The GOP Field Is a Gift for Obama

The Republicans face a rocky road to the White House.

Don't for a second believe that a politician is destined to lose re-election simply because he has been an unmitigated disaster. That would be unfair to your senator or your congressman, and it certainly wouldn't be fair to countless two-term presidents. Any elected official can overcome self-induced failure with a little help.

And it doesn't hurt to pray: "Dear Lord, may the contemptible swine on the other side nominate someone even less palatable than I."

Republicans shouldn't fool themselves. Given the GOP's deeply flawed slate of primary candidates, our president can win a second term—which, without doubt, would be more imperial and consequential than the first. There is no savior. No Ronald Reagan. No Chris Christie. (Or is there? Nah. ... Maybe!)

But at some point, Republican voters will have to ask themselves, Do we want to win, or do we want to see the Environmental Protection Agency start fining businesses for dust bunnies? Economists talk about trade-offs—situations that involve losing one quality in return for gaining another quality elsewhere. Is there a trade-off worth making here?

The traditional media narrative is that Republicans have become too conservative. I doubt it. The backlash against bailouts, dependency programs, overregulation, and deficit spending is in line with much of the Republican Party's newfound focus. On the broad dispute over economic freedom and the role of government in our lives, President Barack Obama is losing. Polls show that Americans like him personally, but his presidency is, at this point, dramatically unpopular. We can infer that his policies, not his personality, are the problem. Empirical evidence demands it.

So which Republican candidate has the intelligence, the populist appeal, the charisma, a grasp of policy, and fresh ideas to offer in place of the ones crippling the nation? Which candidate has the talent to convince millions of more or less apolitical voters that free-market solutions and deregulatory policy are the best way to spur economic growth? Which one has the chops to convince them that reforms to Social Security or Medicare are necessary?

There isn't one.

Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll this week. Cain is an amiable, fun, and interesting guy (though he's always trying to sell me something for $9.99). But does anyone believe he's prepared for the presidency? Rep. Michele Bachmann embodies the uncompromising spirit of the Tea Party, but is she prepared to pull the rest of the country with her? Many others have various problems that we all know.

When it comes down to it, there are two electable candidates.

And Mitt Romney is a racket, a man who spent a lifetime out of politics against his will. His political philosophy consists of an unwavering commitment to say whatever it is you want to hear at that very moment. At present, it's difficult to get over his inane defense of health mandates (it was good for my state, but it would stink for yours), his reverence for entitlement programs, his defense of federal education... It's best not to think about it. He has also been the most articulate and informed. Nixon goes to China. Romney goes to ... well, wherever Gallup tells him to go. Maybe it will tell him to do the right thing.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has also become something of an apostate for his illegal immigration policy. Yet conservatives should be far more concerned that the sum of his economic policy proposals has been to repeat "Texas" as many times as humanly possible. Though he may turn it around, when a candidate makes George W. Bush sound like Richard Burton, it is time to wonder.

Conservatives understand these problems. Polls seem to indicate indecision, and the clamoring for new blood seems to indicate that they understand the need for a candidate who has the smarts, spine, and political judgment to win. If things were to stay as they are—though they probably won't—Republicans might be left with a person who is either a phony or unfit—or both—in an election that begs for neither.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Blaze. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • tarran||

    Incidentally, this is not a bad thing; the next presidential term will see really bad problems and crises that will almost certainly be flubbed.

    Just as Bush the big government loving warmonger's interventions and the problems they caused were painted as the result of failures of free markets, a Republican who unseats Obama, who engages in the mercantilism/soft-socialism that the Republicans love, and who fails miserably, will nonetheless be held up again as the failure of free markets.

    Better that Obama ride the whole mess into the ground. The progressives need to own the collapse, unreservedly and completely.

  • ||

    This is a very good point. The race is still Obama's to lose, IMO, but given his incompetence, overt thuggishness, and pathological lying, he has it in him to still lose it.

    Another thought: I think the economy can reach a point where its bad enough to actually favor Obama. Imagine unemployment goes up to 10-11% (which would actually be over 20% in real numbers). All those unemployed will NOT want to vote for a Republican who's going to take away their unemployment benefits (even if said Republican never campaigns on wanting to do that).

  • fish||

    Better that Obama ride the whole mess into the ground. The progressives need to own the collapse, unreservedly and completely.

    WINNER!

  • PP-l||

    Better that Obama ride the whole mess into the ground. . .

    Usually, I'd be pretty sympathetic to this argument, but there's a difference between a survivable crash landing and going in at a 90 degree angle on full burner, and Obama Part Deux has a very strong whiff of the latter.

  • DLM||

    Better that Obama ride the whole mess into the ground.

    That's fine, but do we have to go along for that ride?

  • Realist||

    Yes, just hang on tight!

  • fish||

    No real alternatives at this point.

