The GOP Crackup

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Between the Manhattan mosque, “terror babies,” Obama’s birth certificate, repealing part of the 14th Amendment, and whatever fake controversy Andrew Breitbart has dreamed up lately, the GOP and its loyal partisans have really lost their collective shit. I keep thinking the tone of the public discourse can’t get any lower. And then they prove me wrong. The sad thing is, on the issues that actually matter America is in dire need of a competent opposition party right now. But actually coming up with new ideas, as opposed to demagoguing to the base (a word that works in two ways here), well, it’s hard. It requires serious thinking from serious people. When members of the party like Rep. Paul Ryan actually do put forth serious policy proposals that address real issues, party leaders run like hell. Because a plan to eliminate the federal budget deficit in fifty years is too radical for them.

Instead, we get this….

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109 Responses to “The GOP Crackup”

  1. #1 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    Bear in mind, November Third may see Democrats wondering out loud if there may not be something to birther claims….

  2. #2 |  Will Grigg | 

    “…the GOP and its loyal partisans have really lost their collective shit.”

    For the last two weeks I have been constantly muttering some variant of this phrase to myself sotto voce (we have six small children in the house).

    What really terrifies me is that this Goober Gohmert — an ambulatory pudding of paranoid delusions, a hate-sack in an expensive suit — used to be a judge. He was given a gavel and a robe and the supposed authority to send people to jail.

  3. #3 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

    I was in student government at Texas A&M with Louie. I’m…speechless. I would never have expected this from him.

  4. #4 |  pris | 

    The GOP obstructionists without any ideas of their own has worn thin. Most people see through it. The 12% approval rate for Congress is a reflection. Neither party has any gumption to fight for anything worthwhile, too afraid of their electorate. The electorate is fed up with their politicians. Carousel for sure, and we are left with not much.

  5. #5 |  Bob | 

    Oh my ghod! OMG!!!

    It must be true! Because I heard that weapons manufacturers in Fuckedupistan have retooled the venerable Kalashnikov rifle to a smaller, baby friendly format and has been shipping thousands of the new weapons, called the AK-2110 Small Frame Rifle to terrorist training camps all over the Middle East and Utah.

    According to the aluminum hatted whack jobs I interviewed while in drug induced coma, the new holy warriors, called “Kalashni-tots” have taken well to the new weapons and will be ready to wreak a path of destruction across the globe!

  6. #6 |  Joe | 

    Yeah that is nonsense. I hardly consider that a mainstream either.

    But I agree, the GOP would do best by simply focusing on budget deficits and the long term negative impact they will have on this country. Which means scaling back benefits. You can’t tax our way out of the problem, because the problem is too much government. There should be cuts across the board, including defense and the biggest long term fiscal problem of all…entitlements.

  7. #7 |  Joe | 

    I hardly consider terror babies a mainstream opinion. My bad.

  8. #8 |  Jack | 

    As a registered independent, I constantly ask myself, when will the demagoguery of the right ever stop? When will we truly be able to have an honest discourse about the issues which have such a profound effect on us.

    I am constantly reminded of Lewis Black when, explaining the political parties in our country said “We have a two party system, the democrats, the party of no ideas, and the republicans, the party of bad ideas”.

    True dat!

  9. #9 |  Nipplemancer | 

    what a douchenozzle, and for once i’m not referring to the designer jeans scion

  10. #10 |  Joe | 

    Then again, when my kids freak out, I have thought they were terror babies. Which is why I have trigger locks on the guns in the house. You can never be too safe.

  11. #11 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “But actually coming up with new ideas, as opposed to demagoguing to the base (a word that works in two ways here), well, it’s hard. It requires serious thinking from serious people.”

    Crickets … crickets … crickets ….

  12. #12 |  Reggie Hubbard | 

    I think it was David Frum who said (paraphrasing): we (the GOP) used to think FOX News worked for us, turns out we work for FOX News.

    Looks like he culture war Nixon began so he could govern like a conservative while still winning elections has truly bit his party right in the ass forty years later.

    Personally, I’d vote Republican if I trusted that they believed 10% of what they said but constantly we get gay gay-bashers, prescription drug addicts preaching death to crack users, and people who refer to themselves as fiscally responsible while simultaneously promoting unneccesary wars and weapons programs along with tax cuts.

    Fuck man, the Dems may be a big bunch of pussies but at least their hypocrisies haven’t completely consumed them to the point where someone like Palin is a well-respected Democratic mouthpiece.

  13. #13 |  BadExampleMan | 

    “The sad thing is, on the issues that actually matter America is in dire need of a competent opposition party right now.”

    We agree on that, but I bet where we disagree is, I think we need an opposition from the left. Today’s Democrats ≈ Eisenhower Republicans + even more corporatism.

  14. #14 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I watched Freedom Watch the other day and the Judge called Geraldo Rivera a libertarian. I almost farted lumps. I’m tellin’ ya, guys, the word “libertarian” no longer has any meaning and we need to find a new name (and it sure as hell ain’t the “Tea Party”).

    I think the world of Judge Andrew Napolitano and John Stossel, but I’m not really joking about this anymore. If calling myself a libertarian makes people think I’m like the tea tea partiers or Glenn Beck or Bob Barr or any number of other right wing zealots (including Ann Coulter for Christ sake!), I will stop calling myself libertarian.

  15. #15 |  ru | 

    I like how a plan to eliminate the budget deficit in 50 years is too radical, but they expect us to be chomping at the bit to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment because of a theoretical plot that won’t come to fruition for 15-20 years. /boggle

  16. #16 |  KBCraig | 

    This is a natural extension of the “logic” used by police and security guards who hassle people taking photos in public.

