30 March 2010

Quote Of The Day: Adam Smith

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.
Citation: Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, vol. 1 of The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, op. cit., book 4, chapter 2, p. 456.

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27 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward Weekend Edition

Taken in a vacuum, the liberal media's response to the right's response to Obamacare's passage might leave you thinking that no one before in American history has ever been so angry about so little.

They just do not get that something that will give government control over 1/6th of the American economy, expand the Nanny State, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, raise taxes, result in fewer doctors, the eventual rationing of care, reduced R&D (resulting in future lives lost), give access to medical records to a huge and whole new cadre of government bureaucrats, generally reduce liberty is something that would actually make people angry. And they say it as though they've never been angry over anything.

On the scale of anger-to-actual-impact-of-legislation, progressives have got us angry conservatives (but I repeat myself, apparently) beat by a wide margin in their out and out hysteria over the passage of the Patriot Act. Yeah, remember that bill? It's the same one the One and the Democrats in Congress renewed this year, again.

Also, lybberty-approved (unless they are caught in some wrongdoing!) Congressmen Mike Pence and Paul Ryan had fantastic Op-Eds in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times respectively, yesterday. Give them both a read.

Stay angry, my conservative friends.

(image of 'angry conservatives' protesting the bill taken from Thinking The Wright Way)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

26 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward Friday

Unrelated: I'm not saying it's because of Obamacare's passage that I'm listening to the blues, but let me tell you, Eric Bibb is fantastic. I highly recommend his album "Painting Signs." Brilliant.

First off this morning, a column from earlier in the week by Richard Rahn, a senior fellow at Cato. He writes on the importance of failure--especially as it relates to regulation of financial markets--in a capitalist society. I know that the self-esteem society has infected much of our debate about practically everything, but it's important to remember that people have to be allowed to fail. Does this make me a heartless conservative? Probably. I can live with that. Better that than the alternative.

Next, a column by another one of those conservative ideologues from whom I mindlessly take my marching orders, Mark Steyn. But seriously, folks, in this column about civilizational decline, he draws important lessons from the decline of the British empire and why it wasn't bad, because America took its place, but also how if/when America declines, it will be bad because, well, who's going to take America's place? Who's going to be the benevolent hegemon, allowing the rest of the world to free ride on its guarantee of peace and prosperity? The hard lesson is that there isn't anyone else.

Lastly, a bit of optimism in the form of a look at Paul Ryan. In case you hadn't picked up on it yet, I'm a big fan of the guy. He singlehandedly took on the economically ignorant progressives on the House Budget Committee. Some have called him "Jack Kemp on steroids." Before all you deficit hawks get your panties in a bunch over that comment and the hypocrisy of conservative economics, let me say that unlike Kemp, Ryan is concerned about deficits and has proposed your kind of policy solution to what ails America. The GOP isn't just the party of no. (though if you're a small-government type, isn't that a good thing?)

FWIW, we liked Kemp because he, like Paul Ryan, was an unabashed defender and advocate of free market capitalism. There are too few of those.

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25 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward Thursday

7:00pm: Jonah Goldberg, one of my favorite conservative columnists and a good guy with whom to share a serving of nachos at Appleby's, writes of leftist consternation at the conservative response to the passing of Obamacare:
A lot of people on the left cannot come to grips with the conservative "overreaction" to Obamacare. I don't think it's an overreaction, and I can help liberals understand what's happening. Just consider the Patriot Act. Here was a law that affected a teeny-weeny number of people. Almost all of the horrible things it did never happened. Remember all that teeth-gnashing about searched libraries? Totally bogus.

And yet, people all over the country got their dresses over their heads about the Patriot Act. Why? Well, I would argue partly out of addlepated paranoia, ignorance, and Bush hatred. They would argue it was out of deep-seated principle. Let's compromise and say that for many, it was both, and for a few, it was all about principle.

