Saturday, November 1, 2008

Why A Vote For Bob Barr Is Not A Wasted Vote

I had to leave work early one day this week because my mother someone I knew was in an automobile accident. When I got to the scene of the accident, debris from the wreck was being swept away, the police cars were directing traffic around the wreck, and the ambulance attendants were tending to anyone who might need tending.

Most people need a few minutes to recover after traumatic accidents, but my mother my acquaintance saw my Bob Barr bumpersticker.

"Who do you think will be the next president?" she asked.
"Obama," I said.
"Do you think McCain has a chance?" she asked.
"Who are you going to vote for?" she asked.
"Well, I'm afraid you're wasting your vote."

There were police officers milling around, the ambulance had its lights on, and the primary topic was THE BOB BARR BUMPERSTICKER. I didn't know why Libertarians are that much of a distraction. I've had two people in the last two months stop me in parking lots to ask who I would vote for if a Libertarian wasn't running. When I tell them, they ask why I'm wasting my vote on a 3rd party candidate.

My friend Dr Liz at Zbeth's journal recently emailed me about Bob Barr, stating that she couldn't believe I was wasting my vote on a 3rd party candidate.

As stated earlier in these pages, I prefer to use the term "2nd party", now that warm fuzzy bipartisanship is seen as a good thing.

(By the way, did anyone else notice the word "partisan" suddenly being used as a smear after the Democratic faction lost control of the House in 1994? Up until then, partisanship had been standard operating procedure. Oh well.)

Please let me explain why a vote for Bob Barr, or any other 2nd party candidate, is not a "waste" of a vote.

1. John McCain is going to lose. Unless someone discovers Osama bin Laden underneath Saddam's palace with a stash of WMD's and some letters from Obama encouraging him to stay out of sight until Christmas, John McCain is going to lose. But millions of people are going to vote for him. Granted, this doesn't mean Barr has a hope in Hades, but is a vote for McCain "wasted"?
2. Barack Obama is going to lose Texas. Unless John McCain is discovered to be a University of Oklahoma alumni with a Washington Redskins bumpersticker on his Volvo (donated by OPEC), Barack Obama is going to lose Texas. But millions of Texans are going to vote for Obama, and because of our goofy electoral college system, those millions of votes won't help Obama win a single state. Winning states is what counts. Granted, two wrongs don't make a right, but if a Texan votes for Obama, is that vote "wasted"?

3. Thousands of BiPartisan Party (R,D) candidates will be defeated on November 4th. This is not a tragedy for one side or the other, since there is very little difference between the two factions. But if the Mommy Faction (D) wins more elections that the Daddy Faction (R) does that mean that all Daddy votes were wasted?

4. McCain has blathered on an on about how he has a proven record of "reaching across the aisle" to the other side. There are 75-year old Baptist ushers who haven't reached across as many aisles as John McCain. Why does he keep emphasizing this ability, and why does he seem to claim that there's no difference between himself and a Democrat? Because there's very little difference between McCain and the Democrats.

5. Obama does the same thing. And the Republican faction fears him because of it. Karl Rove is claiming that Obama hasn't truly reached across party lines. Yeah, Karl, your guy McCain is the only one who can genuinely compromise his convictions.... We understand now.

6. By working together as a team, reaching across the aisle, and lots of other kissy-kissy make-nice techniques, the BiPartisans (R,D,) have gotten us 10.3 trillion dollars in debt. They did this by working together as a team.
"Why refuse to compromise when there's spending to be done?" appears to be the slogan.
If you're an American citizen, your share of this debt is $33,000.00
According to Reason magazine, if the government had to follow the same accounting rules as a corporation, each household's share of the national debt would be $500,000.00 (It's something to do with Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare entitlements.) They're going try to get out of this hole by printing money. Look for that to be the big Ron Paul issue in the 2010 elections.

7. When the autopsy is finally done on our current financial mess (the historian who will write the definitive account is probably still crawling around in diapers), I'm betting that the blame will be placed at the feet of.... The Republicrats. People really do want a change of methodology. The Obama faction's pollsters have obviously done the market research on this topic, if all the Change signs at his rallies are any indication.

8. But imagine a debate between someone who liked McDonald's, and someone who really, really liked McDonald's. Wouldn't be very interesting, would it?
How about a debate between Tweedledee and Tweedledum? Ditto.
Imagine a debate about a situation where a nation is about to go bankrupt.
Imagine that the debate was limited to speakers whose factions caused the problem, and no outsiders were allowed to participate.
Oh, you don't have to imagine that? You've watched some of those debates?
Why do you think they don't want a 2nd voice added to the debate?
Is it possible that having a real choice presented to the voters might possibly lead to Change? Loss of power by the BiPartisans?
Well, we can't have that, can we..... No, let's listen to Obama and McCain debate whether the problem should be attacked with a scalpel or a hatchet. Instead of a nuclear warhead.

