Reason TV Replay: Why Democrat vs. Republican is the Wrong Way to Look at the 2012 Election


With Democrat and Republican ads seemingly everywhere, it's good to remind ourselves that the distinctions and importance of the two major political parties are becoming less and less relevant.

Here is the original text from the April 12, 2012 Reason TV video:

"We had a non-Obama president recently, his name was George W. Bush, it wasn't all puppy dogs and rainbows," says Reason's Matt Welch. "Being Republican is not enough to counter Obama. Mitt Romney is not offering an alternative to Obama," adds's Nick Gillespie.

From Newt Gingrich's inexplicable campaign chatter about a taxpayer-subsidized colony on the moon to Mitt Romney's refusal to discuss any specific spending cuts he would implement as president, Republicans continue to offer no real substantive alternative to President Obama's spendthrift economic policies.

Welch and Gillespie, the co-authors of "The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America," hosted the discussion "Why Democrat vs. Republican is the Wrong Way to Look at the 2012 Election" at Reason Weekend, the annual donor event held by Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes this website).

Runs about 30.41 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher, shot by Josh Swain and Fisher.

NEXT: Sheldon Richman on Why Americans Should Reject Obama-Romney Foreign Policy

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  1. Am I the only one whose browser is having these videos and wide graphics overlap the right column? A corner of the youtube video is blocked by an ad.

    Stossel is a registered Democrat? Scandal.

    1. He’s one of those Blue Dog types.

      1. What are Libertarians? Brindle?

    2. No, I’ve been asking on a bi-weekly basis if Reason’s site looks like it’s gone Mammaries North.

      1. Looks fine on Chrome

        1. Same here. I’m also using Chrome.

          1. “Here, Google, take all of my personal information. Fill your databases.”

            1. make up stuff.

  2. You know who else would offer an alternative to Democrats and Republicans…

    1. Pat Paulsen?

    2. Gary Johnson?

    3. Jack Johnson and John Jackson?

    4. The head of Richard Nixon?

    5. Godwin?

  3. OT: Via Drudge: vandalism of cars at a ‘Romney supporting’ household hits cars of Obama supporters too.

    Setting aside the issue of this type of vandalism, which often turns up as false flag operations, the article itself contains this gem:

    CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Rob Schmitt spoke to Ken Slown, owner of one of the keyed vehicles.

    Slown actually supports President Obama!

    He explained to Schmitt that he and his wife ? both currently unemployed ? are staying with her parents and it’s her parents who support Romney.

    The image of unemployed folks living with their Romney-supporting parents while staunchly supporting Obama ties together several themes of the state of our society. Makers and takers, charity, family, and economic stupidity all shine through in a few short lines of a news item. I’m surprised the car’s owner didn’t have something to say about the economic benefit of car vandalism to body shops.

    1. See below for link which sqwerls hate.

    2. I said it once and I’ll say it again: the creators of All In The Family ought to sue for IP violations.

    1. “I don’t know if they were trying to get a point across, to vote for Obama,” said Slown, “but to do something like this is not going to get the point across.”

      Personally, I think it gets the point across fine. People believe in indefinite detention, bombing pakistani weddings, warrantless wiretaps and middle east policy so much, they’re willing to key it into the paint of a car.

  4. this article makes good sense, but it makes good sense because we are libertarians. the fundamental difference between “us and them” is that we don’t accept statism as the status quo. those who support dems and repubs primarily DO accept statism, just different flavors of same.

    so, to paraphrase sowell, the two groups argue past each other, because they accept different fundamental understandings of the role of man, govt, laws etc.

    as soon as one steps outside the box of statism, that box where it makes “sense” that the govt should be able to restrict what is in our bloodstreams (war on drugs), or our free association (war on domestic violence where judges can and do issue no contact orders against the wishes of BOTH parties), or that our privacy interests take a backseat to the WAR ON TERRA!, then this article is a beacon of common sense and reason ™. the problem is for us fellow travelers, we need no convincing, we know this stuff implicitly, and for dems and repubs, we can’t get past their natural acceptance of statism as a valid mode and method of governance.

  5. we are libertarians.

    Funny every time.

    1. I am Legion, and we are many.

  6. “Being Republican is not enough to counter Obama. Mitt Romney is not offering an alternative to Obama,”


    1. That’s why I think William Henry Harrison might have been America’s greatest president.

  7. Yeah… The parties used to be SO different. It’s only in the past few years that the distinctions between them have become so minuscule.

    Like, when we went from Teddy Roosevelt to Woodrow Wilson 100 years ago, it made a hell of a difference.

  8. Nick and Matt wrote a book?!

    1. Apparently so. News to me. I think Nick even mentioned it during the “For Whom are You Voting?” post and transparency session.

