Presidential History

Paul Ryan: Meet the New Second Fiddle, Same as the Old Second Fiddle

Mitt Romney selects a running mate.

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Stop me if you've heard this one before: A relatively moderate GOP nominee has picked a much younger and more conservative running mate. Anyone surprised at this has forgotten the last quarter-century of political history. Paul Ryan follows in the path of Palin, Kemp, Quayle—basically every post-Reagan VP candidate except Cheney. All of them but Kemp were relative novices; all of them but Palin lacked executive experience. I should add that all of them after the first Quayle campaign lost, and even then Quayle probably cost Bush more votes than he gained. So this isn't necessarily a strategy that wins elections. But it does keep the base in line.

How should the base feel about that? I can't speak for conservatives, but I'll pass along these thoughts from The Daily Beast's Eli Lake:

The worst that can happen to Paul Ryan is that the ticket wins. Then Ryan—who has won a loyal following as the principled budget cutter—will have to line up behind Romney budgets. This is kind of like putting Eddie Van Halen in REO Speedwagon. Yes it makes REO Speedwagon rock a lot harder, but it totally ruins Van Halen.

Theme of political ads to come.

Libertarians, meanwhile, should find it easy to reject Ryan. He's a hawk with a rotten record on civil liberties: bad on the Patriot Act, bad on indefinite detentions, bad on surveillance, bad on the border fence, bad on the drug war. On the economic front, he has backed the bank and auto bailouts, Medicare Part D, even Davis-Bacon. His reputation as a free-market stalwart rests on his exaggerated reputation as a budget hawk and his habit of praising Ayn Rand. The second of those clearly hasn't meant much when it's time to vote on legislation, and as for the first…well, if the Democrats went nuts and replaced Joe Biden with Barney Frank, I'd have some kind words for his stances on pot and gambling, but I wouldn't feel tempted to vote for him.

If Ryan were going head to head against Obama, you could make a case that the faux Randian is a lesser evil than the faux Alinskyan. In most of the places where Ryan is bad, after all, Obama is pretty lousy too. But for vice president? At least Joe Biden keeps me entertained.

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  1. Sure, Ryan is not a pure libertarian. Down with the dog, re-elect the Marxist in Chief.

    1. Re: BigFire,

      Sure, Ryan is not a pure libertarian.

      He’s not an impure one, an imperfect one or even a fake one, either. He’s not a libertarian at all. He’s a statist just like Romney; he’s just a different flavor of statist than the current president and his minions.

      1. Sure,

        Pol Pot and Adenauer were also both statists.

        But it’s full on retarded to argue that they were equally bad or that individuals had no more freedom under one than the other.

        1. So much this.

        2. Re: VG Zaytzev,

          Pol Pot and Adenauer were also both statists.

          Different flavors of statistm. One was venomous shit, the other just plain vanilla.

          But it’s full on retarded to argue that they were equally bad[…]

          Agreed. Good thing I wasn’t arguing that, only that Ryan is no libertarian by even the most liberal understanding of the word.

          1. No he’s not.

            But he’s infinitely preferable to BO.

            At worst, he may match BO on certain issues related to national security. Maybe, but maybe not and there isn’t a single issue where Obama is actually preferable.

    2. Your personal survival may one day depend on your ability to think; I don’t mean to frighten you with that possibility as you may have time to change those personal habits and orient your mind towards doing so, but so far, it is not looking promising.

  2. Paul Ryan: Meet the New Second Fiddle, Same as the Old Second Fiddle

    Prepare yourselves to be bored. It’s going to be a long and uneventful ride.

  3. Ryan does appear to be several degrees less separated from reality than your average Democrat or Rino. He’s certainly not my first pick, but does seem like somebody who is open to realistic ideas.

    It will be fun to watch Democrats foam at the mouth over him because he wanted to cut the future growth of government spending to the point that revenue actually catches up some day. Oooh, radical!

    1. By cutting programs to the poor.
      Meanwhile, he’s in favor of bailouts which benefit rich business owners
      And he’s in favor of tax cuts on the wealthy.
      So, no pain for the wealthy.
      But, since the poor already pay little or no tax, you can’t really give them anything in terms of tax relief.

      sarcasm:
      Yeah, A real champion of the people
      /sarcasm

      1. Get the fuck already

      2. You didn’t need the sarcasm bindings.

        No one says “A real champion of the people”, seriously.

        Not Democrat not Republican and not libertarian.

      3. Re: Archimedes,

        By cutting programs to the poor.

        If you want people to stop being poor, you have to stop giving them money. If it works for the dolphins, it certainly works for people.

