Libertarian Party

Update on South Carolina Polling & Endorsements

There are many libertarians, including some members of United Liberty, who think Paul may win South Carolina. I hate to break it to you folks, but I don’t see that happening. Will Paul have a surge and get higher numbers than he’s polling now? That’s possible, but I don’t know. Paul could easily get third in the Palmetto State, could potentially get second after a brutal, slogging contest, but I find it very unlikely that he’ll get first.

Here’s some results from Public Policy Polling:

Mitt Romney continues to hold a modest lead in South Carolina’s Republican primary for President.  He’s at 29% to 24% for Newt Gingrich, 15% for Ron Paul, 14% for Rick Santorum, 6% for Rick Perry, 5% for Jon Huntsman, and 1% for Buddy Roemer.

Things haven’t changed too much at the top in the last week. Romney is down 1 point from his pre-New Hampshire standing, while Gingrich has gained a point.  There’s more movement in the middle. Paul has gained 6 points to move into 3rd place, while Santorum has dropped by 5 points. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman have each picked up a single point and remain in 5th and 6th place respectively.

Why is Romney winning South Carolina? Voters there are overwhelmingly focused on the economy this year and that’s working to his advantage.  39% say jobs and the economy are their top issue, closely followed by 34% who pick government spending and reducing the debt.  Asked who they trust most on economic issues 35% pick Romney to 25% for Gingrich, 16% for Paul, and 10 for Santorum.  And despite the attacks on it this week Romney’s business background is an asset for him. 58% have a favorable opinion of his record in business to just 27% with a negative view of it.

Rick Perry Receiving Treatment from CNN Gary Johnson Could Only Dream About [CORRECTED]

Warning: The following video contains content from MSNBC’s primetime line-up. Such content can sometimes lead to cursing, grinding of teeth, screaming, and destruction of one’s computer monitor and speakers. In extreme cases it can even cause one to gouge out his own eyes or to do permanent damage to her own ear drums. Viewer discretion is advised.

See Video

As Maddow asks after reporting that CNN will break its own rules to let Rick Perry into the South Carolina debate: “If you’re not going to follow the rules, why don’t you have Buddy Roemer there too?” The Daily Paul comments: “Imagine if Ron Paul didn’t meet [these rules].”

Actually, we don’t have to imagine. We’ve seen exactly how CNN would deal with a libertarian candidate who doesn’t meet their requirements in their treatment of Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico. Johnson was consistently excluded from debates by CNN and other media because he didn’t meet their eligibility requirements, and neither the Republican National Committee nor the other candidates could be bothered to argue for his inclusion. At that time, a candidate was required to have either raised a minimum of $1 million during that fiscal quarter or to have an average of 3% in polls. In August, Johnson had been polling ahead of Huntsman, Santorum, and Cain — all included in the debates — but was promptly dropped from CNN’s and others’ polls, making it impossible for him to have an average of 3% or better.

Obama, Romney: Wasted Votes

With Romney’s win Tuesday in New Hampshire, the first Republican non-incumbent to win both Iowa and the Granite State since 1976, some are saying that the primary battle is essentially over, while President Obama has “locked-in” on Romney as his opponent. I don’t need to be the one to tell you how bad this is for liberty, and how bad it is for just elections overall.

In effect, we’re going to have a choice between a Wall St. financied big business candidate who has no good record on civil liberties and created a massive government health insurance boondoggle against…the exact same thing.

Glenn Greenwald wrote an absolutely fantastic piece on New Year’s Eve about Ron Paul and how the Texas Representative is challenging progressives and liberals to take a harder look at Obama, which may not be what they want to do. In particular, Greenwald had this gem:


The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.

My own predictions for 2012

Since a couple of my friends are posting their predictions for 2012, I figured I would get in on it too:


“Sore Loser” laws are really sore winner laws

I noted earlier that Gary Johnson will be leaving the Republican primary and instead seek the Libertarian nomination. There is, potentially, one major obstacle in his way, noted at the very end of the Politico piece I quoted:

Libertarians, who were on the ballot in 45 states, are aiming to be on the ballot in all 50 for 2012. One problem Johnson could face is so called “sore loser” laws that will keep him from appearing as a third party candidate next November because he’s already on the GOP primary ballots in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri.

This invariably brings up the question, “What is a ‘sore-loser’ law?”

The short answer: a most detestable and rank piece of undemocratic filth, which has no place in our country.

The long answer: a sore-loser law is a law the prevents someone who either lost a primary or later quit a primary from running as either a minor party candidate or as an independent candidate.

As you can imagine, this goes a long way towards keeping out alternative voices in American elections. And you have to ask yourself: what is the point? Why do we need a law prohibiting people from exercising their right to run for office? Here’s how politicians would say it, when Charlie Crist ran from the GOP to run as an independent for Senate in 2010:

Johnson to seek #Libertarian Party Nod

Hooray! From Politico:


Gary Johnson will quit the Republican primaries and seek the Libertarian Party nomination instead, POLITICO has learned.

The former two-term New Mexico governor, whose campaign for the GOP nomination never caught fire, will make the announcement at a press conference in Santa Fe on Dec. 28. Libertarian state directors will be informed of Johnson’s plans on a conference call Tuesday night, a Johnson campaign source told POLITICO.

