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A Libertarian Success Story…..Of Sorts

by @ 9:47 am on November 12, 2006. Filed under 2006 Election, Libertarians, Politics, Republicans

This morning’s Washington Post profiles Stan Jones, the Montana Libertarian Party Senate candidate who may have cost Conrad Burns re-election:

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Stan Jones, a Montana libertarian widely known for his peculiar blue skin, can arguably be said to have recast the political complexion of the U.S. Senate, turning it from Republican red to the same color as his face.

That face, it should be noted, is not the dark blue of TV graphics that show where the Democratic Party increasingly holds sway. Nor is it the pale blue of the big Montana sky as autumn turns to winter. It is an ashen blue-gray, a flesh tone more suited to the undertaker’s slab than the politician’s stump.

In any case, this is what the 67-year-old candidate accomplished last Tuesday: He won 10,324 votes in the make-or-break Senate race in Montana, a contest that Democrat Jon Tester won by just 2,565 votes over three-term Republican incumbent Conrad Burns.

The blue skin, it should be noted, is the result of a medical condition brought about by a homemade antibiotic Jones took in 1999 to ward off what he feared would happen when the Y2K bug hit. No really, it’s true.

Quirky or not, though, there seems to be little question that Jones pulled off something we’ve seen Ralph Nader and Ross Perot do, have a real impact on an important election.

There are Stan Jones skeptics in Montana who say that the eccentric libertarian may not have swung the election for the Democrats. Craig Wilson, a polling expert at Montana State University in Billings, said Jones was “really invisible” in the campaign and probably hurt Burns no more than Tester.

But another longtime expert on Montana elections, Jerry W. Calvert, a professor of political science at Montana State University in Bozeman, said there is “no question” that Jones took votes from the incumbent. “The rule of thumb in Montana is that libertarians take votes disproportionately from Republicans,” Calvert said.

Given that Jones’s libertarianism has a definite conservative tilt to it (he’s against both abortion and same-sex marriage), this would certainly seem to be the case. The question is whether, Jones’s blue skin notwithstanding, Republicans will draw any lessons from Montana.

On a related note, The Economist asks the question: Did libertarian votes cost the GOP control of Congress ?

H/T: Outside The Beltway

Further thoughts at The Jawa Report

9 Responses to “A Libertarian Success Story…..Of Sorts”

  1. A homemade antibiotic? To ward off the Y2K bug?

    I’m not sure how many votes he took from the Republicans, but I’ll bet he really did secure the “wacked-out-nutjob” demographic!

  2. Brad,

    The Libertarian Party had the “wacked-out-nutjob” demographic locked up a long time ago.

  3. Christopher says:

    I would think that being against both abortion and same-sex marriage would automatically disqualify one from becoming a libertarian.

    It really is too bad that the majority of those that represent the Libertarian party are crazy, because the basic idea of personal liberty is such an obvious one. If only they could get some releatively sane representation I think we’d have a chance of seeing a viable third party.

  4. At the request of one of my readers I went and read the Libertarian Party Platform. Good luck them ever becoming the “viable third party”.

    Stan did cost the GOP, but it was their own fault, and Burns did deserve to go.

    The question to ask the group who voted for Stan is do they think Tester, who they put in office by proxy will represent their values more than Burns.

  5. Christopher,

    There more than a few pro-life libertarians out there, including Congressman (and former LP Presidential candidate) Ron Paul. One can have a philosophical (or religious) belief about when life begins and consistenly apply libertarian principles to it.

    I do agree, though, that its hard to reconcile opposition to same-sex marriage and libertarianism. Unless, of course, one believes that the state shoudln’t be involved in marriage at all.

  6. Bob,

    To the the extent voters in Montana voted for Jones (or Tester) to punish Burns, maybe they didn’t care if Tester represented their views or not.

  7. If advocating “personal responsibility” makes one a wacked-out-nutjob, then I am proud to wear the label. It is really much more fun than supporting the tyrannocrats who currently run (or ruin) America.

  8. No, advocating personal responsibility doesn’t make one a wacked-out-nutjob… Turning your skin blue with homemade antibiotics because you’re worried about Y2K… That does it.

    I think the libertarianism was coincidental ;-)

  9. Brad,

    You took the words right out of my mouth

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