Republican Party

Peter Schiff Losing GOP Senate Primary In Connecticut


Peter Schiff, a GOP Senate candidate who did a lot of outreach to libertarians and was definitely sharp on monetary policy and spending issues (though his foreign policy pronouncements griped many a libertarian's gut), is getting crushed by two opponents in today's primary.

Tim Cavanaugh blogged a great Schiff peroration on the death of the dollar. Matt Welch talks to Schiff for about predicting the last collapse, and the next one:

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  1. Yeah, but he collected lots of cash, which I think was his entire rationale.

    1. he spent a lot of his own money (matching dollar for dollar at times) on the endeavor.

    2. He will be returning recent donations. He has tens of millions of his own. Why would he want to swindle a paltry 3 million from supporters. Ad hominem much?

    3. He makes far more money running his business than running for office. Fuck you for the smear.


      1. +1

    4. Uhm, yeah dude. I’m sure he kept all the money, and the television and radio ads, mailers, call centers, etc were totally free.

      This race COST him a million.

  2. I would have given the guy money if he had shown me he was going to run a competent campaign. But clearly he either had no desire to do so or didn’t know what he was doing.

    1. Agreed. I threw him five bucks early on just to say “I’ll step up if you do”. He didn’t.

      He may have predicted the housing bubble, but he lives in an ego bubble.

      1. Well it’s good he lost then because you certainly wouldn’t want that sort of thing in a U.S. senator.

        1. Agreed. Warren has all those other potential libertarian senators between which to pick.

  3. I don’t think anything he did could have done would have made any difference once Linda McMahon entered the race with the support she had from the powers that be in Conn.

    I’m above politics and campaigns now. Does that make me better than other people? Of course it does…

    But I was pullin’ for Peter Schiff.

    He was right when everyone else was wrong. So, I’m guessin’ that ring he’s hearing right about now is probably Ron Paul on the phone. I hope he picks it up.

    I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of Peter Schiff.

    1. I hope you are right. I wish he had run for congress instead.

      1. He did run for Congress.

        He just ran for the part of Congress that’s called “the Senate.”

        1. My sarcasm detector fizzles out after 2.

          1. I get it. And I like sarcasm. 🙂 I guess I was just hoping that he would run for an office that he could realistically win. He would have blown away a house seat in the right district and be useful there. But then he was not running to become a politician but to cause trouble. Which, if he got into the senate would have probably been a good thing.

    2. Well, but he was also wrong when Mish was right. Don’t worry, Schiff is right in the long run. Mish honestly thinks the US will default. I give it a 1 in 10 shot of happening, but unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to hedge that bet.

      1. Actually, there’s no question of whether the United States will default.

        The real question is whether the United States will default honestly?that is, declaring that it will not repay its creditors?or default dishonestly, by using the printing press to repay creditors.

        Defaulting honestly would mean the government couldn’t run budget deficits?after all, no one wants to lend money to a person who just declared bankruptcy. That means that virtually all government programs (Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, etc.) would collapse, and the size and scope of government would shrink dramatically.

        That’s why I’m with Marc Faber and Peter Schiff on this one: I don’t think the government will able to stomach defaulting honestly. Rather, they’ll turn to the siren song of the printing press. They’ll have the hubris to believe they can print their way out of debt and still keep the inflation genie in his bottle. But when severe inflation (or hyperinflation) starts, they won’t be able to contain it.

        But who knows… if Ron Paul is our next President, I actually could see the United States defaulting honestly. We’re just going to have to wait and see how it all plays out.

        All we really know is that we’re in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride…

  4. That’s a shame. Without some favorable monetary policy, our military policy will run out of gas with the dollar. Ah fuck it. Let’s welcome another Pro Wrestling veteran into the ring.

    1. I’m here to chew bubblegum and cut worthless government “services”, and I’m all out of bubblegum.

  5. If Schiff would have just gotten funky like Kim Jong Il, he might have won

    1. “He’s a bad motherfucker.”
      “Shut your mouth!”
      “I’m just talkin’ about Kim!”
      “Then I can dig it.”

  6. Oh, well.

  7. I’m an acquaintance of Peter, and consider him to have done well with things so heavily against him.

    1. Do you think he plans to run for anything else ever?

      1. I was a little surprised, but certainly not shocked, that he ran. I’ve no idea about his plans. I haven’t seen him in a while, used to see him at the Junto, which I haven’t been to in a while.

