Election 2012

The Libertarian Case for Barack Obama

He is the lesser of two big-government, Harvard-educated evils.


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This is one of three related articles, each making a specifically libertarian argument for the Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian presidential contender.

If Ron or Rand Paul were running as the GOP nominee against Barack Obama this year, I wouldn't even try to make a case for libertarians to vote for the Democrat. And if you're a Libertarian who's not in a swing state—you live in California, maybe, or Texas—there's no compelling reason for you to cast your vote for anyone other than Gary Johnson.

Regardless of your preferences, you're going to be looking at the inauguration of Mitt Romney or Barack Obama come January, so if you're a voter in swing state, you should give some thought to voting for Obama as the lesser of the two big-government, Harvard-educated evils. 

On some issues of course, like foreign policy, it's hard to find daylight between Obama and Romney, although Obama clearly has more mastery of the details of being a head of state. Both guys are willing to deploy American military forces abroad even when there is little compelling reason to intervene. And Romney seems perfectly capable of adopting a liberal government program when it suits him. While Romney officially opposes Obamacare, it's scarcely different from the health-care reform Romney presided over in Massachusetts. And Romney's proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act seem designed to capture the inefficiencies of such a system while dispensing with the efficiencies (he would limit the risk pool, which will push individual premiums higher).

That's the libertarian argument against Romney's proposed revision of Obamacare, but there actually is a libertarian argument for Obamacare. (Bear with me!) Yes, a truly libertarian system would allow everyone to opt out, including emergency rooms that could opt out of caring for an insurance-free deadbeat who crawls in after a car crash. Given that health care in the U.S. doesn't work that way—we require virtually all American emergency rooms to provide care regardless of ability to pay—a truly universal system is the best option for maximizing health-care efficiencies. And if we can preserve some aspects of competition among insurers (which Obamacare, mimicking the health-care plan proposed by the GOP to counter Bill Clinton's efforts at health-care reform, attempts to do), that's all to the good.

But there's an even stronger libertarian argument for Obamacare. Namely, it frees more Americans to take better jobs without worrying about losing the health care plan they had in their old jobs. Worker mobility is one of the things that reliably fuels free enterprise, and workers will be more mobile under Obamacare than they would be under Romney's semi-dismantled version of it. 

Defending the Affordable Care Act to Reason.com readers is tough, of course. I doubt I've convinced many readers here. But let me underscore three points where Obama is surely closer to libertarians than Romney is. One of these is abortion rights, self-evidently. (If you don't know about Romney's current opposition to abortion rights, you shouldn't be voting.) Another is immigration. Despite his horrible record so far in office, Obama wants to sign the DREAM Act, which needs to get past a GOP filibuster. Obama believes the American economy benefits when immigrants work here, create jobs here, and pay their taxes. Romney is all for cherrypicking educated foreign workers, and hooray for that, but he now heads a GOP that is much more focused on policing the borders than rolling out any sort of Welcome mat.

A third quasi-libertarian position is Obama's late-arriving but still-welcome stance on gay marriage. Yes, of course, a truly libertarian system would take no position on marriage of any variety – to get there, though, we'd have to undo centuries of American law favoring traditional marriages, which is an interesting project, all right, but not one likely to be tackled anytime soon. Obama's position – in essence, to end legal discrimination that favors heterosexual relationships over homosexual ones – is the position most in line with liberty interests.

And what are my views, exactly? It's no surprise to long-time Reason readers that I tend to vote for the Democrats, but according to the online quiz at isidewith.com, which correctly indicates I'm most in line with Obama (88 percent), I'm also pretty close to Gary Johnson (74 percent) on a range of policy issues. Where am I with regard to Romney? A bleak 24 percent: "no major issues" in common. I suspect many libertarians are in that last category.

Related Stories:

"The Libertarian Case for Gary Johnson," by Nick Gillespie

"The Libertarian Case for Mitt Romney," by Robert Poole

"Who's Getting Our Votes?: Reason Writers' 2012 Presidential Picks"

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  1. You know who else wanted to end legal discrimination that favors heterosexual relationships over homosexual ones…

    1. Well, this article was Godwin from the start, so what the hell.

      But you know who DOESN’T want to end that discrimination? Barack Obama. He just wants the votes of people who do.


    2. Dick Cheney?

  2. Reason is obviously in the tank for Obama.

    1. That’s just a pro-Romney lie! Reason’s REALLY in the tank for Chris Christie.

      1. The ever-horrible Chris Cristie, recently viewed sucking the President’s socks at the Hurricane-Sandy-Obama-Campaign tour stop.

    2. On some issues of course, like foreign policy, it’s hard to find daylight between Obama and Romney…

      Or keeping the deficit at around a trillion per year, or not reforming Social Security or Medicare, or not ending the war on freedom, or not closing a single government agency, etc.

      1. Or not going back to pre-bailout 2007 spending levels and balancing the budget immediately.

  3. although Obama clearly has more mastery of the details of being a head of state.

    Fucking seriously?

    The head of WHICH state?

    Who thinks like this.

    1. He certainly knows a hell of a lot more about Fast and Furious, what really happened on 9/11/2012, why the guy who made a bad YouTube video is still being held in jail without bond, where all the drone strikes are happening, WTF Hillary Clinton is doing in Africa today, trying to start a war in Mali…

      1. So yeah, as head of state, he does know a lot of details that others aren’t privy to…

        1. No he meant mastery of the details of being a head of state.

          Like kneeling to the Q of E and apologizing for having “free” speech.

          1. Well, he’s good at that shit, too, you have to admit.

            1. You got me there.

    2. Obama clearly has more mastery of the details of being a head of state.

      I have seen absolutely no evidence of that. If anything, Obama is remarkably detached from the detail work of governing.

      1. I just don’t get it. And how can anyone purporting to be a libertarian can support this guy, who clearly believes the state is the end-all, be-all, is beyond me.

        Frankly, things have gotten so bad that I’m not sure anyone remotely libertarian could get through the Democratic primaries, anymore. That’s mostly true for the GOP, too, when it comes to presidential elections, but at least some of their politicians are libertarianesque.

        For liberty, particularly of the economic variety, Johnson is greater than Romney is greater than Obama.

        1. Anyone who takes the isidewith quiz and gets a higher score for Obama than for Johnson is not a libertarian, and I’m a large net kind of guy. I took the quiz over a month ago and was 94% for both Johnson and Paul, 55% for Romney, and a paltry 15% for Obama. Friends and family asked how I could possibly side with him even 15% but in an honest poll, that’s an awful number.

          88%?! HTF?

          1. You can sway it pretty strongly by ranking up the importance of points of agreement and ranking down points of disagreement. I took it twice in a row, changing a single answer to be further from Obama (I missed it as an option the first go around) but I apparently ranked the importance of some things differently. Obama went from 4% to 10%, I think because I bumped up immigration from More important to Most important.

            So I guess if you thought evolution, abortion, gay marriage, immigration, etc. were really important, and you accept Obamacare, then you could get the president somewhat higher without violating too many libertarian red lines. I’m not sure how you can get to 88% though.

          2. I took that isidewith.com poll and somehow scored HIGHER for Johnson (94%) than Paul (90%) but I think it’s because I’m one of the minority who really doesn’t think the Abortion issue is a major deciding factor. I 110% respect Dr. Paul’s beliefs on the issue, but no candidates position on that one issue would sway me either way.

      2. I had a fair amount of respect for Godwin over they years, right up until reading this piece.

        Now it’s apparent that he’s little more than a un-self aware statist bootlicker whose faded image as a daring rebel is long past its sell-by date, and whatever minor libertarian leanings he might have had are so minor that they aren’t worth mentioning.

        Ah well, another painful lesson in hero admiration.

        1. Did I ever you that you’re my hero, JW? You are the wind beneath my wings.

        2. If all it took was this piece to transform me into “a un-self aware [sic] statist bootlicker whose faded image as a daring rebel is long past its sell-by date,” and I’m someone for whom you had “hero admiration,” I can only feel sad for those never reached that apex of your high regard. You must have put them in the Ninth Circle of Hell by now. In any case, I’m okay with risking the alienation of any my bipolar-disorder fans.

          1. I have no idea why anyone who wrote a piece like this for a libertarian audience would read the comment section. If you’re not a masochist, you’ve got a very healthy self esteem. Anyway, I’m sure you could have guessed how arguing that mandating health insurance was libertarian would go over here. You could have just been satisfied that you once had an admirer.

