Friday, March 30, 2012

Et Tu, Nelson?

“Scalia said [Wednesday] that it was totally unrealistic to read the whole law. Sen. Nelson didn’t think it was too much for the justices to know what they’re talking about when questioning the law’s content,” said Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson. 

I'm just disappointed nobody bothered to ask senator Nelson if HE read the bill.  You know, since he imposed it upon us and all. 

Funny that nobody on the Left is complaining about the four liberal justices who were and remain considered dead locks in favor of ObamaCare.  No, we'll question the independence of the conservative justices who up until this week were considered in play.  And we certainly won't question Kagan's role as Solicitor General when ObamaCare was passed. 

And finally, the four liberals effective took over Donald Verrilli's role once the Solicitor General made it perfectly clear he hadn't done his homework.  But we won't question their independence.  No sir! 

How dare Scalia ask hard questions!  Seriously? 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dear Leader Dahlia...

But we seem to want to be free from that obligation as well. This morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old. Until today, I couldn’t really understand why this case was framed as a discussion of “liberty.” This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.

That would be Dahlia Lithwick's despondent response to libertarians.  Apparently, freedom actually consists of being lead by the nose without complaint by Lithwick and her ilk whenever they decide what is good for us. 

The fact of the matter is, Dahlia, there are many different goods in the world.  There is no one Good in Plato's sense.  I get it, you think universal health care is the bee's knees.  Well, I don't, mostly because I'm young and not doing so well in the Age of Hope and Stimulus.  I need to put that money where it will do me some good (paying loans, food, rent, gas, etc.) rather than health care insurance, seeing as I haven't had a medical expense I couldn't pay out of pocket, yeah, I'm guessing since I was a toddler.  By the way, Scalia was exactly right: people my age are smart enough to make decisions individually about their own health care.  Most of us will not need it now and should be allowed to fund our more pressing needs rather than your health care.  As for those my age that do purchase insurance, they may have the resources or the need to do so; Scalia's entire point is that they would know better about their individual needs than Lithwick or Obama. 

She keeps speaking of obligations to each other.  I don't recall assuming any such obligation.  None of this means that I won't help people voluntarily; I have, I do, and I will again.  I grow so tired of this dishonest argument that conservatives and libertarians don't want the government to help people, ergo they don't want those people to be helped.  That's wrong (Bastiat destroyed it in 1850); there are sentient actors outside of the government who can and do help others on a voluntary basis.  They are called individual human beings. 

Freedom does indeed mean not having to comply with the demands of Dahlia Lithwick.  It should be a surprise to nobody that Lithwick thinks that is wrong, but then, what tyrant doesn't define freedom as "what I want you to do is best"?

UPDATE:  Just got mentioned by the Instapundit himself!  Many thanks, Professor Reynolds!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Initial Thoughts on the ObamaCare Oral Arguments

Today, the Supreme Court heard arguments over the constitutionality of the individual mandate in what is commonly called ObamaCare.  The transcript for the argument can be found here (audio can be located here).  My thoughts:

  1. It was repeatedly argued by the Government that the mandate is necessarily because this market is "unique."  There are multiple problems with this argument.  For starters, the Government was never clear as to what "market" they were referring to, health care or health insurance.  They routinely switched between them, when in fact they are not interchangeable.  I can go to an emergency room without insurance.  And there is nothing unique about the health insurance market.  The government stated that "virtually everyone" and "everyone" is involved in the market (again, unclear as to which).  That's simply not true.  There are people who never use health insurance and can pay for health care on their own; so far, I've been one of them.  Maybe in the future that will change, but I'm smart enough to act accordingly. 

    There are markets in which literally everyone is involved, markets like food and clothing.  Medical care is not one of them.
  2.  The government tried to argue that the health care market (whichever they were talking about) is unique because costs are shifted from the uninsured to the insured.  Again, this is not necessarily so: a great deal of medical costs could be and are paid out of pocket.  Most people do not experience major medical costs in any particular year.  The uninsured are, by and large, young people at less risk.  This mandate exists to force people who will not use medical care into the system at their cost, not for their benefit, in order to make the ban on using pre-existing conditions to determine insurance costs possible.  Without it, those health insurance companies go under and the whole system collapses. 

