No More Republicans For Me

Like a lot of people, particularly in the bay area, I’m pretty libertarian. I tend to like Republicans on fiscal issues and Democrats on rights issues.

As a libertarian I don’t think that redistribution programs as a rule help society or even the individuals receiving the redistributions. And the staggering, country-busting expense of them isn’t pretty, either.

I could go into why, but it would just be a long debate with some of you (ostensibly about economics but really just about politics) and I’ve seen that movie before. My point is, if I was forced to pick one of the two big political parties based on my beliefs it would have been Republicans in the past, because I don’t like large welfare and other spending programs.

In the past I’ve said that if the democrats could just take an econ 101 course they’d be perfect. And if the republicans could just stay out of our bedrooms, they’d be perfect.

One issue that has always made me very uneasy about voting for any republican, though, are gay and womens’ rights.

The libertarian in me really comes screaming to the surface in these situations. The only really emotional issue debates I’ve had with people over the last several years have been about gay rights in particular. It just really makes me angry that someone feels so superior as to tell other people who they can and cannot love.

Trust me, I think lots of liberals also have ridiculously superior attitudes, too, and they piss me off all the time.

But I think my struggle is over now. I’m going to have a blanket policy of not voting for any Republican from now on, unless they are publicly pro-choice and very libertarian in their human rights beliefs in general.

Why? This Todd Akin asshole. It’s just way too over the top to even think about letting it go.

I was talking about this with a friend this last week. The republicans have thrown away generation after generation of new voters with their absurd infatuation with controlling our personal beliefs, what we can do with our body, and who we can love.

I think I’d actually be more willing to stomach the financial armageddon that the liberals are walking us into than have to continue to see elected officials lecture women about rape and gays about love.

Which is too bad. Just a week ago I was toying with the idea of voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket. But that’s absolutely not going to happen now. I may not vote for Obama because I think he’s the worst president we’ve had since Carter. But I’m certainly not voting Republican.

It’s time for the republicans to give up on the oldest generation of voters, and the religious nuts. It’s time for them to focus on the next 50 years. There are millions of voters that would embrace them, if only they could stop the hate. I’d be first in line.

Comments should be fun.

306 thoughts on “No More Republicans For Me

  1. So you don’t like the guy the GOP, Romney, Ryan, and essentially every other Republican has literally called to resign… and that makes you not like the GOP?

    That’s ludicrous. It’s not even about politics. I’m libertarian too — but that’s just weird.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      yep. until they renounce their anti-gay platform and stop trying to make abortion illegal, I won’t vote for any member of the party. With a big exception that I WILL vote for a republican if they explicitly state they are in favor of gay marriage and are pro-choice. There are some out there, and eventually they can take over the party.

      • Matt Ward says:

        Hope you dont mind your wealth redistributed in the meantime. (One way of putting your money where your mouth is).

        From a practical perspective, aren’t you casting your vote with the belief system that would personally impact you the least? (Assuming you are, of course, not a woman and not gay).

        • Michael Arrington says:

          my wealth isn’t going to be distributed (except through inflation), because I’m not the kind of rich that the democrats are going after. Stored wealth isn’t taxed, which is why the super rich are often dems (because they don’t have the pay the taxes). When people talk about taxing the rich, they mean taxing people with relatively high incomes. Once you have stored wealth, you don’t worry about income tax rates. I wish more people understood this, and understood why Buffett is such a hypocrite. Read http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/15/screw-the-rich-heres-how/ where I talk abou that in depth.

          • Reuben Moore says:

            Michael I agree with you entirely, but the democrats will continually need more taxes to fund their ever-increasing government. Where will this money come from? You are absolutely correct, it will not come from the super rich because they have bought the democratic party, er, they are the most important constituency to the democratic party. So the dems will continue to take money from high earners and the upper middle class, they will eventually institute a value-added tax, and it will grow to be on the order of Europe’s. Eventually, there will not be enough net wealth creators necessary to fund the net wealth users. What then? I do not know, but if you believe they will not eventually tax wealth you are naive.

          • Pete Austin says:

            @Reuben Moore: “where will this money come from?” Where it always does, whoever is in power – economic growth.

      • No real libertarian would take this “social issue” stance. It’s a ludicrous position. Abortion isn’t a libertarian issue if you believe (as I do) that in many cases it’s the execution of an defenseless unborn child. Abortion is a social issue kind of like shooting a 3 year old to death is a social issue.

        Gay marriage is another ludicrous issue. The libertarian position is that the state shouldn’t be involved in marriage. As one of my favorite musicians Rufus Wainwright said a few days ago on CBS “we’re still trying to figure out what ‘gay marriage’ is…” in other words is just a fake issue to distract people from reality.

        • Monsieur Oblong says:

          Thanks for telling me what “real libertarians” would do. I’m a “real libertarian” who has almost never voted Republican. I’m sorry, but the Republican party of bigots, neocons, and corporate interests couldn’t be farther from pro-market defenders of liberty.

        • I agree with this…as a libertarian who has voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past… the true libertarian position is that marriage is a state issue…not a federal one. States issue marriage licenses, and should be empowered to vote in their own state about those eligible for marriage. Same with Abortion – I believe, as it seems Michael H does above, that an unborn child is that…an unborn child…and is a life worth protecting…regardless of how it was conceived. It doesn’t make me un-libertarian because I respect both the baby’s body and right to live, as well as the woman’s who is carrying it.

        • Aaron says:

          I don’t think there’s anything anti-libertarian to marriage as essentially a state-sponsored bundle of contractual rights between individuals regarding inheritance, property rights, end of life decision rights, etc., so long as it’s distinct from a separate religious stamp of approval. Civil Unions for all!

        • Gabe Thompson says:

          So Rufus doesn’t know what gay marriage is and you think its a distraction. You’re no moderator of whose a real libertarian and whose not. Since when did libertarians find “social issues” out of bounds or not worthy of careful examination?

          Either you can undo the decades of laws, rights and benefits bestowed on ALL married couples, OR YOU GIVE GAYS THE RIGHT TO MARRY. The status quo is unlibertarian.

        • S. Lakshmi says:

          Michael H. Libertarian: Consider the following scenario. Suppose you’ve invented a pill that can cure a deathly illness your neighbor happens to have. Your neighbor is too poor to buy this pill from you. But obviously he is a living human being, and presumably has a right to life. At the same time you have a right to your property, even to your intellectual property, something libertarians ought to have no trouble accepting. Now suppose the state says that you’re required to give your pill to your neighbor for free, because, even though you have a right to your property, his right to life – arguably a more important right – trumps your right to property. I imagine most libertarians would be livid at the above line of reasoning.

          But then why would a libertarian endorse exactly the same kind of reasoning in the abortion case? Suppose we even grant that the fetus is a “child,” as you say, by which you presumably mean that it has a right to life, among other things. But the problem is that in order for this child – remember we’re granting that the fetus is a child – to survive, a woman needs to carry it within her uterus for a considerable period of time. Suppose the woman doesn’t want to carry it in her uterus, which is essentially what a woman is saying when she seeks an abortion. If you’re a libertarian, you can’t really say it’s permissible for the state to violate the woman’s right to her own body and compel her to carry the child to term because the child’s right to life somehow trumps her right to her own body, just as you can’t say that the state can compel you to give your pill for free to your neighbor because his right to life trumps your right to property.

          I’m sure you’ll point to some disanalogies. For one, you might point out that the neighbor is not your child. But what if the neighbor were your son? It seems to me that even in this case no consistent libertarian would think that the government could force you to give up your property for your son, even if his life was at stake. (Of course, you may well want to do so, but that’s beside the point here; the question is whether the state can compel you to do so if don’t want to.) You might also point to another disanalogy: presumably the pregnant woman, by having sex with her partner, in some sense “agreed” to support the child, whereas you never agreed to support your neighbor. Here, there are a few things I’d say in response. First, what about cases of rape, where obviously there’s no such agreement? (I think this is why the idea of forcing a woman to remain pregnant with her rapist’s child – as both Akin and Ryan want to do – are particularly abhorrent to libertarians.) But even where the sex is consensual, why simply assume that any woman who consents to sex automatically agrees to carry to term any child that could possibly be conceived? I’ve had lots of consensual sex, and don’t recall ever making such an agreement!

        • spudguy says:

          I think you mean he’s not a “Legitimate Libertarian”, don’t you?

        • Matthew Jones says:

          @S. Lakshmi. You convey a compelling analogy but you make one significant error: you conflate a right to life with a non-existent right to health care. Rights are inherent. They cannot, in no uncertain terms, require another person (or business, government, etc) to do something for you in order to obtain said right. In much the same way, you do not have a right to free/affordable broadband internet access.

          The abortion of a child requires the action of the doctor to destroy the fetus. We can argue whether or not an unborn child has rights and, if so, how to properly weigh those rights against those of the mother. However, because the birth of the child will be the natural (meaning, no doctor interference) result, it is in no way comparable to the “right to healthcare” or the “right to a free pill so save one’s life” (in quotes, because, as stated above, such a right is nonexistent).

          A person has a right to do what they will with their body provided it does not interfere with another person’s right (which is why I favor drug legalization/decriminalization). A fetus has a right to life. These rights conflict. How to properly balance these rights is a philosophical question without an objective answer. This is primarily why Roe v Wade was wrongly decided, since it must be the states that decide as stated in the Tenth Amendment.

          Personal issues are not the same as natural rights. Whether or not you like it, the state is allowed to interfere with personal issues provided that it does not restrict a person’s right as guaranteed in the Constitution. The right to an abortion does not exist in the Constitution (nor does a fetus’ right to life) and, as such, it does not qualify for 14th Amendment protection (Due Process based on court precedent, but in truth it should be the Privileges and Immunities Clause). The result is that states should be able to legislate abortion themselves without interference from the federal government.

          • Jess Bleyer says:

            @ Matthew Jones

            If a pregnant woman started to consume large amounts of alcohol and cigarettes along with participating in dangerous activities like boxing and sky-diving would you be fine with the state passing laws that limit what she can do since her actions might harm the fetus?

          • Micahel says:

            Matthew,

            I agree with you completely.

            And I’ve been searching for this line of reasoning regarding rights “They cannot, in no uncertain terms, require another person (or business, government, etc) to do something for you in order to obtain said right.”

            However, this line needs more refining. Don’t people have a right to an Attorney? That cost would surely be covered by another person, business or goverment.

            I’d like to know how you would add to your reasoning to include that right.

            I look forward to hearing you thoughts.

            Take care,
            Michael

          • Matthew Jones says:

            @Jess: I may not be a typical pro-lifer as I don’t base my beliefs on whether or not life begins at conception. I don’t know the answer to that question and won’t claim to (I am not religious and am agnostic about God). The foundation of my belief is that a fetus has a greater right to life than a mother has a right to an abortion in the case of inconvenience of childbirth and/or childcare.

            I won’t deny that a right to an abortion for the mother exists. After all, she should be able to get an abortion in case her health is in danger. I won’t deny that a fetus’ right to life also exists. After all, I think an abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy when the fetus is fully viable is criminal. It’s a matter of balance which, for me, is based on both ideological philosophy and pragmatism.

            My primary response is that there is a substantial (!!!) difference between actions that might harm the fetus and those that absolutely will. If a specific drug effectively guaranteed the abortion of the fetus, I would be inclined to ban that drug for women who are pregnant. However, a couple cigarettes will probably have no impact and it would be impossible to track the amount of cigarettes a pregnant woman has smoked. This brings me to my second response: such laws restricting a mother’s actions during pregnancy are impractical to implement and will have a far greater negative impact (on privacy rights) than potentially positive. Finally, a restriction on the right to an abortion is really placed on the doctor or other individuals, not really on the mother herself. I might even go so far as to say that if a mother attempts to self-abort, there is nothing law should do to prevent it (although I haven’t fully thought this part through). The issue is whether or not the law should permit doctors (or other unlicensed individuals) from conducting abortions (with a few exceptions). My belief is no. But I’ll re-emphasize once again that this should be decided at the state level not at the federal level as it is now.

            @Michael: Honestly, I’ve not thought that part through, but I’ll take a crack at it – thanks for bringing it up; it’s an interesting nuance. My immediate thought is this. A person has a right to due process and a fair trial. As a result of this, that right includes an attorney if you cannot afford one. But it is important to make the distinction that it is the government that prosecutes the case meaning that it’s also the government’s responsibility to ensure a fair trial by potentially providing an attorney for the defense. If the state cannot afford to do so, then they cannot prosecute. So basically: the party that prosecutes criminal cases (government) is responsible to ensure a fair trial and hence must provide attorney fees for the other side if necessary. The right itself is a fair trial. The natural extension of this, due to the structure of the legal system in the US, is a right to an attorney if one cannot be afforded.

            That said, I’ll continue thinking about this question. If I have another answer for you, I’ll post it below.

          • Matthew Jones says:

            @Jess: I forgot one caveat in my previous response. While I’m pro-life, I may be one of the few that supports EC. This is an exception to the “drug that would guarantee abortion” statement I made in my previous post.

            This is based, not on philosophical grounds, but on practical ones. In a state where abortion is outlawed, I would still want EC to be legal to provide a safe alternative to back-alley abortions or self-inflicted ones. This is particularly the case for situations in which honest contraceptive efforts (e.g. condoms or birth control pills) have failed. And while this would include women seeking an abortion of convenience, I see no means to distinguish it from other situations. And because of that, I feel that EC should be legal even if abortions are not. However, I would be against a doctor prescribing medical abortifacients not taken soon after intercourse took place.

          • Matthew: I don’t want to hear your “views” on what other people can do with their own bodies. Your premise that you can have such views or (worse) enforce them on other people means you’re not a libertarian at all.

            You don’t get the basic concept. Rights for me but not for thee? That’s not libertarian. That’s authoritarian.

          • Matthew Jones says:

            @Dana: Jess basically asked what my personal views were, so I responded. If you didn’t want to read them, you shouldn’t have.

            If you want to engage in the rhetoric of calling me an authoritarian, then perhaps I should engage in the rhetoric of saying you sanction murder which doesn’t make you libertarian either because you don’t believe the right to life is fundamental and inalienable. I won’t, because the issue is much more complex, but you’ve clearly never given it two seconds thought.

            For example, are you okay with aborting a fully viable fetus in the ninth month of a mother’s pregnancy or IDX surgery? Or does a fetus not have any rights until the umbilical cord is detached and the fetus is completely disconnected from the mother?

            If you believe that the fetus has a right to life, then any libertarian would hold the view that a mother’s right to her body ends when it interferes with the the fetus’ rights. You may disagree that the fetus has such rights, but there is nothing anti-libertarian about my stance.

            Or perhaps libertarians like Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Andrew Napolitano or the numerous libertarians you’d find if you google pro-life libertarians (ex. LFL) should all have their libertarian status’ revoked. I guess there’s a large percentage of libertarians out there who really are just authoritarians.

        • Aeryn says:

          It’s totally consistent with a libertarian point of view to force female citizens to risk their life and long term health for another being whether it’s a fully formed human or a lump of a few cells. I think abortion opponents are just not taking it far enough: there’re a lot of people who die every year because other selfish citizens refuse to donate their bone marrow, blood, plasma, parts of their livers, a kidney and the like. I believe it’s murder and everyone should be forced to perform these donations on a periodic basis. I was originally torn about kidneys. On the one hand a healthy adult only needs one of them, on the other something might happen to the remaining kidney. However, in the end if all of the citizens lose their right to determine what happens to their bodies, there should be enough organs for everyone. I realize that imposing my belief system on others might result in their death or permanent disability, but that’s the risk I’m willing to take.

          In conclusion,
          1) I’m not saying everyone dies or is disabled by pregnancy and child birth, I’m saying that we don’t force people to donate blood to save lives, but some feel compelled to force women assume much greater risks against their will.
          2) before you tell me how pregnancy and childbirth are safe in this country, look up maternal mortality rates. USA is well into the list with higher rates than Estonia, Qatar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kiribati, not to mention most of the developed world. It is safer to be a live liver donor.
          3) I think donating bone marrow, blood, plasma, and kidneys is important. People should consider doing it as much as they feel comfortable and I have donated myself.