          2. What do you have against bipolar disorder?

          3. I’m wondering if SOMEBODY had to write a “Libertarian case for Barack Obama” and Mike drew the short straw.

            1. He should have just left the column blank. It would have been more honest and funny to see the Libertarian Case for Obama followed by a blank page.

          4. The problem, Mike, is that by even suggesting a vote for the reasons you are giving only encourages the abusers-in-charge to be even more abusive. Is that called “enabling”?

            Hit me, fuck me in the ass by force, break my jaw, steal my bank account, take my sons to die for you in a desert somewhere, you promise you will take care of me in the end?

    3. What, you mean his masterful handling of the Benghazi fiasco didn’t convince you? /sarc

      1. If you don’t like corruption and secrecy, you can’t be a libertarian!

        1. Eric? Is that you?

      2. Not a single demotion, indictment, or court martial resulting from the absolute fuster-cluck of his foreign policies.

        That IS mastery.

        1. It is an absolute non-issue. I’m sorry but in five days, Fox will stop beating this drum and no one will ever care about it. It will be brought up in future elections as a horribly failed attempt to attack an opponent.

          Obama had a lot of weak points, foreign policy was not the wisest choice to go after. Especially after removing Bin Laden and Gaddafi. He trumped Reagan and Bush both here.

    4. Chia Head of State, maybe.

  4. But there’s an even stronger libertarian argument for Obamacare. Namely, it frees more Americans to take better jobs without worrying about losing the health care plan they had in their old jobs. Worker mobility is one of the things that reliably fuels free enterprise, and workers will be more mobile under Obamacare than they would be under Romney’s semi-dismantled version of it.

    That is not a libertarian argument for Obamacare; it is a utilitarian one.

    1. As a utilitarian libertarian I take issue with that statement.

      What Godwin is doing here is assuming that positive rights exist.

      1. I noticed that too. Specifically, “MEDICAL CARE IS A RIGHT!”

        So, basically, vote for The Zero strictly on social issue-y stuff, and damn the economic consequences.

        Sounds to me like Godwin wants The United States of Europe. He does the eponymous law justice. -)

        1. Godwin only claims to be a “libertarian” as not to alienate his liberty-leaning paymasters in the EFF and Wikimedia. Drivel such as this article, proves he is merely a statist in libertarian clothing.

      2. As a Caribbean Amphibian I think this article also reaffirms to me that there is seldom, if ever, a libertarian argument for supporting any modern Democrat.

        That’s not “go Team Red!” that’s just a recognition that the philosophical assumptions of the modern Team Blue are incompatible with libertarianism.

        Jill Stein, of the ostensibly far-left Green Party, offers me more that I agree with.

      3. There are no utilitarian libertarians.

        We’re all futilitarians.

        1. You could be the other kind of utilitarian.

          1. The kind that believes pain, not pleasure, is how we should define utility?

        2. Futilitarian fibertarians.

    2. Namely, it frees more Americans to take better jobs without worrying about losing the health care plan they had in their old jobs.

      (1) There are already laws in place that allow you to keep your old coverage after you leave a job. Of course, you have to pay the premium yourself, but that hardly strikes me as unlibertarian.

      (2) If you’re interested in worker mobility, a job-killing regime like ObamaCare seems like something you would oppose.

      1. 3) If you’re interested in worker mobility, separating health insurance from employment is the way to go.

        1. *Ding, ding, ding* We have a winner!

          Of course, like most winning policy ideas, it’s also politically a loser. Funny how that works.

        2. Agreed-It was government policies that have driven people to be dependent on insurance/care paid for by 3rd party. The consumer market for health coverage has been distorted. Obamacare is just further distortion. Actually, CBO projects many companies will “free” employees from some premium health plans more than people will be able to move with only mediocre options.

      2. Also, RC, I seem to recall insurance portability the driving point behind HIPAA. Instead, we got a clusterfuck of near impossible compliance rules.

        Funny how the actual portability of insurance didn’t seem to make it into the final product, eh?

        1. The portability part of HIPAA actually works reasonably well (by latter-day regulatory standards, at least).

          Nobody uses it because its exposes the grossly inflated cost of modern health insurance.

          1. Remember-HMO’s used to be a “solution”.

    3. It’s “freedom from hunger and want” that fuels rational for nanny-state.

    1. Thank you, Barfman. I was hoping you’d be here.

    2. The crappy is the enemy of the good.

  5. If Hitler were alive today, he would make a case for Obama too.

    1. Hugo Chavez, Putin, and Castro already have.

    2. If Hitler were alive today…

      Godwin’d an article by a guy named Godwin … NICE!

      1. The Godwin. If ou know this sorry for missing your joke.

  6. yeah, libertarians just love large bloated governments.

    1. But but but…teh gayz!!! You don’t want them all put in camps, do you?

      1. I think the gays are campy enough.

  7. And what are my views, exactly? It’s no surprise to long-time Reason readers that I tend to vote for the Democrats, but according to the online quiz at isidewith.com, which correctly indicates I’m most in line with Obama (88 percent), I’m also pretty close to Gary Johnson (74 percent) on a range of policy issues. Where am I with regard to Romney? A bleak 24 percent: “no major issues” in common. I suspect many libertarians are in that last category.

    Anecdotally, I side 98% with GaJo, and 60% with Romney on domestic policy and environmental issues. I side 18% wirh Obama, agreeing with no major issues.

    I suspect the soi-disant libertarian Godwin vastly overestimates the percentage of liberty-minded voters than agree with his views.

    1. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a libertarian to agree with Obama on 88% of issues. Seriously?

    2. That’s almost exactly where I landed, too.

      I’m not sure what part of Obama’s policy I agreed with. Probably “doesn’t believe in sauteeing babies in garlic butter”.

      1. Considering what he was willing to do to certain babies – those born alive after a botched abortion – then cannibalism wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

        Get the government out of the kitchen! A choice between the woman and her chef!

        1. Oh THAT is what Hillary meant by “safe, legal and rare.”

          I would have figured her for a medium-well type, being from Chicago. Guess I was wrong.

    3. 16% Obama, no major issues, 99% Gary Johnson. Shockingly, it came out with 73% Romney, but I find that hard to believe. I ventured away quite a bit from yes/no answers–maybe that screwed things up.

    4. Johnson 98%
      Goode 62%
      Romney 58%
      Obama 0%

      Wow, didnt expect zero. I think that has to do with weighing issues we might kinda/sorta be in agreement on as very unimportant.

      1. I did this a few months back and scored everything as the most important issue ever, and I think Obama scored a single digit score and Romney was under 20% or something.

        Weighing spending issues highly pushed him up, is my guess.

      2. I’m jealous. How could I agree with him on 16% of issues? Are we both in favor of calling this country “The United States of America?” Surely we’re not aligned on any real issues.

        Little-known fact: The actual name of the U.S. is the United States of America and Providence Plantations.

        1. You both agree that being alive for the Moon landing doesn’t make you old.

          1. I was alive, true, but extremely short compared to now.

            1. Wearing lifts doesn’t count as not being short.

              1. Nice try, but I’m 6’2 and secure in my superior height genes.

                I’m listening to First Man–Neil Armstrong’s biography on my commute, and they just got to the Moon landing. I’m trying to decide whether I can actually remember watching it live, or whether I’m remembering later landings. Apollo 17 is the clearest for me, but I do remember some things from around the time of Apollo 11 (my dad was with a NASA subcontractor then and heavily involved in Apollo).

                1. my dad was with a NASA subcontractor then and heavily involved in Apollo

                  I am aware of this. It’s like your name is Howard. (Sorry I couldn’t find an ad-less video)

                  Also, I am quite sure that I only remember later viewings of the archived footage.

                  1. Damn it, Reason! Give me an edit button! Now he’s going to think I didn’t manage to find it on Youtube!

                    1. I can’t remember who I’ve told what to around here. You’re all faceless and nameless to me.

                      If that show were any good, they’d have had Aldrin slug a kid for denying the Moon landings.

                    2. I’m an aerospace engineer. Your dad worked on Apollo. You’ve got a boner for private space exploration. It’s noteworthy.

                      Also, that would have been awesome, but I’m not sure how they’d get him to do it.

                    3. I have a SpaceX pen on my desk. Lord knows what people here think.

                      I’d probably have gone that direction if I were older or younger. This is a great time–or about to be–for space careers. Unless the whole system blows up.

                    4. I’m pretty optimistic about increased interest and investments after the soon to be found Earth analog comes up.

                    5. Maybe not that optimistic…

                    6. I’m not one of those. Love to see something crazy like that, but I have reasonable expectations. Cheap access to orbit is enough for me right now.

