Wsj.com - Randy Barnett: The Mistake That Is the Libertarian Party

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FYI. Wow! Unexpected coming from Randy Barnett. Francoise

Thanks, Fran├žoise. I think Randy makes a better case for giving up on the Libertarian Party than for working with or for Republicans (or Democrats). He doesn't mention foreign policy, arguably no less important at present than the economy, presumably because the Republicans are even worse than the Democrats. If Romney is elected, the Democrats will work against his assaults on other countries, and our own liberties, as they did with Bush, uncharacteristically bringing up Constitutionality all the time. If Obama is elected, there will be no such checks. On the other hand, the economy is practically guaranteed to crash in the next 4 years; and, if Obama is elected, Republicans will be a shoo-in, for better or worse, in 2016.

Randy Barnett ignores a great deal of evidence that says he is wrong.

1. The Genteman Book Club not long ago read "Predictably Irrational", which cited psychological experiments to show that when someone has to choose one of three items, if two items are quite similar but one of them is obviously superior to the other similar item, then that superior choice (among those two) then has an edge over the third choice (the third choice being the very different one).

So if Gary Johnson and Mitt Romney are perceived as similar (we know that is stupid but let's go with the Randy Barnett idea that Republican and Libertarian ideas are similar), then Romney will be perceived as the superior choice to Gary Johnson because Romney has a chance to win and Gary Johnson doesn't. So in that scenario, the presence of Gary Johnson on the ballot helps Romney.

2. Even if one dismissed "Predicatably Irrational", there is evidence that Randy Barnett's model isn't true. In 2004, the biggest pollsters had extra questions for respondents who were for Ralph Nader. They determined that Nader voters were slightly more like to prefer Bush to Kerrey, and more likely to vote for Bush than Kerry if they were either unable to vote for Nader or because they decided not to vote for Nader. See the Washington Post, Oct. 22, 2004, page one. Also the 2004 election returns confirm that. In 3/4ths of the states in which Nader was on the ballot, Nader's best percentage county was a county that was more pro-Bush than that state as a whole.

3. Also, Sam Lubell, a pollster who became a political science professor, showed convincingly in his book "The Future of American Politics" published in 1950, that Harry Truman would have lost to Thomas Dewey, except for the Henry Wallace Progressive Party campaign.

I don't know who Randy Barnett is, but some of you seem to know who he is. I hope someone can find contact information for him. I would then send him this message.

Richard Winger

415-922-9779

PO Box 470296, San Francisco Ca 94147

Thanks, Richard. Always good to hear from someone who is informed.

You can reach Randy at, of all places, randybarnett.com.

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