We might end up on more fertile ground if the discussion shifts from “Should libertarians vote for Democrats” to whether they will vote for Democrats in the midterms (2008 is way too far off in the distance to prognosticate about).
I think Kos’ dismissive attitude toward actual libertarian ideas — “All those libertarians seeking some pandering, too bad,” he writes. “This isn’t about you. It’s about us [the Democrats]”– makes it clear that there’s very little ideological common ground between libertarians and Democrats (I also believe there is very little in common between libertarians and Republicans, too, though that intellectual disjuncture was obscured rhetorically by conservatives). I don’t expect anything like systematic, principled stands from politicians and political parties. However, if a party is going to get my vote, they’d damn well better pander — or at least marginally reflect my sense of priorities. If the Dems at the national level would do anything to step in the libertarian direction, that’d be a real start: They might start talking up free trade, which was long a Democratic position; was Bill Clinton really the last free trade Democrat (Hillary Clinton voted against CAFTA, for god’s sakes, no doubt fearing that the mighty zombie workforce of the Dominican Republic poses a terrifying threat to the U.S. economy; in this, she was sadly joined by way too many Dems and Reps)?
Or they might actually embrace the social tolerance they are supposed to embody (and for which conservatives slag them anyway): Why won’t prominent Democrats actually stand up for, say, gay marriage? Not civil unions or some other second-rate alternative, but actual gay marriage? Or come out against the drug war? Or speak unequivocally in favor of free speech — no hemming and hawing about evil video games and all that crap? Even assuming they say nothing different on economic matters, Dems could at least move toward a cultural libertarianism that would make them more attractive to the small government crowd. I suspect they don’t do these things because they don’t really believe in them.
Whatever. I do think that many libertarians — and libertarian-leaning Republicans — will make anti-GOP protest votes this November. One longtime Republican friend of mine — no names! — is pulling a straight-ticket for the Dems to punish the GOP for failing to even come close to doing anything remotely in the small-government vein. I have no idea how many other folks will be like my friend, but there are certainly more of those folks than they’re used to be.