John Edwards

Where, Where the Hell Is Bill?

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Liz Mair takes to the New York Sun to analyze the state of the Libertarian Democrats. Can I give away the ending?

First, we have Senator Clinton, master of the big-government welfare state, with its price tag to be paid for with tax increases… Then, we have the former senator from North Carolina, John Edwards. During his Senate days, he was one of the most fiscally conservative Democrats. But, since then, he's jumped on the loony-Left bandwagon, bashing Wal-Mart, personally leading a new War on Poverty, and championing tax hikes and large-scale redistribution of wealth… And, finally, we have Senator Obama, the man who has served a grand total of two years in the Senate and in that time has voted against every notable bill that would cut taxes.

But Mair argues that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson could string together a libertarian-Democrat coalition that would truly challenge the GOP in the Mountain West, and among voters who care about guns and taxes.

Mr. Richardson scored third best of any Democratic governor for overall current-term performance on Cato's 2006 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors. He earned a better grade than 37 other Governors, including 20 Republicans, in part because, during his tenure, New Mexico's top marginal income tax rate has dropped a remarkable 35%.

Mr. Richardson also brings good credentials where immigration, guns, and social issues are concerned. He declared a border emergency in his state in 2005 (so he's no immigration softie), and he voted against the Brady bill and other gun control initiatives while in Congress. Yet, Mr. Richardson also has solid, moderate, pro-choice credentials, and is not a proponent of constitutional bans on gay marriage or civil unions.

Mr. Richardson's record and his views could resonate with libertarian Democrats, and that's something that should give Democratic Party bigwigs pause for thought.

Sounds great! And Richardson could be a good candidate if he came up with a powerful platform—something every candidate except the born-again lefty John Edwards lacks—and tightened his message machine. Maybe it'll come after he announces a formal bid and answers the inevitable scandal queries.

NEXT: Sez Oxley: "Never Mind"

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  1. Perhaps, but I strongly doubt the Democrats are smart enough to select Bill Richardson.

  2. Mr. Richardson scored third best of any Democratic governor for overall current-term performance on Cato’s 2006 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors.

    I actually like Richardson, but that’s a pretty low bar., considering the Republican governor (Taft) we just got rid of.

  3. The GOP has been practically handed the Dems the “get-out-of-my-bedroom/wallet/gunrack” crowd, and the Dems have been all too eager to throw them right back out.

    Until the Dems become the champion of the individual, all they are is the “gimme your vote” party.

  4. isn’t Richardson pro-drug-war?

  5. That’s not a great picture. If he closed his eyes, he’d look like he’d been embalmed.

  6. He declared a border emergency in his state in 2005 (so he’s no immigration softie)

    Maybe that makes him more electable (then again maybe it doesn’t), but it detracts from his libertarian qualifications.

  7. norbizness,
    Skankin’?

  8. Warren, it’s entirely possible to demand orderly and lawful immigration while decrying the problems of people just willy-nilly running into the country. I don’t know what he’s got for an immigration “solution” but I’ll hear him out.

    What about that whole Wen Ho Lee thing though? That might get ugly.

  9. “First, we have Senator Clinton-”

    Hugo Chavez in a pants-suit.

  10. Mod-ska dancin’!

    No, he’s out getting some gnarly thrash boots.

  11. The fact that Richardson, who admittedly is the only Democrat to even remotely resemble a libertarian, is doing so poorly at this juncture is proof of really how unlibertarian the Democrat Party is. Richardson is polling, like what? 4%? That’s pitiful.

    I like Richardson. But if he doesn’t break out of second tier darkhorse status soon, he might as well throw it in.

    Fortunately, libertarians do have a candidate in a major party to support this year, who has a much more realistic shot of winning: Rudy Giuliani.

  12. (joining the pop culture referencing)

    Maybe he went to see the Circle Jerks!

  13. Eric –

    Or, people on the GOP side could support your former boss, who really is a libertarian (although polling even worse than Richardson right now).

  14. I’ve decided that B-Rich looks like a big possum so I’m gonna start calling him “Bitey.”

  15. Richardson sounds like a libertarian who somehow escaped lobotomy. He’ll never get the libertarian vote.

  16. And why should I listen to what Liz Mair has to say? She hasn’t produced a decent album in ten years! And when she decided to go pop-tart with her last joint? WTF?

