October 23, 2008

"A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism..."

"... is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road."

Radley Balko longs for what libertarians long for -- with the usual iffy grasp of cause-and-effect. Andrew Sullivan -- who's ultra-keen on Obama's winning -- calls it a "a must-read for any center-right libertarian-inclined voter."

51 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

I am sick and tired of the Defeatocons. Losing is losing. Sure you can make the whole, the praire needs to burn once in a while to regenerate the grass argument, but being a conservative helping to elect a very very liberal guy like Barack Obama who intends to raise taxes in a recession and spend trillions is frankly nuts. Does not excuse George Bush's excesses, not at all. Will a better GOP rise from the ashes, perhaps. But the amount of damage that could be done to the country could be enormous and very long lasting.

Paul Zrimsek said...

As for the Bush administration, the only consistent principle we've seen from the White House over the last eight years is that of elevating the American president (and, I guess, the vice president) to that of an elected dictator. That isn't hyperbole.

True; it's idiocy.

Simon said...

This theory - Radley's variant or any other - is idiotic, as I explained months ago. It is rationalization - a conscious justification of an irreconcilable decision to support an impossible candidate, or a defense mechanism to soften the blow of losing. Either way, it's foolish and must be shaken off, quickly.

Bob said...

And now Obama will gladly take that mantle and remake us into his desired image.

JHB said...

It would be nice if Sullivan cared more about principles than hysterical attachments to various personalities.

Donn said...

As a conservative with libertarian leanings, I think the author hits a lot of right notes. These days it's hard to tell Republicans from Democrats.

Fred4Pres said...

Michael Medved is correct

And JHB, spot on about Sullivan. His ideas are so twisted and knotted that they make no sense--until you realize it is all about personalities and a touch of misogyny.

Paul Zrimsek said...

These days it's hard to tell Republicans from Democrats.

I'd think that would make it kind of tough for the likes of Balko and Sullivan to interpret the victory of one as a repudiation of the ideas of the other.

Maguro said...

Remaking the Republican party along the lines favored by the boy geniuses at Reason magazine would be a political disaster and will never be attempted.

Balko is an articulate contrarian but political analysis is not his strong point.

Simon said...

I'm still laughing at this:

"This administration believes that on any issue that can remotely be tied to foreign policy or national security (and on quite a few other issues as well), the president has boundless, limitless, unchecked power to do anything he wants."

As opposed to Joe "VAWA" Biden et al, who believe that any issue that can remotely be tied to interstate commerce bootstraps the issue into federal jurisdiction where the Congress has boundless, limitless, unchecked power to do anything it wants? That's the team you're going to pitch for, Radley? The team that's going to send justices up to the court that will give what the late Chief Justice called a house that jack built jurisprudence a new lease of life?

Simon said...

I mean, just how much are you willing to sacrifice for this kind of revaunchist delusion that if only the GOP takes a hammering it'll "rebuild[] around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism"? Look at the experience of the British Tory party. Back in '97, they got shellacked like few parties have ever been; after spending years in the wilderness, they finally began to "rejuvenate" and "rebuild" - and how did they do it? They looked jealously across the aisle and transformed themselves into a pale facsimile of the opposition. They concluded that if you can't beat them, you might as well join them - that if the electorate wants watery center-left consensus, the party must join Labour there. Why is Balko so sure that the GOP will stake out bold positions at odds with the mood of the electorate, and why does he lack the appropriate level of concern for what damage the other side will do in the meantime?

John K. said...

How do we know that these "bold positions" of limited government are really at odds with the mood of the electorate? The choice of a limited govt. GOP hasn't really been offered to their consideration. Sure, there was Ron Paul, but the way he was treated by his fellow Republicans suggested to the electorate that he wasn't a serious contender and was on the fringe of the GOP.

There's a lot in a properly-conceived and presented libertarianism to appeal to both the right and the left. Unfortunately up till know the electorate has only been presented with big government leftism and big government rightism. A humiliated, rebuilt, and newly-libertarian GOP could offer a genuine viable alternative that up till now has been missing.

I'm curious as to what in Radley's article Ann thinks demonstrates an iffy sense of cause and effect.

ricpic said...

Not to fear. A year and a half of Mr. Arrogant/Incompetent and Mrs. Hate Whitey From Hell will produce a backlash of tsunami proportions.

Translation: Pubbies retake congress in 2010.

Trevor Jackson said...

"They looked jealously across the aisle and transformed themselves into a pale facsimile of the opposition. They concluded that if you can't beat them, you might as well join them - that if the electorate wants watery center-left consensus, the party must join Labour there."

