Anybody But Kerry?


Forget the widely distributed, deeply felt "anybody but Bush" sentiments. It may be that an "anybody but Kerry vote" is starting to take shape. How else to explain Bush's recent gains in polls? The full impact of the Richard A. Clarke imbroglio, etc., is yet to be known, but Gallup says that "Bush Overtakes Kerry," and who's going to disagree?

In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken March 26-28, Bush has pulled ahead of Kerry among registered voters, with a 49 percent to 46 percent lead. In the beginning of the March, those same numbers stood at 45 percent and 50 percent, in Kerry's favor. Anything can still happen of course (and probably will) but I've yet to meet an anti-Bushie who is actually enthused about Kerry, who really comes off a bit too much like the Frankenstein monster without the charm (and the sportscoat) to win many hearts or minds.

Scads of info–none of it all that useful at this point in time, of course, but fun to read anyway–here.

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  1. No question, Joe, there are other factors. Like global economics or nuclear physics, it’s always much more complicated than it seems.

  2. Jeff: That’s the beauty of JFK! He consistently wants your money to give to the killers of the unborn, while only occasionally standing up for your freedom.

  3. “Killers of the unborn.” Hmmmm, let me think that one out for a second. Is that anything like “Hunters of the Undead?” Has sort of a Samuel Z. Arkoff ring to it.

  4. I don’t want to vote for JFK or GWB. Thankfully, I live in California. Unless hell freezes over and it becomes a swing state this year, I can vote for the LP candidate, just like I did when faced w/ Bush v. Gore. I feel that if Bush faced a good candidate, he’d get rounced. Fortunately for him, he’s facing Kerry. This seems like the year for a Perot type 3rd party candidate to come in and win it. Since plenty of my ABB friends aren’t enthused by Kerry and my ABK friends aren’t wild about Bush, the ideal candidate would be ABBoK (except Nader).

  5. Mo-

    Don’t you just love the way our political system (gerrymandering for House and state legislature, electoral college for President) renders most elections uncompetitive? We no longer have to worry about the outcome when we vote, and the politicians don’t need to worry about the outcome either!

  6. I don’t understand how anyone with even vague Libertarian leanings could consider voting for John Kerry. This is a man who:

    – Says he wants to ‘re-regulate’ business. He thinks privatization has gone too far, and that businesses are getting a ‘free ride’ and are ‘out of control’. We need some more good old-fashioned centralized planning and control to keep businesses ‘in check’.

    – Wants universal health care. I live in Canada. We have universal health care. You don’t want it.

    – Votes the straight liberal line (over 90% rating by the Americans for Democratic Action) on policy.

    – Opposed welfare reform.

    – Consistently votes to raise taxes

    – Wants ‘fair trade’, and believes that third world countries should be forced to maintain first-world levels of worker safety, environmental controls, and minimum wages, or face punitive tariffs.

    On just about every issue that matters to Libertarians, with the exception of some civil liberties, Kerry is not only on the wrong side, but is leading the charge. He’s Ted Kennedy without the bad driving habits.

    If you want to see where Kerry’s policies would lead, have a look at Europe. There’s your liberal ideal. High taxes, heavy regulation, government-enforced ‘tolerance’ that is actually highly intolerant, low economic growth, high unemployment, and a burgeoning civil service class.

    Bush is no great shakes either, but Kerry’s desire for meddling is on a whole other level. Given a choice between the Patriot Act and wholesale ‘re-regulation’ of business, I know what I’d choose.

  7. “He’s someone you decide on after you sit down, comparison shop, and make a hard-headed decision.”

    The idea of someone thinking and making a hard-headed decision and then voting for ANY Democrat seems quite odd.

  8. Dan,
    The only reason I would consider voting for Kerry is that the Republican Congress would surely insure that he wouldn’t get his way on his idiotic policies. With Bush and a Republican Congress, he gets his way and doesn’t veto a damn thing. It’s a pragmatic approach rather than a principled one. Fortunately, I don’t have to consider swallowing my pride and voting against my principles.