  17. biologist-I thought he was pro-medical marijuana?

  18. Electing Richardson would have a side bonus. People on the left and right coasts would finally realize that New Mexico isn’t part of a foreign country.

    But he has a snowball’s chance in hell. The bigwigs of the Democratic party see the last election as a mandate to push all the programs that got them thrown out of office last time.

    Edwards’ problem isn’t getting elected, it’s getting nominated.

  19. bill is being smart. Waiting until everyone becomes disillusioned with the front runners then he’ll come in late and steal the nomination.

    bill clinton did that, hell john kerry did that in 04.

  20. Fortunately, libertarians do have a candidate in a major party to support this year, who has a much more realistic shot of winning: Rudy Giuliani.

    *Cartoonish spewing coffee* WTF?! Giuliani is more of a liberal Democrat than a libertarian-friendly Republican. What is with this Reasonoid love affair with left-liberals like Giuliani?

  21. If you would all take your ideological blinders off and give your eyes a chance to adjust to the glare, you would see that “what [supposedly] got the Democrats thrown out of office the last time” is precisely what will get them elected this time. A populist backlash against globalization is quickly gatherning force, and by November 2008 it be a political tsunami. CNN’s Lou Dobbs might have a screw or two loose, but he has intuitively grasped the zeitgeist. If you think your brand of right-wing libertarianism is marginal now, just wait.

  22. “bill is being smart.”

    Indeed the man is a savvy politico.
    Don’t misunderestimate him.

    “How does Richardson keep lawmakers in check? He put Speaker of the House Ben Lujan in his place earlier this year by vetoing a $75 million appropriation for water settlements that Lujan slipped into the capital outlay bill at the last minute without the knowledge of the governor and most legislators. And Sen. Mary Kay Papen is one of several who failed to line up quietly behind Richardson during the session and paid for it with capital outlay vetoes.”

    http://haussamen.blogspot.com/2006/12/scandal-richardsons-influence-shaped.html

  23. “What is with this Reasonoid love affair with left-liberals like Giuliani?”

    That’s a good start, MikeT: just next time, start your rant (before or after the kawfee spewing, your preference) with, “you know, for a magazine called Reason…”

    That way, it’s closer to specifications of the Drinking Game.

    (we’ll make sure you get a copy of the memo)

  24. MikeT | March 8, 2007, 11:06am | #

    Fortunately, libertarians do have a candidate in a major party to support this year, who has a much more realistic shot of winning: Rudy Giuliani.

    *Cartoonish spewing coffee* WTF?! Giuliani is more of a liberal Democrat than a libertarian-friendly Republican. What is with this Reasonoid love affair with left-liberals like Giuliani?

    I see this as Dondero’s comedy act. I hope he hasn’t quit his day job (whatever it is).

  25. He doesn’t fill me with dread and horror. Go Bill.

    The dumbocrats have the chance to turn the republicans into a rump dixie/religious party. They’ll blow it.

  26. Richardson voted for the ban on so-called “assault weapons” in 1994.

    So he fails that particular litmus test.

    Refreshingly enough, though, he evidently doesn’t have a problem with concealed carry.

  27. mediageek,

    Oh yeah, guns are the thing. Who gives a flying fuck about making ends meet or getting healthcare as long as we can get our assault rifles? Jesus Christ, if you’re not brain dead, you sure do a good imitation.

  28. So is America so conservative these days that being concerned with poverty makes you a member of the “loony-left”?

  29. Dan T

    Most of the morons posting here have put their brains on ideoligical auto-pilot. Don’t confuse them with America

  30. bj, way to put forth a rational and reasoned argument.

    FWIW, I’m responsible for making my own ends meet and getting health care.

  31. mediageek

    You consider making access to assault weapons a litmus test for politicians worthy of a reasoned argument? If you’re making ends meet, good luck has played a far greater role in your life than you’re probably bright enough to realize.

  32. I don’t know where you get the idea that Amerikka is conservative particularly when liberal JFK comes off as more conservative than GWB.

