Presidential Debate

The Republican Primary Debates as Casting Calls for the President Show

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CNBC

One way to think the presidential debate are as political improv events, where the goal is not to be funny but to perform in a way that comes across as presidential. The candidates on the stage are essentially posing as actors, being asked to prepare and write their own lines in front of us. They're casting calls for the President Show. That's the strength of the debates. It's also their weakness.

Candidates can study up on the news and public policy, and have the option to make clear explanations of policy proposals part of their performance, but doing so is not always entirely necessary, as the dual successes of Donald Trump and Ben Carson show. Both men have often appeared unaware of basic policy facts, and neither has been especially clear on their own ideas for governance. Nearly all of Trump's policy ideas can be reduced to the phrase, "I'll figure it out later," and Carson's are frequently even more confused.

This hasn't seemed to matter much, at least not so far, because each of them in their own way has offered a performance of presidential demeanor that GOP voters have found compelling: Trump, the tough, swaggering businessman; Carson, the soft-spoken surgical innovator. Both men have, in a sense, created successful characters, and when likely GOP voters respond with support, what those voters are essentially saying is that they would cast those characters in the eventual role of president.

Primary voters, however, often think not only about which character they could see in the role of president, but about which character others would be willing to accept in the role as well. In 2012, for example, GOP voters had many problems with Mitt Romney, but generally believed he was the most electable, and he eventually became the nominee. Regardless of one's other feelings about Romney, he certainly looked the part.

That's where candidates like Trump and Carson tend to struggle. Eventually, primary voters usually make some effort to try to imagine not only the President Show they would like to see, but the one that could attract enough national support to make it into production as well.

That's why Marco Rubio now looks like the candidate with the best chance of eventually winning the nomination. Even though he trails Carson and Trump in the polls, he's improved his standing recently, and he's far and away the favorite to win amongst those with money on the line, with a 39 percent chance of winning, compared to Trump's 15 percent.

As with both Trump and Carson, much of his success owes to the character he has created: youthful and energetic but not overeager, optimistic and earnest yet hardly un-self-aware. That's the candidate who showed up at last night's debate, and why he continues to improve his standing.

But Rubio is a more substantive candidate than either Trump or Carson (one could hardly be less), and as his eventual nomination looks more and more plausible, it's worth looking beyond his character to his ideas about governance. Because the search for a person to play the lead character on the President Show is also in some sense a search for a lead writer, an executive producer who will hire all the department heads and oversee the production.

The debates provide a fine format for revealing the essential elements of the character that each candidate is playing, but even when they are relatively substantive, as in last night's contest, they are less suited to revealing how the candidate would perform in that other role.

Debates are televised events built around short, dramatic exchanges. The incentive is to perform the presidential character rather than to demonstrate administrative competency or executive vision.

Yet that other role is the one that, while less visible to the public, is by most measures the most important to the job, and to the functioning of the country. So it is worth remembering, as these debates continue, that whoever is eventually cast as president won't just be playing the part, he or she will be deciding on the storylines as well.

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  1. Rubio is THE establishment candidate, not Bush. May as well vote for Jeb or Hillary as vote for Rubio, there’s pretty much no difference.

    1. OT Waco Biker Clusterfuck/Massacre/”Shootout 106 indicted

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11……html?_r=0

      1. Trump’s old lady- would.

  2. This article does not mention one Rubio policy that should make him ‘the candidate’. What is it, his war mongering? His big spending ways? His being the total establishment guy?

    1. His yacht.

      1. Also, his enthusiasm for bottled water.

        1. He used to have a pet weasel in high school.

          1. Hmm. A legit weasel, or just a smelly ferret?

            1. The ones that leave shit everywhere.

              1. The one that ripped his flesh. Between his legs.

  3. Bernie is better than Rubio, as least he’s not totally anti-libertarian on every single issue.

    1. Unless your version of libertarianism really is Mexicans, ass sex, and weed there’s no way.

      Rubio doesn’t want gun control
      Wants school choice
      Thinks Ocare wrecks the insurance market
      Wants lower taxes
      Wants a smaller budget
      Opposes equality-type regulations on pay and imposing quotas.

      Sanders is the opposite in all those things.

      1. My biggest issues with Rubio are his NSA stance and his foreign policy approach.

    2. On what fucking planet do you live?

  4. Thanks for admitting that this idiocy (both Dem and GOP) is just American Idol except that the winner can dronemurder people at will, Suder-Man. Because honestly, this is just fucking bread and circuses. It’s a popularity contest where the winner can theoretically nuke the planet. What fun! Where’s Greg Stillson when you need him?

    Greg Stillson: Put your hand on the scanning screen, and you’ll go down in history with me!

    Five Star General: As what? The world’s greatest mass murderers?

