Glenn Reynolds, to GOP: Don't Get Cocky, Kid

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Glenn Reynolds, in a rare multi-paragraph Instapundit post, fires this shot across the bow of a morning-after GOP:

But while Scott Brown could get elected as the anti-Obama figure — and while others will be able to pull that off in the fall — the GOP needs to be sure that it doesn't just look like it's lining up for its turn at the trough. Polls show that most Americans want smaller government, even with fewer "services." Running on a platform that money's better kept in voters' own pockets, rather than handed over to special interest logrolling and vote-buying, will work: If it'll work in Massachusetts, it should work pretty much anywhere. It is a fashionably-gloomy line among some on the right to say that the country's too far gone in statism and the government-handout parasite culture to support such an approach — but again, if you can make it with this in Massachusetts, you can make it pretty much anywhere.

Of course, what the GOP apparat does is less important nowadays than it was. As I noted before, there's a whole lot of disintermediation going on here — Scott Brown got money and volunteers via the Internet and the Tea Party movement, to a much greater degree than he got them from the RNC. Smart candidates will realize that, too.

And lies don't work as well as they used to. Obama promised transparency and pragmatic good government, but delivered closed-door meetings and outrageous special-interest payoffs. This made people angry. If Republicans promise honesty and less-intrusive government, but go back to their old ways, the likelihood that the Tea Party will become a full-fledged third party is much greater. Are the Republicans smart enough to realize this? I don't know.

Probably unlike Reynolds, I wanted to reach through my TV and throttle Brown's handsome neck when he made his campaign one-liner last night about KILLING terrorists, not giving them LAWYERS! Also, the day I expect much of anything from your average elected Republican is, um, the day that has never happened. But there's something fun about angry anti-incumbency in nearly one-party states, and it's genuinely interesting to watch how the Tea Party tendency morphs and flows into the political system.

Read me and Nick Gillespie on last night's race here. And watch the Instant Man on Reason TV:

NEXT: Three Reasons Why The Dems Are in Big, Big Trouble. And One Reason Why They're Not.

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  1. Matt you are in the minority on the terrorist issue. People are pissed about trying KSM in New York. Right now the 12-25 bomber is sitting comfortably in jail talking to no one after he lawyered up. But before he did that he told us there were more like him in Yemen. But we will never know what he knows thanks to our new kinder gentler terror policy.

    You think that is just acceptable and unavoidable price of doing business. Most people don’t. People turned on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because they don’t see how they are protecting the country. They didn’t turn on them because they don’t think terrorism is a threat or they give a rats ass how we treat radical Islamists once we catch them. They may be wrong in thinking that. But that is what they think. And they are not going to change their minds.

    So what is more important Matt? Do you want to make common cause with liberals to make sure KSM gets a lawyer and a fair trial but live with the socialism that results? Or do you want to make common cause with Republicans and give KSM not such nice treatment and get less socialism? Or maybe you believe you still get socialism with Republicans in which case you still probably ought to vote Democrat. But there are a lot of people out there who agree with you about taxes and government but do not about terrorism. What do you say to them?

    1. “What do you say to them?”

      You are what you think you’re fighting.

    2. John — I am in the minority on *most* issues. Expressing opinions on them does not indicate preference for political alliances.

      Though it’s definitely true (I think, anyway), and certainly interesting, that the limited-government tendency on economic issues is more likely to appear, at least rhetorically, among people who disagree with me about torture, homosexualists, and much else besides.

      1. Matt,

        I think that the social issues are falling away. People are more concerned about the economy than anything else. I think lots of people who disagree with you on social issues would gladly vote for someone who supported gay marriage and some kind of moderate pro choice position, if that guy were right on economic issues. The days of the evangelicals having a veto on the Republican nominee are over at least for now.

        But no one on the right at least is going to compromise on terror policy. The only good news is that I think that even they are growing tired of nation building and the entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan. They would support leaving both countries, but only with the caveat of making it clear that if anyone screws with us, we are going to come back and go Ghangis Kahn, not Woodrow Wilson on them.

    3. “If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Nietzsche

      1. I looked into the abyss. The abyss gazed back. So I took a leak. Now I’m relieved, and the abyss keeps its damn eyes shut whenever I’m around.

    4. I halfway agree with you John. I think that right now at this moment, free markets are in much more danger than free minds. The Republicans seem to be setting themselves up for the free market, non-interventionism vote. Now is the time to vote for the Browns, not the LP candidates.

      1. ah shit, this is what happens when you do a joke and then write something serious the day after, forgetting that your name is still Troll.

    5. Hmm. So you want to scrap constitutional protections in order to save capitalism, which, I might add, isn’t protected or mentioned in the constitution?

      1. Hmm. So you think the constitution is a sacred text to all libertarians?

        As I wrote above, civil rights are in far less danger right now than economic rights.

