Why libertarians should vote for Romney
Monday, October 22, 2012
Beth Cody, Writers’ Group member
Iowa City Press-Citizen

How will I vote in next month’s presidential election as a libertarian member of the Republican Party? Libertarians across the nation are divided on the issue of whom to vote for.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, while not obvious socialists like President Obama, are still hardly shining examples of limited government virtue. Mitt Romney presided over Romneycare, the Massachusetts model for Obamacare. And Paul Ryan’s much-decried economic plans barely dent federal government spending.

Both are war-mongers like many Republicans, although they are not as vocally anti-gay or anti-immigrant as some of the more misguided in the GOP. But they cannot be described as libertarians by any stretch of the imagination.

However, Romney and Ryan clearly believe government should be taxing, regulating and spending less, which is at least 50% of what being a libertarian is about in these dark economic days. And, most importantly, they actually have a chance of winning the presidential election.

And even though each individual’s vote is without impact in a nation of 100 million voters, Iowa is a swing state that could conceivably make a difference in a close election.

But many of my fellow libertarians believe that a vote for the lesser of evils is still a vote for evil, and I do not dispute their logic.

There is a good case for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson – he truly stands for freedom, and although he cannot win, he could (possibly, although not likely) siphon enough Republican votes to cause Mitt Romney to lose the election. That might further push the GOP back toward its libertarian roots.

Writing in Ron Paul’s name would accomplish the same (Iowa is one of the handful of states in which write-ins are counted), and it would suitably punish the GOP for their underhanded and undemocratic tactics in shutting him out of their convention.

However, assisting Romney’s loss would mean four more years of President Obama’s wholesale economic destruction and unprecedented government growth.

The rational libertarian in me knows that our present course is unsustainable, that Greece-style economic collapse is inevitable. President Obama’s policies will simply hasten the collapse, after which spending and taxation will be drastically reduced, by necessity.

The accompanying human suffering cannot be avoided. Perhaps we should welcome the destruction and hope that something better follows.

But then I think of my young children, who did nothing to bring the coming “interesting times” upon themselves. Then I desperately long to put off the pain for as long as possible.

And the election of Mitt Romney might indeed postpone the inevitable day of reckoning.

Every time Obama opens his mouth, the economy gets worse.  Business owners know he distrusts and reviles them, because as an academic/lawyer/career politician, he utterly lacks understanding of human nature and markets. And business owners don’t know what he will do next to undermine them, so they do nothing, hire no one.

Mitt Romney, who made his fortune by successfully encouraging businesses to grow, understands what businesses need to thrive (hint to President Obama: it’s not subsidies, and it’s certainly not threatening more regulations or taxes).

I believe that the mere election of President Romney would do more to stimulate the economy than the trillions borrowed and thrown away by President Obama.

President Romney – simply by talking, encouraging – will increase business optimism, leading to more investment, more private-sector growth, more jobs – even without implementing any of his policies for growth (although those would help too).

This may allow us to delay the inevitable suffering that looms in our future – perhaps even to soften its effects. And that’s enough for me.

I understand why some of my libertarian compatriots must vote their principles, but I feel that perfection is the enemy of the good, and we sorely need some good in these times.

Large reductions in government will, with certainty, come later. Let’s give Romney and Ryan a chance to do a bit of good now.