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How Should Libertarians Vote?

It's a good question. Like many, I am quite disappointed by Republicans and no big fan of John McCain, but also quite concerned about the combination of an Obama presidency with large Democratic majorities in Congress. I fear the result will be a significant increase in taxes, spending, and economic regulation, with little offsetting decrease in government nannyism or regulation of social mores. I am also particularly concerned about a potential Obama Administration's trade policies and judicial nominations.

Richard Epstein echoes some of my concerns in this Reason symposium on Obama:

The Obama campaign is rich in contradictions for those who approach politics as defenders of strong property rights and limited government. On the positive side, I applaud Obama for showing a willingness to improve the procedural protections afforded to persons detained at Guantanamo Bay, and to cut back on the hostility toward immigration into the United States. And I hope that on key matters of race relations, he would be able to defuse many lingering historical resentments.

Unfortunately, on the full range of economic issues, both large and small, I fear that his policies, earnestly advanced, are a throwback to the worst of the Depression-era, big-government policies. Libertarians in general favor flat and low taxes, free trade, and unregulated labor markets. Obama is on the wrong side of all these issues. He adopts a warmed-over vision of the New Deal corporatist state with high taxation, major trade barriers, and massive interference in labor markets. He is also unrepentant in his support of farm subsidies and a vast expansion of the government role in health care. Each of these reforms, taken separately, expands the power of government over our lives. Their cumulative impact could be devastating.

My friends at the University of Chicago pooh-pooh my anxieties. They insist Obama will be a "pragmatic" president whose intelligent economic advisers will steer him far from the brink of this regulatory folly. His liberal Senate voting record leaves me no confidence in their cheery view. I wish he would back off publicly from these unwise policies. I would be thrilled if he supported dismantling even one government regulatory program. But he is, unfortunately, a prisoner of our times. The large back story of this campaign is that both parties have abandoned any consistent defense of limited government.

Relatedly, the staff and friends of Reason reveal their individual voting preferences here. Some of the answers are squirrelly or indeterminate, but Barack Obama was the clear winner with a plurality of the votes. Bob Barr came in second, followed by "not voting" (because it's irrational). John McCain barely tallied 10 percent of those polled.

By comparison, Obama wins overwhelmingly among a poll of the folks at the decidedly less-libertarian Slate. In that crowd, McCain and Barr only get one vote apiece from the 58 who are eligible, with Obama capturing the rest. I'll post the results from the NYT staff poll when it is available.

KenB (mail):
I'm not a doctrinaire libertarian, though my sympathies tend toward libertarianism. I don't think this election is a hard call.

Assume a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being John Locke and 1 being Pol Pot. Obama, whose buds wanted to wipe out 25 million Americans, is somewhere in the vicinity of a 2 or 3. McCain is somewhere in the vicinity of a 5 or 6.

Life seldom presents us with perfect choices. Often the choices are lousy. That may be so this time. But that doesn't make the choice difficult.
10.30.2008 11:01am
merevaudevillian:
Ironically, both cited issues (Guantanamo and immigration) are issues on which Sen. McCain (substantially) shares Sen. Obama's position.
10.30.2008 11:03am
titus32:
Slate is more diverse than this post suggests -- one journalist voted for "not McCain." So that's something like 56 for Obama, 1 for Barr, one for McCain, and one for "not McCain."
10.30.2008 11:05am
wm13:
As I understand, the staff of Reason are primarily "sex and drugs" libertarians, who don't get too concerned about things like trade and taxes. So their support for Obama isn't surprising.
10.30.2008 11:06am
Christopher Phelan (mail):
Every law in this country associated with elections supports the two party system, but the laws are almost equally stacked to make the parties defenseless against internal takeovers. So the strategy of libertarians should not be to create a third party (how's that worked out so far?) but either take over or heavily influence one of the existing ones.

Small ell libertarians have much more of a natural home and much more of a foothold in the Republican party. On economic policy, they already are the leading voice. On foreign policy, there is nothing non-libertarian about a strong defense. On social policy, even the religious right is more libertarian than they get credit for. What most of the religious right wants is the ability to practice their religion and not be pushed to the margins of public life because they are religious. They don't want to outlaw atheism or non-Christian religions. Small ell libertarians can work with the religious right. They can't work with the utopians of all stripes of the left.
10.30.2008 11:11am
wm13:
I'm pretty much with Christopher Phelan. All we social conservatives want is to be left alone. I'm not quite sure how we could create a system in which prostitution is legal in Jonathan Adler's neighborhood but not mine, and it's legal to sell drugs to Jonathan Adler's children but not mine, but such a system would work for me.
10.30.2008 11:18am
smitty1e:

How Should Libertarians Vote?


I'm coming down strongly in favor of ballots.
Maybe I'm just conservative like that.
10.30.2008 11:19am
Cornellian (mail):
I'm pretty much with Christopher Phelan. All we social conservatives want is to be left alone.

The problem is that social conservatives don't seem to want to leave anyone else alone.
10.30.2008 11:23am
NAtDU:

What most of the religious right wants is the ability to practice their religion and not be pushed to the margins of public life because they are religious.


Even if this is what "most" of the religious right wants, and I ain't buying that, the way that it is expressed in the Republican party currently is through efforts to impose conservative Christian teachings through the law. This is neither small nor large "l" libertarianism.

And this

They don't want to outlaw atheism or non-Christian religions.

is hard to buy when certain Republican elements use "atheist" as a smear and associations with atheists as a ground for attack.
10.30.2008 11:23am
A.S.:
I'll post the results from the NYT staff poll when it is available.

Chuckle.
10.30.2008 11:23am
wm13:
"The problem is that social conservatives don't seem to want to leave anyone else alone."

What Cornellian means is, social conservatives persist in wanting to decide for themselves what weddings they will photograph. It isn't enough that gay marriage be permitted. Everyone must love gay marriage, and everyone must say it publicly, or be considered a lawbreaker. That is the left/liberal position, and everyone knows it.
10.30.2008 11:29am
Bart (mail):
This libertarian is holding his nose and voting McCain as the lesser of two evils.

Voting libertarian would be more ideologically pure, but allowing the most radical redistributionist since RFK to actually take the Oval Office is simply too much of a risk for purity.

BTW, for those concerned about the Supreme Court, McCain gives us a chance to replace aging liberals with stricter constructionists to create a supermajority of conservative jurists.
10.30.2008 11:29am
Northeastern2L:
Poor Christian Right, they just want to be left alone and not ridiculed.

Oh, and put up Ten Commandments monuments and pictures of Jesus in courthouses . . .

And make homosexual sex a criminal offense . . .

And teach creationism and abstinence only sex-ed in the public schools . . .

And rail against "immoral" atheists . . .

But, really, they just want to be left alone.
10.30.2008 11:34am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Christopher Phelan:

One of the problems that one has is that the religious right is just as utopian as any group on the left. As in ancient Republican Rome, the existential threats to our liberty really do come from both sides.

