Goldwater Democrat(s)

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The New York Times' Raymond Hernandez profiles a Democrat who had gone under the radar until his opponent, Tom Reynolds, was embroiled in the Mark Foley scandal. Yes, some of the Democrats who might sweep in next month are conservatives. Davis is a little something esle.

Mr. Davis is prone to overstatement. He has warned about "Red China," for example, and suggested he would take a bat to anyone who sent his sons sexually explicit e-mail messages like those a congressman sent to young male pages.

He defies liberal orthodoxies. He has said he wants to "seal" the nation's borders and has held memberships in conservative groups like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

Politically, Mr. Davis is hard to define, though he has a strong libertarian streak, supporting, for example, both abortion rights and gun rights.

He says that he was a Republican for 50 years, first as a Goldwater Republican, then as a Reagan Republican. But he says he became disillusioned with the party because it did not share his disdain for free trade and the multinational corporations that reap its benefits. (He is also critical of Democrats in the free-trade camp.)

The "fair trade" crap is rote for Democratic candidates this year, actually. The support for Cato is, well, not.

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  1. It sounds like he’s just flat insane.

  2. Labelling the Cato Institute as a conservative group is more than a tad misleading wouldn’t you think?

  3. anti-free trade, anti-immigration, pro-gun and prochoice with a membership to cato? what does that make him a +1 liberitarian or something

  4. I don’t care which letter the guy has after his name, but the country could use more politicians like him and less of pretty much all of the rest.

  5. I’ll bet he has strong opinions on those goddamn kids taking shortcuts across his lawn. Just a hunch.

  6. He says that he was a Republican for 50 years, first as a Goldwater Republican, then as a Reagan Republican. But he says he became disillusioned with the party because it did not share his disdain for free trade and the multinational corporations that reap its benefits. (He is also critical of Democrats in the free-trade camp.)

    This is why we should never support the Democrats no matter how bad the Republicans dissapoint.

    Gay marriage, abortion and even the war in Iraq effects very few of us. Economic freedom effects us all in a billion subtle ways throughout the day.

    You can take this libertarian democrat crap and shove it back up Kos’s ass.

  7. Interesting guy. Maybe the best thing you can say about him is that he has truly done something with his life, rather than the usual political dweeb who moves to DC right after college or law school and attaches himself to the government teat.

    I’d vote for this guy, and I haven’t voted for a Dem in at least 15 years, if ever (can’t quite recall).

  8. Hmmmmmmm…two more decades of the Iraq War vs. paying a little more for the crap at Wal Mart.

    Damn, that’s a tough one.

    But then again, I go to Wal Mart, and I don’t even know any of the peole who have died in Iraq…

  9. Its great they call Cato conservative in the same sentence about ‘sealing our borders’ from the brown people.

  10. The Dems pandering to the right, center, left, audience-of-the-moment to get votes? Pshaw.

  11. It seems absolutely impossible to be anti-free trade and a Cato member. One of Cato’s primary issues is free trade, and keeping markets open. Wtf? That would be like being pro-life and a member of NOW.

  12. “Gay marriage, abortion and even the war in Iraq effects [sic] very few of us. Economic freedom effects us all in a billion subtle ways throughout the day.”

    Life or death issues affect very few of us, but our relatively free market isn’t free enough, and an even freer market would affect us in some vague, undefined way billions of times each day.

    Therefore, we should turn a blind eye to the most morally repugnant group of untruthful killers and hypocrites because perhaps they will break with their recent history and provide even more of that ‘elusive’ economic freedom.

    And this, my friends, is how we turn concrete issues like Iraq and homosex scandals into vague and undefinable issues like freedom and integrity. This is why partisanship is bullshit.

  13. By the way, you decry democrats for speaking out of both sides of their mouths. Which Republican gets a 100% rating from Cato? Does an affiliation with Cato mean that the politician adopts every single one of its planks? Am I allowed to be a Reason subscriber even though I have seen gov’t regulation work in certain industries? Why do we hold Democrats to a standard of orthodoxy that we don’t hold GOPers to? If you find a candidate who believes exactly as you do, chances are you’re a candidate.

  14. Labelling the Cato Institute as a conservative group is more than a tad misleading wouldn’t you think?

    If Cato needs to be labelled, what’s correct – libertarian think-tank that caters to conservatives?

  15. Therefore, we should turn a blind eye to the most morally repugnant group of untruthful killers and hypocrites because perhaps they will break with their recent history and provide even more of that ‘elusive’ economic freedom.

