Barack Obama

Nothing "Super" About This Majority

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The Wall Street Journal peers into the abyss of the coming "liberal supermajority," and shudders:

Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on. […]

One program certain to be given right of way is "card check." Unions have been in decline for decades, now claiming only 7.4% of the private-sector work force, so Big Labor wants to trash the secret-ballot elections that have been in place since the 1930s. The "Employee Free Choice Act" would convert workplaces into union shops merely by gathering signatures from a majority of employees, which means organizers could strongarm those who opposed such a petition. […]

A tax-and-regulation scheme in the name of climate change is a top left-wing priority. Cap and trade would hand Congress trillions of dollars in new spending from the auction of carbon credits, which it would use to pick winners and losers in the energy business and across the economy. Huge chunks of GDP and millions of jobs would be at the mercy of Congress and a vast new global-warming bureaucracy. […]

Felons may also get the right to vote nationwide, while the Fairness Doctrine is likely to be reimposed either by Congress or the Obama FCC. A major goal of the supermajority left would be to shut down talk radio and other voices of political opposition. […]

In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today's left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for "change" should know they may get far more than they ever imagined.

I've got no problems whatsover with ex-felons getting the right to vote, and I'm (thanks to a Jesse Walker article in the November issue of reason) perhaps naively unfearful of the imminent return of the Fairness Doctrine (which would, after all, rally Republicans in a way John McCain never quite could). And nowhere in this editorial do you see much criticism for the big-government catastrophe of Bushism.

But as McCain has rightly pointed out, Bush ain't running for president. Barack Obama is indeed more lefty than 1990s Democrats on economic issues–especially free trade, which he has never passed up an opportunity to bash–and placing him at the head of unified Democratic government high on re-regulatory rhetoric is likely to have a whole host of lousy consequences, several of which David Weigel wrote about back in June. In my anecdotal experience, libertarians who plan to vote for Obama are either engaging in a whole lot of evidence-lite Hope about how his intelligence and University of Chicago background will somehow translate into semi-prudent economic policy, or have just decided that that matters less than their one or two big issues, usually pertaining to war. Even though if you think you're voting for a non-interventionist, think again.

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  1. I, for one, welcome our socialist, giant ant overlords.

  2. Reason has returned to Reason

    …libertarians who plan to vote for Obama are either engaging in a whole lot of evidence-lite Hope about how his intelligence and University of Chicago background will somehow translate into semi-prudent economic policy, or have just decided that that matters less than their one or two big issues, usually pertaining to war. Even though if you thinnk you’re voting for a non-interventionist, think again.

  3. The WSJ has a lot of crust bringing this up now. They were right in there with the rest of the MSM telling us we were all gonna die without the Bailout.

  4. Good post Matt.

    I think ex-felons, after serving all terms of sentence, should have all rights restored, voting,firearms,everything.I believe the Democrats want current felons to vote.

  5. Obama may to be the left of Clinton, but he is well to the right of the Democrats of 1965, nevermind 1933.

    If the political philosohy of contemporary Democrats was that which “fell out of public favor in the 1970s,” the public wouldn’t very well be realigning to give it one of history’s largest majorities, now would it?

    But, yeah. Hope you like unions, alternative energy, and public health insurance.

  6. Felons may also get the right to vote nationwide

    I also have no problem with felons getting 100% of their rights back once they have done 100% of their time. But I mean 100% of their rights. If they can be trusted to vote, they can be trusted to own a gun. If they cannot be trusted own a gun, they cannot be trusted to vote. One is either a citizen of one is not. Let us not return to any of this 3/5th BS.

  7. Let’s call it the demise of market fundamentalism. Economics is neither an exact science nor a revealed religion, and capitalism can have more than one model. You market fundamentalists can busy yourselves with excomunications. Assholes.

  8. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s.

    It didn’t fall out of favor. It just got rebranded with each new president.

    If our Republic can survive an all Republican government, I think we can weather an all Democrat government.

  9. the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s.

    Har-de-fucking-har.

    How can those clowns actually publish incredibly stupid shit like this?

    Could it be they only disapprove of “activist government” which provides handouts to people they *don’t like*?

  10. The Supreme Court and Fed will still be controlled by Republicans for the forseeable future. For what that’s worth.

  11. Perhaps unsubstantiated opinion: one of the benefits to a supermajority over stuff getting passed with a small majority is that you know who to blame if the damned thing doesn’t work. Also, maybe (and this is a big maybe), since they don’t have to buy votes to do things, they can focus on making programs using “smart” policy instead of stupid half-breed programs with giant extras tacked on to get them passed. One of the major criticisms of programs and regulations is that they’re perverted from their academic roots to suit the political class and special interests. With a supermajority, is it possible we don’t need those perversions to get them passed?

  12. How can those clowns actually publish incredibly stupid shit like this?

    I think it’s the same trick that allows the Wall Street Journal to rail against the “elite media” on its editorial pages.

  13. They have massive cogliones talking about “massive expansion of government” and somehow not mentioning Bush and recent GOP domination of Congress.

    That said, Obama and a Dem Congress will really suck too.

  14. joe,

    …the public wouldn’t very well be realigning to give it one of history’s largest majorities, now would it?

