30 October 2003

See, I Told You So 

This is very amusing, and you should click on it right now. If you don’t get the joke, read this. But whatever you do, don’t think for a moment about the incredible hypocrisy of our leaders… it’ll kill your buzz.

Greens, Libertarians, look in the mirror 

On numerous occasions, I have been asked why I support Howard Dean for President, considering the fact that I am a vocal opponent of the Democratic Party. The answer is not that I have compromised my principles, as my conservative friends have wondered. Nor am I a part of Tucker Carlson’s right-wing conspiracy to ensure a Bush landslide by backing a “Vermont liberal”. The truth may shock you - I support Howard Dean because of Harry Browne.

In a recent article entitled The Pathetic State of Politics in America, two-time LP presidential candidate Harry Browne expressed his views on next year’s race. The man I voted for had this to say on the 2004 election: “we'll be told that the future of the republic depends on our vote when it's big-spending George Bush vs. big-spending Howard Dean, big-spending Wesley Clark, big-spending Hillary Clinton, or big-spending someone else. It will be one more meaningless election”. Browne closes with this analysis:

So in any modern election, you have three choices:
1. Vote Libertarian, knowing your candidate won't win, but at least giving you the satisfaction of being able to tell the politicians you don't want to play in their games.
2. Don't vote at all, refusing to pretend your vote is going to alter the future of the republic.
3. Vote Republican or Democrat, and try not to look at yourself in the mirror for a week or so afterward.

Tell me, dear reader… does this reflect your view? Do you, like Harry Browne, believe that lower voter turnout is good for the health of the republic? Do you believe that your vote does not matter when Florida was decided by 537 ballots? Does “voting your conscience” mean that you only support a candidate who shares your view on each and every issue?

While I respect ideological purity, I personally take a more pragmatic approach to politics, and I believe I share this practice with the majority of American voters. Earlier in his article, Harry Browne said this on the California recall: “Except for Tom McClintock, every candidate was too busy touting new budget-busting government programs.” Although not a specific endorsement of the Republican candidate, this is still a slap in the face of every member of the Roscoe, Hickey, and Hamidi campaigns – Libertarians all – who ran under the banner of individual liberty and less government waste. If Mr. Browne can see a difference between Republicans and Democrats in California, why shouldn’t I look for those differences on the national stage?

This, then, is my call to arms for independents and third party voters: look yourself in the mirror. To progressives whose preferred candidate has never polled above 5% nationally, I urge you to consider joining the Dean campaign, to help keep “Bush Lite” from winning the Democratic nomination. To Nader voters, especially in Florida and New Hampshire, I ask you to consider whether or not you got what you wanted from the 2000 election. To my fellow Libertarians, I ask, should we continue to caucus with the Republicans when our tax dollars and our civil liberties are being squandered to further a neo-conservative crusade? I invite all of you to read these words, look yourself in the mirror, and unite with thousands of grassroots supporters in our fight to take our country back.

29 October 2003

The Progressive interviews Jim Hightower 

Southern humorist and liberal activist Jim Hightower has a lot to say about the 2000 and 2004 elections, some of which may be found here. I wholeheartedly concur with his assessment of the Democratic field.

28 October 2003

Another Libertarian for Dean 

It was the seventh day of November, in the last year of the last millennium, and there was a slight chill in the Florida air. I was working with my buddy Dan in his parent's warehouse, rushing madly to finish our labors in time to attend the Libertarian election night party down at the Marriott. The early returns on talk radio suggested a Gore landslide. "At least I voted my conscience", I thought.

Our moods lightened at the party. The blue-haired girl was there, so Dan was happy. There was a cooler full of Sam Adams, so I was happy. Several of our candidates won local offices, proving that good people with shoestring budgets can sometimes triumph over power and money, so we were all happy. Then the man on the television announced a correction... George W. Bush is our projected winner... and the room was filled with cheering and applause.

For a moment I thought the lesser of two evils had won.

Every American knows the story from here. The recount nightmare. The court battles. The endless yammering of talking heads on the cable news shows. "Don't blame me, I voted for Browne" was more than just a bumper sticker for me back then... it was a comfortable blanket on a cold, dark night.

Then it was over - by right or by might, Bush was our President. I breathed a deep second debate sigh and hoped for the best. W said he was going to build a new Republican party, a party of compassion and inclusiveness, a party that reflected America. He said our foreign policy wouldn't be about nation-building anymore. He said he would provide tax relief to working families and leave no child behind. Even if he didn't accomplish any of this, I still felt that my civil liberties would be safer without Tipper Gore and Holy Joe running around D.C., and I assumed that George was too stupid to do any real damage.

Every clear-thinking American knows better than that now. My friends are dying overseas because of a petulant vendetta, while the real enemies of freedom grow stronger everyday. The surplus is gone, the economy is a mess, and corporate criminals go free while non-violent drug offenders fill our prisons (well, all but one). Our fair and balanced press turns a blind eye to global outrage, while Rove and Ashcroft quietly conspire to silence the voice of dissent.

In 2004, we must take our country back, and the man to lead us in that fight is Howard Dean. Subsequent posts will hopefully prove this to you, dear reader. In time, we will discuss the Libertarian Party, its values and principles, and why the best hope for an eventual return to limited Constitutional government now rests in the hands of a Democrat from Vermont. For now, I welcome you to my humble corner of the web.

Standard disclaimer: these are my opinions, and no one's paying me to share them.
If you'd like to share yours, feel free to drop me a line or find me at Chat For America.

The Law Is For All