August 2, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

We don't question McCain's patriotism or minimize his military service. But his service as a lawmaker has left a lot to be desired, at least for those in his own party. -Investors Ed Page: "Why Does John McCain Keep Running As a Republican?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

The reality is: I quickly realized Rudy was a maniac. I had a recurring fantasy in which I took him out during a press conference (it was nonlethal, just something that put him out of commission for a year or so), saving America from the horror of a President Giuliani. If that sounds like I had some trouble being “objective,” I did. -- Michael Hastings, addressing concerns that campaign reporters become too easily enamored of the candidate they're covering. Him, not so much.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 4, 2008

Sarah's Hometwon

Reason interviews an Alaska Democrat:

Q: I was just talking to someone who claimed to have knowledge of Alaska to some degree, and they say where Sarah Palin comes from it's the equivalent of Humboldt or Chico in California, like, of course, you know, she'd have a Girls Gone Wild phase, and smoking pot. Is this just wishcasting, or what can you tell us about her geographical background?

A: So the Mat-Su Valley, you know, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, otherwise known as Upper Wingnuttia, is full of right-wing libertarian militia fundamendalist Christian gun-toting, pot-growing dope-heads.

Q: Awesome.

A: Yeah. If Jerry Falwell rolled his own, you would have the Mat-Su Valley. I live in South Anchorage, and my raspberry plants, courtesy of 22 hours of daylight in the summer, grow eight and a half foot high. That's a raspberry bush. Can you imagine what a single pot plant would turn into? [...]

Read the whole short thing. I pulled a filppant quote but the real story is Republican antipathy toward her.
She is what McCain would like to be: She really is a maverick. In two years she stuck it to the two largest oil corporations in the United States of America. That's pretty fucking impressive, you know, that she has antagonized her party to the point that they despise her. And her ratings are still in the 80s.

Hat-tip: Don Luskin

Posted by John Kranz at 3:17 PM | Comments (0)

Bumper Sticker

From my brother:


Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I prefer - "McPalin"

AC's Sarah-cuda is a gem too.

Posted by: johngalt at September 4, 2008 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I think "Sarah Barracuda" was her nickname on the high school basketball team. Don't suppose she played to win or anything, do you?

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2008 3:25 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I think Sarah-cuda flows better.... but either way.


Posted by: AlexC at September 4, 2008 6:39 PM

September 2, 2008

The Libertarian Case for Palin

I keep hearing about how Governor Palin has galvanized "The Conservatives" and "The Evangelicals."

David Harsanyi explains her appeal to little-l libertarians:

By now, you've probably seen picture or two of Palin sporting a rifle. Apparently, she's left carcasses strewn across the Alaskan wilderness. In some places -- areas where the nation is growing -- owning a gun is not yet a sin. And unlike Obama, Palin seems to believe that the Second Amendment means the exact same thing in rural Alaska as it does in the streets of Chicago.

There's much more in this great article (Have you bought his book yet?). Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 2:09 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2008

Just Keeps Getting Better

Insty links to Mankiw: McCain veep pick is not a member...of the Pigou Club

Palin just signed a bill to suspend Alaska’s gasoline tax until Aug. 31, 2009, actually implementing in her state what John McCain advocated this year on the national scene....The bill, signed Aug. 25, also suspends taxes on marine fuel and aviation fuel for a year.

I think Senator McCain's summer-of-suspension was a gimmick. I like Palin's better because:
  • It lasts for a full year;

  • Alaska is in serious surplus from high oil prices, this seems a reasonable rebate mechanism

  • It's anti-pigouvian.

I have to steal my favorite line from Brother ac: "I didn't know they could stack awesome this high!"

UPDATE: Dr, Helen pens a great piece that captures my enthusiasm for the VP nominee:

But [gender] is not the reason I will be pulling for her and McCain come November. For me, Sarah Palin represents many right-leaning libertarian ideas that I personally support: low taxes, gun rights, and smaller government.
Unlike many liberals, I believe that women are capable of surviving and prospering on their own -- and Palin is proof of that. And unlike some female politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Palin made it herself without the help of a career politician husband to give her an added advantage. Palin strikes me as someone who is fair to both men and women and who does not give women special rights and privileges just for the sake of being female.
And unlike Obama, who would treat fathers unfairly, with little forethought, or "chivalrous" Biden who wants to give women a free divorce lawyer, I think Palin would focus on helping Americans achieve their dreams by staying out of their way.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The more The Refugee learns about Palin the more he likes her. The biggest threat to our freedom is our government. We need vigilance toward the cozy mutual back-scratching that characterizes Congress and gives the burden of regulation and cost to taxpayers. The Refugee will take four years of such vigilance over 36 years of back-scratching any day. She embodies the ideal that the Republican party so desparately needs.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 30, 2008 1:32 PM

August 29, 2008

Second Best VP Pick EVER!

mccain-Palin.jpg I have to credit Warren Gamaliel Harding for giving us Silent Cal. But right after that, I could not be more pleased than I am with Senator McCain's picking Governor Palin. Her appearances on Kudlow and Company -- plus her charming acceptance speech in Ohio -- show a woman of strength, smarts and grace.

A month or so ago, I joined many Republicans in bellyaching about a lackluster campaign. I think they have been all the way live ever since. The TV spots are good, the responses are crisp, and they have miraculously managed to drive the news cycle in a media that lives to cover Senator Obama (I understand he bought some snacks the other day). Yet the day after the Barackopolis speech, everybody is talking about McCain-Palin.

UPDATE: I had misspelled "Gamaliel," sorry. Tryin' to show off, tryin' too hard...

UPDATE II: Added the graphic.

UPDATE III: Playing well with Clinton Supporters

Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | Comments (11)
But johngalt thinks:

Well jk, our friends in AK will just have to get by with Palin's liutenant governor. I trust she chose well...

"Gotta go boys, I've got a political party to save."

Posted by: johngalt at August 29, 2008 6:23 PM
But jk thinks:

I s'pose you're right. Like Dagny, I've been reenergized. There have been two days this year that I have been proud to call myself a Republican -- when Obama picked Biden and when McCain picked Palin.

On a serious note, it's great to see how well the pick has gone over with different ThreeSourcers representing different wings of the party. What was the last thing we all agreed on? (I got email from HB, he's in).

She is easily the most "libertarian" of the four, her devotion to young Trig shows – in deeds not words -- her devotion to life and human dignity. And this Prosperitarian likes to hear "drill, drill, drill!"

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2008 6:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Just think of Alaska as the New Jersey of the west - with money and scenary.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 29, 2008 9:44 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

NOW (pun intended)what will Obama do?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at August 29, 2008 11:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If the Obama camp opposes Palin because she hunts, she fishes, she's a lifetime member of the NRA, she worked in the oil industry, she's anti-abortion, anti-tax, anti-welfare, anti-global-warmist, anti-pant-suit, she's a hockey mom and by vitue of the fact she's even younger than Barack Obama - she has legs... are they still misogynists?

A caller to Boulder's AM 760 "progressive talk" last night said, "That Sarah lady is frickin' scary."

Works for me!

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2008 10:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I wonder if Palin qualifies as one of the "EFFIN REPUBLICANS" that Go Obama! Go Democrats! wants to get out of office. Wasn't that her basic campaign platform too in the AK governor's race?

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2008 12:42 PM

August 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

Larry Kudlow says his sources say the McCain VP shortlist is now Gov. Pawlenty and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (way to call it, br!). I am pretty sick of McCain house jokes from Democrats, but I laughed at this:

Sources also tell me that Karl Rove and other Bush White House operatives continue to push hard for Romney. But one wag told me there’s a housing problem: Governor Romney has five; Sen. McCain and his wife have seven. That’s a lot of houses for one ticket. But putting sarcasm aside, Governor Romney is a fine person. He would make a very strong vice president.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:38 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Thanks for the hat tip, jk. The Refugee thinks that she is the perfect choice more than ever . The Dem convention has demonstrated that a lot of moderate, professional women are not sold on the Obama ticket. McCain could perhaps pull a significant number over to his side with KBH.

Speaking of vice presidents, it was fun to watch Biden last night and compare/contrast with Hillary. While The Refugee is no Clinton supporter, he will confess that she hit out of the park on Tuesday night. When you compare Biden to Billy C or even Hillary, he is obviously second-string material. The Refugee thought that he came off like an angry white male. This has got to cause many Dems, especially women, to have buyer's remorse. Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" could not have scripted it any better.

That said, Biden will be the attack dog of the ticket. Republicans must resist attacking the easy-to-attack Biden and focus on Obama.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 28, 2008 12:20 PM

August 14, 2008

Our Man In St. Paul

Our shared resource, AlexC, has been credentialed as a blogger at the RNC convention in St. Paul. He's officially representing PA Water Cooler but told me that he plans to post at both sites. (I'm sure any one of us would help you put stuff up it gets easier to email, brother ac.)

He was wondering about ad schwag -- any suggestions? Home of chocolate bunnies and NATALEE HOLLOWAY pictures t-shirts? Not sure we have the budget for embroidered bomber jackets. Key Chains? Buttons ("Another Stunning Exegesis!")? Pens? flash drives?

Any suggestions? I'd toss a little money at it.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2008

Another One Under (Our) Bus

This time, it's the Straight Talk Express -- and my favorite politician in the world hanging on to the driveshaft.

I thought I could ignore it until Friday at 7:00, and then put out a short post like a Clinton Press Release. But the 'net is getting antsy and accountability has been demanded: someone writes to Jonah Goldberg:

Anyway, the Corner's silence on yesterday's Phil Gramm remarks is
deafening. Here it is 24 hours into a pretty-decent sized story (I
don't know how you sign into AOL mail, but I saw it listed as one of
the top news stories when I signed in through the web), and not even
one comment on his "whiner" remarks? I expected at least a Larry
Kudlow defense or something.

Don't wait for Larry to step up, unless it is on Gramm's side -- he was pretty clear on his show last night that he agrees with Senator Gramm.

Goldberg nails it:

Anyway, this is just another example of why I've always wanted Phil Gramm to be president of the United States and why that can never, ever, happen.

Because it's a peeve of mine, my ears always seem to be catching people talking about how much we need straight talkers in this country who won't cave to their handlers, won't spin, won't poll-test their views. And yet, whenever somebody speaks honestly, down comes the thunder.

Hat-tip: Instapundit, who also links to another superb post at ChicagoBoyz

UPDATE: In Who's Right, McCain or Gramm? James Pethokoukis worries that the political rush to "fix" the economy will lead us into European economic models -- how's that working out for you, Sven? Pierre? Helmut? A British economics professor is quoted:

Paul Krugman once observed that 3% per year is about as good as it gets for GDP growth in advanced economies. While the United States has achieved this since 1995, the EU15 have fallen well short—averaging only 2.3%. The real European problem is in sluggish labour productivity growth—over the same period it averaged 1.4% per year compared with 2.1% in the United States—so that Europe has been falling behind rather than catching up during the last decade, in contrast with the whole of the post-war period until the mid-1990s

Posted by John Kranz at 1:47 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I worry that McCain is so worried about offending anyone that he'll soon wear a similar "wishy-washy flip-flopper" tag to the one he's trying to pin on his opponent. But McCain's more expert at politics than I am, and probably than Gramm as well.

As I write this I hear former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. advising his "friend" Obama to "lean into these arguments a little more" because "there's no be ashamed, afraid or embarrased about - sharing your views and talking forcefully about where you're going to take the country."

Clearly some think it takes a man with a bite-resistant tongue to run for president these days. I still think Reagan would trounce them both.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2008 11:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Oh yeah, Gramm would be the world's best president but he has proven to be the world's worst candidate. He had a commanding lead in New Hampshire when he told religious leaders "I'm not running for pastor." End of campaign.

I know Senator McCain's in a pickle and even I have to agree that some of Gramm's comments were impolitic, but it is disappointing to see his quick reflex to the center. He has to think hard about adopting conservative or libertarian positions, but the consensus view can be reached in milliseconds.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2008 6:56 PM

June 24, 2008

He's a Uniter!

Secretary Robert Reich and the WSJ Ed Page's Stephen Moore form the "Dynamic Duo" on Kudlow & Company. The two can always be counted on to take opposite sides of an issue. CNBC loves controversy and frequently superimposes boxing glove animations over arguing panel members.

Hearts sank across the control room yesterday as Reich, Moore, and host Larry Kudlow all reached agreement. Yes, it seems that Senator McCain's $300 Million prize for developing a car battery is considered universally stupid across the political spectrum. Here's the clip, I call it Kudlow Kumbaya:

Reich, for a rare change is right. I seriously doubt that he would not love this idea had Senator Obama proposed it -- but he didn't, this is my guy that says let's take [pinky in mouth] 300 miiiillion dollars out of the Federal largesse to pay some prize to a person that would make billions in the open market. Sad.

UPDATE: Your wish is my command, commenters. Here is the clip right before the Kumbaya moment shown above. Markets need regulation, alternative energy investments will bring down futures prices &c.

UPDATE II: It's a battle of the Titan bloggers! Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit (3.0 x 108 daily readers) vs. jk of ThreeSources (3.0 daily readers)!

I still don't know the proper etiquette for what AlexC calls "link-whoring," but I sent this to Reynolds as a counterpoint to a Jerry Pournelle piece he linked that was in favor of the prize. I know Reynolds respects Kudlow, and I thought it gave an important and different take.

I'm not surprised to get ignored by Reynolds. He gets a ton of these and it's his site to edit as he pleases. But he revised the Pournelle post and updated it with three additional links that support the prize idea.

I'm thinking I will email him again and say "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM????"

Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | Comments (2)
But HB thinks:

It's a shame that Reich is only in favor of the free market when disagreeing with McCain. What isn't shown in the clip is the fact that moments earlier, he was arguing that the U.S. shouldn't open the OCS, but rather that "we" should be investing in alternative energy.

Posted by: HB at June 24, 2008 11:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Reich is a piece of work all right. Jonah Goldberg takes some serious whacks at him in his "Liberal Fascism" book, documenting a few cases of outright lying when the facts did not support his position. I think it is a credit that Moore and Kudlow will cross over and criticize their candidate -- Reich will always hold the party line.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2008 10:37 AM

June 23, 2008

Justice Fred!

Here's a platform for Senator McCain that will bring conservatives into the fold and help draw bold distinctions for the rest of the electorate:

"I, Senator John McCain vow to nominate Fred Thompson to the first opening on the Supreme Court in my tenure."

Thompson then campaigns with McCain, pointing out the differences between Senators McCain and Obama on Constitutional issues, which I believe favor McCain. The campaign trail becomes filled with gems like these:
Unfortunately it is not uncommon for a majority of the Supreme Court to make new law based not upon precedent but upon policy preferences of members of the Court. But this time it’s part of a much bigger picture. It is about power, and who gets to exercise it in an area that is vital to the security of this nation. This time it’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous.

It should also be noted that Senator Obama thinks that the decision in Boumediene v Bush is an excellent one. I don’t know what’s worse: that he doesn’t understand what the Court has done … or that he actually does and still thinks this was a sound ruling. Good luck to all of us.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:56 PM | Comments (2)
But Attila (Pillage Idiot) thinks:

I like Fred, but he's too old. We need younger blood.

Posted by: Attila (Pillage Idiot) at June 23, 2008 9:41 PM
But jk thinks:

That thought had crossed my mind, Attila, but his vintage blood runs pretty strongly.

Keep in mind this is my partisan hack side talking. I want a campaign stunt that puts a focus on SCOTUS (That would look good on a lime green backdrop: "Focus on SCOTUS!") and gets Fred! onto the campaign trail.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2008 11:27 AM

June 12, 2008

The Paulistas

I usually avoid the fever swamps of any political bent, and rarely read public comments on big blogs. I'll read a few on Althouse and consider the Samizdata commentarial to be as good as the rest of the blogosphere put together. But I have little patience for mad ranters.

As you've surmised by now, I broke my rule today. James Pethokoukis quotes Donald Luskin about whether [L|l]ibertarians [sh|w]ould support Senator McCain in the general election. The short post is well worth a read. Then Jimmy-P asks "Well, that's [Luskin's] take. Any libertarians or Ron Paul voters out there who see things differently? Please comment below!"

Inviting the Paul crowd to comment on an open Internet site is like posting a "free wounded antelope here" sign in a game refuge. They're out and they're hungry:

Betty of WA uses all caps so you stupid people won't miss the point:

Your Incredibly Stupid Article



Jack D of CO uses both cases to tell us to "Get Educated!"

I think I can speak for most Paul supporters when I say that living in this country is like being on an ice burgh where the majority of the people want to ride it out while the Paul people are screaming from the roof tops to get off the burgh and into the boat but Americans think the boat is too nutty of an idea.

I did not know that "ice burghs" had rooftops...

Doug of OK thinks a vote for Bob Barr is wasted, so you're better off -- let Doug tell you:

Why vote for Barr? A third party candidate has never and will never be elected President of the United States. Don't waste your vote! Vote Ron Paul! If all the rp supporters and libertarians would vote for Paul, he might just win! Even though the electoral process of this country is corrupt, the sheer numbers of votes for Ron Paul could change everything. Please cast your vote for Ron Paul. He's the only one that can save our country.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2008

Kudlow: McCain is Supply-Sider

Larry Kudlow calls Senator John McCain The Taxpayer-Friendly Candidate

McCain has called himself a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution. His tax speech clinches it.

Sen. John McCain moved decisively to the supply-side Tuesday in a strong speech to the National Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. For investors, small-business owner-operators, and the vast majority of middle-class Americans who go to work every day and are concerned about Sen. McCain’s tax vision, this speech is good news. Big Mac is the taxpayer-friendly candidate.
Earlier in the campaign, Obama became the candidate of 1970’s scarcity and limits when he asserted that “we can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, and then just expect that every other country is going to say okay.”

Ironically, it’s Sen. McCain who is saying “Yes we can.” We can grow. We can prosper. We can be confident about the future. He’s saying that with the right economic policies, America’s outlook will know no bounds.

UPDATE: Don't Get Cocky, Kid! Kudlow: McCain Is Exactly Wrong on Energy
Sen. John McCain delivered a nearly pluperfect supply-side tax-cut plan yesterday, one that is worthy of conservative support, and frankly a real eye-opener showing just how good he can be. I wrote about it in my latest column.

But then he goes on NBC’s Today Show this morning and gets the whole energy story wrong. Oh my gosh.

I think we're going to have a lot of these 50/50 looks through November.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2008

Clearance Sale?

I guess Senator McCain's speech last night was worse than I thought! I just got an email from GOP Shoppe:

While supplies last all of GOP Shoppe's McCain for President merchandise is on sale. Stock up for Summer events and enjoy great savings!

And folks say I am negative...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2008


Don Luskin links to these. I'm sure that eco-friendly John McCain gear will be all the rage around Boulder County this year. Luskin says " Hey, I'm all for pandering, if it will keep Obama out of the White House. But this is just plain stupid."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM

Kind Words for Mitt!

Not to energize a VP Romney boomlet -- even in the shadow of hb's fear -- but Holman Jenkins has some kind words for the Guv today:

But honor, the value that underlined Mr. McCain's stand, is no use on an issue like global warming. Here, he could use a little more Mitt Romney, his vanquished nemesis whose name has now resurfaced in the veep sweepstakes.

Mr. Romney was tagged as a wonk because he "immerses himself in data." But one thing immersion can do that casual "gut" proceedings can't is let you know when the data don't provide an answer, even if people are telling you it does.

If the warming of the 1980s and 1990s were shown to be extraordinary, that would at least indicate something extraordinary is going on. If the pace of warming or the scale were correlated in some sensible fashion with the rise in atmospheric CO2, that might suggest cause – but such correlation is lacking.

It perhaps takes somebody steeped like Mr. Romney in real-world analytics to find a footing against the media tide. But the fact remains: The push toward warming that CO2 provides in theory is no reason to presume in confidence that CO2 is actually responsible for any observed warming in a system as complex and chaotic as our atmosphere.

Famed Republican strategist Joni Mitchell said "You don't know what you got 'till it's gone." I'm not yearning for Mitt! but Jenkins is right -- and right that the thing that used to bother me about Governor Romney, data over principles, can come in handy.

Well, the data part at least. It would be nice if Senator McCain had used data or principle before choosing Cap & Trade.

Yaay team! Go GOP!!!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM

May 13, 2008

The Huckster

First Cap and Trade and now this. Say it ain't so...

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:23 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

It ain't so. Things could not possibly get that bad. I have great respect for Jimmy P but this is pretty thinly sourced. I will worry about this when it happens.

Not to waste good torpor: I suppose I would vote for a McCain-Huckabee ticket, but I would not volunteer, or donate any more money.

Posted by: jk at May 14, 2008 10:37 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Huckabee is no conservative. Such a ticket would be a 49 state disaster (and I can't name the one state that go with it).

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 14, 2008 11:17 PM

May 12, 2008

O My Gosh!

I'll second that, Mister Kudlow:

I guess we all knew this was coming from Senator McCain. Perhaps we have been in denial about the issues connected to it. But here the McCain plan is, unveiled in Oregon, with emission caps by 2020 — only twelve years from now — that will somehow move carbon levels back to where they were in 1990.

I don’t claim to understand everything about the cap-and-trade mechanism. But scanning the McCain announcement, I look at bullets like banking and borrowing permits; unlimited initial offsets; integrating with international markets; strategic carbon reserves; early allocation of permits; U.N. negotiations; climate-change adaptation plans; implementation at the local level; comprehensive plans for infrastructure ecosystems; resource planning . . . O my gosh!

He called the oil companies "evil" in his O'Reilly interview. He called the Pharmaceutical companies "evil" in the debates (my only overwhelmingly positive moment for Governor Romney was when he said "no they're not.")

I can whine, but I don't believe a lover of liberty can be apathetic between Senator Obama and Senator McCain. All the same, many uncomfortable moments lie between now and November. O my gosh.

UPDATE: Club For Growth concurs. In a press release:

Washington – McCain’s cap-and-trade bill to limit CO2 emissions is badly flawed and would do great damage to the economy. Although McCain promotes the cap-and-trade plan as a market-based solution, it is just another heavy government regulation with tremendous costs to American businesses and economic growth.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:55 PM

May 4, 2008

Dumbest. Plan. Ever. WSJ's Take.

Here's what the WSJ editorial page has to say about Obama's election year plan to lower gas prices by raising the marginal corporate tax on oil companies ABOVE it's present level of 35%:

Mr. Obama is right to oppose the gas-tax gimmick, but his idea is even worse. Neither proposal addresses the problem of energy supply, especially the lack of domestic oil and gas thanks to decades of Congressional restrictions on U.S. production.


Last week Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski introduced a windfall profits tax as part of what he called the "Consumer Reasonable Energy Price Protection Act of 2008."

And about energy policy politics in general:

This tiff over gas and oil taxes only highlights the intellectual policy confusion – or perhaps we should say cynicism – of our politicians. They want lower prices but don't want more production to increase supply. They want oil "independence" but they've declared off limits most of the big sources of domestic oil that could replace foreign imports. They want Americans to use less oil to reduce greenhouse gases but they protest higher oil prices that reduce demand. They want more oil company investment but they want to confiscate the profits from that investment. And these folks want to be President?

But there is hope:

Late this week, a group of Senate Republicans led by Pete Domenici of New Mexico introduced the "American Energy Production Act of 2008" to expand oil production off the U.S. coasts and in Alaska. It has the potential to increase domestic production enough to keep America running for five years with no foreign imports. With the world price of oil at $116 a barrel, if not now, when?

So does the AEPA have a chance of passing instead of the CREPPA? The chances may be slim but as Wayne Gretzky used to say, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:46 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Shamelessly commenting on my own post-

Disregard for a moment whether either of the proposed Acts would or could actually achieve its stated goal and instead consider the competing intents:

D-PA: "Reasonable" energy price protection for consumers.

R-NM: American energy production.

That pretty well sums it all up, doesn't it?

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2008 3:21 PM

April 20, 2008

I Told You So

It's the mark of a small, petty, man of limited integrity to engage in "I told You Sos." Ergo:

While I found much to like about the candidacy of Senator Fred Thompson, and still picked him over Senator McCain, I was extremely concerned that he would be painted as offering "a third Bush term." To ThreeSourcers, that was ridiculous: there remain clear differences. But I knew the Democrats would try, and that it would be hard to beat Soros-funded 527s in defining a Southern, plainspoken politician as being any different.

In my small-minded, petty, limited integrity case -- let me point out how hard the Democrats are trying to use this against Senator McCain. On FOX News Sunday, "Bush-McCain" was Senator Schumer's label for anything to the right of Henry Wallace. Here's Mister Audacity himself in ThreeSources's spiritual backyard:

[T]he change this country needs will not come from a third George W. Bush term. And what is exactly what his campaign is offering. John McCain is offering four more years of a war with no exit strategy, a war with no end in sight, a war that is sending our troops on their third, fourth and fifth tours of duty." Four good measure, Obama repeated the disputable claim that McCain saw "great progress" from seven and a half years of George W. Bush's" economic program.

They are trying, and they know they succeeded in 1996 with a Union funded "Dole-Gingrich" campaign. I have no idea whether it will work. It seems laughable to any Republican: Misters Hatfield and McCoy are drinking buddies in comparison. But the Democrats will say it every day between now and November, and the media will be unlikely to question them. Sadly, McCain will be criticized for all the President’s good ideas which he supports.

At the end of the day, there will be clear differences and some media members will recount bad blood in the 2000 primaries. And it will help that McCain does not have a southern drawl. It doesn't make me proud of this country, Michelle, but I think would have been insurmountable for Fred!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:35 PM

Obama Worship

An old adage says "Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line." Last week, I got in an email thread among some Republican bloggers and was surprised at some of the hostility toward Senator McCain. I suppose most of us have already "fallen in line" 'round these parts.

The other day, I realized the creepiest thing about the adulation for Senator Obama. Among many choices, I have to go with the short hop from candidate-worship to government-worship. My feelings for Senator McCain parallel my feelings about government: "I guess we have to have somebody, and he's one of the least worst." I don't faint when he speaks and I don't feel thrills running up my leg like Chris Matthews. But I don't look for him to solve all my problems, nor do I expect him to heal our nations' divisions. I expect him to adequately and faithfully execute to responsibilities of the office.

Not very poetic, huh?

Obama supporters -- and the bumper stickers are springing up like blue daffodils around Boulder County -- really believe he will bring great health care to everybody, make Americans loved in the deepest corners of the world, and that black, white and brown Americans will live together as brothers. The flaw is not that they are looking to Senator Obama for that, the flaw is that they are looking to government to do that.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM

April 17, 2008

Don't Let The Door

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out Ambassador! From a Press Release by his campaign:

Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes has chosen April 15 to make a major announcement of his intentions, following indications he has broken with the GOP. A life-long Republican who has increasingly cited the party's failure to match conservative rhetoric with actual performance in the political arena, Keyes said he will reveal his reasons for departing the GOP at a press conference scheduled for 8:30 pm ET, at the Best Western Genetti Inn in Hazleton, PA.

Live streaming video on his website. America will be riveted to her screens I'm certain.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 5:45 PM

April 10, 2008

On Senator McCain

Jeff Moyer at the PA Water Cooler links to a great story about Senator McCain.

