Election 2012

Why Mitt Romney Lost—and the GOP Will Continue to Lose

The party's message is confused, contradictory, and unconvincing.


How did Mitt Romney and the Republican Party blow it all so badly?

The short answer is that the GOP insisted on pushing backward-looking social issues in a country that is increasingly libertarian.

The White House, a Senate majority, and strengthened control in the House of Representatives was not simply within reach for the Party of Lincoln this election cycle. It was gift-wrapped and adorned with pretty little bows. President Barack Obama presided over the worst economy in memory—a situation greatly exacerbated by the very policies he implemented to restart the economy; U.S. foreign policy is a shambles and our standing even (especially?) in the countries we "liberated" recently from autocracy is plummeting; and a record number of voters had disaffiliated from the Democratic Party since 2008. The president was pulling bad numbers right up to the eve of the election.

And yet Obama won re-election easily and the Democrats gained a net two seats in the Senate (including wins in Missouri and Indiana that should have been easy Republican victories). That's because the GOP, despite its endlessly repeated mantra of limited government, is wildly out of touch with the majority of Americans who consistently say they want the government to do less, spend less, and not enforce a single set of values.

There's no question that on broadly defined social issues such as immigration, marriage equality, and drug policy, Barack Obama has been terrible. He's deported record numbers of immigrants and his late-campaign exemption of some younger undocumented immigrants was one of the most cycnical policy changes imaginable. Yet he managed to increase his take of the Latino vote precisely because Mitt Romney and the Republicans are even worse (at least rhetorically) on the issue. Romney called for "self-deportation" during the Republican primary season and attacked Gov. Rick Perry—who pulls upward of 40 percent of Latino voters in Texas—for his mildly pro-immigrant stance (in his 2004 re-election bid, George W. Bush received around 40 percent on the Latino vote). If Republican representatives such as Steve King (R-Iowa) continue to talk about immigrants as akin to dogs and livestock, there's no way that the party can expect Hispanics to vote for them. Or non-Hispanics who are rightly disturbed by such attitudes.

Similar dynamics hold true on issues such as drug policy and marriage equality, each of which passed handily in various state ballot initiatives. Obama has raided medical marijuana dispensaries that are legal under state law without a second thought. Now that Washington and Colorado have legalized not just medical marijuana but all pot, the GOP should stay true to its valorization of federalism and the states as "laboratories of democracy" and call for an end to the federal drug war. The same goes for gay marriage, which is supported by a majority of Americans and passed in Maryland, Maine, and Washington state—even as an anti-marriage equality amendment to Minnesota's state constitution went down to defeat. It's fully consistent for small-government Republicans—who rarely miss an opportunity to talk about returning "power" to the states—to champion these developments. As Romney has put it, "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction."

The GOP has a major problem with women voters, who perceive it as either hostile or indifferent to questions about reproductive freedom and choice. Obama won women's votes by 12 percentage points this time around, about the same as he did in 2008 (which suggests this year's result is not a stray indicator). There's no question that the media and Democrats made a huge deal out of Todd Akin's bizarre biological disquisitions and Richard Mourdock's principled commitment to an extreme pro-life position. But the reason such statements resonated with voters is because they confirm the idea of the GOP as an anti-sex, anti-abortion party that routinely says the government is awful at everything it does but should have the final say over whether women can get abortions. That's a contradictory message that is also wildly at odds with the 77 percent of Americans who believe that abortion should be legal under at least some circumstances.

If Republicans failed to engage the libertarian sentiments of voters when it comes to social issues, it also failed to put forth a serious alternative to Obama's dismal record of increasing government spending (with promises of yet more to come). Indeed, Romney and his fellow Republicans simply did not lay out budget plans that called for specific major cuts to programs even as they called for tax cuts. Instead, we heard only that President Romney would eventually reduce spending to 20 percent of GDP—a level that is still more than two full percentage points above the post-war average for revenue as a percentage of GDP. At the same time and despite a 70 percent-plus increased in military spending over the past decade, Romney committed to the "goal of setting core defense spending…at a floor of 4 percent of GDP" (emphasis in original). Add to that Romney's inability to say flatly that he would actually repeal Obama's health-care reform, something everyone understands will cost far more and deliver far less than promised. Instead, Romney averred that he would keep the parts he liked. To a population rightly worried about the looming fiscal cliff, out-of-control spenidng, and massive national debt, the GOP economic plan was weak tea, an echo of the Democratic plan of spending more and more and figuring out how to pay for it sometime in the future.

So far, the right-wing response to the GOP's drubbing has been strange, to say the least. Right-wing activist Richard Viguerie, dubbed "conservative of the century" by the Washington Times, has said, "Republicans ran away from such issues as same-sex marriage, religious freedom and Obama's war on the Catholic Church." At City Journal, the influential publication of the conservative Manhattan Institute, Andrew Klavan proposes that right-wingers play the "long game" by taking over the media and culture industries and stressing Judeo-Christian values because "an irreligious people cannot be free."

Charles Krauthammer counsels to keep on keepin' on: "There's no need for radical change," he says. Don't sweat the increase in minorities, he says, married women still vote Republicans. He's right on that, but wrong to ignore shifts in public attitudes that are broad-based and, even more important, party planks that are flatly inconsistent with stated GOP ideology and recent experience with Republican legislators. George W. Bush and a Republican Congress (whose leadership remains firmly in power) massively expanded state spending and control of all aspects of life. They rushed us into wars and then prosecuted them poorly. While Obama has simply piled spending, debt, and stupid foreign policy decisions on top of all that, it didn't mean that voters were willing to vote Romney as the lesser of two evils. Sometimes you stick with the devil you know.

If Republicans want a game plan for the future, they should take a long look at the strong response to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who pulled over 1 million votes and over 1 percent of the total ballots cast as the Libertarian Party candidate. That's the best result for a Libertarian since 1980 and it comes in an election that was cast in apocalyptic terms—one in which votes were supposed to be so important you shouldn't waste yours on third-party candidates. Johnson, who had virtually no money to spend, got his votes not by carving special exceptions to limited government principles when it comes military spending or lifestyle choices or immigration or on whatever issue the GOP assumes voters want an activist government. Quite the opposite: He made a consistent case for limited government that is completely in line with what a majority of voters say they want.

For the Republicans to succeed, they need to confront and work through their contradictions. First and foremost, they need to be internally consistent when it comes to the limited-government ideology they claim makes them different from Democrats. Everyone understands that political parties are broad collections of interest groups that may actually have little in common but have decided to band together out of necessity. The role of party ideology or rhetoric is to take these disparate interests and make them seem like a coherent entity when they are anything but. There's no necessary connection between, say, between wanting to reduce top marginal income tax rates and supporting a ban on flag burning or any given position on abortion, even as the contemporary Republican Party would argue that these are all beads on the same necklace (the Democrats are similary chock full of random positions). The GOP has reached a point where its insistence on choice in some areas (say, the decision to buy health insurance or where to send your kids to school or whether states can opt out of this or that federal program or law) is plainly at odds with so many of its other positions that something has got to give. When Charles Krauthammer suggests "we had a winning message but didn't communicate it well enough," he's exactly wrong. The GOP has a muddled message that it's been communicating about as well as anyone can.

Why is it important for Republicans to put forth a better effort? Because the only way a first-past-the-post system like we have in the United States functions well is when the two major parties (and there will always only be two major parties, though what they stand for can and does change) present not just starkly different rhetoric but starkly different choices to voters. Back in 1964, when the modern GOP moved decisively toward the libertarian, limited-government sensibility of Barry Goldwater, his followers proudly proclaimed that he offered "a choice, not an echo" not just to Lyndon Johnson but to the post-war consensus of rule by elites and centralized experts. Goldwater and his crew were as different from Rockefeller Republicans as they were from any Democrat.

When it comes to spending, economic intervention, foreign policy, executive power, and civil liberties in the 21st century, there has been precious little daylight between the Republicans and the Democrats (do we really need to rehearse GOP-backed initiatives such as No Child Left Behind, Sarbanes-Oxley, the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, Medicare Part D, TARP, and the first auto bailout?). To the extent that the GOP offers a choice on broadly defined social issues, it is a party anchored firmly in the past that needs the federal government (of all entities) to enforce its desired positions on abortion, drug legalization, and marriage.

That's simply no way to woo the increasing number of libertarian voters and of other independent voters who have turned away in increasing numbers from the Democrats and Republicans as worn-out artifacts of the dim past. The GOP can lick its wounds and tell themselves whatever they want to hear—that it was the media's fault, that they need to be more religious, that they just need better candidates, or whatever. But until the party actually changes its positions on basic policy issues and articulates a clear and consistent role for limited government, it has nowhere to go but down.

NEXT: Victims of Hold-Up Chase Gunman Through Downtown Washington

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  1. Is this the tl;dr version of “they won’t promise free stuff?”

    1. …the only way a first-past-the-post system like we have in the United States functions well is when the two major parties…

      Okay, so it’s well established that a far-right or far-left fringe third party isn’t going to get over a percent or two of the popular vote, even if they run solid candidates and their platforms appeal to 5 or 10 times that many people.

      But how about a centrist third party, that uses modest rhetoric and is fiscally conservative and socially liberal? Seems like a golden opportunity to split the difference between the Ds and Rs, and you only need 34 percent to win, because the system is “first past the post”.

      1. Yes, Bloomberg in 2016!

        1. Are you kidding? Bloomberg is an extreme progressive whose philosophy is antithetical to that of the Libertarian party. He is a silly little tyrant wannabe with an effeminate demeanor. in short he is dangerous.

      2. It’s called the Libertarian Party and gets 1% of the vote in a good year.

    2. You missed the whole “47%” discussion, didn’t you? The people who take free stuff are retirees and vets. The lazy takers make up less than one percent. Not enough to even bring up.

      Unless you want to insult veterens, and retirees.

      Still can’t believe he actually said that. Bought right into Limbaughs diatribes without looking at the facts.