Well, opposition to PPACA seems vastly more rational to me. By its very design it affects everyone. It costs them money. It will cost them freedom. It will cost our country money, medical innovation, and mounds of debt. It involves far, far more government intrusion into our lives than the Patriot Act. And yet, many of the same people who considered the Patriot Act an American Nuremburg Law think this is one of the greatest moments in American history.
Do you get it now, progressives, why we are so up-in-arms about this little piece of legislation? It really will cost us money, time, freedom, and innovation--which means lives. This is a bad bad bill. By the time its costs are fully calculated and comprehended(the next generation of economic historians), it may well surpass Smoot Hawley.

Like I've said, the Brits declined because the cost to support their welfare state forced withdrawal around the world. This is our future if this thing stands and expands into Euro-social welfare. American decline.

BTW, you really should subscribe to Jonah's "Goldberg File." It's a real treat.

2:28pm: Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey has a post up with some great quotes and video of Charles Krauthammer, doctor-genius, and Dan Mitchell, Cato Institute, warning about the coming debate about a VAT. If you don't know what a VAT is, I recommend you click the link and read the wiki entry. A VAT might be okay if it were to take the place of existing taxes like payroll taxes, but it won't be. It will be just another revenue stream for the feds to shove big government down your throat.

Meanwhile at Reason.com (free minds and free markets!) Jacob Sullum explains why this healthcare mandate is not exactly, you know, constitutional and why a legal challenge just may be successful.

There's hope yet.

Finally (for the time being), if you are pro-life and thought there was a home for you in the Democrat party, well, sorry, you're wrong. William McGurn explains how Obamacare exposes the Democrat Party as the Party of Death (also, you'll note, the title of a book by Ramesh Ponnuru).

1:37pm BST: The Dark Lord, Karl Rove, provided a good roadmap to electoral victory in his column today. I love the fact that we conservatives love this guy while leftists think he is the devil incarnate. Don't they know? This just makes us love him all the more.
Democrats claim they've rallied their left-wing base. But that base isn't big enough to carry the fall elections, particularly after the party alienated independents and seniors. The only way Democrats win a base election this year will be if opponents of this law stay home.

To keep that from happening, Republican candidates must focus on ObamaCare's weaknesses. It will cost $2.6 trillion in its first decade of operation and is built on Madoff-style financing. For example, it double counts Social Security payroll taxes, long-term care premiums, and Medicare savings in order to make it appear more fiscally responsible. In reality, ObamaCare isn't $143 billion in the black, as Democrats have claimed, but $618 billion in the red. And giving the IRS $10 billion to hire about 16,000 agents to enforce the new taxes and fees in ObamaCare will drive small business owners crazy.

Republicans have a powerful rallying cry in "repeal, replace and reform." Few voters will want to keep onerous mandates that hit individuals and taxes that hobble economic growth. Rather than spending a trillion dollars on subsidies for insurance companies and Medicaid expansion, as ObamaCare does, Republicans should push for giving individuals the same health-insurance tax break businesses get, which would cost less.

Republicans must also continue to press for curbing junk lawsuits, enabling people to buy insurance across state lines, increasing the amount of money they can sock away tax free for medical expenses, and permitting small businesses to pool risk.

Opponents of ObamaCare have decisively won the battle for public opinion. As voters start to feel the pain of this new program, Republicans will be in a stronger position if they stay in the fight, make a principled case, and lay out a competing vision.
This is as good a place as any to point out something that frequently gets forgotten.
I'm really really tired of people talking and acting as though the left wing of the Democrat party is on par with the right wing of the Republican party.

When the country breaks down 40% conservative, 40% moderate, and 20% liberal, the left wing of the Democrat party is not only a hell of a lot smaller than the right wing of the Republican party, it is a hell of a lot further from the natural ideological center of this country.

So all you self-styled post-partisan centrist moderates, who keep trying to say, "well, they're both extremes and bad" and like to pound on conservative wingers as being as "damaging" and as far out of the mainstream as liberal wingers, you're wrong.

