The Election's Unanswered Question

There is one message that is yet to be heard by most voters.

Thank goodness the tedious presidential campaign is over. It was enough to put a caffeine freak into a coma. If all you cared about was the horse race, you missed how anemic the past year was. Rhetoric aside, the differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were virtually inconsequential; big government was never in doubt. That being the case, Obama’s four-year record went largely unexamined.

But didn’t Romney spend the last year blasting Obama’s record? Superficially, yes. But that’s all.

The American people reelected a president (barely) without a full airing of how he spent his first term. This does not bode well for the next four years and beyond.

Romney couldn’t call Obama to account because he fundamentally agreed with most of what the president did. He could hardly have substantively criticized Obama’s fiscal record: Romney had little specific to say about cutting the government’s deep-in-deficit budget, and he even proposed to leave education and other federal spending intact. While Romney talked about cutting income-tax rates, he emphasized that he had no intention of cutting government revenues, which represent resources extracted from the private economy. He proposed only revenue-neutral tax “reform.”

While Romney promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, the architect of Massachusetts’ Romneycare was hardly in a position to offer a fundamental critique. The insurance mandate is the linchpin of Obamacare, but since Romneycare has the same mandate, what could the Republican candidate say? His weak federalist defense of state mandates versus national mandates sounded more like a rationalization. Moreover, Romney doesn’t understand what is wrong with America’s overpriced health-care system: the pervasive, monopolistic government privilege and regulation in the medical and insurance industries at both the state and federal levels. There is no free market in health care—something Romney does not get. As a result, he made the fatal mistake of implying that a partial repeal of Obamacare is all that is needed.

He also endorsed economic regulation, just to a vaguely lesser extent than what Obama favors. That only muddled the message. Romney showed no sign of understanding the relationship between regulation and privilege, which usually go hand in hand. So it’s not enough to favor deregulation; a true advocate of the free market favors “de-privileging” as well.

The biggest pass Obama got was on foreign policy and civil liberties, where his record has been horrendous. Of course, Romney could make no principled criticism because he basically approves of the record, though he claimed Obama hasn’t been aggressive enough.

Now, as we prepare for a new Obama term, let’s recall that record: continuing occupation of Afghanistan; murder by drone, even of American citizens, without due process; participation in civil wars, even if it means being on the same side as al-Qaeda; indefinite detention without charge or trial, even of American citizens; opposition to lawsuits by victims of government torture; maintenance of the prison at Guantanamo; the inhumane treatment of Pvt. Bradley Manning, accused of revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes and other wrongdoing to WikiLeaks; unprecedented suppression of whistleblowers; warrantless surveillance; and much more.

While it would have been too much to expect Romney to slam Obama’s militarism and insults to the Bill of Rights, shouldn’t the establishment news media have shown some interest? They did their usual disservice to the American public by being a mouthpiece for the governing elite’s permanent regime, which remains in place no matter which division of the uniparty is nominally in power.

Whatever you think of the outcome of this election, one big question remains: How would the independent-minded, “fiscally responsible and socially accepting” part of the electorate—which is said to decide presidential elections—have responded to a major-party candidate who called for radically smaller government, a noninterventionist foreign policy, and strict respect for civil liberties across the board?

You might think the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, who got only 1 percent of the vote, answered that question, but like any third-party candidate, he faced insurmountable impediments to success.

Thus there’s one message that is yet to be heard by most voters. Until it is heard, we won’t know how it would be received. There just might be a constituency for freedom out there.

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The American people reelected a president (barely) without a full airing of how he spent his first term.

    Barely? I'm told virtually everyone voted for Obama. As for why Obama's first term record went unexamined, there is something far greater to blame than the opposition candidate. It is the self-proclaimed job of "the press" to report to interested news consumers the details of what they're representatives in government are doing. With minor exceptions (e.g. Jake Tapper asking a few uncomfortable questions from time to time, Univision digging into policies of specific interest to its audience), the media had no interest in exposing anything damaging to this president. Even Fox News refrained from digging into foreign policy, most likely on the assumption its rightwing audience is on board with aggressive military and CIA incursions.

    Why did half the voters go for Barack Obama? Some out of blind loyalty, some from ignorance, some against the boogeyman the GOP ran, and some because they covet what others have and think they see an agent to transfer it to them. Romney wasn't a great candidate but it shouldn't have taken a great candidate to beat this president.

  • 16th amendment||

    Another reason why voters went for Obama -- the war on women. My wife for examples buys this BS. Libertarians would agree that Lilly Ledbetter is economically nonsensical and may end up hurting more men/women because of increased costs on companies (even if companies are not guilty they will settle). I'm on board with the pro-life agenda except in cases of rape, incest, danger; though most libertarians are different from me here. The fetus is alive, and at six weeks you can see a heartbeat. I mean, we don't like slavery because you're taking someone's freedom and right to LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness away, so why not the same reasoning with the fetus. Besides we just evolved so that the fetus is in the woman -- but what if we laid eggs, or if the men carried the fetus? As for the requirement for contraception: I don't think the companies should be required to buy these plans, but then again companies have to deal with some many regulations anyway, so this is just one more. People can work at other companies if they don't like it. But more importantly, even if the requirement is there, making it free drives up premiums for everybody. At least means test it -- like you can get a refundable credit on your 1040 tax return if your income is low.

  • Brandybuck||

    The conservatives' war on women is as mythical as the liberals' war on Christmas.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...but then again companies have to deal with some many regulations anyway, so this is just one more.

    There's such a thing as being too pragmatic. Just one regulation more is a dangerous mindset. Either the regulation is necessary or it isn't, and if it isn't, it should be rejected. It's a shame more regulations don't inspire this resistance.

  • IceTrey||

    Your pro-life stance is logically inconsistent. If abortion is wrong for any reason other than you listed it is wrong for those too. You can't have it both ways. In addition what about the freedom of the mother? You are basically enslaving her to the fetus. The fact of the matter is a fetus survives solely on the good will of the mother and has no proprietary use of the womb.

  • Rasilio||

    This is not quite true, while I agree that 16th is inconsistant in his stated view and do not personally believe that rights begin at conception it is possible to have that belief and still allow for some exceptions where abortion would be acceptable.

    For example, one could believe that rights begin at conception and that the fetus only exists due to a conscious choice that the woman has made (to have sex) therefore she owes the Fetus use of her body and any attempt to eject it prematurely would be an initiation of aggression against it's person. However in the case of rape she had not aggreed to anything and in this case the fetus is an unwelcome intruder and therefore the woman has no obligation to allow it continued use of her body if she does not wish it. In a legal realm goverend by this belief if she chooses to abort then it would likely result in a manslaughter charge against the rapist since it was his actions that brought the fetus into existance and subsequently lead to its death.

  • Skyhawk||

    Wouldn't the same exact situation arise if the woman was using a contraceptive that failed?
    She did not agree "to anything and in this case the fetus is an unwelcome intruder and therefore the woman has no obligation to allow it continued use of her body if she does not wish it."

  • Killazontherun||

    When Univision asked Obama why deportations have dramatically increased under his administration he told them he has little control over the bureaucracy. That should have been enough for anyone listening to know Obama was not worthy of their vote. No way Obama should have beat apathy in this election. Apathy should have smacked his ass like an ass has never been smacked before.

  • Mike M.||

    Thus there’s one message that is yet to be heard by most voters. Until it is heard, we won’t know how it would be received. There just might be a constituency for freedom out there.

    Get real Sheldon baby, because you're dreaming. The majority of people in this world don't want freedom, they just want to take what you have.

    America was indeed the shining exception to the rule for a few generations, but no longer. And things are only going to continue to go downhill from here, so you had better buck up.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I try not to be too pessimistic but it's difficult to convince myself that you're wrong.

    Last night on John Stossel's show he showed clips of Kennedy asking jubilant Obama supporters on election night what Obama's re-election means for freedom. The responses fell into two broad categories: blank stares suggesting that the person didn't know the meaning of the word, and "it means moar free stuff!".

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    I got very busy yesterday and forgot to watch it. Thanks for the reminder.

  • OldMexican||

    The best comment was from that black supporter that said that "the people will finally sit on the table and decide who should suffer more!"

    Bring in the Politburo!

  • DJF||

    Bring in the Peoples Courts where the counterrevolutionaries and wreckers can confess before their execution.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    I'm not confessing to anything ... until they bring out the face-cage of rats, that is.

  • Lewisite||

    15 minutes at the pogrom will straighten your ass rite out...kulak.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    I love the title of the show, "Did Freedom Win?"
    Freedom wasn't running this election. Nor in the last one. Not in the two majors, anyway.

  • Turd in the Punchbowl||

    Because regulations and taxes notwithstanding, most of those people are already free in the ways that they want to be free: they aren't paying income taxes and any inconvenient laws are generally ignored, usually without consequence. Taxes and regulations which inhibit your ability to run your business are of no concern to them.

    As Orwell put it, "The proles and the animals are free". If you aren't, that's your problem.

  • tagtann||

    Sounds like a plan to me dude. WOw.
    www.anon-wayz.tk

  • OldMexican||

    Romney couldn’t call Obama to account because he fundamentally agreed with most of what the president did.

