Nothing Wrong with Hot Tubs
An article about how people with tendancies toward libertarianism are feeling unhappy within the two parties (especially within the Republican party where they used to feel more at home) and talking about how Libs should be more active and "reclaim" their spot in the conservative coalition of the Republican party.
(Ryan Sager, Real Clear Politics)
Perhaps the most interesting fact in the Pew survey, however, was that less than 6 in 10 libertarians voted for Bush in 2004. While few libertarians seem to have deserted the president between 2000 and 2004, they are split roughly evenly between the two parties. The Pew survey finds 50 percent of libertarians identifying as Republicans, 41 percent as Democrats.
Given that libertarians' traditional home has been in the conservative base of the Republican Party for about five decades, as part of a strained partnership with social conservatives, their almost 50-50 split between the two parties today is big news.
Of course, I disagree with this completely. For someone who really believes in small government, and that government has no business messing in either our personal affairs *or* our economic affairs... they they have no business being in either one of the two parties. The answer is not to try to "reform" the Republicans into a more Libertarian minded party while tolerating the religious nutjob social conservitives. Nor is it to to try to do something similiar from the Democratic side... it is to admit that the viewpoint is fundamentially different from both and organize that way.
And I'm not talking about the existing Libertarian Party
. Too much baggage, and too many nutjobs. My entire presidential voting history was Ross Perot (Independant) in 1992 and then Harry Brown (Libertarian) in 1996 and 2000. Then the Libertarians nominated a wacko
in 2004. Otherwise I probably would have voted for them again. But the LP does not have a grounding in reality. They are a bit too rigorous in their ideology and need a good dose of practicality. They will never on their own grow into something more meaningful.
What you need are Lib minded Republicans and Democrats who are already elected (there are not many, but there are perhaps a few.. I think... can't think of any names off the top of my head though... which is a little sad...) having the guts to just go independant and speak out and not go along when their respective parties are doing the wrong thing. Enough of those, and perhaps there might eventually be a big enough block to then form a "third party" or whatnot. Unfortunately, the number of "mavericks" in both parties seems to be shrinking, not growing.
You also need Lib minded voters to NOT vote for people (in either party) that clearly advocate big government positons (either from the Conservative or Liberal side). Unfortunately, there are often no alternatives on the ballot that one can feel comfortable with. I still resent the Libs for not giving me anybody I felt I could vote for in 2004 and making me feel like I had no choice but to vote for Kerry. Now, given the complete disaster W has been, it is hard to imagine Kerry would not have been better, but that is a very low bar. I also can not imagine Kerry would have been good. Had Kerry been elected I'm sure I would be furious at many things he would have done in the past couple of years... just different things than W has done. Next time around, if there is nobody on the ballot I feel comfortable with, I will be doing write ins. The Kerry vote was a mistake and will not happen again. No voting for someone I can't actually feel like I would choose willingly.
Many of the outrages in recent years have been completely bipartisan. And that is the problem. On one hand we have the biggest divide between "red and blue" than we've had seemingly in many many years. The "moderates" are a vanishing breed with little power. But at the same time more and more things that are just horrible get done with no oposition at all. (How many votes in congress were there against the Patriot Act? Against the DMCA? To insist on a declaration of war before going to war? Etc. )
It is unsustainable. At some point things will just break. If we could somehow manage to break apart the two existing parties (hey, do anti-trust laws apply here? :-) and instead get about four parties... then we could get a much more healthy dynamic going.
Of course, it will never happen under our current systems due to Duverger's Law
Enough ranting for now.
It just frustrates me when I see things suggesting that people who have strong tendancies, but in an "unorthadox" direction should just line up within one larger coalition or another. Sometimes for some narrow items when there is agreement it may make sense. But not in general... if you're always tying yourself to a coilition that you only agree with a minority of the time, in the end you are alsways just going to get screwed over by it.