Rand Paul

Rand Paul is Politically "Divergent" and So Must be Stopped!

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It turns out that Divergent isn't just the top movie in America. It's also playing out in the run-up to the 2016 presidential race, with Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, in the starring role.

Based on the first volume of a wildly popular young-adult trilogy, Divergent is set in America of the near-future, when all people are irrevocably slotted into one of five "factions" based on temperament and personality type. Those who refuse to go along with the program are marked as divergentand marked for death! "What Makes You Different, Makes You Dangerous,"reads one of the story's taglines.

Which pretty much sums up Rand Paul, whose libertarian-leaning politics are gaining adherents among the plurality of Americans fed up with bible-thumping, war-happy, budget-busting Republicans and promise-breaking, drone-dispatching, budget-busting Democrats. Professional cheerleaders for Team Red and Team Blue—also known as journalistsaren't calling for Paul's literal dispatching, but they are rushing to explain exactly why the opthalmologist has no future in politics.

That's from my latest Daily Beast column, which explores why everyone—from liberals at New York to conservatives at National Review—are rushing to explain why the rising junior senator from Kentucky and his brand of libertarian-leaning ideas can't possibly be as popular as they are.

Whether or not [Paul] actually wins the Republican nomination, much less the White House[in 2016], is besides the point. The question is whether the politics of the future will be the same as the politics of the present.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. why the opthalmologist has no future in politics.

    Hopefully he fails his way right into the Whitehouse where he can fail the budget by cutting it by half each year of his two failed terms.

    1. Don’t forget the teleportation machine powered by unicorn farts.

  2. Writing in Politico, Kevin D. Williamson of National Review proclaims that “Americans hate Rand Paul’s libertarianism. They just don’t know it yet.” Sure, writes Williamson (a fellow I’m friendly with, and who’s also quite libertarian himself), Son of Ron can get cheap applause in Kentucky and elsewhere when railing against foreign aid to countries that burn the American flag. But those same patriots will start throwing rotten vegetables the minute Paul comes after Social Security, Medicare, and even the military-industrial complex.

    Do you mean “friendly” in the Biblical sense?

    I don’t know, Nick, I think Kevin’s right. I mean, he isn’t poo-pooing the young; they aren’t the ones who love their Medicare. The polls I’ve seen show that foreign aid is the only program a majority support cutting. Most love their pet programs more than they hate other people’s, so they won’t compromise. I’ve always thought the foreign aid line was cheap (or clever?) because he uses it to support his (correct) ideology, but really that support is due to the patriotism of the line.

    1. Surveys such as the Reason-Rupe Poll (conducted quarterly by the nonprofit that employs me) that engage respondents on tradeoffs have found that healthy majorities are willing to scratch Social Security (61 percent) and Medicare (59 percent) if they can get out the dollar amounts they’ve paid into these unsound entitlement programs.

      Ah, I didn’t see this. I’d still be surprised if people supported getting rid of the programs once they kick in. Every time I hear the “War on Women” nonsense at the “four-months-to-go” point in an election, I’m reminded that people still get animated by stupid and petty grievance issues. I suppose if people can pay attention to fiscal issues long enough, then maybe there’s hope.

      Fiscal matters are too incremental for people to notice. Lifestyle changes that come from social issues more directly impact people’s lives, so they get animated about them. Since taxes and entitlements are matters of degree, no-one cares much.

      1. Yeah, I was surprised to see those numbers. I should probably look a little more into how they arrived at those. Somehow I suspect that any actual proposal to cut those programs would die a fiery death, regardless of Reason-Rupe’s polling.

      2. Why? That is a useless data point because no one is “get back the dollar amounts they paid in” unless they ride the program out as it exists now.

        1. Pretty much everyone will get more money back than they paid in. If they didn’t, the programs wouldn’t be going broke.

          This data is useless because what people think they have paid in is a lot less than what they have actually paid in. Everyone will think cashing out their SS is a great idea right up until they see how small the actual check is going to be.