Did anyone (besides me) happen to watch the Obamacare debate (limited, though it was) Sunday night on CSPAN? I think Dan Henninger's characterization of the Republicans and Democrats that night is spot on:
Spring renewal and baseball's new season are upon us, so let's quote the optimism of Yogi: It isn't over until it's over. I thought 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday night in Washington was the Republican Party's finest hour in a long time. When the voting stopped, the screen said the number of Republicans voting for Mr. Obama's bill was zero. Not one. Nobody.

Pristine opposition is being spun as a Republican liability. It looks to me like a Republican resurrection. The party hasn't yet discovered what it should be, but this clearly was a party discovering what it cannot be.

Put it this way: If you produce a bill that Olympia Snowe of Maine cannot vote for, you have not produced legislation "for the generations." You have not even produced legislation that is liberal. You have produced legislation from the left. You have produced once-in-a-lifetime legislation that no Republican from any constituency across America could vote for.
Watching Paul Ryan, John Boehner, and Mike Pence I was as happy with Republican leadership as I have been in a long time. Finally some backbone. Finally some principle. Finally they stood up to the Democrats and exposed them as the out-of-touch, tax and spend statists that they are. As Henninger points out, this whole debate puts liberals who aren't employed by the government in a tough spot.
Liberals in the private sector have to come to grips with the fact that what they do for a living is an abstraction to the people they are sending to Washington. Nobody at the top of the party is much interested in them anymore. House and Senate Democrats hammered insurance, pharma and medical-device makers with taxes and intimidation. It wasn't just politics. It was belief. With this bill, the party made the transition from market unionism to Alinskyism, from a politics tempered by the marketplace to one that milks the marketplace.
Count Henninger and myself among those who think "Repeal!" is a good rallying cry in the run-up to the 2010 election. First repeal the Democrats in Congress, then in 2012 the Democrat in the White House then, once he's gone, Obamacare will quickly follow him out the door.

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24 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward Wednesday

(My other post was getting too unwieldy)

5:22pm: WSJ Op-Ed on the GOP way forward:
A new President nearly always gets what he wants on his top legislative priority, especially when he has such big majorities in Congress to work with. Republicans nonetheless managed to keep their Members together, turn public opinion against the bill despite nearly unanimous media support for it, and in the end came a few votes short. They would have won if Mr. Obama and Nancy Pelosi hadn't been so willing to put so many of their Members at risk by pushing a partisan program and flouting normal Congressional rules.

The GOP's goal now should first be to remove some of the uglier parts of the bill in Senate reconciliation. Then they need to focus on taking back as many seats as possible this fall. Rather than publicly crowing that ObamaCare will deliver them the House—a hard task and a risky expectations game—they'd do better to concentrate on continuing to educate the public about what ObamaCare is going to do to insurance premiums, federal deficits, taxes and the quality of medical care.

Many Republicans are already calling for "repeal" of ObamaCare, and that's fine with us, though they should also be honest with voters about the prospects. The GOP can't repeal anything as long as Mr. Obama is President, even if they take back Congress in November. That will take two large electoral victories in a row. What they can do now is take credit for fighting on principle, hold Democrats accountable for their votes and the consequences, and pledge if elected in November to stop cold Mr. Obama's march to ever-larger government.
This strikes me as a reasonable approach. The public debate about this bill was won before its passage, but we cannot quit fighting now. Conservatives need to continue to hammer on on Obamacare's worst features and challenge every Democrat who voted in favor.

5:06pm: One of my heroes, Thomas Sowell, on what the passage of Obamacare could mean:
The ruthless and corrupt way this bill was forced through Congress on a party-line vote, and in defiance of public opinion, provides a road map for how other "historic" changes can be imposed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

What will it matter if Obama's current approval rating is below 50 percent among the current voting public, if he can ram through new legislation to create millions of new voters by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants? That can be enough to make him a two-term President, who can appoint enough Supreme Court justices to rubber-stamp further extensions of his power.

