Bruce Guthrie Interview on The Conversation

Bruce Guthrie on KOUWThis interview with The Conversation of Senate candidate Bruce Guthrie (WA-L) is good stuff, starting off oddly enough with him defending the LP Platform overhaul that went on in Portland. From an email sent to us by campaign manager Travis Wright:

Bruce Guthrie, Libertarian candidate for US Senate, was featured today on The Conversation with Ross Reynolds on KUOW 94.9 in Seattle. The interview lasted about an hour and covered Bruce’s positions on the war on Iraq, the Middle East, medical freedom, and more. In addition to tackling the challenging questions from the host, Bruce responded to callers and questions emailed from listeners.

One caller, Glenna from Covington, stated enthusiastically, “I’m really excited to hear what you’re saying because you’re pretty much echoing my “˜if I was Queen of the Universe’ rants.”

Bruce Guthrie is challenging freshman incumbent Maria Cantwell for US Senate in Washington State. Cantwell has alienated much of her Democratic base because of her continued support for the war in Iraq and her support of the USA PATRIOT Act. The Republican challenger, Mike McGavick, has been painted as a Bush rubber-stamp and also supports the war in Iraq and the President’s domestic spying programs.

Recent independent polling shows decreasing support for Cantwell without a significant increase in support for McGavick. In fact, about 16% of the voters say they will not vote for either of them. Because this campaign is increasingly competitive ““ and because of the history of Libertarian candidate influence in close elections in Washington state ““ the press is paying attention to the Guthrie campaign.

Link to MP3-like thing (54 minutes).

Travis also said more news coverage is likely on a national level based on some recent phone calls to ABC News in DC, so we’re keeping an eye on this race.

21 Comments
  1. I generally agree with Bruce Guthrie on most issues, certainly more than I agree with either Mike McGavick or Maria Cantwell. However, this year’s unique political calculus just makes it impossible for me to vote for him. We absolutely need to ensure that an opposition party, any opposition party, will be the wall holding back the Bush administration’s anti-Libertarian goals of extreme executive power. The Democrats are the only real solution here. Either we deal with reality as it is, or we’re doomed to lose more and more of our freedom until we do.

  2. thehim: sorry to disagree, but voting for the lesser of two evils again and again is what keeps getting us deeper in the muck. Stop voting for people out of fear that the wrong guy will win if you don’t block him and start voting for the best candidate, only then will we get a better government.

  3. It’s interesting that you would categorize Maria Cantwell as an opposition to the Bush administration.

    1. She voted for the Iraq invastion
    2. She voted for the USA PATRIOT Act
    3. She has consitently restated her support for continuing the occupation of Iraq
    4. She voted to renew the USA PATRIOT Act
    5. She voted against fellow Democrats regarding Alito
    6. She voted to move closer to war with Iran
    7. She sponsored a law to prevent online dating

    Sure, she’s not identical to Bush or McGavick – but she’s no champion of liberty either.

    But I am Guthrie’s campaign manager, so I must confess bias :)

  4. Stephen,
    Let’s boil this down to the heart of the matter. Let’s say that my vote is the deciding vote in the race. If I vote for Guthrie, McGavick wins. If I vote for Cantwell, Cantwell wins. Now let’s also say that the Senate is sitting at 49-49-1 pending the result of the Washington State race. Which outcome is better for promoting libertarian principles, a Senate led by an opposition party which will be a bulwark against President Bush, or a Senate led by Republicans again which will continue to shred the constitution so that Bush can do whatever he wants?

    Whatever you may think about Maria Cantwell, the fact remains that she could be the difference between Russ Feingold or Arlen Specter being the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I like to be idealist about certain things, but pragmatists actually get thinks done. The libertarian movement needs more pragmatism and less wishful thinking.

  5. Travis,
    I agree with all of your criticisms of Cantwell. She’s awful. But as I explained above, there are strategic political considerations here that trump everything else. I would love for this election to not be like this, but we’re in a tough spot. Back when Guthrie announced his candidacy, I told him I couldn’t support him unless he was polling at 20% by August. He’s not even close from the surveys I’ve seen (there are some very wildly different polls out there).

    I’ll be on KIRO tomorrow night with David Goldstein talking about libertarian issues. Feel free to call in, it would make for an interesting discussion.

  6. thehim: Then why vote at all if you’re only doing it out of reflex? Why should libertarians run for office if your excuse for not voting for them is that they won’t win, so why waste the vote on them?

    (Hint: they don’t win because people like you keep saying they won’t, cut it out.)

