Silver State Lining

|

Joe hips us to this Tom Oliphant story suggesting Michael Badnarik may tip Nevada to Kerry:

For folks on the right who don't like the Bush administration's big government conservatism, be it federal spending or the Patriot Act, Bednarik is a credible, if marginal player in a state where "Leave Me Alone" is a slogan with resonance. With the presidential race either dead even (Democratic view) or showing a tiny Bush lead (Republican view), Bednarik's [sic] 3 percent in recent surveys comes into play more than Nader's even smaller numbers.

If you're concerned about what this means for broader political economy, have no fear: Oliphant still can't be bothered to talk to Badnarik or anybody from his campaign.

Me, I wish I were a more enthusiastic Bush supporter–or actually, any kind of Bush supporter–so I could send Badnarik one of those "Sorry, kid, this just ain't your year" open letters The Nation sends to Ralph Nader every election.

NEXT: How Public Is Your Figure?

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

  1. Speaking of having the Arab-American/sleeper cell vote in your hip pocket!

  2. Nevada is definitely the place for libertarians to campaign, seeing as how they’re phasing out laws altogether.

    Also, I hear that if the margin is close enough Nevada will skip the recount and let Don King pick the electors.

    Finally, to exhaust my supply of Nevada-related humor, does anybody know how the Reno Sheriff’s Department will vote?

  3. Oliphant mentions Yucca Mountain toward the end of his piece, but it’s almost as an afterthought; I think it’s probably a bigger deal than that. How much of Badnarik’s showing in Nevada can be attributed to Bush’s support of Yucca Mountain?

    P.S. Does Badnarik spell his name in more than one way?

  4. I always found it odd in Idaho that libertarians didn’t do better than they did. The “Leave Me Alone” fervor is even stronger there, and distrust of government is quite normal (even among the non-separatists).

  5. lol…. good catch Ken. “Michael Badnarik: Important enough to affect the presidential election. Not important enough to get the spelling of his name checked.”

  6. “I could send Badnarik one of those “Sorry, kid, this just ain’t your year” open letters The Nation sends to Ralph Nader every election…”

    Apparently part of Badnarik’s appeal to the party rank-and-file was his response to the “wasted vote” argument.

    Badnarik argued that if someone was facing the death penalty and had a 50% chance of death-by-lethal injection, a 45% chance of death-by-hanging, and a 5% chance of escape, wouldn’t the party of Liberty opt for escape no matter how high the odds?

    This drew thunderous applause at the party convention and catapulted him past Russo and Nolan.

    I have no problem if Badnarik starts upsetting GOP calculations. Judging by some of the more condescending posts we saw here during the RNC, it seems like most GOPers think they have the libertarians in their hip pocket.

  7. I wonder when Badnarik will get more media attention. He’s on more ballots than any other third party candidate. If he gets more votes than any other third party candidate I wonder what the punditocracy will say.

    On second thought, never mind. They’ll probably debate whether or not Nader was a factor in [insert swing state here].

  8. There’s a pretty big difference between the Democrat/Green situation, and the Republican/LP situation.

    The Green Party is, for the most part, like the Democrats, only more extreme. The LP, on the other hand, in diametrically opposed to the GOP on several matters.

    When Nader or Cobb say there is no difference between the Dems and Reps from a Green perspective, it’s bull. The Democrats are much more in line with Green thinking than the GOP. When Badnarik says there’s no difference between the two big parties to a libertoid, he’s telling the truth. Both are equidistant from where a libertarian thinks the right politics are located.

    So, when Green voters hand the race to a Republican, they’re shooting themselves in the foot, trading Not Good for Very, Very Bad. When LP voters tip the race to a Dem, they’re trading one variety of Very Bad for another.

  9. Nevada used to be a lot more libertarian than it is now. The state of the Sagebrush rebellion, and legalized prostitution and gambling, has had a lot of California immigrants. Recently the state republicans have voted to raise taxes. Medical Marijuana, and the no helmet law failed at the ballot box. And some of the other laws regarding motorcycles are downright gestapo.

