The Anti-Science and The Anti-Economics Parties

Marc Andreessen delivered a lot of good one liners in this interview with Dan Primack, but my favorite was about the upcoming Presidential election cycle:

I’m really struggling between between the anti-science party and the anti-economics party. I’m highly tempted to sit this one out. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Last week I was at a meeting of some NYC tech entrepreneurs and investors with a Republican Senator. After I made a few comments, the Senator turned to me and said “you sound like a Republican” to which I replied “I could never be that.” The Senator continued to press me and said “but you are a business person” and I replied “but I am also a human being.”

Now I don’t mean to say that Republicans aren’t human beings. I was just saying that I can’t and won’t put my business interests before other factors that enter my mind when I think about the orthodoxies of our two parties.

Marc’s construct of anti-economics vs anti-science is his way of describing the conundrum. It is a good one.

As we enter the 2016 Presidential cycle, I am reminded that there isn’t a candidate out there who sees the world (or at least admits seeing the world) the way I do. It’s a struggle for me and, it seems, many others as well.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    YupWas true for me in the Mayoral election here as well.Notable that as the world gets more diverse, more aware and people carry a balance of economics and social beliefs closer and more naturally, politics and leaders appear so singularly one sided and polarizing.So out of whack. Not a great sign on the horizon that this is changing anytime soon.

  2. David Semeria

    You can’t please all of the people all of the time….

      1. pointsnfigures

        totally agree-big corporations have extreme risk aversion right now. Fed regs also have been written to encourage that attitude.

  3. bfeld

    It is a great line that will be repeated often.Ironically, there is no longer an anti-war party. Both parties seem to be anti-peace. But that may be the way it has been since the beginning of civilization.

    1. fredwilson

      true. however, there is at least one anti-war candidate

      1. bfeld

        I remember when Obama was anti-war…

        1. Ateleta Fan

          Cynically, I can’t help but think being “anti-war” was a marketing strategy to gain power.It’s remains sadly humorous how the anti-war movement died off so quickly..

        2. JLM

          .When President Obama was elected neither he nor the voters knew what he “was” on anything. He still doesn’t on many things.He was “hope and change” — nothing more.We elected a slogan and that slogan has turned out to be insufficient to govern.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Mike O'Horo

            His error was attempting to extend an olive branch and include Republicans in policy formation. Good statesmanship but poor practical politics. He had a supermajority, which is rare. He should have used it to the max to establish his policies. Had he done so, we’d have clear evidence about whether he was right or wrong. As it is, we only have evidence of how impossible it is to govern when the Party of No is able to obfuscate any and all initiatives.

      2. pointsnfigures

        Rand Paul.

    2. Richard

      One party keeps one eye closed when it comes to science, the other keeps one eye closed when it comes to statistics.

  4. William Mougayar

    One of the sayings you often bring back is: “Life isn’t fair”.But in this context, is there not hope at all for an independent candidate to still emerge?

    1. fredwilson

      Mike Bloomberg looked into this very seriously a few years ago and concluded at best an independent candidate could throw the election into the House of Representatives, at which time it would come down to the two parties

      1. William Mougayar

        So, the system is rigged. It’s so difficult to change a system that’s so engrained.My favorite quote these days is from Buckminster Fuller:“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

        1. Matt Zagaja

          I think nothing is rigged, people all still have free will. Organizing people is a tough thing to do, especially in voluntary societies. Until we get our peers to pay more attention and care, we’re not going to get higher quality governance. I also think that people need to stop fixating on the presidency as the major indicator of whether a third party can succeed. Plenty of candidates have been elected to Congress on third party ballot lines. If a group of funders committed to things for the long haul and had someone actually skilled in party building, they could start electing candidates into city councils and state houses and then federal offices. You have to crawl before you walk, walk before you run, and run before you fly.Also the other thing I like about this slide is I think it is why BuzzFeed and HuffPo beat sites like Vox (which I do enjoy). Politics is great for nerds, and I’m a nerd so I get that and I’m really happy that there are content producers that cater to me, but most people are not and so I think BuzzFeed and Facebook are going to get them their news and if it has to be between cat gifs I’m ok with it as long as the algorithms are getting them information about their government they find relevant and are likely to engage with.

          1. William Mougayar

            But could a real 3rd party emerge that could have collective influence? A flurry of 3rd party candidates is not the same as a strong independent 3rd party.

          2. Matt Zagaja

            Well in Connecticut we have a “Working Families Party” that is a real party, it has a state organization with a budget and funders and candidates that have won seats on city councils and now for the first time in the state legislature. It has roots and connections with similar parties in places like New York.I think the threshold for real is very low, file some paperwork and enroll some voters, we have over 20 parties in our state that have done this. Strong is a harder threshold. Some of these parties are on the ballot and are real available choices to voters on Election Day, so the choice exists but many are failing to attract a large group of voters.

          3. pointsnfigures

            Money part is hard. Visibility is hard. For 3rd parties, once they get an issue, the dominant parties often co-opt it and stick it on their platform.

          4. LE

            As difficult as someone coming up with an alternate (and taken seriously) sports league to compete with NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. Easier to start a new car company (we will see how that works for Musk in the end).

          5. William Mougayar

            but that has happened in other countries. third parties emerged. if there is a will, there must be a way. what if a strong candidate emerged, and said ‘screw it, i’m in the middle’- taking the best from the Rep. and Dem. and doing that.

          6. LE

            Well what happens in other countries doesn’t always apply here.Anyway what would you expect? That this uber party would simply cure all or most of the ills? What happens when they start to infight? After all this is politics, right? After people are in power things change. Human nature.And you what do you mean “take the best”? What about guns, abortion and all of that stuff? What about religious issues? What about gay marriage? What does the uber party promise on the third rail issues?I would also imagine that a third party would be stealthily given money by supporters of one of the major parties on the assumption that they might steal their adversaries voters and make it easier for them to win. [1][1] Similar to another strong women candidate stealing voters from Hillary and being supported by the male adversary in the general election same concept..

          7. William Mougayar

            well, i’m not suggesting that i’ve given you a solution. just saying that a 3rd party sometimes offers a balance of sorts, and diffuses the polarization environment that you get when there’s only 2 parties. each current party has become really good at attacking the other, and that’s not such a desirable outcome. please don’t drag me into US politics 🙂 I’ve already over-stepped my bounds 😉

        2. LE

          It’s not rigged it’s market and human nature forces.

      2. JaredMermey

        But could an “Independent” win the Democratic nomination? (I ask Democratic as my guess is that person is more likely to win a Dem primary than a Rep…I’d also guess Bloomberg looked into that too and the outcome was not to his liking).

    2. Eric

      Our first-past-the-post electoral system virtually guarantees two and only two parties. A third can only act as a spoiler and it’s an unstable equilibrium.What I think people pining for a third party independent candidate miss is that the two parties we have aren’t static monolithic blocs that are unchanging between election cycles. Those wishing the parties were different would be far more effective if they worked within one of the parties to nudge it in the direction they wish to go.

  5. Mario Cantin

    Sadly, “sitting it out” seems like a strong option indeed if were a U.S. citizen…

  6. Matt Kruza

    I will challenge you a bit here. Of course each candidate has their problems. We are trying to find 1 person to lead 320 million people, AND with a distortionary media. That is a nearly impossible task, so we have to work with bounded rationality and be pragmatic to the best candidate. Real issue actually is the two party system and the funding. Funding of elections needs to change, and it basically needs the following: 1. Publicly fund 5 candidates in each race (incumbent, runner-up of last election, and three next highest number of signatures) 2. Any other candidate is allowed free reign to spend as much as possible, but can’t take public dollars if you take private (which will allow this to be constitutional) 3. Open primary like California and Chicago have gone to where all five (or more) compete, and top 2 then go to general. Will reduce the hard-liners from both sides that we now have in the primary system The rub is this will cost $5-$10Billion every two year cycle (the higher number in presidential cycles). Only way to finance it appropriately, but everyone understands it pay to play on BOTH sides. Stop trying to restrict donations (as this is not generally legal under constitution), and simply fund them publicly, which is 100% legal. Slogan is this simple: (to help people get comfortable with so “much” cost). “We need to spend a dime every two year to ensure that our $100 is spent in a non-corrupt way” (this way people can understand the amount of money ($5-10 billion / $8 trillion federal budget every two year cycle)

    1. pointsnfigures

      Don’t use Chicago as a blueprint for American politics. It’s incredibly gerrymandered so elections aren’t truly competitive (unless it’s statewide). Illinois invented and perfected crony capitalism (and you see a lot of evidence in the White House today and in the Sec of State’s office). John Kass dubbed it “The Combine”. In Illinois, there are not really political parties as much as there is, “Where’s Mine?”

  7. Paul Meloan

    Always gratifying when an amazingly wealthy person who has benefitted tremendously from the status quo voices his displeasure with the system and indicates he can’t be bothered.

    1. fredwilson

      Did I say I can’t be bothered? Or are you referring to Marc?

      1. Paul Meloan

        Sorry, to be clear I am referring to the Andreessen quote.

        1. fredwilson

          he is most certainly not a liberal. closer to a conservative but probably a libertarian if i had to classify him. he defies classification however

          1. andyswan

            clearly an agnostic libertarian

    2. Trey Strawn

      Billionaire = straw man. You read these blog posts because you know these people are changing the staus quo.That said, both parties are megalomaniac institutions who garner support with false paradigms while aggrandizing power.And for Fred: even if a candidate did think like you, and won, there is little he/she could do against the will of those two parties and the leviathan of the state.

  8. JimHirshfield

    Satisfice candidate?

    1. WA

      He listens to you pretty closely. Perhaps the anti-politician is what’s needed. Now there is an alternative.

  9. Tom Labus

    But if there was the perfect economic candidate and he/she got elected, how do they deal with Congres? The is a huge difference between being the “loyal opposition”: and what we saw during President Obama’s presidency.

    1. andyswan

      Obama had a supermajority for 2 years. He gave us Obamacare. We gave him a tight leash for the remainder.Very reasonable, and precisely the intent of the founders.Win

      1. Tom Labus

        and you oppose people seeing Docs for philosophical reasons? Get real. Plus he got us out of the Crash. We’d be the EU, if it had been Romney

        1. andyswan

          Classic example.Because I don’t think it is the Fed Govt’s role to force people to buy insurance, that means I “oppose people seeing docs”. I’m anti-doctor!  Anti-medicine!  Lol what a joke._____________________________

          1. pointsnfigures

            +1000 Andy.

          2. Tom Labus

            oh please with BS

          3. Mike O'Horo

            All state governments force people to buy auto liability insurance. The idea is to protect other citizens against the effects of individuals’ actions. If I crash my car into yours and have no insurance, it penalizes you. Likewise, if I have no health insurance and as a result am a heavy consumer of the ER (most of which must treat anyone who walks in), I’m increasing hospital expense which is passed on to others.

