A Liberal's Voting Advice to Libertarians

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From The American Prospect's Matthew Yglesias, writing on his personal weblog:

I continue to think that the best way for libertarians to advance the small-government cause over the long haul would be to try and convince the GOP leadership that the "miniscule proportion" theory is wrong by voting for Michael Badnarik. Thus, much as I would welcome a Stuart Benjamin vote for John Kerry, I think libertarians should pull the lever for the LP, the well-known problems with the LP and Badnarik notwithstanding. If Bush loses to Kerry and the LP gets a historically large share of the vote (not a hard hurdle to clear) then the GOP will hear the message that they need to pay more attention to the small government vote. If Bush loses to Kerry and the LP gets its typically tiny share of the vote then the GOP will hear the message that it needs to try and coopt some Democratic issues (think—pharmaceutical price controls and backing away from social security privatization) and will likely become even less libertarian. If Bush wins, the GOP will just steam on ahead as deficits and body bags pile up.

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  1. The problem is that the system runs on the lubrication of money. Right or left, you buy people’s votes by promising them shwag, at taxpayers expense.

    Who’s going to vote for a guy the promises to do nothing for you when he gets to Washington? Not very inspiring. Until people can grasp the basic idea that we’d all be beter off without the pork if it comes with an increase in freedom, the libertarian idea has no chance. That’s why it’s more of matter of public education and persuasion than political tactics.

  2. Todd,
    True, but since when is, “I’m not going to spend your money” a promise of nothing. Maybe I’m just annoyed that I don’t get enough pork shipped to my home state.

  3. I’d like to offer my advice to anti-war Democrats to pull the lever for Nader, so that the Democratic party hears the lesson to tack further left, rather than try to co-opt Republican issues.

  4. Matthew Yglesias makes the big bucks, but little old me has already pointed here to where the big vein of ore remains to be mined: the undecided voters.

    How much would it cost to get pollsters to do some poking around there to confirm what I’m saying?

  5. The only thing a “libertarian” needs to do in the voting booth, when figuring how to vote, is to ask, “Am I really a libertarian.”

    If your answer is “Yes, I am a libertarian” then there is really only one person you could possibly vote for…Michael Badnarik. He’s a libertarian. No other candidate for President is even *close* to being libertarian.

    If you vote for anyone but Michael Badnarik, you aren’t really a libertarian.

    Mark Bahner (real libertarian)

  6. “Right or left, you buy people’s votes by promising them shwag, at taxpayers expense.”

    Please identify the shwag that Ron Paul has used to buy peoples’ votes, at taxpayers’ expense.

  7. “If you vote for anyone but Michael Badnarik, you aren’t really a libertarian.”

    Does that mean I’ll have to hand in my secret decoder ring? Cuz I’m a little iffy on voting for a guy who jokes about blowing up the UN and a guy who calls himself a doctor based on his “PhD” from an online scam artist, regardless of their party affiliation.

  8. A Liberal’s Voting Advice to Libertarians

    Wow… I’ll give it about as much deliberation as a Conservative’s voting advice to libertarians. I.e. None.

    A more honest title would be: How you should vote to further my cause (because I think you’re stupid)

  9. Mark:

    You most certainly can vote for some one other than Bednarik and consider yourself a libertarian. The Libertarian Party is the primary reason everyone considers libertarians a joke. There are many libertarian ideas that would appeal to the mainstream, but the LP continues to support its image as some fringe group of nut jobs (i.e. letting a guy in a cape speak at the national convention).

    I will probably be voting for Bednarik come Nov, but that doesn’t mean I’m elated at the prospect.

  10. “If you vote for anyone but Michael Badnarik, you aren’t really a libertarian.”

    I suppose that “real libertarians” don’t put sugar on their porridge either, huh?

  11. I’ve been saying for a while now that the only way that there’s going to be ANY kind of change in the voting system is if everyone who doesn’t really want Bush or Kerry gets out and votes for a 3rd party. I don’t care if it’s the communist party. If the 2 big parties suddently see a big drop in overall votes, with a corresponding increase in 3rd party votes, it does 2 things.

    1) It sends a message to the Republicans and Democrats that they’re doing something wrong, and
    2) It helps to delegitimize the “wasted vote” syndrome. The more people that vote for 3rd parties, the less the mainstream will see it as wasting a vote.

    I’d love to see every 3rd party, undecided, or just plain disilusioned voter get out there and vote for a 3rd party next month. Well, actually, I’d love to see everyone in America vote Libertarian. But I’m trying to be realistic. heh

  12. As a Libertarian and birdwatcher I wouldn’t mind having the Loon as our symbol/mascot. We would pull in all of the disaffected birders and contributers to the World Wildlife Federation thus undermining the Dems or Repubs, whichever.

  13. This liberal’s got some voting advice for y’all: trying to decide which party is less anti-libertarian is a sucker’s game. Neither of the candidates comes even close to your political philosophy.

    But that’s not to say there is no pro-liberty impact libertarians can have on this election. There is a lot more to governing than political ideology; there is also the habits of governance. Does the president, as he goes about his daily business, demonstrate a commitment to the individual liberty that you hold so dear, or does he display a desire to enforce conformity and obedience to authority? George Bush has been using the Secret Service to kick people out of his rallies because they are wearing tee shirts or buttons for his opponent; John Kerry regularly allows himself to be heckled by Bush supporters, who do things like clap together flip flops (get it?) in an attempt to drown out his speeches, without employing his Secret Service detail as audience censors.

    Does the president, in the execution of his duties, behave in an imperious manner towards the public, or does he treat them like his boss, and show them the respect due, from government officials, towards the citizens of the republic he works for? Do you think George Bush treated you respectfully in selling his big war? When he threatened you with mushroom clouds?

    Does the president display the respect towards the duly elected opposition, and recognize that its opposition to his policies should serve as a limit on his power and reach, or does he attempt to govern as in a one party dictatorship, and treat opposition on policy as opposition to American and its people? I’ve never seen John Kerry say that Republicans “aren’t concerned with the security of the American people,” as Bush did when Democratic Congressmen opposed an obscure worker-protection clause in the Homeland Security Bill. And I’m pretty sure that John Kerry won’t accuse people who raise questions about certain laws of “providing aid and comfort to the enemy,” as John Ashcroft did.

    Libertarianism, as I’ve come to understand it, isn’t just a set of policy positions, or even a philosophy about the scope and function of government. It’s also a sort of attitude about how the government, and its office holders, should treat individuals. None of the examples I’ve given above are violations of anyone’s rights per se, but they are insights into George Bush’s vision of how the government should behave. I’d think the attitude of a candidate towards the proper use of power itself would be of interests to libertarians.

  14. “A more honest title would be: How you should vote to further my cause (because I think you’re stupid)”-or “Please become our version of Ralph Nader” or “Ralph Nader’s vote is going towards TWO PERCENT, help balance things out!”

    I say it now as I’ve said before, IF Libertarians are really interested in power and the ability to influence public policy, then they need to join the GOP.

    I hold out the example of Tom Hayden from the Left, he did more than the the DSA or SDS or the Weathermen EVER did to advance the Progressive cause, and he did it from INSIDE the Democratic Party. Alternatively, the Neo-Con’s have influenced Republican foreign policy and many of them were Democrats, who crossed over.

