Skip to comments.Hot-Tub Libertarians
Posted on 05/16/2006 1:20:13 PM PDT by freepatriot32
As the Republican Party abandons its commitment to small government, how politically impotent are libertarians? Let me count the ballots.
Specifically, let me count the ballots from 2004. Exit polls (along with, well, all polls) tend to ignore libertarians as a group, so one has to approach such questions from the side, as opposed to head on. But here's one measure of how libertarian-leaning voters voted in the last presidential election: While George W. Bush gained 10 points between 2000 and 2004 among voters who thought government should "do more," he stayed essentially even among voters who felt government should not do more or should "do less."
In other words, despite No Child Left Behind, campaign-finance regulation, steel tariffs, the Medicare prescription-drug bill and exploding government spending generally, libertarians stood by their man. (I should know. I did, too.)
That's no way for an organized voting bloc to behave. If no amount of sticking your finger in a constituency's eye will make them vote against you, you're going to poke through until you hit brain. But, of course, no one ever said that libertarians were organized -- or that, when it comes to politics, they have much in the way of brains.
But what if they did? How powerful a voting bloc could they be?
It's a tough question, and one libertarians have spent far too little time effort researching, but there's a quick and dirty answer: somewhere between 9 percent and 20 percent of the electorate.
The 20 percent figure comes from Gallup, which labels as libertarian voters who say they oppose the use of government either to "promote traditional values" or to "do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses." Gallup finds an equal number of populists (people who want more government intervention in both the economy and the culture). And it finds that 27 percent of Americans are conservative and 24 percent are liberal.
The 9 percent figure comes by way of a recent analysis done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Last month, Pew released an analysis, based on a survey of 2,000 people, which was aimed at finding the ideologues among the American voting public -- those voters who held consistent ideological views on a sampling of subjects, such as health care, gay marriage and Social Security reform.
Libertarians were the smallest group, as defined by Pew, followed by conservatives (15 percent), populists (16 percent) and liberals (18 percent). A full 42 percent of voters held no identifiable ideology (these are presumably the people who vote for whomever's tallest).
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.
According to Pew's "political typology," libertarians used to be one of three groups that made up the Republican Party, along with social conservatives and economic conservatives. But, since 1994, they've been replaced by a group of voters Pew has called Populists, but most recently renamed Pro-Government Conservatives. In essence, it would seem, these Pro-Government Conservatives -- about 10 percent of the electorate, largely female and southern, and equally at ease with universal health care and banning controversial books from libraries -- are squeezing libertarians further and further toward the fringes of the GOP.
Is there any way to reverse the tide?
That, of course, gets to the question of whether a bunch of individualists can ever be organized. A man who should know a little about that, the Cato Institute's executive vice president, David Boaz, tells two stories. In one, a man wouldn't come to a rally for 1980 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ed Clark because he had to look at his sister-in-law's car. In another, a man skipped a rally at the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco because he had a more pressing engagement ... in a hot tub.
"I think libertarians are looking at their sister-in-law's car, instead of going to political meetings," Boaz says. "And there are also libertarians who are in hot tubs in Sausalito." These may seem like small things, Boaz argues, but the cumulative effect is that people who don't care much for government are the hardest to convince to care about changing it.
The challenge, then -- for those who don't want to see the Republican Party succumb once and for all to big-government conservatism and who don't want to see it become overrun with populists lacking in respect for taxpayers' money and individuals' right to be left alone -- is either to organize existing libertarians more effectively to vote and contribute time and money as a bloc or to identify new constituencies with an overriding interest in remaking the time bomb we call the New Deal (everyone under 40 comes to mind).
So, libertarians: It's time to get out of that hot tub! Put down that wrench! And start thinking about how you're going to reclaim your rightful place in the conservative coalition.
Step one, find a party that's actually conservative to make a coalition with. If not possible (as neither major party is conservative or believes in classical liberalism), work locally to convince others the wisdom of voting for a third party. It's nice to see, I suppose, the Libertarian party offer a Presidential candidate but when the establishment media (including Fox) doesn't report on it, it's sort of a moot point. Step two, vote in the elections that are of importance to you (local elections), leave the other ones blank. Who cares who wins the national elections right now? Neither one of the parties will limit government.
Get out of the hot tub, Andrew and Tony! Take your log cabin place in the Republican coalition!
There's a reason about half of libertarians vote Democrat -- because they're pro-abortion, pro-gay, and anti-religious.
Many good elements of conservatism are libertarian, but it doesn't follow that everything libertarian is good.
