Yes, the GOP is still pro-torture and pro-war

I went into Saturday night’s debate on foreign policy fully expecting to be depressed.  Despite the party’s claims that it has learned its lessons from Bush’s mistakes, one area where the GOP is entirely unreformed is in foreign policy.  A decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has not deterred the hawks of the party who still see aggressive military action as both viable and even desirable.  And yes, the party still wholeheartedly endorses torture.

The torture support is truly baffling from a party that claims to be about morality and traditional values.  On issues like abortion and gay marriage, we are told that the federal government needs to have an activist role that extends far beyond strict Constitutional mandates because the issues are so important.  On these matters, the moral case is simply so compelling that small-government ideas go out the door.  (As an aside, I am not necessarily against state-level action here, but the federal government has NO role.)

Yet when it comes to fighting terrorists, despite the moral weight clearly being on the side of humane treatment and the rule of law, Republicans line up and endorse treatment of prisoners that justified execution when the Japanese did it during World War II.  The only explanation I can come up with is that the average Republican voter is so terrified of terrorists that they take a pass on the moral dilemma here.  It’s sad to say the least that they have ceded the high ground on this issue, all for the illusion that brutal interrogations make us safer.

Republicans are killing me

As we role merrily right along into November, I, along with the rest of the libertarian crowd, am watching the Republican Party blissfully make the same tired mistakes yet again. Watching what appears to be unsynchronized cat herding under penalty of broken knee caps can be entertaining, but at this point, I’m really close to pulling out a speech worthy of a spot in Pulp Fiction on Samuel Jackson’s cue cards.

On saying “we have to remove Obama” out of fear and we can only support whoever the eventual GOP Nominee is: I’ve already written about this subject in The Strategy of Hating One. In the current cycle, it’s President Obama, but the previous installment was Bill Clinton and little blue dress. You can point to a general belief that the President is a Marxist or Socialist without too much opposition. You can make the point that the closest description of our country is Fascism. But I have to challenge you to point out the differences between the last Republican President or the alternative of McCain, and this Democrat President. We have stayed in Iraq until they are kicking us out, we have escalated Afghanistan, Libya, kept Gitmo open. Leaving the main differences that the increase in spending has been larger than say a McCain might have done, and Obamacare has been pushed through. And frankly, Obamacare could very well be named McCain-Care given the same congressional make-up.

Multiple Choice Mitt strikes again!

Mitt Romney, who many believe is the inevitable Republican nominee, just keeps burning bridges with conservatives. We’ve explained them here over the course of the last year, so there is no need to go back over them.

But with labor unions becoming a target for many conservatives, and rightfully so, after the reasonable measures pushed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year and the Boeing debacle in South Carolina, it’s an incredibly dumb move to snub the party’s base. Yet Romney did just that yesterday by declining to endorse or even give a position on a ballot measure in Ohio that would limit the collective bargaining rights of public-sector workers:

Mitt Romney stopped in Ohio today, where polls show him competitive with Herman Cain in the March 2012 primary. He stopped by a Republican phone bank where volunteers were drumming up support for two ballot measures — one of them a national cause celebre for the left. Issue 2, if passed, would affirm the collective bargaining reform Republicans pushed through this year. The measure is on the ballot because unions want to beat it, and overturn the law, and polling suggests that they can. Issue 3, if passed, would prevent Ohio from participating in any health care mandate — federal, state, whatever.

Romney was at one of the nerve centers for the campaign to pass the Issues. CNN’s Peter Hamby asked a simple question: Did he support them?

Follow Up on the Ron Paul/Gary Johnson Write-up

My write-up from Friday concerning Ron Paul and Gary Johnson created quite a stir. I wanted to take an opportunity to write a follow-up to address some of the questions and concerns of several of the readers. For those who haven’t read the original write-up, please do so here.

I thought that I had made it pretty clear that this wasn’t just some guy commenting on a page. This was the actual page owner posting an update that was going out to the page’s readership. There were several pages on Facebook that posted it. Those pages include Ron Paul 2012 (18,500+ fans), Ron Paul Revolution (20,000+), several state pages (with readerships ranging in the hundreds), and at least a couple of others. Once again, these were the actual pages, not just random people commenting. I would bet money there were many other pages on Facebook as well as countless blogs, forums, and other webpages posting this same line. Regarding the ones on Facebook that I saw, there were hundreds of responses and of those, a majority felt like there was a conspiracy or at least an orchestrated effort to get Johnson in the debate as it might hurt Dr. Paul. So we’re definitely not talking one person. We’re talking hundreds with exposure to thousands. In all fairness, there were several responses on these pages discounting that theory.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

It’s been an interesting last couple of weeks in the race for the Republican nomination for president as this race has seen the two frontrunners go after each other on economic records and other issues, including a debate over Social Security. While Romney has cast himself as a conservative, he has been running to the left of Perry on entitlements, chastizing Perry for his past comments on the issue.

As far as the rankings go, I’ve moved Herman Cain up a spot over Newt Gingrich, but he’s still below Bachmann. But I expect a shake up as soon as next week as fresh polls come out in the race.

