Patterico's Pontifications


Wendy Davis: Desperation Is So Ugly

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

While we’ve already ascertained that Wendy Davis has no shame, she nonetheless continues to surprise. With her hometown newspaper now endorsing her opponent, Davis (who continues to trail Greg Abbott) pulled out all the stops today, and did what desperate politicians on the left do — she played the race card:

What set this in motion was a reasonable and sound response from Greg Abbott to the editorial board of the San Antonio Express-News on Sunday as they attempted to equalize current legal proceedings over gay marriage to the historical debates over interracial marriage:

“Right now, if there was a ban on interracial marriage, that’s already been ruled unconstitutional,” Abbott pointed out. “And all I can do is deal with the issues that are before me … The job of an attorney general is to represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down.”

When I said I wasn’t clear if he was saying he would have defended a ban on interracial marriage, he said, “Actually, the reason why you’re uncertain about it is because I didn’t answer the question. And I can’t go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.”

Asked about the similarities some see between the ban on gay marriage and past prohibitions on interracial marriage, Abbott said, “Well, the Supreme Court has disagreed with that” by holding that sexual orientation isn’t due protected-class status in the way that race is.

(Meanwhile, Greg Abbott’s wife Cecilia Phalen Abbott — a San Antonio native and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who could make history in the process by becoming the first Latina first lady — offered no comment.)


Dana Milbank Badly Misinforms His Readers on Libertarian Views

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

It’s been on my back burner to respond to this diatribe by Dana Milbank, claiming that NIH Director Francis Collins was telling the truth when he said that there would have been an Ebola vaccine but for budget cuts. Milbank goes on and on about the horrible budget cuts that NIH supposedly suffered from, defends origami condoms, etc. But this passage really got my attention:

Even hard-core libertarians tend to agree that medical research and public health, like national defense, are among the few things that should be a federal responsibility. Eric Cantor, the recently deposed House majority leader, made a big push for government funding of medical research.

I’m sorry? Milbank is citing Eric Cantor as an example of a “hard-core libertarian”?? Let’s review some of Cantor’s super-libertarian record:

Cantor helped usher the 2008 bailout to passage. He was the Chamber of Commerce’s most important ally in reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank in 2012, and was expected to play the same role again this year. He voted for the insurers’ and drug makers’ beloved Medicare prescription drug bill in 2003, and for the Republicans’ pork-filled energy bill in 2005.

I was suspicious of Milbank’s claim because the “hard-core libertarians” I am familiar with don’t even necessarily believe national defense should be handled by the government. (I disagree with them.) So I suspected they would not be big fans of federal funding for medical research.

I decided to look into the views of one fairly prominent “hard-core libertarian”: Ron Paul. Guess what? He believes medical research should be done privately. (Sorry, it’s a Prison Planet link, but that’s the only place I can find it.) Here’s Paul:

The issue is not whether the federal government should fund one type of stem cell research or another. The issue is whether the federal government should fund stem cell research at all. Clearly there is no constitutional authority for Congress to do so, which means individual states and private citizens should decide whether to permit, ban, or fund it. Neither party in Washington can fathom that millions and millions of Americans simply don’t want their tax dollars spent on government research of any kind. This viewpoint is never considered.

Federal funding of medical research guarantees the politicization of decisions about what types of research for what diseases will be funded. Scarce tax resources are allocated according to who has the most effective lobby, rather than on the basis of need or even likely success. Federal funding also causes researchers to neglect potential treatments and cures that do not qualify for federal funds. Medical advancements often result from radical ideas and approaches that are scoffed at initially by the establishment. When scientists become dependent on government funds, however, they quickly learn not to rock the boat and stick to accepted areas of inquiry. Federal funds thus distort the natural market for scientific research.

It’s impossible to know whether Milbank is just lying — or whether he really believes what he said, and has no idea what actual libertarians think. Either way, he is badly misinforming his readers.

The Not-So-Great Orator On The Campaign Trail

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:36 am

[guest post by Dana]

In light of the president’s slipping popularity , especially in key states, many Democrats have avoided appearing with him on the campaign trail.

However, tonight he joined Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown of Maryland and spoke at a rally for Brown. Unfortunately, the Great Orator didn’t have the best of nights:

“You’ve got to vote,” Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington.

“There are no excuses. The future is up to us,” Obama said.

The crowd just wasn’t feeling it:

While the 8,000 crowd at the first event gave him an enthusiastic welcome, his repeated urging of them to turn up and vote apparently failed to impress. By the end of his address, around half of the crowd had departed.

A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, and at one point a heckler interrupted his remarks to complain about his handling of the immigration issue. The President told the heckler he would be better protesting at members of Congress who he said had blocked all attempts to resolve the crisis.

If you are curious about all the possible reasons to walk out on the president, here you go.


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