Every few weeks, McCain drives over to pay his respects. These days the trip is a ceremony, like going to church, only less pleasant. Udall is seldom conscious, and even then he shows no sign of recognition. McCain brings with him a stack of newspaper clips on Udall's favorite subjects: local politics in Arizona, environmental legislation, Native American land disputes,
A nurse entered and seemed surprised to find anyone there, and it wasn’t long before I found out why: Almost no one visits anymore. In his time, which was not very long ago, Mo Udall was one of the most-sought-after men in the Democratic Party. Yet as he dies in a veterans hospital a few miles from the Capitol, he is visited regularly only by a single old political friend, John McCain. “He’s not going to wake up this time,” McCain said.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:19 PM

March 25, 2008

Huck-a-Whack Is Back!

C'mon, you know you missed it! Today, John Fund pens the Huck-a-Whack denouement in OpinionJournal Political Diary:

Mike Huckabee is as busy as ever since he ended his campaign for the GOP nomination. Invitations to speak and join the boards of various organizations are pouring in. But this week the former Arkansas governor took time to contemplate why he failed to best John McCain in this winter's primaries. His partial answer: his fellow Christian leaders.

"Rank-and-file evangelicals supported me strongly, but a lot of the leadership did not," he told Ralph Hallow of the Washington Times. "Let's face it, if you're not going to be king, the next best thing is to be the kingmaker. And if the person gets there without you, you become less relevant."

Mr. Huckabee has a point. Pat Robertson of TV's "The 700 Club" was a surprise backer of Rudy Giuliani. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer had kind words for Fred Thompson and Jay Sekulow, who heads the American Center for Law and Justice, backed Mitt Romney.

But what Mr. Huckabee fails to note is that the Christian leaders I spoke with all had passionate reasons for not backing the Baptist minister. Several singled out his critique of President Bush's foreign policy for being "arrogant," and several noted Mr. Huckabee's endorsement of a discredited "cap-and-trade" regulatory approach to global warming. "He's the leading exponent of Christian left principles in our party," one Christian leader told me. Paul Pressler, who led the successful ouster of the moderate leadership of the Southern Baptist convention in the 1980s, recalled Mr. Huckabee was on the other side in that dispute. For his part, Mr. Bauer says he "saw no evidence that [Huckabee] could bring together the three main parts of the Reagan electoral constituency -- defense, economic and social conservatives."

Mr. Huckabee does acknowledge the role of some critics in stopping his march to the nomination. He singles out the free-market Club for Growth for running damaging ads against him in South Carolina, where he narrowly lost the primary to John McCain.

"It was very frustrating to be presented as an economic liberal, because I have a very different record, as an economic conservative," Mr. Huckabee told the Washington Times. His big problem here is that so few of Mr. Huckabee's fellow Republicans in Arkansas agree with him. Only a handful of the state's 33 GOP state legislators endorsed him for president. Blant Hurt, a former owner of Arkansas Business magazine, was brutally candid on the reasons: "He's hostile to free trade, hiked sales and grocery taxes, backed sales taxes on Internet purchases, and presided over state spending going up more than twice the inflation rate."

Rather than blame shadowy "kingmakers" in the Republican Party, it's time Mr. Huckabee acknowledged that for all of his rhetorical gifts, he wasn't able to close the sale with conservative leaders -- both Christian and others -- who examined his record closely.

Emphasis mine. Goodbye and Good Luck, Governor. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM

February 16, 2008

Let the Libertarians Go

According to Joe Carter, who has worked for the Huckabee campaign, lower taxes no longer attract voters. What they really want is (and I am paraphrasing) mythological government-created and facilitated growth and good schools. To me, that sounds more like the message of many Democrats. Similarly, he could care less about those of us lonely libertarians:

“If you let the libertarians go over to the Democratic Party while the Republicans win the votes of entrepreneurs,” he says, “you’re talking about a new majority party.”


The Reagan coalition has worked for almost 30 years. Economic libertarians have been a strong part of that coalition. Why do the Republicans insist on fixing something that isn't broken?

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:22 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Well, I don't see a Huckabee worker really speaking for the party. Nor do I see how he is going to separate "entrepreneurs" and "economic libertarians." Don't they want the same thing?

Years ago, I was hoping for re-alignment, hoping that I could be in a different party from the Huckabee Demographic (Silence Dogood and I used to plan this on the Berkeley Square Blog). Since that time, the Democrats have moved so far away from classic liberal positions on trade and taxation, I no longer see the viability of that party offering, well, any freedom whatsoever.

I think we're stuck with Frank Meyers's fusionism for a few more cycles.

Posted by: jk at February 16, 2008 4:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Now that JK has already voiced my first reaction to this story, i.e. entrepreneurs are predominantly a subset of the class "economic libertarians," I'll share my second observation:

Huckabee and his staff are not conservatives, because they do not hold private property rights as an absolute. His Christianity-inspired egalitarianism and altruism tell him it is morally justified to take one man's property and give it to another, as long as the first man has more to start with. That puts him on a par with the Edwardsesque rhetoric we all tired of through the early primary campaigns.

As an "economic libertarian" I appeal to my Christian brothers to examine the teachings of their faith and recognize the difference between two like intentioned but fundamentally different processes: One one hand, individuals (and their voluntary congregations) doing charitable works and on the other hand, the heartless, soulless, ignorant servants of government attempting to be charitable with the conscripted wealth of others.

Governor Huckabee doesn't seem to recognize any distinctions between these two methodologies, but economic libertarians do.

Posted by: johngalt at February 17, 2008 2:18 PM
But Joe Carter thinks:

***Economic libertarians have been a strong part of that coalition.***

Weigel did a good job on the article, but it was difficult for him to distill our hour-long conversation into a few quotes. As the context hints at, I wasn't referring to "economic libertarians" but rather "cultural libertarians."

My point was that Reaganism won the day. Nowadays taxes are low enough that the upper-middle and wealthy business classes are free to vote on non-economic issues. (Even if the Democrats raise taxes they won't be anywhere near the confiscatory rates of the pre-Reagan era.) This has changed the dynamic, providing the cultural libertarians the freedom to vote for candidates that support gay-marriage, abortion rights, etc.

Of course, the people who still care about economic issues are the entrepreneur class. Even minor changes in taxation or regulation can severely impact their business. This is the group that Huckabee was trying to reach with his economic policies. So in a sense, the sensible, non-crazy* economic libertarians are pitted against the cultural libertarians.

*By "non-crazy" I mean the ones that don't hyperventilate whenever state governments increase the sales tax by a penny to fix infrastructure. ; )

Posted by: Joe Carter at February 18, 2008 3:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Welcome Joe, and thank you for contributing to our discussion! I'm not sure I understand the gist of your case here except to say that a small segment of the "big tent" GOP, (you call them cultural libertarians) are becoming less tolerant of the puritanical moral code espoused by evangelicals (whom you call conservatives). I don't think this really gets to the heart of the matter though.

I'd like to ask about your recasting of politics as a split not between conservatives and liberals, but between conservatives and libertarians. (I've been making a similar case for years, but not for the same reasons as yours.) Since "conservative" and "libertarian" (and "liberal" for that matter) have imperfect definitions I'll attempt to characterize them in a way I think you would agree with.

-Law and order social structure based on a judeo-christian" moral code
-Nuclear family (married complementary gender parents with or without children) promoted through Marriage Amendment to the Constitution
-Faith-friendly public schools
-Well funded military, used for worldwide humanitarian missions when possible
-"Managed" free-market economy
-Restrictions on abortion
-Equal "opportunity" for all (we'll say this means job or entreprenurial options right out of high school or college)
-Mandatory national pension plan

-Nearly unlimited individual freedoms
-Civil unions and single parent households recognized by the state
-Complete separation of church and state
-Military used for "homeland defense" only
-Laissez faire economy
-Abortion on demand (notwithstanding the position of the Republi-tarian Ron Paul)
-Every man for himself in the job market
-Every man for himself in retirement

-"Managed" legal system where offenders are excused for insanity, bad childhood, etc.
-Gay marriage and single parent households endorsed by the state
-Complete separation of church and state
-Department of Defense replaced by Department of Peace
-"Managed" and regulated market economy
-Abortion on demand
-Guaranteed jobs for all
-Guaranteed retirement for all

Now, you suggested that the Republican party would have a new majority if it abandoned the ideas important to libertarians and adopted more of what I'll call "upper middle-class social populism" (you called it "good schools, laws that make it easy to start a business, economic growth" - "good services" from government. Presumably this would attract a subset of Democrat voters (you call them entrepreneurs) to the Republican party. But this subset would include only those voters who don't care about certain hot-button issues, like abortion, gay marriage, and prayer/creationism in public schools. But those are the very issues you are willing to abandon libertarians over. Why would it be any more likely that Democrat entrepreneurs would embrace your brand of moralistic socialism than the libertarians are now?

I think you're correct to observe that libertarians have more issues in common with liberals than conservatives but I honestly don't see how the GOP can replace economically conservative social liberals with economically liberal social liberals, just by becoming more economically liberal itself. A more profitable strategy, it seems, is to work with libertarians to defeat liberal collectivism.

Or, do you see a large disaffected contingent of economically liberal social conservatives (or even social agnostics) out there? We used to call those "soccer moms," but Hillary is losing even them to Obama and his brazenly socialist rhetoric.

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2008 6:26 PM

February 13, 2008

I Been Thinkin' 'Bout This Too

A good friend of this blog reads The Nation -- so I don't have to.

He mails a link, and says "some good points."

Besides being the greatest two-for in GOP history, Rice brings other huge pluses to the old admiral. Indeed, she may be enough to elect the venerable hero/naval aviator.

McCain's troubles with the religious wing of his party could well evaporate with the churchgoing Rice at his side. She solidifies that part of his base overnight.

With Rice on the ticket, the GOP would have somebody to get enthusiastic about. The Secretary of State is immensely popular with Republicans. For a party that up to now has been clueless about how to run against either a woman or a person of color, Condoleezza Rice is pure political gold.

Woe to any Democrat who thinks taking her on in a debate is a sure thing. The woman is tough, fast on her feet and able to give better than she gets. Anyone who has seen her in action testifying in front of a hostile House or Senate committee knows that she will be able to wipe up the floor with a plodding, ordinary pol of a Democratic vice-presidential candidate. Take Rice lightly at your peril.

It would deflate some of the "historic" aspects of the Democratic nominee as well. I think that she has been poisoned by the striped-pants set at the State Department, but she is awesome on guns and freedom issues. And The Nation does not lie about her debating skills.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:45 PM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

As I accidentally stated elsewhere, when I thought I had accidentally commented on the wrong entry, I've wanted to see Condi run for president since 2005.

And it can't be said enough: what a woman.

One of her greatest strengths is her Russian fluency and familiarity with the old Soviet Union. This has been dismissed, because supposedly the USSR is long gone, and thus her knowledge is unnecessary.

Putin has proven that quite incorrect. What are we dealing with now, but a resurgence of the old Soviet regime?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 14, 2008 11:17 AM
But jk thinks:

Great point on Putin and the importance of keeping an eye on him.

A quick search finds that when Brother AC and I were both at our previous individual blogs, we agreed on Condi2008 -- in March 2004.

My enthusiasm has waned as she pursues a Palestinian "peace" plan which seems destined to be a lot more appeasement than peace. Is there something in the water fountains at State?

Posted by: jk at February 14, 2008 11:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2008 2:59 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Maybe. This new peace push was for political appearances, anyway. Clinton made efforts and so Bush must too.

I say, let the Israelis sort it out. I think it was Abdullah of Jordan who said to the U.S. Congress that it's the lack of peace and justice in Palestine that's creating the strife. It's true, just not in the way he meant it. I mean, with Fatah and then Hamas in charge, how can there be peace and justice?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 14, 2008 3:49 PM

Keep at it, Huck!

The results are in and it appears that Governor Huckabee won a majority of one faction of one party in one state. WaPo:

In Va., Huckabee Again Shows Strength on Right

But even as he dominated the Potomac Primary, McCain lost conservatives in Virginia, as he has across the South and parts of the Midwest -- trailing Huckabee among that group and evangelicals as he attempts to unite a fractured Republican Party behind his candidacy.

He can be President of the Virginia Conservatives!

I think it is moronic that the Governor has stayed in long after far more formidable rivals have dropped out. There is a school of thought that says that he helps McCain by keeping the GOP in the news. I certainly don't think he is hurting the Senator much. But I look forward to his ByeKu.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If he wanted to help McCain or his supposed party, Hucksterbee would give up now and encourage Republicans to band together. His refusal is borne of self-delusion and arrogance. He's a religious freak who should scare even the most ardent Christian fundamentalists, and an economic tyrant who believes people should pay for the enjoyment of others.

Speaking of delusion, it's someone like Huckabee who would be the Antichrist. He's virtually the personification of the delusion God sent to people, "that they should believe a lie," as written in 2 Thessalonians.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 13, 2008 2:05 PM
But jk thinks:

All my thoughts mirror yours, except there are too many candidates for antichrist this year -- we won't know until the superhellagates speak.

I have heard a few fairly sane people suggest that the continuing race takes some Oxygen from the Democrats. I'm looking forward to his dropping out.

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2008 2:12 PM

February 10, 2008

Fred! Endorses John!

Sorry if this is old news, but I missed it:

This is no longer about past preferences or differences. It is about what is best for our country and for me that means that Republican should close ranks behind John McCain," Thompson said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.

Thompson's endorsement was expected. The two men were colleagues for years in the Senate and shared what associates called a friendship. But while he was in the race, Thompson had bristled at the idea that he was going to drop out and endorse McCain.

