Libertarian Party

Bill Kristol's Clownshow Has Made the Moobs-Stripper Party Look Sane

While #NeverTrumpers continue playing Fantasy Election-ball, Libertarians do the hard work to compete


Thad Russell not happy about this nomenclature. ||| Twitter

This has been a clarifying week for the many of us who A) do not fancy a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency, and B) seek a competitive alternative. As I write today in The Spectator (UK), some establishment conservatives like Bill Kristol are beclowning themselves with hopeless green-room fantasies while the allegedly lunatic Libertarians prepare the only credible alternative in town. Here's how the piece begins:

Not since Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone's vault 30 years ago has a media stunt landed with such a wet thud. Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, longtime horse whisperer to the Republican half of Washington's political establishment, had promised on Sunday that after months of begging any hawk with a pulse to run against the hated Donald Trump, there will finally 'be an independent candidate — an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.' Monday came and went without any such announcement, and then on Tuesday we learned that Kristol's white knight was a mostly obscure conservative commentator in Tennessee named David A. French. Who doesn't even know if he wants to run. Kristol's clownshow machinations managed the unimaginable: It made the political party with the man-boobs stripper seem comparatively sober and sane.

Read the whole thing here. Reason's Libertarian National Convention coverage here.

NEXT: Obama Calls for Social Security Expansion, Nebraska Sen. Ebke Ditches GOP for Libertarian Party, California Wants Copyright for State Records: A.M. Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The more I read about French the more I think “Frank Burns”. He is just a strange guy. I can’t get over this thing about his wife while he was deployed.

    Nancy and David French write honestly in their book Home and Away about the strains placed on a marriage when husband and wife are apart ? and particularly when the man is in a war zone 8,000 miles away. David heartbreakingly recounts: “Men were coming home on leave to find their wives gone from their houses. Other men were getting the modern equivalent of the ‘Dear John’ letter via Facebook message or e-mail. Some guys discovered wives or girlfriends were pregnant, and still others were finding that their bank accounts had been looted by the very people they most trusted with their financial affairs.”

    1. Before David left for Iraq, he and Nancy put together rules, in a painfully honest conversation about human frailty. There would be no drinking during the year of separation. Nancy would not “have phone conversations with men, or meaningful e-mail exchanges about politics or any other subject.” Nor would she be on Facebook, where “the ghosts of boyfriends past” could contact her. When Nancy innocently started e-mailing about faith with a man associated with a radio show she was on, she told David about it, and he asked her to end the relationship. David knew, with his “stomach clenching,” that “the most intimate conversations a person has are about life and faith” ? and that “spiritual and emotional intimacy frequently leads to physical intimacy.”


      Remember, his wife seems to be about as nice and as virtuous of a woman you could find. Yet, he still worries that will if left to her own devices or exposed to the demon rum or the temptations of email might loot his bank account and run off with another man. Just chew on that for a while. Talk about having issues with women.

      1. Dear David,

        As you instructed, I have had no contact with other men in your absence. Thank you sincerely for the hijab you sent. I no longer feel the gaze of men upon my naked skin when I go out in public. Meanwhile, without the interaction with any men, I have turned to the comforts of my friend Jody and no longer want the dick.

        Your loving soon to be ex-wife,


        1. Is it bad I hope she banged half of his friends while he was gone? I hate to excuse adultery but if anyone ever had it coming it is French.

    2. He looks like Frank Burns, too.

    3. Cut Bill some slack.

      Why shouldn’t Alan Keyes ex roomate nominate the husband of Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter as President of the United States?

      1. These people are more inbreed than the Spanish Hapsburgs. All they are lacking is the chin and the lisp.

  2. Where is the moobs-stripper party and why wasn’t I told about it?

    1. You only get invited if you are a close associate of Chuck Schummer.

  3. Think about landslide victories – 70-75% is about it. Which suggests there’s about 25% or so of the voters on both sides that are voting Party no matter what. If Jesus Christ himself were running LP, there would be about 25% voting Dem and 25% voting Rep and that leaves JC needing 100% of the rest of the vote to eke out a win. When you figure there’s a couple percent that are going other third party and I can’t think off-hand of any of them that aren’t downright hostile to libertarian principles, 50% of the vote isn’t even possible. And that’s if you’ve got Jesus as your candidate. Not Jesus? About the best you can expect is a three-way tie, and that’s if we win a landslide amount of the non-Party voters.

  4. Has any pundit ever been more wrong about everything than Bill Kristol?

    “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.”

