If I Were President

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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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  1. Avatar Jeremy
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    says:

    Jason,

    Excellent blog post. I think I may excerpt a bit of it for UnitedLiberty.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Depending on the few tens of thousands, I don’t necessarily see you as receiving more than a handful of complaints from the usual nuthouses.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    Technically, if you have a sufficient quantity of the loyalty of the folks with guns, you don’t even need to be President to do this. By that point, though, you’ve dispensed with even the pretense of the rule of law. The NDAA puts a gloss of lawfulness on what you’re describing.

    But again, doesn’t Hamdi v. Rumsfeld mean that despite the NDAA, those terror suspects get some kind of review before an objective decision-maker, someone independent from the pointedly tyrranical President Kuznicki? If you’re going to adhere to at least a gloss of lawfulness, you need a plan to colorably address that before proceeding with your plan.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      We have an evolving constitution, you know.Report

    • Avatar BSK in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      “Technically, if you have a sufficient quantity of the loyalty of the folks with guns, you don’t even need to be President to do this.”

      I’ve thought about this a lot, but was never able to put it so sufficiently.  This seems to imply that authority resides in whomever has the most guns (or whatever the weapon du jour is).  And that, for all our posturing about diplomacy and whatot, we remain fundamentally a “might makes right” society/species.  Kind of sobering and depressing to think about it in such terms.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to BSK
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        says:

        In a sense, Carl Schmitt was really onto something.  We don’t usually make decisions through might makes right, but we always can.

        What ultimately shields the United States from pure might makes right is the sense, held both by the armed and the unarmed, that other methods are usually better.  To encourage that sense, it helps to have lots of alternative forms of decisionmaking — like democracy, for some decisions; like bureaucracy, for some others; like property and markets, for another group of decisions; like a civically sacred and near-total anarchy, for a few; and like an impartial judiciary, for when all else fails.

        Lots of different approaches help to fragment power.Report

        • Avatar BSK in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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          says:

          But what authorizes one court system over another?  What makes one group of people trying to make laws “Congress” and another group a cult?  Does the legitimacy of authority ultimately rest on who has the guns?  Even if that authority is utilized without ever firing a shot, the reason we accept them as legitimate is because, at the end of the day, we know resistance is futile.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to BSK
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            says:

            Does the legitimacy of authority ultimately rest on who has the guns?

            The effectiveness of authority ultimately rests on who has the guns.  To separate effectiveness from legitimacy is the good work done, as I see it, by liberal political institutions.Report

            • Avatar BSK in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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              says:

              Good point.  Perhaps I was a bit loose with my language.  Though I suppose it could be argued that a respect for authority, regardless of how that respect is achieved (and I mean respect in the adherence to it’s directives sort-of-way, not the I actually have respect for you and what you do sort-of-way), is a form of legitimizing.

              Ask nearly all Americans (probably everyone except hardcore libertarians and Native Americans) if the US Government is legitimate and they’d all say yes.  And our country was pretty much founded on a might (and smallpox) make right foundation.Report

  4. Avatar BSK
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    says:

    So is that whole habeas corpus thing completely done with?  I don’t mean in practice.  Have we actually abandoned that legally and officially?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to BSK
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      says:

      President Lincoln unilaterally suspended habeas corpus in wartime and didn’t worry overmuch about the courts whining about it. We’re at war now, against the terrorists; Presiden Kuznicki could readily follow Abe’s example.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BSK
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      So is that whole habeas corpus thing completely done with?  I don’t mean in practice.  Have we actually abandoned that legally and officially?

      Not until the Supreme Court says so.  Don’t worry, though; they’ll get around to it eventually.Report

    • Avatar BSK in reply to BSK
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      says:

      I know it happened with Lincoln.  But has it happened now?  Formally?  If JH is to be believed, it sure sounds like it.  Shucks.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BSK
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        says:

        BSK,

        No, it hasn’t happened formally.  Even this horrendous law isn’t really designed to encompass elimination of habeus in all cases.  But we seem to be moving down that path, and I’m a pessimist.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
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          says:

          I would add that even the most favorable reading of the legislation makes murky something that ought to be plain — citizens of the United States, while in the United States, have the right to challenge their detention by the executive.

          This should not be a difficult question.Report

  5. Avatar Fish
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    says:

    At least when The Little Corporal had the communists rounded up, he had the pretext of the Reichstag fire.Report

  6. Avatar E. D. Kain
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    says:

    Something tells me we would quite suddenly declare victory in the War on Terror…Report

    • Avatar wardsmith in reply to E. D. Kain
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      says:

      No no, the longer the WoT continues, the longer the “emergency provisions” of the “law” exist. That way when President Kuznicki gets sick of his gadfly press secretary Mr. E. D. Kain, he can just disappear him under WoT guidelines. The sad news about the law as I’ve read it (no haven’t read the law, just the discussion of it), they seem to have hamstrung it by only mentioning Al Quaeda. They should have included the more generic terrorists like the Muslo-Mormon Alliance, the Hare-Khristian Alliance and the Jew-Hindu-Bhuddists for Christ Alliance. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Boegiboe in reply to wardsmith
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        says:

        Where does this “u after the Q” spelling of al Qaeda come from? I’ve seen a few people use it here and there, so I’m not trying to pick on wardsmith.

        “Q” sans “u” in transcription of Arabic stands in for a certain consonant that English doesn’t have. I’m not a linguist, so I can’t use the right words (glottal fricative, maybe?), but the point is, adding a “u” is…weird.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Boegiboe
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          says:

          Probably just hard for most native English speakers to not instinctively add a “u” after “q.”  You are right, of course, though.  I don’t know the proper linguistic words, either, but the consonant is pronounced sort of like “ka” deep in the throat.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Boegiboe
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          says:

          Arabic (and Farsi/Dari) translation is all over the place between mass media, academic and government sources.  (prime examples being Usama/Osama Bin Laden and Sadaam Hussein/Husayn) .  Not nearly as consistent and agreed upon as the Chinese/Japanese/Korean systems, and often just sloppy and lazy as Mr Hanley notes.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    says:

    Yes, but what’s your position on abortion?!Report

  8. Avatar 62across
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    says:

    If you only go after public figures and leadership, a lot of Americans would still not care. If your goal is to get Americans to care a lot more about their civil liberties, you’re going to need to imprison a bunch of Soccer Moms, Nascar Dads and Gen-Xers, too.Report

  9. Avatar wardsmith
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    says:

    If you only go after public figures and leadership, a lot of Americans would still not care celebrate in the streets.Report

  10. Avatar wardsmith
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    says:

    Jason, cause I got your back, you’ll need a manifesto to help you get started.

