Archives for October 2012

United Liberty Presents: “Night of the Living Dead”

There are plenty of great horror movies on TV tonight, but I’m a fan of zombie flicks. And what better way to celebrate Halloween than George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, which defined that genre and set a new standard for horror movies.

Happy Halloween from everyone here at United Liberty. Stay safe if you’re taking the kids out tonight:

Why the new CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac polls are meaningless

I am not a poll truther, indeed when Romney was trailing in the polls and the trendline for him was bad in September, I warned conservatives to take those polls seriously and stop trying to claim that every poll was part of some secret plot to undermine Romney. That having been said, someone needs to explain to me how — according to the new NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac poll — Romney leads among independents in Virginia by 21 points but is somehow losing the state to Obama by 1 point. Is there a single sober person who has a turnout model for Virginia that would allow Obama to overcome a 21-point deficit among independents? I don’t think so. If Romney wins indies by 21 points on election night, he carries VA by 5 points.

In 2008, independents made up 27% of the Virginia electorate and Obama won them by 1 point en route to a 6 point win. NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac says Romney leads by 21 points among independents in Virginia today. Yet, somehow their poll shows Obama actually ahead in Virginia by 1 point. For the sake of argument, lets just pretend 2008 turnout turnout model, a model most analysts believe overstates Obama’s numbers, is the turnout model for Virginia in 2012. Even by the 2008 turnout model Obama simply can not lose independents by 21 points and win the state.

Its not just Virginia, in Ohio the Quinnipiac poll shows Romney ahead among indies by 6 but losing the state by 5 points. Again, if you assume the 2008 turnout model - the most advantageous to Obama as humanly possible - this simply defies logic. Obama won independents in Ohio in 2008 by 8 points, independents made up 30% of the Ohio electorate in 2008. If Romney leads independents in Ohio by 6 points, and even assuming the 2008 Obama super turnout model, how in God’s name is Romney losing by 5 points? Simply put, it is not possible.

Reason presents libertarian cases for Romney, Obama, and Johnson

“Who should libertarians vote for in the election?” is a question that has been asked time and time again over the last few months. Most of the pressure on libertarians is coming from Republicans, who insist that Romney is entitled to our support.

Several contributors have weighed in on those particular arguments here at United Liberty. Doug Mataconis and Tom Knighton have both explained that the “libertarian case” for Romney is quite thin. Brian Lehman has repelled many of the arguments put forward by Republicans trying to appeal to libertarians.

Jennifer Knight laid a case for Romney from a libertarian perspective, explaining economic issues “MUST be straightened out before we can get back to the drawing table and create the government and society we desire.” And Chris Barron, co-founder of GOProud and a contributor here at United Liberty, has explained why he is backing Romney.

It seems like a forgone conclusion that he will overwhelming win libertarian voters, but is there really a “libertarian case” for Romney? Or even President Obama, for that matter? And what about Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee? While they don’t answer the question outright, leaving it for readers to decide, Reason has published three separate pieces presenting the “libertarian case” for Romney, Obama, and Johnson.

Taking up Romney’s case is Robert Poole:

So much for the “Peace President”: US to Invade Mali?

youth vote

From the AP, it appears we may be invading yet another third-world country:

ALGEIRS, Algeria (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Algeria’s assistance on Monday for any future military intervention in Mali, pressing the North African nation to provide intelligence — if not boots on the ground — to help rout the al-Qaida-linked militants across its southern border.

Clinton, on the first stop of a five-day trip overseas, met with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as the United States and its allies ramped up preparations to fight northern Mali’s breakaway Islamist republic.

When Mali’s democratically elected leader was ousted in a military coup in March, Tuareg rebels seized on the power vacuum and within weeks took control of the north, aided by an Islamist faction. The Islamists then quickly ousted the Tuaregs and took control of half the country.

So much for Barack Obama being the peace president, ending the disastrous interventionist foreign policy of George W. Bush. Have we learned nothing in the past decade? We go into Afghanistan to kick out the Taliban and “restore democracy,” and end up getting Harmid Karzai, more Islamists, and a bunch of people who hate us. We go into Iraq to kick out Saddam Hussein, and what we get is a country wracked by violence and bloodshed, more militant Islamists, and a bunch of people who hate us. We go into Libya to help with that country’s rebellion, and what do we get? An unstable country, a bunch of Islamists, and four dead Americans—including our Ambassador.

Mitt Romney’s brand of protectionism spells trouble for the United States

Mitt Romney

Those of us who are proponents of free trade have heard Mitt Romney’s frequent jabs at China, the United States largest trading partner. While President Barack Obama hasn’t been consistent on free trade — his administration has gone after China on tires, steel, and cars — he has signed three new trade agreements into law.