    Oh yeah, it’s grand. I loved voting against Nancy Pelosi and finding out I was in a club of 18% of other San Franciscans (thankfully, she no longer represents me). I wish they would just do the computer based, geography+population district assignments to get the fairest districts. Of course, what legislature is going to vote for that? States with 1 representative are so lucky.

  9. None of the anti-Kerry points I see made have anything uniquely to do with Kerry himself. The complaints seem to amount to “He’s a liberal.” Well, so’s half the country.

    Jonah Goldberg started in with the ABK about two years ago, when Kerry was the frontrunner. But I don’t recall him expressing any relief when Dean, Clark, Gore, Hillary, or Gephardt were ahead. Then, when Kerry re-emerged, it was back to “Anybody But Kerry.” The only thing that seemed to motivate this animus was his ability to challenge the power of Republicans.

    How many of you claiming to be motivated by a special loathing for John Kerry voted for someone else in the Democratic primary? Didn’t think so.

  10. Dan is right.
    But what do we get with a re-elected Bush? If he really is at heart a big government conservative, then on reelection and without constraint what will he do? How much worse will it be than a big government liberal?
    Then again, if Bush barely wins and the LP gets 10%+ of the vote, a very clear message is sent and the Republicans and Democrats will start restructuring themselves to attract that bloc. Right now, the Dems have abjured libertarianism, which allows the Reps to ignore us. Imagine if both parties were competing for our votes.

    Speaking of electoral college, how’s the Free State Project going?

  11. Nick, is it my imagination, or are you the biggest poll whore around these here parts? Remember, there’s only poll that counts, and it’s not any of the endless little samplings you and other poll-lovers like to throw about as a hollow excuse for discussion.

  12. I’m just picturing President Herman Munster (aka John F. Kerry) sitting on the Oval Office when an aide bursts through the door (cue the dreamy harp music)…

    Aide: Mr. President! Bin Laden has struck again!

    Pres: Darn, darn, darn, darndarndarndarn…

  13. “None of the anti-Kerry points I see made have anything uniquely to do with Kerry himself. The complaints seem to amount to “He’s a liberal.” Well, so’s half the country.”

    No it isn’t. Half the people in the country aren’t even Democrats, and not all Democrats are liberal. People who self-identify as ‘liberal’ make up only something like 10% of the electorate.

    If Kerry’s voting record was average for a Democrat, you’d have a point. But it’s not. He is consistently rated as one of the most liberal, if not the most liberal, member of the Senate. He is far to the left of the Democratic party itself. He’s way to the left of Bill Clinton, who still represents the mainstream of the Democratic party.

    And I wouldn’t pin my hopes on divided government. Imagine the disaster if Kerry wins in ’04, and the Democrats retake the Senate in ’06. For that matter, a Kerry presidency could lead to an 8-year Democratic hold on government (incumbents have a huge advantage), and I sure wouldn’t want to bet my economic freedom on Republicans holding a majority in Congress over several election cycles.

    Vote for the best candidate today. For Libertarians, it seems to me the only two reasonable choices are voting for the Libertarian candidate or for George Bush.

  14. Yeah, Dan, joe doesn’t think saying Kerry is too lefty says anything about Kerry.

    joe: Welcome to your version of my frustration with the ABBs. Harp on the man’s weak oratory and unfortunate facial structure, since his public record apparently says nothing about his beliefs and likely agenda.

    I’m forming the anti-ABB, anti-ABK coalition. Its the AAB (Anti Anybody But). If you’re not for somebody, you’ve given your power to those who are.

    Jeff: JFK already starred in Hunters of the Undead. Most of the people (babies) he shot in Nam were still breathing.

  15. “If Kerry’s voting record was average for a Democrat, you’d have a point. But it’s not. He is consistently rated as one of the most liberal, if not the most liberal, member of the Senate. He is far to the left of the Democratic party itself.”

    Except that’s complete bull, a line created by Republican partisans once they saw that Kerry was likely to win. Barbar Boxer, Ted Kennedy, Jack Reed, Daniel Inouye, Paul Wellstone, and a whole host of others are either more liberal or as liberal as Kerry. You don’t think the same point would be made about nominee Gephardt (the most liberal man in the House), nominee Dean (the most liberal governor in the country) or nominee Clark (the most liberal man in the military)?