          1. Can you elaborate, because it isn’t clear to me that is correct. Social Security is going broke because there are more people drawing from it for a longer period of time than the current rate of paying-in can support. It’s not like the current crop of upcoming retirees didn’t pay enough into the system to support themselves, because they never paid into the system to support themselves. They paid into it to support past retirees, and it is current workers who will have to pay into it to support the boomers.

            1. You can analyze the program from several perspectives. If you want to consider individual rates of return, then you can imagine people paying in to cover themselves; that money is used to pay current retirees, but an IOU is written. Kind of silly in one sense, but the accounting works. You get different ways of measure the debt depending on how you do it, some of which take into account what is promised and some don’t.

              If you treat what is promised as an actual debt, then essentially everyone is promised a positive return, provided that they live long enough. It works out essentially as a annuity with a survivor’s benefit (Not as good as it used to be.) In this case, the IOUs are real debt, and they have to be paid for, presumably by future taxes.

              You can also treat it from purely a cashflow perspective, and there the demographic changes play a role. (More retirees per worker, etc.) Under this view, if we don’t have the money to pay people what they’re owed, too bad, we’ll just cut the payments and it won’t be betraying a promise too badly, they should have expected it. The cashflow perspective gets used a lot since the program has traditionally had a surplus (to prepare for the demographic changes), and that money has been used for other things, thus reducing the apparent deficit. Even though in another real sense we’re still accruing promises to pay out.

          2. Does your amount include the employer’s side of the “contribution”? 14% of all they’ve ever made (not talking about those who earn more than the cap, here) will probably look pretty good to people.

            1. That is a good point NEM. The other issue is that most people have elderly parents. They don’t want to have to take care of them. For that reason just ending these programs is never going to be politically feasible.

              That said, I think a lot of people would be willing to make the bargain of, okay, you get your money back but we can’t give it all because we have to pay out to the various old people who are getting it now.

              1. Considering the average black male won’t live long enough to collect any social security, I would think many of them would take a buy out.

                Hell, they could keep what they have already taken from me if they’d let me out now.

                1. Hell, they could keep what they have already taken from me if they’d let me out now.

                  I really wish that was an option. I’d be maxing out my IRA instead of supporting my grandmother’s QVC habit.

              2. They could always shut it down through attrition. That way you don’t anger the old folks who already have and need it, and the rest (say, everyone bore after Jan 1, 2025) won’t miss it.

            2. Well, first it would likely be converted to an annuity. The lump sum would look pretty good to people at first, as lump sum payments tend to, but it would be possible to outlive those savings.

              It would look pretty good, but in order to get that money for the immediate cashflow, we’d have to raise taxes or borrow, and by an incredible amount (talking wealth taxes) in order to actually pay people off now, as opposed to dribbling it out over a long time.

            3. Only way to kill SS is to phase it out over time. You gotta honor contract and pay those approaching retirement say over 50. You give 35-50 year olds the option of going with the old or “new” program. You set up savings plans for those under 35.

              I know, there’s nothing libertarian about it…but it’s where the fucking shit policies of the past have put us. It will take a while to unwind into something that looks more like liberty.

              1. I think you’re right. You might be able to get away with phasing out benefits. People who are with 10 years of retirement get the full ammount they expected to, people 10-15 years out get some decent percentage, 15-20 years out get less, 20-25 years out just a small fraction, and 30+ years out…well, sorry.

              2. there’s nothing libertarian about it

                That’s not true. The perfect is not the enemy of the good.

        2. Yes, I have to agree. There’s no way to “get the dollar amounts they paid in” back without either raising taxes or explicitly borrowing money by issuing bonds in order to give people the money– and the taxes and/or borrowing necessary would be immense, or doing it over time (which would be nearly the same thing as continuing the program.)

          The money paid out is already paid out. People who got in on the ground floor got a pretty good deal, but that money isn’t there anymore.

          1. The “get the dollars back” is related to an actual reform to social security that went exactly nowhere. It was perjoratively termed “privatization”. It hasn’t been that long ago at all. Nobody in congress wanted to touch it with a 10 foot pole.

