Why libertarians must vote for Bush

In a sequel to my admonition to Democrats, today I take on libertarians. Here’s the text of an e-mail that my very libertarian Dad sent me last week.

From: Dad
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 5:45 PM
To: Puddle Pirate
Subject: FW: Patrick Buchanan Endorses Bush
This is truly depressing reading, almost as depressing as watching the debates. I have sent over $2,000 to various libertarian type republican candidates but can’t bring myself to send George $1.
The scary part is that I disliked dad enough that I decided “How bad can a Clinton presidency be?” and voted my libertarian convictions. I now teeter on the same decision point.
So what is the correct ethical choice — the candidate without a moral compass or the one without a brain?

Here’s my reply.

From: Puddle Pirate
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 10:42 PM
To: ‘Dad’
Cc: ‘Brother #2’; ‘Cousin #1’; ‘Brother #3’
Subject: Dad, you should vote for Bush. Period. Importance: High
If you vote for anyone but Bush, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Worse still, you’re endangering yourself and your fellow Americans. George W. Bush is not your guy when it comes to social libertarianism & fiscal conservatism, but Kerry’s worse by several orders of magnitude … and only Bush can win the war against radical islam. Those fascist scumbags are today’s barbarian horde pounding on the city gates. The wartime stakes are far too high (see here and here and here) to indulge in the luxury of hosing this election because of a well-meaning but misguided stand on secondary principles. The wrong vote can get us both killed.
It’s straightforward to my way of thinking. I’m a single-issue voter in 2004, and that issue is national security. Nothing else matters more than defense. It’s government’s quintessential function, upon which any ordered society rests. If Candidate A is wrong on everything but national defense, and Candidate B is right on everything but national defense, I’ll vote for Candidate A in a heartbeat … even if there’s a (D) after his name.
By voting for anyone but Bush, you are helping Kerry. You despise Bush’s spending habits. So do I. But we’ll never get a chance to rein in the government if we’re dead. Besides, which party is more genetically predisposed to respond to the concerns of small-government conservatives like us? It sure ain’t the Dems, so voting Democrat or Libertarian or whatnot is manifestly counter to your interests. Don’t waste your vote.
Though Pat Buchanan’s reasoning, his priorities, and his irrational fear of nefarious neocon boogeymen are thoroughly screwed up (as is Pat himself), he did reach the right conclusion in his article:

If Bush loses, his conversion to neoconservatism, the Arian heresy of the American Right, will have killed his presidency. Yet, in the contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the president of the United States. Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing.

Bruce Bartlett (a libertarian) was dead-on when he wrote:

Third parties just end up defeating the party closest to them ideologically by splitting the vote, thereby leading to victories by the party to which they are more opposed.
As for relative intelligence, I’m not convinced that Kerry is smart and Bush is dumb. Even if that old saw is true, it doesn’t worry me. I’m voting for a Commander In Chief and a Head of State who runs the Executive Branch. I am not seeking a Debater In Chief who knows nothing of being an executive, a man who’s only familiar with committees and hasn’t got a clue about delegation or decisiveness. You’re a CEO, Dad, and you’ve got wartime military experience. Ask yourself which of the two possible winners is the man to lead us in a war for our very survival. He’s got to be a clear-eyed visionary with a common sense victory strategy and the judgment to put the right subordinates in place to run things. He can’t be a vacillator or a micro-manager. He’s got to have a spine.
For a more in-depth take on why Bush deserves your vote, read an essay called Deterrence (Part 1 and Part 2), and follow it up with Pillar of Salt. Keep in mind that the battles for Iraq (this article is Part 12 in an ongoing series) and Afghanistan (Part 4 of another series) are not quagmires. We are winning. The enemy is desperate, just like Japan was desperate on Okinawa … right before they capitulated. The initiative belongs to us and we’re fighting the islamists when and where we choose. We’re approaching the tipping point. Now is not the time to go wobbly.
Don’t be depressed. You and I have the responsibility and the wonderful opportunity to again exercise our liberties in the service of our country on November 2nd. Neither of us can put on a uniform and carry a weapon into battle, but we can make it possible for our troops to press on to victory. All we have to do is vote wisely, and support the candidate who’s serious about winning a war that we can’t afford to lose.
That man is George W. Bush.
— Puddle Pirate
P.S.: Can you tell I’m sure about this? 🙂

Libertarians (and I’m speaking to both the “large L” and “small l” varieties), don’t waste your vote on anybody but Bush this time.

  1. Sounds like your dad is a smart man. Being an independent and libertarian backer myself I can relate to initial email as I felt the same way about a year ago. Hopefully he’ll have some time to do some more digging over the weekend and see what some of the other libertarians are saying. Glad to see someone in the family is still thinking clearly and may turn out for Kerry come Tuesday.

  2. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    From: Dad
    Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 10:19 AM
    To: Puddle Pirate
    Subject: RE: Dad, you should vote for Bush. Period.
    OK, now tell me how you really feel!
    You don’t have to worry. It was a momentary lapse into frustration speaking, although I believe I told you that I would have voted for Lieberman if he had gotten in. That man has both principles and brains.
    On the intelligence issue remember I very cheerfully voted for Ronald Reagan although I never confused him for a Rhodes Scholar. He had a pragmatic and principled world view and he stuck to it. George only has good advisors. Looking back, I do believe that is the only time I cheerfully voted for someone as opposed to against the other scumbag.
    As Brother #2 said with no hesitation “I’ll vote for the no brains”.

    My reply:

    From: Puddle Pirate
    Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 10:56 AM
    To: Dad
    Subject: RE: Dad, you should vote for Bush. Period.
    Glad to hear you’re over the frustration. Lieberman really ought to be a Republican; as a Democrat he’s a stranger in a strange land.
    Have I got a book for you

    Yes, he’s obviously smart.

  3. Good post and good comment run.
    Fact is, had Lieberman been nominated, he would have given the Dems the credibilitity they sorely lack.
    Like him or not, agree with his politics or not, Lieberman is a credible and moral man. By no means as liberal as the late Partick Moynihan, before him, each share a similiar label– they are/were patriots– unlike many of their compatiots.

  4. Are we talking about the same Leiberman who wants to crack down on free speech in Hollywood?
    That seemed to be his major campaign plank in 2000; that’s part of the reason I voted Bush.
    But at any rate, re: the war on Terror, why do you think Bush will be able to win it, based on nothing but “resolve”? Resolve accomplishes nothing without the kind of planning that this administration has demonstrated themselves criminally incapable of.

  5. Empty talk about resolve is your candidate’s currency, not ours.
    Our guy liberated two countries and 50 million people, killed thousands of terrorists, toppled two autocratic regimes, and put some long-overdue muscle and credibility behind the words of America’s President. Qaddafi sure seems to think Bush is serious, as do Iran and North Korea. Bush has a four-year record of determined action and victory, not just “resolve talk.”
    Have you been able to figure out yet whether Kerry would increase or decrease our troop strength in Iraq? His love of nuance has left him congenitally unable to take a clear and unequivocal stand on that basic issue.

  6. Seminar commenter.

  7. What? I’m sure we’ll be able to find some useful employment for Bush once he gets back to Texas. We know he won’t be getting any book deals or speaking engagements. I’m sure the Carlyle Group has his back though.
    I’ve been actually been fortunate enough to meet George W.(as Governor), Bush Sr., and Clinton. Clinton and GW are by far the most laid back leaders I’ve ever met. I have no personal animosity against Bush, he’s just a very ineffective president.

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