    I would say that as a general rule that the public doesn’t know much about the political philosophy of either major party, and they know less about the specific policy positions of either major party.

    Anyway, my advice to Democrats is to avoid overreach. It is the same advice I gave to Republicans when they were riding high a few years ago.

  15. Good point about the Supreme Court. The Federalist Party went extinct around 1808, but the Federalist Supreme Court had influence long thereafter.

  16. That’s it! I’ve had enough!

    Now tell me, what am I working for? Being productive is continually looking like a waste of time. I want my welfare, I mean pony. I’m getting geared up to embrace poverty and let my government nanny take care of me.

    Is there a good reason for why I should want to pay taxes, be financially independent, and work hard?

    I’m struggling here, help?

  17. Uh, Jimmy Carter had Democratic majorities for his whole term. Bill Clinton had one the first two years of his first. Both were substantial majorities. Though admittedly not fillibuster-proof. But it wasn’t the GOP that blocked Carter with the fillibuster. It was the Democratic leadership that blocked every attempt at reform.

    I comfort myself by remembering that the Democratic party is full of factions that have widely different aims and aspirations. The goals of one faction are likely to be entirely at odds with the goals of another.

    If a Congress full of Democrats and Rockerfeller Republicans couldn’t get together and agree what kind of National Health Plan we should have under Clinton, i don’t give BO much of a chance either.

    And the way the Democratic leadership stabbed Jimmy Carter in the back, over and over again, was a scandal. And he was probably the hopeiest, changeiest Prez of my lifetime.

    That’s right even more than JFK (who was actually more conservative than Nixon on foreign policy).

  18. In reality, the biggest reason that I’m going to be voting Obama is that I think a McCain victory would make the politicians here and the rest of the world think that we were okay with Bush. I don’t think the Democrats deserve to win, but I think the Republicans need to lose. Also, Palin is a nitwit and anyone who would select a veep after having spoken to her twice in a decision taken over the course of three days does not deserve to be president. And Barr has a problem with immigrants.

  19. Good point, Isaac. The Democrats can do gridlock all by themselves.

    Wait, no we can’t.

    Yes! We! Can!

  20. …return of the Fairness Doctrine (which would, after all, rally Republicans in a way John McCain never quite could).

    If they do try to pass this through, I wonder how it will be sold? How will commercial media look, i.e. will everything have to be “point / counterpoint” type programming?

  21. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi will NOT cooperate. They will have their own priorities that will be at odds as soon as inauguration finishes. Look for some honeymoon policies to get passed – and then out come the long knives.

  22. I’ve got a question for any old-timers that might be reading: are the Democrats in Congress more or less divided into factions today than in the 70s and 80s?

  23. The Supreme Court and Fed will still be controlled by Republicans for the forseeable future. For what that’s worth.

    Good point.

    But I’m not sure either party has had much of a problem with fed policy.

  24. Joe, I’ll bet you can’t even agree with yourself half the time. 🙂

  25. I see Obama has ceased to Dukakis, and become Jimmy Carter in the minds of Republicans.

  26. My prediction on health care is that Obama gets behind a Pelosi Plan, rather than trying to push his over hers. His non-universal-plan-even-though-he’d-like-single-payer position during the campaign suggests to me a high degree of political pragmatism on the issue.

    A Congressional health care plan probably would have passed in 1994, but the Clintons wanted their plan.

  27. Isaac Bartram,

    A lot of that had to do with Carter’s efforts to curb pork barrel spending.

  28. I’m surprised that the WSJ didn’t give us a list of respected Democrats who will be thrown under the bus like Colin Powell.

    I agree with Jorgen. The GOP needs to lose. Question is, will they blame it on abandoning the leave us alone coalition, or will they blame it on not bringing enough god into the platform?

  29. Isaac,

    Well, yes and no.

    “Liberal: someone too broad-minded to take his own side in an argument”

    I can see where that guy was coming from.

  30. Seward

    Exactly.

  31. And Barr has a problem with immigrants.

    That’s actually not true at all.

  32. Lamar,

    there is NOTHING in GOP land that can’t be fixed with more Jesus! I put Jesus on my populist sandwich like mustard and mow that shit.

  33. BDB,

    That wouldn’t be that terrible. Carter was a better President than he is often given credit for.

  34. You can bet the handwringing about too much money in government will die off fast. The Dems won’t kill the goose that lays their golden eggs, capitalism, but they’ll have it on life support when they are finished.

  35. Comrade Obama!

  36. Hugo: No te olvides de Jose Fontanero.

  37. Weren’t there still a lot of “Southern Dems”–particularly in the House–in the 1970s and into the 1980s? These were much more conservative than our current blue dogs. So I think the Congress may actually end up more liberal than it ever was in the 1970s.

    And as for the presidency: Obama skillfully uses moderate rhetoric–he’s one of the few politicians who takes care to accurately and sympathetically acknowledge opposing points of view–but always seems to do so en route to explainng why he favors the most left-liberal position. I think this will indeed be the most liberal government in living memory. However, it will be constrained by harsh budget realities.