        1. How pragmatic of you. Scrap an actual, foundational aspect of American liberty: the rights of the accused, in order to keep more money in rich people’s pockets, which is what you mean by economic freedom.

          1. The issue is whether an illegal enemy combatant in a war against us deserves Constitutional protections. I say no, and that’s not an unusual position historically.

            1. +1

            2. Actually this is a completely ahistorical position, and one nobody but confused, fringe whackjobs like Scott Brown are making now. Under the tribunal system, these guys still get a lawyer, and probably sooner than under the civilian system.

              What do you want? Anyone who looks swarthy enough to be a terrorist we take out back and shoot? How does that accomplish anything?

              1. Do you look swarthy, Tony? Be careful how you answer that.

              2. Tony countries have been hanging unlawful combatants on the spot for 100s of years. Indeed, that is why we have Article 5 tribunals under the Conventions; so that we can determine if someone is entitled EPW status. If they are not, nothing under international law says you cannot hang them or do whatever for their crimes.

                Further, the US used military commissions to try German saboteurs caught on US soil. They didn’t get protections under the Constitution. Neither did Yamasta for that matter. It is clear and established law that the US can conduct military tribunals outside of the normal judicial system.

                Now run along and STFU occasionally and try to learn something. I don’t have time to keep giving you legal and history lessons.

              3. “What do you want? Anyone who looks swarthy enough to be a terrorist we take out back and shoot? How does that accomplish anything?” We are at war with those who want to kill us and destroy our country. It gets rid of one more Islamic Terrorist wearing enough explosives in his underwear to kill over 200 of our citizens. Now were are paying for his defense? This is just plain stupid.

                1. What’s stupid is that we’re paying the much higher costs of fighting a war that will do nothing to prevent terrorism.

                  We are not “at war” with nonstate terrorist groups. That doesn’t even make any sense, no matter how many times torture loving neocons repeat it.

                  If this is a war, it’s a war of attrition, and Al Qaeda is winning. The very thing Osama bin Laden SAID HE WANTED was for the US to respond to attacks by massive military spending and suspension of the rule of law, you know, those things countries do when they’re terrified.

                  1. If Thomas Jefferson thought it made sense to be at war with the nonstate terrorist groups of his day, it’s good enough for me.

          2. “How pragmatic of you. Scrap an actual, foundational aspect of American liberty: the rights of the accused, in order to keep more money in rich people’s pockets, which is what you mean by economic freedom.”

            Hmmm, I never advocated taking away the rights of the accused. Brown will stop a massive intervention by the government, but he won’t be able to legalize terror either…

            What I mean be economic freedom is allowing EVERYONE to keep ALL their money in their pockets, or wherever else they wish to place their money.

            1. Fuck: “Brown will stop a massive intervention by the government, but he won’t be able to legalize [torture] either…”

    6. Right now the 12-25 bomber is sitting comfortably in jail talking to no one after he lawyered up. But before he did that he told us there were more like him in Yemen. But we will never know what he knows thanks to our new kinder gentler terror policy.

      Either al-Qaeda is a terrifying existential threat to our civilization that justifies onerous restrictions on civil liberties, or they’re a bunch of incompetent dumbasses. You can’t have it both ways.

      The odds against aQ being stupid enough to let an underwear bomber have sensitive operational knowledge are astronomical. Not worth giving the government the authority to lock someone up indefinitely on their honor.

      1. False Dilemma fallacy. How many thousands does al Qaeda have to kill before they’re considered a serious threat? If they get a nuke they could kill millions. As for an “existential” threat, one could argue that neither Imperial Japan nor Nazi Germany were existential threats to us, because neither could ever have invaded and conquered the U.S.

        Also, the fact that some al Qaeda attacks have been incompetent doesn’t really prove anything. In WWII, all sides did some staggeringly incompetent things, as well as some very clever and competent things.

        I am leery of the slippery slope argument regarding terrorists. I find it hard to believe that if we let the authorities interrogate terrorists in ways we don’t allow police to do, that this somehow leads to political activists being tortured or whatever.

  2. I’m with Matt. I voted for Brown because of his stance on Obamacare, my logic was that Senators can do little to affect Foreign Policy also when it came down to it Coakley had the some problems with the rule of law issues as well (Amirault case). The people we have in custody are either suspected criminals or prisoners of war. I don’t believe I can support a third option for a variety of reasons.

  3. doesn’t glenn reynolds eat puppies?

    1. Only if there are no fresh babies available.

    2. It was good enough for Injuns.

    3. He did, but then his blender broke and he hasn’t found a suitable replacement at Amazon yet . . .

  4. Dispense with the rule of law and you ultimately get Chavez or Arpaio.

    1. In other words, you get the rule of maw.

  5. I don’t think they are constitutionally protected to get trials. The Constitution states everyone under U.S. jurisdiction is subject to it. These guys were picked up outside of the U.S. on a foreign battle field outside our jurisdiction, but not uniformed either so Geneva Convention protections don’t apply, like spies. They have chosen to fight outside of conventional warfare agreements so return the favor. Put them back on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan and then engage the enemy. “They’re coming right for us!” Boom.