  10. Thoreau,
    Despite the show, there is no such thing as the Reno Sheriff Dept.

  11. Wait, did joe actually just make a complimentary observation about the LP?

  12. SR-

    No doubt some people will use joe’s apparently complimentary statements about the LP as one more reason not to vote LP. ;->

    joe-

    I don’t know that libertarians are really equidistant from Democrats and Republicans. I think it would be more accurate to simply say that on some issues there are profound disagreements between Republicans and many libertarian. I fully agree, however, that the differences between the LP and the GOP are sharper than the difference between the Dems and the Greens.

  13. Badnarik’s a nut.

    If elected he said he’d phase the troops out of iraq in 90 days.

    Whether or not you agreed with going in, there’s no doubt that we have to stay in to maintain stability.

    I was gonna vote LP on principle this year, but now I can’t even do that.

  14. “If elected he said he’d phase the troops out of iraq in 90 days.”

    That’s not such an extreme view. On the other hand, his conspiracy theory about federal involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing, his general “We brought 9/11 on ourselves” schtick, and his boilerpate party recitations on privatizing everything and pulling out of everywhere show him to be yet another in a long line of LP-nominated fruitbats.

  15. Whether or not you agreed with going in, there’s no doubt that we have to stay in to maintain stability.

    Of course, assuming that staying in will eventually lead to stability. I heard a lot about what will happen when the US goes in, but none of that came to reality. So I have to admit, I have lots of doubts. But, right now, staying in seems like a good idea, I agree, but say if it goes 5 years or more, will we look back and think, “why did we even go?”

    (Note: I have been trying to follow Kerry’s speaking and whatever he has, has stricken me.)

  16. IF Badnarik does no better than his predecessors you guys have only two options, well three:
    1) the Free State Project, which I am interested in watching from a historical perspective. I have a daytime job, but several of my friends are writers. I think the FSP would make an excellent poli sci/sociology study at a minimum. It’ll be a LONG haul but interesting, IF it comes off; or
    2) Boortz says you guys have 200 candidates in Oregon… another long haul but if you can get 10-20 elected that’s a start. Then you have to take over a town… then a governorship. Another long haul; or
    3) If 1 or 2 don’t come off, come over to the dark side. You have more in common with the GOP than the Democrats. The Dem’s are NOT going to end the war on drugs and the Leftist/Progressives and you will never get along AND they are too entrenched to be easily turfed out. If Sam Nunn couldn’t beat the McGovernites I don’t think you will either.
    You stand a better chance in MY party. Ask yourselves this question, “Who did more for the Counter-Culture, Abbie Hoffman or Tom Hayden?” Answer, Tom Hayden… he joined the Democratic party and he and the likes of Ted Kennedy did more to advance the Progressive cause than any number of Hippies, Yippies, SDS, DSA, or Weathermen.
    Same for you guys. There’s room for compromise on asset forfeiture, you’ve got some GREAT anecdotes to back you up. On social issues you may get about 50-60% of what you want…. with the LP you’ll get 0% of what you want. I think the only issue, that for me, is non-negotiable is Abortion. And according to Bootz, IIRC, he thinks a good 30-plus% of the LP is Pro-Life. Abortion, at least under Roe v. Wade and modern Feminism, ain’t real Libertarian…only one consenting adult has a say in the issue. I think Libertarians have been caught up in the word “Choice” and the fact that the Religious oppose Abortion, and let’s be honest Religion and the LP are an uncomfortable mix. Now if you’re a single issue Libertarian, and abortion is that issue, stay LP. But I think you’ll discover as Hayden and McGovern did that a national party is much the better place for you than the LP.
    Bottom-Line: Libertarians have a long haul ahead of them, no matter what. But if Badnarik does what LP candidates normally do, less than the Communists and Buchanan, and there isn’t any local power base, you’d better come on over. The GOP can use you… and you can use us. As Bob Seger sang, “I used her she used me neither one cared” All you got to do is want to win and see some portion of your ideology in place. Me I expect my grandchildren to see the Great Society of Libertarian-Conservative Ideals. I think we’re at 1932 and that we have a long row to hoe to get to our equivalent of 1964.
    Are you willing to put in the sweat equity or do you just want to sit on the sidelines, saying how you’d do thinkgs different and better?

