I’m Certainly No Republican

I was speaking with a salesman yesterday who hates Libertarians because he thinks they are opposed to gay rights. Consider this a primer for those who consider Libertarians hardcore Republicans. The AP is running a story about the social policies the GOP hopes to change between now and the November elections.

Protection of marriage amendment? Check. Anti-flag burning legislation? Check. New abortion limits? Check.

Between now and the November elections, Republicans are penciling in plans to take action on social issues important to religious conservatives, the foundation of the GOP base, as they defend their congressional majority.

In a year where an unpopular war in Iraq has helped drive President Bush’s approval ratings below 40 percent, core conservatives whose turnout in November is vital to the party want assurances that they are not being taken for granted.

In addition to being in opposition to all of those items, we’re against the War in Iraq, too. Ed Thompson just covered one of those issues well:

The guy who ran for Wisconsin governor as “the voice of the common man” is calling state lawmakers bigots for picking on gays and lesbians.

Ed Thompson says the No. 1 issue in Wisconsin this year is defeating a Republican-backed constitutional amendment that would emphatically ban same-sex marriage and similar civil unions.

The proposed amendment is an “evil thing” that is “so incredibly wrong” it amounts to “lunacy,” Thompson declared last weekend at the state Libertarian political convention in Madison.

The GOP-run Legislature is attempting to “pass laws of prejudice against people,” Thompson told convention-goers. “If you can accept that, you’re not a Libertarian. You’re not even an American. You’re a bigot.”

Those are strong words coming from a hard-working, fun-loving, small-town bar and restaurant owner whose appeal in rural areas remains strong.

It’s also a sign that Wisconsin could become the first state in the union to defeat a needless and divisive constitutional attack on gay and lesbian love.

Thompson, you may recall, is the former mayor of Tomah who ran for governor as a Libertarian in 2002. He collected more votes — 185,000 — than any third-party candidate in modern state history.

Thompson’s tough talk drew a standing ovation and signaled that public perceptions and political momentum on the controversial issue are changing.

That seems pretty plain and simple to me.

17 Comments
  1. It’s distressing how mny posters on the LP Blog hink that the LP is being taken over by Republicans. This is a good exmple of refutation – there’s no libertarian alive that would support such a thing.

  2. I can see how they make the connection though… the media likes to refer to some Republicans as Libertarians, even though they are the furthest thing from it.

    Perhaps this is a concerted effort to discredit libertarians?

  3. Libertarians also campaign as or portray themselves as Republicans, but more conservative or Republicans who REALLY hate taxes,etc. Notice that Badnarik’s billboard says “Family, Property, Security”. Now, maybe it’s just me, but my perception is that at least 2/3 of those are pretty much “Republican” values or buzzwords. Regardless of whether I agree with or care to explore his deep personal views, when I see “Family” I automatically think “anti-gay, pro-“defense of hetero marriage, against gay adoption,etc” and Security= Hawkish, Pro-war,etc. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, and it may even be brilliant in that district. My point is just that I am not surprised if people would just consider Libertarians far-right Rs or CP-types. 99% of voters are NOT going to get deep into reading platforms, researching party history and philosophy,differentiate between beliefs and the proper role of govt,etc- They are going to form fast opinions.

  4. Perhaps this is a concerted effort to discredit libertarians?

    I’ve always though so. There was a long discussion on the Badnarik foums about this prior to the election. Some people insisted that is was great PR to have Bill O’Reilly, Ann Colter and Joe Scarborough refered to (or refer to themsleves) as libertarians. To me, it was an attempt to pull us into the “mainstream” of political sewage.

  5. Nobody’s talking about the REAL news in that article, which was that an ovation by a convention of Libertarians was held up as a measure of public sentiment and a sign of the direction Wisconsin is taking. Wow.

  6. Artus, are you serious?

    People actually thought Bill O’REILLY should refer to himself as Libertarian? He has to be the most authoriatarian statist commentator I’ve seen on TV. I mean if we are “socially liberal fiscally conservative local and state over federal”(gross over-simplification, I know), he would be “social conservative fiscal liberal federal over state and local”.