        1. We are admonished to not feed the bears lest they become dependent. Deer hunters must remove feed stations weeks before deer season so as to not make the animals easy targets.

          There’s a lesson here.

          1. Park rangers are heartless rethuglicans?

            1. In a Brutus administration, the head of all Cabinet departments will be alumni of the Park Ranger Corps.

          2. There’s a lesson here.

            That poor people are nothing but animals?

            Because, and I mean this with all seriousness, that is the conclusion that liberals will come to and infer that you are trying to make.

    2. It does seem politically interesting that Romney is aligning himself not only with a perceived “Tea Party Republican” but also one from perhaps the biggest ideological battleground of the past 2 years, Wisconsin.

    3. What’s depressing Drake, is that if the Romney/Ryan ticket was the Democratic one, we would have reason to think they are finally getting their heads out of their asses on odd numbered days between the hours of 10-11 AM. However, this is the Republican ticket. That’s just fucking sad.

    4. Democrats foam at the mouth over him because he wanted to cut the future growth of government spending to the point that revenue actually catches up some day.

      They did not foam at the mouth because he wants to increase spending slightly less then projected spending.

      They foam at the mouth because he is a Republican and he sounds as good or better then Obama when talking.

      This is motivated by pure TEAM BLUE vs TEAM RED fear….the actual narrative they use to attack him is inconsequential.

      1. Exactly. Didn’t Ron Wyden (a Dem’s Dem) cosponsor Ryan’s medicare plan?

      2. I disagree.

        I think that democrats are worried that offered the choice between freedom and a European style social welfare hammock, that a majority of Americans will choose the former. And that’s the end of the democrat party for a generation or more.

        1. GOP = freedom?

          Goddamn, you’re fucked in the head.

          1. Get the fuck already

          2. Mayne it’s a Kang v Kodos thing, but I haven’t seen the GOP wanting to take over large swaths of the economy or do for the rest of American industry what the State did for the auto industry.

            1. You’re blind then.

              The Bushpigs took over elderly prescription meds and stuck future taxpayers with the cost, they took over public education, they took over $700 billion in preferred bank stock, they nationalized the largest insurer in the world (AIG), they gorged themsleves on a trillion in military pork in Iraq.

              Seriously, you morons are so programmed GOP you don’t see reality.

              1. Ah, but the Red Tie lipservice party FEELS much more Freedom-y than the Blue Tie lipservice party

              2. Um, wasn’t that drug plan for seniors the kind of entitlement program that democrats typically champion? Future and present taxpayer are already paying for medicare, and your side is fearful that Ryan will “dismantle” that program.

                Was Chuck Schumer and co. in favor of the government taking over the airport security? No child left behind? The government essentially taking over GM for a while? Yeah, I think they were.

                “Bushpigs” included a lot of present day Obama fans. You make the distinction for obvious reasons.

                Did Republicans overwhelmingly vote against Obamacare, which will probably the cost the nation the equivalent of several minor wars in the next few decades?

                Sorry, I’ll take minor cuts to entitlement programs over no cuts, and some limited government over none. In truth, if Romney is able to repeal Obamacare and make some token cuts to welfare, that’s pretty much the best we could get out of him.

                I want Obama out. I don’t like Ron Paul, but I would voted from him. I didn’t vote for Bush, so save your Bush hate fetish for someone else.

              3. You won’t get an argument from me on Part D, except it’s not an industry takeover, just a handout to same to get the oldster vote. And how does the government take over government education? Wasn’t it “the most libertarian President” Jimmy Carter that did that with the DoEd?

                Can you give us the party breakdown on the TARP vote, Shriek?

                1. I am glad you read me (Carter is the most Libertarian POTUS).

                  All Carter did was separate Education from HEW (Health, Education, and Welfare) in the 70’s.

                  Did bloat ensue? Sure it did.

                  Reagan and Bush the Lesser are more to blame for that though.

                  TARP was bipartisan in Congress and unilateral in the Bush White House.

                  Bush = worst POTUS ever.

                  1. Uhhh sorry worst ever is either TR, Wilson or FDR

                    1. Glenn Beck’s cock is over there —-

                    2. Palin’s Buttplug| 8.11.12 @ 8:58PM |#

                      Glenn Beck’s cock is over there —-

                      I have been commenting here since about 2004.

                      Glen Beck did not get on Fox news until the start of 2009.

                      Commentors have been shit talking, TR Wilson, and FDR ever since I have been here. In fact I pretty sure they have for the entire existence of this web site.

