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Why I'm Concerned About an Obama Victory:

Ross Douthat summarizes my main reason for fearing what now looks like a near-certain Obama victory. And it has nothing to with with Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, or any of Obama's other personal foibles or past associations. It certainly isn't based on any great love for John McCain, who I have many reservations about. For what it's worth, I like the idea of a black president, believe that Obama is an admirable person in many ways, and have doubts about McCain's temperament similar to those expressed by George Will. Nonetheless, I fear that the conjunction of an Obama victory, a strongly Democratic Congress, and a major economic crisis will produce a massive and difficult to reverse expansion of government:

[W]hile success is never final, some successes are more final than others. The election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932 gave birth to an administrative state that has never been rolled back, and seems unlikely be rolled back in my lifetime. So that was a pretty final victory, as political victories go. Or again, while Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 had less enduring consequences than FDR's, at the very least it put its stamp on thirty years of American history in a way that, say, the election of Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush did not. And the convergence of an economic crisis and complete Democratic control of Washington should alarm even those conservatives eager to wash their hands of the GOP. The best reason for even the most disaffected right-winger to root for a McCain victory is simple: To the extent that much of the progressive agenda is a program in search of a crisis to justify its implementation, an election that delivers a liberal candidate who's adored by the media to White House, gives him huge majorities in both houses of Congress, and presents him with a worldwide state of emergency in which to govern, has the potential to be not just another loss for conservatives, but a once-in-a-generation defeat.

We know from past history that economic crises are a major opportunity for expansion of government power. Robert Higgs' book Crisis and Leviathan is a good discussion of the basic dynamics. We also know that divided government tends to impede the growth of the state, while united government facilitates it. The combination of united government and a major economic crisis is likely to lead to a great expansion of government, just as it did on several previous occasions such as the 1930s. It only remains to add that Obama - and most of the rest of the Democratic Party - tend to be very pro-government ideologically. As far as I can tell, Obama proposes major expansions of government regulation and spending on almost every big domestic issue, and doesn't propose to retract government in any significant way, except on military intervention in Iraq. Obama's record in the Senate (where he was the 10th most liberal senator) and in the Illinois state legislature (where he was more liberal than 73% of his fellow Democrats) shows him to be a big government liberal, not a relative moderate like Bill Clinton during his presidency.

I say this not so much to rally support for McCain (whose candidacy I think is nearly dead anyway), as to outline my fears about what is likely to happen over the next four years. I understand, of course, that none of this is a problem for those who want a major expansion of government power or are at least indifferent to it. But I do think it should be of concern to those libertarians or small government conservatives who welcome an Obama victory. It should also matter to moderates and liberals who recognize that massive expansions of government power in a time of crisis provide major opportunities for abuses of power and interest group power grabs at the expense of the general public - both of which happened on a large scale during the Great Depression.

Obviously, nothing is certain. It could be that Obama's agenda will be derailed by a massive political blunder on his part or by some unexpected event. It could be that the Republicans will somehow come back strong in the 2010 midterm elections. It could be that the economy will recover very quickly, curtailing Obama's window of opportunity. I'm not certain that a major expansion of government will actually occur if Obama wins. But I do think it's a strong possibility - certainly a greater than even chance.

UPDATE: University of San Diego lawprof Michael Rappaport, who was previously inclined to conclude that an Obama victory was the lesser of the available evils, is now seems to be changing his mind because of concerns similar to those expressed in this post. He writes:

With the financial crisis we are facing, an Obama Presidency combined with a strongly Democratic Congress would be much worse than the situation we were previously facing. Thus, it makes more sense to avoid it, even if it means electing McCain and all the damage that will do.

To put the point differently, before the financial crisis, there was a realistic chance that electing Obama and a Democratic Congress would be Jimmy Carter in 1976 or Bill Clinton in 2000 [correction: presumably he means 1992 - IS] — presidencies that soon led to Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich. But with the financial crisis, there is a much greater chance that electing Obama and the congressional Democrats will be like electing FDR in 1932. Obama could use the emergency to transform the country in a very bad way. And, given the crisis and Obama's political skills, it is quite possible that the country would reelect him, even if he does badly — which, after all, is what happened when FDR was reelected during the New Deal in 1936. (In 1936, the unemployment rate was still 17 percent.)

I haven't made up my mind yet. After all, McCain really is awful. But that is the way I am leaning.

commontheme (mail):

I fear that the conjunction of an Obama victory, a strongly Democratic Congress, and a major economic crisis will produce a massive and difficult to reverse expansion of government:

Didn't that already happen this week?

Since McCain voted for the same pork-laden monstrosity that Obama did, I'd be curious to know why you believe his decisions as president would be any different.
10.10.2008 8:21pm
ArtEclectic (mail):
Which would be different from the major expansion of government under GWB how?
10.10.2008 8:26pm
Ilya Somin:
Which would be different from the major expansion of government under GWB how?

It might not be much different. But that doesn't mean it won't be just as bad. Notice that GWB's policies were also facilitated by a combination of united government and crisis (9/11, Enron, etc.).
10.10.2008 8:28pm
musefree (www):
I second commontheme.

I fear there would be an equally big expansion of government even if McCain were to win (which we won't). It is not just his ridiculous plan that the government buy home mortgages at better than market value. In every department, from foreign policy to economics to a crackdown on victimless crimes, libertarians have nothing to gain if McCain wins.

I think all libertarians should either vote for Barr, or support Obama.
10.10.2008 8:29pm
Ilya Somin:
I fear that the conjunction of an Obama victory, a strongly Democratic Congress, and a major economic crisis will produce a massive and difficult to reverse expansion of government:


Didn't that already happen this week?

Since McCain voted for the same pork-laden monstrosity that Obama did, I'd be curious to know why you believe his decisions as president would be any different.


I have no desire to defend McCain. However, he is more pro-market than Obama on a variety of important issues, including trade, health care, economic regulation, and spending. Moreover, whatever his personal views, he will find it more difficult to get his programs passed by Congress because it will be controlled by the opposing party.
10.10.2008 8:29pm
MarkField (mail):

I understand, of course, that none of this is a problem for those who want a major expansion of government power or are at least indifferent to it.


Speaking as liberal who does want government much more involved in regulating the economy, I can say that neither I nor anyone I know favors such government involvement for its own sake. We favor it because we think it will be best for the country.

That extra government involvement in the economy does NOT extend to, say, extra government power over civil liberties. As anyone reading the comments here should know, I've strongly opposed Bush's overreaching on that score, I've strongly criticized Obama when he went along with it (notably on telecom immunity), and I'll be just as strongly critical if he continues Bush's policies in those areas.
10.10.2008 8:31pm
CB55 (mail):
Every crisis is an opportunity for change. The Civil War was the opportunity to expand the powers of the president, re-define the Constitution and end slavery. The Great Depression was the birth mother of the New Deal. WW II expanded the powers of the president to new highs. The Cold War helped in the passage of Brown vs Topeka. The death of JFK jump started the passage of major civil right laws. The Watergate incident weakened the power of the president, but 9/11 expanded the powers of his office. The 2008 economic crash expanded not only the power of the president but also the FED. The history of the president is a wave of ups and downs in the use of power and authority.
10.10.2008 8:32pm
SenatorX (mail):
I'm sure there will be no overarching government invasion of civil liberties, like mandatory volunteerism.
10.10.2008 8:33pm
Hoping:
I just don't understand conservative thinking. While my conservative friends tell me their philosophy is based on reduced government, the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II administrations have brought us massive federalization of criminal legislation, massive state and federal spending on prisons, a stream of state and federal laws attempting to govern morality, geometrically expanded power of the executive, and military spending beyond imagination. As far as I can see, they've reduced government primarily in its highest and best use, as the tool we use to work together to be sure no citizen is starving, homeless, or without health care.

I often wish liberals and conservatives could have productive conversations about these issues, but it's hard to know how to begin when I can make no connection between conservative philosophy as it is explained and as it is practiced.
10.10.2008 8:33pm
Angus:
It just seems odd that Libertarians weren't all fired up about "divided government" when they voted for Bush in 2004. Maybe it's just an all-Democratic government that's bad, but all-Republican government is OK? They why wouldn't such people just go ahead and say "I'm a Republican" rather than "I'm a Libertarian"?
10.10.2008 8:35pm
CB55 (mail):
Ilya Somin:

It would appear that the free market is not working out so well. It works well for Freddy Mac but not Joe 6-Pack. There are few tax loop holes for labor but plenty for investment.
10.10.2008 8:37pm
musefree (www):

I have no desire to defend McCain. However, he is more pro-market than Obama on a variety of important issues, including trade, health care, economic regulation, and spending. Moreover, whatever his personal views, he will find it more difficult to get his programs passed by Congress because it will be controlled by the opposing party.



Yes, and that is why I think on many of these economic issues, there will ultimately not much to choose between Obama and McCain.

So we should look at issues where the president has more direct power. Foreign policy. The war. Federal raids on medical marijuana.

And it is not just the issues. Obama might have positions I strongly disagree with, but anyone who has followed his career closely or read his books will see that he posesses undoubted intelligence, a good temperament and above all an ability to see both sides of a question (more than McCain does, anyway). Also, as he has demonstrated with his stand on several issues, he prefers a 'nudge' to outright force in influencing behavior (see this post of mine). That's much more than one can say about McCain, who epitomizes authoritarianism. I mean, the guy once tried to ban mixed martial arts because he thought it was gross.

I fail to see why any libertarian would support McCain
10.10.2008 8:43pm
eyesay:
I fear that the conjunction of an Obama victory, a strongly Democratic Congress, and a major economic crisis will produce a massive and difficult to reverse expansion of government.
As opposed to the conjunction of ignoring the Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6, 2001 ("Bin Laden determined to strike in US") and thereby allowing the events of September 11, 2001, to take place, and then using those event as a pretext for a massive and difficult-to-reverse expansion of military activities against a country that had nothing to do with those events.

Why do so many Republicans rail endlessly against the size of government when it's a small program to help ordinary citizens struggling against misfortune not of their own making, while showing no concern whatsoever for the size of government when (1) the government is jailing people for smoking the same herbs that Queen Victoria used to alleviate menstrual cramps, and (2) the government spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined, some of it on weapons that have no practical use and some of it on the idiotic foreign military entanglements that even the president's own father had the sense to avoid?
10.10.2008 8:51pm
MPerry (mail):
What's the empirical evidence that divided government retards the growth of government?

And even if that has been the case in the past, can we really assume that it would hold true for a John McCain presidency. I would submit that, apart from taxes, there isn't much of a difference between McCain and Barack Obama on economics.
10.10.2008 8:52pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
what now looks like a near-certain Obama victory

And you, Ilya, are convinced of this because:

1. You harbor a secret, desperate desire to believe it.

2. Some guy named Axelrod paid you to say this, and he seemed really nice.

3. The polls! The polls!

4. You've seen the actual figures on Democratic voter fraud.

5. You receive special messages from the constellation Andromeda.

6. All of the above.
10.10.2008 8:53pm
Steve in CA (mail):
You say there's no area other than Iraq in which Obama would give us less government. But that's not true. For example, he's said he would stop the federal raids on medicinal marijuana patients and suppliers in California. That doesn't affect me directly, but it's good to know the government won't be sending cancer patients to jail for using a substance that's totally legal under state law. And I doubt that an Obama Administration would be spying on us to the degree the Bush Administration is, and that counts as smaller government to me.
10.10.2008 8:53pm
MatthewM (mail):
Hoping,

Conservative/libertarians who believe in limited government (not to be confused by conservatives who believe in "National Greatness," "Compassionate Conservatism" and the like) do not believe that the state's highest and best use is to make sure no one is starving, homeless, etc. Use of the state in that manner is stealing money from an innocent Peter to pay Paul. That is, plainly and simply, immoral.

However, since government must exist (man's social nature abhors a governmentless vacuum — sorry anarchists), it's only task must be to prevent violence and theft among it's citizens, and to protect its citizens from violence and theft by outsiders (as well as not to be violent and thieving itself.) When it is impossible to collect resources voluntarily from its citizens for sufficient protection, it must, unfortunately, employ theft (i.e. taxes) for this limited purpose only. Unfortunately, that is how the world works, blame God, not me.

Collecting any more than what is neeeded for that protection is theft that is greater than what is called for. Of course, the amount needed is something that can be honestly disagreed with...

Your conception of a libertarian/conservative is the George Bush/William Kristol type, who believe in using more than is needed for protecting against invasion, violence, etc. Unfortunately, such types constitute a clear majority of the American people, including yourself....
10.10.2008 8:54pm
sputnik (mail):
is reaganomic dead , Ilya?
May be different approach for a global economy needed?
May be Obama will actually be beneficial to US economy?
may be the hatred the contemporary republican party plants into some ( republican loyalist) US citizens is more dangerous to the survival of the republic?

Weimar anyone?
10.10.2008 8:56pm
Brett:
Speaking as liberal who does want government much more involved in regulating the economy, I can say that neither I nor anyone I know favors such government involvement for its own sake. We favor it because we think it will be best for the country.


In other words, you're not evil; you're morons.
10.10.2008 8:57pm
commontheme (mail):

I have no desire to defend McCain. However, he is more pro-market than Obama on a variety of important issues, including trade, health care, economic regulation, and spending. Moreover, whatever his personal views, he will find it more difficult to get his programs passed by Congress because it will be controlled by the opposing party.

This is unconvincing. Whatever you believe you know about McCain's embrace of the free market, when it came down to it last week he did exactly the same thing that Obama did. Maybe he felt bad afterwards or something whereas Obama did not. Either way, doesn't matter.

And while having single party control of congress and the white house does usually further a party's agenda, I don't see any reason to believe that congress will become any more stingy and restrained if McCain is elected. And, since McCain has demonstrated last week that he is functionally the same as Obama when it comes to embracing massive governmental boondoggles, there is no reason to believe that Obama would be worse. In other words, if your assumption is that a democratic congress will want to spend money like a drunken sailor, there's no reason to believe that McCain would be any less willing to go along for the ride.
10.10.2008 8:58pm
David Larsomn (mail):
What Brett said.
10.10.2008 8:59pm
Brett:
And it is not just the issues. Obama might have positions I strongly disagree with, but anyone who has followed his career closely or read his books will see that he posesses undoubted intelligence, a good temperament and above all an ability to see both sides of a question (more than McCain does, anyway).


I've followed Obama's career closely and read both his books twice, and I see absolutely no signs of the first-rate intellect, good temperament, and bipartisan spirit that he's allegedly possessed of. He's nothing more than a latter-day John Kerry who made his bones race-hustling rather than exaggerating war hero credentials, and who can give a pretty speech.
10.10.2008 9:00pm
grackle (mail):
I can't see this as a serious complaint, while you make your living as a part of the very government you deign to criticize. Shouldn't your prudently moral position be backed by your resignation until such time as you can find employment in the private sector?
10.10.2008 9:03pm
sputnik (mail):
or could that be, brett, that you have no intellect at all yourself.
10.10.2008 9:04pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
Obama is a deceitful Marxist jackass who literally sold out his grandmother.

Argue, cite, reason, thrust, parry all you like.

Take it to the bank.
10.10.2008 9:04pm
rfg:
Laying aside the rhetoric, both "conservatives" and "liberals" support expanded government- the only difference is who benefits from this expanion.

"Conservatives" favor corporations and the owners of capital, who are regarded as the most productive sector of the economy, and so must be pampered at the expense of th rest of us.

"Liberals" favor the same, but not as much, with some left over for the rest of us. (And for those of who would argue it's only a matter of degree, I will reply that the difference between bad and worse is usually wider than between good and better.)

What is really bad is that the current crop of "conservatives" in charge really don't believe in government as a force for good or ill. Their vision of government is simply as a tool used to enrich and reward their supporters. Remember FEMA's performance during and after Katrina? No-bid contracts for supplies? The K Street project?

Sorry, Mr. Somin, but "conservatives" have used libertatian thought simply as a distraction to cover their real agenda. Other themes have served, too- remember "compassonate conservatism", the "gay marriage" threat, etc.
10.10.2008 9:04pm
commontheme (mail):

Obama is a deceitful Marxist jackass who literally sold out his grandmother.

At a McCain rally earlier today, some wingut in the audience said "I'm scared of Barack Obama... he's an Arab terrorist..."

Sen. McCain to his great credit interrupted and said "No, no ma'am, he's a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements."

I wonder if the level of discourse in the Volokh Conspiracy would be elevated is some of the more hateful and idiotic comments were deleted.
10.10.2008 9:10pm
David Larsomn (mail):
Well commontheme, I don't recall reading anything about Obama being an Arab terrorist until you showed up. Thanks for raising the level of discourse.
10.10.2008 9:19pm
David Schwartz (mail):
I'm a Libertarian, and I don't find this argument convincing. Looking at the short-term behavior, and the long-term behavior, of Republicans, it's clear that they'll grow government and mess with the economy as much as Democrats will. There is no "shrink the government" major political party in America today.

As for divided government holding down the size of government, I don't believe it. For proof, look at the bailout bill. To get bipartisan support, more and more spending had to be added to the bill. And it was largely Republicans who were in the way (not that that's not a bad thing).

Some of my friends have begun to think I've lost my mind, because I'm also coming around to Democratic tax policy in preference to Republican. If there is no "shrink government" party, and government is going to grow under either Democrats or Republicans, why cut taxes? Is government debt now a good thing?

I'm not sure which candidate I dislike less.
10.10.2008 9:22pm
js5 (mail):
The free market works. it responds in seeking the least resistance. black markets, grey markets. better, the free market doesn't work when run by progressives, socialists, et al.

what doesn't work is neoconservative big-government nationalism. That doesn't work. Further, I think the notion that waging a massive, money-burning war with little return but 'keeping our pride', while at the same time complaining that we can't raise taxes, is quite idiotic. One either thinks this war is worth the extra taxes you pay, or it isn't. What is left of the Republican ranks needs to make its mind up. Sadly, I think the social conservatives will choose war. In a way, this is a strain of redistribution of wealth.
10.10.2008 9:23pm
Brett:
or could that be, brett, that you have no intellect at all yourself.


No, it couldn't.

Thanks for playing.
10.10.2008 9:25pm
Matt_T:
I'm with js5 on this one.

MarkField: We favor it because we think it will be best for the country.

Why? Where's the evidence? Government involvement in the economy in the form of mandatory bad loans is a major factor - though certainly not the only one - in the financial crisis of the moment. Government involvement tends to reduce allocative efficiency, produce moral hazards, and keep severely flawed firms/industries afloat until they implode.
10.10.2008 9:38pm
dimitrir:
Ilya,

I am a conservative and I am voting for Obama.

I think what you fail to take account of is the role Republicans in Congress will play under McCain and Obama. Today, we are effectively governed by two parties with identical ideologies - and that is reflected in the similarity in approaches to the current crisis between McCain and Obama, the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and ultimately in the House as well (at least as far as leadership and those they can influence).

Under President McCain we will get Big Government proposals (like his ridiculous mortgage proposal) that the Republicans in Congress will feel compelled to support and it will be further diluted towards the left by the Democrats with their own goodies as price of passage. The result is going to be something like the current $700B bailout bill - in fact if you like that bill, then McCain Presidency + Reid/Pelosi in charge of Congress is a good outcome for you.

Alternatively, under President Obama, the Republicans will have to assume the role of opposition. I realize that they may be in a veto and filibusterer-proof minorities, but at least my conservative views will be argued and advocated, something I do not believe will happen under President McCain. Finally, when Obama, Reid and Pelosi will pass their Big Government programs w/o Republican support, when they will inevitably fail, it will be all on their heads.

Ultimately, the choice in this election is how many voices you want to be addressing policy issues over the next 4 or 8 years. Under President McCain it will be one voice - the Big Government voice, made up of the current Republican compassionate big government conservatism plus the Democrat "Government is the solution to everything" voice, or under President Obama, a dominant Big Government voice coming from Democrats, challenged by a genuine conservative minority.

As a conservative, I want my positions argued rather than swept under the rug "to get something done." Voting Obama is the only clear choice for a conservative who wants to have his voice heard.
10.10.2008 9:47pm
js5 (mail):

Today, we are effectively governed by two parties with identical ideologies


My instant reaction was to think back to Hamilton's Federalist No. 9. Two sides to the same faction? Hmmm
10.10.2008 9:51pm
DNL (mail):
I too would love to see empirical proof that a divided government is a better one.

Congress, despite what we as observers think, is probably not riddled with deep, seething partisanship. I'm willing to bet that if you were to poll all 535 Congressmen as to whether either candidate was patently unqualified to be POTUS, few would say that yes, the guy from across the aisle is unqualified. Those in that small minority are typically the fringy Cynthia McKinney types, too.

However, in deed, it's hard to get bipartisan support for bills. If I'm right re: the above, that's because Congress is "playing politics" with legislation.

And that's a problem. That leads to nonsense like Nancy Pelosi's screed before the first bailout vote; to ridiculous layers of line-item pork stuck into various, otherwise important bills; etc. And what's worse is that the President's limited political capital will require that he spend it where he believes it most important, and in doing so fail to have it available when most important (e.g. getting a bailout bill through the House in a timely fashion and without it ballooning).

In short, I think the inverse of your given is true: If you think a certain Presidential candidate will enact good policies -- not better policies than his primary opponent, but good ones in his own right -- you should prefer unified government. If you think otherwise, it's not clear that a divided government will yield better results than a unified one.
10.10.2008 9:59pm
LN (mail):
Government involvement in the economy in the form of mandatory bad loans is a major factor - though certainly not the only one - in the financial crisis of the moment. Government involvement tends to reduce allocative efficiency, produce moral hazards, and keep severely flawed firms/industries afloat until they implode.

Judging from the stock market drop in the past few days, what makes you so confident that the market has been doing a good job with allocative efficiency the past few years?

Yeah I know I know, government intervention could always makes things worse. But right now we are obviously in a major clusterfuck. If you care about allocative inefficiency and moral hazards, you certainly can't be happy with our current state of affairs.

Of course a way out for the libertarian is to say that the government is the primary villain in our current story. So government-mandated bad loans were a major source of the problem? There are so many parties in this story -- people lending money to homeowners, people packaging mortgages to investors, banks using these securities as capital, insurance companies insuring losses on these securities, etc etc -- and they were all driven by the profit motive. And in fact, for the past several years, they have all been very profitable. Plus we've had a booming construction industry, more people becoming homeowners, and such homeowners watching their property values rise. Everyone was happy.

And then the floor collapsed.

Really, this just happened because the government forced someone to make loans that looked very profitable for several years? Basic economic theory says that the profit motive is strong enough to not need government assistance. If firms can make a quick buck, they don't need the government to bless them.

What about all the banks that made bad investments (that looked great in the short term)? Did the government mandate that? How?

Face it, our current situation is a challenge for the libertarian worldview. I'm not saying it's insurmountable, but just shrugging your shoulders and saying, "The government did it" is lazy and unconvincing.
10.10.2008 10:01pm
The General:
You really should be worried about a president who feels no shame in palling around with communists, terrorists, America-hating preachers and congregants of a racist black power church.
10.10.2008 10:16pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"You really should be worried about a president who feels no shame in palling around with communists, terrorists, America-hating preachers and congregants of a racist black power church."


Shouldn't you be out putting together a lynch mob or something?
10.10.2008 10:21pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"It might not be much different. But that doesn't mean it won't be just as bad. Notice that GWB's policies were also facilitated by a combination of united government and crisis (9/11, Enron, etc.)."


Wow, Somin, you almost sound like someone who didn't vote (twice) for Bush, and who, at some point prior to one of his elections, expressed fear about his expansion of government power.

Is that the case?
10.10.2008 10:24pm
just me (mail):
Finally, when Obama, Reid and Pelosi will pass their Big Government programs w/o Republican support, when they will inevitably fail, it will be all on their heads.

No the GOP will still be blamed-blamed for watering the bills down or preventing full funding or the like.

I think one thing that worries me about Obama is that he will head off to regulate Wall Street, play the trade protectionist (If his anti free trade position is to be believed, although he has whistled and nuanced this position to the point that who knows what his position really is), and bring a new era of entitlement programs that once inacted will never go away.

I am pretty convinced he will have the votes to support some type of government provided healthcare that is going to be extremely expensive at a time when the economy is heading into the tank.

So, I am not convinced Obama is going to be good for the country when he has a democratic congress to rubber stamp him-and I am not as trusting as you are that Obama and the democrats will take the heat for the big screw ups, because the MSM always finds a way to blame the GOP whether they are in power or in the minority.

Oh, and I also am not too keen on the direction the courts might take-although the "most likely to retire" on the court likely are in the liberal wing so there may not be that big an ideological shift.
10.10.2008 10:27pm
Old and Fed Up (mail):
dimitrir:

I am a conservative and I am voting for Obama.


Exactly. One reason drunks keep drinking is, they wake up each morning with the shakes and liquor takes the shakes away. And tomorrow they'll be right back where they are this morning. Hung over drunks. The only way to get off booze is to suffer through a terrible week of withdrawal.

Since Reagan we conservatives have been told to vote for this or that shit-sandwich big government Republican because the Democrat will ruin the country. Enough. Not me. Not this time. Not after McCain Finegold, McCain Kennedy, McCain Lieberman. McCain isn't a Republican, he's the least repulsive Democrat still in the race-- but Republicans will take his blame.

I've voted for every Republican since Ford. This time I'm voting Obama. I'll take the shakes for 2 years, or 4, in the expectation that Carter II will bring the nation back to its senses.
10.10.2008 10:31pm
MarkField (mail):

In other words, you're not evil; you're morons.


As Churchill said, never accuse the opposition of evil when a simple explanation of stupidity will suffice.


Why? Where's the evidence? Government involvement in the economy in the form of mandatory bad loans is a major factor - though certainly not the only one - in the financial crisis of the moment. Government involvement tends to reduce allocative efficiency, produce moral hazards, and keep severely flawed firms/industries afloat until they implode.


Needless to say, I disagree with both your theory and your specific factual assertion. Since there's no way we can review all of economic history or all the debates which divide economists, I'll let it go at that. And I won't say you're a moron because I don't think you are. I just think you're wrong.
10.10.2008 10:33pm
Random Commenter:
"Shouldn't you be out putting together a lynch mob or something?"

Thanks for elevating the discourse. Isn't there a lawn somewhere in your neighborhood you could be off mowing?
10.10.2008 10:33pm
ShelbyC:

"Conservatives" favor corporations and the owners of capital, who are regarded as the most productive sector of the economy, and so must be pampered at the expense of th rest of us.





Which group voted against the bailout again? Remind me?
10.10.2008 10:34pm
Random Commenter:
"Since Reagan we conservatives have been told to vote for this or that shit-sandwich big government Republican because the Democrat will ruin the country. Enough."

Agreed. However, while I'm hoping Obama will come out of the gates con brio, I have little hope we'll have anything other than another choice between "shit sandwiches" in the next cycle.

Are McCain and Obama really the best we can do?
10.10.2008 10:39pm
Cold Warrior:
Well said, Ilya. My misgivings about Obama, too.

Right now, in a perfect world we'd see the conjunction of a principled Republican Congress and a careful, intelligent, Democratic president. Yes, I am secretly pining for 1995 ...
10.10.2008 10:44pm
Sagar (mail):
Excellent article, Prof. Somin!

There are a couple of reasons to vote for McCain:

1. A divided government, and
2. He has a track record of opposing spending; may be he is also better on free trade and taxes.

But I can't honestly muster any enthusiasm in supporting him, particularly after McCain-Feingold. He may not usher in the era of socialized medicine, but he will facilitate a bunch of bipartisan biggies (co-sponsored by "my friend Ted or Joe") including amnesty for illegal immigrants, carbon caps to stop global warming, regulating "big oil, pharma, finance, etc" since he has a disdain for business profit. Republicans can't fight him and there is a majority of Democrat party that will support him on these.

Obama will increase taxes on businesses and will prolong the economic hardship (or may surprise us and not do it, as he said he wouldn't during a recession). My opposition to Obama's cutting and running from Iraq - thus setting another Vietnam-like example for another generation - is an unlikely scenario, now that he can exit Iraq claiming victory.

There is another soft benefit (I heard a black man say this on a train) "when the world sees America elect a blackman they will believe more in the power of democracy; and we won't have to fight wars to convince people to embrace it" - paraphrased. If we don't elect Obama now, there won't be any convincing people that he really couldn't have "lowered the oceans and healed the planet". Things are going to be rough for a couple of years, and if McCain is elected, half the country would believe an Obama victory would have fixed everything in Jan 2009.

And finally, Obama seems to be the type that reacts swiftly to personal insults - as seen in his throwing Wright under the bus when the Rev dissed Obama - and Obama might truly consider a future terrorist attack on America under his presidency a personal insult to him and deal with it in a non-sissy way. This does not make me certain that he is better, so there is a huge element of HOPE involved, but it may not be worse than a McCain presidency!
10.10.2008 10:48pm
pmorem (mail):
It could be that Obama's agenda will be derailed by a massive political blunder on his part or by some unexpected event.

Nobody harps too much on Jim Johnson. Obama himself should be very wary of Johnson and his friends. They're worse than Rezko, because at least Obama knew about Rezko.

I'm still trying to work out the odds I'll give on "Obama Impeached", but I'm looking at somewhere around 3:2 or even. Yes, that includes all the reasons why it wouldn't happen.

As much as the sound of his speaking voice drives me bat**** crazy, and as much as I dislike his choice of friends, I don't think that would be a good thing for the country.

I don't ask anyone to trust me on this. I'm clearly biased. Take a step back, though, and maybe you can see what I'm looking at. I dunno.
10.10.2008 10:55pm
Splunge:
What's the empirical evidence that divided government retards the growth of government?

(1) The failure of a divided Congress (roughly MoveOn Democrats vs. Blue Dogs and Republicans) to pass any kind of energy legislation at all this summer, which, as it turned out, was a very lucky thing, as the oil bubble just popped and oil is back under $80 a barrel, without us being saddled by some whole new lawyer-designed upgefucked well-intentioned highly expensive "energy policy."

(2) The failure of the same divided Congress to micromanage the war in Iraq, which, too, was a lucky thing, as it gave the people who actually know what they're doing (Generals Petraeus and Odierno) time, while a bunch of clueless showboating lawyers were arguing, to actually, you know, win the war and render the argument moot.

(3) The failure of the Clinton White House when faced with a Republican Congress to enact Hillarycare, which staved off the collapse of quality American health care until (unfortunately) next year some time.

Dumb question, since the proposition ("divided government accomplishes less") is so self-evidently logical that a reasonable person would ask for empirical evidence before disbelieving it.
10.10.2008 10:57pm
John Steele (mail):

For what it's worth, I like the idea of a black president, believe that Obama is an admirable person in many ways,
With all due respect that's just plain stupid. "I like the idea of a black president" is the same as "I would never vote for a black man for president." You are prepared to vote for him because of the color of his skin which is as reprehensible as voting against him because of it.

As to Obama being "an admirable person in many ways" the people of this country know nothing about Barack Obama yet you find him admirable. Which part is admirable, representing the people who sent him to Springfield by voting "present" 129 times so that he he could avoid taking a stand on anything? Or the past where he "stood tall against the Iraq War" when he wasn't in the US Congress. Its easy to oppose something when there is no risk of being right or wrong.

He is an "admirable person in many way" yet we do not have any idea what he did or said in college or even what his grades were like. He refuses to release transcripts or even his medical history. He is an "admirable person in many ways", so admirable that he sat in the pews for twenty years and listened to an anti-American white hating preacher spew his venom to the congregation and said or did nothing?

We know nothing about this man other than he is the perfect vessel for whatever his idolizers think they want him to be.
10.10.2008 11:00pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Then again, one might be concerned about electing somebody who has recently engaged in a petty and personal actual abuse of power while in office.
10.10.2008 11:01pm
Obvious (mail):
We come to a crossroad. One way leads to blackness and despair; the other to an endless void. Let us hope we have the wisdom to choose wisely...
10.10.2008 11:03pm
loki13 (mail):
I'm only going to add what above posters have already pointed out, Prof. Somin:

If you voted for GW Bush either time (or, especially, twice) you lack a little bit of credibility in the divided government argument. Or is this a divided government for you, unified, unaccountable, budget-busting, war-starting, liberty-reducing, torture-starting, financial-collapsin' government for me?
10.10.2008 11:04pm
David Warner:
rfg,

"Laying aside the rhetoric, both "conservatives" and "liberals" support expanded government- the only difference is who benefits from this expanion."

Wow, you laid it aside for a whole comma.

CB55,

"It would appear that the free market is not working out so well."

Yes, clearly too much freedom is our problem. What to do with the excess though? Hey, maybe we could trade it for some security! Oh wait...
10.10.2008 11:06pm
Francis Marion (mail):
If Obama wins, I vote for seccession.
10.10.2008 11:08pm
Rodger Lodger (mail):
These things go in cycles. Won't be more than 30 years before the country goes back conservative.
10.10.2008 11:09pm
Hoosier:
Mahan Atma

So what about those of us who didn't vote for Bush last time? Or do things get too confusing when there's no ad hominem close at hand?
10.10.2008 11:12pm
Hoosier:
What *horrifies me most about an Obama victory is that liberals will then be allowed to shamble all over Indiana, hiding in abandoned farm houses and churches, then catching unwary Hoosiers and killing them in order to EAT THEIR BRAINS!


Wait.


Am I thinking of "liberals"?


No. It was something else. I saw them in a movie once. Now that I think about it, I don't think they were called "liberals."
10.10.2008 11:17pm
David Warner:
Prof. Somin,

The funny thing is that when I ask intelligent college/high school age Obama supporters why they support him they tend to give libertarianish reasons. Some actually use the word libertarian, and not in the Chomskyan funhouse-mirror sense either.

Architect, my ass. Turd blossom indeed.
10.10.2008 11:18pm
Jre (mail):
I'll take the shakes for 2 years, or 4, in the expectation that Carter II will bring the nation back to its senses.


It scares the holy crap out of me that so-called conservatives still think this. They said the same thing about Clinton, and if he'd have been able to keep his pants on Al Gore would be president now.

Obama? Obama's an empty suit that people are projecting their "hope" into. That means when somebody challenges him, his followers feel they're they're personally being attacked. Oy.
10.10.2008 11:20pm
Ohio Scrivener (mail):
"Which would be different from the major expansion of government under GWB how?"

Glad you asked. To understand the magnitude of the spending increases proposed by Obama, here are a couple estimates:

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculates that Obama has promised a total of $990 billion in new spending over his first four-year term.

The National Taxpayers Union calculated that Obama is proposing net spending increases of around $292 billion a year, or more than $1 trillion over four years.

However, I seriously doubt these estimates will come close to the actual spending increases we will see under Obama with a Democratic Congress. Obama is promising a massive new entitlement program for healthcare, which, if enacted, is likely to become the new black hole of the federal budget.

While Bush has allowed the budget to expand, earning him criticism from small government conservatives and libertarians, you should not be under any illusion about what the left intends. Like a card player, the left sees the Republicans bid on spending and fully intends to raise it.
10.10.2008 11:21pm
mrshl (www):
I think the poor economy will actually work to restrain deficit spending. Or if not, we will see a very quick return to power for a Republican congress, indeed.

Although I plan to vote for Obama (mostly because of his temperament and Sphinx-like political pragmatism), I'd be pleased as punch to vote for the Contract-with-America Republicans. Where did those guys go? I'd welcome a return. And I think the only way to get them back is to spank these hollow, base-motivating ideologues out of power.

Yeah, the democratic congress has and will likely be a disaster. But Republicans have only themselves to blame.
10.10.2008 11:25pm
Mac (mail):
Haven't time to read all pasts, so I apologize if I repeat, but an Obama White House and Dem. Congress plus an Obama DOJ and Attn. General is scary as hell.

Would the above ever do anything to rein in ACORN or would it be open season for those who want to commit voter fraud?

Would the time be used to so entrench voter fraud into our system that it would be impossible for a Democrat to lose? Given all the voter fraud uncovered by ACORN just in the last few days, not to mention last 8-10 years, it seems to be a possibility.

Combine the total control of Government by the Democrats with their and Obama's extremely close relationship to ACORN and I get a very uncomfortable feeling.
10.10.2008 11:27pm
Psalm91 (mail):
"Francis Marion:

If Obama wins, I vote for seccession."

You should contact Todd Palin and join the Alaska Independence Party. They're way ahead of you.
10.10.2008 11:36pm
Mac (mail):
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):

Then again, one might be concerned about electing somebody who has recently engaged in a petty and personal actual abuse of power while in office.



Yeah, Charlie, couldn't agree with you more. We just barely escaped having Hilary as our President. Oh, you weren't talking about Travelgate where she accused a totally innocent man of a crime so she could get her cousins into the White House travel business?

Yeah, it is much worse to try to get a guy who tassers his 10 year old step son, threatens to kill the Gov and others and for an absolute fact was caught drinking beer on duty in his squad car. Wouldn't want such an upstanding cop getting fired now, would we? I'd have fired to SOB boss and the Trooper but, I guess she couldn't directly fire the trooper.

Are you seriously suggesting this guy is a good cop?
10.10.2008 11:42pm
jbn (mail):
The dangers of the Obama presidency are outlined in frightening detail here.
10.10.2008 11:43pm
David Warner:
MarkField,

Rare, rare grace.
10.10.2008 11:45pm
Al Maviva:
Voting Obama is the only clear choice for a conservative who wants to have his voice heard.

Yep, me too. As a lifelong conservative of great principle and incredibly unbelievable commitment to the conservative cause, I find the only real choice for me is to vote straight Democratic party line until the Republicans come around to my way of thinking.

/s
A.S. Troturf
10.10.2008 11:47pm
Mac (mail):
"Francis Marion:

If Obama wins, I vote for seccession."

You should contact Todd Palin and join the Alaska Independence Party. They're way ahead of you.

Psalm 91,

Now, that's an idea!

Oh wait, it's really cold up there, isn't it?

Wonder if there is an Arizona Independence Party I could join? No, no. no, not the party that wants to give us back to Mexico, for Pete's sake, that's the Democratic Party.
10.10.2008 11:47pm
loki13 (mail):

Would the above ever do anything to rein in ACORN or would it be open season for those who want to commit voter fraud?

Would the time be used to so entrench voter fraud into our system that it would be impossible for a Democrat to lose? Given all the voter fraud uncovered by ACORN just in the last few days, not to mention last 8-10 years, it seems to be a possibility.

Combine the total control of Government by the Democrats with their and Obama's extremely close relationship to ACORN and I get a very uncomfortable feeling.


They need to put you, and the people who agree with you, together with all the people complaining about the Diebolt machines. Then, once all of you are rounded up, you can be placed in tinfoil rafts and set adrift far away from our shores where your insane theories can stop hurting what little faith people still have in our democracy.

Remember, after November, we still all have to live together and support (even if that includes *pointed* but hopefully respectful dissent) the person we, as a country, elect.
10.10.2008 11:48pm
Mac (mail):
loki 13,

Is there even one factual shred of evidence for corruption of a Diebolt voting machine by either party?

On the other hand, have you completely missed the raids in Las Vegas and the findings in Ohio, not to mention all of the other voter registration abuse by ACORN this year and in the past years? Did you miss the ACORN folks who went to prison for voter fraud?

Are you aware that Obama has worked for ACORN when he was a "Community Activist" and represented them as a lawyer and taken big bucks from them (as a politician, don''t know about lawyer), and has steered big amounts of tax payer dollars their way?

You think it is conspiratorial to worry that with an Obama Presidency, Justice Department, Democratic Congress and worshipful MSM any number of abuses in our system could occur?

OK. Call me crazy, but I am worried.
10.10.2008 11:58pm
jdd6y:
We're better off w/ a McCain defeat. The GOP politicians need to see the economic doofus and media pandering McCain go down in flames. Whichever party wins this election will rue it. Both candidates are major-league socialists. So, next 4 years, it won't matter. And giving money away to rent seeking major corporations doesn't count as 'pro market' in my book. I'd just as soon have a big government guy come in during 4 years of 8 trillion in deficits and high unemployment than some guy who is also anti-market but who the media will claim is "laissez faire."

The GOP has an opportunity with defeat to go back to the small government party and blame the big government shift on Bush. McCain fails to understand that there is no value to the Democrat-Lite GOP.
10.11.2008 12:00am
Mister Snitch (mail) (www):
"I wonder if the level of discourse in the Volokh Conspiracy would be elevated is some of the more hateful and idiotic comments were deleted."

Gee, maybe some of the Daily Kossacs could stop by and give us some pointers.
10.11.2008 12:01am
Mac (mail):
nypost.com/search/search.htm?q=voter+fraud+a+go

Go here Loki13 and then tell me I'm crazy.

If this doesn't work, go to the NY Post and type in Voter "Fraud a GO Go and Recent.

You know, I have multiple degrees, wouldn't you think I could figure out this Link thing? I don't think I'm stupid, although those who disagree with me would probably differ, but gee whiz, I hate getting beat by a green four letter word.
10.11.2008 12:08am
Gabriel McCall (mail):
Obama will be atrocious on the economy, and I'm not fond of his thoughts on community service either. However, both of those problems will fall primarily on the American people- or, to the extent that our economic problems cause problems elsewhere, that's the result of voluntary trade and economic entanglement: those countries could have chosen not to buy our crazy mortgages.

McCain, on the other hand, is terrifyingly likely to start more wars. Regardless of how bad Obama is likely to be for this country, I cannot in good conscience inflict McCain on the rest of the world. So my options at this point are to vote D, to vote R but hope like hell that McCain pulls a Tippecanoe, or wash my hands of the whole deal and vote either third party or not at all.

I'm leaning strongly towards the last option. As a friend put it to me recently, "If the Republicans nominated Hitler and the Democrats nominated Stalin, would you really think it a matter of patriotic duty to choose between them?" I came to the conclusion that I would not.
10.11.2008 12:13am
Peter Casas (mail):
"For what it's worth, I like the idea of a black president."

For what it's worth, people who "like the idea" of a black, female, polish, whatever anything are the problem...
10.11.2008 12:15am
Mac (mail):
Jdd6y,



McCain fails to understand that there is no value to the Democrat-Lite GOP.


I completely understand your feelings. But, when the country shift left we can never get back to Ground Zero. It always stays further left.

Also, think 2 words, Supreme Court.

And, lastly, think of our Military. I am so damn glad my son is out of the Marine Corps, but he is on inactive reserve so he can get called back at any time.

But, I have to think of the other men and women who would be stuck with Obama. He said in the debates he wants to send US troops to Darfur. Wouldn't that be fun for them? Somalia worked out so great. Some of our liberal friends wanted US troops to go into Burma when the junta wouldn't let the aid in.

They don't mind sending troops into harms way if it makes them feel good about themselves.

They deserve better and McCain is better for them than Obama.
10.11.2008 12:16am
JosephSlater (mail):
Hoosier:

Brilliant.
10.11.2008 12:17am
Mac (mail):
Gabriel McCall,

See my post above. I disagree with you. I think a military man is far less likely to start a war. He knows the hell it is.

You are forgetting about all the opportunities to right all the wrongs in the world that an Obama won't be able to resist. Remember the debates and what Obama said.
10.11.2008 12:20am
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
Expansion of government power is one thing, but the much more worrisome aspect to BHO is his questionable stance on free speech. One or two of those points has been covered here, but I doubt whether this site has discussed the earlier instances where BHO promised to get "hate" off the airwaves.

And, perhaps even more worrisome in that regard than BHO himself are his supporters. For the short version of that, plug this into your browser:

dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/10/7/9500/75263
10.11.2008 12:22am
Mac (mail):
Also, even Clinton who had rather considerable amount of sense, said his biggest mistake was not going into Rowanda. Any African country at war would be a nightmare beyond belief for our troops. A non-military man such as Obama would not know this.
10.11.2008 12:23am
ArtEclectic (mail):
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculates that Obama has promised a total of $990 billion in new spending over his first four-year term.

The National Taxpayers Union calculated that Obama is proposing net spending increases of around $292 billion a year, or more than $1 trillion over four years.



Prescription Drug Benefit: 1.2 trillion
Iraq War: 587 billion


So far, about even.

Even Obama realizes health care is DOA after we are done bailing out Wall Street.
10.11.2008 12:24am
Psalm91 (mail):
"John Steele:

He is an "admirable person in many way" yet we do not have any idea what he did or said in college or even what his grades were like. He refuses to release transcripts or even his medical history."

Yes, what is left of the world is waiting to find out what grades Obama got in college.

Mac:

I thought the Republicans ran Arizona state government. I suppose they would sell the state to Mexico if they got a good deal.
10.11.2008 12:26am
SecurityGeek:
Maybe the Republicans will come back from their voter-enforced vacation realizing that conservatism does not include ideas like:

-The indefinite detention of US citizens

-Massive government debt spending

-Invading and occupying countries that do not pose a real threat to US security

I would love to see a truly libertarian Republican candidate in 2012, especially if it means the Democrats will need to triangulate towards some ideals of personal freedom and a more fundamental reading of the Bill of Rights.

I see no benefit to McCain winning this year. That only extends the time we have no ability to choose candidates that are classical liberals.
10.11.2008 12:35am
David Warner:
Mac,

"You know, I have multiple degrees, wouldn't you think I could figure out this Link thing? I don't think I'm stupid, although those who disagree with me would probably differ, but gee whiz, I hate getting beat by a green four letter word."

Nah, Mac, you're good people and far from stupid. Copy the link location, highlight a word in your post, then click the link button and paste the location in the pop-up box. Use preview to make sure it works.
10.11.2008 12:37am
CaDan (mail):
But what about the ice weasels?
10.11.2008 12:38am
just me (mail):
McCain, on the other hand, is terrifyingly likely to start more wars.

Yet it is Obama and Biden who have both said they would send our military into Sudan.

My guess is that Obama will be more likely to get us into a stupid war if for no other reason than to show he isn't weak in the knees over the prospect, but it is likely going to be a humanitarian mission war rather than a matter of threat.

McCain might get us into a war, but I haven't heard him say he intended to send our troops anywhere other than the current hot spots, Obama has.
10.11.2008 12:39am
Mac (mail):
Mac:


I thought the Republicans ran Arizona state government



Shows you what you know. We have a Democratic Governor, Janet Napolitano. She is the reason we are broke, again, for the second time since I moved here in 2001.

True there are more Republicans in the State House than Dem's, but Janet wields a mighty veto pen.

Also, Loki13, it might interest you to know that Janet vetoed a bill passed by the State house and senate to require, among other things, proof of citizenship to vote. Do you have any idea how many illegals we have in this state? Wonder why she vetoed it?

We, the people, had to pass a state wide referendum to get the law passed. It passes by an overwhelming majority. She can't veto a referendum.
And, yes, the Supreme Court upheld it, thank God.

As one who is crazy according to you, they still trust me to work the poles.

No one has been denied the right to vote. Not one. Some may have voted and not had their vote counted, at least, if they couldn't prove they were who they said they were and lived where they said they lived. A few of those, yes. But they had ample time and opportunity to get their information straightened out and have their vote count, if they wanted to and if they were legit.

It is nice being able to have confidence in our voting system in Arizona. Too bad for much of the rest of the country and the country as a whole.
10.11.2008 12:40am
MarkField (mail):

Rare, rare grace.


Rare for me, certainly. Thanks.
10.11.2008 12:42am
David Schwartz (mail):
Dumb question, since the proposition ("divided government accomplishes less") is so self-evidently logical that a reasonable person would ask for empirical evidence before disbelieving it.
Really? Isn't it better to only get one side's pet projects and pork? Isn't it clear that the two parties negotiate by saying, "I'll give you your pork and regulation if you give me mine?"

In a divided government, each side gives the other side something it wants to get something they want. We wind up with both sides want, which is more than what one side wants.

To me, at least, the contrary assumption seems logical. United government means less government. At least the losers don't get to regulate.
10.11.2008 12:44am
Rod Blaine (mail):
Y'know, I used to read some of the more "jarhead" (ie, movement) right-wingers joking about DailyKos and thought uit was just red meat, but if this "Jerome Corsi now an Illegal Immigrant himself!" post is representative of the general level there, then it's despicable.

It would make as much sense, if Bush ordered the DOJ to arrest Joe Biden on trumped-up charges of being a rapist, for RedState to post gloating headlines along the lines of "VAWA Act Sponsor Now A Violent Sex Offender Himself!"

Aren't these Kos types usually contemptuous of the Nixonian juriprudence of "It's not illegal if the president does it"? Or is it only US presidents they distrust, assuming that if the Kenyan govt is run by laughing-eyed, leopard-print-daishiki-wearing Morgan Freeman lookalikes then it can't be definition be corruptly abusing its power?
10.11.2008 12:45am
Mac (mail):
David, thanks so much.

I am going to wait until tomorrow to try this. I will cuddle my little bit of hope that I can figure this out by following your directions for as long as I can before I try it and my hopes are dashed.

I can and have copied your directions so they will be there waiting for when I can screw up my courage to try one last time to beat that damn four letter green word.
10.11.2008 12:47am
LN (mail):

Yeah, it is much worse to try to get a guy who tassers his 10 year old step son, threatens to kill the Gov and others and for an absolute fact was caught drinking beer on duty in his squad car. Wouldn't want such an upstanding cop getting fired now, would we? I'd have fired to SOB boss and the Trooper but, I guess she couldn't directly fire the trooper.


Um, why is the boss an SOB?
10.11.2008 12:57am
Bryan Price (mail) (www):
I can't remember a Republican president where government didn't expand, and that only goes back half a century at best. I don't see it happening in the near future either.

I also agree that "Liberals" and "Conservatives" are both relatively the same, the difference being who gets the spoils.

I'm still waiting to see the mythical "free" market too.
10.11.2008 1:02am
trad and anon (mail):
Dumb question, since the proposition ("divided government accomplishes less") is so self-evidently logical that a reasonable person would ask for empirical evidence before disbelieving it.
The Reagan years come to mind. Reagan cut some taxes and deregulated/reregulated some industries, but government grew enormously under Reagan and the Democratic Houses he faced.
10.11.2008 1:08am
Sylvester (mail):
I plan to sit back and laugh my ass off while this nation goes down the tubes under Obama. You idiots will get just what you deserve.
10.11.2008 1:20am
Rod Blaine (mail):
Does divided party control of government restrain legislative activism? Well, yes and no. If we're talking about "morals" laws (old and new, ie Blue Codes or Green Codes), it would almost certainly block new laws being enacted. Can't picture, say, Santorum and Feinstein agreeing "Okay, then, we get to ban BOTH smoking AND same-sex intercourse in private". Thsse matters tend to be non-negotiable, identity-defining beliefs for the ideological true believers.

On the other hand, when it comes to pork, the incentives for pragmatic logrolling seem much stronger. Sure, you went to Washington to cut waste - but hey, your State or district really needed that military base or bridge, and if the price was agreeing to a bridge or highway in some other State or district, hey, one more by itself is hardly going to matter with a federal budget of trillions, is it?
10.11.2008 1:21am
mariner:
Hoping:
I often wish liberals and conservatives could have productive conversations about these issues, but it's hard to know how to begin when I can make no connection between conservative philosophy as it is explained and as it is practiced.

That's because you make the common mistake of believing conservative = Republican.

Democrats and the media are fond of excoriating G.W. Bush as being "far right-wing" and "radical conservative" but Bush is not at all conservative -- that's why his approval rating is so low.

McCain is a Republican, but he's even further from conservatism than Bush.
10.11.2008 1:28am
Mac (mail):
Um, why is the boss an SOB?

How about for letting a man who seems to be violent, certainly is disrespectful of his duties and obligations as a trooper keep his job? Or, do you want to be pulled over by a drunk, violent cop? Or, do you think cops who commit family violence are never going to tend to use excessive force in the performance of their duty?

I think the boss is a SOB for covering for this guy and inflicting him on the public at large. Just as I would criticize a Doctor who is supervising a dangerous, incompetent Doctor and continues to allow him to practice medicine instead of blowing the whistle.

The trooper carries a gun, for God's sake, and is empowered by the State to use it and it's his victim's word against his. Yeah, I think trust in law enforcement, just like trust in the medical profession is something we have a right to expect and I expect someone's superior would get rid of a nut case, esp. one who drinks on the job. We generally don't expect to find our cops committing a DUI while on duty. And, if he is that irresponsible, what do you want to bet there is a lot more stuff in his file that he has pulled and we don't know about?
10.11.2008 1:29am
Mac (mail):
PS I'd love to talk to some local attorneys up there and see what they think of this trooper.
10.11.2008 1:32am
first history:
Interesting letter in today's NYT:


October 10, 2008
Letter
Prosecuting Weathermen
To the Editor:

Re "Politics of Attack" (editorial, Oct. 8) and "Obama and '60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths" (front page, Oct. 4):

As the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s (I was then chief of the criminal division in the Eastern District of Michigan and took over the Weathermen prosecution in 1972), I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers's terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child.

Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.

Because Senator Obama recently served on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago. (My emphasis)

I do take issue with the statement in your news article that the Weathermen indictment was dismissed because of "prosecutorial misconduct." It was dismissed because of illegal activities, including wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions, initiated by John N. Mitchell, attorney general at that time, and W. Mark Felt, an F.B.I. assistant director.

William C. Ibershof

Mill Valley, Calif., Oct. 8, 2008


Felt was charged with others with


unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to injure and oppress citizens of the United States who were relatives and acquaintances of the Weatherman fugitives, in the free exercise and enjoyments of certain rights and privileges secured to them by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America.

He was convicted in 1980, receiving only a fine. He was pardoned by Reagan in 1981.
10.11.2008 1:41am
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Mac said:
Yeah, Charlie
My name is Charles. I find your tone deliberately disrespectful and insulting.

I would have sent this message by e-mail. But oh, wait, you don't list a valid e-mail address.
10.11.2008 1:53am
David Warner:
First Hystory,

The Throat keeps getting Deeper.

Industrial strength irony there in that last quoted paragraph.

Amazing how well the letter sticks to the Axelrod talking points. Nice message discipline. Although if that strawman gets knocked down any more he'll never make it to the wizard to get his brain...
10.11.2008 2:00am
Obvious (mail):
I've been told that George W. Bush is the worst President in history. I tend to agree. And this will be true until noon on January 20th, 2009. Then we will have a new worst President in history. And this will be true whether Obama or McCain wins. The only difference, in my estimation, is that we might know it sooner if McCain wins. But by mid-terms it will be obvious no matter which of them win.
10.11.2008 2:03am
john doe (mail):
Where is the coverage of the Palin report on so-called trooper gate...you folks are lagging on the analysis!
10.11.2008 2:06am
Redlands (mail):
MarkField said,

Speaking as liberal who does want government much more involved in regulating the economy, I can say that neither I nor anyone I know favors such government involvement for its own sake. We favor it because we think it will be best for the country.

That extra government involvement in the economy does NOT extend to, say, extra government power over civil liberties. As anyone reading the comments here should know, I've strongly opposed Bush's overreaching on that score, I've strongly criticized Obama when he went along with it (notably on telecom immunity), and I'll be just as strongly critical if he continues Bush's policies in those areas.


I've never understood how "liberals" can be so passionate about protecting their civil liberties while blithely ceding every other form of liberty as Congress uses, for instance, the Commerce Clause to expand the federal government and its power to control so much at the cost of, well, individual liberties.
10.11.2008 2:07am
CB55 (mail):
Obvious:

I think you'll right. The American people can not and will not accept certain facts - the decline of the American Empire. Any one willing to lead the American people down that path has put a bullet into his own head. We are living on borrowed time (the quality of life has been in decline for years) and money.
10.11.2008 2:12am
richard cabeza:
I've never understood how "liberals" can be so passionate about protecting their civil liberties while blithely ceding every other form of liberty as Congress uses, for instance, the Commerce Clause to expand the federal government and its power to control so much at the cost of, well, individual liberties.

It helps to be dishonest, pretending that a more powerful government of any type is in the best interest of anyone. But when you're at the top, who can argue? That's the struggle, you see. It's always going on, and if you can just pit classes against each other and then swoop in with the government teat, then you have it made.
10.11.2008 2:14am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):

Since McCain voted for the same pork-laden monstrosity that Obama did, I'd be curious to know why you believe his decisions as president would be any different.


Yeah, I'm writing in Ron Paul. He's the only non-candidate candidate that is talking any economic sense. Obama and McCain are economic idiots. We don't need that right now.
10.11.2008 2:14am
Randy R. (mail):
"I plan to sit back and laugh my ass off while this nation goes down the tubes under Obama."

You can start laughing. The country is going down the tubes as we speak. Under George W. Bush.

Isn't he a Republican? Or are we not supposed to say that in polite company?
10.11.2008 2:19am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
LN,

<blockquote>"Face it, our current situation is a challenge for the libertarian worldview."</blockquote>

I'm sorry to tell you this but you are absolutely wrong on this. The economic conditions are precisely what was expected according to Austrian economics.

The government lowered interest rates below market values for well over twenty years. The fingerprints of this have been visible on the economy for quite a long time. It was only a matter of time before this caused a bust.

Those fingerprints during the monetary inflation are low savings rate, trade deficit, over leverage, stock mania, commodity price increases, asset inflation, and overinvestment in long term goods, to name a few.

This is a classical monetary driven Austrian business cycle. Caused in this instance by price controls on interest rates. They have been set way below market values for quite some time.

The distortions are more serious than a mere problem with credit. I won't bore you with those details because I don't think you are really concerned about the truth.

The answer to this crisis is to stop interfering in the market. Of course, that isn't going to happen. Instead our politicians are at this very moment prescribing more of the exact same policies that caused the problem.
10.11.2008 2:31am
Grover Gardner (mail):
Ohio Scrivener wrote:


The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculates that Obama has promised a total of $990 billion in new spending over his first four-year term.


This is what they actually said:


The non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculates that Obama has promised a total of $990 billion in new spending over his first four-year term. At the same time, he has also proposed spending cuts that amount to around $989 billion, so the net cost roughly balances out. The debt will continue to increase, more or less in line with current projections, based on keeping most of the Bush tax cuts.

"Obama has talked about a lot of new spending initiatives, but he has also talked about new ways to curb spending," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee, whose detailed budget analyses are available here. "I give him points for holding the line."


From the same article:


A very different calculation has been made by the conservative National Taxpayers Union, which has compiled a much more detailed list of the two candidates' proposed spending plans. According to NTU calculations, Obama is proposing net spending increases of around $292 billion a year, or more than $1 trillion over four years.

The NTU Foundation tally includes many smaller spending proposals (less than $2 billion each) ignored by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Together, these campaign promises add up to tens of billions of dollars a year. But that by itself is not sufficient to explain the discrepancy between the two thinktanks. The NTU Foundation appears to be using a different methodology for some of the big-ticket items, such as health care spending...

The NTU Foundation looks only at spending, and makes no attempt to look at the overall fiscal implications of the two candidates' tax plans. Senior analyst Demian Brady said it was unclear whether the Obama spending proposals would be financed by tax increases, or an increase in the national debt.
10.11.2008 2:32am
Anon1000:
Professor Somin,
Will you be "reassessing Palin" once again, considering that the troopergate report has been released, finding that she abused her authority? And how does Palin being on the ticket and the possibility that she could be President very soon (if McCain is elected and for some reason can't complete his term) influence/affect your thinking and decision to vote for McCain?
I ask in all seriousness.
10.11.2008 2:37am
MS (mail):
Brian Macker,

As you say, that's never going to happen. So shouldn't we be talking about second-best options right now, instead of libertarian fantasy?
10.11.2008 2:41am
PDXLawyer (mail):
For what its worth, I too like the idea of a black President. I'll expand on this.

In the first place, about 12% of my fellow citizens are black. Many of them plainly *feel* like the rest of society looks down on them. Whether or not the feeling is justified, it is unarguably real, and it seems to cause great distress. Electing a black President seems likely to decrease this distress, so other things being equal I'm for it. I suppose there are some people who would be distressed by having a black President, but my sense is that they are relatively few.

Second, my experience is that white liberals often have a really hard time getting past race. Affirmative action policies for example seem largely driven by the need to relieve white liberal guilt, rather than a desire to benefit black people. I'm hoping that the election of a black President will reduce this feeling of guilt and allow us to think more rationally about affirmative action and other issues having a racial component. In short, I believe that electing a black President will tend to make race less important, rather than more important, in politics, and that is something worth having.
10.11.2008 2:46am
Asher (mail):
"I like the idea of a black president" is the same as "I would never vote for a black man for president." You are prepared to vote for him because of the color of his skin which is as reprehensible as voting against him because of it.

There's really nothing reprehensible about it at all. I'm sure you wouldn't say that it'd be reprehensible if I voted for a Jewish candidate for President because, in part, I thought it would be nice if we had a Jewish President. Perhaps stupid, though I'd argue that there's at least something to be said for the symbolic importance of breaking the white, Christian, Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the White House, but it certainly wouldn't be reprehensible.
10.11.2008 2:58am
first history:
David Warner:

Regarding Mr. Ibershof's letter, I suggest you contact him with any complaints.

Further, Education Week reports that

John McCain is associating with the president of the very foundation that funded "radical" education reform work

In John McCain's newest Web ad, he attacks Barack Obama for supporting a "radical education foundation" that gave millions to "idealogical allies" that resulted in scant improvement in the quality of public schools.
. . . .
McCain, who has criticized Obama for his ties to William Ayers, one of the founders of Chicago's Annenberg project, is now associating with the very foundation that funded the "radical" work.

His campaign sent out a press release listing all of the former U.S. ambassadors who support him.

On his supporters' list: Leonore Annenberg, 90, who was chief of protocol in the Reagan White House and is the president and chairman of the Pennsylvania-based Annenberg Foundation. She is the widow of Walter H. Annenberg, the late publisher, philanthropist, ambassador, and founder of the Annenberg Challenge.


The ironies never end.

Obama's opponents just cannot imagine that just may be nothing odious occurred in the CAC in the mid-1990s, long before Ayers declared himself an "unrepetant terrorist" while he was promoting a book.

While I obviously won't change any preconceived notions (despite what witnesses or the facts say), here is a good description of the hiring of Obama for the Annenberg Challenge. Education Week also reported:

Chicago Annenberg Challenge in Spotlight

The context for the Chicago proposal to the Annenberg Foundation was the 1988 decentralization of the city's public schools by the Republican-controlled Illinois legislature, a response to frustration over years of teacher strikes, low achievement, and bureaucratic failure. Among other changes, the law set up local school councils at all district schools and gave the panels, which included community representatives, the power to hire principals.

. . . .

Critics of Sen. Obama assert that Mr. Ayers must have played a role in his selection as the chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote in a Sept. 23 opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal that it was an "unsettled question" how a former community organizer fresh out of law school could vault to the top of a new foundation. . . .

Mr. Ayers and Ms. Anne C. Hallett (then the executive director of the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform) met with the heads of three Chicago-based foundations that were actively involved in education, and the foundation executives agreed to take the lead in putting together a board of community leaders. The three officials were Deborah Leff, then the president of the Joyce Foundation; Patricia Albjerg Graham, then the president of the Spencer Foundation; and Adele S. Simmons, then the president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The trio of foundation presidents met for breakfast to begin their work. Ms. Leff, who is now president of the Washington-based Public Welfare Foundation, said in an interview that she suggested the young lawyer to the group.

Ms. Simmons said she also knew Mr. Obama at that time, but Ms. Graham did not. She had, however, heard of him while both were at Harvard University, Mr. Obama as the president of the Harvard Law Review and she as dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

"I knew of his deep commitment to improving urban education," Ms. Leff said. "I also knew in watching him on the board at Joyce that he was extremely intelligent, able to deal efficiently with a variety of points of view."

Ms. Graham said she later met with Mr. Obama at Avenzare, an Italian restaurant, and after a lengthy conversation, asked him to chair the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which he agreed to do if she served as vice chair and helped him.

"Mr. Obama's life story, she believed, could serve as testimony that lower-income and minority children could thrive when given access to good schools" a chief goal of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

"I thought a young man of that extraordinary personal background ... would be much more inspirational for a group of Chicago public school kids than a middle-aged white woman like me," Ms. Graham said.

All three former foundation executives said this month that their decisions to recommend Mr. Obama were not influenced by Mr. Ayers or Ms. Hallett.

"I can speak to the fact that Bill Ayers had nothing to do with the appointment of Obama to the Annenberg Challenge, and he was not significantly involved with the challenge after Obama was appointed," Ms. Graham said.


. . . .

A examination of the records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, housed at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers attended Chicago Annenberg Challenge board meetings together, and that Mr. Ayers worked on a governance committee with Mr. Obama.

. . . The Annenberg Challenge records only serve to establish clearly that while Barack Obama and Ayers had occasional contact during Obama's six years of service on the bipartisan board, they did not work closely together to exchange and develop policy ideas. In fact, as these same records show, Ayers attended a total six meetings of the board during the six years of Obama's board service.
. . . .
10.11.2008 3:11am
David Warner:
PDXLawyer,

Thanks for having the courage to broach that topic seriously.

It's not just white liberals.

I don't really think the election of Obama will lessen black support for things like affirmative action. If anything, it will encourage it. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

What it would likely do, as you note, is lessen the vice grip of privilege guilt on the best and brightest of the white lower and middle classes, which prevents them from rising to challenge the upper class who promulgates it to more easily maintain their status.

The credibility of the case they make will take a serious hit.
10.11.2008 3:18am
David Warner:
On a less blunt, and more hopeful, note:

So called African-Americans have a stronger claim to be non-hyphenated Americans than a healthy majority of whites. The last slave ship reached these shores half a century before my non-Cherokee ancestors arrived. Nonetheless, there is a vast qualitative difference between those two ships.

One bore immigrants, with an immigrant mentality that fit hand in glove with the values enshrined in the Declaration and reaffirmed by Lincoln. Obama, from both mother and father, received his full American birthright of that mentality. It transcends ideology.

The other, however, bore not those inspired by the values that constituted this nation, but those coerced here by their betrayal. If these, now older, in some ways fuller, Americans see in Obama a kindred spirit, I hold out some hope they will come to adopt his immigrant values as their own.
10.11.2008 3:35am
Cornellian (mail):
I've never understood how "liberals" can be so passionate about protecting their civil liberties while blithely ceding every other form of liberty as Congress uses, for instance, the Commerce Clause to expand the federal government and its power to control so much at the cost of, well, individual liberties.

Perhaps it has escaped your attention that it was a Republican administration that argued, in Raich v. Ashcroft, that the Commerce Clause gave the federal government the right to regulate your ability to grow a plant in your own backyard for your own personal use.

I've never understood how conservatives can get away with claiming to be in favor of balanced budgets and limited government while doing precisely the opposite once they get elected.
10.11.2008 3:48am
markH (mail):
Fear not. The Democrats eat their own.

See Carter in 1976 and Clinton in 1992.

Hillary's healthcare summit was in 1993 and was killed by a Democratic congress.
10.11.2008 3:54am
richard cabeza:
Cornellian: Wow, Republicans aren't always conservative? Welcome to 1972, please enjoy your stay.
10.11.2008 3:59am
Sagar (mail):
Headline: Sara Palin abused power

body text includes: "The report found that his refusal to fire the trooper was "likely a contributing factor" in Monegan's termination in July, but it also concluded that the governor's decision was "a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority" to hire and fire department heads."


gives both sides an opportunity to selectively quote the part they prefer.
10.11.2008 4:40am
James Gibson (mail):
They already are selectively quoting. Fox is correctly reporting that she was charged with an ethics violation by not reporting the phone calls her husband was making through her office to push for the troopers firing. Also that she was not charged with an abuse of authority in the termination of Monegan. CNN reported that she had abused her office in the termination of Monegan and that she then had violated ethics laws as well. I have not heard what MSNBC has stated but I'm sure its guilty of all charges according to Keith Olberman. The fact is any charges will be dropped right after Obama is elected, bet on it.
10.11.2008 5:08am
PDXLawyer (mail):
David Warner:

Most black people I know (that is, those whose main interest in life isn't politics) aren't really very strong supporters of affirmative action. They just want to be treated like everybody else. Fact is, as a tool for helping actual black people, affirmative action *is* seriously broken, and they see it.

I agree with your second point, that many of the problems that blacks, as a group, face today are due to an understandable, though counterproductive, cultural reaction to being victimized in the past. To the extent the feeling of victimization is reduced, the counterproductive cultural reaction should be reduced, too.

BTW, for those like me who are interested in studying culture, and wonder how race can remain the powerful cultural factor that it plainly has, but revolted by the vapidity that passes for academic work in this area, you might find this site interesting: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
10.11.2008 6:05am
LM (mail):

But with the financial crisis, there is a much greater chance that electing Obama and the congressional Democrats will be like electing FDR in 1932. Obama could use the emergency to transform the country in a very bad way. And, given the crisis and Obama's political skills, it is quite possible that the country would reelect him, even if he does badly -- which, after all, is what happened when FDR was reelected during the New Deal in 1936.

Wait wait, I know... the Nazis bomb Pearl Harbor (totally uncool), but then the GM lines run around the clock cranking out Avengers and 4x4's. And all the Hershey Bars... and nylons! Sacre Bleu, somebody get Carla Bruni into fatigues. What are we waiting for?
10.11.2008 6:24am
David Schwartz (mail):
But with the financial crisis, there is a much greater chance that electing Obama and the congressional Democrats will be like electing FDR in 1932. Obama could use the emergency to transform the country in a very bad way.
Right, unlike McCain who would would do precisely the same thing. McCain really missed his chance in the first debate -- if he had come out against the bailout, he'd probably have a healthy lead right now.

If you think Republicans won't exploit a crisis to increase government spending, you have only to look at how GWB reacted to the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

There is no Ronald Reagan running. (And even he didn't manage to shrink the size of government.)
10.11.2008 6:31am
PDXLawyer (mail):
Asher:

I wonder where you got the idea that there has been an Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the White House. Rooseveldt, Eisenhower, and Kennedy come to mind.

Second, it seems to me that there is a difference between Ilya (who I presume from his name is white) saying "it would be nice if we had a black Persident" and you (who I presume from your screenname are Jewish) saying "it would be nice if we had a Jewish President."
10.11.2008 6:46am
David Schwartz (mail):
Second, it seems to me that there is a difference between Ilya (who I presume from his name is white) saying "it would be nice if we had a black Persident" and you (who I presume from your screenname are Jewish) saying "it would be nice if we had a Jewish President."
And that difference would be? Surely they both could want one for the right reasons, such as inspiring others.
10.11.2008 7:55am
Chieftain1776 (mail):
On the issue of divided government and spending at Cato and an explicit endorsement here. Note that it was written in 2003 and 2004 with a unified government. I wonder what treachery those libertarian shills for the Republican party were advocating?

On a New New Deal a really great post at National Review. I would only add that Obama and the Democrats get may get full blame for being unable (or inexperienced) to manage the crisis. Remember Bush II had patriotism and the excuse for the economy after a terrorist attack on our homeland and still almost lost in 3 years later in 2004. Also the Republicans even had Nixon be impeached (all but officially) and leave in shame and came back one election later.

So all of this contains a quite a bit of hope but also some evidence that we'll see a revived and more conservative Republican Party in the 2010 midterm election. So for me it's Obama '08 and Mark Sanford and/or Gary Johnson(one can dream) in 2012. Or (per earlier cited evidence) I'd be more than happy to have a Clintonian Obama rather than experiment with another unified government. Although I may be tempted by what Sanford did with (or to) his Republican legislature...
10.11.2008 8:05am
Ryan Waxx (mail):

"I just don't understand conservative thinking... As far as I can see, they've reduced government primarily in its highest and best use, as the tool we use to work together to be sure no citizen is starving, homeless, or without health care."


Wonderful. Now go find where in the constitution it says the purpose of government is to "be sure no citizen is starving, homeless, or without health care".

If you succeed, please send President Obama your resume. You may be qualified to be the next supreme court justice.
10.11.2008 8:13am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Moreover, you're a liar. If all you wanted was a "tool we use to work together to be sure no citizen is starving, homeless, or without health care", then there are hundreds of organizations that you can contribute to to accomplish that.

There is only one reason to prefer the government as your "working together" tool... and that is to force others to participate involuntarily. Your vision of "working together" runs something like this: "we will work together, you and I. You go out and gather money for the things I want done, then give it to me or I will send men with guns to your house to forcibly take it from you."

Its much like that joker a few posts above yours who had the absolute gall to say that at least government control of the economy wasn't a civil liberties violation. Which is true up until the government wants to take control of whatever it is in the economy that YOU want to do.
10.11.2008 8:26am
Ryan Waxx (mail):

So all of this contains a quite a bit of hope but also some evidence that we'll see a revived and more conservative Republican Party in the 2010 midterm election.


It all depends weather you think it matters more weather the Republican party is not conservative enough, or weather you think its corruption is a problem.

If you think the corruption is a bigger problem, you'll vote in one of the few people in the senate to largely eschew earmarks despite having the seniority to get them. If you don't mind the corruption as long as you get closer to banning abortion, then I recommend your current course.
10.11.2008 8:31am
just me (mail):
Is there anyone who really believes Obama will hold down spending with a democratic led congress?

Is there anyone who really believe any healthcare plan they propose and he signs isn't going to include massive government spending that will be far more expensive than those initial estimates?

And while I can only hope the GOP comes back strong in '10, I am not so keen on counting on that. I don't think the GOP can do it that soon, the party itself is a mess and I don't think they can pull themselves together and recruit viable candidates.

My guess is that Obama will win and have a democratic congress for 4 years, and I am willing to bet they will spend tons of money, create new entitlements, and manage to still hang the failures around the neck of the republicans and Bush.
10.11.2008 8:39am
Bad English:
In addition to economic concerns, I believe that we are likely in for (para)military attack once Obama takes office. Such a thoroughly weak person is an invitation to our enemies, who despise weakness above all else.

Obama will be a disaster, and people will snap out of their cultic messiah delusions only once it's too late.
10.11.2008 8:43am
Chieftain1776 (mail):
Well I think corruption is endemic to politics. I guess I believe that the Republicans will be less corrupt with a Democrat in office in 2010 (assuming they win in 2010). I don't see how abortion is a factor but it's not one of my main issues. I think a McCain presidency will just discredit free markets...I don't believe he cares for them and will throw any inkling towards them away in a crisis like Hoover did. That would REALLY setup a situation for an outright socialist new deal. Can you imagine a socialist-lite Republican screwing up the economy even more and the backlash it would cause against the party and conservatism?
10.11.2008 8:50am
Mac (mail):
Mac said:
Yeah, Charlie
My name is Charles. I find your tone deliberately disrespectful and insulting.

I would have sent this message by e-mail. But oh, wait, you don't list a valid e-mail address.

Dear Charles,

My apologies. I changed your name from Charles to Charlie in my mind and actually did not even know I was writing it incorrectly. I try not to demean anyone on a personal basis, although, I may fail in the heat of the argument. But, I don't find it to be acceptable behavior and I do try not to. I am sorry that I offended you and it was not intentional.

I do think the rest of my post was quite appropriate and would be interested in your response to it.

Re the e-mail, I think it is connected to the evil four letter green LINK word, no? As stated above, it has defeated me. But, I am going to try to follow David Warner's instructions and see if I can figure it out after I have a pot or 2 of coffee.
10.11.2008 8:56am
David Schwartz (mail):
Is there anyone who really believes Obama will hold down spending with a democratic led congress?
Nope, but neither would McCain.

Is there anyone who really believe any healthcare plan they propose and he signs isn't going to include massive government spending that will be far more expensive than those initial estimates?
I don't see the Republicans doing, or even proposing, anything to fix heath care. And if we're going to spend money, I don't think spending it on health care is worse than spending it on non-defensive wars.

My guess is that Obama will win and have a democratic congress for 4 years, and I am willing to bet they will spend tons of money, create new entitlements, and manage to still hang the failures around the neck of the republicans and Bush.
Probably, but the Republicans will do much the same -- just spending the money on different things. The Republicans will do it with deficit spending while the Democrats will pay for it with new taxes. Which do you think is worse?

There is no major party of small government. Your choices are whether we raise taxes or raise the deficit. Your choices are whether we spend the money on health care or something else.

And it just might happen, if we get very lucky, that we get Obama for President and he gets so bogged down dealing with the economy, he doesn't screw up health care, the Internet, or anything else he wants to screw with.

And there is one huge benefit to an Obama President. When it comes to repairing our relationships with our allies, those who cooperate with a McCain presidency will face political costs in their home countries. McCain will be protested overseas, and it will be very hard to cooperate with him. Obama will be greeted warmly by people of other countries.

His "make a clean break from Bush policies" will be believed, and those who greet him and cooperate with him may see political benefits. It's not fair and it's not right, but it's what's going to happen. And we really need to repair our damaged relationships with our allies or we'll face big pain with Iran, China, and Russia.
10.11.2008 8:58am
C.M.O.T. Dibbler:
Hot sausage? Inna bun?
10.11.2008 8:58am
Chieftain1776 (mail):

And it just might happen, if we get very lucky, that we get Obama for President and he gets so bogged down dealing with the economy, he doesn't screw up health care, the Internet, or anything else he wants to screw with.


That's what I'm thinking as well. He does keep making ads about health care though. I just think it would be really difficult for him. I mean if Clinton couldn't do it in a lesser recession I just don't see Obama being able to pull it off after hundreds of billions have been spent already and with a crisis looming. But underestimating idiocy in politicians is never a safe bet. And he may be hailed as a hero for doing so.

He's already emphasized that THE KEY to our economy is a the green energy make work scheme (luckily one benefit of this crisis is the lower oil prices so hopefully that will be shelved). Does ring of FDR though (but I wouldn't put beneath McCain to pull some similar green make work scheme in a crisis).

Needless to say I don't take my vote for Obama lightly.
10.11.2008 9:14am
h0mi:
Notice that GWB's policies were also facilitated by a combination of united government and crisis (9/11, Enron, etc.).


"United government" existed for just 4 years- 03-07. The "divided government" meme (ie divided govt = lower budget deficits) crashed and burned when our pre-bailout deficit hit 450+ billion for FY 2008.
10.11.2008 9:29am
Mikey:

Aren't these Kos types usually contemptuous of the Nixonian juriprudence of "It's not illegal if the president does it"?


That particular adherence to principle will last until approximately 1 picosecond after Obama's swearing-in as President.
10.11.2008 9:44am
Chieftain1776 (mail):
Well the case i linked to above was for overall spending. Do you have the spending broken down by any chance? I found this chart that actually shows a sharp flattening in the beginning of '08 then a steep increase as an estimate.
10.11.2008 9:47am
Toby:
I am fascinated by the number of commenters whose argument appears to be "the current president, who expanded government greatly, who talked of bipartisanship while ignoring all advice from any except his own cronies, and who inappropriately used the powers of the state to limit dissent was an absolute disaster, therefore, you are a hack for pointing out that it would be bad to have another president who has all the same traits."

Help me someone. I'm not sure of the logic of the repeated assertion
10.11.2008 9:51am
Mac (mail):

I don't see the Republicans doing, or even proposing, anything to fix heath care. And if we're going to spend money, I don't think spending it on health care is worse than spending it on non-defensive wars.



Mr. Schwartz,

Obama and Biden have said they want us to go into the Sudan. That is a non-defensive war. Also, even if he pulls troops out of Iraq, Obama has repeatedly stated that he is sending them to Afghanistan. I fail to see any savings. In fact, if he pulls out too soon, and there is chaos, we will be going back there, too.



Probably, but the Republicans will do much the same -- just spending the money on different things. The Republicans will do it with deficit spending while the Democrats will pay for it with new taxes. Which do you think is worse?


McCain has proposed a freeze on spending except for the VA and Defense and a few other things. Whether you agree or not, that is not spending tons of money on new programs. Why do the posters here keep putting me in the position of having to defend McCain? He takes NO earmarks and hasn't for years. He is obsessed with reducing the deficit. Whatever else you want to say about the man, give the devil his due, please and speak the truth.


There is no major party of small government. Your choices are whether we raise taxes or raise the deficit. Your choices are whether we spend the money on health care or something else.


At least admit there is serious doubt about whether raising taxes will increase revenues to the treasury. Obama himself has said he probably won't be able to raise taxes on that infamous 5% with the current economic conditions. I always wonder, if raising taxes is bad when the economy is bad, why is it good when the economy is good? Especially since it so frequently causes a recession. Remember, back when Democrats cared about the worker, JFK lowered taxes to get out of the recession he inherited.

There have been, record revenues pouring into the US Treasury since Bush lowered taxes. It is not an exact equation as you are stating, And, one sure thing, if spending isn't controlled, raising taxes even if it did work which I doubt, won't reduce the deficit.



And there is one huge benefit to an Obama President. When it comes to repairing our relationships with our allies, those who cooperate with a McCain presidency will face political costs in their home countries. McCain will be protested overseas, and it will be very hard to cooperate with him. Obama will be greeted warmly by people of other countries.



Call me crazy, but didn't the French recently elect the most conservative President in their history? One who loves America and has stated on numerous times that France needs to work with her? Has talked about taking on increased responsibilities and supporting America.

England' Prime Minister is pro-American as is Germany's. Remember the anti-American Schroeder got defeated by the pro-American.


Also, Reagan was protested overseas for fighting against the Soviet Union. Europe was afraid to mess with the status quo. Those protesters didn't look too smart when the Soviets folded, did they?

And, we are loved in the Eastern European countries and we have a pretty good relationship with the Aussie's, so who do we need to go to with our hat in our hands to apologize, please?

If you want to see us hated, wait until Obama starts abrogating our trade agreements as he has promised to do. You will see hate big time if that happens, Mr. Schwartz, not this "the Leftists of the world hate us so the world hates us so it must be Bush" stuff. The folks will hate us and they'll be in the streets protesting our trade policy.

Did you miss that we may get an agreement with N. Korea today?
One where we verify (unlike Clinton's deal) they are not building nuclear weapons? If it goes through, Bush has agreed to take them off the Axis of Evil list. Gosh, how is the Left going to play that if it happens?

Also, are you unaware that the Europeans have been in talks with Iran for several years now at Bush's request to work on Iran's nuclear weapons ambition? They haven't accomplished much, well they have failed. I hope Obama has some words the French et al don't have as talking hasn't helped so far.

So, exactly who is going to love us who hates us now?
10.11.2008 9:52am
Ryan Waxx (mail):

And it just might happen, if we get very lucky, that we get Obama for President and he gets so bogged down dealing with the economy, he doesn't screw up health care, the Internet, or anything else he wants to screw with.



That's what I'm thinking as well.


Let me get this straight... you think it's more likely that Obama gets bogged down with a friendly congress than McCain gets bogged down with a hostile one?

Well, at least the election will provide a useful statistic: We'll see what percentage of the country is living in fantasy land.
10.11.2008 10:04am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Get over it Mac... Everyone Who Is Anyone knows that the world is waiting with baited breath to see weather the new President is willing to meet with Iran and Venezuela without preconditions, and will judge us accordingly.

With regards to Europe, the difference between republicans and democrats in the WH is weather their elites and their media (but I repeat myself) like us. Which is obviously of great importance, I am assured. By them.
10.11.2008 10:12am
PersonFromPorlock:
For me, it's come down to a question of "Do I want to vote for an advocate of authoritarian big government who rouses great enthusiasm, or one whose 'supporters' can barely stand him?" That seems to make the choice simple.
10.11.2008 10:16am
Chieftain1776 (mail):

you think it's more likely that Obama gets bogged down with a friendly congress than McCain gets bogged down with a hostile one?


No I rate it about 50/50. I have this theory that politicians look towards the next election. A consequence of that is if the Democrats overreach there will be a backlash in 2010. Conversely McCain has already shown that he's willing to spend another hundreds of billions on another housing bailout for political gain.

With a McCain presidency in a crisis situation you'll have him moving left with Republican cover and little to no backlash. Even more so if the economy gets worse it can still be blamed on a Republican.

In an Obama presidency you'll have a democratic congress worried about a backlash. Just think of how many Dems voted against their own party on the bailout for fear of it being made a campaign issue. Only when the Republican cover came it passed overwhelmingly.

We're not really dealing with a good situation here...we've got a Me too Republican and a liberal in the race.
10.11.2008 10:21am
Sagar (mail):
Chieftain1776,

McCain's $300B plan does not call for spending "another hundreds of billions" - those $300B are to be part of the already passed $700B (or $800B+ if you will) package.
10.11.2008 11:00am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
MS,
"As you say, that's never going to happen. So shouldn't we be talking about second-best options right now, instead of libertarian fantasy?"


That's not working for me.

Look I didn't vote for Bush his first term because I didn't like him on economics, because I'm an atheist, and other factors. There was also a far superior candidate who understood that Alan Greenspan was screwing up the economy, Harry Browne. So I voted for him.

During the election for Bush's second term the Democrats ran Kerry. I hated him worse. Mainly because of his activities surrounding the vietnam war like lying before Congress. The libertarians ran some wack job named Badnarik. I couldn't vote for him.

So I took your philosophy of second-best, and added the fact that since I'm from NY I wouldn't really be effecting the election, and I voted for Bush. This in the hopes that if Kerry did win it would be by a lesser margin from my state. Thus weakening his "mandate".

I think most of the candidates lie. They do that so that they don't alienate one issue voters. I think Ron Paul didn't lie and ended up alienating many voters. I for one did not like his responses to questions on 9/11. They pissed me off as I interepreted them as blaming America for what happened.

At a funeral for gramps you don't bring up reasons why he might just be responsible for his own death, especially if he was murdered. Especially if you think he was murdered over behavior that you didn't like in gramps. You don't say "It was wrong to murder gramps but I kind of expected it because he was a loud mouth. I always hated him for that."

Likewise when talking about ~2000 people murdered on 9/11 Ron Paul should not have suggested that they were murdered because of American non-isolationism. Especially when he has expressed dislike for America over it's non-isolationism.

The problem now is that we are in an economic mess and economic law does not care what party, race, or religion the person in charge belongs to. All it cares about it that the correct actions are taken. Both Obama and McCain are incapable of taking the correct actions.

There are big hints that Obama is ideologically closer to Marx than Mises. On the other hand, McCain supposedly is of the 'free market' camp. Yet when he opens his mouth it's like he doesn't understand the reasons why anyone is even in that camp. Furthermore, he makes suggestions that might have come out of the mouth of Marx.

I think Obama, might be slightly worse than McCain because of his immersion in Marxist ideology throughout his formative years. That doesn't say much for McCain.

I'm sick of republicans, like say Richard Nixon, mouthing pro-market soundbites and then turning around and implementing command economy measures. Republicans have often been far worse than the Democrats when it comes to bad economic decisions. Nixon sang the song of anti-communism and then turned around and implemented wage and price controls. WAGE AND PRICE CONTROLS!!!! Un-F'n-believable.

Both major party candidates are going to make this financial mess worse. Furthermore, the majority of Congress has already demonstrated a complete lack of understanding as to what is wrong with the economy. This bailout bill is precisely more of the same poison that got us into this mess.

Given the facts I know there is no way to predict whether Obama or McCain will be worse for the country. I only know that both are going to be bad for the economy.

Ron Paul is the only politician I've heard that even approaches sense on this, and therefore I'm writing him in. I expect the only effect that is going to have is to give me a clear conscious and that is all I can hope for in this election.

I live in a state, New York, that is clearly going to elect Obama. It's not even going to be close. That is the outcome no matter whom I decide on. That's true even if I restrict myself to the lesser of two evils, and pick either major party candidate.

Besides when two options are bad and it's hard to tell which is worse I don't see what the big deal is even if my choosing a third option might tip things to the worse option. You are going to have to make a very good case that Obama, or McCain is far worse than the other for me to even think about voting for one or the other.

If I'm on the sidewalk and two near identical cars have lost control and are bearing down on me, one driven by gramps and one by grandma, well I don't see the point of choosing between them. Why should I purposely jump in front of one or the other. I'd rather tuck and roll out of the way even if it's physically impossible for me to avoid getting hit.
10.11.2008 11:03am
common sense (www):
CB55:
It seems the tax code illustrates why we should have more free market and less government. It is, after all, the government that created that disparity in the tax code.
10.11.2008 11:06am
just me (mail):
In an Obama presidency you'll have a democratic congress worried about a backlash.

Like Hell. They don't worry about backlashes now, why would they worry if they have Obama in the White House?

I think you might have some worry from some of the "blue dog" democrats, but my guess is that there are enough useful idiots in the GOP to give them cover and still let the democrats dictate policy, and right now the last think we need is a guy coming in who wants to spend lots and lots of money and create new entitlements.

And I am willing to bet every spending program Obama has proposed is going to be at least twice as expensive as he is claiming. that is how it always works in Washington? Is there a single program created that turned out to be cheaper than expected?

And don't forget Obama's intention to send our troops to Sudan. That is unlikely to come without some cost both in lives and cash.
10.11.2008 11:17am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
"In short, I believe that electing a black President will tend to make race less important, rather than more important, in politics, and that is something worth having."


I feel the same way for the same reasons. Unfortunately it also feels like it could be characterized by something else I've also heard,

"At least if we elect Obama I'll never have to hear the phrase, 'America will never have a black president' [as an argument for how racist we are]".


Aren't the motivations you've described exactly the opposite from the reasons that a black person would have for wanting Obama elected? So aren't you hoping that having a black President will somehow, no matter how benign, backfire on them?
10.11.2008 11:17am
mlstx (mail):
Ilya,

Nice to know you voted for Gore and Kerry in the last elections! Wouldn't have wanted to vote for Bush, since you wouldn't have had divided government that way!
10.11.2008 11:29am
Larry Maggitti (mail):
There are, I think, reasons to think that Obama won't be quite so bad as you think, and why McCain might be worse, from a libertarian perspective. Certainly both are bad from that perspective, and the economic crisis has dangerous implications whichever person is elected.

But I won't try to address the issue in any detail, except to note that conventional metrics of whether a politician is liberal or conservative, based upon votes taken, is an entirely useless way to determine whether a politician has policies favorable to libertarians. Libertarians were historical allies of the Republicans, but even under the best of circumstances many "conservative" positions were anti-libertarian, and vice versa. Looking at recent history, this is even more true.

That isn't to deny that Obama has strong big government instincts. But so does McCain. The fact that McCain has a much more conservative voting record tells us nothing about which of them is worse from a libertarian perspective.

Query - has anyone tried to do a libertarian/statist rating system based upon the votes of politicians?
10.11.2008 11:34am
Chieftain1776 (mail):
I stand corrected on the additional spending... for now (We've still got a little more than 3 weeks). I still only see a difference in degree not in principle. And looking at it just seems like more me too-ism. I just read an article where the effect (after an initial thrust to the left) is that it actually pushed Obama more to the right.

"The plan would cause the government "to massively overpay for mortgages in a plan that would guarantee taxpayers lose money, and put them at risk of losing even more if home values don't recover," Obama economic adviser Jason Furman said in a statement. "The biggest beneficiaries of this plan will be the same financial institutions that got us into this mess, some of whom even committed fraud."

So this may be an early (and hopeful) indication (in accordance with my theory) that he's at least cognizant of an alternative constituency and doesn't just blindly lurch left.

I know it's a stretch at this point but interesting.
10.11.2008 11:35am
Larry Maggitti (mail):
I also think that Obama's economic advisers are much more reassuring than McCain's. Yes, even for a libertarian. Neither of them has economic advisers that a libertarian would be entirely comfortable with, but the fact that Obama's advisers are slightly more "liberal" is outweighed by the fact that McCain's most prominent advisers seem to be largely ignorant of how free markets really work.

If McCain was advised by, say Tyler Cohen and Alex Tabarrok, I'd feel much more confident regarding his economic stewardship. I still wouldn't vote for him for several reasons, most prominently temperament and foreign affairs.
10.11.2008 11:45am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
"He was convicted in 1980, receiving only a fine. He was pardoned by Reagan in 1981."

I never knew about that. That pisses me off. One of the few instances I hear of where abuse of power is being punished and Reagan lets him off. What kind of signal does that send.
10.11.2008 11:49am
Chieftain1776 (mail):

They don't worry about backlashes now, why would they worry if they have Obama in the White House?


I think they do worry about backlashes now (again I think the first bailout vote was illustrative) and without McCain trying to keep them in line the House Republicans can be a real opposition to any radical spending proposals by the fear of it becoming a campaign issue.

Also remember that Clinton had Democratic congress and the Dems held back and we didn't see nationalized health care.
10.11.2008 11:52am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Larry,

Why don't you give the names of these economic advisors and why you think they hold the opinions you think they do. I have not investigated this but did a quick search on google just now.

Obama: Jason Furman, Austan Goolsbee
McCain: Doug Holtz-Eakin and Carly Fioria.

Are these the people you had in mind? I quickly looked up info on Obama's guys and there is nothing about them that I would find reassuring.

It's clear that whatever the advisors are or are not saying none of it is having the effect of making the actual candidates, the ones making the decisions, any smarter on the economy.
10.11.2008 12:09pm
MarkField (mail):

I've never understood how "liberals" can be so passionate about protecting their civil liberties while blithely ceding every other form of liberty as Congress uses, for instance, the Commerce Clause to expand the federal government and its power to control so much at the cost of, well, individual liberties.


This response seems to me to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of American government.

The federal government, like all the state governments, is republican. The laws passed by Congress are no different in principle than those passed by state governments (actually, they tend to be better). The fact that a regulation gets passed by Congress rather than a state government makes it no more "tyrannical"; it's almost certainly less so.

I can understand if you object to particular features of economic regulation. I can't understand what difference it makes that the regulation comes from Congress rather than the states.

If you have particular liberties you think Congress has trampled, identify them and I'll let you know if I agree or not. But the notion that Congress just sort of generally tramples on liberties more than states do is just not supportable.
10.11.2008 12:10pm
Larry Maggitti (mail):
If there was any indication that Holtz-Eakin had McCain's ear, that would, indeed, be somewhat reassuring. The evidence is otherwise. The advisers that do have his ear, including Fioria, are not reassuring.

As for Obama's advisers, Goolsbee in particular, maybe the problem is that you only took a quick look. I would say that libertarian economists, while differing from Goolsbee on a number of grounds, respect him and believe, correctly, that he at least has a a good understanding of, and respect for, free markets. (Tyler Cohen, for example, calls him "a first-rate economist." If I had more time, I'd pull some more/more specific quotes, but I think it's pretty clear that Goolsbee has a lot more credibility among libertarians than one might think after just taking a quick look).

As for Furman, even a quick look should have shown you that he is regarded as a centrist economist, favoring social security reform in a libertarian direction, free trade, etc. The announcement that he was added to Obama's team brought on howls of outrage from labor and other liberal interest groups.
10.11.2008 12:40pm
Bill2:
For the sake of argument, let's say there really is no difference in the two major parties on reducing (or not expanding) government, or on management of the economy. I don't actually believe that, but obviously some folks here &elsewhere do. There is nevertheless one issue that (last I heard) is important to libertarians in which there is a clear difference - gun control.

The last time we had undivided government in Democratic hands, they passed two major pieces of anti-gun legislation. McCain, btw, voted against both. One of those had a sunset provision, and undivided GOP government let it expire. Reauthorizing it remains in the Democratic Party national platform today. Every Democrat appointee on the USSC dissented in Parker.

So, if there really isn't any other difference, no libertarian should ever vote Democrat just because of the gun issue.
10.11.2008 12:43pm
deepthought:
Sagar sez:

McCain's $300B plan does not call for spending "another hundreds of billions" - those $300B are to be part of the already passed $700B (or $800B+ if you will) package.

McCain's plan will cost far more than $300B, he just doesn't realize it. He proposes to buy the mortgages at par value--meaning the original amount of the mortgage, not the current value of the home. This is an enormous subsidy to the lender and the homeowner--they are made whole, the homeowner gets off scot-free from a poor decision, ahd the taxpayer gets left holding the bag.

In fact, many of the economists who have endorsed McCain oppose this plan.

"This is just political gamesmanship," said Robert H. Heidt, a professor at the Indiana University School of Law. "The bill is wildly over-ambitious in trying to rescue home buyers from the downturn in real estate appreciation. It's costs would never end. I will end up voting for McCain but this is ridiculous."

Added George Viksnins, a retired professor of economics at Georgetown University: "Even though I support McCain I think this is an ill-considered program. This was something to get press time and face time, and that is the problem with our political system. This was done as a sound bite and without analysis."

"This is part of the larger plan to reward people who made mistakes. There is nothing in the plan to prevent people from continuing to do dumb things," remarked Don Booth, a professor of economics at Chapman University, who previously signed onto McCain's economic plan. "If we reward bad behavior, we will get more bad behavior."
. . . .
Michael Connolly, an economics professor at the University of Miami, called the idea "Robin Hood economics."

"It will provide an incentive for people to default [on their loans]," he warned. "And they might get rid of their negative equity and take the subsidy and default on their next loan too."

Houston Stokes, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said he didn't agree that the government should "pay a face value" due to the moral hazard it created.

"These guys got themselves into a jam and it is now their problem," he said. "We should not overpay. We should buy these mortgages at the lowest price... I don't want to be accused of helping out the Wall Street types."

Stokes was echoed by Delaware University economics professor Burton Abrams, who said that McCain was encouraging "future bad decisions," before noting that "there are no easy solutions here and all have their costs."
. . . .
Phil Bryson, a professor of economics at Brigham Young University said "I would have expected this kind of mortgage plan to have been proposed by Obama, since it fits well with his general approach to government action. It comes from McCain only because the declining economy has given Obama a surge in the polls and people are willing to accept anything Obama says without question."


Another problem: the law.


"The mortgages that are causing this credit freeze are generally mortgages that aren't available for purchase," said Alan M. White, Valparaiso University specialist in consumer law.
. . .
Legal contracts with investors — known as pooling and servicing agreements — limit the ability to alter loans or take them out of the pool.

"You can't just go to Countrywide and say, 'Please sell us 100 mortgages out of your securitized pool,'" White said. The contract "specifically tells them they can't do that."

Deutsche Bank estimates that more than 80 percent of the $1.8 trillion in outstanding troubled loans — those made to "subprime" borrowers with weak credit and "Alt-A" borrowers who didn't document their incomes or provide large down payments — are tied up in mortgage-backed securities.


The McCain campaign's idea is half-baked, desparately looking for something positive to offer when their party's ideology opposes bailouts. McCain's favorite Roosevelt isn't Teddy; it's Franklin.
10.11.2008 1:00pm
Pug (mail):
If Obama wins, I vote for seccession.

This time I hope we let you go, especially if you are from one of those so-called conservative, subsidy-sucking red states. The states that benefit from socialized farming, subsidized ranching, military spending, socialized Medicare, socialized retirement and still constantly complain about socialism.
10.11.2008 1:07pm
Aleks:
Re: We know from past history that economic crises are a major opportunity for expansion of government power.

As others have already pointed out, it will be the economic crisis that will be in the drivers seat for the next few years. It won't much matter who controls the White House, they will be compelled by circumstance to expand the role of government in vast ways. In fact that's already happening and we are seeing naked (but perhaps necessary) socialism in the plan for the Fed to buy equity in the major banks. And you might do better to campaign against a solidly Democratic Congress rather than Obama, since it is Congress that will passing the new bills. At least if the GOP has a voice there it may able to restrain some of the worst excesses, or put in sunset provsions so that when the emergency is over the new powers of govermment will go away too.

Re: we get Obama for President and he gets so bogged down dealing with the economy, he doesn't screw up health care, the Internet, or anything else he wants to screw with.

If large numbers of people lose their jobs the pressure for universal healthcare not tied to jobs (IMO, a good thing for several reasons, if done right) will be irrestible, just as the pressure for universal unemployment insurance was when FDR took over.
10.11.2008 1:18pm
Steve Walser (mail):
I fear you commenters who long for an Obama presidency will get to repent is leisure as Mr Obama and an emboldened leftist Democratic base uses it's new powers to accomplish what it has long tried to do, kill speech that it disagrees with. Mr Obama has no history of respect for free speech for those he disagrees with or for not endorsing intimidation of those who "stand in the way of the people" and their "champions" such as Acorn.

If you really do not think Obama wants fundamental change in the very fabric of the freedoms in the US, then you are not paying attention or you willingly allow yourself to be deluded.

Mr Obama is the greatest threat to personal freedom in this country that we have ever faced.

Look for re-institution of the fairness doctrine during the next congress in order to kill right wing talk radio. If they can figure out a way to regulate opinion on the internet we will also lose this forum ( and the government manages to do this rather effectively in China, so it can happen).

Scoff if you like but IMHO when the press fails to defend free speech for it's own sake, as it has done repeatedly during this election, then most of what is needed to effect control is already in place.

Tell me you don't believe the hard left would support violence and intimidation to smash the face of it's hated opponents.
10.11.2008 1:44pm
deepthought:
Steve Walser sez

Tell me you don't believe the hard left would support violence and intimidation to smash the face of it's hated opponents.

Sort of like the current Republican campaign? See here and here for prime examples.
10.11.2008 2:05pm
Secularist (mail):
Ilya,

Your fear of a renewed regulatory state is clearly a testament to your strong religious faith in free markets. More secular, rationalistic people would look at the evidence and see that lapses from the New Deal haven't worked so well. They would welcome government regulation of the macro economy, using markets as micro tools to help achieve important regulatory ends more efficiently. I admire your ability to stick to your religious faith, thick and thin, through the trials of this mere material world.
10.11.2008 2:18pm
David Warner:
Ryan Waxx,

"Now go find where in the constitution it says the purpose of government is to "be sure no citizen is starving, homeless, or without health care"."

As far as I can tell, the two choices on offer are:

(a) the one above

(b) the purpose of government is to assure that all citizens have the same amount of food, housing, and health care.

In that case, (a) is the more libertarian.

The constitution in exile is akin to the king over the water in being a fantasy that serves as a very effective tool for its opponents in excluding its supporters from influence. Time to find a Peel, if not a Disraeli.
10.11.2008 2:47pm
Thales (mail) (www):
The General writes:

"You really should be worried about a president who feels no shame in palling around with communists, terrorists, America-hating preachers and congregants of a racist black power church."

What I am really worried about is not principled, thoughtful libertarians such as Ilya, who express a reasoned argument as to why they think an Obama presidency would be bad on policy. I disagree, and think Ilya overlooks many virtues of Obama, including his ability to concede that he might be wrong and that someone with another point of view might have a better idea, one worth trying. This is attested to by many intelligent, honest, thoughtful people that know Obama well, both those whom I have met and those whom have spoken at length in the press (see Cass Sunstein). Ilya could be right, and Obama and supporters like me both know it--we just think his way of doing things hasn't worked and isn't the solution to most big problems that ail us--what would a conservative orlibertarian response to global warming or crushing global debt and poverty even look like? I fear from Ilya's crowd, and from John McCain, that the respective honest answers are, the coasts drown and we let people starve down to the point that the survivors are all capable of helping themselves. I can nonetheless have an intellectually conversation with these people, and see that they sometimes, even often, have good points.

What concerns me is that the ignorance, hatred and utter disregard for reality reflected in The General's remarks is held by more than the lunatic fringe, and has trickled into the general population.
10.11.2008 3:15pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
It's what they do…

If Obama is elected we can hope that he rose in Democrat Party politics because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago deal with slumlords and convicted felons like Tony Rezko because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago pal around with wealthy unrepentant terrorist and bombers because Chicago names them as Person of the Year because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago attend large churches run by racist bigots and anti-Semites who demand that God damn America because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago earmark pork for his wife's employer so she can get a big raise because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago team up with ACORN to register dead people and members of the Dallas Cowboys football team because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago work with ACORN to pressure banks to give mortgages to people who can't afford them, leading to the collapse of the world's financial markets because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago get millions in untraceable political contributions from all over the world because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago invalidate their opponents petition to get on the ballot because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago activate mobs to shout down their opponents because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago take large donations from Fannie and Freddie while protecting them from oversight because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago support gun confiscation then lie about it because that's how things are done in Chicago.

Politicians who want to get ahead in Chicago support killing children who survive botched abortions then lie about it because that's how things are done in Chicago.

The list of things that are done in Chicago by politicians is virtually endless. What we can hope is that if the politician is elected, he is only a cynical manipulator of people's hopes and fears and is not really a radical, America hating racist thug.

A crook -- that's OK. After all, it's the way things are done in Chicago.
10.11.2008 3:25pm
Minotauro (mail):
Divided government is a very thin reed on which to support a presidential candidate. In truth, McCain has done nothing beside not being Obama to win the election. From the outset McCain has run a scattershot campaign. One day Obama's radical associations are the rage and Obama is dangerous for America. The next, Obama is not a bad guy, he's family man (whatever that means) and there's no need to be scared of him for president. Ok, John so then why do you keep brining up Ayers? According to you it means nothing.

I first saw just how wacky "the Maverick" was when the country was melting down over $4.50 gas. Obama had quipped that Americans needed to inflate their tires to get better gas mileage while opposing drilling! Someone from the McCain camp sprang into action and sent out emails saying "buy a Brack Obama tire guage!" McCain torpedoed the whole thing by getting on TV and saying he agreed with Obama. WTF!?!?!?

If by some strage fortune, McCain beats Obama, it will have nothing to do with McCain. The American people will have rejected Obama.

I hate to say this, but it's time for American conservatives to look ahead to to 2010 and starting to win back some legislative seats.
10.11.2008 3:26pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
David Warner, if you don't want to answer the question, I can understand why. After all, it isn't in the constitution anywhere and its not like you can invent your own penumbras inside a comment section.

But to suggest that the only viable alternative to your preferred view of government is total communism (...all citizens have the same amount of food, housing, and health care)... well that takes a special breed of arrogance.

To the extent you were serious, that's quite revealing.

And I never said a word about "constitution in exile". You did. All I did was ask you to back up your statements with constitutional authority. If in your mind asking that is tantamount to being a "constitution in exile" person, then all that shows is what a bogeyman it is to you personally.
10.11.2008 3:29pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Apologies, not for my disgust for The General's remarks, which is heartfelt, but for omitting the word "honest" after the word "intellectually" in my post. Cheers.
10.11.2008 3:31pm
Doc W (mail):
Aleks:

It won't much matter who controls the White House, they will be compelled by circumstance to expand the role of government in vast ways.


If they had any sense they would be compelled by circumstances to downsize government and its meddling in the market, "in vast ways." The problems are largely caused by government meddling and will not be ameliorated by more meddling.

Secularist, you have to be looking at the world through warped glasses indeed, to imagine that the New Deal was or is a plus for this country. My (and I suspect Ilya's) fear of yet more massive government intrusion is rooted in economics and history. Like Marx himself, today's collectivists hold fast to their dear collectivist religion while pointing the finger of "irrationality" elsewhere.


...government regulation of the macro economy, using markets as micro tools to help achieve important regulatory ends more efficiently.

Dream on.
10.11.2008 3:33pm
deepthought:
Thales sez:

What concerns me is that the ignorance, hatred and utter disregard for reality reflected in The General's remarks is held by more than the lunatic fringe, and has trickled into the general population

I agree, the tin-foiled hat pitchfork brigade is out in force. From WaPo:

There were shouts of "Nobama" and "Socialist" at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.
. . .
In recent days, a campaign that embraced the mantra of "Country First" but is flagging in the polls and scrambling for a way to close the gap as the nation's economy slides into shambles has found itself at the center of an outpouring of raw emotion rare in a presidential race.
. . .
Standing at the center of the crowd, McCain and Palin drew on the crowd's energy as they repeatedly trained their fire on Obama.

"Senator Obama has a clear radical, far-left, pro-abortion record," McCain said after being asked about the issue.
. . . .
The crowds that show up for his rallies these days appear to have little appetite for the talk of bipartisan compromise that had been at the heart of his message around the Republican National Convention. During a rally outside a small airport in Mosinee, Wis., on Thursday, McCain said that "it's time we come together, Democrats and Republicans to work together. That's my record. I'll reach across the aisle."

The crowd stood silent.


McCain has given up on "putting country first" and is flailing away at anything to get elected. With current McCain/Palin rhetoric, no wonder their supporters are calling out "kill Obama," "terrorist," and "socialist" (the last one is particularly laughable given what the Bush Administration has done and continues to do and McCain's mortgage lender bailout plan.) The epidemic of Obama Derangement Syndrome (pronnouced "odoius") can probably be explained by this book.
10.11.2008 3:36pm
Mac (mail):
deepthoiught,
You mean where McCain said this?



"I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don't have to be scared of as president of the United States," McCain told a supporter at a town hall meeting in Minnesota who said he was "scared" of the prospect of an Obama presidency and of who the Democrat would appoint to the Supreme Court.
10.11.2008 3:46pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Pug writes, in response to Francis Marion"

"If Obama wins, I vote for seccession.

This time I hope we let you go, especially if you are from one of those so-called conservative, subsidy-sucking red states. The states that benefit from socialized farming, subsidized ranching, military spending, socialized Medicare, socialized retirement and still constantly complain about socialism."

I agree with Pug. Indulge a historical fantasy: Winning the civil war and keeping the South was the worst thing that happened to the productive, rational part of the country. Much better would have been letting them secede and gradually liberating their slaves through guerilla raids. Or just watching the South slowly choke on its own bile, though that would have taken a long time thanks to the pernicious invention of the cotton gin. Maybe we could have armed a slave coup and let the liberated slaves arrest, try and execute the plantation owners (or maybe just turn them into slaves, as a richly deserved sentence)-maybe there then could have been an alliance to rebuild between the freed slaves and the poor white trash, who were exploited almost as badly by the Southern aristocracy.

Unfortunately, we live in the real world where we won, and have the red states living off of our (wealthy blue staters') productive teat while complaining loudly about how the government oppresses them. Well I for one am about ready to have my guys make the rules for a change, and help these ingrates even more! How's that for generosity?
10.11.2008 3:48pm
David Warner:
Mac,

Reminded me of this. I mean that as a (relatively deep) compliment. For both.
10.11.2008 3:54pm
Mac (mail):
Apropos to nothing but in a vane attempt to set the record straight, did you see where the "worst President ever in the history of the US" has just accomplished what the "best President ever in the history of the Us, Bill Clinton) royally failed to do and got taken to the cleaners while he was at it?




The United States announced Saturday it had removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, taking a major step toward improving relations with the communist country in exchange for North Korea opening up its nuclear program to scrutiny.

FOX News confirmed Saturday morning that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had signed a document removing North Korea from the terror list. The action came as North Korea agreed to all of the Bush administration's nuclear inspection demands, and the country agreed to immediately begin disabling the Yongbyon nuclear facility and allow inspectors back in.

The agreement is intended to salvage a faltering nuclear disarmament accord in the short time before President Bush leaves office in January.

"Every single element of verification that we sought going in is part of this package," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at a a rare weekend briefing.

The agreement provides the U.S. and its allies information on North Korea's highly enriched uranium and proliferation activities, as well as access to the country's 15 declared nuclear sites, including Yongbyon, and to documents and records concerning its program.

North Korea will allow atomic experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all of its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites on mutual consent. The North will permit experts to verify that it has told the truth about transfers of nuclear technology and an alleged uranium program.


Umm, didn't the Democrats, schizophrenically I think, say Bush was ever so wrong to engage in 6 party talks with N. Korea and should "go it alone"?

I never got that one as he was criticized for alledgedly "going it alone" elsewhere.

I have noticed of late that Dem's are pretending that it was Bush who gave away the farm, without inspections, to No. Korea, not Bill Clinton. I presume that if Obama wins, by this time next year, it will be Obama who got this done and not Bush.

Who said, "'To the Left, the future is certain, it is the past that must be changed"?

I bet if you ask your average college graduate who got us into Viet Nam, they would say Nixon.
10.11.2008 4:03pm
David Warner:
Ryan Waxx,

"To the extent you were serious, that's quite revealing."

Is it? What, pray tell, does it reveal? No fair using x-ray goggles.

"And I never said a word about "constitution in exile". You did. All I did was ask you to back up your statements with constitutional authority. If in your mind asking that is tantamount to being a "constitution in exile" person, then all that shows is what a bogeyman it is to you personally."

If I believed it were there, I wouldn't have gone to the trouble to bring up the constitution in exile. I'm the constitution-in-exile* person, but it sure looks like Krauts on the throne for the foreseeable future from where I sit, so I'm trying to make the best of it.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that the coming years will see a constitutional convention, so it might not be a bad idea to start building a coalition around (a) above for the prevention of (b). What would Gramsci do?


* - insert euphemism here
10.11.2008 4:10pm
deepthought:
Mac:

That is the first time he made such a statement after several days of these threats, and he was booed. MCain is schizophrenic. First he says that Obama's assoiations and policies are dangerous and he can't be trusted, then he says he's an homorable and decent man. The two positions are mutually exclusive, and it's clear what his supporters want.

If McCain were honorable, he would argue the real issues--the economy, war and peace, immigration (which no one has mentioned), etc. Instead he is arguing a non-issue like Ayers, (see first history's post above at 10.11.2008 2:11am.) In fact, he has accepted the endorsement of the person who set up the Annenberg Challenge, Lenore Annenberg (see the first history post for citation.)

McCain is in danger of losing control of his base supporters (the aforementioned pitchfork brigade.) Given these perilous times, with the stock market crashing; people losing their life savings; banks closing (13 so far this year, the highest in thirty years); GM stock down to its 1950 level (it's now considered a mid-cap company and may be de-listed from the DJIA), you would think McCain would do something constructive to assuage the public's fears, but McCain/Palin are determined to stoke them.
10.11.2008 4:10pm
Mac (mail):
At any rate, the news re North Korea is a very bright spot in a depressing few weeks.

I am sure the Left will turn it into a disaster, somehow, but disregarding that I, for one am very happy.

Let us hope and pray it works.
10.11.2008 4:11pm
Mac (mail):
Now, if Obama doesn't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (and please, let us deal with today, not 6 years ago),

by my count that is TWO down and ONE to go.

Not bad for the "worst President ever". Wonder if the "ONE" can wrap up the One that is left?
10.11.2008 4:17pm
Mac (mail):
deepthought,

Have you ever listened to Obama and his supporters?

I am still waiting for Obama to quit yelling about McCain long enough to give us just a few specifics about anything, let alone the economy.

You do realize this is politics?

Do you seriously believe Obama has taken the high road? Wow.
10.11.2008 4:20pm
MarkField (mail):

Indulge a historical fantasy: Winning the civil war and keeping the South was the worst thing that happened to the productive, rational part of the country. Much better would have been letting them secede


In my historical fantasies, this road is kind of rocky for the slaves themselves. It's also not clear that going down this road would have led to victories in WWI and WWII, both of which seem to me to be very good things indeed.
10.11.2008 4:24pm
PersonFromPorlock:
MarkField:

This response seems to me to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of American government.

The federal government, like all the state governments, is republican. The laws passed by Congress are no different in principle than those passed by state governments (actually, they tend to be better). The fact that a regulation gets passed by Congress rather than a state government makes it no more "tyrannical"; it's almost certainly less so.


The federal government may be republican but it's also (supposedly) limited to only those powers which We the People have delegated to it.

Many of the laws which Congress passes, or regulations which the Executive adopts, simply ignore those limits. The reason this is 'tyrannical' is because a government which refuses to recognize the limits on its power is tyrannical.
10.11.2008 5:49pm
PC:
Mac, can you point out the videos of Obama supporters that have: called McCain a terrorist; called McCain a traitor; shouted "kill him"; or shouted "bomb McCain"?
10.11.2008 5:51pm
Alexia:

As far as I can see, they've reduced government primarily in its highest and best use, as the tool we use to work together to be sure no citizen is starving, homeless, or without health care.


If that's how you define the best use of government, then you will never begin to understand conservatives and their belief in personal responsibility. Don't even waste time pretending that you're trying.
10.11.2008 6:06pm
David Warner:
Deep(!)thought,

"In fact, he has accepted the endorsement of the person who set up the Annenberg Challenge, Lenore Annenberg (see the first history post for citation.)"

Either you're deliberately flooding the zone with extraneous information or you're missing the point. As an Obama voter, I have no interest in spelling the Ayers argument out for you or anyone else for that matter, but mere endless repetition of the vapid Axelrod the talking points serves no useful purpose, nor does spreading false hysteria about McCain rallies or false calumnies of McCain.

You'll have to do better on this blog. You can start by speaking to the actual concerns of those you seek to convince. To do that, you'd need to understand them.
10.11.2008 6:14pm
deepthought:
Warner and Mac:

The description of McCain and Palin rallies have been documented both in newspaper articles (which I have linked to) and numerous videos on the CNN, Fox, etc. What is the false hysteria about McCain rallies? Virtually every news outlet has similar stories about the crowd reaction—are they all lying? Nothing I said is false, nor calumnious. Besides the links I have provided (as well as those of first history, who found an excellent article in Education Week on how Obama joined the Annenberg Challenge) are from non-partisian sources (rather than overtly partisan sources like National Review or Powerline.) I know nothing I post will convince those who don't want to be convinced (which it appears is a majority of this thread) but my aim is to get the information out there for all to see, with links so everyone can see the sources for themselves. What are your sources?

In addition to my previous links, see here and here:

One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience. (Referring to Obama.)


At the time, these suggestions went unrebuked by the campaign.

To my knowledge, Obama doesn't attract crowds that are fearful of McCain to the point of leaving the country, question his patriotism and his origins, or threaten his life. If he has, please post the articles (with links.)
10.11.2008 6:50pm
Federal Dog:
"I also think that Obama's economic advisers are much more reassuring than McCain's."

Like Franklin Raines? I am not reassured.
10.11.2008 6:50pm
Aleks:
Re: New Deal was or is a plus for this country.

Without the New Deal the country would have gone fascist or communist. Even if the New Deal was useless economically, by staving off those twin evils it was worth it.
10.11.2008 7:04pm
Mac (mail):
Like Franklin Raines? I am not reassured.


Federal Dog:

Don't forget Johnson.

deepthought,

You are a raving partisan. I don't spend time on the daily kos, or moveon.org or Huffington Post and the many other hate sites out there and I'm not going to muck around in that sewer to prove you wrong. You never listen anyway, or you make excuses or deny the validity of the source. It is not worth my time.

However, if you want to be judged by bad apples in your party, I'll take that. A few kooks at a McCain speech is nothing compared to the hoardes of kooks the Democrats have including the above.

Lewis is calling McCain a racist. I guess that doesn't count? Your side has even criticized McCain for getting shot down as well as lying about how many planes he lost. NBC, (one of the Network arms of the Obama campaign) in what can only be described as new lows in journalism even managed to get an interview with a North Vietnamese who said he was the head of the prison camp where McCain was held and, denied any torture took place. It boggles.

You just assume that every Obama and his camp's tirades about McCain is true and don't count any of it as lies and smears so think your side is pure. Look at the vitriol against Pallin. If you don't see any of this and you don't, there is just no point in talking to you.

Besides, you have a few kooks allegedly saying to "kill him", but ignore that Obama sat in Wright's church for 20 years listening to him say that his God wants white people dead, not to mention Jews, and God Damn, America..


Clearly, that doesn't bother you so it is very hard to take your outrage seriously.
10.11.2008 7:15pm
MarkField (mail):

The federal government may be republican but it's also (supposedly) limited to only those powers which We the People have delegated to it.

Many of the laws which Congress passes, or regulations which the Executive adopts, simply ignore those limits. The reason this is 'tyrannical' is because a government which refuses to recognize the limits on its power is tyrannical.


Agreed, up to a point at least. I'm not sure that applies in this particular case, in which the only dispute is whether Congress or a state passes a particular regulation.

Putting that aside, though, the commerce power IS specifically granted to Congress. That's why I asked what specific laws the original poster had in mind.
10.11.2008 7:40pm
Splunge:
the red states living off of our (wealthy blue staters') productive teat

Ah. And what is it you "blue staters" so productively do in, for example, blue blue New York City, financial capital of the world? Stocks and bonds and complicated financial instruments tied to mortgages and such?

Indeed, you've been very productive lately. Well done.
10.11.2008 7:44pm
Random Commenter:
"I agree with Pug. Indulge a historical fantasy: Winning the civil war and keeping the South was the worst thing that happened to the productive, rational part of the country. Much better would have been letting them secede and gradually liberating their slaves through guerilla raids. Or just watching the South slowly choke on its own bile, though that would have taken a long time thanks to the pernicious invention of the cotton gin. Maybe we could have armed a slave coup and let the liberated slaves arrest, try and execute the plantation owners (or maybe just turn them into slaves, as a richly deserved sentence)-maybe there then could have been an alliance to rebuild between the freed slaves and the poor white trash, who were exploited almost as badly by the Southern aristocracy. "

You're not especially bright, are you?
10.11.2008 8:27pm
Doc W (mail):
Aleks...

Without the New Deal the country would have gone fascist or communist. Even if the New Deal was useless economically, by staving off those twin evils it was worth it.

Interesting argument, not sure I buy the counter-factual speculation. But anyway, if your defense of the New Deal boils down to its being the "lesser of evils" in comparison with truly monstrous evils, I see little reason to quibble.
10.11.2008 8:36pm
HeardHere:
One need read nothing else but the introduction to Amity Shlaes book The Forgotten Man to understand that what is being proposed as the cure for this latest financial crisis is little different than what was done in 1929,1932 and later that prolonged the Great Depression.
10.11.2008 9:28pm
Mac (mail):
HeardHere:,

I have heard that is a very good book. Have you read it yet and can you recommend it?
10.11.2008 9:58pm
PersonFromPorlock:
MarkField:

Putting that aside, though, the commerce power IS specifically granted to Congress.

The power granted was to regulate interstate commerce; but the definition of interstate commerce has willfully been so blurred by all three branches that for all practical purposes the government has given itself carte blanche to regulate where it will; and that certainly isn't compatible with the idea of limited government.

I have to agree with you that "...the notion that Congress just sort of generally tramples on liberties more than states do is just not supportable." But a Congress which has decided the Constitution means whatever they need it to mean in order to Do Good could make a piker out of even the most reprobate state government.
10.11.2008 10:04pm
deepthought:
Mac:

You are right, I am partisan (gee, what shock during an election), just as most of the others on this thread (but on the other side.) I agree, I think John Lewis made a mistake today and went too far. So we can agree on that. I wouldn't want to muck around dailykos and other such sites either, and you notice I have never linked to any of them. I hope Obama wins because I think he will do a better job leading this country out of the train wreck the current Administration has left. It's even rewarding North Korea (something I'm guessing Obama would agree with, but I don't. I think we should let the country collapse.)

But saying a campaign is "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" (Lewis never said "racist", his exact statement is here) is different than saying the opposing candidate should be killed, or is traitor, or is not American all comments attibuted to McCain's campaign audience in the presence of the candidates during townhall meetings. McCain has tried to dial down the audience rhetoric (it can't play too well with independents), but once the audience has tasted the red meat, it doesn't want to let go (hence the booing McCain has received.) Obama today thanked McCain during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, so let's hope he is successful.

Good luck on Nov. 4!
10.11.2008 11:29pm
HeardHere:
Mac,
I'm in the process of reading it now and it is a very good history of the Great Depression and will let you know more as I consume it.
10.12.2008 12:00am
MarkField (mail):

The power granted was to regulate interstate commerce; but the definition of interstate commerce has willfully been so blurred by all three branches that for all practical purposes the government has given itself carte blanche to regulate where it will; and that certainly isn't compatible with the idea of limited government.


Strictly speaking, it's "commerce among the several states", which we ordinarily abbreviate, not necessarily accurately, as "interstate commerce".

That this regulation encompasses more today than it did in 1790 doesn't bother me very much (at least not in general -- there are specific instances in which I strongly disagree). There are several reasons for this.

First, it's important (IMHO) to understand how the list of powers in Art. I came about. What the Convention originally did was vote on a series of general resolutions which described broadly what they were trying to do. They then sent these general resolutions to a Committee of Detail to flesh them out.

One of those resolutions stated that Congress should have the power "to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual Legislation…"

Referring obviously to this resolution, Luther Martin (an anti-Federalist) said, "because the States individually are incompetent to the purpose, that the United-States should also regulate the Commerce of the United-States foreign &internal, is I believe a matter of general Consent…" If the whole point of the Commerce Clause was to enable Congress to legislate in all cases in which the states, individually, were incompetent, or which might disturb the harmony of the Union, and if everyone agreed with this goal, it would make no sense to allow each state to interfere with that regulation. Thus, it seems right to let Congress do the regulating.

Second, I don't worry too much about Congress because, as I said, it's a republican government just like the states are (I'd prefer a more representative Senate, but them's the rules). I see no reason to believe that this particular republican government will make worse decisions, in general, than some other republican government. I do see reason to believe that inconsistent regulation by 50 different republican governments could cause real problems.

Third, I'm a big believer in a market economy and its importance to our national well-being. I want that economy to be nationwide, partly because I think that's more efficient and partly because I think that makes us more integrated as a nation and more powerful (see, for a contrary example, Europe). A nationwide economy requires nationwide regulation.
10.12.2008 1:00am
David Schwartz (mail):
I have read all the responses disagreeing with me, and I pretty much agree with all of them. Obama and McCain are both mixed bags for Libertarians.

The only one of those arguments that I think is nearly important enough to significantly weaken my arguments is the gun control issue.

Obama, among other crazy things on gun control, said he supported the DC handgun ban because "I think it's important for us to recognize that we've got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respect the Second Amendment and people's traditions."

How exactly does the DC hangun ban take illegal handguns off the streets?
10.12.2008 3:53am
Asher (mail):
PDXLawyer said: Second, it seems to me that there is a difference between Ilya (who I presume from his name is white) saying "it would be nice if we had a black Persident" and you (who I presume from your screenname are Jewish) saying "it would be nice if we had a Jewish President."

Seems to me that Ilya is actually on solider ground than I. I could just be voting for a Jew because I want someone of my own religion or ethnicity in the White House, which isn't a very good reason to vote for a presidential candidate, whereas Ilya clearly thinks it would be nice to have a black President for more altruistic reasons - the role model effect he'd have on black kids, the symbolic significance of electing a black in a nation that used to enslave them, and so on.

About Anglo-Saxon Presidents, there's a more inclusive term that I'm looking for; what I meant to say was, not only have we only had white, Christian Presidents, we've also never had a President whose ancestors came from Southern or Eastern Europe, or France or Spain for that matter. All our Presidents have either been of English, Irish, Scottish, Dutch, or German descent. None trace their roots back to Romance language-speaking countries.
10.12.2008 4:19am
TokyoTom (mail):
Ilya, I share your concern about having the Dems control both the White House and the Congress - as what allow the Republican administration to go off the rails was their ability to leverage post-9/11 patriotism into a "defend America" steamroller than left us without any effective opposition in Congress.

But we also clearly need to clean out the White House and various agencies as well, and certainly couldn't expect a Republican administration to do that.

One can take some limited consolation in the fact that, with the trashimg of government and the economy that Republicans have given us (and continue to do so via Paulson), can Obama really do that much more damage?
10.12.2008 6:20am
PDXLawyer (mail):
Asher:
I take your point about US Presidents being drawn from a fairly narrow range of ethnic groups. On the other hand, these are also the earliest non-Native American ethnic groups to have come to the US, or its predecessor colonies, in large numbers. In a word, The Establishment.

It occurred to me that if Obama is elected he will be unusual in another way. He will be the first President ever, as far as I can tell, who had a parent who was not a US citizen when he was born (excluding, of course, Presidents born before the Revolution). You have to go back to Woodrow Wilson just to find a President with a parent who was not born in the US (Wilson's mother was born in Scotland).

For myself, I don't see this as a reason not to support Obama, or any other candidate who may be similarly placed, but I'm not sure I'm willing to condemn as racist or xenophobic, or whatever, those who have a different view (either consciously or unconsciously). If you are generally happy with American society (or at least like it better than the societies of most foreign countries) then you should prefer a President whose basic assumptions were shaped by people already steeped in American culture. To put it another way, there is a pretty good reason for voters who are themselves immigrants to vote for Presidents who not children of immigrants. If they had wanted to be governed by Italian ideas (to pick a random example), they could have moved to (or stayed in) Italy.

To say "it is troubling evidence of lingering prejudice that we have never had an Italian-American President" is rather like saying "it is troubling evidence of prejudice that African-Americans are incarcerated at higher rates than the society as a whole." It may be that Italian-Americans as a group are less plugged into mainstream American society than others. Of course, even if this were true it would not be strong evidence that Rudy Giuliani, for example, is less plugged into the mainstream of American society.
10.12.2008 8:36am
Federal Dog:
"with the trashimg of government and the economy that Republicans have given us (and continue to do so via Paulson),"

Frank, Dodd, Shumer, Waters, etc., who emphatically blocked reform legislation in 2005 and 2006 that would have obviated the meltdown, are not Republicans. Powerline yesterday (October 11) featured the full text of a letter from McCain and other Republicans pleading for necessary reform legislation, and not one Democrat would join that request.
10.12.2008 1:05pm
David Warner:
Deep,

I think the crowds are mad at the establishment media, for both good reason and also because the R's have been running against the press since Nixon (I think they need a new strategy here, BTW). The establishment media senses that hostility and it colors their coverage, certainly. McCain pays a lot more attention to that media than other R's, so he takes their take seriously, causing him to try to tamp down this putative fear and anger the media tells him is dangerous.

This speaks well to his patriotism and general decency, but not so well to his understanding of his supporters and potential supporters, so will likely cost him any chance of winning the election.

The Annenberg links you supply largely miss the point, although the little old ladies* claiming that they were the ones who chose Obama get closer to it. No one is claiming Annenberg itself is in any way problematic (I might, but that's an entirely different point unrelated to Obama). Read this guy and this Harvard anthropologist at the verboten National Review if you're interested in actually engaging the question.

My answer is that there are thousands of Ayers's now running our institutions. Most of us have made our peace with them and realize that they are close to retirement. Their long march is nearing its end. Like Obama, I've worked with them where our goals are in agreement, and I have reason to believe that Obama has been as turned off by their sophomoric anti-Americanism as I have.

As for the "terror" connection? The Jacksonians who will settle this election are not so easily terrified.

* - I say this as a life-long fan of the LOLs.
10.12.2008 2:44pm
Mac (mail):

I wouldn't want to muck around dailykos and other such sites either, and you notice I have never linked to any of them. I hope Obama wins because I think he will do a better job leading this country out of the train wreck the current Administration has left. It's even rewarding North Korea



deepthought,

Believe it or not, I hope to hell you are right about Obama and the Democrats. I have no desire to see the country go down the tubes just to be proven right. I have children and a 6 month old grand child. I want what is best for them, if not for myself.

I would love to see a black person as President. It would go a long way towards healing, perhaps and would, in a sense, be a reward for my years spent in the Çivil Rights struggle. I am too old not to be cynical enough to think that Blacks, as with any other group, will give up their victimhood easily. But, we can hope. I just hope that any criticism of Obama if he becomes President is not met with charges of racism. That will just keep it all going and make it worse.

His associations are important. They make me very skeptical of him. Either he agrees with these people or he lacks the judgement to know they are bad people.

You would not ignore McCain's associations if he hung with members of the KKK, or attended a church of 20 years whose pastor preached racism and death to black people. You would, I think, as I would, get up and walk out of said church the first time anything of a sort came out of the guy's mouth. Ditto with God Damn America.

I have to judge Obama by the same standard as I judge myself, Mc
cain or anyone else, no? To do less would be racist.

I would prefer to be voting for Michael Steele, Ken Blackwell, JC Watts. I could even cheerfully vote for Powell, even though I would disagree with half of his policies, I imagine.

Obama is very liberal based on his voting record. I am disturbed by his threats of using the FCC to go after stations who air ads he doesn't like as well as DOJ and Mo. Attn. General. Thank God, they all refused. but, what if they hadn't?

We know very little about him and he presents his policies in a manner that anyone can think they agree with him. We won't know what we have until he gets into office. The MSM have been woefully inadequate in questioning him. I was just thinking, I have not heard him answer one question on immigration. Besides wanting illegal's to have driver's licenses, I don't have a clue where he stands and what he is going to do. This strikes me more as demagoguery than informed politics and it scares me.

I don''t know what you mean by the current administration is rewarding North Korea. They have been negotiating for inspections and disarmament since early in the Bush adm. when Korea announced it had taken our money and oil from Clinton and continued with it's nuclear program. That was not one of Clinton's finest hours. He got bulldozed by Jimmy Carter. Bill should have realized Jimmy gave us the Iranian mess that has persisted to this day and was the last person on Earth he should have listened to. I will bet you he wishes he had that to do over again and has never forgiven Jimmy. He is probably praying harder than anyone for these negotiations to work as he does not want his place in history marred by that boondoggle especially if someone uses one of N,K's bombs to blow someone else up. At any rate. I don't' see how doing what you want them to do and giving them what they want, is "rewarding" them. I think it is called a successful negotiation. Pray for the world's sake that it is successful.



But saying a campaign is "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" (Lewis never said "racist", his exact statement is here) is different than saying the opposing candidate should be killed, or is traitor, or is not American all comments attibuted to McCain's campaign audience in the presence of the candidates during townhall meetings.


Obama brought up race when he was in Germany and has, in my opinion, over and over again. Accusing other people of racism when they question Obama''s associates or policies is bringing up racism. We are constantly hearing how many people may not vote for Obama because he is
black without hearing about all the people who are voting for him because he is black. That is racism as well, but not mentioned.

At any rate, I don't think it is good to be a partisan, not good for the country, anyway. Partisanship has given us an inability to criticize everything from immoral behavior to illegal behavior to just plain stupid behavior if the guy is of your party. Unfortunately, Democrats are much worse about that than Republicans. I am not going to go into how many crooks get elected and re-elected Democrat as opposed to Republican. You are not stupId and a moments thought will give you many names. Fault the MSM for the destruction of great Party. When you know you have got most of the MSM on your side to help, you need not be motivated to be smart, honest or decent. The American people are the losers.

I was born a Democrat and was one most of my life. I also came out of college a flaming liberal. However, I worked in the Great Society and helped implement many of those policies. I think it is safe to say that Welfare did to Black people what 200 years of slavery and 150 years of Jim Crow laws could not do. It destroyed the Black culture and Black family structure in this county. It has led to such great suffering for Black people, if you are stuck in poverty. You will note that not any of Obama's community activist activities changed the quality of life for the poor in South Chicago. Not one.

The education stuff he did with Ayers did not improve test scores one iota. Of course, I don't think that was the agenda, but it is a shame to see all of that money wasted.

At any rate, we need many more blue dog Democrats. I am thrilled to see their resurgence. They need to take back the Party from Soros and Move on and the Daily Kos and Media Matters and Wall Street and big unions and the rest of them. When they do and Democrats stop falling blindly behind the likes of Pelosi and Reid, I'll vote Democrat again with pleasure. Until then, I'll wait. But, dang was I happy to see the blue dogs join with the Republicans to kill that first horrible bail out bill. Good for them. Nice to know someone is for the folks.


Am I a partisan? Somewhat, I guess. But, I differ in that I can certainly criticize and differ from my own party. If you never or only rarely do that, then it is not healthy for the country. I have been criticized on these posts for being critical of McCain as if a Republican has to agree 100% or go to the other guy. That is not healthy.

I had my JFK and it turned out he was no paragon of virtue nor a saint. He nearly got us all killed by his youth and inexperience. You, I am sure are too young to remember the nuclear bomb drills in the 60's where we ducked under our desks to practice what we would do in the event of a nuclear attack. How utterly rediculous that was. For a tornado drill, we went to the gym. For a nuclear attack, we got under our desks. Now that I am old enough to realized how stupid that was, do you really think I'd ever trust the Government implicitly? Kennedy, my hero, also got us into Viet Nam. Maybe, a 100 years from now, history will judge him to have been correct. I don't know. It is hard to see now how that was a good idea.

The Democrats and Republicans are way too close to the special interests. Democrats got more money from Wall Street this year, by a big margin, than did Republicans. There is much too cozy of a relationship between Wall Street and our Congress. Obama has never been a reformer. He has always been in tight with the "power" establishment and it ain't a pretty sight in Chicago or Illinois. I just don't see it happening after he is President. Unions are no saints either. I hate to see what will happen if they succeed in getting rid of the secret ballot for union elections. Surely, even a partisan can't be in favor of that?


I am glad you don't hang out on Kos, etc., although I do think I have heard you source Media Matters and they are just as bad but with the language cleaned up.

I admit that I may be getting a bit paranoid, and I am not denying that there are some racists among Republicans just as among Democrats, but I am getting a little suspicious of the folks in the crowds at McCains's events. Anyone can get in. I'd love to check into the very few, but vocal people who are making racist comments. But, maybe I am just too cynical.

Try to keep an open mind and verify everything. Have a passion for facts. As I taught my children, trust what no one tells you, not even me. Verify everything, make up your own mind, but do it based on facts. I do gee that thrown back in my face, periodically, but that's the way I wanted it and I am proud of them. Now, I may disinherit my daughter when she votes, as she says she will, for Obama...

Just kidding! (I think.)
10.12.2008 8:58pm
Mac (mail):

Like Obama, I've worked with them where our goals are in agreement, and I have reason to believe that Obama has been as turned off by their sophomoric anti-Americanism as I have.



David Warner,

I am not in any way disagreeing with you, but what reason do you have to believe that Obama is as turned off by their sophomoric anti-Americanism as you are?

it seems his own wife is in agreement with them to the extent that the campaign has muzzled her completely as she just kept coming out with statements that are pretty far out of the mainstream. Obama has repeatedly admitted that he relies on Michele more than anyone else.

It is strange that as our probable future first lady, we haven't seen or heard from her in months.

Don't get me wrong. I want you to be right. I am want to believe you. I'd just like a little more justification for your opinion.
10.12.2008 9:11pm
Mac (mail):
I am wanting. Preview is my friend.
10.12.2008 9:13pm
David Warner:
Mac,

"I am not in any way disagreeing with you, but what reason do you have to believe that Obama is as turned off by their sophomoric anti-Americanism as you are?"

I like Palin because I know a hundred Palins and I'd like more of them to get involved in community leadership, including the widest community of all. I like Obama because I know one Obama, the guy writing this post. There but for the wrath of God go I*.

And I share Michelle's take on Princeton and the elite America it represents, through the lens of status rather than race. Obama showed a broader mind.


* - well, that and a hell of lot less talent. Very similar experiences, however. As Lincoln would tell you, failure is a better teacher than success.
10.12.2008 10:22pm
Mac (mail):

And I share Michelle's take on Princeton and the elite America it represents, through the lens of status rather than race.


Having worked my way through college with help from my Mother for the last 2 years, I guess I have a hard time understanding someone who got a scholarship to an Ivy League college being angry about it or anything else. But, that's just me. She stikes me as quite the elitist herself.

You have not reassured me, but am glad you answered. I hope you are right. I don't feel very good about it, though. I have seen do-gooders, especially angry ones, do an awful lot of damage, including myself. I make myself cringe when I think back on some of the things I did with all the good intentions in the world.

See, what I see of myself in Obama is one of the things that scares me so much about him.
10.12.2008 11:08pm
deepthought:
I know, I know, I'm a raving partisan. But I thought I would share this article from Bloomberg anyway.


Obama 52% Victory Forecast by Yale Professor's Economy Model

By Matthew Benjamin

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- With 25 days before Election Day, a forecasting model that has called the top vote-getter in the last three presidential races predicts a solid victory for Barack Obama.

The Democratic presidential candidate will get about 52 percent of the popular vote on Nov. 4, according to an economic model developed by Yale University Professor Ray Fair.

``The model (see also here) has predicted all along that the Democrat will get the majority of the two-party vote, and it's still saying that,'' Fair, who has been forecasting a Democratic victory since November 2006, said in a telephone interview from New Haven, Connecticut.

Fair, 66, cautions that his algorithm doesn't measure the effects of race, age or foreign policy, all of which may play an outsize role this election, the first in which a black candidate is a major-party nominee. ``All the political stuff isn't accounted for,'' said Fair.

The only economic data that Fair's vote equation uses that are still unknown are third-quarter gross domestic product growth and inflation. Assuming a 0.2 percent decline in GDP this quarter, the median of a recent Bloomberg survey of 52 economists, and 3 percent inflation, the model forecasts Republican John McCain will receive 48 percent of the vote.

The margin of error of 2.5 percentage points means some probability remains that McCain will win. Fair said the chances that his model will incorrectly predict the election result are roughly 20 percent to 25 percent.

Financial Crisis

Fair's methodology also doesn't take into account the current financial crisis that is roiling credit and equity markets and generating fears of an acute recession among consumers and investors. The crisis, which has triggered bank failures and sweeping government interventions in the economy, is expected to have its biggest impact on official statistics in the fourth quarter and beyond.

``If people perceive the economy to be worse than the variables we're using, then the equation will be underestimating the Democratic share of the vote,'' said Fair.

Eight in 10 respondents to a Sept. 19-22 Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times survey said the economy is doing badly, and more than half said very badly. Asked which candidate has better ideas for strengthening the economy, respondents said Obama by a margin of 46 percent to 32 percent.

They said Obama, 47, an Illinois senator, would be better than Arizona Senator McCain, 72, at handling the financial crisis by a margin of 45 percent to 33 percent.

Voter Anxiety
. . .
Fair's equation takes into account which party currently holds the White House and for how long, whether the incumbent is running, growth and inflation. One variable he calls ``good news'' is the number of quarters in the last four years in which GDP growth exceeded 4.2 percent.

Fair's model would have correctly predicted the winner of the two-party vote in all but three elections since 1916, according to a 2002 paper published on his Web site. Before the three most recent elections, he accurately forecast who would get more votes without always getting the margin right.

In August 1996, he said the data suggested a narrow victory for incumbent President Bill Clinton in a race that was too close to call ``with any confidence.'' Clinton won 49.2 percent of the popular vote; Republican Robert Dole got 40.7 percent.
10.13.2008 12:58am
David Warner:
Deep,

I think, and hope, it will exceed 52%.
10.13.2008 1:59am
David Gant (mail):
Ilya,

I understand your concern, but I couldn't disagree more. As a lifelong Republican, I am appalled by my party's incompetence. I am sure an Al Gore 8 year administration would have done a much better job. Never forget that the inaction from the Hoover administration from 1929-1932 was the cause of The Great Depression. They finally got religion too late and unnecessarily (through an attachment to dogma) unleashed a great and to my mind a criminal suffering. Ideas are only as good as they are able to operate within the confines an extreme situation. Republicans have failed miserably. I am now supporting candidate Obama. The Republicans no longer have compelling ideas and they are hopelessly addicted to a dangerous nostalgia. Your mileage may vary. Sincerely, David
10.13.2008 1:19pm
Mike Hadland (mail):
As a lifelong far-left liberal I have only one thing to say to all of you conservatives contemplating an Obama Presidency with a sense of dread.

. . . Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin -- Daniel 5:24-25
10.13.2008 1:35pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

But with the financial crisis, there is a much greater chance that electing Obama and the congressional Democrats will be like electing FDR in 1932. Obama could use the emergency to transform the country in a very bad way. And, given the crisis and Obama's political skills, it is quite possible that the country would reelect him, even if he does badly — which, after all, is what happened when FDR was reelected during the New Deal in 1936. (In 1936, the unemployment rate was still 17 percent.)


In other words, we should elect the man who has less interest in the well-being of our economy because we are afraid that electing Obama would permit him to take advantage of the economic crisis such as to duplicate the New Deal, a program that greatly benefited millions of Americans.

Whatever. I'll be voting for Obama. This gentleman can vote against whatever dark fantasies populate his mind as he sees fit.
10.13.2008 2:53pm
CogDis (mail):
I believe that Obama is profoundly interested in competent governance. Need I say that GWB has been wholly indifferent to competence?

On this score I think McCain would be a definite improvement over GWB, but his lack of focus makes believe that his administration would also lack focus and effectiveness.

Obama's economic advisor's are very middle-of-the-road and highly competent. I say give them a chance.

On foreign affairs and nationaly security I put Obama head-and-shoulders above McCain. Frankly, I think that McCain could be even worse than GWB in this area (if possible?). He is too bellicose and impetuous. Obama is even-headed, steady, and tough as nails (many will disagree with the tough aspect - but just watch). Nearly everyone agrees that more effective diplomacy is what is needed right now - Obama is your leader there.

Obama '08
10.13.2008 3:16pm
Billy Beck (www):
<i>"So I took your philosophy of second-best, and added the fact that since I'm from NY I wouldn't really be effecting the election, and I voted for Bush. This in the hopes that if Kerry did win it would be by a lesser margin from my state. Thus weakening his 'mandate'."</i>

You people have been voting for the lesser of two evils for so long that evil is all that's <i>left</i>, now.
10.13.2008 5:38pm