Monday, November 01, 2004

Why not (Libertarian) Michael Badnarik?

Posted by Craig Westover | 3:20 PM |  

Come election time, the challenge for those of us who consider ourselves more “classical liberal” than conservative is justifying a politically pragmatic vote for the more conservative candidate instead of a principled vote for the Libertarian Party candidate, who realistically has no chance of winning.

Virginia Postel, former editor of Reason Magazine, makes this case.

I'm not picking a boyfriend here either, or, for that matter, an intellectual mentor. Given the current balance of power in Congress, there are only two things the president can significantly affect: foreign policy and regulatory policy. I prefer Bush to Kerry on both. It's a cold calculation . . . . He gets my vote in part because I don't identify with him. He's just a hired hand, and he's better than the alternative.
In other words, despite the campaign rhetoric, we’re not electing a president to set the a vision for the nation, to lead us in the paths of righteousness or to reinvent the country. His job is to execute his office and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” 95-plus percent of which is administrative detail. Doing so requires a certain amount of political capital that Bush has and Badnarik does not. From that perspective, Bush is again, “better than the alternative.”

Regardless of who is president, a citizen’s loyalty ought remain to the spirit of liberty as embedded in America’s founding documents. Voting neither obligates one to the president’s view of those documents no absolves one of the obligation to challenge a president’s view that runs counter to the fundamental principles of liberty embedded in those documents. Voting isn’t the end of one’s involvement in politics, but a step of continuation.