Last night’s Republican presidential debate was very briefly derailed by hecklers in the audience who shouted, “we want Rand!” during an exchange between the candidates and moderators on police issues. The moment was as much an outburst of frustration at the various candidates’ strident anti-libertarianism as it was an appeal for Sen. Rand Paul himself to appear.
The decision made by Fox Business to boot Sen. Rand Paul from the main stage may have been justified given his lagging poll numbers, but it was an unmitigated disaster for the integrity of the debate. Paul’s absence from the stage deprived the spectacle of any semblance of sanity.
While many libertarians—including many of my colleagues at Reason—have dinged Paul for seeming at times insufficiently committed to the cause and too eager to make in-roads with big government conservatives, his faults appear incredibly small when set against the horrors of a Paul-less GOP slate.
There was no candidate to represent the significant number of war-weary libertarians, Independents, conservatives, and young people. Everyone from Marco Rubio to Jeb Bush promised to bolster the Army and Navy, defend U.S. military interests abroad, reverse President Obama’s reckless “retreat” from world affairs, and stir up new conflicts with Syria, Russian, Iran, and China. Nation-building was denounced, but endless nation-building would be the obvious and inevitable outcome of the foreign policies set forth by the entire GOP field minus Paul. …
Where was Paul during all of this? He skipped the undercard debate, and instead livestreamed short videos in which he answered questions on Twitter. The move seems to have paid off for him: he picked up more followers than any other candidate except for Trump, according to Twitter.
That’s good for him, but all libertarians should pray he can fight his way back onto the main stage. Absent Paul’s influence, the GOP slate is universally hostile to immigrants, more interventionist than ever before, pro-cop, and even skeptical of free trade. In truth, It’s really no more libertarian than the Democratic slate.
Walgreens decision not to engage in the controversial, and potentially illegal tax avoidance scheme of corporate inversion was met with much praise by consumer watchdog groups across this country. This, of course, brought out the unpatriotic crowd who sees tax schemes as some form of sacred duty instead of a way to cheat the system.
So in one my exchanges with the guy I blocked yesterday, he demanded proof that FOX News distorts facts, etc. While he wouldn’t agree with the following analysis – that is, after all, the nature of ideology – in 2012 Media Matters did a nice piece on how FOX uses charts and graphics to misrepresent political reality. It’s a useful primer on the proper (and improper) way to present data in visual form …