    Mark Bahner is adopting the “safe” position. Vote LP, it makes you feel good. You take the right stand, like the Socially Concerned Students on my campus. They accomplished NOTHING, but they took all the right stands, so they demonstrated they CARED, even if the net result of their care was no change at all. Vote LP, get your usual less than 1% of the vote and feel “pure”. Join a mainstream party compromise your principles and get SOME of your agenda thru… It depends on what you want, something or nothing. Sure the “nothing” is pure, but it is still nothing.

  15. “Does that mean I’ll have to hand in my secret decoder ring?”

    No, but it’s a simple fact. If you don’t vote for Michael Badnarik, you aren’t a libertarian. Bush and Kerry aren’t anywhere close to having positions that can be called “libertarian.”

    ALL Michael Badnarik’s positions (of which I’m aware) are libertarian.

    “You most certainly can vote for some one other than Bednarik and consider yourself a libertarian.”

    You can consider yourself Jesus H. Christ. But I don’t think you’ll get into a voting booth passing yourself off as him. (Some witnesses add, “Him.”)

  16. And J, I expect to see your secret decoder ring on my desk by the end of the day.

  17. “Cuz I’m a little iffy on voting for a guy who jokes about blowing up the UN…”

    It wasn’t with people inside. It would save a lot of money to demolish the U.N. building. (And he was joking, as you noted.)

  18. Actually, I think it’s good advice to both Liberals and Conservatives. Vote Libertarian. Increasing choice long term will be healthy for both parties, and may end up stopping them from exhibiting such arrogance and divisiveness.

    A stronger Libertarian party will apply pressure to both parties. In these days, regardless of traditional party, if you are socially liberal and/or fiscally conservative, you probably should be voting Libertarian on a regular basis. The Democrats are doing very little any more to protect individual rights, and the Republicans have given up being fiscally responsible.

  19. “I suppose that ‘real libertarians’ don’t put sugar on their porridge either, huh?”

    REAL libertarians don’t give a damn what people put on their porridge. Including sugar laced with LSD.

    As I stated, I am a REAL libertarian.

  20. Sorry.
    In my above, I meant “unlikely” voters.
    Makes a big dif.

  21. joe l, i’d say your advice were sound if you were talking about political involvement.

    additional undecided votes for pubs or dems, on the other hand…i don’t quite see where that’s going as far as the president is concerned.

  22. “Mark Bahner is adopting the “safe” position. Vote LP, it makes you feel good.”

    Voting LP doesn’t make me “feel good.”

    I have a philosophy about how the federal government should be run…according to the Constitution. (Surprise!)

    Michael Badnarik is the ONLY candidate who I think would fill his position according to the Constitution.

    You either support the Rule of Law, or you don’t. If you don’t, you’ve got tough choices. If you do, there is only Michael Badnarik.

  23. “I say it now as I’ve said before, IF Libertarians are really interested in power and the ability to influence public policy, then they need to join the GOP.”

    Ah, but the question before the house is: What sort of welcome will the GOP give libertarians? Being an ex-conservative and former member of the College Republicans, I can tell you that LAST thing the GOP wants is to have an active libertarian faction to tear the party apart. The hard-core conservative base would bolt the party if Republicans started seriously considering legalizing prostitution, ending drug prohibition, and allowing gay marriage. Look at the Republican Liberty Caucus (or Log Cabin Republicans, or Republicans For Choice) and tell me how much influence they have over the party. Not a lot, I wager.

    Sure, the GOP bitterly complains about the spoiler effect the LP has on their election and how libertarians “should really be on our side.” That’s only because they want to eliminate a threat to their candidates. Otherwise the GOP has no inters in courting libertarian ideas, they just want them out of the way.

  24. “…George Bush’s vision of how the government should behave.”

    George Bush violates his oath of office about a dozen times before breakfast, Joe.

  25. How about starting by electing more Libertarians at the local, state and congressional levels? Isn’t that easier and more productive than throwing your vote away in the presidential election? Just a question from a well-meaning liberal.

  26. “REAL libertarians don’t give a damn what people put on their porridge. Including sugar laced with LSD.”

    Sigh… you didn’t get the reference, did you? Look up the the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

  27. Mo,

    “True, but since when is, “I’m not going to spend your money” a promise of nothing.”

    That’s not the point. The point is, most people don’t really think about it in those terms. They see that the government already steals 1/3 of their wealth, so, they should get a piece back. They don’t often make the obvious connection between government spending less money, and government taking less money.

  28. “If you don’t vote for Michael Badnarik, you aren’t a libertarian.”

    So you can see absolutely no reason why an honest-to-god libertarian (small l) would vote for a non-LP candidate? Like they actually have a chance in hell of winning? Or maybe one of the two “real” candidates is so much better/worse than the other on a pet issue? Or maybe (my personal reason) because the LP candidates are loons? (I mean honestly, calling yourself Dr. based on your $250 diploma from the web page of the New Age Institute of Spiritual Exploration and Hairdressing…why not just nominate someone who claims he’s been probed by aliens and be done with it already?)

    I’ve already voted this election (absentee), and it wasn’t for Badnarik. I guess I’m no longer a libertarian. Maybe I never was, but if that’s the case I don’t know why I went through all that probing.

    “And J, I expect to see your secret decoder ring on my desk by the end of the day.”

    Ha! You can have it when you pry it from my cold, dead…. Hmm…. On second thought, if it’s really going to come to that, you can probably just have it.

  29. Okay,
    So 3rd parties are the way to go.
    And if everyone who doesn’t like Bush or Kerry voted for the 3rd parties, then we would be getting somewhere… hmmm.

    Trouble is, and I speak as a member of a “3rd party,” none of them have put up a candidate that is any better than the two top bozos. If lib or green or com parties want more votes they need to consider how to participate in the process in a larger way. Things like putting together coalitions based on shared issues, meeting with the top dogs to get issues on the agenda, gettint candidates that could actually pull off a legislative initiative, or write a budget… in otherwords, participating in the process in a serious and meaningful way, not protesting the status quo.

    I am amazed at how many idiots on REASON advocate not voting as a way of protesting voting. That’s like jumping out of high windows to protest tall buildings. Ineffective, inept, lazy, call it what you will.

    Decoder rings and people in capes are cool, by the way.

  30. Hey! There’s a fake J on the board masquerading as me. This is an outrage!

  31. By the way, fake J, I don’t see how you could call someone who jumps out of a high window lazy. That’s just wrong.

  32. Ah, but the question before the house is: What sort of welcome will the GOP give libertarians?

    You don’t wait around for the welcome wagon, you take control of the party. Assuming that political parties are as powerful and influential as they were 40 years ago (and that’s a big if) the blueprint for a wholesale take over of a party was documented in Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus: systematically take over control at the local level (where as little as two or three fellow travelers can sway control) and you will have control of the entire party.

    Interestingly enough tubby moonbat Michael Moore advocates the exact same strategy for moving the Democrats further left.

  33. “Michael Badnarik is the ONLY candidate who I think would fill his position according to the Constitution.”

    And abolishing the ZIP code is going to do this how?

  34. This is such an empty abstract discussion. Isn’t your man Badnarik a tax protester? That is, one of these bug eyed chaps who carries on about the complete absence of legislative authority to levy personal income taxes? Maybe he was joking about that too. I do know that if you make that argument in an Article III court it will win you some time in the big house.

    The need for a rational libertarian candidate couldn’t be greater. You deal us a Badnarik.