Despite his reputation as a proponent of free trade, Romney has been harsh toward China in this cycle, promising to label them as a currency manipulator and impose sanctions for violating intellectual property rights. It’s hard to believe that Romney actually believes this would be good for the economy and he’s just pandering to populists, hoping to earn votes.

But over at Reason, Shikha Dalmia explains that the policies toward China pushed by Romney on the campaign trail and in debates are misguided and could hurt the American economy, rather than protect jobs:

Romney even suggested—rightly—that the power in the China-U.S. relationship was on America’s side. Hence, retaliation against China wouldn’t trigger a trade war, because that would hurt China’s trade-dependent economy far more than America’s domestic-oriented one.

Steven Crowder teaches kids about Obama’s tax plan

In his latest video, Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator, teaches kids about President Barack Obama’s tax plan by redistributing their candy to make sure everyone gets a “fair share”:

Is Pennsylvania up for grabs? Romney thinks so…

Despite Obama’s nearly 5-point advantage in Pennsylvania, which a Republican hasn’t won since 1988, Mitt Romney’s campaign has purchased ad time in the state, hoping to pick its 20 electoral votes off on Tuesday:

Mitt Romney will soon run campaign advertisements on Pennsylvania television, a Republican source told CNN on Tuesday. The Romney campaign later released an energy-themed ad which specifically mentions Pennsylvania. Romney’s campaign plans to go up next week in Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday - Election Day, the source said, adding that the buy could be expanded.

The Philadelphia suburbs are key counties and could determine who wins the state. They are home to middle-income and affluent voters who are conservative on fiscal issues but liberal on social issues, including abortion and gun control.

The ad, which can be viewed below, opens with footage from 2008 of then-candidate Obama explaining his views on coal, which is a big industry in Pennsylvania. Obama said, “If someboday wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” A narrator explains that Obama “kept that promise, and Pennsylvania coal paid the price,” as graphic flashes on the screen noting that 22 coal plants in the state will either close or be forced to convert.

The ad then turns to debate footage featuring Romney and Obama, who is looking down, as the Republican nominee explains that “people in the coal industry feel like its getting crushed by your policies”:

Republicans hoping “high propensity voters” provide a path to victory

Mitt Romney campaigns in Ohio

With six days left to go until the election, national polls continue to show a tight race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Each campaign is working hard, despite a lull due to Hurricane Sandy, to reach out to voters who remain on the fence.

But which campaign has momentum in their corner? Romney’s seen a surge in polls in recent weeks, but he has some numbers on his side. According to a Gallup poll released on Monday, Romney has a 7-point advantage over Obama in early voting. Additionally, a survey released yesterday by NPR found that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats.

However, President Obama’s campaign can point to their lead in Ohio, a must-win state for Romney, and their current the advantage in the Electoral College, which shows a 290-248 edge.

So what are Republicans relying on to win? According to the Washington Examiner, Republicans believe that Democrats are spending their resources turning out their most reliable voters, leaving election day to focus on everyone else:

The case for small government during a natural disaster


As I write this, a good portion of the East Coast is reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  I personally did not experience the worst of it, and somehow I still have power.  But for millions, power won’t be back for days, and the damage to property will be catastrophic.  My office has been closed the past two days so I’ve been holed up in my house, working from home a little and keeping myself busy. While watching my Twitter timeline scroll by, someone I follow tweeted something that made me start to think:

I won’t deny he has a solid point that I’m sure a number of us have struggled with.  When something like Sandy or Katrina hits and affects so many people, it’s very easy to feel intimidated by the sheer human suffering and the very understandable desire for government assistance.  Even people who are normally independent-minded find themselves suddenly glad for a government big enough to help them.  So for those of us who preach small government, it can seem like a hard time to make our case.

Why it’s unlikely that states will postpone the election

New York City

With the remnants of Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc across the northeast, there has been talk of postponing Tuesday’s election in affected states. If such steps do happen to be taken, they couldn’t be done at by executive fiat, but rather the individual states that are in a state of emergency, assuming their constitutions give either the governor, chief election official, or election board authority to do so.

Congress could, theoretically, change the statutory provision (3 USC §1) that sets the presidential election date as the “Tuesday next after the first Monday in November,” making it uniform across the country. However, this doesn’t seem to be any stomach for it nor is it realistic with Congress currently out of session and six days to go until election day.

Suspending an election isn’t exactly unheard of. On September 11, 2001, the day the World Trade Center buildings were targeted by terrorists, a state judge took such an extraordinary action to suspend New York City’s primaries. They were rescheduled two weeks later.

But that’s a just a city election — granted New York is America’s largest city. Writing at the National Journal, Billy House explains that postponing a presidential election across several states may be too difficult and polarizing a task:

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