Rehiring W

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Virginia Postrel rehires Bush. "Given the current balance of power in Congress, there are only two things the president can significantly affect: foreign policy and regulatory policy. I prefer Bush to Kerry on both. It's a cold calculation," she writes. Later in the posting, reason's former editor adds that "Bush leaves me cold and always has. I never wanted to hang out with him, so I don't take our policy differences personally. I never idolized his leadership, so I don't feel he's failed me. He gets my vote in part because I don't identify with him. He's just a hired hand, and he's better than the alternative."

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  1. Who gives fuck what Virginia Postrel thinks?

  2. About as many as who gives a fuck what you (or I) think, pritesh.

  3. Who gives fuck what Virginia Postrel thinks?

    She’s a columnist and writer– more widely read than you… or even I, for that matter. She’s where she is because more people care about what she thinks than care about what you think.

  4. Nah, it’s got to be more than that.

  5. That Virginia doesn’t think of Bush as a good guy to have a beer with makes me think Virginia would be a good gal to have a beer with.

  6. If you think about what VP thinks, her non-mainstream reasoning might affect the way you think. Without agreeing with her, she often broadens and deepens the discussion.

    In this election season precious few voices have come from outside the Cult of Personality. We’re not electing a lover or an idol, we’re picking the CEO of the US Government.

  7. Paul-
    So by the same standard, we should take Michael Moore and Ann Coulter seriously, too? I don’t know which one you personally dislike, but I guarantee he/she has a lot more followers than you.

    As does Britney Spears, for that matter.

  8. “He’s just a hired hand, and he’s better than the alternative.”

    The word “alternative” should only be used when there are only two possibilities. The rule goes all the way back to the Latin.

  9. I don’t see how anyone who claims to be a libertarian can prefer Bush’s insane foreign policies. Postrel lost my respect a while ago because of this. I don’t care how limited her support is, either.

  10. I can’t help but wonder if many libertarians–who should be aghast at just about every policy the incumbent has supported–feel that whoever is president, they’ll be okay (as self-reliant sorts). A lot of traders have a “Whatever, as long as I can still do my thing”) attitude toward the election …

    That’s not a put-down. Just a reminder that not everybody feels this is quite the make-or-break decision of a lifetime that others do …

  11. Its great to see VP acting with principle as usual.

  12. “I don’t see how anyone who claims to be a libertarian can prefer Bush’s insane foreign policies.”

    That you disagree with the position does not make you a more legitimate libertarian. A couple of suggestions might be that your understanding of self defence differs from VP’s and your level of confidence in the protective powers of sticking your head in the sand is several notches higher than VP’s.

  13. Ken,
    From Dictionary.com

    Usage Note: Some traditionalists hold that alternative should be used only in situations where the number of choices involved is exactly two, because of the word’s historical relation to Latin alter, ?the other of two.? Despite the word’s longstanding use to mean ?one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen? and the acceptance of this usage by many language critics, a substantial portion of the Usage Panel adheres to the traditional view, with only 49 percent accepting the sentence Of the three alternatives, the first is the least distasteful. ?Alternative is also sometimes used to refer to a variant or substitute in cases where there is no element of choice involved, as in We will do our best to secure alternative employment for employees displaced by the closing of the factory. This sentence is unacceptable to 60 percent of the Usage Panel. ?Alternative should not be confused with alternate. Correct usage requires The class will meet on alternate (not alternative) Tuesdays.

  14. “We’re not electing a lover or an idol, we’re picking the CEO of the US Government.”

    Not quite. The President’s role and power in relation to the US Government is not the same as the role and level of control that a corporate CEO exercises over his or her company.

  15. “The word “alternative” should only be used when there are only two possibilities. The rule goes all the way back to the Latin.”

    I think she gets a pragmatic pass here. There are only two options in any meaningful sense. Jane Galt answers why not Badnarik here: http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/004973.html

    Guys, he is harmful to everything you think is important. He makes it look like only a clown could support limited government. The internet has been good for giving libertarians a disproportionately loud voice, and any publicity for Badnarik destroys the credibility of the very reasonable arguments.