    Greg Stillson: You cowardly bastard! You’re not the voice of the people, I am the voice of the people! The people speak through me, not you!

    1. That’s pretty much it.

  5. Me and Rubio, down by school yard

    1. In a couple of days they come and
      Take me away
      But the press let the story leak

      1. And when the radical priest
        Come to get me released
        We was all on the cover of Newsweek

      2. I really don’t want to be on the cover of newsweek.

    2. Well I’m on my way
      I don’t know where I’m going
      I’m on my way I’m taking my time
      But I don’t know where

      1. Goodbye Hiiiil-ry, the queen of bologna

  6. The GOP faithful worry about Rubio because they see him as a “squish” on immigration/amnesty. BUT, he’s banging that war drum as loudly as anyone, and that seems to be the only issue that matters more to them than the illegals.

    How much you wanna bet that his Latino heritage/name factor into this as well, to those to whom a GOP win is all that matters?

    I agree, Rubio’s gonna be the GOP nominee.

    Hillary or Rubio. Deep sigh.

    1. My establishment candidate, same as your establishment candidate, same as the old establishment candidate. Gotta support the team.

    2. Yeah, I’m resigned to Rubio being the next president. Which, hey, at least Hillary isn’t rewarded for everything she’s done. That’s a little something.

  7. Look at the Hillary pics on Drudge, she’s all wigged out, RFLMAO! Granny for POTUS!

  8. Fuck Rubio right in his pretty face. The whining was unbelievable. “The most important job anyone will ever do is one that’s so risky and irresponsible, if the state doesn’t pay people thousands of dollars a year for it, they’ll be up all night feeling guilty about the huge mistake they’ve made!” Yeah, maybe they fucking should be. Sick of hearing about all the “great people” who had families they couldn’t take care of, from Republicans no less. Good on Rand for calling welfare what it is.

  9. I’ll take a one dollar Sanders/Paul money line parlay at 1300 to 1 please.

  10. So it will end up as Rubio vs Hillary?

    Well, since pot will be legal both to the immediate north and south, they’ll have the perfect excuse to make war on two more countries in addition to their already long list of places to bomb the crap out of. At least the proximity will mean a defacto savings on military spending.

  11. The Republican Primary Debates as Casting Call for the President Show

    Isn’t that the show where they convince college-age girls to come to their studio believing that they are interviewing for a modeling job when, in fact, it’s an adult video?

    I, um….read about that somewhere. Yeah. Yes…that will do

  12. In the pre-campaign stages, it was Bush. Then Walker after he got the blessing of the donors. Then it was back to Bush temporarily and now Rubio. The media keeps trying to make these establishment hacks happen and predicting that Trump will fade any day now.

    Unless the people who show up on election day are completely different than the people being polled, this thing is between Trump and Carson whether you like it or not. The GOP base wants the complete opposite of what the GOP establishment/big money wants.

    1. This time four years ago, it was between Gingrich and Cain. Just sayin’.

  13. I really like John Kasich. Of all candidates including elizabeth warren and Bernie Sanders. I would vote for John Kasich had I known that he would appoint a moderate conservative (Sandra Day O’Connor/ Justice Kennedy ).

    But I’m afraid he’s going to appoint another callous asshole like Alito or Scalia or even worst.

    After hearing the debate, I also liked what I heard from Rubio and Bush. Although I’m not a religious conservative that supports war and murder and simply saying fuck-you to everyone else, I found that Rubio/Kasich/Bush seem like fine gentlemen. The rest are ASSHOLES.

    And, as far as Rand Paul goes, I don’t like him. Given a choice between puritan fiscal conservative and compassion towards others, I chose compassion.

    Too bad I was NOT born an asshole that can say fuck you to the mexicans, the poor, the blacks, the unemployed, the junkies, the niggers, the aging 40 year old white guy, women, foreigners, homosexuals, jews, spicks, etc…I would had made a great conservative or right-wing libertarian.

    1. Kasich wants to put you in prison for all of those drugs you’re on all the time, Alice.

      1. I know that no candidate is perfect. The fact is, Kasich said he doesn’t want to throw people in jail and ruin their lives for drugs. You can actually find a video right here on REASON.COM where he speaks about it.

        What Kasich didn’t make clear is on his position on people having criminal records. I hope he would be OK that people would get fined for Drug use or possession but no record of a crime being committed.

        Look, I’m a liberal that considers myself as a left-leaning libertarian as I value many libertarian values (NOT ALL).

        Of the choices, including Hilary and Elizabeth Warren, I would chose John Kasich. He is experiences, reasonable, compassionate, and smart. The REST ARE ASSHOLES.

        1. reasonable, compassionate, and smart

          /ingiomontoya

    2. Hello, Alice.

      I have read your response and I have several questions.

