I am a bad, bad man. Last week I started a mini-firestorm of controversy about fusionism, then ran away into the woods of upstate New York for a two week vacation where the Internet is an endangered species. And now that the firestorm has since—partially, at least—died down, I’m here to stir it back up again. Because I totally captured an Internet in a Have-A-Heart trap and can actually use it for my nefarious blogging.
Jason Pye made some very thoughtful points in his rebuttal, which could be summed up by his last paragraph, that we shouldn’t “cut off our nose to spite our face.” Fair enough. I myself am a “gradualist,” and don’t see radical libertarianism as the way forward. Jason and I agree on that. But there are a few things I take issue with.
For starters, I never ruled out working with conservatives on issues. In fact, I explicitly endorsed ad hoc alliances with both the right and the left in order to advance individual liberty. This was the view put forward by our colleague Tom Knighton, and I think its a reasonable and sensible one to use.
The problem I have with fusionism is not that we’re working with people we disagree with on issues. That’s not just politics, that’s just life, and we’re going to have to deal with it. The problem with fusionism is that it seeks to subsume libertarianism as a wing of the conservative jumbo jet that’s flying off into some distant horizon. That libertarianism is really just a bunch of conservatives who like drugs, are okay with gay people, and not as much with war. But, as it goes, libertarians are fundamentally conservative at their core.
With polls showing some fluctuation in the Republican Senate primary in Wisconsin, prominent grassroots groups are now lining up against each other as they side with different candidates. There is an eagerness to make sure that former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who supported ObamaCare, doesn’t get the nomination; however, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth have different views on the best candidate.
The Club for Growth endorsed former Wisconsin Rep. Mark Neumann in the race late last year, noting his strong commitment to economic freedom and limited government, and launched a strong campaign against Thompson’s record, including his support of ObamaCare. And last week, the Club released this ad hitting Thompson and Eric Hovde, a Madison businessman who has seen support rise in recent weeks, on their support for higher taxes:
Earlier this week, I noted that an internal poll from Ted Cruz’s campaign showed him with a 9-point lead over David Dewhurst in the runoff for the GOP’s nod in the United States Senate race in Texas. Internal polls, while valuable to a campaign, tend to overstate performance of a candidate. So while it was a good sign for Cruz, there was still some healthy skepticism.
But a new survey in the race from Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that Cruz does indeed lead Dewhurst, though by 5 points — a smaller lead than the internal, though outside of the margin of error, ahead of the July 31st runoff (emphasis mine):
PPP’s first poll of the Texas Senate runoff finds Ted Cruz with a surprising 49-44 lead and a much more enthusiastic cadre of supporters than former front runner David Dewhurst.
Cruz’s lead expands to a whooping 59-36 margin over Dewhurst among voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in the election. The lower turnout is, the better Cruz’s chances will be. Dewhurst leads 51-43 with ‘somewhat excited’ voters and 50-36 with those who say they are ‘not that excited.’ The big question is whether those less enthused folks will actually bother to turn out or not.
Over the last couple of days we’ve been discussing conservative/libertarian fusionism. Jeremy Kolassa got us started on Tuesday with an excellent post explaining that libertarians need to contrast themselves from conservatives, and not simply “go along to get along.”
While I largely agree with the substance of the post, I later posted somewhat of a rebuttal, in which I explained that we need not cut off our nose to spite our face when dealing with conservative groups that concentrate on issues with which we can agree; such as spending and taxes.
In my post, I pointed to comments made earlier this by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who, during an interview with Reason, said that the Republican Party should listen to libertarians. This caught the eye of my good friend, Chris Barron.
Yesterday, Chris pointed out that Sen. DeMint has been openly hostile to GOProud, a group of gay Republicans that promotes free markets and limited government, by opposing its inclusion in the most recent CPAC. Chris also pointed to a post that I wrote back in November 2010, in which I criticized Sen. DeMint for saying that one “can’t be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative.”
As the Republican National Convention approaches, Mitt Romney is indicating that he may be just days away from annoucing his running mate. Many conservatives hope that Team Romney chooses a credible conservative, one that could excite the base. This is a dilemma for the campaign since, as a new WaPo/ABC News poll indicates, Romney’s supporters are more motivated to vote against President Barack Obama than for him:
Nearly six in 10 of those siding with Mitt Romney in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll say their vote is primarily “against” President Obama not in favor of the former Massachusetts governor, a testament to how much of Romney’s support is built on opposition to the current occupant of the White House.
By contrast, about three-quarters of Obama’s supporters are voting affirmatively “for” the president.