      1. I’m a veteran. Don’t speak for me.

        1. I don’t need to, vets spoke for themselves during the election.

      2. Wait.. hold up. You’re saying retirees and vets make up 99% of the 47% “takers”? Link?

  2. How is losing 51 49 “losing big”? They sure as hell didn’t win. But the Nick does himself no favors by playing fast and loose with the facts.

    1. They were up against the worst incumbent since color TV.

      1. but he is cool and he is black and he is promising free shit to be paid for by your evil rich boss.

        1. Yea and thin and athletic.
          People liked the product.
          He is not even the great speaker some people claim he is, his speeches are boring and full of stupid slogans

      2. The scary thing is they’ve been successful at painting Bush as the new Hoover so all their policies that continue to strangle the economy get a pass. In 4 years, when things will still suck, they’ll be pointing the finger right at Bush and Deregulation and the public will nod their head and pull the lever for the Not-Bush Party.

        1. Funny, I said this 3 years ago about 2012. And you are correct about 2016 when the run Elizabeth Warren.

          1. Please, no. The phrase “President Warren” makes my ears bleed.

            1. Hey Nick, I cant wait for an article dedicated to Elizabeth, the new king of the left. (To the left of Obama, can you imagine!!!) Please put her in her place, at least here. I watched her debates and wished I were there debating her.
              She is a good challenge.

        2. Bush WAS the new Hoover. Part of the GOP’s problem is that they still refuse to deal with the reality of what went on during the Bush years.

          1. You are correct, Bush was a disaster and the moderate republicans, Neo-cons, Rhinos whatever, refuse to acknowledge this fact..Somehow growing government at an unprecedented rate, running huge debts, conducting illegal wars is okay as long as it was a Republican in charge…

    2. Winning by more than 100 electoral points is usually considered a big win.

      1. winning the popular by such a slim margin is not. The electoral does not reflect that reality.

        1. Picking up two seats in the Senate, after two Republican candidates blow their leads after making braindead comments, isn’t a big win.

          Picking up between 7 and 16 seats in the House, and most likely 12 seats, is a small win, not a big win.

          The results of the election? Basically the status quo, but a little bit Blue-er.

          1. It’s not just the offices; the election results on marriage equality were a huge defeat for SoCons. Huge.

            1. Not all Republicans are SoCons — quite a few of them welcomed the ballot issues winning on legalizing weed and gay marriage.

              1. Now, if the post was about SoCons, and not “Mitt Romney and the Republicans”, then your comment would be on-topic.

                1. My post was about SoCons. Reading comprehension fail, prote?

            2. every referendum on gay marriage has turned out the same way, often with black churches leading the anti charge.

              1. What color is the sky in the universe from which you’re posting, wareagle?

                1. Until this election, Tonio, he’d have been right. Most of them, if not all of them until now, had crashed and burned spectacularly. Interesting to see that three states approved it. Let’s see if it makes it through the courts.

          2. Except in California, where we’re super(majority) screwed.

        2. The popular vote doesn’t matter in terms of being elected, and that influenced campaign strategy on both sides.

          Obama could have campaigned in California to drive up his popular vote margin, but that wouldn’t help him win.

          1. joe, you are the stupidest fucking midget I’ve ever seen. Fuck off you pathetic scumbag.

          2. The electoral college amplifies tiny swings in the vote.

            The election results for Prez were actually an improvement over 2008 in both popular vote totals and electoral college results, and a wash in results — Obama is still president, thus no change.

            And no one seems to have called Florida yet, so it is a bit premature yet to say Obama won by over 100 EC votes. Maybe he will, but not a done deal yet.

            1. I think Florida got called last night.

        3. Electoral votes are the only thing that really matters in the Presidental election.

          1. And they haven’t been counted yet, despite all the predictions. It would be cool to find out there are five or six stealth Ron Paul Electors out there….

            1. They’ve essentially got nothing to lose. I can’t see the GOP giving much of a shit with that much of a loss margin.

        4. Popular vote is meaningless in an electoral college. He lost by a landslide.

          1. Talk about an exercise in missing the point.

            1. Hit-n-Runpublicans loom large!!

        5. Presidents aren’t elected by the popular vote.

      2. He won by the same popular vote percentage Bush did in 04, is that a big win? Winning a bunch of close races in key states but not picking up much of anything in the House is a win for sure. But it is hardly a big win or an indication that you have a monopoly on public opinion or that the public is that enthused with you in general.

        Obama ran an entirely negative campaign based on wedge social issues. It worked. But it doesn’t translate to any kind of a mandate or give him much ability to govern.

        If you think winning a close race by running a campaign based on base turnout and social issues makes for easy governing or a mandate, go talk to George W. Bush about that.

        1. Yep,

          The only mandate that democrats have is to make sure that Romney doesn’t kill anyone by cutting of their insurance and making sure that Sandra Fluke does not reproduce.

          1. Is there a charity set up anywhere to pay for Sandra Fluke birth control, I am considering giving a donation.

            1. You give at the office.

            2. If it’s for a tubal ligation, count me in.

      3. joe, are you capable of getting on a barstool? Since you’re probably not, is that why you’re always drunk at home?

    3. Lost is lost, John. But keep on with that denial.

      1. There is losing in OT and there is losing by 20+.

        A loss is a loss, but some are more lossy than others.

        Thats why adjectives such as “big” exist.

        This was a small loss for the GOP. In a year when they had the potential to win big.

        1. It’s not just a river in egypt, Rob.

          1. two senate seats and a presidential loss is not a big loss, Tonio.

            2006 and 2008 were big losses.

            1. Gay marriage approved in all three states it was put up on, two states legalized MJ, Senate lead grew by two, Obamacare will be set in stone going forward, a 51st state has a chance of joined the Union. 100 electoral vote win over your challenger.

              It was a huge win for Democrats and social Libertarians.

              1. social Libertarians

                Obamacare will be set in stone

                Im trying to figure out what kind of social libertarian thinks that is a win?

                Pot, yeah, Im happy for CO and WA. But I think Obamacare more than makes up for it.

          2. Losing to VT and Miami in OT are losses. Frustrating, but not big.

            Losing to MTSU at home by 21 is a big loss.

            No denial there.

            And why would I be in denial about the GOP? My candidate got ~1%, which is twice the normal total.

            1. Ramble on Wreck

              A loss is a loss is a loss, especially when your competitor is so vulnerable.

    4. If you can’t beat 4 years of recession, you’re never going to win.

      And the demographics of these social issues are getting worse and worse for Republicans. An anti gay marriage, anti abortion party is not a national party for the future.

      1. And the demographics of these social issues are getting worse and worse for Republicans. An anti gay marriage, anti abortion party is not a national party for the future.

        That some people are having such a hard time with this very blatant fact is dumbfounding. Being socially conservative in a local or state race in Alabama may work just fine; being a SoCon in a national race is going to be dead in the water.

        Which means that Team RED will necessarily have to give up on social conservatism as a major plank in their party and their rhetoric. If they don’t they will continue to lose in national elections. It’s that simple.

        1. Look for them to double down on social issues in 2016.

    5. The fact that Obama won at all is big. He has the worst record of achievement of any President in 50 years. The economy speaks for itself.. So to lose to a truly failed President especially with the resume Romney carries is remarkable and yes it is big.

  3. But until the party actually changes its positions on basic policy issues and articulates a clear and consistent role for limited government, it has nowhere to go but down.

    How do they change their positions and remain “republicans”? They aren’t a party that believes in limited government…they believe in limited government on TEAM Blue issues.

    Time to bid them farewell.

    1. I agree, the Republican brand is dead. It will likely be Democrats foaming at the mouth in glee for 8-12 years, but I think Libertarians are going to make a lot of ground.

      1. right…because nothing will appeal to the free shit crowd more than an ideology that favors no free stuff for anyone. The free cell phone and food stamps crowd is not going to be swayed by a message of individual liberty and personal responsibility.

        1. Of course not, peacechicken, but the small govt types that have been holding their noses and voting R for years now have an opportunity to remake one of the parties, or to strike off in a new direction.

          1. voting for Dems in hopes of a remake is weapons-grade stupid. And try some research on screen names before posting something that makes you look like a fool.

          2. And I advocated voting dem…where?

            Oversensitivity duly noted.

            1. Oops, researched that. Sorry I dissed “America’s Most Versatile Boat Company”. What was I thinking?

      2. As a resident of a state that is a harbinger of the future of the changing demographics, with about 90% D legislators, 19% R legislators, and 0% L legislators, I think the more likely outcome is either the Ds becoming more and more dominant, or the Rs becoming a different brand than they are now to get back into the game.

        1. That should be 10% R legislators, not 19%. =P

        2. My state, on the other hand, loses a few more Ds every single year.

          KY went from 4-2 R-D in the US House to 5-1.
          KY House went from 58-41 (1 vacancy) D-R to 55-45.
          KY Senate results are still pending, but Rs held on to control of it. Maybe gained 1 seat.

          Its marginal change, but 55-45 is BY FAR the closest the state house has been in my life.

          The big change is the Ds here are way behind in changing brand. Slowly, the Ds are of the liberal type instead of the Blue Dog type. But when that brand switch is complete, the GOP will control the state house too.

          1. But, mos importantly here, is that a fairly significant chunk of the very few libertarian(ish) federal legislators there are, are from KY.

            People in KY like libertariansm, even if it’s watered down a bit. They handily beat establishment republicans. The message of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism resonates here. Our rednecks are not evangelicals like they are in MS or AL. There is very much a live and let live sentiment rumbling here.

            1. Got to be all that bootlegger DNA running around there.

  4. The short answer is that the GOP insisted on pushing backward-looking social issues in a country that is increasingly libertarian.

    that surely explains why a slim majority voted FOR the party of bigger govt, the one that promises endless free ponies to be paid for by rich robber-barons, the one believes you should pay for your neighbor’s birth control and most other needs/wants, and the one that rammed through a new entitlement that is going to swamp the boat.

