Campaigns/Elections

Why the Republicans Must Lose

Nothing short of defeat will put the GOP back on its limited government track

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I grew up in a particularly conservative part of the already conservative state of Indiana. I voted for Bob Dole in 1996 and George Bush in 2000, generally because—though I'm not a conservative (I'm a libertarian)—I'd always thought the GOP was the party of limited government. By 2002, I was less sure of that. And by 2004, I was so fed up with the party that I did what I thought I'd never do—vote for an unabashed leftist for president.

Since then, "fed up" has soured to "given up." The Republican Party has exiled its Goldwater-Reagan wing and given up all pretense of any allegiance to limited government. In the last eight years, the GOP has given us a monstrous new federal bureaucracy in the Department of Homeland Security. In the prescription drug benefit, it's given us the largest new federal entitlement since the Johnson administration. Federal spending—even on items not related to war or national security—has soared. And we now get to watch as the party that's supposed to be "free market" nationalizes huge chunks of the economy's financial sector.

This isn't to say that Barack Obama would be any better. Government would undoubtedly grow under his watch. And from my libertarian perspective, he has been increasingly disappointing even on the issues where he's supposed to be good. We may not go to war with Iran in an Obama administration, but we'd likely become entrenched in a prolonged nation-building adventure in the Sudan. Obama's vote on the FISA bill and telecom immunity also suggests that, for all his criticisms of President Bush's use of executive power and assaults on civil liberties, Obama wouldn't be much better. On the drug war, Obama has promised to end the federal raids on medical marijuana clinics in states that have legalized the drug for treatment, but he wants to resurrect failed federal criminal justice block grant programs that have had some disastrous effects on civil liberties.

While I'm not thrilled at the prospect of an Obama administration (especially with a friendly Congress), the Republicans still need to get their clocks cleaned in two weeks, for a couple of reasons.

First, they had their shot at holding power, and they failed. They've failed in staying true to their principles of limited government and free markets. They've failed in preventing elected leaders of their party from becoming corrupted by the trappings of power, and they've failed to hold those leaders accountable after the fact. Congressional Republicans failed to rein in the Bush administration's naked bid to vastly expand the power of the presidency (a failure they're going to come to regret should Obama take office in January). They failed to apply due scrutiny and skepticism to the administration's claims before undertaking Congress' most solemn task—sending the nation to war. I could go on.

As for the Bush administration, the only consistent principle we've seen from the White House over the last eight years is that of elevating the American president (and, I guess, the vice president) to that of an elected dictator. That isn't hyperbole. This administration believes that on any issue that can remotely be tied to foreign policy or national security (and on quite a few other issues as well), the president has boundless, limitless, unchecked power to do anything he wants. They believe that on these matters, neither Congress nor the courts can restrain him.

That's the second reason the GOP needs to lose. American voters need to send a clear, convincing repudiation of these dangerous ideas.

If they do lose, the GOP would be wise to regroup and rebuild from scratch, scrap the current leadership, and, most importantly, purge the party of the "national greatness," neoconservative influence. Big-government conservatism has bloated the federal government, bogged us down in what will ultimately be a trillion-dollar war, and set us down the road to European-style socialism. It's hard to think of how Obama could be worse. He'll just be bad in different ways.

The truth is, unless you vote for a third-party candidate (which really isn't a bad idea), you don't have much of a choice this November. You can either endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-left ideology, or you can endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-right ideology.

Sadly, if the GOP does lose, it's likely to be interpreted not as a repudiation of the GOP's excesses, but as an endorsement of the Democrats'. When the only two parties who have a chance at winning both have a track record of expanding the size and scope of government, every election is likely to be interpreted as a win for big government—only the brand changes.

Voting yourself more freedom simply isn't an option, at least if you want your vote to be taken seriously (and I'm not denigrating any third parties here; I'm just reflecting reality).

Which brings me back to why the Republicans need to get throttled: A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road.

Of course, there's no guarantee that's how the party will emerge from defeat. But the Republican Party in its current form has forfeited its right to govern.

Radley Balko is a senior editor of reason. A version of this article originally appeared at FoxNews.com.

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  1. I never understood why people would mention Goldwater and Reagan in the same sentence. All available evidence indicates that Goldwater was serious about shrinking government. All available evidence proves that Reagan was not.

    And there is that whole “one of them lost” thing. Which might actually have a great deal to do with why one was able to maintain his principles…

  2. How was Reagan as president a defender of limited government? On taxes, sure. But what else?
    And let’s not forget that it was Reagan that fully embraced and championed the wingnuts in the conservative movement that Goldwater despised so much.
    2008 seems like an odd time for this article to be written. It’s about 30 years too late.

  3. Agreed about Reagan. He was W before W. I will never understand the libertarian praise for Reagan.

    As far as the article, agreed. I hope the republicans get destroyed. The bigger the loss for McCain-Palin, the better.

  4. I think the premise of the article is sound, but the solution seems backwards. Why vote for the Dems if you want to send a message to the GOP?? Wouldn’t that just tell the Dems that they’re on the right track? Vote third party if you’re angry with the GOP. Say, for example, that the votes are split 45-45-10 right now. Wouldn’t a stronger message be received with a 45-35-20 vote than a 55-35-10 vote? It seems to me that if the third party votes “stole the election for Obama”, then the GOP would have to start considering the policy positions of the third party to regain those lost votes. If all of the votes go to the Dems, the GOP will just try to act like Dems to try to get the centrist vote. And that’s a bad thing. We already have that with Obamacain.

  5. I’m voting LP, but I don’t get this premise. If the Democrats win big, the GOP will learn that they should out left the leftists. Not to mention that we’d end up with a president and Congress that would run around yelling mandate, passing God knows what kind of legislation. The GOP is being punished right now in Congress, but I’d prefer some semblance of gridlock to endorsing the Democratic platform. McCain is bad, but he’ll be limited in what he can do. Not so for Obama. I know many think Obama/Congress will screw the pooch and offer the Congress back to the GOP in 2010, but that’s hardly a foregone conclusion, nor is it necessarily true that a resurgent GOP will resemble the 1994 GOP.

  6. I think a large number of 3rd party votes (followed up by polling that suggest that “anyone but the big two” was their choice) would be better for this purpose. But for those who truly believe that they must go Dem or Rep, this is the only way.

    Gotta destroy the village in order to save it.

  7. It’s hard to think of how Obama could be worse. He’ll just be bad in different ways.

    Such a limited imagination.Hell yeah Obama could be worse, so could McCain.

  8. Why vote for the Dems if you want to send a message to the GOP??

    Because the “vote for Democrats because divided government is more libertarian” pose isn’t available right now.

  9. A third party vote makes a lot more sense in this scenario.

    Voting for a socialist with a supermajority Senate is just nuts.

    And the “wasted vote” argument is really stupid. No single vote counts, even if you vote for the winner.

  10. A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road.

    You forgot the “just kidding”.

  11. Let the GOP go softly into the night by appealing to their southern populist christian fundementalist coalition that has become so damned precious to them for the last 8 years. When the pendulum swings back the other way in 8 or 12 years, limited government will have another chance. Just in time for the bankruptcy of social security to get blamed on free markets somehow.

  12. But the Republican Party in its current form has forfeited its right to govern.

    QFMT.

    Reagan also was the president that started credit card government in earnest.

  13. “Bfrooks”

    Yeep.

    stupid keyboard

  14. A third party vote makes a lot more sense in this scenario.

    A conclusion so obvious I have no idea why it’s in the comments instead of the actual article. WTF?

  15. Silentz: Ditto. A win for the Dems tells them they’re on the right track, AND tells the Reps to ape the Dems (which they’re already doing) AND tells Dems, Reps and libertarians that Americans could not care less about “limited government.” A third party vote is still a waste; and anyone who thinks Lib or even third-party votes will be at even ten-percent levels is delusional.

    Note to Reagan detractors: Reagan’s win means he ran up against the real political enemies of his ideas, whereas Goldwater’s loss meant he never was forced to water down his goals.Also, interest in Reagan helped to bring explicit libertarianism out of obscurity and into the regular community. Surely that’s worth something.

  16. I think for once I agree with Mr. Balko. The GOP must lose, and we can then only hope that they “snap out of it.” I think the GOP has taken the Libertarians for granted for far too long, and both big parties have been very good at quashing any sensible party poised to wrangle for space in the collective consciousness, currently willing to give their vote to whomever promises free ice cream.

    Ultimately, a third party NOT run by loons is the only way, but nobody got closer than Perot (and he was a loon too, but at least generally agreed with us) and failed anyways.

    On the other hand, the cost to the USA of a Democratic victory could be staggering:

    Re-negotiating NAFTA:

    – thousands of Canadians would leave because their visas are invalidated. Most are in managerial positions that could not quickly be filled, and missteps in the vacuum could cost tens of thousands of American jobs.

    – 20 years of ignoring dispute settlement process within NAFTA and the WTO have not given Canada any reason to play nice. Expect them to want market value for their electricity, natural gas, oil and fresh water – and the respective prices here to almost double in that case. Heaven help the USA if Canada says they want to peg the prices agreed on to their dollar and not the US one. Short of invading, there is no way to get their resources cheaper.

    That alone has to scare you.

  17. Voting yourself more freedom simply isn’t an option, at least if you want your vote to be taken seriously (and I’m not denigrating any third parties here; I’m just reflecting reality).

    … and how is voting for Obama “voting yourself more freedom”? What could be taken more “seriously” than a limited government message third party “spoiling” the election big time for the GOP?

    Again… WTF??

  18. It was all a dream/
    We used to read
    Word-Up Magazine . . .

    I thought for sure that the Republican Party would see that they needed to do something after the 2006 beat-down in order to save the good ship GOP.

    Surely, out of simple, vulgar self-interest, they would try to do SOME re-branding.

    But now they haven’t.

    So how are we going to make the GOP move in a libertarian direction?

    Well, their skepticism in (Obama-led) government will come back on its own.

    But how about fighting against concentrated economic power such as the many different forms of cartels: agribusiness, doctors’ conspiracy, teachers’ unions, defense contractors, prison guards unions, occupational licensing etc. etc.

    Yeah, I know, this is a losing strategy: Mancur Olson told us that small groups work better than large ones.

    Can we get some selective incentives to turn back this invidious tide?

    A dude can hope…

  19. Why you would consider voting Dem:

    1. If you’re in a swing state: because you harm the Republicans twice as much if you vote for the Democrats than if you vote for a third party.

    2. If you’re in a safe state: because you want the Democrats to consider actually courting the libertarian vote.

    Number two sounds good in theory, but boy, we haven’t seen a lot of Democrats take up the liberaltarian idea. Me, I’m in a safe state, so I’m voting Libertarian. If I were in a swing state, I’d vote Democratic.

    Right now, I think that the dynamic with the Democrats is that they’re busily trying to convince themselves that the reason that Obama is doing so well is that people are hungry for socialized healthcare — or, at least, that once people see the benefits of various social programs, they’ll become committed Democratic voters. They might take seriously the idea of actually compromising their views to create a majority coalition if they fail in going their current track.

    But maybe not. It’s an appealing notion that we could punish the GOP by voting in the Democrats, and they’d learn and reform, but it’s by no means certain that they will. Similarly, I’m not sure that efforts to show the Democrats that they need non-core-liberals to sustain a majority can come to anything.

    Why can’t we have a libertarian party that’s worth something? Libertarians aren’t going to be a majority any time soon, but it seems like if libertarians nation-wide put their efforts towards getting one or two Libertarian-party Representatives elected, in the cherry-picked most favorable districts we could find, that our views would be taken dramatically more seriously, and any further candidates would be much more credible. Why do we waste time on obviously doomed Presidential bids, instead?

  20. … interesting and a bit surreal that the Barr campaign is now using this logic too…

    It is now clear: John McCain cannot win the election.

    There is not one reasonable poll suggesting that he has a chance…

    If a principled conservative wants to have his or her voice heard in both political parties, they should vote for Bob Barr. A vote for Barr will be counted as a protest against the Bush/McCain big spending policies.

    (personally, I still have a queasy gut feeling that McCain will somehow end up winning this thing… but I wouldn’t bet a whole lot of fiat money on it…)

  21. spiky, I threw out the 10% number for illustration purposes only. I didn’t feel like poring over the umpteen thousand polls to find an accurate number. But you get the idea. No delusion here.

  22. Is bob paying attention?

  23. I’m in a “swing state” and I’m voting Libertarian for that very reason…it’s most important to express a strong preference for my preferred candidate when my vote actually “matters”.

  24. If I were in a swing state, I’d vote Democratic.

    … and if Obama wins by one vote, you did the right thing. otherwise you’re just another “lesser of two evils” “strategic voting” establishment tool.

    no offense, just sayin’…

  25. Me, I’m in a safe state, so I’m voting Libertarian.

    Me too.

    I can see Radley’s point, and I hope he’s right, but I worry we might be looking at more of a 1930s scenario than 1992. FDR nearly became dictator by accruing more “crisis power” from the failure of his own interventionist policies, just like Dems are now. None of that was good for libertarian ideas. It took China going Communist to wake America up again.

  26. I admit I have no idea how the GOP is going take things. Mostly because I don’t know what the GOP is composed of anymore. It used to be my understanding there was a kind of contract between the social and fiscal conservatives. A “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” kind of thing with the normal amount of opprotunists that infest every political party filling out the rest. But that doesn’t seem to be the case in the last several years though (really the last decade).

    The social conservatives just abandonded whatever free market/fiscal restraint as promised to get their issues through. They obviously seem to have the reigns of the party currently, such that it is. I don’t know if they are going to go try and out Santa Clause the Democrats and embrace their inner Huckabee or wake up and realize the mess they are in is a direct result of not bothering to keep some level of fiscal restraint and free market ideals.

  27. Voting Libertarian because you’re in a safe state doesn’t make any sense: what point are you proving?

  28. … and if Obama wins by one vote, you did the right thing. otherwise you’re just another “lesser of two evils” “strategic voting” establishment tool.

    If I had perfect foreknowledge, that would be true. But, of course, I don’t. The point of being in a swing state is that there’s some (admittedly tiny) chance that your vote could possibly be decisive, and so you vote as though it were.

    In a safe state, take that already tiny chance and divide by, say, four or five orders of magnitude.

  29. I see no reason why the GOP won’t get their “clocks cleaned” this election.

    However, a resurgent GOP requires that either the public perception of Democrats wains over the next 4-8 years or they screw up royally in the next 2-4 years.

    It will be interesting to see, over the course of the next administration and subsequent voting cycles, how far the pendulum as actually swung.

  30. If you want your vote to be decisive in a swing state, send the message that you could have voted differently, had either of the two parties acted in a more libertarian manner.

  31. Voting Libertarian because you’re in a safe state doesn’t make any sense: what point are you proving?

    You’re helping demonstrate the existence of a block of voters — be it nationwide or local — who are explicitly and self-identifyingly libertarian. This presumably could factor into future political strategies on a non-Electoral College level (for example, fundraising or non-Presidential elections, where your vote may be more swing-y) or at an EC level if the national mood and demographics change. The list of swing states this election is different from 2004.

    Of course, each individual vote does damn little. But that’s the nature of living in a large democracy.

  32. I predict any libertarian voting for Obama will profoundly regret it if he wins.

  33. Re Reagan, his defenders claim the increase in spending was the fault of the Democrats in Congress, though I don’t know if that’s a fair deflection or not. I would commend him for simplifying the tax code (since re-de-simplified) and apparently showing you could cut taxes yet collet more (at least I’ve never seen that refuted) and almost inadvertently scaring the Soviets into submission (I know that’s an oversimplification, but still!) with his, in retrospect, crazy talk about SDI. On the negative were his ratcheting up of the Drug War, extending taxation to waitstaff tipes, support of the Contras, getting some kids killed in Lebanon…. Well, he was a politican! As for the limited government thing, I do remember reading that he succeeded pretty well, albeit in a quiet way, in devolving a lot of government back to the state level. I have nothing to cite for that however, and I suspect whatever effect there was has since been reversed….

  34. The point of being in a swing state is that there’s some (admittedly tiny) chance that your vote could possibly be decisive, and so you vote as though it were.

    Kind of like betting your life savings on the Lions winning the Super Bowl this year. Statistically insane but man the payout would be sweeeeet….

  35. Michael Sullivan – that’s a decent point, but wouldn’t you affect political strategies even more if you voted Libertarian IN a swing state?

  36. Nick Gillespie wrote it best:

    “It will be good come November to see the Republicans get the ass-kicking they so richly deserve.
    It will be bad to see what comes next.”

    I profess the devil you know is better than the devil you do not know.

  37. Hang on. Some of you are only voting Libertarian because it’s the safe protest vote? The “Lesser of two evils” thing is what’s preventing any legitimate change brought about by a solid third party showing. With Obama and McCain essentially spouting the same nonsense, now is the perfect time for an “unsafe” vote. Neither of these two is going to do the nation any good. Look at it this way:
    Why pick a kick in the face over a kick in the stomach? Why not ask to not be kicked? If you tell the bully kicking you where you want to get kicked, you’ll continue to be kicked. If you tell them to stop, he’ll probably still kick you for a while, but at least he’ll know you don’t want to be kicked. And bullies eventually back down if you get enough friends to back you up.

  38. I predict any libertarian voting for Obama will profoundly regret it if he wins.

    This is as true now as it was when the man in question was Bush 4 years ago.

  39. Forget the GOP. They are, and always have been, a party of authoritarianism. The only thing they have going for them now is the rhetoric that they’re for small government. Of course, we’ve seen over and over that they are not at all in favor of small government. They are, perhaps, in favor of smaller government than what the Democratic party wants. Of course they weren’t able to say that for the first 100 years of their existence. Not until the D’s finally out-big-governmented the R’s in the 1930’s.

  40. Some 175 GOP congressmen and 40 senators will survive Nov. 4th. It is up to the Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and Ron Paul CFL types to march into their offices and lay down the law: we are watching you over the next two years; you will espouse limited government, low tax, free market, civil libertarian ideas or you will face primary and third party opposition when you run for re-election. In areas where the GOP goes down to defeat, start now to identify and support candidates in the next election who have demonstrated adherence to these traditional values.

  41. The question of the length of democratic reign will be answered in the economy. If the congress gives Obama all he wants and the economy comes roaring back to life and things are wine and roses, it will be a long long time. If the economy keeps things from looking so peachy dandy then I predict we will see the repubs with their toes in the door in 2 years. This assumes that the republicans can give themselves a makeover and find someone americans trust and like.

    When the democratic led ship get so fickin huge it can’t stay afloat, then is the time for the libertarians to reconfigure the government.

  42. I’m a Florida voter, and my guess is that our state will probably go slightly for McCain in the end, and I’d prefer Obama wins, but like Sarah Palin, I’m content to let God sort all that stuff out. My vote represents my personal endorsement of the candidate I think best represents my beliefs, and therefore I’ll be voting for Charles Jay of the Boston Tea Party. I don’t get the whole strategic voting for an asshole thing. Why even bother wasting your time voting if you are just going to support a guy who represents the opposite of everything you believe in?

