Monday, January 30, 2012

Homeland Security: A Joke in and of Itself

Check this one out if you need any other reason at all to wonder what in the hell has happened to this country and the ridiculous security theater we have to deal with now.   The long and the short of it is a couple of young British (one is Irish, yet the article refers to them as British) tourists come to America on a long awaited trip, on the way making a few joking tweets about digging up Marilyn Monroe's body while here and coming to "destroy" (i.e. party like mad in) America.  In their infinite wisdom, the Department of Homeland Security detained these individuals, questioned them at length, refusing to believe the resaonable explanations to their innocuous statements, and then refused them entry into the country.  Feel safer do you?  Do you feel that your tax dollars are being spent wisely and efficently in an effort to maintain the security of the state?  Does any of that sound like America to you?

Here are my first questions:

Who or what identified these people as a threat that needed to be investigated? Was this a computer program that is trolling the entire internet for comments like this and cross referencing it with travel itinerary? Did keywords get kicked out into a report for a human being to read and then decide these people needed to be flagged for further investigation? Is this individual tasked only with investigating those who are possibly moronic terrorists and/or criminals who blatantly broadcast to the entire planet they are coming to destroy America?

Once in L.A., where they could be seen and examined in person by (supposedly) trained individuals whose intent it is to keep America scared safe, why did this take any more than 25 seconds to determine they were no threat at all? Hours and hours of manpower were spent on this, why? Was there really any reason for these people to have been questioned much less detained for hours, only to be sent back? Ponder the fact that a dollar figure attached to this fiasco would probably run into the low to mid thousands, at the very least. How many times a day does this sort of thing happen, that visitors have been flagged for further investigation because of some social media statement?

How far and deep does this power go? Twitter is a public forum, and it is disturbing enough that our government is trolling it looking for the boogie-man, but what about other forums? Do they read the email of people planning on coming to this country? One of my best friends in the world in English, and I hope that he makes his way back here sometime soon. If he were to do that I am quite sure that, given our previous history, there would be a generous application of alcohol and stupid antics would ensue (though we are not as young as we used to be). Now, if he sent me an email saying “prepare yourself, for I am coming back to lay waste to America” would that trigger some sort of snooping program? Would he be investigated, searched, detained and eventually denied access to the country?
Now, I am being somewhat critical of my government and their security practices; actually, belay that, I am calling them out for rank stupidity. They are doing stupid, stupid things that waste time, effort and resources and do not make us safer. In our haste to “feel” safer we have created this large, unwieldy bureaucracy that has entirely to much power and discretion, and we only learn about how far they have gone and how inane they can be after the fact. We need, as a nation, to start reexamining the size, scope, purpose and efficacy of this organization. America was based on principles of freedom and liberty first and foremost. If I was going to England, made an off the cuff tweet about how I was going to get drunk and dig up Lawrence Olivier, and they denied me entry into the country, Americans would think that stupid. Their first, base reaction, I hope, would be that someone making a joke like that should not be barred from travel. Yet they will probably sit back and not say much of anything about what happened to these individuals, because we have simply become attuned to this sort of thing. Instead of raging away and demanding that this agency have its rules rewritten from top to bottom, if not disbanded, we sit back and trust that we did not trade that much freedom, and that we won’t be losing any more as time goes by due to the inevitable bureaucratic creep that accompanies all government agencies. Trusting in government to make the right choice, especially when it comes to rights and liberties is always dangerous, usually fatal, and if anything is going to destroy America, it is not going to be loose lipped tourists and social media, it is going to be Americans not getting angry enough to act when minor depravations such as this occur.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Can 8% Start a Movement?

I was flipping through channels Saturday night absorbing some of the coverage from various networks. I happened upon MSNBC right after Ron Paul made his speech and was able to hear something very interesting. Lawrence O’Donnell was pontificating about Ron Paul and his supporters, with his tone truly reflecting his attempt to capture top pompous ass on TV, when he said that the Ron Paul supporter will never be represented by the Republican nominee (2:25 mark). That was the second most interesting thing he had to say, the first being that the Democratic nominee will not represent them either. He went on to condescendingly say that this is the “legalize drugs, end all wars” crowd. According to O’Donnell, Ron Paul has galvanized this group of whack-jobs for no other reason than to start a third party at some vague, undetermined time in the future. Given his expertise, he tells us that if this movement was to break off and run a third party right now, it would garner 8% of the vote. This, of course, is O’Donnell being intellectually lazy and quoting survey numbers of people who would self-identify as Libertarians. But if we start from the premise that neither the Republican or the Democrat will represent these people, why don’t we examine some issues and see if we can add to the percentage.

