Election 2012: V. The Post Party Era

(This is my long-promised fifth and final post spelling out my thoughts on the 2012 Presidential election. I actually penned this during the conventions but it wasn’t right. It was only during the second debate that everything came together. I doubt my decision will surprise anyone, but I dare say my reasoning may set a few cats amongst a few pigeons.)

So do I want Democrats who arrest, detain, bomb, and surveil like Republicans, or Republicans who spend like Democrats? – Ken at Popehat

Here’s the thing: I have long resisted the portrayal of Obama as a radical Islamic atheist crypto-Marxist Kenyan colonialist. This is not because I have a particular affinity for the man or his policies. Or even because I care too much about “the tone”. It’s because there is a far more succinct and accurate description of Barack Obama.

A Republican.

I can hear the howls of outrage, but let me make my case. He’s certainly not a culture conservative or anything like that. And his associates would want nothing to do with conservatives and conservatives nothing to do with his associates (although I’m told that Bill Ayers and David Koch would make a good doubles team). But when I really narrow it down to the policies Barack Obama has enacted, I keep circling back to the inevitable conclusion: were it not for the letter after his name, they could easily be mistaken for those of a Republican.

Think of the big policies we have objected to under Obama. Think of them clearly and think about how the Republicans have legislated over the last decade. Not what the Republicans have said. Not what they have promised us. But the actual nuts and bolts policies they have pursued and enacted — first under Bush, then when they took back Congress in 2010 and now what is promised by Romney. I know people are tired of Bush but the policies of the GOP have not really changed over the last twelve years: from the year 2000 to the present, they are a continuous unbroken surrender to — or embrace of — Big Government. And I can not but come to the conclusion that the differences between Obama and the Republican Party are relatively small:

Let’s go through them, shall we?

The Stimulus: Surely, this piece of Keynesian waste could only have happened under Obama, right? Well, George Bush engaged in two rounds of stimulus as the financial crisis began, including tax rebates to people not paying taxes. When the GOP took the House in 2010, one of the first things they did was cut a deal to extend unemployment benefits and the Bush tax cuts — most of which reduce lower income people’s taxes to zero or less. They also cut payrolls taxes on the employee side as a stimulus measure. Cuts to the Ex-Im Bank, farm subsidies and transportation have found opposition in the GOP because of the supposed economic impact. Mitt Romney has already come out in favor of higher defense spending under the guise of stimulating the economy. Why is that necessarily better than “green energy”?

A Republican stimulus might not have taken the same form as Obama’s (although 1/3 of Obama’s stimulus was tax cuts). But to argue that the Stimulus was something the GOP would not have done seems absurd given the policies pursued by Bush, supported by the GOP Congress and promised by Romney. Had John Mccain or Mitt Romney been President in 2009, I have little doubt we would have gotten something very similar.

The Bailouts and Crony Capitalism: I’ve been over this before, but it’s always worth remembering: TARP was started under Bush, supported by Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and many Republicans. GM was handed money by Bush and Romney’s alternative was a “controlled bankruptcy” similar to what Obama did. In fact, he made this specific point during the second debate. The big difference might have been more money for investors and less for unions. That’s not nothing, but it’s not a lot either.

The only Republican in the primary who proposed something different was John Huntsman, who said we should break up the big banks through increasing fees. And he got almost as many votes for President as I did. Numerous conservatives hoped Romney would embrace the Huntsman plan to eliminate the need for bailouts. He has not. And needless to say, Barack Obama hasn’t either. More to the point, Obama has allowed the big banks to get bigger than ever.

Obamacare: All of you know that Obamacare, in its initial form, was Romneycare. But Romneycare is not something that fell out of the sky onto Massachusetts. The particulars were hashed out by conservatives in the 90’s as an alternative to Hillarycare. Massachusetts was a test-bed for a plan many conservative thought should eventually be a national policy. And if McCain and especially Romney had been elected in 2008, I have little doubt they would have pushed it on us (although I doubt it would have passed; if Obamacare came from a Republican, the Left would suddenly have realized what a huge payout to big business it was). Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal is basically Obamacare for seniors — a private insurance market with premium support. That may be an improvement over the current monopsony. But let’s not pretend it’s the free market.

I suspect that if Romney wins the election, the GOP will make a big show of trying to repeal Obamacare. But once that fails (and it will fail, since Democrats are likely to keep the Senate) they will mostly tinker with Obamacare; maybe cut some subsidies or, if we’re lucky, allow major medical to qualify as the baseline insurance. I am extremely dubious that they will change much.

The fact is that these policies have been popular among a certain faction of the Republican Party for a very long time. These policies are popular with Romney and with the people he has surrounded himself with. If it had been called McCaincare, it would have had their support. And once they file the serial numbers off and call it Romneycare II, it will again.

Foreign Policy: As I said in my earlier post, the Romney-Ryan position on Obama’s foreign policy is that they would do the same thing, only more.

Jobs: Barack Obama does not have experience in the private sector and that has, as much as anything, hampered his management of the economy. But neither of the guys on the Romney-Ryan ticket have much private experience either. Ryan, of course, has been in public service his entire life. And Romney’s experience has mostly consisted of buying up businesses, finding legal and financial loopholes to make money, and selling them. His experience with rescuing the Salt Lake City games from the abyss is a positive for his management ability. But Congress is not an Olympic Games. Nor is the corner dry cleaner.

I want to make it clear: there’s nothing wrong with Romney’s work at Bain Capital, really. Private capital helps move our economy and some businesses need overhauls and reform. But my brother, who employs only himself, knows more about the problems facing a small business than Mitt Romney does.

Romney has promised he will create jobs from the top down by overhauling regulation and cutting taxes on businesses. But that’s the same thing, basically, that Obama is promising. And I extremely dubious of either candidate’s ability to deliver. Those tax loopholes and regulations are there for a reason: powerful businesses, include many backers of Obama and Romney, want them there. And neither of these men has shown the ability to stand up to them. Have you hear either man talk about the CPSC?

Maybe this is a slight net in favor of Romney since we can only guess what Romney might do and we have four years of Obama not doing anything to go on. But this particular issue is almost entirely dependent on Congress. If Congress passes the massive regulatory and tax overhaul we do desperately need, I do not see either President vetoing it.

Welfare: Welfare spending has now crossed the $1 trillion threshold. However, it was under the Bush Administration that food stamp requirements were relaxed and Medicaid was expanded. And the Republicans have now controlled the House for two years. The only move they made on anti-poverty spending was to extend unemployment benefits and fight against further reform. Now we are supposed to believe they will reign in anti-poverty spending?

The Budget: Obama’s biggest failure as President, in my view, was running away form Simpson-Bowles. There is simply no excuse for ignoring the recommendations of his own damned debt commission. Had he embraced the outline two years ago, the debt ceiling fight might have resulted in a real solution instead of kicking the can a couple of trillion down the road. This failure alone is good enough reason for anyone to vote against him.

But … Paul Ryan was on the Simpson-Bowles panel and voted against it even after getting concessions on Medicare. And Romney has criticized Obama for abandoning S-B while not offering a substantive alternative. Romney has promised to increase Medicare spending by $716 billion and military spending by $2 trillion. He has promised to increase Pell grants, education spending and federal job training. The only substantive budget cut he’s identifies is PBS (maybe). Obama is, of course, promising the same, only with more money for energy boondoggles and less for military hardware.

Both sides support extending 80% of the Bush tax cuts. Both sides support tax reform with their mouths while proposing more tax credits and complications with their pens. This is not a debate over solutions. This is quibbling over 1% of the problem. The house is on fire and they’re arguing about whether we should use the red fire hose or the blue fire hose.

If our debt is brought under control, it will not be because of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. It will because of Congressional figures like Tom Coburn who are trying to broker a deal outside of the White House.

Regulation: Obama passed Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. But the Republicans passed Sarbanes-Oxley, one of the most financially destructive pieces of legislation in American history. Has either of these men spoken out against SOX? Moreover, Obama has actually passed fewer and less expensive regulations than Bush did (the link is a year old; I’m dubious that Obama passed more regulations over a GOP Congress; on the flip side, many Dodd-Frank provisions have yet to be enacted). Remember … in the first debate, Romney came out in favor of regulation. And his record in Massachusetts is not that of a deregulator.

Corruption: The Left keeps trying to persuade me to vote for Obama because Romney will welcome lobbyists back into the White House. I find this argument to be both ignorant and hilarious.

