Over the last few months I’ve read many posts and arguments about why libertarians should vote for Mitt Romney. None of them really spoke to the core libertarian beliefs of libertarians, which is the advancement of individual sovereignty and free markets. Of course, my conservative friends making these arguments never really spoke to how a Romney/Ryan ticket would advance those beliefs. The argument was almost exclusively along the lines of how badly Barack Obama has been as president.
Based on the numbers from David Kirby at the Cato Institute, Romney will take some 70% of libertarian-minded voters. Many of my libertarian friends are casting their ballots for Romney. Though I may disagree with them, I understand why and respect them.
Look, I don’t disagree that President Obama has been bad for the country. The national debt has skyrockted by more than $5.5 trillion, passed a terrible health care law, and he has expanded executive power. Nearly every step Obama has taken to “help” the economy and create jobs has hampered businesses. Moreover, the tax hikes that he wants to pass, which would marginally lower the deficit over the long-term, are among the things keeping employers from investing or hiring. Passing these tax hikes in the phony notion of “fairness” would almost certainly lead to another economic downturn.
The damage to the economy during Obama’s presidency are points that we’ve been over countless times. But there are other parts of his first-term agenda that need to attention.
Written by Simon Lester, Trade Policy Analyst for the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Governor Romney’s economic advisers (Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, John Taylor, Kevin Hassett) have a short post about his economic plan. In it, they sort of talk about trade issues:
Advancing international trade is another part of the plan. A recent study by the International Trade Commission concluded that reducing intellectual property violations [in] China could produce about 2 million jobs in the United States. While that is, of course, an estimate, Governor Romney has made reducing barriers to trade with China  a primary focus of his trade opening policy, and this advancement of trade clearly would be a large net positive for the successful idea-intensive firms that drive economic growth.
What’s important to note here is that these prominent, well-respected economists are not talking about free trade, despite their best efforts to make it seem like they are. Free trade means reducing protectionism, both at home and abroad. That means removing protectionist barriers to imports and exports, resulting in specialization of production and greater efficiency, among other things. But that’s not what they are saying here. Instead, they want to “advance” international trade by increasing exports to China, mainly through forcing China to strengthen intellectual property laws and enforcement.
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.
Written by Daniel Ikenson, director of the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Like almost everything about the 2012 presidential campaigns, the bickering between the major party candidates over who is most responsible for shipping jobs overseas has been banal and utterly uninformative. While politicians have scared many Americans with hyperbolized sales pitches about the costs of foreign outsourcing, most people remain in the dark about the causes and benefits of outsourcing. What is foreign outsourcing anyway? Why do some businesses invest in sales operations, research and development, production and assembly operations, or the provision of services abroad? Are low wages and lax environmental and safety standards in poor countries really the magnets attracting U.S. investment? If so, why is 75% of U.S. direct investment abroad in rich countries? What explains the fact that the United States (high-standard, rich country that it is) is the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment? Doesn’t the fact that businesses have options in our globalized economy serve to discipline some of the worst government policies?
As I suggested in this recent post:
In a globalized economy, outsourcing is a natural consequence of competition. And policy competition is the natural consequence of outsourcing. Let’s encourage this process.
There hasn’t been any movement in the Electoral College since our last update on Tuesday. However, there is new polling out of Ohio showing that Mitt Romney has his work cut out for him in this must-win state.
While Romney’s campaign has touted his momentum in the race, largely spurred by the debates, new polls that have come out of the Buckeye State in the last couple are ominous for Republicans with only 12 days left before the election.
Here is a brief look at the three polls that have come out of Ohio since the beginning of the week. This obviously excludes anything that may hit later today. Since people often wonder about poll demographics, I’ve included the D/R/I split from each poll. For reference purposes, 2008 exit polls showed 39/31/30 split in Ohio (it was 36/40/24 in 2004, when Bush won the state). Take whatever you see below and draw your own opinion:
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney met for the third and final debate last night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida to discuss foreign policy, though economic policy came up at times.
The candidates went back and forth on policy in the Middle East and toward China. Romney was given a chance during the first question to discuss Libya and the attack on the consulate that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, but he punted, letting Obama control the narrative on that particular issue.
Obama tried to paint Romney as someone who frequently changes positions when it’s convenient. Obama also explained several times that he didn’t believe in “nation-building,” saying that it was time for “nation-building at home.”
Romney turned the debate toward economic issues during a question about whether or not he would have stuck with Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. While he answered the question, Romney segwayed, explaining, “[W]hen the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.” Romney noted the words of Admiral Mike Mullen, who explained that the national debt is a security threat to the United States.
While noting this threat, Romney disappointed anyone who was hoping that he would put forward a viable solution to fix it. Romney explained, “I’m going through, from the very beginning, we’re going to cut about 5 percent of the discretionary budget excluding military.” As explained last week, that’s not at all a significant part of the budget, coming it at around $42 billion or so. So Romney’s great budget plan effectively does nothing.
