Tag Archives: Ron Paul

Modern Libertarianism Confuses Me

Quick disclaimer: I’m not 100 percent certain that there is a classic libertarianism I should be differentiating from… but on the off chance that there is and that the libertarianism I want to talk about, the type as I’ve seen it played out in today’s political landscape, is distinct and notably different on the issues I want to mention, I want to cut people off before someone that missed my point comes in and tries to take my head off for equating non-equatable political ideals. I’ve kinda been burnt on that before.

So, libertarianism has been, I think, seeing a bit of a hey day in recent years, particularly through Ron Paul’s past two presidential campaigns and the creation of the Tea Party movement. While the Tea Party movement has strayed, via its leaders/candidates, from the original message, a message that is almost like a distilled Paul campaign description, the feelings of the grassroots it started with are the same types of feelings people (often young people) had with Paul and with 2012’s Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

Basically, libertarianism as it has come about today can be put in terms of a Venn diagram. On one circle, we have Democrats. Democrats are currently the party of social freedoms. Keep the government out of bedrooms, eliminate censorship, et cetera. It may not be doing so great with that, but it’s the pro-choice, pro-legalization, pro-gay marriage party, particularly compared to the Republicans. Their economics, however, are more restrictive and government involved. Tax and spend fiscal policies, regulations on banks and businesses, et cetera. The other circle hosts the Republicans. They’re the party that, on the social end of things, wants government all over everything. Nowadays, while they talk about small government, they simultaneously talk about constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage, increased surveillance, more military/wars, ban abortions… the legislate morality party. Their economics, however, are (in theory) more hands off than the Democrats. Roll back regulations, lower taxes, cut spending.

So, where the two circles meet is with Libertarians. They are the party of the laissez-faire, both in economics and social policy. Hands off the free market. Let people decide what they want to do, get government out of making choices for people. It’s the Democrats’ social policies and the Republicans’ economic policies.

…again, in theory.

See, the thing is, while Libertarianism is the confluence of similar ideals from the main two political parties in America, neither of those parties is really looking to pull away federal powers. President Barack Obama did, surprisingly, talk about looking into more clearly defining and limiting the powers of the Executive Office, but that’s not really a sentiment you hear too often from either party. The Republicans, more often than not, want to make certain issues states’ rights issues, but those tend to just be issues they don’t think they can win federally.

What confuses me about modern libertarianism is that, the more I hear from them, the more it sounds like they want EVERY issue to be a states’ rights issue. Insofar as, they would rather the federal government to bow in power to the state governments.

When America was being created as a nation, our first attempt at creating a government was an utter failure. A rope of sand, as someone called it. For about eight years, the law of the land was dictated through a document known as the Articles of Confederation. Basically, it didn’t recognize the United States as a singly governed entity, but rather a political alliance between the 13 separate states. If one of them was attacked, they’d help each other out. They were to assist one another, but still be mostly left to their own devices. And it failed pretty spectacularly, as the national Congress was almost completely ineffectual and each state felt no real reason to actually help out the other states, making commerce and land contracts and, well, everything begin to fall apart. When Shay’s Rebellion started in 1786, combined with everything else that was happening, Alexander Hamilton and others essentially staged a coup and reworked the entire government, writing the Constitution. The Constitution created a far stronger federal government while the Bill of Rights were added to help protect individuals and the states’ sovereignties.

Now, I understand the desire to get the federal government out of being involved with many things. As a liberal, I think marijuana should be legalized (huge economic benefit there), same-sex marriage should be legal, pretty much all the social policies should be left unfettered, by and large. I still think a completely free capitalist market runs contrary to democracy and would implode our ability to govern and be governed, but others disagree. What I don’t understand is the apparent desire of many modern Libertarians to seemingly peel back the federal government almost in its entirety and bring us back to the Articles of Confederation.

It’s thoroughly possible I’m completely misunderstanding or misrepresenting this particular political belief. But I have many friends that are Libertarians. And when they talk about their politics, they often talk about letting states have power as opposed to the federal government in nearly every issue. And that, it seems to me, is a bit contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.

The preamble to the United States Constitution talks about creating a more perfect union. Considering that was written up after the quite imperfect coalition under the Articles, it makes me think that maybe the framers wanted the federal government there to help encourage states and citizens to help other people out. Yeah, sometimes it means Texas has to help bail out California, that your tax dollars get spent in some state you couldn’t care less about… but the theory is, we’re all in this together. We are a united nation, a group of united states, and we leave no one behind.

Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s how it seems to me.

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Are The Mega Wealthy Really Job Creators?

