By Scott Tibbs, September 22, 2008
First, let me say I like Eric Schansberg. If he were representing Indiana's Ninth District, he would represent us well in Congress. I agree with him on limited government, and he is pro-life. I have met him several times and he is a good person. However, I will not be voting for him in November. I will vote for Mike Sodrel.
Schansberg's run for Congress as a Libertarian is actually an impediment to implementing a libertarian legislative agenda. The votes that Schansberg drains from Sodrel will help Baron Hill in his efforts to return to Congress. That would be destructive to efforts to limit government and protect the unborn, two issues where Schansberg and Sodrel are, for the most part, in agreement. Schansberg's run for Congress is unwise and counterproductive.
Last Monday, I attended the IU College Republicans call-out meeting because Mike Sodrel would be speaking to the group. Once again, Sodrel showed that he "gets it" on individual liberty and limited government. Sodrel put the American Revolution into context: that the founding fathers had a lot to lose but were willing to risk everything for liberty. Sodrel knows that the most important legacy that we leave to future generations is liberty.
Sodrel explained that there are two places where one can find a lion. You can go to the lion's natural habitat, or you can go to the zoo. At the zoo, the lion is taken care of. He does not have to worry about food, shelter or health care. All the lion had to give up to get security was his liberty. Sodrel warned that we're building our own cage one bar at a time, and too many people are not going to realize what we are doing until the door slams shut. Then, we will look back and wonder where our liberty went. That will be a sad day.
Voting for a minor party candidate is not automatically "throwing your vote away". There are times when the Republican candidate for elective office is not acceptable. In those cases the Libertarian Party is useful in keeping the GOP honest and serving as an incentive to keep Republicans close to the GOP's roots of limited government and individual liberty - principles that helped elect the first Republican Congress in 40 years just 14 years ago. This is not one of those times, and voting for Schansberg over Sodrel is throwing away your vote.
Does Sodrel have a 100% perfect libertarian voting record? No. I am sure Schansberg can point to some issues where he is the "true" fiscal conservative in this race. But tossing aside a great candidate like Sodrel because of an unrealistic expectation for perfection is unwise and counterproductive, especially when the opposition is Baron Hill. Sending The Red Baron back to Washington would be destructive to libertarian interests.
In the 1990's, Paul Hager ran against John Hostettler a few times as a Libertarian. Ironically, Hostettler was (with the exception of Ron Paul) arguably the most consistent philosophical libertarian in Congress. In 2002, Hager left the Libertarian Party and became a Republican. Hager understands a political reality: in order to implement real political change, one needs to be part of one of the two major political parties. As attractive as the Libertarian platform might be, Libertarians for the most part do not win elections. They can, however, serve as a spoiler and prevent good conservatives such as Mike Sodrel from getting elected.
The Republican Party needs more philosophical libertarians, like Hager, to revive the 1994 Republican Revolution. Schansberg, were he to switch parties, would be a valuable asset for that agenda of limited government and individual liberty. As long as he drains votes from Sodrel, Schansberg is an obstacle to a libertarian agenda.
♣ Mike Sodrel defends freedom again -- June 30, 2006
♣ Mike Sodrel getting things done -- August 5, 2006
♣ Getting things done for us! -- October 2, 2006
♣ Mike Sodrel speaks on campus -- March 18, 2008