Democratic Party

Remember the "Libertarian Democrats"?

Brian Schweitzer prepares a presidential run.


The bolo tie espouses Austrian economics.

Today in Slate, Dave Weigel interviews former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who's likely to make a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Schweitzer was beloved by the "libertarian Democrat" crowd back in the Bush years, when the Netroots were looking westward for new approaches to politics. Almost a decade later, the governor is sounding the same notes: anti-war, pro-privacy, in favor of civil liberties, and—this is where the libertarian leanings melt away—generally interventionist on economics. (He does score some points hitting Obama for being a corporatist, but he doesn't seem very interested in anti-statist alternatives.) The Second Amendment doesn't come up in the conversation, but Weigel notes in his intro that Schweitzer has a history of favoring gun rights. (There are some exceptions to that.)

Read the interview and decide for yourself whether Schweitzer meets my old criteria for "How to Be a Half-Decent Democrat." He certainly sounds better than the frontrunner for his party's nomination, not that that's a high bar to clear. Sounds better to me, that is; among Democratic voters, he's polling below 2 percent.

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  1. You lost me at "Slate" and "Dave Weigel."

  2. Is that like Jews for Hitler?

    1. A lot of libertarians have this goofy notion that because the out of power TEAM criticizes the in power TEAM that they are criticizing the excesses of government. In fact, the TEAM on the outs just wants that power, and more, for themselves.

      We're seeing this right now as more and more 'tards advocate going republican for freedom. They're goldfish-like political memory didn't retain the information of what it's actually like when republicans get their hands on the wheel.

      Trust me, when we have some dipshit statist republican administration hoarding power we'll see more of these "libertarian-democrats" ocme out of the woodwork.

      1. If gaining political power is heretical, then I don't see where you get off bitching about the world not being how you like it.

        1. I would call this one of your worst non-sequiturs, but then I remembered the bus. Still, pretty bad.

          1. My favorite is still his revised history of the black death.

            1. If only medieval government had been strong enough to stop the spread of diseases, whose mechanics it was only vaguely aware of.

        2. Let's parse this:

          "If gaining political power is heretical,"

          He didn't use the words "political" or "heretical".

          "the world not being how you like it."

          He wants government to have less power over the people. You are a progressive, and so conflate political power with power over the people, but it isn't necessarily so. That this concept eludes you baffles me.

        3. For those of you who said things like "Where's Tony been lately?", well, I hope this was worth it.

        4. Let's hear that heart-warming story about how you and your mommy took the plunge together and simultaneously converted to socialism. It was touching.

      2. Oh, I think the GOP is full of statists, too. I'm actually relieved they aren't reaching out to libertarians (including the not-insignificant number in their midst) and are, instead, purging us from within and insulting we who live outside the party. Makes it easier not to be tempted by their sorta minority party deceptions.

        1. I was pretty apolitical up until the Iraq War. So I saw the W admin as evil that had to be stopped. So I bought into the Democrats for a little while. I thought that they really wanted to end the war and all the abuses of the constitution. I was just ignorant and hadn't been paying attention. The Kerry campaign was very helpful in letting me see how dumb I had been for that year and a half.

          1. Nooo! You are a traitorious party-jumper! Once you realized who BUSHITLER really was, you should have stayed a Democrat forever!! UR DOIN IT WRONG!!1!111!


        2. Anyway, my point was that for anyone it should only take being fooled once by the minority-party-fighting-for-the-people schtick to never be fooled again, but hey...

      3. when we have some dipshit statist republican administration hoarding power we'll see more of these "libertarian-democrats" ocme out of the woodwork.

        When has this ever happened? I hear ya regarding the, ahem, duplicity of many/most of the Reps who try to glom libertarian rhetoric or act buddy-buddy, but I've never seen any interest in such values in the first place among Dems.

        Put another way, it is unlikely that Reps will become libertarian anytime soon, but given their current composition it is all but impossible in the Dems.

        1. From coastal and big city Dems, I suspect you are correct. But if you read the interview Schweitzer takes on his party on a number of issues, and certainly sqwaks smaller govt than most Dems. He's not as pure as Rand Paul, but it's a starting point.