  43. Gotta destroy the village in order to save it.

    You’d think McCain would appreciate that strategy.

    (Yes, I’m terrible, I know.)

  44. I predict any libertarian voting for Obama will profoundly regret it if he wins.

    There. Fixed that for you.

  45. “””How was Reagan as president a defender of limited government? On taxes, sure. But what else?”””

    Only if you think spend a crapload of money and passing the tax liability to the next president is a defense of limited government. Reagan’s spending screwed Bush Sr. I expect Bush Jr’s spending to screw the next President. When you spend the money, someone has to eventually pay the bill. That seems to be a difference between democrats and republicans. The dems want to tax and spend, the republicans just want to spend and ignore the payments. In that respect, dems are more fiscally responsible.

  46. I keep thinking that the cure in this instance might be worse than the disease…

    And no, I don’t think that a GOP defeat will lead to the outcome specified. In fact, it may be just the opposite; after 2006, Republican leadership seems to have redoubled their efforts to be more like the Democrats and get so out on the economic populism branch that they run the risk of, like the Democrats before them, actively telling libertarian-minded individuals “you are not welcome here”.

  47. I’m voting Libertarian (in Harris County, Texas), but I don’t know if I’ll skip voting for President yet or not.

  48. Well said Radley. And I agree, although very tentatively. I share the worry that the GOP will just learn that it should be more lefty, or just more boisterously nat-great-neocon. But I do want it to be known that I’ve revolted from the party, and am voting for their enemies, precisely because they’ve abandoned their small government roots. Maybe they’re OK with that, and think that other voter bases are more helpful/valuable. But ultimately the GOP needs to have their nose rubbed in George Bush and be swatted with a newspaper.

  49. Re Reagan, his defenders claim the increase in spending was the fault of the Democrats in Congress, though I don’t know if that’s a fair deflection or not.

    Reagan’s budget proposals actually called for more spending than did the “runaway” budgets Congress passed.

  50. Voting for either the Democrats or the Republicans is an endorsement of their policies. Neither party deserves that. Regardless of what state you are in vote LP.

  51. Franklin Harris,

    Yes, I was just being more specific.

    re: Reagan
    They all suck, he did suck much less.
    There is no doubt he increased net liberty worldwide.

  52. Michael Sullivan – that’s a decent point, but wouldn’t you affect political strategies even more if you voted Libertarian IN a swing state?

    Sure. You’ll raise the brand of the Libertarian party more if you vote Libertarian, whatever state you vote in.

    Right now, I think that I prioritize higher trying to teach the political lesson “foreign wars, torture, and massive destruction of civil liberties leads to Republican loss” than raising the Libertarian party’s brand. Because this is kind of make or break: if the Republicans can pull out a win now, the lesson that I think they learn is “even at its most absolutely unpopular, neoconservatism is still a political winner.” If they can win with a neocon in 2008, there’s basically no reason for them to ever go with anybody who’s not a neocon.

    So I prioritize doing twice as much damage to the Neocon brand and versus half the damage to the Neocon brand plus half the good to the Libertarian brand. And I encourage other people to think the same.

    But, if for someone in a swing state, voting Democratic is anathema, then I certainly encourage them to vote Libertarian rather than voting Republican or staying home.

  53. i’ve never understood the rose colored love of reagan; in hindsight he seemed like a half-actor/half-zombie hybrid who played the proper kultur war games. drug warriors are for limited government in the same way that bears are for beartraps.

  54. Libertarians bashing Reagan always makes me laugh. Besides Coolidge, no other president since the 1800s has been driven by such classically liberal ideals and placed them into action (unlike Goldwater who I love, but he failed).

    As far as this article, I endorse the criticism of the Republicans for the most part…while strongly disagreeing that the best way to achieve limited government ideals is to allow the Republicans to fail. We need to support the conservatives in the Republican party because they are the only hope of heading off truly big Euro style government. This whole platonist view is exactly what needs to end. VOTE FOR YOUR VALUES! Don’t vote as if you need someone who is a perfect libertarian or conservative.

  55. Even if the neocons align themselves with the Democrats, and the Republicans ditch the New Right, it might be too late to thwart the social security hell hole that’s going to be opened up. Better find a country with a younger population…

  56. I profess the devil you know is better than the devil you do not know.

    They are the same devil. I think I’ve finally decided, Optimus Prime for president!

  57. I predict any libertarian voting for Obama McCain will profoundly regret it if he wins.

    Also true.

  58. To all those apologists that advocate voting strategically/for the lesser evil/because im in a safe state etc. Stiffen your damn spine and vote your freaking conscience.

  59. Well put Radley. I have been saying the same thing for weeks now; the only way the GOP will ever go back to small government principles is to lose in Nov. I also think things will have to get much worse before they get better, and hope some young whippersnapper comes up with a plan to unseat the big government politicians in 2010.

  60. The Republican Party is not a single entity. “Punishing” the GOP punishes everyone in the party, including the good guys. Imagine dad grounding the entire family just because little Billy got caught smoking. That’s what this punishment amounts to, dumping Obama on everyone in retaliation for the misdeeds of a few. We need to identify the culprits of our current mess and focus the punishment on them.

    Obama is going to happen regardless, but we shouldn’t be thinking of it as any sort of self-imposed punishment. We should instead be working towards getting small government ideals back into the GOP. We need to have the cojones to start condemning big government “conservatives”, even if they happen to be president, even if he says he’s a Christian, even if there are still terrorists in the world. We must not allow any excuses for the statists.

    The GOP will never be a libertarian party. But so what? Neither will the Democrats! Foisting the greater of two evils on the world just because the GOP nominated a lesser evil is stupid. I ain’t voting for McCain, but that don’t mean I’m hoping Obama will win.

    We can move forward by getting libertarians and (real) conservatives into local central committees, into local school boards and city councils, into state offices, and then start saying NO to the big government Republicans.

  61. Also as far as the question “When did Reagan do anything to prevent Big Government from taking over?” let me issue two words.

    Cold War. By ending the Cold War, Reagan set up an opportunity where the US could reduce it’s overall military and defense spending around the world. Instead other events have conspired to prevent that (some necessary, some unnecessary) but it doesn’t change the fact that by helping to end the Cold War Reagan dealt a massive blow to Big Government.

  62. “How was Reagan as president a defender of limited government? On taxes, sure.”

    That is stark rubbish.

    Ronald Reagan signed the Income Tax Reform Act of 1986. For the first time in all of American history, it became illegal to earn a dollar in this country without accounting for it to the government, through the Taxpayer Identification Number.

    I will never forgive that rotten lying sonofabitch for that.

    Ronald Reagan can burn in hell.

  63. “This isn’t to say that Barack Obama would be any better. Government would undoubtedly grow under his watch.

    Government will undoubtedly grow in ways that will more permanently entrenched and unreversable under his watch than it would under McCain.

    “Entitlements” for healthcare, education and and anything else the liberal democrats can dream up. And once they get started, they never end.

  64. The Republican Party is not a single entity. “Punishing” the GOP punishes everyone in the party, including the good guys. Imagine dad grounding the entire family just because little Billy got caught smoking.

    You don’t choose your family. You do choose your political party. If principled Republican politicians (if such a thing exists) get punished for sharing affiliation with, supporting, and generally being okay with Bush, who advocates torture, a police state, and indefinite war, then I say AWESOME.

    That may not only encourage future unscrupulous politicians from being like Bush, it may also mean that if anyone does try to be like Bush, the rest of the Republicans repudiate him.

    The GOP will never be a libertarian party. But so what? Neither will the Democrats!

    These are both probably true. Seriously, can someone explain to me why it is that a third party in America can’t get off the ground in Congress? The presidential voting system makes third party presidents all-but-impossible, but why not Congresspeople?

  65. “If the Democrats win big, the GOP will learn that they should out left the leftists.”

    I pointed this out to Radley at his blog.

    “The lesson that the Republicans have been taking ever since the Goldwater disaster is that they must always bid their principles down and to the left. Reagan was a delusional anomaly. Gingrich and the plastic revolutionaries of ’94 seal the point.

    You think you’re going to teach the Republicans a lesson. Let me explain something to you: Obama is what the real left in this country has been waiting for at least since Eugene McCarthy. They’re all going to make the most of it and by the time they’re done, not one Republican will be signed-up for your class of instruction.

    You will not get away with this.”

  66. Besides Coolidge, no other president since the 1800s has been driven by such classically liberal ideals and placed them into action

    such as?

  67. oh goody, the Anarchrist is here. Preach the faith, Billy. You’re always oh-so-pleasant.

  68. These are both probably true. Seriously, can someone explain to me why it is that a third party in America can’t get off the ground in Congress? The presidential voting system makes third party presidents all-but-impossible, but why not Congresspeople?

    Because at the congresscritter level, it really isn’t even about parties. It’s about incumbency, or failing that, personality. That’s why you get a perennial Bernie Sanders, despite not many folks (even in Vermont) being actual socialists.

  69. If I were a Libertarian I’d have an awfully hard time voting Libertarian this year.

    Am I to believe that after losing an election he just woke up one morning and decided he was no longer a drug warrior who authored the Federal Medical Marijuana ban, signed the Patriot Act, authored the Defense of Marriage Act and literally dozens of very un-Libertarian ideas?

  70. “I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”

    “You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.”

    Pretty principled for John McCain’s predecessor in the Senate. More awesome quotes at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Barry_Goldwater

  71. This is why I think we need a viable third and *fourth* party candidate for president.

    The runner-up in the Democrat or Republican primaries is never going to run for president in competition with the official nominee, because they would siphon off too many votes and insure that “the other side” wins.

    But what if the runner-up from each primary chose to run for president? Imagine an election with McCain, Obama, Huckabee and Clinton all running for president. Now instead of saying “I’m not like that one” the official nominees have to say why they aren’t like that other one either.

    Instead of merely standing against the other party you have to articulate what you stand for. And by having another candidate from each party, you overcome the argument about one person drawing votes away and letting the other side win.

    I realize it’ll never happen, but a man can dream can’t he?

  72. Because at the congresscritter level, it really isn’t even about parties. It’s about incumbency, or failing that, personality. That’s why you get a perennial Bernie Sanders, despite not many folks (even in Vermont) being actual socialists.

    But that’s not an answer. If it’s not about party, doesn’t that make it more possible for Libertarians to win a Congress seat, not less? If it’s all about incumbency and personality, then why can’t we win seats when there’s no incumbent? Are our personalities really that bad?

    I would be wildly more fired up about the Libertarian Party if it was pursuing a strategy that would actually get LP members elected to office, rather than rallying around Yet Another Obviously Doomed Presidential Bid. Even if those LP politicians weren’t directly representing me.

  73. Am I to believe that after losing an election he just woke up one morning and decided he was no longer a drug warrior who authored the Federal Medical Marijuana ban, signed the Patriot Act, authored the Defense of Marriage Act and literally dozens of very un-Libertarian ideas?

    Whether you believe it or not, he’s out there broadcasting it to anyone who’ll listen, and at the end of the day that’s a good thing for libertarians (to bogart a facebook meme…)

  74. “That’s why they deserve to get their clocks cleaned in two weeks.”

    Was JFK pro-abortion?

  75. This doesn’t make sense…

    Teach the Republicans a lesson for enabling Big Government by permitting the election of those supporting even Bigger Government…

    I can understand the protest vote but above scenario seems too backassward.

  76. I think there’s a definite chance that the GOP will follow an electoral thrashing with a good sanguinary civil war… and I’ll be damned if I have any idea how that blood-letting will turn out.

    But for it to happen at all, the Republicans have to lose; a victorious GOP would have no reason to change, and I doubt the defeated Dems would change in a way that we would find an improvement. (A serious third party, capable of throwing around the kind of weight the Lib Dems do in the UK, would be splendid. But that’s a long-term project, though it might be kick-started if the wrong factions won the internal struggle in the GOP and a sizable number of limited-government types were left without a political home.)

  77. “Joe Libertarian”: “Well put Radley. I have been saying the same thing for weeks now; the only way the GOP will ever go back to small government principles is to lose in Nov.”

    That happened in 1964, so big that nobody could possibly miss it. Look at ’em as they came in consequence: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II.

    What in the world is it going to take to get you to see through this delusion?

  78. “That’s why they deserve to get their clocks cleaned in two weeks.”

    President Eisenhower an isolationist?

  79. “That’s why they deserve to get their clocks cleaned in two weeks.”

    Truman anti-war?

  80. “Preach the faith, Billy. You’re always oh-so-pleasant.”

    I never got into this in order to make friends.

    I don’t care whether you like me or what I have to say. “Pleasant” is not a value to me when it comes to this.

  81. Anarchrist has a point….even before Nixon, who was it, Eisenhower? Come on now.

  82. This doesn’t make sense…

    Teach the Republicans a lesson for enabling Big Government by permitting the election of those supporting even Bigger Government…

    First of all, it’s not “even bigger government.” It’s “maybe as big a government.”

    But, second, dollar value doesn’t tell the whole story. Look, we may all agree that spending $1 trillion on, say, assisting people buy houses is a genuinely lousy idea. But if the alternatives are $1 trillion on subsidizing houses and $1 trillion on getting into a war that kills thousands of Americans and tens or hundreds of thousands of foreigners and comes concomitant with a loss of American power abroad and morally reprehensible crap like increased surveillance and torture, then I say bring on the subsidized housing!

    Come on, folks, this isn’t a lot of nuance to ask: you just need to look one step past “how much does the government spend in total.”

  83. Voting third party is a vote to not to vote-that doesn’t change a damned thing. Plus, libertarianism, at least in it’s right-wing, Republican form, is simply not popular amoungst the general public, beyond a knee jerk “TAXES BAD!”. If it was, Ron Paul would have won the nomination.

    Since the GOP is hopeless, and the Libertarian Party (and all third parties for that matter) even more so, the only choice left is to try to push left-wing libertarians within the Democratic Party. It hasn’t really been tried, so who knows if it would work or not.

    Find a vaguely libertarian Democrat (my pick-Feingold), and push him for the presidential nomination. Of course, the way things are going, you next good chance will probably be in 2016, assuming Biden doesn’t run. Of course, this can also be done in any other race (House, Senate, Governor, whatever).

  84. Sullivan —

    It’s a better serving answer then it might first appear. First, we’re talking 90%+ recidivism rates amongst congresscritters, even in “major shift” years. So for a third-party critterlet to break in, he or she must first figure out which are the 10% who are actually close to vulnerable.

    Then, overcome the fund-raising machines that most incumbents have built.

    Then, become better known than the incumbent.

    Then, become *better liked* than the incumbent.

    ——–

    I think in non-incumbent races many of these advantages could be neutralized by a wily third-party critterlet. But those happen very rarely.

  85. “Minorities are running this country”–Barry Goldwater

    Gorldwater must be turning over in his grave.

  86. “with a loss of American power abroad”

    What a crock of shit. We have enough nukes to melt Europe, Africa, and Asia in under an hour. Loss of American power my ass.

  87. “Find a vaguely libertarian Democrat (my pick-Feingold)” Of McCain/Feingold just say no to free political speech? Who writes this shit?

  88. The reason why the GOP deserves to lose isn’t due to Bush and Cheney. The GOP and it’s adherents should stood up to their own party and made their voices louder WRT the executive office power grab and to the lack of pay-as-you go spending which basically puts off the tough budgeting for someone else to handle. Where’s the responsibility of the GOP voter in all this mess? You’re blaming your party leaders, but in reality you’ve no one to blame but yourselves.

  89. Geotpf

    It’s a good thing you put “vaguely” in front of “libertarian Democrat” in reference to Feingold.

  90. OK. Now I’m certain of it. Every time I think something, Radley, it appears in your column the next week. Please get your listening device out of my brain! :p

    No seriously, great column. Loved it. Voting 3rd this year just to laugh as McPalin goes down in flames and we doom ourselves to the W/Cheney 2.0 (Left Version).

  91. Whether you believe it or not, he’s out there broadcasting it to anyone who’ll listen

    I realize that, but remember, talk is cheap, a politicians talk is worthless.

    When he actually was in a position to take action he did, 180 degrees from what most consider Libertarian.

  92. Look, we may all agree that spending $1 trillion on, say, assisting people buy houses is a genuinely lousy idea. But if the alternatives are $1 trillion on subsidizing houses and $1 trillion on getting into a war that kills thousands of Americans and tens or hundreds of thousands of foreigners and comes concomitant with a loss of American power abroad and morally reprehensible crap like increased surveillance and torture, then I say bring on the subsidized housing!

  93. Look, we may all agree that spending $1 trillion on, say, assisting people buy houses is a genuinely lousy idea. But if the alternatives are $1 trillion on subsidizing houses and $1 trillion on getting into a war that kills thousands of Americans and tens or hundreds of thousands of foreigners and comes concomitant with a loss of American power abroad and morally reprehensible crap like increased surveillance and torture, then I say bring on the subsidized housing!

    Michael Sullivan,

    Oh so you are a leftist, that explains it. War is a legitimate function of government–even an “illegitimate” war.

  94. When he actually was in a position to take action he did, 180 degrees from what most consider Libertarian.

    “Spoiling the election” for McCain is a fairly significant action, don’t you think…?

  95. Oh so you are a leftist, that explains it. War is a legitimate function of government–even an “illegitimate” war.

    Wait. What? Are you actually arguing that the war is preferable to the housing on the grounds that killing people is what the state is meant to do?

  96. Elemenope,

    Yes I am. Read your Constitution.

  97. “These are both probably true. Seriously, can someone explain to me why it is that a third party in America can’t get off the ground in Congress? The presidential voting system makes third party presidents all-but-impossible, but why not Congresspeople?”

    One way might be to vastly increase the number of Representatives in the House – at least by 3 or 4 times. It’s ridiculous that each house member represents 690,000 people – it’s way outside what the framers thought the House should be. Now, I know this would vastly increase the size of this part of gov’t, but it’s small compared to the average bit of pork larded on to, say, a defense appropriations bill. It certainly might allow more diversity of opinion as Representative would not have to play to the middle so much to get elected.

    Walter Williams talks about a similar idea

    here…

  98. “Why vote for the Dems if you want to send a message to the GOP??”

    Why patronize another business just because one provides you with terrible products and services?

  99. Of course if McCain loses the NRO crowd will blame it on his not being a real conservative.

  100. Why patronize another business just because one provides you with terrible products and services?

    What if that other business also provides you with terrible products and services?

  101. Feingold voted against all of the following:

    The war in Iraq
    The Patriot Act
    The economic bailout
    Renewal of the Assault Weapons ban
    The Communications Decency Act
    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
    More earmarks than McCain ever has

    There’s probably only one other member of Congress who voted against all that stuff, namely Ron Paul.