Read more:



The Republican Party, although it has paid lip service to the notion of limited government and free markets for decades, has completely turned its back on such things. And that, as we have seen, has led the GOP to make a mockery of itself, and while it may win some temporary victories in 2012, long term, it does not bode well. The only other one in the race who has any sense is Ron Paul (and maybe John Huntsman), but as we seen from this circus, both the GOP Establishment and much of the base simply has no clue what’s happening.

Gary is making a good choice getting out of the GOP. It’s a sinking ship, and unless they get it back on real limited government principles and jettison the religious conservative wing, it’s going to go all the way to the bottom. I suspect many voters and perhaps even politicians will follow Gary—maybe not today, and maybe not necessarily into the Libertarian Party, but they will in the future.

Johnson to finally announce switch to Libertarian Party?

The Independent Political Report is saying that Gary Johnson will announce his decision to jump to the Libertarian Party today, but then backtracks with an update that says no, he didn’t actually say it, he’s just hinting at it. As I’m writing this, it’s flopping around all over Twitter, but I’m not sure it actually means anything as of yet. Obviously, that may change.

I certainly hope that Johnson runs for the Libertarian Party. The RNC and the GOP have done nothing but ignore him and all but spit in his face. For a party that purports to be about cutting back government, they don’t seem to tolerate candidates who, you know, actually cut back government.

If Johnson runs on the Libertarian line, and even gets just, say, 2% of the vote, he’ll give the Libertarian Party badly needed publicity. (Could you imagine all the headlines from the Post and the New York Times? “Libertarian Party Candidate Breaks 1% Mark—OH NOES!”) And, hopefully, he can restore the smudge on their reputation after their last nominee, former Republican congresscritter Bob Barr (who just recently endorsed Newt Gingrich, of all people.)

Gary Johnson to seek LP nomination?

It might be too good to be true. From the Daily Caller:


Long excluded from the Republican presidential debates, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is now seriously considering a third party run for president in 2012.

Johnson, should he decide to run as third party candidate, could act as a spoiler by siphoning away much-needed votes from the GOP nominee. Veteran Republican strategist Roger Stone, a Johnson supporter, told The Daily Caller earlier this month that such an effort would “pose a great danger for the Republicans” if they nominate a candidate like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.


This is one of the reasons why I think we desperately need to switch to approval voting. Anytime anyone thinks of making an independent or third party run in order to get around the deliberately unfair system, others chime in “But ooooohhhh noooo! That’ll be a spoiler! The other guy who we really don’t want to win will win! You can’t do that! Besides, you’d just waste your vote!”

Baloney. Voting is about choosing the person who best fits your views. There is no such thing as a “wasted vote,” unless you vote for someone who you really don’t agree with. If I voted for, say, Newt Gingrich (which I won’t), I would wasting my vote. This is the fundamental axiom of democracy. It fails when we all engage in tactical voting.

Then, of coures, there’s the GOP’s utter stupidity:


Hey, Aren’t You Forgetting Someone?

I’m always heartened to see third parties, of any stripe, get more attention in the news media. Such as this story from the Daily Caller:

The Occupy Wall Street protests have attracted significant support from Democratic Party politicians. But two of the country’s most significant third parties say that the message of the protests is that the two-party system is broken.

Green Party Media Coordinator Scott McLarty told The Daily Caller, “the claim from some people that the Occupy Wall Street and related ‘Occupy’ protests express support for the Democratic Party is more than disingenuous, it’s plain dishonest.”

“Organizers have made it repeatedly clear that the protests are not partisan, to the point of barring representatives of political parties from speaking publicly at the protests,” McLarty said. “The protests aren’t only driven by anger over the Wall Street’s greed and recklessness, but also by the two party political status quo that enabled Wall Street’s theft of the country’s future.”

Now, I may not agree with the Green Party on a lot of things, but I completely agree that it was both parties that led us to where we are today (and if we look at the unemployment trends for the next decade, then yes, I also agree that they “enabled Wall Street’s theft of the country’s future,” via bailouts, bad regulation, and out-and-out collusion.)

Dan Carlin on Marijuana, China and Iraq

It’s been a long time since I last interviewed Dan Carlin, host of the Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts. That doesn’t mean that he’s stopped being interesting, however. In this installment, I asked his unique, historically based perspective on China, Iraq, the United States military and marijuana.


In your Hardcore History podcast Death Throes of the Republic, you say that there were “perverse incentives” in place that kept Rome in a state of warfare. Having worked in Washington D.C., I have to wonder if the same is true of here. What do you say?

I think that’s going to be a pretty accurate statement in any society where warmaking becomes a regular feature of the system. Once you develop a major societal infrastructure to support such a military establishment, you begin to build up a vast array of interests (both in supplying and providing for such an entity, but also for ways to employ it that would benefit someone). These interests have a way of bending and warping the nation-state’s priorities and interests.  I think that is something that is one of the lessons the writers of Classical Antiquity try to pass on to us.  The people who founded the United States read those authors and understood those lessons, and tried to heed the warnings of the Greek and Roman writers and keep those “perverse incentives”  under control by limiting the growth of a large standing army and by counseling an avoidance of things like “  entangling alliances”   that could drag you into someone else’s wars.

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