    Adopting the principle as an absolute in a platform does not help you convince the uninitiated, you just sound like a loon to anyone who doesn’t already agree with you. Shouting louder doesn’t mean you care more.

  16. ‘… and any publicity for Badnarik destroys the credibility of the very reasonable arguments.’

    That is, the very reasonable arguments made out here every day.

  17. The word “alternative” should only be used when there are only two possibilities.

    So “alternatives” refers to multiple cases of two possibilities?

  18. “Given the current balance of power in Congress, there are only two things the president can significantly affect: foreign policy and regulatory policy.”

    WTF? The R’s control every branch of government. Another 4 years of this and the corporate takeover will be complete.

  19. SCOTUS is only nominally Republican. The “liberal/conservative” split is not dependable, due to defections by Bush I appointee Souter, and the weathervane habits of O’Connor. The Senate is in R hands, but the need to get 60 votes on many contentious issues provides a small amount of beautiful gridlock.

    Unless the GOP goes on an an unpredicted rout in the Senate election, the D’s will still be able to gum up the works on appointments and revenue bills.

    Kevin

  20. For those of us who want our votes to register our disgust with the War in Iraq and the Patriot Act, there are only options.

  21. I don’t see how anyone who claims to be a libertarian can prefer Bush’s insane foreign policies.

    Unfortunately, it all comes down to the Republican/Democrat suicide pact. The democrats felt it last time around. A libertarian may not like Bush ‘insane’ foreign policies, but will Kerry’s be any better… how about worse?

    If Kerry (were elected and) becomes the European Union lapdog we all suspect he is, what then?

    Paul

  22. Gadfly,

    I believe she meant that Kerry’s social policies, which a libertarian might agree with, would go nowhere considering the R control. So perhaps voting for Kerry would accomplish gridlock on leiu of lower taxes and deregulation. I’m not necessarily agreeing, I just think that’s what she meant.

  23. oh miserable miserable miserable choices…..let this be finished…

  24. Jennifer:
    So by the same standard, we should take Michael Moore and Ann Coulter seriously, too? I don’t know which one you personally dislike, but I guarantee he/she has a lot more followers than you.

    I don’t take them seriously… but I don’t ask the (inane) question: “Who the fuck cares what [VP] thinks?” Because we already have the answer to that question: A lot of people do. Enough people to pay them for what they think. What I took offense at (and apparently the point which zipped right past ya at somewhere around lightspeed). I was responding to a rather inane comment which seemed to add little to nothing to the thread. ONe doesn’t have to agree with Coulter or what’s his name, but the simple fact of the matter is- there’s a whole bunch of people out there who do care.

  25. Gadfly:
    WTF? The R’s control every branch of government. Another 4 years of this and the corporate takeover will be complete.

    Oh fer chrissakes, did anyone say that when the Dems held both houses, the Presidency and the supreme court? Oh, wait, maybe they did… never mind.

    Paul

  26. “Given the current balance of power in Congress, there are only two things the president can significantly affect: foreign policy and regulatory policy.”

    Oh yea, and possibly 4 new Supreme Court Justices.

    One can argue about foreign policy views. But I really get confused when the president who brought us the biggest recorded government spending increase in forever has libertarians chanting “Four More Years!”

    Double Yea Tea Eff, people?

  27. Why is it that every interview or article that is used as an example to discredit Michael Badnarik ( such as Jane Galt, radley Balko) actually does just the opposite and reinforces his position as a principled libertarian. The last time I checked, an opposition to personal tax on income was within the libertarian mainstream. Could someone please fill me in as to when Libertarians decided to learn to love the IRS and use the logic that “if a law does not exist but people comply with a non existent law that law therefore comes into existence even though it was never written”?
    Obviously I missed that memo.

  28. I can understand a libertarian not being able to vote for Kerry. But voting for Bush? I don’t seem to be able to get it. Iraq, Osama, spending, Patriot Act, stem cells, cloning, the fudies, the loyalty oaths, the cult of personality. . .

    This is why libertarians often are accused of being republicans who want to smoke pot.

