The Making of the Libertarian Nomination: 2008

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I've entertained the notion of updating the LP race standings every week until the convention, the way that multiple media orgs and blogs did when covering the Democratic and Republican races. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of fluidity in the race: Bob Barr, Wayne Allyn Root, and Mary Ruwart are bunched up at the top of the field, with delegates telling me they're swapping between Root and Barr but no one telling me they'd trade Ruwart for one of them.

So, a brief update on the frontrunners. Barr's fundraising has ticked up since he announced his run and got an unprecendented (for an LP candidate) flurry of coverage. Outright Libertarians, a gay rights group within in the party, quickly blasted him for his record on their issue. This is a signal of Barr's punching power at this point in the race: He engenders ire from his enemies like no one else running in the LP. William Hawkins accuses him of "turning against his country."

Wayne Allyn Root is ignoring the Barr media blitz and calling up delegates. Right before John McCain issued a TV ad predicting what the world would be like in 2013, Root did sort of the same thing, e-mailing supporters a future history of the Root campaign and the LP.

Imagine.
The blizzard of media attention after the LP convention is over. Thank you Congressman Bob Barr and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Media from across the country came to Denver because of you. But what they witnessed was Wayne Allyn Root pulling off the political upset (at least as far as the Washington D.C. press corp. is concerned). A star is born. Now the media will be more interested in the new face of the LP because of who he is…not who he was.

The important thing about media isn't getting it- it's what you do with it after you get it. Wayne is a dynamic media personality. He has proven he knows how to get media, and how to use it. He wins over even skeptical and cynical hosts. He gets them to say, "Wow, I could actually vote for you." If Wayne Allyn Root gets the LP Presidential nomination, we'll have a future. With Wayne there is a huge (and long-term) upside.

It ends on an up note:

On election night 2008, Wayne Allyn Root outperforms the expectations of the political pundits and Beltway insiders, including a very close third place finish in his home state of Nevada… Wayne will build on his close third place finish in Nevada in 2008 to win Nevada as a Libertarian Presidential candidate in 2012.

Giving off the impression that she's back on her heels, Mary Ruwart rolled out a YouTube message to her supporters claiming she's been "smeared, libeled and misquoted" by other candidates.

Some people think being tough is a matter of pointing fingers, getting angry, and in some cases, smearing your opponents… a truly tough person takes responsibility for his or her actions and would never smear an opponent. I think that's why my staff calls me the Velvet Hammer: Soft on the outside, tough on the inside.

On a side note: Alan Keyes has responded to his landslide defeat at the Constitution Party convention by humbly returning to a life of quiet scholarship and intellectual activism. Hah! No, seriously, he's founded his own third (fifth? sixth?) party. His organizers failed to get on the Texas ballot, but the California branch of the Constitution Party is trying to shove him onto that state's ballot.

NEXT: Big Wheels Keep On Turning

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  1. Media from across the country came to Denver because of you. But what they witnessed was Wayne Allyn Root pulling off the political upset (at least as far as the Washington D.C. press corp. is concerned

    OK so far…

    Now the media will be more interested in the new face of the LP because of who he is?not who he was.

    Whoops, you lost me with the descent into Wishful Thinking Land.

    The media cares about Barr running in the LP; and the if LP doesn’t run Barr, they will cease to be interested.

    That’s kinda the point.

  2. William Hawkins accuses him of “turning against his country.”

    I don’t really trust Barr, and I don’t want to like him. However, if frothy conservative idiots like Hawkins (great name, btw) keep trying to slag him, I’m probably going to wind up voting for him.

  3. Yeah, Root’s scenerio sounds pretty cheesey to me.

    The media cares about Barr running in the LP; and the if LP doesn’t run Barr, they will cease to be interested.

    Agreed. Now Barr needs to keep them interested, perhaps by pulling some stunts.

  4. Barr is your only hope for getting above 1%.

    But be warned: Barr will get the Republicans Nadered and you bill get eight years of Barack Hussein Obama and a Democrat Congress with liberal judges, tax hikes, soviet-style health care, gun control, and surrender to terror.

  5. There’s a sidebar ad for “Mark Warner for US Senate”. I’m assuming he’s a Libertarian candidate, because he looks stoned.

    Reinmoose – I think his campaign should ask Borat for an endorsement.

    Neil – did you prefer the original Lionel on the Jeffersons, or the second one?

