Economics

Is the GOP an Echo or a Choice?

Republicans won't let principle stop them from losing.

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Establishment Democrats don't come much more established than Dianne Feinstein. The senior senator from California has been in public life since the early 1960s. As a former president of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors and former mayor, DiFi is as iconic of the City by the Bay as a cable car full of Rice-a-Roni. 

In the Senate, Feinstein embodies the lethal center, ever ready to vote for bipartisan boondoggles and back fellow big-government hornswogglers. You can find the patented Feinstein Yea on virtually every major expansion of government power in the last 10 years, including the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, Sarbanes-Oxley, the USA PATRIOT Act (and its subsequent reauthorizations), the 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (which created the notorious Troubled Asset Relief Program), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare), and Dodd-Frank. 

Feinstein's high-and-inside status would seem to be a liability in an age of growing anti-establishment sentiment. While the remnants of Occupy Wall Street complain about the perfidy of the 1 percent, the senator is said to be worth somewhere between $50 million and $100 million; her 2005 fiscal disclosure statement was, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "nearly the size of a phone book." Legistorm.com puts Feinstein's staff at more than 80 people with a payroll of more than $4 million a year—much larger and more expensive than most Senate staffs. In appearances, Feinstein tends to be surrounded by underlings like "a Gilbert and Sullivan monarch," as a Los Angeles Times colleague once described it to me.

Feinstein is increasingly out of step with the electorate. "I voted in support of this bill because I believe it remains our best chance at reforming our broken health care system," Feinstein said of her ObamaCare vote in 2009. That's a lot to walk back now that a solid majority of Americans want to repeal ObamaCare and more than 70 percent (according to a March ABC/Washington Post poll) believe the law's individual mandate is unconstitutional. 

You'd think Republicans would be champing at this particular bit, fielding highly compelling candidates in an effort to recapture one of the Senate's crown jewels. They are not, and their inaction illustrates why the opposition party is apt to squander its chance to capitalize on the unqualified disaster of President Barack Obama's first term in office. 

There are plenty of Republicans vying to run against Feinstein in November. Some of them are credible, amusing, or both. Among the candidates with some support from the party establishment, Los Angeles businessman Al Ramirez and San Diego hospital services entrepreneur Dan Hughes are both running on platforms of vigorous if selective deregulation and tax cutting.

The outsider candidates are even better. Surfing rabbi Nachum Shifren is rabidly anti-immigrant and exercised about the threat of Shariah law, but he espouses Tea Party–informed fiscal conservatism and has Herman Cain–like populist appeal. (And did I mention that he's a surfing rabbi?) Rick Williams, a blustery L.A. lawyer, self-described "Ron Paul guy," and devotee of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, challenges Feinstein on her militarism and her rotten civil liberties record. And say what you will about eccentric pundit Orly Taitz; if she wins, the world's greatest deliberative body will finally take on the all-important question of Kenyan birth certificates. 

But while I'd be happy to see Rick Williams take the brass ring, the GOP Senate candidate after the June primary is certainly going to be Elizabeth Emken, a Danville-based advocate for autism issues who has put together a slick campaign and won over party leadership. Emken is an affable politico, but the content of her campaign shows what's wrong with GOP ideology, or lack of it, both in California and nationwide. 

During the California GOP convention, I had a chance to ask Emken about DiFi's voting record, and how Emken's would have differed. She couldn't name a single big-government misstep of the Bush era—not TARP, not the PATRIOT Act, not any of the various war authorizations—where she would have voted differently from Feinstein. When I asked her to name her favorite economist, she cited Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer. When I asked why libertarians should vote for her, she said she was committed to more efficient government but declined to give specifics. 

Emken did have one nice divergence from the Republican mainstream. She said every item in the federal budget, even defense spending, should be "on the table" for cuts. That puts her ahead of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose ballyhooed austerity plan would actually restore $55 billion in defense spending slated to be cut under the "trigger" mandated by last year's debt ceiling deal. 

And that's the real problem. The California Republican Party, you may have heard, is close to extinction, barely holding on to a fraction of the electorate and a mere third of the state legislature. If a Golden State RINO who is hardly distinguishable from the sitting Democrat shows more fiscal responsibility than the party's leading budget hawk, something is seriously wrong. 

As this column was being written, Mitt Romney, who pioneered ObamaCare's individual mandate when he was governor of Massachusetts, was close to locking down the Republican presidential nomination. Despite the wealth of targets created by Obama's desolating presidency, the Republicans had managed to seize on nothing but dud issues: immigration (at a time when immigration is in sharp decline), pornography, and the strange claim that the president who ordered the assassination of Osama bin Laden, claims the authority to kill U.S. citizens, and agitates for war with Iran is insufficiently martial. A Quinnipiac poll taken in March showed Obama leading Romney by 50 percent to 42 percent. 

Why would a president who gave America vast unemployment, soaring inflation, a moribund economy, record deficits, and a manically ill-conceived energy policy be coasting toward re-election? For the same reason Dianne Feinstein (who, like Romney, generates little excitement in her base but is considered electable) is a lock. Republicans have spent so long in ideological hibernation that the only challengers they can field are clones of the Democratic incumbents. And who would choose a clone when you can buy the original?

Tim Cavanaugh is managing editor of reason online.

NEXT: TONIGHT! Doherty talking Ron Paul's rEVOLution at Book Soup on Sunset, Tuesday 7 p.m.

