Helping grow government

Split by libertarians and Republicans gave Democrats a governorship

Democrats should’ve won this one going away.

But perhaps they shouldn’t have won it at all.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton confidante who had the power couple’s public backing as well as the sitting president’s, and who spent three times as much as his opponent, won the Virginia governor’s seat Tuesday by the slimmest of margins – after once holding a double-digit lead.

Two things turned this race, one that hurt the Democrats and one that helped them even more.

What hurt them was no doubt the Obamacare disaster – which may have unfolded just a little too late to put Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli over the top.

But what helped Democrats was the libertarian vote: Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis took 7 percent of the vote, most of which likely would’ve gone to the Republican Cuccinelli. Without Sarvis in the race, Cuccinelli is probably the next governor of Virginia.

Fact is, some believe the Obama Democrats were quietly promoting the libertarian’s candidacy.

While Democrats should be very concerned about how close Obamacare made this race, libertarians and Republicans should be even more worried.

The ironic truth is that while they think they’re voting for more freedom, libertarians – by splitting the conservative vote – are voting for less freedom by electing Obamacare-supporting, big-government-backing Democrats.

That’s voting against one’s self-interest.

This is not an attack on libertarianism. This editorial page is among the most sympathetic in the nation to the libertarian cause. It’s simply acknowledging reality. By siphoning votes away from conservative Republicans such as Cuccinelli – the first and fiercest warrior to go into battle against Obamacare – libertarians are inadvertently throwing their support behind bigger government.

So-called “establishment” Republicans – whom many conservatives have long derided as “country club” Republicans and RINOs, Republicans In Name Only – have to share some of the blame for Cuccinelli’s loss.

“Reports that the Republican National Committee spent $3 million in 2009 to help the Republican nominee, compared to $1 million this time, tells the story,” Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, was quoted.

“Even against such extraordinary odds, Cuccinelli came within roughly 50,000 votes and 2 percentage points of McAuliffe. Just think what would have happened if the business and donor classes of the Republican Party would have helped.”

The national Republicans “totally blew it,” one unnamed Cuccinelli adviser was quoted, while Cuccinelli adviser Chris La Civita asks, “was leaving Cuccinelli alone in the first week of October a smart move? We were on our own.”

Democrats laughed all the way to the governor’s office. A Democratic Party memo stated:

“Despite laws in Virginia that allow for unlimited financial contributions and complete coordination between the campaigns and outside groups, the RGA tried to run a different campaign than their own candidate – a puzzling strategy that made both the Cuccinelli campaign and the RGA less effective.”

This is no way to win elections – and yet, a fractured and unfocused GOP nearly did.

Those who believe in our founding principles of limited government and individual liberty had better look past their labels and differences, and get over themselves and get together – for the good of the country.

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