    2. Getting to 22% against the McMahon juggernaut was actually really impressive. I think he really suffered from being stigmatised as the ‘libertarian spoiler’ candidate.

  8. American Voters are like an abused wife! Black and blue, bloody lip, they DEFEND their accuser and go back for more! Same old with McMahon. Az ready to re-elect McCain, etc. Oh, Well. FOR THE RECORD… SCHIFF WAS BARRED FROM ALMOST ALL MEDIA!!! FOX news! Nightline!! etc..!! Do NOT put down Schiff for a bad campaign when the SYSTEM simply keeps you out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Needs more caps and !!!

      Have you considered BOLD?

      1. Italics would have been a nice touch!

      2. Not ‘conspiracy-theorist-ey’ enough without some ones within the stream of explanation points: !!!11!!!11

    2. How did Rand Paul win his primary then? (Maybe a bad example after the AP story tonight…)

      1. Rand Paul ran as a conservative in Kentucky. A different ball game. I thought he would lose too, early on.

      2. He distanced himself from libertarianism.

  9. He should have run for Congress instead.

    1. That wouldn’t change the fact that anyone with a reality-based campaign won’t win, because reality isn’t terribly popular when it conflicts with the federal gravy train.

      Choo choo!

      1. What’s that? Bandits up the line? Oh no!

  10. Schiff’s wife is HOT etc.! so IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT HE DIDN’T WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The damn SYSTEM is NOT heterosexual ENOUGH!

    1. BOLD tHAT’S WHAT i’M TALKIN’ ABOUT… See how much better THINGS GO WITH BOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. More ones!!!1!!1!1one!1!

  11. While not a resident of Connecticut, I volunteered for Schiff’s campaign by phone banking for him, so I have some insight into his campaign.

    When McMahon entered the race?and pledged to spend $50 million of her own money?that essentially precluded any chance of the Republican party backing Schiff. McMahon’s primary victory today means that either the Democrats will need to throw millions and millions at Blumenthal to help him compete against her in the general election (thereby hindering their ability to assist Democratic candidates in close races elsewhere), or they will have to leave Blumenthal out to dry and thus risk conceding the Senate seat. But since the Democrats will be loathe to concede a Senate seat without a fight in a state that traditionally leans Democratic, they will opt for the former.

    And really, that’s all the Republican party wants. They couldn’t have cared less about which primary candidate among Schiff, McMahon, or Simmons stood the best chance against Blumenthal in the general election; they wanted McMahon to win the primary just to use her as a tool to bleed the Democrats. If she actually manages to win the seat, that will just be a nice added bonus.

    That being said…

    The total lack of Republican support notwithstanding, Schiff made a decent run at it. But I think he overestimated how much of his Internet popularity came from people within Connecticut, and he overestimated the time and attention to detail that running a campaign requires.

    For example: Schiff’s campaign registered, but didn’t register any of the common misspellings, which were then immediately cybersquatted. For someone who uses the Internet as extensively as Schiff (e.g., he has his own YouTube channel), that’s an unforgivable gaffe, and it made it extremely difficult to give people Schiff’s campaign web site over the phone. (I had to make sure they had it spelled exactly right, or else they’d land on one of the squatted sites.)

    The phone banking system the campaign used (“Cloud Call Center”, by CallFire) worked ok for the most part, but there was also lots of room for improvement. For example, the system made you sit there and listen to Muzak while it dialed numbers in serial. It would only connect you to a call if it detected a human speaking (e.g., “Hello?”) on the other end?but it always took it a second or so to make that determination. Thus, every single person I spoke to experienced that brief delay after you say “Hello?” and before the caller starts speaking, which is a dead give-away that the caller is a telemarketer of some flavor.

    I still can’t fathom any sane reason why Schiff’s campaign configured their CallFire account that way. I’m sure the auto-voice-recognition feature was some variant of the “MachineSkip” feature described on the CallFire web page?which is entirely optional. Rather than sitting there listening to Muzak while it called, it could’ve conferenced me into each call as soon as it started dialing, which would’ve permitted me to start talking immediately after the person answered.

    The campaign also didn’t give much guidance on using the system. For example, clicking the “SmartDrop” button would leave a prerecorded voicemail message (and immediately move on to the next number); volunteers were told to use the feature whenever the “person” who answered a call was actually an answering machine or a voicemail box. But since the prerecorded message was generic (out of necessity), it was indistinguishable from a robocall to the receiver?and multiple people told me how much they HATED receiving robocalls.

    What the campaign should have told the volunteers to do was to prefix each “SmartDrop” with a personalized introduction; e.g.: “My name is Bob and I’m a volunteer with the Peter Schiff for U.S. Senate campaign. I have a message for John Smith from Peter Schiff. Thanks so much for your time.” Then click “SmartDrop” to leave the pre-recorded message and move to the next call.

    I debated taking the time to explain that idea to the campaign, but ultimately didn’t bother, as they didn’t act upon any previous suggestions I sent them. (For example: people were asking me biographical questions about Peter Schiff that I couldn’t answer, so I suggested that they provide a “bio” link on the campaign web page. They never did.)

    If the Republicans had backed Schiff instead of McMahon, I think they might have been able to help him avoid neophyte mistakes like this. But alas, McMahon’s millions were the deciding factor.

    I don’t regret the time I donated to Schiff’s campaign. While I’m sure he’ll go back to giving people good financial advice in the meantime, who knows… my “dream ticket” for the 2012 Presidential election would be Ron Paul and Peter Schiff.

    1. Well written post. I had many of the same impressions

      I would add (and I say this as a big fan of the guy): He either is a thoroughly pompous jackass or has no idea how pompous he appears to potential voters. His attitude is non-stop blitz, insult, sarcasm, derogate, and pound the table. Personally, I find it enjoyable. Soccer moms in New Haven – unlikely to be impressed.

      I really think he has no idea how he comes across to the general public: as “condescending rich guy”, and its a crime that his campaign failed to teach him to reign in his constant aggression. This deficiency was stunning to me, because he’s a pleasant looking man who is capable of mustering a pleasant demeanor, and is clearly able to competently interact with the world-at-large, unlike so many other libertarian candidates.

      1. I think you’re being overly harsh.

        True, Schiff does occasionally come across as heavy-handed during some of his YouTube videos. But I saw videos of him on the campaign trail, and I thought it was clear he was trying to use a softer tone.

        Again, if the Republican party would’ve supported him, I think they could have helped him with presentation issues. But alas, that was not to be…

    2. The kind of self-confidence required for the private sector (trial lawyers and CEOs excluded) rarely translates to campaigns, e.g. Paul appearing on Maddow. I think it’s because they haven’t ever needed to trust anyone the way a newbie politico must trust his staff. So inevitably they pay chump change to some quacks or kids because hey, anyone can buy signs and commercials. Got millions but no name? Bite the bullet and overpay to get the best manager, comm director, etc. I’d think those too arrogant/dumb to get that shouldn’t be in Congress, but you know…

  12. The NY Times story on the race actually mentioned him, as a “financier who predicted the financial meltdown.” You’d think that voters would want someone like that involved in making the decisions going forward, but then, the votes wanted Obama….

  13. Well, so it’s McMahon who is gonna get crushed in the general instead of Schiff, this being CT and all. I think McMahon might not be too awful on economic issues, having run a successful business selling a product people actually want to buy. You would think that would translate into some common sense about business legislation.

  14. McMahon will win because underestimating the judgment of voters is consistently impossible.

    67% of Nutmeggers disapprove of Lieberman, but McMahon will mirror him exactly:

    Mega-Hawk, check
    Social moderate, check
    Corporatist, check

  15. CE, the NY Times was ‘nice’ to Schiff because he had no chance of winning.

    The LA Times, NYTimes, WAPO etc. are only nice to Libertarians/Republicans/Anyone to the right of Mao is when they are politically dead.

    (See the LA Times fawning over Tom McClintock a few years back because they knew Ahhnold had the primary in a lock.)

    When the NY Times starts running puff pieces on Sarah Palin, well, then SP will as much impact on voting as currently does the inept Libertarian Party.

    Now if Peter Schiff was truly smart, he’d find a way to get on board with the Republican primary winner and start advancing libertarian ideas from within.

  16. Yeah, Schiff did a great job predicting the last collapse when he told his clients to hide out in commodities, gold, foreign stocks, and basically anything else besides the U.S. dollar, which spent 2008 rallying its merry tits off.

    He’s now moving his clients into Hong Kong stocks in a big way, and they’re going to meet with the same bad end.

    By the time deflationary debt destruction has proceeded far enough that hyperinflation becomes a real threat, all the hyperinflationists like Schiff (and almost all the other Austrians) will have lost all their credibility and no one will listen to them anymore.

    Schiff’s politics are great but unfortunately he’s making it really really easy for his critics. All Paul Krugman has to do is post the 10-year note yield on his blog every day to make Schiff look like a numbskull.

    1. Re: Graphite,

      Yeah, Schiff did a great job predicting the last collapse when he told his clients to hide out in commodities, gold, foreign stocks, and basically anything else besides the U.S. dollar, which spent 2008 rallying its merry tits off.

      You wish you had listened to him, don’t you? That’s why you’re lashing out, aren’t you?

      You poor, poor, poor deluded baby. Come here, come here! Cry on my shoulder! That’s it… let it aaaall go. Thaaaat’s it… There, there, there.

    2. Poppycock.

      While Schiff accurately predicted the popping of the housing bubble, that is not the main crisis that Schiff and other Austrian economists are predicting. The crisis that Schiff is predicting is a currency crisis.

      No government in recorded history has ever been able to spend its way to prosperity or borrow its way out of debt. As Ludwig von Mises (the father of Austrian economics) wrote:

      “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency involved.”

      Yes, the private sector is de-leveraging?now. But no one can predict when the currency crisis will arrive. It could be next month?or next year, or even the next decade. The problem is, by the time we’ll be able to clearly see the currency crisis coming, it will be too late to get out of the dollar, because millions of other people will be trying to do the exact same thing.

      That’s the scenario that Schiff is trying to avoid. His investment horizon is years, if not decades. Schiff isn’t chasing short-term returns, so if that’s your goal, of course you’re going to be disappointed with his advice.

      Example: Schiff spent the 2000s advising people to minimize their exposure to the artificially-inflated U.S. stock market in favor of other things, such as gold. Adjusted for inflation, the return of the U.S. stock market from 2000 to 2010 was 0%. Yup, zero. But gold went from $280 in 1990 (~$345 adjusted for inflation) to $1100 in 2010, which is a 200% ROI.

      (Of course, gold isn’t really an investment, as it doesn’t pay interest or dividends; it’s just a form of money that governments cannot devalue by printing more of it. Thus, the real reason to buy gold is simply to preserve your wealth, not seek a ROI.)

      Schiff was right about the housing bubble, and history on his side with respect to his prediction of a coming currency crisis. Krugman, in contrast, was the fool who wanted the Fed to create a housing bubble to “fix” the dot-com bubble.

      Who would you rather taken investment advice from?

      1. other Austrian economists are predicting

        See: MISH

        (who, by the way is also an austrian)

      2. other Austrian economists are predicting

        See: MISH

        (who, by the way is also an austrian)

  17. Duped again they are, in Connecticut! I smell a stinking rat named Joe Lieberman in this. Ripping out the corruption in Connecticut will take more than one election cycle. Peter Schiff should run again as soon as possible.

  18. I am sorta glad he didn’t win the primary. We need him much more as a political truth detector and commentator.

  19. I wonder why libertarians are so enthusiastic about no-hopers like Schiff while ignoring other libertarian Republicans who have a real shot at winning, like Charlie Baker – who’s running for governor here in MA.

    1. Governors have little influence outside of their own state, while U.S. Senators have a vast impact on all states at the federal level. Thus, Governor races attract far less attention from people in other states than do Senate races.

  20. In CT, there are 412,000 registered Republicans and 743,00 registered Dems. The largest group of voters are the 840,000 or so who are unaffiliated/other. Those people weren’t allowed to vote at all yesterday because of the closed primary law in CT. That couldn’t have been helpful to a candidate like Schiff. Meanwhile, the Hartford Courant scolds voters for not showing up at the polls without even mentioning this detail……..0441.story

    1. Actually as a result of a court decision that was reported on extensively at the time in Ballot Access News, Conn. election law leaves it up to parties’ by-laws as to who they allow to vote in their primaries. The Republicans at the time won that right so they could get primary votes from those with no party enrollment and thereby prevent conservatives from being nominated. So do you really think opening up the primary would have favored Peter?

    2. From the Courant piece:

      Ms. Bysiewicz had predicted turnout would be higher for this primary than in August 2006, when the contest between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont for U.S. Senate drew 43 percent of eligible voters

      …and turned out to be inconsequential, so can you blame voters for sitting out the primary now?

  21. I liked his ads. Especially kick.

  22. I think we already knew that libertarian ideas aren’t popular in America, so this isn’t exactly surprising

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  25. that’s really great news
    i never heard it before
    nice post
    look forward your new posts

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