    Despotism Made Easy.

    Hope you’ll be making me a General or equivalent in your new world order. 🙂Report

  11. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    What do I need? I need the loyalty of the folks with the guns.

    Presumably, this is a long-term project, with elections and such permanently suspended.  In which case you’re talking about attempting to occupy a country of 300 million people.  So your folks with the guns are outnumbered by what?  100:1?  200:1?  And the 200 have rather a lot of guns themselves.  Your folks have bigger guns, certainly, but you’re probably not willing to nuke, say, Denver to make an example.

    If I had to bet, I’d agree with you that people would care more about their civil liberties.  Probably in several smaller new countries.Report

  12. Avatar Koz
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    says:

    Well, yeah. When you give yourself license to piss on citizenship (like most of the contributors here do), these are the consequences.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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      says:

      (like most of the contributors here do)

      Not really sure what to make of that comment.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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        says:

        Agree, disagree, opaque?Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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          says:

          In what particular cases (take your time, list of examples please) have “most” of the contributors here “pissed” on their citizenship?Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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            says:

            PPACA and illegal immigration were the main ones. I was having a similar correspondence with Tod, I think, which led to a couple threads taking a headcount of who stands where wrt PPACA among the contributors to this site.

            My guess was that it was 70-30 in favor, and that’s how in broke down in the attached poll. That said, when there were actual names attached there were a few of the regulars who surprised me by being opposed, including you IIRC.

            But, some of the left-libertarians (prominently Mark, Jason, Jaybird) were ok with bulldozing the clearly-expressed will of the citizens, they just happened to be opposed to PPACA on policy. When you take them and that pov out of the 30 and add them to the 70 it does get really lopsided.

            The problem isn’t them, it’s us.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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              says:

              My guess was that it was 70-30 in favor, and that’s how in broke down in the attached poll.

              That’s how it broke down in the poll that included the readership.  That’s not my recollection of how it broke down on the contributors, though.

              But, some of the left-libertarians (prominently Mark, Jason, Jaybird) were ok with bulldozing the clearly-expressed will of the citizens, they just happened to be opposed to PPACA on policy.

              Koz, what is “the clearly expressed will of the citizens”, and how to Mark, Jason, and Jaybird present themselves as being ok with bulldozing over it?  Which cases?  All three of those guys didn’t like PPACA.  What bit of popular legislation are they all against?

              Is the Patriot Act supported through the “clearly expressed” will of the citizenry?

              At what point did the Iraq war go from being supported by the citizenry to unsupported?  Should we have just packed up and left at that point?  If you believe not, how should that not count as bulldozing over the clearly expressed will of the citizenry?

              It’s the clearly expressed will of the citizenry that taxes go up on rich people (66-75% depending on the poll).    How do you square this with continued GOP opposition to the same?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                Those are important questions, questions which imo are not too difficult to reconcile. One thing to be kept in mind is that the intent of the citizens is not confined to opinion polls, though that’s part of it. There’s also a matter of energy, the willingness of otherwise apolitical people to enter the political culture to see that there wishes are carried out.

                In particular, that’s the big deal with PPACA. We could live with PPACA being 60-70% opposed. What threatens the legitimacy of the republic is that such a large portion of them faxed their congressmen, held Tea Party rallies, dominated the town halls and all the rest of it, and the Demos did it anyway.

                That makes PPACA relatively unique in American policy and certainly unique compared to Iraq, the Patriot Act, or tax rates.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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                says:

                So you don’t consider OWS “a large portion of them holding rallies in support of increasing tax rates on the rich”?

                You’re also just shifting this to “sure, the GOP does it, but PPACA means the Dems do it worse”, which is a tactic you yourself don’t like too much when it’s flip-flopped on you.  Let’s grant for the moment that PPACA represents an egregious example for you.

                So I’ll repeat:

                At what point did the Iraq war go from being supported by the citizenry to unsupported?  Should we have just packed up and left at that point?  If you believe not, how should that not count as bulldozing over the clearly expressed will of the citizenry?

                It’s the clearly expressed will of the citizenry that taxes go up on rich people (66-75% depending on the poll).    How do you square this with continued GOP opposition to the same?

                You said: Those are important questions, questions which imo are not too difficult to reconcile.

                Reconcile them for me.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                “So you don’t consider OWS “a large portion of them holding rallies in support of increasing tax rates on the rich”?”

                No. I don’t consider OWS to have any democratic representative legitimacy for anybody but themselves. If it were possible to have negative democratic representative legitimacy, they’d have it.

                “You’re also just shifting this to “sure, the GOP does it, but PPACA means the Dems do it worse”…”

                No no no. There’s many things the GOP can legitimately be blamed for, but that’s not one of them. In general (and especially for apartisan moderate libs) there’s a tendency to think that the two parties are more or less mirror images of each other. That might be the case, but it doesn’t have to be. Or going back to the other thread, that the conservative talking points don’t make any sense, when in fact they make perfect sense, even if we happen to disagree with them.

                The other issues you mentioned came down to framing. By 2007, the Iraq war was very unpopular. That didn’t mean that the American people wanted us to withdraw at the expense of what we had accomplished and what would be lost if we left. The Demos were in control of Congress at that point and could have cut off funding if they wanted (and the Betray-Us business helped a little bit too).

                Similarly with taxes. If the Demos could have isolated income taxes on incomes $250K+ as an issue, they probably could have won, but they couldn’t, and didn’t.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Koz, I’m asking you a pretty simple fishing question.

                Here it is for the third time:

                It’s the clearly expressed will of the citizenry that taxes go up on rich people (66-75% depending on the poll).    How do you square this with continued GOP opposition to the same?

                Don’t tell me, “Well, the Dems could have had it, but didn’t go for it.”  There’s nothing in that question that has anything to do with the fishing fished up Democrats, aiight?

                You’re claiming that our political class doesn’t listen to the people.  I happen to agree with that claim.  You’re further claiming that the Democrats are uniquely bad at this.  I’m disputing that claim.  I’m offering, as a piece of evidence (among others), a popular measure that your preferred party staunchly opposes.  I’m asking you to explain to me how this doesn’t qualify as evidence that the GOP doesn’t give a fishing rats ass about popular opinion any more than the Dems do.

