Sarvis Non-Role in McAuliffe’s Victory Over Cuccinelli Prompts Strange Misreadings of Libertarianism, Reason

SPOILer! I never even met her! |||Tightly contested major-party political races are not exactly factories for lucid, dispassionate political analysis. Particularly when, as in Virginia's gubernatorial race last week, a third party candidate draws more votes than the margin of victory between the two leading candidates.

Over at Forbes.com, Carrie Sheffield asks "Who Will Be the Next Libertarian Spoiler?" Her piece starts as follows: 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Cato Unbound as much as the next supply-sider. But I don't understand why it's not uncommon that libertarian candidates play spoiler to Republican candidates. Too often this throws the race to a Democrat who’s much farther removed from the libertarian's ideology than the GOP candidate.

Over at Reason, Matt Welch identified seven congressional cases last year where the libertarian candidate garnered more support than the margin between a victorious Democrat and vanquished Republican. The most recent glaring case in point is the Virginia gubernatorial race, where governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (47.6 percent of the vote) could have lost to Republican Ken Cuccinelli (45.4 percent of the vote) were it not for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, who won 6.6 percent of the vote.

Here's an important point for those trying to blame Sarvis voters for throwing the election to Terry McAuliffe: Sarvis voters didn't throw the election to Terry McAuliffe. No really, they didn't. According to CNN's exit polling unit, "if Sarvis had not been in the race, exit polls indicate McAuliffe would have beaten Cuccinelli by 7 points (50%-43%)." According to ABC News' analysis, "Libertarian Robert Sarvis, may have made it closer for McAuliffe than it would have been otherwise. Had he not been on the ballot, a third of his voters said they'd have supported McAuliffe – slightly more than twice as many as said they'd have gone for Cuccinelli." In other words, the whole hook for the column is bogus.

Sheffield deploys as supporting evidence for her thesis that "too often" the Libertarian "throws the race to a Democrat" this Nov. 12, 2012 blog post of mine pointing out seven federal races where the margin of victory was lower than what the LP candidate received. As telegraphed by the use of the scare-quote "'Spoiler'" in my headline, having third-party candidates beat the margin of victory does NOT mean that they threw the election to the winner. To arrive at that conclusion you need to not only assume that votes by definition belong to one of two major parties (an assumption that I will go along with for the moment), but also to have some idea of who they would have voted for (if anyone) had the third-party candidate not been on the ballot.

Goddamned hippies! |||To that effect, this follow-up Nov. 16, 2012 post of mine applied a formula derived from a Reason-Rupe pre-election poll of Gary Johnson supporters (who leaned 53% Republican, 38% Democrat, 10% independent) onto eight congressional races that had been flagged as possible LP spoilers in a Daily Kos chart. My conclusion?

[A]s best as I can calculate–there are no spoilers in the chart above. Obviously, there are reasons to believe that the 53-38-10 formula is flawed, but (unlike the implied 100-0-0 number people sometimes use to divvy up third-party votes), at least it's based on real polling data.

With a year's hindsight, I would amend that to say you can begin to make a convincing LP-spoiler claim in exactly one 2012 congressional race: Democrat John Tierney's 48.2%-47.2% win over Republican Rich Tisei in a Massachusetts 6th district race where Libertarian Daniel Fishman received 4.6% of the vote. So there you have it: 435 members of Congress, 33 senators, 13 governors, and one president were elected in November 2012; of those 482 electoral outcomes only one (to the best of my knowledge) can be plausibly argued to have been affected by an LP candidate. And yet, in the face of a Virginia race that does not add to that tally, we're worried about the next Libertarian spoiler?

Well, at least Sheffield didn't use the Sarvis case as occasion for a strange I-break-with-thee rant about libertarians and the allegedly solutions-averse, possibly hooker-banging rabble at Reason magazine. Derek Hunter, come on down!

See??? |||Two days after the Virginia election, in a Townhall column illustrated by a victorious Terry McAuliffe, Derek Hunter laid out "The Problem With Libertarians." Starts like this:

There was a time I called myself a Libertarian. And there was a time I was a Libertarian. I just wanted to get government to leave me alone, to leave people alone and to go all crazy and limit itself to doing only that which is spelled out clearly in the Constitution. That was what a Libertarian was. But it's not anymore.

So how did libertarianism leave Derek Hunter?

They went from the movement for individual responsibility, small government and free markets to a gaggle of misfits who want pot and prostitution legalized and a total non-interventionist foreign policy.

That pretty much sums it up.

Honestly, what does being a Libertarian mean beyond legalizing drugs, banging hookers and sitting by while the rest of the world blows itself up?

This about captures the quality of Hunter's analysis. At a time when libertarians (who Hunter is using the capital-L descriptor to discuss here) represent a newly identified and growing bloc of American voters, are affecting modern life in all kinds of beneficial ways outside the scrum of electoral politics, and are making recently unprecedented inroads in the Republican Party in a way that has had tangible effects on federal spending, civil-liberties politics, and reckless foreign intervention, now we're talking about "a gaggle of misfits" who just want to bang hookers?

Hunter then manages to mis-portray Reason even while praising (thanks!) our work:

The great Reason magazine is a wonderful publication filled with great articles, solid journalism you won't find elsewhere…and a voice that does little more than complain.

Reason is great at highlighting abuses by every level of government, stories ignored by other media outlets. But you won't find much in the way of philosophy or solutions. (There's some, it just doesn't seem to be a focus.) They preach to the choir, and it ends there.

True story: In the same week Hunter was writing this complaint, I was busy proofreading for our next print issue a feature about using crowdsourcing to fix...potholes.

See??? |||As many of our libertarian-movement critics will be first to tell you, Reason is forever "compromising" pure philosophical principles by attempting to apply libertarian insights onto the very non-libertarian real policy world we inhabit. So we publish a "19 Percent Solution" about affixing federal spending to a percentage of GDP rather than merely complain that most federal government activity is morally and constitutionally illegitimate (the upshot is that our solutions end up sounding like those being offered by a new generation of libertarian-leaning Republicans). The same impulse is behind our calls to replace entitlements with a real safety net (rather than ripping up both), slowly unwind Fannie and Freddie (rather than ending them overnight), redirect federal transportation spending (rather than just getting rid of it), and on and on.

This approach is baked right into Reason's DNA. Robert Poole wrote the first real journalistic case for deregulating airlines in the September 1969 issue of Reason, and is as responsible for the real-world solutions of airline deregulation and privatization as anyone alive. Poole, who is still Director of Transportation Policy for the Reason Foundation (the public-policy work of which embodies the very definition of pragmatically applying libertarian insights onto the fallen world of governance), described in our 2008 oral history of Reason how the magazine made the deliberate choice early on to not preach to the choir, but rather engage in the world outside our comfort zone:

We said, "Let's leave movement stuff to movement zines and go back to our original vision and make reason a competitor to National Review and The Nation and engage in the battle of ideas with the whole spectrum of thinking people." We've tried to stick with that ever since, with different ways to carry that idea out.

See??? |||Hunter never mentions what kind of "solutions" he has in mind, but since he spends five paragraphs complaining about the anti-John McCain sentiment he witnessed at a 2008 D.C. election night happy hour co-sponsored by Reason and America's Future Foundation (I wasn't there, FWIW), it's probably safe to infer that cheering for the electoral success of Republicans, no matter how big-government they might be, is a solution in and of itself:

Libertarians have devolved from the pro-liberty wing of the right side of the ledger to the annoying kid who, when he doesn't get 100 percent of what he wants, takes his ball and goes home. The team he agrees with more than half the time loses to the team he barely agrees with at all, and he cheers while marinating in his smugness.

This revealing paragraph makes broader assumptions that don't reflect the lived-in reality of voter behavior. For example, according to this 2010 analysis from David Boaz and David Kirby, libertarian voters in 2008 backed McCain over Obama by 71% to 27%, a sharp increase over their 21-point preference for George W. Bush in 2004. A Reason-Rupe poll just prior to the 2012 election showed even bigger libertarian support for Mitt Romney, 77% to 20%.