Other Issues: Many issues were not discussed at the debates because both sides agree. Both sides support the War on Drugs. Both sides support indefinite detention and the NDAA. Both sides supported SOPA until the population screamed bloody murder. Both sides support free trade when it suits them but wallow in anti-China rhetoric. Neither is a real friend of science. What does it tell when you Elon Musk and an energy drink company have more ambitious space exploration programs than NASA? And neither side wants to address the problems in our criminal justice system.

Let’s look at that last point. One of the most telling parts of the debate the other night was when the candidates were asked about gun control. Both quickly segued to other issues since gun control, as an issue, went out with parachute pants (little noticed point: in the debate, Obama acknowledged that the second amendment is for self-defense). But neither mentioned that crime is down to levels not seen in half a century. Neither mentioned one of the biggest drivers of poverty, job destruction, violence and despair in our cities: the War on Drugs:

A check in the “Have you ever been arrested?” box is a handy way for an employer to winnow down a stack of job applications. Why take the risk? In New York City, half a million people are stopped and questioned by police each year without probable cause. In some communities, nine in ten residents have been stopped. Aggressive stop-and-frisk policies have lead to thousands of arrests of people who have done nothing wrong, or have been tricked by police into committing a misdemeanor.

What are the substantive differences between these two parties? Abortion? Gay marriage? Unions? Let’s be honest: almost everyone in this election is voting against the other guy. What, apart from your distate for his supporters, is driving that?

It’s been quipped that Obama’s first term is really “Bush’s third term” and I think there’s something to that. Obama has been better on foreign policy; worse on domestic. A huge fraction of his blunders have been continuing old policies. But I could very easily imagine the last four years having unfolded in a similar fashion under Bush, McCain or Romney (with the possible exception of the two SCOTUS appointees). So is that the choice we face for the next four years? Bush 4A or Bush 4B?

I have voted Libertarian in the last two elections. I had that luxury since I lived in Texas, which was not a swing state. And, frankly, Pennsylvania isn’t a swing state so I have that luxury again. But I would vote for Gary Johnson even if I were in a swing state; even if mine were the only vote preventing either a Romney presidency or an Obama presidency. I recognize and respect the case to be made that one should vote for the lesser of two evils (although read Mataconis here). I’m just not seeing that either of these is the lesser. Again, see the epigraph that starts this post: do I want Republicans who spend like Democrats or Democrats who bomb like Republicans?

This isn’t a purist decision. I disagree with Johnson on plenty. And it’s not a fit of pique, either. I make the decision affirmatively. I don’t believe that either of these men will be a disaster for this country. Obama will be neutralized by a Republican House. And for all my barbs, I was relieved that Romney won the GOP nomination. I don’t think he is crazy or dangerous and I’ll be fine if he wins the election. And his surge since the first debate has been because millions of Americans have come to the same conclusion.

But neither do I believe that either man is the one to get us out of the hole we’re in. Either way, I think we’re going to get four more years of kicking the can down the road and hoping that the economy magically rescues the system.

Moreover, I think the Presidential race is possibly the least important election this year. Of far greater import:

1) Congress. Helping the GOP retain Congress is a far more critical battle than the White House. While I described Republican policies as a continuous decade-long surrender to Big Government, there have been some hopeful signs in the last two years. Just enough that I want them to keep hold of the House, especially.

I’ll be voting for my Republican congressman (I’m still unsure if I can pinch my nose tightly enough to vote for former Democrat and abortion absolutist Bob Smith for the Senate). One of the neglected stories of the last few weeks is the huge surge in the Democrats’ prospects of keeping the Senate, including a likely victory for Elizabeth Warren. As far as Massachusetts moderates go, it’s much more important to me for Scott Brown to win than for Mitt Romney to.

2) Ballot issues: Washington and Colorado are trying to legalize marijuana. Both initiatives have gotten key endorsements from law enforcement but are facing stiff entrenched opposition. In California, Prop 35, which purports to battle “trafficking” is polling well but shouldn’t be: it is such a badly written piece of legislation that simply renting a room to a prostitute could get someone arrested. Props 30 and 38 propose to raise taxes (yes, again) while Prop 32 would limit the power of unions. Prop 37 would label GM foods. In Maryland, there are two critical ballot initiatives coming up: one on gay marriage and one on Maryland’s obscene gerrymandering. Virginia has a critical question on eminent domain. Give me victories on all of these and I’d take Jill Stein in the White House (Ok, not really).

Probably the most important fight this year is going on in Michigan. The unions are trying to get an amendment passed that would bar Michigan forever from being a right to work state or limiting union bargaining power. This is a bill that may finally kill Michigan’s government. Have you heard a peep about it? This is far more important than the White House fight.

3) Us. One of the encouraging things about the last few years is that the American people are waking up. For all the criticism of the Tea Party, serious solutions to the debt issue would not be on the table at all if it weren’t for them. This was not, contra the Left, an astroturf effort to get Republicans back in office. The Tea Partiers are serious about changing the fiscal trajectory of this country. I’ve talked to many who have told me they will accept spending cuts; they will accept entitlement cuts; some will even accept higher taxes … if it’s part of a real solution. That’s far more thought, wisdom and patriotism than you will get from the entire sneering staff of MSNBC, CNN and PBS combined.

Even more encouraging was the battle over SOPA. This was a bad bill that had bi-partisan support. But the American public woke up. And people of all political persuasions took our government by the heels and shook them while yelling, “Stop it!”. And our politicians listened.

I’m not sold on the benefit of a protest vote. But a protest vote as part of a rising tide of opposition to the dimwit policies of our government? That’s something I can vote for. Maybe Johnson gets 1% this year. That’s enough to raise an eyebrow but not to make either party sweat. But if it can be built on, it’s enough scare some people. Ross Perot may have been crazier than a shithouse rat, but I strongly believe his influence on two elections scared the pants off our political establishment to the point where Bill Clinton was suddenly a budget hawk (although, to be fair, Bill Clinton was pretty easily talked out of his pants).

No matter who wins on November 6, it will be up to us to hold their feet to the fire. Both parties have promised debt reduction and an improved economy. We have to hold them to it not just at the ballot box but in unceasing unending relentless pressure. No spending bill should move through the house without a million phone calls. No Patriot Act renewal should pass without a million letters in opposition. If Congress makes a Grand Bargain on the budget, we have to make sure that neither of these guys dares to veto it. Every time Obama or Romney decides to bomb someone without Congressional authority, there should be pickets outside manned by everyone: liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. We all need to manning the trenches. We can’t ignore bad behavior because it’s “our” guy or only jump on bad behavior when it’s “their” guy.

This is not a fight of liberal against conservative. This is not a struggle of Democrat against Republican. The idea that either of our political parties gives a sweaty utility closet fuck about our liberty is absurd. This is a war of government against all of us. A war of the busybodies against those of us who want to be left the hell alone. How we get to freedom, what particular freedoms we emphasize, where we curtail that freedom so that society may function: that is a subject for vigorous debate. But by letting ourselves be duped into supporting Nanny Blue or Nanny Red, we have forgotten to hold the line; we have ceded ground to the idea that government should be able to do whatever the hell it wants … as long as it’s our guys in charge.

(And, I’m going to be frank, the liberals have been worse at this dereliction of citizenship. Obama’s War on Terror excesses have not generated a fraction of the anger among liberals that Bush’s spending did among conservatives. If George Bush had drone-bombed a 16-year-old, they would have been trashing the streets.)

That is why I refuse to vote for either of these guys. It only encourages them. It only persuades them that their infringements on our liberties — be they economic, social or legal — will be tolerated, approved and rewarded. It only persuades them that they can talk liberty on the campaign while they kill it in the legislature.

And it’s why, no matter which guy wins, I will spend the next four years tweeting, blogging, writing and raging against the machine in this little corner of the internet (well, in my spare time. I also need to work, eat, sleep, raise Sal 11000 Beta, go to the bathroom).

If Romney wins, we can’t do what we did with Bush and go happily to sleep. And if Obama wins, we can not sink into despair. The fight never ends. But nor is it ever hopeless. Ever since we recognized that governments were necessary, free people have been fighting to keep the monster under control. And, despite recent setbacks, our record over the last few centuries is very very good.

That monster needs to be held at bay, no matter which face it’s wearing for for the next four years. And if we keep our eyes open and our powder dry, it will be.

Comments are closed.

  1. Hal_10000 *

    Post Scriptum: one thing I think would help in differentiating the parties was suggested by Lee ages ago. The party out of power should create a “shadow government” and make specific proposals for what they would do differently. That would diminish the problem of the party out of power screaming bloody murder while knowing perfectly well they’d do the same stupid thing.