Based on Judge Appointments alone the Losetarians have reason to be happy with Bush. Squealing for 100%erism will get you one thing. 100% Political irrelevancy. Adults understand the need to compromise, spoiled children throw tempetantrums about it.
Those are constraining and misleading labels, all of which are subsumed within the much larger mantra of "Get your big government nose out of my business."
To paraphrase Dickens, "Then sir, the Pew survey is a ass."
Anyone who identifies as both a libertarian and a Democrat is either lying or miscategorized. You cannot categorize someone as libertarian simply because they are pro-choice and especially if they favor special rights for homosexuals. The fascist and national socialist tendencies of the Democrats would far overshadow any appeal of social liberalism for libertarians. Their results are further made suspect by the number indicating that only 9 percent of libertarians are either unaffiliated or associated with a third party (the Libertarian Party maybe?!)
The sad fact is that very many actual libertarians don't vote at all, choosing to withold their permission to be governed. That idea is inconceivable to the pubbies as well as those from the party of asses. Mr. Sager seems to have missed that in his polemic, but it shouldn't be all that surprising.
But we aren't doing that, Jim. The last six years have seen us slide toward socialism at a rate unheard-of before. Yes, there are still a few good Republican conservatives, but they are very few and they have no voice. The Republicans have discovered they too can vote themselves wealth and they are going at it full throttle.
The gains on the bench are too few and too far between, and we have seen that it practically takes open revolt to get those in office to pay attention enough to actually nominate real originalists. By the time we fill the bench with originalists, there will be nothing left of the Constitution to defend. Meanwhile we'll have roads and bridges to nowhere, nationalized health care, and redistributionism everywhere we look.
As these can be found on either side of the aisle (although I don't know about 'Marxists' as that particular ideology doesn't exist for the most part), how would you suggest we do that? If one votes for the most conservative candidate, be it Democrat or Republican, that may or may not enable a party, depending on if it reaches majority status, to foward its agenda. The Framers intended that we elect candidates to office that would represent our locality's or state's views. If the most conservative candidate happens to be Democrat, by the Framers intent, I should vote for that candidate because he represents my views, not what one party or the other will do based on the count in Congress. Note, this has happened in NC politics in my lifetime. By your argument however, I should desire to vote for the liberal candidate because he has the right letter by his name on the hopes that the national party will get its agenda through.
Now let's say that overall agenda does not limit government but expands it (i.e. NCLB, Medicare Act, healthcare, faith-based initiatives (here I may agree with the principal but it is still an expansion of government)). Am I to continue to vote for that party even knowing the leadership will not listen to its constituency? On the possible hope that one day they may?
If we want smaller government, our first job is to elect people who will appoint constitutionalists to the bench
A Constitutionalist is not someone that gainsays the national government's positions if the 'right' party is in charge. A Constitutionalist would be willing to stand up even to the party that nominated them. Something that can't be said necessarily about the majority of all judges, be they Republican or Democrat.
We must remove the liberal activist judges who make it possible for the liberals to advance their evil unconstitutional causes.
But yet I have seen cheering on this very board when conservative activist judges stick their noses into issues that are none of the federal government's concern. It seems Republicans don't want Constitutionalists, they want activist judges who agree with their views. Don't take this wrong, but that is no better than a liberal activist judge. Justice Thomas, for the most part, is a Constitutionalist. Janice Rogers Brown is as well. Justice Scalia is not (i.e. the Raich decision) Thomas' dissent stated
If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything," including "quilting bees, clothes drives and potluck suppers." Thus "the federal government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers."If we elect 'Constitutionalists' that refuse to recognize the federalist system that was intended to be in place, how is that different from having a liberal judge in charge? 'Our' views are nationwide instead of 'theirs'? That's better how? It still destroys the limitation of the federal government upon the states. Although I haven't seen everything on these last two Justices nominated to SCOTUS, as Bush nominated them, I have a feeling they're going to lean towards Scalia rather than Thomas.
Libertarian leaning voters should vote to keep or expand the current majority in congress to block the liberals.
'Win back the Senate'? 'Keep the House'? No offense but at the rate they are passing spending bills, I don't seriously think Democrats could do much worse. In fact, the nation's budget on a whole historically usually grows at a lesser rate when opposing parties occupy the two main branches of government.
Just my two cents...
Since when is that the definition of a "liberaltarian?" I don't see smoking pot, isolationism or losing elections anywhere in that platform.
Being "conservative" means wanting less government spending. The fact that a handful of rabidly moderate RINO's (including George Bush) currently have a chokehold on Congress right now doesn't change any of that.