    And not the looney left exactly, more like the left that takes your money and spends on stuff you may not like. And I don’t care who you are there’s plenty spent on stuff you hate.

    bj, is there a reason why people call you BJ? Or are you just a dick that sucks?

    According to my libertarian sensibilities being concerned with poverty (in a land with near universal cell phone and TV ownership) means taking a hard look at what you, your church, your Rotary Club, or your neighbors can do to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

  33. bj, do they call you BJ for a reason? Or are you just a dick that sucks?

  34. Wow, again, you’re just a pile of unassailable logical arguments. No ad hominems from you.

    A politician’s view on whether a citizen should be allowed to own a firearm tends to work quite well as an indicator of where they stand on issues of individual liberty.

    I truly wish we lived in a country where I didn’t have to consider a politician’s stance on gun ownership before casting a ballot, but they’ve forced me to take that position.

    Also, please give a definition of the terms “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” please.

  35. TWC, he probably doesn’t even have the common courtesy to swallow, either.

  36. Media, sometimes I just ignore that stuff, but this has been a stressful morning and there was just one too many times he used the word morons and brain dead. No excuse for that.

  37. Nah, he’s got an excuse for the repetitive use of the terms: he’s projecting.

  38. bj:

    (thought you were great as Hawkeye’s companion on MASH, BTW!)

    How about this: there are many people for whom a certain cluster of issues are important. For Media, the Second Amendment is very important. If you actually pay attention to him, he busts on those who hate the First Amendment, too.

    So – you’re up now: what is your understanding of what an “assault weapon” is? How about asking Media why he considers that to be so important?

    Media has outlined some good points, as well as posing the question about your understanding about assault weapons.

    What’s the political line that a pol can’t cross for you? When does a single stance on an issue disqualify a pol for you for consideration?

    Me? I want to see them in a thong. How well they do with the “no tan line” thing. Richardson is, needless to say, in the lead.

  39. “If you’re making ends meet, good luck has played a far greater role in your life than you’re probably bright enough to realize.”

    Do I detect the bitterness of a guy with an English degree that is flipping burgers because his training has no market value?

  40. “Do I detect the bitterness of a guy with an English degree that is flipping burgers because his training has no market value?”

    Which is pretty funny, given that he’s bagging on a guy with a degree in a field that’s always had more qualified candidates than openings.

  41. Hey JLM:

    Ohh! A Dig on liberal arts. You must be a hardcore businessman!

    ooooh. Can I feel your muscle? What a tough guy.

    dickhead.

  42. media geek

    An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle or carbine firing ammunition with muzzle energies intermediate between those typical of pistol and battle rifle ammunition. Assault rifles are categorized between light machine guns, intended more for sustained automatic fire in a support role, and submachine guns, which fire a handgun cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge. Assault rifles are the standard small arms in most modern armies, having largely replaced or supplemented larger, more powerful battle rifles, such as the World War II-era M1 Garand and Tokarev SVT. Examples of assault rifles include the M16 rifle and the AK-47. Semi-automatic rifles, including commercial versions of the AR-15, and “automatic” rifles limited to firing single shots are not assault rifles as they are not selective fire. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with very limited capacity fixed magazines are also generally not assault rifles.

    So access to this kind of weaponry is an important political issue? Only for marginal right-wing political cultists and brain-dead assholes. Maybe you can explain the difference.

  43. Well, at least we know that you can run a Google search on command.

    Perhaps it would have helped to run such a search before running away at the keyboard.

    Just a tasty little FYI:

    Assault Rifles, or any firearm capable of firing in a full auto or burst mode have been so heavily regulated by the NFA of 1934 that they are generally only owned by high-end collectors.

  44. Also, BJ, since you’re so concerned about access to firearms chambered in intermediate-powered rounds, what do you make of the fact that you can buy sniper rifles chambered in much more powerful rounds pretty much anywhere?

  45. At the link, you can hear Bill Richardson supporting EthnicNationalism, and I strongly urge everyone to go to his public appearances and ask him about it.

    On a more recent note, he’s volunteering to assist the OrganizationOfAmericanStates promote their ImmigrationPositions in the U.S., all while supposedly working as NewMexico’s governor.

