45 thoughts on “Falling On Principle

  1. roystgnr

    Perhaps I wasn’t listening closely enough, but I didn’t hear the word “swing state” in there. If you’re a third-party candidate supporter in a swing state I’d agree that it may be worthwhile to vote tactically and try and sway the election instead, but my presidential vote in Texas is only good for affecting news media reports, not for changing the outcome of the election.

    1. Rand Simberg Post author

      I don’t know if he did or not, but I’d guess that he was talking to everyone, on the principle that regardless of the electoral college, the more popular vote he has, the greater the mandate for his platform (e.g., smaller government, even if not as immediately small as we want).

      1. Tim

        I am probably voting for Gary Johnson/Jim Grey even though I live in a hotly contested swing state (ohio). I am voting for the man whos beliefs, platforms and principals I most strongly agree with on almost every issue. From National defense (our greatest threat is our exploding debt), ending the war on drugs, support for 2nd amendment, balancing our budget now, etc. No he won’t win, but he won’t go away after this election, an impressive showing by the Libertarian party say 10% or greater (5% qualifies for Federal matching funds), and they could be back in the Congressional races a mere two years from now and yes the presidential race in 2016.

  2. Trent Waddington

    God damn it, you’re wrong Bill!

    The only reason the GOP has libertarian principles at all is because there’s a block of voters who won’t vote for the kind of principle-sacrificing “middle of the road” populist politicians that have the best chance to win.

    Don’t you get that?

    Can’t you see that by trading your principles for an opportunity to get Obama out of power, no matter how evil or crazy you think he is, you are dooming the libertarian candidates of the next election from having a chance of getting on the GOP ticket?

    Set aside the alarmist rhetoric and vote your conscious!

    1. Al

      Paul Ryan is on the ticket because the -fiscal- conservatives screamed, hollered, marched … and caved.

      I have no idea how it will play out. But Republican veeps do end up having a decent shot at the nomination.

      1. Thomas Matula

        Al,

        But don’t seem to do well when in the general election, especially if they lost while running as a candidate for Vice-President.

    2. Tim

      Would have to agree with you Trent, Sorry Bill Whittle but Romney doesn’t believe in limited gov any more that Obama does. They both want to expand the power and scope of gov, Patriot Act (Obama & Romney), blowing up the defense budget, continuing the wars (both), continuing the ruinous war on drugs (both), tepid support for 2nd amendment at best (both), exploding national debt (both). Okay Romney would try to repeal obama care, that’s about it.

  3. Ken Murphy

    Not good enough.

    I’ve worked in the financial industry for twenty years, I can’t put aside my problems with Mitt Romney and what his brand of finance has wrought on the commonweal of our nation. A reasonable and assuring tone does not sway me to the candidate chosen by the GOP in a process that reeked of bullying and rules of convenience.

    My vote does not belong to the Republicans. My vote is my own, and if they want it, they have to earn it. They haven’t, and frankly, I find their candidate, and what he’s likely to inflict on this nation, repulsive on an abundance of levels.

    I find, on the other hand, that Gary Johnson has an agenda that is reasonable, that starts undoing the damage wrought, and can actually set us back on the road to prosperity by reducing the government burden. How can I not vote for that?

    1. Thomas Matula

      Ken,

      I agree. I voted for Governor Johnson when I lived in New Mexico. He did a great job then and he would do a good job nationally. I hope if he does well enough he will get the support needed to run as a Republican in the next election.

    2. wodun

      So you like Obama and think his next four years will be better? Its ok if you like Obama more than Romney just don’t hide behind Johnson.

      1. Ken Murphy

        What part of “I think they’re both plutocrapparatchiks” do you not understand?

        If I liked Obama, I would vote for him. I don’t and I won’t.

        You can frame it any way you want, and if rationalizing my vote for Gary Johnson (which is a vote FOR Gary Jonson) as a vote for Barack Obama (or against Mitt Romney for that matter) is what helps you sleep at night, then bully for you. That’s nice. Doesn’t make you any less wrong.

