Election 2012: First Analysis

Austin Dispatches       
No. 142   
June 16, 2011

Already, readers keep asking my assessment of the 2012 presidential race. It’s a bit premature, since not all the Republican name candidates have announced. Also, how many successive politically predominant issues of Austin Dispatches can you stand to read? Nevertheless, next year’s election is the GOP’s to lose – and that’s likely what they’ll do.

Most of the declared candidates hold status quo views that, partisan hype aside, aren’t much different from President Obama’s. The GOP needs someone who can really distinguish himself if it doesn’t want to squander a victory. Of the notable exceptions, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson disqualified himself with his past cocaine use. Even if he really quit, he’s still drilled holes in his brain.1 We’ve already seen the results with the three most recent presidents.2 U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is the best of the lot, but he’s 75 years old, weak on the National Question,3 and despised by the Republican establishment.4  Ironically, Paul, with his intense support among a broad cross-section of the public, stands a better chance of beating Obama in the general election than he does of securing the GOP nomination, partly because his supporters also intensely despise the Republican establishment.5 

More satisfactory candidates are likely to be found among the no-name Republicans, and even likelier outside the establishment duopoly.

So Now He's Irish?

However, if Obama faces a serious antiwar challenger for the Democratic nomination, even a Republican establishment hack might squeak through to victory.6 

Meanwhile, having angered the Jews over his recent Levantine policy utterances, the man to beat in 2012 traipsed off to Eire to quaff a few pints of overrated, room-temperature beer and enthuse over his white ancestors, from the appropriately named village of Moneygall.7 Perhaps Obama hopes Irish-Americans will divert their beer money to his reelection campaign. Unfortunately, his white ancestors are still Irish.8 

Obama can console himself by remembering that at least he’s not associated with the LP.

Bring Me the Head of Wayne Allyn Schmuck

e142fig2 Of course, when I write of alternatives to the statist quo, I don’t mean the “Libertarian” Party. Not to bore you with the flogging of a still-twitching sloth, but people continue ask me about the party, and that crippled vehicle for liberty experiences enough new internal turmoil for me to illuminate what the members are doing wrong and why.

The LP’s crippled because of the Portland convention  and the continued dominance of the “fake” faction,  which can’t decide whether to fight or join the corporatist, managerial-therapeutic, warfare-welfare state. The “flake” faction appears to have declined into irrelevance, except as a fount of blog posts.

Nevertheless, nationally, Executive Director Wes Benedict and chairman Mark Hinkle are doing about as well as they can under such burdens to prevent the party from further plummeting like an actor at “Spider-Man” musical rehearsal.9 Benedict is also further constrained because his two predecessors exceeded their authority and subsequently lost their jobs.10

Hinkle looks especially good compared to his predecessor. Bill Redpath was one of the LP’s worst choices ever for national chairman, rivaling Geoff Neale.  Redpath’s defenders cite his record of ballot access efforts for the LP. I remain skeptical, given the LP’s continued struggle after all Redpath’s years of effort, and his thoughts on what structural matters prevent the LP from more success. In an afterword to a new book, Redpath thinks the “largest impediment to effective political competition to the Democrats and Republicans is the single-member legislative district and plurality elections in those districts. Political scientists say that the natural result of Single Member Plurality (SMP) voting is two dominant parties, both running for the center, trying to offend as few people as possible, in order to winner [sic.] single-member district elections.”11

However, the LP’s multiple victories in partisan elections since the late ‘70s, and the bulk of the book, by scholar James Bennett, disprove Redpath. Bennett demonstrates throughout that the Democrats and Republicans have deliberately rigged ballot access,12 ballot13 and campaign finance laws14 in their favor and to the disfavor of the Libertarians and other challenges to the Democratic-Republican duopoly. Before these laws, passed under the guise of “reform,” the United States had a more competitive multiparty system. In other words, the structural solutions to the LP’s problems are to be found in the libertarian approach, that of repealing unnecessary and unjust laws; not, as Redpath, claims, in a technocratic tinkering with how we vote. Of course, since Redpath has waffled, trimmed and compromised on basic libertarian principles any time he’s had to articulate them as a candidate, it’s not surprising he ignores a libertarian solution to the problem he outlines.

