Will 2006 = 1994?

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Over at Tech Central Station, New York Postie and former Reason intern Ryan Sager says parallels between 1994 and 2006 may be ominous for a Republican party that has grown fat and complacent. He cites a memo recently sent out by Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), who is the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee. In the memo, Reynolds is trying to soothe jagged nerves over the mid-term elections, as some GOPers fear what they did to the Dems in '94 may happen to them in '06.

[Reynolds] hauls out a chunk of argument that looks increasingly stale and irrelevant: the idea that though voters are exceedingly upset with Congress as a whole they're still eager to send their own congressmen back to Washington, D.C. Reynolds cites a Pew poll from September showing that 57 percent of Americans would like to see their Congressman returned to office, versus 25 percent who would not.

But if Reynolds or his staff had done any digging into the poll numbers from 1994, he probably wouldn't have cited the Pew poll—at least not if he wanted to disprove the 1994/2006 connection. Roll Call columnist Stuart Rothenberg did some digging and found that a similarly worded poll from 1994, conducted by Yankelovich Partners, found the exact same breakdown: 57 percent to reelect, 25 percent to throw the bums out.

So, there's no particular reason to believe that voters are any less ready for a change of party in Congress than they were twelve years ago. In fact, another poll (by the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research) shows voters preferring Democrats to Republicans by 6 points nationally, even when the question is phrased using the names of their incumbent congressmen.

Whole thing here.

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  1. Nothing is as cool and refreshing as a purge. Too bad the Democrats are as doubleplusungood as the soon-to-be purgees. And purgettes.

  2. We’ll see what happens in the upcoming elections here in VA and in NJ. The media is bound to make a big deal out of the outcomes.

    Myself, I am seriously thinking about voting for Tim Kaine just because Jerry Kilgore used the term “Culture Of Life” so many times in a recent debate. Call me reactionary, but that just gets under my skin.

  3. and don’t forget that the democrats have proven themselves to be complete twaddlenocks in their (lack of) opposition. they managed to lose to dubyah in 2000, for chrissakes. these assholes fucked up any meaningful opposition to the bloated, power-groaping, liberty-robbing, nation-building, lying, kinda corrupt repubs.

    oh – that’s cuz in some ways, they’re just as bad.

    for the war. against. for it. against. lehey pinining about “civil liberties” .

    nerf herders.

  4. I predict that 2006 will be a contest to see which side can do a better job of shooting itself in the foot.

  5. Considering the lack of differences between the major parties, and the benefits of gridlock, my voting strategy is simply to vote against the incumbant.

  6. Today’s electorate have a choice between Bush liberalism and Democratic ineptitude. Depressing to say the least. By the way, this site is converting me to libertarian ideals. Thank you.

    Greg
    http://www.americanlgc.blogspot.com

  7. Prior to the 1994 election there was a lot of buzz in academic circles about the possibility of a re-alignment – statements about 60-80 seat swings were made and the like.

  8. It took the Democrats the better part of forty years to mung things up so badly that they got thrown out.

    It would seem that the Republican have managed a much more efficient eleven years.

  9. It took the Democrats the better part of forty years to mung things up so badly that they got thrown out.

    It would seem that the Republicans have managed a much more efficient eleven years.

  10. and don’t forget that the democrats have proven themselves to be complete twaddlenocks in their (lack of) opposition. they managed to lose to dubyah in 2000….

    Only because the Rs were better thieves.

    Although it says a lot about competence when your Party controls almost every county’s electoral machinery (in a state where almost all power is concentrated in the counties) and the State Supreme Court and they still couldn’t change enough of those unmarked ballots into votes for Al to make it a decent theft.

    I guess a coupl’extra SCOTUS justices will trump those upstart locals any day, eh?

  11. To have a divided government again is exactly what this country needs. But how long will it take to undo all the damage these arrogant pricks have caused?

  12. In 94, the Republicans claim that they would be different was still credible, and writ large via the Contract With America. The Democrats in 06 will enjoy no such credibility or coherent policy.

  13. I can’t help wondering if this tension, as the two parties are desperately trying to prove they’re not the same, doesn’t make it a ripe time for third party growth. Perhaps moreso than any other.