The endorsement now may help McCain to coalesce the factions of the party around him. Thompson, who represented Tennessee in the Senate for eight years, is thought of well in the South, an area that McCain has not done well in.

VP Please!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

As I commented on Alarming News, how about this: Fred becomes McCain's VP, and McCain decides he's too old to run for re-election, giving Fred a possible advantage (thankfully it didn't work for Gore).

I joked then that I should stop drinking during lunch. I should stop eating when making these jokes; I almost choked on my salad just now, from laughing about how far-fetched that dream is.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2008 12:33 PM

Quote of the Campaign

An unintentionally funny quote from John McCain:

"The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," [McCain] said. "I've got Greenspan's book."

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:59 AM

February 8, 2008

A Bit Strange

Don Luskin (a frequent recipient of Three Sources links) signed on as an economic advisor to Ron Paul at the end of January. He even appeared on the new Fox Business Channel to promote Dr. Paul. However, it has been brought to my attention and now confirmed on Paul's website that Luskin has abandoned the Paul campaign exactly two weeks after the day he joined in order to sign on with Sen. McCain. Luskin has long been an advocate of Paul's candidacy even before becoming an official policy advisor. I am a bit perplexed at his abrupt departure (especially after promising Neil Cavuto in front of tens of FBC viewers that he would vote for Ron Paul even if he had to write him in).

I know that blog friend and frequent commenter Perry Eidelbus has regular correspondence with Don. Any scoop Perry?

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:58 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Love the comments:
-- Wow. That sucks. What a jerk.
-- Best of luck to him cuz he's gonna need it.
-- GOOD! He was def not part of the Revolution anyways!!!
-- ..he'll be sorry...
-- Does he have inside info that could damage us???
-- Good riddance!
-- Maybe HE was the traitor in the camp!!!! The less baggage we carry the better!
-- 30 silver coin guy.
-- Good riddance. Luskin is a douchebag anyways. See MetaMarkets for a good look at Luskin's record of success.

Why would he leave a group like that? It must have been the coffee...

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2008 1:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Don didn't tell me why, and even if he had, I wouldn't talk about it with anyone else. I suspect it's because when the primaries narrowed down the GOP field, there was no point. Let's think reality for a second: not many more people are going to vote for Ron Paul in November than today, so Paul's staff should think about exerting their efforts in more effective ways.

Both Paul and Luskin have made their points, and they should be proud of it. McCain was hardly my first or second or even third choice, but right now, I'm pleased Luskin is now on his campaign. McCan needs Luskin to teach him supply-siderism. Someone needs to convince McCain to emphasize tax cuts too, not just spending cuts. Now McCain's campaign didn't offer me a job, so I guess it's up to Don.

Don is a registered libertarian, and I wouldn't doubt for a minute that he'd still vote for Paul in the election. Why do people equate accepting an advisor position with selling your soul? There's no implicit let alone explicit obligation of voting.

"See MetaMarkets for a good look at Luskin's record of success."

This is a tired old smear/misrepresentation. The truth is that Don and Dave Nadig started MetaMarkets near what turned out to be the very top of the market -- where there was no way to go but down. It wasn't a hedge fund that's designed to do well in bear markets, but a mutual fund with very innovative ideas.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2008 1:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh by the way, one particularly asinine commenter said,

"His website is poorandstupid ell, he is a Yale drop-out, so he does not have a strong financial/economic qualification."

Um, Luskin's plenty wealthy, all of which he earned himself. As vice chairman at Barclays, he was one of the top execs who managed 500 *BILLION* dollars. When Luskin told me that, he was in fact quite modest for the subject matter: "There are maybe 20 guys on the whole planet who can say that."

He dropped out of Yale, as he says, to join the real world. That saved him from ridiculous economic indoctrination.

And anyone who doubts Luskin's economic and financial qualifications clearly has never read his blog, or his books, or the info on his investment patents. Remember how retirement savings plans adjust investment risk based on age? Don has a patent on a pioneering technique.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2008 1:27 PM

February 7, 2008

Romney Out


John McCain effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday as chief rival Mitt Romney suspended his faltering presidential campaign.

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney will say at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters... many of you right here in this room... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country," Romney said.

Don't expect Senator McCain to tack to the right anymore.

The race is over.

Posted by AlexC at 12:45 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I hope he tacks to the right just long enough to choose Senator Fred Thompson as his running mate.

Sorry jg and sorry ac. But I am glad that it is over. This is a Democrat year any way you measure it. I am glad that he can save his money, focus and prestige for the general, while we get to watch the other guys duke it out.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2008 2:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

JK said "Commander-in-Chief" gets two." Mitt says, in effect, it gets four:

"Even though we face an uphill fight, I know that many in this room are fully behind my campaign. You are with me all the way to the convention. Fight on, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1976. But there's an important difference from 1976. Today, we are a nation at war, and Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the War on Terror. They would retreat, declare defeat, and the consequences of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America launched from safe havens that would make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child's play. About this I have no doubt. Now I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq and finding and executing Osama bin Laden. And I agree with him on eliminating al Qaeda and terror worldwide. Now if I fight on in my campaign all the way to the convention - I want you to know I've given this a lot of thought - I'd forestall the launch of a national campaign and frankly I'd be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win. Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. This isn't an easy decision. I hate to lose. My family, my friends, you, my supporters across the country, you've given a great deal to get me to where I have a shot at becoming president. If this were about me I'd go on, but it's never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, in this time of war I feel I have to now stand aside. For our party and for our country. (You guys are great!) I will continue to stand for conservative principles. I'll fight along side you for all of the things that we believe in. And one of the things we believe in is that we cannot allow the next President of the United States to retreat in the face of evil extremism. It is the common task of each generation and the burden of Liberty to preserve this country, expand it's freedoms, and renew it's spirit so that it's noble past is prolonged to it's glorious future. To this task, accepting this burden, we're all dedicated. And I firmly believe by the providence of the almighty that we will succeed beyond our fondest hope. America must always remain, as it has always been, the hope of the Earth. Thank you so very much. I love you. Thank you."

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2008 3:17 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I wonder how he expanded freedom in Massachusetts by forcing people who didn't want health insurance to buy it anyway.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 8, 2008 1:37 PM

February 6, 2008

The Republican Party Has Left Me

Watching the returns come in on Not So Super Tuesday, I was struck by a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I realized that I am a man without a party (not even a lesser of two evils party). The returns, of course, favored John McCain. And as I contemplated a McCain nomination, I was struck by the fact that I was rooting for the lesser of two evils within the Republican Party in Mitt Romney. Why should I be rooting for the lesser of two evils in the very party to which I reluctantly belong? As I began to try and delude myself that Romney would indeed be a good candidate and not simply "Not McCain", the results from the south began rolling in. I heard the most devastating combination of syllables imaginable emanating from Wolf Blitzer's* mouth:

"Huckabee wins Georgia."

Huckabee wins West Virginia."

Huckabee is neck-and-neck with McCain in Missouri."

Huckabee wins Arkansas."

I frantically turned the station. Chris Matthews and Brit Hume were saying the same thing.

How could it be that Gomer Pyle was winning? I may not be comfortable with any of the candidates, but I have made no bones about where I stand on Comrade Taxabee. Suddenly, the Pat Robertson of 2008 had done something that I thought was impossible. He won in states other than Iowa. It was at that moment that it hit me.

The Republican Party has left me.

The talk of limited government, free trade, and low taxes was what drew me to the party. In certain times, like under the current president, some (and at times all) of the talk about these issues was merely lip service. However, the present crop does not even provide lip service to the issues that I am interested in. Instead, there are folks like Mike Huckabee (who I never believed could draw a single vote after Iowa) that are out on the trail painting populist dream worlds for the economically ignorant. Gomer has no knowledge of anything not contained in the Bible or Neal Boortz's book on the FairTax -- and I don't think that he even understands those two books. He has yet to locate Pakistan (when they had the debate on MSNBC and the candidates had to ask questions to one another, I was secretly hoping someone would pull out a globe and ask Huckabee to identify Pakistan). He makes up false claims about Mormonism in the New York Times to damage Romney and pretends that they are innocent mistakes. He doesn't understand his own tax proposal. He repeatedly states that finally drug dealers and prostitutes will not be exempt from taxation (ignoring the fact that their customers will because I doubt that type of consumption will be reported).

And yet Republicans are voting for this man over McCain and Romney in several states.

The GOP isn't all that grand anymore. It has become a desolate wasteland of broken promises, empty rhetoric, and now populist nonsense.

I am not leaving the Republican Party. The Republican Party has left me. I'm sure that I will be persuaded to vote for a GOP candidate from time to time, but I can no longer consider myself a member of this broken party.

* Just as a side note, as my troubled mind tried to contemplate what in the world was going on, I couldn't help but wonder if "Wolf Blitzer" is the greatest name ever? If only he were a linebacker or military general...

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:21 PM | Comments (6)
But AlexC thinks:

I think Dick Armey trumps Wolf Blitzer any day of the week.

"Um, Sir, i'm afraid we cannot stand up to Dick Armey. He will win."

Posted by: AlexC at February 6, 2008 11:37 PM
But jk thinks:

A hundred questions for you, hb.

First: not knowing you long or well, I am a little surprised that you ever considered yourself a Republican and the party "grand." How new is this? When Pat Buchanan won New Hampshire and Alan Keyes and Pat Robertson were on the debating stand, were you flying your flag proudly?

Second: Whatchyagonnado? Stay home and let Senator Clinton or Obama be elected because some guys who call themselves Republicans voted for a guy you didn't like? I know a pile of [L|l]ibertarians who are too cool to vote for any of the imperfect candidates provided. I always ask them" how's that working out for you? Staying home and watching the State take over more and more.

I am pretty damn disappointed in the GOP brand of late. They will not expunge Jerry Lewis and Don Young and Ted Stevens is still not in prison. But I am going to find a way to work with the West Virginians who voted for Governor Huckabee. Convince them that Frank Meyers was right. We are on the same team. I want government out of my economics and you will be better off the less government you have in your religion.

You know I was disappointed that Rudy! and Fred! didn't make it. But I realize that they both ran deeply flawed campaigns. In the marketplace of ideas, they did not have the right marketing. Y'know, Beta was better than VHS too.

But I am pretty happy with the GOP after Super Tuesday (Tuesday Weld was another great name...) I am happy that the talk-radio populists could not parley their anger and xenophobia into getting their candidate nominated. (QUICK TIME OUT: I am NOT calling all who oppose more liberalized immigration xenophobes nor all supporters of Governor Romney. I am saying that some tried to tap into that emotion to generate support for Mitt! and failed).

Rush Limbaugh lost, James Dobson lost, and Ann Coulter may be leaving the party. And you're sad?

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2008 12:21 PM
But HB thinks:


1.) I call the Republican Party the GOP because it is their nickname, not out of affinity. I have merely considered myself a Republican by default.

Also, I welcome the Huckabee's, Robertsons, and Buchanans to run for office. The problem I have with Huckabee is that he has transcended from a fringe entrant to the winner of several primaries/caucuses.

2.) I am not convinced that there is that great difference between McCain, Obama, and Clinton.

  • No matter what the Dems say, they will not bring the troops home immediately (alternatively McCain wants them there for 100 years).
  • All 3 candidates want to "fight" global warming.
  • Where is the difference on immigration? (Obama pointed out in the last debate that he worked with McCain on the bill.)
  • The Bush tax cuts will expire regardless of who is president because the legislature will be in the hands of the Dems.

3.) I recognize that a perfect candidate doesn't exist. However, I am not looking for the "perfect" candidate. I am merely looking for a candidate that appeals to me; a criteria which none of the remaining candidates can meet.

Posted by: HB at February 7, 2008 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair points. I'll only protest the "no difference between McCain, Obama, and Clinton" one.

The War is NOT Iraq. You can call it GWOT, The Long War, WWIV, The War the Terrorist declared on us, or "Harold." There is a global alliance of 7th Century madmen who think that freedom and minority rights are evil. If Clinton and McCain handle Iraq the same (Obama is offended at the idea of keeping bases there -- why would we wanna do that?) I bet they differ, substantively, on Iran. Will the next attack engender a call to the FBI or to the Marines?

Free trade?

The Bush tax cuts expire -- do you believe for a second that it stops there? Whose Social Security reform do you prefer?

I hate McCain's reimportation of drugs. So I should choose Socialized Medicine?

I had foolishly hoped that you might actually be the second guy around here who appreciates McCain's stand on immigration. Whatever. I think he's right and I am impressed that he stands up for it.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2008 3:04 PM
But HB thinks:


I think you misunderstood my point on immigration. I wasn't ridiculing McCain on immigration (I am much closer to his position than that of the other candidates). I was merely pointing out that he doesn't differ from Obama (shockingly giving Obama a compliment).

Posted by: HB at February 7, 2008 6:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I feel your pain HB. We're in the same boat. The problem is, ours is a two-party system. Rather than attempt to create a viable third party I've contented myself to attempt reform of one of the existing ones. I concluded it's possible to shape the morality of people who believe morality exists, and impossible to do so with people who believe nothing exists, at least not objectively so.

I was heartened to see that Dr. Edward Hudgins of The Atlas Society addressed the CPAC conference yesterday (11:30).

In the meantime I celebrate what's left of my economic liberty, live in an unincorporated area, and make regular contributions to what I believe is America's (and the world's) most important PAC: The NRA-ILA.