Since these pundits sort of laughingly referred to legalizing drugs, let’s start there. One of the hits libertarian-minded people take from the established parties and their pundits, is the notion that drugs should be legalized. This stems from the idea that Libertarians are just pot-head Republicans, people who want to get high and be left alone doing it. If we are going to expand our percentage, we need to convince people there is a greater logic behind this position. Given that government spending at both the Federal and State level is a concern, we should start from there. How much does the War on Drugs really cost? Ponder all the direct costs of this effort to keep people from intoxicating themselves: interdiction, direct military aid, intelligence, enforcement manpower and equipment, court costs and staffing, incarceration costs in both facilities and manpower, and dozens of other categories too long to list here. Then think on this, we are borrowing money to do this. We keep hearing from both sides how we have to reexamine our priorities and how, where and why we are spending our tax dollars. Why not start with something as simple as marijuana? Is this really something that needs to be occupying the time of diplomats, military personnel, police officers, judges, corrections officers, and probation officers? Is this something we need to be borrowing money for?  Why not make it one of those ridiculously simplistic metrics people like so much in the 30-second political commercials: Cut a teacher/firefighter or lock up Joe Stoner? How many textbooks could the $10,000 a year it costs to keep someone locked up buy? That can be used at all levels of government. How much money do we not have to borrow just to keep people from doing no more harm than if they were drinking? And those would just be direct costs, nothing taking into account years of productivity, shattered lives and collateral damage that come from this war, which also adds to the cost. If you make it a balance sheet issue instead of a morality, think of the children issue, you can certainly add to the 8%. For anyone who needs further convincing, they can look at one of my favorite graphics about Prohibition, and then ask them, how drugs could possibly be any different?

One of the other dismissive things he said that evening was the “end all wars” quip. Now, I am personally not a peacenik, and many people have issue with Ron Paul because of his foreign policy stances, but if we are going to increase the 8%, we should again place it in terms that everyone can easily examine and judge on the merits. The U.S. is over $1.5 Trillion in debt this year, $16 Trillion overall. Should Americans allow their government to borrow money to protect Germany and Britain from non-existent military threats? Pretty simple isn’t it? Force the other side to defend the notion that we need to borrow money to keep troops in Europe. Start small, concede that there may be some reason to keep troops in South Korea, but ask why they have to be in Okinawa when the Okinawans do not want us there? How exactly will the Republic fall if we spend only say 3.5% of our GDP on defense instead of 5%? These are questions that have to be answered regardless of who wins the election, because the bills are going to come due eventually.
As O’Donnell said, the Democrats won’t deal with these questions either. We can continue to play this game even further when it comes to Medicare, Social Security or any of the other programs Democrats have said they will defend no matter what. In the end, it is not going to matter who wins the Republican nomination (because all of the pundits have decreed Paul can’t win) or even the general election. Just examine it rationally: If Mitt or Newt wins the Presidency, will they reduce the debt and roll back the power and scope of the Federal government? If neither of them is willing to cut defense by even a dime, and they are both on record as pandering to the Medicare/Social Security demographic, then what hope is there? To take either of them at their word right now, we would have to brace for the Federal government doing everything they could to outlaw abortion and possibly execute people for dealing drugs (GO NEWT!). If Obama wins, what could possibly be any different? Both sides of the aisle are trying to find ways in this election year to make sure all of the cuts they have committed to never come to fruition.

