On Staying Home

This is an excellent post, overall, on advice for those backing their favorite anti-Mitt candidate, but this is the most profound piece of advice in the post:

I hear those among you who say you’ll sit this election out.  ”If the party loses because they didn’t go conservative enough for me, it’ll teach them a lesson”.   That’s not only groaningly solipsistic – it’s not, after all, all about you – it’s also just not the way political parties and organizations work.  I’ve said it a few times in the past few weeks, and I’m going to keep saying it until y’all get it right; Political parties don’t “learn lessons” – they reflect the will of those who show up.  And if conservatives – and all you libertarian Ron Paul supporters – don’t show up, then the “establishment wins.

This is more true than many realize. I am most decidedly not a fan of how the GOP operates in both my county, and also the state, but the fact of the matter is you have to show up if you want to be have your voice heard. That requires, to some degree, knowing when to stick to your principles, and when to be willing to remain a part of a larger coalition. Too many make the mistake of believing that politics is about principles. It’s about no such thing. Politics is a beauty contest for ugly people. Principles provide you with goals; they tell you where you want to try to bring things in four years.

The rest of that game is all playing your cards well. But you have to be in the game if you want to have a possibility of winning. The big problem with libertarians is they make the mistake of believing politics is a philosophical debate, rather than a card game. It’s a lot more the latter than the former. You have to play the cards your dealt, and the only thing that is going to save our asses in this hand is the fact that our opponents have to play a worse one.

42 thoughts on “On Staying Home”

  1. Those that do not participate, stagnate and pontificate , are the first to cry foul when they are slighted. I am all for returning to land owners only, the privilage and responsibility of the vote.

  2. No, I’ll just be voting for who I see as the best candidate. I will not vote for Obama. And, if Romney gets the nomination, I will not vote for white Obama. I’ll probably be voting for Gary Johnson, if he gets the Libertarian nomination. I refuse to waste my vote by voting against someone.

    1. So you’ll waste your vote in other ways. Maybe the Obama admin will send you tickets to his 2nd term inauguration.

      1. Voting for the right person is not a wasted vote. Voting for one or the other evil is a wasted vote.

    2. +1 on Gary Johnson. I’ll vote for someone I want to win – and I don’t want Obama or Romney to win. So voting for Romney would make as much sense for me as voting for Obama. Not that there’s much difference..

  3. Maybe a lot of your readers are too young to remember the election in 1980. I was there.

    That election, like this one, is not about the Republican candidate. It is about the Democrat President, who must, must, must be voted out of office, even if the replacement is a syphilitic camel or Mitt Romney, whichever wins the primaries.

    “Carthago delenda est.” Not just for Roman Senators.

  4. Single voters don’t swing parties. Coalitions within parties swing parties.

    If you don’t like how your party works, don’t agree with the choices that it makes, join a group, or form a group, within the party.

    All you Ron Paul supporters – don’t show up at the caucus and vote for Paul, then go home when he doesn’t win the nomination. And don’t just hold your nose and vote for the Republican, whoever it is.

    Create an organization within the GOP – or join one that already exists. The Republican Liberty Caucus, as an example.

    There will never be a candidate you entirely agree with. But the candidates you don’t entirely agree with will govern more in line with what you agree with if there is an organized and vocal faction within the Party that provides constant pressure against their straying.

    It takes such an organization to maintain consistency from year to year. To get people into positions of authority within the party. To ensure that the voices of the supporters of liberty always has a representative, when those quiet discussions happen in the back rooms.

    1. They did create an organization within the GOP. It was called the Tea Party. And then it got taken over by big-government neocons and progressives.

      1. Did it? Really? I’m still seeing Tea Party candidates here challenging long establish GOP candidates in the primaries and scaring the shit out of them.

  5. I read that post yesterday and didn’t think it was that fantastic.

    Like Tim, I will turn out in November, but I will NOT be pulling any levers for any Republicans … it’ll be Gary Johnson or a write-in for Ron Paul.

    The way the ‘establishment’ wins (and keeps ‘winning’) is when libertarians and classical liberals keep voting for POS like Mitt or Newt, thereby showing the establishment that they need not move to the right, they can just keep pushing the same status quo candidates and we’ll all fall in line.

    Not me.

    Vox Day contended that Obama would be the best thing to happen for liberty, far better than McCain. The likelihood that Mittens will be the GOP nominee proves him wrong.

    Our government derives its’ just powers from the consent of the governed; voting for a statist is tacit consent, and I will not.

        1. This is like 1992 and 1996 all over again. Divide and conquer…

          Don’t bitch in a year when the wealth redistribution executive orders start flying off the oval office desk. Don’t bitch when the EPA runs wild with carbon capping schemes, and don’t bitch when the ATF goes wild with regulatory nonsense that would never fly through congress.

          1. David, you make perfect sense (except when you make it my fault that Obama will win a 2nd term).

            But here’s my thing … I am a libertarian (nigh on an anarchist), and it’s unlikely that I’ll ever vote GOP again. How would voting for any GOP candidate (save Ron Paul) advance my agenda?

            It won’t.

            Romney will be so close to Obama he will be indistinguishable from Obama; he can’t articulate conservative ideas because he doesn’t subscribe to any. Gingrich can articulate conservative ideas – when he has them, but make no mistake, he’s a statist as well.

            I am a firm believer that the government that governs least (or at all) governs best. I see no one in the current GOP field save Ron Paul who matches my political views.

            Will I ultimately contribute to an Obama victory in November? If you”re a glass-half-empty kind of guy, then I guess I will. But the bigger cause will be that Romney will be distasteful enough that conservatives won’t be able to squeeze their nostrils hard enough to vote for him.

            1. I guess you have to ask yourself what your end goal is? Is it to stand up and make a point that no one will pay attention to. Or, is it to make BHO a one term’r.

              It really is that simple. With a few limited exceptions, we really are a two party system and it’s a two horse race. Sure you can place you money on horse that will never get out of the gate to run the race, but, what good does that do.

              A race is won or lost on independent votes, not a party base. For all the talk you do know. When you get in the voting both the reality of your vote will set in and you’ll change course.

              1. As I point out to many of my Democrat friends who hate President Bush….”Show me a single major policy difference between President Obama and his predecessor.”

                I can name a few (pursued some under the radar 2A impediments, actually launched attacks into Pakistan).

                But overall, it’d be hard pressed to tell much difference between them besides skin tone.

              2. “Make a point that no one will pay attention to”? They might pay attention when the big-government Republican loses to the big-government Democrat. Maybe they won’t run a big-government Republican next time then.

                Potential F&F aside, Romney has a worse track record on gun control than Obama does.

      1. Well, so….

        Seriously, I view little likelihood that policies will be much different under Romney than Obama. I don’t trust Romney to appoint staunch Constitutionalist/Libertarian judges.

        Furthermore, I fear more headway against certain issues because unlike right now, where any anti-gun legislation signed by President Obama would become a sounding brass of opposition. With Romney, such a sounding brass would be pointless.

        This way, President Obama bears all the blame for the progressive policies. Rather than a nominal conservative, implementing largely the same progressive policies resulting in the same failed results. Only difference, conservatives get the blame.

        1. I don’t trust Gingrich to appoint staunch Constitutionalist/Libertarian judges either. Perhaps Santorum would, and Ron Paul would…but I don’t trust either candidate for other liberty-related reasons. (Yes, even Ron Paul has done some anti-liberty things, such as increasing federal spending in his district four-fold, and supporting an immediate military withdrawl from the world, with no plans on filling in the vacuum that will draw in all sorts of dictators out of the woodworks.)

        2. In the linked article, a couple people linked to Romney having appointed 36 judges in Mass., and 24 were Democrats.

          1. Which had to be approved be an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, so shocker. The real surprise here is that Romney got 12 Republican judges through in Massachusetts.

            I think a lot of you guys don’t realize how absolutely nutty leftist Massachusetts is. They have a bit of a traditional of Republican governors, but Mitt was conservative by their standards, even if he’s squishy and weak by national standards. But you have to keep in mind what he was working with politically up there.

            1. “Mitt was conservative by their standards,”

              Funny part is, I’m on the fence about which is less conservative, Mitt or Newt. One is for the NDAA, the other is for the Patriot Act (and probably the NDAA), both don’t exactly have impressive 2nd-Amendment records, Mitt still defends Romneycare and I doubt would repeal Obamacare, Newt really likes policing the world, etc….

              I think Mitt scares me more on a national level, and Newt scares me more on an international level.

    1. This is exactly how we got 8 years of Clinton. Bush, Sr was to moderate, so people voted Perot for various reasons. Bush got 37%, Perot got 19% and slick Willy won with ONLY 43% of the votes.

      We can argue for a 3 party system, but either way the Majority gets screwed.

      Vote for whoever can get President Obama out. Then we defeat Holder/Geitner and the rest of his lib crew!

      1. Perot got ZERO electoral votes. He may have swayed a couple of States, but not enough to matter. It’s also presumptuous to think that Perot only got “Republican” votes when 40+% of the electorate is not motivated enough by either candidate to show up to the voting booth. It amazes me that some people refuse to give Bush ANY blame for losing 22 states in 4 years. Remember the 89 import ban? Remember “No new taxes”?

        Bottom line – unless you live in a swing state, the “a vote for anybody but ‘X’ is a vote for the Democrat” mantra proves you do not understand the electoral system.

  6. I don’t know who I’ll vote for in the primary, but come the general election in November, I’ll follow William F. Buckley’s Rule and “support the most conservative candidate who can win.” I’m certain that will not be President Obama.

  7. I’m as disgusted with Romney – and all the other choices – as anyone. That said, I recognize that while a Romney presidency will be a bad one – he’s just not presidential material – another 4 years of Obama will be disasterous.

    The solution has two parts:

    1) Stop the hemorrhaging. I’m suspect of anyone Romney will nominate to the federal bench, but I know who Obama will nominate.

    2) Change the game. That means:

  8. Hmm…seems hitting the tab key posts the comment. let’s try again.

    I’m as disgusted with Romney – and all the other choices – as anyone. That said, I recognize that while a Romney presidency will be a bad one – he’s just not presidential material – another 4 years of Obama will be disasterous, no matter what the makeup of Congress is.

    Romney may be no better, but I have some degree of confidence he won’t be worse, and we’ll have another presidential election in 2016 and a congressional election in 2014.

    The solution has two parts:

    1) Stop the hemorrhaging. I’m suspect of anyone Romney will nominate to the federal bench, but I know who Obama will nominate. I’m confident Obama will continue his assault on the Constitution, and that’s something Romney won’t get a chance to do. Conservative and the liberal media won’t let him.

    2) Change the game. That means:
    a)get involved with the Republican party, starting at the county level closest to you. From the bottom up, make it look and act the way you want it to.
    b)Work to get alternatives. That means time, money and the Tea Party. It’s possible that with some effort on our part in a couple of election cycles the Republican party will begin the slide into irrelevancy as those alternatives are developed. Don’t rule out running for office yourself – school board, county council, whatever.
    c)Understand that there is no quick fix, that there is no perfect candidate, and that we’re in this for the long haul. We’ll succeed one candidate at a time, one elected office at a time.

    1. Supposed Tea Party darling Sarah Palin endorses progressive Newt. Anyone in the Taxed Enough Already Party who doesn’t have Ron Paul as their preferred candidate is a hypocrite.

      1. Look… I get that you like Paul… and believe me, I’d like to see a libertarian standard bearer who is electable. But that isn’t Paul. Paul is a kook, and arguably a racist. He’s never going to be anything more than a fringe candidate.

        And I’ll be honest, it pisses me off, because I want to see some libertarian ideas earn mainstream credentials. All Paul is doing, in my opinion, is aiding in the delay of libertarian values being made mainstream. Now is a golden opportunity. The population is ready to listen…. and we’re hitting them with yesterday’s paleolibertarian race baiting standard bearer.

        1. Paul is a race-baiter how?
          Paul is a kook how?

          Ron Paul has the most small government, most constitutional, most low taxes, most pro-gun, etc, etc, etc, record in all of Congress.

          Mitt: NDAA, gun grabber.
          Newt: Patriot Act, gun controller.
          Santorum: TSA, bedroom enforcer.

          And yet Ron Paul is supposedly the kook one of these clowns.

  9. If you live in a solidly Democratic or Republican state, you can vote for anyone you choose and it won’t sway the end result. However, it isn’t that simple if you live in a battlefield state like PA or NC. Any vote not for Obama’s main challenger is at least 1/2 a vote for Obama whether you intend it or not. I can’t personally take that risk.

      1. Not in a solid (insert color here) state. The Dems have only won my state once in the last 64 years. Vote your conscience, not somebody else’s.

  10. I got one thing to say,

    Supreme Court Justice……. Eric Himpton Holder, Jr.

    All you battleground state voters, you better think about your decision to go third party……

  11. I am pleased to see some intelligent posts here (eg. Richardson). Some folks comprehend what is meant by “making perfect the enemy of good.”. And I am also reminded of something I came to realize long ago…that while any damned fool may have an opinion, any damned fool is also still a damned fool.

  12. It’s been said that voting third party was how Clinton got in office both times. I would propose, however, that this isn’t why Clinton won; indeed, having a third party did something to Clinton that probably saved the day: it gave him a weak Democratic Congress, that was easily turned to a Republican one.

    Clinton didn’t win the Presidency because of Perot. He won, because Bush Sr. and Dole were lousy candidates. Incidentally, that’s why Obama won as well. If Obama wins, it’s going to be because his opponents are even more lousy; indeed, if Obama loses, it’s likely going to be because no amount of campaigning is going to make up for his lousy Presidency.

    If you don’t like the Republican nominatee, the *worst* thing you can do is to “stay home”! There’s so much more to government than just the President! If it means voting for a Third party president, then get up and vote. If it means leaving the line for President blank, or writing in “Micky Mouse” or “Santa Claus” (ok, maybe those are bad examples…they are likely to be interpreted as votes for Obama), then get up and do it! And while you’re at it, vote in a few good Conservative representatives, senators, governors, and local officers.

    As it’s been said before, the local races matter too. The biggest thing that drives me nuts about the Libertarian party, at least here in Utah, is that they always seem focused on the National and State offices, but never on the county and city ones. We *need* Libertarian county clerks and mayors, even more than we need State and Federal Representatives, Governors, and Presidents. And we aren’t going to get the “big” offices until we win the hearts and minds of the people–and we won’t get that until we get a Local Libertarian Party!

    You’d think that Libertarians, of all people, would understand this…

  13. From that linked article’s comments:
    “Show up for what? If the Republican party is not conservative, there is nothing to show up for. It wouldn’t represent me. It wouldn’t be my party.”

  14. We’ve had 44 Presidents. Half of them, who cares? They got elected, they did their job, they left. A few were killed, a couple died before they really got started, and a few were Great, and a few were really Bad.

    But I will be voting for WHOEVER the Republitards select, because this guy in Charge right now, with a second Term open to him SCARES me.

  15. Voting is an endorsement of the system and the state. To hell with that.

Comments are closed.