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  1. I thought the GOP was losing in CA because all the conservatives left?

    1. What they need to happen is have everyone who pays taxes leave, which is dwinding in number every year.

      1. So the feds will bail the state out? Then we leave one of our most beautiful, resource-rich states as a non-productive welfare state? We don’t need an American Greece.

  2. Where’s the photo of Tim as stern-faced hero of liberty? This photo of him as a cross-dressing Nixon impersonator is not doing it for me

    1. +1 million

  3. GOP – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

  4. Tim Cavanaugh on Why the GOP Is Losing

    The GOP is losing? Did I miss something else in the news this morning?

  5. Don’t know if I’d say Obama is exactly coasting to re-election, and Feinstein keeps winning because a)the power of the incumbancy and b)California is a leftist state overall.

    1. Traditional leftists at least care about civil liberties. DiFi could give a shit. She’s a big government centrist.

      1. Wait,…what?

      2. She’s a TEAM RUE statist, all right.

      3. If by “care” you mean “use as a wedge issue to get into power and then promptly forget about”, yeah.

  6. When I asked her to name her favorite economist, she cited Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.

    That’s almost a koan.

    1. The K-Hammer!

  7. The GOP is winning. What are you talking about.

    Many progressive-leaning libertarians as well as many liberals, including myself, are voting for Gary Johnson. That is, effectively, a vote for Mitt Romney.

    Many progressives are not voting at all. Many libertarians are not voting at all. So only the wingnuts are voting for either obama or mitt. Mitt is gonna win.

    1. progressive-leaning libertarians

      Serious question Alice, but what is a progressive-leaning libertarian?

        1. what is a progressive-leaning libertarian?

          I’ll stick with “someone who doesn’t understand libertarianism”.

          1. How about someone who sees corporate influence as the primary problem, and recognizes the existence of corporations as government meddling in the economy?

            I might sympathize with libertarians on civil liberties issues, and with the Proprietist on corporate issues, but I also think the government has a vital role in moderating wealth inequality.

            1. Serious question: Why is wealth inequality a bad thing?

              1. It’s a theme which runs on for some time in the Spirit of Laws, by Montesquieu.

                It’s totally inappropriate for a direct democracy, he says, and needs to be kept in check in an electoral democracy.

                http://www.constitution.org/cm/sol_05.htm#008

                The above link is Montesquieu is arguing that wealth inequality undermines virtue.

                The next link is modern science proving it:

                http://www.pnas.org/content/ea…..3109.short

            2. someone who sees corporate influence as the primary problem, and recognizes the existence of corporations as government meddling in the economy?

              So you are for smaller government as this avoids regulatory capture? I don’t know that that is progressive as many libertarians would agree with you that the gov needs to be reigned in.

              1. I am saying one of two things, only one which is at all palatable to the modern world.

                Corporations shouldn’t exist because they inherently drive immoral behavior, and are also creations of government.

                http://cje.oxfordjournals.org/…..5/837.full

                Or, much more reasonably, if churches can be restrained from engaging in politics because they are given a grant of tax free status, corporations can be restrained from engaging in politics because they are given limited liability status.

                1. Corporations shouldn’t exist because they inherently drive immoral behavior, and are also creations of government.

                  It’s kinda cute that you can make this statement with a straight face without taking your own argument up to its logical conclusion.

                  If corporations are the root of all evil, and corporations are a creation of the government, then government is….

                  The root of all righteousness and salvation?

                  Because wealth and power earned by providing goods and services to others is inherently immoral. But wealth confiscated from others and power earned at the point of a gun is inherently moral and altruistic.

                  This is why people with a brain don’t take you seriously.

                  1. OK, dumbass, I’ll try to go slowly, so I don’t lose you.

                    I never said wealth and power earned by providing goods and services is inherently immoral (strawman). I said that corporations encourage immorality. Can you, with your tiny little brain, differentiate between CORPORATE ENTERPRISE and INDIVIDUAL ENTERPRISE? Classical Liberals sure could, and they were against corporations and for individual (and partner) firms.

                    As for your first completely retarded contention, you fucking asshat (forcing me to waste my time dealing with pigheaded fools such as yourself) the existence of the corporation, it can easily be argued, was a novel, early form of regulatory capture. A bunch of people who wanted to make money, but take no risk, a bunch of people who wanted to be sleeping partners, in other words, a bunch of lazy, greedy people, convinced the parliaments to enact free incorporation (incorporation without an Act of Congress). As it currently exists, clearly, it was a mistake. Mistakes have been made, and, again, will be made in the future.

                    Now shut up, and let people with far more intelligence and wisdom than yourself do the talking, ya fuckwit.

                    1. It doesn’t really matter how slow you go when you’re just frantically shouting ridiculous non-sequiturs interrupted randomly by some ad hominem to substitute for the merit your argument lacks on its own.

                      First of all, your exact words were:

                      Corporations shouldn’t exist because they inherently drive immoral behavior

                      You didn’t say that corporations encourage immorality. You said that they are inherently immoral (or inherently produce immoral behavior – a distinction without a difference). You followed that by pointing out that corporations are a creation of the state:

                      …and are also creations of government.

                      And yet it has never entered the esoteric recesses of your incomprehensibly-intelligent grey matter that perhaps the problem, as you have framed it (leaving aside any value judgment of the framing), was the state, and not the people who subsequently benefited from the collective use of capital with limited protection from personal liability.

