Libertarian

Blogging the Right Thing: Faux-Cons: Worse Than Liberals

Huckabee has one quote in “Do the Right Thing“  that’s absolutely correct.

Huckabee writes in Chapter 7: Faux-Cons Worse Than Liberalism, “I will likely say things in this chapter that will be misunderstood by sincere people who will react without taking the time to put my comments into context. Others will purposefully misrepresent it, just as they did during the campaign.”

Such has been the case with this chapter. It’s been represented to suggest that traditional conservatives are shot down as Faux Cons, that the Club for Growth is attacked as a Faux-Con organization. This is simply not true. Club for Growth isn’t mentioned in this chapter. Huckabee draws a pretty narrow parameter for Faux-Cons.

It would be much easier to explain this if Huckabee gave a bullet point list of what it meant to be a Faux Con, but Huckabee’s mind doesn’t appear to work like that. In this chapter, he praises Ron Paul and Cher in the same paragraph.

 

Huckabee makes the case for his own Conservatism, laying out his core values. “I genuinely believe in forcing government to live within its means, cut unnecessary spending to the the bone, eliminate social experiments, and government “feel good” programs, and push more charitable works to the family, the faith community, and the private sector.”

Huckabee lists his beliefs in favor of lower taxes, the purpose of government, limited government, a strong defense, and a series of other issues, though Huckabee concedes his words are unlikely to convince those who’ve already made up their minds otherwise.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention he quotes a large portion of my article, “National Review does not Speak for Me” mainly as an illustration, though also to drive home a point. This quote was particularly central to the case Huckabee makes in the chapter:

I never bothered to look into the facts, particularly in regards to the charges against Mike Huckabee’s fiscal record. If I had, I would have found out that he had two court rulings come out against his state that forced increases in Medicaid and Education, and that on top of that he faced a legislature that was at least 70% Democrat every year he was in office and could override his veto by a simple majority. I wonder which Huckabee critic could have done more for conservative values than Huckabee under those circumstances.

If this past election cycle taught us nothing, it taught us that bias exists in the conservative media. The one-sided attacks on Mike Huckabee last December were not only unfair, they allowed the rise of John McCain to the Republican nomination, as the National Review-anointed leader of the Conservative movement surrendered on February 7th after having won only one competitive primary.

Huckabee then enters his thesis on Faux Cons. Based on Huckabee’s comments, here’s a concise list of Faux Con traits. I don’t think all traits are equally required or always present (particularly 2)

  1. You’re out of touch with both political reality and people’s needs in your understanding of how government works. People who insist that Huckabee should have governed as a libertarian in a state with a 70% override power would fall into that category.
  2. Decrying taxes, but demanding programs and policies that bring about the need for a tax increase. Huckabee, in a previous chapter, cited conservatives who wanted longer sentences, parole abolished, and no additional money spent on prisons. In this chapter, he cites a legislator who railed against every source of revenue, but was first in line for projects or to get his people hired for government programs.
  3. “Disdain and sometimes outright contempt” for religious people. Huckabee takes on secularist misnomers and does a brief illustration of the country’s religious heritage.
  4. Following a “pagan” religion which worships “personal power and wealth.” Huckabee is clear about the term pagan,  saying, “I use the term ‘pagan’ not in the perjorative sense, but as a factual description of the worship of that which is material or symbolic.” Huckabee suggest that “If there was a Muhammad-like prophet of them, it might be Ayn Rand, but this philosophy has many disciples, and most of them don’t even realize they are devotees of a worldview that’s as much a religion as an economic system.” At the risk of being flamed, I’ll say there are a lot of folks who worship money and/or power as gods, and it’s a corrosive philosophy. On this point, Huckabee is absolutely right.

Huckabee argues not only are the “Faux Cons” wrong on a philosophical plane, but a political one, arguing that the heart of the Republican Party is the Social Conservatives who come from the hard working middle class (HWMC) and they don’t jive with libertarian utopianism.

Huckabee writes, “These are the people whose votes swing an election, while Republicans have thought (mistakenly) that they were solidly GOP, the truth is that they are values voters more than party people. And the Republicans have done a lot to alienate them. There has been an assumption that these are the voters who will “come along” and vote “right” regardless of the party’s message or who the candidate is and what he or she stands for. Believing that will hold for the future is wishful and wasteful thinking.”

Huckabee tells some stories from the trail, including the famous story of the woman who gave the campaign her wedding ring despite Huckabee’s refusal.

Huckabee writes that the values voters are not libertarians, but they are economic conservatives, who genuinely want less government interference and intervention, but they don’t want government to “simply shut its eyes or ears to crushing human needs that had gone unnoticed and untouched by family, community, or church.”

Huckabee draws a line between economic conservatism and libertarianism and places himself on the economic conservative line. His argument politically is that, if the party steps away from Value’s issues and becomes far more libertarian on economics as some people want, it will destroy the Republican Party by driving Values Voters to the Democrats or out of the process, because libertarianism isn’t an ideology that the HWMC typically identifies with.

