The cracking dam

The Libertarian slate includes nearly two dozen legislative candidates, including former gubernatorial candidate Tom Cox, who won almost 5 percent of the vote when Democrat Ted Kulongoski defeated Republican Kevin Mannix in 2002. This time, Cox hopes to defeat Rep. Mary Gallegos, R-Cornelius, one of 11 House Republicans who voted for the tax increase that voters ultimately rejected…..

Libertarians also could play a role in several other House races that have no incumbent, such as House District 54, which Rep. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, will exit. Libertarian Tristan Reisfar is taking on Democrat Judy Stiegler and Republican Chuck Burley, both of whom he says support tax and fees increases.

Mannix, the Oregon Republican Party chairman, said he’s telling members to “stop paying any attention” to Libertarian candidates, who he says have little in common with Republicans.

But the tax issue is important enough that some Republicans wouldn’t mind seeing a Democrat defeat a Republican. Tax activist Don McIntire said that the Executive Club, a decades-old conservative group to which he belongs, voted to back Cox against Gallegos. “There’s a chance his entry into the race could deliver the votes for the Democrat, but on balance, we’ve decided that’s better than continuing with somebody who’s a lousy Republican,” McIntire said.

“Stop paying any attention!” That’s the most that the Republican leadership can say about the Libertarian Party. Why? Because when Republicans do pay attention and honestly weigh it as an alternative, the Libertarians easily prove to be the superior choice for most republicans, conservatives, and even small-d democrats.