                      We could go back into Reason archives and probably find complaints about TR Wilson and FDR that go back to the founding of Reason magazine.

                      Among libertarians it is as common as dirt.

                      You constantly blaming Glen Beck for it is not only ill informed but boarders on disillusion.

                  2. I am glad you read me (Carter is the most Libertarian POTUS).

                    Actually I would put Clinton above Carter in the libertarian scale.

                    NAFTA, Creative destruction, welfare reform, balanced budget, era of big government over, etc.

                    Clinton’s record anyway. I have no idea what goes on in that snake’s head. I don’t think anyone does.

                  3. All Carter did was separate Education from HEW (Health, Education, and Welfare) in the 70’s.

                    Did bloat ensue? Sure it did.

                    So he gave it Cabinet level recognition and swelled its budget…but that’s no big deal. But NCLB is a “takeover?”

                    I didn’t say it wasn’t bipartisan, Shriek, I asked for the percentages in each house. IOW, if the Democrats had voted in the same proportion as the GOP, would TARP have passed?

        2. I think that democrats are worried that offered the choice between freedom and a European style social welfare hammock, that a majority of Americans will choose the former. And that’s the end of the democrat party for a generation or more.

          I do not think we are that far apart.

          Basically Ryan has the same politics as Clinton’s record as president. I don’t know if i would call that freedom…better then Obama and very politically palatable to voters, yes. But still not my libertarian utopia.

          So yes Dems fear a well spoken republican who has basically the same polices as Clinton. They should be very afraid of that.

  4. Ryan’s got a tarnished record, yes, but he’s steps ahead of a lot of the other contenders. Too bad Rand Paul wasn’t in the running.

    1. Yeah. When I read the list of Contenders, they are so bad I am practically tempted to take the “unnamed wild card”.

      1. Has anyone ever said the word “Pawlenty” all the way through without yawning?

        Rubio’s good, but he’s too green yet.

        1. Pawlenty sounds like saying “plenty” and yawning between the “p” and the “l”. IOW a yawn is built into his name.

          1. Thumbs up

  5. The message I’m getting from all sides: Paul Ryan is conservatism incarnate.

    1. Which is bizarre, since he actually aligns with Obama on a lot of issues from TARP, the auto bailouts, to civil liberties.

      1. He voted for TARP. That doesn’t mean he aligns with Obama. Obama would do TARP a hundred times over again and for every industry. I doubt Ryan agrees with that.

        And what civil liberties? Last I looked the 2nd Amendment was a civil liberty and Ryan doesn’t align there. Does Ryan support gay marriage? Affirmative action?
        Does he agree with Obama on any civil liberties issue other than the right to drone strike the Taliban?

        1. I’d feel better if I saw another TARP vote come up and Ryan spring the length of his chain to oppose it.

          1. Sure you would. I wish he hadn’t voted for it too. But it doesn’t make him Obama. If only TARP were Obama’s only or even worst sin.

            1. TARP was Bush, you moron. Obama voted for it then reversed it in 2009 by making the banks raise private capital.

              You are such a GOP knob-polisher.

            2. Ryan voted for TARP twice. Both when it failed and when it passed. Is their any GOP Congresman who voted for more spending during Ryan’s tenure? He’s the undisputed champion of Republican big spenders in the House.

        2. Also, in defense of Ryan on TARP, it was sold as one thing and then executed as something else entirely by Paulson and his butt buddy Geithner.

          1. There is no defense of anyone who supported TARP. Paul Ryan owns it.

        3. As usual, John, you ignore things like the PATRIOT Act, NDAA, internet surveillance, etc.

          On these things both parties are virtually identicial

          1. John is an Aborto-Freak. He is so much like Santorum he is in denial.

  6. The worst that can happen to Paul Ryan is that the ticket wins. Then Ryan — who has won a loyal following as the principled budget cutter — will have to line up behind Romney budgets.

    Bingo.

  7. I love the alternative realities people live in. According to liberals Ryan is a radical Randian nihilist bent on destroying the federal government. According to Libertarians Ryan is a stateist bent on bankrupting the country. People really do live in different worlds.

    1. Re:John,

      People really do live in different worlds.

      Yes, Beltwayland and the real world. Ryan is a statist, but in Beltwayland, he’s some Randian nutjob.

      1. What the fuck does that even mean? I really am starting to hate that word. It is just libertarian for people we don’t like. Isn’t anyone who is not an anarchist strictly speaking a “statist”? You guys can be as bad as liberals sometime.

        1. Libertarianism is less a TEAM and more of a CLUB. And you have to abide by a very strict code of conduct to belong to CLUB LIBERTARIAN.

