Why Libertarian Kids, Not Drones, Scare McCain and Graham

Jennifer Rubin—WaPo’s token conservative—said it perfectly:

McCain lost his cool with Rand Paul and sounded like the old man down the street screaming to the new kids on the block, “Get off my lawn!”

The real reason McCain and Lindsey Graham embarrassed themselves on the floor of Senate had nothing to do with what Rand Paul said. Rand Paul's ideas terrify McCain, Graham, and most of the Republican establishment.

Those Troublesome Libertarian Kids

McCain and Graham sit at the top of the Republican hierarchy that thrives on protection money from crony capitalists. (See more on crony capitalism here.)

Senator John McCain complains about appealing to libertarian kids

Young libertarians are the closest thing to conservatives coming out of the Millennial generation. If the GOP is to play a role in the 2016 election, it must attract every possible Millennial libertarian.

That puts establishment politicians like McCain and Graham in a precarious position between two competing interests: small government libertarians and big money crony capitalists.

The Conflict That Divides The GOP

These crony capitalists aren’t evil. Neither are the Republicans who enable them. They all believe in American exceptionalism. They invest money and time and energy to keep America great. They honestly believe that America’s strength depends on companies producing wealth. On that point, they’re right. Where they go wrong is cause and effect.

Republican crony capitalists believe that corporate profits are the source of American greatness. Libertarians and tea party conservatives believe that corporate profits are the rewards of American greatness.

(Democrats, by the way, believe that government is the source of American greatness . . . if they believe in American greatness at all.)

Republican Crony Capitalism Can’t Survive On Its Own

Crony capitalists feel they must invest in politicians who will protect and promote their business interests. Those business interests, in turn, create jobs for people, donate funds to improve their communities, fund non-profit charities and schools, and guide politicians on good policy. These are noble activities that benefit all of society.

Over the years, though, these civic investments – increasingly through donations to candidates -- have become less noble and more self-serving. With the rise of profit maximization and shareholder value thinking, corporations treat government and politicians like vendors.

Investing in good government should improve business conditions by promoting a stable economy in which free market capitalism flourishes. Crony companies, however, expect a measurable and direct return on investments for their companies and shareholders alone. The rest of the country be damned.

If those profits made it back into the economy through more jobs, higher wages, and capital investment, things would be better. But they don’t. Even conservative Forbes magazine recognizes that businesses today hoard cash rather than reinvest. Blame “uncertainty” if you will, but don’t overlook the shareholder value mentality that dominates business and finance today.

Crony capitalists accept more regulation and taxes because they think it will give them an advantage over their competition. They trade their independence (and risk) for targeted tax breaks and protected markets. This cycle repeats itself election after election, and each time the government comes out more powerful and corporations more dependent.

This cycle has repeated so many times that corporate dependency on government now threatens the balance of power between people and state. The financial collapse of 2008 demonstrated that big government and big business have grown too large to stand on their own. They lean on each other like weary heavyweight boxers in the 15th round of a brutal championship fight. If one falls, they all fall.  And we get crushed.

What Libertarian Kids Want Threatens the Establishment

Libertarians realize that it was never supposed to be this way. More importantly, we’re pretty sure that America would never have become great had he started out like this. This was, after all, how Europe worked in the 18th century, as mercantilists pandered to nobles and royals who, in turn, granted mercantilists permission to do business, protected their businesses from competition, and collected handsome taxes from their profits. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was, in part, a criticism of European mercantilism. So was the Boston Tea Party.

A libertarian solution to the mess politicians and corporations have made involves untangling the knots that bind government and business and banking together. It means that each Congress reduce the loopholes in law and taxes meant to coerce business behavior, eliminate regulations designed to change behavior toward some ideal, and reduce tax rates on businesses.

But that solution threatens a lot of people’s jobs.

Republican establishmentarians rose to power through this quasi mercantile system. They didn’t run on the idea of getting government out of people’s ways. They ran on getting government to favor their constituents, sometimes by holding back someone else’s constituents. Freeing business to thrive or die on a level playing would eliminate the skills that lifted McCain and Graham (not to mention Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, McCaskill, and Obama) to the top. And they’ll fight like hell to keep their power.

The Democrats practice crony capitalism more effectively than Republicans. While their constituencies might be different, the process is the same. Taxes and borrowing raise money that government distributes to favored groups and companies. Taxes and regulations coerce people to trade with those favored companies and organizations.Public education and green energy are two prime examples of Democrats driving economic behavior to benefit friends.

