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Friday, March 16, 2018

What's in a name?

There seem to be a lot of takeaways from the Special Election in Pennsylvania, but there's one I haven't seen in the media: how the people of that notoriously Republican district were willing to vote for a...........................libertarian?

Conor Lamb 

Rick Saccone 

Drew Miller 

OK, so not one who 'calls' himself a Libertarian. No, Drew Miller got less than 1% of the vote. But look at this Lamb-guy. 49.8%!! Wow, when is the last time you saw a Libertarian get nearly 50% of a vote? Even at their own elections?

Now, if you listen to Lamb, he's a moderate Democrat, but if you listen to Trump? Well, first you'll go crazy from having to discount every other word as a lie......

An old Kliban cartoon presaging the courtship of Trump and Stormy Daniels.

....but then you have to see there is some truth to it. (You know like the way a genie, leprechaun, or demon tells the truth.) He accused Lamb of running as a Republican. But Lamb is as much of a Republican as any Libertarian......and as much of a Democrat. So Lamb says he's a Democrat. Trump says he's a Republican. And I say he's a "small 'L'" Libertarian. So who are you going to believe? ;-)

That's kind of what Libertarians are, the moderate best of what both parties have to offer without all the hypocrisy and pandering attached. And people seem to like long as it's called something else. Call it what it is......and you can expect to get 1% of the vote.

Now I'm not saying there weren't other reasons at play here. Despite Lamb's assertion that this wasn't about Trump, I think at least some of it was. And some could be that Saccone wasn't the best Republican candidate. But it does seem odd that everyone is talking about this election and Conor Lamb and Doug Jones and what it means for the Democratic 'model' going into the midterms, and yet no one seems to want to point out that this "new Democratic model" is eerily close to the platform Gary Johnson ran on.

As for me? I just find it amusing. I feel like the guy at the party who's among only a few that know that the chocolate mousse everyone is 'enjoying' is really a bowl of whipped shit.


  1. I am currently a Democrat. I've also been a registered Republican. Like a lot of people, I find myself too liberal on most social issues to fit in well with the Republicans but also too conservative on economic policies to fit easily with the Democrats. So, from time to time I have contemplated becoming a large L Libertarian. I've even thought about running for office as one. Then, I recall just how bat-shit crazy some of their principles are, and how totally out of alignment they are with the vast majority of citizens. Most citizens don't see jury service as "involuntary servitude" equivalent to slavery. But, there it is in the Libertarian platform. Abolishing the public school system. No licensing requirements for many professions and businesses. Abolishing Social Security. Leaving environment, health and safety to the private market . . . Ironically, I used to be a big Ayn Rand devotee, as are many Libertarians. Now, I see much of that as just kind of silly. Most people want public schools. Most people don't want to serve on juries, but they also kind of like a functioning court system an objective decision makers when they get charged with a crime or have to sue to enforce their rights. Most people kind of like to think their surgeon should be subject to to some kind of licensing requirements before he steps up to perform bypass surgery.

    I also think that a lot of libertarianism is long on theory and short on realpolitik. It's all great to postulate a world in which all countries love and respect each other and just agree to get along. In the real world, America can step back from interventionist foreign policy, and someone else steps into that power vacuum. When we don't arm the Ukrainians, the Russians don't say, "Oh, those aggressive Americans are no longer threatening us. We will beat our swords into plowshares." No, they invade Ukraine. Or, perhaps, Poland. Ironically, the best real world example we probably have of what libertarian military policy would look like is -- Barak Obama foreign policy. "Lead from behind" was, basically, just saying "We're tired and don't want to lead anymore." But, the problems in the world didn't go away. They just got more chaotic and harder to solve, and Russia and China gladly stepped into the voids we left.

    I am very into personal liberty, but I don't think the libertarian view in which we are all just little social atoms and individual economic units is really consistent with how people actually live, which is in groups. As soon as you have a large group of people, you need some rules to make sure their normal frictions don't devolve into Lord of the Flies.

    As for Gary Johnson, I am going to say that you like him and I like Hillary and neither one of us can see that at all. I just don't see anything impressive about Johnson. No charisma. No gravitas. He reminds me of my 8th grade shop teacher.

    1. You have some good points, but I think there are some distinctions that could be made between the more 'batshit' policies (that I would identify as more large "L") and the more moderate little "L" stance. But there is definitely great waves of weirdness on the extreme end of libertarianism. The thing is though, no libertarian of that ilk will ever be elected. (OK let's be honest, no libertarian of any ilk will ever get elected to anything other than possibly congressional posts.)