          1. First rule of Libertarianism is you don’t talk about Libertarianism.

            1. Spoiler Alert!: Rand Paul is Gary Johnson!

          2. Libertarianism is less a TEAM and more of a CLUB CULT. And you have to abide by a very strict code of conduct to belong to CLUB CULT LIBERTARIAN.

            FIFY.

            1. I’m gonna give you the benefit of the doubt an assume that you got the reference but you “just wanted to destroy something beautiful”

        2. You guys can be as bad as liberals sometime.

          In rhetoric? Sure i will take that hit.

          But the left really does not have a coherent ideology behind it.

          Old Mex has been here a long time…i am sure you read him plenty. I know what he is talking about and i know where he is in the political spectrum in my head.

          I think your complaint is more about where he on that spectrum he is rather then short hand he uses to describe it.

          1. But the left really does not have a coherent ideology behind it.

            Stop right there friend. You are dangerously wrong. The left has as a unifying theme: subjugation of the individual to the Masses. Lately Mother Gaia has been more popular.

            1. Yeah I should have said “Democrats” rather then “the left”.

              I just do not like using ‘liberal’ to describe them.

              1. But the left really does not have a coherent ideology behind it.

                Craving power at all costs is an ideology.

        3. Statist means someone who has no intention of actually shrinking back the state, or intends on expanding it. Ryan qualifies, liberal bogeyman fantasies notwithstanding

          1. Neither your definition nor its applying to Paul Ryan is accurate.

            1. Illuminate us, then, on how his plan (which increases the debt but supposedly balances the budget IN THREE DECADES) is actually a sign of anti-statism

              1. It’s a marginal improvement on the status quo. And the fact that dems are predicting armageddon sets the stage for larger cuts in the future.

                The socialist paradigm became dominant by slow incremental change. They got 2-3% of what they wanted at a time, and them came back for more a few years later. Unwinding the socialist paradigm is only going to happen the same way.

                I enjoy the idea of a final systemic collapse that ushers in a libertarian age as much as anyone else here. But I realize that it’s a fantasy. There it isn’t going to happen anymore than a final battle between good and evil is going to lead to Christ’s return or that capitalism’s internal contradictions will lead to a world wide communist revolution.

                Real change happens incrementally, with many set backs and false starts along the way.

                1. This. Ryan is not my first choice and has a decidedly chequered past, but if he can get the ball rolling on entitlement reform at a minimum, then I’ll be mildly pleased.

                2. I return after a long hiatus to praise this comment by VG Zaytsev as one of the best comments I’ve read here in 5 years or so.

                  As far as Jesse’s blog post… yawn. I’m tired of reading libertarians who are unimpressed with someone whom others (not members of the “club”) think libertarian, but who is in fact “a statist.”

                  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Reagan was the most libertarian president any one of you will likely ever see in your lifetimes. And the only reason we got him is because we got lucky in that a conservative with a skeptical view of state power was blessed with an 18 charisma score and connected with the public like no other 20th century president, while also appearing at precisely the right time to run against one of the most inept and pathetic presidents in American history (pace Shrike).

                  In any case, Ryan won’t tip the scales sufficiently, so prepare for another four years of Obama and pray for divided government.

        4. Re: John,

          What the fuck does that even mean? […] Isn’t anyone who is not an anarchist strictly speaking a “statist”?

          No, and I believe you did not get the point, John. Ryan is a statist, no question about it. He may not be a socialist, but that does not mean he is some kind of methodological individualist.

          However, only propagandists of little scruples and zero sense of honesty could have the gall to describe Ryan as a “libertarian, right wing nutjob.” Those propagandists live inside the Beltway, where such like-minded people dwell.

          We on the outside see the truth.

        5. I have to agree about the watering down of “statism”. It originally meant any non-anarchist philosophy, then came to mean the belief that the state should solve every problem in society, and now (at least in liberal circles) has become a vague epithet like “Nazi”.

        6. The real distinction isn’t between Democrats and Republicans, it’s between statists and anti-statists. The GOP is just a slightly lesser pro-state party with a fundamentalist whackjob bent: neither party is actually in favor of small government, just slightly-different expressions of state power.

      2. I’d like to know which of these awful votes he really believed in and which he cast to stay popular in his district.

        1. I think the support of autO bailouts was pandering, and I think with TARP it was a sincere belief that if they didn’t act the sky would fall.

          The real question, as others have mentioned, is whether he’d vote for a TARP like bill again. We’ll probably never know.

          Oh and Medicare Part D was probably water carrying for Bush and House leadership, combined with district pandering.