Simon, you just described how many liberals viewed the Democrats from about 2002 to 2006. Hell, from about 1996 to 2006.

Paul said...

What a joke. By the time Obama and his fascist goon squads are finished being a Republican will simply be outlawed. Conservative voices will be squelched, history will be revised, children will be thoroughly indoctrinated, courts will be packed, the constitution will be twisted or discarded at the whim of the One and his politburo, and all the goals of the International Socialists will be finally reached...from within the only nation capable of stopping it's spread. America is like a patient with a terminal cancer who still appears healthy, but the disease that infiltrated the culture in the sixties has spread to the organs of education, information and opinion shaping, and a good part of the government. With Obama the tipping point has been reached.

Only a fool (and there are millions of fools apparently) could think that having been raised a socialist from birth, been educated in socialist friendly academic environments, working hand in hand with socialists like Bill Ayers and others, spending twenty years in a his Marxist-racist church, and who knows what else, will upon being elected President jettison everything he has believed in and fought for his entire life in order to become a pro American moderate and patriot. Please.

John K. said...

Simon says: "why does [Radley] lack the appropriate level of concern for what damage the other side will do in the meantime?"

As he explains in the article, he lacks concern becuase he realizes that whatever Obama does can't be any worse for freedom and for the economy than what the Republicans have been doing for the last 8 years.

Oxbay said...

What Sullivan really likes is the "humiliated, decimated GOP" part.

halojones-fan said...

Yeah; that's the thing about voting to "send a message". It's that you really can't control the message--all you did was vote. If Obama wins by a significant majority, he isn't going to say "gosh there were a lot of angry Republicans"; he's going to say "there is a huge public mandate in favor of my activist attitude". And he's going to use that to justify all sorts of radical activity--because, after all, The American People Have Spoken.

If you don't want to vote Republican, then DO NOT VOTE. Don't vote Democrat to "teach them a lesson".

John K. said...

halojones-fan is right. The best thing that could happen in this election is a 5% voter turnout.

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
"Simon, you just described how many liberals viewed the Democrats from about 2002 to 2006. Hell, from about 1996 to 2006."

Well, if they felt that way then gee, it must have been a credible thesis.

John K. said...
"As he explains in the article, he lacks concern becuase he realizes that whatever Obama does can't be any worse for freedom and for the economy than what the Republicans have been doing for the last 8 years."

That isn't "realization," it's self-delusion at best and a failure of imagination at worst. Is there some reason that Balko doesn't believe that when elected, Obama will do exactly what he has threatened to do? Is there some reason to believe that he won't sign off on all the things that liberals in Congress have long wanted to do?

rhhardin said...

Repealing women's suffrage would help. Put the soap back on the soap channels.

I assume if there's no point in pandering to women, elections will turn more on sports.

Chip Ahoy said...

I don't heed foreigners expostulating on American politics. I'll read them, in an oh-well-that's-interesting sort of way, but that's it. Is their own political life so boring they must focus on ours? Do they heed me expostulating on theirs?

Yes, it is, and no, they don't.

That goes for naturalized citizens who love my country so far as they can change it, like Hitchens, who would be happier in an America without Christians or an America without any religion whatever.

So piss on Sullivan. He used to be interesting, but now he's not, since the dementia has taken a firm hold.

One last thing, I'll refuse to spell the word revanchist with a u in the middle, and I shall pronounce it accordingly, whenever I manage to wedge it in conversationally, just to earn the consternation of my peers.

Shanna said...

After Carter, we got Reagan (conservative). After Clinton, we got Bush (not conservative). So, this is kind of a hit or miss theory.

Freeman Hunt said...

This is Magical Thinking just as much as the idea that Obama will suddenly transform into a non-socialist if he takes office.

Let me get this straight: The GOP is supposed to lose big in favor of the Democrats, and this will show the GOP that they need to be less like Democrats, not more?

Bissage said...

Never before in the history of human frivolity has there been a better name for generating anagrams than “Radley Balko.”

It is positively a treasure trove!

Among many intriguingly and humorous possibilities are: (1) Broadly Kale; (2) Balky Reload; (3) A Lady Orb Elk; and (4) Okay All Bred.

Apart from the foregoing, I would add that the word “Balko” can be made even funnier by clicking here or here. or even here.

You're welcome.

reader_iam said...

If you don't want to vote Republican, then DO NOT VOTE.

The best thing that could happen in this election is a 5% voter turnout.

Wait. I thought that if you don't vote for one of the two major-party candidates, you are really voting for who ever wins. Or against who ever loses. Or something like that.

Host with the Most said...