  6. I don’t know, but I do think Obama’s wife could have been in a starring role on “Good Times” Baked Penguin.

  7. I wonder why Keyes, who literally defines “no chance,” gets so much less hysterical negative commentary than Ron Paul got? I think it’s antilibertarian media bias and an understanding that Keyes, unlike Paul, is no real threat to obese government, but I’d be interested in other theories.
    JMR

  8. The more I hear about Keyes, the more I’m convinced that his real reason for being a perpetual candidate – under whatever label – is to make money.

    Keyes’ 1992 Senate campaign was hurt badly when the press revealed he was paying himself a huge amount out of campaign funds. This is technically legal but rare and sleazy. We don’t know of any other candidates for president who have ever paid themselves out of campaign funds from any campaign they’ve been in.

    Keyes was happy to take $100,000/year as salary from his 1992 Senate campaign, but when it came time to pay that same campaign’s debts, he said: “I personally do not owe the debt that was owed by the campaign.” That was about $45,000, which was unpaid from 1992 through the end of 1996, according to the FEC. Of course, if he hadn’t paid himself so much money, he would have had plenty to pay off that debt.

    Keyes told a reporter that the money will be paid off — by the campaign, not by him of course — but several creditors said Keyes hadn’t communicated with them years later. In 1995-1996, for example, his 1992 Senate campaign received $34,821 and spent over $15,000, but he couldn’t manage to pay off any of that debt.

    Finally, some time during 1997-1998, Keyes paid off most of this money. The FEC reports show that he spent $49,544 during that time, and reimbursed $41,094 worth of loans, but somehow he managed to end up still owing more than $34,000 for his 1992 Senate race at the end of the reporting period. Presumably he took on new loans to pay the old ones (though the FEC data doesn’t give enough detail to be sure.)

    Incidentally, Keyes still owes over $200,000 on his 1996 presidential campaign as well. At the end of 1996, he owed $350,000; since then, he has raised over $1,000,000 for a campaign that is over, but spent even more ($1,099,972) and only reduced his debt by $150,000.

    In 1995, his campaign wrote over $20,000 in bad checks, which his spokesman blamed on a former campaign aide.

    As for the libertarian race, I’m kind of hoping Barr gets the nod just for the name recognition factor, but it’s really not a huge deal to me. I’ll vote for whatever candidate the party nominates, and that candidate won’t win the election anyway. Barr does have the potential to Nader McCain – a scenario that would give the LP huge publicity while raising the prospects of our getting the heck out of Iraq.

  9. Neil – Dynomite!

  10. BP –
    A Borat endorsement would rock.
    Are there any libertarian celebrities out there? Maybe they could do one of those sickening commercials like you see for the RED campaign or global warming or something, but against government power.

  11. The blizzard of media attention after the LP convention is over. Thank you Congressman Bob Barr and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Media from across the country came to Denver because of you. But what they witnessed was Wayne Allyn Root pulling off the political upset (at least as far as the Washington D.C. press corp. is concerned). A star is born.

    Delusional much?

    Barr will get the Republicans Nadered and you bill get eight years of Barack Hussein Obama and a Democrat Congress with liberal judges, tax hikes, soviet-style health care, gun control, and surrender to terror.

    As if I give a flying fuck if that the GOP will get “Nadered” or whatever.

    With John McCain, we’ll get “liberal” (see statist) judges, tax hikes, soviet-style health care, gun control, but an endless “war on terror.”

    Six of one, half a dozen of another.

    Neil, no one minds you bringing your rightist views around. I even agree with you sometimes. However, please stop insulting us all by assuming we’re on Team Red.

    There’s plenty of Freeper blogs for that brand of stupid…

  12. I’m just warning you what a McCain Presidency could mean to certain issues libertarians hold dear.

    One-party Democrat government will be a nightmare and possibly the end of the world as we know it.

    At least McCain being from another party would slow the growth of government.

  13. Er, warning you what an Obama Presidency would mean, etc.

  14. Unfortunately, the LP race is like the third stage at Ozzfest or the lightweight boxing matches before a big heavyweight boxing matchup; very few people give a shit.

    Neil, which Newhart did you prefer; New-York-psychologist or Vermont-bed-and-breakfaster?

  15. Did no one ever tell Ruwart that explaining what it means to be “tough” is another way of saying, “I’m not really tough.”? Also, did no one ever tell Ruwart that attempting to spread your nickname yourself is a guarantee that no one will ever use it to refer to you, except as a term of derision? (Somebody send her the first two seasons of Red Dwarf.)

    Why is it that everything I see and hear of “Three Name” Root reminds me of a yet-to-be-scripted Will Farrell character? Does the term “self-caricature” apply?

