Pork Pie

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How loose are Republicans with the national purse strings? Read this
Washington Post article, and weep. (Link via the Volokh Conspiracy's Tyler Cowen)

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  1. I still like the tax cuts, though.

  2. Does it really matter who is riding the bomb? Whether you point a finger at Bush, Kennedy, Roosevelt, or Lincoln, the end is the same.

  3. A good friend of mine, a life-long Republican, has phrased Bush’s presidency like this: “George Bush is one of the best Democratic presidents we’ve had in the past 40 years.”

    Ya know, I don’t think he’s too far off in that assessment.

  4. I think that, if nothing major happens over the next year, GWBush will have a hell of a time turning out the Republican base. On the domestic front, he has done nothing but piss them off (except for the tax cuts). It is nearly impossible to point to anything that the Bush Presidency has done domestically that a Dem President wouldn’t have done also.

    If the Dems had a decent candidate to run against him, he would be quite vulnerable.

  5. It is nearly impossible to point to anything that the Bush Presidency has done domestically that a Dem President wouldn’t have done also.

    Exactly.

    Wanna know what’s really annoying? The small “L” libertarians out there who vote Republican rather than Libertarian because they don’t want to “throw their vote away.”

    *sigh*

  6. That’s not enough! We demand MORE spending! Vote Dean, 2004.

  7. I may have to skip the next election cycle – neither side seems to be offering enough $$$ for my vote.

  8. Money is the elixer that makes Bush the “healer” rather than the “divider.” Money is the “passion” in the Compassionate Conservative punch.

  9. “It is nearly impossible to point to anything that the Bush Presidency has done domestically that a Dem President wouldn’t have done also.”

    But one can come up with any number of frightening things Dems would have done in addition to what Bush did. And so, in the end, we vote for evil to keep out Evil.

  10. You know . . . maybe instead of redistributing wealth through all these bulky programs, the parties could just compete to write us each a check. You know, Dubs could say “I’ll give everyone $5000 if you vote for me.” Then Dean could raise him $1000, etc.

    The fed govt has basically become an enormous wealth redistribution program (which perhaps does a few things on the side like the military. . . if that isn’t a wealth redistribution program too) just seems like it could be much more efficiently run.

  11. Jason: But with a Dem President, we could legally wed with ducks. That’s a right I’m willing to pay for!

  12. dude: You’ve got it. The most efficient redistribution is a direct cash payment. If you want to efficiently help the poor, give them money. If you muddle the aid with social engineering, resources are wasted.

    I know I am poorer than somebody, so maybe Kucinich will offer me $10,000!

  13. Jason said:

    But one can come up with any number of frightening things Dems would have done in addition to what Bush did. And so, in the end, we vote for evil to keep out Evil.

    This assumes that the GOP wouldn’t keep a Democratic President in check. Judging from the fact that non-defense discretionary spending has risen faster under Bush than under Clinton, I’d say that Congress does a better job keeping Democratic Presidents in line. At least on spending.

    On other issues? I’ll let everybody else thrash out the issue of whether the Patriot Act is worse than Janet Reno, and the relative merits or demerits of Gulf War II vs. Somalia, Balkans, and Haiti. Those arguments make abortion look non-controversial. But on spending it’s quite clear: Democratic Presidents, despite their big-spending hearts, aren’t allowed to spend as much as Republican Presidents.

  14. thoreau:

    I know that is the trend, and maybe I’m just blinded by the rhetoric, but I can’t shake the feeling that if a Dem is running on the platform that he will spend more, that he will try to spend more. If he gets a friendly congress, we’re screwed even more than before. I don’t trust our ability to maintain an GOP congress and a dem president because of mid term elections (see what happened recently for an example).

    I can’t help it. Dems terrify me. I really think that they would turn us into northern Europe if they could. No right to self defense, socialized healthcare, high overall levels of taxation, redistribution out the wazoo, and so on. Those are the things they say they believe in, anyway.

  15. Jason-

    You’re absolutely right. The Dems would turn us into northern Europe if they could. But what would the GOP turn us into if left to run unchecked? Until a strong fiscally conservative/socially liberal movement comes along, the only hope is to pit the left and right against each other in endless bickering.

  16. yeah can you believe that there was no government spending when there was a GOP congress and Democratic president? Zero, none, it was libertopia.

  17. thoreau, how would such a fiscally conservative/socially liberal movement grow strong? Momentum from all those Republican and Democratic votes? I was crushed when I heard that Virginia Postrel voted for Bush in 2000. That was a truly wasted vote. Apparently, a few confused seniors in Florida and I were the only ones to vote for Brown. And people here wonder why no politicians ever espouse our views. It’s because even libertarians don’t vote for Libertarians.

  18. Dude,

    Great idea – we could set up special vote auctions on Ebay

  19. twistedmerkin:

    A few points about Bush in that election:

    1) The only other candidate that could win that election was Al Gore.

    2) Bush’s platform was not bad from a libertarian perspective. He made noises about school choice, social security privitization, tax cuts, and guns that were all appealing.

    3) Al Gore could have won.

