Why McCain must lose

Clearly, Republicans suck. How can we get them to suck less? Radley Balko believes the answer is for them to lose this election.

That's the second reason the GOP needs to lose. American voters need to send a clear, convincing repudiation of these dangerous ideas.

If they do lose, the GOP would be wise to regroup and rebuild from scratch; scrap the current leadership and, most importantly, purge the party of the "national greatness," neoconservative influence. Big-government conservatism has bloated the federal government, bogged us down in what will ultimately be a trillion-dollar war, and set us down the road to European-style socialism. It's hard to think of how Obama could be worse. He'll just be bad in different ways.

The truth is, unless you vote for a third-party candidate (which really isn't a bad idea), you don't have much of a choice this November. You can either endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-left ideology, or you can endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-right ideology.

Sadly, if the GOP does lose, it's likely to be interpreted not as a repudiation of the GOP's excesses, but as an endorsement of the Democrats'. When the only two parties who have a chance at winning both have a track record of expanding the size and scope of government, every election is likely to be interpreted as a win for big government — only the brand changes.

Voting yourself more freedom simply isn't an option, at least if you want your vote to be taken seriously (and I'm not denigrating any third parties here; I'm just reflecting reality).

Which brings me back to why the Republicans need to get throttled: A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road.

Counterpoint: Michael Medved:

Despite the fact that leading polls continue to indicate a close Presidential election, and point to the very real chance of an upset victory for the McCain-Palin ticket, too many conservatives have begun to embrace a bizarre form of defeatism. According to this destructive logic, a Republican defeat in 2008 counts as not only inevitable, but necessary; some disgruntled voices on the right argue that a decisive win for Barack Obama might actually help the conservative cause in the long run.

This notion contradicts both common sense and historical precedent and rests on five deeply damaging and ultimately demented myths.

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Hard Decisions Ahead

I want to vote Obama so I can make a shitload shortselling, or investing in gold. But I also want to vote McCain so I can shock the shit out of other Minnesotans at cocktail parties that Ghertner will never be invited to.

As I've said before, the

As I've said before, the choice is not between McCain's brand of socialism and Obama's. The choice is between a president who will rubber-stamp all of the Congressional Democrats' agenda, and a president who will veto at least some of it.

Yeah, we all know how well

Yeah, we all know how well that worked with the 8 years that number 43 was in office! McSame wont veto shit, because he is a member of the Boot On Your Neck party, just like Obama and Bush.

He did say "some" and not

He did say "some" and not "all". Bush did finally discover his veto pen after the 2006 elections.

The Republicans controlled

The Republicans controlled the House of Representatives for most of the Bush Administration.

I bought $50 of McCain at

I bought $50 of McCain at 1:5.2, I thought it was cheap. So, yeah McCain. Rationale is

a) we are generally overconfident in calling the winner
b) people fear to be labeled as racist when polled and bettors underestimate this bias because it's a fairly new thing for the US.

Oh and if McCain wins by a short margin, there will likely be riots, wait before you buy your stereo ^^

I wanted to buy Obama

I thought that Intrade was insufficiently bullish on Obama a few weeks back (not sure to what extent that was due to the guy trying to manipulate Intrade to favor McCain - how quickly were his attempts at manipulation being cancelled by other bettors) and tried to quickly get my account up and running so I could bet for Obama, but American bank regulation blocked the credit card charge from going through - as Intrade warned and explained. I haven't got around to getting money in my account the long way and by now it's too late.

My bet was actually more a hedge than a simple prediction. An Obama win will make me unhappy. I wanted to bet for Obama in order to compensate for my unhappiness. If McCain won, I would lose the money, which would slightly ding the happiness of a McCain win (which I think of less as a McCain win and more as averting, or at least delaying, the Obamapocalypse). But Obama is too high now. I would have to risk a lot more money to get an equally big dose of happiness from an Obama win. It's no good any more as either a hedge for a bet. I'm not going to bet on McCain because that would be the opposite of a hedge. If I am going to bet on long shots to make big profits I'm going to do it on stuff that I'm less concerned about.

Balko v. Medved

I mostly favor Radley Balko’s vision of the party. But I find Michael Medved’s assessment compelling.

Ironically, I sense Medved is responding not to Balko’s call for purity, but to the Religious Right’s. And religious conservatives have been my concern all along. I loved the idea of McCain winning (ok, in 2000 or 2004) and cleaning the party of all its crony capitalists, kleptocrats and religious zealots. Alas, the McCain of 2008 has had to make his deal with the devil, and so no longer offers the transformation we need.

But if I no longer specifically hope for McCain’s victory, I fear his defeat. Basically, I fear that the Religious Right will take any defeat as proof that the party was insufficiently pure, and would lurch the party in an even more doctrinaire direction. This would almost certainly lead to even more electoral defeat at the national level, feeding the persecution complex that fundamentalists cling to. The Democrats would grow ever more educated, affluent and factious. The Republicans would grow ever more superstitious, populist and united under the leadership of charismatic snake-oil salesmen. And each side would grow ever more distrustful of the other.

Ok, I guess I’m really just predicting more of the same. But we’ve been lucky to survive “the same” as well as we have. I’m not sure how much more of it we can afford.

Past is not prologue?

I find Michael Medved’s assessment compelling.

Upon reflection, Medved's assessment may fail to reflect changes in technology.

Briefly, Medved poo-poos the idea that electoral defeat triggers an opportunity for party "purification." To the contrary, Medved cites a number of examples showing how electoral defeat leads to party adulteration, with ever more pandering for swing voters.

But we face changed circumstances. New technology, and new legal interpretations, permit states to gerrymander congressional districts ever more rigorously. This results in ever more "safe" seats for both parties and ever fewer contestable seats. As a result, most elected officials will not only be able to pander to the most extreme elements of their party, they will generally find it in their interest to do so. We've already observed the increase in party polarization that resulted following the 2000 redistricting (recall Tom Delay?); I can only imagine that the technology will have grown all the more ruthless for the 2010 redistricting.

In this environment, both Republicans and Democrats may become more "pure" in their believes -- although I expect for Republicans this will mean a more rigorous religious litmus test.

True, this posture may impair each party's prospects for winning the White House. But which elected official will find it in his own interest to worry about that? After all, you've got a safe seat so long as you hue to the party line. If you speak about the merits of compromise or working across party lines, you risk your seat by exposing yourself to attack from a more doctrinaire member of your own party. How many elected officials will want to risk their seats merely to promote the odds of their party winning the White House?

The Dukes of Normandy were safe in their own mansions (or so they thought); what care they for the monarchy of France?

It would have been best if

It would have been best if Bush had lost the 2004 election, as it would have sent the message DON'T LAUNCH WARS IF YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR JOB. A divided Congress would have been nice as well, I hope we get one in 2010.

I Call Bullshit

Does anyone here actually believe the vote can carry any signal at all?

The only signal I be seeing sent buy X wins and Y loses, is that we are getting four years of X.

Beyond that trying to read backwards into popular vote vs. electorial college is already a problem, plus the different voting proceedures in each state, plus the whole primary process that whittled down to two bad choices. Furthermore there is the issue of political lies vs. actual positions, then purposeful ambiguity, then incentives not to express a position, then words vs. actions, party reputation vs. actual acts, etc.

Then you've got the pooling problem. If candidate A is anti-abortion, pro-free markets, anti-evolution, while B is pro-choice and anti-rich, pro-natural selection, then does A winning really mean the majority of people in the country want to outlaw abortion? Of course not.

This is not like the economic process where the purchase of a pepperoni pizza is voting for more pizza which entails x more bread, y more pepperoni, and z more cheese, etc. While the purchase of cheeseburger is a vote for a more ground beef, b more cheese, c more bread, etc. Thus resulting combination being x + c more bread, y more pepperoni, z + b more cheese, and a more ground beef.

No the choice with political voting what you get is all pizza or all cheeseburger. Is it really true that just because that is what is delivered that is what was ordered? I don't think so. Just because the pizza candidate won doesn't mean that everyone wanted to eat nothing but pizza.

If McCain wins I personally have no idea WTF that means, and the same goes for Obama. Except maybe that we are all chumps in either case.

Libertarian Voting for McCain

Someone above said that having Obama would mean having someone to rubber-stamp everything in the democrat agenda whereas McCain would at least veto some of it. I agree wholeheartedly. The thought has occurred to me many times that a GOP loss could help in the long run but that's virtually a truism we could say of ANY defeat of any kind We always try to learn from a loss, does it follow we'd be better off losing all the time? I can't believe there are people who think that's the way to go: reward democrats in an effort to reform republicans?! Sick!

If small government GOP'rs cannot speak openly and honestly to the general public about wanting to responsibly cut government we libertarians have the media to blame. The media doesn't dignify this point of view at all. McCain is just a person trying to survive the political process. His lack of principles and pandering to democrats are just symptoms of the broader problem facing Repubs in general: If they were really going to have an honest anti-gov, pro-capitalist message (which usually requires a few steps of logical reasoning to justify) who exactly is there to give their message a platform to communicate it clearly to the public?

Our ultimate enemy is the group think of the media. The media needs to be reformed (not from above, of course, but from below.)