Iowa, Cradle of the Restoration (plus poll)

By: wheatmeister
January 4, 2012

Eight votes.  That’s the narrow margin by which Romney won the Iowa caucus.  In essence, it was a 3 way tie between Romney, Paul and Santorum, each with 7 delegates.  Here is what Mitt had to say about it on his FB feed:  “Thank you, Iowa!  What better place than the heartland of America to start the restoration of America’s heart and soul.”  Too bad he couldn’t squeeze in “supernal.”

A few other interesting tidbits:

  • Perry is headed home and likely calling it quits.  Let’s see if he can remember where he left Texas.
  • McCain is going to stump for Romney in New Hampshire.  In related news, Hell records record low temperatures.
  • Bachmann’s out.  Not enough votes, not enough money, and evangelicals apparently prefer Santorum who hasn’t peaked yet.
  • Those who cared most about electability voted for Romney.  Also, those who prefer chablis to Budweiser.

Romney’s political spin aside, how do you interpret the Iowa caucus results?  Here are some possibilities:

  • Iowan Republicans care more about hating on Mormons than electability, hence the Santorum surge.
  • There are a lot of wingnuts in Iowa’s GOP, hence Paul’s placement at 21%.  (Sorry to the Paul lovers out there!)
  • Romney is unbeatable.  The GOP should know, since they’ve thrown up every possible non-Romney candidate to try to defeat him.
  • Gingrich is ready to go Yosemite Sam on Romney.  Unfortunately, Romney doesn’t have a history of serial adultery, so he’ll have to pander to the anti-corporation and anti-Mormon crowd or dredge up the blue state Governor bit again.

What’s your reaction to the Iowa caucus?  Let’s do a couple quick polls to see what you think is ahead for our GOP candidates:

How does the Iowa caucus affect Romney?

  • Big win. He didn't try that hard in Iowa, but it still paid off. (49%, 36 Votes)
  • No real impact either way. (41%, 30 Votes)
  • Crushing blow. He should have been further ahead. (10%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 73

Loading ... Loading ...

How does the Iowa caucus affect Ron Paul's chances?

  • It's irrelevant. He's a distraction. He's not mainstream enough to get the nomination. (86%, 60 Votes)
  • He's now a true, legitimate contender. He could get the nomination. (14%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 70

Loading ... Loading ...

How does the Iowa caucus affect Rick Santorum's chances?

  • He doesn't have the funding or credibility beyond social conservative issues to make it to the nomination. (41%, 29 Votes)
  • He's damn lucky Newt Gingrich flamed out or he'd be out of the race. This was lucky timing, but he's not strong enough to win the nomination. (37%, 26 Votes)
  • New Hampshire is the real test of Rick Santorum's ability to appeal to the entire party and get the nomination, and him doing well there will be an uphill climb with Romney's lead. (14%, 10 Votes)
  • Huge win. He'll do well in Florida and South Carolina and has a real shot at the nomination as the only true conservative left standing. (8%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 71

Loading ... Loading ...

How does the Iowa caucus affect Newt Gingrich?

  • He has no chance at the nomination and insufficient support; in his wounded flailing, he may hurt Romney's chances. (55%, 39 Votes)
  • Who? (24%, 17 Votes)
  • He could rally just yet. He's a savvy politician with connections and great debate skills. We haven't seen the last of him yet. (21%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 71

Loading ... Loading ...

What do you see in the future of the GOP primary?  Is Mitt going to be the candidate to face Obama?  Discuss.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

42 Responses to Iowa, Cradle of the Restoration (plus poll)

  1. Don on January 4, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Considering the field of wackos running in Iowa — a subset of a subset of American voters — Romney should have done much, much better.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  2. Will on January 4, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    First things first, somebody needs to send newt a bib, pacifier and an oversized diaper. What a cry baby!

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 7

  3. Stephen M (Ethesis) on January 4, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16386176 really says it all.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  4. Jeff Spector on January 4, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    Santorium’s the new Anti-Romney. Mitt’s going to get the nomination, barring some unforeseen issue that Republicans come out and say “we will not vote for that Mormon guy.”

    If it’s about being electable, Romney is it. If it is about pure ideology and Evangelicals, then Mitt has a problem. but then the Repubs lose to Obama, so it takes care of itself.

    The only chance the Repubs have is to put up Romney.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  5. Bob on January 4, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    If this were football, I see Santorum still in the game because of turnovers (not Romney’s). Romney just keep going off tackle, off tackle, off tackle. He controls the clock, but not going to win by big plays or scores.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  6. Ray on January 4, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    If an evangelical couldn’t win the state that voted 44% for Huckabee, Santorum doesn’t have a prayer. He might be able to compete in the South, in states that also have huge evangelical bases, but he has no shot anywhere west of the Mississippi or north of the Mason-Dixon line.

    Paul is too crazy – and his past would destroy him if he actually did get the nomination.

    Gringrich is an egomaniacal, petulant troll. His implosion was wonderful to watch, and I say that as someone who tries to be as charitable as possible.

    Huntsman was the best candidate in the field, but he had absolutely no chance in Iowa – and he knew it, so he didn’t really try all that hard. I think he’s positioning himself for the future – and doing a pretty good job of it, overall.

    Rommey will be the nominee – and he’s the only candidate who has a shot at attracting enough Independents to win the election. The real issue is how strong his party support will be in the general election – and any “believing” Republican who doesn’t vote for him when he’s running against Obama is a religious bigot, plain and simple. He probably will choose Christie or Rubio or someone similar as his VP running mate in an effort to be more palatable to the evangelicals. I don’t think he will choose Santorum, ’cause the guy’s national downside is HUGE, given some of the extremist things he said in Iowa. (As Romney said last night, Santorum ran a local campaign to win Iowa. I think it will backfire in states that aren’t so extreme.)