  102. Seriously, can someone explain to me why it is that a third party in America can’t get off the ground in Congress? The presidential voting system makes third party presidents all-but-impossible, but why not Congresspeople? – M. Sullivan

    Each house of our Congress is elected by means of single-member districts, with a first-past-the-post plurality all that is necessary for winning a seat.* In a 3-way race, a candidate can win with only 34% of the vote. So why don’t more challengers run as independents, or with a party label other than D or R?

    ? Incumbents from both wings of the Duopoly have erected barriers that make it difficult for new parties to get access to the ballot.

    ? Incumbents have outlawed other strategies that minor parties use to survive. Frex, cross-endorsement has allowed minor parties a certain amount of relevance in states like New York, but that’s illegal in most states.

    ? “Campaign Finance Reform” strangles new parties in their cribs. Remember that Perot was a self-financed billionaire, and SCOTUS explicitly exempted self-financing from regulation in Buckley v. Valeo. In states that have public financing, new parties often can’t meet threshold requirements to get state money.

    ? The Congress organizes itself by party. Sanders and Lieberman both caucus as Democrats, so they can get prime committee assignments. The Congressional Parties also raise money for incumbent Senate and House members, to reinforce the status quo.

    Multiple parties would develop faster and last longer in the U.S. if we had any of several different election schemes – proportional representation, instant runoff, preferential balloting, etc.

    Kevin

    (Still voting Libertarian.)

    *Some states have used runoffs, but that’s not the norm.

  103. Xenu ’08

  104. “Why patronize another business just because one provides you with terrible products and services?

    What if that other business also provides you with terrible products and services?”

    If you have’nt patronized it in eight years it’s hard to say that.

    At the least you should abstain from buying from the first business. How can you justify rewarding its bad behavior?

  105. “”Campaign Finance Reform” strangles new parties in their cribs. Remember that Perot was a self-financed billionaire, and SCOTUS explicitly exempted self-financing from regulation in Buckley v. Valeo. In states that have public financing, new parties often can’t meet threshold requirements to get state money.”

    Is that right? I mean, as a person who voted Reform Party twice for Prez I can tell you that it hung around as long as it did because of public financing left over from Perot reaching the threshold in 92.

  106. I’m probably voting for Obama, not to punish anyone, but to save the GOP from McCainism. The GOP is doomed if Republicans think being moderate, crossing the aisle and playing footsie with the msm will get them elected. But please, please consider the importance of the filabuster in an Obama administration. Vote against Republicans, get your frustrations out, fine, but don’t fuck up the only check we’ll have against absolute power in the hands of Democrats.

  107. The growth in government we can expect under a Democratic regime will boggle the minds of we happy few, we libertarians. Gridlock is the only possible good outcome at this time. The GOP, even if it wins the White House, will still likely be a minority party in Congress, so the opportunity to try to force them to be more on the side of the angels is still there. Today’s Democrats are much more to the left and much less concerned about government power than Democrats of the previous few decades. . .so long as they, not the Republicans, wield that power.

    Detaching the major parties from their legal, government-subsidized imprimatur would do wonders for reducing their ever-increasing stranglehold on the government and on ideas about government, but that ain’t going to happen anytime soon.

  108. Reagan didn’t end the cold war. Communism like all centrally planned economies is fundamentally unsustainable. So naturally it collapsed.

  109. It’s funny how libertarians know so much more about Reagan-history than ostensibly Reagan-loving but clueless “conservatives,” who will forgive ANY big government with an “R.” after its name.

  110. MNG:

    Perot and his Reformistas didn’t have govt. funds in `92. When Ross ran again in `96, Reform took the Federal dough, and only got half the votes garnered 4 years earlier.

    ISTR that John Anderson’s vote total from 1980 could have been used to finance a third-party run in 1984, but no permanent structure was set up, so that movement dissipated.

    Kevin

  111. The only way to “fix” the GOP at this point is to utterly destroy them and their propaganda tools (Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox in general.)

    Use the Dems as a means to an end, if you have to. They’re imperfect as hell, but the GOP is big government, big spending, big socializing (for the most wealthy), terrible at creating jobs, and wasting INSANE amounts of money on both useless wars and even more useless homeland security theater.

  112. Spoiling the election” for McCain is a fairly significant action, don’t you think…?

    Bob Barr picked Sara Palin?

  113. What a crock of shit. We have enough nukes to melt Europe, Africa, and Asia in under an hour. Loss of American power my ass.

    And yet, countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia often take positions that we would prefer they do not. And we’ve refrained from nuking them so far. Perhaps everyone but you recognizes the limitations on nuclear superiority as a means of projecting international power.

    Michael Sullivan,

    Oh so you are a leftist, that explains it. War is a legitimate function of government–even an “illegitimate” war.

    So, just to be real clear: you think that there was no problem with the war in Iraq?

  114. kevin
    My point is that without the financing that party would have disappeared after Perot’s run. As it was it was able to exist for years afterwards.

    “Gridlock is the only possible good outcome at this time.”

    If Obama wins you will still have gridlock, there will be no filibuster proof majority. In fact, if Obama wins very little of his major proposals will get through Congress. On the other hand McCain would get quite a bit of his “bi-partisan” agenda through (climate control, gun show “loophole”, etc).

  115. C, where is “create jobs” in the constitution? The only jobs that will be created by Obama will be government jobs. The private sector isn’t going to be creating many jobs under Obama’s tax schemes.

  116. Elemenope,

    Yes I am. Read your Constitution.

    Wow. Just…wow.

    Me, I don’t let The Constitution of the United States determine for me the moral boundaries of state action. Thus I am able to do what every four-year-old can do, which is come to the conclusion that an unnecessary war is *in every way* worse than building houses for people without permission.

  117. One can only hope the GOP goes down in flames this year. It’s exactly what they deserve for their hostility to (truly) free markets, peace and individual liberty.

    And speaking of individual liberty…I know Reason has bills to pay, but to accept advertising from the Yes on Prop 8 people is flat out disgusting. These people want to DENY liberty, not defend or expand it.

  118. The post office is in the Constitution too, is SIV against abolishing it?

  119. I do wish people would quit equating Reagan with “limited government.” Under Reagan, the federal government grew exponentially, as did federal debt. Sorry, folks, but simple facts trump propaganda. I know it can be annoying, but looking at reality is the first step to reason.

    And just to ask a simple question, why is Medicare an “entitlement” but the swollen security state is never discussed? What the heck is government for – a vacuum for tax dollars and fertilizer for corruption, or something that SERVES THE POPULACE?

    So while I’m happy to see a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative (hardly Libertarian) give up on the Republicans, the focus in this piece strikes me as purposefully wrong-headed as McCain’s grotesque platform.

  120. “And speaking of individual liberty…I know Reason has bills to pay, but to accept advertising from the Yes on Prop 8 people is flat out disgusting.”

    I haven’t seen that advertisement. And that’s not the first time I’ve read a poster speaking of seeing a different ad than I have. I’ve always had an idea that the ads on this site are targeted to the viewer based perhaps on past sites visited.

  121. Elemenope-

    There’s a particularly odd form of the “is/ought” fallacy making circulation in conservative and libertarian circles regarding the constitution.

    While most libertarians agree with the statement “if x is forbidden by the constitution, the state should not do x,” some (particularly conservatives) take this to also imply “if y is not forbidden by the constitution, y is an acceptable state action.”

  122. Michael Sullivan,

    No, but less of a problem than spending the equivalent on socialist programs here.Of course we are doing that now too.

  123. MNG,

    McCain’s bipartisan ways is what makes him a less-than-ideal gridlock vote, but I don’t think Obama, a Democrat, is going to be less friendly with a Democratic majority than McCain. No, I fear the “mandated” festival of fun that will come if the Democrats feel that their version of government expansion has been approved by the voters.

  124. Mike,

    I’m arguing that in an either/or y is preferable to x.I’d prefer we did neither.

  125. By ending the Cold War, Reagan set up an opportunity where the US could reduce it’s overall military and defense spending around the world.

    Thus leaving more money to spend on drug war and anti-pornography crusades here at home! Whoopee.

    If government’s going to waste money anyway, I’d just as soon see money wasted in ways that DOESN’T pound personal liberty into the dirt.

  126. There are ads here?

  127. SIV,

    I’d agree that war is more constitutional than welfare (notwithstanding that the war in Iraq is an undeclared and unconstitutional war), but the op you were referencing stated “if x is constitutional and wrong, and y is unconstitutional and wrong, I would prefer only y be done than x and y be done.”

    It is very difficult to argue against this.

  128. SIV would prefer neither to bomb people’s huts nor to build homes for the needy.

    But if he can only do one, he’d go for the bombing huts.

    WTF?

    In what moral universe is that even remotely reasonable?

  129. Whoops. Obviously that was me, not SIV.

  130. Elemenope,

    The constitution is not always moral. I actually agree with SIV on the nature of the constitutionality of both issues (though personally I find war far more repellent than building houses).

    What I find upsetting is a propensity among some libertarians to equate the constitution with libertarian morality, when in fact the constitution in not an entirely libertarian document. In cases where the constitution is not especially libertarian, it should fall to the libertarians to advocate constitutional amendments to make it more so.

  131. I have little doubt that, at heart, Reagan was just as much a limited government quasi-libertarian as Goldwater. The problem was his priorities. On his list, limited government was way below the Cold War and cutting taxes, so he focused on fighting for those with the Democratic Congress rather than for actual cuts in the size and scope of government.

  132. Mike- very true, and very good point.

    Returning to the Constitution from the status quo today would be a huge step in a libertarian direction, but that does not make the Constitution libertarian. At the time of its adoption, it was a huge and dramatic *increase* in the size and scope of the central government’s powers.

  133. War is a Constitutionally legitimate function of government.
    Housing is not.
    I was responding to Michael B Sullivan that if you have to choose one over the other I prefer the legitimate choice.

  134. In what moral universe is that even remotely reasonable?

    The moral universe which says “Spending a billion dollars on food stamps is a liberty-corroding expansion of government, but spending a billion dollars imprisoning non-violent drug users is in keeping with the principles of fiscally responsible small government that protects personal freedom.”

    Also, in this universe the speed of light is only 25 feet per hour, which is why everybody who lives in it is functionally blind.

  135. Good quotes from Goldwater….
    As for Reagan comparing two phrases come to mind
    “Just say no…”
    and
    “I don’t remember…” (from iran-contra, something Goldwater slammed him for)

    Props to Feingold, Kucinich and Flake (odd bunch, eh) for NO votes on bailout. Additional appreciation for those Ds and their objections to Iraq, Patriot, etc, etc.

    Barr for POTUS, Stafford (L) for senate vs Durbin (IL) and Hanson (R) vs Emmanuel (5th).
    I’d probably vote the same even IF i was in battleground. My wallet will get raped and my civil liberties will suffer either way.

  136. The post office is in the Constitution too, is SIV against abolishing it?

    MNG
    I happen to actually like the Post Office but I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop a libertarian campaign to amend the Constitution to abolish or privatize it.I’d prefer a privatized postal system in fact.

  137. I will never understand the libertarian praise for Reagan.

    Look at the tax rate before Reagan then look at it after.

    Look at the effect that tax rate had on our economy.

    Since Reagan unemployment has been at all time historical lows and that is directly related to the tax cuts he championed.

    Yes he did not get the whole equation of low taxes and low spending. But looking at what preceded him it is hard not to see the revolutionary and libertarian based transformation he pushed simply by getting only half of it right.

  138. Jennifer,

    Take some Midol or something. The Iraq War isn’t analogous to denying our own citizens basic property rights.

  139. I think Andy Craig is largely correct in his view of Reagan. That’s the way I saw it at the time, though I’ve never been one to think of Reagan as especially libertarian. I think he had definitely leanings that way, but the Cold War was his focus.

    A Reagan-type candidate now, with no significant external threat, might be interesting.

  140. “Why vote for the Dems if you want to send a message to the GOP??”

    Why patronize another business just because one provides you with terrible products and services?

    Mr Nice Guy = dem shill.

  141. Libertarianism is not going to ever happen. Given that we WILL have big government, I rather elect a party that believes in it and is more likely to try to do it well. That’s the Democrats.

    Republicans will never, ever, ever, deliver limited government, despite what their rhetoric might say.

  142. At the least you should abstain from buying from the first business. How can you justify rewarding its bad behavior?

    at a certain point, the only sane options left are to either start your own business or go off the grid entirely…

    so either vote 3rd party (preferably LP) or just stay home and drink.

  143. SIV,

    You realize the war in Iraq is paid for by denying our own citizens basic property rights, yes?

    We can argue about constitutionality all day, but if we’re talking morality, it’s pretty clear that stealing money in order to murder people is a worse thing to do than stealing money to build houses.

  144. siv, I gotta say that if you and I and jennifer were sitting at a table having a discussion and you, in disagreement with her, told her to take a midol, I pop ya right in the fuckin mouth. douchebag.

  145. “””We need to support the conservatives in the Republican party because they are the only hope of heading off truly big Euro style government.”””

    What conservatives? The Republican party isn’t intersted in a real conservative else Ron Paul would be running against Obama.

    “”””Since Reagan unemployment has been at all time historical lows and that is directly related to the tax cuts he championed.””””

    Expanding government creates jobs.

    “”””By ending the Cold War, Reagan set up an opportunity where the US could reduce it’s overall military and defense spending around the world.””””

    And then the republicans hammer Clinton for following up on that opprotunity, and largely ignore Bush Sr’s follow up.

  146. Jennifer, Take some Midol or something.

    That’s the best response your little brain can churn out? You are beyond pathetic.

  147. SIV | October 22, 2008, 3:28pm | #
    Jennifer,

    Take some Midol or something.

    Douchenozzle,
    Thank you for helping to perpetuate the Reason sausage-fest by attempting to humiliate the rare female commenter for her femaleness.

  148. brotherben,

    I’m so fucking scared………
    I likely would have said the same thing to a guy making the same argument.

    Mike,

    I was responding to the analogy of the drug war which denies property rights under penalty of loss of liberty and not just theft of wealth.

    Jenifer,

    That was more of a response then your hysterical analogy deserved.

  149. Tell you what, SIV: pretend I’m a man, and respond accordingly. Better yet: pretend you’re a man, and respond accordingly. You can do it!

  150. SIV,

    My mistake. If you’re arguing that the drug war is worse than the war in Iraq, there’s certainly a case to be made there. I’d still argue that you’re advocating a policy that uses the constitution as a guide to policy rather than merely a restriction, but that’s certainly subjective.

    What’s less subjective, OTOH, is that you need to grow the hell up.

  151. Every four years the Dems send us a more liberal, slimy character, in hopes of winning. Are you sure you want to reward this?

    McCain’s idea is to freeze spending and evaluate programs to see which will be cut–Bush has never done anything of the sort, while we know that McCain would try his darndest to do so.

    Obama will exponentially increase spending, and I believe he will appoint liberal justices who will limit our freedom to dissent.

    I disagree with the general approach of cutting of one’s nose to spite your neighbor’s face.

    Lori

  152. svf wrote
    so either vote 3rd party (preferably LP) or just stay home and drink.

    How bout voting AND drinking anyways (we’ll need it). For the record, local LP is getting together with C4L to do just that.
    As if chicagoans need an excuse…

  153. In the last eight years, the GOP has given us a monstrous new federal bureaucracy in the Department of Homeland Security. In the prescription drug benefit, it’s given us the largest new federal entitlement since the Johnson administration. Federal spending-even on items not related to war or national security-has soared.

    And yet, I get to hear screeds on Counterspin about how those rascally republicans are employing their devious plan to shrink government to an ineffective state.

  154. Jennifer,

    I probably should have chosen a non-gender specific way of being an asshole about your poor analogy.I was trying to provoke you into defending or retracting it.

    I told some guy here whining about how not having universal health care was the moral equivalent of the death penalty that I was sorry to hear about his PAP smear results.I wouldn’t have said that to any woman.

  155. Every four years the Dems send us a more liberal, slimy character, in hopes of winning. Are you sure you want to reward this?

    The alternative is telling the GOP “You know those nasty stunts you’ve pulled in America these past eight years? We’re all just fine with that.”

  156. In addition, the Democrats have blocked just about every conservative initiative of Bush, and have obstructed success of the war in Iraq with turncoating on their original joint decision. They were complicit in the Gramm/Leach deregulation bill but scream judgment at the Repubs for sponsoring it (even though Leach endorsed Obama), and resisted efforts to reform Fannie Mae by Bush and McCain (Frank said that the gov’t could bail us out if there ever were a problem), and then scream foul when the bailout appears as a necessity. Then they preyed upon people’s fears and announced a depression, fueling the panic, thus driving the economy down further. The economy really started to tank when the Democrats got control of Congress–I think the economic dive should be spanking enough for the Repubs, and it will take decades to undo the damage the Obama will inflict on our country.

    Vote McCain ’08
    Lori

  157. Why you would consider voting Dem:

    1. If you’re in a swing state: because you harm the Republicans twice as much if you vote for the Democrats than if you vote for a third party.

    But then you’re just another vote for a Democrat, and will add incrementally to the impression that going leftward is the way to win.

    2. If you’re in a safe state: because you want the Democrats to consider actually courting the libertarian vote.

    Shyeah. The Dems, after having finally purged the centrist DLC types and electing the most liberal candidate evah, are going to reverse field and go libertarian?

    A vote for the Dems does nothing to advance the libertarian cause. At this point, neither does a vote for the Repubs, AFAICT. That pretty much leaves the libertarian with two choices: opt out, or vote third party.

  158. I’d like to secede. Not my state, just me. I’d call my nation the State of Libertarian Unity in Tampa.

  159. I probably should have chosen a non-gender specific way of being an asshole about your poor analogy.I was trying to provoke you into defending or retracting it.

    Still pathetic. Ad feminem attacks are no more effective than ad hominem. Try again; this time, discuss was actually written rather than the genitalia of the one who wrote it.

  160. opt out, or vote third party.

    I opt out.

  161. The alternative is telling the GOP “You know those nasty stunts you’ve pulled in America these past eight years? We’re all just fine with that.”

    The very act of voting tells both parties “Hey, those miniscule differences between you guys? Doesn’t matter.”

  162. I am extremely grateful to Bush for keeping the terrorists off our shores for 7 years, an accomplishment that Clinton was completely unable to do.

    The war in Iraq was debatably reasonable at the time we started it, and it was a bi-partisan effort, complicit with Dems, who had the same info as Bush did. If Saddam had gotten his biological weapons into the hands of terrorists, which I still believe was a legitimate concern, you would be the very people excoriating him for not seeing the potential and not attacking pre-emptively. The treasonous about face of the Democratic party under political pressure is unconscionable, and they and the media are responsible for prolonging the war in Iraq, aiding and abetting terrorists, and informing the world that we will never have the resolve to finish a work that we started. If Iraq, in spite of American traitors, can become a democracy, history will be much kinder to Bush than MSNBC.

