Gary Johnson 2012

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar North
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    says:

    Well if he keeps it up he’ll end up where all the other honest politicians ended up; unemployed. I don’t want to think about what that says about us as a society, I may start itching to run for the catacombs (and we don’t have any catacombs in Minnesota!).Report

  2. I think Rubio has been refreshingly honest as well. I don’t agree with him on everything but he’s not shy about stating unpopular opinions.Report

  3. Avatar LawMonkey
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    says:

    I love him. But you can see the poison starting work on him in that article when he talks about Sarah Palin and the birthers. If he seriously means to run, and to do it with the GOP, it’ll just get worse from here.Report

  4. I saw Ebert’s tweet and thought exactly the same thing. Were it only so that his generally conservative views actually held by mainstream Republicans.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    I wonder if this was edited into pointlessness or began that way:

    On the marijuana issue, he contends that there are “as many very conservative Republicans” in favor of legalization as there are “what you might call left-wing Democrats” opposed.

    Yes, it’s an unpopular view in both cases. And?Report

  6. Avatar Koz
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    says:

    This is pretty much of a piece with the “last straw” post from yesterday. Oddly enough I agreed with most of it, though I’d just say that your various issues with the mainstream Right are your problem, not theirs. After all, we are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people.

    But as far as this post goes, it hits on one reason why I’m uncomfortable with the dissident Right, or former dissident Right. The whole thing has the ethos of a third grader standing in the checkout line of the 7-11 and deciding if he’d rather have Twinkies or Ding-Dongs, like there’s nothing else important except his momentary whim.

    So who, in particular, do you believe yourself to be accountable to? Or, do you feel that there’s a minimum threshold of contribution to American or some subcommunity of it before it’s acceptable to advocate for things like the health care bill?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz
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      says:

      @Koz, I’m trying to come up with an analogy here.

      How’s this? Abortion.

      Can you imagine a Catholic voter out there who looks at a politician and, first and foremost, looks at his or her opinion on Abortion’s legality?

      Now, maybe, can you imagine a Republican politician who says that Roe v. Wade is settled law and that he just wants to tweak abortion law (maybe allow abortion in the 2nd trimester only after a sonogram or something) but not overturn it. Can you imagine that?

      Now, here’s the hard part, I want you to imagine the Catholic voter saying “I will *NEVER* vote for a politician who supports the murder of infants.”

      Can you do that or is that a bridge too far?

      I ask because I’m going to build on this but if this is waaaay out there, I’d like to know beforehand.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        @Jaybird,

        I don’t quite see how it relates to my comment (which maybe wasn’t as clear as I wanted) but go ahead. Btw, a substantial part of the debate among Catholic prolife activists is not too much different from what you’ve described.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz
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          says:

          @Koz, okay.

          Now I’d like you to imagine a pragmatic Catholic. One who has listened to the voice of reason and has voted for the lesser of two evils every time the opportunity has presented itself.

          “Well, I don’t support abortion at all, let alone 2nd trimester abortion, but this sonogram law is better than what the democrat is going to push for which is nothing.”

          Can you imagine this part? Or have we veered into wacky world?Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            @Jaybird,

            No that’s fine. Again, it’s a pretty typical back-and-forth for prolifers.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz
              Ignored
              says:

              @Koz, Now I’m going to veer off into the difficult part:

              Imagine the Republican politician not changing a god damned thing. I mean, nothing. Doesn’t change or do anything.

              Now imagine that it’s X years later and he’s campaigning again… and he talks about the importance of protecting the unborn.

              Are we in wacky world yet?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Jaybird,

                No that’s certainly plausible, though now you’re more into the hypothetical than real.

                Certainly there’s differing opinions on how much the GOP has delivered and quite a few are less than impressed, but it would be hard for anybody to say the GOP has delivered nothing at all for prolifers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Kos, plausible is what I’m going for, Kos. I’m building an analogy here.

                Now let’s go back to our two Catholics. They are good friends, they go to Knights of Columbus Bingo nights together, they share meals at each others’ houses.

                They get to talking.

                The first (idealist) says to the second (pragmatist): “How do you feel about voting for that particular politician?”

                What answer do you think the pragmatic Catholic would give?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Jaybird,

                I dunno, it seems like there could be more than one answer for that.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Koz, fair enough. What if it happens again? And then again?

                Is there a point at which the more reasonable and pragmatic guy might crack a little bit and realize that he’s been lied to? Keep in mind, he’s reasonable.

                After this happens to him, say, twice could you see him saying “I wish I had voted third party”?

                Three times? Four times?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Jaybird,

                “Is there a point at which the more reasonable and pragmatic guy might crack a little bit and realize that he’s been lied to?”

                Sure.

                I take it you’re following up with some of our earlier discussions as opposed to this particular post?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, now we’re to the interesting part.

                Remember where you said “After all, we are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people.”

                I ask you:

                Can you wrap your head around that there just might be a reason out there to believe that the Republicans have treated enough people out there like the Pragmatic Catholic enough times to understand that your statement “After all, we are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people” sounds like “I care about the fetus”?

                Whether or not you agree is not what I’m shooting for, here. I’m just asking you to acknowledge that there are folks out there who have legit reasons to see this as yet another bold-faced lie.