            The economic argument is to have some sort of mandatory retirement account with personal control over investments. Then have a means-tested welfare program for the intractably poor and disabled elderly. This should result in greater wealth for everyone and less dependence on government. And no, it isn’t going to happen any time soon.

            The real time for this reform was back in the 80’s when they hiked the social security withholding tax to build the social security “trust fund”. So, instead of a sound investment strategy for the elderly we doubled down on the ponzi scheme. It would be comical if it wasn’t for the fact that I am among the ones paying the price. All us tweeners get the privilege of paying to fill the trust fund and then paying again to pay off all those t-bills when the trust fund is drawn down. Enjoy our largess, baby boomers.

            1. Yes on two counts Cyto.

              1. Means testing will be required.
              2. Yes, your generation is going to take it in the ass. (I just wish your generation would realize this and start voting for candidates willing to unfuck this mess.)

          2. Precisely. And Medicare is the bigger problem by far.

            Ironically, eventually we might be able to convert Medicare to Obamacare using vouchers like Paul Ryan proposed. O-care has several major advantages – built-in means testing, cost controls, and privatization.

            1. Except that the stated goal of those currently in control is to convert Obamacare into medicare. Sooo…. ?

            2. Ocare = new sign-ups into Medicaid = somehow reforming medicare

        3. Yeah, you’re right for government payments. I think the case has to be made that you could make back your money through private investment. I imagine any phase-out proposal would include graduations for expected return, where the phase-out would be at a higher rate for those with more time left for investment.

          That said, I’m a state government employee, and I’m always amazed at how many people forgo the private option in favor of the Teachers’ Retirement System due to its “safety” and “simplicity”.

          1. The case has already been made. Repeatedly in the 90’s. The most often cited example is Galveston Texas. A little googling should turn up more pro-privatization writings that make the case more strongly.

            Nobody cares. Empowering people doesn’t empower the people in Washington.

      3. I’d be willing to forgo the already sunk costs if it means they stop taking the money away from me going forward.

        1. Exactly. I’m 30, and if there was a plan to phase out social security over the next decade or so, I’d support it, even if it meant I never saw a dime of social security payments.

          1. I’m the same age, and currently putting away twice as much to social security as retirement (once “employer contribution” is included). We’d easily make it all back.

            1. You’d make it back only because there’s no way that the government can actually afford to pay you what is promised. The promised rate is actually quite good; that’s why it’s unsustainable.

          2. I’m 25, and would love this as well, but I also don’t expect to ever see a dime of social security payments anyway.

          3. I’m (nearly) 43, which I think puts me in exactly the right position to get screwed either way. Get out, and I give up a lot of money already paid in. Stay in, and essentially lose rate of return.

            Still, a 14% raise would be tough to turn down.

        2. I’m 48 and willing to forgo the many thousands I’ve paid in. At least my kids wouldn’t be saddled with every lazy retired spendthrift boomer when they start working.

        3. This. I’m 44 and have basically no retirement savings even if they just let me keep “my portion” of the SS tax I would be fine. I just opened my first 401k a few months ago and am contributing 4% with a 2% company match. Throw in another 7% and assume I retire at 69 (25 years from now) with no major gaps in employment, I’ll have somewhere right around $1 million in a retirement account.

          Add to that the fact that my wife is 8 years younger than me and so will be working for at least another 4 – 5 years after I retire and in 15 years the last of my kids will be out of college so if needed I’ll be able to really cut back living expenses and pump up retirement contributions if needed and I should be able to live comfortably (and by comfortably I don’t mean traveling the world in the lap of luxury, I just mean better off than someone on Social Secuirty today) for a good 25 years post retirement without much risk of depleting my funds

          1. Geez dude, what have you been doing with your money for the past 22 years?

            1. Lets see

              Starting after High School

              2 years in the Air Force

              Got out into the recession of the early 90’s best job I could get was as a courier earning well under $10k a year for 2 years

              Went to college for 2 years, dropped out because of lack of funds

              Met first wife and started working in Electronics and the Software.

