Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why I Won't Vote Democrat For a Long, Long Time: Patriotism and Partisanship

I recently read a post in which someone opined that patriotism implies voting across party lines at times.  This evoked a recurring image of a country that ping-pongs between two lame alternatives, neither of which give anybody (conservative or liberal or libertarian) what they want.  More statism, more crony capitalism, more entitlements, more debt, as we struggle our way into an ever tighter noose.

Personally, I think we could use a Libertarian President in the near future, I think we would have a fiscally strong country if Progressivism took a backseat and our people were mainly choosing between conservative and libertarian schools of thought.  I think some very interesting debates would come out of that.  But I confess that I don't think we are not even close to ready for a Libertarian President.
Here's why:

In a certain sense, Ron Paul is too conservative for both Republicans and Democrats.   Look at how liberal the Ryan-Widen Plan was.  Ron Paul said it was not nearly as austere as it needed to be.  But look at how ultra-radical conservative the Ryan was painted to be.  Run for your lives! Ryan's coming for your benefits!   If you don't want the federal government to take away those "free" goodies you love so much, why would anyone take you seriously about how you would vote libertarian if you had your druthers.  You don't want a fiscally conservative government; you want your federal government goodies no matter how deep we go into the hole.  So, Ryan's an ultra-rightwing nut.  But libertarians are cool.

Another reason that I'd be wary of backing a Libertarian Presidential candidate:  It's not clear to me that Libertarian candidates can articulate a clear position on judicial restraint. Ron Paul might put a middling on the Court (which would be better than the progressive rationalizers that Obama chooses).  Then again, Republicans have not always put men as judicially restrained as Scalia and Thomas on the Court.  I mean, O'Connor?

Now, there are Libertarian judges that would consider Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid un-Constitutional, but they would be rejected by Republicans and Democrats alike.  There are other Libertarian judges that would not have a clear philosophy of restraint and instead would be activists for the Libertarian agenda, using Liberal deconstruction of the Constitution to argue in favor of their agenda rather than respecting the Framers' conception of separation of powers.  The ends would be more important than the bad precedents that might be set for this sort of Libertarian.

Additionally, Libertarians often have a conceptions of individual liberty over community, of national defense, and of religious freedom that I don't necessarily agree with.   I'm very concerned with the freedom of communities to determine what is socially acceptable, the freedom of parents to determine what their children are exposed to at school and home and in their community.  If someone like Ron Paul could really fight tooth and nail for school vouchers or some real plan for liberating more of the 99% from national, er, public education, his notion of a secular state might be more palatable.  I'm not sure he could accomplish anything more than enabling liberal social policy and stalemating on a budget.

Where we really need Libertarians is in Congress.  When I say this, I've heard, "But Libertarians would get rid of all government programs!"  I think it's a little more nuanced than that, but even so, what would make anyone imagine a Congress entirely composed of Libertarians.  Personally, I think it would be a more interesting scene if there were a lot more parties in general represented in Congress.  I think if between a third and a quarter of Congress were Libertarians though, there would be a lot more leverage toward fiscal responsibility.

I think that there are "moderate" positions with social conservatism on one end and libertarianism on the other; this is the kind of moderate I would want to vote for.  But between a moderate (between conservative federalism and liberal federalism) that pretends to be a conservative and a liberal fascist who pretended to be a moderate, there is not much contest for me.  I want to show this statist leftwing-nut the door.  (He can't even pretend to be a moderate to get re-elected like Clinton did; he's tacked hard Left instead.)

The presentation of Obama as a unifying, postpartisan, postracial moderate with the reality of the divisive, ultra-partisan, critical-race-theorist, dirty tactics Chicago politician that we got... Well, it's the last straw.  Maybe there will come along a Democrat that is more conservative than his Republican opponent, and I may well vote for him.  Barring that unlikely event, I'm going to vote for someone more conservative.  If enough people do the same, the Democrats just might have to reinvent themselves to something more similar to Mr. Jefferson's party, to libertarianism or to "classical liberalism" or something that is not so radically progressive. They reinvented their party  in the 60s and they can do it again. And they would have to if few people vote for them again.

But most liberals will vote for Democrats no matter how bad they are at keeping their promises.  Half "independents" will vote against who ever has most recently pissed them off (well, that has really threatened the Republicrat duopoly! ha!)  The other half will vote for whoever will immediately benefit them the most.

I will vote conservative all the way for the same reason that many liberals (for reasons I don't agree with) vote liberal all the way; because I believe that it is the right road for the country to follow.  But I will be a lot more skeptical than ever that a Democrat is not an Obama-style progressive.  He or she will have to do a lot to convince me that this is not the case.  After this campaign, I might just vote Republican in response to memories of insincere "post-racial" speeches, media feet-dragging on Benghazi, CNN's constant pro-Bama plugs, Abortion-palooza, and Pelosi marching with her gavel.  

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