    In other words, he’s a perfect LibertarianCandidate.

  46. So access to this kind of weaponry is an important political issue? Only for marginal right-wing political cultists and brain-dead assholes.

    Better to speak out and remove all doubt, eh?

  47. Assault rifles are any ballistic weapon that a reasonable soccer mom would deem “scary looking.”

    Scary looking pistols are also assault rifles using this definition.

    mediageek,

    What’s your take on the Outdoor Life guy who got blacklisted for busting on hunting prairie dogs with “assault rifles?”

  48. Richardson has Lonewacko’s sarcastic endorsement.

    That settles it for me!

  49. MikeP, you beat me to it.

  50. “What’s your take on the Outdoor Life guy who got blacklisted for busting on hunting prairie dogs with “assault rifles?”

    The Zumbo affair?

    It’s been a fascinating little tempest in a teapot to watch.

    Basically, I’ll try to just hit the highlights:
    1) The backlash wasn’t orchestrated by the NRA, despite what the mainstream outlets claimed. It was a full-on, completely grassroots effort.

    2) I found his statements quite offensive.

    3) Zumbo has made a sincere apology, and undertaken actions to understand why people were so ticked. He went out and shot an AR with Ted Nugent, and has written a check to CCRKBA.

    4) Given his most recent actions, I, along with pretty much the rest of the gun culture are more than happy to welcome him back.

    5) The backlash will hopefully cause others to engage their brain on the issue before slandering an entire segment of the gun culture that has been unfairly misrepresented.

  51. Interesting take on assault weapons, I don’t own any of those really cool rifles but I know people who do. Strangely, none of them are marginal right-wing political cultists or brain-dead assholes.

  52. “Hey JLM:

    Ohh! A Dig on liberal arts. You must be a hardcore businessman!

    ooooh. Can I feel your muscle? What a tough guy.

    dickhead.”

    Actually, I’m just a dumb-shit with a 2 year degree in electrical engineering technology. I’m up to my butt in work and I make a comfortable living. It seems that many of the people that I meet who want the government to wipe their ass for them have some degree that is not very marketable, so they seem to think that the system is broken. Many of these people need a calculator to add 2 + 2. Go find yourself a marketable skill and shut up.

  53. Assault weapon bans leading to guns being illegal argues the same as medicinal marijuana leads to legalization of same. That is why some of us are leary of these bans.

    On the other hand, Mrs. brotherben seems to feel I am indeed a brain dead asshole.

    bumper sticker– I own a bong…and I vote

  54. “Semi-automatic rifles, including commercial versions of the AR-15, and “automatic” rifles limited to firing single shots are not assault rifles as they are not selective fire. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with very limited capacity fixed magazines are also generally not assault rifles.

    So access to this kind of weaponry is an important political issue? Only for marginal right-wing political cultists and brain-dead assholes. Maybe you can explain the difference.”

    BJ- you answered your own question with this. Commercially available, semi-automatic versions of “assault rifles” are not assault rifles. Politicians call them that because the average joe then thinks they are machine guns, and supports the bans. True assault weapons (fully automatic, burst fire) have been essentially illegal to own since the 30’s, as stated previously by mediageek. You need an FFL to possess one.

  55. TWC-

    Since the early 1990’s, the AR15 has come to dominate nearly every form of competitive centerfire rifle competition.

    Due to the light amount of felt recoil, more shooters are getting into these forms of competition than ever before.

    At the Service Rifle and National Match shoots held every year at Camp Perry* the AR’s absolutely dominate the line.

    In the much newer sport of 3-Gun/Multigun, most competitors are opting for the factory-custom AR’s built by JP Enterprises, usually topped off with a scope from outfits like Leupold or Trijicon.

    The cost of these rigs, combined with the dedication it takes to actually develop the skill to be competitive is pretty much anathema to the stereotype of these rifle owners being either braindead or morons. My experiences with these competitors, up to and including those who are at the top of their game and do it for a living, has shown them to be anything but assholes.

    *Camp Perry is to competitive rifle and pistol shooting as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is to car racing.

  56. “Since the early 1990’s, the AR15 has come to dominate nearly every form of competitive centerfire rifle competition.