Michael Medved is right:

The Democrats will become so entrenched and corrupt in this election that it will literally take another generation - 32 - 40 years minimum to return conservatives - moderates to power.

Obama/Pelosi: The gift that will keep on giving:

Progressively weakened US security and military.
Tax-payer funded abortions, with no exceptions. (An Obama promise)
Legalized union intimidation.
Legalized censorship of Democrat-opposing views (Fairness Doctrine)


Thank you, Obama voters, for taking a shit on the United States of America and her freedoms.

reader_iam said...

Oh, please. I happen to like Michael Medved, but what's with the reference to moderates? He, like most conservatives, don't give a rat's ass in terms of them returning (! ?? ) to power. In fact, he, like most conservatives and (as well as progressives/liberals), don't want them in power (you know, the whole spit-out-lukewarm thing). That dirty word's thrown in there only as a tactic, and a damned obvious one at that. Under normal circumstances, I'd expect better of Medved.

Simon said...

Chip Ahoy said...
"That goes for naturalized citizens who love my country so far as they can change it, like Hitchens, who would be happier in an America without Christians or an America without any religion whatever."

And what of those of us who don't want to change it?

"One last thing, I'll refuse to spell the word revanchist with a u in the middle, and I shall pronounce it accordingly, whenever I manage to wedge it in conversationally, just to earn the consternation of my peers."

That's a typo on my part, not (so far as I know) a variant.

Donn said...

FH:
Let me get this straight: The GOP is supposed to lose big in favor of the Democrats, and this will show the GOP that they need to be less like Democrats, not more?

Well, the idea is that the Dems policies will so fail that the Country will spring back to the Right. And, if people are happy with the job that the Dems do, then yes, Republicans will move leftward.

Alex said...

If the donn is correct and America is making a huge swing to the left, then there is no hope for the GOP to regain power unless America swings back to the right. It won't happen due to the successful brainwashing in the government schools. The libs won. I love Big Brother.

Bissage said...

You know what?

I screwed up at 1:14 when I typed out “intriguingly." And there's one period too many and who knows what else!

I need to make amends.

So how about a visit from . . .

Nonsense Rhyme Cheerleader Man!!!
(a copyrighted feature of this broadcast):

Balko, Bilko, Bilbo, dildo,
Jumbo dingo bingo combo.

Gooooooooooo TEAM!!!

Methadras said...

Little Miss Sullivan is still being a called a Conservative? Do tell.

BJM said...

One only needs to cast one's eyes across the pond to understand the changes that occur when a people stop making decisions based on fact and self-interest but on feelings and belonging.

blake said...

Like Radley, I dream of a GOP--and since I'm dreaming, a Democratic party--that believes in limited government.

But people didn't vote for the Dems in 2006 because they didn't like the Republican platform. They voted for the Dems because the Reps were greedy and corrupt.

Two years later, no big surprise, the Dems are just as greedy and corrupt (if not more so) than the Reps.

The mainstream press tilts this, of course, so the Reps are at a disadvantage, but they're still not likely to win on ideas. They're likely to win because the alternative is just that horrible.

Paul said...

http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/276377.php

hdhouse said...

Howabout a Gingrich-Hannity ticket...perhaps Jeb isn't busy...

How about a GOP that rejuvenates around truth, non-distortion, and fairness?

Ya'betcha!

mccullough said...

It seems to make more sense for the left-leaning Republicans (those who still believe in sound fiscal policy, regulated markets that are still markets, a strong military and strong diplomacy but who don't care about abortion, gay marriage, prayer in schools etc) to join the Democratic party and become the biggest interest group there.

Democratic primaries are dominated by liberals, but if the normal Republicans joined the Democrat party then there would be Sam Nunn and George Mitchell type nominees.

The problem with W. and other Republicans is that they were for huge government, like Obama, (NCLB and Medicare prescription, etc.) and they cowtow to the religious right by railing against abortion and gay marriage.

So its time for normal Republicans to join with normal Democrats and take over the Democrat party. Leave the Republican party to the Mike Huckabees.

Goatwhacker said...

mccullough, why do you think fiscal conservative/social liberals would have any more success in the Democratic party than they did in the GOP? We will be the red-headed stepchild no matter which party we join.

mccullough said...

Goatwhacker:

Because the people who vote in primaries are the most partisan of each party. (If Hillary were running against Obama in a straight up election she would crush him).

McCain backed into the nomination with the support of some normal Republicans and the fact that Huckabee and Romney and Thompson beat each other up for the flat-earth crowd.

Straight up, Huckabee, Romney, or Thompson would have beaten McCain in Republican primaries. McCain did the best in the blue states.