I’m perhaps more economically conservative that Huckabee, but I’m no Economic Libertarian. The Boise Metro area was the largest area in the United States without a Community College. I supported the bond for the College of Western Idaho and peeved off a few libertarians in the process.

I know a lot of people exactly like what Huckabee described: Folks against $700 billion bailouts, who have problems with government assistance going to people who could and should be out working, but who have no problem with it for those who truly have no other option due to disability or temporary circumstances.

Others will point to Ronald Reagan’s statement on libertarianism as an argument, but will fail to quote the whole thing:

If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference, or less centralized authority, or more individual freedom, and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that, like in any political movement, there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all, or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions.

Indeed, and if you read Reason Magazine’s critique of then-Governor Reagan, you find he wasn’t a hardcore libertarian:

Reagan did institute property and inventory tax cuts, but during his tenure the sales tax was increased to six percent and withholding was introduced to the state income tax system. Under Reagan’s administration, state funding for public schools (grades K- 12) increased 105 percent (although enrollment went up only 5 percent), state support for junior colleges increased 323 percent, and grants and loans to college students increased 900 percent. Reagan’s major proposal to hold down the cost of government was a constitutional amendment to limit state spending to a specified (slowly declining) percentage of the gross income of the state’s population. The measure was submitted to the voters as an initiative measure, Proposition One, but was defeated when liberal opponents pictured it as a measure that would force local tax increases.

Reagan instituted a major overhaul of the state welfare system that reduced the total welfare caseload (which had been rapidly increasing) while raising benefits by 30 percent and increasing administrative costs. He encouraged the formation of HMO-like prepaid health care plans for MediCal patients, a move that has drawn mixed reactions from the medical community. His Federally-funded Office of Criminal Justice Planning made large grants to police agencies for computers and other expensive equipment, and funded (among other projects) a large-scale research effort on how to prosecute pornographers more effectively. He several times vetoed legislation to reduce marijuana possession to a misdemeanor, and signed legislation sharply increasing penalties for drug dealers.

Is this Libertarianism in action? Reason magazine didn’t think so, but made a humble acknowledgment that would do today’s political class good:

Thus, Reagan’s record, while generally conservative, is not particularly libertarian. But one’s administrative decisions, constrained as they are by existing laws, institutions, and politics, do not necessarily mirror one’s underlying philosophy.

With Mike Huckabee, you’ll find that his recond, constrained as it was by the political situation he had in Arkansas, was relatively conservative, but that his instincts and overall philosophy line up with most economic conservatives.

 

Regaining the trust of the small government wing of the GOP

Eric Kohn writes:

Right now, if the Democrats proposed a bill to burn down the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, the Republicans would compromise and agree to phase it in over 5 years. Is there any doubt this would have been the paradigm under John McCain? 

If Republicans ever hope to win back the libertarian bloc and reengage activism among fiscal conservatives, they need to take a look at some some potential leaders and possible presidential candidates they've been ignoring for the most part.

At this moment, Mike Huckabee is suggesting the purging of believers in small government from the party, calling libertarianism "a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism."

If some in the party get their way, Huckabee won't have to worry about internal competition from what he calls the  “real threat” to the Republican Party: “libertarianism masked as conservatism.”

Then there is Georgia's Saxby Chambliss, who is in the midst of a major fight to retain his Senate seat.  Things might have gone fairly well for Saxby if he hadn't voted for the bailout, opening the door for his opponent to be able to make this statement:

It's classic Saxby Economics - $700 billion for Wall Street, while Georgia families get stuck with the bill. That's just wrong.

While Saxby was busy justifying his bailout vote to unsympathetic Georgia voters, Libertarian Allen Buckley was placing signs around the state billing himself as the only fiscal conservative in the race.  If the DSCC hadn't made the mistake of going after Saxby on the Fair Tax in the heart of Neal Boortz territory, it's possible that Martin (who distanced himself from the ads) might have won.  As it turned out, the Libertarian forced a runoff which now has significant national implications.

Now comes the really laughable part.  Up until Election Day, media and local conversation (I was working in Atlanta until a week after the general election) about the race was centered around fiscal issues -- and primarily about the bailout.  So who does Saxby bring into the state to help him campaign? "Tax Hike Mike" Huckabee and bailout enthusiast John McCain.

It's not just the people, either. One also needs to look at the organizations closely affiliated with the GOP.  As one example, the NRA just joined in the flap over the Obama transition team asking potential appointees about their gun ownership and registration habits.  This is the same NRA who turned their back on one of their own board members to endorse someone with an abysmal Second Amendment record and an adversarial relationship to the NRA. How are people to trust an organization like this when they just chose politics over principle with respect to McCain?

If the GOP ever hopes to regain the trust of conservatives and the votes of libertarians, they need to be looking at people like Mark Sanford, Jeff Flake or even Gary Johnson -- as opposed to Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Saxby Chambliss.

