Evangelical Leaders Back Santorum, Unaware They’re Irrelevant

150-plus evangelical leaders are trying to derail the Romney Express. They're going to get run over.

In an effort to halt the runaway train Mitt Romney is taking to the 2012 Republican nomination, evangelical leaders have backed Rick Santorum. It won’t matter.

Politico (“Social conservatives back Rick Santorum“):

The group of social conservative leaders meeting in Texas this weekend has thrown their support behind Rick Santorum, giving the GOP hopeful a much-needed boost a week before the pivotal South Carolina primary.

In a conference call this afternoon, Family Research Council chief Tony Perkins said that on the third ballot Santorum won a solid majority of votes from the movement conservatives gathered at a private ranch near Houston. Of 114 votes cast, Santorum won 85. Newt Gingrich took the remainder. In a remarkable slap in his home state, Rick Perry didn’t even make it past the first ballot, Perkins said.

Santorum backers were already taking to Twitter in the moments after Perkins announced the decision to tout the news. The former Pennsylvania senator, largely absent from the political conversation since finishing well behind Mitt Romney in New Hampshire and staying out of the Bain debate, is badly in need of a lift. In that sense, the endorsement is well-timed.

“It’s a validator that people who have been out there, in the fields laboring for the conservative cause, see us as someone who can not only stand and fight for the causes, but effectively fight and win.,” Santorum told reporters at his Mt Pleasant, S.C., headquarters. But he refrained from calling on any of his rivals to drop out and help unite conservatives. “That’s up to them,” he said. “They’re going to make that decision.”

CBN Beltway Buzz (“Evangelicals Throw Support to Santorum“) asks, “So what does this mean?” Answering their own question, they declare, “Expect conservative groups to start individually motivating their constituents to work for Santorum. Also look for more money and resources to start pouring into Santorum’s campaign. No question about it, this is excellent news for Santorum’s camp and a major blow to the Gingrich and Perry camps.”

The problem with that is that none of these people have the political clout that Jerry Falwell had in the early 1980s.  They may well be useful in getting people to rally behind the eventual Republican nominee–even Mitt Romney–but there’s little evidence that they have any sway in the Republican primaries, where most of the candidates are Christian conservatives. Recall the poor performance over the years of self-anointed evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer,  and Ralph Reed when they’ve run for political office; none were successful in winning the Republican nomination.

Had they rallied behind Santorum right after his Iowa win/tie/second place finish, they might have been more impactful. But Santorum finished in fifth place in New Hampshire and lost both his momentum and his claim to being the conservative alternative to Romney.

Right now, Romney holds a commanding lead–21 points in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll–in South Carolina. Santorum is tied with Ron Paul for a distant second. If that holds up through the election, the pressure will continue to mount for the other candidates to drop out of the race or at least refrain from attacking Romney, who will be seen as the inevitable nominee after three straight victories.

If Gingrich and Perry drop out of the race and throw their support to Santorum, he could theoretically still win the nomination. But it’s far more likely that one or both will hang around through Florida, if not Super Tuesday. In any case, the endorsement by Perkins and his friends will be  a distant memory by then.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Markey says:

    Oh how this is gonna add fun to the upcoming GOP convention…..

  2. superdestroyer says:

    If the word irrelevant is doing to be used, then why not just describe the entire Republican Party is irrelevant. There is no chance that Romney is doing to win and everyday it becomes more likely that Nancy Pelosi will return as Speaker of the House in January 2013.

    The Republicans have been irrelevant to governance since 2006 and the Republicans will soon be totally irrelevant from an election POV.

    The long term question is what happens when all of the social conservatives who currently vote in the Republican primary start voting in the Democratic primary.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Evangelicals are to the Republican Party what unions are to the Democratic Party.

  4. PJ says:

    @James Joyner:

    Right now, Romney holds a commanding lead–21 points in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll–in South Carolina.

    It’s not a poll, it’s an online survey.

    The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online from January 10-13 with a sample of 995 South Carolina registered voters. It included 398 Republicans and 380 Democrats.

    Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online surveys but this poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5 percentage points for Republicans and 3.4 percentage points for all voters.

    While Romney has led every poll in South Carolina this month, his lead has been single digit. And now there’s online survey with a 21 point lead…

    I wouldn’t base any kind of argument on it until there are some actual polls that confirm it.

    If Reuters continues to publish online surveys as polls (this is the first I’ve seen), they will end up with a credibility issue. Just take a look at Zogby.

  5. Xenos says:

    The evengelicals resent the rest of the country because they think we look down on them and laugh at them. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies — throwing their support for a follower of the Whore of Babylon? WTF?

    They expect anyone with any knowledge of history or religion to take them seriously?

  6. sam says:

    The problem for those guys is that Mitt’s from Massachusetts. Jimmy Fallon prophesied what would happen when evangelical passion collied with cold, dispassionate, dissecting New England logic. He was right, of course. And so are you.

  7. I don’t think irrelevant is the right word now (though maybe this is a push-editorial for that day).

    In the current environment Evangelicals, evolution and global warming doubters, have achieved buy-in from every major GOP candidate. They are part of the conservative infrastructure. With Santorum they want to one-up to a fully (Catholic) Evangelical.

    That probably is taking it too far. But in getting every candidate to, as I say, publicly doubt evolution, they are hardly irrelevant.

  8. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Actually, the real irony of the Bible bot demographic is that their primary relevance largely consists of electing liberal Democrats to major political offices.

    These people participate in GOP primaries, to a disproportionate extent, but then they tend to stay home and not vote in general elections. This has been going on for decades. Even when they do follow up and vote in general elections they often cost the GOP the seats in question by having pushed the candidates too far to the right on social issues. They’ve also cost the GOP numerous seats by having nominated unelectable candidates in the first instances.

    Romney will be the presidential nominee this cycle. At least a couple of million and perhaps up to several million of these extreme Protestants will as a result not vote in the general. Perhaps in the final analysis it won’t matter. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if Obama wins a close contest it’ll be traceable to evangelicals. The latter would not be able even to grasp the irony.

  9. @Tsar Nicholas II:

    I don’t know. Here in the OC, the right got a big turnout in the general by putting a defense of marriage act on the ballot.

    It was crazy, with the wars and the economy, it was marriage that had people demonstrating on street corners. (I presume this was organized inside the mega-churches).

  10. James in LA says:

    Conservatives can get back into the game and win it by demanding the repeal of the Patriot Act, Authorization of Forces, and overturning Citizen’s United. Tackle the drug war as part of comprehensive immigration policy, and seize the high ground that is yet unclaimed. The new battles of the early 21s century will revolve around government intrusion, and no one has yet put forth a winning policy.

    Superdestroyer, this is the only pathway to conservative relevance. The biblethumpery contracts and will not be replaced.

  11. James Joyner says:

    @PJ: Fair point on the methodology. I hadn’t looked at it closely; I just cited it as the most recent poll and one pointing in the same direction as all the other recent surveys.

    @OzarkHillbilly and @john personna: To be clear, I’m arguing that these leaders are largely irrelevant, at least as influencers on the Republican primary contest; evangelical Christians, of course, remain quite relevant as a voting block, especially within the Republican primary contest. I understand what these leaders are trying to do–rally all these voters around a single candidate; I just don’t think this endorsement will have any significant impact toward that end.

  12. James in LA says:

    “I just don’t think this endorsement will have any significant impact toward that end.”

    Yes, they only assure Obama’s reelection. Other than that, piffle. The trouble with these folks is the more lathered up they get, the less they brook discussion, much less compromise. And they have been beaten into a bloody sweat by a GOP desperate to create a smoke screen to hide their governing failures. Uniting by Santorum speaks to the direction this movement is headed. The Southern Strategery breaths its last breaths.

    Trouble is, once they don’t get their way, they will stay home. “Anybody but Obama,” it turns out, is not a policy position.

  13. DRS says:

    The Tea Party is really not much more than an organized tantrum. Ditto the Occupy movement(s?). I’m not commenting on their respective beliefs or motivations, just the end results of their efforts.