    Please note that this mandate isn't about helping the uninsured.  It's about using them as cash cows.  We place limits on Congress precisely to stop this sort of abuse.
  3. The Government's understanding of economics is a muddled mess.  People not buying insurance and not using medical care are shifting costs to the insured and taxpayers?  Um, if the uninsured acted otherwise it is true that prices could be different, but that can be said of any other market in existence.  If more people bought guns, the prices of guns would be different; we do not thereby say people not owning guns are shifting the costs to those who do own guns.  We don't say those not buying Chevy Volts are shifting the costs to those who do. 
  4. But what about those few uninsured who do end up costing the taxpayer by having the government pick up the tab?  Ok, riddle me this: how is giving some of them subsidized health care fixing that free rider problem?  These people can free ride because of government laws requiring healthcare providers to take care of them.  This is the result of unintended consequences of government interference, which of course requires more government interference, which will likely have unintended consequences requiring more government interference...
  5. "Before you move on, could you express your limiting principle as succinctly as you possibly can?" ~Justice Alito.  That is on page 43; see if you can find the limiting principle to the Commerce Clause.  There isn't one.  The closest thing the Government comes to an answer is if Congress creates a regulatory scheme so freaking huge that everyone must be in it in order to work, well, so be it.  That's insane.  The larger the undertakings of Congress, the smaller become our individual rights according to the Constitution?  The whole reason we have the Constitution is to set boundaries to what Congress may do; the very fact that Congress wishes to go beyond those limits is not a constitutional argument that it may do so. 
  6. This may very well come down to Justice Kennedy.  To Justice Kennedy: I know you don't want to make a big splash, that this is Obama's big political achievement and all.  It doesn't matter.  The Constitution, not the President's signature piece of legislation, is the Supreme Law of the Land.  We cannot set a precedent that each President may bypass the Constitution on one "Big Thing."  There is nothing about health care insurance that makes it unique.  The nation did not get entangled in this mess because it is something Congress needed to tackle, but because our President made it a campaign theme to get elected.  Again, there is absolutely nothing unique about this particular market in which you will find a limiting principle allowing an individual mandate in this case but only this case. 
  7. It's hard to even comment on the Government's case, largely because it is incoherent.  They literally argued yesterday that the mandate is not a tax and today that it is (a point explicitly pointed out by some justices).  Their argument seems to be that the uninsured cost the insured, but the fact is most people don't experience large medical bills in any particular year.  Most that do are elderly, with insurance, in particular Medicare.  None of this points to a reason why Congress can compel people into commerce via the Commerce Clause in a way that doesn't open the door to future mandates. 
  8. The opponents case is much clearer: the individual mandate is a novel idea that deserves strict scrutiny.  If it stands, there is no aspect of our lives that cannot be regulated, as not participating is just as much "commerce" as participating.  We have a government of limited, enumerated powers, and such an all encompassing power is inconsistent with a limited government.

    The opponents of ObamaCare were clear and concise.  The Government's case is a muddled mess, depending on shifting meanings of which market they are talking about, what shifting costs are, who they are shifted from and to, how they are shifted, and without a limiting principle on Congress should Congress decide to be really ambitious.  I've largely defended the opposition to ObamaCare, largely because it is the only position that can be defended.  Today's oral argument drove that point home, as commentators across the spectrum noted the Government's lack of preparation, in particular in comparison to the opposition.  That there are four justices that have never been in doubt is proof those four justices are intent on giving Congress unlimited powers come hell or high water; nearly every conservative justice has been considered a possible "Yes" vote, showing their intellectual honesty.  They want to see if this can work within the Constitution of limited governments, while their left leaning colleagues see no need to have such limits.  

    It's going to be a long wait until June. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

An Extremely Important Case

"The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing; if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained?"

"But there is another way to look at these precedents—that the Court either should stop saying that a meaningful limit on Congress’s commerce powers exists or prove that it is so."