                    7. I’d be satisfied with a permanent colony slowly expanding before I die.

                    8. Yes, a little diversification would be nice. My daughter expects us to take a vacation on the Moon at some point, so someone needs to work on making that not only feasible but something I can do with my family.

                    9. So suddenly you do have a daughter! I knew you were just being smart about protecting your genes.

                      so someone needs to work on making that not only feasible but something I can do with my family.

                      Oh, no room for Auric, huh? Fine! I’ll go build my own lunar lander, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the lunar lander and the blackjack. Ahh, screw the whole thing!

                    10. Oh, no, I see the Moon as akin to Florida. Some parts are family-friendly, run by the Mouse. Others are skanky, like, say Tampa. Plenty of low-gravity fun for all!

          2. I was alive, but in the womb.

            I was also human.

            Just sayin….

          3. Hey, I remember the first moon landing. I ran outside to see if I could see them.

        2. I think you are confusing the official name of the United States with the official name of Rhode Island.

          1. Or I was kidding–your call.

            1. I assume you were just being senile.

              1. Did you even know RI’s full name? If not, go run a lap.

                1. I did. My hippie friend from Newport told me a couple months ago on one of her annoying long winded monologues. At least it was while I was visiting her down there, making it relevant.

                  1. It’s always amused me. And hardly anyone not from the area knows about it.

                    1. It’s pretty random.

    5. http://www.isidewith.com/results/193017545

      91% Gary Johnson
      85% Virgil Goode
      81% Mitt Romney
      30% Barack Obama (no major issues)

      45% American Voters – huh, never knew I was so ‘mainstream’.

      And puzzled how I got only a 10% difference between Romney and Johnson.

    6. Gary Johnson: 99%
      Virgil Goode: 87%
      Rocky Anderson: 71%
      Mittens: 67%
      Jill Stein: 57%
      Captain 0: 41%
      American Voter: 45%

      I’m not sure how I ended with 41% for 0. I suspect it may have something to do with how I weighted the importance of the various issues.

    7. Gary Johnson: 96%
      Mitt Romney: 56%
      Virgil Goode: 55%
      Barack Obama: 4%

      I guess there’s the hard proof that I’m really a closet progressive.

    8. I’m still a registered Republican, and my views haven’t changed all that much in the last few years. Although, not surprisingly, my highest match was Gary Johnson, with 92%. Romney was 82% and Obama 51%. The Obama level of matching, is what I’m surprised about. In the category, it mentions foreign policy, but I’m borderline an isolationist. I can’t figure out how I match Obama at all in foreign policy.

      1. I had a similar result, 96% Johnson, 76% Romney, and 62% Obama. So, I kind of like everybody? I assumed it was foreign affairs that threw off my numbers, I don’t really consider myself a libertarian in that area, more of a classic liberal. Still came up 88% libertarian, though.

      2. I re-did the quiz, including weighting all the answers, and being more specific on all of them. Results were similar, but more spread out.

        Gary Johnson: 96%
        Virgil Goode: 67%
        Mitt Romney: 62%
        Barack Obama: 11%

        1. Apparently if you move the marker all the way to the left, it gives zero weight to a question. I think the few I agreed with Obama are the ones I pushed left.

    9. 92% Johnson
      84% Romny
      77% Goode
      27% Obama

    10. Perhaps you’re a little vague on the meaning of “soi-disant”? Seems like it. I’m hardly a “soi-disant libertarian,” and I’m startled that any adult who reads English could interpret me as being one. Pardon my (knowledge of) French.

      1. soi-disant definition at thefreedictionary.com: “as claimed by and for yourself often without justification”

        Looks like an apt use to me. Anyone who statistically aligns with President Obama on close to 9/10 issues is not a libertarian. He is on the opposite end of the spectrum on every issue of any significance, from war and the police state, to the budget and economy. The greatest “accomplishment” of his first-term resulted in a huge change in the nature of the citizen’s relationship to the state, in of course a manner detrimental to individual liberty.

        Your beliefs are what they are but please stop trying to construe yourself as a libertarian. It’s bad enough we have Gary Johnson out there bringing up a national sales tax in every interview.

      2. Pro-tip:

        Being a smarmy, pedantic smartass is much more effective if you know what the fuck you’re talking about.

    11. 89% Libertarian – 60% GOP – 58% Green – 3% Dem

      100% agreement with GaJo.

    12. Despite allowing for more nuanced answers than most quizzes, I don’t think it’s all that accurate. I was 99% Johnson, 72% for Goode & Romney, and only 6% for Obama. It gave me 28% with the Greens even though I picked “sell the national forests” and “fuck global warming”

  8. Is this a joke?

    1. I’m not laughing.

    2. No. Kinda ot but it supports this not being a joke. From Mike’s twitter last night.

      @sfmnemonic: Global warming, rising oceans — always a laff riot, eh, Mitt? http://t.co/pNxNwADd

      Or maybe it is….

      1. But I thought the rising ocean halted, and the earth began to heal, when Obama was inaugurated?

        1. Just another broken campaign promise.

    3. I’d say this is a case of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The writing assignment was near impossible.

      1. Meat is murder!

    4. It has to be a joke.

  9. . (If you don’t know about Romney’s current opposition to abortion rights, you shouldn’t be voting

    I don’t get this. isn’t abortion still being debated among libertarians? Some proliferation some pro choice. Also maybe I don’t know Romney’s position bc I don’t think abortion is a critical issue this race. Or one might think there is no chance of it becoming illegal.

    1. Reality: Romney can’t do shit about abortion rights. And he won’t. Nobody but a fringe group WANTS anything done, either. SCOTUS has shown no desire to revisit Roe.

      1. Conservatives have controlled the Supreme Court for how many decades now? For people who think abortion is an actual issue in national politics, I say that you see but do not observe.

      2. Romney can’t, but Republican governors, judges and legislators can. He is the faux centrist who mollifies the middle, so that the rabid anti-abortion crowd faction of the Republican party can get their way after the election.
        They are already on the march in Virginia.
        I am not a huge fan of Obama, and how the heck are we to stop having the gubmint be the handmaiden of big oil, big military contracting, etc.
        At least Obama isn’t in favor of getting rid of abortions like the Repubs are.
        Are libertarians for campaign finance reform?

        1. Are libertarians for campaign finance reform?

          Why would libertarians want to limit speech of all things?

          I’d guess libertarians mirror the electorate at large on abortion too.
          About 50/50.
          The pro-abortion ones think babies aggres on women’s rights.

    2. Yeah I assumed Godwin was just being whimsical with this article until I read that.

      Fuck you Godwin. No I don’t really know about Romney’s views on abortion (I can guess), but since I am not voting for him or Obama, I don’t know why that should disqualify me or anyone from voting.

      1. Telling anyone they shouldn’t vote disqualifies the writer’s opinion from my consideration. People have a lot of reasons for voting or not, and since it’s their vote, not yours, all are valid whether you like it or not. Fuckin’ Godwin.

    3. I am going to go out on a limb and say that none of the regular HnR commenters (or any of the Reason staff who regularly read comments) would classify me as not libertarian. I am also almost entirely prolife (only exception for health of the mother- no rape/incest exception), because I think that murder is one of the things that government should be stopping people from doing.

      Also, I don’t know exactly what Romney’s current position is, and frankly I don’t really care. I’ll start voting based on abortion stance once we’ve got Johnson vs Paul as the two major party candidates.

      1. There’s certainly a libertarian argument than can be made for banning abortion. It’s all about where the line is drawn. In some cultures, for instance, killing babies even after birth was/is a parental prerogative.

        That’s really the whole debate–where do we draw the line? Because few are arguing that we can’t kill sperm or eggs, and equally few are arguing that we can kill full-term babies.

        1. That’s really the whole debate–where do we draw the line?

          Exactly. Libertarianism doesn’t yield a specific position on abortion, because libertarianism doesn’t yield a position on what counts as a human being, which is really the only thing that matters (assuming that one is against killing human beings).

          1. I’d like to see a movement based on the premise that every sperm is, in fact, sacred, and that advocates the banning of sperm wastage.

          2. But, jokes aside, I agree.

          3. There is the question of compelling women to subordinate their bodies to a fetus. My experience has been that the minority of Libertarians who happen to take pro-life views are men. Probably coincidence.

            1. Women in general are more choicer for some purposes, more prolife for other purposes, and in general more polarized than men over the topic of abortion.


              I don’t know what the figures are for libertarians.

              1. …but I’m surprised you haven’t heard of Doris Gordon, of Libertarians for Life – http://l4l.org/

                1. What makes you think I haven’t heard of Doris Gordon?

            2. My experience has been that the minority of Libertarians who happen to take pro-life views are men.

              Judging from the commentariat around here, I don’t think there is a clear “pro-choice” majority in the libertarian movement.

