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Paul Who?

Ilya Somin has another excellent post illustrating the rational ignorance of most voters, most of whom seem to have no idea who Paul Ryan is:

Public ignorance about federal spending is widespread. One of the challenges that Ryan faces in selling his entitlement reform proposals is that most Americans don’t realize how large a proportion of federal spending is devoted to these programs, and therefore don’t understand that it is impossible to get the budget crisis under control without cutting back in this area.

One of the reasons I often feel we’re doomed is that the only place many of these low-information voters get their information from is the traditional media, which is so far in the tank for this Administration, it’s highly unlikely they’ll learn anything about Ryan’s ideas, other than they are bad and will destroy America.

I continue to be relatively un-optimistic about this coming election, and think Obama has a better than even chance of being re-elected.

24 Responses to “Paul Who?”

  1. Oranje Mike says:

    Obama will get re-elected but I think the election will be closer than many claim it will (at least in the popular vote). Romney’s main weakness will be not offering a better alternative to Obama. What are most people going to think when he stumps against Obamacare when his own Romneycare was a forerunner to Obamacare? Romney’s actual record versus what he actually says will also work against him.

    I see Romney and see Obama. I see Obama and see Romney. There’s not enough of a difference to motivate people to vote against Obama.

    • Sebastian says:

      I don’t think there is any other viable Republican candidate that could handily defeat Obama. Conservatives love to say losing candidates lost because they weren’t conservative enough, but that’s not the case. I don’t really think ideology wins or loses elections, because most voters are not ideological.

      • Wes says:

        Ron Paul is the only person who can defeat Obama. But Republicans would rather lose with Romney than win with Ron Paul.

  2. Chas says:

    Markie Marxist sez: “Hey! What’s up with this Ryan guy?! We were supposed to be up against a RINO, which meant that heads we Marxists win, and tails we Marxists win! Now, all of a sudden, there’s this Ryan guy, and he’s a conservative American! What’s up with that?! He’s not a Marxist internationalista like Obama! He’s not even a brain dead Stalinist like Joe Biden! You’re not going to see Paul Ryan bowing and scraping to foreign heads of state! He’s going strut around the planet acting like capitalist America has legitimacy, which every good commie on the planet, especially Comrade President Barack Obama, and even more so Comrade First Lady Michelle Obama, knows to be untrue! Only places like Venezuela, Cuba, Vietnam and Iran are legitimate countries, because they oppose capitalist America. It’s just not common communist sense to pick Paul Ryan! It’s just not fair! We commies are always supposed to win! Whether he wins or not, Ryan makes us lose!”

    • Wes says:

      Paul Ryan isn’t a conservative. He voted for the Patriot Act, NDAA indefinite detention, TARP, the TSA, loves policing the world, and his own budget plan adds trillions to the debt and wouldn’t balance the budget a single time until the year 2040. This guy’s a conservative!?

      • Harold says:

        Well, inside the Beltway he counts as one….

        We also need to be careful about which budgets we’re talking about. E.g ones he’s proposed, vs. what emerged from the House meat-grinder at the end of that process the last time? The former were obviously better, but at this time have no change of survival at the hands of the rest of the current Republican leadership.

  3. Old NFO says:

    I ‘think’ things just got more interesting… At least Ryan is a committed supporter of the NRA and 2A!

    • Harold says:

      See my comment in the previous thread. He was quite willing to sign onto the “kill gunshows” movement in 1999, which would have also been a terrible blow against the gun culture according to our host.

  4. Robb Allen says:

    Eh, Ryan can’t fix Romney’s biggest flaw – Being Romney.

    I’m still not enthusiastic about him and am still torn if he’s getting my vote or not, Ryan or no Ryan. With the Roberts fiasco still bitter on my tongue, I’m not even convinced getting ‘conservatives’ on the court matters or not.

    Of course, the problem isn’t who we have as POTUS. The rot is much deeper than that. Fixing that isn’t something done by checking off a new king, and like many of my political bent, I’m not sure it’s even fixable at this point.

    I need some more wine.

    • HSR47 says:

      Keep in mind what was posted on this very blog yesterday with regard to SCOTUS appointees: that they’re lifetime appointees who have been serving for 20+ years of late. As was said yesterday, it’s entirely possible that three of the justices won’t last four more years, which means that, were Obama re-elected, we would almost certainly lose our slim majority on the court, which would set us back 20 years on the issue of gun rights.

