The Hopeless Opposition

As Obama falters, Republicans dither

Here is Nate Silver, Democratic polling whiz and notoriously clever political prognosticator, issuing a blunt warning to the citizens of Netroots Nation, a yearly gathering of left-wing bloggers, activists, and Howard Zinn-loving killjoys: "I don't think you should feel at all comforted by 2010." Silver, known for his prescience on such matters, suggests that Democrats will hemorrhage support in the next midterm elections, losing anywhere from 20 to 50 seats. According to recent polling data, about 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. 


Indeed, Americans loathe Congress with surprising consistency. But make no mistake, this is an Obama issue too. Arriving at the White House with an impressive 70 percent approval rating, barely nine months later the president is struggling to retain the loyalty of half of his constituents. A creature of Chicago, he is well aware that politics ain't beanbag, but the finger-biting, town hall mau-mauing, death panel mania doubtless blindsided the administration. Perhaps it was the media's requited love affair with the "Hope" campaign, or all those young, fresh-faced automatons in blue t-shirts offering platitudes about "change." Something provided Emanuel and Axelrod with a misshapen view of just how much "remaking" of the economy Americans were prepared to allow.

And the mistakes are piling up. Previously the target of fringy websites and the increasingly bizarre Glenn Beck, Obama's "green jobs czar," a crackpot "community activist" called Van Jones, was recently revealed to be a 9/11 truther. A few minutes with Google and one discovers a Jones exegesis on America's love affair with "grey, dirty, suicidal capitalism," and his visit to the World Economic Forum (which he naturally calls the "world exploiters forum"), the "ruling elite's biggest schmoozefest." The hyperventilating over Jones—a loathsome character who should be given a bus ticket back to his hometown of Oakland—is entirely justified, but conservatives would do best not to decide that his presence in the White House speaks to a larger narrative. Sorry guys, but there isn't a communist cabal at the heart of government, a modern Victor Perlo group twisting mustaches and plotting a Maurice Bishop-inspired coup.

The economic policies of this administration, both proposed and implemented, are daft; the expansion of government already undertaken deeply worrying; and all of the health care suggestions tabled by the Democrats will not only balloon budget deficits, but enrage voters both left and right. If the Republican Party hopes to capitalize on this discontent, it risks burying its message in debates over "death panels" and slightly lunatic calls to "slit our wrists [and] be blood brothers" in opposition to government-run health care. 

Another recent example of how not to respond to a controversial issue: Next week, President Obama will address American students in a speech which, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, will "tell kids in school to study hard and stay in school." Included in the suggested assignments for teachers was a call to read "books about presidents and Barack Obama" and a call to reflect on "What specific job is [the president] asking me to do?" After a volley of criticism from bloggers and pundits, the language was pulled from the Department of Education website.


The most charitable reading would be that this was a boneheaded mistake from a department bureaucrat, not an early experiment in the pedagogy of Baldur von Schirach. But Republicans were in no mood for charity. Chairman of the Florida Republican Party Jim Greer accused Obama of attempting to “indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda." Oklahoma state senator Steve Russell was equally nuanced: "As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education—it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality. This is something you'd expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein's Iraq."  

There is a whiff of condescension about all of this; that mouth-foaming stridency is required to convince Americans that the president is unfit to be commander in chief. Unemployment ticks up, Obama's numbers tick down. The administration makes a hash of health care, Obama's numbers tick down. More soldiers die in Afghanistan, where the administration is doubling down, and Obama's numbers tick down. For the opposition party, there is plenty of political opportunity in all of this, but why engage in serious political debate when denunciations of our Baathist-Juche-Stalinoid president will suffice? This might be temporarily effective, it might drive a single news cycle, but at what cost? 

If moderates, independents, Reagan Democrats, and libertarians are vital to future Republican electoral successes, party leaders might want to try to control the tone of the debate. The Clinton years are instructive. Despite the Lewinsky affair, the shady dealings of Whitewater, sundry "bimbo eruptions," and countless micro-scandals, Bill Clinton left office with a bafflingly high approval rating. University of Washington professor David Domke investigated the cause of Clinton's resilience and found that "conservative attacks on Clinton and the liberal response, which questioned the motives of Republicans, worked together to intensify public support for the president." 

After two years of muckraking anti-Clinton journalism, The American Spectator went from 30,000 subscribers to 300,000. As Clinton proved to be a Teflon president, the mania deepened and the magazine accused Clinton of murder, drug smuggling, and cheating at golf. In the end, its star investigative journalist converted to liberalism, those remaining defected to other conservative publications, the magazine collapsed and was relaunched as a technology publication, and the Clinton administration barreled forward. Glenn Beck might pull 2.5 million viewers a day, WorldNetDaily might be clocking 2 million unique visitors a month—impressive, if slightly frightening, numbers—but they would be advised to remember the Spectator

 
Thankfully, some Republicans are cottoning on. In a post on Twitter, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough urged his fellow Republicans to "argue the issues," "avoid the insults," and stop "with the conspiracy theories." Republican strategist Patrick Ruffini asked politely if his party could "have [William F.] Buckley back." Writing at TheNextRight.com, blogger Jon Henke complained recently that "Goldwater and a few Republicans had the integrity and guts to denounce the irresponsible fringe in the fevered swamps of the Right. Today, as far as I can tell, the Republican National Committee works with them."  

Extremism in the defense of liberty might not be a vice, but Goldwater's famous comment was not a dog whistle for those who believed fluoridated water was at the heart of a Red Chinese conspiracy (opposing "Soviet imperialism," as he was suggesting, hardly qualified as extremist). As The Washington Post pointed out in 1994, in his later years the former Republican presidential candidate engaged in "frequent denunciations of the religious right and occasional defenses of Bill Clinton," and agitated to allow gays to serve openly in the military.

 
Ruffini is right that the Republican Party would benefit from another Buckley. But it could also use a leader. How about another Goldwater?

Michael C. Moynihan is a senior editor of 
Reason

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  • ||

    Really, this has happened enough that we should realize that the loyal opposition doesn't need to be organized when the public is extremely dissatisfied with the ruling party. It just has to not be the ruling party.

    Does anyone thing the Democrats were well organized or generally respected in 2006 or 2008? Really?

  • ||

    "Michael C. Moynihan, the Republican party is still leaderless and rudderless, bleating on about "death panels" and how Obama plans to "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda."

    Fuck you Moynihan. As Pro pointed out above, they are the opposition, they don't need a leader until 2012. Moreover, what exactly do you want? I get the sense on some level the Reason staff is horribly jealous and disapointed that they couldn't fully embrace and be a part of the Obama phenomenon. They want so desparately to have a cool hip leader that they Mangu Ward can get all dreamy eyed about and Moynihan and Walker can make creepy posters for. Well screw that. I don't want to be a part of a new cult to replace this one.

    Further, the Death Panel line was politically totally fucking brilliant. Obama spent the entire month of August attacking a facebook post instead of selling his program. If only Reason were that smart and could have that much effect.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    This whole thing was awesomely encapsulated by Fluffy at The Agitator:

    Your blessed "public option" health care plan has no chance of passing in the near future. Because you guys got clotheslined by a handful of Ron Paul movement veterans who yelled at some Congressmen.