    The biggest problem for the GOP is that they need someone to talk conservatively enough to get the nomination but then run moderately enough to win the election – and for someone who already is dealing with a “flip-flop” label, that only makes it harder. They’re spiraling toward a party of fanaticism that values “ideals” over practical success – and they’re acting in a way that should cause Mormons to re-evaluate their over-whelming association with the GOP.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 9

  7. jmb275 on January 4, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Man, I just really don’t get the whole “craziness” surrounding Ron Paul. My conclusion is that we really are a war mongering, fear based people.

    I suppose we would rather a president that kept the drug war going full swing. One that would renege on promises to keep detainees unjustly, that furthers our ridiculous military spending, and maintains the multi-war front. Indeed, we must truly enjoy the invasion of privacy on the pretense of safety, etc. etc. Honestly, can someone please explain to me the difference between a GOP president and a Dem president in terms I can understand (I mean the practical difference)? Can someone please explain to me how in the hell we can expect change when we elect people who do the exact same things their predecessor did? Can someone please explain to me how Ron Paul is crazy? Which ideas are crazy exactly, and why are they crazy (details please)? Auditing the FED (we must prefer an agency with unlimited economic power with no oversight)? Ceasing war (we would rather continue our air raids against innocent civilians in foreign lands, permanent occupation in other countries, and spending billions each year on war)? Ending the drug war (far better to continue our overcrowding of prisons)?

    Seriously, the way some people make it sound the whole world would go to hell in a handbasket unless we had an overgrown central gov’t. Geez, Paul isn’t asking for anarchism, he’s asking for a downsize. Weird to me that a country with a strong hatred of mega-banks and powerful CEOs doesn’t mind a gov’t with the exact same qualities, more power, and an endless supply of corruption.

    On a more serious note, I think I do understand why some people view Paul as crazy. I think it surrounds the economy and his views on limited regulation. I think people have bought into the current economic theory (pseudo-keynesianism) hook, line, and sinker, and anything else is just outlandish. People have completely bought into punishing the wealthy and hating the 1% whether they acted nobly or not. In that climate, yes, I guess anyone who thinks we shouldn’t level a 75% tax on the wealthy is crazy. Someone who thinks we should put money in the hands of people rather than using the gov’t to stimulate must be crazy. Perhaps Austrian economics is bullsh!t, I’m not an economist. If that’s the case, then I have to wonder why we’re willing to elect a president whose economic theories we DO agree with, but who continues unjust wars, detains people illegally, continues invading privacy, etc. etc. In other words, we are willing to turn the other cheek to outrageous moral atrocities, and other moral issues, because we’re hell bent on maintaining that our current economic theories are more sound and are somehow rescuing us from the mess of corporatism. We don’t need Keynesian economics, nor do we really need Austrian economics, what we need is to remove corporatism. I see Paul as the only candidate who might do that (Obama and Solyndra anyone?).

    Re Paul’s past. What past? The racist remarks written *by someone else* in a newsletter he supported? So do you condemn him on negligence for racist remarks he didn’t even make? Fine, suppose he was negligent (consider that he did take *moral* responsibility for those remarks even though he didn’t make them. How many other politicians would do that I wonder). Look at Ron Paul himself. NO ONE in politics has a track record of anti-discrimination and equality like him. He is consistent. He is not racist in any way from what I can tell. His views have been against discrimination, and continue to be against discrimination with his position on homosexuals. Sorry, but I think condemning Paul for those remarks is terribly shallow. It’s worse than condemning Joseph Smith for treasure seeking.

    Sorry, I get my knickers in a twist over this stuff. The only real arguments I ever hear against Ron Paul are that he’s “crazy.” I NEVER hear anyone actually cogently attack his ideas. I don’t think Paul is perfect, but I think he’s one of two candidates who actually makes sense, is consistent, and would help our country. The other, and I agree with Ray on this, is Huntsman. I think Huntsman is brilliant. I’d note that Paul’s and Huntsman’s views aren’t that different when you listen to the debates. The biggest difference is that Paul’s been doing it for 3 decades or so.

    Re Ray-
    Love your last paragraph!!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  8. CatherineWO on January 4, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    I love your comments, Ray, especially about Gingrich. That he has come this far is testament to the short memory of the American voter.
    I was somewhat surprised that Romney did as well as he did in Iowa. I think he will get the nomination, run against Obama, and lose. The Democratic base is wobbling right now, with many criticisms of Obama and his pandering to the Republican House, but when faced with the choice of Romney and Obama, Democrats are going to support Obama. It will be even better for Obama if he trades Biden for Hillary Clinton as VP.
    2012 is going to be an exciting year.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  9. jmb275 on January 4, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Yep, more and more of the same.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  10. Paul on January 4, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Yep, pretty much played out as Jeff said it would….

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  11. MH on January 4, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Yes Steve, I think the BBC has it right–the republicans are all crazy–Mitt and Huntsman excluded.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  12. Jeff Spector on January 4, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Yeah i agree with Stephen and the UK article. I thought Catherine’s observations are also correct.

    Santorium, Huntsman and Bachman to some degree are positioning for 2016. I think deep inside most mainstream Repubs want Obama to have the White House if they can have both Houses of Congress. The economic problems will not fix themselves anytime soon no matter how much taxes get cut and the rich made richer. So why have have a repub one term president from 2012-2016?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  13. Will on January 4, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    As I have said in previous posts, Romney will get the nomination, but will lose to Obama for two reasons: 1) We have way to many people sucking of the government teet, who will continue to vote for those who will keep giving them handouts. 2) He is Mormon and that is a huge issue for most of the country, especially in the Bible belt. When faced with re-electing a European type socialist or a Mormon they will pick neither giving the Edge to Obama.