  • Jose||

    Republican Senate.

  • David||

    And I'm sure they'll be every bit as resistant to terrible economic policies and spending increases as the last Republican congress.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    Let me see. We had Republican Senate, House and President just 6 years ago. Smashing success that party. How will it be better a second go around?

  • Realist||

    Second??? You mean 25th.

  • Private Hudson||

    "Elevator to hell, going down!"

  • k2000k||

    That's true but I really don't want to see this happen. I mean, America isn't going anywhere as the worlds preeminent power considering that China, Japan, Europe are also riding the shit coaster to shitsville, but there is a real risk to our prosperiety and future liberty, I mean, a total collapse could cause the US to return to its roots and reimplement true free market ideas, or we could go the totalitarian route...It's not something I want to gamble on.

  • ||

    Yes!!!!!!!

  • ||

    And let Obama nominate a few more lefties to the Supreme Court? Prepare to kiss any concept of "limited government" goodbye.

  • ||

    I think the Supreme Court is set for awhile. It's the lower courts we need to worry about.

  • J||

    "Better that Obama ride the whole mess into the ground. The progressives need to own the collapse, unreservedly and completely."

    You must be joking. The progressives will never, ever, own up to an economic collapse. They have never owned up to the economic failures of Carter and FDR. No matter how bad the economy gets, the progressive left will NEVER concede Obama had anything to do with it.

  • Tony||

    That's because it is nearly physically impossible for a single Senator to be responsible for this mess. You did realize the economy crapped out before he was elected?

  • ||

    it is nearly physically impossible for a single Senator to be responsible for this mess

    Nor a single ex-governor from Texas. His point, of course, is that Progressives don't take responsibility for any of their many policy failures, economic or otherwise. Can you actually find one who questions the wisdom (and results) of government bailouts? I can't.

  • ||

    I disagree. I believe most progressives were strongly against the bailouts (and that in turn hurt Obama's standing with them). Not for the same reasons as conservatives though -- progressives felt the bailouts were rewarding corporations for risky behavior and sinking the economy. But nuance in politics are rarely good bedfellows (as evidenced by the majority of the comments here).

  • cynical||

    Good point, maybe Obama will be as poorly remembered and widely loathed as FDR.

  • J||

    Can't tell is your being sarcastic or not.

  • ||

    Er..I don't want to defend the present administration, BUT Obama may bring up an "incovenient truth"- that this economic shitstorm started BEFORE he became President, under Yosemite Sam Bush. Just thought I might point that out.

  • J||

    True, the economy tanked before Obama was in office.

    After two and a half years in office, the economy has hardly recovered and jobs haven't returned. At what point does the lack of a recovery become Obama's responsibility?

    If he wins again in 2012, and the unemployment still hovers at 9% (or worse) by the end of 2016, I think there will still be those who blame Bush.

    At some point, Obama has to mean it when he says he is assuming responsibility for the economy.

  • Tony||

    What specific things can a president do to help the economy? Even leaving aside a Congress whose stated goal is to make sure he looks like a failure with respect to economic policy.

    Either offer something or admit you're just being a partisan shill.

  • Realist||

    Your argument is a President (Bush) can screw things up, but a President (Obama) can't fix them?

    Either offer something or admit you're just being a partisan shill.

  • Tony||

    I don't blame Bush alone, I blame the Republican party. Since they now control Congress, perhaps you have room for them to blame?

  • Realist||

    You know I think I see your problem. You don't know shit about American government.
    The Congress is bicameral and is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
    Therefore the Republicans control 1/2 of Congress. And yes most Republicans are full of shit just like you.
    No charge.
    Harvard or Yale?

  • ||

    Repubs may not run the Senate, but their fillibuster prevents the majority from getting things done.

    So Repubs have to take responsibility for refusing to allow the Dems to try to solve problems.

  • Realist||

    So Repubs have to take responsibility for refusing to allow the Dems to try to solve problems.

    ".....Dems to try to solve problems."
    That would be funny if you weren't serious.

  • J||

    This is probably not actual Tony, because the real Tony never asks questions, but instead puts words into people's mouths.

    As far as your question about what specific things can a president do to help the economy: Are you saying there is nothing a president can do to help the economy? I remember a conversation with you a couple of years ago where you said the stimulus was working. Since it unemployment has not budged since then, are you admitting it did not work, and declaring the economy unfixable?

    In remember distinctly in mid-2001 that Democrats were blaming the economic downtown on President Bush, who pretty clearly inherited that situation. However, those same Democrats are now taking the opposite stance when one of their own is charge.

    Funny how when a Replican is in charge, the economy can easily be fixed, but when a Democrat is in charge, it becomes a mystical beast that even the smartest minds remain unsure how to fix.