    Nothing screams ‘increasingly libertarian’ like socialized medicine, endless debt, more regulation, and a host of other market-based ideas. Take a vacation, Nick; you’ve been inside the Beltway too long.

    1. Dude, it’s not just the party that thinks that. A huge chunk of Americans believe they deserve free everything if they can’t afford it.

      1. then it makes Nick’s argument of America becoming increasingly libertarian all the more ridiculous. What part of libertarianism promotes free shit? Arguments about what is wrong with the GOP can be made, to be sure, but claiming that a desire for truly limited govt is one of them is delusional.

    2. Wait, there’s only one party of bigger government?

      1. yes, that’s the Dems. The Repubs are merely the party of big govt. No -er. Not that they aren’t willing to try.

        1. Really? They sure seemed to support bigger government when they controlled Congress and the White House. And when someone who’s considered “radical” (Ryan) proposes a budget that increases spending by a trillion dollars over the next decade, then I think it’s fair to say they’re also a party of bigger government (and this isn’t even counting social issues, civil liberties, and foreign policy)

          1. if it makes you happy, the dichotomy is bigger vs more bigger. I never claimed either favors shrinking govt; one just wants more growth than the other.

            1. And both will result in terrible consequences. The status quo isn’t sustainable, and both sides want to add more

      2. “Wait, there’s only one party of bigger government?”

        Point still stands though. They voted for bigger government regardless. Maybe their would be hope if they voted for somebody different than who we already know to be for bigger government, and we could just excuse the Romney support for ignorance of who Romney really is. But the message in this case was pretty clear: “Needs moar free stuff and bailouts for the industry I happen to work in”

    3. Yep, I agree–overlooking the election results in favor of a CNN poll, of all things.

      One can weld with rose-colored glasses tinted that dark. Maybe Nick is on vacation already.

    4. The quote you gave was absolutely right for my sister.

      Nationalizing a woman’s womb, and telling people who they can’t marry, is a huge imposition of government control.

      My sister’s prescription for government “leave people alone if they’re not hurting anyone else”. That’s why she voted for Obama.

      Marriage and pregnancy matter to people’s lives, and are arguably more important than tax rates and bureaucracy to their quality of life and freedom.

      1. All of the polygamists, first cousins, and long-term non-married domestic partners will be delighted to know that the government is no longer telling people who they can’t marry.

        And all the people forking over for your sister’s birth control will be delighted to find out that the government will now be “leaving them alone if they’re not hurting anyone else”.

      2. Absolutely right. There are a lot of young women who will absolutely refuse to vote for the GOP based on their positions on abortion and gay marriage alone.

        You won’t will all of them by abandoning the more paleolithic socons, but you can at least you can win some of them.

        As long as young voters, of both genders, view the GOP as the party of “misogynist racist homophobes,” you aren’t even going to have a chance to engage them on economics, foreign policy, or civil liberties in general.

        1. Should be: “You won’t win them all…”

    5. One SHOULD attribute that to the FACT that most people believe that any vote other than for one of the Teams is a wasted vote. Add to that the reasonably small turnout for BOTH parties and it’s not hard to see that the current Republican brand is about dead.

      Only deep red voters voted Romney. Obama didn’t even need a huge turnout to win big because Team RED can no longer bring out big crowds using the same message they’ve been trying to push for going on 3 decades.

      For any proof that one needs, look to the 2010 elections where people like Rand Paul won handily. Fiscal conservatism and libertarianism light is what brought those people to the pools in such droves. Many of them won because they were AGAINST the typical republican message.

  5. Being “pro-life” has been so central to the Republican brand the past 30 years that they’ll have incredible trouble trying to walk away from it.

    If you’ve invested tons of time and effort convincing your supporters that abortion is murder and infanticide, you can’t just turn and say “well murder and infanticide are cool now, lets go win one for the free market”.

    1. It’s too bad that the majority is pro-life. If only the Republicans had a better position.

      1. That’s completely disingenuous and you know it, Sparky. The vast majority are not what the Republican Party would consider “pro-life”, meaning no abortions under any circumstances.

        The relevant paragraph:

        “Gallup’s longest-running measure of abortion views, established in 1975, asks Americans if abortion should be legal in all circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances. Since 2001, at least half of Americans have consistently chosen the middle position, saying abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, and the 52% saying this today is similar to the 50% in May 2011. The 25% currently wanting abortion to be legal in all cases and the 20% in favor of making it illegal in all cases are also similar to last year’s findings.”

        1. I guess I’ll care more about it when I run across a topic that I give a shit about. The point was just in reference to the fact that more people self-identify as pro-life, not whether or not that meets Republican pro-life standards.

          1. I understand, but just throwing out, “Most people are pro-life” makes it sound like most people agree with what is commonly believed to be that position within the republican party.

            People say one thing, but believe another. They say they’re pro-life, but what they actually are is something in between.

            1. Sure,

              The problem for republicans this cycle is they allowed the abortion issue to be framed as one where they supported forcing rape victims to carry the rapists child to term instead of Obama supporting the strangling to death of 9 month fetuses that survive the initial abortion.

              It’s all about framing when the majority of people are in the mushy middle.

              1. Totally agree with you, VG.

              2. It’s not that they “allowed”; it’s that they had two people who were on the fringes of the issue open their big fat yaps in a very public and embarrassing manner, and then the national party did nothing to distance themselves from those opinions and paid the price for that.

                1. It’s not that they “allowed”; it’s that they had two people who were on the fringes of the issue open their big fat yaps in a very public and embarrassing manner, and then the national party did nothing to distance themselves from those opinions and paid the price for that.

                  The latter part along with Romeny’s non response to the whole war on womyn nonsense is the reason that I say they allowed it to happen.

                  It’s a lot like 88 when Dukakis completely ignored the Willy Horton ads and the crime issue because he thought that is was preposterous to make those part of a presidential campaign and that responding was beneath his dignity.

                  1. Nice point in bold.

                  2. Well, they did try to throw Akin under the bus, then drive back and forth over his corpse. But like most zombies, he refused to die…

            2. When the Republicans look at a poll like this, you know the assumption they make. That’s why they continue to push their position. I’m not going to make excuses for other people’s lack of understanding.

            3. Most people could be described as “modestly pro-choice”, in that they don’t think abortion in every single circumstance is wrong such as with rape or incest, nor do they believe in allowing abortions right up until every part of the baby’s body exits the mother’s body.

              The hard-core “pro-life” and “pro-choice” extremes are well in the minority.

        2. meaning no abortions under any circumstances.

          I literally dont know anyone that thinks that.

          Even the “radicals” who dont want abortion in case of rape or incest are still okay with the life of mother circumstance.

          Ive never heard any politician say “make the mother die”.

          1. I literally dont know anyone that thinks that.

            I met someone like that once at university. I pressed him on the issue of life of the mother. He paused for a moment, and basically said let the mom die.

            He was also batshit crazy and clearly had some serious personality disorder(s). I think his idea of a “principled” position was one that had no exceptions ever or could never be overturned no matter what. (Is that you Kant?)

      2. The majority isn’t pro-life in the case of rape, incest, or if there is a risk to the mother’s health.

        Republicans who were unequivocally pro-life tended to lose.

        1. Rape like lying back and thinking of England?


          Holy fuck you’re a moron. Does being an abject idiot hurt, joe?

        2. But the Dem base tends to think that it should be legal in all circumstances and paid for the government. That is a wildly unpopular position. The only reason it hasn’t cost the Dems is that they have been able to change the subject to rape and incest. When they can’t do that anymore and have to defend the eugenicists in their party, they are going to have a real problem.

          1. And a sizable, or at least vocal and influential, portion of the rep base believes it should be illegal under any circumstance.

            Look at what happened in Indiana and Missouri. I think you’re seriously underestimating how much the “illegal at all times” crowd turns people off more than the “always legal” crowd.

            1. should be illegal under any circumstance.

              Bullshit. The vocal fringe still supports the life of mother circumstance.

              You are lying and you know it.

          2. 1) Lol “Eugenicists”
            2) No, the Dem base is split pretty evenly between “legal in all circumstances” and “legal in some circumstances”
            3) The Democrats have been able to shift the subject to rape and incest because all Democrats believe that abortion should be legal in those circumstances, and some Republicans don’t.

            1. Rape like lying back and thinking of England? Is stunning how stupid you are, joe. Just stunning.

            2. 2) No, the Dem base is split pretty evenly between “legal in all circumstances” and “legal in some circumstances.

              Citation please? Sorry Joe but lying out of your ass doesn’t count. Find me one member of the dem base who didn’t object to the partial birth abortion ban?

              1. My point is that some democrats are against partial birth abortions, but for abortions in the first trimester.

                Here’s my source:

                13% of democrats believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

                1. And just 22% of Republicans believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. So I’m not seeing a lot of rigidity on the right either.

                  1. The number of elected republicans who believe that is far higher.

                    The discrepancy is why they’re losing.

                    1. There is no statistical evidence for that position.

            3. 3) The Democrats have been able to shift the subject to rape and incest because all Democrats believe that abortion should be legal and paid for by other people in those circumstances, and some Republicans don’t.

              You’re close, Joe. Close.

              1. But they have all kind of flexibility Paul. You have to remember Joe is the most dishonest person on earth.

                1. But they have all kind of flexibility Paul. You have to remember Joe is the most dishonest person on earth.

                  I dunno, he seems pretty honest to me. A guy who admits he’d become George W Bush to get elected is… pretty honest. It’s not about ideology, it’s about power.

              2. I think “rape victims should pay for their own damn abortions” is going to be a pretty tough position to achieve electoral success with.


                1. I think “rape victims should pay for their own damn abortions” is going to be a pretty tough position to achieve electoral success with.

                  Of course it isn’t when everybody is just accustomed to getting their free goodies from the government. Thank the Dems for offering to pay for everything whether they can or not.

                2. I think “rape victims should pay for their own damn abortions” is going to be a pretty tough position to achieve electoral success with.

