Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Should Libertarians Vote for Scott Brown?

Massachusetts is holding a special election tomorrow for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. The candidates are Martha Coakley, a Democrat and until recently the presumptive victor; Scott Brown, the Republican and until recently a little known state senator (mine in fact); and Joseph L. Kennedy, a Libertarian and no relation to Ted.

In most Massachusetts elections, I vote for the libertarian or write in my wife (also a libertarian). The Democrats always win, so I can vote my conscience without worrying how my vote might affect the outcome.

This election, however, is different.  If the polls are to be believed, the race is close.  And, having a 41st Republican in the Senate could defeat ObamaCare, which I view as evil. So, what's a libertarian to do? 

I looked into Brown's and Kennedy's views on a range of issues.  Kennedy is definitely libertarian, Brown more conservative. Thus, on economics they are similar and while on social issues they differ, with Kennedy's views closer to my own.  Brown, however, is not ultra-conservative; he is personally opposed to abortion and gay marriage, but he believes abortion should remain legal while gay marriage should be left to each state.

The other factor to consider is that one-party rule is awful; gridlock is great.

So, which way will I vote?

PS: You might think Brown has a chance because of backlash over the economy and Obama excesses.  That is part of the story, but in addition Coakly announced on a local radio show that Curt Schilling is a Yankees fan!

PPS: Brown might do better than the polls indicate because the Kennedy supporters will probably vote for Brown.

PPPS: My home phone rang about 5 times while I was writing this, all automated messages urging me to vote for Brown.

20 comments:

David said...

I believe that in this case, I would vote Republican. Another Republican in the Senate will effectively do nothing more substantive than allow them to block legislation, which is good particularly in the case of the health care legislation. Voting for the Republican probably will not lead to more socially conservative laws getting passed, as the Democrats will still have solid majorities in both House and Senate.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. this contest is indeed close -- which makes it ever the more surprising that Kennedy has not publicly given support to Brown.

this analogy has nothing to do with agreeing with policy, but don't be a Ralph Nader!!!!! You have an opportunity to put someone in office who agrees with much of what you do.

Here are the alternatives:

1. stroke your conscience, feel good for the fleeting moments while casting your libertarian ballot; then feel the effects of an ultra partisan agenda gets rammed through congress and completed.

2. don't stroke your conscience, hold your breath during the few seconds while casting the vote for a republican, yet live in a world where the president is going to be forced to be more bi-partisan in his approach.

both options are probably bad.

but this is the world that we live in ... and the kind of choices we have to make - if the election is close

Anonymous said...

oh and another thing....

If Brown is able to pull of the upset, i'm curious who Paul Krugman will blame?

its easy for him to sling mud with ad hominem attacks on a particular person, but this is different.

happyjuggler0 said...

I've gotten calls asking me if I am registered to vote in MA and I live on the west coast!

Half a dozen years ago I moved from MA to CA. I used to be registered as Libertarian (both when I lived in MA and here), but in the last election I switched to Republican so that I could vote for Ron Paul in the primaries.

I haven't switched back to Libertarian yet, although I tried. I couldn't figure out how to do it online, even though I did it fine online last time. They may have changed it; I think I have to go in person somewhere and it isn't worth the hassle to do so, for now anyway.

As a result, I get all kinds of calls and spam from Republican groups. Caller ID is a wonderful tool....

Anonymous said...

Why is ObamaCare evil? And is it worse than having no health care reform?

paul said...

I think the entertainment factor of a Brown victory is worth passing on the libertarian this time.

ps my ballot had Kennedy listed as the Liberty party...

MICHAEL KITCHENS said...

Should Libertarians vote for Scott Brown?

NO! NO! NO!

"Brown is the lesser of two evils" is the sentiment.

Brown is not a "conservative" on economic issues. Brown is a big-government Statist.

If anyone thinks Brown is going to stop gov't health care deform, they are dreaming.

It is not a victory in any way if Brown wins.

I support these arguments in a post I made:

http://michael-kitchens.blogspot.com/2010/01/vote-your-conscienceor-for-someone-not.html

Anonymous said...

Your vote will never affect the outcome of an election, so why worry about it?

Anonymous said...

The healthcare bill is dead. Thank the good Lord.

Anonymous said...

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