Recent Posts From David Carlson
While talking politics with a mentor last night, it dawned on me just how ugly the Presidential primary will be. This also makes me question whether there is any candidate that will actually be able to build enough support to overthrow Obama.
1) There is an increasing divide in the Republican Party
Ron Paul might have been a small player in the last primary, but his support has increased over the past two years. Anyone who knows Paul supporters knows that they are extremely passionate about their views and oftentimes find many problems with mainstream (or neo-conservative) Republicans. Many of these supporters will have a hard time voting for a Republican candidate if they have views that are radically different than Paul.
This divide has shown up recently in the differing reactions to the CPAC straw poll (which Paul won) as well as many neo-conservatives lashing out against the non-interventionist foreign policy of Paul.
Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, one of the early front-runners for the GOP nomination, health care will be a much bigger issue than it has been in the past. The more conservative candidate in primaries has the upper hand, as can be seen with Marco Rubio in Florida and Rand Paul in Kentucky. Romney may come off as the strongest leader but his lack of consistent conservative credentials will cause him a lot of trouble in the upcoming primary.
3) Sarah Palin: love or hate?
Today I had the chance to shadow a fellow University of St. Thomas graduate and lobbyist at the Minnesota capital. Many people have a very negative view of lobbyists. Perhaps it is because they have collectively gained a significant amount of power at every level of government. Perhaps it is because government has become bloated and oftentimes lobbyists pushing for more government intervention win out over those pushing for less.
What I find striking is that the blame has been shifted from the lobbyists and away from the representatives. What I mean by this is that hardly do we hear people singing the praises of lobbyists, but we oftentimes see people praising certain legislators for voting this way or that way. All lobbyists do is try to influence representatives to vote a certain way. They do this through funneling information, meeting with them, and presenting arguments.
I don’t think people realize how many lobbyists there are. You name an issue and there is likely a lobbyist - on both sides of the issue (sometimes there are even more than two positions). For all my libertarian friends out there who denounce lobbyists, you should know that statement implies that Campaign for Liberty, MPP, NORML, the NRA, and a whole host of organizations fighting for Constitutional principles and limited government are also “bad.”
The main thing we should all realize is this: there are many lobbying groups that are lobbying for things we are against. Yes, they may be powerful but ultimately the representative is responsible for their vote regardless of how influential these lobbyists are.
Recently, I have been reflecting on the war on drugs and the fight for marijuana legalization and why so many people are opposed to legalization. What is most alarming to me about this situation is the almost across-the-board lack of support from Republicans, and even vocal opposition to legalization efforts. This is incredibly troubling, if not hypocritical.
While Republicans decry the health care bill as an attack on our rights, as unconstitutional, and opposed to our liberties because of a possible mandate, they at the same time argue that the governments complete ban on a substance, even if it used by an adult in their own home. If you believe the government has the right to dictate what an adult does in their own home to their own body, you ultimately believe that the government owns the citizens.
This philosophy that Republicans abide by via their support for the war on drugs makes many of their arguments against health care ironic. It’s not that I disagree with their views on health care, by all means I am opposed to government-run health care, but this “picking and choosing” of when the government can become pervasive and counter to a liberty-oriented philosophy of rights is simply not consistent.
I have never smoked marijuana. My support for marijuana legalization does not come from a desire to use the substance myself, but from a belief that the government’s role is not to make decisions about what we do to ourselves. Think of it this way – drinking alcohol is not a crime; drinking alcohol and then driving and running someone over is. Smoking marijuana should not be a crime; smoking marijuana and then killing someone is. Marijuana in and of itself is not a crime, nor is the consumption of it. The fact that we put people in prison for possessing a plant, while at the same time call ourselves a “free nation,” is extremely ironic.
Over the past few weeks I have had quite a few conversations with Conservatives which have led to a debate about interventionist versus non-interventionist foreign policy. It usually starts with them attacking Ron Paul for one reason or another (check out this article on Midwest Spin for an example). After I respond and question their criticism, it usually ends up being their disagreement with his foreign policy.
Foreign policy can be a very complex topic. I think that non-interventionists, for the most part, know why they support that policy much better than your typical interventionist. Many interventionists do not even understand the difference between non-intervention and isolationist.
If you support non-intervention you either have found yourself in a debate and had to defend non-intervention, or you will find yourself in one sometime in the near future. I have found there are a few things to keep in mind when you are in these debates:
1) Be ready to explain the difference between non-interventionism and isolationism. Isolationism is the foreign policy of North Korea. Non-intervention involves open dialogue, free trade, and minding your own business overseas. Two vastly different approaches. Just because you don’t support having a global military empire does not mean you are an isolationist.
2) Know some facts and figures. The United States has over 700 permanent military bases spread out across over 100 nations. Roughly 20% of the federal budget is military expenditures. There are facts and figures that give proof that 1) our military expenditures are financially unsustainable and 2) we most certainly have a foreign policy of intervention and global imperialism.
I came across this piece on Friday right before heading off to a retreat with the young adult ministry I am a part of, and I must say it is one of the best I have read about what kinds of actions a Constitutional President would take once in office.
The article, titled “My Plan for a Freedom President - How I would put the Constitution back in the Oval Office” originally appeared in Young Americans for Liberty’s recent publication that goes out to college campuses and other organizations all across the United States.
I think it is safe to say some people think Paul is “too extreme.” What is unfortunate, and what he points out at one point in the article, is that a Constitutional stance is hardly extreme. What is extreme is year after year passing budgets that increase rather than decrease spending while our nation is in extreme debt.