Also, Benedict and Hinkle should be commended for actually remembering their party presumably has an underlying ideology, and connecting the two in their press releases. On the other hand, the platform isn’t what it used to be, either – pale pastel shades instead of what used to be a banner of bold unmistakable colors.15

Sadly, the LP’s best recent accomplishment has been the backhanding of Wayne Allyn Schmuck, a transparently obvious petty hustler looking to leap from grift to graft using the LP, by the national convention delegates in St. Louis during the vote for chairman.16 Will no one rid us of this self-aggrandizing huckster?17

The party’s slow decline occurs as the founding generation of Libertarians is dying off, and after 40 years, what can they really cite as accomplishments?18 The Libertarians are patting themselves on the back for their 2010 electoral results, but they could’ve done even better if they’d offered some specificity.19

At heart, the party’s problems stem from a conceptual flaw at the beginning. Post-Portland, founder David Nolan and others said several times that they conceived of the LP as a vehicle for education, not a vehicle for electoral victory to obtain political power to implement the Libertarian agenda. In other words, they used the wrong tool for the job. Elsewhere, if you do that, something – or someone – burns out.
During my years in the LP, I thought that everyone else was also committed to win; they just didn't know how. Had I known what Nolan et al. actually thought, I never would've designated the LP as my political agent. In fact, post-Portland, when I finally learned what the radicals (a.k.a., "the flake faction") really conceived of as the LP's purpose, I fired it as soon as I could compose a satisfactory e-mail.
Moreover, most people aren't that keen on education, perhaps because their mandatory experiences with it left sour memories. What they want are solutions to their external, civic problems. This means a Libertarian Party willing and able to win electoral victories for the political power necessary to implement the Libertarian agenda.
Unfortunately, the fakes that wrested control of the LP at Portland and have run it since can't figure out how to win because they downplay libertarianism as the reason for the party's existence. With no purpose and no solutions for its natural constituents, there's no commitment to victory, and therefore no victory and no political power to implement the Libertarian agenda. Thus the LP functions as a sedate live-action role-playing game instead of a real political party. This will also cause burnout, but for a new, different reason.20

Austin Death Watch

The weekend of May 20-22, students graduated from the University of Texas simultaneously with various nearby marches, rallies, mass bicycling, a music festival, variable weather, and traffic flow-clogging construction on the Interstate 35/Highway 290 intersection.21Actually, this was the final exam: Any senior who could leave campus without being soaked, struck by lighting, colliding with a protestor or bicyclist, or stalling in traffic received his diploma. Whereupon the recipient is now credentialed to work a part-time shift at Kinko’s, if there’s ever an opening.

Coincidentally, the same weekend, the Statesman published two features on tangible legacies of the man responsible as any for Austin’s woes, and why college graduates are scrounging for work. Of course, it’s Lyndon B. Johnson, former congressman and president.22 As U.S. representative for the 10th District, he was instrumental in establishing the Lower Colorado River Authority, which deals with flood control and power generation. After 75 years, the Statesman finally frets that a politically created government agency influences and is influenced by politics.23 Another monument at the end of his career, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, marked its 40th anniversary that weekend. Reading that feature, I learned that not only was this grandiose monument to a terrible president built while he was still alive, I also learned he visited this monument to himself and smirkingly posed for photos. Truly, this monster had no limits on his ego.24

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo fired the SWAT team cop who crashed his car drunk in December. Acevedo also suspended six other cops for drinking on the job and driving drunk.25

About 2,400 Austin Fire Department applicants will have to retake oral exams after allegations those exam questions were leaked.26 This comes shortly after the Chronicle was fretting again about the insufficient diversity in the ranks.27 