    One of the things I’ve noticed about being a Libertarian is that my Republican friends think I’m way too much like a Democrat and my Democrat friends think I’m way too much like a Republican, and they have no idea how insulting it is to be compared to either.

  7. Madison desperately needs the economic side of the libertarian message. And as certain people might say, any publicity is good publicity.

  8. Graham, I am assuming that those three words were carefully chosen for Badnarik’s billboard since he’s running in a fairly Republican district in a very red state. But, anyone who knows Badnarik knows he’s solidly libertarian on those and other issues. I imagine he intends to use the buzzwords their familiar with to demonstrate how a libertarian approach will better address those needs.

  9. One of the problems we face is in framing the question. Homosexuals don’t think we support gay rights because we don’t support anti-discrimination laws (of any kind) such as workplace discrimination. Our reasoning is that the market will sort it out and companies that pick employees or customers based on non-productive
    efficiency reason will put themselves at a economic disadvantage compared to those businesses than don’t discriminate.

    With regards to government sanctioned discrimination in marriage, again they don’t frame the question correctly. It is not that we don’t support government sanction marriage of gays, it is that we want the government out of the marriage sanctioning business altogether.

  10. Obviously, we want government out of the marriage sanctioning business altogether. Where I find myself fighting libertarians are on gay marriage bans by the state. While I agree with the principal, the reality is that the laws favor heteros over homos. Supporting equalizing the playing field is at an incremental step, at least.

  11. Stephen: I concur whole-heartedly. Only problem is that there will be those that see any increase in regulation of any kind as a step in the wrong direction, no matter what. (See: Socialist vs. Fascist medicine debates a priori).

    I see myself as a “functionalist” over any description such as “pragmatist” or “idealist.” I concern myself with the functional results of any ideology or action. That is to say, what matters to me is the impact of the things I say, think, and do.

    With that in mind, if I do something that results in greater freedoms for everyone, it doesn’t matter to me what it’s called. Be it socialist medicine or be it regulations ensuring everyone be on a level playing field *in terms of choices they can make*. Monetarily, we’re on our own; because we should equally have the right to choose to be poor as we do to choose to be wealthy. (That was an excerpt to avoid socialist/”collectivist” arguments.)

  12. Scott Milfred attended a Libertarian Party of Dane County (WI)meeting in 1998 when he was a reporter, writing about Libertarian candidate Peter Steinberg who was running for DA (Steinberg got 8%, 13,000 votes in hotly contested race for an open seat, and ran on a marijuana legalization ptatform).

    Now Milfred is the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal, and has been very open to libertarian ideas since that time.

  13. Tim West has been making some good points about stopping corporations from using government—he’s right to insist that Libertarians no longer be knee-jerk corporate sponsors.

    Stephen Gordon has done good work covering, among other things, Wal-Mart’s misuse of government power. Tim sadly is wrong, very wrong, when he says Libertarians wouldn’t stand for being taken over.

    It’s not only wrong to state that LPers wouldn’t stand for it, often, the LP is that misrepresentation. It’s more than one state now, when are you going to notice?

  14. For the purposes of the state all marriage should be is a contract. It shouldn’t matter who the parties in the contract are (black, white, gay, hetero). The states purpose is to make sure the contract is upheld. Why doesn’t the state jump up and down about every other contract that a gay enteres into? Why is this contract different?

    People seem to confuse a religous marriage with a state contract. Granted to get married in our country you have to get a contract signed by the state but it is not the duty of the state to say who can be parties to a contract if they are an adult. Church’s on the other hand have every right to decide who they will marry or not. A religous marriage is done in front of God and church. The two people are making a commitment between them and God irregardless of a contract signed by the state. A state marriage license just sets down some standard contract commitments among married people so that everyone doesn’t have to write up their own contract.

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