If liberaltarians are evenly split right now between Republicans and Democrats, it's not because they think Democrats are the most frugal. It's because every individual liberaltarian has a different tripping point issue he's single-mindedly devoted to.
The solution to the problem is a little thing called "primary politics." Liberaltarians can band together to ward off the black helicopters if they want to. Conservatives need to band together to get more conservative candidates for general elections. And trying to appease a self-marginalizing voting block isn't just a waste of time -- it's a step backwards.
Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, has been the Libertarian candidate for President, and he is staunchly pro-life...
Between 2000 and 2004, the vote for the Constitution Party presidential candidate increased by 83%, but the vote for the libertarian presidential candidate decreased.
Yep. Libertarians need to build from the ground up. When they start eating up 5-20% of the seats in state legislatures, people will start paying attention!
Then why are you here? This website exits to take back our Republic by keeping the Marxists out of power. If you intend to work against us, I prefer you do it somewhere else.
I'm a libertarian (small L). I tried infiltrating my county Republican party and was even a county and state delegate for several years.
I gave up. Jeb Bradley and Charlie Bass are RINOs and they are going to keep winning. If I mount a successful attempt to curtail their votes, a Democrat will win. Dick Swett was our Senator the last time we tried that. Big mistake.
We (small L libertarians) are a small minority. When we stray from the more conservative of the two parties, we simply guarantee the liberals will win.
It's a Hobson's choice... Democrats or RINOs?
Never give up.
I wonder how many here that think the road to paradise can be paved by the devil can imagine the worst the libs have.
Deserves repeating. I see it all the time.
What do you do when it gets increasingly more difficult to tell the difference?
A lot of trolls.
Let me know when you find one.
"Give their knee jerk 100%erism, anyone who has a different view on issue A will suddenly decide they have to "Stand on principal" and abandon the party. Pretty soon you have 40 Losetraian parties each thumping their chest and screaming about how "pure" they are. Meanlwile they get ZERO accomplished in politics."
That analysis sounds surprisingly like the situation which the "muslim populations" of the world are currently experiencing.
Agreed. Libertarians will continue to be marginalized like all the other third, fourth, fifth . . . etc parties until they start gaining at the state and local level. To vote Libertarian at the federal level now is a vote wasted or worse, a vote for a rat.
I think President Bush is doing the best job of it I've ever seen.
A worthy cause. However I offer a premise. If the majority of whichever is the correct party continues to pass legislation that expands the government, hence institution of socialist programs, shouldn't we vote against those that would vote in the affirmative for such programs?
Don't get me wrong, I don't vote Democrat at the national level. I follow the principles of the Framers and vote for the candidate who represents my views. If there is not a candidate that represents my views (or at least comes close) in good conscience I cannot vote in that specific race.
However currently at the local level (county) the Democrats are for conservative issues (namely private property), while the Republicans have been for eminent domain when it suits their needs. At the local level, my vote has helped to keep liberals out of power. The conservatives are labeled Democrat, but which is more important, a party or a principle?
If you intend to work against us, I prefer you do it somewhere else.
I do not intend to work against anyone. I intend to follow the warnings of General Washington in his Farewell Address and the 'the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally'. I vote for the most conservative individual on the ballot. Always will, always have. In effect, I am doing my part to keep liberals (new liberals, not classical liberals) out of positions of power
Good. I am as disappointed by Pres. Bush's immigration policies as anyone, but some of the things people have been saying here on FR lately have really started to grate.
Everybody knew back in 2000 that George W. Bush was not an ideal conservative candidate, particularly on education, medicare and immigration. But he was a lot better than Gore on defense, judges, and a lot more so I supported him. President Bush has delivered on his promises, good and bad, and we are far better off now than if either Gore or Kerry had won.
Right now it is the House that is keeping the immigration issue from turning into a rout against the American interest. If the 'Rats take the House in November, this will be costly to freedom. We can't afford to be quitters or worse, spoilsports. We have got to keep working.
I've said it before, but I genuinely believe that 2008 represents a golden opportunity to elect a conservative President. The she-witch has the 'Rat nomination in an iron-clad lockbox, and yet she is very weak nationally. The MSM and the extreme leftists are trying to psych us out and snowjob the public with all of this hype about the President's plunging polls, etc., as if the 'Rats can win with nothing.
If we work hard this year, then we can hold the House and prevent another illegal alien amnesty debacle. Then we need to nominate a real Conservative (Tom Coburn?) and carry him to the White House in 2008.