          4. andyswan

            By that logic, why can’t the State force you to eat, drink and exercise from a predefined program every day?Doesn’t it “hurt the collective” when I go for the steak and baked potato? Wouldn’t it be great if YOU could force everyone else to do what you wanted them to do?

        2. pointsnfigures

          Bush got us out of the crash. Obama was running for office. The Stimulus failed, and Dodd-Frank has proven to be a terrible piece of legislation. Should have let them go bankrupt. It’s a great method of reorganizing businesses.

          1. Tom Labus

            I think you need to check your historical timeline. Bush left the economiy in total chaos and ruin. Hank did some great work but was just a start. There were mutiple days in Feb 09 that we were one selling wave from going down

          2. pointsnfigures

            When was TALF passed? When was TARP passed? The low was hit in March of 2009. How much of the selling sentiment was purely an anti-business candidate being elected President? How much of the selling was just a continued rush for liquidity and a rush to off load risk? Hard to say.

          3. ErikSchwartz

            The GOP is now taking credit for TARP?They spent years trying to say the big government bailouts and the debt they incurred were on Obama…

          4. pointsnfigures

            Hank Paulson. He gets the credit, and the blame.

          5. Tom Labus

            and that anti biz president gave us record high copr profits and markets

          6. pointsnfigures

            I have nothing against profits. I don’t think Presidents create jobs either. Or profits.

      2. ErikSchwartz

        He had a supermajority for around 6 months.We had the Franken recount (He wasn’t sworn in until July 7) and then Kennedy got sick and died (he effectively left the senate in June). Kennedy was replaced in September and then the dems lost the seat in January.The Dems had a supermajority from September of 2009-January 2010.Not two years.

        1. andyswan

          I should have been more clear. Super-majority until electorate understood what he was doing with Obamacare, solid majority for 2 years

      3. Mike O'Horo

        Except that Obama largely wasted the supermajority in an ill-advised attempt at bipartisanship, so we don’t know what the ACA and other legislation would have looked like unimpeded by the Party of No.

        1. andyswan

          Ahhh yes I remember that amazing display of bipartisanship where the ACA was jammed through without a single GOP vote on Christmas Eve before Scott Walker could be sworn in to the Senate seat that he won by promising to vote no on the ACA. Classic bipartisanship!

    2. DJL

      I am amazed and how people give Obama a free pass for all of the disfunction under his leadership. This is not the fault of Congress – but of the man himself (and his hatchet man Harry Reid.) If a company misses their numbers, they fire the CEO, not the line managers. It was not like this under Clinton, or either Bush. Obama is the master of division. Divide by party. Divide by Race. Divide by Income. Divide by Gender. And then blame everyone else. The comments in this blog are all the information you need. He has accomplished his mission.

  10. andyswan

    The most important question is almost never asked anymore: What is the appropriate role of the Federal Government in the lives of its citizens?It’s a shame too, because ignoring that fundamental question is how you end up with a government that confiscates a record amount of the citizens’ wealth and STILL satisfies almost no one other than those who control it.No Democrat can define “fair share” of taxes. No Reublican can define “family values”.They are all just pretending to be the “human being” YOU want them to be, because at no point have you demanded that their power be strictly restricted to only those things government SHOULD be doing.Limited-government thinking makes the search much easier. You don’t need the human being that aligns with you on every issue…you just need someone competent at doing those few things government is actually capable and charged with doing.

    1. awaldstein

      nicely said.I almost agree.where I differ is that shit happens that breaks whose responsible for what.happens a lot and if i don’t feel comfortable with the person to make judgements i’m not comfortable generally.

      1. andyswan

        Haha nice. Who is responsible for what is pretty clearly defined by the Constitution. Having someone say “I will go by that” would be a nice start.

    2. Kushdoctor

      Limited government is another one of these undefined terms. What does that mean? Should government regulate polluters? Clean water? Human rights abuses in factories? Working conditions? Education of the poor? Limited government in 1880 meant none of the above.

      1. andyswan

        Limited government, on the Federal level, is clearly defined in the bill of rights by the 10th amendment. _____________________________

        1. Kushdoctor

          I read your other comments by now. Never mind.

    3. Eric

      > No Democrat can define “fair share” of taxes.Well there’s the Buffet Rule, the notion that no one should be paying less taxes (as a percentage) than someone making less than them.

      1. andyswan

        no one is.unless you’re talking about eliminating the distinction between long-term capital gains and income, which is a stance I have yet to see proposed by a mainstream Democrat.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          they areand many tax schemes are predicated on exploiting ‘long term capital gains’

    4. Pete Griffiths

      That should be a fundamental question. But the integrity of the political sphere has been so compromised by huge sums of money pouring into the warchests of lobbyists that the role of the lobby on issues before Congress is a far better predictor of outcomes than is any party position. In this world, the fundamental question has become, can we somehow retake the political sphere as a place that in any meaningful sense represents the people, no matter how we frame the ‘appropriate role’ of the Federal Government.

      1. andyswan

        But surely you agree that this “distortion by $$” is at least partially a direct result of the refusal of Fed govt to be strictly limited? I mean…the only reason to spend so much money on lobbying/candidates is the expectation of a positive ROI. A STRICTLY limited government can only offer so much return on lobbyist investment.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          It’s a valid question but I don’t happen to agree. IMHO no matter what the form of government the rich and powerful will do their utmost to corrupt it to their advantage. The form of the government, and its scale and reach, may indeed vary, but they are all subject to the perversion of whatever laudable objectives they may have. This has been true throughout history and is so fundamental a tendency that I see it as quite as basic as scope and reach.I tend to view government, at least in part, ‘backwards’ from the way you describe it. The corruption is going to be there. As much will be spent as is necessary to achieve the required ROI.We can have very different political perspectives and agree on this point. I suspect you would like to see a good deal less government than me. But I don’t think it matters so long as however much government there is, is in pockets of the rich and powerful so that it simply becomes another tool to serve their purposes.The fundamental purpose of the state is to reconcile conflicting interests that cannot be rationally adjudicated without the state. But if the state is corrupted, we have a problem. And IMHO that is very much where we are today.

          1. andyswan

            If it is a tool of the rich to be used against other citizens, then why do you want that took to be more powerful? You sound like a libertarian until your conclusion 🙂

          2. Pete Griffiths

            At this point – that’s a good question. Probably best answered with an example: health care. Much like Fred, there are things I value for the sake of us living in a decent humane society and universal healthcare is one of them. Given that it big business you can expect big business to corrupt a worthwhile endeavor – and this is exactly what we find. We are saddled with a staggeringly expensive inefficient healthcare system because we can’t implement a more rational system because of lobbying. So what’s a guy like me to do? I can say that given the realities of power any healthcare system we end up with is going to be massively sub optimal so now I can either (a) say let’s not even try to have a better system, let’s just go private all the way, or (b) acknowledge that even though the system is horridly broken the human price of just giving up is too high, even thought massive amounts of cream are beings scooped off the top. I vote for the latter and you for the former. I can’t deal with the pain. You can’t deal with the pork. 🙂

          3. andyswan

            Respect. Disagree, but respect.

          4. Pete Griffiths


      2. Mike O'Horo

        Talk of “smaller government” conveniently ignores the “influence factor,” i.e., any measure of the size of actual government must include lobbyists and their corporate masters. That has been expanded exponentially by the very conservatives who claim smaller government as their goal. We’ll see little progress until we have publicly-financed elections, with absolute spending limits that make it wise for candidates to invest their finite advertising and communication dollars to communicate their policy ideas, and unwise to squander those finite funds on attack ads. Only then will we see the wrestling match of ideas that an earlier poster urged.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          I totally agree on the problem of money politics. See my other posts on this topic on here. There is some interesting research on the scale of the problem.

  11. Guest

    He listens to you closely. Perhaps the anti-politician is what’s needed. Now there is an alternative.

  12. andyswan


  13. Shaun Dakin

    If you mean anti economics as the GOP I would agree. The only presidents that have presided over significant growth would be Dem. The Reagan supply side voodoo economics have been proved to be a catastrophic failure.On the anti reality party being the GOP you would be correct.#HillaryForAmerica

  14. Bala

    In business money is an important thing or everything – Peter Thiel, for politicians money is everything unfortunately. We are doing a lot of things that could destroy us like Politics without Principles. I hear no political argument that is grounded in principles. The same reason why you and Marc and many others find it difficult to side with anyone.

    1. andyswan

      You should listen to Rand or Cruz…highly principled. Sanders and Warren on the other side.Principled just doesn’t get much air-time because it means you are also “anti” something, as Fred’s post proves.In this very thread I am told I am “opposed to people seeing doctors” because I disagree with Obamacare.Luckily, #swan2020 doesn’t care about that shit.

      1. Bala

        Courage is in much shorter supply than genius. so hats off to you for sticking to what you believe. Not spent anytime listening to Rand or Cruz. Cruz lost me with his stance on Net Neutrality

        1. andyswan

          It was a principled stance.

        2. pointsnfigures

          Cruz would open up more spectrum to solve it. Not regulate. If you follow economic theory and practice you will see plenty of evidence that regulatory structures don’t work for the long haul. But markets and competition do.

          1. Bala

            Markets and competition are arguments when we know that they function in an erratic way and not always lead to the public good, Competition is a destructive force that enables a race to the bottom. Markets are manipulated by a few who have the means to do that. If no regulation is needed then all men are angels and we would not need any government.

          2. pointsnfigures

            I disagree. Markets allocate capital the best and most efficiently. They can be messy. But, they often don’t lead to outcomes that we want-however those outcomes are usually biased. What public good means to you might be different to me. Can markets be manipulated? Certainly. Depends on how you have access to the market and how the lines are drawn. If it becomes a manipulated market usually the answer is to make the market bigger-and more competitive-not draw up lots of regulations to limit competition. The big guys always can lobby and find ways around the rules.

          3. Bala

            I rest my case…

          4. pointsnfigures

            Hmm, I think we disagree. I believe in markets and the outcomes they produce. I am interpreting your comments to construe that you prefer using a bureaucratic solution to solve problems. My solution compromises corporate power and government power; bureaucratic solutions embolden corporations and government to take everything they can.

          5. Bala

            I think we deceive ourselves into believing the rules of Markets and the outcomes they produce as gospel. The truth is much further than that. Competition and Markets are an ideology – The Ideology – that pervades our society and distorts our thinking. We preach competition and market forces, internalize its necessity, and enact its commandments; as a result, we trap ourselves within it – even though the more we compete, the less we gain. Coming to the argument of free markets, the value of things is set by the market. Even a child can look up stock quotes. But whether those prices make sense is not be second-guessed; the market knows for more than you ever could. These gospels have been preached to a point where everyone thinks they are the truth. I just don’t agree. Markets as a concept is great, however they lead to local maxima. There nothing definite about markets. Unregulated markets more or less lead to the rule of the mob.