Last March, I compared the arguments over the constitutionality of ObamaCare as put forward by a liberal and a conservative circuit court decision.  The Supreme Court will take up the issue over the next three days. 

I cannot stress enough how important this case is.  I fully believe the bill should be struck down, not because it is too expensive (it is), not because the American People didn't want it (they didn't), nor because there was no transparency in the process (there wasn't); it should not be struck down because it undermines American civic virtue (it does), not because we were lied about how expensive it will be (we were), nor because it increases medical costs while reducing coverage and causing people to lose their current insurance. 

This individual mandate must go because if it stands, the Constitution will cease to be the bastion of our individual liberties.  If Congress can force us into commerce, it may regulate any aspect of our lives it so chooses.  The entire idea of a limited federal government of enumerated powers will dissolve if absolutely anything Congress would like to do can be justified by the Commerce Clause; as the Founding Fathers didn't just pen "Congress has carte blanche", I think it is safe to say this was not their intention. 

Those who like this bill will accuse me of wanting the bill struck down for purely policy reasons.  To them I ask, where is the limit of the Commerce Clause?  I will not accept the response that there is none.  If that argument is upheld, all Congress will ever need to do again is invoke the words "Commerce Clause" and declare the issue settled. 

Limits on what government may or may not do are extremely important.  I get it that the supporters of this bill think it is all sorts of awesome, but that does not change the fact that they lack a constitutional argument outside of Congress has absolute power to do as it likes.  If you annihilate the limits of government, you cannot then cite those same obliterated limits when another political party obtains power in Washington and starts using this new found mandate power in ways you don't like.  Why?  Because they'll simply quote your defense of ObamaCare. 

This is Pandora's Box.  Don't open it. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Rally for Reason?

Yesterday, noted atheist and evolution proponent Richard Dawkins published a piece in the Washington Post supporting an apparent Rally for Reason being held in D.C. on the 24th.  It seems like a pretty hard thing to argue against; perhaps that is why I'm inclined to do so.  

Dawkins' piece is largely a glorification of mankind's intellectual triumphs.  What we have learned to do is indeed impressive, especially when compared to whatever may be the closest competitors we have on the planet.  Reason, as a scientific method that promotes inquiry and demands natural rather than supernatural explanations, is indeed a blessing to our society.  However, we do not "base our lives in reason" alone.  Reason tells us how to do things, how things can physically be accomplished, but it fails to explain why we would want to do or not do something.  The goals in our lives are the product of passion, not reason.  The desire to have more happiness, as subjectively defined by us as individuals, is a ubiquitous feature of human nature, perhaps even more so than reason. 

In many ways, those proclaiming their own infallible wisdom are the greatest threats to reason.  Look at Dawkins' list.  In particular, he claims to know where we came from (evolution).  Now, I see no small amount of evidence to support the theory.  Walking in the field behind my house, I routinely stumble upon fossils of small aquatic beings with nifty little shells, and I live in upstate New York, far from any ocean.  And yet, the theory of evolution, that life has spawned without a guiding hand, is not beyond challenge.  No scientific theory is beyond challenge!   That spirit of skepticism is what makes science...well, science! 

Let me explore that example to show why allowing skepticism without ridicule is important.  Evolution, in particular that version that sees all of life as a byproduct of chance, has some pretty big holes.  For starters, how life came into being is still a mystery.  Literally everything else in the theory of evolution hinges on there being life in the first place, but science lacks an answer as to how this came about.  I'm not claiming science will not do so, but only pointing out that it hasn't.  This is a huge problem, because if we cannot recreate life with all of our vaunted reason, how in the world did chance do it?  Go get a quick refresher on what proteins are and how exact they have to be, both in their order of amino acids and in their folding patterns.  It is insanely complex, and a single living cell requires thousands of these things to work in unison.  

Think of it this way: you are looking at a blog post on a web page.  You understand what I'm saying, even if you disagree.  What are the odds that this was all typed by a cat?  Well, the odds of a living cell organizing itself is even more remote.  This post is fairly simple in its complexity, especially in comparison to what life is.  

