Politics

Holding Out For a Fiscally Conservative Hero?

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Is this what John McCain sees when he looks in the mirror?

A Washington Post poll of Republicans yesterday shows a party with renewed interest in fiscal conservatism:

The GOP is a party that has become increasingly conservative, particularly on fiscal issues. Obama's stimulus package of nearly $800 billion, bailouts for banks and the auto industry, and a health-care bill with a price tag of nearly $900 billion over 10 years have aroused strong opposition on the right. …On fiscal issues, the percentage calling themselves conservative has soared to more than eight in 10. More striking is that a majority considers themselves to be "very conservative" on fiscal issues, up about 20 points in two years.

And those who identify with the party, thank goodness, are no longer inclined to view Bush as their leader. "Just 1 percent pick George W. Bush as the best reflection of the party's principles," according to the Post.

But here's the problem: Bush may be out of favor, but there is no clear leader to replace him, especially when it comes to fiscal conservatism. Arnold Kling put up a useful, if depressing, matrix the other day:

Institutional Preference Not Highly Educated Highly Educated
Central Planning Hugo Chavez Barack Obama
Decentralized Markets Sarah Palin ?

"If you are an intellectual who believes in decentralized markets," Kling writes, "it's not an appealing choice." I'm (obviously) inclined to agree. He also argues that "what the matrix says is that if you look at today's American politics, you have to either support central planning or support a political party that hates intellectuals." "Hates" is too strong a word for my taste, but certainly the party hasn't, in recent years, evinced any particular interest in developing or electing leaders who are also educated defenders of limited government. True, there are a handful of sharp, policy-oriented figures in the party, but they make up a fairly small cohort, and they don't tend to get much play in the headlines.

And no matter how much party members say they care about fiscal conservatism in the abstract, it's tough to expect much from the GOP when business-as-usual looks like this: The party's first amendment in the Senate's health care debate, put forth by the party's most recent presidential nominee, was an addendum designed to stop $500 billion in Medicare cuts.

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  1. Oh, great. Now we can look forward to 39 comments by John railing about “Elites”.

  2. The main problem for libertarianism is that no one who is both intelligent and into decentralization will have anything to do with politics.

    1. if Reason had a “like” button, this comment would be “like”d.

      1. You’re thinking of MySpace.

  3. “Hates” is too strong a word for my taste, but certainly the party hasn’t, in recent years, evinced any particular interest in developing or electing leaders who are also educated defenders of limited government.”

    Isn’t that really a consiquence of conservatives and market advocates losing the acadamy? I would love nothing better than to have someone who believes in free markets and small government and who also is a distinguished member of some Ivy League faculty or holds this or that degree. But, all of the people who claim to be intellectuals and hold court in places like Harvard and Princeton seem to beleive in utter nonsense these days. The acadamy in this country is almost entirely leftist. Given that fact, where are the “conservative intellectuals” supposed to come from? Moreover, since the academy beleives in complete nonsense, how do attack that nonsense without seeming anti-intellectual?

    I am all for the next great conservative small market intellectual candidate. But I would like to know before I look for one, when was there ever such a thing and what politician around today would actually qualify to be one? Until you find one, I will settle for less than intelectual and right over intellectual and dead wrong any day.

    1. Instead of Harvard and Princeton, hit the faculty of the engineering schools. Then again, that led to President Hoover.

      1. Also, Carter was a nuclear engineer.

        1. Bullshit.

          As a GT Nuke E grad, I can gladly say we booted him down to the Naval Academy where he ONLY got a physics degree.

          1. But he survived getting into Rickover’s nuclear navy. That required basically memorizing every part and working of a nuclear submarine. That counts for something.

            1. I think Herbert Hoover was the last actual engineer President.

              It’s interesting to contract China and the US. Most of China’s leaders have an engineering background while most political leaders in the US have a background in law.

              1. *Contrast

                need to find that preview button

              2. They build giant dams. And the US builds giant volumes of the Code of Federal Regulations. It makes sense now.

                1. those are actually arks, for when the world ends

            2. I had a number of fellow students who came OUT of the nuclear navy and were getting their engineering degree on the GI Bill or equivalent. They were not at the top of the class, lets just put it at that (cool guys though, almost universally).

              1. You killing my innocence here Rob. Somehow though I am not surprised. KNowing the military, I would imagine they valued memorizing and ass kissing over independent thought.

                1. actually the navy is reknowned for maverickism. There’s a story about a lieutenant who had to float barrels of oil over to another ship. Regs required barrels to have floating bouys attached to them, but the lieutenant knew his physics and dispensed with the reg. Captain reprimanded him, so he carved miniature bouys and slapped them on the barrels.

                  Or something like that.

        2. NUKE-U-LAR. It’s pronounced NUKE-U-LAR.

      2. and the entire politburo of communist china. Engineers have a penchant to try and construct and control things, which is antithetical to what people in government should be doing.

        Also, hoover wasn’t that bad, he really did a good job of not intervening until the very end when the political pressure got to great.

        1. “Engineers have a penchant to try and construct and control things”

          I wouldn’t go that far. I think we have an ability to understand the difference between the ideal and reality, not to mention the whole problem solving thing.

          We also have enough of a math background to call Bullshit when things don’t seem to add up.

          I find it amusing that Obama is doing his little push for science/technology education when he apparently didn’t think it useful to educate himself in such areas.

          1. Or learn a second language. Or quit smoking.

          2. I find it amusing that Barack Obama was a professor of constitutional law.

            Oh wait, that’s not amusing.

          3. I know plenty of mathematicians who can immediately find minor flaws in just about any proof of any theorem, and then turn around and talk about how single payer health care will provide better and cheaper service for everyone.

            Most people compartmentalize their lives; the knowledge they use in their occupation suddenly vanishes when dealing with their personal life.

    2. Given that fact, where are the “conservative intellectuals” supposed to come from?

      Try the University of Chicago. Lots of rightists on the faculty there. Unfortunately, not many of them seem to run for public office.

      1. As A graduate of the UofC I would like to point out the following illustrious people affiliated with my alma mater:

        Ahmed Chalabi
        Paul Wolfowitz
        Barack Obama

        No thank you.

