Archive | Matt Welch RSS feed for this section

Gary Johnson’s campaign to date – The CNN Townhall

25 Jun
Libertarians seem unhappy with Gary Johnson’s Town Hall performance.  

(I have to confess I fell asleep in front of a TV from a day of overwork, planning on attending a debate watch party, and awoke with only 15 minutes of it left.  What I saw did not make me prioritize watching the rest.)

 Two trends in libertarian commentaries, like those by readers at reason, where editor at large Matt Welch summed up Gary’s performance as “nice guys finish third,” are that Gary was a bit of a choke artist – perhaps Romney is thinking of endorsing Gov. Johnson because they share the same debate coach – and that the ticket should be reversed, with Weld for President and Johnson for Vice president.

Of course, libertarians would not be happy with that either.  Johnson is probably more libertarian on issues than is Weld.  And they have been running very much as a team anyway, as one might expect given that they are both two term Governors, but Weld from a larger state.

Dr. Ross Levatter, a long time libertarian activist who worked on the 1980 Clark campaign summed up Johnson’s refusal to go negative thus: “I get that Gary Johnson wants to be positive, but if he felt compelled to say Hillary Clinton was good at something, I wish instead of ‘public servant’ he had gone with ‘commodity trader’.”

Another Clark campaign activist sent her former colleagues a long rant on Johnson:

I suppose you all watched the town hall last night. Johnson needs help.  He needs a coach – a team of coaches. He’s not good on his feet. Is anybody working with him on how to be a strong clear minded confident articulate candidate who knows how to field the questions and be clear about his program and the libertarian solutions to the problems? It would appear not. 

Weld should have been the presidential nominee. Johnson vice President. 

It was clear in the convention debates that Johnson was not the best of the candidates at articulating his approach, but the fact that he is a former elected governor made him the best choice. Hopefully he’s teachable.

Besides a coach, the campaign needs money, and I’m sure volunteers, and experts in marketing, media, public relations, etc. 

Who is working with the campaign to set these things up? Does anybody know? The campaign headquarters doesn’t even have a voicemail.

What can we be doing to make this happen? Are any of you involved? Would you please let us know?

I hope to hear back with some good feedback. Or, is it s lost cause?

The reason readers have a third commentary trend:  many mentions that even though they found Gary’s performance cringe worthy, their non-libertarian spouses all thought he sounded like a reasonable person for whom they could vote.

Matt Welch on Real Time

8 Oct
Another libertarian who goes on Real Time told me s/he gets the sense that Bill Maher feels he should have been MUCH more successful than he is, more like Jon Stewart or Jerry Seinfeld, but somehow always had bad luck or bad timing.  Hence the bitter.

There are also libertarians who got the better of Maher or a favored “liberal” guest, and maybe won’t be asked back.

So now it’s Matt Welch’s turn.

Mr. Welch is a really fine editorialist.  I often read reason on-line and so I miss his editorials frequently, and then I am shocked to read my paper copy while on a dead government subway car wondering if I’ll ever get where I am going, and discover the features that don’t make it on-line, and how good Welch, Mangu-Ward and others I’ve been missing are.

But on TV Matt is handicapped by being a white man, polite, and having complicated analyses that don’t go into bumpersticker size phrases.  As far as I know he also doesn’t have a kookie superhero dress like the chick on this panel, with a capelet sprouting out of the shoulder blades.

I suppose it’s better that he is on than not.  Though this reminded me of his old, pre-Independents, appearances on Melinda Hairy Perish’s show on MSDNC where he’d be with a bunch of mainly women of colors who’d be discussing how people who don’t want tax funded abortions of black babies are racist, and he’d have to figure out how to get a word in edgewise without being glared at for being a (white) man who interrupts (black) women.

Is Atlas Shrugging on DC Metro buses?

6 Jan

Remember how during the economic collapse in Atlas Shrugged people start doing “Who is John Galt?” graffiti?

In the last pages of  the novel (which reason magazine editor Matt Welch has never read), as the economy collapses and the government becomes a dictatorship and cities lose power, Americans who don’t know exactly how and why the collectivist policies they tacitly supported caused the collapse, do, from their native surviving common sense, begin slapping bureaucrats so hard they break some jaws, and begin scribbling graffiti on walls reading “Who is John Galt?”

Today DC is immobilized, hysterically, by a few inches of snow, following a week where a whole zip code (Logan and Shaw) could not drink the government water, which smelled like kerosene (still no explanation).  Most of Dupont Circle, including one of my offices, has no power today, even though all the power cables there are under ground.  This is in a city where power goes out to many neighborhoods every year when a tree limb falls, and where Metro elevators and escalators are perpetually breaking down.

