Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed something. Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let's play that over again too. Who decides?”     Robert A. Heinlein

August 29, 2008

Is Palin a reformer and fiscal conservative?

by Jason Pye

One thing I am hearing right now is that Sarah Palin is a fiscal conservative. The Club for Growth released a statement on a potential Palin VP candidacy that praises her stance on earmarks and support for opening ANWR.

Fighting earmarks and opening ANWR are important, but they are only half the battle.

When the Alaska Creamery Board decided to close the state-owned Matanuska Maid Dairy, she objected. She couldn’t fire Creamery Board members, so she fired members of the Alaska Agriculture Board who in turn replaced Creamery Board members. The Matanuska Maid Dairy remained open, jacked up milk prices and eventually closed anyway after substantial losses. Only then did Palin believe that it should be sold to a private company. Unfortunately, the state received no bids for the diary and taxpayers were stuck with a loss.

John McCain has been critical of Barack Obama’s plan for a windfall profits tax on oil companies, correctly citing that it would hurt potential oil exploration in the United States and increase dependence on foreign oil. Criticism should be point toward Sarah Palin as well.

Palin signed a windfall profits tax into law last year that has taken $10 billion from oil companies. Part of the plan, as conservative blog Hot Air noted earlier this month, is very similar to a plan pushed by Barack Obama:

Palin’s plan looks similar in concept to Barack Obama’s plan. The state gave Alaskans $1200 checks from oil revenues as a one-time bonus to pay for increased fuel prices, a move Palin pushed. That echoes the Obama plan to send one-time rebates to taxpayers, funded by similar levies on oil companies.

However, the results in Alaska should warn the rest of the country about pursuing this policy. Already oil companies have stopped drilling on state lands, thanks to the tax burden Alaska imposes. It should be cheaper to drill and extract from these areas, but the oil companies have decided to focus their investment instead on the Gulf, where the costs and risks would normally be higher. In Alaska, the government takes 75% of the price on a barrel of oil at current prices, which gives them no incentive to work there.

Then there is ethics. She has made a name for herself as a reformer. Palin demanded answers from and openly criticized Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens when he was indicted. She was right to do so. As far as I’m concerned, Stevens is a crook for more things that what he was indicted for. It turns out that she may have ethics issues of her own.

Walt Monegan, former Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner, claims that he was pressured by Palin and individuals close to her pressured him to fire State Trooper Mike Wooten, who happens to be Palin’s former brother-in-law. Monegan was eventually fired by Palin:

Monegan said phone calls and questions from the Palin administration and the governor’s husband, Todd Palin, about trooper Mike Wooten started shortly after Monegan was hired and continued up to one or two months ago.

The governor herself also had a brief conversation with him about Wooten in February, Monegan said.

The new assertions from Monegan, who has been mostly silent on his abrupt firing July 11, conflict with what the Republican governor said earlier in the week. She said she never put pressure on the commissioner to fire her sister’s ex-husband and no one from her office had complained about Wooten. She has also said replacing Monegan with Kenai Police Chief Chuck Kopp had nothing to do with Wooten. She has offered little explanation for the dismissal.
[...]
Monegan said he still isn’t sure why he was fired but thought that Wooten could be part of it. “I don’t know that it’s all of it. … I worked at the pleasure of the governor,” he said.

I’m sure more will come out about Palin in the coming months. I don’t know why conservatives are jumping up and down about Palin. She doesn’t seem all that great. She may support transparent government, but that does not make someone a fiscal conservative.

Note: Jason Pye is on the staff of Libertarian Presidential nominee Bob Barr.

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56 Comments

  1. I don’t know why conservatives are jumping up and down about Palin.

    Because we’ve been looking at McCain for months.

    Comment by Justin Buist — August 29, 2008 @ 8:49 pm
  2. I don’t know why conservatives are jumping up and down about Palin.

    Cynical answer? They see her as increasing the chances of Obama losing. When it comes to political tactics, her nomination hits all the right buttons to pin Obama to a wall when it comes to experience, results, and ethics.

    It’s not morals or ethics, but mere politics driving their joy.

    Comment by Quincy — August 29, 2008 @ 9:57 pm
  3. The national media is only now finding out about “Troopergate,” but it’s old news here in Alaska now (that story you linked to is over a month old). We’ve been investigating it for weeks now, and every new bit of evidence that turns up indicates that Palin did no wrong and was completely isolated from the incident. I have faith that her name will be cleared.

    Comment by alaskanjackal — August 29, 2008 @ 11:22 pm
  4. Am I going to have to come back here to give you guys some rational female perspective?

    So, Palin may not be perfect, and McCain darned sure isn’t, but Obama/Michele are downright terrifying in their socialistic views.

    Barr doesn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell, so you better get real and get ready to vote for the lesser – or I guarantee you’ll get the greater evil.

    Comment by Kay — August 30, 2008 @ 4:17 am
  5. Kay,

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m sick and tired of supported the lesser of two evils.

    I said two years ago that I would never vote for John McCain for President based on McCain-Feingold and his contempt for the First Amendment. His selection of Sarah Palin does nothing to change that.

    Six years of Republican Rule under Bush 43 and the GOP Congress convinced me that they aren’t any better than the Democrats.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 30, 2008 @ 4:47 am
  6. If that’s truly the way you feel, and enough others feel the same way, you may very well get to find out IF the democrats are no worse than the republicans. If you’re really not happy with either candidate, do the rest of us a favor and sit it out rather than casting a “protest” vote. No one really cares about a “protest” vote other than those whose candidate you’ve taken votes from – and they’d like to brain ya.