                  I appreciate that rape victims are victims of terrible, terrible crimes, and ideally speaking, the perpetrators of that crime would be the ones who pay. But when unfortunate things happen to others, that is not society’s fault, and society should not be expected to pay for it.

                  If someone T-bones me and runs off, I shouldn’t expect you to pick up the tab.

                  1. I get the libertarian position here, and I’m not trying to argue that it’s right or wrong.

                    Only that it’s unpopular.

                  2. If someone T-bones you and runs off, shouldn’t you expect me to see if you’re at least alive and saveable? Maybe call an ambulance or something? You really wouldn’t expect that from a passersby who’s a decent human being?

                3. I think “rape victims should pay for their own damn abortions” is going to be a pretty tough position to achieve electoral success with.

                  Right, because when I say “abortion” I’m really saying “Rape”. Because there are eleventy million rape abortions occurring per minute!

          3. The only reason it hasn’t cost the Dems is that they have been able to change the subject to rape and incest. When they can’t do that anymore and have to defend the eugenicists in their party, they are going to have a real problem.


            Slightly off topic but why are rape and incest always framed together as exceptions? If the reason is someone that impregnates their underage daughter wouldn’t that be covered under the rape exception?

            1. I think rape is supposed to refer to forcible rape.

              1. I always thought that the incest part refered to the mostly mythical cases where some creep is fucking his underage daughter, gets her pregnant and she’s afraid to let him know that she is going to get an abortion instead of giving birth to her daughter/sister.

            2. Incest is pretty explicitly a eugenics position, and no one ever wants to talk about it.

              1. I never thought of anti-incest laws as eugenics, but you’re right, they obviously are.

    2. Most people in the country are pro life. The number of people becoming pro life has been going up every year. And it will continue to go up. The problem is that sonograms and the ability to make children viable outside of the womb earlier and earlier is making the whole “life begins at birth” argument more and more untenable.

      And the Democrats have completely tied themselves to the radical feminist view that anything short of government funded abortions in any trimester up to and including partial birth abortion is totally unacceptable. Most people in the country can agree on a compromise of legal abortion in the first trimester or so. But that is not a compromise feminists, who are a huge an influential constituency to the Dems will ever agree upon.

      1. wasn’t the original Roe decision pretty much limited to the first trimester?

        1. “wasn’t the original Roe decision pretty much limited to the first trimester?”

          If you’ll pardon the pun, that is a misconception. Roe and the companion *Doe* decision required a broad “health” exemption allowing abortion through all stages of pregnancy. “Health” doesn’t health as defined by focus-group-tested formulations of women being physically endangered by pregnancy, but includes very broad psychological-health grounds, as determined by pro-choice mental-health professionals.

      2. The number of people becoming pro life has been going up every year.

        NO. Young people are pro-choice. This is a pro-choice nation and it’s only going to get more so. Kneel.

        1. They are pro choice right up until they have a kid. And “pro choice” doesn’t mean one thing. You can be pro choice and still object to late trimester abortions or public funding.

          And also the polls show otherwise. See above.

        2. Polling indicates that young people are less pro-choice than the boomer generation. As sonograms and technology is furthered, that trend will continue IMO.

          That said, I don’t think there will be any real traction on the issue unless an artificial womb is invented.

        3. NO. Young people are pro-choice

          No they’re not.

          A lot of my kids friends are vegetarian lefties and they are all pro-life and non christian.

          1. They sound insufferable.

            1. They sound insufferable.

              Actually, they’re not too bad because they aren’t preachy on either topic, it’s more of a personal belief with them.

              I’ve never discussed if they think abortion should be illegal in all circumstance, mostly because it’s not an issue that I talk about much.

          2. They will say that right to the ballot box and then vote such that choice is preserved.

          3. Nice anecdote, VeeGee.

      3. I think the percentage of people who think life begins at birth has always been pretty small. Most people think the dividing line is somewhere in the late 2nd/early 3rd trimester, especially since the viability age is now ~22wks.

        1. It is just stupid to argue about when life begins. Life began several billion years ago and has been continuously going ever since. At which point a collection of cells becomes an independent organism is not a real question. Or at least not a question with a real answer. Everyone can just pick a definition that suits them and claim to be right.

          1. The argument is about when personhood begins. Only the mawkishly sentimental (VG, John) get all mushy about “life” (by which they mean certain forms of life).

            1. I’m not mushy about it at all.

              My personal belief is that personhood begins at viability and abortion is ok before that.

              Further, with the development of modern abortifacients it is practically impossible to ban abortions before 8-12 weeks anyway.

              1. Meant to say not mawkishly sentimental, viability is inherently nebulous.

                My point is that the pro-abortion pov is not a slam dunk winner for democrats by any means and as I said upthread the same people will respond positively to a pro or anti abortion message depending on how it is framed.

                1. Mawkish..mushy, whatever. I apologize for lumping you in with John. My bad.

      4. I think it is about time people started saying “anti-abortion” when that is what they mean. Pro-life and Pro-choice are both bullshit words meant to influence people by preying on their emotions. Pretty much everyone is pro-life. Just say what you mean.

      5. Democrats have a lot more flexibility on abortion because they’re not so ideologically rigid.

        There are pro-life democrats that get elected, because democrats would rather win than be pure.


          Your delusions are like sweet, sweet candy. You really are the stupidest midget ever.

          1. Reality has a well known anti-episiarch bias.


            1. Keep digging, joe! You’re NEVER going to live this one down, you fucking cretin.

            2. Voting in favor of one bill that limits public funding for abortion is hardly a pro-life position.

              1. I thought all Democrats favored free abortions for all?

                Here are some pro-life democrats:

                1. Hey short stuff, do you ever tire of being an abject scumbag?

        2. Democrats have a lot more flexibility on abortion because they’re not so ideologically rigid.

          You are either delusional or lying. What pro life Democrats? No national Democrat is pro life. Not a single one. Lots of national Republicans are pro choice, Chris Christie, Scott Brown, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Snow and Collins.

          Democrats have no flexibility on abortion. Name me a single Democrat who is against public funding for abortion much less thinks it should be illegal?

          1. Ok, One at a time:

            Christie: Pro-life (exceptions for rape, incest, mother health)
            Brown: Not an elected republican anymore
            Hutchinson: Pro-life
            Snow: Not an elected republican anymore
            Collins: Not an elected republican anymore

            Pro-life Democrats:
            Senator Joe Manchin (WV)
            Senator Bob Casey (PA)
            Senator-elect Joe Donnelly (IN)
            Congressman Collin Peterson (MN)
            Congressman Nick Rahall (WV)
            Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL)
            Congressman Mike McIntyre (NC)

            1. joe, when you used to beat your wife, did you tell her it was for her own good?

              1. Ummm, why are you insulting joe when he is pointing out facts that show that John is, as usual, overstating the case with sweeping and wrong generalizations?

                1. “John is, as usual, overstating the case with sweeping and wrong generalizations?”

                  Slow clap. I’m going to frame that, prote. Thanks.

                  1. I just provided an equally short list of pro-choice Republicans, so what the hell?

            2. Those people just left. And they are all on good terms with the party.

              And your list of pro choice dems is just as short. Dems are just as if not more fanatical about abortion as the most right wing republicans. Emily’s List and NARAL are wildly influential in the Dem party. Just as influential as any pro life Republican groups are in the Republican Party.

              This is why everyone hates your guts Joe. You are totally dishonest and refuse to admit any flaw or extremism on your team no matter how self evident.

              You basically deserve the responses Episiarch gives you. Come back when you will use your real name and can be honest.

              1. Brown may have left on good terms with the Republicans, but Snowe and Collins certainly didn’t. The Republican inflexibility on abortion had a lot to do with their retirement.


                My list of Pro-life Democrats actually has people who are elected and pro-life. You didn’t name a single pro-choice, elected republican, because there aren’t any at the national level.

                1. Your list is as weak as this one, so argument over, joe.

                  1. I totally forgot about Mark Kirk.

                    Some of the people on that list are no longer elected, but he sure is.

                    I guess Republicans cared more about winning Obama’s old seat than about abortion in this case.

            3. Hutchinson is also a lame duck now.

              1. Retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, is offering some advice to her party on her way out the door: “Stop trying to act like the woman is a throw-away.”


          2. US House member Joe Crowley, right here.

        3. There are pro-life democrats that get elected, because democrats would rather win than be pure.

          We know, we know. We’ve had 12 years of Bush to prove it.

    3. Hey joe, why are you so short? Was your mom an alcoholic or something? That would explain your stupidity as well.

      1. This series of insults did not add anything meaningful to the discussion.

        Just sayin’.

        1. Since joe adds nothing meaningful to anything, I’m just continuing the trend.

        2. Joe does not add anything meaningful to the discussion.

          1. His post above at 3:17 pm for once was on point and accurate.

        3. Are you claiming that joe here to discuss anything? Really?

      2. If you had a PHD and made as much money as I do, you wouldn’t have to insult Joe all of the time.

        1. Lowercase damnit.

    4. It’s not that they’ve convinced anyone, they’ve just pandered to a special interest group that isn’t winning them any elections; and in turn they have been unable to produce anything for that interest group.

  6. Anyone studied how many showed up to vote for McCain in ’08 in the critical states Romney lost like Virginia and Ohio (as did McCain, but he took a larger number then than Obama did now) who decided they would not vote for a Mormon?

    1. that’s the elephant in the living room. It’s what the catholic channel, fox, refused to say out loud but it was palpable in the anyone-but-Romney meme heard through the primaries both there and on most of talk radio.

      Lots of folks wanted Christie who, on substance, is virtually indistinguishable from Mitt. But he’s Catholic and that’s more acceptable that those crazy cultists with the magic underwear. The upside is that fat Chris likely killed his chances of being the guy with that blowjob of obama.

      1. And Republicans’ quest for purity of essence claims another electable scalp.

        1. And joe’s candor once again shows he hasn’t a scintilla of integrity. You’re a true scumbag, joe.

      2. No, there’s a lot more substance to the Jersey Boy, iff’n you know what I mean.

    2. And that will be their undoing, Killaz. They will blame it all on the Mormon, and then be completely baffled when they lose the next presidential election running on the same policies.