    Even Roosevelt severely criticized Hoover's spendthrift administration during the 1931 campaign. Romney only did this timidly, considering what was at stake.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "How would the independent-minded, “fiscally responsible and socially accepting” part of the electorate—which is said to decide presidential elections—have responded to a major-party candidate who called for radically smaller government, a noninterventionist foreign policy, and strict respect for civil liberties across the board?"

    Considering how the fiscally responsible have been pilloried as uncomprising heartless extremists, I don't think it would have responded very well. Republicans ran Romney as the non-scary candidate in these terms.

    I wish it was not so, but i think the Reason writers are whistling past the graveyard if they think there is currently a huge constituency of people who will vote socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And bear in mind that "socially liberal" can mean someone like Bloomberg, who is tolerant of social behaviors which don't bother him but wants to ban behaviors which *do* bother him. This describes a whole bunch of social liberals. They aren't bothered by gays, so of course they don't want to ban them. They are *very* bothered by smoking, soft drinks, etc., etc., so they want to save the Republic from such scourges. And as long s their Republic-saving is in the correct direction, they get to call themselves socially liberal.

  • Hyperion||

    Just watch these so called social liberals come out even more strongly than the SoCons against the WA and CO legalization of MJ. Progressives are the biggest prohibitionists of all.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Yes, I do not understand why people who think the government should tell you how much health insurance you can buy would have any principled objection to telling you what substances you can ingest. They openly state your health is the business of the state.

  • psalad||

    Most progressives I know are for legalization of marijuana. I'm not sure which progressives you're speaking about, but that is not what I see.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Jerry Brown, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and John Hickenlooper aren't progressives?

  • ||

    You mean like Eric Holder?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Hickenlooper already trying to find an out

    Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has said Colorado will respect the will of voters but added that he was awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Justice on how to proceed.

    "In a situation like this, where our law is at loggerheads with federal law, my primary job is to listen first," the governor said.

    I wonder how good a listener he would be if it were a Romney administration?

  • Robert||

    Harry Levine had the best observ'ns about this. For one thing, progressives tend to want to suppress the use of "down" type intoxicants such as alcohol, cannabis, and opiates, because they make people more compliant, taking away their desire to overturn the Establishment. (Progressives hardly ever see themselves in their own time as the Establishment.) For another, having something like cannabis grown by large numbers of people doesn't fit the progressive model of centralized control of medicine or anything else; drugs are supposed to be produced by experts, cutely referred to here lately as Top Men.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That strikes me as wishful thinking by Levine. Meth is certainly not a "down" intoxicant, but I don't know of any progressives who support legalizing meth but not cannabis.

  • Robert||

    He didn't specify downers, I did, because I thought it made better sense of his observ'n.

  • Skyhawk||

    Unions, both public and private, overwhelmingly support the Democrats.
    And, for the most part, unions tend to
    support other unions.
    Prison guard and police unions, along with judges and lawyers are the biggest beneficiaries of prohibition and are the most ardent opponents of decriminalization.

  • XM||

    If a civil right isn't cause celebre in the country, then you lose. Polygamy is still out. I can't marry a dog just to enjoy tax breaks. All I have to do for a dog wife is to feed the female dog (can't use the "b" word, war on women is here) canned dog food, take it for a walk, and pet it occasionally. Conversation will be one way, pretty much.

    People aren't gonna come here because you can smoke dope and gays can marry. You could that now in parts of Europe and I ain't living in those places. Surveys notwithstanding, most immigrants are comfortably old school.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Obama’s four-year record went largely unexamined.

    But He's dreeeeeamy, and He loves us, and He wants us all to be happy.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    There is no free market in health care—something Romney does not get.

    Now who's being naive, Sheldon?

    Let's not pretend Romney ever had any interest in freeing any market, much less the one for health care goods and services.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "the people will finally sit on the table and decide who should suffer more!"

    *pounds shoe on table*

  • ||

    Totally OT.

    Firefly reunion show tonight.

  • db||

    +batteries 'twixt nethers

  • OldMexican||

  • db||

    Ten years! Ten YEARS? TEN YEARS!

  • ||

    How many years?

  • db||

    I think we're thinking about this all wrong. The third party candidates don't "spoil" the chances of the big party candidates, it's the other way around. Most people only vote D or R because they're perceived as the only choices available, and they (wrongly) conclude that they need to get on the bandwagon for one or the other.

    It's obvious that the two Party system stifles options and exists in furtherance of itself--libertarians should recognize this, and likely have for a long time. The question is how to communicate this view of the situation effectively without getting bogged down in the wedge issues that R and D parties have been so effective at driving between the third parties and electoral success?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Rhetoric aside, the differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were virtually inconsequential; big government was never in doubt."

    The differences were inconsequential IN THAT big government was never in doubt, but, otherwise, the differences were not inconsequential.

    There are qualitative differences between having less economic freedom and having less civil freedom. You could say, "Why can't I have both? Why should I have to choose between economic freedom and civil freedom?", and would I certainly agree with you!

    But the fact is that we did have to choose--whether we liked it or not. And there are qualitative differences between having less economic freedom and having less personal freedom. Just because libertarians don't seen any substantive differences between property rights and civil rights philosophically, that does not mean we're required to pretend the consequences of denying each of them are qualitatively the same.

    In fact, anyone that says losing economic freedom is the same as losing civil freedom--after a president who threatens economic freedom wins--is simply showing a bias in favor of civil freedom and against economic freedom. You're just saying that losing the opportunity for more economic freedom doesn't make as much difference to you--given your personal preferences.

  • db||

    So, as I stated above, Ken, it seems our problem is how to communicate that the problem is not the differences between how the Two Parties would wield big government, but that the big government is the problem in itself. We need a party or some other platform that stresses the dangers of big government independently of the social issues with which R and D muddy the waters.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Perhaps, but trivializing the consequences of less economic freedom isn't helping the cause of libertarian capitalism any.

    The fact is that Obama presented a much greater threat to our property rights than Romney did to our civil rights.

    What does trivializing the differences between them in the minds of deluded swing voters do for the cause of libertarian capitalism?

    If they think the cause of economic freedom doesn't really matter because the government was going to be big anyway, what does that do for the cause of economic freedom?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Ken Shultz,

    The fact is that Obama presented a much greater threat to our property rights than Romney did to our civil rights.

    The mistake has been separating property rights and civil rights, and not making property rights part of a greater civil rights effort. People have separated the two because they have been argued separately, so far.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The mistake has been separating property rights and civil rights, and not making property rights part of a greater civil rights effort. People have separated the two because they have been argued separately, so far.

    Absolutely. Anyone who is aware of the history of housing discrimination in the U.S. and other countries (South African shanty-towns, Japanese burakumin ghettos, Untouchable slums in India, et al.)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    * knows this.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That is correct.

    But when we were talking about either Obama or Romney, someone who reverences property rights the same as civil rights wasn't one of the options.

    Everyone seems to be bemoaning the fact that the electorate doesn't grok the importance of economic freedom--and saying that both candidates were the same because the government was going to be big doesn't do anything to address that problem.

  • ||

    People have separated the two because they have been argued separately, so far.

    I put it to you that the reason (drink) they are separate is because of the two party system. When a libertarian is asked what they believe in, instead of simply saying freedom, they feel the need to compare and contrast themselves to the established parties and say we're socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't know about that... the current party alignment only solidified in the late 60s and early 70s, and before the 1930s the philosophical divide between Ds and Rs looked nothing like it does now. But economic and social liberty were treated differently long before that.

  • ||

    Example?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Economic and civil liberties were separated by socialists in the 19th century.

    It was a necessary contrivance by them, in order to claim that socialism was not slavery.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Ken Shultz,

    There are qualitative differences between having less economic freedom and having less civil freedom.

    That would be in your opinion, Ken. Right?

    Because you cannot presume to know just how I value the two, or whether I agree with you that you can choose one or the other as if one was not the manifestation of the other.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "That would be in your opinion, Ken. Right?"

    No, that's not my opinion. They might both end in government repression--when taken to extremes--but there are qualitative differences between denying economic freedom and denying civil rights.

    Look at life in Chile just before Pinochet as opposed to during the Pinoceht regime.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chile#20th_century

    If forced to choose between less economic freedom and less civil rights, there were QUALITATIVE differences between them.

  • Ken Shultz||

    To be more specific, my bias does trend towards more economic freedom--given a minimum level of respect for my civil rights.

    But there are qualitative differences between civil and property rights regardless of my preferring one outcome because of the qualitative differences.

    And saying there are no qualitative differences--after the opportunity for economic freedom diminishes--necessarily trivializes the importance of economic freedom.

    Philosophically, Obama wants to treat rich people like black people were treated in the South under Jim Crow, but qualitatively, I don't think raising taxes is like refusing to let black kids go to public schools...

    And if that's true, then there are qualitative differences between civil rights and property rights. ...and I can recognize that on both sides of the issue. Again, we're talking about preferences here on qualitative criteria.

    I don't want to have to choose between civil rights and property rights, but sometimes that's the choice we're given. I think choosing between Obama and Romney was one such choice.

  • ||

    That's the choice we are always given. And if we continue to choose the lesser of two evils, that's the choice we will always be given.

    We argue here all the time that in order to fix the economy, "people" will need to suck it up, take their medicine, endure some pain, take a pay cut, lose an entitlement... in order for the system to heal itself.