Three Ways Republicans Can Win Back the Youth Vote

We simply cannot afford to lose a generation of young voters to the Democrats. As a follow-up to my first post from a few days back, I’d like to propose some specific changes that would better serve the Republican Party in recapturing the youth vote.

Establish a Young Voter Outreach arm of the Republican National Committee

We need to fight tooth and nail to bring young voters back to the Republican Party. Yes, the Young Republican National Federation and College Republican National Committee exist. The problem is that neither of these organizations actively serve to “sell” the Republican Party to young voters – rather, their purpose is to engage young voters who are already affiliated with the GOP. Thus, the Young Voter Outreach arm would serve to accomplish this, demonstrating to young voters that the Republican Party actually cares about winning their vote and is not just the party of older generations.

This arm of the RNC must be overseen by – surprise – a Republican under the age of 30. It would be responsible for working with the RNC’s eCampaign folks to launch new, state-of-the-art websites, blogs, and other online projects that are designed specifically to appeal to young voters who are not necessarily Republicans. One of the goals of these projects should be to serve to answer crucial questions like, “Why is the Republican Party’s platform the right one for me as a young voter?” or “Why should I, as a young voter, be alarmed about the Democrats’ plan to [insert bad policy here – redistribute the wealth, raise taxes, etc.]?”

But there’s more. As a Party, we need to begin building and then maintaining a strong base of young, up-and-coming Republicans, who in the near future can begin running for the U.S. House and Senate. These young candidates will help allow us to pursue a 435 district strategy while bringing new, fresh faces to the table. Therefore, the Young Voter Outreach arm would be responsible for identifying and recruiting these folks, but more importantly, it would encourage them to begin running for local offices and provide training sessions to show them how to run for an office and win.

Differentiate from Democrats Through Ideals of Limited Government

Over the next two years, the Democrats will look to expand government in many ways. As I noted in my first column, many young voters are decidedly libertarian, and thus they’ll frown on these changes – a circumstance that Republicans, as the party of free-markets and personal liberty, can capitalize upon.

Despite this, young voters are going to find it difficult to support the Republican Party if it remains the party that condones government intervention in such issues as gay marriage or the behavior of two consenting adults in their own bedroom. These socially conservative issues may be important to voters in the other generations, but in the eyes of many of my peers, government has no place in getting involved in these matters. Indeed, the Republican Party’s continued support of government involvement in these issues continues to reinforce the notion to many young voters that the GOP is the party of the older generations.

Clearly, some sort of common ground needs to be reached if the Republican Party wishes to appeal to the young voting bloc while not losing social conservatives. In terms of policy, what could this balance look like? On issues such as gay marriage, Republicans could advocate the voters in each state making their own statewide decision. Specifically, California’s Proposition 8 is a phenomenal example of how the voters – rather than the government – can determine their state’s position on this sort of issue. Abortion, however, is a slightly different animal. If you believe (as I do) that life begins at conception, then abortion is, quite simply, the infringement of another human being’s right to life. Since the federal government is charged with protecting people’s “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Republicans can fairly argue that it is the federal government’s responsibility to fight to limit abortion.

Taking this all into account, a forward-looking, pro-young voter platform statement for the Republican Party of the future should look something like this:

The Republican Party is the party of individual freedom, limited government, and personal choice. At the federal level, we will fight to reduce the size of government and make it more accountable to the people who fund it. We will fight to protect every human being’s God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And at the statewide level, we will work with the citizens to protect and preserve the traditional values upon which this great nation was built.

Rethink Our Branding and Organizational Identity

This one’s so simple, yet we cannot underestimate its importance: the fact is that a huge part of what drew young voters to Barack Obama was his hip, corporate-like branding and identity. Some might argue that this is shallow, but I strongly disagree. Instead, this is the reality of effective marketing. Indeed, it is the same reason that some brands flourish and while others fail miserably. Marketing is one of the most critical topics in the business world, and Barack Obama has taught us that it can be equally as significant in politics.

Just look at a side-by-side of the two candidate’s logos. Obama’s “O” logo probably has near 100% brand recognition – you don’t need the “Obama ‘08″ below it to know what it represents. On the other hand, if you took away McCain-Palin and left only the star at the top with the two lines extending out from it, would anyone have a clue what it represents? Nope.

Further, Obama’s simplistic yet impeccably memorable slogan of “hope” and “change” were consistent and didn’t change in the slightest since he entered the race. McCain didn’t maintain such a consistent message, and unfortunately, his “Country First” slogan that was implemented near the end of the race does not have the appeal of “hope” and “change.”

Fortunately, the Democratic Party itself does not have a branding or identity advantage over the Republican Party. This creates a unique opening for the GOP to take the initiative. Redesign the RNC’s logo and GOP.com to reflect the trends of Web 2.0. Find a unifying, clear-cut message for the party that carries wide-spread appeal. And most importantly, offer resources so that our candidates as well as our state and local parties can do the same.