There’s been no small rush of political news popping up today. The biggest item on all the news tickers, of course, is Rick Santorum dropping out of the GOP presidential candidacy race. Sure, Newt Gingrich says he’ll stay in until the convention, and no doubt Ron Paul will as well, but the likelihood of either of them getting the nomination or preventing Mitt Romney from reaching the requisite number of delegates is insanely low. Not impossible, mind, but this is pretty much guaranteed to be a race between Romney and Barack Obama now.

I had personally hoped Santorum would stick with it and hopefully snag a couple of big wins in Pennsylvania and Texas, because I wanted to see this thing become a long, dragged out fight with almost zero focus on their Democratic rival for the presidency, but it looks like Romney will have a lot of time to prepare and face off against Obama. Sure, Santorum made writing blog posts easier, but Romney’s guaranteed to say something idiotic about how rich he is again, so I guess there’s no worries there.

But speaking of Romney’s wealth, there’s been another bit of news being tossed about. This one deals with the impending Congressional vote on the proposed “Buffett Rule,” something Obama has been stumping for lately.

For those of you unaware of the “Buffett Rule,” it takes its name from Warren Buffett, who I do believe is still the wealthiest man in America. The idea behind it caught a fervor when Buffett wrote a column in The New York Times entitled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.” As a member of the super-rich, Buffett says that the idea that his secretary pays around 15% more in taxes than he does is ridiculous. The super-rich need not be coddled. They can afford heavier taxes. Not only can they afford it, but it’s only fair and right for them to pay more than those on lesser incomes. Those that have made money on investments, like Buffett and Romney, should not be granted so much leeway on their taxes, especially while America suffers financially, both as a whole and in the middle class.

This idea, of course, was met with severe partisan reactions. Those on the left applauded the idea, particularly as it came from someone who would be hit with the raised taxes. Those on the right… called it class warfare. …something that makes no sense whatsoever.

Beyond those attempts, members of the upper 5 to 1% of the economy have tried painting themselves in different lights, like as people that aren’t actually all that rich. After all, they’re just regular Joes that spend $200,000 on food every year. For those curious, that’s $22.83 spent per person per meal for a family of six eating four meals a day.

Another, slightly less ridiculous and massively insulting way they’ve attempted to repaint their image is by claiming to be job creators. After all, if you heavily tax job creators, you’d hinder their abilities to make jobs for people, and America and the economy desperately need more jobs to be made!

This argument is generally the one they’ve tried to stick with (though Ann Romney did recently make the unfortunate claim that she doesn’t “consider herself to be wealthy” by trying to hide the definition of wealth behind a bunch of flowery sentimental junk while her husband gets elevators for his cars). Recently, it’s been brought back in full force, as seen when former President George W. Bush made a speech against raising taxes on the “so-called rich.”

According to Bush, “If you raise taxes on the so-called rich, you’re really raising taxes on the job creators. If the goal is private sector growth, you’ve got to recognize that the best way to achieve that growth is to leave capital in the treasuries of the job creators.”

Ignoring the fact that Bush was president during the economic crisis and a large amount of the blame could be laid at his economic policies’ feet, and ignoring the idea that the best economic policy is to let capital be hoarded, I have to ask: Are the super-rich really job creators?

I’ve met several job creators. Small business owners and the like. I guarantee you, they aren’t super rich. And I’m willing to bet that a large majority of huge companies, like Wal-Mart and McDonalds and the like, weren’t created by the super wealthy. Likely, they were created by people that worked, that had an idea, gathered capital and managed to start a successful business. It likely took years and years, and had its successes and pitfalls.

The middle class are job creators. I’ve seen it happen. Now, I’m sure there are many in the upper, wealthier class that are also job creators.

But how many, really? How many of the super wealthy make jobs with their wealth? How many are constantly creating jobs with their own personal gains?

Look to the actors and athletes who earn millions of dollars. Are they actively creating jobs? Or is it through the support of the middle class giving money to them that any jobs that happen to be created because of what they do actually occur?

How many of the super-rich became that way through inheritence? Or through simple good investments? How many of them sit on their wealth, or send it to the Cayman Islands?

And exactly how would job creation be hindered by them paying more money in taxes? The people, the businesses… they earn millions, billions of dollars. To create a job only takes thousands. If they can tell me exactly how many jobs they are making every month with the profits they have right now, and if they can show me exactly how paying a few extra thousand dollars every year will prevent them from being able to continue making those jobs, maybe I’ll believe them.

But right now? It’s a load of bollocks. It’s all hot air and meaningless words. The only jobs most of them create are jobs for their accountant.

Oh, and to throw in a little Biblical verse, since the right like to claim Christian morality is on their side…

“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48, NIV

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Do You Really Want Us To Look At The Things You’ve Said, Mitt?