    Ray, love your description of Newt.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  14. Jeff Spector on January 4, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    I think the problem with Paul is that he does not have a realistic view of the implementation of his ideas. I do agree that many people can probably handle his ideas, but not the cold turkey way he expresses them. If we moderated his views with a reasonable timetable, it might be more palatable to many.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  15. jmb275 on January 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Re Jeff-
    Thank you for that more nuanced response. I appreciate that. I think there is a lot of truth in what you’re saying.

    But I would also say it’s primarily a function of the way the country has gone the last 10 years, and less a function of the way he says it. In other words, I think WE’RE the ones who are crazy, not him.

    Consider:
    - In 2006 the National Journal rated Paul’s economic views and theories as more conservative than 48% of the House, and more liberal than 51% of the House.

    - In 2008 the same Journal rated those same views (since Paul has adhered to Austrian economics for decades) as more conservative than 91% of the House and more liberal than 8% of the House.

    - In 2010 the same Journal rated his views as more conservative than 78% of the House and more liberal than 22% of the House.

    I think the problem with Paul is that he does not have a realistic view of the implementation of his ideas.

    Well, it’s kind of weird to say that though. His ideas are about not doing what we’ve been doing. Stop going to war, stop funding a massive military complex, stop the drug war, stop bailing out banks, stop the corporate favors and lobbying, etc. What is there to implement? I mean I’m being a bit facetious here, there are things to implement, but on the whole he is against most of the proposed solutions because they only exacerbate our problems and exceed the authority the Constitution grants lawmakers.

    Personally, I think this is the real problem. Americans want a solution. They don’t want to be told that the solution is to stop coming up with stupid solutions. Gov’t should fix their problems after all.

    Consider this Jeff. Pres. Obama, over the break, signed some pretty awful legislation, that I believe Senator Obama would have strongly denounced. But he assures us that he won’t ever take away due process from American citizens. The problem is that he won’t be president forever. Paul has consistently spoken out against the growth of executive authority including the increasingly powerful “executive order.”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  16. Ray on January 4, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    jmb275, I probably shouldn’t have said “crazy” when I meant “seen as crazy”. There’s a big difference, and my choice of words was sloppy. He has absolutely no shot at receiving any respect from the legislators and, therefore, actually accomplishing anything.

    That might be as much, if not more, an indictment of our entire political system at this point as it is about him, but I think it’s an accurate statement.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  17. Glass Ceiling on January 4, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Ron Paul has half of what both parties claim to want. It just depends on what half. But he obviously does not want the White House because he has told the nation that he wants to eliminate studen loans. Forget age 30 and under votes.

    So then why us he in it? To rail against the political failures of America and then fade into the sunset? Or is it to help Obama get a second term? Which?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  18. Ray on January 4, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Romney just got a late Christmas present from Rick Perry, who announced he is staying in the race and focusing on South Carolina. I bet Santorum and Gingrich are furious right now.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  19. FireTag on January 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    JMB:

    You can say that you can go “cold turkey” on war, but realistic implementation means you have to consider that the other guys aren’t about to go “cold turkey” regarding war with you, or make you collateral damage in war they make on others. The isolationism of Paul’s interpretation of the constitution may have made sense in the time of the founders, but it is not a realistic solution today.

    You can’t un-ring the bell, and redemption is painful to some people who are too innocent to have to bear that pain. Paul’s seemingly unwilling to deal with that complication. Did I really hear Paul say that he would not have intervened against Hitler in Europe until Hitler attacked American soil? If so, I’ll take that as evidence of stupid if not crazy.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  20. Bob on January 4, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    #19: FireTag,
    “Did I really hear Paul say that he would not have intervened against Hitler in Europe until Hitler attacked American soil? If so, I’ll take that as evidence of stupid if not crazy.”
    FireTag, America did not declare war on Germany after Pearl Habor. So Germany declared war on America.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  21. hawkgrrrl on January 4, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    jmb275: “His ideas are about not doing what we’ve been doing. Stop going to war, stop funding a massive military complex, stop the drug war, stop bailing out banks, stop the corporate favors and lobbying, etc.” But how do you go from expansive to skeletal government in a short 4 year term? How do you extract us from foreign entanglements (which IMO is bad policy to do) without further endangering us? We have done this so many times in the last 100 years, always with bad results that came back to bite us later (long after that president’s 1 or 2 terms). And on the bailouts, do you let the banks fail utterly? Do you do something a little more halfway? I agree with Huntsman on this that the key is restricting the size of these banks to pre-1990 levels. Until Paul can credibly discuss what is reasonable in the next four years, he’s just a crank who should hit the public speaking circuit, not a realistic rival for POTUS. That’s a fine line to walk in the nomination process, I realize. His ideas aren’t outlandish in the theoretical, just in the practical, especially since he would be inheriting from an Obama presidency.

    Ray: “Romney just got a late Christmas present from Rick Perry, who announced he is staying in the race and focusing on South Carolina.” Best. News. Ever. I really really hope he does some more Christian values ads. Perry’s got a bit more fire in the belly that SoCar will prefer to Santorum’s sweater vests, but ultimately, he’s completely unelectable in a national election.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  22. jmb275 on January 4, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Re #16 Ray-
    Thanks Ray. I gotcha now. I agree.

    Re FireTag #19
    I was with you up until

    The isolationism of Paul’s interpretation of the constitution may have made sense in the time of the founders, but it is not a realistic solution today.

    I just don’t get it. I get that it doesn’t make sense to just turn off all foreign aid, all alliances etc. overnight. I think Paul would be a fool to try and do that. But I don’t think he would do that. He’s not an idiot. In his long stint in Congress his MO has been to vote against bills that increase gov’t intrusion in our lives and our foreign involvement, while proposing sensible solutions. Notice that he didn’t propose a bill recently to abolish the Fed (an extreme solution), but to merely put some oversight on it (something everyone wants to do to big banks but not to the Fed who has the real power).

