Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Club for Growth Releases New Anti-Huckabee Ad in Michigan

Clubforgrowth.org

For the life of me, I don’t understand why so many “conservatives” support Mike Huckabee*. He raises taxes, increases spending, his anti-capitalist/populist rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of John Edwards (minus the “Two Americas” b.s.), he wants a national smoking ban in all workplaces, and he once thought that AIDS patients should be quarantined! Democrats traditionally want into our boardrooms while Republicans traditionally want into our bedrooms; Mike Huckabee wants to be in both! Basically, he is the William Jennings Bryan of our time.
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Well That Didn’t Take Long — New Hampshire Losers Allege Voter Fraud

It hasn’t even been two days since the polls closed in New Hampshire, and the allegations of voter fraud have already started:

AUSTIN – The results weren’t even in when the blogosphere started to hum with a theory that sharply divided Democrats online: Barack Obama lost to Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire because the vote was rigged.

“Something stinks in New Hampshire,” a commenter posted on the popular liberal site Americablog.com.

Curious about the “wildly inaccurate” polls that put Mr. Obama in a double-digit lead going into Tuesday’s primary, blogger Brad Friedman, a Los Angeles-based election-fraud watchdog, questioned the results as soon as they arrived, and all day Wednesday.

“Other folks that I’ve spoken to, who follow this sort of thing, share my concern at this hour,” he wrote on bradblog.com. “If I was Barack Obama, I’d certainly not have conceded this election this quickly. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking.”

And it was just the left wing bloggers who were crying vote fraud, the Ron Paul crowd has taken up the call as well:

It wasn’t just on the Democratic side: Supporters of Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul were pointing to discrepancies in at least one town, where dozens of votes cast were initially counted as zero – before an elections official corrected the error. Mr. Paul’s campaign did not return calls seeking comment.

Given the way elections, and their aftermath, have gone in this country since Bush v. Gore, it’s not entirely surprising that we would see something like this, though it’s a little surprising that it started almost as soon as the polls closed.

What’s really going on, of course, is that people simply aren’t willing to accept that the people of New Hampshire voted in a way different from what they would like. In the Obama case, I noted yesterday that there are several entirely reasonable explanations for the discrepancies between the last-minute polls and the results. Before concluding that Obama was the victim of a Clinton-esque conspiracy, perhaps his supporters should consider the fact that their candidate just plain old lost on Tuesday.

The same goes for the Ron Paul supporters making the same allegations. Apparently, there was one town where 31 votes were cast for Ron Paul but were not properly transcribed on to the official tally sheet that is used by the state. That error was correct and was obviously the result of a human error, something that has happened in elections since the beginning of the Republic. But the Paul-ites have latched onto this isolated incident and have bought into the looney left’s story of a Diebold-run conspiracy.

But, you know, facts are stubborn things, and, as this post over at Daily Kos points out, there was no vote rigging in New Hampshire:

Many folks immediately suspect that any election results they found surprising—and whether they know enough about local and statewide voting patterns to be surprised is always a good question—are most easily explained by malfeasance by the Diebold corporation or exploitation of its machines. There are many problems for these folks who look for the most exotic (and maybe reassuring) explanation for an election result they don’t like, but in this case, let’s start out with a fairly basic one: voters in every town in New Hampshire cast their vote on a paper ballot, and in more than half of the towns in New Hampshire, the paper ballots are counted by hand.

Fewer than half the towns in New Hampshire tabulate votes with optical scanners. More than half the votes cast are counted by optical scanners, as most of the bigger cities and towns—including Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Concord, Claremont, Hanover, Keene and Plymouth—use the scanners. But more municipalities count by hand. And as someone relatively well-versed in the voting patterns of New Hampshire, let me tell you there appear to be no discrepancies in the Clinton/Obama/Edwards votes between the towns that tabulate votes by scanning and those that count by hand. Obama won many of the larger towns—Keene, Hanover, Concord, Portsmouth, Lebanon, Plymouth, Durham. Clinton won others—Manchester, Nashua, Berlin, Gorham, Claremont.

The writer doesn’t address the Republican race, but the evidence would be the same. Don’t blame Diebold for the fact that your candidate didn’t do as well as you might have liked.

The Kos diarist makes this final point:

[T]here’s tremendous arrogance and/or ignorance at play when people assume that Hillary Clinton’s victory in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary is or might be explained by election fraud.

And the same thing can be said about Ron Paul’s loss. The election in New Hampshire is over, it’s time to move on. Whether it’s Barack Obama or Ron Paul, you do your candidate no favor by rambling on about non-existent conspiracies.

Update: I neglected to link to it earlier, but you can find my examination of what really happened in the Obama/Hillary race here.

Update 1/11/08: Apparently, this entire fiasco has led to some unjustifiable harassment of the town clerk of Sutton, New Hampshire.

Taking A Look At The Huckster’s Record

Before Republicans jump on the Huckabee bandwagon, they would be wise to take a look at his record as Governor:

Despite cutting taxes in his first legislative session, Huckabee also embraced the ARKids First program, which was then the cornerstone of an agenda pushed by an advocacy group started years earlier by Hillary Clinton. Even then, some were concerned that Huckabee’s conservative instincts didn’t stretch beyond social issues.

And, as time would show, those concerns were justified:

In 2001, when conservative Republican lawmakers opposed a higher sales taxes and fees the governor supported, he began calling them “Shiites.” Huckabee’s positions on fiscal policy became indistinguishable from Democrats’ positions. A year later, he openly campaigned against a ballot initiative to remove the sales tax on food and medicine. While he and Rockefeller won re-election in 2002, Sen. Tim Hutchinson didn’t.

In 2003, Huckabee not only begged lawmakers for new taxes to make up a budget shortfall, but he rebuffed conservatives’ (Republicans and a couple of Democrats) plan to cover the shortfall by tapping one-time money and cutting pork. In 2004, President Bush won re-election, but Huckabee campaigned for some Democrats – even some who had Republican opponents – and Republicans lost state legislative seats for the first time since 1990.

Someone noted a few weeks ago that Mike Huckabee is the logical extension of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism”, which has left the very idea of fiscal responsibility in the trash bin of history. Republicans would do well to recognize that before putting him at the top of their ticket.

The Lame Duck Period Officially Starts

You can often tell the exact point at which the President of the United States has accepted that his term is coming to an end…when he suddenly starts focusing on foreign policy red herrings like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  I’ve always found it a rather amusing time when our presidents have gone down that road and started lecturing both sides about how they must come to an agreement, considering that a) the President of the U.S. doesn’t have any legitimate authority to be dictating terms to another country on their internal affairs, b) our government’s continued involvement in Israel’s internal affairs and financial support of the Israeli government gives us few tangible positives, ample tangible negatives, and isn’t necessary to the survival of the Israeli state, c) foreign intervention had a large role in starting the conflict, d) our attempts at mediating the dispute have usually been doomed to failure because one or both sides are either incapable of or unwilling to meet the terms of any compromises we broker, and e) our continued involvement there tends to bite us in the ass everywhere else in the Middle East. 