        • Matthew Jones says:

          @Aeryn. Look at my comment above. The right to life does not equal a right to health care. Stop conflating the two. Just because a person has a right to life does not mean a doctor must provide health care as a right is inherent and cannot require someone else to do anything in order to guarantee it. However, the birth of a child is the natural result of pregnancy and thus an abortion requires the action of a doctor to prevent it. A woman has a right to do what she wants to her body provided it does not interfere with another’s right. If the fetus has a right to life, these rights are in conflict. The debate then centers around a purely philosophical argument about whether or not a fetus has a right to life and, if so, how to balance it with a woman’s right to her own body. None of this is remotely the same as requiring someone to donate blood or organs for others.

          Please see my above comment for more.

      • Matthew Jones says:

        What about Republicans who simply feel that abortion is a States issue and not a Federal one as decided in Roe v Wade? What about Republicans who feel that the Federal government should not be in the business of marriage whatsoever and that legal marriage rights should simply be replaced by civil union contracts defined at the state level? This seems to be about as in line with the Constitution as one can be and there are plenty of Republicans for whom this is the case. If the Republicans presidential hopeful believes this, then their personal beliefs should largely be irrelevant.

        Although I’m pro-life, I have more in common with Rudy Giuliani who is pro-choice but States rights than Rick Santorum who is pro-life but not States rights on abortion.

        I would think that as a libertarian (I am mostly libertarian myself), you would be more interested in a president who believes in a proper interpretation of the Constitution than one whose social views might differ from yours.

        • Michael Arrington says:

          States have no more right to regulate abortion and gay rights than the fed does. These are personal issues, not subject to the control of the state in any way.

        • Matthew Jones says:

          For the moment, I’ll punt on gay marriage primarily because I support gay and straight civil unions (as mentioned, I don’t think the government should have any legal definition of marriage itself – gay or straight). So our views on this are probably pretty much identical.

          But abortion is far more complicated. There are competing rights – the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn fetus. It’s not simply a “personal issue.” Please tell me where in the Constitution it says that a woman’s right to an abortion is paramount in comparison to the rights of the unborn fetus? Tenth Amendment basically says that it therefore must be left to the States to decide. The only exception to that would be if the right to an abortion is somehow guaranteed through the Constitution and would apply to the States via the 14th Amendment. I find that argument to be very lacking.

          • Brock says:

            With all due respect Matthew Jones, you’re conflating libertarianism with constitutionalism. In short, the Constitution is not a libertarian document. More to the point, the government’s own interpretation of the Constitution, which is imposed on everyone, is certainly incompatible with most libertarian philosophy. While conservatives focus their attacks on big FEDERAL government, libertarians dispute ALL government oppression, including that which comes from the states. Did you read that Texas just recently executed a mentally retarded man? For libertarians, there is no material ethical difference between tyranny by the federal government and tyranny by the states. One might have a large scope of influence, but Therefore, even if a “correct” interpretation of the Constitution grants marriage-regulating powers to the states but not to the federal government, libertarians would reject such a statement altogether. No government power has legitimate authority to dictate private contracts among consenting adults.

          • Brock says:

            “One might have a large scope of influence, but”

            Sorry, I didn’t finish my thought here. What I want to say is that even though the federal government’s scope is much greater than the states, oppression that occurs by the states is still wrong. Any viewpoint that tries to balance federal and state power at the expense of individual rights is highly misguided in my opinion.

          • Matthew Jones says:

            @Brock: I agree, but libertarians do share a conviction that the Constitution is a document limiting federal powers by only granting a select few rather than a living, breathing document to be adapted to the whims of judges. While libertarians would certainly agree that the Constitution leaves much to be desired, a proper reading of the Constitution is still essential. Misreading the Constitution to improperly grant federal powers is unequivocally a non-libertarian view. Part of my point was that Roe v Wade granted authority to the federal government that it did not properly have. Almost every libertarian I have spoken to views Roe v Wade as a travesty of law.

            So, while I agree that the Constitution is not a libertarian document, the Bill of Rights (including the 14th Amendment) largely is. And this is what we’re talking about.

            What we’re also talking about here is the election of a federal politician. The actual view of the president on social issues like abortion should be somewhat irrelevant provided they believe that the federal government does not have authority to legislate on it. To me, I see no difference between a pro-choice and a pro-life presidential candidate provided he/she believes that it is not a federal issue (which, by the Tenth Amendment – a libertarian amendment – would mean that it belongs to the states). This is why I, as a pro-lifer, would prefer the pro-choice Giuliani to the pro-life Santorum as I allude to in an earlier post.

            The issue of abortion, on the whole, is very complicated because its fundamentally a philosophical issue – one can make a coherent, reasonable argument for both the rights of the mother and the rights of the fetus. So, in one view, government legislation banning abortions might be viewed as intrusion into the privacy of a woman. On the other hand, the lack of abortion laws might be viewed as condoning invasion of the right to life of a fetus (in, perhaps, the same way that a lack of murder laws would be the government condoning the invasion of someone’s right to life). This is the one issue that I’m aware of for which there is no conclusive proper libertarian view.

            When it comes to marriage rights, I believe the federal government should have no definition of marriage (filing taxes jointly should be based on various criteria that is not gender specific but is limited to two people). I believe that the states also should not have a definition of marriage and should only have civil union contract laws which are also gender-neutral. Marriage should be left to the individuals. So legally, people have civil unions. When you say you’re married, it should carry no legal weight. While I do wish Romney/Ryan shared this view, I feel that right now the budget and economic crises and health care legislation are more important, which is why they will still get my vote.

            I consider myself a conservative libertarian (conservative because of my foreign policy views not my social views). The libertarian in me wants to see gay marriage (legal marriage or civil unions as described above) share equal status to straight marriage, but the conservative in me also feels that this should come about through gradual change by the inevitable shift in public opinion rather than through judicial activism or force.

            By the way, thanks for the reasonable response. Maybe it’s just Michael Arrington properly moderating the forum, but it’s vital that such hotly contested issues such as these are debated reasonably rather than through demagoguery and politics.

          • Eric says:

            @Mathew Jones: What do you think about the tax credit someone typically receives when they marry? Should I receive that tax credit if I marry myself? I agree with moving it to states rights and also making it a civil union but I am also adamant about removing filing tax as a married couple. The congruence of tax and marriage laws make it more complex to someone like me who doesn’t care who you marry. What if I love my dog or the newly discovered monkey species in Africa (they have bright blue butts and balls, how cool is that?)? Should I get a tax credit if I marry them?

        • Jayson C. says:

          Matthew, at the time the Constitution was written, abortion was legal in all states. There was no need to address abortion in the constitution.

          • Matthew Jones says:

            In Roe v Wade, it was held that a woman’s right to privacy was based on the 14th Amendment. At the time of its ratification, many of the states had abortion laws. Also, the lack or presence of a law does not necessarily create a right as many states had slavery laws but I’m sure you’re not going to argue that people have a right to own slaves. Rights are inherent. They can be taken away or not suitably protected by the government, but the government does not create a right by the presence or lack of a law.

            What you may be addressing, however, is that abortion is covered under the 9th Amendment. I find it interesting that even the majority in the Roe v Wade case ignored that line of reasoning.

            The problem with deciding which rights are covered by the 9th Amendment is that it gives judges tremendous flexibility to decide what those rights are. Unfortunately, even if one accepts that there are rights not contained in the first 8 amendments, neither you nor I (and especially not a judge) can decide what those are. You might say that a woman’s right to an abortion is covered but I might say that a fetus’ right to life is. Both are reasonable arguments without an objective truth. That is why its best for the federal government to simply step out of the way. And from a Constitutional perspective, that means granting legislative authority to the States.

      • Thank you ,Mike. I would go you one further and require a basic understanding of evolutionary biology and basic reading comprehension in a candidate, not just a “position” on issues wholly based in religion.

      • >> until they renounce their anti-gay platform and stop trying to make abortion illegal, I won’t vote for any member of the party.

        Its not like these are new beliefs that republicans started leveraging since the last month. they’ve harbored these agendas for as long as I remember.

      • Michelle Greer says:

        Thank you. The idea that any human being would think I should be forced to have a rapist’s child is petrifying. The fact that Romney used to be pro-choice and then flipped flopped presumably for his “religious beliefs” also leaves me torn, particularly with the current balance of the Supreme Court.

        If I accidentally got pregnant and had a kid, my life would be a nightmare right now. That’s simply not something men have to deal with.

        I can’t even imagine being a lesbian and having a sick partner or having a gay son whose government is basically telling him his brain is wrong. That is just a whole other ballgame of screwed up.

        In regards to redistribution of wealth. Whether through nationalized healthcare or jacked up insurance premiums, I pay for aging Americans who are not healthy. The first politician to actually acknowledge that the problems are actually our lifestyle and “sickcare system” and not just how we pay for it wins my vote.

        • Lola says:

          If you don’t want to accidentally get pregnant then use contraception or don’t have sex. The solution isn’t to kill another human when you make a mistake that any halfway responsible adult should be capable of avoiding.

          • You don’t really think God is a mass murderer, do you? Given the huge number of miscarriages that occur in the first two trimesters, it sounds like you do feel that way.

            Which is simply insane.

            There is a huge difference between “life” and “human life.” A collection that has no lungs to breathe and no brain that can think a coherent thought may be alive, but it’s not human.

            Which is precisely how the court held in Roe vs. Wade. A very libertarian decision.

    • AWH says:

      Do Romney, Ryan, and the rest of the GOP think its OK to deny women abortions, even when raped? Yes. Yes they do, see the GOP platform. See Ryan’s original language in H.R.3. Romney has flipped so many times on this I don’t know what his stance is now, but as long as he endorses the GOP platform, he’s against rape victims having the ability to get an abortion.

      Do Romney, Ryan, and the GOP oppose equal rights for Gays? Yes. Yes they do.

  2. comments should be fun yes!

    and hear hear on the equal rights for all. i mean how difficult is this? Its 2012 not 1612!

    I do not prentend to understand US politics..barmy, over dollared. etc but lets hear it for it freedom eh?

    Cheers

  3. I’m in the same dilemma. Ultimately though, I will hold my nose and pull the lever for Romney/Ryan.

    As a young person I view social progress on gay marriage and abortions to be inevitable as my demographic wholly favors it and the older ones die out.

    Unfortunately I wish I could be so sanguine on fiscal issues, where saving the country from disaster is anything but inevitable.

    • >> I’m in the same dilemma. Ultimately though, I will hold my nose and pull the lever for Romney/Ryan.

      Well said.

      • Sorry. No free pass. You can claim you’re “holding your nose” but in the end you are, as Michael notes, supporting the oppression of large numbers of people, and the state’s involvement in the most intimate details of our lives.

        Political choice in America is never perfect. There are things I hate about this Administration, things I have to hold my nose over. But on these issues it’s very, very clear — if you support Romney-Ryan you destroy the rights of women and the hope of gay people for full humanity.

        Hold your nose all you want, but the blood doesn’t wash off.

    • toofer says:

      “I wish I could be so sanguine on fiscal issues, where saving the country from disaster is anything but inevitable.”

      The unbridled deficit spending the Republican party has espoused (no pun intended) for the last few decades has made their candidates wholly untenable to me.

      I am no advocate for welfare, but until the whole debate takes place in the context of a fiscal approach that not only stops borrowing from the future but starts paying down the debt already owed I have to favor the side with the most balanced approach.

  4. I applaud your candor and willingness to issue to wrestle with issues that aren’t as black and white as often portrayed. Good on you for having the balls to publicly state a political position too. That said, I am still ridiculously superior to you and my liberal voting record is proof of that.

  5. Wouldn’t the libertarian in you also be disappointed that we spend trillions of dollars on the military as well, just so we can be more powerful than the next 25 countries combined (who are also our allies)? That and the many subsidies that the government give our is welfare as well, but corporations instead of people.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      I think the world would have been a much darker place without America to police it since WWII. The only thing that makes free trade work is that the seas are relatively safe, and that has probably been the biggest gift from America to the world. I am a big fan of military research, and I really hope that the U.S. is a leader in space defense. Or in lieu of that that China becomes a democracy.

      • 100% agree. Few understand that free trade is made possible by the US keeping seas safe (relatively, as you pointed out).

        However, that’s against what us libertarians are supposed to believe. You don’t have to agree with everything in a particular political movement to associate yourself with it. None of the parties are one-size-fits-all, so it doesn’t entirely make sense to shun one out because of any single stance.

        • Michael Arrington says:

          it’s always interesting to me that people somehow think the world would be a nice safe place if only the U.S. military would go away.

          • Sean says:

            It’s always interesting to me that when Americans budget $100 to start a war, you’re unpatriotic if you don’t fall in line, and – well, military budgets are too important to be constrained, reduced or even scrutinized. But if someone proposes spending $20 on supporting the most vulnerable in your own society during a time of financial crisis, well that’s just “big government” and “reckless spending”.

      • We haven’t even got around to foreign policy yet……..should give you one more reason to abstain from voting GOP. Sure, they’re supportive of strong defense abd R&D(which politician is not?), but how about the strong offense. This world is complicated and these guys didn’t learn anything from Iraq. I hope the rest of us did.

      • mychicbump says:

        Thanks for being ballsy enough to make this point. I 100% agree that the world would not be the same if we didn’t police it. It’s expensive and it sucks that it falls on our shoulders, but how much more would Americans complain if someone else chose/was-in-a-position-to do the policing? I’d rather suck it up and pay to do it ourselves than cross my fingers that another country does a half decent job.

      • Thanks for being ballsy enough to make this point. I 100% agree that the world would not be the same if we didn’t police it. It’s expensive and it sucks that it falls on our shoulders, but how much more would Americans complain if someone else chose/was-in-a-position-to do the policing? I’d rather suck it up and pay to do it ourselves than cross my fingers that another country does a half decent job.

      • Mcbeese says:

        I agree with the first part of your comment, however, isn’t there a question of degree? We will never have enough soldiers or boots-on-the-ground strength to occupy China or Russia, and they will never have the capability to occupy America. We already have enough nukes to wipe them out, and they have enough to wipe us out. Our battles with China and Russia for the foreseeable future will be economic and Internet-based. That leaves the second-tier and banana-boat countries. We don’t need the size of old-school military we have to keep those countries in line. We need to reinvent our military and get costs under control.

  6. Eric Tulin says:

    Right on! I hope others are coming to the same conclusion.e

  7. Sam says:

    You do know that the econ 101 textbook read by millions of undergrads is written by Paul Krugman and his wife, right? You do know who Paul Krugman is, right?

  8. Simon says:

    Good for you Mike. And heck, the Dems might even grow on you – there’s something to be said for a country that gives a damn about the welfare of its citizens without turning the place into a big old hand-out party.

    • JM says:

      Something to be said indeed, like “civilized” or “compassionate” or “doesn’t just let people just die”. America is the only country in the first world that would question the need for a social safety net, as a result of constant political bickering and changes, we have a very inefficient, inadequate one.

  9. Aaron Klein says:

    So you’re going to let a cranky old idiot from Missouri determine who you vote for as President?

    That’s like buying a BlackBerry because “it doesn’t have those disgusting fart apps like the iPhone does.”

  10. JM says:

    Obama has been pretty good on all the things that matter to you, the only exception being entitlement programs that have become more necessary since the crash. Bush spent like crazy, got us into a completely unnecessary war and presided over the biggest economic crash of our generation. What has Obama done to be ranked lower than him on your “since Carter” scale?

    • Michael Arrington says:

      Bush (and his republican congress) did spend like crazy, which was ridiculous.

      • JM says:

        His whole tenure was ridiculous. I wasn’t in America for Carter’s presidency but can’t find any tangible evidence to suggest that Bush wasn’t far far worse than him. Republicans barely acknowledge his existence!

      • Kabweza says:

        Just me or you just didn’t answer the question?

        • Michael Arrington says:

          i answer it elsewhere. As bad as the bush congress was on spending, it was nothing compared to what’s happened in the last four years.

          • Michael, it’s interesting getting into this debate on a site with a Silicon Valley bent. I consider myself an independent and confront a very similar dilemma to what you describe.

            You allude to out-of-control spending that Obama is responsible for, as if the discretionary budget under this administration has vastly outpaced the spending under recent presidents. It recently came to my attention that this is a widely-held misperception.

            If you read this evidently-nonpartisan PolitiFact analysis (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/23/facebook-posts/viral-facebook-post-says-barack-obama-has-lowest-s/) you’ll see that discretionary spending under Obama has barely increased year after year – in fact the rate of increase is the lowest of any of the last ten presidents. You can massage the data in a variety of ways and change those conclusions somewhat, but Obama still comes out much better than Bush in this regard. Of course, this is largely due to Republicans having some majorities in Congress during this time – but the reality is that discretionary spending attributable to the Obama administration is not out of control.

