Can We Stop Taking the Libertarians Seriously Now?

It really is time for us to stop treating the Libertarians as a serious party nationally.

In 2016, the Republican and Democrat nominees for President both had historically high unpopularity ratings and historically high levels of distrust.

The best the Libertarians could do was nominate Gary Johnson, a pot head former governor, who then chose one of the most liberal Republicans to ever hold office in the United States, Bill Weld, as his running mate.

What did they then do?

First, they suggested that their Supreme Court picks would look more like Justice Breyer and retired Justice Souter, two of the least libertarian and most government authoritarian members of the Supreme Court in the last three decades.

Second, they defended big government policies and rejected religious liberty premised on the first amendment. They rejected the very libertarian concept of live and let live and let the market decide things.

Third, Bill Weld in particular became an apologist for Hillary Clinton.

They seemed to be more concerned with stopping Trump than getting themselves elected. They ran a bill board campaign and some really, really terrible radio advertisements.

In a year the Libertarians had a chance to make a play for a major share of the vote, they got 3.29% of the vote. It was, to be sure, the best showing for the Libertarians in terms of votes captured since Ed Clark and David Koch ran in 1980. Johnson and Weld topped them by about 100,000 votes.

But they could have done better had the Libertarians put on a more serious race.

The same holds true at the state level. Georgia is a terrific example. Allen Buckley ran as the Libertarian alternative to Senator Johnny Isakson and Democrat Jim Barksdale. In 2004 and 2008, Buckley was the Libertarian candidate and in 2008 served as a spoiler forcing a runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin. Instead of finding a new candidate, the Libertarians went back to Martin 2016 after having run him as their Lieutenant Governor choice in 2006.

The Libertarian Party claims itself as an alternative while some see it as a party wherein a protest vote can be registered against the two major parties. But it is hardly a protest when no one notices.

There is just no reason to treat the Libertarian Party seriously any more. It has been given multiple opportunities to grow up, but wants to remain in Neverland.

Bill Weld Slams The Door On Conservatives

If there was the tiniest chance principled conservatives might consider the Libertarian ticket as the adult alternative to Cheeto Jesus, Bill Weld just killed it (from an interview with Reason TV).

On the Supreme Court…

JOHNSON: Really, there are going to be no litmus test. You’re going to appoint good people, and you’re going appoint people that look at the Constitution of original intent.

WELD: Well, I don’t think you have to panic and say it has to be a way lefty or way righty. Steve Breyer has been a good justice. He was appointed by Democrats.

GILLESPIE: A Massachusetts guy, right?

WELD: A Massachusetts guy. Merrick Garland, I think, would have been a very good pick, and he’s nominated by Obama. Everyone sort of agrees on that. It’s just the two party hysteria that says, “Just as you can have far-right congressmen in the Republican Party and far-left congressmen, congresswomen in the Democratic Party, therefore the same is true for the Supreme Court.” The opposite is the case. You want people who are tranquil of mind and can analyze the issues and come to a conclusion that makes sense, rooted in the jurisprudence of our country going back hundreds of years.

On Congress…

GILLESPIE: You mentioned far-right and far-left people in Congress. Who are current members of the Senate and the House that you think you can work with? Because if you guys come in, obviously you’re not going to have a libertarian Congress.

JOHNSON: I think there is a real opportunity to, not naming names, but just–

GILLESPIE: Name names! Name names.

WELD: Rob Portman, obviously. Kelly Ayotte. Susan Collins, the best of all. Mark Kirk on the Republican side. A guy, he’s a challenger, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. Not saying I’m endorsing him, but he’s obviously a person of substantial ability.

Yeah. This really gives Trump ammunition to claim he’s the only one who would even consider appointing conservative justices. But we can trust Trump to do only one thing.