In this case, I see two compelling cases for Obama. I am not saying McCain is a particularly bad candidate (I would have voted for him over GWB, Gore, or Kerry-- the three Presidential elections of my adult life), but in a number of respects, Obama is a stronger candidate.

Anytime someone makes proposals for rapid and radical change, whether to tax law, medical insurance regulation, etc. one has to wonder whether or not that person is a utopian (maybe a liberartian utopian? Maybe a Christian Right Utopian? Maybe like Sara Palin, a Christian Socialist Utopian?

Obama's proposals on taxes, medical insurance regulation, etc. are all more institutionally conservative than McCain's. This means they are likely to have fewer unintended consequences than those of McCain. Several of them (including medical care), with minor adjustment, could result in a net shift of services from the public sector to the private.

For example, take Obama's medical care proposals. If these could be modified by simply removing the option of individuals to buy into the federal government insurance pool, this would almost certainly mean a net shift away from medicaid and towards private insurance. By comparison, to make McCain's proposals work, one would probably have to set up another federal regulatory agancy to replace the state regulatory bodies regarding insurance. The alternative to doing so would be to simply be unable to ensure that insurance companies would even decide whether or not to authorize procedures (in some cases, doctors have to follow up repeatedly as it is, and often have to take it to state regulators).

Similarly, although McCain is correct that throwing money at the education problem isn't going to solve it, unless you spend extra money, you can't hedge against failed reform proposals.

My own estimation is that McCain's proposals, if he ever puts them forward in Congress would mean not only a lot more taxation, but also a far greater role of the federal government as opposed to the states.

The second area where Obama is stronger in his record is in civil liberties law. This is an area where he practiced, where he taught, and what he has defended in his voting record. Examples include voting against telecom immunity, while McCain voted for it (a continuation of his anti-civil-liberties approach going back at least to McCain-Feingold).
10.30.2008 11:37am
Steve:
The bone-dry humor of the last sentence illustrates why Prof. Adler is my favorite Conspirator.
10.30.2008 11:39am
TEvanFisher (mail):
I'm shamelessly voting for Barr. The Republican Party of Reagan and Goldwater and Taft is no more. If you vote for the modern Republican Party, you are voting for big government, restrictions on economic freedom, warrantless wiretapping, redistribution of wealth, and insane foreign policy.

In other words, you're voting for Democrat-lite, but with opposition to gay marriage and abortion.

Libertarians should not be having moral dilemmas here. Barr might not be the best candidate to ever run on the LP ticket, but he is carrying the banner of the only party committed to protecting your freedom and restoring sanity to Washington.
10.30.2008 11:39am
Jim Hu:
einhverfr: um... didn't Obama flip on FISA when it came to the actual vote?
10.30.2008 11:42am
Sarcastro (www):
Wow. Obama is like 90% Pol Pot!
10.30.2008 11:45am
cjwynes (mail):
Wow, Reason is gonna have to strip the "free markets" bit off the front cover if that many of them can support the most openly socialist candidate in two decades.


As I understand, the staff of Reason are primarily "sex and drugs" libertarians, who don't get too concerned about things like trade and taxes. So their support for Obama isn't surprising.


Even on those issues, it's hard for a libertarian to find anything redeeming in the modern Democratic Party (en though plenty of fun is still to be had in their college-aged adherents.) Many of our more popular and enjoyable vices, like gambling and fatty foods, are under constant attack from the left for their "negative social utility", and those people are looking for regulatory power to socially engineer America. They will find that power with Obama. The food nazis from CSPI, for example, are likely to find a home in his administration.
10.30.2008 11:52am
hawkins:

As I understand, the staff of Reason are primarily "sex and drugs" libertarians, who don't get too concerned about things like trade and taxes.


Despite the rhetoric, the candidates are not too far apart on tax and trade. Therefore, from a libertarian perspective, "sex and drugs" are the only issues that really differentiate the two.
10.30.2008 11:54am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Jim Hu;

I looked up the record.

He did however vote for the fake compromise.

He abstained from voting on the Senate bill as amended (granting telecom immunity).
10.30.2008 11:56am
Mark AH:
It depends on which state you live in. I'm in NJ, a very safe blue state. I'd consider voting for McCain in the interests of divided government, but since NJ ain't close, I'll vote Barr.

Feew if any of us are happy with the last 8 years. If you want to send a statement to the GOP, you do so more effectively with a LP vote than a Democratic vote. Most LP voters, I'd think, are closer to the GOP off the bat, so voting for the Democrat seems like a pretty lousy way of making a statement of your dissatisfaction with the Republicans. It's easier to tabulate anti-GOP conservative/libertarian votes that go to the LP than to Obama. You vote for the latter, you just get lost in the shuffle. A serious surge for the Barr on the national level would catch the attention of the GOP much better.
10.30.2008 12:02pm
Mike Keenan:

politics as defenders of strong property rights and limited government. On the positive side, I applaud Obama for showing a willingness to improve the procedural protections afforded to persons detained at Guantanamo Bay, and to cut back on the hostility toward immigration into the United States.

Is there any difference between Obama and McCain on these two issues?
10.30.2008 12:07pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BTW, the fake compromise may be unconsitutional and we will find out later this year when the Electronic Frontier Foundation makes their case. Here is to hoping they win their case!
10.30.2008 12:08pm
trad and anon (mail):
Small ell libertarians have much more of a natural home and much more of a foothold in the Republican party. On economic policy, they already are the leading voice.
Yep, that's why Bush spent the last eight years getting rid of (or slashing the authority of) the Fed, the SEC, the CFTC, the NLRB, the TSA, the SBA, the USTC . . . And why we now have Sarbanes-Oxley, lots of new domestic discretionary spending, several government takeovers of major financial companies, and nearly $1 trillion in bailouts. Nor have other Republicans been pushing for dramatically different policies.

The only sense in which the Republicans count as economically libertarian is that they love to cut marginal tax rates. Occasionally try to privatize Social Security or deregulate an industry here or there, but that's about it. Whining about "excessive spending" isn't good for anything if you don't actually try to cut spending when you're in power.
On foreign policy, there is nothing non-libertarian about a strong defense.
Except for the fact that war is the health of the state, providing reasons to jack up spending, jack up taxes, spy on citizens, imprison people the government claims to be dangerous without charges or trial, and pass new laws to increase the government's power generally. All of which the Republicans have been advocating, except the taxes, since they prefer borrow-and-spend to tax-and-spend.
On social policy, even the religious right is more libertarian than they get credit for. What most of the religious right wants is the ability to practice their religion and not be pushed to the margins of public life because they are religious.
Oh, that explains the abortion bans, the sodomy bans, the marriage bans, the adoption bans . . .
They don't want to outlaw atheism or non-Christian religions.
And here I had thought they did!
10.30.2008 12:09pm
wm13:
"Despite the rhetoric, the candidates are not too far apart on tax and trade."

Wow, will you pay any increase in my taxes that occurs under Obama? Cause if so, my vote is definitely for sale.

And while we are on that topic, you can count my as one who is pretty satisfied with the reduction in his taxes during the Bush administration, versus the increase during the Clinton administration. That meant a lot more to me than whether my 50-year-old wife could have an abortion, or whether there were Ten Commandments plaques in the New York City courtrooms to go with the "In God We Trust" motto that is already there.
10.30.2008 12:11pm
jb (mail):
I like how "sex and drugs" is used to slander all non-monetary liberty. Which of the bill of rights will McCain do a better job of protecting than Obama, other than the 2nd (and that is important to me, but look at the rest)?

1st Obama
2nd McCain
3rd -push-
4th -- 10th all Obama

The current big gov't/no rights GOP seems to embody everything that was always wrong with BOTH parties into a single one stop shop of terrible liberty destroying policy. I can't think of a single reason to vote for them other than that they don't hate me for my guns.
10.30.2008 12:13pm
john w. (mail):
On the positive side, I applaud Obama for showing a willingness ... to cut back on the hostility toward immigration into the United States.

OK, please explain to us dummies why it is a good Libertarian strategy to allow massive, uncontrolled immigration of people who are motivated, in large part, by the generosity of our Welfare system. And worse yet, in many cases, these are people from cultures that have traditionally displayed a remarkable tolerance -- if not an outright preference -- for corrupt, authoritarian governments.
10.30.2008 12:14pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

Assume a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being John Locke and 1 being Pol Pot. Obama, whose buds wanted to wipe out 25 million Americans, is somewhere in the vicinity of a 2 or 3. McCain is somewhere in the vicinity of a 5 or 6.


Some of McCain's supporters are white supremacists who want to deport Jews and blacks (or just kill them.) Therefore, I cannot vote for McCain.

What a silly argument. The thread of connections between fanciful and unrealized plotting by late sixties radicals and Barack Obama is so tenuous as to defy all reason; if you are not a "doctrinaire libertarian" it is because you are incapable of the logical thought processes necessary to be principled about anything.
10.30.2008 12:19pm
Ari (mail) (www):
Bob Barr came in second, followed by "not voting" (because it's irrational).


While not voting may be rational, linking to that article may not be. Spreading the message could potentially reduce voter turnout by the thousands; indeed, writing an article in a publication like Slate or volokh.com telling people not to vote is far, far worse than not voting oneself. "If everyone thought like that" could well become a reality if this message were spread.
10.30.2008 12:21pm
dsr:
I'm not a huge fan of McCain, especially in light of his relentless pandering during the campaign. But even if he held similar views to Obama's on trade, taxes, and regulation I would vote for him in an effort to preserve divided government. Gridlock is good. From a libertarian perspective, recent periods of one-party rule in this country under Clinton and Bush were nothing but disastrous, primarily because neither party feels any obligation to hold to the pragmatic center once they control both the executive and legislative levers of power. "Blue dog" Democrats notwithstanding, watch for the Democrats to go on an orgy of netroots-driven statism as soon as they control the Whitehouse. God help us if they get to 60 in the Senate.
10.30.2008 12:27pm
trad and anon (mail):
OK, please explain to us dummies why it is a good Libertarian strategy to allow massive, uncontrolled immigration of people
Because the freedom to move is part of freedom.
who are motivated, in large part, by the generosity of our Welfare system.
No, they're motivated by the fact that wages are much higher here than in their home countries.
And worse yet, in many cases, these are people from cultures that have traditionally displayed a remarkable tolerance -- if not an outright preference -- for corrupt, authoritarian governments.
As a liberal, I'm glad to see a libertarian endorsing the general idea that because leaving something unregulated would have bad results, the government should impose extensive regulations. But that's the antithesis of libertarianism.

As for the merits of your last claim, the places with corrupt, authoritarian governments tend to be very poor places where the people get oppressed, so it's hardly surprising people want to leave.
10.30.2008 12:28pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
What Mark AH said, same in blue Massachusetts. Don't confuse "For whom to vote" with "For whom to cheer".

The time to shift a party with your vote is during the primary season (for instance voting for Ron Paul, because he was close).

I could vote for McCain, because his popular vote totals will get reported, both within my state and summed up nationally, so my vote would "count" in that sense. Those that care will find the Libertarian totals, and I'd rather send the clear message that I'm casting a losing vote because I'm a dissatisfied libertarian, than send the message "There is at least one think I don't like about Obama, so I voted for 'the' other guy."

The LP (LPMA, LPUS) hasn't done any campaigning in my area. I guess they figured both of us already got the email, so why waste the money? Better late than never, my lawn sign and bumper stickers should arrive today or tomorrow.
10.30.2008 12:30pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
jb-- the third is still relevant. See Engblom v. Casey.

It is interesting to my mind that the only case law directly resting on the third amendment is remarkably recent (Reagan-era).
10.30.2008 12:36pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
john w.

If a law creates a big black market for anything, it undermines rule of law and personal liberty (because enforcement becomes problematic).

This is the way our current immigration laws work. We need to reform them so that we don't see such a black market for labor occurring. I don't see anyone advocating uncontrolled immigration, but I think we need to revisit exactly what controls we want.

Also, I don't see either McCain or Obama being particularly anti-immigrant, though McCain may have to kow-tow to the Know-Nothings to some extent.
10.30.2008 12:45pm
Loophole1998 (mail):
As a person with basically libertarian views, I can easily find much objectionable about both parties. In fact, I probably find even more objectionable about the Republican party than the Democratic party. So my vote is not based on policy issues so much as it is based on character issues. I believe Barack Obama possesses the better intellect and character to be President. Also, all things being equal, I am hoping the election of an African American person can help us move past identity politics. (I recognize the irony of my last statement.)
10.30.2008 12:52pm
socially conservative libertarian:
Count me as a "leave us alone" social conservative. I admit that I sometimes have to argue with other social conservatives who want the State to put a pro-Christian thumb on the scale. So there's no doubt they're out there. But even some of them are open to the argument that we should back off of using the schools to promote our agenda, because that simply legitimizes other peoples' attempts to use the schools to shove their agenga down kids' throats.

That last point is the rub -- regardless of how you rate social conservatives on using state machinery for offense or defense, it's hard to deny that the Left is on full offense, all the time. Long gone are the days where the liberals supported free speech in public schools, on college campuses, or even in society at large. The Left agenda is so statist on speech and behavior alike, that they must be opposed.

Further, let's be realistic -- the social conservatives are not currently a threat to your liberties, at least not in the federal government. The Left IS. The House and Senate are not about to flip back in two years, as with Clinton '92 to Gingrich '94. So I have a hard time seeing the libertarian case for Obama. Kerry '04 on divided-government grounds, maybe. But not this year.
10.30.2008 12:59pm
trad and anon (mail):
Also, all things being equal, I am hoping the election of an African American person can help us move past identity politics.
I don't think we'll be past identity politics for a long time. In 2004 the GOP ran against espresso beverages. This year they're running against salad greens. Next time it will be something else. Of course a lot of the Dem base dislikes "rednecks" but Democratic campaigns can't say that in public so it's not part of their strategy as much.
10.30.2008 12:59pm
MadHatChemist:
Obama and a Democrat congressional supermajority is a perfect storm of socialism that will make the '12 and '32 elections seem like Ron Paul.

The ONLY libertarian choice is to stop that from happening.
10.30.2008 1:03pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

For example, take Obama's medical care proposals. If these could be modified by simply removing the option of individuals to buy into the federal government insurance pool, this would almost certainly mean a net shift away from medicaid and towards private insurance.


This "simple modification" would entail Obama reversing the central premise of his health care proposal which is focused around (a) letting people "opt into" a new federal health care program and (b) creating a new federal exchange which would require that all private health plans adopt the same benefits. In other words -- more people on the public dole and everyone else forced into essentially the same system while their insurance remains private in name only.



By comparison, to make McCain's proposals work, one would probably have to set up another federal regulatory agancy to replace the state regulatory bodies regarding insurance. The alternative to doing so would be to simply be unable to ensure that insurance companies would even decide whether or not to authorize procedures (in some cases, doctors have to follow up repeatedly as it is, and often have to take it to state regulators).


That is completely backwards. McCain has proposed that people be able to buy insurance across State lines from any plan licensed in another State. Obama has proposed that in addition to the current State regulatory agencies, there will be a new federal "exchange" that will regulate private insurance to ensure that in addition to whatever State benefit mandates that private plans now include whatever benefits are in his new taxpayer funded health care entitlement.

Not only does this continue the present system of multiple State regulation but because his new regulatory body (the "exchange") is at the federal level, that means no ERISA preemption and suddenly the 70 plus percent of people who get their private insurance through self-funded plans that don't have to follow State benefit mandates now have a new set of federal benefit mandates that will rewrite their policies.
10.30.2008 1:14pm
hawkins:

In 2004 the GOP ran against espresso beverages.


I'll take the espresso ten times out of ten.

Seriously though, the identity politics of the GOP is one reason I cant vote for them. As a graduate degree holder from the east coast, it feels like the GOP is trying to turn the rest of the nation against me.


This was posted here last week, but it really is a great editorial.
10.30.2008 1:21pm
JDS:
I'm persuaded by the Wall St Journal's editorials: On every issue, Obama is wrong. Better McCain, a third-rate firefighter, than a first-rate arsonist.

Let's hope that Obama will repudiate all his campaign promises - that's what my Obama-supporting friends predict.
10.30.2008 1:36pm
amcalabrese (www):
Maybe a big part of it is that I am genetically Republican (though after moving back to NYS, I registered as a Libertarian Party member). But I will stick with McCain.

Ultimately, I think the main job of the president is protection of the homeland, everything else is secondary. I actually worry that Obama's election means more war. He knows that he is viewed as weak, and he will I think overreact to the first crisis to prove his toughness.

McCain does not have to prove his toughness.

I also think that Obama will bring back the draft, though it will be called something else such as "Volunteers in Service for the Planet" or something like that and it will allow civilian service.

I tell my European friends to be careful what they wish for as Obama talks about himself as a world wide messiah. Maybe he does not really believe it and they were mere rhetocial flourishes. But it makes me very uncomfortable.

Frankly, I expect Obama to win but his supporters worry me.
10.30.2008 1:39pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Thorley Winston wrote:



That is completely backwards. McCain has proposed that people be able to buy insurance across State lines from any plan licensed in another State. Obama has proposed that in addition to the current State regulatory agencies, there will be a new federal "exchange" that will regulate private insurance to ensure that in addition to whatever State benefit mandates that private plans now include whatever benefits are in his new taxpayer funded health care entitlement.


I will grant you that it is backwards of what McCain is saying. However, here is the basic problem.

A person has a life-threatening condition that requires near-term surgery. Doctor tries to authorize with insurance. Insurance doesn't get back to him. Tries again. No response. The doctor then calls up the state regulators and gets them to contact the insurance companies in order to get a response. This happens relatively frequently today.

If you remove the state regulators from the question, or substantially undermine their position, this will create a power vacuum. The only three possible scenarios are: 1) The procedure is never authorized, patient dies. 2) Patient pays out of pocket using a second mortgage or the like. Effectively has no insurance. 3) Federal government comes in to fill the power vacuum.

I think we can agree that the third is the only workable outcome of this proposal and is almost certain to be what happens in practice. After all, it fits the commerce clause quite nicely since it would in fact be regulation of interstate commerce (unlike, say, medical marijuana)...

My post was about unintended consequences. Regardless of what McCain intends, the consequences are almost certain to be a weakening of state governments, and a growth of the federal government. This is what happens with utopian plans of all stripes and why baby steps are always preferable.
10.30.2008 1:41pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
In short, McCain's strategy in health care is to marginalize the state regulators by ensuring there is no longer a single point of contact within a state for insurance concerns, and then placing medical insurance regulation solely in the domain of the Commerce Clause, of Article 1 of the Constitution.

You figure out where this would lead.
10.30.2008 1:43pm
JohnK (mail):
I live on the east coast and have several graduate degrees. I find most of my peers to be some of the most pig headed, self rightous and intolerent people I have ever known. My non degreed family back in the midwest is a fountain of tolerance compared to my degreed counterparts here in Washington. Spend 10 minutes perusing the Daily Kos or overhearing a political conversation in DuPont Circle and you will find yourself agreeing with the Republicans and their identity politics.
10.30.2008 1:44pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
What part of "McCain has proposed that people be able to buy insurance across State lines from any plan licensed in another State" do you not understand?

McCain hasn't proposed anything that would remove State regulation of health insurance (unlike Obama he hasn't proposed creating a new federal bureaucracy on top of the State regulatory agencies). What he's proposed is letting people buy a plan anywhere in the country so long as it's licensed in another State which means that it would continue to be regulated at the State level like it is now. The only difference is that consumers would no longer be limited as to their choices of which plans they can buy and can buy one anyone that licensed (and hence regulated) in any of the 50 State rather than just the one they live in.
10.30.2008 1:56pm
Kevin Murphy:
I'd much rather that the social conservatives went and started their own 3rd party, but they seem intent on taking over what is left of the Republican one.

Things started going bad when they forced Gingrich out, and Bush Jr has converted the party's core beliefs from the economic (which he has utterly trashed) to the religious. I don't see a good way to recover this any time soon. It could be 20 years before Republicans are again competitive.

Given that, why not start a third party? Or rather a more appealing second party.

The Nolan chart placement of the Obama Dems and the Bush Republicans shows a yawning gap available to an INCREMENTALLY libertarian party. A Center-Lib Party, if you will, that accepts government for what it is, but has the following goals:

Smaller government, lower taxes, fewer foreign alliances while maintaining a strong military, increased personal autonomy. individual rights and self-reliance, and an increased respect for private property.

None of which seem coming from either current party. How long do we wait and complain?
10.30.2008 1:58pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
JohnK

You know it is interesting... Support for the Vietnam War tended to be inversely proportional to education levels.

This being said, the GOP to my mind suffers heavily from what I call "Sir Joseph Porter, KCB" Syndrome (for any of you familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan's Operetta, "The HMS Pinnafore."

The relevant portions of the operetta regarding this syndrome are:

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament
I always voted my party's call
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all

(And he never thought of thinking for himself at all)

I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the ruler of the Queen's Navee

(He thought so little they rewarded he, by making him the ruler of the Queen's Navee!)

So Landsmen all, wherever you may be
If you want to rise to the top of the tree
If your soul isn't chained to an office stool
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule!

...

Stay close to your desks, and never go to sea
And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee!

I have long maintained that McCain's biggest electability problem with the GOP is that he hasn't convinced them he will always vote his party's call.
10.30.2008 2:00pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Thorley Winston:

Who has authority to regulate interstate commerce?

Do the states?

Who does?

However my point is that by lacking a single point of contact, the state regulators are effectively sidelined. They *cannot* regulate complaints arising from out-of-state sales in the same way any more than the states can collect sales tax for mail-order sales arising from out of state. This ends up falling, under our Constitution, on the Federal Government.

McCain's plan gives the Federal Government the Constitutional authority to impose such regulation. You better believe that if you hand them a gun they will use it too.....
10.30.2008 2:05pm
Angus:
BTW, for those concerned about the Supreme Court, McCain gives us a chance to replace aging liberals with stricter constructionists to create a supermajority of conservative jurists.
And, in protecting the 2nd Amendment, gutting the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th.
10.30.2008 2:05pm
JPG:
Living outside the US, thus not being an American citizen, I personally have no particular interest seeing a candidate win over the other.

Seeing how the GOP has shredded individual freedoms lately (Gitmo, wire tapping, torture, Patriot Acts, etc.) and how their candidate failed to "go maverick" on these issues, I hardly see how a libertarian could even consider voting McCain without contradicting his/her deepest libertarian convictions. On the other hand, the foreseen Obama's big spender government can underestandably scare the fiscal conservatives in the libertarian crowd (although I happen to have a different opinion on the matter).

I think the libertarian movement is more or less in the same situation the religious right was prior to G. W. Bush's election in 2000. If libertarians want to be taken into consideration in 2010/2012, they'll have to strike a kick in the hive this year. They should sacrify 2008's election, be a non-election factor, for their interests to be taken in account in the near future. Chances are, casting votes for Barr, more than abstention, could bring the spotlight on libertarian views in both political elites and MSM.
10.30.2008 2:07pm
Oren:

Spend 10 minutes perusing the Daily Kos or overhearing a political conversation in DuPont Circle and you will find yourself agreeing with the Republicans and their identity politics.

Spend 10 minutes listening to some conservatives and you want to bar them in a room with the dailykos people.
10.30.2008 2:08pm
Ilya (mail):
Sorry I'm new here. Why exactly do you all hate dailykos? Because it's a site that gets lots of traffic and most of the people there have differing opinions from those found here?
10.30.2008 2:28pm
wm13:
"Spend 10 minutes listening to some conservatives and you want to bar them in a room with the dailykos people."

I don't think that would be fair. Surely the conservatives have vastly more combat experience. (Though Kos himself is a veteran, albeit not a combat veteran.)
10.30.2008 2:29pm
Obvious (mail):
"As I understand, the staff of Reason are primarily "sex and drugs" libertarians, who don't get too concerned about things like trade and taxes."

Then you don't--sorry--understand much. Reason, and Reason staffers, have always been and remain in favor of low taxes and free trade. If you disagree, please find ONE quote from a Reason staffer to support your position.

As for the social conservatives who simply want to be left alone. Forgive me if I find this hard to believe. Are you seriously claiming you'd have no problem advocating the legalization of Internet-based prostitution where people interested in the service, in the privacy of their home, dial a phone number, and later a person visits their home, leaving later, never disturbing any neighbors. Are you seriously claiming you have no problem with a store you needn't ever enter offering marijuana to consenting adults (children not allowed to enter the premises), said adults using it only in the privacy of their own homes? Contrary to the poster above, it's very easy to offer these services in one neighborhood but not another, assuming people who want and don't want the service tend to congregate in neighborhoods (and given libertarians preferences for proprietary communities, this would often be the case). It's even easier to guarantee that the only drugs and prostitution consumed in your home is the stuff you ordered.

I look forward to the formation of "Social Conservatives Against Victimless Crime Laws". Until then, you're just blowing smoke, so to speak...
10.30.2008 2:42pm
David Warner:
trad and anon,

"As a liberal, I'm glad to see a libertarian endorsing the general idea that because leaving something unregulated would have bad results, the government should impose extensive regulations. But that's the antithesis of libertarianism."

Its also a stretch to call it liberalism. Bases stolen on "bad", "impose", and "extensive".
10.30.2008 2:43pm
Steve:
What he's proposed is letting people buy a plan anywhere in the country so long as it's licensed in another State which means that it would continue to be regulated at the State level like it is now.

Right. It would be regulated by whichever State offers the laxest regulations.
10.30.2008 2:46pm
Ben P:

I'm persuaded by the Wall St Journal's editorials: On every issue, Obama is wrong. Better McCain, a third-rate firefighter, than a first-rate arsonist.

Let's hope that Obama will repudiate all his campaign promises - that's what my Obama-supporting friends predict.


Persuaded by ridiculous overstatements of his policies?

Most of what the WSJ editorial was wasn't "obama's campaign promises." Certainly not the fairness doctrine stuff, and not most of the trade stuff. You can split on the healthcare stuff because a lot of people here used "nationalized" to be what Obama's proposing, it's not, but it is more government involvement. The Union stuff, again, push.

Over and over again we hit this meme that what Obama's really going to do is not what his campaign promises are, but the farthest left thing I can imagine that one democrat ever spoke in favor of.
10.30.2008 2:52pm
Lily (mail):

who are motivated, in large part, by the generosity of our Welfare system.
No, they're motivated by the fact that wages are much higher here than in their home countries

Whatever their original motivation - they benefit from the welfare state, and the rest of us are left with a high burden to pay for it.

I would support open borders if we did not have the welfare state. But we do. So, I am for stict immigration control/enforcement (pro legal immigration / violently anti-illegal immigration.) I will continue to vote for the end of the welfare state (good luck to me!) and, if I suceed, I will then support open borders.
10.30.2008 2:59pm
The Unbeliever:
"Spend 10 minutes listening to some conservatives and you want to bar them in a room with the dailykos people."

