A Weekend at Bernie’s? Maybe we should hit the Jim, instead

Rarely am I one to read either Daily Kos or that most eminent economist of the Grey Lady’s, but a Facebook friend shared this, and I went for it like a bluegill for bacon fat.

Here’s the original Krugman column, which starts with a brilliant bit of humor from the author: “The 2016 campaign should be almost entirely about issues. The parties are far apart on everything…”

This post isn’t about Hillary Clinton directly, but it’s worth considering something risible noted by Krugman and echoed by DK:

The press, I’m sorry to say, tends to punish open-mindedness, because gotcha journalism is easier and safer than policy analysis. Hillary Clinton supported trade agreements in the 1990s, but now she’s critical. It’s a flip-flop! Or, possibly, a case of learning from experience, which is something we should praise, not deride.

(My emphasis. — TGFI)

Krugman, ever the good liberal, declines to convey the nuance of the cited article.

We looked into Clinton’s past remarks on NAFTA and concluded that she has changed her tune, from once speaking favorably about it to now saying the agreement needs “fixing.”


Today, Clinton’s campaign Web site says plainly, “NAFTA was negotiated more than 14 years ago, and Hillary believes it has not lived up to its promises.”

Semantics? Maybe. Clearly, though, Mrs. Clinton isn’t critical of NAFTA per se, but only to the extent that it has not delivered as promised — something about which wiser men, like Pat Buchanan, forewarned twenty-one years ago. That Mrs. Clinton has come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership is heartening, but, pace Krugman, the cynic is compelled to question the political motivation for such opposition from the spouse of Bill “Free Trade” Clinton. It’s all about running to the left. Duh.

President Obama has proven himself to be a centrist — an actual liberal, in the mold of — Wait for it! — President Clinton, the “New Democrats”, and the DLC. As he has followed the same inclinations toward unnecessary and disastrous foreign engagements and capitalism-über-alles, he has brought the Evil Party closer to the Stupid Party, creating a gap that previously caught the eyes of Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, and now draws into the race Senators Bernie Sanders and Jim Webb — and, purportedly, the good First Lady/Senator/Secretary/Wal-Mart board member/Wall Street harlot.

Needless to say, I’m skeptical that Mrs. Clinton is any less a liberal than President Obama, her husband, or the right-wing liberals of the Grand Old Party. I am willing, however, to entertain the possibility, as displayed in Krugman’s column, and as hoped for by the more socially democratically inclined members of the Democratic Party and the American electorate, that, politics being the art of expedience, Lady Hillary will be forced to campaign further to the left, especially with the entrance of Senator Sanders into the race, and this is all the more reason for those (not voting Republican) to reject the Green Mountaineer in favor of the Hillbilly.

Okay, so, excessive prefatory remarks out of the way, I am compelled to add a few more. Anyone who knows me or has read NathanContraMundi in the past knows that I’m either a right-winger or a conservative (though not both; I’m not sure which is the more appropriate term, but I am certain that “right-wing conservative” suggests something that I ain’t). My ideal candidate is a softer version of Pat Buchanan meets a saner version of Ron Paul meets a milder version of Ralph Nader. Oh, hell, just give me Bill Kauffman, please — or Andrew Bacevich  In the meantime, I’m tepidly (more so than I was with his father) supportive of Rand Paul.

That said, being skeptical of both libertarian capitalism (I really ought to discourse on why I’m not a libertarianwhy I am, nonetheless, so sympathetic to the libertarian conservatism of the Doctors Paul; and where I draw the line.) and the Republican Party’s tendency to choose Bob Dole over Pat Buchanan, as well as, you know, thinking that it’d be swell were “both” of our part”ies” to offer some kind of big-tent variety, what happens in the Democratic primaries is of great interest and concern to me.