What I think is most important, though, is that this article should calm any fears that Paul’s presidency would be extreme. To the contrary he is very sympathetic to those who have become dependent on the welfare state through such programs as social security. He does not believe in pulling the rug from underneath those who have become dependent, but giving younger people at MINIMUM the ability to opt-out starting at a certain date.
Paul realizes the limits of what can be done immediately, but that does not mean there is nothing a President can do. I particularly respect his stance on foreign policy:
As reported in the New York Post, Trump recently made these remarks at a speech to the members of the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester:
Gore wants us to clean up our factories and plants in order to protect us from global warming, when China and other countries couldn’t care less. It would make us totally noncompetitive in the manufacturing world, and China, Japan and India are laughing at America’s stupidity.
Looks like even Trump, who has openly supported liberals like Barack Obama, has joined the anti-global warming crowd. It is only logical that someone who plays such an integral part of our capitalist economy should question global warming. Trump knows that measures being proposed in Washington to fight global warming will not contribute in any notable way but will in fact destroy much of our already fragile economy.
Rand Paul. RJ Harris. Adam Kokesh. Peter Schiff. Debra Medina. The list of liberty candidates running for political office is seemingly endless.
Just yesterday B.J. Lawson joined the ranks. He is running for North Carolina’s 4th district U.S. House of Representatives seat. Two years ago he was one of only a handful of liberty candidates running. Though he was defeated, this year a win is much more likely.
Two years ago having an (R) by your name was more of a liability than an asset. Bush was not popular and the Republican Party as a whole was not seen in a positive light. The public was ready for change, but recently have shown they were not looking for a change towards a hard-left agenda.
Liberty candidates are in practice more libertarian than the typical “Conservative” than the typical Republican. They are in effect in a very desirable position. Though the Republican Party is still not looked at favorably among the public, many will vote for Republicans as a vote against Democrats. On top of that liberty candidates have the added benefit of gaining many Independents and Democratic voters because of their libertarian-leaning stances that resonate with them.
A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about the term “Tea Party” and how it was meaningless because it represented such a wide range of views. In my opinion the term had come to represent such a broad range of views that, in essence, it no longer represented anything.
I received quite a bit of negative feedback from that post. What some readers fail to realize is that there are members of the Tea Party who are neo-conservative, paleo-conservative, paleo-conservative, libertarian, and “independents.” Hardly is there a consensus of what policy is desirable!
A great example of the difference of opinion in the tea party is a simple example I ran across. If you took everyone in the “Tea Party” and showed them a billboard with George W. Bush on it and the words “miss me yet?” what kind of response would you expect?
I can guarantee you that there would be many who would think it is the greatest thing ever. On the other hand you would have others who would think, “wrong message, Bush was not conservative and we need to move away from Bush.” Finally you would have many who just shake their head.
One thing we must keep in mind is that in our winner-take-all system, the natural movement is towards a two party system. It is inevitable and hard (though certainly not impossible) to change this movement. When there is only two major political parties there will naturally be fighting within the party about what the party platform should be.
I think it is nearly impossible to deny that the Republican party has shifted (however slightly) away from the neo-con agenda and closer to the libertarian agenda. This is consistent with the winner-take-all model as the Republican Party must appeal to the growing small government/libertarian sect so that their party can win the majority.
I am currently enrolled in a Foreign Policy class at my university. Ever since I was introduced to Ron Paul’s theory of non-interventionist foreign policy I have become very interested in the subject. Sadly, it was in a way hard to grasp his ideas because they have been such a minority viewpoint in the United States today. Nevertheless, after reading “A Foreign Policy of Freedom” I had a much greater understanding of his viewpoints and their justification.
Even though the class has already started, I have already been presented with a seemingly obvious notion: Americans do not care much about our foreign policy. They are generally apathetic and believe it does not affect them significantly. This apathy has been changed somewhat since 9/11, but it is still generally true that something like health care or another domestic issue will be given much more attention than foreign policy.
It is clear that those who want America’s foreign policy to be changed must link our foreign policy to our domestic policy. How does it affect us here, on our home turf? Why should we care what our nation does abroad as long as it keeps us safe? I believe there are a few very simple yet profound answers to this question that, at the very least, should spark debate and bring foreign policy higher on the issue attention cycle:
America’s foreign policy makes us less safe
In the State of the Union Address President Obama again attacked banks and proposed a special tax on those businesses because of the big bonuses they are giving out:
To recover the rest, I have proposed a fee on the biggest banks. I know Wall Street isn’t keen on this idea, but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.
Attacking banks for giving out big bonuses is simply ridiculous, and here’s five reasons why:
1) Unless you have ownership in the company, it shouldn’t matter to you
Let’s say that a company like Home Depot decides to pay out big bonuses to their managers. The only people who should be upset are the stock owners. These owners could have received some of this money as dividends but instead it was used to pay big bonuses to the managers. This should be the same concept related to the banks: their bonuses really have nothing to do with you, unless of course you are owner of the company stock.
2) But the taxpayers own part of the banks!
Yes it is true that we “bailed out” the banks. Here’s the problem: Americans should be upset at the government for being irresponsible with their money. If the manager of your investments put a high percentage of your cash into a company that was likely going to fail sometime soon, wouldn’t you be upset? That’s what our government did: bailed out failing companies. If anything your anger should be directed at our government for even MAKING us owners of these failing institutions.