Thanks to LD for allowing me to publish this lengthy article that is mirror-posted at The Country Thinker. It will be shocking to some, but I have been accused (politely) of being crazy, insane, and a variety of similar expressions over my political positions. This is my rebuttal to explain in detail why I am not.
I dont normally post on Saturday, but I had a conversation with a political consultant friend of mine on Thursday and what we discussed is just too critical to let slide. (I cant mention his name because he does paying work for the Big Two; he gives his services to Third Parties and Independents for free.) This is going to be one of the tersest posts Ive ever written, and if youre a reader who cant handle criticism of the Republican Party, please read no further so we dont end up with ill will between us. For those who can take criticism, this may be the most important piece you read this yearif you truly get it, anyhow.
Why am I so passionate today? Well, most readers who visit here know the country is in deep doo-doo. Im here to tell you that voting for Mitt Romney (D-Mass.) will not change that fact and may make things worse. I will explain two things. First, Mitt Romney (D-Mass.) is the presumptive Republican nominee precisely because he will do nothing to improve our countrys fortunes. He is the chosen one because he will maintain the status quo. That is what the GOP machine has chosen him to do.
Second, you cannot take over the Republican machine and turn it into something in decent. I have made that statement before, but Im going to describe the machine in greater detail. Keep in mind that this is information I have obtained from current and former GOP insiders. Everyone on the inside agrees that the Party has been constructed so it cannot be taken over. They have also constructed a political system so the political duopoly is very, very difficult to challenge. (Republican insiders HATE political freedom, like so many other freedoms.) Whether thats a good thing or bad thing is a matter of judgment. For conservatives and libertarians its bad. For establishmentarians its wonderful.
Finally I will explain why voting for Romney (D-Mass.) is the worst thing you can do, regardless of whether youre a principals voter or a strategic voter.
If you are not one hundred percent convinced that I am correct in those statements, you absolutely must read the rest of this piece and tell me where Im wrong. I know Im correct, and I can assure you that if you vote for Romney (D-Mass.) it will be the greatest political regret of your life.
Inside the GOP
I left the GOP a few years back because of my disgust at the Partys utter lack of principle and inability to nominate respectable candidates. After some soul searching (and a period of time when I swore Id never vote again) I landed in the Libertarian Party, which is my natural philosophical home.
Since I have gotten active in electoral politics I have gotten to know some folks who have been involved with both major Parties at relatively high levels; consultants, former members of state central committees, former elected officials, campaign managers, media relations folks, etc. Most are independents now. Some have joined with the Libertarian or Constitution Parties. Some are still with the Big Two. But they have opened my eyes to reveal that which I knew instinctively, namely, the Republican Party is a monstrosity beyond repair, and that is by design. (The Democratic Party is not quite as bad.)
It is the monstrosity of the GOP I am going to discuss here. If I am able to open your eyes, you will be hard-pressed to remain loyal to the beast. You certainly will not pull the lever for Romney (D-Mass.). That would make matters worse, not better.
You cannot learn about Republican Party politics by watching Fox, reading The Wall Street Journal (my favorite media outlet on all other matters), or trusting the Heritage Foundation. They are all in the game that is working against you, the rank-and-file of the GOP. Rush Limbaugh seems to have some sense of how the game is played, yet enables it through his blind allegiance to the Republican Party. He will not say a peep about either Gary Johnson (polling 7% right now, which will probably double when Ron Paul concedes), or Americans Elect (with a $35 million war chest) until he has no choice. These two campaigns will have a dramatic impact on the upcoming election, but GOP loyalists like Limbaugh keep it mum and toe the line when it comes to the GOPs hatred of political freedom.
You must talk to those who have gone inside the belly of the beast to understand exactly what youre dealing with. (Get involved with a state or local groupif you dare.)
What is the Republican Party?
So what is the Republican Party? (This also applies to the Democratic Party to a slightly lesser degree.) Politicians are not the Party. This is an extremely point to understand. When you open your eyes to this basic fact, you will see how futile it is to think that you can change things through the ballot box.
To compare the Republican Party to a car, politicians are the hood ornament. Money is the gasoline, and special interests are the driver, mechanic, and gas station attendant. The rest of the vehicle is built of consultants, campaign managers, advisors, bureaucrats, media and marketing folks, state and national committee members, etc., etc. Within the context of Republican Party politics, elected officials yield the least influence. The president may be the most powerful person in the world, but that doesnt mean hes in charge. Politicians who sincerely want to do a good job are deemed Outliers and are given little influence, or are openly attacked by the Party; see the sordid story of Governor John Kasich (R-Oh.) below. (Obama works off-script an unusually large amount of the time for a president, which is why the Democratic establishment cant stand him and cant wait for his next term to finish. Hillary Clinton will be much more compliant.)
