January 26, 2016

Marco? Oh No!

My brother is vociferously promoting Marco Rubio, as the most conservative Republican who can win the general election against Hillary. I'm not sure I agree with that, but I'm quite sure I do agree with Ace of Spades who writes,

Now, if we all squawk, and make noise, and have our tantrum, but then, in the end, dutifully support an Amensty Super-Hawk like Marco Rubio, precisely as the Establishment always planned for us to do, do you think they'll take that as a repudiation, and a sign that they must reform?

Or do you think, rather, they'll take that as a sign that they calculated the political math perfectly, and they knew our numbers to three decimal places, and they did everything right, and have successfully Managed their stupid, three-toothed inbred voters yet again?

Of course it's the latter.

They could not possibly take the nomination of Marco Rubio any other way. They would take it as total and complete vindication -- and they'd be right to do so, because it would in fact be total and complete vindication.

It has been charged that some Republicans would rather lose to Hillary than win with Cruz. If nominating Rubio is what it takes to beat Hillary, I'm not sure I could swallow that pill. Fortunately, there's really no reason why Cruz isn't just as electable as the talented but mercurial Rubio. And anyone who says differently may just be one of Jeb or Chris or John - or Marco's - "clients."

So for me, it has to be Cruz, or Trump. I'd prefer Cruz, as I keep saying. I'll take Trump, though, because, while he's kind of stupid and temperamentally unsuited for the job, he would nevertheless also serve as a repudiation of the Establishment's Corporate Client "Conservatism."

The GOP is nakedly now a "clientist" party the same as the Democrat Party. They just have different clients.

And those clients aren't us.

GOP 2016 Primary Posted by JohnGalt at January 26, 2016 2:42 PM

I just got embroiled in a fiercely pro-Rubio Facebook post the other day. I suggested that Sen. Rubio (C12H22O11 - FL) was exactly the kind of candidate that was not my first choice, but for whom I would settle.

The article was The Case For Marco Rubio Part II: The Salesman (And I think blog friend tg may have posted it).

It's a good piece. In short: conservative ideas are not in wide currency and the GOP needs someone to reach beyond the base and explain these ideas and values outside the insular walls of ThreeSources.

Ace is the man with the bon mot, but starting with a foundation of " it has to be Cruz, or Trump" loses me in a hurry.

I'm utterly enervated by antiestablishmentarianism. RINO used to mean something. Sens. Susan Collins or Lincoln Chafee or Lowell Weicker were Republicans by accident of political geography and were not invested in the party's ideas. The purges of the Tea Party were pretty successful and possibly pareto efficient (more good than harm in total).

But the epithet lives on, meaning "some bastard who dares to think differently than me" and is now joined with "establishment." As Jonah said, it doesn't mean anything anymore "An ideological category that can include Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Occupy Wall Street, the tea parties, Ted Cruz, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, and Ben Carson is not a particularly meaningful one."

These shadowy establishment types planned "Marco Rubio?" "Out to three decimal places?" Really? Jeb! and John Kasich were just pawns in the master Rubio plan? I'm running out of question marks.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2016 3:52 PM

Why I'm so old I remember when he was an outsider, knocking off Charlie Crist (Ambiguous - FL) in the first wave of Tea Party versus RINO primaries:

When Rubio first announced he was running for Senate on May 5, 2009, few political pundits gave him a chance. Crist would toss his hat in the ring a week later, and immediately be on the receiving end of a deluge of endorsements and contribution checks. At the time, Crist was still a Republican and enjoyed sky-high approval ratings, and had much stronger name recognition. Still, Florida conservatives remembered Rubio’s leadership as Speaker, and the way he had tapped into the conservative grassroots to create the "100 Innovative Ideas" agenda.
Behind the scenes, Crist supporters and other party establishment figures were pressuring Rubio to run for Attorney General. The seat was open for 2010 because Bill McCollum was leaving to run for Governor (he would lose the Republican primary to Rick Scott). Rubio was promised that if he ran for Attorney General and did not fight Crist for the Senate seat, then the field would be cleared for him.

But that was, like six years ago...

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2016 4:08 PM

I'll return fire until my reinforcements arrive.

Ted Cruz said if he doesn't do what he promises during the campaign, voters should throw him out of office. Did Rubio campaign on the Democrats' immigration plan?

The quote about what "the Establishment always planned for us to do" was to support "an Amnesty Super-Hawk" who is "like Marco Rubio" while not necessarily being exactly Marco Rubio. If Jeb or John or Chris were in a better position than Rubio I suspect the title of the post would have borne their name instead.

The interests that Ace opposes in the GOP are those of "big business" in this context. They are a necessary ally of "federal government" interests in the Democratic Party. I believe he is saying we cannot defeat these two powerful interest groups without first dividing them. I believe he would include Fiorina or Carson or even Paul with Trump and Cruz, but beyond that the field is a wasteland of liberty. The rest can reasonably be expected to "play ball."