          6. JLM

            .Democracy is, at the end of the day — Election Day, that is — the rule of the mob.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. Bala

            yet we debate, discuss and argue on comments thread about something we all have no control over. It is all a staged show now, it just shows how House of Cards is so much more closer to the truth than I want to believe it is.

          8. JLM

            .I will have to disagree with you more than a bit. While the realities of fundraising are a real world constraint, the outcomes are not always as predicted.In 2008, Hillary Clinton was absolutely the “inevitable” candidate until a guy named Barack Hussein Obama emerged and her inevitability crashed.Hillary is a very flawed candidate at this instant in time and she may not survive — just like 2008.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          9. Bala

            Could not agree more with you on this, I really did think that Barack Hussein Obama will be the Change that he promised, only to see same failed policies. I like the President, don’t get me wrong. The system sucks you in. I guess the nature of Indefinite Politics.

          10. JLM

            .President Obama did not just embrace historically weak and failed policies that were in existence when he entered office, he created and metastasized a myriad of new ones — foreign policy, immigration and more.His presidency has been both the biggest disappointment — expectations v realty — in the last century but also the most flawed and worst.Jimmy Carter now looks like a genius.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          11. Mike O'Horo

            Obama = “Most flawed?” “Worst?” You must have been otherwise occupied during W’s two disastrous terms.

          12. Mike O'Horo

            Not true. You can win the popular vote and lose the Electoral vote — and the election.

          13. nathan

            I think when people discuss market failures, they tend to forget or omit the fact that markets work efficiently and correctly well over 90% of the time. Transactions at a local grocery, barbershop, eBay, Amazon, Walmart, craigslist, Starbucks, Amusement Park, etc ad nauseam. These are all examples of market efficiency. Pointing to isolated examples of corruption and manipulation while disregarding the day to day “success stories” of market based competition is a disservice to the argument.

          14. nathan

            No one is making the case for eliminating all regulation but rather focusing on its limitations. I can’t tell if your comment about competition being a race to the bottom is sarcastic or not. If you are serious, I’d like for you to give me one example of a successful government that does not utilize market based competition.

          15. Bala

            Successful Government is in itself an oxymoron. Yes, you need market but you also need a framework that enables anyone to play fairly, however if you think about first principles in Business no one really wants to compete, maybe in sports. In business competition is a destructive force, it eats into your margins and more or less make your business into a rat race. Capitalism is premised on the accumulation of capital, but under perfect competition all profits get competed away. Governments are suppose to create those frameworks that make it fair for anyone to serve a market. Undifferentiated commodity businesses never create lasting value.

          16. nathan

            I disagree with your premise that under Capitalism, all profits are competed away. This is only true for homogenous products where the only tool for competition is price. Most markets do not operate under these conditions. Differentiation, product innovation and various measures of value add throughout the supply chain are ways to maintain profit margins in heavily competitive markets, see Apple or Microsoft for examples. Without competition, there is no disruption within markets which accelerates innovation. Innovation creates value, so the idea that competition is purely destructive is in my opinion, false.

          17. Bala

            You can believe whatever you want to believe. I just don’t think most people understand that we are on either extremes than the perfect market conditions as defined by you. Do I really believe just because I have a differentiated Apple Watch like device I can compete with Apple? Apple is more closer to a Monopoly than a competitive firm. Of course there are a number of products that categorically compete with Apple but the fact that Apple sold more Apple Watch in 1 single day than the entire competition for the whole year tells you that there is no competition for Apple. Can they be displace? I sincerely hope so. Same with Google in Search, 68% of the search market is owned by Google. Google is a verb in the oxford english dictionary, I will not hold my breath to see Bing or Yahoo in the same category. Google Search is a monopoly. The world of technology is driven by Power Laws, it is extremely difficult to capture market share once the network effects and proprietary technology kicks in. We teach such drivel in our schools about economics.

          18. nathan

            The smart watch market is in its infancy which allows for monopolistic like tendencies. Apple’s involvement in other markets is nothing close to a monopoly (smartphone, mp3, TV streaming, Tablet). I would agree with you that Google operates as a monopoly within their respective space. But again, this is a single example within an economy that governs thousands of markets. You are also only segregating tech firms which are more susceptible to monopolistic markets due to their ability to sharply distinguish products from that of their competitors either through innovation or patents. Also, your reference to Power Laws is not always accurate. Competition causes firms to rise and fall regardless of their size and scope. If the Power Law held true, Kodak would still be the monopolistic leader in photography.

          19. Bala

            I agree with you that Monopolistic state is not a constant because companies become large and they stop to build great things that people want and continue to serve the market because Competitors are eating their margins and they need to keep pace. Very few companies like Apple have a total disregard to competitors because of their market power. Kodak had one innovation and they pretty much did nothing else after that, it has nothing to do with Power Law. Microsoft of the 90s was displaced, IBM of the 70s was displaced. I am just saying that due to the highly connected nature of the current and future worlds, Power Law will be more important. Thinking that Competitive markets destroy profits is a contrarian thinking, it is hard for everyone to digest it. Those who do see the truth. Again, Contrarian thinking is not about opposing the crowd, but thinking for yourself.

      2. gorbachev

        Rand? Principled???? HahhahhahahaHis dad is, for which I do admire him, but Rand…my God.

        1. kidmercury

          no doubt. if rand gets the nomination, it won’t be because america woke up to constitutional principles, but because rand has the right cronies supporting him (because he has promised them the status quo they want).

  15. Jordan Thaeler

    Secession is a very American maneuver and I wonder how long until we see legitimate proposals to divide the country into those who work and those who don’t.

    1. pointsnfigures

      Or, why do we have 50 states. Why not 70? Or 80? or 10? The book “America 3.0” looks at that, and a lot of other questions-but it puts why we are where we are in a historical context. BTW, it only mentions Obama once. It’s a political book without being political.

  16. MFishbein

    Fred, I think your time, along with many who read this blog, could be better spent on other things besides voting, or even thinking about who to vote for. If you want to promote your morals and political ideas, blog here. If you want to create jobs and make technological improvements, keep investing in startups. If you want to be happy, spend time with your family and friends.

  17. Mark Cancellieri

    I disagree. *Both* parties are anti-science and anti-economics. They just choose differently on the particular realities that they wish to ignore.A good example is vaccines vs. global warming. The left tends to ignore the science on vaccines, and the right tends to ignore the science on global warming. These are just generalizations of course. Another example of ignoring science on the left is the research on GMOs.So both parties bring substantial biases to the party. You really just have to decide on the practical aspects of their preferred policies and whether you are okay with those policies as a group. And it’s not what they *say* they are for, but rather what they actually vote for that counts.For me, the answer is definitely no to both Republicans and Democrats. They don’t come close to something that I could vote for.

    1. andyswan

      To be fair, it seems the thermometers are also ignoring the science on global warming. 🙂

      1. kidmercury

        #ohsnap #upvoted

    2. ErikSchwartz

      What sitting members of the US congress are anti vax?

      1. pointsnfigures

        Anti-Vax sometimes means “individual freedom” to decide for your own children. I think it’s absolutely stupid not to vaccinate kids. But, at the same time we should be free as parents to decide whats best for our individual families.

        1. Kevin Williams

          The parental freedom issue is a red herring, anti-vaxers DON’T have the right to expose infants, kids with vax allergies or other vulnerable populations to preventable diseases. If they want to home school and teach their kids Esperanto, fine. This is about epidemiology, not libertarianism.

          1. pointsnfigures

            I get your point. Agree with it almost 100%. If kids aren’t vaccinated, I think its perfectly fine to not admit them to any schools, or in public places. What about religious reasons? What about just simple individual freedom? If I am going to err, I’d rather err on the side of the individual over the collective.

        2. Dan Epstein

          It’s a tough issue. Where does individual freedom end if you’re putting others in harm’s way?

          1. JoeK

            Their biggest success is making it seem like a tough issue when it is not. It’s just plain stupid. How stupid is the only real debate.

          2. Dan Epstein

            Reminds me of drunk driving.

        3. LE

          I think it’s absolutely stupid not to vaccinate kids. But, at the same time we should be free as parents to decide whats best for our individual families.I don’t think that requiring vaccines rises to the level of “nanny state” at all. It’s required for the good of everyone. Same reason I can’t drive 110 on I95 even though I am a good driver. Need rules enforced to protect everyone even though I can handle the speed.After all, parents didn’t get to veto the government sending their kids off to war and don’t get a say in not having their kids educated, right? And a million other things. We aren’t talking about class trips here with nominal impact on society.

    3. Eric

      > A good example is vaccines vs. global warming.Virtually the entire Republican congressional conference in both chambers denies the science of climate change. There is no Democratic member of Congress nor any prominent national Democrat which is anti-vax. In fact the only national politicians who *are* anti-vax are…. Republicans (Michele Bachmann was one).> Another example of ignoring science on the left is the research on GMOs.Well, except this isn’t a left-right issue: http://blogs.discovermagazi…You do sometimes see Democrats favoring product labeling laws on the state level, but that’s about as far as it goes. There’s absolutely nothing here that’s anti-science on the scale of Republicans and climate change or evolution.

  18. Ateleta Fan

    “Anti-science” seems to be mostly used against those who don’t unequivocally buy into certain climate change perspectives. Implication being that those people are against science or the scientific method. Seems like a very simplistic catch-all putdown for a very complicated issue.Ironically, those labeling others as “skeptics” or “anti-science” are committing fraud against the scientific method themselves by ridiculing those who have doubt.”Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire

    1. gorbachev

      You haven’t been following things, if you think the anti-science thinking is just about climate change.There are sitting Congresspeople who are claiming evolution isn’t real. Some of them are even on science related committees. Those people deserve their ridicule.You should also review the markup sessions about SOPA. “I’m not a nerd” should be a good phrase to google. Those people, too, deserve their ridicule.There seems to be an increasing number of people in the anti-science party who take belief over science. Of course those same people are also funded by people and companies who benefit from these “beliefs”.

      1. Ateleta Fan

        Completely agree. Though I think your examples are more pro-ignorance than anti-science (which eschews science and the scientific method).And I don’t believe there is one anti-science party. The SOPA example shows that ignorance on technology/scientific topics has no political affiliation. Dems and Reps both guilty.

  19. pointsnfigures

    I’ll make the argument that classical economic theory is more humane and better for everyone than Keynesian economic policy. We practice Keynesian economic policy in the US. Much better to decentralize and push individual liberty down to individuals than let big government make decisions for us. There is an ever growing part of the Republican party that is much different than the traditional Bush/Rockefeller Republicans. The latter aren’t that much different than the union owned Democrats. Just different people signing the checks.

  20. James Burns

    The problem is that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people that would make better leaders than the current candidates but they don’t have the platform/connections/funding to win the USA’s biggest popularity contest and/or the huge ego and burning desire for power and fame.

    1. DJL

      You got it, James! And ones who do make there are quickly trounced into submission by the “establishment” of both parties.