    Kerry’s appearance, ability and bio give him an excellent chance to win an election against a Republican. That is what makes him a uniquely loathesome figure to the right, just as Clinton’s electoral strength made him their Public Enemy #1 back in the day.

  16. Joe-

    If Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA), the Democrat who endorsed Bush, were instead the Democrats’ nominee, he’d be lampooned as being a left-wing extremist who will turn this country into a gay-friendly version of the USSR.

    If Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), a Republican only slightly less liberal than (former Republican) Jim Jeffords, were the GOP nominee, liberal groups would be telling us that Chafee is a right-wing extremist who will force the elderly to starve and impose the death penalty on women who use contraception.

    As always, the extremist label is a great way to rally the base.

  17. Jeb Bush is being groomed for Pres in ’08. can’t be veep because Bush/Bush sounds funny. Cheney can be Jeb’s Veep, too.

    My hope would be that MN gov Pawlenty seriously looks at it in ’08 (if he can get reelected). Has been very strongly “no new taxes.” My picture of him has fallen a bit lately: trying to find a way to get stadiums and making same-sex marriage extra-special illegal by amending the state constitution.

    But he’s held the line on state taxes (he’d allow municipality taxes for the stadiums, and maybe debt gimmicks), and when things turn around late this year into next year, he’s going to look golden.

    Go Gophers!

  18. Leave it to Nick Gillepsie to ignore all the other polls taken during this period, and to make a major issue of polls (going either way) that are within the margin of error.

  19. joe: I agree with thoreau about extremist labels…but are you contending that Kerry is not a lefty? Nader has succeeded in making JFK appear as moderate as Clinton?

    From my world (O’Reilly-worshipping uncle), JFK is not particularly loathsome to the righties. Righties bark at Kerry because he’s the QB for the visiting team, but they’re not overly concerned that he’ll actually win the game.

  20. thoreau – “As always, the extremist label is a great way to rally the base.”

    True. That’s why it is confusing to me why counterattacks by Bush are trending toward “He’s a waffler and a flip-flopper on the issues,” rather than “He’s a #$%*$%#% Liberal.”


    A. The term “Liberal,” in and of itself, is perceived as less perjorative than it was before 2000, or

    B. Democrats, generically, thanks to the economy during the Clinton era as over against the economy now, are perceived as more economically moderate and Kerry benefits from this, or

    C. Hell, I dunno.

    Limbaugh and the Fox News Channel attack dogs are the only ones I’m hearing shouting “Liberal” at Kerry’s back at every opportunity.

  21. Jeff-

    “Liberal” is a great way to rally the base, but “waffler” is a better way to scare swing voters.

  22. The oddest thing about recent polls (to me) is the enduring strength of Ralph Nader. He approaches 5%, and will likely get it if he can attain ballot status…even in places where he won’t, many of those voters will NOT vote Kerry as an alternative– particularly if they feel Nader was unfairly deprived of ballot status.

    Although I frankly don’t understand it (I would be livid if I were a liberal) this MUST be the stake in Kerry’s heart…although I don’t see him having a good chance even absent Nader, he has none, with Nader.

    In part, the Nader following has to indicate that their really IS something unattractive about Kerry, himself (it is difficult to believe the problem lies in his positions).

    The pollsters all seem to feel that expressed preferences so far really ARE likely to hold till November…so it really isn’t to early too start making projections.

    At a guess: Bush 53/55% Kerry 45/48% Nader 3/5%

    About 3rd parties. Maybe the Dems SHOULD have run Dean, to be rid of Nader (or someone like him) for a generation. There is no difference between 49/49%…losing is losing, and actual– and potential– third-party voters who are persuaded to yank the handle for a mainstream party tend to get the habit.

  23. Yank the handle. heh hehheh heheh heh.

  24. “I agree with thoreau about extremist labels…but are you contending that Kerry is not a lefty?”