      1) You claim to want a “moderate conservative” appointed to the Supreme Court. Please elaborate upon what this means and what you perceive to be the role of the Supreme Court. Justices O’Connor and Kennedy do not appear to have a coherent philosophy regarding constitutional interpretation. While, for example, Justice Kennedy seems to lean toward a personal liberty position in many of his high-profile decisions in recent years, it is difficult to square many of these decisions with the plain text of the Constitution. Do you feel this is a problem? Would you feel otherwise if his methods were the same but the result was something you didn’t like?

      2) Why do you think “compassion” involves forcing other people to support programs and positions you like at the point of a gun? Doesn’t true compassion stem from voluntary acts? From the choice to do good? Are you unwilling to help the poor if the president doesn’t command that you do so?

      3) Who said “fuck you” to the various groups you list? I did not watch the debate, but I imagine such a statement would have made headlines.

      1. 1) You claim to want a “moderate conservative” appointed to the Supreme Court. Please elaborate upon what this means and what you perceive to be the role of the Supreme Court. Justices O’Connor and Kennedy do not appear to have a coherent philosophy regarding constitutional interpretation. While, for example, Justice Kennedy seems to lean toward a personal liberty position in many of his high-profile decisions in recent years, it is difficult to square many of these decisions with the plain text of the Constitution. Do you feel this is a problem? Would you feel otherwise if his methods were the same but the result was something you didn’t like?

        My response:
        – I would want a liberal appointed to the court. But in the context of picking among the republicans, yes, I would prefer a moderate.
        – As far as the constitution is concerned, I believe it is a living document and not the Koran. I believe that it can and should be interpreted by the current generation of people living under it. I don’t agree with Scalia. For whatever reason, I found these two conservative judges to be a reasonable compromise us liberals can make. I hope this answered your question.

        1. “As far as the constitution is concerned, I believe it is a living document and not the Koran. I believe that it can and should be interpreted by the current generation of people living under it.”

          Which is why the founders built in a provision for constitutional amendments. Otherwise you get a situation where a mere 51 percent can deprive everyone of their most basic rights.

          If we go the latter route, how long before a group of hypersensitive college children and their coddling, brain-damaged parents unite to push through a complete suspension of free speech across the country, not just on campus, because free speech makes the timid tots feel unsafe?

          1. People are born and people die. I say let the people alive at the time interpret it.

            Or, am I misuderstanding you? Are you saying that the Justices should NOT interpret and everything should be an amendment?

            1. “People are born and people die. I say let the people alive at the time interpret it.”
              -those would be Mexicans.

            2. If it’s explicitly spelled out in the Constitution and its Amendments, removal of a right should require a supermajority of state legislatures. Good luck with that. We can also consider precedent such as prohibition requiring one. You might call that cherry-picking.

        2. Thank you for your response. I am unclear how your solution could properly function, though, and i hope you can clarify a few things.

          What does it mean for something to be a “living document”? Documents are, by their very nature, inanimate.

          What does it mean for the “current generation” to determine what words on paper mean, other than what those words actually say? Who is the “current generation” for that matter? Do we need to redetermine every time an individual reaches the age of majority? That seems impractical.

          Why have a constitution at all if a simple majority has the power to change its meaning? The Framers enshrined these rules to be above normal laws but left a mechanism to change it as necessary. What is to stop a majority from determining, say, that Muslims cannot be allowed to practice their religion, if not the adherence to the words having the meaning they did when written?

          Thank you

          1. I got the phrase “Living Document” from Scalia. He says kinda what you say, the WORDS COUNT. The fact is situations change. A traffic law use to require that one throws a “Fire Cracker” when making a left turn. Now, we have traffic signals. So, the context of what’s going on can change from generation-to-generation. That’s why I believe it is a living document.

            The Current generation is the wrong thing to say. I said it wrong. I mean the people living at the current moment (which would include several generations).

            Why have a constitution at all if a simple majority has the power to change its meaning?
            It is not a simple majority. As you can see, many people want flag-burning amendments, welfare-amendments, etc. It’s pretty hard to amend the constitution of the United States.

            1. Your traffic signal example is interesting. Have lawmakers changed the law to require the use of traffic signals now, or is the fire-cracker rule still on the books? If the latter, would a driver be pulled over for throwing a firecracker? How would, say, an immigrant who recently moved to that area be able to drive in accordance with the law, if the law is not consistent with what is written?

              Your example certainly establishes the foolishness of requiring a super-majority to update traffic regulations. Is not the purpose of putting something in the Constitution, though, to make it beyond update, unless essentially everyone agrees that it should change?