                Maybe it’s not compelling enough evidence to get you to tip the scales to “The GOP is as bad” or “The GOP is worse”.  That’s not my point, okay?  We can get to weighing how bad the parties are after we agree what qualifies as evidence!

                I want you to say that you believe that the GOP ought to raise taxes on the rich because there is a lot of popular support for raising taxes on the rich – actually agree that this is an issue where they’re acting like political elites and ignoring popular opinion (as you have characterized it), or EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THIS IS AN EXCEPTIONAL CASE and DOES NOT COUNT.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Patrick, does it help that historically the GOP HAS raised taxes “on the rich” and lost leaders *George Bush senior* for it? “Read my lips, no new taxes” followed by “Oh sh*t, I’m unemployed”. Given our fished up system, a vote’s a vote right? In the hair’s breadth difference (substantively, not rhetoric) between the parties, the GOP has been counted on since Reagan to diminish the scope and mass of gov’t. That they’ve failed has cost them their jobs, but it IS their primary raison d’etre. The union-owned Dems have no such qualms, they can be counted on for the opposite, and their funding more and more comes primarily from the political unions. I call them political unions because they refer to gov’t jobs that are unionized wherein the vast majority of “dues” go to political donations. Graft on an impressive scale if you ask me. Not that I’m complaining mind you, I respect a good scam as much as the next guy. And remember I’m all in for President Kuznicki. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Yikes.

                “One thing to be kept in mind is that the intent of the citizens is not confined to opinion polls, though that’s part of it. There’s also a matter of energy, the willingness of otherwise apolitical people to enter the political culture to see that the[ir] wishes are carried out.”

                “We could live with PPACA being 60-70% opposed. What threatens the legitimacy of the republic is that such a large portion of them faxed their congressmen, held Tea Party rallies, dominated the town halls and all the rest of it, and the Demos did it anyway.”

                “If the Demos could have isolated income taxes on incomes $250K+ as an issue, they probably could have won, but they couldn’t, and didn’t.”

                Ie, wrt taxes the polls are inconclusive, poorly worded or contradictory.

                Ie, there’s no energy out there that forces political class to engage the tax issue on left-wing terms.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz
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                says:

                It’s the clearly expressed will of the citizenry that taxes go up on rich people (66-75% depending on the poll).    How do you square this with continued GOP opposition to the same?

                In case you missed it:

                The polls that say 66-75%? You can’t trust them. Therefore the GOP is not opposed to the clearly expressed will of the citizenry.

                The GOP remains the only hope for fiscal sanity.

                Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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                says:

                @ Ward

                Patrick, does it help that historically the GOP HAS raised taxes “on the rich” and lost leaders *George Bush senior* for it?

                No.  Plausible other contributory explanations for GHWB: the economy sucked and Clinton had charisma, and George was a little creepy on video. Also, counterexamples: Ronald Regan, Eisenhower, Nixon.  Try again.

                The GOP has been counted on since Reagan to diminish the scope and mass of gov’t.

                Then they are demonstrably horrible with their jobs, and you should repudiate them by Koz’s logic, not vote them back in.  I guess you’re stuck with a third party.

                @ Koz

                Ie, wrt taxes the polls are inconclusive, poorly worded or contradictory.

                I’m so pleased that you are an expert in poorly designed poll construction. Now, take a particular poll about taxes that has a result you don’t like, and explain to me using your expertise how that poll is flawed.  I happen to know a bit about survey/poll design; I’ll readily admit polling methodologies have limitations.  Show me your objections and I’ll probably agree with them if they have merit.

                If I then take those same objections that you bring out about design, implementation, or methodology… and I show that the polls regarded PPACA have the same limitations, will you change your mind about the polls on PPACA?

                See, Koz, you’ve already claimed that your popular protest movement (the Tea Party) has legitimacy as some sort of evidence for popular opinion, but rejected OWS as having legitimacy as some sort of evidence for popular opinion.  You think writing your congressman counts when your side does it, but rejecting the political process (which I think is stupid, but it’s hardly an illogical conclusion if you actually believe that the political elites don’t listen to you, right?) and not writing your congressman doesn’t count when the other side doesn’t.  But I’m not really clear on why.  Now you’re claiming that polling methodologies are flawed (when the outcome is a policy your team doesn’t support) but at least by implication they’re not (when the outcome is a policy your team does support).

                I’m having a really, really hard time coming to any other conclusion than: “You have embedded, incorrigible observer bias.”  Help me dispel this erroneous conclusion.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
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                says:

                “..and I show that the polls regarded PPACA have the same limitations, will you change your mind about the polls on PPACA?”

                Really, Pat? What are you gonna do that’s in the same ballpark as this?:

                http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/obama_and_democrats_health_care_plan-1130.html

                “I’m having a really, really hard time coming to any other conclusion than: “You have embedded, incorrigible observer bias.” Help me dispel this erroneous conclusion.”

                That’s crap. If you want to have an example of legitimate democratic street-theater type representation, look at Wisconsin. Let’s do this. What if anything in your own mind represents the difference between OWS and Wisconsin? Answer that and we might get some clarity.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Reagan was always about lowering taxes, unfortunately he had to raise them a bit, but he lowered them (substantially) overall. Ask ANYONE who knows ANYTHING about GHWB and the very first thing that comes up is the “read my lips line”. It also helps of course that Ross Perot stole 15% of GHWB’s votes, in fact Clinton won with the smallest TOTAL electorate as a percentage of the total vote (IIRC 43%?) since Teddy. Ah, couldn’t stand just guessing so looked it up. Turns out I was right on the money.

                The best thing for the economy is one party controlling the purse strings and the other controlling the presidency. There have been a number of studies on this. The stinky stuff hitting the fan (for all the reasons I’ve expressed elsewhere) happens when the party in power plus the executive have no real constraints on them. BHO has EXPLODED the debt, by a factor of 4 and a growth rate that promises to double THAT within 8 years. You can’t look backwards and pretend this is all the fault of GWB (but there are partisans here of the blue variety who will not cease with this mythmaking). The real culprit is the lack of a countervailing power that won’t let the crony capitalism continue.

                How has the GOP done? Well, they didn’t step on the 3rd rail when GWB was in charge. But there wasn’t a tea party to hold their feet to the fire, and everyone acted like it was BAU. Today things are different and anyone who can do math (admittedly a minority of the population) can see what happens as the graphs move inexorably forward at exponential growth rates. Any growth rate of 7% (actually 6.931) will automagically double in 10 years. Our gov’t is growing at 8.9%. When the politicians talk about “cuts” they are talking about growing the gov’t LESS than at that (unsustainable) rate.