                Can you do that or would you like to point out that the democrats are a lot worse, metaphorically, on abortion?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Whether or not you agree is not what I’m shooting for, here. I’m just asking you to acknowledge that there are folks out there who have legit reasons to see this as yet another bold-faced lie.”

                I have no doubt you feel this way but it just isn’t so. Or to put it another way, I mean something different than what you’re taking it to mean.

                First of all, when I say that we, meaning the nexus of the mainstream conservative movement, the GOP and Greater Red State America have genuine hope to offer America, that’s a different train of thought than simply saying “The D’s suck.” or “The D’s are worse than us.” Even though both are true and both are a justification for voting GOP if we needed one.

                We really don’t have to accept the welfare state as the real life equivalent of the Borg in Star Trek, assimilating everything in its path. We can accept responsibility for handling our problems and struggle or succeed as the case may be.

                Now, most of the time at this point you like to say, “I don’t believe you. GWB gave us Medicare Part D, etc.” First of all, I’m sure that we’d disagree about the existential nature of the Republican Party. But much more important than that, if you don’t believe the GOP represents the best hope for limited government in America today, that’s your problem not the Republicans’. Limited government doesn’t come around like a waiter with the hors d’oeuvre tray where you get pick which one is the tastiest. Limited government is an ongoing living commitment and right now the GOP is the one we’ve got.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Kos, “But much more important than that, if you don’t believe the GOP represents the best hope for limited government in America today, that’s your problem not the Republicans’.”

                And we’re back to discussing fetuses again.

                You know what Latin for “baby” is, Koz?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Jaybird,

                Now, most of the time at this point you like to say, “I don’t believe you. GWB gave us Medicare Part D, etc.”

                And TARP. And two wars, at least one of which was wholly unnecessary. And the national security state, which reserves the right to kidnap and torture me or anyone else it considers a threat. And what does the GOP offer me next? An even stronger security state, threats of a third war, and an unwillingness to talk any sense about the deficit.

                if you don’t believe the GOP represents the best hope for limited government in America today, that’s your problem not the Republicans’.

                I would say that not getting my vote is their problem, not mine.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Jaybird,

                “And we’re back to discussing fetuses again.”

                Now you have lost me, you can take it from here.

                On a perhaps unrelated note, I want to emphasize the part about Greater Red State America. They are the third item of my nexus (the others are the GOP Establishment and the mainstream conservatives), and in some ways they are the most important one. They represent the legitimate sovereignty of citizens for America as a republic.

                That means, the cause of limited government has to be contested in terms of what they want, as opposed to what you want or I want. For good or ill, they have acquiesced to things like the drug war. On the other hand, they plainly did not acquiesce to the health care bill. So, how are we supposed to successfully advocate for limited government without the strength of republican legitimacy if we can’t do it with?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “I would say that not getting my vote is their problem, not mine.”

                Really? I completely disagree. The GOP has already lost everything there is to lose, we still have a way to go. The GOP didn’t get your vote and now we have double digit unemployment. It won’t always be this way but for now we need them more than they need us.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The GOP didn’t get your vote and now we have double digit unemployment.

                The roof started to fall in while Bush was still president. You need to explain why McCain would have already ended this recession.

                On a perhaps unrelated note, I want to emphasize the part about Greater Red State America. […] They represent the legitimate sovereignty of citizens for America as a republic.

                Why is a Kansan a more legitimate citizen than a New Yorker?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                “The roof started to fall in while Bush was still president. You need to explain why McCain would have already ended this recession.”

                He wouldn’t have. But the particular depth of this recession (and the substantial probability that things are going to get worse before they get better) is substantially Obama’s fault and that of the liberals who support him and the Demo majorities in Congress.

                We need legitimately high growth for our economy to succeed and that requires capital and entrepreneurship. Capital and entrepreneurship cannot flourish in an environment where various arms of the government are looking to expropriate the capital base for politically favored ends. Period, end of.

                I don’t think McCain would be a particularly great President, but simply by doing nothing he would dramatically improve the economy relative to Obama in two ways. #1, he has no particular appetite to expand the welfare state beyond where it is already. #2, he has no inclination to think the private capital base is his personal piggy bank to spend as he sees fit.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Why is a Kansan a more legitimate citizen than a New Yorker?”

                Because we have to advocate for the things we want out of the resources that we have. New York (and New Yorkers) have spent all they have and much more on top of that. Kansas (and Kansans) haven’t.

                Therefore Kansas (and Kansans) have the means to advocate for this or that in the public arena after they have already satisfied their own obligations.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, For good or ill, they have acquiesced to things like the drug war. On the other hand, they plainly did not acquiesce to the health care bill. So, how are we supposed to successfully advocate for limited government without the strength of republican legitimacy if we can’t do it with?

                And we’re back to the topic of abortion.

                Abortion, metaphorically, is what I care about. The GOP runs, always, as the alternative.

                And nothing is done. Nothing is ever done. We have a metaphorical holocaust on our hands with millions of infants dismembered every year.

                And you sit there and talk about how important it is to oppose the democrats as if you weren’t complicit in that pile of tiny little body parts.

                Again, I’m not asking you to change your mind.