            That said, the national debt has increased greatly under Obama, largely as a result of the financial crisis of 2008 – less income means less tax revenue, and so the revenue versus outlays situation is not good – the deficit is something like 15% worse than when Obama took office. With more people unemployed, there’s been more demand for social services, which has caused further outlay of non-discretionary spending. So I totally agree that the trend is not a good one. But it seems tough to argue that Obama should be held responsible for this.

            If you stop making the spending generalization, I think your case will get stronger.

          • epicipher says:

            Michael, it’s interesting getting into this debate on a site with a Silicon Valley bent. I consider myself an independent and confront a very similar dilemma to what you describe.

            You allude to out-of-control spending that Obama is responsible for, as if the discretionary budget under this administration has vastly outpaced the spending under recent presidents. It recently came to my attention that this is a widely-held misperception.

            If you read this evidently-nonpartisan PolitiFact analysis (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/23/facebook-posts/viral-facebook-post-says-barack-obama-has-lowest-s/) you\’ll see that discretionary spending under Obama has barely increased year after year – in fact the rate of increase is the lowest of any of the last ten presidents. You can massage the data in a variety of ways and change those conclusions somewhat, but Obama still comes out much better than Bush in this regard. Of course, this is largely due to Republicans having some majorities in Congress during this time – but the reality is that discretionary spending attributable to the Obama administration is not out of control.

            That said, the national debt has increased greatly under Obama, largely as a result of the financial crisis of 2008 – less income means less tax revenue, and so the revenue versus outlays situation is not good – the deficit is something like 15% worse than when Obama took office. With more people unemployed, there\’s been more demand for social services, which has caused further outlay of non-discretionary spending. So I totally agree that the trend is not a good one. But it seems tough to argue that Obama should be held responsible for this.

            If you stop making the spending generalization, I think your case will get stronger.

          • Sean says:

            I think we all agree that Bush should have saved some of the surplus during his 7 years of boom time. But you can’t disagree that in his last year, his spending was certainly headed in the same direction as Obama’s spending since then. So don’t blame Obama for what Republicans would also have had to have done. Bush was just lucky to be taking his soiled nappy off at the right time, so that he didn’t look like such a “communist” (funny how that didn’t stick during Reagan’s spending spree…):

    • On economic issues, it’s debatable, and hard to tell to what extent his policies are to blame for what’s happening.
      But on civil liberties I think his record is clearly abysmal. He has sold out the military/industrial complex with the passing of the NDAA (http://goo.gl/HK57z), drone strikes on American citizens, guantanamo etc.
      That is really where I feel betrayed.

  11. Fremen says:

    What exactly about Obama makes him the worst president since Jimmy Carter? Please be specific and cite actual policies or legislation. Please also be clear about your concerns about said policies or legislation.

    Please no mysterious conspiracies (Kenyan muslim socialist), blanket statements (America is worse off than before), or policies proposed that have been blocked by the House with no attempt at debate (what we really need is tax reform!).

    • Michael Arrington says:

      See, I don’t have to talk specifically about how destructive Obama and Congress has been to the long term health of the U.S. Because that isn’t what I’m talking about here. My point is that even though I believe that, these other issues are more important to me. Go find a political blog to have this fight on. Because I really am only interested in debating politics with independent voters, not people who’ve already picked a dem/rep team.

    • Jim says:

      Great questions. Have you considered a career in journalism? They need you

  12. JDM says:

    If you vote (as a libertarian and Rothbardian I don’t) but if you vote there is only one choice. Ron Paul.

    • NickV says:

      This is the same Ron Paul that wants to make abortion illegal (even in the cases of incest and rape)? The same Ron Paul that has come out against gay marriage?

      Did you even read the post above?

      • JDM says:

        Ron is NOT against abortion and not against gay marriage. LOL! Do you read before you make judgements?

        He wants States, not the federal government to determine the mandate on abortion and he wants government OUT of marriage.

        Read.

      • pj says:

        Ron Paul wants to privatize marriage. Gays would be able to exercise their freedom of contract if government did not monopolize marriage licenses. (Also, straight guys could also get married again without the risk of economic slavery upon divorce.)

    • nickvlku says:

      This is the same Ron Paul that wants to make abortion illegal (even in the cases of incest and rape)? The same Ron Paul that has come out against gay marriage?

      Did you even read the post above?

  13. Dave says:

    pure curiosity(since I’m not a huge follower of politics) but how, in your opinion, is obama the worst president since carter? (I’m not even old enough to know how bad carter was).

    • Michael Arrington says:

      I’ll bite (a little). The ups and downs of the economy aren’t that big of a deal long term and we can recover from extended low growth periods brought on by the emotional tearing down of small businesses through rhetoric and taxes. What concerns me greatly is the vast amount of debt this country has taken on, and how difficult it will be to pay that off. Spending isn’t just out of control, it’s become the single biggest threat to the continued existence of this country. There are very, very hard times ahead. And there is a huge percentage of the population that can no longer support itself without the government (around 20% now by some estimates). Those people are being robbed of any kind of life when this all plays out, and soon.

      • Todd Morris says:

        So being concerned about the debt, you support the fiscal policies of the party which resided over the greatest debt increase (& loss of surplus) in our nation’s history under Bush Jr.? o_0

        • Todd Morris says:

          Bah, meant ‘presided’ not ‘resided, obviously.

        • Michael Arrington says:

          like I’ve said in other comments, I’m not going to get into talking points debates with either side. It’s clear to me that the fiscal situation in this country has gone from bad under Bush (they definitely spent like democrats) to something much worse and darker under Obama. Something that not only cannot be sustained, but that is very quickly destroying the future of this country.

          • Then please don’t take the GOP bait and argue against the “fiscal cliff.” Because that’s just deficit reduction. Passed by the Congress, signed by the President.

            The CBO estimates the debt impact of the stimulus is all gone now. We’re left with the unfunded tax cuts and the wars that weren’t paid for. Deal with those and we can talk fiscal sanity.

            Then we have to ask, which party is talking about those? That will answer your question about which side is more fiscally responsible.

          • Michael Arrington says:

            we have something like $37 trillion in unfunded entitlement obligations. You know that, right? You know how screwed up we are? I hate to be a broken record on this, but everyone (EVERYONE) needs to spend an hour reviewing http://www.kpcb.com/usainc/ . It’s non partisan and chilling.

      • Paul Jensen says:

        To what extent is the debt spiral under Obama’s presidency the result of trying to handle the financial crisis in 2008? You could argue he wants economic recovery to be the platform for his re-election.

        In my opinion, a 2-term presidency and the US lobby system is in part responsible for the lack of political will to enact a long-term reduction of the US debt.

        So long as Presidents worry about securing a 2nd term, and lobby groups continue to secure their interests in Washington, I can’t see the US political system (Democrat or Republican) ever making debt-reduction a long-term, strongly-enforced policy for America.

        I think it would take a very large event to make such a change happen, like all Oil contracts being bought in currencies other than the US dollar.

        • Michael Arrington says:

          yawn. I really don’t get a rise out of these discussions. There are soooo many blogs where you can cheerlead, or fight, depending on your mood and what team you’re on. I’m talking about something else here.

          Long term thought – both parties totally manipulate their followers with bullshit. It’s a sign of intelligence if you can break out of that world and think independently. It really is true that the democrats spend money to get people hooked on the government and vote for them forever. It really is true that republicans are the religious right’s bitch. And that they spend like democrats when they can get away with it.

      • John says:

        Sorry. The wars & spending that Bush brought us into (to me) seems like a much greater waste than the spending under Obama tenure. Spending on unnecessary war(s) vs. the bailout of financial sector/economy. The former was not necessary. The latter *any* president (republican or democrat) would have had to have done to some degree. Don’t understand how people can’t see that.

        • Michael Arrington says:

          I get that it seems like a much greater waste, but it isn’t. We’ve added a trillion dollars or more to the deficit every year for the last four years. Both parties should be taken out and shot for letting this happen.

      • seanieb says:

        >”What concerns me greatly is the vast amount of debt this country has taken on, and how difficult it will be to pay that off.”

        The word austerity hasn’t appeared once on this page and that’s disappointing.

        The alternative to stimulus spending (or debt as you call it) is austerity. The British are toying with it and they are suffering as a result. Austerity would have been a disaster, even Bush got that part right (and previous Republican presidents faced with a financial depression).

        Or is there another alternative plan that Obama could have taken on?

      • seanieb says:

        >”What concerns me greatly is the vast amount of debt this country has taken on, and how difficult it will be to pay that off.”

        It saddens me that the word austerity hasn’t been used once in on this page.

        Austerity is the alternative. And if you want to get an idea of what that road would have looked like, take a look at Britain. They double dipped and they are still not out of the woods yet. Even Bush got that right, he choose stimulus (or debt as you put it).

        As for ‘entitlement’ spending, if you look at the entitlement pie it get complicated really quickly. For example Bush’s Medicare Prescription Drug Act. $549 billion over 10 years. Trying to undo that is the stuff of nightmares.The rest is equally daunting. Having said that, Obama actions will reduce this burden over time (according to the CBO).

        Is there another plan that Obama could have enacted that would have had a better result? I’d love to hear some of the opportunities you think Obama missed.

  14. Zack says:

    A libertarian is a liberal who learned economics.

  15. Tim says:

    Hmmm…..I’d rather live in a country that is not financially ruined, thanks. Hate is your word not the truth. I believe gays should be allowed to have consensual sex, live with each other, not be discriminated against etc. just not be allowed to have a piece of paper that says they are married and sanctioned by the state. That is hate?

    I think the truly libertarian thought is that we should not have laws that favor married people in the first place. What place does the government have being involved in such matters?

    • By not allowing someone to get married, it becomes state sponsored discrimination based on sexual orientation. So, by default, you are discriminating against. So yes, that is hate. If government is going to get into the business of marriage, they need to get out of the religious business of not allowing gay marriage.

      I agree, though. Marriage is a religious thing. Government shouldn’t be involved. But, EVERY person in a legally recognized relationship needs to have the exact same legal protections. Otherwise, it’s state sponsored discrimination.

    • Steve Wright says:

      Allowed, allowed, allowed . . . Allowed by whom?

      • Mcbeese says:

        Allowed by the laws put in place by the legislators that ‘we the people’ elect and empower to do just that. We the people are the root cause of the issues we whine about, because we keep electing representatives who aren’t capable of getting the job done. We the people–and our votes–are the only possible source of change in Washington.

  16. kazooz2 says:

    “Even as party leaders attempted to lock the crazy uncle in the attic in Missouri, they were doing their own crazy thing down in Tampa, Fla., by reiterating language in their platform calling for a no-exceptions Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/opinion/dowd-just-think-no.html?_r=1&hp

  17. Libertarians should consider taking an series of econ courses. Free Market economics of the libertarian sort may only work under a particular set of assumptions, not the least of which is the assumption that human beings are rational and informed actors. This is not the case.

    Talking about economic systems isn’t just politics, it’s also discussing human nature. WHY do people spend as they do? What are the outcomes of that spending? Could that money be more intelligently allocated via a centralized system? Can a buyer possibly factor in every negative externality into his decisions, or does the supply chain at a certain point become so obfuscated that the buyer is incapable of knowing the results of his purchase (supporting tyrannical regimes, carbon emissions, off-shoring jobs, etc.,)?

    Econ 101 classes all over this country teach the supply/demand curve as gospel, and people believe that. But they don’t teach how the curve came to be, or what assumptions it makes as a theoretical model. All libertarian economics are just that, theories, and there is little indication over last 30 years of lassez-faire economics that the system is capable of working.

    • adrian scott says:

      you have good points about some bad assumptions that go into some of the models. behavioral economics fixes some of those bad assumptions.

      similarly, many models that ‘justify’ a prominent role of the gov’t in the economy similarly have major failings in their assumptions (e.g. about waste and benevolence and institutional dynamics of governmental and political systems).

      if we look at the gov’t role in the housing and finance market (e.g. circa 90% involvement in home mortgages from Fannie Mae etc., Fed Funds rate, FDIC, CRA, etc.), it’s hard to justify a description of recent years as being laissez-faire.

    • Ron Gee says:

      We have to talk about the free market as theory as the practice in the last 100 plus years is really mixed. Some free with increasing doses of controlled. If your nature is being right and controlling or micromanaging, a free market must be frightening. What if people don’t do what is correct, best for the country, the planet, etc? All we need are experts and central planning and all will be good. Good meaning, good for the controllers or the ones who want to control. It will work if we just have the right leadership and policies. I’ll take my chances living with those loose-canon free people as opposed to the command and control, central planning, trust someone else to take care of you big government that we have let incrementally absorb our lives. Obama or Romney, either way we are cooked. One just does it faster than the other.

    • libertyzeal says:

      Hong Kong and Singapore are some good examples, of basically lassez-faire economies that have worked very well. If you think that America has had a truly lassez-faire economy in the last 30 years, I can only assume you’re very very drunk.

  18. Aaron says:

    So you’re going to let a cranky old idiot from Missouri determine how you vote for President?

    That’s like buying a BlackBerry because “they don’t have those stupid fart apps like the iPhone does.”

    • The Blackberry doesn’t have fart apps? Horrors! I heard back in 2008 that the President was “addicted” to his Blackberry. Can we really trust a President who doesn’t know about fart apps?

      Oh, the cranky old idiot from Missouri got his views into the GOP platform, verbatim. From a committee headed by Gov. Ultrasound, the guy who started the trend of forcing women to get an ultrasound wand stuck into their private parts if they want to terminate a pregnancy for any reason.

      Now THAT’s a fart app.

  19. Sam says:

    So I don’t like big government either, except over the last 60 years or so, pretty much all the basic science research has been funded by the government, and right now it looks like private capital just doesn’t have the capability to make those kind of ultra speculative ultra long term investments. Do you think there’s any way of changing that? Is the problem perhaps that existing intellectual property laws are insufficient? Or do you think we should just keep on funding NSF/NIH/NASA (and the myriad subsidies for universities) and not worry too much about it?

  20. Calley Nye says:

    I agree. I’ve been a Republican my whole life, and the only reason I still hold on to it is because, I prefer Republican people. I don’t mean DC politicians, but I’ve worked on campaigns and been around local Republicans my whole life, and they are some of the best. But the big guns in the GOP just will not give up what is so obviously a dying fight. They’ve had so many opportunities to make good, but they consistently do the wrong thing.

    But there are still good ones out there, so instead of beating up the bad ones, I plan on working with and supporting the good ones and hope they’ll prevail.

  21. Perhaps the crux here is the lack of viable options in the US. As a Swede, I’ve got a dozen parties to vote for, and even though most of them won’t get majority single-handedly, my vote still counts. Coalitions are more common than not here, and even though that means there are few “perfect” options, it also means there are many more “good” options. For instance, I may dislike the socialists but I really feel for the environmental issues, so I vote for the “green” party. If the socialists are the biggest party, they form a coalition with (among others) the green party. This means a lot of give-and-take.

    Hence, I may indirectly help a party I don’t want to support gain majority in the parliament, but at the same time, that would most likely happen anyway, and by voting for the green party I will still have my voice heard, since they’ll negotiate with the socialists (or otherwise) on core issues before they join the coalition.

    Federations tend to evolve (not just the US) into de facto two-party systems, which is insular. In my opinion, it’s time to reverse that course. If the US could see another couple of viable alternatives, it would not only force both the GOP and the Dem’s to become more attuned to their votes, it would also enable coalitions.

    The thing is, this hasn’t really been a serious possibility in the past. But as Obamas campaign proved, social media and the Internet can have a profound impact. I think the time has come for someone else to start a new party, introduced online. Why not start a party and do your campaigning online? Heck, if enough many do it, they could form their own coalition (without Dem’s and GOP) and organically grow, much like crowdsourcing works.

    When Akin said what he said, I heard it (on the other side of the planet) hours or even days before most Americans. Technology enabled that. These are new and exciting times, but for all the innovation going on in the US (which enables me to write this very comment, for instance), not very much seem to be directed at pushing the political system forward.

    Thoughts?

    • Clark Quick says:

      I do not claim to be an expert on the subject but the main reason why the multiparty system has not and effectively can not, is the Single Member District voting format. My understanding is most European countries have a Proportional Representation system that allows for the multiparty system. The only way to change that would be for us to rebuild our entire voting system and that would only be done by those currently in office and essentially they would be taking away their own power. As much as I would love that to happen, I don’t anticipate that occurring in my lifetime.(which at 25, I hope is another 60 or so years)

      • The UK has a “first past the post” system as you describe. My problem with proportional representation is that we’ve found, through experience, that it results in the very smallest parties, and causes, determining policy for the rest of society. Israel is the ultimate expression of that, but watch Italy form a government some time if you want to know more about that.