  29. Why is it that every interview or article that is used as an example to discredit Michael Badnarik ( such as Jane Galt, radley Balko) actually does just the opposite and reinforces his position as a principled libertarian.

    Maybe you’re seeing different interviews. I think a candidate who repeatedly asserts he will blow up the U.N. and make every member of Congress take a new oath is pretty out there. I think insisting on driving without a license is kinda loony. This is not the kind of “principle” I want in a candidate who ostensibly is out there telling non-libertarians what the philosophy is all about.

    But, hey, maybe that’s just me.

  30. Pritesh, pretty ballsy of you to scream out “who the fuck cares what VP thinks” in an anonymous forum where nobody knows who you are or can ask you to step outside and explain why you are such a rude asshole.

    I happen to disagree with her take on re-hiring GWB but aside from whether she’s right or wrong on the Bush issue, VP contibutes more to the advance of liberty in a week than most people will accomplish in a lifetime (her tenure at Reason mag speaks for itself).

  31. I am a “small l” libertarian who will be voting for Bush. Or as one objectivist put it, I am an “Anti-Bushite for Bush”.

    I care about one defining issue this election cycle and it is the War on Terror (mind you, I’d prefer the term , War on Islamofascism).

    Kerry will make it a law enforcement action and internationalize the war. In other words, his will be a return to the ineffectual defense of the past where the likes of France will poison our efforts every step of the way.

    While I disagree with Bush on most social policies, I feel he’ll fight the War better than Kerry, although, I suspect that his efforts will also be hindered by internationalism and political correctness.

    If Bush does win, he’ll have a mandate to fight the War, not push religious right gobblygook down our throats. Just look at the dynamics of this election and the content of the RNC convention.

    To sum it up, I like to borrow from Ron Silver, an otherwsise liberal Hollywood guy: “I’m a 9/11 Republican. If we don’t get this right, all the other things don’t matter worth a hill of beans. I’ll live to fight another day on health care, environmental concerns and sensible gun legislation. But this is such a predominant issue that it towers above all others, and I’m not certain both parties are capable of handling it the right way.”

  32. Who gives fuck what Virginia Postrel thinks?

    I give fuck! Virginia make interesting words. Make Jarod think. Jarod read both Viriginia books and many articles. Virginia have many legitimate and non-mainstream criticisms and ideas. Furthermore, pritesh rude troll, go away.

  33. I concur w/Mike at 8:53, and underscore his quote of Ron Silver — tho I am much less liberal than Silver. As one who came into full libertarianism when VP was editing Reason, I am pleased with her announcement for Bush.

    –Mona–

  34. Still, VP’s endorsement still makes me scratch my head. I can’t think of a more statist Administration than this one (certainly to the extent that police and security powers have been increased).

  35. “Maybe you’re seeing different interviews. I think a candidate who repeatedly asserts he will blow up the U.N.”

    OK, I’ve seen you Bush lovers make this assertion before so I started looking for it.

    You absolutely lie like dogs. You take his words completely out of context regarding the UN.

    You war loving Bushies keep saying how Badnarik is a clown. I’ve not been keeping up with the LP for several years, so I figured I’d look for Badnarik’s clownage. I don’t see it. You guys make reference to it, but it isn’t there. Much like WMDs….

    You make vague references to his opposition to the UN and drivers’ licenses.

    You guys suck. I hope Bush wins so that the Republican party can wallow in its failures.

    Also, Virginia usually makes sense and I agree with her that the war on terror is important. But I still can’t see where Iraq fit in to all of this.

    Sure, Iraq was an issue, but was it absolutely necessary to start bombing right away?? Right that instant?

    You can argue about Saddam’s intentions, but nobody thought that we were in any real danger from Saddam any time soon.

  36. “…start bombing right away??”

    What? Nutty indeed. Right away after what? After we decided to start bombing?

  37. I honestly do not understand the desire to endorse or support either Kerry or Bush. Geez, if you dislike the guy that much, grow a fucking backbone and don’t vote for him.