    The idea, however, that isolationism isn’t a realistic solution today is ridiculous. It’s the sensible solution. We can be generous, help the abused, and fight evil without declaring war and having permanent occupations on foreign lands.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  23. jmb275 on January 4, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Re Hawkgrrrl

    But how do you go from expansive to skeletal government in a short 4 year term?

    See my comment to FireTag above regarding the Fed. I don’t think he does want that. He espouses that ideal perhaps, but his MO has been to stop expansion, and propose sensible solutions to curb the expansion.

    And on the bailouts, do you let the banks fail utterly? Do you do something a little more halfway?

    If we HAD to give a bailout how about giving it back to the people, requiring them to catch up on their mortgages, or increase their savings? Banks were handed money with no strings attached. Was that money put to any better use than it would have been giving it back to the American people (or burning it or throwing it in a hole and burying it, etc.)? What about educating people about how to actually care about their finances (BTW what’s up with that? Who banks at BoA anymore with all their fees, and why? My bank doesn’t charge me any fees, why on earth would I stay with a bank that did where there are hundreds of banks and credit unions that don’t?)?

    I agree with Huntsman on this that the key is restricting the size of these banks to pre-1990 levels.

    Note that that doesn’t eliminate the problem. It just forces resources to go squirting out somewhere else. What led to these behemoth banks? I read an article written by a bank analyst (one of only a small handful that exists). These analysts are employed by independent agencies and are invited to banks to provide an analysis of the bank’s health, assets, etc. He was approximately the only one predicting the imminent failure of the banks and warning against the buying of bad debt. He was warning clients, investors, and other banks that this was all bad news. What happened to him? Scorned, mocked, belittled, and asked not to come back to most banks. Sometimes chicken little is just being chicken little. Sometimes the sky really is falling. Those banks should have failed, and brought down the house of cards it had built up. To help out the more innocent victims (who clearly did no research on banking institutions and trusted too many untrustworthy individuals), the gov’t could have then spotted them some extra cash instead of giving it to the banks.

    Until Paul can credibly discuss what is reasonable in the next four years, he’s just a crank who should hit the public speaking circuit, not a realistic rival for POTUS.

    Okay, which of these candidates is proposing something that you think will work? Romney is ready to pull the trigger on Iran the moment he’s sworn into office. He’s said we should put forth a hardline with China until they play fair. His economic plan is hardly different than Paul’s save Paul’s disdain for the Fed. He would let foreclosures run their course, he’s against unions, pledges to not raise taxes, wants to reduce regulation, etc. etc. Morally, he has pledged to continue the war on drugs, he’s against stem cell research, and is okay with our torture policy. He has committed to oppose gay marriage. Exactly which reasonable solutions is he proposing? And Obama? Damn, he just signed into law approximately the most heinous piece of legislature of his presidency, and had the nerve to qualify it by saying we need not worry because his presidency won’t ever suspend due process for American citizens. Really? I mean really?

    What I hear from candidates is the exact same BS we’ve been sold and has been implemented since Reagan (perhaps Clinton being a sort of exception). Romney’s economics aren’t much different than Paul’s, but everything else with Romney is the same old BS. If you only move one step forward for every two steps back you still move a net backward. At some point the addicted smoker actually does have to stop smoking!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  24. MH on January 4, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Those banks should have failed, and brought down the house of cards it had built up.

    JMB, such a statement seems to imply that the destruction of the banking system would destroy the banks, but everything else would remain untouched. Do you really believe this?

    Do you have a Netflix account? I encourage you to see Inside the Meltdown. When Lehman Brothers went down, the country of Ireland nearly went bankrupt–that’s just 1 bank. If Poulsen and Bernanke hadn’t stepped in, foreclosures would have been catastrophically worse in this country.

    The best line comes at the end.

    So Hank Poulsen, the happy capitalist, who has spent his life pursuing and defending free markets is now the biggest interventionist Treasury secretary we’ve had since the Great Depression.

    Yes, there should be a risk of moral hazard, but if the banks had started falling like dominoes, it would have been a financial Chernobyl. Despite the greed (and because of deregulation of the banking industry starting in the 1990s under Clinton), the government needed to step in and fix the problem to prevent a greater moral hazard to the economy. Those who proclaim that it would have been better to suffer through a 2nd Great Depression are deluding themselves as to how bad things could have really been.

    Do the Austrians actually follow this Austrian model of economics?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  25. hawkgrrrl on January 4, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    “Banks were handed money with no strings attached. Was that money put to any better use than it would have been giving it back to the American people (or burning it or throwing it in a hole and burying it, etc.)?” That was after we let the first one fall, Lehman Bros, and the fall of that was huge with lots of repurcussions. Do you then let AIG and others fall? The whole economy? Where do you stop? I agree that strings should have been better attached (things happened so quickly that there was insufficient thought put into it – for example, all companies essentially had to take the money whether they needed it or not, just to stay competitive; then there was no way to pay it back outlined). But you compound that problem if you try to give it directly to those who are defaulting on their mortgages. If they were a good bet, they wouldn’t have gotten into that problem either (nor the banks), but unlike the banks, you’ve then got hundreds of thousands of people with no way to pay it back and no accountability vs. just a handful of large institutions. “What about educating people about how to actually care about their finances (BTW what’s up with that?” You are preaching to the choir here, but is that the role of federal government? Of the president? Isn’t that for the education department to do? Wouldn’t libertarianism decentralize that also?

    I’ll go through Paul’s stances one by one to see what my other objections are.