    I'd argue, Ken, that we might need to do the same in regard to voting. We might need to endure an Obama in order to tell the Republicans that their behavior is unacceptable. They will see the number of votes that went to GJ (or other) and attempt bring them back (if they care about their survival).

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That's the choice we are always given. And if we continue to choose the lesser of two evils, that's the choice we will always be given.

    And if we don't choose the lesser of two evils? I think you severely overestimate the electoral importance of libertarians. Choosing the lesser of two evils at least encourages the candidates to be less evil. Demanding that they reach Ron Paul levels of libertarian purity (or more) encourages the candidates to ignore you since they know your votes are unattainable to themselves OR their viable opponents.

    They will see the number of votes that went to GJ (or other) and attempt bring them back (if they care about their survival).

    Oh please. MR still loses even if every GJ voter switches to him, and the alterations necessary to get those votes would alienate far greater numbers in both the social conservative base AND among the dependent independents that are the true swing vote.

  • ||

    Ask Denny Rehberg if he agrees with you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Libertarians may be a force in Montana, but we were talking about the prez election, no?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "That's the choice we are always given."

    This time it's different.

    There has never been a president who was such a threat to our economic freedom as this president.

    At one point, he'd nationalized 2/3rds of the American auto industry, crippled the investment banks--so they're hardly even investment banks anymore--and effectively made the government take over the healthcare industry.

    This guy is up there with FDR, Johnson's expansion of it in the Great Society, and maybe even worse than that in his own way. This time it was different. Obama is an American Hugo Chavez. There has to be some point, when a president is so bad, you'll actually vote for his opponent, right?

    There has to be some number of times somebody hits you in the stomach before you'll start fighting back.

  • ||

    Oh bullshit Ken. Every election "IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIME."

    And I am fighting back. I'm fighting back against both Teams for not meeting my requirements. Neither Team earned my vote, so I didn't vote for either. It's that simple.

    If the Republicans want my vote, they better start sucking my dick. While I agree, Obama is horrific, and yes, there are times when one side is so bad you'd vote against him no matter what. But my vote didn't matter, as I don't live in a swing state, so I voted for GJ to let the Republicans know I'm not their whore. Had that not been the case, not sure how I'd have voted, but I sure as shit don't blame those who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Mittens.

    Where do you vote Ken?

  • Ken Shultz||

    If I voted for Romney in California, would you say that was futile?

    ...as if a protest vote for Johnson was somehow gonna count for more?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "And I am fighting back."

    You weren't fighting back against Obama.

    Obama wanted you to vote for Johnson.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If the Republicans want my vote, they better start sucking my dick.

    Thanks for crystallizing the prevailing H+R attitude, Fran. This strategy will work as well in politics as it works on the dating scene.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Why can't I have both? Why should I have to choose between economic freedom and civil freedom?"

    The majority of voters chose less economic freedom and less civil freedom. One of the paradigms that has to die is that there is a great distinction between them.

  • wareagle||

    but there is a difference between them, at least in causal factors. Less economic freedom almost by definition means less civil freedom. Govt laws re: pot or gay marriage is not the same increasing taxes on business activities or pushing new regulation. All may be equally important but without economic freedom, the rest is tough to come by.

  • Mickey Rat||

    But most people seem to believe the opposite. Economic freedom is not important, and civil freedom is all that matters, and civil freedom does not matter all that much when there is is a moral panic about (see Bloomburg's nannyism).

  • 16th amendment||

    Put another way, I'd rather see gays not having the right to marry but having good jobs, rather than seeing them have the right to marry and no job.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'd rather see gays have the right to marry.

    I'd rather have economic freedom.

    When I'm presented with a choice where one candidate isn't very good on preserving my economic freedom and the other candidate is absolutely hostile to my economic freedom?

    I'm not willing to pretend they're the same.

    They're not the same.

  • 16th amendment||

    I mean to say I'd rather see them have both, but given a choice, economic freedom is better.

    Politically a loss of economic freedom may lead to destabilization (such as rising inflation, high unemployment), which is fertile breeding ground for dictators -- see chapter 10 why the worst get on top of The Road to Serfdom. But we're still a century away from this happening here.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    But we're still a century away from this happening here.

    You're being wildly optimistic. The status quo is not going to exist 5-10 years from now. The US will either turn the fiscal ship around in the next couple of years, degenerate into a Euro-socialist or fascist nation, or fall apart into warlord fiefdoms.

    I'm not optimistic about the first, and I think the people in charge are too smart to allow the third. So, fascism here we come.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Actually, economic freedom leads to stability.

    Maybe you were being sarcastic?

    It wasn't budget austerity that killed off the Wiemar Republic--it was runaway inflation.

    If you want economic stability, you should be a champion of economic freedom.

  • 16th amendment||

    I did say that economic freedom leads to stability -- or rather I said that the loss of it will lead to instability. Loss of our economic freedom leads to instability (such as inflation) which leads in turn to loss of our political freedoms.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    In the short term that may be so. I think in the long term it doesn't matter much, because of the "ratchet effect": the fact that the "major" parties rarely, if ever, undo each others' "accomplishments".

    For instance, look at what Obama did with the "Patriot" Act. And no Republican even thinks about dismantling the New Deal or the Great Society or the Brady Law.

    I think the only effect in choosing one party over the other is to choose which particular buttfuck we get first, rather than instead.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Continued...

    However, refusing to sign any repeal of the individual mandate is not the same as as promising to sign a repeal of the individual mandate.

    Nationalizing General Motors on behalf of the UAW and bragging about it is not the same as denouncing the nationalization of General Motors.

    Favoring tax hikes to address the fiscal cliff and dismissing the agreed to budget cuts is not the same as using the budget cuts as a starting point and criticizing the taxes.

    These two candidates may have been the same in that big government was never in doubt--but the candidates were not the same. And there is no good reason to pretend otherwise.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Ken Shultz,

    These two candidates may have been the same in that big government was never in doubt--but the candidates were not the same.

    The problem is that they were the same enough. Plus, the unavoidable fact is that Obama is more likeable.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Plus, the unavoidable fact is that Obama is more likeable.

    More likable to whom? From day one, I found Obama to be an arrogant little twit who isn't as smart as he thinks he is. I just don't get what people find charismatic about Obama. Never have, never will.

  • Hyperion||

    I agree. I think Romney is much more likeable than Obama just because he doesn't come off like a completely arrogant asshole.

    But I suppose it must be easy to put any face you want to on someone who is promising you more free stuff.

  • wareagle||

    how the hell is it an unavoidable fact? I have never gotten that "likeable" bullshit re: Obama. I see an overbearing know it all who is smart enough to know that a lot of whites won't push back against a black man simply because he's black. In Romney, I saw a guy who at least gave the impression of wanting to hear what others had to say. Obama has none of that.

  • 16th amendment||

    Ditto here!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The problem is that they were the same enough."

    In the minds of voters, they were the same enough.

    And that's the problem. The voters were wrong to think that.

    I gave some specific examples.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    they (wrongly) conclude that they need to get on the bandwagon for one or the other.

    The only thing worse than voting for a loser is voting for a loser nobody ever heard of.

  • Hyperion||

    have responded to a major-party candidate who called for radically smaller government, a noninterventionist foreign policy, and strict respect for civil liberties across the board?

    The non-interventionist message: A winner, at least to some extent.

    Civil Liberties: Big winner

    Radically smaller government: LOSE! How are people supposed to get free shit without big government? And what about protecting vaginas from mean old Rethuglicans and and ... free birth control for wimins!

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Maybe libertarians should break the big government positions apart and attack them sequentially, instead of all at once.

    Specifically, supporters of big government fall into two groups. One that wants free shit and a second that want to boss around other people.

    The second group is much more dangerous than the first, and they are also more expensive.

    So an interim libertarian position cold be to oppose the busybodies while ignoring the deadbeats.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    trivializing the consequences of less economic freedom isn't helping the cause of libertarian capitalism any.

    What the fuck does this have to do with Mitt Romney? If you want to peddle this bullshit about how the Republicans offer a better alternative, you might want to think about how your TEAM can offer up somebody who actually believes in free markets.

    I await your next spasm of handwaving.

  • Hyperion||

    The only thing that makes the Republicans slightly better is that they will not vote to raise taxes. If you take them completely out of the way, the Ds will go full on tax whores. The only thing that stopped this in Os first term was that they spent so much time on Obamacare and then lost control of the house because of it. Now that same house is the only thing standing in their way.

    Either team, you get less and less civil rights type of freedom.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm a registered libertarian, and I've been a registered libertarian for a long time.

    I voted for Harry Browne. I voted for Badnarik.

    I think Obama represented a bigger threat to our economic liberty than anything we've seen since I've been old enough to vote.

    I'll put it this way. If Vladamir Lenin had been running against Romney, would you throw your vote away on a third party protest candidate? I would argue that there's a point beyond which a candidate threatens our economic liberty so terribly, that voting for his opponent becomes necessary. If V. Lenin were running, I think he'd necessitate voting for Romney (instead of Johnson). I don't think Obama is as big a threat as Lenin, but he's beyond that threshold for me.

    Obama was beyond the point where using my vote to get rid of the threat he presents to our economic liberty is more important than using my vote to make a statement.