    Comment by Kay — August 30, 2008 @ 6:00 am
  7. Kay,

    I see no evidence that Barack Obama would be any worse a President, from a libertarian point of view, than John McCain and given McCain’s devotion to perpetual war, he may actually be worse.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 30, 2008 @ 7:00 am
  8. Kay

    “No one really cares about a “protest” vote other than those whose candidate you’ve taken votes from – and they’d like to brain ya.”

    What the hell kind of statement is that. No one onws their vote other than the individual. They are speaking loud and clear and not voting for the demopublican parties and rather voting for a third party.

    And explain to me again why sitting out and not voting is better than voting for a third party if you actually favor the third party candidate. Unless of course enough people vote third party and the elites and yourself actually have to start paying attention.

    You sound like a person who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else, unless they do exactly what you want them to do. I am pretty sure that the person voting third party cares about their vote. It seems like they are a “nobody” in your mind.

    While I agree that about the only reason I would ever vote for McCain is because with a Democratic congress he doesn’t have a (D) behind his name. Your whole attitude, however, has certainly given me pause about if that would make any difference. Quite frankly by your comments you strike me as an elitist pig, and if other McCain backers are similar to you, Obama is starting to look quite a bit better at this point, though still well behind other third party candidates.

    Comment by TerryP — August 30, 2008 @ 12:50 pm
  9. Barack = McCain? McCain could be worse? I point out that Barack is a product of South-side Chicago politics. I will take the “war-mongering”, “shell-shock” John any day. IF you are a Libertarian, then the politically meandering McCain is the obvious choice to Barack. Barack has 3 items I see as indicators of a future performance I certainly don’t want to entertain in the slightest: 1- heavy childhood influence by Davis; 2- associations with a few of the more violent from our 60s counter-culture; 3- South-side Chicago background. I can only speak for myself and not for “what America needs”, but the deeper I look at community organizer Barack the more convinced that I must support the imperfect McCain. “He has shown he has guts, and guts is enough.”

    Comment by rob — August 30, 2008 @ 6:10 pm
  10. Doug, I love you man, but you’re crazy. A Congress controlled by the Democrats and a White House controlled by them is a nightmare. First, Supreme Court picks. Do you really want the 9th Circuit types picked for the Court? Come on.

    Second, the biggest tax increase ever, complete with massive income redistribution that is being billed as “tax cuts” … 1984 is alive and well.

    Third, the only reason the Dems have been avoiding the corruption of the GOP is that they got called on it a few times by the White House. Imagine what happens when a Chicago machine politician is in the White House.

    Fourth, the true disdain of the left for our individual rights is already coming out in full force. Just listen to Obama and crew.

    Dude, you’ve been sucked in. I will vote for divided government in a heartbeat. It worked well in the 90′s, I suspect that it will work well again. I refuse to vote for Barr, primarily because I detest the big L Libertarian Party (sorry Jason, but I do). Obama is clearly a socialist.

    Oh yeah, Jason, the Troopergate scandal is what it is because Ted Stevens is mad as hell at Sarah Palin. You are buying into the corrupt paleo-conservative type crap.

    Edited to combine comments into one:

    Oh yeah, Sarah Palin is pretty impressive, overall. Mostly because she bucked the Alaska GOP machine and won. That’s very impressive.

    Here’s the scoop on the fake scandal: Troopergate debunked at Flopping Aces

    Comment by Eric — August 30, 2008 @ 6:29 pm
  11. First, Supreme Court picks. Do you really want the 9th Circuit types picked for the Court?

    Cause we all know the picks by Ford (John Paul Stevens), Reagan (Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor) and Bush 41 (David Souter) were just grand.

    Thomas has been alright. Scalia has his bad moments. I think the jury is still out on Roberts and Alito.

    Republican presidents don’t have a great track record on SCOTUS picks.

    Second, the biggest tax increase ever, complete with massive income redistribution that is being billed as “tax cuts” … 1984 is alive and well.

    Obama is terrible on economics. But the economic record of Bush, outside of his tax cuts, is as bad as any Democrat. McCain wants to cut waste, but I have not heard him say he wants to cut spending and he has been open to a tax increase for Social Security.

    Oh yeah, Jason, the Troopergate scandal is what it is because Ted Stevens is mad as hell at Sarah Palin. You are buying into the corrupt paleo-conservative type crap.

    My understanding of the story is that Wooten was cleared of any wrong doing and kept his job.

    Lazily brushing an allegation of this sort is disingenuous.

    Palin swept into office during a populist election and due to the fact that the GOP establishment was already facing ethics questions. Remember, Murkowski finished third during the 2006 GOP primary. He was headed out the door anyway.

    I refuse to vote for Barr, primarily because I detest the big L Libertarian Party.

    We are working to reform the party.

    Obama is clearly a socialist.

    I don’t disagree. But what is McCain? He isn’t a capitalist. He supports the same cap-and-trade policies as Obama. He has voted and sponsored legislation that ignores the Bill of Rights and further chips away at our liberties.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that he has a temper and has already joked about bombing Iran. Four more years of war? Quite possibly.

    I’m not buying what you’re selling.

    Comment by Jason Pye — August 30, 2008 @ 6:52 pm
  12. Jason:

    Republican presidents don’t have a great track record on SCOTUS picks.

    Better than the four current Dem picks. Jason, you know better.

    Obama is terrible on economics. But the economic record of Bush, outside of his tax cuts, is as bad as any Democrat.

    But right now the key and crucial thing IS taxes.

    My understanding of the story is that Wooten was cleared of any wrong doing and kept his job.

    He was suspended for 5 days because he threatened his ex father-in-law.

    And I know you understand politics well enough to recognize that this scandal was manufactured by Stevens and Murkowski, who was on his way out BECAUSE of Palin. I happen to have some pretty good contacts in AK since I do business there and better insight, I think. This was a straight up fight between Palin the reformer and the corrupt AK GOP machine, which is sustained by oil money and federal earmarks.

    We are working to reform the party.