  16. But be warned: Barr will get the Republicans Nadered

    Two points:

    1. So what if he does?

    2. Weren’t you just on every other thread predicting a landslide McCain win? (“300 EV LOLZ!!!!!”) How could Barr “nader” a landslide candidate?

  17. Er, warning you what an Obama Presidency would mean, etc.

    Nope – I think you were right when you said “McCain”

  18. Moose – I’ve heard Kurt Russell has libertarian views, and IMO, Snake Plisken could kick Chuck Norris’s ass.

    Also, and perhaps more importantly, Donna D’Errico endorsed Ron Paul. Whether she would endorse Barr is an open question.

  19. “Vermont” Newhart was much better in every way: acting, writing, editing, sets, wardrobe, camerawork, sound. The “New York” Newhart was like a sparse comic strip. It really played like it had only one strong talent involved. The “Vermont” Newhart came off more as an ensemble creation, to its benefit.

  20. Now Barr needs to keep them interested, perhaps by pulling some stunts.

    Agreed. I propose he capture ALL the MSM campaign coverage AND unify his base, by campaigning in drag.

  21. Ayn_Randian, the only time a Democrat candidate can win on the national level is with a right-wing spoiler.

    Remember: Perot gave us 8 years of Clinton-Gore.

    Do you really want that to happen again?

  22. I consume way too much media, and I’ve never heard of self-proclaimed media magnet Wayne Allen Root outside Reason.

  23. The blizzard of media attention after the LP convention is over. Thank you Congressman Bob Barr and Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

    whaaaa? does WARoot know something we don’t know… ? is The Body gonna show up and go for the nomination too? shit, I gotta get to Denver… !!!

    (incidentally, I think a Barr/Ventura ticket could be something to be reckoned with… *ducks* )

  24. Neil,

    Maybe McCain should try to make himself more attractive to libertarians, if he doesn’t want to get Nadered. Party unity is a two way street, my friends.

  25. Not old enough to remember NY Newhart, but Vermont Newhart was a quality program.

  26. the only time a Democrat candidate can win on the national level is with a right-wing spoiler.

    That’s not an answer to the question, dumbass.

    No wonder I promised I wasn’t going to talk to you any more.

    I have to agree with Rimfax’s assessment: Newhart was superior to TBNS in just about every way (and his wife was way hotter).

  27. If the Republicans didn’t want to get “Nadered” by a LP candidate, they should have taken a few seconds to pay half-assed lip service to small government at some point over the last 8 years.

    Serously, that’s all it would have taken. Most people who believe in small government don’t even demand that any steps be towards that end – vague anti-government rhetoric is all it took to keep them on the GOP reservation for years.

    The GOP made an active and deliberate decision to cede the mantle of “small-government” politics. They don’t have anyone to blame but themselves.

  28. AR an Obama Presidency means liberal judges, gun control, higher taxes, more regulation, the return of the “fairness doctrine”, and soviet-style health care.

    Is that enough reason to be scared?

  29. NY Newhart

    That was Chicago.

  30. Rimfax,
    I have no idea what prompted that. But the Chicago Bob Newhart show was the zenith of his career and outshined his later television work in every way.

  31. ,i>Agreed. I propose he capture ALL the MSM campaign coverage AND unify his base, by campaigning in drag.

    That’d be pretty awesome, but only if he doesn’t shave the moustache. Then he’d just be a sell-out attention whoring to win votes.

    Oh, wait…

  32. Neil, we’re not going to dialogue any more until you tell me how you think Barr can “Nader” a candidate that you simultaneously think is going to sweep the country.

    DOES NOT COMPUTE, you chimp.

  33. New-York-psychologist

    For shame! It was Chicago.

  34. BP –
    I meant relevant celebrities, not the type you’d see on Celebrity Fit Club or something. I’m guessing it’s just too cool to care about foreign aid and the poor to be a libertarian in Hollywood these days.

    Agreed. I propose he capture ALL the MSM campaign coverage AND unify his base, by campaigning in drag.

    Sweet! I was thinking something more along the lines of the RP moneybombs, but drag would be awesome.

  35. AR he will sweep the country UNLESS Barr screws him in key states by being the LP nominee.

    If Barr gets it I’m really scared for what it means in the fall.

  36. “AR an Obama Presidency means liberal judges, gun control, higher taxes, more regulation, the return of the “fairness doctrine”, and soviet-style health care.

    Is that enough reason to be scared?”

    I guess that all depends upon how easily scared you are. As we can see, you’re already pissing in your pants.

  37. Damn, late to the party again…

    PS. 80s Newhart was good but the 70s version was superb.

  38. For shame! It was Chicago.

    I wanted to see if Neil caught that. Really. I didn’t fuck up or anything. Nope.