        1. Our polisci department produced some real humdingers a while back, didn’t it? (Though Chalabi’s degree was in mathematics, so I’m not sure his academic affiliations would matter that much.)

          My undergrad was in history, with a dash of polisci, and I never had a prof who was obnoxiously liberal – and it wasn’t like I was deliberately trying to avoid that type. But StE is correct, I’m afraid… the UofC profs who’d be acceptable to us stay academics or, at most, become judges.

  4. It really is hopeless, isn’t it?

  5. Republicans are showing a renewed interest in fiscal conservatism the same way that a teenager who just got dumped shows a renewed interest in chastity.

  6. Also just because Obama went to Harvard doesn’t make him an intellectual. He has never written any book of significance that wasn’t about himself. Where are all these “intellectual” Democratic politicians? Nancy Pelosi? Barney Frank?

    Politicians of any stripe are usually not intellectuals. William F. Buckley or James Q Wilson or John Kenneth Galbraith for that matter never held elective office. And Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, although they were smart guys, were not public intellectuals in the same way someone like Galbraith was. The only public intellectual politician that I can think of in my lifetime was Danial Moynahan. And he is dead.

    What exactly do people mean when they say they want the Repulbicans to have an “intellectual candidate”? If they mean a candidate who “is a public intellectual” you are asking for something that has rarely existed in U.S. History.

    1. I agree. “Highly educated” is one of those vague, amorphous terms that means whatever the person using it wants it to mean.

      1. It means nothing. George Bush graduated from Harvard, but no one calls him “intellectual” or “highly educated”.

        What this all really means is that Republicans want a candidate the media won’t call an idiot. That’s not going to happen, no matter how many degrees said candidate may have earned, or books he/she may have written.

        The media views politicians in the following manner and probably nothing will change this anytime soon:

        Liberal=intellectual, educated
        conservative or libertarian=dumbfuck hick redneck

        1. Not true! Conservatives can also be cunning and greedy.

        2. And libertarians are also selfish sneering pricks.

    2. Bill Clinton was a freaking Rhodes Scholar. If that doesn’t make him an “intellectual”, I don’t know what would. His great political skill was managing to be both an intellectual as well as “Bubba”.

      1. I didn’t say he wasn’t “intellectual”. I said he was not a public intellectual in the way someone like Galbraith was. There is a difference.

        1. Galbraith may not have run for elective office but he did spend a lot of his life in public administration and as an advisor to liberal politicians.

          I think the point here is to find a similar intellectual on the right.

          Kennedy and Johnson followed Galbraith’s advice.

          Nixon ignored Milton Friedman.

  7. The main problem for libertarianism is that no one who is both intelligent and into decentralization will have anything to do with politics.

    Exactly; and wanting public office should be cause for immediate disqualification.

    Nobody ever runs for office (President of the United States, Senator, or Dogcatcher) because he wants to leave you the fuck alone.

    1. not true. Eventually when things start getting really bad people start running for office to obstruct the other people who are trying not to leave your the fuck alone.

    2. I would.

      1. I’m a libertarian and I am running for office in my county with the intention of cutting taxes and cutting spending. You can shout at the wall for just so long. It’s time to storm the gates!

        1. lol. ‘Storming the gates’ is not running for office.

          It’s taking out more than a handful of politicians.

  8. The GOP had eight years to reign in the size of government and grossly expanded it.

    The fiscal conservative in the GOP is a myth, for all the other stated goals of the GOP have nothing to do with limiting the power and scope of the Federal government.

    It’s like a constantly relapsing alcoholic asking to be put in charge of the liquor cabinet for the good of the rest of the house.

    1. The fiscal conservative in the GOP is a myth, for all the other stated goals of the GOP have nothing to do with limiting the power and scope of the Federal government.

      Hyperbole much? Letting gun control expire falls under that category.

      1. OK, so not being not too bad on gun control makes the GOP a shining beacon of liberty? Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

        Gun control for the GOP has much more to do with cultural warfare than any commitment to freedom.

        As for everything else… I don’t give a shit what my mugger wants the money for, I just care about being mugged.

        1. So if the GOP is 10% right versus the Democrats being 0% right, the GOP is just as bad? You mean there is no difference between Bush’s $500 billion deficit and good record on guns Obma’s $1 trillion deficit and him getting to live his Chicago gun control fantasies? There is such a thing as a lesser of two evils.

          1. Bush’s good record on guns? Try again, John. Remember when Bush said he was perfectly willing to sign a renewal of the AWB if it was sent to him? I do.

            1. Remember when Bush said he was perfectly willing to sign a renewal of the AWB if it was sent to him? I do.

              Yes, that was crass political calculation based on the fact that he knew it would never be sent to him. I realize being ignorant of politics and political moves is a point of pride, but come on.

          2. The Democrats aren’t 0%. They are to you, but not for social liberals like me. I’m all for abortion rights and gay marriage and sodomy, remember? And I’m not cool with religion telling me what to do.

            Neither of the parties are anymore more use to me than the other. All this “Well, he only raped 5 five dogs, your guy raped 6!” shit is dead to me. I’ll quixotically hold out for a non-dograper, thanks.

            1. “I’ll quixotically hold out for a non-dograper, thanks.”

              Have fun in the wilderness. And it is a question of what you value. If you think gay marriage and abortion is more important than avoiding socialized medicine and keeping your guns, then vote Democrat and be happy and stop bitching.

              1. Have fun in the wilderness. And it is a question of what you value.

                I value not voting for scumbags who are going to eviscerate my rights and steal more of my money. So, R and D are both pretty much out.

              2. Voting for neither, John. I’m not to blame for the stupidity of either party if I vote my conscience.

                Obama’s excesses are going to give the GOP yet another rimjob by the libertarian/an-cap crowd, but I’m sick of licking asshole.

                1. If you won’t vote for either, then stop bitching. I will vote for the lesser of two evils and hope for the best and also understand that neither party are aliens. They actually represent the views of other people. And shockingly, not everyone agrees with me and they are not about to make me philosopher king anytime soon. So, I will take my chances with the lesser of two evils and understand that I don’t always get what I want.

