited-government bonafides was present when the governor seized the Pepsi Center stage last night at the Democratic National Convention. Instead of being a proudly contrarian executive of an oil-drilling state, he became a populist rancher raging against “petro-dictators,” domestic drilling, and “tax breaks for big oil.” Leaning back, then leaning forward with his finger pointed like the guns he didn't mention, Schweitzer country-drunk slurred his insults against the Republican candidate who’d bring “Mora-tha-same!”

Surprise! His performance killed! The buzz among delegates on the interminable path out of the arena, lined with golf carts, blown-up fetus pictures, and bullhorn-hogging bearded loudmouths, was that the large fella with the bolo tie and jeans was this year's Obama 2004. Overheard:

“I think they made [former Virginia Gov. Mark] Warner worse so that Schweitzer would outshine him.”

“You send that guy to West Virginia, you see what happens.”

“He came to our state convention in Texas. We knew he was going to bring it.”

In short, the libertarian Democrat Schweitzer became an overnight party celebrity without sounding a single libertarian note.

There is a lesson here. 

A couple of years ago, all sorts of semi-desperate and forward-looking Democrats were leaning libertarian, at least rhetorically. Now, they're hushing their mouths when it comes to the real L word.

Tuesday afternoon, I saw Markos "Daily Kos" Moulitsas, author of the "Left-Libertarian Manifesto" from 2006, share a stage with “market Democrat” Bill Richardson and avowed libertarian Tucker Carlson to talk about race and gender politics. After Carlson suggested, plausibly, that Obama would win in a landslide if he declaimed race-based affirmative action and replaced it with preferences based on class, Moulitsas rolled his eyes and told the Kostastic audience to never listen to the advice of "a Republican." Carlson spent the rest of the hour fending off accusations of misogyny and suggestions that he be kicked off the panel.

What makes up the alleged libertarianness of the allegedly libertarian Democrats? As yesterday's events suggested, it's about attitude, not ideas. Moulitsas stared down moderator Dan Abrams of MSNBC, attacked his network for doing John McCain's work for him, and repeatedly made the case for liberals to go on offense. It was the same with Schweitzer: What made him a model for other Democrats was not his heterodoxy on liberal issues, but his belly-first, bar-room swagger.

Across the city, as pols and lobbyists fanned out for luncheons and panels, there was nary a libertarian soundbite to be found. Outside a panel on the “New New Deal,” in which union organizers and pollsters preached the gospel of infrastructure spending and national health care, Tom Swan, the brainy union organizer who masterminded Ned Lamont’s 2006 primary victory over Vinegar Joe Lieberman, said there was no conflict between Democratic rhetoric on Bush’s overspending and the promise of more Democratic spending. “That’s a fraction of the money that George W. Bush is wasting on his war in Iraq.”

Swan did throw libertarians one bone regarding the coming Democratic hegemony. “There’s more openness now after watching the violation of civil liberties,” he said. “True libertarians have seen enough to leave the Republicans. Having an administration that believes in our Constitution is going to be a big deal.”

Outside the event, lefty activist Ben Masel conceded that Barack Obama didn’t offer libertarians very much. “Certainly not on firearms,” he said, “and he never made any real promises on drug policy.” But Brian Urias, a Clinton delegate from Baldwin Park, California, mused that the Democrats had caved on Second Amendment issues after years of getting browbeat by the Republicans. Yes, Obama is as anti-gun as a national politician gets, Urias said, but he doesn’t talk about firearms enough.

Neither, it seems, does Brian Schweitzer. 

David Weigel is an associate editor of reason.

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  • Elemenope||

    Schweitzer: A Democrat.

    His primary audience last night: The Democratic Party.

    The guy he was speaking for: Obama.

    You seem to be missing a few important contextual facts.

  • phalkor||

    It really is just "Mora-tha-same!"

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    The question is, is Obama trying to get the libertarian vote that the GOP has thrown away over the last 8 years? Answer, based on an opportunity - NO.

    I think DW is trying to point out the lack of existence of the Kos Liberaltarian.

  • BDB||

    He did talk about tax cuts and reducing the bureaucracy in Montana right at the beginning.

  • ||

    It is a simple formula really. Small government and leave all of the divisive questions like gay marriage and abortion to the states. Promise to get the federal government out of your bedroom, your wallet and your kitchean. Mix a little patriotic "if anyone fucks with us I will bomb them into the stone age" rethoric and go forth and conquer. The problem is that in doing that you alienate the nutjobs that control both parties so that even though you could win an election, you could never get a nomination.

