I originally posted this as an update to this post, but I wanted to move it up top.
I am sympathetic to a number of other libertarian writers out there -- I too am disgusted with the fiscal irresponsibility and trade protectionism of the combination of Bush and a Republican Congress, but have little hope that the Kerry alternative would be any better. There is probably a pretty good argument for divided government here, voting for Kerry and hoping that a Republican Congress will oppose everything he asks for, but its a risky strategy.
Many elections in the past, I have voted for the libertarian candidate as a protest vote, and, in some cases, because I even liked the candidate. This year, I think the guy is a total loony. To some extent, I consider my refusal to vote for the libertarian candidate this year as a protest vote to my usual protest vote. Never has there been a better time for libertarians to get their message out and find traction in the electorate, given a choice between a big government Republican and a big government Democrat, and they nominate this guy?
Libertarians' greatest strength - that they like real diversity, not just of skin color, but of outlook and interests and decision-making - is their greatest weakness as a political party. Political parties are brands, and the power of brands is that they bring predictability, they tell people what to expect. The libertarian brand can mean anything and is entirely unpredictable, from small government South Park Republicans to marijuana-legalization-obsessed sixties holdovers to adult film makers to unrepentant moonbat anarchists. If you ever doubt it, go to a Cato Institute donors reception some time. Its fantastic, the range of personalities you get, but it makes consistent political messaging difficult.