    But you haven’t.

    I’m not buying what you’re selling.

    You’re not buying that divided DC politics is better than the Chicago machine in charge? Stop drinking the Libertarian Party Kool-Aid and deal with reality. The Party has no chance of winning, but it has a chance of leaving us with the worst possible Congress/White House combination since at least Carter, perhaps longer. Yet another reason I refuse to have anything to do with the Libertarian Party.

    And frankly repeating the hatchet jobs of the corrupt GOP machinery AND the left wing misogynists is disappointing.

    Comment by Eric — August 30, 2008 @ 7:06 pm
  13. A few more things. Palin sold the “state jet” that Murkowski bought on eBay: NYTimes story. According to what I have found, she cut 12% of the AK state budget using her line item veto in her first year. She got rid of the horrible “Bridge to Nowhere” pork.

    Personally, I wish that we were talking about voting for Palin for President in 2012, but I will settle for her for VP in 2008 and a divided government.

    Comment by Eric — August 30, 2008 @ 7:22 pm
  14. Better than the four current Dem picks.

    Four Dem picks? Stevens was a GOP pick (Ford). Kennedy is questionable (went with libertarians on Heller, but against us on Kelo).

    But right now the key and crucial thing IS taxes.

    Didn’t McCain vote against the Bush tax cuts? Didn’t he use class warfare rhetoric to justify his vote? I believe the answer to both of those questions is “yes.”

    McCain has not ruled out a tax increase on Social Security and is only talking up taxes to appease the base. He record shows his true beliefs.

    So if taxes is your big issue. Your vote for McCain isn’t justified.

    And I know you understand politics well enough to recognize that this scandal was manufactured by Stevens and Murkowski, who was on his way out BECAUSE of Palin.

    Conspiracy, give me the evidence.

    But you haven’t.

    Bob has been in the party since Nov. 2006 and the nominee since May. We’ve made in-roads, but it will take time to get serious folks engaged in the party.

    And frankly repeating the hatchet jobs of the corrupt GOP machinery AND the left wing misogynists is disappointing.

    I did the research on my own and didn’t use anyone’s talking points.

    What is disappointing is that you are relying on McCain campaign and conservative blogger talking points to defend a questionable choice for his VP. I would have expected more independent thought from you.

    I would rather vote my beliefs than vote for an extremely flawed candidate like John McCain and adding Sarah Palin to the ticket doesn’t do anything for me. She isn’t all she is cracked up to be.

    Comment by Jason Pye — August 30, 2008 @ 7:30 pm
  15. Palin also increased taxes on oil companies to the tune of several billion dollars, which has hurt investment in the state and is redistributing the wealth to the citizens of Alaska.

    That sounds an awful like Barack Obama.

    Comment by Jason Pye — August 30, 2008 @ 7:32 pm
  16. Yikes, you really don’t understand how AK works, do you? It is essentially a federal fiefdom and has been ever since the big oil discoveries. Palin has been trying to clean that up, at least as much as she can within the boundaries of Federal power.

    If you knew much about it (and this why you keep sounding like talking points) you would know that the oil companies have bought and paid for the federal exercise of power over Alaska, that they did so via Murkowski, Stevens and Young, and that taxing them HURT that and helped the state and its citizens. Which I get from talking to real people in Alaska.

    As far as a conservative blog goes, Flopping Aces is providing facts. Who cares if it’s a conservative site, if the facts are reasonably established.

    Comment by Eric — August 30, 2008 @ 7:48 pm
  17. What I get from looking at what has happened in Alaska since the tax has been imposed is that oil companies no longer want to drill. That only hurts the state’s economy.

    Your defense of Palin on this issue is incredibly weak. You simply don’t raise taxes to the point where businesses are no longer interest in doing business in your state.

    Comment by Jason Pye — August 30, 2008 @ 8:05 pm
  18. You sound like a person who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else, unless they do exactly what you want them to do. I am pretty sure that the person voting third party cares about their vote. It seems like they are a “nobody” in your mind.
    Wow. Glad you took that class in logic. You obviously can’t comprehend that voting for a third party that has NO chance of winning, is a far more selfish act than any other. Like it or not, our political system at this time is a two party system, and until I see evidence that a third party can command enough votes to actually stand a chance of making a change, I’ll never again throw away my vote, taking it from the lesser of two evils. And make no mistake, if you don’t do your homework, you are doing just that.

    I simply cannot believe that logic and rational thought on this site has devolved to this point.

    Like Eric, watching Palin’s speech, I found myself wishing that she were the top on the ticket. Not because she’s a woman, but because she’s NOT a career politician, and her agenda has been to fight corruption in government. But perhaps because *I* am a woman, and know myself to NOT be overly emotional, irrational, or easily swayed, I also do not discount her ability as many of you folks seem to do.

    Comment by Kay — August 30, 2008 @ 8:08 pm
  19. Jason:

    Your defense of Palin on this issue is incredibly weak.

    I’m not really defending her. I’m pointing out that you really don’t know much about how Alaska works, or you might understand why she raised taxes on those companies and why she might want them out of her state.

    Comment by Eric — August 30, 2008 @ 8:23 pm
  20. As Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin cut her own salary and reduced property taxes. She and her husband are worth less than $1 million. She hunts and fishes, has a son who joined the Army and has been to Kuwait.

    Although the Libertarian Party and the Obama Chicago machine (full of some very nasty misogynists, as Hillary found out) are gonna beat on her badly, she is going to appeal to much of the GOP base, many libertarians who are normally in the GOP coalition and a whole lot of disaffected Hillary partisans. And for good reason ….

    Comment by Eric — August 30, 2008 @ 9:08 pm
  21. Eric,

    Doug, I love you man, but you’re crazy. A Congress controlled by the Democrats and a White House controlled by them is a nightmare.