  • psalad||

    "I think Obama represented a bigger threat to our economic liberty than anything we've seen since I've been old enough to vote."

    OK. WHY? Specifically? What, exactly is Obama doing that is a threat to "economic liberty" in comparison to other presidents? SPECIFICALLY.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "OK. WHY? Specifically? What, exactly is Obama doing that is a threat to "economic liberty" in comparison to other presidents? SPECIFICALLY."

    Does the term "individual mandate" ring a bell?

    How bout putting a new government agency in place to prevent people from getting home loans unless the government says it's okay?

    The man thinks I didn't build my business--because I use the roads? Where does he think the money for the roads came from if not from taxpayers like me? Where does he think the government gets their money from?

    Now he says "We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions", which means that our individual ambitions should be sacrificed for what he says is the greater good--if it means anything at all.

    The man is both demonstrably--by his actions--and philosophically--by his language--hostile to the economic freedom of individuals.

    Anybody who's watched him for the last four years and doesn't know that, wouldn't know economic freedom if it jumped up and bit him on the ass.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "OK. WHY? Specifically? What, exactly is Obama doing that is a threat to "economic liberty" in comparison to other presidents? SPECIFICALLY."

    Get a clue.

    Libertarians think people should be free to make choices for themselves.

    There hasn't been a president more hostile to that idea in my lifetime than Barack Obama.

    Did you know he's shut down more than 600 medical marijuana dispensaries in California alone? There are very few choices that he doesn't want to impose himself on in some way--and the economic choices you make attract have attracted his evil eye especially.

  • psalad||

    I notice only one specific in your response, but it's not tied to economic liberty, it's tied to the so called "war on drugs."

    I asked for a specific, Ken. Do you have a specific answer? I hear people say things like Obama is a threat to "economic liberty" but when challenged, they can't explain themselves. I'd like to understand.

    For the record, I agree with you about medical dispensaries. The "war on drugs" is a joke. I don't see how Obama is any different than previous presidents when it comes to drug policy... at least not significantly so. If I'm wrong, correct me.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Rewriting bankruptcy rules to screw secured creditors in favor of the politically connected, forcing people to buy insurance they don't want by force of law, raising taxes, interfering with deposit agreements between banks and their depositors, giving taxpayer backed loans to favored energy industries despite high likelihood of default, blocking the Keystone pipeline for no legitimate reason, ........

    You want more?

  • psalad||

    I'm sorry, while you're list contains some valid items, the list is no different than what has happened under previous presidents (with the possible exception of obamacare). It's unreasonable to state "There hasn't been a president more hostile to that idea in my lifetime than Barack Obama."

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I notice only one specific in your response, but it's not tied to economic liberty"

    You don't think being free to choose whether or not to buy health insurance is an economic liberty?

    You don't think being free to choose to take on a home loan for yourself is an economic liberty?

    You don't want to classify being free to purchase marijuana as an economic choice, go right ahead. Those were just off the top of my head--you can think of plenty more yourself.

    You're right, though, that Obama's against plenty of other personal liberties, too. He was against gay people being free to choose to marry each other until just a few months ago, too...

    But you should note that he particularly hates people making economic choices for themselves.

    Hates it!

  • psalad||

    "You don't think being free to choose to take on a home loan for yourself is an economic liberty?"

    That is a bullshit statement.

    You know I'm right about drugs not being about economics. Then you bring up same sex marriage, which is also a red herring. YOUR thesis was economic freedoms, not civil rights. Please don't get off topic.

  • Ken Shultz||

    And you've ignored all the ones I've brought up.

    "You know I'm right about drugs not being about economics."

    Has the DEA gone after users of medical marijuana in California? Or has he just gone after the businesses?

    He hasn't prosecuted patients for USING medical marijuana in California--he's gone after them for SELLING it.

    But if you don't want to call that an individual economic freedom of choice issue, then what do you have to say about Obama siccing the IRS on people who've lost their jobs and decide they'd rather try to keep their home than buy health insurance?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "What do you have to say about Obama siccing the IRS on people who've lost their jobs and decide they'd rather try to keep their home than buy health insurance?"

    You cannot refuse to buy something.

    The Supreme Court thought that was pretty much unprecedented.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "You know I'm right about drugs not being about economics."

    The Supreme Court rationalized Federal drug laws (Raich) under the commerce clause. What in the world makes you think drugs is not about economics?

  • Rasilio||

    Um, last I checked getting married *IS* an economic choice in that you can marry someone without loving them or love someone without marrying them and all that is left for the marriage to control is your economic entanglement.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I think Obama represented a bigger threat to our economic liberty than anything we've seen since I've been old enough to vote.

    This is completely over the top hyperbole.

    And yes, I think Obama is a horrible president and that Romney would have been less bad.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You're out of your mind.

    The man has crippled Wall Street and remade it in his image, socialized the healthcare system, and nationalized a huge chunk of the American auto industry.

    Who else has done this in our lifetimes? FDR and Johnson are before my time--and in some ways, they weren't as bad as what Obama's doing.

    And Obama goes around and brags about it--he's gonna do more of the same.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Nixon was way worse. Signed the CWA and a bunch of other enviro crap. Created the EPA, invented Affirmative Action, severed the dollar's ties to gold, instituted wage & price controls.

    Oh and along the way, created the favorable tax treatment that created HMOs. Before that everyone had what was called major medical health insurance, which was somewhat analogous to catastrophic coverage.

    Just that last bit did as much damage as Obamacare will.

    Secondaly Bush the lesser was as bad as Obama's been. Created a new entitlement, pushed the federal snout deeper into education, cheerled the housing bubble, created the DHS and TSA (seriously what the fuck), undeclared wars, warrantless wiretapping etc.

    Oh and capped it off with TARP which wasted money, short circuited the free market and seriously eroded the social trust that is essential to free markets.

    Yeah Obama's a terrible president, but not even in the same league as those two assholes.

  • Rasilio||

    "The man has crippled Wall Street and remade it in his image, socialized the healthcare system, and nationalized a huge chunk of the American auto industry."

    Um, no Wall Street still works pretty much exactly the same way today as it always had, not even Dodd Frank changed that.

    Further he did not socialize the healthcare system and one would be forced to admit we already had a socialized system prior to Obamacare in order to call the changes made by Obamacare socializing it.

    Finally no, he did not really nationalize the auto industry. True, the federal government is one of the largest stockholders of GM following it's bailout, and immediately after the bailout they did own a majority of the stock but as of today it is down to a 26% stake and the Treasury has been trying to divest themselves further of the stock.

    But really the point you refuse to admit is that Romney, who invented the indivudual mandate, would not have been significantly different from Obama from a free market perspective. No he would not have reorganized GM the same way but neither would he have allowed it to fail and his intervention would have been just as big as Obama's.

    In the real world Romney is at best a marginal improvement over Obama in terms of economic freedom.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    More likable to whom?

    To the people who believe Uncle Sam is Santa Claus' rich and generous brother.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    In the words of Zora Neale Hurston, "All my skinfolk ain't my kinfolk."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Progressives are the biggest prohibitionists of all.

    Not only that, they are full blown fetishists of centralized power; they would like nothing more than to reduce state and local governments to mere ornamental functionaries implementing the policies of the Inner Circle. The idea of some state like Colorado thumbing its nose at the all-knowing Central Authority is too much for them to bear.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If Vladamir Lenin had been running against Romney, would you throw your vote away on a third party protest candidate?

    Believe it or don't, I'd vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE same as always.

    Calling 0 the reincarnation of Lenin makes as much sense as calling Romney the reincarnation of J P Morgan.

    It's a good thing you're the adult in this conversation.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Calling 0 the reincarnation of Lenin makes as much sense as calling Romney the reincarnation of J P Morgan."

    Get your glasses checked.

    "I don't think Obama is as big a threat as Lenin, but he's beyond that threshold for me."

    ----Ken Shultz

  • wareagle||

    there comes a point where you have to see that Obama is not like the rest of the Dem kids, that his entire background speaks to a different mentality. This is the man who promised fundamental transformation.

    Sorry, but feeling good about voting for GJ paled in comparison to wanting the incumbent ousted. Folks here talk about how Romney would have increased the power of the state while evidently ignoring that Obama was already doing it and a second term would only embolden him to keep doing so.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Meh, I'm not sure it's really BO himself that poses the biggest problem. Seems to me that he just likes playing president and going around giving speeches and doing "official" things, while allowing the bureaucracy beneath him to run wild.

    It's his underlings who are the real ideologues and the real threat.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Where did Ken call him the reincarnation of Lenin?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Wave your hands harder.

  • Lisa||

    An article suggesting that Obama won through voter fraud in swing states
    It includes Ohio stats that, if true, are pretty suspicious
    http://townhall.com/columnists.....tion_fraud

    According to the Columbus Dispatch, one out of every five registered voters in Ohio is ineligible to vote. In at least two counties in Ohio, the number of registered voters exceeded the number of eligible adults who are of voting age. In northwestern Ohio's Wood County, there are 109 registered voters for every 100 people eligible to vote. An additional 31 of Ohio's 88 counties have voter registration rates over 90%, which most voting experts regard as suspicious. Obama miraculously won 100% of the vote in 21 districts in Cleveland, and received over 99% of the vote where GOP inspectors were illegally removed.