                I’m just asking you to realize what you sound like to not only Principled Catholics but Pragmatic ones.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Because we have to advocate for the things we want out of the resources that we have. New York (and New Yorkers) have spent all they have and much more on top of that. Kansas (and Kansans) haven’t.

                You do realize that the federal government, in the aggregate, transfers money from blue states to red ones.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “And we’re back to the topic of abortion.”

                Forgive me for being dense, but I’m not following you here.

                Maybe part of the issue is that we are working under different assumptions of what the consequences of “They lied to me” are supposed to be.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Kos, I am saying that the consequences of “they lied to me” include the following:

                When a guy shows up in a comment thread and tries to explain that if you care, if you truly care, about abortion then you’ll vote for Republicans, the guy needs to understand that he will be automatically assumed to be either lying or naive to the point where he hasn’t yet noticed the pile of fetuses. Maybe, of course, he’s just “Pragmatic” and still voting for the people lying to him.

                You’ll notice no “gee, maybe he’s right” in the above.

                That’s what the consequences are.

                What do you think the consequences ought to be?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Maybe, of course, he’s just “Pragmatic” and still voting for the people lying to him.”

                First of all, I think you might be getting the idealist vs. the pragmatist backward for what you’re trying to argue. It’s the pragmatist who can justify voting R on relative grounds but the idealist can’t support the R’s for the sake of avoiding being tainted by the R’s compromises on the abortion issue. But then again, I may just be misunderstanding you.

                Part of the problem might be that the situation of abortion vs fiscal conservatism or whatever aren’t close enough to make the analogy work. Or, that the GOP (or prolifers) are just one part of the political establishment, ie not God, and therefore only have partial control over public policy.

                An addition to misunderstanding the consequences of “they lied to me”, I also suspect that part of the problem is that your beef is against what I’m calling Greater Red State America as much as or more than the GOP. But I don’t know for sure because I’m not completely following your train of thought.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Kos, I’ll note that you didn’t answer my question. What do you think the consequences ought to be? You say I misunderstand them. I’m not seeing where you said what the consequences should be.

                I suspect you misunderstand what I’m shooting for here. I’m not trying to get you to convert or anything like that. I’m just trying to get you to see what you sound like when you say “After all, we are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people.”

                I’m trying to get you to look at the pile of dead baby limbs/heads/torsos/hands/feet, Koz. Now try to imagine what you sound like to a pro-lifer.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I suspect you misunderstand what I’m shooting for here.
                “I’m not trying to get you to convert or anything like that. I’m just trying to get you to see what you sound like when you say “After all, we are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people.””

                Oh I definitely get that part, I’m just trying to get to the point where we’re comparing apples to apples so we’re not talking past each other.

                As this applies to abortion, I’m not getting who has lied to whom and whether it’s the pragmatist or the idealist prolifer that’s supposed to cut bait on the GOP.

                As this applies to limited government and fiscal conservatism, among other things I don’t accept the premise that you’ve been lied to because I don’t necessarily see as how you’ve been promised anything.

                This is the part about Greater Red State America that I should have been more clear about sooner. We I write things like, “We are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people,” to be more precise what I mean is that we are the ones who are offering hope for prosperity and limited government according to their priorities, not yours (or mine). As a practical matter, that’s a bigger difficulty for you than me, but in principle it’s the same.

                In addition there’s the issue of what the consequences are for “they lied to me” which when we get there might be less than you suspect but first I want to get to who it is that’s lied to you and what lies they have told.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Koz, In addition there’s the issue of what the consequences are for “they lied to me” which when we get there might be less than you suspect but first I want to get to who it is that’s lied to you and what lies they have told.

                I’d want to point out that “what lies they have told” is kind of immaterial. When it comes to “who it is that’s lied to you”, I’d say it’s two (maybe three) distinct groups.

                The first would be the politicians themselves. They campaign on, for example, abortion. Limiting it, making sure that it becomes illegal, *SOMETHING*. And, of course, once in office they do diddly squat about it.

                The second would be the pragmatic Catholic voter who says something like “this politician is the only one offering any hope at all”.

                The third would be the person who lies to themselves when they think that the politician will actually do something this time, rather than the nothing he did the last 7 times he’s been elected.

                I don’t necessarily see as how you’ve been promised anything.

                And that’s fair. Absolutely. Now I ask you to look at “We are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people” again.

                And try to imagine what that sounds like.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                “Now I ask you to look at “We are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people” again.”

                I’m not following most of your argument, but I’m absolutely standing behind this. In fact, for me at least it’s tremendously important. Again, with the caveat that we offering hope of prosperity and limited government to the American people according to their priorities not yours.

                Aside from that, once I do understand your argument about who has lied to who, I suspect it will make less difference than you suppose. The fact that Nixon lied to various parties didn’t mean that the Reagan candidacy and the Reagan Administration didn’t have real hope to offer America when we ought to be able to see that they plainly did.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, back to abortion.

                Were there more abortions under Reagan than under Carter?

                Were there more abortions under Bush I than under Reagan?

                Were there more abortions under Bush II than under Clinton?

                How much was the abortion ball moved under each particular president?

                Is it fair to point out that Dubya had majorities in the House and Senate for 4 heady years in his 8 year presidency?

