Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Candidates on poker

The Epic Poker web site has put up two pieces in recent days about the presidential candidates' positions on online poker (and/or online gaming more generally).

First is Jen Newell's short assessment of where the candidates stand. Not surprisingly, Ron Paul is, as always, for maximal personal freedom, so he opposes not only prohibitions on online gaming, but any governmental attempt to control the Internet. Also not surprisingly, Mitt Romney is opposed to any expansion of gambling. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have not taken official positions. Which, if you ask me, means that they can't be counted on to be supporters. Also, given their naked appeals to hard-core religious conservatives, who think they are tasked by God to impose their moral values on the rest of the world by force, it's hard to believe either one would ever come out in favor of online gaming.

Last in the "not surprisingly" category is candidate Barack Obama, who has never lifted a finger to help poker players or even bothered to promise that he would. (Not that his promise means anything, given the appalling rate at which he breaks them.) And if you think he gives a rat's ass about personal freedom as a general principle, well, you just haven't been paying attention the last four years, have you?

Second is Dan O'Brien's opinion piece, explaining his support of Ron Paul. He nails the reasons that poker players specifically, and fans of personal liberty generally, should vote for Paul.

My only disagreement with O'Brien comes at the end of his essay, where he says that if Paul is not on the ballot in November he won't vote. Hey, why not vote for Gary Johnson, who is likely to be the Libertarian Party candidate, and thus on the ballot in all 50 states? Sure, he's probably not going to win, but why not use your vote to show your enthusiasm for freedom, rather than sit out the election? Johnson is as good as Paul on leaving people alone to live their lives the way they choose to, which includes playing poker online. As Newell reminds us, Johnson was the only candidate to show up at the World Series of Poker to make an explicit appeal to poker players for their support. He's solidly, unquestionably on our side.

Addendum, February 7, 2012

One of my Twitter followers told me that Santorum was on local channel 3's show "Face to Face" with reporter Jon Ralston last week. I found the January 31 program online here:

Ralston asks him directly about online gaming, and Santorum's response is completely negative. He is opposed to it, thinks it's "dangerous." The discussion starts at the 15:00 mark (note that the counter runs backwards), and goes on for about three minutes.

Santorum has gone on record as saying, "The essential issue in this race is freedom." By his own standard, then, he loses. He is decidedly not a champion of freedom. He has openly denounced the "idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do...that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom (and) we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues."

So if you relish the thought of having the federal government force your most personal decisions to go just the way Rick Santorum thinks they ought to, by all means, throw him your vote. Me? I'd vote for a mummified Richard Nixon before I'd support a would-be tyrant like Santorum.

1 comment:

MisterFred said...

A Grump politics post I agree with (nearly) completely? Wonders will never cease.