Saturday, October 21, 2006

Some Good News for Republicans

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame has voted Republican:

“As I mentioned before, the Republicans don't really deserve my vote -- though as Bob Corker hasn't been in Washington that's not really his fault -- but nonetheless the Democrats have blown it again. Not long ago I was thinking that a Democratic majority in Congress wouldn't be so bad; but the sexual McCarthyism from the pro-outing crowd, coupled with the Dems' steadfast refusal to offer anything useful on national security, has convinced me that they just don't deserve a victory with those tactics. That's not Ford's fault, either, really. But I just don't think the Democrats are ready for a majority right now. We'll see how many other voters agree.”


A number of Instapundit’s complaints are admittedly legitimate. I am not even going to try defending “earmarks.” Still, the harsh reality is that the GOP is the only game in town. The Democrats too often act like a bunch of immature children not ready to handle the responsibilities of adulthood. Am I possibly exaggerating the importance of Reynolds' decision to support Bob Corker? No, I don’t think so. He speaks for numerous independent voters. I predict that the majority of them will also vote Republican. This should be minimally a decent year for the Republicans. There is still an outside chance of them picking up two U.S. Senate seats.


terrye said...

Voted Republican did he?

Well that was really big of him after his knife in the back and laundry lists of incessant complaints.... most of which would not have been issues if certain bloggers with egos the size of Michael Moore's ass had not gone off the deep end in the first damn place.

Luther said...

Well said Terrye. Why didn't he come to that conclusion before his little premortem. Maybe it was all a ruse so he could feel better about himself.

Rick Ballard said...

Now Terrye, that's just not nuanced - I heard that he carefully split the ticket. He's obviously a man of very deep convictions who hews to his business model with great precision. Did he mention the model of the car he drove or the model of the camera used or how well his new printer works? Those are the real marks of dedication to idealism that distinguish him from a disc jockey accepting payola.

Oh, and did he bash earwigs? That's of cosmic importance because elimination of wasteful spending amounting to .00000012 of the total is going to bring the budget unto balance in only... 4,325 years and six months!

It's a very brave man who's willing to take on government waste - a man of true vision. Like Ross Perot.

I'd check for myself but I just don't give a damn about what he says about anything anymore.

Coisty said...

So even former Bushbot Reynolds is now critical of Bush. Miracles never cease. I guess his schoolgirl crush on the great Commander-in-Chief is over. If even Reynolds can wake up to reality then maybe there's hope for The Anchoress (assuming of course that those internet rumours about her really being Ken Mehlman aren't true).

I'd check for myself but I just don't give a damn about what he says about anything anymore

Yeah, he was so much better when he was wetting his panties over Bush's Thanksgiving trip to Iraq. I wonder if he's still berating the MSM for not reporting how great the Iraq war is going. Ha!

chuck said...

So even former Bushbot Reynolds is now critical of Bush.

Reynolds is a libertarian. The rest of your rant is equally ignorant.

Rick Ballard said...


Wouldn't a libertarian focus on reducing the budget rather than turning earmarks into a sex toy? I've never seen Reynolds write a single word about touching social spending and that's where you get the largest waste, fraud and abuse. The second place is subsidies and I don't recall him writing much about those either.

He may claim to be a libertarian but his earmarks crusade marks him as somewhat less than serious it. Guns, sex and dope may be fun to write about but are they central to libertarianism?

I would have thought that choking revenue gathering would be central. Reducing the governments share of the GNP would seem to be a reasonable method of quietly reducing its power. Pointing at earmarks is just frivolous.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

"the Republicans don't really deserve my vote"

No one really does deserve the vote of Oz, the Great, the Terrible.

chuck said...

Guns, sex and dope may be fun to write about but are they central to libertarianism?

Libertarians are hard to pin down. The radical ones are, IMHO, nuts: roads should be privately built and financed, folks will naturally behave themselves if left to run free, and government has no business in setting social limits. I don't think Glen is over there among the radicals.

Anyway, I would place Reynolds as a former centrist Democrat, moving to independent, who favors gun rights, is a social libertarian, and thinks congress should spend less. He is certainly not a Republican. As to spending, I don't see where he has taken positions on the big budget items, such as Social Security and Medicare. Perhaps he hasn't thought much about them. Earmarks are just low hanging fruit, perhaps the political equivalent of "broken window" policing, serving to set the tone.

