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US Elections 2012

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Kjetil
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Obama will tailor his message to the person he faces. With Paul or Bachmann, I think it would be relatively easy for Obama to run a negative campaign, scaring "independents" about a far-right shift. Meanwhile, neither of those will be able to counter with a positive, inspirational message. I will bet that in a campaign of scare tactics, the known devil will come out winner.

If Ron Paul and Gary Johnson lose, it makes virtually no difference to me whether or not Obama beats Romney. The only difference between Romney and Obama is the particular array of policies that violate my individual rights.

Edited by determinist
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I'm disturbed by how much support RP gets from the left.
Depending on your own convictions, you might see Ron Paul in different ways. One person may see him as standing somewhere on the "freedom end" of a statist/freedom axis. However, others may not look at him that way. Someone who thinks the government has a role to play and who thinks that folk like Obama simply favor a different set of corporate backers might see Paul as somewhere on the "anti-establishment end" of an establishment/anti-establishment axis.

The enthusiastic commie (we might call him naive) thinks he is fighting for the individual little guy. So, he shares that with the anti-statist libertarian. Historically, we've often seen co-mingling between commie types, anarchists and libertarian at the grass-roots level.

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Someone who thinks the government has a role to play and who thinks that folk like Obama simply favor a different set of corporate backers might see Paul as somewhere on the "anti-establishment end" of an establishment/anti-establishment axis.

When I rely on a primary source of information (Ayn Rand's actual writings), Ron Paul appears that he would be very favorable to Ayn when compared with any other candidate. He preaches individualism, stood against the majority in opposing the TSA, wants to end the entire Department of Education, wants to end minimum wage altogether, disagrees with conscription, opposed the PATRIOT Act, did not vote for TARP, is not an anarchist, wants more tax cuts than anyone else, and is not a gigantic demagogue. When I talk to secondary sources, they seem to fabricate a model of Ayn Rand that would oppose Ron because of his foreign policy. I don't buy it. As modest as I am about understanding Ayn Rand, it seems crystal clear to me that Ron is very close with respect to her preferred policies, and while he not an Objectivist who bows down to her every idea, no candidate that Ayn ever endorsed was.

I really admire his commitment to rational economics

That is actually what scares me about Ayn Rand and Ron Paul.

Edited by determinist
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  • 2 weeks later...

Gary Johnson is running as a libertarian presidential candidate now. He and Paul were far and away my favorites, and both have been victims of a soft campaign to ignore them in the media.

I would vote for a bowl or soggy rice crispies over Obama, even Perry and Bachman are better than that socialist, but Paul or Gary Johnson would be my preference.

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  • 5 weeks later...

"The most basic principle to being a free American is the notion that we as individuals are responsible for our own lives and decisions." - Ron Paul

Unless, apparently, those individuals organize themselves into a state - then he has no problem with passing laws to violate individual rights.

Edited by brian0918
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Unless, apparently, those individuals organize themselves into a state - then he has no problem with passing laws to violate individual rights.

While I am certainly no fan of his "everything to the states!" stance, I think this oversimplifies it somewhat. I do believe, and I may be mistaken here, that this is not his stance on, for instance, same-sex marriage, in which case he is the best on that issue aside from Gary Johnson. I believe he wants to leave that up to the individual churches and their dealings with individuals, and has spoken out against the notion of having requirements for marriage mandates by government on a number of occasions, which is a fairly standard libertarian position these days. This certainly gives one pause, but at the same time, we must also keep in mind not only what these candidates support, what but they realistically could get Congress to do with respect to the passing of laws. People will have different degrees of concern over this, because some will view it as being an improvement over Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, or Obama who, without question, will violate individual rights massively on a federal level as per the status quo.

Even if Paul accomplishes little, people can be sure he would make a concerted effort to fight the status quo, both in general political activity and corruption, and do far more than those others to lessen the violation of individual rights on the federal level. Whether or not people feel that this is a satisfactory give and take considering his other positions, well, I have seen that Objectivists are pretty evenly split on that based on what I have seen in my networking and it does not seem like either camp is likely to convince the other as it hinges greatly on their overall perspective of the situation America is in not only on an economic level, but a political and philosophical one. To successfully convince them to change their mind would require them changes their perspectives on a number of big subjects, where there tends to be a spectrum of variation among Objectivists. I know just as many Objectivists that would vote for Obama over Paul, as I do people that will vote for him over Santorum+Romney and/or Gingrich, as I do people that have decided they will vote for Paul and will not even consider anyone else to the point of being willing to do a write in.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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I doubt that Johnson won't get the LP nomination, he seems more popular than the other LP candidates.