                And, once again, did diddly squat?

                At what point are we allowed to say that “We are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people” is, if not a bald lie, at the very least monumentally pathetic in the face of the actual goings-on… at least on the subject of abortion?

                Look at the pile of body parts again, before you answer.

                And try to keep in mind what you will sound like to a pro-life Catholic.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                “Were there more abortions under Reagan than under Carter?

                Were there more abortions under Bush I than under Reagan?

                Were there more abortions under Bush II than under Clinton?”

                I don’t know.

                “How much was the abortion ball moved under each particular president?”

                Under some, quite a bit. Under others not much.

                “Is it fair to point out that Dubya had majorities in the House and Senate for 4 heady years in his 8 year presidency?”

                Abortion is relatively unique in that the overall legality of abortion has been removed from the political process by judicial fiat. Which, doesn’t necessarily absolve our political class of their responsibilities wrt abortion, it colors it a great deal.

                This is not exactly an obscure subject. Among other things there was a very controversial symposium on this subject in First Things in 1996.

                Clearly the GOP is the best hope to end the abortion license as well, though exercise of it for many years beforehand is still gruesome.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Koz, remember when Dubya vetoed a stem-cell research bill?

                That was his first veto.

                From what I understand, fiscal conservatives were told that they should totally support this because, finally, Dubya was standing up to government spending. Remember?

                Good times.

                But, and here’s the point, would you say that a good Catholic might look at the scoreboard and say something to this effect: “when you say ‘We are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people’, it hurts me deeply because it communicates that you must think I’m pretty friggin’ stupid”?

                Do you see how they might be able to say that? At all?

                Or do they just not understand political realities and, let’s face it, abortion is a tough nut to crack, and so on and so forth?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                They might be able to say that, but not wrt the stem cell veto.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Koz, really? That was a bright and shining moment for Life?

                Who was in the majority in the House and Senate at the time of that bill’s crafting to have Dubya veto it?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Okay. Yes, it would be reasonable for anti stem-cell activist to declare the GOP Congress and the GOP in general anathema for passing the stem cell funding bill.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Koz, okay. Great.

                Now I just want you to pretend that someone is trying to explain to not only a devout Catholic but a Pragmatic one that the Republican Party is the only party that understands their concerns.

                The problem isn’t that you believe such a thing, Koz. You’re still very pragmatic and reasonable.

                I just think that you don’t understand what you sound like to the devout. When you say something like “We are the ones who are offering legitimate hope for the American people”, you say it in such a way that makes it seem like you think that we’re really friggin’ stupid.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I think pragmatic means the opposite of what you’re taking it to mean. A pragmatic prolifer would vote GOP because of the party’s opposition to abortion, even if they are much weaker on stem cells.

                As far as your larger point goes, I think you’re misunderstanding my caveat, and I think it’s fair to say I’ve made that pretty clear by now if didn’t before.

                The GOP is the only legitimate hope for the cause of prosperity and limited government in America today. That is, prosperity and limited government as it’s understood by Greater Red State America and the American people in general. If, for you, limited government means the end of the drug war and legalized gay marriage, as is likely, it doesn’t mean the GOP is going to do what you want. Instead, wrt limited government you get to decide if you want to join the rest of the American people on their terms, or not.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, so your amended statement is that the Republican Party is a really good party for people who don’t agree with the folks on this website on a lot of things and you don’t understand how someone like E.D. can get excited about Gary Johnson when, after all, the GOP is the only party offering legitimate hope?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, I suppose that’s not fair.

                I’d just like to point out, once more, that this site has folks that are a lot more like the devout Catholic Pro-lifers than the Pragmatic ones… and you coming here and talking about how great the Republicans are on Abortion sounds exceptionally hollow.

                The closest thing to an Abortion victory that the Republicans can point to is either Bush’s veto of a bill the GOP House/Senate passed or pointing to two somewhat conservative Justices with two different somewhat conservative Justices.

                You use language as if pro-lifers ought to be thrilled with the Republicans rather than language that explains, yes, I understand that you have legitimate complaints against the supposedly Conservative party that supposedly cares about Life… instead you approach such folks as if it is self-evident that people who care about life vote for the party of Eisenhower.

                Republicans have been shown to be inveterate liars who do not care about Redstate America but only about gaining and holding power… and, for the time being, they’re back to telling lies about limited government rather than lies about compassion.

                I understand that either you’re thrilled with the Republican Party or that, hey, they’re better than Democrats and so you’re stuck with the Republican Party you have, not the Republican Party you wish you had. That’s fine. Keep voting for them.

                I do very much wish that you’d talk to pro-lifers as if you understood that they have reason to be less than enthusiastic than if you can’t believe how stupid and stubborn they are for not seeing how the Republicans are the only party that cares about the things that Pro-lifers care about.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Not quite.

                My original point in this thread, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, was that our ability our ability to project our political wants into the world at large is a function of the resources we have available for it. This includes money but is not limited to it: it’s also a matter of demographics, culture, intent, and so on. Greater Red State America has these resources, you and Erik don’t. Therefore GOP represents the hope of prosperity and limited government as it’s understood by most of America, not you and Erik. What you or Erik or most libertarians want, might still get done, or might not. But it’s not likely to be first in the priority queue.