    A war crazed corporatist Texan. A windy Massachusetts liberal. A bug eyed tax protestor. Mr. Nader.
    We get what we deserve, every time.

  35. “I say it now as I’ve said before, IF Libertarians are really interested in power and the ability to influence public policy, then they need to join the GOP.”

    How could I stay in the party after Bush the Elder broke his tax pledge? The Republicans all but kicked me out on my ass! When they get a old fashioned, limited government Republican from the old school–yes I’m talking about Gingrich–they threw him to the wolves with a wink a grin.

    Someday, some charismatic Republican may adopt the Libertarian Platform much like FDR adopted the Communist Platform, and then, maybe, the Republican Party will be the Libertarian Party. But that day is far, far away, and I suspect that out Platform is just as likely to be adopted by the Democrats as the Republicans, especially when I see who’s running the place.

    “Reagan Democrats” in the South were a crucial part of the Reagan Coalition, but they were only supposed to be guests in the Republican Party. Bush gave them a key to house, and, now, they’re the core of the Party, and, you know, the party just isn’t big enough for both of us.

  36. Have any of the Badnarik bashers ever actually seen Badnarik speak? He’s a very lucid purveyor of Libertarian ideas.

    Check out C-SPAN’s Cobb/Badnarik debate in their video archives. Then go vote for Badnarik.

  37. “You don’t wait around for the welcome wagon, you take control of the party.”

    You’re assuming that the conservatives and Jesus Freaks at the local level aren’t going to resist these “anarchist” trouble makers who are invading “THEIR” party. They’ll use as much help from their supporters in the higher GOP echelons to stay in control since the last thing the RNC wants is division. Sure, you may get control of a few Republican the more “liberal” Republican districts, but that’s not going to be enough to influence the whole.

    “Interestingly enough tubby moonbat Michael Moore advocates the exact same strategy for moving the Democrats further left.”

    Moore will actually have an easier time of convincing Dems to swing further left since they’re partially there already. All he has to do is play on their fear and hatred of the right.

    On the other hand, as much pro-free market the GOP is reported to be (I know, this is debatable), your’re going to have a very hard time convincing the die-hard wing-nuts who own the party to abandon or ignore their socially conservative opinions. I would even go as far as to say that right now the average conservative doesn’t really give a damn about economic issues at all. As long as the GOP promises to fight terrorism, ban abortion, and treat homosexuals as second-class citizens, they will stay put. If the Republican starts considering a socially libertarian platform, all the rehotoric about tax breaks and free enterprise in the world will not keep the conservatives from leaving.

  38. In fairness to MY, he wasn’t advocating that libertarians vote for his guy (in fact, he was discouraging us from doing that). Sure it may be some self-interest to draw votes from Bush, but it seems like he’s on the right track.

    Maybe he’s afraid a bunch of libertarians voting for Kerry will cause the Dems to realign as a less statist party (sorry, just snorted milk out my nose).

  39. The purpose of voting Libertarian is not to get Michael Badnarik elected, or “protest” the other candidates, it is to register a high percentage in this election so that the next Lib candidate can force the CPD to include them in the 2008 debates.

    Also, Mark Borok is right that we need to take the growing number of Libertarians in local and state government, and work towards getting some of them elected to Congress. That will provide the visibility and legitimacy needed to convince voters that Libertarians are on the level, and that a vote for Lib is not a throwaway.

  40. hmm… they assume that a large vote for badnarik will influence the Republicans to take notice of libertarian issues and maybe adopt a few, as opposed to what the Democrats did with Nader… which was to try to strong arm him off the ballots and suppress his voting base. i’m really hopeful.

    my new slogan :

    The Libertarian Party : A Nice Trashcan to Throw My Vote In.

  41. Someone asked what kind of reception would Libertarians get? Depends, IF you expect to legalize prostitution, end the war on drugs, and several other “silly” LP things, you’ll get the bum’s rush… IF you advocate lower taxes, privatized Social Security, Tort Reform, abolition or reform of the NEA, school vouchers, etc. you’ll get a listen. You guys, individually and collectively will have to prioritize your needs. If legalized prostitution is need #1 for you and the crossovers, well stay home… IF other needs are higher then hold your nose and come on board.

    Do you think that Ronald Reagan and the current Conservative wing in charge of the GOP were BORN to it? Heck no, they wrested the party and still are, to an extent, from the Gerald Ford/Graham Rudman sort of Republicans. It was a fight!

    The other aspect that you have to examine is what do you BRING to the fight? You bring less 1% of the vote, now in close races that’s SOMETHING, but we’d do better to bring on Naderites, if that’s all we cared about. What do you bring? Well the Cato Institute brings a tremendous policy wonk resource to the GOP. The Reason public Policy Institute does a great job, too. You make being for smaller government palatable, you show the PROMISE of smaller government, greater equality, greater wealth, LESS power disparity, etc., etc. those are rec=source and ideas worth having and if implemented can begin to defund and defang the Democrats and ensure the GOP’s dominance for a long time, akin to the New Deal for Democrats. THAT my friends, is a great coin of the realm, you can bring SOME votes today, and the promise of more tomorrow.

    What this comes down to is how hard are you willing to work for SOME of your ideas? I know some Conservatives that seem to have the attitude of “Call me when we ahve 60 votes in the Senate. I’ve got some GRET ideas on what needs to be done.” They don’t want to put in the work to get those 60 votes and complain aobut how things are going, but they are interested in being right rather than in office.
    I don’t mean this as a personal attack, but Mark Bahner seems that way. Being right is more important than being in office.

    And Mark as I understand it, isn’t the LP Candidate talking about jailing IRS personnel for doing their jobs? Did I miss something here abut the rule of law. Don’t you really mean we’re going to use the law to do what we want, which is pretty much what politicians and parties use law for?

  42. You’re assuming that the conservatives and Jesus Freaks at the local level aren’t going to resist these “anarchist” trouble makers who are invading “THEIR” party.

    I never claimed it was easy (nothing worth doing is) but, as you point out, “just trying to get along with them” is a losing proposition. If you want a more libertarian GOP (or Democratic party for that matter) you play to win. If that means internal fights with the reigning powers that be for the soul of the party, then so be it. This is exactly how what we now consider Republicans took over the party 40 years ago.

    The GOP has a vocal, passionate base of conservatives because they have worked their ass off to cultivate that base (the same goes with the left wing fringe of the Dems). Unless libertarians become equally serious about growing and cultivating their own base they aren’t going to achieve much.

  43. I didn’t vote for Bush Sr, because of his failure to make good on his promise to not raise taxes.

    As I have said on other threads, I already voted for Bush Jr, because he made good on his promise to cut taxes. And he allowed the assault weapons ban to expire.

    There are many things in which I wish Bush was more libertarian. In all those things I think Kerry would be worse (Federal spending, the patriot act, the war on drugs).

    I don’t think that Kerry’s stance on gay marriage is a libertarian thing. I don’t think it is the federal govts buisness to decide who gets married.

  44. Mark B:

    Isn’t Ron Paul a Republican? Is he not a libertarian?

  45. What the hell? Now there are four of us?

  46. OK, a few things:

    1) I completely agree that getting involved in a major party can bring about significant change. If you see a good candidate in a major party, by all means get out there and work on that campaign. Get involved in a local party chapter and try to bring about some change from within.