The role of the Republican Party is to dole out Americas resources in the manner the major donors wish. The role of politicians, especially the president, is to put a smiling face on it, which is why Romney (D-Mass.) is the GOPs anointed one. The fact that he is so effective at fundraising should scare the crap out of any sentient being. Hes a handsome, smiling bobble-head; nothing more. It tells you that he will exert little influence over his administration if elected.
So the GOP cannot be taken over at the ballot box. You must move to Washington and evict all of those who comprise the structure of the machine. Good luck with that, especially when youre going to have to beat the money-men to pull it off.
Smart companies like Goldman Sachs and General Electric donate to both Parties. GS was Obamas biggest donor last election cycle, and if polls show Romney (D-Mass.) likely to win, they will be his biggest donor. The reason should be obvious; the firm and the other big banks wrote most of Dodd-Frank, and unsurprisingly their market share has increased significantly since the bill was enacted. Had Romney (D-Mass.) been president, he would have signed it, too. (Additionally, Bush and Obama have had thousands of Wall Street folks working in their administrations. Its a modern-day spoils system, and Romney (D-Mass.) will do the same.)
Thus, Nancy Pelosis infamous you have to pass the bill to find out whats in the bill comment was actually non-controversial. Republicans didnt know what was in Sarbanes-Oxley or TARP when they voted yea, either. The powers-that-be wrote them (the accounting lobby in the case of Sarbanes-Oxley, and the Fed and Treasury in the case of TARP), and yes votes were both expected and received.
The Faux Nomination Process (Politics as Usual)
Everyone knows Romney (D-Mass.) was the pre-selected candidate, but the campaign hasnt gone according to script. There was only supposed to be token resistance to perpetuate the illusion that the rank-and-file actually plays a role in the nomination process. And as soon as he started feeling the pressure, he immediately went negative because he has no positive message to run on. I promise to take your tax dollars and give them to my campaign donors isnt a smash hit with voters.
(Note that Gary Johnson ran zero negative ads in his two campaigns for Governor, although I cannot promise that he will do the same during this election cycle. I will also admit that this article will probably make him uncomfortable if he reads it. After all, Im not only going negative on Romney (D-Mass.), Im going negative on the entire corrupt Republican Party.)
So far I have nailed the Governor-who-never-calls-himself-Governors campaign perfectly, and I Im going to tell you how the so-called ObamaCare repeal will go down if the bill survives the Supreme Court and he is elected.
I said that during his campaign he would shift his rhetoric to the right during the primaries only as far as necessary to secure the nomination. Check. Next he would shift to the center to win in November. His campaign has admitted that is their strategy. Check. He will then govern to the left as he works with Democrats like he did as Governor. He has promised it on the campaign trail. Check. Anyone who thinks this man has a conservative bone in his body has fallen for this used car salesmans pitch hook, line, and sinker. Not that it matters, because hes not going to Washington to lead; hes going there to take orders.
Romney (D-Mass.) is the establishments choice because he stands for nothing.
Repeal ObamaCare? Not a Chance.
Romney (D-Mass.) keeps saying he will repeal ObamaCare, but I hope no one is naïve enough to believe him. His donors stand to make BILLIONS because of the bill. They wrote ObamaCare, and now theyre funding his campaign! Do you think health insurance companies are going to allow him to repeal a bill that mandates that all Americans carry gold-plated insurance?
The ObamaCare repeal will go down like this: House Republicans will pass a repeal bill. Senate Democrats will block it. There will be lots of tense moments and sparring through the media as the White House and House straw men and -women wage a wink-and-a-nudge battle with the Democrats. Romney (D-Mass.) will concede defeat and blame the Democrats, who will claim victory. The Republicans will save face with their base by fighting the good fight, as will the Democrats.
Next, Romney (D-Mass.) will take charge of fixing it. Democrats will concede that it needs improvement. Campaign donors will draft revisions that will benefit the donors, and both parties will agree to those amendments. There will be some token resistance on certain provisions to keep America fleeced into thinking that we have a functioning Two-Party system.
This may come as a shock to Republican loyalists, but the Supreme Court is the last chance at repeal. Now that its in place, the Republican Party wants ObamaCare as badly as the Democratic Party. Modified, perhaps, but they still want it. Theyre in control of way too much money to relinquish that control. There wont be enough votes to repeal even if the GOP has a supermajority in the Senate.
(Trust me on this pointI have this information from a state-level insider.)
Reduce Spending? Not a Chance.
If you think Romney (D-Mass.) is going to reduce spending by any appreciable degree, youre not just sleeping; youre in a coma. For example, he has said that if the safety net needs fixing hell fix it. He has no intention of reducing welfare or other entitlements. If anything he will expand them like George W. Bush.