                This gets into an important intellectual lacuna for most libertarians. The exercise of private property (or any other exercise of autonomy) is individual, but the traditions and culture that underlie it are collective. Without the underlying culture or traditions there is no autonomy, and some form of collectivism, typically Hobbsean, takes over.

                Therefore, it’s a mistake to think that you can choose limited government while somehow repudiating the worldview of Greater Red State America. All that is just choosing a bleaker version of collectivism.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Koz, so how’s this?

                When politicians like Gary Johnson show up, we will get excited about them and do what we can to support them.

                When politicians like, oh, Mike Huckabee show up, we’ll do something else.

                And in threads devoted to Gary Johnson, we can talk about how Gary is a particular politician who says the right things for once… and when people tell us that the Republicans are the party of hope and limited government in the same breath as the majority of Republican Politicians are lying about compassion, we’ll point out that, no thanks, we’d rather vote our conscience.

                And then you can rail about how stupid people who vote their conscience are when we’re just one person and the people who don’t give a shit about the mountain of dead babies and, quite frankly, have not done a god damn thing in thirty years of lying about it, seriously, can help us get a little closer to the day when no more babies will be dismembered.

                For my part, Koz… I’m tired of the stench of the pile of bodies. I’m tired about being lied about it. And I’ll be damned (no pun intended) if I help one more abortion enabler get into a position where he can lie to me about the stuff that matters to me.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                @Koz,

                So let me get this straight. Jaybird, Erik, me, etc. all profess a strong belief in limited government. With perhaps some slight deviations, we all generally define “limited government” as “x.” Republicans and Red State America (which apparently does not include rural Arizona and Mystery, Colorado) likewise profess an ironclad belief in limited government, but with some slight deviations, they generally define “limited government” as “y.” “Y”, in practice and often even in rhetoric, turns out to share relatively little in common with “x,” and indeed often turns out to be the opposite of “x.”

                Blue State America and Democrats do not profess a belief in limited government at all, but rather profess a belief in “social justice,” which they define as “z.” It turns out that “z,” both in practice and rhetoric, has no less in common with “x” than does “y.”

                Meanwhile, there’s also a handful of crazy fringe kooks who both rhetorically and in practice believe in something reasonably close to “x.” These kooks, however, have no shot at power.

                Why in the world should we support “y”? Moreover, why in the world should we not do everything we can to point out that, as far as we’re concerned, “y” has nothing in common with limited government and in fact does far more to increase the power of government than it does to limit that power? How does doing this hurt the cause of limited government as we understand it?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Hmmmm, are you actually prolife or is this one big counterfactual/hypothetical?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, not particularly. I mean, I have pro-life sympathies… but I also believe firmly in a right to Privacy that means that The State doesn’t have the right to know what’s going on in any given Doctor’s Office.

                But whenever I talk about the failures of the Republicans toward Fiscal Conservatives, they get all huffy. I find that when I use Social Conservative arguments, they treat those with kid gloves. I think it has something to do with God.

                In any case, I am pretty solidly pro-choice.

                But, if I were pro-life to the degree that I’m small government, it’s not like I’d see the Republicans as having done diddly squat either. I was guessing that you’d have more sympathy for a pro-life argument than a small government one.

                Most “rah-rah” Republicans do, for some reason.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Why in the world should we support “y”?”

                For a couple of reasons. First, let’s look at y. We have, like every other industrial democracy, a substantial tradition of folk Marxism. Ie, the mentality that creating economically valuable things is a given or in any case nothing we can do much about one way or the other. The point of the game is to get these valuable things to the right people, either by need or political favor or some other criteria.

                But, almost unique among major industrialized nations, we also have a tradition of what I’ll call anti-folk Marxism for lack of a better word. That is, that economically valuable things that we get are more or less a function of the time and effort we put into creating them, allowing for vagaries and inequities of distribution that we can’t do much about.

                In short, limited government = y = anti-folk Marxism.

                And because of the resources available to Greater Red State America, and if we catch a break here or there, our side, the anti-folk Marxists, can beat the folk Marxists and win a big one for the cause of limited government in America. For me, that’s a worthy fight that anyone who believes in limited government should be honored to join, and that goes no matter who wins it.

                Second, let’s emphasize the whole resource thing I mentioned a few comments ago. The ability to project our political wants into the public arena costs, and costs a lot. Capital-L Libertarians don’t have the demographic or financial resources to fight this battle. Greater Red State America does. And he who pays the piper calls the tune (again, something a libertarian should get).

                Finally, I have real affection for the distilled opinion of Greater Red State America, which is much different than saying it is infallible. But even if sometimes, it is wrong, stupid or myopic, it’s better than the alternatives. As far as sovereignty goes, there’s rarely any percentage in trying to second-guess it. In fact this is the major reason why America is a different country, and a better country, than the West European industrial democracies. Over there, the political class puts a tight leash on the people and tries to handle the big-ticket problems themselves. Of course they fail miserably. Over here, the citizens are still sovereign and the big issues flow through to the citizens themselves who get to exercise some judgment of how to handle them. We win in this arrangement because we have the capacity and flexibility to adapt to the complex world whereas the Euro-nomenklatura doesn’t. That comes straight from Hayek and again it’s something that every libertarian ought to know.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Jaybird, ….And yet “y” continues to be no closer to “x” than “z.” Indeed, the friends I know who believe in “z” are almost always far, far closer to my worldview than my friends who believe in “y,” both politically and culturally.

