Five issues that will not win the 2012 election

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen Republicans begin to criticize President Barack Obama on various ancillary issues. Some of them are valid. Others not so much. Poll after poll shows that Americans are more concerned about the economy and jobs than other issues that may pop up in the news or the various memes that may arise from either the right or the left.

Here are some of the oft-repeated issues that have come up in recent days that conservatives and Republicans should stay away from if they hope to beat Obama and Democrats in the fall.

Social Issues: We’ve been over this one before thanks to the contraceptive kerfuffle earlier this year. It ended up being a bad issue for Republicans and they took a hit with women in the polls. They were largely right, in that taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund contraceptives and that the mandate was an infringement of the First Amendment on religious organizations that now have to pay for something to which they may have a moral objection.

More recently, however, it looks like they learned their lesson. When President Obama announced his support for gay marriage at the state-level, Republicans in Congress were mostly silent, though they did reinterate their support for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is facing a legal challenge. That doesn’t mean that it won’t come up again during the course of the next several months, as we get close to November.

Polls show that social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, are not on minds of voters, particularly independents. And perhaps even more of important are polls that show a majority of Americans are supportive of gay marriage.

Death pics, “Deathers,” and an October Surprise?

I have become completely obsessed with this so-called “deather” phenomenon, the topic du jour that the media wants to shove down our throats at the moment.  I should warn you straight away, that I am a raging news junkie.  There are far too many moments of my life spent sitting on the couch watching a news channel on television, while reading the news on my iPad, and checking Twitter with my Blackberry.  In fact, I have pretty much been in that position since Sunday night.  So, as soon as I heard the news that we had finally tracked down and eliminated the most infamous terrorist of any of our lifetimes, I did kind of wonder if we would see a death photo of Osama bin Laden.

I’m not really someone who seeks out shocking or gruesome images or videos, only because I don’t want to live with something that disturbing in my mind if I can avoid it.  In fact, I have never watched any of the videos of Americans being beheaded at the hands of animals in the Middle East, I didn’t watch Saddam Hussien’s execution, I’m frankly just not curious about these things.  However, on Monday morning, when I listened to Hoda and Kathie Lee breezily chatting about a death photo on the Today show, I figured there was no way in hell those photos weren’t going to be released.   Well, obviously I was wrong.  Of course, no politician would ever let an opportunity like this pass without milking it for all the political capital it is worth, so a delay and drawn out public debate didn’t surprise me.

United Liberty’s Top 30 Most Read Posts from 2012

Being a libertarian-leaning blog, we touch on a variety of issues. From those of you that aren’t familiar with libertarianism, it is a philosophy grounded in individual liberty, limited government, and free markets. Our commentary is based from that unwaivering viewpoint.

This past provided endless fodder for bloggers. From the push for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to the terrorist attack in Benghazi to the 2012 election. While there was plenty to talk about this year, 2012 also served as a reminder that our liberties are still being slowly taken away.

With all that said, here are the top 30 most read stories from United Liberty during 2012. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them:

Jack Hunter shoots down conspiracy theorists

Aim, ready, fire!

Dudes — I’m not really ready to call them “reporters” or “journalists” — from “” recently tried to get Jack Hunter’s opinion on an op-ed he wrote criticizing those in the liberty movement who just would not shut up about the Bilderberg group. As you can see in this video, they ask him again about his article, he very plainly states his position, and then walks off because he finds the whole thing to be silly.

Now, you can say that maybe that was rude, but really, you shouldn’t tolerate idiocy. As I wrote on my personal blog in a post that’s probably not fit to link to here (except for this bit):

[I]f an adult man came to you and starting talking about unicorns, would you entertain a long argument to explain to him that unicorns don’t exist? No, you would just say “Unicorns are fairy tales” and move on.

That’s the same thing here. We really should not be giving any credence to this nonsense, and Hunter was right to move on.

That’s when things get really weird, though. First, this “interviewer,” Bob, then makes the claim that Hunter asked security to get tough on him and his film crew. I don’t know Jack, as it were, but he doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of guy who would do that. He also says they were told to “stay away from Dr. Paul, because of concerns about the way we conducted ourselves.” Newsflash: It’s pretty standard for PR flacks, security, and the people of interest themselves to look down upon ambush interviews like the one you pulled with Hunter. As for who was acting unprofessional…yeah, you weren’t exactly acting professional when you decided to just jump him like that, and then try to bring up more Bilderberger stuff.

Gary Johnson must refute birtherism

Responding to charges that Gary Johnson is not a libertarian, Jeremy Kolassa notes that libertarianism isn’t as rigid as some think, particularly on foreign policy. It is this sort of philosophical polytomy that has given us the choice of two libertarians in the 2012 election, both from different factions of the liberty movement.

For many libertarians like myself, Gary Johnson offers a breath of fresh air from several themes popular with the Ron Paul movement, which is fraught with conspiracy theorists, anarcho-capitalists, and armchair economists who believe themselves to be experts on monetary policy after reading End the Fed. Views of this nature are detrimental to the growth of libertarianism and have tainted Ron Paul’s campaign, rendering it unacceptable to many mainstream voters. Thus far, Governor Johnson has done well to avoid these poisons.

Unfortunately, not everyone within the Johnson campaign agrees with this strategy. While it is certainly not a requirement that campaign staffers agree entirely with their boss, there are some views that must be repudiated for the good of the campaign. Birtherism – a conspiracy theory believing that President Barack Obama was not born within the United States – is one of those views. For this reason, Gary Johnson must immediately remove his Virginia campaign Co-Director, Juanita Billings, as she has revealed that she subscribes to this theory.