    I laugh every time I read that. It is the essence of August, 2009 politics in America.

  • Kevin||

    AO, nice one. I might also add that in America we are currently vascillating between which party we hate more. Our turnaround time is getting increasingly smaller though.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    seriously, the story of the Obama Presidency right now is how fast our, as you put it, souring on parties occurs.

    The small story is that old people took down a popular President with a mandate to reform health care. I mean, what the fuck happened?

  • ||

    Good. Let's switch every two years. Better yet, let's stagger it so no party controls all three branches.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    *a popular President who had a mandate

    To avoid noun confusion.

  • ||

    Not to mention, the number of people willing to completely associate themselves with either major party will shrink if the expected switcheroo happens in 2010 and 2012. This is not unprecedented, even in modern times.

  • ||

    One definitely true statement is that America right now is simply not happy with either party. We seem to want everything to turn out perfect and anything else is a failure in our eyes - what are we, Yankees fans? (actually I am)

    I do think anytime there is such a strong outrageous extreme, it's going to make a strong immediate impact, but then what happens? People, whether we want to buy it or not, are smarter than we think, and they become detached. It's a classic boy who cried wolf scenario. Bad bad bad.

    http://www.beyondrace.com

  • ||

    Didn't your Obamasiah say to judge him by his asociations?? That is all we are doing... and Obama comes out stinking like week old fish.

  • ||

    "The small story is that old people took down a popular President with a mandate to reform health care. I mean, what the fuck happened?"

    He didn't have a mandate to reform healthcare. He had a mandate to run the government with some measure of competency and stop all of the stealing. Serously. Most people voted for Obama thinking he was a reasonable, smart guy who would smart people in the top positions and would generally get along with everyone. They didn't vote for him thinking he was going to reform the entire country. People warned that that was what he wanted to do, but no one believed them.

    Peggy Noonan actually made a good point today. I know. I was as shocked as you probably are. She said

    "The past 10 months, the president has lessened and not increased the trust of the big center. He did a number of things wrong, but one has not been noticed much, or noted. He moved too quickly, before he'd earned the right to change a big chunk of American life. You earn that right by establishing trust. Absent crisis, leaders have to show, over a certain amount of time and through a series of actions, that they're sober, sound, farsighted, looking out for the middle."

    BO really did beleive his own press and all of his creepy supporters. He went batshit crazy and tried to have TARP, Stimulus and Healthcare all in one year. And people are not going to buy that much change from one person with no track record, especially when they were already soured on government after 8 years of Bush.

  • ||

    "Not to mention, the number of people willing to completely associate themselves with either major party will shrink if the expected switcheroo happens in 2010 and 2012. This is not unprecedented, even in modern times."

    I have been saying since about 2004 that we are in an age of deallignment. The days of one party owning the government for decades the way the post civil war Republicans and the post FDR Democrats did are over. Times have just changed too much. It would not suprise me at all to see the Republicans back in control of Congress and the Whitehouse in 2012 only to be kicked out again in 2014.

  • ||

    Obama has the same chance to retain power as Clinton did--move right of center, which is where America has been for decades. I don't think he's astute enough to make that move early, so it won't likely happen until after the GOP regains control of one or both houses of Congress in 2010.

    If he's really imploding and doesn't stop, it's possible he won't even be the nominee in 2012.

    Might be a real opportunity for an independent candidate in 2012, by the way. The LP, of course, will remain marginalized, because it's too full of crazy. I say that as someone who usually votes for the LP's presidential candidate.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    If he's really imploding and doesn't stop, it's possible he won't even be the nominee in 2012.



    Possible in the universal sense, but (to me) impossible, realistically speaking.

    Well, John, you are generally right - I have been saying that the 2008 election was a referendum on the Bush Presidency. It's the reason that the current President has to keep referencing the past Administration.

  • ||

    "If he's really imploding and doesn't stop, it's possible he won't even be the nominee in 2012."

    That is an interesting question. I asked this question before the election and no one paid attention. I will ask it again. Suppose the implosion continues. Suppose the war in Afghanistan gets worse and Obamacare dies on the vine. Then the far left deprived of socialized medicine all of the sudden discovers it is really anti-war and goes after Obama. What are black voters going to think when they see the rich white liberal elite left destroy the first black President?

  • Some Guy||

    According to recent polling data, about 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing.

    Really? That actually seems pretty good for them. It's like the Detroit Lions going 7-9.

  • ||

    "Well, John, you are generally right - I have been saying that the 2008 election was a referendum on the Bush Presidency."

    That is totally what it was. And is was a referendum on Bush's domestic policy more than anything else. The surge happened in 2007 and the Iraq war dropped off the front page in 2008. McCain was up in the polls until the banking collapse. The banking collapse was the final stray that caused people to say enough and try the other party. 2008 was about a lot of things, but it wasn't about the desire among the majority of the public to have a new FDR.

  • ||

    "Goldwater and a few Republicans had the integrity and guts to denounce the irresponsible fringe in the fevered swamps of the Right. Today, as far as I can tell, the Republican National Committee works with them."

    The RNC working with anyone is a Joke right? Seems to me they are the unpopular kid running around agreeing with everyone who disagrees with Obama in the hopes of getting attention. The Left seem to be the ones giving the RNC credit for any of this.

  • Tony||

    John,

    But every major Democratic candidate campaigned on healthcare reform. It wasn't a secret, and if you weren't aware of that aspect of their agenda you have no one to blame but yourself. It was a principal aspect of their platform, and that means when they got elected they had a mandate to try to enact that platform.

  • ||

    Exactly Joshua. Right now the opposition to Obama has nothing to do with the GOP. It has everything to do with large numbers of people in this country who don't trust their government and feel like no one represents their interests. You would think that Libertarians like Reason would be happy that people are starting to stop trusting government and would reach out to them. Instead, Reason just calls them nuts and Birchers.

  • ||

    They won't leave the dems . No matter what occurs.

  • ||

    Yes Tony. I knew full well that you and your ilk intend to socialized the country. But, whenever anyone pointed that out they were called paranoids. The good news is that you fooled the Center. The bad news is that that doesn't mean they support your crackpot policies.

  • Tony||

    So... when they were talking ad nauseum about their plans for healthcare reform, it was all just a ruse to fool people into electing them so they could enact healthcare reform?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Tony-troll: See the point about "Referendum on Bush" and, if you still do not get it, read it again.

  • ||

    I don't think it's likely--for several reasons--that the Democrats will dump Obama in 2012, but it all depends on how unpopular he gets. If they think backing him will doom the party to another long GOP period of domination, I think they'll risk the fallout and try to go another direction (likely after pressuring him to announce that he won't seek the nomination).

    Best thing in Obama's--and the Democrats'--favor right now is that the GOP seems to lack a very strong candidate for the White House. That doesn't mean one won't emerge, of course, but if one doesn't, the Dems are more likely to stay the course.