        2. He, like most politicians, believes in any vote that gets him the majority of votes during election.

    2. Well John, one of those realities is the one we live in, and it’s the latter. I see lately you’re stepping through the portal to RED WORLD so uh have fun with that. Come back when you’re sober.

      1. Well said. You may be a warmonger, Cyto, but at least you don’t buy into TEAM RED bullshit

        1. To be fair to John, if the GOP were all ‘John’, America would be 100x better off and any libertarian with his head not in his ass would support the Johnpublican party.

    3. Yup. As people like to point out on this board, there’s a large chasm between a strictly libertarian/miniarchist government, and what we have now. Does it not stand to reason that someone can desire smaller government than what we have, without desiring the libertarian alternative?

      Ryan is definitely no one’s idea of a libertarian, but credit where credit is due: Romney is picking a VP who 1) acknowledges a problem with the size of our government, 2) has an (inadequate) plan to fix the issue, and 3) has been in the public eye as a defender of capitalism and a smaller government footprint.

      But hey, I guess since we’re libertarians we have to talk about how Biden would be a better Veep because he’d be more entertaining, or something.

    4. To libertarians, Ryan looks especially pathetic. He’s one of few who supposedly understands the looming entitlement crisis, and he’s willing to touch the third rail to look like the “adult in the room” yet his own solution doesn’t even solve the problem as well as Bowles-Simpson, much less the Paul plan. In fact, it doesn’t even solve the problem – it just moves us slightly slower towards bankruptcy.

      And since we know Ryan, like Romney and like yourself, are willing abetters to expensive and unnecessary foreign policy excursions, any marginal savings they create out of entitlements will be overwritten by expansions of the military-industrial complex.

  8. http://www.weeklystandard.com/…..49757.html

    Ryan does Obama speak better then Obama does.

    1. I just realized that Ryan is 9 years younger than Obama, and got into Congress 7 years quicker.

      Unfortunately, his alma mater is Miami University, as opposed to Occidental/Columbia/Harvard, so Obama has that to grasp on to to feel smugly superior.

      1. PJ O’Rourke went to Miami. ‘Nuff said.

  9. Paul Ryan is more Kemp than Quayle, though a poor and tarnished facimile of Kemp. That’s not good enough, but it is something. Boy, does it get tiring to see libertarians whine that the nominee was not a True Libertarian — dunno about the rest of you, but I knew that there was a 100% chance that Romney wouldn’t pick a strict miniarchist for VP. I would like to see more analysis from libertarians than “IMPURE” when it comes to discussing what this means for the ticket and the race, and how Paul Ryan compares to the alternative VP picks that Romney could have made.

    1. I tire of that too but Ryan voted for TARP, Medicare D, autobailouts etc and then there’s NDAA etc. Not good.

      Vice president nominee Jim Demint. I’ll just leave that here.

      1. I don’t disagree with that at all, and DeMint would have been a great VP choice — but that right there is more analysis than the OP provides.

        I don’t need to be told that Paul Ryan is not a miniarchist by a Reason article — I already knew that. Conflating Ryan, Biden, Palin, Kemp, and Quayle is sloppiness disguised as principled opposition. Your two brief sentences were at least as informative and analytical than the OP, without even trying.

        1. Ryan is closer to Obama’s idea of the size and scope of government than he is to DeMint’s..

        2. Blog post, not article. The whole idea of Hit and Run is to be more spontaneous and gossip-y and snarky than the magazine articles.

    2. I give Romney credit for picking a guy who should tear Biden a second asshole in the debates and who isn’t simply a vanilla senator or governor. But Ryan has no credibility as an even marginally limited government advocate just because he pays lip service to concepts Ross Perot was saying 20 years ago.

      1. In Romney’s position, who would you have picked, realistically (i.e., NOT Ron Paul or any of the libertarian wish-upon-a-star choices)? I liked Daniels and Fortuno, and I think Cytotoxic’s choice of DeMint would have been good ones. Ryan is a pleasant surprise, but only because I had such low expectations.

        My point is that none of Romney’s VP picks would have been pure, and that I don’t need an article telling me what I already know and sloppily conflating very different political personalities and beliefs, besides.

        1. Mith Daniels would have never accepted since he didn’t want to put his family situation in the national spotlight.

          1. Santorum had no qualms that his wife used to shack up with an abortionist. What’s Daniels’ problem….that he married her first?

        2. No, Ryan is without a doubt better than we should have likely expected (VP Santorum would have sucked hard), and I agree Daniels would have been about as good as we could have expected. Ryan will ostensibly be the least big government person on the stage out of the four (Obama, Biden, Romney). But that’s still kind of like saying Mussolini was less horrifically evil than Stalin, Mao and Hitler.