    I’m not a huge fan of Romney’s stated stances to pander to the GOP. I believe his record more than his words. His record is that of someone who listens to both sides and who finds a pragmatic solution. He’s not an idealist. And that’s what I do find appealing. Personally, I think Huntsman’s ideas are slightly stronger. But Romney will problem solve in the moment, not just force an agenda based on ideology. Some say flip-flopper. I say pragmatic problem solver.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  26. hawkgrrrl on January 4, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    OK, here’s where I am on Paul’s stances, mostly in agreement in principle at least (but perhaps not in practice):

    - Non-intervention. Generally, I agree that we should be slow to be aggresive on foreign soil. But he goes too far in saying that we cannot be attacked and are essentially invulnerable. We are still absolutely vulnerable to terrorism. As I’ve theorized elsewhere, we overspend in the extreme to prevent terrorism. But IMO it’s impractical to be as isolationist as Paul would like. I agree that going to war in Iraq made no sense and wasn’t a direct strike on Al-Quaeda. It also didn’t have a clear emerging leader. In business, you don’t remove a leader who has no better successor or you often make the situation worse.

    - NAFTA. Abolishing it outright seems hasty, but I am also in agreement that we should be non-protectionist. Protectionism is populism.

    - Immigration. I’m not as strongly against this as he is. His stance feels a bit heartless to me given the current state of Mexico and our porous border. But I would not oppose him on these grounds.

    - DHS. I agree that the DHS is an out of control cost.

    - Osama Bid Laden. He disagrees with the assassination and says we should have worked with the (highly dysfunctional) sovereinty of Pakistan instead. That would simply mean Osama Bin Laden would still be alive, a beacon of hope to our enemies. I applaud Obama’s actions on this one.

    - Taxes. Wow, where to start here? It just sounds like fantasy from where we are today. Idealogically, I agree that government is too big and that income tax is questionable to an extent – but to eliminate it outright? Perry wouldn’t have to remember the 3rd agency he’d shut down. He’d only have to remember the 3 he’d keep! This is radical reform. Where do all those ex-govt employees go to work? How do we go from centralized police, infrastructure, national parks, education, etc., to private sector in the short course of 1 or 2 presidential terms? He’d have to plot a course that’s realistic. To say nothing of the opposition he’ll get from basically everyone.

    So, yeah, my objections to Paul are what I said. I would actually vote for him over another term with Obama (and I voted for Obama). But I think he’s a crank. I’m a crank, too, but you don’t see me running for president.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  27. FireTag on January 4, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Bob:

    Note the word “soil”. Hitler did not actually ever attack US soil expect for some sabotage efforts. We were heavily engaged in support of Britain and the USSR through lend-lease well before Japan hit us. My Dad was in the merchant marine and the Battle of the Atlantic was a real war.

    JMB:

    “We can be generous, help the abused, and fight evil without declaring war and having permanent occupations on foreign lands.”

    We did not declare war on Iran, but we did in November pass a law that imposes a ban on any financial dealings by anyone with Iran’s central bank. The EU just imposed similar sanctions, and, as a result, the Iranian rial is in free-fall.

    Iran just threatened the US against sending its on-station CV back through the Straits of Hormuz to its base in the UAE — which welcomes the Fifth Fleet’s presence. They won’t actually do anything in the Straits itself, but they WILL do something somewhere else to see that we share their economic pain. (What they won’t do is submit to the sanctions quietly, because their regime is too shaky internally to appear weak.)

    You certainly don’t have to attend every war to which you are invited, and it may well be sensible to stay out far more often than we do. But, as Spidey said, with great power comes great responsibility. It doesn’t automatically end well for us, or for other innocent people, just because we get out. Sensible solutions still leave messes for future generations.

    Warfare is a whole spectrum of grey, not simply a bright boundary between peace and war. We’ve been in that grey area continuously since — well, forever.

    MH:

    “Those who proclaim that it would have been better to suffer through a 2nd Great Depression are deluding themselves as to how bad things could have really been.”

    Unless, of course, we’ve only postponed it in a Versailles “apres moi, le deluge” sense.

    And, as long as we’re recommending netflix, you might look at a movie called “Margin Call” that gives some insight into how all of us, even those with the best of intentions, played into the fantasy that what we were doing wouldn’t come back to bite us.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  28. Douglas on January 4, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    JMB275, your comments on Paul rocked!

    It’s fun to watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh and hear either snarl and gnash their teeth at RP. Not “Practical?” As the past eleven years of Bush/Obama, running up 65% of our current federal debt, is somehow fiscal sanity? As subsidising an ever-growing underclass of the lazy, indolent n’er-do wells and the “hoochie mamams” that crank out more brats learning to do same? As in allowing the public payrolls to swell to the point where the only metropolitan area experiencing a real estate boom is Metro DC?
    Folks, are you not familiar with the concept that insanity is best defined as repeating the same futile course of action endlessly, each time expecting a satisfactory result?
    The only good thing about RP not being the winner in IA is that it saves the establishment the trouble of digging up another Arthur Bremer or Sirhan Sirhan to ventilate the good Doctor. I still say that if somehow RP is in danger of either the Republican nomination OR winning it all as a third party candidate that his longevity is in doubt. Too many oxes to be gored in a RP Presidency.
    Mitt is the best bet the Elephants have. Shame that anti-LDS bigotry is a factor. Yes, criticism him for either being too rich, or too flip-floppy, or question his effectiveness as MassGov…but sheesh, you gays and Evangelicals that get your knickers in a twist about an LDS man as POTUS…GET OVER IT. Mitt’s proven himself as a great manager and a man of integrity. Is that not what anyone with half a brain wants in a Chief Executive?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  29. FireTag on January 4, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Douglas:

    I think we can agree that the political class in the US, as it has done in Europe, has engaged in fiscal insanity. That does not qualify Ron Paul to be President. It qualifies him to be a policy wonk deep in the bowels of the Treasury Department, perhaps.

    The Republican establishment fears Ron Paul because they think support for him will deliver the Presidency to Barak Obama, which will definitely NOT end the fiscal insanity. The Democratic establishment LOVES Ron Paul because they think support for him will deliver the Presidency to Barak Obama.