    Not at all. He is a liberal for sure. But not especially so, certainly not when compared to his primary opponents. Since he’s not outstandingly liberal, the charge that the ABK position is based on opposition to liberal extremism silly on its face.

  25. Andrew-

    All that matters is where those Naderites live. Nationwide polls that don’t break down state-by-state don’t tell you how a close election will be decided.

    On a related note: Nader is getting money from Republicans now. It was recently reported that even Ben Stein gave some money to Nader. Nader and I now have something in common, since I also won some of Ben Stein’s money a few years ago. I made it to the final round, but he beat me 5-4, so I only got the $850 that I had going in. If I had just gotten 1 more question I’d have tied for an extra $1000. I still kick myself sometimes…

  26. “I don’t understand how anyone with even vague Libertarian leanings could consider voting for John Kerry.”

    It really is about dividing the government and putting the executive and legislative branches
    at odds again.

    Bush won’t use the veto and his majority in Congress either gives him what he wants or MORE THAN what he wants.

    We need some partisan competition back in the mix.

  27. Jean Bart, ALL the polls taken lately show a rise in support for Bush and a drop for Kerry in the last month, even those taken after the Clarke foofaraw.

  28. “Not at all. He is a liberal for sure. But not especially so, certainly not when compared to his primary opponents.”

    Not according to Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal group which rates senators based on their ‘liberal friendly’ vote record. Kerry consistently comes out near the top of their list.

    In order of decreasing liberalness, the serious candidates’ ranks were:

    1. John Kerry
    2. John Edwards
    3. Dick Gephardt
    4. Joe Lieberman

    Howard Dean would probably fit somewhere between Kerry and Edwards, but I never considered him a serious candidate. He was a lightweight who captured a fleeting mood and shot to the top until people figured out who he was.

  29. Only one choice: Condi in ’08!

  30. I’m with shanep on this one. I think Kerry has a decent chance to beat Bush unless the economy skyrockets, we frag Bin Laden’s butt, AND an Iraqi election picks a moderate, pro-West government, all before November.

    But, a President Kerry won’t have any sort of mandate, nor coattails. I personally was much more comfortable with a Dem in the White House and Republicans in control of the Hill, and that’s the best I’m able to hope for in the forseeable future.

  31. thoreau

    Well…a lot of those Nader votes appear to be concentrated in states Kerry will need to be at least mindful of (and any one of which he MUSTN’T lose)– and , frankly, the Nader surge has got to LOOK embarassing to a Kerry who has themed his campaign on “momentum” and “electability”: what is “electable” about a guy who can’t squash Nader?

    Typo– meant to say no difference between 40/49%.
    For a political party that means to endure over time, HOW YOU LOSE has got to be important.

    I think Republicans would have been FAR better off throwing ’96 with Forbes, or someone like Keyes, than the demoralizing rout they experienced with “reasonable” Bob Dole– 2000 might have been a solid victory for Bush, rather than a steal, if he had appeared to vindicate a spirited Quixote.

    Deep down most Dems knew Bush likely had 2004…and this explains a lot of their “irrational” behavior– boomlet for Dean, defections to Nader…hey, SING GOING DOWN!– because they can’t stand the guy! Why not give THEM something to cheer for?

    The Dems have got to have an excellent chance in 2008, and all the time in the world to run to the Center…only the activists will remember they fell off the left edge in ’04. And right now the machine needs to recruit the activists for ’08– the guys who will work 16-hour days, in the last 18 months– it is way too early to raise money, or position the candidate (or even select one). What you need are people…and people are moved by passions.

  32. Andrew, I agree with you, but I do think those passions are heating up in the Dem camp sufficiently that the Bush boys may be in for another one-termer.

    My folks are real yellow-doggers. Through them, I was able to personally meet all the potential nominees at one point or other. More importantly, I was able to meet their advance people, staffers and volunteers. The dyed-in-the-woolers in the Democratic party are PISSED, and the younger volunteers are sharper, more focused, and more determined then I’ve seen them in twelve years. The fact that there are any Democratic campaign workers younger than 40 is something in itself. They have an early standard bearer, and, I think, a solid chance to pull off a marginal victory, particularly if Kerry is wise in his choice of a running mate.