  7. thehim:

    You assume the Democrats won’t retake the House in ’06 or the Presidency in ’08. Our next Senator will be there long after Bush – and so will the policies your vote advocates.

    There is another problem with your strategy. For every libertarian who thinks Cantwell is the better vote, there is another who thinks McGavick is the lesser of two evils (I’ve spoken with enough of this crowd to know). That means, effectively, you will be cancelling each other out. It would be better for all of you to vote your values and vote Guthrie than to continue feeding the system.

    Fortunately, there are enough people out there willing to break free from “crisis mode” voting to make a difference. Take Glenna, the caller mentioned in the original post. She emailed the campaign to officially abandon the D’s and join our campaign as a volunteer!

    In the end, vote how you want. You can still help us find new voters not considered in your calculus by giving time and $$ to Guthrie.

  8. Stephen,
    Voting due to pragmatic political concerns is not voting out of “reflex”. I consider myself a libertarian, but I recognize that a vote for Cantwell has a better chance of effecting libertarian change than a vote for Guthrie. It has nothing to do with Cantwell’s particular views (which we both agree are awful).

    As for why libertarians don’t win elections, there are other reasons for that, very separate from what I’m talking about here. I agree with libertarians on issues of basic civil rights, morality, federalism, the checks and balances that restrict executive power, and how government has absolutely zero role in regulating individual behavior. But I disagree with many libertarians when it comes to other absolutes about property rights, taxes, and corporate regulation. I do not believe in the infallibility of the free market. For example, I’m OK with allowing people to sell their organs for cash, but I think leaving that process up to the free market is a mistake.

  9. You assume the Democrats won’t retake the House in ”˜06 or the Presidency in ”˜08. Our next Senator will be there long after Bush – and so will the policies your vote advocates.

    They might or might not. I’m willing to take my chances. The Democrats have not been as anti-libertarian as Republicans in recent history. The last Democrat to grow the federal government was LBJ. The last President who even suggested that we scale back the drug war was Carter. Maria Cantwell is a very authoritarian Dem, but she will not likely oversee the issues that concern us the most.

    continued…

  10. thehim: I don’t buy your strategic voting argument.

    You either vote for the guy who best represents you, or you vote against your own self-interests by picking someone who you think is more likely to win. This is like asking someone who’s pointing a gun at you to only shoot you in the leg because you assume he’s going to shoot you anyways.

    You’re free to throw your vote away on a Democrat or Republican because of some cockamamie strategy you hold so high, but I prefer to vote for the best candidate for the job.

  11. For every libertarian who thinks Cantwell is the better vote

    Guthrie than to continue feeding the system.

    Are you telling me there are libertarians even considering voting for a Republican this year? Doesn’t that concern you more than someone voting for a Democrat? Or as a libertarian, are you really not aware of the threats we face from a Republican majority with very radical ideas of executive power?

    I’m sure you know Stefan Sharkansky. He claims he’s a libertarian, but is still supporting McGavick. Do you consider him a libertarian? Do you consider me a libertarian? He and I agree on practically nothing. I can overlook my disagreement over taxes and property rights to vote for libertarians, but I never thought that libertarians could abandon the core value of never being willing to concede liberty for security and still call themselves libertarians. Maybe I’m wrong.

  12. I don’t buy your strategic voting argument.

    I explained it in detail above. What part don’t you agree with? If my vote is the difference between Russ Feingold or Arlen Specter being the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, I vote for Russ Feingold. Can you explain to me where I made a mistake with either my math, my understanding of how Senate Committee Chairs are selected, or my willingness to believe that Russ Feingold will be a more effective curb on Republican overreach than Arlen Specter?

  13. thehim: because you’re making a circular argument. You can argue all you want that Democrats are more libertarian than Republicans (I find them equally repugnant when you line their faults up side-by-side), but Libertarians are more libertarian than both and you seem to agree with our candidates the most, you can’t deny that.

    Your voting method and argument is therefore irrational.

    To clarify my argument before: Republicans are asking you to cut off your arm and Democrats merely want your big toe (hey, that’s not so bad, right?). You’re voting for a lesser of painful eventualities because you view them both as an eventuality instead of looking at it rationally (I’ll keep my limbs and digits thank-you-very-much).

  14. Are you telling me there are libertarians even considering voting for a Republican this year?

    Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Some of them because Cantwell has a record of violating the Constitution and McGavick does not. Others, because they always vote against the incumbent.

    Doesn’t that concern you more than someone voting for a Democrat?