When all these newly minted citizens are rounded up on election night by ethnic organization activists and labor union supporters of the administration, that may be enough to salvage the Democrats' control of Congress as well.

The last opportunity that current American citizens may have to determine who will control Congress may well be the election in November of this year. Off-year elections don't usually bring out as many voters as Presidential election years. But the 2010 election may be the last chance to halt the dismantling of America. It can be the point of no return.
Whatever else you may say about the guy, Bush's "tax cuts for the rich," Patriot Act, Iraq War Resolution, and No Child Left Behind all enjoyed bipartisan support. Obama's (the post-partisan) signature piece of legislation was passed without a single Republican vote and against the will of the American people.

Democrats have revealed themselves as the hyper-partisans they always accused the Republicans of being. This is concrete evidence of that fact.

There is nothing moderate about the Democrat Party.

2:43pm BST: In the NYT's "Room for Debate" blog, James Capretta, Michael Tanner, Gail Wilensky, Joseph Antos, Megan McArdle, and Keith Hennessey all opine on the GOP's next move.

At Pajamasmedia.com, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Victor Davis Hanson, had this to say about Obamacare:
President Obama has crossed the Rubicon with the health care vote. The bill was not really about medicine; after all, a moderately priced, relatively small federal program could offer the poorer not now insured, presently not on Medicare or state programs like Medicaid or Medical, a basic medical plan. . . .

No, instead, the bill was about assuming a massive portion of the private sector, hiring tens of thousands of loyal, compliant new employees, staffing new departments with new technocrats, and feeling wonderful that we "are leveling the playing field" and have achieved another Civil Rights landmark law. . . .

[W]e are in revolutionary times in which the government will grow to assume everything from energy use to student loans, while abroad we are a revolutionary sort of power, eager to mend fences with Syria and Iran, more eager still to distance ourselves from old Western allies like Israel and Britain.

There won't be any more soaring rhetoric from Obama about purple-state America, "reaching across the aisle," or healing our wounds. That was so 2008. Instead, we are in the most partisan age since Vietnam, ushered into it by the self-acclaimed "non-partisan."

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22 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward (UPDATED & Edited Wednesday)

Lot's of angry emails from people from whom I haven't heard in awhile. And with good reason. Never, in the history of this country, has legislation so transforming been passed with out a bi-partisan majority and against the will of the people.

Could the American people--through numerous opinion polls, the election of Scott Brown, the Tea Party movement, hundreds of thousands of emails, calls, and letters to member of Congress--have been any more clear about their opposition to, and in some instances, intense hate of, ObamaCare?

Though I plan on responding to everyone individually, I figured I'd give my opinion, in the form of what I'm reading/thinking/etc., to the question on everybody's minds: What next?

Before I even get to the practical stuff, let me remind us all (myself included) of what we are--we are Happy Warriors. Whatever else happens, it is always Morning in America. We must be positive, optimistic and upbeat as we respond to the haters on the extreme left. If there were no battles left to fight, life would be pretty boring.

First of all, here's the BookFace page of Dan Benishek, the guy who's challenging the pro-life Benedict Arnold, Bart Stupak. Join his group, donate to his campaign and do whatever else you can to help get him elected.

Also, you absolutely must get on that Twitter. Every last bit of news is broken first on Twitter. I'm not saying you have to follow me, but looking through the list of people I follow, would be a good place to start.

Yesterday, for instance, I was doing a running commentary while watching CSPAN on the interwebs. And so were lots and lots of other people.