  39. AR he will sweep the country UNLESS Barr screws him in key states by being the LP nominee.

    Good. The Republicans can choke on it, for all I care. Your monstrous betrayal of us small-government types…well, it’d be karmaic if an R-turned-L sunk it for you.

  40. Also, Neil, if it hadn’t been for the USA PATRIOT Act (for which your party is very responsible) you wouldn’t have created Libertarian Barr in the first place.

    Hoisted by your own petard, m’boy.

  41. You’ll be crying and pining for the Bush years in 2012 if its Obama AR.

  42. The PATRIOT Act is one of the biggest reasons George W. Bush has kept us safe.

    Why do you think we haven’t been attacked since 9/11?

    Can’t you give Bush a LITTLE credit for that AR?

  43. “You’ll be crying and pining for the Bush years in 2012 if its Obama AR.”

    Sounds like you’re about to start crying a lot sooner than that.

  44. Neil, which was cooler: Airwolf or Blue Thunder (TV spinoff, not the movie)?

    I’ll admit that the whole Ernest Borgnine thing was cool for Airwolf, but a helicopter taking out fighter jets? Come on.

  45. I propose he capture ALL the MSM campaign coverage AND unify his base, by campaigning in drag.

    That’d be pretty awesome, but only if he doesn’t shave the moustache. Then he’d just be a sell-out attention whoring to win votes.

    Oh, wait…

    Agreed. The mustache is the key to sincerity.

  46. AR an Obama Presidency means liberal judges, gun control, higher taxes, more regulation, the return of the “fairness doctrine”, and soviet-style health care.

    Is that enough reason to be scared?

    Making decisions based on being scared is what has gotten us into this mess over the last 8 years…

  47. Neil,

    Here is why I think that RINO McCain would be more harmful to Republicans and to libertarians than Obama would be.

    McCain plays along with Democrats more often than not. At least with Obama as president, there would be a Republican minority in congress opposing him.

    All the judges that McCain appoints would be at least as liberal as the ones that Obama appoints, and no one would oppose their nomination. Remember McCain was one of those on the Dems side when GW was appointing judges.

    Obama has a small history of interest in individual liberty. Note when he got the Chicago police to videotape confessions, when he got the government openness thing passed, when he voted against Hillary to let Katrina victims keep their guns.

    Yeah I know I got some of the details wrong, but I think I go the basic idea right.

  48. You’ll be crying and pining for the Bush years in 2012 if its Obama AR.

    But I thought we’d all be rounded up into death camps run by Muslim extremists (mostly Obama’s old madrassa buddies; he still emails them, y’know) by 2010…how can we pine if we’re dead, Neil?

    Because if that’s *not* what an Obama presidency would mean, then I don’t foresee many people pining for what we have now. Particularly the soldiers dying and killing in Iraq. Perhaps that’s why Obama raises more money from military families than McCain. But I’d love to hear your explanation for that tidbit; the contortions shall be entertaining.

  49. Elemenope Obama can’t keep us safe.

    I fear more terrorist attacks, more 9/11s if hes in office because the Islamofascist enemy will smell weakness.

  50. The PATRIOT Act is one of the biggest reasons George W. Bush has kept us safe.

    OK, I’m just going to stop now before I break some component of my computer.

    Neil or whoever the fuck you are, I gave you a chance to stop being an ass and join the debate.

    Go.

    Fuck.

    Your.

    Self.

  51. Didn’t watch much of the Chicago Newhart, but I caught a bunch of the Vermont Newhart on TV Land. It was awesome.

  52. Neil:
    Why do you think we haven’t been attacked since 9/11?

    I already covered why we haven’t been attacked since 9/11. Al Qaeda has had a deliberate strategy of not targeting the U.S. mainland since that date.

    Al Qaeda’s strategy is to bleed us dry economically until we can’t sustain our empire and collapse, a la Soviet Union. Further attacks on the U.S. aren’t necessary for that.

  53. Why do you think we haven’t been attacked since 9/11?

    Because 9/11 was the result of spectacular incompetence on our side and more than a little luck on theirs.

  54. P.S. I know Neil is performance art or whatever. I’m just angry that approx. 40% of the electorate actually believe this bullshit.

    Neil is a symbol of everything wrong with the GOP…

  55. Agreed. The mustache is the key to sincerity.

    Indubitably. It’s why Borat worked so well. The sincerity radiating from Cohen’s moustache bamboozled the participants. It’s why Thomas Friedman still has a gig at the NYT. No one can resist the moustache.

    Except my wife, who complains vociferously if I even contemplate one.

