My liberal in-laws always give me this strange condescending look whenever it comes up that I have voted for a Republican at some point in time, that same look you might give the otherwise beloved family dog that keeps pooping on the front lawn. As a libertarian, I seldom fully agree with any political candidate of either party. Every election is a tradeoff: Do I vote for the unelectable and perhaps truly odd Libertarian candidate? Or do I vote for a mainstream party with which I disagree with about half of everything they promote?
So here is how I normally make the decision: On pure self-interest. Since, as a small business owner, I am much more likely to need strong protection of property rights than I am going to need an abortion, a gay marriage, or legal marijuana, I end up voting Republican more often than I vote Democrat. For this reason, the Republican party has generally garnered a good many libertarian votes, and the two most identifiable libertarians in Congress (Flake and Paul) have both called themselves Republican, though I am sure with some reservations.
This relationship, however, may be at an end as Republicans are disavowing their libertarian wing, and returning to their large government tendencies of the 1970's. Bush and his buddy Tom Delay are turning out to be classic Nixon Republicans. The most recent evidence comes from the fact that the following is not from our Republican President, or our Republican Speaker of the House, but from the for-god-sakes Washington Post:
But this spirit of
forbearance has not touched the Louisiana congressional delegation. The
state's representatives have come up with a request for $250 billion in
federal reconstruction funds for Louisiana alone -- more than $50,000
per person in the state. This money would come on top of payouts from
businesses, national charities and insurers. And it would come on top
of the $62.3 billion that Congress has already appropriated for
Like looters who seize six
televisions when their homes have room for only two, the Louisiana
legislators are out to grab more federal cash than they could possibly
spend usefully. ...
The Louisiana delegation has apparently devoted little thought
to the root causes of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. New Orleans was
flooded not because the Army Corps of Engineers had insufficient money
to build flood protections, but because its money was allocated by a
system of political patronage. ...
The Louisiana bill is so preposterous
that its authors can't possibly expect it to pass; it's just the first
round in a process of negotiation. But the risk is that the
administration and congressional leaders will accept the $250 billion
as a starting point, then declare a victory for fiscal sanity when they
bring the number down to, say, $150 billion. Instead, Congress should
ignore the Louisiana bill and force itself to think seriously about the
sort of reconstruction that makes sense.
The Republicans are lost. Combine this kind of spending with their Patriot Act and Sarbabes-Oxley driven Big-Borther-Is-Watching intrusiveness, luke-warm committment to free-trade, and bizarre obsession with pornography, and I find nothing at all attractive about the party. Only the economic insanity of the opposition party continues to keep Republicans in power.