Second, here's a few articles to educate you about our Nanny State future:

Tuesday 23 March

12:22pm BST: Jonah Goldberg on the ongoing culture war the left has wrought and will continue to bring as a result of the passage of Obamacare:
this legislation is a superconducting super collider of culture-war conflagrations. It will throw off new and unforeseen cultural spectacles for years to come (if it is not repealed). The grinding debate over the Stupak amendment was just a foretaste. The government has surged over the breakwater and is now going to flood the nooks and crannies of American life. Americans will now fight over what tax dollars should cover and not cover. Debates over "subsidizing" this "lifestyle" or that "personal choice" will erupt. And when conservatives complain, liberals will blame them for perpetuating the culture war.
Silver lining? Ross Douthat writes that now we get to see if all those crazy liberal predictions about Obamacare saving the planet, etc., will actually come true.

Amity Shlaes (one of the old man's fav columnists, BTW) writes that Democrats' math is more than just fuzzy, it's a straight up lie--or, as Douglas Holtz-Eakin put it, "fantasy in, fantasy out." (regarding those ridiculous CBO numbers)

Monday 22 March

Milton Friedman on "A Way Out of Soviet-Style Healthcare." I wish he were still around.

WSJ Op-Ed on the real question underlying the bill: 'who commands the country's medical resources--the people or the government?'

Megan McArdle on the Democrat Party's parliamentary hijinks, deception of the people, and contempt for the majority will.

Christopher DeMuth of AEI on the 'historical inevitability' of progressivism. What he doesn't point out is just how much theory today's progressives borrow from Karl Marx. Yes, that Karl Marx.

UPDATE 1:12pm BST: The NRO Symposium on What Now?


UPDATE 2:16pm: There are a lot of things I really dislike and disagree with in this piece by David Frum, but he does make one very important point: Major legislative victory trumps legislative majority. I hope future Republican majorities take this to heart and pass conservative-transformative legislation.

In the future, we must have gamechangers. Getting the White House or a majority in Congress is worth very little if all we do is slow the increase of government and spending. Then Republicans are just Democrats-lite. Republican representatives must pass market-based reforms of all areas of government. They must do away entirely with departments like Education and above all, they must repeal Obamacare.

In yesterdays Washington Post, Randy Barnett, a constitutional lawyer at Georgetown, asked, "Is health care reform Constitutional?" Requiring people to purchase heath care? I don't think so.

UPDATE 2:37p: Watch Paul Ryan and Mike Pence (two potential contenders for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination) speechify about health care and rights and freedom.

Romney's condemnation of Obamacare--"unconscionable abuse of power"

Also, there's this: Blame Bush.

UPDATE 3:22p: Greg Mankiw: "How long can the President wait before he comes clean with the American people and explains how high taxes need to rise to pay for his vision of government?"

UPDATE 4:36p: Today's WSJ Op-Ed on the passage of Obamacare:
We fought this bill so vigorously because we have studied government health care in other countries, and the results include much higher taxes, slower economic growth and worse medical care.
Some of my friends argued in favor of this bill because "finally their (fill in the blank) member of the family would be able to get care." Well, sure, if by "care" you mean that according to the bill, they can "technically" see a doctor. The reality will be much different. Just hope that your cancer ridden (fill in the blank) isn't getting on in age, because their care will be rationed.

The WSJ's Kimberley Strassel on all the threats, bribes, and kickbacks required to pass Obamacare. Are you okay with this sort of behavior?

(I'll update this post periodically throughout the day and week as I come across more stuff of note)

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The Beginning Of America's Decline?

Depressing that this post comes after the one about America's comeback. But as Mark Steyn put it, it's tough to be optimistic:
Well, it seems to be in the bag now. I try to be a sunny the-glass-is-one-sixteenth-full kinda guy, but it's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage: As the graph posted earlier shows, the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be "insurers" in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that's clear we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis.

If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people. As I wrote in NR recently, there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

More prosaically, it's also unaffordable. That's why one of the first things that middle-rank powers abandon once they go down this road is a global military capability. If you take the view that the U.S. is an imperialist aggressor, congratulations: You can cease worrying. But, if you think that America has been the ultimate guarantor of the post-war global order, it's less cheery. Five years from now, just as in Canada and Europe two generations ago, we'll be getting used to announcements of defense cuts to prop up the unsustainable costs of big government at home. And, as the superpower retrenches, America's enemies will be quick to scent opportunity.

Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side . . .
Congratulations, progressives. You've just made the citizens of the country started with a Declaration of Independence permanent wards of the state. This is what you wanted--to begin to manage and organize and run people's lives--and you got it.

The post-WWII decline of Great Britain wasn't inevitable. It was hurried along its way by their "governmentalized" health care. And all of the things that everyone now predicts for the US are already reality in the UK: long wait times, fewer doctors, ever-expanding debt & cost, drop in quality, bureaucracy between the patient and the doctor, and on and on.

As my econ-minded friends like to point out, there are always trade-offs. Don't assume that this, the most massive entitlement in American history, will come without cost. By the time the full reality of this thing hits, it's going to hurt everybody.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

21 March 2010

"America's Comeback"

I like the emphasis on state and local solutions to the problems we face.

This is the perfect answer to the Democrat Party's takeover of 1/6th of the economy through the healthcare monstrosity.

(via Hot Air)

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19 March 2010

Sen. Tom Coburn's Message To Democrats Selling Their Healthcare Votes For A Mess Of Pottage

Especially all those fake pro-lifers--these guys, so principled.

This health care debate and vote is a perfect example of why a "bad" Republican is different and superior to a "good" Democrat.

(via Nice Deb)

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18 March 2010

The GOP's 2010 Congressional Pitch

One of them. After the one about government takeover of healthcare. This one, courtesy of Daniel Henninger:
If GOP candidates are looking for a way to talk about this in terms voters will get, put it this way: You look at the Obama team's views on terrorism and the law, from the top down, and then ask yourself, Are they going to protect us 24/7 . . . or not? That's one question you never had to ask about John Yoo.
(emphasis added)

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17 March 2010

Another Awesome Billboard

First there was this one.
(fyi, though I prefer GWB to BO, I'm with Michelle Malkin on this)

Then there was this one (pretty sweet).

And now there's this:

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16 March 2010

"I Have A Che T-Shirt And I Don't Know Why"

Lots of people wear the t-shirt while knowing nothing about the man. Some actually know about him and still admire him or think that on balance, he was a romantic communist.

I've seen more of the former in the United States and more of the latter in the United Kingdom.

Both groups disgust me. As do people who sport the Soviet hammer & sickle--whether out of admiration of communism or for stylistic purposes. I cannot abide either the ignorance in most cases or the moral relativism in the rest.

While talking about the so-called Che t-shirt phenomenon with friend, Branden B., he directed my attention to a couple of posts at The Volokh Conspiracy by Ilya Somin. Check them out here:

Together, they effectively highlight Guevara's atrocities, his t-shirt wearing fans' ignorance, and his apologists' moral relativism/equivalence (& idiocy).

America is a free country and people have the right to sport whatever ridiculous garb they please. I also have a right to point out when they are useful idiots--"fronting" for a mass murderer.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

02 March 2010

No Apology: Romney Likes America, Likely To Run In 2012

All you lovers of policy are going to really like his book and probably already like Romney.
The book's core, however, are his proposals on everything from national security to the economy, from health care to energy and from entitlements to education.

The policy prescriptions laid out in the book are too many to recount in full. But the broad strokes are a hard line on foreign policy coupled with a bit more ideological flexibility on the domestic front.

The overarching concept which animates Romney's book is the idea the United States must remain strong for the world to remain free.

Drawing on his years as a management consultant, Romney warns that the United States must remain the world's leading economic and military power or else global leadership will fall to the Chinese, the Russians, or the Jihadists -- each of which is described by Romney as pursuing an authoritarian vision for world domination.
I'm one of those who happens to believe that individual freedom is inextricably linked to economic freedom & prosperity. Just as prosperity enhances individual freedom, prosperity enhances national freedom--specifically, from malicious influences (think Chinese debt) and to combat world threats (Jihadism, & pocket dictators like Chavez, Ahmadinejad, & Jong-il).