  17. #17 |  Mattocracy | 

    I just don’t understand why the GOP doesn’t understand how stupid they look by doing and saying these things. I wish more people in that party would start denouncing the idiots who call themselves Republicans. The Paul Ryan’s of the GOP need to start putting their own in their place.

  18. #18 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Dave Krueger,

    It’s a rare day I disagree with you, but if you think that Bob Barr is a still a right-winger like Beck or Coulter, you don’t know what you’re talking about. He’s pretty much abandoned all the GOP absurdity. If he isn’t libertarian enough for you then I’m not sure who is. This is the biggest problem with the LP. No one is ever libertarian enough for anyone else. There are some real fakers out there like Beck & Co. who need to be discredited. I wouldn’t put Barr in that category.

  19. #19 |  Joe | 

    Agree more Paul Ryan and Chris Christy needed in the GOP and less hyberbolic crap.

  20. #20 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #18 Mattocracy

    @ Dave Krueger,

    It’s a rare day I disagree with you, but if you think that Bob Barr is a still a right-winger like Beck or Coulter, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    You’re right. I shouldn’t have grouped him in with “other right wing zealots” although he certainly has a much longer history as a right wing zealot than he does as a libertarian. My complaint about Barr is that he embraced the libertarian name before embracing the libertarian philosophy and we seem to be seeing a lot of that these days.

  21. #21 |  InMD | 

    At #18

    I understand that Bob Barr has supposedly done an about face regarding his views but I’m with Dave Krueger. The problem with people like Bob Barr is that they spent the vast majority of their days in public life doing the wrong thing. Barr was one of the leaders in advocating for impeachment of Bill Clinton (to this day one of the dumbest episodes in modern American politics) and built his career in Congress as one of the most hard nosed drug warriors in federal office. It’s all well and good that he says a lot of the right things now but he spent his political career being decidedly un-libertarian. He simply doesn’t have credibility.

    The problem with the LP isn’t that it isn’t libertarian enough. The problem with it is its willingness to align itself with Gadsden flag waving cranks and reactionaries along with obsessing over unrealistic economic positions like returning to the gold standard. There are many ideas a more serious libertarian party could come up with to trim back the government that don’t involve pretending history didn’t happen or indulging in narcissistic Ayn Rand fantasies. Unfortunately that just doesn’t seem to be what the party is about and why it tends to lack credibility even among people very serious about trimming back the role of the state in American life.

  22. #22 |  EH | 

    Eh, Bob Barr is the Bernie Sanders of the right. You might agree with him, but the powers-that-be are free to ignore them. In the current context, they both exist as useful idiots, possibly trotted out once or twice per term to be the stance-taker on some policy that higher-ups don’t want to put their face on.

  23. #23 |  Kirsten | 

    This is just batshit crazy. I am so embarrassed for these morons.

  24. #24 |  Windypundit | 

    Oooh. “Kalashni-tots” I think we have to start using that…

  25. #25 |  Jack | 

    Dan Carlin, Dan Carlin, Dan Carlin… Okay, I’ve said it.
    But after a friend of mine suggested him, I’ve been listening to his podcast all summer (thanks a lot FRIEND- yes I’m bitter). But the man has something. He’s pushed me out of the whole dyad thing I was slipping into, and consider the fact that maybe there’s not a whole lot of choice between Republicans/Democrats.
    Yeah, I know.. I didn’t believe it either until I heard him. Now I’m a slightly left liberal who wants to see a pile of new changes.
    Check him out. He’ll make you think,
    Unless you hate that… then what are you doing reading a Left leaning blog? *L*
    J

  26. #26 |  Cornellian | 

    “Because a plan to eliminate the federal budget deficit in fifty years is too radical for them.”

    I have a simple, two part test for evaluating any politician who claims to be concerned about the deficit. First, did he talk that way when his party was in power? and second, does his plan provide for substantial cuts to any of defense, social security or medicare, the three things that, along with interest, account for nearly the whole federal deficit? If the answer to either of these questions is “no”, then everything he says about the deficit can be safely ignored.

  27. #27 |  Hardison Collins | 

    “Personally, I’d vote Republican if I trusted that they believed 10% of what they said but constantly we get gay gay-bashers, prescription drug addicts preaching death to crack users, and people who refer to themselves as fiscally responsible while simultaneously promoting unnecessary wars and weapons programs along with tax cuts.”

    I heard that!
    also-
    I know that’s right!
    and, of course,
    Tell it!

    sorry, but I am from Georgia where the above are appropriate responses.

  28. #28 |  supercat | 

    Many leftist politicians in the GOP don’t want real limited-government conservatism to take hold in this country, because they realize that if much of the populace woke up and saw the truth about liberalism, they’d have no reason d’etre. There would still be some leftist voters who would never wake up, so the openly leftist Democrats would still have a constituency, but the only reason leftists in the GOP can offer for their constituency to support them is that they’re “electable”. If enough Americans woke up and saw the truth to elect some real limited-government conservatives, the notion that only leftist RINOs were “electable” would be seen as ludicrous.

  29. #29 |  Joe | 

    And you wonder why GOP gets any traction at all? Because of stuff like this from the left. And yes I get it is a parody. I still had professors like that.

    Because while the GOP can be infuriating and dense, the left is even worse and sanctimonious ta boot.

  30. #30 |  Joe | 

    And I support those in the GOP who truly support limited government.

    Unfortunately there aren’t that many of them.

  31. #31 |  Joe | 

    Religion matters!

    Hugs! We all need hugs.

  32. #32 |  grog | 

    I’m curious as to whom @27 is calling a leftist in the Republican Party. Perhaps illustrating again the problem with 2-axis labeling.

    I hardly consider terror babies a mainstream opinion.

    Unfortunately, it is. Or at least, we have a significant fraction of congresscritters babbling about it on the tee-vees of a significant fraction of the country – I don’t know how something gets more mainstream than that.

    And the ones that aren’t are babbling about a community center in NYC. I’ve talked to my friends in NYC (I’m temporarily not living there, but am headed back when some family issues are over), and at least among my peer group, we’ve decided to auction of the WTC hole. Best bid from a flyover state gets it, and they have a nice memorial to which to draw rubes on a nice pilgrimage. We get our real estate back, and can shut the idiots who are squabbling over the site the fuck up already. Win-win!

  33. #33 |  MacGregory | 

    I should crack myself in the balls for ever thinking I was a republican or a democrat. Sickens me really.

  34. #34 |  Jeff Spears | 

    Having been a libertarian since the early 80s, I have to kick myself that I am affiliated with authors of such hit pieces, and commenters that cheer him on.

    Congrats Balko, you have pushed a longtime libertarian away because of this silly reflexive tilt against the right.

    Hayek, Mieses, and Nozick are still generally correct, but the young generation of libertarians don’t seem to understand why.

    Rather than complain about a policy, or a politician, you have decided to slur wholesale groups of people with whom you disagree. And you do so without countering their claims explicitly.

    There are legitimate concerns about the Cordoba House, there is an argument to make about amending an amendment of the constitution.
    Even if Obama is indeed a citizen, we still have not seen a photo copy of the long form BC, and calling Breitbart’s work “fake controversies” is itself a false claim.

    You have done good work regarding police misconduct, but too many times I have seen irrational drivel about those hated conservatives.
    the “youth movement” at Reason Magazine has not served the libertarian movement well at all.

    But thanks for trying.

  35. #35 |  johnl | 

    The real crack up in the GOP was the dull center left uniformity of GWB. It’s better to have nutcases involved in the debate than to shut debate down altogether.

  36. #36 |  donttread | 

    Jeff,

    I agree on all counts. The direction Reason has taken since Ms. Postrel left has been somewhat counterproductive, and Radley in spite of his excellent work documenting police misconduct is not serving the cause of freedom well with his constant vilification of the right.

  37. #37 |  Radley Balko | 

    Congrats Balko, you have pushed a longtime libertarian away because of this silly reflexive tilt against the right.

    See you later, then. You must have missed the part of the post where I praised Ryan. Or the posts where I’ve praised Mark Sanford (yeah, I’d still vote for the guy), Mitch Daniels, Gary Johnson, etc. I’m happy to show love to conservatives who act like serious people, but with whom I have some disagreements. “Terror babies,” changing the Constitution to punish the children of immigrants, race-baiting . . . these aren’t serious ideas. They’re grandstanding and demagoguery. I’ve had no problem pointing out when the left has done the same thing.

    …the “youth movement” at Reason Magazine has not served the libertarian movement well at all.

    To each his own I guess. I’d argue that thanks to younger libertarians, libertarian ideas are reaching audiences they’ve never have reached before. There has actually been some real-world traction on the issues I cover, and I don’t think I’m blowing myself up to say my coverage has had something to do with that. So yeah, I’m pretty okay with my contribution to libertarianism thus far.

    If Sarah Palin and Louie Gohmert and all the warmongering, immigrant-bashing, red vs. blue silliness are more to your liking than Reason and Cato, then by all means, go join their crusades. But spare me the lecture about who’s a real libertarian and who’s spouting “irrational drivel.” What’s going on in that video sure as hell isn’t rational.

  38. #38 |  Radley Balko | 

    The direction Reason has taken since Ms. Postrel left has been somewhat counterproductive, and Radley in spite of his excellent work documenting police misconduct is not serving the cause of freedom well with his constant vilification of the right.

    Again, I’m pretty happy with how I’ve “served the cause of freedom” thus far in my life. Tell me, how exactly has the right served freedom over the last 10 years? Name a single thing the right has done while it has held power over the last decade that should endear it to libertarians? The Bush tax cuts, I guess. That’s about all that comes to mind.

    Sorry, but I see no reason for a broad kinship with the right or the left.

    What I find hilarious about these earnest, shaming comments calling out my secret liberalism is that you see the same sorts of comments on Facebook and other blogs . . . only from the left. Stuff like, “Reason has gone really right-wing since Obama took office….”

  39. #39 |  Dave | 

    “Sorry, but I see no reason for a broad kinship with the right or the left.”

    Amen Radley, amen

  40. #40 |  Bill | 

    Of course he used to be a judge. Most judges are insane.

  41. #41 |  Rob Robertson | 

    You people should be ashamed of yourselves, besmirching the integrity and intelligence of a sitting member of the House of Representatives. Let me remind you all that the Congress of the United States is the finest deliberative body in the history of the WORLD. The. World!

    Now pack a bowl and watch that video continuously until you see the error of your ways. Becoming batshit whacko appears to be the only way to fill the “gaping hole” in American intellectual life today.

    If this clown’s on-air mindless tirade isn’t the greatest advertisement for free market anarchism, I don’t know what is.

  42. #42 |  matt | 

    Jeff.. I don’t have a long form BC but yet my COLB was enough to prove my citizenship for a passport and a Texas driver’s license. You’re only sounding crazy when you demand something that doesn’t exist…

  43. #43 |  Joe | 

    Radley, there is plenty of blame to direct to the right. The mistakes made have been huge. But we are double down and down again with the left in charge.

    So let’s dance.

  44. #44 |  EH | 

    Call me a conservative, but I think America has simply gotten too big if the solution to anybody’s problem is to amend the 1st f-ing Amendment.

  45. #45 |  hamburglar007 | 

    This is wrong, but it was the first thing I thought of when I heard “terror babies.”

    Terror babies, we make our terrorist dreams come true
    Terror babies, we’ll do the same for you
    When your world looks kinda weird and you wish that you weren’t there
    Just close your eyes and flip the switch and you can be everywhere

    I need to work on the lyrics a bit.

  46. #46 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I’m not sure how much crazier this is than people on the left who believe our economy is suffering because the government hasn’t spent enough. And this is crazy.

    I don’t know how Anderson Cooper can sit there while that guy yelled.

  47. #47 |  Joe | 

    I would be satisfied if we could just reign in goverment spending.

  48. #48 |  LibertarianBlue | 

    Just another reason why I cringe when people suggest for Libertarians and Conservatives work together. Cons want nothing but our votes, they have no interest in advancing liberty they prove it time and time again but of course their “counter” is “but the liberals!!!!????”

  49. #49 |  Jim | 

    Great piece Radley. I might not agree with everything you say and come from a more leftist libertarianism (traditional meaning with some American Liberal thrown in) than you, you are always interesting and worth listening too. I am vote normally Democratic which trust me is getting harder and harder to do but am not a partisan in that I don’t care about the party so much as I care about the ideas and I do believe that the market works in most cases and too often government interference creates more problems then it solves. With that said if given the choice between many of the Democrats and an honest libertarian I would be inclined to vote for the libertarian the problem always comes though that too many self described libertarians are just straight up insane and/or anything but. For every 1 libertarian like yourself there seems to be 50 or more birthers, 9/11 truthers, fema camps, gold bugs, or cats that seem to believe that the 13 amendment did not free the slaves but outlawed lawyers, the 16th amendment does not exist and/or believe in libertarianism at the federal level but think the states should become theocracies if they choose too as well as limit speech or any other right except for guns. I say this as a person that while never would be guaranteed to vote for a true* libertarian would at least be amendable to voting for such a person especially in my state where I can’t remember voting for a Democratic candidate that really made me existed but the alternative is worse.

    I also appreciate that you are willing to call out both sides and well anyone that produces bullshit.

    *I hate to use this term because of the true Scotsman fallacy but I am using it to denote someone that is consistent with this belief at all levels of government and for all things not just taxes and guns.

  50. #50 |  Joe | 

    Conservatives can be assholes. No doubt.

    But when it comes to fucking with liberty, the lefties are by far the biggest danger.

  51. #51 |  InMD | 

    To Radley at #38

    Personally I think it’s highly questionable that the Bush tax cuts were even consistent with libertarianism. The whole “government is stealing everyone’s money” stuff (not that I’m accusing you of that position) has always struck me as rather silly since any government is going to have the power to tax and spend. That’s something that I think at least those of us with a Jeffersonian “night watchman” view on the government’s role should be able to accept.

    The argument for low taxes to me has to go hand in hand with the idea that the government’s role must be limited and therefore it’s revenue requirements must be low thereby allowing us to have low taxes. Otherwise it simply isn’t coherent from a policy standpoint. To me that position isn’t the same as cutting taxes in such a way as to render the government insolvent which along with other policies has been the primary impact of the Bush tax cuts. If we had a simplified tax code in this country, instead of the byzantine nightmare which exists, one could characterize tax cuts as the government getting its hands off the hard earned profits of the private sector. However due to the way our system works and without corresponding cuts in government services they serve only to perpetuate the federal government’s fiscal madness which I find antithetical to libertarian insistence on fiscal responsibility.

  52. #52 |  David | 

    The real danger is a two-party system where both parties want to use government as a blunt instrument to solve whatever problems have their or their constituents’ heads spinning at the moment. As long as both parties subscribe to that mindset, the fact that they also have screamingly crazy morons like Gohmert winning elected office is a secondary problem.

  53. #53 |  David | 

    InMD: Agreed. “Starve the Beast,” while a fine idea in principle, only works if the beast doesn’t have the ability to mortgage its cave on your dime and then buy more cheeseburgers.

  54. #54 |  Tolly | 

    Jesus. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic that BOTH of these dopes are actively running our govt. Watching this video alone should be enough to cure anyone who thinks that government (made of people like this) will solve ANY complex social issue, and anyone who makes it a point to always vote along party lines. It’s a crying shame that the party of smart conservatives has been reduced to this.

  55. #55 |  J.S. | 

    #53

    True, but then anyone Dem or GOP calls you a nutter if you start talking about getting rid of the Fed. Thanks to both parties (mostly Dem IMHO), government owns the mortgage market and student loans now. Oh, and healthcare soon.

    Honestly though, I’m downright effing tired of people ripping on the “right” despite the GOP deserving much ire. Its all the dems have at the moment. I am “non afilliated” voter (Oregon state definition since there is an Independent partys) who leans conservative on many things. So I’m a racist for wanting immigration control, anti healthcare/financial nanny state. Then I’m a hippy pot smoker who lives in his mom’s basement because I’m pretty much a cop hater, believe in the 4th-5th ammendment, jury nullification, and desire an end to the war on (some)drugs.

  56. #56 |  delta | 

    The real test of whether this stuff if serious or raw, unadulterated bullshit is whether anyone talks about on Nov-3 or any time thereafter. My bet would be that it never again crosses the lips of Rep. Gohmer, et. al., after that point.

    @EH: “Call me a conservative, but I think America has simply gotten too big if the solution to anybody’s problem is to amend the 1st f-ing Amendment.”

    You’re a conservative. Wait, who wants to amend the 1st Amendment?

  57. #57 |  BrentM | 

    no wonder some libertarians want to build rafts and live on the ocean. it is they only way to get away from crazies.

  58. #58 |  croaker | 

    @57 If you’re referring to the Atlantis Project, that’s been defunct for years.

    A pity, really. Though defending that “raft” in the face of the US Navy would have been interesting.

  59. #59 |  donttread | 

    Radley,

    The point isn’t that you find little in common with either the left or the right, there is much for a libertarian to dislike on either side. Where you (and apparently the majority of readers here) error is in insisting on a libertarian “purity test”, with which you condemn broad sections of the populace (Tea Partiers, for example) who might agree with 75% of your libertarian positions.

    The general cause of freedom would be better served if you would try to pull these people toward the libertarian view of freedom, rather than push them away. There is nothing wrong with pointing out craziness on the right, but they have more in common with the position of limited government than the left. Insisting on 100% purity is the path to the swamp of electoral irrelevance, as the LP has found for the past 40 years.

  60. #60 |  Ron | 

    Radley:

    re: “Sorry, but I see no reason for a broad kinship with the right or the left.”

    You don’t admit it, but you do have a broad kinship with the left. All you have to do to see that is look at the overall tenor of your writing. To wit:

    Your unqualified verbal bombs and (at times) ad-hominem broadsides are almost exclusively directed at the right. When you do get around to criticising the left, you are also quick to add that you also criticise the right on the same issue. And your criticism of the left almost bnever rises above mild disappointment (e.g., “Another Obama campaign promise shelved”), but your real bile and vitriol are reserved for the right (e.g., cheering on the guy who threw his shoes at Bush).

    This post is another example. Sure, you can find examples of kookiness on the right. But the kookiness on the left, of which there is plenty, doesn’t get a whole lot of play around here.

    Of course this doesn’t even get into an analysis of the positions you take on various issues. You are aligned with the left on blaming America for terrorism, when the real root of terrorism is militant Islam. You admit you identify with the left on a whole range of social issues. You are in lockstep with the left on immigration. Those things are pretty plain.

    So, your disclaimer about “not being broadly aligned with right or left” rings pretty hollow.

    You are, of course, entitled to your views, and you are of course entitled to speak your mind on your own blog. To be sure, admittedly as one generally aligned with the right, I have some fundamental disagreement with some of your views, though I’ll also say that those of us on the right would do well to listen to you and work with you on issues such as the militarization of the police, the ending of drug prohibition (as much as I despise drugs on moral grounds, as a pragmatist I realize, thanks in no small part to you, the “drug war” has been lost just as alcohol prohibition has been lost), and property rights issues. among others.

    But, taken as a whole, it is apparent that you DO have a broad (but of course not total) alignment with the left, as opposed to really having trianguilated between right and left, and denying same strikes as disingenuous.

  61. #61 |  Barry | 

    Radley: “When members of the party like Rep. Paul Ryan actually do put forth serious policy proposals that address real issues,…”

    Wrong – it’s the usual right-wing econocrap. Go search Krugman’s blog, and you’ll find a whole series of posts gutting the fraud.

    To me, this is the real rot at the heart of the libertarian movement – Radley, who has done – not yeoman work, but stunningly good work against government oppression, still falls for any old right-wing economics nonsense.

  62. #62 |  Radley Balko | 

    Ron,

    You’re seeing what you want to see. There are two posts on the front page of this site right now attacking Wendy Murphy, a registered Democrat; former Massachusetts prosecutor who worked with Martha Coakley, the Democratic nominee for Ted Kennedy’s seat, and Scott Harshbarger, former director of People for the American Way; and who basically took the Amanda Marcotte position on the Duke rape case. There’s a post attacking Charlie Rangel and the Democratic pols in New York who celebrated him in spite of his ethical lapses. I posted a video that attacks the teachers unions. Hell, my most-trafficked post last year was a defense of John Mackey and a diatribe against the leftists who were protesting Whole Foods.

    I say I have no broad alliance with the left or right because I don’t. I focus on a set of issues where the left is a more natural ally (though not a particularly reliable one) than the right, so yeah, obviously this site is going to sing the praises of a group like the ACLU more than it attacks them. Because they’re allies on the issues I cover.

    But if you think I go easy on the left when they’re wrong or nutty you haven’t been reading all that closely. You’re also confusing with opposition to the right with support for the left. The two aren’t the same. Yes, I’m pro-immigration. I’m anti-war. There are plenty of factions on the right that are pro-immigration (see the U.S. Chamber) and anti-war (see the paleo right). And there are plenty of factions on the left that disagree with me on those positions. See the labor unions’ position on immigration. Or that of populist southern Democrats. See the countless wars started by liberal and Democratic presidents.

    Sorry if you think I’m disingenuous. But I don’t consider myself part of the left. Never have. I haven’t been more vocal about health care, the deficit, bailouts, etc. because those aren’t my areas of expertise. But when leftists have been wrong about the issues I cover, I’ve been more than happy to ridicule them. See my defense of the Heritage Foundation against dumb attacks from Media Matters on Heritage’s overcriminalization project. Or my criticism of Joe Biden’s crime record when Obama selected him as VP. Or my criticism of the Obama administration’s position on various Supreme Court criminal justice cases.

    As for the Tea Party, I’ve defended them at times and criticized them at others. But police power and criminal justice is my beat. You can call it a litmus test if you like, but I’m going to find it hard to forge any common ground with a group that repeatedly holds rallies featuring Joe Arpaio, as the Arizona Tea Party did again this weekend.

  63. #63 |  Radley Balko | 

    Wrong – it’s the usual right-wing econocrap. Go search Krugman’s blog, and you’ll find a whole series of posts gutting the fraud.

    And go search any number of free market websites with posts from economists picking apart Krugman’s criticism.

    Sorry, but Paul Krugman has an agenda, too. Hard to believe, I know.

  64. #64 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Both parties would gladly line the streets with babies skewered on spears if they thought it would get them votes. It has nothing to do with good or bad. It’s only about getting power. And if you call yourself a Republican or a Democrat, then you haven’t realized this yet.

  65. #65 |  Mattocracy | 

    Honestly, you conservatives are acting like a bunch of fucking liberals.

    Don’t blame Radley for calling the GOP for their bullshit. Blame the GOP for producing the bullshit in the first place. That’s what seperates real conservatives from the rest.

    The fact that so many conservatives make so many excuses for bad punditry hurts the right a hell of lot more than one Radley Balko ever could. Why is so hard fo conservatives to see the big picture.

  66. #66 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Louie Gohmert is a name to watch…for crazy-mad-stupids. My god, can you imagine having this lunatic as your judge!

    These people are NOT pundits. They are actors.

    Dave, I usually use the term “babies in blenders”, but spears works too.

    The US Congress has already killed more Americans and destroyed (or significantly lessoned) more American lives than all terrorist attacks…in the holy war against terrorism.

  67. #67 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    #26,
    State and federal politicians who are serious about reducing debts/deficits must also talk about dramatic reductions and limits to public service unions and their battleship-anchor pensions that around taxpayers’ necks.

    So…there will never be any politicians serious about reducing debts/deficits. And I don’t call “spend until the whole thing collapses” a serious plan.

  68. #68 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #66 Boyd Durkin

    Dave, I usually use the term “babies in blenders”, but spears works too.

    Oh, I like that much better than spears.

  69. #69 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    But, taken as a whole, it is apparent that you DO have a broad (but of course not total) alignment with the left, as opposed to really having trianguilated between right and left, and denying same strikes as disingenuous.

    Who gives a fuck? Reject the whole right/left coin. Have a broad alignment with freedom, peace, and prosperity.

  70. #70 |  James | 

    Man, botox gone wild!

  71. #71 |  Tom Barkwell | 

    Terrorism, illegal immigration, gay marriage, racism, class envy, etc. are foundations of the go to diversionary strategies used by demagogue pols on both sides to scare monger and divide, a time-tested eons-old winning formula for increasing power.

    The real issue that threatens our republic is death by government. Spending and debt. A regulatory structure so dense, no one alive can tell you how many laws our nation has, much less what they all mean (you’ll find that out when the federal prosecutors make sentencing recommendations at your trial). 2.5M people incarcerated in American jails (China may never catch us on that front). And what is the cure our gallant leaders in the republican and democrat parties call for? Why, more government, of course.

    Our only hope is a grassroots social movement to strip politicians and governments of much of their powers. Good luck with that, as the demagogues will scare monger against any such movement (“they’ll take away your social security!”) – just as they have against the tea party (“they’re all racists!”).

    My suggestion? Drink a lot. It helps. And if you plan to drink and drive – don’t forget your car.

  72. #72 |  Over the River | 

    What scares me is there are voting Americans who believe this shit.

  73. #73 |  Ron | 

    Radley, There is not a whole lot of difference between having the left as “a more natural ally” on the core issues you are most passionate about and being basically aligned with the left. The posts you cite, about Charlie Rangel and Wendy Murphy are correct on the merits but sure are different in tone than your typical posts against the right. Youir posts dissenting from the right are typically loaded with labels, name-calling and vitriol, and what few posts in which you express dissent from the left avoid party affiliation as well as said name-calling and vitriol. I have read your blog very carefully for a long time, and that is a consistent pattern. The video on the teacher’s unions and their using of children as pawns for their selfish aims was also correct on the merits, but other than some questioning of expressing disappointment in “the teacher’s unions” the piece spent no ammunition on the left in general and the unions’ patron-party, the democrats in particular. A thoughtful piece, but where is the bomb-throwing? Maybe opposition to the right does not always constitute endorsement of the left, but taken together with the rhetorical restraint you routinely exercise when disagreeing with the left makes your basic political identity not hard to discern despite your denials.

    But as I said, this is your blog, you can present yourself however you want, and express your views however you want, and I am thankful for your work on those issues where we do have agreement.

  74. #74 |  Neil B | 

    Ryan’s “plan” is mostly a trick to shift money upward and doesn’t balance the budget anyway, as Krugman explained – that claim may not have been an outright lie, but it’s close. Google for “krugman paul ryan plan won’t balance budget” and see lots of criticism. Other than that, OP is pretty much on point. For example http://www.businessinsider.com/krugman-roadmap-for-americas-future-a-fraud-2010-8

  75. #75 |  Neil B | 

    BTW Radley, the specific claim Ryan made that the CBO said his plan would BTB was misleading, an issue going beyond whether it will or not.

  76. #76 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Tom,
    Our only hope is to feed the government beast everything it wants in hopes that it’ll destroy itself in some way…and you need to profit from their insane moves along the way so you can survive the chaos of the collapse.

    Grassroots? Not my cup of Tea.

  77. #77 |  Kristen | 

    Wah! Liberals are worse than conservatives! Wah! Conservatives are worse than liberals!

    This is why we’re fucked.

    They’re ALL bad, people. All.

  78. #78 |  What do you guys think of the immigration bill in AZ - Page 20 - Marshall Amp Forum | 

    [...] [...]

  79. #79 |  flukebucket | 

    no wonder some libertarians want to build rafts and live on the ocean. it is they only way to get away from crazies.

    The libertarian solution? Seriously? I had never heard of that one.

  80. #80 |  bob42 | 

    I’m voting straight ticket republican this November because every day I tremble in fear about the possibility that a pregnant Mexican narco-terrorist lesbian will sneak across the border with a suitcase nuke, sell meth to my kids, drop the anchor baby, blow up the hospital, and marry my sister.

    And I don’t even have a sister.

  81. #81 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Bravo! Bring out the popcorn.
    Best on-air meltdown since the clueless “appeasement” guy
    on Hardball or that Israeli freak lady.

  82. #82 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #75 flukebucket

    no wonder some libertarians want to build rafts and live on the ocean. it is they only way to get away from crazies.

    The libertarian solution? Seriously? I had never heard of that one.

    Look here and here.

  83. #83 |  What Balko said | American Times | 

    [...] Yep. More and more I come to believe that conservatism is the wrong word, the wrong project entirely to actually achieve limited government. What we need is an ideological dust-up within liberalism – we need more contemporary liberals thinking along more classically liberal lines and more classical liberals thinking about how to integrate market reforms with government programs rather than the Utopian notion that government can be pushed out of our business entirely. For better or worse, on issues like healthcare reform, government is going to play a role. [...]

  84. #84 |  Garrett J | 

    Radley,

    The reaction to your “leftist” bias is symptomatic of our political culture. Even if you try and call yourself a libertarian who wants no part of the two-sided, flame-throwing political game, you still get people like Ron who would probably like to tally up all of your blog posts to show just how much more you come down on the “left” side of the argument. This isn’t just a problem for libertarians, but for anyone who would prefer to discuss politics outside of the simplistic and anti-intellectual left-right paradigm.

    Kudos to Anderson Cooper for doing the media’s job of simply asking what the hell the Congressmen was talking about.

    And for those of you upset here – I don’t get whether you’re supportive of that lunatic Congressmen or if you’re upset because he’s making the right look bad.

  85. #85 |  Monica | 

    When I watch something like this from some of our so-called leaders, I feel sad and embarrassed. Sad because this country is going down the shitter and this is the dialogue that the opposition is bringing to the table. Embarrassed for the same reason.

    The movie Idiocracy was supposed to be 500 years in the future. It’s here.

  86. #86 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Epic-ness kicked into hyperdrive when he mentioned his own southern accent.

  87. #87 |  TDR | 

    @Ron — Please do us a favor and study the concept of “bias assimilation.” It is a very well-researched, well-established concept that shows how people see what they want to see in news stories and other communiques.

    On that note, the intense desire you have to prove Radley favors “the left” reveals more about you than it does him.

  88. #88 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Mark Sanford (yeah, I’d still vote for the guy)”

    Such a noble gesture, exercising your State-issued license to commit low-level violence on the State’s terms and on the State’s behalf. I’m certain it will have a great influence on reducing the overall level of violence in society. Isn’t that a cause celebre of yours? Maybe I’m wrong about that.

  89. #89 |  Joe | 

    Radley, I get your point, but just because Mark Sanford was good on spending (and he was), his personal behavior was so friggin nutty that would never vote for him again.

    I am sympathetic. Mid life crisis. Hot Argentine girlfriend. Who knows what was going on in that marriage (only really they know). I am not judging about that, it is really none of my business. Had he just come out and been honest about his affair, I would not have held it against him–considering it something that pertained to him and his family to sort out. It was poorly handled.

  90. #90 |  Joe | 

    Electrolytes!

  91. #91 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Terror-babies now scare me more than ghost bears (which I learned from reddit cannot be fooled by playing dead…because THEY are dead themselves).

    Mark Sanford: being revealed as a damn fool can still cost you sometimes.

  92. #92 |  Marshall | 

    Ron writes:
    “Of course this doesn’t even get into an analysis of the positions you take on various issues. You are aligned with the left on blaming America for terrorism, when the real root of terrorism is militant Islam. You admit you identify with the left on a whole range of social issues. You are in lockstep with the left on immigration. Those things are pretty plain.”

    Blaming America for terrorism? What a juvenile, slanted characterization, though unsurprising and quite revealing of where you, in fact, broadly lean. That’s right up there with the Right’s “if you don’t support the war, you don’t support the troops!”

    What’s amusing is that both views you characterize as being proof of left alignment are also libertarian. A pro-immigration position, the belief that bad foreign policy has been a major contributor to terrorism and tension between the West and Islam — these are *major* stances of both Reason and Cato. Hell, Cato’s Director of Foreign Policy Studies wrote a book called The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free.

    It should be said that if you don’t subscribe to those two views, you are not libertarian in those issues. That doesn’t mean you still aren’t necessarily libertarian in your overall beliefs, but you ARE right-leaning. And that’s really what’s at hand here. The problem is not that Balko is secretly a leftist; the positions you criticize him on are fairly plain vanilla libertarian. The ironic problem is that you, yourself, lean in a particular direction: right.

    The examples you offered to expose Balko as not that libertarian does: 1) the exact opposite, and 2). shines the light on you. What’s left of your argument is your opinion that he comes down harder on the right than the left which makes his “basic political identity not hard to discern.” So rather than correctly discerning his political identity from his actual political positions (which seem wholly libertarian), you’ll do it by judging his criticism of the right, which you are undoubtedly sensitive to because of your own leanings.

  93. #93 |  Dave Krueger | 

    It’s only called terrorism when it’s being done against you. Otherwise it’s known as national security policy.

  94. #94 |  Jon | 

    o Libertarians have been kept on board the GOP since Reagan by Big Lie. He could get away with it because he was one of you. But that didn’t keep him from lying. Some selected lies:

    o Small government and low taxes: the reality, checkable in real numbers, has been gummint just as big. The tax cuts were strictly short term, and needed paying in, gee, still higher taxes due to bond interest.

    o More GOP Freedoms: consider the actual record of the Obama and Clinton Administrations vs Bush’. Which started Gitmo? Which tortured? Notice neither Clinton nor Obama were much into regulating firearms, contra to the GOP lies. Which started treating you like a peasant at the airport? I actually thought Clinton was bad on freedoms until after 9/11; then I found out I was naive.

    o Economics: GOP ideas of letting elites be free from regulation is tempting to libertarians, of course; but, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. This very crisis was far worsened by elite moneyed misbehavior. Countryside saw nothing wrong with a bizplan that needed real estate to always rise. Wall Street failed to keep reasonable margin ratios. The very same failure to learn happened after the Great Depression, which included the same margin ratio misbehavior; you’d almopst think there was a pattern.

    o Economics II – If regulation’s bad for business, why are the most-regulated regions of the country also the most prosperous? That’s because a regulated market can have higher value by being more trusted and having better goods that sell for more.

    o Enemies – The GOP’s always on about how minor enemies and threats are about to blow your house down so you’ll keep voting for the Big Mil Spenders and not mind giving up freedoms. Terror’s a real threat, but less so than driving. And there’s nothing atall that can be gained in the fight against terror by giving up freedoms. I felt Bush’ security theater and talk about how Americans need reassurance was an insult to the actual record of thoroughgoing American bravery on 9/11.

    o Racism: the GOP’s even lying on racism; they can’t even deliver on moving the antiracist back because they’d lose their moderates ;-).

    Meanwhile, Dems are better for the little guys, like the many farmers and ranchers who need lots of help. We’re also better at delivering the current tech frontiers, notably including the GOOD education needed there today.

    Vote Dem – Fewer Lies, More Freedoms and Real Goodies For You

  95. #95 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Negative karma — the lazy person’s way of dealing with hard truth.

  96. #96 |  Cynical in CA | 

    QED

  97. #97 |  pam | 

    all this lunatic’s former cases should automatically come up for review. This should be grounds for appeal.

  98. #98 |  JOR | 

    “Negative karma — the lazy person’s way of dealing with hard truth.”

    Do you really want to hold out the position that everything that gets neg karma’d is “hard”, or necessarily any kind of, truth?

    There’s a difference between presumptuousness and blunt honesty.

  99. #99 |  JOR | 

    To add to that, I get my share of neg karma (I notice it, but don’t really care). I assume that people downtick me because they (incorrectly, of course) think I’m wrong, not because they secretly think I’m right.

  100. #100 |  Cynical in CA | 

    JOR, there’s nothing wrong with neg karma per se, but when it is accompanied by a thoughtful response, that is what gives the neg karma depth. Merely neg karmaing someone is pure meaningless laziness. I find it annoying, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

    When there is no meaningful refutation, the unrebutted statement stands, neg karma nothwithstanding — thus the hard truth denied.

  101. #101 |  Andrew Williams | 

    My WIFE argues better and more fairly than Sen. Goober. The gaping hole is obviously where his brain used to be. I’m glad Cooper kept him on that long so that it was glaringly obvious how intellectually deficient this middle-aged homunculus is. Or to quote Bugs Bunny, “What a mo-roon.”

  102. #102 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Fuck you, I’m eating!

  103. #103 |  JOR | 

    “Merely neg karmaing someone is pure meaningless laziness.”

    Well it involves (slightly) more effort than disagreeing with something with whatever degree of passion and passing over it without either neg-karming it or refuting it. Does that mean doing so is even lazier? People can have all sorts of reasons for not commenting. For my part, often I’ll read something I think is wrong or stupid, but say nothing because other people are already saying anything I would think to, or because I don’t think it’s important enough to write about, or because I don’t have time to write the length of comment my thoughts on the matter would demand of me, or because the reasons for disagreement are hard for me to pin down and by the time I have my reasons sorted out, the discussion is dead. Now I don’t normally click karma buttons at all but for people in the habit of doing so, I don’t hold it against them if they tick me down without telling me why (as for disagreeing with me in the first place, on the other hand…)

    “When there is no meaningful refutation, the unrebutted statement stands, neg karma nothwithstanding — thus the hard truth denied.”

    The truth or falsity of a statement has nothing to do with whether it is rebutted or not. (A true statement can be meaningfully and persuasively rebutted; a false statement can be unanimously agreed to). If you want a useful little rule of thumb though, any time your point or line of argument has you postulating anything about a total strangers’ psychological state or private motives, you’re probably wrong (at least about that, and anything that depends on it).

  104. #104 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Anderson sounds like a tech support CSR trying to reason with one of those “people” who think CD/DVD drives are cup holders.

  105. #105 |  Kvick Tänkare « Travels with Shiloh | 

    [...] come up with kinda-sorta coherent delusions to get everyone scared?  Now we’re looking at terror babies?  The only question is how in the world can we be in a place where these knuckleheads might [...]

  106. #106 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    ‘Help us fill the hole’ – sounds like this should have been the Republican party motto for quite a while.

  107. #107 |  Chuck C | 

    @Joe, #30 & 50

    And I support those in the GOP who truly support limited government. Unfortunately there aren’t that m any of them.

    Fixed.

    Conservatives can be assholes. No doubt. But when it comes to fucking with liberty, the lefties are by far the biggest danger.

    You seem to have been absent for the last 10 years of our history.

  108. #108 |  Chuck C | 

    Arrgh! Strike through doesn’t work? Curses, my snark has been foiled!

  109. #109 |  Ewan | 

    Gohmert Pyle’s mad as hell and he’s not gonna take it anymore!

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