Which, by the way, is another thing reason has not answered.  What is perception?  What is sentience?  Yes, I know that electrons and nerves are involved, but how do their reactions to stimuli become perceived?  

The actual argument over evolution isn't one that interests me much anymore.  When I was a teenager, I found it important, largely because the origin of life to be important in establishing an "objective" morality.  The idea that morality can exist outside of a great lawgiver did not seem convincing at the time, though it does now.  I've moved on, though I still have questions to pester the average atheist.  But in general, I don't raise them unless an atheist gets all righteous on me.  

And that is what Dawkins has done.  I don't trust educated intellectuals, either, when they forget Socrates' definition of wisdom.  That definition, by the way, is knowing that you don't know something.  Even the most educated intellectuals in the world put together know so little about the entirety of things to be known, in particular when it comes to people and their subjective lives.  The revolt against intellectuals is caused by the overreach of intellectuals.  

These intellectuals have begun worshiping their own tools, forgetting that they are means to an end rather than an end in itself.   Dawkins' second criticism is of those that would rather have their kids know the Bible rather than "modern science."  Quantum physics and an oil tanker are both tools and both would be equal wastes of time and effort for me to obtain.  The theory pointed out by Dawkins, evolution, is particularly worthless from my point of view.  I cannot think of a single aspect of my life that is improved by a thorough understanding of that theory.  Yet rules that allow us to work together in peace and harmony are essential.  Like it or not, the Bible has been a huge source of those rules.  Again, I'm agnostic, not a Christian, and there are parts of the Bible I dislike, but a great many of its precepts are both accepted and practiced by people in America today with peaceful results.  If given the choice, I too would say it would be more important for children to learn some morals rather than where birds came from.  

Perhaps the most amusing thing is that the guy who spent the entire article cranking on other people for happily living their lives with a Savior ends it by pretending to be their savior.  A hundred years from now, people will still be the same, driven by their passions and seeking to satisfy them by reason.  But the nature of those passions will still be beyond reason.  The joy, beauty, and mystery of being human will never be reduced to a mathematical equation. 

I will rally for reason by being skeptical of those claiming to know, by pointing out holes in their theories any time they get cocky about them, and generally ignoring the theory of evolution as the fairly useless piece of information that it is. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh Occupy, I Miss You

Murphy didn't like "Power to the People" either. The phrase had deep roots in earlier protests, but Murphy said echoing it now could mean repeating history's mistakes. "I don't see any benefit from anything that's ever happened in the past. I think it's only served to just reaffirm the system." In Murphy's view, all systems are bound to fail; he'd rather scrap the economy and the government altogether and move back to primitivism

Wow.  Haven't had much to say about Occupy, largely because it has become irrelevant (just as I predicted it would).  But hell, why not remind people that these lunatics would rather see us all go back to a time before mankind knew how to make and use fire?  That sounds fun!  And remember, him scrapping society means it goes away for all of us, not just him...and that's his goal.  

Perhaps more amusing is the fact that "primitivism" wasn't apolitical.  Rather, it was dominated by tribes and families with pretty clear cut hierarchies that were unchallengeable due to taboo.  This dovetails nicely into an excellent book I just finished, Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume 1.  Highly recommend it. 

I want to get rid of crony socialism as much as anyone, but the only way to do it is to limit the power of the government to spend our tax dollars.  It's almost cute how people cite Citizens United as a cause of corruption; the case is only two years old, but all of history is full of politicians using their position of power to financially help family and friends at the expense of subjects and citizens.  The spoils system most certainly out dates election spending; the monarchs and oligarchs of old, who never once stood for election, used their powers to be corrupt, too.  Getting rid of campaign contributions doesn't change who the government will abuse its power for.  

The whole project just amuses me.  Direct consensus democracy can accomplish almost nothing; unanimous votes are incredibly rare, especially among large groups.  Yet this was seriously proposed as a goal, not just for the movement but for the nation!  It's proof of how deluded these folks are.  They have gotten it in their heads that not only are they right about designing societies (a tall order), but that everyone else recognizes they are right.  Hell, even people on their own side find problems with their solutions!  Welcome to reality, where dissent and faction are the order of the day and every day.   Believe it or not, Utopia is not something we can just choose to do, and many problems are not the acts of conspiracy by an oligarchy but rather an inherent bug caused by human nature, of which all human institutions are based upon. 