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  2. TheContrarian

    This is not a fight of liberal against conservative. This is not a struggle of Democrat against Republican. The idea that either of our political parties gives a sweaty utility closet fuck about our liberty is absurd. This is a war of government against all of us. A war of the busybodies against those of us who want to be left the hell alone. How we get to freedom, what particular freedoms we emphasize, where we curtail that freedom so that society may function: that is a subject for vigorous debate. But by letting ourselves be duped into supporting Nanny Blue or Nanny Red, we have forgotten to hold the line; we have ceded ground to the idea that government should be able to do whatever the hell it wants … as long as it’s our guys in charge.

    This passage sums up a lot of how I feel about politics these days. It’s an excellent paragraph, however it doesn’t lead me to the conclusion that voting is worthless.

    A lot of intelligent people who have principles and pay attention to politics come to a similar conclusion you do, and I can understand sitting home if you’re in a state that’s already strongly blue or red. However writing off both candidates as being equivalently bad is just lazy. They really aren’t. They’re both shit, sure, but it behooves us smart, principled, paying attention people to figure out who is less shit, if only for our own sakes.

    I agree, Romney won’t be an improvement on a number of issues, particularly civil liberties and defense spending. However there are a lot of important things you didn’t even mention where I am certain Obama will be vastly worse. Energy policy, for one. Supreme court nominations for two.

    There are bigger issues where, while I’m not confident he’ll accomplish anything, at least he’ll be operating from a better premise. Areas like entitlement reform, cutting taxes, reducing regulations, balancing the budget, cutting the deficit,, and education (to a minor degree). Also, cutting and at least trying to repeal Obamacare is better than not.

    Being an informed voter, you have a knowledge of history, which makes you cynical. How can you pretend that the republicans have any credibility as limited government conservatives given the last several decades? You can’t, but you should take care in how much you let this cynicism influence your vote.

    One thing that gives me a sliver of hope about Romney is precisely his inconsistency. He’s not an ideologue, hence the years of positioning on immigration, abortion, gun laws, and other “hot button” issues. At root, my sense is that he is a pragmatist. As Colbert suggested, Romney can’t give specifics on his tax policies because he hasn’t gotten a chance to see the books yet. I’ll take that over an ideologue with a truly abhorent philosophy any day.

    That said, I’m under no illusions that Romney will be some Goldwater-esque transformative figure. He could surprise us all, but most likely he’ll just be less horrible than Obama. That’s also good enough for me.

    And I’m with you that no matter who wins, I’ll be fighting the good fight in my own way over the next four years. Part of why I disappeared for a couple years is because I’ve been doing just that. I got out of teaching and began working as a software engineer. I’m working with a startup that could help transform education around the world. I’ll tell y’all more about it sometime, but suffice to say, I’m one of those lucky people who gets to love his work and know that it’s making the world a better place.

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  3. West Virginia Rebel

    Hal: I agree with most of what you say, except that voting third party has historically only taken votes away from one guy or the other, or have no real impact at all due to the Electoral College. So as far as I’m concerned, voting third party tends to be counterproductive and largely a waste of time (the Tea Party weren’t third party; they were a grassroots attempt to keep the Republicans honest by electing other Republicans.) So, despite all their warts and flaws (and they are many) I still see the Republicans overall as the lesser of two evils on the main issues.

    Meanwhile, Nick Gillespie has an interesting defense of George S. McGovern as a defender of libertarian values.

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  4. Mississippi Yankee

    Hal, if you were to join Elizabeth Warren’s tribe you name would undoubtedly be ‘he that talks out of both sides of his peace pipe hole’.
    The fact that you’re waving the Gadsden flag now yet danced around the question of if the Tea Party had your support when I asked you earlier this month… Typical Hal.
    Oh and for the record to anyone keeping score The Tea Party is a 40 year plan. It started in 2010 at the most basic level, every election beginning right in your very town,village,city or metropolis. It’s called “change from the bottom up”. A concept lost on the whiney constituents voting (L) this year.

    And, frankly, Pennsylvania isn’t a swing state so I have that luxury again. But I would vote for Gary Johnson even if I were in a swing state

    I believe it is a swing state now but your statement speaks volumes.

    This is not a fight of liberal against conservative.

    I also believe you’re mincing words here (no surprise) but I contend that This IS a fight against progressive ism and conservative-ism. And this time it’s for all of the marbles.

    Your post, this very post, has shown me that you have become a petulant. duplicitous. self hating individual. And BTW that’s irregardless of your faith of bloodline.

    May I suggest a good cheese and an active search for some joy in your life.

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  5. richtaylor365

    MY, for what it’s worth (and yes, you can tell me to go pound sand) I think you should cut Hal some slack. Hal sees things different from you and me, which fits rather nicely with his role here on the blog, he is a moderate/independent, and there is nothing wrong with that. He does most of the heavy lifting and in his next review I’m sure JimK will sweeten his year end bonus, but anyone that has read this blog for more than a day knows where his ideological bent is.

    I disagreed with much in this post and was going to write a rebuttal, but after about the 5th bone of contention, I thought ,”Hey, it’s football day”, and left it alone. There are sometimes I think some dude named Bush hit on his wife or ran him off the road one time, but I like his writing and appreciate the effort. He does not pull shit out of his ass, sources his stuff pretty well, and makes fairly compelling arguments. Considering that most here are right wingers {saying that fondly and with a visible chubby} he lends balance and a different point of view. He is polite, respectful, and willing to engage, which is exactly what you want authoring a blog.

    Instead of name calling I think a better approach is to rebut what he writes, if you disagree. Aside from the occasional thumbs up I don’t think we as a group give him enough credit, he puts in more time here than anyone.

    Thus endeth the sermon, now go Giants.

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  6. Section8

    If Romney wins, we can’t do what we did with Bush and go happily to sleep.

    And perhaps that was the big part of the problem to begin with. It would seem that people will keep more of any eye on whoever the GOP brings in this time around (in this case Romney) and not let the big government explode under the GOP, even if Romney doesn’t mind expanding it in certain cases. That’s the biggest change from the Bush years. As far as keeping an eye on Obama, you will get no such luxury, because he’s representing a different group that doesn’t mind such expansion, and in fact expects it.

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  7. HARLEY

    God, glad i live in the sticks.. we still got pic of my dad and his best friend dressed up for a Halloween party, my dad as a klans man, and his best friend as a black panther… apparently every one loved it..
    oh his best friend.. is black… so .

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  8. Mississippi Yankee

    I think you should cut Hal some slack. Hal sees things different from you and me, which fits rather nicely with his role here on the blog, he is a moderate/independent, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    rich,
    Hal has not ‘billed’ himself as a moderate/independent, in fact he told us very recently that he was no longer a Republican but was still a conservative/libertarian. I personally disagree with both assessments because him exemplifies the typical left-leaning academic. And is not above being disingenuous and playing weasel-word games in a direct debate.

    Considering that most here are right wingers … he lends balance and a different point of view.

    I kinda cringed when I read that, not because I dislike a “different point of view” Butt don’t we all get loads of that from CM,salinger, Kimpost,ilovecress?
    Your statement, imHo, seems to want to award him a trophy for ‘showing up for the game’

    The name of the blog is Right Thinking from the Left Coast. Would it be fair-n-balanced if JimK were to put Left Thinking from the Other Left Coast in parenthesis?
    And with each new poll that propels R&R I see pout and panic in his posts. He envisions, and prolly correctly so, his academic E-ticket diminishing in value. He is right of course but another four years of a pernicious WH is going to change that fact.

    Instead of name calling I think a better approach is to rebut what he writes, if you disagree.

    It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to see that I only possess two debate skills 1) call out one’s duplicity. 2) stab that duplicity in the chest when the disingenuous-ness and the weasel-word games begin.

    Yes I fight dirty, it comes from being probably more to the left than anyone here for the first 25 years of my life. And if you don’t think the left doesn’t DO dirty just watch for Gloria (sound of cloven hoofs) Allred in the next 2 weeks

    Old Marine Corps saying “if you find yourself in a fair fight you’ve already fucked up”

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  9. Poosh

    This is an entirely baffling post. I think you mean “politician” not Republican. Obama’s entire ideology is miles apart from both Republicans and regular Democrats.

    Guess what, the majority of people want quite a bit if welfare spending. The other side just want a lot, lot more, and are less careful in considering implications. Bush was ALWAYS going to spend on welfare, and with good reason to do so, even if one might disagree with it. You roll your eyes at this and want Bush to have done what, exactly? Spend almost nothing on welfare? Perhaps that is wise but almost no one in your country, when the metal meets the meat, would be happy about that. There is a difference between the spending of a compassionate conservative and a wealth redistributer. Think about it. Think about the cultural implications.

