The Superdelegate Shuffle

By Jeremy Barr

In every election cycle, it seems that one or two previously unimportant procedural terms enter the popular lexicon. In 2000, it was “hanging chad” and “butterfly ballot.” In 2008, “superdelegates” have become one of the most talked about factors in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Because neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama can mathematically win the Democratic nomination with purely pledged delegates, the 795 unpledged party officials and representatives known as superdelegates will make the difference.

Continue reading

Ron Paul Reincarnate?

By Kelse Moen

Former Georgia Representative Bob Barr gave this interview Wednesday on Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton. Barr, a prominent conservative who led the Clinton impeachment, has in retirement changed his party affiliation to Libertarian, come out in support of marijuana legalization, and become an increasingly vocal opponent of our post-9/11 Leviathan. He created the American Freedom Agenda, a 10-point plan opposing the growth of executive privilege, NSA wiretapping, and the secret renditions, torture, and loss of habeas corpus that have all emerged under the banner of counter-terrorism. Continue reading

A Party Divided

By Jeremy Barr

24_hillobamaweary_lg.jpg

In addition to independent voters, swing states, a slam-dunk in the general election, and relationships between political operatives, one of the biggest casualties of the Democratic primary contest has been substance.

Although Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton differ only narrowly on policy, there was a time when nuances in health care and the economy were the focus of the campaign. Now, with a few months and many miles left to go before we might finally have our nominee, the contest has turned into just that, a contest.

Continue reading

The New Isolationists

By Kelse Moen

Nothing quite kills a word’s meaning like tossing it into the fray of popular political dialogue. The word “liberal” was co-opted by FDR and his collectivist acolytes, who had virtually nothing in common with the nineteenth century laissez-faire liberals. “Fascist,” which once corresponded to a particularly virulent breed of statism, is now an all-purpose smear for anyone disagreeable, even a libertarian like Justin Raimondo. Another, which was quite prevalent this primary season, is the epithet “isolationist.” It was hurled particularly at Ron Paul, due to his opposition to military intervention overseas. But, as Fareed Zakaria revealed in a recent article in Newsweek, the real isolationists are Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who continually preach the false gospel of economic protectionism, even while they bloviate about the need for better international relations. Says Zakaria:

For the rest of the world—particularly poorer countries—nice speeches about multilateralism are well and good. But what they really want is for the United States to continue its historic role in opening up the world economy. For a struggling farmer in Kenya, access to world markets is far more important than foreign aid or U.N. programs. If the candidates think they will charm the world while adopting protectionist policies, they are in for a surprise.

Continue reading

The Iraq Recession

By Kelse Moen

Yesterday, the Iraq War turned five years old. The past five years have left nearly four thousand Americans dead, as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and have so far cost the American taxpayers over 5oo billion dollars. They also show a remarkable ebb and flow concerning the war in popular opinion. First there was the widespread flag-waving and French-bashing–a time when John Kerry needed to downplay his anti-war opinions for the sake of electability. This was followed by a steady erosion of support, culminating in 2006’s rout of the Beltway Republicans, when popular belief held a pro-war Republican would be unelectable in 2008. But now, with the economy headed into a recession, people are turning their focus primarily to economic concerns. This is great news for John McCain, the fiercest hawk in the race. But is it possible to separate war from economics? Can we, as it were, have our cake and eat it too? Continue reading

The Road Ahead

mccain_poor_guy.jpg

By Jeremy Barr

With students now back from spring break, we can re-focus our attention back onto the campaign for the presidency. But first off, what was accomplished last week besides the consumption of large amounts of mixed drinks? Short of a few small scandals and one big one involving a certain governor from a certain Northeastern state, not too much.

Continue reading

Mitt Redux

By Kelse Moen

In my last post (below) I scoffed at the notion that John McCain would choose Mitt Romney as a running mate, noting that “a liberal northeasterner” who was “repeatedly repudiated” by the voters would add little value to the ticket. But in the days since, fueled by Fred Barnes’ article in the Weekly Standard and Romney’s statement of the obvious on Hannity & Colmes, a flurry of speculation has emerged over whether he will be McCain’s VP. I still stand by my original conclusion, but nevertheless, the week’s events warrant a deeper analysis of Romney’s VP potential. Continue reading