Truth to tell, I am not so much concerned with a person's politics as I am with their ability to speak reasonably and not run off into ideology, slogans, and rants. I think Glen passes that test, nor do I feel any particular animosity towards Pajamas.

There are always going to be disagreements, often exacerbated by misunderstandings. How they are dealt with is important. There is no need to divide over every issue that arises, especially since politics is the art of acting in concert. And a vote is a vote.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


I think your remarks on Reynolds are spot-on. He doesn't really have the courage of his convictions. He hews to the center (i.e., avoids any criticism of social programs) because, like Bush, like any good politician, he knows that that's where most people are. He doesn't want to lose readership. Anything too radical will always lose readership, even if it's the right thing to do.

Ultimately Reynolds is an academic. He likes to think, he likes to write, he likes to show off his intellect, but he doesn't really like to do. And even when he's calling on other people to do, he doesn't really want them to do too much. Too messy really.

Charlie Martin said...

Oh, for crying out loud. Reynolds doesn't claim to be a Republican (as I recall he's a registered Democrat, or was one) and he worked for the Clinton campaign in '92. He doesn't owe the Republicans any loyalty, and his points in the "pre-mortem" were good point. It's not a knife in the back to say them.

The fact that he voted for Corker even though he personally liked Ford and wrote the pre-mortem, because he decided the Democrats didn't deserve his vote, is kind of significant, don't you think?

Charlie Martin said...

He may claim to be a libertarian but his earmarks crusade marks him as somewhat less than serious it. Guns, sex and dope may be fun to write about but are they central to libertarianism?

Having been involved at the inception of the LP, I'd have to say "well, yeah".

Rick Ballard said...

"is kind of significant, don't you think?"

A little less than the significance of Ross Perot or Donald Trump's utterances. So, sure, they're significant - just not very.

What is the libertarian stance regarding societal duty towards the helpless? Or is societal duty a non-valid construct? I can understand defining "liberty" as "being able to do what I damn well please whenever and wherever I want" but I'm really unclear as to how that might apply to those incapable of caring for themselves.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


I think that's a pretty fair analysis of Reynolds's beliefs, and a good example of why the usual labels are so nonsensical. "Right" and "left" and "center" are bad enough but "libertarian" is all over the board.

Clearly an item of central belief for him is gun rights, a topic to which I am pretty indifferent. I think this is the central bone of contention between him and the Democrats, the sticking point which has caused him to look in other directions politically. There isn't really any place that fits him anymore. As the baby-boomers have taken control of the country, the Democrats have clearly become the party of the New Left, albeit with ongoing support from the unions and the black vote that they have been able to take for granted for generations. The people running the party don't really care much for workers or blacks except to get their votes. They aremostly upper-middle class or ultra-wealthy people who, having had all their physical needs satisfied by the wonders of American capitalism, are now in desperate need of some sort of sense of purpose in their lives. The New Left is and has always been rather rigidly ideological. Guns bad, environment good, etc. There's a laundry list, we all know what it is, and nearly every single item on it was decided back in 1969. There hasn't been any room for discussion or thought since.

The Republicans have become, of necessity, the party of everybody else. Maybe they always were. Surely they were never historically the party of make-everyone-read-the-Bible-5-times-a-day which they are usually caricatured as these days. Naturally this disparate group of everybody else doesn't agree on everything. But anyone who disagrees with any point whatsoever on the laundry list is excommunicated from the Church of the New Left, and so is left with the queasy feeling of having to bond together with a bunch of people with whom they don't necessarily have much in common. So with Reynolds and gun control, Catholics and abortion, Roger Simon and the Iraqi War.

The fundamental cause of this alienation is the increasing rigidity of the Democratic party. That has occurred because of a religious change which swept the country in the Sixties, much like the "Great Awakening" of yore. Among many of the ideas which came from the Sixties was the idea that you can "save the world" through political action. In fact, it was seen as one's moral duty to do so. Essentially what occurred was the elevation of politics to the altar of religion. What I prefer to think of as the "political religion" became the religion of choice for a generation. Well, half of a generation. Now that generation is running things.

This religious change was later reflected in such things as "liberation theology", which was merely an adjustment to an already extant religious belief by the Catholic church, a classical and time-honored practice dating back centuries.