Conclusion

The changes that I’ve identified in this post are necessary for the Republican Party to transform itself as the party of the future. A huge component that will be necessary to accomplishing this is the GOP’s ability to attract younger, fresh faces – the people who are this country’s future. Ultimately, the changes I propose all add up to one overreaching goal: to transform the Republican Party into one that represents all generations and embodies the core principles that make this nation so great.

This entry is cross-posted at NextGenGOP.

Recognizing the Lessons of the Ron Paul Revolution

Crossposted at NextGenGOP.com.

A few hours ago, I received an e-mail from a Ron Paul supporter, and although the majority of the e-mail was rather condescending, the author makes an important statement that I do believe merits exploration:

You guys [at NextGenGOP] are … ignoring Ron Paul … and his contribution to gathering sincere and dedicated enthusiasm in American politics.

Indeed, the author is correct – our contributors have not really discussed the Ron Paul Revolution, despite the fact that there are a number of crucial lessons for the Republican Party to learn from his successes. Thus, without further ado, I will take this post to thoroughly explore this matter.

To his credit, Ron Paul’s campaign demonstrated that Republicans can indeed keep up with Democrats in the era of Web 2.0, particularly in the areas of grassroots organization and fundraising. In addition, his campaign won the hearts of many young voters in a way quite similar to that of President-elect Obama. This begs two critical questions: how did Ron Paul manage to accomplish these significant feats despite being widely regarded as a “fringe candidate,” and more importantly, what lessons must the Republican Party take from his success?

Ron Paul’s Successes

Let us begin by looking at the many successes of the Paul campaign, and how his performance compares to that of the two most significant candidates of the cycle: John McCain and Barack Obama.

  1. Ron Paul energized his supporters, resulting in an incredible outpouring of enthusiasm for his candidacy despite being supported by an extremely small percentage of voters. McCain’s campaign created a short burst of energy during his selection of Sarah Palin and the convention, but it proceeded to fizzle out as time passed. Obama’s campaign continuously energized its supporters, resulting in unbelievably massive crowds at his campaign events. A Gallup poll from October 2008 confirms this phenomenon, clearly indicating the enthusiasm gap that Democrats had over Republicans.
  2. Ron Paul effectively used the Internet to organize his grassroots efforts. Relying on existing infrastructures like Meetup.com – where he was able to recruit over 86,600 members in 1,150 groups that planned and held over 51,000 offline campaign events – the Paul campaign had enormous success in this arena. McCain’s website had its own network called McCainSpace, but at many levels it was not especially groundbreaking, and in contrast to the online outreach by Obama and Paul, it seemed to be used fairly lightly by supporters. In contrast, Barack Obama successfully built an incredible network at my.barackobama.com by bringing on Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Ask almost any Obama supporter, and they’ll tell you that they used Obama’s online tools in one way or another. What’s unique about Ron Paul’s success, however, is that his campaign didn’t spend enormous resources building its own tools. Instead, it successfully took advantage of tools that already existed and thus was able to build an incredibly comprehensive national grassroots network without having to spend a significant amount of its own money.
  3. Ron Paul’s ability to raise funds online is unparalleled in the Republican Party. Indeed, for the final quarter of 2007, Ron Paul outraised all of the other Republican Presidential candidates. McCain’s fundraising was generally unexceptional, and his strategic error in choosing to take public funding will almost certainly never happen again. And of course, we all know that Obama was a fundraising juggernaut, particularly online.
  4. Ron Paul strongly appealed to young voters. Exit polls for early primary states like NH, MI, SC, and FL show that a disproportionately large percentage of younger voters pulled the lever for Ron Paul (in many cases, roughly twice the percentage of votes he received from other age groups). As we know from the exit polling of the general election, these young voters overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama over John McCain: CNN pegs Obama’s advantage at 66% - 32%.

How Ron Paul’s Successes Came to Fruition

At the most basic level, it was Ron Paul’s common-sense and decidedly libertarian platform that created so much interest in his campaign. While some of his positions, such as his staunch opposition to the Iraq war, stand in stark contrast to the Republican agenda, the fact is that the core of his message is quite in line with the traditional Republican message: reducing the federal government’s size and cutting its spending.

What made Ron Paul distinct, however, was his passion and commitment to accomplishing this. If you had to identify the single most important policy issue in a hypothetical Paul administration, it would unquestionably be reduction of government. Unfortunately, you cannot unequivocally say the same about any of the other Republican candidates, and certainly not of John McCain (read: McCain-Feingold, among other things).

Ron Paul’s steadfast and unwavering commitment to his limited government principles brought a huge influx of dedicated supporters to his campaign. The resulting enthusiasm among these supporters translated into impeccable successes.

