There's no test for determining whether one is a libertarian. However, based on what you've presented in this article, in my opinion I don't see how you could qualify.
What it really comes down to is Romney says things that he has acted contrary to in the past. I await your excuses for President Romney in the future.
If there was ever an election to hold one's nose and vote a straight Republican ticket, this is it.
I can see your point for people living in swing states, BUT remember that third parties only get convention grants and federal campaign money if they top 5% in the general election. The LP spends lots of money fighting for ballot access and starts off without a level playing field. If it's true that libertarians are a full 10% - 20% of the electorate, they're shooting themselves in the wallet voting for one of the two major parties in the states where the race is unlikely to be close.
Don't forget that Obama conveniently & indirectly had that video maker jailed for free speech.
So I have a question for you: Is there any Republican candidate you wouldn't support? Huckabee? Santorum? George W. Bush again? Ron Paul?
But here's the rule: You can't answer the question until that candidate is actually the GOP nominee.
Or do you just want to say "libertarians and classical liberals are a happy and reliable part of the Republican party, no matter how bad it gets"?
Excellent, thorough, well reasoned article. Your blog is going high up on my bookmarks list. Thank you!
You make me proud to be a Capital alum, Professor Smith! A reasoned opinion formed from all sides of the debates/questions, in the finest tradition of what the school teaches its students (undergrad and law)!
Willard Romney is just another Ruling Party apparatchik, like so many others who have given lip service to reducing taxes, spending and regulations. Any Libertarian voting for Romney for economic reasons will be just as disappointed as anyone who voted for Obama's "hope & change."
I'm surprised that professor Smith is so easily fooled.
Well I'm convinced that Romney is potentially better than Obama. Quite a high bar, that.
I promise to vote for Romney in 2016 if signs at least one (that's 1) balanced budget into law.
I expect that a President Romney will not even do that.
I'll just reply to George, who writes, "So I have a question for you: Is there any Republican candidate you wouldn't support?"
Well, George, I've voted (not counting this upcoming election) in nine presidential elections. I've voted 3 times for Republicans. So yes, there is.
George again: "Or do you just want to say 'libertarians and classical liberals are a happy and reliable part of the Republican party, no matter how bad it gets'?"
Basically, libertarians *are* a part of the Republican coalition. That's pretty much how a two party system works. The candidates are funneled into two broad coalitions, and libertarians are, in fact, quite a reliable part of the GOP coalition, which is, for all its flaws, generally the major party more likely to favor tax cuts and spending reductions. Typically libertarians vote about 65-70 percent or more Republican. Libertarian or quasi-libertarian candidates may run in the primary - Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Pete DuPont - and then factions of the coalition come together for the general, behind a candidate who is, at best, second choice for most members of that coalition.
Tim writes: "I promise to vote for Romney in 2016 if signs at least one (that's 1) balanced budget into law.
I expect that a President Romney will not even do that."
Me either, Tim. Of course, that Obama has run even bigger deficits that GW Bush should make us think: is there no difference between bigger deficits and smaller deficits? More spending and less spending? I'm not sure the all or nothing approach is very sensible. The reality is this - no candidate could get elected on a plan that would produce a balanced budget in the next 4 years. I believe Romney will be better than Obama on this issue. He's my choice. Where's the "easy" button?
For me, the key issue is, who picks the next generation of the supreme court? If it's Obama, then the cause of limited government and civil liberties suffers a massive blow, perhaps one that can never be undone.
If you're voting for Romney you're not a Libertarian. The party of principle remember. When GOP policy and libertariaqn principle overlap it's coincidence not convergence.
Thank you for supporting a man that can actually win.
Mitt Romney 2012.
I remain unconvinced. When offered the choice between being stabbed in the eye with a fork or a knife, I prefer to seek other alternatives.
A vote for a Republican or a Democrat is a vote against freedom and liberty. A vote for a Republican or a Democrat is a vote against the Constitution. It is a vote against the people of the United States.
I posted this at another site but it is probably better to post it here.
