Most Americans typically think about politics in terms of “red” and “blue” states or in terms of liberal and conservative. Independents are sought after in elections, but their voting patters and beliefs are not easily understood by either major party. Fitting into that bloc of voters who are considered independents are libertarians — those who are “fiscal conservative” and “socially liberal.”
There has been a lot of talk about how libertarians should vote in this election, but there really doesn’t seem to be much of an understand from where this important voting bloc is coming. In a new e-book — The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center, David Boaz, David Kirby, and Emily Ekins look at the data, offering insight into what issues help dicate the voting patterns of libertarians, which makes up between 10% to 20% of voters.
You can purchase the e-book, which is reasonably priced at $3.99, for your Kindle over at Amazon.com.
Parts of this book were discussed in a forum earlier this month at the Cato Institute as David Kirby and Emily Ekins explained their recent look at the libertarian roots of the Tea Party, a movement that was instrumental in the 2010 mid-term election:
Written by David Boaz, executive vice president at the Cato Institute. It is cross-posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Jennifer Rubin, seeking to dispel “myths about conservatives,” takes on the idea that “the GOP doesn’t believe in community:
President Obama likes to say that Republicans want everyone to be “on his own.” In fact, conservatives, as Romney put it in a speech at Liberty University this year, believe family, communities, churches and other civil institutions are critical building blocks in society. They favor investing authority in the level of government closest to the people (locales and states), which they believe is most responsive and governs best.
That’s a nice theory, and it’s one that keeps many libertarians voting Republican.
As you have seen here and in the news, President Barack Obama has started a war against House Republicans over Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, claiming the the spending cuts being proposed to domestic programs is “social darwinism.” Over at Cato @ Liberty, David Boaz takes Obama to task for the level of discourse he’s using to bash Republicans:
[H]eadlines this week report that President Obama accused the Republicans of “social Darwinism,” and I don’t see anyone exercised about that. A New York Times editorial endorses the attack.
Is “social Darwinist” within some bound of propriety that “socialist” violates? I don’t think so. After all, plenty of people call themselves socialists — not President Obama, to be sure, but estimable figures such as Tony Blair and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Members of the British Labour Party have been known to sing the socialist anthem “The Red Flag” on the floor of Parliament.
But no one calls himself a social Darwinist. Not now, not ever. Not Herbert Spencer. The term is always used to label one’s opponents. In that sense it’s clearly a more abusive term than “socialist,” a term that millions of people have proudly claimed.
Doug Mataconis has already written a very good post weighing in on the legal battle between Charles and David Koch and the Cato Institute, so I’m not going to get into the meat of the issue again. But this recent bomb on the libertarian movement does have me concerned about its future, and with that, it’s something that you can expect us to cover as the case develops.
When it comes to the Koch brothers, I’m typically defensive. I think they’ve become a boogeyman for the Left. With that said, however, the Cato Institute is well-respected for their work promoting free markets, school choice, civil liberties, and an non-interventionist foreign policy. The folks at Cato are willing to call out all sides, including conservatives and Republicans, for trying to increase the size and scope of government. Making the Cato Institute a partisan would be a disaster, ruining the credibility of this respected think tank.
Below is a roundup of the various news and blog coverage of the fight for, what I consider to be, the very heart and soul of the libertarian movement (in no particular order). Not all of it is unbiased, meaning that it does include links to people with close ties to Cato, but it all makes for good reading if you want to follow the story:
The similarities between ObamaCare and Mitt Romney’s signature legislative achievement, the Massachusetts healthcare reform law, have been pointed out by many observers and fact-checkers. In 2010, the Cato Institute put out a video featuring David Boaz and Michael Cannon who explained the how the two laws are essentially one in the same; not just because of the individual mandate (though it’s a big part), but also the subsidies and exchanges required in the plans.