  38. Badnarik’s kookiness is either fabricated or exaggerated. His web site and media coverage is far from ideal, but those issues that people use as an excuse to not vote for Badnarik are non-existent as far as his own campaigning and the mainstream is concerned. He has actually done the LP and the libertarian movement as whole much more good than harm (if any), and deserves to be commended.

    However one’s vote for Badnarik is precisely interpreted, it certainly won’t be a vote for kookiness.

    But let’s assume his kookiness is true: when compared to Bush and Kerry, its still nowhere near as bad as [insert worst thing about either of their policies].

    Republicans and Democrats understand the value of coming together and voting for their candidate even if less than ideal by their own conservative and liberal standards, respectively. One day, I hope the libertarian movement will understand that too.

    P.S. R.W. Bradford, the one who spread most of the myths about Badnarik, has even endorsed him over at Liberty magazine.

  39. “Badnarik’s kookiness is either fabricated or exaggerated.”

    I concur. It would be nice if those accusing him of being kooky would give a few examples of same. In interviews and debates, garee or disagree with him, he is a breath of fresh air, unlike the major party candidates who respond to questions by almost invariably answering a different one. Very strange to find libertarians accusing Badnarik of being kooky on a libertarian blog – Jeebus, save us ! You want mainstream – vote for Bush/Kerry.

    And by the way, the Jane Galt article only convinced me that people will go any distance to decieve themselves. She’s basically saying that Badnarik doesn’t interview well and then votes for Bush ! And worse, she recycles all the talking points. Puh -leez. Isn’t Bush the guy thinks that “the verdict is still out on evolution” etc. Pull the other one.

  40. Agreed. Badnarik is not kooky.

  41. As LP candidates continue to grow in credibility and competence (see Judge Jim Gray), the LP continues its internal reform efforts (see Platform revisions), the Republicrats grow more and more statist (and indistinguishable), and alternative methods of communication become more widespread, the broader libertarian and single-issue small government movement will coalesce around the LP.

    I look forward to the day when seminal thinkers like Postrel openly endorse and support (even stump for?) the LP candidate.

  42. Badnarik’s platform includes, as a primary header, ‘Industrial Hemp’.

    Badnarik asserts in his platform that he will not sign any bill that does not affirm the gold or silver standard.

    These are kooky.

    It doesn’t *matter* if they’re right; they’re kooky. They make Joe Average think the LP is full of underpants-on-head types.

    Yes, I know all the good that comes from industrial hemp. Yes, I know there are good reasons to argue for the gold standard. But these are not *electable* issues. They’re out of left field. They’re bizarre.

    Politics is a filthy business, and nowhere is this more clear than when constructing a platform. The first thing any party has to do to succeed is to find a way to present their ideas in a way that is, for the most part, centrist. There’s a reason that the Bush and Kerry platforms are so similar. ‘Compromise’ is a dirty word, but it’s one that an aspiring political hopeful needs to learn to wrap his lips around.

    From a post I made elsewhere:

    “I believe there are two directions the LP can take: bringing their issues to the center of the debate by acting as a spoiler, or reforming themselves into a serious political party that has a shot at winning elections to national offices. The party has chosen the first route — be true to the ideology, refuse all compromise, damn success in favor of purity of belief. I want them to take the second route. I believe that, given a chance to see the ideas outside the context of ‘libertarian nutjob’, most people in America would find a lot to like in Libertarian positions. And I believe that only the LP stands between libertarianism and political relevance.”

  43. “Isildur,”

    The Industrial Hemp platform issue is not kooky, although I would probably not put it on my platform if I were running. It seems like a commonsense measure that’s really not that controversial. If he actively campaigned on it, that would be kooky, but I’ve never seen it brought up in any of his interviews, press releases, etc.

    You also totally misrepresent his position by stating that “Badnarik asserts in his platform that he will not sign any bill that does not affirm the gold or silver standard.”

    What he actually says is that he will veto any bill giving an entity other than Congress (i.e., the Fed) the power to coin money. You make it seem like Badnarik wants every bill he ever passes to affirm the gold standard, even if it relates to something having nothing to do with coinage. See http://badnarik.org/plans_economy.php for what he actually wrote.

