Archives for August 2012
Yeah, I realize that I’m a bit late on this, but I’ve been busy today and haven’t had a lot of time to catch up on my blogging. I did manage to catch Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech last night from the bar at the Hyatt, not far from the Times forum, which is hosting the Republican National Convention.
Ryan hit a homerun last night. There’s no question about it. No, I don’t agree with everything he said. I don’t agree with his record. But he came across as a decent, concerned guy. Everyone in the bar, mostly Republicans, were glued to the TV, clapping at some of the more direct lines attacking President Barack Obama.
Ryan hit familar notes, noting the mounting fiscal problems that faces the United States. He explained the cronyism of the Obama Administration, the failures of the stimulus bill and unemployment, and cuts to Medicare.
But he also noted his background. Ryan lost his father at an early age and pointed to his mother as a strong influence in his life, which reminds me of my background. And I’m not afraid to admit that it made me think of my mother and what she did for me after my dad passed away.
So-called “fact-checkers” have, of course, ripped into Ryan. Some of the items are legit, others are, well, incredibly wrong. For example, Ryan made a remark about a General Motors plant that closed after Obama took office, something the then-candidate promised wouldn’t happen in 2008. Fact-checkers said that the plant closed in 2008, before Obama took office. Well, the “fact-checkers” got it wrong, as Reason explained. Another example of media bias or lazy reporting. You pick, but it’s not the worst example from this week, that’s for sure.
Earlier this month, I said that one of the reasons you may want to vote for Mitt Romney is if you think the GOP is too conservative. My premise in that statement is that the party will move the direction of its leading politicians until they are rejected. Based on some new data, we see that already taking place, without Romney even being elected.
The data is part of a poll that compares responses of registered voters in April and then again four months later in August. The telling data is with voters who consider themselves “conservative” or “very conservative.” Here is the chart used on that WP article I linked to above:
Notice the blue sections in the image. In April, roughly one-fourth of conservative and very conservative voters said Romney was too liberal. In August, those numbers decreased, and there was an increase in the number of voters who say Romney’s views are “about right.”
Of course, this doesn’t hit specific issues. It’s a question about a candidate. If respondents were asked specifically about issues, we probably wouldn’t see such a quick change. Two important things that would impact this data have happened since April:
1. Romney is the last man standing.
With the GOP practically snubbing Ron Paul at the convention, many liberty activists are no doubt wondering what they should do now. Should they focus on working within the GOP, or working outside it?
Is the GOP a vehicle for liberty, or is it something that libertarians should avoid? I’m tending towards the latter; as much as the Ron Paul movement has done something wonderful within the GOP, and has reawakened a liberty movement there, the past few years have shown what the GOP is really turning into. It’s not even really a conservative party any longer; it is transforming into a right-wing populist party. Holding hearings on the disastrous effects of nonexistent sharia law in America and moving to ban pornography in your platform and leading people like Todd Akin to be nominated in your races is not even conservative anymore. It’s just bonkers. The Tea Party has contributed significantly to this; I know how everyone is crowing about the Tea Party being libertarian, but let’s be honest. Maybe half of the Tea Party movement is vaguely “libertarianish.” The rest are a motley collection of right-wing populists and cultural conservatives who do believe in decreased government spending and lower debt but also are gung-ho for war (whether on drugs or terrorists) and have no problem with the government legislating private bedroom activity.
Unfortunately…it may be that libertarians will have to work with it. It pains me to say this, but outside the Gary Johnson campaign, the contemporary Libertarian Party is not doing so well. They have made many mistakes, and are not yet at the point where they can challenge either major party. That’s okay; such battles are not won overnight, but are multigenerational. Still, where to drive your resources.
There’s been a bit of a mini-controversy over comments that John Allison, the Cato Institute’s incoming CEO, made at a Q&A session at the Ayn Rand Institute. Allison is an Objectivist, which is not—as some people assume—exactly libertarian. Jeremy Lott reported that these differences emerged at this Q&A session, and some troubling statements were made—namely, that those who disrespected Ayn Rand would find other employment, and about disagreements over foreign policy.
The former is troubling; the latter not at all, because Cato is an environment where people are encouraged to have dissident viewpoints. (Full disclaimer: I was an intern there last year and got to see it all from the inside.)