    But if you should find yourself staring at a ballot where the major party candidates in a particular race both suck, why not vote LP? If the race isn’t close and the LP candidate hasn’t gotten any nasty press for allegedly loony antics, then there’s no danger of electing a “greater evil” and no danger that your vote will be interpreted as a vote for lunacy.

    You can always tell your friends that you voted against the Democrat. Just because you try to bring about change from within your local chapter of a major party doesn’t mean you’re obligated to vote for every slob they put on the ballot.

    2) I’ve seen Badnarik on TV. He comes across as much more articulate and reasonable than his reputation. My theory is that Badnarik is actually really good at gauging his audience. While seeking the LP nomination he might have come across as kind of extreme in order to prevail at a convention where blue-skinned druids demand the right to keep and bear ferrets. But now he’s won the nomination and his goal is to get as many votes as possible, so he’s putting forth his more moderate side.

    Which one is the “real” Badnarik? I don’t know. Perhaps the question doesn’t even have a meaningful answer. We might as well ask which is the “real George Bush”: The guy who pays lip service to smaller gov’t or the guy who signed the Medicare prescription drug bill and the steel tarriffs?

    Perhaps if Badnarik had gone down a different path he could have succeeded in the 2 parties, because he seems to have mastered the same balancing act that Democrats and Republicans follow when they campaign to their base in the primaries and to moderates in the general elections. OK, Badnarik is a long way away from reaching out to soccer moms and other swing voters, but he’s followed an analogous progression.

    Hmm, maybe I unwittingly made the case for libertarians getting involved in the major parties…

  47. Joe L, and Nathan,

    Well said in all the above.

    I would say that libertarians bring a lot more than 1% if they are not uncompromising. If you start with vouchers, if you start with fiscal responsibility.

    I favor drug legalization and legalization of prostitution, but when I talk to people about libertarianism, I don’t talk about those two issues right off the bat (I haven’t earned my decoder ring or cloak yet, so maybe I don’t rate to talk about libertrianism). But I try to talk about things that affect their lives and that they can see where a free market, or a free-er market would benefit them.

    I have no doubt that many republicans personally favor privatising SS, and I bet Bush does too. But he knows not to fight that battle right now.

  48. Thoreau,

    I fully agree that if you totally dislike both the major candidates, by all means it is better to vote for a third party candidate than to not vote.

    Vote for the 3rd party candidate who leans in the direction that the major party guy doesn’t. Even if the 3rd party guy is a loon. You don’t have to worry about him actually being elected.

  49. “Depends, IF you expect to legalize prostitution, end the war on drugs, and several other “silly” LP things, you’ll get the bum’s rush… IF you advocate lower taxes, privatized Social Security, Tort Reform, abolition or reform of the NEA, school vouchers, etc. you’ll get a listen.”

    For the most part, you’d be preahcing to the converted since the GOP rank and file all ready agree with libertarians on those issues. However, you’re going to have to bring up the social issues like drugs and prostitution some time, and when you do, you WILL be branded a pariah and excommunicated from the GOP (a holy and wholey owned subsidiary of the the X-ian Right) no matter how much you are for privatized SS or tort reform.

  50. If I were to work within a major party, I’d rather work within the Dems. Partly it’s because, well, everybody here already knows I lean left and used to be a Democrat, so I’d be more comfortable there.

    Also, I think there are some economic issues where certain Democrats could be won over. I have no illusions that you could get Teddy Kennedy to privatize social security, but you might get certain Democrats to support revenue-neutral tax simplification (a way to reduce economic micromanagement by the gov’t). One might persuade certain Democrats that the best way to deal with affordable housing issues is to allow more development and increase supply. One might persuade certain Democrats that FDA procedures should be streamlined and that protectionism doesn’t work. One might persuade certain Democrats that minimum wage laws and mandates on health insurance benefits destroy jobs. And so forth.

    Of course, one could work to elect Republicans who already agree with these things, but it’s always better to have support for good ideas from both sides of the aisle. Besides, if one could produce a few maverick Democrats who lean conservative on economics, perhaps they could align with the handful of Republicans who lean liberal on social issues. (I know, they’re rare, but a few of them are rumored to graze in protected refugees in New England and suburbia. On weekends, amateurs with powerful telephoto lenses and high speed film occasionally snap pictures of them and take them to skeptical scientists.)

  51. I tend to agree with the idea that the Republicans would have to take some libertarian issues more seriously if a significant percentage of citizens voted Libertarian. Most of the GOP folks I know believe very much in limited government, but what can they do? The GOP talks the talk to some degree; the Democrats don’t even do that much (generally speaking). So, a vote for the GOP often isn’t a vote for the status quo; rather, it’s a vote cast in the hope of slowing the growth of government. As we all know, the GOP has a terrible record in that regard in practice.

    There is no reason that a third party cannot succeed in the U.S., at least to the point of affecting policy. With the right people and/or the right issues, the Bull Moose and Reform parties respectively got a quarter and a fifth of the popular vote. If the LP concentrated more on limiting government power (i.e., on rolling things back to something closer to the government described in the Constitution) and less on the issues that freak out a lot of conservatives, they might just win something now and again. There is such a thing as mainstream libertarianism–the Cato Institute is more than a little libertarian, but it seems to lack the credibility problems of the LP. Those credibility problems, incidentally, make it impossible to say that not voting LP means that you aren’t a libertarian. I plan to vote LP myself, but I can see perfectly good arguments for voting for one of the other jokers, too.

    Obviously, if the role of government in our lives were to be dramatically reduced, individuals would be free to do many things that are wrongfully illegal today, but that, to me, is more a side effect of limited government than a goal we should pursue right now. If the government has minimal power to act in a given area, then our liberties would be much, much harder to infringe upon. Some of the Founders thought that way, too, which is why some of them saw the inclusion of a Bill of Rights to be unneccessary.

  52. If you wise guys would get loons, libertarians and LaRouche off your brains, you’d see that a much larger percent of potential voters is what pollsters call “unlikely voters.”
    1. What percent of “unlikely” is liberty-leaning? Much higher than Libertarian!
    2. What would it take to get them to vote?

  53. You’re right Akria, just like school vouchers and tax cuts were laughed at in the GOP. One Republican President commented, “We’re all Keynesians now.” As he proffered Wage and Price COntrols, another cnadidate scoffed at Reagan’s “Voodoo Economics.”

    32 years later Nixon’s gone and Voodoo Economics is seen as a great public policy/political choice made by Reagan.

    And School vouchers are now debated, not laughed at… and the debate is a good one, turning the Liberal/Democrat tabbles, showing that vouchers HELP MINORITIES, forcing Democrats to argue against one of their own constituencies and to appear to favour the NEA over people’s needs.

    But it takes time and effort. And you won’t get everything you want and you’ll get a lot of stuff you don’t. But IF you work it, by advocating positions and bringing votes, AND WINNING ELECTIONS, you can get a lot of it.

    And that’s the key, Akria, getting votes and winning elections. Bush II has a good chance of getting votes and winning elections and Badnarik et. al. don’t. Who would the rational person follow? IF you can win elections, locally, then statewide on libertarian-oriented platform the GOP will listen. Personally, I think that the Party and the US will benefit. That’s why I always proffer this suggestion.

  54. “Do you think that Ronald Reagan and the current Conservative wing in charge of the GOP were BORN to it? Heck no, they wrested the party and still are, to an extent, from the Gerald Ford/Graham Rudman sort of Republicans. It was a fight!”