And yet Hunter is exercised about libertarians' alleged "'my way or the highway' approach to electoral politics," and "100 percent-or-nothing purity tests" (an odd complaint in a piece—and paragraph!—that spends time fretting that people like Bill Maher are diluting the libertarian brand, and so need to be more loudly repudiated by libertarian organizations).

See??? |||The real category error here is assuming that the fortunes of libertarianism rise and fall on the narrow issue of the GOP winning elections. Republicans pretty much ran Washington, D.C. from 2001-2006, and accomplished roughly nothing of a libertarian nature (not surprising, since they campaigned and conceived of themselves on explicitly anti-libertarian grounds).

As Nick Gillespie and I argue in The Declaration of Independents, there is ample reason to believe that Republicans became more interested in such long-neglected issues as fiscal restraint precisely when they realized that they could no longer count on automatic votes from people who actually believed in limiting government. The more the "Liberty Movement" gains traction within the GOP, the more interesting the GOP becomes. And the more any politician embraces any libertarian solution, the more that libertarian-minded folk will put aside differences on other issues and try to get positive stuff done, piece by piece. And yes, that damn well includes attempting to wipe away each and every vestige of the Drug War, one of the single worst government policies in the history of the United States.

Meanwhile, most libertarian victories—like most other things that are worth celebrating in life—happen far, far away from Capitol Hill. For copious examples of such, I recommend picking up Reason's latest issue, which has a package of stories under the rubric of "Technology vs. The State."

Mediate's Andrew Kirell responded to Hunter's piece here; Hunter fired back here.

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  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "a Massachusetts 6th district race where Libertarian Daniel Fishman received 4.6% of the vote"

    That's a coastal district. Mr. Fishman must be one of the fish-men from *The Shadow Over Innsmouth.*

  • Almanian!||

    Or he's one of Cartman's "Sea People".

  • CE||

    Fish-man? Maybe he's related to Lobster Girl?

  • Andrew Ian Dodge||

    My first thought as well... ;)

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Too often this throws the race to a Democrat who’s much farther removed from the libertarian's ideology than the GOP candidate.

    I'd say, even if you accept the premise of libertarian "spoilers", the more appropriate conclusion would be "Too often the GOP picks a candidate so antithetical to limited government that libertarians vote third party and a substantial proportion of conservatives stay home."

  • CE||

    You also have to accept the premise that keeping 1 to 7 bad Republicans out of Congress out of 400-plus races is "too often". I think it's not nearly often enough.

  • stuartl||

    Exactly. The spoiler for the Republicans was Cuccinelli. I'm a Republican leaning libertarian, but no way was I voting for Cuccinelli. Without Sarvis I would probably have stayed home or voted for McAuliffe.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Shouldn't these guys be saying, "thanks, left-libertarians, for taking votes away from McAuliffe?"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And, "that Obama bundler who supported Sarvis must be feeling pretty dumb, now"

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    There is no such thing as a "left" libertarian. There is only libertarian.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    No, there are libertarians who speak to the Values Voter Summit, and libertarians who would never darken the door of such a gathering but would be happy to conduct a lengthy interview with a transgender professor of gay studies (to give an example of a piece on Reason).

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You know what they call people who are fiscally conservative and socially conservative?

    Hint: It's not libertarian.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It sounds like you are reading Paul *pere* and Paul *fils* right out of the libertarian ranks.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    They are certainly over 75% libertarian.

    You, Ed, are simply a Republican that wants to hang with the cool kids. And I'm not sure why? I mean, I guess you're ashamed of the Republican party, and you should be, but that doesn't make you a libertarian.

    Can you name one social issue you're libertarian on?

  • robc||

    I bet he is libertarian on at least one economic issue.

    And they are fucking social issues!!!!!

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    And they are fucking social issues!!!!!

    I understand your point, but for the purposes of this discussion, they aren't.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Legalizing dope ring a bell? Legalizing Big Gulps? Legalizing tobacco? Legalizing business decisions that are unpopular with the majority?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Legalizing homeschooling - even for hippies?

    Allowing non-forcible panhandling?

    Legalizing political campaigning, even within 30 days of an election?

    Legalizing tasteless jokes in the workplace?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    So how, then Ed, can you be for personal liberty on all these issues, and at the same time, NOT extend the same principles to homosexuals?

    Admit it, it's all about justifying your sky daddy. GOD wants you to persecute homosexuals. Right? Say it. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OK, you persuaded me, I will campaign for an amnesty for all the people who are in prison for getting gay-married and watching Judy Garland. I'm sorry I put them there in the first place.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But at least I made sure their prison cells were properly decorated.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "the cool kids"

    Wait, the people at H&R are the cool kids?

    Here is a composite portrait of the average H&R commenter:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?i.....CDQQ9QEwAw

  • Almanian!||

    "composite portrait"

    Oh, bullshit, Ed! We know that's SugarFree!

  • SIV||

    The "cool kids" don't go to Atheist Sunday School, Francis.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    That's because there is no atheist Sunday School. Not everyone in the world needs your crutch.

  • SIV||

    there is no atheist Sunday School

    Yes there is. Just google it. Sunday school is part of the Atheist Church experience.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Question SIV:

    Let's for the moment, assume you are 100% correct. Which is absurd, of course, but let's say you are anyway.

    Atheism IS A RELIGION!

    So fucking what? So they worship the fact that there is no god. What exactly does that prove? How does this make you feel better? What is the point to your absurd little argument? That Atheists need a crutch too? Do you even have a point?

  • Marshall Gill||

    You know what they call people who are fiscally conservative and socially conservative?

    Funny how when a conservative opposes abortion or SSM it is CULTURE WAR, but Libertarians supporting aggression against the unborn or the expansion of State recognition of personal relationships are simply "socially liberal".

  • SIV||

    "Fiscally conservative, socially progressive is more like it.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    abortion abortion abortion abortion abortion abortion

    hear the call of the wild butthurt team red abortion chemicals cocktail parties abortion abortion abortion

  • Libertopian||

    "Fiscally conservative and socially liberal" isn't necessarily libertarianism. Libertarianism is about the non-aggression principle.

  • Azathoth!!||

    You know what they call someone who's fiscally conservative and socially liberal?

    Confused.

    Libertarians are not 'conservative' or 'liberal', thus they are not fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

    Libertarians are fiscally responsible and fiercly supportive of individual liberty.

    There's a big difference between this and "fiscally conservative and socially liberal". Hell, 'socially liberal' allows in that dreaded 'social' that taints all it touches--'social' justice, 'social' economics, 'social' conservative. That 'social' indicates collectivism, no matter who uses it.

  • Andrew Ian Dodge||

    Socia liberal believe people should be able to do what they want & that taxpayers should support them (when they screw up). Libertarians believe in individual responsibility and not burdening the tax payer.

  • MJGreen||

    would be happy to conduct a lengthy interview with a transgender professor of gay studies

    The horror...

  • Michael Hihn||

    @ Francisco d Anconia "There is no such thing as a "left" libertarian. There is only libertarian."

    It's more accurate to say there are ONLY right and left libertarians -- which has stayed the same from the beginning.

    Right-libertarians usually come in from the right. Economic issues are still their passion. They support social issues but rarely with passion.

    Left-libertarians are the same, in reverse.

    Civil liberties and economic liberties.

  • playa manhattan||

    I have an idea that might help the republican candidates: BE MORE LIBERTARIAN.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    This.

  • Libertopian||

    By the same token I have an idea that might help libertarians: be less 'progressive'.

  • kinnath||

    There are no spoilers. It has little impact whether the tastes great or the less filling party wins.

    The only real question is whether or not you should vote for people you believe in or stay home and deny the system your tacit approval.