    3. Anyone studied how many showed up to vote for McCain in ’08 in the critical states Romney lost like Virginia and Ohio (as did McCain, but he took a larger number then than Obama did now) who decided they would not vote for a Mormon?

      I think my mother was one of those fanatical anti-Mormons who left the Prez race blank. But, I think this was a minor thing, unlike the auto bailouts, the dissing latinos, and the dissing Ron Paulers.

      Basically, a lot of appalled liberals stayed home after 4 years of Obama, but enough Rs also stayed home to allow Obama to win enough swing states to win the EC.

  7. I don’t think anything you said about the GOP is necessarily wrong, but I think you’re wrong to assume that there is any rational consistency in what voters say they want and what they actually vote for. When ~60% of the voters are saying that we’re “on the wrong track,” the GOP wasn’t wrong to assume that those same voters would vote for a different track. Many voters also claim to give a crap about the debt and financial problems, but those same voters will not vote for anyone who threatens tax increases or spending cuts to the big programs they care about (that are, incidentally, the source of much of the budget trouble). It seems clear to me that many voters do, in fact, care more about their narrow issues–witness the big thrill going around about the gay marriage measures, as if increasing acceptance for gay marriage is going to turn this country around–and keeping their programs than they do about the larger issues of the entire country jumping off the fiscal cliff (but at least we’ll all be equal! while we bend over for our creditors). So, I mean, we can sit around and analyze all the things wrong with the GOP, but there’s pretty big things wrong with the electorate, too, and the GOP frankly can’t fix those (neither can the Dems, but they seem to at least do a better job capitalizing on it).

    1. Most voters have no idea what Obama stands for or plans to do. The media did its best to ensure that.

    2. Gay marriage and “War on Women” were not the *reason* that voters voted for Obama; they were an *excuse* for voters to vote Obama.

    3. I disagree. Tax increases are a non-starter, but I think program or agency cuts would be acceptable.

      1. then let’s start with public funding for PBS, NPR, NEA, NEH, and planned parenthood. Let folks who support those groups do so with their own money. But mention any and the left gets the collective vapors. NO cuts would be acceptable.

      2. I’m not talking about the left, oh oversensitive one, I’m talking about those fiscal (but not social) conservatives who’ve been reluctantly voting Team Donkey. Do try to keep up.

        1. who’ve been reluctantly voting Team Donkey Elephant Derp.

  8. …the GOP insisted on pushing backward-looking social issues in a country that is increasingly libertarian.

    I wish this was true but I don’t think that it was. He lost Ohio because his opponent held the promise of bailouts. Romney could have been mum in the general campaign on all the socon baggage he carried to the GOP nomination and I doubt it would have mattered. The electorate is generally too ill-informed to understand that the guy their news reporters are fawning over is just as willfully ignorant on economic matters as the people voting for him.

    1. We don’t know because Romney never actually spoke out against the bailouts during the campaign. His VP pick voted to bail out GM and the banks. He never called BS on Obama’s claim that he saved jobs (the auto bailouts were simply a lifting of the rule of law when it comes to capital investments).

      1. Bailing out GM probably cost Romney Ohio and kept Michigan uncompetitive, and pissed off a lot of fiscal conservatives elsewhere, too.

        If Republicans had voted lockstep against the auto bailouts, they wouldn’t have happened, and the Rust Belt would not view the Ds as having brought the pork home.

        1. Romney’s mistake was not to call Obama out on the bailouts, by calling them what they were: Crooked Bankruptcies. He had to say: “GM went bankrupt, Mr Prez, have you forgotten? You oversaw the crooked bankruptcy proceedings, ensuring that people like the Indiana Teachers Pension Fund got nothing and the UAW, who should have been last in line, got their pensions fully funded AND a big fraction of the company. Where were you Mr Prez???”

  9. I just posted this in an older thread but it’s appropriate here as well:

    I don’t know when the Reason staff, or the commentariat for that matter, is going to open up their eyes and realize that the country is not becoming increasingly libertarian. How you can look at the election results and not see the overwhelming rah-rah for big government is beyond me (I say this regardless of who won). It stands out like a sore thumb. It’s all between red states and blue states now, and the battle is not over big vs. small government. It’s all about who will be the oppressed class and who will be the oppressor. The American experiment failed miserably, and we are now but a bunch of mere looters fighting for government resources.

    1. Ding ding ding. This is the new reality of electoral politics in America.

    2. This is an accurate enough statement.

    3. I can’t agree with this more. Optimism is for the delusional amongst us.

    4. I think the staff is more delusional than the commentariat. But this article just goes along with the theme of Nick and Matt’s book.

    5. Oh, and what people say in polls and surveys and what they actually do are entirely different things.

    6. Eh, why not be optimistic? Shit isn’t going to go our way anyway, so be happy about the little things. Despite the increasing overreach of government, there are many areas of life which, because of technology and a generally better standard of living, are more free in certain ways than ever have been.
      I’m not sure if I buy that that makes things increasingly libertarian, but you might as well look on the bright side rather than make yourself unnecessarily miserable.

    7. alan_s is a big mean poopy-head.

    8. Seriously. Arguing from anecdote is never good, but it looks like most everyone I know who is under 30 believes that freedom of speech is evil. I’m pretty sure liberty has lost.

    9. +1000

    10. This sentiment completely ignores the sweeping victories of libertarian(ish) candidates in 2010.

      People want small government; not one that freely meddles in the bedroom or what we put in our bodies. Stick with the fiscal message of small government and DITCH THE FUCKING SOCONS, and Team RED will have the electorate in the palm of its hand. People want Rand Paul, not Rick Fucking Santorum.

      1. Rick Fucking Santorum wasn’t running in any of the slots on the ballot this year. Social issues didn’t lose Republicans the election. At least not entirely. That people want to get high on more than just alcohol and that 40 years of social conditioning has made them more accepting of gays doesn’t mean they are getting more libertarian. Libertarianism isn’t a single issue, and people voting for single issues that coincidentally happen to align with libertarianism (gay marriage actually doesn’t at all, but that’s a different discussion) shouldn’t be confused for libertarians. alan_s is exactly right. People voted for large government because they really, really, really like large government, and they will never, ever, under any voluntary circumstances vote based on libertarian principles at a meta-level.

  10. Romney/Ryan’s entire campaign was essentially “I’m different from Obama, but I’m not going to change anything.” Even Joe Biden started raising some of the points Ryan’s support of Medicare Part D (and followed-up by bragging about closing the gaps in it). I like to be optimistic that the election results will force the Republican party towards libertarianism (kind of like the 12 years of Reagan/Bush pushed the democrats ever so slightly towards), but I’m afraid they will go the other way and pick Santorum next time around.

    1. and if they pick a Ricky, they will lose even more soundly. Seems the only thing folks hate more than a policy statist is a morality statist.

    2. If Santorum wins the nomination, all hope is officially lost

      1. No, that will be the harbinger of the implosion of the GOP. Salty ham tears, FTW.

        1. And then we have one party Democratic rule, with whatever opposition there is consisting primarily of Santorumites. Yeah that’s not worth the salty ham tears

        2. No, something else will arise to fill the vacuum. And it’s possible that the GOP will restructure itself.

          1. Yeah, libertopia is just around the corner. Also, Jesus returned to earth and raptured his followers about 2,000 years ago.

    3. The only way a libertarian could possibly win is by running on a peace platform, but even then I’m pretty sure that liberals would claim he is taking away military “jobs”.

      ZERO Chance of a libertarian winning on an economic platform at this point. It will take YEARS of painful and failed Keynesianism before the public is willing to accept “Not Sucking At The Gov’t Teat” as an option.

      It’s seriously over. There is almost no substantial policy difference between Obama and Romney but the media went batshit crazy at the thought of the tiniest cut and the public followed through at the voting booth. This country is well on the path to a worse version of a European-style welfare state.

      1. that’s one reason I say let ALL the tax cuts expire. Time for Americans to grasp the cost of their particular free ponies. You can tell a kid not to put his finger in an outlet or let him do it and see for himself. We are at the hard lessons point. This shit won’t stop until people see and feel it personally.

        1. This shit won’t stop until people see and feel it personally.

          It won’t stop then either, if the petulant children stomping their feet and throwing temper tantrums in the street in Greece are any indication.

    4. I’d like to see a small-gov’t guy given a chance.

      The usual refrain is, “But he’ll lose by even more!”

      Well, the Presidency is a zero-sum office. Guess what? The bland, vanilla moderate was tried, and he still lost. Nothing is to be gained by trying the same thing over and over.

      Essentially I’m saying that the argument against small-gov’t republicans that “but they’ll lose!” is moot, b/c they went the other direction, and lost anyway.

      1. They won’t do it because the media will go FULL APESHIT on anyone even remotely small government. Face it, JJ: we lost. There is no win here. There is only GTFO and start again somewhere new, and there’s nowhere new. Oops.

        1. we lost

          You a republican now? ; )

          1. A human being (marginally).

            1. If you think defining when life begins is hard, just wait until we have to determine if Epi and Warty are actully human.

              Thankfully SF has no such difficulty: we know he is not. A human can process sugar.

      2. I agree. I would even risk/ensure a 3rd Obama term if it could just be Obama vs G Johnson in 2016. Johnson would bye filleted by the media, but at least he’d demolish Obama in the debates and we’d all have to pick a real side.

      3. Republicans learned their lesson about running small government candidates with Goldwater. Losing with the dignity of your principles doesn’t do anything to assuage you when you don’t have any principles and you are chiefly concerned with obtaining and exercising government power.

  11. Illegals only come here to get free stuff, not to support American values, freedom and integrity. Why is the Republican party looked upon as inhumane, in your words, rather than illegals being greedy and leacherous coming here just to get the things their own country doesn’t give them, all the while not pledging ANY allegiance whatsoever to America and her greatness? Sure, grant them amnesty but do not give them the right to vote, which is a precious right for American citizens only. If it is really about the Republicans “shunning” legitimate immigration reform, then let amnesty happen today, right now, but don’t let them vote for a decade and see what happens. How “compassionate and caring” will the Democrat party be then? The bottom line is that Romney lost because he is not a conservative, period. More conservatives stayed home this election that in 2008 because neither McCain, who was an injury as a candidate, was conservative, nor Romney, who was the added insult, was conservative either. This loss has everything to do with not catering to the conservative base, who will not compromise their values and standards (Ronald Reagan said not to compromise but to hold true to conservative values and standards) to cast a vote for the “lesser of two evils”, rather than giving “candy to the border-crossing trick or treaters” who come here for goodies.

    1. “Illegals only come here to get free stuff, not to support American values, freedom and integrity.”

      Anyone who says this is a moron. Sure there are illegals getting free stuff, but to say that’s the only or primary reason they come, or that they’re lazy, etc is idiotic

      1. She’s probably a drive-by troll. Never seen that handle before, and she probably won’t come back. Besides, can you really take seriously the opinion of anyone who believes in astrology?

  12. From the exit poll thread:

    Obama won big among young Americans, women, Latinos, African Americans, LGBT, unmarrieds, those making les than 50,000 a year, urban areas and the secular, and he did so with significant margins.

    Romney lost because they many faces of the government have been teaching these people for the last 40 years, that they are the victims of a rigged system and that only the government can solve their problems and give them a decent standard of living.

    1. One problem with your analysis is that Asian’s and Athiests went for Obama. These folks rely on government handouts less than the general population. Older people (65+) went for Romney. These folks do rely on government more than the general population. Romney never said a damn thing about cutting government programs anyway. In fact, he criticized Obama for doing so.

      1. ding ding ding

        1. I noticed that 22 percent of the LGBT vote went to Romney. Weird, huh?

          1. Gays tend to be very well educated and make more money than the average American. They also are more entrepreneurial. A good chunk of them own businesses and have to make payroll. I would guess they are most of your 22%.

            1. “John is, as usual, overstating the case with sweeping and wrong generalizations?”

              Got any data to back that up, John? And I’m objecting to this because the trope of the rich, elite homos is obnoxious.

          2. Not really. A lesbian couple I’m friends with has a fiscally conservative R and a D.

            If the GOP quit picking on gays and abandoned the theocrat wing, they could get the majority of the LGBT vote.

            Course, then they’d be screwed because the theocrat wing of the GOP is their base.

            1. Prote, it would take a long time for the GOP to turn around their abysmal track record on gay issues. It’s really about the numbers. For each SoCon they lose they would have to replace that with one new vote. Not sure the numbers are there, yet.

              1. The most outrageously generous estimates put the homosexual population at ~10%. There probably aren’t enough, and probably aren’t going to be enough, homosexual voters to make up the difference, unless the GOP can convince a lot of the evangelical vote that it might be fun to rub penises together.

          3. Randi, gay rights are important to most of us (LGBetc), but some of us view property and gun rights as even more fundamental and therefore important. “It’s complicated,” as they say.

    2. “Romney lost because they many faces of the government have been teaching these people for the last 40 years, that they are the victims of a rigged system…”

      That’s because many of them *are* victims of a rigged system — and that rigged system is called the corporate state.

      But Democrats are simply better at convincing ordinary people that the party is “on their side,” when in fact the Democratic Party is just as committed to the “rigged system” known as the corporate state just as much as the Republican Party.

      If Republicans had any sense, they would stop making excuses for that rigged system, and make the case that a freed market is superior to the welfare-corporate state that Democrats simply want to normalize.

      But they won’t. Because the Republican Party is committed to that corporate state — hence the contradictions Nick outlines.

  13. I still believe, fervently, that banning abortions is compatible with limited government. The only true, legitimate function of the state is to product people’s basic rights from each other. Thus the state can outlaw murder, theft, and rape. If you then presume that a fetus has rights as a human being, protecting that becomes a perfectly legitimate function of the law. The argument, then, hinges on when a human being gains rights, whether that’s at birth or at some point of development (after the first trimester, for example, or after viability).

    And while most people think abortion should be legal in *some* circumstances, most people also think it should be illegal in *some* circumstances. So clearly, the vast majority of Americans think that yes, the government should be involved in telling women when they can have abortions. And for once, I agree with the majority of Americans, even though I think of myself as a pretty consistent libertarian.

    I am never going to stop believing in this and caring about this. Never, ever, even if “my side” loses every election until the end of time.

    1. Cool story, bro.

      1. Single issue voters FTW.

        1. I’m not a single issue voter. I care about many different issues, some more than others. I’m simply unwilling to abandon my beliefs in a spineless attempt to blend in with the crowd. If that were a good idea, libertarians would be defecting en masse from their core convictions whenever the majority wanted more state control.

          1. You want more state control over women’s bodies. Fuck you.

            1. And *you* want the state to control people’s body’s by forbidding them to use their bodies to bludgeon other people’s bodies to death.

              You and I are coming from different first principles assumptions–I believe that a fetus has natural rights at some point before birth, you don’t. Given your assumption, you *definitely* have the right position, and in fact I admire you for your passion in the defense of self-determination.

            2. Or, you know, she wants less murder.

              Not that I agree with her, but try to be honest instead of being a tool.

          2. Not only a single-issue voter, but a self-deluding one as well. Nice.

            1. Classy, Tonio. Real classy.

              1. Thanks, Randi. It’s not fair to have Epi do all the heavy lifting so I help out where I can.

                1. That’s always been the problem with libertarians. Not enough arrogant, obnoxious cunts.

        2. How do you know she’s a single-issue voter? All she said was that she was a libertarian and that a pro-life position is consistent with her beliefs.

          1. I am never going to stop believing in this and caring about this. Never, ever, even if “my side” loses every election until the end of time.

            It came across that way to me. If I was wrong, I accept that and retract the accusation.

            1. Yeah, sorry, I can see how it came across that way.

              My larger point is that any argument that goes “In order to win, you have to change everything that you are” is not going to make people change. They’ll just keep on losing. That’s true for beliefs I agree with and beliefs I don’t, those that are good ideas by some theoretical objective calculus and those that aren’t.

              1. most arguments are won on people siding with most of your positions, not with you ramming the ones that cause the most heartburn down their throats. Abortion is far less important in people’s lives than the economy, food and gas prices, safe neighborhoods, and decent schools.

                The Repubs refuse to grasp that no matter how much someone may agree with them on social issues, economic ones tend to drive the electorate.

            2. I accept that and retract the accusation.

              At the same time?

              1. Yes. I accept that I was wrong, and retract the incorrect statement I made.

                Unless you’re making some kind of sex-joke that went over my head, in which case…well played, sir.

                1. Unless you’re making some kind of sex-joke that went over my head, in which case…well played, sir.

                  It was a joke, but it wasn’t a sex joke, so… maybe not so well played.

    2. Declaring that a one-day-old embryo is a human being is not consistent with a non-theocratic government. If you’re talking about 9-month fetuses, that’s a different issue, but the GOP life-from-conception position is based on religion, not science.

  14. The GOP has a major problem with women voters, who perceive it as either hostile or indifferent to questions about reproductive freedom and choice.

    Based upon my experiences and random viewing of Pro-Obama youtube videos, “reproductive freedom and choice” translates directly to “someone else had better start paying for my reproductive choices”.

    We continue to confuse rights and privileges. I can’t take a woman’s right to have an abortion away. That’s a right. She’s going to get an abortion, even if it’s from a coathanger in an alley. So we make it legal and recognize that right so we don’t drive it underground and make it dangerous.

    But I can put up my hand and block her when she reaches for my wallet. See the difference?

    1. The day before the election, an ad came up telling me to “Calculate how much you’ll have to pay for birth control if Mitt Romney is elected.” I put in my age, preferred birth control method, and insurance status and it told me that I’d pay something like 14000 dollars for birth control over the rest of my childbearing years.

      It made me… kinda angry, honestly. Some algorithm had figured out that I was a young single woman and was blatantly trying to buy my vote. The message was *explicitly* vote for us so that we will force other people to buy you boondoggles.

      1. The funny thing about that is that $14,000 over 30 years (20-50) is $465 / year – less than $40 a month.

        1. in other words, your car insurance will cost more. Should others pay for that, too? Based on the apparently typical Obama voter, yes.

          1. What about your lifetime starbucks bill?

    2. No, because whatever isn’t outlawed must be subsidized. There is no middle ground.

  15. One thing that Republicans need to face is that it is these very contradictions in approach that lead to them getting such piss poor candidates.

    Look at this election, of all of the other candidates outside of Paul and maybe Johnson could you realistically see ANY of them performing significantly better than Romney?

    True Romney was a horrible candidate but he was probably the best who could realistically win their nomination because the internal contradictions in the partys litmus test issues require you to either have no core beliefs (Romney, Perry, Huntsman, Pawlenty), be batshit insane (Cain, Santorum, Gingrich, Bachman), or be rejected for not being pure enough (Paul, Johnson).

    Sure the Republicans will win future elections, even if they do not change at all but it will never be because they have a good candidate and they will always be close elections, they will win whenever the Democrats nominate someone even worse, or when a Democrat incumbent screws up so bad the electorate punishes him by voting Republican. There can never be another Reagan for the Republican party as it is currently constituted.

    1. …they will win whenever the Democrats nominate someone even worse, or when a Democrat incumbent screws up so bad the electorate punishes him by voting Republican.

      If that was not the case in this election, I can’t conceive of any realistically possible situation in which it would be the case in the future. What would this theoretical Democrat have to do, deploy nuclear weapons against Pennsylvania while raping babies on national television?

  16. Selected tweets from Team #FREESHIT. Don’t read if you have a sensitive stomach.

  17. The “only if the GOP went more libertarian, they would have won” argument is kinda getting tiresome. I don’t see any indication that moving center on issues like immigration or drug legalization is going to earn massive support from the non white statists who abandoned the GOP for their (apparent) limited government stance as well as their admittedly sometimes hostile tone on immigration.