    If mainstream America expected a push to socialized medicine, why are so many people freaking out about it now, and why is the administration scrambling to say, "We didn't mean it"?

  • ||

    I would like to point out the very anti-libertarian message coming from Moynahan.

    Sure there are a lot of kooky things opponents of Obama and the democrats are saying...there are also a lot of smart things opponents are saying. As a libertarian i would think tons of people expressing all sorts of things crazy and not crazy and then letting a sound message and policy work out in a self organizing manner would not be such asthma.

    Moynahan wanting the "leaders" to run crowd control rather then letting the opposition organize itself and find its own leaders seems sort of anti-libertarian to me.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    The problem, of course, is that "death panels" didn't come from the "leaders" of the GOP, it came from someone much closer to the base. The "leaders" of the GOP tried to downplay what she said.

    Look, I don't know the exact reason: lack of intelligence, corruption, lack of integrity, or whatever. All I know is that almost all the leaders of the supposed opposition to Obama are completely incompetent.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    joshua corning - you're wrong. But I want you to figure out why you're wrong. Hint: the same reason why driving the Truthers out of the libertarian movement isn't "anti-libertarian".

    Sheesh.

  • Zon||

    Ah, you got to love reason. One day they criticize the actions of the Obama administration, the next day they will write hit pieces on other libertarians and Ron Paul and his supporters(still don't understand why everyone hates him here)

  • ||

    I don't know that I would say that the foks are dissatisfied with the current administration. I think it is more true to say that people are just dissatisfied. It's the people my age(45)and younger that were spoiled as kids and young adults and they have no idea how to be grounded and happy in anything. The current president is the recipient of their infatuation and their votes because he pushed all the right "feel good" buttons in his campaign. Now, reality is not quite as fast acting as they assumed and they are throwing a tantrum. Short attention span politics. It isn't that they are hating on Obama, but that they need a scapegoat for their unhappiness.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Oops! While the last link works too, this is the one I meant to post.

  • creech||

    Dump Obama in 2012 because he's terribly unpopular? Sure, and run whom? Hillary?

    Uh oh.

  • ||

    Also, centrists, IMO, voted for Obama as a godsmack for Bush, not as a failure to see that Obama is quite far to the left on everything. The fun of the anti-Bush vote has worn off and now they see what they actually voted for. (kinda like several of the writers here)

  • Tony||

    If mainstream America expected a push to socialized medicine, why are so many people freaking out about it now, and why is the administration scrambling to say, "We didn't mean it"?



    Though polling on the issue is sketchy, as Nate Silver reports, a majority supports a public option. I don't know who you think "mainstream" America is.

    Let's be honest. There is no serious movement to keep healthcare as it is. And there is no serious opposing plan. There is just the insurance lobby and their stooges pushing for a plan (since they know one is coming) that doesn't harm them in anyway, and reformers who realize that any plan worth a damn will require federal competition.

    The opposition is entirely political in nature. The GOP has their rags fanning the flames of liberal hatred, doing the only thing they know how to do: scare people. The industry has its Congressional puppets hedging for fear of losing support and their job. Nobody on the opposition is talking about the healthcare of Americans.

  • Tony||

    TAO,

    I'm sure people voted for Obama for a lot of reasons, not least because of Bush backlash. So exactly why he is exempt from normal political rules that say if you get elected with a sufficient majority you have a mandate to work to enact the policies you campaigned on?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Dear Tony-troll: no politician is entitled to anything. Sorry.

    Sincerely,

    The Electorate.

  • Tony||

    The president of the U.S. isn't entitled to work to enact legislation he campaigned on?

  • Joe Kristan||

    "You would think that Libertarians like Reason would be happy that people are starting to stop trusting government and would reach out to them. Instead, Reason just calls them nuts and Birchers."

    There's a set of libertarians who are snotty to conservatives with views that overlap maybe 80-90% with theirs. Meanwhile, they are polite and deferential to the leftists who they agree with only on mocking Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Screw that. Freedom's allies aren't on the left.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Sure, he can do work on whatever. Do you have a point?

  • ||

    Only if Obama continues his downward plunge. If he's just half hated and half liked by his party, that won't be enough for him to be circumvented. That's a radical move.

    Tony,

    Whatever. Ain't no way people really want the government running healthcare. Obviously, the administration doesn't think single payer is popular; otherwise, it wouldn't be pissing off its own party in ejecting it from the bill. At least, ejecting the overt references.

    The Democrats really are the stupid party, aren't they?

  • _^-^_||

    American politicians gain power almost by default. It's the lesser of two evils thing.
    It isn't philosophical at all. In fact, anti-intellectualism usually wins the day.
    It's beating ObamaCare as we speak.

  • ||

    "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda"

    I'm trying to figure how thinking that is crazy, given all this study guide crap about how schoolkids could help President Obama that the White House was trying to peddle up until two or three days ago.

  • Gene Berkman||

    Tony,

    Of course the President has the right(?) to promote his program and try to get it enacted. And people who voted for him to stop the war and the bailouts (?) but oppose socialized medicine have a right to make their views known.

    And those of us who voted against both Obama and McCain have a right to say we oppose what Obama is doing, and we can hope in some way to stop him.

    Is that enough rights for you?

  • MattXIV||

    Tony,

    Your link does not say what you said it does, but that's not really unexpected given the average quality of your comments. What it does points out is 1) that depending on when people are polled and the phrasing the question, support for the public option varies between 35% and 85% (not suprising, it's easy to manipulate a poll with question phrasing and support waned as details of the plan were revealed), 2) most people don't know what the "public option" is anyway.

    Stop lying or STFU.

  • alan||

    Obama paints himself into a corner. Doing a prime time news conference and a speech to the chil'ens in the same week. And what does Reason do? An examination of the statist mentality that would make this public overexposure seem like a good idea. A look into the fading relevancy of the imperial presidency, and the inside beltway dead weight desperately clinging to that long tainted ideal? Nahhhh. Calling the very effective protesters freaks and reinforcing the comfort level of inside beltway dead weight that their opposition consists of a bunch of freaks is a much more satiating way to go. I'm fucking disappoint me, MM.

  • alan||

    I'm fucking disappoint me, MM.

    You fucking disappoint me, MM.

    Worth saying twice even if the first usage was ungrammatical.

  • ||

    Come next year we will see just how much damage Bush the Lesser did to the GOP. My always astute bet is that the Dems retain control of both houses with smaller majorities.

    Obama will run again in 2012. I don't even see him facing a serious challenger in the primaries because nobody who wants the presidency is willing/foolish enough to piss off the black voting block. Whether some GOPer will emerge who can actually interest middle of the road voters remains to be seen. I have no friggin' idea who that candidate might be but I do know this -
    If either been Sarah Palin or that ignorant hillbilly whackjob preacher rallies the religious right base and takes the nomination, Obama is a two term president.

    I'm unconvinced the Republicans are too smart to allow that to happen.
    ___________________________________________________________
    Lonewacko - Don't bother to correct your links. Most here refuse to click on them anyway.