My greatest disappointment with Occupy is its total lack of a stated vision.  "Power to the People" is a pretty meaningless statement.  Getting rid of the 1% who has influence is also nonsensical, as influence on government will never be perfectly equal or anything resembling it.  Society is hierarchical and people are unequal.  That cannot be changed, and every attempt to do so has been both horribly bloody and ultimately a failure to even achieve the stated goals.  

Reduce the power of the government to pick winners and losers, create equality under the law (aka same rules for everyone, which does not imply same results as people are not identical, just like a game of chess), and respect the fundamental rights of Life, Liberty, and Possessions.  These things can bring far greater happiness to our lives without resorting to bloodshed and anarchy. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Romney's Not Caesar

The only way Romney doesn't survive March is if somebody pulls a Brutus on him.  This article is insane, implying that Romney's going to have a hard three weeks after last night's results.  Mr. Chalian may have missed it, but Santorum's extremely narrow wins in Mississippi and Alabama gave him all of 8 more delegates than Romney; Romney more than wiped that out with American Samoa's 9 delegates, plus Hawaii.  

And where are we going next?  Puerto Rico, which is winner take all.  I'd bet good money Romney will win that on Sunday.  So whatever momentum Santorum got from yesterday (and really, it shouldn't be much, he needed to do much better than that in the South to keep this race close) will be gone before next Tuesday.  

After that, outside of Louisiana and Pennsylvania, I don't see Santorum winning any other states.  During that same stretch, Romney will likely pick up Maryland, D.C., Wisconsin, Deleware, and Connecticut in winner take all matches, while also dominating New York and Rhode Island.  

And again, this primary ends with winner take all in California, New Jersey, and Utah, where Romney will pick up 260 delegates to Santorum's zero.  Based on a very rough projection of the remaining races, I think Romney will need about 100 of the unpledged delegates to secure nomination.  That's roughly a third of them. 

The media can try to spin this as a rough time for Romney all they want; I believe it's effectively over. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not Mitt Folks, Come to Terms Before Obama Gets His Second

At this point, I don't see how anyone other than Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination without going to a brokered convention.  Romney's 386 delegates are 138 more than Santorum and Gingrich combined.  It's not certain either "Not Mitt" candidate could beat Romney in a straight up contest, but after Gingrich's completely unsurprising win in Georgia last night, we won't find out.  If he has any bounce at all, it'll come at the expense of Santorum over the next week as a few more southern states vote, giving Newt even more reasons to stay in it.  Once March is over, though, the race moves into decidedly Romney territory, with a number of those being winner take all. 

A lot of folks are not particularly thrilled about Romney winning.  I'm not giddy about him, but I cannot possibly imagine Independents voting for Rick Santorum.  The 2006 PA Senate race shows how unelectable he really is.  Santorum's conservative record is as spotty as Romney's.  And the biggest kick in the nuts is that he's running as a social conservative.  Got news, people: that's not the winning issue of 2012.  Most independents do not want to trade one guy meddling in their pocketbooks for another meddling in their bedroom.  

Gingrich has just as many problems as Romney as well.  Hey, who worked with one of the most hated companies in America that brought on the housing market bubble and collapse?  And who has a record of dysfunctional leadership?  Speaker Gingrich.  And is he going to attack Obama on the individual mandate?  Hell no, the man supports it.  Yes, he's better at debates, but there will be all of 2, maybe 3 with the President.  We absolutely must have somebody who can run a campaign efficiently to stand up against the Obama machine; Romney's the only one who has consistently done that so far.  

And Ron just keep being Ron Paul.  Actually, no, just go away.  I'm a libertarian and you're the single greatest thing holding that ideology back.  Publishing racist material will automatically disqualify you from being a person worth listening to.  Now if Rand Paul could step up, that might be interesting, but regardless of who takes the mantle, it is imperative that Ron Paul go away for the sake of liberty. 