But I suppose that presidents with questionable foreign policy legacies feel compelled to do something, kind of like how poor people with bad financial planning skills feel compelled to buy 30 lottery tickets a week in hopes of digging out from under.  All things considered, though, I guess I’d rather Dubya spent the rest of his term wasting time in the Israeli-Palestinian morass instead of threatening Iran.

I Can’t Think Of A Catchy Title

I suppose the best way to describe myself would be to say that I have a problem with authority. I’ve always disliked when people told me what to do, even as a young child, and I’ve always preferred to find my own path through life and make my own decisions, even if it occasionally went against the conventional wisdom and sometimes worked to my short-term disadvantage. My dad said I inherited it from him, but that I’ve taken it to a whole new level. When I was young I wanted to be a journalist, until I got to college and realized that journalism was less about the search for objective truth than it was about writing the stories that best suited your employer’s interests, whether they were true or not (which didn’t sit well with me at all). So I drifted aimlessly through a couple of years of college as an indifferent (often drunk) student, unsure of what to do with myself until one of my fraternity brothers gave me a copy of “The Fountainhead” and I got hooked on the ideas that success and a refusal to conform to societal standards were not mutally exclusive, and that the greatest evil in the world was society and government’s failure to recognize or accept individuality and individual freedom as a strength, not a weakness. So I threw myself into studying politics and history, worked in a few political campaigns after college, had some success, and thought about doing a career in politics until I realized that most of the people I knew who had never had a career outside of politics had no comprehension of how the real world actually worked and tended to make a lot of bad, self-absorbed decisions that rarely helped the people they claimed to be representing.

That didn’t sit well with me either, so I decided to put any thoughts of going into politics on hold until I’d actually had a life and possibly a real career, and I spent the next couple of years drifting between a series of random yet educational jobs (debt collector, deliveryman, computer salesman, repo man, dairy worker) that taught me the value of hard work, personal responsibility and the financial benefits of dining at Taco John’s on Tuesday nights (2 tacos for a buck) when money got tight.

After awhile, however, the desire to see the world (and the need for a more consistent and slightly larger paycheck) convinced me to join the Army, where I spent ten years traveling around the world on the government dime working as an intelligence analyst. I generally enjoyed my time in the military, despite the aforementioned problem with authority (which wasn’t as much of an issue in the military as many people might think it would be), and I got to see that the decisions our political leaders make were sometimes frivolous, often ill-informed, and always had unforeseen repercussions down the road…especially on the soldiers tasked with implementing those decisions. I was fortunate enough to spend most of my 10 years in the military doing jobs I enjoyed, traveling to countries that I always wanted to see (Scotland is the greatest place in the world to hang out, Afghanistan is very underrated) and working with people I liked and respected, until I finally decided that at 35 it was time to move into a job where I didn’t have the threat of relocation lying over my head every two or three years, where I didn’t have to worry about my friends being blown up, and where I didn’t have to work in any capacity for George W. Bush.

I work now for a financial company in Kansas where I’m responsible for overseeing, pricing and maintaining farms, commercial and residential properties, mineral assets, insurance policies, annuities, etc. In my spare time I like to read books on economics, history, and politics (I’m preparing to tackle Murray Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State” and Von Mises’ “Human Action”…should take me about a year at the rate I’m currently finishing books), watch movies, and destroy posers on “Halo 3″ (where I’m signed in under “UCrawford” for anyone interested in taking a shot at me some time). I used to play rugby until age, inconsistent conditioning, and a string of gradually worsening injuries finally convinced me to quit. I’m a rabid fan of the Kansas Jayhawks in general and their basketball and football programs in particular and I’m also a devoted fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. I’m also fond of going online and debating/picking fights with people on the merits of the philosophy of individual freedom…sometimes to the point of being an asshole (but hopefully a reasonably well-informed asshole). I’ve been a big fan of The Liberty Papers ever since finding it online, I respect the body of work they’ve put out, and I’m honored that Brad Warbiany invited me to join his jolly band of freedom fighters. So cheers, Brad, and to everyone else I look forward to reaching consensus or locking horns with you in the near future.

Why Were The Polls So Wrong About Obama v. Hillary ?

Note: The following article is a little more politically wonky than I have been trying to post here lately, and doesn’t really touch on libertarian ideas all that much. Nonetheless, it touches on some of the biggest news of the day so I felt it worthwhile to share

ABC’s Gary Langer takes a stab at answering the question that people will be asking a lot over the next week or so:

There will be a serious, critical look at the final pre-election polls in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire; that is essential. It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong. We need to know why.

But we need to know it through careful, empirically based analysis. There will be a lot of claims about what happened – about respondents who reputedly lied, about alleged difficulties polling in biracial contests. That may be so. It also may be a smokescreen – a convenient foil for pollsters who’d rather fault their respondents than own up to other possibilities – such as their own failings in sampling and likely voter modeling.

(…)

In the end there may be no smoking gun. Those polls may have been accurate, but done in by a superior get-out-the-vote effort, or by very late deciders whose motivations may or may not ever be known. They may have been inaccurate because of bad modeling, compromised sampling, or simply an overabundance of enthusiasm for Obama on the heels of his Iowa victory that led his would-be supporters to overstate their propensity to turn out.

Despite the lack of any real evidence at this point, Mickey Kaus puts forward a few theories of his own:

1. Bradley Effect: It seemed like a nice wonky little point when Polipundit speculated on the Reverse Bradley Effect–the idea that Iowa’s public caucuses led Dem voters to demonstrate their lack of prejudice by caucusing for Obama. Now this is the CW of the hour.

The theory behind this reverse Bradley Effect is that Obama did better in Iowa than New Hampshire because Iowa’s Caucuses are open and public, whereas New Hampshire has a secret ballot. Iowa voters, the theory goes, would be more likely to vote for Obama so as not to appear racists in front of their fellow voters. On the other hand, New Hampshire voters, in the privacy of the voting booth are free to exercise their prejudices.

The problems with this theory are two-fold. First, these are liberal Democrats we’re talking about here, the idea that they harbor some secret racism doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Second, Obama’s final numbers in New Hampshire were basically the same as what he was polling; he lost because Hillary was able to tap into a well of support that, somehow, got missed by the polls — if the Bradley Effect were the cause, we would expect to see Obama’s numbers go down. Since that didn’t happen, this theory doesn’t make sense.