    Or is the country just soooo stymied with their allegiance to the “big two” that this is still a pipe dream?

  14. I find it increasingly difficult to get passionate over whether Tweedledum or Tweedledumber wins.

    I’ve always been a ‘conservatarian’, but this year (I live in Va.), I may well vote for whatever nutbar the L. Party throws out there.

  15. The two parties are nearly identical. In 80% of their actions and policies they make, without a label you could not tell them apart. With all the other parties out there I just believe the US electorate will become more fractured. Being indistinguishable has made many voters stay at home. If either one comes out and make a stand on illegal immigration either enforcing the rule of law or changing the law prior to the election they will be the winner! We are all left with a different flavor of Vanilla Ice Cr?me.
    I will be an independent voter that stays home this time.

  16. Is it just me, or wouldn’t a 25% swing put the Dems back in charge? Assuming only 25% of the Senate seats change hands, even 17% going towards the Dems would shift the balance of power.

  17. In 1994, the Republicans had a cause. It was small government. I doubted their sincerity at the time. I still doubt it. But, still, they did have a cause and they made sure that everybody knew what their cause was.

    I haven’t sensed any sort of analogous (preferably identical) cause coming from the Democratic Party. This distinction may make a difference. Specifically, voters may not see the Democratic party as a substantially differnt alternative. I know I don’t.

  18. I’m soo looking forward to the next election. Candidates all line up to say things I find stupid and offensive, then party members set the blogosphere ablaze acting like their inept statist boob is better than the other guy. Charges of liar, cheat, and illiberalism will be issued by people seeking to spend more money and create more regulations. These charges will be met head on with charges of anti Americanism, do nothingism, and tax and spendism from the guys currently in office.

  19. There are particular policy differences between the two parties. Parties don’t have ideologies in the first place, so it is a mistake to infer that the parties are ideologically the same.

    There is no room for a third party. Winner takes all makes it irrational to vote third party if you care about any certain set of issues rather than an overall ideology, and the number of people who are motivated to vote by ideology rather than issues is vanishingly small.

    Oh, and the LP will nominate another clown and pat themselves on the back for it.

  20. Everyone support John Littleford against Rick Santorum in the primary in Pa. The increasing distain for republicrats will pay off eventually.

    I am almost to the point where I’d vote (gulp) Green if they had a candidate that had a chance. Well, maybe not.

  21. Wasn’t the 1994 turnaround largely due to Republican-friendly redistricting? How many incumbents were actually defeated in the House, rather than retiring or being forced into the same district as another incumbent?

    I’ll check it out….

  22. Or is the country just soooo stymied with their allegiance to the “big two” that this is still a pipe dream?

    ranger

    Highly restrictive ballot access laws combined with a public sentiment disposed to the neat two-way adversarial (however artificial) system mke it nigh impossible for a serious third party to arise.

    Add in the fact that however odious they might seem to us the policies of the two parties realy do tend to reflect the wishes of most people.

    Jason Ligon

    I value electoral politics mostly for its entertainment value. But then I’m just a mean, cantankerous, cynical old goat. 🙂

  23. Jason Ligon posted while I was typing my comment and said many of the same things I was trying to say.

  24. There is no room for a third party. Winner takes all makes it irrational to vote third party if you care about any certain set of issues rather than an overall ideology, and the number of people who are motivated to vote by ideology rather than issues is vanishingly small.

    True…but there is room for a Third Party to rise and replace one of the existing parties. However, I find it unlikely that we’ll see an 1850’s style political rebalancing anytime soon.

    Oh, and the LP will nominate another clown and pat themselves on the back for it.

    Well, there was always 1980 and 1988.

  25. By the way, this site is converting me to libertarian ideals.

    Pretty amazing, since most of the commenters here are not libertarians. Between the anarchists, the bleeding hearts, and the unclassifiable, I would say minarchist, night watchman, limited government libertarians are a definite minority.