As the GOP presidential race seems to be winding down, with most of the upper crust flocking behind Mitt Romney and the voters seeming to abandon Rick Santorum in light of the fact that Romney hasn’t said enough stupid, vote-losing stuff lately (or, at least, nothing we having come to simply expect Romney to be an idiot about). As such, Romney is once again bringing his focus around toward Barack Obama and making his campaign a more nationally focused one.

And, as such, he’s trying to get people focused on the things he says, as opposed to the brand of his jeans. In fact, he’s decided not only that people need to focus on the content of what he says, but he’s prepared to back up everything he believes in. From that article: “Unlike President Obama, you don’t need to wait until after the election to find out what I believe or what my plans are,” Romney said. “Unlike President Obama, I have the courage to stand behind my plan and the leadership experience to enact it.”

…so, um, what is Romney’s plan?

Seriously, can anyone tell me?

There has been exactly one thing Romney has said that I can say he probably believes in: “Corporations are people.”

He’s clearly against the things Obama stands for, like Obamacare, except for when he’s not, like when he was governor of Massachusetts.

That’s the most easily referenced example, of course. But, seriously, since the time he’s started in politics, his policies have changed and shifted so much, it’s pretty much impossible to nail down what he believes except that he wants to be president. And balance the budget. He never says how, but he’ll balance it. Probably using his magical businessman abilities.

I mean, maybe he’ll be able to actually say some things of substance if/when he becomes the GOP nominee… but right now, he’s pretty much the only candidate that I can’t say, “Oh, he believes in X.” Rick Santorum’s social views are well documented. Everyone knows about Newt Gingrich’s moon base. Ron Paul hasn’t changed his views, really, since his first election in 1832. Obama’s been president, so he’s mostly shown off many of his views…

And Romney’s just that rich guy that wants to be president.

So, Romney, you start saying something of substance, and maybe the media will start talking about it.

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Santorum Is The Most Liberal Candidate In 2012

I desperately attempted to avoid political jibberjabber during the past two days I was at home. I did not even come close to succeeding, but I did manage to (barely) avoid picking fights, simply saying stuff that was, in general, either hilarious or agreeable even to my parents, whose politics don’t exactly mesh with mine in the same way the North Pole isn’t exactly next door neighbors with Antarctica.

But now that I’m on my blog, which can be seen by everyone including my parents, clearly this is a safe environment to start stirring up trouble. So, trouble, here I stir.

As many of you likely know, Rick Santorum is currently the GOP presidential candidate that could ruin everything for Mitt Romney. According to the math I’ve done, if Romney doesn’t win several “winner take all” states and at least 50% of the proportional delegates, he’s in a load of trouble. And with Newt Gingrich and Santorum sapping away the proportional delegates and planning to stick with the race either until August or until someone gets the necessary delegates to be the nominee, Romney might be in trouble on the proportional front. And since Santorum has been winning states, there’s a chance Romney may have to fight all the way through the Republican convention, which will give whoever the nominee actually is about a month to go toe-to-toe with incumbent Barack Obama.

Now, I suppose I can see the appeal of Santorum. He actually has some beliefs, unlike Romney. He’s severely socially conservative, unlike Ron Paul. And he actually manages to live out some of those moral standards, unlike the ever-philandering king of smug false piety Gingrich.

Santorum claims to be the conservative alternative to Romney. The alservative, if you will. But, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a bit of a hypocrisy in the conservative political stances these GOP candidates take, and Santorum is perhaps the worst offender.

You see, the rallying cry of the GOP, especially the Tea Party movement that took conservative fury and congealed it into a rather odd duck of a political movement, has generally been one of small government. Cut down the bureaucracy. Limit federal power. Let the states decide moral issues. End regulation. Et cetera. And there have been Santorum supporters that like his desire to create a small government.

Except that Santorum has no such desires.

Santorum is one of the biggest proponents for a massive government the GOP has seen in a while, if not ever. Definitely the biggest of the four remaining candidates. Besides his desire to target businesses he finds immoral such as the pornography industry and his apparent desire to require states to make English their official primary language, Santorum has been long known for his severe moral stances he wants to turn into federal law, including a Constitutional amendment to permanently ban homosexual marriages in the United States.

Now, let’s ignore how laws and amendments like that have tended to cause the exact opposite effect once they climbed their way up to the Supreme Court (see: Roe v. Wade, Loving v. Virginia) and instead focus on exactly how massively big government this is.

Santorum plans to take away a state’s rights to decide whether they want to allow gay marriage. Which is pretty anti-state’s rights. He wants to end businesses (that frankly make America a crap ton of money) based on moral standards. Which is regulation of a really weird kind.