    The Republicans suck but in politics you take what you can get. The minnimum wage hasn’t been raised in years despite public support for raising it. I pay lower taxes then I did when Democrats were in power. And as TNR is bitching about this week labor unions are weaker then any other time in our lifetime.

    Meanwhile, for all the talk about gays can you think of a single right they have lost under the Bush administration (besides the state bans which you can’t blame Republicans or Bush for)? I think it was Chad who said on this site that Democrats are much more likely to be successful at taking my money then Republicans at determining who I sleep with.

    I hate the Iraq war but the troops aren’t coming home while Bush is in office. The time to vote on that was in 2004. Too late now.

  16. “The Republicans are much more accepting of people who are socially liberal than the Democrats are accepting of people who are fiscally conservative.”

    Is today opposite day or something?

  17. What exactly do they mean a “member” of Cato?

    As far as I know Cato is not a membership organization. Do they mean he contributed?

  18. Gay marriage, abortion and even the war in Iraq effects very few of us.

    If you define “us” to be straight, civilian, males who have no business relation to either the international economy or any big cities that stand to be swayed by terrorism in the next 20 years, then I guess that makes sense. Kind of a narrow definition, though. How much did 9/11 hurt the American economy? And how many 9/11’s might crawl out of the festering pit of anarchy and hate that is, and will likely remain, Iraq? And how much worse are things going to get if these guys stay in power and start another war they have no plan on winning?

  19. “Democrats are much more likely to be successful at taking my money then Republicans at determining who I sleep with.”
    The GOPers are spending your money as we speak, they’ve just fooled you into thinking they can kill the deficit with economic expansion. At some point, we’ll have to pay for the money being spent right now. It isn’t magic money, you konw. Just because we got tax breaks we can’t afford doesn’t mean that this administration is fiscally responsible. PS, how much did you save in taxes? How much is the deficit?

    I’m glad your position on Iraq is “too late now.” In my world, we hold failed leaders accountable. We don’t keep electing them because we are afraid that we might pay $50 more in taxes. Perhaps the reason democrats have an easier time taking your money is because GOPers help them (and get the pork while blaming Dems) while Dems rarely help in Constitutional Amendments to ban gays. Did you ever think that fiscal responsibility is just a little more important than xenophobic identity politics?

  20. “The Republicans are much more accepting of people who are socially liberal than the Democrats are accepting of people who are fiscally conservative.”

    Is today opposite day or something?

    In my own experience, the left-wingers at my family gatherings are always challenging me, while the right-wingers count me as one of their own. John Stossel recently said the same thing.

    Another example is treatment of libertarian groups. Believe it or not, a lot of people consider Reason and even groups like Cato to be conservative… I’ve rarely seen them being referred to as liberal.

  21. I think daze hit the nail on the head!

  22. Meanwhile, for all the talk about gays can you think of a single right they have lost under the Bush administration (besides the state bans which you can’t blame Republicans or Bush for)?

    That is patently false. The whole strategy for the GOP in 2004 was to get a bunch of same-sex marriage bans on the ballot in as many states as possible to mobilize the religious right to get out there and vote. And clearly, it was pretty successful.

  23. Believe it or not, a lot of people consider Reason and even groups like Cato to be conservative… I’ve rarely seen them being referred to as liberal.

    Anti-immigration zealots and war-mongers call them liberal (Reason especially) all the time.

    The whole strategy for the GOP in 2004 was to get a bunch of same-sex marriage bans on the ballot in as many states as possible to mobilize the religious right to get out there and vote.

    Boy, howdy, that’s right. Was this phenomenom forseen before referenda proliferated on state ballots? Dems may adopt this strategy, but I have not seen it yet. The Repubs are doing it again this year. From the point of view that power is all and democracy is just a tool to acquire it, it’s brilliant. Put whatever goofy issue that you can think of on the ballot that will rev up the fanatics in your party just to get them to the polls. Figure that passing the referendum is inconsequential, so it doesn’t matter if it’s so nutty or dumb that the moderates are offended by it. The fanatics will vote for whatever Repub is on the ballot even if the candidate doesn’t support the referendum. Brilliant.

  24. “The Republicans are much more accepting of people who are socially liberal than the Democrats are accepting of people who are fiscally conservative.”

    Accepting just means they’ll take your votes and your money, then tell you to STFU because we need to keep the religious folks in a frenzy about queers and keep the soccer moms scared of drug dealers.