  • Almanian!||

    Yeah, I'm finally doing the latter in 2016, after voting for myself for President in 2012, and for Bob Barr in 2008 (forgive me...)

  • Brett L||

    I wasn't eligible in 2012, but I expect to write myself in from here on out.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Why wouldn't you vote Libertarian, or write in a libertarian candidate if the LP happens to run a loon?

    I'm almost certainly going to vote for Rand in the next election.

  • Brett L||

    If Rand Paul gets on the ballot, I might vote for him. Other than that, I'd do as good a job as anyone else who is getting zero electoral votes.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    But if you vote for an unknown, no one can know what would have secured your vote. If it's a guy like Rand, who everyone knows, understands his politics and others also vote for, it sends a message. I'm sure someone keeps count of the write-ins for Rand or his dad.

  • robc||

    KY doesnt allow write-ins for president.

    So that isnt an option in that race.

    And since write-ins must register in advance of the race in KY, they arent really an option in other races either.

  • CE||

    They aren't really write-ins then. And Kentucky doesn't have free elections.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    KY doesnt allow write-ins for president.

    WOW. Didn't know that. That's some fucked up shit. I must agree with CE on this.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I voted for you in 2012 too.

  • Almanian!||

    Thank you, citizen!

  • Cytotoxic||

    stay home and deny the system your tacit approval.

    This is truly 'the way of the retard'. Your 'tacit approval' doesn't matter. The financial support you give keeps the system alive. The 'don't vote to spite the system' part of the libertarian movement are the emo-tarian descedent of the Rothtard idiot wing of libertarianism. They contribute roughly the same thing to limiting the state: nothing.

  • Almanian!||

    he spends five paragraphs complaining about the anti-John McCain sentiment he witnessed at a 2008 D.C. election night happy hour co-sponsored by Reason and America's Future Foundation

    KOCHTAILZMOTARIANZ!

  • Paul.||

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Cato Unbound as much as the next supply-sider. But [...]

    Haven't read past...

    May reconsider in a few minutes.

  • anon||

    Pretty much where I stopped too. Waaaay too long.

  • juris imprudent||

    Apparently our economic positions are acceptable, but that's about it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Ignore almost everything by Michael Tanner at Cato. Unless you enjoy bomb-throwers who preach only to the choir.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't understand why we should be reluctant to embrace our status as spoilers. Are we afraid they're going to outlaw third parties?

    Other than that, I want us to be spoilers. I want the Republican candidates who stubbornly refuse to embrace libertarian solutions to keep losing--until they learn to embrace libertarian solutions.

    Somebody should point out, too, that for every libertarian that "throws his vote away" on a third party candidate, there are more who simply don't vote.

    If only those Republicans had embraced libertarian solutions, they could have won! Maybe the next Republican candidate will learn to embrace libertarian solutions, but we're not going to help that process along by dodging our role as spoilers.

  • John||

    The problem is Ken that you are assuming the political spectrum only goes one way. Suppose Sarvis really was a spoiler for the R. Why is the automatic reaction to that for the Republican to go Right? Couldn't it also be to go Left and try to capture more center and left of center voters?

    Yes, Libertarians do not owe either party their support. But neither party owes Libertarians anything either. There are lots of votes to be had and nothing says either side has to cater to Libertarians.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "There are lots of votes to be had and nothing says either side has to cater to Libertarians."

    There are people who are blaming libertarians for making Republicans lose elections. If they want to whine about it, don't be surprised if libertarians have something to say about it.

    And I'm not saying they have to cater to libertarians, but if they think that libertarians are drawing away more than the margin by which Republicans are losing, then there's a pretty obvious action item associated with that.

    What libertarians think and what we want isn't exactly a mystery.

    And, you know, this is the way the FDR implemented the communist party platform, right? I'd love for libertarianism to play that role in the Republican Party!

    Have you ever read the back of Free to Choose?

  • John||

    And, you know, this is the way the FDR implemented the communist party platform, right? I'd love for libertarianism to play that role in the Republican Party!

    Me too but it will never happen. Libertarians are not smart enough ruthless enough for that to ever happen. That didn't happen because the Communist sat around and waited for the Dems to come kiss their ass and tell them how right they were.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It happened because a pragmatic Democrat lifted the communist platform from the communists and ran on it as his own.

    He knew he already had the Democrat voters out there in his pocket, and so he went fishing for socialist sympathizers using the communist platform as bait.

    I think our platform has a lot of appeal to swing voters, and out most realistic hope of seeing a more libertarian world follows that FDR model. If someone lifted key parts of our "platform" and won with it, we could see a more libertarian world.

    It may not be a libertarian candidate--just like FDR wasn't a communist.

  • Michael Hihn||

    FDR was not a communist. (I had to stop laughing before I could type that!)

    He was a fascist.

  • Calidissident||

    It also didn't happen by them voting for politicians who reduced the size and power of government

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "Me too but it will never happen. Libertarians are not smart enough ruthless enough for that to ever happen."

    To some extent, it already has. For the last thirty years, the really big conservative ideas have basically been cribbed from the libertarians. The lone idea they formulated on their own was Compassionate/National Greatness conservatism. And we all know how brilliantly THAT worked out.

  • Juice||

    You know who else ran on a platform of National Greatness?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Henry Clay?

  • CE||

    FDR ran on a 25 percent tax cut platform.

  • Juice||

    Yeah, in 1932. But the subsequent campaigns weren't so conservative.

  • Michael Hihn||

    That's not true.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    There are lots of votes to be had and nothing says either side has to cater to Libertarians.

    They do if they want our votes.

    Why is the automatic reaction to that for the Republican to go Right? Couldn't it also be to go Left and try to capture more center and left of center voters?

    Libertarian is neither right nor left. It's up.

  • Adam330||

    "But neither party owes Libertarians anything either."

    If that's their attitude, then they should stop complaining when we don't vote for their shitty candidates.

  • Cytotoxic||

    John, we're already infiltrating the national GOP and several state organizations. Thanks but no thanks to your condescension and shitty 'advice'.

  • Ted S.||

    John, we're already infiltrating the national GOP and several state organizations.

    And the Rance Priebuses of the world are having a conniption fit about it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    John, we're already infiltrating the national GOP and several state organizations.

    Past tense. Began under the libertarian Goldwater. Had control under Reagan.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Why would one assume that sarvis was a spioler for the right? Why indeed?

    Ron Paul?
    Rand Paul?
    Justin Amash?
    Tom Massie?

    Any Democrat equivalents? No?

    Oh.

    Despite CNN, Sarvis WAS a spoiler for Cuccinelli--and we should trumpet that.

    We should make it plain that we are strong enough to spoile elections for the GOP, that they might want to seriously start embracing libertarian ideals(which happen to be quite a few of their own founding principles).

    Instead, the usual gang of idiots is doing just the opposite, chasing that leftist affirmation once again.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Despite CNN, Sarvis WAS a spoiler for Cuccinelli--and we should trumpet that

    Despite reality and the facts, SOME libertarians can be just as "intelligent" as the Santorum Taliban.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Honestly, what does being a Libertarian mean beyond legalizing drugs, banging hookers and sitting by while the rest of the world blows itself up?

    What else do we need?

  • Paul.||

    Yeah, I like that quote. It sort of suggests that here you have libertarians legalizing drugs, banging hookers and sitting by watching Democrats and Republicans blow themselves up.

    My response is sort of... "Well, yeah."

  • Ken Shultz||

    There are some things in there about free market capitalism that I'd like to say, too.

    For a long time, the Republicans were a complete joke on spending, too.

  • anon||

    They aren't still?

  • Ken Shultz||

    They making more of an effort.

    The Republicans under John Boehner during the George W. Bush Administration made a complete mockery of fiscal conservatism.

    Modern conservatism was about opposing the New Deal and the Great Society.