The City’s proposal to close Bruning Avenue, which runs diagonally from North Loop to Duval Street and is part of the five-way intersection at Duval and 51st Street, has split neighborhood activists. Proposal opponents sensibly bring up Bruning’s transitory convenience for reaching local doughnut shops and other eateries.28 Of course, the real problem began when people started deviating from Austin’s original grid plat.29

Speaking of which, the City is repaving South Congress Avenue between Riverside Drive and Oltorf Street. The good news is that if the project’s ever completed, 90 new parking spaces will be available. The bad news is that all the spaces will be reverse-angle parking, meaning the driver has to back into the space.30 However, I’ll continue to parallel park on side streets during off hours, just as I’ve always done.

The runoff Council election between incumbent Randi Shade and challenger Kathie Tovo has split the Council’s support.31 Moreover, I received a letter from Mike Levy, former Texas Monthly publisher and general civic gadfly, which attacks Tovo for her anti-development statist views.32 Although I suspect some tribal loyalty might also factor into Levy’s tacit support for the pro-development statist Shade.33

Speaking of people who won’t go away, a campus outcry restored the plantiff’s attorney in the infamous Roe vs. Wade case back to her teaching job at UT’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.34

The Statesman is hyping the influx of wealthy Mexicans who’ve moved to Texas to get away from the violence in their home country.35 Typically, when I read American print media, the rich who live in Latin America are evil. Somehow crossing the border automatically makes them good. Presumably, these Mexicans won’t extrude hepatitis-infected feces onto the sidewalks like their El Paso counterparts.36  During my Southwest trip last year I regretted I wasn't able to explore the city, but after learning of that, it's probably just as well.37

Back in Travis County, the Statesman reports cases of typhus are up.38

Tentacles of Empire

May 25, the Senate voted against a bill to outlaw groping by security screeners at airports and elsewhere after heavy federal pressure.39 The Homeland Security Department decided not to give Austin nearly $3 million in Urban Areas Security Initiative grants. The Statesman treated the news like it was a bad thing.40 

Business Roundup

Executives at CEO Summit 2011 fretted about a dwindling technology talent pool in Austin. The solutions these executives suggested at the summit and in an accompanying Statesman editorial were exactly the sort of managementese platitudes missing the point that you’d expect.41 No one at the summit suggested simply hiring from among the many locals, paying them market rate for their experience and skills, and eliminating the corporate chickenshit that gives the contemporary workplace a bad name.42 Talent goes where it’s appreciated, and replacing it with H1-Bs, who are nice people but mostly function as cheap diversity hires, won’t keep a company viable for long. But try telling these executives that.

Beyond the companies themselves, the regulatory structure in which they operate, designed largely at the behest of established interests to quash competition, must be dismantled, and taxes must be drastically cut when they can’t be eliminated.43 But I didn’t see these solutions mentioned in the Statesman articles, either.

Therefore, the summit featured more of the same conference jawboning I used to read in the journalism trades about how to diversify the newsroom. Nobody quoted ever uttered the notion that most historically disadvantaged non-whites don’t want to work hard for low wages. And this was before print journalism became a declining business.  

The private if somewhat misnamed Austin Executive Airport, in Pflugerville, officially opened June 8. The airport will serve corporate and private aircraft.44

Neighborhood News

A couple of waitresses fought over me at the new BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse at the Arbor Walk shopping plaza.45 I swear I only intended to order lunch. Maybe it was my piercing eyes

A French-antique store and a yoga supply shop have opened. Houston-based Crossville Tile and Stone has purchased the Master Title location on Rutland Drive.46

William P. Clements Jr., 1917-2011

Bill Clements, Texas’ last worthy governor, died May 29.47  His successors have been a self-righteous, openly big-government shill, a carpetbagging messianic tyrant, and a blow-dried whore of an empty suit, all whom have pushed Texas toward being as enslaved as the rest of the united States these last 20 years.48  

Assault of the Zombie Rockers

Wavo bands aren’t the only ones emerging from the grave.49  The June catalog of Collectors’ Choice Music contains a plethora of new recordings from rock acts  that were lively 30 or more years ago.