  56. Neil | May 15, 2008, 11:53am | #
    AR an Obama Presidency means liberal judges, gun control, higher taxes, more regulation, the return of the “fairness doctrine”, and soviet-style health care.in would b

    I am thinking that is what RINO McCain would bring a lot faster than Obama.

    Obama seems to have a tiny individual liberty streak. McCain has none.

    Is Obama really more liberal than McCain?
    I don’t think so.

    Obama has paid more tribute to Reagan than McCain has so far.

  57. Neil, I know it is very, very hard to read to the end of a whole paragraph, so I will make it simple.

    Please explain the following sentence:

    Obama raises more money from military families than McCain.

    In fact, Obama is second only to anti-war RON PAUL in fundraising amongst this group. How odd.

    Well, I wait with bated breath.

  58. The Soviet Union collapsed AFTER they withdrew from Afghanistan.

    Then everybody knew the bear had been tamed.

    We can’t do the same thing they did.

  59. Except my wife, who complains vociferously if I even contemplate one.

    I have the very same problem. It’s annoying when one does not even have sovereignty over one’s own face, isn’t it?

  60. How about white military families Elemenope?

    Its probably inflated because there are a lot of AAs in the military and they, like the ones on the homefront, are very excited about Obama.

  61. Anonymous Alcoholics?

  62. AAs=African Americans.

  63. An Obama Presidency means liberal judges, gun control, higher taxes, more regulation, the return of the “fairness doctrine”, and soviet-style health care.

    Credit where it’s due. Neil has a good point here. And I’ll add lots more domestic spending. All this stuff will suck.

    I won’t vote for McCain, mostly cuz of the war and also his plans for “Cap in trade” laws to address what he claims is the reality and severity of anthropogenic warming.

    So I’ll work for the election of small government conservatives for congress.

  64. “How about white military families Elemenope?”

    Heh. It sure didn’t take long to draw this cro-magnon out of his hole.

  65. Neil | May 15, 2008, 12:15pm | #
    Elemenope Obama can’t keep us safe.

    I fear more terrorist attacks, more 9/11s if hes in office because the Islamofascist enemy will smell weakness.

    Neil,

    Obama will keep us safe. After he converts Pat Robertson, and Hagee to Islam by the sword. All the radical islamists will be on our side.

    There will be no danger of another terrorist attack at all.

    The only danger will be if you or your kids are picked by a lottery to do a suicide attack somewhere in Europe or Russia.

    But the chances of getting picked out of 300 million are really small.

    Niel, after you are forcibly converted to Islam, or Black liberation theology Christianity, you will see the light, and really you will really thank Obama for keeping us safe.

  66. As President Bush said today in Israel, Obama and the Democrats are reminiscient of those that appeased the Nazis in the late 30s.

  67. Neil | May 15, 2008, 12:22pm | #
    How about white military families Elemenope?

    Its probably inflated because there are a lot of AAs in the military and they, like the ones on the homefront, are very excited about Obama.

    Most of the military is white and hispanics.
    Why are they not donating money?

  68. “Neil” is in top, I say top, form today.

  69. Neil | May 15, 2008, 12:31pm | #
    As President Bush said today in Israel, Obama and the Democrats are reminiscient of those that appeased the Nazis in the late 30s.

    Link plz

  70. Right here Kwais.

    Truly a great moment today. Truly.

  71. As President Bush said today in Israel, Obama and the Democrats are reminiscient of those that appeased the Nazis in the late 30s.

    President Bush also said today in Israel: “I seem to have drooled all over myself. Can someone give me a hand?”

  72. Neil:
    The Soviet Union collapsed AFTER they withdrew from Afghanistan.
    Then everybody knew the bear had been tamed.
    We can’t do the same thing they did.

    Neil, you seem to believe that you can ignore economics by just living in denial. Under Bush, the national debt has gone from 5.7 trillion to 9.3 trillion. We’ve gone from a budget surplus of 236 billion (in Bill Clinton’s last year) to a projected 2008 deficit of 396 billion.

    You can’t pay the bills through sheer willpower.

  73. “Neil” is in top, I say top, form today.

    I couldn’t agree more. There is no way, even if I cut and pasted from sites like Red State, that I could convincingly imitate someone that thick.

    Bravo, Neil.

  74. kwais,

    McCain does have a good record on total spending voted for:

    http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=116

    As I said, I won’t vote for him cuz of his position on the war but if he makes it, I think that there’s evidence that the Bush era spending like a drunken Democrat will get better.

  75. Bramblyspam, Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.

    As long as we grow our economy and keep the debt low as a % of GDP, it doesn’t matter.

