Another day in office, another drone strike. John Glaser reports.
William Anderson compares FEMA’s bungled response to Sandy to its disastrous response to Katrina. Paul Krugman blamed FEMA’s performance in the latter case on the Bush administration’s supposed hostility to government intervention. How has he explained this most recent debacle? “So far,” Anderson writes, “there is silence from the Great Man at Princeton.”
Jeffrey Tucker analyzes the chaos caused by the government’s response to Sandy, especially its “anti-gouging” laws.
Donald Boudreaux explains the pernicious effects of anti-gouging laws to readers of the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Robert Murphy argues that education, not participation in the formal political process, is the most promising route for the libertarian movement. The Ron Paul campaigns were effective not because Ron Paul had any chance to be elected president, but because they served as vehicles for education about liberty, constitutionalism, and noninterventionism.
Dan Mahoney identifies two facets of Mises’s famous argument on the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism. First, that no profit-and-loss calculations can take place under socialism since the prices on which these calculations are based would not exist. And second, that there can be no alternative means of allocation because of the subjective nature of value. Mahoney argues that these two points are distinct arguments and should not be conflated.
Many–myself included–have argued that an Obama victory would be better for the long term health of a pro-liberty right. Romney’s defeat, this line of thinking goes, would force the GOP to reevaluate its beliefs and strategies, an outcome that could only benefit the young Ron Paul wing of the party.
Daniel McCarthy offers an alternative analysis. He argues that the Ron Paul movement only caught on the way it did because of the dissident right’s profound disappointment with the presidency of George W. Bush. A corollary to this observation (which McCarthy does not mention) is that the Tea Party–born in opposition to a Democratic President–has proven itself directionless and easily co-optable. When the Democrats are in power, it’s easier for different elements of the right to band together and pose as the party of liberty, even if most of those elements are profoundly anti-liberty.
On the other hand, McCarthy argues, “a Romney victory might, as the Marxists used to say, heighten the contradictions on the right to the point that reform becomes possible.” That is, Romney could provoke a civil war on the right as soon as he begins acting like Obama II (or Bush IV). And that would open up possibilities for noninterventionists and actual budget hawks who are currently frozen out of power.
It’s an interesting interpretation. But frankly, the short term prospects for a sane right are bleak no matter who wins. Even if we get the type of reevaluation we want–whether prompted by an Obama or a Romney victory–who is going to represent our side? Where are the actual budget hawks and noninterventionists who are going to take over the Republican Party, and–this is crucial–are they going to hire Jesse Benton?
Romney’s handlers wanted him to be less of a warmonger tonight, and Obama’s handlers wanted him to be more of a warmonger, but that was all just a lying smokescreen. The establishment scam of bipartisan foreign policy still dominates: these two are twins of empire, interventionism, spending, and mass death. Oh, and Israel, Israel, Israel, Israel.
Obama and Romney quibbled on every issue, as they did – mostly dishonestly – on Iraq. But on every major issue there was no discernible difference in actual policy between the two.
Foreign policy debate summary: Israel, Israel, Israel, Israel — and, oh yes, America…
Romney de-neoconned himself, for at least one night: does this mean his promised appointment of John Bolton as SecState is off? I think not…
Neither candidate wanted to talk about foreign policy — because the differences between them are negligible.
And the congressman’s phony status as a fiscal conservative:
Swann doesn’t even mention Ryan’s budget plan for 2012, which wouldn’t have balanced the budget until 2040.
When there is so little difference between the two parties, my instinct is to root against the incumbent. To “throw the bums out.” But I cannot think of a single good thing that would come from a Romney/Ryan victory. A vote for Romney/Ryan is a vote for war with Iran. No reduction of the welfare state could offset the disastrous effects of such a war, and, of course, under Romney/Ryan there would be no reduction of the welfare state. Paul Ryan voted for the largest expansion of the welfare state since the Great Society, and Mitt Romney was an architect of Obamacare.
We’re supposed to ignore those inconvenient facts, Republicans tell us, because we must , in the words of one National Review writer, combat the “existential threat Obama-sized government represents.” But if Obama-sized government represents an existential threat, a Romney-sized government will lead straight to ruin.
Everyone knows that Mitt Romney is a chameleon. But lest anyone think that Obama is somehow more honest, I’m posting this comparison of Obama talking to a conference of black ministers v. Obama giving a nationally televised speech. Commentary by Adam Kokesh:
The establishment has handed down its decision about last night’s presidential debate: Romney won. Of course, this pronouncement has nothing to do with substance: both Obama and Romney are committed supporters of the welfare-warfare state with no serious plans to contain its unsustainable growth. Presidential debates are all about style. And the establishment is right: Romney won that battle. He appeared confident and competent–he had good posture, he seemed comfortable and alert, and he even came across as a little friendly. In other words, he looked “presidential.”
People who follow politics know that Romney is a snake who will say anything to please the focus groups he and his campaign think represent the American electorate. Even his supporters know that. I can’t help but think, though, that many of the millions of undecided voters who were watching the debate last night were not thinking about Romney’s lies and flip-flops. They simply saw a man who looks like he could play president on a TV show if he wasn’t actually running for the real thing. And, in the debased system that is American democracy, that is an important attribute.
I’m not going to make any hard and fast predictions, but I do think that a Mitt Romney presidency is more likely now than it was yesterday.
On Romney, Obama, and the election. (Spoiler alert: they’re both bad.)
Clinton has blood on her hands, Scheuer tells Lou Dobbs:
The company continues to lose market share, and if the government sold all of its shares in the company today, it would get $16.4 billion less than it paid for them. President Obama is nonetheless proud of the bailout, which is good, Louis Woodhill argues, because “if he wins a second term, he is probably going to have to bail GM out again.”