  • BDB||

    His speaking style is unlike anything I've ever seen in a politician, though. His style is more like a turn of the century stump speaker than a modern Governor.

  • NO STAR THREADJACK||

    Epi asked about NoStar on a different thread.

    I have and will continue to add comments to the dead thread where Nick posted the awful news. You can also click over to TWC and there are a couple of updates there which I summarize below.

    As of this morning NoStar is out of ICU but he is in a lot of pain. The internal bleeding (brain and liver) has stopped. His face is a mess and the hospital won't let him look in the mirror. He and Jessie's mom cried together yesterday and are making funeral arrangements today.

    A friend is looking into a memorial library fund in Jessie's name. His church is in the process of setting up a memorial fund as well.

    For now cards or flowers may be sent to Bill Kalles:

    C/O Harborview Medical Center

    325 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104

    (206) 731-3000

  • ||

    Schweitzer is a classic boring white guy that could be ahead by about 20 points right now if he were the nominee. The Democrats only needed a single and instead swung for the fences.

  • BDB||

    If you watched the speech you wouldn't say hes boring.

  • ||

    God, that is terrible. I hope he is in everyone's prayers.

  • ||

    "If you watched the speech you wouldn't say hes boring."

    I mean boring in that there is nothing groundbreaking or historic about him. He is a good speaker. You look at him and Warner in Virginia and you really wonder if the Dems have any interest in winning elections.

  • Columbine||

    I'd love to shove some assault rifles up your stupid fucking "liberarian" asses.

  • Elemenope||

    The question is, is Obama trying to get the libertarian vote that the GOP has thrown away over the last 8 years? Answer, based on an opportunity - NO.

    I concur, that Obama has not made much effort to try to snag those voters.

    But, then again, the last person of either party to do so (and even mean it a *little* bit) was Reagan twenty-eight fucking years ago.

    Either way, I think it's being a little hard on Schweitzer for being on-message while speaking at the goddamned party convention.

  • Dagny T.||

    His style is more like a turn of the century stump speaker than a modern Governor.

    But with a bolo tie! Which is so much cooler.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    I dont care about him being on message. I will criticize anyone for being on message if the message is wrong.

  • BDB||

    The Dems are ALWAYS more interested in sending some kind of message than in winning.

  • ||

    All they had to do BRB is run a white guy governor from a red state that looked competant and like he didn't belong to the "Get the US our of North America" wing of the party. Hell, Mike Dukakus could have won this election. It really wasn't that hard.

  • ||

    I think DW is trying to point out the lack of existence of the Kos Liberaltarian

    I think Dave is pointing out that libertarian ideas go out the window when you expect your guy to be in charge soon.

  • ||

    # BDB | August 27, 2008, 3:21pm | #
    # The Dems are ALWAYS more interested in
    # sending some kind of message than in winning.

    And what kind of message does THAT send to the children? Hmmmm?

  • Democratic Mother||

    Tommy, we didn't lose the election because we had a bad candidate. Nope, we lost it because the American people are extremely stupid and ignorant! That, and Diebold machines.

  • Elemenope||

    I don't care about him being on message. I will criticize anyone for being on message if the message is wrong.

    Fair enough. I'm just saying that the intended "message" of the speech was to get a guy elected who is not, by any stretch, a libertarian. It's one thing to criticize a guy for making devil's-deals. It's quite another to declare an entire ideology dead because one of it's torch-carriers is temporarily in service to a different master.

  • ||

    Oh, and by the way, when I saw the headline and the picture that accompanied the thread-starter, I expected to read about how this promising fellow literally dropped dead on the convention floor last night, or something similar. Not that he merely reverted to Demo type at a convention that gave Hillary roof-rattling applause for saying she was confident that President Obama would finally give us universal, single-payer (socialist) health care.

  • ||

    Death of a Libertarian Democrat

    That which never lived, can never die.

  • Elemenope||

    Oh, and by the way, when I saw the headline and the picture that accompanied the thread-starter, I expected to read about how this promising fellow literally dropped dead on the convention floor last night, or something similar.

    I did too. On that note, one candidate is far likelier than the other to drop dead on the convention floor...