              There is a strong NAP argument to be made for a “pro-life” position and the issue seems to divide libertarians as much as the rest of the country.

  10. Defending the Affordable Care Act to Reason.com readers is tough, of course.

    One might say impossible, even.

    1. Has Godwin read it?

  11. What’s truly curious is that Godwin semi-endorses Ron/Rand Paul at the beginning, but his three issues on which Obama is “more libertarian” than Romney are also issues that Romney and the Pauls agree.

    So why isn’t Godwin voting for Obama over the Pauls, too?

    1. Meh. He says he wouldn’t bother to try and convince libertarians if Paul was In play.

    2. Meh. He says he wouldn’t bother to try and convince libertarians if Paul was In play.

    3. The Pauls aren’t running, you may have noticed.

      1. Ron Paul is an official write-in candidate in Maine and in California. Any others?

  12. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! “Libertarian Case for Obama”.

    GOOD one!

  13. I’m most in line with Obama (88 percent), I’m also pretty close to Gary Johnson (74 percent) on a range of policy issues.

    Maybe you should take this as a hint and drop the libertarian label.

    1. Stop being such a hater heller! He’ll assume whatever label he wants, seeing as it seems to mean nothing at all!

    2. To be fair, I’m floored that it’s even possible to agree with BO and GJ both at high percentages.

      1. It’s probably all the environmental stuff. It’s vague enough that there could be concurrency.

        1. Especially if you weight them as important and weight everything else as unimportant.

    3. What makes you (or anyone) think I use “the libertarian label” with regard to my own views? (I’m a civil libertarian, of course, in my work.)

      1. Well you just used it so… question answered?

  14. Mike Godwin forgot to talk about his vagina and how Romney wants to cork it shut.

    1. Cliterodecomies are a right!

  15. Godwin, why are so many liberals like you and Bill Maher afraid to call yourselves what you really are? Is it shame? That I could at least understand. But I suspect you really just don’t have a clue what libertarians actually believe. Please stop sullying the libertarian brand. You’re a pro-regressive. Deal with it.

    1. What makes you think I’m afraid to call myself what I really am? I should think it’s quite clear that I’m progressive on many issues, but favor market-based solutions on many others. It’s also clear that I’m quite skeptical of hate-driven politics of the sort that typically infests the comments sections on political websites.

      1. That you would use the term “progressive” referring to yourself (positively) shows that you are clearly NOT libertarian.

        It is clear from the Nolan Chart, that libertarians have much in common with liberals and much in common with conservatives. That doesn’t mean that they are the same. You are not a libertarian. You are a liberal. I find that I really like when people like Bill Maher and Godwin here try to claim the label “libertarian” because it shows the value of the brand. After all, nobody tries to counterfeit a Timex, they usually go for a Rolex, or a Patek.

  16. Maybe it was a misprint, and the headline was supposed to be The LIBERIAN case for voting for Obama.

    If I were in Liberia, I’d want Obama to be President of the US, so he stays really far away from me. That assumes, of course, that Liberia doesn’t end up in the sights of some drones for whatever reason.

    1. The LIBERIAN case for voting for Obama.

      But liberals tell me they’re the same thing!

      1. Where’s General Butt Naked when you need him to clarify things?

  17. Wait. Why is this post dated oct 26?

  18. a truly universal system is the best option for maximizing health-care efficiencies.

    Citation needed.

    1. In fact, the opposite is true. Efficiency lies in getting the desired outcome at the lowest possible cost (and least amount of time). True free market attempt to achieve that, while a (presumably single-payer) universal system only aims to grant access to all. This requires subsidies and subsidies always raise costs.

      (Forgive me guys, I don’t intend to preach to the choir, but clearly Godwin doesn’t know shit so this education is for his benefit. Think I should use smaller words?)

      1. “Think I should use smaller words?”

        Probably so.

  19. I didn’t bother to read the article. There is no libertarian case for a man that orders the execution of American citizens without due process.

    1. Sure there is. Obama can do nothing about gay marriage, which he supports. Hooray!

      1. He could certainly do something. He could use the bully pulpit to push for a repeal of DOMA. He could have done it, too, for a couple of years when he had Congress in the bag.

        But he doesn’t plan to do that. So I’m not sure what he actually “supports” other than getting checks from gullible gay donors…

        1. Actually, the Obama Administration quit defending DOMA. That’s a big deal.

        2. That’s exactly it. He says (now) that he is for it, but then says it is a state issue. Who knew he was such a feredalist? The only issue in the universe that the states decide, apparently.

  20. Not worth two minutes of my precious, precious hate.

    1. I have so much hate the marginal value of the next quanta is close to zero.

  21. I support Gary Johnson, but there are some libertarian arguments for Obama. ObamaCare is most definitely NOT one of them:

    1) Clear the decks for Rand Paul or someone far better than Romney in 2016. If Romney wins, he’ll obviously be the Republican nominee in 4 years;

    2) He is a known quantity on foreign policy whereas Romney is clearly influenced by the neocons and seems more inclined to attack Iran;

    3) Punish Romney and the Republicans for their horrendous treatment of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson;

    4) Keep the Republican grassroots pissed off and “anti-Washington” for another four years lest we see a return to right-wing support for George W. Bush-style big-government conservatism.

    1. “seems more inclined to attack Iran”

      More than Gary Johnson? Sure. More than Obama? Not so much.

    2. I happen to think these Libertarian arguments for not voting for Romney are pretty good. If I had had more time, I might have included them. But I opted to write more on substantive than on strategic issues. And with Romney there is of course very little substance at all (or at least none that you can rely on), except that he’ll appoint judges and justices who will find ways to limit abortion rights and recognition of gay marriage (the traditional GOP sop to the statist/fundamentalist right wing of their party).

      1. Pro-abortion forces have been shrieking for over 30 years that the Republicans are going to get Roe v. Wade overturned. Do you suppose that maybe that argument doesn’t hold much water for anyone else?

        There is no libertarian case to be made for a man that assassinates American citizens and believes that he has the right to indefinitely detain them without trial or charges. None at all.

  22. correctly indicates I’m most in line with Obama (88 percent),

    Good god.

  23. Democrats: “Send America’s sons and daughters to die in foreign lands, just make the rich pay for my health care!”

  24. Lets see.

    A real case for Obama

    The economy ain’t getting better any time soon no matter who wins this election and the incumbent and the perception of his economic policies will take the blame. The commone wisdom is that Romney will be “pro Business laissez faire libertarian” (even though pro business and laissez faire are mutually exclusive most are too stupid to realize that) economically and Obama is commonly believed to be at least a Social Democrat if not an outright Socialist (even though his economic policy is much more correctly labled Fascist).

    Given that the blame for the weak economy will be blamed on these perceptions of policies we would be much better off with 4 more years of Obama with the country that much closer to bankruptcy and people being more willing to adopt drastic measures we do NOT want them going full bore for Socialism in reaction to the so called free market failures of Romney so we are better off with a reactionary move away from Socialism to a radical free market President like Johnson or Rand Paul.

    1. There is something to that, but I just can’t vote on the premise of “things will be bad so I want the other guy in charge.”

      1. Yeah, and look what happened four years ago. People hated Bush so much they voted for the anti-Bush and ended up with Bush III. The punishment or reactive arguments die right there for me.

      2. Oh I wasn’t saying it was a compelling enough argument to actually vote for Obama, just that it is the best argument from a libertarians perspective.

    2. The economy ain’t getting better any time soon no matter who wins this election and the incumbent and the perception of his economic policies will take the blame.

      Not true. A 2% performance steadily above what we have now is all that is needed to improve the employment situation drastically. The political officers that Obama has placed in charge of the regulatory agencies has caused at least that much of a differential to damage America’s economic output.

      1. have caused

        1. Ummmm… there is no such thing as a free lunch.

          Meaning only that you should include the deficit spending required to get the 2 percent…. and know that it cannot continue forever….

  25. Reasons to vote for Obama:

    Romney’s binders of women he wants to work in his forced birthing and barefoot cooking labor camps

    Be popular

    look great, lose weight (when you can no longer afford food)

    He cares

    1. oh and also, whiten your teeth while you sleep (due to probable nationwide soft drink bans)

    2. That actually sounds pretty much like his campaign…

      1. It really does.

      2. I’ve hardly seen any Obama ads, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the birthing and cooking labor camps thing wasn’t featured in one. Especially since it sounds like a radical Mormon thing. However, it also sounds like it might backfire and attract a lot of women to Romney who are into attachment parenting. That would be funny.