  38. I personally think Jesus would have liked us to be communists. that resting on the 7th day thing sounds a lot like the 35 hour work week. Dispersing the money changers means he was no fan of market based exchange rates. And who could ignore his claims that rich people must give away their wealth or suffer eternal damnation?

    Jesus was a pinko.

  39. Lamar, I believe that the country is on the verge of a great revival centered around the christian models of helping the poor and loving one’s neighbor. I believe that the gop’s hateful arrogance and condescension of the last couple decades are now resulting in the repopulation of jesusland.

  40. domoarrigato, exactly my point, that’s the Jesus I believe will be at the center of this revival. I also believe it will appeal to a lot more folks than did the glory days of the GOP.

  41. and I’m (thanks to a Jesse Walker article in the November issue of reason) perhaps naively unfearful of the imminent return of the Fairness Doctrine (which would, after all, rally Republicans in a way John McCain never quite could).

    I read that article and it scared me pretty good. But I have zero faith in it’s ability to “rally Republicans”. I think it more likely they’ll just want to put the “right” people in charge of speech in ‘Mericka.

  42. I see Obama has ceased to Dukakis, and become Jimmy Carter in the minds of Republicans.

    Actually, I hadn’t noticed that.

    I have chosen to see approximate parallels, but I haven’t seen any Republican do it.

    As for Obama, I respect the fact that in campaigning he has pretty constantly taken the high road and has shown remarkable restraint and self control. These are qualities I’d like to see in a President no matter how I might feel about his policy positions.

  43. “Restrained by harsh budget realities”?

    I’d like to think so, but this isn’t 1992 when you had presidents campaigning about paying down the national debt. There is no budgetary restraint anymore, in either party.

  44. Ben,

    I hope you are wrong – but in my gut I fear not. It’s not so much that the country is moving left as it is that the right and left have drifted towards populism, and the left has done so more credibly.

  45. Jesus may have been a pinko, but it doesn’t really seem like he ever wanted to force it on anyway. He just wanted people to personally act a certain way, not have government enforce it from the top-down.

  46. the imminent return of the Fairness Doctrine (which would, after all, rally Republicans in a way John McCain never quite could).

    Don’t worry, Republican rallying will also be deemed “unfair.”

    I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message.

  47. Democracy r00lz! Ponies for everyone!!

  48. I personally think Jesus would have liked us to be communists.

    Yes, I was all about having the government seize wealth from the productive at gunpoint. I think that’s in the Sermon on the Mount somewhere.

  49. zoltan,

    A lot of the rhetoric of Jesus in the Gospels goes like this:

    “In the near future a lot of the folks who doing things that I and those who agree with me don’t like are going to get what they deserve.”

  50. Brotherben and domoarrigato: I believe you are both referring to the conflict depicted in this cartoon (one of my favorite cartoonists):

    Jesus vs. Jeezus!

  51. Oh, and I never saw one see Obama as Dukakis either.

    I thought everone though he was he was all JFK.

  52. As for Obama, I respect the fact that in campaigning he has pretty constantly taken the high road and has shown remarkable restraint and self control.

    That’s right, from my broken promise to accept only public financing, to my endorsement of the vote fraud squad at ACORN, to my calling McCain an old crippled racist and claiming 100% of his ads were negative, it’s been nothing but high road for me and I’m glad people are noticing.

    I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message.

    P.S. Hey Joe The Plumber, I guess you’ve learned what happens when you try to ask me a tough question, huh? Next time you’ll know to keep your big mouth shut.

  53. lamar – awesome cartoon

  54. “In the near future a lot of the folks who doing things that I and those who agree with me don’t like are going to get what they deserve.”

    Oooooooooooh, right. I see what you’re saying. Forgot about that slight detail. It’s more like, do whatever the fuck you want ’cause you’re the one who’s going to be burning for eternity.

  55. I’m still stuck on the first sentence.

    Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history.

    No, it won’t. It will be a perfectly usual ideological shift. Nothing profound about it. At best this is Reagan ’80.

    Which didn’t exactly blow the doors off the barn.

  56. Actually, I think Jesus was the opposite of a communist, but only because of ponderings on the relationship of virtue and compulsion. Can someone be compelled to viture? I don’t think so. Therefore, how can we be virtuous in the eyes of God(and/or/= Jesus?) if we have not the opportunity to show that we can follow his rules in the face of temptation and without someone beating us with a stick?

  57. brotherben,

    I believe that the country is on the verge of a great revival centered around the christian socialist models of helping the poor having the government force you to help the poor whether you like it or not and loving one’s neighbor seizing your neighbor’s wealth with the government’s help.

    Fixed that for you.

  58. Lamar, most excellant literature link, Thank you sir.

  59. I’m really hoping the GOP shatters into a million pieces or at least formally adopts the “Jesus wants us to save you!” rhetoric and stops pretending to be fiscally conservative.

  60. I see TallDave continues to lose his mind.

  61. brotherben,

    whether jesus would have compelled his citizens to give alms had he actually been elected King of the Jews after massive voter fraud is as irrelevant as possible. The point is that most modern christians support redistributive policies reflexively.

  62. domo, you lost me at “after massive voter fraud.”