Lessons for the Republican Party

  1. Democrats aren’t the only ones who can fully take advantage of the Internet, both in donations and in building a grassroots organization. Indeed, you don’t even necessarily need to build new tools to win the battle online. That said, in order to see Ron Paul-like success, there are two crucial components that must exist. First, you must have enthusiastic supporters who are not only willing but excited to help the organization. Second, you must be willing to allow online tools to step into areas that have traditionally been controlled internally, such as grassroots organization.
  2. We cannot underestimate the importance of our ideals of smaller, less expensive government – and our candidates’ commitment to these ideals. To paraphrase a McCain stump line, Republicans were elected due to their promises to change Washington, but instead they let Washington change them. As a result, the voters turned to Democrats in 2006 and 2008, at least in part because they simply don’t trust us to keep our word. In 2010 and beyond, we need to run candidates who have a proven commitment to these principles – perhaps signing off on a Contract with America 2.0 similar to what I’ve previously suggested – and in doing so we will generate an incredible amount of enthusiasm for our candidates.
  3. Successfully using the Internet saves money. A lot of money. Of the major Presidential candidates, Ron Paul’s campaign devoted by far the smallest percentage of its budget to paying staffers. One of the most important reasons for this is simple: by successfully using the Internet to build the grassroots backbone of the campaign, there was considerably less need to pay staffers to organize outreach efforts. Yes, the sheer notion of such a decentralized campaign may be unsettling to those who are used to running traditional campaigns. However, Web 2.0 is shaking up the foundations of many traditional infrastructures with resounding success. If we want to survive in this new era, we need to allow it to shake up our organizations, too. Just imagine if John McCain had been able to slash his campaign’s payrolls by just 15% due to such decentralization – in fiscal year 2007 alone (well before McCain was the presumptive nominee), McCain would have been able to save $2.3 million.
  4. Republicans can win back the younger voting bloc. My experience has been that the vast majority of my peers – voters age 18-29 – fundamentally agree that they want the government in their lives as little as possible. The Republican Party is the party of individual freedoms and liberties, and if we can manage to resecure the public’s faith in this, we can win back young voters.

The bottom line is that we simply cannot afford to discount Ron Paul as a “fringe candidate” whose successes hold no lessons of value for the Republican Party. Instead, we must to adapt these successes into the new Republican Party. Viva la revolución!

New face of the GOP

The key to a new and refresed GOP needs to be based in conservative-libertarian beliefs.  The new young face of the GOP will:

1.Be against high taxes, especially income, property, capital gains, and estate taxes.  Not because we hate poor people, or want children to die in the streets for lack of healthcare.  We want to avoid confiscatory taxes because we believe the government essentially wastes money.  We know what the government is gauranteed to deliver, a project that turns out to cost a lot more and take much longer than predicted.

2. We disagree with abortion because we think life is precious.  However we wouldnt advocate banning abortion or jailing doctors of young women who had them.  We simply dont want policy on this subject, or any subject for that matter, dictated from DC.  Lets face it in todays America that most restrictive states at most would ban abortion in all cases except those or rape incest and in the case where the mother is in danger.  And states like that would be the exception, most would simply install common sense laws such as parental notification, bans on atrocious partial birth abotion, and maybe waiting periods.  The main point however is that the people of the states get to decide, not beaucrats in washington, not 9 men in black robes, the people. 

3.  We want to have a strong national defense but we abhour wars that kill young american men and women and kill innocent civilians in the countries where we fight.  If we were more energy indepdent at home, we wouldnt need to ensure the stability of the middle east as much as we do now.  While we would want to ensure that the region didnt become a safe haven for extremism, we would not need to ensure that conditions existed for a consistent supply of oil.  By drilling with environmentally responsilble techniques, researching shale oil extraction technology, taking more advantage of offshore drilling, tap the vast wasteland that is ANWR, and finally go full steam ahead with nuclear power plants.  Replace all domestic electricity with nuclear energy and use fossil fuels for everything else, this would be a great goal. 

4. We dont hate the earth.  The "right" has constantly been smeared as anti environment, as a party that puts large corporate interests ahead of fresh air and clean water.  Bull.  Just because we think Al Gore is snake oil salesmen doesnt mean we want to condemn our children to live in an ozoneless wasteland.  We understand the scientific method and how it works, and therefore that there is ZERO PROOF that global warming is manmade.  We shouldnt condemn ourselves to sky high electric bills and gas prices in an attempt to ween ourselves off of fossil fuels.  See point three above for energy independence plan.

5.  This of course is simply the ranting of one person who supports the GOP.  I dont support them because I think they are right all of the time or even most of the time.  I support them because they are the party that in the past has shown themselves to be able to put into action conservative small goverment policies.  It is the party of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Regan, William F. Buckley, and many other greats.  We are taking very large steps toward socialism.  Things are going to get worse, but remember its always darkest before the dawn.  People say that out of Obama there will be the next Reagan.  I think this optimism is good, however I would prefer to think that out of Obama there will be a president who can accomplish some real change.  Abolish the Department of Education, disban the IRS, permanently ban bans on domestic drilling, return america to a responsible financial policies.  After an Obama administration there will be much opprotunity for the GOP, a new more in touch, invigorated base must be ready to charge ahead with bold new ideas. 