    The “I’m going to stand here and exude attitudinal intransigance until the world changes the way I want it to” doesn’t really work when you’re trying to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with you.

  14. @Markey:

    Oh how this is gonna add fun to the upcoming GOP convention…..

    In truth: by the time we get to the convention in the very late summer, all of this division stuff will be over. It is always thus.

    Really, despite the fact the race looks more fragmented than usual, if Romney actually wins IA, NH, SC and FL (which is possible) then that actually shows a core base of support that is unusually strong compared to past nomination contests.

  15. JohnMcC says:

    Long American tradition of honoring religious leadership and then going one’s own way instead of following. I notice that the religious group least hostile to gay marriage in American Catholics. In the heart of the Bible Belt every street corner seems to have an evangelical church, proving that this demographic cannot cooperate, compromise or govern themselves.

    On the peripheral matter of Mr Romney and the Republicans, I notice that RCP lists 4 recent polls in SC and that he still has not broken through the 30% barrier. The four polls average preference is 26.75% for Mr Romney and 22% for Mr Gingrich. Considering that the Romney campaign has been pretty much declared the winner that’s an amazingly small number.

  16. James in LA says:

    @JohnMcC: ” Considering that the Romney campaign has been pretty much declared the winner that’s an amazingly small number.”

    To say nothing of proportional delegate math, which disadvantages many conservatives as it requires use of the m-word…

  17. PJ says:

    @James Joyner:

    Fair point on the methodology. I hadn’t looked at it closely; I just cited it as the most recent poll and one pointing in the same direction as all the other recent surveys.

    PPP has Romney at 29% (-1% from their last poll) (5 point lead)
    Rasmussen has Romney at 28% (+1% from their last poll) (7 point lead)
    ARG has Romney at 29% (-2% from their lost poll) (4 point lead)

    This online survey doesn’t point in the same direction as the real polling that’s being done. Romney hasn’t opened up a 21 point gap.

    If Reuters releases more information about how this online survey was conducted then it may become usable. I doubt it though.

  18. @PJ:

    This online survey doesn’t point in the same direction as the real polling that’s being done.

    Umm, all three polls you cite point to Romney in the lead. Does that not mean that they are pointing in the same direction?

    I agree that the poll James cited is likely problematic, but the bottom line remains: Romney is in the lead in SC. And, quite frankly, even if he loses SC, he remains in the lead generically.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    James, to clarify: Evangelicals leaders push the GOP and Union leaders push the Dem’s because what is the alternative? During the elections the candidates all say the right things (to their respective constituencies) but once they are over, it is back to business as usual.

    But what alternative do either have? GOP would go RTW in every state if they could and Dems don’t give a rats a$$ about abortion or gay marriage. They can make the candidates talk the talk, but they will never be able to make them walk the walk.

  20. PJ says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m not contesting that Romney is in the lead. As I wrote in my first comment:

    While Romney has led every poll in South Carolina this month, his lead has been single digit. And now there’s online survey with a 21 point lead…

    The issues with the online survey (still not a poll) is the 21 point lead and to a lesser extent Romney getting 37%. There’s nothing in the polls showing Romney increasing his lead or his support like he does in the survey.

    And I agree that Romney would still be in the lead if he fails to win in South Carolina. It would add doubt, but I think that would merely postpone things. It would take a live boy or a dead girl to derail Romney.

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @James in LA:

    You have said this before. How does rationing speech help conservatives. Leaving the NY Times, CNN, and the networks free to give support to the Democrats while eliminating private citizens from spending money on elections. How does legalizing drugs help conservatives who have children and live in the suburbs? The best argument that a paleo-conservative is that it is a low-cost foreign policy.

    However, ideas that only appeal to white college kids is not going to help conservatives make a comeback. In reality, nothing is doing to make conservatives relevant and the future of politics is what happens to governance and policy as the U.S. becomes a one party state.