And today on one of the buses I took so as not to drive in the snow I saw this Obamacare poster, humorously defaced.  My first reaction:  Methinks the natives are getting restless!  I chuckled aloud.  But it turns out the ad is part of a series of very, very, neatly defaced ads.  The insurance companies are putting out ads targeting people who are frustrated with or hate Obamacare!  For the many people whose eyes would normally glaze over if presented with an ACA related ad, this ad gets them to read about the policy offered, by seeming to be rebellious anti-ACA graffiti.

Watch Matt Welch on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher Friday at 10 p.m.!

7 May

Our guilty pleasure – we’re covering CPAC

7 Mar
CPAC Panel on Minority Voter Outreach Poorly Attended – CPAC Roundup

Reason magazine is covering it this year.  We ran into Kennedy and crew filming interviews for reasonTV (reason coverage link above).

Apparently prices, especially for sponsors, were doubled this year, so there seem to be many fewer attendees, including most gay, libertarian, and even some tea party groups.  The Libertarian Party had a booth for years in the exhibitors hall, but hasn’t for several years.  American for Prosperity has no booth.  And Campaign for Liberty is shrunken from its Ron Paul campaign years of having one or two aisles of booths of related groups like Young Americans for Liberty to having only one booth.

CPAC is again held inconveniently at Washington National Harbor, the resort complex rubes think is in DC that is actually far away in Prince George’s County in Maryland, on the Potomac, near Andrews Air Force Base.  CPAC organizers say they outgrew DC hotel space but many think the real reason for the move last year was that the Occupy protesters confronted Andrew Breitbart, when CPAC was in DC, in 2012, where the late, great Achilleus of the center-right harangued the occupy under fay.   CPAC wagers that Occupy, which in DC has to hire the unemployed and homeless people so it has enough bodies at a protest, aren’t competent to find National Harbor or charter a bus to get there.  CPAC offers bus service from Union Station on Capitol Hill (last year it also offered it from George Washington University).

I’ve been covering CPAC for my blogs since 2007.  The three perpetual fault lines are: Ron Paul and other libertarians vs neoconservatives and pro-military groups; gay conservatives vs people who want no gay groups as sponsors; free market Muslim Americans and their supporters vs people who want no tincture of Islam allowed.  The anti-gay, anti-Muslim, and anti-libertarian forces have won most battles, and excluded most groups from sponsorships and exhibits who fall under those three categories, with only Ron and Rand Paul left.  This year they also refused to rent space (and presumably sell wedding cake) to one of those single issue atheist groups as well.  I think the Ayn Rand Institute may still be in but I will have to check to see if they have a booth as they did last year. However CPAC may lose the war, since they want the young peoples, and when they show up they usually end up being over half libertarian leaning, even if you barred their sponsoring groups.

The other usual CPAC experience is leftover or “liberal” journalists looking for snark.  In the past this has taken the form of checking gay ads on craigslist etc. and then reporting the shocking finding that 20-something gay conservative boys away from home in a big city staying in hotels actually look to hook up with each other – the depravity knows no ends!  Last year Betsy Rothstein, a reporter for FishBowl (now with The Daily Caller), filed a report on how one exhibitor dared to have a poster with an unflattering photo of Hillary Clinton, at the CPAC conference – in Baltimore.  She thought, I believe, she was at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor instead of Prince George’s County’s National Harbor, based on the time spent on her expense account Uber ride.

I got there late last afternoon and only stayed until 9 pm, for about 6 hours of CPAC experience.  Here were my impressions:

Kennedy, Matt Welch, Meredith Bragg and other reporters said journalists were really scratching for something to cover.

Newlywed Yahoo News journalist Chris Moody, a former Cato intern, seemed almost giddy as he ran about snapping photos.  He’s such a nice young man.

British author and environmentalist critic James Delingpole was trying to meet journalists, carrying his new book on Eco-fascism, but he had no publicist or helper and none of the Americans knew who he was by looking at him.  (I tried to help a little.)

Glen Reynolds of Instapundit won a journalism award from Accuracy in Media, and Dana Loesch, formerly of Breitbart and now of Glen Beck Inc. accepted it for him (video later).  During the Q&A everyone asked her where Glen Beck was and why he didn’t come to CPAC.

I overheard a young journalist say “I was thinking about covering Rick Santorum, though he’s really irrelevant now.”  To which his young intern friend said “He came in second behind Romney last time.”

At the small (20 people) happy hour for the Republican Liberty Caucus (where 45 were expected) at a nice bar called Harrington’s. Token Libertarian Girl, FreedomWork’s Julie Borowski, and Republican Liberty Caucus candidates from South Carolina and New Mexico addressed the prospects for the Liberty movement and the threat of Libertarian Party spoilers to Republican candidates.  One Congressman from the south opined that Libertarian Party candidates are now stealing votes and ruining elections for half a dozen GOP candidates every election – and noted that in some cases, for less libertarian GOP candidates, he didn’t mind seeing this happen.  I kept waiting for one to advocate the usual Republican strategy of keeping Libertarians off the ballot but no one did.  Julie Borowski then decamped for the annual Blogger Bash across the street at a piano bar called Bobby McKay’s, where she was nominated for a blogging award.