I don't think that would be fair. Surely the conservatives have vastly more combat experience. (Though Kos himself is a veteran, albeit not a combat veteran.)
If one group in the marketplace of ideas consciously rejected the development of a certain skill set, why is it "unfair" when that rejection of survival skills comes back to bite them?

The usual jibe here is "survival of the fittest ain't fair", but someone might mistake this for a threat of violence.

In any case, I'd buy that closed-circuit camera footage on PPV if any enterprising libertarian should make it available.
10.30.2008 3:10pm
Obvious (mail):
I would support open borders if we did not have the welfare state. But we do. So, I am for forced emigration of all people on welfare... I will continue to vote for the end of the welfare state (good luck to me!) and, if I succeed, I will then support allowing these former Americans to return.

Lily, do you think this is a good compromise too?
10.30.2008 3:12pm
musefree (www):
First of all there is little that separates Obama and McCain on trade. As for taxes, it will go slightly higher under Obama but military spending will likely go down substantially. They are both spenders, I'd rather take one who spends on renewable energy than one who thinks every global problem can be solved by war. As I see it, there is not enough that separates the two on economic policies for libertarians to base their decision on that.

That leaves social issues, and here there is a lot that separates them. Obama has categorically said that he will end the raids on medical marijuana clinics. To me, that alone is reason to support him. Plus there's other drugs policy, privacy, civil liberties, abortion, I could go on, forever.

And the war in Iraq.

From a libertarian point of view, the only choices are Barr and Obama. The Republicans must be defeated.

Finally, to those who think Reason does no stand for free markets, please give evidence for that ridiculous assertion. I suspect that many of the folks decrying social freedoms are really conservatives who like to call themselves libertarians.
10.30.2008 3:15pm
John Skookum (mail):
Xanthippas: The thread of connections between fanciful and unrealized plotting by late sixties radicals and Barack Obama is so tenuous as to defy all reason.

If there was some important figure in Obama's formative years before age 30 or so who was NOT of the authoritarian hard Left, I have never seen it mentioned in print. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.
10.30.2008 3:18pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Angus? Why leave out the third?

Why wouldn't the strict constructionist types want to see Engblom v. Casey reversed? That way, in any state of emergency, National Guardsmen could be quartered in your home! What could be more convenient?
10.30.2008 3:42pm
musefree (www):
Also, the main statistic Prof. Adler cites is misleading:


Some of the answers are squirrelly or indeterminate, but Barack Obama was the clear winner with a plurality of the votes.



I did a quick count, and Obama got zero, one or two more votes than Barr did (depending on how you count). They both got many more than everyone else. So it is wrong to say that Obama was the 'clear winner.'
10.30.2008 3:52pm
Nunzio:
The advantage of McCain is that he'll be dealing with a Democrat Congress so it will be a stalemate on further spending and raising taxes.

Also, McCain voted against the Medicare Prescription Drug act, which has added another huge expenditure, and is much more of a spending hawk than Obama, who will be even worse than W. Obama wants to add more money to Head Start, even though it doesn't work, etc.

Obama's basic policy is throw more money at social problems despite the fact that it doesn't work. His thinking is utterly conventional liberalism.

As for war, Obama wants to take troops out of Iraq and put them in Africa where the U.S. has no strategic interests. As for Afghanistan, Obama and McCain seem to promote the same strategy with McCain actually having military experience and a strong grasp of military matters.

As for Bob Barr, until he was soundly defeated for re-election 6 years ago he was a huge cheerleader for the War on Drugs, a huge supporter of the Federal DOMA, and wanted to remove the President from office for lying about a blow job.

Words are plentiful but deeds are precious.
10.30.2008 4:02pm
merevaudevillian:
One issue that's always struck me is the view of the First Amendment (freedom of speech) between both parties.

The Democrats would tend to abridge First Amendment rights (or, at least, doctrines of the First Amendment, even if not actual "rights") with concepts like Net Neutrality, the Fairness Doctrine, hate speech regulations, media ownership rules, and restricted (perhaps funding of) religious speech in certain public areas.

The Republicans would tend to abridge First Amendment "rights" with concepts like obscenity prosecutions, library filters, (digitized) child pornography, favorable regulations (or funding) for religious speech, and "equal time" regarding evolution/intelligent design.

Democrats tend to favor campaign finance reform, although Sen. McCain is the notable exception.

I don't think either side is seriously considering other things like the Flag Burning Amendment or sedition acts.

So, I guess I wonder... is one party necessarily any better for "pure" First Amendment free expression, or is it more a matter of perspective? That is, if you think the values promulgated by one party or the other, you'll find that their restrictions on "speech" or "expression" are minimal, but the other side's are significant?
10.30.2008 4:04pm
guest:
Your vote doesn't count, unless the election is decided by one vote, and you have far more chance of being killed on the way to the polls than that happening. Besides, the vote is the sign and symbol of the democratic state. I abstain.
10.30.2008 4:08pm
Scott Teresi (www):
Goodness! Obama's tax plan doesn't even come close to raising taxes to the level they were at in 2000. He doesn't even rescind all of Bush's irresponsible tax cuts--he falls $2.7 trillion short. See fourth-last paragraph here:

Tax plan face off: Obama vs. McCain
10.30.2008 4:15pm
Loophole1998 (mail):
Kevin Murphy:

I love your idea for a new party that would be for:
Smaller government, lower taxes, fewer foreign alliances while maintaining a strong military, increased personal autonomy, individual rights and self-reliance, and an increased respect for private property.
All my life I've wondered why there isn't a major party that was fiscally conservative and socially libertarian.

Instead we are forced to choose between the party of the evangelicals and the party of big government. I don't want a theocracy or a socialist state.

What's more likely: (1) A "small government" Democratic party, (2) a "live and let live" Republican party (that actually believes in fiscal responsibility), or (3) a relevant third party?
10.30.2008 4:23pm
Doc W (mail):

As for Bob Barr, until he was soundly defeated for re-election 6 years ago he was a huge cheerleader for the War on Drugs, a huge supporter of the Federal DOMA, and wanted to remove the President from office for lying about a blow job.

Clinton was impeached for perjuring himself.

Barr changed his tune radically with regard to drugs. It's hard to imagine he did so because he thought the LP would be a sure route to political high office.

There are advantages to a McCain presidency. It would probably only be one term, and the gridlock with the Dems in Congress would minimize the damage to our freedom and wallets associated with the pols "accomplishing" a lot.

On the other hand, the neocons really do need to be allowed to drive over the cliff and crash. Then there is at least the shred of hope for a political realignment that would bring a more liberty-oriented party to the fore.

If all those folks who call themselves libertarian but repeatedly rationalize voting Demopublican would just vote Libertarian, it would at least draw more attention and influence to the whole idea of liberty--y'know, what we/they/some of us at least stand for.
10.30.2008 4:31pm
Kent Scheidegger (mail) (www):
A Gallup Poll out today shows the difference between the parties as sharply as any issue poll I have seen:

"Do you think our government should or should not redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich?"

