November 3, 2012
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?
October 15, 2012
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.
October 7, 2012
And this complication only includes flip-flops over the course of the current campaign:
October 5, 2012
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:
October 4, 2012
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.
October 4, 2012
On Romney, Obama, and the election. (Spoiler alert: they’re both bad.)
September 30, 2012
Martin Bashir on Romney’s favorite attack line:
August 15, 2012
Virginia Postrel thinks that Paul Ryan should be the “Ross Perot of 2012,” that he “could be a great communicator, educating the public about policy challenges and Republican plans to address them.”
I completely agree. Ryan can explain how his plan to balance the federal budget by 2040 makes him a fiscal conservative, how supporting the massive bailouts of 2008 makes him an advocate of capitalism who “gets” the free market, how his secret support of Bernanke’s inflationism makes him a proponent of sound money, and how recreating the British Empire under American leadership shows how the United States is an exceptional nation.
Somehow, though, I think Ryan will settle for the amateurish media coverage that paints him as some kind of libertarian. That way, credulous Republicans will feel better about voting for a man who was the architect of the health care reform they are hoping to repeal.