Sure, Santorum is all about the “moral, religious” stances that the political right likes to espouse… but he’s going about it in such a hugely unabashed, non-conservative fashion. It’s, quite frankly, ridiculous. The things he proposes to do are so massively in disregard for the structure of power in our government, so massively in disregard for the rights of the people that he is in fact the most liberal candidate on the ballot. Including Obama. His suggestions are so liberal and expansive of federal, and specifically presidential, power that they don’t even really exist on the map of American politics. Not since Franklin Roosevelt has anyone suggested such a massive, heavy-handed application of power, and all FDR did with his version was, by and large, create federal infrastructures. The closest thing Obama has come to any power sweeps on the level of Santorum is the recent contraception mandate, which he later revised.

Do you really see Santorum revising his views on social issues?

So, Santorum supporters. I have to ask you this: Can you explain why you agree with this guy? Seriously. He appears to be standing for what you believe in, but at the same time, he’s spitting in its face. If all you care about is social issues, then I guess he’s your guy. But if you want the federal government to limit its power and back off of our personal lives, then how the heck can you vote for him?

Though, really, I guess I can’t blame you too much. None of the candidates are really any good. But if you like Santorum and you like limited government, take Santorum’s advice: Vote for Ron Paul. Or, take mine: Stay at home and realize that you’re not going to get what you want out of any of these guys.

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A Santorum South And Steaming Trivia

I’m a little tired of talking big button sociopolitical issues this week… This was not a good week for me. And, yes, it’s only two days in. I’m sure my two doctors appointments later this week will make things much better.


So, having finished all 10 seasons of “Friends,” a show I had never seen before except in five or six scattered episodes, and having had a series of unfortunate altercations with someone that I’m unsure is my friend anymore, I’m drained.

Yes, “Friends” drained me, too. It was sad at the end. Shut up.

Having to work 8 to 5 (or longer) three days in a row after losing an hour Sunday certainly hasn’t helped, either. So, instead of talking about important things, I’m just going to jabber on about menial things, like the GOP primaries.

If you haven’t heard, Rick Santorum won both Alabama and Mississippi in the primaries today. Not that it matters much because, as they’re both proportional states, Mitt Romney still walks away with almost as many delegates as Santorum. But that won’t mean anything to Santorum, who will try to convert the momentum of his “wins” into more delegates later on, such as in Texas. Meaning this race is going to take forever. Seriously, if it ends by June, I’ll be somewhat surprised.

I didn’t vote in this primary because a) I’ve neglected local politics too much to be an informed voter and if you haven’t guessed by now I really REALLY don’t like uninformed voters, and b) I really don’t give two hoots which of these Goofy Old Politicians wins the nomination because they’re all terrible, terrible choices. Ron Paul is the least terrible choice in spite of his extreme libertarian (and often odd) views. Is that not just massively telling?

Ugh. It’s all disgusting.

Anyway, tonight, my friend Wesley Glass and I went to do trivia. Which is cool, since I’ll be unable to do it during my usual Thursday time as I’ll be in Huntsville doing doctory things. (Don’t worry, I’ll still post/annoy the people that subscribe to this blog by flooding their emails.) It was at Steamers tonight, somewhere I’d never been. Our server was someone I had several philosophy of law classes with, which was cool. We did rather well in the first half, only missing two questions for 4 points. There was a Monkees question in there, which made me happy. The half-time question was about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which we destroyed. And then the second half proceeded to laugh in our faces with some rather dated questions. I’m embarrassed that I forgot the year Prohibition ended, but does anyone under 30 know who Rod Roddy replaced on “The Price Is Right” in 1985? Seriously, anyone? For those that don’t know who Rod Roddy was (he died in 2003 (not 2006 as I originally thought)), he was the guy that would say the contestants’ names and “Come on down!” Always wore shiny, sequined suits. And exactly how many people have ever heard of ragtime/jazz/blues star Jelly Roll Morton? Seriously. Those are some dated questions.

Still, we had a shot, but I messed it up by not knowing what year “Don’t Stop Believing” was released. Curse my arrogance. And ignorance.

But it was fun, and the food was actually quite good. It’s the first time I’ve had seafood in a while, and I enjoyed it very much. I’ll try to go over there a few more times and maybe write a review about it.

Anyway, “Electric Mayhem” (Eh? You like the name, Muppets fans?) may not have placed, but I had fun. It was nice getting to hang out with someone this week, especially when things have been severely lonely/crappy. Cronely? Seems about right.

I’m sure I’ll be back to my crotchety, overly-liberal, “Boo, GOP” self tomorrow, though. Until then, ciao.