      3. Pretty much… that plus “Rich payz moar!”

  26. The lessor of two evils is still evil. Your vote counts only one no matter who you vote for! Your best course of action is to vote for somebody you want! You get no extra points for picking the winner of a horse race!

    1. Really? Last time I did that, I got money for it. When I picked the top two, I got a lot of money.

      1. Go for the trifecta!

  27. The Libertarian Case for Barack Obama

    Yes, another 4 years of him will finally make it obvious to even the staunchest of bitter-enders that Big Government(R) does not work.

    Or little government, for that matter.

  28. Ideally, GJ would win, but absent that pipe dream, we need Obama to win the electoral college but lose the popular vote, and the R’s to maintain control of the House. Gridlock, no perceived mandate, Rand Paul in 2016.

    Question for the room: Does anyone think Rand Paul supported Romney for any reason other than to cozy up to the GOP establishment to assist his future prospects at the presidency? He’s already a senator so what other reason would there be? His policy positions are so different than Mitt’s.

    1. I think the Presidency was in the back of his mind, however I think just as important was to avoid having his role in the Senate minimized to the point where he couldn’t actually accomplish anything.

    2. I think he supported Romney because he’s a better politician than his father.

      1. By politician do you mean sociopath?

        1. No, he’s right. There are two parts to pushing social change:
          1) having the “right” position, and
          2) convincing people your position is “right”

          Ron Paul obviously has #1 locked up – nobody in recent history has educated more people (myself included) on the concept of Liberty.
          But #2 is where the good doctor failed miserably, because he had no interest in playing “the game”. If you could get people to go see him, the were converted to thinking people, but due to not playing the game, Dr. Paul had no media coverage, and didn’t fight back enough when he was marginalized by the powers-that-be. Rand has definitely learned from his father’s mistakes and is trying to have a better balance between #1 and #2, and I firmly believe he’ll end up doing more actual “good” than his father did, even if I love the old man to death and would take a bullet for him.

  29. I don’t understand how anyone who considers him/herself to be libertarian can come out of the isidewith poll closer to *anyone* than to Johnson, much less to Obama. Methinks someone is fooling only himself about his political leanings (*cough*Weigel*cough*), because he ain’t fooling us.

    1. I took a survey that said I side closer to Johnson than Romney on my political beliefs. However, I’m still going to vote for Romney because I will be living in a swing state when the election comes around. I want Obama to lose and I think Romney will be an improvement, even though I don’t agree with him on everything. I still agree with him on over half of the issues. I also think Romney has better character than Obama, which is not about any particular issue but very important yet underrated.

      1. Romney has the kind of “character” that allows him to take all sides of every public-public policy issue while accepting a 400-million-dollar bailout of the Winter Olympics and institutionalizing an insurance mandate in Massachusetts. He’s your Rorschach test, but I have a theory about why you prefer, uh, the content of his “character.”

        1. Wow, 400 million huh? Until we had annual deficits over 1 trillion dollars for 4 straight years, that almost seemed like a money didn’t it? Character counts, people.

        2. I don’t agree with the bailout decision, however if that is your proof that Romney has worse character than Obama…then you obviously know less about the president than I thought.

          Btw, I have no clue what you’re getting at in the last sentence. Am I supposed to be offended or confused or some combination of the two?

    2. I do love the irony of so many *men* who are all troubled by a government-imposed mandate to buy insurance but untroubled by compelling women to gestate fetuses to term. You must get all the dates.

      1. I do love the irony of so many *men*

        The irony i love is the comment just above this one is that of a woman saying she is voting for Romney….she is maybe the only person on this thread who said she is voting for Romney.

        Maybe all of us Gary Johnson voting neanderthals could get a date with her?

      2. Not only that, but they expect them to feed them and put clothes on them and wipe their own urine and feces off of them too. Fucking little freeloaders. Force their way into your uterus and then just think you’re their slave for 18 years. Or does the stork bring them by? I can’t remember. It’s definitely not a volitional act, anyway, so of course the fetus is an aggressor. Which is why there is total uniformity of opinion among both male and female libertarians on abortion.

        What an arrogant cunt. Go fuck yourself.

      3. The idea that women get to decide the fate of the fetus, until it is born…then suddenly the father is fully responsible financially…is really ludicrous, and yet so many men are still pro-life. It means they care about their offspring. Is that bad?

  30. To be very clear, the only legitimate reason for a libertarian to vote for Obama is as part of the “nuke the whole thing from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure” approach.

  31. http://www.isidewith.com/results/193114483

    Only real eyebrow raiser was the

    Republican 84%
    versus the
    Libertarian 81%
    I gave foreign involvement no support, and supported taking a meat cleaver to the defense budget. I guess supporting the tax cuts weighed heavily in their metrics.
    Green 44% I was merciless to the environment. It was basically Bambi fuck porn. Surprised it was this high.
    Democrat 27% Probably stems from the pro-choice and gay marriage support. Now, if they asked it the way they would have a decade ago, ‘do you support gay rights?’ I would have been firmly back in the other camp. I don’t support gay rights as a separate category from human rights, hence why I support gay marriage and cohabitation rights in the first place.

    1. “Green 44% I was merciless to the environment. It was basically Bambi fuck porn. Surprised it was this high.

      This is only surprising if you assume that environmental and not social justice issues are the most important issues to the Green Party.

      1. Your knowledge of this group makes me suspicious, comrade. Who was the home run leader in the ’56 World Series?

        1. Tom Brady?

        2. Oh damn I checked my guess and was only half right, it was a tie! Very tricky

    2. I don’t know about ISideWith… It interpreted my Dismantle and Romney’s Reform as “side with”, while Jill Stein’s Nos on internet freedom and ending the war in Afghanistan and my qualified/strengthened Nos were “do not side.” ???

    3. Yeah, I got similar results: 86% Republican, 85% Libertarian. But my results for President were 93% Gary Johnson and 72% Mitt Romney, and I was an advocate of cutting military spending, legalizing marijuana, ending medicare, etc. Doesn’t make any sense.

  32. Johnson: 99%
    Romney: 59%
    Obama: 2%

    1. 93% Libertarian
      61% Republican
      3% Democrat

  33. OT: Thought you guys might get a kick out of this:

    Dems nervous, GOP upbeat as vote nears

    David Plouffe, one of President Obama’s top campaign strategists, has a word for supporters he feels are needlessly fretful: bed wetters.

    “Oh, I think I’m worse than that,” Kay Edelman said.

    For the past several weeks, the 60-year-old San Francisco resident has frequently bolted awake in the middle of the night, in “a panic attack,” she said. She darts for her computer and checks the latest polls. Some days she’s so distraught that she can’t exercise.

    Every morning, she gets e-mails from friends who’ve been just as sleepless. Most are so tense, they can croak out only a few words. “Very anxious.” “Worried.”

    “Nothing more needs to be said,” said Edelman, a retired educational administrator.

    I think now we know how Mike Godwin feels.

    Seriously, I can’t imagine feeling this way about any candidate, in any election. Maybe if you were trying to oust a Chavez type dictator wannabe I could see it.

    1. Nate Silver says its in the bag for Obama. What do they have to worry about? Hell, many of them on a forum I read yesterday use his blog just like that. If you doubt Nate, you doubt science itself.

    2. She framed the Time cover of Obama? Oh, wow. I hope she doesn’t kill herself if he loses. She seems like a nice person who just happens to be using her vote to make it difficult to keep up my livelihood.

    3. Retired at 60? Oh, if only I should get so lucky.

    4. I can tell somebody is pretty vague about Hugo Chavez. But I’m not suffering from any panic attacks regarding this election.

  34. So the libertarian case for Obama is Obamacare (mandate of purchase of a specific product), abortion rights (legalized infringement of natural rights), the Dream Act (residency and government grants to immigrants who exhibit specific behaviors that the government deems appropriate), and gay marriage (expansion of a government license program and tax prefrences to one additional group of people), none of which are remotely libertarian.

  35. This article is mistitled. It should read “The Progressive Case for Barack Obama” since the author is obviously not a libertarian.

    Anyone who cannot tell the difference between Mitt Romney’s State level Romney Care and Obama’s Federal level Obamacare is not a libertarian, and I would question their overall education as to the style of government we have in the USA. Here is a hint: The Federal government is not supposed to have the power to do anything.