    Gary Johnson probably received a lot of votes from mostly white “purists” or Ron Paul crowd who were determined not to vote for the lesser evil of the two. Getting their vote means supporting unlimited free trade with China (the perennial bogeyman that steals our jobs in the eyes of Americans), axing the “departments” of everything, abolishing the minimum wage, necessary cuts to medicare and defense, and other key libertarian ideas that will LOSE GOP many more votes than they gain.

    Latinos and Asians will naturally lean left on “living wages”, increased entitlement spending, nationalized healthcare, more taxes on the wealthy, and even unionization of workforce. Whatever Obama did with drone strikes and Lybia is just not a deal breaker with them. LAT had an article that mentioned that Asians overwhelmingly favor “big government”, and they’re growing in size rapidly. For all intents and purposes, the GOP has to abandon its libertarian position to attract these voters.

    1. Why do you think Asians would lean left?

      1. If the GOP ran more Latinos and Asians for office in districts with lots of Latinos or Asians, they could pick up seats at the margin.

        Some people vote racist. Take that away, and some seats can be taken back.

        No ethnic group “naturally” leans leftist. Culture and statist indoctrination matter.

        1. Some ethnic groups are less intelligent than others. Less intelligent people naturally have envy for the more intelligent.

    2. Latinos and Asians will naturally lean left on “living wages”


      1. Asians actually have a significantly higher median income than whites…

    3. The problem is you are only looking at half the picture.

      It is not just on social issues and immigration that they have to go libertatrian, you are right, generally speaking those 2 issues won’t win them a hell of a lot of extra votes by themselves because large swaths of people who vote on those issues would also oppose republicans for other reasons.

      They ALSO have to go libertarian economically. You know actually be willing to cut defense spending. More importantly they need to become anti big business and pro free markets.

      Show liberals that you are more anti big business and more anti military industrial complex than the Democrats combined with libertarian social policy and for every Socon and Neocon you lose you’ll steal 2 Democrats and most importantly they will be primarily younger Democrats.

      You don’t need to run on eliminating minimum wages, run on attacking the regulatory capture of big business.

      1. If you’re fiscally and socially conservative, you will continue to lose minority votes.

        We can try various ways to package libertarian, liberal, and conservative ideas to appeal to the new electorate, but at the end of the day, the concept of limited government is not appealing to them.

        I said Asians (probably Latinos too) naturally lean left on economic issues because they’re largely nationalists who don’t see anything wrong with the big government handling the economy.

        If Japan or Korea got hit by a recession and their fire breathing candidate promised more tarriffs, protectionism, bailing out of certain industries, the voters will overwhelmingly approve.

        Even minorities don’t like high taxes, so there’s something to build on. Problem is, they don’t make enough to feel the pinch.

        1. I meant fiscally conservative and socially liberal

      2. “Course I’m anti-big-buisness, that’s why I want to cut their taxes. After all, they are benifiting from government largess, I want to take that money and give it back to big buisness.”
        Gee, such a wonderfull strategy, ain’t it?

  18. All of the “analysts” including Nick are ignoring the obvious.

    Romney was a crappy candidate and crappy candidates lose winnable elections.

    That’s it.

    1. That’s the most immediate and obvious Reason. Of course this was clear to anybody who opposed Romney from the start ie all of us.

    2. See above, he was a crappy candidate but with the internal contradictions in the partys litmus test items a Mitt Romney may be the best the Republicans can hope for at this time.

      As bad as he was there was no better candidate who could have won the nomination.

      1. I don’t mean he was crappy because of the positions he took.

        I mean he was crappy because he’s a poor politician, doesn’t have any real core beliefs and didn’t fight back against Obama’s smears or even forcefully articulate his positions (I’m not even sure he has any, actually). His whole campaign was centered around his biography, which usually doesn’t work and the zeitgeist is all wrong for a hot shot investor to run anyway.

        1. Yes exactly, a career politician with no core positions, a blank slate that anyone can paint whatever they want on with good hair and a strong jawline.

          Anything else, and they’ll either loose the primary because they fail one of the litmus tests or they’ll loose the general election, usually in a landslide because they scare the shit out of people either because of their beliefs or because of their crazyness.

  19. Americans who consistently say they want the government to do less, spend less, and not enforce a single set of values.

    Americans who consistently say they want the government to

    do less(for other people),

    spend less (on other people),

    and not enforce a single set of values (they disagree with).

  20. If the Republicans ever want a chance at the White House again, they need to realize that women, non-whites, gay folks, secular people, and believers in science are voters to be courted, not threats to campaign against.

    Also, shut the hell up about rape and why women who get pregnant that way should be forced to bear the babies.

    1. Republicans aren’t likely ever to have a shot at the White House again.

    2. Interesting to hear an Evangelical leader being interviewed on NPR last night. He was pretty frank about admitting that the country had moved sharply away from the values and views held by evangelicals.

      they need to realize that women, non-whites, gay folks, secular people, and believers in science are voters to be courted, not threats to campaign against.

      It’s more complicated than that, but the media continues to make it just that simple.

      NPR kind of admitted it this morning.

      Yes, there are republicans who campaign against these things, but they aren’t all like that. But the media has successfully created a narrative that what Rick Santorum believes, Mitt Romney believed.

    3. “women, non-whites, gay folks, secular people, and believers in science are voters to be courted, not threats to campaign against.”
      If only white men voted, Obama would have gotten 46 electoral votes.

  21. Sadly (in my opinion) it seems like the electorate is drifting towards statist economic policies, and that will be hard to change. Woman tend to be more liberal in their economic views than men, which pushes them more towards the Democrats than abortion policy does.

    Hispanics also tend to be more liberal in their economic policies. This is very disappointing for conservatives who think “Hey, if we just ease up on immigration, the Republican Party can win over Hispanics while keeping its small government soul.”

    The Republican’s small government soul has been knocked and tarnished and compromised on issues ranging from the drug war to the bloated military. However, they are the major, mainstream group expressing skepticism of economic statism.

    Libertarians are deluding themselves when they think the Republicans can win by embracing a handful of socially liberal ideas. If they, for example, decided to embrace same-sex marriage, alienating the social conservatives, the country would have two same-sex marriage-supporting parties to choose from. Those who voted Democrats this election would still choose the option that also supports progressive environmental activism and the welfare state.

    This article represents the fallacy of “Hey, everyone really secretly agrees with me.” Just because you’re right doesn’t mean everyone else realizes it.

    1. Embracing same-sex marriage and legalizing weed AND being for policies that result in a good economy would turn a lot of younger voters away from the Democrats.

      The GOP is driving away the future electorate — they either change course or get slowly get crushed a bit more each election.

      1. What “policies” that result in good economy would the young voters support? What’s their position on bailouts, cutting either defense or entitlement spending, and pro growth tax policies?

        If you grabbed 50 “young” people off the streets and asked them whether raising the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour was a good thing, more than 50% of them would probably say “yes”. Because things like inflation don’t exist in their heads or aren’t taught in schools. But everyone getting paid “fair wage” is a good, civil rights thing.

        If the GOP’s social policies become indistinguishable from the dems, then most youngsters will vote dem anyways, because they’re just not DOWN with libertarian fiscal policies.

        1. BINGO! You’d have thought that the Occutard movement would have taught all of the self-deluded libertarians something about the popularity of their beliefs. It’s rather ironic having the people who got 1% of the vote lecture the people who got 48% of the vote on why they need to adopt their positions. Libertarianism as anything other than a fashionable synonym for “I’m a hipster rebel, look how independent minded I am, I buck the 2 party system” simply ain’t popular.

  22. After this paragraph, I had to assume the article is a parody so I stopped reading:

    “The short answer is that the GOP insisted on pushing backward-looking social issues in a country that is increasingly libertarian.”

    1. Disagree. We have gay TV programs, gay marriage discussed every day on TV/radio/intertubes, medical and recreational MJ, transgender candidates and athletes, black Prez, Mormon candidate, Muslim temples etc.

      On other issues – welfare, health care, speech – people are probably less libertarian (at least progressives)

      Increasingly libertarian probably means the fraction has increased from 2.5% to 3.0%, but still a net increase.

  23. I would think that if the Republicans do manage to field a candidate in 2016 who’s moderate on immigration, abortion, gay marriage, the war on drugs, etc., the more inbred voting bloc – the ones that are hardliners on these issues – would simply field a candidate of their own. Someone who wants to string electrified razor wire across all 2,000 miles of our border with Mexico; who’s against abortion in all cicumstances; who thinks MMJ user should be in prison; who would like to bring back anti-sodomy laws, etc. And I think there are enough hardliners on these issues that such a candidate – even if he’s with a newly created party – would play the spoiler for the moderate Republican.

    1. Rick Santorum?

      1. Rick Santorum?

        Or if not Santorum, then certainly an ideological disciple of his. But he’d be the perfect candidate for that sort of party.

  24. Hey! Even more good news!


    All that stuff you thought was safe in your bags! Well no more.

    1. Wow, and we thought these people were unaccountable now . . .

    2. The TSA’s enabling legislation left it up to the TSA administrator to grant screeners collective bargaining rights. When the agency was formed, the position of the Bush Administration was that work rules achieved through collective bargaining might hinder TSA managers’ ability to mobilize screeners for security purposes. However, the TSA’s current administrator under the Obama Administration, John Pistole, decided in 2010 to allow collective bargaining rights with the provision that pay and security-related issues were not negotiable.

      Pretty hard to fire union thugs. Imagine all the free pat-downs the ladies are going to get.

  25. You forgot to mention the barrage of endorsements from ‘Reason’ on their Facebook page by constantly giving Obama enthusiasts a platform of which to campaign. I unsubscribed about 8 months ago because I couldn’t take it. You guys might as well be the MSM.

    You do all realize that without jobs and money, your freedoms will quickly be resigned?? I guess you’ll need that joint to smoke as your only source of forgetting about your life when you’re homeless.