        Fact is, if you’re going to build anything like a majority coalition a great deal of nose-holding will be required at some point in the process. Whether it’s before the election, as it is here, or after, as it is elsewhere, isn’t the point. Democracy is about building broad coalitions. If you want just what you want from government, then you’re for an autocracy of the you. And those who agree with you 100%.

  22. Reading this I felt as if someone has summarized my political views. I think that is how Gen Y feels in general. I have a feeling in next 10 years we will be a nation that is fiscally republican and socially democrat.

  23. ramse says:

    I think Akin’s comment has to do with the difference between regret-sex and rape. A feminist chick in school accused me of rape for being misleading about my age. Uhm….right.

    As for pro-choice or pro-life, can not they both be wrong? I think abortion is wrong. There are cases where it could be best option in a situation of shitty options (shitty parents, rape, disease). I’m not big on telling other people what to do, but I sure as hell do not want my tax dollars going to planned parenthood.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      abortion is never a thing to celebrate. But don’t forget that the Nixon republicans financially supported planned parenthood because it meant less people on welfare (search for nixon on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Parenthood). The country is probably a whole lot healthier than it would have been with abortion not being legal. Republicans understand this, they just don’t talk about it.

  24. Would a Republican get your support if she said that although she is personally pro-life and pro-traditional marriage, but that she would never support any FEDERAL legislation to limit abortion or define marriage as between a man and a woman? I just don’t understand why Republicans try to espouse libertarian principles of economics and then just cannot leave social issues up to the States…

  25. Danny Davis says:

    MA – I 100% agree with every single thing you said. As a former Econ guy myself I have always said the same thing – stop taking my money, and misappropriating it for nonsense – but be more socially responsible. To me the right-wing hypocritical mantra of: Less Government! Less Government…unless it has to do with abortion, sexual preference or stem cell research etc is ludicrous. I am finally at a point where I am willing to pay more with the hopes that maybe a positive social, and just plain basic human rights, ground is achievable.

    I agree that Romney/Ryan at a 25% tax ceiling vs Obama/Biden of 39.6% is daunting, but seriously, can these Republicans just get a clue about how real society works?

  26. Aaron says:

    So Schwarzenegger, then? Also, you live in California, so you can cast a guilt-free vote for Gary Johnson for president, thereby having your cake and eating it too.

  27. The only thing more ridiculous than the Democrats fiscal spending and Republican’s stance on gay & women’s rights is a company called Klout.

    See what I did there?

  28. As a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, I wanted to thank you for showing that there are still people on the internet with sanity. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say I would never vote for a Republican candidate, but I see the reasoning and respect it.

  29. Cory says:

    I remember as a kid in school taking political party tests and the results always said I was a republican. This is most likely because I have capitalistic view for business. I generally fall in line with, “I tend to like Republicans on fiscal issues and Democrats on rights issues.”

    I also could not even think of voting republican because of the stance on social issues & just pure hate against certain groups.

    This Quora answer about the current election from a Germans viewpoint is worth a read. Points out how regardless of party everyone has some common human rights views:

    http://www.quora.com/2012-U-S-Presidential-Election-Obama-vs-Romney/How-do-people-outside-the-US-view-the-contest-between-Romney-and-Obama/answer/Judith-Meyer

  30. Rob Glaser says:

    Michael, with all due respect, regarding “liberals” and economics 101, as you might say, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

    The explosion of federal budget deficits over the past 30 years is dominantly created by Republican presidents, as the following chart shows:

    http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

    As you see from the above, from ’80 to ’08, the only time the budget deficit shrunk was when Clinton was in office.

    It is true that the deficit has gone up since ’08. But thank god it did, otherwise we would have had a repeat of 1929-1933, when an idiot ideological republican President tightened monetary and fiscal policy turning a financial crisis into the Great Depression.

    I have no doubt that in a 2nd term, if he is paired with even a moderately competent congress, Obama will get the deficit under control.

    Bottom line: other than you being the contrarian you like to be, I have no idea why you would have even considered voting for Romney.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      yeah, this is the kind of circular bullshit that I’m not going to engage in. Whether you’re right or not (you aren’t), my main point is still relevant – that social issues have driven me completely away from the republicans.

      don’t you guys ever get tired of just parroting the party lines from whichever team you’re on? You’re all getting played. Both sides.

  31. Sam says:

    I just want you to address the fact that the *vast* majority of economists, even Mankiw at Harvard who is a Romney advisor, don’t agree that the Democrats are lost on economics at all. The playbook for the crisis is classic Keynesian. Laissez-faire economics is what brought us to the brink.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      “Laissez-faire economics is what brought us to the brink.” – no. there’s always government tinkering. It was tinkering that set the housing market on fire, for example. Free markets really are the shit.

      I visited the soviet union in 1980 as a youngster. I wish more keynesians could have seen what I saw.

      • Sam says:

        Tinkering made Bears Stearn collapse? Tinkering created an unprecedented bank run and credit freeze? Tinkering made Wall St’s five biggest investment banks insolvent and in need of trillions in cash injections? Tinkering sold AAA ratings for junk securities? The public sector sold NINJA loans? The financial sector in this country is out of control and if we don’t deal with that fact like grown-ups, we’ll be right back here in a few years. What created a stable banking sector for 60 years were New Deal regulations. Once Glass-Steagel was overturned, all bets were off. Banks got to do whatever they wanted outside of capital requirements. We saw the results: an unprecedented taxpayer bailout. This isn’t about free enterprise versus central planning. Free enterprise works in almost every case, but there need to be some rules to keep the economy safe from excessive risk-taking by banks whose failure can bring the entire economy down.

        • Michael Arrington says:

          yep. I know you don’t understand that and believe what you’re saying with all your heart. But it’s just not what I believe. Free markets fail all the time, but the really big fuckups can usually be traced back to something like when Clinton decided that every American needed to be able to buy a home. I love Clinton, but that tinkering started it all off.

        • Sam says:

          Actually, that sounds ridiculous. Who sells homes, Michael? Let me back up, who gives the *credit* to sell homes? Who underwrites these loans? Who re-packages them and sells them as AAA securities? Who hands out the “AAA” stamp of approval. This a long ago debunked right wing talking point. Yes, it was Clinton….off topic: didn’t the “ownership society” come from George W Bush anyway. I don’t want to be personal, Michael, you’re a nice guy, but it sounds like you need to hit the books a bit.

          • Michael Arrington says:

            not sure you understand how mortgages are regulated and securitized in this country.

  32. I’m old enough to remember Carter, and gas lines as a young child, and even with those memories there is no way in hell that Obama is worse for our country than GW Bush was. Dubya was the worst president since Ulysses S Grant.
    Just the feat of barely getting us out of the smoking crater of an economy that Bush left makes Obama a better president than Carter. Plus Carter screwed up the rescue of the hostages, but Obama managed to have Bin Laden killed (even after Bush gave the guy a 7 year head start.)

  33. Josh says:

    Michael, I think most people in Gen-Y consider themselves fiscally conservative, socially liberal, with fiscal issues holding precedent.

    How come you hold social issues above fiscal issues?
    Can a man truly be free if he depends on the government to survive?

    • Michael Arrington says:

      maybe it was because I had a gay roommate for two years in law school and have a lot of gay friends, or because I have a friend that was violently raped. I dunno. It’s just the way I think.

    • Any actor who can defy the government becomes the government. This includes private businesses. This should concern you even more than social issues. I mean if you’re being all libertarian and all.

      The biggest unsolved problem of the last 12 years is that some people actually are above the law. Big oil is above the law. Wall Street, also above the law. Thus, they are the law, and the compromises this President has had to make — not enforcing the criminal law against banksters and oil gazillionaires — shows that.

      We need a government that is at least big enough to enforce the law against everyone, and one that is willing to do so. I think there’s a chance of getting to that with the Democratic Party. Do you really think there’s any chance at all of that happening with a party led by a guy who stashes cash in the Caymans to avoid taxes?

  34. RobK says:

    Speaking on behalf of average, ordinary assholes everywhere, I take offense at having Todd Akin grouped with our camp. Sure, we’re assholes, but we’re not Michele Bachmann, batshit, loopy, glue sniffing lunatics.

  35. Chris says:

    Funny. We line up almost identically politically and I’ve gone through the exact same internal discussion with myself over the last couple weeks, to the point that I considered registering democrat (which is absurd for me to think about). I wonder how many of us are going through the same thing. Issue is we’re probably all in states where our vote doesn’t matter (either coast).

  36. Alex Rampell says:

    Speech in the US Senate from Barry Goldwater over 30 years ago:
    “There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerfull ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus, God, or Allah, or whatever one calls the supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A,B,C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism.”

    • Michael Arrington says:

      times sure have changed.

      • Jon E says:

        Times HAVE changed. The religious right has hijacked the Republican party.

        • Mcbeese says:

          Yes, and don’t leave out big oil, the military industrial complex, and the NRA. Fiscal conservatism is so far down the list of priorities for the Republican Party that it’s hard to find. Bush 1 was a good President who didn’t back away from making the hard choices, which is probably why he was a one-term President. Bush 2 was bought and paid for before his first day in office, and that was the beginning of the end of a strong America.

  37. Interesting thoughts. Although as a Brit I (obviously) can’t vote in US elections I find myself with a similar viewpoint on the whole Democrats vs Republicans debate (i.e. I am on the whole more of a Republican than a Democrat, but I find some Republican viewpoints just morally and ethically repugnant, and so would have to vote Democrat).

    I’m reminded of a line I first heard in the West Wing. “I like you guys [referring to Republicans] who want to reduce the size of government to make it just small enough so it can fit in our bedrooms”

  38. Britt Blaser says:

    The post-partisan solution is to use our web building skills to surround each politician with blocs of voters who have been certified as constituents by 3rd parties trusted by the politicians and their staffs. Those are the only people politicians care about. The project’s called NewGov.US (overview at NewGov.net) and is receiving a major UI upgrade this month.

    I mention it now because of your timing, not the site’s readiness. So please be patient while we get our UX act together. There’s a one-pager at newgov.us/What is Politics.pdf. Money quote:

    “On the supply side of the $Trillion Policy Development B2B Market, there are 535 vendors, the lawmakers who office rent-free on Capitol Hill and ignore their landlords. This special class of vendors is 100% dependent on 535 panels of judges, voters who don’t show up to act on their universal disgust for Congress, a failure that can be corrected by packing each panel with a surprisingly small number of self-organizing voters, mutually committed to join a distributed flash mob at their nearest polling place.”

  39. Libertarian EV Driver says:

    Gary Johnson 2012!

    Republicans have been traditionally wrong on Social issues.
    Democrats have been traditionally wrong on Financial issues.

    But these days, it seems most Republicans and Democrats are wrong on Both Financial and Social issues.

  40. Dave says:

    Did you know that Paul Ryan the VP candidate of Mitt Romney voted 93% of the time with Todd Akin the Congressman that stated you cannot get pregnant by rape. Only 2 other Congressmen had voted more with him at 94% and 95%. This is with 4909 votes that they have voted on.

    http://www.opencongress.org/people/compare?utf8=✓&representatives=true&person1=400005&person2=400351

  41. The root of the problem is that we as voting citizens are forced to vote for 1 of 2 parties that both have serious flaws. It’s time for a 3rd and/or 4th party/representative to make some waves and address this for those of us in the middle.

  42. Worst president since Carter? This is a good segment to watch if you want to remember what actually happened (good and bad during Carter’s presidency). He’s a pretty stand-up guy who actually accomplished more than most people remember: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6881954n&tag=contentBody;storyMediaBox

    Not the best president ever, but just like Clinton and many other presidents, largely judged based on what was happening in the world when he happened to be president.

  43. Kudos! As a Canadian, it’s amazing to watch the US defy the principle of Hotelling Equilibrium (which dictates that in a two party system, the parties should gravitate toward the middle of the policy equilibrium) and it’s nice to see someone with some clout actually fall off that spectrum altogether because of this irrationality.

  44. Mike this Akin guy is an ignorant odious twit – but he could just as well have been a Democrat (See “Ya’ll back in Chains” Biden). It takes a special class of stupid to pull stunts like these and it’s not a proprietary skill set to any particular part of the political dial. Anthony Weiner was a modern liberal lion until he was a lying sex crazed laughingstock. And who could forget that newly elected married republican rep from NY State who got to Washington and immediately started trolling the internet for “dates” with that shirtless photo? But on the social issues you target here you certainly have a right to your opinion. I’m in favor of looking at national economic issues exclusively right now and letting America catch up in the social issues department as they see fit. As a local government corruption cause activist I know it’s sometimes hard it is to hear that people do not agree – or will not engage – in a “just cause.” But my hats off to you Mike – stir that pot.

  45. Just out of curiosity, do you vote in primaries? I agree on your disillusionment with the two-party system, but primaries are a way to help change a party that unfortunately many people don’t participate in. (I’m not even sure how it works in California; in Indiana you can vote in either primary).

  46. Connor says:

    Check this out – it tells you which candidate you agree with most, and has some interesting visualizations of results: http://www.isidewith.com/

  47. cherita says:

    It just makes me very angry,when i here people say its been a disaster since Barack Obama been president,when the truth is its been a disaster before he was elected president..what about how terrible it was when bush was president,I hear no one talking about all the messed up things he,s done.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      oh i think we hear lots and lots about the messed up things Bush and his congress did. And I think it’s scary that people don’t understand how fundamentally different the spending and debt issues are now than they’ve ever been before in this country. We lost our soul under Bush. We’ll pay for what’s happening under Obama, dearly pay, in the years down the road.

      • I’m gonna keep fucking commenting till you approve you hear.

      • RH says:

        IT is interesting to see that when talking about Bush presidency, it was the congress that gets credit, but when talking about Obama’s presidency, it is him Obama that gets the credit. The US system is in 2000 as it is toady. Either associate credit/blame to the president or the congress.

  48. ChuckO says:

    Dude, you are full of shit and just another know nothing, know it all. What little “redistribution” this country does is in no way responsible for our fiscal problems. And the Dems are certainly no worse and under Obama much better than the Republicans. Look at Dubya’s record: tax breaks with no reduction in spending and the prescription drug benefit.

  49. Matt Rosoff says:

    So funny — exact opposite situation here. I’ve been a dyed in the wool lib most of my life precisely because of the Christian Right and their attempt to legislate our personal lives.

    But I’m considering pulling the lever for Romney because of Obama’s dishonest fiscal and tax policies. (And because I suspect Romney’s not a social conservative, no matter how much he pretended he was during the primary.)

    Obama also gave up on the only traditionally “liberal” social issue I deeply care about, the environment. if Romney made even a few token gestures in that direction, I’d feel even better about it.

    • I might have some sympathy for your “plight” if the Romney budget actually called for balance before, say, 2030. He actually wants to increase military spending, complaining about a “fiscal cliff” that is the only effective deficit reduction his party voted for the last two years.

      An enormous amount of deficit reduction is baked into the current budget, deficit reduction that goes out the window under President Romney.

  50. One of the things I’ve been surprised by in American politics is that the social issues the parties have tied themselves to don’t seem to be well aligned. Interfering in people’s personal lives seems like the antithesis of ‘small government’.

  51. Mike Brickston says:

    Wow. This was really interesting to read and never pictured the bay area to be libertarian. Granted I’m just a guy in Chicago that really enjoys the start-up scene but has never spent more than a weekend near anything there but San Francisco for a college football game! Very refreshing to hear something so common sense and simple come from someone I respect and someone who knows that what he says is going to get spread and talked about.

    The lesser evils clause is definitely in effect here though. I’m 24 and have voted republican since I could only because I was so worried about where our country was going with the economy and laws in place that have restricted the growth of hard working Americans. I liken my stance to what someone said above, I am 100% in with my generation that you can choose to love and marry whomever you want (separation of church and state ring a bell??) and that abortion while I personally consider it a bad thing is necessary for the liberties of all people. Who am I or some old republican to tell a women what she can and cannot do with her body? Just blows my mind that republicans can be that hypocritical, and I place myself in line with them on a majority of issues!

    Mike, if you have a curiosity, tackle this debate as well. I have a close friend who we have nearly identical points of view but he takes Ayn Rand’s viewpoint to the extreme saying states should be private because it would create competition and competition would rise every area in order to survive… (he’s an investment banker and loves Atlas Shrugged). But the one catch we always come to is the issue of taxation on earnings vs taxation on wealth. I believe that the money one earns is completely theirs to enjoy and use and spend because they have earned it. So I would rather my whole life pay low income tax and at the end pay high estate tax because if I was wealthy in life A) my kids have the advantage of going to the best schools and growing up wealthy B) I can pay for their college education if I want to and now they are going to inherit all MY hard earned money? No way! They have every advantage and should go out and earn their own money! Now I would like some of that money to go to them because I love them and want them to have more but isn’t it the same amount if you take my money now and keep it later than to keep my money now then government take it later? I just believe the hard work of people should be recognized in the present.

    Wow… that was a rant, and I am sure the economics of it don’t work (trolls) but it’s more of a philosophical debate. Thanks!

    • srplsbdgtmndmnt says:

      Instead of arguing where and how you pay your taxes, how about working for a future without taxes?

      • Mike Brickston says:

        Haha I completely agree with the premise of that, but again back to Rand, there are 3 things I will absolutely pay taxes for (and a 4th that doesn’t follow her thoughts). Police/Fire to protect from internal forces, Military to protect from outside forces, and Judicial to protect my rights (my 4th is education which I place a higher premium on than she does, agree with Rand to hate the unions that have developed but not the idea of unions)

    • Barry says:

      “Wow. This was really interesting to read and never pictured the bay area to be libertarian.”

      Yea, I think Mike has had a few too many today. Next thing you know he’s going to tell us Texas is the most liberal state and Austin will be going to Romney this year.

      • Mike Brickston says:

        So you are saying in your opinion in general the bay area is liberal? I have always pictured it that way but very interesting to see the majority of comments on here. Maybe a bunch of people that follow Mike closely think like he does but it seems to be a pretty good sample. In my opinion some things just seem common sense. I welcome discussion and differing opinions though and to shut those out completely just stagnates any kind of growth on either side.

  52. Chris Ennis says:

    Michael, you’re the exception. Not the rule. Sadly, too few people actually objectively think about politics. Most treat it like their rooting interests in sports, picking a side and sticking with them until death. I find it asinine and you’re flexibility to change is refreshing.

    I’m like you, a fiscal conservative/social liberal….

  53. As a libertarian / Objectivist I generally agree with your sentiments (though I’d phrase your second sentence differently because fiscal issues are rights issues, but I know what you mean).

    But I think you need to weigh potential outcomes a little better. While Akin and some others are “assholes” when it comes to some issues, their asshole policies have little to no chance of advancing, and they have in fact been retreating over the years; gays are more accepted everywhere, contraception is more available (morning after pill), “personhood” bills are defeated everywhere. So while definitely important issues, voting-wise (especially nationally) they are irrelevant.

    On the other hand, the absurd spending problem is very real and is getting worse by the minute. Mitch Daniels called for a truce on social issues while we work on fixing the budget (srplsbdgtmndmnt.org) which might be a good way to think about it.

    Where you are on the Left coast, a vote left or right won’t have much impact anyway. Might as well pull the lever for Gary Johnson.

    • bmid2ton says:

      I’m not sure that their policies have little to no chance of advancing. There are a number of states that have recently enacted, or are trying to enact, various regulations that are extremely difficult to comply with, and that are specific to abortion providers, thus making it virtually impossible for many women to get a legal abortion.

      This is happening in states like Louisiana, Virginia, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota and others. From regulations such as a requirement that abortion clinics have a board of directors (which many of them don’t) to regulations that require women to undergo a waiting period and consult with a “registered anti-choice pregnancy center” (which none have been set up) before getting an abortion have effectively made it illegal in certain states, even though abortion is technically legal.

      The right scares me…. a lot.

  54. As an Italian I shouldn’t talk much about this, but I always wondered how it was possible that in a country like USA there was the presence of a huge group of people called Republicans, no offense.

  55. Greg Wright says:

    I have to to say that you have won me over. I’ve never visited your blog before, but it seems our political ideologies are similar. Although I didn’t abandon the Republican Party over Akin (I did abandon them after Bush and their fight against same-sex marriage). Like you I only vote Republican if they say they are pro-choice and pro-same-sex marriage. I am convinced it is time for a viable third party that ditches the extremists on both sides, taxes everyone fairly, and stays out of our bedroom. You just got a new regular reader.

  56. Joshua Hines says:

    Mike,

    You’re a smart dude with some obviously core beliefs! Why are the only choices for you Dem or Repub? Really changing this country will require a new way of thinking, and a new party that ISN’T completely bought by big banks!

  57. Indeed the comments are awesome!

    As a European I never quite understood why a third party hasn’t emerged in the US. The equivalent to the EPP, a center right movement that’s socially liberal and economically conservative. I came to understand a little more about the economic and political barriers preventing something like that to happen, but I still think there’s room for a center-right party to grow especially in the West and Northeast. Not exactly your libertarian party but certainly closer than rep or dem.

  58. Alex says:

    Oh, grow up Michael. So one nutball says an f*d up comment that the entire Republican establishment runs away from and that’s a reason for you to no longer like Republicans? OK. Whatever. In the meantime, I’d suggest you do a simple search on the vile hate spewing toward someone named Sarah Palin or other high-profile Republican women all in the name of “liberal values.” Or the number of rapes that were reported to police by females during the Occupy rallies. Or maybe I’d remind you about a President who was pretty abusive toward women (and I am not just talking about Lewinksy and the meaning of the world “is”) or the former Democratic VP candidate who treated his dying wife so wonderfully. Liberals talk a good game, but in the real world, they are rather abusive of women.

    There are vile people on both sides of the aisle and its pretty naive to try to pretend otherwise as though your chosen side is the one with the moral highground. If Akin is your line in the sand, that’s pretty lame.

  59. Steve says:

    While I don’t necessarily agree with your bottom line decision, I found myself agreeing with the issues listed. It is easy to place blame on the Far Right for your decision, however you need to think about why you are given such bad choices in the first place. The Primary and General Election system that we have is broken, and needs to be thrown out. Primaries only allow the most fervent Right or Left Winger to get the nomination by their respective parties. This insures that Independents and Moderates are marginalized in the selection process.

    Since getting the election process changed is probably more daunting than adding an Amendment to the Constitution, I suggest you review during each election what is more important: Civil Liberties or Becoming like Greece? Since like Romney, Obama is also a Patriot Act supporter I am currently leaning to vote for Romney (i.e. not enough on the Civil Liberties side to throw me over)

    Unfortunately Bush II and Obama both pushed US Debt to over 100% GDP… we need real change and soon.

  60. ej says:

    I appreciate your dedication to following up on the comments of your readers, as expected it has sparked tons of commentary.

    i couldn’t be more in-line with you, my republican voting parents don’t understand this line of thinking. it’s time for republicans to abandon the nuts, and social conservatives. moveon.com

  61. Robin McFee says:

    Michael, do you see a possibility of a (significant) third party in American politics?

    As a Canadian, I’m not intimately familiar with American politics but I do try and keep informed as it affects us all greatly north of the border whether we like to admit it or not.

    As you may know, we have three parties in Canada.

  62. Jim Z says:

    Mike, what will happen if you find a jew or muslim that you don’t like? Would you then not like all Jews, Muslims? Making these types of statements is not only wrong, but irresponsible for someone of your stature.

  63. ExFiveOneOh says:

    Having lived there for 32 years, I can say that the Bay Area is *not* a hotbed of libertarianism. It’s more of a left-leaning echo-chamber that demands one not only hold left-wing opinions, but proclaim them loudly. As for me, I became more conservative by hanging around liberals and I became more libertarian by hanging around conservatives.

  64. Mark Hall says:

    Mike, I’d argue you’re a bit off base here putting the blame on Obama for our fiscal problems (fwiw I’m an Obama supporter, and center left on fiscal matters).

    This is a president who tried to strike the “Grand Bargain” with Boehner after all (which pissed off many, many liberals) and the most thorough accounts suggest the reason the grand bargain failed is because Boehner couldn’t deliver his caucus — in large part because of opposition from Ryan and Cantor. Sadly, the Republican caucus isn’t filled with sensible center-rightist folks who share your sensibilities or those of Mitch Daniels; it’s filled with people like Todd Akin.

    Here’s a great recap on the Grand Bargain negotiations from Matt Bai if you missed it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/magazine/obama-vs-boehner-who-killed-the-debt-deal.html

  65. Maybe you should get out of that false dilemma and use your influence to change your government by creating a libertarian party. (or a pirate party xD)

  66. ChuckO says:

    The reason America votes for Republican’s is for the intrusion into our lives not in spite of it. Republican’s get elected on their social stance not their fiscal one. The working class of this country is terrified of the future and change. They continually fall further behind and become more reactionary and courting that is what get’s Republican’s elected.

    • Mcbeese says:

      And yet the irony is that Republicans are the enemy of the working class and they are in fact gutting it. America is on its way to becoming the New Brazil, and Brazil is on it’s way to becoming the New America.

  67. Greg Hluska says:

    First off, I am Canadian, so I have absolutely no grounds to comment on this issue (or any other issue pertaining to American politics). However, from that relatively unbiased point of view, I’ve got to give you kudos for this article. It is well reasoned and it avoids the crap that normally plagues arguments like this.

    Akin had a choice when asked about abortion in cases of rape. He could have used the typical pro-life answer — rapists should be punished, their victims should be prevented, but we still need to protect the rights of the unborn. Or, he could have gone completely off the deep end and said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

    Not only was his answer completely wrong (science tells me so), but it was inflammatory and showed a serious lack of respect for his state, his party and all the voters. Anyone who demonstrates such a serious lack of judgement has no place running for the bus, much less elected office.

    Wonderful article and thanks so much for writing it.

  68. Bill says:

    One man does not a party make. If anything, most Republicans realize what an idiot Akin is & are pressuring him not to run.

    Republicans are no more represented by Akin, than Democrats are by Blagojevich, William Jefferson, Hank Johnson & Rostenkowski.

    • That’s where you’re wrong. Akin’s position is the position of the party. It is a position endorsed through legislation in all Republican-run states. It is in the platform.

      The only think Akin did that was objectionable was attempt to justify this insanity, using the words of a man who was a prominent Romney surrogate 4 years ago.

      I saw your list of “bad” Democrats and I generally agree with it. I’d even add Bill Campbell, Anthony Weiner, Jim Wright and Tom Foley to your list. But Hank Johnson? The Buddhist representative of Georgia’s 4th CD? Really? He may be a little unusual, but I’m scratching my head trying to find how he gets on that list. (Maybe you meant his predecessor, Cynthia McKinney. Or the Clayton County school board that lost its accreditation because it couldn’t get along. Or Beverly Harvard, the school superintendent in Atlanta who had teachers cheat on standardized tests, Michelle Rhee style.)

  69. Matthew Maurice says:

    The United States have basically become ungovernable on a national level. Congress as a whole has a 10% approval rating, yet individual Congresspeople keep getting re-elected with majorities. Beyond that, without 61 votes in the Senate, nothing but the most bi-partisan (or crisis-preventing) actions are taken. Compromise has become a dirty word, and since the Citizen’s United decision elections are going to which ever side has the most money supporting them. U.S. citizens are getting exactly the, dysfunctional, government they voted for, and deserve.

  70. Charlie says:

    The future of the country versus the right to marry (which is not in the Constitution for homosexuals, heterosexuals or otherwise). Seems like an extremist position.

  71. re: “I don’t think that redistribution programs as a rule help society or even the individuals receiving the redistributions.” Pick your redistribution plan – Repubs: bottom to top. Demos: top to bottom. If you are referring to social security, and you discount the bit about it being an account, we could still consider that social security was invented substantially because elderly people in the USA struggled and suffered under profound poverty. Widows in particular. Lastly – one of the reasons USA’s economy usually generates outsized returns compared to other economies is because we embrace, rightly, creative destruction. New business models supplant old, new companies succeed and replace older companies that fail, etc… We benefit from assertive economic competition. The individual frequently bears the brunt of this churning process however, so it seems a little unemployment help or training support to weather the storm and jump onto the new after getting pushed off the old might be a fair tradeoff for the outsized returns. (Said returns seems to go increasingly mostly to the wealthiest among us, but thats a topic for another day.)

  72. Cornelius says:

    Hey that’s great. One question though, i’ve always wondered about this. As a Silicon Valley Libertarian, what’s your stance on all the massive government spending that led to the creation of Silicon Valley? You know, a little thing called DARPA & government procurement.

    Is it a good thing? Or is it bad because it’s redistributing taxpayer wealth? SV venture capitalists have to think it’s a good thing, no? But then they’d be in favor of massive government subsidy, and how is that compatible with Libertarian economic principles?

    • Michael Arrington says:

      i love government spending on research and infrastructure. I wish we had high speed trains and fiber into every home. I’d gladly double my taxes to pay for that. But that’s not what we spend money on.

      • Cornelius says:

        Makes sense. The government should invest in stuff that can produce an economic return. But that’s not very Libertarian.. that the government should be doing these instead of the private sector. At least I didn’t think it was.

        And by extension, if investing the research and infrastructure to support economic growth is a legit role of the government, then what about investing in education and keeping people above the poverty line? Are these not also economic investments? Are they bad ones?

        Well, if this is getting OT.. would love to get pointed to some more stuff on Silicon Valley Libertarianism, in particular reconciling it with the history of Silicon Valley & the government. Mike did you ever write a piece on it? Seems like you’d be a great person to do it.

        BTW did you know Siri was created with a $150M funding from the government? True story!

  73. James says:

    Not sure if you’ll get to this because of how long it is after the post. I am a young person (22) who voted for Obama in the last election because I believed he was really going to usher in a new period of bipartisan politics, combined with advances in social issues that appealed to my libertarian views. I didn’t think the GOP could claim to be the more fiscally conservative party after the spending of the Bush Administration.While it’s nice Obama said gay marriage is natural… I don’t appreciate the predator drone strikes, the failed promise to close Gitmo, and the increased aggression (read: federal raids) on state licensed marijuana farms.) This election I am leaning to elect Romney/Ryan.

    I admire your stance and totally get it. I can’t agree with it for me personally because I am hoping to live in this country for the next 50 years at least. It seems almost to be an automatic that eventually my generation will fully recognize love (granting gay marriage) and also recognize a women’s choice. This is just based on my entire personal experience in dealing with Generation Y. Ryan has started a plan to reorganize government. It’s not perfect, but it’s also in the right direction.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      great comment.

      • MTDuong says:

        Excuse me? Paul Ryan voted for every single bill that has expanded government and increased spending under George W. Bush. We went from a huge SURPLUS under a Democratic president to a deficit under Bush and the Republicans who supported him. So please, remind me how Democrats are worse on economics and responsible for this mess? Ryan has played you all for fools, making you believe he’s actually a deficit hawk. On both fiscal responsibility and social libertarianism, how could you possibly vote Romney/Ryan?

        • James says:

          It’s kind of like a kid buying their first car with their parents. Let’s say the kid told his/her parents that they just wanted to buy a used car that could get from point A to point B. Even more he/she wanted to buy it with their own money. Their parents overruled them and wanted to buy a nice new car that had the best safety features, because teenagers are terrible drivers. Does that mean you can’t have any input on what type of new car you get (color, model, etc) because you opposed the decision to buy new?

          I never said that the GOP wasn’t responsible for this mess and Ryan definitely did vote for some bad legislation. But Ryan seems to understand that it’s not sustainable and that we need a new direction. Using the above analogy the White House represents the parents and Congress the children. When we grow up we can make whatever decisions we want. Becoming president is sort of like that, you know, you have to lead.

    • Mcbeese says:

      I’m a former big company executive turned entrepreneur with undergrad degrees in Economics and Comp Sci, and various business-driven executive grad programs in finance.

      I’ve read and researched Paul Ryan’s budget. It’s obvious many haven’t.

      Paul Ryan’s budget is a death sentence for our US economy. Obama’s debt problem is like a serious life-threatening disease, but Ryan’s budget is a chainsaw massacre. My company, and many, many others like us, will go under if the Ryan budget is turned loose on the Middle Class. But at least we’ll have a damn good military, which we’ll need to control the population inside our borders because the population will be very angry. We object when we see the Chinese use brute force to keep a billion people in line, 850M of whom are dirt poor and pissed at the other 150M. What kind of force do you think we’ll have to use here when the middle class merges with the lowest class?

      Yes, we have serious problems to deal with in this country, but Paul Ryan’s budget isn’t the solution, any more than a bullet to the head is a solution for cancer.

      • jerhad says:

        Fascinating. I’d love more information about the turd you just dropped here. Please enlighten us about how Paul Ryan’s budget will turn us into a third-world country under the thumb of military dictatorship to control the masses. Being as overly-educated and super duper successful as you are, I’m sure it will be difficult to step down to explain to us serfs. But I’m willing to try real hard to understand if you’re willing to explain. Careful not to use too many big words though.

  74. sureshganapathy says:

    What bothers me most about the rights stuff is that I think these positions arise out of what religious texts preach – i.e. the state is now doing moral policing by their own definition of morals. So by enforcing them, are the church and state separate anymore?

  75. mickcirceo says:

    Fine post. Myself, I’m up in the air. As always, the choices are bad. We go through the same issues with every election cycle. Play back the issues from a half century ago, and they are basically the same.

  76. Really didn’t want to get in here, but couldn’t help it. Do you care to elaborate on how the current GOP is better on economics (define economics if you would, because I have no idea what you meant) than the current Dems? BTW, I applaud you for taking a clear position.

  77. Its hard to not agree with your main points, however you conclusion is untenable. While human rights and gay rights and similar issues are incredibly important and really do affect a lot of people. I believe that the economic ruin that Obama and Democrats will eventually lead this country is a far more serious issue. One that will affect every single person ( and not only in the US). Therefore i think that a libertarian that cares about the economy has to vote Republican currently.

  78. Brett Stubbs says:

    Akin is an absolute idiot, and shouldn’t even run, but here is the real problem I see about even mentioning it: everyone knows he’s an idiot and I hate that these sort of things get so much attention. Abortion laws are unlikely to change to a large degree, and they don’t impact everyone. They get argued about during election time. It’s a smokescreen discussion and a tactic, so both parties can continue to move focus from what is really important. Think back to GW in ’04 and all of the “amendment” talk around election time. It was Rove exciting the base.

    A child born 11 years ago (make that 14, since they probably have few memories from then), has known nothing but war, has had his shorts probed at an airport, and is being left with a mounting debt, and an aging population they won’t be able to afford to take care of when they grow up. We know these wars are for profiteering, we know what the Federal Reserve is all about (we know who is getting their “practically free” money), we know that congress is bought and sold, we know what inflation has done to the dollar, that the derivatives market is as popular as ever, that banks are still over-leveraged, subprime auto loans, corruption, drug wars, civilians dying by the thousands in the middle east, Iran war talk (you know it’s coming), etc. And all of these issues impact every single one of us.

    We all know it, but talk to anyone about our debt, and their eyes get glazed over in about 10 seconds. Talk to someone about abortion, and they get riled up. Both parties ignore the real issues. But I at least see a lot of hope in the future of the GOP. Libertarians are taking over the base of the GOP!! It’s a strong movement. Democrats are going more towards the direction of less liberty (more nanny, more authoritarian, pro-war, pro-patriot act) and more government influence of the market (see, Facebook should be nationalized on Slate).

    If libertarians can continue to usurp the GOP, the neocons will eventually become the minority platform of the party. I feel hopeful about it when I see 10,000 students at UCLA, and a couple hundred more climbing trees, gathering to see Ron Paul speak. I think people are listening to the anti-war, anti-welfare state, pro-market “republicans” like RandP, Lee (sometimes) and Amish. It’s a two party system, and it would be better for the Libertarian Party, if they would continue their gains in the GOP. I don’t see that same libertarian trend in Dems.

  79. I think the question is, what happened to Rockefeller Republicans? I live in NYC and love Mike Bloomberg for many of the reasons you cover above, but he would never stand a chance on the national stage. The question is, how can we make a party that represents the vast number of people who make up the center of our country; those who are fiscally conservative and socially “stay the f$%k out of my business”?

  80. Glad to see you take a reasoned position. Wish more people took the time to think about their position rather just following the party line and making emotional decisions and then spewing statistics that back them up. Love your comment engagement as well!

  81. John says:

    Most people as well as Mike make it sound like the Democrats are correct on social issues. If you are a religious person and believe in pro life or marriage as an act between a man and a women you are somehow wrong. Democrats have been pushing their social ideas down the throat of this country for the past 20 years. Civil unions have been accepted almost everywhere it’s voted on, gay marriage is not. This means that people are accepting of gay couples and that people should love who they want to. What they do not want is for gay couple to force them to agree with their choices. If the fight is about all the legal implications (and it should be) then that is what should be argued, e.g., visitation rights, financial and health benefits. Every person should want these right and a choice. Any person should be able to allow someone irregardless of who they are to visit them and who they chose to cover on their benefit plan.

    Our current president thinks its ok to abort a baby in the third trimester. Republicans tend to believe at this point it’s a responsibility.

    Mike I think you let a few extreme views cloud your judgement on this one.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      whatever you believe, why the fuck do you think you have a right to make me believe it, too? Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t marry a homosexual. But for some reason people think it’s a valid debate for other people to get a say in what I do.

    • Mcbeese says:

      “If you are a religious person and believe in pro life or marriage as an act between a man and a women you are somehow wrong. ”

      No, that is not the Democrat position at all. The Democrat position is that civil union is a matter of law and marriage is a matter of religion. Our constitution stipulates that all of us shall enjoy equal rights for matters of law and all individuals have a right to religious freedom and personal belief. The Democrat position is aligned with the constitution. The Religious Right, which is hijacking the Republican party, feels that their religion is special, so special that it should be the basis for laws that oppress the rights of those who believe differently.

      I will fight for the right of any religion to believe what they want, but I will also fight against any religion that wants to oppress the rights of others who may believe differently.

    • Mcbeese says:

      “Our current president thinks its ok to abort a baby in the third trimester. Republicans tend to believe at this point it’s a responsibility.”

      Totally idiotic propaganda. The President, and a great many people, believe that there is a discussion to be had when there is a likely choice between the Mother’s life and the unborn child’s life. That’s it. It’s a bad situation no matter the outcome and each case will be different.

      Would you risk the life of a Serviceman’s widow with 3 kids to take care of on her own over the life of an unborn child? Would you create four orphans? Obviously, we should all pull out the stops for both, but sometimes hard choices have to be made and the Pro-Choice community believes that the mother and her family have more of a vote than her Republican Congressman.

      Should we try to simplify the discussion by saying that Democrats are baby-killers and Republicans are mother-killers? Of course not. Why don’t we all just drop the rhetoric.

    • Sorry John. But you speak falsely if you state, unequivocally, that the President supports third trimester abortion. You’re throwing up a red herring called “partial birth abortion” which is only used to save the life of a mother, in the case of fetus deformed by a very few medical conditions, one that is brain-dead already.

  82. Kyle says:

    Michael, I think you’re being rather ignorant to characterize the entire republican party based on one nitwit’s comment. If you want a reason to never vote for a democrat again, just search for a few Pelosi sound bites. Having a litmus test for candidates on social issues produces nothing more than a standstill on both sides. There will be a time to debate Gay marriage and Abortion. However, the economy and our growing debt must be the focus of this election.

  83. Modern Phaedrus says:

    On the subject of redistribution of wealth, you do realize that when you and the rest of us middle class folks are paying a higher tax rate than the rich that income redistribution too, right?

    All tax policy involves some form of redistribution. So why do people only talk about it being evil if the rich are asked to pay a rate closer to what the rest of us do?

    • Michael Arrington says:

      the really rich pay virtually no taxes, although they do create massive amounts of economic value and jobs. The people who really get hit hard are the high income/low net worth people. They’re the “rich” that Buffett wants to tax higher, not people like himself.

      I actually don’t mind paying higher taxes at all. But I think everyone should pay taxes. everyone. Otherwise there’s no way for the republic to survive over the long run. Too many people don’t pay taxes, and think that crushing the wealthy will somehow fix all the problems.

      • Modern Phaedrus says:

        One of the biggest reasons why the super rich pay so little in taxes is the absurd notion that capital gains should not be taxed, or if they must be then taxed at a much lower level than income from a job.

        Reducing capital gains tax was something Reagan and Bush both pushed for. And lowering those taxes was part of Bush’s tax cut which are set to expire in January.

        The larger point is still that all tax policy involves “redistribution”. What we’re really arguing about is which direction that redistribution should go in.

        The Ryan Budget thinks more wealth should be redistributed to the wealthy. Obama’s suggestion is that perhaps less of the redistribution should be going to the wealthy and a little more towards the Middle Class.

        Which way would you prefer?

        • Michael Arrington says:

          forget capital gains. I’m talking about stored wealth. The only way to get to that is inflation. Which is coming. It’s the only way to “fix” the fiscal mess we’re in.

        • Modern Phaedrus says:

          Michael, are you saying Inflation is a government conspiracy to redistribute wealth? Really???

          • Michael Arrington says:

            not at all. it’s just the only way other than defaulting to pay off a debt load like the one we’ve accumulated.

  84. Barry says:

    I always gave Michael credit for being really smart, very surprised to see him lower himself to play the left/right game as if there is a vast difference between any of them.

    Also surprised to hear he goes down and votes along with the rest of the cattle.

    lol voters…

  85. i agree with your reasoning michael. i am a christian, but do a lot of face palming when i read some the stuff that comes from the republicans and those that think by controlling everyone they will make the world a better and safer place- and keep God happy.

    The question still remains though: is an unborn baby an actual human?
    If not, kill them at will. If so, maybe they should be protected.

  86. Richard Wilks says:

    I’ve recently begun to feel the exact same. You’ve articulated it nicely. But I’ve come to the conclusion before this Aiken schmuck. Truth is though American politics is in a death spiral and tou’re always voting for the lesser of two evils … And that’s what’s truly sad.

  87. Logan says:

    Your logic is flawed on these issues.

    Let’s start with abortion: your assertion that Republicans want to control “what we can do with our body” is false, because it’s NOT the woman’s body, it’s another person’s body inside her that is being denied life. It is one of the government’s few responsibilities to protect that child’s life. That the child is inside the woman’s body does not make it her body or her property to do with as she pleases. If humans laid eggs akin to birds or reptiles, and abortion was a matter of smashing said eggs rather than extracting a fetus, could you still hide behind such feel-good terms as “medical procedure” and “women’s health decision”? That said, most Republicans are willing to make exceptions in extreme cases – and they are extreme. Rape, the topic which you’re so riled up about, accounts for only 1% of all abortion. Add in all other “exception” cases – incest, danger to mother – and it’s still only about 7-8% of all abortions. So the other 90+% of abortions are just “oops, I didn’t mean to get pregnant – let’s kill my baby so I don’t have to take responsibility for it.” Cut abortion rates by 90% and I guarantee you that most Republicans would be thrilled with that result.

    As for gay rights: you claim that Republicans want to control who someone can love. Also false. No law exists, and it would be quite difficult to enforce a law, prohibiting someone from loving someone else. What you’re really quibbling over is their “right” to marry. First, marriage is not a Constitutional right. It’s a privilege added on top of the normal rights everyone has. And gays currently enjoy the exact marriage privilege as anyone else: to marry one (and only one, that’s important) person of the opposite sex. As a straight person, I still can’t legally marry someone of the same sex, just like I can’t legally marry more than one person. How can someone be denied a right that no one has? What gay activists really want is for people to be granted an ADDITIONAL privilege that no one currently has. That’s a valid thing to lobby for, but to try and paint this as some horrible civil rights denial on the part of Republicans is pure smear propaganda, and you’ve bought it.

    • RandomLogic says:

      No. Your logic is flawed.

      You try to tell a person what she can and can’t do with her own individual body, which includes what’s in her body. The woman’s right to govern her own body should trump the rights of any parasite or unborn life. If men could get pregnant, there’d be an abortion clinic on every corner and the “church” would deem it holy.

      As for your “logic” on gay marriage, your statements are semantically myopic and incorrect. When a state grants entitlements to straight couples who marry yet prevents gay couples from marrying, a state is, by any standard of reason, denying rights. It’s exactly that: a horrible civil rights denial. And it’s largely brought to you by the christian religion which has a complete stranglehold on the vast majority of the GOP.

      All of these corporate parties interfere and abuse civil liberties. The GOP, however, does it as a startlingly fundamental part of their platform. There are now far more “liberals” who stand for freedom, civil liberties, and fiscal responsibility than there are (I would argue) “conservatives” who would stand for such freedom.

      You might believe the State should dictate these personal issues of abortion in people’s personal lives and have the power to put people in cages who disobey. You might believe the State can treat homosexuals as second-class citizens by denying rights. You’d likely be a republican. Show me a GOP-republican that isn’t a social authoritarian. Few exist. It’s not a “smear campaign.” It’s reality.

      • Mcbeese says:

        Well stated. Gay marriage is two separate issues. It’s an issue of law, which our constitution is supposed to ensure that we’re all treated equally. It’s also an issue of religion, which our constitution is supposed to ensure freedom of belief and practice.

        If we would just follow these principles, there would be no issue. Gay and hetero couples could enter into civil unions with the same rights and protection. They can also each enter into religious marriages and practice whatever beliefs are associated with that. If a church hates gays, gays can join a different church, and vice versa. Problem solved.

        Why can’t the religious right live and let live? WTF is with this ‘my way or the highway’ attitude?

  88. Amen.

    I used to believe that fiscal and economic policies should be priority in voting if a compromise is to be made. However, if you can foster social and educational freedom, the fiscal hardships will correct course long-term. US history presents a strong case for this, while China’s history shows that the reverse is much more unlikely.

    I appreciate you pointing out that “oppressive taxes on the rich” applies to high income earners vs. high net worth via stored wealth.

  89. Mr Mark says:

    So Mike, now that the posts have streamed in, did you get what you expected out of this post?

  90. jennallen says:

    Jesus. Michael H @DailyPlunge et al: Anti-abortionists need to take social studies and anthropology again because in that class you learn we would have 3x as many people on this planet now (and take ecology 101 again for why that\’s bad for planet). If it wasn\’t for a woman\’s right to abort a child for multiple and personal reasons you can\’t understand until you go through it yourself, or if you have empathy mirror neurons (take neuroscience 101) you might know what it\’s like.

    Furthermore, the perfect case study: I don\’t believe I, you, or anyone else remembers anything while in the womb – even if freaking hypnotized (no evidence there either).

    Point: If I was going to be born in this world with an abusive father or absent one and a mother with PTSD from rape, I\’d happily get aborted — but it doesn\’t matter anyways because I was barely conscious, just as you were barely conscious.

    In sum, if only people without empathy or understanding for women\’s rights to their bodies were aborted, and were curious and educated enough to know abortion has happened naturally for a number of big obvious reasons since the humans existed, over time, we wouldn\’t need abortion at all — that might be a beautiful thing for all parties!

    P.S. Re: Gay Marriage issues: Much good research shows gays have healthier and more long-term relationships than straight people and at this point deserve marriage much more than some straight people I know.

    Cheerio.

  91. Mike,

    I agree with your stance on the human rights issues. .

    I have to say I have such a hard time with the “republicans are fiscally responsible” mantra. If they were ever responsible (and I’m speaking very generally and blaming the Presidents mainly) they have blown the “savings” on tax cut experiments and optional wars. Personally with all that money flushed down the toilet, I would rather some had gone to something “liberal” like education or infrastructure.

    Robert

  92. Sheldon says:

    While I don’t agree with your views, I really respect your clear understanding of economics. We differ on political views but that is okay. Thanks for your clear and reasoned responses to these post.

  93. Puzzled Elephant says:

    Mr. Arrington,

    I am a Republican respectfully trying to understand your view.

    It’s clear that the Democratic party is, on average, a better match for your social policy preferences than is the GOP. It’s also clear that these issues are important enough to you that they supersede your economic policy preferences.

    Still, your conclusions appear to open a few questions I hope you will consider further.

    Do you also oppose pro-life Democrats? There aren’t many left, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for instance, is usually classified as a pro-life legislator.

    Do you also oppose Democratic elected officials who oppose legislating the legalization of gay marriage?

    President Obama, for instance, has changed his stated personal opinion on gay marriage but has not changed his official position on legislation that establishes a federal right to gay marriage. He still opposes it.

    Does President Obama meet your social policy test? What if a pro-choice Republican candidate takes the same position on gay marriage as President Obama, meaning he or she would vote against legislation legalizing it? Will you consider supporting that Republican? What if that Republican says he or she “personally” supports gay marriage but, like President Obama, won’t vote/act to legalize it nationwide?