    Then the author goes on to make the inaccurate claim that something in Obamacare helps with job mobility. What? John McCain’s plan would have done that, perhaps he is confused. Note, Obama is President, not John McCain. The thing standing in the way of insurance mobility is the employer provider insurance system, and the thing keeping that alive is the beneficial tax treatment of it. You know of course that Obama and Biden have openly attacked Romney over his supposed support of getting rid of that beneficial tax treatment. They say Romney wants to gut the employer provided health insurance system (lets all hope he does). So, not only is the author wrong on this point, but Obama actually has the exact opposite position. If you want insurance to stop being attached to job, if you want 300 million people shopping in an individual marketplace, creating tons of competition that will spawn innovation and hold down prices, Obama isn’t going to get you there.

  36. Going on, he talks about abortion. It is false that libertarians are all pro-choice. There are pro life atheist libertarians out there. Most libertarians will tell you the #1 goal of government is to protect us from being murdered. Then it is up to debate when we become human, and thus deserving of having protection from the forceful taking of our life. Libertarians are not in lock step on when that point is.

    He also talks about gay marriage. I personally don’t see much daylight between the two here. Romney is against it… he says now, but he also said he wouldn’t reinstate DADT, so…. and Obama was against it before he was for it. Romney will not talk about gay marriage unless asked, I really don’t think it is a selling point for him, and besides, the courts will fix the issue. No matter who is president the Supreme Court will decide the gay marriage issue, and it’ll be this court, not some future court.

    And on social issues anyways Romney seems to mostly want to push things to the state and get the federal government out of it.

    1. Very odd to confuse DADT with gay marriage. Perhaps you haven’t given much thought to Libertarian thought as it applies to gay rights.

      As for abortion, the notion that it’s okay for the state to compel women to gestate fetuses is not exactly Libertarian.

      1. the notion that it’s okay for the state to compel women to gestate fetuses is not exactly Libertarian.

        I know the government fucks us with regularity, but I didn’t think it was actually responsible for impregnating women. That being the only case in which the government could “compel women to gestate fetuses”. Failing to allow a woman to kill a gestating fetus != forcing her to gestate a fetus, as if some brownshirt busted down her door and shoved it into her fetus. Except in cases of rape, pregnancy is the result of a volitional act. Same reason you can’t shoot someone for trespassing after you’ve invited them into your home.

        1. *shoved it into her uterus

      2. Despite the rhetoric how many pro choice advocates would be comfortable with an elective abortion at eight months? How about seven months?

        Would you be willing to pull a baby put of the womb and kill it to show how strongly pro choice you are?

  37. Immigration also doesn’t matter on the President. Obama doesn’t care about immigration, he’ll say he does, but he is just pandering. He lied about it before, didn’t he? Romney… we’ll see. We know Obama is a liar on the issue since he had the chance to fix it and didn’t. Romney says he will fix it, so maybe he will, maybe he won’t. It doesn’t matter anyways though, congress will decide on immigration, it will have to be a bipartisan compromise to get it done.

    Who is more likely to do that though? Which candidate has more bipartisan compromises under his belt? Obama likes to pretend he is big on compromise, but if you read Bob Woodward’s book (a liberal I might add), it is obvious Obama is a poor leader and does not know how to forge a compromise or bipartisan deal. Romney does, and has done it before.

    So the bottom line is Romney is better on the economy, social issues are either a toss up because there is no difference or because SCOTUS will deal with it regardless. Immigration is dependent on congress regardless, but Romney is also better on forging bipartisan compromises and actually getting things done and not just posturing for cameras. Foreign policy seems to be able the same.

    Net decision: Vote Romney if you live in a battleground state, otherwise vote Johnson.

    1. JohnLocke| 10.30.12 @ 2:42PM |#
      …”Obama […] lied about it before, didn’t he?”
      Yes. Yes, and yes, regardless of what “it” is.

  38. Where am I with regard to Romney? A bleak 24 percent: “no major issues” in common. I suspect many liberals are in that last category.


  39. I don’t agree with the assessment on Obamacare. If it were only being offered as a choice for those who don’t have private insurance, the argument would stand. However, part of the health legislation involves forcing private insurance to cover a host of things that currently they are not required to. Right or wrong ethically- it will result in eventually forcing private insurance companies out of business. Once that happens, all we will have is govt subsidized healthcare and then the cutbacks will start. With no choices then, we will have to accept whatever care the govt deems appropriate. I am not willing to go that route!

    1. Insurance agent/trainer here: What it actually seems to be doing is implementing a lesser known feature of reform, the accountable care organization. The “corporate” influence here in more hands on protocol based care scares me–the care protocols seem designed to make use of drugs, drugs, drugs–(pharmaco influence?), but the idea has merit. Follow the cases of those whose healthcare eats up the highest percentage of costs, to manage their care. Example: diabetics–make sure they are monitored for blood sugar, quite literally from home, electronically, support them in their medication regimen, get them in for regular checkups, to prevent ER visits, amputations, etc. Bring those costs down, and the system can work. Quite literally 25% of insureds use up 75% of care dollars. Insurers are already cutting costs under healthcare reform because their profit margins above premiums collected are now restricted. Insurers have said all along, it’s not just rates, it’s how the system works. Doctors and hospitals need incentives other than just providing more billable procedures. Now, they are paid bonuses for certain outcomes in patient groups. Minus some grannies who probably shouldn’t be taking anti-depressants, most of the hands on care should result in a more user friendly system, instead of the fragmented one we have now.

  40. Since Godwin inadvertently made the progressive case for Obama, let me give the actual libertarian case for Obama….

    …there – that’s it.

    1. He came out in favor of gay marriage.

      That is the only libertarian case for Obama.

      1. I would argue that even this is not a case, since even Godwin correctly stated that “a truly libertarian system would take no position on marriage.” Marriage licenses and tax preferences in general are not compatible with equality under the law. If the federal government gets involved, they will only compound this issue by making a national standard on marriage, which we will all be beholden to.

  41. “but according to the online quiz at isidewith.com, which correctly indicates I’m most in line with Obama (88 percent), I’m also pretty close to Gary Johnson (74 percent) on a range of policy issues. Where am I with regard to Romney? A bleak 24 percent: ‘no major issues’ in common. I suspect many libertarians are in that last category.”

    I suspect that one “libertarian” is in that first category.

  42. GayJo: 97%
    VGoode: 55%
    JStein: 53%
    Obama: 39%
    Romney: 37%

    Libertarian: 82%
    Republican: 64%
    Green: 59%
    Democrat: 54%

    Not sure how I get 97% for GJ, but 82% on LP…

  43. “Where am I with regard to Romney? A bleak 24 percent: “no major issues” in common. I suspect many libertarians are in that last category.”
    Ironic that some Evangelicals and other conservative Christians keep a straight face when extolling the virtues of Ayn Rand while they work to make freedom restrictive laws regarding marriage, abortion and breaking down the boundaries between private religious and public (secular) education, going for the tax breaks for private schools, and attempting to legitimize creationism as a genuine science topic.

    1. Swiss1 doesn’t realize that Ayn Rand fans and Evangelical Christians are two sets of people that may not overlap much. Swiss1 isn’t very smart. Swiss1 apparently has no idea what kind of person reads Reason.

  44. The only libertarian case for Obama is if one is deluded into thinking one’s vote will affect the final outcome and realize that a Romney Administration will be the deathknell of the libertarian movement in the GOP. Also that Rand wouldn’t be able to run for president until 2020 probably, at which point he may be a GOP persona non grata.

  45. So Obamacare is identical to Romneycare yet Obamacare is libertarian cuz it allows workers to change jobs therefor libertarians should vote for Obama…


    1. The argument is, precisely, that you’d rather have Obamacare as passed rather than the partially (but not completely) dismantled one that Romney offers. Remember that is about comparing two politicians with records of “statist” public policy. My point about emergency rooms and their unfunded mandates seems lost on you. If Romney simply offered Romneycare (as passed in Massachusetts), I wouldn’t have bothered to mention it, but he’s offering a brain-damaged version of what he originally passed (and, yes, Romney’s current pitch is worse than both Obamacare and Romneycare).

      1. My point about emergency rooms and their unfunded mandates seems lost on you.

        It can be ignored. Everyone knows that unpayed medical bills amounts to 2% of total health care spending. It may as well be within the margin of error when looking at the yearly rise of health care costs. What was the rise last year? 7%? the year before? the year before that? and on and on and on…

        but he’s offering a brain-damaged version of what he originally passed

        How is it brain damaged? Or more importantly how is it more brain damaged to a libertarian them Obamacare is?

        If your case is solely the emergency room mandate then you do not have a case.