  22. superdestroyer says:

    @James Joyner:

    Can you really argue that any block inside the Republican Party is relelvant to policy or governance when the Republicans are irrelevant to policy or governance. The Tea Party types voted the Republicans into a majority in the U.S. House and there have been no budget cuts, no shrinking of the government, and no elimination of regulation. In fact, Boehner has given the Democrats everything that they have wanted for the last year.

  23. James in LA says:

    @superdestroyer:

    ” How does rationing speech help conservatives. Leaving the NY Times, CNN, and the networks free to give support to the Democrats while eliminating private citizens from spending money on elections.”

    Actually if the public were able to see a complete list of all donors and the amounts given, then then limits become a secondary issue. If you want to speak, Speak, and let us see your face and know who you are. Fair is fair. I favor sunshine.

    “How does legalizing drugs help conservatives who have children and live in the suburbs?”

    This is a non-argument because it is not an actual “savings” in the drug war. Today, kids in suburbs can get drugs with the ease of drawing breath. Ending the drug war and requiring ID to buy them would actually reduce underage drug use, as it does with alcohol. This helps conservatives by returning discipline regarding drugs to the home.

    But you did not address the most important issue I raised: government intrusion, and this is where the big money points are for conservatives. Do conservatives really believe in warrant-less wiretaps? Torture? The ability for the executive to arrest and detain you forever? Do conservatives actually favor no consequences for illegal activity?

    The high ground on the issue of government intrusion, and conservatives either confront it, or become something else when the GOP finally expires. It will become a hot issue in any case.

  24. PJ says:

    Nate Silver has a post, “Before Citing a Poll, Read the Fine Print”, about the Reuters/Ipsos online survey.

  25. superdestroyer says:

    @James in LA:

    Eliminating Citizens United would allow the goverment do decide who can and cannot spend money on political speech. That is a massive subsidy to the left with the support of the organized labor, academics, and NGOs. However, it eliminate the private sector from spending money on political speech. The U.S. will be a one party state soon enough without eliminating political speech for the right.

    Increasing the number of drug users will increase the demand for more government entitlements. If the government is doing to legalize drugs, then it has to eliminate government funding for treatment. Legal drugs along with taxpayer supported treatment programs will be a massive drain on the treasury.

    You can justify your positions as long as you believe everyone is a college educated, 20-something, unmarried urban dweller. However for the middle class who gets up and goes to work in the morning, more crack heads, more leftist NGO activist, and more government will not help any conservative party.

  26. DRS says:

    Well, superdestroyer (of what, exactly, by the way?), as I believe I mentioned in a thread several weeks ago, it looks like your only option is to emigrate. Bye!

  27. James in LA says:

    @superdestroyer: DRS Reflects, “it looks like your only option is to emigrate.” Aye, and and indeed.

    “However, it eliminate the private sector from spending money on political speech.”

    With full disclosure, amounts become secondary. Focus on that.

    ” Legal drugs along with taxpayer supported treatment programs will be a massive drain on the treasury.”

    This relies on the theory that more people will suddenly start using drugs. It also assumes the amounts spent on treatment are huge. They are not. They are tiny compared to, say, unfunded wars of choice, and they help people rather than kill them. There is no valid reason to keep drugs illegal knowing that it does not in any way interrupt the free flow of drugs.

    You do not seem much interested in governing, only whining about a future that has not yet been written. I have given you many ways to attack that future, and you have demurred. You apparently need the victim-hood that comes with this “one party state” theory of yours. Trouble is, your tribal language makes you a poor victim, as it unites no one.

    It also reflects the GOP’s inability to govern, and put forth policies which unite.

    American politics is resilient enough to survive the Southern Strategery. Are you?

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @James in LA:

    thank you for confirming that you are just a big government supporter that wants the goverment to spend money on yourself while sticking others with the bill.

    Also thanks you for confirming that the idea of legal drugs, unlimited drug treatment, and restricting free speech has nothing to do with appealing to moderate swing voters but has everything to do with making the U.S. a one party state made up of parasites and those who pay taxes to support them.

  29. James in LA says:

    @superdestroyer: “made up of parasites and those who pay taxes to support them.”

