Monday, June 28, 2004

On the way: I Wasn't Always a Republican...

...just mostly.

Probably my biggest personal political regret was being too young to ever vote for Ronald Reagan, missing the voting age in 1984 by less than a year and a half.

I first heard of the Libertarian Party during the 1980 campaign. It is the only time offhand that I can recall seeing any television spots for the party and, probably not coincidentally, it was the party's high mark in Presidential voting. Edward Clark received 921,128 votes that year, almost doubling the party's second best showing of 485,798 in '96. To be honest, at the time I knew very little of what the party stood for and was quite happy in the bliss of my Republican roots.

In the years between the '84 Reagan landslide and the first Presidential election I would be eligible to vote in (1988), I began looking more closely into the Libertarian Party. Through my investigations and re-examinations of my own beliefs, I gradually decided that I'm about 75% Republican and 75% Libertarian. I know that's 150%, but only if you think the stances of the two parties never overlap.

In '88, I supported Alexander Haig for the Republican nomination, but he was out of the contest long before the Texas primary rolled around. My allegiance and my primary vote switched to Jack Kemp. Then-Vice-President Bush was my third choice, and I was at peace with his nomination and was supporting him against Dukakis. My general election vote, however, went to Dr. Ron Paul, who was a Libertarian from Texas at the time and is now a Republican Congressman.

The pattern continued in subsequent Presidential elections, supporting the Republican and voting for the Libertarian. Hey, this was post-1980 Texas and the electoral votes have been a lock for the GOP. I always envisioned my Libertarian vote as an idealistic but harmless statement. I say idealistic statement because there is on part about the Libertarian Party's membership process that has always bothered me:
YES, sign me up as a member of the Libertarian Party. I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.
In fact, the party platform is almost entirely devoid of the concept of national defense.

I did, in 1999, accept a membership card from the Libertarian Party and gave them a small donation, but I did so without signing this portion of the card. They didn't seem to mind. I have since let this membership slip by the wayside. I love several of the Libertarians' ideals but, as a Reagan Revolutionary and a devout believer in the proven concept of Peace Through Strength, I can not agree with this statement regarding initiation of action. I especially see it as out of step with reality in the post-9/11 world.

Besides, I have another reason for not supporting Bush and voting Libertarian this year, even though my vote won't have an effect on the Texas electoral votes. That reason is simply this: it's one vote closer to not having to hear the liberals whine about winning the popular vote, as if that ever mattered.


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