          Further, we will NEVER get a pure libertarian in any executive position because the majority of the people want government to address their problems to some extent*.

          *See every president for the past 200 years.

          1. Schweitzer? Other than guns, how is he any different from any other Democrat.

            Genuinely asking here. The only thing I know about him is that he's good on guns.

            1. Isn't this the same moron who brought up Mitt Romney's "scary" polygamist grandfather while ignoring Barack's polygamist father?

      4. A lot of Team Orange tards have this myopic vision of people either being with them or with the teams, when many people just want to infiltrate the weaker team and gain a foothold in it. This has had positive outcomes a la Rand and Amash.

        We're seeing this right now with the above poster making a strawman of people who aren't on TEAM ORANGE as blindly going for Team Red and having no memory.

        1. A lot of Team Orange tards have this myopic vision of people either being with them or with the teams, when many people just want to infiltrate the weaker team and gain a foothold in it. This has had positive outcomes a la Rand and Amash.

          It's not that. It's that the underlying ideology of one team is antithetical to liberty, whereas the other, at least in principle, is not outright hostile to its tenets. Leftism is, at its core, absolutely irreconcilable with individual liberty.

          For the foreseeable future, I think the best chance the U.S. has at returning towards liberalism is through the conservative party. Amash and Paul show it is not impossible, even if improbable.

  3. Remember the "Libertarian Democrats"?

    No. Next question...

    1. What, you don't remember Terry Michaels? I still relish the hate mail he sent me.

      1. You got a hate mail direct from Terry Michaels? How do you rate? I've only gotten a few snippy replies from reporters when I fact-checked them.

      2. That was hilarious.

        If I had to pick someone relatively mainstream to get hate mail from, it'd have to be Peter King -- but Terry Michaels is a good second choice.

        1. He called me a "garden variety idiot" and said it was "stunning how disgusting" I am. It was pretty awesome.

          1. You aren't a garden variety idiot! You're in a special unique class of idiot! And the disgust that you bring to the world isn't stunning at all!

          2. You should register "Stunningly Disgusting" as a service mark.

          3. Huh. I'm as disgusted by your idiocy as any right-thinking person, but is it really "stunning" or "garden variety"?

            Methinks Terry has sold your gifts short.

            1. Stunningly garden variety?

            2. I appreciate the words of reassurance from all of you that I am in fact a unique kind of idiot; it makes me feel like everything's normal.

              Also, please refer to me as Stunningly Disgusting from now on.

              1. That should be Stunningly Disgusting? until you get registered. Then it should be Stunningly Disgusting?.

                1. Epi's an anarchist, so don't hold your breath waiting for him to beg the govt to TM or register that name.

                  Changing his handle on HNR to Epi--Stunningly Disgusting would be awesome, though.

              2. Could you please, please, please cut and paste from the letter? PLEASE?

                Hairy Eyeball is everywhere as of this week. I got a few 24 ounces at Bristol Farms yesterday, and I am enjoying one right now...

                1. His short, sweet words:

                  "You are just a garden variety idiot. It is stunning how disgusting you are, whoever you are, hiding behind your cloak of anonymity."

                  There was another one too but that was much more civil.

                  Is the Hairy Eyeball delicious or what? I'll have to check the store.

                  1. It's sweeter than I thought it would be. Maybe it's because I'm so used to the IPAs that are ever-so-unpopular around here. Either way, it's a nice change.

                    I also found a six pack of Big Swell IPA yesterday. It's a pretty good Maui microbrew that I got accustomed to...

                    My best vacation activity: Helicopter to Molokai

                    1. I haven't had it in a few years so all I remembered was that it was tasty. And yeah, one of Lagunitas' hallmarks is a very judicious, measured use of hops. They are not going to hop the shit out of their beers, so if you're used to that, it'll be a little sweet.

                      Helicopter to Molokai


                      Please, please tell me you made Magnum P.I. jokes the whole time.