    —-Ted Williams.

    Ted Williams was wrong. Bill Kristol is still going, and he’s only been right . . . maybe never.

  5. While #NeverTrumpers continue playing Fantasy Election-ball, Libertarians do the hard work to compete

    And yet the establishment media will still dismiss/ ignore the Libertarian Party while treating Kristol and the other #NeverTrump dick cheeses seriously. Because one guy at the LP convention stripped down to his G-string…

    It occurs to me that the LP has the same problem that the south has: they can’t keep their dumbest/ craziest people off of TV.

    1. I think the real issue is that the D’s and R’s have a better reinforcement system. They get to indoctrinate people into their crazy so that it seems normal. Exhibits A and B – Trump and Hillary.

      1. Since the GOP party leadership hates Trump and loathes its own supporters for voting for him, I don’t see how you can describe Trump winning the nomination as an example of GOP indoctrination. If the GOP indoctrination program were real and effective, Jeb Bush would have been the nominee.

      2. The establishment hates Trump, but they paved the way for his more extreme rhetorical positions. Trump’s message isn’t wholly new – it evolves out of different variants of GOP propaganda over the years. Both sides of the aisle have dumbed down policy debates to bumper sticker slogans devoid of substance and facts.

        On the Dem side, we have the Democrats clutching pearls over Hillary getting paid to speak on Wallstreet, but they couldn’t care less her taking money from foreign governments while Secretary of State. An ancient socialist like Bernie should only be laughed at and have rotten vegetables thrown at him when he speaks. But libertarians are attacked for having a guy strip on stage.

        1. Trump’s message isn’t wholly new – it evolves out of different variants of GOP propaganda over the years.

          How so? That doesn’t seem self evident to me at all. Trump diverges from GOP dogma in a large number of ways, most notably on trade. If the GOP voters were just a bunch of stupid brainwashed drones, it seems difficult to imagine them voting for someone who diverges from the party on major issues the way Trump does or for them to have been immune to the months of rhetoric by party leaders that Trump was not a real Republican.

          Yes, everyone except you is a thoughtless drone brainwashed by the man. If only America could be worthy of people like you.

          1. “How so?”

            Trump evolved more out of the Tea Party wing, not out of the Big Business or Moral Majority wings. You can argue whether people *should* like “free trade” deals and the like, but cheaper shit at Wal-Mart is a pretty subtle benefit, while the disappearance of manufacturing jobs is pretty overt and obvious. So for years yeah, the “elite” and Big Business wings have been gung-ho for trade deals, H-1B visas, and so-on, but they’ve become increasingly unpopular with the other wings of the party.

            And *that* is where Trump comes from. That nativist “they took our jobs, then they come over and take our money and shoot our citizens” side of things. Which is where things like “build a wall”, stop legal immigration, stop trade deals. In most aspects, Trump is just going *further* then what current GOP politicians have pushed for, but he isn’t really saying anything *new*.

            Heck, even his abortion flip-flop a few weeks ago? Everyone jumped on him for saying that women that get abortions should be punished, but if you look at the consequences of many of the pro-life laws, you see exactly that.

            In short, Trump has said nothing new. He has merely made the subtext into text.

            1. No. He didn’t say anything new. What he did was express a lot of views that the GOP had been ignoring and were important to a lot of people. That is why he was successful. You disagree with those views and that is your right. But you can’t say that he is successful because people are brain washed or indoctrinated into the GOP. He is successful because he saw that a huge number of voters were effectively being told to go fuck themselves by the major parties and he went and appealed to them. You don’t like what he says and hate those people but that doesn’t mean they are brain washed or major party zombies.

        2. The opposition to the TPP started in conservative talking-head land as a means to attack Obama and to show how ineffectual GOP leadership was. It was another instance of them giving Obama whatever he wanted. There is no underlying principle to much of what the base accepts. Similarly with the anti-illegals rhetoric which was in the party and especially prominent in the conservative media.

          Yes, everyone except you is a thoughtless drone brainwashed by the man. If only America could be worthy of people like you.

          Not what I’m arguing at all. If you participate in tribal politics, a good deal of it is going to be reactionary in nature. Yet the main point I’m making is that the stupidity or goofiness of the big two gets downplayed. They get to take for granted that their message will be treated seriously. Libertarians mistake the cause for the effect when it comes to credibility.

          1. The entire conservative media has shit its pants over Trump’s stance on trade. There is a lot more to trade than the TPP.

