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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scott Brown's Victory in Massachusetts

Everyone in this country is agreed on the landmark importance and symbolism of today's Massachusetts special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the late Ted Kennedy. There are two candidates in this race whose starkly contrasting views tell the entire story:

The Massachusetts Alternatives

One candidate supported a major tax increase on the people of Massachusetts. The other opposes tax increases on principle.

One candidate supported and helped pass Massachusetts' 2006 universal health care law. The other opposed it.

One supports President Barack Obama's foreign policy. The other is unequivocally opposed to it.

One is a lawyer. The other is a businessman with a background in information technology, computer science, and business management.

One was born to a political family, and held signs for their father at a young age. The other was born to poor immigrants and adopted as an infant by a pastor and his wife.

One supports the nanny state and agrees with Barack Obama's opposition to gay marriage, but support for civil unions. The other believes government should stay out of the issue of marriage altogether.

One supports the Federal government's role in taxing income, regulating education, and allowing the Federal Reserve Bank to continue printing money out of thin air. The other adamantly opposes all three.

The first candidate in the comparisons above is not Democrat Martha Coakley (though she is admittedly even worse). The first candidate is actually Republican Scott Brown, who as a state senator voted for a major tax package and Romney's universal healthcare plan, who supports Obama's reckless troop surge in Afghanistan, and who is a career lawyer and politician.

The second candidate is the Libertarian Party candidate in the Massachusetts' Special Senate Election, Joe Kennedy (no relation to the Kennedy family). Sources: here, here, and here. So why on earth are conservatives, libertarians, and tea party activists celebrating Scott Brown's likely victory today?

The Massachusetts Outcome

Brown's victory seems imminent. He's absolutely massacred his second biggest opponent, Martha Coakley. The talking heads on MSNBC have essentially conceded the race to Brown. Scott Brown's raging online support positively dwarfs Martha Coakley's.

And on the ground, she's not doing much better, flipping out and calling Curt Schilling a Yankee fan, trailing Brown in the polls by nine points, unable to convince a primarily Independent state that she's an independent thinker, and even unable to energize her own supporters who have abandoned her campaign (last three links via: The Reaganite Republican).

With this kind of overwhelming victory against the Democrats on the horizon, I can see why it's easy for conservatives and even some libertarians to get excited, but DID YOU READ what Scott Brown really stands for in the list of alternatives above? Can we really be happy with a tax-increasing, universal-healthcare-voting, money-printing lawyer!?

I feel like I'm the only libertarian left who hasn't completely lost his mind. Please somebody comment and tell me that I'm not the only sane one left who's keeping his head on straight in the midst of all of this!

Conservatives and Libertarians Hail Brown Victory

The Libertarian Republican, Eric Dondero, is celebrating Scott Brown's imminent victory as "The Greatest Republican Victory since Bush beat Kerry in 2004." I respect Eric Dondero, have collaborated with him on the blogosphere before, and will continue to do so, but Eric- how can you see either Brown's or Bush's victory as a victory for the Republican Party?

After winning in 2004, Bush continued to push his agenda of unprecedented government expansion, control, and intrusion. His administration saw the most radical growth in the welfare state since Lyndon B. Johnson. He tarnished the Republican brand, angered conservative voters, and set up the GOP for massive losses in 2006 and 2008.

With his voting record, speeches, and interviews, we can count on no less from Scott Brown. Is it really a victory for the GOP to elect another Olympia Snowe-style Republican from the Northeast? And I have no clue what the 2008 Libertarian Party VP candidate and prospective 2012 Presidential candidate, Wayne Allyn Root is doing supporting a big-government Republican over the LIBERTARIAN PARTY candidate, Joe Kennedy!

Meanwhile, even the Cato Institute's, Dr. Jeffrey Miron wonders out loud whether he should vote for big-government Republican Scott Brown or small-government Libertarian Joe Kennedy- the classic lesser-of-two-evils conundrum. Dr. Miron, the lesser of two evils is still evil. Mark my words- Scott Brown's record proves what side of history he's on- the side of the establishment and its machinations. He and his mindset are part of the problem, not the solution.

Am I The Only Sane Libertarian Left?

Seriously- what the hell, everybody?


And a most very special thanks and shout out to Poli-Tea for turning me on to Joe Kennedy's campaign. Keep an eye on Poli-Tea for information about third parties in the United States. Thanks again! Not that this was a battle we could have won. Hopefully we can at least use it as a teaching and learning experience.


  1. I think it is about the lesser of two evils since, unfortunately, Joe Kennedy doesn't have a chance to win.

    I think the main two things on everyone's minds right now are:
    1) No ObamaCare; which translates to
    2) No more Dems

    Just my .02 though.

  2. Your points are well made. However, the thought of C(r)oakley as senator is as revolting as Ted Kennedy was when he was in office.

    I have issues's with Scott Brown's philosophy of governance, however I voted for him as I do not want C(r)oakley in Washington.

    Compromise is the decision to select the lessor of two evils because to do otherwise will insure the election to office the greater of two evils.

    As Kennedy had about as much of a chance as a snowball in hell I voted Brown.

