A pose or principles?

With a brilliant translation of The Nation's open letter to Ralph Nader at Hit and Run, Nick Gillespie ponders a very important question:

From the outside looking in (i.e., from a political perspective that also purports to find the major party candidates repugnant), I'm left wondering what the point of being a "progressive" is if you're still supposed to dutifully pull the lever for a Democrat come November.

Indeed, what is the point? If the end result of your political activity is to end up supporting the status quo that is otherwise unacceptable to your political sensibilities, what has your 'alternative' politics achieved? Kerry is the very definition of "Bush Lite"- a cynical, have-it-both-ways prevaricator who loves the power that comes with political position. Kerry's voted for every "bad" thing that Bush is excoriated for on the left. Does any "progressive" honestly think that Kerry will do anything to advance their agenda if he were to win the White House?

Its hard to see the Kerry "inevitability" as anything but a giant FU to the so-called progressives in the party. Libertarians are leaving the Republicans in droves after years of abuse- will the Greens and "progressives" have similar ideological self-respect? Is being a "progressive" a pose, or real principles?


Upon reflection, I have to give credit to the Greens who did vote for Nader last time around, in states where it mattered. They had more balls/principles than a lot of the libertarians who, in fear of Gore, jumped to Bush in 2000 despite Bush's straightforward admission of being socialist-lite (er, a "compassionate conservative", a dubious badge to willingly wear in any case). Hopefully, those who turned to Bush in 2000 will not repeat their mistake.

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Libertarians only exist in

Libertarians only exist in droves on the net, in major elections they are not a factor. It always cracks me up to hear libertarians argue about where they should coleectively throw their electoral weight.

I think that many committed

I think that many committed libertarians (or should we say "outed libertarians") believe that the libertarian-ish or leaning members of the Republican party (or the "closeted libertarians") are just like them, just a bit different. Hence my view (being "out") is that the disaffection of libertarianesque members of the Republican party is leading them to either sit on their hands this go 'round, or to actively think of 3rd party alternatives.

You're absolutely right though about the complete lack of electoral "clout" that the libertarian movement has. Libertarians who are political are generally pragmatic enough to try and work a major party (usually Republican) or work for policy institutes, while apolitical libertarians just don't vote. *sigh*

And upon further reflection, I think my post is also a bit of disguised frustration with my fellow libertarians. The Greens who voted Nader in states where it mattered (i.e. where Gore lost by less than the Nader margin) had more principles than the libertarians that voted Bush in fear of Gore (I dont recall a state where Bush lost less than the Browne margin, but OTOH Browne ran a horrifically bad campaign, if you can even call it running).