            I think most of the country is quite aware of how stupid the big parties are. That is why they are held in such low esteem. Your problem is that you think that because people haven’t embraced the LP they must not realize how dumb and awful our political class is. That is not the case at all. They fully realize it and want something done to change it. They just disagree with you on what that something should be.

            Maybe they are wrong and you are right. There is no settling that debate. But they are not rushing to the LP because they are not Libertarians and don’t agree with or agree enough with its ideas to warrant doing so. It is not because they somehow don’t realize how bad the two parties are.

            You hate Trump but someone who wants something done about illegal immigration and is tired of crony free trade agreements that fuck the country in return for getting the connected rich feels differently. You can say they are mistaken in their objections to open borders and free trade under all conditions but you can’t say they don’t see there is a problem with the country and the political class in particular.

          2. I have made no statement endorsing the LP. Nor have I suggested its lack of success it the result of stupidity. I said that libertarians have an insecurity complex when it comes to the ‘crazies’ in their party compared to those in others where it is allowed to run rampant. The rest of your argument is you projecting as a result of your love affair with Trump.

            The establishment hating Trump says very little about what I’m arguing. It in no way disproves that his rhetoric grew out of different strains of stupid already present in the GOP. The establishment of the GOP does not represent the party’s base or what passes as conservatism in general.

            1. “…his rhetoric grew out of different strains of stupid already present in the GOP.”

              His rhetoric arguably grew out of strains of stupid present in the Democratic Party.

              1. His “rhetoric” grew most directly out of strains of stupid present in Trump.

          3. Because it takes 2000 pages of legislation not one Rep or Sen will ever read to be “free trade”…

    2. Kreistol and his ilk are part of the club and the LP is not. Whatever you think of Trump, you share his enemies whether you know it or not. People like Kristol and the rest of the media and political class think it is their divine right to run the country. The fact that they did nothing to earn or merit that right and have been running the country into the ground for going on 50 years or more doesn’t matter. They are superior. They got the best grades, came from the best families and went to the right schools. They are by virtue of that fit to rule over the rest of us. Sure, members of the club disagree, sometimes strenuously about which member of the club should be ruling our inferiors but they all agree it needs to be a member.

      If you doubt this, ask yourself what about Trump could make Kristol so apoplectic. Kristol is a big government conservative who has supported every expansion of presidential power he has ever seen. And now he can’t support Trump? As someone who has been reading Kristol’s magazine since it started, I can barely even type that with a straight face. They hate Trump and the LP party for the same reason; they are not part of the self appointed elite.

    3. No, I think the LP will gets lots of press this year because the media will try to encourage Republicans to vote LP to split the vote so that the Hildabeast can win.

    1. now now now?

  6. Yeah, I agree that Kristol and his pseudo-party are pretty ridiculous. But, let me ask a question. Aside from whinging about how awful they are, what has the LP done to cut them off at the pass? I mean, there a clear constituency they’re going to try to appeal to. That constituency has been pretty obvious for some time now. And its not just neocons like Kristol. There’s a large portion of them that the LP, if they’re smart, should be trying to pick up (at least for this cycle).

    Instead, we’ve got the candidate deviating from libertarian principle in the name of pragmatism, only in a way that would be most likely to alienate these voters (gun control, freedom of association) and talking about how he thinks Donald Trump has been good for the Republican party.

    1. If you want to have a political party you have two choices; be pure and small or be large and compromise. There is no getting big and remaining pure to a small set of principles. The country is too big and too diverse in its views for that to be possible.

      Libertarians have not cut them off at the pass because doing so would require appealing to people and compromising. You want to bring the NEOCONs into the fold, great but you better drop the blowback routine and be willing to support some internationalism and nation building. You want to bring the libertarianish GOP voters who can’t stomach Trump, you better be willing to walk back on transgendered rights and total support for abortion.

      The same is true for Democratic voters. If the LP wants to get the Bernie Bros, they better walk back on economic freedoms and gun rights a bit. It is not that doing this is good or bad. It is just reality. If the LP party wants to get bigger, it needs to decide which things it is willing to compromise on in order to attract supporters.

      1. You want to bring the libertarianish GOP voters who can’t stomach Trump, you better be willing to walk back on transgendered rights and total support for abortion.

        I don’t think you even need to go that far. Just standing on libertarian doctrine of not having the government involved would probably fare better with moderate and libertarianish GOP voters. That’s why I find Johnson’s veer to the left on Kosher Nazi Cakes so tone deaf. It’s an issue that the the LP could specifically use to appeal to the voters really up for grabs this time around without compromising their principles. And Johnson compromised principle in a way that alienates these voters. It’s not “pragmatic” to compromise principle in a way that makes people less likely to vote for you.