                      (continued due to character limit)

                    2. A large part of your caricature of the modern corporate structure, of course, gets back to a problem we discussed weeks ago with you on here, which is that you have absolutely no idea how limited liability works. Indeed, you provided an example of limited liability abuse so egregiously erroneous and stupid that it would have gotten you bounced from “Introduction to business” at your local community college.

                      But leaving that aside, taking your argument at its own logic: the corporate form is inherently immoral. But the entity responsible for its creation is not. In fact, the state in your view is almost inherently moral, inasmuch as its expansion is necessary to contain the inherent immorality of the evil corporation… which the state itself created.

                      As I said before, this is why people with a brain don’t take you seriously.

                    3. …the existence of the corporation, it can easily be argued, was a novel, early form of regulatory capture.

                      The problem with your formulation of this argument, as I mentioned before, is that it is primarily based on your utter and complete ignorance of what constitutes limited liability. If limited liability meant that investors faced no risk of loss of capital and were immune from prosecution for criminal activities or torts, such regulatory preference would be egregious. Fortunately though, that’s not what limited liability means at all, and the protections of the corporate structure can really only be thought of as regulatory capture in contrast to a stateless society. In that sense, you’ve got something in common with the anarcho capitalists, but I doubt very much that’s what you intended.

                      Oh, also, fuck shit piss cunt cock asshole faggot motherfucker tits and balls. Intersperse those generously in the preceding. With that much weight behind me, I think I win this one. If not, insert your favorite racial epithet – that should put me over the top.

                    4. @PM It is you who are completely ignorant of limited liability. Corporate shareholders are 100% free of risk of prosecution for criminal activities or torts, and are limited in their risk of loss of capital to the amount they have invested. This is basic shit, and you, ignorant fuckwit, have been presented a peer-reviewed, published, academic source from Cambridge University which establishes it, and you’ve presented nothing in response.

                      Nothing, because you’ve got nothing.

                    5. @PM It is you who are completely ignorant of limited liability. Corporate shareholders are 100% free of risk of prosecution for criminal activities or torts, and are limited in their risk of loss of capital to the amount they have invested. This is basic shit, and you, ignorant fuckwit, have been presented a peer-reviewed, published, academic source from Cambridge University which establishes it, and you’ve presented nothing in response.

                      Nothing, because you’ve got nothing.

                    6. @PM Some idiots, such as yourself, can’t distinguish between something that drives something and something that is something.

                      You drive a car, that does not make you a car.

      1. I’ll let Alice answer for herself, but my interpretation of that would be a progressive who values other issues more than wealth redistribution. Most progressives, whether they admit it or not, are 80% wealth redistribution and 20% everything else. They would never in a million years even think of voting for Gary Johnson even though he likely agrees with them completely on the 20%.

      2. Serious question Alice, but what is a progressive-leaning libertarian?

        Considering the history of progressives I would say it is a libertarian that supports Jim Crow and Eugenics.

        1. Wow, you really are showing your amazing ignorance today, aren’t you?

          There were three progressive parties. Roosevelt’s, La Follette’s, and Wallace’s. All three were anti-racist.

          And that’s Henry Wallace, not George Wallace, not that I expect you to know either name.

          1. True, the progressive parties were strongly morally opposed to the ugly and disgusting policies of racism.

            Because institutionally killing and/or sterilizing “defectives” and “degenerates” is both ethically and morally superior to the hideousness of hating people because of their skin color…

            Some day we will realize that the prime duty, the inescapable duty of the good citizens of the right type is to leave his or her blood behind him in the world; and that we have no business to permit the perpetuation of citizens of the wrong type. The great problem of civilization is to secure a relative increase of the valuable as compared with the less valuable or noxious elements in the population

            And that’s Theodore Roosevelt. You seem plenty well acquainted with him already.

            1. So, 1 of 3 Progressive movements supports eugenics, and 0 of 3 support racism, and I’m the one who is wrong, not the ignoramus who wrote:

              “Considering the history of progressives I would say it is a libertarian that supports Jim Crow and Eugenics.”

              Way to stay on an even keel, keep the bubble level, and play fair.

              1. La Follette’s Wisconsin Idea helped provide the underpinning for the first sterilization laws in his state, which were widely supported by biologists and psychologists of the day. Although it took until after he had left the governor’s mansion for the US senate before the law finally passed, he never opposed it. So you could probably put La Follette in the eugenics column as well. Wallace opposed it. But those three examples notwithstanding, eugenics was widely popular in the American Progressive movement until after WWII when the Holocaust made it kind of a bummer in terms of public opinion. And it was often motivated by racism — Sanger’s birth control and sterilization support, for example.

                Also, Teddy Roosevelt certainly had racist inclinations. His justification for American imperialism was rooted in no small part in the racial superiority theories prevalent at the time, as seen in these essays.

                “Nineteenth-century democracy needs no more complete vindication for its existence than the fact that it has kept for the white race the best portions of the new world’s surface.”

                To pretend that eugenics or racism were absent or even minority positions in the American Progressive movement is to (if you’ll forgive the term) whitewash history quite a bit.

  8. Whether they are losing is irrelevant. They deserve to lose. Some of the smartest and heaviest-hitters in libertaranism support or did support the Republican Party, giving it the majority of its successful talking points, and the GOP has taken this intellectual goodwill and cache and squandered it on “family values” bullshit and war, war, war. Fuck them.

