Libertarians. Look, we’re not going to get along on everything. Let’s just admit this. Now we can sling insults and hold a grudge match that will get neither of us what we want…or we work together.
Now before we get into my proposal, I would like to go over three basic points.
The first is that it is better to get half of what you want than to get none of what you want. Yes moral superiority might feel good for a few seconds but when it’s dealing with pragmatic issues, actually getting half of what you want is always better psychologically and tangibly.
The second is that politics is a game of trying to convince people who might be open to you. Romney’s 47% comment, despite the Democratic spin, was a pragmatic comment of “there is a percentage of the country that does not agree with me and pandering to them won’t work.” Thus any group that makes it clear that they will never vote for someone because of this or that issue makes themselves politically irrelevant.
The third is that Romney’s going to win. Wednesday’s debate shows that we are going to have 4 debates of Obama and Biden getting their asses handed to them. Add to that the fact that when you consider what we all know, that all the polls (even before the debate) were being cooked and are still being cooked (they’ve now moved from over sampling Democrats to under sampling independents where Romney has a 7 to 8 point lead BEFORE the debates). Then take that fact that the polls are skewed and add the fact that the remaining undecided voters invariably vote 2 to 1 for the challenger, even a conservative estimate makes it clear that Romney already has the electoral votes and 3 more debates like that plus Obama clearly just phoning it in at this point means, that without question, Romney’s going to win.
Now, Libertarians, as much as I have been frustrated with you and your party this year, I say with all honesty, I want you to have a larger influence in all levels of government. I may not agree with you 100% on all things, but trust me there are a lot of issues I stand about halfway between you and the Republican establishment. On a lot of things you are the intellectual foundation of the Tea Party, and I want to see that foundation strengthened, not weakened. I loathe the social conservative branch of the Republican Party, and I was beyond giddy when their nearly Satanic candidate Rick Santorum went down in flames. But guess what? You’re not making it easy to get the Republican Party to embrace it’s Coolidge/Goldwater/Reagan roots of libertarianism and kill this monster called social conservatism that is really just intrusive government under a different branding.
Why are you making it hard? Because you aren’t accepting point one that it’s better to get half than none. The Republican Party does admit that. You tell the Republican Party composed of Milton Friedman monetarists that unless they embrace the most radical branches of Austrian economics you won’t vote for them. And knowing you’re this intractable, if they want capitalists in the GOP to have any chance of halting full on Keynsian socialism, they have to make a deal with the mixed economy people. The GOP is willing to make compromises and go to or three steps to the right or left to keep it centered around their beliefs…but since you demand they go five steps to the right (two or three further than their morals will go) the two steps to left, while repugnant, prevents ten steps to the left. (Of course if you compromised and made the three steps we did you would get more of what you want and we wouldn’t have to constantly compromise with the left). Same goes with social issues. I saw a Reason ad this week hitting Romney/Ryan for being terrible social conservatives who are opposed to medical marijuana. Is this true? Not really. Paul Ryan came out and said that he and Romney wouldn’t personally vote for it if they had a choice, but they consider it a state’s rights issue and will not get the federal government involved. But apparently the libertarians over at Reason are so rigid that unless you embrace both absolute states rights AND complete social liberalism you’re just another big government hack. A pragmatic person would say, if the federal government isn’t getting involved, what does it matter if the people in that government hold a different opinion. But no, unless libertarians get to eat their cake, have it, keep it and eat it again over and over again, nothing is good enough for them.
Libertarians make it quite clear, that unless you march 100% lockstep with them, they will not vote for you. And then they bitch about the fact that the coalition that is the GOP doesn’t listen to them. We may not have a parliamentary government like most of Europe, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have coalitions. We just form them when we form the party not when we form the parliament. And, I’m sorry, if you want to be in the coalition you have to work with the coalition.
And I want you in this coalition. And I want more voice calling for less government in the economy and in my personal life. I want government out of religion and business. I want that to be a legitimate voice that holds sway.
But you have to work with us.
So how do we make the Libertarian vote a legitimate voice again?
Well this election provides a great opportunity.