  76. I have the very same problem. It’s annoying when one does not even have sovereignty over one’s own face, isn’t it?

    I figure it’s a fair trade for some other things. Like, I am forbidden from touching the washer and dryer. I don’t even know how to start the new front-loaders. I’ll trade shaving for that any day.

  77. Neil:
    Bramblyspam, Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.

    As long as we grow our economy and keep the debt low as a % of GDP, it doesn’t matter.

    Yes, and housing prices will always rise, too. Right? Right?

  78. As long as we grow our economy and keep the debt low as a % of GDP, it doesn’t matter.

    The deficit is 9 trillion dollars, which is 70% of this year’s GDP.

    I agree that if we keep the debt low, it’s inconsequential or even a *good* thing, but our deficit is way, way too high. War spending and the deficit are very much a part of why the dollar is so weak right now.

    You know who learnded me that?:

    On April 9, 2007, [Republican Senator George] Voinovich broke from party lines and stated at a hearing on the war in Iraq: “We’ve kind of bankrupted this country [with the war spending]. We’re in a recession…and God knows how long it’s going to last.”

  79. Minor correction, Randian. Don’t confuse the deficit with the debt, they’re two very different things.

    Still, 9 trillion is a pretty big number.

  80. The debt and deficit still, adjusted for inflation, are not as big as a % of the GDP as they were in the early 90s.

    Unless you’re trying to be the next Ross Perot, its not a crisis.

  81. How about white military families Elemenope?

    Its probably inflated because there are a lot of AAs in the military and they, like the ones on the homefront, are very excited about Obama.

    Neil = Hillary operative?

  82. There is no way, even if I cut and pasted from sites like Red State, that I could convincingly imitate someone that thick.

    I don’t know. Try it. You might be surprised.

  83. Brambly – good catch. Although one is related to the other.

    Right now, the interest payments on the debt are north of 400 billion tax dollars. The interest payments, not the principle.

    So, who can guess what happens when investors and speculators lost confidence in the dollar and plow their money into commodities (like, say, oil)?

  84. The debt and deficit still, adjusted for inflation, are not as big as a % of the GDP as they were in the early 90s.

    The data, for those who care to look. The debt percentage of GDP has been higher throughout Bush’s entire presidency than it was in 1990. The big difference, though, is that the economy was (mostly) in good shape during the Reagan-Clinton presidencies. It’s not doing so great right now.

    My comment about housing prices very much applies, but I suppose you don’t have enough economic literacy to understand it.

  85. Bramblyspam until recently the Bush economy
    (thanks to the tax cuts) was extremely good.

    If we made them permanent, we could have the boom again.

  86. The debt and deficit still, adjusted for inflation, are not as big as a % of the GDP as they were in the early 90s.

    The debt-to-GDP ratio has always been going up, inflation regardless.

    There are some pie-in-the-sky thinkers who think that we can always grow our economy at a greater rate than the debt increase, but that’s not remotely the point. The tolerance of high debt allows government to vastly increase spending and there’s no reason to think that government is going to maintain spending levels at or below their current rate.

    So it’s not so much “the debt is bad because it’s too high” it’s that “the debt is bad because we’ve got people who say it can never get too high”.

  87. One of the points Ross Perot made was that the US govt is financing its debt with short term loans. That’s fine as long as the interest it has to pay remains low – but if the lenders see us as a bad risk and stop lending, we’ll have to pay higher interest rates.

    With a 9 trillion dollar debt that needs financing, that very quickly translates into huge boost in annual deficits – which in turn makes us a much bigger risk in the eyes of the lenders.

    There’s a balloon effect going on here, much like there was with the housing market. There’s a fair bit of fudge factor because all the world’s central bankers want to prevent a meltdown in the US economy, but there were similar interests in keeping housing prices perpetually rising too.

    I don’t see the balloon being slowly deflated any time soon, so one of these years it’s bound to pop. When that happens, things will get very messy indeed.

    Don’t forget that the Soviet Union collapsed for economic reasons. Willpower and wishful thinking didn’t sustain the Russkies, what makes you think they’d sustain us?

  88. radical Libertarian here. I want the state to be as minimal as possible, eliminate taxes, the whole nine yards…but I want Bob Barr to be nominated. If we want to be seriously considered in the political arena, we have to be able to enter that arena. With Bob’s media savvy, connections, and being a known entity, he provides that foot into the door of said arena. No, he’s not perfect and I can accept that. We have to begin somewhere and in my opinion, Bob Barr is the one to do that.