    Again, his campaign could present lib’ ideas better to non-libertarians. And I agree with your sentiment from that quote of yours. But let’s call a spade a spade, and not a kook.

  44. Rethinking Badnarik’s kookiness”.

    OK, I concur that to Joe Blow, some of these ideas are kooky. In case some of you small “l” libertarians have been living under a rock, libertarianism ( of the small l variety) itself as a philosophy is pretty looney to most people. So on perception you have a point. however, I dont give a fuck. I am not Joe Blow so why would I vote based on someone else’s perception of a person.

    On another note, Im sure some of you are Randians. I find it rather odd that almost anything I have ever read of her or her philosophical comrades represented an individual man ( usually just 1 “hero”) as in conflict with the entire world and unwilling to “sellout” to the masses at any price. Yet instead of, for example, taking a Howard Roark approach, you all are a bunch of philosophical Peter Keatings.

    I may even be a minority among “libertarians” here, but to tell you the truth I have never been in the mainstream ever in my life. Part of that is how I was born ( high IQ) and part ( probably age 12-13 and on) is by choice. Mainstream =Mediocre dumbed down sheepish non-thinkers. I have no interest in being just like anybody else. I am an individualist. A lot of you are as well, but many are obviously anything but. If you want to dumb down yourself in order to fit in or be apart of the popular clique or whatever, thats your choice. But I still have the right to mine.

  45. It would be nice if those accusing him of being kooky would give a few examples of same.

    He has claimed:
    (a) That paying income tax is optional.
    (b) That returning to the gold standard is a good idea.
    (c) That the UN building should be blown up.
    (d) That he will order Congress to swear oaths dictated by him.
    (e) That prisoners should be crippled to prevent them from committing more crimes.

    There. Five items, all of them straight out of “Tinfoil Hats for Dummies”.

  46. You need to stop reading from Party handouts, Dan.
    d & e were opined in jest.
    a, b and c are mostly reasonable, especially the part about blowing up the UN. Any Philip K. Dick fan will tell you that the UN is evil.

  47. On another note, Im sure some of you are Randians. I find it rather odd that almost anything I have ever read of her or her philosophical comrades represented an individual man ( usually just 1 “hero”) as in conflict with the entire world and unwilling to “sellout” to the masses at any price. Yet instead of, for example, taking a Howard Roark approach, you all are a bunch of philosophical Peter Keatings.

    Actually, Graham, since I have not expressed an opinion about Badnarik heretofore, you have no way of knowing whether I am a “philosophical Peter Keating”.

    But here’s an opinion for you: you’re an asswipe.

  48. Ms. Postrel likes Bush because he’s in favor of DYNAMISM!

    The Iraq invasion was DYNAMISTIC!

    Clearcutting the nation’s remaining old-growth forests via an auction process that doesn’t account properly for diminishment of the land’s value is DYNAMISTIC!

    Fishing species into extinction is DYNAMISTIC!

    Imposing top-down mandates on public schools is.. well.. statist. But if the end goal is to cripple public schools so badly that they have to be scrapped, it’s DYNAMISTIC!

    Taxation and government spending are of course statist and kinda undynamistic, but defecit spending is DYNAMISTIC!

    Government subsidies to exclusionary religious organizations are DYNAMISTIC!

    Secret detentions, secret trials and gag orders on librarians are DYNAMISTIC!

    Libertarianism sure can get confusing.

  49. “In other words, his will be a return to the ineffectual defense of the past where the likes of France will poison our efforts every step of the way.”

    You mean like the under Clinton, when plots to blow up 10 airliners over the Pacific and to blow up LAX were both disrupted?

    Mona, are you same “libertarian” Mona who recently announced that, due to Reason’s partisanship, she was going to get her news from the theocrats at National Review Online? Tell me, are they still reporting the discovery of WMDs in Iraq every two hours?

  50. I was a Randian. I got better. Now I’m just mostly for realistic expansions of liberty. I’d like to see it happen in my lifetime. I prefer the actuality of changing this place I live into a nicer, more free place, than the ideology of an amphetamine-addled Russian who derived a sick pleasure from being the leader of an embattled cult.