    The Republicans under George W. Bush actually expanded the Great Society by way of the prescription drug benefit. No, it hasn't always been like that.

    The Republicans used to oppose expanding social programs, much like they're doing with ObamaCare now. That's much better, but that resistance is mostly coming from Tea Party Republicans--whose ideas as still being opposed by their own establishment Republican leadership.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "...but that resistance is mostly coming from Tea Party Republicans--whose ideas as still being opposed by their own establishment Republican leadership."

    And they're increasingly taking up libertarian ideas as a consequence. The Tea Parties largely seem to be a branch of the Republicans who actually believe all that stuff about free markets and limited government. Once you go there, libertarian thinking is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

  • kbolino||

    The Republicans under John Boehner during the George W. Bush Administration made a complete mockery of fiscal conservatism.

    I was going to point out that surely you mean Denny Hastert, but then I became uncertain that they are in fact two different people.

  • JW||

    What else is there?

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's this thing called capitalism that I care about.

  • JW||

    See: "banging hookers."

  • ||

    Whoa, libertopia in a nutshell.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Don't worry, libertopia also has rentboys.

  • ||

    Meh, libertopia's already a total sausage fest. I wasn't too worried.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Whoa, libertopia in a nutshell.

    Our wacky view of libertopia is why we failed with our own majority of Americas. We've been promoting libertopia for ourselves, instead of a free society.

  • R C Dean||

    what does being a Libertarian mean beyond legalizing drugs, banging hookers and sitting by while the rest of the world blows itself up

    Uncompromising defense of the RKBA, free speech, and free association?

    Much lower taxes?

    At a general level, freedom to go where you will and do what you will so long as you don't harm others?

    TEAM BE RULED doesn't offer any of that.

  • juris imprudent||

    See, the problem with being high and sexually satiated is you don't have the juice left to enforce Pax Americana.

  • OldMexican||

    So how did libertarianism leave Derek Hunter?

    They went from the movement for individual responsibility, small government and free markets to a gaggle of misfits who want pot and prostitution legalized and a total non-interventionist foreign policy.


    Such an assertion would have to mean that this person believes the previous-generation of libertarians were social conservatives who wanted to jail potheds and hookers, and bomb foreigners to kingdom come.

    His assertion tells me that he was never a libertarian to begin with and that he completely misused the term, not even bothering to learn what libertarians stand for nor their reasons.

  • MOFO.||

    See also, Bill Maher

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    And Glenn Beck.

  • CE||

    You can't have small government without a peaceful foreign policy. And you can't have free markets that stop people from buying and selling things they like.

  • Michael Hihn||

    We forgot to NEVER be anti-government and ALWAYS pro-liberty. Eventually we even forgot the difference.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Wait, what? What about when the goverment is being anti-liberty, which is somewhere in the 80 to 101 percent rage, depending on what kind of libertarian you are?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Wait, what?

    Never be anti-government. Always be pro-liberty.

    What about when the goverment is being anti-liberty, which is somewhere in the 80 to 101 percent rage, depending on what kind of libertarian you are

    That's always true, but spouting anti-gubmint slogans is useless for persuading others. It's like "sell the sizzle, not the steak."

    This is why the Tea Party is in trouble. Being pro-liberty means talking about the solution not the disease. If one cannot show how one's solution will benefit the voter ... then you have nothing to sell. "Smaller government" is a soundbite, not a solution.

    HOW will you make government smaller, HOW will people benefit and WHY should they support you. Put it another way. Be pro-PEOPLE instead of anti-government. Salesmanship.

    Likewise, "It's not in the Constitution" is equally useless (on its own). Or do we want the support of ONLY constitutional originalists?

    It's also why the GOP has been such a total failure on healthcare. They have no credible alternative to Obamacare ... just a bunch of slogans about "free markets" and "competition" -- from Paul Ryan who knows less about competition than a box of rocks.

    Even worse, think about it. They have absolutely nothing on jobs and the economy ... nothing but slogans and soundbites.

  • Paul.||

    I dunno, I still like the 'Libertarianz made us looz!' for the Republicans. Keeps them on their toeses.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If they're sick of libertarians making them lose, then there's a solution to that.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah, but you wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get funding for internment camps these days.

  • Paul.||

    Especially with the Sekwester and shutdownz and all.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Yeah, but you wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get funding for internment camps these days."

    You would think we were worse than the progressives!

    I mean, if the Republicans would objectively rather subject the country to more progressive leadership--if the alternative is to embrace libertarian ideas?

    Then they're a disgrace to all their own non-libertarian constituencies that oppose the progressives.

  • Paul.||

    I mean, if the Republicans would objectively rather subject the country to more progressive leadership--if the alternative is to embrace libertarian ideas?

    +1 suicide pact.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "I mean, if the Republicans would objectively rather subject the country to more progressive leadership--if the alternative is to embrace libertarian ideas?"

    The thing I don't get is that it's not like there isn't a long tradition of libertarianism in the Republican party. It's not like they'd have to change longstanding principle, just live up to it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    +1

  • Michael Hihn||

    Libertarian Goldwater said the Moral Majority would destroy the GOP. Getting close.

  • Cytotoxic||

    When they say stupid stuff about gays and immigrants, they alienate not only us but 'moderates' too.

    Embrace gay marriage. Get used to amnesty and more immigration. This is not a 'recomendation'. This is just how it's going to be if you want to get re-elected. Problem with that? STFU

  • JW||

    "Some people, just want to see the GOP burn."

  • Pro Libertate||

    God forbid they maybe abandon some statism to woo the libertarians.

  • Paul.||

    *raises hand*

  • Juice||

    I can live with that.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Republicans pretty much ran Washington, D.C. from 2001-2006, and accomplished roughly nothing of a libertarian nature

    Not proud of the NSA/TSA, the PATRIOT Spy on America Act, the Iraq War, Medicare Pharma Welfare Part D, NCLB, or the American Dream Down Payment Giveaway Act?

    Get with the program and support the GOP, Welch!

  • Drake||

    You may have been assigned to troll a Republican site and came here by mistake.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Of course, the bigger question is what the Democrats actually opposed on that list, not to mention continued and expanded upon.

  • Paul.||

    Obama needs four more years, so we can see out his full vision!

  • MOFO.||

    "Libertarians have devolved from the pro-liberty wing of the right side of the ledger to the annoying kid who, when he doesn't get 100 percent of what he wants, takes his ball and goes home"

    The sentiment is often expressed about the NRA, that they have the nerve to support their cause and political views over rank partisanship.

  • John||

    Very true. But the NRA is a single issue organization. So it is easy for them to do that. Libertarians are not a single issue organization. It is pretty easy for a candidate to be 100% acceptable to the NRA. Not so easy to do the same for Libertarians.

  • Paul.||

    Libertarians are not a single issue organization.

    We kind of are. Liberty. Nothing else matters.

  • John||

    Not even close. What does "liberty" mean? That translates into a 100 different things to different people. No politician is likely to hit 100% on that like you can with the NRA.

  • anon||

    What does "liberty" mean? That translates into a 100 different things to different people.

    It means one thing in particular though: I don't want the government to do it.

  • John||

    Right up until it does. You want government enforcing contracts via the courts don't you?

  • anon||

    Yeah, but that's not the argument, John.

    I don't want the government telling me which contracts I'm allowed to have. A contract, by definition, is an agreement between two parties that (theoretically) is legally binding.

    You're equating the government telling me which contracts I can have to having contracts, which is far different.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It means one thing in particular though: I don't want the government to do it.

    That's why we lose. Anti-gubmint soundbites are preaching to the converted.

  • Pro Libertate||

    More liberty, less government. More markets, less all-too-visible hand of government. Even incremental improvements would likely get my vote, provided that they were actual improvements, not just so much mist in the fog.

    This is the easy path the GOP refuses to completely embrace. That is why it fails with the libertarian-minded, and it's hard not to suspect that the reason for the leadership's refusal to take that rather moderate course is that it wants an expanded state, too. Just a different kind of expanded state.