  26. In all, 34 incumbents (all Democrats) were defeated, though several of them (like David Price of North Carolina, Ted Strickland of Ohio, and Jay Inslee of Washington) regained seats in later elections.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._House_election,_1994

    The Democrats lost 54 seats total, so there were at least 20 incumbents who didn’t run in the general election. That’s a pretty big swing in itself; if 13 of those incumbents had run and won, the Republicans would not have gained a majority.

  27. Come to think of it, though, maybe the joes and the gaiuses make the libertarian minority look pretty good by contrast.

  28. In 1994, the Republicans had a cause and had a plan. Fortuneately for the Republicans, they are very lucky with their enemies. Nancy Pelosi is no Newt Gingrich. Everytime I get depressed about the possibility of a Democratic takeover of Congress, I just listen to Howard Dean’s rantings and I feel better. People totally underestimate the magnatude of what Gingrich accomplished in 1994.

  29. John hits the nail on the head.

  30. RC Dean,

    I’m not so sure about that. I think that the people who get noticed are the ones with non-libertarian leanings (joe, gaius, M1EK, etc). Those who toe the libertarian line (if there is such a thing) just blend into the background, unless they have some other gimmick (my theism, Hakluyt’s knowitallism, etc).

  31. The GOP machine is not going to lose congress. I’d be happy with either a small government GOP President (Newt?) or a Dem, maybe even Hillary. I can’t imagine anything getting passed with a GOP congress and a Clinton President.

    I’m probably wrong. Hillary and the GOP are both too “professional” to let politics get in the way of pork.

    How many of Newt’s revolutionaries actually honored their voluntary term limits? Enough to cede control to the porkers? Is this why the GOP slid so quickly?

  32. If either party is going to do a “Whig-out,” I would guess the Democrats would be closer, since they seem to be reduced to criticizing whatever it is the GOPers are doing on a given day, and are extremely reluctant to reveal themselves as Euro-style social democrats. But, on the other hand, the Dems have a core of special interest groups that don’t currently have a viable alternative and a long history of unblinking party loyalty. Only if the the constituent groups started going their separate ways would the Dems crack up.

    The demise of the Whigs is one of the more interesting, and overlooked, chapters in American history. The most common explanation is that the party cracked up over slavery, and there is truth to that. But the divide within the Whigs was more fundamental, just as the north/south divide was more fundamental (economic and cultural) than the issue of slavery. North and South really were different “nations” in 1850, and the Whigs reflected that.

    The GOP was able to get up and running in short order because it could scoop up large numbers of disaffected northern Whigs. The only current party that could offer such an alternative to the Dems would be the Greens, since they are willing to admit their social democratic leanings. But I don’t see it happening absent some white-hot national controversy that would set the Dems against each other.

    I don’t know what the GOP really is, anymore, but I’d say it most closely resembles the 1960s era Democrats, in which southern racists, northern urban lefties, and union goons existed uneasily. There are a lot of “holding their nose and voting GOP” types right now, and perhaps that will prove problematic down the road, but I see no readymade split.

  33. night watchman, limited government libertarians

    there is a huge space between a state that taxes at 40% to 50% (fed income, state income, gas, sales tax, etc) and what you call a “night watchman state.”

    I submit that this huge space is what is commonly called small-l libertarianism. I further submit that most posters here do fall into that space, even if you do not. I would also submit that anybody who still thinks the Iraq War was a good idea is no mere “night watchman.” In conclusion, down with SS, down with gov’t funded college loans, down with corporate welfare, down with military-industrial-complex workfare.

  34. Any hope that the guy who stole the bus and saved folks in New Orleans is available to run for something as a libertarian?

  35. Any hope that the guy who stole the bus and saved folks in New Orleans is available to run for something as a libertarian?

    Unfortunately, he’s a teenager, so I don’t think he’d qualify for the ballot in many places.

  36. “Pretty amazing, since most of the commenters here are not libertarians. Between the anarchists”

    Hmm. Believing in free markets and being critical of the absurdity of state based solutions are not libertarian ideals, according to RC. And they say libertarians have no cohesion…

  37. “Pretty amazing, since most of the commenters here are not libertarians. Between the anarchists”

    Hmm. Believing in free markets and being critical of the absurdity of state based solutions are not libertarian ideals, according to RC. And they say libertarians have no cohesion…

  38. there is a huge space between a state that taxes at 40% to 50% (fed income, state income, gas, sales tax, etc) and what you call a “night watchman state.”

