An Interesting Observation on RNC2012

Taking a break from landscaping a bit, and the drudgery of moving crushed stone around from places that don’t need it to places that do. I noticed some criticism from my last RNC post form Bill Quick, with a link in the comment section to a Reason article that I feel sums up the point I was trying to make nicely:

Mitt Romney may indeed be a deliberately empty vessel (for the definitive framing on his approach to politics, please read Peter Suderman’s excellent cover story from March, “Consultant in Chief“), but empty vessels have a habit of tacking to the wind. One striking, even unrecognizable difference between the 2012 RNC and the convention just four years ago is that there is a generation of legitimately interesting new Republican politicians–Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Texas senatorial candidate Ted Cruz, Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño – who campaigned on tackling the real structural problems facing the country, and have largely (though not completely) kept up their end of the bargain.

These people weren’t afterthoughts during the convention, grudgingly given off-prime speaking slots; they were the featured speakers. They reflect (and were mostly brought into the office by) the populist, anti-big-government uprising that has rocked the country since the fall of 2008, and they are precipitating long-overdue conversations within the GOP about cutting spending, reforming entitlements, reducing public-sector compensation, and even reducing military expenditure. They are the ones who have the juice and the momentum within the Republican Party, even if they haven’t yet produced a presidential nominee.

Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan (read Peter Suderman’s great profile of him here) isn’t precisely of their generation, or radicalism, but he’s cut from the same philosophical cloth. As FreedomWorks’ Matt Kibbe told me, “Ryan is a real market guy–I know all of his flaws, I know all of his bad votes, but by choosing Ryan the party has conceded that it actually has to defend these ideas, including entitlement reform.” Ryan’s selection can be read as a sign that the S.S. Romney felt the wind blowing from the fiscal conservative grassroots.

Read the Whole Thing, as they say. I am under no delusion that Romney is now suddenly an ideal candidate. Having lived in and worked in politics in Massachusetts for a number of years, Bitter is well familiar with his quirks and flaws. He will stick his finger into the air and see which way the winds blowing, he can follow bad advice, and yes, when Governor of the most Democratic, liberal state in the nation, he’ll pass the model for Obamacare if he doesn’t think he can afford not to. But my observation is that he seems to have committed his campaign to the idea that the wind is blowing in the direction of shrinking the size and scope of government. As long as we keep the wind blowing in that direction, Mitt will go along. He’s that kind of politician. Obama doesn’t care which direction the wind blows. In his mind he is a transformative being, out to remake America, and that’s all that matters to him.

63 thoughts on “An Interesting Observation on RNC2012”

  1. Mitt was not only in a state run by Democrats, he was in a state that was run by Democrats to the point where they could have governed without him because they could do anything they wanted in the legislature with plenty of support for single-payer. I think the fact that he held them back as much as he did is impressive, and I’m pretty much the number one member of the “I hate Mitt Romney from Massachusetts” anti-fan club.

    I think Sister Toldjah said it best, his speech revealed a direction that makes me feel a little like I’m not just voting against Obama in November.

    Mitt Romney is humanizing himself. I actually like him now. Don’t trust. But like.

    It wasn’t just about the humanizing elements, it was about the direction he’s going right now. It’s certainly more to the right than anything Obama will be willing to do in a second term.

  2. “Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts. These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”

    – Mitt Romney

    1. And this is what he says now.

      As the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed, the Second Amendment protects one of the American people’s most basic and fundamental individual rights: “the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.” The Second Amendment is essential to the functioning of our free society. Mitt strongly supports the right of all law-abiding Americans to exercise their constitutionally protected right to own firearms and to use them for lawful purposes, including hunting, recreational shooting, self-defense, and the protection of family and property.

      Like the majority of Americans, Mitt does not believe that the United States needs additional laws that restrict the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. He believes in the safe and responsible ownership and use of firearms and the right to lawfully manufacture and sell firearms and ammunition. He also recognizes the extraordinary number of jobs and other economic benefits that are produced by hunting, recreational shooting, and the firearms and ammunition industry, not the least of which is to fund wildlife and habitat conservation.

      Mitt will enforce the laws already on the books and punish, to the fullest extent of the law, criminals who misuse firearms to commit crimes. But he does not support adding more laws and regulations that do nothing more than burden law-abiding citizens while being ignored by criminals. Mitt will also provide law enforcement with the proper and effective resources they need to deter, apprehend, and punish criminals.