    Due to the light amount of felt recoil, more shooters are getting into these forms of competition than ever before.”

    This points to another common misconception about the AR15 and similar- that they are more powerful than a hunting rifle because they are similar to a military weapon. Actually, a .223 is a pretty small caliber. I wouldn’t bother taking one deer hunting. A common deer rifle is (at minimum) a .270, and more commonly a .30-06 (.30 cal). Many people have questioned why the military ever converted to this caliber, due to the lack of stopping power.

  57. “You need an FFL to possess one.”

    Yes and no.

    (Nerdy legalistic hairsplitting ensues now.)

    You don’t need an FFL to own one that was made prior to 1986. You have to jump through a ton of hoops and have the money to pay the highly inflated cost of a transferable full-auto.
    (An average semi-auto AR15 will run you in the neighborhood of $800-$1000. A transferable M16 is going to run somewhere north of $10,000.

    For any full-autos that were made after 1986, you can only possess one if you have not just a regular FFL, but special paperwork above and beyond that. I’m kind of fuzzy on that bit, but basically you have to have paperwork showing that you’re a manufacturer or dealer with the ability to sell to the .gov.

  58. “I wouldn’t bother taking one deer hunting.”

    As I understand it, in many states it’s not even legal to hunt with a .223.

  59. It’s astounding how quickly a thread can turn from an analysis of whatever Democrat Weigel is shilling for this week to anti-gun troll-bashing.

    I thought you guys knew better than to feed those things.

  60. To add a few points:

    1) Presently Maryland is conducting hearings pursuant to enacting a statewide “Assault Weapons” ban. According to the firsthand reports I read on SIG Forum the other day, the anti-gun politicians have been quoting Zumbo re: his assault rifle disparaging. This is exactly what other gun owners like myself and Mediageek find so offensive about his comments.

    2) Once “Assault Weapons” are in the bag, I believe the next lowest hanging fruit would be “Sniper Rifles,” i.e. Zumbo’s hunting rifles. He is/was profoundly naive, IMHO.

    3) Owning a full-auto firearm requires more than a Federal Firearms License. These sorts of things are referred to as “Class III” items, which also includes suchlike as suppressors (“silencers”), rifles with barrels less than 16 1/2″ in length, and novelties like pen- or cane guns. Obtaining a license for a Class III item requires living in a state that doesn’t ban them (~1/2 of America?), undergoing a full photo/fingerprint/send Mulder & Scully to talk to your boss FBI background check, a process which takes typically 6 months. Included in this is a $200 tax (it was $200 in 1934, hasn’t been adjusted for inflation) and a requirement that your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (e.g. chief of police in your jurisdiction) write a letter on official letterhead stating he has no problem with you owning a machine gun. This is an effective deal breaker in many jurisdictions, as it is not “shall issue,” but often contingent on campaign donations or – shall we say – “golf buddy relationships”. In addition, Bush the Elder signed into law a stipulation that no new automatic firearms will be licensed after 1986. Therefore the supply is fixed and at least 22 years old. Typically a “transferrable” HK MP5 submachine gun in decent condition will sell for $15,000-20,000. Finally, part of the paperwork on Class III licensing also requires you essentially waive your 4th Amendment rights against warrantless searches.

    To put it bluntly, this is a regulatory regime designed not so much to outlaw automatic weapons as to limit them to the wealthy and politically well-connected. Never was a gun control law so transparently honest in its intent. Remember kids, it’s not about “gun”, it’s about “control”. This is why many of us put the issue at or near the top of our list. It is a litmus test.

    Nothing is more political than a gun; owning one is a political statement. It is a repudiation of statism. The animus the anti-gun have towards them has nothing to do with their associated death toll; it is an animus against their political symbolism. This is why there is such a drive to ban assault rifles: they are used in a vanishingly small fraction of crimes, but no weapon wears its politics on its sleeve quite like an M4gery. It is analogous to banning Ferraris and Lamborghinis in an effort to redefine the social meaning of the automobile, removing the political connotations of freedom and independence, and redefining automobiles back down into the box of pure point-A-to-point-B utility. Such an effort would be about much more than simple traffic safety; it would be an attempt to remove some of the libertarian culture from our society.