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Bumper Sticker Campaign “Promises”

As the GOP nomination process drags on and on, likely to continue well into the summer at this rate, I’ve been noticing a weird trend amongst some of the candidates. They’re settling down with their messages, their styles… and their gaffes. And not only are they settling down, but they’re turning it into predictable, bite-sized little bits of meaningless nothing that can’t figure out how to say anything about what they actually believe.

Constantly, these candidates (minus Ron Paul, for the most part, since he’s pretty much back to where he was before the primaries started up: largely ignored) are having to go visit daytime television shows or cable news shows to explain their views about things they really should have been able to say the first time. And even in those segments, they’re unable to actually solidly say what they think.

Now, the three non-Paul candidates share a few sentiments.

“We will bomb Iran if they get the nuke.”

“We will repeal Obamacare.”

“We will lower gas prices.”

But those little phrases are utterly meaningless.

For Iran: Really? You think bombing a country that obtains nuclear weapons is a good idea? You think that’ll persuade them to not use them if the nukes survive? And, last I checked, isn’t Iran near some other nuclear powers that may not appreciate fighting so close to their home? Besides, does no one think diplomacy is an option for anything anymore? Personally, I think it’s a good thing when the Ayatollah says nicer things about the current American president than he has about pretty much anything remotely American.

For Obamacare: Okay. You’re going to repeal it. And that’s it? Go back to the broken way things were before? Did you know that Americans pay more than twice what people in Chile, Argentina, India, Canada, France, Germany, Spain or Switzerland pay for just a visit to the hospital? The average cost per hospital day in America is $3,949. That’s only $711 less than the people of seven countries excluding Canada pay combined. In other words, we pay a bit too much for health care sometimes. Further, do you realize that with all the unemployment and the part-time employment that’s been going around, there are likely several thousand people that would lose their health insurance if “Obamacare” were repealed? Myself included. (Though I’ve only got dental and vision right now, I’d still lose it.) Because Obamacare gives those just-outta-college-not-able-to-land-a-full-time-job-that-offers-benefits kids under 26 a chance to piggyback off their parents and, y’know… get necessary things done. Do you have an alternative that you’re willing to share?

For gas prices: Well, I’m going to let Fox News defend Barack Obama on this one. The president can’t really do all that much about gas prices, especially not immediately. S0 stop saying stuff you know is crap.

Really, this is the summary I get from the four remaining candidates:

Ron Paul – The candidate that will shrink the federal government to near non-existence, isolate America from the rest of the world (particularly militarily) and not budge on any issues. Take that as you will.

Newt Gingrich – The candidate that fights the elite media with an arrogance unseen since pretty much ever and really offers no feasible plans, instead just spouting off angry “screw you” speeches.

Rick Santorum – The crusader who will fight to bring America back to his idea of a moral state, in which anyone that has performed abortions will be arrested, college will be given no government help, gays will lose what few rights they’ve managed to eke out in the last several years and women will find themselves pretty much screwed in several ways.

Mitt Romney – The candidate that believes he believes the things he said are things worth saying, a man who can’t make up his mind about politics and can’t stop talking about what a rich man he is.

So, in short, we have a candidate who wants America to essentially be 50 isolated mini-countries, a candidate who wants to… I guess shut down the media and live on the moon?, a candidate who wants a theocracy except not really he promises, and a candidate who wants to run America like a business, because business is the only thing we’re pretty sure he definitely stands for.

Maybe you’re all just saving it for Obama. But, seriously? Can you start offering actual plans and telling people what they are instead of running on the ticket of, “At least I’m not THAT guy!”

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Apologizing For Quran Burning Is Not A Dumb Idea

Imagine the following scenario, if you would. America has been noted as a major originating country for a terrorist organization responsible for extremely deadly acts on Chinese soil. China sends in their military to root out the terrorist factions within the United States. While doing so, they make bases and set up camps. Now, China is not exactly known to be immensely friendly toward American politics or political aspirations, and it certainly hasn’t been terribly friendly with the major religion of the United States, Christianity. Heck, they’ve even been known to use Bibles for target practice.

Suddenly, you hear that at one of the bases in Texas, the Chinese accidentally set fire to several hundred copies of the Bible.

Now, maybe I’m crazy, but I could certainly imagine riots and violence sprouting forth from such a scenario.

See, about two weeks ago, several Qurans were accidentally sent to the fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, a large American base a bit north of Kabul, Afghanistan. This event caused several riots, which have killed over 30 people, including American soldiers. In an attempt to quell the violence, President Barack Obama apologized for the incident. Whether the apology actually calmed things down or not, several GOP members have been crying foul to Obama’s apology, such as Rick Santorum, Allen West and Newt Gingrich.