    It is rational in a winner take all format to vote against an opponent who has a significant probability of getting elected. Getting a huge 11% or 12% would get you exactly nothing as a third party candidate. It would have ensured a Gore victory. As long as we don’t have proportional representation, a vote for a Libertarian is, for all practical purposes, a vote that works toward your enemy.

    That said, I voted for Browne after being 100% certain that my state would not go to Gore, and I don’t particularly like Browne as a candidate. Too much fire and brimstone, and he has to my mind an unsophisticated view of international affairs.

  20. The GOP congress did put the breaks on the Clinton’s big spending agenda but they are underwriting Bush’s.

    Still, the GOP members of congress are much better then their Dem. counterparts; From: http://www.ntu.org/news_room/press_releases/P0310ntuf_pp_145.php3

    House Democrats called for an average of $417.6 billion in new spending, nearly 13 times more than House Republicans ($32.3 billion). Annualized over 10 years this level of increases ($4.2 trillion) is over twice the size of the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 combined ($1.7 trillion).

    But still terrible:

    Despite this difference, both political parties in the House proposed agendas that were 7 times higher than their average 106th Congress totals. In the Senate, the spending sponsorship gap was only somewhat narrower ($150.9 billion/Democrats vs. $34.2 billion/Republicans).

    NTU’s sad conclusion:

    “The results of sponsorship records during the 107th Congress show that there is indeed a difference between Republicans and Democrats: one party proposes bigger government, while the other party proposes much bigger government,” Brady concluded. “For taxpayers who prefer prudence to profligacy, reversing this trend will remain their top concern.”

    There are some good Republicans, just 27 or 29 in the house, who are truly frugal. 9 in the senate Check out the list at NTU.org. Thats damn few, and no Dems. make the list.

    We have got tell the GOP congress people; “Cut spending or live with out our votes.”

  21. Rick-

    You’re right, the Dems in Congress are worse than the GOP members of Congress. But even the GOP members of Congress seem to do their best work when a Democrat is in the White House. Not perfect, but better than they’re doing with Bush.

    As for how to build a fiscally conservative/socially liberal movement, be it in the LP or some other vehicle: Even though I argue in favor of the Dems to produce gridlock, most of the time there’s no need to vote for a Dem to make it happen. Most states are not swing states in Presidential elections, and most House districts are heavily gerrymandered. And a lot of Senate races aren’t close. So it’s rarely necessary to hold your nose and vote for a lesser evil. All I’m saying is that in a close race, it might be rational to occasionally vote for a Dem in the hope of producing gridlock.

  22. Jason, after what happened in Florida in 2000 I assumed that everyone realized that their one solitary vote will not affect an election. One vote is merely part of the tally to see which campaign was the most effective. What would we have gained with 11% or 12%? Well, in a close election the losing side would realize that taking even a small percentage of that bloc would be beneficial. I think Nader is a major reason why the Democrats are less centrist like Clinton and more old school left. And even if our vote doesn’t affect either of the major parties, I think many people would see 12% as a decent showing and would be more willing to vote Libertarian in ’04.

  23. it don’t matter who you vote for, their all under the control of the Jesuits anyway.

  24. With that new movement, could we adopt some sort of balanced-budget amendment? It seems that might happen faster than the election of a (currently) minor-party President. There might be enough support from both the majors to get it ratified without having to upset the stinky 2-party system.

    It wouldn’t stop Dems from making the US into the EU, or the Repubs from crafting some kind of Christianist Oligarchy, but it would certainly slow the process.

  25. General Turgidson,
    Nice to see you here, sir. Would you like your rainwater and grain drink?

  26. “Nice to see you here, sir. Would you like your rainwater and grain drink?”

    I think you have Ol’ Bucky confused with Gen. Jack D. Ripper

  27. Jason Ligon,

    “But one can come up with any number of frightening things Dems would have done in addition to what Bush did. And so, in the end, we vote for evil to keep out Evil.”

    Yeah, but if a Dem had been doing it, the Republicans would have acted as an actual opposition party. If a successor to Auntie Jen had proposed the USA Patriot Act in Sept. 2001 (as she almost certainly would), there would have been some debate on it, instead of the sound of one hand clapping.

    As it is, I plan to vote for the Libertarian candidate. I figure if Bush loses by a smaller margin than the Libertarian vote, it will send a message to the party establishment. I hope to God that the Bill Kristol/John Ashcroft wing of the party winds up in the breadlines for the next thirty years.

  28. Ross Perot took just enough votes from George Bush to cause him to lose the 1992 election to Bill Clinton.

    So, in a way of thinking, Ross Perot is responsible for the massacre at Waco.

  29. As much as we may love it, the Libertarian Party is a political non-entity.

    To have our voices heard, we must work within the current system.

    We must:

    1. Pick one the the major parties which is closest to our particular brand of libertarianism.

    2. Join that party.

    3. Volunteer within the party and _actively_ work to promote libertarian ideals _within_ that party.

    Another strategy may work in the future — this is the strategy that will work best today.

  30. EMAIL: master-x@canada.com
    IP: 82.146.43.155
    URL:
    DATE: 02/27/2004 01:22:24
    Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.

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