Chronicle Editor Louis Black praised a new movie so extravagantly that after reading his June 3 column I was too exhausted to see it.50 But then what do you expect from a column called “Page Two” that usually begins on page 6 or so. From the same issue, I learned that chick astronaut in the love triangle that NASA fired a few years ago for doing the typical chick thing of getting all emotional and dragging her personal problems into work with her has been turned into a community theater musical.51 You’ve come a long way, baby.

Notes in the Margins

Two years after I critiqued the underlying presumptions of most science fiction, a longtime reader felt compelled to reply. We had an enjoyable conversation – all e-mail exchanges should be so entertaining – but my correspondent utterly failed to make his case, because he wandered off point with an esthetic defense and never addressed the common sociocultural and political presumptions up and down the science fiction hierarchy. He also thought maybe I hadn’t consumed enough science fiction.52 

Actually, I've sampled a substantial amount of the genre's literary,53 staged, and even sonic oeuvre.54 Therefore, I can say definitively I’m not a fan, although my second-favorite movie and about 125 of the approximately 3,200 books I can recommend are broadly categorizable as science fiction. Paradoxically, much of what I like esthetically I also strongly dislike for its political and social views. Furthermore, the esthetics I prefer really offend typical genre fans.55

Coincidentally, as research for a future issue, I recently attempted to read Alexei and Cory Panshin's “The World Beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the Quest for Transcendence,” a history of science fiction, from its origin during the Enlightenment to the end of World War II.
“Attempted,” because the Panshins annoyed me with their unexamined presumptions in the introductory and concluding sections: your stereotypical textbook statist, atheist, pro-technocratic views on the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the development of science, the validity and viability of creating secular myths to replace the Christian paradigm, and the “triumph” of World War II as both the actualization of collectivist utopianism in the political and economic realm and the weakening of old social bonds and mores, all cheered on by asocial misfits – G.I. generation science fiction fans and/or writers – as liberation from the old ways – and it merely cost the lives of 50-70 million people.56 Obviously, the Panshins hadn’t consulted the learned dissenters of our time – Murray Rothbard,57 Gary North,58 Stanley Jaki,59 Robert Nisbet60 etc. – or they might not’ve written as they did.
Yet the very same aspects of “World Beyond the Hill” I regard as a failure are also a success, because they confirm my assertions about the common gestalt that I critiqued two years ago. (The commonality extends into trends the Pashins don't cover.) Had I even know of the Panshins’ book then, I'd've cited it extensively. The result would still be the same, though. Disliking science fiction's one thing, but it long bothered me I couldn't articulate why.61 