From: John Allison
Date: August 30, 2012
All Cato Employees,
I have now had the pleasure of meeting with almost all the Cato team. I’m impressed with the quality of Cato’s employees and their commitment to Cato’s mission.
Written by Mark A. Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Rumor has it that Democrats will include, at their up-coming convention, a proposal to increase the minimum wage. As documented in a recent Cato study, such a policy is likely to increase unemployment, especially as I noted elsewhere among teenagers. One would think that given how a weak economy is undermining Democrats’ chance to keep the White House, they’d actually make proposals to reduce, rather than increase unemployment.
So we all know by now that Ron Paul has indeed not won the Republican nomination for president. This was something that was expected here yet continually ignored by Ron Paul’s more diehard fans, which I wrote about previously. Don’t get me wrong, his campaign was a good thing, as it broaded the national debate over the purpose of government, but the GOP was clearly not going to nominate a person whose campaign was predicated on gold-backed money and an aversion to war. The question remains then, what to do?
There is already a Facebook campaign underway to write-in Ron Paul, and I have heard similar sentiments around the web for it. This, in my mind, is a horrible idea. Now, I know I wrote recently about what a vote is, and how the only truly wasted vote is the one that you ultimately disagree with, but let’s think about this. Sure, maybe on some issues you agree more with Ron Paul than Gary Johnson, but how much difference is there between them? Answer: not much. Gary Johnson, perhaps, gives off a more left-libertarian vibe on the social issues (rather than just leaving it to so-called “states’ rights”) but he is a fantastic libertarian candidate. And a vote for Johnson would go a long way towards putting the Libertarian Party on the ballot permanently and giving a real choice in these elections.
A lot of the readers of United Liberty probably have a pretty good idea of what transpired at the GOP convention on Tuesday, or at least have heard about it. For those who haven’t, it all started Friday when the Rules Committee, led by one of my least favorite people, John Sununu, decided to radically change the power structure of the party, in essence, neutering the grassroots. Specifically, it would make the RNC very much a top-heavy organization and give the national party establishment, as well as the party’s nominee, ultimate authority over the delegate process.
So fast-forward to Tuesday when the convention convened to start handling party business. The matter concerning the rule changes was brought before the assembled body and while, according to multiple reports, the nays had it, it was passed. Before we go any further, I’d have to recommend a write-up by Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks. This pretty much gives all the info you need about this power grab. The main points being Rules 12 and 15, respectively, which if changed, would create the aforementioned shift of power.
As Clancy notes, there was a lot of misinformation flying around that helped cause this mess. The main one being that this was just a Ron Paul thing:
Watch the full speech below. USA! USA!:
His father may have not been allowed to speak, but his son brought the fire and red meat which the base of the Republican party wishes their nominee had.
His fearless, raw nature and ability to attack the foundations of progressivism was a stark contrast to the upbeat, big-government “compassionate conservative” message of former Gov. Mike Huckaee.
When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, the first words out of my mouth were: I still think it is unconstitutional!
The leftwing blogs were merciless. Even my wife said — can’t you pleeeease count to ten before you speak?
So, I’ve had time now to count to ten and, you know what? I still think it’s unconstitutional!
Do you think Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have changed their minds?
I think if James Madison himself — the father of the Constitution — were here today he would agree with me: The whole damn thing is still unconstitutional!
This debate is not new and it’s not over. Hamilton and Madison fought from the beginning about how government would be limited by the enumerated powers.
Madison was unequivocal. The powers of the federal government are few and defined. The power to tax and spend is restricted by the enumerated powers.
So, how do we fix this travesty of justice? There’s only one option left.
We have to have a new president!
When I heard the current president say, “You didn’t build that,” I was first insulted, then I was angered, then I was saddened that anyone in our country, much less the president of the United States, believes that roads create business success and not the other way around.
Anyone who so fundamentally misunderstands American greatness is uniquely unqualified to lead this great nation.
She may have made mistakes as Secretary of State, and her foreign policy is too neoconservative, but one can not deny that this is an incredible speech. I attended in person, and you could have heard a pin drop as the crowd carefully listened to every word about how she went from being unable to eat at a diner as a child to becoming the Secretary of State.