              First wife had something of a spending problem, was fond of retail therapy at Borders Books, Tower Records, and various Sushi/French restaurants. Typically took steps to hide the extent of her spending so that when I paid the bills money that I thought was there wasn’t leading to many bounced checks. The last year we were together (2001) our combined income was over $130k a year we had no credit card debt, no car loans, and our rent was under $1000 a month but we couldn’t keep our utilities on and we paid almost $7000 in bounce fees.

              That marriage ended right after the Dot Com Crash started. I ended up out of work for 18 of the next 27 months and the time I did work my salary had gone from $65k down to $9.50/hr and then $22/hr. During this period had twins with my current wife

            2. Moved to the midwest to get back to work in my field, got caught up on everything bought a house. 18 months later got laid off and no other jobs in my field in the city. Took a travel position which had me away from home for 6 months Relocated for a managers position in Louisville in late 2007. The house in Columbus never sold thanks to the Housing crash in 2008 was repossessed. Also thanks to that house when we moved to Louisville we bought a house with a 9% interest rate (debt to income ratio was too high and I refused my finance guys suggestion that we lie and claim we had rented the house in louisville). The idea was to refi once the old house sold, when it never did we couldn’t refi.

              Dealt with that mortgagte for 5 years till I got laid off again. During that time had kid #4, and another kid get hit by a car leading to more than $6000 on out of pocket medical expenses on both occasions

              No other jobs in Louisville at my level, staying there would have meant either a year or more of unemployment or a $25000 a year paycut so we relocated to Boston when I got a job here using up what little savings we had left to cover the moving expenses

              In otherwords shit happens. I made some bad decisions and while I can’t quite say I have been exceedingly unlucky I must have been a really fucking horrible person in a past life because Karma has seen to it that I have paid in full for every single bad decision I ever made.

    2. I’ll take any excuse to cut the budget.

  3. There is a reason why people like myself throw out the Cosmotarian slur. It is because people in the I-95 corridor live in a bubble. They all talk to just each other and have a given universe of “acceptable in polite company” ideas. The people in this bubble on both sides have no idea what the rest of the country is actually like.

    They thought Ronald Reagan was stupid and had no chance. They think that about everyone who comes from outside the bubble. And they think that about Paul now. The people at the New Yorker and the National Review and a lot of other places have no idea how different the country is from them and how indifferent or outright hostile it is towards them.

    People want to be talked to like adults and they want someone who gives them answers. Paul does that. They are going to listen to Paul. They didn’t listen to Romney or McCain because neither of those two were forceful enough or different enough from Obama to give people a reason to listen. The media is always going to portray the Democrat as a reasonable centrist. So no Republican is ever going to win by trying to be the reasonable centrist. The media will always ensure the Democrat holds that ground. Most voters thought Obama was a pragmatic centrist in 2008 and a good number of them thought the same thing in 2012. The media will convince a good number of people the same thing about Hillary in 2016. So, the way to win is to offer something different and stop pretending to be “centrist”.

    1. The people at the New Yorker and the National Review and a lot of other places have no idea how different the country is from them and how indifferent or outright hostile it is towards them.

      Kevin Williamson is from Texas and thinks very similarly to Rand Paul. He is well aware how “indifferent or outright hostile” many people are towards libertarians. That’s his point.

      Libertarian ideas sound great until it comes time to tolerate other people doing things you don’t like, or until it comes time to cut your spending. There’s a lot of soft polling support that melts away in the face of everyone having their own special interest.

      1. I don’t care where Williamson lives, he is intellectually at least part of the bubble.

        First, Paul isn’t a “Libertarian”, at least not a strict one. Second, the claims that he is some kind of crazy anarchist is going to backfire. Paul isn’t any of that. He is a pretty mainline Reagan conservative if you listen to him. I saw this movie in 1980. The entire Washington establishment screamed bloody murder about what a kook Reagan was. And that worked great right up until Reagan opened his mouth and showed how reasonable he was. People were expecting this crazy guy and when he didn’t meet the expectation the charge completely fell flat. The same thing is going to happen with Paul.