  • ||

    You fucking disappoint me,

    This is very simular to what my wife says to me;}

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Yes, even though some of the stuff Moynihan says is hawkish, Red-Meat for RedStaters, I did not expect him to stoop this low.

    William F. Buckley drove Objectivism from the ranks of conservatism, to his everlasting regret. The GOP has been basically running on intellectual fumes from principled libertarians, mixing it with nationalism, and selling it as "freedom".

  • Elemenope||

    Come next year we will see just how much damage Bush the Lesser did to the GOP. My always astute bet is that the Dems retain control of both houses with smaller majorities.

    I agree, but it will be razor thin.

    If either been Sarah Palin or that ignorant hillbilly whackjob preacher rallies the religious right base and takes the nomination, Obama is a two term president.

    It will be Huck.

  • ||

    It will be Huck.

    If so, Obama is a two term president.

  • MattXIV||

    Huckabee will be able to whip Palin up and down the block - he does the folksy bullshit even better than she does and doesn't sound clueless when he talks about policy. He's a niche product though - religious right populism doesn't even sell well throughout the GOP. I'm guessing the nominee will be a "mainstream" but uninspiring pick like Kerry in '04 unless somebody more marketable starts making headlines.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    J sub D - that's a "You hope that Obama is a two-term president", right?

  • Elemenope||

    unless somebody more marketable starts making headlines.

    And the right kind, at that. SC GOP pols seem to get plenty of headlines, but it doesn't seem to be helping them any...

  • Tim||

    The point is that there is so much to criticize Obamacare on that one does not need to resort to hyperbole like death panels. It may provide some short term energy by rallying people who wouldn't like Obamacare anyways, but in the long term it allows the left to paint the people opposing their plans as radicals.

    Seriously, we have seniors advocating keeping government out of health care so they can keep their medicare. WTF. This kind of shit makes every reasonable conservative or libertarian look like some kind of idiotic hypocrite that doesn't understand the situation. Don't forget we have to reform medicare too due to humongous unfunded liabilities, and when we do the same death panels crap is going to come right back at us if we are the ones doing it.

    Of course not all of the protesters are dumb and crazy, most of them aren't in fact; but reasonable people opposing Obamacare as well as party leaders need to make it clear that craziness does not help the cause.

    The number one best thing to do at a town hall is ask a simple, intelligent question that stumps the speaker and illustrates that they have no idea what they are talking about.

  • ed||

    The small story is that old people took down a popular President

    Not yet they didn't. The good news is that America seems to have rediscovered its libertarian streak. The bad news is that America has a libertarian streak that is half-hysterical, unfocused, emotional and unphilosophical.

  • Elemenope||

    The good news is that America seems to have rediscovered its libertarian streak.

    Oh, please.

    That is all.

  • alan||


    Seriously, we have seniors advocating keeping government out of health care so they can keep their medicare. WTF. This kind of shit makes every reasonable conservative or libertarian look like some kind of idiotic hypocrite that doesn't understand the situation.


    You are conflating too many things, and worrying about an image problem that will exist whether you like it or not, no matter what you say or do to appease some liberal you imagine is looking over your shoulder. After all, is he your conscience?

    For one, how can you blame that senior for the bit of misinformation he spouted? It was those who sold the idea of the entitlement programs to the American people as individual accounts to be locked away from political manipulation who misrepresented the facts in the first place. They created the suckers and now the suckers are useful as political capital for them to rail against?

    Imagine that.

    MM really pissed me off this time because the situation does remind me of the heady days of '94, and you remember what happened then. Republican leaders who were agreeable
    to the Washington beltway inside pissed it all down the tube.

    It sounds like he wants more of the same. I would like to see another Goldwater in the field, but from the rhetoric, it sounds like MM is calling for another Gingrich.

  • ||

    Yes, the Republicans are clueless. Today the Florida GOP kicked the Florida RLC out of the party. The crime? Criticizing Bush. New blood and new ideas are not allowed.

    http://www.rlc.org/2009/09/04/jim-greer-war-on-liberty/

  • Tim||

    I don't really care what some left wing statist thinks, they are all going to think anyone who disagrees with them is some greedy corporate shill who molests minority children.

    What I do care about is convincing independents and moderates to come over to our side, and they aren't going to be swayed by an argument about death panels, nor are the unaware that medicare is in fact a government program.

    I'll take the senior's support since it is better than nothing, but we aren't exactly winning the war of ideas and getting government out of lives if the main opposition to Obamacare stems from hyperbole and medicare cuts. Another example of this is the talk of health care for illegals and taxpayer funded abortions; now I don't like that stuff either but the way people go on about it without mentioning anything of substance on why private markets are better than a government run system creates the impression that if only we get the money for illegal aliens and abortions out they would support Obamacare. It is as if the main problems with Obamacare are medicare cuts, death panels, illegal aliens, and abortions; not over regulation, lack of interstate competition, frivolous lawsuits, distortions due to medicare and medicaid, and tax advantages given to employer provided health insurance.

    Again, there's not much hope in converting a committed progressive, however all the hyperbole and poor information plays right into the hands of those who are more than happy to portray us as idiots and racists as a means to peel off support from the swing voters that, unfortunately, decide most elections.

  • Tony||

    Ain't no way people really want the government running healthcare.



    They don't want it not running it either, if they're old or poor. They may just scared of a)change and b) the death panels and brain-eating zombies Glenn Beck warns them of every night. But as I said this move is not exactly a surprise if you paid attention to the campaign and to the Democratic platform for the last century. Most Americans seem to be in favor of government intervention in the monopolistic health insurance industry.

  • ransom147||

    Pissing of seniors may well prove ruinious for obama in 2012. While he did win w a clear majority it was by no means anywhere close to a landslide. What Tony forgets is that although he may have a perceived mandate, fewer older people voted in the last election than is typical. This helped obama in several key swing states and he may not enjoy that luxury next time out.

    As far as leadership goes, it's irrelevant right now. The media would not portray it as a positive thing but rather as astroyied' so who needs it?

    I respect goldwater but history shows us how effective he was. The GOP will never enjoy the media hype that dems do, so at this point it doesn't matter who's in charge. The contenders will start showing up when the media decides it's time.

    There will be no Dem primary in 12 so they're stuck w their guy.

    All we can hope for us a split in ower between the two parties come inauguration day in 13.

    It will not happen but the real change this country needs is to take away the demi god status from the executive branch and term limits in the leg branch.

  • ransom147||

    Astroturf*


    As usual, I blame the phone.

  • zoltan||

    For one, how can you blame that senior for the bit of misinformation he spouted?

    Because he has the responsbility of looking up bullshit before spouting it? This is the most ridiculous statement on this thread.

  • jordan 6 rings||

    Today the Florida GOP kicked the Florida RLC out of the party. The crime? Criticizing Bush. New blood and new ideas are not allowed.

  • alan||


    Because he has the responsbility of looking up bullshit before spouting it? This is the most ridiculous statement on this thread.