  17. Badnarik argued that if someone was facing the death penalty and had a 50% chance of death-by-lethal injection, a 45% chance of death-by-hanging, and a 5% chance of escape, wouldn’t the party of Liberty opt for escape no matter how high the odds?

    The fact that that argument actually made sense to the delegates is, itself, an excellent example of why the party is beyond hope.

    Badnarik’s odds of winning aren’t 5%. His only way of winning would be for tens of millions of Bush and Kerry voters to accidentally punch the “Badnarik” box by mistake. The odds of that happening are many orders of magnitude worse than the odds of all life on Earth being wiped out by a meteor strike on Election Day. There’s no reason at all to vote for Badnarik; you might as well stay home and hope that Big Rocks from the Sky put you out of your misery.

    The real choice is (metaphorically) between “death by hanging” and “death by lethal injection”. Rational libertarians choose the option that hurts the least. If I go for “death by lethal injection” this time, maybe next time the election will be between “death by lethal injection” and “life in prison”… with luck and effort, the options might slowly move in the right direction. This has happened in the past (compare Nixon’s price caps and rationing to Reagan’s deregulatory frenzy, for example).

    But such a sensible attitude is, of course, a violation of Party dogma; REAL Libertarians pray for an act of God and whine when they don’t get one.

    I don’t know that libertarians are really equidistant from Democrats and Republicans

    Well, I’ve known a lot of Libertarians who lumped people into two groups: (1) those who agree with all Libertarian priciples completely and without exception and (2) the other 6 billion people on Earth. So there are some Libertarians who see themselvese as equidistant from both the Democrats and Republicans, inasmuch as they see themselves as infinitely removed from both.

  18. Oh Dan, you make my heart sing… Don’t let the LP have your address. Remember, we pity the Heathen, but we reserve our maximum hate for the Apostate! No one can hurt us more than one who used to be one of us… no one is worse than a converted Catholic or a lapsed Jew, or apparently someone that was once close to the LP.
    I say you are UNCLEAN, LEPER… BLASPHEMER! If I had a rock I’d stone you… well really no, but Badnarik, Rick Barton or Kevin Carson might…

  19. Joe L,

    Lay off the speed. 🙂

  20. But Dan, to quote Braveheart: “We do not have to beat them. Just fight them.”
    Causing the GOP to lose a couple of states or an election will do more to pull the GOP toward libertarian ideals than will just going along and voting for the lesser evil, which yes, is traditionally the republican. While I would have sawn off my left foot to keep Gore out of the Whitehouse, I could stand 4 years of Kerry if the next president got serious about fiscal conservatism, shrinking the government, reducing taxes and laid off the gay marriage and abortion crap.

    ::Wishful thinking:: Think of all the laws they could have repealed and agencies they could have axed with the time they spend debating a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT about marriage. How could a libertarian close their eyes to the party trying their best to disenfranchise an unpopular minority.
    When asked about gay marriage, I think Dolly Parton said it best “Hell yes, [gay] people should have to suffer just like the rest of us.”

  21. “Causing the GOP to lose a couple of states or an election will do more to pull the GOP toward libertarian ideals than will just going along and voting for the lesser evil, which yes, is traditionally the republican.”

    Or, it could cause the Republicans to cut loose deficit hawk/isolatinist/small government conservatism once and for all, and base its platform on Kristol/McCain National Greatness Conservatism.

    I think that’s already happening, and the best thing libertarians can do to get their pov into the conversation is to use their votes as a carrot to budge the Democratic party.