I know that I am in the minority among the contributors to UL in that I will cast my vote on Election Day for Mitt Romney. I laid out my reasons for switching my vote from Gary Johnson to Mitt Romney in The Blaze a couple of weeks ago.
I was no fan of attempts to bully or shame libertarians into voting for Romney before I made my endorsement and I am no fan of those tactics now. I tried in my piece in The Blaze to lay out reasons why a libertarian should consider a vote for Romney – reasons that are obviously compelling enough for me personally to cast that vote.
If Romney wants to win over libertarians he doesn’t need his supporters trying to bully or shame libertarians who plan on voting for Gary Johnson. Instead, to win the votes of libertarians, Romney needs to actually take positions advocated by libertarians. I know this isn’t rocket science, but considering some of the pieces I have seen written by Romney supporters with the supposed objective of winning over Johnson voters, this actually needs to be said.
Tonight, Governor Romney has an opportunity to win over libertarians in the foreign policy debate.
First, let me say that I am realistic about what Romney could do to win over libertarians tonight. I know, unfortunately, that he will not repudiate the failed nation-building and interventionism that has been the hallmark of the Bush and Obama foreign policies.
That having been said, here is what Romney could say that would set his approach apart from the disastrous Obama foreign policy and win over libertarians:
Since Tuesday’s debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, there has been a lot of talk about the performance debate moderator Candy Crowley, who, as a noted yesterday, went far beyond her role to become a “fact-checker.”
During the debate, President Obama was asked a pretty clear cut question about the security failures that led up to the terrorist attack in Libya. The questioner, Kerry Ladka, told Obama that he and friends at work “were sitting around talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the attacks that killed four Americans.”
“Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?” Ladka asked Obama.
Obama gave a long-winded answer where he talked about his appreciate for United States diplomats. He then noted that he gave instructions in the wake of the attack to “beef up security,” investigate the incident, and to “find out who did this.” Obama criticized Romney for allegedly politicizing the attack and defend his out foreign policy record.
Obama eventually said, “[W]hen it comes to this issue, when I say that we are going to find out exactly what happened, everybody will be held accountable, and I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place there, because these are my folks, and I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home”
You can read the entire answer in the transcript, but no where in his response did he actually, you know, answer the question. The question wasn’t about what Obama was going to do or about foreign policy initiatives. It was very direct — “Who was it that denied enhanced security [to the consulate in Benghazi] and why?”
While the vice presidential debate offered something everyone could point to as evidence that their side scored political points, I think the overall result can be encapsulated by a single sentence uttered by my eighteen-year old daughter Naomi about halfway through the debate, when she said “Daddy, Joe Biden really creeps me out.” It seems she wasn’t the only one. Afterwards, one of the main topics of discussion from the punditry was Biden’s creepy grins and inappropriate laughter. It was like watching The Joker from the Batman movie (the one played by Jack Nicholson), only without The Joker’s likeability or charm. That was on top of the constant interruptions, the bold face lies, and the general obnoxiousness of Biden, a man just a heartbeat away, as they say, from the presidency. It was really almost pathetic to watch, like watching a respectful young man patiently endure the idiocy and bellicosity of his weird uncle who gets angrier the drunker he gets.
Stylistically, it was fairly evenly matched. Biden was the more assertive candidate, and dominated the debate on the “visuals”, but on those occasions where Ryan was allowed to speak without being interrupted by Biden or having the moderator cut him off and change the subject, Ryan proved himself as the clear victor based on mastery of the facts and policy. Biden was far outclassed in this area, limited to recycling discredited talking points, regurgitating class warfare arguments, and gazing into the camera at the American people and offering up his version of that old Groucho Marx line “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” Creepy, indeed.
In what is becoming its very own genre of blog post, another conservative voice has come out with a plea for libertarians to support Mitt Romney. To those of us who were not born last week, this all seems quite humorous as most of the time libertarians are treated as irrelevant. In this election, though, things have gotten tight and our votes count as much as those of the most hardcore Republicans.
As I wrote here two weeks ago, Republicans have a long way to go before they can make a truly credible case to libertarians. For one thing, they need to understand that most libertarians do not see themselves in the same way as conservatives and liberals. For the most part, both of these groups line up pretty well with a major party. Sure, conservatives will say they want the GOP to be more right-leaning, and liberals will say they want the Democrat Party to veer more progressive, but they are both going to vote for their respective parties in the end. Libertarians, though, mesh with elements of both parties - and find plenty to dislike about both as well.
It’s clear to me that the writer of the post, Mr. Brady Cremeens, didn’t read that post, and doesn’t understand the first thing about libertarians. His entire piece is premised upon the idea that libertarians are just another element of the Right that simply needs to be brought back into the fold. In Cremeens’ world, we really are just “conservatives who smoke pot” as the saying goes. With his initial premise being flawed, then, it does not bode well for the rest of what he says. If he does not understand where libertarians are coming from, how can he possibly make a convincing case?