                Third party sounds good to me, hell President Kuznicki sounds good to me. Not so sure about President Cahalan tho. 😉Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Koz
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                says:

                ward,

                whatever happened to leverage?

                or running the gov’t like a business?

                … still waiting for an answer from the right wing folks around here.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Ross Perot stole 15% of GHWB’s votes

                You’re assuming all those votes would have gone to Bush.  That’s not a safe assumption; it’s an ideological assumption.

                Steve Kornacki explains it well.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Really, Pat? What are you gonna do that’s in the same ballpark as this?:

                I’ll just do what you’re doing: “Those polls are all flawed.  They’re asking the wrong questions.”  Wait, that’s not satisfying, even though it’s fair by the current standard of your argument.

                Here, I’ll go you one farther, I’ll actually put up some bits of evidence to support that position: “The American public supports almost all the individual bits of PPACA when polled on those individual bits, except the mandate.  The young support it much more than the old, who already have Medicare and thus don’t need it – presumably if given a choice between “Medicare and PPACA” or “no government health care at all”, those self-absorbed boomers might change their tune.  If you actually give the American people three choices: repeal it, keep it as is, or expand it, you find out that popular opinion is split pretty evenly into thirds, so repealing it clearly isn’t as popular as keeping it and amending it combined.  Indeed:

                “A Kaiser Family Foundation survey of Americans’ knowledge about the health system reform law released Feb. 2 found that many people have more to learn about the law. When asked 10 true-or-false questions about the law, only 25% of Americans answered seven or more questions correctly. An additional 40% answered five or six correctly, and 36% answered four or fewer accurately.”

                So anti-PPACA polls are clearly suffering from a huge lack of information disparity and thus can be considered unreliable as a reflection of real public opinion.  Indeed, given that last paragraph, it’s entirely possible that public opinion has been deliberately manipulated through false information campaigns, so we can not only distrust the poll results, we can distrust the public demonstrations of ‘We Don’t Want This’, because it’s likely they don’t even know what ‘This’ is.”

                (see, that’s how you critique a poll result.  We can argue about the critique, but at least I’m offering you one.  Keep in mind – I don’t even LIKE PPACA, but it’s hardly clear to me that the American public doesn’t)

                If you want to have an example of legitimate democratic street-theater type representation, look at Wisconsin.

                I heartily agree that Wisconsin, largely backed by union activists who are by their very nature highly organized, represents a more politically powerful bit of street-theater when compared to OWS, primarily because they already have a mechanism to force the political elites to listen to them.

                I thought you were claiming that the political elites aren’t listening to the people.  I agreed with that.  Now it seems as if you’re saying political elites aren’t listening to the people… but the only people who actually should (will?  ought?) count are those who bitch at the political elites in a particular way.  I agree and disagree with that.

                I agree that the political elites are far, far less likely to listen to OWS than the Wisconsin folk.  Granted.  Should they?

                Hey, speaking of the Wisconsin folk: how do you square the Republican majority ignoring them with your stated opinion that “political parties ought to listen to the people”?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Koz
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                says:

                @Kim, don’t be stupid. What percentage of GDP suits you? The most recent IMF report on Japan is quite worried about their unsustainable trajectory and THEY actually know how to produce things, and export things, and RUN a g*damn business (unlike OUR gov’t which knows none of these things).

                I am 100% in favor of letting businessmen run businesses. I would be THRILLED if the gov’t could be run like a business. But you can’t fire any bureaucrats as I’ve posted before (unlike you, with LINKS supporting my contention) and hiring and firing are crucial to properly operating a business, so that idea is DOA under current regs.

                James, your refutation of “ideological assumption” points to a blatantly ideological piece at a blatantly ideological site? My link has state by state statistics to back it up. Yes, Clinton might well have won without Perot in the race, but Perot changed the dynamic completely by his presence. HE is the one who kept pushing economics to the forefront with his charts and graphs and silly talk about deficits and such. Polls such as CBS’ are meaningless, the polls that count are at the polling stations. I still have the email from my liberal friend gloating about the “polls’ guaranteeing Kerry’s victory the day of the election. We don’t hear so much from Zogby anymore.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
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                says:

                @ Ward

                Reagan was always about lowering taxes, unfortunately he had to raise them a bit, but he lowered them (substantially) overall.

                I’d argue that he lowered them too much given how much he was spending on defense, in particular, but…

                On the other hand, I’d be much happier with Reagan levels of taxation than I am with our current ones.  Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 slashed the top federal income-tax from 70 percent to 50.  What are they, now, again?

                Here’s a better question, Ward… just ignore that last one, it was unfair anyway: what is your optimal tax rate?  Assume that you lack the political power to change the federal budget expenditures by more than 10% (which would be an incredible accomplishment in our current Congress).  What should the tax rates be, given that you can’t cut spending by much more than that?

                Let’s say you’re President Ward, and you can’t repeal all the things you’d like to repeal.  You’re stuck with a bill.  Are you for a balanced budget, or not?

                The best thing for the economy is one party controlling the purse strings and the other controlling the presidency. There have been a number of studies on this.

                I have no argument with this statement.  I stand heartily by it, cheer, and wave a flag.

                You can’t look backwards and pretend this is all the fault of GWB.

                I won’t – I don’t, to tell you the truth.  I will ask you, though… on your honor!  You look back and tell me how much if it is GWB’s fault.  You do it.  He’s nominally on your team.  Fess up to the errors, Ward: you must confess your sin in detail before I will grant you penance, let alone absolution.  Perhaps you should consider a guest post.  A public “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” on behalf of the Republican party.  What *should* we blame the GOP for, as far as you’re concerned?

                How has the GOP done? Well, they didn’t step on the 3rd rail when GWB was in charge. But there wasn’t a tea party to hold their feet to the fire, and everyone acted like it was BAU.

                And assuming that the GOP wins both houses (with or without the Presidency) – will they continue to feel like their feet are held to a fire?  How about if they also have the Presidency?  Can they resist another Medicare part D?  Go back to the second paragraph of yours I just quoted above: the best thing for the economy is one party controlling the purse stings and another controlling the Presidency.  On that basis: if it seems very likely that the GOP will win both the House and the Senate… are you going to vote for Barry even though you hate him so?