      1. To make it clear, the above is a quote from his website, the rest of the page follows:

        As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt was proud to support legislation that expanded the rights of gun owners. He worked hard to advance the ability of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own firearms, while opposing liberal desires to create bureaucracy intended to burden gun owners and sportsmen. As governor, he also designated May 7th as “The Right to Bear Arms Day” in Massachusetts to honor law-abiding citizens and their right to “use firearms in defense of their families, persons, and property for all lawful purposes, including common defense.”

        As president, Mitt will work to expand and enhance access and opportunities for Americans to hunt and shoot. He also will defend the right of individuals to protect their families, homes, and property, and he will fight the battle on all fronts to protect and promote the Second Amendment.

        1. You know, on the very day you think Mitt was “working hard to advance the ability of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own firearms”, he said the following:

          “Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts. These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”

          And now he’s trying to spin that very anti-gun act into a positive thing for gun owners. Is anyone really that naive? Really?

          1. Ummm, aren’t we supposed to be sophisticated people who care more about a politician’s actions than his words? The bill he signed was a GOAL engineered genuine compromise that was a net gain for the state’s gun owners. As I recall Bitter was there and attests to this.

            His words at the signing … well, words from a politician, especially in this domain, can also be actions. But in Massachusetts, the words he spoke were meaningless baubles, the “conventional wisdom”.

            1. So wait. Now we’re NOT supposed to look at his words? That’s funny because I was replying to words from his website that were being touted as proof as to his good 2A intentions.

              As for his actions, he permanently banned guns that look scary in MA. Not interested. How easy is it to walk into a gun shop in MA and buy an AR-15?

              You’re trying to polish a turd.

          2. Liar. Romney said that about “deadly assault weapons” in July 2004. What I wrote is TODAY! Can you read a CALENDER? And what is your goddamm point? Your choice is ROMNEY or OBAMA! Do you not understand that? Too bad crazy uncle Ron couldn’t get more than ONE PERCENT of the vote, but ONE PERCENT won’t win any elections. You think Obama won’t issue an “executive order” on 11/9/12 banning whatever he wants if he wins? How NAIVE are you?

            1. Again, what is it with people projecting their Ron Paul infatuations onto others? You folks keep bringing him up (read my posts) and then saying I’m voting for him or whatever. Fight that ghost if you want, but don’t involve me.

              And a liar I am not. Perhaps your Ron Paul fury blurred your vision. If you read what I actually wrote, and not whatever it is you think you read, you’ll no doubt want to thank me profusely for forgiving your blunder. No need to grovel. Just don’t let it happen again.

              1. So, ANSWER THE QUESTION! WHAT is your point? Are you for Romney or OTHER?

                1. Upon reading your comment again, I’m not convinced you actually know what executive orders are and what can be done with them. They’re not magic which is used to create laws.

                  1. Yah. It’s not like the AMNESTY order that Obama passed with the stroke of a pen that made 1.5 MILLION ILLEGAL ALIENS quasi-citizens. That’s not LAW and it doesn’t affect anyone does it? Or that order that ATF instituted that demands FFL’s report multiple long gun sales, in DIRECT VIOLATION of the law. I guess it is YOU that doesn’t know what “executive orders” can do. And Obama does not care one whit about the Constitution! He has already grabbed more power for himself than any previous President.

                    So, WHEN are you going to answer the question? Are you voting for Romney or Obama?

                    1. There are at least two venues and at least three ways to address illegal Executive Orders:

                      If you can get standing, you can sue in the Federal courts.

                      The Congress can take indirect actions like defunding them.

                      The Congress can impeach and convict the President.

                      It’s a little early for the first, and the Democrats holding the Senate block the latter to for now. We’ll see if the profiles in courage in the Republican Congressional leadership see fit to do anything when they (likely) gain near complete control in January.

                      Weasel word of near, since there’s the Senate filibuster, but since the House can initiate actions that can allow for brinksmanship in the Senate. And a Romney Administration will be an abject failure without serious willingness to do that in the Senate starting next year.

