Archive for the ‘Elections’ category

A Choice in November

April 26, 2008

Clueless GOP consultants Tony Fabrizio and Dave Carney tell Politico (referring to Ron Paul’s 16 percent showing in Pennsylvania’s Republican primary):

“A large portion of those Ron Paul supporters are anti-Bush, anti-war Republicans,” he said. “They’ll wind up back with McCain because, while they may disagree on the war or be mad at Bush, the prospect of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is more frightening.”

And, as Carney notes, there is no Paul-like third-party candidate around whom they can rally and vent their frustrations.

Politco’s Jonathan Martin notes that that might not be true if Bob Barr gets the Libertarian Party’s nomination. But it won’t be true even if Barr doesn’t get the LP nod, because Chuck Baldwin, who endorsed Paul in the Republican primaries, has now won the Constitution Party’s nomination. Baldwin, who is socially conservative, antiwar, for drastically smaller government (asked at the Constitution Party convention what his first executive order as president would be, he said he would first repeal almost all the executive orders going back to Reagan), and against federal snooping on American citizens. The rightist part of the Ron Paul movement might find him a very attractive candidate indeed.

In small ways, the 2008 election is starting to look up. There’s the prospect that my ballot in Virginia might have at least two candidates I can support: Baldwin and Barr. Neither is perfect. And between them, I’m not sure which is better: Baldwin is more radically conservative and anti-statist, as far as I can tell, which commends him. In Barr’s favor, I’d rather vote for a Libertarian Party candidate than a Constitution Party candidate. I attended the CP’s 2000 convention in St. Louis and wasn’t very impressed by the proceedings. A brawl almost broke out at one session between Catholics and Protestants baiting one another about who had persecuted whom more violently throughout history. (Catholics attributed anti-clerical violence in the Mexican Revolution to Protestantism — improbably enough — while Protestants shot back with equally poorly informed accusations about the Inquisition. A gathering of professional historians this was not.) Convention sessions juxtaposed a speaker who wanted to stone homosexuals next to a speaker who had survived being aborted. Disgust and sympathy don’t make a pleasant emotional cocktail. The party didn’t exactly win any points with me in 2004 either, when it nominated for president a man who had given his wife’s children away to be raised by the state of Maryland. (His wife insists that turning her daughters into wards of the state was her idea. Either way, the story belongs on Jerry Springer — or Phil Donahue, where in fact it did appear — not on the resume of a “family values” candidate.)

On the other hand, LP presidential contender and mooted vice presidential prospect Mary Ruwart is a defender of consensual kiddie porn. If she’s on the ticket, I won’t be voting for the Libertarians. I’m fairly sure neither Barr nor Wayne Allan Root, the other top LP presidential candidate, would have someone with those views on their ticket. I hope.

And of course, Obama is better than McCain by far. I’d like to see him clobber McCain in November. So assuming these third parties qualify for the ballot in Virginia, I’ll have several choices in this presidential election. That’s an unaccustomed circumstance for me, and it feels kind of good. Now if only a third party will nominate someone decent for the Virginia Senate race…

Bob Barr Announces

April 6, 2008

And I’ll gladly support him. Here’s his announcement:

The Abortion Wars in 2008

March 30, 2008

Jim Antle summarizes a few recent blog threads on abortion and the 2008 race here. Ross Douthat’s criticism of Andy Bacevich–Douthat thinks Bacevich doesn’t pay enough attention to abortion in making his case for Obama–is one of the threads Jim links to. My own response to Douthat is newly up at Taki’s Magazine.

About That Gravelanche…

March 28, 2008

Richard Spencer has a reaction to it up at Taki’s Magazine. I still think that the true believers in the LP will prevent Gravel from getting the nomination. But Gravel may be the second coming of Russell Means, the Indian-rights activist who was Ron Paul’s rival for the LP’s 1988 nomination. Means was also a fashionably outre lefty with questionable libertarian credentials. But he came rather close to getting the nomination. In fact, if he weren’t running against a serious contender like Paul, he would have won the nomination easily. So perhaps Gravel will do better than I expect.