    Oh, shove it up your anachronistic ass, zoltan. I pointed out what the problem is in the mentality of the seniors in the statement that followed. Problem is not in my statement but in how the social context alludes your understanding that the seniors have been told a lie for well over the two generations that they have paid in to Medicare. You are not going to correct that problem with an idiotic snicker and feelings of intellectual superiority, you twit.

  • alan||

    Because he has the responsbility of looking up bullshit before spouting it? This is the most ridiculous statement on this thread.

    Or translate: You gave a rationale explanation of why the man said what he did. You took my SMUG away. I hate you for it.

  • alan||

    rationale explanation

    Rationale, Carnivàle, or a celebrity burial ritual, Funeràle. Be a sport, take off the extra e.

  • ||

    "In questions of power... let no more be heard of confidence in MAN, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution".
    - Thomas Jefferson

    I agree with John: Conservatives don't need a "leader" now. When there ain't one, there ain't one. What we NEED is an end to this Statist BULLSHIT. Turn OFF the "stimulus" money, turn ON the water in the San Joachin Valley and leave these po bastids ALONE so they can rebuild.

  • Turnkey||

    I still find it funny that the wealthiest age group gets government health care and actively opposes any expansion of it.

    The whole thing is a mess. Although as long as Obama doesn't invade Iran and Saudi Arabia he is better than McCain.

  • ||

    Excellent article. I see that some who have commented are part of the Unhinged.
    By 2012, the economy will rise again. Asia & Europe will excel America in education and science, again. No viable moderate, balanced, logical GOP candidate will be able to win the Presidency thanks to the Unhinged and the Religious Right, & Obama will win another 4 years. And all that will remain will be the Unhinged & the Religious Right stuck on stupid as they pick up their debris from the train wreck they caused.

  • ||

    You suck, Moynihan, for following along on this one. Obama is crashing faster than any president ever, but you want to waste ink belittling the effective opposition? How many radicals will need to surface in the White House before you and your beltway buddies realize the extremists are the ones already in power.

    I'm still betting on Mitch Daniels in 2012. Read his piece in yesterday's WSJ and tell me what's for a libratarian not to like.

  • ||

    J sub D - that's a "You hope that Obama is a two-term president", right?

    All of the help the downtrodden and petrnalistic/nannystatism bullshit from the left mixed with ignorant hillbilly whackjob preacherness. What makes you think I wouldn't get onboard with that?

    I expect to be "wasting my vote" for a third party candidate again. Probably libertarian but not if their candidate is Wayne Allyn Root. I haz principles.

  • ||

    Thou shalt not speaketh ill of other libertarians. If Mr. Root is the LP presidential nominee, Mr. Sub D shall campaign vigourously in his behalf.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Two things:

    Big Pharma commits $150 Million to Lobbying FOR Government-run Healthcare "Reform"

    Funny how that works, huh? Especially considering how many times the left claims that big pharma doesn't want "change" and is lobbying against it.

    Secondly... Tony:

    "Most Americans seem to be in favor of government intervention in the monopolistic health insurance industry."



    What? The monopolistic health insurance industry that was *created* by laws restricting competition, banning any & all variation in product or price offerings and preventing individuals from buying plans from companies in other states or other nations?

    I mean... I don't disagree that they're monopolistic, you've got that one right... You've just failed miserably in realizing how that happens. Government intervention causes that, you dumbass.

  • MLevi||

    So being loud and not embracing Ruffini-style "intellectualism," rings of the Clinton Era GOP?

    Sure one should keep "failures" of the right during Clinton in mind, but pointing out Van Jones/Obama policies versus pointing out the Lewinsky Policy isn't exactly the same thing, right?

  • TallDave||

    University of Washington professor David Domke investigated the cause of Clinton's resilience and found that "conservative attacks on Clinton and the liberal response, which questioned the motives of Republicans, worked together to intensify public support for the president."

    Yeah, I highly doubt that. I don't remember all the Trutherism and Michael Moore being feted by Jimmy Carter at the DNC helping George W. Bush's popularity any.

    Clinton was popular because he governed as a rational centrist (NAFTA, welfare reform) and we were in the middle of the long tech-driven boom of the 1990s. No one wanted to leave Clinton alone with their daughter, but policywise he wasn't bad.

  • Tim||

    Going after Van Jones is different cause he's a truther. That is not the same as ranting about Lewinksy.

    It is not belittling the opposition to point out that some of them don't have an argument and/or are being huge hypocrites that make everyone else on their side look bad. I also don't think it is that effective, as it allows the left to make accusations of partisanship, stupidity and racism since their opponents aren't arguing about substance.

  • ||

    I admit there are a few out there that the Washington beat is using to paint the entire movement as whacko, see Mike Moynihan. However, asking congressmen why they won't join the public option is pure substance. I've caught many townhalls on cspan and there's plenty of substance behind the anger. And the left crying racism isn't helping them any either.

  • alan||

    Reading up on Van Jones, I have to say, a smart politician would Sister Soulja his ass back into obscurity. However, I doubt if Obama's opposition has to be worry about his political maneuvering as they did with Clinton. Obama is just not that astute.

    Van Jones is just the kind wacked out leftist that independents despise, and libertarians after all, are a large segment of that middle.

    Revisiting the nineties reminds me of another matter that the Washington Establishment got wrong in a big way. After the L. A. Riots, there was universal clamor in the beltway that Bush had unleash Kemp to go in there and pour on the money to show leadership, and he had to do it for reasons of political viability. Not to gain inner city minority, a task not even remotely possible in his case, but to gain those moderates who would be persuaded by his showing of racial sensitivity.

    Could not have been more wrong. I recall a conversation I had at the time with a Republican and pro choice activist who told me that the Bush Administration reaction to the L A Riots is why Bush lost her vote. Her explanation, 'Money poured in to L.A. when they burned down their own neighborhoods. Money trickled in when people lost their homes to Hurricane Hugo. It shows you what they think of us.'

    MM's friends in the MSM have even less of a feel for the moderates and their concerns than Rush Limbaugh who considers the word 'moderate' anathema.

  • alan||

    Note to self: you can't change one tense in a sentence without it affecting the tense of the entire sentence.

    Note to self: FFS, remember that!

  • ||

    I don't think he's astute enough to make that move early, so it won't likely happen until after the GOP regains control of one or both houses of Congress in 2010.

    Not gonna happen. Do the math. The Republicans would have to win almost every U.S. Senate race, including some very Blue states, to pick up 11 seats and regain control of the Senate.

    The House, maybe. Even if they fall short of outright control there, though, that sort of warning shot would make the more moderate Democrats realize they didn't have a fucking mandate, people were just pissed off at Republicans for screwing up so badly. Make them cool their jets and quit pushing socialism so avidly.

  • ||

    What? The monopolistic health insurance industry that was *created* by laws restricting competition, banning any & all variation in product or price offerings and preventing individuals from buying plans from companies in other states or other nations?

    I mean... I don't disagree that they're monopolistic, you've got that one right...


    What monopoly? I used to be a health insurance underwriter with a Blues plan that had 2% market share, trying to keep all the dozens of other competitors from underbidding me and taking away my groups.