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2008 3:24 PM

Free Trade Report Card

One refuge I've found in my defense of Senator McCain has been his stance on free trade. David Ranson, head of research at H.C. Wainwright Economics Inc., has a guest editorial in which he grades the candidates on their approach to trade. The bar is pretty damn low, but Senator McCain shines:

During their debates, some of the Republican candidates expressed more ifs, ands or buts about free trade than others. John McCain says: "Free trade should be the continuing principle that guides this nation's economy." Mitt Romney's position is: "I strongly support free trade, but free trade has to be fair in both directions." According to Mike Huckabee: "I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade." But elsewhere he has said: "I don't want to see our food come from China, our oil come from Saudi Arabia and our manufacturing come from Europe and Asia."

Hillary Clinton has taken an even stronger stance against free trade, suggesting that the economic theories underpinning it no longer hold. To support that she cited economics Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson, but he was only making the long-understood but sometimes forgotten point that, even in the long run, free trade does not benefit everyone.

When you hear "fair trade," "smart trade," reciprocal trade," you are always hearing a euphemism for protectionism. Free trade is fair, smart, and reciprocal -- without any help from bureaucrats.

If you read the whole piece, McCain gets a well deserved whack for some nonsense about compensating senior workers and some good old bromides about retraining. But even if enacted, a few stupid gub'mint programs will be much less of a drag on the economy than protectionism

Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I suppose that's one reason McCain is better than the other two, at least by default.

The others are a religious freak who wants to amend the Constitution to suit God's law, and the other is a moral conservative who forced economic socialism on his home state. And if they're talking about "fair trade," they can both go to hell (which they are already, I'm sure).

To use Walter Williams' analogy, we don't need Hucksterbee or Romney blowing a hole in our side of the boat, just because our trade partners blow one in theirs.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 6, 2008 4:58 PM

February 5, 2008

Precinct 035 is in

Mitt Romney 6
John McCain 5
Mike Huckabee 3
Ron Paul 2

It was just like the Super Bowl. Romney had a surge in the last few votes. I was disappointed that my candidate lost but I had a blast. My Republican neighbors are awesome. We voted on some resolutions after and the discussions were top notch. I did not agree with all of them, but I have a ton of respect for all.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:44 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I'll just piggyback onto your post to add that Weld County precinct ...2304 went for Romney in a landslide:

Romney 15
McCain 2
Huckabee 2
Paul 2

We too were excited to see the process first hand and johngalt managed to get himself elected as an alternate delegate. Yes, the Republic is in good hands.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2008 12:57 AM

Two Last Whacks at Rep. Ron Paul

Okay, they won't be the last if he stays in. But some have politely questioned my ability to go lower and lower down the GOP evolutionary ladder -- I'll soon be singing the praises of worms! Time to take another look at a man of boundless principle, Representative Ron Paul?

No, thanks. (Worms really are underappreciated...)

Two great articles today express my concerns without my syrupy prose or bad typing: Marinating in 'Decline' by Bret Stephens and The Benefits of Hegemony by Arnold Kling.

Hegemony makes the argument I have made, without invoking the name of Deepak Lal. The type of modern, global trade I want (Lal's Liberal International Economic Order) simply cannot prosper without somebody playing World Police. I don't see anybody else stepping up. Kling ends with a pretty thoughtful rebuttal of the anarcho-capatalist claims that iPod's 47 different countries' parts will come together just as freely under protection of pirates than of the USMC.

If I am correct, then the markets in ancient Rome were filled whenever the legions came home with loads of plunder. Otherwise, the markets would have been relatively empty.

What I suspect is that over the past several hundred years, the production/plunder ratio has increased dramatically. That is, in a typical ancient market, most of the goods for sale were plundered by the imperial armies. Only a few goods for sale were produced voluntarily by citizens. In a modern economy, the ratio of production to plunder is far higher.

Bret Stephens's piece speaks to my other concern with Paul. His insistence that we are broke, we cannot continue, we're borrowing too much, we're...

Stephens traces the roots of this line of thought:

In 1788, Massachusetts playwright Mercy Otis Warren took one look at the (unratified) U.S. Constitution and declared that "we shall soon see this country rushing into the extremes of confusion and violence." This, roughly, is the origin of American declinism -- and it's been downhill ever since.

And follows with some modern statistics which belie it:
Yet each of these assumptions collapses on a moment's inspection. In his 2006 book "Überpower," German writer Josef Joffe makes the following back-of-the-envelope calculation: "Assume that the Chinese economy keeps growing indefinitely at a rate of seven percent, the average of the past decade (for which history knows of no example). . . . At that rate, China's GDP would double every decade, reaching parity with today's United States ($12 trillion) in thirty years. But the U.S. economy is not frozen into immobility. By then, the United States, growing at its long-term rate of 2.5 percent, would stand at $25 trillion."

Now take military expenditures. Yesterday, the administration released its budget proposal for 2009, which includes $515.4 billion for the regular defense budget. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this would be the largest defense appropriation since World War II. Yet it amounts to about 4% of GDP, as compared to 14% during the Korean War, 9.5% during the Vietnam War and 6% in the Reagan administration. Throw in the Iraq and Afghanistan supplementals, and total projected defense spending is still only 4.5% of GDP -- an easily afforded sum even by Prof. Kennedy's terms.

We're not broke because the world wants to invest in US Securities. But we would be considerably poorer if we did not hold up our oversized but necessary portion of the defense of worldwide, liberal trade.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:08 PM | Comments (9)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

All right, after skimming through Stephens' ridiculous article, there's only one thing to say:

Stephens is full of it. He has a point about the perpetual defeatism that some people have, but Mercy Warren was not one of them. Stephens either has no idea what the hell Warren was talking about, or he purposely took this quote out of context. Warren was *not* talking about America falling into a superpower decline, contrary to the absurd insinuation that Stephens makes by linking it with contemporary quotes.

Like Patrick Henry and many others opposed to the Constitution, Warren believed that the new federal government was *too strong*, and that this *government* would merely succeed George III as tyrant. *That* is why he wrote what he did. The full quote:

"...extremes of confusion and violence, in consequence of the proceedings of a set of gentlemen, who disregarding the purposes of their appointment, have assumed powers unauthorised by any commission, have unnecessarily rejected the confederation of the United States, and annihilated the sovereignty and independence of the individual governments. -- The causes which have inspired a few men assembled for very different purposes with such a degree of temerity as to break with a single stroke the union of America, and disseminate the seeds of discord through the land may be easily investigated, when we survey the partizans of monarchy in the state conventions, urging the adoption of a mode of government that militates with the former professions and exertions of this country, and with all ideas of republicanism, and the equal rights of men."

Here's a free history lesson for Stephens, and the rest of you may likewise learn. The Constitution itself, sans amendments, creates a federal government with no explicit limitation of powers. That's extremely dangerous. Federalists argued the reverse, that it was fine because the Articles' specific lists of federal powers implied limitation. In other words, they wanted people to trust that government would limit itself. Patrick Henry knew better than that, and it took a few years before he and others could press Madison into drafting a Bill of Rights -- particularly the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, which don't matter today anyway because they're just ignored by the courts, but that's another topic.

I've known this since I was 11. What's Stephens' excuse, or was the quote a snippet he came across once, deciding to save for later use though it meant taking it out of literal and historical context?

Now, as I said to someone the other day, optimism must be tempered by reality. Then again, that was in the context of expecting our home team to lose badly in the Super Bowl. It doesn't mean wringing your hands and surrendering, but it means looking at the whole picture.

Reagan's optimism was not about ignoring problems, but by recognizing that Really Bad S*** was happening, and not just that we had to do something about it, but that we could. Today, we must recognize that the U.S. is on an unsustainable course. Government fiscal policies are hamstringing our growth by discouraging people from producing, whether it's taxing me or giving my money to welfare queens, and discouraging. Our budget deficit is presently manageable, but that's partly with borrowing from Social Security. Never mind that the trust fund will be broke in 2017 (because it will have to start redeeming bonds, meaning getting money *from* the federal government instead of lending money). The trust fund's surplus will peak in 2009, meaning less money for the federal government to borrow, and more money it must borrow externally. So what does Bush do? He offers a $3.1 trillion budget. By the time the Democrats get the spending they want, and Bush acquiesces so long as Republicans can get the spending they want, it'll probably mean $3.5 trillion of total spending.

On the monetary side, it's not much better. My undergrad thesis was on the current account deficit, and I was a bit Keynesian about it, but the bottom line is that the pace is unsustainable. Right now, the current account deficit is correcting when it doesn't inherently have to. Contrary to what that economics ignoramus Warren Buffett says, trade never needs to be balanced. Anyway, this is happening about five years after most Keynesians started expecting it to correct. I wrote in my thesis that intentionally devaluing the dollar can bring the current account into balance, and the Fed is doing that right now. To paraphrase what I wrote, the cure's effects are as bad as the disease's symptoms: inflation on the domestic side that makes domestically produced goods and services more expensive; a reduced ability to buy imports; and reduced exports for the other side, reducing their income. This means a lower standard of living for both sides.

This isn't hyperbole. It's reality that we're heading down a dangerous path, where central bankers reduce our wealth and government takes what's left.

So tell me, how does the American military implicitly make all participants feel confident enough to produce iPods? Is it actively protecting shipping lanes and airports? Is it guarding factories? Are semi-conductor factory workers in Singapore and Malaysia even worried about bandits coming in? Or Chinese? No, and most probably aren't even conscious of American military might. Even Americans aren't necessarily consciously confident in today's world that someone will protect them. We're all used to the safety of modern times, that's all. Part of it is law enforcement, but a lot of it is that technology allows us to evade bandits. Traveling along the old Boston Post Road 200 years ago, I might have fallen prey to a highwayman. Today, carjackings do occur, but it's difficult, and generally only when people stop.

You're still giving too much credit to government for "saving" us, when it comes at tremendous expense -- which we pay for. It doesn't matter how people become confident enough to trade. Let them be free to choose, and they'll pick the most cost-effective way. For Chiquita Banana, it was to pay off the bandits that government couldn't fight. As another example, the Sicilian Mafia was ironically born out of a law enforcement necessity. Government couldn't and/or wouldn't protecting the common people, but certain "leaders" emerged who had a comparative advantage in violence. The Mafia emerged in America's 19th century Italian neighborhoods, when the police generally wouldn't do anything for Italian victims of crime, if the police weren't the perpetrators to begin with. Part of the origins of the gun control movement was to disarm Italian immigrants who resorted to self-defense against the Irish, who in New York and Chicago comprised a lot of the police.

The Mafia, you realize, makes it far easier to pay tribute. Modern government makes so many levels that it would boggle our Founding Fathers' minds. I should have added previously, when you're paid by a company, that company has already been taxed itself, and it passes along any sales taxes to you. The local don only take from right off the top.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 6, 2008 8:36 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That should have been, "The Mafia RE-emerged in America's 19th century Italian neighborhoods."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 6, 2008 8:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Appreciate the tip on Mercy Warren. To be fair to Stephens, he chose the quote for the date, to show that defeatism predates the Republic. I'm sure many of the defeatists were right.

But I don't think that's the point. If you consider Madisonian Democracy a failure because our government is too big, then you may join the defeatists. I long for 19th Century government, mid-20th Century civility and 21st Century technology. But all and all, I am prepared to call the American experiment a success.

I also believe there were credible arguments enumerating rights in the Bill of Rights. I'm glad to have them but think you are unfair in your criticism of the opposition. But that's an aside.

Reagan faced down the bad s*** with sunny optimism. Rep Ron Paul (whom, I must point out, is not mentioned in your comment) whines. "We're Broke! We gotta stop this because we can't afford it anymore! Just the Chinese and printin' money that keeps us afloat!" I don't remember President Reagan doing that. He poked his opponents with wit and style.

I'd have to look at the list of 47 countries where iPod components are manufactured again. But I'm betting Taiwan and South Korea are on it. There is an explicit agreement that the US will protect their sovereignty and an implicit understanding that America would intervene to defend shipping and trade around the world.

What would be the state of trade with Europe had the US not stood up to fascism and communism? A big free trade region of happy Nazis and Bolsheviks making earbuds for 14 cents a pair?

If only a third of the 47 nations are free to manufacture and trade, the cost of the iPod goes up. Double the price and the iPod is no longer marketable.

Clearly, Rep. Ron Paul is a threat to the iPod.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2008 2:48 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"If you consider Madisonian Democracy a failure because our government is too big, then you may join the defeatists."

In fact, Madison never advocated democracy, but a republic. Democracy inherently is a failure, because it allows the majority's will to rule in all cases, regardless of individual rights. A republic guarantees the rights of the individual against the majority, no matter how overwhelming. It was Andrew Jackson who advocated "democracy" more, because his support was more "populist" than the Founding Fathers, but even so he never believed in full "democracy" that could override the individual's rights.

Your definition of "defeatist" is too general. Or are you really calling me a "defeatist" because I think we have serious problems that can nonetheless be fixed? You're lumping me and Mercy Warren with the pure anti-Americans that were quoted. The difference is that Warren and I love this country and want it to succeed. When it shows signs of failure, we weep but want to fix it. The others whom Stephen quoted, well, are joyful when America has problems.

"I long for 19th Century government, mid-20th Century civility and 21st Century technology. But all and all, I am prepared to call the American experiment a success."

Considering that the federal government already began expanding beyond its Constitutional limits in the early 1800s, and began passing purely unconstitutional legislation like the Alien & Sedition Acts, I long for no later than late 18th century constitutional government. I don't care about civility, because sometimes people do need to be told what to do to themselves.

"I also believe there were credible arguments enumerating rights in the Bill of Rights. I'm glad to have them but think you are unfair in your criticism of the opposition. But that's an aside."

The opposition was simply naive to think that government would voluntarily limit itself. Do you discipline a child by giving him a specific list of things to do, and then expecting him

"Reagan faced down the bad s*** with sunny optimism. Rep Ron Paul (whom, I must point out, is not mentioned in your comment) whines. "We're Broke! We gotta stop this because we can't afford it anymore! Just the Chinese and printin' money that keeps us afloat!" I don't remember President Reagan doing that. He poked his opponents with wit and style."