Still, McCain and Graham know that libertarians pose a bigger threat to their power than Democrats. The two big parties play the same game. Libertarians don’t.

The Public-Private Partnership Generations Are Dying

Just before the 2012 election, a poll showed that younger Millennials describe themselves as economic conservatives and social liberals. Their older Millennial siblings describe themselves as economic and social liberals. But both groups show a distrust of both government and big business.

If the GOP had convinced these younger voters that the party believed in limited government and economic liberty, in 2012 it might have eaten into Obama’s youth vote of 2008. Instead, the gap between the parties widened. We have to ask why.

The reason, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, is authenticity. Establishment Republicans don’t really believe in limited government and economic liberty. They say they do, but they act differently. And younger people see the hypocrisy. Given a choice between Democrats who honestly profess their love of unlimited government power and Republicans who talk about limited government and free markets but don’t really live it, kids go with the party that at least says what it believes.

(Yes, I know Democrats lie all the time, and I’ve blogged about that ad nauseam. But on their fundamental belief in the near-miraculous power of government, Democrats speak the truth. You have to give them that.)

At the other end of the age spectrum, older voters vote Republican—not conservative or libertarian. They want government to increase entitlements, for instance.

These older generations include the last of the WWII generation who grew up during the New Deal and raised families during the massive government programs of the Cold War. Behind them is the Silent Generation which revered (and envied) their WWII elders, becoming the bureaucrats and regulators doing the grunt of government’s growth. The Silents implemented the Great Society programs, the War on Poverty, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. They were young teachers who conducted air raid drills, and they were the first to grasp the power of television. They believe in group work.

Then come the Baby Boomers—those too young to remember FDR’s death. They didn’t trust government to tell the truth, but they never complained when government did their bidding. Boomers were less statist than WWII or Silent generations – after all, Bill Clinton signed off on welfare reform – but they believe government can be molded into a force for good.

Generation X—those too young to remember Kennedy’s assassination—rallied to Reagan’s most famous maxim: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Gen X is the tip of the libertarian spear, and it’s the generation that’s just reaching the pinnacle of power in business, government, education, information, and entertainment.

As I’ve said, the next generation, Millennials – those too young to remember the Challenger Disaster—are split. As generational historians Strauss and Howe point out, Millennials are much like their WWII great-grandparents. They believe in the power of groups and teamwork. They believe in working together to overcome obstacles. But they may not believe government should force people to do things. We see this in their attitudes toward the war on terror and their increasing drift toward libertarianism. Most compelling, Millennials support federalism when it comes to marijuana laws.

In a nationwide poll that asked whether the federal government should respect state laws on marijuana or enforce more draconian federal law, seventy-four percent of Americans said the feds should respect state law. But 81 percent of Generation X wanted the feds to stay out of states’ business.

With their patriotic embrace of business and careful defense of entitlements, establishment Republicans are the natural allies of WWII and Silent voters. But those generations are dying fast. Nearly 10 million of them died between 2008 and 2012. The 2012 presidential election was the last for 11 million more.

There will be no more Gen Xers or Boomers to swell the ranks of older Republican voters. The last Xer was born during Regan’s first term. The only way the Republican party can grow, then, is by attracting Millennials.

Embracing Libertarian Views Will End the Old Republican Establishment

“The country need more Senators who care about liberty,” Senator McCain said Thursday. “but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”

There it is. Those libertarian kids and their vision of open, honest, limited government that does what it’s supposed to do—what we’ve authorized it to do—and nothing more.

Those damn libertarian kids in their dorm rooms who want to own their own lives instead of borrowing one from the government of Barack H. Obama.

Those libertarian kids with wacko-bird ideas like leaving businesses to compete in a fair and open marketplace where everyone plays by the same rules, faces the same risks, and benefits from the same economy.

Those libertarian kids who want America to go to war only when our liberty is at stake and only when we’re willing to fight for the unconditional surrender of the enemy. (And that’s not very often.)

McCain and Graham and the establishment—Republican and Democrat—fear libertarian kids more than al-Qaeda or Iran.

For a century, but especially beginning with the New Deal in the 1930s, the government has imposed restraints on everyone—some more so than others. Managing those restraints is what the establishment does best. It makes them rich and powerful and supports their fabulous lifestyles.