      Also, as for foreign policy, there is 'involvement' and the sort of interventionism that casts us in a very unappealing light.

      As for Johnson? I don't need 'gravitas'. Yeah, he's a little doofy, but it seems like an honest doofy. People said the same about Paul Tsongas, and I liked him a LOT.

      The slicker someone is, the more red flags they send up. When I was in HR, I had a boss who loved brash, big-talking, 'big presence' personalities. Me? I always eyed them with suspicion and..... given how many of my boss' 'favorites' were taken out in handcuffs, I think I'll stick with my own instincts. Even Obama's smoothness scared me. (I think it was a Jon Stewart bit that said, "and when he speaks, angels have an orgasm.")

      Just give me a platform I can appreciate and someone who seems at least honest enough to get through an entire sentence without a lie or two in it.

    2. I totally agree there are distinctions between big and little L libertarianism. I just wish the Big L variety was not so out there, because I think the country desperately needs a true third-party alternative right now. The Libertarians could be that third-party, if they would just get rid of some of the nutty stuff.

      When you get to the level of President, I think some kind of command presence is required. You don't have to look far for recent examples. Who was our most moral and honest modern President? Probably Jimmy Carter. But, both our domestic and foreign policy were an absolute disaster under him. The people I look up to are more of the John McCain mold, at least McCain before he ran for President and the Bushies got ahold of him. He speaks his mind bluntly. Won't go along with torture just because it is expedient. But, I wouldn't have qualms about him being in the room with real tough guy leaders like Putin. Obama's big problem was he just could not understand people who like and use power and don't play by the rules. He would go into "Lecturer In-Chief" mode, and the dictator he was dealing with would just run circles around him. He was just pathologically incapable of using power or understanding it.

    3. Again, good points. But it wouldn't matter what you or I come up with on this blog......nothing is going to change.

      I think I'm just using this blog as an alternative to bludgeoning everything I see with a mace. I don't think you and I are that far apart politically, and those other readers who are, aren't going to be swayed by anything here. It really is just anger therapy. ( hmmm, I might do a post about that)

    4. Agreed. It has all gotten very tribal.

    5. Interesting that when I write something that seems "pro-Democrat" I get new readers coming out of the woodwork with their snarky comments, but when I point out the hypocrisy of Democrats in wanting to still cater to the absurd, and equally out-of-touch, far left while courting the middle......silence.

      Tribes. It must be nice and reassuring to be in a tribe. But being tribeless, I wouldn't know.

    6. I've noticed that too -- you do seem to get a lot of comments from anonymous right-wingers. My guess they are attracted to the "deviants" in your blog title, but since they are right-wing and almost by definition repressed, they pipe up only when you say something they take as an attack.

      Though, you did have that one left-wing tool who kept whining about cultural misappropriation. You know, the African American dude who adopted the name of a Norse god for his profile name.

  2. "and yet no one seems to want to point out that this 'new Democratic model' is eerily close to the platform Gary Johnson ran on."

    It would be more accurate to say that this 'new Democratic model' is eerily close to the plat form the Big Bad Wolf ran on.

    Just how many pro-life, pro 2nd amendment democrats (i.e. - Conor Lamb) do think will be running in November?

    I am a registered Libertarian - big "L", little "L", what the "L".

    Carl H

    1. "It would be more accurate to say that this 'new Democratic model' is eerily close to the plat form the Big Bad Wolf ran on."

      I don't know what this means. Sorry.

      "Just how many pro-life, pro 2nd amendment democrats (i.e. - Conor Lamb) do think will be running in November?"

      Based on Lamb, my guess would be as many as would appeal to the constituency of where they are running. That seems to to be the strategy: 'appeal to the local sentiment.'

      "I am a registered Libertarian - big "L", little "L", what the "L"."

      Again, I don't know what you mean here. There is a definite difference between "L or l" you can easily see from Dan's examples. There are also a boatload of "libertarians" who.....well, just aren't. The "Tea Party" is ample evidence of that. Your 'pro-life' point is a good example. A true "libertarian" can be personally "pro-choice" or "pro-life" but by definition of 'government not dictating people's personal choices' especially over what to do with their bodies, 'politically' a libertarian politician would have to protect pro-choice legislation (like Lamb) even if they themselves would not advocate abortion.