    You bet there is. I am enough of a pragmatist to be an incrementalist.

    I submit that this huge space is what is commonly called small-l libertarianism.

    Perhaps. But someone who just wants to cut spending and taxes by 1% doesn’t strike me as much of a libertarian. I think you look at their ideal government, and for most people who self-identify as small-l libertarians, that ideal government is going to look a lot like the night watchman state. You might get some wobbling around minimal social safety nets and the like (hell, I wobble about that myself), but at a very high level of abstraction, I think this generalization holds pretty true.

    I would also submit that anybody who still thinks the Iraq War was a good idea is no mere “night watchman.”

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The fundamental obligation of the night watchman state is the physical security of its subjects. Islamist ideology and terrorism presented a very real threat to the physical security of Americans. An effective response to this threat is well within the legitimate powers of a night watchman state.

    Whether Iraq was that response or not is open to debate, but I still think that, given the strategic situation at the time, a good case can still be made that taking out the Hussein regime was the least bad option.

    In conclusion, down with SS, down with gov’t funded college loans, down with corporate welfare, down with military-industrial-complex workfare.

    Hear hear to all that.

  39. quasibill, you aren’t so stupid that you don’t realize the distinction between libertarians and anarchists.

    And you aren’t so dense that you don’t see that this distinction exists even though they both share ideals like “believing in free markets and being critical of the absurdity of state based solutions.”

    So stop pretending to be a moron. You aren’t fooling anyone.

  40. “So stop pretending to be a moron. You aren’t fooling anyone.”

    Well, I’m fooling my wife, apparently.

    But the distinction between libertarians and anarcho capitalists is one of degree, and not kind, as your quote seemed to imply.

    Actually, I’m fine with a night watchman state (although clearly I would disagree that bombing the crap out of innocent civilians in a country on the other side of the planet had anything to do with my security – heck, spending 7 billion a month on global warming is a better cost/benefit for me) – I just realize that a night watchman state has never existed, and the closest thing ever to it, our country at founding, lasted less than a generation before aggregating non-‘watchman’ powers.

    In short the difference is that I see minarchists as the flip side of the coin of authoritarians – if only the right person were controlling the levers of the state, we’d be alright. And it’s true – there have been brief periods in history where enlightened rulers created very favorable situations. But it never lasted, and in fact, always went the other way. Which is why I believe the state is an institution which can’t be reformed.

    And yes, many of the leading libertarian scholars echoed similar sentiments. So again, anarcho-capitalists are but a sub-set of libertarians, not exclusive of them.

  41. edit:

    ” our country at founding, lasted less than a generation before aggregating [more] non-‘watchman’ powers.”

    As I said, even that state was not a night watchman.

  42. “There is no room for a third party. Winner takes all makes it irrational to vote third party”

    I wish I could tattoo this on the inside of about a dozen pairs of eyelids here.

    And as for M1EK not being as libertarian as the average commenter – bullshit. I’m a hell of a lot more libertarian than the asshats parroting NRO here. Supporting transit and toll roads is more libertarian than supporting freeways, if you’re honest (more direct user fees, less externalities); supporting “smart growth” too (LESS restrictive zoning laws — yet somehow the suburban Republican contingent here gets away with calling it MORE statist).

  43. You can reiterate your hawkish attitudes again and again, RC, and I still think you’re wrong. How in the fuck anyone can say that the huge mess we’re in right now re: Iraq can say it was the least bad option is deluded.

    But I think a lot of us here, whether minarchists, libertarians, or “night watchmen” types can agree with down with SS, down with gov’t funded college loans, down with corporate welfare, down with military-industrial-complex workfare.

  44. “But I think a lot of us here, whether minarchists, libertarians, or “night watchmen” types can agree with down with SS, down with gov’t funded college loans, down with corporate welfare, down with military-industrial-complex workfare.”

    Heck, even the anarcho-capitalist here can agree with that.