    This is what I mean by “tribal language.” Does everyone who receives a check from the government a parasite? Or those just of whose life choices you disapprove? Your choice of language is fully half the problem my conservative friends have, particularly as it relates to the minorities you fear.

    If your one-party nation theory is correct, simply as a practical matter, prudence demands a better choice of words, as you are going to have to get along with folks. No one is going anywhere. It’s why we must have policies which unite.

    More to the point, what do you intend to do to convince the Executive to hand back the powers we have given him? This is the topic you keep avoiding. The new civil rights battles will be waged on this turf, and the implications dwarf your fear of legal drugs by several orders of magnitude.

    Do conservatives favor secret indefinite detention of any one for any reason?

  30. An Interested Party says:

    Does everyone who receives a check from the government a parasite?

    Only those with a higher melanin content, of course…superdestroyer reminds me so much of a follower of Ian Smith or a certain kind of Afrikaner…someone should remind him that he does not live in Rhodesia nor does he live in South Africa…

  31. superdestroyer says:

    @James in LA:

    I guess you are arguing that middle class whites should just accept their new overlords and learn to say the words that make the new overlords happy. Over course, progressives have never asked blacks or Hispanics to moderate their language to get along better with whites or to expand their political appeal beyond their own narrow ethnic group.

    Considering that less barely 1/2 of tax payers and much less than 1/2 of adults in the U.S pay income taxes, the real question is what is doing to happen when the percentage of people who pay income taxes continues to decrease. What happens to the U.S. when more than 50% of the population qualifies for a set aside, quotas, or ethncity-base program? What happens when some government demand that all employees speak Spanish (but not English) as a condition of employment?

    Why else do you think that so many white progressives are packing themselves into Portland instead of Houston?

  32. @superdestroyer:

    Considering that less barely 1/2 of tax payers and much less than 1/2 of adults in the U.S pay income taxes, the real question is what is doing to happen when the percentage of people who pay income taxes continues to decrease.

    Two points: there are other taxes than income taxes. Everyone pays payroll taxes (not to mention sales, property, excise, etc.). This is rather fundamental.

    Plus: you do realize that a lot of white people fall in the segment of the population that doesn’t pay income tax.

    What happens to the U.S. when more than 50% of the population qualifies for a set aside, quotas, or ethncity-base program?

    You do realize that, despite your paranoia, that the country remains overwhelmingly white. Further, if the country ever became as diverse as 50% being persons of color, the affirmative action programs you fear would be pointless.

    What happens when some government demand that all employees speak Spanish (but not English) as a condition of employment?

    Yo creo que tu estas un poquito loco (o, quizas, mas que un poquito). ?De donde fue esta idea? ?Tienes mas que miedo para establecer tu hipotesis?

    Why else do you think that so many white progressives are packing themselves into Portland instead of Houston?

    I was unaware of some massive out migration from Texas to Oregon (or, indeed, of any special migration of white persons in general).

  33. superdestroyer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The point about Houston and Portland is that Portland has higher than average unemployment even though it is one of the whitest cities in the U.S. because many white progressives really want to live in a city that is very white. It is why progressives are packing themselves into Austin Texas when there was jobs and economic opportunity to be had in places like San Antonio and Houston. It is also why white progressive love places like Vermont (70% Democratic Party voters but greater than 90% white) rather than Atlanta (70% Democratic Party voters but more than 50% black).

    Given that many of the poor get earned income tax credits, I believe about 20% of employed people get more in tax retruns than what they pay in SS, medicare, and other employment taxes. That is why David Axelrod pushes the “tax the rich” idea. To “people of color” rich means white.

    Also, the U.S. is only 62% white and elementary students are less than 50% white. Soon more than half of the high school students will qualify for a set aside or quota. Do you really think that they will end?

  34. @superdestroyer: You have a serious correlation/causation problem. Vermont is not white and democratic because whites liberals have migrated there to avoid black people.

    In re: Houston, SA, and Austin. All of these places have grown and there is absolutely no evidence that there has been a special “progressive” migration to Austin instead of SA.