Those libertarian kids who terrify McCain and Graham want to grant equal liberty to everyone. Libertarians would, over time, remove the government shackles from our ankles.  McCain and Graham, Obama and Pelosi, and all the restraint-keepers will have to find something else to occupy their time.

Rand Paul’s filibuster sparked the imagination in those libertarian kids. Imagination leads to stories, and stories, sometimes, become reality.

If the GOP survives, it must become more libertarian, younger, and authentic. It must look more like Rand Paul and less like John McCain.

And that’s a horror story to McCain and Graham.

This Is The Infographic That The Whole Republican Party Is Freaking Out About

The 3 million McCain voter who didn't vote for Romney didn't stay and they didn't vote third party. They died. To survive, the GOP needs to stop being afraid of Millennials and tell them truth: they can move out of mom and dad’s house, they can drop out of school, they can quit their dead-end job with the idiot supervisor. But they can’t get away from government and debt.

Read More

Did Lloyd Smith and Jo Ann Emerson Plan This All Along?

In an open Republican primary in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, a solid conservative would beat an establishment "my turn" Republican, hands down. And the Missouri GOP would hate it.

That’s why I smell a rat.

Would you be surprised to learn that Jo Ann Emerson and Lloyd Smith had this switcheroo planned months ago?  You have to admit that the timing is suspicious:

  • Emerson wins a certain re-election
  • Smith announces he's stepping down as Missouri GOP Executive Director
  • Emerson announces she's resigning to become Queen of Lobbyists
  • Missouri's GOP Establishment breaks hips to tell reporters "Lloyd Smith's our man!"

This is exactly how the Republican establishment does things.  They think the people of MO-8 are too stupid to pick the right candidate in a primary, so they make backroom deals  to appoint a deal-maker for them.

Shenanigans.

If that’s what’s going on here, It’s disgraceful.   Missouri’s 8th deserves better, but I've heard from sources that Emerson waited to announce her resignation until Smith was confident he had the votes among 8th District Republican committeemen and committeewomen to cost into the job.

You think Lloyd Smith tats will be the rage at SEMO next semester?

I’m sure Mr. Smith is a good guy. I have nothing against him as a person, and I'm sure he's done some good for conservatives in his career.

I’m also pretty sure it’s his turn. Just like it was Mitt Romney’s turn. And John McCain’s. And Bob Dole’s.  And Gerald Ford’s.

America doesn’t need the next guy in line, and the GOP can’t afford another me-too, milquetoast faceless name in Congress.

At a time when the GOP desperately needs to energize some young people and excite its conservative base, I find it unfathomable that anyone would even mention Lloyd Smith.

Energy? Leadership? Charisma? Action? Accomplishment?

As Missouri GOP’s executive director, Smith failed to flip a single statewide office in 2012 even with Romney winning 54% of the vote.

Moreover, Smith was frozen by the Akin fiasco, doing nothing to contain the damage. He couldn’t keep Republicans from bashing Akin, and he couldn’t get Akin to gracefully exit.

You Can’t Squeeze A Union Card Between Lloyd Smith and Jo Ann Emerson

Smith was Jo Ann Emerson’s chief of staff.  That’s about the most damning thing one can say about a Republican operative.

Jo Ann Emerson’s specialty has been handing out your tax dollars to businesses and unions who hand them back to her. How fitting that she resigns from Congress weeks after being re-elected to become a lobbyist for one of the beneficiaries of Emerson’s crony capitalism gravy train.

John Fund at National Review writes:

In her congressional career, she often shied away from stringent budget-cutting measures and privately deplored bans on earmarks. In 2011, the National Journal found that she was only the 200th most conservative member of the House.

And remember, Lloyd Smith was her chief of staff. Here’s a few more highlights of Emerson’s miserable Washington career:

So why has the liberal Emerson kept her job in a very conservative Congressional District?

Incumbency.

And, if there was backroom deal to replace Emerson with Smith or some other party boy, it’s because there’s no way Smith would win an open primary.

But once he’s in, he’s in for life.

I hope grassroots conservatives in MO-8 put a lot of pressure on the 80 Republican Committeemen and Committeewomen. The GOP will throw a lot of favors, offers, and promises their way to get the appointment they want.

This will be a test of whether or not the Tea Party has any clout at all in Missouri.

Obama the Reckless

On Saturday, the United States suffered its highest human lost since the Afghanistan conflict began.  At least 38 elite, brave American warriors died in combat. Flasback to May 23 of this year. That’s when Barack Obama made the surprise announcement that he would begin accelerated troop withdrawals in July.  That timetable meant beginning the withdrawal during the summer fighting season.