Whatever we do, we must not quit, and we must not burn our own fort, however imperfect it is. It seems some people simply don't understand what our enemies intend for us.
You are so right.
Stock up on K-Y Jelly.
I hope you have an Industrial-sized can of whoopass to pull out, and that you have been keeping track of those who are likely not who they claim to be.
Ugh. I'd be laughing if you weren't telling the truth.
Libertarians are godless, evil, self-centered, nutty, swines. Especially when they don't vote for the latest beleagured RINO incumbent. When the Republican incumbent is riding high at the polls and no election's on, Libertarians aren't as bad... or at least their godless philosophy and disgusting behavior does't bug the mainstream as much. Libertarianism is such a potent political force that the traitorous fraction of the electorate that calls itself "Libertarian" and actually thinks like one is constantly in danger of destroying the GOP .... establishment.
Libertarians are particularly obnoxious whenever they are cynical or apathetic about the latest crisis whipped up by the paleocons, authoritarian right, and so-called neoconservatives.
- "The she-witch has the 'Rat nomination in an iron-clad lockbox"
No way, they want a chance to win and they aren't that stupid. The Democrats have a fiscal conservative in the wings in former Virginia governor Mark Warner, and they know they need that kind of guy if someone like Giuliani or McCain is running.
Why is everybody so (extremely) worried Hillary would even win an election. For right or wrong reasons, the country is not ready to elect a female president, esp. while in a war on terror and a war in Iraq. Only die-hard Dems would vote for her (primary voters), the same way they nominated such a liberal guy in John Kerry, who only came close because the Iraq war has some hiccups. It seems to me the RNC would have no worries in '08 if she were the nominee, provided some fringe issue doesn't steal the election.
That is the issue in a nutshell. And the best reason to go to the polls in November.
"Libertarians are godless, evil, self-centered, nutty, swines."
An interesting premise you have developed there. :)
He was a nasty RINO sort. I'll admit I voted for the pro-gun pro-life Dem (yes there are some. Glen Poshard is his name.) over the pro-abortion, anti-2nd, tax raising Republican. Poshard came within a whisker of defeating Ryan in the General election largely due to his pro-gun and low tax position.
Apparently the IL GOP has learned absolutely nothing from the Ryan debacle and has nominated as their candidate another pro-abortion, anti-2nd, tax raising, pro-illegal candidate. Judy Barr Topinka actually served in Ryans corrupt regime but claims 'no knowledge' of the laundry list of crimes committed during his tenure.
IL conservatives are a long suffering lot, but this is something up with which I will not put. In my district it's an easy choice for the House. Pete Roskam is running for Hydes seat and has his endorsement.
Unfortunately I'm stuck with Durban and Obama as Senators, once again largely due to the complete ineptitude of the IL GOP. I won't have a chance to vote for a Senator for another 2 years, sadly.
What I won't do under any circumstances is vote for a RINO for the US Senate. We've seen in the last few days what havoc even a couple of those beasts can wreak, so I won't be contributing in that regard.
Hopefully the IL GOP will purge itself of the RINOs running the Central Committee in the interim and find a real honest to God conservative to run against Durbin. I'm not sanguine about the possibility, but I suppose there's always hope.
No way, they want a chance to win and they aren't that stupid.
Who is "they"? Hillary wants to be president. Period. Some other 'Rats might be thinking that she is not the best horse to bet on, but what is their other option? Hillary has the money, she has the skills, and she has the key allies in the various state 'Rat organizations. Who can touch this? Some think that there are 'Rat elders somewhere that will somehow direct the primary process to produce that which is best for the party. Nonsense. It is every person for themself, and Hillary has all of the beans.
Your premise is based on a false assumption. The assumption you are making is that the Republic of the United States will last forever or as long as its judges. This contradicts what the Founders and many other wise people have said. All democracies end in bankruptcy or hyperinflation whenever the people learn to vote themselves benefits. Gokhale and Smetters tell us that the net present value of the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are roughly equal to the entire estimated total private net worth of the United States and that the economy has never grown in a single year at a rate that would be required in each and every year in order to amortize these liabilities. It is Social Security and Medicare that are never ending problems that cannot be solved and that spell the end of the United States. There is no long term for the United States unless Social Security and Medicare are completely abandoned.
Returning to the Constitution is the only solution to this otherwise unsolvable problem. Nothing that has ever been tried in your lifetime has even remotely reversed the law or the trend in place of expanding and growing socialism. You have recently been presented a plan that is easily executed once it is implemented. There are no better proposals and none that I have ever seen that even come close to matching the potential of this effort. You, Jim Robinson, have the ability to initiate the effort needed that might get this plan launched. The biggest barrier and hurdle to the success of the plan, is actually getting it started.