                If not, please explain why not, given the evidence you’ve already entered into the record, counselor.

                Not so sure about President Cahalan tho. 😉

                I would do a lot of things that both parties would abhor.  In fact, you can line up both party platforms and odds are pretty good I would do the exact opposite of half of the things on both teams’ respective lists.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                And slashed the top rate to 29% in 1986.  But it’s such a labrynth, the deals that had to be cut with Tip O’Neill and the Dems in both

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_Reform_Act_of_1986

                and with Kemp-Roth in 1981, that it’s hard to reduce this to bumper stickering or even grenade toss.  I do think that Reagan getting the top rate down from 70% to 29% is enough of a point to hold without getting into the tall weeds, and the argument that “Reagan raised taxes” untenable: Tip O’Neill raised taxes, and Reagan horsetraded them for other things.

                ____________________

                The estimable Dr. Hanley links a persuasive, indeed probative argument that Bush41 was losing before Perot got back in, and would have lost to Clinton regardless of Perot.  Time to put that one to bed, absent a viable counter.

                To me, Bush lost, period, punkt.  I say this as a John Anderson voter.

                ;-D

                Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                @ Tom

                I do think that Reagan getting the top rate down from 70% to 29% is enough of a point to hold without getting into the tall weeds, and the argument that “Reagan raised taxes” untenable: Tip O’Neill raised taxes, and Reagan horsetraded them for other things.

                That’s a totally fair characterization of things during the 80s, IMO.

                Really, I’m well on board with “70% is too high”, even given the already extant wealth accumulation in the country.

                I don’t think 42% is a killer.  It’s certainly not something that I would regard as being off the table as a horsetrading chip, given the current debt situation.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “I’ll just do what you’re doing: “Those polls are all flawed. They’re asking the wrong questions.””

                Ok, that’s an issue with the ABC-Washington Post poll from May 9-14, what about the hundred plus polls from a dozen other independent polling organizations which all show the same thing?

                About Wisconsin, I am not particularly thrilled with how Gov Walker handled the situation. Even so the GOP fought the outside game there too, and fought to a draw or narrow loss at worst. That gives legitimacy to their inside-game policy wins.

                OWS isn’t even on radar.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Ok, that’s an issue with the ABC-Washington Post poll from May 9-14, what about the hundred plus polls from a dozen other independent polling organizations which all show the same thing?

                Citations needed. Link me to these hundreds of other polls.

                I’ll notice you entirely dodged my request to actually critique the polls that you are dismissing.

                And, you’ll note, many of those objections (such as only 25% of respondents can actually identify provisions in the bill) would generalize to many other polls as well.

                About Wisconsin, I am not particularly thrilled with how Gov Walker handled the situation. Even so the GOP fought the outside game there too, and fought to a draw or narrow loss at worst. That gives legitimacy to their inside-game policy wins.

                GOP winning means that their tactics are legitimate.  The Dems pushing through PPACA, though, that’s clearly illegitimate.

                Again, I see two wildly disparate sets of goalposts here.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “Citations needed. Link me to these hundreds of other polls.”

                They’re all in the link I gave you, in fact that was supposed to the point of it, maybe it wasn’t clear. We can usually quibble with something about the questions asked in one poll by one organization. But the history of PPACA is an impregnable wall of data and I’m a little surprised that you find it comparable in any way to tax increases.

                “I’ll notice you entirely dodged my request to actually critique the polls that you are dismissing.”

                Really? I hope you’ll also notice that the idea that polls show that 66-75% of the American people support tax increases is so far just as assertion on your part and that you actually haven’t cited any.

                “GOP winning means that their tactics are legitimate. The Dems pushing through PPACA, though, that’s clearly illegitimate.”

                In that case, yes. In Wisconsin, the GOP won in the inside game and fought the outside game to a draw. Especially, the latter part. After after the recall elections and the judicial elections and the rest of it, it’s at least plausible to think the GOP has popular support for what they did. Therefore they win.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                LOL, TVD, /I/ was a John Anderson voter AND a Ross Perot voter! I don’t “own” the GOP, nor have I consistently voted for them (or any party for that matter). I almost invariably vote for the most respectable independent on the ticket as my “throw away” vote since statistically I have less chance of influencing the election with my single marker as winning the lottery. I agree wholeheartedly with PJ Orouke on almost all things political, especially the part about not voting for them cause it only encourages em.

                @Pat, we can continue this discussion another place, this jumping up 20 inches to make a post is wearing me out.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Write that guest post, Ward.  I’d like to contribute to your thread.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Pat, I think of tax hikes like Israel’s West Bank settlements.  When you only have one bargaining chip, you don’t put it on the table until you see the other guy pony up.  At this point, I can’t even guess what the Dems would put up.  My honest guess is, nothing, exc a slowing of the rates of increase in spending, which will then be immediately denounced as “Draconian.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                “slowing of the rates of increase in spending”

                Tom wants gramma to be forced to choose between medication and heat!Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                But Tom, this implies that either:

                (a) Taxes are the only issue that matters (I don’t buy this one)

                or

                (b) The GOP believes that there is no ground, at all, upon which they can achieve some forward momentum.

                Now, (b) might be the case, but I certainly don’t see the Democrats bending over backwards to pander to their base at the moment, so I don’t buy it.  I hear a lot of talk about “there’s (handwavy) things we’d like to see”, but not anything concrete.  “Less regulation” is like saying “sunnier sunny days”.  I don’t know what that means.

                “Get rid of this, and this, and this, and this” is a laundry list that tells me where common ground might be found.  I don’t see that effort (maybe I’m not reading the right pundits).

                “Cut discretionary spending” is likewise too broad of a term.  “Cut this and this and this, specifically” is a laundry list that tells me where common ground might be found.  “Cut Medicare” doesn’t mean anything to me.  “Means-test Social Security” means something to me.

                Would you trade that for a N% tax hike?

                I understand the “this is the only bullet we have left, we have to make it count”, but if you don’t tell the other guys some idea of where they can meet you, they’re stuck flailing about guessing at random.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Pony up, Pat. I don’t see anything on the other side of the table.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Koz
              Ignored
              says:

              My job is to figure out which policies are good or bad, then convince people of my findings using reasoned argument.

              My job is not to take an opinion poll and then tell people to do exactly what they wanted to do all along.

              The former is public policy advocacy.  The latter is demagoguery.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                “My job is to figure out which policies are good or bad, then convince people of my findings using reasoned argument.”