    So lomng as we are heading in the direction of increased liberty instead of constantly spinning our wheels, I am cool with that.

  89. I apparently need to do a better job at spell checking before posting! *UGH*

  90. Is this “Neil” person for real? Methinks there is a troll in this thread.

  91. Are you for letting the Bush tax cuts expire or making them permanent Bramblyspam?

  92. “radical Libertarian here. I want the state to be as minimal as possible, eliminate taxes, the whole nine yards…but I want Bob Barr to be nominated. If we want to be seriously considered in the political arena, we have to be able to enter that arena. With Bob’s media savvy, connections, and being a known entity, he provides that foot into the door of said arena. No, he’s not perfect and I can accept that. We have to begin somewhere and in my opinion, Bob Barr is the one to do that.”

    Agreed. Welcoming politicians/former policians who have left the 2 major parties into the LP is one of the best avenues we have. They are known commodoties that are much more likely to be taken seriously.

    Also, while Barr did at various times hold pretty awful policy stances, it’s not like he just came to his senses last week. He’s been criticizing the Patriot Act and the War on Drugs (both of which he once supported) for years, and he served as an LP delegate in 2006.

  93. If I wasn’t so busy and I was really in the mood I would write a program that sees posts here and then goes to RedState/etc. and farms for posts that have similar keywords, and then posts them here. Under a simple name, like “Vern” or “Nigel”.

  94. Is this “Neil” person for real? Methinks there is a troll in this thread.

    You must be new here. Neil is a professional idiot/troll/performance art piece (depending on who you ask) who willfully infects *all* threads with his idiocy/troll boogers/art grant application.

    Apparently he also knows how to vote, which is unfortunate. Them’s the breaks, as they say, in a democratic republic.

  95. LOL you guys really think this compares to the Soviet economy?

    The last time I checked I don’t have to get up at 6 am to queue up at the state store for toilet paper and bread.

  96. The GOP made an active and deliberate decision to cede the mantle of “small-government” politics.

    I’m afraid we’re about to find out that was a good strategic decision. We were in better shape when that wasn’t so clear. I’m also afraid the anti-GOP tide we’re seeing now would’ve been even stronger had they not shed that mantle.

  97. Neil | May 15, 2008, 1:56pm | #
    Are you for letting the Bush tax cuts expire or making them permanent Bramblyspam?

    RINO McCain was until he needed republican votes. Will he still be about tax cuts after he is elected?

    Me thinks that the isle hopping maverick will be all about taxes and other bipartisan stuff.

  98. Neil:
    Are you for letting the Bush tax cuts expire or making them permanent Bramblyspam?

    Truth be told, I don’t really care. I’m not really that concerned with the tax side. It’s the spending that bothers me.

    If spending is under control, then tax breaks (or debt reduction) will happen easily and painlessly. If spending is out of control, then the bills will eventually have to be paid one way or another, regardless of what today’s tax structure is.

  99. So you don’t see any down side to a massive tax hike during a recession?

  100. Sorry if this has already been done to death in other threads, but, as someone who admittedly knows next to nothing about Bob Barr, I want to know what makes him a libertarian. The ‘Issues’ section of http://www.bobbarr2008.org/ is light on details … aside from having been a big drug warrior, and a player in the Clinton impeachment circus, what should I know about him? And just how did he go from Drug Free America to a libertarian presidential candidate?

  101. Taxes are always bad. However, bills have to be paid eventually, one way or another. I focus on spending because in the long run, spending = taxes. Hence, the best way to minimize taxes in the long run is by minimizing spending.

    Whether we pay today’s bills today or tomorrow isn’t of central importance. Just understand that there’s a cost to postponing the bills, and you can’t postpone them forever.

    I’m sure even you would regard it as insane and unsustainable to reduce all taxes to zero. Given that we must have taxes, the question is “what’s the optimal tax structure, and how does it differ from what we have today”. Perhaps the optimal tax structure involves keeping the Bush tax cuts, perhaps not – I really don’t know, and I don’t spend my time worrying about it.

  102. Barr is running on real cuts in federal spending, rolling back the Bush administration’s attacks on the U.S. Constitution (protections for the criminally accused and separation of powers, and, most importantly, against preventative war and nation building.

    And that is why he is a libertarian. He is emphasizing the key libertarian issues of the day. The out of control Federal spending that occured when the Republicans controlled the Congress and the presidency, the attack on the U.S. Constitution, and the neoconservative foreign policy.

  103. Rick,

    Thanks for the link. That gives me hope. Depending on McCain pics as a VP, he might even be palatable.