Romney’s support numbers are similar to those of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) in 2004 and Obama’s support numbers mirror those of President George W. Bush in his bid for a second term. The 2004 contest was close, but ultimately the “Bush protest” vote was not enough to put Kerry on top.
There has been some very scary things going on lately as more bloggers take on the story of Brett Kimberlin. Our own Kevin Boyd reported on this last Friday, pointing out the ties Kimberlin has with the State Department, a different angle that most have taken when exposing the convicted bomber.
But Conor Friedersdorf notes that some conservative bloggers willing to report on Kimberlin have been harassed thanks to a new phenomenon called “SWATing,” which has put people in very real danger:
In recent days, the conservative blogosphere has been abuzz about an apparently coordinated attempt to intimidate some of its own. Patrick “Patterico” Frey, an L.A. area blogger, Erick Erickson of Red State, and Robert Stacy McCain, a conservative journalist based near Washington, D.C., all report being subject to threats and harassment as a result of posts they’ve written.
Thomas Jefferson once said, ” I don’t care what my neighbor does as long as he doesn’t pick my pocket or break my leg.” I wish Rush and Rand Paul believed the same thing.
Recently President Obama changed his mind on gay marriage. That’s not a big surprise since one out of six of his bundlers, those who raise huge amounts of cash for his campaign, are gay. Neither is it a big surprise that Rush Limbaugh and the Religious Right are still against gay marriage. What is surprising is that Rand Paul agrees not with those who want more liberty for folks but with those who want some people to have less. I had hoped that Rand Paul would carry the Torch of Liberty into the 2016 presidential race, but I don’t think so after his remarks he made last Friday.
Rand Paul has been an ardent supporter of Liberty in the Senate since being elected. Often times he has been the lone dissenting voice arguing against war in Syria and Iran and the expansion of the federal government at home. That is why it shocked me to hear what he said about Obama and the president’s stance on gay marriage. Rand Paul said that “Obama’s remarks could not get any gayer.”
While Republicans have constantly tried to dismiss his campaign, Ron Paul has certainly showed that there is a strong battle for the heart and soul of the party; pitting limited government conservatives and libertarians up against the establishment. But Paul hinted yesterday that, while his campaign has had success in exposing these fissures, he has decided to scale back his operation:
An announcement from Rep. Ron Paul indicates that the Republican presidential candidate will no longer actively campaign for the GOP nomination, but will continue to work to secure delegates at upcoming Republican state conventions. “Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted,” said Paul, in a statement released Monday afternoon. “Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.”
But the longtime congressman from Texas, who’s making his third bid for the White House, says he’ll continue to try and secure delegates to the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida in late August.
“Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future,” adds Paul, in his statement.
Paul hasn’t suspended his campaign, as some media outlets are reporting. The delegate strategy that his supporters are carrying out at caucuses and state conventions is very much alive. However, it seems that Paul is more interested in gaining enough delegates to make changes to the platform, rather than to ruin Romney’s chance at the nomination.
Over the last few years, I’ve been explaining to friends, particularly Republicans, that young Americans are increasinly libertarian in their viewpoints. Some of them dismiss it, refusing to acknowledge the rising popularity of libertarianism. However, Jack Hunter notes that, thanks to some recent polling by Zogby, the conservative movement is being somewhat saved by libertarians:
One of the races you should be watching closely this year is the Indiana Senate race. Longtime Senator Dick Lugar is finally getting what appears to be a worthy challenger in a primary election this time around. Lugar has been despised by conservatives for some time, despite the “R” behind his name.
Among other things, Lugar voted to confirm Sotomayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court, has a history of voting to raise the debt ceiling, and voted in favor of the NDAA (indefinite detention of Americans). He was suspected to be supporting SOPA/PIPA (the Internet censorship bills), but he never committed one way or the other. Lack of a spine on that issue didn’t sit well with conservatives, either.
So now he’s in a primary, and it’s a primary he could very well lose. Some recent polling shows challenger Richard Mourdock is in a statistical tie with Lugar while other polling shows Mourdock has a good lead over Lugar. Mourdock wasn’t favored to beat Lugar, but he’s got some things going in his favor in this election.
Anti-Incumbent Sentiment. People still don’t like incumbents, and for the most part, I don’t blame them. Lugar doesn’t have a good history when it comes to his voting record, and Mourdock isn’t shy about pointing that out.
Support from conservative interest groups. The conservative groups see Lugar as being vulnerable this time around, and they’ve put their support behind Mourdock. FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth are two of the big conservative interest groups in Mourdock’s camp.