Normal Republicans tend not to vote in Republican primaries (the same with Dems). If they did, McCain would have been POTUS from 2001-2008 and not W.

Normal Republicans must become very active in Democratic primaries. They would attract normal Republicans and normal Democrats.

Let's get rid of the W. and Obamas from our politics.

reader_iam said...

McCullough, that seems more germane going forward, but too late for the present. Voting for Obama, now, is not the same thing as becoming active at the primary level. It really is ... just voting for Obama, for whatever reasons (approved or unapproved ones by commenters here).

That's why this election is a sit-out for me, or a write-in if I decide to waste some pencil lead on a whim, at the top of the ticket.

John K. said...

McCullough raises an interesting point, which goes back to Simon wondering why Radley Balko "lack[s] the appropriate level of concern for what damage the other side will do in the meantime"?

Although Balko describes himself as having voted Republican in the past -- but apparently with a nutty vote for John Kerry(!) in '04 -- it's assuming too much to think that Balko and other libertarians consider the Democrats to be any more the "other side" than they consider the Republicans. Balko said he tended to vote Republican because he used to think that the GOP was the party of limited government, but that reputation has been proven undeserved.

Democrats have the reputation of being more protective of civil rights than Republicans, a libertarian position.

Moreover, I think a properly-understood libertarianism would lead to a far-more egalitarian society than the one we have now, a society where wealth would be more equally distributed in the absence of the preferential option for the rich that the Republicans seem to favor. Democrats nominally value such egalitarianism and populism more than Republicans. While I deplore the interventionist governmental methods the Democrats are prone to use in pursuit of these values (because I believe libertarian policies will promote the same values without coercion and government blood-sucking), I share those egalitarian values and presumptions. If we're going to have a preferential option for somebody (which we shouldn't), it should be a preferential option for the poorer rather than a preferential option for the richer.

And of course, true libertarians are leery of warmongering, knowing war to be the health of the state. Democrats have the reputation of being less prone than Republicans to feed the war machine, and that's a good thing.

So in some ways the Democrats would seem to be more amenable to a libertarian transformation than Republicans. But Democrats are not the ones about to be crushed in this election, and so a potential transformation "come to Jesus" moment does not appear on their horizon. Moreover, the rhetoric at least of limited government seems to be a more prominent thread historically in the Republican Party than it does in the Democrat Party. There's more of a foot in the door there, if only the reality could begin to approximate the rhetoric.

John K. said...

But then again, the idea that Republicans have historically been associated with limited government more than have Democrats might be completely mistaken. Abe Lincoln was one of the biggest neocons there ever was.

blake said...

John K--

Yes, I used to employ similar thinking (as a libertarian).

But before the Reps sold out on fiscal responsibility, the Dems sold out on civil liberties.

Take the War on Drugs (please!). The fourth amendment was pretty well trashed during the Reagan years, but Clinton never pushed to restore it.

Even now, the guys who have been bitching about W expanding executive power are just itching to use it on their enemies.

Neither side is seriously for a reduction in government scope or power. One party pays minimal lip service to it.

Lindsey said...

"Howabout a Gingrich-Hannity ticket...perhaps Jeb isn't busy..."

F Jeb. The best thing possible for the Republicans would be a mass Bush family suicide. Kick em out.

veni vidi vici said...

Bissage, you're a man after my own heart!

I was thinking to myself while reading this post, "wtf, is this guy trying to sound interesting when his name is really something like 'Bradley Malko'?"

You took the idea a few steps further, but cheers nonetheless!

v

jdeeripper said...

There wont be another Reagan.

The conservative Republicans are dead beyond some local White conservative pockets of the country.

Nationwide this country is becoming blacker, browner, more liberal Democrat everyday.

Nothing will reverse that demographic change.

The White conservative future in this country is to be a political minority within a larger racial minority whose members strongly align themselves with the non-White majority and who define themselves morally against White people they consider to be racially bigoted, intellectually deficient and socially backward people.

Cedarford said...

Interesting that almost no one seriously talks of a Libertarian alternative to Republicans or Dems. That is because Libertarians are pretty whacked.

Republicans now have two elements that have brought them electoral doom and may cast them as being as whacked as Libertarians if the are not careful. "Flat Earth Fundies" and "Neocons". The question is if the Republicans, out in the wilderness after Nov 4th, have the guts to purge them ....

Balko's 3 principles are hoary old saws good for Republicans in the 50s, but not a half century later.