So, here we go, the meat of the article, which, in characteristically Nathan-ish fashion, likely will be far shorter than the preface. (I can’t say for certain because most of this is stream-of-consciousness, and I’ve not exactly outlined what’s to follow.) Also, it’ll likely be a pretty superficial analysis, because, well, it’s midnight, this is the first time that I’ve posted at NCM in more than four years, and, well, I’ve reached the point at which I’m even inserting this soliloquy. (I aver that, should I get back into the habit of updating this Weblog with any frequency, the writing and arguments will improve — presumably good rationale for not redoubling my efforts!)

However much I’ve come to prioritize, at least short-term, concerns about foreign-policy recklessness and the concentration of economic power in the hands of relatively few, I am, undeniably, a cultural conservative who is typically politically “socially conservative” (though perhaps less so at the federal level than at the state and local).  This makes any contending Democrat less than appealing to me off the bat,  Senator Sanders more so than his Virginian counterpart, who, though certainly a “social” moderate-to-liberal, is arguably a cultural conservative. For me, though, this is as much a matter of practicality as it is a personal concern: there may be a certain attractiveness about Sen. Sanders to the fairly small cohort of Americans who embrace social democracy, and even to a number of more-liberal progressives, not to mention some of us despondent conservatives, but Jim Webb is likelier to have a broader appeal, while still drawing Her Majesty toward the left during primary season.

I truly believe that Sanders-ites are right to be excited that HRC will be compelled to campaign to the left as long as the soi-disant socialist of Vermont is in the race. I also believe that thinking that this sinister pull matters is rather deluded: expecting Mrs. Clinton, I fear, to live up to the faux-populism that she’s already been displaying on the campaign trail is akin, in retrospect, to expecting George W. Bush to keep his promise of a “humble foreign policy” (in the wake of the hawkish presidency of none other than Mr. Clinton!) or thinking that Barack Obama would really be delivering any substantive hope or change.

It’s nice to see a real progressive challenger compel HRC to do some work before her coronation, but, ultimately, it’s just a delay. With her gender, her name, her perversely embraced reputation, and her being a Wall Street harlot all in her favor, she has too good of an opportunity to grab the nomination as long as a kook (And I say this not to reflect my own opinion of Senator Sanders, but to suggest that this is what a social democrat from Vermont is going to be appear to be in the eyes of Joe Middle America.) is her leading opponent. That’s not to say that Jim Webb is going to perform any miracles, but he has a better chance both of playing the role of dark horse and of having any kind of impact on the party of Jefferson and Jackson (purportedly) than his further-left colleague. Why?

1. He’s a Hillbilly. Seriously, he comes from “real America”, born in Missouri, traveling across “real America” as his father was transferred from one base to another, ending up in swing-state Virginia, and proudly and publicly embracing his Scotch-Irish roots. The guy is, simply, more relatable to more Americans than a Jewish socialist who grew up in New York City.

2. He’s a veteran. This matters not merely because of the weird American fetishization of veterans that occurs even as our idea of “support[ing] the troops” constitutes, mainly, smearing anyone who criticizes the wars in which our service personnel fight or the civilian leaders who send them to God-knows-where unnecessarily, but because he is a veteran, like the aforementioned Bacevich, who has not been shy about his opposition to some of our stupider forays.

If someone’s going to challenge Mrs. Clinton on the foreign-policy front (and someone needs to), and if someone’s going to try to move the Democratic Party (which, we need to remember, has always been the war party, the GOP being something of a Johnny-come-lately in the Twentieth Century), Sanders may have the benefit of having opposed the Viet Nam conflict at the time (unlike Webb, who served in said conflagration and seems to be less opposed, retrospectively, than fellow veteran Bacevich), but Webb has the street cred afforded to someone who’s been there and knows from personal experience (Remember, not only is he a veteran, but he served as SecDef under the Republican Reagan. In 1990, out of office, he warned against escalation in Saudi Arabia and against a permanent presence in the Middle East (and he was insisting upon Congressional declarations of war before it was cool).)

