- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 10, 2019

Many voters are having a serious flirtation with the idea of a third political party, a trend not lost on the Libertarian Party — which has celebrated a 92 percent rise in its membership in the last decade, plus increased ballot access and some significant local victories. The Libertarians are also busy planning their 2020 presidential convention, and have asked members to come up with a theme for the big event. Over 60 suggestions have rolled in, including such mottos as “Don’t mess with anyone” and “Taxation is theft.”

The Libertarians are now voting on their favorite. So far, the winner by far is the acronym “TANSTAAFL” — which has trounced such phrases as “Building bridges, not walls,” “End our wars” and “Keep the Libertarian Party weird” — all in the top 10 at the moment. For the uninitiated, “TANSTAAFL” stands for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” — essentially a caution that you can’t get something for nothing.

“The economist Milton Friedman popularized it in the name of a 1975 book. Fans of the science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein point to his use of the phrase in his 1966 novel ‘The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress’; it was there that its long acronym was coined. But, as Ralph Keyes shows in his icon-busting ‘Nice Guys Finish Seventh,’ the no-free-lunch phrase pops up in the writings of two columnists, Burton Crane and Walter Morrow, dating back to 1949,” wrote the late New York Times “On Language” columnist William Safire in 1993.

“The term refers to the fact that when a person, or group, delivers something apparently ‘for free,’ there are explicit or implicit costs incurred. The term is popular with libertarians. An example of TANSTAAFL would be when liberals decide to use welfare to help the poor, ignoring the fact that it costs money to help the poor, and that there is an unintended consequence of creating an entrenched class of impoverished citizens with no incentive to improve their plight. Implying that something is ‘free’ does not mean there is no attached cost,” states Conservapedia, an online compendium of political tutorials.

Suffice it to say that T-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers and kitchen magnets bearing the motto “TANSTAAFL” are available to Libertarians, who could very well model their entire convention around the acronym.



PREDICTING TRUMP’S 2020 VICTORY

The media continues to downplay President Trump’s economic victories. Broadcast news, in fact, has neglected to credit Mr. Trump for these gains 98 percent of the time, according to a Media Research Center analysis of economic coverage. Record unemployment and increased opportunity, however, speak loud and clear on their own.

“All of this has happened on Trump’s watch. This is not a coincidence. The President is an unapologetic advocate of free-market capitalism. He understands that tax cuts for individuals and businesses — combined with aggressive deregulation — stimulate economic growth and job creation. That translates into improvements in the lives of real people and a general sense of optimism about the future. Are the voters going to give that up for pie-in-the-sky promises from a leftwing Democrat who can’t explain how to pay for them, yet insists that the President is a crook? Nope. Trump, warts and all, will win in 2020,” predicts American Spectator columnist David Catron.

COULTER GETS A FORUM

Ann Coulter recently criticized the lack of progress on the border wall, prompting President Trump to call her a “wacky nut job.”

On Monday, Ms. Coulter will likely fire back. The syndicated columnist appears at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches for a, well, forum. Yes, it is in Florida. The nonpartisan public affairs group has hosted many, including the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Organizers have already set the pace for Ms. Coulter’s appearance.

“Her recent criticism of the President’s inability to secure funding for his border wall demonstrated her political influence. After the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history, many have joined her in questioning whether the administration is truly ‘dead in the water.’ Coulter will bring these insights and more,” they advise.

NOT IN THE MOOD FOR HOWARD

Likely presidential hopeful Howard Schultz calls himself an “independent centrist,” has written a book, launched a national tour and appeared non-stop in the news media.

“Howard Schultz is living in a fantasy world. The former Starbucks CEO toured Texas last week with a message about political unity and moderation that almost no one wants to hear,” writes John Daniel Davidson, senior correspondent for The Federalist.

“The 65-year-old lifelong Democrat is not so much an anti-Trump as a bizzaro-world Trump — an affable, tolerant billionaire who wears jeans and stylish blazers and doesn’t want to talk about divisive social issues. He wants to talk about technology, innovation, and how to help the middle class with smart, technocratic government. He’s like a white Obama, an older Beto, a less dour-faced Michael Bloomberg. In other words it’s not clear why anyone, in 2020, would want Schultz to be president,” the analyst says.

“He’ll have to do more than present himself as a reasonable Democrat from a bygone era if he even wants to be the next Ross Perot, whom Schultz invoked during his remarks in Dallas. More than anything, Schultz’s pre-presidential campaign has so far shown how out of touch he is with the American mood, especially the mood among liberals who hate Trump and see Schultz as nothing but a white billionaire spoiler who’ll siphon votes away from the Democratic nominee,” Mr. Davidson concludes.

HERMAN CAIN HAS PLANS

Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has organized a conservative grass-roots group called America Fighting Back, which has a distinct mission,

“The effort is a growing movement designed to counter and pushback on a radical socialist agenda,” says Mr. Cain, who advises he will officially launch the campaign “to preserve the Electoral College and defeat radical socialism” on Friday.

POLL DU JOUR

47 percent of U.S. voters say men and women equally have “a better life” in America; 64 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

36 percent overall say men have a better life; 19 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

7 percent say women have a better life; 10 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 4 percent of Democrats agree.

10 percent are undecided or don’t know; 7 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,993 registered U.S. voters conducted March 1-3.

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