  • Jon||

    Democratic Mother | August 27, 2008, 3:26pm | #
    Tommy, we didn't lose the election because we had a bad candidate. Nope, we lost it because the American people are extremely stupid and ignorant! That, and Diebold machines.


    Your fucking education system made them that way...

    Nothing like Federal Education to turn children into brainless morons.

  • robc||

    to declare an entire ideology dead

    What SugarFree said.

  • Urkobold™||

    THE URKOBOLD HAS SHOT AND RECOVERED THE BODY OF A LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRAT AND WILL SHOW IT TO THE WORLD AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON FRIDAY. DNA EVIDENCE WILL DEMONSTRATE, ONCE AND FOR ALL, THAT THE LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRAT EXISTS!

  • ||

    BOB-3:21

    Then why hae they been the dominant political party for seventy five years?

  • ||

    That which never lived, can never die.

    You have a copy of the Necronomicon? Quick, use it to bring Schweitzer back to life.

  • BDB||

    Um, they haven't been. Democrats have been a minority party since 1968. They haven't won 50% in a national election since 1976, and the only barely. Their two Presidents since 1968 have been mushy southern centrists.

  • ||

    "Libertarian Democrats" are much like "libertarian Republicans". Please vote for us, we'll say we're libertarian and then we'll fuck you in the ass. Dry.

    You don't believe me? Wait until the 2009 assault on free hate speech. And the return of the fairness doctrine.

  • ||

    Elemenope-

    1. My wife (a nominal libertarian or a libertarian by marriage) and I both thought that Schweitzer hit out of the park.

    2. I have always liked the guy-even though he obviously does not hew to my anarcho-individualist principles.

    3. Your analysis is right on-even guys like me can understand the context thing. Context is important. As Jesse Jackson once said, "Text, without context, is pretext."

  • Weigel Shill||

    Anyone else notice that Weigel is finally getting to submit some actual articles?

    Now that a Sr. Editor position is opening up, is Weigel finally going to get shown some love at Reason?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Death of a Libertarian Democrat

    Stillborn, that's stillborn, Dave.

    While it is true that one may hold a libertarian leaning idea or two, doing so doesn't automatically mold a person into a libertarian.

    Is that good enough to warrant a drink?

    Besides, if our good Montana guber began ranting about tax cuts and guns, they'da hauled him out of the arena and duct taped his mouth shut.

    The man knows exactly what side of his bread is buttered.

  • ||

    "And, ummm, Governor- let's save the stuff about actually mining and burning coal for some other time. Okay? Pleeeeeze?"

  • ||

    J Sub D

    Check out the "you will be criminally prosecuted once we win the election" letters the Obama campaign is sending out the group that made the Ayers commercial. The commercial is good old time political mudslinging but only a totalitarian nitwit would think they are illegal. But don't think the Obama Justice Department won't be going after anyone and everyone who ran an ad against him in the election.

  • What\'s Wrong with this Pictur||

    ABC Reporter Arrested in Denver Taking Pictures of Senators, Big Donors

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Conventions/story?id=5668622&page=1

    Visiting journalists say police acted improperly. They say officers searched them without permission and took their equipment. Police say they were trespassing.


    http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/conventions/27511639.html?elr=KArksUUUU

  • BDB||

    Hey John do you have a link for one of those letters?

  • ||

    BOB-

    1. Ever heard of the "solid south?" For 100 years the Dems not only controlled the south, there was not a SINGLE republican senator elected from the south.

    2. Remeber 1994? The rallying cry of the communist republicans was that it was time to finally unseat the dems who had controlled the House since 1952.

    3. The presidential races are not the determinative factor-that is one election. Every two years there are 435 elections for the House. Every two years there are at least a couple of dozen Senate races-never mind all of the state rep and state senate and gubernatorial contests.

  • BDB||

    Those southern Democrats were all conservatives who voted with Republicans. Most of them are either dead or Republicans now.

  • ||

    BOB-

    If you look at the entirety of the 20th century as to how people identified themselves, I think that you would find that a significantly higher percentage of folks identified themselves as democrats or leaning democratic rather than the GOP.

  • Paul||

    elusive political species known as "libertarian Democrat,"



    Elusive like Bigfoot is an elusive species. I never bought this "libertarian Democrat" B.S. from day one.

    The second these so-called libertarian democrats started trying to court my vote, the first thing that came to mind was: "I got my eye on you, Focker!"

