Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reflections on the Presidential Election

Well, what's it going to be do you think?

On the Democrat side, the nomination is probably Hillary's to win. Obama is running close enough to scare her, but... don't think so. Though idea-wise he's a vacuous collection of 60s clich├ęs, he seems like a nice guy personally - so Hillary will destroy him.

On the Republican side, they could have the election if they ran a strong candidate against Hillary - but they ain't got one.

In a recent poll of 10,000 families each in eight states, the front-runner for the Republican nomination was "No Preference" at around 28% followed by Giuliani at about 26%. None of the others approached within about 8 points.

Attempts to contact No Preference for comment were unsuccessful.

Giuliani, hoo-boy. He rose to the occasion masterfully on 9/11 and has a record as a tough Italian-American prosecutor who wasn't afraid to say the word "Mafia."

On the other hand, he prosecuted Michael Milikin for the crime of being a financial genius who invented a way of funding high-risk ventures while protecting small investors from devastating losses. And by the way, got a guilty plea by threatening the man's little brother.

(If you think Michael Milikin was really a criminal, can you name the specific crime he was charged with? It's something involving obscure SEC regulations that can basically be interpreted to mean anything the prosecutor wants them to mean.)

Plus, the Giuliani campaign manager I talked to while updating a political guide came off as an arrogant prick. Sorry Rudi, I don't like your style.

Then there's Ron Paul.

Ron Paul is pulling enough support to surprise and worry the Republican Old Guard. This is great in a number of ways. Paul is activating the libertarian wing of the conservative movement and maybe even bringing in enough of the crazy fringe element of the libertarian movement long enough to pull a lever or two. Ron Paul attracts support from people who don't like the Iraq war - but don't hate America.

As a libertarian I should go for Ron Paul unreservedly, except...

One: He's dangerously naive on foreign policy. Recently it was pointed out to me that Paul has stated that Reagan didn't bring down the Soviet Union, it collapsed by itself.

That's not even wrong, it's a dangerous half-truth.

Yes the Soviet Union was headed for collapse all by itself. Their centrally planned economy was getting poorer and poorer and was just flat unable to keep up with modernity. Yes, they would have collapsed eventually. Back in the 70s, me and the CIA figured it would be around the year 2000 - still a pretty good guess I think.

But they had an option to keep themselves going - conquer Western Europe and loot it for the wherewithal to keep going for another generation. This is not a fantasy or a "what if?" the Polish government has been releasing the Warsaw Pact plans for doing exactly that over the past year.

Reagan's resolute defense of the West, and that audacious move of "buying the pot" with that crazy Star Wars project held off the Soviet Empire long enough for it to collapse under the weight of its stupidity.

Paul is part of that libertarian crowd who think that "If you do not aggress against others, they will not aggress against you."

In a word - wrong! The world just flat doesn't work that way.

If you haven't been in a fight lately, worked with an unpleasant co-worker you have not offended, or had the experience of being stalked by a psychopath, then think back to your playground days. When has that ever been true in your experience?

Two: Paul was the one "nay" vote on a bipartisan House of Representatives resolution asking the government of Bangladesh to drop the capital charges against Bangladeshi journalist Saleh Uddin Shoaib Choudhury.

Choudhury it seems, was arrested for treason, sedition and whatever else they could throw at him, for the crime of attempting to board a plane to Israel to talk peace.

It was a resolution for God's sake! Not a threat or a declaration of war. It wasn't even a hint that they'd reconsider the $60 million gift the US bestows on them every year. Resolutions don't mean anything but a gesture of moral disapproval, everybody know that. Except that sometimes it means a lot to the people in those appalling countries.

I want to know why Ron. Is this your idea of non-interventionism?

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  • At 8:21 AM, Blogger Eric Dondero said…

    Giuliani is your man. He's fiscally conservative, socially tolerant yet strong on defense.

    Paul is fiscally conservative, socially conservative and weak on defense.

    Libertarians for Giuliani at:


  • At 5:14 PM, Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box said…

    It'll come down to The Shrike V. The Lisper (both Papists), and The Shrike (HITLERy) will get s-elected.
    The only thing that will convince me that the soul of America isn't dead, is if Ron Paul wins the nomination and election.
    The Popular support is there, but it's doubtful that the Establishment types and David Rockefeller RINOS infesting the GOP have the backbone and principle remaining to allow it: It'd interfere with the globalist sellout - I mean "global economy" - and cost them much worthless fiat paper.

  • At 5:50 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Guns Eric, guns. Giuliani is very comfortable with gun control.