    1. Man, I hope that Mitt Romney wins just so I can get my Republican-hate back on. Mendacious liberals are a lot less fun than hypocritical Republicans.

      1. I want Romney to win so that I can see how FoxNews changes — then they will tolerate big government programs, playing too much golf, doing celebrity fund raisers because after all the president has to raise money to fight the forces of evil. Or at best they will criticize some of his big government programs, but more timidly.

  9. Well, there’s several other factors to condider here. One is that even the GOP party faithful are fed up with republicans telling them they are for limited government and then doing the oppisite when elected. Probably a larger factor is the media. The media crucifies any candidate who is not a statist. There made out to be kooks or heartless Rich “Uncle” Pennybags, Darwinian capitalist. Take any prgram slated to get an increase of 10% next year and suggest that maybe it could get by on a 9 1/2% increase. If it’s a social program, howls of widows and orphans being sacrificed to the Gods of Greed will bellow out on front pages across America. If it’s Defense, well then the Terrorist cave dwellers will surely win and impose Sharia law on us all. You can’t completely blame the media when you have a public so ignotent or WTF is going on that they buy all of this hook, line, and sinker.

    1. Still, though, a true statesman gets out there and sells his vision and changes the game. The GOP just sells out.

      1. I agree. However, it is a lot harder to sell, and even get anything done when you have the entire media and popular culture hostile to you. Look at Bush’s attempt to reform social security. This is a program everyone admits needs tweaked at the very least, yet he could get zero traction on this even before the market tanked. Not even a counter proposal. It was because the left owns the media.

        1. That’s a culture problem. GWB did a valuable service taking a beating over Social Security like he did, because most people who talk serious Fiscal Policy acknowledge that some kind of reform is not only right but inevitable. GWB took the shock out of the Third Rail. The “Bowles-Simpson” plan came out of a Presidential Commission. I grant you still that it didn’t get anywhere, but it doesn’t seem to have had electoral repercussions to speak of.

          1. That was actually the one time I was truly impressed with something the Bush administration did. Took some balls to even try to take on SS. Naturally, the left, the media, and even other Republicans, all knowing perfectly well that there was (and is) a looming disaster, pretended otherwise with great force.

            There’s a fine line between stupid and evil.

            1. It’s arguably the most important thing he did. I know that SS Reform is not super-popular, but it is going to be. Younger people who are now entering the workforce know that SS is screwed, and frankly Bush should get a lot of credit for moving the ball forward in terms of talking about it.

              1. Admittedly, having GWB be the spokesmen for that cause probably did more long term harm than good. /sadface

              2. Social Security was in worse straits in 1983.

                Modifications to the program, without any attempt to privatize it, worked then.

          2. GWB took the shock out of the Third Rail.

            Um, what? He DEMONSTRATED the shock of the Third Rail. His administration never had the initiative on domestic policy again after that, he was reduced to cowtowing to Dems with immigration reform and TARP.

            1. Do you know what “taking the shock” means, Tulpa? Did you even bother reading anything else I wrote?

              This is uncharacteristic stupidity on your part. Lemme help you out: maybe I should have said “absorbed the shock”. Does that help any?

              1. How about ‘fried by the shock’?

    2. You think those in the media are smarter than the average citizen?

      1. I think they’ve been more brainwashed in journalism school (ie yellow journalism, pro-progressive, anti-capitalism ie robber baron economics, white guilt, etc, etc) than the average citizen.

  10. This is what happens when you only run incompetent lawyers against incompetent lawyers. There’s no product differentiation.

    1. Very true. I have no reason to vote for Romney other than he’s not Obama. The only thing that even motivates me to go to the poll at all is people like that NC school teacher who told her students they could go to jail for criticizing Obama. If I can make someone like her cry on election day, it’s worth the 15 minutes of my time.

      1. Vote Johnson.

        1. This comment pisses me off to no end. You’ll pull a lever for Romney simply because he’s not Obama? Have some principles and vote your conscience. Johnson – he’s even polling fairly well.

          1. See I’m already making people cry and the elections over 5 months away.

            1. Well played, sir.

            2. Johnson also fits your single criterium of not being Obama.

  11. Diane Feinstein maybe the best example you could have used Tim. This is someone who is dumber than a box of rocks, seriously dumber than a box of rocks. Yet, she is a media sweetheart and one of the most powerful women in the US. How? Why? WTF?

    1. Because California, collectively speaking, is a big dunderhead.

    2. My box of rocks is offended by that comment. However, he felt better when I mentioned that the people who serial-elect her have to work at being dumber.

  12. Well, I suspect that the GOP will take the White House and the Senate in November. And retain the House. Not losing. I don’t get the “coasting” remark–Obama is very unlikely to get reelected.

    To Tim’s point, of course, the GOP probably would do better and not just eke out occasional wins for not being Democrats if they, in practice, actually were distinguishable from the Democrats.

    1. Wait till he dumps the entire SPR into the oil market in October and the price of gas drops 25 cents.

      1. Wait till he dumps the entire SPR into the oil market in October and the price of gas drops 25 cents.

        Can’t do it, physically impossible as the max drawdown is 4.4 million barrels per day. The SPR has 727 million barrels in it.