Here are the yes and no answers:

Democrats: 75, 21
Independents: 47, 48
Republicans: 17, 81
Total: 46, 50
10.30.2008 4:34pm
Kent G. Budge (www):

I'll post the results from the NYT staff poll when it is available.


I think that would be superfluous.
10.30.2008 5:01pm
Nunzio:
"Barr changed his tune radically with regard to drugs. It's hard to imagine he did so because he thought the LP would be a sure route to political high office."

I think it's called speaking engagements and book deals. Since he actually has no productive skills, he just sings whatever songs will make him fast cash. I think Arianna Huffington figured this out a while ago.
10.30.2008 5:16pm
David Warner:
Loophole,

"All my life I've wondered why there isn't a major party that was fiscally conservative and socially libertarian."

Because if all the liberals were on one side, we'd never survive losing an election. We've got them divided, and, barely, conquered.
10.30.2008 5:26pm
sarnac (mail):
1) Voting for McCain is voting for congress vs WH paralysis (except under catastrophic conditions)

2) Commenters here are forgetting that other thumb-on-the-scale ... the media always will act to thwart the Theocons and act to help the Utopianist Socialists.

A Theocon admin + Theocon-congress is vastly less dangerous to liberty and prosperity (because of the hostile media ) than a Socialist admin + a Socialist congress (because of the friendly media).

Contraindicating my own argument is the financial decay of newspapers and MSM reporting and the rise of blogging, but the decay-rate of MSM influence lags the decay rate of their balance-sheets.

Nonetheless, governmental paralysis seems vastly preferable to the convergence of socialists in the WH, congress and most elements of the MSM.
10.30.2008 5:28pm
Kristen (mail):
Mr. Adler says, "Some of the answers are squirrelly or indeterminate, but Barack Obama was the clear winner with a plurality of the votes."

I went back and looked at each person's supposed vote and you're right, Mr. Adler, there are technically a few more clearly stated Obama votes than McCain. But when you look at who those same people voted for in 2000 and 2004 in many cases it was Gore and Kerry. Overall, looking thru each response and discounting the ones that do not represent a "changed-vote-that-would-influence-this-2008-election," can you really claim that this is particularly telling?

Of course, I didn't take the time to go thru the list and record each person's response so I can't report exact findings. If someone would do that perhaps they'd find a little reassurance if they were a republican. Not sure, but maybe I'll do it later just for fun.
10.30.2008 5:29pm
LM (mail):
Ilya:

Sorry I'm new here. Why exactly do you all hate dailykos? Because it's a site that gets lots of traffic and most of the people there have differing opinions from those found here?

Because among the hundreds of diaries per day and the thousands of comments on those diaries, there's a small but reliable percentage that say truly vile things. The extreme right wing boils off everything else on the site, relying only on these fringe views to draw their caricatures of everything to the left of David Addington. Of the many on the right who aren't that extreme, some credulously accept these caricatures because it would take too much time outside the comfort of right wing echo chambers to make a fair assessment of left wing echo chambers. Others know better, and a few say so.
10.30.2008 5:31pm
Anony:
Coincidentally, this New York Times article on the 10-year-old Working Families Party is a great road map for how a third party can co-opt a major party and make inroads into power. Why can't we libertarians do the same?
10.30.2008 5:52pm
Sagar:
Libertarians should vote for LP. That will establish a benchmark of how many supporters it has (say 3% to 5%). Depending on where they are concentrated, they should try to influence the local and state elections and (if they win) show people how they can govern better.

Right now, most think the LP to be mostly potheads who support prostitution.

I voted for LP and will not regret it.
10.30.2008 6:26pm
New World Dan (www):
Obama will easily win Minnesota. Since it's not a remotely competitive state, I'll be voting for Bob Barr.

Where things get complicated is the MN senate race. The best man in that race is easily Dean Barkley of the Independance Party (they generally have a moderate libertarian philosophy), who's trailing in the polls at around 20%. Otherwise it's a very tight race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. Norm is a spineless mushy middle Republican and Franken is a flaming socialist. Then again, I'm not sure where those poll numbers are coming from. Everyone I know is voting Barkley in this race, and I most likely will too.

And I'll vote for whatever chump is running against Betty McCollum. Anyone who scores even 30% against Betty should celebrate a moral victory.
10.30.2008 6:32pm
Nunzio:
Sadly, libertarians will never be more than an interest group in one of the major parties. Maybe they should swing over to the Dems, participate hard in the primaries (where way fewer people turn out) and try and get some decent nominees who are free trade and as fiscally responsible as one could reasonably hope for in a major party candidate.
10.30.2008 8:06pm
David Warner:
Sarnac,

"vastly preferable to the convergence of socialists in the WH, congress and most elements of the MSM."

When Mitch McConnell's running ads touting all the pork he's brought back to good old Kentucky, I wonder if its the socialists in DC who are the problem...
10.30.2008 8:47pm
Cornellian (mail):
Surely the conservatives have vastly more combat experience.

You mean like Bush and Cheney?
10.30.2008 8:49pm
Cornellian (mail):

A Theocon admin + Theocon-congress is vastly less dangerous to liberty and prosperity (because of the hostile media ) than a Socialist admin + a Socialist congress (because of the friendly media).


Fortunately you, unlike the population at large, is immune to the effects of a hostile media. How fortunate it must be to be so much smarter than the people around you.
10.30.2008 8:52pm
David Warner:
LM,

"Because among the hundreds of diaries per day and the thousands of comments on those diaries, there's a small but reliable percentage that say truly vile things."

That's one theory. For me it was having my comments deleted three times in the first week I was there. The other four or five comments were met with "he's obviously a troll" and widely derided with content-free scorn. Plus, if I want to hear the Kos party line, I can just watch/read the news, or, failing that, I can count on the Kidz to helpfully bring it here to us.

That, and, you know, Ned Lamont.
10.30.2008 8:52pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
cornellian:

Surely the conservatives have vastly more combat experience.


You mean like Bush and Cheney?


The list of prominent R who never served (at all; not just never been in combat) is quite long. It includes Hastert, Armey, DeLay, Blunt, Frist, McConnell, Santorum, Allen, Lott, Cheney, Ashcroft, Rove, Gingrich, Shelby, Kyl, Cornyn, Doolittle, Chambliss, Kemp, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Guiliani, Pataki and Schwarzenegger.

Let's also not forget George Will, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Bennett, Rush, Savage, Kristol, Hannity, Scalia and Thomas.

On the other hand, there are many, many prominent D who served. Details here or here.
10.30.2008 11:39pm
LM (mail):
David Warner:

For me it was having my comments deleted three times in the first week I was there.