          2. One more thing

            The founders were geniuses. The fact is, democracy doesn’t work. I agree that 51% can vote to have the other 49% murdered and that’s why you don’t want something like this. They established a clever system of checks and balances. The Executive is limited, he can reject (VETO) a law passed by the Legislative Branch. But, the majority of the Legislative Branch can overturn that VETO. And then, someone can file a Law Suit and the Supreme Court can either validate or invalidate the law.

            So, it’s not as easy as you say that the majority can do things that easily. Look at the Homo issue. With a conservative Court, a Conservative Legislature, and a President that has always said he didn’t support gay marriage, it became the Law of the Land….Even with a Conservative SCOTUS majority.

            I think our system is fine. However, given the paralysis we have between Congress and the President, the Supreme Court has become the KING OF AMERICA. So, as a Liberal, I want Liberal to moderate-conservative interpretations that don’t hurt people.

            1. You state the Supreme Court is “King of America” and cite the example of gay marriage approvingly. There is certainly, even debate among people on this board, about the legitimacy of some or all of that decision (which I will not go into here because it is beyond the scope of this discussion), but let’s dig deeper on the process you described:

              You say that “It became the law of the land.” The Constitution requires that a law be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president. Do you support the idea that a not-particularly-accountable group of five people can determine what is and is not the law across the nation with consideration of the opinion of the people’s representatives? You appear to in this instance because it’s something you agree with. It won’t always be, however. How do they decide, unless they have something to go by? Public polling? What their FEELZ tell them?

              The Court went against a conservative legislature and the statements of the President on the gay marriage issue. Putting aside that the federal government has no authority to regulate marriage, why do you consider this a good thing? Because you like the result? What’s to stop the Court from taking a similar approach in future cases, say with people they consider “bad” but committed no crime? Are we a government of law or of men?

              1. @Alice
                Pretty soon we’d have laws against offending anyone in the LGBTYNFDN community. That would leave unable to say, “Fuck You, Alice”

                no thanks.

              2. “Putting aside that the federal government has no authority to regulate marriage, why do you consider this a good thing? Because you like the result? What’s to stop the Court from taking a similar approach in future cases, say with people they consider “bad” but committed no crime? Are we a government of law or of men?”

                What gave the SCOTUS the right to declare state laws against miscegenation were unconstitutional? Societal norms change. What one generation feels is the obviously correct interpretation of the Constitution may not be the case in the future.

                Scalia, Alito & Thomas are full of shit when they say they are strict Constitutionalists. They decide in favor of their pre-held opinions & pretend they had some secret seance with the Founders.

      2. 2) Why do you think “compassion” involves forcing other people to support programs and positions you like at the point of a gun? Doesn’t true compassion stem from voluntary acts? From the choice to do good? Are you unwilling to help the poor if the president doesn’t command that you do so?
        My response:
        – I believe that there are many people that are ASSHOLES and are judgmental of other people. For example, I can see religious people letting homosexuals with AIDS rot. I’m a big fan of collecting taxes from everyone to help others. That is what I call compassion. I’m A-OK with forcing everyone (via taxes) to pay for certain things that are in all of our collective interest.
        – I was raised Pentecostal Christian. I am now a Buddhist (a lousy one since I still smoke weed and take percs). As a Buddhist, I’m an athiest. At the same time, I try to do my part to help individuals that need help in my life around me.
        – Warren Buffet has a great quote: “One should never depend on the kindness and charity of others.” I think he see’s it my way.

        1. I’m a big fan of collecting taxes from everyone to help others. That is what I call compassion. I’m A-OK with forcing everyone (via taxes) to pay for certain things that are in all of our collective interest.

          What you call “compassion” here is not what compassion actually means.

          At the same time, I try to do my part to help individuals that need help in my life around me.

          THIS is actual compassion. Do you see the difference?

          1. Like I said, the Carnival Barker has shown the world what ASSHOLES certain Americans can be.
            We need to take them, and pay for things.

            Look, I hate my tax dollars going towards the murder of other people. But I have to live with it.
            I try to vote appropriately. I wish that there was a checkbox so that I check-on welfare and check-off war. But I know that it just wouldn’t be a good idea. So, as a compromise, I settle for the tax system.

            1. Read what i wrote again, and try to answer coherently.

              1. Fine Citizen X!!! Compassion is not the proper word when taxing people.

                1. Thank you for that astute observation.

                  1. “Thank you for that astuteASS TOOT observation.”
                    ftfy

                2. “Compassion is not the proper word when taxing people.”

                  Screw that noise. Government policy, including taxation, can be guided by a sense of compassion & fairness. GWB said so, lol.

                  Citizen X is pretending government is an entity totally separate from the will of the people. It seems like he is getting his way as politics becomes a battleground for the filthy rich. That in no way invalidates your original point.