  • ||

    BDB

    http://www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/Does_Obama_support_free_speech_or_not.html

    "More worrisome is Obama's claim in his letter seeking Justice Department intervention that the American Issues Project is willfully violating campaign finance laws. "

    They are writing the Justice Department asking for them to prosecute the makers of the commercial. Gee, they won't have to write any more letters once they control the Justice Department now will they?

  • ||

    Who could have seen that coming?

  • BDB||

    Writing letters makes him look like a crybaby. Somebody call the waaahmbulance. Jeeze.

  • Paul||

    there was no conflict between Democratic rhetoric on Bush's overspending and the promise of more Democratic spending. "That's a fraction of the money that George W. Bush is wasting on his war in Iraq."



    That's a good one. A real good one. Would that be the war that Democrats have failed utterly to get us out of, let alone even tried?

    Talk about abandoning your principles.

  • Paul||

    "and [Obama] never made any real promises on drug policy."



    What? We're not going to see a dramatic, or even modest rollback of the war on drugs? I'm shocked...shocked!

  • ||

    I thought "silent on guns" was what you wanted out the Democratic Party.

  • Paul||

    I thought "silent on guns" was what you wanted out the Democratic Party.

    It's what I want out of the Democratic party. If we could just get silence on two dozen other issues, I'd be a much happier man.

  • Paul||

    Death of a Libertarian Democrat



    Stillborn, that's stillborn, Dave.

    TWC: that's a contender for a win.

  • BDB||

    Not to mention he put Joe Biden, drug warrior par excellence, on his ticket.

  • ||

    BDB,

    What, you have a problem with Mr. Rave Act? It is more than a little ironic that the first black Presidential nominee chose a someone who defends putting so many black people jail as a running mate. But, the Democrats are running as the party of the middle class and Biden was behind the bankruptcy bill that totally fucked the middle class, didn't lower interest rates one iota, and did nothing but enforce misery on a large group of people so the credit card companies could make a little more money.

  • BDB||

    The credit card stuff I can live with cause he's representing Delaware. But the RAVE act stuff is B.S.

  • BDB||

    Politically, though, Biden was a good choice.

  • ||

    "'Libertarian Democrats' are much like 'libertarian Republicans'. Please vote for us, we'll say we're libertarian and then we'll fuck you in the ass. Dry."

    Come on, now. A Democrat would have common decency enough to use lube. He might even give you a reach-around.

    How does one know that Democrats are better sex partners than Republicans? Does anyone ever speak of a great piece of elephant?

  • ||

    Unless your a mental midget like George W. Bush, your vice-president doesn't drag you to his ideology; he adopts yours. You think Lyndon Baines Johnson was going to sign a Civil Rights Act before Kennedy? How about pro-life Poppy Bush?

  • phalkor||

    "Mora-tha-same!"

  • BDB||

    Don't forget "vodoo economics" Bush.

  • ||

    Unless your a mental midget...

    joe's law strikes... joe!

  • ||

    Joe,

    If that is true, then I guess President Obama is going to look like President Biden. I don't agree with Biden on a lot, but when it comes to experience, brains, and seriousness, Obama doesn't stand a chance against Biden.

  • ||

    Uh, yeah, the editor of the Harvard Law Review/graduate of Harvard Law School just doesn't have a lot of brains. Not as much as middling student Joe Biden.

    He sure has shown that.

    I wonder what it is that would make someone think that Barack Obama isn't as smart as Joe Biden.

  • BDB||

    Joe Biden has political smarts but he isn't exactly an intellectual. He barely graduated U of D and Syracuse Law.

  • ||

    So in front of arena full of Democrats you fully expected Schweitzer to cry out "They can take my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers!" and now your disappointed he didn't commit political suicide as far as national politics is concerned?

    Barry Goldwater once decried Social Secruity in crowd full of seniors in St. Petersburg, Flordia back in 1964. Now, was he being brave, or was he being stupid? You decide and what you decide should tell you why Schweitzer spoke the way he did.

  • ||

    I don't like Joe Biden but he has done a lot more than Obama ever has. Obama is 47 years old and his biggest accomplishment in life happened in law school. Yeah he was editor of the law review. So were a lot of people. It is not like he backed that up by being a successful attorney or legal scholar. Hell, Edwards for all of his smarminess is 100 times more of a successful lawyer than Obama ever was.