The News

No Long Faces - The Ron Paul Outlook

During Ron Paul’s speech at the 2011 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, he closed his speech with a couple of references to Samuel Adams. One that many know, and one more obscure. Dr. Paul said that Sam Adams was known for saying “no long faces”.

“If we wear long faces, others will do so too; if we despair, let us not expect that others will hope; or that they will persevere in a contest, from which their leaders shrink. But let not such feelings, let not such language, be ours.” - Samuel Adams

With the ever-encroaching leviathan comprised of local, state and federal governments and a political class that doesn’t appear to address, much less acknowledge, the concerns of the average person, it is tempting to build a bunker somewhere, crawl into bed and pull the covers up over your head.

Tempting until you take notice of the positive strides made by liberty advocates in the past four years; things which could not have been accomplished had activists focused on the negative or gone into bunkers.

Does Ron Paul actually have a chance at winning the GOP nomination? In all honesty, yes.

There are a lot more positive differences between this and last Presidential election than you might know. Consider the utterances of a few Republican candidates espousing a less interventionist foreign policy. Much of this is merely anti-Obama windmill-tilting but it wouldn’t be occurring at all if it weren’t for widespread support amongst the general public.

The recent news that Osama bin Laden has been killed has itself caused some conservatives to wonder what we’re still doing in Afghanistan. If the main objective has been accomplished, after some 10 trillion dollars and 10 years, shouldn’t we bring the troops home and leave the people of Afghanistan to deal with their own independence?

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

GOP hopefuls will square off tonight for the second time in a week, this time at a debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express in Tampa, Florida. We’re likely to see fireworks similar to what we saw on Thursday. Rick Perry, who is considered to be the frontrunner, will no doubt be a target again by Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Michele Bachmann join the parade. President Barack Obama is sure to take criticism, and rightly so, over his latest stimulus gimmick.

Before we dive into the power rankings, here is a look at the latest polling in the race.

Rick Perry (even): Perry has become a punching bag for other candidates near the front of the race. Romney is knocking him over Social Security, Paul is taking him to task for being a former Democrat that backed Al Gore and supported HillaryCare and a pro-Bachmann group plans to run ads against him over immigration. Polls indicate that he is still the frontrunner, but he needs to improve in debates and hope at the ramp up attacks don’t stick.

LIVE BLOG: GOP Presidential Candidate Debate

Eight of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination will square off tonight at the Reagan Library in California. It’s Rick Perry’s first formal debate since joining the field of candidates. All eyes will be on him as he tries to live up to the hype.

What to watch for:

The debate, organized by Politico and NBC News, will begin at 8pm. We’ll begin chatting here around 7pm.

America’s Greatness Lies in Knowledge Diffused

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” - Thomas Jefferson, 1816, Letter to Thomas Yancey

Our nation, for several years now, has been in extended crisis mode. By the end of the Bush administration, we’d reached a point of complacency. We had wars raging on two fronts, but rather than being something the entire nation was focused on and engaged in, it was little more than partisan fodder to be used against Bush and the Republicans in the newspapers and on the nightly news (as evidenced by the fact that the constant front-page stories of soldier death counts miraculously disappeared once Obama took office).

Then came the financial collapse, which effectively ended John McCain’s chances at the presidency and ushered in Barack Obama, a political neophyte who campaigned not on specific policy positions and political philosophies, but on his claim to being “not Bush”, ushering in an era of “hope and change”. Unfortunately, while Obama has certainly achieved “change”, in doing so he has all but destroyed hope in America, at least until he leaves office.

These past two weeks we’ve seen the stock market rising and falling more often than a Kennedy after a night of partying. The dollar continues to be weakened, America’s credit rating is downgraded for the first time in history, unemployment remains high, and the prospects for improvement seem bleak in the short term. We are largely dependent on our enemies for our energy consumption, mainly because we refuse to access the vast reserves of energy we have on our own soil and in the oceans surrounding us. The waves of bad news crashing over us seem endless right now.

Of Hobbits and Acid-Tongued Democrats

On January 8th of this year, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was one of nineteen people shot, six fatally, by crazed gunman Jared Loughner. For nearly a week the national press and Democrats excoriated the TEA Party in general, and Sarah Palin in particular, for creating the environment that nurtured this horrifying act of political terrorism. President Obama, apparently in another example of leading from behind, eventually called for “more civility in our public discourse”, and admonished us to refrain from “lay[ing] the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happened to think differently than we do”.

Democrats finally heeded their leader’s advice, although it is uncertain whether that resulted from an epiphany that such inflammatory rhetoric was producing more of the division they claimed to deplore, or because they’d lost the moral high ground when it was discovered that the shooter, supposedly driven to his murderous rampage by seeing target symbols on a map of political districts, was actually a liberal, anti-Christian pot-smoker who hated George Bush.

The civility truce was short-lived however, and soon liberal Democrats went right back to ascribing the worst possible motives to their political enemies, simply for holding opposing policy positions. This last week or so, though, has seen liberal vitriol march back into full attack mode. The TEA Party and conservative Republicans have been repeatedly called “terrorists” by the mainstream press and prominent Democrats.


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