    There are about 70,000 Class III items in the USA. In the 70+ years of NFA34 history there has only been one instance of a crime being committed with a legally held Class III item: a corrupt cop killed an informant scheduled to testify against him with one of his department’s submachine guns.

    But, you know, I’m the threat to society because now since 9/2004 (sunset of AWB94) the gun I carry when I walk my dog has a 12 round magazine instead of 10.

    Put me in Mediageek’s corner, it’s the issue that brought me into the ring in the first place.

  61. Well said, Kap.

    The ironic thing about the NFA is that the main driving force behind it was violence that was caused by a completely ineffective alcohol prohibition. The Chicago typewriter (tommy gun)was the weapon of choice for gangsters that were in a lucrative business created by a government ban.

  62. Outstanding, Kap. I hope you share the Libertarian suspicion of copyright law, because I’m keeping that post… = )

  63. You belong in Media Geek’s corner, Kap. Anywhere else, justifiable feelings of inferiority might seep through the cracks in your skull. I hope your gun discharges and blows your balls off (if you have any).

  64. “I hope your gun discharges and blows your balls off (if you have any).”

    Kap presented a well-thought out posting with a lot of factual information, and he didn’t flame anybody. Then bj comes back with that gem because he can’t think of any valid argument. Thanks for validating all of my stereotypes about gun control nuts.

  65. So, bj, since they strictly control the ownership of guns in Canada they don’t need SWAT teams there, right?

  66. JLM

    You’re absolutely welcome. We gun control nuts are a nasty bunch, and don’t you forget it.

    Isaac,

    A SWAT team is just what’s called for when some gun nut goes over the edge. I don’t know about Canada, but I’m sure glad we have SWAT teams here.

  67. Not to sound too much like the pro-castration bj, but Kap seems to illustrate the point a lot of us non-NRA dudes like to highlight:

    Your anger over the removal of these guns is all about symbolism. Symbols may be important, but they certainly aren’t the end game. If I were you I would re-prioritize:

    We have a gutted 4th Amendment, we torture foreigners and Americans, our foreign policy is completely unstable, and we are engaging in a drug war that exacerbates all of these.

    Your litmus test is assault weapons.

  68. Let’s thank the brave men and women who serve in Swat teams. Too bad the nutsoid gun fanatics who killed all the kids in Columbine didn’t hold out long enough to meet up with one.

    SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics; originally Special Weapons Assault Team) is a specialized unit in many United States police departments, which is trained to perform dangerous operations. These can include serving high-risk arrest warrants, performing hostage rescue and/or armed intervention, preventing terrorist attacks, and engaging heavily-armed criminals. SWAT teams are equipped with specialized firearms including submachine guns, shotguns, carbines, tear gas, stun grenades, and high-powered rifles for marksmen (snipers). They often have specialized equipment including heavy body armor, entry tools, steel reinforced boots and night vision optics.

  69. And some of us non-NRA types would also like to see some gun control (and self control) on the part of SWAT

  70. Whatever else he is, bj is a pretty good advertisement for Wikipedia…

  71. “A SWAT team is just what’s called for when some gun nut goes over the edge. I don’t know about Canada, but I’m sure glad we have SWAT teams here.”

    When some gun nut goes over the edge, or when a guy has some pot residue in his ashtray, or when somebody has been shoplifting. Here they used a SWAT team to arrest a kid that stole some PS3’s last year and shot him through the front door of his apartment. There seem to be lots of uses for SWAT, sure.

    You should read some of Radley Balko’s articles since you are an expert on SWAT- I enjoyed that nice encyclopedia entry that you included in your last post to inform all of us hicks about what a SWAT team is.

  72. So, Matt, in a perfect libertarian world, everybody will exercise self-control? Just because SWAT teams sometimes go amok, we don’t need SWAT teams? That’s like saying just because most libertarians are simple-minded, we don’t need libertarians (oops!)