  • ||

    John | August 27, 2008, 3:58pm | #

    BDB

    http://www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/Does_Obama_support_free_speech_or_not.html

    "More worrisome is Obama's claim in his letter seeking Justice Department intervention that the American Issues Project is willfully violating campaign finance laws. "

    They are writing the Justice Department asking for them to prosecute the makers of the commercial. Gee, they won't have to write any more letters once they control the Justice Department now will they?

    joshua corning | August 27, 2008, 3:59pm | #

    Who could have seen that coming?


    The authors of the McCain Feingold Camoaign Finance Reform Free Speech Nullification Act?

  • ||

    And Feingold's not speaking at the Convention, again.

    Rep. Tammy Baldwin stopped to pose for pics holding the other end of my "STOP GOVERNMENT SPYING" banner on 16th Street last night.

  • ||

    What has Obama done after law school besides give a few speeches and win some elections? Yeah, winning an election is hard, but every politician wins elections. If they didn't, they wouldn't be politicians. He wasn't even a tenured track law prof. He was an adjunct. He never made partner at a big law firm. He has never held a job of any distinction in the exectutive branch. He disses on Clarence Thomas. Thomas ran the EEOC. What government agency has Obama ever ran?

    Think about the resume of other Presidential candidates versus Obama. If Al Gore had been editor of the Harvard Law review would anyone have cared? Hell no because Al Gore had been a senator and VP. Bill Clinton was a Rhoades Scholar for God's sake. But, even that didn't mean much when compared to being a two term governor. The fact that anyone knows or cares what Obama did in law school, shows how lousy a resume he has.

  • ||

    How does one know that Democrats are better sex partners than Republicans? Does anyone ever speak of a great piece of elephant?

    I speak only of personal experience. Dems are easier to get into bed (sluttier). GOPer are more creative between the sheets (kinkier).

    YMMV.

  • ||

    What's pathetic about us is how we're casually dismissing the idea that these idiots should have principles. If we elected people with at least the veneer of character and refused to elect (or re-elect) those without it, well, maybe things wouldn't be so screwed up. This is the problem with viewing political races as competitive sports rather than as what they are--a ceding of power to people we shouldn't trust with our car keys, let alone our country.

  • ||

    What about McCain's resume of finishing near the bottom of his class at Annapolis out of nearly 900 students?

  • Vadim||

    I applaud Brian Schweitzer for fighting against the Real ID Act. Join the pre-emptive protest against a National ID here: http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/reject-the-real-id-act

  • ||

    "I speak only of personal experience. Dems are easier to get into bed (sluttier). GOPer are more creative between the sheets (kinkier)."

    My experience with Young Republican women was that they were only after money.

  • ||

    "What about McCain's resume of finishing near the bottom of his class at Annapolis out of nearly 900 students?"

    Yeah because what you did in college means so much. Is it anything more pathetic than someone over 30 using college accomplishments to somehow justify their existence?

    As far as Annapolis goes, the Acadamies are boys schools. US Grant was a lousy student. RE Lee was the best student in history. Who won the war? I really don't care what any candidate did or did not do in college.

  • ||

    "Obama's not smart" being too implausible to event attempt to argue, we're now onto "Obama's not accomplished."

    Stick with "thin resume," John. As an argument, it has the virtue of not making people roll their eyes.

  • ||

    One thing I like about argueing with you Joe is that you always admit when you are wrong. You don't do it overtly, but you change the subject or come back with a "stick with that no one will believe you" line. Whenever I see something like that I know I have gotten your goat.

  • Rhywun||

    when it comes to experience, brains, and seriousness



    AKA "three measures that Americans don't use when picking a president".

  • ||

    You changed the subject, John. Your point was about Obama's intelligence, and now you're talking about his accomplshments.

    Project much? Why, yes, you do. BTW, I just busted you weaseling away from another argument on the thread about the speech.

    This keeps happening to you, John, because you mindlessly repeat arguments that the people who originally made them don't even believe.

  • joe||

    Schweitzer/Webb 2012

  • ||

    Joe,

    Biden is smarter than Obama. Being editor of the Harvard Law school doesn't make you smarter than someone who has been in the Senate for 30 years or whatever Biden has been there. If Obama were that smart, he would have gotten a tenure track somewhere. He would have been a clerk for a Supreme Court Judge. The editor of the law review is a political position. It does not mean you are the smartest person in your class. The smartest people in Obama's class ended up working for appeals courts and Supreme Court jusitices and are now professors and partners at high end law firms. Obama did none of that.