                  1. My last vote for president had 6 people on the ballot. I voted for the lesser of 6 evils. Obama and McCain probably neither made the top 3.

                2. And I am sorry, but “I didn’t vote for him but did nothing to stop him and actively tried to tear down the people who did” doesn’t absolve you of the collective responsibility for Obama.

                  1. Your partisan shtick is just as annoying as joe’s.

                    And I don’t give a flip about other people viewpoints, as long as they leave me alone. If you could even feebly grasp the notion of liberty, you wouldn’t be arguing over the color of your leash, but whether you should have to wear one at all.

                    1. So essentially you think no one but you should have a voice in how the government is run. You just call it “liberty”. And further, you sure as hell do care about other people’s views. You are constantly on here bitching about what people are doing in places you will never live. If you didn’t care about other people’s views, why would you care the people in some town you will never visit much less live in something you find offensive?

                      You are not a totalitarian. But you sure as hell are not a Democrat (as in a believer in self government not the party). Self government has a value, even if it results in a government you don’t like.

                  2. If you won’t vote for either, then stop bitching.

                    Why? You won’t. I voted my conscience and Barr lost. Why do I not get to bitch about the fucknuts that did manage to get elected? Because I should have accepted the lies the GOP was peddling instead? Please. There are more options than team red or team blue, and your attitude is what keeps the system rolling along unimpeded.

                    1. And I don’t give a flip about other people viewpoints, as long as they leave me alone. If you could even feebly grasp the notion of liberty, you wouldn’t be arguing over the color of your leash, but whether you should have to wear one at all.

                      Word the fuck up. I think I’m through with my useful indiscretions (voting for what I thought was the lesser of two evils).

                  3. John,

                    shut the fuck up. Anyone who voted for anyone except Obama did something to stop him.

                    Hell, anyone who didnt vote did something to stop him.

                    1. How did not voting do anything to stop him? You knew millions were going to vote for him. If everyone who disagreed with Obama followed that lead and not voted, what would have beeen accomplished beyond giving Obama a larger mandate?

                    2. not voting at all stops him relative to voting for him.

                      not the most useful move.

                      Realistically, considering the votes he got, the only move to “stop” him was assassination. Since you didnt go that far, I guess you didnt really want to stop him either.

                    3. If everyone who had voted for McCain had voted for Barr, Barr would have carried Indiana and N Carolina, cutting into the mandate.

                    4. How so? There was only one other semi-viable candidate in the general election. Barr et al never had a chance, of course.

                      Most elections are binary choices. Voting for a third party is voting to not to vote.

                      The problem with libertarians is they fail to understand that to change policy, they need to elect people who think like them. And in order to elect people who think like them, they need to convince people their ideas are correct and pick popular candidates. Libertarian thinking is not popular. Libertarians candidates are not popular. If they were, they would be elected. Barr lost big time. Paul lost big time.

                    5. Geotpf,

                      There was only one “viable” candidate in the election, PERIOD. No one other than Obama was winning that thing.

                      McCain was no more viable than Barr.

                    6. Well, that is why I said “semi-viable”. Due to Bush’s fuckups, there was almost no chance that any Republican would have won the election in 2008, especially after the economy tanked. Basically, that meant the only election that really mattered was the Democratic primary (which actually was a close election).

                      2008 would have been bad for any libertarian-leaning candidate in the general election, anyways. Arguing that the economic collapse was not due to free markets would be quite difficult. (The argument that markets are not really free sounds like college Marxists arguing that “real” communism has never been tried.)

                    7. Arguing that the economic collapse was not due to free markets would be quite difficult.

                      On the other hand, arguing the economic collapse was due to government intervention in the market would have been absurdly easy.

                    8. On the other hand, arguing the economic collapse was due to government intervention in the market would have been absurdly easy.

                      Easy in what sense? Easy to say, or easy to convince people?

                      It would have been easy to argue, and would have won maybe 35% of the vote.

  9. I don’t see why people get hung up on the “intellectuals” BS, which is just another vacuous culture war strategy – if you want someone to tell you that you’re smarter than you are, you have the Democrats, if you want someone to tell you other people aren’t smarter than you are, then you have Republicans. It’s just a question of what flavor of smoke you prefer to have blown up your ass.

    1. Cocaine flavored, by a Fillipina with huge tits.

  10. No Conservative Hero will ever slat this dragon:

    “In a recent press release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., argues that constitutional objections to the individual mandate are “nonsensical,” because “the power of Congress to regulate health care is essentially unlimited.”” (emphasis added)

    http://www.washingtonexaminer……54682.html

  11. Why is highly educated automatically considered evidence of intelligence and being right? Seriously. I would think the quality of one’s views and understanding of the world is the evidence of their intelligence and wisdom. The quality of whatever degree mommy and daddy paid for when you were 18, has little to do with it.

    1. Word. Highly educated does not equal intelligent. One sign of intelligence is recognizing how little one actually knows which seems to be difficult for much of the political and media establishment. Which probably explains their penchant for central planning.

  12. The definition of “Highly Educated,” based on real-world usage, is “Institutional Preference: Central Planning” (often obfuscated as “policy-oriented”). So if your self-image or social place as a “Hightly Educated” type is more necessary to your undisturbed functioning than the “Decentralized Markets” part of you is, you’ll just go with Obama–as we saw, for example, right here, and everywhere else the dreaded Cosmo is found. There is no “?”

    The Ivy League douchebag part of me, the Leader-seeking part that sees politicians as the risen avatars of my class, doesn’t win any arguments with the basically libertarian Perverse Crank part, so I find Palin unusually not-bad, as Leaders go. Better none at all, but she’s the least terrible available.

    I don’t care that she and most of her fans are nothing like me. They’re not me.

    Try that idea on, fellow douchebags. It’s freeing.