                      Oh, yeah, Romney can just reverse them when he gets into office. We’ll see what he does with the immigration EO, does the traditional GOP friendliness towards that outweigh the American and legal alien jobs lost? An early test of Romney’s seriousness about improving the job situation….

                    2. I am voting for Gary Johnson, unless the PA GOP successfully get him taken off the ballot. If that happens, I am voting for Obama.

                    3. 2000: I have no idea who I voted for, or if I even voted.
                      2004: Was living overseas, and for a variety of reasons didn’t vote.
                      2008: McCain
                      2012: Anyone but Romney – which comes down to Gary Johnson or Obama. The GOP is trying to remove the Gary Johnson option in PA.

                    4. This is not entirely relevant since you don’t accept what Massachusetts gun activists say the bill Romney signed actually did, but did you know that McCain actively campaigned to suppress gun shows, which our host says are a critical and I gather irreplaceable part of our gun culture, scoring a success in Oregon?

                      (McCain’s anger at the Republican base for rejecting him in 2000 was, well, of a piece with at least his grandfather’s when in command of WWII Fast Carrier Task Force in 1944-5. Very strong and unconstructive, and the base reciprocated by staying home compared to 2004.)

                    5. In 2008 I voted for McCain because he had an R after his name. I’ve since given up that practice and vote for candidates now. I’d like to vote for Gary Johnson, but if the GOP successfully gets him off the ballot in PA, my vote will go to Obama. Not because I like Obama, but because I won’t have the GOP trying to railroad my vote.

                    6. but did you know that McCain actively campaigned to suppress gun shows

                      The thing about McCain on the gun issue is that you had a pretty goo idea of where he was going to try to fuck you. He was always consistent on his opposition to assault weapons bans, and pretty consistent that he wanted to close the gun show loophole.

                      In terms of their position on guns, I consider McCain to be better. The thing I don’t trust about Mitt is that I don’t trust Mitt… and don’t know when he’s going to wander off the 2A reservation, so to speak.

      2. “Mitt strongly supports the right of all law-abiding Americans to exercise their constitutionally protected right to own firearms and to use them for lawful purposes, including hunting, recreational shooting, self-defense, and the protection of family and property.”

        That’s nice, but you do realize that he doesn’t think so-called “assault weapons” are used for any of those purposes, right? In fact, I think he addressed that very topic when he signed a permanent assault weapons ban a few years back:

        “Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts. These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”

        1. That’s nice, but you do realize that he doesn’t think so-called “assault weapons” are used for any of those purposes, right?

          Not for a second. But is he as smart a politician as Obama, who’s close to treating this issue as a new third rail of US politics?

          One counterargument is that as a nominal Republican he has more room for “common sense” gun control measures. The counter to that is that as a rhetorically gun-grabbing Northeast liberal RINO he’s as constrained for his first term as Obama is through his coming and last election.

    2. What you’re not going to hear in the campaign, is that the bill he signed was actually not an assault weapons ban at all, but a bill that saved a lot of firearms from being banned due to the expiration of the federal AWB, which contained a number of firearms that were not banned my name, but would have otherwise been classified under MA law as assault weapons. It was called an Assault Weapons Ban, because when the original bill, which would have greatly expanded the MA ban was gutted, and replaced with something more pro-gun, the title was retained in order to help it pass in what is otherwise an anti-gun legislature.

      Goal alludes to that here. From what I’ve heard from people who work or worked in the issue up there when this went down was that somewhere between when they talked to the Governor, and when he said that, one of his advisors got to him, and told him to use what he said there as his signing statement.

      So he’s guilty of following bad advice, and not having better sense about how to approach the gun issue rhetorically. The bill he actually signed was not anti-gun, and was not an assault weapons ban.

      I’m going to guess, and this is just a guess here, is that his advisor probably convinced him that if he made that statement, the press probably wouldn’t look all that closely at the bill, and even if they did they wouldn’t understand it anyway. So if he said that, he wouldn’t go on record as having caved to the “gun lobby,” and wouldn’t take any heat for signing a bill that was actually marginally pro-gun.

      The strategy actually worked, because that’s the story that hit the media. It caused a lot of problems for GOAL, who got lambasted by members who thought they caved on an assault weapons ban renewal. Mitt’s wrong wasn’t actually the bill, it was listening to advice to decide to throw GOAL under the bus. That’s one reason neither Bitter nor I are enthusiastic Mitt supporters… he can sometimes have a tendency to screw you even when he’s trying to help you.