  • Paul||

    He did talk about tax cuts and reducing the bureaucracy in Montana right at the beginning.

    Then he saw the red dot of the laser sight on his chest and he changed the subject.

  • BDB||

    Paul wins.

  • ||

    For 100 years the Dems not only controlled the south, there was not a SINGLE republican senator elected from the south.

    What hundred years are you talking about? Among the Republican Senators from the South that you seem to be ignoring are: Jeter Connelly Pritchard (R-NC, 1895-1903), William J. Deboe (R-KY, 1897-1903), William O. Bradley (R-KY, 1909-1913), Richard P. Ernst (R-KY, 1921-1927), Frederic M. Sackett (R-KY, 1925-1929), John M. Robsion (R-KY, 1930), William P. Kellogg (R-LA, 1877-1883), and Newell Sanders (R-TN, 1912-1913).

  • idiotface||

    i like how Obama was a paid community activist.

  • ||

    What exactly does,
    "You send that guy to West Virginia, you see what happens." mean? It sounds like a threat to me. Or was the person saying that if he goes to W.Va. the (maybe racist!?) WVians who voted Clinton will now vote for Obama? I guess that makes sense.

  • Mike M.||

    Jeez, all it takes is about two minutes of listening to Obama try and answer a semi-difficult question without the aid of the teleprompter to tell that he's a classic affirmative-action baby.

  • ||

    So in front of arena full of Democrats you fully expected Schweitzer to cry out "They can take my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers!" and now your disappointed he didn't commit political suicide as far as national politics is concerned?

    Schweitzer has enough on-the-record comments abouts his guns "How many? More than I need; less than I want." to give *real* Democrats the screaming heebie-jeebies.

    Guns + Montana= crazy white supremacist nutjob cultists in survival shelters.

    Schweitzer is also on record as wanting to dig coal out of the ground, and burn it.

    As much as I like the guy, he doesn't stand a chance on a national level, in his own party.

  • BDB||

    I'd like to see something like a Schweitzer-Flake Unity ticket.

  • ||

    "Schweitzer is a classic boring white guy that could be ahead by about 20 points right now if he were the nominee. The Democrats only needed a single and instead swung for the fences."

    Dead on the money John. When McCain is sending the troops into Georgia and Iran and we get two more Opus Dei SCOTUS judges on the Supreme Court gutting the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments you can think starry-eyed liberals who thought they were so going to win that they could achieve their life long dream of healing America's racial history through a symbolic gesture...

    Still, after hating the Dems for decades for their slavish support for affirmative action it's nice to see it come back and bite them in the ass.

  • ||

    I meant you can "thank" starry eyed liberals, though you can think of them too...

  • ||

    There is a lesson here.



    Yeah, that Democrats ain't libertarians either! I live in the SF Bay Area, where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one. For every Republican that ain't a libertarian there are two Democrats who ain't either.

    p.s. If it sounds like I'm picking on Democrats this week, it's because I'm getting sick of this notion that they're all warm fuzzy libertarians in disguise. I know many of you libertarians are pissed at me ragging on your Obama-savior, but wait for next week and I'll probably be back ragging on Republicans again.

  • ||

    Whatever Happened to the Libertarian Democrat?

    The same thing that happened to religious "conservatives".

  • ||

    THE URKOBOLD HAS SHOT AND RECOVERED THE BODY OF A LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRAT AND WILL SHOW IT TO THE WORLD AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON FRIDAY. DNA EVIDENCE WILL DEMONSTRATE, ONCE AND FOR ALL, THAT THE LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRAT EXISTS!



    Pfffft! That ain't no liberaltarian! That's some dead 'possum that you shaved!

  • Ninth Stage||

    Radley Balko is the only libertarian democrat left, that I know of.

  • DannyK||

    Schweitzer is obviously not a Real Libertarian (tm)!

    1) Real Libertarians always give the same speech, even if it's the convention and they're being tried out for a larger role in the party.

    This is why
    2) Real Libertarians frequently lose.

    As a successful governor who is likely headed for bigger things in the Democratic party, Schweitzer is by definition an effin' sellout.

  • ||

    If you're sneaking a bag into a concert, don't give it MNG.

    He panics over nothing.

  • ||

    Being editor of the Harvard Law school doesn't make you smarter than someone who has been in the Senate for 30 years or whatever Biden has been there.