  45. My favored brand of state would be one where the primary role of regulation is as a market ‘helper’, i.e., taxing externalities rather than regulating away behavior. I suppose that for the suburban Republicans who would pay more to drive their SUVs under this plan, this makes me a huge-government statist, but know that the liberals don’t like this mode of government any better, preferring to outlaw rather than tax. I think the market works damn well at solving a problem, providing it has accurate information. This contrasts with most posters here who are sure that the suburban sprawl which infests the country is the inevitable result of an unfettered market, despite 50 years of urbanization-forbidding zoning codes and suburban-friendly tax codes.

    For instance, CAFE sucks. Get rid of it and hike the gas tax by 50 cents a gallon today; add a penny per month indefinitely. Market solves the fuel efficiency problem.

    I need a name for this. Marketaxaterian?

  46. I also join in Dave W’s “down with…” call.

  47. Whether Iraq was that response or not is open to debate, but I still think that, given the strategic situation at the time, a good case can still be made that taking out the Hussein regime was the least bad option.

    The phrase: “loophole you could drive a tank division thru” springs to mind. Its time libertarians got just as serious about closing this loophole as they are in closing the welfare loophole that is SS.

  48. M1EK:

    How does making smoking illegal in all places of business fit into the marketaxetarian model?

  49. “The phrase: “loophole you could drive a tank division thru” springs to mind. Its time libertarians got just as serious about closing this loophole as they are in closing the welfare loophole that is SS.”

    And another “hear, hear”.

    The constitutionality of “national defense” has been twisted as greatly as the consitutionality of “general welfare”. If you want to strictly construe one, you shouldn’t get all “living constitutional” on the other…

  50. “The phrase: “loophole you could drive a tank division thru” springs to mind. Its time libertarians got just as serious about closing this loophole as they are in closing the welfare loophole that is SS.”

    A loophole in what? What exactly is the appropriate minarchist argument with regard to national defence? This is another of those areas around which many libertarians knee jerk. There is a libertarian hawk position and it is just as credible.

  51. bullshit. I’m a hell of a lot more libertarian than the asshats parroting NRO here.

    Could have fooled me. I always figured you for a mullet wrapped in a Che tshirt.

  52. Jason, (re smoking):

    I’ve said in some places that I was willing to explore some ideas Julian came up with to ‘encourage’ the market to provide at least SOME non-trivial number of non-smoking venues; but shortly after that, he went back to the absolutist position, so I retreated to mine.

    In that case, the marketaxitarian position might be to allow smoking anywhere in public, but tax those venues X% of their sales, directing those proceeds to either stop-smoking campaigns or to rebates for venues that go non-smoking.

    I’m uncomfortable with a smoking law that results in an environment with effectively zero non-smoking bars. The sad thing is that most of y’all are completely happy with a smoking law that results in an environment with effectively zero NON-smoking bars, despite the evidence that there is a vastly underserved market out there. Goes back to the fourth-grade understanding of economics again, I guess (http://mdahmus.thebaba.com/blog/archives/000191.html)

  53. Jason, (re smoking):

    I’ve said in some places that I was willing to explore some ideas Julian came up with to ‘encourage’ the market to provide at least SOME non-trivial number of non-smoking venues; but shortly after that, he went back to the absolutist position, so I retreated to mine.

    In that case, the marketaxitarian position might be to allow smoking anywhere in public, but tax those venues X% of their sales, directing those proceeds to either stop-smoking campaigns or to rebates for venues that go non-smoking.

    I’m uncomfortable with a smoking law that results in an environment with effectively zero non-smoking bars. The sad thing is that most of y’all are completely happy with a smoking law that results in an environment with effectively zero NON-smoking bars, despite the evidence that there is a vastly underserved market out there. Goes back to the fourth-grade understanding of economics again, I guess ()

  54. It really makes no difference what you call yourself. The best anyone can ask for is to consider the libertarian viewpoint in making policy choices. For example, I don’t call myself a libertarian, but I always consider arguments based on libertarian principles (the unintended effects of government overreaching, growth, non-coercion, individualism) liberalism (human dignity, equality) and conservatism (the sum of all knowledge contained in human social institutions, and the risks associated with changing them) when trying to make up my mind about political issues.