Live long and prosper,62


1 Gray, James P. Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2001: 170.
2 AD No. 119n15 (Dec. 7, 2008); Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1997; Gray, op. cit., 170-171.
3 AD No. 119n35.
4 Anderson, Matthew Lee. “The Politics of Authenticity.” Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation. Ed. Jonah Goldberg. New York City: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010: 9-10; Karp, Walter. Indispensable Enemies: The Poltics of Misrule in America. New York City: Saturday Review Press, 1973.
5 Hill, Trent. “Integrity Is Not Dead.” Ron Paul and the New Revolutionaries: A Look Into the Movement That Sparked Hope. Ed. Hill. Raleigh, N.C.: Lulu Publishers, 2008: 7.
6 “The Peacenik Hypocrites.” Washington Times 25 Apr. 2011: B2.
7 Landler, Mark. “Warm Welcome in Ireland as Obama Starts European Tour.” NYT 24 May 2011: 6; “Why Undercut Jews?” IBD 24 May 2011: A12.
8 Sowell, Thomas. Ethnic America: A History. New York City: Basic Books, 1981: Ch. 2.
9 Healy, Patrick. “ ‘Spider-Man’ Starts to Emerge From Secrecy.” NYT 24 Nov. 2010, New York ed.: C1.
10 AD No. 99n31 (Aug. 10, 2007).
11 Redpath, Bill. “Afterword.” Bennett, James T. Not Invited to the Party: How the Demopublicans Have Rigged the System and Left Independents Out in the Cold. New York City: Springer, 2009: 202.
12 Bennett, op. cit., 35-58.
13 Ibid., 31-35.
14 Bennett, op. cit., Ch. 4-5; Mutch, Robert E. Campaigns, Congress, and Courts: The Making of Federal Campaign Finance Law. New York City: Praeger, 1988: 139, 142-150.
15 Reagan, Ronald. Speech to Republican National Convention, Kansas City, Mo. 19 Aug. 1976. Rpt. Ronald Reagan Talks to America. Old Greenwich, Conn.: The Devin Adair Co., 1983: 62.
16 AD No. 140n18 (May 4, 2011); Thorsen, Leah. “Libertarians Gather Here, Debate Wooing Tea Party.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch 30 May 2010: A3.
17 Becket. Paramount Film Service/Keep Films, 1964.
18 Douglas, Martin. “David Nolan, 66, Is Dead; Started Libertarian Party.” NYT 23 Nov. 2010: 10; “Libertarians’ 1st Presidential Candidate.” LAT 14 Jun. 2011: AA5.
19 Eakens, Kathryn. “Texas House District 50.” CIN Sep. 2010: 11.
20 Eisler, Dan. “Re: Burnout.” E-mail to Wes Benedict et al., 2 May 2011.
21 Gonzales, Suzannah, and Ralph K.M. Haurwitz. “UT Graudates Contemplate Achievements, Opportunities.” AAS 22 May 2011: B1+; “More Flyover Work, Closures on Interstate 35.” Idem., 20 May 2011: B1; Murray, Mark. “Weather Outlook.” Idem., B10; Powell, Austin. “Echocentrics.” AC 20 May 2011: 45; Renovitch, James. “Calendar.” Idem., 52; “Res Publica.” Idem., 14.
22 AD No. 125n39 (Jun. 20, 2009).
23 Price, Asher. “A Flow of Politics.” AAS 22 May 2011: D1+.
24 Barnes, Michael. “Man of the Times.” AAS 22 May 2011: F1+.
25 AD No. 138n73 (Jan. 13, 2011); George, Patrick. “Investigation of Party, Crash Leads to Firing.”AAS 20 May 2011, final ed.: A1+; Smith, Jordan. “Cops Don’t Let Cops Drive Drunk.” AC 27 May 2011: 22.
26 Plohetski, Tony. “Firefighter Exam Leaked?” AAS 20 May 2011, final ed.: A1+.
27 Rosenblatt, Josh. “Leaked AFD Exam Adds Fuel to Fire.” AC 27 May 2011: 18.
28 Nichols, Lee. “End of the Road for Five-Way Stop?” Idem., 22.
29 Zelade, Richard. Austin, rev. 4th ed. Houston: Gulf Coast Pub. Co, 1996: 293.
30 Wear, Ben. “New Angle on South Congress.” AAS 2 Jun. 2011: B1; Wear. “Reverse-Angle Parking Not Quite as Easy as 1-2-3.” Idem., 13 Jun. 2011: B1.
31 AD No. 141n23 (May 17, 2011); Coppola, Sarah. “Shade, Tovo Race Divides Council.” 5 Jun. 2011, final ed.: A1+.
32 “Headlines.” AC 10 Jun. 2011: 16.