  22. joe,

    The Democratic Party establishment is the left wing of the corporate establishment. They agree with the GOP on GATT, NAFTA, and an interventionist foreign policy. Kerry voted for USA Patriot. Shit, he’s accused Bush of being “soft” on Hugo Chavez.

    It’s true there’s a “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party that has a lot in common with the Greens. But you could say the same thing about a libertarian strand in the GOP. As far as the two party establishments go, they have more in common with each other than with either Greens or Libertarians. They just adopts different positions on things like gay marriage and abortion because they have to disagree on *something*, and it’s a good way to create name-brand loyalty.

  23. Kevin-

    I more or less agree. Statisticians say that once upon a time income was the best predictor of voting patterns. Today it’s still a decent predictor, but now church attendance is a much better predictor.

    I have this theory, which may be completely insane, that over the next 20 years a realignment will occur, and at the end the Dems will be fiscally conservative and socially liberal, sort of like the old school Yankee Republicans of long ago, and the GOP will be the party of God and Pork.

    The GOP is already well on its way there. Between the embrace of cultural issues and the complete repudiation of its major small gov’t planks of yesteryear (e.g. prescription drug bill, massive expansion of the Dept. of Education, etc.), they’ve basically become the party of pork and God.

    The only thing is that the Dems aren’t quite the party of fiscal conservatism yet. Yes, joe, I know, you can point to elements of that in the party. Fact remains that there’s an awful lot of big spending and big regulating Democrats in the party. There’s an awful lot of people who thought that the only problem with the Medicare bill was that it wasn’t generous enough.

    My theory is that as the old guard slowly passes, they will be replaced by a younger generation that is feeling the pain of Medicare and Social Security for the boomer retirement. I have no illusions that the Dems would eventually push for privatization, but I could see them pushing for cuts.

    Meanwhile, as the GOP drinks more and more of the Bush Kool-Aid and spends more and more while becoming ever more theocratic, they’ll turn off a lot of upper-income voters who conclude 2 things:
    1) Well, the Democrats aren’t really much worse on spending (yes, I know, they are at the moment, but if the GOP keeps going downhill all bets are off)
    2) This theocracy stuff is simply too distasteful.

    If the Dems win socially liberal young voters who want a cut in their payroll taxes, plus more and more business owners, we might see the re-emergence of the old school New England Republicans, now bearing the label “Democrats.” Who knows? Maybe George H. W. Bush would join…

  24. But Dan, to quote Braveheart: “We do not have to beat them. Just fight them.”

    Because that attitude worked out so well for Scotland. The country’s self-determination is largely limited to picking kilt patterns.

    Causing the GOP to lose a couple of states or an election will do more to pull the GOP toward libertarian ideals

    There is no basis for that belief. It didn’t work for Nader. It didn’t work for Perot. It didn’t even work for Wallace. It’s not going to work for the Libertarians, either.

    Think of all the laws they could have repealed and agencies they could have axed with the time they spend debating a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT about marriage.

    That’s certainly a Pollyannaish view of Congress. A more realistic view is that time spent debating a pointless constitutional amendment is time not spent passing massive new spending bills and/or regulations.

    How could a libertarian close their eyes to the party trying their best to disenfranchise an unpopular minority.

    I don’t close my eyes to it. I strongly dislike the Republican Party’s social conservatism. It’s just not a major factor for me, because in the long run they’re not going to succeed in doing it, and in the short run I consider the war to be a few orders of magnitude more important than gay marriage.

  25. Dan-

    I think that when Guy said:

    Think of all the laws they could have repealed and agencies they could have axed with the time they spend debating a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT about marriage.

    He wasn’t actually saying that they would have spent their time doing something more constructive had this amendment proposal not come along. Instead, he was pointing out that for all of the talk of small gov’t, the Congressional Republicans (or at least their leadership) assigned higher priority to the marriage amendment than to anything that might actually make the gov’t smaller.