        1. We can debate the details exactly how much compromise is necessary. Who knows. But compromise is necessary. If it wasn’t, the LP wouldn’t be so small. Those voters are not Libertarian. They might have some Libertarian views but they are not Libertarians and their revealed choice shows that.

          1. I get your point. I just don’t think it’s relevant in this election. If anything it’s compromise that I think is most likely to hurt Johnson’s campaign. Sure the voters up for grabs aren’t die-hard libertarians. But, some will look at the libertarian as better than the alternatives. A “compromise” that puts you farther away from where they are isn’t very sensible.

            1. A few will but I suspect not that many or enough more from one side or the other to change the result of the election. And even if they did, what then? They would have defected to the LP because of these particular nominees. The next time there will likely be better nominees and the voters will go back to their respective parties. And even if they somehow didn’t, the LP would be left with the problem of placating the views of a whole bunch of people who are not strictly speaking Libertarians. Doing that would necessarily mean it would no longer be a Libertarian party but instead some variant of the two major parties we have now. It might be an improved variant but it would still be a variant and no longer an libertarian party except in name.

        2. It seems the angle or group Johnson (& apparently Weld too, judging by what a linked article today says about “serve all comers”) is appealing to is people w something unpopular about their lifestyles or other personal feature. They’re going for the votes of people who feel ostracized. Sometimes the ostracism is in the form of laws against something they like to do (smoke pot), but sometimes it’s in the form of being refused service or recognition (same-sex marriage, custom cake).

          1. And if appealing to those voters requires violating the right to association and religious freedom of other people, well so be it I guess. It seems they are appealing to fashionable interest groups more than anything else.

            1. Nazis or anti-semites are fashionable interests? Bakers aren’t, I guess, unless they get into making artisanal mayonnaise or mustard on the side; I think that’s be awful frosting BTW.

              1. There are no identity groups more fashionable and easy to advocate for in the higher eshalons of society than gays and now the transgendered. I don’t see how any of your examples involve Nazis.

                1. Uh, cake? Hypothetic Q asked of GJ? Remember? Or are you saying the same thing, just the actual facts?

          2. Has Johnson said anything about businesses allowing smoking on-premises, or forbidding it, or laws thereon? Or about business forbidding employees to smoke off the job? I’d be interested to know if he or Weld take the angle of tobacco smokers as such put-upon types.

      2. Sure, but if you pick a compromise platform that leaves out social conservatives, I don’t think you can get mad when they don’t vote for you.

  7. I won’t vote for French, but I don’t think Kristol is as ridiculous as you guys are painting him. Here are my thoughts:

    1) The libertarian party is not going to win the presidency. I know, that’s a self-fulfilling prophesy, and this is probably our best ever chance, and the party has chosen some unusually plausible candidates, but it’s not going to win. (What chance do the markets give the libertarians this year?)

    2) If you assume #1 is a given, then the purpose of voting for a third party candidate is one or more of (a) expressing a viewpoint so future candidates know that people with you ideas are out there and feel strongly; (b) drumming up turnout so the downballot races aren’t a blow out, and/or (3) sabotaging the candidate who the third party candidate will disproportionately draw votes from.

    For those purposes, as long as you assume the Libertarians won’t win, French is a better choice for Kristolite “national greatness” conservatives. Votes for French demonstrate that the NGC’s are out there in their dozens, they turn out some conservatives who might otherwise have stayed home, producing votes for conservative congress candidates, state officials, etc., and they draw votes for Trump.

    1. It would be one thing if Kristol and his ilk really were a principled ideological movement separate from the GOP like the Libertarians. In that case, voting for their guy makes sense and is perfectly honorable for all of the reasons you give. The problem is they are nothing like that. They are part of the GOP and would have happily supported and have happily supported nominees whose views are just as far from theirs as Trump.

      So running a third party candidate in hopes of stopping Trump makes them look like sore losers who want Hillary to win but don’t have the integrity to admit and vote for her. And lets not forget, Kristol was all about forcing Trump to pledge to support the nominee no matter who it was last September. For him to know go third party after Trump won is pretty disgraceful. Kristol and the rest of those ass clowns forfeited their right to stand on principle when they demanded everyone else forfeit their right to do so and sign what amounted to a loyalty pledge to the GOP.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.