In a new video from the Cato Institute, David Boaz and John Samples take a hard look at the likely Republican field of presidential candidates. They have kind words to say about Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has pushed for a truce on social issues, and obviously Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson; the most libertarian candidate in the field.
It’s worth noting that according to a recent CNN poll, Rep. Paul does the best against President Barack Obama in a head-to-head matchup.
As has been noted a few times in the last week since we began bombing Libya, launching another war “kinetic military action” without the approval of Congress, the anti-war movement that was so vocal during the run up to and during the Iraq War has been largely silent while the Obama Administration has taken on essentially the same foreign policy as his predecessor (oh, and Syria may be next).
David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, recently visited with Judge Andrew Napolitano on Freedom Watch to discuss the absence of the anti-war movement and why they are largely sitting this president out:
While the anti-war movement is largely missing in action - comparatively speaking to protest against the Iraq War, as David Boaz notes - when it comes to President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya, there are voices on the right that are making their opposition well-known.
Over at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney presents the case that many conservatives and libertarians are making against intervention:
Setting aside the wisdom of the intervention, Obama’s entry into Libya’s civil war is troubling on at least five counts. First is the legal and constitutional question. Second is the manner of Obama’s announcement. Third is the complete disregard for public opinion and lack of debate. Fourth is the unclear role the United States will play in this coalition. Fifth is the lack of a clear endgame. Compounding all these problems is the lack of trust created by Obama’s record of deception.
There is no claim that Moammar Gadhafi poses a threat to the United States. But asking President Obama to explain his change of heart would be a fruitless exercise. This is a president who has repeatedly shredded the clear meaning of words in order to deny breaking promises he has clearly broken — consider his continued blatant falsehoods on tax increases and his hiring of lobbyists.
I read Melissa Clouthier’s post over at RedState on libertarians with interest. The title, “Should Libertarians Be Banned From CPAC” is obviously one that will attract very strong opinions, though she isn’t suggesting that we actually be banned.
Clouthier rightly notes that conservatism is made up of three legs - fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and “defense hawks”; adding that “Republicans are NOT necessarily Conservatives, although many Republicans are conservative”:
Some politicians hold socially conservative beliefs but don’t like talking about them because it’s icky. More of them, especially in the Senate, are socially liberal.
Republicans killed their brand by nearly abandoning any form of fiscal conservatism. They believed in keeping taxes, but not spending, low. This caused the government to grow and the future debt obligations foisted on future generations to grow with it. The Democrats have since made the Republicans look like pikers in comparison, but the Republicans still have a ways to go to undo their image and action problem.
Clouthier then brings up GOProud, an organization comprised of gay conservatives that has been involved in a high-profile controversy due to their sponsorship of CPAC, noting their support of gay marriage. However, she also notes that GOProud has at least two of the three legs of conservatism by supporting a strong national defense and free markets.
She then brings up the libertarian position on gay marriage by referencing the platform of the Libertarian Party:
On Fox News’s “Special Report” tonight, discussing potential new Cabinet members for President Obama, Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen Hayes dismissed former senator Chuck Hagel as ”an anti-Republican Republican — somebody who’s officially a Republican but in fact isn’t all that Republican.”
It’s true that Hagel didn’t always march in lockstep with the Bush-Cheney administration, whose loyal amanuensis Hayes has been. But is this really an “anti-Republican” record?
- Voted for the Iraq war
- Voted for the Patriot Act
- Voted for the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts
- Voted against No Child Left Behind
- Voted against Bush’s Medicare prescription drug bill
- Voted against McCain-Feingold
That’s not a down-the-line Bush-McCain record. But would Hayes say it’s not a Republican voting record? Hagel had a lifetime rating of 84 percent from the American Conservative Union and consistent A and B grades from the National Taxpayers Union. He did emerge in 2006 as a critic of the Iraq war. And his wife endorsed Obama in 2008.
House Democrats did what they could yesterday to ensure that the Obama Tax Hikes take place without a hitch on January 1, 2011. They passed a rule, by a vote of 213 to 203, that blocked attempts by House Republicans to amend the bill to add extension for cuts for income earners making over $250,000, though 33 Democrats voted against the rule.
The extension of tax cuts passed by a vote of 234 to 188. All but three Republicans voted against the measure, as they said they would if cuts for higher income earners weren’t include. Twenty Democrats joined them, mostly those who lost on election day.
Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-OH) called the tactics by outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues “chicken crap” (we all know what he really meant):
The list I have to choose from for president in 2012 is steadily shrinking. The latest name to be scratched off the list? Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). While appearing last night on Special Report w/ Bret Baier, DeMint said, “you can’t be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative”:
Now, this is something he has said before. At the Value Voters Summit in September, DeMint said, “it’s impossible to be a fiscal conservative unless you’re a social conservative because of the high cost of a dysfunctional society.” I was hoping it was a moment of pandering, but it looks like I was wrong.
In responding to DeMint and other social conservatives shortly after comments made in September, David Boaz, executive vice-president of the Cato Institute, wrote:
As Republicans look to take back the House, independent voters are letting the GOP know that they don’t care about mosques, gay marriage or other social issues. They are focused only on the economy and jobs:
Mr. Cornyn, who has been on the receiving end of anti-establishment anger, argued that the Tea Party had helped Republicans in one important respect, by moving the debate away from social issues. While Tea Party supporters tend to be socially conservative on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion, most say they don’t want to talk about them; they believe that by spending so much time on those issues, the Republican Party failed to focus on fiscal conservatism.
While social issues tend to be polarizing, Republicans can win on economic issues, Mr. Cornyn said, because the Democrats have been in charge as the economy has gone south.
“As I’ve traveled,” he said, “I’ve talked to a lot of folks who are basically independents who say: I’m fine with the Republicans as long as we’re talking about fiscal responsibility. Where I go off the reservation is when you talk about social issues.”
If the GOP can credibly embrace the idea that endless bailouts (many of which were instituted by a Republican president) of GSEs, big banks, car companies, homeowners (but never renters!), etc. are a bad idea; that increasing total government outlays by 104 percent in an eight-year period is really awful; and that doubling down on the less-winnable of two dumb wars is not smart, maybe they deserve another shot at running the House.
In 2006, David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer, along with David Kirby published a study showing that libertarians make up around 13% of the electorate and are a large swing vote in any given election.
According to the study, libertarians voters preferred George W. Bush over Al Gore, 72 to 20 percent. But after a disasterous foreign policy, a war on civil liberties and spending on par with Lyndon Johnson, Bush’s support among libertarian voters dropped in 2004 to 59 percent to 38 percent over John Kerry.
A follow up to the study earlier this year showed that libertarians backed John McCain over Barack Obama, 71 to 27 percent, showing a skepticism of his agenda.
In this podcast, David Boaz and I discuss the libertarian vote, the tea party movement and how they will impact the 2010 mid-term election.
You can download the podcast here (16:20/14.9MB).