Don't take it personally. According to my Huffington Post profile, they've scrubbed 132 of my comments, and I'll bet half of them toed the party line. The comment moderation on mega sites like HuffPost (four and a half million unique visitors a month) and Kos (a million, still huge) is a blunt instrument. It was funny how often my pro-Obama comments on HuffPost got zapped during the primaries, considering what a total Obambot Arianna is. (Apparently some of her moderators were Clintonistas.) Kos uses a different system, but again it's so big I wouldn't try to read too much method into the madness.

I also get scrubbed routinely by right wing sites. The reasons are more ideologically consistent, but no more reasonable. And I don't mean just Kos analogs like Free Republic or Powerline. Try expressing sympathy for Muslims on a Daily Telegraph thread, or for Palestinians on the Jerusalem Post. FWIW, there's only one (quasi-)political site where I've commented more than a few times that hasn't edited me -- this one.

The other four or five comments were met with "he's obviously a troll" and widely derided with content-free scorn.

Sadly, again, you're describing most of the political blogosphere, left and right, if you're not sufficiently belligerent toward the house enemy.

Plus, if I want to hear the Kos party line, I can just watch/read the news,

Here we just have to disagree. While the MSM skews left (mostly inadvertently I'd argue), it's still center enough to look pretty far right viewed from the the real activist left like Kos. Kind of how the right-wing base thinks McCain is a liberal. Viewed from anywhere left of center, the differences between the Times and Kos are pretty stark.

or, failing that, I can count on the Kidz to helpfully bring it here to us.

Yes, there's that.

That, and, you know, Ned Lamont.

I was never a fan, but considering how screwed over I feel by Lieberman, it's hard for me to really get behind this one.
10.31.2008 4:48am
David Warner:
LM,

"Here we just have to disagree. While the MSM skews left (mostly inadvertently I'd argue), it's still center enough to look pretty far right viewed from the the real activist left like Kos. Kind of how the right-wing base thinks McCain is a liberal. Viewed from anywhere left of center, the differences between the Times and Kos are pretty stark."

The advertisements, for starters. Puts the lie to the Times' radical chic baloney real fast. On the other hand, I saw a survey somewhere where they asked reporters for their fav blogs/sites and both HuffPo (Celebrity Chess Match) and KosLand were at the top of the list. It's a continuation of college where the illiberal Left serves as the conscience of the careerists. Principled liberalism never even hits the radar.

As for putting up with the scrubbing/clubbing, I have better things to do.
10.31.2008 6:38am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
How silly of me to leave them out. Two more leading Rs with no military service: Romney and Palin. Dunno about Wurzelbacher and Ashley Todd.
10.31.2008 8:20am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Darn it. There are so many it's hard to think of them all at once.

Huck and Jindal also never served.

According to Rovian folklore, the GOP loves the troops. But for some reason, it's awfully hard to find a GOP leader who ever was one (McCain is an obvious and significant counterexample).

So how will the GOP solve this problem? Maybe they'll convince Markos to switch sides. Or Webb. Or Wesley Clark. Or Gore, Murtha, Daschle, Kerry, Kerrey, Inouye, Rangel, Cleland, Dodd, or Harkin.
10.31.2008 11:16am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lm:

I also get scrubbed routinely by right wing sites.


You're making excellent points, as usual.

I would add that big righty sites, in general, just don't allow comments. Leading righty blogs like Malkin, LGF, Instapundit, and Hot Air either allow no comments, or are closed to new commenters. VC is a very commendable counterexample.

Power Line didn't allow comments for years. Then they opened a forum, but they sometimes scrub entire threads they don't like, and then hundreds of comments disappear without a trace.

In contrast, leading lefty blogs like Kos, TPM, Think Progress, Crooks and Liars, Washington Monthly and Eschaton are all open to new commenters.

This is a pretty stark contrast, and it's usually not mentioned when rightys complain about how they were allegedly not welcomed at a lefty blog. It's pretty silly for a righty to complain about their alleged poor treatment at Kos, when the big righty blogs won't even let me step inside.

With regard to Kos, it's also worth mentioning their explicit policy statement:

This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog. … It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory.


In other words, there is no pretense that it intends to host all sorts of wide-ranging theoretical discussions about politics. Or that it intends to be open to all views. If your comments suggest that you are not a Democrat, and that you have some goal other than electoral victory for Democrats, then you are a troll, by definition.

So Kos should get credit for allowing absolutely anyone to show up and post at least one comment. Because all the largest righty sites don't even allow that. And then there is nothing wrong with Kos banning you once it's clear you're a troll, as defined by their policy statement.

warner:

or, failing that, I can count on the Kidz to helpfully bring it here to us.


If you have some idea that "Kidz" means just one thing, you should realize that Kos is far from monolithic. For example, see my high-traffic diary here, where I directly confronted a leading Kos diarist because I thought she was being unfair to Israel.

Don't be fooled by the title of my diary. I intentionally created it to sound like I was blaming Israel (even though I was doing the exact opposite). That's because I specifically wanted to attract readers who had the view I was opposing. And I succeeded.
10.31.2008 11:17am
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

The list of prominent R who never served (gives list)

On the other hand, there are many, many prominent D who served. Details here or here.


Interesting list. Several Republicans are left off the list. I guess it depends on who is considered prominent.

The issue of service is not germane, at least from my perspective. Was that the point you were trying to make? I think that's the point some Dems are making by their silence because the chickenhawk argument has really not come up much. Strange that...
10.31.2008 2:02pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

Several Republicans are left off the list.


I'm sure the list isn't perfect, and I'm sure some Ds are missing, too.

I guess it depends on who is considered prominent.


If there are Rs missing that you would consider prominent, it would interest me to hear their names.

The issue of service is not germane


It's possibly you don't recall how this little subthread was launched. Someone said this:

Surely the conservatives have vastly more combat experience.


Someone else questioned that remark, and then I questioned that remark.

The person who said "surely the conservatives have vastly more combat experience" was spreading a familiar idea, that Rs serve and Ds don't (generally). Trouble is, that idea is wrong. And person who said it would probably disagree with your statement ("the issue of service is not germane").

I think that's the point some Dems are making by their silence because the chickenhawk argument has really not come up much.


I'm baffled. I have no idea what you're trying to say.
10.31.2008 2:14pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

If there are Rs missing that you would consider prominent, it would interest me to hear their names.

Duncan Hunter
John Shadegg
John Boehner - enlisted but was medically discharged. I note this because one of the websites you listed says he did not serve.
Jeff Bingaman
Steve Buyer

Etc, etc.
10.31.2008 6:30pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Thanks, that's helpful information. I appreciate that you took the time to put that together.

And it looks like you found a boner regarding Boehner (sorry for the awful joke).
11.1.2008 3:38am
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

And it looks like you found a boner regarding Boehner (sorry for the awful joke).

Now that IS funny! I laughed out loud. And although I think Boehner is prominent, I think he is an awful Minority Leader.
11.1.2008 5:46pm