Thursday, May 31, 2012

They apparently used PowerPoint in the mid 1980s

And the Cato Institute consciously avoids Washington political struggles in favor of influencing "ideas," even though it proudly touts itself as the primary architect of "President George W. Bush’s unsuccessful effort to privatize Social Security."

Also, Ed Crane apparently hates elected officials, even though he donates thousands of dollars to their campaigns and invites them to keynote Cato events at politically opportune times for their Vice Presidential aspirations.

Furthermore, Cato is all about the "long term strategy" of changing "public opinion" over generations rather than influencing policy battles now, even though it does next-to-nothing to educate the public at large about libertarianism and virtually all of its "public" events are suit-and-tie lobbyist sessions and "Capitol Hill Briefings" for Washington, D.C. insiders.

And the Cato shareholder's agreement was a dormant non-entity that nobody really thought about between 1981 and Bill Niskanen's death last year, even though Ed Crane was badgering the Koch Brothers to dissolve it to no avail as early as 1993.

Also, when the Kochs added Nancy Pfotenhauer and Kevin Gentry to the Cato board in 2010 it was a drastic departure from the usual die-hard libertarians of the purest form who sit on that venerable body.

These are just a few of the self-contradictory absurdities one must accept in order to make it through the lightly veiled pro-Crane puff piece that appeared in the Washingtonian magazine this week. Regardless of where you stand with the Brothers Koch, the whole thing seems designed to make Boss Crane seem...well...less prickly than he actually is.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chris Christie, Neocon King of the Cato Prom

Here are the choice quotes from Cato's Neocon shindig last Friday, featuring New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. I knew it would be awful. I did not expect it would be 9/11-pandering, American exceptionalism, conquer-the-world-for-democracy, nation-building, hackish Republican Party hoo-rah, Rudy Giuliani-if-he-weighed-300-pounds and had an obsession with Jersey Shore awful. But it was.

"I hope that in the future, it will become a moment where we come together as a country, things fall for the courage of seal team 6 and the continued sacrifice of our soldiers. It is a day that I think can strengthen our resolve, a day to reaffirm our commitment to combating terrorism. I spent seven years of my life committed to that cause. was the first united states attorney in new jersey in the post-September 11th era."
"I say we must keep our resolve committed, and I mean we must keep our resolve committed to make sure that we pay honor to those families and their loved ones who gave their lives on September 11. So I hope that this day of may will help us to continue to remember that sometimes justice is slow, but we should always be resolved to making sure that justice is certain."

"We no longer have the luxury of believing that domestic matters have no consequences beyond our borders. If anything, the path of the United States has taken over the last decade has proven that who we are at home primarily defined our role and our significance in the world."
"But there is also a foreign policy price to pay. To begin with we diminish our ability to influence the thinking and ultimately the behavior of others."

"We have to care because around the world in Asia, in Africa, and Latin America people are debating their own economic future is right now. They are looking for inspiration right now. And we have a stake in the outcome of their debates."

"A Middle East that could become largely democratic and at peace, will be a Middle East that accepts Israel, rejects terrorism, and becomes a dependable source of energy for the entire world."

"When there is a crisis in the world, America found a way to help our allies."

"When there's a crisis at home, we put aside parochialism and put the public interest first. And in our system we did it through strong leadership by strong leaders."

"Without the authority that comes from exceptionalism, earned, earned American exceptionalism, we cannot do good for other countries. We cannot become the beacon the world aspires to."
But remember - Cato is an unwavering, non-partisan, and principled voice of "libertarianism." They just define it the same way Ed Crane defines the word "sober."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

If Cato is the standard bearer of "libertarian principle"...


...then why is Chris Christie, the rabidly pro-war neoconservative "centrist" Governor of New Jersey and all around GOP hack, the keynote speaker at its black tie Milton Friedman Prize dinner this Friday?

It's an issue large enough to overshadow whether the Koch representatives will have a presence at the same event.