I didn't have to mention Paul by name when addressing your criticisms. Now, the problems were not so different between then and today. The difference between the two men is Reagan and Paul is only in style. Reagan exuded confidence in public, but in private he knew that correcting the Fed's disastrous inflationary policies, and the federal government's equally disastrous tax rates, would create a recession. Could Paul be more optimistic in how he approaches things? Today, not anymore. Americans are deluding themselves about our central bank "tuning" the economy when it's in fact destroying the dollar, and they don't realize what our federal debt levels are doing. After 25 years of optimism, we need to start talking tough.

And as I stated, it shouldn't be a surprise that our trading partners are buying so many Treasury securities, because the Fed keeps printing more money for us to pay our trading partners. After a couple of decades, we went from 25% of the federal budget being used to pay interest on federal debt to perhaps 10%. But now the trend is reversing, because we got too used to economic good times and didn't think about the consequences.

Did you pay any attention at all to what I said about Social Security? The problem is growing too fast to grow out of economically, and it's coming in 2017. It might even come sooner, because for the last several years, the trustees recalculate once a year and come up with a date one year earlier.

"I'd have to look at the list of 47 countries where iPod components are manufactured again. But I'm betting Taiwan and South Korea are on it. There is an explicit agreement that the US will protect their sovereignty and an implicit understanding that America would intervene to defend shipping and trade around the world."

Oh, and what if mainland China invaded Taiwan? Do you really think the U.S. would go to war?

Ironically, the only threat to Taiwan is mainland China. Even so, if you examined the first situation more closely, you'd realize that should someone else try to invade Taiwan, mainland China would be the first to come to the defense of "its" island. The U.S. wouldn't have to do anything unless the PRC proved incapable.

Nobody's going to invade Taiwan. Nobody's going to invade Singapore, or Malaysia, or the Philippines, or most any other country, for the same reason North Korea or anyone else would never dare start anything with South Korea. Forget the ROK/U.S. Mutual Security Agreement. Forget the fact that the U.S. would automatically come to South Korea's aid even if that treaty did not exist. Remember what happened the last time a globally important country was invaded by an aggressor? When Iraq invaded Kuwait, it didn't expect virtually the entire international community to oppose it. Saddam thought our ambassador's statement meant we wouldn't fight Iraq over Kuwait, when all our ambassador said was that we wouldn't get involved in the dispute about the Shatt al Arab.

"What would be the state of trade with Europe had the US not stood up to fascism and communism? A big free trade region of happy Nazis and Bolsheviks making earbuds for 14 cents a pair?"

Now you're talking about nation-states going to war, which is a much different matter than pirates or other groups, which is what we were talking about before.

But that again solidifies my point that it's technology, not militarism, that enables us to defend shipping routes. Through the early 1800s, there was nothing the U.S. could do to protect our trading partners in Europe, when Napoleon began his conquests. It's only advances in technology allows the U.S. military to respond actively to various threats around the globe, though we still can't actively protect our interests.

For the record, Ron Paul has never said we shouldn't go to war. If that's your implication, you're again completely misrepresenting or misunderstanding his position. Paul believes that war is fully justified as a matter of self defense, such as if we are attacked, and we can go to war to defend a friendly nation who is attacked -- like Kuwait in 1990.

Remember, Paul's opposition to the 1990 Congressional resolution was *not* because he didn't believe we shouldn't defend Kuwait, but because we were doing it under a UN mandate. It was a bad precedent to surrender our authority to do something. Really, for what he says about that, conservatives and liberal hawks should love him -- he's as much against a "global test" as Bush is.

Similarly, Paul's opposition to invading Iraq in 2003 wasn't because he didn't think it could be justified, but because we did it under several political pretenses. Furthermore, he noted that the resolution transferred the power of declaring war from Congress to the President, and he was right. It's unconstitutional for Congress to make a "resolution" that's just a carte blanche war declaration, allowing the president to invade when he likes. The proper way to do things is like December 8th, 1941: declare war on an enemy, stating the reason, and fight all-out.

"If only a third of the 47 nations are free to manufacture and trade, the cost of the iPod goes up. Double the price and the iPod is no longer marketable."

At double the price, I could easily afford it if I didn't shell out half of my income in taxes.

"Clearly, Rep. Ron Paul is a threat to the iPod."

The real threats are opponents of free trade, and government confiscatory policies that keep the middle class poor. Even after normal withholding rates, some stuff last year pushed me into a higher tax bracket. I have to give the Feds and New York State *literally several thousand dollars more in taxes* -- now how many iPods could I buy for that?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 8, 2008 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

I use the term Madisonian Democracy to describe our Federalist Republic, at least as Jay, Madison & Hamilton envisioned it. I think it is common coinage.

The trouble with your 18th Century government was slavery. I see 19th Century America as the apogee of laissez-faire. One could make many arguments.

Opposition to the Bill of Rights was not about trusting the Government. Some felt that enumerating rights implied limitation. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments present a good attempt at disproving that, but they have not succeeded by any measure.

Too many tangents. The question is whether globalization would have come this far without Pax Americana. You cite Taiwan and ask if we would defend them today. The answer is no but that has changed in the last ten years. Had previous administrations felt that way, there would be no Taiwan today. American power kept it out of Chinese hands. American involvement in Vietnam curtailed Chinese aggression.

South Korean and Taiwan are making those cheap iPod parts because of US military power. Applied where the United States was not attacked. Presumably, Ron Paul would not have fought Germany, North Korea, North Vietnam, nor stationed troops and missiles in Europe to counter the Soviets.

Yup, your tax bill and mine is way too large. But not because the US chooses to defend freedom and defend trade. Let’s cut Ethanol subsidies and tax rebates to non-taxpayers. But let's keep defending and expanding freedom.

Social Security is going to be tough to fix politically. Democrats want to turn it into a European style welfare-pension scheme. That won't be hard because it is halfway there. We could indeed grow out of it if we indexed benefits to inflation instead of wages.

Rep. Paul's fix is to stop it and pay off the exiting benefits with the money he saves surrendering in Iraq. Right after he dissolves Congress and establishes military rule -- oh wait, he fired the military! Sorry to be flippant, but that is not a serious proposal.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2008 7:09 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"I use the term Madisonian Democracy to describe our Federalist Republic, at least as Jay, Madison & Hamilton envisioned it. I think it is common coinage."

If it's used, it's completely incorrect usage. I've heard of Jacksonian Democracy, but "democracy" is anathema to what Madison advocated.

Hamilton is a completely different story. He was a statist. Jay was questionable.

"The trouble with your 18th Century government was slavery. I see 19th Century America as the apogee of laissez-faire. One could make many arguments."

Well, that's a reach. I never said precisely the same government, nor would I advocate one that permitted the involuntary servitude of people.

"Opposition to the Bill of Rights was not about trusting the Government. Some felt that enumerating rights implied limitation. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments present a good attempt at disproving that, but they have not succeeded by any measure."

Hamilton and others who claimed that limited powers were implied *were* effectively saying that the government could be trusted to limit itself. But how do you discipline a misbehaving child? Do you tell it only the things he can do, and then trust him to stay within the limitations, or do you tell it what it cannot? So what, then, should we do with government, which is far more dangerous?

Note that Article I, for example, does not say "Congress shall only have power," but that "Congress shall have power..."

"Too many tangents. The question is whether globalization would have come this far without Pax Americana. You cite Taiwan and ask if we would defend them today. The answer is no but that has changed in the last ten years. Had previous administrations felt that way, there would be no Taiwan today. American power kept it out of Chinese hands. American involvement in Vietnam curtailed Chinese aggression."

In fact, I've written for a long time now that China's goal wasn't to fight the U.S. over Taiwan, but to build up their military so that the U.S. wouldn't want to fight.

China could have (re)conquered Taiwan in the post-WWII era, but it didn't. There were periods when the U.S. simply couldn't have fought such a war (completely incapable at certain times, or when it was already embroiled in Korea or Vietnam), or when Carter's weakness wouldn't have permitted him to do anything about it. Yet it wasn't the American military that dissuaded China: it was the threat of many nations coming together, much like Europe banded together against Napoleon.

But again, you're talking about war now, and that's an entirely different subject than the U.S. military supposedly fending off pirates on trade routes.

By the way, American involvement in Vietnam only got American soldiers killed needlessly. American interests weren't being threatened there, but LBJ wanted his war and the resulting profits.

"South Korean and Taiwan are making those cheap iPod parts because of US military power. Applied where the United States was not attacked."

No. They're making it because of a comparative advantage in labor and manufacturing, and technology today provides for low shipping costs.

So tell me, who is threatening South Korea? Who is threatening Taiwan? As I said before,

"Presumably, Ron Paul would not have fought Germany, North Korea, North Vietnam, nor stationed troops and missiles in Europe to counter the Soviets."

That's an entirely different situation, and you don't know that Paul wouldn't have been aggressive in counteracting such a threat. Paul is talking about bringing troops home from Europe, South Korea, Okinawa, etc., where they are hardly needed today.

"Yup, your tax bill and mine is way too large. But not because the US chooses to defend freedom and defend trade. Let’s cut Ethanol subsidies and tax rebates to non-taxpayers. But let's keep defending and expanding freedom."

The energy bill was $10 billion. You don't think we could easily cut 10 or 20 times that by bringing troops home from where they shouldn't be?

"Social Security is going to be tough to fix politically. Democrats want to turn it into a European style welfare-pension scheme. That won't be hard because it is halfway there. We could indeed grow out of it if we indexed benefits to inflation instead of wages."

Even that isn't enough, which is why *after* the reindexing, Democrats want to increase taxes, Republicans realize the necessity of cutting benefits, and libertarians are so disgusted with the pyramid scheme that they say, "To hell with it, just scrap the system." The retirees are growing too fast, relative to the workforce, for economic growth to take care of it. Our domestic birthrate is decreasing, so the pyramid is getting too top-heavy.

"Rep. Paul's fix is to stop it and pay off the exiting benefits with the money he saves surrendering in Iraq. Right after he dissolves Congress and establishes military rule -- oh wait, he fired the military! Sorry to be flippant, but that is not a serious proposal."

You're completely misrepresenting his position. He doesn't want to fire the entire military. He doesn't want to completely eliminate the military, but instead restore it to its true purpose, defense. He really wants to get going on a missile defense shield, which will protect us against North Korean and Iranian missiles.

How about missile defense setups in Turkey and Poland? Nothing Paul has said would lead me to believe he'd oppose those. They'd protect America as well as friendly nations, and they'd be purely defensive. Putin's talking like the old Soviet bureaucrat he is, claiming that such defensive systems pose a threat to Russia.

Now, I still disagree with Paul on the specifics of Iraq, but not his principle of not entangling ourselves in places where we shouldn't be. Don't you agree that that's sound foreign policy? What about his bold statement, the only one of its kind, that if we are to do something against another nation, we should properly declare war rather than relying on the UN's mythical "authority"?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2008 3:11 PM


Happy SuperDuperMostAwesomestTuesdayEver!

I said I was making my last persuadin' try yesterday. But -- like the debates -- when one is brutally savaged in the comments, the moderator grants a 30 second rebuttal. Read Fast.

McCain strengths:

  • Commander-in-Chief -- the Democrats may be lulled into ignoring the war against Islamofascism. Let's not follow them. McCain will be loved by our troops and feared by our enemies.

  • Spending Hawk -- Great Kudlow last night. Every sane, sentient member of the panel (all but Secretary Reich and Jared Bernstein) agreed that the deficits are not a big deal except that they will be used to prevent the Bush tax cuts from renewing. Belief in limited government and any hope for the continuation of the GOP right now requires tough focus on spending.

  • Free trader -- free trade is under assault. It has been completely abandoned by the Democrats and the GOP are "weak as water" these days. A resolute advocate in the White House is important.

  • Commander-in-Chief gets two.

I will likely climb down my list to Numero Cuatro if Governor Romney prevails, but his campaign's phone calls are getting worse and worse. They are the rankest populism and assume the lowest intelligence: "Did you know McCain teamed up with liberal Senator Ted Kennedy to write an Amnesty bill" a voice asks? Well, I'm glad he specified which Senator Ted Kennedy he was discussing. No need to worry about any nuance (unless we're discussing Romney's signature on an assault weapons bill, you see he was guiding the legislation...). Then it plays a clip of President Bill Clinton saying that a Hillary-John race would be "civil." The narrator intones gravely that "you can tell a man by the company he keeps..."

Frozen, frikken' NED on a stick! I am going to find it hard to support this man if he gets the nod. It will signal that the talk radio populists really have taken over the GOP. As the Weekly Standard would say, the Country Club will have lost to Sam's Club.

(Though if the weather does not improve, perhaps we might make a Faustian bargain to both stay home).

Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | Comments (4)
But HB thinks:

Wait, so if Romney gets the nod, populism will have won?! Have you listened to John McCain's attacks on pharma companies, on people who work for a living, etc.?

Posted by: HB at February 5, 2008 1:26 PM
But jk thinks:

HB. Perhaps you have noticed that neither Jesus nor Phil Gramm are on the ballot this year (and Jesus has some funny economic ideas as well...).

Bismarck reminds us that "Politics is the Art of the Possible" which idiomatically translates to "We get what we get."

Do you think anybody running is less populist? (I cannot support Rep Paul.) I really don't know that Romney is a populist. Exit polls show his support trends wealthier and more educated than McCain's which would argue against it.

But the fact is, Candidate Romney has decided that populism is his big hope. He's gonna bail out the auto industry, he's gonna shut down the border, he's gonna amend the constitution twice to end abortion and keep them queers from marrying.