    Uh Galt, my wife is a Papist, from the country of the last Pope no less, and I'm sure if she knew of any plots from the Vatican to seize our country and close all our Masonic lodges she'd have told me.

    Or maybe she has...

  • At 8:42 AM, Blogger gun-totin-wacko said…

    My problem with Ron Paul is that he's in bed with the 9-11 deniers, first off. Secondly, somebody was telling me about one of the debates where he was the only candidate to give the "right" answer that the prez could not launch a preemptive strike without Congressional support. Because it's "unconstitutional".

    I pointed out that, as Commander in Chief he CAN use the military, and secondly that there have been dozens of precedents for such an act, thus making it essentially legal.

    As for 9-11, reliable sources tell me that fire can actually melt steel. If you want a terrorism conspiracy, I'd go back to Oklahoma City. Read "THe Third Terrorist" by Jayna Davis to see a real government conspiracy in action.

    But no, that was Clinton.

  • At 5:26 PM, Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box said…

    You, like many, read Ron Paul as a dove. I think he's got enough Reagan in him to realize you have to be prepared for war in order to keep the peace. He has advocated an end to interventionism, not an end to our military...
    And just why in hell are we ponying up $60 mil to ANYPLACE outside our borders and getting nothing for it!?
    Because our government is infested on both sides of the aisle with altruists angling to buy their way into heaven with other people's money (salvation by works) an idea even dumber than disarmament!
    If someone wants to believe a lie, that's their business. When someone wants to bill the expenses of believing that lie to the Anerican taxpayer, that makes it everyone's business to stop them!

  • At 6:03 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Check out Bob Bidinotto's post on Ron Paul - a lot less kind than mine.


  • At 9:13 AM, Blogger Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said…

    I think you've misrepresented what Ron Paul actually believes. He believes in minding your own business, and staying out of other countries' affairs unless there's a good reason not to. That's the mainstream Libertarian position, and it's been that way for 30 years. It has nothing to do with pacifism. (I used to support the war in Iraq. I've concluded I was wrong, and that real Libertarians were correct all along.)

    Gun Totin' Wacko apparently doesn't follow U.S. politics and doesn't realize that no one can control who your supporters are. Yes, the 9-11 conspiracy theorists are irresponsible nuts, but most of those people are Democrats, not Libertarians. And I met plenty of Republicans (and Libertarians!) during the Clinton administration who solemnly assured me that Clinton was letting the U.N. quietly invade the country, Clinton would use the scare over the Year 2000 computer bug to declare martial law, etc.

  • At 6:49 PM, Blogger dchamil said…

    I believe the correct spelling is "Michael Milken."

  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 8:26 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Cleveland, citations please. Again, see the Bidinotto piece. "Unless there is a good reason to" makes sense - except that the guys idea of how the world works beyond our borders verges on lunacy.

    The funny thing about libertarian isolationists is that they attribute the non-interventionist impulse to everyone but US.

    About the libertarian mainstream, yes and no. Surveys reveal that libertarian rank-and-file tend to be far less isolationist and less enthusiastic about open borders - to name two issues, than libertarian leadership. Among other things this showed up in a substantial drop in donations to various liborgs that espoused a blowback model after 9/11.

    I was both an open-borders guy and a strict isolationist myself - until I went to live abroad for 13 years and had my nose rubbed in what a dangerous fantasy those positions are.

    As for Iraq, see the comments by Ali Alyami in the previous post. This is going to be an ongoing discussion for sure.

    *Milkin is correct, I looked it up. The name "Milikin" is far more common and familiar to me.

  • At 2:13 PM, Blogger Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said…

    Hi Steve,
    I agree there's been much controversy about foreign policy in Libertarian ranks since 9-11, but it's important to be precise. The first country we invaded after 9-11 was Afghanistan,and we did it only after the country's leaders ignored an ultimatum to hand over Osama bin Laden. The controversy in those first few months was over Afghanistan, not Iraq, and I was a hawk in that debate. I see nothing wrong with hitting back when you're attacked. The problem was that Iraq didn't attack us and was no threat to us.

    Bonus topic comment: Be sure to watch the Christmas movie "Prancer" with your kids.

    Tom Jackson

  • At 8:21 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    More later, but the fact that is totally ignored in the debate is that we did NOT "go to war" with Iraq, for the reason that we were had never been at peace with Iraq since Bush I lead the then-enthusiastic coalition against Saddam to throw him out of Kuwait.

    What we had was a cease-fire, which Saddam was in violation of every day. Legally speaking there was no lack at all of cassus belli - just not very exciting ones.

    This of course, is a totally different question from was it wise to resume hostilities.


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