  73. Sorry, JML. I know that a SWAT team is whatever Radley Balko tells you it is. Go back to sleep now.

  74. “We have a gutted 4th Amendment”

    Matt, that is why us NRA types (and I don’t agree with everything the NRA stands for) try to draw a line in sand and say “no more”. We are trying to prevent the 2nd amendment from being gutted any more. I have no problem with some controls on guns, but I think that we have plenty. When big brother tries to ban a gun that is used in about 1/10th of 1% of crimes, I know that this is nothing but an attempt to chip away at the edges of something that they would like to ultimately destroy.

  75. Well, bj, I might have written unclearly. I was saying that I don’t share the priorities of the anti-gun control guys.

    And what that has to do with self control on the part of ordinary citizens is something I would have expected from the other side of the debate, not yours (it being the primary PRACTICAL point of owning guns, rather than the symbolic point).

  76. JLM – It is an argument, I would just say from my perspective that is an interesting sandbar from which to wage war.

    Especially considering that these guns are not primary methods of self-defense since they seem to be pretty expensive

  77. Matt- I think you wrote it clearly. I don’t think that bj is processing anything he reads before he throws back an obnoxious response. I don’t know if he’s even figured out that you agree with him on this issue to some degree.

    BTW, I may not agree with you, but you do your cause justice, unlike bj.

  78. “Especially considering that these guns are not primary methods of self-defense since they seem to be pretty expensive”

    They aren’t primarily self-defense guns. Some people use them as a defense gun at home, but they certainly aren’t concealable. A lot of people like to use them for recreational/competition shooting.

  79. Here’s a legitimate, non-troll question: Iraq was crawling with weapons even when Saddam was in power. How did such a tyrant keep a heavily armed population under control? Don’t paranoid gun freaks, er…advocates, think that once the government gets all the guns, it will insitute a dictatorship?

  80. Matt –

    I understand what you are saying, and I agree completely. The gun issue to me is very important, but it is not the only thing that is important. My point in ranting was to try to explain why some folks who have no interest in guns per se could consider it an important issue nonetheless. When I carry a gun, the neighborhood cop is not a father, but a brother. I make the assumption that how a politician feels about that is a good indicator of how he feels about the larger issues of the balance of government vs citizen power, and that will play into how he feels about SWAT abuse, the WoD, and torture. I see it as a litmus test only insofar as it reveals an underlying truth about the politician as an organic whole.

    Should I choose another issue as a single-issue litmus test? How about the war on drugs? Show me the politician, I don’t see one. How about torture? I see only McCain, who is simply awful everywhere else.

    Personally I live in Texas, and therefore the outcomes of my elections are typically foregone conclusions. Therefore each time ’round I hold my nose and vote big L party ticket, if only to add to the dialog next time around. But I do so knowing that I would say exactly the same thing you said to me, to pretty much any L candidate (witness the Ron Paul coverage a few days ago):

    We have a gutted 4th Amendment, we torture foreigners and Americans, our foreign policy is completely unstable, and we are engaging in a drug war that exacerbates all of these. Your litmus test is assault weapons the gold standard?

    Guns are a very powerful issue in American politics because – for better or worse – it is one of the few issues on which voting D vs R actually can make a clear, specific, objective difference in the life of the voter, witness rounds #11 and #12 in my magazine, which I can point to and say “because R was in power 9/13/2004”. Given a choice between that and nebulous promises, undifferentiable candidates, and unverifiable outcomes, it isn’t entirely unreasonable to go with the former. But yes, I would have no problem giving them up to make the WoD and torture go away. I just suspect that if I gave them up…I would only be giving them up, for nothing in return.

  81. “When I carry a gun, the neighborhood cop is not a father, but a brother.” –Kap

    How about just wearing a badge and a cop hat? Would a cap pistol work? God, I’ll bet the poor cops just love the idea that dorkish simpletons like you are armed and wandering the streets.

  82. “Iraq was crawling with weapons even when Saddam was in power. How did such a tyrant keep a heavily armed population under control?”

    This is just speculation on my part, but I would guess that having a civilian population that was armed to the ass somewhat discouraged terrorist/criminal activity. They are trying to disarm everybody right now, and it doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

    “God, I’ll bet the poor cops just love the idea that dorkish simpletons like you are armed and wandering the streets.”

    Actually a lot of cops support civilian right to carry. They are intelligent enough to realize that they can’t be everywhere at once, but you are probably not.