    As far as your charge to being a partisan shill, pointing out leftist hypocrisy does not make me a partisan hack. It just means I don't play for either team.

    Seriously, how long does the economy have to remain crappy before it becomes Obama's fault? If it remains bad at the end of 2016, is it still Bush's fault? If a like-minded Democrat wins in 2016, is it still Bush's fault at the end of 2020? It's a serious question.

    My claim that Obama should take responsibility for the economy comes from the man himself, as he has explicitly said he takes responsibility for it. Funny how merely quoting the guy makes one a "partisan shill."

  • Tony||

    You don't play for either team, yet Bush "inherited" a problem that occurred in the very last months of his 2-term presidency?

    What matters is not who is to blame, but which policies are to blame. That would be Republican policies. I don't care about this ridiculous contest that doesn't allow any gray area ("either the stimulus worked or it didn't.") The stimulus wasn't big enough to end high unemployment. That's a perfectly plausible reality.

  • J||

    "You don't play for either team, yet Bush "inherited" a problem that occurred in the very last months of his 2-term presidency?"

    OK, I was talking about the 2001 recession when I said that. That is clear from what I wrote. Will you at least concede that Bush inherited that one? I've admitted that Obama inherited this one.

    How much stimulus will bring unemployment down? 2 trillion? 3 trillion? 5 trillion? 10 trillion? Seriously, it's easy to say more will bring it down, but I'm curious where the limit is.

  • J||

    Oh, and I agree 1000% that the Republican policies of increasing spending, increasing regulation and increasing corporatist meddling are responsible for this downturn. Time for something different.

  • ||

    I think Congress is mostly to blame, and Bush/Obama are the figureheads who must take the brunt of it (firing the CEO for the Board's decisions, as it were).

    I blame both Democrats and Republicans for our economic failings (but not to be outdone, the corporations need to be considerably reprimanded for their behavior as well, and instead were given bailouts), and sadly, have no solution except elimination of the party system.

  • Eric||

    Fantastic observation. Then when there is absolutely no Democratic opposition left, we can finally become the United States of Jesusland - with a nominally free market of course.

  • ||

    "Free market" doesn't exist and never will -- even the Tea Party people have to acknowledge that the free market has its limitations (simple physics being one of them).

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But does anyone believe he's prepared for the presidency?

    We've seen that's not really a prerequisite for getting the gig.

  • ||

    If you happen to be a minority, that is.

  • ||

    Folks, that ball is outta here!

  • Faustus||

    Herman Cain is as well prepared and better qualified to be president as the current occupant of the office. BO's best qualifications were that he was black, articulate (with a teleprompter) and unknown. Cain actually ran a business. More experience and savy than the current executive, even yet.

  • ||

    True -- to increase profitability of his stores, he closed about half of them. I wonder which states he will shutter... goodbye California!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    When it comes down to it, there are two electable candidates.

    Not surprised to see this bullcrap in a post that mentions Christie but not Paul.

  • Barfbeard||

    Real journalist use words that have no meaning like electability.

    Romney and Perry have LOTS of "electability".

    Guess Harsanyi should contact all the other candidates and let them know the bad news... they have been diagnosed as being unelectable...

  • fish||

    Romney and Perry have LOTS of "electability".

    If this is what the Republicans are shoveling I'm staying home come election day!

  • ||

    Don't. Romney would be vastly better than Obama.

  • cynical||

    True, he'd shovel money to Republican cronies instead of Democrat cronies, and start wars with totally different nations. And he'd act like he really felt bad when he raised everyone's taxes instead of gloating.

  • ||

    @cynical: What? That's absurd. Republicans don't start wars. ;)

  • steve||

    Come on. "electability" is not that hard of a concept to understand. As much we would all like Paul or Johnson to be the front runner you have to be naive to think our views are shared by a majority of the population/media/GOP kingmakers/etc. Doesn't mean stop trying, just means being a little more aware of the landscape outside camp libertarian.

  • Realist||

    "The GOP Field Is a Gift for Obama"
    Is this suppose to be a surprise?

  • DLM||

    Two points.

    1. Many, if not most, people seem to vote for the candidate the personally like rather than think about the consequences of electing said candidate.

    2. As far as Romney, it would be better to have a president who follows the polls if those polls reflect the correct policy he should push rather than a president who does not follow the polls and pushes the wrong policies. The problems enter when polls urge the wrong policies and the president pushes those. (What policies are 'right' or 'wrong' I'll leave to others.)

  • Realist||

    Two reasons why when everybody can vote everybody loses.

  • EasyPeasy||

    Universal suffrage was a huge mistake.

    The choices one makes while gambling with other peoples money are not the same as the choices one would make when gambling otherwise.

  • Realist||

    Yes, that is why....sooner or later democracy fails.

  • Tony||

    I disagree with you guys, so I don't think you should be allowed to vote. How do you like that?