So what is the point of supporting either of these parties? If you step away from the 8% idea, and instead of Libertarian, place in Independent, what happens then? Libertarians take the hit as being unfit to govern because of ideological rigidity, but is that really the case? When writing a platform or speaking to the like-minded, every political party seems to be rigid, because you are trying to appeal for support. Does an Obama stump speech to a room full of union supporters and donors resonate at all with an Independent who is concerned about long-term debt? When Newt is pandering to a room a room full of conservative Christians about the proper roll of faith in the government, does that fill the Independent concerned about the dangers of big government with glee? At that point, what is stopping you from stepping away from these two monolith parties, who are undeniably only concerned with gaining and maintaining power for their own ends, and supporting someone else? Sit and actually listen to Newt, Mitt, Barack and the rest, go ahead. Listen to John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, and the rest, please do. Look at all that has been done and said by both sides in the last decade as each one has gone back and forth in gaining and attaining various levels of control over two branches of our government. What do we have to show for it? Intrusive regulations, lost freedoms, concentrated Federal power, an economy in shambles and a near insurmountable mountain of debt. What will we get if Mitt/Newt/Obama wins the election? Do you simply assume things will get better if we give complete control to one of these political parties again, or should we keep it “divided”? Does it seem strange that when it comes to things like reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act, bailing out the banks, kicking the Medicare fix down the road or raising the debt ceiling, all of that partisan acrimony just seems to disappear? You are told not to waste your vote by stepping outside the two-party system, but what is the real difference? One of the features of our system is the winner-take-all Single Member Plurality Districts. Most votes, not the majority of votes, equals the win. Independents are now the plurality in this country, mainly because they are fed up with the merry-go-round not getting anywhere. If they decided that enough was enough, and threw their support behind someone else, that would be the end of the story, or at least make for an interesting brawl. If people changed their focus away from President and back towards the Congress that is in charge of creating all of these laws and debt, then actually stopped sending the same spend-thrift clowns back year after year, the fight would become truly interesting. But you need a place to start. Listen to Obama’s State of the Union, or a Romney/Gingrich/Santorum anything, and then go read Gary Johnson’s platform. Is he honestly the scariest person in the race for you? Then stay on the merry-go-round. Otherwise use the internet to see what other candidates, at every level of government have to say. The media has no faith in your ability to step away from the major parties, so you have to do it yourself. If you can step away from the R or the D, and use the information that modern technology provides you to learn and disseminate information, then you might find it high time to be truly independent, whatever form that takes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just to be Clear: Rick Santorum is an Idiot

To be fair, it is not just Rick Santorum, but also Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama and the Progressives, as well as most of the establishment figures in both parties. Let’s deal with Santorum first.

Santorum continues on with this ridiculous notion of what America is all about, the limits of the Constitution, how the 10th Amendment does not entitle the States to their own powers and ability to institute their own laws and practices, how the Declaration of Independence created an overarching “moral” code that actually governs the concept of America, blah, blah, blah… The general ignorance of this man is incredibly astounding. Santorum, like Gingrich and many Conservative know-it alls, will talk about the Founders and the Constitution with reverence and longing for their wisdom, yet have absolutely no notion of what they were talking about or trying to do. For Santorum and his claim about the 10th Amendment, and this also applies to Progressives who like to speak with some sort of authority on this subject, we should consult some actual source material. It’s a little long but try this on for size:

I mean not by these reflections to insinuate, that the new federal government will not embrace a more enlarged plan of policy than the existing government may have pursued; much less, that its views will be as confined as those of the State legislatures; but only that it will partake sufficiently of the spirit of both, to be disinclined to invade the rights of the individual States, or the prerogatives of their governments. The motives on the part of the State governments, to augment their prerogatives by defalcations from the federal government, will be overruled by no reciprocal predispositions in the members. Were it admitted, however, that the Federal government may feel an equal disposition with the State governments to extend its power beyond the due limits, the latter would still have the advantage in the means of defeating such encroachments. If an act of a particular State, though unfriendly to the national government, be generally popular in that State and should not too grossly violate the oaths of the State officers, it is executed immediately and, of course, by means on the spot and depending on the State alone. The opposition of the federal government, or the interposition of federal officers, would but inflame the zeal of all parties on the side of the State, and the evil could not be prevented or repaired, if at all, without the employment of means which must always be resorted to with reluctance and difficulty.