      1. First I’ve heard of it.

      2. The prose is more lyrical in the original German.

        1. Ihr Buch zeigte die gr??te Rennen der M?nner den Weg zur h?chsten Macht.

          M?ge Gott ihre rechtschaffenen H?nden glorreichen Sieg!

          1. Okay, what is it with you folks who speak German as a second language? Why do you all insist upon showing off? I had three years of Spanish in HS and I don’t post in Spanish. You never see anyone posting/speaking in French for effect (although the Doc will drop some Rooski on occasion). But give someone the slightest provocation to launch into Deutschland ?ber alles and the German speakers come flying out of the woodwork to show you their mastery of the language.

            No one cares that you speak German! 🙂

            1. You know who else spoke German as a second language…

              1. Every French woman born between 1890 and 1925?

                1. You better wear pink when you say that.

            2. I used Google Translate.

              1. I used Google Translate.

                So what you said made no sense whatsoever.

                1. It makes perfect sense. I’m better at Google Translate than you are. HAHAHAHAHA.

  9. A big reason why “Republican vs Democrat” is the status quo is because they’ve created an environment that is electorally hostile to third parties. With rules like “Top Two” primaries and publicly-administered primaries, they’ve forced anybody else out of the public’s eye.

    Not only that, but when the Commission on Presidential Debates is little more than a Blue/Red-run cabal strictly designed to keep other parties out of the national spotlight, everybody else becomes marginalized by exclusion.

    (Sorry if any of these points were brought up in the video. For some reason, I can’t view it.)

    1. These things are certainly true.

      And then what?

      I’ve been trying to figure out what, exactly the answer to that is. Voting LP does nothing but relieve the establishment types, who would much rather have independent thinkers far away from their campaigns. Not voting does even less.

      Given the reality that the US has been a two-party country since a few seconds after its founding, what to do?

    2. To be fair, the third parties were marginalized long before the CPD came into being in the 1990s. It was a big deal when Perot got into the debates in 1992 back when LoWV ran them.

  10. Soon we shall be free of the oppressive yoke of the Electoral College, and all voting will be done via smartphone, because anybody too backwards to have one will be deemed insufficiently hip to play a role in the political guidance of the nation. Also, the Congress will be abolished, and concerned, motivated and caring citizens will vote directly on each Bill; early and often.

    TRUE DEMOCRACY will bring us justice and enlightenment. Only then can we realize the dreams of the Founders.

    1. There are people that actually believe this shit. Fuck.

      God save us from our own stupidity.

      1. Just spend 2 minutes with T O N Y.

    2. “And then all wars ended / Arms of every kind were outlawed and the masses gladly contributed them to giant foundries in which they were melted down and the metal poured back into the earth / The Pentagon was turned on its side and painted purple, yellow & green / All boundaries were dissolved / The slaughter of animals was forbidden / The whole of lower Manhattan became a meadow in which unfortunates from the Bowery were allowed to live out their fantasies in the sunshine and were cured / People swam in the sparkling rivers under blue skies streaked only with incense pouring from the new factories / The energy from dismantled nuclear weapons provided free heat and light / World health was restored / An abundance of organic vegetables, fruits and grains was growing wild along the discarded highways / National flags were sewn together into brightly colored circus tents under which politicians were allowed to perform harmless theatrical games / The concept of work was forgotten”

      Terry Riley

      1. There is so much condensed stupid in that paragraph that it collapsed in on itself and formed a black hole of idiocy.

  11. Early voted yesterday. Straight Libertarian of course! I refuse to vote for any candidate who continues to promote Obamney’s agenda, meaning Republocrats.

    1. A Libertarian, yet not even a little bi-curious?

  12. For once I agree with Jezebel.

    BUT WAIT, you might say, AT LEAST THEY’RE DOING SOMETHING. And 5% is still something! Well, kind of. As BI pointed out, if NFL products are sold at a 100% markup and only 5% of sale proceeds go to the American Cancer Society, then the NFL is pocketing 90% of sales of Breast Cancer Awareness products, many of which would not be purchased if they didn’t come with a promise that consumers were “helping.” And, more perspective: while the American Cancer Society isn’t, say, Komen, they still don’t use 100% of the money they receive to “fight” breast cancer. Only 70% of donations taken in by the organization go toward cancer research. So, if you spend $10 on pink stink from the NFL, only about 35 cents is going to finding a cure for breast cancer. And $4.50 goes right back to the NFL, where I like to imagine that it’s spent on gas for a Lake Minnetonka pleasure cruise. For the cure.

    1. SO when given the option between 5% and 0%, you thing the ACS should take the zero?

      1. The ACS should take whatever they can get, but my point is that the NFL is a bunch of greedy hypocrites. And since you’re an objectivist I shoudl specify it’s not the good kind of greed that leads to improvements in people’s lives.

