On the other Hand........
Yesterday I made the arguments why I was hesitant about voting Republican. Today Jacob Levy at Volokh makes arguments about why he is consiering voting major party this presidential election when he usually (I presume) votes libertarian.
[A]ssuming Kerry doesn't pick Gephardt or resume his trade-bashing noises, I'm steeling myself to cast a major-party presidential vote this November.....
[W]e've had no Social Security reform, no push for vouchers, atrocious incompetence and policy made for the wrong reasons on the important foreign policy questions, protectionism, agricultural subsidies, and a spending explosion. All that's left are a) the tax cuts, which are good but something close to meaningless in the absence of spending cuts; b) a general positioning as "hawkish;" and c) annoyance at various elements of the left who I'd rather not be aligned with and certainly don't want to listen to crowing. (I really don't want Michael Moore to spend four years feeling like, and crowing that, he decided a presidential election.) Those aren't sufficient reasons to outweigh the general inability to govern competently or to make good policy judgments.
If Levy meant (as I interpret his post, perhaps incorrectly) that as a liberterian (which I presume, perhaps once again incorrectly) he supports voting for Kerry, I cannot agree with him. The main arguments against voting Republican if you are libertarian
1) Incompetence on Policy
2) Betrayl on spending
3) Disliking the noise from the Religious right
4) Tariffs and subsidies
The problem with these arguments for voting Democrat over Republican is that there is a good chance they would all be worse under a Democrat administration. Bush's policy may be incompotent at times, but so were quite a few policies of Clinton and so will be many policies of Kerry. On spending, spending did rise horrendously under Bush, but quite a few of the programs that he raised spending on were supported by Democrats, who would have had higher demands with Gore or Kerry in the White House. About Tariffs and subsidies, does anybody really expect this to be any better from the "Fair Trade" crowd? And noise from the Religous Right is, as Levy acknowledges, mostly just that - an annoyance - which many of us would agree is somewhat less annoying than the Farenheit 9/11 crowd.
My message to Levy is that if he is pissed at Bush, and is planning on voting Libertarian he has company. If he wants to vote swap Bush/Libertarian, I'll give him my email address. If he can't see the point of getting excited about any general election, he can email the smartest person I know at bluelion at stanford.edu who will recruit him to to the apathist party which aims for the permanent enshrinement of apathy. If on the other hand he is planning on voting Democrat because he, for the reasons above, is that disgusted with Bush.......well, I cannot see myself at this point agreeing with him.
As a proviso to this argument - I could see Levy make the point that he was in favor of divided government to control spending growth. But that argument was not made, and if it was, I am skeptical of the Republican to stand firm on spending if they get their lunch handed to them in an election.