Will he cut defense spending? Not a chance. Will he seriously tackle Medicare or Social Security reform? He might have the political capital to trim around the margins on one, but certainly not both. What about other discretionary spending? Again, maybe a little nibble on the edges.
Do not forget that the draconian Ryan plan merely trims the ten-year deficit from $10 trillion to $8 trillion. Thats the starting point, and Senate Democrats hold the power to block any cuts. Romney (D-Mass.) intends to broker a deal between the Ryan plan and the current path, which means most of the ideas in the Ryan plan will not be implemented because the Republican machine wants to control the money!
Because of rising health care costs (which ObamaCare will worsen), rising interest expenses, and rising entitlement spending due to the Baby Boom retirement, spending will increase under either Obama or Romney (D-Mass.). Any difference between them will be a fraction of a percent.
And, if Romney (D-Mass.) is as much of a war hawk as he is portraying himself to be, spending could easily be higher than a second term of Obama if he launches another war somewhere.
So keep your eyes open. Romney (D-Mass.) has not been chosen because he will reduce spending. He has been chosen to distribute it differently.
(Also, I hope none of you fell for the cut-cap-balance nonsense. That was political theater to fool fiscal conservatives. It would never have passed the House if there was any sincere belief it would have passed the Senate and been signed by the president. The driver of the GOP auto (the big donors) would have pulled the plug on it if it was a serious threat.)
Is the Tea Party Dead?
Anecdotally, the Tea Party is nowhere near the force it was in 2010. There have been few primary battles pitting a Tea Party conservative or libertarian against an establishment candidate that have received national coverage. Part of it is because it is a presidential election year, and Obama is so deservedly despised by Tea Party folks. Unfortunately, many Tea Partiers have climbed back in bed with the GOP and have fallen back asleep. The Tea Party is still holding their officials feet to the fire, but the fire has dwindled to coals. That is bad news. By and large they have been seduced into playing a losing game.
At the Libertarian Party of Ohios State Convention last weekend, Nick Gillespie of Reason.tv began his speech with a picture of former Delaware Senate candidate Christine ODonnell. It was from her high school years, and she had on a ladybug costume, and it was one of the ones the media used to smear her.
I agree with Nick Gillespie that Christine ODonnell was exactly the kind of candidate this country needs because she would have challenged the machine and been something other than a hood ornament. Many Republi-zombies complain that it was a winnable seat, and they should have nominated more moderate Mike Castle. No, no, no! It is the Mike Castles of the world that have gotten us into the mess were in. Picking a bobble-head because they have the correct letter beside their name will do nothing to clean up the mess.
But even if ODonnell had won, it would still take dozens of years and hundreds of other victories to get enough politicians in place to evict the rascals who control the machine, as well as a total restructuring of the Party. Thats not going to happen. It is the Republican Party that needs evicted.
The lack of any Christine ODonnells or Sharon Angles (or Rand Pauls or Marco Rubios) in this cycle tells me I was correct when I expected the GOP machine would work hard to destroy Tea Party insurgents before their campaigns saw the light of day. And many Tea Partiers are to blame for joining with an organization that hates them but will gladly take their money and votes.
The Vice President
Some see a ray of hope for the GOP. There is a lot of talk about Marco Rubio or possibly even Rand Paul receiving the VP nomination. I concede that a Rubio or Paul nomination would be a positive sign that the establishment still fears the conservative wing of the Party. I also concede that Rubio would be harder to smear than Sarah Palin was, but the media would undoubtedly break out some of Pauls missteps he made during his Senate campaign.
But, do not let your eyes close if Rubio gets the VP nod. Do not fall for the head fake. Keep your eyes open and on the machine. The establishment may like his ethnicity, but they despise his fiscal conservatism. Undoubtedly they would like to get into his head and reprogram him into an establishmentarian. And as an actual VP the machine will keep him out of the public eye as much as possible. (They will also be thrilled to get him off the Senate floor.)
But what about President Rubio? Wouldnt a Romney (D-Mass.)/Rubio ticket pave the way to the White House for him? Maybe. But being Vice President doesnt assure that you will be the nominee. Unless a decade in Washington (2 years as Senator, plus 8 as VP) turns him into an establishmentarian Republibot, the GOP will back a more compliant candidate.
Do you think the GOP machine wouldnt turn on an incumbent? Think again. Here in Ohio, Governor John Kasich is doing a pretty good job, but he wasnt the establishments guy. Like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Kasich wasnt supposed to happen. Thus, what should have been an easy win over Ted Strickland turned into a down-to-the-wire nail biter, because neither the state nor national party gave him more than token support.