The first thing I’m going to say that in any state that is clearly 10 point to the Romney or Obama side, if you want to vote for Gary Johnson, vote for Gary Johnson and get your libertarian friends to come out. In these states where, let’s be honest here, your vote isn’t going to make a difference let’s at least make it count by showing that there is a huge number of libertarians out there.
However if you live in a state where theoretically your vote could swing things (remember how close some of these states have been in the last few years) you need to vote for Romney. (In the second half of this blog I’ll show you Romney will give you half of what you want, where Obama will give you nothing, but let me finish this line of thought first). By voting for the Libertarian in large numbers in non-swing states but voting for Romney (and I would hope the GOP Senate and House candidates in close contests if you can stomach it) in swing states you are showing that the Libertarian Party has grown up and is willing to work with the Republican Party. That you are the swing voters the GOP needs to get* and that you are open to working with the GOP.
In addition to this, you need to get every liberal you know to not vote Obama but vote for Johnson. This will give a better clue as to which voters do really care about economic conservatism and social freedom. Let’s be honest you may not agree with Romney on a lot of issues…but is there one you agree with Obama on?
Again this will show the Republican Party you’re open to compromise, that we can drop the social conservatives sometimes, and it will increase the power of the Tea Party and the Libertarian view in federal government. The GOP is probably going to take Congress and the White House, but a move like this will temper any social conservative urge for fear it might alienate the segment they picked up, and embolden them on the economic conservative front as they will believe there will be no backlash. It’s a win for the Libertarians. It’s a win for the Republicans. And it’s a loss for big government.
But I understand you might have reservations. You’ve heard for months that Romney is big government, that Romney is just like Obama. I get it, I was once there myself. But when I looked at facts, I found that just wasn’t the case.
Let me put out a few common complaints by Libertarians and show you how these complaints are not the case.
As I pointed out above, the Romney and Ryan ticket believe in states rights…and unlike Obama they’re not going to waste federal dollars prosecuting medical marijuana cases. It may not be full legalization, but the end result is the same.
Another claim is that he’s going to outlaw abortion. No he’s not, he’s going to try to get rid of all funding for Planned Parenthood. You’re libertarians, like me, even if you’re pro-choice you should support getting rid of government funding of abortion. Now he has said he’s supporting an Amendment to the Constitution–1. The president has absolutely no power and no role in the process of adding amendments and 2. There is no way you will ever see 38 states agree to banning abortion…thus him saying that he’ll support an Amendment is like saying “I’d support cold fusion if someone actually created it”, it doesn’t matter because it’s not going to happen. But yes he can appoint judges to the Supreme Court who might do something conservative judges hardly ever do, overturn previous major decisions…which would make abortion a states rights issue again (the court has the power to make something legal, but it has no authority to make something illegal…all overturning Roe would do is make it a states rights issue)…hey aren’t you libertarians in favor of states rights issues?
Same with gay marriage. The amendment won’t go anywhere and he’ll keep it as a state’s rights issue. However, if the libertarians follow my suggestion they might be able to get enough power to propose disentangling the state from religion as it currently is in its treatment of marriage. But Libertarians would have to have some power for that to happen.
Romney has said he supports auditing the Fed and will sign the bill if it gets to him. You give Romney a Republican Senate and you will get the audit of the Federal Reserve you’ve always wanted. Will you get that with Obama?
On spending Libertarians keep going off on Romney’s budgets in Massachusetts and the Ryan plan. Did you miss that both cases were budgets designed to pass legislatures controlled by liberal Democrats? Yes those things didn’t solve all the problems. But they were as close as these two conservatives felt they could reasonably get past liberal legislatures. (Romney’s did…and if Harry Reid wasn’t illegally stopping the bills from coming up, the Ryan plan would have passed as well.). The actual outline of the budget (and it’s only an outline because Romney understands it is the House that is the only body with the Constitutional authority to draft the specifics of a budget). There is nothing in the Romney plan, or the 59 points of that plan that will not lead to cuts in government spending.