  83. As I understand it, under Saddam, the only people who really had ready access to firearms were members of the Ba’ath Party.

    “We gun control nuts are a nasty bunch, and don’t you forget it.”

    Yes, I’ve witnessed this first hand. Often vicious, and full of hatred and fear for people they do not understand and who only wish to be left alone.

  84. Is this headline a reference to Camper Van Beetoven? If so, well done, Mr. Weigel.

  85. “Your anger over the removal of these guns is all about symbolism. Symbols may be important, but they certainly aren’t the end game. If I were you I would re-prioritize:

    We have a gutted 4th Amendment, we torture foreigners and Americans, our foreign policy is completely unstable, and we are engaging in a drug war that exacerbates all of these.”

    It’s not purely about symbolism. Unlike many civil rights, it’s the one that has the most tangible effect on me when it is infringed.

    I am well and truly concerned about infringements on other civil rights, the 1st and 4th definitely being on that list. But I’ve never yet had to assert my rights under the 4th amendment. To me, the 4th has a theoretical quality to it. I’ve never needed to exercise it, so I don’t have the same visceral connection to it.

    Besides, as it stands, the 2nd Amendment has been pretty much the red-headed stepchild of the Bill of Rights. It’s only been in the last ten years or so that the .gov has seen fit to start treating the rest of them with the same disrespect.

  86. “You belong in Media Geek’s corner, Kap.”

    I’d be happy to hang with Kap any time.

  87. “When I carry a gun, the neighborhood cop is not a father, but a brother.” –Kap

    How about just wearing a badge and a cop hat? Would a cap pistol work? God, I’ll bet the poor cops just love the idea that dorkish simpletons like you are armed and wandering the streets.

    I teach the Texas concealed handgun class. The most common COP–>CHL interaction story I hear is “I got pulled over speeding and thought for sure I would get a ticket. But when I displayed my CHL (as required by Texas law) he/she gave me a warning.” The Texas Department of Public Safety Concealed handgun Licensing Section takes this seriously enough to put a question about it on the CHL examination.

    In the eleven years Texas has had the CHL law, and I’ve been teaching and carrying, I have yet to meet a street officer who doesn’t support the program. Several of them go so far as to lecture people who are licensed but choose not to carry all the time. As in, “You have the license. You should be carrying. One day I might need help.”

    I also note that the anti-CHL crowd also lobbied heavily against the recent bill allowing law enforcement officers to carry off-duty and in other jurisdictions. And in allowing airline pilots to carry. You think the cops didn’t notice?

    On the other side, I note that folks with contempt for the Second Amendment almost always want “reasonable” restrictions on the First, Fourth, and Fifth amendments. See John McCain.

  88. So, does the “b” and the “j” stand for “cut” and “paste” in some foreign language?

  89. Oops, substitute “copy” for “cut” above for improved snarkiness.

  90. Richardson RAISED taxes in New Mexico.
    He may have reduced the top marginal rate but he offset it by tax increases that increased State revenue. Kinda makes it hard to “drown it in the bath tub” doesn’t it?

    Oh Yeah…. the POS campaigned as cockfighting agnostic and when he decided to run for President he came out in favor of a cockfighting ban in New Mexico.

    Maybe he could get Bloomberg to ” party switch” and run as his Veep.

  91. Also, guns have played a prominent role in the civil rights movement.

  92. Ignore him, the fact that bj has nothing to offer but childish insults proves he is just another fucking troll who more than likely doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the gun issue.

    He’s just a little kid, with a computer, looking for attention.

  93. LarryA

    Anecdotal evidence from a committed Texas gun nut is about a worthless as your brain. Even a little kid knows that.

  94. There will never be a perfect libertarian candidate running for the dems or GOP. We need to instead vote for the candidate that will do the least harm. And Richardson sound like our best bet.

    hey biologist – Richardson is trying to get a medical marijuana bill passed in NM. http://www.abqtrib.com/news/2007/mar/06/crunchtime-gets-close-gov-richardsons-bills/

  95. “He’s just a little kid, with a computer, looking for attention.”

    Yeah, but his insults are so precocious and cute that you just want to pinch his cheek for trying to talk to those of us sitting at the big people table.

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