  • Realist||

    OMG....NO!.....No!

  • Realist||

    Tony, your big problem is you don't know when to stop.
    "I don't think."
    There fixed it for you....no charge.

  • kilroy||

    Hey, David. What's wrong with Gary Johnson?

  • ||

    I think it's "electability".

  • Thomas O.||

    I think Gary Johnson is electable against Obama... if only he could get past the hurdle of the primaries first. It's sad that the GOP primaries attract only the fringe crazies on the right, then they wonder why the independents are turned off by whoever's ultimately chosedn.

  • k2000k||

    "Which candidate has the talent to convince millions of more or less apolitical voters that free-market solutions and deregulatory policy are the best way to spur economic growth? "

    Uh am I missing something here? What has Mr. Paul been doing these last couple of decades. Or how about Gary Johnson, I mean, he WAS a govenor?

    Let me ask the author this. Hypothetically, lets say that Romney and Perry completely fizzle out leaving either of the two afromentioned libertarian leaning candidates to take the nomination? Do you think that the GOP diehards somehow won't vote for them? Answer is of course not. They hate Obama and will vote for whoever is running against the. There are two solid candidates, from a libertarian and experience perspective, running right now. It is the GOPs race to loss, if they nominate either Paul or Johnson then they stand a very good chance of winning. If they don't well, who really gives a fuck anyways since they'll just be a white Obama.

  • ||

    AMEN.

    Ron Paul - Gary Johnson
    Pres VP
    2012 Ticket

  • Random Jerk||

    AMEN except you got it backwards. Johnson-Paul is the ticket to go with. GJ has executive experience. Paul has been a policy wonk and would make a great libertarian "Dick Cheney type" VP to a President Johnson (without the sinister undisclosed location and the whole shooting people in the face part).

  • ||

    (lmfao)

  • The Claw||

    You're right, but for the wrong reason. It's Obama's race to win or lose. Few voters will even pay att'n to the Republican nominee. Any Republican nominee will therefore be equally electable. This presidential election will be effectively entirely a referendum on Obama -- much, much more so than the re-election bid of the avg. president. Obama vs. not-Obama. Doesn't matter how attractive or repulsive the GOP nominee will be to the gen'l voter, only that he's there and not Obama. He could be the best possible nominee and would still lose to Obama if Obama's still seen as good enough, and he could be the worst possible nominee and would still win if Obama's seen as bad enough.

    That's why we should want the best-for-us GOP presidential nominee: There's no compromise with electability this time, it won't matter worth a damn.

  • Thomas O.||

    They'd pay attention if they were hearing Gary Johnson say he favored equal rights for gays and legalizing marijuana. Two things that Obama either only paid lip service to or dragged his feet on.

  • MrGuy||

    Sounds like Ron Paul to me...

  • ||

    Obama won't be re-elected without divine, superalien, or emergent AI intervention. It's that bad. No, strike that. He's that bad.

  • Barfbeard||

    Who needs divine or superalien, or even emergent AI intervention when you have the American electorate?

  • ||

    We consistently turn on presidents who are in office during economic downturns. Especially prolonged or multiple downturns during one term. He has no chance, even if the GOP nominates Lindsay Lohan.

  • Nicholas Card||

    I hate to say it, but I think Lindsay Lohan would stand a better chance of getting elected than either Romney or Perry.

    Who we really need is Gary Johnson. Now that's a man who can lead, holds a consistent Libertarian Philosophy, is willing to talk dollars-and-cents about any policy, and most importantly, is a very open and honest guy. If the GOP would stop trying to implode and think for one nanosecond about electability, then I have no doubt that Johnson would top the list.

  • ||

    Too bad team red will probably choose someone like Bachmann. As bad as Obama is, the Republicans can snatch defeat from the hands of victory if they choose an offensive Bible-thumper as they seem inclined to do.

  • Nicholas Card||

    The optimist in me thinks "how could the GOP be so foolish to pick someone like Bachmann" but the realist in me says "break out your checkbook and start paying for Obama: Bailout Round 2".

    I mean, the President has been shooting himself in the foot the last few years with an Uzi, but the GOP still can't get their act together!? I would have thought that people from all over the Republican Spectrum would be pouring out to run. Instead, the toilet bowl of the Republican Party has been emptied on to our doorstep. And that's saying a lot, since I think Chris Christie could take a crap and wrap it in tin-foil, and that would do better than much of the GOP field.

    Granted, there are some exceptions (like Johnson, Paul, and Huntsman, to a certain extent), but all have been marginalized by a combination of an establishment-driven Media and the Religious Right. It's like 2004 all over again, but this time the GOP is failing even harder than the Democrats when they picked Kerry.

  • Zeb||

    I'd vote for crap wrapped in tin foil.