Current and former military experts advised the president against this reckless move. People who understand war knew that the President would place lives unnecessarily at risk for his own political gain.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, testified to the House Armed Services Committee:

The president's decisions are more aggressive and incur more risk than I was originally prepared to accept.

General David Petraeus, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, testified to the US Senate:

The ultimate decision was a more aggressive formulation, if you will, in terms of the timeline than what we had recommended.

(source: The Telegraph)

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called the President’s decision “an unnecessary risk” and asked him to reconsider (The Daily Beast).

Then Defense Secretary Robert Gates justified the decision, saying it was based on the political situation in the United States, not the military realities on the ground in the theatre.

In the end. Mullen and Gates admitted that the decision was the President’s and the President’s alone. That should make it very difficult for Obama to pass the buck on this one. Still, you know he’ll try.

Eternal rest grant unto them o Lord, and let the perpetual light shine on them. May their souls and those of all the faithful departed, through Your mercy, rest in peace.

Steve Tilley vs. Fiscal Responsibility

Four men risked their political lives to help solve the problem of our lifetimes, but they forgot to massage Steve Tilley’s monstrous ego. When John McCain (R-AZ) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) agree with Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh, you can bet the issue is beyond debate.

In this case, the issue is the massive U.S. debt and what that debt is about to do to America.

McCain compared the U.S. situation to Greece and Spain, saying we should prepare for a “fiscal meltdown.”

Roy Blunt, meanwhile, said raising the debt ceiling without hard measures to cut spending would be “simply reckless.”

Has Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley gotten the message?  Apparently not.

Tilley is threatening to knee-cap the spending deal struck by Missouri Senators Lembke, Nieves, Schaaf, and Kraus designed to wean Missouri off Washington’s teat.

According to the News-Leader.com:

And Tilley said the House won’t put too much weight on what he believes the Senate wants him to do.

“I’m not going to be held hostage by a few people,” he said.

Of course not.  Not unless the hostage takers are billionaires.

The Post-Palin Electoral College Map

Sarah Palin will push 9 toss-up states into McCain's camp (from left to right):

  • Nevada
  • Colorado
  • New Mexico
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • Indiana 
  • Ohio
  • Virginia
  • Florida
This will give McCain the Electoral College victory in November, 300 to 238. 
The Palin-Effect works two different ways:  Rough Rider Admiration and Strong Woman Identification.  This estimate and projection is based on analysis of detailed polling data from Gallup and Reuters.  The terms Rough Rider Admiration and Strong Woman Identification are my own. 
Rough Rider Admiration
In Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan, Indiana, and Florida, men and women who admire rugged individualissts, the outdoors, sports, and that Ronald Reagan stump-clearing ideal will trend to Palin.  This trend will be driven by admiration more than identification.  
Strong Woman Identification
In New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia, identification with a strong woman will be more prevelant than the Rough Rider effect.  This move will take longer to emerge.  Visible migration in the polls won't occur until after the Vice Presidential debate in St. Louis on October 2.
Risks
The risks to these theories are, in order of likelihood:
  • Obama can neutralize the Strong Woman Identification effect by dumping Biden for Hillary Clinton.
  • McCain could subdue both effects by hiding Palin or limiting her exposure
  • A poor debate performance by Palin could neutralize her Strong Woman Identification
Since Thursday, several prominent Democrats have indicated that Obama may be considering dropping Biden from the ticket and adding Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential running mate.  Biden is a very weak VP candidate who damages Obama's campaign with idiotic speech almost every day of the week.  If offered the deal, Hillary might well declining fearing the move would doom Obama's campaign.  
Already Obama has abandoned his "campaign in every state" promise to concentrate on several key battleground states:  Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Colorado.  That's admission that Sarah Palin has striken panic in the hearts of his campaign team.  

The Starkest of Contrasts

We've all heard John McCain's horrible experience in Vietnam.  I've never before heard him tell it. What strikes me is the enormous contrast between him and Barack Obama. 

John McCain has lived a noble, heroic, remarkable life.  Barack Obama's read about such things.

John McCain left it all on the battle field, then in a POW camp, then in hospitals where he gave his all for his country.  Barack Obama took everything he could get his hands on:  money from a convicted slum-lord felon, street cred from bigotted America-hating minister, political favor from a convicted anti-American terrorist. 