Gary Johnson 2012

I don't mind him running for President, but I have to wonder if he would instead have an actual chance at the Senate seat from New Mexico.

I guess maybe he knows he doesn't. Otherwise, I can't think of a reason why he wouldn't go for that instead, and try for the Presidency again as a Senator.

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  • 2 months later...

To put it another way... so where would this go? So we impeach Obama because he did such and such... and we replace him with... whom? If you're honest you'd have to recognize that the odds are better than even that it would be somebody even worse... (viz. that Mormon dude)...

I'd be interested knowing why you think Romney would be worse than Obama. That's a topic for a different thread, though.

Edited by FeatherFall
This and next three posts were moved from another thread.
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I'd be interested knowing why you think Romney would be worse than Obama. That's a topic for a different thread, though.

I don't think Romney will make any meaningful headway on economic issues as his party is 100% committed to the welfare state just like the Democrats (remember when that candidate from Texas hinted that SS might be "bad" in some way?). The Repubs--including the t-party numbskulls--are firmly committed to (see my other thread) what amounts to about 98% of the Federal budget.

Meanwhile, did I mention that he's a Mormon? A freakin Mormon!?! :-)

(For our international audience who may not have the all of background on Momons, I refer you to this most excellent documentary).

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CrowEpistemologist, those arguments aren't convincing. For one, you portray Romney (and more ridiculously, tea partiers) as just as committed to the welfare state as Obama and his party. Does Romney's promise to repeal Obamacare count for anything against the certainty of Obama vetoing a repeal?

As far as Romney's Mormonism is concerned, I'm with Grames. Every religion makes downright silly claims. Sure, Mormonism promotes ideas like magic undies and afterlife planets and stuff, but none of that is relevant to the duties of the president. The parts of the religion that are relevant to the presidency involve moral and political components. Mormonism is relatively less political. Black Liberation Theology is downright Marxist. A fair analysis of Mormonism must concede pro-life and homophobic positions. The Supreme Court counters the pro-life position to my satisfaction and Obama is only a hair better when it comes to respecting the rights of homosexuals. If Obama really wanted to get rid of DOMA, he'd have tried to do it when he had Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. I suspect the democrats are deathly afraid of actually winning this battle, because they'd lose their advantage with gay voters.

Edited by FeatherFall
grammar
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Romney obviously can't be trusted to veto anything of the kind. He practically invented the ACA himself and he's shown that he is 1000% committed to SS and Medicare (lest he not stand a snowball's chance of getting elected).

And it's "ridiculous" to imagine that both Romney and the t-party are anything but committed to the welfare state? Have you heard a single one of them, in any position of power, call for the end of SS or Medicare? I'm not talking about random rallies and whatnot, but actual bills introduced on the floor of Congress. Since 3/4 of the t-partiers are actually on SS, I certainly can't imagine you'd hear such a thing from them seriously because nobody in that group really wants that. They talk about getting rid of "government waste" which involves a playing field of about 5% of the national budget (i.e. "cut everything!*" *except defense, SS and Medicare of course).

(Context set: we're arguing over the 11th and 12th rungs of hell here, to be sure).

Now, these days given that I'm certainly not holding my breath for any significant political change in the next few decades, I'm much more interested in epistemological change. Twenty years ago the party of unreason was the Democrats. In the last ten years in particular, the Republicans have firmly grabbed hold of the brainless crown and won't let it go...

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Does Romney's promise to repeal Obamacare count for anything against the certainty of Obama vetoing a repeal?

He said "repeal and replace", right? You seem to be up to date with everything Mitt Romney, so give us an honest estimate of what he will replace it with. Do you really believe he will allow for the people who were uninsured before Obamacare to go uninsured once again?

That would be quite unprecedented. To the best of my knowledge, no Republican President has ever come close to repealing an entitlement program of this size.

Edited by Nicky
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If Ron Paul and Gary Johnson lose, it makes virtually no difference to me whether or not Obama beats Romney. The only difference between Romney and Obama is the particular array of policies that violate my individual rights.

Is it possible to quantify this in some way? Does Obama represent a greater or more thorough threat to rights than Romney? I hate to use the phrase but "the lesser of two evils" is preferable. A non-vote will not prevent a candidate from winning so it is of no value to sit at home and act as if your no vote counts as a protest that will effectively register and make any difference.

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CrowEpistemologist, just to be clear, I meant that if congress passes a bill that repeals Obamacare, then Romney would sign it and Obama would veto it. There are few circumstances that would allow Romney to repeal such a bill without committing political suicide. The opposite is true for Obama.