Michelle Bachmann and the Politics of Division

I write this article neither as a Liberal nor as a Conservative. I write this article as an American. I write this as a Caucasian American who holds to a set of Moderate to Right-Libertarian political views.   I write this as someone who is quote worried about the direction our Nation is taking. I write this as someone who is heartsick over the deep divisions in the world of politics.

 For the first time, since I have been Blogging, I feel the need to speak out against those who hold similar political views as mine. I am referring to the comments that were made by Rep. Michelle Bachmann. Rep. Michelle Bachmann on an appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball said that there were persons in the United States Congress, who held to Anti-American views.  She also said that these people should be investigated.

Before I get into why I disapprove of this, let me make some things clear. Contrary to popular belief, my Politics is not as far right as some. In fact, I tend to lean towards the center on some issues. I am a moderate on many issues. Although, when it comes to our Military, My disdain of the Islam Religion, Our Nations Constitution, and a few other things, I am much to the right of some. However, on other issues, I tend to be more of a Libertarian. For example, I do not believe that it is the Governments right to tell a woman what to do with her body. 

Now personally on a personal level, I object to Abortion on grounds that it is murder, this is because I am a Christian and I believe that life begins at conception. Nevertheless, on a Political Level, I believe that the United States Government does not have the right to dictate to woman what she can and cannot do with her body. Furthermore, I do not believe that the State Government should dictate to a woman what she can and cannot do to her own body.  

This is because I believe in personal freedom. I also reject the Conservative Christian idea of turning America into a Theocracy.  I also believe in a full wall of separation of Church and State.  However, just as well, I believe the woman should be given all the alternatives to terminating a pregnancy, however, if she decides to do so, that is between her and God. Let God be the judge of that woman. I reject the browbeating that the far right gives to those who decide to perform such an action. That sort of abject nonsense goes against the very core freedoms in our Constitution.  Those that cannot separate between the political and spiritual realms should not involve themselves in politics at all.  

Now do my personal political views of mine make me Anti-American? I think the sane and logical answer to that would be no. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have little or no use for the far left. I will spare you the reasons for that. I will simply say that I did not leave the Democrat Party, it left me, long ago, especially during this election cycle. However, for me to sit here and write that Democrats were Anti-Americans would be a lesson in abject foolishness.  Frankly, Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s comments yesterday did nothing to raise the level of political discourse in this country whatsoever.  Rep. Michelle Bachmann was essentially doing a poor imitation of Ann Coulter or at worst channeling Joseph McCarthy. I am fully aware that it was written recently that Joseph McCarthy was correct on some matters; it, in fact, was the destructive behavior of Senator McCarthy that ruined his career.    

It is this writer’s opinion that channeling Senator Joseph McCarthy in this desperate hour would be a total and unequivocal disaster to the Republican Party’s cause.  It is not lost upon me that the political landscape of the Democratic Party has changed a great deal in the last eight years, Mrs. Katrina Vanden Heuvel ‘s response to the remarks being a perfect example of this. However, the channeling of McCarthyism will do nothing to further the Conservative cause. In fact, it will alienate more than it will help.

Libertarians to Blame for the Sub Prime Crisis? Not So Much ...

Normally, I don't mind someone making themselves look silly. The entertainment value is high and I'm on a budget so I find my entertainment where I can.

But when someone both looks silly and tries to drag me into the entertainment by association, if I have the time I'm generally disposed to comment. Which brings me to Russ McBee's post 'Slapped by the Invisible Hand' wherein he blames Libertarians for the SubPrime crisis and the resultant problems. While not a Libertarian, I am a Free Market guy. From my perspective, Russ doesn't understand how we got into the mess in the first place nor has he a clue as to how we're getting out. As a result, like most Liberals, he is incapable of preventing it from happening again.

Per McBee, the subprime housing crisis is entirely the fault of Alan Greenspan, Ayn Rand and anyone else tarred with a Libertarian brush, even lightly. Ditto the failure of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Countrywide. It would appear McBee believes adherence to Free Market Economics automatically results in the worst possible human behavior from others. People don't choose their behavior. The mere proximity of a Libertarian means bad economic choices.

But Libertarians and Free Marketers are brutally Darwinian economically. They believe businesses behave in their own best interest and won't willingly destroy geese laying big, golden eggs. For instance, they will take less profit over 50 years and remain viable as opposed to going for huge profits for 5 years to then collapse. Such was the case with the vast majority of businesses which did not speculate in subprime paper, or, if they did, did so in a properly balanced portfolio. Libertarians and Free Marketers look to self interest to regulate the market.

That's not ignorant or unrealistic as Russ surmises. Free Marketers understand all too well that despite the warnings, the data and historical precedent which counsel otherwise, some businesses think they can ignore proven Market wisdom and get away with it. They can even point to the odd exception proving the rule. They abandon self interest for self destruction. They abandon sound fiscal rules and practices; it catches up with them; they pay the price. Well, they did until recently. More on that in a moment.