Now, a lot of people have been saying that, instead of apologizing for Quran burning, the Afghans should be apologizing to us for American flag burning and for the deaths of American soldiers.

People that say that are rather missing the point.

First, flag burning is legal in America. Why should they apologize for doing something we’re allowed to do? That’s like asking them to apologize for voting democratically.

Second, as we’re not actually at war with Afghanistan, just certain organizations within the country, I think it’s rather pretty well understood that the government is not approving of any loss of American life from people within their borders.

But none of that’s really the point, either. Ron Paul is one of the few (read as: only one I’ve seen) GOP leaders to get it right on this whole apology thing.

Remember that scenario I mentioned above? It’s not quite equally fair, truth be told. We’re not a third world country, and we’re on decent terms with China (at least through economy and trade). And our country doesn’t have as high a concentration of supremely devout Christians as Afghanistan has Muslims (though I did put the scenario in Texas for a reason). But violent riots are still feasibly possible with that scenario. After all, they’re invaders apparently disrespecting one of our more highly, widely valued religions.

The Santorum response to the apology especially makes me laugh. He said, “There was nothing deliberately done wrong here.” But, later, he said that Obama should have acknowledged that what happened was wrong.

Deliberate or not, it was wrong. And even if it wasn’t deliberate, we don’t have a record of respecting Islam or its practitioners. Our military has had members shoot the Quran for target practice. Our government has spied in mosques. We can talk about it not being deliberate all we want… would you believe it? I know, were I in their position, I certainly wouldn’t.

It isn’t wrong to apologize when something unfortunate happens. It isn’t “weak” to say, “We’re sorry and will attempt to ensure far better care is taken in respect to this issue.” Respecting other countries and other religions is not a bad trait. It’s a smart one. Which is something we’d really better start learning.

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What Makes The Government So Inherently Evil?

In watching and reading the events of this political season, I’ve noticed a funny little trend going on that seems perhaps strangely related to the disdain to progressivism I’ve mentioned before

See, the past year has been focused almost entirely on the GOP, since they’re the ones trying to break into the incumbency of President Barack Obama. So, of course, we hear a whole lot of rhetoric and statements from them. And one of the common threads I keep noticing is just how terrible the government is.

It’s weird. They talk like the government as a system is designed to ruin lives. Like citizens should fear the government, especially in its current form.

…by, you know, voting to let one of them be in control of that really terrible evil thing.

And I don’t get the rhetoric. Really, it makes no sense. Just like the Tea Party rhetoric makes no sense often times to me. Because it always seems to be this outcry against the government, the federal machine as a whole… except for all the wonderful things they’d like to keep around. Y’know, like roads, cops, Medicare… That stuff.

The GOP candidates, on the other hand, decry the federal government and how terrible it is… but they’re all running to, well, run it. And with exception of Mitt Romney, they’ve all been a part of it. Granted, I don’t recall Ron Paul ever saying the government is evil, but his stance is definitely anti-federalist.

Now, if every one of them were talking about shrinking the size and scope and power of the federal government to eliminate its direct effect on the lives of its citizens, I’d understand. But Paul is about the only one that thinks that. The other three are all about having the government make drastic changes, they just want it to be drastic sweeping changes in their political favor.

Mitt Romney wants to repeal “Obamacare,” which could just be seen as a reversal of a sweeping change, but really it’s the only thing I’ve found he’s said and stuck to mostly. Rick Santorum wants to reinstitute “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and federally, nationally ban gay marriage through a constitutional amendment, which flies in the face of state’s rights, something most conservatives are all about. And Newt Gingrich wants to build a moon base. I suppose that’s not really a great example, but it is a bit silly. Which Gingrich is.

If you listen to each of them, they demonize federal government. And if you listen closer, they want to use it to make drastic changes. The examples were perhaps more plentiful when Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry were around to talk about things like immigration, but perhaps you see my point.

When did the federal government become something despised? Something people refuse to see as something potentially helpful? Granted, Congress certainly doesn’t help the image much, but the federal government is there for a reason. So many people talk about the Constitution and how awesome it is… well, that Constitution gave us the government we have. Now, I may be risking cries of treason being thrown at me, but our government isn’t perfect. Gasp. Shocking, I know. There are several issues with our government, often dealing with money being too easily bandied about and into the pockets of Congresspeople. But we can use the system to help. We can make things better with it.

But only if people stop talking about how evil it is. Until people start talking about how they will use the government to do things and not how they hate the government and we should protest everything they do always, nothing good will happen.

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Big Government Or Small? Make Up Your Minds

As an update to yesterday’s post, in case you haven’t heard… 14 National Championships. Roll Tide.