Really, compared to the alternative, Romney's not so bad.  The best thing we Tea Party types can do is avoid the worst possible situation of having Obama nominate more people to courts over another four years.  We need to come out in numbers to win the White House and, perhaps more importantly, put liberty loving citizens in the House and the Senate, just in case Romney does let out his inner RINO.  But we cannot despair because our most likely candidate is not the solid conservative we might wish.  We have to be the realist we are and make the most of what we can.  

Our rallying cry that will work with independents is not going to be "Get Romney/Santorum/Gingrich In"; it's going to be "Get Obama Out!"  Going to a brokered convention with Romney leading and having GOP insiders pick anyone but the guy with the most votes is an absolutely horrible idea; I haven't heard people advocating it yet, but it's not beyond the more outspoken Not Mitt crowd to do so (looking at you, RedState). 

Again, a Romney win is not my wet dream, but the other two viable choices are not particularly conservative, either.  The passionately Not Mitt crowd needs to come to terms that Romney will likely win so that we can put the energy in tossing Obama out and weeding out the foes of liberty in Congress as best we can. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A (Very) Simple Voting Test

Quick, who is the head of the Federal Reserve?  

If you can't answer that, don't vote.  If you can't tell me what the Federal Reserve does (or, more likely, have never heard of the Federal Reserve), don't vote. 

Don't know who your Senators are?  Don't vote.  Your Congressman?  Stay at home Election Day.  The nine Supreme Court Justices?  What the Supreme Court even does?  Don't vote.  

Don't know who the President is?  Um...I'm not worried about you voting, just stay in your cave without Internet access.  Actually, come to think of it, how are you reading this?

These are not particularly difficult questions; in fact, they are asking basic matters of fact about the composition of our government.  If you cannot answer everything of the above, I'm quite serious, you are not qualified to be making decisions about our government.  This doesn't even bring into question the strengths and weaknesses of particular ideologies.  Just flat out facts.  

Democracy: rule of the ignorant. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Are We A Post-Constitutional Society?

This is about a week old, but didn't get nearly enough airtime for its importance.  A Gallup poll was taken asking certain questions about ObamaCare; the most important chart is likely the last one.

Only 20% of Americans believe this law is constitutional, yet 44% would oppose a Republican Congress and President from removing it?  At least a quarter of Americans, the vast majority of them Democrats, seem to be taking this stand.  As a basic policy preference, this large chunk of the Left is openly admitting that where their laws and the Constitution come into conflict, the Constitution should back down. 

I think it's also reasonable to question how many of that 20% stating ObamaCare is constitutional actually believe that but are rather saying that because it is politically expedient to have the two appear in harmony rather than in conflict.  It's also worth questioning the constitutional understanding of those who legitimately think this healthcare law is square with the Supreme Law of the Land. 

Libertarians and many Conservatives have been making the case that the Left sees the limitations on government as an artifact of the past that should be eliminated in favor of "progress" without understanding that "progress" is a subjective term.  This poll indicates that is the case.  Frightening news. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Repeal Isn't An Option

Immediately after ObamaCare was passed, conservatives and libertarians have been calling for its repeal.  In some ways, Romney may have hurt himself as a candidate because his mandate for health care in Massachusetts was effectively the beta version of ObamaCare.  I don't believe it should particularly matter whether Romney will repeal a copy of his own bill, and that's not because I'm a fan of ObamaCare.  You can read through my blog to find that's not the case. 

Rather, I believe the Supreme Court is the only thing that matters now.  If they uphold the individual mandate, repeal means nothing.  Politicians on both sides (though particularly the Left) will undoubtedly abuse this power.  ObamaCare, as bad as it is, is just the beginning.  It isn't enough to close the lid on Pandora's Box.  The Court effectively decides whether we will open that box or not.  

If ObamaCare's repeal is an issue in October, liberty has lost already.  That said, Obama absolutely must be defeated in order to prevent a Court from being tipped to the left.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

What's Super About Tuesday?

Tuesday is Super Tuesday, the day the largest number of states vote during the Republican Primary.  In the past, this event has been the opportunity to effectively clinch nomination for a party, but I rather doubt that will be the case this year.  The number of states and delegates awarded this Super Tuesday is significantly less than in past years, which combined with the proportional system of awarding delegates means the contest will almost certainly drag on past this media event.  

A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win.  As it stands, Romney has the most with 135 for sure delegates, plus an indeterminate amount that are allowed to change their minds.  That gets him about ten percent of what he needs.  The total amount up for grabs Tuesday is 410; even if Romney won all of them, that wouldn't put him halfway to the finish.  And as I mentioned, with the delegates almost certainly to be divided up fairly equally, the odds of a knockout blow being delivered here are extremely low.  

Just to really throw a wrench in things, Gingrich will almost certainly win Georgia.  He's currently the number 2 man in terms of delegates and Georgia is the largest state up for grabs.  Based on polling, he'll suck just about everywhere else and Santorum should overtake him in overall delegates, but a big win in Georgia could convince Gingrich to stay in this race, at least for a few more rounds to see if he derives any momentum from his win.

There are only 8 winner take all races remaining, most of which are in April or later.  Utah and California alone would give Romney 200 delegates, but that won't be settled until June.  Romney would still need 800 delegates from the other races.  

My biggest concern is that he doesn't quite make it.  Newt and Ron Paul could easily rack up 200 delegates between them, enough to send this a brokered convention, which has nightmare written all over it. 

Two thoughts:

  • I thought this during the '08 campaign as well: primaries should be closed.  There's no reason to give the opposing party a voice in choosing your party's candidate.  This is particularly true during a close primary when there is an incumbent president. 
  • Move up the primaries, or move them back, but have them at roughly the same time.  Either that, or make them winner take all.  Dragging this out until June keeps the candidates shooting at each other rather than their November opponent.  Not particularly wise. 
As for Tuesday, Romney will obviously win Massachusetts and Virginia, Gingrich Georgia, and Santorum Oklahoma and Tennessee.  Ohio is close, but Santorum failed to get on the ballot in a few districts, meaning those are certain Romney wins.  Santorum may squeak out ahead on the total vote, but will lose in delegates by a few.  

Overall, Romney will gain a few more delegates in his lead, Santorum will solidly take second place in the overall count, and this thing will drag on at least through April.  Anything but Super, or even particularly interesting. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

No H8? How About No Single Payer Health Care

A good chunk of liberals celebrated Andrew Breitbart's untimely death yesterday.  As I understand it, these are the same enlightened people who should be running a government single payer health care system.  

The people who celebrate the deaths of conservatives should be making decisions about whether conservatives get treatment?  They should decide whether we live or die?  

Fuck that.  It's not much of a stretch to say those who celebrate our deaths would cause our deaths if given proper government protection.  A single payer, government run system would give such cover to deny coverage based on ideology.  It wouldn't need to be policy of the administration; faceless bureaucrats with a political axe to grind, above which there would be no timely appeal, could accomplish untold havoc.  I would not want to be a Rush Limbaugh or a Michelle Malkin under those circumstances.  And where else would you turn? 

As a principle, government should not be involved in our lives if at all possible, but most certainly these sick bastards celebrating Breitbart's death should be kept out of power at all costs.  Not ironically, they are the people calling for more government power.  Hard to abuse other people if Life, Liberty, and Property are respected. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bastiat, Call Your Office

"Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday, for example, said the amendment amounted to a “contraception ban,” and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday argued that an “extreme ideological” element of the right had hijacked the underlying transportation bill Blunt was seeking to amend."  The Hill, Senate Rejects Blunt Amendment

The amendment would allow religious institutions to opt out of paying for contraceptives.  Because, lo and behold, some religions do not support that.  

Note that is not a "ban" on contraceptives.  At all.  In any way, shape, or form. 

And while I'm at it, at what point in time did it become a fundamental human right that other people pay for your sex life?  I've got a crazy alternative: let people purchase their own contraception!  Oh my God, I'm a genius!  Nominate me for a Nobel Prize in Economics and I'll be on my way. 

So tired of this stupid shit.  Why can't Democrats fight our actual arguments rather than straw men?