  3. You are NOT the only sane one left. I have been telling people the same thing about voting for the lesser of two evils for years. Nobody listens. In thier eyes its all about the two parties.

    Come on, we should have seen this coming when they had that Republican run in Libertarian clothing last year. The majority of the party have circumvented thier principles in the desire to get someone/anyone in office.

    Talk about selling your soul to the devil. We are doomed to continued failure if we dont start standing by our principles and educating people what we are all about. The marketing should be in full swing already but it is not. It lags drastically. If we dont begin doing something NOW by 2012 it will be too late.

    Yours in Liberty
    jim kearney

  4. Voting for the lesser of two evils is like choosing between the lesser of two deadly diseases when you know what the cure is.

    No, Wes, you're not insane. The Tea Partiers who are supporting Brown, rather, are losing their minds. May they dispense with "conserving" their minor victories and go with all haste towards promoting TRUTH and JUSTICE rather than political expediency.

  5. Brown seems to have a Calvin Coolidge-esque stance about his politics.

    Coolidge was very quick to promote rights of the states as President, but in his previous tenure as a state legislator, he supported more "progressive" causes on that level.

    To be honest, I would prefer it that way as well, as it is easier for the citizens of a state to fight against big government on that level than it is for the citizens of our nation to fight against big government on a federal level.

    That's why I like Brown (as a libertarian/conservative fence-straddler who prefers a more federalist, constitutionally-correct form of government).

  6. Thanks for the shout out Wes. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the apparently overwhemling support for yet another big government Republican, head over to Independent Political Report.

  7. Great piece, Wes. Your sane thoughts almost exactly mirror mine.

    I must admit, I didn't pay attention to this contest for awhile because I figured any Republican that could win in Massachusetts isn't worth having. When enthusiasm picked up for Brown I started looking into his policy positions and felt validated. He might vote against the health plan but there's no guarantee he'll be worth much more. He's an establishment hack and I think these conservatives and libertarians should have known better.

    I've also added a link to you on my blog post on this topic.

  8. I voted for Brown, but I completely appreciate the points you make. I know Brown is not a great candidate. I voted for him because he promises to vote against the Dems' health bill. Although he does not oppose it for what I consider to be the right reasons, getting Brown elected is basically the only chance to kill the bill. I like Joe Kennedy better, but voting for him would not really have a positive impact, since he can't win. Electing Brown would stop the health bill, which would be a good thing, even though Brown overall isn't that great.

    So like Anonymous #1 and Rational Nation USA said, we can't have Joe unfortunately, so I'd rather have the lesser of two evils than the greater.

    This was a really difficult decision for me. There are good arguments on both sides, like yours. There's a series of 3 good articles here on this subject:

  9. I'm with you Wes. Even if you are not a Joe Kennedy supporter, why would Brown's victory be a cause for celebration? We take one step forward and two steps back.


  10. In the past I have felt a slant too far to the right coming from you, I see that I have misread your statements and I am glad to see an emphasis on what is important: libertarianism over authoritarianism. It is not just what is left and right, but what is up our business and down to earth that is also (perhaps more) important.

  11. Here's part of Root's comment at the bottom of his post which was somewhat of from a handicaper's perspective, since he's in the business. Then, he left this comment at the bottom. He doesn't really endorse Brown.

    Note - Root also acknowledged and expressed his support for the efforts of LP Senate candidate Joe Kennedy.

  12. I can see why many libertarians are confused, if not downright upset about those calling themselves conservatives and/or libertarians supporting Scott Brown. The sad truth is many people calling themselves "libertarian" use it as a facade to create an illusion of being politically impartial. When you look at people like Bill Maher, Glenn Beck or Bob Barr (to name a few), you will find when they let their collective guard down their true ideology shows.

    Unfortunately, I see this trend of faux "libertarianism" growing. It creates a safe harbor for a candidate or pundit to gain a larger audience by claiming they are outside of the "beltway" in their thought process. Just some food for thought!

  13. Aw Wes great article. Having only watched the mainstream media and Fox news I was ready to celibrate. Now you took the wind out of my sails. Though I must say losing his seat in just a few months to a Republican Teddy must have spun a few times in his grave tonight.

    Wes you definitely need more national exposure. How you have time for your research, write a great blog and be a full time student is beyond me. When I was a student I wasted my free time on my 70 Mustang, high school sweeheart, and reading the National Lampoon. I even got banned from the campus library for laughing too hard at the Lampoon out loud. Your on your way to great things, mark my words.

  14. Hmmm, could it be that Scott winning is still a bellweather sign?

    can't we just be hopeful that in a state as lib as Mass that a republican even if they are not the ideal Libertarian is a Feat to be amazed by?

    when Nancy loses her seat to a repub... well then, any repub beats the heck out of a Statist...

  15. its Massachusetts.

    here's the thing as I see it. Many people are not going to buy into the Libertarian philosophy especially in Massachusetts.

    So you'll have to accept small victories like this (as a check on Obama) and hope you can create an gradual evolution, as oppossed to a revolution.

    I assume your victories will come in Western congressional districts at first.