        The NFL is totally taking advantage of the fact that people don’t dig in to the details of these things.

        1. And the ACS is taking advantage of the ready-made audience that comes with the NFL.

          You mean the NFL is making money using a promotional stunt that also happens to benefit a charity? Oh, the humanity!

          What are you an OWSer?

          1. Right, no one would know about breast cancer if it weren’t for the NFL wearing pink for four games.

            1. I guarantee you they make more money this month than any other two put together. That’s what the ACS gets out of it, not to mention raised awareness all year long from people wearing their pink NFL gear.

              Jesus, Tulpa. The NFL and ACS freely entered into this agreement knowing good and well that it would result in increased revenue for cancer research. Take this griefer bullshit somewhere else. It doesn’t suit you.

              1. Whatever, dude. Let me know when they wear brown for colon cancer research.

                1. They’ll wear brown for colon cancer research when they feel like it, and no sooner.

                  Or do you truly hate free association?

                  1. Free association does not imply freedom from criticism.

                    Point to where I said men with guns should run out onto the field and rip the pink armbands off the players until they donate more than a nominal amount to ACS.

                    1. Well then if I were you, I’d do a big expose on the NFL and their relationship with the ACS. I’m sure the ACS will raise hell and you’ll win a Pulitzer.

                      Congratulations in advance of your groundbreaking story. I am sure it will be the launch of the next Geraldo Rivera.

                    2. Well then if I were you, I’d do a big expose on the NFL and their relationship with the ACS. I’m sure the ACS will raise hell and you’ll win a Pulitzer.

                      Says the guy who impotently complains about police misconduct at every opportunity. As you well know, the recognition and effect of your complaints has little to do with their worthiness.

                    3. Hello, apple. I’m an orange.

                      And I do more than complain about it. I openly advocate to my local government officials and have subjected myself to arrest and violence at the hands of police to protest their actions.

                      Besides, there’s a big difference in complaining about people who routinely break the law while charged with upholding it and one (private) organization helping another (private) organization in raising funds and awareness in their fight against breast cancer.

                    4. I subject myself to breast deprivation when I bring up this data.

                      For every cancer death, the most federal research dollars were spent on cancer of the cervix ($18,870) and breast ($14,095) and on Hodgkin lymphoma ($12,791). The least funded were cancers of the stomach ($1,168), lung ($1,553), and esophagus ($1,542).

                  2. On colon cancer: “Save the assholes” just doesn’t have the same ring as “save the tatas”.

            2. Not my point.

              Is 6% enough? How about 7%? Or do you insist it should be 100%

              What are you saying, that money doesn’t spend unless it’s given at someone’s expense? If someone makes a profit while raising money for a cause that the money is somehow dirty?

              Jesus, Tulpa, go join a drum circle.

              1. The amount that they’re donating is not commensurate with the image they’re projecting for the program.

                And it’s not like the NFL is going to starve if they don’t make a profit.

                1. The amount that they’re donating is not commensurate with the image they’re projecting for the program.

                  You mean the program the ACS is co-promoting with them and not bitching about because they feel it raises awareness (and donations) to their research?

                  And it’s not like the NFL is going to starve if they don’t make a profit.

                  And who are you to decide what is the right level of donation or profit for them to have? That would probably be better left to the ACS, who partners with them and the people who freely exchange their money for the pink goods the NFL sells. Oh, and also to the people who donate directly to the ACS, Komen and myriad other groups because of the NFL’s campaign.

                  IOW, fuck off and mind your own business.

                  1. Mind my own business? I’d love to. Except the NFL is shoving their pink shit in my face every week and telling me how charitable they are.

                    1. Except the NFL is shoving their pink shit in my face every week and telling me how charitable they are.

                      That sucks, dude, that you got stuck with one of those TV sets without a channel switch or an on/off button.

                    2. Right. As soon as I turn on my TV I forfeit any right to non-coercively complain about what I see there.

                      I guess I’m not allowed to talk about the Samsung Galaxy S3 commercial with the sexting reference, either.

                    3. I might give more of a shit if breast cancer killed as many women as does heart disease. But heart disease is not nearly as sexy as breasts.

                    4. How old are all these women being “killed” by heart disease. Women in their 40s and 50s? Or women in their 80s and 90s.

                      Because if you die at age 88 from heart problems, I don’t count it as being “killed”. 100% of women die of something sooner or later.

                    5. But heart disease is not nearly as sexy as breasts.

                      Heart disease.



                      Correct again, wareagle.

                    6. Remember when the NFL supported United Way? Similar benefit to the causes, until scandal ended it. This too will end badly.

                    7. I mean, what was with all those people complaining about the NFL’s decision to associate with replacement refs for the first four weeks of the season? Why don’t they mind their own business? What are they, OWSers?