I’m inclined to vote Libertarian in November no matter who they nominate. Gravel’s entry into the race might actually help Bob Barr if Barr decides to run. The main obstacle Barr would have faced were Gravel not in the race would have been questions about his libertarian orthodoxy — Barr was a drug warrior in Congress, after all, and also voted for the Patriot Act that he now campaigns against. Gravel might make Barr look more orthodox by contrast.

Apropos of nothing in particular, I feel like mentioning that one of the few flaws of Brian Doherty’s otherwise nigh comprehensive history of the libertarian movement, Radicals for Capitalism, is that it contains very little about the 1988 LP nomination fight, even though that fight and the bad blood that followed it had monumental consequences, spurring Murray Rothbard to break with the party and seek allies on the Buchananite Right instead. The present configuration of libertarianism, with a sharp division between the Beltway libertarians and Rothbard-inspired institutions like the Ludwig von Mises Institute, owes a great deal to the fallout from the 1988 race.

And apropos of everything, here’s David Weigel’s coverage at Reason of the Gravelanche (which I think David christened).

Update: Am I selling Means short?  His libertarian credentials were better than Gravel’s, at any rate.

Mike Gravel, Big-L Libertarian?

March 28, 2008

With his national health care plan and other big-government commitments, Mike Gravel is no small-l libertarian. But he’s seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination, which will be decided at the party’s national convention, May 22-26. Gravel has a chance, since there’s sure to be a contingent in the LP that would like to have a prominent candidate, but he’s going to need to retool his positions on quite a few issues to win over a majority of delegates. Also, as obscure as some of the current contenders for the LP nomination may be, Gravel is obviously not a name to conjure with himself, even if he is a former U.S. senator.

Still, it makes a for a livelier political scene. And Lord knows Gravel would be better than Clinton, Obama, or McCain.

Missouri GOP Cheats Ron Paul

March 25, 2008

I’m a native of Missouri and went to college at Washington University in St. Louis, where I was involved in the College Republicans. For a time, I was secretary of the Missouri Federation of College Republicans, too. So I know how things work in the Missouri GOP, and I know that there are some utterly corrupt people in it. I wasn’t surprised when Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, decided he wouldn’t be running for re-election. He’s a rotten egg.

Needless to say, the establishment in the Missouri Republican Party doesn’t like the idea of Ron Paul Republicans coming in and getting elected as delegates to the state convention. Ron Paul supporters won fair and square in the Show Me state’s recent caucuses, but the crooks infesting the party don’t want to accept the result, and they’re trying to disqualify the Ron Paul delegates. Here’s the Paul campaign’s press release on what’s going on:

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – The Ron Paul campaign has been receiving reports that Missouri GOP rules have been violated in the set-up and execution of several county Republican caucuses. Ron Paul supporters in Missouri have been attending their county caucuses and electing Ron Paul delegates to be seated at the Missouri Republican State Convention. However, there are concerns that many Ron Paul delegates to the Missouri Republican State Convention were disenfranchised and not properly seated.

On Thursday, March 20, campaign field director Debbie Hopper visited the Missouri state GOP headquarters to request a copy of the records needed to obtain the information to file challenges. She was told in front of witnesses that she could not view the report. To obtain the needed information, Ms. Hopper then used the contact information of county chairs listed on the state GOP website. On Saturday, March 22, the webpage containing their contact information had been removed.

The Paul campaign believes that a handful of GOP officials are playing machine politics and breaking their own rules to disenfranchise Paul supporters.

“The Republican party is in trouble and needs more participants in 2008, not less,” said campaign manger Lew Moore. “It makes no sense for Missouri party leaders to exclude and marginalize the new activists they badly need to work at every level this fall.”

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s supporters have been highly successful in several Missouri counties. In St. Charles County (suburb of St. Louis), Paul supporters filled 241 of the 274 country Republican delegate slots. In Jackson County (Kansas City), Paul supporters filled 162 of 187 delegate slots. And in Greene County (Springfield), Paul supporters filled 72 of 112 delegate slots.

The Right Choice for November?

March 19, 2008

Tying in somewhat with the discussion of Jim Webb below, here’s Andrew Bacevich’s conservative case for Barack Obama.

I’m not going to join the Obamacons — 2008 seems like a good year to vote third-party — but I’m rooting for Obama against Clinton and McCain.

Postscript: There’s one more round of Webb blogging here.


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