In Defense Of Dipstick Libertarians

The best part of the Libertarian Party is Reason Magazine*. I really enjoy Nick Gillespie’s charm in sticking it to a bloated whale carcass of a federal government drunk from its own fermented rotting flesh. But sometimes we have to remind them that only grownups should govern America.

The Libertarians are a shining example of what happens when people elevate principle over responsibility. They end up with a big tent where the only price of admission is showing up and agreeing that showing up is sufficient because rules are for fools. So National Review’s Ian Tuttle got himself down to Orlando to hang out with the Libertarians as they convened their party’s party (you should really read his report, it’s worth the time).

I had given the L’s a fair hearing in the last few months since it’s obvious the Republicans have decided to forfeit this year’s election and play against the conservative side. My last look was cut short after seeing what (then-presumptive) nominee Gary Johnson stood for. Erick threw some wisdom their way suggesting that they not demonstrate insanity by doing the same thing twice (nominate Gary Johnson) and expecting different results (more than 1 percent of the vote).

But they didn’t listen. They didn’t go with Austin Petersen–a man who seemed at least to have the patina of a conservative–and they nominated Johnson again, while confirming what everyone has always thought about the Libertarian Party while doing so.

Now Gillespie appears obligated to defend the clown show, dismissing the teenage antics with “Har har har.”

The mind boggles that anyone belonging to an ideological movement or party that calls Trump a pushover on immigration has the temerity to mock Libertarians because they still dig Buffy the Vampire Slayer or something. Suits-with-sneakers! Getta load of this!

I dig Joss Whedon, binge watch Firefly, and get down being an unshaven T-shirt and sneakers guy as much as anyone. I’m a geek’s geek. But I also believe that a modicum of seriousness and–yes, even decorum–is required to govern. The Libertarians had a unique chance to break their own mold this year and emerge from a political version of the SCA** into a something resembling an actual adult movement.

And they blew it.

Let’s stipulate that however silly Libertarians may be, and however much they might desperately want the future to feature only private sidewalks and for Soylent Green to be purchased exclusively with Bitcoin or Ethereum, they are not as batshit crazy and unhinged as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the two parties and movements they represent. Yes, we libertarians (big L and small l) like comic books and science fiction and have people who show up at national conventions wearing boots on their heads and strip down to thongs and argue over whether such unannounced nudity contravenes the non-aggression principle. Dunno about you, but when I look at a future in which I can be hanging out with the likes of Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee or Elizabeth Warren and Anthony Weiner or with Vermin Supreme and James Weeks II, I’m happy to choose the latter pair every time.

Stop it, Nick. You’re making a false dichotomy and you know it.

Huckabee plays a pretty good bass guitar. Ted Cruz knows more Star Wars lore and can quote Star Trek better than half the thong-wearing, tattooed weenies that littered Orlando. Besides, neither Star Wars nor Star Trek posit a libertarian point of view. I think the Empire or the First Order might be more in line with some of the positions held by those who booed Petersen when he suggested there should be laws against selling heroin to five-year-olds. Behold the power of the Dark Side! Laws are for boobs (or we’ll destroy your planet).

Gillespie invites us (liberals and conservatives) to live “in a libertarian world that is freer, fairer, and more fun than ever.” Fair enough. I’ll go there when I don’t need to be the adult supervision.

This only makes me more convinced that America needs another party–a conservative party free from meatballs, numbnuts, lamebrains, and nitwits in its leadership, who understand where our culture is, and can move to a conservative position without proposing messiahhood a la Trump (who lies about conservative positions anyway).

*The articles are awesome at Reason, so much so that the federal government sought to shut them up by prosecutorial fiat. But the comments section is like trolling through an unfiltered sewer, which is what got the U.S. Attorney’s attention in the first place.

**I have no issue with the Society for Creative Anachronism. They are adults who invented cosplay and do it very, very well. They are also loving, wonderful people–some of my best friends are longtime SCA. The Libertarian Party would be better served by those SCA leaders than some of the asshats who mar their organization.