Monday, February 25, 2008

Sorry state of the Libertarian Party.

It really is a sad election year considering the choices. The Republicans are going to nominate McCain, the man who sees America’s empire in Iraq going on for generations. The Democrats, I suspect, will nominate Obama, an ideologue with some far Left tendencies.

And what about the Libertarians?

For the first time I saw some of the candidates seeking the LP nomination. If this is as good as they can do they ought to pack up the tent and go home.

The immediate problem is that Libertarians seems to be losing their uniqueness. They are turning in Republicans before our very eyes. Businessman Michael Jingozian went so far as to say that while he believes in free trade he also believes in “fair trade”. His main thrust in the campaign seems to be relatively cheesy staged photos of himself.

Wayne Allen Root kept talking about how he went to school with Obama, as if that would rub off somehow. Where Obama is eloquent (albeit wrong) Root was just loud -- very loud. He too came across as another Republican especially on the immigration issue. He describes himself as a “life-long Conservative and Libertarian Republican.” If he thinks one can be conservative and libertarian at the same time it shows he’s not clear on the concept. Libertarianism is as far from conservatism as it is from socialism. But the sad truth was that the LP candidates seem to be Republicans in Libertarian drag -- and the make up isn’t that good.

Root says he got the endorsement of the first LP presidential candidate, John Hospers. Hospers last endorsement was of the Iraq war and George Bush so that ought to say something. I’m just not sure whether that says more about Root’s positions or about Hosper’s lurch to the far Right at his advanced age. Perhaps it’s Alzheimer’s and he forgot he was supposed to be a libertarian.

George Phillies has all the charisma of noodles but without the sparkle. It doesn’t help that he sounds whiny when he speaks and his position on immigration is atrocious. He was also the one candidate who tried the hardest to speak in general boilerplate rhetoric without saying much of substance. He did attack Kubby for support tax cuts which seemed odd. He said tax cuts were irresponsible. At the same time he kept harping about his favorite entitlement which would be a $5,000 tax credit to every poor kid in America. Twice he clarified that the credit was for the “kids not the parents since the parents wouldn’t earn enough to qualify.” $5,000 for every poor kid and he called tax breaks irresponsible.

Steve Kubby was a relatively consistent libertarian in the pack but just doesn’t seem like candidate material to this observer. But given the tendency of the other candidates to pander to the Right-wing and dump on immigrants he is the best candidate I can see at this time.

Mary Ruwart, however, shouldn’t be counted out. The current batch of front runners in the LP race just don’t come up to snuff. And at least three of them sounded like Republican immigrant-bashers more than like libertarians.