    Bush has brought accountability to the table for urban education, which the NEA in the pocket of Dems has resisted violently. I have taught in an urban public school where not a single senior in my class could write a single paragraph at any level, except a Jamaican transfer student (who wrote at a second-grade level). This is the worst bigotry, and has been perpetuated by Dems. No Child Left Behind is not perfect, but it is a start to addressing this severe civil rights issue. Bush has done more to combat AIDS in Africa, and I am deeply grateful for his example. He has done many positive things in the war on terror, and the media will not acknowledge it. McCain, if anything, will be a better commander-in-chief.

    Bush also protects human life in all its forms, and his masterful decision to permit stem cell funding to existing lines forced scientists to pursue adult stem cells, which are now equal to embryonic stem cells in scientific potential.

    Bush has handled more challenges than any president in recent history, and has been kind to his enemies. Clinton just destroyed anyone who disagreed with him. His biggest failure has been overspending, the Dream Home Zero Down Payment Act, and retreating under his rock in the face of ridiculous criticisms from the media.

  163. If 10% of the voting population voted LP, I think that would send a message. Ron Paul already raised a few eyebrows.

  164. Pro Lib,

    Sweeeeeet.

  165. I am extremely grateful to Bush for keeping the terrorists off our shores for 7 years

    you lost me right there…

  166. I probably should have chosen a non-gender specific way of being an asshole about your poor analogy.I was trying to provoke you into defending or retracting it.

    The problem is SIV, you totally misread her analogy. In fact it wasn’t an analogy at all. She was making an excellent point about the GOP’s lust for the WOD.

    Speaking on behalf of sausage-bearing mouth-breathers, I think “Take a Midol” is a perfectly good way to pick a fight. However, going all crude and vulgar on someone when it’s you that clearly has his head up his ass makes you the double douche.

  167. I just got fundraising letters from McCain and Palin. They’re both going to get Ron Paul flyers in their pre-paid envelopes.

    -jcr

  168. If Iraq, in spite of American traitors, can become a democracy, history will be much kinder to Bush than MSNBC.

    Which “traitors” are you talking about?

  169. Pro Lib, that would make you the S.L.U.T. King.
    damn. you think of all the cool stuff.

  170. If government’s going to waste money anyway, I’d just as soon see money wasted in ways that DOESN’T pound personal liberty into the dirt.

    Taking the money in the first place is already an attack on our personal liberty.

    -jcr

  171. Mike,

    The Constitution aside, I consider defensive war to be the most basic legitimate function of any State.I’m not saying the Iraq War is/was defensive but the State tend to present any war that way.

    Ad feminem attacks are no more effective than ad hominem.

    Jennifer,

    There are ad hominem attacks on nearly every thread here,and by nearly every commenter. I have addressed why denying your own citizens basic property rights is not analogous to making war, as your comment suggested.

  172. brotherben,

    Actually, I’ve declared myself to be the Lizard King of S.L.U.T. My dynasty shall be the House of Mojo Rising.

  173. Here’s the big question: Why do libertarians give a flying fuck whether the GOP “resurrects” itself? Let’s pretend that the GOP simply died … wouldn’t that be better for libertarians?

    If that happened, then the LP would be the ONLY right-wing, “if-it-isn’t-good-for-me-personally-then-I-don’t-want-it” party in contention. Wouldn’t that be better? Or have you all just given up completely on the notion that libertarianism will ever have a prayer of being a bona fide political option?

    It seems to me that what we have here are a bunch of Republicans who dream of Libertopia, but are unwilling to acknowledge its limitations, preferring to whimper about “big government” than to do what it will take to get their party into the running. It’s always easier to be the underdog, but when push comes to shove, do y’all have the cajones to take over when the Republicans fail? It doesn’t sound like it.

    ..by 2004, I was so fed up with the party that I did what I thought I’d never do-vote for an unabashed leftist for president.

    Note: Didn’t vote Libertarian …

  174. @Lori

    I don’t recall any foreign terrorists making it to our shores during the Clinton administration. In fact, hmmm, it looks like the only foreign terrorists to have made it to our shores during the past 100 years or so have arrived during Bush’s watch. Just in time to give the concept of an imperial presidency a good kick in the pants. Hmmm.

  175. If principled Republican politicians (if such a thing exists) get punished for sharing affiliation with, supporting, and generally being okay with Bush, who advocates torture, a police state, and indefinite war, then I say AWESOME.

    You make the mistake of thinking Bush defines the entire party. He has nothing to do with the state and local parties, and not much at all with the national party. Most Republicans weren’t too thilled with him, they were just less thrilled with the prospect of Gore and/or Kerry.

    I know you want to punish all Republicans for being Republicans, but as a libertarian I just don’t see that the Democrats are any less deserving of punishment. A Democrat controlled congress could have ended the war, ended the “enhanced” interrogations, and ended the police state, but they chose to politik instead.

  176. The only thing that can get government under control at this point is twenty megatons on the capitol dome during a state of the union message. Get all the rats in the nest and start over.


  177. I don’t recall any foreign terrorists making it to our shores during the Clinton administration.

    Your memory is poor James Butler

  178. The constitution is not always moral. I actually agree with SIV on the nature of the constitutionality of both issues (though personally I find war far more repellent than building houses).

    I do too. That’s the crux of my point; following the Constitution as a definitive guidebook for right action leads a person to a sub-optimal moral space. Thus SIV’s ridiculous choosing the bombing houses over building them on the basis that the Constitution allows one but not the other. Not so long ago, slavery was a-ok in the Constitution, but not a minimum wage. Which is the greater evil? The answer is obvious.

    I actually like how you relate it to a failure to property separate the positive from the normative when reading documents of a foundational nature.

    There are ad hominem attacks on nearly every thread here,and by nearly every commenter.

    That’s really not so true. Unless you are misapplying the term ad hominem to include all argumentative statements that refer to or make conclusions about a person. Because that would, um, be wrong.

  179. I don’t recall any foreign terrorists making it to our shores during the Clinton administration.

    Well, there was the first attack on the WTC. But still, I think Lori’s loopy. Or Juanita.

  180. The only thing that can get government under control at this point is twenty megatons on the capitol dome during a state of the union message. Get all the rats in the nest and start over.

    And then there’s the part where I don’t think such an attack would actually have that effect.

  181. Shorter Lori:

    “WAH! WAH! WAH!”

    W said he stood for smaller government. He lied. 95% of the rest of the GOP said they were for smaller government. They lied. We can argue endlessly about the details if you wish, but it really doesn’t matter. He lied, and the Republicans who support him lied, and if we’re going to have one major party that supports increasing statism openly, and one major party that supports increasing statism but lies about it, I want to see the liars go down in flames. Period.

    There is no way to convince me that Obama will damage the country in statist ways more than McCain, because I discount every last word McCain says as a probable lie, including “and”, “but” and “the”, on the basis of the “R” after his name. That means that no McCain denial that he will be just as bad as W means anything to me. And your whining about how Bush is just a poor misunderstood fellow who has gotten a raw deal is beneath contempt.

  182. “””I am extremely grateful to Bush for keeping the terrorists off our shores for 7 years, an accomplishment that Clinton was completely unable to do.”””

    Clinton had exactly the same number of terrorist attacks by foreigners as Bush. One. They both occurred in the first year of office. Neither had a terrorist attack on their watch since. Under Clinton, the attack planned for New Year’s 2000 was foiled as the bomber tried to cross into the US from Canada. A trans atlantic flight from England was stopped during Bush’s time. The score is about even. The big difference between the two is Bush had an act of Congress and a blank check to deal with terrorism. Clinton didn’t. Clinton may or may not had a chance to get OBL via a hand off, assuming the other side would have lived up to it. Bush had an act of Congress allowing the invasion of a country for the purpose of getting OBL and still failed.

  183. Why patronize another business just because one provides you with terrible products and services?

    Why go to another that gives equally terrible products and services, that cause you discomfort for a much longer period of time?

  184. Warren said:
    “Take a Midol” is a perfectly good way to pick a fight.

    Perhaps if your goal is to pick a fight, you should be brave enough to do it in the real world. Going to online forums to pick a fight = sad, sad, sad.

  185. Once again, I have to offer my voting strategy. Here it is. It is what I will use for the rest of my existence, or until I have good people representing me, whichever comes first.

  186. Damn Fluffy,

    Take a Midol or something.

  187. “I don’t recall any foreign terrorists making it to our shores during the Clinton administration.”

    Jesus. Another Eloi.

  188. BTW, I think all people with libertarian tendencies should vote for Barr, despite his flaws.

    But since we know Barr won’t win, and since we know everyone here will watch TV on election night with a sporting interest, the question becomes “Who should we root for?” And I am rooting for a GOP bloodbath that eviscerates them in the House, gives Obama a huge electoral college victory, and stops just shy of creating 60 Democrat votes in the Senate.

    “Won’t that encourage the GOP to turn to the left?”

    It’s impossible to say. The 32 and 36 bloodbaths did. The 64 bloodbath did not. A GOP catastrophe in November is like a huge hit on a running back that knocks the ball free – once that happens, everything that comes after that depends on who recovers the fumble. Maybe Huckabee types recover it. Maybe Coburn or Flake [or Fluffy] types recover it. It remains to be seen.

  189. Lori wrote:
    Bush has handled more challenges than any president in recent history,

    Poorly…

    and has been kind to his enemies.

    Wha? Only if you consider sending Gonzalez and Carr to badger Ashcroft in the hospital as an act of kindness. Not that anyone here is a fan of John A., but seriously….
    Or did you perhaps mean detainees at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib….

    Call me a treasonous swine, but what did Iraq have to do with 9/11 again!?!

  190. I am extremely grateful to Bush for keeping the terrorists off our shores for 7 years

    … and yet Bush failed to send Bill Ayres to Guantanamo… War on Terror my ass!

  191. Elemenope,

    As I stated in clarification: the Constitution aside, War is the most basic legitimate function of any State.If we have to choose between making (a popular at the time) war or stealing from those with houses they paid for themselves to build houses for those who would like to have them without paying for them I am going to choose war.

  192. There is no way to convince me that Obama will damage the country in statist ways more than McCain, because I discount every last word McCain says as a probable lie, including “and”, “but” and “the”, on the basis of the “R” after his name.

    As I’m sure you do the same for Obama, right? If you really pay attention to what he says, how can you not discount it? Sure, the average ignorant joe will buy it because they don’t actually pay attention to the qualifications and lack of substance, but I would hope you wouldn’t be so gullible.

    BTW, I think all people with libertarian tendencies should vote for Barr, despite his flaws.

    This I agree with, so much so that I have for the first time in my 24+ years of voting actually changed myself from “Independent” to “Libertarian” just to help the overall numbers of the party in the People’s Republic here in MD. I’ll change it back after the election, but I will vote for Barr in the meantime.

    Personally, I think you’re fucked on wishing that Obama won’t get 60+. We’re fucked if he does. The only real hope is that the repugnicans get severely waxed in congress but McCain wins the presidency, thus creating pure gridlock and minimizing what can be done to further screw things up in the interim.

  193. While there are many areas that Libertarians and Conservatives can agree there are many areas of disagreement. Make no mistake. A Libertarian is not a conservative. Isolationism cannot protect our way of life. Allowing free and open immigration as is the position on LP.ORG will destroy America. Libertarians oppose profiling Muslims at our airports and they oppose the Patriot Act. Chaos is not a conservative position.

  194. Libertarian? Really? You people still call yourselves that? Free markets never work. Wake up.

  195. Bob Barr is one of the ones who damaged the GOP. Republicans who pushed morality down everyones throat while engaging in immorality themselves. Didn’t Larry Flynt expose something on Barr? Yes the Barrs, Foleys etc did damage the GOP.

  196. Bob Barr is one of the ones who damaged the GOP

    thank you, another good reason to vote for him.

  197. AMEN on this article.

  198. I think all people with libertarian tendencies should vote for Barr, despite his flaws.

    I’m not voting for Barr because in the long run I think it’ll hurt the libertarian cause, if the “libertarian” who gets the most votes turns out to be the libertarian who thinks “small government” means “imprison drug users and hyperventilate over the possibility of gays getting married.”

    Saying “I support small government and personal freedom and a police force that investigates and imprisons people for consensual non-violent acts” makes as much sense as saying “I support human life and my hobby is torturing people to death.”

  199. I would ask that those planning to vote for Obama be sure to vote GOP for Congress. Let’s not make a bad situation worse by making it look like we support this brand of idiots.

  200. War is the most basic legitimate function of any State.

    Isn’t that like saying, “Shooting people is the most legitimate function of any police officer?”

    I mean, how can it be “legitimate” if it’s not necessary?

    If we have to choose between making (a popular at the time) war or stealing from those with houses they paid for themselves to build houses for those who would like to have them without paying for them I am going to choose war.

    I’m not sure what being popular has to do with being just, but you really prefer that the government use the money it takes from its citizens to clumsily kill lots of foreign people (soldiers and civilians) instead of clumsily building houses for poor folks? You really think the former is the lesser of two evils?

  201. Saying “I support small government and personal freedom and a police force that investigates and imprisons people for consensual non-violent acts” makes as much sense as saying “I support human life and my hobby is torturing people to death.”

    So what is your solution? I can’t bring myself to support either party, the only rationale I can come up with for voting for either one is for McCain simply for gridlock. I cannot in good conscience give the far liberal dems any encouragement whatsoever, as I believe what they’ll create will be worse for my kids than what results from gridlock. Tell me what your solution is, I’d be quite willing to follow some well reasoned path.

  202. Let’s say that the GOP gets a historic drubbing thanks to a lot of non-Democrats (Republicans, libertarians, etc.) staying home or voting for Obama. Let’s say, further, that the GOP takes Balko’s advice and starts truly advocating limited government. How, exactly, would that help it win an election? By the end of an Obama administration, more Americans would likely be recipients of government services or transfer payments, and fewer Americans would be footing the bill for them.

    Reagan was a smart enough politician to understand the limits of his own limited government rhetoric. Americans like their entrepreneurial and frontier roots pandered to, but if you threaten their Social Security checks or Medicare they’ll raise hell. Given that ~40% of government spending is on entitlements, and most of the rest of the budget goes to Defense spending and interest on the debt, where is the big constituency for limited government? Most of those on the right want a strong defense, and most Americans want to keep their Social Security checks and Medicare benefits coming; hence, there can be no libertarian majority.

    Libertarians still don’t seem to get this, that politics is the art of the possible. That’s why Libertarians are political non-entities.

  203. It was not the ideology of small government that got Reagan elected. It was his idea of tearing down the barriers that were preventing people from getting ahead. UPWARD MOBILITY. Lower taxes, less illogical regulation that held business creation back etc.

    The Reagan revolution has hoisted itself on the petard of globalization which has decreased the wage bargaining power and incomes of the middle class. The sense of UPWARD MOBILITY is gone.

    The way for the GOP to come back is to break its connection with multinational corporations (which have not added any new US jobs). The GOP should be a culturally conservative party that concentrates on small business (which creates all the jobs in the US). Certain aspects of free trade should be reined in to aid small business. This way the GOP could be the populist party both culturally and economically. The multinational corporate elite have more in common with the cultural elites of the Democratic Party, especially Wall Street.

  204. I reject this line of reasoning. Let’s elect a communist/ fascist to teach the Republicans a lesson? Then we’ll rebuild a limited government party and correct things the next time around after everyone tires of fascism???? Give me one example of any progressive/ liberal/ socialist idea that has been reversed since the early 1900s. It doesn’t happen and never will. You are dreaming. The damage Obama and the Democrats will do to liberty in this country will be irreversible. Once the vast majority of non-taxpayers get used to getting government goodies you won’t be able to turn off the faucet in the future. Does Social Security/ Medicare/ Medicaid ring a bell with anyone? Add in a majority of socialist judges on the Supreme Court who will have several decades to do their worst and we have a toxic brew that will last until the end of U.S. history. So what’s the best answer? Forget Republicans and Democrats. Vote third party if it makes you feel better, but it’s a futile gesture. There is no answer. The game is over. Every day McCain looks more like pathetic old Hindenburg trying to hold off Adolf the upstart.

  205. Tell me what your solution is, I’d be quite willing to follow some well reasoned path.

    If by “solution” you mean “something that will move the country on the right track this November,” there is none. So what are the options? Voting for McCain is out of the question because that would basically mean giving a seal of approval to the last eight years of the Bush administration, and saying you approve of legal torture, extraordinary rendition, NSA spying on Americans, pre-emptive war on false pretenses and multiple other vile things.

    Voting for Barr means saying “I don’t give a damn how badly a man is willing to trample on the principles of personal freedom so long as he’s willing to call himself a ‘libertarian’ while he does it.” May as well vote for Dondero at that point.

    So that leaves Obama, who stinks in multiple ways, but at least voting for him does NOT require one to say either “I like where the country’s been going these last eight years, and want it to continue in that direction” or “I think supporting the drug war is a wonderful thing for a libertarian to do.”

  206. I am very close to being part of the “The only wasted vote, is to vote” crowd. However, maybe naively, I believe in voting and the democratic process. Personally, as someone else mentioned, I believe a breakdown in voting percentages send a much larger message if the GOP lost their votes to third parties rather than the Dems. I have said it before and will say it again here; a vote for either the dems or the GOP is a loss for the american people. Hence why I will be voting 3rd party this election cycle and most likely the rest of my life.

  207. @SIV, Les, TrickyVic, et al.

    I don’t recall any foreign terrorists making it to our shores during the Clinton administration.

    Your memory is poor James Butler

    D’oh! Thanks for the reminder, SIV.

  208. Jennifer wrote
    I’m not voting for Barr because in the long run I think it’ll hurt the libertarian cause,

    Can a tiger change it’s stripes?
    Like Ron Paul having a crisis of concience and changing position on capitol punishment, i think that Barr is ‘walking the walk’.
    He’s worked as a lobbyist for the MPP, helped found Patriots to Restore Checks & Balances, plus he DID publicly endorse Badnarik in 04.
    Cynical opportunism or legitimate change of view … who knows. But he’s the best ‘horse’ the LP has had in years and the locals can use all the help they can get with ballot access (depending on state rules of course).

  209. For all the Goldwater nostalgics: Try re-reading Conscience of a Conservative. Almost a third of the book is chapter 10, “The Soviet Menace,” in which he declares that there should be few or no limits on government power in matters of national security (sound familiar?).

  210. but at least voting for him does NOT require one to say either

    If those are your only two measures, ok, but I tend to be concerned about overinflating entitlements, personal liberties being subject to “reasonable restriction”, and a whole bunch of unread shit being railroaded through congress and becoming law in the name of “Change!” Voting for Obama says “YAY ME!” to this, is that what you want to go for?

    See, to me, voting for McCain says “I want gridlock, and I don’t buy obfuscating well spoken lawyers who think they know better than me what’s good for me”

    I guess it’s how you frame the discussion. I’d rather vote “for” something than “against”, which leaves me the only possible way to vote as Barr. Nonvoting is an option, true, and that may end up as a possibility if my disgust level gets any worse. However, if you start from the premise that politicians lie, inclusive of Barr (ok, perhaps not McKinney, simply because she’s too flat out bats to know if she is even lying, so she can’t be held accountable), you then end up looking at the party agenda. The Obama types are pretty well encapsulated by “We just spent $700B, but it won’t stop us from spending much more!” Pelosi, the McCain types are pretty well encapsulated by Palin’s moral scold routine. Those are both strong negatives, at least the LP says some things that are attractive to me.

