A Tale of Two Paul Ryans

Paul Ryan

As a libertarian, I approve of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential choice. Naturally, I expect this statement to inflame a certain subset of the movement - but to those of you who are invested in mainstreaming libertarian thought, particularly within the Republican Party, I hope you’ll consider why the Ryan pick is actually a victory for us - on an intellectual level.

The reality is that we’re contending with a tale of two Paul Ryans. The Paul Ryan that I like, and encourage other libertarians to embrace, is Vice Presidential candidate Ryan - the man with a natural gift for communicating; who articulates the dire need for entitlement reform and balanced budgets effectively (which I recognize and appreciate, even if I disagree with some aspects of his plans). Before we can enact the bolder reforms of, say for example, Senator Rand Paul, the public needs to be introduced to the notion that entitlement programs are no longer the third rail of politics. Vice Presidential candidate Ryan is different from his evil twin Congressman Ryan, whose voting record libertarians should rightfully reject. But we need to understand the difference between the two Paul Ryans, and how one can be our enemy while the other is our friend.

Mitt Romney introduces Paul Ryan in Norfolk

Paul Ryan

With the USS Wisconsin serving as the backdrop, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney formally introduced Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate this morning in Norfolk, Virginia, a very crucial battleground state.

Ryan will no doubt be a controversial pick. His budget proposals have been endlessly demagogued by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. However, those same budgets have helped put the House GOP’s focus back on fiscal issues more than wedge social issues.

Over the last four years, President Obama has been unable to piece together a budget that could attract enough support to pass Congress. In fact, when Obama’s budget was brought up for a vote in the House, it was shot down unanimously. The Senate followed in May, rejecting Obama’s budget without a single vote in support.

While Obama’s campaign will no doubt be gunning for Romney’s running mate over his budget proposals — the “Roadmap for America’s Future” and the “Path to Prosperity,” don’t expect Ryan to back down. Ryan has taken on Obama before over fiscal policy, making the President’s rhetoric look cheap in the process.

5 Reasons Why You Might Want to Vote for Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Note: This is part one of a three-part series that will cover reasons that a voter may choose to support a specific presidential candidate. Parts 2 and 3 for Barack Obama and Gary Johnson will be available soon.

No matter where you stand politically, there are reasons you might want to vote for Mitt Romney in November. Mitt certainly has some unappealing points on his resume, but there’s a silver lining to every cloud. At least that’s what I’m told.

So here are a few possible reasons you might have for standing with Romney in November:

You believe a Republican victory is all that matters.

If you look for the people with the “R” beside their name and vote for them, no matter what, then obviously Romney is your guy, and your mind was made up before the presidential primaries started. I’d encourage you to consider candidates and issues more than parties and party lines, but that’s a different conversation for a different day. Vote Romney, and hope for the best.

You really liked Obama in 2008, but you aren’t crazy about him now.

A lot of people fell for the “Hope and Change” rhetoric last time around. Obama is a great politician, and beyond that, McCain was no better than Bush. The good news for you is that Romney and Obama aren’t really all that different. Sure, Romney is a Republican, so he’ll be a bit farther right than Obama on some issues, but Massachusetts Republicans don’t get to be governor because they’re conservatives.

He’ll take the Republican view on some social issues, and he might not want to grow government as much as Obama would, but the reality is that there are few differences between Romney and Obama. If you thought you liked Obama in 2008, you could probably like Romney in 2012.

Romney’s Praise of Israeli Healthcare Shows GOP Blind Spot

Earlier this week, Mitt Romney visited Israel, and in a speech praised the Israeli healthcare system for keeping down costs. This sounds like an utterly uncontroversial statement (Republican politician praising Israel), until one realizes that Israel has a single-payer, universal health care system.


Yet, oddly, there was very little mention of this in conservative spots. I checked The Weekly Standard, Hot Air, the Washington Times, even The Blaze, but none of them talked about Romney’s statement. Not even Fox News seemed to have an article about it. Instead, places like the Boston Globe, the Washington Post (in particular, Ezra Klein), Matt Yglesias at Slate, and Steven L. Taylor at Outside the Beltway were the ones who seemed to actually notice what Romney said.

Taxing Internet Purchases is a Bad Idea

We’re seeing more and more efforts to push for taxes to be collected on Internet purchases. Articles on this topic have been popping up all over the place lately (here, here, and here). The push makes sense in some minds. States with revenue issues need more revenue, and the Internet is the great untaxed frontier. (States with revenue issues more likely need a better fiscal policy more than they need added revenue, but that’s a huge topic for another post.)

You probably don’t have to wonder too much about whether or not I’d support the idea of taxing internet purchases. I’d oppose it primarily on the grounds that taxes are already too high, but there are other considerations as well. South Carolina’s Senator Jim DeMint addressed the issue recently and made the point that taxing Internet purchases would be unconstitutional:

Make no mistake: the online sales tax would be another unconstitutional mandate. If MFA [the Marketplace Fairness Act] becomes law, politicians in Washington would give California the right to force a business in another state to collect and pay California sales taxes.