        2. Thank you for another thoughtful response.More questions, of course:

          Re: collecting taxes to help others – does it bother you that these taxes are also being used to line the pockets of certain favored groups or individuals? Does it bother you that they are being used toward programs ir activities that you find morally repugnant? Might it not be preferable for individuals to keep their own money or give it to causes/groups/people that they believe are most in need or most deserving?

          Re: The Buffet quote – I agree 100%. But the government is just a bigger and more arbitrary version of that, but with more guns. We should do our best to depend on ourselves and our neighbors

          1. Argh, should be “and help our neighbors”

          2. I commented on this somewhere. It does bother me that my Tax dollars go to WAR.
            I worked in One World Trade Center on the 38th floor. I was targeted by people due to the fact that my tax dollars brought them harm. It Sucks !!! I don’t want my tax dollars to go towards Murder.

            But, I do want my tax dollars to go towards Social Security, Food Stamps, Disability, the roads, Education, etc.

            I have to compromise. I can’t just throw the baby out with the bath water. I’ll put my money in the POT and try to vote for folks that see things my way. I’m sure many people (conservatives/libertarians) would vote for the people that would eliminate Social Security, Food Stamps, Disability, Education, etc. for the Libertarian Ideology. In doing so, many people would be FUCKED !!! And, the libertarian Paradise would exists. It’s not the Paradise I want to live in. I want safety nets.

            The know the government is FUCKED UP. Commerce controls the government in an awful way. I’m hoping for a better solution. But just like our Justice System that sucks, it’s the best one around.

            1. I don’t want my tax dollars to go towards Murder.

              But, I do want my tax dollars to go towards Social Security, Food Stamps, Disability, the roads, Education, etc.

              How do you square, in your own angry little brain, the fact that it’s the threat of murder (or at least violent abduction) that compels the payment of taxes in the first place?

              1. Look, I will only get murdered by the Government if I refuse to pay my taxes, refuse to go to court and fight charges, am found guilty, and when they come to get me, I put up the “RUBY RIDGE FIGHT”. If I come quietly, and I’m not black, there’s an excellent change I won’t get murdered for not paying taxes.

                Like I said. I’d rather pay the taxes.

                I was born into a world that was already established. There are hospitals, roads, education, jobs, opportunities, pretty girls, fine marijuana, etc. Everyone born into this great world should pay taxes for the good of all. And no one should be exempt except for those that have not money to pay with.

                1. Look, I will only get murdered by the Government if I refuse to pay my taxes, refuse to go to court and fight charges, am found guilty, and when they come to get me, I put up the “RUBY RIDGE FIGHT”. If I come quietly, and I’m not black, there’s an excellent change I won’t get murdered for not paying taxes.

                  Like I said. I’d rather pay the taxes.

                  Obey or die, exactly. I pay my taxes too, for the same reason. What differentiates this from armed robbery, though?

                  1. “What differentiates this from armed robbery, though?”

                    Elections, dumbass. We didn’t have a revolution in order to stop taxes then & forever. We had a revolution so we would be taxed according to the laws passed by elected representatives.

                    Just because your ideas are rejected by the majority, does not mean you are living under tyranny. Convince your fellows to adopt your voluntary tax plan, if you can. It’s pretty obvious you’re at the extreme end of the Libertarian spectrum. Like Communism, it provides no accommodation for human nature.

                    Kind of makes me want to buy the property all around you & turn it into a garbage dump, because: MINE!

                2. “I was born into a world that was already established. There are hospitals, roads, education, jobs, opportunities, pretty girls, fine marijuana, etc. Everyone born into this great world should pay taxes for the good of all. And no one should be exempt except for those that have not money to pay with.”

                  You’re high right now, aren’t you?
                  I didn’t agree to pay taxes, so I’m off the hook. Right?

              2. yep

              3. If we make tax payment voluntary, what do you propose be done about the jerks who opt out? Any government tax or fee needs to have some sort of penalty for dodgers or it’s a fucking joke. This bullshit about the threat of murder or violent abduction are the cries of a juvenile mind: It’s not fair!

                Why have any laws or government at all?

          3. As far as people lining their pockets, we need more oversight. And yes, that means more government intervention between government workers/politicians/business people. And, people should go to jail for corruption.

            I think Ross Perot proposed a way to control lobbyist with some form of automation. It needs more oversight.

            If you ask me, Corruption is everyone’s complaint and everyone’s enemy. However, it seems to come with the Government Job.

            1. So, since we don’t trust the people overseeing us and those they appoint, we should get them to appoint more people? Who will make sure that those appointees are not, themselves, corrupt? Perhaps people wouldn’t try to buy politicians if they weren’t worth so much?

              1. I think you need better more automated checks and balances.

                You may not know this about me, but I support eliminating Cash altogether and having everyone have one bank account linked bio-metrically. That is, you get paid into this account and you pay through this account. With this solution, you would not even need a wall. One will still be able to barter for little sexual favors, but one could never establish a criminal enterprise off of bartering.