    The Republicans aren't much less culpable for steering and driving the car towards the cliff than the Democrats. If they don't change that and take a stand, even their own fanboys are going to become less and less interested in voting for Republican candidates. Just pointing to the awfulness of the Democrats isn't enough when the differences when in power are difficult to understand.

  • Paul.||

    I believe this is exactly what's happening in this country, right now.

    People are abandoning the GOP and voting Democrat-- and given up on lofty goals of personal freedom and liberty-- real liberty.

    We are going with the European model. Cradle-to-grave welfare state, but leave my sex life and reproductive rights alone. It's the 16-yr-old's version of liberty: Stay out of my room, I don't need a cerfew, and hey, when's dinner?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that it seems that people have given up on the bigger issues of liberty: Property, Freedom of speech, not being spied upon, but are being thrown a few bones of liberty that largely apply to the Id.

    I can watch all the free porn I want-- but I might get killed by a cop while walking around the front of my house while carrying a hedge clipper.

  • Paul.||

    What I mean to say is, they're abandoning the GOP and voting Democrat because the GOP won't really give them any more liberty, and still want to instill its socon morals.

    People will choose free stuff and porn.

  • Juice||

    It's the 16-yr-old's version of liberty: Stay out of my room, I don't need a cerfew, and hey, when's dinner?

    I really like this analogy.

  • John||

    Neither party is ever going to completely embrace that because only about 5% of the population does that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Then we're fucked. Like I said, if we can reverse the arrow, even if we still have too much state, that's something. If we're not going to bother with that, then what's the point of me voting GOP?

  • Paul.||

    If we're not going to bother with that, then what's the point of me voting GOP?

    The obvious response you're going to get from some quarters is: The GOP wouldn't have given you Obamacare!

    Of course, the obvious response to that is: The GOP would have given us Medicare Part D though!

  • Juice||

    Of course, the obvious response to that is: The GOP would have given us Medicare Part D though!

    And a ground war in Libya and Syria. Maybe bombing Iran for good measure.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "If they don't change that and take a stand, even their own fanboys are going to become less and less interested in voting for Republican candidates."

    That's what's happening now. It's the Tea Parties primarying Establishment Republicans.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Good.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    What does "liberty" mean?

    It means doing as I choose, provided I don't violate the rights of others in doing so.

  • anon||

    It's very hard to understand how to leave me the fuck alone, I guess.

  • John||

    Sure. Do me a favor and stay out the courts when I welch on a contract and don't call the cops when I steal your car. You know, leave me the fuck alone.

    Live isn't that simple. And no one is ever going to agree with you on 100%. If you expect that, you will never accomplish anything in the political realm.

  • anon||

    Sure. Do me a favor and stay out the courts when I welch on a contract and don't call the cops when I steal your car. You know, leave me the fuck alone.

    Your TEAM RED is showing. You damn well know that fraud and coercion have nothing to do with liberty.

  • John||

    It has nothing to do with political afiliation you fucking half wit. It is that unless you are straight up anarchist, you are always going to argue about the role of government. So you can't expect any politician to hit your views 100%. Hell, Sarvis held positions that other Libertarians didn't agree with.

    To say "we just want liberty" is fucking idiotic. Life is a little harder than magic words.

  • anon||

    It has nothing to do with political afiliation you fucking half wit. It is that unless you are straight up anarchist, you are always going to argue about the role of government.

    Yes, there's always going to be something, specifically, that I disagree with; however, the person that leaves me alone the most is always most likely to get my vote. That means the person that promises (and whom I believe) will offer me the most liberty will most likely always receive my vote. How is this concept so fucking hard for you to understand?

  • anon||

    In short, I'm not going to vote (R) just because an (R) is likely to win; I am going to vote for the guy that represents what I want.

    Cause voting (R) "just cause libertarians can't win" is how you end up with presidents like Bush Sr. and Dubya. And John Boehner.

    And, eventually, they might realize they aren't going to get my vote just because they have an (R) after their name.

  • Zeb||

    So you can't expect any politician to hit your views 100%.

    I think most libertarians would be ecstatic to have a candidate they agreed with on 60% that had a chance of winning.

  • anon||

    think most libertarians would be ecstatic to have a candidate they agreed with on 60%

    I'd settle for 15%.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Hell, 40% would get me donating and campaigning.

  • Paul.||

    I think most libertarians would be ecstatic to have a candidate they agreed with on 60% that had a chance of winning.

    You're an optimist. I'd be happy with 12.5%.

  • Juice||

    I think most libertarians would be ecstatic to have a candidate they agreed with on 60% that had a chance of winning.

    His name is Ron Paul.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    To say "we just want liberty" is fucking idiotic. Life is a little harder than magic words.

    Pretty mendacious statement there John. You know damn well it's more than magic words to the vast majority of those who post here. You and I have personally debated this very issue in the past. I can tell you EXACTLY what liberty means. Shall I again?

    1. A person may do as they please, provided in doing so doesn't infringe upon the rights of others.

    2. The ONLY legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of the individual.

    If you'd like me to define rights, I'll do that for you as well.

    Negative rights are unlimited. Positive rights can only be granted via constitution.

    ...liberty.

  • R C Dean||

    Life is a little harder than magic words.

    We're not the ones who think every problem can be solved by having the legislature put magic words on paper.

  • Zeb||

    Don't forget about the roads.

  • Brendan||

    Oh, fuck you.

  • Brendan||

    That was to John's 1:00PM comment.
    http://reason.com/blog/2013/11.....nt_4124692

    Your statism boner is showing through your pants. Please try to cover it...you know, for the children.

  • Cytotoxic||

    ITT John concern trolls for Team Red and makes a fool of himself.

  • R C Dean||

    John, your "courts and cops" quibble is with anarchists, not minarchists/libertarians.

  • CE||

    I've been a Libertarian since 1980. And I can categorically assert that no candidate has ever been 100% acceptable to Libertarians, not even their own.

  • Juice||

    Not even Harry Brown (Mr. Libertarian) or Mary Ruwart?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Browne and Ruwart are among our biggest threats. They each promote(d) a libertarian society for us, instead of a free society for everyone.

    Ruwart has spent decades explaining how a libertarian society would work, instead of how a free society would work.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Libertarians are not a single issue organization.

    Um...

    LIBERTY!

  • Michael Hihn||

    Libertarians are mostly a ZERO issue group. Have been since the late 70s or early 80s.

  • Juice||

    pro-liberty wing of the right side of the ledger

    Being called a right winger is getting old, but it does amuse me coming from party-faithful Democrats. I see them as vastly more right wing than me.

  • ||

    Mediate's Andrew Kirell responded to Hunter's piece here; Hunter fired back here.

    If there's anything more boring than insider blog wars, I haven't found it yet.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Horse-race election coverage?

  • Paul.||

    The election they're covering.

  • JW||

    Miley Cyrus coverage?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    I thought Miley's lack of coverage was the problem.

  • kinnath||

    20.9% of the US population voted for Barack Obama in 2012, where as 19.4% voted for Romney.

    Now that's what I call a mandate.

  • Paul.||

    Yes, but Obama had the unbending support of Europe, and still does. He improved our image. You can't buy support like that.

  • R C Dean||

    Obama had the unbending support of Europe, and still does

    Nothing says "unbending support" like calling your ambassador in for an ass-chewing, and publicly disagreeing with your grand plans for the Middle East.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I suspect that the reason certain Dems support Ls (as with Sarvis) is that they see the Ls as cool, hip, socially liberal, and not compromised with the corrupt-professional-politician baggage of the Dems.

    In Va, where it was assumed Sarvis would pull votes away from Cooch, I suspect the Dems didn't bother to run anti-libertarian ads, not realizing that some of their own base was being lured away (I'm speaking in major-party terms; I'm not saying the major parties own voters).

