Sunday, September 30, 2012

Five times as many libertarians support Romney as support Gary Johnson

Wow - that's embarassing (HT - Brad DeLong).

Doesn't matter much to me. I don't want either elected and I think this election is going to be more about who gets out the base than about swaying the other side.

I imagine these numbers would be pretty different if the libertarians' favorite career Washington politician (Ron Paul) were running, even though some of the more thoughtful libertarians agree that Johnson is better than Paul.

btw - since I don't post all that much about electoral politics, this is as good a place as any to note that Brad DeLong has also been posting a lot about how ridiculous that Friedersdorf column about not voting for Obama was. That's been nice to see. I've been seeing far too many of my fellow left-of-centerers praising that thing.

Scroll a few posts back for my view on drones and such, and use the search function to find old posts on how insane it is to castigate a president for treating enemy fighters like enemy fighters rather than common criminals. There is plenty to criticize Obama for. Killing enemy fighters is not one of them.


  1. Are we killing fighters or are we paying them? It's hard to know nowadays. Perhaps we pay them, and then after their usefulness has been used up, then we kill them (and whoever happens to be within a certain distance of them).

    1. Probably both, as you say.

      What I don't understand is what the US is still doing in Afghanistan at all.

    2. It's not at all obvious, is it? What we seem to be doing is occupying the time of a bunch of military and foreign policy experts with an impossible task--to turn Afghanistan into Manhattan using only methods that are approved of by the New York Times.

  2. "This election is going to be more about who gets out the base" ...or who suppresses the vote of the opponent's base?

  3. Your disagreement with Friedersdorf appears to be nothing more than one of policy. You seem to think Obama's civil rights record is good as opposed to slightly better than what Romney would have done. But if you think Obama's record on such issues is terrible, (and many people do) Friedersdorf's argument makes a lot of sense. You want to show Obama (or rather a future candidate) that by running to the median, they will lose some of their base. If you vote for him, the message you're effectively sending is: "As long as you're ever so slightly better than the other guy, we'll still vote for you, so don't worry about us and just go on doing stuff that horrifies us, you have our vote."

    What Friedersdorf is doing is nothing more than playing the ultimatum game the way most people play it. Obama offered him a penny and Friedersdorf told him to stuff it.

  4. "to castigate a president for treating enemy fighters like enemy fighters rather than common criminals."

    It would be nice to see you at least acknowledge that this situation is a little murkier than that: It is not like Japan has declared war on us, and when can shoot all the guys wearing Japanese uniforms. Various individuals have declared "war" on the US (which as individuals they don't actually have any power to do, as "war" in political theory has been regarded as essentially different than the actions of rogue groups), and we are trying to kill those individuals (OK, I suspect) but also other individuals, who have made no such declaration, and are not publicly members of the organizations "at war" with us, but for whom we have certain intelligence that they are, in fact, important members of those groups.

    What would you have thought of Roosevelt if he had declared he could simply have shot any Japanese-American of whom he had good intelligence that they were "with the enemy"?


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