    The absurdity of saying “i won’t vote for either” simply means you don’t learn. You’ve had four years to learn this lesson the hard way and still it hasn’t sunk in. I’m not even entirely sure *what* you have to lose, given you’re not a tin-foil Libertarian. You have a choice between business as usual in America with a moderate Republican or Obama, who is invested heavily in splitting the country down the middle and unravelling the very foundations of your country, who will push America over the edge and reshape it into the worst aspects of Europe. And don’t think it won’t happen. You have an entire media and entertainment industry working hand-in-hand to do this. And you don’t think anything is at stake?

    I support a welfare state. So did Thatcher. What you fail to understand is the agenda behind these actions. Bush’s spending on welfare was out of general compassion and attempts to make those in need’s lives better – even if his actions were wrong, his motives can be understood. SAME with Romneycare, after all the US healthcare system is broken, something has to be done. Obama, on the other hand, believes in the moral case for redistribution of wealth. You don’t think motives and agenda matter if the consequences are similar? It means everything. Men driven by genuine compassion who are more rational than emotional can be reasoned with, and can see the obvious. Men driven by sinister ideologies drilled into them through university by leftist academics CANNOT BE REASONED WITH, and are not driven by pure compassion: they want to reshape the country, and your very thoughts, in their image: they want to make you into “better men”.

    The truth is, surely, the Tea Party support Romney through a sort of contract. Romney cannot afford to lose their confidence or votes. So that gives you a guarantee of sorts.

    If you really believe in the moral and philosophical case for Capitalism, and believe it is the single most powerful weapon against the worse experiences of being a human, and if you believe in the Conservative belief that life is naturally cruel and brutish, and that claims towards Utopia can only end in more despair than what has come before, then there really is NO CHOICE. Romney half understands both these points: which is better than not understanding them at all, or even worse, rejecting them. Obama does not believe nor understand capitalism, and he explicitly rejects it outside considering it merely a tool to collect tax or offering false praise as to not appear “crazy” to a non-liberal-academic audience. And Obama believes in the standard liberal utopia. And he’s the man to usher it in, or at least will make sure history records him as THE MAN who brought Europe to America.

    Good luck with not voting. I live in jolly ol’ England. You don’t know how lucky you are to have someone like Romney.

    Further Thoughts on Why Objectivists Should Actively Campaign for Romney-Ryan

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  10. AlexInCT

    There is a difference between the spending of a compassionate conservative and a wealth redistributer. Think about it. Think about the cultural implications.

    This.

    And anyone that basically implies there isn’t any difference, is insane.

    I for one would like as much of the welfare state a possible to vanish in a puff of smoke, but I know that’s wishful thinking when so many people vote for a living and would lose their sweet deal. They won’t just let it happen. Even though we are in dire straights and need to turn off the spigot, sooner than later, declaring that we are screwed either way – because neither party wants to or can do that outright – so we might as well just roll over and take it like the proverbial prison bitch, simply strikes me as insane.

    Look, Bush sucked ass and I hated his fiscal policies more than Hal, whom seems to have a bigger fixation on the guy than Andrew Sullivan’s boy friend has for Andrew. But – and I hate to do so, let me stress it again: as I pointed out in 2008, when the collectivists where pretending they would finally get us fiscal discipline and right the massive deficit spending of evil BooshChimpyMcHitler, something that I should remind people started getting real crazy right after the democrats took control of congress and spending, didn’t fool me. The whole record thing, you know. Here we are now, almost 4 years later, and we again see that the left was/is full of shit. They can not do anything but tax and spend. And when deprived of the ability to shaft the tax payer, they will not be dissuaded from spending in any way.

    Romney, or for that matter any republican or even libertarian, isn’t magically going to slay the massive monster that is our welfare state. It will be a death of 1 million cuts, if anything, to roll this behemoth back. And I am under no illusion that they can or will do this. But the choice, as I see it, is between the people that want to bankrupt and destroy this great nation, on purpose – that is their great vision of “Hope and Change” – in but a few years, and those that are trying not to and might give us a few decades of time. Some days when I feel suicidal I think another 4 years of Obama, and all that comes from that disastrous event, is what we all deserve considering the fact we elected this moron and his party in the first place. Then I come to my sense, and I think this is just too cruel of a punishment to inflict on anyone, including the fucking idiot free loaders that like these assholes.

    Thumb up 4

  11. richtaylor365

    Good comments, Poosh, worthy of more then just a thumbs up. This whole sitting out the election things is juvenile, pedestrian, and to use MY’s word, petulant. Grabbing your toys and going home pretty much cancels out the privilege of playing in the sandbox in the first place. The complaint that since both have warts, both have deficiencies and are not perfect, well, I’ll just sit it out, phooey with that. If your house was burning down you would not sit idly by. If your own household fiances were on the road to bankruptcy, you would get involved even if the only alternatives available were not “perfect”. Sitting this out is tacit support for the status quo, support for Obama, no way around that.

    Your statement, imHo, seems to want to award him a trophy for ‘showing up for the game’

    You should not discount “Showing up for the game” so easily. It takes time and effort to be an author, to write posts, then stick around when folks want to poke holes in them. He is doing this on his dime and whatever time he spends here is time away from work and family. JimK is always on the hunt for new talent, if you think you got the right stuff and would like to take a crack at it, shoot him a PM.

    The name of the blog is Right Thinking from the Left Coast. Would it be fair-n-balanced if JimK were to put Left Thinking from the Other Left Coast in parenthesis?

    In reflecting back on the evolution of RTLC, back when Lee went to China and got some other authors to fill in, even then the bent was more center then right leaning. 3 of the 4 new authors were what I would consider libertarian/moderates, only one was really conservative and later on he turned out to be bi polar and was summarily banned. Even Lee evolved before our eyes, souring on the Republicans and their “liberal” like proclivities.

    Expecting Hal to move farther to the right because of the title of the blog is not realistic. Between myself and Alex (Hey, son, get back in the game) the right side is covered (but even we have differences of opinion, that is why getting more authors to present different viewpoints is always preferable), but Hal has always been the academic type, the independent who views things from the outside. Whether that provides a better vantage point and a clearer vision of what’s going on, a worthy topic of debate.

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  12. Hal_10000 *

    There is a difference between the spending of a compassionate conservative and a wealth redistributer. Think about it. Think about the cultural implications.

    I’m not seeing them in terms of policy. If we’re getting robbed blind, I’m not really caring whether it’s called “compassionate conservatism” or “wealth redistribution”. The end result is the same, is it not? All that’s changed is the window dressing.

    Thanks for the kind words, Rich! But I would not consider myself a moderate. I have mostly become more suspicious of the things both parties say. It’s like that, if Obama wins, I will find myself backing Christie or Daniels in 2016.

    Funny thing. When I started this post, I expected to say something along the lines of that I was voting for Johnson but was sort of pulling for Obama. But as time went on, I realized this was mostly a reaction to Obama’s critics and not because of the One his own bumbling self. The first debate and the last few weeks have done a LOT to make me easier with the idea of a Romney presidency. I’m seeing more of the competent manager I saw early in the primaries.

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  13. Poosh

    It will be a death of 1 million cuts, if anything, to roll this behemoth back. And I am under no illusion that they can or will do this.

    Exactly.

    What I am reminded of is Sarah Palin. When confronted with the behemoth of corruption and power that money brings, I don’t feel Romney will have the stomach to fight it. But the one thing about Sarah Palin is that she did have the stomach. She did fight it. She won. Even her own party. She had principles and understood the difference between right and wrong. What was done to her cannot be forgiven. It is sad that she was lacking in many other areas, but the primary reason for her popularity and love, I suggest, was that you knew she would try her best to roll back not just the bememoth but tear down the corrupting power of money, interested minorities and every other form of perversion that warps the structure of society into something that simply does not work. She had a record of this.

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  14. Poosh

    I’m not seeing them in terms of policy. If we’re getting robbed blind, I’m not really caring whether it’s called “compassionate conservatism” or “wealth redistribution”. The end result is the same, is it not?