                I am quite certain I’d be happier with a President Kucinich than I would be with a President Romney.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “But whenever I talk about the failures of the Republicans toward Fiscal Conservatives, they get all huffy. I find that when I use Social Conservative arguments, they treat those with kid gloves. I think it has something to do with God.”

                Okay, got it. It would help if you were a little more clear regarding when you’re arguing on your own behalf as opposed to channeling somebody else.

                I think that your idea of “devout Catholic analog libertarians” is something of a non sequitur, which we’d find out if you tried to flesh the idea out a little more. As far as why the mainstream conservatives care about about accountability to prolifers, one reason is right in your comments. The exercise of the abortion license over the last thirty years or whatever has been a gruesome thing and if we haven’t been able to prevent it, we want to take some pains not be responsible for it or be associated with it. We don’t care as much about separating ourselves from ordinary legislative logrolling.

                Finally, I want to emphasize that a lot of your beef isn’t necessarily with the GOP but Greater Red State America and the American people in general. The exercise of autonomy is an individual thing but the culture and traditions that underlie are collectively constituted.

                For the most part, Greater Red State America rejects folk Marxism. The GOP and the mainstream conservative intelligentsia can concentrate and focus that energy in the political arena, and if we catch a break here or here we can beat the other team and send them home crying in their welfare check beer. We can’t do that for most of the quirkier libertarian agenda items.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, It would help if you were a little more clear regarding when you’re arguing on your own behalf as opposed to channeling somebody else.

                That’s the wacky thing about arguments. They’re supposed to stand up whether or not the person giving them “believes” in them. Either you understand that the Republican Party has repeatedly failed the people you allegedly have real affection for or you don’t.

                You’re demonstrating, over and over, that you don’t.

                Just one more term, I’m sure. Maybe they’ll deliver. Just one more.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Just one more term, I’m sure. Maybe they’ll deliver. Just one more.”

                It would help if you were a little more clear about what in particular this comment is in response to.

                As far as what Republicans have delivered on in general wrt limited government, the cabinet isn’t exactly bare. I don’t know how old you are but in my lifetime there’s Reagan tax cuts in 1981, 1984 and 1986. Gramm-Rudman. Welfare reform in 1996. Bush tax cuts. We also defeated Hillarycare once, and fought Obamacare to the bitter end. And even though we lost that one in Congress in the end we’ll probably end up winning that one too.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Tax cuts haven’t limited government. The opposite, in fact: they’ve enabled its growth by divorcing spending from revenues.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Mike Schilling, Exactly. And the thing is that ultimately spending quite literally is taxation. All the Bush tax cuts succeeded in doing was push the date when we have to pay for that spending back a few years.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, and it’s like telling pro-lifers that Bush made serious inroads with regards to abstinence-only education.

                While, technically, there are people out there who care about these things, YOU’RE IGNORING THE PILE OF BODY PARTS.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
              Ignored
              says:

              Of course. This is where I say that you and Jaybird are just talking a big game about limited government but really don’t care very much about it. I don’t know if that bugs you but it seems to bother Jaybird a fair bit. Unfortunately I don’t know another way to put it.

              http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1752

              For example, I find this page to be completely compelling. We, meaning the nexus between the GOP, the mainstream conservative intelligentsia, and Greater Red State America have the hope of prosperity and limited government on offer. But by all means keep talking about DADT or whatever. I’m sure that’s important.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, I’m not sure how much value “hope” has these days. It will take a lot to convince me that your coalition offers anything toward prosperity or meaningful limited government. When Ron Paul gets a position of power within the establishment let me know and I’ll start taking you seriously. With the current list of players, that’s impossible.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                I dunno, I think hope is tremendously valuable. And one of the saddest parts of the Obama Administration (once you can get past seeing everything as a racial issue) is that he is unnecessarily creating despair in the American people.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, Honestly Koz, the things you say. Please expand on how Obama is creating despair in the American people. It should make for a fascinating read.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                For a few reasons. But the main one I was talking about in the last comment had to do with the folk Marxist mentality of Obama, the Demo’s in Congress and the liberals who support them.

                Because they are greedily waiting to pluck the private capital base like a vulture. Capital and entrepreneurial leadership are on the sidelines waiting for a better day. Nobody’s hiring.

                In this environment, they’ve thrown the marginally employable out of work and taken away any legitimate hope of finding it.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz, In all seriousness – how many liberals do you actually know and/or regularly communicate with?

                Also, while I object to virtually everything the Obama Administration has done with regards to the economy, your comment seems ill-timed given that we’re coming off a month where the private sector added a net of 230,000 jobs with 2/3 of private industries adding more jobs than they cut. It may well be that we’re headed for a W-shaped recession or even a depression, but it is factually inaccurate to say that, at this very moment “capital and entrepreneurial leadership are on the sidelines” rather than hiring or that the Obama Administration has “taken away any legitimate hope” for the marginally employable to find work.