  • Uncle Joe||

    Gary Johnson does not hold a "consistent libertarian philosophy."

    I implore you to either look up consistent libertarian philosophy, or all of Gary Johnson views.

  • Nicholas Card||

    That's unfair and you know it. If we're going to play semantics, then it is impossible to have a "consistent libertarian philosophy" because there is no such thing as a single "libertarian philosophy." All of us who call ourselves "libertarian" come together because of a general agreement on the importance of liberty, not specific policy decisions.

    Since you obviously intend "consistent libertarian philosophy" to mean strict adherence to whatever you brand as "libertarian philosophy", I would argue that no one but yourself adheres to that view.

    Furthermore, I'm pretty familiar with Gary Johnson's positions, and I'm not sure how he has been either inconsistent or not libertarian. The only "libertarian" issue that springs to mind that Johnson doesn't support is dissolving the Fed, which, though a darling issue of Ron Paul, is not really a libertarian issue, but rather a policy decision.

    If you have specific complaints about Gary Johnson, I'd love to hear them. I never like doing anything with my eyes closed, so if you can shed some light on issues that I'm not familiar with, I'd be happy to listen.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    "The only "libertarian" issue that springs to mind that Johnson doesn't support is dissolving the Fed, which, though a darling issue of Ron Paul, is not really a libertarian issue, but rather a policy decision." And this is where libertarians get lost. The Fed, a private bank, is the source of the gov't's jurisdiction over the sovereign citizens. It is the Fed's inflation that has almost wiped out the middle class. Remember when large families got by on one paycheck? As Walter Williams pointed out, in the first 100 years of the Republic, wholesale prices declined 6%. In the next 100 years, with the Fed controlling the money, wholesale prices increased 1,600 percent. As long as the Fed exists, it doesn't matter who is in the White House, the barrel is going over the falls, with us in it.

  • Nicholas Card||

    The reason that the Fed has been causing inflation is because the Fed is not a single-charter institution any more. Instead of just being used to stabilize the money supply, the Fed is now being used to grow the economy and create jobs. It is this newer charter that is damning the Fed.

    The Fed is a necessary component of a successful fiat monetary system. However, politicians have used the Fed for their own purposes, which undermines its role in stabilizing that money system. This is why the Fed is broken; it does not need to be dissolved, but rather we need to revoke its latest charter.

  • cynical||

    Sometimes we turn on them. Sometimes we give them so many terms they have to institute term limits to stop it from ever happening again.

  • George V||

    What will Allen Iverson bring to the table?

  • HermanLame||

    Have you factored the acorn fraud tax into your equation yet?

  • ||

    I have nothing to say, because this article is spot on. I cannot find one single piece to comment on or add to because it's all right here.

  • ||

    earth to "the blaze", recent democrat pollsters have found that conditions on the ground are even worse than before the 2010 elections...

  • Maxxx||

    Yep,

    A double dip will be obvious to all by Jan 2012.

    Obama's toast, it'll be a republican 1932.

  • Realist||

    "Print|Email
    The GOP Field Is a Gift for Obama
    The Republicans face a rocky road to the White House.
    David Harsanyi | September 28, 2011

    Don't for a second believe that a politician is destined to lose re-election simply because he has been an unmitigated disaster. That would be unfair to your senator or your congressman, and it certainly wouldn't be fair to countless two-term presidents. Any elected official can overcome self-induced failure with a little help.

    And it doesn't hurt to pray: "Dear Lord, may the contemptible swine on the other side nominate someone even less palatable than I."

    Republicans shouldn't fool themselves. Given the GOP's deeply flawed slate of primary candidates, our president can win a second term—which, without doubt, would be more imperial and consequential than the first. There is no savior. No Ronald Reagan. No Chris Christie. (Or is there? Nah. ... Maybe!)

    But at some point, Republican voters will have to ask themselves, Do we want to win, or do we want to see the Environmental Protection Agency start fining businesses for dust bunnies? Economists talk about trade-offs—situations that involve losing one quality in return for gaining another quality elsewhere. Is there a trade-off worth making here?

    The traditional media narrative is that Republicans have become too conservative. I doubt it. The backlash against bailouts, dependency programs, overregulation, and deficit spending is in line with much of the Republican Party's newfound focus. On the broad dispute over economic freedom and the role of government in our lives, President Barack Obama is losing. Polls show that Americans like him personally, but his presidency is, at this point, dramatically unpopular. We can infer that his policies, not his personality, are the problem. Empirical evidence demands it.

    So which Republican candidate has the intelligence, the populist appeal, the charisma, a grasp of policy, and fresh ideas to offer in place of the ones crippling the nation?"
    What a crock of shit! The Republicans have to have the perfect candidate, but the Democrats can put up a chimp eared shit for brains asshole like Obama.