    Have you looked at McCain’s record ? Put him in the White House with a Democratic Congress and it will be all about “compromise” and “bipartisanship”. He will screw us over just as assuredly as Obama will.

    First, Supreme Court picks. Do you really want the 9th Circuit types picked for the Court? Come on.

    Justices Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito have eviscerated the 4th Amendment and haven’t demonstrated that much loyalty to the 1st.

    Second, the biggest tax increase ever, complete with massive income redistribution that is being billed as “tax cuts” … 1984 is alive and well.

    And, given their record from 2001-2007, I should trust any Republican on fiscal policy because…….. ?

    Third, the only reason the Dems have been avoiding the corruption of the GOP is that they got called on it a few times by the White House. Imagine what happens when a Chicago machine politician is in the White House.

    Corruption exists in both parties, just witness the past 8 years.

    Fourth, the true disdain of the left for our individual rights is already coming out in full force. Just listen to Obama and crew.

    I could say the same thing and replace the word “Obama” with “Bush” “Cheney” or “McCain” and it would be just as true.

    There is nothing in John McCain’s record that persuades me he’d be a good President, and plenty in his record (i.e., his irresponsible comments during the beginning of the Russo-Georgian War)to persuade me that he wouldn’t

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 31, 2008 @ 5:11 am
  22. Eric,

    As Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin cut her own salary and reduced property taxes.

    There were more people at the rally in Dayton on Friday than people who live in Wasilla.

    Tim Kaine was Mayor of Richmond before becoming Governor of Virginia and Republicans were arguing two weeks ago (correctly) that he didn’t have the experience necessary to be Vice-President.

    If it was true about Tim Kaine, it’s even more true about Sarah Palin.

    This was, I think, a horribly bad example of John McCain’s judgment.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 31, 2008 @ 5:13 am
  23. Kay,

    You obviously can’t comprehend that voting for a third party that has NO chance of winning, is a far more selfish act than any other. Like it or not, our political system at this time is a two party system, and until I see evidence that a third party can command enough votes to actually stand a chance of making a change, I’ll never again throw away my vote, taking it from the lesser of two evils. And make no mistake, if you don’t do your homework, you are doing just that.

    Okay, then how about I stay home on Election Day altogether ?

    My vote isn’t going to change the election so McCain shouldn’t miss it.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 31, 2008 @ 5:14 am
  24. Kay,

    One more thought…..

    I disagree with John McCain on several fundamentally issues.

    I disagree with Barack Obama on several fundamental issues.

    Why should I compromise my beliefs in either case ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 31, 2008 @ 5:20 am
  25. Doug, that’s just what I suggested above – and TerryP took me to task, calling me an elitist pig who only wanted what I wanted, LOL – so my response was to that person!

    Like Eric, I respect your opinion more than most that I see posting on TLP now.

    Comment by Kay — August 31, 2008 @ 5:21 am
  26. Eric,

    The Party has no chance of winning, but it has a chance of leaving us with the worst possible Congress/White House combination since at least Carter, perhaps longer. Yet another reason I refuse to have anything to do with the Libertarian Party.

    If McCain losses, it will be because voters weren’t buying what he’s selling not because of Bob Barr or anyone else.

    Republicans could have avoided this by nominating a better candidate, but they didn’t.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 31, 2008 @ 5:24 am
  27. Doug, it appears from the polls that Bob Barr is pulling just enough of the GOP base to cause McCain to lose. Just like Nader did to Gore and Kerry.

    As to all your other points, I don’t disagree about McCain. I never have. I have two points of disagreement, two places where you, it seems to me, have a blind spot.

    1. Obama is much worse. He is a socialist who disguises his socialism in order to get elected. He associates with socialist, race baiting, bomb throwing people and lies and dissembles. I may not like McCain, or his politics, but he doesn’t do that.

    2. No matter about the “compromise” you worry about, a divided government is better than one where one party controls Congress and the Presidency. Bush 43 is the first time since Carter that we had that, and you see what happened. If you think that Obama and the Democratic Congress would be no worse, you are smoking crack, I have a bridge to sell you and the tooth fairy is real.

    Oh, and so what about how many residents Wasilla had. That’s a larger town than Obama has ever been responsible for. Or Biden or McCain for that matter. And the real point is that she brought about reform and change. She is the only person on this ticket that can say she has.

    You guys claim to want someone that will cut the government and stand up to the corruption. But when you are presented with it, you start the partisan hatchet jobs.

    This is not the blog I founded, that’s for damn sure.

    Comment by Eric — August 31, 2008 @ 7:48 am
  28. Like Doug, I vowed after McCain-Feingold that I’d never vote for John McCain for President. Various things that have happened since then have strengthened that resolve, particularly the degree to which he absolutely disdains anything not “done in the service of our Country”. Nothing, not even the Palin pick (especially after this) has weakened it.

    That being said, I don’t think Obama will be more friendly to libertarians than McCain. But I don’t see any reason to change my vote. If I vote, it will be for Barr, simply because I want to register one more tally in the “I’m upset with both parties, particularly the Republicans”, rather than I actually expect the vote to make a difference. Particularly since I live in California, a state that will go heavily to Obama anyway.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — August 31, 2008 @ 8:03 am
  29. it appears from the polls that Bob Barr is pulling just enough of the GOP base to cause McCain to lose.

    If John McCain loses it will be because he didn’t do enough to appeal to the base. That’s not Bob Barr’s fault.

    Obama is much worse. He is a socialist who disguises his socialism in order to get elected. He associates with socialist, race baiting, bomb throwing people and lies and dissembles. I may not like McCain, or his politics, but he doesn’t do that.

    No, McCain only jokes about bombing Iran.

    McCain shares similar beliefs to Obama on global warming and apparently taxes since he voted against the Bush tax cuts using the same class warfare rhetoric of the left.