      We are where we are because of cases like Heller, and McDonald; If we can maintain our position on the court, or God willing improve our majority, just imagine where we’ll be once cases like Woollard vs. Sheridan make it to the SCOTUS. The same holds true in reverse; if we LOSE our majority (which is likely if Obama is reelected) we will lose our favorable judicial position for at least the next 20 years.

      • Harold says:

        […] were Obama re-elected, we would almost certainly lose our slim majority on the court, which would set us back 20 years on the issue of gun rights.

        Could not disagree more.

        It would in the Federal courts set us back exactly 4 years and 1 1/2 (the time since the Heller decision was released). Given that we were winning in the more critical political arena before (and the way to bet is that influenced the Supremes) and continue to afterwards, this would just remove one important vector of attack, and would be very bad news for residents of the current anti-gun states. And probably those trending Blue/anti-gun like Pennsylvania.

        On the other hand, it would energize us like nothing else I can see on the horizon.

        Plus does not your thesis require the Supremes to made decisions that actually make a significant difference on the ground? I haven’t see that yet, and a defeat of Heller II would make it clear Heller and MacDonald were the equivalent of Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada in 1938 instead of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

        • HSR47 says:

          All things considered, I stand by what I said above.

          There are MANY factors that enter into the calculation, but in large part, it centers around the proposition that having a majority on the supreme court is a good thing. If Obama remains in office after this election, chances are good that we will lose our slim majority. On the other hand, if the Republican candidate is elected, even if only for one term, chances are good that we will maintain our slim majority (presumably, Reagan’s two good picks, as well as Ginsberg will retire, and Romney will do at least as well at selecting justices as did Reagan). Given how long supreme court justices have been lasting of late, it seems likely that if we lose our majority in the next 4 years, we would need to hold the presidency for the next 12-20 in order to regain what we would lose. The fact of the matter is that, if we allow Obama another four years in office, he WILL get at least one more supreme court pick, and possibly as many as four more, bringing his overall total to somewhere between three and six justices appointed. We’ve already seen the caliber of people he associates with; Imagine having a full TWO THIRDS of the highest court in the land filled with people of like mine to Eric Holder, and Bill Ayers.

          That said, a favorable supreme court is important, as you note, due to the ability to challenge unconstitutional statues in “blue” or “blue trending” states. To wit, without Heller and McDonald, we almost certainly wouldn’t have Woolard vs. Sheridan (which not only drew on Heller, but other cases which did as well).

          Remember this little tidbit: “A citizen may not be required to offer a good and substantial reason why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right‘s existence is all the reason he needs.”

          Long story short, Woollard, like Heller and McDonald before it, is a case which is fairly narrow in scope, and thus intended to make it easier for the courts to decide in our favor. This mentality that an elephant must be eaten one bite at a time seems to be fairly well ingrained at the SAF. Simply put, Heller and McDonald were each fairly small wins at face value, but judging in such a way ignores the long-term effects of those wins, and the jurisprudence they establish.

          That said, I DO recognize that in *some* states, liberalization of gun laws took place without intervention by the judicial branch. The fact of the matter though, is that where we have won through legislative action, it has generally been due to MASSIVE public effort.

          For example, Texas only got to where it is today due to the fallout from the Lubys massacre. Almost 20 years later, they still haven’t changed much, and are now at the top of the bell curve, rather than at the leading edge.

          The naked fact though, is that we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided; If we lose the ability to challenge the unconstitutional statues of states like CA, NY, and NJ through the judicial system, then such laws will almost certainly spread to other “blue-trending” states, and as the culture in those states changes, so too will other states that receive transplants from blue states. This is true because people tend to flock to meaningfully gainful employment, which blue states tend to actively suppress.

          • Harold says:

            That said, I DO recognize that in *some* states, liberalization of gun laws took place without intervention by the judicial branch.

            Unless you can cite a lot more cases like West Virginia, where their state supreme court invalidated their may issue regime but gave them time to fix it, it’s obvious that almost all of the 36 states with modern shall issue regimes got them through the legislative process (you’d need 10 more states that were pushed by their judiciaries, and I’m sure I would have heard about more cases like W. Va.).

            The fact of the matter though, is that where we have won through legislative action, it has generally been due to MASSIVE public effort.

            Don’t know. Wasn’t “MASSIVE” in the two states I’m familiar with, in Missouri it even lost on a statewide ballot (the state is generally narrowly balanced between the two big cities and the rest, Purple but losing population, at net very possibly in the Bluer portions of the state).

            Virginia was a case where abuses of what was supposed to be a generous, de facto shall issue, de jure may issue regime led to reform (with a restaurant poison pill only recently fixed and a restriction to handguns, both reasons George Allen has been less successful politically afterwards). There was serious citizen lobbying involved in this, don’t know if I could call it “massive”, though, e.g. not like Texas.