    1. Damn that was brutal. Me likey.

    2. Libertarian Perverse Crank. That is funny. I don’t seem to remember anyone on the Right or among Libertarians crying out for an egghead candidate until the Obama phenomenon. Ronald Reagan was a B movie actor for cripes sake. Ron Paul went to Gettyburg College. He has an MD from Duke and is a smart guy. But, he is hardly an Oxford Don.

      I think this is just jealousy on the part of Libertarian Cosmos. The Leftist Cosmos got one of their guys in the Whitehouse. Obama, love him or hate him, is the dream candidate for the typical urban leftist hipster. He is mixed race, good looking, went to the right schools, lived in a cool city, worked a socially conscious job. He is a wet dream for them. The Libertarian Cosmos just want their Obama.

      1. well then you better vote for me. because I’m an anti-intellectual science PhD who will pressure congress to defund the NIH, the NSF, and both DoEs. Also, I have been documented to decry global warming “science” long before “climategate” – even though I drive a hybrid (it’s a moral obligation, not a scientific one). So the left can roll out their suv and gulfstream riding “envirophoneys” and I’ll take em out. So am I the libertarian wet dream?

        Also, I’m not white. So that means that anyone who opposes me is racist.

        1. If you are a chick, I will marry you.

          1. nope, not a chick. Sorry.

            1. Do you look good in a dress?

              1. no but I can “follow” on the dance floor.

        2. I am everything you described except I don’t even have a car–I ride a bike to work and to get longer distances I ride a scooter that gets 85 MPG.

          What now? WHAT NOW?

          Seriously though, rock on man! *bro grab*

          1. you’d be my running mate if BJ Lawson didn’t exist.

            Bonus points if you also predicted the ascendancy of Sarah Palin before the GOP convention and correctly warned friends and family of the stock market crash of Aug 2008 as well as the stock market crash of December 2009-January 2010.

            You still have time on that third one.

            1. yonemoto, please don’t be disturbed, but I think I have a man-crush on you.

              1. I’m not perfect. My current job is funded by ARRA, but to be fair I thought I was privately funded when I applied, and I’m going to leave when my one year work contract expires unless I can get private funding for at least my own salary. I think that’s a reasonable compromise. Or alternatively, I’ll try to start my own company. Which will be… Interesting.

                If everyone seems to have a man-crush on me, should I be running for president in 2016? (I’ll be eligible. By the slim margin of 23 days)

                1. I think I can run as a Republican. I have some inroads with the christian conservatives (through, of course, swing dancing, which draws in christians like a magnet), and I think I can get the evangelical vote by flattering them – literal reading of the bible is one of the best habits for literal reading of the constitution.

            2. I don’t follow politics closely enough to have guessed about Palin.

              I did predict ClimateGate though!

              I’ll go on record here and not outright disagree with you on the early-winter ’09 market crash prediction. Rather, I will predict that the DOW and S&P on March 7th, 2010 will open lower than their 2009 lows which occurred around the same time.

            3. I predicted Palin as the running mate in Jan/Feb of 2008 well before we knew McCain was going to win the nomination.

              Its in the Reason archives.

  13. “If you are an intellectual who believes in decentralized markets,” Kling writes, “it’s not an appealing choice.” I’m (obviously) inclined to agree.

    It’s not about the candidate being an intellectual, it’s about a candidate that’s not a total embarrassment to support if you have above a room-temperature IQ.

    I think the martix breaks down on the edges, though. There are relatively educated people who will support Palin as an acceptable candidate based on her supposed electability and highly educated people who like ‘Ugo because of the dead-end of the new public piety of redistributionism.

    The fact remains that most “fiscal conservatives” tied to the GOP seem quite good at self-immolation: Paul and Sanford begin the most obvious. Not that self-described pseudo-libertarians on the right are helping much either.

    1. The fact remains that most “fiscal conservatives” tied to the GOP seem quite good at self-immolation: Paul and Sanford begin the most obvious.

      Fair enough. Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana is pretty good. Jindal actually has some very good fiscal conservative work done and is an intellectual, but both didn’t have a good national speech and mixes in enough social conservatism to turn off some libertarians.

      Other libertarian politicians just aren’t that interested enough in government to put forth the effort needed to win, like Gary Johnson.

      1. Exactly how did Ron Paul self-immolate? I think really the big problem was that he seemed weak on national security, he should have really pressed hard on the fact that he would have gone after the terrorists with Letters of Marque and Retribution (and never labeled it “air piracy”).

        but that’s hardly self-immolation, but poor strategy.

        As for Jindal, he’s not a fiscal conservative in practice. And Gary Johnson clearly has skeletons in his closet.

        1. As for Jindal, he’s not a fiscal conservative in practice.

          That’s funny, the rating agencies disagree, considering that they’ve raised Louisiana’s bond rating twice since he became governor.

          Reason Foundation says that Jindal is a fiscal conservative in practice, and that “Louisiana [is] the state taking the most thoughtful approach to solving its fiscal crisis. Pelican State policymakers, led by Governor Bobby Jindal, have embarked on a wide-ranging set of government reforms designed to reduce the size and cost of government.”

          1. Hm, I was actually thinking more along the lines of his tenure during the Bush administration, b/c I haven’t been keeping track of what he’s doing in LA. Apologies.

            1. I was actually thinking more along the lines of his tenure during the Bush administration,

              Well, hell, I agree and that complaint applies to Mitch Daniels too.

        2. He self-immolated with the newsletters and his poor response to them.

          It gave the Democrats a big huge “racist!” stick to beat him with. He was never going to get the nomination after they came out unless he was willing to scream loud and hard to denounce them. Instead, he was mostly silent and the Paulettes dug in for a he said/she said war.

          I’m no Paul hater, he seems like a decent man and a fairly pure libertarian, but he didn’t know how to play the game and all the money in the world won’t help someone like that.

          Of course, someone who does know how to play is probably a huge scumbag.

          1. “Of course, someone who does know how to play is probably a huge scumbag.”

            Exactly. Or if they were not a huge scumbag when they started, they became one after being associated with politics long enough.

          2. Well, then, the other strategy is this:

            Find someone who likes to play the game “as a challenge” but who is ADHD that is – hyper enough with enough stamina to win, but then rediculously lazy and will do anything in his willpower to not have to do anything as president.

