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Excerpts from "Top 10 Letters" from "The Daily Standard"

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  • freecali
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/952xzixn.asp Top 10 Letters Libertarians, Karl Rove, Libertarians, James Bond, and
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 25 4:17 PM
      http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/952xzixn.asp


      Top 10 Letters
      Libertarians, Karl Rove, Libertarians, James Bond, and Libertarians.
      11/25/2002 12:00:00 AM



      THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and
      clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      *2*

      Rachel DiCarlo's article, Spoiling Some of the Fun, fails to address why Libertarian candidates
      are able to "spoil" the campaigns of Republican candidates. The culprit is the first-past-the-post,
      winner-take-all electoral system used in most U.S. elections since the country's founding.

      Libertarians have had no role in perpetuating the winner-take-all system, which according to
      Duverger's Law creates two strong political parties and marginalizes the rest. Indeed,
      Libertarians have advocated the adoption of electoral systems successfully implemented
      elsewhere, such as "preferential voting" (a.k.a. "instant runoff voting"), that won't break down
      when more than two candidates compete and would prevent the spoiler problem. But even
      though they proposed and endorsed the idea, Republicans in Alaska couldn't get together to
      pass an IRV measure when it came up for a statewide vote earlier this year. Indeed, several
      Alaska Republicans argued self-servingly that plurality rule was just fine by them, especially
      when their candidates won.

      Understandably, many Republicans and Democrats are content with an electoral system that
      protects their two-party duopoly from meaningful competition and keeps non-incumbent political
      parties out of office. Republicans and Democrats have made and maintained this Procrustean
      electoral bed that they now claim tortures them. Until they put in place electoral systems that
      accommodate more than two political parties, I won't be very sympathetic to their complaints
      about being "spoiled."

      --Rob Latham, Board Member, Californians for Electoral Reform
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      *3*

      As a libertarian smart enough to vote Republican, I see the libertarians squandering a great
      opportunity by playing spoiler rather than "coalition partner." Today libertarians have the clout to
      walk into many Republican campaign headquarters and say "I can make or break your victory."
      They could then proceed to negotiate some policy prescriptions or "cabinet" appointments (in
      executive races).

      While this is the obvious next step, the likelihood of it happening is slim. Too many libertarians
      are of the "porn & pot" wing of the party to allow their candidates to parley their 1-3 percent for
      actual power. And the chances are that too few Republicans are willing to listen as well. They
      seem bent on pushing libertarians out of the ring.

      This is a sad state of affairs. By making such deals both parties could easily work together to
      form a ruling coalition of sorts.

      --Bruno Behrend
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      *4*

      I was surprised that Rachel DiCarlo didn't include the Arizona gubernatorial election. The
      Republican lost by less than 1 percent and the Libertarian polled 1.7 percent.

      The Libertarian was also pro-life which was an interesting wrinkle on the usual dynamic. What
      was even more interesting was that an independent also ran on no taxes and smaller
      government--he polled almost 7 percent.

      You can access the results here.

      --Jim Morse
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      *5*

      Rachel DiCarlo writes: "both Republicans and Libertarians support lower taxes, smaller
      government, and a free-market economy"

      Which Republicans are those? The Republicans who passed the Farm Bill? The Republicans
      who continue to subsidize corporate interests? The Republicans who enact steel tariffs? The
      Republicans which plan to use the Homeland Security act to collect and track the personal
      information, spending habits, movements, finances, and thoughts of every single American
      citizen? The Republicans who, under George W. Bush have grown the Federal government at
      a rate surpassing any of his predecessors since World War II?

      She is correct in assuming that votes for Libertarian candidates are votes lost by the
      Republicans. Libertarian voters have realized that the Republicans are fast becoming the party
      of big government.

      --Rob Griffin
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      *6*

      As a current registered Libertarian and former registered Republican, I want to comment on a
      couple points Rachel DiCarlo made in her article.

      First, she says that Libertarians believe in an "isolationist" foreign policy. This is absolutely
      wrong. Libertarians believe in a completely unfettered exchange of goods and ideas between
      individuals and companies, without regard for where those entities happen to reside. We
      believe that any country's foreign policy should be based primarily on free trade and open
      communication. Whatever you might call it, that is certainly not my definition of isolationism.
      Libertarians also believe in the use of force for self defense, but only when it's absolutely
      necessary. We certainly don't think that any country should dictate to another country through the
      use of force or threats of war. It's good to introduce people to the benefits of liberty, but not by
      putting them at the point of a sword. That is not likely to succeed in many cases.

      Second, she says that Republicans believe in "smaller government." Back when I was in the
      Republican party, when President Reagan was setting the agenda, that statement may have
      had some truth. It certainly is not true now that Bush and his gang are in charge. The last couple
      of years have seen a tremendous, really unprecedented increase in the size and scope of the
      federal government. Not only has it grown larger, it has become vastly more intrusive.
      Particularly grating to those of us who believe in the worth of the individual are the statements
      and actions of John Ashcroft, whose persistent attacks on almost every aspect of the
      Constitution's Bill of Rights (with the notable exception of gun ownership) are the very antithesis
      of the Libertarian position.