Of course, Romney denies the similarites, insists his plan was based on free market prinicples and is conservative, oftening raising the federalism argument; that his state did what was best for them. But a new study from Health Affairs, which was referenced by Rick Santorum during last Thursday’s debate, highlights the fact that RomneyCare was the model for ObamaCare:
As you can imagine, there wasn’t much in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address that would please libertarians. John Stossel notes that much of what the president said is in fact anathema to those of us that believe in limited government, and offers some of what he would have said if he were in Obama’s shoes:
Our debt has passed $15 trillion. It will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.
But if we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn’t just make economic sense, it is also the moral thing to do. Government is best which governs least.
We’ll start by closing the Department of Education, which saves $100 billion a year. It’s insane to take money from states only to launder it through Washington and then return it to states.
Next, we’ll close the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That saves $41 billion. We had plenty of housing in America before a department was created.
Then we eliminate the Commerce Department: $9 billion. A government that can’t count votes accurately should not try to negotiate trade. We will eliminate all corporate welfare and all subsidies. That means agriculture subsidies, green energy subsidies, ethanol subsidies and so on. None of it is needed.
I propose selling Amtrak. Why is government in the transportation business? Let private companies compete to run the trains.
And we must finally stop one of the biggest assaults on freedom and our pocketbook: the war on drugs. I used drugs. It’s immoral to imprison people who do what I did and now laugh about.
Still, all these cuts combined will only dent our deficit. We must cut Medicare, Social Security and the military.
They’ve been doing a series, “Exploring Liberty,” which explains various aspects of libertarianism. The first video in the series, hosted by David Boaz, offered an “introduction to libertarian thought.” The latest video, a lecture presented by Christopher Preble, explains our philosophy’s often misunderstood take on foreign policy and war:
Back in July, Executive Vice President of the libertarian Cato Institute David Boaz chimed in on the 2012 GOP nomination asking “Is There Still Time?“
Barry Goldwater announced his candidacy for president on January 3, 1964, about nine weeks before the New Hampshire primary. A decade later, Ronald Reagan announced his challenge to President Gerald Ford on November 20, 1975. After that unsuccessful race, he announced another, this time successful candidacy, on November 13, 1979.
I’m not suggesting that Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, or Chris Christie is another Ronald Reagan or even another Goldwater. Nor am I unaware of the changes in the campaign process. But I do wonder if a candidate with real appeal really has to announce his or her candidacy so many months before earlier candidates did.
Now he’s asking “Is It Too Late for Another Candidate?“
Now the William J. Clinton Presidential Center (whatever happened to good ol’ Bill? I guess “William J. Clinton” sounds more presidential) reminds us of a more recent president who started his campaign later than any of today’s contenders. From September 30 to October 3, the center will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bill Clinton’s announcement of his candidacy, which happened on October 2, 1991.
Is time running out? Or could a candidate with something attractive to offer still get into the race? It’s still earlier in the season than when Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton announced their candidacies.
With the Ames Straw Poll this weekend, the most important date in the campaign at this point, candidates are feverishly fighting for position in Iowa. The latest from poll Rasmussen out of the Hawkeye State shows three candidates, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul within 6 points of each other and Rick Perry, who will finally announce that he is running on Saturday, isn’t far behind.
- Michele Bachmann: 22%
- Mitt Romney: 21%
- Ron Paul: 16%
- Rick Perry: 12%
- Tim Pawlenty: 11%
- Newt Gingrich: 5%
- Herman Cain: 4%
- Jon Huntsman: 2%
- Other: 7%
Pawlenty is downplaying the significance of the straw poll, that is if a “credible” candidate doesn’t win; clearly a shot at Bachmann and Paul. Nevermind that he is flirting with Huntsman and Santorum for the least likely to win the nomination, that is if you pay attention to the national polling. Even Paul, for example, has a good chance of winning, it shouldn’t been passed off as a fluke; as David Boaz notes in response to George Will:
David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, is firing back at Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other neo-conservatives that are criticizing some Republicans presidential candidates for what they call “isolationist” views: