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Prof. Brad Smith on Why He Supports Mitt Romney for President:

From Prof. Brad Smith -- please see here for more on this feature:

For politically oriented libertarians, politics is the art of picking the most libertarian candidate who has a chance of winning.

Bill Richardson has no chance of winning, and the other Democratic hopefuls offer nothing to supporters of limited government. On the Republican side, we can safely skip the Ron Paul debate -- he is not going to be the next president of the United States. John McCain sometimes blunders into support of limited government, but his usual reaction to his personal whim of the day is that government should do something about it. And, his honorable service to his country notwithstanding, his unstable personality and temper make him uniquely unqualified for the presidency.

That leaves three electable candidates who can offer some legitimate claim to libertarian sympathies -- Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson. Romney is an easy choice.

Governor Romney's tax policy should make a libertarian's mouth water. It begins with the no-brainers -- make the Bush tax cuts permanent, eliminate the estate tax, and nix any increase in social security taxes. In addition, Romney has proposed substantial reductions in the corporate tax rate, where the United States rate is now one of the highest among the Western democracies, and in individual income tax rates, across the board. He has proposed eliminating all taxes on dividends and interest for those earning less than $200,000. One of Governor Romney's most important yet overlooked proposals is to make all spending on health care premiums and medical expenses tax deductible, an initiative that will do much to rationalize health care markets by putting individual coverage on the same plane as employer-provided health plans.

Romney is a talented businessman with an understanding of how start-up enterprises and a dynamic, growth oriented economy work. He understands how Sarbanes-Oxley is costing the U.S. is predominant place in world capital markets, and will take an ax to the Washington regulatory machine. As the Club for Growth says, Governor Romney has “an intuitive appreciation for free markets.” It's in his blood.

Romney is a strong supporter of free trade, as befits his background helping companies compete in the global economy. On immigration, Romney has exactly the right position -- opposition to illegal immigration (which libertarians should oppose if only because it undercuts support for legal immigration) while acting, “to encourage legal immigration and streamline the system.”

At one time, Romney, Rudy and Thompson all supported the egregious McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill. Rudy and Fred have since trimmed their sails, but only Romney has forthrightly admitted that his prior support was in error, and come out four-square in favor of the law's repeal.

Romney supports school choice and home schooling. And Mitt will appoint good judges.

Of course, it is one thing to have an agenda, and another to deliver. Both Romney and Rudy have shown an impressive ability to make headway on tax and spending issues in the face of overwhelmingly liberal legislatures and political cultures deeply attached to high levels of regulation and taxation. Despite a generally admirable voting record, Senator Thompson lacks the executive experience of Governor Romney and Mayor Giuliani, and it is difficult to name any issue, during his eight years in the Senate, on which he took the lead in promoting smaller government. The one bill which he played a critical role in passing was the odious McCain-Feingold legislation.

On its 2006 Governors Fiscal Policy Report Card, the Cato Institute rated Romney 12th overall and 7th of 26 Republicans. In 2004, Cato put Romney 11th overall, and 8th among Republicans. The Club for Growth has praised his “support for broad based tax cuts in liberal Massachusetts.” It is true that in addition to cutting spending in order to balance the budget deficit he inherited, Governor Romney supported a variety of fee hikes and the closing of “loopholes” in the tax code. Given the overwhelming Democratic majorities in the state legislature (137-23 in the House, 33-7 in the Senate), it is not realistic to think that the budget could have been balanced by spending cuts alone. Politics is the art of the possible --as it is, many of Governor Romney's spending vetoes were overridden by the legislature. In Washington, Romney will not face Democratic legislative majorities of such magnitude. Meanwhile, Governor Romney was victorious in what the Club for Growth calls a “bloody fight” with the legislature over the state capital gains tax, winning a rebate of $275 million for state taxpayers. He proposed reductions in the state income tax. During his tenure, state spending rose by an average of just 2.22% per year, versus annualized inflation and population growth of 3.0%. By comparison, under Mayor Giuliani spending in New York City rose at an average rate of 2.84%, versus population growth and inflation of 2.9%. Over a four year presidency, those differences would add up to nearly $80 billion in reduced government spending.

As Governor, Romney actually vetoed an increase in the state's minimum wage. He also successfully vetoed a legislative effort to put a moratorium on the opening of charter schools.

Governor Romney is a man who knows how to get things done, from his success in business, to turning around the Salt Lake Olympic Games, to running a remarkable campaign for President that most observers thought was totally improbable just two years ago. Halting and reversing the growth of government requires more than just the right views -- it requires the right abilities. Governor Romney has those abilities.

In foreign policy, libertarians were among the staunchest foes of communism during the Cold War. We should be equally in the forefront in the battle against the current threat to Western liberal values, Islamic extremism. The Cold war lasted over 40 years, and although it sometimes involved significant military action (most notably in Korea and Vietnam for the U.S., and in Afghanistan for the USSR), the principle antagonists avoided direct conflict on the battlefield. It was a series of small proxy wars, intelligence battles, and economic and diplomatic pressure. The United States must begin to think of the fight with Islamic extremism in similar terms -- as a long commitment in which conventional armies are of limited use. Romney is a candidate who is serious about the threats presented: resolute, but not bellicose; prepared to use force when necessary, but mindful of the limits of conventional warfare; aware of the need to win hearts and minds but not naïve about the nature of our enemies. Trade, commerce, and appropriate restraint will mark a Romney foreign policy.

Libertarians must understand that the Democratic nominee is going to be committed to a substantial growth in government, will probably be working with an even more statist Democratic Congress, and will appoint judges who see the Constitution's restraints on government power as obstacles to overcome rather than limits to heed. Governor Romney has demonstrated the ability to plan and run a first rate campaign, and to reassemble the elements of the Reagan coalition (including its non-libertarian elements) that resulted in the most libertarian Presidency of the last 80 years. He has a proven record of executive experience that Senator Thompson cannot match. While Governor Romney and Mayor Giuliani offer similar economic prescriptions and have each demonstrated ability to see them through In hostile circumstances, the Governor's opposition to McCain-Feingold, support for free trade (the Mayor has opposed NAFTA), and more restrained attitude toward the use of U.S. power abroad make him the preferred choice. His pro-growth tax proposals, proven record of controlling and even rolling back government spending and regulation, support for basic individual freedoms such as home schooling and the right to bear arms, and ultimately his ability to defeat the whichever unrepentant statist wins the Democratic nomination, make him the place where libertarians should be in 2008.

Cornellian (mail):
It's interesting to compare this pro-Romney post with the pro-Guiliani post. The pro-Guiliani post starts with the most important reason for supporting Guiliani. This post, in contrast, starts by smearing McCain for his supposedly "unstable personality."
1.2.2008 1:02pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
I think the difference has less to do with the candidates supported that with different styles of choosing who to support:

Are you searching for the guy you like the most {McGinnis/Giuliani] or the guy you hate the least [Smith/Romney (but only because Paul can't win)].
1.2.2008 1:14pm
Just Dropping By (mail):
He has proposed eliminating all taxes on dividends and interest for those earning less than $200,000.

This is the part of Romney's platform that most interests me and I've been disappointed that he's been so ineffective at promoting it. If it's desirable to encourage middle class families to save and invest, they shouldn't be punished by having to fill out full 1040 forms and absurdly complicated IRS worksheets to account for a lousy $3 in qualified dividends.
1.2.2008 1:27pm
Mr. X (www):
Don't forget the very libertarian stance of "doubl[ing] Guantanamo".
1.2.2008 2:08pm
Mr. Liberal:

In addition, Romney has proposed substantial reductions in the corporate tax rate, where the United States rate is now one of the highest among the Western democracies, and in individual income tax rates, across the board.


Its nice to see people who are supposed to be intellectual engage in propaganda efforts.

Why does Brad Smith mention Western democracies when talking about the corporate tax rate, but not income taxes or the VAT or the overall tax burden?

Simply this. Because that makes the proposals of his candidate look more favorable. That is propaganda, not intellectually honest analysis.
1.2.2008 2:28pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
One of Governor Romney's most important yet overlooked proposals is to make all spending on health care premiums and medical expenses tax deductible, an initiative that will do much to rationalize health care markets by putting individual coverage on the same plane as employer-provided health plans.


I'm generally in favor of either this or Mayor Giuliani's proposal to give everyone a flat tax exemption of $7500 ($15,000 per family) for health care expenses. The change that I would like to see one of the major candidates come out in favor of is John Shadegg's American Health CHOIC Act that would allow consumers to buy an insurance policy from any State in the country without having to pay for the various unfunded mandates that have turned health insurance into prepaid medical care.
1.2.2008 2:33pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
>Governor Romney's tax policy should make a libertarian's
>mouth water

Without corresponding cuts in spending, cuts in taxes don't really help much. It just means the government takes our money invisibly by devaluing the dollar rather than visibly in form of taxes.

And in either case, having more money means little if you can't spend it freely. I personally would somewhat favor higher taxes with less social legislation trying to control my behavior.
1.2.2008 2:33pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
In Massachusetts, Romney was able to avoid raising taxes by raising and instituting fees instead.
Meanwhile the state income tax is still at its "temporary" 5.3% level even with people voting to bring it back to 5%.

Out of all the candidates who will be in the Fox debate I like Romney the most, because I think he's not terribly ambitious. I'd rather see someone who is the steward and manager of the executive branch, instead of trying to remake it in his own image. And it is a lovely image: I wouldn't mind having to look at him for four years. (And he's a favorite son - it couldn't hurt to have a President from the state where one lives.)
1.2.2008 2:45pm
D Beito (mail):
i>For politically oriented libertarians, politics is the art of picking the most libertarian candidate who has a chance of winning.

History does not bear out this argument. If defenders of liberty had always chosen to support the candidate or cause that who had the best "chance of winning" in the short-term, they would have turned their backs on Goldwater in 1964, rejected the Free Soilers in 1852, and shunned Wilberforce's small and insignificant movement to abolish slavery and the slave trade. Had they listened to Smith, they movements they supported would have been stillborn.

Revolutions, including poltiical revolutions, are long-term efforts. They are about building for the future. Supporting Ron Paul now is the best way to advance liberty in the long haul. Wasting time on a garden variety politician, like Romney, who only "got religion" he chose to run for president will only reinforce the status quo. For this reason, the issue whether Ron Paul can win in the next election cycle is secondary.
1.2.2008 3:02pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
For politically oriented libertarians, politics is the art of picking the most libertarian candidate who has a chance of winning.

What does "chance of winning" mean? And what do I get if I pick the winner? (How much does it pay on a $2 bet? Is there still full credit if you pick the winning Republican, but a Democrat gets elected President?)

I'm in Massachusetts, so my vote doesn't count in the General election. (We'll go for the Democrat.) I get one vote that counts, in the primary. I'm supporting one candidate vying for the Libertarian nomination, but I'm not too worried, and LNC seems to be leaning towards Paul anyway. If I like Romney more than Giuliani, I guess there's a 1-in-the-ultimate-vote-margin chance that I matter (and I've been trying to follow those mathematical and rational ignorance posts.) On the other hand if I like Paul, if he gets a vote total close to or greater than the margin of victory, that will cause future candidates to try to capture that vote. My vote might be better spent that way.
1.2.2008 3:03pm
PLR:
Romney supports school choice and home schooling. And Mitt will appoint good judges.

That's comforting, I've despised Bush's judicial nominees. Now, in what way will Romney's appointees be better than Bush's?
1.2.2008 3:09pm
Hans Bader (mail):
I understand some of his praise for Romney. But why does he think "Mitt will appoint good judges"?

From a moderate or conservative point of view, Mitt didn't do so in Massachusetts.

To be fair, the judge pool (that is, lawyers) in Massachusetts skews quite liberal.

But even the "Reagan Democrat" Governor Ed King (who governed from 1978 to 1982) managed to find some conservative judges to appoint (e.g., Justice Nolan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, a courageous voice of dissent on a liberal court).

Romney was a Republican with no patronage requirement to appoint liberal Democrats the way he sometimes did.

Why couldn't Romney have appointed at least one conservative appellate judge?

Admittedly, Romney's picks have not been as liberal as those of his RINO predecessors, Celucci, Weld, and Swift.

But they could at least have all been moderate, rather than including a lot of liberals (as he did).

Romney seems like a genuinely nice man with excellent management ability (something to prize after the Hurricane Katrina fiasco and other negative aspects of the Bush legacy).

But judicial appointments don't seem like his strong suit.
1.2.2008 3:31pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Is Romney really going to appoint "good judges" from the libertarian standpoint? I would think many libertarians would very much DISLIKE the direction that the Republicans have gone on judges, i.e., towards both strict constructionism and social conservativism. Yes, they have been somewhat "pro-business", but the Supreme Court doesn't hear that many hotly contested business cases (this may matter more in the lower courts).

But why would a libertarian want to overturn Roe v. Wade, adopt a very broad view of executive power, adopt a narrow view of criminal procedure protections, free speech, and the free exercise of religion, and clamp down on unenumerated rights?
1.2.2008 3:31pm
Mark T (mail) (www):
In many ways Romney would be the least appealing to libertarians were it not for Huckabee's populism and Giuliani's authoritarianism. The biggest problem I have with libertarian arguments for Romney is that they reduce libertarian thinking to simple pro-business economic policies. But being pro-business is different from being laissez-faire and does not have anything at all to do with being libertarian on social issues or civil liberties issues.

There's a ton of problems I have with Romney, to the point that I can't think of many areas of agreement I actually have with him. But I'd say he did a pretty good job making the libertarian case against himself when he said this:

"I want to restore values so children are protected from a societal cesspool of filth, pornography, violence, sex, and perversion. I've proposed that we enforce our obscenity laws again and that we get serious against those retailers that sell adult video games that are filled with violence and that we go after those retailers."

Just a tip: if you want to use the power of the government to prevent private businesses from selling video games that you find offensive, you can't make a claim to the libertarian vote.
1.2.2008 3:48pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I like Romney for two reasons. First, he has more management/ executive experience than most of the other candidates (on both sides) combined. And, he is one of two candidates who is a policy wonk, the other one being Thompson. Most of the rest of the candidates, on both sides, seem to just throw out whatever sound bites for policy that they think will attract votes, never bothering to think things through.
1.2.2008 3:49pm
PLR:
But why would a libertarian want to overturn Roe v. Wade, adopt a very broad view of executive power, adopt a narrow view of criminal procedure protections, free speech, and the free exercise of religion, and clamp down on unenumerated rights?

You mean there are important liberty issues outside of the second and fifth amendments? Who knew?
1.2.2008 3:49pm
Arkady:

I like Romney...Most of the rest of the candidates, on both sides, seem to just throw out whatever sound bites for policy that they think will attract votes, never bothering to think things through.


So why is he called "Multiple-Choice Mitt"?
1.2.2008 4:17pm
Gary McGath (www):
Romney will say whatever he thinks will get him elected. There's no reason to believe that his current positions have any more connection to what he'll do in the future than to what he's done or said in the past.
1.2.2008 4:34pm
byomtov (mail):
Libertarians must understand that the Democratic nominee... will appoint judges who see the Constitution's restraints on government power as obstacles to overcome rather than limits to heed.

Excuse me, Professor Smith. I have a question. Hasn't the current Republican President sought tremendous expansions of his power, and named judges who support such expansion? Why does the Republican Party have any credibility with libertarians on this issue?
1.2.2008 5:04pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Hasn't the current Republican President sought tremendous expansions of his power,
Yes.
and named judges who support such expansion?
No. To whom do you refer, specifically?
1.2.2008 5:42pm
John Herbison (mail):
Perhaps Slick Willard does have some libertarian credentials, his expansive view of executive power notwithstanding. After all, the Marriott Hotels, while Romney was a board member, did offer in-room pornographic movies to their guests.

Governor Romney, whose first name honors the company founder J. Willard Marriott, is reported (Associated Press, July 6, 2007) to have said, "I am not pursuing an effort to try and stop adults from being able to acquire or see things that I find objectionable; that's their right. But I do vehemently oppose practices or business procedures that will allow kids to be exposed to obscenity." That is a telling non-sequitur, because display of obscene material to either children or adults is ordinarily a crime.

That Romney is willing to run that rabbit as a diversionary tactic, rather than discussing the availability to adults of non-obscene pornography, perhaps reflects libertarian thinking. It may also reflect the view that the hotel chain's profits were the primary concern. The Boston Globe, in an article credited to the AP, reported on Julyb6, 2007: "It certainly would have been wrong to impose his own personal beliefs if they were contrary to the financial interests of the company" Marriott spokesman Roger Conner said of Romney.
1.2.2008 5:53pm
byomtov (mail):
To whom do you refer, specifically?

Alito and Roberts come to mind.
1.2.2008 6:26pm
Dave N (mail):
To whom do you refer, specifically?

Alito and Roberts come to mind.
Care to cite a case? Or do you prefer drive-by attacks?
1.2.2008 7:00pm
Respondent:
Dave N,

Hudson v. Michigan (no real protection against no knock searches), and Uttecht v. Brown (making it very easy to disqualify jurors who voice concerns about death sentences, jurors who are also more likely to vote to acquit) come to mind.
1.2.2008 7:32pm
Mark Bahner (www):

For politically oriented libertarians, politics is the art of picking the most libertarian candidate who has a chance of winning.


Unless one gets money for picking the winning candidate (e.g., like a horse race), why wouldn't a libertarian vote for the most libertarian candidate?

Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that Ron Paul is the most libertarian candidate in either party?
1.2.2008 9:08pm
spider:
Yeah, it is never true that an individual's vote "counts" in any meaningful sense (when was the last time you heard of an election with a 1-vote margin?), so I never understood the idea that "Here in Massachusetts, my vote doesn't count because the outcome is not in doubt" or alternatively, "I don't want to waste my vote on Ron Paul because he has no chance of winning." Voting is an act of civic duty that, when aggregated, gives us democratic outcomes.
1.3.2008 1:28am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Unless one gets money for picking the winning candidate (e.g., like a horse race), why wouldn't a libertarian vote for the most libertarian candidate?
If one thinks that one's vote can't matter at all, then why vote for any candidate, including Paul?

If one thinks that one's vote can matter, then why not vote for the candidate closest to one's views that actually has a chance to win? Affecting the outcome of the race in such a way as to move a guy from sixth place to fifth place is a lot less important than affecting the outcome of the race in such a way as to move a guy from second place to first place. Voting is not a profession of faith; it's choosing an officeholder.

Of course, if one believes that Paul really can do well, then that's a different story. One should vote for him -- if one likes him -- in that instance. I presume -- despite the impressive fundraising -- few people other than the Paulbots actually think he does have a chance.
1.3.2008 11:07am
Mark Bahner (www):
If one thinks that one's vote can't matter at all, then why vote for any candidate, including Paul?


David, I don't think my one vote can't change the course of a presidential election, I know it can't, to greater than 99.99+ percent certainty.

So why vote? For the same reason that some people (I admit I'm not one of them) agree to respond to Nielson TV-watching polls.

It's a poll. And for the president, your one vote can't possibly change who gets elected. (This is in contrast to local politics, in which a school bond in my parents town actually finished with a tie, with some 10,000+ votes cast.)

That's why it makes sense (if you're going to vote at all) to vote for the presidential candidate who is closest to your political views. If you are a libertarian, there is only one libertarian running in either party. That's Ron Paul. Mitt Romney is not even in the same league, stadium, or country as Ron Paul, as a libertarian. Ron Paul is a libertarian. Mitt Romney is not. And neither is any other other Democratic and Republican candidate.

If one thinks that one's vote can matter,...


If one thinks one's vote can change the course of a primary or general election for president, then one is ignorant or insane.

...then why not vote for the candidate closest to one's views that actually has a chance to win?


Because they're two different people. There is a candidate (Ron Paul) who is closest to my (and any real libertarian's) views, and then there's Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mick Huckabee, etc.

If I vote in the Republican primary for Mike Huckabee (or John McCain, or Fred Thompson, or Mitt Romney or whomever) people will think I actually like the stances of whomever I vote for the best. But I don't. I like Ron Paul's positions the best. He's a libertarian, and I like libertarian positions best (at least for federal office). Perhaps more accurately, I want a president who will truly attempt to follow his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. No one is going to do that even close to Ron Paul.

I presume -- despite the impressive fundraising -- few people other than the Paulbots actually think he does have a chance.


Why call people names? Is that the best you can do?
1.3.2008 12:51pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
That's why it makes sense (if you're going to vote at all) to vote for the presidential candidate who is closest to your political views.
What's why? You gave reasons not to vote; you didn't give any reasons to vote for Paul.