    There are (a few) southern Democratic legislators who vote consistently more socially conservative than many northeastern Republican legislators. Is your threshold different for Republicans and Democrats because the GOP has members like Mr. Akin?

    Candidates get labeled “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” or “pro/against gay marriage.” Social policy advocacy groups on both ends of the spectrum encourage use of these labels, incorrectly portray these issues as binary questions, and suggest there are two clearly-defined camps.

    But the legislative votes the legislators must take often fall in gray areas that defy easy labels. These social policy issues often encompass a spectrum of positions. The advocacy groups, who detest their opposites, have common organizational interests in drawing bright lines. In contrast, many elected officials struggle to find a position in the gray area between the extremes.

    If these social policy issues are not binary, how, then, do you actually apply your rule in practice? Aren’t you applying a different rule to judge individual Republican and Democratic candidates because of the views of another Republican with whom they may both strongly disagree?

    Saying “I won’t support Republicans unless they are pro-choice and pro-gay marriage” seems to assume that these are binary policy choices, and to use political party as an imperfect proxy for policy position.

    • I don’t think Michael said anything like that.

      He stated that Akin’s line of “no exceptions” and his attempt to justify it with nonsense was a line he could no longer cross, especially upon learning that’s the party platform.

      The only difference between Mr. Akin and Mr. Ryan is that Mr. Akin tried to justify the policy. Mr. Ryan has supported Mr. Akin many, many times on that policy.

      The real question is, do you support that policy? And if so, how do you justify it?

  94. Alex Hillis says:

    I agree pretty much completely with Mike. I am an econ student at a school with a RIDICULOUSLY Libertarian perspective. While I don’t believe governments are evil in the way our department chair (Walter Block) does, I hate politics for all the bullshit slung around. Bravo Mike, I just don’t even vote.

  95. Alex P. Keaton says:

    Michael, I enjoyed your assertion that Clinton was a Republican. The same could be said for JFK. Three questions for you…

    First, marriage (atleast in our country but this also applies to the vast majority of the planet for the vast majority of human history) has always been discriminating in a number of ways. Specifically, we can only marry:

    1. One person
    2. Same species
    3. Opposite gender
    4. Non-relative
    5. Adult

    You are focusing lots of energy on #3 (apparently because you have gay friends) , but by your logic, it seems that you would advocate striking down all of the above, or atleast the first four, since they are all discriminatory. Is that the case? Afterall, there are people that love and have sexual relations with animals and siblings, just to name two. What if they want to take it to the next level and get married? Do you remain consistent in your argument or do you make an exception?

    Second, are Republicans and Democrats really that different on gay marriage? Wasn’t Obama against gay marriage until this year? Aren’t the stated positions of most Democrats (and Republicans) at the national level in opposition to gay marriage?

    Third, regarding abortion, at what point in our development as humans do you believe our lives should be protected? We know biologically that our lives begin at conception and that most abortions occur at around the 8 week mark when there is a beating heart and brain development is well under way. We also know that after we are born we still have plenty of development milestones remaining. Most pro-choicers that I know who are brave enough to offer a point in development will say at viability, but viability keeps changing as technology improves. What say you?

    • Matt says:

      Ooooh…. you religious folks are getting much better at this aren’t you? But, prepare to be shamed, once again, by actual science:

      Biologically life begins *before* conception… life begets life… Ovum and sperm are “living” matter produced by a “living” organism (haven’t you ever seen “Look Who’s Talking?”, those little buggers swim and talk and have their own personalities!) … Your abortion argument is weak because you are trying to use logic and science to support your moral preoccupation with fetal matter. Science and morals rarely mix.

      Death happens. Get over it. You will die. I will die. Some cellular mass of biological sludge will be yanked from a young womans womb and it will die in a stainless steel pan and be thrown away with empty syringes and not-so-empty adult diapers. Sometimes a sad medical choice, sometimes a for-the-best personal choice, sometimes shameful, irresponsible, and all-too-often choice… but always legal and within the rigths of the woman carrying. And all the while life will go on.

      The answer to your “when” question is simple. Birth.

      Do you know that some cultures believe that your soul enters your body only after you are born and take your first breath of air outside the womb? What makes their beliefs any sillier than yours or mine?

      • Mcbeese says:

        Yes, these are good points. Let’s also bring up the point that thousands of post-birth Americans have lost their lives in the Middle East because of bogus wars and support for money to be made from oil and the American War Machine.

        Romney/Ryan seem to have no problem with these unnecessary military deaths. Romney’s position for the wars in the Middle East is “Party on dudes – let’s do Iran next!” and Ryan’s budget position is that the war machine is untouchable – but cuts for social support for both hard working and jobless Americans at home is fair game.

        I think I’ve just figured it out. The Republican machine is against abortion under all circumstances because they’ve never been presented with a business case. They don’t know how to take it to their funders. All we have to do is show Romney how abortions make money for him and his ilk and he’ll turn into the leader of the pack.

        OMG… revelation… same with gay marriage! Nobody has put forward a business case!

        LOL.

      • Alex P. Keaton says:

        Matt,
        Sticking to the topic, ovum and sperm are lifeforms, but I was referring to a discrete human life. There is a difference. Our arm cells aren’t human lives. A fertilized egg is and I would challenge you to produce any piece of research that contradicts that. This is Bio 101. The idea that going down the birth canal suddenly results in a human being and the day before there was no human being is absurd at face value.

        One will always find cultures that have odd beliefs about just about anything, including ensoulment. In fact, even the early church (such as Aquinas) believed ensoulment occurred later – but only because of the erroneous science of the time. That said, let’s leave religion out of it. Abortion is a philosophical issue that deals with the protection of our lives and when that protection should begin. If you believe it is at birth then you are in disagreement with all pro-lifers and even most pro-choicers. That does not mean you are wrong but it does beg a defense of why you consider a full term child to be a life not worth protecting until it exits its mother.

        • You are confusing “life” in the form of 23 fully-formed genetic pairs with human life. It’s not human life. It’s life, but it’s not human. Otherwise, explain miscarriages.

          • Alex P. Keaton says:

            Dana,
            If it’s a life but not a human life, then what is the species? The prominence of miscarriages does not negate the life in the same way that high infant mortality does not negate that infants are human lives.

            A human life begins when a human sperm fertilizes a human egg. This seems to be fairly undisputed within science today. Rapid development occurs within the first few weeks, but continues not only for the remainder of pregnancy but for years after birth. To say that this life has no species for some period of time simply because it is not fully developed but becomes human later, whether upon exit of the birth canal or some other event, is arbitrary and seems to be going back in time to the science of the middle ages.

            The only way we will ever make progress in the abortion debate is to stop with the nonsense that it is not a human life in its earliest stages and simply recognize the harsh reality that if you are pro-life you are stepping on the right of a woman to pursue happiness AND if you are pro-choice you are stepping on the right of the unborn child to continue living. Whichever side you pick, you are infringing on the rights of one group or the other. So it becomes a great philosophical issue of which right takes priority – the right to live or the right to pursue happiness. And if this country cannot protect those of us who are the most vulnerable and defenseless, meaning all of us at the beginning of our lives, then where does that leave the role of our government?

    • Mcbeese says:

      Ok, Alex, I see you’re using the ‘toaster’ defense of the Religious Right, but let’s go ahead and explore that a bit with open minds.

      1. One person. I could see that changing in future. If a man chooses to have more than one wife, or a woman chooses to have more than one husband, I can see conditions where that could work. Provided that all are of legal age to consent and aren’t coerced by family or religious pressures, why not? I think some new regulation would be required to ensure the rights of individuals are protected, but not much more.

      2. Same species. The Religious Right loves this one. The problem with relations with other species is that civil unions, sexual relations, and (usually) religious marriage requires the legal consent of both parties. I don’t foresee that other species or toasters (on this planet) will be able to provide legally recognized consent, so I don’t see this ever happening. Stop worrying about it.

      3. Opposite gender. Our constitution mandates that we all have equal rights under the law, and that does not exclude civil union with the person of our choice. Our laws discriminate against same-sex unions, just as they used to discriminate in many ways based on race. It is time for this one to fall by the wayside, and it will. Resisting this change is just like resisting the rights of minorities to ride at the front of the bus or drink from the same water fountains. Change is underway and is inevitable.

      4. Non-relative. Separated from child abuse (the next point), there are medical reasons why this is a problem. In-breeding leads to a lot of problems, Republican births being one (sorry, couldn’t resist). Apart from that, I don’t see the big deal. If a brother and sister wish to become a couple, without breeding, what is the scandal? How does that affect anyone else? With the right regulation, including sterilization, I could see this becoming an option at some point in the future as our minds become more open.

      5. Adult. Civil union, marriage, and sexual relations all require consent from both partners in this country. A minor cannot provide legal consent and their parents cannot provide it on their behalf (to protect the minors from cultural and religious arranged marriages). Biological studies have shown that the portion of a minor’s brain that provides judgement for these kinds of decisions is still developing. The laws in place are not discriminatory, they’re reasonable and are for the protection of minors. I don’t see that changing.

      If you break down your list of points, it’s not so scary. If you apply logic and common sense, it’s easy to predict where we’re headed and what’s coming up in future.

      • Alex P. Keaton says:

        McBeese,
        I appreciate your honesty. I personally believe that the government should get out of the marriage business, call everything civil unions and let the churches decide which civil unions are marriages. If your church believes you can marry your sibling or pet then why should the government be stopping that?

        However, picking up on your thought of keeping an open mind, I think one of the big taboo questions of our age is whether same sex attraction / homosexuality is a sexual disorder. It was labelled as such until the 1970s (label removed for purely political, not scientific reasons) and there is a decent amount of research supporting the idea that being sexually attracted to members of your own gender, similar to being sexually attracted to children, is in fact a sexual disorder. Of course, the huge difference between the two is that the latter involves a child victim. However, if it truly is a disorder, especially one that is treatable, then even homosexuals are hurting themselves. Bringing this question up in public puts you at risk of being labelled a bigot by the brain-washed left-wingers. And that is what prevents meaningful progress from being made. Comparing it to the plight of women and blacks is an insult to women and blacks.

        I don’t disagree with your comments about all the lost lives due to our military overindulgence. That was one area where I had hope that Obama might make a difference. But aren’t there more men in Afganistan today than when Bush left office? The Dems and Repubs are pretty much the same on this issue. Ron Paul was the only true agent of change when it comes to our military. Too bad he was terrible at articulating it.

        Abortion kills a million unborn children every single year in this country. There isn’t an issue more grave than that, whether you are religious or not.

        • Mcbeese says:

          Alex, a couple of points to consider…

          The difference between science (including medical science) is that science is always learning and progressing, whereas religion likes to believe in what it has always believed in because that’s what it has always believed in. If religions says, “I don’t know” or “we were wrong” then people will question why they should follow it and – most importantly – why they should fund it.

          Pedophilia is a specific form of rape in which the victims are minors. In same-sex relations between consenting adults, there are no victims so it can hardly be considered a disorder, except perhaps in some obsolete religious contexts. Masturbation was also labelled a sexual disorder until Masters & Johnson discovered and revealed that literally everyone (in the order of 98%) does it. Don’t look backwards for the answers, look forwards.

          There are two reasons why i think it’s CRITICAL that our society STOPS persecuting same sex couples:

          1. I can’t accept that the land of the free – America – with all of the pain and learning we had to go through regarding racial equality – is so narrow-minded that we can’t apply those lessons to another similar human rights context.

          2. It hurts me to think about how kids in same-sex families might be affected by the hate directed at them and their family from ignorant and prejudiced people in their communities. Ask the kids who grew up in racially mixed families in the 60s and 70s if it was easy for them.

          • Alex P. Keaton says:

            If the analogy to mixed racial couples is true, then I would agree with your points. But is it? It’s hard to know with any degree of certainty whether gay relationships of today are closer to biracial relationships of 40 years ago or incestual relationships (think royalty) 400 years ago. My point is…why not do some actual research instead of relying on mere opinions?

            I’d also like to point out that the presence of a victim does not make something a disorder. There are plenty of disorders with no victim…unless you count the person with the disorder as the victim. (One could argue that the guy who has sex with a goat is a victim and needs help – for his own sake, not the goats’s. OK, maybe the goat’s too.)

            Finally, you stated that “religion likes to believe in what it has always believed in because that’s what it has always believed in.” That is simply not true. I’m not sure what your exposure to religion has been, but as a Catholic, I can say that the Catholic church has, on many occasions, made changes. The most relevant one to this discussion is the belief regarding when a human life actually began. Aquinas, relying on the science of his time, erroneously believed it began weeks after conception whereas the church later recognized that that was incorrect based upon advances in science. Further evidence would include their 21 ecumenical councils, the inquisition, etc. Religion, like science, is the search for truth. They simply deal in different realms and of course have different methods. Each has their rightful place. Each does screw up sometimes, but when you’re dealing with humans, such is the nature of things.

        • No. Abortion does not kill a million unborn children every single year. Children have minds, and children have lungs. An undeveloped fetus has neither. Or do you think God is a great murderer, because absent sophisticated medical science (the same science that enables abortion) miscarriage is incredibly common. There would be tens of millions of God-made miscarriages without medical science.

          So choose. Science or God. But if you choose science, you can’t play God over a woman’s body, because that collection of fetal cells is no more a baby than a fertilized chicken egg is a chicken.

          • Alex P. Keaton says:

            Dana,
            Actually we humans begin both brain and lung development inside the first six weeks post conception, which of course is prior to most abortions. The lungs are not fully developed until our 8th birthday and our brains continue to development well into our 20s. So at what point in lung (and brain) development do you maintain that we become children? Just curious.

            And just because most of us don’t make it out of the womb (miscarriage) does not lead to God being a murderer. Lots of fallacies in that assertion but in the interest of staying on topic I will resist.

            I will ask you the same question that most pro-choicers dodge: at what point do we as humans acquire the right to live? Is it at a point in our development or is more a function of the mother? Please be precise – as if you were making the rule.

  96. Eamon says:

    I think there are a lot of cases where the GOP has just been bought off as a way to allow various interests to get away with whatever longrun cost they’re imposing on the public. There are other countries (German, Japan) where they see a problem, rationalize a response, and actually follow through. Climate change, hydraulic fracturing… The only reason Natural Gas can be fracked-for is because they’re explicitly exempted from disclosure.

    There are a lot of examples where someone’s interest poses a massive risk to someone else’s and unfortunately, I see the GOP helping a lot of people get away with imposing a lot of costs on others. I think everyone who voted for Obama voted for a continuation of Clinton and, not surprisingly, this Presidency seems to be playing out in a very similar way. “Libertarianism” is the new term for common sense and I think if the Dems were more forceful in asserting the obviousness of their positions, they wouldn’t be cowed into playing the role of “socialist”.

  97. Tim says:

    I agree with you Mikey.

    And since you claim to be a fellow Libertarian, there is no dilema or problem here. Just vote Libertarian.

    Too many people do that whole tired “but I’d just be wasting my vote” thing. But, if we vote against your priciples and beliefs, just so you we can be on the “winning team,” wouldn’t that too be a wasted vote?

    Just my $0.02, and worth what you paid for it.

  98. Raunak says:

    Great post Mike! I think its time to give up partisan principles and follow the middle path. Rightist,Leftist attitudes have to give way to logical and humanitarian reasoning.

  99. Sueyq says:

    I am a peaceful voter and I am women and I have been raped and these comments that silly made showes me he does not understand any thing about the whole business of what goes though a womens mind at that time and what the body does!. All his comments were so off track. He just shows he is nuts and sorry, I will not vote for someone who is crazy to think he knows what he is talking about. Should I trust that brain to think and understand, and reason well. Now that is dangous. I Agree people are people and just stay out of their bedrooms. Give them the right to select what is right for their minds, body and hearts. I am for healthcare for every one. These on welfare make them do something for it. Put them to work some way some how. and yes test for drugs. have a finger scan to verify who is who regarding the food stamps. I don’t cotton to folks just sitting around for free. I am not lumping all republicans with this nut. however it seems to me that they have been running into bad situations,comments, thought of late. Now that does speak for them as a whole. What is going on in the collective minds of the group in general?(your are what you eat each day) but that is the end of the debate for me. not really into debates. just voicing my concern and thoughts ideas. cheers have a great day!!

  100. Jeff says:

    Michael Arrington for President!

    The BEST part will be seeing you ‘fist bump’ foreign dignitaries!