    I'll grant you that it could be WAY more competitive if the government quit interfering in the health marketplace with hundreds of counterproductive laws, but "monopoly" doesn't mean anything you want it to mean, it has a specific meaning. It means one provider, period. Which is what Tony seems to think is the solution, so long as that one provider is the government.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You would think that Libertarians like Reason would be happy that people are starting to stop trusting government and would reach out to them. Instead, Reason just calls them nuts and Birchers.

    The enemy of my enemy isn't always necessarily my friend. The problem with birfers, troofers, Palinites and other fringe elements is that you never know when they are gonna start foaming at the mouth and turn on you. Bringing those idiots under the tent undermines what ought to be the central goal of the movement: the gradual appeal to common sense distrust of centralized authority based on empirical evidence and reasoned argument.

    Leave the any-friendly-port-in-a-storm mentality to the shouting heads on TV.

  • alan||


    The enemy of my enemy isn't always necessarily my friend. The problem with birfers, troofers, Palinites and other fringe elements is that you never know when they are gonna start foaming at the mouth and turn on you. Bringing those idiots under the tent undermines what ought to be the central goal of the movement: the gradual appeal to common sense distrust of centralized authority based on empirical evidence and reasoned argument.


    What is so empirical about thinking you have the kind of control over events that you or a construct of yous are in a position to decide what group is inside the tent and what groups are not? I'm no fan of Palin, but her people are not marginal. They would make us marginal before we would have any chance of making them marginal. Politics isn't a debating club, and those who mistake it for one are the ones who are doomed from the start.
    You think the Democrats mean it when they say they want a rational debate on health care? Ever bought a bridge in Brooklyn?

  • alan||

    You have the biggest fucking idiot inhabiting the White House with a strategist in Rahm who only knows one move, the left hook of over compensation, so in essence, Lee Atwater's oppositional dream team, and you are worried about people yelling 'death panels' at Potemkin town halls? People who may or may not be our allies will be doing screwy things, but it doesn't matter. The White House envies any attention that is focused on anyone else, and they always come back with something even more fucked up. It is time to get the popcorn, and you are rending your garments. Sheesh!

  • ||

    "the gradual appeal to common sense distrust of centralized authority based on empirical evidence and reasoned argument."

    I guess it isn't good to make a sudden appeal to common sense distrust of the state-one would risk being called a birther or troofer or paultard or some such.

  • ||

    "The bad news is that America has a libertarian streak that is half-hysterical, unfocused, emotional and unphilosophical."


    So.... they're different how?


    I kid, I kid...

    (Although the half-hysterical part brings to mind a few names here).

  • The Big Fellow||

    You never see this kind of introspection on the left. They embrace their fanatics, privately and (most of the time) publicly as well.

    I've never heard a leftist apologize for Michael Moore, or take care to make sure he isn't associated with Nader, or say "of course Olbermann went too far with that."

    But we are forever trying to police our own quarters.

    Why?

  • ||

    Cause we need them for the laundry.

  • The Big Fellow||

    Tulpa - that joke stands as a depressing reminder of the fact that most libertarians live in dorm rooms

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "Monopolistic" = Oligarch-istic... Tony used it wrong, I should have corrected him, my bad. But yes, Tony is interested in a monopoly provider in the Government... Terrible, terrible idea.

  • ||

    Free people don't need "leaders" to tell them what to do.

  • ||

    But every major Democratic candidate campaigned on healthcare reform. It wasn't a secret, and if you weren't aware of that aspect of their agenda you have no one to blame but yourself. It was a principal aspect of their platform, and that means when they got elected they had a mandate to try to enact that platform.

    If they had all campaigned on the need for a federal program to drown puppies, but people voted for them anyway because at least they weren't Bush, puppies be damned, would you insist they had a mandate to go ahead and commence the drowning, outcry of the public be damned?

    Just because people vote for you doesn't mean they like everything on your agenda. People vote for the damndest reasons, often having little or nothing to do with the candidate's stated agenda. Women (and some men) voted for Obama because he is good looking and charming, or a talented speaker (despite having no substance to his comments), or because he said "hope" and "change" more pleasantly than the other guy.

    This is not a mandate. This is a swing subset of the voting public being idiots, and ready to vote for different idiotic reasons two years later.

  • GrilledCS||

    It's amazing how articulate commentators have suddenly become in denouncing the irrationalities of Rightwing protests. Somehow, everyone is to forget that the Left has been using these very same tactics, on a consistent basis for decades.

    Have they been effective? They've been extremely effective! Entirely irrational and misinformed views regarding health, the environment, taxation, and the expanding role of government aren't just partisan political views anymore, but mainstream matters that the public now takes for granted as familiar ground on the political battlefield.

    Yes, sure, fine--it would be wonderful if every protester in the world was reasoned and rational, regardless of political view. I'm just wondering; where has this outcry been while the Left has employed such tactics as the standard operating procedure for all these years? That is one impressively fast slide down the memory hole.

    This is nonsense. It is nonsense for there to be such a sudden outcry for rational debate when conservatives are finally gathering together for some screaming of their own.

    There's nothing at all wrong with asking for rational debate, but it seems damn arbitrary to me when the current zeitgeist is to attack people who look like they just got out of work, while giving a free pass to a bunch of naive idealists and college students.

    Oh, yeah. More than ever before these people are uttering a word new to much of the mainstream: the word is "libertarian". Let's attack them. Great move.

  • B||

    Christ, when are you gonna quit flogging the fucking death panel thing? Tell me, when the Democrats were out of power, who was their leader? If the Republican Party is leaderless, how then do a couple of wackjobs talking about various conspiracies represent the Republican Party?


    And when you have someone at the Department of Education producing materials that state students are to write letters detailing how they can help the president and teachers are advised to determine if the student has lived up to that commitment, the charge of indoctrination is not very far fetched.


    "So exactly why he is exempt from normal political rules that say if you get elected with a sufficient majority you have a mandate to work to enact the policies you campaigned on?"


    I don't know, for the same reason the Democrats seemed to believe George Bush was exempt. The opposition party is supposed to do just that, not roll over and pass ridiculous bullshit for the sake of "bipartisanship". I don't want my representative coming to some sort of compromise with a party dominated by those on the not-in-the-mainstream left.


    And Obama campaigned on takeovers of the auto-industry, outrageous $3.6 Trillion dollar budgets and bipartisanship of the "we won" variety, didn't he? Give me a fucking break. This piece of shit president campaigned on Hope and Change. He is the president of platitudes. Remember the fiscal discipline we were supposed to get? Yeah, instead we get record deficits. Remember how he was supposed to fix the economy? Instead we get a stimulus bill that hasn't stimulated jack-fucking-shit because it is loaded with so much fucking pork. And I am pretty sure when people voted for Obama, they didn't think they were going to get a foreign policy that consisted of back-slapping anti-American thugs and tyrants and castigating democracies that resist a would-be totalitarian's attempts to make himself president for life.