    BTW: I lived in Austin/the Austin are for about 7 years. It is simply a really great place to live. And trust me: if one has the option of living in Austin or Houston, Austin wins: and it has nothing to do with ideology (or color).

    You are, quite frankly, just making stuff up.

    Also, the U.S. is only 62% white and elementary students are less than 50% white. Soon more than half of the high school students will qualify for a set aside or quota. Do you really think that they will end?

    First, such stats are dependent on how one counts hispanics (many of whom are just as “white” as I am–whatever that ultimately even means).

    Second, yes, I do. Unlike you, I don’t fear people’s skin color. And I have lived my whole life around persons of other colors. They are, shockingly, people. If the average hue of the US becomes darker, so what?

  35. James in LA says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: ” If the average hue of the US becomes darker, so what?”

    Superdestroyer, please answer this question. Every theory you have put forward hinges on the answer, so be careful.

  36. Barry says:

    @James in LA: “Conservatives can get back into the game and win it by demanding the repeal of the Patriot Act, Authorization of Forces, and overturning Citizen’s United. ”

    Considering that they *like* this, why should they work against that?

  37. Barry says:

    Superdestroyer: ” Legal drugs along with taxpayer supported treatment programs will be a massive drain on the treasury.”

    The heart of the war on drugs is the counting of alleged costs of ending, while never counting the costs of waging it.

  38. Jeremy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Hear, hear.

    The GOP is going to have to eject the evangelicals sooner or later. Even though 78% of the country is Christian, they’re just too much. They’re pushing the party outside the Overton Window and getting it further out of touch with the nation. Before long, the rest of the party is going to realize this isn’t working, and the hardcore religious conservatives are going to be forced to moderate their stances, be sidelined, or booted. The sooner that happens, in my mind, the better.

  39. James in LA says:

    @Barry: “Considering that they *like* this, why should they work against that?”

    Neocons may lust after this level of intrusion, but that does not include all conservatives. Absent a certain pre-programmed frothiness towards Obama, many conservatives recoil against the Executive’s powers to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens. This is a place we can all chip away at the government in general agreement.

  40. Rob in CT says:

    I see James in LA took the time to try and have a rational conversation with superdestroyer.

    The results speak for themselves.

    I absolutely love that superdestroyer, who rails on and on about the evils of big gubmint, is a strong supporter of the War on Drugs (aka The War on Some Drug Users). And, of course, wants a War on illegal Immigration and all that it would entail. Big government ain’t his issue. His fear and loathing of brown people is.

    White people – working class or otherwise – may come to realize that the WoD has cost a staggering amount of money, caused a great deal of damage, and had very limited successes. I just don’t think it’s results justify the costs.

    This is basically the argument Conservatives level against the War on Poverty. In both cases, the underlying problem (poverty, drug use) is real, but the governmental “wars” on them haven’t really worked very well. Both could use re-assessment, though I think the case against the WoD is stronger. In the case of the WoD, we could legalize, regulate (ala cigs, booze) and tax, while spending some of the money on public health campaigns and treatment (but far less than we spend on the current WoD). We’ve managed to cut down on smoking via public advertising of its downside. I think that model is a decent template to use on other substances.

  41. PogueMahone says:

    @superdestroyer: “If the government is doing to legalize drugs, then it has to eliminate government funding for treatment.”

    Oh but it would. Because the current government funded “treatment” for using drugs is government funded incarceration.

  42. superdestroyer says:

    @James in LA:

    1. The U.S becomes a one party state where poltics is about entitlements for groups and who pays.
    2. Higher unemployment rate and many more cities becoming like El Paso or California.
    3. A much lower birthrate for the upper classes. The price of avoiding the poor will be enormous: elite neighborhoods, private schools, private security.
    4. White flight changes from moving to the suburbs to moving to Vermont or Portland. See that the total number of whites in California going down. Remember when people with ambition went to Southern California. Now it is the last place that an ambitious person would move to.
    5. More career fields will fall off the table as being able to maintain a middle class lifestyle. Nursing would be a good example of a career field where the pay will continue to go down relative to other jobs.