      One might argue that the Democrats are even more authoritarian than the Republicans, and it is
      therefore a mistake for Libertarians to "spoil" Republican victories. But I say, at least we know
      the Democrats for what they are: outright authoritarians. They, unlike many of the Republicans,
      aren't lying about their intrusive agenda. So I personally will be more than pleased to "waste my
      vote" to help Republican victories to be "spoiled" whenever it suits me to do so.

      --Steven Randolph
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      *9*

      I've thought about the issue of election spoilers a lot. And yes it burns both ways to the
      Republicans Rachel DiCarlo mentions, and obviously to Democrats.

      Maybe we need a run-off system. In the first election, you can vote for who you really want. It
      might even propel Libertarians, Greens, and other third party candidates to 2nd place finishes,
      and into the run-off. Then in the run-off election, you simply vote for the one that you dislike the
      least.

      Of course this approach might help Republicans, who would probably do better in run-offs than
      most Democratic candidates. This happened with the late Georgia senator Paul Coverdell. He
      won his seat in the early 90s in a run-off when he failed to get 50 percent in the general election.
      We'll see if this pattern hold up in Louisiana on Dec 7.

      --S. Epstein
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Philip Reed
      These are all very interesting, especially the first two. I haven t said anything on this list before, and indeed I haven t had tons of time to get active in
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 25 4:55 PM
        These are all very interesting, especially the first
        two.

        I haven't said anything on this list before, and
        indeed I haven't had tons of time to get active in
        Libertarian stuff. But if I did have that time, I
        would spend it advocating a "grand coalition" of 3rd
        parties behind the single issue of voting reform such
        as PR/IVR. It may give all of us, me included, a
        lump in the throat to imagine voting for a Green, but
        if were a step toward fairer voting systems so that
        ALL opinions could be expressed (even the bad ones) I
        would manage to stomach it.

        I'm convinced that a referendum on the resolution,
        "The two-party system is bad for democracy, and a
        level playing field needs to be in place for third
        parties" would pass resoundingly, maybe by 4 to 1.
        But of course that's never made the issue of debate --
        **EVEN BY LP CANDIDADTES** (and Greens, Reforms, etc.)
        -- so no one ever sees that issue come up for vote.