                    2. The pilot cut off my mic. He wanted to be the funny one but he wasn't doing a very good job.

                      Part of the reason the 22oz Hairy Eyeballs were hard to find

                  2. "cloak of anonymity"

                    TuffGai seems to be disappointed that he can't challenge you to a fight "where you live". Such a shame.

                  3. I have a followup question:
                    He emailed you based on a comment you made in the Hit & Run comments section?

                    1. He wrote his...uh...famous(?) "Libertarian Democrats" article and I shot down the idea in the comments (as did many people). He decided to email me and tell me to read some history, and I responded civilly that I just didn't agree with him, but that it was good to have different opinions and voices at H&R. That was the end of that.

                      But then I think he wrote another "Libertarian Democrats" article, or possibly one of his articles/rants denying the existence of AIDS (yes, seriously), and I once again attacked the idea in the comments. And that's what got me the angry email, I'm pretty sure.

                    2. You could have merely pointed out Warty as proof of AIDS existence...

          4. That man is a fool. No garden would ever accept you.

            1. At least not one I would ever want to be a part of.

              1. We must cultivate our own garden.


                1. Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

      3. Just some general advice: No one failed in life because they treated blog commenters as beneath notice.

  4. "The Second Amendment doesn't come up in the conversation."

    It says right in the introduction that he was the governor of Montana.

  5. How strange and wondrous it must be to wake up every morning thinking that economic intervention is a deal-breaker, but long, deep ties to white supremacist movements is not.

    1. but long, deep ties to white supremacist movements is not.

      Hasn't broken it for the Democrats.

      1. Every now and then, even after years of being subjected to it, I am still amazed at how utterly obtuse Tony can be. "Editing" some newsletters that someone else wrote is much, much worse than being a Grand Master of the fucking KKK.

      2. "Hasn't broken it for the Democrats."

        Damn. Stole my comment.

    2. Tony|1.6.14 @ 5:21PM|#
      "How strange and wondrous it must be to wake up every morning thinking that economic intervention is a deal-breaker, but long, deep ties to white supremacist movements is not."

      Leave Strom Thurmond out of this.

      1. Apparently, he's leaving the Democratic party out of it.

      2. Leave Strom Thurmond out of this.

        What about Exalted Cyclops Senator Robert Byrd?

    3. If only my car got the kind of mileage this Ron Paul newsletter "scandal" has with the left...

    4. but long, deep ties to white supremacist movements is not.

      Of course, that's false. But even if it wasn't, there's nothing strange. Being an asshole doesn't inflict harm on anyone. Putting a gun to their head in order to constrain their ability to trade does.

      1. I also thought Tony was a practical person whose main interest is in helping as many people as possible.

        So, yeah, economic interventionism is a much more concerning than "ties to white supremacist movements." Unless we're to actually believe that whoever he's referring to will bring back segregation.

    5. You yourself are the one who admitted to being personally responsible for legislation intended to discourage black labor in the south in the late 19th and early 20th century.

    6. Let's hear that story about you and your mommy again. I am feeling weepy, and not just my dong.

  6. I've seen this movie before, circa 2007. Last time out, some guy named Obama was supposed to be good on civil liberties and foreign policy. Instead, we got a guy who doubled down on the worst actions of the Bush years.

    1. What's amazing is that turds like Tony voted for Bush's 4th term. And bragged about it.

      1. It is funny to think back to the good old days when democrats pretended that they deeply cared about privacy and civil liberties.

        1. Pelosi, Reid and Feinstein have assured us that our secrets are safe with them.

          Unless we threaten their policies.

    2. Anyone who thought Obama was going to be good on civil liberties and foreign policy had clearly never examined his record.

      1. He didn't have a record. The guy was a blank slate all the way. However, just that alone should set off warning bells.

        1. For the most part that's true, but he had several votes on his record that should have been red flags.

          1. Nobody ever talked about his record so how we're most people to know?

  7. Ah yes, who can't remember the Locofocos?

    1. What people don't understand, or don't give Obama a break on, is that none of this shit is his fault. That wedding party killed in Pakistan? Not his fault. You see, there was some kind of mixup at the Nobel HQ and someone pulled an old Arafat model prize off the shelf instead of one of the newer models.