                It’s also worth pointing out the global nature of the recession, and that the nation that has best weathered the storm thus far seems to be the one to our north, despite its socialized medicine and welfare state.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “In all seriousness – how many liberals do you actually know and/or regularly communicate with?”

                Basically, just about everyone I talk about political-type stuff with, except for a few colleagues at work. Partly this is a function of the fact that I’ve rarely if ever lived in a Republican stronghold. Partly I’m a somewhat of a contrarian, preach-to-the-congregration kind of guy.

                About unemployment, you make a very important point, though I would draw different conclusions from it. From a Keynesian, inventory accounting, business cycle pov, the recession is over and has been for a little while.

                Pessimistically, you could say we’re in the middle of seasonal trend of higher employment against a secular trend of lower employment. I think it’s simpler and more accurate to simply say that we’re looking for the New Normal and everything is up in the air.

                And if, in the New Normal, we remain in the current folk-Marxist capital environment, the marginally employable will not find work. And if you look at the differentiation of structural unemployment vs the other, shorter-term varieties, they’re not even looking for it.Report

      • Avatar equsnarnd in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        You mean those hypocritical Catholics who run around in Africa selling the idea of not using condoms which condemns people to aids. That anyone actually admits to being a Catholic is evidence of anthropological degeneracy.Report

        • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to equsnarnd
          Ignored
          says:

          Mr. Kain, you once asked me for examples of routine disrespect in these quarters for religion, specifically Christianity.

          This is one, but by no means the only. Esp lately. America was founded on religious pluralism, and this ain’t it.Report

          • Avatar Simon K in reply to tom van dyke
            Ignored
            says:

            The best you can do is a comment by some guy who’s never posted here before in an 8 month old thread?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Simon K
              Ignored
              says:

              What drives me nuts is that he replied to me and how it completely and totally missed the point of the post *AND* also completely misunderstands what a “hypocrite” is.

              It’s, like, the quintessential unearthing of a thread. It adds nothing to chew on, it fails to apprehend the post its responding to, and it screws up even on its own terms.

              Personally, I’m curious as to how in the heck he got here, of all places, in the first place. Surely there are more recent posts that could have him complain about Catholicism! Surely!Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      @Koz,

      So what do we tell the people now in prison because they got caught in their own homes with a bag of weed? “Sure, it’s a failed policy, but we’ll let you rot because we’re trying to be grown-ups?”

      Conservative or not, Gary Johnson’s proposals would represent a huge improvement in our drug policy. Who am I accountable to in society? Those who have been most wronged. Right now I’d say it’s the nonviolent drug offenders. Let’s take the boot off their necks.Report

      • Avatar Will in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        @Jason Kuznicki, No, I think those most wronged are the wrongfully convicted. I was reading earlier this morning about a fellow released from prison after 30 years. He was convicted of a raping an 11-yr old girl, but the DNA evidence exonerated him.
        That man was convicted in a court of law with a full hearing of the evidence.
        That the man could ever be in prison for 1 day shows how far we still have to go as a people.

        Non-violent drug offenders broke the law. If the law changes after the law was violated doesn’t change the fact that the law was violated in the first place.
        Other than that, property crimes are classified as “non-violent,” and studies show that drug offenders tend to commit a lot of property crimes. I have little sympathy for those people. People that work deserve to enjoy the fruit of their labor, or at the very least, to be able to provide sustenance for themselves by it.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Will
          Ignored
          says:

          @Will,

          I certainly agree that the wrongfully convicted have it bad. I don’t know how many of them are out there. They could be very many. I doubt they are as many as those simply in for drug possession or sale. And while these did break the law, the law itself was grossly unjust. I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

          As to property crimes being classified as non-violent, sure. They are. But so are perjury, bribery, and public urination.

          What does any of that have to do with non-violent drug crimes? Crimes like possession, distributing, intent to distribute, and the absurd drug paraphernalia laws? As far as I can tell, and unless I’ve missed something, you’ve brought up an irrelevant subject.Report

          • @Jason Kuznicki, Can we all agree that distributing crack, heroin or meth is a lot different than selling a bag of weed? All drugs are not created equal. I think if we’re going to discuss mandatory sentencing for drugs we need to admit there are degres of severity. Possession of a small amount of any drug? Not a big deal in my book. Possession of a shit ton of weed? Also not a big deal. Possessing a kilo of heroin? Yeah, throw the book at them.Report

            • Avatar Will in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
              Ignored
              says:

              @Mike at The Big Stick,
              Actually, that’s sort of what I was getting at. I was referring to a sudy by the Univ. of Miami which tracked the arrests of heroin addicts for three years. Prostitution and shoplifting were tops on the list.
              So, while those are not “drug crimes” per se, they are associated criminal activity nevertheless.
              I don’t have a problem with decriminalization or even legalization (which I consider to be the better option) for marijuana; making it retroactive seems to be a legal bee’s nest. Other harder drugs I take issue with, although I’m open to anything unrefined: coca leaves, mushrooms, Jimson weed, etc.

              For that matter, I am decidedly against paraphernalia laws in principle. If I find a railroad spike and pick it up, that doesn’t make me the conductor on a train.Report

              • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to Will
                Ignored
                says:

                @Will, You and I are in agreement here Will. Marijuana just isn’t a problem in any way you look at it. Obviously if it’s legalized I want to see restrictions similar to alcohol (no driving while high, no one under a certain age, etc) but it’s pretty harmless.