    If Reagan wrested the party from the clutches of our enemies, he did it after our enemies in party got trounced in the general election.

    …and Reagan had some help.

    Who are the Phil Gramms and Jack Kemps of today? Who in the Republican Party is willing to put it all on the line for deep cuts in marginal rates? Where’s the big budget cutter in the Republican Party?

  55. U’uuuum no ideer, Ken, I propose Ken Schultz… you up for it? As opposed to Michael .5% Badnarik.

  56. Perhaps I should rephrase that, Joe L.

    When a Libertarian votes for President Bush, his or her vote will resonate with whom?

  57. “For the most part, you’d be preahcing to the converted since the GOP rank and file all ready agree with libertarians on those issues.”

    Yes, Akria, you would be preaching to a lot of GOP *voters*, but our GOP President and Congress hasn’t seemed to care a whole lot what the GOP voters want as far as big ideas. They just want to keep them happy enough to stay in power. There is no fight at all in most of them.

    I mean, if Reagan had had a GOP congress to deal with instead of Tip ONeil and that crowd, this country would have had it made for quite a while. The man fought for his ideas. I’m not sure if Bush really has too many principles (especially economic) that he cares about. If he does, he sucks ass at taking the fight to a Congress full of mostly GOP weenies and then some left-wing democrats.

    So, as others said, if a Libertarian candidate can leave out the hard-core (correct, but hard-core) stuff out, stick to gun rights, freedom from education (gov’t schooling, that is), social security reform/elimination, he will be listened to. The smart voters know that the major parties are going nowhere on these important issues.

    Voting L all the way…

    I remain …

    James Antley, Defender of freedom and nemesis of Joe (not you, Joe L)

  58. You miss my point, I’ll take Libertarian votes for Bush, but I’d PREFER, Republican votes for Bush and his successors who are libertarian… The difference between today and tomorrow, the short and long term. As long as you’re only a RENTER the party won’t really care about you. You’ve got to become an OWNER.

  59. All this bashing of Badnarik is sad… he says he’d like to blow up the UN building… but of course he means he’d like to get the UN to be of lesser influence over US politics and he wants them to leave, and to underscore his dislike for it, he suggest that once they’re gone, we blow up the building as an act of symbolism. How terrible. He says that the IRS should be disbanded, and says that the unConstitutionality of the organization means that those working for it are basically criminals… but he doesn’t want to actually arrest these people. Taking little snippets out of context is a major problem with how the media represents candidates… we shouldn’t play along.

    And yes, opening future presidential debates to 3rd parties is a worthwhile goal. I’d also like to see instant runoff voting, so we libertarian-leaning folks don’t have to make a tough decision between voting our conscience and voting against the greater of two evils.

    And speaking of throwing your vote away, how about Ron Paul for president?:

    http://www.paul2004.com/

  60. In my opinion, the idea of limited government is doomed. The gap between the wealthiest people in the country, and the rest of us will continue to grow, and the proportion of taxes they pay will continue to increase. Eventually, you have the top 5%, or whatever, paying for everything, at which point there is no real incentive for anyone to support anything but the candidate giving out the most goodies.

    Eventually, we end up with a few superwealthy plutocrats keeping the rest of us in life support tanks, while entertainment is piped directly into our brains via cables and robots do all of the work.

  61. Of course, for the advocates of collaborating with the Republicans, there’s the small problem that the Holy Rollers: a) out-number even lower-case “l” libertarians by, literally, at least two-to-one (and I would personally guess closer to 10-to-1); and b) they believe their platform is the will of God, thus making them completely immune to reason. Where it is impossible to challenge a party’s establishment from the inside, the only way any group of politicians will begin to change their views is if they start losing elections on a regular basis. (See, e.g., the Democratic Party’s shift toward the center following their drubbings from 1980 to 1988.)

  62. “(See, e.g., the Democratic Party’s shift toward the center following their drubbings from 1980 to 1988.)”-HUH, you are kidding right? Nationalized Health Care and the Congress 1992-94 were CENTRIST ideas?
    I take it that your point is, libertarians would be outnumbered in the GOP, yepper they would be, but then you’re outnumbered NOWso what’s the point?

    “Where it is impossible to challenge a party’s establishment from the inside, the only way any group of politicians will begin to change their views is if they start losing elections on a regular basis.”-Almost a truism, isn’t it? If “a” got us elected why would be we stop doing “a”? Again, the Holy Rollers outnumber you…OK, heck right now the GREENS outnumber you… I’d say that means YOU ought to be the one addressing his/her issues in light of their acceptance not the Christians, or the Greens for that matter.

  63. I don’t mean to be too sarcstic, SR, but your comments seemed kind of a whine about being outnumbered, which is simply the nature of the beast when it comes to libertarian/Libertarians these days. It’s like that Reason article lamenting the religious bias in American politics, it’s what IS, you can try to change it or live with it, but it’s silly to complain about it.

  64. “Isn’t Ron Paul a Republican? Is he not a libertarian?”

    He won’t tell you (because it’s private) but I’d be absolutely shocked if, after he closes the voting booth curtain, Ron Paul doesn’t vote for Michael Badnarik.

    Why would he do that? Because Michael Badnarik is a libertarian…and G.W. Bush clearly isn’t.

  65. “I will probably be voting for Bednarik come Nov, but that doesn’t mean I’m elated at the prospect.”

    I won’t be elated either. Except if Badnarik gets like 10 percent of the vote. Needless to say, I don’t expect to be elated come Nov. 2.

  66. And IF by some means Ron Paul’s vote comes out and it’s not for DUBYA, I’d wager Congressman Paul will be in for a tougher trail of sledding than he already has… Parties don’t take that all well, when you don’t vote for them, it’s the deal you strike when you join a party as an elected official. You scratch my back and I scratch yours…and if you don’t live up to your end of the deal there are “consequences.” though truth to tell, Ron Paul may have not be all that important to the Conference leadership.

    But Mark I do point out, HE’S A REPUBLICAN, NOT a Libertarian… and that might tell you something.

  67. “Which one is the ‘real’ Badnarik? I don’t know.”

    It doesn’t matter. Either one is clearly the best candidate for President. (To a libertarian.)

  68. Also, Mark, I realize that you are just presenting one person’s ideas but are you saying that Badnarik IS the LP? So, Neal Boortz or Glen Reynolds aren’t Libertarians because they aren’t voting for Badnarik? Can they call themselves libertarians? Or are they apostates, now?

    I mean since when did Michael Badnarik get CANONIZED, that he, alone, represents the LP? He’s your candidate for President, he’s not your totem or fetish, is he?

  69. “There is no reason that a third party cannot succeed in the U.S., at least to the point of affecting policy.”

    That is the *only* thing that matters. If every single candidate had Libertarian positions on every single issue, I doubt I would even vote. Neither Bush nor Kerry is insane. They are merely utterly wrong about virtually every issue. Especially the most *important* issue, which is that the President should “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.”

  70. “But Mark I do point out, HE’S A REPUBLICAN, NOT a Libertarian… and that might tell you something.”

    It tells me that the entire Republican Party has one single member who supports the ideals upon which this country was founded, and who takes seriously his oath to follow the Constitution.

    That says absolutely nothing about G.W. Bush, who began violating his oath of office essentially the same day he made it.