          1. THANK GOD Santorum got passed up. I know what HanDR would’ve been like if he were nom’d: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJKdTOPJDPQ

            It was that or the scene in Family Guy where Meg tries to do a makeover and the reporter sets herself on fire.

    3. Boy, does it get tiring to see libertarians whine that the nominee was not a True Libertarian — dunno about the rest of you, but I knew that there was a 100% chance that Romney wouldn’t pick a strict miniarchist for VP. I would like to see more analysis from libertarians than “IMPURE” when it comes to discussing what this means for the ticket and the race, and how Paul Ryan compares to the alternative VP picks that Romney could have made.

      The issue isn’t “impurity.” Rand Paul is an example of a guy who’s impure but generally wants to move in the right direction. Paul Ryan is an example of a guy who’s actively bad on more important issues than he’s good on.

      Not that I wanted Rand Paul to be the vice presidential pick. It’s no victory to have your man sent to a bunch of foreign funerals. A vice president with libertarian leanings is worse than a vice president without libertarian leanings: He has no power, but he might quiet the opposition. I want Tea Partiers ready to challenge President Romney, not calmed by the thought that Ryan or Paul or whoever is working behind the scenes for their agenda.

  10. My biggest hope from this pick is that it somehow keeps Santorum from being the early favorite in ’16 if Mitt loses.

    Cause I can’t fucking stand that smug little prick.

    1. Santorum was the not-Romney of the day.

      1. Santorum ’12 was the SoCons last hurrah. And it failed miserably.

        1. ^THIS^ The SoCons are a dying force in the GOP and Neocons are on the same decay path. The Dems and SoCons would mutually benefit from going after each other, at least in some parts of America.

          1. Dying? What about Rand Paul,Jim DeMint, Justin Amash, Paul Broun…

            1. Paul and Amash aren’t that socon

              1. Yes they are. As are all the small-government elected officials.

  11. how Paul Ryan compares to the alternative VP picks that Romney could have made.

    Better than Mitch McConnell.

    1. McConnell’s actually pretty good on First Amendment issues.

    2. I’m not so sure on that.Mitch McConnell opposed the auto bailouts.

  12. i disagree that the left doesn’t have a unifying theme. i think thomas sowell covered it well in “a conflict of visions” when decribing the left as adhering to the “unconstrained” view of man’s nature and the right with the constrained view.

    they also come down different on sincerity/fidelity process/results and lots of other stuff.

    but it’s pretty consistent when you frame it that way

    you can quote philosophers throughout history who clearly come down on one vision or the other, for example rousseau and condorcet being consistent with the left and burke and russell with the right

    1. It’s ‘conservatism’ that lacks a unifying theme. And that is why conservatism is a failure.

      1. Exactly. Conservatism is consciously an “anti-ideology” per Russell Kirk, Burke, et al, which is a rather self-congratulatory way for its proponents to excuse its incoherence.

        1. again, i would say conservatism tends to conform with the constrained view.

          you can, with that assumption, make relatively decent predictions about the conservative stance on a given issue, just with that understanding.

          as a few examples

          conservatives will tend to emphasize equality or inequality of opportunity

          libs will empasize inequality of condition

          conservatives will emphasize fidelity whereas libs will emphasize sincerity

          libs will tend to emphasize results analysis and conservatives process analysis (this one is getting more problematic, but i think at it’s core it remains true with a “living constitution” and various larry tribe’isms)

          i think it’s natural, if one doesnt agree with libs and conservatives (as libertarians will ), to not see a coherence there.

          that’s because of a fundamentally different VISION

          iow, we argue past each other, from largely different premises.

          1. Only in the context of American conservatism, and the Anglo-Scots Enlightenment tradition. I love Sowell (and his book “Conflict of Visions” is a masterwork), but I would say that his thesis only works because conservatism in the US is not conservatism at all, but rather a bastardized variant of classical liberalism (as Hayek astutely noted). Conservatism in Russia or in continental Europe isn’t constrained at all, and it is to the discredit of conservative thinkers that they lazily leave the underlying premises of American conservatism untouched, in favor of an attempt to create a universally-applicable “anti-ideology” which excuses huge deviations from the underlying premises (Kirk in particular is a simply *terrible* thinker in this regard).