Do you know where that is from? That is from Federalist Paper #46, written by James Madison. For those who may have forgotten, the Federalist Papers were a series of essays that were written after the Constitutional Convention in order to generate support for the new version of the national government by alleviating people's fears and concerns over its construction and powers. In reading the above passage what is the takeaway? It can only be that the State governments have powers and responsibilities all on their own. Not only do the States have power all on their own, they also have the ability to push back against the Federal government should it attempt to encroach on those powers, and be able to pass and enforce laws that officials at the Federal level may not like, so long as they reside within the bailiwick of the State. So we can understand how wrong Santorum is, and deniers of the power of the 10th Amendment in general are, remember that this is written by James Madison. James Madison who essentially wrote the Constitution, so his grasp and understanding of the document should be hard to argue with. Also take into account this was published in January of 1788, which is 400 days before the first Congress proposes, and nearly four years before the States ratify the Bill of Rights THAT INCLUDED THE 10TH AMENDMENT. Before anyone conceived of the document having a 10th Amendment that provided the states and the people direct control over their lives away from the LIMITED power of the Federal government, Madison was saying this power was obvious and inherent in the document, no further provisos needed. When Santorum talks about what the 10th Amendment allows he is quite literally contradicting the man who wrote the Constitution. If States want to allow for gay marriage, that is their prerogative, the power rests with them, not the Federal government, the Feds are not in the marriage business. If a state wants to allow for medical marijuana, or any marijuana for that matter, it does not concern the Federal government. They have no power to stop it under this interpretation of the constitution.  When it comes to Mr. Gingrich he fancies himself a historian and a believer in the original constitution, but you can not read that passage above and come to the same conclusions about the federal government he does. You can only say it is proper for the Federal government to outlaw drugs if you take the Progressive approach of an unlimited “commerce clause” power to interfere in business best left to the States.

Now, when it comes to individual rights I have no issue in saying the 14th Amendment changed this relationship somewhat, allowing the people to claim certain protections provided by the Bill of Rights as they apply to their dealings with the State governments. This does not change the underlying dynamic though. You can ask the Federal government to protect your freedom to practice religion from an act by a State Legislature, but it does not give the Feds the power to invalidate your State sanctioned marriage. The 14th does not invalidate the 10th, and despite what the Progressive set would like to say on the subject, the 10th does not simply state a truism. If you look later at this same essay you see this:
…should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union … would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter. But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause … Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole…You see here, once again, that Madison believed, without a 10th Amendment in place, that if the Federal government were to do something odious or unpopular that the states and the people would resist them, that they would not obey the orders of Federal officials and the States would all equally join together to say that it should not be done. So while people often talk of “supreme law of the land” and “necessary and proper” as being the defining principles of the super powerful Federal government, it is quite clear that the people who wrote the document did not believe that.

In the 220+ years since these things were written the world has changed, to be sure, and the Federal government has changed with it, and now intrudes on every single facet of life no matter how mundane. Many of these things were done for our own good, to protect us from the evils of this, that or the other thing, so as to safely Shepard us from cradle to grave while efficiently and effectively paying our taxes. Somewhere along the way we forgot the basic premise of limited government, the very logic behind it that is expressed in the Federalist Papers and other pieces of the time. You limit the power not because you are heartless, naïve, unconcerned, disconnected or selfish.; you limit the power because you are aware of the fact that not doing so opens the floodgates to expanding power into everything. Libertarians take a philosophical beating because they have to answer the “what-ifs” against straw-men about clean air and good roads, but Liberals and Conservatives never have to answer the same questions about where their platforms lead. 
You don't simply "trust" in Barack Obama to make the right call about who should be detained indefinitely. You should not provide Newt Gingrich with the power to say that a particular intoxicant is so bad you need to be thrown in jail for thinking about using it. You certainly never elevate Rick Santorum to a position of authority wherein he attempts to establish for all of us his understanding of what is the moral and proper way to live. You don't do any of these things because the next person to come down the line will invariably pick up the ball wherever it is left and continue to move it forward until, as we have seen by the world we now live in, that the concept of limited government has disappeared. After decades of growth in the power, scope and especially the cost of our National and State governments we need to all start reexamining what it is theses entities should be doing and why. People are starting to realize there is a problem, let us hope, as Madison hoped, we will start to see their repugnance escalate into some actual pushback against the intrusion into our lives and liberty.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My How Dangerous You Are

I always thought the line, “You can’t be a fiscal conservative if you are not a social conservative,” would forever disqualify Jim DeMint from intelligent political discourse, this week he was able to change that. Mind you, I still do not have much of any use for him, but he did at least show he is paying attention when he said that the Republican Party needs to be paying attention to the libertarian minded amongst the electorate. Instead of that we have seen a steady stream of candidates and Conservative pundits tell libertarians how delusional and dangerous their ideas are. This, of course, is not a coherent strategy for winning people over to your side. The Republican tent seems like it should be big enough for libertarians, but their continued hostility makes little sense, unless of course you take into account that Democrats and their Progressive punditry are also very happy to insult libertarians and tell them how delusional and dangerous they are.