  8. Um, a Democrat who is good on civil liberties and bad on economics is not a "libertarian", he is a Democrat. There are plenty of Democrats who are good on civil liberties. That's nothing new.
    If you aren't in favor of economic freedom, you aren't a libertarian. Period. You aren't even a libertarianish Democrat.

    1. It's not just that. It's not logically consistent to support civil liberties and unlimited government at the same time.

      1. Economic freedom is a civil right.

        1. Of course. I said it was not just that.

          1. Funny how people who think that you and your labor are property of the state consider themselves 'civil libertarians' with a straight face.

            Look at all that free healthcare you're getting, just ignore all the barbed wire!

            1. Without economic freedom there are no civil liberties.

              It's like if I said you had free speech, as long as you didn't spend any money doing it.

              You couldn't be buy a postage stamp to send a letter to the editor.

              Without the right to spend your money how you please, none of the other liberties mean anything.

              1. Like saying you have a right to bear arms, but then work to outlaw anyone's ability to purchase any arms.

      2. They support limited government, it's just that the limits don't apply to the proles.

    2. Democrats are good on pretty much one civil liberty. If you aren't gay, Democrats pretty much oppose your liberty entirely.

      1. Not completely true. There's also abortion.

    3. Same goes for being fiscally libertarian but not a civil libertarian - that's call being a Republican. But the Tea Party and others in Team Red seem to get a pass all too often. And most of them are just Corporatists who use libertarianish sounding retoric cuz being small govt is all the rage now.

      1. Same goes for being fiscally libertarian but not a civil libertarian - that's call being a Republican. But the Tea Party and others in Team Red seem to get a pass all too often.

        Sure, but there are guys like Amash and the Pauls who (regardless of your personal opinion of where they fall in the libertarian political pentagram) can be reasonably characterized as such. Hell, we've gotten a dreaded Cosmo elected governor under the GOP banner (Gary Johnson). The elected libertarian Republican is a (rare) reality in a way that is not true of the libertarian Democrat, and much of this has to do with the stated philosophies -- and perhaps more important, the political constituencies -- of both parties.

      2. I don't know about that.

        Being able to buy and sell and spend your money on things is a more all-encompassing liberty than "civil" liberties. Money is the lubricant of just about every aspect of life. "Civil" liberties are narrowly carved out specific statutory rights.

        I will grant the right not to be imprisoned unjustly trumps just about everything. But if I had to choose between the right to vote and the right to enter any profession of my choice - I would pick the right to choose my profession in a heartbeat. Owning one's own business, and being able to trade freely, is the freedom to choose one's profession. And the right to freely engage in commerce beats the right to choose between Coke and Pepsi once every 4 years hands down.

  9. For the record, for all the pissing and moaning about statist Republicans, I seem to recall an awful lot of Reason endorsements for Barack Obama. Not that the pissing and moaning isn't warranted, but let's remember how easy it is to get swept up in the game.

    1. The Bush administration was THAT bad.

      1. Or the Reason staff is THAT retarded. If the Obama administration surprised anyone who voted for it, the fault was with them, not the administration.

      2. You are actually gonna tell me that Bush was worse on civil liberties that Il Douche?

        You are fucked in the head, my friend.

        1. I think they both were/are awful. Coin flip IMO

          1. Yes, but one is much AWFULIER.

            Take the worst of BOOOOOOSH, accelerate and add Biden, Sunstein, SOS Hildebeast, Jarret, Bengazi, NSA, murder dronez, cash for clunkers, Solyndra, Holder, Fast and Furious ... I could go on and on and on ...

      3. The Iraq war sucked, but seriously. Did it really suck THAT HARD? Really? Hard enough to make you prefer ObamaCare?

        1. You think I voted for Obama? But yes, the Iraq War was the worst thing the government has done in my lifetime. The worst of Vietnam was over by the time I was born.

        2. Well there was the promised war on coal. And a promise to raise electricity prices. To help the poor no doubt.

  10. Here you go, Bo. They finally covered that libertarian Democrat for you.

  11. Yeah I remember those idiots.

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