  26. The only thing is that the Dems aren’t quite the party of fiscal conservatism yet

    In the sense that they would need to repudiate their entire platform in order to become fiscal conservatives, yeah, I guess you could say that. Unless you define a “fiscal conservative” as a person who thinks it’s ok to spend as much money as you want to as long as you jack up everyone’s taxes to pay for it.

    they’ll turn off a lot of upper-income voters who conclude 2 things:
    1) Well, the Democrats aren’t really much worse on spending

    Upper-income voters aren’t especially concerned about spending; they’re concerned about *taxes*. Republicans favor lower taxes than Democrats, and that’s not likely to change within our lifetimes.

    Now it may be that upper-income voters will eventually become concerned with deficits again. But that isn’t going to make them want to have their taxes raised; it’s going to make them want the government to cut all those social and medical programs that they personally don’t need. There’s a chance of the Republican Party supporting that; there is zero chance that the Democrats will.

    (yes, I know, they are at the moment, but if the GOP keeps going downhill all bets are off)

    The GOP consistently calls for less non-military spending than the Democratic Party does. So why are “all bets off” if current trends continue?

    2) This theocracy stuff is simply too distasteful.

    The Republicans are becoming steadily less theocratic, not more. Have people completely forgotten the Moral Majority? The open opposition to AIDS research funding on the grounds that the disease was God’s punishment for gays? The Meese Commission on porn? Anyone who thinks that fundamentalist dominance of the Republican Party is on the rise has either forgotten the 1980s or is too young to remember them.

  27. “‘Causing the GOP to lose a couple of states or an election will do more to pull the GOP toward libertarian ideals'”

    “There is no basis for that belief. It didn’t work for Nader. It didn’t work for Perot. It didn’t even work for Wallace. It’s not going to work for the Libertarians, either”

    First of all, it DID work for Perot. Deficit reduction was adopted by both parties, after they saw it could take away their votes.

    But the parallel between the Greens/Dems and Libs/GOP is mistaken. The Greens are located along the same axis as the Democrats, only more extreme. Thus, the attempt to sway the Democratic Party’s platform was an attempt to pull them away from the center and towards the fringe. The choice was to lose centrist voters in exchange for radical voters.

    The same relationship does not exist between the LP and the GOP. The changes in the GOP platform that the Libertarians would like to see are not more extreme than the GOP’s ideas. Some of them would pull the GOP further from the center, some would move it towards the center, but the net result would not be to make the GOP any more extreme than it already is. The choice is to lose one set of centrist voters in exchange for another set of equally centrist voters, though of a different stripe.

  28. joe-

    Although I do hope to see the LP implement an effective spoiler strategy, they aren’t there yet. Remember that Perot got 19% in 1992. I think the LP would need to pull at least 5% in targeted races in order to become a force.

    A good model for an LP spoiler strategy is what they did in either Washington or Oregon (sorry, can’t recall which). They said that any incumbent GOP legislator voting for a tax increase would face an LP spoiler, and now they’re following through on the threat.

    I think the LP should also go after Democrats. Use candidates who basically adopt a platform that borrows from the best of the ACLU and the Institute for Justice. IJ is neat because they package economic liberty in a form that some Democrat-leaning voters can appreciate, e.g. taking a lot of cases on behalf of small minority-owned businesses. The best part of the LP going after Democrats is that it might make GOP-leaning libertarians more likely to vote LP as well. If they see that the LP is hurting the Democrat, they might feel safer taking their vote away from the Republican.

  29. Dan-

    The social conservatives in the GOP may not be as openly radical as they once were, but the big difference is that back then there were more social moderates holding office on the GOP ticket. The religious right has accepted a trade-off, and become a larger share of the elected officials in exchange for a less radical position. Their overall clout has increased, even if their stances seem less radical.

    And I completely agree that the Dems are not currently economic conservatives. However, the GOP leadership has abandoned fiscal discipline, embraced entitlements, and embraced a larger federal role in education. Just as important, the GOP seems to be firmly in control of the federal gov’t. If Bush is re-elected (which I predict he will be) then “big government conservatism” will be firmly entrenched in the GOP. A generation of young staffers, aids, and campaign operatives will have cut their teeth on this credo, and they will remain in the GOP. The Congressional GOP leadership will have completely digested the Kool-aid and marginalized the true economic conservatives in the party.