  63. Topic: Gun Rights in DC

    Lefiti | October 17, 2008, 10:54am | #
    Let’s call it the demise of market fundamentalism. Economics is neither an exact science nor a revealed religion, and capitalism can have more than one model. You market fundamentalists can busy yourselves with excomunications. Assholes.

    Topic: Swat Teams Gone Wild

    Lefiti | October 17, 2008, 10:54am | #
    Let’s call it the demise of market fundamentalism. Economics is neither an exact science nor a revealed religion, and capitalism can have more than one model. You market fundamentalists can busy yourselves with excomunications. PencilDicks.

    Topic: Stem Cells Taught Synchronized Swimming

    Lefiti | October 17, 2008, 10:54am | #
    Let’s call it the demise of market fundamentalism. Economics is neither an exact science nor a revealed religion, and capitalism can have more than one model. You market fundamentalists can busy yourselves with excomunications. Shitheads.

    Topic: Tony Orlando’s Comeback Tour Scores Huge Success — Bionic Knee Key To Great Stage Performance

    Lefiti | October 17, 2008, 10:54am | #
    Let’s call it the demise of market fundamentalism. Economics is neither an exact science nor a revealed religion, and capitalism can have more than one model. You market fundamentalists can busy yourselves with excomunications. Fuckdiddlys.

  64. I think this will indeed be the most liberal government in living memory. However, it will be constrained by harsh budget realities.

    Heh, you didn’t really think I was giving 95% of Americans a tax cut, did you? Hope and Change are expensive! I just had to tell the bitter gun-clingers that so they’d vote for me.

    I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message.

  65. In my anecdotal experience, libertarians who plan to vote for Obama are either engaging in a whole lot of evidence-lite Hope about how his intelligence and University of Chicago background will somehow translate into semi-prudent economic policy, or have just decided that that matters less than their one or two big issues, usually pertaining to war.

    Regarding this, here’s the reason I’m voting for Obama (and I still consider myself I right of center dude):

    Economic policy mistakes tend to be self correcting, both in the medium and long term. Either the system routes around, or people can objectively see they don’t have jobs – or are otherwise personally effected by poor economic policy choices – and so ‘throw the bums out’

    Foreign policy decisions however (or other non-economic ones, say for example TSA or the WoD) however, don’t have such feedback loops. These things can be demogouged indefinitely, the body politic has poor and/or asymmetric information, and in any case they don’t effect many people personally. (the people that are effected personally are effected dramatically, but they tend to be more on the margins of political society, or outside it entirely)

  66. I used TSA and WoD as an example, but I doubt Obama will dismantle either one.

    (Indeed, if economic conditions are still pretty bad by 2010, and crime starts to tick up, expect the Obama administration to paint themselves as aggressive drug warriors)

  67. Ben – just trying to juxtapose the current context of the will to power with that that must have existed in jesus time – not really central to my point that christianity has a distinctly pinko streak in it.

  68. alan – good detective work, i thought it was just me that I seemed to be having the same argument with lefiti over and over again…

  69. per Reinmoose at 11:00

    that’s why I actually want the senate to have a fillibuster proof majority (although I give it less than a 10% chance of happening now)

    I want everything over the next two years to be entirely the cause of one party for good or ill. I’m even willing to spot the democrats the first 6 months because anything that happens until Jul 09 is not really their doing.

    But come Nov ’10 I want there to be an honest reckoning.

  70. I want my welfare, I mean pony. I’m getting geared up to embrace poverty and let my government nanny take care of me.

    No, you don’t want to get on welfare. It ain’t that great, and being poor still sucks. What you want is a nice job in the Federal bureaucracy with an early retirement.

  71. I’ve got a question for any old-timers that might be reading: are the Democrats in Congress more or less divided into factions today than in the 70s and 80s?

    I’m younger than you, but I would say slightly less. There’s still a good deal of the ‘blue dogs’ like Webb and Murtha, but compare them to say Scoop Jackson and John Stennis. The modern crop is much closer to the center of gravity of the Democratic Party.

  72. That’s right, from my broken promise to accept only public financing…

    Wasn’t that in response to McCain fucking around, refusing to commit one way or the other, so that Obama could not tell whether McCain was going to honor the deal they had made?

  73. Serious question: has anybody ever found anything written by the guy who posts as Barack Obama the slightest bit worthwhile?

    Anyone?

  74. “Serious question: has anybody ever found anything written by the guy who posts as Barack Obama the slightest bit worthwhile?”

    Only to confirm that McCain supporters are some of the angriest people alive.

  75. joe, I got the new “kaopectate 3.0” filter and i don’t see lefiti and others anymore. Unfortunately, it also drops my own posts about 60% of the time.

  76. No, you don’t want to get on welfare. It ain’t that great, and being poor still sucks. What you want is a nice job in the Federal bureaucracy with an early retirement.

    Isn’t it interesting how many “small-government” people reflexively look at aid for the poor as THE enemy, the first thing to pop into their heads, despite the much broader and larger spheres of government activity that the government undertakes on behalf of the wealthy?

    Seriously, even when someone decides to talk about living the high life “on the public teat,” the synechdote he latches onto is…welfare?

  77. fwiw, foxnews is reporting the Supremes gave Ohio officials a bit more time in the voter registration ruling from the circuit court.