  211. Jennifer:

    I will have to disagree here for two reasons:

    1) Obama is about as anti libertarian as you can get, John McCain and Obamas VP pick are even worse than he is. Just because he is in the opposite party of the one that screwed up the country for the past 8 years doesn’t make that a legitimate reason to vote for the guy.

    2) Is is impossible for someone to change their mind? Have you never changed your opinions, views, or beliefs in life? I mean don’t get me wrong Barr isn’t a shining example of libertarianism but he doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning so to me the vote for him is more about sending a message to the 2 ruling parties rather than a vote for Barr. As I mentioned above a breakdown in voting percentages sends a much larger message if the GOP or the Dems were to lose to third parties than if they just lost to their co-dictators in political land.

  212. Jennifer,

    When you put it that way I’d recommend not voting.McCain does not support torture.Barr was the strongest civil libertarian when he was in Congress even despite his, now somewhat repudiated, drug war views.Obama has an as much interventionist foreign policy plan as McCain.Openly supports further restrictions on our Constitutional Rights(and has made no promises to restore any already lost) and is facing a severe economic crisis with a one party government that favors permanent government solutions to every problem.

    I’m voting for Barr.My second choice is not voting.

  213. … damn the fact you can’t edit posts.

    Just wanted to add as Picassoll pointed out above me Barr has done a pretty good job of “walking the walk” as he said.

  214. I never expected Jennifer, who used to be pretty liberal IIRC, to say that people cannot change.

    What in the world does Barr stand to gain here?

    you know what? go vote BTP or something. This “Barr has false consciousness” stuff has been hashed over and over again and is getting old. It’s completely bereft of proof.

  215. We need a real third-party alternative in this country. It should be based on conservative principles and intellectual honesty. Sadly, no one with those philosophies can get elected in this country anymore.

  216. I never expected Jennifer, who used to be pretty liberal IIRC, to say that people cannot change.

    Sure, people can change. I did myself. But for me to believe a change is legit, it takes more than simply saying “Hey, you know how I stood for X, Y and Z my entire adult life? Well, uh, forget about it. This morning I woke up and changed my mind. No, I am NOT going to explain why I changed, or what made me change my mind, or anything else. Just trust me: I’m totally, totally different. Except for the part where I still insisted medical marijuana users belong in jail AFTER my alleged road-to-Damascus-and-liberty moment, but never mind that.”

    What in the world does Barr stand to gain here?

    Perhaps he thinks being a big fish in a small libertarian pond is better than being an unemployed Republican. Or maybe he looked at Dondero and thought “If we’re going to have authoritarians hiding behind a libertarian label, I can at least provide a better-looking mustache than him.”

  217. I have to disagree. Although we agree completely on the failures of the Republican’s to be true conservatives, the alternative of electing Obama is unacceptable. He is by far the most dangerous candidate we have ever had. He is going to expand welfare enormously and will raise taxes on any person who is not poor exponentially. I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth. I look at his actions, and they do not impress me at all. To top it all off, Obama will most surely appease foreign dictators and terrorist leaders. Again, he is dangerous and untrustworthy.

  218. What you say is all premised on the United States surviving an Obama administration. I for one would gladly welcome a civil war to rid us of the blight of liberalism.

  219. “Except for the part where I still insisted medical marijuana users belong in jail AFTER my alleged road-to-Damascus-and-liberty moment, but never mind that.”

    Did he really? I was thinking of voting for Barr, because I thought maybe he had changed. But you are bringing me down. Down on the ground!

  220. Disagree with those who think a Dem victory would not be a positive influence on the Republicans.

    The clear message would be, that the Republican Party can never be successful as the “socialist lite” party.

    The Republican Party can never be successful if it sells itself as the “watered down version of the Democrats”.

    That doesn’t mean that the Republicans would necessarily prevail as a conservative party, but it does mean that is their only hope.

    2). There is a good chance that the true conervatives can oust the neocon/socialist clique who have taken over the Republican Party, since the latter will have been repudiated by an Obama victory.

    3). As the economy spirals into disaster during Obama’s administration, the public might be ready to give the conservatives a chance in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

    If they want change in 2010, and 2012, they will not be looking for a Republican Party that represents “Obama lite”.

    As I always say, any voter that wants a Democrat will prefer to vote for a real one than a Democrat who calls himself a Republican.

  221. Let me start off by saying that I’ve been registered “R” since 1976. I am, however, one of those (aargh!) moderates. In general I agree with your article, however, my inner moderate makes me hopeful that Obama has a special skill set that we’ve not seen in some time; as Gen. Powell said, he could well turn out to be a “transformational figure”.

    All that said though, as far as the GOP goes, you’ve left a couple of things out of the equation. First, we should applaud and be happy for all of us whose religion is meaningful to them. It has, however, crept too far into the public discourse and it doesn’t belong there. For its part in having fostered this, the GOP also deserves to be lambasted. In my view, the misuse of religion is one of the main reasons why we find ourselves in such an “us vs. them” mindset, a mindset which does nothing but breed contempt and push us away from doing what we must do to save our society as we know it. We’ve got BIG problems like global warming and energy independence that have the potential to reduce us to rubble. The current approach by BOTH parties is to alienate, call names, point fingers — and get re-elected at all costs. We are running out of time on this stuff, people! Terrorists want to bomb us back to the stone age? Maybe all they need to do at this point is sit back and watch as we take ourselves there.

    The other thing you’ve left out of the discussion is this mindless focus by “the base” on anti-intellectualism. Does anyone really think that by turning away from those among us whose intelligence could be harnessed to deal with looming catastrophe, we are doing the right thing? Does it worry anyone besides me that the GOP poll numbers are said to be increasing among a couple of groups, one of them being uneducated whites?

    We need to wake up before it’s too late.

  222. He is going to expand welfare enormously and will raise taxes on any person who is not poor exponentially.

    Expanding welfare and taxes is still better than extending pre-emptive war, government spying and the use of torture to extract confessions and use them as proof to arrest still more individuals.

    If you’re familiar with Radley Balko’s work you’ve already seen how many other military-style tactics are being adopted by American police forces. Torture must be stopped overseas or it WILL come to our own shores, and we won’t be able to shrug and say “Fuck it; I’m neither an Arab nor a Muslim so this’ll never affect me.”

  223. Libertarians are really just Conservatives with a fetish: Taxes

    Taxes are like a tit that the Republican party flashes to them, causing them to melt.

    Unsurprisingly, good sense flies out the window when skin is shown. The fact that the Republican Party is entirely propped up by the Religious Right, and is truly their main reason for existing, is of little consequence to them.

    They just want to see more of the titty. They’ll pay any ridiculous price to see more of that titty, and maybe they’ll even get to touch the titty if they lick the boot.

    Predictably, they march forward like zombies drooling at the possibility of seeing more skin.

  224. FM – your lying trollery is top-notch, sir.

    I bet you’re just pissed ’cause your mom named you “Mortimer”.

  225. Expanding welfare and taxes is still better than extending pre-emptive war, government spying and the use of torture to extract confessions and use them as proof to arrest still more individuals.

    And who says we won’t have both, Jennifer?

  226. And who says we won’t have both, Jennifer?

    When has Obama bragged about voting with George Bush 90 percent of the time? McCain has said just that. And the last eight years have been so vile that anything short of the “Bring back chattel slavery” party would be an improvement over another four years of it.

  227. Jennifer, I googled “Bob Barr medicinal marijuana” and I couldn’t find anything about him saying marijuana users should be in jail, since the “epiphany,” that is. Any links?

    I live in California, so there’s no need for me to hold my nose and vote for Obama, which is why I was thinking of simply wincing and voting Libertarian.

  228. That logic is completely flawed. Having the Republicans loose, will only allow the Democrats to create even more government spending that won’t simply be reversible in 2 or 4 years when Republicans get re-elected. It isn’t simply raising taxes…it is creating an even larger welfare state that will be impossible to get rid of. Just like Medicare and Social Security

  229. Jennifer, when it came to telecom immunity (that would be “government spying”), who folded on his “principles” again?

    “Pre-emptive war”? Which candidate is likely to get us embroiled in the Sudan?

    I don’t have any truck with the Republicrats in any. way. But your vision that “anything but Bush” must be better is bizarre.

  230. Yeah, government spending during the Reagan era had nothing to do with the Dems who controlled Congress.

    And I have some crappy loans to re-package and sell you.

  231. This is dangerous and ill-advised behavior, all of you idealogically conservative academics. Maybe the theory would work in a Survivor-like scenario to observe human psychology. But, this election is about the leadership of the United States of America and the consequences are far more grave. Years of governance by an unchecked super-liberal Congress and an unknown demagogue with the most liberal voting record in the Senate as President. New Supreme Court Justices whose tenure could be decades and whose philosophies will doubtless be legislated from the benche. Possibly the creation nationwide of a corrupt political machine crafted after the Daley model in Chicago, designed to continue in power the radicals with whom Obama associates. Perhaps the Biden-predicted crisis in which this country’s safety and future will be in the hands of a man whom we cannot trust. No, I say, to all of you who would critically observe from afar and attempt to play psychological tricks with democracy. Do not overthink yourselves. You are correct that there are only two options for the Presidency this November. Now, stop quibbling over the details and vote for the lesser of two evils. Vote for the least government now, not imaginary lesser government down the road. Vote for tax cuts, not for spreading the wealth around. Vote for John McCain, or spend years wondering why in your arrogant wisdom you did not.

  232. Except for the part where I still insisted medical marijuana users belong in jail AFTER my alleged road-to-Damascus-and-liberty moment, but never mind that.

    Source, please, or it’s just another lie.

    There are plenty of valid arguments against Barr out there, so simply making shit up without attribution is a real cop-out.

  233. meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have a strong Libertarian candidate who said that he would have “vetoed the bailout bill in a second” had it come across his desk…but is he good enough? Oooohhh noooo…let’s vote for the guy who rags on free trade any fucking chance he gets! Who urged for the bailout! Who said we have to “spread the wealth” around!

    Good freakin’ golly.

  234. Let us not forget Ron Paul. He has been the lone voice of reason. And he has been pilloried for his laissez-faire, small government views. I do not hold out much hope that the GOP will reform itself anytime soon, no matter how badly they lose.

  235. But, this election is about the leadership of the United States of America and the consequences are far more grave.

    Oh jeez, I hear this shit every four years. “THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVAR DON’T VOTE PRINCIPLES THIS YEAR!…guys, I promise you can do it next election, I swear!”

    Stuff it.

  236. “I reject this line of reasoning. Let’s elect a communist/ fascist to teach the Republicans a lesson?”

    Statements like this one are why Conservatives are not taken seriously by many people outside of isolated rural communities, and it’s statements like this one that demonstrate how the Republican Party has manged to maintain power while doing exactly what many people warned would happen under their leadership.

    Obama, like Bill Clinton will obviously turn America into China. We’ve heard it all before.

    The arguments are the same every election cycle, and become even more outrageous when a Liberal politician is in the lead.

    Conservatives are good at scare tactics. Bad logic and hyperbole seem to be selected traits within that particular gene pool.

    I like to call it the “Religious Reasoning Effect.”

  237. Expanding the power of government in any way at this point is just going to get us closer and closer to real tyranny. Quibbling over which path is worse is pointless.

  238. “I bet you’re just pissed ’cause your mom named you “Mortimer”.

    Wow.

    I can’t believe you went there.

  239. Source, please, or it’s just another lie.

    It was on Hit and Run a couple of years ago, after his alleged switch to libertarianism. At that point I stopped paying attention altogether to the pandering fool.

    There are plenty of valid arguments against Barr out there, so simply making shit up without attribution is a real cop-out.

    Almost as much of a cop-out as assuming that anyone who says something you dislike must be “making shit up.”

    Even if he signs an affidavit swearing he’s seen the light, I have much skepticism toward a man who was a rabid drug warrior the whole time he was in government and able to help actually pass laws, then says he’s seen the light only after he loses his government job and is thrust unwillingly into the role of “outsider.”

  240. Sure going to be funny in the next 4-8 years when the “Bush nostalgia” sets in. Seriously how bad was ir for you personally in the past 8 years? Regardless of who is elected and what they do I’m betting we are in for Chinese Proverb “interesting” times.

  241. If the Democrats have any intelligence, and Obama has more than many of our past presidents, they will become the party of fiscal conservatism and end the life of the republican party forever. Cut taxes on 95% of taxpayers (already in their platform), cut spending, and cut the budget deficit as much as possible.

    This is the democratic party’s chance to forever destroy the republican party by becoming the party of fiscal responsibility. They are already halfway there. The last democratic president left office with a budget surplus, a feat that eight years of republican’s in control of government could not replicate.

  242. Jennifer wrote
    “…..military-style tactics are being adopted by American police forces. Torture must be stopped overseas or it WILL come to our own shores,”

    Two words…
    Sunset clauses
    Not just for Patriot Act but for Comprehensive ATA of 95.
    And of course Barr’s gone on to renounce his vote for it anyway.
    The only POTUS candidates to get it right were Kucinich and Paul. Neither are viable today (or will even be counted in many states). This may in fact be THE strongest argument for Barr.
    If you can vote BTP in Conn go right ahead. Some of us are comfortable ‘using’ Barr to gain ground in our respective states.

  243. See, Jennifer, the fact that you’re talking about “seeing the light” just suggests to me that Barr didn’t get out the hairshirt and ashes for you, so it’s not enough.

    Did you “look into his eyes, see his soul” and see a statist or something?

    Had I been in Congress five years ago, I would have been your typical neocon/socon douchebag too.

  244. Barr isn’t your ordinary ex-GOP Congressman.
    How many get redistricted out and go to work for the ACLU AND the NRA.

  245. Obama is a centrist.

    He’s Bill Clinton, but not a sleazy guy that will cheat on his wife, and he’s half black.

    He can lecture black people and get them to work by expanding the EITC (paying them to work, then cutting welfare.)

    We’ll see severe welfare reform. The only people that will be pissed off are white liberals who feel guilty. Obama also hires neo-liberal economists from the University of Chicago.

    As long as he ignores the socialist far left he will be the best president in a long time.

    I really hope he ignores them, and I think he will. Clinton did and they hated him.

  246. I am just as fed up with the big government “conservatives” in the republican party, but there are a few things more important than reducing the size of government. Abortion is still the most important issue to a lot of voters, Roe v Wade should be overturned and the decision left to the states, this is not likely to happen if Obama gets to appoint 2 or even more justices. I also am very concerned about how much damage an activist court can cause, not to mention a liberal president and a liberal congress is like a speeding car with two accelerators and no brake. It could get very bad if McCain loses.

  247. Almost as much of a cop-out as assuming that anyone who says something you dislike must be “making shit up.”

    It appears you know how to use the Internet? Find the source or it’s not true.

    Even if he signs an affidavit swearing he’s seen the light,

    You should ask him — seems like the sort of lawyerly thing he’d go for.

    All the anti-Barr grumping and grouching is really absurd at the end of the day. The guy ain’t gonna win. You either want to vote Libertarian or not. If you are in CT, you might not be able to even if you want to (yet another 2008 ballot access blunder…)

    To think a libertarian-minded person could actually fool himself using convoluted logic of some kind into believing that voting for Obama is a remotely good idea is astounding. Maybe the man IS hypnotizing people…

  248. See, Jennifer, the fact that you’re talking about “seeing the light” just suggests to me that Barr didn’t get out the hairshirt and ashes for you, so it’s not enough.

    I don’t want hairshirt and ashes; I want an explanation. I used to be pro-gun control. Why should people believe me now when I say I oppose it? Because I don’t just say “Well, I changed my mind, that’s all you need to know so let’s change the subject, okay?” No: I’ll tell you “I used to support gun control because I thought X. But once I realized Y and Z, I came to the conclusion that …” I’ll give you similar explanations for why I changed my mind about welfare or affirmative action, or any other opinion I now hold differently from ten years ago.

    THAT is what I want from Barr: an explanation of why he used to think the drug war was a good idea and what changed his mind, not just a quick “I’ve changed, that’s all you need to know, so trust me and change the subject, all right?”

  249. Typical whiny, superfluous horse shit.

  250. >>Roe v Wade should be overturned and the decision left to the states.

    Why? A state is an artificial construct just like a country is. As you know, a majority of the population in the US supports legalized abortion. Why should we base such a thing on the majority of a state rather than the majority of the US?

    If it’s morality issues that should be decided more locally, why not allow states to dictate whether or not slavery should be allowed within that state?

  251. Not only does the Rep. party need to re-group, so do the Dems. The world has changed…the parties need to also. I don’t think they will; but it is what is needed.

  252. THAT is what I want from Barr: an explanation of why he used to think the drug war was a good idea and what changed his mind,

    boy, the anti-Barristas have this remarkable filter through which they accept information.

    again, you clearly know how to use the internet. Barr has written at least two detailed articles for the Huffington Post explaining his change of heart on the Drug War (and yes, it’s not “libertarian enough” for some people… including me, actually, but again — compare to your other choices.)

    He’s also responded to the question in numerous other TV and print interviews.

    No, what you really want from Barr is for him to not be the LP nominee. And you’ll have to wait until November 5 for that.

  253. This seems like more of a tantrum to me than actual logic. When faced with a Republican President/vice President pair who advocate cutting the size of government, and a Democratic pair who advocate increased government programs, you want to vote for the Democrats because you’re mad at the prior Republican administration for increasing the size of government?

    Yes, the Republican’s deserved a spanking, and they got it in 2006. To completely leave the democrats unchecked so that in a few years what Republicans are left are likely to be more conservative than the current group seems a lot like hacking off your nose to spite your face.

    The Democrats are almost certain to own the House and the Senate — possibly with a filibuster-proof margin. And you want the white house to go to them too?

    A tantrum.

  254. So True. For the first time since I was able to vote I’m voting Democratic this year. I can’t stand that the Republican party has become the party of the religious right instead of the small governement low tax party. The Palin pick sealed it for me. They need a slapping to wake them up.

  255. They need a slapping to wake them up.

    Soooo… you’re voting for the big government high tax party?

    Do you live in Oklahoma or did you not notice there are other people besides McCain or Obama running for president?

    Jesus H. Christ on a popsickle stick…… why do I even try anymore…….

  256. Roe v Wade should be overturned and the decision left to the states, this is not likely to happen if Obama gets to appoint 2 or even more justices.

    If Roe was going to be overturned, it would have happened during the Bush administration. 6 years of a Republican Congress and stacking the SCOTUS deck didn’t do it … it’s not going to happen. Try to find another fear button to push. That one’s not hooked up, anymore.