        What does Williamson think Paul is going to suggest that people are going to reject? Paul isn’t calling for full on legalization of drugs or ending all of the federal entitlements. But Williamson writes his whole article on the assumption that Paul is going to do just that or something even more radical. That is just not true and the charge won’t stick.

        1. What does Williamson think Paul is going to suggest that people are going to reject?

          Start with his actual proposed budget in the Senate. A dream come true for me, but I worry about it.

          To the degree that Rand is a mainline politician and his policies will be tenative, then he’s not proposing a change in political coalitions or policies. And yes, Reagan governed much more from the center than what he wrote or said in his radio show.

          To the degree that he tries to shift the mainline coalition in order to effect new policy equilibria, he will have challenges. Possible to overcome and have a realignment, but not easy.

          1. Start with his actual proposed budget in the Senate.

            Okay, lets start with that. What about it is so radical in your view?

            I don’t see how anyone who has watched Paul and listened to him can conclude he is either a doctrinaire Libertarian or even close to as radical as Goldwater was. Maybe I am missing it. But I just don’t see it.

            I think people like Williamson think he is a radical because they have been living in the leftist fog that is political journalism for so long, they don’t know what radical actually looks like to the rest of the world.

        2. Paul has at least a couple advantages over Reagan. I think he’s smarter. I think his stance on drugs, while not the legalization we want, will give him oodles of shielding against the ‘you’re a meany!’ line you know is coming. Most importantly, Paul’s stance on foreign policy is like a sanified version of his Dad’s and it is BY FAR the most in tune with the national mood. The people don’t want to here how America is to blame for everything they also don’t want to be World Police anymore. Libertarians should be quite happy about that change. It is Rand’s trump card.

    2. People want to be talked to like adults

      Ehhhh…..

  4. […] but [National Review’s Kevin D.] Williamson simply presumes that things will never change. This is especially odd since his latest book, The End is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure, is predicated upon the idea that the era of fiscal reform is already upon us due to simple math. We’ve spent so much for so long, says Williamson, that “government as we know it is in retreat, a retreat that I expect to be accelerated by economic trends related to public debt and unfunded government liabilities.”

    Maybe you’re the one missing the point, Nick. Kevin’s argument is predicated on the notion that politicians will never show enough huevos to vote for and implement the necessary reforms to entitlements and the fiscal regime to save the country from bankruptcy. Kevin expects (and frankly, so do I) that things will only right themselves after a fiscal catastrophe and a Great Default the likes of which even God has never seen.

    1. Time will tell. But neither you nor I nor Williamson really knows what will happen. Given that, it seems pretty fucking stupid to just give up and not even try.

      If the plan is to just do nothing and let the country go bankrupt, why even bother opposing the Democrats at all? Winning the election will just get your side blamed for the disaster.

      Williamson doesn’t believe that. If he did he would not want the Republicans to try and win at all. Williamson is just an establishment hack who is terrified someone from the outside might come in an change things.

      1. Re: John,

        Given that, it seems pretty fucking stupid to just give up and not even try.

        Of course, and I agree that if people want to try change things through a political process, by all means, whatever rocks their boat. I am, however, highly skeptical of the political process because people tend to become either power-hungry or too-accommodating.

        If the plan is to just do nothing and let the country go bankrupt, why even bother opposing the Democrats at all? Winning the election will just get your side blamed for the disaster.

        But I *do* want the Democrats be blamed for the disaster – would serve them right! Which is why I am wary of someone else besides a Democrat being placed in the pilot’s seat seconds before the plane crashes against the mountain cliff. Better to educate people so they can be prepared with their own parachute.

        1. You may think that OM. But I don’t think Williamson does. Let me know when he endorses the Democrat in 2016. If he endorses a Republican, which I bet money he will, then he is lying here because doing so is completely inconsistent with the argument he is making against Paul.