    Well it should be quite obvious given Obama’s run up such a magnificent debt compared to Bush’s, if you want to talk merely about eh brass tax (is that the right expression!? I heard it on Big Bang Theory). The end result is most definitely not the same. The moderate conservative hovering around the middle/centre right of the political spectrum does respect your property rights, however he wishes to use force to take some of your wealth, in order to alleviate the cruelest ares in a society. The poor who can never afford any kind of healthcare, children who simply have no options for good education etc. It is not absurd to think the place of government is to govern and give these people a safety net. (Question: are all of Bush’s welfare spending really *his* fault or were the bills (etc) a compromise with democrats who flooded special interests in there? Or hell, let’s ask, did other Republicans flooded it with special interests). I don’t believe in fictional social contracts but if the purpose of government is to maintain freedom then these issues have to be addressed (I just think capitalism, if freed up, will solve these problems ergo government’s purpose should be to maintain and improve upon the capitalism system, stripping out distortions)

    This can often be funded by debt, yes? Now debt has a host of incredibly negative consequences, as does using the printing press to cover this, but the fact remains that “compassion” is the driving force. You’re still asking people to sacrifice for others etc, but that’s a long debate for another time.

    But what does the wealth re-distributor say? Yes, to a point, in some cases, compassion for the needy is there, sure, but that’s not the only factor at play. You need only look at Obama’s rhetoric: class warfare. It is morally just to take from you, not because people are in need and the government’s purpose is to ensure basic freedoms (or whatever argument to that effect), but, rather, it is to say you have no right to your wealth once it reaches a certain threshold. It says you owe the state. It says the state is master. It condemns and vilifies you if you oppose the collection of your wealth. It explicitly says if you want a better life, you must sacrifice even more for others. As Ayn Rand puts it, it reduces man to a sacrificial animal.

    NOTE that the compassionate conservative can achieve his aims with a flat tax if he wished. Or, at least on paper, borrowing. The socialistic class-baiter specifically targets the rich and well-to-do and says they are obliged to pay more because they exploited the state and the poor to enrich themselves.

    It’s a moral question, the consequence are important but never as important as the agenda and morality behind the actions. I’d rather be screwed into oblivion for the right reasons, then the wrong reasons. But look what Obama’s class-warefare is doing to your country? Pitching man against man. Dehumanizing the rich. It plays to humanities worst aspects: envy, jealousy and resentment. Is that the future of America? That’s the real consequence. The cultural rejection of property rights and the right to own your own work.

    Thumb up 5

  15. CM

    Well it should be quite obvious given Obama’s run up such a magnificent debt compared to Bush’s, if you want to talk merely about eh brass tax (is that the right expression!? I heard it on Big Bang Theory).

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/get-down-to-brass-tacks.html

    The problem is: which specific policies of Obama’s are you referring to?
    Anyone with any semblance of objectivity knows that a large portion of the debt is the result of previous tax cuts, wars, and the recession (less tax take, higher welfare payments, despite no significant changes in any policies). It’s easy to spot the ones who have no interest in objectivity – they completely ignore or dismiss the primary reasons for the debt, it’s simply Obama’s fault and that’s all there is to it.

    The problem is that your narrative doesn’t resemble reality. It reflects your narrative. Which is why it’s absent of any specifics. It doesn’t even remotely describe the last four years.

    The 47% video indicates that Romney has no interest in being a ‘compassionate conservative’. ‘Class-baiter’, on the other hand, would seem to fit appropriately.

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  16. Kimpost

    I think that Poosh needs to re-read Hal’s post.

    1. He’s not sitting the election out, he’s going third party. There certainly are valid moral arguments for voting third party. Just as there are for not voting at all (but again, Hal’s not sitting anything out).

    2. Hal made it pretty clear that he doesn’t see Obama as the monster you do. So voting for the other guy to prevent Obama from forming a dictatorship doesn’t really apply. Who knows, this might not even be the most important election in the history of mankind? At least not for Hal.

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  17. CM

    BTW, I forgot to say – great post Hal. It really does demonstrate that Obama has been a moderate. He’s done nothing even remotely radical. He came in near the very depth of a terrible world financial crisis and acted as any President would have, based on mainstream economic advice, with the usual constraints any President has.

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  18. ilovecress

    Good post Hal.

    I always found it odd that party affiliation is so strong in the country where the two parties are closest together – so strong in fact that people register ‘as’ a Democrat or a Republican. It seems to me, what that does, is make politics the goal, not the method. The act of backing the right guy (from an influence point of view) is more important than backing the best Governor. Because it’s him vs him, the media makes it all Democrats vs Republicans, Mitt vs Obama – and we talk about teleprompters and doggy roofracks, about secret Muslim conspiracies and magic underpants. And at no point does it become what every election should be about, ideas vs ideas.

    I don’t think of myself as a liberal (although I think you’d all agree I clearly am) because I’ve never actually had to self identify with a party. In the UK, I’ve voted for both parties (and considered Lib Dem). I may have wanted Labour to win – but at no point was I pulling for ‘my guy’. I was given a manifesto by all the parties, and was asked to decide between which was the best path for the future of Britain.

    What it also does is give the third party some real power – because voting for the Lib Dems wasn’t going against ‘your team’.

    Now I’m not saying that it is perfect, and there atre a billion and one things wrong with the British system but it seems to me that at least pretending that it’s a battle of ideas is preferable than setting up a game where elections are decided by the 15 people in Ohio who forgot to register.

    Thumb up 1

  19. Poosh

    So voting for the other guy to prevent Obama from forming a dictatorship doesn’t really apply

    I don’t think Obama wants to form a dictatorship, but I do think he wants to be remembered as the president who started the transformation of America along European lines. A third party is a wasted vote. This is the lesson of 2008 election (from my/our POV). I think my/our entire argument is that Hal doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation: his position was widespread amongst conservatives in 2008 and look where that got them.

    This is not a fight of liberal against conservative. This is not a struggle of Democrat against Republican. The idea that either of our political parties gives a sweaty utility closet fuck about our liberty is absurd. This is a war of government against all of us

    One might put it to you Hal (I haven’t the time for ronpaulbotish hysteria about “the state” and how government is evil) that this is a struggle against man as a collective (Obama) and man as an individual, with a multitude of confused in-betweens (like Romney) stuck in the middle.

    Thumb up 1

  20. blameme

    When I started this post, I expected to say something along the lines of that I was voting for Johnson but was sort of pulling for Obama.

    Holy. Shit.

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  21. Section8

    Hal if Johnson had a shot at winning, I mean if it was close would you really vote for him? Don’t get me wrong you’ve had some great posts over the years, but it seems like when crunch time comes you kind of flip flop around to a predictability you could calibrate an atomic clock with.

    I mean on the one hand you say the GOP won’t do anything, which you may very well be right, but at the same time you’ve defended Snowe and Collins over the years saying the GOP needs them while they helped stonewall Social Security reform, then you say the GOP did nothing to reform. When Ryan wasn’t running you were praising him, now he’s Obama lite. Considering you were praising him just a year ago which was after his vote on Tarp, why is that now an issue, and why wasn’t it then? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy about it either. You know who didn’t vote for Tarp was Ron Paul, and as “nutty” as he is why not more backing of him during the primaries? I know you praise Huntsman, but his record regarding spending wasn’t really any better than Bush’s, and if he were the one selected, I’m sure you’d have a whole laundry list about why he isn’t all that great. Of course maybe he had your backing because you knew he didn’t have a shot in hell and you wouldn’t have to worry about backtracking later?

    Basically it seems when the situation is one where no action could be done even if one wanted to, you’re all for the battle to stop the left, and then when crunch time comes it’s all about whoa wait a minute…

    Keep in mind Romney sure as shit isn’t my first choice, but the populace is different this time around, and may be more active in persuading Romney to take issues like debt seriously.

    Thumb up 3

  22. ilovecress

    It is morally just to take from you, not because people are in need and the government’s purpose is to ensure basic freedoms (or whatever argument to that effect), but, rather, it is to say you have no right to your wealth once it reaches a certain threshold. It says you owe the state. It says the state is master. It condemns and vilifies you if you oppose the collection of your wealth. It explicitly says if you want a better life, you must sacrifice even more for others. As Ayn Rand puts it, it reduces man to a sacrificial animal.

    Firstly, I don’t think that’s nearly what Obama thinks – but secondly the evidence that this is what’s happening – or is going to happen? Tax rates may or may not be the lowest ever, but they’re definitely not the highest. Corporate Profits are doing fine, the stock market is lovely. The Bush Tax cuts have been in place for eleven years, and lots of people have supercomputers in their pockets to tweet with.

    Now I’m not saying that the economy is just peachy, and I’m keen to hear the conservative ideas on getting the economy moving again, and I’m actually fairly luke warm on the flat tax. But to characterise the oterh sides position as ‘wanting people to bow down to the might of the State’ means these ideas never get discussed.