And now that hes in office the machine has turned on him. The behind-the-doors battle between Kasich and the establishment has become public, and it is pretty clear he will face a primary battle, probably from Secretary of State John Husted. Isnt it funny that the GOP despises when conservative candidates challenge establishment incumbents, but feels no remorse about challenging a conservative incumbent with an establishmentarian?
And have no fear, its almost certain a Democrat will win the 2014 Ohio gubernatorial race. Way to go GOP! A Democrat is better than a conservative, no? After all, Democrats know how to play the game called governance.
So keep your eyes open and dont get too excited if a conservative like Marco Rubio gets the VP nomination. The Party doesnt want him, and unless he learns to play suck-up to the money men, he will not make it to the White House as a Republican. The establishment will destroy him if he tries.
Anybody But Obama The Most Dangerous Three Words in America Today
If youve followed me so far and still have your eyes open, you can understand why these words are so dangerousand so powerful. This is a call for you to close you eyes and mindlessly pull the lever for Romney (D-Mass.). It is the machine as a hypnotist. Now close you eyes . . . youre getting sleepy . . . sleepy.
Many say that the nation wont survive a second term of Obama. I have been one of his harshest critics of him from the get-go. I warned people throughout the 2008 campaign that he would be a disaster, and he has not disappointed.
But, how bad his second term might be is overblown, and a lot of it is Republican establishment bluster to intimidate conservatives into accepting their puppet-candidate. Yes, he drives me crazy with his incessant ranting and lying. But the GOP has him effectively neutered legislatively, so there is little for him to do there. I agree that he can still do damage on the regulatory side, but the country can probably limp through four more years.
The second problem with the Anybody but Obama argument is that not only is the threat of a second term of Obama overblown, the benefit of a first term of Romney (D-Mass.) has also been greatly exaggerated. As Ive already discussed, he is not going to repeal ObamaCare. He is not going to reduce spending to a significant degree, and may spend more than Obama with divided leadership. He may back off some EPA regulations, but only if his money men demand it. He will add regulations if his donors request them. Lets not forget that it was George W. Bush who teed up the era of regulators-gone-wild, and Romney will keep it up.
Romney (D-Mass.) will be little different than Obama because thats how the Republican Party wants it. There is a very big pie to dish out, and the GOP wants control of the spatula, not to shrink the size of the pie. Worse, we could potentially have eight years of Romney (D-Mass.). If your eyes are open to what hes about to do to us, thats a more frightening prospect than one more term of Obama!
Conclusion: What to Do
It should be perfectly clear that I am advocating that conservatives and libertarians abandon the GOP. As a card-carrying Libertarian working on the Gary Johnson campaign, naturally I hope you join us. But I want to make clear that I did not write this highly negative piece just to attract voters to the LP, although I certainly hope it has that effect. I wrote this lengthy article because what I have written is true. I knew it intuitively when I left the GOP, and now that I have spent time with current and former GOP insiders, my gut feeling that the GOP is unredeemable has been confirmed. The Republican machine has been built so it cannot be destroyed at the ballot box.
So if you vote on principal as I do, you probably have already decided against voting for Romney (D-Mass.). Perhaps you will choose Johnson or whoever emerges from the Americans Elect process. Perhaps you will stay home. Any are superior to voting for the Governor-ashamed-to-call-himself-Governor.
If you are a strategic voter, the calculus is different, and it depends on what message you want to send. If you think Gary Johnson has a chance, you should join me, because hes the only fiscal conservative who will be on the ballot. It certainly would be an effective protest vote. But if you still believe the Republican Party can be saved, nothing would send a better message to the GOP that it need to stop nominating center-left puppets by voting for Obama.
Lets face it, a Romney (D-Mass.) v. Obama matchup is by far the worst offering from the two major Parties since the weak-president era of the Gilded Age in the late 1800s. This is a shame because Gary Johnson is the best candidate to appear on a presidential ballot in a long, long time. (He is the LPs presumptive nominee, garnering 80-90% of the vote in straw polls at state conventions.) Perhaps between now and then he will get the traction to make it a competitive battle.
But I am urging conservatives and libertarians: DO NOT VOTE FOR ROMNEY (D-MASS.)! You will be assisting the corrupt machine that despises you, and you will be helping to install a puppet who will ensure that conservatism is kept in check at the federal level. You will be voting against everything you hold dear.
Vote for Obama to kick the GOP in the crotch. Vote for Governor Johnson because you think hes most qualified. Skip the presidential ballot entirely when you vote in November. Any of these decisions is superior to voting for Romney (D-Mass.)
Just dont vote for Romney (D-Mass.), the hood ornament of the Republican spending machine. You will regret it.
As for me, you can rest assured that I will not. And if one of the Big 2 candidates wins in November, I will wake up on Wednesday morning with a smile, knowing it wasnt my fault.