    If Ls keep pulling votes from Dems, you can probably expect the ovelapping Venn diagram of Dems and media to start publicizing The Dark Side of the Libertarian Party. Gone will be the appreciative articles about the quirky third-party candidates who reject Republican theocracy and support alternative lifestyles. Such articles are premised on the assumption that Ls are "stealing" Republican votes, so they're a wholesome influence. When they fear Ls will "steal" democrat votes, you'll hear more and more about deranged anarchists who want the Kochporations to pollute the ocean (and let it boil away thanks to global warming) and would let employers oppress their gay and trans employees without restraint, etc., and how they're against tax funding for Planned Parenthood and its mammograms.*

    This is how we'll be able to tell that Ls are, in fact, taking Dem votes. So watch and see.

    *(They don't actually do mammograms, they refer to practitioners who do)

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Or more likely this:

    So we publish a "19 Percent Solution" about affixing federal spending to a percentage of GDP rather than merely complain that most federal government activity is morally and constitutionally illegitimate (the upshot is that our solutions end up sounding like those being offered by a new generation of libertarian-leaning Republicans). The same impulse is behind our calls to replace entitlements with a real safety net (rather than ripping up both), slowly unwind Fannie and Freddie (rather than ending them overnight), redirect federal transportation spending (rather than just getting rid of it), and on and on.

    The Libertarians who yell out impractical policies like ABOLISH ALL TAXES seem like ridiculous blowhards where the policies outlined above appear to be practical solutions.

    So yes, I can see a lot of anti-SoCon Democrats who like the message Welch outlines.

  • Paul.||

    The Libertarians who yell out impractical policies like ABOLISH ALL TAXES

    Was this Sarvis's campaign promise?

    My guess is, McAulliffe is a pretty icky, shady guy, even for Democrat standards. I'm guessing there were Dems out there who just didn't like the idea of voting for a used car salesman with belt and matching shoes, but couldn't vote GOP.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I would hypothesize that this is the case.

    Again, the Dems didn't bother with anti-L ads because they assumed "their" voters wouldn't bolt to Sarvis.

    Treat these voters to scare ads about the Kochs, the Libertarian platform, freedom to discriminate, etc., and we'll see what happens.

  • Paul.||

    I think that Democrats, like 97% of the rest of America (and I admit I'm sometimes in this boat-- and wrongly so) believe that Libertarian voters break 100-0-0 for Republicans.

    If it ever becomes realized or proven that they break a little more evenly, I'm guessing you'll so those anti-l ads any time there's a Libertarian spoiler in the mix and the D margin of victory (or loss) is tiny.

  • Restoras||

    Not too mention I don't know any libertarian that has suggested such a thing.

    I'd ask it for a cite but we all know he doesn't have one.

  • Juice||

    In this race Sarvis was almost solely a "protest vote" to protest the other lousy "serious" candidates.

  • Juice||

    My guess is, McAulliffe is a pretty icky, shady guy, even for Democrat standards.

    In this race Sarvis was almost solely a "protest vote" to protest the other lousy "serious" candidates.

  • Juice||

    Fuck. I thought the sqrls had thrown away my previous comment.

  • Michael Hihn||

    That was not a campaign promise of Sarvsis -- but a demand of the libertarians purists who yell STATIST, like the GOP purists who yell RINO.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "a lot of anti-SoCon Democrats"

    I would say "a few." Once the issues turn from gay abortions to economics, and how the Koch-funded austerity fanatics and cutting the budget to the bone and throwing single lesbian mothers of color on the streets, many of these voters will get religion and scamper back to the Democrats.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Again, lots of people, when they hear "social liberal," think Michael Bloomberg - legalizing behavior that social liberals think is OK, like abortion and dope, promoting behavior like SSM, and banning bad icky uncool stuff like big gulps, transfats, and "anti-LGBTQ discrimination."

    So long as they focus on libertarians "legalizing the stuff I like and that the Republicans hate," then they may go the the libertarians. But I'd like to see what happens when Dem groups and/or media start running their Dark Side of the LP stories and ads.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Think Reagan Democrat or Blue Dog voter. They exist by the tens of millions. They can be persuaded as history shows.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    The Libertarians who yell out impractical policies like ABOLISH ALL TAXES


    Why do you say that this is an impractical policy?

    seem like ridiculous blowhards where the policies outlined above appear to be practical solutions.


    Why do you say that the "19 per cent" solution is practical? What makes you think that goverment would accept such limit, if it can't even balance a simple budget?

    So yes, I can see a lot of anti-SoCon Democrats who like the message Welch outlines.


    Must be people that you personally know. Most Democrats I know still think that the rich should be taxed like 98% out of their productive labor just because they're rich, justifying such plunder on purely moralistic grounds.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The Libertarians who yell out impractical policies like ABOLISH ALL TAXES

    Why do you say that this is an impractical policy

    Even Ayn Rand said it was stupid. "Voluntary taxation" (a term of the day) "will be the last step, not the first step to a free society." duh!

  • CE||

    19 percent of GDP seems awfully high for a government that does only what is Constitutionally permitted.

    ABOLISH ALL TAXES.

  • Michael Hihn||

    19 percent of GDP seems awfully high for a government that does only what is Constitutionally permitted.

    That's why spending cuts come first!

    And why ..."ABOLISH ALL TAXES" ... is kinda wacky.

  • Warty||

    and a voice that does little more than complain.

    Somebody is unfamiliar with my biographer's oeveure.

  • LynchPin1477||

    the annoying kid who, when he doesn't get 100 percent of what he wants, takes his ball and goes home. The team he agrees with more than half the time loses to the team he barely agrees with at all, and he cheers while marinating in his smugness.

    That was totally me in grade school. Apparently I was a libertarian before I even knew what a libertarian was!

  • OldMexican||

    Carrie Sheffield: "But I don't understand why it's not uncommon that libertarian candidates play spoiler to Republican candidates. Too often this throws the race to a Democrat who’s much farther removed from the libertarian's ideology than the GOP candidate."


    Assuming that this is true, that libertarian candidates serve as spoilers to the chances of a Republican candidate. Doesn't this mean that the Republican candidate is in fact very far removed from libertarian politics, enough for libertarians to look for better alternatives? So why instead of treating libertarians as some kind of traitors to the cause, you take a hard look at the candidates the GOP is offering?

    The fact is that Republicans are very far removed from libertarian ideas especially after the great Goldwater defeat in 1964 (which could be better attributed to public attitudes after the still very recent killing of Kennedy and Goldwater's refusal to vote for the CRA of 1964 on constitutional grounds) which the Republicans took as their cue to become more pragmatic and less principled.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Yawn. You want my vote? Then appeal to me. Don't be the barrel of wine with the cup of sewage in it.

    Also, I desire neither pot nor prostitutes. But it would be great if we stopped jailing people who do.

  • John||

    If there is one great service the Libertarians could do, it would be changing the language such that the term "socially liberal" means what it says. Neither party is particularly socially liberal. Yet, people think the Democrats are because somehow socially liberal has come to mean gay sex and abortion and nothing else. The Democrats are even less socially liberal than Republicans. Wanting to tell people what they can eat and how much money they can make is about as socially "unliberal" as you can get.

  • Paul.||

    it would be changing the language such that the term "socially liberal" means what it says.

    Unfortunately, these things have been packaged in easy-to-understand terms for the MSM.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Beat that strawman, Red Tony.

    Bloomberg does not = "Democrats". In fact he ran as a Republican.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    John: "The Democrats are even less socially liberal than Republicans."

    Buttwipe: Beat that strawman, Red Tony.


    Sure, those "speech codes" at college campuses are nothing more than fraternity pranks, I'm sure...

  • Paul.||

    Jesus fuck this has been so fucking hashed out so many times.

    Yes, he's a life long Democrat who switched Republican to ride the wave of Giuliani love.