  257. All right, Angry Optimist, that’s what I wanted.

  258. When faced with a Republican President/vice President pair who advocate cutting the size of government, and a Democratic pair who advocate increased government programs, you want to vote for the Democrats because you’re mad at the prior Republican administration for increasing the size of government?

    Both parties want to and have increased the government. This is inarguable. The Republicans lie to your face, saying they don’t want to increase government. That might not be a good reason to vote Democratic, but it’s a very good reason not to vote Republican

  259. Jennifer, here’s a small HINT here:

    BOB BARR: I WAS WRONG ABOUT THE WAR ON DRUGS. IT’S A FAILURE.

    as long as we’re playing linky linky, this one is even better in my opinion…

    FEDERAL DRUG WAR RETHOUGHT

  260. but, but, svf, don’t you SEE?!! Barr and the Republican party have been planning this all along! You see, they planned for Barr to lose and start working for the ACLU, the NRA and the MPP…and also become a regional delegate and endorse Badnarik…just so it could come to this moment, when the NeoCons will TakeOver the Libertarian Party, the party that never polls over 1%!

    It all makes so much sense!

  261. It all makes so much sense!

    Ah yes! And here I thought the CIA was behind the whole thing all this time…. silly me!

  262. You totally miss the point. Congress and the President have no power to write legislation restricting Abortion until Roe is overturned. Roe can only be overturned by the court or by a constitutional ammendment. Slavery was outlawed through constitutional means when the 13th ammendment was ratified, not by an activist court. The court wrongly decided Roe based on a faulty interpretation of the constitutional right to privacy.

  263. This article buys into the reactionary McCain = Bush nonsense. I doubt the GOP will have another true moderate nominee in the next few decades. McCain is not Goldwater either, but is a lot closer than Obama. Punishing the GOP the one time it picks a moderate sends exactly the wrong signal.

    New programs (new deals?) by Obama and a Dem legislature will be a lot tougher to shrink once they’ve created constituents.

    A hard left replacement for Scalia or Kennedy, etc will also have a lasting impact on how the Constitution is seen to limit gov’t.

  264. Rugged individualism was really desirable in the Davey Crockett era. The world is changing..and because of this people will, by necessity, have to consider the well-being of others in the future. The day of a small group of the chosen few running the world may, God willing, come to an end. It is time to have Nationalized health care if for no other reason than we claim to be the best country in the universe and, when someone dies or goes bankrupt because they are sick, we prove to the universe that we are not nearly as good as we think we are.

  265. I find it odd that Radley does not discuss the religiously motivated, authoritarian segment of the Republican Party. It is they whom the Palin pick was intended to motivate/pacify, and so long as secular Republicans pander to this faction, they will continue to have what amounts to a veto over Republicans’ nominating anyone who does not suck up to their blastocystophilia and their obsession over who sticks what into whom.

    Perhaps the more appropriate invocation of Barry Goldwater would have been his observation that “[e]very good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell’s ass.”

  266. Balko is a noodle-spined “Liberaltarian” who votes for leftists when he has a hissy fit and then laments the fact that Republicans are misdirected a bit to the left… trying to pick up the votes of noodle-spines like himself.

    Cute “Victory-through-defeat” article. It sounds like something penned from Obama headquarters.

  267. Electing Obama and a Democratic super-majority in the legislative branch is akin to giving a cancer patient a lethal dose of chemotherapy.

    Yes, the Republican Party needs to learn a hard lesson but not if the sole albeit weak defenses against big brother are removed!

  268. The obvious tactic to send a message is everyone write-in “None of them”. This shows both parties we are voting against them, not the lesser of two evils.

  269. I REFUSE to commit political siucide. Gee, McCain isn’t perfect. Well duh. At least with McCain there’s a snowballs chance of federal spending being controlled. If we get The O with a supermajority, we get massive tax increases, massive spending increases, declaration of oil as an enemy of mankind, gun registration/confiscation and ACORN effectively in charge of our elections. I think I’ll mind the advice of Mr. Churchill and fight until I can fight no more. And for those of you whining about NSA surveillance, wait ’til His Messiahness decides that you’ve inconvenienced him and he decides that you need the Joe The Plumber treatment (except then he’ll have the power of the Oval Office behind him).

  270. John in Nashville

    Oh a man from my home town! I completely agree with your comment however the same could be said for the left, and many people forget that… especially liberals. Obama is openly religious and has been quoted as saying “I will be praying for guidance in the white house.” So is Biden and every president/presidential candidate EVER. (barring my man Thomas Jefferson of course) I personally find it unfair to pin religion on the right as if they are the only ones who follow it. Personally I think it will be a cold day in hell before we ever see an atheist in the white house.

  271. ..damn the not being able to edit posts……again!

    Wanted to just add a quote from Jerry Garcia “If you are picking between the lesser of two evils, you’re still picking evil.”

  272. This discussion has truly been uplifitng – in that it defines what is so wrong with the Republican party. Listen to yourselves. And you are all from the same big “tent”.

    Perhaps the writer is correct. But maybe we need a larger realignment than the demise of our current GOP. Perhaps we need a Left Party, Left of Center Party, Right of Center Party and a Misfits Party.

  273. My challenge is for all falling prey to thinking like Balko, get out there and work for the principles that you believe in, find candidates who uphold the party principles and vote for them, give your time and money and passion to changing things, and quit whining about the sad state of American politics! Mr. Balko you are part of the problem!

  274. It’s not enough for McCain and other Rs to lose; they will blame that on the tough environment. But if Barr or Baldwin gets a lot of votes, then the GOP will see that they’ve lost their small-government base and will be motivated to try and win us back.

    If you don’t want to vote for Obama (and I don’t), vote for Barr or Baldwin. Neither will win, of course, but you’ll at least send a message. I’m in a bright blue state, so McCain hasn’t got a chance here anyway.

    A vote for McCain is a wasted vote! Vote in a way that will cause the GOP to change course!

  275. This article buys into the reactionary McCain = Bush nonsense.

    Name one element of the Bush legacy and agenda that McCain has specifically denounced.

    Know why he talks about “earmarks” so much? Because it’s the one element of growth in government in the last 8 years that he can blame on “Congress” [without naming any names], and because that means he doesn’t have to talk about all the growth in government that is due to W.

    If McCain doesn’t want me to consider him the inheritor of the Bush mantle, he needs to explicitly denounce Bush, and explicitly denounce Bush’s policies.

    “Buh – buh – buh – you can’t expect a major party nominee to do that to a sitting President of his own party!” Tough shit then. It’s not reasonable to come around telling me that McCain isn’t Bush.

    After the disgusting charade McCain pulled during the passage of the Military Commissions Act, I probably wouldn’t believe him even if he did rhetorically denounce Bush – I’d assume it was another trick. But we don’t even get to that point, because McCain declares his love of Bush and the Bush legacy at every opportunity. He may have whined to Obama about being compared to Bush, but until he differentiates himself from Bush to my satisfaction I really don’t care if he whines.

    Basically John McCain = W plus more pronounced hatred of the 1st Amendment, more pronounced militarism, and a ringknocker’s disdain for nonmilitary life including all private enterprise. No thanks. Not only will I find a way to live with Obama instead of that, I’d even find a way to live with the fake Obama of the rumors instead of that – I’d rather see a secret Muslim college Marxist black power racist wannabe Weatherman as President than John McCain.

  276. My challenge is for all falling prey to thinking like Balko, get out there and work for the principles that you believe in, find candidates who uphold the party principles and vote for them, give your time and money and passion to changing things, and quit whining about the sad state of American politics! Mr. Balko you are part of the problem!

    That reminds me –

    Even if McCain were less disgusting, there were lots of people who did exactly what you recommend here, and they were betrayed by corrupt gamesmanship and rulebreaking by establishment Republicans during the primary season.

    On the basis of what was done to Ron Paul supporters during the Lousiana and Nevada delegate contests, and what was done at the Republican national convention to the Oklahoma Ron Paul delegates, the GOP can go fuck itself.

  277. Who let the LGFers/RedStaters in?

  278. How come you conspiracy spouting “libertarians” and “conservatives” never talk about stuff like leftist control of all branches of government, Obama voting for FISA, one-world govt. freaks like Brzezinski, about Obama/Biden’s gun control voting records, about the Obama Truth Squad, about Obama’s UN worship?

    You guys are so concerned about drug legalization that you don’t even mention the obvious control that George Soros has over economies, over the media….oh, wait.

    Never mind. You guys must be getting expensive!

  279. Look–There were moderate Dems who didn’t like Bill or Hillary, and there were moderate Conservatives who had problems with Bush–but now, History takes us to a new level of chapter and generational change, and our station in the world’s order depends upon new, articulate leadership and depth–McCain and Palin can only give us age and thin ice–Obama and Biden will welcome a new era.

  280. You know the Republican Party is in trouble when its Internet Hordes put “conservatives” in scare quotes.

    The Republican Party is now officially the party for people who call themselves Republicans. Nothing more, nothing less.

  281. Jesse,
    If I could come up with drug-induced fantasies like you can, I would have voted for Barack Obama instead of Bob Barr!

  282. The Republican Party in its current form has forfeited its right to govern.

    Shorten that up a bit and I’ll stick it on my bumper.

    Oof…that kinda sounded dirty.

  283. I predict any libertarian voting for Obama will profoundly regret it if he wins.Except that big-L Libertarians never learn. They just further insulate themselves in fantasy.

    Who let the LGFers/RedStaters in?Sorry. They’re just fumigating.

  284. I thought the GOP already rebuilt once, retaking the the House in ’94. I believed them then. I won’t next time.

    No, I’m afraid 2008 is the year the GOP goes back to the wilderness. They have only themselves to blame.

    Imagine if GWB had actually vetoed some spending bills. Imagine if he had stopped after routing the Taliban from Afghanistan.

    Bush has kept the US safe from attack since 9/11. For that we can all be grateful. But he lost me with all the spending bills he signed off on. He lost me with the prescription drug benefit. He lost me at Harriet Miers.

  285. I AM TEH CONCERNED OBSERVER!

  286. McCain won the repub nomination becuase the rest of the field was horrible. Even Paul, who I agree with most of the time, is a poor presidential candidate. He sucks on TV.

    Imagine if Obama with his charisma was a libertarian leaning republican running against Hillary in the general. Things could be a lot different right now.

    Libertarianism needs a charismatic champion. Until then it will have little influence.

  287. Goldwater-Reagan wing? Huh? Is that sort of like the Kucinich-Leiberman wing of the Democratic Party?

    Reagan created a strong coalition by invited the evangelicals into the tent through the back door. McCain invited them/her through the front door, and their camels are loose inside. Goldwater would be so ashamed of what the Republican Party has become, and it was Reagan who started the decline. The difference, especially, between Reagan’s words and his deeds with respect to smaller government and deficit spending were examples of a disingenuous hubris that was previously unimaginable, unthinkable in American politics and against everything Goldwater ever stood for.

    Yes, the darker lie of Reaganism is now dead – specifically, the idea that you could irresponsibly borrow against the future incomes of our children and grandchildren to finance a low-tax party for the wealthy today, in the name of “trickle down economics” that somehow never trickles down. But the brighter, more positive aspects of the “Reagan revolution” still remain-a celebration of our history, our common bonds, a sense of hope and belief in what we can accomplish if we come together. But today no Republicans are talking about any of that. Ironically, Barack Obama quite clearly is the torch bearer of those most enduring aspects of Reagan’s legacy.

  288. a celebration of our history, our common bonds, a sense of hope and belief in what we can accomplish if we come together.

    This is a bunch of nice-sounding words that don’t mean a goddamned thing.

  289. I’ll return to the point I made earlier about Reagan. In the 80’s the greatest threat to liberty was the Soviet Union. Period. That was, and should have been ,Reagan’s top priority. If Communism is truly such a naturally unsustainable doomed to fail system why is China, Cuba, North Korea, etc. still in existence. I agree it is hard to keep such a utopian experiment going, but it’s not like it is automatically destined to fail like Reagan bashers like to say.

    His policies accelerated the USSR’s disintegration and thus spread true liberty to far more people than when his administration began. That’s just “fact”.

    He’s not perfect but he did far more for libertarian ideas than I believe any other politician.

  290. Oh also if your biggest concern for human freedom is being able to have a stripper grind on you or to shoot coke into your arm versus ending the tyranny of the USSR then of course you can feel free to hate Reagan. And you can also feel free to call yourself a complete idiot with no sense of value hierarchy.

  291. What makes you think that the GOP will move backwards in time by losing? Why wouldn’t the Dem party (full of rich dot.com millionaires) move slightly to the right on the market… leaving the GOP its only option to move further to the right on social issues?

    As a libertarian you should know that political competition occurs in a two dimensional space which includes market and social axes. The upcoming ‘shift’ is most likely to ‘turn’ political conflict to a position where market values are more closely shared by both parties while the division over secular vs traditional values increases.

    In which case, loony libertarians like yourself will have NO party that stands for your market values… while having one party that purports to stand for your social values (but is really collectivist in its intent). Hope you enjoy your new tax and spend socialist bed mates… your desire for GOP loses helped create them!

  292. Jeffersonian, you’re too stupid to respond to.

    Hope you enjoy your new tax and spend socialist bed mates

    We didn’t really enjoy the GOP as “our” “borrow and spend” bedmates, yanno.

  293. Well, the author made some good points. Bush has been a big disappointment, to put it mildly. But punishing the country with something far worse is not the medicine I think most Americans are likely to go for.

  294. McCain is a third party candidate. That’s why he’ll get my vote.

  295. you guys don’t get it, do you? we’re not punishing you; you punished yourselves. Do you just expect that the GOP can do whatever the hell it wants, anytime it wants and just *expect* all of us to “get in line”?

    no fuckin’ way, Sonny Jim.

  296. Limited government is dead and not because voters lacked the *purity* to sustain it. 200 years ago there was nearly unlimited room for expansion, if you didn’t like your life in the sliver of the east coast you could strike out for new territory. That no longer exists, and we are stuck mainly in metropolitan areas that are quickly reaching carrying capacity.

    Additionally, you have a population of non-asian minorities (NAMs) that is almost a full one standard deviation of native intelligence below the rest of the population. These populations also have higher levels of various personality disorders, all genetic, that inhibit functioning in a post-industrial economy.

    So, what you have are huge populations that are completely genetically unequiped to navigate this vastly complex society. Such people will simply vote for whomever promises them more free stuff. We don’t hold this against them because they are incapable of anything else.

    No, the future will not be between a limited-government party and a welfare-state party. It will be between left-wing and right-wing socialism. The former attempting to convince as many people they are children and the latter proposing limitations on breeding and draconian measures against the genetically anti-social. Oh, yeah, right-wing socialists will be the party of the middleclass, make that middleclass-warfare against both the over- and under-class.

    Abortion: it ain’t just a choice anymore.

  297. Ode 2 Obama

    “Seen mountaintop!” ?in Memphis, Martin declared,
    Though nary such notion dared enter his head.
    That a skinny kid, orphan, now Michelle’s honey,
    Could vault Chicago to that House in DC!

    Snatched from their culture to toil without pay,
    Forebears bled growing fortunes for blest USA.
    Tots torn from their mothers, fathers forced to flee
    The flaming crosses in our history.

    But thank the Good Lord, who had wrought in the past,
    So great a deliverance through Moses’ cast.
    And now with Barack, yes we too shall restore
    Freedom’s fulfillment, prosperity and law.

    Sally Hemmings’ inverse, Obama in each –
    The “Man with the Speech” many ramparts did breech;
    With wisdom, energy and potent ideas
    From all of God’s children who’ve conquered their fears.

    Sam Christian is author of Mannafast Miracle,

  298. There’s another reason the Democrats have to win this time. They are so mad about having lost the last two times that if Mr. Obama does not win, his voters will probably burn down the whole country. And there’s no way a Democratic Congress will cooperate with another Republican President. Their constituents wouldn’t let them if they even wanted to vote with the Republican President’s idea.
    Another comment on the Democratic party. When their candidate wins, what do the Republicans do on Inauguration Day? They suck it up and count the days until the next election. What did the Democrats do on the last two Inauguration Days? They made sure the President of the United States had to ride in a closed vehicle instead of walking to the Capitol as almost every President has done before him. Special riot police were there to protect the President of the United States from some of his own citizens. Talk about sore losers!

  299. I agree except that I’d go farther: I hope that the Republican party dies completely and is shattered into what will, eventually, become a couple of viable new parties. The party can not resurrect its supposed core values at this point when it has auctioned itself off to religion on one side and corporatism on the other.

    Destruction of the party completely, on the other hand, would almost certainly lead to the rise of several new parties that may in turn cause similar upheaval in the Democratic party by way of proving that the two-party system is not a fixed aspect of our government. It would also (ideally) result in marginalization of the faction that is currently running the party, once the larger majority is free of obligations and loyalty to the party they share.

  300. I used to be a staunch libertarian, even voting for Harry Browne in 96, the last time I voted for President. Hell, I even donated $200 to him as a nearly broke kid just out of college. Read every issue of Reason, Liberty, etc, etc.

    Libertarianism is dead. Why? Human nature. It turns out that human beings are not blank-slates, and their nature is quite tribalistic.

    Politics, at bottom, is about nothing more than forcing one’s will on another, and the only mechanism to stop it, limited government, is inoperable in the current demographic environment.

    Farewell, libertarianism. Our party is such sweet sorrow.

  301. Thanks for all that Asher. You might as well have blamed God or the water or something.

  302. I will grant anybody the argument that domestically the GOP has been a disaster. What concerns me is that our gutless politicians have for many years willingly turned over their legislative responsibilities to a judiciary that is totally agenda driven. With a large majority in both houses and a far left leaning POTUS I fear we will now regress from a judicial dictatorship to a judicial tyranny with no check and balance. That will be harder to recover from far into the future.

  303. You say: “the GOP would be wise to regroup and rebuild from scratch, scrap the current leadership, and, most importantly, purge the party of the ‘national greatness,’ neoconservative influence.”

    I agree, but they also need to purge the party of the evangelical religous nuts who have been the biggest supporters of all these draconian and idiotic policies. I won’t vote Republican again–not even locally–until I see evidence the party is taking decisive action to purge those nuts or at least rein them in.

    The conservative movement needs another Bill Buckley, as well as a Goldwater.

  304. Thanks for all that Asher. You might as well have blamed God or the water or something.”

    Um, I’m not giving up, at all. Right-wing socialism is gonna come back … with a vengeance. Libertarianism is a dead dog.

  305. no, it’s OK, Asher. I know now that those durn minorities are to blame.

  306. DC becomes a state; Puerto Rico becomes a state; California and maybe Florida get split up just so; Long Island becomes a state.

    The Senate is thus packed with reliably Blue senators whose idea of “advice and consent” leans more to “consent” of whatever a hard-Left president wants.

    Mind you, you will also get amnesty for Latin American populists. Which libertarians support, so, you’ve got that going for you which is nice.

    Soon enough the Constitution gets changed toward sociali – er, excuse me, “FDR’s second bill of rights” and “social justice”.