33 MacDonald, Kevin. The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Century Intellectual and Political Movements, rev. ed. Bloomington, Ind.: 1st Books Library, 2002: 304.
34 AD No. 140n47; Pagan, Victoria. “Professor of Roe v. Wade Fame Reinstated After Campus Outcry.” DT 6 June 2011: 1+.
35 Quinones, Sam. True Tales From Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino, and the Bronx.  Albuquerque, N.M.: U of New Mexico P, 2001: Ch. 7, 11; Schwartz, Jeremy. “Bad for Mexico, Good for Austin.” AAS 5 Jun. 2011, final ed.: A1+.
36 “Feces and Urine Problem in Downtown El Paso.” KTSM-TV, El Paso, Texas. 25 May 2011.
37 D. Eisler. “Out in the West Texas Town of El Paso.” E-mail to Mike Eisler et al., 7 Jun. 2011.
38 Roser, Mary Ann. “Typhus Settling in in Travis County, Local Experts Say.” AAS 5 Jun. 2011: B1.
39 Ward, Mike. “Senate Causes a Stir With Maneuvers on 2 Hot Topics.” Idem., 26 May 2011, final ed.: A1+.
40 Weber, Paul J. “U.S. Cuts in Anti-Terrorism Aid Set to Hit Texas Cities Hardest.” Idem., 20 May 2011, final ed.: A1+.
41 Hawkins, Lori. “Lack of Emerging Talent Hurting Us?” Idem., 20 May 2011: B7; Trammell, Joel, and Larry Warnock. “Austin’s Long on Ambience, but It’s Short on Tech Talent.” Idem., 20 May 2011: A11.
42 Meyer, G.J. Executive Blues: Down and Out in Corporate America. New York City: Franklin Square Press, 1995.
43 Kolko, Gabriel. The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History. New York City: Free Press of Glencoe, 1963; Weaver, Paul H. The Suicidal Corporation: How Big Business Fails America. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
44 Novak, Shonda. “Austin Executive Airport Officially Leaves Bird’s Nest to Soar on Its Own.”AAS 9 Jun. 2011: B5.
45 “Impacts.” CIN May 2011: 4.
46 Ibid., 4-5.
47 Barta, Carolyn. Bill Clements: Texian to His Toenails. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 1996; Ward. “Governor Led Conservative Push, Twice.” AAS 30 May 2011, final ed.: A1+.
48 AD No. 43n7 (Nov. 23, 2002); AD No. 94n32 (Nov. 25, 2006); AD No. 104n17 (Dec. 22, 2007).
49 AD No. 141n29 (May 17, 2011).
50 Black, Louis. “ ‘Life,’ the Universe, Everything.” AC 3 Jun. 2011: 6+.
51 Faires, Robert. “ ‘CockTales With Astronauts.’ ” Idem., 33.
52 Steele, R. Anthony. “Re: SF Response….” E-mail to D. Eisler, 13 Apr. 2011.
53 Dunn, J.R. “Goodbye, Galactic Empire.” Liberty Nov. 1989: 43-48.
54 Holdsworth, Allan. Atavachron. Enigma ST-73203, 1986.
55 D. Eisler. “Re: SF Response….” E-mail to Steele, 13 Apr. 2011.
56 D. Eisler. “Simultaneously Failure and Success.” E-mail to Chris Loyd, 16 May 2011; Fussell, Paul. Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War. New York City: Oxford UP, 1989; Mayer, Arno J. The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War. New York City: Pantheon Books, 1981; Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584-2069. New York City: William Morrow and Co., 1991: 261-278.
57 Raimondo, Justin. An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2000.
58 North, Gary. An Economic Commentary on the Bible, Vol. II: Moses and Pharoah: Dominion Religion Versus Power Religion. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985.
59 Jaki, Stanley L. Science and Creation: From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe, rev. ed. Lanham, Md.: UP of America, 1986.
60 Nisbet, Robert. The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America. New York City: Harper & Row, 1988.
61 D. Eisler. E-mail to Loyd, op. cit.
62 O’Donoughue, Michael. “The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise.” Saturday Night Live. NBC-TV, 29 May 1976.