Note to Birthers: Marco Rubio is a natural-born citizen (and so is Obama)

On my drive home on Tuesday, I tuned into a Sean Hannity’s show for a few minutes, managing to catch a couple of minutes of the conservative talk show host’s conversation with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Toward the end of the interview, Hannity brought up that “Birthers,” this strange group of folks that have questioned President Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve, are now raising Rubio’s eligibility now that he has beem mentioned as a possible running mate for the Republican nominee. Hannity was dismissive of Birthers, calling them “idiots,” which is really too kind of a characterization.

Among the group now target Rubio is Joseph Farah, a prominent Birther and editor of WorldNutDaily, spoke with Hannity on Wednesday after hearing his exchange the previous day; and, well, made absolutely no sense:

Conservative Joseph Farah on Tuesday evening predicted that “10 percent of the Republican vote” would fail to get behind Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as the hypothetical vice presidential nominee because they will believe the circumstances of his birth make him ineligible.
“Rubio is not eligible,” Farah told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “He’ll lose 10 percent of the Republican vote because he is not a natural-born citizen. We’ve been through this with Obama now for four years.”

Rubio was born in Miami in 1971. Farah’s argument against Rubio’s “natural born” status relies on a strict definition also used by Farah and others who raised doubts over Obama’s eligibility. The strict definition requires that both parents be legal citizens at the time of the birth.

World Net Daily author accused of plagiarism

Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of World Net Daily (WND), an ultra-conservative website run by Joseph Farah. The site has become one of the main hubs for Birthers, the conspiracy theorists that believe President Barack Obama isn’t a natural born citizen — either because they doubt the legitimacy of his birth certificate or because his father was not a U.S. Citizen. But recently, Loren Collins unearthed pretty solid proof that Jerome Corsi has been plagiarizing various sources in content he has posted at WND:

Several months back I illustrated how Brad O’Leary, in his WND-published book The Audacity of Deceit, heavily copied an article by another WorldNetDaily writer. Another blog noted last month where a column by WND head Joseph Farah bore a suspicious resemblance to a Wikipedia article.

But neither of those hold a candle to a December 19 WND article by Jerome Corsi, author of The Obama Nation and Where’s the Birth Certificate? The article is “Obama’s legacy of broken promises – in Kenya”. Not only is roughly half of Corsi’s article lifted from a 2008 British news story, but Corsi goes further, and repeatedly claims that the copied information and quotations were instead obtained by unnamed “WND researchers” in Kenya.

Birther-ism never really dies, does it?

I thought the whole “birther” thing was over.  Well, thanks to some of my fellow citizens of Georgia, it ain’t.

ATLANTA — Five Georgia men are challenging President Barack Obama’s inclusion on next year’s presidential ballot, with some arguing the Democrat is not eligible for office because the Constitution says that a president must be a “natural born citizen.”

The challenges have been made through the Georgia Office of the Secretary of State.

Two of the men filing the challenges are being represented by Republican state Rep. Mark Hatfield, a Waycross lawyer.

Hatfield says he believes the United States’ founders intended not only for presidents to be born in the U.S. but for their parents to also have been U.S. citizens. Obama was born to an American mother and Kenyan father.

Now, Hatfield’s facts aren’t in contention.  What it is, however, is a mutation of birtherism.  They can’t garner sympathy with their plight by saying Obama wasn’t born in this country, since that same Obama has coughed up the much demanded birth certificate, so now they are trying to say it doesn’t matter because “natural born citizen” means his parents had to be Americans too.

Of course, Hatfield offers zero constitutional evidence to that effect…probably because there isn’t any.

Release the damned photos of Osama bin Laden

Over the last few days, since the reported death of Osama bin Laden, there has been debate over whether or not the Obama Administration should release photos of the terrorist’s body. CIA Director Leon Panetta said yesterday that it would “ultimately” happen, but would not give a window. The reason for the hold up is the photos are very graphic and the administration is worried that it “could be inflammatory.”

Over at Cato’s blog, David Rittgers argues for quick release of the photos so that we can put a rest to conspiracy theories:

A lot of people are asking whether the White House will release photographic proof of Osama bin Laden’s death. It should. The operation to get OBL has been very successful thus far, including the decisions to conduct a raid instead of a standoff bombing and the burial at sea. The latter avoided a repeat of the race to dig up Che Guevara.

Rand Paul digs at Donald Trump

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) visited New Hampshire yesterday. No, he’s not running for president; But he did take a shot at Donald Trump, the statist real estate mogul that is considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination and making a fool out of himself over the birther non-issue:

While speaking at a breakfast with New Hampshire Republicans one day after “The Donald” visited the Granite State, Paul riffed off the potential GOP presidential candidate’s “birther” questions.

“I’ve come to New Hampshire today because I’m very concerned,” said Paul, according to The New York Times. “I want to see the original long-form certificate of Donald Trump’s Republican registration.”

Paul’s comments follow up on some GOP-aligned groups’ effort to discredit Trump as a conservative. The free-market Club for Growth has accused Trump of being a liberal for his previous support of universal healthcare and his desire to raise tariffs on China.
Paul, a Tea Party favorite, said it would serve the GOP better to get behind a candidate who has better conservative credentials.

“Let’s look to Republicans who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk,” he said. “If we find the right candidate, I see no reason why we can’t win in 2012.”

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