    Asher is right; libertarianism is inconsistent with democracy, because statists only have to take over once before they institute “reforms” to suit themselves.

  307. ‘There’s another reason the Democrats have to win this time. They are so mad about having lost the last two times that if Mr. Obama does not win, his voters will probably burn down the whole country.”

    Excellent point!

    We should ransom the country to Obama.

    (Jesus…)

  308. Maybe I missed something, but did the Republican Party make a promise to you that they broke? And while you’re at it, you might explain the iron-clad logic whereby voting in a socialist government is going to advance your objective of limited government. OK, /SARCASM. The fact is that you placed your hopes in a frail assumption which didn’t work out as you hoped. The fact is that this country is light-years away from any kind of libertarian government. The fact is that this country doesn’t understand libertarianism (your fault) and is not inclined to support it. So now you are proposing to take revenge on those who don’t agree with you. Exactly how is that libertarianism? You should resign immediately and go to work for some left-wing fringe group. Your attitude is one of the reasons that I never vote for libertarian candidates.

  309. I think you are wrong on McCain. After eight years I have come to the conclusion that McCain is more conservative small government Republican than Bush. I wished I had supported him in 2000. The damage Obama can do is not worth the chance.

  310. No, minorities are not to “blame”. We don’t blame people for their natures, that’s sort of a fundamental precept of most moral philosophy.

    The problem is people who are functionally dependent on others, basically children, but who have the decision-making power of adults.

  311. ahh, Asher, I see you’re a grade-A, special kind of asshole.

    Cool. I can ignore you now.

    Jim Russell – come on man…how many times do you think that line is going to work? “No, guys! He really will love you tomorrow, I promise!”.

    Fool me once…

  312. There are two types of voters. Those who vote with vengeance and those who vote with principles. Clearly you are the former type and that is unfortunate.

  313. Asian Conservative – he’s voting for Bob Barr; that’s consistent with his principles. It’s OK to say “I’m voting for the Libertarians” and also say “but the GOP deserves to get ground into the dust”.

  314. Traditionally, a vote for the GOP was a trade-off for libertarians because it promised less government interference in financial affairs, but it still came with the burden of social conservatism and its incessant meddling in civil rights (Roe v. Wade, gay marriage, the “war on drugs”).

    Nowadays, a vote for the GOP is a vote for larger government, a bloated bureaucracy AND the baggage of social conservatism. Couple that with the ensuing nationalization of our financial institutions and military spending that is out of control, and one soon realizes that there has never been a less libertarian choice than voting for John McCain in the upcoming election.

    While a 3rd party vote would be the best, a Democratic ticket at least ensures that the government keeps

  315. ^Scratch that last sentence.

  316. I’d take the 1964 (listen to The Speech) over the 1980 Reagan. Of course, the 1964 Reagan not only did not have to deal with the results of the Great Society, as well as the U.S. Government, bureacracy, and voters as they actually are (not as Libertarians wish they were). It takes a superman to cut through that much intertia and institutional resistance.

  317. Course, I’ll forever be a Goldwater guy. Pity I’ll probably never get to vote in my life for a similar nominee on a major ticket. Most American voters agree, extremism in the pursuit of liberty actually is a vice.

  318. Shit, can’t resist an opportunity to give a shout out to Coolidge, even if he’s ancient history by now.

  319. And oh yeah, voting for the Democrats as a small-government guy is illogical.

    Third Party or refusal to vote for either shit-sandwich sure, but voting for the bigger socialists and thinking that’s going to turn either party around is sheer stupidity or a sign of ulterior motives.

  320. 1993: US soil was attacked(WTC#1)
    1996: US military, Khobar Towers in Saudi was attacked
    1997: Empire State Bldg attacked by Palestinian gunman
    1998: US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Bin Laden issues his public war against America.
    2000: USS Cole attacked.

    In addition, bin Laden executed the Black Hawk Down attack against US Soldiers in Somalia.

    Since 9/11, it has been zero on our soil.

  321. No, no, no. Very, very few people vote on principles. Most people have only the vaguest notion of why they vote and the vast majority vote on heuristics and some sort of communal identity. The spectrum of voting, from hard policy analysis to vague notions, runs clearly from high to low IQ. Large percentages of the population lack the capacity to comprehend the vast array of policies that present themselves and their implications.

    Libertarianism is perfect … for a population with zero cultural affiliations, an average IQ of 160, very high levels of Anxiety and Conscientiousness and very low levels of Aggressiveness. A libertarian is a specific personality type, a type that is mostly determined genetically. But we do not live in that world and never will. The vast kaleidoscope of human natures, yes, that’s plural, is not and never will be even vaguely libertarianesque. Calling me an asshole or implying that I’m some sort of racial supremacist does not make libertarianism anymore realistic, and I say that with immense sadness.

    You are trying to wage war on reality, a reality that already won long ago. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will be free to search for productive courses of action.

  322. It is not a cogent article without a single mention of 3000 Americans being incinerated and vaporized (yeah, a few jumped off the roofs too).

    Can you say “denial”?

    And suggesting that Obama wouldn’t be MUCH, MUCH worse in the big government area than McCain is to be blind to the simple facts of what each candidate is promising.

    Obama’s universal healthcare will make ALL previous spending look like small potatoes. And it will destroy what little competition is left in the medical marketplace.

    Here come the waiting lines.

  323. To all those talking third party this year (Libertarians in particular) – a rousing “Hear Here!”

    The GOP left those of us who believe in real conservative intellectualism (I’m a secular conservative, someone about whom you’ve heard painstakingly little about in the past, say 16-20 years). In Texas, I am surrounded by religious one-issue’ers who forgive deviation from conservatism just because the person’s Sunday travel habits are pious enough for them. I am so DONE with this.

    It’s time for a redefinition of the Republicans if they want my vote back.

    Am I going to hand Obama a victory – absolutely I am. Do I want to do so – no I do not, but I see very little difference between voting for a liberal Republican (McCain Feingold, McCain Kennedy, list goes on) and enabling this outright Marxist alternative – EITHER WAY, the country will be damaged.

    But D@MMIT, I am tired of voting for lesser of two evils, and I’m voting for the party closer to my ideals and beliefs in the HOPE that the GOP will look at the approximately 7-10% of us that COULD have voted for a more viable candidate (Romney was the best they offered, and even he sucked) had the GOP moved back to smaller govt, fiscal responsibility, and Jeffersonian/Lincoln-esque belief sets.

    So go ahead and vote for MCCain, he WILL continue to waste money, he WILL increase the size of government, and he WILL continue this income tax code lunacy

    GOP – we didn’t leave you – you LEFT US (double entendre intentional).

  324. domoarrigato

    “…southern populist christian fundementalist coalition that has become so damned precious to them for the last 8 years…”

    Actually, it’s been much longer than that; though I agree with your general sentiment.

    That’s what’s got me in such a tizzy – it’s not just W – it’s been a festering cancer within the GOP for too long now. I’m thinking Reagan term 2 and beyond that the party’s been following this odd religious-populist bent and going down the tubes.

    I personally have only 2 vices (I smoke cigarettes and curse), but unless I am infringing upon someone else’s rights, I fail to understand why we need the FEDERAL GOVT in on our personal lives so much. Let the lower levels regulate and we will leave the town or state if we don’t like it.

    W was just the one uncouth/unsophisticated enough to make it really obvious now.

  325. It might be libertarianism that washes up on the shores of the break up of the Reagan Coalition.

    I predict the rise of the Christian Democrats as the opposition to the Social Democrats.

    Maybe the Libertarians can scoop up the Big Business low tax rich and squeak out a 15 percent 3rd Party. But the coming massive amnesty and Latino immigration wave will fit into the Huckabee style Welfare Statish Social Conservative Christian Democrat party….along with the Blue Dog Democrats.

    You can hate the Christians all you want….they dont need you. And I say this as a Reagan Revolution movement conservative with heavy libertarian leanings. Im voting for Bob Barr this election(because I live in a state that will go for McCain/Palin easy). McCain isnt my man, Palin is more true to libertarianism and Constitutionalism than McCain.

    You can throw the Christians out, but it will be you that is disempowered standing on a deserted island for generations as yahoos with no political power.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  326. fyodor

    “…almost inadvertently scaring the Soviets into submission (I know that’s an oversimplification, but still!) with his, in retrospect, crazy talk about SDI…”

    Actually, what was more effective was him OUTSPENDING the USSR. They tried to keep up defense spending dollar-for Ruble (as it were), and just couldn’t hang with the US economic power.

    This comment is also re: the comment about Reagan starting the credit card government mentality – yah, that’s true, but that was as much a weapon in the cold war as an ICBM – and kills fewer people, I’d wager.

    I was in Berlin the night the wall fell, and East Berlin was crumbling for weeks prior due to lack of money – just a personal anecdote supporting my own perception on the power of forcing the Russians into a spending war.

    The talks of “peace dividend” started after Glastnost and follow-on changes in the region. That’s how Bush Sr. and Clinton were able to realize some budgetary gains.

    Not necessarily defending Reagan, just exploring the facts/reasons for a hefty part of his spending.

  327. EscapeVelocity

    I think I was irresponsible in how I worded those posts – it’s kinda late. If I offended, I apologize.

    The point’s NOT that I want the Christian right out. The point is that simply BECAUSE that group’s issues are being pursued by the GOP, that group’s ignoring the irresponsibility that has been displayed by the GOP with respect to economy, government, the constitution, etc.; which are the intended purposes for government as our framers documented, aye?

    As such, with a contingent of content voters, the Country Clubbers are going haywire and not listening to the rest of us.

  328. PS – I did support McCain in 2000 primaries, but that was with a Newt Gingrich led GOP House and GOP Senate.

    Lets face it. McCain brings in lots of low income Latinos just as Obama does. And they want services and welfare state protections and handouts. Carbon Cap and Trade….Yep McCain. Palin is the better candidate for Libertarians, but for some reason, you all hate Social Conservatives who support Strict Constructionist Originalist judges and support Classical Liberalism.

    If McCain/Palin dont win, after the Elites abandoned the party and endorsed Obama because of that Christian Rube Palin, and your continuous bashing of them, they have the faith and the will to break it off, and the clout to become one of the 2 major parties.

    The GOP needs Newt Gingrich to stand up and lead…..the current crop of non leaders is pathetic. Without that, the GOP will dissolve, i tink. Unless Obama makes the US down the shitter, its quite possible the Reagan Coalition dissolves, and leaves the Neo-cons, Libertarians, and Tax Averse Blue Blazered Liberals washed up on the shores of obselesence.

  329. Will Obama and a Democrat super majority Senate, expand the number of seats on the Supreme Court and stack it with Leftwing Activist Judges?

    We live in intersting times.

    At least Bush gave us Alito and Roberts, and he almost bungled that one(Harriet Meyers).

  330. I get a kick out of you repubs who go on about “small government”. You love an over-sized military-the most wasteful and inefficient institution in America- and you go positively orgasmic over farm subsidies, sweet-heart deals (subsidies) with defence industries, bridges to nowhere, and bail-outs to the car industry. Let’s face it, when government spends on what you like you are all-for big government. “Socialism” is alive and well among the republican class: the rich get to redistribute the wealth amongst themselves while the middle class pay for it with their taxes. I can understand the rich want to keep hold of their wealth, that’s only human nature: you should understand that it is the role of government to meet society’s overall interests and that requires expenditures for an educated, healthy, mobile population. Socialo programs ARE the businss of government and have to be paid for. I am also fed-up with you so-called “social progressives but fiscal conservatives”. You want the right things but you don’t want to pay for them. Shameful, wilful ignorance. Paying taxes IS patriotic.

  331. You yourself said why the Republicans must *win*:

    “Sadly, if the GOP does lose, it’s likely to be interpreted not as a repudiation of the GOP’s excesses, but as an endorsement of the Democrats’. ”

    Why would that interpretation not be shared by the Republicans?

    So a Republican loss brings you no more change than if McCain wins, and a Democratic presidency/Senate/House ready to go full steam ahead with a new new deal (which they openly admit). Like Homeland security? How about an equally large organization dedicated to forcing high school student to volunteer for government approved charities…

    If McCain wins at least he has a shot of carrying through promises to fight pork, which he did do in the senate so we have some reason to believe he is serious on the matter.

  332. Yendall – under Republicans the middle class gives richer people money by buying things and services.

    Under the Democrats the middle class gives money to the government where the Democrats decide where it goes.

    Would you not at least prefer to decide which already rich person gets some of your money, or indeed to spend nothing at all and save instead?

  333. Anette: “And there’s no way a Democratic Congress will cooperate with another Republican President.”

    Failing to see the negative of neither party allowed to carry out huge plans.

  334. I think some of the criticism of Bush on spending is misplaced. Yes, he spent a ton of money on stuff like that drug plan. But at the same time, it was small compared to the drug plan the Democrats wanted.

    Like it or not, most people (ie, voters) are demanding free healthy of some kind. The choices are between total socialization (Hillary/Obamacare) or something that has at least a semblance of a free market thing.

    Preach libertarian ideals all you want, but realize that not everyone is a hipster working for big bucks at some think tank or the media. A lot of people have it rough, and they are looking to the government to fix things. Wrongly or rightly, there are a lot of them, and they vote, far more than the 1% or so that the Libertarian party manages.

  335. the writer clearly has no idea of what an Obama win would mean to the U.S.

    http://fairnessdoctrine.notlong.com/

    Everything possible would be done to try to prevent the Republicans ever winning an election again.

    The harassment has already started and blogs similar to the following are springing up everywhere.

    25. There is no “Bradley Effect”
    because Bradley’s race years ago is the ONLY extant example of it, it cannot be given a name. I call it “bad polling”. But there’s a very real fear out there, and it isn’t of ‘terrorist violence’ as you lamely put it. It’s a fear of telling someone you don’t know, who HAS your phone number, that you WON”T be voting for Obama. In this age, that’s enough to be worried about a future episode of someone calling you a racist publicly. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if people are not answering correctly, not because they’re racist but they fear to be CALLED racist.
    Dave – USA (10/19/2008 19:51)

    For more on the harassment take a look at ..

    http://priestandpalin.notlong.com/

    It’s a priest’s experience of what is happening to people that openly say that they intend to vote for McCain.

    Mike

  336. The problem with a Democratic win is that this breed of liberals are as il-liberal as they come. By the time the next election rolls around, they’ll have rigged the game to make a Republican victory impossible. You’ll have voting booths in prisons, voting booths in public schools, leftists in the supreme court enough for another fifty years, ACORN will be a fully federally funded organ of the government and many more destructive elements added to our society. A Democratic ruled Washington will not let anyone take their grip on power away and they will be willing to do anything to keep it. How about those union elections losing the right to a secret ballot? Is that an example of their ideas? I have been in unions and they don’t hesitate to use intimidation to get their way. What will four years of un-contested Democratic rule be like? You will not recognize America when they’re done.

  337. My first impression of Balko’s article was that the author was being totally insincere, disingenuous at best. Either that or he is just another one of idiotic ideologue-hacks that the Libertarian party seemingly has in abundance.

    The best summary of Balko’s argument is that it would be better to elect Son of Mugabe, who condones election fraud, intimidation and restrictions on free speech (individual liberties), spread-the-wealth distributive schemes, and large government, socialist programs versus electing Son of Bush. Tell us Randy, how’s that strategy working in Zimbabwe for the voters?

    Count me as a person with libertarian strains to prefer going with the Son of Bush candidate instead of the Son of Mugabe who would have the idolatry support of a left of center Senate and House.

  338. You have a choice between right-wing socialism and left-wing socialism.

    That is the hard reality on the ground, and if you don’t deal with reality then it will deal with you.

  339. Good satire, Kevinc. Your post is pretty funny, except there probably are some right-wingers who really think like that.

    I like how 4 years ago the Democrats were so intimidated by Republican ‘election fraud’ and now the shoe’s on the other foot.

  340. It’s always so depressing when I read libertarians anymore. Back in the 90’s, I enjoyed it and saw a lot of common ground. They like guns – I like guns. They hate taxes – I hate taxes. They hate the welfare state – I hate the welfare state. Kinda like conservatives who don’t care about abortion, and since I don’t care about abortion either there’s another piece of common ground.

    Now I see they don’t really care about guns. They want to elect the guy from the party that has renewing the so-called assault weapon ban in its platform. The guy who, while actually talking to pro-gun voters in the hope of lowering their suspicions, says we need to keep AK-47’s out of the hands of criminals (and I don’t need the secret decoder ring from a box of Lefties to figure out what that’s code for). The guy who will appoint more judges like the ones who dissented in Heller. The other guy, who voted against the original AWB, has stated in this campaign that he can’t foresee circumstances in which he’d sign the renewal, and promised to appoint more judges like the ones who concurred in Heller – that guy has to go down. Libertarians want the gun ban guy.

    Now I see they don’t really care about taxes. They want to elect the guy who talks openly about raising taxes “on the top 5%”, cutting “tax refund” checks to people with zero tax liability and “spreading the wealth around”.

    Now I see they don’t really care about the welfare state. They want to elect the guy who opposes privatizing Social Security and proposes instead to save it by raising the cap on FICA taxes. They want to elect the guy who wants to expand federal health insurance coverage to an additional 45 million people.

    But, hey, that’ll teach those Republicans to toe the line on spending, distance themselves from those Fundies raving about abortion & gay marriage and legalize grass.

  341. It just boggles my mind how libertarians are so astute about political policy and economics yet are just terrible at the actual political game. I saw a post on a different article a couple of days ago about restarting the LP and turning it into something voters might actually listen to. I don’t know about what hope that idea has, but it seems like it is a necessary thing to do. The policies of libertarians are the best for everyone, yet I never see anyone trying to convince the masses of this. I think of all the people trying to preach to Joe the Plumber, it should be us.

  342. “It just boggles my mind how libertarians are so astute about political policy and economics yet are just terrible at the actual political game.”

    Hmm …. makes you wonder … now what lesson can we draw from this conclusion …

    “The policies of libertarians are the best for everyone,”

    Um, no they’re not, which is why the libertarian party, and libertarian principles, get so little support. What libertarianism does, I know I used to be one, is take one specific feature of our species and inflates it to subsume every other aspect of it. Human beings are inherently political, collectivist creature, by genetic nature, and libertarianism, of the full-blown variety, is explicitly anti-political. You are trying to fit a square peg, homo sapiens, into a round hole, libertarianism. The problem is that libertarianism is just another blank-slate ideology, despite its very real insights into markets and behavioral-incentive analyses.

    Libertarianism has a lot to teach us, but it is incapable of generating a political movement BECAUSE IT IS INHERENTLY ANTI-POLITICAL.

  343. Understanding the article was written by a Libertarian, isn’t this need for the GOP to return to its roots of less government in-line with moderate, modern LP supporters? Forget the notion of near-anarchism, or legalized drug use, or prostitution–it’s these platforms that draw sneers and eye-rolling when someone here “you” are voting third-party. For the LP to be considered a legitimate political contender, is needs to find a moderate political ground–similar to the traditional GOP of former years.