    No matter about the “compromise” you worry about, a divided government is better than one where one party controls Congress and the Presidency. Bush 43 is the first time since Carter that we had that, and you see what happened.

    I agree divided government is better, but Republicans have not given me any reason to vote for them and the “Democrats are worse” argument is stale. I’m tired of fear-based politics.

    Oh, and so what about how many residents Wasilla had.

    7,000 and 300 million. You’re right, no difference there.

    That’s a larger town than Obama has ever been responsible for.

    I’m willing to bet that Obama’s state senate district had at least 100,000 people.

    And the real point is that she brought about reform and change.

    Ethics reform, while she has her own scandal, firing the agricultural board to get her, increased taxes on oil companies while redistributing the wealth. That’s change?

    Conservatives like her because she spoke out against the “bridge to nowhere.” That is one thing, and she initially supported it. She stuck her finger in the wind and changed her mind. How is that change?

    This is not the blog I founded, that’s for damn sure.

    We are just discussing the issues and you are throwing insults at us.

    No offense, but you sound like Dondero.

    Comment by Jason Pye — August 31, 2008 @ 8:05 am
  30. Eric,

    If Barr does well enough in some states to cost McCain then election, then the fault won’t be Barr’s or the people who vote for him, it will be the fault of McCain and the Republican Party for abandoning any pretense of favoring limited government and fiscal responsibility to the point where the public actually trusts Democrats on those issues more than they do Republicans.

    To be honest, I don’t believe a word McCain says about taxes or spending because I don’t think he’ll have the support in Congress to accomplish any of it (assuming he even tries).

    And when he proposes stupid ideas like the gas tax holiday, I don’t trust his judgment either.

    Call it partisan if you will, but them’s the facts.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 31, 2008 @ 8:25 am
  31. Whew! I recall when Eric started this site. As one of the founding contributors, I too have been very dismayed over the last two years to see the direction it has headed. Somewhere along the way, it lost it’s federalist principles in the pursuit of “Big L” Libertarianism.

    If there is no reasoning nor reasoned debate available here anymore, I see no reason to keep up with TLP. It appears you’ve lost your objectivity, so it’s time for me to move on. Might just have to dust off my old blog again one day . . .

    Comment by Kay — August 31, 2008 @ 11:25 am
  32. I don’t consider McCain and Obama to be equivalent, except for one thing: I don’t want either of them to be President. There are different reasons that I don’t want either to be president, and there are different degrees to which I don’t want either to be president. In fact, I would rather see McCain elected than Obama, but that’s not enough to get me into a voting booth to pull the lever for him.

    Frankly, after voting for Bush in 2004 (a decision, regardless of how horrible Kerry would have been, that I regret), I don’t see any reason to participate in the “lesser of two evils” charade. I see so many negatives about McCain that I can’t trust that he’d be on my side of many issues — executive power, privacy, War on Drugs, first amendment, the fundamental relationship between an individual and the state, etc. Even when it comes to the Supreme Court, Bush showed that he’s not opposed to judicial activism as long as it’s in favor of *conservative* big-government goals. I don’t see any reason to believe McCain is any different on that score.

    There’s one more thing. Bush winning in 2000 and 2004 taught the Democrats that they needed to return to their base principles in order to have success at the polls. Why would I feel bad if by voting Libertarian (which I haven’t decided whether I will do or simply abstain, but I will not vote for McCain) I might help to send the message to the Republicans that they can’t ignore libertarians and continue their ways?

    Last, you ask for divided government. And I understand that request. But we had unified government from 1992 to 1994, and it was one of the things that sparked a Republican return to principles. Perhaps a big loss in 2008 might be enough to get them to reevalaute themselves and make a real push for control of Congress on true limited-government policies?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — August 31, 2008 @ 12:02 pm
  33. Kay,

    If there is no reasoning nor reasoned debate available here anymore, I see no reason to keep up with TLP. It appears you’ve lost your objectivity, so it’s time for me to move on. Might just have to dust off my old blog again one day . . .

    And how would that be different if I decided to abandon my principles and — as I did in 2000 and 2004 — fall for the lesser of two evils fallacy ?

    I can respect your position even if I don’t agree with it, I’d simply ask that you do the same.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 31, 2008 @ 2:03 pm
  34. Doug -
    This is not personal, but it just doesn’t feel like the place I used to enjoy visiting. It wasn’t that we always agreed, but there were several of us with differing viewpoints who agreed to disagree agreeably.

    Rightly or wrongly, it just seems to me now that the contributors as a whole are drinking the same kool-aid, so coming here just to be a dissenting voice is not an enjoyable or edifying experience – not for any of us. If I feel that I have something to contribute, and it is welcomed, it’s enjoyable. If it’s not, it’s time to move on. No harm, no foul. There are plenty of outlets on the web, but “nostalgia” lead me here first.

    Comment by Kay — August 31, 2008 @ 2:21 pm
  35. Kay,

    Nobody’s been forced to leave or told to stop posting, and I for one would welcome other opinions.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 31, 2008 @ 2:52 pm
  36. This is another of the reasons I hate politics. It’s the typical scam shell game. Sure, there are three shells and I say the ball is under one, you say the ball is under the other, and we all hate those weirdos on the left who think the ball is under the third.

    But they call it a scam for a reason. The ball isn’t under any of them: the house always wins.

    That’s politics, the house always wins.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — August 31, 2008 @ 4:10 pm
  37. Brad,

    Case in point — there’s no difference between a Democrat like Charlie Rangel who’s represented a District in New York for 30+ years and has more houses than I can count and a Republican like Ted Stevens who’s represented Alaska for 40+ years.