            1. yes. i agree with this i was going to mention american conservativsm as modern classical liberalism in fact.

              i think sowell’s book and my post (since we are talking about AMERICAN politics) is of course referencing AMERICAN conservatism)

              btw, i think WFB jr. was instrumental in helping to define american conservatism as an ideology and fleshing out its assumptions and structure. his books, and his leadership at national review did so.

              sad to see NR currently straying from its more libertrian/classical liberal leanings (they came out pro MJ legalization DECADES ago) into a neo-con slant

              1. Agreed vis a vis WFB, Jr.

                People like to bitch about the social conservatives (myself included), but in terms of a move away from classical liberalism and “constrained” process-based thinking, the neo-conservatives deserve the lion’s share of the blame, IMO.

                1. Neo cons aren’t conservative at all, in any sense of the word.

                  They’re progressive democrats that were offended by the democrats repudiation of nationalistic violence in the 70s.

                  The only thing preventing them from returning to the democrats at this point is tribal loyalty to Israel.

                2. i can deal with social conservatism as long as it doesn’t make its way into policy.

                  although usually when people say ‘social conservative’ they are speaking of people who think X *and* want X as policy

                  iow, “drug use is evil. but govt. should stay out of people’s personal choices as to what they put in their bloodstream”

                  vs “drug use is evil. we need to punish people for using drugs”

                  both have a social conservative viewpoint ON the “evils” of drug use, but only the latter make the policy decision

                  the former is even, imo, consistent with libertarianism, since it doesn’t attempt to use GOVERNMENT (the barrel of a gun).

                  you can think porn, drugs, prostitution, etc. are evil, but its another thing entirely to think the governmnet should prohibit them

                3. yes. we agree that neo-cons = BAD BAD BAD

                  1. Conservative intelelctuals not only lack a cogent program, they take pride in their incoherence. How could it fail?

              2. yes. i agree with this i was going to mention american conservativsm as modern classical liberalism in fact.

                Bullshit.

                Libertarianism, is modern classical liberalism.

                Any classical liberals still dicking around in the three legged conservative stew are cravens and the self deluded.

    2. Bullshit.

      Conservatism is what was formed from all the broken and rejected parts left over during FDR’s New Deal. Nothing more.

      Your analysis is just so much sophistry trying to hamstring a current political ideology into the past where it never even existed.

      If you want to pull on the dick of past classical liberals and claim they formed the intellectual basis at least in part for modern conservatism; fine. But do not pull some bullshit revisionism trying to make them out as conservatives.

      Classical liberals were not, in any sense of the word, conservatives.

    3. i think thomas sowell covered it well in “a conflict of visions” when decribing the left as adhering to the “unconstrained” view of man’s nature and the right with the constrained view.

      So how come the left is ok with constraining smoking, employing people, and gun ownership?

      There is no consistency. It’s a grab bag of positions that came about by accident of political convenience at a moment in time.

  13. John has swapped his Sara Palin barbie-doll for a Paul Ryan Gi-Joe. He praises its kung-fu grip,

    meanwhile, I think the only elections that are really going to matter will be congressional. Its hard to get excited about the GOPs choice for ‘in case Romney gets shot’-guy.

    Lots of TEAM going on in the thread here. So sad. And NON TEAMERS are now a CULT. Clearly the ‘either you’re with us or against us!’ moment has arrived. I’m unplugging the TV until december.

    1. I think you’re refering to my comment. Which was that Team Orange is cultic, in that any deviation for the party line means that you’re no true scottsman and how dare you call yourself libertarian.

      Which is by no means the same as being a non teamer

      1. ^This^

        And to be fair to John…Palin was, in hindsight, the best person for president in 2008 of the 4 POTUS/VP picks. I’m dead serious. INCLUDING BARR.

      2. The Wall Street Bailout is not a purity test in the sense John and his ilk make it out to be to rationalize turning on us.

        The Wall Street Bailout is not a question of a dispute over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, 36 or 37?

        No, the Bailout question is, friend or foe?

  14. If I’m Gary Johnson, my slogan right now is “I have more executive experience than all the major party Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates combined.”

    1. Who the fuck is Gary Johnson?

  15. OK, Ryan is certainly better than a poke in the eye.
    Problem is the VP position means he gets to ‘carry his message’ to assorted DC visitors; a local VFW that makes the trip, the high-school band that got to play in the Rose Parade, etc. Oh, and cast tie-breaker votes!
    So Robamney ‘makes a statement’ that’s worth a glass of warm spit. I’ll still ‘waste my vote’.

    1. From a “politics as sports” perspective Ryan is a great VP pick.He should make it more fun to follow the game and cheer Team Red

      From a libertarian perspective we can take some small solace in that it is Romney, not Ryan, on the top of the ticket.