    One of the most interesting fields of study should be what happens to white kids in a majority black or majority Hispanics school. Yet, that is a field of study that the Department of Education seems to want to avoid. After decades of studying blacks kids in majority white schoolsthe Department of Education is scared to death to find out what happens to white kids in a majority non-white school.

  43. superdestroyer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Legalizing recreational drugs would mean a repeal of the Food and Drug Act. Why have the government closely regulate antibiotics while making crack cocaine available at the local mini-mart.

    So for the desire to smoke pot, the “social libertarians” would end up growing the social work and mental health industry while putting an end to the pharmaceutical industry.

    As I have written several times, if people want to legalize drugs, then need to take a true libertarian position and ensure that the user bare the full cost of the use instead of the government picking up the pieces after people hit bottom. I have found very few pro-legalization types who are willing to face the risks of the down side of recreational drug use.

  44. @superdestroyer:

    Legalizing recreational drugs would mean a repeal of the Food and Drug Act. Why have the government closely regulate antibiotics while making crack cocaine available at the local mini-mart.

    First, the law that would be relevant would be the Controlled Substances Act.

    Second, there is a rather large space between doing away with the drug war and having crack at the mini-mart (this, for those keeping score at home, is what a real Straw Man looks like).

  45. @superdestroyer: There is absolutely no reason why any of these things (many of which are utterly fanciful) should happen simply because America’s average hue darkens.

    Out of curiosity, where do you get this whole theory?

    White flight changes from moving to the suburbs to moving to Vermont or Portland.

    As noted before: the fact that Vermont started out white and is still white is not evidence of “white flight” to Vermont, etc.

    Remember when people with ambition went to Southern California. Now it is the last place that an ambitious person would move to.

    Strangely, CA remains a rather successful place. My white family members who live there would be a bit surprise at the coming race Armageddon awaiting them.

  46. Rob in CT says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Literally none of that follows.

    First, no, you don’t have to get rid of the FDA. You can regulate drugs. How do I know this? Because we regulate drugs now. Alcohol, nicotine, and all manner of prescription drugs. You just don’t need to fight a “war” against their production, sale and use. There is no reason to think that this would harm the pharma industry – in fact, they might be big winners. Mexican cartels, on the other hand, might not do so well…

    In supporting a repeal of prohibition, I am making a bet that the savings are worth the cost (to the extent there is more use/abuse), with the added bonus of less infringement on liberty. I think we could take half of what we presently spend on the WoD and use it on public health ads and treatment programs to better effect than our current militarized efforts.

    We have a hugely expensive, intrusive “war” on drugs now, and we have rampant drug use & addiction anyway. Along with a ridiculous # of people in jail. It’s a massive waste.

    But thanks for confirming, again, that you’re all for big government, so long as it’s used to keep the n*ggers and the sp*cks in their places. Pay for somebody’s food stamps? Hell no! Horrible! Pay for a police state to fight the WoD and round up illegal immigrants? Oh yes please, sir, may I have some more!

    You’re a joke. And that, bud, is why you are “irrelevant.”

  47. superdestroyer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    1. The total number of whites in California is lower than it was in 1990 (according to Census Data) and that is with many immigrants being counted as white (like Iranians).

    2. Vermont is the public university with the highest percentage of students from out of state. Over 90% of the students at the University of Vermont are from out of state with New York state being the biggest contributor. Where do you think Bernie Sanders came from?

    3. If being majority blacks or Hispanics has no affect on quality of life, then how to do you explain Detroit, El Paso, or even Los Angeles.

    Also, Baltimore has been majority blacks for at least 30 years and have had multiple black mayors. Yet it still has a minority contracting set aside program. The same goes for the District of Columbia. If such cities can keep minority set aside programs doing, there is no reason to believe that they will always continue. Maybe you could point to a state, city, or location where Hispanics or blacks have voted to end minority set asides.