Mitt Romney’s Lame, Uninspiring Campaign

Mitt Romney must be trying to bore the American people into electing him this November. There is no real bold, inspiring vision behind his campaign other than “Obama sucks”. Nor should we really expect anything bold from a man who has been on both sides of most political issues. Romney’s campaign also shows an unwillingness to buck the conventional Beltway wisdom and propose any bold solutions to our nation’s problems. Mitt Romney is running a “safe” campaign, but I fear he maybe running too safe of a campaign to defeat Barack Obama in November.

More evidence of how safe (ie. dull) of a campaign that Mitt Romney is running is who has already been excluded from speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa next month:

Texas congressman Ron Paul isn’t the only prominent Republican to be denied a speaking role at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa. Here’s another high-profile snub from the Mitt Romney camp… Nope, the woman who was the HIT of the 2008 Republican National Convention — not to mention the party’s VP nominee — Sarah Palin, has not yet received an invitation to speak at the 2012 shindig. Must be stuck in, ahem, e-mail. But, as Palin told The Daily Beast, she wasn’t surprised. And not because she hasn’t endorsed her party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, other than to tout him someone who isn’t President Obama and has a pulse.

Build the Liberty Farm Team

After the GOP convention in Tampa in August, Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and political career will officially come to an end. Despite the protestations of some hardcore supporters, Ron Paul will not be the Republican nominee and in fact, he will likely not even be nominated at the convention in Tampa.

Many supporters are gravitating towards campaign of Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, however to be perfectly blunt, my three month old puppy has a better shot at being elected President than he does. In addition, there will be same number of Libertarian Party members of the House and Senate, none. This is not what I hope will happen, this is simply stating reality. If the liberty movement is to continue after the end of Ron Paul’s career, we need to lay a solid foundation for political success. I believe the best way to lay a foundation for the liberty movement is take a page from professional baseball and build a “farm team” of future leaders to run for political office and activists to work the races.

In professional baseball all Major League Baseball teams have a developmental system of minor league teams. The minor league teams are rated from AAA all the way down to A. In addition, there are special developmental leagues for rookie players drafted right out of college. Other sports leagues are trying to replicate the system to develop the next generation of professional athletes. We in the liberty movement, regardless of what we call ourselves, need to take the same approach to politics and political office.

No speaking role for Ron Paul at GOP convention

Early last month, Ron Paul conceded that his delegate total wouldn’t be enough to contest Mitt Romney for the Republican Party’s nomination in Tampa. Paul did, however, note that his supporters would be at the GOP convention in August, looking to make some changes to the party’s platform.

Paul had also hoped to earn a speaking slot at the convention, which would have been possible with wins in five states. Unfortunately, that hope seemed to die this weekend when Paul’s supporters were unable to score a majority of delegates in Nebraska:

Paul’s forces had hoped to pull out a victory at the Nebraska majority of delegates here would have guaranteed their candidate a speaking slot at the GOP convention in Tampa late next month.

Under party rules, a candidate cannot have his name entered into nomination at the convention unless he has won a majority of delegates in at least five states. Paul had won four.
In the end, Paul won only two delegates, to Romney’s 32.

Some will no doubt say that the Ron Paul Revolution hit with a thud since the campaign failed to gain a significant number of delegates with which to shake up the convention. They will say that this shows that Paul’s message was limited. However, Jack Hunter puts it all into a perspective:

Is the ObamaCare Ruling a Trojan Horse?

Thursday morning, the much anticipated Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare was released, and it validated two of the three predictions I made in an article two years ago; namely, that it would be a 5-4 ruling, that Justice Kennedy would side with the majority, and that it would be overturned. This is one time I’d be happy to get only one of three right. For conservatives and libertarians, this was the worst possible outcome. Or was it?

The ruling was issued shortly after 10AM, and by 11AM I was alternating between suicide watch and impotent rage at the injustice of it all. On Facebook, I posted that this marked the final nail in the coffin for federalism, and that there were no longer any practical limitations on what government could force us to do. I was physically ill, literally, from contemplating what this meant for our republic. Luckily, before I threw myself off the proverbial cliff, the words of my friends at United Liberty (along with preliminary analysis from Human Events and a few other sources), and a perfunctory review of the actual text of the majority decision, led me to believe all was not lost. Indeed, though clearly this ruling is a blow for limited government, and common sense, Chief Justice Roberts (who I initially called a traitor), may have just slipped us the keys to long-term victory, unnoticed by statist liberals busy celebrating their policy win.

The following are mostly my own thoughts, but if there is a point that is particularly insightful, it is probably something I commandeered from those mentioned previously. Having said that…

Some thoughts on the ObamaCare decision

Those of us that oppose President Barack Obama’s health care law are still no doubt wondering what exactly happened on Thursday when the Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, opted to keep the individual mandate in place under the Taxing Power of Congress. If you’re still trying to figure out the details of the decision, Philip Klein has put together a good primer on the ruling, breaking it down as simply as the bizarre, confusing opinion can be explained.

The decision does give a break to President Obama, who has been struggling with the weak economy and shaky polling as of late. But, as Michael Barone notes, it may all be short-lived thanks to the law’s unpopularity and now the headache that comes with a clearly defined tax hike on Americans.

But what do we make of the decision itself? There is a lot there to parse through, but here are some points that may help explain parts of the decision and the tenuous future of a push to repeal ObamaCare.

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