He has ridden this to endorsements from Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingram, NR, Hugh Hewitt -- oh and Ann Coulter will turn Democrat if I don't caucus for him (a twofer!)

Neither I nor anybody else has any idea what if anything he stands for. But I take him at his word. Today he is running as a populist (I wish I had recordings of the calls I have received).

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2008 2:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Stay home? Heck, I'll come get you and we'll go together! (My caucus first, of course. ;)

You've proved yet again why you'll always be the "Top Blog" 'round here. Just when I thought 'Merciful Zeus!' was the ultimate invective you produce 'Frozen frikken' NED on a stick!" Brilliant. I'm rolling on the frozen frikken' floor!

I'd rebut with a (longer than 3) bullet point list of McCain weaknesses but AlexC already did that in the "for McCain..." post I savaged you with last night. (Sorry Cap'n, but my point wasn't that you flip flopped, rather that when one follows McCain one can't help but flip flop with him.) Instead I'll just summarize by saying I fear that McCain will 'compromise' with the Legislative on every point you listed except possibly C-in-C. In fact, he'll tell us all he has to do so in order to get their support for his aggressive prosecution of the WOT.

Romney, on the other hand, has pledged that his budget will require annual discretionary spending increases of inflation MINUS 1 percent. McCain slams him for restructuring businesses such that "some folks may lose their jobs." Well, if a few gub'mint jobs fall by the wayside I won't lose any sleep. How 'bout you?

If we're going to allow our nation to be guided by liberal ideals then we should put it in the hands of professional Democrats, not a poser like McCain. For conservatism to survive it must distinguish itself from liberalism, not meld with it.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2008 3:13 PM
But jk thinks:

I know a few ThreeSourcers that will recognize "Merciful Zeus" as being lifted from the able pen of Joss Whedon (Xander says it in "Once More With Feeling" Buffy 6:10). I'll take credit for FFNOAS -- glad it provided some mirth.

It is most definitely not about dueling lists of John!'s failings vs. Mitt!'s. You have driven me further than anyone toward the importance of philosophical purity: of building one's opinions and deciding actions based on core principles.

It's not Governor Romney having seven apostasies vs. McCain's five. It is about Romney having no foundational beliefs. McCain's failings are there for the world to see.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2008 4:41 PM

February 4, 2008

Last Persuadin' Try

I understand my friend and blog brother JohnGalt will be caucusing for Governor Romney tomorrow and I will make one more play for his vote -- this time for Senator McCain.

Insty links to a Jake Tapper post Obama & Romney Misfire on Guns

"I would have supported the original assault weapon ban," Romney said. "I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts governor because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus."

Asked Tim Russert: "So the assault ban that expired here because Congress didn’t act on it, you would support?"

"Just as the president said, he would have, he would have signed that bill if it came to his desk, and so would have I," said Romney.

In the last few hours, Romney contradicted that in a podcast interview with Glenn Reynolds and Helen Smith of Instapundit fame.

"I know that a lot of the gun rights folks aren’t sure about your position on gun rights," asked Smith. "Would you pledge to veto any new gun control bills that come across your desk as President?"

"Yeah," Romney said. "Yeah, I don’t support any gun control legislation, the effort for a new assault weapons ban, with a ban on semi-automatic weapons, is something I would oppose. There’s no new legislation that I’m aware of or have heard of that I would support. In regards to guns, I think we have enough legislation and should enforce the laws as they exist. I was pleased that when I ran for Governor that I received the endorsement of the NRA and I hope to receive their support now."

I don't expect that the Massachusetts chapter of the NRA can be too picky but I suggest that this is another example of Romney's being driven by making the best choice at the time rather than from deep beliefs.

I also wonder if you have enjoyed your phone calls this weekend. Senator Santorum's pitch for Romney didn't excite me. Each Romney call (about five) drove me farther away. Governor Romney is content to be the talk radio candidate. That's not where I live but I suggest that is not where the Governor lives either. I have no idea what he will believe in when the election is over.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:45 PM | Comments (4)
But AlexC thinks:

All this while McCain is content to be the liberal media's candidate.

I'm not going to go as far as saying I won't vote the Senator in November, but sheesh... can we get a better Republican?

Posted by: AlexC at February 4, 2008 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good catch JK. I hadn't looked closely at the 2nd Amendment positions of Mitt! and John! but Romney clearly is more lukewarm on it than McCain is. Over his senatorial career McCain has supported many things that threaten individual gun rights, but at least he takes it seriously enough to have an entire "2nd Amendment" page in the ISSUES tab on his web site. (And he says all the right things.) Romney does not. Mitt makes a few sweeping statements under "American Values" but that's it.

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2008 3:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

UPDATE - My brother, who participated in a Romney Town Hall conference call today, tells me someone asked Mitt! about the 'Assault Weapon' bill in Massachusetts. Romney said he did sign it but since the Mass. legislature is 80% Democrat they would have overridden his veto if necessary to get their gun ban law. He negotiated some parts that were favorable to gun owners. So McCain uses this reality of a GOP governor in a blue state to bash his chief rival over the head with a symbolic NRA rifle.

Huckabee piled on saying he didn't decide where he stands on the 2nd Amendment just yesterday, he's always been a defender of gun rights. Of course it's much easier to say that as the governor of a state full of southerners than as the governor of Ted Kennedy's state.

Yesterday I asked my brother, "If you were told anytime in the last 3 years that a GOP presidential victory could be assured and all you have to do is nominate John McCain, wouldn't you do it?" He replied, "Instead of the liberal [McCain] I know I'd rather try what's behind door number 2." He also observed, "If McCain and Clinton are nominated he'll start campaigning to the left and she'll campaign to the right and by November they'll meet and pronounce a plan for a co-presidency." The problem with my hypothetical of course is that McCain's victory in the general is far from assured.

Shortly after the 5th anniversary of 9/11 JK wrote McCain in 2000Never! and before that AlexC got our gracious host to admit he was for McCain before he was against him, and then for him, before finally being against him again in September. Now, in '08, he's for McCain again ... for the moment.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2008 1:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Fair cop on the flip flops, guv. The Senator from Arizona does drive me to do irrational things. I am very comfortable, however, choosing another candidate when mine drops out of the race. I'm all for consistency but those Kasich 2000! bumper stickers look weird on my car.

It's not the signature as much as the interview. I rarely watch Russert, but I happened to see that Romney interview and I was screaming at the television. He was telling Mr. Russert what he wanted to hear Well yes, I support gun rights, but not [gasp!] Assault weapons!

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2008 11:42 AM

February 1, 2008

Our Friend Arlen

So what's Senator Specter up to lately?

Well, John McCain is busy and all, what with running for President, so Senator Specter has stepped in ably to be Senator Kennedy's best friend.

So they're probably not about to sign a lease together, but U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Ted Kennedy are getting along swimmingly these days, notes William Fisher, a former reporter who spent more than 30 years managing economic development programs for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development.

"So it's both rare and refreshing when two titans from opposing political parties actually come together to do something important," says Fisher on The Huffington Post.

(emphasis added above -ed)

Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment. (tm)

Oh! ... and he wants to investigate the NFL.

For cocking up the "evidence" of the Patriots stealing the Jets' defensive signals.

Yes, really.

"That requires an explanation," Specter said. "The NFL has a very preferred status in our country with their antitrust exemption. The American people are entitled to be sure about the integrity of the game. It's analogous to the CIA destruction of tapes. Or any time you have records destroyed."

This obligates ExtremeMortman to write...
OK, we gotta throw the yellow flag on that one. 15 yard penalty. Unsportsmanlike conduct of an analogy. Specter compares the Patriots spying compared to the CIA destruction of tapes? What’s next for the great conspiracy mind: a single bullet killed John F. Kennedy? Thank goodness the Zapruder film wasn’t shot by a professional athelete.

Posted by AlexC at 5:11 PM

Romney as Tactician/Manager

My biggest complaint about Governor Romney has been that he sells himself as a manager and a tactician. He does not talk about core beliefs -- he talks about competence.

The Wall Street Journal lead editorial says it far better than I do. To be fair, I think I stole the thought from Kim Strassel to begin with. President Reagan had strong principles that he could rely on to make difficult decisions. President George Herbert Walker Bush was a tactician/manager. When the data said he must raise taxes, he did. I think President Bush pere was one of the finest human beings to occupy the office, and I've little doubt that Governor Romney is decent and honest and patriotic as well. But I don't see core beliefs. And neither does the WSJ Ed Page.

Washington's problem isn't a lack of data, or a failure to calibrate the incentives as in the business world. Congress and the multiple layers of government respond exactly as you'd expect given the incentives for self-preservation and turf protection that always exist in political institutions. The only way to overcome them is with leadership on behalf of good ideas backed by public support. The fact that someone as bright as Mr. Romney doesn't recognize this Beltway reality risks a Presidency that would get rolled quicker than you can say Jimmy Carter.

All the more so because we haven't been able to discern from his campaign, or his record in Massachusetts, what his core political principles are. Mr. Romney spent his life as a moderate Republican, and he governed the Bay State that way after his election in 2002. While running this year, however, he has reinvented himself as a conservative from radio talk show-casting, especially on immigration.

The problem is not that Mr. Romney is willing to reconsider his former thinking. Nor is it so much that his apparent convictions always seem in sync with the audience to which he is speaking at the moment. (Think $20 billion in corporate welfare for Michigan auto makers.) Plenty of politicians attune their positions to new constituencies. The larger danger is that Mr. Romney's conversions are not motivated by expediency or mere pandering but may represent his real governing philosophy.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM | Comments (2)
But Pat thinks:

The code word of free trade amounts to the code for vulture capitalism that Republicans prefer to fuel Wall Street corporate profit making that ignores fair trade as its source.

The election turned "economic" suddenly to emphasize this need and the fear that Republicans were gravitating toward Huckabee which did not satisfy Wall Street because of his ethics, and stance as a moderate.

Vulture capitalism was never meant to be a right of Americans, and is inconsistent with the philosophy of equal opportunity that fair trade represents. The stimulus was merely a well timed political tactic of Bush to focus Republicans upon the economy not the ethics of the election in order to favor Republicans, and continue to fuel the special interest advantage of the Republican machine.

It worked so well that Huckabee dropped to 3rd place, and Romney succeeded to 2nd place.

But is anyone really fooled?

Posted by: Pat at February 1, 2008 3:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, Pat. I was completely fooled.

In Governor Huckabee's world, no doubt we'd have to look up our "right" to capitalism to see if it had been granted. Thankfully the right to trade seems to have made the jump from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, with the Federal Government proscribed from regulating all but interstate commerce.

I appreciate the comment, Pat, but we are pretty fond of Capitalism 'round here.

Posted by: jk at February 1, 2008 4:11 PM

Not Dead Yet

Governor Romney told reporters that he had made a targeted "seven figure" media buy for Super Tuesday. I have received three automated calls from the Romney Campaign: one poll asked me how likely I was to vote and who my first and second picks were; one with the Governor's voice and a positive message; and one telling me that Senator McCain had teamed up with Senator Ted Kennedy (!!!!) to write an immigration that gave amnesty and social security benefits to illegals. "Not the kind of immigration reform we need."

Three calls from the Gov, none from anybody else. The caucuses are next Tuesday.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM

Speaking of Unlikley Sources

Jonah Goldberg takes to the NRO Corner to say that Senator John McCain is not the antichrist. I'd have somebody else taste your food in the editorial meetings for the next few weeks, Jonah.

I think I should just be on the record that I disagree with the tone, tenor and substance of much — though certainly not all — of the anti-McCain commentary around here. It's not that I object to a single post or comment — though there've been a few. It's that I disagree with the overwhelming impression that supporting McCain is some kind of lunacy. I have serious disagreements with McCain. I think it is entirely right to disagree with him on all sorts of issues and entirely legitimate to think he would be bad for the party, bad for conservatism or bad for the country to have him as the nominee or the next president. I agree with some of those sentiments, disagree with others.

But this disaster talk leaves me cold. McCain wouldn't be my first pick. Then again, none of the candidates were really my first pick. But I think the notion that, variously, conservatism, the country or the party are doomed if he's the nominee or the president is pretty absurd.

The whole thing is well worth a read.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM

A Question for ThreeSourcers

If Barack Obama chose Phil Gramm as one of his economic advisors, would you vote for him? I may be wrong, but I anticipate that the answer would be 'no'. So why does John McCain get a free pass? McCain is out there spewing the economic rhetoric often reserved for the likes of John Edwards, but as long as Gramm and Kemp are by his side, all is supposedly well.

Before you answer, consider this nugget:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.

In interviews with The Hill this month, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) said there were nearly two months of talks with the maverick lawmaker following an approach by John Weaver, McCain’s chief political strategist.

Democrats had contacted Jeffords and then-Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) in the early months of 2001 about switching parties, but in McCain’s case, they said, it was McCain’s top strategist who came to them.

If McCain is the nominee, you may be voting for a Democrat either way.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:21 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Last night, Kudlow was talking about Paul Volker joining the Obama team. Larry used to write speeches for Volker and assured viewers that the former Fed Chairman would do nothing like this for a cheap political stunt. A spirited dialog ensued, I'll leave it at that.

Keep in mind, hb, that I am on my third choice. I don't give the Senator "a pass" for having Gramm on his team, but it allays some of my fears. I certainly don't think I went easy on McCain after the debate. I miss my man Rudy, I miss Fred.

What I got left is McCain, Romney, Paul, Huckabee, Obama, and Clinton. I find it pretty easy to pick the Arizona Madman out of that lineup. Here's why:

-- The War. C-in-C McCain would be beloved by the men and women who serve and hated by our adversaries. He has the moral authority and eloquence to convince a war-weary nation to keep up the fight. Others might do well; Senator McCain is money in the bank.

