Last of the Independents

I originally published this at essays & effluvia on March 23, 2004.


I often write about the intersection of politics and economics. What happens in D.C., after all, impacts the markets. But what never ceases to amaze me is how anytime someone disagrees with me, I am immediately labelled as the opposite of whatever their affiliation is.

Why is that? Have we become so intellectually bankrupt that any differing point of view is immediately labelled, discounted, ignored? Is it mere laziness? What happened to the concept of intellectual honesty — Doesn’t anyone have an open mind anymore?

I have no party affiliation, I am not a “joiner.” No one wants to believe someone can have an independent viewpoint.

I am skeptical by nature, cynical by experience, a curmudgeon by disposition. I send left of center news articles to friends who are Democrats, and right of center news articles to friends who are Republicans.

For fun, sometimes I switch it up.

I tend to vote against people rather than for them (although to maintain my objectivity, I do not vote in Presidential elections). I didn’t like Clinton, didn’t care for Gore, am totally unimpressed with Bush. (Recall the scene in the 1977 movie Annie Hall, where Diane Keaton is inspecting all of the Woody’s political buttons: “Impeach Ford, Impeach Carter, Impeach Reagan”)

Mike Bloomberg? George Pataki? Neither is impressive. I have yet to learn enough about Kerry to dislike him — but give me time.

My Democratic friends — and there are lots in NY — all seem to think that I am this raving right of center free market libertarian, just because I believe in free markets. They are none too happy with me:

No apologies, I favor an open society, with no restrictions on trade.I say nice things about Greg Mankiw, who I think got a raw deal about outsourcing.

I believe competition is a good thing, and dislike regulations which prevent it. I am against farm subsidies. I cannot help but find the markets to be anything other than utterly and endlessly fascinating.

I really dig Larry Kudlow.

When I lived in NYC, My Democratic friends used hear me lament the corrupt Democratic machine — right up to the moment of its collapse.

I have appeared on Fox News, I like Neil Cavuto and Steve Forbes personally. I find Bill Maher and Michael Moore to be over the top.

I have performed the occasional Presidential electoral analysis that suggests the incumbent has an advantage, especially in critical swing states now that Nader is running.

I do not think outsourcing is bad, I tend to like tax cuts.

And — here’s the kicker — I was pro Invasion, and even said so in print. I was pilloried by leftists friends for saying that there were no WMDs one year ago (March 19 2003), but that there were reasons to invade anyway.

I tell people Bush is much smarter than they realize, and charming to boot (misunderestimate him at your own risk).

I liked Ed Koch until he overstayed his welcome, thought Rehnquist was brilliant when it came to CPLR. I admire John McCain. I’ve gone to Republican Fund Raisers (but never made a donation).

For these sins, my Dem friends think I am an insane right wing nut case.

Yes, despite all of the above, my GOP friends are none too happy with me:

I criticize the President as a “tax cut and spend” fiscal incompetent, married to discredited and outmoded economic dogma. I criticize the lack of job creation as a red flag that the economy is less healthy than it appears to some.All too frequently, I lament the WMD debacle, and the missed opportunity to reshuffle the deck in the Middle East. Prior to the invasion, I declared (in print) that all 5 reasons publicly stated by the administration to invade were false.

Further, I cannot stand the fact the Iraqi invasion was done half assed and on the cheap. I deplore that military men in the field have received neither adequate supplies — insufficient kevlar body armor and fully armored Humvees — nor appropriate post combat pay, benefits and medical treatment. I say out loud that I do not understand why the families of civilian people killed in a NYC building, tragic though it was, get monster windfalls, yet KIA soldiers’ families get bird shit.

When I lived in Nassau County, my Republican friends used to hear me lament the corrupt Nassau County GOP machine — right up to the moment of its collapse.

I really don’t give a rat’s ass what any two adults do behind close doors, even if it involves sodomy. (Yes, I admit it: I am pro-sodomy). If they get married so they can sodomize each other more regularly, its none of the Government’s damn business.

I don’t care if a nipple was exposed during the Superbowl (I have two of them; So do most people I know). I am against corporate welfare. I have no problem with Social Security. I like dissent. I find Ayn Rand a pedantic bore. I find Al Franken amusing, and I love Jon Stewart; I cannot stand the Shrill Blond Harpy.

I’ve met Paul Krugman, thought he was a decent guy.

I believe that letting the convicted monopolist Microsoft off the hook was a terrible mistake. What happened to the level playing field and fair competition? I love Elliot Spitzer scaring the crap out of my corrupt brethren on the Street. I think lawyers keep renegade corporations in line.

I admire John McCain.

I’ve gone to Democratic Fund Raisers (but never made a donation).

For these sins, My GOP friends think I am an insane left wing nut case.

Such are the sad and lonely musings of the Last of the Independents . . .


UPDATE: March 19, 2004 10:23am

Nothing like scooping the big boys: There’s a front page story in the WSJ about the lack of armored HumVees in Iraq:

Cold-War Thinking Prevented Vital Vehicle From Reaching Iraq
Planning for Big Battles, Army Snubbed a Humvee Model Built for Guerrilla Fights
‘We Didn’t Anticipate’ Threat
WALL STREET JOURNAL, March 19, 2004; Page A1,,SB107965034141359631,00.html

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