    The only thing missing are the unions, and I think what’s left of them got coopted by Kerry because so many of the remaining active union guys are Vietnam generation. If the outsourcing controversy has any legs – which it will, if I have anything to say about it. hehehehe – perhaps the unions will regain some significance.

    In short, I wouldn’t discount Kerry, at least not at this early juncture.

  33. I don’t see how anyone can vote for Geoerge W. Here we have on of the most unintelligent, uninformed presidence in recent memory, and there is still a degree of support for him.

    This is one of the reasons why I don’t have much faith in Libertarian minded people. It really does seem to come down to taxation, and not civil liberties.

    With GW, you have a socially conservative, big spending president. Unless Libertarians drop their obsessive whining over taxation, and begin to seriously acknowledge the threat to civil liberties that the Republican party represents, I’ll accept Kerry as the lesser of two evils.

  34. None-

    You forgot about guns.

  35. thoreau

    You are quite right– one of the assumptions (quite debateable) of the “divided-government” model is that the Democratic President (hopefully) thwarted by the Republican congress on BIG issues, like massive new entitlements and steep tax increases, will pretty much get his way on the “little things” dear to his heart…

    which would be a plus I suppose, to the kind of Libertarian who thinks Gay Marriage and partial-birth abortions are really cool-stuff

    provided he can stomach additional smoking bans, more gun control (tough-guy Kerry doubtless has one packaged as an alternative anti-terrorism approach), and more extrensive affirmative-action programs…to name only a few initiatives some liberal energiser bunny is sure to want.

    As for the everyday fluff…I will bet you just can’t wait for the next Public Apology for some chomskyite historical “wrong”!

  36. It’s true Kerry is most uninspiring, but in any case, this election will be a referendum on Bush. As for the polls, ignore them until after Labor Day.

  37. Good point, but today’s images of a charred American corpse being dragged through the streets of Falujah and hung from a bridge could swing the polls back in Kerry’s direction just as quickly. I mean, it’s only March, after all. IMO, in an election liek this any poll taken before October 31st will be pretty meaningless.

  38. Seen those “Dated Dean, Married Kerry” bumper stickers?

    Kerry is not someone you fall in love with at first sight, like Clinton or Reagan or Dean or Shrub were for some people. He’s someone you decide on after you sit down, comparison shop, and make a hard-headed decision. If he were a baseball player, he’d be picked in the second round by Oakland, and the old fashioned scouts would all be scratching their heads. Remember the primaries – undecideds break for Kerry.

    Remember the polls during the primary season showing the generic Democrat trouncing Bush? Well, we’ve nominated the most generic Democrat ever to walk the earth.

  39. But Joe, those undecideds were Democrat undecideds. And the reason they broke for Kerry was due to his question-begging “electability,” not because they liked him.

    Mickey Kaus has been on this a while. Kerry is a rotten choice. He’s lucky he’s running in an election that’s about George Bush, not John Kerry.

  40. “And the reason they broke for Kerry was due to his question-begging “electability,” not because they liked him.”

    Wouldn’t the factors that made him the most electable – the military service, the appearance, the experience, the responsibility – be MORE important to the national electorate than to the more ideological Democratic primary voters?

  41. “Remember the polls during the primary season showing the generic Democrat trouncing Bush? Well, we’ve nominated the most generic Democrat ever to walk the earth.”

    That probably has more to do with the fact that voters know Bush’s flaws, whereas a generic unknown candidate doesn’t have flaws to know. Remember when nobody knew anything about Colin Powell so he polled in the 70s? Same idea.

    The more people get to know about Kerry, the less likeable he is.

  42. Visualize President Frankenstein!

  43. As a veteran Anyone But Gore voter, I have to say that the loathesomeness of these candidates is very balanced.

    I have historically voted against Democrats, as they are openly hostile to me on about three of my top five issues, and I think that the Santa Claus of modern liberalism is frightening because of its potentially broad appeal. I have heard all of the gripes that conservatives aren’t any better, but I always felt that I was choosing between someone who would reduce government influence in my life if they could, and someone who very openly wants to take more of my money so as to create the Great Society or whathaveyou.