Nine years ago, Scott McConnell reminded us, at The American Conservative, of Webb’s prescient words in the Washington Post at the outset of the Second Bush’s Mesopotamian Massacre:

Webb questioned whether an overthrow of Saddam would “actually increase our ability to win the war against international terrorism” and pointed out that the measure of military success can be preventing wars and well as fighting them. He charged, “those who are pushing for a unilateral war in Iraq know full well that there is no exit strategy if we invade.” He concluded, “the Iraqis are a multiethnic people filled with competing factions who in many cases would view a U.S. occupation as infidels invading the cradle of Islam. … In Japan, American occupation forces quickly became 50,000 friends. In Iraq, they would quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets.” If any major senators were thinking like this long before the invasion, not many Americans heard of it.

3. He’s not as “extreme”. In terms of both voting records and perceptions, Webb is the moderate, the guy who gets it wrong on X, but gets it right on Y — and even may have a decent reason for his wrong view on X. (I speak from the conservative perspective, of course, in using ‘wrong’ and ‘right’.) Bernie Sanders isn’t. And winning elections is about securing the strongest in-party base during the primaries without turning off independents and dissatisfied voters who generally support the other party. Jim Webb is likelier to attract, I think, progressives than Sanders is to get the attention of Blue Dogs (if any still remain); in November, Webb is absolutely likelier to attract Republicans than Sanders is.

Sanders may well be the “better” candidate — certainly for the real progressives, social democrats, and fellow-travelers, to say nothing of those of us communitarian conservatives troubled by the hyper-individualism guiding economic policy and practice today. Practically speaking, though, backing Bernie, however nicely principled, is an onanistic act of futility that will leave the Democratic Party securely in the hands of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Jim Webb’s chances may not be significantly better than Bernie Sanders’s, but they are better, and he’s the candidate likelier to have a measurable, propitious impact on the Democratic Party and, we can hope, American electoral politics.

Besides, Jim Webb vs. Rand Paul sounds like one helluva race, right?


No Faith in the Fed

From an article in today’s Post

After his speech, Bernanke was asked when he expected the economy would recover.

“My forecasting record is about the same as the win-loss record of the Washington Nationals,” he said.

In four years in Washington, the Team Formerly Known As The Expos have a record of 284-363, only in the first season in our nation’s capital even reaching the .500 mark. Exactly .500. I suppose that hearing a member of the Leviathan admit to being an idiot, rather than denying an incontrovertible truth, is somewhat refreshing, but that we continue to permit someone with such an abysmal ability to predict things that, seemingly, are within his realm of expertise, particularly when these are such vital issues, is bafflingly sad.

End the Fed. It’s little more than another bastion of centralization, anyway.

We should recall, too, that the Constitution only explicitly provides for the coining of money by Congress; no provision for exists permitting the Federal government to printmoney. I have no interest in advocating the return to the gold or silver standard; however, our Founding Fathers certainly seem to have recognized the need to tie our money to something sounder than the word of the government. I’m just sayin’.

The Ron Paul Interview

On Monday morning, 13 October, I spoke with Congressman Ron Paul for about eighteen minutes. Find hereunder the edited transcript of that conversation, which I intend to publish in the forthcoming late-October pre-election issue of The Terrapin Times

NPO: I want this paper not just to offer commentary, but to have an intellectual tone to it, so I’d like to get your thoughts on a couple of American Founding Fathers to whom you suggest the conservative or libertarian really concerned with Constitutional issues might turn.

RP: Well, I like Samuel Adams. He was an intellectual behind it and he agitated and wrote about it, so I admire him, but I like all of them to some degree, some of them a lot more than others. 

Just the other day, on one of our news interviews, Steve Forbes was bragging that if only Hamilton were here, he’d love what we’re doing.

NPO: Yeah, I think he probably would.

RP: He was saying Hamilton would endorse what he was saying, so I had the chance to answer back. I said, “Well, if Jefferson were here, he would probably endorse what I’m saying.”

NPO: I think you’re right.

RP: Jefferson, of course, there’s a lot to admire about what he said, and I think the whole atmosphere then, of overthrowing the king and tyranny and giving us not a perfect, or the best, document, that unfortunately has not been followed, but —–

NPO: No, it hasn’t.

RP: We can look to that period of time as being pretty significant in human history.

NPO: Okay, I want to play up on something that you just said. Now I don’t think anyone in our government more faithfully defends the Constitution than you. Is that because you believe that it is right; because it is the document given to us, and even if imperfect, it’s what we have; or somewhere in the middle?

RP: I think it’s the respect for the rule of law. I’m interested in having rigid restraints on the government and the Constitution was written not to restrain us but to restrain government. I see the imperfections; early on there were more than now, especially when it came to slavery. It’s still an imperfect document, but it’s reasonably well written.

There’s a need to adapt to current times and the possibility is there. People get frustrated and they say it’s too slow. The other side always argues, “Well these times are different, they’re modern, and it has to be a living document.” We say, “Sure, you’re right. There’s a way to do this: You amend it.” What they’re frustrated about is the slowness of it, but what they do is throw everything out. I’m more concerned about that than defending every line in the document.

Some of the things in the Constitution could probably be written better today. The Second Amendment could be a lot more explicit; it’s hard for me to understand why some of these debates come up, but maybe, if it were written a little bit differently, we’d argue a lot less about it.

I think the most important thing is the rule of law and that people follow the law and not do what they want today, whether it’s the executive branch, legislative branch, or judicial branch. I think they have essentially no respect for the Constitution. 

NPO: Okay, two more quick Constitutional questions. First, other than the Sixteenth Amendment, do any Amendments strike you a being particularly disconnected from the vision of the Founding Fathers?

RP: The Seventeenth is one. That introduced the notion that the states could be undermined. Senators had been elected by the legislatures to represent the states’ interests. It was recognized that the states were independent and needed protection; they were to stand up to the federal government and represent their individual states. I favor repealing it.

NPO: And the last one: Obviously, the Civil War essentially ended this debate, but what do you think of secession as a Constitutional issue? The Second Vermont Republic generally polls about thirteen percent; there’s a lot of talk about it in Cascadia; even Minnesota has the North Star Republic group. 

RP: In a free society, when certain groups came together, like the Colonies, it was assumed that if you came together voluntarily, then you could leave voluntarily. In the early part of our history, I think it was understood. That‘s one area where we could make the Constitution explicit. Think of how restrained the federal government would be if they knew that a state could just leave. I believe in the principle of secession. It has been part of our system that has been knocked out of us, especially since the Civil War, but we’re completely inconsistent internationally. Now we go and bomb and kill people from a country like —–

NPO: Kosovo?

RP: Like Kosovo. We allow them, and defend their secession, and at the same time we have no sympathy at all for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I think that principle, self-determination, we should defend.

NPO: Then the one gotcha question, as Sarah Palin has come to call it, of the interview. What happens if, tomorrow, the people of Texas vote overwhelmingly, fed up with the American government, to secede and to re-establish the Lone Star Republic? How do you, as a Texan and a congressman, react to that?

RP: Cautiously. 

NPO: Good answer.

RP: If that were the majority opinion and we were able to, I think it would be great, but I’m cautious, because I know that our state officers aren’t necessarily going to protect my personal liberties a whole lot better right now. It’s a system we’re up against. We might have even more state regulations. We have this whole idea that even our cities tell us everything we can do with our own property. We have too many regulations and very little respect for private property. But I think the smaller the unit of government, the better.

NPO: Now I’d like to talk a little bit about the movement — the liberty movement, the Campaign for Liberty, the Ron Paul Revolution. We saw, the other night in the Comcast Center, five candidates whom you endorse, Republicans in Maryland who support liberty. Has the GOP a future, with or without this type of politician?

RP: Well, if they do, it will be in spite of themselves; that was a good example. We have five Republican candidates who went through the process, ran in the primaries, and became their nominees. We plan a rally, and the Republican Party on the campus claim they’re going to help us and invite all the Republican students, and then they back out of it. It’s destructive. My guess is that they got word from higher up, whether it was the state party or the McCain people, and they said, “Hold up.”