    Put it this way – if you don’t get Romney to be specific now about his economic plans, and make some promises that add up to a balanced budget – then how are conservatives going to hold his feet to the fire? If you’re unhappy with a Romney presidency in 3 years time, he’ll just point to the ‘disaterous policies of communist Obama’ and ask you if you’re happy not ‘bowing down to the might of the state’. All you’re going to be able to hold Romney accountable for is not being as bad as the last guy (sound familiar?)

    Sof you accept that neither candidate is evil, and ask them to lay out exactly what their policy differences are, and let that debate play out in the public arena – then you can hold them to it, and actually get something, other than political fighting donw.

    But then again, unless there’s someone on this post from Ohio, it’s all a moot point anyway.

    Thumb up 0

  23. Kimpost

    I don’t think Obama wants to form a dictatorship, but I do think he wants to be remembered as the president who started the transformation of America along European lines. A third party is a wasted vote. This is the lesson of 2008 election (from my/our POV). I think my/our entire argument is that Hal doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation: his position was widespread amongst conservatives in 2008 and look where that got them.

    It’s pretty clear to me that Hal understands things pretty well. Perhaps we just need to accept that even well informed people can disagree. I consider myself decently informed yet I’m generally speaking left of most people here (including Hal). Way left.

    I obviously don’t agree with your assessment of the situation at all. Obama started nothing of the sorts. The transformation you are talking about has been apparent for a century now.

    Obama introduced (semi-)universal healthcare, other than that he’s done little more than dealing with a financial crisis following Keynesian principles. Bush did the same, McCain would have done the same and so would Romney. Both have supported most of the measures. Where they might differ in degree, they certainly seem to agree on principle.

    It’s not at all difficult to see the similarities between the candidates, especially not for us outsiders. Portraying this election as a choice between polar opposites just makes no rational sense.

    If I were a green or a libertarian in US, I’d certainly consider going third party every time. I’ve voted for three different parties in Swedish elections and would feel very limited if I had to choose between Drones & Rendition and more Drones & Rendition.

    Thumb up 1

  24. Poosh

    I’ll simultaneously agree and disagree with much of what you wrote there Kim.

    Portraying this election as a choice between polar opposites just makes no rational sense.

    I have to state this is wrong mind you. I think most have been clear that Romney is not the polar opposite of Obama. Romney is Romney, he’s not going to restore America to its former glory, he’s not going to save American and everyone knows what they signed up for. He’s a bump in the road. Put it this way, Obama is Bane, and Romney is Catwoman, but there is no Batman.

    Bush did the same,

    Did he? Are you sure?> Correct me if I’m wrong but the magnitude was different. Bush’s stimulus, now I might be wrong here not being clear with American affairs, but it was basically tax rebates for the poor and middle class. I think cress asked above what hard right wingers would do? Well that, but permanent.

    Firstly, I don’t think that’s nearly what Obama thinks

    Well that was what Obama has said, and the implication of his words. And he does advocate higher taxes on the rich. Whether or not he can get his way is a separate issue. The point is the president of the united states in the world’s premier capitalist country has been indulging in hideous class warfare, the bastard even brought it up in the second debate as crude insults towards Romney.

    ;if you’re unhappy with a Romney presidency in 3 years time, he’ll just point to the ‘disaterous policies of communist Obama’ and ask you if you’re happy not ‘bowing down to the might of the state’.

    One probably will be unhappy with a Romney presidency, but it’s better than the alternative. If worse comes to worse he’ll receive the exact same treatment as McCain.

    You know who didn’t vote for Tarp was Ron Paul, and as “nutty” as he is why not more backing of him during the primaries?

    This is what I was thinking, and partly why I was so confused.

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  25. Mississippi Yankee

    Men driven by sinister ideologies drilled into them through university by leftist academics CANNOT BE REASONED WITH, and are not driven by pure compassion: they want to reshape the country, and your very thoughts, in their image: they want to make you into “better men”.

    I wanted to up-thumb this remark Chicago style (as in numerous times)

    Basically it seems when the situation is one where no action could be done even if one wanted to, you’re all for the battle to stop the left, and then when crunch time comes it’s all about whoa wait a minute…

    Poosh and Section8
    Thank you both for articulating my thoughts better than I ever could.

    rich,

    I was here ehen Lee went to China, I also remember this site had WVR then too, and we all knowhow well that turned out. My point is/was this blog always seems to right it’s (no pun intended) just a shade right of center.
    I like to regard that as a feature, not as a fault.

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  26. ilovecress

    Poosh – advocating higher taxes on the rich is not the same as thinking that the State is the master.

    My point exactly. A president Romney will get a free pass for not being Pol BHOt, just as Obama got a free pass for not being Bushitler.

    ps – my prediction for this debate is that Obama can’t win. He absolutely should win, as he is the commander in cheif – so he can’t. All Romney has to do to ‘win’ is to do better than expected, which shouldn’t be too hard.

    Thumb up 0

  27. ilovecress

    Poosh. If your contention is that anyone who raises taxes on the rich necessarily wants State rule, then I’m not sure where the debate is. And if you regard anyone who wants to tax the rich as evil Marxists, then I’m not sure what ‘former greatness’ you’re looking for the US to recapture. Lincoln created the first tax, and Hoover tripled it. Eisenhower had it at 90% and Nixon took capital gains higher, and Reagan supported higher taxes on corporations and capital gains included in the regular tax rate.

    My point isn’t to persuade you that the rich need to pay more taxes – it’s to say that taxing people is the reality, and the differences are about where the line should be drawn. Dismissing one point of view as evil misrepresents the entire debate, and prevents anyone from actually coming up with a solution. You’re giving whoever is the next president a free pass, because they’re never going to be as bad as this fictional Alinsky/Muslim/Marxist/Obama antichrist you’re creating.

    Thumb up 1

  28. Hal_10000 *

    Hal if Johnson had a shot at winning, I mean if it was close would you really vote for him? Don’t get me wrong you’ve had some great posts over the years, but it seems like when crunch time comes you kind of flip flop around to a predictability you could calibrate an atomic clock with.

    Yes. Because his crazier ideas would be neutralized by Congress.

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  29. Mississippi Yankee

    Yes. Because his crazier ideas would be neutralized by Congress.

    Have you missed the blatant misuse of Executive Orders.
    Opps, my bad. You pointed out quite a few of Boosh’s. A lot less of Obungler’s tho…

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  30. Mississippi Yankee

    Hals getting WVR’ed

    Sounds like you’re trying to stifle decent. How liberal of you.

    From now on I’ll be on YOUR side OK?

    Thumb up 1

  31. Section8

    Yes. Because his crazier ideas would be neutralized by Congress.

    Fair enough, I have no issue with the LP and would definitely vote for them at the federal level if there was a shot, and have voted LP in the past and support them more at the local level now. Hell I was a dues paying member for a while there a decade or two ago. Your logic about Johnson was how I felt about Ron Paul who was less of a long shot. Personally, I think you need crazy to end up with sane, and “sane” gets you stupid in the world of politics. But for this time around based on the cards that have been dealt, I’m voting Romney because the fiscal conservative side of the public is energized, and I’m voting more for that (so it can be channeled through Romney) than I am for Romney. Now if everyone falls back to sleep again because “At least it’s not Obama fucking us in the ass”, and top priority is to make sure two homos can’t hold hands, then I’m packing up and I’m going to live in the woods somewhere. I’ve seen enough of Survivorman to make it through at least the afternoon.

    Have you missed the blatant misuse of Executive Orders.

    The LP is not that bad MY, and is far more free market than the GOP. Hal’s statement earlier about pulling for Obama though sure threw me off though, and I still don’t get the logic of voting in people like Snowe because that’s the best you can get from a region. If so, let it be a Democrat so it can’t be said the GOP blew it on things like SS reform. Snowe and Collins were a big reason for that. Need to bring in serious reformers or pressure the ones that aren’t.

    Thumb up 1

  32. ilovecress

    You had a go at Hal for being too hard on your guy. Sounds like you’re the one uncomfortable with dissent. Exactly the same thing happened 4 years ago to Hal and WVR.

    Thumb up 0

  33. Mississippi Yankee

    You had a go at Hal for being too hard on your guy. Sounds like you’re the one uncomfortable with dissent. Exactly the same thing happened 4 years ago to Hal and WVR.

    cress, if you remember 4 years ago Hal and I disagreed exactly for the same reasons Hal and I disagree now. In fact I tried to bet him on the election then, $50.00 with the proceeds going to JimK for site maintenance. Hal declined.