    It concerns me the same. I realized some time ago that we will only ever get what we ask for. If we keep asking for Ds and Rs and all their policies, that’s what we’ll get.

    Look, no matter who wins they’ll interpret each and every vote as a sanction of their position or voting record. Cantwell will not understand – or care – that you simply feared McGavick (or an increased Republican majority) more.

    She will then be emboldened pursue her agenda with increased rigor, making her more dangerous in the future than she has been in the past.

    (continued)

  15. Or as a libertarian, are you really not aware of the threats we face from a Republican majority with very radical ideas of executive power?

    I am a Libertarian because I understand the threats we face from both Ds and Rs in the long run. It makes more sense to unseat incumbents every chance we get and then hold that power over the head of the next office holder. We must hold those accountable who abuse their power and trample our rights, regardless of their party.

    Think about it. No matter who wins, if the Libertarian candidate makes up a large enough percentage of the votes cast, the winner will have to recognize the importance of the Libertarian message to the voters. If they are saavy and interested in preserving their power next time, they’ll think twice before ignoring our concerns.

    If, in particular, the support for any of the peace candidates is enough to unseat Cantwell – the winner will hear one message loud and clear: Support war and you’ll pay a political price.

  16. You can argue all you want that Democrats are more libertarian than Republicans (I find them equally repugnant when you line their faults up side-by-side), but Libertarians are more libertarian than both and you seem to agree with our candidates the most, you can’t deny that.

    Your voting method and argument is therefore irrational.

    No it’s not if the result of my vote is the more libertarian outcome in the overall political environment. In this political environment, I explained very clearly how a vote for Bruce Guthrie over Maria Cantwell could end up with the more anti-libertarian result.

    Republicans are asking you to cut off your arm and Democrats merely want your big toe (hey, that’s not so bad, right?).

    No, I disagree with that characterization. I agree that Maria Cantwell figuratively wants my big toe, but I don’t agree that her viewpoint is necessarily the mainstream among most Democrats.

    Continued…

  17. Continued from above…

    That’s why she’s struggling among Democrats right now, because her anti-libertarian positions are driving away support. But I don’t see that as an indictment of all Democrats. Russ Feingold certainly doesn’t share her anti-libertarian viewpoints, which is why I want him to have increased power in the Senate. My vote for Guthrie could cost him that.

  18. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Some of them because Cantwell has a record of violating the Constitution and McGavick does not.

    Of all the positions you’ve listed from Maria Cantwell that are anti-libertarian, how many of them aren’t shared by McGavick as well? From what I’ve seen, McGavick agrees with Cantwell on 6 of the 7 issues (I have no idea how he feels about online dating).

    Others, because they always vote against the incumbent.

    That’s not an excuse to vote for an anti-libertarian outcome.

    It concerns me the same. I realized some time ago that we will only ever get what we ask for. If we keep asking for Ds and Rs and all their policies, that’s what we’ll get.

    I wish that mattered in this election. It doesn’t. It’s overshadowed by the balance of powers in Congress. I’d love to see a third-party emerge one day. What the Bush Administration is doing to our rights is a much bigger concern right now.

  19. Look, no matter who wins they’ll interpret each and every vote as a sanction of their position or voting record. Cantwell will not understand – or care – that you simply feared McGavick (or an increased Republican majority) more.

    But if it’s the difference between a Republican majority and a Democratic majority, then Maria Cantwell’s voting record would only be a minor setback in a major victory.

    Think about it. No matter who wins, if the Libertarian candidate makes up a large enough percentage of the votes cast, the winner will have to recognize the importance of the Libertarian message to the voters. If they are saavy and interested in preserving their power next time, they’ll think twice before ignoring our concerns.

    I would love for this to happen, but this is a terrible race to push that point in. If you want to do it in 2008 in the governor’s race, I’m with you.

  20. I would love for this to happen, but this is a terrible race to push that point in. If you want to do it in 2008 in the governor’s race, I’m with you.

    So we disagree about this race. Okay, I knew that anyway.

    However, I’m likely to be the campaign manager for our gubernatorial candidate in 2008 so I’ll gladly take your help with that :)

    That will be a really fun race with a lot of potentional for success – if we start laying the groundwork now. That’s the other part of our campaign this year. Every improvement we make in our technique, every inroad to the media we make, every new donor and new voter – all that builds our momentum going into 2008.

    I actually think your help could be extremely valuable. That’s the only reason I bothered with this dialog. I’ve been reading your blog for sometime and I recognize a potentially powerful ally when I see one. I just have to earn your support. Looks like that won’t happen this time – but now I’ve got a good start for 2008!

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