                Absolutely. In fact, that was actually a substantial part of my point wrt SB1070 when that came around. Basically, nobody bothered engaging the issue until it had already passed or very nearly passed.

                And in general, if you attempt to convince another party of whatever, you have to listen back for their concerns and responses. That’s actually a big, big issue for libs and libertarians.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Given the particular case of tax increases, and the popular support for them, and the Democratic support for them, and the GOP unwillingness to even consider it, how is this not a case of the GOP not listening back for “their concerns and responses”?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                Because there’s not as much support for taxes increases, and the support for them is much less energetic and more contingent. Therefore it’s completely plausible for the GOP to think that it holds the majority ground on taxes.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                How do you measure support?

                Please explain this to me.  I’m stupidly unable to get it.  What constitutes support?

                Airtime on news shows?

                Protests?

                Voting records?

                Polls?

                Is there some weighted scale?  Do you have a compilation metric that you’ve devised?

                Because on this score, my personal inclination is to say that there is clearly enough popular support for raising taxes on the rich to qualify as “we should listen to the will of the people”, if listening to the will of the people counts.

                Would it have helped if the OWS guys had rioted across the nation?  Would that have strengthened your measure for “Jesus, they really want this to happen” or lessened it?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “Would it have helped if the OWS guys had rioted across the nation?”

                Pat, I’m talking about a clear majority of the citizens combined with the energy to force the political class to engage the issue on their terms. I don’t think it’s a complicated as you want to think. I don’t think you can say there’s much energy behind clamoring for tax increases.

                In the case PPACA, that last part was easier because it was the Demos trying to change the status quo.

                Think about it this way. In your mind, what had or has more representative legitimacy, Wisconsin or OWS?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Pat, I’m talking about a clear majority of the citizens combined with the energy to force the political class to engage the issue on their terms.

                Great.

                What does that mean, Koz?  Use something measurable to describe it, please.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                I think this might be the Holy Grail of ad hoc arguments.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Pat: Having gone through this argument with Koz before, you have to keep in mind that when he refers to “citizens,” he is referring to “people who Koz deems citizens.”  This group seems to have a substantial amount of overlap with the set of “people with whom Koz agrees.”Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Well yes, there’s an inside game an an outside game. The center of gravity of the outside game is better for America than the inside game. But we can’t be too reductive. Even if the outside game favors the GOP, it’s not the only player there.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                “What does that mean, Koz? Use something measurable to describe it, please.”

                I want to say it’s like Potter Stewart, you recognize it when you see it. But Justice Stewart was wrong. If you absolutely have to have objective criteria, you can make them up. But that’s largely beside the point. Do you really need cast-iron objective criteria to tell the difference between Pretty Woman and Horny Teen Nymphos #8?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                When I have one set of people pointing at another set of people and they’re both claiming that THEY are Pretty Woman and THOSE GUYS are Horny Teen Nymphos #8 and I can’t get either of them to rationally write down what makes this the case, I can come to two conclusions:

                (a) They’re both lying to me.

                (b) They’re both deluded.

                (c) I’m too stupid to get it.

                I could be the broken one, here, Koz.  But since I can take almost all of your arguments and change a noun here or there and come up with a Team Blue partisan argument without changing the logic, I’m pretty sure I’m not the one who is having trouble with the frameworks in question.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “I could be the broken one, here, Koz. But since I can take almost all of your arguments and change a noun here or there and come up with a Team Blue partisan argument without changing the logic, …”

                No but you can’t, that’s just it.

                I think to clarify this argument further we should specify exactly what our premises are. I don’t think you can come up with a way where the
                tax increases or OWS registers anywhere on the same scale as opposition to PPACA.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                If I need to, I will come up with an algorithm to characterize the difference between tax hikes and opposition to PPACA, but I can tell you now what most of the ingredients are.

                1. Uncontroverted poll evidence across multiple organizations and long time span, so we’re not relying on the phrasing or methodology of one particular poll.

                2. Strong publically manifested energy, that we have reason to believe the public at large is in sympathy with (ie, not OWS).

                3. Acknowledgement of such by the insiders across the political spectrum.

                If I had to condense this down to one data point I’d say this: for the paid political advertising from the 2010 cycle, the Democratic ads that mentioned PPACA were 6 to 1 against. A mindboggling statistic for me.

                The thing to remember about polls is that they are necessarily derivative. Ie, the public’s energy and intentions wrt political-cultural issues are whatever they are, and polls are an attempt to measure it in various ways. This is done better some times than others but can be measured in other ways as well and we should bear them in mind as well as we try to figure out what the public’s intentions really are.

                Again, this might be a crystallizing item: AFAIK the Congressional phone/fax lines have never ever been overloaded by callers telling their Congressmen to raise taxes.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                1. Uncontroverted poll evidence across multiple organizations and long time span, so we’re not relying on the phrasing or methodology of one particular poll.

                I submit that you have not done the legwork to justify your own belief here.  What organizations count?  Have you actually gone to several different organizations across the political spectrum, gathered their polling results, and analyzed them?  If not, this standard of evidence is not relevant, because you’re not using it yourself.

                2. Strong publically manifested energy, that we have reason to believe the public at large is in sympathy with (ie, not OWS).

                That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a True Scotsman answered with a bald-faced argument by definition.

                3. Acknowledgement of such by the insiders across the political spectrum.

                Well, now you’re screwed.  Both the Tea Party and OWS are regarded as illegitimate by their contrary pundits.  People in the middle recognize both as a legitimate expression of something.

                Give me a bipartisan list of insiders, would you?  Who are our experts?

                The thing to remember about polls is that they are necessarily derivative. Ie, the public’s energy and intentions wrt political-cultural issues are whatever they are, and polls are an attempt to measure it in various ways.

                Granted.  This is why one needs to actually go to the polls, and look at the polls, and see what questions they’re asking and what the limitations of the polls actually are.  If you don’t do this, you are leaving your barn door wide open for observer bias.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “This is why one needs to actually go to the polls, and look at the polls, and see what questions they’re asking and what the limitations of the polls actually are. If you don’t do this, you are leaving your barn door wide open for observer bias.”

                Not quite. Polling, even if done correctly, especially if done correctly, can only be an accurate representation of a narrow slice of the public’s engagement in political-cultural issues. This is why you have to go to complementary information. (And among other things a barrage of polls on the same subject is complementary to a single one.)

                Btw, I hope we continue this. This is an important topic to straighten out if I really am understanding you correctly.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      Actually, Koz, I don’t think that’s true. Lots of liberals are very concerned about the legality of the situation in this sense: enforce the laws to prevent new illegal immigration and grant amnesty to those according to some conditions.Keeping out illegals is a problem either in enforcement, the law, or in the way the law is being enforced. So it’s not us you’re worried about re: citizenship.

      It’s the libertarians. {{ducks quickly}} They’re the citizenship pisser-on-ers. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m sorry, I’m only grokking this very slowly.

        Koz, do you mean to tell me that illegal immigration is the reason why we can’t have nice things in the civil liberties department?

        If that’s the case, then all your cards are on the table.  We can never have nice things in the civil liberties department.  Ever.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jason Kuznicki
          Ignored
          says:

          If we can’t even get rid of illegals is it any wonder we pass laws allowing the Feds to indefinitely detain US citizens without charge?

          or

          If the body politic can’t get rid of illegals, then the federal government ought to be allowed to indefinitely detain our sorry asses. It would serve us right. Maybe next time we’d know better!

          Dunno. That’s the best I can do. It’s hard for a humble liberal to think like a conservative.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            “If the body politic can’t get rid of illegals, then the federal government ought to be allowed to indefinitely detain our sorry asses. It would serve us right. Maybe next time we’d know better!”

            If the political class knew the citizens were widely dispersed and in charge, they wouldn’t try to get away with crap like this in the first place.

            It doesn’t seem that hard to me.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s ok, I should probably be more patient.

          Illegal immigration is important, but it’s slightly downstream of the larger point. Which is, that it is citizenship, specifically empowerment of the sovereignty of the citizens, which is the bulwark of civil liberties in our republic.

          As it pertains to the the contemporary political arena this is manifested across several issues. At the top level, PPACA and illegal immigration. At the next level, abortion and gay marriage. And some other issues further down from that.

          If in general, we empower the sovereignty of the citizens, there’s at least two benefits. First of all, the financial and social resources of the country are diffused widely and outside the control of government. Ie, it becomes difficult for the would-be despot to gain power by co-opting a few prominent people or throwing them in jail. Second, we also create legitimacy in the center of gravity of the American public. Eg if, say Mitch McConnell and the Republicans worm their way into making the Bush tax cuts permanent, then well the Republicans are bad and we’ll just undo that next week. But if that’s clearly ratified by the American people, it’s more difficult for political opponents to refuse its legitimacy. And, if the opponents of such a policy want to keep fighting over it, it’s clear who they need to convince.

          Btw, I don’t accept the idea that we can never have nice things. It seems pretty easy to think we can. We, speaking for the political class, can agree that if the American people want to end PPACA and illegal immigration from Mexico, well, they can have it.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
            Ignored
            says:

            This seems like an argument for chucking the whole business and moving to direct democracy.

            If I’m misreading you, and your intention is to end up somewhere other than there, can you describe your actual policy idea?

            We, speaking for the political class, can agree that if the American people want to end PPACA and illegal immigration from Mexico, well, they can have it.

            The first is a policy that can be revoked by legislation.  The second not so much.

            It’s not going away, Koz.  No nation in recorded history has been able to secure its borders even to a reasonable degree without a totalitarian onslaught on its citizenry or massive human rights violations, and those only work for so long.

            You seem to believe that there is a workable solution, but you have yet to provide one in detail.

             Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, there is something to be said for direct democracy, or government by referendum, but what I’m talking about is considerably less radical than that. Ie, simply forcing the political class to respect the sovereignty of the citizens when they insist on invoking it, which in America is relatively rare.

              As far as the policy goes, I think we have a disagreement of efficacy that probably doesn’t matter very much in this context. It’s been fifteen years, I think since _Alien Nation_, and the low-hanging fruit hasn’t been plucked. We could build an integrated system with a fence, a “virtual fence” (ie, satellites), and the Border Patrol. We could also use E-Verify.

              If the political establishment did those things, and they didn’t work, then they could go back to the citizens for Plan B. That way they would be respecting the sovereignty of the citizens.

              Btw, have you read Mickey Kaus about this? He’s covered this sort of thing pretty often.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Ie, simply forcing the political class to respect the sovereignty of the citizens when they insist on invoking it, which in America is relatively rare.

                In theory, this sounds nice.  I see no practical way to do it without introducing a direct popular vote for some things.  How else do you force the political class to do a damn thing, once they are elected?

                So you’re saying something along the lines of, “In the event Congress passes a law, prior to or directly after the President signs/vetoes it…” what?  There’s a referendum?  Do we need to gather signatures?  How many, and across how many states?  This obviously can’t be executed for every law by default, unless you want the American public in the voting booth every Nth day.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                “I see no practical way to do it without introducing a direct popular vote for some things. How else do you force the political class to do a damn thing, once they are elected?”

                By repudiating them, right here among other places, and voting Republican. This is much less radical than you’re supposing.

                We simply insist that the clearly expressed will of the citizens is an actual constraint on action instead of an obstacle to be maneuvered around.

                The problem isn’t them, it’s us.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                We simply insist that the clearly expressed will of the citizens is an actual constraint on action instead of an obstacle to be maneuvered around.

                I can’t get from there to here:

                By repudiating them, right here among other places, and voting Republican.

                Because that tactic seems to lead to wild oscillations between the political class where both sides increasingly assume voter dissatisfaction with the other guy’s policy is an excuse for them to go off the end of the goddamn earth with their own.

                This is an utterly unfalsifiable theory, Koz, because this has been tried in recent memory and the GOP screwed the pooch and yet you’re telling me it’s going to be different this time.

                You keep telling me this.  I really doubt it is going to be the case.  But maybe we’ll find out in the next 10 years.  If you’re correct, I’ll buy you a beer.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                It might help to think of voting Republican at the end of that process instead of the beginning. It’s at least as important to repudiate the runaway political class between elections as during elections.

                That’s what prevents the whole wild oscillations thing in the first place.

                As it is, there’s too many of us who want to take our policy wins and bank them and whatever damage and aggravation that causes outside the Beltway will soon be forgotten or cleaned up.

                The problem isn’t them, it’s us.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                If it’s any consolation to you, Koz, I’ve recently informed both of my sitting Senators and my House representative (all of whom are Democrats) that I won’t be voting for them in the next election, along with a nice long laundry list of reasons why.

                This comes after sending them lots of information prior about “I am upset that you are voting for this, and will get increasingly upset if you continue to exhibit a pattern of voting for things like this”.

                So, for what it’s worth, I’m repudiating my elected officials.  I don’t see it doing much, though, so I’m suspecting that your tactic isn’t so hot.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, I think it might be more effective than you suppose, and the sooner the better.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                I will bet you $5 that in the next election, here in my state, wherein they are up for re-election, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Adam Schiff all get re-elected.

                I will further bet you $5 that Obama wins California.

                My votes in all four cases are not relevant, due to the demographics involved.Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                @Koz WRT the damn fence:

                Laws are enforceable only when there is a general consensus that they should be.

                Immigration is like the 55 mph speed limit- it is widely ignored and flouted- not by the immigrants, but by American citizens themselves.

                From large corporations to condo homeowner associations to mom and pop restaurants, the vast majority of Americn citizens like having illegal immigrants here.

                Even the people who become agitated over “anchor babies’ and the images of Mexican women having babies at taxpayer expense, will turn right around and hire them to be nannies or maids.

                There isn’t anything short of martial law and deploying the entire weight of the US military along the border that can enforce a law, once so many citizens have decided to ignore it.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Liberty60
                Ignored
                says:

                “There isn’t anything short of martial law and deploying the entire weight of the US military along the border that can enforce a law, once so many citizens have decided to ignore it.”

                I don’t buy that for one minute. In fact, there’s a lot of things we can do and in fact I mentioned a few of them. If we do them and we still can’t control immigration, then we might have to think differently. So let’s do them and find out.

                Have you read Mickey Kaus on this btw?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, there’s a very simple problem to illegal immigration if you truly want to stop it and it’s not on the employee side. We find you employing an illegal and you own a business, $100,000 fine and a year in jail per illegal immigrant.

                Now, I don’t want to pass this law for a variety of reasons, but if you truly want to end illegal immigration, there’s a way to do it.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Can you point me to a specific Mickey Kaus post or three that you’ve been struck as being compelling?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                I put up some links, so the post is in moderation.Report

            • Avatar Dr. Bat Guano in reply to Patrick Cahalan
              Ignored
              says:

               “No nation in recorded history has been able to secure its borders even to a reasonable degree without a totalitarian onslaught on its citizenry or massive human rights violations, and those only work for so long.” BANZAI!!
              It’s one or the other, folks. Make your decision. I for one, will take illegals any day over totalitarianism. If the same rules and laws regarding immigration that we have today were in effect in the mid 1800s, most of our ancestors would have been jailed and shipped back to their native countries.

              Wacht auf! Wir können unseren Kuchen nicht haben und tschüsskönnen es zu essen. Haben Sie Spaß. Leben macht Spaß! Tschüss…Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        “Lots of liberals are very concerned about the legality of the situation in this sense: enforce the laws to prevent new illegal immigration and grant amnesty to those according to some conditions.”

        Unfortunately, when and if the US unemployment rate goes down it will be very difficult to prevent new illegal immigration. In fact that’s the main reason why we don’t have an amnesty now. Have you read Mickey Kaus on this? (Yes, Mickey Kaus is a liberal even if the liberals would rather not have him.)

        As far as the larger point goes, for a couple of big reasons liberals are not going to be defenders of citizenship and we shouldn’t expect that they will. But libertarians should, at some level, respect the autonomy of the citizens and so in a way it actually speaks worse for them when they don’t.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz
          Ignored
          says:

          You fail to understand one major point that many (not all) Libertarians share:

          They don’t feel that they have the right to say “you can’t move into my neighborhood”.

          Conservatives, on the other hand, are comfortable saying this.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            That’s a very good point, and like you say, turns on an important intra-libertarian debate.

            Contrary to the Nozick/Rothbard-style libertarians, libertarianism is not a state of nature. If it exists at all, it exists as a foundational understanding of some particular culture and polity. Ie, in this place and under these rules, we respect private property unless there’s a good reason not to.

            Therefore, there’s a fundamental difference between repudiating the ability to prevent somebody from moving into my neighborhood, and respecting the ability of the citizens from preventing somebody from moving into the country.

            If, on the other hand, you actually are a Nozick/Rothbard libertarian, then libertarianism is a state of nature given to us before our mother’s milk. In that case, the ideas of culture or polity either don’t exist or are irrelevant and there really is no difference between someone moving into a new neighborhood and someone moving to a new country.

            Obviously, I am not a disciple of Rothbard/Nozick libertarianism. In fact, I think it’s completely falsified by everything we know about history (and quite a bit by what we know about anthropology for that matter).Report

  13. Avatar Boegiboe
    Ignored
    says:

    Why is this thread just jokes? Everything in the OP is possible if the NDAA becomes law. Then, after a generation without memory of freedom, being told they’re free… then what does it mean anymore to be a free country?

    I didn’t help here. I made a quip in one place and complained about transliteration in another. But I repent. It makes me wonder how much of the country I was proud of as a child will be left.

    Jason’s prescription would fix things, wouldn’t it? It fixed things for Germany. For Japan. Perhaps for Tunisia. For Egypt. Can we improve before that point?

    How?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Boegiboe
      Ignored
      says:

      The courts?Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Boegiboe
      Ignored
      says:

      My quibble with Mr. Kuznicki’s scenario is that radical change of the type described *would* cause a backlash and be unimplementable.

      The proverbial (and fake) boiling frog is a better example of how things really degrade, but even that fails to capture the idea that as long as freedom is being taken from *other people*, people don’t care all that much.

      Recently, DC repealed a 40 year old law (the only one of its type in the country) mandating that people be arrested -not just ticketed- if the cops pulled them over for expired tags.  For four decades, it was ok to arrest drug dealers (why the law was put in place – really), and other assorted brown citizens of the District of Colombia, but when white and/or suburban people started to get caught in the dragnet, the law was yanked.

      That’s why I’m not to worried, personally, about what the OP discusses, modestly pessimistic about it in the medium term, but modestly optimistic in the long term.Report

  14. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    Is it wrong that each time I see the title of this post, the lines

    I’d get elected on Friday, assasinated on Saturday,
    buried on Sunday, then go back to work on Monday.

    pop into my head?Report

  15. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    An argument I once made:

    H. Ross Perot’s third-party candidacy heralded a spurt of the closest to responsible government we’ve had in a looooong time.

    Ralph Nader’s third-party candidacy heralded a spurt of the biggest expansions in government since LBJ.Report

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