To this point, I agree with Romney:
Obama comes under extended criticism for seeing himself as "the world's great bridge builder and synthesizer." Rather than talk of the world's "common interests" as Obama is fond of doing, Romney thinks it is more useful to focus on the prevalence of evil and to stand by traditional allies.

"I submit that it is vital to believe in evil -- it is neither confused nor deterred by vacuous introspection," writes Romney.
Like John Bolton said at CPAC 2010 (Part 1, Part 2--watch 'em both, they're fantastic), President Obama was not prepared to be President in January 2008 and he remains unprepared one year later. Yesterday's post with its quote by James Corum (thanks to Matt for posting that) perfectly sums up Obama's foreign policy incoherence and incompetence.

Romney's policy proposals will also please all you Pigou Clubbers out there:
On the domestic front, Romney articulates a conservative vision while managing to show a measure of independence from the Hard Right.

Although anti-tax activists typically oppose revenue raisers of any kind, even if they are intended as a replacement for other taxes, Romney's book flirts with the idea of a new tax on gas or carbon which would be paired with a reduction in the payroll tax. Romney's book does not actually embrace a "tax swap" but he nevertheless describes it as currently being the best game-changing strategy for achieving energy security.
I remain open minded, if skeptical both of the desirability of "energy independence" (quotes used to mean "whatever that means") and the efficacy in addressing such perceived problems with pigovian taxes.

Romney favored (and favors) TARP as administered by Hank Paulson, but not Tim Geithner. Regardless of how it was administered under one vs. the other, it created far too much opportunity for so-called Crony Capitalism.
When it comes to the Wall Street bailout which is loathed by many Tea Party activists, Romney defends Hank Paulson and credits President Bush's former Treasury Secretary with saving the US financial system. Romney then goes on to criticizes Tim Geithner, President Obama's Treasury secretary, for the way in which he has administered the Toxic Asset Relief Program.
If we're still debating the causes, effects, etc., of the Great Depression, it's safe to say we'll be arguing the relative merits of the sundry causes & effects of the Credit Crunch. Put me on the side of the people who think it wouldn't have been Apocalypse to let the bad banks fail.

Continuing a trend we've seen in interviews and debates about ObamaCare, in his book Romney defends RomneyCare by using the Federalism argument (state vs. federal administration). I leave it to you as to whether or not you find his argument persuasive.
When it comes to health care reform, Romney curries favor with conservatives by pointing out that the universal health-care plan he championed in Massachusetts deviated from Obama's proposal in that it did not include a public option. At the same time, Romney defends the idea of states, like Massachusetts, requiring individuals to purchase coverage even though some conservatives view such a mandate as an assault on individual liberty.
It appears Romney is correcting an error (perceived or otherwise) made by the McCain campaign during the election in allowing that Obama cared more about the "middle-class" (those who consider themselves to be a part of it or who would eventually like to be a part of it).
The "Fair Tax," a proposal to replace all federal taxes with a 23 percent tax on consumption plus an annual prebate, is popular among some conservative activists. In 2008, the proposal helped power former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to his win over Romney in the Iowa Republican caucuses.

Romney explains in his book, however, that he opposes the Fair Tax because it might be evaded and he fears it would lead to a big reduction in taxes on the super rich like Bill Gates and higher taxes on the middle class.

Instead, Romney favors a series of more incremental tax changes including the elimination of personal taxes on dividends, interest, and capital gains for middle-income families.
I remember reading fivethirtyeight.com and wondering at Nate Silver's obsession with the words "middle class" in Obama's speeches & debate performance.

On an unrelated note, it is one of the more telling signs of the Obama administration's perpetual campaign machine that they are literally obsessed with polling buzz words and remain convinced that they just have to educate stupid Americans on healthcare such that they will eventually understand and agree with the Democrat Party's desire to universalize everything.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.