  344. You know, it’s funny how people get so worked up over the Fundies. As if, you know, there was ever a time when any realistic chance existed that they’d actually get their agenda into law. What if they did?

    The so called War On Drugs would continue as before, just like it did during 8 years of the Clinton administration, even the first two where the Democrats had Congress and the White House and could have done anything they wanted. Funny thing is, they were a lot more interested in waging the war on guns than ending the war on drugs. In fact, they invoked the latter as justification for the former. Anyway, no change under the Nehemiah Scudder Administration, either.

    Abortion is illegal. In reality, only in the reddest states, but we’re pretending total Fundy control so let’s assume illegal nationwide.

    Gay marriage isn’t legal anyplace nationwide, with civil unions thrown in for good measure. Of course, it isn’t legal most places now, and for the entire hstory of civilization prior to this generation it wasn’t legal anyplace that I”m aware of.

    You can’t get a drink on Sunday. I don’t say bring back prohibition because there is nothing preventing that today at the state level, yet not even the reddest state has done so. In many states it is a county option, but only the most rural counties do it and folks therein just drive across the county line. However, the Fundies do have a demonstrated itch to make sure that you never face the choice some Sunday morning of going to church or a bar, and maybe fall to temptation to choose wrong.

    We can opt out of the public schools and receive our kids’ share of government spending on education in the form of a voucher for private school. That’s something I’d imagine libertarians would prefer to public school monopoly (yes I understand you’d rather bag public funding of education and the taxes to support it altogether, but at least vouchers is closer to a market-based solution than public schools).

    There’s a lot of framed copies of the 10 Commandments posted conspicuously in public places, especially public school classrooms (assuming the existence of public schools survives the voucher thing). Probably some statutes of Judge Moore for the pigeons, too.

    There’s a moment of silence for prayer daily in in the public schools (again assuming the existence of public schools survives the voucher thing).

    They set up creches at Christmas time on the courthouse lawn and the ACLU lawsuits about it get dismissed with prejudice by bible-thumping judges.

    There’s probably a sodomy law on the books, but it’s petty much unenforcable unless they catch you doing it in a public bathroom or park or something.

    Now imagine a world where the left got its way… Not too hard to picture. Pretty much the current UK in every respect except the government’s role in the economy, which would be as in the immediately pre-Thatcher UK rather than as today.

    If those were two real countries – the first pretty much the current US changed only to impliment the Fundy agenda, the second the current UK with Thatcherism rolled back – I’d personally prefer to live in the first country. I’m not saying I’d prefer that to North American Confederation or even the current US status quo, but I’d prefer it to that second country.

    I’m afraid we’re about to find out first hand what life is like in that second country…

  345. I don’t think you can ever really make such an argument here. A lot of folks here (maybe a lot of libertarians in general, I dunno) seem to basically be Republicans, except they’re pissed about how much the Republicans spend. So you’ll never convince them that the Dems are a better idea, even after all the shit the current GOP has pulled.

  346. Asher says:

    “Additionally, you have a population of non-asian minorities (NAMs) that is almost a full one standard deviation of native intelligence below the rest of the population. These populations also have higher levels of various personality disorders, all genetic, that inhibit functioning in a post-industrial economy.”

    Why are you being so hard on Appalachian hillbillies??? They may be uneducated, but to suggest “genetics” as the primary reason is unfair!!!

    P.S. I like how White Nationalists have a new exception to their racist theories….”NAM’s”…LOL!!!! Gimme a break!

  347. “Why are you being so hard on Appalachian hillbillies??? They may be uneducated, but to suggest “genetics” as the primary reason is unfair!!!”

    Well, this is just empirically incorrect. Most etimates of the mean IQ of poor whites are around 95, while the mean IQ of American blacks is 85. You are confusing income and IQ; there is a rough, but imperfect, correlation.

    The term NAM was not coined by any white nationalist, it originates from a science blog, http://www.gnxp.com, that is run by two Pakistanis, one of hindu and one of moslem background. White nationalism is a dead dog, so I’m not interested in it. Non-whites are here to stay and no amount of ideological fanstasizing will turn America into a white nation. White nationalism, in applicability, is as silly as libertarianism.

    The term “race” is passe. The new term is “population clustering”, which has no essentialist connotations.

    General abilities, personalities, criminality, etc, are largely genetic. You can slur me as a “white nationalist” until you’re blue in the face, but the problem of integrating populations with mean IQs in the mid-80s is not going away simply by ridiculing those who address its reality.

  348. Another thing. What you have in the US are really distinct population groups, by ethny. It’s true that the overall mean US IQ is around 98, but that doesnt address the reality that most people reproduce in their own ethny. So, a white person with an IQ of 92 will have children who tend toward the white mean of 100, while a black person with an IQ of 92 will have children who tend toward the black mean of 85.

    Now we know that income and IQ correlate, but many claim that IQ is a product of a good environment, i.e. economic advantage. But there’s a fly in that ointment: black children from households in the top 20 percent of incomes have lower IQs than white children from households in the lowest 20 percent of incomes. What we’re seeing is the reversion to the mean for individuals who are in two different population clusters.

  349. Sorry, I have to disagree with the premise of this article. With such a large majority in Congress, I’ve got to vote for divided government. If fact, I already did (early voting in NM).

  350. In reading the posts citing divided governments, I was reminded of another issue I’m having trouble with this year – bipartisanship.

    Why should either major party be bipartisan? If (as I believe), our government runs better when policies are balanced toward the middle, shouldn’t we want both sides arguing vociferously for their “side” of the argument? Wouldn’t that ultimately result in policy being set squarely in the middle?

    Otherwise we wind up with (as we are seeing now) two slightly different shades of purple/puce.

    More a rhetorical question, really; but I am tired of hearing how each side reaches across party lines – I WANT you at each other’s throats so the debate covers all interests and positions.

  351. Reagan had to abandon some of his small government impulses in order to get anything done with a Democrat Congress. There is no evidence to believe that Reagan would have allowed government growth had he possessed the Republican Congress that Bush has had. Bush didn’t just grow government, he instituted whole new social programs. To my knowledge, Reagan never did anything remotely as bad as Bush does routinely.

  352. “””War is the most basic legitimate function of any State.”””

    I think you mean defense. Protecting the counrty for agressors.

    Being the agressor is different and requres a vaild reason, else Hitler was providing a legitmate fuction of the state when he invaded Europe.

    Pliny, It’s been a long time but I don’t remember Reagan throwing a fit like the democratic congress did when we found out defense contractors were charging the tax payers $1000 dollars for a wrench.

  353. I meant to say protecting the country from aggressors.

  354. I laugh when people pretend that the President gets to decide what health care or anything else that requires Congressional approval will be.

    Of course when one party controls two branches of government the President is more likely to get his way unless the minority uses their power to block legislation.

    Hillary didn’t get her way on health care when her democrat husband enter the Whitehouse with a democrat congress.

  355. President Clinton – if one stripped away the (D) or (R) next to the name – conducted a ‘Republican’ candidacy of reduced debt and constrainted government growth, with a few game-changing moments like welfare reform.

    By NOT rewarding his successor, Al Gore, in 2000, voters like Radley Balko made it clear that they would not reward fiscal conservatives if they were Democratic nor punish fiscal profligates if they were Republican.

    in retrospect, there was no serious deficiency in government in 2000 election that would justify voting the incumbent party out of office. And the (slim) plurality of voters agreed. I’m sorry Mr. Balko was not among them.

  356. To the point of fyodor | October 22, 2008, 12:56pm | #

    The facts are crystal clear and mathematical: when taxes are cut, revenue goes down. If we want to compare over longer periods of time we must include inflation and population growth.

    For example, GWB pushed through tax cuts that reduced Fed income from aroudn 20% of GDP to 16% of GDP. 8 years later, revenue has finally returned to its 2000 levels, BUT an 8% increase in population and 20% increase in inflation have have shown that the federal income needs to be raised (20/16) = 25% from 16% of GDP to 20% to rebalance the budget. The numbers are CLEAR that the tax cuts did NOT pay for themselves. If they did, we’d be rolling in a surplus now that we could use for financial stability.

  357. I don’t know why anyone would want to be the next President other than to stroke his ego. This nation is bankrupt and has more problems than a redneck dog has fleas. There is no $$$$ for any new programs and a need to borrow billions to keep the current ocean of programs going. The next President will preside over a cluster fu#k. I despise both major parties and think a new revolution involving lot and lots of guns is in order. Time to take back our country and dispose of the trash. Voting dosen’t work because the system is corrupt and so is the media. Tell me, who do you trust anymore?

  358. The idea would be appealing except for one glaring problem…. Humpty Dumpty can not be put back together again. Without a doubt, the present GOP gave up it’s right to the mantle of leadership, but handing the reins of government to the most ideologically driven, hard-left triumvirate this country has ever seen it’s the answer.

    The damage that an Obama-Reid-Pelosi triad could wreck upon our foundational institutions is almost incalculable. Whether it’s re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine (try getting the conservative message out after that), destroying the private health care system, or appointing a gaggle of Supreme Court progressives, such actions, once taken, might be impossible to reverse.

    While the GOP deserves to be “slapped around”, we need to do so in a manner that doesn’t pummel the American public at the same time.

  359. You know, nobody realizes it but Ross Perot was the best friend small government Republicans and Libertarians ever had. He woke people up to out national debt and deficit problems. He spent *his own money* to put on 30 minute infomercials to try to inform the public.

    Name one Republican or Libertarian that has ever accomplished anything remotely approaching that level of national awareness.

    To the average Joe, why *shouldn’t* we simply double the national debt every eight years and get everything he ever wanted? What’s the downside?

    People will never vote for small government until they see the need to, and unfortunately I don’t ever see that happening short of an utter, catastrophic financial collapse, one that would make the current one lok like small potatoes.

  360. Addressing Abdullah’s comment:
    Inbreeding tends to create genetic problems.

  361. The Republican party may have failed you, but that doesn’t mean that McCain should be punished. There is no logical way to make it preferable from any sort of conservative standpoint that Obama win. McCain is famously stubborn etc., and he has a strong record as a free trader and for fighting wasteful spending, if not for shrinking government.

    Here’s a challenge: name one person that has any chance of becoming president (in the next 15 years) that would better serve you as a libertarian than McCain.

  362. “in retrospect, there was no serious deficiency in government in 2000 election that would justify voting the incumbent party out of office.”

    I can think of several…

    Brady Bill
    AWB
    Banning firearms imports from China as a “trade sanction” (although no other Chinese product was affected).
    “Voluntary Restraint Agreement” banning firearms imports from Russia.
    Administration lawsuits against gunmakers.
    I could go on…

  363. contrary to popular belief american “hillbillies” have a far lower inbreeding coefficient than, say, persians or arabs.

    Abdullah … that’s a Japanese name, right?

  364. Asher, you need to get off this racialism crap. Stop putting so much stock in the Bell Curve and IQ tests in general. People’s intelligence cannot be summed up in a number. Nor does “intelligence” make you a moral and good person.

    As someone who comes from a bi-racial family (black and white), and whose religion (Islam)puts him in close contact with many different nationalities (both “NAM’s” and “AM’s”), I find this whole line of thinking pointless. The human family is full of many different types of contributions, and just when you think you got someone pegged, they break the stereotype. Go tell your theories to some “NAM’s”. I’m sure they’ll find it fascinating.

  365. Balko is assuming we’ll have free elections and free speech under an Obama administration. Already Republicans have to win with 53 or 54% this year to overcome the massive voter fraud by ACORN. Imagine when ACORN is institutionalized by the US Government/Barack Hussein Obama stamp of approval.

    In 2010, Republicans will have to win with 60% of the vote, to actually win.

  366. I’m with Balko.

    Fully socialized medicine will be easy to reverse once enough Real Libertarians? get elected.

    I estimate some time between 2307 an 2961. Unless the Iranians nuke New York first. Then it may be delayed a bit.

  367. The GOP runs candidates that can win in each district (see Democrats, Blue Dog).

    If you want a more libertarian Republican Party you are going to need a more libertarian people. Let me know when you find them.

  368. We get the government we deserve.

    The problem is not bad candidates or bad parties. The problem is the people.

  369. Palin has more libertarian tendencies than any other politician on the National scene. I’d like to see what she could do sooner rather than later.

  370. The trouble is, a crushing GOP defeat will not result in a more libertarian GOP — it will result in a GOP which will move toward the issues which will probably revive its fortunes, such as anti-immigration, anti-drug, “get-tough” law enforcement, and other sorts of no-nothing politics. It is worth remembering that although Bush’s support had usually been in the low-to-mid 40%’s, it only collapsed after he supported the immigration reform. Indeed, the Republican party probably lost more support for what it did right than what it did wrong.

  371. It’s always dangerous to talk about collective nouns as though what they refer to are persons. To blame all “The Republicans” for what has transpired under G.W. Bush & a Democrat dominated congress is bad reasoning.

    In any decision beween two bad options, you always need to choose the one that has the lesser (or least) PROXIMATE harm to the common good of all. Contests are lost and won in increments, even though they might seem to be determined in one dramatic action or moment.

    To do ANYTHING to let Obama and those who would MAXIMALLY usurp personal and familial autonomy for centralized power is a bad decision. Better to choose what is far from perfect (McCain and company), and try to salvage what is essential, and fight to better things one hedgerow at a time.

  372. Thank you Mr Balko for showing me how much i need to be true to my beliefs..and vote Libertarian.

    Im in a swing state and was going to vote for McCain on the balance of power argumment, but mc cains unworhty of really being labelled “opposite.” I am also affected by the freshness of Gov Palin and realize my supporting Mc cain was a hope she would eventually be President, through his death, or giving her a shot in the 2nd term.

    and if i am a Libertarian and have been for 25 years, what the hell good is another Republican really going to do for my beliefs of my party?

    so thanks Radley for making me see what a futile effort anything but the Libertian vote would be.

  373. Escapevelocity wrote:

    “I predict the rise of the Christian Democrats as the opposition to the Social Democrats.”

    Christian democracy does not quite mean what you think it means. Look at the Christian Democratic parties in Europe : they’re mostly moderate (and I do mean _moderate_) right-of-center parties that allude to Christian “mores and values” but rarely allow them to dictate theocratic social policy, as most often seen in the American “Christian right”. You won’t find the majority of Christian democrats praying for their religion’s brand of jihad (armageddon, reckoning, rapture or whatever the fuck it’s called these days), nor campaigning against the infiltration of (infidel?) “atheist values” that threaten our societal norms.

    In general, European Christian Democrats follow policies similar to those of Bill Clinton – a mixture of some degree of free market economics with a good dosage of welfare policy. Minus the wars and blowjobs.

    The ever-belligerent American “Christian Right”, on the other hand… well they’re more like muslim jihadists by comparison. Don’t confuse the two.

    Personally, I’ll take the supporters of mild welfare statism and otherwise mainly free market economies over the unhinged, bellicose “soldiers of Christ” any day of the week.

  374. Mr. Paccoman, and others, the “balance of power” argument is a weak one, since we can’t be absolutely sure that a McCain administration would always choose policies that lessen or even check government expansion.

    But we are certain, given Obama’s history and affiliations, that he would do the opposite. And if we do not responsibly VOTE to exclude this possibility, it is as though we (having our knowledge of past history in which the Democrats had simultaneous control of the Presidency, the Senate, and the House –look up those years, by the way, and try to recall events that unfolded in the year or two thereafter and how they affected this nation adversely for many, many years) might as well be standing at the helm of the Titanic (with our full knowledge that had the captain not confused messages about the location of icebergs, the Titanic likely would not have been sliced down its side) saying to ourselves: to Hell with it; at least the next generation will probably use better steel for bolts and make these things better than this one!

    Choosing the lesser destructive option is an obligation, for the nation and its future. Wars are long-term, and won in small battles and struggles that only produce incremental victories.

  375. Why do extremists (on both ends of the spectrum, mind you) equate public policy with “war” so often?

    Just sayin’

  376. if more people actually voted in line with their party politics rather than voting for “the lesser of two evils”, we’d have real democracy (we NEED more 3rd party and independents in the legislature!!!). i’m sick of hearing people call themselves libertarian minded but voting for republicans, and socialists voting democrat instead of peace and freedom or green.

    people need to grow a pair.

  377. “Rugged individualism” is going to be a hard sell in coming election cycles now that it’s become a code phrase for “Let big corporations and wealthy individuals screw the average citizen and despoil the commonwealth, then make sure their victims have no possible recourse.”

  378. RE: …we can’t be absolutely sure that a McCain administration would always choose policies that lessen or even check government expansion…

    We can be sure that McCain will put right-wing, authoritarian-leaning justices on the supreme court – he promised the religious right he would do so – and just at a time when several libral justices are planning on retiring. An Obama presidency would be necessary to maintain the status quo.

    I’m voting for Obama because I don’t want to see the Supreme Court packed by the religious right.

  379. jonni, the way the system is set up, small minority parties aren’t anywhere near as effective as pressure groups working within the larger parties. To make minority parties effective we would have to go to a parlementary system that is more proportional. It isn’t going to happen.

  380. What M. Ewbank said.

  381. Just a parallel consideration with what I stated a couple of days ago in regard to Alan’s worry about McCain promoting supreme court appointments who are “authoritarian-leaning.”

    While Obama would definitely put forward candidates who are activists and who espouse constant government intervention, McCain, on his own constantly reiterated principles, would only seek to promote persons who stand for the original intent of the Constitution.

    Who would believe that any candidate who is a fanatically fundamentalist-oriented fideist in religion could get past the scrutiny of the judiciary committee???

    On the other hand, who could possibly doubt that any candidates put forth by Obama (recall his very words lamenting the fact that the Constitution, and the Supreme Court, have never addressed redistribution of wealth???) would fail to be interventionists who would constantly promote intrusive government expansion; or that they would fail to get through confirmation hearings and a Democrat held majority congress?

    Don’t think of principles as some sort of unbending abstractions that are like steel monuments in the sky. Think of how best to keep your worst opponent from making an end run to a touchdown, all the while making realistic plans for how your own view(s) can make gains to the goal. Principles are like flex-steel–they should bend without breaking, while keeping their strength.

    To do otherwise will be to not play the game at all. And it’s going to go on with or without us, having implications for our families and future generations.

  382. M Ewbank;

    Thanks for your accurate assessment on Mc cain and courts; as a libertarian I can stand a little pure interpretation of the Constitution, even if it appears hes pandering to the Christian right

  383. Thanks to you, Paccoman, for the chance to think about the matter.

    Anyone who really reveres what the founders and our ancestors gave to us in this great republic, in her or his heart of hearts, has to be libertarian; but even those who have lived and died by that great motto “semper fi” occasionally have had to endure pathetic administrations in power, and in even rarer instances even a stupid officer in command.

    But under whatever conditions, the mission is the common good of the republic —always faithful.

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