    American politics abhors a vacuum and encourages opposition, and the two basic facts right now are:
    1) The divide between the parties is becoming more cultural rather than economic, which means that the Democratic electorate will start to include more economically conservative types.
    2) The GOP is embracing an economic agenda that once would have been anathema to its principles. Inevitably, some of the people who flee the GOP over cultural issues will support a handful of maverick Democrats who will oppose this economic agenda. It will start off with a few maverick Democrats, but if this movement attracts culturally liberal young voters who are being squeezed by entitlement spending then it will grow.

    Or so I hope. I’d hate to think that American politics will be a battle between big-spending theocrats and even bigger-spending libertines from now until the end of time.

  30. I’m voting for him. The thought of voting for Bush or Kerry makes me cringe, and I have the easy out in that my state (MS) is going to go Bush by a good margin.

  31. Hear, hear, Stewart. Here in AZ, it looks close, but I don’t think my one vote would help Kerry enough for him to win, even if I can (could?) bring my hand to do so.

  32. First of all, it DID work for Perot. Deficit reduction was adopted by both parties, after they saw it could take away their votes

    Ok, no. Both parties paid lip service to deficit reduction both before and after Perot. Neither followed through; the budget surpluses of the 90s were due solely to the fact that tax revenues were higher than either party expected. Today both Kerry and Bush have spending and taxation proposals that are laughably unconcerned with balancing the budget.

    Furthermore your theory for Perot’s popularity can’t explain the 1996 election. Clinton was President, Congress was controlled by Republican small-government types, and yet Perot still crippled Dole and handed the election to Clinton.

    The changes in the GOP platform that the Libertarians would like to see are not more extreme than the GOP’s ideas. Some of them would pull the GOP further from the center, some would move it towards the center

    I’m curious what ideas you think the Libertarian Party has that you see as belonging to the political “center”.

  33. The social conservatives in the GOP may not be as openly radical as they once were, but the big difference is that back then there were more social moderates holding office on the GOP ticket

    I’d love to see some statistics backing up that assertion. The GOP has been shed many of its high-profile social conservatives through attrition (e.g. Helms, Thurmond, Lott, Gingrich), and the rising stars — people like Schwarzenegger, Pataki, and Giuliani — tend to be moderates on social issues.

    Their overall clout has increased, even if their stances seem less radical.

    That’s just not a position that’s possible to defend. The religious right hasn’t managed to get any significant portion aspects of its agenda enacted under Bush, despite the fact that the Republicans control the entire government.

    A generation of young staffers, aids, and campaign operatives will have cut their teeth on this credo, and they will remain in the GOP

    Yeah, so? You overestimate the influence Presidents have on the people who work for them. Did Reagan’s staffers support strict price controls and rationing? Of course not — despite the fact that most of them “cut their teeth” under Richard Nixon. Did Carter’s people support an aggressive policy of anti-communist military action? Of course not — despite the fact that they’d cut their teeth under Kennedy and Johnson.

    The Congressional GOP leadership will have completely digested the Kool-aid and marginalized the true economic conservatives in the party

    Look, the gist of your whole argument is that economic conservatism will completely vanish from the Republican Party, which presently contains basically all of the economic conservatives in American politics, and reappear in the Democratic Party, which presently contains basically none of the economic conservatives in American politics. There’s just no credible reason to believe that will happen. It will always be easier for economic conservatives to regain control of the Republicans than it will be for them to gain control of the Democrats, since the latter party’s entire coalition depends on fiscal profligacy.

    The Republicans support big spending for precisely one reason: the public supports big spending. The huge budget-busting measures signed by Bush, like drug entitlements and education spending increases, are among the most popular events of his presidency. Fiscal conservatism is dead because the public DOES NOT WANT IT. What the public wants is lots of free stuff paid for by somebody else. It is time that libertarians accepted that simple fact and started making long-term plans for shifting public opinion in a saner direction.