Free Market, Libertarian self interest is simple. Don't spit into the wind! Bad things will happen if you do. It should be obvious to McBee, but isn't, that that is exactly what happened to Countrywide and others. The market self policed and self corrected. In a serious manner. Total destruction would seem a fairly high price to pay, but pay it they did. I'd say the Market did an excellent job of teaching, training, warning and finally policing itself. And I'd be correct.

Except the Market hasn't been allowed to work it's magic for years. It won't correct the bad behavior everyone, McBee and me included, doesn't like because when business screws up, Government rides in like a White Knight to save the day. Such White Knights used to be other businesses who played by the rules and now snapped up the competition at bargain prices. Today Government bureaucrats sweep in to position cushy, white pillows so a fall from grace is as soft and painless as possible.

McBee evidently sees this as a good thing. He says

How telling it is that the abject failure of the bankrupt and corrupt libertarian mindset requires what amounts to socialism to bail it out when its superficial, simplistic, and naive world view inevitably collapses.

Excuse me? The Market is working exactly as the "libertarian mindset" wants it to. It does not desire or require Socialism to bail it out. In fact, Libertarian thought isn't being bailed out at all, it is being proven correct. The only "superficial, simplistic and naive world view" is the one saying you can remove consequences from bad behavior and trust you won't get more bad behavior! When the Market punishes it's economic apostates, the next guy thinks twice. He sees the smoldering wreckage of CountryWide and Lehman Brothers and pauses to consider a different course of action. The system, if allowed to, will work just like Libertarians and Free Marketers say it will.

Socialism is the option which needs bailing out. Championing a few people experiencing pain from a few business failures, Socialism practically guarantees far worse pain for far more people when their meddling causes an Economy to fail. There is a reason for the non-existence of even a single long-term Socialist success anywhere in the world. Government started bailing out a few failed businesses years ago. Today, more and more failures need bailing out and at higher and higher costs. You get more of what you pay for. Yet another Economic reality Libertarians and Free Marketers understand that Socialists don't. Properly dealing with painful realities now prevents future pain of greater intensity and scope. McBee would have us abandon responsibility to chase the Socialist dragon, numbing ourselves with the opiate of Government largesse until the entire house of cards comes tumbling down.

Trading proven, Free Market, Libertarian wisdom and experience for Socialist, pie-in-the-sky, Kumbaya, hand holding is precisely the sort of change Russ McBee, Democrats and Barack Obama want for our country. My response is one gaining daily popularity with Americans: "No thanks, Obama - Keep the Change!"

Blue Collar Muse

PS: By the way, I didn't forget the examples of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or AIG. I ignored them as they're irrelevant here. I guess Russ doesn't understand Fannie and Freddie are failed Government programs, not Private sector efforts. Libertarians and Free Marketers would never have allowed the Government into the Market like that. That's what Socialists are for. AIG is an insurance company still sorting out the factors behind its failure. While the subprime market may have played a part, so did the insurance industry losses in the wake of 9/11, Katrina and other large disasters. Including these in efforts to pile on Libertarians is either ignorant or disingenuous. Either way Russ loses ...

What’s fair…..is fair….

Well, seeing the left is going crazy over rumors about Sarah Palin.

I figured I would start a counter rumor, or just simply ask a simple question.

How do we know that Obama’s “so-called” daughters are even his? Would Barry even agree to an DNA test? It is to wonder.

I mean, the African-American culture is not exactly known for it’s martial faithfulness. If Larry Sinclair is to be believed, Barry got around, maybe Michelle did too.

It is a fair question, but if one asks it, ol’ Bambi Aka the Obamassiah will say, “My family is off limits”. and his bots will attack your site. But yet, the Liberals can make up lies about Sarah Palin.

Such an oddball World we live in.

Crossposted @ Political Byline

Joe Biden selection concerns libertarians

The libertarian swing vote has been trending towards Barack Obama recently - in large part, I think, because Republicans have been the more tangible political opponent in recent years (as Cato's Jim Harper pointed out last week) - but Obama's selection of Joe Biden as VP may bring that alignment to a shuddering halt.

The Cato Institute's David Boaz looks at the VP nominee and he is not pleased...

Barack Obama and Joe Biden both get a perfect 100 from the big-government liberal Americans for Democratic Action, which probably tells you all you need to know. But I remember a dramatic moment back in 1991 when Biden made his commitment to unlimited government clear and dramatic.  [...] 

Biden singled out Cato adjunct scholar Richard Epstein and Cato author Stephen Macedo and demanded to know if [Clarence] Thomas agreed with them that the Constitution protects property rights. Waving Epstein’s book Takings in the air like Joe McCarthy with a list of communists, Biden demanded to know, as we very loosely paraphrased it in Cato’s 25-year Annual Report (pdf; page 14), “Are you now or have you ever been a libertarian?”  [...]  Biden was right to worry that Thomas’s understanding of individual rights and the Constitution just might put some limits on the power of government.

Radley Balko says "from a policy perspective, it’s a disaster."