When you talk about "tea partiers," I sense a conflation between the grass-roots movement and the "tea party caucus" that used them to get elected. The groups are different and most questions about both of the groups have different answers. If you want me to address one or the other, I'll be happy to, but I don't know which one you want me to address right now. Either way, it is uncontroversial to say that either group (party or caucus) want more welfare statism than Objectivists. It is wildly inaccurate to insinuate that they are politically indistinguishable from Obama. Wildly inaccurate.

I'd also challenge your generalization that Democrats are more reasonable than Republicans. In Wisconsin, where I live, social issues for Republicans have fallen from the spotlight. Governor Walker and a Republican legislature were able to effect massive positive changes to how the state bargains with public service unions. As a reward for this kindness, they are facing recall elections powered by an alliance between labor unions and Democrats. If they didn't have this issue to be wrong about, the Democrats would certainly be running on reversing the concealed carry legislation that made WI the second-to-last state to adopt some form of allowance for concealed weapons.

Democrats are correct about some issues, but in this political cycle they are focusing on all the wrong ones. Obama has resumed the federal prosecution of state-sanctioned marijuana growers. In fact, at the moment I can think of only one good thing they have done recently; the trashing of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." But this is relatively small progress. Think about how much good they could have done if they tried to repeal DOMA with as much energy as they used to pass Obamacare. They are clearly focused on expanding government power instead of limiting it to its proper scope. From what I can see, the Republicans are confused, often wrong, sometimes terribly unjust, but at least I've seen them give a little attention to limiting the scope of government to the protection of individual rights.

He said "repeal and replace", right?

Good questions, Nicky. This repeal would be unprecedented, but there something unique about the PPACA that is worth consideration. It won't take full effect until 2014. If repealed before then, almost nobody loses coverage. At present, it is largely a set of looming regulations that haven't yet been able to worm into the minds of the voting "beneficiaries" like other welfare programs have. College students in their early to middle twenties will get upset, but they are not exactly as influential as Social Security recipients.

What will Romney replace it with? This is a more sobering question. There is a possibility that Romney refuses to sign a repeal bill that isn't also coupled with "Republican" reform. Whether or not he requires a simultaneous replacement, I'd expect such a replacement to involve tort reform, an expansion of existing programs (possibly as block-grants to the states), maybe something involving tax-advantages for HSAs, and medical vouchers that get killed by Democrats as part of a compromise. Romney's justification for MA's healthcare mandate is that the States have more of a "right" to coerce people than the federal government. I expect him to stick with this state-rights version of totalitarianism, because it lets him punt on sweeping federal regulation.

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Again, I generally factor away the specific politics as neither "side" is going to come even remotely close to anything but politically awful, and I also don't see an imminent threat of totalitarianism from either party despite whatever alarmist rhetoric might be heard on either side. Obama is, by historical standards, operating pretty far to the Right.

Take voucher programs. It is a Republican cause célèbre? Sure. But note the premises that both sides will not tamper with: that we absolutely, positively owe others free healthcare. What, then, does that make vouchers? A tax cut for the rich if you're a Democrat and an increase of the deficit if you're a Republican. With that, I do in fact slime all t-party people because I find that can't pull off simple math: "cut programs, but not any that help people, balance the budget and cut taxes". This sort of thing appeals only to people who don't think things through at all.

Which brings me to my recently-switched "affinity" to the "left" in recent years from the "right": neither are anywhere near a political system that makes any sort of moral sense, but one is now firmly committed to a deep-seated unreality. Add in the religious kookiness, anti-science, anti-intellectual (can anything a left-winger said the last 24 months top Michelle Bachman's HPV destructive, mindless nonsense?).

There was a time when the Republican's were pillared as elitists. I assumed then that the term was a euphemism for intelligence and wore this title as a badge of honor. Now it's Republicans that are at war on intelligence and in turn brandish the "elitist" terminology as a smear...

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Romney's justification for MA's healthcare mandate is that the States have more of a "right" to coerce people than the federal government. I expect him to stick with this state-rights version of totalitarianism, because it lets him punt on sweeping federal regulation.
One GOP Congressman (I forget his name but he's an MD who is on some committee related to health-care) was suggesting that the GOP solution could be designed so that states would have to enact individual mandates or end up paying a chunk of the costs for uncovered folks. Since such a mandate was supposedly well-within states-rights, it would be okay. Sigh!

The same GOP congressman came up with another possibility: Obamacare does not actually mandate health-cover, but fines people who don't have it. Instead, the GOP could create a tax-credit which would achieve exactly the same thing under a new name.

The only suggestion that is not just a copy with a new name is the voucher part of Ryan's plan.

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