    Now I have Bush and Kerry to look at. Bush spends and spends and spends, and I would love to vote for Kerry to send a message. Then I hear Kerry speak. His gripe with the medicare bill? Not enough spent. His gripe with education? Not enough spent. He may believe that we should reduce the size of the military, but I haven’t heard that yet, and I doubt I will given the current environment. He complains about the war, but I support it in principle.

    So I hate them both, and I am left with the divided government concept. The problem there is that I have no way of knowing what will happen in the mid term elections, so I always seem to return to the idea of what happens if Donkeys get what they want vs. what happens if Elephants get what they want?

    Am I willing to send a message about spending to the conservatives if it costs me another gun witch hunt? Does voting libertarian and abdicating the decision help, or is it tacit endorsement of the locally popular guy? Yuk.

  44. “Visualize President Frankenstein!”

    I’m guessing that he’d be a shoe in for the Green Party–“Fire Bad!”

    But he’d be strong on biotech.

  45. The Peter Boyle Frankenstein, or the Boris Karloff Frankenstein?

  46. Andrew: When you wrote “divided-government” model, you reminded me that we’re supposed to have a third arm of government to help keep the other two from exercising supra-constitutional powers.

    Righties controlling both the White House and Congress want to require arousal at any mention of the flag? No go, as the Supremes remind them of the 1st Amendment. Lefties, in their turn attempt to confiscate all firearms, and the Supremes say, nope the 2nd & 5th don’t let you do that.

    But then I think the Supremes have grown too big for their britches, too.

    A fourth arm, empowered to tell any of the other three to “sit down and shut up”, might be useful. I guess that’s what the People are for. Too bad they don’t seem to care.

  47. Draft Ron Paul and let those bums eat the big one.

  48. Anybody read that Dean–John Dean, not Howard–has started speaking against Bush? When a Nixon flunky says he fears your effects on democracy, you KNOW you’re evil.

    Let me see if I can find the link to that story.

  49. The Herman Munster Frankenstein! Put up a proper picture!

    As with all presidential elections, this will be a choice of the lesser of two evils (raising yet again the prospect of voting for Chthulhu, of which one NEVER tires).

    To send a message to big-government whig republicans, do you not vote, vote libertarian, or vote Kerry. Only the second choice sends a clear message. The third sends no message and increases the likelihood of electing an even bigger statist.

    Or do tax cuts and strong military action against terrorism and quasi-terroris trump all and compel a vote for Bush, nose held tightly.

    Tell me about that Chthulhu guy again . . .

  50. Here is an article interviewing Dean and his views of the Bush White House in comparision with Nixon.

  51. Remember the polls during the primary season showing the generic Democrat trouncing Bush? Well, we’ve nominated the most generic Democrat ever to walk the earth.

    Well said. This is why I’m leaning toward the ABK camp, hard as it is to forego the pleasure of seeing Bush get the defeat he abundantly deserves.

  52. Nick says, “I’ve yet to meet an anti-Bushie who is actually enthused about Kerry, who really comes off a bit too much like the Frankenstein monster without the charm.”

    Joe asks, “The Peter Boyle Frankenstein, or the Boris Karloff Frankenstein?”

    I say, “the Frankenstein that wastes a minute of our time on Conan every now and again.” Maybe Conan’s Frankie will need a vacation in the next few months. During the interval, Kerry can step in to win over voter’s hearts: “John Kerry wastes a minute of our time…” A minute’s OK; four years seems like a monstrously long time, though.

  53. Wow, Jason, get out of my head, you’re scaring me, man. Seriously, is the fact that you have described exactly my thinking on this election just a weird coincidence, or does this tiny statistical sample represent a trend?

    I had a feeling back before the primaries that this was going to be exactly like 2000–a “who do I hate less” election. Although I did have a little hope then (foolish me) for a small(er) gov’t pres in Bush. Thing is, as big a disappointment as W. has been, I still don’t regret voting against Gore.