  21. Michelle Williams

    Isn’t democracy another industry that needs to be disrupted? As you yourself say, the old systems existed when communication was expensive and only those at the top could make decisions. That isn’t the case anymore, we are all aware. It isn’t a case between us and them. This is a case of full disruption. Maybe it won’t make it to the next presidential election but I can say in every democracy in the world we need disruption, we need a reboot and we need a new way of defining and supporting what we believe.

    1. markslater

      this is the real issue for me.Clinton Bush 2016…..YAWN.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Bush will not be the Republican nominee in 2016.

        1. JLM

          .Someone from Florida will be on the ticket if the Republicans really want to win.JLMwww.themsuingsofthebigredca…

      2. JLM

        .There is nothing less interesting to me than the prospect of any Clinton and any Bush in politics.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. Pete Griffiths

      It has already been disrupted.We don’t have a working democracy. We have a lobby system in which the popular voice is incidental. And it works just great!…”A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.”

  22. Scott Juranek

    I think conservatives are very pro-science. But in the “old-fashioned” sense when science meant the process to explain how things work, how to discover, how are things designed and not how to twist it into grants or into handing more control over to King Government. We want to just hand over money to King Government and have him solve the issues (not our money of course, other peoples). Unfortunately King Government has a pretty poor track record of actually solving problems, especially at the national level. Conservatives are extremely generous people but often believe people are best helped more efficiently through other means versus King Government. Liberals tend to think King Government is the only way and seem to cherish the control. E.g. people are too uneducated to learn about nutrition so lets ban what we don’t want them to eat (even though the “science” on eggs was recently proved wrong after decades). Liberals have a big heart but they take freedom from one person and give it to another and feel good about it. E.g. lets force people to participate in a religious ceremony they don’t want to be part of even though the gay person had many choices of where to buy a cake. (e.g. wedding photos & cake).Give people as much economic freedom as possible (let them keep their own money) and a lot of these other issues are reduced.Why didn’t the science party listen to one of their own? http://www.nationalreview.c

  23. Andy Werner

    The problem is not your thinking but rather the two party (binary, almost) system.

  24. William Mougayar

    It’s always interesting to watch political discussions on AVC. So much passion in the comments, even when the post starts with Science and Economics and it ends-up as a politically heated and polarized one.I don’t like to meddle in US politics, as it’s not my country- but I’m puzzled why there couldn’t be a 3rd party, a 3rd voice, a 3rd way of doing things…Too many parties is not that great, but only 2 ends-up creating a big polarization of opinions.Dunno…just my opinion. Be kind to yourselves (as JLM would say).

    1. PhilipSugar

      I had to look in just a bit for the comments (kind of like looking at a train wreck). I was not disappointed. Its Fred’s blog, but if I were him I’d turn off comments for these type of posts, although what the heck?? I predict 500 comments.

      1. Matt Zagaja

        I respect Fred very much for being willing and able to share his views despite the negativity. It is interesting to see the diversity of viewpoints among people who have so much in common otherwise (at least as far as interests go). The quality of some of the comments is disappointing, yes. But I’ll try to ignore them.

      2. fredwilson

        i don’t think i have ever turned off comments on a blog post until at least two weeks have passed. though they may be hurtful or painful to read, they are what people believe. and it is worth staring at that. even if they are taking shots at you (or me as it were)

        1. LE

          Allowing people to take shots at you gives you street cred.

          1. Chimpwithcans

            And possibly a headache 🙂

        2. Russell

          +1. Courage

        3. Anne Libby

          Pointing another friend who makes a living with her mind to the Eric Ries discussion — which I’m still feeling a bit burned/puzzled by — told her, “Fred must have wanted to cry.”

    2. Guy Lepage

      Agreed. My opinion on US politics is from an onlookers perspective and my voice should be taken with a grain of salt. I think all of us Canadians are baffled that there is not a massive funding campaign to promote a third party into the spotlight. Could it be that a third party would create an even more unstable environment?

      1. William Mougayar

        Not really… A 3-legged stool is more stable than a 2-legged one. You can’t tip it.

        1. Lil Pong

          Wrong. Depends on where the 3rd leg is ..

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            See addendum above

        2. DisentAgain

          Yes indeed. The alternative vote is the only way to get that third leg… or fourth… or fifth… Eliminating first-past-the-post voting and gerrymandering is the only way to get viable alternative parties going. Australia figured this out… it’s well past time we did too.

        3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Only if it is NOT going anywhere – A moving bicycle is inherently more stable than a moving tricycle.In a tricycle all disturbances to any one “leg” create motion in two dimensions both yaw and pitch – In a bicycle a pothole causes pitch but not yaw.Tri-party systems are stable in stasis only.( On three dimensional manifolds – ie landscapes with bumps)(Admittedly the stool went up my own arse on that – but there was criticism of analogous exactitude to inspire me ) (stool pun intended)

          1. William Mougayar

            😉 you’re in a funny mood.

          2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            In the middle of a resource bottleneck and have some tough calls to make – sometimes leaning back and writing a silly comment or two is a simple way of freeing the mind. I would rather write stupid comments than make rushed decisions – just hope nobody at AVC takes offence ;).

    3. Chris M.

      The US will never have a 3rd party as long as we keep first-past-the-post voting. For our current system, 2 parties is the equilibrium. If you want a 3rd party (or more), we need to change to a voting system like instant runoff.

      1. DisentAgain

        This is the key. Until we get the alternative vote here, strategic voting is our only rational option. Eliminating first-past-the-post and killing gerrymandering are the only ways to get a viable 3rd (or 4th, or 5th) that is more than just a spoiler.

      2. Ciaran

        And yet the UK, which more or less invented first past the post and maintains it, even when it is pretty much obvious that it’s broken, has managed to have more than two parties for the best part of 100 years. Admittedly only two of the parties ever managed to get enough seats to govern, but the other parties were there to provide at least some illusion of choice.And now, with another election coming up, there is the very real chance of a second parliament with no party holding an outright majority – and this in a country around 1/6 the size of the US. There must be something more than the electoral system which is holding back the growth of other parties; perhaps the Presidential system itself.

        1. Mike O'Horo

          What’s holding back the growth of 3rd parties is the fear of the effects of dilution. For example, I’d absolutely love to see a populist candidate like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders rather than oh-so-corporate Hillary, but my fear in voting for them would be that the dilution would result in electing one of the Republican wackies. Ms. Warren herself tacitly acknowledged that risk when she declared that she wouldn’t run and would support Hillary. Would-be 3rd-party candidates and supporters know they can’t win, and are stuck with an awkward calculus about which party they’d siphon more votes from, and the resulting impact on the election.

          1. Ciaran

            Which points to the fact that it’s FPTP plus a Presidential system that results in the two-party lock-down. And the latter is unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon I would imagine.

    4. Pete Griffiths


  25. Dale Patterson

    In a perfect world, a third party would be a serious option. With the way things are now, you’re forced to decide between business interests or other social/environmental interests. It’s almost impossible for me not to side with pro-science and socially progressive candidates.

  26. DJL

    Just what we need – Flippant, un-informed one-liners from Liberal Billionaires. Rather than use his perch to thoughfully analyze issues and come up with solutions that work for both parties, Marc just furthers the divide between the parties.There is no real factual or historical evidence to support either of his characterizations. But let’s assume he is correct. (“Because, by God, he must be, he wrote a web browser didn’t he?” He must be an expert on economics and clmate change.) Does our Country have a “crisis” of science? I don’t think anyone would say that. But do we have “crisis” of economics? I think most honest people would say yes.So here is your tip, Marc: Vote Republican! (It is just a simple choice.)

    1. christopolis

      Except republicans will do nothing to help the economy and while they may claim to be pro business they do more damage to business with their hypocritical unprincipled stances. The whole to big to fail debacle is a prime example.

      1. DJL

        Hmm. Perhaps you are not remembering history. The Obama Administration forced the big banks to take their deal. Same with the auto industry. This is all Democrat doing.

        1. christopolis

          The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is a program of the United States government to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector that was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008.

    2. fredwilson

      Marc is not a liberal and I am not a billionaire so I’m not sure who you are referring to

      1. LE

        What’s really unfortunate is if and when you become a billionaire everyone will know about it. To me that’s a significant burden.The good news is if you become a billionaire you will not actually be a billionaire but you and Joanne “will be a billionaire”.That is something often and always missed when people talk about billionaires. [1] If you are married only about 45 to 50% is actually yours. The rest is your spouses.[1] Assuming they have less than 2 billion that is.

        1. fredwilson


      2. DJL

        Fred, what I am reffering to is Marc’s binary characterization of the two parties. (And I think he IS a billionaire.)If he is not a Liberal, then why would he call Republicans the “anti-science” party? Is this in reference to global warming? Does he know how many scientists are also Republicans?My point is that this black-and-white approach to the two parties does not serve any of us. It discourages discourse, and insults people who might also be scientists and Republicans, or Liberals and business owners.And I am disappointed when people with such high intellect fall into what I perceive is a trap. (Nothing personal, my friend. It’s your blog and I am just living in it!)

        1. fredwilson

          because they are in denial about climate change, advocate creationism, and have committed a host of other “anti-science sins”there’s a good discussion of this elsewhere in this comment thread

      3. DJL

        BTW – I apologize if my message got lost in my snarkiness. I need to work on that. (Just ask my wife.)

    3. LE

      “Because, by God, he must be, he wrote a web browser didn’t he?” He must be an expert on economics and clmate change.I am in the camp of rejection and amazement when ordinary folks “lemmings and the media” give people accomplished in one area (could be a business person, could be an entertainer or actor) way to much of a platform and buy in to their thoughts and what they say. More or less for the reason you are stating.Otoh, even I realize that there is a difference between when Marc says something (or Bill Gates) and someone “ordinary” says something. Those people do typically move in circles with more knowledgeable people than the guy running a hardware store on main street (who might be just well read). As such their opinions do have some added and extended credibility, and unfortunately the halo extends that probably an arbitrary 5x. That is what bothers me. It’s the extra icing on the cake, not the cake.

      1. DJL

        I see your point. However, these same people also live in “bubble” that isolated them from the real-world. Who needs the most help, the guy-running the hardware store or Marc A and his buddies? That is the disconnect between the self-appointed tech elite and everyone else.

  27. christopolis

    The tribalism is thick with this post. Pretty soon we can just talk in grunts. We do not have thinking individuals who voice a unique perspective that can unite a country we have Republicans and Democrats. Boring. False dichotomy and really middle age(d) thinking. There will eventually be two individuals running for president. You nor Andreeson knows who they will be. They are going to bring a unique perspective an individual perspective,

  28. falicon


  29. Rob Underwood

    I grew up in Maine. When I was a kid we had Republicans like Bill Cohen and Olympia Snowe who co-existed with Democrats like George Mitchell in a state that regularly did (and does) elect Independents to higher office. I’m a registered Democrat now, but I remember casting votes for Republican candidates (Cohen, I think) when I first came of voting age. Call them “RINOs” or “Rockefeller Republicans”, but that branch of the Republican party has been killed off along with the overall “big tent” concept and I think that’s too bad.