  26. Was I watching a different election?

    I don’t think that this was an issues campaign. It was the politics of personal destruction. The Dems, with a big dollop of help and publicity from the MSM, slimed each and every candidate in the primaries. They then spent almost 3 months in the Spring and Summer completely focused on raising Romney’s negatives – Bain Capital and the bailouts being the prime examples. Romney was prohibited from spending Prez Campaign money on ads until he was officially nominated, leaving the airwaves for George Soros and Obama to dominate.

    By the time the first debate occurred Romney was in a huge hole in ‘likability’. That night he looked human for the first time – thus the very significant bump. But it was hopeless to overcome. Add the hundreds of buses of voters ferried to the early polls in all of the battleground states and you have an unpopular, unsuccessful Prez getting re-elected.

    Remember Clinton’s war room? Their strategy was to shoot back ASAP at every negative – never letting it hang in the air and get traction. Romney didn’t do that, and he lost because of it.

  27. If Reason staffers think that legalizing all street drugs (while antibiotics continue to require a prescription) and completely opening the borders (so that anyone who invades us is a citizen who must be set up financially for life by the government) are libertarian issues, then they must not actually know any of the people who agree with them on those issues and the rest of what they stand for. I am about to generalize here, but it is backed up in the policies of California and other states that have legalized marijuana and increased benefits for illegal immigrants. Most people who want pot legalized are progressives who only care about freedom when it is hip or fun, but want strict government control for anyone who isn’t like them and their friends. Most people who want amnesty for all illegal immigrants are A. illegal immigrants who vote for free shit and B. progressives who believe in nativism and giving “native” types free shit.

    Wanting to legalize pot and grant all illegal immigrants amnesty does not make you libertarian, when everything else you believe is textbook statism.

    1. Sorry I mean to say tribalism, not nativism.

    2. Wanting to legalize pot and grant all illegal immigrants amnesty does not make you libertarian, when everything else you believe is textbook statism.

      This is an extremely important distinction that is apparently completely lost on the Reason editors. A stopped clock is right twice a day. That XYZ group accidentally held the same position as you did, for utterly unrelated reasons, does not make them part of your ideological tribe.

  28. “…in a country that is increasingly libertarian…”
    I didn’t have a chance to read until now, so I’m late for this party. After reading the line above, I realized I could skip the rest of the nonsense.
    This is preposterous and reeks of desperation to find goodness among the socialized democracy. Make that Democracy, with all its failings.
    Reminds me of the anti-Obamacare legal staff trying to insist the Roberts rubbish was a good sign. How pathetic.
    The USA has embraced the social compact and culture of EU. You can deny, run, hide, whatever.
    It is what it is.
    Increasingly libertarian, my ass. But the left love you for saying it. Will bring even more deluded souls to their side.

  29. I don’t really understand all this fear of what Romney might do. What could he do to attack women, LGBT folks or minorities? As far as I know our rights as women are pretty well constitutionally protected. Was he going to send a bill to Congress requiring that we not be able to get an abortion? How would that work? I am pretty sure that the Supreme Court has spoken on this issue. Was he going to suggest a bill prohibiting the hiring of gays? The invasion of their homes and dragging them to the stocks? Does anyone really believe he would do any of that? So what are the specifics of this hypothetical fear? People should have been more afraid of W. But what exactly did that Christianist George Dubya do in his 8 years to set back women’s rights ( unless they were would be terrorists 😉 ).

    On the other hand Obama had concrete actions to evaluate and criticize; for example his horrible record on drones and the patriot act and the drug war. Under his watch the black middle class has lost 20 years of accumulated wealth. The last chart I saw of black unemployment was 16%. These are actual things that have happened that are normally placed at the feet of the president. But somehow none of this matters. No we are supposed to be afraid that Romney is a big old meanie and doesn’t like us. I don’t get it.

    1. Yeah, I know, somehow being against gay marriage (and for civil unions) has become locking up gays in concentration camps or something.

      It’s kind of puzzling, because as you say, W was probably the most religious president we had had in a long, long time.

      Even supposed libertarians were all bothered by this, even though they shouldn’t think the government should be in the marriage business to begin with…

  30. The major issue isn’t whether abortion is right or whether it’s wrong.

    The major issue is that fighting abortion is a battle that is 4 decades old, and which has been settled. It’s time for Republicans to accept defeat and move on. They needn’t agree that abortion is okay to admit that there isn’t a damn thing they can do about it, practically speaking.

    It’s one thing to believe abortion is wrong, and another to vow to continue fighting a battle that was lost in 1973.

    1. Most people with strong morals would disagree with that. Morality is just hot air if your actions don’t follow your words.

      1. What can be done though is fighting in the court of public opinion, not government.

        Convince people that abortion is something bad and to be avoided unless absolutely necessarily.

        They lost the legal war, they need to fight the culture war. But they’ve largely lost that, too.

  31. This is Gillespie’s about 50th piece trying to make this case and it’s still as much bullshit as it was the first time. Consistent libertarian ideas garnered a historically high 1% of the vote. Lecturing the party that got 48% of the vote on how if they only adopted more of your ideas they could have won is kind of comical. It’d be nice to think otherwise, but libertarianism is not popular. Particularly not with the young people with whom 50-year-old Nick believes himself to be so closely in touch. To the extent that libertarian concepts are popular it is usually by accidental coincidence on a single issue with an ideology that is, by and large, wholly incompatible with the rest of it. The Occutard movement probably should have been a clue that young people who hate corporations and love gays aren’t budding libertarians waiting to sprout.

  32. This year, the Republicans *took the libertarian position* on birth control – you can pay for it yourself, or your employer can voluntarily pay for it, but if your employer is conscientiously opposed, the govt shouldn’t force the employer to pay for it. Can’t get much more libertarian than that.

    This is the position Obama, and by extension his voters, opposed – “no, who cares what my bigoted employer thinks, *force* him or her to pay for my birth control!”

    To turn on the socons after this is highly ungracious – all the socons did was take the libertarian position on a controversial social issue, and the voters indicated that libertarianism isn’t enough, the govt much compel and subsidize their choices.

    1. *must* compel and subsidize

    2. Yet, Mr. Gillespe whines about the republicans being the “anti-sex” party. They are the “anti-state subsidized sex” party, and rightfully so. Yet Mr. Gillespe hates the social conservatives so much he’ll side with the socialists just to beat up on them.

    3. If it were just the subsidized birth control issue, you would have a point, but you can’t ignore people like Akin and Mourdock — and you can’t ignore the fact that the GOP platform wants to ban all abortions from the moment of conception. That’s not a libertarian position — it’s a radical right position that is out of step with most of the American electorate.

      1. That’s not an accurate interpretation of the GOP platform on abortion:

        I think a strong Constitutional argument can be made that, at least in certain circumstances, abortion is a human rights issue, and therefore the national government has a responsibility to address it.

        1. Here is the original text from the GOP 2012 platform:

          Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.

          I don’t see how a human life amendment with full 14th Amendment protections for the fetus could allow for any exceptions other than for the life of the mother.

          1. I do agree that it needs to be resolved at the federal level, one way or another. It’s not tenable for something to change from being classified a person to being classified as a non-person simply by crossing state lines.

  33. Moronic ariticle as always, Mr. Gillespe. Once again Reason promotes something that simply in’t true. According to Gillespie the country is “increasingly libertarian.” Yet how does he explain this? On economic issues, young voters favor socialism more than capitalism.[1] True, some voters are pro-choice but this is a proportion that has been declining over the last decade.[2] As for immigration, more voters than not are against it.[3] Voters noew are more likely to favor pot legalization and gay marraige, but if these are the main issues of libertarians, count me out. How do you explain the fact that they voted for Obama, then, Mr. Gillespe? Even if you are a libertarian who hated Mitt Romney, there is always Gary Johnson on the ballot in most states. Americans are NOT becoming more libertarian, and there are two reasons why: 1)Mass hispanic immigration and 2) the republic defeat in the culture war. But Mr. Gillespe almost never discusses these things.

    1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/29/ young-people-socialis m_n_1175218.html
    2. http://www.gallup.com/poll/154838/ pro-choice-americans-reco rd-low.aspx
    3. https://www.numbersusa.com/conte nt/learn/issues/public -opinion/americans-prefer- lower-immigration-numbe.html
    4. The gaps in the links must be gotten rid of because Reason won’t let me type a word that is too long. That’s another thing, Mr. Gillespe, I’ve seen Islamist, Communist, and Neo-Nazi websites with better tech than this.

    1. Well stated and referenced. I’ll add to this that about 3 millions fewer Republicans voted this time around than voted for McCain, but Mr. Johnson didn’t make much of an impression on these folks, either.

    2. The Republican defeat on the culture war is exactly an example of how the country is becoming more libertarian on social issues. Whether it’s becoming more libertarian on economic issues is more debatable. If you’re looking at the last four years, then I would say no. If you’re looking at the last four decades, then I would say yes.

      1. I think there’s an important distinction between secularism and libertarianism. Secularists are antagonistic to religion whereas libertarians are fine with religion as long as it’s not imposed by the State. I don’t know any religious secularists, but I know lots of religious libertarians.

        The country is becoming more secular, but not necessarily more libertarian.

        Don’t even get me started on these supposed Catholics who voted for Obama.

        1. Social liberalism is about more than just religion, though. Consider marijuana legalization. It’s a libertarian issue, but it’s not a religious issue.

          It’s true that there are religious libertarians as well as secular libertarians. The issue is when people use religious beliefs (“The soul enters the unborn child at conception.”) to define State policy (e.g. the Mississippi Personhood Amendment).

          1. Secularists want to get high, libertarians want to end the drug war.

            It’s a values thing.

  34. The reason that the GOP is losing is because Mitt Romney was a poor candidate, and there is an increasing number of people who are on welfare. There’s also the growing number of blacks and Latinos in America, and the Democratic party is the “ethnic party.” The only way that the GOP can survive is running a strong conservative candidate who is serious about fiscal discipline and not concerned about political correctness.

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