23 August 2011

Horse race coverage

Polling

Something I'd notice and highlight is that "independent voter" line where they have party-breakdowns. Bachmann gets essentially murdered compared to her alternatives. This is a strong indication that she's not going anywhere (as if anyone really needed such indications). I suspect Perry's numbers with independents will drop some as voters get a closer look at him, though more to break-even or a couple points behind, and not to 5-6 point gaps. Comments like his "treasonous Federal Reserve" don't win him any support from party elites, economists, and policy wonks, but they do win a lot of support from seething irrational populist outrage. Even if you are of the Austrian camp and don't think/believe the Fed should be printing more money, the manner of delivery and suggested persuasion used to oppose it seems out of line with this grievance, and his related imposition that it would be solely for political gain doesn't line up with the Fed's independent political position (Bernanke for instance is a Republican nominated by Bush) or that none of the major Obama figures, including Bernanke as Fed Chairman, have come out supporting a position of stronger inflationary pressure through the monetary system (though Bernanke as monetary economist academic has), so it's unclear just exactly what or who would gain from such a "political move". It's an incoherent suggestion as a result.

What's more amusing to me personally is that Ron Paul actually did about as well as Romney, except that the GOP turns on him and won't vote for him. What concerns me as a civil libertarian most is that without Johnson or Paul likely to win the nomination, I'm left without a candidate to support at all. An entire viewpoint, that of either smaller government or stronger protections for civil liberties and property rights against government power, is abandoned. One selling point for Obama was his rhetorical opposition to the worst excesses of the Bush-Cheney agenda, and on policy grounds while he's been in office it's been a complete and utter failure to shift this in any significant way. Even the supposed "end of torture" was something that happened during Bush's second term. Obama gets zero points, and possibly even negative points for waging a war without proper process (Libya), ordering the prospective assassinations of American citizens without due process (Yemen), and so on. A Paul or Johnson candidacy would at least put issues like these back up on the public's consciousness, to levels roughly where they were during the Bush-Cheney years, and add more like the war on drugs (which Obama has refused to actually back down in the way he said he would), etc.

As it is, it's as though none of that ever happened. And clearly we're not going to get such a discourse until there's a President Romney or Perry.
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