  78. Got to keep the poor honest first – they don’t pay any taxes. The rich deserve handouts, because all the money is coming from other rich people. Wealth redistibution isn’t so much taking from the rich and giving to the poor as it is the rich taking from each other by buying off just enough poor people to vote for it.

  79. Good point, Lamar.

    On the other side of the coin, do you think the number of McGovern/Kucinich Democrats in Congress is larger or smaller now than in the 70s?

    Is it a shift to the left, or a shift to the median, do you think?

  80. “Jesus was a pinko.”

    Hey man, nobody fucks with the Jesus.

    Yeah obama with a deomcrat controlled house & senate will suck, but at least we’ll get to see what its like to be England…or France.

  81. joe | October 17, 2008, 12:31pm | #
    No, you don’t want to get on welfare. It ain’t that great, and being poor still sucks. What you want is a nice job in the Federal bureaucracy with an early retirement.

    Isn’t it interesting how many “small-government” people reflexively look at aid for the poor as THE enemy, the first thing to pop into their heads, despite the much broader and larger spheres of government activity that the government undertakes on behalf of the wealthy?

    Seriously, even when someone decides to talk about living the high life “on the public teat,” the synechdote he latches onto is…welfare?

    Your parsing of Laursen’s post is bizarre.

    you don’t want to get on welfare.

    By any rational measure, it is not a disarble thing to be on welfare.

    It ain’t that great, and being poor still sucks.

    The pay out is terrible compared to the mean of what most people earn, and yes, being poor sucks.

    What you want is a nice job in the Federal bureaucracy with an early retirement.

    Yes, indeed, that is preferable to being on welfare. Sound advice, Laursen.

    FWIW, I would have preferred the recommendation of Samuelson, a hundred billion spent to expand unemployment insurance, some federal cash flow to back homeless shelters that states are having problems maintaining, lunch programs, etc. to the damnable bailout. So, I agree with the overall point, most welfare programs barely register on the radar screen compared to largess going to the fat cats.

  82. Good God, thanks FireFox spell check. I don’t think that correction is a word and it is worse than what I wrote.

    disarble

    desirable

  83. alan,

    I was agreeing with Mr. Laursen in that comment; I was reiterating and commenting on his observation about “welfare” being an odd thing to pick out, and how common that oddity is.

    Sorry if that wasnt’ clear.

  84. “Hey man, nobody fucks with the Jesus.”

    Except for mary magdalene. that little trollope.

  85. I agree that felons should have the right to vote. I have never quite understood why they couldn’t. I personally don’t see how any libertarian could vote for either of these two clowns running for president. Some people I guess believe that not voting for one of the two main candidates is a waste but, imo, the only way to waste your vote would be to vote for one of them.

    From my perspective, the differences between them are so minuscule I can only tell them apart because one of them is black. They both want more war, bigger government, more spending, and less civil liberties.

  86. cmon joe – it’s friday!

  87. I’ve completely abandoned voting based on “issues” – now voting completely based on personality and temperament. That is why I am voting for Obama.

  88. libertarians who plan to vote for Obama are either engaging in a whole lot of evidence-lite Hope about how his intelligence and University of Chicago background will somehow translate into semi-prudent economic policy,

    One might just as well expect him to order the Pentagon to bomb itself based on his relationship with Ayers. He opposes both NAFTA and CAFTA, will raise the total tax burden, has a trillion in new spending, and wants to do away with the secret ballot in union elections.

  89. Until it goes click, domo.

    😉

  90. joe,

    “synechdote”

    I think you mean synecdoche.

    Isn’t it interesting how many “small-government” people reflexively look at aid for the poor as THE enemy…

    Some do, some don’t.

    However, like any form of government favoritism what is problematic about such aid (as Hayek pointed out) is its ability to pit varying groups against one another. Now perhaps the benefits outweigh that particular cost, but that is what a lot of small government types find troublesome about it.

  91. Isn’t it interesting how many “small-government” people reflexively look at aid for the poor as THE enemy, the first thing to pop into their heads, despite the much broader and larger spheres of government activity that the government undertakes on behalf of the wealthy?

    Seriously, even when someone decides to talk about living the high life “on the public teat,” the synechdote he latches onto is…welfare?

    I’m a small-government guy, and I mostly agree with you.

    Before one gets upset about welfare for poor people, there are so many other much more egregious areas of government spending to get mad about. Top of that list: corporate welfare and imperialist-level military spending.

    Also, much larger than welfare spending is entitlement spending where the middle class is taxed, bureaucracy takes a cut, then the funds are redistributed to the middle class (disregarding for the moment that the return of the funds to the middle class is often time shifted by several years). I don’t get mad about that as much as I think it’s really dumb and wasteful.

    The two ways in which I probably differ from your view about welfare (maybe not) are that:
    * Ideally, I’d like to see help for poor people come from private philanthropy. However, if it can be shown that private philanthropy isn’t stepping up to the plate and taking care of the poor, then I really don’t mind having a minimal government safety net. My libertarian purist card was taken away long ago.
    * I much prefer that government help to be pushed down as far as possible, where it is more personal and accountable. Ideally, most of the apparatus would be at the county level.