  34. Dan-

    Reading your arguments makes me realize that maybe I am going a little overboard in my predictions.

    I will say this: I think both parties are going to moderate their economic positions somewhat if party identification becomes based more on cultural issues than economics. The GOP has become more redistributionist, and the Dems will probably slowly absorb some people who are more economically conservative than the Dem status quo. Sadly, the Dems probably won’t become more economically conservative than the GOP, but at least they’ll find a way to co-exist with some economic mavericks.

    As to how much influence the Christian Right has in the GOP, you make a good point in that they aren’t winning the big battles of the culture wars. Still, they are determined to make their stand, and they are doing so from within the GOP. That has to have some sort of effect if it continues over the long term.

    As to what libertarians (of all stripes) can do to move the public away from craving massive entitlements: I have no illusion that there is a magic bullet that will cure the problem. However, I divide gov’t spending into 2 categories, 1 of which may be politically expedient to cut, and which might generate “multiplier effects” if cut:

    1) Good Cop: The programs that “give you” stuff. Those are probably untouchable for now. The most that can be hoped for is trimming some fat, streamlining a little, etc.

    2) Bad Cop: The programs that “tell you what to do”. This includes some legitimate functions of gov’t (police, defense, etc.), but also includes a lot of bad stuff, particularly regulations. Even amongst the legitimate programs there is fat to trim (can anybody say with a straight face that the DoD spends money efficiently?) And obviously there’s a whole lot to trim amongst the bad stuff.

    Deregulation isn’t always popular, especially because politicians have a knack for coming up with convoluted regulatory schemes that, on the surface at least, look less bad than the status quo, and calling them “deregulation.” Still, I think that this “bad cop” side of the gov’t will be easier to cut than the “good cop” side. Cutting bad cop, as well as a little of the fat on “good cop”, will have 2 effects:

    1) Although “bad cop” isn’t the main cause of deficits, cutting “bad cop” enough would probably be enough to balance the budget. That would mean that at least future generations won’t have to pay for the mistakes of the current generation.

    2) To the extent that downsizing the regulatory state improves economic efficiency, tax receipts will rise. This will mean that “good cop” could be kept at its present size with a lower rate of taxation.

    Anyway, just my $0.02 worth.

  35. Thoreau wrote:
    “Inevitably, some of the people who flee the GOP over cultural issues will support a handful of maverick Democrats who will oppose this economic agenda. It will start off with a few maverick Democrats, but if this movement attracts culturally liberal young voters who are being squeezed by entitlement spending then it will grow.”

    If you would like to help this process along, go to http://www.progress.org/dfc/involv.html. The Democratic Freedom Caucus is working to move the Democratic Party in a more libertarian direction. In 1998, the Washington Post reported that libertarian-leaning Democrats were 9% of Democratic voters. (see http://www.progress.org/freedom/wpdesc.html) All that would be necessary to set in motion the process that thoreau describes would be the nomination of a few of these libertarian Democrats to public office.

  36. I voted for Perot, because Bush Sr lied when he said that there would be “no new taxes”

    I will be voting for Bush Jr because he made good on his word to lower taxes (and the war thing, but mainly taxes).

    I believe that his is in his heart a fiscal conservative like the 1994 GOP, but they lost, because not giving people their handouts is a loser in elections. And if you don’t win elections you can’t give tax cuts, and you can’t appoint constitutionally minded supreme court dudes.

    1992 was was the first time I was old enough to vote, and I didn’t know about the LP. Next time a republican raises taxes my vote goes to the LP, no matter how nutty the dude is. I won’t not vote, and I won’t vote for anyone that thinks that there is anyone in America that doesn’t pay enough taxes.

    So, yeah, Perot turned out to be a nut. And Clinton was a horrible president. But I still don’t feel bad not giving my vote to Bush Sr.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.