    The inflated numbers can't just reflect voters who have moved, because the average voting registration level nationwide is only 70%. The vast majority of voters over the 70% level are not voting because they want to, they are voting because someone is getting them to cast a vote, one way or another. Those 31 counties are most likely the largest counties in Ohio, representing a majority of Ohio voters. This means the number of votes cast above the 70% typical voter registration level easily tops 100,000, the margin Obama won Ohio by.

  • wareagle||

    even assuming this piece is dead on accurate, what do you think will happen and who will champion the cause? Answer: no one.

    Four Americans were killed in Benghazi under circumstances that should warrant impeachment if not worse and much of the country yawned. Obama spent 10 minutes on the ground after Sandy and was hailed as a hero while the govt response can only be described as a clusterfuck. The CIA Director conveniently resigns on the eve of hearings on Libya and Friday we hear about Iran having fired on a drone a week earlier.

    Any of those can be dismissed individually but they are being dismissed collectively. Talk of fraud will be, too, as another example of the confluence of a complicit media and pliable public.

  • ||

    ...a complicit media and pliable public.

    That about says it all. The media is an abomination, and the average guy on the street is too fucking stupid to know he's being manipulated.

    Anyone have a solution that doesn't include genocide?

  • ant1sthenes||

    How about we kill all the.. oh, sorry, nevermind.

  • ||

    The author is treating an average statistic as the maximum statistic. Derp.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    While he's not being rigorous about it, we're talking several standard deviations above the mean. That's highly unlikely to happen just by random chance.

    Unless there's something about these counties that naturally causes them to have much higher registration rates, it's very suspicious.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I mean, if a restaurant employing 50 people has 49 white employees, in an area where the average restaurant has 35, they're going to lose pretty much any discrimination suit.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I should restate that as "the average restaurant has 70% white employees".

  • 16th amendment||

    Romney's plan to end Obamacare is one good reason to vote for him. There are some distinctions between the two: One is at the federal level, the other at the state; one has waivers; one imposes requirements on the states; etc.

    While Romney is very similar to Obama, he would still have a mandate to cut spending. So while he would not really cut spending, he would not increase it as much. If he can give the budget growing at 1% a year, even that would help.

    Last week I read an article about how Reason editors would be voting. Evidently in 2004 and 2008 some voted for Kerry/Obama as a protest against Bush. I'm disappointed the none of them voted for Romney as a protest against Obama. That's how I would have voted.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Rhetoric aside, the differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were virtually inconsequential; big government was never in doubt.

    OK, when Reason or H+R commenters complain about Obama during the next four years, we should consider whether it's likely Romney would have done the same thing.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, we'll keep that in mind. In the meantime, the candidates were already different on a number of important issues:

    Refusing to sign any repeal of the individual mandate was not the same as as promising to sign a repeal of the individual mandate.

    Nationalizing General Motors on behalf of the UAW and running around bragging about it was not the same as denouncing the nationalization of General Motors.

    Favoring tax hikes to address the fiscal cliff and dismissing the agreed to budget cuts was not the same as using the budget cuts as a starting point and criticizing the tax increases.

    No matter what Obama does in the future, we knew on November 6, 2012 that the candidates were not the same.

    It's just that some of our fellow libertarians became so obsessed with the ways Obama and Bush were the same, they projected that vision onto Obama and Romney. Most people have a hard time seeing the similarities between the two parties, so our misguided fellow libertarians should probably be congratulated for that--it's just that they went overboard in the other direction this time.

    ...bless their misguided little hearts.

  • Rick Santorum||

    In the meantime, the candidates were already different on a number of important issues:

    Like party affiliation and skin tone.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I gave three examples, none of which were related to party affiliation or skin tone.

    Maybe I should number them this time?

    Difference 1: Refusing to sign any repeal of the individual mandate was not the same as as promising to sign a repeal of the individual mandate.

    Difference 2: Nationalizing General Motors on behalf of the UAW and running around bragging about it was not the same as denouncing the nationalization of General Motors.

    Difference 3: Favoring tax hikes to address the fiscal cliff and dismissing the agreed to budget cuts was not the same as using the budget cuts as a starting point and criticizing the tax increases.

    If you don't see any differences there, then you're being willfully obtuse.

  • Robert||

    Yes, that projection was evident. When I checked one of those nonpartisan online matching programs, I found the difference in agreement with me between Johnson y Romney was slightly less than the difference between Romney y Obama. Of course programs like that don't weight things as I would, because they tend to consider whatever's in the headlines equally, but that's part of the point, isn't it?

    Those of you who still want a somewhat objective measurement of how great the difference was between the major candidates as compared to their difference with Gary Johnson, I'm sure most of those sites are still up y running. The one I'm citing is at procon.org, which has some other interesting stuff too.

    In 2008 I didn't think the difference between Obama y McCain was so great, so, no, the idea that every election looms as the most important is false. Of course in retrospect, I guess we should have thought of that one as bigger! What's happened is that over recent cycles, the Democrats have moved slowly but steadily "left"ward while the Republicans have remained much closer to the center.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Nationalizing General Motors on behalf of the UAW and running around bragging about it was not the same as denouncing the nationalization of General Motors.

    When did Romney "denounce" the GM bailout?

    When THERE IS NO MESSAGE I'm perfectly okay with blaming the messenger.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Here he is in his own words:

    You can watch him say it in person.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3ZqP2JQqLM

    Or, better yet, here's Mitt Romney writing an OpEd in the the New York Times.

    It's entitled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt"

    "IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

    Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check."

    ----Mitt Romney, New York Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11.....omney.html

    I can't believe you voted for Johnson spread you cheeks and bent over for Obama--and you didn't even know that Romney opposed using your paycheck to keep the UAW overpaid?

    Seriously?!

  • ||

    Romney still favored using government money and guarantees as part of a more traditional bankruptcy process. He favored an approach with less cronyism that didn't outrightly stand a century of bankruptcy law on its head, but absolutely did not "oppose using your paycheck to keep the UAW overpaid". Did you miss these gems in that op-ed, or did you just not want to see them?

    It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition.

    I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research... that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry

    I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today.

    The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.

    While I agree with your proposition that Obama is worse on economic issues, Romney is hardly a free market warrior and has never governed as one.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk."

    Where does Romney say that he wants the government to nationalize GM?

    Gettlefinger started negotiating with the president for a takeover of GM after his contract talks with GM broke down. Obama then unilaterally decided that it could treat GM like a bank--because they owned GMAC financing. So he used TARP funds to nationalize GM. GM is still majority owned by the UAW and the American taxpayer.

    ...and the U.S. taxpayers will NEVER get their money back. Not only that, we're still on the hook for GM's losses. When does it end?

    We've lost tens of billions of dollars on GM already!

    I want as many of those UAW workers, who make an average of $71 an hour ON MY DIME as unemployed as possible--and the sooner the better...

    You think Romney proposing that we back up GM's post bankruptcy warranties is somehow as bad as nationalizing an unprofitable industrial giant?

    Do you know what socialism is? It has a lot to do with the government owning the means of production in conjunction with labor unions. That is what we have with GM because of Obama. He likes that! He brags about it.

    Romney proposing that guaranteeing a bankrupt GM's consumer warranties is an alternative to nationalizing GM--is not equivalent to Obama's nationalization of GM.

  • ||

    As you can see from the quoted portions, socializing GM's consumer warranties was hardly the only thing Romney supported spending taxpayer on vis-a-vis the auto industry. You're making the contrast between Romney and Obama on this issue more stark than it is in reality. I picture Romney handling the same situation as president much more like Carter did with the original Chrysler bailout in 1979. From a purely utilitarian standpoint where any marginal reduction in suffering is preferable to a marginal increase in suffering, there's a huge difference. From a deontological standpoint, they're both wrong, and the degrees to which they are wrong is less important.

  • psalad||

    Romneycare/obamacare has worked in one state.

    Show me how this "free market" system you speak of will work. Go ahead, try it in a single state. Better yet.. what country has the model for this "free market" health care?

    Why is it that people believe that we should profit off of the ills of others? Healthcare should, IMO, be a non profit industry across the board, even if it is not a federal program.

    So I ask, with all sincerity... if this "free market" healthcare system is such a grand idea, where is it being tried? What is the model?

  • XM||

    If the profit motive healthcare system is removed, then you accept the government controlling doctor wages, hospital hours, number of patients of you have to see despite losing money, etc. That's the reality abroad. Asian doctors typically make way less than the Americans and work longer hours.

    The whiny folks here who think the rich should be default financial resource for everything have their eyes firmly closed to the outside world. There is NO escaping from 7-8 bucks a gallon of gas or mandatory fee nearly every citizen and business must pay into healthcare. No one will hear you if say "I make no money, why should I have to pay."

    Obama feared populist backlash that he came up with a wishy washy insurance mandate that's neither here nor there. There's close to no consequence if you decide NOT to pay for your health insurance. Enough people work for cash under the table that the IRS won't be able to track them.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Romneycare/obamacare has worked in one state."

    For very limited values of "worked".

  • VG Zaytsev||

    So I ask, with all sincerity... if this "free market" healthcare system is such a grand idea, where is it being tried? What is the model

    In veterinarian healthcare.