-- Free Trade and Immigration. If he loses the nomination, it will be over his position on Immigration where he was right. He has been one of the staunchest defenders of free trade in the Senate. Like the war, the Executive has great power in this area and he is the only one left who has both immigration and trade correct.

-- His economic beliefs frighten me. But there is nobody left who excites me (Rep. Paul has a shot but his monetary policy disqualifies him for even this pick in my book). By bringing on Jack Kemp and Phil Gramm, and promising to extend the Bush Tax Cuts, I have to think this man might be getting it.

Out of the six, I'm not voting Democrat, I neither wish nor expect Rep. Paul to get the GOP nomination, and I'll not pull the lever for Governor Huckabee. So it is Romney vs. McCain. I have not heard any supply-side or free trade rhetoric from Gov Romney. He is an immigration hawk, he mandated health care in the Commonwealth as a Governor, he told Michiganders that they were free from Schumpeterian gales, and he wants to amend the Constitution to promote two social issues.

Go John! WooHooo!

Posted by: jk at February 1, 2008 12:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorry, I failed to answer your direct point about McCain switching parties or being a Democrat.

I have heard the bit about party switching. We'll never know how true, how close, or how serious that was. We all know that McCain felt that he had not been treated fairly by the party or by President Bush in the 2000 primaries. He is known to have a temper and I can certainly believe he was flirting with the idea. All the same, he did not pull the trigger, and he would have been a much better prize than flaky-flinty Senator Jim Jeffords.

I will give him a pass because he had a clear shot in 2004 as Senator Kerry's running mate. He could have had the spot on the ticket -- and I strongly believe they would have won -- but he said "no, I am a Republican."

His voting record, for all the Conservative antipathy, is solidly conservative. He's a cranky, prickly Republican who loves the "maverick" label, but he is no Democrat.

Posted by: jk at February 1, 2008 12:49 PM

January 31, 2008

A Fork In Mitt?

I think Dan Henninger pens the first political obituary of the Romney campaign. Premature or prescient? I post, you decide. For the record, it is unusual for the Deputy Ed Page Editor's work to appear in Political Diary. Was he burning to get this out or is Rupert reworking the org chart. I post -- oh never mind:

At last night's (blessedly) final Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney had the look, and sound, of someone who knows it's over. While predictions in this political season have become a fool's game, I am going to venture that no matter how many states he competes in, Gov. Romney knows he will never close the five-point gap that separated him from John McCain in New Hampshire and now Florida.

Last night the famous Matinee Mitt smile of self-confidence seemed to have been replaced by a more relaxed, wistful glance over at the Arizona Senator seated next to him. That resigned, tight smile said something: I am smarter than you are, Senator, on virtually every issue other than who ran Pakistan 10 years ago, but I am still losing. Why?

Here's why. As was clear again in last night's debate, Gov. Romney's message on the campaign trail or on TV was a perpetual data-dump. Yes, Mitt was smarter than the other guys, but he had the smartest-kid-in-the-class malady of compulsively trying to show off his brain with what in the end merely amounted to a lot of policy details, a lot of "stuff." Did anyone ever understand his explanation of his Massachusetts health care reform?

Result: His message was disorganized. The bumper sticker was "Let Mitt Fix Washington," but the Mitt fix itself came across to audiences as a grab-bag of analysis, nostrums and pieces of supporting data pulled randomly from some folder in his brain. As Mike Huckabee might put it, the bane of the Romney candidacy was Bain & Company. Bain is the consulting firm where by his own admission Mr. Romney learned how to think about the world -- through the eyes of a management consultant. As any CEO who has ever hired one of these firms will tell you, they are fascinating guys to talk to but you wouldn't want them actually running your company.

The Romney candidacy never quite came into focus. Yeah, fix Washington, but beyond that a blizzard of technocratic data at every whistlestop. One can see why he'd be maddened losing to the almost stolid McCain candidacy. But no one could miss the McCain message: national honor, a duty to fulfill the nation's responsibilities and the real and present danger of an external threat. It's a mindset they teach in the military but not in consulting: Keep it simple, stupid.

Mitt couldn't. He's done.

UPDATE: John Fund, in the same PD, says that the campaign is not buying media.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | Comments (5)
But HB thinks:

Everybody is an expert when the writing is on the wall. The Republican establishment and conservatives in general were dead against John McCain and had written him off for dead on numerous occasions. However, now that he looks like the inevitable candidate (mathematically), suddenly the establishment has embraced him and left Mitt for dead.

McCain is NOT my candidate. I have long admired his honesty and service to this country and I was one of the few who actually thought McCain was winning the early debates. However, McCain's continuous demagoguery of capitalism cannot and should not stand. His criticisms of Mitt's experience in the private sector and of the pharmaceutical industry are particularly troubling. He frequently crosses the aisle to vote against freedom -- freedom of speech and the freedom to spend money how on see fit on candidates of my choosing.

My friends (that's a McCain pun, btw), I have only to look forward to 2010 when the Republicans can take control of the House and the Senate after two miserable years of Billary.

Posted by: HB at January 31, 2008 1:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I have missed things before but I was surprised to see this. I considered McCain a front-runner but by no means the presumptive nominee. Governor Romney has $$$ and very active support in the talk-radio community. I figured him to have a good shot at taking a delegate lead next Tuesday.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2008 1:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ahem - The second political obituary of the Romney campaign. LOYAL ThreeSources readers know!

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2008 2:43 PM
But jk thinks:

The second, jg, the second. I'm still not sure they are both premature.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2008 3:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

NED do I HOPE so!

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2008 3:35 PM


The GOP debates have lost 50 points off their mean IQ since Rudy! and Fred! left.

On paper, I was committed to supporting my third choice, and I am pragmatic enough that I probably will do the GOP thang this year, BUT --- But I was extremely disappointed with the debates last night. I tuned in late and don't know if I perhaps missed "the good parts." But what I saw made me nauseous.

Last week's Weekly Standard has an amusing cover illustration of Senators Clinton and Obama on playground swings, scowling at each other. But the Dems looked like Lincoln and Douglas compared to the Mitt! and John! show last night. They both appear petty and small and everything but presidential. They make Rep. Paul and Governor Huckabee look good, I'll give them that.

McCain actually ridiculed Romney for working in the private sector! "While I was serving my country, he was making money, and selling companies, and I think some people lost their jobs..." IT'S CALLED CAPITALISM SENATOR!!! ASK PHIL GRAMM TO 'SPLAIN IT TO YOU!

Governor Romney did nothing to capture my support while I was wavering on McCain. He was gonna "run the economy" 'cause he's such a good manager. Rep. Paul laid that claim to waste, nicely, but then -- on cue -- launched into a pessimistic rant about how we're broke and the dollar is worthless, and what can’t these people see how bad everything is...

The final question in the Reagan library, with Reagan's Air Force One behind them, was "Why would Reagan endorse you." Romney was certain of it, 'cause he's gonna amend the Constitution for life and for marriage. McCain was equally sure it was he, 'cause he doesn't flip flop. Paul said that President Reagan had campaigned for him in the house -- a nice play without the bravado of the other two. Then Governor Huckabee said it "would be presumptuous to assume he would be endorsed" which was the right answer. I could not help but think of Reagan’s 11th commandment: don't speak ill of other Republicans. Romney and McCain will need to say a few Our Madisons in restitution.

A grim, grisly, awful night to be a Republican. On the other hand, did you see Senator Obama's "Response to the SOTU?"

UPDATE: Mark Styen seems to agree

Just because McCain can poke Mitt in the eye is no indication he'll be as effective with Putin, a remarkable number of whose enemies wind up splattered on the sidewalk outside their apartment house after opting for a strangely uniform manner of fatal auto-defenestration.

Although, oddly enough, after tonight's debate, I'm tempted to join them.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM

January 30, 2008

GOP Coronation

No links here kids, just my loveable prose to get some stuff off my chest. You see, my GOP primary candidate didn't make it in the early primaries because he started too late and didn't work hard enough. And JK's candidate didn't make it because ... he started too late and didn't work hard enough. Now it's a "two-man race" between Mac and Romney. Nope. It's done.

Romney has the goods to continue the challenge to the senior statesman from Arizona but GOP voters are already in the tank for the "war hero, maverick, straight-talker" who, by the way, "deserves it." (Just ask Florida's Mel Martinez.) And no one wants to contemplate the pouting he'll indulge in if he isn't nominated this time, much less witness it. And why wouldn't he pout? After all, he "deserves it." (Just ask Chris Matthews.) He's as close as this country now has to political royalty, at least in the GOP.

But what about the man who changes his tune on tax cuts to appeal to conservative voters while at the same time calling his opponent a flip-flopper?" Or the man who says the President's most important job is to protect the American people, but says dipping foreign terrorists upside down in water up to their eyeballs is "torture?" OK, I guess he "deserves it" because he's been a Senator for a long time and knows how to "get things done in Washington." Problem is, that's what frightens me - I worry about what Prince McCain might get done if he becomes King.

On the positive side I should appreciate his relative secularity versus Mitt. (Take that Bill O'Reilly!) He'll be less dogmatic on social issues, which suits me just fine and gives him something to compromise with Democrats over. And, of utmost importance, he's pro-Second Amendment.

So since the train has already left the station I suppose I'll print my "Don't Blame Me - I Caucused for Fred!" bumper stickers and warily grab onto the caboose of McCain Train.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Yeah, but what about Ron (Bat Ass Crazy) Paul? If we are lucky, he will pull in a vp candidate as entertaining as Perot and 'The Admiral'.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at January 30, 2008 1:00 PM
But jk thinks:

The GOP has the sad tradition of offering its nomination to the next in line (cf, Sen. Bob Dole 1996) but this time I find myself on board.

The WSJ Ed Page has a disturbing piece on judges. Might President McCain look for judges who would uphold his "landmakedly-bad" Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002? But I have not heard or seen anything on Governor Romney that gives me warm fuzzies on judges.

I'm down to my third choice, but c'est la guerre. Senator McCain is a powerful -- and eloquent -- prosecutor of the war. That's enough for me in 2008. And I can hope that his stellar economic team keeps him on a Prosperitarian track.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2008 2:02 PM

Rudy II

I appreciate your post, hb, but please indulge me. I find this to be one of the greatest political speeches in recent memory. I encourage everybody to watch to all the way through. I remembered one of the reasons that I supported Hizzoner: eloquence. We need somebody who can explain the benefits of liberty (listen at least to 5:30 - 6:30; and 8:00 - 10:00).

I think the GOP has made a mistake, but I've lost before and I will pick up the pieces and move on. Go McCain!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)
But Terri thinks:

Thanks for putting that up. It is a great speech.

go McCain.

Posted by: Terri at January 30, 2008 9:13 PM

January 29, 2008


Matt Welch:

Rudy's loser speech -- filled with "self-government," school choice, broadsides against "the central government" -- is better than anything I've heard from him all season.

Indeed. I always felt that the mayor's strength was on economic issues and arguments for freedom. Unfortunately, he made national security his central issue even when the economy became the number one concern of voters (and despite the fact that he has no national security experience). Sorry jk, your man is gone now too. Equally unfortunate is that it seems that my prediction about McCain is starting to come true. The Republican Party as we knew it is dead -- at least until we get a real candidate (hopefully) in 2012.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:31 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

"Loser speech." I really enjoy Reason, but I find that phrase offensive. It was a superb and eloquent encapsulation of the things most Reason readers believe. No, Mr. Welch, Rudy and Fred didn't start sounding good when they quit -- rather, you started listening to what they were saying instead of listening for reasons why they weren't perfect libertarian candidates.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2008 10:52 AM


I am pretty grouchy with our buddies in the pollster business. The FOX31 weather team has a better record and they told me it was gonna snow today (blue skies and sun out my window).

It disturbs me that these guys who -- let's be fair -- don't know their ass from their elbow, are telling Florida voters that "it's a two man race." Primary voters might try to vote strategically. If I (still) lived in Florida, I would be tempted. All the lost votes will come out of the totals for my favored candidate, Mayor Giuliani.

Have I given up? No, but if the pollsters successfully predict or create a two man race, I am ready to switch my allegiance to Senator McCain. Stephen Moore has a nice piece on him in the Political Diary today, on his "economics education." He admits the votes against the Bush tax cuts were wrong, but:

But Mr. McCain has arguably the best stable of economic advisers in the race, with only Rudy Giuliani's team rivaling him in economic expertise. His primary confidant on the economy is former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm (who would almost certainly be Treasury secretary in a McCain administration). Jack Kemp has signed up with Mr. McCain, and Mr. McCain talks frequently to his longtime friend, the godfather of supply-side economics, Arthur Laffer.

The big source of agitation for conservative voters over the past several years has been the federal spending explosion. Here, Senator McCain has teamed with Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, another endorser of the Arizona Senator, to cut more than $100 billion out of the federal budget. He has voted with Mr. Coburn on nearly every anti-pork measure introduced in the last several years. "I will cut the budget more than any other Republican," he told me in an interview late this summer when his poll numbers were in the tank. "Maybe that's what makes so many people nervous about me."

Mr. McCain is also an unwavering supporter of two other issues critical to the economic future of the nation: free trade and school choice. Education is always an issue foremost on the mind of the key "soccer mom" suburban vote. "The day that members of Congress will send their kids to the public schools in Washington, D.C., is the day I'll know we've fixed education in America," he has told me. "Why won't people like Hillary Clinton send her child to the public schools in Washington, D.C.?" Great question, and one he should save for a debate with Hillary if the two are the nominees.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM

January 28, 2008

Not Endorsed

Not a Rudy! supporter, but this is a good ad.

Posted by AlexC at 1:25 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at January 28, 2008 1:51 PM