If we were all socialists, you might understand if they said, “Wow, you guys have strayed too far”, but what did we do? We’ve defended what Republicans claim they believe in: limited government, free markets, private property, balanced budgets, and low taxes, and they don’t want anything to do with this. It’s strict Constitutionalism. If they continue to do that, they’re going to self-destruct, because they can’t do it without young people coming into it. Our campaign rallied as many young people as any Republican has in a long time.

NPO: Right.

RP: It scares them to death, but I think it’s the old guard. They don’t want to give up control. What are they going to have to guard? There won’t be much of a party left if they don’t welcome new people into it.

NPO: You’ve attracted a lot of support from the Left, as well as the Right. Before you officially endorsed Pastor Baldwin, you brought him, Ralph Nader, and Cynthia McKinney on stage and offered the don’t-vote-for-the-major parties endorsement. Do you think that, if not in the GOP, the future is in these left-right coalitions, even if they’re only short term, when we look at where we have common ground, rather than where we differ?

RP: It might be. And, you know, there are lot of Democrats — sometimes we assume that all Democrats tend to be overly socialistic. 

NPO: Bob Conley’s a great example of —– 

RP: Yeah. 

NPO: Of that sort you’re talking about. 

RP: Some Democrats do believe in the marketplace and — who knows? — it may be easier to build it with the Democrats, because there’s a tendency for them to be better on civil liberties and being anti-war.

NPO: Except for Barack Obama.

RP: Haha, yeah, that won’t work. 

I think that we need more Conleys joining the Democrats; it’s a philosophic struggle, not a partisan struggle. I’ll work with anyone; I want to bring those people together and worry about the other issues later. On the big issues, we should come together. 

NPO: Can we possibly, in our current state, recover from the Wall Street welfare that we’re witnessing right now?

RP: Yeah, but it’s going to be difficult if we continue to do what we’re doing. We’re going to go downhill until they throw in the towel and say, “You can’t just print money to solve they problem.” They’re destined to destroy the dollar if they keep creating new money and credit. What comes out of this depends on whether we come to our senses.

Right now, it doesn’t look too good in Washington, but outside of Washington, I’ve been encouraged to see these tens of thousands of young people listening to the message of freedom. People are paying attention to us because they know that things aren’t working. We’re not on the horizon of a victory, but I think that we’re going to hold our own, and there’s every reason to believe it’s worth the effort.

NPO: Okay. 

You believe that we need to withdraw our troops from Iraq; I do, too. Something that has bothered me is how we exit that country morally justified after leaving it in shambles. Hussein was a terrible leader, but at least stability existed. We have turned Iraq into a quagmire; we have made it possible for al-Qaeda to work there. How do we find an answer that gets us out of there, where we don’t belong, and doesn’t leave the people of Iraq worse off?


RP: I believe that Iraq will be better off. Maybe not immediately, but they used that argument in then 1960s: If we ever left Vietnam, the Soviets or Chinese would take over, and they’d be Communists forever. Well, we left and there was a bit of chaos, because we and the French had been ruining their country for twenty years. Stopping the killing never can be a bad idea. Just stop the killing and leave and let the people of the country take care of it. Let the Iraqis have their country back again; it may well be a lot better than anything we ever dreamed of. 

Continuing to do the wrong thing, to do things that are immoral and against the Constitution, that we cannot afford, doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. The good has to come by changing that policy, although there may be a short period where there may be some realignments. They would be better off, and we’ll be better off. We have to leave anyway, because we’re going broke and can’t afford it. We might as well do it under a calmer set of circumstances, rather than waiting until we’re running, panicking, and trying to get out.

NPO: Okay.

That’s about all I have. Anything that you’d like to finish this off with, anything to speak to the readership that we’re going to have at this paper?

RP: If young people read and study why freedom works and why the market works and why we don’t need the income tax or the Fed — if they read it and understand it and promote those ideas — things will change. The next generation, they’re the ones that really can make the difference.