    In cosmetic surgery.

    In dental care and vision care.

    The model is that you pay for routine care out of pocket the same way that you pay for food, clothing, housing, transportation etc.

    Insurance re imburses large unexpected expenses. And private charity and government funding is reserved for catastrophic expenses.

  • ||

    Here's how well Romneycare "worked" in Massachusetts:

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/polic.....0n1-1.html

    Were you thinking of some other state where the outcomes were actually positive? Could you cite one?

  • Skyhawk||

    "Romneycare/obamacare has worked in one state."

    To cover less than 5% of the uninsured, Mass. raised the income tax, sales tax, sin taxes, among others; premiums went up 20% and health care costs are up 25%.
    And the program is still losing $64million per year, which is covered by ALL US taxpayers in the form of federal grants.
    My Mass. income tax return is now SEVEN pages.

  • ||

    Let me ask you a question troll.

    Why is it so difficult for the left to grasp the fact that profit is the incentive to make things better? Profit is what improves quality and in the presence of competition decreases cost.

    And let me turn your question on you.

    Can you show me one socialist model that hasn't plunged its people into a cesspool of destitution and mediocrity? Do you live under a rock? All one needs to do is look to Greece to see our future under your model.

    And to answer your question. The model is flat screen televisions. People want bigger and better TVs and are willing to purchase them. Companies see potential for profit, and through innovation TVs get bigger and better. Companies compete for market share which drives the price down to a level that everyone can afford.

    So there is your lesson in Econ 101. Now fuck off troll.

  • psalad||

    Francisco, I'm afraid you didn't answer my question. Throughout the world there are multiple existing models of healthcare... none of which, to my knowledge, would qualify as "free market."

    If you are asking a reasonable person to perform a large scale economic experiment on healthcare in the US for some unknown undefined "free market" system without testing it, I'm sorry, but that is not the least bit reasonable.

    Also, it's not reasonable at all to call someone a "troll" just because I disagree with you. I really really like how reasonable your response is too, the "fuck off" is such a nice touch. Maybe you can go comment on youtube videos where your "style" of communication would be acceptable and common, and you might be able to find the childish argument you appear to be seeking. :)

  • ||

    You are obviously new here.

    I did answer your question, but apparently you were too stupid to grasp it. The answer is, right here in The United States of America. There is absolutely no difference between selling health insurance and selling flat screen TVs so the model has been proven again and again.

    Want another example? PCs. I paid upwards of $4k for my first computer in the early 90s. Now I can buy 100x the computer for several hundred dollars.

    Why do you insist that healthcare, is somehow different? The only reason healthcare is currently so expensive is precisely BECAUSE it is not being bought/sold in a free market.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    uhhhhhh not really. Healthcare is also more expensive because of the aging population and the availability of new tech for extending the life of the dying, which is more expensive than the last rites and funeral that would have been the only option 25 years ago.

  • ||

    And, if left to the free market, 25 years from now, all those new life extending technologies will be affordable for everyone (and will be replaced by newer unaffordable life extending double plus technologies). Standards of living improved for all, lives extended, growth benefits society...forever and ever, amen.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    But everyone's going to want the unaffordable double plus stuff then. It's hard for adult children to say, no doctor, don't try that procedure on my elderly mom because the cost-benefit ratio is just too high.

    Health care is one of those areas where economic actors are extremely irrational, and that dampens the performance of the free market.

  • psalad||

    "There is absolutely no difference between selling health insurance and selling flat screen TVs so the model has been proven again and again."

    Let's do the "no, you're stupid" back and forth, because that is all so entertaining, and it sure displays your incredible intellectual superiority.

    I think healthcare IS different. When 50 million citizens go without healthcare because they can't afford it, what happens to them? Well, they end up at the county hospitals... or they die. At the county hospitals, the cost of care is insane. The ROI is terrible. The system is broken.

    It doesn't take someone who is intellectually superior to me to see we are paying more than 2x as much as the rest of the world per capita on healthcare... and getting results that are, at best, middle of the pack. Sure, a small percentage of our country get excellent care, whatever they can afford. I know for many pure libertarians, that is as it should be. I don't agree.

    Most of the rest of the world has decided that health care IS different, because most of the rest of the world seems to believe that letting people die because they cannot afford health care is bad. Having people wait for days in a county emergency room is bad. Having the most costly health care in the world and getting a very poor return on investment is bad.

  • ||

    Are you serious? I already answered your question. There won't be 50M people who cannot afford health insurance. When left to free market principles the price will come DOWN! Quality up. Price down. AS WITH ALL THINGS IN A FREE MARKET. SUPPLY. DEMAND. COMPETITION.

    Whatever is left will be taken care of through charity. As it should be.

  • psalad||

    Right, it's just like magic! It's such a great idea, look at all the countries who are trying it.. look at all the citizens marching in the streets, demanding "free market" healthcare! They'll LOVE it in the inner cities, where the per capita income is extremely low. They'll LOVE IT in the hills of the Ozarks.

    Again, you don't have a proven model. You have a model you are throwing out based on FAITH. I'm not saying you're wrong, BTW... to the extent that it has been (sort of) tried here in the US, it has obviously failed when there are 50 million uninsured... though it has also succeeded because initially lots of innovation was happening in the US (less so now). So like everything else.. it's not a simple fairy tale like you are pretending. It might even work as you say, though that is a leap of faith for me to say, but I certainly don't know all. Could be.

    Again... but I don't share your faith. Prove it. Find a test case, the same way they did for Obamacare in Mass. Find another country willing to do a huge fiscal experiment like this. I'm not willing to take the free marketers word for it. Prove it, and you might have an audience... same way Romneycare proved to be viable (though flawed).

  • ||

    to the extent that it has been (sort of) tried here in the US, it has obviously failed when there are 50 million uninsured

    Health insurance != health care. Furthermore, the health insurance market in the United States is not even tangentially related to a free market, or even a relatively liberal mixed marked. I can go purchase high deductible insurance for my car, life, home or personal property from 20 different insurance companies in any state and pay next to nothing per month for coverage that will take care of any unforeseen disaster related to my car, life, home or personal property, despite the fact that those industries are subject to a lot of onerous regulation. When the same can be said of health insurance, we'll be in the "liberalized mix market" ballpark, and still a long way away from the "free market".

    When you start off operating from two incorrect premises it's not terribly surprising that you can't understand the "model", but your ignorance is not a strong counter-argument.

  • psalad||

    While I generally accept my own ignorance (admission of ignorance is required in order to learn), you have failed to make a coherent point.

    The other insurance products you use as examples are elective choices. One doesn't choose to get cancer and need treatment to be able to continue to live. What happens in this "free market" world when one cannot afford healthcare? We know the answer... see ya. Wouldn't want to be ya. I'm sure that is more than acceptable to you, and that's fine. Realize the great majority of Americans seem to vehemently disagree with you. The great majority of the world also seem to disagree with you.

    You keep trying to use analogy, but I have yet to find an analogy that has the requisite life and death factor to make it a reasonable analogy.

    Yes, health insurance doesn't necessarily equal health care, and those countries with national health care plans don't really have "insurance." It's just health care. Here in the US, you have two choices. Insurance, or county. Yes, there are a few people who are either very wealthy or young and healthy who might be able to live without health insurance, but those are fringe cases. If you don't have insurance in the US, you don't get good care and in many cases you don't get any care.

  • ||

    Health insurance is every bit as much an elective choice as any other type of insurance. In point of fact, health insurance, particularly provided by employers, was uncommon until salary and wage caps were imposed and health insurance began to be offered by employers as a way to attract and retain employees. We have this ridiculous system because of a government fuck up, and we've made it exponentially worse with a series of subsequent government fuck ups such that we can now argue that it is so fucked up, only the government can handle it.

    Nobody chooses to die or have a car accident anymore than they choose to get cancer, and either of those events has a very high cost component just like most health care procedures. In the absence of insurance, people can pay for their care directly by negotiating with the provider, take it on as debt, beg charity, form mutual aid associations, or any number of other things. As I said before, health insurance is not the same as health care. In point of fact, "insurance" that covers routine transactions, like checkups and antibiotics, is not actually "insurance" in any legitimate sense of the term.

    (continued)

  • ||

    Which is a red herring anyway, because a great many people who now go without insurance by necessity or choice (myself included) could cover themselves for far less money using a high deductible plan that only covers catastrophic illness, in the same way they are able to do with most other types of actual insurance. I'm a healthy, relatively young man, and I consequently do not need a health insurance plan that covers a great many of the things that are mandated to be covered by current federal and state insurance regulations. I should be able to pick a high deductible plan that will cover me if I am suddenly stricken with cancer or my appendix ruptures and I can't afford to pay, but that doesn't cover the things I do not need - the same as I'm able to do with any other variety of insurance.

    But that's all moot, because no model or analogy will work to "prove" the value of free market health care when you operate from the assumption that health care is not a good or service in the same sense that everything else in the economy is a good or service and consequently cannot be subjected to the vagaries of the market. You're practicing circular logic again.

  • ||

    Also, demanding that something be "proven" before we can try it anywhere because it is unproven is an exercise in circular logic. You're not even very good at this.

  • psalad||

    PM, it's all about either modeling it or learning from others. You don't just experiment with the health care of and entire country on faith.