        1. Also

          he would limit the risk pool, which will push individual premiums higher

          How is exposing people to the real costs of health care not libertarian? Are we to think it is the free market that is raising health care costs to the highest in the world? or are we to think it is the fact that there is no direct costs to consumers therefore no market incentive to lower costs that is the problem?

        2. It’s not solely the emergency-room mandate — it’s really mostly about the risk pool — but it’s clear you don’t recognize what the burden on emergency rooms is. Which is a shame, because you may find yourself in one someday, and it will be functioning inefficiently and cash-strapped because of the mandate.

          1. it’s really mostly about the risk pool

            It is $49 billion. That is the loss to people who are uninsured and don’t pay. (most uninsured simply pay out of their pocket)

            The total US spending on health care is about $2250 billion. Little bit over 2%

            Sorry Mike but the problem you are identifying is not a problem. Retailers lose more then 2% from broken and stolen merchandise…hell any industry has far greater exposure to loss then 2%.

            The real problem with the US health care system is cost. We pay nearly 4 times as much for the same care as anybody else and the reason why is because consumers are not exposed to those costs. And as every libertarian knows the best way to control costs and increase quality is through the market

            You want government to impose those costs through rationing. (which is funny cuz wouldn’t that limit emergency care availability more then making people pay the costs?) Romney’s plan would expose richer people to those costs by making them pay for care.

            Sorry Mike but you lose. Exposing people to the actual costs of a limited resource (health care) is more libertarian then rationing.

  46. “Obama is surely closer to libertarians than Romney is. One of these is abortion rights, self-evidently.”

    Nope, it’s not self-evident. In fact the truly Libertarian position is to use the power of the state to prevent people from killing each other. So no, that does not make me, as a Libertarian, want to vote for Obama.

    1. While I recognize there are some self-labelled Libertarians who are pro-life, I find that view analytically incoherent. If you can say “non-serviam” to the state, and to other individuals, why should you be barred from saying it to a fetus?

      1. How can a “civil libertarian” endorse, oh, I’m sorry, “make a case for” a man who has murdered American citizens?

        Pro-life libertarians, such as myself, state that one does in fact have a right to life. A mother who doesn’t wish to subordinate her liberty can give the kid up for abortion.

        But I guess your stance on abortion squares with your endorsement state-conducted murder.

        1. Correction = adoption.

        2. Sure, adoption. What about the 9 months of gestation? It’s ok that she’s got to be a slave for 9 months because… why? It’s a short period of time? It’s for a good cause? Help me out here.

          1. Because life trumps liberty?

            I honestly have not gone that deep into it because it isn’t much of an issue for me (because I know abortion will never be banned). I also fail to see the “slavery” involved, but whatever.

            1. Or because abortion is an initiation of violence against a third party who has no control over the circumstances.

              I’ve heard plenty of pretty compelling arguments made by pro-life libertarians, but as yet the only argument made by the choicers that holds any libertarian water is the subordination of liberty argument. Of course, that can be put to rest if the child is a product of consensual sexual congress on the part of the mother (of which make up the overwhelming number of aborted children).

          2. Because she implicitly accepted the risk of having to gestate a fetus for 9 months when she engaged in unprotected sex? This argument always kind of amuses me. Did the baby fairy come put a fetus in your uterus? Or are all pregnancies the result of rape? Or is all sex rape (yes, there’s feminists who believe it)? Ever heard the phrase “foreseeable consequences are not unintended”?

      2. While I recognize there are some self-labelled Libertarians who are pro-life, I find that view analytically incoherent.

        Yet you are a democrat.

        As a pro-choice libertarian who sees democrats make the liberty argument in regards to pro-choice on abortion but who constantly abandon the liberty argument on everything else under the sun i have to say your opinion in regards to what is analytically incoherent or not is not worth a pile a shit.

        1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwejQBIyjow

          here is a video to help you understand.

  47. Shit, I’m Canadian and even I know “democrat” and “libertarian” are mutually exclusive these days.

    Like fire and ice. Sonny and Cher. Neil Young and Celine Dion.

  48. “Where am I with regard to Romney? A bleak 24 percent: ‘no major issues’ in common. I suspect many libertarians are in that last category.”

    Well, based on the results the actual libertarians in this thread you apparently know fuck-all about libertarians.


    97% Gary Johnson
    60% Mitt Romney
    2% Barack Obama

    I noticed that you didn’t post how you fell on party lines, probably because it would out you as the “Not a Libertarian except for teh GAYZ” you really are.

    And no civil libertarian (as you’ve described yourself in some of your responses in the comments) could ever side with, much less “make a case for” a man who has assassinated American citizens without even the vaguest hint of due process.

    You fail on all accounts, now FOAD.

  49. I can only agree with one of your three cases for obama and that is gay marriage to a point, because as you stated, marriage does not belong in a libertarian system.

    Open immigration under the current welfare policy is not possible, maybe your point is a crash in the welfare system in the long run, but there are 5 billion people making less than $2 a day in the world and with the US guaranteeing a certain standard of living, it is not possible. I am for open borders provided, the welfare state is abolished first. You cant put a high powered engine in a vehicle without updating the other parts of the car, otherwise you have a car that will blow up on you.

    Abortion, is something that libertarians disagree with each other on, I believe abortion harms a third party and for that reason I cannot support abortion.

    And with regard to your thoughts on obamacare because “it frees more Americans to take better jobs without worrying about losing the health care plan they had in their old jobs” is ridiculous. That would be like saying, people dont have to worry about getting cancer from which cigarette brand they are forced to smoke, because they all give you cancer, so feel free to smoke whatever you want and be free. In either case, you should not be FROCED to smoke or FORCED to participate in a socialist health care system. You do know that obamacare is setting us up for single-payer right, which is the most anti-libertarian healthcare system.

    1. I’m just amused that you’re so comfortable with the idea of state-enforced compulsion of American women to serve as gestation factories. Let’s call that Rape-Baby Libertarianism — or Libertarianism for men/Statism for women’s bodies.

      1. Last I checked abortion was legal.

        Last I checked even if Roe v Wade was over-turned abortion would still be legal in most of the county if not the entire country. (Aiken ain’t doing so hot in Missouri).

        Last I checked Bush was in office for 8 years 6 of which he had a Republican house and Senate yet abortion remained legal.

        Last I checked you are willing to take away everyone’s health care choice yet somehow liberty becomes important with abortion choice. (funny how the dem worries about an impossible loss of liberty yet when the real thing is threatened he scurries away)

        Abortion is the same paper tiger dems throw around every election. It is old and fundamentally a lie. If that is all you got for a libertarian vote for Obama then you are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

        You won’t ever get pro-life libertarians and as a pro-choice libertarian, who supposedly the above scream is about, then I have to say you cannot get me either.

        Came back when you have a dem who actually does somehting about immigration, actually does something about transparency, actually does something about gay marriage, actually does something about ending the drug war, and actually embraces peace.

      2. Are you also amused that I’m not allowed to go shoot my neighbor in the head? You must be, since the only reason I’ve ever heard libertarians argue against abortion is if they view it as murder. I don’t personally believe life begins at conception, but plenty of others reasonably do. If you want to make a libertarian case for a candidate, you might want to learn what libertarians actually believe.

      3. Because a volitional act resulting in a predictable outcome is actually coercion?

        You heard it here first kids. Babies are only the result of rape. And failing to allow women to terminate them at any stage until they are born (because a 9 month, 3 day, 1 hour old fetus and a 9 month, 3 day, 1 hour and 30 minute old baby are so ethically and morally different from one another) is compelling “American women to serve as gestation factories”.

        In the same manner that failing to compel taxpayers to pay for women to have birth control is restricting their right to use and access birth control.

        I’m amused that Godwin thinks insulting libertarians’ intelligence will somehow convince them of the validity of his argument.

        Protip: if you’re going to piss down someone’s back and try to convince them it’s raining, it’s helpful if you’re not a condescending, arrogant cunt while you do it.

      4. There’s no compulsion involved. If I stop you from initiating the use of force against a third party, I didn’t compel you to do anything.

      5. State does not compel rape(which is punished as criminal act). State does not compel conventional sexual relations that risk producing children as consequence. The core conflict is if that unborn (innocent)child is allowed that right to life and liberty–or not. Which side should a Libertarian err? The conservative resolution is tenth ammendment determination at state level or revision of state/federal constitutions. The liberal/democrat process is to nationalize the issue or manipulate law to desired court edict…not very Libertarian.