1. Rugged Individualism - Americans like that in a skilled person hurting no one else and creating wealth. Inventors, the woman who starts up a great business, the hard-working plumber who ever asks for a tax-payer handout. But Republicans perverted that by celebrating the rugged individualistic predators - the people of rapacious greed they let run unchecked and harm masses of other folk in the name of FREEDOM!!!! The rapacious Wall Street Bankers and Gordon Gekkos. The greedy Corporatists and lawyers. The Owners who got a business flourishing on the backs of workers, then took all the worker productivity gains and kept them for themselves and their inner circles -Then gave the business and all the skillset knowledge developed by the firms's workers and professionals to the Chinese for a cut of the action.

Republicans may continue to embrace FREEDOM!!! and rugged individualism - but only if people believe they are not selling the masses out to rugged individual Robber Barons.

2. The idea of limited government as a Republican ideal was destroyed by Bush and his Corporatists that got rich off the greatest expansion of Government since FDR. More Gov't jobs and spending than even LBJ did.

And both Parties have convinced the public that Government has the solutions. Just on different things.
Republicans say "go shopping" while "Our Heroes who you must pay taxes for, and lots more...Keep Us All Perfectly Safe".
The Dems see Gov't as the kind Mommy who gives as much as she can to the needs of her poor children - an endless list of nurturing expenses.

3. Free Markets have given us, being not regulated enough, 7 banking scandals in the last 26 years. Typically the small investor and taxpayer gets burned, while the fatcats who created the
free market failure manage to lock in the wealth they bilked others out of - and end up denounced and disgraced, but out of prison and fabulously wealthy and still welcome in their social clubs, synogogues, churches as still having high moral standing as long as they continue to be "generous".

Free trade, a mindless extension of free markets, is something Republicans and Whigs opposed since the days of Jefferson. They only changed their tune when the rest of global industry was pretty wrecked after WWII, and with 40% of global GNP, and lead in 18 of 20 key areas of technology necessary for economic and national power - it was in America's interest to push product on weaker or less competitive nations. It was convenient then, to try and convince the masses that protectionism was bad, and instead of bad monetary policy and limited cash available for economic growth - the Smoot-Hawley Tariff "caused" the Great Depression the masses suffered in. Saint Reagan's Reaganomics bought taht swill - even as Reagan saved sectors of the US industry and technology from being destroyed by the Japanese and other 80s competitors, in the name of politics (autos) or defense (IT). This view on tariffs, however, persisted, and is now an article of faith with Republicans - Free Trade is Always good for America - even as we bleed out wealth and our industries are progressively and systematically gutted to lower labor cost countries.
That is RECENT Republican "free trade" philosophy - but how we got to be the Great Colossus (that we no longer are, with a 900 billion trade deficit and rapid bleeding away of our accumulated wealth) is described by Pat Buchanan:

"Behind a tariff wall built by Washington, Hamilton, Clay, Lincoln, and the Republican presidents who followed, the United States had gone from an agrarian coastal republic to become the greatest industrial power the world had ever seen -- in a single century. Such was the success of the policy called protectionism that is so disparaged today."

Other nations have become economic powerhouses with protectionist policies - Japan, China now (it insists that goods it allows its people to purchase - access to their market, like with cell phones, have the technology and factories transferred to China in return for overseas owners getting a "cut of the action" as they outsource their workers jobs.

veni vidi vici said...

Interesting comment, Cedarford. One of the problems with trying to somehow unring the bell of free trade internationalism is that the country would need to be prepared to deal with true poverty. If we are going to say, "let's make ours a closed-universe market and restart all those lost industries again", wouldn't it essentially be making the US a microcosm of the globe, where some places would be crushingly poor, industrial workers would be fairly poor/subsistence and generally, it would no longer be possible to have that television in every room, microwave ovens, two or three cars, etc.?

I don't think Americans have the will to do it, nor will they ever. Unless everyone can be rich, or at least middle-class, no one really wants to deal with the consequences of bringing outsourced industries home again.

And that's without beginning to get into the issue of environmentalism.

Until the next great war (which by the state of things nowadays it looks like even the older among us may be unfortunate enough to live to see), I think the free trade internationalist paradigm is going to be locked in. The only thing that will change / has changed is that it's become a race among today's colonial-type powers to find those low-wage underdeveloped backwaters that have resources and thus the basis for creating some wealth (and infrastructure) there to pave the way for their becoming the next wave of supplier nations. That's why everyone's partying down in Africa lately; it's ON!

Me, I want to move to Brazil.

Richard said...

What's really surprising is that Andrew Sullivan made it the entire way through his post without referencing homosexual sex. That's got to be a first.

veni vidi vici said...

His mouth and eye sockets were full at the time, thus he didn't feel the need to actually type out the words.