Most of the froth among non-New Left bloggers which has occurred in the last few months is merely the natural irritation which occurs when a number of people with little in common are thrown together more or less by accident and against their will. The Republican party is the lifeboat of the Democrats' Titanic. Naturally there is lots of chafing and attendant sniping.

chuck said...

What is the libertarian stance regarding societal duty towards the helpless?

Again, hard to pin down. Heinlein, who in many ways was a libertarian, felt strongly about societal duties. From patriotism, serving in the military, to giving blood and raising children. He often told this story:

In my home town sixty years ago when I was a child, my mother and father used to take me and my brothers and sisters out to Swope Park on Sunday afternoons. It was a wonderful place for kids, with picnic grounds and lakes and a zoo. But a railroad line cut straight through it.

One Sunday afternoon a young married couple were crossing these tracks. She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free. Her husband stopped to help her.

But try as they might they could not get her foot loose. While they were working at it, a tramp showed up, walking the ties. He joined the husband in trying to pull the young woman's foot loose. No luck --

Out of sight around the curve a train whistled. Perhaps there would have been time to run and flag it down, perhaps not. In any case both men went right ahead trying to pull her free. . .and the train hit them.

The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and did later, the tramp was killed -- and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself.

The husband's behavior was heroic. . .but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that's all we'll ever know about him.

But Heinlein was from an earlier age, a Prairie Libertarian, if you will. I don't know exactly where the current crop comes from.

chuck said...

The Republican party is the lifeboat of the Democrats' Titanic.

Heh. I like that.

Rick Ballard said...


That should be a post by itself. The next party platform will determine the viability of long term control by the Republicans. I believe it has to be much shorter and much more focused than the current platform. Given that the evangelicals have no place to go, the only point that needs to be granted to them is a promise concerning court appointments. I think that a promise to reduce governments share of the GDP to 17% would probably satisfy most smaller government voters.

The WoT issue will probably be moving out of view by '08. If I'm reading the not so subtle signals correctly we're going to unload the security issue onto their laps right after the election. If the elected government doesn't show the will necessary to crush the insurgency then I would expect that the Iraqi army is going to take the initiative.


Thanks for the reminder on that story. That's the blend of stoicism and attention to duty that I drew from reading Heinlein - at least his work prior to about '65.

Charlie Martin said...

What is the libertarian stance regarding societal duty towards the helpless? Or is societal duty a non-valid construct? I can understand defining "liberty" as "being able to do what I damn well please whenever and wherever I want" but I'm really unclear as to how that might apply to those incapable of caring for themselves.

Well, saying "the" libertarian stance is about as meaningless as saying "the" Republican stance, especially when it's small-L, not the Libertarian Party. But I think it's fair to say that libertarians in general believe that those incapable of caring for themselves ought to be protected against people trying to impose their will on them. Beyond that, there's a pretty broad spectrum.

Charlie Martin said...

Re: Heinlein, it's also worth mentioning that while he believed strongly in sociatal responsibility, he also believed in freedom from being forced to engage in "responsibility": he was, for example, against conscription.

Oh, on the biusiness about pre- and post- 65, it appears that he and his second wife, Leslyn, were active nudists and had an open marriage in the late 40's ... so his "libertarian" tendencies toward sex have a much earlier provenance than most people think. (See also For Us, the Living, where sexual jealousy is treated as a mental disease requiring hospittalization.)

Rick Ballard said...

A schizophrenic should be free from any coercion regarding medication? A crack addict should be free to sell herself in order to feed the monkey?

Who picks up the bill for all the liberty when the schizophrenic gets ahold of a gun and follows the voice's directions? Who raises the crack baby after mom dies?

Those are relatively simple negative externalities for which I've yet to see a libertarian accounting. I suppose I should try reading Popper again. Maybe he's not as close to Rousseau as he seemed on the first pass.

loner said...

Just a thought...

Maybe it's because we're getting on in years.

...another one from an earlier generation...

A generation which ignores history has no past—and no future.

...and another from a younger one...

I found it hard it's hard to find
Oh well whatever nevermind

terrye said...


I am not a Republican either but consdiering the fact that Glenn Reynolds busy man that he is went out of his way to piss me off I would hate to disappoint him.

Besides his list was his list, everbody has got one. But most of us don't think we are important enough or psychic enough to be making premortums on a lost election that has not even happened yet.

Harriet Miers, puhleaze.