                Corruption would be more difficult as well.

                1. Corruption would be more difficult, and we’d just have to give the state complete control over our assets, WHO COULD POSSIBLY ARGUE WITH THAT?!11oneoneone

                  Hey, why even HAVE assets, the govt can just provide everything to everyone! Fuck the middleman!

      3. 3) Who said “fuck you” to the various groups you list? I did not watch the debate, but I imagine such a statement would have made headlines.

        My response:
        I’m not saying that any candidate said the words “Fuck You”. However, that carnival barker is effectively saying FUCK YOU to the families that he would break apart. I see nothing but a FUCK YOU attitude from the GOP.

        When Rand Paul says “CUT GOVERNMENT”, he is saying cut government jobs….probably tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of jobs. What should these people do? Change bed pans? Work at McDonalds? I know that the libertarian sentiment to “What should people do as a result of creative destruction or job list” is “FUCK THEM”. Progress for all is worth those people losing their jobs.

        Many conservatives say that the murder of those American Indians was a small price to pay given what came about: “The USA”. Yes, many American Indians were murdered, but how many lives have been saved by the progress that was established here in the US?

        I’m glad I’m an American in 2015 and not an Indian in 1772.

        When you say it is ok to Kill a few today for the good of the masses tomorrow, that’s a deal you make with the Devil. I’m not ready to make that deal.

        1. Many conservatives say that the murder of those American Indians was a small price to pay given what came about: “The USA”. Yes, many American Indians were murdered, but how many lives have been saved by the progress that was established here in the US?

          I’ve never heard anyone say, or even suggest, this. In fact I’ve never heard anyone suggest that the USA of today requires the killing of indians 200 years ago. Most indians died from disease.

          You say that you would not kill some for the good of others, yet you would tax–at gunpoint–some to give to others and call it compassion. While we’d all rather pay taxes that die, the gist of your argument is that you are actually ok with forcing some people to give up something for others. You even call it compassion when it is really just redistribution of wealth.

          1. Hyperbolical, I don’t know you. But I bet you are an educated compassionate person that would help people out. I understand your political position on taxation. If 60% of the people were as compassionate and informed and concerned as you, yea, we could get away with a charity can. But that’s not the case. REALITY: PEOPLE ARE ASSHOLES.

            It is not the re-distribution of wealth. In the US, income is NOT WEALTH. it is the redistribution of Income. I just don’t see it as the biggest crime in America. Between my salary and my rental income, I’m in the top 2%. Do I do my little Tax-game that all business people do, of course. But I pay my taxes to the letter of the law….perhaps not the spirit ;.

            Making it mandatory and collecting taxes from income just doesn’t offend me. I understand that this is the difference between Alice Bowie and Libertarians. I disagree with you guys on this but agree on other things.

            1. I’ll concede that taxation for social engineering is redistributing income rather than wealth. But I cannot agree that taking from some people and giving to others is good for either group.

              Of course we need to keep people from dying in the streets from hunger and exposure. And I will even go so far as helping them get back on their feet financially. But it is not good for people to provide for them long term.

              I don’t give my children everything they ask for, because I want them to be self sufficient and self reliant. I do try to teach them what they need to know to be self sufficient and self reliant. Therefore, I can imagine teaching other people to help themselves. But this is not what our government does.

              Besides the immorality and inefficiency of providing for people who are capable of providing for themselves, there is a greater political problem. The government–mostly federal–keeps large groups of people dependent for the political benefit of incumbents and bureaucrats. In classic Rome it was Bread and Circuses that kept the masses from turning on the government and today it is mostly just bread. Nonetheless, allowing our government to buy votes and support this way corrupts not only the government but our way of life. Since the War on Poverty, we have raised a couple of generations of dependant children who will never be self reliant. Were it not for rampant abortions we would eventually be overrun by dependent adults.

              1. Of course we need to keep people from dying in the streets from hunger and exposure.

                [Citation Needed]

                1. You’re right that there is no absolute requirement to take care of our fellow human beings. But as a non-utilitarian and a spiritual person I’m convinced that the health of a society depends on how well we follow our own morals.

                  While traditionally morals–and law–come from God or gods, all that I can definitively say is that they evolve from our own experiences and how we feel when something is done to us or withheld from us. We both contribute to, and learn from the collective morals of our society. This principle is encapsulated in the so-called Golden Rule, and in Rabbi Hillel’s saying: “That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow….” We not only respond emotionally (and sometimes viscerally) to what is done to us, but also to what we do to others. Conscience is a real thing in non psychopaths. And there is a societal conscience just as there is a personal conscience. That conscience affects the soul, or essence, of an individual or society and consequently its health. A society that ignores the Golden Rule will become sick, as will the individual who ignores it.