            1. In fact I like this idea so much it should be a campaign strategy. Just be honest with american public. “I’m a lazy MF and so you should elect me because I’m going to WANT to eliminate government”. Most americans will be able to relate, because almost all of us work our asses off with the goal of being able to be lazy in the future, whether or not we attain that goal.

        3. Exactly how did Ron Paul self-immolate?

          For a start, he was a patriot who thought his job was serving the interests of Americans, not a cosmopolitan who thought he was supposed to be serving the interests of everyone but Americans. That got him off on the wrong foot with the Reason crowd, right off.

          1. Thanks for being a dumbass.

            1. Well, Slap the Enlightened! would deserve many congratulations, then.

              1. A award perhaps.

        4. Are these the same ratings agencies that rated MBS triple A? Because that’s not really helping your argument.

    2. You can’t be a career politician without becoming a power hungry slug. It is a requirement for running a successful campaign. Anytime you pin your hopes on a career politician, you are going to be disapointed.

      I think the sollution is to look completely outside the current political class. We had a small government back when we had fewer career politicians running things and more citizen legislators.

      But if you want to have true citizen legislators, you have to be willing to have citizen legislators. That means that you look to people who do things besides go to Harvard and pontificate. How about a few more small business owners in Congress? How about a few members of Congress who have lives and will actually leave after a few years? But to get people like that, you have to be willing to live with a few people off the approved cool list.

  14. A Canadian Bacon ad? WTF?

  15. Honestly, is “You are going to have to pay your debts yourself, pay your health care costs yourself, and pay for your education yourself” an easier sell if a college professor says it?

    1. No, if you want to sell that message, here’s how you do it:

      You have to accuse the other side of thinking the american public is stupid (in more tactful rhetoric). Nobody likes to be called stupid. Remind Americans that they know that it’s coming to them one way or another and that they are smart and willing to bite the bullet now instead of later, in a catastrophe.

      The best part of it? All of that IS true. Politicians willing to sell you a rosy future all think that the general public is stupid. And the general public isn’t stupid.

      1. the general public isn’t stupid

        Citation please.

        1. http://www.swivel.com/graphs/s…..]=39+years

          I mean inflation rate greater than interest rate? It’s what I’d do.

  16. My problem with Palin is not that she is not highly educated it is that I doubt she is highly principled. My guess is she would be easily corrupted to the typical crony-capitalism dominate in the GOP.

    The concept of limited government is pretty simple. I put a lot more weight on whether I think someone is principled to limiting government than whether they are highly educated or not.

    1. My guess is she would be easily corrupted to the typical crony-capitalism dominate in the GOP.

      Huh? The only really good thing about her (and the part of her story that made McCain pick her) is that she resisted the crony capitalism dominant in the Alaska GOP. She challenged an incumbent governor in a primary, and threw out a crony contract for a oil pipeline. That’s one of the rare things that she has done.

      I have lots and lots of concerns about her, but you seem to be focusing on one of the less likely problems.

      1. the other good thing about her was she promised to sell the state governor’s gulfstream and ebay’d it in time to meet her campaign promise.

      2. Good for her on those points but my guess is she did that to create a distinction and get elected.

        There are a number of things she did as Mayor and Governor that suggests she likes to play favorites.

      3. This is the woman who was for the “bridge to nowhere” before being against it, and then proceeded to blithely use it as a talking point in her favor.

        Both stupid AND unprincipled.

        1. When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, ma’am?

    2. I would tend to agree. I don’t really believe any republican who says they are for limited government. All politicians are liars. I think a lot of Palin’s appeal is more “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. People hate the liberal media and the fact that her mere existance makes their little lemming heads explode seems to be a good as reason as any for people to cheer her on.

    3. If she were easily corrupted, she wouldn’t be so easily hated.

  17. And no matter how much party members say they care about fiscal conservatism in the abstract, it’s tough to expect much from the GOP when business-as-usual looks like this: The party’s first amendment in the Senate’s health care debate, put forth by the party’s most recent presidential nominee, was an addendum designed to stop $500 billion in Medicare cuts.

    Not that those $500 billion in Medicare cuts will happen anyway. The amendment just makes the bill more honest, instead of including pretend cuts that you and I know won’t happen.

    What is the appropriate political response when one side is offering to have one’s cake and eat it too? When their bill is a blatant lie? The Republicans are incoherent, because they can’t figure out which half of the lie to attack in order to defeat the bill.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that just pure libertarian honesty would defeat the bill. It would make some op-ed writers on Reason happier, though.

    Yes, the Republican strategy is to make seniors aware of the Medicare cuts so that either the Democrats keep the cuts and seniors start to hate the bill more, threatening its passage, or Democrats restore the cuts, which would happen in the long run anyway, making the CBO score more honest and show that this bill massively increases the deficit. At that point the GOP would (hypocritically, you may say) pivot to opposing the bill because of the effects on the deficit.

    Sure, the Medicare cuts may be better than the status quo. But the status quo is better than the result of passing this bill, which will actually be a real new huge entitlement and imaginary Medicare cuts that will never happen.

    In that environment, is maintaining the status quo really so much worse?

  18. Before the discussion goes any further let’s refer tho the information presented as a Chart rather than a “Matrix”. It’s almost as bad as “Graphic Novel” opposed to comic book (or is that a test to distinguish the intellectuals in the group?)

    On the topic itself, as long conservatives are into country music they’ll never be taken as any sort of intellectuals. Seriously, their brand over the last 15 years is to paint themselves as “down home” (notice how many of these guys try to pull off the lumberjack look)simple and plain people.

    1. a test like spelling “the” would be better…

    2. Seriously, their brand over the last 15 years is to paint themselves as “down home”

      15 years? It’s always happened. You should see some of the pictures of Calvin Coolidge posing with farmers. (And he did Latin translation.)

    3. “On the topic itself, as long conservatives are into country music they’ll never be taken as any sort of intellectuals.”

      Anyone who doesn’t understand the significance and substance of real country music (as opposed to the fake stuff Nashville produces for housewives these days) is no intellectual. Only posers run down country music.

