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Top 10 Letters

Libertarians, Karl Rove, Libertarians, James Bond, and Libertarians.

11:00 PM, Nov 24, 2002
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THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.

*1*

In his article Bond Forever, Jonathan V. Last writes that part of the secret of James Bond's success was his accent. He states, "If an American were to tell a girl, 'I hope my big end can stand up to this!' he'd be a troglodyte. When a Brit does it, he's dashing."

In fact, it is the woman, Tracey di Vicenzo, portrayed by Diana Rigg in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", who uttered this line, not 007.

Nonetheless, Last's is a point well taken. Imagine, for instance, an American pulling on the dress belt of a Brazilian lovely and saying, "What do you do when you have three hours in Rio and you don't samba?"

--Bruce Scivally, co-author, James Bond: The Legacy (Abrams)

*2*

Rachel DiCarlo's article, Spoiling Some of the Fun, fails to address why Libertarian candidates are able to "spoil" the campaigns of Republican candidates. The culprit is the first-past-the-post, winner-take-all electoral system used in most U.S. elections since the country's founding.

Libertarians have had no role in perpetuating the winner-take-all system, which according to Duverger's Law creates two strong political parties and marginalizes the rest. Indeed, Libertarians have advocated the adoption of electoral systems successfully implemented elsewhere, such as "preferential voting" (a.k.a. "instant runoff voting"), that won't break down when more than two candidates compete and would prevent the spoiler problem. But even though they proposed and endorsed the idea, Republicans in Alaska couldn't get together to pass an IRV measure when it came up for a statewide vote earlier this year. Indeed, several Alaska Republicans argued self-servingly that plurality rule was just fine by them, especially when their candidates won.

Understandably, many Republicans and Democrats are content with an electoral system that protects their two-party duopoly from meaningful competition and keeps non-incumbent political parties out of office. Republicans and Democrats have made and maintained this Procrustean electoral bed that they now claim tortures them. Until they put in place electoral systems that accommodate more than two political parties, I won't be very sympathetic to their complaints about being "spoiled."

--Rob Latham, Board Member, Californians for Electoral Reform

*3*

As a libertarian smart enough to vote Republican, I see the libertarians squandering a great opportunity by playing spoiler rather than "coalition partner." Today libertarians have the clout to walk into many Republican campaign headquarters and say "I can make or break your victory." They could then proceed to negotiate some policy prescriptions or "cabinet" appointments (in executive races).

While this is the obvious next step, the likelihood of it happening is slim. Too many libertarians are of the "porn & pot" wing of the party to allow their candidates to parley their 1-3 percent for actual power. And the chances are that too few Republicans are willing to listen as well. They seem bent on pushing libertarians out of the ring.

This is a sad state of affairs. By making such deals both parties could easily work together to form a ruling coalition of sorts.

--Bruno Behrend

*4*

I was surprised that Rachel DiCarlo didn't include the Arizona gubernatorial election. The Republican lost by less than 1 percent and the Libertarian polled 1.7 percent.

The Libertarian was also pro-life which was an interesting wrinkle on the usual dynamic. What was even more interesting was that an independent also ran on no taxes and smaller government--he polled almost 7 percent.

You can access the results here.

--Jim Morse

*5*

Rachel DiCarlo writes: "both Republicans and Libertarians support lower taxes, smaller government, and a free-market economy"