Many conservatives and libertarians were so turned off by recent sins of the GOP leadership in both the Bush administration and the Congressional leadership that they either became or stayed independent voters. A vocal handful drifted off to other parties like Libertarian or Constitution, but the meager voter returns those options garnered recently should illustrate their current lack of general appeal. I sympathize with them and was once an advocate of that approach.
In 1976, the GOP was far more liberal than now. Those thinking John McCain too far to the left should study Richard Nixon. Wage-price controls defines what a real RINO is. Those claiming McCain's loss hurt the Republican Party should note how injured it was by Nixon's victory.
After the 1974 election, Republicans were reduced to 37 Senators and 144 House members. States with a GOP governor and state legislature consisted of Kansas. Worse, there was little fight left on the right. Former Governor Reagan made his second try for the presidency against Gerald Ford, but the attitude of too many conservatives was best expressed by the late syndicated columnist James J. Kilpatrick, who told us that Gerald Ford was the most conservative president we'd ever get. Too many suffered from political post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ford won the nomination. I'd had it with squishies. I switched registration to Libertarian and had my name on a ballot for the first (and last) time as an elector pledged to Roger McBride. I stubbornly remained with the LP after it was obvious that third parties no longer work.
Political parties are coalitions. In coalitions you support some policies that you care little about to secure those you do. The LP has been with us for 39 years, had some marginal success at the local level, once broke a million votes for President with Ed Clark in 1980 and has made the word "libertarian" generally understood. I always shared its core belief in Austrian economics and the part of that sojourn I most treasure is friendship with its great exponent, the late Murray Rothbard, and others. But there are too many deal-breaker issues for me.
Libertarian blogs are filled with nut cases from 9-11 truthers to those so anti-cop they claim we're a police state. They should try living in a real one or chatting with older black folks who grew up in parts of the South or Eastern big cities. They don't believe America had a foreign threat since George III. Many favor real open borders. Not a coalition I, nor most people, care to be part of.
I voted for Ron Paul for President – in 1988. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't. But that he now survives as a voice for most libertarian views as a member of the GOP should make the point. His 2008 campaign and his bully pulpit are far more useful to his cause than his prior LP effort.
The differences between the two major parties have never been this clear. Real liberal Republicans and genuine conservative Democrats are far more endangered than polar bears. Those who possess reasonably coherent political ideologies that lean one way or the other can best advance their agenda by being part of one or the other. There is no viable third way, either in the center or outside it. Both parties have open nominating processes. That differs from earlier times when third parties were sometimes viable options.
Boss Tweed once said he didn't care who did the votin' long as he did the nominatin'. You get to do the nominating now. Quit whining and go help take over your local party.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.