On taxes this is the most bizarre one of all. Romney didn’t raise a single tax as Governor of Massachusetts. Taxachusetts. That’s impressive. That shows commitment to keeping taxes down. Libertarians scream that he did raise taxes. This is either a lie or insanity. What Romney did do was raise fees for government services. Why libertarians are upset with this, I’m not entirely sure…for decades I have heard and read capitalists from the more moderate Sowell, Freidman and Hayek to the extreme of Rand in the later years (after she had completely gone off the deep end) and every shade of capitalist and libertarian in between say that it would be better if the government raised revenue through fees rather than taxes. Then someone does that…and libertarians scream he’s a bleeding heart liberal…for doing what they suggested. WTF? Are there some in the libertarian party (those with the pulpit) suffering from Romney-derangement syndrome? I think so. Yeah it would be better if he lowered taxes (you know like he wants to at the federal level) but let’s see how many taxes you could get lowered with a legislature that’s 87% Democrat?
Gun rights…the NRA endorsed Romney-Ryan…they don’t always endorse candidates, lots of elections go without an NRA endorsement…go on tell me Romney’s anti-gun.
RomneyCare is 70 pages and protect the private sector. Obamacare is 300o pages and destroys the private sector. A mandate is constitutional under the Massachusetts Constitution…it is not Constitutional under the U.S. Constitution (shame John Roberts has never read it). Romneycare looks like what the Heritage Foundation proposed…Obamacare looks nothing like that. But please tell me how they’re the same.
The Patriot Act and NDAA…look we’re not going to agree on this one. And you’re not going to get what you want out of either Romney or Obama. What you will get is that Romney won’t sue courts to put back indefinite detention of captured foreigners (the bill that passed didn’t include indefinite detention of U.S. citizens who have not already committed an act of treason (which technically you could already hold them even without NDAA) (Libertarians are now going to throw a hissy fit and tell me I’m wrong….here’s the link to the bill find for me the text that says otherwise…I’ll save you some time, it’s not there). And yeah, Romney will use what parts of the Patriot Act haven’t been overturned by courts to go after terrorism (and most of you do realize that the majority of the Patriot Act was just extending the powers the federal government had against organized crime to terrorism, getting rid of the Patriot Act won’t get rid of the powers if you have someone like Obama who is willing to abuse every law for personal gain.) I can say that, unlike Obama, Romney will keep to the letter and spirit of the law. You don’t like it, and we won’t agree…but you have to admit one is better than the other.
Defense. Again you’re not going to get what you want here. But would you prefer someone like Goldwater and Reagan who understand peace through strength and keep conflicts to a minimum….or someone like LBJ, Carter, and Obama who through gross incompetence spark conflicts that eventually draw us in whether we want them or not. Further, I know you want the defense budget cut…Romney’s not going to cut troops or arms or the size of the Navy…but this is the genius of Bain. Do you really think he’s not going to have some very good people go through every department and go line by line looking at all the worthless bullshit and eliminate that? Romney, will give you cuts in every department’s budget. Big ones. If you let him.
Look, like I said at the beginning it’s better to get half of what you want than nothing. Romney will give you that half. Obama won’t. Romney believes in smaller government, Obama doesn’t.
I said that to be relevant you have to show that you’re willing to work with us.
And Romney’s going to win.
It’s up to you. You can do what I suggested, vote for Romney in the swing states, vote for Johnson in the non-swing states and get every libertarian leaning liberal to vote for him too. This will show the Libertarians have numbers but are also willing to work with the GOP, thus they can and should be courted as a voting block.
Or you can hold to your rigid stance that Romney and Obama are the same. Attack both of them. And keep your ideas marginalized, keep the GOP beholden to social conservatives, and make it that much harder to get big government off our backs.
I hope you chose the win-win-win plan I’m suggesting, and not the lose-lose-lose plan of just holding rigidly to anti-Romney.
(Oh if there is some issue you truly feel Obama and Romney are the same on, let me know and give me a chance to dissuade you…but first please ask yourself if they really are the same…or it is just that Romney will only give you part of what you want and Obama will give you none.)
*Some might say that alienating the social conservative base will cause Republicans to lose. But if you actually look at polls endlessly like I do, you’ll see that what turns a lot of moderate Democratic voters off of the GOP is not the economics but the social issues. It’s a gamble I know, but if the GOP moved a little away from social conservatives I think they’ll win 3 blue dog Democrats for every social conservative radical (Santorum) who leaves the party. But there has to actually be more than just Ron and Rand Paul advocating for this in the party.