  92. Thom,

    Given how hard it is to predict what someone will do once in office that isn’t a terrible criteria.

  93. Glad you cleared that up, in the back of my noggin’ I was thinking, ‘no way Laursen’s humor went over Joe’s head. that just doesn’t happen.’

  94. I also have no problem with felons getting 100% of their rights back once they have done 100% of their time. But I mean 100% of their rights. If they can be trusted to vote, they can be trusted to own a gun. If they cannot be trusted own a gun, they cannot be trusted to vote. One is either a citizen of one is not. Let us not return to any of this 3/5th BS.

    The Democrats will accommodate you on this. They’ll give felons the same gun rights they plan on for the rest of us. I.e. zero.

    I’ve got a question for any old-timers that might be reading: are the Democrats in Congress more or less divided into factions today than in the 70s and 80s?

    About the same with a difference. The feeling I get is that back in the 80s the differences resulted in “I’ll block your bill because you blocked mine.” Today there’s more pressure built up, and I sense more of “I’ll vote for your bill if you vote for mine.”

    I personally think Jesus would have liked us to be communists.

    Define “communist.” The utopian Shaker-like community of people choosing to live communally, or the Marxist everything-run-by-the-government model. I don’t find any scripture in the red text of the New Testament that starts out, “The government ought to…” He preached more “Here’s an example, but you have to make the decision” mode. I.e. libertarian.

    His non-universal-plan-even-though-he’d-like-single-payer position during the campaign suggests to me a high degree of political pragmatism on the issue.

    His (Obama’s) non-universal-plan-even-though-he’d-like-single-payer position during the campaign suggests to me a high degree of political pragmatism prevarication on the issue. Like his “we don’t have the votes to do that” statements on gun rights.

    Isn’t it interesting how many “small-government” people reflexively look at aid for the poor as THE enemy, the first thing to pop into their heads, despite the much broader and larger spheres of government activity that the government undertakes on behalf of the wealthy?

    Given that the philosophy of welfare is to control the poor, give them what they qualify for instead of what they need, and lock them permanently into dependency on government handouts, I’d say the reflex is valid. At least when the government gives to the wealthy it lets the recipient decide how to spend it.

  95. A must read concerning the Obamassiah’s filibuster-proof majority. The thesis is that party leaders want control for themselves more than they want political power for their parties, which they might not be able to control:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1879957132/reasonmagazinea-20/

    Indispensable Enemies: The Politics of Misrule in America (Paperback)
    by Walter Karp

  96. “I don’t find any scripture in the RED text of the New Testament”

    emphasis mine…

  97. Larry A,

    I don’t buy the political pragmatism argument, because Hillary was beating him over the head with the lack of universality in his plan, back when he was still the underdog. It was a political lability for him.

    Given that the philosophy of welfare is to control the poor… Uh huh. “Given that everyone but me is evil” is a good way to make yourself feel good, but it leads to some really deluded ideas about politics.

  98. Joe, I think the Democrats were more divided in the 70s and 80s. It was the difference between Kennedy and Nunn. I don’t see that division now.

    I’m voting Libertarian.

  99. Universal child health care in Hawaii has just been cancelled after only 7 months.

    Socialism failed even faster than usual this time.

  100. Socialism failed even faster than usual this time.

    Why can’t the right people ever get in charge?

  101. …libertarians who plan to vote for Obama are either engaging in a whole lot of evidence-lite Hope about how his intelligence and University of Chicago background will somehow translate into semi-prudent economic policy, or have just decided that that matters less than their one or two big issues, usually pertaining to war. Even though if you thinnk you’re voting for a non-interventionist, think again.

    Wow…the editor and chief at reason is 3 millimeters from advocating a vote for Bob Barr….i am impressed Matt. Good work.

  102. Universal child health care in Hawaii has just been cancelled after only 7 months.

    Socialism failed even faster than usual this time.

    Whereas it has been humming right along in Rhode Island for the better part of a decade.

    So your real point is that Rhode Island is better than Hawaii. And in that, you would be correct.

  103. That wouldn’t be that terrible. Carter was a better President than he is often given credit for.

    Seward, I’m not so sure I believe those stories about him smoking pot on the roof of the white house with Willie Nelsen.

  104. “Whereas it has been humming right along in Rhode Island for the better part of a decade.”

    Social Security has been around since the 1930’s. It was an abject failure from the very first second it began and has reamined so for every single subsequent second of it’s existence.

    “So your real point is that Rhode Island is better than Hawaii. And in that, you would be correct.”

    Nope – the real point is that it is physically impossible for socialism to ever be a success – regardless of how long any socialist program remains in existence.

    As for Rhode Island, it’s so puny that if it totally vanished off the face of the earth tomorrow, most people in the country would never notice the difference.

  105. Wow, the Usual Suspects are out in force on this thread. I almost thought I had mistakenly stepped into Kos or DU for a second.

    Obama’s massive suckitude is in no way ameliorated by the fact of Bush’s also-sizable suckitude. Or McCain’s, for that matter.