  • Realist||

    Copied too much. Should read...
    So which Republican candidate has the intelligence, the populist appeal, the charisma, a grasp of policy, and fresh ideas to offer in place of the ones crippling the nation?"
    What a crock of shit! The Republicans have to have the perfect candidate, but the Democrats can put up a chimp eared shit for brains asshole like Obama.

  • tgb1000||

    Whenever I'm looking for well-supported, insightful commentary, the Reason comment boards never fail to disappoint.

  • Realist||

    Go elsewhere fuckhead!

  • tgb1000||

    Awesome!

  • Realist||

    Thanks for your well-supported, insightful commentary. Awesome indeed!

  • Joe M||

    According to the newest Fox Poll, Perry is plunging, Cain is surging, and Romney is leading. They're calling it the "new top tier". Doesn't seem like much of a top tier, if it's always changing.

  • MrGuy||

    Yeah, surging behind Ron Pauls surge.

  • ||

    Wow.....Ron Paul won a statistical dead heat in the Iowa Ames straw poll (which is a good way of telling who will be a frontrunner in the race) and for some reason he's STILL not mentioned in an article on the current GOP field on a LIBERTARIAN LEANING website. I think this article is a good example of why our ideas have become so unpopular. Paul gets more respect from the progressives like Jon Stewart for crying out loud!
    http://ronpaulflix.com/2011/08.....g-15-2011/

  • ||

    CORRECTION: This why someone with a libertarian platform hasn't made it to the White House. I do think our ideas are getting more popular but I think a big part of it is Paul running as a Republican.

  • Realist||

    The warmongering, bible thump'n control freaks will not tolerate Ron Paul.

  • Realist||

    Cockeye O'reilly says Paul doesn't stand a chance.

  • ||

    We can infer that his policies, not his personality, are the problem.

    Hey, as long as he's a cool guy. God help us with these Republican douchebags (other than Ron Paul). The pray the gay away, put the drugs down, war mongering, "patriotic" imbeciles make me sick. John McCain, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, all of them are total douches. Do you not see this? Other than economics, the GOP ship has long sailed from my ideological worldview.

  • ||

    DO you live in a swing state? If not, why do we care?

  • ||

    "other than economics", what else is there in this election cycle? With double digit unemployment, ever-increasing regulation, and more loans to solar companies, no one really cares who marries whom, or smokes what, or much of anything else.

  • ||

    There is a significant segment of the Republican party that "does care who marries whom", no matter what. Just like there is a significant segment of the Democrat party that considers Roe v Wade the litmus test for any candidate. Not so much of an issue in the general election, but Paul / Johnson have to make it past the Bible thumpers and warmongers in the primary in order to be in a position to attract the independents.

    Honestly, this seems like the perfect opportunity for a libertarian leaning republican candidate to win the Big House if they can just get past their own party gate keepers

  • ||

    Ron paul has a pretty consistent voting record of not going along with Republicans or Democrats. Even though he's pro-life, he still thinks it should be state choice in the matter. That's going to piss off a lot of republicans.

  • The Unborn||

    Ron Paul is right, it is a state issue. Then the pro life crowd can use persuasion to end infanticide. Nothing else will work.

  • Realist||

    "... but Paul / Johnson have to make it past the Bible thumpers and warmongers in the primary in order to be in a position to attract the independents."
    Not going to happen.

  • Some Guy||

    The first time I ever saw Mitt Romney I thought, "That's the Republican John Kerry."

    Looks like he's on track to prove me right.

  • A Serious Man||

    Woe unto any candidtate that the media dubs "unelectable", or as I like to call it, diagnose them with electile dysfunction.

  • ||

    Oh, Jesus. This is so boring already. There's one guy in the race who has displayed consistent libertarian principle along with the ability to raise money and reach new people. Support him. This "electability" stuff is chickenshit, and as "anti-intellectual" as it gets.

  • Aaron||

    THANK YOU. I cannot like this comment enough.

  • ||

    I don't think Ron Paul should be elevated to Savior Status like the dems did with Obama ,but the man will get my vote if he makes it that far.

  • Realist||

    "...if he makes it that far."
    I'll vote for him even if he doesn't.

  • ||

    Oddly, the strongest Republican in the general election is the guy with no chance in hell of getting the nomination - Gary Johnson. Romney offers no real mandate to vote against the President. If you like what Romney has to say (at least on the substance of policy), it's hard to imagine you'd have a big problem with what Barack Obama has to say. Perry, whether he deserves it or not, has been branded the low-rent George W. Bush. Bachmann was portrayed as Sarah Palin's not-as-smart and not-as-sane twin long ago. Ron Paul, I like the guy, but if you don't think the guy is a walking target sign (the newsletter, criticizing America, etc.), you're kidding yourself. Johnson, in contrast, has a great backstory, executive experience, a great track record, and proven crossover appeal. This is a guy it would be extremely difficult for the Democrats to portray as whacky or a loon or stupid or any of the other labels Team Blue likes to throw on Team Red.