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2016 5:33 PM

I've left some delicious muffins out to distract your reinforcements -- you'd best hunker down.

I see what you';re saying but think it too close to the misdirected anger I disdain. "Big Business" could be cronyism, but I hear it also as code for pro-immigration. Those Amnesty-bastards want American firms to have enough workers and customers! Dayum them all to hell!!!

And I suggest my point holds that "establishment" has recalibrated itself pretty significantly in six years to ensnare an erstwhile tea party darling.

Jim Geraghty points out that all the small government folks have already dropped out (Govs. Jindal, Perry, Walker) and that the GOP truly has no genuine small-government wing left. Maybe a kooky Rand Paul libertarian faction, but small government Republicanism is dead.

That's only slightly off-topic. The GOP issues are immigration, foreign policy, and, well, immigration. Rubio is "establishment" only because he advocates 110VAC in the border fence and not 220.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2016 7:05 PM

If the GOP establishment (meaning the go along and get along crowd in national Republican politics and governance) "evolved" to ensnare Rubio then logic dictates the Democratic establishment evolved along with them. After all, senior Democrat Chuck Schumer (Gang of 8 - NY) was willing to allow Rubio's "fingerprints [to be] all over that bill" to comprehensively reform immigration.

Is the aim of the Dem-Rep Washington "establishment" to advance cronyism, or to liberalize immigration? At this point, I would say, "what difference does it make?" Allowing them to do the former in order to support the latter is not the long-term path to greater liberty.

First dismantle the status quo. Second, liberalize immigration. Who knows, with a more honest and even-handed federal government, maybe even the TEA Party can "evolve" and learn to love expanded immigration.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2016 2:36 PM

Yes, Dudley Brown, we cannot possibly enjoy the greater liberty of allowing 17 or 30 round magazines. Let us pull the whole edifice down and destroy the electoral chances of anyone who would compromise. [Out-of-staters: I will explain that arcane and abstruse allusion upon request.]

Other than immigration (and sugar subsidies for which I have been pounding on him), what are his "establishment" positions?

I like immigration. Am I establishment?

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2016 4:15 PM

If you like immigration as a means to advance cronyism, you're establishment.

If you like immigration but think it has nothing to do with advancing cronyism, you're an idealist.

If you like immigration regardless of its relationship with cronyism, you're not a very good pragmatist.

Except for immigration, I can't think of any Rubio positions that make him "establishment." I tried my best, and even did some interweb searching.

Oh wait - you said the GOP issues are immigration and foreign policy. Since immigration is off the table... how about some of these?

"Only America can stand up to world totalitarianism."

"Intervention to promote democracy abroad." (Including intervention in Libya, with Hillary.)

"Foreign aid spreads positive influence around the world."

"Sponsored funding and supplying the Syrian rebels."

All that said, I have to really consider the question, "Is defeating the Washington cartel so important that I would vote for Hillary over Rubio?" That seems to be what Ace would suggest. Maybe I'm putting words in his mouth.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2016 7:40 PM

Sidling up from the swamp, itssssss, another vote for Rubio! After Carly/Cruz that is. Y'all might want to revamp the use of "Immigration" in your comments - what you seem to mean is Amnesty, and Rubio has recanted from his 1st-year, heady dalliance with the senior senator from NY.

I'm convinced he sees the 'immigration' issue much like me: as a national security issue and is at the least committed to enforce the laws we have.

I believe him to be conservative "enough" and is surely one of the best spoken (with and without the teleprompter) on foreign affairs. Cruz is the squish on that front. Given the all out media blitz that will inevitably note every twitch of a GOP candidate will prove how even (s)he is, his cuteness will surely help.

I'll agree with Hinderacker in two ways: Cruz is more conservative (and I believe he WOULD be a small gov't leader), and

Marco is by far the most effective at bringing the conservative message to young voters.

Case in point: see his powerful, yet humble reply to an overstuffed atheist
Rubio speaks for only 3 minutes, the punk for nearly 1. Not that this makes him TS conservative, but that he can speak powerfully about his faith w/o thumping the bible at us, a la Reagan (if not from HIM, from whence come our rights?)

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 27, 2016 11:53 PM

Contra Ace, Ross Douthat writes that while Rubio may be acceptable to the establishment, a.k.a. "Republican bigwigs" he is their last choice and not their first:

It may well be, as Enten suggests, that a lot of Republican bigwigs are just much more politically and culturally comfortable with the other candidates in the establishment "lane," and so they aren't ready to throw in with Rubio's piety and Tea Party-ish voting record until they have no other choice.

So I have to say, while I agree 100 percent with Ace's sentiment I can't agree that Rubio's election would be a 100 percent vindication of the status quo. It might only be a 50 percent vindication.

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2016 3:03 PM

We should not argue. Tonight's GOP debate will include Sen. Rand Paul (ObiWanYou'reMyOnlyHope - KY) and will NOT include Donald Trump.