        1. Adding more outlet pipes sounds like a shovel ready jobs program to me.

        2. *as of May 18, 2012, 695.9 million barrels*

    2. The early Electorial College analysis I’ve seen is not encouraging of an Obama loss.

      Here’s one. Others I’ve seen are similar.

      http://www.theblaze.com/storie…..und-state/

      1. No way BO takes NC, SC, MO.

      2. I’m convinced that Obama is polling higher than he should (and still too low for an incumbent to expect reelection) because of the race issue. Some people are uncomfortable admitting to others that they don’t like the man and his policies, because they don’t want to appear racist. In the voting booth, that problem goes away. Nobody with any sense wants this administration to continue. Well, except for those employed by the administration, I guess. Maybe.

        1. Fox News and gun manufacturers definitely want it to continue.

        2. Unions and the media and popular culture figures (musicians, actors, actors, comedians, atheletes) and 99% of the Black population and a large majority of the Hspanic population and college students as well as the acedemia.

          1. Sure. That’s not enough to win. Obama had to grab a lot more than that to beat McCain, all while being the perfect empty vessel into which all of your hopes and dreams could be poured into. That vessel has sailed.

            1. It’s not so much there actual votes as it is their influence on the average clueless schmuck.

              1. I think the subtle, yet continuous, pressure of the economy, coupled with vague feelings of concern about whether the mess in Europe might happen here (not that many understand that), will have greater influence on the non-true believers than whatever celebrities, etc. say.

                The media lost any hope of neutrality long ago, so I’m not sure how much real influence they have anymore.

                1. concern about whether the mess in Europe might happen here

                  You mean austerity?

                  Because that’s what the cause of mess in Europe is going to be, according to the MSM and Obamarrhoid organizers.

                  1. That’s the narrative, but it flies so much in the face of common sense that I don’t think it will work. Not with the people still paying taxes, anyway.

            2. That vessel has sailedsunk.

              1. True. Too many hopes and dreams were crammed into it.

        3. I’m convinced that Obama is polling higher than he should (and still too low for an incumbent to expect reelection) because of the race issue. Some people are uncomfortable admitting to others that they don’t like the man and his policies, because they don’t want to appear racist. In the voting booth, that problem goes away.

          You do realize that’s exactly what numerous Republican strategists were insisting was the case right through Election Day 2008?

          1. Obama was the incumbent in 2008? Really, did I miss this?

            If you going to just drop by, could you please not leave a deposit of stupid?

          2. Whatever they may or may not have thought, the situation is insanely worse for the Democrats now. Obama is no longer a cipher and has several very heavy anchors around his neck.

      3. Rove? The dumbfuck jackass statist that predicted a permanent republican majority eight years ago?

        Stop listening to that fucking idiot.

    3. You may be right about the House and Senate, but the electoral map looks to be very much in Obama’s favor at this point. I don’t think the poor economy is hurting Obama as much as everyone thinks it is. I think we may have reached a point that the poor economy is helping him. People are voting for Obama because they believe he’ll extend/expand the unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other welfare programs.

      To them, the debt and deficit are just Republican conspiracies designed to hurt the poor.

      1. Judging from the yapping I’ve seen on Facebook about GOP efforts to avoid raising the debt ceiling, this is certainly true.

        Because when you’ve got no job and you’ve run your credit cards out to the stops, the thing to do is demand a higher limit.

  13. I’m pretty confident that The Obama will get a second term, but it will be a much closer election than ’08. Not Gore-Bush close, but close. I’ll go ahead and say both legislative houses will go GOP. And that there will be no gridlock because they’re all the same spendthrifts anyway.

    1. No way BO wins IN and NC, let’s put it that way.

      1. His advantage in the south is the black vote. Granted, the black vote has routinely been a democratic lock, but the turnout has always been abysmal. The black turnout for Obama will be massive and may swing states in the south/near-south that were previously considered GOP gimmes.

    2. Please let there be another 2000 Supreme Court decision with CHADs and old stupid people in The Villages. I need some entertainment, dammit, and there’s nothing more entertaining than political butthurt from both sides of the aisle.

      1. Given the race dynamic and the latest tensions what with Trayvon and flash mobs and the like, such an event could easily incite a full fledged race-riot/war in this country.

      2. The old people who live in The Villages are predominantly Republican.

        It’s the one’s in South Florida (particularly Palm Beach and Broward counties) that lean Democrat.

    3. Kristen,

      You need to get out of Washington. Obama is going to lose. I would put his chances at around 40% right now. No way does he win IN and NC again. I doubt he wins Wisconsin or Virginia. Take away the historic black turnout, something unlikely to happen again, and he might not have won in 2008 letalone now.

      1. It shouldn’t be hard to get Zimmerman’s charges dismissed on Nov. 1.

      2. We shall see, eh? I wouldn’t be displeased tobe wrong, except for the fact that Mittens will be just as bad.

        1. He won’t be as bad. He won’t be good enough. But he won’t be as bad. Do you really think Romney will be sending guns to Mexican drug gangs to score points for gun control? Is it possible to have a worse cabinet than Sibilius, Napolitano, LaHood and Holder?

          I know it is what the cool kids say. But Romney wouldn’t be as Obama.

          1. I actually have to agree with your analysis for once, John. Mittens may not do much better overall, but he’s got to put together a better team than the collection of clown college rejects this administration pulled together.

            1. The problem is that I doubt he will be good enough to undo the damage Obama has done. And in failing to fix it, will manage to get himself and every non socialist in the world blamed for all of the problems.

              1. John – Didn’t you predict that there was little chance of Romney gettin’ this year’s GOP nomination for Prez?

                (I know he hasn’t won it yet).