John McCain thanks God for his meager skills as an orator.  Barack Obama regrets he isn't even better than he is.

John McCain is a man.  Barack Obama is a boy.

McCain - Palin Rally in O'Fallon, Missouri, Is Still On

We're getting ready to head out to the McCain Rally in O'Fallon, Missouri.  I just checked with the campaign and the rally is still on.  John McCain is stopping in New Orleans to check on hurricane preparations before the rally, so I wouldn't be surprised if it starts late. I'll have photos and a report on the events this evening.

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Palin Pick Energizing the Right **Update**

Conservative spirits soared like roman candles three times in my life:

  • Ronald Reagan's emergence in 1980
  • Newt Gingrich's Contract with America in 1994
  • Sarah Palin's selection as McCain's vice president in 2008

Besides the math (each event exactly 14 years apart), Palin's selection could change the face of politics in America for a long time.

Yesterday, I hurriedly outlined some of the instant wins from McCain's brilliant move.  With 24 hours of reflection, this game-changing decision produces even more positives.

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Changing the 2008 Election

For this year's election, adding Palin was like the Colorado Avalanche adding Ray Bourque in 2001.  With this move, McCain scored a hat-trick of priceless political goals:

  • Solidified all aspects of the right: evangelicals, 10th Amendment philosophers, family-first pragmatists, 2nd Amendment patriots, economic conservatives
  • Opened the wallets of Americans who had been hedging their bets
  • Wiped the DNC Convention off of the news instantly and forever

Such an inspired political move deserves praise and academic celebration.  This one will be examined in college political science studies for decades.

Wowing the Press

This move said you don't have to be anti-American to be young, energetic, intelligent, and political.  Since the fall of 2007, the media have been telling young people and political neophytes respond only to young, ultra-liberal, America bashing rabble rousers.

Palin is Reagan conservative who pulls the young because she exudes youthfulness, energy, and independence.  Like Reagan, she bucks the Republican party's idiotic tendency to crawl back to its Eastern Seaboard Country Club past.  She's not a Rockefeller, thank God:  she's one of us.

I've been watching conventions and their aftermath since the 1976 election cycle.  I figured out some time ago that it's not what the party or candidate says at the convention, it's what the media say about them that causes bounces.  Even though Obama's speech was one of the worst in history, the media--almost all Obama donors--fawned over the speech as the new Gettysburg Address.

Palin made those reporters drop their Obama stories and start digging on her.  What they found shocked them.  Even the New York Times online front page is wholly positive:

  • Choice of Palin Bold Move with Risks [link]
  • Palin, an Outsider who Charms [link]
  • Defining Sarah Palin [link]

The entire page above the fold is devoid of Obama's name, probably for the first time in a year.

Defining the Future

McCain may have permanently altered the course of the conservative movement in America, the way Ronald Reagan's speech at the 1976 RNC convention did.  Palin, known only to conservative wonks and Alaskans before Friday, jumped to mega-star status by Friday night.  Her actions are quickly becoming legendary, particularly among women.

  • She stayed on the dais to participate in an energy meeting for 30 minutes after he water broke in April 2008
  • She won the state high school basketball championship playing point guard with a broken ankle
  • She is an expert rifle shot and hunter
  • She defeated an incumbent Republican governor
  • She told Congress to get lost when it tried stick a bridge to nowhere in her state
  • She manhandled oil executives
  • She went to Iraq when it wasn't safe to visit her Guardsmen, not to politic

Avoiding major errors, Palin has skyrocketed ahead of Bobby Jindal of Louisiana as the Next Big Thing from the right.  Even if McCain loses (which is increasing unlikely), Palin is here to stay unless she stumbles badly.

My guess is that she'll wipe the floor with Biden, if Biden even debates her.  Her quick, sharp jabs will wear him down while he tries desperately to land a knock-out blow.  The Barracuda, though, is young and energetic.  Biden could be her lunch.

Conclusion

Taking well-calculated risk, McCain has changed the course of politics in America for at least 14 years.

**Update**

Ed Morrissey finds a Democrat who agrees that the Palin selection is massive strategic windfall for McCain.

Did McCain set Obama up to fall into this trap?  If so, then perhaps that more than anything demonstrates how poor a candidate Obama is and how much more masterful McCain can be.  Would you rather have the man who set the trap dealing with our enemies abroad, or the man who fell into it?