      1. Yeah, pretty much this. The team red cheerleaders are already pulling out their pom-poms and doing their cheers, cause Ryan is a really smart guy. Yeah, he is, but so was Hitler. Sorry, not comparing Ryan with Hitler at all, just saying that as it stands now, about 90% of the population have no fucking idea what they are voting for, it is like a sporting event, they know nothing about the candidates.

        1. “about 90% of the population have no fucking idea what they are voting for”

          Not sure about that. I’m afraid they do know and they presume voting for ‘free stuff’ is a valid position.

  16. I love how people are attacking libertarians for being too pure for criticizing a guy who has supported Medicare Part D, NCLB, TARP, the auto bailouts, the wars, the Patriot Act, CISPA, NDAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Davis-Bacon, etc etc just because he has a budget plan that only increases spending by a trillion dollars over the next decade.

    1. This. There’s a difference between being flexible/reasonable/pragmatic on the one hand, and pretending shit doesn’t stink on the other.

      Some wannabe-libertarians are defending Ryan because they actually buy the Left’s rhetoric about him. If only we really were getting the “cut everything!!!” bogeyman the Dems are gonna portray in ads for the next few months

    2. Yeah, the Hit and Runpublicans really came out in force after the Ryan announcement. “Wow, Ryan sure is a smart guy and sometimes says the right things.. Romney 2012!!!” Meanwhile they ignore what he has actually voted for while in office. Pathetic.

    3. Ryan is waaaaay better than every alternative other than one of the last-name Pauls, who are, respectively, too old to be veep, and best served not to pick up the Romney smell early in his career.

      Nearly every Republican with political experience was complicit with the Bush administrations follies back in the day.

      1. What’s your point? That changes nothing. No one was expecting Romney to pick a libertarian VP, because he’s not a libertarian. And as is to be expected, we’re criticizing the eventual pick. Just as we would if this was a Democrat picking his VP pick. Your last line just proves my point as to how Ryan is no friend of liberty

  17. Re: Palin’s Buttwipe,

    You’re blind then.

    And you call yourself “Palin’s Buttplug.”

    Seriously, you morons are so programmed GOP you don’t see reality.

    Look who’s talking: An economics ignorant fool, who calls himself “Palin’s Buttplug,” coming to a libertarian blog, expecting to see nothing else but GOPers. And we’re supposed to be the blind ones???

  18. Palin’s Buttplug| 8.11.12 @ 5:41PM |#
    “Seriously, you morons are so programmed GOP you don’t see reality.”
    Oh, the irony!

  19. Palin’s Buttplug| 8.11.12 @ 5:41PM |#
    “Seriously, you morons are so programmed GOP you don’t see reality.”

    GOP everywhere you look huh?

    Weren’t you the same guy who lives in Georgia and missed the fact that MLK was a Baptist?

  20. Does this mean Hit and Run is going to throw its support behind Obama again. That really worked out the last time.

    Because they never actually have power or responsibilities, Libertarians have the luxury of being ideologically pure and of course that’s why Libertarians never actually have power or responsibilities.

    1. Does this mean Hit and Run is going to throw its support behind Obama again.

      Yawn.

      1. If Ryan claims like Senator Obama to be for marijuana decriminalization, reason will throw its support behind Romney/Ryan faster than you can ignore every other issue.

          1. WAKE UP, YOU TWO. You’re sleeping your lives away.

        1. Oh for the days when backing federal funding for fetal stem cell research was the cosmotarian litmus test.

  21. I should add that all of them after the first Quayle campaign lost, and even then Quayle probably cost Bush more votes than he gained. So this isn’t necessarily a strategy that wins elections. But it does keep the base in line.

    So, your data set is three points and you’re excluding one of them and then claiming a trend?

    The GOP had no chance in hell of winning the presidential election in 1996 or 2008, and that had zilch to do with the veep nominee.

    1. So, your data set is three points and you’re excluding one of them and then claiming a trend?

      Only if “isn’t necessarily” means “is scientifically proven not to be.” (And if “three” means “four.”)

  22. How ridiculous that no distinction is drawn between a Romney presidency, with Ryan as VP, and an Obama reelection. It’s true enough that both Republicans have shown a disturbing willingness to compromise with liberals; but if Republicans can capture the Senate and hold the House, we might very well see a slate of major fiscal reforms.

    If Obama wins: http://whatdirectdemocracymightbe.wordpress.com/

    1. if Republicans can capture the Senate and hold the House, we might very well see a slate of major fiscal reforms.

      Take me back, baby. I promise I won’t do it again.

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