      1. John, you’re absolutely right. And a true aesthete can appreciate the sad similarities between “commercialized” pop, country music, and rap, and the “artistically sound” pop, country and hip-hop that seems to get a lot less airplay.

  19. How does the old saying go? Dont hold yer breath? LOL

    Jess
    http://www.web-anonymity.de.tc

  20. Hey, how’d we get this far without someone bashing Suderman? C’mon people, get on the ball.

    Let me apologize in advance for talking about Palin. But if you can’t form coherent sentences in reply to questions, people are going to think you’re stupid. Over and over, I heard her rambling, incoherent replies to relatively easy questions that she should have been prepared for.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean she’s an idiot. However, if you can’t ad-lib, and you know that, you need to prepare yourself. And the extent of your preparation should be the extent of your inability to deal with off-the-cuff questions. Which in her case, is extensive indeed.

    Also, what Scott said.

    1. Few people can ad lib better than Huckabee. Ever watch the guy? He is fabulous at it. I am not sure ad libbing is much of an indication of anything beyond the ad libber being a bullshit artist.

      1. Good point, John.

    2. Let me apologize in advance for talking about Obama. But if you can’t form coherent sentences in reply to questions, people are going to think you’re stupid. Over and over, I heard his rambling, incoherent replies to relatively easy questions that he should have been prepared for.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an idiot. However, if you can’t ad-lib, and you know that, you need to prepare yourself. And the extent of your preparation should be the extent of your inability to deal with off-the-cuff questions. Which in his case, is extensive indeed.

      Yup.

  21. Huh, since I registered GOP to vote for Paul last year, I guess I could run for prez this next time around. If I get in the debates, I guarantee I would use the phrase “Fuck off slaver” at some point. Which would be worth it.

    1. Totally worth it. You’ve got my vote.

    2. Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    3. I registered republican to caucus for Paul in Iowa — So as your VP selection, I could help carry the purple state of Iowa, maybe, don’t count on it though . . .

      1. The “MSM” would try to play off the phrase “fuck off, slaver” as inappropriate somehow. But we lucky few would appreciate your greatness, robc.

        1. They would just constantly play the clip and cut it short so that it sounds like he said “slave” and not “slaver” and then call him a racist.
          Pretty easily done, really.

  22. And no matter how much party members say they care about fiscal conservatism in the abstract, it’s tough to expect much from the GOP when business-as-usual looks like this: The party’s first amendment in the Senate’s health care debate, put forth by the party’s most recent presidential nominee, was an addendum designed to stop $500 billion in Medicare cuts.

    Those cuts would really cut costs in Medicare beyond the $500 billion, since the number of doctors who treat Medicare patients would plummet.

    Everyone on Medicare would have health insurance, but most wouldn’t have health care.

    1. since the number of doctors who treat Medicare patients would plummet

      We could fix that with a few laws.

      1. Then we will just quit and you can take your chances with Web MD.

        Let’s not give them any more EMTALA ideas Saccharin Man.

  23. Kudos for using HeroMachine.com to create your fiscally conservative superhero, by the way. Very handy site, that.

  24. I am not sure ad libbing is much of an indication of anything beyond the ad libber being a bullshit artist.

    Yeah, and being a bullshit artist is such a liability in politics. /sarc

    John, you’re missing my point. Rambling, incoherent replies to straitforward questions will make people think you’re stupid. And people are less likely to vote for someone they consider stupid.

    Furthermore, there’s an easy way around that: prepare, prepare, prepare. When you were prosecuting cases, did you just rely on your hope that the witnesses you called would say what you wanted them to? Or did you take time with them, go over the questions you were going to ask, see what their responses would be, etc., etc.?

    1. Rambling and incoherent is how she connects with her base.

      1. Oh, gee. I don’t know about that SugarFree, people could say that…I’m, you know, not really sure that…see, you’re trying to make me…

        1. Stop trying to connect to your base!

          Are still in Germany?

          1. Yeah, for a couple more months. Then it’s stateside!

      2. That is just it. You don’t hate Palin. You hate the people who vote for her. You hate a large percentage of the country and the many of the very people who probably agree with you on a lot of things, but then are shocked when no one seems to want to vote libertarian.

        “Shut the fuck up you dumb hillbilly fundie and vote for someone who knows what they are doing” is just one hell of a campaign slogan.

        1. And “I like her because I like her” is not some brilliant political statement on your part.

          I’ll hate whoever I feel like, John. Dumbass rednecks who think they know what’s best for me, especially.

          Once again, your fucking amazing hypocrisy on the subject astounds me. I’m sure you just love all the Obama fans out there. Never a bad word for liberals ever tumbles from your lips.

          1. “And “I like her because I like her” is not some brilliant political statement on your part.”

            Where have I ever said that? Further, where have I ever said I would vote for her for anything beyond some fun fantasy of giving people like you the finger? No where. You assume that I am some huge Palin fan because I don’t participate in the giant hate fest put out against her.

            Further, the whole thing has nothing to do with Palin. It is just an excuse for people like you to live out your adolescent resentments against people you don’t like.

            And that is fine. It is free country. Hate anyone you like. But, don’t act suprised when they hate you as well and you and your ideas have no impact whatsoever over how the country actually works. If you are not smart enough to try and convince people to come to your side and are more interested in the emotional satisifaction of snobbery, that is your right. But don’t pretend anything you do or think matters either.

            1. I didn’t think it was possible for a human to be so fucking clueless about themselves until I was lectured on coalition building by the guy who hates on liberals and academics and those dread intellectuals every chance he gets.

              1. “coalition building by the guy who hates on liberals and academics and those dread intellectuals every chance he gets.”

                Academics and self professed “intellectuals” represent what? 10% of the population? Liberals another 30% with most of the first 10% overlapping with the 30%. In contrast all of the redneck fundies you are constantly railing about are about 40% of the country. More importantly, they are the 40% that actually agree with Libertarians on economic and size of government issues and might be open to be convinced on some of the rest. Liberals in contrast are not open to be convinced on anything outside of social issues like gay marriage.