  71. My point was simply that Congressman Paul is a libertarian, not a Libertarian, and it says R-TX after his name, not LP-TX,.. so he just might have voted for Dubya. That being one of the things parties expect of their more senior/powerful members. It would be impossible to know for sure and you might be right that he voted his ideology, but he is just as likely to have voted his party affiliation.

  72. “Also, Mark, I realize that you are just presenting one person’s ideas but are you saying that Badnarik IS the LP?”

    Of course not.

    “So, Neal Boortz or Glen Reynolds aren’t Libertarians because they aren’t voting for Badnarik?”

    Slightly off-topic question: Do you in fact know that either of them is registered as a capital “L” Libertarian? (I’m not aware that either is a registered capital “L” Libertarian.)

    “Can they call themselves libertarians?”

    Like I wrote before, they can call themselves Jesus Christ Jr. (Or was that Jesus H. Christ? ;-))

    The simple fact is that, if they are not voting for Michael Badnarik, they are not voting for a person who is unquestionably a libertarian (and Libertarian), and are instead voting for someone who is unquestionably not a libertarian.

    As Forest Gump’s mom would say, “libertarian is as libertarian does.” Or something like that.

    Lots of people, like Bill Maher, like to pretend they’re libertarians. It sounds cool. But–unlike “conservative” or “liberal”–“libertarian” actually means something. It means one thinks government should be limited to protecting people from physical violence or fraud. I cannot conceive of how one could truly be a “libertarian” (have that philosophy) and vote for Bush or Kerry as opposed to Badnarik.

  73. “My point was simply that Congressman Paul is a libertarian, not a Libertarian,…”

    Actually, I’ve been told that Ron Paul is a dues-paying member of the Libertarian Party. He is not *registered* as a Libertarian. He’s *registered* as a Republican. But I’ve been told that he is a member of the Libertarian Party.

    “…so he just might have voted for Dubya.”

    That would be putting Republican Party loyalty above his loyalty to the Constitution. I guess it’s possible Ron Paul would do that, but I really doubt it.

  74. Boortz IS a Libertarian….

    “That would be putting Republican Party loyalty above his loyalty to the Constitution. I guess it’s possible Ron Paul would do that, but I really doubt it.”-that and other statements verge on the laughable, as if the LP is the ONLY party that supports the Constitution… what you mean is the LP is the ONLY party that supports YOUR interpretation of the Constitution.

    I suspect that your Constitution is a bit different even from the written one, much less the one we actually operate under, e.g., one that has a “right of privacy” and a “right to abortion” or a “right to Freedom of Expression”.

    I don’t know Tx law, but I question whether one can be a member of TWO parties simultaneously, and dues and registration are exemplars of party affiliation. So I wonder IF Congressman Paul is a LP member AND a Republican? And it WOULD matter if primaries are closed party primaries. I don’t know if they are in Tx or not.

  75. “In my opinion, the idea of limited government is doomed. The gap between the wealthiest people in the country, and the rest of us will continue to grow, and the proportion of taxes they pay will continue to increase. Eventually, you have the top 5%, or whatever, paying for everything, at which point there is no real incentive for anyone to support anything but the candidate giving out the most goodies.”

    Nope. Totally wrong. You’ve totally forgotten about competition from other governments. It is easier than ever to live in another country. Or even to *not* live in another country, but to have one’s money there for tax purposes.

    One hundred years ago (had I been alive) I wouldn’t even have thought about retiring to Ireland or Costa Rica or Bermuda. Now it’s just a short (well, somewhat short) jet trip to get back to the U.S. And email or Internet telephony means that one can be in constant touch, even if one isn’t physically present.

  76. “…what you mean is the LP is the ONLY party that supports YOUR interpretation of the Constitution.”

    I don’t have an “interpretation” of the Constitution. The Constitution is very clear. And we even have the clear written words of the people who wrote it (e.g. in the Federalist papers) explaining what they meant.

  77. “I suspect that your Constitution is a bit different even from the written one, much less the one we actually operate under, e.g., one that has a “right of privacy” and a “right to abortion” or a “right to Freedom of Expression”.”

    No, but my Constitution–which is THE Constitution–absolutely has rights against FEDERAL interference in abortion or expression. It’s called the Tenth Amendment. But it appears that the only Republican who has been elected or appointed to federal office who can read the 10th Amendment is Ron Paul.

    “I don’t know Tx law, but I question whether one can be a member of TWO parties simultaneously, and dues and registration are exemplars of party affiliation.”

    As I wrote before, my understanding is that he is REGISTERED as a Republican, but that he is a member of the Libertarian Party. (I don’t know about the dues…perhaps the Libertarian Party waves dues for people who have been Libertarian presidential candidates, as Ron Paul was.)

  78. Mark, Mark, the facts NEVER speak for themselves. What does the 2nd Amendment mean? Is there Judicial Review? I think that you demonstrate the failure of zealotry, and that goes for zealots of all stripes, you KNOW the truth. The truth ain’t so obvious, usually. In your cocoon you KNOW what the Constitution says, but reasonable people can disagree about the terms of the Constitution or their application in changing circumstances.

  79. “I mean since when did Michael Badnarik get CANONIZED, that he, alone, represents the LP? He’s your candidate for President, he’s not your totem or fetish, is he?”

    No. In fact, I wish Michael Badnarik would do some things differently. I wish he would not say that the Iraq war was illegal, but would instead say that G.W. Bush broke the law (violated the Constitution) by going to war without a Congressional declaration of war.

    My point being that, had the Congress actually declared war, the war in Iraq would not have been illegal. To simply say it was illegal without saying why lets people who don’t know about the Constitution think that its illegality had something to do with…well, the United Nations not approving, perhaps.

  80. “Mark, Mark, the facts NEVER speak for themselves.”

    That’s nonsense. Is Social Security unconstitutional? Of course it is. The Tenth Amendment clearly forbids it. Foreign Aid? Of course it is. The Tenth Amendment clearly forbids it. *NO ONE* could win a legal debate who said otherwise…unless the judges of the debate didn’t give a damn about the Constitution.

  81. I suspect that your Constitution is a bit different even from the written one, much less the one we actually operate under, e.g., one that has a “right of privacy” and a “right to abortion” or a “right to Freedom of Expression”.

    I’m against unreasonable search and seizure, I lean Pro-Life, and I think both the Press and individuals should be able to say and print, pretty much, whatever they want.

    I’ve voted for every single Republican candidate in every election I’ve been eligible to vote in, up until now. Now I can’t think of a really good reason to vote for Bush. He’s certainly no budget buster; he hasn’t vetoed a single spending bill. He even caved in on the drug benefit. He’s not much of a marginal rate, Laffer Curve, tax cutter either. His foreign policy doesn’t resemble anything I ever saw George Shultz or James Baker propose.

    So it’s not just that I can’t find anything particularly Libertarian about the guy; I don’t see much that’s traditionally Republican about him either.

  82. Mark the war in Iraq was NOT illegal, you see that’s your problem. You state things as a FACT that are merely interpretation… The fact is Congress authorized the use of force in Iraq, politically that’s all the President needed, and legally/Constitutionally that’s actually MORE than he needed, under his powers as Commander-in-Chief. See we have a difference of opinion about Presidential powers already…

    The reality is that most wars fought by the US, to include it’s most bloody and destructive have NEVER been declared. I would argue one of it’s shoddier wars WAS Constitutional by your definition, but that doesn’t make it less odious, the Mexican-American War.