  • ||

    We didn't spend much time on modeling or theorizing before we implemented the grand experiment that is our current clusterfuck of a health insurance/health care market.

    In the interest of using consistent standards, still waiting to see your data on the improvement of health care outcomes and/or the reductions in cost with government-provided or government-supported health care.

  • Rasilio||

    "If you are asking a reasonable person to perform a large scale economic experiment on healthcare in the US for some unknown undefined "free market" system without testing it, I'm sorry, but that is not the least bit reasonable."

    And so the response is that we must try a large scale experement on the US Health Care system by centralizing it even further?

    Here is the problem. You conflate Health Insurance with Health Care. Already today we have a nearly completely socialized Health Care system. Fully $0.70 ove every dollar spent on Health Care in the US comes from some level of government and even the 30% that the people pay out of their pockets is regulated to death. Now of course your desire to see an experement is laudable, the problem is that would require going in the exact opposite direction from Obamacare at the Federal level because as of today it would be effectively illegal for a State to even attempt such an experement.

    You are essentially saying "we havn't had an experement" in an environment where such an experement is illegal so lets go and make experementation even more illegal because we havn't had an experement.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Why is it that people believe that we should profit off of the ills of others?

    You want doctors to work for nothing? You want medical research to be uncompensated?

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • psalad||

    Interesting. I will assume you don't understand that non profit organizations actually pay their employees. The difference is the organization as a whole is not designed to turn a profit. I notice a pattern with a few of you people with the little "fuck off" comment too. Is that because you lack the communication skills to express yourself reasonably? I'm sorry for you if that is the case.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Nonprofits produce wonderful Albert Schweitzers and Mother Theresas to inspire us despite their inability to alleviate much suffering.

    For-profits actually produce wonder drugs and incredible medical equipment and distribute them.

    As your intellectual ancestors in the USSR discovered, the profit motive is hard to replace as a motivation.

  • psalad||

    Wow. I registered for the comment section because I expected to converse with people who understood some BASIC things about economics, like for example, non-profits pay their employees.

    I would provide some examples of real innovation that comes from non-profit organizations (including colleges, most of which are non-profit)... if it appeared you have a mind that can intake new information.

  • ||

    Your kidding right?

    Most colleges are fat bloated, overpriced, bureaucracies who care more about their football teams than providing quality educations.

  • psalad||

    Wow. An argument that is not even worthy of discussion. You can't prove your assertion, and I can't disprove it. Nicely done.

  • ||

    Nor could you prove your original assertion, as I couldn't disprove it. Pot meet kettle.

  • psalad||

    You and yours had the original thesis... presumably, that health care that was completely free market was a good thing. I simply asked where has it been tried? I asked for DATA. I asked you to essentially prove YOUR point.

    You didn't answer with any examples of where it was proven. Instead, you want to create an experiment on the healthcare of our entire country without doing a model or studying a model. Eh.. no thank you.

    My thesis is simple... countries all over the world are trying different things in healthcare. We are among the few who have (IMHO) something that has ANY resemblance to free market, and a sober cost-benefit analysis shows that our health care is the most costly but only a small percentage experience high quality care. By many metrics, our healthcare is at the middle of the pack. That is clearly poor ROI.

    Again, if there is another country who is exploring "free market" health care, let me know, because I'm not aware of it.

    Again, it's not unreasonable to expect free market health care proponents to put forth a real working model of what it would look like.

  • ||

    I did prove my point. TVs and PCs. What more of a study do you need than looking at every successful business venture that the government has kept their hands off of.

    ...countries all over the world are trying different things in healthcare.

    Look at your statement. countries You mean governments. If the government is involved, it's not a free market. The minute they start mandating/regulating/controlling the venture is doomed. Markets are efficient because they take the input from every individual consumer and take ALL the data into consideration. No central planner can do that. You are looking for a government solution to a problem that the government has no hopes of being able to solve.

    NO GOVERNMENT, so looking to other countries for a model is worthless. They all have differing degrees of failure.

  • psalad||

    Trying to learn from what has been done... DATA... real world stuff... is worthless? I get it. I should have faith... it's a santa claus thing, right? It's a Jesus thing, right? Have faith and you will be healed. Riiiiight.

    Funny how you say "government has no hopes of being able to solve" the problem... yet plenty of governments HAVE solved it. I guess you just ignore the truth that doesn't fit your conclusion.

    I know you seem to have a religious fervor around free market/libertarian principles, and that's fine, but you can't ignore the REAL WORLD data that is out there, how other countries are successfully solving the problem.

  • ||

    yet plenty of governments HAVE solved it.

    Prove it. Show me the DATA that shows quality improving or cost diminishing under a government-operated health care model. Bear in mind the criteria now. More people having coverage is not an improvement in quality or a reduction in cost - unless you have some DATA that shows that to be the case. Do you have any DATA, or is government health care just an article of faith?

  • psalad||

    There is plenty of data that shows there are many countries who pay less per capita and have better care in specific areas like infant mortality and life expectancy. There is plenty of data, I'm surprised that someone who would enter in a discussion wouldn't be aware of it.

  • ||

    If such clear and irrefutable data is readily available, cite it. Shouldn't be difficult, right? For socialized medicine, Canada and the UK should provide relatively easy examples. Pre-and-post Medicare and NHS outcomes and costs, respectively. For a mixed market, you can't do much better than the United States. Pre-Medicare and pre-Medicaid outcomes and costs shouldn't be too hard to track down. I mean, you certainly wouldn't demand a higher burden of proof for one argument than another, right? It's not like this is an exercise in confirmation bias, is it?

  • ||

    Or maybe, since in all fairness you were defending Romneycare/Obamacare and the individual mandate in particular, we should start there?

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/polic.....0n1-1.html

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Wow. An argument that is not even worthy of discussion. You can't prove your assertion, and I can't disprove it.

    Below is a link to an article in the Atlantic by a university president that says the reason for high tuition is because they can.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/bus.....ng/263032/

    As to your other point, pretty much everyone acknowledges the diminishing value of a baccalaureate degree.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    √a university president that says the reason for high tuition is because they can.

    Isn't that how prices are determined in a free market? Whatever the seller can get away with?

  • Rasilio||

    Not exactly no. It is bounded by the buyers ability and willingness to pay. In the case of College this is screwed up by government coming in and picking up a big chunk of the tab and then convincing young kids that they should indebt themselves, often for life, because the degree is "worth it" when in many, if not most cases it is not.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    As a university professor myself, I must thank you for the hearty laugh about colleges being nonprofit. As far as the IRS is concerned, sure, but plenty of people at this nonprofit are profiting mightily. And I mean cashy-money profit, not satisfaction at achieving something or changing the world.

    The problem with nonprofits, of course, is that they usually depend on satisfying donors or benefactors rather than customers. (research funding for universitites depends largely on BSing some NSF bureaucrat and using the right buzzwords) So failure is just as useful as success.

  • psalad||

    "The problem with nonprofits, of course, is that they usually depend on satisfying donors or benefactors rather than customers."

    A puffy statement completely unworthy of a university professor. There are plenty of well run non-profits in the healthcare industry that don't depend on donors or benefactors. Very silly point.

    The fact that there are poorly run non-profits, of course, says nothing about non-profits at large... no more than saying there are poorly run banks, so all banks are poorly run.

    You forgot to end with an expletive.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    There are plenty of well run non-profits in the healthcare industry that don't depend on donors or benefactors.

    Such as? Your examples better not be taking govt funds.

  • psalad||

    Kaiser in California, to start.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....10733.html

    I can't say for certain whether or not they are taking "government funds." Probably they are, because, presumably, there are government employees who have Kaiser insurance. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything... again, your statement was "non profits usually depend on satisfying donors or benefactors rather than customers." There is nothing in your thesis about accepting government funds. Move the goalposts much?

  • BigT||

    An example of free market in health care is LASIK surgery. No govt involvement. Prices continue to decline while availability and quality continuously improve.

    Oh yeah - fuck off, slaver!

  • psalad||

    Elective surgery is a poor example. If one cannot afford Lasik, no problem, wear your walmart glasses. If one cannot afford antibiotics... ?? Sorry Mr. Johnson, you must watch your child die. Yea, I can see how that's the same thing.

  • Robert||

    College is a racket.

  • Rasilio||

    Um, most doctors are small business owners who are not paid a salary but rather keep the profits from their practice.

    Run their practice as a non profit and that means the nurses and office staff get paid, but the Dr does not.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    "revenue-neutral tax reform" should not be scoffed at.

    the tax code is a convoluted maze that require accountants and lawyers to maximize your profit.

    its complexity also hides its corrupt nature.

    revenue neutral reform would be amazing for the USA. tax lawyers and accountants should find a job less like gambling (providing zero goods or service), and more like a factory worker or shoe shiner.

    these guys absorb huge amounts of the economy and all to hide corruption and give the rich an unfair edge, total bs.

  • BigT||

    THIS^^^.

    A flat 2% tax on corp revenue and 13% on personal income would be truly fair and eliminate corruption (not to mention tax accountants and lawyers)

  • Ken Shultz||

    "these guys absorb huge amounts of the economy and all to hide corruption and give the rich an unfair edge, total bs."

    You're full of shit.

