Bush, Kerry, or?

I’ve gotten a few shocked comments that I’ve linked to or reproduced libertarian arguments for or against voting for President Bush or Senator Kerry. How could I support/oppose Kerry/Bush? In each case, however, I’ve linked to two essays, one for Bush and one against. I find this a difficult election, given the two remarkably unappetizing choices before us. As to how I’ll vote, I’m keeping my own counsel, at least for now.

14 Responses to “Bush, Kerry, or?”

  1. What about Badnarik?

    I know the guy is not all that hot. In fact he was a very bad choice. However, a vote for Badnarik will be taken not so much as a vote for Badnarik but a vote for libertarianism.

  2. I can’t understand why you are tempted to vote for either one of these men. If you do, of course, you will bear at least some co-responsibility (more likely blame) for their(probably) disasterous policies. Badnarik has faults but he’s got my vote.

  3. Badnarik has faults? The man thinks we should chain felons to their beds and let their muscles atrophy so that they are easier to handle. He has compared Roosevelt to Hitler. I believe (correct me if I am mistaken) that he has suggested that he would blow up the UN building in New York one week after assuming office.

    Would anyone really want this man to assume the most powerful office in the world–or is this just another unqualified candidate offered up because of his supposed ideological purity?

  4. I don’t know that Badnarik is a “worse” candidate than Bush or Kerry (by whatever metric one wants to use). I’m more concerned by the notion that Badnarik could do well enough to gain some modicum of national media attention, thus ensuring that millions of people who’ve never heard of libertarianism will forever associate the movement with notions like, “Driver licenses are unconstitutional.” Given that the realistic options are a Bush/Kerry victory with Badnarik polling well or a Bush/Kerry victory with Badnarik polling poorly, I question whether the former is actually a better outcome.

  5. Nacim Bouchtia

    It seems that you really have to take the time and research all this to find out that Badnarik finds driving liscences unconstitutional. If he does gain media attention, it’s going to be directed to his main issues. That’s what he pretty much talks about whenever he’s given the chance. Unless of course I happen to be mistaken and that driving liscences is his whole campaign platform.

  6. Driving licenses is not his main platform. I saw him perform quite effectively in a recent debate. He had some very good lines that went over with the crowed including “Everywhere I stand is a free speech zone.” Would the two non-entities who are running as major party candidates have ever come up with anything like that?

    In fairness, the media does often focus on the drivers license thing but Badarik does not.

    Of course, you are free to vote for either Bush and Kerry but….I couldn’t bring myself to do either in good conscience, especially since I would not to be have my actions associated with the administration of either man. Nobody can claim that they don’t have plenty of reason to know what they are voting for in either one of those cases.

  7. Bill Woolsey

    I haven’t decided how to vote.

    I have always voted for the Libertarian
    candidate, but Badnarik has too many
    kooky patriot theories.

    The unconstitutional drivers license is
    pretty bad, though what is more worrying is
    that the usual version of this theory among
    the sovereign citizen movement is that by
    accepting a drivers license you are contractually
    obligated to pay income taxes and so on. And,
    if you refrain from getting a drivers license,
    or social security card, then there is no
    legal obligation to pay income tax, etc. Does
    Badnarik buy into that nonsense? Did he? I’m
    not sure, but it raises a red flag.

    Badnarik also promotes the notion that there
    is no legal obligation to pay the income tax.
    It isn’t only the implausible notion that the
    income tax is unconstitutional, but that further,
    the IRS knows this and so is tricking people into
    paying the income tax. That is pretty much crazed.

    And finally, he seems to believe that it is
    significant that the Federal Reserve is privately
    owned. This is another crazed patriot theory.
    The bankers are making big money through the

    He has also promoted the liberty dollar
    scheme (or scam) that issues $10 bills redeemable
    in about $5 in silver. By paying a fee, one gets
    into a pyramid scheme that allows one to buy the
    money for $8. Recruiting more members allows
    for profit. Badnarik is in the pyramid scheme.

    So, Badnarik represents that element of the
    libertarian movement that overlaps the patriot

    Of course, Bush is very bad. And Kerry is
    probably worse.

    Don’t vote? Write in someone? I just don’t
    know what to do.

    Maybe just vote for Badnarik.

    He does support significant cuts in the size
    and scope of government. He proposes bringing
    our troops home for Iraq over 9 months.

    Only a few more days to decide.

    Why didn’t Judge Gray run for President
    rather than U.S. Senate?

  8. Greg Newburn

    Badnarik is a buffoon, keeping in line with the bulk of the “establishment” Libertarian Party. I know there are some good guys over there, but come on.

    Today I heard a radio ad for the Libertarian candidate for my State House District. He said, “I believe in self-ownership.” Ok, that’s great. But since when do sound philosophical premises make for good politics?

    Only when libertarians realize they don’t have to “out-libertarian” each other, and only when they realize that politics is not a race for philosophical purity, but for power, will they ever come close to achieving victory. The Libertarian Party can’t do that.

  9. Brian Radzinsky

    The problem I’m too often finding in this election, is that there is no candidate completely suitable to the independent thinker, and there may never be. Big Politics are founded on the idea that masses of people come together and pick the man (or woman) with whom they agree enough to hate the opponent. This disgusting mob mentality is characteristic of partisan politics, but it is a reality with a paritisan system.

    And the LP is part of that system.

    I noticed a lot of buzz of Badnarik, especially when the main two party choices are so very grim. The problem with the LP specifically is that the “drivers’ licenses are unconstitutional” mentality is the only thing the public, with there short attention spans and, sees. The LP hasn’t campaigned on a message of optimism or vision for an America of freedom, opting instead for a more reactionary approach, viz., the sort of grumbling political nihlism that all too often means that a decent candidate gets lumped together with the Michigan Militia.

    This election for the LP, on a broader scale, is a referendum on the two-party system. At least it could have been. But Badnarik’s occasional nutcaseness (for some of his statements there are no more concise descriptors) has failed to make it such. And so the LP is sadly reduced to a group of angered gun-owners, instead of a group of political mavericks seeking to affect positive change.

    Bush or Kerry or Badnarik even pose too challenging a choice for me already. The scary thing isn’t indecision, its voters’ potential kneejerk quick draw that frighten me.

  10. Hmmm, Two Unpleasant Choices [redacted from the original]?

    I don’t know why someone as smart as Tom Palmer thinks he needs to choose between these at all. (But I would be interested in hearing why, if he does think he should vote for one.)

  11. Mr. Radzinsky,

    The LP no doubt has a PR problem, in part brought upon itself. However, it is certainly untrue that the “‘drivers’ licenses are unconstitutional’ mentality is the only thing the public, with there short attention spans and, sees.”

    Badnarik has recently been covered by the LA Times, the AP via Yahoo! News, NY Times and the Boston Globe, and appeared on FOX News, NPR, C-Span’s Washington Journal and MSNBC. (All of this coverage should be accessible from http://www.badnarik.org or Google news).

    Although such coverage was far from ideal from a PR perspective, not one of these mainstream press sources ever mentioned the constitutionality of driver’s licenses issue, or any similar idiosyncratic beliefs.

    Whatever weird ideas Badnarik has allegedly espoused is much more of an issue among libertarians than general voters. While the LP still has a long way to go in the mind of the public, it is definitely going in the right direction. Unfortunately, such a task is made more difficult when otherwise valuable colleagues are too quick to write off the LP and fail to get involved and bring about positive change. Let us not make the bad PR of the LP be a self-fulfilling prophecy by only focusing on the negative.


  12. Tom G. Palme

    Lots of interesting comments. I don’t agree with the implicit premise of David Beito’s approach, which is that if you vote for someone you’re responsible for his or her actions. (“I would not to have my actions associated with the administration of either man.”) I think that a defensive vote against the worst candidate does not involve moral responsibility for all the candidate’s objectionable actions. If you had voted for (to take the standard extreme example) one of the non-Nazi candidates in Germany in the 1930s, for example, you would have voted to avoid the horrors of National Socialism, but that does not mean that you would be responsible for all of the objectionable actions that that non-Nazi candidate might take.

    I also know that my vote won’t make a difference to the outcome (especially as I live in the District of Columbia), but I’m committed enough to liberal republicanism (no relation ot the GOP)to think that I ought to vote for, at least, the lesser of the evils. I still don’t know whom to consider least bad; I hate the idea that Bush would be rewarded (or consider himself vindicated) by being reelected, especially after the disasters of this administration, but on the other hand I worry that a Kerry administration might be worse, including on foreign policy. (I suspect that Kerry would keep us in Iraq longer than would Bush.) And as for a protest vote, I’ve no problem with that, except that I’m not sure that I want to reward the LP for their choices, either.

    As to supporting or opposing one of the major candidates, we’re going to get one of them ruling over us. If I refuse to vote, it won’t exempt me from their taxes, controls, and other exercises of power. So I almost certainly will vote.

    I think that this is an election in which libertarians of good will can, in good conscience (or at least without feeling too dirty) vote for Kerry, Bush, or the LP candidate. I don’t think that was true last time around, but this election has offered such a terrible set of choices that how one votes will depend on how one evaluates the likely outcome of a Kerry or Bush victory/defeat. And reasonable people can disagree on that.