    1. pointsnfigures

      Wisconsin has a lot of political debate. It’s not one party rule there. The Republicans that win up there aren’t the traditional RINOs but ones that push economic issues first.

  30. AlexHammer

    It seems that in today’s society many more people identify with their sports heroes and movie star and music heroes than they do with politicians.Politics can be a noble profession but it is regarded as at the bottom of the heap in terms of honorability etc.And people – many of them – just aren’t interested.I ran for Governor in 2010 and I began to more notice it then. It’s not one state and it’s not one party.It is pervasive. One could write a book on the reasons for this, but one primary cause is perhaps that people feel disenfranchised from their institutions (government, banks, corporations) etc. There is a lot to discuss here.

  31. Nathan Guo

    This is an interesting perspective given that science is hard science while economics is not even close. In no other field but economics do people receive nobel prizes for polar opposite viewpoints. Arguing economic theory is a viable argument. Arguing scientific consensus in this case is really not an argument at all.

  32. Eric

    How are the Democrats the anti-economics party exactly? I can think of a few small bore issues where they go against economic wisdom (rent control and cash for clunkers come to mind) but they do favor free trade and immigration, which are about as economist favored as you can get and have much bigger impact. Simply there’s no big picture items I can think of that national Democrats support that are comparable to the Republicans stance on climate change or evolution. So I’d be real curious to know what Andreessen was talking about.

  33. Chris Phenner

    Incredibly true, and incredibly frustrating.

  34. Ana Milicevic

    One of the (few) benefits of being born in a country that no longer exists is that you learn early on that in politics you’re not choosing the best candidate but the least worst. Imagine if in other decisions you always had to weigh the choice that will do the least amount of damage.

    1. JLM

      .If it is any comfort, my 96 year old father says exactly the same thing. Of course, he blames it on me personally.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  35. John McGrath

    Andreessen’s quip implies that Republicans have better economic solutions, and I see little evidence of that. I’m not sure the party of no has any.

  36. Adam Lemmon

    The Deliberate Party – a new political party based on sound deliberation (…. A party where the best ideas win regardless of which side came up with it. 🙂

  37. JLM

    .In the intel game there is a notion of “walking the cat backwards” which means you start with the results and reason backwards to the origins thereby identifying who did what to whom and why?In politics, it is equally easy to start with outcomes and reason backwards.If one would take a look at a state like Texas and walk the cat backwards the governing philosophy would be laid bare. If you like the results, then you would be forced to agree that that governing philosophy is worthy of consideration on a bigger stage.If Texas job creation is removed from the national statistics for the entire Obama administration, the balance of the country has created NO NET NEW JOBS.Does that simple fact not give you pause? How can that be so?Note that the most recent projections for GDP growth for FY2015 have now been downgraded to ZERO growth.All the reasons that Texas has succeeded are not rooted in governance, some — like the presence of substantial hydrocarbons and proximity to the Gulf — are accidents of location. A lot of life is luck.The border with Mexico — where there is literally a war going on right now — is a major league problem. The inclusion of incredible numbers of illegals and children skews the numbers and drags the performance in some critical areas down.An interesting notion is that Texas actually likes a lot of immigration, we just don’t want the criminals.Nonetheless, the governing policies have resulted in good outcomes and superior BBQ and TexMex.We need to focus on results — pile on the ones that are good and abandon the ones that are bad.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Matt Zagaja

      “If Texas job creation is removed from the national statistics for the entire Obama administration, the balance of the country has created NO NET NEW JOBS.”While Texas is a large contributor to job creation, the evidence does not support the above claim:

        1. Matt Zagaja

          Your link also does not support your claim, as the end of the line chart ends above 0%. Maybe try zooming in a little more?

          1. Tom Labus

            very good

    2. JoeK

      What you call a simple fact is simply a casual disregard for the meaning of numbers. Even if that Washington Examiner graph you posted is factually correct, you then make a reference to the Obama administration – but take a look at it again, since the start of the Obama adminstration (early 2009), the rest of the country has created significantly more net new jobs than Texas (it looks to be at least a factor of 7 times greater), with the majority of job losses, outside of Texas, happening during the presidency of, the former Governor of Texas.So in answer to your question, how can that simple fact be so? By simply not being so!

      1. JLM

        .Joe, you are disregarding the loss of jobs, hence the term “net.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. JoeK

          Look at the graph again, starting from early 2009. You’ll see that even taking ‘net’ jobs into account, the rest of the country combined has done much better than Texas.

          1. JLM

            .Yeah, that’s why so many people are moving to say . . . California? Ooops.The last Californian who moves to Texas, please turn out the lights.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. JoeK

            That was not the point, all I was saying that the simple fact you were referring to ” …for the entire Obama administration, the balance of the country has created NO NET NEW JOBS” is clearly incorrect, based on your own reference.That’s not to say that Texas is doing something right, which is an all together different subject.

          3. DJL

            Joe, let’s try to make this simpler. Please name one or two specific laws that Obama has put in place to encourage private sector job growth? If there IS a recovery, and if his policies are creating the recovery, what are these? I usually get crickets when I ask this question.

          4. JoeK

            Let’s rephrase your question this way. Has Obama championed any legislation that causes the private sector job levels to dip beneath those his predecessor left? As far as I am aware, no.What I do find ridiculous is the notion that individuals have the power, with specific legislation, to magically push the economy one way or another. If that was the case, North Korea would have the strongest economy in the world, closely followed by Russia.

          5. DJL

            With all due respect, I believe the ACA qualifies. It has moved hundreds of thousands of jobs from full-time to part-time, caused millions to have their insurance cancelled (my family), forced Doctors to drop patients, and impacted the economy in many other mostly-negative ways. I think that is the data point you were looking for. I just wish the guy wasn’t so effective at moving the dial.

          6. JoeK

            And despite all that the stock markets are at record highs, employment is way higher than 6 years ago and oil prices 40% down. My only point was that JLM’s graphgraph reference shows the opposite of what he was claiming – I was not trying to back one side or another. Your comment on the other hand echoes Fred’s – that it is important to understand that legislation affects real people’s lives. I can’t claim to have first hand knowledge of the ACA – like most people my employer (and the government) subsidizes my health insurance.

      2. JLM

        .”Since the recession began in December 2007, 1.2 million net jobs have been created in Texas. Only 700,000 net jobs have been created in the other 49 states combined.”Reading comprehension problem?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. JoeK

          All I am saying is that it’s rather biased to blame the current administration for what is clearly a net-positive jobs growth rate during their tenure, while cheekily attributing to them 6.5M jobs that were lost before they came into office.

          1. JLM

            .Joe, now you are in danger of drowning in the kool aide.The administration — even this administration — measures their job creation fiction from their own low point.Event they admit it was their hands on the steering wheel when the jobs were lost.Please.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. JoeK

            I don’t know much about how these numbers are estimated. All I was saying, is that the graph that you are using to make your point, in fact suggests the complete opposite to what you are claiming. That’s all. Look at the graph again, start from early 2009, subtract the start from end figures, and all I see is a net positive. It does show the loss of around 5M jobs before they came into office, another 3M lost during the first year, then close to 9M gained since. You posted the link, not me.Why the references to koolaid? You made a simple mistake in analyzing a chart – its no big deal, it happens all the time. Correcting your statement does not mean endorsing the current administration, we’re intelligent enough to treat facts in isolation.

        2. Tom Labus

          and since oil prices have halved?

          1. JLM

            .There is no question that oil prices will impact employment in the Oil Patch. Much of this will be in the exploration end of the Patch. You still have to produce and refine product regardless of the cost of oil.The Texas economy is diverse enough to weather the storm.There isn’t an oil well in Austin or close by and yet it continues to grow like a weed. The recent SXSW extravaganza was the biggest ever.On Earth as it is in Texas!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      3. JLM

        .”Until September 2014, total employment growth in the rest of the United States since December 2007 was still negative.”Yawn, excuse me, Joe — what were you saying again?You are in risk of drowning in the kool aide.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. JoeK

          “If Texas job creation is removed from the national statistics for the entire Obama administration, the balance of the country has created NO NET NEW JOBS.”50%+ of the lost jobs happened before January 2009, and since then it has been net positive.But of course it is easier to type ‘Yawn’ 😉

    3. Salt Shaker

      Dallas Fed economists are predicting a 140K drop in oil related jobs this year in the state of TX. You know very well JLM that employment growth in TX is inextricably linked to the price of oil. It’s easy to massage and interpret data to one’s liking, but it’s also misleading to paint a broad brush w/out stating or recognizing underlining and indisputable facts. The deck was stacked in TX’s favor, irrespective of any politics.

  38. LE

    As we enter the 2016 Presidential cycle, I am reminded that there isn’t a candidate out there who sees the world (or at least admits seeing the world) the way I do. It’s a struggle for me and, it seems, many others as well.Which makes more sense than it doesn’t because someone running for President needs to serve many masters in order to get elected. As such in order to bring about the greater good (or just be elected to President or any office) they almost certainly don’t even see the world the way they say appear to see the world.

  39. Salt Shaker

    A little early in the curve frankly for these type of discussions, but if another Clinton/Bush shit show is the end game, disappointment runs large. Not to belittle the importance of Anti-Science and Anti-economics, but foreign policy and worldwide instability IMO trumps all. U.S. lives and resources increasingly are being spread over a larger playing field, while a general regard for human life continues to deteriorate. Terrorism has become so rampant and spread over increasingly larger geography, dare I say we’re becoming cavalier to the mass killings that literally occur on a daily basis?I’m certainly no fatalist, and I’d still like to believe Armageddon is just a name of another shitty Michael Bay disaster film, but it’s hard not to be increasingly concerned about worldwide fragility. The Cuban missile crisis was a legit threat to world peace in the early 60’s, but it pales in comparison to threats of our day, which can now come from multiple sources.I don’t think some rogue org is gonna get their hands on a nuke in my lifetime, perhaps a bit of naiveté on my part, but I do worry mightily for the next generation as the madness only continues to escalate. Unfortunately, and certainly inadvertently, the U.S. has contributed to this instability by setting the table in Iraq. Hopefully Iran won’t be our next blunder.