      2. OTOH, as much as I like Goldwater, the degree to which he lost the election led to consequences. Of course you don’t know what will happen, but simply trying is not always the best course of action.

        As Williamson said, “Americans should want libertarianism, but they do not. I think Rand Paul is better than the electorate.”

        I think Rand actually has a better chance of success than this, but not if he’s simply presented as a “mainline Reagan conservative.” He has to draw new people into his coalition to replace the people who currently tend to vote for Republicans who will inevitably balk and vote for Democrats like Hilary over him. I think that’s possible, but not easy.

        1. Again, I don’t see how Paul is actually a “Libertarian” in the way Williamson portrays him. The thing about Paul is how mild his proposals actually are. You show me something truly radical that Paul is proposing because I don’t see it.

          Paul only seems radical to Williamson because Williamson lives in the bubble and thinks anything outside it is radical. I think Williamson is concern trolling here.

          1. How about his actual budget proposal, which does make Social Security and Medicare voluntary, and also cuts Social Security payments in multiple ways (shrinking automatically as life expectancy increases, cutting the inflation cost of living increases, means testing benefits etc.)? I like it, but it’s far more radical than the House Study Committee budget, much less Paul Ryan’s tepid changes. It balances the budget in 5 years, eliminates 4 departments,

            You don’t think that some seniors currently voting Republican wouldn’t be a little bit upset about means tested Social Security benefits combined with COLA cuts?

            1. Some would be. Others I think would be willing to do that if they thought it was going to save the country from bankruptcy.

              Those proposals and ones like it have been around for decades. Everyone knows that we are going to have to do something. Yes, the Democrats and the media are going to go insane. But they are going to do that anyway. Paul could propose to double SS benefits and the court media would call him a nihilist Libertarian.

              The only reason that dog ever hunts is because Republicans cower and always step back and refuse to make their case. The one upside of the Obama disaster is that America is not quite as fat dumb and happy as it was 10 years ago. People are starting to understand this can’t go on forever and I think are ready to listen to an actual argument and solution. I don’t think the “oh my God he hates insert group here” hysterics is going to work for the Dems this time, if the Republicans actually make a case rather than saying “we are really sorry for being racist and sexist”.

    2. Kevin’s argument is predicated on the notion that politicians will never show enough huevos to vote for and implement the necessary reforms to entitlements and the fiscal regime to save the country from bankruptcy.

      Well he’s wrong. Canada did it Sweden did lots of countries will when push comes to shove.

  5. Politics inevitably is about political coalitions, whether that takes the form of a single, two, or multiparty state. People get what they want on some issues of importance, and accept results that they might not care for on issues that they don’t care about. Given that, and given people having different ideas about what they want and what is important, it is inevitable that the political coalitions will have grumbling.

    It’s an ambitious goal to reconfigure political coalitions in a way to strengthen your faction, more ambitious than his other goal of increasing the strength of his faction by winning primaries. I wish him all the best in doing so. It’s still quite possible that any alternative political coalitions would still leave as many people feeling unrepresented and disgusted with the choices on offer, just different people.

    The evidence of polls showing dissatisfaction with the two parties should not be taken as a suggestion that people would be happy with alternatives. (And even in a multiparty PR system, the freedom to vote for a small party would only lead to the same dissatisfaction with the inevitable coalition.)

    There is certainly evidence that alternative coalitions are possible. Rand does well (for now, at least) in various polling matchups, definitely losing some of the existing Republican coalition but gaining other votes that typically vote for the Democratic coalition.

    1. Re: John Thacker,

      Politics inevitably is about political coalitions, whether that takes the form of a single, two, or multiparty state.

      There’s no question about it. However, a coalition of wolves still leaves the sheep in the same tight spot. At least a group of wolves that fight among themselves is not as effective a predatory body than wolves that are in agreement.

      1. At least a group of wolves that fight among themselves is not as effective a predatory body than wolves that are in agreement.

