First Reason to Like One of Them

Well I've found my first reason for liking a presidential candidate this year. Not that I'm trying very hard, being a rational voter. McCain is against bailing out Fannie Mae.

Up to this point I had disliked him due to McCain-Feingold and at least he is not tied to racism like Barack "Trinity Church" Obama , or Ron "Newsletter" Paul was.

I hadn't like Paul for other reasons. His blame terrorism on America stance was a one issue killer for me. The world is more complex than "We'll stay out of everyone's business and they'll be nice".

I still don't have a candidate I like enough to vote for and I don't hate any candidate enough to "vote for the other guy" at this point so it looks like I won't be voting at all. I do think Obama is going to make a mess of the economy but I think that of all the candidates.

This Fannie Mae stance was only a minor sign that McCain gets the economics, but Bush had such "minor signs" before he was elected and he proceeded to screw up the economy more than it already was. He was into bailouts, tariffs and keeping Alan Greenspan around to inflate the currency, for example.

We are in real deep economic trouble and most people don't recognize it. Whoever is president is going to inherit a mess. I wonder how it's going to play out. If it's Obama he might get sainted like FDR did for making things worse. I don't think McCain will get that benefit. Even if he does exactly right things I think he will be blamed for the troubles and may not make a second term.

Note that I think doing exactly the right things is going to make lots of people unhappy, including me. Financially I'm betting they'll do the wrong things because it's the politically expedient thing to do. In fact, I might vote for Obama to increase my odds of being right. Inflation, here she comes.

[Update: When I began writing this post I was thinking about the winning candidates of the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian parties. I don't particularly like Bob Barr. Yes, it was hyperbole to say "First reason to like one of them". No it doesn't neccesarily apply to Ron Paul, or in fact any of the candidates. In general I was trying to express how jaded I feel about the candidates. Sorry if that lead to any misunderstandings.]

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Is this a joke?

You name a bailout, and Ron Paul opposes it. Matt Welch wrote a book, Myth of a Maverick, on how anti-libertarian John McCain is. He looks down in disgust at Mitt Romney for running a private business. McCain has also been associated with other creepy pastors, like Hagee and Parsley (not that I hold it against him). Ron Paul's position was not "blame America". He thinks our foreign policy is a factor contributing to the problem. The 9/11 Commission and the CIA agree. In that respect, he takes the establishment view and people like Giuliani are the fringe kooks. He supported the invasion of Afghanistan because he doesn't think doing nothing is sufficient. He simply believes that we should only go to war in self-defense.

Also, it is irrational to vote PERIOD, not just to do so ignorantly (though it is also rational to be ignorant about politics).

Rationality of Voting

But see Yes, it can be rational to vote in Presidential elections.

That was an interesting post at Overcoming Bias. Couple of problems people mentioned in the comments, though, and I'll elaborate.

It would seem that the only people for whom the idea that a-single-vote pays-large-political-dividends (IF it's decisive) is attractive are already highly enthusiastic political partisans. And we know, via Jeffrey Friedman and others, that these people are relatively dogmatic and thus prone to error. But even apart from that, they're already among that minority of the population for whom politics is a rewarding hobby, essentially. So of course those people won't be dissuaded to vote due to poor odds of influencing the election, any more than a zealous fan of Michael Jackson won't delude themselves into thinking they have a sporting chance of getting to hang out with MJ backstage by simply wishing hard enough.

Since they are already "on board" and in love with the hobby of politics (and also not libertarians, who have both consequentialist and deontological problems with voting and politics per se), at the margin this knowledge of the big payoff for the decisive vote - for sociotropic reasons, too - might seem attractive.

Yeah but ...

Yeah but with my luck that 1 in 300,000,000 times that my vote actually was decisive it would turn out that the candidate was a liar.

Lots of things are factors

"He thinks our foreign policy is a factor contributing to the problem."

It would be a "factor" regardless of what we do. The question isn't whether it's a "factor" but whether we are morally culpable. Ron Paul talked as if we caused it in the sense of being morally culpable for it. That's where he screwed up.

Islam is designed to be offended. We are not morally responsible for the bad actions taken by believers in response to that offense. If we were that would make us second class humans. So yes if we took the approach of being submissive that would go a long way towards "solving the problem". Hell, we could just all convert to Islam and the problem would go away.

You really are serious?

I notice you don't actually quote anything he's said, you just claim he "talked as if we caused it in the sense of being morally culpable for it". He repeatedly explicitly tried to avoid deeming the victim of a terrorist attack a "little Eichmann" or anything like that. His position is, like I said, the same as that of the CIA or 9/11 Commission. Are they anti-Americans who think that the white capitalist is guilty of exploiting the Other and deserves their righteous revolutionary violence?

I will reiterate that Ron Paul does not advocate being submissive or rolling over. He fiercely defends the independence and sovereignty of the United States. As I mentioned, he supported attacking al Qaeda after 9/11 and wanted to prevent other terrorists from coming here. He also thinks it's dumb to go poking at hornet's nests.