    I’m seriously tempted to just go LP this time. Both candidates suck and Congress is too close for a good “divided gov’t” vote. The one tipping factor for me is that Bush will definitely be gone in four years either way, and I don’t see a Cheney administration happening.

  54. Wouldn’t the factors that made him the most electable – the military service, the appearance, the experience, the responsibility – be MORE important to the national electorate than to the more ideological Democratic primary voters?

    Well, actually no. The “electability” factor in the dem primaries was really “I want Dean because he hates Bush more than all the other guys, but he can’t get elected because he’s, uh, nuts. So I’d better vote for a guy who probably hates Bush almost as much as Dean but looks more sane and sober.” The more objective electability factors you mention cut as much in Bush’s favor as Kerry’s among Repubs and undecideds.

  55. First, if you don’t live in a swing state, your vote doesn’t really matter, so go ahead and vote LP. Right now there are 18 designated swing states (see your pollsters for details), but by November that will probably be winnowed down to fewer than 10, as one side or the other establishes an advantage in some of the swing states.

    So a lot of us will be able to vote LP without having to worry about the effect on the outcome. Ditto for House races and state legislative races: Thanks to gerrymandering, most legislative races aren’t competitive, so you can safely vote LP without having to worry that a “greater evil” will beat a “lesser evil.”

    Thank God for the Electoral College: It spares most of us from making tough choices 🙂

  56. I’ve voted straight LP (in California!) for the past 10 years, and never regretted my wasted votes. Let’s hear it for mindless ideology!

  57. “…and I don’t see a Cheney administration happening.”

    I was sure that Cheney would be off the ticket and there would be someone being groomed to succeed Shrub.

    Once more I seem to be wrong. But seriously, does anyone think of Cheney as Prez. His health alone counts against him.

  58. “So I’d better vote for a guy who probably hates Bush almost as much as Dean but looks more sane and sober.”

    That would apply equally well to Gephardt and Edwards (who is probably the most “electable” of any of the Dem primary candidates). So clearly, there other factors at work than electability.

  59. Somebody explain to me how Kerry critics can go after him as a waffler and flip-flopper but then hit him for a consistenly liberal voting record. Seems contradictory.

    If he’s a waffler, that would make him a Moderate, wouldn’t it? If he’s an unrepentant Liberal, how then is he inconsistent?

    Political rhetoric never fails to amuse.

  60. It’s interesting to note that “Jean Bart” regularly kicks the ass of pseudo-Libertarian/Republican-in-dsiguise-but-I-can’t-forcefully-defend-the-platform, posters on here.

  61. I’ve often thought of how to create a “fourth branch” to add to the checks and balances without the fourth branch being either too powerful, too redundant, too much of a figurehead, etc.

    So far no luck. Any thoughts?

  62. thoreau

    For the political heavy lifting required to contrive a MAJOR change in the structure of American government, why wouldn’t it just be easier to pass your agenda, and leave the structure as is?

    Nothing now prevents the American people from achieving a radically smaller and less intrusive governance, if a real consensus for such a change existed. American government is responsive enough to achieve such a change if a solid majority favored it– and it will change should ever such a majority arise.

    There really isn’t anything ALL that wrong with life in America now…that isn’t wrong with life in the real world anywhere– and there is a lot LESS wrong with life in America than in most other places at most times.

    All the tools neeeded to make American society more free on the margin are already there. And all the tools needed to make American society radically more free are already there. We are NOT waiting on another amendment or another article in our constitution…we are waiting on a consensus for major change. I don’t see how your status-quo model for “divided government” would contribute.

    (thoreau…someone called me a “pseudo-libertarian”– a REAL warrior, no doubt. What should I DO?)

  63. Andrew-

    First, I mostly agree that a 4th branch would probably be superfluous, since a movement with the clout to enact that change would have the clout to enact its agenda without that change. Still, it’s something I ponder now and then. Never hurts to think…

    Second, if somebody called you a pseudo libertarian, you should probably do the mirror-image of my response. When my libertarian credentials are questioned I usually say “Yeah, real libertarians only care about taxes, guns, and warmongering.” But since you’re being criticized for being (allegedly) too “right wing”, you should say “Yeah, real libertarians only care about porn, pot, and leaving dictators in power.”

