Poker Players Alliance: Barr/Root ‘A+’, Baldwin ‘F’

Many Ron Paul supporters are struggling with a dilemma: Which would-be heir to the r3VOLution should they support — Libertarian Bob Barr or Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin?

One such group of Ron Paul supporters, the Poker Players Alliance, has definitively made up its mind: They give Barr/Root the same rating as Ron Paul — “A+.” Meanwhile, Chuck Baldwin has the ignominious distinction of receiving the worse grade possible, an “F.”

Of Barr/Root, PPA says:

The Libertarian Party strongly supports our right to play. This Libertarian ticket also has the potential to push the GOP back toward libertarian (small ‘l’) positions to keep small government conservatives in the fold. Additionally, Rep. Barr’s campaign replied affirmatively to my inquiry on his online poker stand.

Baldwin, by contrast, is criticized for once saying, “Can you imagine a country without legalized gambling?”

The gambling plank of the Constitution Party’s platform is also cited:

Gambling promotes an increase in crime, destruction of family values, and a decline in the moral fiber of our country. We are opposed to government sponsorship, involvement in, or promotion of gambling, such as lotteries, or subsidization of Native American casinos in the name of economic development. We call for the repeal of federal legislation that usurps state and local authority regarding authorization and regulation of tribal casinos in the states.

Of the major-party candidates, Hillary Clinton received the highest grade (B). Barrack Obama received a “C, “and John McCain a “D.”

36 thoughts on “Poker Players Alliance: Barr/Root ‘A+’, Baldwin ‘F’

  1. Trent Hill

    I think this grading is a little biased. Baldwin doesnt want the Federal government to regulate gambling, and therefor deserves exactly what Barr got, an A. Baldwin is running for President, not Nevada Gaming Commission.

  2. inDglass

    I was excited to see a Barr vs. Baldwin argument come up, and then I read it 🙁

    The CP’s argument is largely libertarian and not specifically anti-gambling. The PPA’s rating is very deceiving.

  3. darolew

    Whether the grading was biased would depend on exactly what they were grading. If they were grading the policies they would enact is president, it’s true Baldwin wouldn’t be much different than Barr. However, I felt they were grading how the candidate actually felt about gambling rights, and what sort of rhetoric they’d use on the campaign trail; the “This Libertarian ticket also has the potential to push the GOP back toward libertarian (small ‘l’) positions” bit seems to imply that.

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  6. Fred Church Ortiz

    Throwing in legalized gambling with abortion and the NEA? Tough pill for me to try to swallow.

  7. G.E. Post author

    Also, why would it be desirable to live in a world without, say, the ACLU? I don’t think many ACLU members would say they want a nation without Baptist ministers. The ACLU is wrong on plenty, but right on more than most “special interest” groups.

  8. G.E. Post author

    I agree that an “F” was too harsh, but at the same time, Baldwin does not deserve an “A+.” He would not sign laws outlawing gambling on the federal level, but he would probably appoint federal judges who would make anti-gambling rulings. “D-” might be more appropriate.

  9. Gene Trosper

    As an ACLU member (as well as being a member of Americans United for Seperation of Church and State), I am resentful of Baldwin’s view of such organizations. Yes, the ACLU has pulled some boneheaded moves, but when the going gets rough for civil liberties, we can always count on the ACLU to be there.

  10. Trent Hill

    I believe Baldwin is an extreme localist on the issue of gambling,wanting it to be regulated (or unregulated) by cities and towns.

    Id even be willing to bet that Baldwin himself is not against gambling.

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  12. G.E. Post author

    Trent – That’s a bet I think you’d lose. Here’s Baldwin:

    “Can you imagine a nation without an A.C.L.U. or a N.E.A.? Can you imagine a country that did not legally murder its own unborn children and that would not pander to sexual deviants and criminals? Can you imagine a country without legalized gambling? Can you imagine a nation with strong state governments and an unobtrusive federal government?”

  13. Lance Brown

    BTW, is there any chance of getting some minor editing tools for entering comments, or at least instructions on how to do bold, italics, etc? Is HTML allowed? I have been hesitant to experiment, since we can’t edit our posts.

  14. G.E. Post author

    HTML is allowed. Sorry about not having the editing tools. Would if I could!

  15. Trent Hill

    GE,

    I spoke with Baldwin at the NatConv about the ACLU and he was more than appreciative of them, even saying, “they’ve done great work on civil liberties like the Patriot Act and Ballot-access”.
    I think i’d win the bet.

  16. Lance Brown

    There are options for having editing buttons in comments. I can’t recall if it’s an actual option, or a plugin, but I know it can be done. Unless there’s something else preventing it.

    Also, just FYI, there’s a plugin which allows commenters to edit their comments for a limited amount of time after posting them. That has pros and cons to it, but it’s something to consider perhaps.