How can it be that each pole of our political spectrum can be so hostile towards those who simply profess a desire for liberty, freedom and limited government that respects the individual? It usually follows along the lines of my favorite game: WHAT IF? What if libertarians ran things? Progressives will tell you that if heartless libertarian policies were put in place, we would be cast under a dark cloud of dirty air and water, free from roads and schools in which we would all be enslaved by the corporations, working 20 hours a day eight days a week, and Grandma would just be left to die out in the cold. Conservatives will tell us how if the immature libertarian were making the decisions, we would be a nation bereft of a moral center, all enslaved in a soul crushing addiction to hard drugs while gays frolicked openly in the streets, all awaiting the inevitable Nazi/Korean/Iranian takeover of the now weak and defenseless isolationist America. The reason for all of this? Well, don’t you know that Ayn Rand said this, and Murray Rothbard said that, and Ron Paul believes this and so therefore all of you and everything you might believe in is completely invalid. That is pretty much it. Somehow or other, if people with libertarian principles were to attain any elected power in the United States, we would automatically and instantly get anything and everything we ever wanted. We would be all united under an unwavering banner of Randian Objectivism or Rothbardian Anarcho ideological purity (maybe even get a nifty uniform and special salute to do to each other). We would obviously not have to compromise, or acknowledge we live in a Republic that respects and protects minority opinion. We would of course get to violate the Democratic Bargain and swiftly and completely stifle all dissent and criticism from other political philosophies. We would also have no disagreement amongst each other about a proper policy or mode of implementation. We would simply swarm in, sweep away the old and create Libertopia here on earth, very rapidly realizing we need no government at all.

Seem reasonable? Do the Progressives or the Conservatives get everything they want when they win an election? If one of their thinkers said something stupid or controversial, does that instantly cast their ideology as untenable and disqualified from political discourse? Do all Progressives and Conservatives agree on everything within the banner of their philosophies all the time every time? When it comes to the political parties, do they not have a “big tent” where people gather under an overall umbrella of thought and discuss the underpinnings of their philosophy? Does a New Hampshire Republican resemble in any way a Texas Republican? Does a Texas Democrat resemble a Massachusetts Democrat? Libertarianism can also be a big tent. You can believe that there needs to be a government and be a libertarian. You can understand the need for some laws and taxes and be a libertarian. Will those thoughts get you castigated and insulted by some purists who claim to be keepers of the faith when it comes to all things libertarian? Absolutely, some people and organizations out there would certainly do that to me, and there is real infighting within the community about what is a “libertarian”. Does that matter? I believe it is very important that people are having discussions about the nature of government, freedom, the individual, markets and capitalism, and our relationship to the state.  These discussions have people thinking about the long held notions and traditions of this country, and, I would agree with the punditry, it is exceptionally dangerous.

Now, when I say dangerous, I mean dangerous to them, of course. People across the country have less and less use for the D or the R after the name. It has shown itself to be of little consequence to those who are seeking and obtaining power in this country. The TEA Party made a splash because they elected non-establishment candidates who actually attempted to reign in spending. What did it get them? Condemnation from all corners. People see this and they are smart enough to see that the D and the R are not what is important. What concerns people? $16 Trillion is finally starting to concern people. We keep hearing about how horrible it would be if we cut back on this program or that entitlement. I always enjoyed the Susan B. Anthony quote about people professing to know the will of God and how she did not trust them because that will salways seemed to line up with their own interests. It is the same with the “dangers” of libertarian thought; it is always the implied threat to their core constituent program that will bring down the Republic. Americans, I hope, can see through what is essentially a game of “no-backsies”. The powers that be (or have been) created something they considered to be the most important achievement of all time, be it Medicare or the U.S. Military, and there can never be any discussion about altering it in any way ever. We, the people, just need to accept that there are some things that just “are” for our own good, and that changing it is not allowed. That is starting to ring hollow with people now, as well it should. Not really very Democratic or American if you look at it reasonably.

While I will not claim they are hankering to throw an L after their name in place of the R or the D, we are able to see some very important things from this shift. People do not see a bigger and more powerful government as being a solution to the problems that ail us. While the generation of the Baby Boomers and their parents were willing to trust in government and accept certain regulations and intrusions, the next generations are less willing to accept the conventional wisdom of the last century. We are entitled to do that as well. We are allowed to discuss the possibility of a world without Social Security or troops in 130 countries and not be told our ideas are forbidden from the discussion. We are allowed to think outside of the Left/Right dichotomy, and possibly come up with a plan that does not involve the old forms or old players. Complacency and a refusal to explore new ideas is the true danger, for it was not libertarianism that got us where we are. Expanding options and discussions beyond where they have been stuck for decades will not make the problem any worse, of that we can be sure.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

You Have Got to be Kidding Me!

