Bill Richardson’s Libertarian Fan Club

Bill Richardson might get little attention in the media (except for an ocassional scandal) but he is attracting interest among one group–libertarians. I’ve already seen favorable mention of him at several left-libertarian sites, and now this interest has been noticed by the mainstream media. Liz Mair of The New York Sun reviews the top Democratic candidates from a libertarian perspective and isn’t impressed. She argues that this is a mistake:

This is a surprising oversight on the part of Democrats because, according to the libertarian Cato Institute, Democrats have made real gains in attracting the support of libertarian voters in recent years, partially as the result of good candidate-recruitment out West and partially because the Republican Party has done so much to trash its reputation for fiscal responsibility.

Whereas the roughly 13% of the American electorate that could be described as libertarian supported George W. Bush over Al Gore by 72% to 20% percent in 2000, by 2004, Mr. Bush’s margin among these voters had dropped to just 59% to 38% over Senator Kerry.

More significantly, according to Cato, between the 2002 and 2006 mid-term elections, libertarian voters went from favoring Republicans over Democrats by a margin of 47 percentage points to favoring them by just 23 percentage points. In other words, Democrats are winning in part because they’ve been gaining ground with libertarians.

While Mair isn’t happy with the front runners, there is one candidate that interests her: (more…)

Bush Secrecy Finally Being Challenged

With all the post-9/11 hysteria, few paid much attention to George Bush’s executive order of 2001 restricting access to the papers of former presidents. I’ve always been surprised by how little opposition there has been to this move. Finally there is mention in the media, but in the books section of The New York Times. The article reviews how attempts by researchers to uncover details of recent history are being obstructed:

Now lawmakers and scholars are hoping to pry open the gateway to such archival documents by lifting what they say has been a major obstacle to historical research: a directive issued by the current Bush White House in 2001 that has severely slowed or prevented the release of important presidential papers…

President George W. Bush’s 2001 executive order restricted the release of presidential records by giving sitting presidents the power to delay the release of papers indefinitely, while extending the control of former presidents, vice presidents and their families. It also changed the system from one that automatically released documents 30 days after a current or former president is notified to one that withholds papers until a president specifically permits their release.

While Bush could get away with such actions in 2001, the political atmosphere has changed and Congress might take action:

Today the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is scheduled to discuss a new bill that would overturn Mr. Bush’s order, said a committee spokeswoman, Karen Lightfoot. The sponsors, who include the committee chairman, Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, hope to bring the bill to the floor of the House next week.

I wonder what Bush might be hiding in his father’s papers, and what he doesn’t want to be seen in his own papers.

Breaking News: Obama is Imperfect

The Somerville News is breaking a new scandal involving Barack Obama. Obama had seventeen unpaid parking tickets from his student days at Harvard. His staff paid off the tickets and fines two weeks before he announced his candidacy.

Human Events finds this to represent a lack of character. Hot Air is less concerned:

I also question the sanity of people who think this is newsworthy. Is this dude really so squeaky clean, to borrow a Biden-ism, that this qualifies as “dirt”? “Obama parks on expired meters” is not the stuff of which winning attacks are made, my friends, unless those meters are located next to a Wahhabist madrassa.

Meanwhile bulletin boards and blogs are becoming full of comments from people admitting to the number of unpaid parking tickets they accumulated during grad school. The whole moral fabric of the nation is unraveling. No word as to whether a special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate ticketgate.

Fox News Reports War on Easter

Damn, it seems like just yesterday that we were out slashing candy cane fields and tying up reindeers while fighting the War on Christmas. Now I find we have to get out and smash eggs and capture bunnies. A War on Easter has been declared!

Time to get back to reality. If only Fox News and their viewers could do the same. Think Progress has the report on John Gibson’s claim of a War on Easter.

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The Libby Verdict, Rule of Law, and Conservative Divorce from Reality

Discussion of the Libby trial was always about more than the question of obstruction of justice for which he was found guilty. The most important issues related to the information exposed regarding the Bush administration’s dishonesty in taking the nation to war and the lengths they would go to discredit those who tried to expose them. These issues have been discussed many times and on many blogs but there is also another issue to come out of this case. This case provides another example of the disregard conservatives have for both rule of law and for reality.

Immediately after the verdict was released we’ve seen many conservatives calling for a pardon.  We have a respected Republican prosecutor proving to a jury that a law was broken but this doesn’t matter. To the modern conservative mind laws may be violated if by their own.

This is largely rationalized by a number of myths spread by the right wing noise machine and, as is usually the case, repeated by right wing pundits and bloggers without any attempt at fact checking. We’ve heard false claims that there was no crime because Plame wasn’t a covert agent. There have been numerous smears against Wilson to attempt to discredit his claims, but he has been vindicated when his claims have been investigated. Media Matters has an excellent round up of the conservative myths.

Just as conservatives ignore the consensus of scientific thought on subjects such as evolution and climate change they ignore reality on the Plame case. All their myths have been refuted. Testimony at the trial revealed further insights into the manner in which the Bush administration operates. If conservatives really acted on their rhetorical distrust of big government they would react to this case by wanting to throw Bush and Cheney out of power, not by calling for a pardon for one of their flunkies.