          1. Ken Murphy

            Oooh, casting aspersions on use of words. Painting me with an OWS brush to tarnish my positions. Invoking the ‘tin foil hat’ to taint my credibility. Oh noes, my position is destroyed! Surely now I must align my vote with those insulting me!

            Or not.

          2. wodun

            Are you going to tell me it was so funny you forgot to laugh?

            At least you think it is an insult to be compared to OWS, now only if you didn’t hold their world view.

          3. Ken Murphy

            Please, enlighten me as to my worldview. I’m ever so interested.

            You say that I share the world view of OWS. In what way? In not wanting to be a party to the political poison that is destroying this nation? That’s nothing of which to be ashamed.

      2. Thomas Matula

        Wodun,

        Why do you think I like President Obama? Just because I feel he should be treated with respect because he is President doesn’t mean I like him. Remember I voted for Senator McCain in 2008. Who did YOU vote for?

    3. ken anthony

      The time to support Gary Johnson was when he had a chance. That time is past.

      Mitt is a flawed candidate. You might even hate him. But that doesn’t change the fact that you have only two choices regarding who might win. Normally, I would agree with you, vote your conscience. I like Gary Johnson and if it were between Gary and Mitt, that would be another story, but it is not.

      Gary has to wait. Can our country handle another four years of Obama?

      The time for a protest vote is when the election is not close.

  4. Orville

    What the hell good does it do? I voted R from 1976 to 2004, and at various points along the way Republicans held a majority. Regardless of who has been in power, it has been more foreign entanglements and debt upon debt. It’s also a bullsh!t idea that a libertarian has any chance running as a Republican. Didn’t get Ron Paul anywhere. Whittle can take his “lesser evil” argument and shove it. He can’t promote ideals from the Revolutionary War, where the change agents were arguably a small percentage, and turn around and say that the small group of change agents today should just bend over and take one for the team.

    1. Trent Waddington

      There’s a two word retort: Ronald Reagan.

      The GOP was the libertarian party. It’s been corrupted by people sacrificing their principles so they can win. The only way back is to stand up for principle again.

      1. ken anthony

        Yes, but…

        Pragmatism is still important. Hey, you know I’m more radical than most.

        I have extreme views of smaller government. The way to get there is to fight the right fights.

        1. Trent Waddington

          Yes, and the only fight that matters is the GOP nomination. Libertarians failed to sway the GOP this election, and they will continue to fail so long as they give their votes to the party that has abandoned them.

  5. Ted

    I’m unpersuaded by Mr. Whittle’s appeal, and agree that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.

    Wodun, I don’t know if the next four years under Obama would be better than 4 years under Romney, but Romney has flip-flopped so much that I don’t believe a word he says. Ryan’s a little better, and if he was at the top of the ticket I would consider voting Republican.

    I’m tired of voting for RINOs with the ‘promise” that once elected they’ll steer to the right. I despise Obama and what he has done, but I think Romney would be worse, with the shills at NRO, etc praising every liberal step that he took.

    1. ken anthony

      I’m tired of voting for RINOs

      Absolutely, that’s a problem we need to focus on fixing. McCain2008? Really?

      Romney has flip-flopped so much that I don’t believe a word he says

      It’s not just about Romney, it’s also about the senate and house and more important govt. control over our lives. Obama is not going to repeal Obamacare and we only have one shot at it. Who knows what Romney would do but we can hold his feet to the fire. Obama would not care.

  6. Brock

    Sigh. This entire problem is caused by the shortcomings in our electoral system. It’s a systemic issue, which can be fixed easily.

    Plurality voting is the worst possible way to elect a government. Mathematically speaking.

    Really, just about anything would be better. Representational voting would be better. Approval voting would be better than that. Range voting (-1, 0, 1) would be best of all.

    If there was one thing I wish I could drive into the head of every American, is that (1) We have the worst possible system for electing a government that still involves general elections, and (2) That’s something to be angry about.