        Well, sure. Though the degree of fighting does not always depend on the number of parties or the electoral system.

        I wonder sometimes whether you’d rather have two coalitions, one of all sheep and one of all wolves, each of which sometimes win, or two coalitions, both partly sheep and partly wolves?

        A political coalition in this country that was more libertarian than either of the two that exist now would be inevitably* have as an opponent a political coalition less libertarian than either of the two that exist now.

        The current anti-libertarian policies in both parties are not the result of tiny numbers of wolves oppressing sheep. It’s the fault of the voters; too many people call for their own freedom while not respecting that of others, especially people who want to do the wrong things with that freedom.

        * – Inevitably in the short term. Over the long term attitudes do change, which makes the sustainable political coalitions different.

  6. Dammit! I already have to deal with the “What are you a 14-yr. old internet geek?” mentality when I say stuff like “We should get rid of the Fed.” or “Our current system isn’t very representative.” Do we really have to portray our advocates as heroes in teeny bop fiction?

    1. EDIT: “Our current two-party system isn’t very representative.”

      1. Any system wouldn’t be very representative. Even multiparty PR systems where everyone can vote for a candidate with whom they agree completely end up having political coalitions that end up making lots of sacrifices and no one is truly happy.

        Arrow’s Theorem really does apply.

        1. Fair enough, I failed to capture the original sentiment accurately.

          When I saw Rand Paul in the Divergent screencap, this came to mind and I let out a ‘damned reality’ sigh.

  7. Some idiot was on Bloomberg this morning, talking about Sheldon Adelson’s big dog-and-pony show in Vegas. He said Rand wasn’t there, because Adelson learned his lesson about getting involved with “fringe candidates” last time around.

    I sure hope that “mainstream” guy, Santorum, is there doing his sit-up-and-beg routine.

    1. Rand Paul was excluded because Adelson wants more than anything a US-led war with Iran.

      1. No, Adelson wants more than anything online gaming to be banned so that it doesn’t compete with his casinos.

  8. Ladies and Gentlemen (and Warty too) this…

    “Only the nosferatu pundits at The New York Times and other journalistic glory holes for the Establishment can even stomach the prospect of a Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush showdown in 2016.”

    is why The Jacket makes the big bucks

    1. I am often pretty hard on the Jacket. I have to give credit where credit is due here, however. That is a great sentence.

      1. He is working on that now and has two GOP co-sponsors lined up.

  9. The idea that a majority of the public will oppose eliminating social security and medicare is true.

    So how about we focus on gutting the regulatory state that everyone hates and that is reducing economic growth by 3-5% per year first?

    1. The irony VG is that if we got rid of the regulatory state, we would be a lot more able to afford the entitlement state and these problems would be a lot easier to solve. It would take a lot of deftness to make the argument that we can have either the regulatory state or the entitlement state but not both and since no one wants to put grandma on the street the regulatory state has to go. If you could make it, however, it would be devastating and true.

      Wouldn’t it be great to say to liberals, “when you stop a project like Keystone, you are just ensuring an old or sick person goes hungry in America”?

      1. Libertarians may have to concede entitlement reform in the short term and instead use entitlements as a cudgel to beat down other spending and regulations. “We can only afford Grandma’s medicine if you let the economy grow!”

  10. The idea that a majority of the public will oppose eliminating social security and medicare is true.

    Of course, because evul kkkapitalists intentionally destroy everybody’s pensions! That’s just what they do. You (the archetypical private citizen) are incapable of saving and investing on your own behalf. That’s why a government managed Ponzi scheme is absolutely essential.

  11. BTW, for the “Rand Paul has a chance” article, you could do worse than this inside baseball from Dave Weigel.

    He’s doing the right things, he just needs to pull people from outside the primary faction that votes for the most libertarianish candidate.

  12. *all people are irrevocably slotted into one of five “factions” based on temperament and personality type. Those who refuse to go along with the program are marked as divergent?and marked for death!*

    Ye gads…who writes this dreck? Worse yet, who reads it?

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