Biden has sponsored more damaging drug war legislation than any Democrat in Congress. [...]  Biden’s record on other criminal justice and civil liberties issues is just as bad. [...]  I obviously disagree with Biden on a host of economic and regulatory issues, too (though he does seem to be fairly decent on free trade). But that’s to be expected.

My problem with Biden is that he’s not even good on the issues the left is supposed to be good on. He’s an overly ambitious, elitist, tunnel-visioned, Potomac-fevered Beltway dinosaur, with all the trappings. He may well have been the worst possible pick among congressional Democrats when it comes to the drug war and criminal justice.

According to Cato's Daniel Griswold (and contra Balko's one hopeful note above), Biden isn't even very good on free trade.  

During his long tenure in the Senate, Joe Biden of Delaware has compiled a mixed record on votes affecting our freedom to participate in the global economy. The record of the Democratic vice-presidential hopeful is more pro-trade than Barack Obama’s but much less so than John McCain’s. [...]  For a senator who prides himself on his foreign policy experience, Biden’s record shows great ambivalence about American participation in the global economy.

Grisworld cites Cato's Trade Vote Records, which shows these results for each candidate (over their entire career)...

Joe Biden

John McCain

There are many factors affecting the libertarian vote in 2008, but Obama's selection of Joe Biden is giving pause to libertarians.  As the dangers of an Obama administration - and unified Democratic control of both the Executive and Legislative branches - become more apparent, expect to see the libertarian swing vote leaning much less for Obama.

Editorial: Russia and Democratic Neglect

One of the biggest issues with this Russian/Georgian conflict is the fact that there is a lack of verifiable information. One minute you hear that the conflict has ended and the fighting has stopped the very next, you hear that the fighting is still happening, and that the Russians are not honoring the cease-fire agreement. It is all rather confusing, and it makes for a very frustrated blogger. Because the last thing a blogger wants to be, is wrong.

However, more than that is the lack of the Main Stream Media’s ability to look at this entire conflict in a historical context. Many are pointing to the actions of Ronald Reagan for dissolving the Soviet Union Empire, as being the cause of this conflict. I happen to disagree with that notion. I believe personally that it was the foolish actions of President Harry Truman, that is the cause of this conflict or shall I say the harvest of seeds planted by Harry Truman’s actions.

On December 7, 1941, the empire of Japan attacked the United States naval base in Oahu, Hawaii. This act of brazen hostility brought the United States of America into World War II, despite President Franklin Roosevelt’s pledge to remain neutral in the ever-growing conflict. As history would show, The United States fought the war and finally Hitler was defeated, and Japan surrendered. However, the method used to end the war, is in my opinion the underlying cause of this conflict.

It is a known fact that the United States soundly defeated Hitler by fighting them on the ground and air, using conventional weapons. However, we stopped the war, and to end the conflict with Japan, we used atomic weapons. This I feel was a tragic mistake. This is because Truman was a different kind of a Democrat than Roosevelt. Roosevelt was an “old line” Democrat, who saw the Communist threat, knew what the Communist doctrine was truly about, the repression of freedom and he stood to defeat it. No matter how long it took.

However, Truman was another matter entirely. President Truman represented the “new line” of Democrats who felt that war was unneeded and that peace was a better path. This was a precursor to the “peacenik” Democrats of the sixties. This was evident when President Truman gave his infamous “Military Industrial Complex” speech, at the end of his term. * - See below, please.  With Hitler out of the way, Truman, feeling the ever-increasing pressure to end the war and return the country to pre-war status, devised a plan to end the conflict with Japan.

While using the Atomic bomb might have been an effective means of ending a war, its impact and stain upon the United States would be long ranging, to this very day, is to be considered a very poor decision by the United States. On many websites in Japan, including those in English, denounce America as being brutal for dropping the bomb. However, those who had friends and relatives that died at Pearl Harbor felt that Japan got what it deserved.

It is in the opinion of this writer, that the United States should have fought the war, all the way to Russia, until communism was soundly defeated. Furthermore, The United States of America, should have never dropped the atomic bomb on the empire of Japan, but rather, should have fought that war on the ground, until Japan surrendered. This would have resulted in the total defeat of communism. However, as we all know, this never happened.

Because of this obtuse neglect, the United States of America began a “Cold War” with the empire of the Soviet Union that lasted until a Conservative President, a real conservative President, whom came on the scene in the eighties to plant the seeds that would eventually bring down the soviet empire. However, as we have seen here in the last few days, Russia is not a free and democratic society; it is simply a police state, without the outright communism.

Putin, a man who is sympathetic toward the old soviet empire, filled to the brim with communist doctrine, is wagging his finger in the face of the United States and making a mockery of the supposed democracy in the European continent. This is the harvest of the neglect of the Democratic Party of the forties.

* Update: Oops! I blew it, Truman did NOT give the military-industrial complex speech, Dwight Eisenhower did. My bad. I blew it, I should have checked. :roll: But my point about the Democrats and the cold war as it relates to Russia still stands.

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