    Should Obama win (which I don’t yet take for granted), I see the second coming of Jimmy Carter. Brittle, thin-skinned liberal impotently doing battle with the forces of congressional evil. Everyone who has a job is going to see their taxes go up. We’ll get a couple of new and ineffective budget-busters to go with the plethora of old and ineffective ones. We’ll get a couple of pathetic attempts at foreign policy, most likely doing only minor harm.

    We’ll survive. Start thinking about tax shelters now.

  106. McCain is going to win, and all hell will break loose in this country.

    When it comes down to actually voting for Obama, many that said they would, won’t. For whatever reason.

    Dems wish it were as simple as just racism. It’s not. People are becoming more aware of how dangerous Obama is.

  107. University of Chicago background??

    WTF??

    All he did was teach a few law courses there, he never took a course at UofC. And you don’t need to demonstrate a working knowledge of Friedman Economics in order to teach there.

  108. “People are becoming more aware of how dangerous Obama is.”

    More dangerous than the cranky old man who decides his economic policy by putting his finger in the wind, and decides his foreign policy based on how best to bomb Iran?

  109. “He’s a friend of them long haired, hippy-type, pinko fags!
    I betchya he’s even got a commie flag
    tacked up on the wall inside of his garage.”

    “He’s a snake in the grass, I tell ya guys.
    He may look dumb but that’s just a disguise,
    He’s a mastermind in the ways of espionage”

    CDB “Uneasy Rider”

  110. Didn’t he teach at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago? Much different than the Univ. of Chicago.

  111. More dangerous than the cranky old man who decides his economic policy by putting his finger in the wind, and decides his foreign policy based on how best to bomb Iran?

    Sadly, yes. McCain sucks, but I would rather have four years of amusing gridlock than four years of the left being in charge…which you apparently have no problem with.

    BTW, can we get past the myth of Obama being a non-interventionist? Not only has he flat-out said that he won’t allow Iran to acquire The Bomb, but that he wants to get all tough-guy with the Pakistanis, too. That’ll go well.

  112. What you want is a nice job in the Federal bureaucracy with an early retirement.

    Yes, indeed, that is preferable to being on welfare.

    Distinction without a difference, especially for fed jobs that provide no valuable service whatsoever like the TSA.

  113. Didn’t he teach at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago? Much different than the Univ. of Chicago.

    No, you are confusing him with Ayers who teaches at UIC. Obama did teach at UofC.

  114. I ask this question…most states the presidential election has been decided…for example my state Washington Obama is 10 points ahead of McCain in the polls….other states have McCain winning. so my Question: If your state is already decided why are you not voting for Barr?

  115. I still don’t have an answer: how do Republicans reconcile their criticism of Bill Clinton not taking out Bin Laden because of diplomatic niceties while criticizing Obama for stating that he would take the shot?

  116. Russ 2000 | October 17, 2008, 3:34pm | #
    What you want is a nice job in the Federal bureaucracy with an early retirement.

    Yes, indeed, that is preferable to being on welfare.

    Distinction without a difference, especially for fed jobs that provide no valuable service whatsoever like the TSA.

    Not talking about social utility, and that should be obvious.

  117. Something to consider for those who think letting Democrats have control for a while will just be temporary:

    Two things are almost certain to happy with a Democratic supermajority – first, statehood for DC, thus making government a constituent to itself, and establishing a permanent Democrat advantage in the Senate. Second, the passing of the Employee Free Choice act, an Orwellian-named law that will eliminate the secret ballot for union votes, eliminate ‘right to work’ states, and eliminate the right of businesses to prevent union formation or fire a union if it strikes and makes unreasonable demands.

    This will result in a massive increase in the number of unions in the country, and this will be very, very hard to undo once these unions are in place. It will also massively increase union power, and government arbitration will put the federal government right in the mix between employers and employees. It’s the biggest expansion of union power since the Wagner act in 1935.

    BTW, under Obama’s tax plan and labor plans, the U.S. will shift dramatically to the left of CANADA. That’s right – Canadians will pay lower business taxes, lower capital gains taxes, lower dividend taxes, and have a less progressive tax system with lower top marginal rates. We’ll also be paying less in tax as a percentage of GDP two years after an Obama administration gets under way – we’re in the process of cutting our taxes further, including corporate taxes. The U.S. is already paying more for health care, and now the government will run that as well.

    That brain drain we’ve been experiencing in Canada is about to reverse itself. Come on up to the libertarian paradise, and away from the People’s Republic of America.

  118. If your state is already decided why are you not voting for Barr?

    When he started detailing his immigration policy. Like taking up the let’s get rid of birthright citizenship cause.

  119. Not talking about social utility, and that should be obvious.

    Confirming this, as the person who made the original comment. My point was that being on welfare sucks.

  120. OK, first of all, you’re pulling the statehood for D.C. prediction out of your, err, place where you are accustomed to keeping your completely random predictions.

    Second, what does it matter if McCain would be more libertarian on the economic front, if he’s much more likely to getting us involved further in economy-draining foreign wars?

  121. “Second, what does it matter if McCain would be more libertarian on the economic front, if he’s much more likely to getting us involved further in economy-draining foreign wars?”

    Perhaps you could explain where Obama is less bellicose than McCain?

    Obama has said he would attack al-Qaida inside Pakistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistan government.