    My beef then, just as now, is Hal’s tendency to say one thing, say another thing and possibly do a third thing. Allow me to paraphrase:
    he’s conservative
    he’ll vote for a man that can’t win
    he has a secret wish that Obama is re-elected.
    (in fact the last two are within this very post and the first is implied here too)

    Are my comments to CM a manifestation of my “uncomfortable with dissent” syndrome too? As for WVR, Lee tried to sharpen his skills and in the end JimK and WVR came to an understanding. The matter of him agreeing with Hal 99.7% of the time simply means I often agree with them both.

    Now if Hal hadn’t skipped 2 of the past 3 Fridays with the Top Five he and I would be ‘laughin-n-scratchin’ in the Autumn sun right now.

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  34. Kimpost

    I was here ehen Lee went to China, I also remember this site had WVR then too, and we all knowhow well that turned out. My point is/was this blog always seems to right it’s (no pun intended) just a shade right of center.
    I like to regard that as a feature, not as a fault.

    This is a right-libertarian leaning blog, you are right there, but you missing Hal’s libertarianism just baffles me. To me it’s apparent in most of his posts. And if that doesn’t cut it, you should check his twitter feed.

    Regarding the contents of this blog, JimK has also stated that he would like to have an actual liberal/leftist contributor to the blog. I believe he said that he’d love the spirited debate. I wasn’t around when WVR was cast out, but I saw it in the archives. I think it was pretty low. How is it that some people seem allergic to differing views? I remember Rann (where is he, btw?) saying something about “the blog no longer feeling like home”, as a comment to some “CM-spamming”.

    Is that it? Because I don’t get it. I personally enjoy discussing matters with people who don’t think as I do. What’s your (others please chip in) rationale for coming here? Is it to come home from a hard days work while relaxing to some good old liberal bashing, or is it to engage in honest debate? I’m not saying that one reason is better than the other, but I’m here for the latter and don’t really understand the former. Try explaining it to me…

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  35. Mississippi Yankee

    This is a right-libertarian leaning blog, you are right there, but you missing Hal’s libertarianism just baffles me. To me it’s apparent in most of his posts.

    I don’t think RTFTLC means what you think it means. And perhaps the difference between (L) and (l) libertarian is lost on you. As far as “missing Hal’s libertarianism” what I find apparent is leaning more towards liberalism especially during an election cycle. That’s not saying he doesn’t lean libertarian when it suits his purpose.

    And if that doesn’t cut it, you should check his twitter feed.

    Hell WILL freeze over before these unruly fingers ever twitter anyone. Christ I have trouble with this full size keyboard.

    I wasn’t aware that JimK desired a ‘liberal/leftist contributor; but makes sense… more traffic.
    Why would you think WVR was driven out? He stops by a couple of times a week to voice his views. Or is this another twitter thang that I’m not privy to?

    I remember Rann (where is he, btw?) saying something about “the blog no longer feeling like home”, as a comment to some “CM-spamming”.

    I too remember Rann, I just don’t remember the same reasons you feel he left. Matter of fact I don’t recall he gave a reason. You and I defer in that department.

    For a moment I thought it odd that you (a left leaner) and ilovecress (a left leaner) have felt a need to come to the defense of an adult that is perfectly capable of sticking up for himself, as he has done before I might add. But then I thought (or will at least pretend) that y’alls Hal rally is because you might no realize how important THIS very election is to us and how strongly we fell about not going down the same road(s) you two gentlemen have found yourselves.

    When I say this is the most-est important election in my life time I really mean it. And I’ve been around since about 7 weeks after Harry S Truman was elected in 1948. So I’ve seen a few clusterfucks get elected and unlike Hal I won’t be happy if this one gets re-elected. I have very little faith in politicians in general therefore I don’t believe ANY congress will be able to reign in this Marxist once his has nothing more to lose.

    After Nov 6th Hal will go back to criticizing democrat and slapping republicans we as a nation will prosecute Eric Holder.
    AMEN

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  36. Kimpost

    Just for the record. I didn’t suggest that was why Rann left, I just remember him stating that he didn’t enjoy the liberal slant of the comment section. It wasn’t about leaving, it was just about not liking the feel of the blog because of that.

    He also expressed such sentiments regarding WVR.

    Why he (much later on) actually left, I don’t know.

    It’s pretty clear that WVR was axed as a contributor because many of the readers complained over his version of conservatism (I suppose many would call him a RINO). JimK and WVR came to an understanding, sure, I didn’t suggest that they became enemies. But fact is, he stopped writing because he was asked to.

    JimK expressed his wishes to find a good liberal contributor in a comment on the old blog, but good ones were hard to find. Since that was years ago and no liberal contributors are onboard yet, I suspect that he changed his mind. Perhaps he realized that this wouldn’t be a right thinking blog if the contributors became liberal. I dunno…

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  37. Section8

    I wasn’t around when WVR was cast out, but I saw it in the archives. I think it was pretty low. How is it that some people seem allergic to differing views?

    Perhaps they aren’t, but simply expect this to be a right leaning outfit. Just like if I tune in to the NFL channel to watch football and it goes from showing a little bit of baseball every now and then to quite a bit of baseball it’s going to piss me off because I’m expecting football. If this site now wants to bill itself as the I don’t know what I am site, then that’s fine, but that didn’t seem to be the intent of this site when I joined as a viewer and I’m sure that’s probably the same feeling with the few remaining right leaning folks that are still left.

    Anyhow it won’t be long before it will just be you, CM, lovecress, and Hal palling around. So congrats on that.

    And yes, Hal may be libertarian, but he does have a habit of pulling for the left whenever the right has a shot at something, be it election, using the debt ceiling to get something pushed through, etc.

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  38. Poosh

    I have to say chums, I have also notice this. Where have all the good folks gone? Ace of Spades? Many of the commentators of old barely say a word and that makes me a sad panda.

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  39. balthazar

    That is the real problem S8, I’ve seen it happen on other forums and blogs. 1 VERY lib person will just spam the place to oblivion (as CM does) and it really starts driving the populous out. People like Kim and Ilovecress arnt the problem, its people like CM that are so disingenuous that is aggravates to the point you dont want bother any more.

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  40. Rann

    Why he (much later on) actually left, I don’t know.

    Since it’s come up, I’ll lay it out. Then go back to lurking.

    It was actually some of the right-wing posters that finally made me decide to leave. I don’t want to get into naming specific names, save for one… frankly I did not feel comfortable having any posts of mine on the same page as posts of Alex’s as a contributor. I do not want to be associated with him in that way because I consider him an extremely vile person. I also did not want to cause a lot of drama and unnecessary hoopla with announcing that I was leaving or explaining why… I thought it might come off as too much of a “It’s him or me” ultimatum when that was not my intention. I just said “Hey, it’s not working out” and I signed out and that was that. I stopped reading period for a good long while, then came back to lurk later.

    Too I found I was displeased with how visceral I had started to take everything. I got too involved and took it too personal many times, and I disliked both seeming and being so angry so much. While I am capable of laying out issues and explaining them, too often I just felt a sense of frustration and “This is so obvious why do I have to explain it to you” or “I’ve been over this repeatedly, why do I have to explain it to you again” that made it far easier to just say “Fuck you”. (I don’t think I need to explain who could inspire such a reaction most easily as it’s fairly obvious.)

    The less I was involved directly the more I was able to just take the posts at their own value. Hal is rather liberal-leaning but without having a more personal stake in the commentary I was also able to acknowledge that he’s probably the most sensible of the active posters. His latent Obama fanboyism and “Republican guilt” come off as more mild personality flaws than real flaws as a political commentator.

    The problems I had with WVR I laid out back on the old site, and I’ve made various similar comments to Hal explaining why I feel he has tonal issues that can hinder his commentary at times. And the problems with the left-wing comments… well, generally I consider you simply misguided and biased, Kimpost. Which are hardly great sins on a political blog. You don’t spam the comments with dozens of one-shot zingers, you don’t get deeply personal, you know how to let an argument rest when it’s clear nothing will come of it. If everyone on both sides could adhere to those three things (but certain people more than others), then ‘twould be a very homey place indeed.

    Overall I don’t comment or post anymore because right now I feel it’s better for everyone for various reasons if I don’t. I don’t need any responses to it either one way or the other… if I feel later that I can and should post I will, but I don’t need anyone else to make that time happen for me.

    Anyhoo, I’m out. I’ll be readin’.

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  41. Section8

    1 VERY lib person will just spam the place to oblivion (as CM does) and it really starts driving the populous out. People like Kim and Ilovecress arnt the problem,

    No argument there. Nothing wrong with a variety of opinions on the comments section, it’s when it becomes stonewall spamming and strategic moves to turn discussions into an endless circle in more of an attempt to wear out your opponent than actually discuss anything that makes things unpleasant. I’ve been trying to ditch the circle more often as of late.