    As for mandates, I voted for my representatives to oppose him. But evidently that is irrelevant, because the Democrats seem to believe not rolling over and passing whatever the fuck our hapless, incompetent on a once-in-a-generation level president wants is borderline treason. The mandate things goes both ways. Those in the minority party had to win an election as well, and I expect them to oppose the worthless piece of shit who calls himself president.

  • B||

    And I just love how a mandate requires "a sufficent majority" rather than just a majority. I wonder why that is? Does it maybe have to do with George Bush only winning in 2004 by a few percentage points, thus his majority was not sufficient enough, thereby providing you a figleaf to cover your naked hypocrisy?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    thereby providing you a figleaf to cover your naked hypocrisy?

    I'm going to need a link to prove that DNC or RNC talking points are ever hypocritical. ;)

  • b psycho||

    Brotherben:

    Also, centrists, IMO, voted for Obama as a godsmack for Bush, not as a failure to see that Obama is quite far to the left on everything.



    Yeah, Obama is super far-Left! Especially on military spending, the War on Drugs, financial sector bailouts, & gay rights! Oh, wait, no he's not, my bad...

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    b psycho,

    Honestly, if "the left" will support the Democratic party despite its continued and quite possibly vigorous support for the WoD and financial sector bailouts, I'm not really sure there's a difference between the left's position and the right's position on those two issues.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    ANd, yes, I'm quite open to the possibility that the Democratic party has only a vague association with equally nebulous concept of "the left", much in the same way the Repbulicans have a vague and shifting relationship with the diverse right.

  • ||

    The bad news is that America has a libertarian streak that is half-hysterical, unfocused, emotional and unphilosophical.

    This has never hurt the democrats

  • Elemenope||

    Probably libertarian but not if their candidate is Wayne Allyn Root. I haz principles.

    Even evil has standards.

  • Tim||

    The left wants to control the economy first and foremost; and they have no problem throwing gays under the bus to do it. I don't think that their intellectuals really like the War on Drugs that much, but they aren't going to waste political capital needed to pass socialized medicine so a few of their supporters can smoke a joint.

    Also, the progressives have never been anti war, people like Teddy Roosevelt loved it when it served their purposes. If we weren't already in two wars they could probably whip up the left to go into Darfur.

    Basically they want a nanny state, and once they have it it becomes almost impossible to elect real conservatives and libertarians, and at that point they can pursue social issues at their leisure.

  • ||

    If moderates, independents, Reagan Democrats, and libertarians are vital to future Republican electoral successes, party leaders might want to try to control the tone of the debate..

    -----------
    Where has Michael C. Moynihan been during the last month? In outer space?

    Gov Palin controlled the health care debate with her Facebook posts. It started to turn everything around.

    Palin now is closing in on 1 million Facebook followers more than double all the other leading Republicans combined and has over 120,000 Twitter followers.

    She is the voice of the opposition. She is the one that the American people between the coasts excluding Chicago respond to.

    Whether the so called intellects on the left and the right like it or not Gov Palin has become the defacto leader of the opposition.

    Her support and base is only going to broaden over the next three years.

    Since her resignation as Gov she has received over 1,000 commmercial speaking engagement requests and over 120 speaking engagement requests from politicians and all she has done in the last 7 plus weeks is post a few notes on her Facebook site.

    She will be speaking at the CSLA investors forum in Hong Kong 2 weeks from this Wed on the 23rd. Closed to the media.

    Her book is due out next spring.

    People can love her or hate her but she can't be ignored.

    I would love to see a Republican ticket in 2012 of Palin and either Paul though I don't think it will happen, but one never knows

  • ||

    As much as I admire Sarah Palin I must say that it would be suicidal for the Republicans to embrace her too closely. She has zero ability to attract moderate support, the key to electoral victory.

    Sarah's job is to rally the working class/lower middle class base and to bait liberals into ostentatious displays of their contempt for the popular classes.

    Ron Paul is doctrinaire and charisma-challenged. He appeals to hard-core libertarians and probably many admirers of Pat Buchanan, but not to the much larger group of voters who like their libertarianism mixed with a conservative respect for reality.

  • nonPaulogist||

    First Megan McArdle and now the douchebags at Reason. The cosmotards always get this way when someone actually starts to make a difference.

    Glen Beck got Van Jones fired. That's what triggered this. But he's not the right sort of libertarian. Neither is Ron Paul. They are not libertine or cool or intellectual enough. But what really pisses the cosmotarians off is that the "lunatic fringe" is more effective at advancing liberty than they are.

    Beltway libs have Zero impact beyond hurting real libertarians and conservatives. The establishment ignores them. The alternative left and right despise them. Their influence on policy is negligible to non-existent. Get that M.E. Fired yet, Balko? Get the feds to stop busting pot-growers in Cali yet, Nick? Bernanke and Geithner won't return your phone calls?

    I'm no fan of tea parties, town halls or pitchforks, but if I have to choose between beltway scum and redneck trash, I say pass me a Natty Lite, logon the Worldnetdaily.com and tell me how Dale Jr. is doing.

  • Some Guy||

    I would love to see a Republican ticket in 2012 of Palin and Paul

    So what would that give Obama? 48 states? (AK & UT, of course.) Maybe 44 if Obama eats a live kitten during a debate?

  • ||

    Michael Moynihan is correct that conservatives need to avoid making fools of themselves by questioning whether Obama is a citizen and getting all bug-eyed and conspiratorial.

    But it is reasonable to be concerned that a racist and self-avowed communist was given a position of responsibility in Obama's administration. It's not that Obama is a communist. He seems to be a sort of updated Fabian socialist. It's just that the administration has a no-ememies-on-the left attitude, both at home and abroad.

    Moynihan is underestimating the authoritarian if not totalitarian streak in contemporary liberalism. Look at the situation on the campuses, where libertarian, conservative, and even moderate political expression is repressed by hook and by crook. Consider the attempts of the Democrats in Congress to shut down talk radio.

    The answer is not to attack Obama personally. It is to expose the fact that his program is inimical to the ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It is to make plain that his loony economic and environmental policies threaten to wreck the country.

    Reply to nonPaulologist: Glen Beck is mostly right in the substance of what he says. But in politics style is at least as important as substance. By acting so weird Glen is hurting the cause. I think O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh both do a better job in fighting the liberals.

    I have my cultural and philosophical differences with rednecks, but I don't think they are trash. Most of them are good people. I wish my liberal friends had the common sense and spontaneous patriotism of rednecks.

  • nonPaulogist||

    Style IS just as important as substance in politics. That's what's wrong with politics. Anyone who can't see that democracy is a failed experiment isn't really looking.

    Glen Beck doesn't just look like a fool. He is a fool- but he's an honest one. He admits it.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Basically they want a nanny state, and once they have it it becomes almost impossible to elect real conservatives and libertarians, and at that point they can pursue social issues at their leisure.

    In that case, the left has already won :p.

  • Tim||

    Some guy that post made me lol, and I like Ron Paul.