  17. G.E. Post author

    Lance – I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestions. I had used WordPress’s hosted blog service before, but never an installed version. I’m still learning the ropes.

    Trent – So… You’re saying he’s had a Bob-Barrian change of heart on these issues? He clearly indicated the world would be better without the ACLU or legal gambling, by encouraging his followers to “imagine” a world without them. Even the NEA, as much as I detest them — I don’t oppose their right to organize. I’d prefer to say, “Imagine a world where education is provided by the free market, and unions have no special legal privileges.” As for gambling: I imagine a world where I’m never forced to participate in gambling, and that’s the world I live in. That’s good enough for me. I prefer to imagine a world where my neighbors are free to do as they choose, so long as they do not infringe on my rights!

  18. Steve Perkins

    Oh brother… Barr falls back on a “states’ rights” argument for some issues, and is vilified for how un-libertarian that is. Baldwin argues states’ rights (or simply remains silent and his supporters imply that argument in his defense)… and is lauded for what a libertarian position that is. Talk about the cult of personality cutting against Barr there.

  19. G.E. Post author

    Steve – Barr is running as a LIBERTARIAN and Baldwin a CONSTITUTIONALIST. “States rights” is a Constitutional argument, not a libertarian one. While a libertarian candidate for federal office should make clear the proper role of the federal government under the Constitution, he should also be an advocate for LIBERTY at all levels. The thinking of drug prohibitionists is poisonous and completely incompatible with libertarianism, period. No one ever said Chuck Baldwin was a libertarian — THAT is the difference.

  20. Steve Perkins

    Comment #1:

    Baldwin doesnt want the Federal government to regulate gambling, and therefore deserves exactly what Barr got, an A.

    Comment #2:

    The CP’s argument is largely libertarian

    Comment #10:

    I believe Baldwin is an extreme localist on the issue of gambling,wanting it to be regulated (or unregulated) by cities and towns.

    Id even be willing to bet that Baldwin himself is not against gambling.

    The rest of this thread is mainly just discussion of these points. I’m just saying…

  21. G.E. Post author

    I have disagreed with both comments #1 and #10, which were posted by Baldwin supporter Trent Hill. Allow me to take this opportunity to disagree with comment #2, as well: The CP’s argument is in no way “libertarian.” It is, however, somewhat tolerable for a libertarian voter who recognizes the proper role of the federal government.

    Trent Hill is a well-known Baldwin supporter and IPR’s CP correspondent. Your comments, Steve, seemed to indicate that LIBERTARIANS were giving Baldwin a pass while crucifying Barr.

    The question for Rockwellian libertarians is: Is Baldwin a potential choice? His divergences with libertarianism are many and obvious. It is acceptable for a CP candidate to be anti-gambling, so long as he doesn’t call for federal regulation. Traditionally, the LP has held its candidates to higher standards. The point of defending Baldwin is to point out that, to play devil’s advocate, there would be no difference in the way Barr or Baldwin would govern on the issue of gambling, even though at first glance it might appear otherwise. And that brings us back to the CIA, foreign policy, the Fed, etc., issues where Baldwin IS superior to Barr.

  22. kalipay

    You’re hard to follow, G.E. . It would seem like you go back and forth in your support! I appreciate how clearly you distinguish issues, though.

  23. G.E. Post author

    I don’t think I’m going back and forth, but if I’m hard to follow, it’s because I have not made up my mind who to support. I think Baldwin is clearly the person of greater integrity and is right on more issues — but he’s terribly wrong on one that’s very important to me (free trade), and while I don’t find his personal conservatism a dealbreaker, it is a turnoff.

  24. MattSwartz

    I’m a sem-Rockwellian libertarian, and for me the answer to GE’s question is yes. Baldwin diverges wildly from libertarian theory, but he does so mostly those issues where he has promised to maintain his constitutionally mandated irrelevance.

    That, coupled with Barr’s flaws, makes Baldwin viable for me.

    My other question is this: is it possible that the A for Barr and the F for Baldwin has been influenced by Root’s connections within the industry? Mutual back-scratching is an old innovation, but I know for a fact it’s still practiced in Vegas.

  25. G.E. Post author

    I consider the unaffiliated Rockwellian semi-caucus to consist of me, you (Matt), and Fred Church, with peripheral membership by disinter, titaniumgirl, and Andy; and our CP satellite, Trent Hill.

  26. G.E. Post author

    Well, since your own gender identity has been called into question . . . I’m not sure how to respond!

  27. Trent Hill

    GE,

    I was not inferring that Baldwinh had changed his mind at all–only telling you what he said to me about the ACLU. Perhaps his statements to me, or his written statements about the ACLU, were unclear or incomplete–but one of them is incorrect.
    I will say this–Baldwin has always been a Federalist on things like Gambling and such–but Ron Paul made him PERSONALLY more libertarian.