  5. Bill says:

    Not exactly another Regan, but look how much worse we off are if Obama prevails. A protest vote for a minor candidate is effectively a vote to retain Obama, so I think it’s time to hold your nose and vote Romney even if you aren’t wild about him.

    My only reservation on Ryan for VP is that we loose that voice in the house, and in the next congress it may be possible to seize control from the crazy left and perhaps begin getting spending under at least minimal control.

    And the hysterical anti-gunners are already having the vapors about a real hunter loose in DC.

    • Sage Thrasher says:

      Rock Creek Park in DC has the highest of concentration anywhere in the US. Of course, since it’s DC they hire government snipers to quietly kill the deer down to levels that allow driving instead of instituting a modest bow season. Some of the hunters in Congress should see about staging a hunt there.

    • Patrick H says:

      I think we are screwed regardless of whether Romney or Obama wins.

      • HSR47 says:

        Perhaps, but with Obama we will almost certainly lose our majority on the SCOTUS, as well as numerous lower courts, effectively eliminating the effectiveness of the Second Amendment Foundations efforts to challenge unconstitutional statutes through the judicial system.

        It seems that many gun owners fail to see the importance of this; The move towards more liberal (as in liberty) gun laws hasn’t really been driven by legislative or executive branches of government; it has been driven by the judicial branch. If we loose the judiciary, we loose our ONLY means of challenging unconstitutional statutes short of violent action.

        This election isn’t about Obama and Romney; It’s about the possibility that a candidate other than Obama can turn us away from the path we are on now, which will almost certainly lead to civil war.

        • Harold says:

          The move towards more liberal (as in liberty) gun laws hasn’t really been driven by legislative or executive branches of government….

          Which of course explains why I can as of early 2004 carry concealed in the thoroughly Purple and formerly hard-core KKK state of Missouri. More than 4 years before the Supremes declared I could have a gun in my home to maybe legally defend myself (the latter weasel word because the D.C. law went a lot further than a ban on new licenses and I’m not sure that’s been fixed, e.g. the post-Heller D.C. law that wouldn’t let you actually load it until you were facing a home invader).

          You’re very welcome to provide counter-examples to make your case; I myself am not aware of any to match the nationwide sweep concealed carry laws, which as far as I know outside of West Virginia had nothing to do with the judicial branch of government … and which started in 1987.

  6. Wes says:

    Sebastian laments the fact people don’t know much about Paul Ryan. I bet people don’t know his own budget plan never cuts any actual spending, adds trillions to the debt, and never balances the budget even for a single year until 2040.

    Voted for TARP, voted for the Patriot Act, voted for NDAA indefinite detention….

    THAT’S the kind of guy Paul Ryan is. Big-government, big-spending neocon.

    • Alpheus says:

      Unfortunately, it’s the people who vote for these candidates; thus, we’re stuck with what we have until the people themselves become more conservative.

      For example, could you imagine anyone winning on a platform of “I’m going to kill Social Security and Medicare. These services are better provided privately, than by corrupt Government.”? Such a politician will be tarred and feathered!

      It is We the People that are to blame for this situation. I’d like to think Paul Ryan can change things, but so long as politicians are beholden to the people (which is a good thing), and the people are beholden to expanding government (which is the bad thing), we’re stuck with what we got.

      • Harold says:

        Historically, republics last only so long as the people are moral enough to resist the temptation to vote themselves the public fisc. I think the US has lasted as long as it has only because of technological innovation allowed by sane business regimes (none more so than California’s, with its unenforceability of non-competes), but of course we’ve fixed that now (e.g. California is now completely insane in nearly every way, especially if you’re shuffling atoms around, SarBox was the last nail in the coffin of the VC model, which had a good run from the ’50sto very early ’00s).

  7. My prediction…

    Romney 38%
    Obama 62%

    • Bitter says:

      I’m going to first say that I don’t think that’s a remotely realistic example. The bigger question is what states you have in each column to come up with such a precise percentage.

    • Alpheus says:

      So far, Romney hasn’t done anything incredibly stupid, but Obama has had several major gaffes. Granted, the Press is in the tank for Obama, so those gaffes won’t get much press time…but still, I don’t think Obama is the Unbeatable President that so many people make him out to be. Indeed, I’m inclined to believe that Romney, for better and for worse, will be our next President.

      Even so, I do not put it past Romney, or any Republican, to mess up an election.

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