…moving right along…

If politics still somehow magically hold your interest after months of gruelingly pointless repetition and circus acts, then you’ll know that Iowa has had its caucuses and that New Hampshire is holding its primary today. You may also know that the GOP had two debates this weekend, 12 hours apart. The hooplah and repetition are coming now faster than ever before. Or, if you prefer, pious bologna.

The intense pattern I’ve noticed amongst pretty much every candidate, however, is hypocrisy. Granted, that’s how politics tends to roll. But I’m referring to a specific hypocrisy. A hypocrisy pertaining to the size of government and its role in the lives of American citizenry.

See, the rallying cry of the conservative base seems to be a desire to tear down the “big government,” the one that spends so much money, forces so many terrible regulations on the businesses of America and requests the citizenry to pay more taxes.

And yet, they seem to be all for expanding executive power beyond the limitations set Constitutionally (with exception of Ron Paul, of course). Just look at some of the candidates’ views on executive issues. It’s kind of ghastly sometimes.

But even that hypocrisy isn’t what I want to target. Most presidents since forever ago have stepped a tad beyond their Constitutional bounds. For some, those tads look more like the tads Newt Gingrich seems fond of. (…sorry, that was kinda low. Maybe I should be a politician?)

No, the hypocrisy I’ve been noting is the gleeful desire to regulate lives, but to protect businesses against things like gender equality and anti-discrimination clauses.

For example: On the issue of marriage, many feel it is a federal issue. That the federal government should define what is essentially a personal choice made by two persons. Why is that?

I couldn’t find any real reasons given other than “sacrament” and “anti-Christian bigotry.” Religious argument for a secular government. Not good.

Well, let’s look outside the realm of religious response. Let’s see what one of the (surprising) contenders feels about the freedom of speech on the internet via the new media corporation backed bill SOPA.

Huh. Rick Santorum (and likely many others in the GOP race) feels SOPA is a-okay because limits to freedom of speech exist. Ignoring that his comparison of freedom of speech being limited to preserve the well-being of others to freedom of speech being limited to protect business acquisitions is hugely faulty, why doesn’t this line of thought follow through with, say, freedom of religion?

And let’s not even bother to get into Mitt Romney’s pratfall dealing with contraception.

A disturbing, rather consistent pattern amongst the GOP front-runners is one of big government is bad, unless it’s instituting and enforcing morality and tradition. But only on individuals.

Even Ron Paul, that apparently staunch Constitutionalist, finds himself bouncing between states’ rights and federal authority on social issues.

This is the curse of neo-conservatism. The election of George W. Bush saw the end of true conservatism and the creation of some strange thing that can’t seem to sum itself up. Demanding as ever on social, personal issues and the desire to control them, but economically claiming a desire for a “free market” (which is SO not what they’ve been asking for).

Which is it going to be, GOP? Are you big government or small government? If you’re the latter… then let the voters vote for their rights and stay out of our way.

…later, I’ll probably look into the hilarity of the cries against all the “anti-Christian bigotry” that’s around.

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Obama V. The Current GOP Lineup

Well, the first votes for the GOP presidential nominee have come and gone, and you’ve likely heard about the results. Mitt Romney squeaked past a last second Santorum surge from behind (eeeeeeeeew, gross) with an 8 vote win. Or a 29 vote win. Or a 12 vote loss. Whatever. Ron Paul gave a rather impressive showing as well, gathering 21.4% of the votes, only 3.1% less than both Rick Santorum and Romney. Newt Gingrich pulled off only 13.3%, but is not to be counted out as John McCain placed fourth in Iowa in 2008, as I recall. Rick Perry grabbed only 10.3% of the votes despite spending the most money in the state, and former Iowa straw poll winner Michele Bachmann grabbed a pitiful 5%, forcing her to pull out of the race.

And so, we are now left with 6 candidates people have heard of plus Buddy Roemer, since Jon Huntsman didn’t participate in the Iowa caucus and has been focusing fully on New Hampshire. And as the votes continue to crawl on, we’ll have fewer and fewer, until there is only one.

But who is it to be? People like Jon Stewart think that, despite the GOP’s almost adamant refusal to get fully behind Romney, that’s who they’ll end up with. Yet high up members of the Tea Party movement, who still hold a heavy grip, especially in the southern states like South Carolina, think Romney sucks a whole heck of a lot. Yet so many people think Romney has the best chance to beat Barack Obama in the general election. Allow me to break down the way I see things now, not in who will get the GOP vote, but in who will be best against Obama.