  83. He’s not much of a free trader.

  84. I LIKE Dubya, I would be voting for him as he and I are both REPUBLICANS, but I can acknowldege your arguments against him. I wish he ahdn’t passed the Medicare Prescription Benefit and CFR was horrid, but overall I support HIS position more than Kerry’s OR Badnarik’s BTW. And this is w/o any reference to teh GWoT, which I see as my number 1 priority as a voter.

    The stufff I mentioned to Mark was simply to point out as some others have that many libertarians have a wildly different Constitution than the rest of us. I just point out 3 judicially created, and accepted, “rights” and wonder if they are in Mark’s Constitution or how Mark would deal with them?

  85. “The fact is Congress authorized the use of force in Iraq,…”

    Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress given the power to make, “authorizations of force.” Congress is given the power to declare war. And it’s clear Congress knows how to do so, because they did so in WWII:

    “JOINT RESOLUTION Declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial Government of Japan and the Government and the people of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same.”

    “Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared;…”

    http://www.historyguy.com/us_dec_war_japan.html

  86. …but overall I support HIS position more than Kerry’s OR Badnarik’s BTW. And this is w/o any reference to teh GWoT, which I see as my number 1 priority as a voter.

    When you say you support his position, can you be more specific?

    I’d like to come home Joe, but every time I pull up in the driveway, it looks like my family doesn’t live there anymore.

  87. “The reality is that most wars fought by the US, to include it’s most bloody and destructive have NEVER been declared.”

    WWII, after the Civil War, involved the second largest number of U.S. troop deaths. As you can see from my previous post, war WAS declared.

    But the reality is that the federal government hardly ever follows the Constitution. Especially now, when the federal government following the Constitution isn’t within the living memory of virtually any U.S. citizen. So the reality is that the federal government doesn’t follow the Constitution. I know that.

  88. Ken, read a political biography of most any politican, I’ve read several on Thatcher. In RETROSPECT, her timidity in face of the Unions is amazing, but at the time the concern over losing to NUM and others was very, very real.

    So I agree that Bush ain’t the greatest free trader about, but then neither you nor I nor the staff of the Cato Institute have to run for reelection and so we won’t be needing the swing state voters of OH.

    I guess as unelected ideologues the theory of Free Trade is a lot more comforting and convincing than having to face unemployed steel mill workers in 4 years. The difference in perspective is important.

    I don’t know what you do for a living, but imagine that a co-worker said, “Bet your professional career and your life’s savings on this NEAT THEORY. In the short run it’ll hurt, but in the long-run I GUARANTEE success.” And that’s what most politicians face in that discussion…

    Alternatively, I read of people who dismiss much of the Second World War as fore-ordained, well at the time it didn’t seem that way.

  89. “I wish he ahdn’t passed the Medicare Prescription Benefit and CFR was horrid, but overall I support HIS position more than Kerry’s OR Badnarik’s BTW.”

    Fine. I’m simply suggesting that you don’t falsely advertise (or even fool yourself) that you are a libertarian. Because virtually everything G.W. Bush does is not libertarian. There are the things you mentioned, federal funding of education, federal ownership of land, troops in 100 countries, the federal war on some drugs, a federal definition of marriage…it goes on and on.

    Michael Badnarik opposes all of those. Because he’s a libertarian. (And because he cares about the Constitution.)

  90. Ken, I support preemption and I supported Iraq. I’d support the negation of Iranina nuclear facilities. To me state sponsors of terrorsim are what make terrorism tick. Take away the weapons, money, training, intelligence, and pass ports that states provide non-state actors (Moving to advance state interests or interests that those actors and the stae share in common) and you drastically REDUCE terrorism. Terrorism thrives where states allow terrorists to operate, so I agree with the focus on the Axis of Evil and Syria as foci of the GWoT.

    As to “coming home” well, I can’t say. If you want a party that is SECULAR or PRO-CHOICE well I don’t know if you can come home. We Relifgious folks are a major constituency as are the Pro-Life elements. Chuck us out of the GOP we’ll go somewhere and the GOP loses votes and money.

    As a Catholic I guess I’m not a great “fit” for the GOP, but it works for me. I guess for me, I’m a fan of good enough, and the GOP is good enough for me. It ain’t perfect, but it’s better than the altenatives, in a practical manner of speaking. if I run off to the LP it’s like Alec Baldwin THREAENING (but never actually doing it) to leave the US or Pierre Salinger fleeing the US. What practical effect did/does it have? The GOP is still going to be in power and Free Trade is more imperilled not made safer if free traders leave the GOP for the LP.

  91. Mark I don’t dispute you on WWII, but the Civil War our WORST (proportionally and in gross terms!) war was NEVER declared, and rightly so… or would you have requried a declaration of war? bearing in mind that wuld have meant an implied recognition of the CSA as a seperate government, not a rebellious faction of the US? Bearing in mind that a declaration would have opened the way for France and the UK to openly support the CSA? Are you saying that the legalistic needs of the LP would be of greater weight than keeping the Union together?

    And if Congress did not batr the President by disallowing the expenditure of ANY funds, why can’t the President commit troops to exteneded combat, under his/her powers as CinC?

    Again we disagree about the MEANING of the COnstitution, it’s not so clear as you see it.

  92. I just point out 3 judicially created, and accepted, “rights” and wonder if they are in Mark’s Constitution or how Mark would deal with them?

    I answered this previously:

    “No, but my Constitution–which is THE Constitution–absolutely has rights against FEDERAL interference in abortion or expression.”

    I didn’t address “privacy,” because it depends on the circumstance. Clearly, there is not a right to beat (or kill) one’s child in the “privacy” of one’s home. But there *is* a right to not be prosecuted for such crimes in federal courts (i.e., through the Tenth Amendment).

  93. So Mark YOUR constitution has no Roe V. Wade? That’s good… Practically, how does yur constitution handle this? Are suddenly we to NOT follow a “legitimate” USSC ruling? How does that affect the idea of “rule of law?”
    And “expression” is judicially created, the CONSTITUTION says speech. So is art covered by the 1st Amendment? My reading of the Constitution says, “NO.” I can censor performance art, at the state level if I can get the police to act. Is this correct?

  94. “…but the Civil War our WORST (proportionally and in gross terms!) war was NEVER declared, and rightly so… or would you have requried a declaration of war?”

    The Constititution does not require that Congress make declarations of “armed insurrection.” Article I, Section 8 says:

    “To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;…”

    “And if Congress did not batr(sic…not sure what this means) the President by disallowing the expenditure of ANY funds, why can’t the President commit troops to extended combat, under his/her powers as CinC?”

    Not sure what the “batr” means (“bar”)? But the President can’t “commit troops to extended combat” without first obtaining a Declaration of War from Congress. That’s tremendously important, because the U.S. should never go to war based on the opinion of one person. Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia…they all showed what a bad idea it is to have the U.S. military wage war based on one person’s opinion.

  95. “So Mark YOUR constitution has no Roe V. Wade? That’s good… Practically, how does yur constitution handle this?”

    It’s not *my* Constitution, it’s THE Constitution. The Congress of the United States (i.e., the federal government) is forbidden to make any laws either promoting OR restricting abortion. The Tenth Amendment makes that clear.