  50. I Side With:

    Gary Johnson 99%
    Virgil Goode 61%
    Mitt Romney 59%
    Jill Stein 15%
    Rocky Anderson 13%
    Barack Obama 3%

  51. 89% Gary Johnson Libertarian
    85% Mitt Romney Republican
    76% Virgil Goode Constitution
    61% Barack Obama Democrat

    I’m actually embarrassed to be 61% with Obummer. They say it is for immigration, I guess they judge Obummer based on his words and not his actions. Promises shouldn’t count when you have a record.

    I’m also surprised Romney and Johnson are apparently close enough for me to get high 80s on both.

    Then again… this is a little website on the Internet, not peer reviewed science.

  52. Actually I have decided this ISideWith website is BS… I asked them to explain how I am like Obama…

    Should the U.S. intervene in the affairs of other countries?
    Barack Obama: Only in matters of national security, human rights violations, or specifically asked by the international communityP3 C4 S
    Your similar answer: No

    How is my answer of “no” similar to Obummer’s answer of “Here are three reasons”?

    I think this website was made to make people think they side with Obama more than they do. It is the only explanation I can think of. Oh, and apparently both Obummer and myself think we should expand offshore oil drilling… ummkay.

  53. For the kick of it, I did the quiz. It’s not easy being, what, Canadian and all but I merely use the Canadian experience with things like health and take a guess as to what I think about Obamacare.

    Gary Johnson 97%
    Mitt 75%
    Goode 64%
    Obama 16%
    You 72%

    Clearly Libertarian/Republican here. I’m glad my agreement with that communist poser Obama is limited. Forward…my ass.

    Hilarious. When do I get my Dale Gribbel poster?

  54. Damn did anyone besides me get 100% on Johnson?


    Johnson – 100%
    Romney – 65%
    Goode – 63%
    Anderson – 15%
    Obama – 13%
    Stein – 13%

    1. These folks did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCe6NOBUut0

      o/~ Saturday nights, distant lights, you your girl and your Johnson. o/~

  55. Gary Johnson 96%
    Mitt Romney 66%
    Barack Obama 65%

    I’m only surprised that the numbers for Romney and Obama aren’t lower, though I do find them about equally unacceptable.

    Of course, I will be voting for Johnson.

  56. http://www.isidewith.com/results/194959103

    Johnson – 86%
    Romney – 80%
    Goode – 71%
    Obama – 18%

    But I’ll be voting for Romney, because I’m not going to guibble over the 6% shortfall and wind up getting the 18% guy. If it was something like Romney 60%, Obama 50%, I’d be voting for Johnson.

    1. This +10

  57. I have to say, of your three reasons, none are very good.

    Abortion is a point of contention with libertarians. People at Reason seem to lean more towards the left while folks like Judge Napolitano and Tom Woods would lean right.

    The DREAM Act, while it may seem good intentioned, is just another government social engineering program, requiring either two years of service in the military or in college.

    I would argue that legalizing gay marriage takes steps AWAY from liberty rather than towards it. Now, instead of just having to repeal laws that favor heterosexuals, we will also have to repeal all the new laws that would regard homosexuality. Yes, we may be more “equal” for a time, but in the end, this is just more government control.


    1. I’m also voting for Johnson, and I agree with you that the ideal would be to get government out of the marriage business. However, given the realistic options, I disagree about gay marriage.

      Suppose Congress proposed a law that would make white people (and only white people) ineligible for Medicaid. That would significantly reduce government spending. Would you favor it, given that eliminating Medicaid altogether was not an option?

  58. Point 1. You are assuming that all libertarians are pro-choice. I’d guess about half are pro-life.

    Point 2. Obama has deported 10,000 more immigrants per month than Bush did. Signing the DREAM Act is probably political.

    Point 3. Again, the only reason he supports this is for political reasons. His vision for government is what prohibits gay marriage in the first place.

    Your arguments are less than convincing.

  59. Ridiculous and meaningless. For his next article, Godwin should extol the virtues of sticking one’s head in a cow’s vagina to cure neuralgia.

    What a moron, and drop in the spitoon for “Reason” magazine.

  60. http://www.isidewith.com/results/196000043

    Gary Johnson 93%
    Virgil Goode 73%
    Mitt Romney 72%
    Barack Obama 1%

    Based on reading several other results on here, it’s looking more like Godwin’s premise is completely wrong. Shocker!

    1. Yeah,

      Johnson 95%
      Romney 62%
      Obama 7%

      I don’t see how anyone claiming to be a libertarian would get 88% Obama.

  61. One can be a libertarian without believing in the meaningless slaughter of human life (abortion) or allowing countless amounts of immigrants into this country, legal or otherwise.

    Not even going to go after the Obamacare thing. Indefensible at the least.

  62. How can any person calling himself a libertarian endorse a communist for President? Not only is Obama a communist, but he turned out NOT to be the foreign policy dove that he made himself out to be in 2008. He is every bit the warmonger that Bush was. The President doesn’t even believe in private ownership of property. He believes all wealth is owned by the government. This is evident by the fact that he refers to a tax cut as “giving” someone something. And all during the Democratic Convention, speaker after speaker got up talking about how the government ought to make someone else give them something or treat them a certain way. When you hear words like “I want to live in a country where no person ought to have to…”, then that means they want the government to mandate that someone give them something for free or treat them a certain way. The word libertarian and Obama should not be used in the same sentence. The word “libertarian” loses its meaning when used so loosely.

  63. Gary Johnson 97%
    Mitt Romney. 66%
    Jill Stein. 65%
    BO. 41%

  64. I do fear that despite whatever libertarian leanings you discern in Obama’s character that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and that he might actually purposely cause a worsening of the economic status of the country and then declare martial law, suspend future elections, declare himself president for life, and institute totalitarian dictatorship.

    I suppose that prospect does not show up on your radar.

  65. I can understand the case for Libitarians to consider Obama for social issues; however, the next President will have little direct impact on abortion or marriage. It can be argued the President will more effect foriegn policy and fiscal management–of which Obama’s record is dismal. The writer’s justification of Obama’s health plan as Libertarian is most puzzling. Most people I know would not identify themselves as Libertarian unless they have a better than average understanding of our constitution and its defense of liberty. To identify “Obamacare” as compatible with a Libertarian vision just denies that constitutional intent. Too many notable advocates for the ‘Affordable Health’ plan have suggested it as just a step on the way to a universal single payer system. The author suggests healthcare mobility from Obamacare is Libertarian but neglects to mention it was government intervention and rienforcement that has created such 3rd party payer market distortions. The goal is takeover(and destruction)of the market. As Obamacare will begin market distortions in healthcare next year, many more initiatives are in line to erode market choices in energy, commerce, education, and media–all BY-PASSING ELECTED officials and implemented by agencies under the Presidents control. In addition, it is likely a re-elected Obama will appoint judges who will codify this expansion of beaurocratic arthority over all our lives. Libertarians may have reasons not to trust Obama.

  66. The most non-Libertarian Mayor of N.Y. endorses Obama–that tells you something.

  67. Any “libertarian” with more in common with Obama than with Johnson must be some kind of troll.

  68. The best libertarian argument for Obama is gridlock with an expected GOP congress.

    But, Godwin didn’t even try to make it, because he likes the state and doesn’t understand libertarians enough to imagine what might appeal to them.

  69. Well, let’s see now, one proven fascist, civilian-murdering, warmongering, power-hungry purveyor of misery and free death-care panels against a would-be advocate of much the same. Better vote for the proven evil, ho, ho ho. From the gridlock angle, the proven killer Obama might be better–and would serve to further discredit the awful Democratic Party as Bush-W did to the foul Republican Party.

    But actually voting for either, yeeeech!
    If you don’t vote, it’s like a vote for Obama.
    If you don’t vote, it’s like a vote for Romney.

  70. Golly heck Godwin, since anti-war, pro-liberty Ron Paul is not available, let’s vote for that other guy, Junior Autocrat Homophobic Barack Obama, he’s close enough — he changed his stance on gay-whatever issues? Are you fucking crazy? Seems like you feel defeated, that’s understandable, but pulling that lever for that? — shit, shit, shit!

  71. One hour we do not speak. I thought a lot. Finally, still feel like saying it’s the fox is not possible, we Cheap Football Cleats can not find evidence that the gray-haired woman does not show fox, but no evidence, just to prove that the fox can transform himself into a cheap ugg boots for women white-haired woman. And to compare with each other, or scientific concepts prevail.

  72. One hour we do not speak. I thought a lot. Finally, still feel like saying it’s the fox is not possible, we Cheap Football Cleats can not find evidence that the gray-haired woman does not show fox, but no evidence, just to prove that the fox can transform himself into a cheap ugg boots for women white-haired woman. And to compare with each other, or scientific concepts prevail.

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