    I don’t think that there is any point in defining an ideal libertarian, so much as there is to defining libertaian ideals – non-coercion and it’s offshoots.

  55. “What exactly is the appropriate minarchist argument with regard to national defence?”

    Well, the appropriate argument is that it should be defined akin to personal defense. In other words, it is NOT defense to go and kill the people next door who burn their garbage because it might someday precipitate global warming, which might someday threaten my safety. Even more, it is unacceptable to kill the people on the other side of them, who are doing absolutely nothing wrong, as collateral damage to our attempt to prevent this vague, ambiguous future possibility of a threat to our lives. After all, they WOULD have the right of personal defense to kill us if they reasonably believed that our actions were an imminent threat to their lives.

    If you open the concept of defense up that far, you lose all control of trying to limit the application of the term. Which is what the hawks want – a security entitlement from their government. They’re willing to spend everyone else’s money, as much as they feel is needed, to assuage their nightmares of future possible risk.

    It’s the same argument the drug warriors make – “if only we can eliminate drug addiction, crime would be reduced tremendously, and therefore elimination of drugs is a valid police action by the state, because it fits in the concept of defense of property and life.”

  56. Well, the appropriate argument is that it should be defined akin to personal defense.

    One immediate conceptual difficulty is that national defense is a collective exercise, involving one group of people defending itself against another group of people.

    While you can target your personal self-defense against the specific individuals who are threatening you, collective self-defense is not so discriminating and will always involve “collateral” damage. Its no longer possible, if it ever was, to successfully fight a war, even of perfectly justified self-defense, without killing or injuring civilians who are neither combatants nor members of the enemy regime.

    On another front, personal self-defense requires an immediate threat in part because we live in a society where you have good remedies to less immediate threats. Those remedies are not necessarily available against the Saddam Hussein’s of the world, making the need for collective, armed self-defense justifiable in situations where individual self-defense probably would not be.

    In short, analogies between individual self-defense and national self-defense don’t knock me out.

    I bow to no one in my scorn for our domestic “homeland security.” I maintain, though, that our forward strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan has been remarkably successful geopolitically. After all, before we went over there, the war was being fought over here. Now, its not. Its being fought throughout territory that the bin Ladens of the world thought was their safe core. That’s a pretty good indication that the strategic momentum is running our way, not theirs.

  57. dammit, meant to write:

    I’m uncomfortable with a smoking law that results in an environment with effectively zero smoking bars. The sad thing is that most of y’all are completely happy with a smoking law that results in an environment with effectively zero NON-smoking bars, despite the evidence that there is a vastly underserved market out there.

  58. “After all, before we went over there, the war was being fought over here. Now, its not.”

    Your Man Dubya claims we’ve thwarted a number of terrorist attack attempts over the last couple of years. That implies that they’re still fighting the war ‘over here’.

  59. RC, are you serious? Saddam was a threat to us? I still need to see the proof of that.

    You know that there have been more deaths and more numbers of terrorist attacks in the world since we invaded Iraq? How is that gaining us any strategic momentum? How is that good for us geopolitically?

    Afghanistan, I can stomach. But for us then to jump into Iraq before we’d even secured Afghanistan? WTF?

    Seriously, your head must be spinning.

    It’s funny how people who can agree on many things can be so far apart on others! 🙂

  60. M1EK:

    Much of the problem lies in what you consider a market failure or an externality that justifies a coercive correction. There are formal definitions for these, but I don’t think that the dearth of 100% non smoking establishments qualifies under formal terms. I would only ask that negative externalities be netted with positive externalities before your suggested tax is levied, and we stick to legitimate failures of the market.

  61. Lowdog:

    The argument is strategic and not tactical. Looking at current numbers is not a meaningful criticism. The question to be analyzed, from the hawk side, is what is the danger posed by a completely undeterred Saddam over the long term vs. what are the risks of invading and temporarily occupying. From the hawk viewpoint, a focus on the angry young men who respond to the US presence in the short term is a bit myopic.