      1. So you’re trying to say that Romney said that because he was trying to do a solid for gun owners? I think you and the bike are mid-air, with a shark just beneath you.

        1. What I’m saying is that the bill Mitt signed wasn’t anti-gun, and didn’t ban any guns. In fact, it did the opposite. Read the GOAL statement. His sin there was a signing statement that threw GOAL under the bus.

          Massachusetts is an anti-gun state, and the most populous parts of the state around Boston are culturally anti-gun. Romney sin here was calculating that the media would be more receptive to the signing statement he delivered, and wouldn’t report the true nature of the bill. It was still a shit thing to do, but the fact is that he didn’t sign a gun ban.

  3. McCain and Romney will have the U.S. at war with Iran within six months. During McCain’s “we need to invade everybody if they don’t do what we like” speech, they even had a video of the U.S. and Israel flags intertwined. No subtlety there.

  4. And like I mentioned in the other convention post, anyone who hasn’t should at least watch videos like “RNC 2012 Sham” and see at least some of the goings ons you may have missed if you only watched the convention on primetime on Fox.

    “The ayes have it. The chair hears no objections.” ORLY?

      1. Oh joy, a Paul-bot. Maybe if Ron “Crazy Uncle” Paul wasn’t so imbalanced he might have had a chance.

        1. I’m not sure why folks are so infatuated with Ron Paul. I planned to vote Libertarian this time around, and Ron Paul isn’t their candidate FWIW. If the GOP takes the Libertarian option from me, my vote will go to Obama for a number of reasons. Being the only one of the two who isn’t a gun banner sure ranks up there. But these GOP shenanigans certainly removed any chance of me voting for Romney.

          I don’t know what will happen in Nov, but any scenario where liberal gun banners lose is a good thing in my book.

        2. Forget about Ron Paul and everything but the change to Rule 12, which I comment in more detail here. Or Google Rule 12 plus other obvious terms.

          TL;DR: instead of being decided upon at the convention and set for the next four year, the rules for the nominating process can be changed in the interim by the Republican National Committee.

          “Paul-bots” are at worst an annoying pest. This is a gauntlet thrown down by the party’s establishment to its grass roots, using the excuse of the former.

          1. Their real fear is the Tea Party. I’ve seen it here locally, and also in the state. The GOP establishment is scared to death of it. It would certainly like to use it, but only to the extent that it can control it.

            And I completely agree, that the Ronulans provided the pretext for the party to establish a bulwark against some of this grassroots energy. They did that, in part, by being petulant children about how they approached this.

            Ron Paul lost. GOP primary voters didn’t like him, and so didn’t vote for him. He is not a good candidate, and he’s not even a good banner for libertarian values to be promoted under. As far as I’m concerned the sooner he retires from politics, and is replaced by someone who can actually carry the banner, the better off we’ll be.

            1. I know of at least three people who will not be voting for Romney at the top of the ticket because of the rule 12 shenanigans.

              All are solid Tea Partiers and one is very active in the state politics.

              The reason given is the same. The RNC has moved to silence the grass roots. If we cannot get a hearing we will not give you our vote.

              Frankly, if the state of the nation hignes on electing romney then we are screwed. Firstly Romney is not going to radically change things. That is not his way.

              Secondly it it hinges on the election of one man the republic is lost already. Civics 101. We need to take the senate and hold the house. They can, if they do their jobs, hold Obama in check. And if they don’t, I refer you to my republic dead remark.

              With all three houses controlled by the GOP it will be like Bush II. More big government, more deficit spendling (albeit at a slower pace then now) all leading to a financial crash around the 2014/2015 timeframe as the eurozone crumbles and the China bubble bursts hard.

              The GOP is not a big tent party. Statist and social conservatives are welcome. If you are socially liberal and fiscally conservative the message is a strong “sod off”.

              Heard and acknowledged, loud and clear.

              1. Apologies for the speeling mistooks. I wish we could edit posts to fix that…

              2. If you are socially liberal and fiscally conservative the message is a strong “sod off”.

                In practice, at least as far as politicians go, when the hard votes come these people are rarer than hen’s teeth.