    The major flaw of a lot of tea party favorites is that they think they’re winning.
    Michelle Bachmann just discovered she DID have to settle.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  30. Jeff Spector on January 5, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    I think the problem with all ideologues, and Paul is one, it that they can’t get from Point A, the idea, to point B, the practical implementation of the idea. They are so wrapped up in their idealogy, that they have no room for compromise. And, for what I can tell, Paul has no compromise in him.

    You see the same from the far left as well as the far right. They have no way way to get what might actually be a good idea to the table.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  31. jmb275 on January 5, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Re MH-

    JMB, such a statement seems to imply that the destruction of the banking system would destroy the banks, but everything else would remain untouched. Do you really believe this?

    Hmm, I thought my statement “bringing down the house of cards it built up” would imply everything else might come down too (though I don’t really believe that either). I think you’re stretching here in that accusation. This is the problem with people who are against libertarianism. All they see is the removal part of the equation (which hawkgrrrl harps on, Dan has harped on, you harp on, etc. etc.) probably because this is what libertarians spend too much time talking on (which I think is hawkgrrrl’s point). I’m not pretending bad stuff wouldn’t happen as a result of the bank collapse. I’m proposing that bailing out the banks (especially in the way it was done) was stupid, and as near as I can tell most economists agree. Handing the people that money would have been better.

    Let me put the question back at you. Do you really believe that handing over billions of dollars to already corrupt, ginormous, inefficient, greedy bastards was the only solution to our mess? We didn’t stimulate anything. We flushed money down the toilet. The Fed can do that because it has NO OVERSIGHT (something you have harped on regarding banks for quite some time now), so why wouldn’t you be in favor of oversight of the Fed? And that’s one of RP’s main goals.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  32. jmb275 on January 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Re Hawkgrrrl-
    I don’t disagree with your analysis. I don’t disagree that to pull the plug on so many things would be stupid. I don’t think that’s what Paul would do. I guess this is your complaint, that he doesn’t talk about what he would do. I think those are his ideals, but I don’t think he’s so stupid as to cut strings like that. Indeed, his record (if that’s what you believe about people, which I think is a good idea) is to propose sensible solutions WHILE simultaneously rejecting new expansive legislation.

    That was after we let the first one fall, Lehman Bros, and the fall of that was huge with lots of repurcussions. Do you then let AIG and others fall? The whole economy? Where do you stop?

    Fair question. But let me turn it around. What is the metric for “too big” or “too many repercussions”? How many people should lose their millions before we say “well the gov’t should step in now”? In an equally hyperbolic response I ask should we not let anyone fail? After all, if a single business fails there are repercussions to the economy. Where is the line drawn? The answer? There is no line!!! And as long as the Fed can print money willy-nilly there is NO NEED to draw a line. The result? Inflation tax on the poor. Either way the poor lose. I propose we help the poor directly (and that’s what Paul recommended – tax credits), not indirectly by keeping banks from failing. Prop up an industry by propping up the consumers, not the corporations.

    But you compound that problem if you try to give it directly to those who are defaulting on their mortgages. If they were a good bet, they wouldn’t have gotten into that problem either (nor the banks), but unlike the banks, you’ve then got hundreds of thousands of people with no way to pay it back and no accountability vs. just a handful of large institutions.

    Why don’t people have any accountability? We tax them? We have power to throw them in jail if they don’t? Why do banks have more accountability than people? Seems to me its simpler than that. If you give money to a person with the intent they will pay off their debts (most of them will is my guess), and they choose not to, they pay the piper. Isn’t that the way it should be? As to bailing out the banks, what happens when you don’t let people reap the consequences of their actions? Don’t we create the entitlement mentality? We have now taught a generation of bankers and insurance mega-corporations that if they get too big (a reward) and they blow it, they will get a handout (another reward). WTF??

    There’s a fine line between “help” and a “bailout.” We crossed that line.

    He’s not an idealist. And that’s what I do find appealing. Personally, I think Huntsman’s ideas are slightly stronger. But Romney will problem solve in the moment, not just force an agenda based on ideology. Some say flip-flopper. I say pragmatic problem solver.

    I absolutely agree with you, which is why I’ve expressed that I’m okay with (though I don’t prefer) Romney. But I also admit there is a time when pragmatists are no longer the right solution, and an idealist is needed. I think we’re quickly approaching that line. Clearly pragmatism has failed us in the last 3 decades. Obama is a pragmatist (which I love about him) but at the end of 3 years, it’s really a disaster, and getting worse! BTW, my biggest complaints about Romney are foreign policy and his other non-economic ideas.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  33. jmb275 on January 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Re Hawkgrrrl #26-

    Generally, I agree that we should be slow to be aggresive on foreign soil. But he goes too far in saying that we cannot be attacked and are essentially invulnerable.

    Hmm, I don’t know what you’re referring to. I’m not aware of Paul saying we are invulnerable.

    But IMO it’s impractical to be as isolationist as Paul would like. I agree that going to war in Iraq made no sense and wasn’t a direct strike on Al-Quaeda. It also didn’t have a clear emerging leader. In business, you don’t remove a leader who has no better successor or you often make the situation worse.

    But that’s not really the issue. There’s a clear downside to occupying a country for a decade and trying to rebuild it in our own image. Not only have we reaped that downside, it hasn’t really worked like we’d hoped. The real question is would the consequences we have faced (trillions in spending, lives lost, and an inadequate outcome) better than not doing anything? Just in terms of the measurable, we have lost more lives and money in taking our revenge on bin Laden, and putting a new gov’t in place in Iraq than we did in 9/11. And that doesn’t count the innocent civilians we’ve killed in those countries!! Do you believe that the mere threat of terrorism is worth the price we’ve paid?

    Immigration. I’m not as strongly against this as he is. His stance feels a bit heartless to me given the current state of Mexico and our porous border. But I would not oppose him on these grounds.