    As of 2009, the top 1% of earners paid 36% of all income tax received by the government.

    The top 25% of earners paid more than 87% of all income tax receipts!

    The bottom 50% of all wage earners--ALL COMBINED--paid only 2.25% of all income taxes.

    http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/.....taxes.html

    The rich have an unfair edge in terms of income taxes?! They're almost ALL the income taxes that the government collects! People who make less than $40,000 a year pay almost nothing!

    You must be the most uninformed person I've seen on the internet in a long time--who spouts so much garbage with so much confidence, like you really believe it or something! There is one other person who does that around here...

    Do you know Tony? 'cause you and him should probably go bowling.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    profit is the incentive to make things better?

    Not only that, it shows us what is actually worth doing by showing us what people in the real world, engaged in voluntary transactions, desire.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    you didn't even know that Romney opposed using your paycheck to keep the UAW overpaid?

    And then he ran away from it as fast as his unprincipled little legs could carry him.

    Fuck off, cunt.

  • Ken Shultz||

    No, I understand.

    If I was so dumb I'd bent over for Obama without realizing it, I'd be pissed off, too.

  • ||

    Just stop it Ken. Not voting for Mittens, is not a vote for Obama. Especially in the state LPB votes in.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You're probably right about the state he votes in.

    But when we're speaking to the general public?

    Telling them to vote for Johnson becasue Romney and Obama are the same--was objectively pro-Obama.

    ...and we're gonna get screwed over and over again on economic freedom issues for the next four years--because Romney didn't get enough votes.

    Having voted for Johnson sure as hell isn't ever gonna influence anything Obama does over the next four years.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Having voted for Johnson sure as hell isn't ever gonna influence anything Obama does over the next four years.

    I think their hope is that it influences the GOP, not Obama.

    Of course, it's far more likely it would influence the GOP to write off libertarians as unattainable and turn hard left.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Exactly!

    Voting for Johnson didn't really register as a protest vote against Obama.

    It was a protest vote against Romney.

  • ||

    Or it was a protest vote against BOTH!

  • Robert||

    It might influence them to turn "left" and/or trad/so-con, a la Huckabee. Probably doesn't really influence them at all, because not big enough an effect to be a concern, but to the extent it does, the effect is not likely to be in the direction you'd want.

    And the sad thing is, none of that really matters. The presidential election in 2016 is going to be nothing like 2012. There won't be an incumbent black man running whom people will vote for to show that they're not bigots and/or that Negroes aren't incompetent, and there won't be an incumbent running whom people will vote against because his policies are so awful. I'm still not convinced anything the Republicans could've done legally would've affected the outcome of this presidential election; that means Ron Paul or Gary Johnson as nominee would've "made" the election just as close, and lost just the same. The factors Sheldon brought out in this article were only about making the election interesting intellectually, not about affecting its outcome.

    I will allow as to one thing I just remembered might've made things different that the GOP could've done without breaking laws: They could've nominated Cain, which would've mitigated the race factor. Defeating Obama would've still carried the racial implication that blacks flop in office, but if people voted for him, nobody could say the electorate was bigoted.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Of course, it's far more likely it would influence the GOP to write off libertarians as unattainable and turn hard left."

    The reasons unions have so much influence in the Democratic Party is because they help the Democrats win.

    If libertarians were the reason Republicans won, we might gain more influence in the Republican party.

    Libertarians being part of the reason Republicans lost? I'm not convinced that gives us more influence with Republicans. If you can't depend on libertarians to vote a horrible anti-capitalist like Obama out of office, then what the hell can you count on them for?

    Some Republican campaign strategist looks at that and thinks--don't bother trying to appeal to them. They'll never vote for you unless you're nominated by the LP anyway.

  • Cavpitalist||

    When are you two dumb cunts going to realize that NOTHING at the ballot is going to turn the GOP into a party we like more?

    Ignorant cocksuckers think they can vote for effect in a national election with an electoral college.

    If you voted for Romney, you directly voted for less freedom. Trying to claim that people who DIDN'T vote for less freedom actually voted for the LEAST freedom is the kind of shit you would only say if you were a captive to one of the big parties.

    Or, in the words of the natives - "Fuck off, slavers".

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    So not only must one oppose policies Brooksie does not like, but one must loudly and frequently announce that opposition even when doing so only serves to endanger one's chances in OH and MI.

    You deserve 6 more years of Tester (congrats!).

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I know all about the fucking editorial, cunt. But as soon as he was challenged on his "heartlessness" Romney folded like a two dollar lawn chair. When in the past six months has Romney stood up on his back legs and provided to the voting public any sort of coherent principled objection to the auto bailout?

    FYI, I voted for NOBODY.

    I am deeply depressed but in no way surprised by the prospect of four more years of the petulant little failure currently spending the country, with the eager assistance of BOTH political parties, into insolvency.

    You are a tiresome humorless finger-wagging cunt.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Bullshit.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The difference is the organization as a whole is not designed to turn a profit.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Good one.

  • psalad||

    Willfully ignorant. OK buddy. See ya.

  • R C Dean||

    Sorry, psalad, you're the one who doesn't understand non-profits.

    They are most definitely designed and run to generate positive net revenues and pay for-profit level comp packages to their employees.

    The only difference is that non-profits don't send their net revenues to their owners. Those revenues are spent or accumulated rather than distributed as a return on investment.

  • Robert||

    How would the independent-minded, “fiscally responsible and socially accepting” part of the electorate—which is said to decide presidential elections—have responded to a major-party candidate who called for radically smaller government, a noninterventionist foreign policy, and strict respect for civil liberties across the board?

    You might think the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, who got only 1 percent of the vote, answered that question, but like any third-party candidate, he faced insurmountable impediments to success.


    But he ran as a Republican first and was doing dismally in the polls. Doesn't that answer that question?

    However, I do think that had he run, he'd've done exactly as well as Romney, because voters were not looking at who the GOP nominated, they just viewed whoever it was as "not-Obama". So the message would not have made any difference.

  • Robert||

    The point being that the way a major party nomination would've dis-handicapped Johnson would've been by getting people to not pay att'n to his message. In the primaries, they paid some att'n to him, and that hurt him.

    And don't tell me it was a media conspiracy to marginalize him. You could say the same of Huntsman or Roehmer. And when the media did focus att'n on candidates during the primaries, that's usually when their star fell! Don't assume att'n is a good thing; sometimes you do better the less voters know about you. The only exceptions to that pattern were Paul, Santorum, and Romney.

  • Whahappan?||

    Uh, Huntsman was played up by the media, extensively.

  • Cavpitalist||

    Gary Johnson was held out of GOP debates he qualified for, while polling higher than Cain, Huntsman, or Santorum, all of whom were continually invited to the debates. I keep hearing people say that Johnson "was in the GOP debates, but failed in them". No he wasn't, and no, he didn't. He was in two, and was named a "winner" by different media outlets in both.

    As for him not being marginalized by the media, you're a fool. You can't say of Huntsman or Roemer that they were on 49 state ballots, yet both got the same or more media coverage than Johnson did.

    Johnson asked the right question during the campaign...he got 1% of the vote, but did he get 1%$ of the coverage? Fuck no. He didn't get 1% of 1% of 1% of the mainstream media coverage.

  • np||

    The idea of separating economic freedom from civil or personal freedom is very unfortunate. Even if you believe one is more important than the other, you can look to some European countries for where the civil side is greater at the unnecessary expense of the economic and look to places like Singapore (or Estonia) where the economic side is greater at the unnecessary expense of the civil side.

    The way people separate them means one does not imply the other. It's possible as we've seen for governments to increase one while clamping down on another. In fact, dividing freedom up between these two categories is not really accurate either. Most people divvy up liberty into thousands of tiny isolated "freedoms" because they don't have a unified, principled approach.

    All these thousands of chopped up freedoms are more accurately defined as privileges that the state grants. People have been accustomed to the idea of (men's) laws defining freedom, as opposed to what Bastiat described, differentiating between legislation or what later libertarian theorists describe as positive law, and "The Law"

  • ||

    Most people divvy up liberty into thousands of tiny isolated "freedoms" because they don't have a unified, principled approach.

    BINGO! And then when people accidentally, for purely unintended reasons, happen to embrace a particular freedom that fits into the unified, principled approach of deontological libertarians, folks like the Reason editors talk of a libertarian renaissance and say ridiculous things like libertarians make up 1/3 of the electorate and can easily swing any election to any given party, confusing coincidence for causation.

  • Robert||

    This is true, and what I've been saying. Poll people on a small number of issues, and you'll get a certain percentage who'll give libertarian answers that are consistent within that set of questions. That doesn't mean they're ideologs of liberty.

    However, I don't think most of them are such disorganized thinkers that they divvy up liberty into thousands of bits; dozens, maybe, but not thousands. I think you'll see a degree of systemizing that would make for strong correlations between certain freedoms and certain other freedoms that would be disconnected if on the scale of thousands.

  • ||

    You may be right, but given the level of cognitive dissonance I've encountered among people on a host of issues on which their thinking is internally inconsistent, I could readily believe that each of the dozens of freedoms they compartmentalize could also be sub-compartmentalized into several if not dozens of others and push the total into at least the hundreds. Religion, national security, and economics being the main drivers.

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