                1. Yes I did Mongo. I didn’t think he would. But I also didn’t realize that Paulewnty would drop out and Daniels wouldn’t run. I didn’t think he would win it. No one gets every one right.

                  I also predicted in August of 09 that the Dems would be toast in the mid terms if they didn’t back off Obamacare. And I got that one right. And that was right in the middle of the common wisdom being that the Dems would rule forever.

          2. Nope. Just as bad. Not in exactly the same ways, which is kind of worse. Hell leave all of Obama’s abysmal policies in place and pile his own shit on top. Just like Obama piled his shit on Bush’s. It’s shit all the way down. And up.

            1. Gotta go with Kristen on this one.

    4. I would agree with your analysis Kristen.

  14. Why would a president who gave America vast unemployment, soaring inflation, a moribund economy, record deficits, and a manically ill-conceived energy policy be coasting toward re-election?

    Are you talking about 2012 or 2004?

    It has nothing to do with something being wrong with the GOP (though there is plenty of that), it has to do with a lazy, gullible electorate.

    1. We had vast unemployment in 2004? 5.5% is vast unemployment? A 4.4% growth rate is “moribund”? Obama would give Michelle’s left nut to have the economy we had in 2004.

      Jesus Tulpa, I know you get a lot of unfair crap on here. But you have to do better than this.

      1. Bush “gave us” everything BO has, plus a couple of stupid wars. BO has refilled the entire Bush idiocy sundae and topped it with the Obamacare cherry, but that doesn’t make Bush’s shake taste any better.

        1. But that doesn’t make your claim that 2004 is like 2012, when the facts say something entirely different, any less stupid.

          Yes, we get it, you don’t like Bush. But your dislike, doesn’t give you the right to pretend that the economy in 2004 was like it is today. it wasn’t. Stop lying and your points will make more sense.

          1. Well one common factor between the 2004 and the 2012 economy is that both are just a house of cards.

            1. And the sad thing is that this is a mobile home of cards.

              1. Ha! Is John saying that the economic collapse that started in 2008 and is still continuing just materialized? That the policies of the previous 8 years had no impact whatsoever? Fuck! I hate BHO and his policies but GWB was no better. Stop being a GOP shill, John.

                1. No, John is not saying that, DJK. Tulpa made an extravagant claim that he is trying to rehabilitate and bootstrap into being true when it was plain and facially was false.

                  1. I was stretching a bit for laughs, but Bush did have all those things before the end of his term. True, the picture *looked* rosier, as long as you didn’t look closely, in 2004 but the deficits were there and the seeds for economic disaster were already there. The economic fundamentals in 2004 were already terrifying.

                2. So reading unemployment figures and growth figures makes me a shill. Got it.

                  1. Reading makes you a shill for leftist acdemia, John. Go out and learn the truth experientially!

  15. Tim I would love to see the California Republicans run an actual small government guy as much as you would. But what evidence is there that the retarded voters of California would vote for one?

    They vote for the real brand in Feinstein because they love the brand. They are hopeless.

    1. This.

      The people who claim the GOP needs to run a principled libertarian (or even a principled libertarianish conservative) are ignoring the unpleasant fact that people like government goodies.

      Getting them to vote against government goodies requires making them see that the goodies are baddies in disguise. Which is even harder than mass-producing alien-detecting sunglasses.

      1. Let’s try reading the rest of the comments next time.

        If the people are as “sheepish” as every says they are, then they should be easy to influence and lead. Leaders get people to follow them. They sell their vision and change the rules of the game. Simply throwing your hands up and whining “ohhhh it’s the voters fault I have to be a Fucking Panderbear” is lazy nonsense.

        1. That is true. But California likes its big government. They think Diane is just great. And no amounting of positive thinking is going to change that.

          1. Bullshit.

            The republican party running crap candidates is not the voters fault.

        2. Gullible != sheepish.

          Even a gullible person is unlikely to accept a deal where they pay you $100 and you beat them with sticks.

          What makes a person gullible is that they are likely to make foolish deals IF the deal is presented to them the right way. To lead a gullible person you have to gull them.

          1. Again, you have to sell. You have to lead. You have to have bona-fide ideas and really believe them. Saying “gee golly willikers guys I would love be pro-liberty but the people just ain’t buyin’ it!” is lazy crap.

            1. Libertarian beliefs, honesty in campaigning, electoral success. Pick two.

              Selling something that people don’t want requires dishonesty of one sort or another.

              1. It requires finesse and leadership. I am not saying that Magical Libertarian Land is just going to spring fully-formed from some John Galt-looking politician who will lead us all to Salvation, Tulpa. It requires work, effort, and influence. If the GOP wants to borrow, hey, more power to them, but they need to be taken to the woodshed early and often.

                Your incessant negativity is really freaking annoying, by the way.

                1. It’s hard to finesse someone losing their government job or government goodies, and leadership requires willing followers.

                  You can’t solve this problem by throwing nice words like “leadership” and “integrity” at it. People like money and they like to tell other people how to live their lives. It’s human nature. If you don’t like that you should deal with another species.

                  Free market philosophy is extremely unnatural and counterintuitive. Every time it’s become dominant has been essentially by accident. I agree with you that it is the best system but it’s seriously hard to convince a recalcitrant public of that fact, and nearly impossible if you’re surrounded by liars offering a free lunch who will NEVER be held accountable when their promises don’t come true.