NPO: Okay. Whom should they read? 

RP: The Law by Bastiat. Any book by Murray Rothbard, especially The Great Depression and What Has the Government Done to Our Money? A little more in depth, Mises on Austrian economics. I would certainly recommend the Mises Institute to find the books that would be very valuable for everybody.  Another book, Hayek’s book, influenced me a lot, The Road to Serfdom. That was one of the first books I read on economics.

NPO: Thank you so very much, Dr. Paul.

RP: Thank you.

The Northern Agrarian endorses Ralph Nader

But beyond a policy based argument, Nader speaks to the heart of conservatism. Maybe not mainstream conservatism, but a conservatism separated from mass-consumerism and talk-radio, Fox News demagoguery. A candidate that is an enemy of corporate America and a friend of the environment is not a pinko-commie, but a conservative.

“The resources of nature, like those of spirit, are running out, and all that a conscientious man can aspire to be is a literal conservative, hoarding what remains of culture and of natural wealth against the fierce appetites of modern life.”
-Russell Kirk

Is there a candidate speaking more directly to America-First, localist, populist, agrarian conservatism than Ralph Nader? I think not. Go, Ralph, go!

Read the entire endorsement here.

Patrick offers, on the whole, a provoking, on-point, and generally persuasive analysis of Nader qua conservative, as well as some necessary criticism of Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin, recipient of Ron Paul’s endorsement.

I make only one criticism of Patrick’s column, that being that Patrick avoids discussion of Nader’s less acceptable policy views: support for abortion-on-demand, single-payer health care, and radical environmentalism, rather than sensible, quasi-market-based conservation, amongst them. Nonetheless, it’s a fine piece, and sincere conservatives (Read: “Pseudocons need not apply.”) should give serious consideration to the arguments proffered by Patrick and Justin Raimondo. I’ve yet to decide for sure between Nader and Baldwin, but this is quite the compelling defense of calling oneself a Conservative for Nader.

Congressional Republicans do something (seemingly) sensible, Nathancontramundi asks if sky has fallen

From the New York Times:

But once the doors closed, the smooth-talking House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, surprised many in the room by declaring that his caucus could not support the plan to allow the government to buy distressed mortgage assets from ailing financial companies.

Mr. Boehner pressed an alternative that involved a smaller role for the government, and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, declined to take a stand.

[. . . ]

“I didn’t know I was going to be the referee for an internal G.O.P. ideological civil war,” Mr. Frank said, according to The A.P.Thursday, in the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”

[My emphasis. – Nathancontramundi.]

Funny, Ms. Pelosi, we didn’t know that you’re Catholic, either!

Seriously, though, all doubts about the intellectuality of Speaker Pelosi’s alleged Catholicism aside, how can she possibly suggest that the [Congressional] Republicans’ “blowing this up” is bad? President Bush, Mr. Paulson, and the Democrats wish further to make obsolete the Constitution, authorizing Mr. Paulson, an appointed member of the executive branch, to have virtually limitless control over SEVEN HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS. Presently, it is they, and not the GOP (hardly, on the whole, any better in this situation, I willingly concede), who commit a heinous act of betrayal. (Go figure that Senator McCain refused to take a stand!)

I’m late to commenting on this, but MLB Hall of Famer-turned-junior senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) offered, before the proposed super-mega-colossal bailout, but in the wake of the AIG bailout, in John Schwenkler’s terms, “first-rate” stuff:

Instead of celebrating the Fourth of July next year Americans will be celebrating Bastille Day; the free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America. The action proposed today by the Treasury Department will take away the free market and institute socialism in America. The American taxpayer has been mislead throughout this economic crisis. The government on all fronts has failed the American people miserably.

My great grandchildren will be saddled with the estimated $1 trillion debt left in the wake of this proposal. We have gotten to this point because nobody has been minding the store. Both Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke should be held accountable for their inaction – and now because of that inaction – the American taxpayer is left with bill.