I spent the night drinking with a right leaning libertarian friend who is married to a Republican Liberty Caucus organizer, who works in, as they say in DC, IC.  Meaning the intelligence community.  She says Judge Napolitano is wrong that the Ukranian uprisings wee funded by the Obama regime.  A Campaign for Liberty organizer then argued in our private beer fuled symposium that they many not have been government funded, but they were funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and other government supported groups.

Tonight I will be “covering” the Leadership Institute reception and a private, invite only party (assuming they allow one to repeat what was said etc.) and hope to get to the actual event earlier, before lunch, as well.

The Libertarian Case for Legalized Plunder

9 Dec
The Libertarian Case for Legalized Plunder is Craig Biddle’s fairly accurate characterization of Matt Zwolinki’s argument at Cato’s website for something like a negative income tax or reparations to the victims of past coercion.  This “Bleeding Heart Libertarian” idea has some traction.  In the past one had heard liberaltarians like reason editor Matt Welch (who gets more libertarian I think as each year passes, so you will have to check with him for his current beliefs) on FOX shows profess allegiance to some minimal “social safety net.”  (But then Matt Welch does go bravely preach to the whores and lepers and tax collectors, appearing on MSNBC on the Medusa Hairy Kerry show.)  But I’ve also heard it from interns and associates at the Charles Koch Institute.

I think libertarians have been unsympathetic to the BHL enterprise before, putting up with it because they wanted some place to hangout if they viewed themselves as feminists or socially liberal personally, or because as a practical matter they think engaging and persuading people in free market ideas requires attending to consequentialist arguments, not just moral ones.
I think the idea is that because the public already thinks in terms of a moral/practical dichotomy, and to engage it it is good, one must lead with consequentialist discussions. I know when I read Ayn Rand the summer after my freshman year of high school, even though I was a socialist I immediately identified with Rand’s sense of life and view of how one should live. But I wondered about how society would not even have more poverty, racism and depression, as my previous influencers at NPR and NBC had told me, if we had capitalism. I had to spend the next few years, pre Internet, buying books or using inter library loan to find Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal, and then from there find von Mises, FEE,  Hayek, Rothbard, reason, and other discussions of how economies work.
That said I think Zwolinski, even as he cast this as a Freidmanite plan of making the welfare state more efficient (dangerous since Milton brought us withholding for the same reasons), has gone just far enough to exhaust what patience libertarians, as opposed to liberaltarians, had for him.
Maybe that is why Cato published this; give him enough rope…. Or maybe they like the idea of “enlivening” their blog with a “debate,” which they do need to have, since he claims to be a libertarian.
It will be interesting to see who takes up the Biddle “challenge.”   I’m not going to elaborate an argument for individual rights there, at this time, since my own ideas about that are more or less the same as Rand’s, with a little Straussianism tossed in. It is sad that the libertarians who used to work in that area, like Eric Mack and Tibor Machan, aren’t being followed up by a new crop of people saying something interesting about rights theory.

Matt Welch speaks on the Struggle for the Soul of the Republican Party

3 Apr
April 4, 2013 – Matt Welch
editor in chief Reason, the libertarian magazine of
“Free Minds and Free Markets,”
co-author “The Declaration of Independents:
How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America.”Read more about him at:
Matt Welch
The Struggle for the Soul of the Republican Party
Thursday, April 4 
Admission Free -- no reservation necessary
* We'll socialize from 7:00pm to 7:30pm.
* 7:30pm moderator, Gene Epstein calls first for announcements 
    of things happening before the next Junto. Then other 
    announcements and for people introducing themselves.
* The speaker will begin promptly at 8:00pm and talk about 
    45 minutes, uninterrupted.  
* Following the talk are questions, discussions and rebuttal 
    of the speaker's points. Discussions are intense but polite.
* The meeting will continue to 10:00pm or later.
General Society Library 
20 West 44 St., between 5th and 6th Aves., NYC
near the Grand Central Terminal
* Subway: 4, 5, 6, S to Grand Central -- 42nd St. 
    B, D, F, 7 to 42nd Street -- Sixth Ave. at Bryant Park 
    A, C, E, N, Q, R, S, 1, 2, 3 to Times Square -- 42nd St.
* Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M42, M98, M101, M102, M104, Q32
* Train: MTA Metro-North Railroad to Grand Central 
* Car: Some private parking facilities in the area. Parking on 
    side streets is metered, limited to specific days and times.
* Junto meets on the first Thursday of every month.
* Participation by all attendees is highly encouraged.
* 60 to 100 people attend most Juntos.