                As for the party, your assertion would seem to be factually incorrect. Unless of course you’re referring specifically to abortion, which in theory and certainly in times past has been a non-negotiable. In reality, Romney has clearly signaled business as usual, abortion on demand, through the “health” exception.

                Hmmm, I don’t frequent pro-life circles, I wonder if this might cost him the election?

              3. No one is saying this hinges on electing Mitt, and that Mitt will be our savior. What I’m looking at, is what Mitt would be setting up to succeed him, and I like what I’ve seen so far. All Mitt needs to do is let off the accelerator, and apply some brake. That can give us some time to play this out.

                I’ve said this before. Politics is like a game of poker. You do what you can to stay in the game. If you end up down and out, you’re finished. The stakes are too high to fold before you really have to. It Mitt ends up being an utter failure, that bridge can be burned when you come to it.

                This is voting. Any individual vote doesn’t mean much. But everything I’ve ever seen from libertarians is that if we don’t get everything we absolutely want, we’re taking our toys and going home, and that’s why libertarians don’t matter.

                1. Libertarians don’t matter primarily for three reasons. First, by definition, we just want to be left alone. We don’t form coalitions well. Second, “freedom” is designed by most Americans as “I should be able to do anything I want while making my neighbor live as I best see fit.” Lastly, when you really believe in personal freedom, there’s really not that much difference between the two parties. (Note: Their voting records tend to back this up.)

                  I take umbrage with your last sentence because you often make the “take your toys and go home” remark about libertarians. Rather than not getting EVERYthing they want, I see libertarians not getting ANYthing they have wanted for many, many years. Let’s not confuse “smaller growth in government” with “smaller government.” Honestly, am I wrong in thinking the last minor victory we won was welfare reform in the Clinton era?

                  The GOP attitude toward us ranges from holding their noses when the need us (2010 mid-terms) to outright hostility and derision when they think they can get away with it (McCain 2008). You even said yourself that the GOP only wants the TP to the extent they can control them–which makes them nothing more than useful idiots.

                  What’s that incentive for libertarians and Tea Partiers to stay with the GOP again?

                  1. I agree with your first statement, but in order to get people to leave you alone you have to win elections, and that requires coalitioning with other interests to do so.

                    In my view, the reason there’s been so little libertarianism in politics is because there are very few ideological libertarians. Those that don’t tend to be ideological libertarians don’t tend to want to be involved in the nuts and bolts of the political process, which makes them irrelevant. They get to live with the choices other people make.

                    I also wouldn’t necessarily say the Tea Party is libertarian. I tend to think it’s mostly a grassroots coalition that’s built partly out of disgust with both parties. Why should they stick with the GOP? Maybe they shouldn’t. But what alternative is there? Because of the way our system works, it’s highly unlikely a third party is going to emerge that will destroy one of the major parties, unless a lot more people get a lot more angry, and a lot more involved.

                    I think one problem is there’s no playbook for replacing a major party with a third party, because it hasn’t happened since before the Civil War. I don’t believe the two party system is etched in stone, but if there’s a strategy for forming one that doesn’t hand every election to the left, who are amply demonstrating their desire to destroy this country, I can’t think of it.

                    The only thing that I’ve though might work is if the left ends up with about 20% of the population, with the rest pretty engaged in the notion that they are wrong, and will lead the country to bad places. It requires a public that pays attention enough to not fall for bullshit like Hope and Change, and who largely feels that government does more harm than good.

                    1. The strategy, such as it is (I got this from an American Thinker essay), is that the Democratic party dies in part due to what you outline in your last paragraph, but more because they utterly fail to keep their promises to their clients (most of whom aren’t exactly ideologues). This depends on the party either not tacking back to the Clinton scheme (which in that formulation requires a politician with his sort of talent and a terrified Left that can be kept in check), or that not being very successful, e.g. the Great Default starts or has started and they can’t handle it well enough (they are after all pre-disposed to blame the finance sector for that sort of thing, going back to FDR and a lot further, e.g. “you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold“).

                      The Republican party is already more than half-way to becoming a party of the state, so it completing that transition is hardly impossible. Which opens an ecologic niche for their replacement.