    And frankly, who even cares? He's a statist's statist of the statiest regard. He's anti-gun, anti-choice, anti-liberty, anti-civil-rights in every sense of the word. He should stand trial for his crimes against humanity.

    Bloomberg, a lifelong member of the Democratic Party, decided to run for mayor as a member of the Republican Party ticket.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bloomberg

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Jesus fuck this has been so fucking hashed out so many times.

    John/Red Tony thinks Bloomberg is writing the Democratic Party Platform though.

    Bloomberg is a anomaly and does not represent any political party.

    No one is trying to "tell how much money they can make" either. Obama did want to curtail wages for TARP recipients though - the fuckers who were de facto federal employees.

  • John||

    Shreek is a retarded savage. He can't understand that words and reality can be too different things. He sees the word "Republican" and thinks it means what he thinks it does in reality.

    We make fun of him because he is pathetic and stupid. But the various idiots who manipulate the sockpuppet really think like that.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    In other states, there's a name for New York City Republicans - liberal Democrats.

  • Paul.||

    Shrike would defend Hitler if he had an 11th hour conversion to Judaism right before his Nuremberg trial.

    Shrike: He can't be guilty... I mean, he's Jewish for Christ's sake!

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    He ran as a New York Republican, aka "A Violently Cop-Happy Democrat".

  • Warty||

    This is a good point. I call these people fascists on the rare occasions when I talk to Normals about politics.

  • John||

    They want to control everythign we do. That is not socially liberal. It is not socially liberal to tell someone how much money they can donate to a political campaign. It is not socially liberal to tell someone how they have to arrange their trash or what kind of light bulb they can buy.

    Most of the hard core Dems are nothing but a religious left, only instead of caring about porn and gambling and sex, they care about every single other thing we do and just as passionately want to control it.

  • Warty||

    Have you ever told a true believer that recycling is a scam and enforced recycling is morally repulsive? You'd get a nicer reaction if you strangled a kitten in front of them. I highly recommend it.

  • John||

    All of the time. I tell them how bad it is for the environment and what at waste of resources it is. I might as well be speaking Greek. It goes right over their head.

  • sarcasmic||

    I might as well be speaking Greek. It goes right over their head.

    You're speaking Economics, and yes it does go right over their head.

  • Juice||

    There are two things that are economical to recycle and better for the environment when they are recycled. That's metal and plastic.

  • sarcasmic||

    But, but, but... Landfills! If we didn't recycle then the Earth would be one big landfill!

  • juris imprudent||

    Until the great garbage avalanche of 2505.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    They want to control everythign we do.

    Just like you Aborto-Freaks do. A real liberal cannot be a SoCon.

  • John||

    CHRISTFAG!!!!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    A sign you have lost the argument again.

    Are you tired of linking Youtubes when you lose?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    You still haven't answered my question: Why do you think that a policy of abolishing all taxes is impractical? What is it that makes it impractical?

    Before you answer with something stupid, let me give you an analogy to ponder: Let's say that there's a political party that seeks to stop all rapes as a matter of policy. Would you say that such policy is impractical and thus argue for a compromise?

  • John||

    BUSHPIG!!

    You little retarded savage. Go back in your hole.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    Just like you Aborto-Freaks do.


    Do you really think that being against abortion is being in favor of control?

  • kbolino||

    Does a woman own her body? Yes.
    Does a person have a right to its life? Yes.

    Assuming the personhood of a zygote, there arises a conflict of rights spanning a period of roughly 9 months from when a child is conceived until it is born.

    You could potentially make a case for negative enforcement of the unborn child's right to life, but who would have standing to sue on its behalf?

    Thus must people who are opposed in whole or in part to abortion are in favor of positive enforcement, whereupon the government takes an active role in controlling the providers of abortions.

    Whether that amounts to control of the woman herself is a bit more debatable, since there exist abortive chemicals and other procedures which can be administered outside of legally sanctioned providers, but presumably such an act would still be considered illegal.

  • R C Dean||

    Whether that amounts to control of the woman herself is a bit more debatable,

    Leaving aside pregnancies resulting from rape, why not say the woman was exercising her right of self-determination and control of her body when she agreed to have sex.

    Freedom to choose does not mean freedom from the consequences of your choice.

  • Vjklander||

    100% Absolutely.

  • sarcasmic||

    For most Democrats, socially liberal generally means using force.

    Forcing people to accept gay marriage.
    Forcing private insurers to cover abortions and birth control.
    Forcing smokers to go outside.

    The entire concept of liberty, of being free from asking permission and taking orders, simply does not compute.

    So this idea of why Democrats would support libertarians, for me anyway, also does not compute.

  • CE||

    You really think they're okay with smokers going outside? They don't even want to allow people to use e-cigarettes, which have no smoke at all.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    People hear different things when they hear the term "socially liberal."

    Libertarians hear "classical liberal who wants to leave people to define their values for themselves and act accordingly," perhaps with an emphasis on dope and hookers, but including other choices like guns and discrimination.

    Lefties hear "someone who wants to legalize *and subsidize* the dope, sex and abortions that I like, thus sticking it to the evil Republican theocrats, while banning the evil stuff that many deluded members of the public still cling to, like guns, large sodas, employment discrimination, tobacco, yada yada."

    If Ls go on about social liberalism, then lots of lefties who are tired of the Dems but would rather eat meat than vote R, could gravitate to the Ls - *until* they hear about the bad stuff, like "you guys want corporations to discriminate against the gays and pay fewer taxes? Ewwww, I thought you guys were *cool!*"

  • Azathoth!!||

    If Ls go on about social liberalism, and appear to be courting Ds and liberals they loose their natural allies among Rs who prefer classical liberalism and gain no Ds or liberals who will vote for anything with a 'D' after its name no matter what.

    Pursuing Ds is pursuing marginalization.

  • Michael Hihn||

    That's why Gary Johnson uses "socially tolerant."

    And eventually to "fiscally responsible."

    We FINALLY have somebody who passed Marketing 101.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    having third-party candidates beat the margin of victory does NOT mean that they threw the election to the winner.

    And who cares if it did. You want the libertarian vote. Run libertarian candidates.

    Until then, fuck off and die in a fire.

  • John||

    And that is just what both parties will do. Except that with 7% of the vote, I am not sure it will be the major parties that will die on the vine.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They won't 'die', they'll lose. Look up 'incentives'.

  • sarcasmic||

    OT:
    Recorded Another Earth on a whim, and it turned out to be a really good movie. Anyone else seen it?

  • ||

    I was doing something else while my roommate watched it. It seemed like a solid film.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I've heard this is one of the worst movies ever.

  • ||

    Clearly they weren't comparing it to Melancholia if they thought it was that bad.

    Both movies with an extra planet that shows up, desaturated desolate coloring, slightly plodding "indie" feel and a heavy dose of ennui, but Another Earth was better.

  • sarcasmic||

    When I want your opinion I'll take a shit and breathe deep.

  • Juice||

    Oh it is. Up there with Brown Bunny.

  • Juice||

    Are you shitting me? That had to be one of the most boring, nonsensical movies I almost completely sat through. It's terrible.

  • Brendan||

    It's probably already been said, but who gives a shit if the (L/)libertarian candidate DID garner enough votes to swing the election?

    If the Republicans think those votes should go to their candidate, then they need to earn them.

    One way to do that is to run better candidates. Same thing goes for Democrats who piss(ed) and moan(ed) about Green party candidates "spoiling" the election for them.

  • wef||

    Poor, deluded republicans. They keep compromising principles in order to vote for philosophically-incoherent “winners” and, instead of joining with libertarians and electing champions of individual liberty, they end up throwing the election to the other big-government faction. They are going to do this “sure-winner” thing until it occasionally works and they get another Bush – and then what? Pathetic.

  • bassjoe||

    I am sick and tired of reading "analysis" by dimwits/partisan-tools about how third party candidates supposedly ruined an electoral victory for one of the two major candidates (an accusation hurled most commonly at Libertarians and Greens these days).

