Patterico's Pontifications


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.


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

  1. I’m not saying he is a plant, but I see the bags of soil,

    narciso (d1f714)

  2. Drones can see people in pup tents?

    nk (dbc370)

  3. one recalls it was exactly this set up that saved testers bacon, last time,

    narciso (d1f714)


    So in the “heel” vs “face” metaphor, what’s a libertarian? Referee?

    Pouncer (df6448)

  5. So in the “heel” vs “face” metaphor, what’s a libertarian? Referee?

    The guy outside the ring that throws in the steel folding chair, and whichever wrestler is able to grab it and smack the other guy over the head with it wins the match.

    JVW (42615e)

  6. Large “L” Libertarians have always been clowns. When Gary Johnson moved on to other issues besides the legalization of drugs and prostitution, he only became more of a clown.

    nk (dbc370)

  7. *virtually* no chance of winning

    so there’s hope then

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  8. Illinois’ L candidate has the rapper name of Kash Jackson.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  9. illinois is doomed everyone we’re electing this week is just some varietal of undertaker

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  10. P.J. O’Rourke got his start as a humorist writing for the Lampoon. Penn Jillette has made a living for decades as a stage illusionist. Neal Peart, God bless him, can barely articulate his own beliefs except through music (and music is not exactly a bastion for conservo-libertarian thought). Is it any real surprise that big-L Libertarians have trouble nominating a serious candidate?

    Gryph (08c844)

  11. Patterico, please name 1 thing about any Libertarian candidate in the last 20 years that’s crazier than the guy who currently *is* president.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  12. It is probably hard to attract a quality candidate if you know that no matter how you campaign, your vote total will not equal the margin of error.

    I have voted Libertarian every quadrennial since 2004, and on a couple of statewide races, but pretty much always because it was the best placeholder for NOTA.

    kishnevi (6b8fa6)

  13. I left the LP after they nominated ME. I won’t be a part of any party that thinks I’m a good candidate.

    But seriously, they do have the typical 3rd party problem: all nomination contests are about “I’m purer than he is!” and there is a flight to the extremes. I remember the one guy who advocated sexual freedom for 3 year-olds. Thankfully, they do draw some lines.

    A libertarian party that tried to compete as center-lib, occupying a full quadrant on the Nolan Chart, rather than the pointy fringe as they do now.

    Take the test. Where are you, politically?

    Kevin M (a57144)

  14. Incomplete edit:

    *The libertarian party should try to compete as center-lib, occupying a full quadrant on the Nolan Chart, rather than the pointy fringe as they do now.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  15. The Hill
    Barack Obama: “A president doesn’t get to decide on his own who’s an American citizen and who’s not. That’s not how the Constitution of the United States works. That’s not how the Bill of Rights works. That’s not how our democracy works.”
    __ _

    Obama only says stuff like this because he knows the press will let him get away with it and pretend like DACA and DAPA never happened.

    harkin (e81e20)

  16. When Gary Johnson moved on to other issues besides the legalization of drugs and prostitution, he only became more of a clown.

    Gary is now running for NM Senator as a Libertarian, totally dooming the GOP candidate to lose against an empty-suit Democrat. He’ll get double digits though, putting the LP mere months away from a breakout. Oops, I meant decades.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  17. Sigh. I still voted for Johnson. At least he had character and actual executive experience in elective office, but I was under no illusion that it was a protest vote. I don’t remember voting for other Libertarians, mainly because there are more Breckenridges in the party than Johnsons.

    Paul Montagu (cd570f)

  18. The Lib in Georgia, Metz, is a real piece of work, too. He’s gonna force a gubernatorial runoff which will essentially be a national election. The lawsuits on the way will make Bush V. Gore look like mock trial in high school.

    Ed from SFV (6d42fa)

  19. The endorsement to retaliate for the dirty ad was a good idea. I should have called him.

    johnl (fe1a26)

  20. “If they ever want to be seen as a legitimate third political party, it would help if they could stop nominating weirdos.”

    KOFF KOFF AHEM Egg McMuffin KOFF KOFF Bill Kristol HACK Kasich CHOKE Reagan Battallion WHEEZE Rick Wilson

    Ajami (581b12)

  21. So, would blood be on Metz’ hands if say the Black Panther Party took on a Georgia Red Shirted Rifle Club during the runoff period?

    My feeling on runoffs is that voting should be limited to those who were voters for the 3rd or lower place candidates, but that would require purple thumbprint verification.

    urbanleftbehind (22b95a)

  22. At least the green party did its job in siphoning off enough votes so hillary lost michigan pennsylvania and wisconsin.

    lany (ba09c7)

  23. The Libertarian Party is stuck in a tough position….the electorate is just not very libertarian…or at least not libertarian enough. In 2016 the LP had a historic opportunity to be relevant in an election where both major party candidate had huge negatives….and they swung and missed. To me, the LP should focus on a few liberty issues that have been polled and tested to have significant appeal…..and de-emphasize the platform positions that are legislative black holes and scare voters off. It seems that the LP is more about virtue signalling….and being pure…than about cultivating majorities and actually governing….just an exercise in No True Scotsman. Heck, we can’t get a majority of Republicans and Democrats to reduce the deficit…let alone eliminate the welfare state…..why would the LP think there is this great ideological will to go even further? It’s because in the end it’s about hand wringing…and not being serious. It’s a shame because there is a real opportunity to chart a realistic third course…

    AJ_Liberty (165d19)

  24. Gary Johnson was a good choice, although Patterico’s response to his straying from doctrine is an example of the problem that 3rd party candidates have — any attempt to lean towards the center will be met with vapors from the True Blue members. But unless the LP fields candidates that understand where the electorate IS, and attempts to lead them incrementally to liberty, they will remain strange voices in the wilderness.

    So the party needs to recruit a lot fewer white guys with Confederate field caps and a lot more soccer moms upset with government intrusion into their household.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  25. AJ, your post made me realize that Trump has the tiniest, but notable, of Venn Diagram co-mingling with Al Sharpton – during the 2004 Democratic primary debates, Sharpton used to brag about being the most conservative of the group because he wanted to conserve Medicare and conserve Social Security.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

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