              2. Libertarian beliefs, honesty in campaigning, electoral success. Pick two.

                The correct answer is to pick the first and the last.

                It’s worked for the socialists so far.

                1. Hahahahahahahahaha!

                  Promise them the moon, and then after you’re elected, say you were lying. I actually kinda like this plan!

      2. The people who claim the GOP needs to run a principled libertarian (or even a principled libertarianish conservative) are ignoring the unpleasant fact that people like government goodies.

        You have just expressed why I hate the GOP as much as I hate the DNC. The GOP purports to have principles, but when it comes right down to it, they’re about getting elected and nothing else. Spineless, unprincipled, cowards that give lip service to limited government and personal freedom.

        1. Unfortunately, in our system you have to get elected before you can influence policy. Or, you have to have more money than the people your preferred policy would screw.

          1. Only if you really think that there is no power in ideas. We’re bordering on nihilism / fatalism here.

            1. If you’re not a nihilist, you’re a denial-ist.

              1. Exit’s thisaway:

                Quaeris quod sit ad libertatem iter?

                Quaelibet in corpore tuo vena

                1. Dude, English for those of with engineering degrees.

          2. If all the roads lead to hell, then what is the purpose of participating in the charade?

            1. Delusions of purpose are a lot less uncomfortable than curling up on the floor and dehydrating yourself to death. Which would be the approach a truly rational person would take to life.

              1. The permit me my delusion of being able to influence people by appealing to their rational mind. Someone must take a stand for principles, if the only purpose is to influence the debate after the system comes crumbling down.

                I’m done participating in the lesser of two evils game that achieves nothing that I want. The GOP and the DNC are both enemies of freedom based on what I’ve observed.

              2. Consciousness is not rational.

    2. The way for a libertarian to win in California is to (1) have no record at all, and (2) run solely on libertarian issues that appeal to lefties, making only throwaway remarks about fiscal responsibility (which everyone does in California, all while spending like a supernova casts off matter). Of course, that’s only good for one term.

      1. But lefties don’t give a shit about Libertarian issues. If getting legalized marijuana and a just police force means giving up their ability to feed at the public trough or power to control other people’s lives, they won’t do it. It is all a shame. None of them give a flying fuck about libertarian issues. They just pretend to do so as a way to beat up Republicans.

        1. So the libertarian candidate has to tell them they’re getting free organic food for life, along with the pot and a just police force, and badda bing he’s in. Then when he’s in, go all libertarian on them and take away all their goodies except for the pot.

      2. So basically Arnold Schwarzeneggar?

        1. Perhaps, but without surrendering when you win.

    3. Its actually a lot more complicated than that John.

      In 2008 a real smallish government, libertarianish candidate named Tom Campbell was bypassed in the Republican primaries for Carly Fiorina because the R establishment supported, was dazzled by, her wealth and “business” cred. And the rank and file supported her for being a non politician.

      Of course, being a non politician made her a horrible political candidate and Campbell most likely would have beaten Boxer.

  16. Why would a president who gave America vast unemployment, soaring inflation, a moribund economy, record deficits, and a manically ill-conceived energy policy be coasting toward re-election?

    This is why the Mitt will lose. After 8 years of Bush everything was gangbusters, then that rotten Obama came in and everything started to circle the drain! Such a laughably untrue version of events that it creates sympathy for Obama.

    1. Except that no one is saying that. And Bush isn’t running again. And elections are always a referendum on the current President not that last one. And this President made pretty much everything worse. If you like Obama so much, why did you hate Bush? Was it the deficits? the Wars? The civil liberties violations?

      Sorry try again.

    2. The GOP revolted against Bush on domestic policy in 2007. Immigration, stimulus, and especially TARP.

    3. If you are a regular reader you will know that Bush was and is criticized here for doing the same things as Obama. Bush is not running this year.

  17. In any case, what I think is the real issue here isn’t “The GOP losing” or even “The Democrats losing.” It’s the fact that the lack of any practical distinction between the parties is dramatically shortening the cycle of voters favoring one party over the other. If we ever get smart enough to start ejecting incumbents, then that could become a real problem for the parties.

  18. President: I still stand by my 2011 year-end prediction: Romney has a 60% chance of winning.

    Senate: ‘Pubs take majority, but not 60+

    House: Dems pick up 1-2 seats – maybe. But stays in ‘pub control

    long-range prediction: Everything is suddenly the Republican’s fault (again) – electorate stampedes to the Dem side for 2014 House/Senate. More gridlock.

    Longer range prediction: We’re screwed no matter what happens.

    1. The only thing the Republicans will have going for them in 2013 is that Obama has been so bad and there is so much pent up demand out there, that it won’t take much to get a real recovery. Just repealing the big uncertainty tha is Obamacare and make a pledge not to fuck anything else up will go a long ways to bringing about at least a short term recovery.

      Long term, we are still screwed. But Obama has left a lot of low hanging fruit.

      1. I’ll buy some of that – there may be an minor economic recovery, but the debt… my guess, even with the Ryan plan, that there won’t be enough done to make the improvements that are needed.

        The statist model is in place – only strengthened by Obama and Co. – Romney and Co. won’t do enough to tear it down – aka, Derb’s “The Ratchet Principle”: Lefts pull the government to the left, the right merely keeps that status quo.

        1. If the economy started growing at say 3%, that is a lot of extra revenue. If you just kept spending constant, it would go a long ways to balancing the budget.