                    8. Whatever, man. If you want to change the subject, go ahead.

                      By the way, did your stupid article mention how much in direct donations come from the NFL’s campaign? Or how much the donated and auctioned items (different because they are sold directly by the ACS) generated for the cancer research?

                    9. One thing’s for sure, Deangelo Hall is going to be donating to ACS involuntarily in a couple of days. Seriously, how many years has he been in the league and he takes off his helmet and points his finger in an official’s face?

                    10. Hahaha. That was some funny shit right there. Pathetic, really, because he did it because he just didn’t feel like playing the last two minutes of the game.

                      Does Heinz Field have a small hot water heater in the visitors locker room? If so, Hall is smarter than I initially thought, as if I had as much money as him, I’d be willing to give $25k for a hot shower rather than risk getting in there too late.*

                      *I apologize for making a shower joke involving any place in Pennsyltucky.

                    11. I hope he doesn’t want to play next week, either.

                    12. He doesn’t ave to worry. The NFL postponed the bounty appeal hearing because of Hurricane Sandy. I’m sure they’ll do the same on a discipline hearing as well.

                2. The amount that they’re donating is not commensurate with the image they’re projecting for the program.

                  Okay, what percentage meets your standards?

                  You are off the rails. This isn’t a libertarian position. I’ts not even a Team Red position. You are advocating the position of your sworn enemy.

                  Have you no principles? You just pick and choose how you feel that day on any particular issue and that’s what you argue? No overriding philosophy? No guidelines that direct your decision making? Just:

                  That’s how I feel today about X, so that’s how the world should be.

                  Sometimes you are worse than T O N Y.

                  1. That’s how I feel today about X, so that’s how the world should be.

                    Sometimes you are worse than T O N Y.

                    That’s our Tulpa! Just be glad he doesn’t have a fetish for coprophilia and dictatorial powers.

                  2. You are off the rails. This isn’t a libertarian position. I’ts not even a Team Red position. You are advocating the position of your sworn enemy.

                    I’m unclear on how a position that doesn’t advocate the slightest bit of coercion on anyone in any way can be “not a libertarian position”. If the NFL wants to wear pink all year and can convince people to buy their overpriced merchandise 5% of the profits of which goes to ACS, they can do so without any fear of me calling for men with guns to burst into their offices and drag them away.

                    It’s also beyond cute to see you berating me for NOT being a partisan. “You’re agreeing with TEAM BLUE people, not TEAM RED people! Are you crazy?” Apparently the only way to avoid criticism from you guys is to toll the TEAM LIBERTARIAN line at all times, lest I either be damned as a partisan or damned as an unprincipled wisp-o-the-wind.

                  3. Okay, what percentage meets your standards?

                    More than half would be the minimum necessary to quaff my criticism. As much as the NFL makes it really should be 100% — it’s not like they absolutely need this revenue stream.

                    1. And there you have it. Tulpa has spoken. 50% is teh magic number.

                      The NFL maiks tooooo much muny and shud be giving moar to teh chairityz! Bekus I sayz so!

                      Perhaps you feel the need to critique the rest of us on what our share to charitable donations should be? What percentage of my income should I be giving away, since you, Tulpa the Great, know better than I?

        2. The NFL is totally taking advantage of the fact that people don’t dig in to the details of these things.

          Don’t have to dig into the details. I have never, ever, once, ever in the history of ever bought a product because it had a pretty colored ribbon on it.

          IN fact, now that Seattle banned plastic bags at the grocery store and turned the checkout line into a carnival atmosphere of the poor bag boy/girl trying to stuff three weeks of groceries into two small canvas bags the Subaru driver in line brought, slowing down the entire grocery experience to a complete… fucking… crawl *takes breath* whenever the ‘would you like to donate a dollar to fight breast cancer’ comes up on the little card-swipey thingy, I proudly press ‘FUCK NO’ (I really wish they had a button for that) because that’s how I now pay for my bags. Foregoing a $1 donation pays for 20 bags.

          Simple economics.

          Most of these charities are scams insofar as very little of what you donate ever gets into the research lab. It goes to huffy white women in expensive pearls who create these organizations and throw cocktail parties for their rich friends which makes everyone “feel better” about themselves.

  13. “Republicans continue to offer no real substantive alternative to President Obama’s spendthrift economic policies.”

    And yet are talked about by the Dems and the MSM as if they are going to take chainsaw to the budget and are wild eyed individualistic radicals unfit for civilized politics. Chris Matthews would be manning the barricades if a libertarian was a serious for gettiing any real influence over economic policy. A lot of this is going to be about changing the conventional wisdom in the public about what is acceptable in mainstream politics, the GOP pays only lipservice to liberty because that’s only what a majority will vote for.

  14. OK wow you have got to admit that is pretty slick dude.

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