                And I happen to like the rednecks. I find them to have a hell of a lot easier to be around than most liberals. I don’t see the point of making a political movement out of hating them.

                And stop throwing the insults. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t justify insults. You sound like Joe for God’s sake.

                1. Isn’t it telling that liberals proclaim to be against using hate speech, yet use terms like “hillbilly”?

                  Clue, folks… REAL hillbillies are hard to find. And none too plentiful.

          2. SF, didn’t anyone in your area sport “Rednecks for Obama” paraphernalia?

            I saw shitloads of that stuff around here in the Springfield, MO area. Lots of liberal rednecks in this, er, neck of the woods.

            I should know, I’ve argued with a lot of them. And for rednecks, the only stupid thing about them is they voted for Obama.

          3. I’ll hate whoever I feel like, John. Dumbass rednecks who think they know what’s best for me, especially.

            It’s much better when the people who think they know what’s best for you are smooth urbanites whose necks are in no danger of ever turning red.

        2. “Shut the fuck up you dumb hillbilly fundie and vote for someone who knows what they are doing” is just one hell of a campaign slogan.

          Hey, it worked for Obama.

          1. Touche But I don’t think it worked by getting him the dumb Hillbillie vote. It worked by getting the vote of everyone who wanted to say it.

    2. Rambling, incoherent replies to straitforward questions will make people think you’re stupid. And people are less likely to vote for someone they consider stupid.

      Unless it proves they’re not racists.

  25. The GOP is a party that has become increasingly conservative, particularly on fiscal issues.

    What??

    A Washington Post poll of Republicans yesterday[…]

    Oh.

  26. ‘Ron Paul went to Gettyburg College. He has an MD from Duke and is a smart guy. But, he is hardly an Oxford Don.’

    Physicians aren’t considered intellectuals, but this is a fairly arbitrary standard. I mean, what Dr. Paul had the brains and drive to get an M.D. degree from Duke. What if he had applied his brains and drive to get a Ph.D. in English Literature? or a J.D. from the Law School followed by a stint as a law professor? Voila – Instant Intellectual!

    1. I agree. I don’t think Paul is stupid. And you are right that the term “intellectual” is too liberally applied to far too narrow of a group.

  27. Speaking of pretending, I read today in the paper that the CBO’s report on the latest Senate version of the “Health Care” bill is actually pretty good for the “Dems” (that’s the AP pet name for the democrats.)

    You see, the CBO reported that, yes, some people will see their premiums lower AFTER they are forced to buy healtcare insurance, and IF they are eligible for subsidies. The ones that have employer-given insurance will see just a slight increase in their premiums and *only* those that bought their insurance privately will see a 13% increase, but that is only a tiny, tiny minority…

    [The news report fails to say that the CBO numbers reflect two assumptions, one, that Medicare will be cut by 450 billion and that 450 billion in subsidies will be given to eligible serfs.)

    I mean, they spinned this story so hard, the news editor turned his head like Linda Blair, several times.

  28. WTF – not a single mention of the 800 pound gorilla in the room. “Jeeze…I wish that I could think of an intelligent, capable, principled, fiscally conservative and well known member of the GOP – someone who inspires people and who could breath new life into the party and bring young people in and people of all sorts of political stripes….but no, can’t think of a single person…not a one! Maybe Huckabee, yeah, that’s the ticket, oh but damn, he’s a total political hack and big government type and now there’s this Willie Horton type thing…or maybe Dick Cheney!!! Yeah, he’s the ticket. He’s, like, a really popular and principled guy, right? I just can’t think of anybody!!! I think I must be a complete imbecile!!! Ya think???”

  29. The problem is that the GOP do want what they say the want and do not stand for what they say they stand for. If Dubya could run again and anybody on earth thought he possibly could win, you can absolutely bet he would be the candidate of choice for the party. I have not heard a single honest or reasonable account of what is wrong with the GOP in the media. In fact, they specifically do not talk about the hypocrisy and intellectual corruption that really constitutes the core of the GOP.

    1. I mean to say “do not want” in the first sentence.

    2. That is any party. If you told the Libertarian Party they could win the Whitehous if they nominated Dick Cheney and Cheney got up and told them the party line, I gaurentee you a lot of them would want to go for it. Winning is great for the party poobahs. A lot better than losing with principle.

      In the end, any politician is going to disapoint you because the electorate is going to disapoint you. Not everyone wants to live in Libertopia. So instead of dreaming of the comming Massiah, vote for the lesser of two evils and try to convince as many people you can of your ideas. And take success where you can find it, no matter how small.

      1. Never support evil.

  30. Calvin Coolidge 2012!

  31. I think the conservatives should seriously consider people like Dick Cheney and Sarah Pallin because …

    The following is important:
    – War
    – Low Taxes
    – Healthcare for non
    – Selective prosecution and arrest
    – WOD
    – Iraq
    – Wire tapping
    – Deporting Mexicans
    – Out Sourcing American Jobs

    and the following is NOT important:
    – Abortion Rights
    – Healthcare Reform
    – Peace
    – Banking Regulations
    – High Taxes
    – Immigration Reform

    The unfortunate thing for Conservatives, Libertarians, Independents, Separatist, and Progressives like myself is that there is no ONE person that meets 50% of any list.

    So, I’ll vote for the BROTHA again…although I’m very very very disappointed. I wanted

    1. PEACE:

    Yes, peace. No war. Not afgan war either.

    2. HEALTHCARE REFORM

    Not that bullshit he’s selling. Either Single Payer Universal or NO PAYER.

    3. Legalization of DRUGs

    Everything from Marijuana to cocaine to PCP.

    4. The Passing of the “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS” amendment in which homos in frisco can get married and anyone can do what they choose with their own bodies

    5. A sane Foreign Policy where we choose not only to be other countries enemies but try to avoid being other countries friends as well…that’s how we get pulled into bar fights.

    ================================

    But, I know I’m a lone weirdo, so, I’ll have to settle for whatever happens.

    1. Re: Alice,

      Are you being serious by calling yourself a “Progressive”? The things you say you support read like part of a Libertarian Manifesto, not a Progressive (i.e. fascist) tirade.