    Personally, I don’t question your libertarian credentials. I’m inclined to apply the “L-word” to anybody who genuinely favors smaller government. The fact that there are so many differences of opinion among libertarians simply means that we approach things from a wide range of viewpoints and motives. We might not agree on everything, but we want a government that is significantly smaller than the current one.

    That diversity could be used as a strength, since it would mean we can appeal to multiple segments of the electorate. Sadly, however, it’s used as a weakness, since we fall to bickering.

  64. thoreau,

    Of course the problem is that he does not favor smaller government. To be blunt I have yet to see Andrew criticize any government program, initiative, etc.

  65. thoreau

    In the 80’s I had a friend in the Commerce Department (NOAA) who got me a 12-volume set of the Federal budget, and I spent the next couple of years playing wish-list games (using a lot of Heritage reccomendations) on where to place imaginary “cuts”…came up with several different packages.

    It was a great hobby, and a great education in public policy…and interests me not at all anymore.

    The big state (which is a feature of essentially EVERY modern society) may whither away someday…but only when the dynamic of capitalism has left most of what contemporaries consider critical social problems so far behind in historical memory, that it just won’t appear to matter anymore.

    Till then, the health of the market economy in general is priority. That economy can bear the weight of a lot of bullshit, obviously.

  66. Looks like this thread may drop. S’pose I could…




    There…everybody happy? Are we having a quality libertarian experience?

  67. None, you mean by calling Bloomie a Republican? Wow, anyone who is even half informed knows that the only reason Bloomie ran as an R was because the D’s didn’t want him as their candidate. I suppose by obfuscating things like that I could kick the ass of any “liberal-in-disguise” too. But I’m too honest to do that.

  68. If by ‘kicking ass’, you mean being boorish and obnoxious and repeatedly insulting those who disagree with him, well then…

  69. Oh, and None, I’m curious as to why John Kerry is going to be any better than Bush. Thoroeau already pointed out the gun thing (though I’m 110% positive he was being sarcastic/mocking). What was Kerry’s position on Waco, Ruby Ridge, Elian Gonzalez?

  70. Geotech,

    Jealousy and envy on your part are not substitutes for discussion and debate.

  71. J,

    “Wow, anyone who is even half informed knows that the only reason Bloomie ran as an R was because the D’s didn’t want him as their candidate.”

    Republicans embraced him when he won; at least they can be consistently crass.

  72. ‘a Kerry who has themed his campaign on “momentum” and “electability”‘

    Kerry hasn’t based his campaign on either of those things, but on foreign policy credibility, fiscal resposibility, a different set of military/security priorities, shoring up the homefront, and expanding health care.

    Momentum and electability are media created memes.

  73. Don,

    Actually, nearly every poll has the candidates divided by the margin of error; if there was a ten point difference between the two candidates, that would be something to draw attention to; but at least three of these polls show a shread of two points or less.


    What’s wrong with partial birth abortions (of course the technique doesn’t actually exist, but I’ll humor you)?

    “…provided he can stomach additional smoking bans, more gun control…”

    You mean like that under Republican mayor of New York? Or Republican governor of New York? *chuckle*

  74. I agree with Andrew that the US Constitution gives the people a mechanism to tell even the Supremes to shut up. My lament is the people are happy handing responsibility and control of their lives to the nanny state. There seems little recognition that any entitlement given to one requires an extraction from another, and that what one finds reprehensible probably causes them no harm beyond the mental hiccup “I can’t believe somebody wants to do that gross thing”.

    A constitutional convention might cause the people to think through all the effects of the promises made by the government. And it could save the one or two generations it takes to replace all the legislating Supremes. But, the people don’t care as long as Leviathan hasn’t hurt them yet. It is a tribute to American ingenuity (and very fortunate historical timing) that they can do so well even with a giant state draining and constraining their lives.

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