                  When we apathetically ignore the suffering of others it sickens us and the society we live in. Nobody escapes a moral decision unscathed (unless they’re a psychopath, but that’s another discussion). It will affect us and our collective decisions will affect us collectively. We ignore the health of the soul at our own peril.

                2. “Of course we need to keep people from dying in the streets from hunger and exposure.

                  [Citation Needed]”

                  Need to? No, nor need I refrain from stepping on your head if you’re drowning. Of course, I’m not a sociopath.

        2. “When Rand Paul says “CUT GOVERNMENT”, he is saying cut government jobs….probably tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of jobs. What should these people do? Change bed pans? Work at McDonalds? I know that the libertarian sentiment to “What should people do as a result of creative destruction or job list” is “FUCK THEM”. Progress for all is worth those people losing their jobs.”

          Then, how would you lower the cost of government, which is too high?

          1. Not an easy answer.

            If you cut Military spending, you cut many jobs as government contractors.
            If you cut government workers (the fat), you cut many jobs.

            Both ways, you just end up people losing a bunch of jobs.

            What I would do is Limit Government pensions to the minimum living wage of $15/hr.
            I would take corruption more seriously and lock people up and take their money for this and not for a $7 bag of heroin.

            1. If you’re getting your heroin for $7 a bag, well… that explains a WHOLE lot.

              1. They charge $10 for the one with fentanyl in it.

                1. Jesus, if you’re on fentanyl, that REALLY explains your posting style/point of view. I had fentanyl for an operation a while back – apparently, i had a hilarious conversation with the post-op nurse about all the blood coming out of my face, none of which i can remember, and then came home and slept for 19 hours.

                  1. I don’t take heroin. But I know about it.

                    I have complicated diverticulitus. Right Now, I have a Colostomy bag. Next Friday, I will have a sigmoid colectomy and hopefully they will remove my colostomy bag. So, I will be on fentanyl and other narcotics. When I had the Colostomy installed, they gave me fentanyl and morphine and others. I’m not a big fan. I like Percs (Oxycodone and Tylenol).

        3. Thank you for this response, as well. I’m not sure which carnival barker you are referencing, but I think that’s really beside the point.

          I was not aware that the job choices of, say, Department of Education attorneys was between DoE lawyer or fastfood worker. I was also not aware that it was my moral obligation to fund the employment of government employees. No one wants them unemployed, but many people do want employed doing things that improve society, not creating bureaucratic hurdles for our day-to-day lives.

          Many conservatives say that the murder of those American Indians was a small price to pay given what came about: “The USA”. Yes, many American Indians were murdered, but how many lives have been saved by the progress that was established here in the US?

          Do you hear this a lot? This is the first time I have ever seen anyone make such a claim.

          When you say it is ok to Kill a few today for the good of the masses tomorrow, that’s a deal you make with the Devil. I’m not ready to make that deal.

          But see you response to funding morally repugnant activities with your tax dollars.

          1. We don’t have a moral obligation to do anything. There is NO GOD.
            Big fish eat little fish. The truth is, people can kill, poison, steal, and exploit other people with impunity in this world. That is the reality of the world we live in.

            In America and in several other places in the world, we try to do good. Some of us see it that we should help people. Some of us see it that helping people makes them lazy and they will take advantage. Some see it as we should teach out to fish and not to simply give out fish.

            I’m one of those guys that know that given the complexities of this world, and our government, making small changes (let alone monumental changes) are hard to do.

            The Carnival Barker is non other than Mr. Donald Trump. I actually got that comment from the BIll Maher show the other day.

            1. In America and in several other places in the world, we try to do good.

              Where is my legal obligation to “do good”? It is my duty to not infringe on the life, liberty, or property rights of other individuals. I am aware of no affirmative obligation to do “good,” and to my knowledge, there is not an agreed upon definition of what “good” even means. Anything beyond that is just as moralizing as the religions you claim to reject.

              Some of us see it that we should help people. Some of us see it that helping people makes them lazy and they will take advantage. Some see it as we should teach out to fish and not to simply give out fish.

              And some of us oversimplify the positions of those with whom we disagree.

              The idea that the government is the institution best suited to “helping people” is not one we all agree with. There is substantial evidence suggesting otherwise.

            2. So you’re a Hobbes guy, eh? Well, it takes all types – some of us are Hobbesians, and others base our worldviews on ideas that are NOT abjectly wrong.

          2. Is it not true that killing a bunch of savages a few years ago paid off for the people today?

            1. I don’t see what that has to do with anything, and it’s a mischaracterization of history.

              1. Do you not see what not that not has to do with not, n’est pas?

            2. No. That’s not true.

              There were some massacres and there were some tribes forced off their land. But killing “savages” was not the way the land was settled. By the time pioneers began settling what had been Mexico north of the Rio Grande, for example, many of the inhabitants had already died out from disease. Yes, there were dirty deals, and yes, there were cultural misunderstandings about property ownership. But settlers did not really kill of the savages to take the land.

              1. “By the time pioneers began settling what had been Mexico north of the Rio Grande, for example, many of the inhabitants had already died out from disease.”

                Many died, but not all. The natives were outnumbered, outgunned & manipulated by sharp operators. Any thoughts about the expulsion of the Cherokee, despite winning in court?

                By your argument, when you die, your house is up for grabs to the first person who realizes it’s there for the taking. If you have little ones, I’m not sure whether they should be left to starve & freeze in the cold, sold into slavery or butchered outright. Outlandish? Maybe. But, so is your gross misrepresentation of what happened to native Americans as “cultural misunderstandings”.

        4. “What should these people do? Change bed pans? Work at McDonalds?”

          what do you do?

    3. Alice, having read your arguments and given due consideration to the points you have raised, I have concluded you are wrong on everything ever. Thank you for your time.

    4. Wow, you’re off your meds. I thought you were doing great on the other thread. You are an asshole that says fuck you to everyone. You just refuse to realize it as you think your policies (which fail miserably time and time again) are just the greatest.

      Every time the fed practices inflation, they say fuck you to all who hold the busllshit Monopoly money that is forced upon them. Liberty lifts people up, and your wants of theft, and redistribution put them down.

      Socialism destroys everything it touches. Why the hell haven’t their been crisis in areas the government doesn’t touch? Your phone and computer seem to get better and cheaper through the free market. More income levels have access. Just imagine how much more access individuals would have if it weren’t for currency debauchery? Their purchasing power would be far, and I mean far greater than it is.

      1. “Why the hell haven’t their been crisis in areas the government doesn’t touch?”

        Does this mean I can start polluting the river until it burns again? Your phone & computer are better in part because of government moves to block monopolies & collusion. Government isn’t the solution to everything, but sometimes it is.

        1. Is it your river? If so, pollute away! If not, you are damaging someone’s property and should be sued for damages.

  14. Eh, I don’t hate Rubio a quarter as much as some commentariat here seem to. He’s obviously fairly hostile to libertarianism outside economic issues, and his foreign policy is terrifying. But hell, 6 out of 8 on the stage last night espoused a terrifying FP, and the seventh was Trump.

    There are Republicans I would definitely leave hanging to go vote for Gary even if it helps Hil (Bush and Trump stand out) – but unless he really screws up down the campaign trail, Rubio’s not one of them.

  15. Rubio won’t do shit if elected.
    And your vote doesn’t count.

    1. _Rubio won’t do shit if elected._

      You say that like it’s the worst possible outcome. Sadly, he seems eager to expand our military adventures on a grand scale.

  16. Alice, like all liberals hold these views because they don’t face consequences for their wants of theivery as they hide behind their masters.

    Alice, you should try and put your ideas into practice. Rob your neighbors and try to redistribute their incomes. Let’s see how far you’d get.

    1. Quit bitching & try to win more elections, ya wimp.

  17. Forget the dog and pony show. The last president elected by popular vote was JFK. Your next president will be Capo Jeb Bush of the Bush Mafia, INSTALLED by the NWO elites that own and run everything in the District of Corruption. Capo Jeb is one of the PNAC neocon jackals who called for a “new Pearl Harbor” and most likely engineered (9/11) to start the Oil and Poppy Wars, good for banksters, Big Oil, apartheid Israel, and the MIC/CIA.

    Do you still believe the lame government conspiracy theory that 19 muslims with box cutters knocked down 7 WTC buildings with two “airliners,” vaporized another into a 20 feet-deep hole in Shenksville, PA, and put an 18 feet-wide hole in the Pentagon with a disappearing “airliner”? Watch “War is Always by Deception” on YouTube. WAKE UP, SHEEPLE! WE’VE BEEN BUSH-WHACKED! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoB80Yk9NYg

    1. You must be lost, johnny.

    2. ZOMG! MY EYES HAZ BEEN OPENED!!!!211111ONEONEONE JOHNNYMARS THANX SOO MUCH BOOOSH MUST BEE STOPPT AT WUNCE!!!!

  18. People keep flogging the Vera/Trump story, but lets be honest and “reason” here for a bit. No one owns real property in America anymore. Being a libertarian Im sure you know all about Allodial Title. There is no such thing anymore in the USA. Trump followed the laws of the land. Plain and simple. Was it right? Should laws be changed? Sure, sure. No prob with all of that. Just follow the laws and if people dont like it, change it.

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