  28. libertyinlaw

    Before you praise the ACLU, check into its origin and its founder. An organization that does good half of the time is not one to be praised — especially when one considers its overall purpose.

  29. G.E. Post author

    How can you accurately judge an organization by its long-gone founder? If it were discovered that Toys for Tots was started by a pedophile Nazi, would it make the organization guilty by association?

    I prefer the Institute for Justice, and the ACLU does some harm — but far, far more good.

  30. TheEngineer

    “Baldwin, by contrast, is criticized for once saying, “Can you imagine a country without legalized gambling?””

    He didn’t merely utter this. He wrote it in an article that’s on the Constitution Party website. Here are some quotes:

    http://www.constitutionparty.net/news_print.php?aid=36 : “Can you imagine a nation without an A.C.L.U. or a N.E.A.? Can you imagine a country that did not legally murder its own unborn children and that would not pander to sexual deviants and criminals? Can you imagine a country without legalized gambling? Can you imagine a nation with strong state governments and an unobtrusive federal government?” Keep in mind that he didn’t write, “Can you imagine a country where individuals each chose of their free will to not gamble”. Rather, he wrote, “Can you imagine a country without legalized gambling”. That’s the key. He’s imaging (and advocating) a country where the majority collectively assert rights over individuals in the area of all gaming. So long as this is at the state level and not the federal, Baldwin is happy.

    From http://www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin239.htm , by Baldwin: “George Barna summarized his findings by saying, “Faith makes very little difference in their [Christians] lives: believers do not train their children to think or act differently [from the world]. It’s no wonder that they [Christian children] grow up to be just as involved in gambling, excessive drinking, and any other unbiblical behavior as everyone else.”

    From http://www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin380.htm : “Can you imagine a nation without an A.C.L.U. or a N.E.A.? Can you imagine a country that did not legally murder its own unborn children and that would not pander to sexual deviants or criminals? Can you imagine a country that did not glorify, much less sponsor, gambling? Can you imagine a nation with strong state governments and a limited federal government?”

    From http://www.theconservativevoice.com/articles/article.html?id=12718 : “Beyond that, our nation has become addicted, yes, even obsessed, with sports, leisure, and gambling! Sports celebrities are more than icons, they are gods! Leisure is more than a pastime, it is the greatest motivation for living. It seems that all people dream about is having the financial ability to retire. By retirement they mean living a life without responsibility, duty, or obligation. In other words, a life of total self-absorption. And since most are unwilling or even incapable of earning such a life, gambling is the preferred method of obtaining this ultimate life of irresponsibility.”

    From http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/baldwin/060117: In our once great America, virginity and chastity were popular virtues, and one could live to old age and never be exposed to the abominations of homosexuality and adultery. There was a time in this great country when, except for a few certain morally corrupt large cities, the most egregious gamblers hung out in bingo parlors, and anyone who even whispered his or her support for state-sponsored gambling would be run out of town on a rail.

  31. TheEngineer

    “MattSwartz // Jun 5, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    “Is it possible that the A for Barr and the F for Baldwin has been influenced by Root’s connections within the industry? Mutual back-scratching is an old innovation, but I know for a fact it’s still practiced in Vegas.”

    I wrote the guide on my own. I was not influenced by anyone at PPA or anywhere else. Root’s grade is pretty straightforward. He supports this right strongly. He’s written about it, and the article is prominently on his website. Barr is strongly with us as well.

    The post above shows the results of my research on Baldwin’s position. Additionally, his campaign has not responded to my repeated inquiries on his position. All of this, combined with the hostile Constitution Party platform, combined to make the rating an easy determination.

  32. TheEngineer

    “Trent Hill // Jun 4, 2008 at 10:28 pm….I think this grading is a little biased. Baldwin doesnt want the Federal government to regulate gambling, and therefor deserves exactly what Barr got, an A. Baldwin is running for President, not Nevada Gaming Commission.”

    Online poker is interstate by definition. If the federal government pulled completely out of this issue, states would have difficulty controlling it. Baldwin is on record as desiring the states to have the right to control all gaming. So, one would conclude that he’d be very likely to support legislation prohibiting interstate gaming under the guise of preserving states’ rights.

    However, that’s just a supposition on my part. To verify, I looked for similar issues. Internet pornography is very similar structurally in terms of how it can be controlled at an interstate level. I checked the CP platform on the issue. It addresses the interstate issue by calling for federal legislation prohibiting online pornography.

    http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php#Pornography

    “With the advent of the Internet and the benevolent neglect of the previous administrations, the pornography industry enjoyed uninhibited growth and expansion until the point today that we live in a sex-saturated society where almost nothing remains untainted by its perversion. While we believe in the responsibility of the individual and corporate entities to regulate themselves, we also believe that our collective representative body we call government plays a vital role in establishing and maintaining the highest level of decency in our community standards.”

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