    1. If only the Constitution was a libertarian manifesto…

    2. Translation: I say they are enemy combatants so they get no trial to prove that they are not enemy combatants.

      Also, they are under US jurisdiction because they are being held and imprisoned by the US. Frankly, if we didn’t want to try him we should have handed him over to the Saudis for beheading. But since we kept him now we have to try him.

    3. The Undiebomber was taken into custody within US jurisdiction. So, nice try.

  6. My man, Thomas Sowell, has a good series of columns on the Repulbifucks and their future.

    Brown made a comment indicative of the erroneous disillusioned attitude of Congresspersons: “people want us (Congressional overlords) to solve their problems.” Hopefully, it was a political response. Bureaucrats would be well-served by simply trying to repeal the damaging legislation they have already inflicted on the country, well-intentioned or otherwise.

    Despite polling and obvious public sentiment, Chris Matthews (and Colin Powell) think citizens want “more governemt.” Government, that is, with the proven practical efficacy of “hope and change” rhetoric. Bush was Obama’s most effective vehicle to election. The Obama Administration has returned the favor to the Republicans.

    Libertarians have an opportunity to get elected on the Republican ticket. There are a great deal of libertarians out there – they just don’t know what one is or don’t identify as such. Most people, under the age of forty, don’t give a flying rat’s fat ass about the gay dudes down the street getting married, Roe v. Wade, or the Mexicans that do pretty good construction work and provide the finest service you can get in any restaurant. And the idea that we couldn’t elect a black president is simply presposterous. What hits home with most voter’s is their ability to earn enough money to watch American Idol on their iphone while legally smoking a joint after returning home from a j o b.

    If we could only send our executive and legislative branches of government to “solve problems” elsewhere for a while (Mars), then the country could evolve and prosper all by itself. Ah fuck, then Mars would be all fucked up! The best part of 09 was when those assholes were on break, i.e. not breaking anything.

    1. Try getting your mythical libertarian nominated in the GOP while not taking clear positions on abortion or mexicans.

      Once nominated, he may be able to sell the idea that we need smaller government in an abstract sense, but see how far he gets telling people cuts in their social security and medicare will actually be good for them.

      1. When Obama was running, what were his “clear positions on abortion or mexicans”?

        1. The answer to that is above my paygrade.

        2. I was talking about getting a candidate through the GOP primary, where those things matter. I don’t buy the idea that the GOP base will suddenly give up their inflexible litmus tests on their pet issues at the very time the GOP has shrunk to include only its base.

          1. The GOP. That’s the point. People don’t identify with the “GOP.” They identify and/or are identifying with the ineptitude of government and the expansion of it affecting their lives negatively. Abortion is one of those issues that will probably always be 1:1 split ratio. Scott Brown’s position is pretty mainstream. Did he win? This issue is easily skirted by deferring to states’ rights, as is gay marriage. Immigration – easy to skirt, “we should enforce our laws.” Done. The ecomomy trumps all of these issues. Social issues will work themselves out naturally. Destroying people’s capacity to earn a living will not. Hey, maybe some libertarian can run under a Democratic ticket. No one who has any sense will touch a Dem ticket this Fall.

            At this point, progressives/liberals are fucking delusional. I’ll tell you one thing, Lil’ T, fo’ sho – global warming i.e. cap-and-tax will be cancerous this Fall! Word!

            1. “shrunk its base” Wtf? Most people identify themselves as conservatives. I agree with pundits on this one: when Republicans act like Dems, they end up on the short end of the hockey stick!

            2. Try not to drool so much when you make the claim that absolutely necessary legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be politically harmful to its proponents. Anyone with an adequate understanding of the costs of climate change would find this situation horrifying rather than a reason for glee.

              1. Anyone with an adequate understanding of the costs of climate change would find this situation horrifying rather than a reason for glee.

                Anyone with an adequate understanding of the costs of climate change legislation would find this situation horrifying!

                ftfy

      2. There are plenty of libertarians who oppose abortion and oppose uncontrolled immigration. See Ron Paul.

    2. “the Mexicans that do pretty good construction work and provide the finest service you can get in any restaurant.”

      I’ll put Ecuadorans up against them any day.

      1. Alright, dude. Hispanic workers? Most brown skin brothers I know are from Columbia or from southern Mexico. Personally, being a white devil, I prefer black dudes at work. Despite the sissy pc world presented by the media, there is nothing better than racial humor! It’s no different than the banter between men and women. Are you gonna tell me Ecuadorans have a better sense of humor than black dudes? I don’t think so!

  7. Love the Trek Wars title!

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