                      Historically, post-Civil War, the pattern has been for successful third parties to get co-opted and/or adsorbed by one or both parties (and the noted lack of success by libertarians to become even a third party, let alone a successful one, speaks volumes here), but it’s my contention that with the Tea Party that’s impossible for the Democrats and very iffy for the Republicans (I think I’ll be addressing both in replies to be written to some of your other comments, if not I’ll continue in this sub-thread).

                    2. Additional thought:

                      At this point in the Republic’s de-evolution, I expect the establishment’s response to a “successful” third party to, well, not be extra-legal since they’ll be using existing laws and making new ones (all this ignoring the Constitution), but to be one of crushing any important figure they can in it, especially using existing and to be written campaign finance “reform” laws (remember the Roberti-Roos and de-Foley-ate lessons). Note also to avoid this requires hiring very good and experienced in this domain legal counsel, and any such lawyer joining the crusade would shut himself out of future business with the main parties.

                      And as big and intrusive as the Federal government has gotten, as Harvey Silverglate points out:

                      The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day.

                      I’m starting to get some flashbacks to “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”. Many of our Founders expended either or both of the former….

                    3. Just stumbled on something that emphasizes a couple of my points: Exclusive: Inside Karl Rove’s Billionaire Fundraiser:

                      [Rove] also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”


                      The morning began…. Crossroads Chief Executive Officer Steven Law followed and introduced some of the super PAC’s staff, referring to general counsel Tom Josefiak as “the guy who keeps us from ever having to wear orange jumpsuits.”

                    4. I agree that we have to coalition with someone in order to win. However, (my third point above) at some point you don’t really see a difference in outcome no matter which of the “Big 2” is in charge. As examples, I offer DHS, the Patriot Act, and Obamacare. (Do you REALLY think anyone’s going to repeal it?)

                      I stated my second point poorly, but you captured it when you said there just aren’t that many ideological libertarians. Modern Americans like being able to control others, for whatever reason.

                      I never said, nor did I mean to imply, that the TP is libertarian. I was using them as an example of fellow travelers in a similar situation. These are people I am willing to work with because we have some common goals. I don’t see that with the GOP. Apologies for the confusion.

                      How this plays out in the long run is anybody’s guess, but a significant number libertarians and conservative Republicans are starting to question whether going back to an abusive, alcoholic GOP because “it’ll be different this time” is really worth it. I have faith in the younger generation. With their connectedness and their hypocrisy detectors, they seem to be able to smell the BS from both parties at a younger age than their predecessors.

                    5. Do you REALLY think anyone’s going to repeal [Obamacare].

                      I obviously don’t know, but given Romney’s pledge that the very first thing he’ll do after inauguration is to grant every state a waiver, and then work with the Congress to formally eliminate it, yes, I think so.

                      If not, I’m pretty sure the Republican party will go the way of the Whigs, and for the same general reason, an inability to deal with the #1 issue of the day (right now that’s Obamacare in the people’s minds, soon it’ll be unsustainable deficits, but not I suspect before a major external trigger).

                      There’s also the “visible foot of government” problem: it’s so poorly drafted that it’s already causing widespread pain which will only get worse as more of it kicks in, more dictates, restrictions, unfunded giveaways (the cost of college medical insurance is now soaring), and of course the new taxes continue to bite.

                      It’s unsustainable without serious repair, which the Democrats considered to be a feature when they were in control.

                  2. And of course notice how McCain didn’t get away with it, although I think it was more his total antipathy towards pretty much the entire Republican base than just libertarians (e.g. his successful (at least in Oregon) anti-gun show crusade and his vicious attacks on social conservatives).

                    Honestly, am I wrong in thinking the last minor victory we won was welfare reform in the Clinton era?

                    No, and that’s being incrementally dismantled by Obama, from a measure in the “Stimulus” (really reparations) bill to the latest actions by his minions in the bureaucracy.

                    Anyone want to guess which Romney ads poll best? The ones attacking the latter very recent changes, and that’s a very big threat to the Democrats. You know Bill Clinton’s got to be incandescent in his anger about how the party has thrown away his legacy of it being vaguely trustworthy in matters like this and fiscally. The fatal flaws in his DLC approach were that they required serious political talent (noticeably lacking in any of his successors) and a Left so terrified they’d go along with his compromises.

                    Sort of like how G. H. W. Bush immediately abandoned almost all things Reagan upon becoming president….

                    There’s also a generation aspect I’m not entirely sure the consequences of; he and G. W. Bush were cultural Baby Boombers, Obama is not (and is not motivated by their cultural issues like GLBT ones and gun-contol), but I just noticed Romney, born in 1947, is one.

            2. A grudge I will always hold against Ron Paul is that he redefined “libertarian” as being — whatever it is that he is. To such an extent that the media even refers to his son Rand as a “libertarian.” I guess that is, “some sort of social conservative with odd quirks.”

              1. I agree… but I suspect we might disagree on what a libertarian is. It seems if there’s any constant in this game it’s that no two libertarians can agree on what a libertarian is.

                That said I totally understand the frustration with Ron Paul. He’s mingled and accepted support from elements are just utterly distasteful.

                1. This probably isn’t the place to carry on the discussion, but on the other hand it might be considered a microcosm for the Republican/conservative “big tent” concept.

                  Any of us who feel strongly about things can be accused of being “more [fill-in-the-blank] than thou,” probably accurately, and even 20 – 30 years ago the Libertarian Party was broadly divided into “minarchist” and “anarchist” camps. But, at that time I knew people who were very into the importance of head-count, and would actively recruit anyone who said (e.g.) they “didn’t like taxes” as “really a libertarian.” It was very much a “big tent” tactical philosophy, though I don’t remember the term being used at that time.

                  The product of that was drawing to the ranks a lot of people who changed the character or not only the Party, but the movement, to something that would be almost unrecognizable, even to the “minarchists” of a couple decades ago.

                  I’ve watched it happening to the Republicans, as certain factions have constantly worked at claiming the identity of the party for themselves, while others thought that having a “big tent” was a tactical virtue. What if your party isn’t your party, once it takes power? The fight over who is a “RINO” can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

                  And of course the same applies to the RKBA or any other movement.

              2. I suppose I should clarify that I could likely agree philosophically on what libertarianism is, but so few voters are philosophically anything that it really matters in terms of electoral politics. I think part of the problem might be is people have sorted themselves into somewhat artificial boundaries where they have little in common except having been born in the same artificial country, and have to figure out how to live together without killing each other.

                The United States was something that was born out of philosophy, which was different in the history of the world, but over the years we’ve added enough to the country that isn’t the case anymore, and now it’s just not killing each other.

                Sometimes I think at some point the world will need to reorganize along philosophy, so that like minded people can live with a likeminded government, but I’m not sure how you get there with things the way they are now.

  5. I think Bill is needlessly critical of Sebastion. I don’t think anyone harbors any illusions about Romney. The Massachusetts Moderate bought the Republican nomination fair and square.

    But at least Romney is running a good campaign, so far, against Obama. Maybe Romney can rack up a second election victory after all. His first true decision as ‘president’ was selection of the VP, and that decision does Romney much credit. (Just as Biden showed Obama’s true colors)

    The real question is, can Romney keep it up? I’m not counting on it. But at least now I have hope.

    1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Romney is not that much of an idealogue. He wants the friendship and approval of his “peers”, and he will happily go along with their good advice. Hence, we voters need to absolutely SURROUND him with freshly-elected conservative “peers” in the Senate and House – and he will listen to them and earn their approval by taking appropriately conservative presidential actions.

      The race for the presidency is admittedly a dramatic distraction – but let’s try to keep our eyes on the real prize in the upcoming election – Conservative ascendency in the Senate and House.
      Only 60 days left to help make that happen.

    2. To a large extent that’s why I wanted to clarify. I am not under any delusion that Romney will save the Republic and restore all that is right and good. What I’m looking at is, if Romney ends up replacing Obama, how does that affect what could be in play for the future?

      I think sometimes half of political perception is what future there is for you personally. When you’re young you can afford to be idealistic without any regards to pragmatic concerns, because you can believe the world will eventually agree with you, and all those lame old people will die off and then the world will be yours… along with all obviously like minded people.

      Then you get a bit older, people start taking you more seriously, and you start to be more careful, thinking that if you play your cards right, things might go your way.

      Then you get old, and get short of time for this earth, and realize that you were dumb and naive in your youth, that everything is hopeless, and you just get grumpy, and can’t wait to check out.