You are correct that the Saudi Arabian government did ask us to come in, but since when are we beholden to obey foreign governments (especially ones that support radical anti-Americanism like the Saudis)? It was not a matter of private individuals buying land or visiting but MILITARY BASES. The primary goal of al Qaeda is to overthrow the "decadent and oppressive" governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and so on. One faction wanted to focus on the "near enemy", but the victorious (due to car-bombing assassination) faction decided that it would be impossible to unseat their governments as they were supported by the United States (Egypt is our second biggest recipient of foreign aid, and as with Pakistan that is in part to support them against islamists). So they want to drive us out in order to leave their own governments defenseless. According to Ron Paul (and George Washington, and John Quincy Adams), the struggle there is none of our concern. When people are shooting, it's smart to get out of Dodge and not be joining any side.

If I wanted to be as delirious as many of Ron Paul's critics have been I would accuse people of being anti-Americans (possibly Iranian stooges) who have blood on their hands, but it's pretty much always a bad idea to ascribe bad faith or disloyalty with those one disagrees with. It's unfortunately an effective tactic, which is why despite his surprisingly mainstream views on terrorism Ron Paul has always been doomed politically. The same thing is actually true of libertarians more broadly, often tarred as greedy/immoral sycophants for big business or the Powers that Be.

He fiercely defends the

He fiercely defends the independence and sovereignty of the United States

Defending the sovereignty of the United States, strictly speaking, is defending the idea that the government owns everything in the country, including your ass.

Honest question, if an elected official wanted to rape you, would you bend over in the name of the sovereignty of the US government ?

Are we talking about different Ron Pauls?

Right, because Ron Paul says bend over when the government passes a drug law, or the Patriot Act or a host of other infringements on liberty. It's an entirely different guy, Pon Raul, who has defended tax resisters sieged by the cops. Pon Raul praises those who engage in civil disobedience as akin to MLK, Gandhi or Spooner. Pon Raul, unlike myself, believes that God has given us inalienable rights which the government may violate but never take away. Ron Paul, on the other hand, thinks the Sedition Act was pansy stuff and the government can apply electric shocks to your genitals just for the hell of it.

Seriously, a guy who thinks that the U.N and the NAFTA superhighway are steps on the road to one-world-government serfdom isn't going to endorse a U.N Islamophobia Watch or something like the Canadian Human Rights Councils. It seems odd that people can caricature him as some sort of xenophobic nationalist Posse Commitatus type as well as some P.C self-abasing weenie. The former description would at least have some accuracy.

An amendment

When I say it would have some accuracy I mean he thinks traditional America is much better than the rest of the world, which poses a threat to our freedoms and way of life in an alliance with our politicians (though I doubt he'd say quite that or think it consciously). I don't think he desires anything like mob violence or militarist expansionism associated with xenophobic nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His desire not to piss off other countries, on the other hand, is not the result of any sort of belief that Americans owe some obligation not to give offense to foreigners, but is in keeping with a very old tradition of prudent American foreign policy.

If elected, Ron Paul would

If elected, Ron Paul would send a SWAT team to assault a corporation not paying taxes or providing work and lodging for foreigners in a heartbeat. You have any doubts ?

Quite Serious

TGGP,

Want a Ron Paul quote? OK.

"Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years," -Ron Paul

Now it is true that the CIA investigated and found that one of their stated reasons for committing the crime was just that, however context matters.

There is a difference between law enforcement saying "The criminals claimed that they raped her because she wasn't dressed in a burka" and some guy arguing that she should have worn a burka because, "Have you ever read about the reasons they raped her? They raped her because she didn't were a burka."

In the first case there is no normative assumption about what she should have done. Paul was making a normative claim about what we should have done. Which made his statment appalling.

"His position is, like I said, the same as that of the CIA or 9/11 Commission. Are they anti-Americans who think that the white capitalist is guilty of exploiting the Other and deserves their righteous revolutionary violence?"

I don't recall the CIA or 9/11 commission holding to the view that we should be non-interventionist, or arguing that we shouldn't be involved militarily in the area based on what some terrorists find offensive.

"He fiercely defends the independence and sovereignty of the United States. ... He also thinks it's dumb to go poking at hornet's nests.
"

I'm not a big believer in "sovereignty". It's not a hornet's nest, it's a bee's nest and that's where the honey is. Honey the west found, developed, and who's workers extract. The Saudi Government is little more than just a local protection racket that is being paid off. Ron Paul isn't thinking straight if he doesn't think that the pot-o-honey needs to be secured, by us, for our own good.

Besides there is a long history of other hornet's nests in the area attacking us and siding with our enemies or against our allies. It's silly to think one gets a clean slate just because presidents change.

"You are correct that the Saudi Arabian government did ask us to come in, but since when are we beholden to obey foreign governments."

It has nothing to do with being beholden and everything to do with not being an invader. No one had a right to attack the US over that. We don't have the powers that others ascribe to us. For instance, we have to work with dictators because we can't get rid of them all.

"The primary goal of al Qaeda is to overthrow the "decadent and oppressive" governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and so on."

Who gives a shit.

"... which is why despite his surprisingly mainstream views on terrorism Ron Paul has always been doomed politically."

I'm not sure what you find mainstream about his views on this. I think he's far from mainstream. He believes we should not have been involved in Gulf War I. Hell, I betcha he didn't want involvement in WWII.

"The same thing is actually true of libertarians more broadly, often tarred as greedy/immoral sycophants for big business or the Powers that Be."
Are you claiming they are "mainstream" or "doomed politically"? I can't agree with the former but certainly can with the latter.

"I hadn't like Paul for

"I hadn't like Paul for other reasons. His blame terrorism on America stance was a one issue killer for me. The world is more complex than "We'll stay out of everyone's business and they'll be nice"."

Way to totally misrepresent Ron Paul's position. He was saying that certain very specific terrorist acts are caused by US foreign policy, and in many cases even the terrorists themselves will explicitly state their motivations (ie. military bases on 'holy land' in Saudi Arabia, etc).

I'm pretty sure there would be a higher probability of americans blowing up Chinese stuff if China had a few military bases closed to Washington DC.

In any case I agree with the

In any case I agree with the straw man looking like Ron Paul on foreign policy. Terrorists don't bomb capitalist and free country such as Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Ron Paul Gets Chamberland Award For Diplomacy

Way to totally misrepresent Ron Paul's position. He was saying that certain very specific terrorist acts are caused by US foreign policy, and in many cases even the terrorists themselves will explicitly state their motivations (ie. military bases on 'holy land' in Saudi Arabia, etc).

Ron Paul world class diplomat.

Terrorist: If you don’t remove military bases from the Holy Land we will destroy the World Trade Center.
Ron Paul: “Osama Bin Laden said remove the military bases from Saudi Arabia or he will bomb the World Trade Center. Let’s get out of Saudi Arabia. It’s their Holy Land.”
American troops leave Saudi Arabia.
Trade Center still standing. Yea! Another diplomatic victory for Ron Paul.

Ron: “If those terrorists just tell us what to do before it is too late we will be able to eliminate terrorism permanently.

Dave

?!?!? The real question is,

?!?!?

The real question is, why does the US needs 700 military bases around the world, costing hundreds of billions to taxpayers while not making anybody safer (the opposite via blowback, actually)? Is this an empire or a republic?

Don't Get Passive

The US is recognized as the world’s only superpower, given the demise of the Soviet Union. The world is made up of nations, some of which are dysfunctional and all of which have national interests, personal interests of leaders, ethnic groups, and political groups. Diplomatic relations and the danger of military conflicts occur between nations. People don’t just run around minding their own business. Actually the need for international order and cohesiveness has multiplied due to globalization. Military power is part of the equation.
What if Bush One had done nothing about Iraq when it took over Kuwait? If your ideas were followed Saudi Arabia would have eventually come under Hussein’s or his son’s control. Of course Russia would now control Afghanistan.
Serbia would have succeeded in ethnically cleansing itself. The Hutus would have finished off the Tutsis. Kim Jong Il would rule in South Korea. The Taliban would control Pakistan and its nuclear weapons. Kadaffi would have nukes himself by now, making the earth that much less safe. Iran would be next and it may already be too late to stop it. Caesar Chavez and his allies might eventually control much of South America. We don’t have the luxury of a passive national presence.No thank you Ron Paul.
Dave

La Causa? Si, si puede!

I was going to say "so what" to most of that, but to your fear of Caesar Chavez I just say HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! He who controls the grapes controls the world!

Laugh Now.

Laugh now,you fool, First grapes,then coffee beans and banannas.Soon you will wake up.
Dave

Actually the need for

Actually the need for international order and cohesiveness has multiplied due to globalization. Military power is part of the equation.

And how has that been working out for ya?

Oh, I don't think it's far from his position

We were invited to put the military bases in Saudi Arabia. Their purpose was for the effort to protect the Saudi's against Hussein. Just because some crazy thinks that deserves the killing of some completely different individuals doesn't mean it's the fault of anybody but Osama Bin Crazy.

Besides there is NO place on the planet where a person should be excluded from buying land, or walking based on their non-belief in a religion.

"We were invited to put the

"We were invited to put the military bases in Saudi Arabia."

Yeah, by a totalitarian monarchy. It's not like there's popular support there for that.

When you meddle in other people's business, nothing good comes out of it.

"We were invited to put the

"We were invited to put the military bases in Saudi Arabia"

Not to mention that this was almost 20 years ago. Why are we still in Germany? Japan? Korea?

Here's the McCain we know

Back to normal.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain is pledging support for a proposal to expand protections for disabled people under an 18-year-old landmark civil rights law.

The Supreme Court generally has exempted from the law‘s protection people with partial physical disabilities, as well as people with physical impairments that can be treated with medication or devices such as hearing aids.

A month ago, the House passed a bill to extend protections to people who take medicine to control epilepsy, diabetes or cancer, or use prosthetic limbs. McCain, a co-sponsor of the 1990 law, said he intends to support a similar bill in the Senate.

That's why I mockingly said "first reason"

Which was actually hyperbole. I'm sure that all of the candidates have expressed a position on some issue that would give me a reason to like them. Problem is even then they are not likely to follow through on it.