This. This one shining day.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2016 4:14 PM

When tomorrow we resume disagreement, however, I intend to point out that you are both mistaken.

Immigration policy cannot be considered independent of cronyism, jg? You may call me names if you want, but I think I have advocated steadily for increased immigration for some time.

My #1 reason is to enlarge the size of the economic sphere. Metcalfe's law says the value of a network grows at the square of its nodes. You can align that with Adam Smith's division of labor and Ricardo's Comparative Advantage.

Secondly, I am uncomfortable denying our opportunities to those who were born elsewhere.

Neither of those align with cronyism in any way. If big, crony businesses want more workers, then that is one place they are correct. I'll join them in pursuing it.

"Amnesty," nb, holds the same joy in my heart as "giving back to the community." These people committed no offense to be forgiven. To let a productive worker stay in the United States is no more amnesty than that of allowing slaves who had escaped to free states to escape the Fugitive Slave Act.

But for all those who want to punish people for seeking opportunity, fine. Let's continue to hunt good people down like rats. But can we please increase legal immigration enough to make us prosperous?

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2016 4:32 PM

Let's consider immigration quantitatively rather than just qualitatively. When the rate of immigration is small, changes in the labor supply cause desirable distortions but not so quickly as to dislocate or disadvantage "hard-working 'Mericans." If the entire population of the world were imported into the USA overnight the resulting distortion would be unbearable by everyone, including you and me. The existing system with all its warts effectively allows immigration but at a manageable rate. "Amnesty" threatens a huge distortion with "in the shadows" workers coming out, and a much higher ongoing rate in the future.

Separate from this, and not mentioned in your excellent "preview of coming disagreements" is the cronyism of the left. They seek mass immigration for the purpose of manufacturing votes. I'm not sure I agree with those on my side who say "no Republican would ever win another election" after that, but at the margin it does seem to benefit Democrats in the short run. This is mostly what I referred to with my "first, fix cronyism" suggestion. We should open the doors when what we're offering the world is more "freedom and opportunity" and less "welfare state."

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2016 6:26 PM

I only wish it were tomorrow already, so I could respond.

I'd probably say that it's funny to see my blog brother put so much faith in government to select the proper rate on immigration. I don't believe he recognizes their dictating the gallons of water to be used in a toilet flush or the percentage of ethanol to be blended with gasoline, or the number of liquid ounces in a New York Big Gulp.

Yet, allowing free movement of people dictated by market conditions is a non-starter. The US Congress, with its 435 Plus-sized intellects, unselfish dedication to national excellence, and deft understanding of economics will deliberate and produce the perfect number to let in. Not too many, not too few for our elected Goldilockses.

I remain a pragmatist or what did you call me Hopeless naive something-something. Bryan Caplan has dragged me into the real live open borders camp. If you get a minute (or 73) you'll find his EconTalk podcast or his GMU video are very enlightening. It's not all sweetness and light -- he admits that we would import some poverty which would be visible to us in a way it is not with them all in Africa or Central America.

But let's return to Pareto efficiency; having those who would excel here would be a tremendous boon.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2016 7:08 PM
allowing free movement of people dictated by market conditions
meaning in the real world that they'll keep coming here until we're as poor as Mexico.

> Effective/appropriate immigration rate?

I think one can look at the preferred growth rate of corporations, which I believe is considered practical in the 10-20% ballpark, but that's under 'one roof/set of rules' with effective, hands-on management. Any faster growth leads to breakdown in the Org structure. Did Caplan take a crack at it?

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 28, 2016 10:10 PM

Umm, to be clear: you're suggesting that what keeps us wealthier than Mexico is fewer Mexicans? I'm not sure I've encountered serious research backing that up.

Caplan's idea is messy, disorganized, Hayekian freedom: good things and bad things but ultimately improving net outcomes. Yet I am a pragmatist and happy to compromise. If you are game to add 10-20% per annum, I can accede to that. We'll cap immigration at 60 million per year -- have your people draw up the papers and I'll sign.

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2016 10:28 AM

I think we're currently closer to a one percent rate. That seems to be working economically, but not quite satisfying the demand. I'd go for doubling it, to two percent. - Your attempt to paint me a nannyist deserves a retaliatory attempt to paint you an anarchist: Along with Visas and green cards, are you also prepared to do away with government-operated police departments and courts? And the armed forces of the United States should most definitely be restricted to citizen militias, I suppose?

"Allowing free movement of people dictated by market conditions" is perfectly fine with me. Is that really the only thing you think is dictating people's movements? Will you at least grant my request to return to the old name for SNAP EBT cards, i.e. "Food Stamps?" Isn't a little bit of personal shame an effective motivator of individual initiative?

If I called you Hopeless naïve I am sorry. That does not seem to be my style, but I suppose it is possible in a limited context. But I think you did call me "Dudley Brown" in this very thread. That hurts, man.

Posted by: johngalt at January 29, 2016 3:00 PM | What do you think? [16]