    Still because of his gross disregard of the 1st A with the McCain/ Feingold bill, and his opposition to the Bush tax cuts.

    I think I will be voting for Barr. (speaking of which, how can I vote for him in the libertarian primaries? I am in NV)

    I wonder who Obama will pick as vp. If he picks someone who is pro 2nd A, and pro tax cuts, Obama might even be palatable.

    Huh Neil?

  104. And just how did he go from Drug Free America to a libertarian presidential candidate?

    When he became a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project.

    His official story is that he saw how Bush used the Patriot Act and regretted it, but I think it also has to do with getting gerrymandered out of office.

    People would call his conversion opportunistic, but I say “so what?” What’s wrong with taking advantage of an opportunity? And when was the last time someone looked at the LP as an opportunity, anyway?

    The biggest issue I have was his Defense of Marriage Act bullshit, but we know he doesn’t believe it personally, as he has been divorced and has been party to an abortion before.

    I think the LP should be a place for hypocritical GOP moralists to “come out of the closet” if you will and be honest about their indiscretions.

  105. Bramblyspam | May 15, 2008, 2:46pm | #
    Taxes are always bad. However, bills have to be paid eventually, one way or another.

    I reject that. Congress critters can’t control their checkbooks nor the checkbooks of the country.

    But don’t allow them to reach into my wallet when they fuck up.

    They can get their fucking hands off of my wallet, and figure out how to unfuck their mistakes another way.

  106. Interesting. Thanks for the responses, Taktix and BillWoolsey.

  107. I am sympathetic to Barr because I see him as having made the same journey as me.

    I was a social and fiscal conservative. I didn’t like dope smokers and hippies growing up.

    Then sometime, probably during the Clinton administration I started to see law enforcement used to infringe on stuff I liked.

    And it started to click somewhere that though I have no use for drugs myself, the war on drugs is directly responsible for infringing on what I do with my money, and it is a mother of gun laws.

    Also the patriot act, though on paper might be good. Hey lets allow the government free hands to go after terrorists, is actually so wide reaching that in various areas it actually infringes on my own rights.

    I do have a weird fantasy that somewhere deep down inside Bush made the Patriot Act to turn people against the same rules that were applied in the drug war. That people will eventually see that the Patriot Act is a pain the ass for everybody.

    But then reality kicks in, and I fear that people get used to having authority over them and they start to think it is good and right. Having traveled to most of the Middle East and Europe being my basis for that fear.

    Anyways, I am hoping that Barr has made the same logical journey of political belief as me.

  108. kwais,

    Oh yeah, there’s McCain and the 1st A too.

    I’ll never vote for Obama-way too much big government.

    Bob Barr looks good to me too. I don’t know about what’s happening with the Libertarian primaries.

  109. I am very disappointed that Neil isn’t taking my ‘McCain is a RINO’ bait.

  110. kwais:

    As a theoretical ideal, I’m all for an anarcholibertarian utopia. As a practical matter, utopia isn’t an option.

    The government’s bills *will* be paid, one way or another. Even if the bills are handled by printing money or defaulting on loans, you will suffer a financial impact, just as surely as if the taxman had reached directly into your wallet.

    I don’t like it any more than you do.

  111. William Hawkins, who used to write for Chronicles, sold out his country when decided that there was more money for being the neocons’ trained seal and writing for Front Page Mage than being a patriot.

  112. I’m afraid we’re about to find out that was a good strategic decision. We were in better shape when that wasn’t so clear. I’m also afraid the anti-GOP tide we’re seeing now would’ve been even stronger had they not shed that mantle.

    well…no. See, the GOP jettisoned a crucial part of small government philosophy (to whit: don’t conduct big, expensive, humanitarian wars). It is the loss of that principle over which they are taking their current thumping.

    boo-friggity-hoo.

  113. All squabbling aside,

    I think Reason’s given us more LP coverage in the past few weeks than in the past two decades.

  114. Wayne Root is unelectable. He runs a scam company IMO and as many others who understand his business. If he gets the nomination he’ll probably be forced to step down within a week. That would set the party back decades.

  115. What about Gravel? He’s one of the top with Barr! You guys are hosting a debate between the two! You just hate doing research, don’t you?

  116. Wayne Allyn Root is the right man for the job.
    He is a winner and he is 100% Libertarian.
    There are millions of pissed off online poker players that will vote for him. He is capable of getting the message across. You dummies are responding to an artical that is missing 76% of its content. If you realy care about the U.S. you would go to his site rootforamerica.com or my site titlemike.ws

  117. This man is no Libertarian. I’m leaving the party this man disgusts me and I will not be represented by him.

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