A Choice in November

Clueless GOP consultants Tony Fabrizio and Dave Carney tell Politico (referring to Ron Paul’s 16 percent showing in Pennsylvania’s Republican primary):

“A large portion of those Ron Paul supporters are anti-Bush, anti-war Republicans,” he said. “They’ll wind up back with McCain because, while they may disagree on the war or be mad at Bush, the prospect of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is more frightening.”

And, as Carney notes, there is no Paul-like third-party candidate around whom they can rally and vent their frustrations.

Politco’s Jonathan Martin notes that that might not be true if Bob Barr gets the Libertarian Party’s nomination. But it won’t be true even if Barr doesn’t get the LP nod, because Chuck Baldwin, who endorsed Paul in the Republican primaries, has now won the Constitution Party’s nomination. Baldwin, who is socially conservative, antiwar, for drastically smaller government (asked at the Constitution Party convention what his first executive order as president would be, he said he would first repeal almost all the executive orders going back to Reagan), and against federal snooping on American citizens. The rightist part of the Ron Paul movement might find him a very attractive candidate indeed.

In small ways, the 2008 election is starting to look up. There’s the prospect that my ballot in Virginia might have at least two candidates I can support: Baldwin and Barr. Neither is perfect. And between them, I’m not sure which is better: Baldwin is more radically conservative and anti-statist, as far as I can tell, which commends him. In Barr’s favor, I’d rather vote for a Libertarian Party candidate than a Constitution Party candidate. I attended the CP’s 2000 convention in St. Louis and wasn’t very impressed by the proceedings. A brawl almost broke out at one session between Catholics and Protestants baiting one another about who had persecuted whom more violently throughout history. (Catholics attributed anti-clerical violence in the Mexican Revolution to Protestantism — improbably enough — while Protestants shot back with equally poorly informed accusations about the Inquisition. A gathering of professional historians this was not.) Convention sessions juxtaposed a speaker who wanted to stone homosexuals next to a speaker who had survived being aborted. Disgust and sympathy don’t make a pleasant emotional cocktail. The party didn’t exactly win any points with me in 2004 either, when it nominated for president a man who had given his wife’s children away to be raised by the state of Maryland. (His wife insists that turning her daughters into wards of the state was her idea. Either way, the story belongs on Jerry Springer — or Phil Donahue, where in fact it did appear — not on the resume of a “family values” candidate.)

On the other hand, LP presidential contender and mooted vice presidential prospect Mary Ruwart is a defender of consensual kiddie porn. If she’s on the ticket, I won’t be voting for the Libertarians. I’m fairly sure neither Barr nor Wayne Allan Root, the other top LP presidential candidate, would have someone with those views on their ticket. I hope.

And of course, Obama is better than McCain by far. I’d like to see him clobber McCain in November. So assuming these third parties qualify for the ballot in Virginia, I’ll have several choices in this presidential election. That’s an unaccustomed circumstance for me, and it feels kind of good. Now if only a third party will nominate someone decent for the Virginia Senate race…


5 thoughts on “A Choice in November

  1. Pingback: Jeff Wartman
  2. Dylan Waco April 27, 2008 / 4:59 am


    The big knock I have against Baldwin is that he is literally a homophobe. I have no problem with someone who believes homosexual conduct is immoral or wrong, but when someone endorses the idea that a homosexual cabal is running the United States through its two major political parties, I have to seriously question their judgment. That said, I really like “Pastor Chuck”, and think his consistency on even the most controversial civil liberties issues is rare and needed in the national debate. Of the major paleoesque writers on the net, only Paul Craig Roberts is as good on government intrusion and the methods and tactics needed to combat it. As you noted Baldwin is quite good on most other issues, so he is certainly worth support.

    Barr I am starting to have serious reservations about. Not only is he a fair taxer (at least the revenue-neutral, supply-sider Paul Craig Roberts never claimed to be a libertarian), as Justin Raimondo has pointed out he is oddly bellicose on Hemispheric foreign policy issues. Given what he has written I think one could easily see Barr as a return to Reaganesque, aggresive Monroe Doctrine application, gunboat diplomacy in the region. No he isn’t going to be elected, but the point is that non-interventionism should not be negotiable. Couple this with Barr’s odd twisting on border control and I’m not sure I could cast a vote for the man.

    Right now I am leaning Nader. As I have pointed out before, Nader is far more conservative than he is given credit for and is far more principled on paleo/libertarian/decentralist issues than many of self-identified traditonalist politicians, writers and speakers have proven to be (compare Nader to Tancredo or Buchanan for example on their pet issues and the level of compromise they have been willing to make. Ralph wins running away). There are knocks against Ralph and they are worth examining. The fact that he is running on his own, minus a party for a vehicle is among them. Still as far as knowing what you are getting, consistency, solid positions on the key issues (immigration, war, trade, civil liberties, civic participation, subversion of traditional morals, corporate and government unaccountability, empire, et.) I don’t know that we will do better.

  3. Daniel McCarthy April 27, 2008 / 7:23 am

    I’m willing to consider Nader, though the fact that he’s running as an independent makes me much less likely to vote for him — assuming he’s even on my ballot. One of the things I keep in mind when protest voting is that by voting for a third party I may be helping it stay on the ballot. I wouldn’t mind lending that assistance to the LP or CP. Barr, however, is problematic for the reasons you outline, although I occasionally get signals from him that suggest he might be better than his boilerplate makes him sound. I asked him a question about Iran intervention during an interview for TAC, and he gave just about a pitch-perfect answer: well-informed, serious, and anti-interventionist. I don’t know what to make of his views on Latin America; I want to believe they can’t possibly be as bad as they look, though I’m having trouble justifying that hope. Assuming h seeks and wins the LP nomination, we’ll see if he gets better or worse as the campaign gears up.

    As for Baldwin, I’m just glad his views on gays aren’t indistinguishable from the Taliban’s. Conspiracy theories are small potatoes next to that.

  4. Dylan Waco April 28, 2008 / 5:32 am


    I basically agree with all you wrote, and the fact that Constitution Party went with a man of principle, despite an attempted infiltration is to be commended. I wish Nader was attached to some sort of party, but alas he is not. I didn’t vote in 04 and it is possible I will not again, but I feel a lot less disgusted about the crop of protest candidates this time out then I did last time out.


  5. kickingtheanthill April 28, 2008 / 2:15 pm

    Unfortunately, party options in America are no option at all. Although I commend all of you for voting your passion and your conscience, I suspect you do so knowing the vote has all the meaning of staying home. Of course, “A journey of a thousand miles…..”

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