  48. superdestroyer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    The U.S. spends 16% of GDP on healthcare with a large portion of that due to substance abuse (just ask any Emergency Medicine physician or nurse what percentage of their patients are high or drunk). Legalization will make it worse.

    I do not mind legalization as long as the system is set up to make sure that recreational drug users do not externalize the costs onto others. Legalizing all drugs means that there is no reason for pharmacies to exist. If one can purchase Heroin at the grocery store, there is no reason to have a food and drug act that makes drug makers demonstrate safety or efficacy of drugs. And with no market for drugs, the U.S. pharmaceutical market will end and the U.S. will just get their drugs from mail-order companies in other countries.

    Also, if you are not going to regulate the safety of drugs, then there also no reason to regulate the safety of food.

    Once again, the desire for upper class white kids to use drugs will have major unforseen consequences.

    Also, ending prohibition does not end crime. The Mafia did not go away when prohibition ended. The drug cartels will no go away either. They will have a huge market advantage and will not have to worry abour regulatory compliance, paying taxes, or legal liability.

  49. @superdestroyer:

    1. CA is less white now. So what?

    2. This is a non sequitur.

    3. The substantial diminution of the US auto industry explains a lot about Detroit. How LA and El Paso are somehow like Detroit is rather unclear.

    You seem not to understand the difference between race and poverty nor do you understand how much of the poverty in the African American community in particular is part of a rather long-term problem that started with slavery.

    Regardless, logic and evidence aren’t the issue (indeed, I have always understood this and have responded to you for the potential benefit of other readers who may be persuadable, not to persuade you).

    The bottom line, you are a racist who simply sees color. You also have no grasp whatsoever of causation nor any appreciation for the complex nature of societies.

  50. Rob in CT says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I take it that you feel the same way regarding the healthcare costs of a smoker, a drinker, someone who just likes their burgers too much, someone who doesn’t excercise enough, someone who doesn’t floss… The problem is that it’s hard to draw the line. How about genetics predisposition to an illness/condition? Should that get allocated to the unlucky guy/gal who happened to draw the short straw in the genetic lottery? Where does that end?

    In principle, I don’t have a problem holding people responsible for the consequences of their actions. In practice when it comes to healthcare, it’s not easy to do so, for a number of reasons: 1) when somebody who had a family history of heart disease has a heart attack, is it due to circumstances beyond their control or is it due to poor diet? How do you tease that apart?; 2) say you go running to improve your health but you fall and blow out your knee. Well, you went running dumbass! Pay for it yourself; 3) we don’t always fully understand the causes of health problems (and sometimes have ideas about the causes that turn out to have been wrong).

    Insurance exists to spread risk. We all have risk factors in our lives. Now, either you reject the insurance model entirely, or you end up going the route of the insurance company pricing things differently for everyone based on behavior (and/or genetics), which if done “right” would involve a highly intrusive system (regardless of whether it was government run or privately run). Right now, it’s pretty much limited to “do you smoke” yes/no. You could go a step farther and start testing for certain drugs. Doing it “right” would involve a whole lot more, including some verification of the info.

    If one can purchase Heroin at the grocery store, there is no reason to have a food and drug act that makes drug makers demonstrate safety or efficacy of drugs

    What in the world are you talking about? Of course there is a reason to regulate the safety & efficacy of drugs, even if heroin was available in the marketplace. Heroin would be one such regulated drug. Right now, you go into a liquor store and buy some booze and you know the ABV (nearly all the time – some beer doesn’t tell you on the label, but generally they do and beer is relatively low ABV anyway in comparison to wine and liquor) and you know there isn’t rat poison mixed into it. We should be doing the same for various currently-illegal drugs. This whole line of argument you’re using is dumb.

    PEOPLE USE DRUGS NOW. Unregulated/untested drugs, with unknown potency and purity a lot of the time.

    As for the cartels – no, they won’t magically vanish. Their power, however, should be reduced by ending prohibition. They will probably try and turn to other pursuits. Is the mob just as powerful today as it was during prohibition? Just as violent (a major consideration)? I don’t get the sense that it is.