          The problem is going to be the inflation that growth produces. See below.

      2. If and when the recovery comes, inflation is going to explode. Helicopter Ben is either uncharacteristically tight-lipped about his clever plan to claw back all the extra dollars he’s dumped into the world economy since 2007 or he doesn’t have such a plan.

        1. See below.

      3. a pledge not to fuck anything else up

        “A Contract With America”, as it were.

    2. I accept this view and will, in fact, just walk away.

    3. “Longer range prediction: We’re screwed no matter what happens.”

      Yup

      1. But I was promised a pony!

      2. Here is what is going to happen. Romeney will win and get a Republican Congress. They will then proceed to take the government’s boot slightly off the economy’s throat. All of the pent up demand that we should have had in 2009-10 had Obama not fucked up so badly will come out.

        Things will be great for a short time. Then all of the money that Barnarke and Geitner have been printing will be turned lose and we will get inflation. And there won’t be any way to stop it because the fed won’t be able to raise interest rates without bankrupting the government. Unlike 1982, we won’t be able to raise interest rates to kill inflation.

        1. Massive budget cuts could avert the bankruptcy problem.

          1. it will either be that, default, or hyper inflation.

            1. Or Jesus comes back and puts you hoarders where you belong. Free heating oil for all eternity.

  19. If Obama does lose, I can’t wait for all the Facebook handwringing “how could this be?!?!? How could anyone vote against The Second Coming (But Even Better Than Christ)??!?!?” The majority of people on my Facebook feed who will post that kind of drivel are the kinds that just see a black, quasi-liberal and don’t pay one whit of attention to actual policy.

    1. Earlier, you opined it will be a much closer election than ’08. Not Gore-Bush close, but close.

      Is it *possible* for it to be Gore-Bush close? That would be really “interesting”.

      1. that would be horrible. One side needs to lose. None of this “we were robbed” bullshit. No matter what one side needs to suffer a spirit destroying defeat.

        1. I agree, John. “Interesting” = horrible. If only there were a way for both sides to suffer spirit destroying defeats ….

        2. one side needs to suffer a spirit destroying defeat

          As a wise latina could have said, Do I want to vote for a party that wants to talk cynically about cutting government – but of course does nothing – or a party that is honest enough not to bother talking about it?

          I made an aethestic choice some time ago:

          The republican party must be destroyed.

          1. Good luck with giving the Democratic Party one party rule.

            1. An outcome somewhat less undesirable than the Republican party having any power at all. The pertinent issue is that the GOP needs to fix itself. God knows how. All they know is appealing to people’s stupidity and bigotry to get elected in order to loot the country for corporations. And as Karl Rove knows all too well, the useful idiots they used are now running and winning as candidates.

              I mean how disingenuous is this “one party rule” fear excuse. Yeah it’s a bad idea. So get a decent second party.

      2. I think it could very well be that close. Wouldn’t that be fun adding race to that mix. At some point were going to have a situation like that.

  20. What’s a phone book?

    1. They’re kept in a warehouse next to copies of “A Million Little Pieces” and “Sherlock Holmes and the Hapsburg Tiara”

      1. I thought the last one was shredded along with copies of the constitution last year.

      2. I thought the last one was shredded along with copies of the constitution last year.

  21. Diane Feinstein is no centrist. She has a score of 9% at ntu.

    The real reason why dems are winning is that CA is just a left leaning state. Especially with success stories like Facebook, Zynga, social media, and all the wealth it creates, it certainly looks like CA is doing well, and political leadership need not change.

    The best outcome might be a republican president and democrat congress, or vice versa. I think if the tea party did not win in 2010, democrats would have spent more in the last year and a half, and it would have hurt the economy because of misallocation and such concepts.

    1. DiFi is a centrist relative to all others. She’s not a Luddite, nor a Big State Theocrat like Santorum, so she’s in the middle.

  22. “Why would a president who gave America vast unemployment, soaring inflation, a moribund economy, record deficits, and a manically ill-conceived energy policy be coasting toward re-election? ”

    Bush isn’t eligible to run again, I don’t think.

  23. Feinstein was ‘elected’ mayor of San Francisco by a single voter — a psycho named Dan White. If Moscone and Milk hadn’t been murdered, Diane would have been consigned to the dustbin of local political history years ago.

    So why does Feinstein keep getting elected? For the same reason Jesse Helms was: force of habit on the part of the base, and big money support… In Feinstein’s case, the limo-liberals in Marin and Beverley Hills.

  24. I know someone quoted this earlier, but I just had to repeat it: “Why would a president who gave America vast unemployment, soaring inflation, a moribund economy, record deficits, and a manically ill-conceived energy policy be coasting toward re-election?” So this magazine is called “Reason”, huh? Hooo-Kay then. How about “Ideological Shills Who Can’t Stand The Fact That Their Religion Of Unfettered Libertarian Markets Utterly Failed And In 8 Years Turned A Booming Economy With Surpluses As Far As The Eye Can See Into The Greatest Economic Crisis Since The Great Depresssion With Record Deficits And The Loss Of 900,000 Jobs In The Last Month Of Their Administration But Who Now Want To Blame It On The President Who Has To Clean Up Their Mess” magazine?

  25. “Soaring inflation”? Inflation as of last month was at 2.3% and falling.

    Cavanaugh may plausibly fear that inflation _will_ soar, but as it stands the first sentence of his last paragraph is in outright factual error.

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