Listen to your own words: "What is our mission? Free Republic is dedicated to reversing the trend of unconstitutional government expansion and is advocating a complete restoration of our constitutional republic"..."In our continuing fight for freedom, for America and our constitution and against totalitarianism, socialism, tyranny, terrorism, etc., Free Republic stands firmly on the side of right, i.e., the conservative side. Believing that the best defense is a strong offense, we (myself and those whom I'm trying to attract to FR) support the strategy of taking the fight to the enemy..."
These are wonderful words and ideas. They are worth fighting for and yes, even worth dieing for. The plan you are being asked to initiate is not asking anybody to take to arms or risk death. All it asks is that you use your keyboard and this forum to engage in a debate in the arena of ideas to either implement our plan, improve our plan or find a better one and implement it.
The boomers will start becoming eligible for Medicare in the fall of 2012. By 2016, it will not be possible to hide the magnitude of the problem from anybody. Government has never solved a single problem of any kind. Governments magnify problems and multiply them. Medicare represents the single largest financial crisis that has ever faced mankind let alone the United States. The combined unfundable liabilities of Social Security and Medicare exceed the combined costs of all wars fought by the United States including the Revolutionary War and the Cold War. I haven't done the math, but would hazard a guess that the unfundable liabilities exceed the combined total federal budgets since the inception of the Republic. That was not Samuel Adams' view of freedom, "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." And if your own words still have meaning to you, it isn't your view of freedom either.
The United States will be a footnote in history before federal judges address this problem. And can you show me any problem ever fixed by a federal judge or one fixed by any federal official of any kind? Problems are solved by the people. And if WE the people don't solve this one before the unfunded liabilities of Medicare become perceived as genuine obligations of the US Treasury, there won't be any federal judges to address the problem anyway.
Ronald Reagan made a difference. He bought us more time to solve the problem, but he personally was not able to turn back the clock. Republicans have controlled the legislative agenda for more than decade and contolled the government for half that time. Republicans have acted exactly like Democrats. When faced with losing power, Republicans tried to buy votes with prescription drugs and made the problem worse, not better. Republicans knew campaign finance reform was unconstitutional, but they passed it, signed it, and made it law. The judges you hope will turn the clock back, said Campaign Finance Reform is constitutional after all. CFR added immensely to the burden of defeating incumbents, something that has to happen if you believe elected officials are going to solve this problem. Like you, Republicans have talked about the problem, but they fired the man who wanted to know the honest truth about the magnitude of the problem, and they buried the report itself. The report only saw the light of day because the men who did the study had the courage to quit the government and publish their results elsewhere in the hopes that men like you would see the light and start looking for a genuine solution before it's too late. The ball is in your court Jim, are you going to run with it or punt?
Frankly, I can take being called nutty, piggy, self-centered, disgusting, evil, godless, obnoxious, cynical, apathetic for not voting RINO. LOL
IMHO, you have written a pretty good description of ANY extremist group. This includes some "unappeasables" here on FR. The pragmatic approach is to support the electable candidate whose views most closely match your own and then attempt to influence the person you helped elect on issues where you disagree. Not perfect, but better than turning power over to people you can't stand and then carping about how bad they are.
Here in New Hampshire, after about two and a half years of the Free State Project, we have people holding elective office in towns, candidates for State Rep, a defeat of a smoking ban, and twenty people showing up at the drop of a hat to help a new family move in, and routine meetings and social events of 20-60 people nearly every week of the month.
Come to the Porcupine Fest in Lancaster, NH at the end of June to learn more, if you're interested.
"Organized voting blocks" who demand 100% ideological purity end up being completely politically irreverent.
You nailed it. Libertarians don't understand politics. They don't understand, or can't accept, that political power is ALWAYS -- did I say ALWAYS? -- gained and held by one part principle, one part compromise, artfully mixed.
The Republican Party is simply a coalition of the center-right in America. It's not gathering of pure-souled libertarians, conservatives, pro-lifers, whatever: it's a political party. It's function is to KEEP POWER AWAY FROM THE OTHER GUYS.
Participating in politics is A TACTICAL ACT, not a religious devotion to be accomplished with utmost purity. In every vote, make the choice most likely to lead to the best outcome (which is not necessarily the same as voting for the person you like the best). The concept of a protest vote is the intellectual equivalent of the buddhist monk who burned himself in front of the embassy: interesting exercise, but no practical outcome in this universe.