                Other drugs (your processed drugs baseline is a good one) have a lot more negative impact both directly in terms of addiction and drug-related deaths and also the ancillary problems that come with addiction.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
              Ignored
              says:

              @Mike at The Big Stick,

              There are all sorts of compromises that I think could easily address your concerns. What would you say about this, for example?

              –Legalize marijuana, magic mushrooms, peyote, LSD, and their derivatives. Make them commercially available only to adults (cultivation however is allowed). Criminalize driving, operating heavy machinery, or committing crimes under the influence.

              –Legalize raw opium under similar controls. Make heroin available to addicts strictly under clinical conditions.

              –Wait ten years and see what happens.

              What do you say?Report

              • @Jason Kuznicki, No problems with #1. Completely opposed to #2.Report

              • Avatar Will in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                @Jason Kuznicki, I take exception to the criminalization provision, and for the same reason that I’m against drunk driving laws. Anything that you can do in a vehicle, ie speeding, swerving, driving erratically, is already illegal. Being intoxicated while doing it doesn’t make it any more of a public safety hazard. At most, it should be an aggravating factor, and not a separate crime in itself.

                I also take issue with the “derivatives” part. I included coca leaves in the list above because the leaves are at a lower concentration and are less addictive and less toxic.
                Brewing is now legal in the US, but distillation is not. Part of this is the public safety hazard of the concentration of fusel alcohols in distillation. You recognize that as a hot alcohol taste, and it gives you a bad hangover. It is toxic at higher levels. That said, there are certain drinks (such as eisbock and apple jack) which rely on cold distillation for their production. What they’re distilling from has been fermented in a way as to minimize fusel production (it’s a by-product of the yeast).

                I think the line at refined products vs. unrefined products is a good one. I would include LSD and ecstasy as benign, but I would rather see the illegality maintained rather than be obliged to allow other chemical substances.

                The issue of heroin addiction is something else entirely. Our solution in this country is to get them addicted to something else which is even more addictive. It just doesn’t make sense.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                @Jason Kuznicki, I’d be willing to accept a lot of immediate social costs for heroin if it meant depriving the international cartels resources. I’d rather see poppies grown in California and deal with the fall out, than see them grown in Afghanistan and have to deal with the unintended costs.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
        Ignored
        says:

        @Jason Kuznicki

        “Who am I accountable to in society? Those who have been most wronged. Right now I’d say it’s the nonviolent drug offenders. Let’s take the boot off their necks.”

        I suspect my question wasn’t very clear, otherwise your answer is a terrible moral choice.

        The point being, that our ability to decriminalize marijuana or advocate for gay marriage or whatever, costs. We can, if we choose, pay those costs if we have the resources to spend.

        But for a substantial number of people who spend their energies advocating for this or that in the public arena, especially those who advocate for liberal policies, are running a deficit in terms of satisfying their own personal obligations.

        Or from another perspective, it’s harder to earn a legitimate living now than it was 5 years ago. For many people (not necessarily you) complaining about marijuana laws and the rest of it is an unwelcome distraction.

        But just because it’s harder to earn a living now than it was 5 years ago, there are still some people who are doing it. Those people have credibility. Others, who are or are trying to collect some kind of welfare instead, less so.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Koz
          Ignored
          says:

          @Koz,

          I fully expect legalizing marijuana to pay for itself within one or two budget years. Gay marriage, I’m less sure of, because I don’t expect it will have a large overall effect either way. But saying that legalizing marijuana “has costs” seems to neglect to me what are the obvious benefits, not just for the wronged, but for all of us.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
            Ignored
            says:

            @Jason Kuznicki

            Okay, marijuana legalization isn’t the best example. There are two kinds of costs that I was talking about. First is the cost (including, but not limited to money) of advocating or implementing a policy change. Second is the cost of the new policy. Marijuana legalization costs a lot for the former, not so much for the latter.

            Whereas most liberal policy ideas are horrifically expensive both ways.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    So what do we tell the people now in prison because they got caught in their own homes with a bag of weed?

    “Stop whining. At least we didn’t shoot your dogs.”Report

  8. Avatar Simon K
    Ignored
    says:

    If he runs and gets that far, he’ll get the first vote I ever cast in a US presidential election. I might have to register as a Republican just to make sure …Report

  9. Avatar Jivatman
    Ignored
    says:

    I saw him speak at the Ron Paul rally for the Republic (The 2008 rebel convention held because he was not offered a speaking slot at the Republican convention, so he held his own, at the same city and time). The speech is on youtube if you want to watch.

    He’s definitely a man of consistent, principled integrity. Americans will never go for him.Report

  10. Avatar Bill Koehler
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s the economy!!!
    Gary Johnson has a proven track record. Nothing else will mean a thing if we are all in the poor house. We must get out of the red and into the black. He did it for New Mexico and he can do it for the country.Report

  11. Avatar wolverineks
    Ignored
    says:

    He may be a RINO(which may be a good thing), but he is the definition of conservative, that’s for sure. Just compare him to the man they called Mr. Conservative…..Report

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