      At least that’s the progression if you take up causes that are tilting at windmills, which sometimes I think the “leave me the fuck alone” cause is.

      1. I believe my cause is what this country was founded on. If that makes it “tilting at windmills” in your eyes, then so be it.

          1. Ah, you meaning is clear to me now. Sorry for misreading it the first time.

        1. The problem is that that system is at least twice dead, from the changes wrought by Lincoln and the Civil War to the Progressives (a movement in part prompted by a “never again” response to the bloodshed of Civil War) culminating in FDR even more fundamentally changing the system.

          Since then the Left has even more unsustainablely built upon that (public sector unions followed by LBJ’s Great Society) and then gone bat shit insane with the capture by the New Left of the party starting in the late ’60s.

          Right now the great ambition by the establishment Right is to rescue FDR and LBJ’s biggest accomplishments (Social Security and Medicare; remember how Ronald Reagan said he was an FDR Democrat?); rolling the clock back before them is literally unthinkable, and there’s some validity to that, due to the fundamental changes they’ve wrought.

          Gary North points out that their biggest sin is sundering intra-family bonds: parents depend on the state to take care of them in their old age, from those above programs to simply not screwing up the financial system, instead of their children (I and my siblings have experienced this in the harshest of ways), children mirror that, especially when they start out in the real world and notice how large a fraction of their taxes go to FICA. In their viewpoint they’ve already paid for their parent’s old age care, and Ryan’s so attractive to the young (“Generation Screwed”) because he’s proposing changes that in theory will leave something for them when they retire (in reality, expect us to follow Argentina in seizing all retirement money possible to keep things going just a little bit longer).

          Good luck unwinding the above to a pre-FDR/Progressive state before the Great Default.

          If I was dictator for six months or whatever, my deepest reforms would be considered entirely unacceptable, starting with strict limits to suffrage, removing it from women (to return it to a family vs. individual vote) and to the landed or those willing to pay a poll tax (since the historical end of Republics is when the people start voting themselves the public treasury). Please do realize you’ll need to be that sort of radical to return the country to the principles upon which it was founded, or at least those were the conditions under which it was founded, which I think are no accident.

          1. As for suffrage, I’m personally a fan of the Manticoran system in David Weber’s fictional works – one must pay more into the system in taxes than one receives back, for a period of several years, in order to obtain the right to vote. It seems like it might counteract that tendency…

            1. Ah, yes, moving forward, acceptable changes in suffrage (and without reform of that I’m nearly certain the Republic will not survive), but not ones based on the principles of the founders, would be of the type you describe and most if not all our good options would be found in SF.

              E.g. in Jerry Pournelle’s dystopian Co-Dominion future history, a separate class of Taxpayers gets established in the US(/Western?) part of it. At the extreme other end are Welfare Islands, kept pacified by “good drugs” from a colony world.

              (Note his initial ambition was to be a Hari Seldon, experiences in getting his psychology Ph.D. led him to get another in political science, and he held the position now named Vice Mayor of Los Angeles, a city that’s not trivial to keep alive).

              Heinlein has of course put forth many options, from the well developed on in Starship Troopers to a musing in Expanded Universe of turning it over to women in the theory they couldn’t do a worse job than men (this was before the family law/divorce balance so decisively swung in favor of women, I would not consider it an option today, and he was a bit cracked in the head in his attitudes towards women and families anyway (he and his wife didn’t/couldn’t have any children)).

    1. I don’t like to do things that way. If someone offers criticism, I do my best to take it seriously. Some of Bill Quick’s criticisms of me, I think, have been quite thoughtful.

  6. I know reality is an abstract concept to some of the readers. The reality is that one of two people WILL be President next year. Which one do you think will be BETTER for gun rights? Congress is unlikely to pass any anti-gun bills. Too much grass roots surge in concealed carry and personal protection. The real battle is the Supreme Court. You think Obama is going to nominate a Scalia? Or a Thomas? Or will he give us another Sotomayor? It may take years to get another Second Amendment case up to SCOTUS, but who will be on the Court then and how will they vote?

    Biblethumpers have been hoping and praying for another Roe V Wade case to come up and they have been kicked in the nuts for 40 years. Gunners may not be that lucky.

    You either vote FOR gun rights and Romney or you don’t.

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