  40. JLM

    .It strikes me as odd — odd like hilarious kind of odd — that smart, independent people allow themselves to be characterized as Republicans or Democrats.More important would be to focus on policies and espouse the policies that are consistent with one’s view of the world. It is not a hard thing to do.The realpolitik issue is that you can only vote for a candidate, not a set of policies. That is the only choice available.So when someone says they support a certain candidate, they get the policies with which they agree and those with which they don’t agree.This election is going to be a very easy election in much the same way that the 2014 mid-terms were easy when the President said his policies were on the ballot — easily one of the least artful utterances in the history of American politics.The results speak for themselves. The largest Republican sweep since the 1920s and it was the Republicans then.Both candidates will be running against the administration of Barack Obama. Hillary has the tougher task of it because she will be sheep dipped in the massive foreign policy failures of her tenure as Secretary of State.If she defends the Russian “reset”, the Middle East, the Iran agreement, the prolonged wars and a myriad of other failed policies — she gets creamed. Obamacare will not be an asset for her either. That residual anger is not going away. If you are a working person in America, the idea of 5-20MM illegal, low wage, low skill workers which will dampen wages for a decade or more will have you voting your pocketbook.If she abandons them blaming them on President Obama, she loses a fat slice of the base. In fact, this is what she will have to do.Remember one other thing about Hill, she was “inevitable” before Obama stole her mojo.As in the 2014 mid-terms all the Republicans have to do is shut up about social issues and let the Democrats defeat themselves.If the Republicans can avoid the error of putting another Bush on the ballot, this will be a very easy election. If the Republicans can pull in Florida — Rubio at the top or bottom of the ticket — the election is already over. Rubio being Hispanic will not hurt.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. DJL

      The Liberal Media are the only ones who have made Bush/Clinton a forgone conclusion. In the great State of Texas (the HOME of the Bush’s), very few people would pick him over Ted Cruz, Rubio or several others. The Media strategy: Make it a Bush/Clinton election and maybe everyone will be disgusted and “stay home.” Judging by the comments here today, the brainwash has already started working.The Democrats face such a weak field of contenders that the only way they can win is to convince people to give up. Follow the facts! Economic prosperity trumps social programs every time. (Good to have you back JLM.)

      1. JLM

        .People don’t know that Ted Cruz in being elected to the Senate crushed a sitting Lt Gov, the establishment Republican pick, in David Dewhurst. Dewhurst was incredibly well funded.It surprised the crap out of me.While my gut tells me that Cruz doesn’t get the nomination — perhaps only because the Republicans don’t need Texas and do need Florida or Ohio — he will drive the debate.The guy is wizard smart and has real charm and humor. People will begin to appreciate his intellect and he will devour the likes of Hillary in any intellectual confrontation. I would not have believed that other than seeing him make mincemeat of Dewhurst.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. DJL

          My wife and I had to travel to THREE separate polling places to vote for Cruz in the run off. Apparently, the Texas RC had scrambled the districts the day before in an effort to thwart voting. (No news coverage of this- just my intuition.) I gave me hope that guts and integrity can triumph over The Establishment.If he got fair media coverage (which he will NOT) he would trounce them all.

      2. Rob Underwood

        Having grown up in Kennebunkport, Maine I can tell you first hand that the real family home of George H.W. Bush “the Senior” is most definitely not Texas but Maine. Texas is not really the Bush home but rather where Senior made his money. Senior, at least, is a New England product through and through. And for Jeb, “Home” is Florida, not Texas.

        1. JLM

          .George HW Bush was a carpetbagger oil guy in Midland who made a decent show of deploying East Coast money to West Texas and then the Gulf.You are right that they don’t have deep roots in Texas philosophically but George W did grow up in Texas. In Midland, Texas. When the Earth gets an enema, it’s going in somewhere close to Midland. Sorry. I live in Austin.When trying to figure out the loyalties of politicians always consider where their wives are from. That answers where their minds are.I, therefore, agree more with you than you do with yourself.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. DJL

          Well, they still have a ranch and residence here in Texas. I have personally seen “Senior” in several of his favorite places over the years, including Fuzzy’s Pizza. I don’t know what they say in Maine, but in Texas the family is universally respected for their character. You may not like their politics, but they are very decent people.

          1. Rob Underwood

            I met “senior” a number of times, including waiting at him (and the family) a number of times when I was a teenager and college student, which was when he was VP and then President, at my family’s inn [Side brag: I sold him a shot of Wild Turkey while he was the President]. My step-brother was also his caddie for a couple years at Cape Arundel. In Kennebunkport he and his family are also more or less universally loved and respected by folks across the political spectrum. I concur they are decent people.

        3. DJL

          Point taken. But back to the main thesis – Do you think that Bush-Clinton is being pushed by the media?

          1. Rob Underwood


  41. lonnylot

    > After I made a few comments, the Senator turned to me and said “you sound like a Republican” to which I replied “I could never be that.” The Senator continued to press me and said “but you are a business person” and I replied “but I am also a human being.”My main problem w/ parties is that they focus on the parties and not the country. This is why I cannot identify w/ any party regardless of how closely I may agree with them.

  42. bijan

    i respect Marc but disagree with this simple characterization of the two parties. (e.g. it leaves out critical additional issues like civil rights and we conduct ourselves with our citizens and others around the globe).Also I don’t see the democratic side as being anti business. I don’t see net neutrality as anti economics as one example (it’s actually pro-innovation). i don’t see going after carried interest as ordinary income as anti economics (VCs and startups will be just fine). I don’t see providing healthcare to those that need it as anti-economic (It’s just pro-compassion)Yet even if this analogy holds, I think picking “anti economics” is clearly the lesser of two evils…

    1. fredwilson

      i agree with you Bijan but the sad reality is the two largest sources of funding for the Democratic party are the labor movement and the trial lawyersboth are anti business, anti innovation, and anti the party ends up being pulled in that direction and it takes great courage for Democrats to upset their major donors

      1. bijan

        money inside of politics is unfortunately a tough combo. i would love to see real campaign finance reform. the current system is gross.the labor movement has many problems but the root of it isn’t necessarily all wrong. consider how teachers & nurses were treated for a long time. they needed representation. same with minimum wage laws. if we didn’t have a labor movement, what do you think minimum wages would be today.ultimately i would rather live in a messed up democratic party world than a messed up republican world.

        1. fredwilson

          for sure. but the teachers union is like any legacy system, out of date, out of touch, and in the way.

          1. Dan Epstein

            Is there a campaign finance/funding model you’d like politics to follow? (I think campaign funding is one of the bigger political issues that needs fixing)

          2. fredwilson

            yes, but i think it has been deemed to be unconstitutional

          3. Dan Epstein


          4. Pete Griffiths

            IMHO this one of the most significant structural problems with the US.Princeton conducted a study recently in which they investigated key decisions to be taken in congress in which there was a clear readily articulated difference between the populace at large and a well heeled interest group with a well funded lobby. An example recently would be gun reform. There was around 80% popular will for at least some reform but they faced strong lobby opposition. The evidence was extremely clear. The lobby wins. In hundreds of cases over decades ‘popular will’ has become a very poor indicator of was gets through Congress. Basically our democracy has been sold to the highest bidder. The deep problem, of course, is that changing this system is muderously difficult because you would have to overcome the lobby to do it. Good luck with that. It’s a cancer. It makes a mockery of our Republic.

          5. Pete Griffiths

            For a popular presentation of the results see:…”A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.”

      2. Pete Griffiths

        If labor is anti business in the US we have ourselves (collectively) to thank for it.Unions are not anti business in Germany. They are in fact a significant part of Germany’s economic success.

      3. Tristan Louis

        Hmmm. Fred, maybe this is something where WE can affect change. If the issue is funding sources, we, as individuals and entrepreneurs can change the dialogue by becoming the new funding sources.

      4. Mike O'Horo

        You make a compelling case for publicly-funded elections. Then, there are no donors to worry about upsetting.

  43. David Barnes

    This feeling that both parties are against you is exactly how the system is supposed to work. There’s a constant battle for the tiny rational centre, and as voters you get to decide which side wins it.Imagine you’re head of strategy at either main party. You have to appeal to two groups of people:1. Lobbyists. You need as much money as possible, so must appeal to lobbyists who are prepared to pay a high fee for policies that serve them. Usually high fees require big change, so lobbyists tend to be on the extremes of left or right.2. Voters. Most of them are in a rational centre. You need to appeal to marginally more than 50% to win, but no more.In the two party system it’s easy to position yourself to lobbyists. One party appeals to left wing lobbyists, the other to right wing lobbyists. Both parties can become very well funded in this system. (Of course the left-right dichotomy is false, but in a two party system the parties need to agree who stands for what extreme on each issue. Usually they do.Money alone isn’t enough. You need to turn that money into a marketing campaign that brings electoral success. But if you launch an all out assault on the rational centre ground you lose your lobbyists who want extreme change (see 1997 new Labour again). So the trick is to fully own the right or left wing, and just enough of the centre to get elected. That’s the battle both parties are fighting all the time. They don’t want to take the centre completely because it will alienate their core supporters. They just want a marginal win, to get the balance of power.The consequence of this is that rational centrist voters are not served by either party. This is annoying but not a massive problem because it’s rare that either party does anything as extreme as their lobbyists would like. They always need to get a slight majority if they want to win and if they completely alienate the central ground they’ll lose the next election decisively.What’s to be done? One solution is to introduce a centrist party but that doesn’t work. In the UK we have a third party which tries to occupy the centre. But they don’t have enough money to decisively win an election by taking most of the centre. At best they end up in coalition with whichever of the two other parties came nearest to winning.Another is to cut down on lobbying on both sides. This might shift some power away from extreme well funded lobby groups and enable parties to fight a campaign that’s more appealing to voters.The third and final option is for central voters to recognize their role in the game. We are not selecting the party we want. We are subtly shifting the balance between conflicting interests.As such Tony, you’re right to vote Democrat in that the US currently needs more care for humans than for money. But don’t declare any loyalties — you need to keep both parties on their toes and as you’ve observed, neither of them is prepared to be loyal to you.

    1. JLM

      .You have been thinking but you have a complete bust on how lobbying works — the lobbyists are the tools of special interests (in the nicest sense of the word) to obtain legislative outcomes that benefit their clients.These outcomes are absurdly tightly focused and for the benefit of a very narrow slice of society.Political parties are not the wielders of lobbying. Their elected members are the target of lobbying.Lobbyists channel money to those who their clients think will be the most pliable if they actually get elected.Neither lobbyists nor their masters could give a “rat’s ass” about governing philosophy. They only care about who will vote for their programs.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. David Barnes

        Perhaps I have the wrong word with lobbying. Both parties have powerful supporters who influence the party’s policies and support their campaigns at election time. You’re right that lobbying is usually something that happens after elections, directly to a representative, and isn’t about who gets elected but what elected reps do.

        1. JLM

          .The term you are looking for is “rich peckerwoods” but that may just be a Texas thing.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. David Barnes


          2. David Barnes

            What about PAC?

          3. JLM

            .Other than being spawns of the Devil?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  44. Jeff DiStanlo

    why can’t we have more than two parties? so that we can have a business minded, socially conscious candidate that doesn’t feel like they have to kowtow to the extremes of either party in order to become that party’s candidate.

