The word “libertarian” isn’t well known, so pollsters don’t find many people claiming to be libertarian. And usually they don’t ask. But a large portion of Americans hold generally libertarian views — views that might be described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, or as Gov. William Weld told the 1992 Republican National Convention, “I want the government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom.” They don’t fit the red-blue paradigm, and they have their doubts about both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. They’re potentially a swing vote in elections. Background on the libertarian vote here.From my Blogger profile, first published in 2005:
And note here: If you tell people that “libertarian” means “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” 44 percent will accept the label.
Politically moderate, I'm conservative on foreign policy and national defense issues (surprise!) and liberal on social issues. I've voted Republican since 1980 but if the Libertarian party were viable I'd support them.It looks like I'm more mainstream than I thought… but not in the Republican Party. And nothing brings this more to the fore in my feeble lil mind than the current brouhaha concerning the self-destructing GOP that is unfolding in Upstate New York… I'm speaking specifically of the special election in NY-23 for the US House. That election is garnering a LOT of attention among those who follow politics closely. Let's quote The Other McCain, writing in The American Spectator:
In the past six days, Hoffman has been endorsed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, former National Republican Congressional Campaign chairmen John Linder and Tom Cole…It's fairly unusual for an off-cycle special election to attract this much attention, let alone candidate endorsements from Party luminaries like Palin, Pawlenty, and Gingrich, et al. But if you (a) haven't been paying attention to this issue and (b) followed the link to The Fix above (which is highly recommended), you'll note the NY-23 election amounts to a serious litmus test of conservative bona fides. It's also quite troubling. Here's an excerpt from Ben Smith's blog at The Politico, where he quotes Gingrich (appearing on Fox News):
The complete list of Hoffman endorsers is a long one, and seems to include nearly every Republican except Newt Gingrich and Dede Scozzafava, the later (sic) of whom is Hoffman's opponent, and the former her only prominent supporter. According to the two most recent polls, the liberal Republican Scozzafava is now in third place, while Hoffman has pulled ahead of Democrat Bill Owens.
GINGRICH: Well, I just find it fascinating that my many friends who claim to be against Washington having too much power, they claim to be in favor of the 10th Amendment giving states back their rights, they claim to favor local control and local authority, now they suddenly get local control and local authority in upstate New York, they don't like the outcome.
There were four Republican meetings. In all four meetings, State Representative Dede Scozzafava came in first. In all four meetings, Mr. Hoffman, the independent, came in either last or certainly not in the top three. He doesn't live in the district. Dede Scozzafava...
VAN SUSTEREN: He doesn't live in the district?
GINGRICH: No, he lives outside of the district. Dede Scozzafava is endorsed by the National Rifle Association for her 2nd Amendment position, has signed the no tax increase pledge, voted against the Democratic governor's big-spending budget, is against the cap-and-trade tax increase on energy, is against the Obama health plan, and will vote for John Boehner, rather than Nancy Pelosi, to be Speaker.
Now, that's adequately conservative in an upstate New York district. And on other issues, she's about where the former Republican, McHugh, was. So I say to my many conservative friends who suddenly decided that whether they're from Minnesota or Alaska or Texas, they know more than the upstate New York Republicans? I don't think so. And I don't think it's a good precedent. And I think if this third party candidate takes away just enough votes to elect the Democrat, then we will have strengthened Nancy Pelosi by the divisiveness. We will not have strengthened the conservative movement.
VAN SUSTEREN: What is it that they have identified as why they think the independent candidate...
GINGRICH: Well, there's no question, on social policy, she's a liberal Republican.
VAN SUSTEREN: On such as abortion?
GINGRICH: On such as abortion, gay marriage, which means that she's about where Rudy Giuliani was when he became mayor. And yet Rudy Giuliani was a great mayor. And so this idea that we're suddenly going to establish litmus tests, and all across the country, we're going to purge the party of anybody who doesn't agree with us 100 percent -- that guarantees Obama's reelection. That guarantees Pelosi is Speaker for life. I mean, I think that is a very destructive model for the Republican Party.
(Bold emphasis by Smith) I chose Smith's blog for the quote above because the comments thread is VERY interesting for us political junkies. And I happen to agree with Gingrich… what's happening in NY-23 sets a dangerous precedent… which is to say an opening for knee-jerk Third Party candidacies whenever and wherever a significant minority of conservatives disagrees with the mainstream GOP. As Newt says: this sort of fragmentation almost guarantees The One's reelection. Newt and I also seem to be in the minority on this issue, as well. I'm not that much of a political junkie to claim I know what's going on in NY-23 but I know enough to see things don't look good for us Libertarian-type conservatives… and the GOP, as a whole. Shorter: What are we doing in this handbasket? And where are we going, anyway?(Just as an aside: if you read blog-bud Morgan regularly you know that he and I have been sparring on this exact issue since last year's Republican primaries and well before. It all began when he backed Fred Thompson and I supported Giuliani; the discussion has continued full-tilt boogie since he's become a serious Palinista. Which I'm not. See "libertarian," above.)