    Or, the Republicans who spent the better part of the 1980s and early 90s complaining about the corruption and inaction of the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate and then spent the years from 1994-2006 acting in exactly the same manner

    Each side likes to point at the faults of the other, but refuses to recognize the fact that they have the exact same faults.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 1, 2008 @ 4:38 am
  38. [...] has a lifetime membership in the NRA, hunts on a regular basis, has been characterized as a “straight shooter” in fighting corrupt politicians or special interests, much like Theodore Roosevelt, a GOP [...]

    Pingback by VARIOUS VIEWS OF THE PALIN PICK - Vote '08 : WTVC Newschannel9.com — September 1, 2008 @ 6:33 am
  39. Kay

    You basically said that if you are going to vote for a third party not to come to vote because your vote doesn’t matter. For some reason you also believe that every vote for a third party somehow belongs to McCain. If a voter wanted to vote for McCain that is exactly what they would do. He does not own any of the votes, only the individual voter does.

    Here is another one of your non-sensical statements. “until I see evidence that a third party can command enough votes to actually stand a chance of making a change, I’ll never again throw away my vote, taking it from the lesser of two evils.” Yet you demand that everyone who might vote for a third party not vote at all since their vote doesn’t matter. Exactly how do you expect to see evidence that a third party can command enough votes if you demand that people who might vote for a third party not vote at all or preferably vote for your candidate as you think it is rightfully his vote anyway.

    I have no problem with people not voting if that is their preference. What I have a problem with is someone saying that if you vote for a third party your vote doesn’t matter. In my state a vote for a third party candidate means a heck of a lot more than a vote for one of the other two candidates, as my state is already soldily in one of the camps. Giving an extra vote to one of the demopublicans will do nothing except extend the status quo. At least my vote will show that there are some that are very unhappy with either Obama or McCain. A vote to either one of those candidates, especially in my state, will just give the impression that I fully back everything that the demopublicans want to do.

    I do have to agree with you, however, that a Obama presidancy paired with a democratic Congress will be a disaster. Even if I voted for McCain my vote would not change that as my vote for either one of those candidates will not make a difference in the outcome of my state. It will, however, may make a difference even symbolically for a third party candidate, so don’t go telling me my vote doesn’t matter if I vote third party. That vote is about the only way in this election that I can make known my preference for much smaller federal gov’t. A vote for McCain or Obama will certainly not make known that preference. Not voting will also not make that preference known. Voting for the LP candidate will.

    My vote means something even if it is for a third party candidate. That is more then I can say about many votes that will be wasted on Obama or McCain, especially in states where the vote is a foregone conclusion.

    If I can make a suggestion if you live in a state where the vote is already a foregone conclusion, vote for a third party to make your preference really known. Not voting will not help us get smaller gov’t and will not help a third party make inroads into our two-party system. If you live in a state where the vote may be very close then go ahead and vote for the lesser of two evils if you are so inclined. If that doesn’t appeal to you vote for a third party to help make a statement about your true beliefs.

    Comment by TerryP — September 1, 2008 @ 8:19 am
  40. Kay

    You also say that voting for a third party is very selfish, yet not voting is just fine. I don’t see your logic as you must have missed the logic course as well. Neither give a vote for McCain/Obama so they are both either selfish or not selfish. Which one is it? Oh that is right you believe that McCain owns every third party vote. So maybe there is a difference.

    And as far as my vote being selfish if I vote for a third party candidate I can live with that. In fact, I hope everyone votes selfishly. It is your vote, not anyone elses, do with it what you believe, not what Kay, myself, or anyone else believes. If she has persuaded you that your vote only matters if you vote for McCain then go ahead and do it, but I suggest that you do your own homework and vote your conscious as your vote matters even if it is for a third party candidate. In fact, in many cases it might matter even more voting for a third party candidate then for one of the demopublicans, as it will actually stand for something and may help a third party break down the wall the two parties have put in front of us (or at least put a dent in it).

    Comment by TerryP — September 1, 2008 @ 9:23 am
  41. TerryP -

    A bit of history. Very few are the people whom you meet who may actually admit to having voted for Ross Perot. I’m going to come out of the closet here and admit that I was one of those. Not only I, but my ENTIRE family. That netted us eight years of the Clinton administration. That third party vote garnered 19% – and while we can never know for sure the percentages that took away from either of the other candidates, we all felt betrayed by the lines fed to us by the third party – admonishing that we should vote our conscience and not be mislead into thinking that we were wasting our votes.

    It’s really interesting to me that if you do a bit of research on third parties, the only ones who will tell you that your vote is not being wasted are the third parties themselves. Whether you call them “Reformed”, “Constitution”, “Independent”, “Libertarian”, or whatever – unless they are able to capture enough attention to effectively replace one of the major parties (i.e. Democrat or Republican), I fully believe that voting your “conscience” only makes you feel more morally superior for a little while – because you can always believe that you did what was right. And if that works for you, great.

    For me, having been there, done that, I resolved that I have to actually LIVE in this world and with whoever is elected, so while I may not like the candidates, I’d better do my homework, compare their faults and their strong suits, determine which I can more easily live with and hold my nose whilst pulling the lever. At least, that way, I’ll know for sure that I didn’t help to put the greater “evil” in office.

    Doug stated earlier in the comments that the Republicans could have nominated a better candidate, and that’s true – they could have. But blogs like TLP and many others were so busy promoting a candidate who didn’t stand a chance, that they helped to ruin chances for several candidates, shocking most of us with the candidate by default.

    I didn’t want to face that I was supporting an underdog any more than anyone else, but at least the true man that I supported (Fred Thompson) had the grace and dignity to leave the race when it became apparent that his candidacy was not going to be successful. If some of the other also-rans had given up as gracefully earlier on, some other viable candidates might have been up for nomination.