    Yeah, I vacillate on immigration. Something needs to change. Either give everyone amnesty or implement Paul’s solution. I’m really okay with either. I don’t think his position is heartless, just organized. He favors legal immigration.

    Osama Bid Laden. He disagrees with the assassination and says we should have worked with the (highly dysfunctional) sovereinty of Pakistan instead. That would simply mean Osama Bin Laden would still be alive, a beacon of hope to our enemies. I applaud Obama’s actions on this one.

    I definitely disagree here. Bin Laden should have been brought to justice, even if that included death. He should have been tried. I guess I wax a bit idealist when it comes to taking lives. Besides, it’s not clear to me that killing him has removed the beacon of hope (seems like we ought to know that from our own Mormon history).

    Taxes. Wow, where to start here? It just sounds like fantasy from where we are today. Idealogically, I agree that government is too big and that income tax is questionable to an extent – but to eliminate it outright?

    Why? Income tax is just one tax of many. He opposes it on idealogical grounds because it implies the gov’t owns our labor. He favors excise taxes or tariffs. I guess I don’t see the difference. Half dozen of one, six of another! The gov’t gets its money either way, but income tax takes choice out of the hands of the people (you only own part of your labor), whereas an excise tax allows us to choose how much we consume.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  34. jmb275 on January 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Re FireTag-
    Well, there’s no way I can compete with your knowledge of foreign affairs. So I’ll have to concede your points. Ron Paul believes sanctions are an act of war. I actually don’t agree with that, so I think the sanctions are okay.

    You certainly don’t have to attend every war to which you are invited, and it may well be sensible to stay out far more often than we do. But, as Spidey said, with great power comes great responsibility. It doesn’t automatically end well for us, or for other innocent people, just because we get out. Sensible solutions still leave messes for future generations.

    Weird for me to hear someone say “it may well be sensible to stay out far more often than we do.” I really have to question whether the consequences of our involvement are really better than if we stay out. Again, Paul (and I) think we should go to war sometimes, but only under attacks on our own soil.

    Regarding other innocent people, I personally think we should increase foreign aid in the form of private charities who receive tax credits at home rather than participating in air raids (an act of aggression), or selling arms to foreigners (a shady area at best). Not sure about Paul.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  35. FireTag on January 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    JMB:

    Sanctions cause pain; specifically, they are DESIGNED to cause pain to common people so that they will use whatever power they have to force the government to change policy. Think of it as non-lethal (or, more accurately, reversible) terrorism. But if you have ever been a personal victim of either sanctions or a deep loss of economic prospects, you know that there is going to be a great deal of pain to common people before government officials are going to yield. Iran does shoot people who protest too much.

    How much relevance does private charity have to people who are being massacred because they’ve decided they’d rather risk death than continue to be oppressed? What is the responsibility of the Good Samaritan if he arrives on the scene WHILE the robbers are still beating the man? What if the Samaritan is, instead, a Roman military patrol?

    People who die as the results of our actions are exactly as dead as those who die of our inactions. All we can do is try to make the best call we can of the choices history sends our way, with full knowledge that we don’t know all of the factors guiding other players’ decisions or the feedback loops involved.

    For example, suppose Iran did assert the power to close the Straits of Hormuz BUT THE US REFUSED TO ASSURE THE WORLD WE’D FORCE IT OPEN AGAIN? No “attack” by Iran; just a form of sanctions. Do you think the euro could survive the oil shock? Do you think the collapse of the euro wouldn’t do enough to change the equation election here until we had a government that WOULD fight. Do you think the damage to the economy from the fight itself wouldn’t have world-wide effects — apart from the lives lost in the combat itself?

    Yet, allowing Iran the bomb means that other regional actors probably find themselves in life-and-death positions, and THAT produces an incalculable set of potentially ugly feedbacks, too.

    If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you may not appreciate the magnitude of the problem. :D

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  36. jmb275 on January 5, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    FireTag-

    How much relevance does private charity have to people who are being massacred because they’ve decided they’d rather risk death than continue to be oppressed? What is the responsibility of the Good Samaritan if he arrives on the scene WHILE the robbers are still beating the man? What if the Samaritan is, instead, a Roman military patrol?

    I don’t know. It’s a good question. Personally, I think we have a moral obligation to help, but not necessarily an ethical one. But you see, the tables in this conversation have turned. You’re the one waxing idealistic now, and I’m gonna respond with a practical “yes, but are the consequences of our involvement less than if we stay out”? You’re calculating the economic problems of closing a strait, but ignoring the economic cost of opening it back up. The question is, is the cost of opening back up the strait less than the cost of the sanction. Maybe it isn’t, and perhaps then we should act. If preventing genocide in Africa means WWIII and we have a nuclear holocaust, it might be best if we stayed out of it! I admit it’s a tough question.

    People who die as the results of our actions are exactly as dead as those who die of our inactions.

    Surely you believe there’s a difference though, yes? Killing someone, and preventing someone from being killed are radically different things when it comes to assigning responsibility (which is really the issue here). I’m not a big fan of assigning blame as a result of negligence generally (there are exceptions when there is stewardship or implied responsibility which I don’t believe we have at the world stage), so I personally think inaction is preferable to action.

    All we can do is try to make the best call we can of the choices history sends our way, with full knowledge that we don’t know all of the factors guiding other players’ decisions or the feedback loops involved.

    Agreed. I suppose this makes me even more wary of our involvement. I for one don’t believe folks in the Middle East want a democracy. I have friends from Pakistan and they firmly believe a gov’t built on Islamic law is essential. I doubt they’re the only ones. As much as we think we’re saving people all the time, I’m not convinced. We are meddlers, and blind to that reality despite the world telling us so (literally).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  37. FireTag on January 5, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    JMB:

    My point is that we ALWAYS have to MAKE the calculation.