    Perhaps the major candidate should have been more appealing and NOT provided a reason for his/her "natural" voters to vote for somebody else -- a somebody else those voters were 99.99% certain would lose. People don't like supporting losers (even on "principle"); you have to be damn horrible candidate to make people support a definite loser over you.

  • JidaKida||

    Sometimes man, you jsut have to roll with it.

    www.Privacy-Road.tk

  • R C Dean||

    To repeat:

    Every vote has equal value, regardless of who it is cast for. The idea of a
    "wasted" vote is a non sequitur.

    Voting is not supposed to be your best guess as to who will win, but who you think should win. There's no shame in voting for the loser, but there should be shame in voting for someone who isn't the candidate you most want to see in office.

    My vote is mine; no party has a claim on it, so it is another non sequitur to say that a third party is "stealing" votes from a major party.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Your vote is indeed yours; don't see how that bars criticism of how you use it, anymore than private property rights mean no one can criticize you for leaving your lawnmower out in the snow all winter.

    Voting is not supposed to be your best guess as to who will win, but who you think should win.

    Not necessarily. A vote can also be seen as a tool. You don't hit a nail with a hammer because you think the nail should be hit, you do it for some larger purpose. Political minorities can't afford to vote their conscience -- that's how the statists marginalize us.

  • Michael Hihn||

    who it is cast for. The idea of a "wasted" vote is a non sequitur.

    (yawn) it describes what voters may come to believe, not a chapter in a Logic textbook.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Too bad Sarvis didn't draw from the Democrats quite enough to ensure a recount battle for Cooch. Then the Pachyderms would have to have a whole new narrative, and perhaps even be GRATEFUL to him.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    The lesson to learn here is for the Libertarians. Keep running better candidates. Give voters someone solid, who can govern if elected. In the beginning, many of these fine candidates will lose. But over time, and especially if defeated candidates go on to win the same or other offices later, more will win. Do NOT be assimilated into the Demos or GOP. Be the force that can deny victory to either major party, either by "splitting" vote or winning office outright. That is the ONLY way to get the establishment parties' (grudging but genuine) respect and to force them to put a Libertarian podium on the debate stage.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Keep running better candidates.

    Right -- we need more tax and spend liberals like Sarvis.

    Be the force that can deny victory to either major party, either by "splitting" vote or winning office outright.

    I totally agree with this, but that's precisely an argument against voting LP. If both major parties know your vote is impossible to get (and impossible for the other guy to get) then they'll ignore you.

    If you think the Dems are going to betray Big Labor or the GOP is going to betray Big Church to court 0.5% of the population, you're dreaming.

  • prolefeed||

    With a year's hindsight, I would amend that to say you can begin to make a convincing LP-spoiler claim in exactly one 2012 congressional race: Democrat John Tierney's 48.2%-47.2% win over Republican Rich Tisei in a Massachusetts 6th district race where Libertarian Daniel Fishman received 4.6% of the vote.

    Not even that. Do the math. For Tisei to have won, he would have needed to pick up 1.1% of the 4.6% LP vote, over and above the votes subtracted because they split evenly between the R and D candidates.

    Assume half of the 4.6% of the LP voters would not have voted for either the R or D candidates if the LP candidate was not in the race. This means the remaining 2.3% of the vote switches would need to have broken 1.7% for the R and 0.6% for the D to barely eke out an R win, a lopsided 3-1 favoring for the R over the D candidate.

  • Vjklander||

    I an a Libertarian. I will not vote for any anti-choice, anti-gay candidate. Period. End of story. And not because I particularly agree with either position. It is simple because it is un-American and unethical for the government to stick its nose into those issues.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    According to CNN's exit polling unit, "if Sarvis had not been in the race, exit polls indicate McAuliffe would have beaten Cuccinelli by 7 points (50%-43%)."

    That's laughable, as it implies that ALL of Sarvis' support came from McAuliffe voters. I'm also scratching my head as to who the other 7% who didn't vote for McAuliffe or Cucinelli would have voted for, if Sarvis isn't in the race. It's also unsupported by the PDF the page links to, which lists 48% - 46% as the margin of victory if Sarvis wasn't there.

    Of course, Matt Welch doesn't let any of these concerns interrupt his dash to avoid blame.

  • Whahappan?||

    You're right Matt's math is off, but his conclusion still stands, which is that McAuliffe would have won by more if Sarvis wasn't in the race. It's bizarre that you think Welch needs to "avoid blame" for anything here. Check your meds.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Libertarians been the majority since the beginning of the World's Smallest Political Quiz. It was 2005, when Zogby found 59% self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. So Cato and Reason may suffer the "purity" noted here by Matt. How about libertarian tribalism?

    Both Cato and Reason joined the wacky hysteria that Congress and staffers get a "special privilege" on the exchanges. And only NationalReviewOnline has published a correction.

    Who's more libertarian, Rand Paul or Chris Christie?

    Christie by a mile. Rand is not even libertarian ... not on purity, but by definition. On a scale of 0 to 10, how does Paul rank on social issues? "Zero" earns the cookie.

    What did Christie say when he vetoed a gay marriage bill? He proposed a ballot initiative. "This should be decided by the people, not by judges or legislators." Does that make him a RINO, or a libertarian who can frame issues to both left and right?

    Package ten policy positions, WSPQ, and we see a libertarian majority. Self-identify by DESCRIPTION (Zogby) and we see a libertarian majority. Poll "libertarian" as a label, we collapse to around 15%. To any first-year Marketing major, the libertarian BRAND sucks. Is there a Libertarian Era. Yep, for over a quarter-century.

    The people have been way ahead of us for decades. I once worked for an executive who had this sign over the door. "I must hurry, for there go my people and I am their leader."

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Christie is more Libertarian than Paul?

    Cmon. That's just ridiculuous.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Christie is more Libertarian than Paul?

    Rand Paul is GOP Taliban which is not libertarian.

    Cmon. That's just ridiculuous.

    Which part confuses you
    1) If ranked 0-10 on social issues, Rand scores 0. With Santorum,Bachman and their ilk.

    2) Do you perhaps not know that libertarian means fiscally conservative and socially liberal?

    Christie has governed as a fiscal conservative, to a surprising degree in a dark-blue state. Rand is in the extreme SOCON wing that Goldwater said would destroy the GOP - and who's leadership Reagan ignored.

    Rand supports a constitutional amendment to ban abortion entirely, denying unalienable and God-govern rights to women in open defiance of our founding documents.

    He would defund Planned Parenthood for performing abortions, NOT because they use taxpayer dollars for abortion. PP is the sole source of medical care for millions of inner-city women who have no Medicaid doctor at all.

    Add it up. Paul would punish a provider for performing a constitutionally-protected medical procedure, with entirely private dollars, which would not prevent a single abortion, but would destroy the sole source of medical care for millions of inner-city women --- mostly black women.

    Might this be one reason Goldwater said those people would destroy the GOP? Why not also disgrace the libertarian movement?

    Howzat?

  • Andrew Ian Dodge||

    The funniest thing being suggested by some Republicans is that Cuccinelli is libertarian-ish. That is why some were so upset that people voted for Sarvis. I am not sure what planet Cuccinelli is in any way libertarian, but on that planet they probably think Francisco Franco & Mussolini are "libertarian-light" as well.

  • ||

    "Rand Paul and Justin Amash, I hate to say it, are Republicans. They’re doing it right – working within the system to change it. Hate the system all you want – and who doesn’t? But it’s not going anywhere." -Hunter's fire back?

    No thanks, I'll take my ball and go home. Why? It's my ball and I can. That is principle. That is what all my conservative friends just don't seem to grasp. Conservitives and libertarians are not the same. I'm not going to defy my principles just because there is this idea that there is no room in the imaginary dichotomy for the libertarians.

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