I’ve told this story before, but I think it bears repeating, especially to my Libertarian and libertarian-leaning Republican friends:
I’m a registered Republican, but as someone who is primarily motivated by liberty and free markets, and who is not a social issues conservative, my heart is at least somewhat with the Libertarians. In fact, I have in the past been a registered Libertarian, but I don’t support the degree to which they want to weaken our military, nor do I support open borders, especially while we have a welfare state, although I am much more pro-immigration than most Republicans (and probably most Democrats.)
I have voted Libertarian for president for every election since the FIRST George Bush’s FIRST election (at least that’s my recollection), so we’re more than two decades since I’ve voted for a Republican for president. In 2008, I wrote and said (on the radio) that I would not support John McCain because “if he represents winning then we’ve already lost.”
I also said that while filling Supreme Court vacancies was the best reason to support McCain, I was more concerned by the fact that McCain supported cap-and-trade, which I believe we would have gotten had he won, and which would have been the single worst economic policy ever imposed by the US government, far more damaging even than Obamacare. I also recounted the “boiling the frog” metaphor and said that with Obama people will “get their Progressivism good and hard, and hopefully react against it.”
By recounting this, I am not looking for a debate on my mindset of four years ago. After living what we’ve lived through, I am more convinced than ever that I was right…and I would do the same thing again. I realize many or most of the readers of these pages might disagree, but my view is in keeping with my overall view, perhaps best exemplified by the fact that my son’s middle name is Rand. My story is instead to put the next part of the story in context.
The other day, I was asked by a moderate Democrat (who is considering voting for Romney) whom I will be voting for.
I answered without hesitation, from the gut, without any thought of political strategy or propagandizing: “I have two young children. It would be utterly irresponsible of me to vote for anyone other than Mitt Romney.”
I truly believe this.
Mitt Romney is not a perfect candidate, not the most inspiring candidate, though I also don’t find him as objectionable as many “real conservative” Republicans. But he is the best of the candidates who had a real chance of getting the nomination. He is a substantial, smart, experienced man, and by all appearances a good man. He is worthy of the office he seeks.
Almost none of that can be said of Barack Obama. For all this talk about his being a good husband and father, I see precious little other evidence of his being a “nice guy” and plenty of evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, stories about of Mitt Romney’s charitable, self-sacrificing behavior — performed when no cameras or microphones were trained on him.
But this election isn’t about “nice guy.” It is about leadership, about who will be the nation’s CEO for the next four years. The ONLY choice for anyone who does not believe in the Progressive vision of citizens subservient to government is Mitt Romney.
A good friend of mine, quite libertarian in mindset, recently told me that he plans to vote for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who used to be a Republican but is now the Libertarian candidate for president. Johnson is best known for his pro-marijuana legalization views. And while I’m sympathetic to that position, it’s somewhere just below the color of my septic tank cover on what I care about as we go into November’s election. Johnson also had an excellent record as the Governor of New Mexico, including (according to his web site) that he “eliminated New Mexico’s budget deficit, cut the rate of growth in state government in half and privatized half of the state prisons.”
While I am sympathetic to Johnson’s calls to “bring the troops home” (which mirrors one of the key positions of Ron Paul, and one of the key issues of importance to Rep. Paul’s supporters) I think his desire to include defense spending in his goal for a 43% across-the-board cut in government spending is suicidal. I do believe, along with some other courageous Republicans (apparently not including Mitt Romney) that we can cut defense spending over time and maintain effectiveness, particularly if we stop allowing politicians to force the production of weapons systems that the military neither wants nor needs. But taking a 43% meat cleaver to defense spending in a relatively short time frame is unacceptable.
But even here, I digress.
Even if Gary Johnson had the perfect policy platform (not that there is such a thing), the bottom line is that he can’t win this election. At some point, libertarians (both LP members and libertarian Republicans) need to recognize that there is little value in “being right” if the price is always losing and having the “most wrong” people win the most important elections.
Now my friend who says he’s going to vote for Johnson lives in California, so his vote really doesn’t matter.
But for those of us who live in the United States of America, and especially those who live in a state where there is any chance of Mitt Romney carrying the state, Mitt Romney is the only rational choice for those who don’t like the nation’s current direction.
I’m almost as proud of having voted Libertarian for 20 years as I am for never having tried an illegal drug or smoked a cigarette. In most circumstances I would consider it a matter of pride to have voted Libertarian again in 2012.
But I have two young children, and I simply don’t know what will be left of this country’s promise for a better future for them if Barack Obama gets reelected. I do not say this as hyperbole. The next couple of years will determine the final fate of Obamacare. The next few years might see more Supreme Court vacancies, including the chance to replace a liberal with a conservative or the chance to prevent the reverse. And the next few years will see more tumult and danger in the Middle East and elsewhere, requiring our enemies and allies alike to see the US as a country with principles and backbone – by which I do not mean an ongoing desire to be the world’s policeman, but a certainty to stand up for our strategic interests, which include keeping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
But most importantly, the next few years will either see the US return to being a nation with a vibrant economy in which the successful are honored rather than viewed by government the way a leech views your ankle.
Some people (though few who have any real understanding of history) believe that FDR got us out of the Great Depression with giant government spending and the creation of entitlement programs. Many others believe that WWII, though what is essentially a Keynesian mechanism, brought us out of the Depression. But my view, as informed by reading people such as Hillsdale College’s Professor Burt Folsom, is that what FDR did to end the Depression was to die.
We do not need (or want) such an end to the Obama presidency; he is, after all, supposed to be a good husband and father. We do need the same political result, however, if we want a return to prosperity in America.
Libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, and other erstwhile Republicans must unite behind Mitt Romney. My kids – and I would think their kids – can’t afford any other choice.
Ross Kaminsky is a self-employed trader and investor and is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute. He is the host of The Ross Kaminsky Show on Denver’s NewsRadio 850 KOA at 11 AM on most Sundays. You can reach Ross by e-mail at rossputin(at)rossputin(dot)com.
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