  • David||

    "On the broad dispute over economic freedom and the role of government in our lives, President Barack Obama is losing."

    Which is well and good, except nobody's winning. There are two voices in the Republican debates that articulate the opposite point of view on the role of government in our lives, and the party does its best to get them laughed off the stage. All of the "frontrunners" are on Obama's side.

  • ||

    Ain't that the truth, and on top of it, they will roll back freedom for gays as they have been rolling back freedom for women across the country (with all the anti abortion laws suddenly passed the past 2 years).

    So what do I want, a guy who will support social freedom but take my money and give it to corporations and to the poor, or a guy who will take the little freedom my gay friends have recently gained away, and then continue to give my money away to corporations?

  • The Unborn||

    What about gay unborn children?

  • BILL||

    Is it just me or is this blog becoming leftwing? How the hell is Cain not prepared to be president? He served in the navy, has a masters degree, was succesful in the business world, hosts a radio show, would lower everyone's taxes, believes in capitalism, etc. etc. etc.?

    Hey David Harsanyi, was Obama prepared to be president or did you fell in love with his his "hope and change" bullshit?

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Cain is a drug war addict, and was a Federal Reserve chief.

  • BILL||

    What does that have to do with whether he's qualified to be President?

    LOOK AT THE MARXIST CLOWN WE HAVE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!

  • Concerned Citizen||

    He'll continue the horrow show that is the WOD, and as long as the Fed is in control, we're all doomed. Per Walter Williams, the first 100 years of America, wholesale prices declined 6%. In the next 100 years, wholesale prices increased 1,600 percent.

  • Eric||

    By leftwing, you really mean less rightwing correct? Lefties get crucified on this board. Righties just don't get a reach-around. If you're looking for Republicans to join a circle jerk with you, you may want to try World Net Daily.

  • JohnD||

    Weak field? Unprepared? Bullshit. There isn't a single Republican candidate that wouldn't make a bettter president than Obama.

  • ||

    Trig Palin would make a better president than Obama. That doesn't mean he's particularly qualified to be president.

  • Eric||

    ^ True ^

    Especially if you're a bible thumping convervative warmonger. Bachmann is especially impressive!

  • ||

    "So which Republican candidate has the intelligence, the populist appeal, the charisma, a grasp of policy, and fresh ideas to offer in place of the ones crippling the nation? Which candidate has the talent to convince millions of more or less apolitical voters that free-market solutions and deregulatory policy are the best way to spur economic growth? Which one has the chops to convince them that reforms to Social Security or Medicare are necessary?”
    Bit of a let-down there, my hopes were raised and then expertly dashed by Mr. Harsayni. This sounded like a perfect lead into mentioning a certain libertarian leaning congressman from Texas who, mainly in the last 10 years, has been drawing massive and passionate outpourings of extremely vocal support , from all demographics, in every corner of the US. Which other candidate has garnered support from college students, peaceniks, active duty military members, strippers, hard-core Christians, Atheists, and tons of other groups of independent minded ex-political apathists?
    Ron Paul has electability. He may have nothing to provide in terms of charisma, a perfect jaw line, expertly grayed salt and pepper hair, or camera ready talking points, (hell, his posture could even use some work) but within this old man’s rambling comes a very clear and consistent message of free market economics, peace, and mutual respect; topics which are simply punch lines coming from any other candidate. He has a personal understanding of military matters, the situation with medical care, and has a seemingly unparalleled grasp of economic theory; he predicted the housing market crash as well as the upcoming double-dip. Yet, in spite of his experience and ideological consistency, Ron Paul and his supporters have been ignored, marginalized, and dismissed as kooks.
    The real problem with the GOP field is the voters. The field of candidates is generated from what people want and people want to elect candidates who look like Ken or Barbie and sound like anchors from CNN; that’s exactly what they’ve been given. If the field were in any way determined by ideas, the support from the Tea Party, Constitutionalist Republicans, and peace seeking Democrats, it would make Ron Paul not only the front runner, but possibly the only candidate.
    If all the people I’ve heard say “I like Ron Paul’s policies, but I’m voting for Romney or Perry,” would actually vote based on their stated principles instead of voting according to supposed electability, this painful four year cycle might become just a little less painful.

  • Tony||

    Republicans... believe humans coexisted with dinosaurs, think more people should be put to death by the state rather than less, want to bomb Iran, want to reinstate legal discrimination against gays, want to keep the corporate welfare floodgates open as wide as possible, are politically forbidden from believing in science, and they're offering up the saddest pack of idiots, demagogues, and used car salesmen this country has ever seen running for president.

    Yet somehow they are correct on fiscal and economic policy?

