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Bob Smither for Congress
Posted by: Jon Henke on Sunday, August 27, 2006

In the race to replace Tom DeLay in Congress, there's been no shortage of drama. But aside from the battle over whether DeLay would stay on the ballot (he won't), and whether the Republicans could replace DeLay (they can't), there's also been a fight over how the Republicans should proceed without an [R] on the ballot. With the race down to liberal Democrat Nick Lampson and fiscal conservative Libertarian Bob Smither, one might assume that the Republicans would be open to a deal: in exchange for Bob Smither's promise to caucus with the Republicans, the GOP could publicly (and financially) support Smither and probably prevent Lampson from winning the seat, thus keeping the House seat in GOP hands. Call it the "Ron Paul Option".
Call it the "Ron Paul Option".
One might assume that...but one would be wrong.

Although Bob Smither pledged to "caucus with Republicans and vote for speaker with the GOP", the Republicans, inexplicably, decided to support a write-in candidate, whose already trivial chances of winning are diminished even further by the fact that, as Stephen VanDyke points out, she has "arguably the worst possible write-in name — Shelley Sekula-Gibbs."

So, essentially, the Texas GOP, in a fit of pique (and, perhaps, of ego), has decided that they'd rather see a liberal Democrat in Congress than a conservative Libertarian. That's ridiculous and unnecessary. They may as well nominate St Jude Thaddeus, Patron Saint of Lost Causes.
the Texas GOP...has decided that they'd rather see a liberal Democrat in Congress than a conservative Libertarian.
At Inactivist, Lance (of Second Hand Conjecture) has put together a post explaining exactly why Bob Smither deserves support.
I, and a great many Republicans, libertarian leaning independents, and fiscal conservatives, are ready to see some kind of change. So much so that many who have consistently supported Republicans are planning on sitting out the elections or even voting Democrat in hopes that gridlock and partisan bickering will tie our federal government’s hands and halt or slow down the spending spree and rapidly growing tentacles of the federal leviathan. Others who don’t believe that will work feel stuck between a party that has lost its Reaganite desire to slow the growth of government and a party that feels that Republicans are still not spending enough. They are planning on holding their nose and putting the same people back in office.

I have no easy answer to that conundrum on a national scale, but maybe in one district in Texas, the 22nd, we have had the good fortune to be able to put a fiscally responsible brake on our government, fall in our lap.

Help elect Bob Smither. A candidate who describes himself as someone who has Constitutional Integrity.
Read the rest of the post for more information. Inactivist will continue discussing the Smither campaign and pushing for another liberty friendly candidate from Texas. You can help by donating to his campaign and by spreading the story until the GOP ends this hopeless write-in campaign and salvages the seat by supporting libertarian Bob Smither.
Return to Main Blog Page

Previous Comments to this Post 

The Republicans are so stupid.... How stupid are they? They got a woman with a hyphenated name to run as their write-in candidate in Texas. First of all, as noted, that is a lot to write and secondly, many people may mistakenly think that she is the Democratic candidate due to her name.
Written By: william
URL: http://
I do encourage everybody to visit Inactivist to get ongoing information on the efforts to help Smithers as well a A Second Hand Conjecture where we have several pages devoted to the campaign, how to help and what other bloggers are saying as well as the media.
Written By: Lance
Oh come on, william, we are not dealing with Florida Democrats here. Each Republican voter will take into the booth with them a flyer (with extra large print) of exactly what needs to be written on the ballot (perhaps with a diagram). Admit it. You just couldn’t pass up a chance to write:
"The Republicans are so stupid.... "
You are the one being stupid.
When the winners say the losers are stupid it carries some weight. When the losers say the winners are stupid...well, it doesn’t make the losers appear any brighter.

Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Each Republican voter will take into the booth with them a flyer (with extra large print) of exactly what needs to be written on the ballot (perhaps with a diagram).
Im sure some will. But will everyone? or will it be only the diehard republican voters? I dont know, but I think Smither with republican support has a better chance of winning that Shelley Sekula-Gibbs as a write-in.

Of course I also don’t agree with calling people who make a differnt decision than you stupid. I may think the republicans in the district are wrong or mistaken, but ad homenim name calling doesn’t really convince anyone.
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Well, this is my district so let me clue you in on what happened. Sekula-Gibbs is a VERY ambitious evil creature. She is exactly the worse kind of Republican, no libertarian could stand. She brags about the number of small business she shut down in her state district. She is a horrible anti-drug, anti-porno, anti-everything demogogue. AND she has a crap load of money. Lots and lots of money so she wallpapered all the talk radio stations calling for her name as a write-in.
Somehow she snookered the local caucus in supporting her.

I WILL vote for the democrat. i don’t care if he is a baby-eating Stalinist.
at least the Democrat party get the blame for whatever he does.
Written By: kyle N
Why is it that people still think that Republicans have more in common with libertarians than Democrats. I guess I am a libertatian with a liberal streak, meaning that if the government is going to do anything, it ought to invest in it’s people. Republicans grow government more than democrats and get NOTHING for the investment. I don’t trust the Democrats to make good investments, so I am not hot for a Democratic monopoly on the power as the Republicans have now, but when in the majority, history shows that from every point of view that carries import with libertarians, the Democrats perform better.

I think people just get an idea into their heads (Republicans are more libertarian than Democrats) and they just accept it as true without looking any further into it. The only area where Democrats violate libertarian principals is taxation, but in every other area, civil rights, property rights, Constitutional rights, the Dem’s have much more respect.

Why won’t the Republicans support the libertarian candidate?

Because he is too much like a Democrat!!!

Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
One more item backing what I have been saying (many times) this year. In the last 5 years the GOP has become the Dems Newt threw out 12 years ago. It is Animal Farm in real life. Look at the growth in government since 01. The GOP is actually more liberal than the Dems of 94 were! I expect the less liberal Dems to make gains in both houses from the more liberal GOP.Expect the GOP to keep control of both ; but would not be surprised to see the more conservative Dems take one of the two houses.
Written By: Rodney A Stanton
URL: http://
Rodney, I have to take issue with your use of the term liberal, though I think I understand where you are coming from. The way I generally characterize what the Republicans have done is that they have spent like out of control liberals, grown the government like out of controls, but they have not actually spent on any of it the things that liberals do. In my opinion, the only benefits of a larger government are the liberal benefits like healthcare and economic safety nets, but these guys have spent enough to do as much as any socialist nation does for it’s people, and they actually reduced these type of policies.

Give me a libertarian government that stays out of our business or give me a liberal government that protects and invests in it’s citizen’s, but for crying out loud, what kind of person could actually approve of a party that uses it’s monopoly to take enough money to be socialist and not actually provide any of those benefits?

Maybe they just don’t understand that a tax cut with higher spending is just a deferred tax hike that will later include interest?

Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://

I understand your dislike of Gibbs, so why not work to get the libertarian a chance? Gibbs can’t win if Republicans and independents do not support her, so the libertarian should have a shot. If not, the Democrat wins anyway. This seems a no lose proposition to me.
Written By: Lance
The only area where Democrats violate libertarian principals is taxation, but in every other area, civil rights, property rights, Constitutional rights, the Dem’s have much more respect.
I am not sure what planet you have been living on but its not this one. In the past forty years I have seen Democrats collude with both organized labor AND big business, place stifling regulation on nearly every industry. Extend the reach of government into every aspect of life, launch countless dubious social engineering
experiments especially in public education, and violate principles of Federalism.

Now it is true that often the Republicans are just as bad, but there are GENUINE
Libertarians in the Republican party such as congressman Ron Paul. There is no one remotely like that in the Democratic party.
Written By: kyle N
In my opinion, the only benefits of a larger government are the liberal benefits like healthcare and economic safety nets, but these guys have spent enough to do as much as any socialist nation does for it’s people, and they actually reduced these type of policies.
Evidence please? I would be really happy if indeed they did reduce these social programs, because unlike you I think it demonstrable that they do more harm than good. However, I just cannot see where any of them have been reduced at all.
Written By: kyle N
CaptainSarcastic wrote:
"Why is it that people still think that Republicans have more in common with libertarians than Democrats. I guess I am a libertatian with a liberal streak, meaning that if the government is going to do anything, it ought to invest in it’s people."
Government can’t invest in people without taking other people’s money. To the extent you are a modern liberal, you are not a libertarian. The two concepts cannot be reconciled, they are polar opposites.

Or given your monniker, we’re you writing parody?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I agree that one cannot be be a pure liberal and libertarian at the same time, neither can one be a modern conservative and a libertarian. The difference I see between the liberals and conservatives (modern American versions) are not their willingness to take money from the populace, they both do that with abandon, but rather what they spend it on. The US military is by far the largest social program in the world, and that is where conservatives like to redistribute your money to, along with payoffs to their favorite special interests and corporate sponsors.

When I say that I am a libertarian liberal, what I mean is this:

Using the graph from political compass, with a square encompassing all ideologies, the top half of the square representing authoritarianism and the bottom representing libertarianism, and the left side representing liberalism and the right side representing conservativism, I would be squarely in the center of the lower left quadrangle.

Some libertarians think that since the constitution specifically allows for defense of the nation, that military spending is fine. I’d agree to a point, but I do not believe that it allows for unlimited spending before it becomes something decidedly unacceptable for a true libertarian. That is where we are now. So I’ll say to you that unless you think the military spending should be rolled back significantly, then you can’t be a libertarian.

I’ll agree that the Democrats have been more meddlesome than a government should be, and at one I believed that the Republicans were less so (maybe because they said they would be), but the point I am making is that even when the Democrats had power, and even when they were more meddlesome than I would like, they were much more respectful of citizens rights than Republicans are. The both tax, they both spend, granted, but which one consistently favors protecting rights and which consistently attempts to roll them back?

As I said, all things being equal, I’ll take a government that does as little as possible and taxes as little possible, but if a government is going to take the enormous chunk of our money that is taken today, it should at least at least offer the liberal benefits that other states offer their people in exchange for that portion of their income.

As far as the question of whether these guys have cut social spending, and the question of what planet I am living on. I am living on the planet where the Republicans have cut social spending in bill after bill, with the only pretense of socially liberal legislation being the unfunded mandate nightmare of No Child Left Behind and the gift to BigPharm of the medicare bill. What planet are you living on?

Some highlights of cuts to social spending...

Student loans: $11.9 billion in net savings, achieved chiefly by reducing lender subsidies and retaining a scheduled shift from variable interest rates to a 6.8 percent fixed rate on most loans. Increases loan limits to $3,500 for first-year students and from $3,500 to $4,500 for second-year students. Establishes a new $3.7 billion grant program for low-income college students.
Medicare: Saves a net $6.4 billion from the health care program for the elderly. Saves $6.5 billion by increasing Medicare payments to insurers that cover sicker patients and lowering payments to those covering healthier patients. Accelerates premium increases for better-off Medicare patients for doctor visits.
Medicaid: Saves $4.8 billion from the health care program for the poor and disabled by reducing payments for prescription drugs, tightening asset-transfer rules for nursing home eligibility, permitting states to reduce benefits and increasing co-payments paid by beneficiaries.
Pensions: Raises $3.6 billion in new revenues for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures defined benefit pension plans, by increasing the annual premium employers pay for each covered worker or retiree and establishing a $3,750-per-employee fee on companies that terminate their plans.
Agriculture: Achieves $2.7 billion in savings from agriculture conservation programs and delaying advance subsidy payments to farmers.
Welfare overhaul: Extends the 1996 welfare reform law, freezing core funding at $74.3 billion over five years, while tightening work requirements. Provides $11.7 billion for child care subsidies for welfare recipients required to work.

Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
This is from another blog describing the liberal libertarian, and I think it is well stated and I agree with a good bit of the rationale....

It is true that I am not consistent in wanting less government interference in everything. However, that does not mean that I am a hypocrite for supporting socialized healthcare while also supporting the legalization and taxation of marijuana. Indeed, I am consistent in wanting the government to only interfere when such interference increases liberty within society.

In an ideal world, we would have no government, no laws and a peaceful society where everybody provides for themselves. This is John Locke’s idea of a peaceful State of Nature. Unfortunately, such a thing is unrealistic. I am more inclined to side with Thomas Hobbes that in such a society, life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short". In a vacuum of power, bullies are bound to make themselves kings as they did after the fall of Rome. For true liberty, we need a government that can provide safety.

On that, I probably agree with most conservatives. The primary job of government is to provide safety. This means, without a doubt, that we need laws, police, courts and jails. Since the world of nations is essentially in a state of nature, I think that also means that we need an army. However, I go with the traditional British view that all you really need is the seed of an army so that you can build up a massive one only when threatened. The larger an army gets, the more society looses its liberty. Just look at the US. Even before Iraq, every 18 year old man had to sign a card just in case there was a new draft. That is more likely to happen in a country with a strong military. But I digress - the point is that true liberty requires law, order and a military.

However, since laws are meant to protect liberty, we should only have those laws that are necessary. To me, "necessary" comes from Mill’s harm principle, "That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." This covers the basics such as murder, theft, rape, yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre and such. Even some laws that protect us from ourselves are necessary. For example, if people do not wear seatbelts then they become projectiles that imperil other drivers. Another example would be something like LSD. Even if you support legalizing it, you have to admit that people walking in front of cars and jumping off buildings because they think that they are invincible will have a negative effect on the liberty of others. I might support legalization, but I would have rules about when and where it could be used. Something like marijuana, though, does not pose a real harm to others unless abused. As a result, it should be legal.

Since law, order and the military are necessary to liberty, it is perfectly reasonable for people to pay taxes to pay for those services. How do you justify welfare, though? I do it the same way that Franklin Roosevelt did it (as Conrad Black argues). If you have too many people in poverty, you risk revolution or, at the least, an increase in crime. Eventually, you will hit a point where it is cheaper to provide welfare than to continue increasing money to law enforcement. I cannot say whether we are at that point, but we are talking theory here. In order to maintain law and order, you keep the poor satisfied that it is in their best interests to accept the success of others - that requires some level of welfare.

The real argument in Canada seems to be about healthcare. How can you stop a person from using their own money to stay healthy, yet say that you support liberty? If there were a society with as many doctors as there are lawyers, then I would support a multiple tier system. As long as everybody would be able to afford a doctor, then there is nothing wrong with rich people paying for better services - there would not really be any line to jump. You might be annoyed that the richest could afford new cancer treatments that the government could not provide, but it is not like denying such services to the rich will provide it to others. This is one of John Rawls’ two basic principles of justice. Inequalities are acceptable as long as they help the less fortunate to some extent and the better positions are attainable by all. As long as you have a system with equality of opportunity, then it is ok for those who succeed to have better healthcare as long as they are not harming the positions of those less well off.

However, we do not have this mythical society of doctors. Instead, we live in a country where there are not enough doctors. I have argued this point before, and will not do it again. So let us stick with the theory. If there truly is a shortage of doctors, then does the government not need to ration them?

Of course, I have made a subtle switch from principles of liberty to principles of equality. Have I lost my claim to hold a libertarian philosophy? I say no. The reason is that I do not support equality in and of itself. I support capitalism, I support taxing people as little as possible and I support personal freedoms. Indeed, I used a principle of equality to support the argument that there should be healthcare liberty when there is a sufficient number of doctors! The rationing of healthcare as a scarce resource is necessary for the same reasons that welfare is necessary. Do we really want people committing crimes in order to pay healthcare bills? Do we want people who know that they will die because of some treatable illness becoming terrorists against the rich? At what point is our liberty equally served by rationing healthcare instead of putting more money into law enforcement? Law enforcement might be cheaper on the tax system in order to save the same number of lives, but it might also leave people living in fear. Does fear not take away liberty?

I will not deny that many Liberals would disagree with me here. Many would base their entire philosophy on equality. Indeed, many are probably out for equality of outcome and not equality of opportunity. There are also many who might find my philosophy callous. How could I say that equality is only necessary to guarantee the liberty of those of us who succeed in life? How is it not an end in itself? Meanwhile, I am sure that many who base their philosophy on liberty will say that I am either misguided or misleading. How can I honestly agree with 40% taxes on anybody just to fund the healthcare of a bunch of lazy lowlifes? To both sides, I can only say that my answer is above. I am a libertarian Liberal.
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Does fear not take away liberty?
Fear does not take away ones civil or political liberty.

Fear does not subjegate you to the will of another.
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Cap, while I acknowledge the dangerous slippery slope that some of those ’externality laws’ cited would create, I also recognize the ’social stability/sustainability’ argument against typical libertarian absolutism. In general that is a remarkably reasonable liberal argument. I truly wish more Democrats adopted that political philosophy...but they don’t. Instead, we get populist anti-free trade, anti-WalMart and anti-capitalist rhetoric.

I’m not arguing that they are uniformly anti-libertarian, but surely you can understand the reasons that many libertarians simply don’t believe the Democratic Party — especially with its current "Progressive" drift — is amenable to libertarianism.
Written By: Jon Henke
"Fear does not take away ones civil or political liberty."

"Fear does not subjegate you to the will of another."

Really? Are you sure?

Maybe you are hung up on semantics, let’s try this...

In response to fear, societies consistently give away civil and political liberty and subjegate themselves to the will of others.

Of course they don’t HAVE to, but the word defacto comes to mind.


Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Okay, how do you do the thing with the quote in the little box?

On your post Jon, here’s where I stand...