The number one reason Libertarians should vote for Romney is that Obama wants them to vote for Gary Johnson. One of Obama’s goals he wants to achieve through making the election so ugly is to turn off the electorate and depress turnout for anyone who isn’t part of his base.
Depressed with the character of the election and might stay home or vote third party? Obama’s strategy is working.
It's always striking how little libertarianism has to do with liberty, and how taking freedom away from a majority of people somehow equals liberty because plutocrats get the run of the place.
A pity one can't Facebook Like this; it deserves a much wider audience.
Brad: Where are you casting your vote? If you're in a swing state, your arguments make a repugnant sort of sense. But otherwise this makes no sense.
You are no more a libertarian than I am a walking, talking labia. If you're going to vote for a guy who has vocally supported NDAA and the bailouts, then you're nothing more than a common idiot.
So, is there any reason to view libertarians as anything other than Republicans that like pot?
BTW: The little aside about Fast & Furious is kind of absurd considering that THE ENTIRE STRATEGY OF GUNWALKING STARTED UNDER BUSH.
Romney, Obama, what's the difference? Both are enemies of liberty, desire big government and agree with eachother on all the issues that matter. Republicans and Democrats and just brands, like coke or pepsi - two sides of the very same coin. You say you are libertarian like Fred Phelps says he is a Christian and I am not buying it. You had me laughing out loud when you proclaim Reason as "the flagship libertarian think" magazine. You are joking, right? Since you are just making it up as you go - I would like to announce that "This republican is going to write-in Fred Flinstone for president 2012" Too funny....Thanks for the hilarious blog entry, I needed to laugh.
A few more thoughts:
Bandit writes, "When GOP policy and libertariaqn principle overlap it's coincidence not convergence." - So?
R.M. Bragg, says, "When offered the choice between being stabbed in the eye with a fork or a knife, I prefer to seek other alternatives." - Sorry, R.M., this is your Hobson's choice. It's nice the seek other alternatives, but your choice does not include them.
CTD wants to know where I vote. - Ohio.
Rude David writes: "You are no more a libertarian than I am a walking, talking labia. If you're going to vote for a guy who has vocally supported NDAA and the bailouts, then you're nothing more than a common idiot."
- So, what's it like being a walking, talking labia? Had I been writing only for you, David, I would have written simply "if you won't vote for the only realistic chance to repeal Obamacare, you're an idiot." But that wouldn't have been fair to the other readers, who disagree with me on more reasonable grounds. By the way, has the thought occured to you that maybe I am a libertarian, who is simply wrong?
Andrew wants to know: "So, is there any reason to view libertarians as anything other than Republicans that like pot?
- No. ;-)
Simon seems to be living in another universe.
"Not surprisingly, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson was the overwhelming choice."
I am going to have to call BS on this.
This is a watershed year for Reason Staff voting so overwhelmingly for the LP candidate.
Romney picked a man who is better, smarter and more energetic than himself for a running mate, someone outside his comfort zone. No other candidate in my memory has done that. That alone wins my support.
No "libertarian position" on abortion rights? The choice is between allowing an individual to make their own decisions about their own body versus the government dictating what they will do can allow only one "libertarian position" -choice.
Yet another "libertarian" endorsement of Romney from an affluent, straight, white male. Of course, under Romney you'd have nothing to worry about.
If you're 10-20% figure is correct and the overwhelming majority of libertarians vote for Gary Johnson. Then Obama wins and WE ALL LOSE!
"I believe that in the long run gay rights are best protected by a more limited government, and Obama is much more interested in growing government power than Romney."
The president would be the one changing the status of legality of same-sex marriage because it's currently a federal thing, DOMA. Obama wants to repeal that because he supports same-sex marriage, libertarians want it repealed because it's federal control, but why would Romney want it repealed? Growing government control isn't relevant, though I guess Obama would want to force the states to recognise it.
First, anyone that is “enthusiastically” voting for Romney is neither libertarian nor is paying sufficient attention to be considered an informed voter. I’m not sure what qualifies the author to call himself a libertarian, much less to be called “professor”, but after reading this article, his qualifications to be either one should seriously be reconsidered.