    As it is, I had been terrifically depressed over this whole election season. I began to read about Govenor Palin a few months ago, and everything that I read sounded great – but I didn’t hold out much hope that she’d be chosen as McCain’s running mate. When that happened, it changed the whole election for me – I now feel energized and excited to see how this will play out. Can’t wait for the debates that I probably would have ignored had Pawlenty or Romney been chosen.

    Because I was excited, I cruised over to TLP, hoping to see some interesting commentary.

    Initially, I was surprised as no postings were made until late in the day – and then when a post arrived, it seemed more like a “hit” post full of talking points from the democrats than a thoughtful or reasoned commentary. Of course, it all began to make sense once I realized that the writer is on the staff of Bob Barr.

    All I can say is, yes, do what YOUR concience dictates, but give that some real thought before you do. I have. I won’t do it again. Choosing to vote a third party because you’re pissed off with the other two is really just shooting yourself in the foot.

    Comment by Kay — September 1, 2008 @ 9:47 am
  42. Kay,

    You show me one thing I posted that was false. Please. I did my own research for this post. I wrote it within twenty minutes of getting off work (at an insurance company).

    I take a very skeptical view of politics. I beat up on Huckabee during the primary after hearing people say he was the second coming of Reagan. They were wrong and I posted my take about him here.

    If you want to give me something contrary to what I posted, that’s fine, but to dismiss it out of hand is absurd.

    Comment by Jason Pye — September 1, 2008 @ 9:52 am
  43. Jason, I’m the same – politics is a very DIRTY business – and I’m a skeptic as well, but I recognize that there are things about ANY candidate that can be written to make them look bad. As Brad commented earlier, it’s one of my least favorite things about this time of year. There is just so much “tit for tat” going on, and negativity about other candidates just really rankles. My main point was that I’d hoped to find some positive comments – and frankly there were a few in your article – but your article was written from the point of view of your party which happens to be Libertarian. That’s okay, but I appreciated knowing that (after the fact).

    Comment by Kay — September 1, 2008 @ 10:03 am
  44. The disclaimer was included in the original post. I made no attempt to hide my affiliation.

    There have been several conservative writers and bloggers to express concern with Palin. Have you given them a hard time as well?

    Comment by Jason Pye — September 1, 2008 @ 10:09 am
  45. Nope, , you’re the lucky one. Mainly ‘cuz I have never had an affiliation with any others. I read many of the others, but save my comments (snarky and otherwise) for y’all!

    Comment by Kay — September 1, 2008 @ 10:21 am
  46. After so many Republicans pulled the lever for Perot in 1992, it was clear that voters were upset with the status quo and wanted a change.

    This was followed in 1994 by the Republican Party really coming in on a “clean the house” platform. They were offering a complete reform, welfare reform, the “Contract With America”, and were even pushing a balanced budget amendment. Did the Republicans from 2000 to 2008 offer us anything like that? Or did they offer us Medicare Part D and Leave No Child Behind?

    You can claim that if I vote for Barr (or stay home), my vote will be a vote for Obama. But at the very least, it’s not true in my case. I live in California, and McCain is not going to have a shot in California. So my vote for a third party is less “wasted” than it would be in a battleground state, and actually ends up being counted amongst those that might give the Republicans a message other than “keep doing what you’re doing, go along to get along”.

    The Republican party doesn’t believe they need to satisfy the libertarian wing of their coalition. They’re taking us for granted, and ignoring us because they know we don’t want Obama to be elected. If they don’t feel they need to satisfy us, why should I feel sad if I make them feel the consequences of that belief?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — September 1, 2008 @ 12:01 pm
  47. [...] Warbiany, one of my co-bloggers at The Liberty Papers, on why libertarian Republicans shouldn’t feel guilty about voting against John McCain, even if it… The Republican party doesn’t believe they need to satisfy the libertarian wing of their [...]

    Pingback by Below The Beltway » Blog Archive » Quote Of The Day — September 1, 2008 @ 12:46 pm
  48. Brad,

    Your last paragraph sums up exactly how I feel.

    Unlike you, I live in a state where enough support for Barr could throw Virginia’s 13 Electoral Votes to Obama and decide the election.

    I still plan on voting for Barr (or staying home or leaving the Presidential ballot blank) and won’t feel the least bit of regret for it.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 1, 2008 @ 1:09 pm
  49. Kay

    I will be happy to admit that I voted for Perot. The republicans thought they could abandon the libertarians and they lost. As Brad said, that helped bring on the “Contract with America” and brought back into power the republicans for a short period of time. It would have been a lot longer if they actually stayed true to what they were saying in the “Contract”. Instead once in power they pretty much did the opposite. The republicans, I believe, would still be in power if they had actually given us smaller gov’t, instead of the bloated, war-mongering gov’t that we received. And what do the republicans give us now but McCain, while he talks smaller gov’t every once in a while he almost always votes for much bigger gov’t. Heck he makes Bush look like a lighweight when it comes to his terrible foreign policy stances.

    I also liked Thompson, or at least some of his views. Next to Paul he was by far the republicans best choice. The problem was he never had his heart in it.

    For those people like yourself kay, that choose to stay in the Republican party and work from within for smaller gov’t, you need to do a much better job of getting us candidates that we can vote for. As for Paul, he certainly had chance if all the people like you who said he didn’t have a chance actually backed him. To many people in the reublican party are to scared to back anyone that actually stands up for their ideals, if it doesn’t mesh with the people in power.

    As for my vote for Perot giving us Clinton, that is certainly not the case as the republicans do not own my vote. If I didn’t vote for Perot I may very well have voted for someone other than the republican nominee, including possibly Clinton, as the republicans had already veered well off course. Still it wouldn’t have mattered as my state went republican anyway. Actually we may have ended up with the best deal between Clinton and the republican as I doubt the republicans would have ever veered to the smaller gov’t thinking without Perot and Clinton. If a republican became President then we may have been where we are today eight years sooner. From an economic standpoint the Clinton years really were actually pretty good.

    Maybe by voting third party we will spur the republicans to move back to “Goldwater” type smaller gov’t ideals or if they don’t, promote a third party in their place, since they will have effectively become a wing of the democratic party. Really I can’t tell much difference between them. I especially can’t tell much difference between Obama and McCain other than their age and skin color and those aren’t things that matter to me when I vote.

    Comment by TerryP — September 1, 2008 @ 1:29 pm
  50. Terry,

    Maybe by voting third party we will spur the republicans to move back to “Goldwater” type smaller gov’t ideals or if they don’t, promote a third party in their place, since they will have effectively become a wing of the democratic party. Really I can’t tell much difference between them. I especially can’t tell much difference between Obama and McCain other than their age and skin color and those aren’t things that matter to me when I vote.

    If I hadn’t already given Brad credit as “Quote of the Day” on my personal blog, that paragraph would have gotten it for you.

    The ironic thing about this entire election to me is that John McCain holds the Senate seat once held by Barry Goldwater and, well….

    John McCain, you’re no Barry Goldwater.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 1, 2008 @ 1:56 pm
  51. For those people like yourself kay, that choose to stay in the Republican party and work from within for smaller gov’t, you need to do a much better job of getting us candidates that we can vote for. As for Paul, he certainly had chance if all the people like you who said he didn’t have a chance actually backed him. To many people in the reublican party are to scared to back anyone that actually stands up for their ideals, if it doesn’t mesh with the people in power.

    But you see, therein lies the crux of the matter. We look at this from opposite sides. My feeling is that if we could all pull together on the repub side in the primary stage, we might actually make some headway. There just aren’t enough people that are politically savvy to really support a third party as far as I can see. As I have said, if a third party can gain enough traction to really challenge the dems/repubs, then I’ll look at it again. I just think that neither prominent party has any fear of being overtaken by a third, though. To me, from the get go, Ron Paul looked like a loser. He had some great ideas, but also some really “out there” ideas – and because of those, no matter what I or anyone else thought, his candidacy could never take hold. If enough of the Ron Paul contingent had backed Fred, we might not be where we are now. So, I guess, as I said, we just have to agree to disagree more or less agreeably, LOL.

    Comment by Kay — September 1, 2008 @ 2:31 pm
  52. Kay,

    I agreed with you up until the point where you mentioned Fred Thompson.

    On economics at least he was good, but he was a lackluster and obviously reluctant campaigner who, if he’d managed to win the nomination by some miracle would have gotten creamed no matter who the Dems nominated.

    Back in May of `07 some thought he was the next Ronald Reagan. He turned out to be the next Harold Stassen.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 1, 2008 @ 2:37 pm
  53. well, kay or whoever:

    First: this blog barely has any circulation. at all. once in a great while, you’ll get this neat little *PINGBACK* from BelowTheBeltway.. yay? my manna from Heaven arrived? lulz.

    Second: then you have this head blogger on Ron Paul named Dung Mataconis. Dung is basically obsessed with Ron Paul’s “downfall.” check out everything he’s written since Jan 07. bascially Dung is a “lawyer” with such a flimsy grasp on even the most playful sense of nuance, that it makes you wonder whether maybe he’s more of a paperwork lawyer, or even, not more of a slovenly welfare check collector, by virtue of the entire collection of work he’s ever produced here amounts to. try to call Dung on this? no. he’ll say he has no idea what you’re talking about. it really doesn’t matter anyway; Dung’s been on vacation here at the blog most of the summer and no one has missed it.

    Third: This blog is definitely organization-centric. if the Cato Institute doesn’t sanction an action, expect Dung to be on the case. this particular aspect leads to ultra-weirdly institutional lashes against pretty unknown sources like Rockwell. see a few articles down for an example. some of these odd crusades seem to propel unknown sources like rockwell into some “explosive” microchosm of political minutia.

    Fourth: I wholeheartedly agree with you about this blog. by its history that i have only seen in 2 years, it’s one of the most flimsy charades for institutional propagation, not for original thought.

    that said, i see true thought value many of its contributors; namely, the ones who post here as if they were humans who take a philosophy and pontificate with the foundation of only themselves and the interaction with the philosophy, not as a sounding board for an institution. i really dont blame you at all for abondoning this board, most people already have. good luck to you.

    Comment by oilnwater — September 1, 2008 @ 5:34 pm
  54. oilnwater,

    When was the last time you made an actual substantive comment on this blog that didn’t involve an attack on me personally ?

    ….

    (crickets chriping, frogs croaking)

    Yea, I thought so.

    Ron Paul ? You’re still talking about Ron Paul ?

    Geez dude, he’s so like last year at this point.

    Pick up a newspaper and get with the program.

    And one other thing to think about, both Jason and I are attacking the Republican ticket, not supporting it.

    Think about that for a few years and get back to me when you’ve actually learned something

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 1, 2008 @ 5:55 pm
  55. observers, i refer to doug’s first posts back from months of vacation straight, yes, *again*, to obsessing about Ron Paul or was it even called for in this blog.. long after Paul was any hope of a story… all you gotta do is look down on the main page. it’s a combo Paul-obsession of his coupled with an easy attempt at blog replies. now that this blog is long dead, he got neither. it’s back to ultra-weird Cato trumpeting and fighting shadow puppet warz with rockwell, lolz

    Comment by oilnwater — September 1, 2008 @ 8:22 pm
  56. oilnwater,

    Is this the post to which you refer ?

    http://tinyurl.com/5ac8sn

    I don’t know about you, but I found it genuinely puzzling that a supposed libertarian would endorse the King of Pork, and I wasn’t the only one.

    Perhaps you could explain it.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — September 2, 2008 @ 4:20 am

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