    As for hal, I think he’s a great writer and have stated it many times and don’t want to imply he’s part of the problem here, not in the slightest. I do agree with him about 80% of the time at least, and in the world of politics that would be enough to vote for someone if they were running for office in my opinion, but I’ll post when I don’t agree either, and some of the logic in this thread I find a little perplexing.

    Boobies

    Excellent post :)

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  42. repmom

    Nothing wrong with a variety of opinions on the comments section, it’s when it becomes stonewall spamming and strategic moves to turn discussions into an endless circle in more of an attempt to wear out your opponent than actually discuss anything that makes things unpleasant.

    I don’t understand why some get involved in those endless circle discussions with CM. It’s such a waste of space, and such a killer of otherwise good discussions.

    As for hal, I think he’s a great writer

    I do, too. He’s the main reason I continue to read – as well as comments by a few of the more conservative here. I often don’t agree with Hal, but I appreciate his well-written thoughts. And his respectful replies.

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  43. repmom

    MY, for what it’s worth (and yes, you can tell me to go pound sand) I think you should cut Hal some slack.

    Not that he – or Hal for that matter – need defending – but I see nothing wrong with MY’s comments (replies) to Hal. At least he keeps it clean.

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  44. repmom

    I don’t want to get into naming specific names, save for one… frankly I did not feel comfortable having any posts of mine on the same page as posts of Alex’s as a contributor. I do not want to be associated with him in that way because I consider him an extremely vile person.

    I don’t quite understand the need to dump on Alex at this time, especially if you have indeed continued to lurk, as you say.

    If you didn’t want to make a scene back then, why now?

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  45. Thrill

    Nothing wrong with a variety of opinions on the comments section, it’s when it becomes stonewall spamming and strategic moves to turn discussions into an endless circle in more of an attempt to wear out your opponent than actually discuss anything that makes things unpleasant.

    That’s exactly what it is. I don’t read anything CM posts anymore. Thumbs down and done always. I am always happy to argue with someone who disagrees with me, but he’s just….so boring. Wrong and dull is no way to live.

    It’s pretty clear that WVR was axed as a contributor because many of the readers complained over his version of conservatism (I suppose many would call him a RINO). JimK and WVR came to an understanding, sure,

    And I hate to take cheap shots at WVR at this point, but I was one of his bitterest critics at the time and can tell you that it wasn’t simply disagreement with his views that got him pushed out (even though he never really was a conservative). The issue had to do with his copy-and-paste posting style, post spamming, and refusal to defend his posts. It wasn’t uncommon at one time for WVR to put up seven posts in a day that were 90% block quotes with maybe two sentences of original thought. He posted the way CM comments.

    I’ll even defend Hal here and point out that he’s been consistent in all the years I’ve read his work. We don’t agree on too many things, but I’ve never questioned the quality of his writing or his motives even when I was cursing him over waterboarding and domestic surveillance.

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  46. Thrill

    Heh! I just went through the Archives and found the post where JimK announced that WVR was out as an Author. I saw that I was the one who pushed Rann to take the Author spot.

    Sorry about that, Rann! I’ll avoid arm-twisting over Author spots in the future.

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  47. repmom

    Wow, Thrill. That was a fun reminder of a lot of people who haven’t been around in a long time. Would love to see several of them return – stogy, para, ……..

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  48. Rann

    If you didn’t want to make a scene back then, why now?

    Well, first, because I wasn’t intending to make a scene. Still don’t. I only said anything at all because at least two people seemed at the least to be curious or confused over why I departed. So I clarified. Much as I’m answering you because you specifically asked something of me.

    I’m not “dumping on” Alex. Well. I guess I am in that I’m saying I find him reprehensible. But there’s no getting around it. I find many of his views reprehensible. The number of things I agreed with him on was insufficient to overcome my personal distaste towards him. I may have to occasionally vote for his kind of Republican while holding my nose, but I don’t have to personally associate with them. I hardly made my distaste of him a secret towards the end… in fact, I honestly figured most people would assume that’s what it was since it had gotten so bad at that point I was actually agreeing with CM about him.

    Alex is the primary reason I left originally. I’m saying it because people wondered and because it’s the truth… just saying “Oh it was Alex” without adding “Because I hate him” seemed unlikely to cause any less “What why” reactions than if I just came out and said it. Most of the other reasons… realizing I’d become tired of being angry, that I was taking things too personally, that I wasn’t being as calm and rational as I could be… came afterwards once I actually had some distance.

    I’ve gone over my problems with Alex before, in everything ranging from trying to rationally refute his arguments to simple pragmatism to telling him to drop dead. Stating that I don’t like him now is not news, nor is it an invitation to resume the old arguments. It’s just the simple fact of the matter… I don’t want to associate with him.

    I sincerely hope that adequately answers both your question and those of Kimpost and MY.

    Sorry about that, Rann! I’ll avoid arm-twisting over Author spots in the future.

    No, I’m sorry if I didn’t live up to your expectations. I was glancing back at some of the older posts and saw that one as well. It seems like everyone had a lot of high hopes for me as a front page poster and I’m sorry if I disappointed them.

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  49. ilovecress

    Holy moley – I make one snarky joke and I’ve released a can of worms. I had completely forgotten about WVRs posting. And I wasn’t trying to defend Hal, just being a snark really.

    Now I’m off to get nostalgic in the archives.

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  50. Mississippi Yankee

    1 VERY lib person will just spam the place to oblivion (as CM does) and it really starts driving the populous out. People like Kim and Ilovecress aren’t the problem,

    This may be my ‘go to hell’ moment but I find CM to be a more principled debater then Either Kim or cress. CM will make a declaration, stand by it, on occasion link bomb and even fib but he stands up, never backs down and leaves me with the sense that he believes his own stuff. That doesn’t mean I find him any less infuriating plus I often scroll past his more lengthier comments.

    Kim, on the other hand, leave me with an oily greasy feeling. I view him as the Eddie Haskell persona of this site. It’s for a lot of little reasons, like he is first to judge a new internet scuttlebutt item as a “conspiracy theory” or claim a demonstration such as OWS as a benign protest. He is particularly crafty at never blatantly attacking the right yet will snipe from the sidelines in an effort to get you to disregard your lying eyes. And unlike CM he’ll back up like a Missouri Mule when confronted with facts to his supposition. It’s as if his contrary-ness is contrived.
    ilovecress,imo, is starting down this very same path. And this is not the Cleaver household.

    Now that’s not to say Kim and I wouldn’t enjoy an adult beverage together, plus we both love beautiful women, so there’s that…
    Oh and Kim, if you could introduce me to Noomi Repace I would be forever in your debt and give you “thumbs up” for life. No Shit!

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  51. Kimpost

    Hahaha…

    Nice put down there, MY. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Adding something nice to an insult is a win-win. You come across as a bigger man, and it makes it harder for the guy on the receiving end to respond.

    I liked it. :)

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  52. Mississippi Yankee

    What I am completely baffled about is the vitriol hurled at Alex. Not just Rann but by a few others as well. He’s just about the only person that manages to get under CM’s skin (well there’s SO too but that’s more like fisticuffs). He’s articulate, intelligent and in my estimation straight forward.

    Alex strikes me as a rock-ribbed conservative that is neither wishy-washy nor a gun hoarding radical. Is it his strict belief in the US Constitution? Or the fact that collectivism is his mortal enemy? You must admit he doesn’t suffer fool, ever. And I do hope he picks up the keyboard again.

    Kim, with the exception of the Noomi Repace request I didn’t say anything that I haven’t said before. There’s something about your comments that sets off a ‘spider-sense’ in me, nothing tangible just a “I see what you’re doing there” anti-tingle thing. All bullshit aside if anyone here were to be employed by a leftist Soros funded evil cabal it would be you. Perhaps you and I should stick to T&A discussions… but I know we won’t.

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  53. balthazar

    I’d personally like to know what views of Alex’s that Rann finds so “reprehensible” that he felt the need to stop being a contributor.

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  54. Poosh

    The only beef I have in relation to Alex is a lack of posts from him! But such is life, but I am always eager for an Alex post, do not see the problem!

    And for some reason I thought you (the authors) lot were all like a circle of bros, I didn’t know you were like far apart landwise etc.

    I think Alex has largely saved this website for what it’s worth! (obviously Jim literally saved it…) Though all authors do give some good posts, it’s the Alex ones that made me stay.

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