    They’ll accept you because you’re probably not demanding they make the same kind of hard choices you’re asking of your more liberal friends. Next time you see them, ask about ending the war on drugs, repealing the patriot act, and letting gays get married. I’m sure they’ll accept that.

  25. Actually gays had only recently established a right to marriage in MA. Most people didn’t agree with the ruling. It was no big “strategy” to oblige a motivated constituency with ballot initiatives.

  26. And the gay bashers were already going to the polls to support the pro-life candidate anyway.

  27. Ammonium,

    “The Republicans are much more accepting of people who are socially liberal than the Democrats are accepting of people who are fiscally conservative.”

    The Democrats ARE the fiscally conservative party. It’s a mistake to lump fiscal conservatism and economic conservatism together, as they are quite different sets of issues.

    highnumber,

    The Democratic version of the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative is the stem cell research initiative.

    James Ard,

    That’s true of Massachusetts, but what about the dozen + other states that have seen anti-gay initiatives put on the ballot by Republican activists? Did they really think that they’re rescuing Tennessee from the imminent threat of gay marriage?

  28. If them yankees can get the ten commandments taken out of an Alabama courthouse, who knows?

  29. “Gay marriage, abortion and even the war in Iraq effects very few of us.”

    Addressing only the second issue — the ability to decide whether, when and how often to have children affects very many of us.

  30. James Ard,

    Joseph Majsterski and I are not the only people to view ballot initiatives as a way to raise a particular segment of voters. There is an article in this week’s Economist about ballot initiatives. I don’t think you need a subscription to read it.
    An excerpt:

    If some of these measures affect who turns out at the polls, that could even determine which party’s candidate wins a closely contested race. The same is true in other states. Arizona’s list is the longest, but it is not alone in crowding lots of questions including several politically charged “wedge” issues, designed to bring voters of a particular persuasion to the polls onto this year’s ballot.

    The article goes on, quotes professors, etc. Am I making an appeal to authority? Oh, well, I’m just saying we probably aren’t too nuts or paranoid, because The Economist, which strikes me as rational, has the same idea.

    The Democratic version of the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative is the stem cell research initiative.

    Re-reading the article I just referenced, I spotted references to minimum wage ballot initiatives, too.

  31. And, oooh, oooh, oooh, I spotted this:

    While the left and the Christian right square off on minimum wages and gay marriage, the big wild card this year may be a slew of ballot measures that appeal to libertarians. Eleven states have proposals that protect property rights by narrowing the definition of ?public use? under eminent domain.

    They’re courting us?

  32. That’s fantastic. I hope they all pass. I’ll have to check and see if there’s one in Texas. Seems like a likely state to attempt to protect property rights. Too bad I was already going to vote.

  33. highnumber: I simply label Cato as libertarian.

  34. The Democrats ARE the fiscally conservative party.

    Now that’s what I call unmitigated gall. Or just some serious Kool-Aid drinking indoctrination. The party that gave us the entitlement programs that have resulted in trillion-dollar budgets is the party of fiscally conservatism??? Oh, that’s right, Clinton worked so hard to give us all those balanced budgets in the 90s, nevermind. No looming retiring Baby Boomer fiscal crisis to see here, just move along…

  35. Just reading of this string I keep on thinking that politics today is no longer about vote for the best person/party for the job.

    Now it’s more about voting for the person/party that sucks less than the other person/party.

  36. I do agree with what others were saying in another thread about gridlock being the best you can hope for these days. I’ll keep pulling the lever with the big “L” on it, but I’m hoping the Dems will take back either the House or the Senate, or both.

  37. The Democrats ARE the fiscally conservative party.

    No party that wants to raise taxes is fiscally conservative.

    No party whose only complaint with the recent spending binge is that it was either (a) spent on the wrong things or (b) not big enough, is fiscally conservative.

    Basically, the Dem’s fiscal position is that they want to raise taxes right now to spend even more than the Republicans have on an even wider range of crap.

  38. R C Dean:

    Ten years ago I would’ve agreed with you. But clearly, the GOP has blown away everyone’s wildest nightmares in terms of spending. I am hard pressed to imagine a less fiscally responsible gang than we’ve had up there the last six years. That isn’t to say an across the board Dem congress and prez wouldn’t do the same thing, but I doubt they could top it.

  39. But clearly, the GOP has blown away everyone’s wildest nightmares in terms of spending.

    Except the Dem response has not been “we’re spending too much.”

    It has been (a) we need to raise taxes to cover all this spending and (b) we need to spend more.