    The only POSSIBLE exception would be an “abortion” where a person is “born,” but then put to death. The Fourteenth Amendment allows the federal government to provide protection for anyone born in the United States. The unborn are not protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

    So the federal government is forbidden from either restricting abortion or promoting it. The individual states handle the matter, according to their laws.

  96. In regard to declaring war:

    For the most part I don’t care that Congress didn’t use the exact words “A state of war exists…” Yes, I know, those words have meaning. But I think everybody knew what it meant when Congress authorized Bush to do what he did. We can quibble over the details of it, but in the end Congress passed a resolution saying the President could overthrow the gov’t of Iraq, and he did so. I didn’t agree with the decision, but there’s no denying that Congress can authorize it.

    Those who want to can insist “THEY DIDN’T USE THE MAGIC WORD!!!!” but I think we all know what they were doing. Better to argue against the war on its merits (or alleged lack thereof).

    On the other hand, I do wonder why Congress has been so reluctant to use the magic words and say “A state of war exists…” instead of passing an “authorization to use force.” I mean, I’m practical enough to not worry about the precise words, as long as it is Congressionally approved. But I do wonder why Congress has been so reluctant to use those words. I might speculate that since WWII Congress has been reluctant to use the word “war” because many of our interventions since then were ill-advised, and so they can’t quite bring themselves to use those words. Then again, Congress has done so many other shameful things.

    In any case, the absence of the word “war” seems like a non-starter of an argument. The President can’t invade another country without permission from Congress, and that’s what he got. It would have been nice if they had put the magic words in there, but the absence of those magic words is a weak argument compared to some of the other objections that one might raise.

  97. Aaaah, but Mark the Constitution allows PRECISELY that, the Presidnet IS C-in-C AND the sole repositor of foreign policy. BY THE CONSTITUTION…One man or woman MAY make those decisions. The Founders didn’t see fit to enturst them to a committee but to A person, the Prsident.
    My point is less about the “seperation of powers” but more about the indeterminancy of the US Constitution. LBJ and Nixon rested their actions in Vietnam on the C-in-C power, as well as the Tonkin Gulf Res.

    It may be clear to Mark Bahner what the Constitution means but it it ain’t always so clear to politicians OR legal scholars.

    You seem a a fan of “Original Intent”. OI is nice but it isn’t completely sufficient either. At best it allows us to rule out certain interpretations as WRONG, but doesn’t always lead us to what IS the “correct” interpretation.
    And on that dinner calls… Mull on various theories of interpretation Mark, not all are equally valid or even equally true, but many have good points to them an OI is not the ONLY way to interpret the Constitution.

  98. “So is art covered by the 1st Amendment? My reading of the Constitution says, “NO.” I can censor performance art, at the state level if I can get the police to act. Is this correct?”

    Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. I wasn’t saying that every single thing is perfectly clear regarding the Constitution. I’m saying that the overwhelming majority is, and the federal government is massively violating the Constitution…Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, federal ownership of land outside Washington DC and federal “forts,” the war on some drugs, etc. ad nauseum.

    But to your question. The First Amendment was originally only directed at the federal government. Then, the Fourteenth Amendment came along. It’s a very poorly written amendment, and some of the connotations are so impractical that it’s hard to say how to handle it. For example, it *could* be taken to mean that state legislatures can make NO laws abridging freedom of speech and the press. That means no laws against slander (false speech, inflicting harm) or libel (false writing, inflicting harm).

    ANYWAY…I’m too lazy to do the research to provide an answer to your question. Sorry. What I can say is that, without question, the section of the Campaign Finance Reform law that allows people to be thrown in prison for making advertisements “too close” to an election is unconstitutional as hell.

    Gotta get some dinner. G’night.

  99. In 1987, Ron Paul joined the Libertarian Party while attending the California LP convention. He paid his life-time membership dues in gold, showing he has no respect for Gresham’s law either.

    In Texas, you don’t actually register by party. On primary day, you go to the polling place for the party in whose primary you want to vote. They rubber-stamp your voter registration card with the name of the party you voted in, so that you cannot cross over if there is a run-off primary.

    You do not have to show any proof of affiliation to file in a primary, and Ron Paul filed as a Republican because the Libertarian Party is not strong enough to elect him to Congress.

    In Congress, he often votes on foreign policy and civil liberties issues with the most liberal members of the Democratic Party. On his campaign website, there is no mention of President Bush, so it does appear that his campaigns on the Republican ticket are a matter of practically, rather than commitment to the Republican Party.

  100. “but Mark the Constitution allows PRECISELY that, AND the sole repositor of foreign policy.”

    Nonsense. The President can’t make treaties without the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators. He can’t appoint ambassadors without the advice and consent of the Senate.

    If he can’t do those things without the Senate, it is simply ludicrous to think he could wage war without the Congress first declaring war. Especially when the power to declare war is written right into the Constitution as a Congressional power.

  101. Alright, my previous post was directed at Mark for being too picky about whether or not Congress actually used the proper wording in authorizing the Iraq war.

    To prove that I’m even-handed, I’ll take Joe L. to task for suggesting that the President can fight a war without Congressional approval. It says right in the Constitution that declaring war is Congress’s power. Now, I suppose one could suggest that a war could be fought without a declaration from Congress, but that would reduce Congress’s role in warfare to purely ceremonial, eroding any notion of checks and balances on the President’s military powers.

  102. Mark Bahner,
    I consider myself somewhere between libertarian and republican. Is that OK with you? Or might I just as well consider myself Jesus?

    If I come all the way over, but then vote for Bush because I think that would be the best way to get a libertarian philosofy advanced, would that make me a non libertarian?

  103. That is correct, kwais. Plus we also won’t take you because you can’t spell. ;-} But we’d appreciate a vote from you for Mr. Badnarik.

    I second every damn thing that Mark Bahner has written. The US Constitution is pretty easy to read and understand. There ain’t a lot of nuance in it. It doesn’t even have any hard words, like “filosofee”.

  104. Jimmy Antley,
    who came up with the complicated spelling on all these words anyway. It is like I am meant to fail in my attemt to communicate correctly.

    I feel that it is entrapment, and intellectual elitism.

    Yet another reason GW is my hero.

  105. Well, kwais, I guess we (big L’s) can give you a waiver to join even with your typos (being generous here ;-}

    Seriously though, I agree that Bush is better than Kerry could possibly be, and Arnold is better than Grey Davis. However, neither of them come close to obeying the oath of office to respect their constitutions (although maybe the California one is pretty wacky, it being California and all …)

    How will the GOP know that any votors gave a dang about issues that we care about, once they win? If they do know, they don’t care anyway till next election. “We got your vote, now bugger off, you crazy wing-nut …”

    I’m not gonna be a part of that crap anymore.

    BTW, I don’t think W is a bad guy. I agree that his speaking plainly is a good thing. Problem is, he doesn’t know what the hell this country is about, and he wouldn’t know freedom if it came up and bit him on the ass.

  106. “Alright, my previous post was directed at Mark for being too picky about whether or not Congress actually used the proper wording in authorizing the Iraq war.”

    The Congress did not authorize war in Iraq. Just ask John Kerry.

  107. Now, I suppose one could suggest that a war could be fought without a declaration from Congress, but that would reduce Congress’s role in warfare to purely ceremonial, eroding any notion of checks and balances on the President’s military powers.

    lol — that’s wonderfully subtle, thoreau. well said!

  108. By “miniscule” does he mean “minuscule”?

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