    Both Obama and McCain say that Iran can under no circumstances be allowed to get the Bomb, even if that means military action.

    Obama and McCain both want to increase troops and funding for the war in Afghanistan. In fact, Obama wants more than McCain does.

    Both McCain and Obama say that Russia must withdraw completely from Georgia, and both support NATO membership for Georgia.

    So where exactly is the daylight between their policies?

    And as a matter of record, Democrats have been opposed to foreign interventions – until they control the White House. Then they become, if anything, less restrained than Republicans. You might want to remind yourself under whose watch the Vietnam war started, and go back and look at Bill Clinton’s record as an interventionist.

    If anything, interventions under an Obama presidency are more likely, because the public won’t be as divided. Right now, a Republican president couldn’t even whisper the idea of taking military action against someone without the left going into conniption fits. You can bet that a President McCain would be completely stymied by a Democratic majority in the house and Senate. But when Democrats start wars, the left tends to be a lot quieter. And the right will support it, so a Democratic president gets a lot more support for war than does a Republican president.

  122. The WSJ was bought by News Corp. The same people that own Fox News Network and the New York Post. It’s no suprise that the OpEds would become a right-wing outlet.

    For those not familiar with NY newspapers, the NY Times pales in partsianship compared to the NY Post.

  123. “””So where exactly is the daylight between their policies?”””

    Policies? So far I’ve heard nothing but standard election spewing of the mouth. Unless this is your first election, you should know both sides are talking shit they think will get them elected and afterwards they’ll do what they want dispite what was said. Yeah, yeah they both want to talk tough so they don’t look weak. If you really think they are talking about their policies, I’ve have a bridge for sale.

  124. “I still don’t have an answer: how do Republicans reconcile their criticism of Bill Clinton not taking out Bin Laden because of diplomatic niceties while criticizing Obama for stating that he would take the shot?”

    I’d say it probably has something to do with what you describe as “take the shot” as Obama publicly shooting his mouth off in advance about taking unilateral military action inside a country that has nuclear weapons and is unstable enough as it is. The population of Pakistan will very likely take a dim view of such action to say the least.

  125. Welch wrote: “But as McCain has rightly pointed out, Bush ain’t running for president.”

    True, but McCain’s going to be hiring from the same pool of incompetent Republican hacks that run the Bush admin. And that’s assuming he doesn’t just keep all of Bush’s Michael Brown-quality appointees on staff.

  126. Perhaps you could explain where Obama is less bellicose than McCain?

    Oddly enough, Matt Welch wrote a whole book, quite a bit of which is dedicated to the topic.

  127. Meant to add, I’m not talking about their statements, I’m talking about their personalities and world views.

    As TrickyVic pointed out, both just say shit to get elected. It really doesn’t tell you much about what they would actually do.

  128. Since Obama’s written foreign policy also says this is his approach, I take it that we’re not supposed to believe that either?

    So what’s left? Oh, I know!

    “Hope”

  129. Well, no. What Welch did in his book was to look at McCain’s entire past history. How he has behaved in the past is a pretty good indicator of how he would behave in the future.

    None of this examination of McCain’s past says anything about what Obama will do when he becomes President. But Obama’s campaign-time policy statements don’t shed as much light as you think, either.

  130. Obama may to be the left of Clinton, but he is well to the right of the Democrats of 1965, nevermind 1933.

    OK, I’ll bite: which existing bits of the New Deal, War on Poverty, or Great Society has Obama proposed eliminating?

    Which of his policy proposals, which he has unwaveringly stuck to (rather than flip-flopping on when it was politically expedient to do so), is to the right of those Democrats? Please be specific.

    Bear in mind, you would have to show that MOST of Obama’s proposals, not just one or two isolated ones, are to the right of those two lots for that statement to be true.

    * sound of crickets chirping *

  131. Could it be they only disapprove of “activist government” which provides handouts to people they *don’t like*?

    I think that is a distinct possibility. The Wall Street Journal led the charge to save the endangered fat cats. Now they are getting all Edvard Munch over the thought of socialism. It gives them the vapors.

  132. HOW DARE YOU QUESTION ME PROLEFEED. YOU WILL NOW BE BURNED AT THE STAKE FOR HERESY. SO SAYETH THE VICAR OF OBAMA.

  133. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  134. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  135. Leave it to Libertarians to try and scare everyone with Liberal Doomsday scenarios, after the skull fucking conservatives have unleashed on America, as well as the world in the past 8 years.

    It’s not working gentlemen.

    Leave this shit for Rush Limbaugh.

  136. Even though if you think you’re voting for a non-interventionist, think again.

    Right. And with Obama, intervention would be much more feasible than with McCain. There’s little chance that McCain would be able to get allies to sign up for another Iraq-scale intervention, but Obama’s international popularity will be such that he’d be much more likely to be able to pull it off.

    One way to think of it is, McCain would mean not only divided government within the U.S. but also divided government within the western alliance.

  137. So, are foreign countries’ decisions whether to get involved in our military campaigns based primarily on the international popularity of our President? Do they take other factors into consideration?

  138. I’ve forgotten what the thread is about, but it can all be traced back to the evils of capitalism.

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