    Would you consider running?

  101. j--li@web.de says:

    I am European and so many things seem to go wrong in the US:

    – no/hardly any Gay/Lesbian rights
    – legal problems with abortion
    – guns (yes, I know you need more guns to defend yourself against the people who have guns…clever)
    – death sentence
    – privacy laws (see NY or all the anti-terror laws)

    We in Europe have, obviously, a lot of problems as well. But with regards to human rights, we are (at least in Central and Western Europe) 20-50 years ahead of the “most liberal” country in the world, the US.

  102. Mike Y says:

    Bottom line IMO: US is in bad shape and we may be naive to think that one person in the white house can change that. Especially since the two tickets are polar opposites in almost all of their views… its scary.

  103. Adam Hussein says:

    This post is amazing and more amazing are the comments. But social issues are the real reason why I am not a democrat.

    Government has the responsibility to protect its people. When liberal sexual behaviors are rampant, we are calling for the death of social structure and are hoping that makeshift role playing would suffice. Hopefuls (democrats) would accept this, but history has shown ill.

    As far as economy and public policy goes, both sides live in fantasy or ideology. Neither are any wiser. Very frustrating indeed.

  104. John says:

    Most believe education is key to solve a lot of our problems. Republicans promote choice, vouchers for private schools over failing public schools. Democrats, specifically Obama, rather see kids go to failing public schools. It was Obama who stopped the voucher program in DC.

    For those who talk about us needing to take care of everyone. Please read the constitution. It’s not the federal government’s job.

  105. art says:

    unsubscribing from your rss.

  106. jaizen says:

    Regarding your comment, ‘It just really makes me angry that someone feels so superior as to tell other people who they can and cannot love’, I wonder if the Republican stance is not so much as to who can or cannot love but more to do with the who can and cannot marry. The word marriage and its implications to society in general is the root of the issue, IMHO.

    Maybe someone should coin another word for marriage that would give them all the same rights under the eyes of the law while still keeping marriage for those who want it to be reserved as the traditional union. Why try to force the majority of people to change their fundamental view on what marriage is? Invent something different and use it for same sex unions. And would that be different from Civil Unions I wonder.

  107. jon c. says:

    Better late than never when it comes to figuring out what Republicans are all about, I guess.

    I never vote Republican precisely because their economic policies never work and because an ascendant Republican culture is too awful to contemplate.

    I suppose Libertarianism has an appeal if you are a wealthy tech business person, but it’s never made sense to me. I am not wealthy, won’t become wealthy, and don’t harbor any fantasies about becoming wealthy that might drive my political notions. Power and wealth accumulate within a minority whose interests are hostile and pose a threat to those of the great mass of people. Individuals, acting as individuals, cannot protect themselves from that threat. I see nothing in Libertarianism that deals with that.

  108. Andrew says:

    All the capital letters reminded me of something I wrote in January 2005.

    I’m a Canadian and our political parties have messed up names.

    The Liberals are fiscal conservatives, the conservatives are scary,the Bloc want to separate from the federation and the “Leftist” party is just wierd.
    Everyone hated our previous Liberal PM, but they still elected him 3 times in a row. The conservative PM before him was accused of mis-deeds and sued the gov. to stop the investigation.

    I think public education, health care and dental care are important things, things that a society should ensure for the whole society. I think that healthy educated people will make for a better society. We are wealthy societies in North America, we can take care of all our members. I think that speaking poorly of the poor is not very Christian. I think Jesus was very liberal.

    I think every member of society should have their minimun needs guaranteed. I think people on welfare should be given work, not to punish them, but to turn them back into productive members of society.

    I think people should be able to innovate and get rich and be able to retire young or even better continue to innovate. I think Bill Gates’ kids will be a lot better off with their limited inheritances than Paris & Nicole who will probably never contribute anything worthwhile to society. Capitalism is a truely great system, but I wonder if having a few huge corporations controling so much leave room for capitalism, getting bought by a mega-corp shouldn’t be the only way to get rich.

    I think that theocracy is wrong, church and state don’t mix well; not in the middle east and not in the americas; not with Islamic derivatives and not with Christian derivatives.

    I think this post is running on so I should stop.

    I’m a libertarian (1)(2), a repulican(1)(2) and a conservative(3)

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=libertarian

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=republican

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=conservative

    But I am not a Libertarian, a Republican and definitely not a Conservative

    http://www.lp.org/

    http://www.republicans.org/

    http://www.conservative.ca/

    Programmer often have to think about things, because the are presented with assumptions that are untrue. Thinking is habit forming, so even if they are not liberal, they are more likely to be supporting an idea/ideal than a dogma.

  109. Jeremy says:

    So does this mean you support polygamy and incestuous marriage? Cuz no one should “tell other people who they can and cannot love.” And does that also mean you support abortion at 8 months, 3 weeks? Seems logical, since it’s technically still a woman’s body and her womb, regardless of how developed the clump of cells becomes, right?

    This has to be one of your more puzzling rants. There are many reasons to support or not support various political parties, but your logic seems to have left the room on this one.

    • Libertarian EV Driver says:

      As long as it’s between consenting adults, it’s not the government’s or anyone else’s place to judge. The basic concept is “no victim, no crime”. Live free and let live free.

      As for abortion, this is a legitimate never ending debate, and it all depends on when you believe human life begins. Is a single cell (a fertilized egg) a human life? Most pro-choicers don’t agree with abortion after 3 months, and nobody wants to see more abortion. The irony of the matter is that the pro-life religious right (at least the extreme ones) are also against the use of contraception, and favor abstinence only education. It is proven that sex-ed that covers contraception lowers teen pregnancy rates, and therefore abortion rates, teens will be teens. Even the morning after pill prevents the egg from getting fertilized in the first place, but many of the religious types are opposed to it.

      • jerhad says:

        I was hoping to get Michael’s view on this, but at least you’re willing to admit, unlike almost all other same-sex marriage supporters, that the only way to support your logic is to favor all forms of union between consenting adults. Though I shudder to think of the impact on society when children are born into these anything goes arrangements on a large scale. I volunteer with at-risk children. Trust me. There are victims.

        You raised a strawman argument to answer the abortion question. I wanted to know when Michael believes his “line in the sand” should be drawn on abortion. You claim “most” pro-choice believe 3 months. Why? What is magic about 3 months? Science says conception is when life begins. There is no definitive answer here, or this wouldn’t be such a hot debate topic. But 3 months is an arbitrary timeline with no basis in science or philosophical reasoning on the genesis of human life.

        And the whole birth control debate is a farce. Unwanted pregnancy has skyrocketed with the invention of mass produced and cheap birth control and mass sex education. How is that possible? That shows this is a cultural cause more than a contraception issue.

        • Mcbeese says:

          “I shudder to think of the impact on society when children are born into these anything goes arrangements on a large scale.”

          You say that like you think everything is working so well in the hetero world today. Your closed mind won’t let you even consider that a same-sex household might be a better environment for kids than a teenage single mother, of which we have far more than we have same-sex couples. You can’t imagine that a same-sex household might be better than a household that can’t afford 1 child yet has 6 and counting. Ohh noo… things are great now but same-sex households will be a disaster!

          “Science says conception is when life begins. There is no definitive answer here, or this wouldn’t be such a hot debate topic.”

          Nonsense. Science does not say that at all. If the Mars Explorer finds an Amoeba or some sperm from a masturbating Martian, do you think they would report “Nope, no life here! Let’s keep looking!” Of course not. Life begins well before conception. What science does say is that the *development* of a *human* life *begins* at conception.

          “But 3 months is an arbitrary timeline with no basis in science or philosophical reasoning on the genesis of human life.”

          My understanding is that the development of the part of the brain that supports sensory perception begins at some point in the second trimester and that is the reason for the ‘line in the sand’. It is not arbitrary.

          C’mon, open your mind and take a look at the real world, not your fantasy world.

          • Michael Arrington says:

            great comment

          • Libertarian EV Driver says:

            Children raised in same-sex households are relatively well-rounded, successful, and open-minded. While there’s a much smaller sample of “multi-parent” households to study cases from, I would think such an environment has unique advantages for raising kids.

  110. cedichou says:

    Did Obama really increase spending?

    http://www.factcheck.org/2012/06/obamas-spending-inferno-or-not/

    Truth is: no.

    • jerhad says:

      Did you read your own link? Truth is: Yes, he increased spending, just not at an “inferno” rate as many have claimed.

      • cedichou says:

        The link’s conclusion is that a major increase in spending occurred before Obama took office, and that he did little to rein in spending (which would be devastating to the economy in a deep economic contraction, if I may add).

        My link is in response to Mike’s statements: “As bad as the bush congress was on spending, it was nothing compared to what’s happened in the last four years.” or “See, I don’t have to talk specifically about how destructive Obama and Congress has been to the long term health of the U.S. Because that isn’t what I’m talking about here” or “It’s clear to me that the fiscal situation in this country has gone from bad under Bush (they definitely spent like democrats) to something much worse and darker under Obama. ”

        So my link from Factcheck.org (a non-partisan a-political organization) could be informative to the author of this blog.

  111. Jeff says:

    Mike, You and I see the politics exactly alike. If I was just going to vote my wallet then it would be the GOP every time. But I just can’t get past their stance on social issues.

  112. Paul says:

    “It just really makes me angry that someone feels so superior as to tell other people who they can and cannot love.”

    And they do it to pedophiles all the time, nobody says a thing. It makes them angry when someone feels so superior as to tell other people what they can and cannot say.

  113. rustywheeler says:

    “In the past I’ve said that if the democrats could just take an econ 101 course they’d be perfect.”

    Hmm. Does the drop in spending under Obama not satisfy? Or do you disagree that it’s “real”?

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/06/federal-reserve-economic-data-chart-real-government-spending-obama-recovery.php

  114. just a few points that we miss when we don’t ask why (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_5W.htm) to find the source of the problem

    1. We as American citizens are more broad and diverse than just 2 parties or 2 mindsets. We need campaign finance and political reform. We have 2 parties that have highjacked our democracy and force all candidates to fall in line with 2 trains of thought/beliefs in exchange for financial backing. No PACs, SuperPACs, Lobbyists, or Unlimited Corporate Funding, or Political parties. Candidates should be able to run on a diverse platform that serves their true beliefs and not what their voter analysis tells them. We need to limit fundraising to the district of the Representative (we forget that’s what they SHOULD be) and the limits per person should be tied to a percentage of the national savings rate. Ah, you finally get to see your Representative and express your views on issues. Reps and Senators get off your a$$ and work for your districts and not the donors.

    2. We need term limits. In 1776, the average life expectancy was 33 years old. We have some people that have been in office longer than that! Congress and Senate positions were never meant to be professional careers. I have to think that the founders intentionally coined the designation a “seat” and not a “desk”. We have inaction and questionable judgement in our government because to fix some of the issues that we need to address are career suicide for some “politicians”. Implement term limits and remove the fear of corrective action.

    3. True accountability to the people. Right now money matters more than votes in politics. Absolute power corrupts absolutely! Elected officials need to have some power removed and decided on directly by the people through direct votes, e.g. moral, ethics, compensation and benefits, etc. Hey, if I controlled my own pay and benefits, then I would give myself and a raise every year and have a phat benefits and retirement plan as well, BUT that is not in the best interest of Americans when I work for Americans. I value the men and women of our armed services that put their lives and the well-being of their families on the line when they defend our country more than I do a politician that only works 7-9 months out of the years and gets paid 4-6x more. It’s a shame that we have vets coming home that will have their benefits eroded over time while Congressmen and Senators have some of the best benefit and retirement packages in the world. What ever happened to more risk and more reward?

    chew on those for a few

    • Mcbeese says:

      Wow, great post. I especially resonate with your second point. We need the same two-term limit that the President has, for the same reasons. Serving in Washington should be a tour of duty to support your country, not a career.

  115. When discussing economics and politics, the thing that always frustrates me is how easily people accept what they hear in the media, without independent thinking. Political parties, of course, take great advantage of this. Republicans don’t hesitate to use Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment out of context, and just yesterday I watched a video of Robert Reich declaring that Romney’s plan intends to “take away from the poor, to give to the rich.”

    My takeaway from this blog article, and it’s comments, is that there are still people who think independently, and recognize that so many (if not most?) important and contentious issues don’t have simple answers, and require careful thought and consideration of trade-offs. (Thanks Michael!)

    But we live in a democracy where the vote of one one person who makes up their mind about abortion or immigration over dinner and Fox News, has the same weight as the reasoning person who deeply grapples with these issues for years.

    When thinking about this, I always end up wondering if there could be any conceivable way to the collectively amplify the influence of the thinking minority, to create some counter-influence to the unthinking masses?

  116. Michael: I just want to thank you for a great post and a great thread. I have firm views on these questions, and maybe stated them too plainly in going through the comments. For that I apologize. Feel free to erase any comments you feel are not appropriate, or not worthy, or whatever. It’s your show.

    And a very fine show it is, too.

  117. Adam Smith says:

    Are you truly a Libertarian? I hear many people say they are but do not consider the impacts of Libertarian doctrine. For example, in reference to women’s health and gay rights and your statement – “The libertarian in me really comes screaming to the surface in these situations”. Are you implying that following Libertarian doctrine would fix gay rights and women’s health issues? How?
    Libertarianism would eliminate the government’s control over gay marriage (by allowing consenting adults to choose as they wish) and equal access to health rights (buy leaving it up to the health insurance provider). However, it would allow corporations, being individuals, to discriminate on any basis, including sexual orientation OR reproductive issues. There would be an overwhelming sweep of change through the corporate and private business world. Think what would happen if it was up to the board, or owner, of every company to determine whether they were going to provide birth control for women in their health plan, or if gays should be allowed to work at their company. Libertarian doctrine would allow this through the staunchly pro-private property and non-regulation stance. We would end up in a tiered society, where socially conservative companies are discriminating against “morally corrupt” issue and socially liberal companies are providing benefits to these individuals. The Libertarian in you is probably screaming “Yes exactly, then the companies would compete in an open market for employee talent, customers and business. Winner takes all”. But what happens if it’s the socially conservative companies that win? We’d have institutional discrimination with a Libertarian government that would not step in to regulate. Hence the need for government oversight to ensure that equal rights to all Americans (very bleeding heart liberal of me, I know). Government oversight on any level is inherently non Libertarian.

    • Libertarian EV Driver says:

      Free markets benefit companies that do not discriminate.
      An insurance company that chooses not to provide birth control would either have cheaper plans or fewer customers.

      The market is big enough to accomodate all kinds of companies.

      When the government throws money at stuff, they make it more expensive as more dollars chase the same goods. Examples: Education, Health Care, Housing.

      Gary Johnson is far more accepting of gay rights than Obama. Regarding Gay Marriage, Obama would leave it to the states (like it is now). Gary Johnson would embrace it at the Federal Level.

      “Government oversight on any level is inherently non Libertarian.”
      This is not true. The Libertarian Party is not Anarchist. It is more Classical Liberal “Minarchist.” I do wish Anarchists would just call themselves that instead of calling themselves libertarians. Maximizing individual liberty means you are free to do whatever you want as long as you don’t infringe on other people’s natural rights (don’t harm others or their property). Furthermore, one person’s right must never be another’s responsibility. Under such a definition, I do believe some regulation (within reason) with regards to pollution is acceptable. However it should be kept to a minimum, and most Libertarians resort to “Tort Law” when it comes to pollution. Things that do fall within the scope of government include prosecuting for Aggression, Theft, Fraud, and Breach of Contract. Did you know that federal prosecution for financial fraud is at 20 year lows under Obama? So much for being “the people’s” president.

      The current regime (Both Republican and Democrat) is full of Special Interests, Corporatism, and Corruption. It involves socializing the costs and privatizing the profits. This government is the reason the wealth gap is so big. Then there’s the fed which by its very nature transfers wealth from the people to the banks. In a free market, companies need to produce something of value to make money, they don’t just get it from government.

      Libertarians DO NOT believe in corporate personhood. If anything, crimes are committed by people, not companies, and there should be individual responsibility for them.

  118. WinDu says:

    I just find it mind boggling that Arrington sees the Republicans as the fiscally responsible party between the two. It stuns me that any rational American adult still buys the debunked stereotype of the GOP as thrifty after Reagan’s and Bush II’s actions. Both groups are fiscally irresponsible, so I don’t see how the real GOP, as opposed to the mythological one that thrives in America’s collective imagination, has anything to offer to libertarians.

  119. Jamal says:

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