  45. Jim Ritchie

    It is Thomas Jefferson’s 272nd birthday today. If he was alive today he would be aghast at the size and overreach of our Federal government and the polarization of our electorate.For me the 2 party system needs to go the way of the buggy whip and the rotary dial phone. I think technology does have a chance to to make significant changes to our current political process. I know of two technology companies, both based in SF, trying to address these issues.The first is and is funded by Sean Parker, Mark Benifoff, and Ron Conway. “Brigade is for expressing yourself, learning about your friends, and finding common ground—together. It’s for making sure your voice is heard, and your actions are meaningful. Together we’re going to restore you, the voter, to the center of our democracy.”The second company, still in stealth mode, which I have been involved with on the periphery, is founded by a couple of smart Stanford guys, both with engineering/MBA degrees that have been in private equity for some time. This solution is a platform for advocacy with the stated goal to “Empowering citizens to influence friends and act, thoughtfully, socially and effectively without traditional parties.” Stay tuned…

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Why is funding a website a better solution to this issue than funding an actual political party with actual candidates?

      1. Jim Ritchie

        Don’t understand your question.I don’t have deep insight in to what Brigade is building, but you can do a Google search to get an idea.I can’t go in too much detail on what the other company is doing, but suffice it to say the idea is to push more political influence down to the individual and away from the existing political parties/money sources.I’m in SF, CA and I can say that our two party political system does a very poor job of representing me on the issues and it is very difficult for me to have much direct influence. Many of my friends feel the same way and a couple of them are building a platform to help in this regard.

        1. Matt Zagaja

          To rephrase, what exactly is the gap that is being addressed by these things? Are they going to help people through the process of advocating? Are they going to give people the tools to raise money and create their own YouTube and television ads? Though maybe those are the more details you aren’t ready to share.Secondly, if the two parties fail to represent your views, the thing you should ask yourself is are you simply just out of step with the people that you live around? If your views are reflective of a portion of the community why not be the person on your local political committee that represents those views and brings them to the table?

    2. Salt Shaker

      If Thomas Jefferson was alive today he’d be consumed by Playstation, FB likes, Instagram, tweetstorms, lobbyist pressure, campaign finance, performance polls, etc. He’d (sadly) be sucked in just like any modern-day politician. This notion that the framers of the constitution saw and understood the role of gov’t more clearly than today’s pols is silly. The world and citizen needs are vastly different today, and in many, many respects, hardly analogous.

    3. Sam

      Let’s hope Brigade is thinking “obliterate” more than they are “automate” — although difficult to tell from the available info.

  46. Dave Pinsen

    Never mind.

    1. JLM

      .Perhaps you are using “anti-science” when stupid would be a better choice of words.The entire idea of rebuilding Iraq — a hopelessly confused mishmash of Shia, Sunni, Kurd tribes — was nuts from the beginning.If I were the Mayor of Newark, I would lob a couple of missiles into Manhattan, declare Death to America, surrender and ask “When does the rebuilding begin?”This will go down as one of the worst foreign policy decisions in the history of the US but then it is not a two hand dunk shot as we have had many more since then.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Mike O'Horo

        Your Newark scenario was made famous in the book, “The Mouse that Roared.”

  47. Eric Satz

    “…but i am also a human being…and won’t put my business interests before other factors….”i was hoping this was headed in the direction of David Brook’s essay in NYT yesterday, The Moral Bucket List:… rather than the lose-lose political discourse.i think the discussion of resume virtues v eulogy virtues is an interesting one no matter which primary you vote in.

    1. FlavioGomes

      That was a great read! Thanks for sharing.

    2. Mike O'Horo

      I love the expression “resume virtues v. eulogy virtues.” I’ll have to steal and use that.

  48. Dave Berry

    Hi Fred, I 100% agree. Perhaps you should consider Rand Paul though (if you haven’t already). Libertarianism is neither anti-science or anti-economics 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve spent some time with Rand

  49. ZekeV

    We need a Pragmatist Party. What I like about Obama — although philosophically I’m sure I disagree with him on almost everything — is that he is a super effective pragmatist. Politics is the art of the possible, and Obama and his crew have excelled at identifying possibilities that can be achieved within their short time in office.

  50. DisentAgain

    We need a rationalist party. One driven by evidence based policy only.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      But will the sun rise tomorrow – Absense of contradiction is not proof

      1. DisentAgain

        We have working models to rely on. The best models we have available based on what we know to be working are the best evidence to base policy on. Ideology isn’t proof of anything either.

  51. BillMcNeely

    Mmm.I get this in reverse @fredwilson:disqus. I get accused of being a Democrat by Republicans/Tea Party folks whenever I advocate for policy that make sense for the group of a group that is under served/represented. Never mind when I voice opposition to some anti Obama comments.

    1. fredwilson

      maybe this is a good thing. maybe it means we bother to think.

  52. Pete Griffiths

    Thanks, Fred.Light the blue touchpaper and withdraw a safe distance.

  53. ShanaC

    Maybe voting is just compromise en bulk?But I would like to see a new party arise, right now we have too much of the same

  54. stevesailer

    Which side is the most anti-science when it comes to IQ and race? Denialism is almost 100% on the Democratic side and maybe 98% on the Republican side.

    1. Mike O'Horo

      Please clarify. I’m not following. (Maybe just dense today.)

  55. stevesailer

    Consider carbon emissions: importing poor Third World immigrants vastly boosts their carbon emissions leading to climate change (assuming the economically assimilate), but that form of climate change denialism is dogma on the left.

  56. Nick Ambrose

    For me the comments on how stock-holders are perceived were super interesting too. I guess long gone are the days when the shareholders are the owners of the company and the goal is to give them a decent return on their money … wow.

  57. Scott Sanders

    Fred: Do you see anyone in politics who balances both worlds well? Is there any chance the Republicans or Democrats can make that happen?

  58. Tristan Louis

    It’s interesting that the construct is “business person” vs. other. The argument such politician tend to make is that your business interest ought to trump your moral compass.I, like you, tend to be liberal on social issues, and conservative on everything else. What I think is missing from our discourse is the ability for technocrats to cut through the political morass. At the end of the day, an ideal candidate, in my view, is one focused on running the country as a businessperson is focused on running a business. To me, this means that he/she would have the interest of its stakeholders at heart. For a business person, the stakeholders ought to be customers, employees, and shareholders: customers generate money for the business, employees build and sell the things that customers buy, and shareholders provide the necessary capital and further help to drive more customers. For a political leader, the stakeholders should be citizens, businesses, residents, foreigners (including foreign businesses and foreign country).Unfortunately, politicians have bought into the concept that their main constituencies are funders and voters. I like to think of this as akin to business people who think that VCs are their primary constituency, focusing on trying to raise money instead of building businesses that are investable into.We do get the politicians we deserve, however. Maybe we should try to identify and support politicians who would agree that taking care of people AND taking care of business are not mutually exclusive goals: maybe we should force more of the country to think along the line of Etsy and other B corporations, companies that see benefits to the environment they run in (not environment in terms of global warming etc but rather environment in terms of the world) on the same level as benefit to shareholders.

    1. DJL

      If your thesis is correct – then Mitt Romney should have been the perfect candidate. But during the entire race for office, did you ever hear one media outlet talk about his resume? Was there EVER a mention of his business and parsonal experience? No. He ran a successful business (Business experience. He ran a State (political experience). He ran an international non-profit (the Olympics). But instead, all the media and the tech-Liberals could do was attack his character (which was also impeccable) by framing him as an evil capitalist with “binders of women.” And people bought it.So yes, you get he politicians you deserve. Because people don’t seem to even hold these people to the same level of scrutiny that they would a hire in their own business. I am continuatlly amazed at how many people who make their living off of Capitalism (VCs, Hollywoord, tech gurus, Silicon Valley, NYC) join in the chorus of making successful business people into evil people who throw their morals away to make a buck. When many of them (Rockafeller, Carnegie, Ford, Gates) have done more for mankind than any sniveling non-profit, save-the-world junkie. It boggles the mind.

      1. Tristan Louis

        David,The problem is one of qualification. The media (and politicians) have learned that the electorate can be distracted from qualifications by throwing useless one-liners and trumped up scandals (“binders of women”, “birth certificates” etc..)What this country needs is substantive discussions of ISSUES. I would rather have a national debate and honest agreements and disagreements on the best way to address how to increase jobs and improve education than deal with the “horse race” analysis or made up scandals thrown at each parties (eg. GWB’s college antics, Clinton’s sexual escapades).As I keep telling people, “I don’t care who you vote for but I do care about two things: 1. That you DO vote and 2. that you vote for someone you think is the most qualified to use their office to make things better.”At the end of the day, we are putting people in office who are responsible for making this country better. Let’s come to a national agreement on what better is and we will have made tremendous progress.

        1. DJL

          I agree 100%. The problem that I have discovered (personally, through many discussions with friends, relatives, co-workers) is that the definition of “better” can be very different for each person. Even if we agree on the definition of “better” then how we GET to better is up for another debate. (Is is better to have welfare, or to encourage people to have jobs to get out of poverty?) It is very distressing. And these are all folks that you would consider “educated” and “informed.”One thing I would like to see is the media coverage of an in-depth, thoughful discussion of many of our important issues by each candidate. The current “canned” debate format reduces these guys to one-liners and sound-bytes. I have thought about a Kickstarter campaign that would fund a voter-sponsored debate, where we ask the questions and give them time to answer.

          1. Tristan Louis

            Honest disagreement over path is OK, in my book. What we need is substance. In the mayoral election, I voted in the primaries for a candidate who was doomed to loose. You may think it was a wasted vote but my view was that he was the most qualified for the job, based on the info I had at the time.You’re a Republican (I assume since you were making the case for Romney) and I’m mostly a centrist democrat so I suspect we would have some disagreement as to what makes the country better. However, I see you and I agree that a debate around that “better” way to run the country is the most important thing.I love the idea of a kickstarter campaign for a voter sponsored debate where we ask the questions and give them time to answer (maybe in Reddit AMA style). It might help elevate the dialogue.Ultimately, it’s up to us as citizens to fix the system. Can’t say it’s broken and not do anything about it 🙂

      2. Mike O'Horo

        Rockefeller and Carnegie did a lot for the world, AFTER they did a lot TO the world.

  59. sachmo

    Someone should start a petition for a constitutional amendment.It should explicitly state that corporations are not people and not entitled to the rights of people (i.e. donating to PACs or electoral campaigns). It should also state that labor unions are not people and not entitled to the rights of people (i.e. donating to PACs or electoral campaigns).In FL, I think an amendment light this would easily get 50,000 signatures, get on a statewide referendum, and we’d pass it for the state constitution. If it got on enough state constitutions, it would eventually get to Washington, activists would push the issue, and they’d be forced to pass it.Within 2 full election cycles (~12 yrs), all of the garbage would be washed out of Washington… Until those bastards figured out some other loophole…

  60. Jason Crawford

    I like Michael Dearing’s take on it: “I want to create a Constitutionalist Party focused on that document. Constitutionalists get to have capitalism, open borders, pro-choice, strong defense, simple taxes, and to marry or not whomever they want.”…

  61. Lucas Dailey

    Quick Public Service Announcement from an independent elected official: Remember we only have a two-party system by accident, no one understood the long term effects of the First Past the Post voting method in 1776.…We could have elections with lots of candidates you could safely vote on with a decent preferential voting system.