9. Therefore, if you want change, you have to send a signal. As long as you continue voting for The Greater Of Two Lessers, the BiPartisans will never, ever get the message that they need to change their ways. If you have genuine concerns about the mammoth size of our government, erosion of our basic rights, or our ridiculous levels of debt, there's only one real way to waste your vote, and that's by voting for one of the BiPartisans.

Go Bob Barr ! ! !


fembuttx said...

Who is Bob Barr?

Jonestein said...

And we can thank Mark Cuban, billionaire fair-weather libertarian owner of the Dallas Mavericks for spreading more of this "waste your vote" mentality. I nearly spewed my coffee this morning when I saw there was actually a write-up on Libertarians next to the voters guide in the Sunday FW Startle-gram, but Cuban, who seems to think McBama is a lame choice, in the same breath says voting Libertarian is a wasted vote. Gee, thanks Mark. Idiocy like that just helps hinder the cause. GRRRR!

Jonestein said...

On another note, as you know, I disagree with you about McCain winning Texas. My gut-feel...and I have an enormous telling me Obama will win Texas, and the Whited One will owe me a beer. :^)

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Great blog entry!

Anonymous said...

They say that national trends begin in California.
Marin County is 55% registered Democrat.

If the Dems own all of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court in 2-3 years, this article is a precursor to life in the USofA.

If you don't say anything, they probably won't bother you.

Dr Ralph said...

WS - interesting post, as always, though I suspect we may not see eye to eye on some key points.

Granted, there are areas where the Mommy party (D) and Daddy party (R) are more alike than different. By the same token there are a lot of positions where the Libertarians and Republicans line up neatly. And so with the Democrats. Does that make all three the TriPartisan party?

I think not.

I'd go so far as to say if (by some amazing event) the Republicans (or Democrats) withered and left the Libertarians as the loyal opposition to the remaining half of the BiPartisan Party, a similarly delicate balance would arise.

"Ha!" you say, "It would never happen."

But it would. And it should.

Because, to quote Bismark, "Politics is the art of the possible." A third party not in power has the luxury of taking uncompromising stands. To govern, a party has to figure out how to appeal beyond its narrow constituency. Which means give and take.

The alternative is civil war.

That being said, I don't think voting for a third party is a wasted vote: the only wasted vote is one not cast. Many ideas now embraced by mainstream politicians were first championed by third parties.

And finally, I've decided if the Republicans are the Daddy party and the Democrats are the Mommy party, the Libertarians are the "Aunt-who-lets-you-stay-up-all-night-watching-TV-but-whose-house-smells-like-cat-piss" party.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I was at the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, and read the Star-Telegram article in question.

I disagree slightly on your take about Cuban, simply because Barr really is a freakin' Republican Carpetbagger. Barr's conversion makes that of Saint Paul look like someone merely switching over to Geico. Not everyone can believe it is sincere.

Dr. Ralph,
I agree somewhat. However, the Libertarians do have a philosophy that gives them direction on which way to proceed, as opposed to trimming their sails to adapt to whichever way the wind blows that day.
Any politician who has truly absorbed the underlying principles of the party would have a hard time, say, voting for the 700 million dollar bailout or voting for more overseas adventures. (To name just a few of the heresies committed by Republicans and Democrats, respectively.)

Also, I'm familiar with the aunt of whom you speak. She doesn't represent the libertarians, though.
The libertarians are best represented by her son (your cousin) who is much older than you and very much the non-comformist. Mommy and Daddy do not approve of him, and fear his influence on impressionable young minds. He was the first person to play Led Zeppelin's "Houses Of The Holy" album for you, and he gave you his old paperback copy of "The Monkey Wrench Gang" by Edward Abbey. All he's ever wanted is to be left alone.
Looking back, you can see that if it weren't for this cousin's influence, you'd be a total prig.

Jonestein said...

WS - I think any former Republican (with the exception of RP) would get labeled a carpetbagger if put in Barr's position. One disturbing attitude I've found with LPers is that they don't seems to realize that people can change their positions on issues. Barr has apologized repeatedly for his mistakes as a Republican, but many Libertarians just can't seem to forgive him. Hell, I shared Barr's position on the issues when I was a Republican, does that mean I should be denied membership to the LP?

Dr Ralph said...

WS - you aren't talking about my cousin "Teddy" who lives in Idaho, raises marijuana under grow lights and has a gazillion guns, are you?

'Cause he wouldn't like that. Not one little bit.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

That's EXACTLY the cousin I'm talking about. I think everybody has at least one.

The aunt with all the cats wants to do things for you. But erratically.
Mommy wants to do things for you. for your own good.
Daddy wants to do things for you. So you'll be exactly like him.
Cousin Teddy just wants to be left alone. He'll encourage you to try the Led Zep, the Ed Abbey, or the produce of his lighting system, but if you decline, he doesn't care. Because he wants to leave you alone also.
Great guy, Teddy.