  40. I agree with (a), but I think they’re mostly saying we’re spending money on the “wrong” things. Consider that it was the GOP-controlled congree that passed the prescription drug benefit, and Dubya that signed it. I can’t see how it would’ve been any worse with Democrats. And then there’s the No Child Left Behind abomination. Dems want to spend education money differently, but not necessarily any more dollarwise than what the Act has been doing.

  41. I’d like to add that what it really comes down to is this: whichever party is in control of the purse strings, the other party will scream that they’re being fiscally irresponsible. Doesn’t matter what they’re spending money on.

  42. highnumber: I simply label Cato as libertarian.

    ditto.

  43. highnumber: I simply label Cato as libertarian.

    ditto.

    As the Cato website says under the heading
    How to Label Cato:
    “The Jeffersonian philosophy that animates Cato’s work has increasingly come to be called ‘libertarianism’ or ‘market liberalism.’ It combines an appreciation for entrepreneurship, the market process, and lower taxes with strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism.”

    So, yes, they are libertarian, but what I was getting at is that they do have a greater ability to bend the ears of conservatives rather than liberals. Conservative pundits will quote Cato papers, but liberals rarely, if ever, do. That was why I think of them as catering to conservatives. It seems like their best shot is to pull conservatives to the liberal side, rather than pull “liberals” to the free market side. This says more about some conservatives than it does about Cato, but I would guess that Cato has recognized this and now “caters” to conservatives.
    The latest rounds of articles and discussions about libertarians voting Democrat may point to a change taking place. We will see. However, it seems more like the Dems are trying to pull libertarians into their fold rather than libertarians exerting pressure on the Dems.

  44. …and suggested he would take a bat to anyone who sent his sons sexually explicit e-mail messages…

    Anybody here remember the ’88 debates when Bush Sr. asked Dukakis what he would do if Kitty were raped and murdered? Remember the governor’s limp, passionless response? If Dukakis had responded more like Mr. Davis (or better yet had ripped Bush a new one for daring to ask such a sick, tactless question), I might have actually felt worse about not voting for him…

  45. The trade we’ve been served in recent decades is as “free” as electricity in California was “deregulated” a few years ago — in other words, NOT. If this pol is as against faux-free trade as I am against faux-deregulation, then he could be an excellent libertarian. If, on the other hand, he simply wants to substitute his rules for the rules that have been used up to now, then he’s more like California’s faux-deregulators, and deserves to be stunned by a taser until shocked to his senses. 🙂

  46. Consider that it was the GOP-controlled congree that passed the prescription drug benefit, and Dubya that signed it.

    Aggh…yes, while true, your point is disingenous and R.C.’s is correct, because most Dems railed on about grandmothers and snow and no rent and all that jazz because the bill didn’t go far enough.

    If you’re arguing which big spending, liberty hating party isn’t ALL THAT BAD, then you’ve already tripped down the crazy stairs. Vote Libertarian.

  47. Another thing that hasn’t been mentioned here is Dubya spent months trying to change public opinion on social security reform. It didn’t stick but the fact that he tried so hard and the only people to support him were Republicans shows the mentality of the two parties.

  48. Ayn Randian:

    Never fear, I’ve always voted Libertarian, and I will certainly continue to do so. I guess my point was just that the GOP talked a great game when they were the minority party, but the power went to their heads, and they couldn’t help but hand out buckets of pork at every opportunity.

    Grand Chalupa:

    I’ll grant you that point, but I’m kind of confused about how he was unable to get anything done with the Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate. I suppose it’s his own fault for making Iraq the big issue; he was never able to get around it and take care of anything else even halfway worthwhile.

  49. “Aggh…yes, while true, your point is disingenous and R.C.’s is correct, because most Dems railed on about grandmothers and snow and no rent and all that jazz because the bill didn’t go far enough.”

    Um, no. The excessive cost of the program, caused by its structure as an insurance company subsidy and its ban on negoitiating with drug companies, is one of the most common Democratic complaints about the program.

    Like Chalupa’s defense of Dubya months-long effort to change public opinion in favor of making Social Security a different type of massive government program, one that makes profits for financial companies, it is becoming increasingly clear that a certain brand of “libertarian” will defend massive government interventions, so long as they are producing profits for weel-heeled constituencies.

  50. I’ll grant you that point, but I’m kind of confused about how he was unable to get anything done with the Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate.

    There’s nothing confusing about it. He tried to move public opinion towards privitization but it was opposed by an overwhelming majority of voters. GOP congressman were scared shitless. They came out at first with cautious support and then when they saw it was a lost cause turned against it.

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