  62. Steve

    As an agnostic, I ask “What’s the fetish with Science?” So many things, including the meaning of life and a moral code to live by, are not proven or even guided by science. And what if science proves facts that are uncomfortable to the narratives of the Left? Science increasingly points to a cold, mechanical universe, devoid of free will.

  63. Keenan

    I was just having this discussion with a Republican friend of mine the other day. I wish I had these terms at my disposal.You’re statement; “I can’t and won’t put my business interests before other factors that enter my mind when I think about the orthodoxies of our two parties.” Is EXACTLY how I broke it down to him.As Democrats we have to subjugate our financial interests, particularly higher taxes, for social issues like gay rights, investments in lower-income communities, social programs etc. Republicans, however must subjugate their social interests, for their financial interests, and run the risk of policies that don’t align with their social beliefs.That is the disappointing thing about our two party system. We are forced, in most situations, to prioritize one over the other. I am with you Fred and have accepted the willingness to subjugate my financial situation to ensure social issues are addressed (being human).

  64. othernathan

    republicans spend a fifth of our budget on the military, and somehow they’re pro-business?

  65. Kyle Fox

    It’s probably already been mentioned by another comment, but this is the problematic false dichotomy created by a two-party system: you have only two columns to choose from, and you must choose the ENTIRE column.As the two parties become ever more polarized, people who base their political decisions on anything other than partisan rhetoric will have an increasingly difficult time finding a party they can identify with.

  66. MickSavant

    I completely agree. If going by party I don’t find either to be pro-science or pro-economics; at best they cherry pick the economic advice that suits their purposes. Individual politicians have varying records of supporting generally accepted science and economics, but as parties both fail miserably.For science you can see the lack of support for AGW in the Republican party, and for Democrats the anti-GMO stance is equally pathetic.When it come to economics both parties fail miserably. Here is a good post on what nearly all economists agree on, and in most cases both parties do not. http://gregmankiw.blogspot….

  67. JLM

    .”Lazy but convenient framing…”That says it all. Well played.Listening to venture capitalists about their political views and seeking their guidance is akin to listening to Jane Fonda for her wisdom on Viet Nam.We attribute a certain rock star quality to people whose fame or fortune in one field seems to exert some magical transference that somehow qualifies them in the realm of political governance.Little do such people know that they are Lincoln Bedroom dupes being played by the politicians to fund not their view of the future but the politician’s view of the future.While it is a huge waste of time and very little talent, it is still (warts and all) the best system and the Founding Fathers were the real rock stars.The choices in the upcoming election could not be more stark. It will be a very polarizing but very easy election. Much the same way that the 2014 mid-terms were an easy exercise when Pres Obama said his policies were on the ballot.The Republican will be running against Obama and so will the Democrat. If it is the ancient Hillary, then she will be running against her and Bill’s past something that she will not overcome regardless of how many pink cashmere sweaters she dons.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  68. PhilipSugar

    Wow an actual insightful comment on a political post. Charlie what are you doing?? I came by only to look at the train wreck, but you posted a reasonable comment.

  69. sachmo

    I think that characterizing Republicans as anti-science is fair.There is at best a handful in both chambers of congress that actually believe that man-made global warming is a real thing.Check out politifact’s ruling on that here:…In FL, the Rick Scott administration has actually barred the state agencies from using the words ‘climate change’ and we have no plan to deal with rising sea levels, even though we have the largest coastline of any state and the majority of our population obviously deeply affected by even modest rises in sea level.It’s a complete joke to pretend that they take science seriously. There’s nothing wrong with being for the free-market, small gov’t, privatizing healthcare, etc. – but to pretend that physical changes on our planet aren’t happening or that we “don’t know” what’s causing it, it’s just ridiculous.We need real leaders. I’m not crazy about the democratic landscape either, but at least they are not wackos.

  70. DJL

    He apparently doesn’t like being wrong. ;>)

  71. LE

    I don’t know I would say that there are train wrecks and wild generalizations in Charlie’s comment.

  72. SubstrateUndertow

    “train wreck” ?From the outside American politics looks like one giant political “meme wreck” 🙂

  73. Russell

    While I don’t think ‘celebrity’ in its many forms ensures accurate and insightful political commentary – I also feel the scorn poured on Ms. Fonda and Mr. Wilson for having the temerity to take a political view point leads to a poorer debate as it discourages others from sticking their head above the parapet because they haven’t been ‘authorised’ to do so.

  74. BillMcNeely

    Its better than the normal Silicon Valley space out on non tech issues.I will take their involvement any day of the week.

  75. fredwilson

    it doesn’t discourage me. if it does anything it encourages me.

  76. JLM

    .Fair play for an insufficiently nuanced comment on my part and certainly a too wide brush using in painting the picture.Everyone is and should be invited to the fray and perhaps I should have said they should be encouraged to develop their own credibility and chops by participating at a deeper level than just writing checks and pontificating.One of the most illuminating things I have ever done is to be my local Precinct Chair — for which I had to run and be elected, my first elective triumph by an enormous margin. I ran unopposed.Seeing political activity at this grassroots level is incredibly informative and interesting.Pointed and evidence based opinions on specific subjects in which successful people have informed opinions are not just to be encouraged, they are the mother’s milk of the discussion. Essential to making good decisions.Broad strokes condemning entire political parties with sloganeering is not a useful exercise in intellectual debate and on this subject, I stand adamant. They are silly and not useful.As I have said many times, when ideas wrestle better ideas are the result. That is why things like “regular order” in the Congress are so important.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  77. MickSavant

    Personal preference is one thing. And I’m not endorsing the business practices of certain large ag. I’m just suggesting that the science on GMO is as settled or more settled than AGW.

  78. William Mougayar

    great title, Carl!

  79. awaldstein

    I’m going to chime in here on the GMO issue.Please do cite studies on this. Customers in the $20B juice business make non GMO an important criteria for product choice.

  80. Joe Cardillo

    I’ve thought a lot about that, the question of how things really get done that are meaningful (and not just you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours). I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the work gets done in the middle ground (not talking strictly politically here though it’s certainly applicable). When we’re forced to consider the impacts on actual humans and to acknowledge their world and perspective, it keeps us honest. Can’t do that unless we are a) willing to let go of grand slogans and b) willing to consider a wide swath of people. At the risk of sounding old fashioned, I still have a copy of JFK’s Profiles in Courages and I read it every few months….lot of wisdom in there (despite the fact that its perspectives are skewed a bit more male and white than I’d normally find useful).

  81. MickSavant

    I’m not an expert, I have perused the literature. If I find time I will look for studies. I am going to invoke the same scientific consensus that proponents of AGW do. You can’t make a scientific consensus argument on one side and then disregard it on another. Again, I support your personal preference, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t harbor some reservations, but the scientific community has spoken on this and until there is new data to determine otherwise the burden of proof is on those that disagree with science. cc @disqus_Awy3Cl8ObF:disqus

  82. MickSavant

    Sure. But an appeal to populism isn’t sound science, and the scientific community has spoken on this. It is a dead issue until someone produces convincing evidence that non-GMO foods are healthier. It’s a lot of marketing on the part of people looking to make money hawking non-GMO products. Watch your wallet!

  83. MickSavant

    This is an opinion, and one that is decidedly anti-science. That makes you a denier, to bogart a term often used by AGW proponents.

  84. awaldstein

    Tis a rare pleasure to be in the presence of someone who has it all figured out;)That can site a link and declare the issue dead.That can decide that the market belief is indeed just full of shit.The world is all shades of grey.Whomever sites it as not on any side of most every argument is incorrect.

  85. MickSavant

    I’m not declaring the issue dead. I am sure there will be much debate on it, particularly as we have more and better GMOs come onto the market. What I am saying is that scientific consensus is what it is. Science is decidedly on the side of GMOs not being worse for people. If someone disagrees with that they are anti-science. I draw the anthropogenic global warming argument as an example, because it’s the same thing. A quite sizable population of people that passionately disagree with scientific consensus. Can’t have it both ways. FWIW scientific consensus was vehemently against the theory of continental drift and platetectonics for a long time too. Until they weren’t.

  86. awaldstein

    actually you did:”…It is a dead issue”but no matter.a scientific study proves nada. there are many on either side and much work remains to be done. there is no scientific consensus and if indeed you want to go to the work of proving that there is and define what that is you many as well sanitize the list to insure that not one person connected, funded, influenced or at an institution that is involved takes dollars from Monsanto.You won’t be able to do this.It’s not an absolute on either side. It’s not irrefutable fact like smoking causes cancer.It’s a belief system and a healthy one. And one that I personally ascribe to with an understanding of the nuances.And yes, an owner of a growing food company that holds this belief to a substantial customer base that this is important to as well.

  87. MickSavant

    Well, I’m not sure what the logical fallacy is, so let’s get into that more if you’re interested.I apologize if I offended, sometimes text lacks the nuance that may be intended.To level set, the topic was which party was anti science/economics. I think neither is pro science. I pointed to the fact that scientific concensus is on the side of AGW and GMO. This is indisputable. It is very posh to call Republicans deniers and anti science for disagreeing with scientific consensus on AGW. And that criticism may be well deserved. But it is down right hypocrisy to do that and simultaneously take a decidedly anti science view on GMO. I was only trying to make that point.Re: Benzyne, I’m only casually familiar with it as a biology major. Rather than try to Google search my way into an opinion, my general response is that everything, including water, is toxic. It all comes down to dosage. If the scientific community arrives at a consensus that a certain dosage of Benzyne is harmful or not, that GMO are harmful or not, or that global warming is happening or not, I think it highly suspect and hypocritical to treat these conclusions differently based on personal preference.

  88. MickSavant

    Yeah, I did say that it was a dead issue but the context matters. If I didn’t draw that distinction I apologize. The point I was attempting to make is that scientific consensus is definitive on both global warming and GMO. It is hypocritical to cite this consensus in the case of global warming for Republicans and simultaneously ignore it when it comes to GMO. Scientific consensus does change, this is the nature of science. If you’re willing to give credence to deniers of global warming and be skeptic of GMO, whether I agree with you or not, I can at least respect that you are consistent. You can’t have it both ways. And you can’t deem one party anti science when it suits your personal politics.To be fully transparent, I have a degree of skepticism about the science and supposed consequences surrounding global warming, and an equal skepticism regarding current and future GMO. But it is irrefutable that taking an anti GMO stance is taking an anti science stance.