  • Realist||

    Amazing isn't it....yet the Democrats are just as stupid!
    That's why when everyone can vote, everyone loses.

  • Qetesh||

    Limited suffrage + unlimited government is the worst possible combination.

    One can see that situation turning violent quickly.

  • Realist||

    Who said anything about unlimited government?

  • Tony||

    No they're not, and only someone who actually is stupid wouldn't be able to tell the difference between centrist technocrats and fire-breathing christianists.

  • ||

    Yet somehow they are correct on fiscal and economic policy?


    More so than the Democrats, who believe that the only thing wrong with an economic doctrine with a death toll of a hundred million is that the right people weren't in charge.

  • Eric||

    Would that econmomic doctrine be socialism? Yes, those central planning Democrats were ready to hand the keys to China and the USSR during the cold war weren't they? Wait...what???

  • ||

    Except that's a complete non-sequitur. Wether or not the Democrats were willing to take a confrontational stance toward the Soviets or Chinese 20 years ago has no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether their current economic policies stem from the same premises or ideology.

  • Tony||

    Yes, raising top marginal tax rates 5% equals teh Red Menace.

  • ||

    Joseph Stalin was a communist.
    Gus Hall was a communist.
    Gus Hall =/= Joseph Stalin.
    QED

  • ||

    More so than the folks who believe that the only problem with an economic philosophy with a death toll of a hundred million is that the right people weren't in charge.

  • ||

    Ouch. That left a mark.

  • Tony||

    Name a single fiscal policy you differ from Republicans on.

  • David||

    Its a little ironic that people hate Romney because he tries to represent the popular opinion. I agree it is dangerous but perhaps he actually cares what other people think. Bush 2.0 didn't care what anyone thought and he pretty much ruined our country. 2 wars, both basically pointless, while lowering taxes and raising spending. If Bush has listened to the people we wouldn't be in the mess we're in.

  • Federal Reserve||

    Oh yes we would. We are the ones in control. Elect who you want, it doesn't matter. Perpetual inflation, anyone? America didn't have inflation until we took control.

  • Adam||

    The point is that this is not a democracy, in which all decisions are to be driven by popular will. The primary purpose of our government is supposed to be the protection of individual rights. Candidates (or elected politicians) who swing with the winds of opinion polls demonstrate a lack of concern for individual rights, and a lack of any philosophical principles at all.

  • Realist||

    "Candidates (or elected politicians) who swing with the winds of opinion polls demonstrate a lack of concern for individual rights, and a lack of any philosophical principles at all."
    And yet they are the ones who get elected.
    When everyone can vote, everyone loses.

  • ||

    The problem with the GOP front runners isn't that they've become too "conservative" since that word has lost all contemporary meaning. It's that they've become too "creepy." There's hardly one in the bunch you could shake hands with without rushing off to find some antibacterial soap.

  • Classical Liberal||

    At the risk of pointing out the obvious, doesn't Ron Paul fit your requirements perfectly.

  • ||

    It does a disservice to exclude Ron Paul or Gary Johnson out of this article. It would seem that Reason has its own agenda, because the more you tell people it cant happen the more they will believe it. The problem is today the two candidates that can beat Obama are Paul and Romney and it is high time to get behind one, but it seems as though those at Reason, like at Fox do not want to give Paul a chance at all, and articles such as this support that ideal. Instead of whining about how bad the GOP is, why not get behind Paul with all your media might and push, go against the grain and status quo, or perhaps there is another agenda at play here? how can one write an article about the need to beat Obama and insinuate liberty but not mention Ron Paul when he is polling 47-48 beating Obama? Something smells afoul, and it is right here at Reason. Everyone must remember that they said Regan didn't stand a chance at all, so all bets are off. It is either time to get on the Paul bandwagon with all your might or give the White House back to Obama, I don't see how this is even an issue for a media outlet that supposedly supports liberty. am I missing something?

  • Mr. Mark||

    "Republicans might be left with a person who is either a phony or unfit—or both—in an election that begs for neither."

    Is it just me, or did you just define the word "politician"?

  • Trig||

    Oh if only someone like Ron Paul were running...

  • UGG boots classic||

    Your essay is good, I like it very much. Here I would like to share with you some things :
    Cheap UGG Boots http://www.classicuggs-uk.com ----- ercai

  • brian||

    I could have swore there was another candidate...

  • BeReaL||

    Yeah, the ONLY one talking about ending the tyranny - the Federal Reserve and exposing the corporate bail out to the big banks by the Federal Reserve and Obama paid by us (the taxpayers and then foreclosed on in every single way!) that RON PAUL has exposed via Audit The Fed and his many books, speeches, ect! Audit, jail, justice served, and pay us back!

  • Seriously?||

    Not even going to mention Ron Paul?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement