I’m not convinced the Republicans have dominated political discourse the way Kos says they have–yes, they’ve got super-slim majorities in Congress, and they’ve eked out a couple of narrow presidential wins the last two times around. But that’s not really dominance. Certainly nothing like the vast majorities Dems commanded not so long ago. So if the Dems are really a-feared of saying what they really believe–geez, that’s really sad. At this point, they’ve got very little to lose. I took Bill Clinton (and Hillary too) at face value when he not only signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law but yammered on and on about always opposing governmental recognition of same-sex marriages.
But let me segue into something else, something that pulls off a point made in passing by Harold Meyerson: What is the calculus that libertarians use to figure out if they should vote Republican or Democrat? That is, how do individual libertarians rank the importance of various issues before politicians. Let’s say you’re faced with a reliably good budget cutter like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) who is also exceptionally anti-gay (according to a story in The New Republic, Coburn has said that homosexuality is “immoral … based on perversion … based on lust”). If you’re a libertarian, you believe in smaller government and social tolerance and pluralism (indeed, you likely believe in smaller government because you believe in pluralism; a smaller state can boss around fewer people). But I’m curious among libertarians how they make decisions in particular cases. Do tax rates trump everything else? Drug policy (what do you do with a budget-cutting stalwart like Rep. Mike Pence [R-Ind.], who is terrible on the drug war)? Immigration? Education? Who are the Democrats who offer something to libertarians (maybe Rep. Barney Frank [D-Mass.], who is very good on medical marijuana and prohibition generally) and what is it about them that puts off libertarian voters?
I realize individual issues will vary, but I think it would be interesting to hear from libertarians on the calculations they perform when it comes to evaluating the various stances a candidate presents.