We don’t have anything remotely resembling a free market in America, Walmart is not a free market success story, there is no free trade, and capitalism is managed and owned by a relative few.

If you accept this, then being against NAFTA and WalMart, and big business in general is not opposition to libertarian free market economics, it is opposition to a corporate owned and corporate sponsored government. There are a couple of means of addressing problems in this system, one is to support actual libertarian policies, which would thrash NAFTA and take away WalMart’s bought advantages. The other way is manipulate the already manipulated system to change the advantage to benefit those that are currently disadvantaged by the way the economy is manipulated.

My opinion is that regulation and deregulation are primarily tools by which one company or industry gains advantage on another, and it is usually done under the guise of protecting consumers in some way. If we can’t get away from that system, I don’t see any problem with actually using it too level the previously purchased advantages.

Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
If Republicans are winners, Fulton, you have a modest, watered down view of what a winner is. With respect to a battle of stupidity, I think the GOP would have to win, given that large numbers of Republicans still believe that Saddam was behind 9-11 and that the Earth is only 6000 years old. Now that is stupid. By the way, ad hominem means attacking an individual. It does not apply to attacking large groups of stupid people such as the Republicans, many of whom in a state like Texas may not be able to read the sample ballot.

Texas=the state where the Texas Supreme Court ruled that defendants do have a right to an attorney, but not a right to one who is awake. Never underestimate the stupidity of a Texan.
Written By: william
URL: http://
I think the problem here is in making assumptions about Republicans in the TX-22 district. And remember, the district has been redrawn.

With the new district you’ve got basically 3 types of Republicans.

The original districts voters who kept Delay in office are very much religious conservatives. A libertarian candidate is not at all appealing to these folks for reasons that should be obvious.

Added to the district was the area around Clear Lake (Home of NASA). Very different demographic there made up of either fiscal conservatives, democrats, or independants.

The true fiscal conservatives will find a Libertarian candidate appealing. Unfortunately there are just not enough of them to carry the district.
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
William, I agree that on the school playground of today, liberals have installed a no-winner way of life. We are not on the playground. In politics, which we were discussing, winners are clearly (other than in liberal-groupthink-doublespeak) those who win elections and hold office. Unfortunately, this makes Democrats currently LOSERS any way one slices it. It also makes Republicans WINNERS any way you slice that, except for liberals who must find some way for their rhetoric to avoid the obvious.
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
"It also makes Republicans WINNERS "

Yep, Republicans may be completely incompetent at actually governing, but if the metric is winning elections, Republicans are extremely effective.

My analogy for the GOP is a gymnast who performs sexual favors for the coaches to get on the team. Of course she will be a miserable failure when it comes time to produce, but she was very effective at making the team.

Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth"

Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I think the problem here is in making assumptions about Republicans in the TX-22 district. And remember, the district has been redrawn.
I must say, davebo accurately describes the Tx-22nd.

I live in the 22nd and most folk around here – still to this day – defend DeLay. Even when question about the evidence, these people seem to think that DeLay was framed. The phrase “liberal lies” is often thrown about.
Many people down here see DeLay as some sort of Christian savior protecting them from coastal liberals that want to teach witchcraft to school children… I’m not kidding.

Smither’s ascendance is highly doubted as most Republicans that do make it to the polls will see it as their Christian duty to avenge DeLay by replacing him with another Republican. And they’ll do their best to spell out Sickyoola-Gibz.

But many Republicans will simply stay home, leaving an easy victory for Lampson.

Written By: PogueMahone
Okay, how do you do the thing with the quote in the little box?

Written By: CaptinSarcastic

Captin, there buttons above the text box. One of them is a crooked blue arrow.
To do the thing with the quote in the little box, simply highlight your desired text and click the button.

And you can do it multiple times.
Like this..
And this..
Written By: PogueMahone
Cool, Thanks!
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Funny Pogue, and speaking of which where is the next post? Too much e-mail to read;>)?

Go Smither!
Written By: Lance
Have you seen the new poll putting Smither far ahead of the Republican in a very conservative Republican district (of course, NO Republican is on the ballot, and the idiots are trying to run a write-in campaign rather than support Smither):

Lampson, D @ 41%
Smither, L @ 25%
Undecided @ 23%
Shelley, R @ 11%


NO Libertarian has ever WON Congress. Ron Paul, the Republican turned Libertarian, also represented Dist 22—- so there are strong L roots there.

Written By: Lloyd Laughlin
URL: http://


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URL: http://

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