    In short, I don’t give a damn about purity of ideology. I want more freedom NOW.

  51. The problem of the libertarians is, and will be for the foreseeable future, arrogance. In my experience, libertarians are so busy being “correct,” they don’t have time to bother with the messy business of getting elected.

    Returning to the gold standard, by the way, is utterly idiotic. Even worse from a politic perspective, the average American voter doesn’t care a fig about it. If libertarians ever decide to get serious, the way to win office is find areas where people want more freedom and less hassle (like airline travel) and champion those issues. Do we really think an 80-year-old grandmother from Des Moines is a terrorist?

    Badnarik is a kook, probably a direct result of winning the nomination from a bunch of kooks. Please note that I do not suggest that libertarians are not correct on a number of issues. For a bunch of supposedly hyperintelligent people, however, they have not figured out that being correct does not win elections.

  52. I find a candidate who wants to go back on the gold standard less frightening than a candidate who thinks that Jesus made him president.

  53. …and I’m a Christian.

  54. Cupie doll fo Jose.

    This will be a horrifying concept for some folks, but I would just like to point out that the single most important aspect of electoral politics is, well, what the majority thinks.

    Purity of ideology is nice, but when the majority of people don’t have a libertarian foundation, you just can’t start saying that the IRS needs to be demolished first thing. It sounds kooky to everyone but the cool kids in your club. Sounding reasonable is desirable, not because you want to date a cheerleader necessarily, but because the advancement of your ideology depends on it.

    I remember downloading all of Harry Browne’s ads last time, “I have a plan for the IRS!” I laughed and voted for the guy, feeling swell about myself. I then had some discussions with some conservatives I knew had libertarian leanings. They wanted really small government, didn’t like the civil rights record of the religious right, etc. These folks should have been ripe for the picking. They saw Harry’s IRS commercial. They thought it was funny, but wanted to know what his tax policy really was, because, you know that was funny about eliminating the IRS in one year, but it was just a joke, right? I had to explain that no, he wasn’t really joking to any great degree. You could see it immediately on their faces. Flat out dismissal.

    In short, you alienate everyone who is very close to your position by insisting that anything short of LP proposals is immoral. Moral arguments are only meaningful to those who both understand and share your value system. Practical arguments get people over the hump.

  55. This qoute has me confused…

    “Purity of ideology is nice, but when the majority of people don’t have a libertarian foundation, you just can’t start saying that the IRS needs to be demolished first thing”

    Should they lie? Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe Libertarian candidates should say they want to “reform” our Federal Tax system, then when they get elected they could abolish income taxes. I’ll admit that’s a good strategy… that is until your opponent calls you out for being a hypocrite. Then Libertarians lose legitimacy. Jason, your argument kind of sets up an impossible siutation does it not?

    If you have principles that you really beleive in, you’re better off bringing people to your way of thinking than falsely claiming theirs aren’t you? Sure, there’s a lot of people that don’t have a “libertarian foundation” per se. But how many people love paying income taxes? Would most people pay taxes if they had a choice? I doubt it. Now I totally agree that upon first glance, these people may be a little hesitant to embrace
    the abolition of the IRS. That is… until you present a few facts such as the fact that we never had any form of federal taxes until 1913; that even as overgrown as our government now is, little of our federal income tax revenue is even used to pay for that overgrown government, etc.

    It may feel good to call Michael Badnarik a loon and a kook, but when you say that, your also calling Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington kooks and loons because their political ideologies match Badnarik’s very, very closely.

    Here’s something really funny that illustrates how ridiculous this “conform and dominate” theory is. I have talked with coworkers, friends and even my parents about political issues like this. The amazing thing is that the vast majority of them agree that the IRS has no legal authority and that we should pull out of the UN, just as a couple of examples. But they seem to think any candidate that says the same thing is “out of left field.”

    To me it looks like most people don’t pursue what they really, genuinely want because they wrongly “think” that what they want is unpopular. How ridiculous is that? And Libertarians are the kooks are they?

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