    So, it is a check on government spending, and at the very least, is a step in the right direction however small you may feel it is.

  16. The good people of Massachusetts told pollster after pollster that they wanted to send a message to Washington. My! My! That message has been received loud and clear:


    Congratulations, Massachusetts!

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  17. Wes,
    First, great article. It was well written and fun to read. Additionally, I agree with your frustration. Now allow an old warrior to expound on what I have learned as I went through all the same things you are going through now - back when I "wore a younger mans clothes." Trust me, I have been there.

    Many of the above comments are spot on. First; It's Massachusetts, an observation that is important even if it is over-repeated. Second; goals are met one step at a time. As Tom Degan pointed out above, people sent a message to Washington. Democrats sending the "slow down/stop" message via a Republican candidate is no less valid than freedom lovers sending a message via a Libertarian candidate, except for one difference, in this case the Republican message was heard.

    Allow me to use a war analogy since most libertarians love war (sarcasm intentional).

    The current war for our freedom is like the American Revolution. Our side is not only losing but the situation is all but hopeless. Our army is in disarray and the end is very near. The final battle is the government take-over of healthcare. We are losing the battle badly. On the eve of our destruction, we receive an unlikely ally who ends up delaying the enemy in one important skirmish, which may turn the tide of the battle, and we are alive to fight another day. (In the Frank Capra version, we go on to win the war)

    In the real world, we take a deep breath and are temporarily grateful that we dodged a big bullet. The unlikely ally who might have been the reason for our survival gets our cheers even though his overall views are unpalatable to ours.

    So no, we have not lost our minds. I also would opine that you are confusing libertarians "hailing" the win with breathing a sigh of relief.

    As for Republicans celebrating, why wouldn't they? They are still a big government party and this was a big win for a party in shambles.

    This is why I am an advocate for people to quit both parties and become independents.

    Apologies for mixing my metaphors but we need to hand the ball off to the runner who can advance us toward the goal line while always looking for a better running back.
    Today be grateful; tomorrow look to retire Brown's number in favor of a "libertarian Walter Payton". We need not support the lesser of two evils to pick the best running back we have on any one play in the game, or the whole season for that matter.
    Political parties are using us, we need to use them instead, as it was originally intended.

    I ask your permission to reprint your essay, partially or in full, on my blog so I may expand my comments for the perusal of my readers.

  18. Wes, and I say this with the deepest respect, it's not that you're the "only sane Libertarian Left." It's more that you're simply a sane person who also happens to be a Left Libertarian.

    There's a huge difference between us Right Libertarians and Left Libertarians like you and Tom Knapp, Radley Balko, ect... We supported Bush because we vehemently supported the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and see it as a Libertarian issue: fighting Islamo-Fascism. Left Libertarians don't care a wit for the fight against Islamo-Fascism, and are, at heart isolationists.

    Scott Brown was the candidate who was in favor of doing everything we can to fight the Terrorist Jihadists. That's why you don't get it.

  19. Oh, one other thing. You did not even mention Bob Hedlund, which says an awful lot about your ignorance of the Libertarian Republican movement. Hedlund is a virtual GOD! amongst us Libertarian Republicans. He's been with us since 1994!!!

    Guess who was influential in recruiting Scott Brown to run originally?

    That's right: Bob Hedlund.

  20. Wes is the new Chomsky?

    roflmao - I think not.

    'Left' Libertarians are anarchists and anti-capitalist, not isolationists.

    If you believe in 'private ownership of the means of production' then you can call yourself a left libertarian

    When Wes starts talking about 'worker ownership' instead 'private ownership' then you might have a point.

  21. two mistakes:

    one - I really don't know Wes, so i don't know what he believes

    two - the 4th segment of the above post should read if you believe in 'worker ownership' instead of 'private ownership'

    sorry - fast typing

  22. learn your history folks:

    Thomas Paine was a socialists

    and the only Left libertarian I know is Chumpsky.

    Left Libertarianism has a 200 year history. Right libertarianism began about 100 years ago.

  23. alright I had to google Tom Knapp and Radley Balko

    just reading what came up on the search page I can assuredly assert that neither are Left Libertarians.

  24. Wes,

    You are an idealistic young person....

    When your sage elders talk about 'the lesser of two evils' they are basically saying THEY SOLD OUT.

    We complain about our elected leaders not doing what we send them to Washington to do...they have sold themselves out to get money to get reelected.

    We will never have a voice in Washington until we quit hiding behind the idea that the lesser of two evils is at best all we can aspire to...

    Rational voted and obviously he should have been a Kennedy loyalist....

    But he voted for Brown....

    now whenever he comments on my blog about what wrong with our country I am just going to respond "Because you voted for Brown!" :)

    We go on and on with quotes from the Founding Fathers, Ayn Rand, and all these other idealistists that we hold dear....

    The reason we do not obtain that which we hold dear is because we are too quick to settle for 'the lesser of two evils...."

    I hope you keep folks fired up and I hope that your generation believes in your ideals a whole lot more than my generation did because I think you will need them.

  25. TAO - If that is to be your response I shall see little purpose in commenting.


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