    “Surely you believe there’s a difference though, yes? Killing someone, and preventing someone from being killed are radically different things when it comes to assigning responsibility (which is really the issue here).”

    No, surely I don’t. There are a whole bunch of psych experiments (some, I think, even with accompanying brain scans) that indicate that there ARE two fundamental, deeply held bases of morality in humans. One decides on the basis of action or inaction, preferring inaction as more moral even to the point of preferring several people to die through inaction rather than “pulling the trigger” on one person actively. The other makes the opposite choice.

    As for me, I don’t know if I would have the mental fortitude to pull the trigger myself, but I am sure I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.

    Your point about the preference for Islamic law is real. I would point out that democracy is not equivalent to separation of church and state, and we’d better hope for a modern Islam to take hold in place of fundamentalist Islam, or there will be a long standing war of civilizations, because the West, Africa, India, or China will not willingly go back to a fundamentalist Islamic view of the world.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  38. Bob on January 5, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    #35: FireTag,
    I can think of 4 or 5 nations that can/will keep the oil moving with arm forces.
    If Iran want to throw the bomb, let them. We can destroy their infrastructure in about a week killing only a few of them.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  39. jmb275 on January 5, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Re FireTag

    No, surely I don’t. There are a whole bunch of psych experiments (some, I think, even with accompanying brain scans) that indicate that there ARE two fundamental, deeply held bases of morality in humans. One decides on the basis of action or inaction, preferring inaction as more moral even to the point of preferring several people to die through inaction rather than “pulling the trigger” on one person actively. The other makes the opposite choice.

    I grant you the scientific argument, and raise you a philosophical one ;-)! This is a utilitarian mindset. Killing one to save two lives may or may not be the moral thing to do. It seems to me a deontological argument might be that not killing is the right thing to do.

    We need to be clear on what we’re talking about. The person who does nothing is not responsible for the deaths of the others even if the moral thing to do would have been to kill the one (unless perhaps one has stewardship). That’s where I’m coming from with my argument against negligence. If America has stewardship over the world then the blood of victims stain our hands if we do nothing. But that’s different than having a debatable subjective moral obligation to help them. I claim we have no stewardship, hence our obligation is a subjective moral one. And personally, I think there are shades of nuance between authorizing an air raid on a sovereign gov’t utilizing our jets and our military, and providing weapons and training to aid others in their own fight. I’m not sure I like either option ideally, but the latter is at least preferable to me.

    As for me, I don’t know if I would have the mental fortitude to pull the trigger myself, but I am sure I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.

    I agree with you, despite my argument above. That is, I would pull the trigger. I do think the moral thing to do is kill the one to save the several. But I don’t necessarily think that’s “right” thing to do, just what I would do.

    I would point out that democracy is not equivalent to separation of church and state, and we’d better hope for a modern Islam to take hold in place of fundamentalist Islam, or there will be a long standing war of civilizations, because the West, Africa, India, or China will not willingly go back to a fundamentalist Islamic view of the world.

    I hear you. I agree. Although just because a democracy doesn’t require separation of church and state doesn’t mean that that very thing isn’t the source of their problems. In other words, I think it is necessary for them to become more secularized (at least the gov’t) to become more peaceable. That might not hold for every religion, but for Islam I think it does. Do you not agree?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  40. FireTag on January 5, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    JMB:

    On your last point I do agree. There is going to be friction between religions, but even in the modern West we can’t be confident we’re so “civilized” that we’ve committed our last genocides, let alone our last massacres.

    As to your philosophical point, responsibility has to do with guilt — which is something God, through evolution IMO, has given us like pain and pleasure to minimize the stupid things we do until we develop enough info about feedbacks to judge more wisely. Consider it an attempt to try to childproof the planet. :D

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  41. hawkgrrrl on January 5, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    jmb275: I’m not going to address all of your points because ultimately I think we would both support Paul in a general election if he’s the nominee, so this is just a discussion of the finer points and degrees of agreement.

    “We have now taught a generation of bankers and insurance mega-corporations that if they get too big (a reward) and they blow it, they will get a handout (another reward).” This doesn’t work this way with corporations. Corporations either compete or fail. They learn from their mistakes or they die. Corporations aren’t people, my friend. Many of the greedy bastards being discussed were sacked. Giving the money to the people directly is wealth redistribution. Do you just give them amnesty or do you make them pay it back? What about people who can barely cover their debts? There’s a line to draw there also.

    “What is the metric for “too big” or “too many repercussions”? How many people should lose their millions before we say “well the gov’t should step in now”?” It’s not, IMO, about people losing their millions. People who invest will lose money, sometimes a lot. The line is where there will be a domino impact that will bring down a large scale economic collapse.

    “In an equally hyperbolic response I ask should we not let anyone fail?” We should absolutely let most fail. I’m not even convinced saving Lehman Bros would have been the right thing. We should only intervene out of absolute necessity. That’s why I agree with Huntsman that size matters. Restrict the size of the banks, and no one is “too big to fail.” If anyone is too big to fail, they should be regulated to smaller size.

    “As much as we think we’re saving people all the time, I’m not convinced. We are meddlers, and blind to that reality despite the world telling us so (literally).” Four years ago I agreed. I voted against everything George W. believed in as much as I voted for Obama as a result. Yet, no intervention is going too far. Inaction has consequences just like action does. I don’t believe we are still blind to the consequences of our interference as some claim. On the contrary, we’ve been eating humble pie in various forms since 2009 and as a nation, I see us searching our souls on this question.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  42. FireTag on January 6, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    This Washington Post article from this morning gives an illustration of just how sanctions have to bite ordinary people in order to influence policy, and how the policy response isn’t always toward compromise.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iranians-brace-for-war-as-feud-with-west-reaches-critical-point/2012/01/05/gIQA8oygdP_story.html

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

Archives

%d bloggers like this: