I am trying to understand the thinking behind the great many Americans who have decided to vote for a mainstream politician in 2012.
Now before you read the below and send me an angry email telling me I should be nice, that I should try to persuade them through love, etc., let me note that I have generally done that. My video appeal to Iowa radio host Steve Deace was a friendly, reasoned discussion of Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. My videos about Rick Santorum have been straightforward examinations of the facts. (See my video on Santorum’s view that we need inflation in order to prosper, and my video on why Catholics should instead vote for Ron Paul.)
But once in a while you just can’t take it anymore, and you have to let loose.
So, whether they realize it or not, here are 26 things non-Paul supporters appear to be saying.
(1) The American political establishment has done a super job keeping our country prosperous and our liberties protected, so I’m sure whatever candidate they push on me is probably a good one.
(2) Our country is basically bankrupt. Unfunded entitlement liabilities are in excess of twice world GDP. Therefore, it’s a good idea to vote for someone who offers no specific spending cuts of any kind.
(3) Vague promises to cut spending are good enough for me, even though they have always resulted in higher spending in the past.
(4) I prefer a candidate who plays to the crowd, instead of having the courage to tell his audience things they may not want to hear.
(5) I am deeply concerned about spending. Therefore, I would like to vote for someone who supported Medicare Part D, thereby adding $7 trillion to Medicare’s unfunded liabilities.
(6) I am opposed to bailouts. Therefore, I will vote for a candidate who supported TARP.
(7) The federal government is much too involved in education, where it has no constitutional role. Therefore, I will vote for a candidate who supported expanding the Department of Education and favored the No Child Left Behind Act.
(8) Even though practically everyone was caught by surprise in the 2008 financial crisis, which we are still reeling from, it’s a good idea not to vote for the one man in politics who predicted exactly what was bound to unfold, all the way back in 2001.
(9) I am not impressed by a candidate who inspires people, especially young ones, to read the great economists and political philosophers.
(10) I am concerned about taxes. Therefore, I will not vote for the one candidate who has never supported a tax increase.
(11) I believe it is conservative to support bringing the Enlightenment to Afghanistan via military intervention.
(12) Even though I lost half my retirement portfolio when the economy crashed from the sugar high the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates put it on, I would like to vote for someone who is not really interested in the Federal Reserve.
(13) Even though 50 years of the embargo on Cuba did nothing to undermine Fidel Castro, and in fact handed him a perfect excuse for all the failures of socialism, I favor continuing this policy.
(14) If someone has a drug problem, prison rape is the best solution I can think of.
(15) Even though the Constitution had to be amended to allow for alcohol prohibition, and even though I claim to care about the Constitution, I don’t mind that there’s no constitutional authorization for the war on drugs, and I will punish at the polls anyone who favors the constitutional solution of returning the issue to the states.
(16) I believe only a “liberal” would think it was inhumane to keep essential items out of Iraq in the 1990s, even though one of the first people to protest this policy was Pat Buchanan.
(17) The Brookings Institution says Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract with America was an insignificant nibbling around the edges. I favor people who support insignificant nibbling around the edges, as long as they occasionally trick me with a nice speech.
(18) I am deeply concerned about radical Islam, so it was a good idea to depose the secular Saddam Hussein — who was so despised by Islamists that Osama bin Laden himself offered to fight against him in the 1991 Persian Gulf War — and replace him with a Shiite regime friendly with Iran, while also bringing about a new Iraqi constitution that makes Islam the state religion and forbids any law that contradicts its teachings.
(19) Indefinite detention for U.S. citizens seems like nothing to be worried about, especially since our political class is so trustworthy that it could never abuse such a power.
(20) Following up on (19), I believe Thomas Jefferson was just being paranoid when he said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
(21) Even though the war in Iraq was based on crude propaganda I would have laughed at if the Soviet Union had peddled it, and even though the result has been hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, four million people displaced, trillions of dollars down the drain, tens of thousands of serious injuries among American servicemen and an epidemic of suicide throughout the military, not to mention the ruination of America’s reputation in the world, I see no reason to be skeptical when the same people who peddled that fiasco urge me to support yet another war as my country is going bankrupt.
(22) I do not trust the media. But when the media tells me I am not to support Ron Paul, who says things he is not allowed to say, I will comply.
(23) I know the media will smear or marginalize anyone who would really fix this country. But when the media smears and marginalizes Ron Paul, I will draw no conclusion from this.
(24) I want to be spoken to like this: “My fellow Americans, you are the awesomest of the awesome, and the only reason anyone in the world might be unhappy with your government is because of your sheer awesomeness.”
(25) I think it’s a good idea to vote for Mitt Romney, whose top three donors are Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley, and a bad idea to vote for Ron Paul, whose top three donors are the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force.
(26) I have not been exploited enough by the cozy relationship between large financial firms and the U.S. government, and I would like to see it continue.
UPDATE: Some people are saying, “I oppose Ron Paul for different reasons. Why, he’ll force little kids to work in mines for 30 cents a day, he’ll destroy the environment, he’ll fire many of our selfless public servants, he believes in ‘deregulation,'” etc. Or, on the right, I hear, “He’s great on domestic policy, but he should be more pro-war.” Want replies to those? They’re right here:
UPDATE II: For the first time ever, I have had to turn on comment moderation on a thread. Disagreement is one thing. Foul language and abuse are another. One person in particular, throwing vile names at everyone in sight, was the reason for this policy.
Incidentally, if I may correct a few of his errors: Teddy Roosevelt, a J.P. Morgan man through and through, and whose Progressive candidacy in 1912 was bankrolled by the House of Morgan, was a champion of the common man in your sixth-grade textbook, but only there. Thomas Aquinas would disagree that faith and reason are by definition opposed. (I would ask how much of Aquinas, or Garrigou-Lagrange, the great 20th-century Thomist, our friend has read, but I think I already know the answer.) The rich paid a much higher proportion of the total tax burden after tax rates came down than before. The statistics from the 1920s on this count are especially striking. The rest of the claims were the typical “without government everyone would be an uneducated idiot whose food would be poisoned and whose consumer products would be exploding.” That’s why I wrote this book.