        Later,

        Philip

        --- freecali <freecali@...> wrote:
        >
        http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/952xzixn.asp
        >
        >
        > Top 10 Letters
        > Libertarians, Karl Rove, Libertarians, James Bond,
        > and Libertarians.
        > 11/25/2002 12:00:00 AM
        >
        >
        >
        > THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor.
        > Letters will be edited for length and
        > clarity and must include the writer's name, city,
        > and state.
        >
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        > *2*
        >
        > Rachel DiCarlo's article, Spoiling Some of the Fun,
        > fails to address why Libertarian candidates
        > are able to "spoil" the campaigns of Republican
        > candidates. The culprit is the first-past-the-post,
        > winner-take-all electoral system used in most U.S.
        > elections since the country's founding.
        >
        > Libertarians have had no role in perpetuating the
        > winner-take-all system, which according to
        > Duverger's Law creates two strong political parties
        > and marginalizes the rest. Indeed,
        > Libertarians have advocated the adoption of
        > electoral systems successfully implemented
        > elsewhere, such as "preferential voting" (a.k.a.
        > "instant runoff voting"), that won't break down
        > when more than two candidates compete and would
        > prevent the spoiler problem. But even
        > though they proposed and endorsed the idea,
        > Republicans in Alaska couldn't get together to
        > pass an IRV measure when it came up for a statewide
        > vote earlier this year. Indeed, several
        > Alaska Republicans argued self-servingly that
        > plurality rule was just fine by them, especially
        > when their candidates won.
        >
        > Understandably, many Republicans and Democrats are
        > content with an electoral system that
        > protects their two-party duopoly from meaningful
        > competition and keeps non-incumbent political
        > parties out of office. Republicans and Democrats
        > have made and maintained this Procrustean
        > electoral bed that they now claim tortures them.
        > Until they put in place electoral systems that
        > accommodate more than two political parties, I won't
        > be very sympathetic to their complaints
        > about being "spoiled."
        >
        > --Rob Latham, Board Member, Californians for
        > Electoral Reform
        >
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > *3*
        >
        > As a libertarian smart enough to vote Republican, I
        > see the libertarians squandering a great
        > opportunity by playing spoiler rather than
        > "coalition partner." Today libertarians have the
        > clout to
        > walk into many Republican campaign headquarters and
        > say "I can make or break your victory."
        > They could then proceed to negotiate some policy
        > prescriptions or "cabinet" appointments (in
        > executive races).
        >
        > While this is the obvious next step, the likelihood
        > of it happening is slim. Too many libertarians
        > are of the "porn & pot" wing of the party to allow
        > their candidates to parley their 1-3 percent for
        > actual power. And the chances are that too few
        > Republicans are willing to listen as well. They
        > seem bent on pushing libertarians out of the ring.
        >
        > This is a sad state of affairs. By making such deals
        > both parties could easily work together to
        > form a ruling coalition of sorts.
        >
        > --Bruno Behrend
        >
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > *4*
        >
        > I was surprised that Rachel DiCarlo didn't include
        > the Arizona gubernatorial election. The
        > Republican lost by less than 1 percent and the
        > Libertarian polled 1.7 percent.
        >
        > The Libertarian was also pro-life which was an
        > interesting wrinkle on the usual dynamic. What
        > was even more interesting was that an independent
        > also ran on no taxes and smaller
        > government--he polled almost 7 percent.
        >
        > You can access the results here.
        >
        > --Jim Morse
        >
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > *5*
        >
        > Rachel DiCarlo writes: "both Republicans and
        > Libertarians support lower taxes, smaller
        > government, and a free-market economy"
        >
        > Which Republicans are those? The Republicans who
        > passed the Farm Bill? The Republicans
        > who continue to subsidize corporate interests? The
        > Republicans who enact steel tariffs? The
        > Republicans which plan to use the Homeland Security
        > act to collect and track the personal
        > information, spending habits, movements, finances,
        > and thoughts of every single American
        > citizen? The Republicans who, under George W. Bush
        > have grown the Federal government at
        > a rate surpassing any of his predecessors since
        > World War II?
        >
        > She is correct in assuming that votes for
        > Libertarian candidates are votes lost by the
        > Republicans. Libertarian voters have realized that
        > the Republicans are fast becoming the party
        > of big government.
        >
        > --Rob Griffin
        >
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > *6*
        >
        > As a current registered Libertarian and former
        > registered Republican, I want to comment on a
        > couple points Rachel DiCarlo made in her article.
        >
        > First, she says that Libertarians believe in an
        > "isolationist" foreign policy. This is absolutely
        > wrong. Libertarians believe in a completely
        > unfettered exchange of goods and ideas between
        > individuals and companies, without regard for where
        > those entities happen to reside. We
        > believe that any country's foreign policy should be
        > based primarily on free trade and open
        > communication. Whatever you might call it, that is
        > certainly not my definition of isolationism.
        > Libertarians also believe in the use of force for
        > self defense, but only when it's absolutely
        > necessary. We certainly don't think that any country
        > should dictate to another country through the
        > use of force or threats of war. It's good to
        > introduce people to the benefits of liberty, but not
        > by
        > putting them at the point of a sword. That is not
        > likely to succeed in many cases.
        >
        > Second, she says that Republicans believe in
        > "smaller government." Back when I was in the
        > Republican party, when President Reagan was setting
        > the agenda, that statement may have
        > had some truth. It certainly is not true now that
        > Bush and his gang are in charge. The last couple
        > of years have seen a tremendous, really
        > unprecedented increase in the size and scope of the
        > federal government. Not only has it grown larger, it
        > has become vastly more intrusive.
        > Particularly grating to those of us who believe in
        > the worth of the individual are the statements
        > and actions of John Ashcroft, whose persistent
        > attacks on almost every aspect of the
        > Constitution's Bill of Rights (with the notable
        > exception of gun ownership) are the very antithesis
        > of the Libertarian position.
        >
        > One might argue that the Democrats are even more
        > authoritarian than the Republicans, and it is
        > therefore a mistake for Libertarians to "spoil"
        > Republican victories. But I say, at least we know
        > the Democrats for what they are: outright
        > authoritarians. They, unlike many of the
        > Republicans,
        > aren't lying about their intrusive agenda. So I
        > personally will be more than pleased to "waste my
        > vote" to help Republican victories to be "spoiled"
        > whenever it suits me to do so.
        >
        > --Steven Randolph
        >
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        > *9*
        >
        > I've thought about the issue of election spoilers a
        > lot. And yes it burns both ways to the
        > Republicans Rachel DiCarlo mentions, and obviously
        > to Democrats.
        >
        > Maybe we need a run-off system. In the first
        > election, you can vote for who you really want. It
        > might even propel Libertarians, Greens, and other
        > third party candidates to 2nd place finishes,
        > and into the run-off. Then in the run-off election,
        > you simply vote for the one that you dislike the
        > least.
        >
        > Of course this approach might help Republicans, who
        > would probably do better in run-offs than
        > most Democratic candidates. This happened with the
        > late Georgia senator Paul Coverdell. He
        > won his seat in the early 90s in a run-off when he
        > failed to get 50 percent in the general election.
        > We'll see if this pattern hold up in Louisiana on
        > Dec 7.
        >
        > --S. Epstein
        >
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        >
        >
        > --------------------------------------------
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        >
        >
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        > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
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        >


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