  62. “but I don’t think that the dearth of 100% non smoking establishments qualifies under formal terms.”

    You either misread me or missed my correction.

    I found the previous environment of 100% smoking bars and 0% non-smoking bars to be a market failure under pragmatic terms. Formally, of course, NOTHING is a market failure.

  63. So, there’s no particular reason to believe that voters are any less ready for a change of party in Congress than they were twelve years ago.

    One of the big differnces–so far–between 2006 and 1994 is that the Republicans way back when established themselves in voters’ minds as a viable alternative.

    …Swing voters didn’t just reject the current state of affairs, they bought into the Republican program. It’s not enough to reject the Republicans–that’s not enough to make a difference for the Democrats. …The Democrats have to get swing voters to buy into the program.

    What program? Coming out as budget conservatives might do it–but can they manage that? I listen to their supporters, and they sound like they still don’t get it.

  64. And as for M1EK not being as libertarian as the average commenter – bullshit.

    Well, the “average commenter” here, if we go by a mean, probably isn’t libertarian. Eric the .5b thinks M1EK sets the bar low.

    Eric the .5b also tries to remember the last time M1EK argued here that the state should get out of an area, remove a law, etc. Even when he looked over M1EK’s blog (where, at the time, M1EK seemed rather adamant that he didn’t fall into the “libertarian” camp), Eric saw narry a complaint about government intrusion into people’s lives or any ideas on how to remove such intrusion. M1EK’s concern seem to uniformly focus on which coercive tweaks to apply to produce the result that most pleases him, not how best to reduce coercion.

    MarketTax-aterian, ThinksGovernmentShouldDoAsHeWishes-arian, GenericTermThatDescribesMostAmericanPoliticalPersuasions-arian, sure. Libertarian? Ehn.

  65. Jason – ok, but I still think the cost-benefit analysis, even in the long term, of Iraq, is not worth it.

    And again, I’m ok with Afghanistan, but we didn’t even get a “victory” there before we decided to continue our misadventures.

    Also, I must say that, for the record, I lean towards isolationism. Not economic isolation, as I’m sure you can guess – I want us to continue to be a major player in the global economy. In addition, I’d like to see us get rid of all subsidies, price controls, etc to liberalise the global economy, whether other countries follow suit or not. To me, that’s a moral issue.

    But as far as meddling in other nations affairs, ie being Team America: World Police is just asking for trouble. Also the whole concept of preemptive strikes goes against the principles this country was founded on, which bothers me. And again, I think it invites trouble, not lessens it.

    So when I’m arguing about whether the Iraq “war” is worth it, I’m giving up ground just for the sake of argument.

    All my opinion, of course, and you may already have gleaned my position, but for posterity, there it is. 🙂

  66. M1EK,

    That your individual desire isn’t met hardly indicates a market failure.

    I find foie gras to be rather expensive to buy, does that mean the high price is a market failure? No.

    Market failure suggests an ineffecient allocation of resources, but the fact that you can’t find a smoke-free bar isn’t proof of such an ineffecient allocation. Neither is the high price of foie gras.

  67. The market esrves a higher purpose in regards to foie gras, keeping the price high helps keep people from eating it, which is an unquestionably negative experience.

  68. JDM,

    Foie gras is yummy. So rich and tasty. 🙂

  69. JDM,

    Foie gras is yummy. So rich and tasty. 🙂

  70. You can say that again.

    Ha!

    But seriously, you can’t.

  71. “Eric saw narry a complaint about government intrusion into people’s lives or any ideas on how to remove such intrusion.”

    All the complaints about zoning have just gone right over your head, huh?

  72. M1EK,

    A more honest poster would have quoted more liberally (then again, you aren’t an honest poster) and included this:

    M1EK’s concern seem to uniformly focus on which coercive tweaks to apply to produce the result that most pleases him, not how best to reduce coercion.

  73. Hakluyt,

    Out of courtesy, since I don’t remember if I told you before, I’ve had enough of you and am not responding to (and attempting not to read) your comments.

  74. M1EK,

    Yes, I am sure that pointing out your bullshit is rather infuriating to you. 🙂

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