Electable.  We keep hearing how important being electable is, that beating Obama is what is important.  For months, we heard over and over again that votes should not be wasted on Ron Paul. He can’t win the nomination, and he can’t win the election, so you should not vote for him. You people with libertarian leanings are very important to the Republican Party, we really do respect you and we have a home for you in our tent, so please don’t muddy the waters with Ron Paul talk, and support one of our “electable” candidates and then we will all work together to bring about limited government. A reasonable message, with a real sensible appeal to people’s better nature. And in their continued desire to nominate anyone other than Mitt Romney, they have now elevated for our consideration Rick Santorum. I believe the proper, measured and intellectual response to that should be: You can all go straight to hell!

Of any candidate that is running in this race how exactly can the limited government, libertarian minded support Rick Santorum? How is it that this notion of “electability” disqualifies Paul yet somehow includes this hardcore culture warrior? This man has specifically said he wants to purge the libertarian influence out of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. He believes that we all have it wrong, that we have no understanding of the “real” history of this country. We don’t know that “pursuit of happiness” must be restrained by the proper application of Christian morality so as to protect the health of the state. We don’t seem to know or understand that “gay” is some sort of choice that people make, because Hollywood has made it look cool or some damn thing like that. Marriage is only about God’s plan for men and women to have children, plain and simple, and allowing two non-heterosexual people to engage in the state sponsored marriage contract will inevitably and inexorably lead to polygamy and bestiality. This candidate knows what is good for us, knows when and where the Federal Government should intercede in our choices and freedoms, and what is best for us due to his moral compass. Electable? Barack Obama could beat this man while wearing a turban, and you demanded everyone take electability into account into their decision on who to finally vote for?

I’m a New Hampshire resident, and I am pretty well confident that this clown does not have a chance of coming in second here, but then of course there is the rest of the country. Economy or culture? Beat Obama or make a statement about Conservatism? What is the point this time around? Santorum is a Burkean conservative of the highest order, he does not see the power of government as being limited when it comes to laying down “traditional” moral values and structures for the state. The Social Conservatives have a very strong hold on the Republican Party, and they could easily unite in the Southern and Midwest Primaries and elevate Santorum into the top slot. Then they would be the ones guaranteeing Obama’s reelection. Independents are going to decide the election, everyone knows that. Social Conservatives could throw a hissy about their interests being ignored and make this about the gays or school prayer, and quite frankly that would be fine in my book. I do not need a lesson in morality from Rick Santorum. I would never assume to come to his community or his house and tell him how he is living his life in an improper or immoral way. The pretentious and arrogant way that he dismisses any challenge to his world view should be enough for anyone to see that he is unfit to be President. His candidacy should have disappeared long ago, yet we see some of the standard bearers trying to mount a case for him now, which of course should speak volumes about how important they believe libertarians and independents to be in their coalition. The talking point has been that a second Obama term would be so terrible that there needs to be a unified effort to unseat him regardless of the candidate (so long as it is not Paul). Yet this is the new best “non-Romney” option? The man was right there happily running up the debt under W. with Iraq, Medicare Part D and NCLB. He is an ear mark king and his defense of them is exceptionally lame (to be fair, if ear marks are a mark against Santorum, they need to be one against Paul, his ridiculous lard up the bill/yet vote against the bill crap is merely semantics and he needs to be called on it). The man has nary a redeeming feature for those who believe the Federal Government should stay out of their business, and he has made that abundantly clear to anyone who will listen to him.

If Santorum wants to purge the libertarian from the Republican Party, why not let him? If the Independent, who does not see gay marriage as the end of the Republic, is unimportant to the Republican Party and the Conservative punditry, then play up Saint Rick’s crusade. The notion that beating Obama is so important that the "libertarianish" that Santorum so despises should swallow their pride and vote for this man is laughable. We continue to be told that the choice is terrible Big Government Obama or Candidate X from the Republican Party, who invariably will be some sort of Big Government Neo-Con or Social Conservative. This is somehow a choice? Is it any wonder that the idea of a third party vote is starting to reach a high water mark with the electorate? Crazy, by definition, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. How exactly would choosing solely based on the R or the D at this point be anything but pure insanity?