If I vote in the Republican primary for Mike Huckabee (or John McCain, or Fred Thompson, or Mitt Romney or whomever) people will think I actually like the stances of whomever I vote for the best.
Putting aside the question of why anybody familiar with our system of government would think that, how would anybody know who you voted for? (If they ask you, and you felt compelled to respond, and to answer truthfully, you could simply say, "I supported Paul, but since I didn't think he had a chance, I voted for ____.") And why would you care what they 'think', anyway?

A vote is not a poll; it's not about expressing your opinions. It's about picking a candidate. Even if you don't think any of the other candidates are libertarian at all, you must think some are worse than others. It would be a disaster for libertarians, IMO, if Huckabee won. So if I had a choice between voting for Paul and making no difference, or voting for someone who can beat Huckabee, then I want to vote for that someone.
1.3.2008 2:05pm
shecky (mail):
Libertarians must understand that the Democratic nominee is going to be committed to a substantial growth in government


With this easily debunked line, we can all conclude that you aren't serious. C'mon, does any honest libertarian out there think the Republican track record is better in any substantive way?
1.3.2008 3:43pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
With this easily debunked line, we can all conclude that you aren't serious. C'mon, does any honest libertarian out there think the Republican track record is better in any substantive way?
Do you mean as president or in Congress? The former, not much; the latter, yes.

The problem is that there's almost certainly going to be a Democratic Congress, and the best scenario for libertarians is divided government, which means a Republican president is necessary, even if individually he's not going to be very good.
1.3.2008 5:37pm
Mark Bahner (www):
If I vote in the Republican primary for Mike Huckabee (or John McCain, or Fred Thompson, or Mitt Romney or whomever) people will think I actually like the stances of whomever I vote for the best.


Putting aside the question of why anybody familiar with our system of government would think that, how would anybody know who you voted for?


They'd count my vote. That's how the system works. They would know that one person liked Ron Paul best. If you vote for Mitt Romney, they think you like Mitt Romney best. They count your vote. Now, maybe you really do like Mitt Romney (or some other Republican candidate) best. That's fine. I don't think any of them are evil men. But none of them are libertarians. Ron Paul is the only libertarian running for either party.

Let me try to clarify by reductio ad absurdum. Note that this a completely hypothetical example, and any inference that anyone mentioned (with the exception of Ron Paul) may be related to current Republican and Democratic candidates completely absurd.

Let's say one is a registered Republican (and small-case libertarian). Suppose the Republican primary in one's state consists of:

1) Adolph Hitler
2) Benito Mussolini
3) Ayatollah Khomeini
4) Ron Paul.

Now, let's say that the first three are all polling at about 30 percent, and Ron Paul is polling at 10 percent.

Does one vote for the least objectionable of the first 3, because at least they have a chance of winning? Or does one vote for Ron Paul?

Now, let's say Hitler wins the Republican nomination. The Democratic candidate is Stalin. Further, Ron Paul accepts the Libertarian Party nomination (I'm just hoping and praying...I don't think it will happen).

In the general election, polls right before the election show Hitler at 45 percent, Stalin at 45 percent and Paul at 10 percent. For whom should a small-case libertarian vote?

A vote is not a poll; it's not about expressing your opinions.


No, a poll is a poll. That's why they call it a poll. It is about expressing your opinions. You have the same approximate chance of changing the outcome of a primary or a general election for president that you have of winning 10+ million dollars in a lottery.

It's about picking a candidate.


Not your individual vote! That's the "horse race" fallacy of voting. It's simply not logically correct. Your one vote won't choose a candidate. Not in a presidential primary or general election. To think otherwise is simply irrational, and unquestionably wrong.
1.3.2008 8:59pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
No, a poll is a poll. That's why they call it a poll. It is about expressing your opinions. You have the same approximate chance of changing the outcome of a primary or a general election for president that you have of winning 10+ million dollars in a lottery.
If your argument is that you're only one of millions and thus you can't affect the outcome, the same argument is true from the "opinion" point of view. You're not going to change the expressed opinion from the poll. Ron Paul is still going to be shown to be unpopular, even if you vote for him.

Not your individual vote! That's the "horse race" fallacy of voting. It's simply not logically correct. Your one vote won't choose a candidate. Not in a presidential primary or general election. To think otherwise is simply irrational, and unquestionably wrong.
Again: that's an argument for not bothering to vote at all; it's not an argument for voting for Ron Paul.
1.4.2008 7:40am