We must take care of Main Street. Small businesses in Ashland, Bowling Green, and Paducah are hurting because of high taxes, and energy costs. Those small businesses are the economic engines that fuel our economy. I hope in the closing days of this Congress we can pass legislation to help those good people on Main Street rather than helping the power brokers on Wall Street.

Will, of Dispatches, astutely points out, commenting in reply to John’s post on Bunning’s wisdom, that the senator fails to offer his own proposed alternative. It’s a fair point, but Bunning’s words are no less apt. And, now, Mr. Boehner has offered something. Will offers, at his site, this, “House Republicans Discover the Constitution”:

The only good thing to come out of this mess is Republicans’ renewed appreciation for legislative oversight.

I doubt that this newfound respect for the Constitution will last with a party that has backed its president’s super-Constitutional exercises of power, but it’s nice to see even this slight glimmer. After eight years in power under George “”It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” Bush, perhaps an internal ideological civil war is just what the Republican Party needs; America, too! However, Ron Paul would be a far better referee than Frank, whose remissness in his duty, doubtless, helped to bring forth the crumbling, and eventually buy-out, of Fannie and Freddie.

“Where does this authority come from, for this unlimited amount of money?”

Ron Paul takes on Bernanke.

Dr. Paul: “Coins.” Best line ever?

(Hat tip: JJG at the GW Patriot)

Update: Sending this video’s being linked almost full circle (amongst, at least, a certain subset of web-loggers), I post a comment, made by Kevin R.C. Gutzman, at Taki’s Magazine:

Note at the very end that Bernanke tacitly concedes that the act creating the Fed. is unrelated to the Congress’s Article I, Section 8 power to coin money (that is, produce gold and silver coins), but that … he doesn’t care.

Bernanke just does not care. Further proof of the obsolescence of our Constitution. You wouldn’t be surprised to know how few people realized, on 17 September, as I wished them “Happy Constitution Day!” as I tabled for the Terrapin Times, at UMD’s First Look Fair, that on that day, two hundred and twenty-one years ago, the founders of this nation signed that great document.

Holy Smokes! Barr asks Paul to be running mate!

From Barr’s letter to Dr. Paul [PDF]

While ballot substitution is restricted for a presidential candidate and limited at this point in time, in many states, substitution is still permitted for vice presidential candidates. But time is short.

As my campaign staff has proposed to you, I ask that you join the Libertarian presidential ticket as the vice presidential candidate.

According to the campaign e-mail

Barr’s running mate, Wayne Allyn Root, expressed support: “As the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee, I believe in one thing above all else-principle. There can be no compromise on the ideals of limited government, lower taxes, lower spending, and more freedom for the American people. Those are the principles to which I’ve dedicated my life. The GOP and Democratic candidates only give lip service-at best-to these ideals and principles. It is only an act at election time every four years.”

“I want to end the charade once and for all,” Root continued. “I am willing to sacrifice anything to advance the cause of liberty, freedom, smaller government and to enable the American taxpayer to keep more of their own money and property. Understanding Dr. Ron Paul’s reputation and name recognition in the freedom movement, I am willing to step aside as Libertarian vice presidential candidate if he would be willing to take my place. I will pledge to work day and night, just as I have as the vice presidential nominee, to support Dr. Paul. I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for the Libertarian and freedom movements. I encourage Dr. Paul to accept Congressman Barr’s offer. The campaign is making this offer because we believe there is no sacrifice too large when it comes to improving the lives of the American people and American taxpayers.”

I’m not sure that this would be particularly effective — assuming Dr. Paul were to accept — but it would be amazing, and Dr. Paul is, undeniably, a more appealing candidate than Mr. Root. And if anything can catalyze the sort of tremendous shift that we need to see in American electoral politics, this might just be it. I wonder what Chuck Baldwin thinks about this, and what he’d think would Dr. Paul accept.

Dr Paul declines. Expected, but disappointing, nonetheless. The press conferences seem to have been interesting, if not distressing to Richard.