    1. Thomas Matula

      Brock,

      We could also go back to the model the Fathers of the Constitution envisioned, namely having the public only select the members of the Electoral College and letting them actually decide who will be President and Vice-President.

      Unfortunately we didn’t take President Washington’s advice and allowed political parties to form and corrupt that vision. Maybe one way to fix the problem would be to outlaw political parties. I wonder if the Ricco Law could be used to do so? :-)

      Now that would be a plank for the Tea Party to promote:-)

      Alternatively we could just replace the election of members of the Electoral College with a random draw from the roll of registered voters in each district similar to how juries are selected. It couldn’t be worst then what we have and would eliminate the long presidential campaigns that now last for years and years…

      1. Brock

        Not a single one of those proposals fixes the basic game theory problems presented by plurality voting. If the Electors used plurality voting, we’d still have the problem presented by way we collect and count votes.

      2. Peterh

        Political parties, for all their problems, are actually a bug patch for plurality voting, reducing the number of choices in the general election to what the method can handle.

    2. Peterh

      Plurality voting is the worst of the simple and “fair” methods. I like binary weighted range, aka approval, voting myself. That’s what range voting reduces to if everyone votes stratigically. But offering a range [-1,0,1] doesn’t hurt.

      1. wodun

        Gary Johnson was a bad candidate. He could not succeed on his own merits. When he lost, threw a fit like a child blaming everyone from the media to the system but never himself.

        There isn’t some conspiracy to keep Johnson down. If he gets more air time, the world wont suddenly see his genius that has been hidden by nefarious actors.

        Johnson was one of many qualified candidates who did not make the cut. So he went down to the minor leagues.

        The Libertarian party needs to find a candidate that can appeal to the national audience and convince them through strength of character and accomplishments to vote for him or her. That person is not Johnson.

      2. ken anthony

        Do you know the difference between puppies and poker players? Puppies will eventually stop whining. The choice of who will be the candidates is over. That race has finished. It’s time to play the next hand.

        1. ken anthony

          If the big problem in your area is earthquakes; so you work on that problem. Do you ignore that your house in on fire?

          Some issues are more immediate than others. Sometimes the more immediate problem is overall the smaller one, yet it still takes priority.

          The fact that we don’t have any real choices is definitely the bigger problem. But it is not the immediate problem.

  7. wodun

    The TP has done a great job influencing the Republican party from the inside. Libertarians should learn from their model.

    They could even look at how the progressive’s long term plans took over government jobs, education, and the Democrat party.

    Real social change takes place slowly through dedicated effort to make change from with in. Cataclysmic social change is not only rare but destructive to society.

    But sometimes its nice to sit on the outside and throw feces at everyone who actually bears responsibility for getting things done.

    1. ken anthony

      You are so right Wodun. Down ticket is where most of the action is and the tea party is on it. However, we have a unique situation here. A law putting the sticky fingers of the government into everything was past with all sorts of finagling and arm twisting, a SNL cheater to be one of 60, and no republican support. The effects of that law mostly don’t happen until after this election but once in place will never be undone.

      Usually, who becomes president doesn’t change the course of our country much. This time it will radically.

      1. wodun

        I agree that there is a bigger picture type thing going on with this election. Romney is far from perfect but he is the only chance at getting rid of Obamacare and getting our economy back on track. Vote against him in 2016 if he doesn’t do his job.

        One other thing that libertarians need to do long term, is to go state by state and remove the barriers that enshrine a two party system. Most states are set up to facilitate two party rule. Like in Ohio where the election committees (or whatever they are called) in each county are made up of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Changing little technical things like that will do more to help the libertarian cause than voting for Johnson.

  8. Bill S.

    “Set aside the alarmist rhetoric and vote your conscious!”

    Alarmist rhetoric? You do not think Obama’s policies are antithetical to your Libertarian positions? And they don’t alarm you? Are you kidding me?

    Yes. Vote your conscience. But do not confuse conscience with ideals. We are in a battle and that means we must *all* pull *together* to decisively defeat the Democrats–in every venue. It is a tactical mistake to re-fight the lost battles of the primaries in the General.

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