Patterico's Pontifications

11/5/2018

Montana Libertarian Fails to Dispel Notion That His Party’s Candidates Are Typically More Than a Little Bit Flaky

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:28 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Two years after Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson came out in favor of government compelling small businesses to engage in speech they abhor then showed a remarkable ignorance about foreign events, thereby sinking any chance he might have had to make Libertarians competitive in the weakest Presidential field since Franklin Pierce beat Winfield Scott, the Montana Libertarian candidate for governor, Rick Breckenridge, appears to be going for a “hold my beer” moment. Here’s the Missoula newspaper from last Wednesday:

The Libertarian candidate in Montana’s U.S. Senate race threw his support behind his Republican opponent Wednesday in a surprise move that came in response to an election mailer from an unknown group that appeared aimed at undermining Rosendale’s support among conservatives.

Republican Matt Rosendale, Montana’s state auditor and insurance commissioner, is in a tight race against two-term Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, with the balance of power in the closely divided Senate potentially at play.

Libertarian Rick Breckenridge has virtually no chance of winning and hasn’t dropped out with voting already underway. His participation has threatened to peel away votes that might otherwise go toward the Republican and boost Tester’s chances next week.

[. . . ]

Breckenridge said in an interview that he doesn’t know the source of the mailer, which promoted him as a “true conservative” and claimed that Rosendale supports using drones to spy on private citizens.

He said it appeared to be an attempt by so-called dark money groups to influence Montana’s election and that he’s decided Rosendale is the best candidate to stop such efforts. Federal election laws require campaign materials to disclose their funding source.

“The reality is I’m only going to get 3 or 4 percent of the vote, and he (Rosendale) has the character to combat this issue,” Breckenridge said. “I’m standing in unity and solidarity with Matt to combat dark money in politics.”

And then here’s Mr. Breckenridge earlier today:

Libertarian candidate Rick Breckenridge has backed away from his previous endorsement of Republican nominee Matt Rosendale just a day before Montanans are set to go the polls to vote in the state’s Senate race.

Breckenridge told Fox News that while he did use the word “endorse” in phone call with reporters last week, his “endorsement” was only on the issue of dark money. The Libertarian said he was angry about a campaign mailer urging voters to support the Libertarian candidate because Rosendale would bring more government surveillance if elected in November.

Libertarianism gets the benefit of being associated with principled and hip: P.J. O’Rourke, Penn Jillette, Neal Peart before he became an American citizen, Cato the Younger, but it seems that the guys (let’s face it: libertarians are all pretty much white males) whom they convince to run for office are almost uniformly unserious or downright loopy. If they ever want to be seen as a legitimate third political party, it would help if they could stop nominating weirdos. You supposedly can’t judge a book by looking at the cover, only sometimes you can.

– JVW

Election Open Thread: Why Does It Matter?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:50 am

The polls still seem to suggest that the Republicans will lose the House but retain the Senate. As someone increasingly annoyed with partisan politics, I have a question for you: if that happens, so what?

As long as Republicans keep the Senate, they will be able to confirm judges and block any bad legislation they want to block. (Whether they will want to is another question!) Other than tax cuts (if you believe that was good; I don’t), what good legislation has been passed under Republicans? Bueller? Bueller?

Republicans warn that under Democrats there will be more investigation of Donald Trump. That strikes me as a feature rather than a bug. We know, thanks to the New York Times, that he was a tax cheat in the past — a story that deserved a lot more coverage, frankly. It stands to reason that he still is. It’s popular to pooh-pooh the notion that Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause, but a court case that accuses him of that Constitutional violation strikes me as not implausible, and is going to discovery. I’m not sure what the courts can do with that, but House Democrats may follow up with their own investigation if they take over the lower branch. Why is any of this supposed to bother me?

It’s not enough to get me to vote Democrat. But it’s enough to make me yawn if other people want to — as long as Republicans don’t lose the Senate.

Tell me, in terms that comply with this blog’s commenting rules (no personal attacks), why my argument is wrong.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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