Starting with the least likely:

Rick Perry – Before you ask, I actually am including Roemer on this list. I think Perry has the worst chance of any candidate to win against Obama. Why? He has shown a complete lack of ability to harness the excitement his own party had for him, has become the king of gaffes the way Joe Biden could only have ever dreamed, and can’t seem to choose between the image of serious man and drunk frat guy. With Bachmann dropping out and Cain gone, Perry is the most caricatured ridiculous GOP candidate still on the list.

Buddy Roemer – Unfortunately, I have to put Roemer here due to the simple fact that he is complete obscure. Even if he did manage to gather enough last second (like, seriously last second) popularity amongst the GOP to get the nomination, he’s been too obscure to get the general election excited about him. I think he’d actually debate really well against Obama. But he has a lot of liberal tendencies that I don’t think would allow enough of the GOP to want to vote for him.

Newt Gingrich – Okay. This guy is kind of a giant jerk. And a bit of a clown. He may have sustained a surge that granted him some spotlight, but he wasn’t really gracious about it. Not to mention, the ideas he wants to institute are, frankly, crazyballs. Even many in the GOP thought his best two out of three application of Constitutionality was insane. And liberals want to keep him far away from the White House, which would gather up a powerful amount of votes against him.

Now, these three are actually far behind. The next four are much closer to each other than these three and depend on several factors.

Rick Santorum – Not a candidate anyone took seriously before… well, this week, he is kind of like a Rick Perry that doesn’t gaffe like a crazy man. He’s got the social conservative values the GOP adores so much and is willing to apply them with extreme prejudice. Now, he’s on the bottom of this because, again, liberals want him far and away from the White House. No one with a liberal leaning wants a Santorum presidency. If you’re disappointed in Obama for not doing more, Santorum would be like anti-what-Obama-promised. He’d make sure EVERY liberal ideal was scorch earthed, or die trying.

Mitt Romney – Let’s face it. This guy is the 2012 GOP John Kerry. He’s boring and says absolutely NOTHING of value. Even all the hate the GOP has for a second Obama term would not garner enough excitement in Romney being president. Romney has said exactly everything that he thinks any voter pretty much ever may possibly want to hear at some point. The only thing I know for sure about a Romney presidency is that the Occupy Wall Street movement would probably grow like crazy, because Romney would make the 1% so far away from everyone else, it’s really quite sad. Very pro-Wall Street, this guy, but that’s really the only thing I know about him.

Jon Huntsman – Yeah. I’m putting Huntsman above Romney. People can actually get a bit excited about Huntsman. Plus, with Huntsman’s slightly larger amount of open-mindedness, he could more easily court a slightly more liberal vote. This is something the GOP seems to fail to realize as a whole: Liberals are fair game for them. While his approval is getting a last second surge as unemployment drops and he stands up to a rather annoying Congress, Obama has still disappointed many liberals by being a bit too friendly with Wall Street and a bit too lacking in the chutzpa when standing up to a belligerent Congress. There are liberals that could be talked away from the Democratic vote. Why do you think Democrats have blue dogs? There are fewer slightly liberal GOP members than slightly conservative Democrats, from what I’ve seen, especially evident during the health care battle. Further, Huntsman has been pretty consistent with his message, while Romney has yet to have one that isn’t “Beat Obama.”

Ron Paul – Those keeping score knew he’d be up here. Yes, I feel Ron Paul actually has the best chance of beating Obama. Why? Because he courts the liberal vote like crazy. Because he’s a libertarian. He is consistently, 100% for an actual small government, one that stays out of citizens’ personal lives as well as the market, making him very much for many of the things most GOP voters claim to be for. Sure, some of that small government stuff means they lose a bit of their moral institutionalization, like by seeing an end to the war on drugs, but Ron Paul has the easiest time grabbing both GOP and Democrat votes. He has a lot of the same pull on young voters that candidate Obama had, and they were a big help in winning Obama the election. Sure, some people think his ideas are a bit crazy, but he could be tempered by Congress and the courts. Sure, it’d mean Congress will have to DO things, but the voters might like that idea.

What it all boils down to is this: Can GOP voters rally behind someone who is closer to center than they would perhaps like, someone who appeals to the disenchanted liberals and the angry conservatives alike? And can Obama remind people that, while his presidency hasn’t been perfect, he has scored some big victories that would likely be immediately lost with pretty much any of the GOP candidates, and any good (from a liberal’s perspective) gained in the last 4 years would be completely lost with a GOP presidency?

The beginnings of socialized healthcare, the repeal of DADT, the removal of troops from Iraq… versus the recent law of indefinite detention, the bailouts and the drones.

Obama’s had his disappointing moments, and still does… but I think, if we re-elect a better Congress, Obama will have a better showing in a second term than in his first. Now that he has a better idea of what he’s doing.

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