2. Lazio Effect. No ganging up on the girl! First, Edwards turns on her in the debate. Then Obama says she’s merely “likeable enough.” Then the press disparages her anger, mocks her campaign and gloats over its troubles. They made her cry! And then that mean macho John Edwards goes and says the crying makes her unfit to be president. (I was told voter leaving Edwards in the closing hours went disproportionately to Hillary, not Obama.)

Did the crying jag win the election for Hillary ? That’s been a topic of conversation today that even Maureen Dowd has picked up on:

Bill Clinton was known for biting his lip, but here was Hillary doing the Muskie. Certainly it was impressive that she could choke up and stay on message.

She won her Senate seat after being embarrassed by a man. She pulled out New Hampshire and saved her presidential campaign after being embarrassed by another man. She was seen as so controlling when she ran for the Senate that she had to be seen as losing control, as she did during the Monica scandal, before she seemed soft enough to attract many New York voters.

Getting brushed back by Barack Obama in Iowa, her emotional moment here in a cafe and her chagrin at a debate question suggesting she was not likable served the same purpose, making her more appealing, especially to women, particularly to women over 45.

The Obama campaign calculated that they had the women’s vote over the weekend but watched it slip away in the track of her tears.

Rush Limbaugh is talking right now and he’s basically agreeing with Maureen Dowd about this.

James Joyner points out a problem with this theory:

9 points for crying? A rise of nearly a third? That seems incredibly unlikely

Frankly, I’ve got to agree. I’m well aware that people base their votes on irrational things sometimes, but the idea that a three minute You Tube video changed the course of an election, and perhaps history, in 24 hours seems hard to believe.

Speaking of irrational reasons to explain what happened, this one is totally arbitrary but probably has merit:

Without a doubt, a big source of the discrepancy between the pre-election surveys and the election outcome in New Hampshire is the order of candidates’ names on the ballot and in the surveys.

Our analysis of all recent primaries in New Hampshire showed that there was always a big primacy effect — big-name, big-vote-getting candidates got 3 percent or more votes more when listed first on the ballot than when listed last.

(…)

I’ll bet that Clinton got at least 3 percent more votes than Obama simply because she was listed close to the top.

Considering that Clinton’s margin of victory was 3%, the fact that her name was first on the ballot may be what put her over the top.

Kaus continues with this:

Jerry Skurnik’s “Two Electorate” theory holds that voters who don’t follow politics are much less informed than they used to be, which causes polls to shift rapidly when they do inform themselves. Put these two together and you’ve got a vast uninformed pool of voters that only begins to make up its mind until the very last minute–after the last poll is taken, maybe–and then reaches its decision by furiously ingesting information at a Feileresque pace. In fact, the percent of voters who made up their minds at the very end in N.H. was unusually large. (Add convincing statistic here!)

Two implications of the Feiler/Skurnik combo: a) Momentum from the previous primary doesn’t last. When the early primary dates were set, the CW held that the Iowa loser would never be able to stop the Iowa “wave” effect in the five days between the two primaries. It was too short a time. In fact, it wasn’t short enough. A three day separation and maybe Obama would have won. As it was, by the time the uninformed voters tuned in on Sunday and Monday, Iowa was ancient history.*** b) Instead, these voters saw clips of Hillary having her emotional tearing up moment. In other words, the Feiler/Skurnik Effect magnifies the significance of any events that occur in the final day or two of the campaign. After yesterday’s election, expect more of these events.

Again, it’s the cry theory. Plausible ? Maybe, and it probably did account for part of the shift toward Hillary, but it seems hard to believe that it’s the only explanation.

Finally, all the media reports about the Obama surge may have had an impact all it’s own:

[I]ndependent voters in N.H. were told by the press that the Democratic race was a done deal–so they voted in the closer, more exciting Republican race. Which made the Republican race not so close and the undid the deal in the Dem race.

Before last night, the running theory was that McCain would suffer from the Obama surge because Obama would soak up some of the independents that might otherwise vote for the Senator from Arizona. But the reverse might have happened. Immediately prior to Tuesday, the final polls showed McCain with a shrinking lead over Romney (reflective, some thought, of the fact that independents were trending toward Obama). In the end, McCain ended up beating Romney by 5%. Arguably, some of the independent vote for Obama went to McCain instead.

In the end, there probably is no one single explanation for what happened and how the polls ended up being so wrong. My own thought is that it is likely a combination of the ballot placement theory, a female backlash arising out of the crying jag, and Obama losing independents to McCain.

More On Ron Paul’s Mystery Author

As tarran noted yesterday, there is a lot to be concerned about in the racist content of the newsletters that were published under Ron Paul’s name for nearly twenty years. While it’s fairly clear that Paul didn’t write those articles, and I believe him when he says that the writings do not reflect his ideas, the question remains why they articles were published at all.

To answer that, I think, lies in the identity of the author of the articles, which has been the subject of some interesting blogging on a few libertarian sites today.

First, Timothy Virkalla says that this story has been an open secret in libertarian circles for years:

As a writer and editor working in the libertarian movement at the time of these “Ron Paul” newsletters, I have vague recollection of “common knowledge”: it was known who wrote these newsletters, and why. It was money for Ron. It was money for the writers. And it was a way of keeping Ron’s name in the minds of right wingers with money . . . future donors.

It was designed to be entertaining writing. Provocative. It flirted with racism, like Mencken’s did, and Mencken was indeed the model of the style. But these “Ron Paul” writings went further than Mencken’s usually did (at least for publication) along the lines of annoying the racially sensitive; and they sometimes did veer into outright racism.

I was embarrassed by the implied racial hatred, rather disgusted by the general level of hate regardlesss of race. I was also a bit shocked by the writing because the style was so obviously not Ron’s, and so obviously the product of the actual writers, with whom I had tangential relations

(…)

Most of us “old-time” libertarians have known about this sad period of Ron Paul’s career from the get-go. We know that it was a lapse on his part. But we who opposed it (and not all of us did) put much of the blame on the writers involved, not on Paul, who was, after all, juggling family, medicine, politics, and continued study of actual economics. That Paul didn’t realize what he was doing to his own moral stance is amazing. His style is one of earnest moralizing. That fits his character. The ugliness of this career move speaks a sad story.

(…)

Oh, so who wrote Ron Paul’s newsletter? I have only hearsay and memory to go on. But really, most of us in the libertarian “industry” just “knew” who. I have four names in mind, I think all contributed at one point or another. But maybe it was only a subset of those names, maybe it was just one or two. One of the names is pretty damn obvious. And one of the names is not obvious at all; the style was abandoned for better things, later on.

Like Rodney King, one might prefer we all just get along, move along, and forget about this sorry story. But it is worth exploring. Racism is still a live issue in America. And, apparently, in libertarianism.

And Wendy McElory calls on the author, who she says she knows personally, to come forward:

The identity of the author of the ‘objectionable’ material from past issues of Ron Paul’s Newsletter — material that is currently being used by major media to skewer Paul [see blog post below] — is an open secret within the circles in which I run. The news accounts refer to him merely as an “aide.” We call him by his first name.

(…)
I disagree on one point. The author can talk about it. He should talk about it. I will not ‘out’ the person in question on this blog although people are urging me to do so. One of them writes, After the way he’s treated the rest of us [ex-friends who criticize Paul], it might be worth taking him down a peg or two. I won’t…but neither will I pretend that I do not know the background of the matter. I appeal to the author to do the decent thing. Don’t let Ron Paul take the fall for your words and actions. Don’t further sully the libertarian movement by your silence. I know that — in writing this — I am severing all connection between us in the future and, frankly, I am sorry to do so. Nevertheless…so be it. Through our years of association, one thing I have never considered you to be is a coward.Please prove my assessment correct; please take responsibility.

My co-contributor, of course, called for the same thing yesterday.

A lot of this is internal libertarian squabbling, but it’s become a public issue now and it needs to be resolved. Voluntarily or involuntarily, the identity of the mystery author and his connections to Ron Paul need to come forward. And libertarians need to ask themselves why the philosophy of freedom is attracting racist troglodytes.

New Hampshire Post-Mortem And Wednesday Open Thread

While it’s ultimate impact on the Presidential race has yet to be determined, the New Hampshire Presidential Primary is over and it’s time to figure out what happened.

On the Republican side, we had, as expected, a repeat of 2000 for John McCain:

MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 8 — Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the early Republican front-runner whose campaign imploded last summer, handily won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, dealing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney his second loss in the GOP nomination contest.

McCain’s victory amounts to a dramatic resurrection for the 71-year-old veteran of presidential politics and further scrambles a Republican race that now moves to Michigan and South Carolina. After New Hampshire, the fight for a new Republican standard-bearer remains a wide-open contest.

Given the way the polls had been going, this wasn’t much of a surprise. And, as I noted on Monday, it leaves the Republican field wide-open heading into Michigan and South Carolina. As of today, two men, Mike Huckabee and John McCain, have the best argument for claiming that they are the frontrunner in the race. Yes, Mitt Romney won the Wyoming caucus, but that race was barely contested and, more importantly, participation was limited to a handful of party insiders.

So, now we move on to Michigan and South Carolina, and Romney has to win one of them. For months, Romeny was leading in what is arguably is other home state (his father was Governor there in the 1960s), but that lead started to slip away in early December and is probably gone by now. If he loses Michigan, Romney may as well drop out of the race.

As for McCain, as I said on Monday, he faces pretty much the same problem he did back in 2000. Back then, he won New Hampshire but then lost South Carolina and his campaign pretty much fell apart. The difference between today and eight years ago, though, is that McCain was the maverick outsider in 2000; in 2008 he is arguably the closest thing to an Establishment candidate in the race. To the extent that Republican insiders are looking for someone to stop Mike Huckabee — and given Romney’s collapse and Giuliani’s implosion — the person they will look to is John McCain.

On the Democratic side, things turned out a lot differently than anyone thought:

MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 8 — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton narrowly won the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday night, a surprise victory for the onetime front-runner that revived her sagging fortunes and reshaped yet again the fight for the party’s nomination.

“Over the last week I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice,” Clinton (N.Y.) said at her victory rally, embracing a newly emotional campaign style that appeared to fuel her turnaround here. “Let’s give America the kind of comeback New Hampshire has just given me.”

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), who had anticipated a second consecutive win after his Iowa caucus triumph last Thursday, conceded shortly before 11 p.m. “We always knew our climb would be steep,” he told supporters, a day after he had confidently told backers that he was “riding a wave” to a win here. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) placed a distant third, followed by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

The question, of course, is why this happened. Every single poll up until Tuesday morning showed Barack Obama ahead, the only question seemed to be how large his margin of victory would be and how much longer Hillary could stay in the race.

Boy was that one wrong. “Dewey Defeats Truman” wrong.

So, what happened ? Looking at the exit polls, it’s clear that what put Clinton over the top was the fact that women moved back into her camp:

Forty-three percent of self-styled independents said they voted for Obama, and 31 percent said they backed Clinton. Independents made up 43 percent of all voters polled.

Addressing his roaring supporters after the race was called, Obama congratulated Clinton. But he was a candidate determined to draw a distinction between he and Clinton.

“But the reason our campaign has always been different, the reason we began this improbable journey almost a year ago, is because it’s not just about what I will do as president,” he said. “It is also about what you, the people who love this country, the citizens of the United States of America, can do to change it. That’s what this election is all about.”

But Clinton was ahead of Obama 45 percent to 34 percent among those who said they were registered Democrats. Those voters made up a majority — 54 percent — of all respondents.

Clinton also claimed the majority of women’s votes, according to the polling. That’s in contrast to last week’s Iowa caucuses, in which Obama surprised observers by stealing the female vote from Clinton.

Analysts say that shift among female voters was crucial to the Clinton turnaround. “If I had a single word, the word would be ‘women,’ ” said CNN political analyst Bill Schneider. “She got the women back.”

There are many theories that can be put forward to explain what happened, but there’s really only one that makes sense to me —- the crying jag worked. Get out the Kleenex.

So now what ?

There is a primary in Michigan next week, but there’s not really a contest on the Democratic side. When Michigan moved up it’s primary to January 15th, the DNC punished the state by decertifying all of its delegates. The only candidate who’s name will be on the ballot next week is Hillary Clinton, and voters won’t be able to write in any of the other candidates. So Michigan is meaningless, for the Democrats at least.

Barack Obama is leading in South Carolina, and will probably win there. Hillary, though, leads in Nevada and Florida. Which means that the big showdown will be on February 5th, and I wouldn’t count Clinton out this time.

So that’s how the horse race shapes up.

What does it all mean ? That’s what the open thread is for. Discuss.

Ron Paul Falls Flat In The “Live Free Or Die” State

Notwithstanding my own hopes, it’s fairly clear that Ron Paul finished well behind the most optimistic predictions in the New Hampshire Primary.

To sum it up, he finished in 5th place. Behind Mike Huckabeee and Rudy Giuliani. In a state that was the focus of the Free State Project.

So, what happened ? And is there really any future for this campaign ?

Frankly, I don’t think so.

Who Wrote the Ron Paul Survival Report? Will He Do the Honorable Thing and Step Forward?

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary a staffer made allegations accusing Ron Paul of consorting and collaborating with racists. The first hint came with this interview on the Tucker Carlson show:

This was followed by an article published today:

Angry White Man: The bigoted past of Ron Paul. by James Kirchick

The thesis of the article is:

the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul’s name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him–and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing–but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.

Excerpts from the newsletter may be found here

Ron Paul’s campaign released a statement disowning much of the racist/homophobic content here:

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:
“The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.
“In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person’s character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’
“This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It’s once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.
“When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”

While it is clear to me that Ron Paul did not write these newsletters, someone close to him did. The writing style is completely different from that of Ron Paul. Moreover, it is clear to me that the author views himself to be in the midst of an apocalyptic culture war. Based on Ron Paul’s easygoing reaction to support from with strippers and marijuana growers, it is clear to me that Ron Paul does not share this view.

The big question is, who wrote these letters? Ron Paul is, either out of shame or friendship, keeping the name(s) a secret. While there is a sort of honor to keeping a confidence regardless of the personal consequences, Ron Paul is risking taking the winds out of the sails of his movement at a critical juncture by doing so. I firmly believe that Ron Paul, while a gentlemen and a man of honor, is yet again the victim of extremely poor judgment of the character of his associates. His employment of Eric Dondero, his long association with Gary North all speak to this.

The time has come for the author of the newsletters, whoever he is, to step forward and take the heat. This author used Ron Paul’s name to advance his cultural agenda rather than Ron Paul’s economic agenda. The time has come for him to take responsibility for his actions and to publicly explain how these articles ended up with Ron Paul’s name on them. If Ron Paul approved of them, then fine, Ron Paul will justifiably suffer the consequences. But if, as I suspect, the author was taking advantage of the good doctor, honor demands that he set the record straight.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Is Your Air Conditioner Working? Not In California!

Occasionally there are changes coming down the pipe that even non-politicos don’t like. Usually, the only ones that draw ire from the “average” citizen are those that are widespread and hit close to home.

California has proposed a policy that so neatly fits both categories that people like my wife (a probable Obama voter!) respond in shock and disbelief. From their Energy Commission’s newly-proposed rules about your thermostat (PDF, see pages 63-64):

(c) Thermostats. All unitary heating and/or cooling systems including heat pumps that are not controlled by a central energy management control system (EMCS) shall have a Programmable Communicating Thermostat (PCT) that is certified by the manufacturer to the Energy Commission to meet the requirements of Subsections 112(c)(1) and 112(c)(2) below:

1. Setback Capabilities. All PCTs shall have a clock mechanism that allows the building occupant to program the temperature set points for at least four periods within 24 hours. Thermostats for heat pumps shall meet the requirements of Section 112(b).

2. Communicating Capabilities. All PCTs shall be distributed with a non-removable Radio Data System (RDS) communications device that is compatible with the default statewide DR communications system, which can be used by utilities to send price and emergency signals. PCTs shall be capable of receiving and responding to the signals indicating price and emergency events as follows.

A. Price Events. The PCT shall be shipped with default price-event offsets of +4°F for cooling and -4°F for heating enabled; however, customers shall be able to change the offsets and thermostat settings at any time during price events. Upon receiving a price-event signal, the PCT shall adjust the thermostat setpoint by the number of degrees indicated in the offset for the duration specified in the signal of the price event. The PCT shall also be equipped with the capability to allow customers to define setpoints for heating and cooling in response to price signals as an alternative to temperature-offsetting response, as described in Reference Joint Appendix JA5.

B. Emergency Events. Upon receiving an emergency signal, the PCT shall respond to commands contained in the emergency signal, including changing the setpoint by any number of degrees or to a specific temperature setpoint. The PCT shall not allow customer changes to thermostat settings during emergency events.

If for any reason the state-regulated utilities deem that there is an “emergency”, they can do anything they want to your air conditioner or heater, and the thermostat gives you NO ability to override the setting. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an elderly person sweltering in the summer heat in the central valley who cannot handle a few hours in extreme temperatures, you cannot change the thermostat. Of course, this isn’t new technology. In fact, the utilities were offering discounts to those buyers who voluntarily installed these thermostats. But I’m guessing either not enough people were adopting them for the nannies in Sacramento, or the utilities got tired of TOO MANY people adopting the technology, and wanted it mandated so they wouldn’t have to offer discounts.

Now, this is all an effort to mitigate the effects of high power draw in the hot summer months, when people are running their air conditioners. In the past, these situations have resulted in rolling blackouts and much political strife from the constituents. Those of us who have some economic sense and a history of California would point out that most of the woes this is intended to solve are the unintended consequences of California’s royally incompetent regulation and “de”regulation of their energy sector. Screwy regulatory hurdles, NIMBYism, and lobbying have resulted in a system which has completely destroyed any semblance of a market, and artificially limited increases in supply which might have kept electricity plentiful and prices low. Instead of fixing the problem, they’re simply adding another layer.

There’s still time to put a stop to this. If you live in California, contact the “process administrator” of these proceedings, Chris Gekas. Or your local legislator. Any complaint needs to be registered by January 30th, or this thing will go through without a problem.

Of course, there’s always the chance that it will go through anyway. If that occurs, my plan is good old-fashioned civil disobedience. If my next home has one of these installed, I will order a thermostat from out-of-state or– given that I’m an electrical engineer– find a way to disable the radio. The State of California may mandate this sort of idiocy, but it’s too bloated and inefficient to enforce it (once you get through an initial building inspection), so I would recommend others do the same. When the rest of the state is sweltering through a hot summer day without A/C, those of us who still value freedom can invite our neighbors over and explain to them the folly of big government.

Hat Tip: Cafe Hayek
Also See: The American Thinker

Doublespeak Definition Of The Day

Today’s word is bipartisan:

The word is used to describe a situation where two parties have ideas that are so atrocious individually that they could never be supported, but so important to the parties that they cannot be abandoned. Thus the parties compromise and both get what they want. The Republicans get what they want, and the Democrats get what they want, and the taxpayer gets the bill.

Hillary Needs to Take Acting Lessons

Is anyone really buying this act? Are we really supposed to feel sorry for her having to deal with the ups and downs of running for president (to say nothing of the challenges of being president)? How stupid does she really think we are?

The thought that someone could be persuaded to support Hillary Clinton by this pathetic display makes me want to cry!

Monday Open Thread: New Hampshire Predictions And Commentary

When I tried this before the Iowa Caucuses, my predictions beyond the actual winner proved to be slightly less than accurate, but nonetheless, here are some predictions of how things will turn out tomorrow in the Granite State.

Democrats

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. John Edwards
  4. Bill Richardson
  5. Everybody else (assuming Kucinich and/or Gravel are even on the ballot)

Given the polls that came out over the weekend, Obama’s victory over Clinton seems to be assured barring a major change in the next 24 hours.

What is more interesting is what happens after tomorrow night.

Contrary to what some in the press are saying, a loss in New Hampshire will not mean the end of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She still has a lot of money to play with, the support of most of the major players in the Democratic Party, not to mention commanding leads in delegate rich states like California and Florida. Two losses in a row will be wounding to Clinton, but they won’t be fatal as long as Clinton still has the money and support that she had before the voting started.

After New Hampshire, the Democratic race moves to Michigan, and then South Carolina. The polls have Clinton ahead in both states, but those polls were conducted nearly a month ago and it’s quite likely that things have changed significantly since then. South Carolina, for example, has been mentioned as a state that Obama has a chance at winning.

This much is certain. The Democratic race is now a two-person race between Clinton and Obama (sorry John Edwards). The question is whether Obama’s surge will continue to chip away at Hillary’s previously insurmountable lead in the Super Tuesday states.

Republicans

  1. John McCain
  2. Mitt Romney
  3. Ron Paul
  4. Mike Huckabee
  5. Rudy Giuliani
  6. Fred Thompson

Again, the top spot in the Republican race is rather easy to predict because John McCain has surged ahead of Mitt Romney to an extent that seems insurmountable.

When it comes to the rest of the field, though, I may be letting my hopes get the better of me here, because the polls consistently show Huckabee inching into third place ahead of Ron Paul. However, if there is any state in the nation where Ron Paul can be said to have a natural constituency, it’s New Hampshire. So, I’m going to predict that he’ll come up with enough committed supporters to put him in a surprising, if distant, third place behind McCain and Romney.

This much is true, though, if Paul doesn’t end up doing something surprising tomorrow, the media is going to stop paying attention to his campaign and start spending their time on candidates who actually have a chance at winning the nomination.

Coming out of New Hampshire, the Republicans will be in the uncomfortable position of having as many as four contenders for the nomination.

  • Mike Huckabee won Iowa and is polling well in South Carolina, and Florida.
  • Mitt Romney, though he will be severely weakened by losing yet another primary he had wrapped up a month ago, won the Wyoming Caucuses, has a ton of money, and is polling well in Michigan and Nevada.
  • Rudy Giuliani continues to lead in Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He’s also got a ton of money and party support, but he needs to win a primary soon, otherwise he’s likely to see his supporters drifting to……
  • John McCain, who is poised to repeat his feat of eight years ago and win the New Hampshire primary. The question is where he goes from there. Back in 2000, the Straight Talk Express was derailed when Bush beat McCain in South Carolina, and McCain could never find the support in the South and West that he would have needed to beat Bush. If it’s going to come this time, McCain is going to have to make a run for Giuliani’s supporters.

Sorry Ron Paul supporters, but even if he does come in third in New Hampshire, Ron Paul still won’t be a frontrunner for the nomination. To be a frontrunner, you have to at least win something somewhere and, outside of the Granite State, there isn’t any state in the country where Paul seems likely to come in third, never mind win.

As always, feel free to criticize

Should The Feds Mandate a Do-Not-Mail List?

On Reason’s website, Radley Balko has a great takedown of the Post Office’s hostility to the so-called ‘Do-Not-Mail-List’, which would prohibit the U.S. Postal Service from sending junk-mail to people who register themselves as not wanting junk-mail.

The U.S. Postal Service is opposing a “do not mail” list for junk mail because . . . well, I’ll just let them explain it:

Postal Service spokesman Al DeSarro said half of the mail his agency handles is direct marketing mail, and reducing its volume could cost thousands of Postal Service jobs.

This is terrific logic. Americans should be bothered with useless, unsolicited junk mail so that the USPS can continue to pay otherwise unneeded postal workers to deliver it. Makes sense to me.

I thus propose a federal “Agency for Digging Holes in Americans’ Front Yards.” Then, because of the holes-in-people’s-front-yards problem that will inevitably result, I propose a second “Agency for Filling In Yard Holes.”

These two agencies will create thousands of new federal jobs. And as we all know, new jobs are good for the economy.

This prompted an interesting rejoinder from a commenter martin who asked:

If companies want to pay the USPS to deliver their ads what’s wrong with that? Free market in action, no? Presumably those “unneeded” workers are being paid by those same companies’ mail payments.
You don’t like getting it, so instead of taking a sec to toss it, you call for a no-send list, government enforced, of course. What gives?

martin is bringing up a point that must be considered: does this list, which prohibits unsolicited mailings infringe on the rights of people to advertise their wares? Doesn’t that contradict the idea that when unwanted mail placed on your property, it is a form of tresspass?

To answer this question, we first should look at what would happen in a free market for mail delivery. In a free market, a person owning a chunk of land would be under no obligation to receive any mail. Nor would there be any organization that was obligated to deliver the mail to him either. However, most property owners would like to receive and send mail, so naturally there would be mail delivery companies that would offer mail delivery services. In all likelihood, this delivery system would take the form of people subscribing to mail service providers (MSP’s) much like people subscribe to ISP’s for access to the internet.

Of course, if one person subscribed to ‘Planet Express’ for their mail delivery needs, and they wanted to send a letter to a client of a competing MSP named ‘Awesome Express’, in all likelihood, Planet Express would deliver the mail to a transhipment point shared with Awesome Express and Awesome Express would handle the actual delivery. These transhipments would be governed by agreements that covered the terms and conditions under which mail would be accepted for delivery, and payments between the firms.

Just as people can sign up to have the ISP filter out Spam on the server, some MSP’s would offer no-junk mail services. Presumably, the early adopters would create standards that the later adopters would honor, and there would be industry-wide methods for people to signal whether or not they wanted unsolicited mail or not, and which senders were ‘trusted’ senders. Since the customers do not have to accept any mail at all, it is clear that these arrangements would in no way infringe on anyone’s rights.

Furthermore, the no-junk-mail services would probably be nuanced. For example, people could ask for no junk-mail to be delivered with the exception of mailers about local grocery specials.

Currently, we do not live in a free market. The U.S. Postal Service has been granted a monopoly by the U.S. government for mail delivery, a monopoly that has held up through the years despite the efforts of many heroic Americans such as Lysander Spooner and Fred Smith, for over 2 centuries Congress has succesfully prevented competitors from competing head to head with the Postal Service, typically by forbidding competitors from charging competitive rates or advertising their performance.

The U.S. Postal Service is a creation of the government. The laws passed by Congress define it, direct it and shield it. When Congress passes a law mandating that it provide some service, it is as if a board of directors ordered the officers of a company to provide a service. Thus, if there is nothing inherently illiberal about a laws mandating that the USPS honor a do-not-mail list. The laws that grant it a monopoly on the other hand …

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Fascism: It Couldn’t Happen Here, Part I

If all goes well, there will be more than just this post. I’m planning a series discussing Fascism, the origins of the modern American state, and the reality of whether a fascist, authoritarian government, similar to Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany, could happen here. There are a lot of reasons for this series, but the most recent catalyst is this a comment. There are several things in the comment that demonstrate the commenter’s misunderstanding of what fascism is and what happened in this country during the New Deal. For example:

smedley butler and fdr stood up to the facists in the 1930s and 1940s.

Technically our commenter is correct, FDR stood up to Adolf Hitler, the Nazi’s and Germany’s quest to dominate Europe during WWII. However, given the context of the post he is responding to, he is definitely offbase. Here is the specific point that it appears he is responding to:

Even if he [ed: Ron Paul] is unsuccessful at forcing a brokered convention, his candidacy has inoculated a significant part of the U.S. electorate against making the same mistake our grandparents made in the late 1920’s and 1930’s when they embraced the fascism of Hoover and FDR, plunging the U.S. into a depression that lasted well into 1947.

Tarran, the author, is not discussing whether FDR confronted the Nazi’s (and the Japanese militarists and Italian Fascists) directly during WWII. Instead, he is discussing the political underpinnings of the New Deal itself, and FDR’s political beliefs. This is a fairly common mistake. People believe that, because they fought the Fascists in WWII, FDR and Churchill were not Fascists. It does not logically follow that FDR and Churchill were not fascist simply because they fought Hitler and Mussolini. Prior to late 1938 Italy and Germany were opposed to each other and, at least to some degree, Mussolini had sided with France and England as recently as 1936. During the Anschluss of Austria there was a quite real likelihood of Italy intervening militarily against Germany. Yet no one would claim that Mussolini was not a fascist. We cannot determine if FDR and the New Deal were fascist from a military conflict. Instead, we will have to look at the actions and characteristics of the man and the policies.

Another key fallacy is brought out in our commenter’s post:

over the past 75 years the social safety net has saved lives whereas the free market—the playground of both the facists AND the libertarians—has dictated the destruction of anyone and any thing that stands in the way of material profit.

It is an incredibly common belief that Fascists (to include Nazi’s, generally) believe in the free market and capitalism and that they are part of the right wing of politics. A cursory examination of the writings, speeches and actions of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo reveals this to be completely untrue. Understanding where Fascism and National Socialism fits on the political spectrum requires a bit deeper digging, all the way back to the Second International, the Zimmerwald Conference and an understanding of what constitutes the revolutionary left and reformist right of socialism. When a Communist refers to a National Socialist as “right wing”, he actually is referring to his position within the socialist framework. It is (and has long been) a vast misunderstanding of socialism to conflate National Socialism and Fascism (both socialist movements) with right wing conservatives, descendants of England’s Burkean Whigs.

It has been necessary to create a new method of understanding political orientation in order to undo the damage that this confusion has caused. One such system was created by Jerry Pournelle, known as The Pournelle Political Axes. Another one is explained by Liberty Papers founder, Eric, in his post A Better Political Spectrum. In either of these logical and well structured approaches to understanding politics we can see that National Socialists and Fascists are clearly not in the same portion of the political spectrum as libertarians and conservatives.

So, with this ground work established, let’s start with a common understanding of what Fascism and National Socialism are and how they relate to free market capitalism. First, some reference material and excerpts from them:

1. Mussolini defines Fascism

The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State.

2. From Wikipedia’s entry on Fascism

Stanley Payne’s Fascism: Comparison and Definition (1980) uses a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism, including the creation of an authoritarian state; a regulated, state-integrated economic sector; fascist symbolism; anti-liberalism; anti-communism; anti-conservatism. He argues that common aim of all fascist movements was elimination of the autonomy or, in same cases, the existence of large-scale capitalism.

3. Ludwig von Mises Socialism argues that Fascism is an inevitable evolution of Socialism. He says in the preface to the second edition:

Neither is there any substantial difference between the intentions of the self-styled ‘progressives’ and those of the Italian Fascists and the German Nazis. The Fascists and the Nazis were no less eager to establish all-round regimentation of all economic activities than those governments and parties which flamboyantly advertise their anti-Fascist tenets.

4. Dr. Lawrence Britt wrote an article which appeared in the Spring 2003 edition of Free Inquiry, page 20, and was called “Fascism Anyone?”. The article is reposted here. In that article he includes 14 defining characteristics of fascism, which I’m going to list here:

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
  5. Rampant sexism.
  6. A controlled mass media.
  7. Obsession with national security.
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
  9. Power of corporations protected. [note: this only applies to corporations that support the fascist government]
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
  14. Fraudulent elections.

While I do not fully agree with Britt, this list of characteristics is going to be interesting when we start digging into the New Deal and FDR as the series progresses. In any case, he is describing characteristics and behaviors of a fascist government rather than the ideals, principles and philosophies they espouse. Reading Hitler and Mussolini is quite enlightening. We quickly discover that they do not believe in the free market, economic freedom or the independence of corporations from government regulation. If we remove their anti-communist rhetoric and listen to how they want to organize society it becomes remarkably clear that they are socialists with a strong nationalist and militarist bent. What is truly interesting is that this is rarely, if ever, made clear in political science courses, the media or any other common forum for discussing politics.

Given this, how does National Socialism and Fascism relate to Capitalism? Capitalism is a method of organizing economic life that calls for the state to not be involved in regulating the economic marketplace (among other things). Fascism does not allow for individual choice independent of the State. Capitalism cannot work if the individual is not free to choose within the marketplace. Fascism and Capitalism cannot co-exist. In fact, Capitalism is only possible within a Liberal society (not liberal in the sense that the political parties in the USA currently use the word, however, where it is roughly equal to progressive or democratic socialism).

In Part II we’ll start tackling the foundations of FDR’s politics and the New Deal.

Ron Paul Defends Liberty on PBS

Bill Moyers has published an interesting interview with Ron Paul on his website. Whether you are a friend or foe of Paul, I highly recommend it.

Part 1

Part 2:

Part 3:

He makes many good points. He calls for less government regulation of media, even in the face of Fox News’ refusal to include him in the upcoming debates. He talks about the need to raise a new generation that believes in self reliance rather than waiting for someone to give them hand-outs.I found two passages to be very meaningful. On the ideological differences between the mainstream candidates vying for both the Democratic and Republican nominations, here’s what he had to say:

… when you get up on the leadership ladder, it seems like policies aren’t a whole lot different.

Foreign policy never changed. Domestic fiscal policy, the welfare entitlement system never changes. Monetary policy won’t even be discussed. And that’s both parties. And the vehicle that you use I think is not as relevant as the message. And that has been what has driven me is the fact that we need to change course in this country. I highly respect the Constitution. But I’m not even overly rigid about the Constitution. There’s a vehicle for changing it. I just I’m not overly rigid don’t ignore it. Don’t go to war without declaring it. And you know, you listen to the Fourth Amendment. Listen to what it says about the privacy rights of the American people.

On foreign policy he makes the point that all too often is missed by his supporters and detractors. Regardless of the needfulness of the wars, we cannot afford them. Sooner or later we won’t be able to afford these adventures, and rather than having some measure of control of how these wars wind down, the wars will end disastrously for the U.S. government and to the citizens and residents of the country.

If you go by years, it was our worst year. We lost 900 men in Iraq, over 100 in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is blowing up. It’s coming unraveled. We’re involved in two countries they are trying to nation build. At the same time, it looks like we’ll be in Pakistan. So, this whole idea that there’s some type of victory going on over there, and it’s a disaster.

And they would like us to not talk about it anymore. But we cannot hide from it, because it’s tied into the finances. All great countries end when they extend themselves too far overseas. And the litmus test is what do they do to their currency? We did not have to fight the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union [collapsed] because of economic reasons. That is what’s going to happen here. We willfully invaded. You know how many weapons we have. We have more weapons, probably twice as many as everybody else put together. Nobody would dare touch us. And yet everybody’s frightened. “Oh, who’s going to attack us? And who’s going to deliver us?” But it’s the financial thing that will finally bring us to our knees.

In the end Ron Paul is accomplishing a very important task. Even if he is unsuccessful at forcing a brokered convention, his candidacy has inoculated a significant part of the U.S. electorate against making the same mistake our grandparents made in the late 1920’s and 1930’s when they embraced the fascism of Hoover and FDR, plunging the U.S. into a depression that lasted well into 1947.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Iowa Caucus Wrap-Up

Democratic side

Winners:

Obama
Edwards

Loser:

Hillary

Obama is the obvious big winner and the anti-Hillary candidate for the Dems. Edwards lives to fight another day. Hillary loses in Iowa and loses New Hampshire, picks up a phyrric victory in uncontested Michigan, and is finally defeated in South Carolina; she’s done. The national polls will narrow between Obama and Hillary.

Republican side

Winners:

Huckabee
Thompson
McCain

Losers:

Romney
Paul

Didn’t help or hurt:

Giuliani

Huckabee is the big winner, and now the GOP frontrunner. Thompson will live to fight another day but he needs a miracle. South Carolina maybe Fred’s last stand. McCain has momentum with a surprisingly strong finish to defeat Romney in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is pretty much do or die for Mitt Romney. Ron Paul’s final results were in line with the margin of error for most polls and the “Revolution” failed its first test, however, New Hampshire will be the true test because the organization is more mature in that state. Rudy didn’t seriously contest Iowa, so it didn’t hurt or help.

More on the political implications later.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Pre-Caucus Open Thread And Predictions

Here is my best educated guess of how things will pan out at the end of the night tonight. This is just order of finish, not percentages. On that end, I think we’ll see some pretty tight numbers between 3rd through 5th place on the Republican side and among the top three on the Democratic side. Depending on turnout, the order could easily be different.

Republicans:

  1. Mike Huckabee
  2. Mitt Romney
  3. John McCain
  4. Ron Paul
  5. Fred Thompson
  6. Rudy Giuliani

Democrats:

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. John Edwards
  4. Bill Richardson
  5. Joe Biden
  6. Chris Dodd

Feel free to criticize my guesses and make your own, and we’ll all check back tomorrow.

Fox And ABC Excluding Ron Paul From New Hampshire Debates

Ron Paul’s supporters are in an uproar over the fact that ABC and Fox News are both excluding their candidate from pre-New Hampshire debates scheduled for next weekend:

NEW YORK (AP) — ABC and Fox News Channel are narrowing the field of presidential candidates invited to debates this weekend just before the New Hampshire primary, in Fox’s case infuriating supporters of Republican Rep. Ron Paul.

The roster of participants for ABC’s back-to-back, prime-time Republican and Democratic debates Saturday in New Hampshire will be determined after results of Thursday’s Iowa caucus become clear.

Fox, meanwhile, has invited five GOP candidates to a forum with Chris Wallace scheduled for its mobile studio in New Hampshire on Sunday. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee received invites, leaving Paul of Texas and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California on the sidelines.

The network said it had limited space in its studio — a souped-up bus — and that it invited candidates who had received double-digit support in recent polls.

In a nationwide poll conducted December 14-20 by The Associated Press and Yahoo, Thompson had the support of 11 percent of GOP voters and Paul was at 3 percent. Paul’s support is at 6 percent in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted in early December.

Paul was tied with Thompson for fifth in New Hampshire in the most recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, each with the support of 4 percent of likely voters. Among all New Hampshire voters, Paul led Thompson 6 percent to 4 percent, but that was within the poll’s margin of error.

The Paul campaign is claiming that this is evidence of anti-Paul bias:

Jesse Benton, Paul’s spokesman, said it was a “big mistake” not to include Paul, especially given Paul’s recent success in fundraising. He said the campaign has been trying to reach Fox News to get an explanation for the decision, but its calls had not been returned.

“There very well might be some bias,” Benton said. “Ron brings up some topics that aren’t very popular with Fox News, as in fiscal responsibility and withdrawing from the war in Iraq … that does leave us scratching our heads a little bit about whether it was deliberate. Based on metrics, I don’t see how you can possibly exclude Dr. Paul.”

Actually, given the metrics, it does have a logic to it. While there are several scenarios under which Paul could, and probably will, do better than expected in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and Nevada, there are no realistic scenarios that have him actually winning any of those early primaries. The Paul campaign will no doubt stir up some noise over the coming weeks, but it simply isn’t realistic to expect that he will win the Republican nomination for President — anymore than it was realistic to think that when he started this campaign.

For those reasons, it makes sense for a news organization to limit debate participants to people who have a shot at winning the nomination. Ron Paul isn’t one of those people.

That said, I think excluding Paul at this point doesn’t make sense. Notwithstanding his poll numbers, he’s been invited to every other debate that’s been held and there’s no logical reason to exclude him now before the voting has even started. Keep in mind, though, that my answer to this question will probably be different in three weeks after several primaries have been held. At that point, any candidate who isn’t polling in double digits most definitely should be excluded.

Top 10 Economic Myths of 2007

The Business and Media Institute has compiled the list. Check them out.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
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