    Glen Beck isn't wrong about everything, he was right on Van Jones. However, he does some really crazy stuff and often doesn't know what he is talking about. Thus, people assume that everything he says is crazy; and he would do well to stick to things like reporting on Van Jones rather than addressing progressive art and various conspiracy theories. I doubt there is anyone watching Beck anymore who doesn't already agree with him other than the people writing jokes for the Daily Show. Good for rallying the base, but bad for expanding it; and it may actually lead to contractions in the base as otherwise sympathetic people avoid the limited government philosophy because the main people they see advocating it aren't CATO scholars but Beck and a bunch of Old folks riled up about death panels who don't seem to realize that medicare comes from the government.

    I'll point out too that Bush was a disaster for limited government, and now the left is getting away with painting his policies as free markets and limited government; and Ms. Palin would be the same, as she supported big government in Alaska before she was against it. She also trashed greedy people on Wall Street in the debates, as if they weren't following incentives created by government.

  • ||

    Well,you can call Glen Beck 'increasingly bizarre'if that makes you happy....but Jones and his little "Color for Change" outfit tried to mess with Glen's income stream and he got his ass handed to him for his trouble...thereby teaching him a much needed lesson on the dynamics of the marketplace

  • ||

    Ah, you got to love reason. One day they criticize the actions of the Obama administration, the next day they will write hit pieces on other libertarians and Ron Paul and his supporters(still don't understand why everyone hates him here)



    Because everyone else does. I'll always give Reason points for its snooty attitude: You can never be wrong if you never stand for something.

    But Paul is right on money, and money -- that great unresolved, undiscussed, untreated malignancy eating us all alive -- should be top and center, 24/7.

    That no side, partisan interest, lobby, or faction beyond Paul and perhaps Zero Hedge is questioning the black hole of American monetary policy, and that even Reason leaves this terminal cancer uncovered is the greatest indictment of the folly and shame of the Libertarian movement, such as it is. We expect no less from the Beltway and it's lackey media. We would not from the champions of independence, the Reason'ed.

    Whereas it had and may have still a kernel of a revival and reform for America but contends itself with knee-capping any and all in the name of some odd intellectual self-superiority is a rotten shame.

    Castigating the establishment left and right is a useless endeavor if you cannot expound on why you do that thing except that you merely are not those things. The greatest assault on American individual liberty is its money and the servitude and slavery it's shackling us with. Where is your outrage, Reason?

  • ||

    "Glen Beck got Van Jones fired. That's what triggered this."

    Jones is a self-proclaimed Communist and Truther.

    He made profane references repeatedly and suggested whites routinely poison blacks.

    He is a cretin. He should never have gotten this close to power.

    Get over it.

  • ||

    An old geezer who wants his Medicare benefits but is against Obamacare isn't a hypocrite. He's paid into the damn Medicare system for the past 47+ years of his life with the anticipation that he would get coverage when he reached the age of eligibility.

    Obviously, the Medicare/Medicaid systems are not tenable, and are estimated to become insolvent in the next few years. These systems, as the health profession in general, need to be fixed (the free market, not the government, provides those fixes). But you cannot begrudge the old folks who want what they were forced to pay for their entire lives. That is quite different than something like Congress writing legislation for most Americans, while they themselves are exempted..

  • ||

    Moynihan refers to "the increasingly bizarre Glen Beck" as though he were separate from, and incidental to, the Van Jones story. Really? He's increasingly bizarre? But he was the SOURCE of the Van Jones story/expose. Why can't otherwise upstanding libertarian-conservatives accept that? Is it just a matter of style? Because on substance, Beck is unexceptionable. Why is Moynihan, along with others of his/our persuasion, so eager to belittle their own messengers? I don't get it.

  • Robert||

    That the opposition to further socialized medicine is not particularly libertarian but often collectivists of different stripes or with axes to grind is not a new condition. The "left" has always been especially fractious as ideologies go. If they'd been able to get their act together, health care and other sectors in the USA would've been completely socialized by decades ago. However, the "left", realizing the stakes that would be put into the hands of certain elites, groups, or individuals, are very concerned that their own particular boss gets in, or their own particular agenda gets pasted in, etc. That's what slows their progress enormously. In Europe it was mostly the World Wars that jiggled things hard enough to let certain factions become temporarily dominant enough to move things leftward.

    As to the RLC in Fla., that too is a normal state of affairs. At any given time a lot of activists are naive to party politics, and so don't realize that political party clubs come in 2 basic kinds: regulars and insurgents. You really can't straddle that divide. Regular clubs are overtly loyal to the leadership, whether sincerely or not, and in effect are waiting their turn to serve. Insurgent clubs (including "reform" organiz'ns) are overtly disloyal to the leadership and vow to replace it when they get the chance. It is the right of the leadership to recognize the regulars and disavow the insurgents. It would be pretty silly otherwise, wouldn't it? It doesn't matter that the insurgents think they'll do better for the party than the current leadership; everybody thinks their ideas are the best, duh. (Or at least if you don't think so, you're crazy.) Regulars may actually change things once they get their people in, too, but they choose to gain influence by being regulars and at least pretending to like the current leadership. RLC in Fla. has chosen the insurgent path, so they shouldn't be expected to be treated as regulars.

  • ||

    Mr. Moynihan,

    You miss a singular difference between Clinton and Obama.

    Clinton for all his triangulation was deaf to his baser instincts. His lack of keeping his second head where it belonged is separate from his policy effects. A miscalculation by the Reps. Clinton pretty much was a middle roader in his second term.

    Obama on the other hand has melded both his persona and his policies into one. Those he surrounds himself with tend to have the same MO. In areas of policy where separation could be identified he is on the wrong side of every one of them.

    The fact that you fail to point out this difference between clinton and obama renders pretty much the rest of your article moot.

  • Question Authority (ask me any||

    "There's a set of libertarians who are snotty to conservatives with views that overlap maybe 80-90% with theirs. Meanwhile, they are polite and deferential to the leftists who they agree with only on mocking Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin."
    --Joe Kristan (September 4, 2009, 6:00pm)

    Yup. And Eric Hoffer once observed that those who bite the hand that feeds them will lick the boot that kicks them. What more does one need to know about today's libertarians?

  • Chad||

    J. | September 7, 2009, 10:22am | #
    An old geezer who wants his Medicare benefits but is against Obamacare isn't a hypocrite. He's paid into the damn Medicare system for the past 47+ years of his life with the anticipation that he would get coverage when he reached the age of eligibility.


    The problem is that these "old geezers" put in a much smaller fraction of their income into Medicare than they are asking their grand-children to put in to cover the "old geezer's" out-of-control desires.

    My grandma never paid a nickle into FICA, and has been collecting for over forty years. My grandpa paid just a few percent of his income for just a fraction of his working career. I may love grandma dearly, but does grandpa paying 3% of his income into FICA for a dozen years in the 50's entitle grandma to 15% of my life earnings?

  • Tim||

    Entirely too logical Chad!

    What I love here is that everyone who has an intellectual bent and is disturbed by anti intellectualism on both the right and the left is suddenly labeled a cosmotard.

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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