    Getting into Harvard, and then making the Law Review, and then making president, is indeed evidence of intelligence.

    Being in the Senate? Um...I'm staring to wonder if you even know what the word means.

    BTW, you're a snob, John. He didn't choose the glamour opportunities he had, but went to work for a public service law firm and then as a community organizer, and that can only be because he wasn't smart? Nice.

  • SIV||

  • MJ||

    Creatures that never existed cannot die.

  • ||

    Libertarian Democrat? This is just some rumor the Reason writers started and pushed so they are more warmly represented by the metrosexuals at Dupont Circle.

    The only "Libertarian Democrat" that should exist are ones that are registered Dems like Bob Novak is a Democrat, just so he can vote in the DC primary and cast something other than a protest vote.

  • oscar98||

    What has Obama done after law school besides give a few speeches and win some elections? Yeah, winning an election is hard, but every politician wins elections. If they didn't, they wouldn't be politicians. He wasn't even a tenured track law prof. He was an adjunct. He never made partner at a big law firm. He has never held a job of any distinction in the exectutive branch. He disses on Clarence Thomas. Thomas ran the EEOC. What government agency has Obama ever ran?

    Think about the resume of other Presidential candidates versus Obama. If Al Gore had been editor of the Harvard Law review would anyone have cared? Hell no because Al Gore had been a senator and VP. Bill Clinton was a Rhoades Scholar for God's sake. But, even that didn't mean much when compared to being a two term governor. The fact that anyone knows or cares what Obama did in law school, shows how lousy a resume he has.


    Law school... whatever. I got a fourier transform problem for his ass.

  • ||

    According to Random House's definition:

    4. extinction; destruction: It will mean the death of our hopes.

    Of course, not a literal death, but...I digress. I've known libertarian Democrats and authoritarian Democrats but seldom does either group really 'acknowledge' whatever libertarianism or authoritarianism there is in their ideologies.

  • ||

    I got a fourier transform problem for his ass.

    Mathematicians don't always make the best politicians. And polymaths tend to be too busy doing...stuff...to be politicians.

    Also, I noticed that I can spell better than the vast majority of mathematicians but I'm not so great at the calculus.

  • ||

    I must note that I usually find what mathematicians, philosophers, physicists and engineers say "more interesting" than what most politicians say, though.

  • oscar98||

    Mathematicians don't always make the best politicians. And polymaths tend to be too busy doing...stuff...to be politicians.

    Also, I noticed that I can spell better than the vast majority of mathematicians but I'm not so great at the calculus.


    Very true... on both accounts (emphasis mine).

  • ||

    A guy like Teddy Roosevelt's the exception rather than the rule. I'm thinking the guy must have had obscene amounts of energy.

  • Nick||

    I think this article could have been improved by mentioning Bill Richardson's hard left shift as presidential candidate. That was probably the most disappointing story of this election cycle, as he was pretty much the epitome of a libertarian Democrat. I still have hope that the Schweitzers and Richardsons of the party come to their senses when not in the spotlight.

    As a libertarian who generally leans left, I feel like the problem is the lack of outreach from libertarians to the left and the irrelevance of the one libertarian outlet in the Democratic Party - the Democratic Freedom Caucus. Nobody is standing up and saying that it's ok to be both progressive and libertarian. I do believe the values of the Left are more compatible with the means of libertarianism than the moralism of the Right, but the Left fails to accomplish anything meaningful because of their willful ignorance or disdain of market economics. The libertarians have failed to effectively make the case that small businesses, the poor, minorities and the environment would be better in a libertarian society than under a big government.

  • J||

    What LMNOP and I think libertymike said. I don't know much about him, but I wouldn't call his libertarian leanings dead based on one speech when the dems are trying to unite against McCain.

    Also, libertarian democrats do exist. I would almost qualify, and my fiance is extremely libertarian leaning and a democrat.

  • anon||

    The "context" excuse is a pathetically weak argument.

  • r squared||

    go to DailyKos, and look at the Big Tent video posted there on Schweitzer, he talks for about 8 minutes, 3 of which he dedicates to gun rights.....this to a group of liberal bloggers...his "bonafides" are intact....

  • ||

    The libertarian democrats as brought up by kos were a ploy in the last election to get us to vote for Kerry. That's all. Just an attempt by him and his ilk to get our swing votes.

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