      1. I am a progressive. Although about a year ago I use to think i was a liberarian. But now all that i see that I have in common with Libertarians is the legalization of marijuana, liberty, and free markets (except for healthcare).

        1. Progressives are not much interested in liberty, but in equality and social “justice”.

      2. Progressives are damned lucky the First Amendment applies to them, as well.

        They can spout all they want, but they should be forbidden from implementing their horrid ideas.

        And bear in mind, I loathe the concept of “there oughta be a law”. But in this case, after shitcanning a bunch of OTHER laws, we’d be better off if it were illegal for progressives to gain power and pass legislation based on their twisted ideals.

    2. Homos can get married now. They just can’t get the tax breaks. No one says they can’t get married. It is government sanction of that marriage that the debate is about. Frankly, if the government told me tommorow it didn’t recognize my marriage, I really wouldn’t care. It is not their marriage anyway.

      And as far as peace goes, we don’t get to always choose our enemies. Sometimes they choose us.

      But other than that, I agreee. If you value social freedoms like abortion and access to porn, you should vote Democrat. They generally deliver or at least try to deliver on those things. If you value a stronger foreign policy and lower taxes, you should vote Republican.

      If you want to end the war on drugs or open the borders or government sanctioned gay marriage, you better start convincing people of your side. Because neither party is going to give you those things because they are not popular. They may be right. But they are not popular. And until they are, both parties are going to at best lie and pay lipservice to them.

  32. There are many libertarians in this blog. Would you people vote for Tricky Dickie (cheney…not nixon) if he promised not to reform healthcare and save us a hell of a lot of money in taxes?

    1. I can’t vote.

      1. That’s funny.

        But u can vote in spirit. Given our electorial college…it may not even make a difference.

        1. Well, if I *could* vote, I would not vote for either a fascist or an imperialist or any sort of statist – which practically eliminates everyone from Obama, downwards, except Ron Paul.

          1. which practically eliminates everyone from Obama, downwards, except Ron Paul.

            Oh, libertarians could find reasons to dislike Ron Paul. Ever seen his views on abortion and immigrants? He’s definitely voted to ban partial-birth abortion at the federal level. Vote to ban gay adoptions in DC? Yep.

            Ron Paul has a bit of the social conservative in him. He’s from the right-libertarian viewpoint.

        2. Say, Alice, how’s your party coming along with giving the vote to illegal aliens?

    2. No. The LP candidate will promise the same and I will believe him.

      1. Also, I want health care reform. In a totally different direction than the current reform movement.

        1. Eliminate company tax break for health insurance.

        2. Make health care costs (insurance or otherwise) 100% deductible, so that all are done with pre-tax dollars.

        3. Allow insurance to be purchased across state lines. Allow NYers to join my pool in KY if they so want.

        Then wait 4 years. See how much things have improved and go from there.

        1. Actually, #1 doesnt matter if we do #2. If companies want to buy it instead of employees buying on their own, Im okay with that. But #2 is necessary and then companies dont NEED to be in the insurance business at all, if they dont want to be.

          1. I’m cool with keeping #1. That my company is choosing my health care plan (or the narrow range of choices they provide me) is still going to heavily distort the market through the third party payer problem.

            Although, I am living in the real world enough to know that if they do remove the tax exempt status and the insurance requirement, I don’t have a snowball’s chance of seeing the extra money. But if it bothers me that much, I can get another job.

            1. Although, I am living in the real world enough to know that if they do remove the tax exempt status and the insurance requirement, I don’t have a snowball’s chance of seeing the extra money. But if it bothers me that much, I can get another job.

              Because you can get another job, that means that, over the long run, you would see the extra money. It works both ways, same as taxes.

              You’re not living in the real world. Your intuitive stance pretending to be realistic is a fantasy.

              That even you don’t believe it is evidence of why economics will never catch on.

            2. They don’t pay you your current salary because they like you. They pay you your current salary because they’re as greedy as possible. If the laws change, greed will call for them to pay you more.

              It makes me weep to realize that not even libertarians can understand economics.

        2. You forgot medical savings accounts. Though it is easy to see why Democrat-minded people hate that concept.

          1. Why bother with a Medical Savings account?

            I have a HIGH deductible policy for 2010. I pay $117 per month instead of $615 per month. AND, check this out, two routine visits per person per year covered 100%.

            If something real bad happens, i’m ready to declare bankruptcy.

  33. There already was a potential leader, running for president, who favored fiscal conservatism. Unfortunately, he refused to tow the lion on Iraq and enhanced interrogation/torture/schwangdoodle, so he was cast aside like a worn-out fleshlight insert.

  34. Educated = To find the Constitution actually is the inverse of what it really is.

    Thus, it’s not a document to protect Liberty… it’s a document to estabalish Tryanny

    Uneducated (Sarah Palin,etc): To read the Constitution as it is.

    Give me the retards any day fuckers.

    1. Uneducated (Sarah Palin,etc): To read the Constitution as it is.

      I don’t know about this, but it was kind of ridiculous that it got to the point of people laughing at her for saying that the Vice-President “ran the Senate,” which is, you know, the only part of the job that’s actually in the Constitution.

      All that other crap that recent Vice-Presidents have done is arguably unConstitutional. Presiding in the Senate would be fine, though.

      1. I’m partial to John Adams myself

        “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

        Who is closest to Adams today, in their view of Liberty and Freedom?

        McCain
        Palin
        Obama
        Biden

        Palin

  35. Youtube Jizz In my Pants. That’s John whenever you mention Sarah Palin, but he’s still an objective observer.

  36. ‘Intellectuals’ tend to be quite stupid.

    1. You’re being entirely too kind to them.

  37. Concerning the supposed anti-intellectualism, I am less worried that it is presently true and more about the probability that conservative or Republican politicians, who think that they are being clever, will play it up as part of an attempt to excite and appeal to less intellectual voters. Whether or not that is actually helpful, politically, in the short-term, it would probably encourage the non-intellectual trend in the long-term.

  38. Highly Educated [citation needed]

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