House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) took aim at President Barack Obama’s foreign policy yesterday in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), leveling criticism at the administration over its handling of the situation in Syria.
“Months into Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s brutal suppression of a nation-wide protest movement, momentum appeared to be with the protesters. President Obama – sensing perhaps that Assad’s fall was inevitable – called for the dictator to go,” Cantor told cadets on Presidents Day, adding that the White House’s inability to follow through on the threats to intervene in the bloody conflict have “weakened our credibility.”
Along with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Cantor backed President Obama’s push for military intervention in Syria. Most members of Congress, however, were poised to vote against an authorization for the use of force against Assad’s regime and polls found that a majority of Americans opposed the prospect of another war.
President Obama eventually backed down from his threat against Assad, though hawkish Republicans heavily criticized him.
“Maybe I’ll do a real horror record and talk about the Obama administration.” — Glenn Danzig
— Rand Paul and the next Republican revolution: There’s a great read over at Politico this morning about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and how he, with his libertarian-leanings, is leading a new Republican revolution. “Facing his own primary challenge from the right next month, [Sen. John] Cornyn let everyone know he’s in sync with the Cruzes and Pauls of the Senate. ‘Every day, Ted and Rand and I wake up, get outta bed and push back on the Obama agenda,’ Cornyn said in introducing Paul, whom he called ‘one of the brightest new stars in the Republican Party, someone with courage, intelligence and principles who can help us win elections and reclaim our country,’” wrote Katie Glueck. “The gushing words underscored Paul’s remarkable trajectory within his party: from insurgent challenger four years ago, to headache for Senate leadership, to having the Senate whip himself offer Paul’s warm-up act.”
Today in Liberty: NSA reforms stalled, Amash on conservatism and libertarianism, Mike Lee on Obamacare’s lawlessness
“Our system, with its unhealthy, unconstitutional concentration of power, feeds on the atavistic tendency to see the chief magistrate as our national father or mother, responsible for our economic well-being, our physical safety, and even our sense of belonging. Relimiting the presidency depends on freeing ourselves from a mind-set one century in the making.” — Gene Healy
— It’s Presidents Day: Rather than embellishing the office of the executive and the power its welds, you should pick up Gene Healy’s e-books — The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power (free) and False Idol: Barack Obama and the Continuing Cult of the Presidency ($3.03). Trust us, these two e-books are well worth the time it takes to read them.
— Another big Obamacare change could be coming: This would one be pretty significant, not to mention costly. The Washington Examiner reports this morning that the insurance industry and the Obama administration are discussing the extension of the transitional “risk corridors” provision (also known as the Obamacare bailout provision). We’ll have a little more on this later this morning.
Nick Gillespie and Reason TV chat with George Will, a conservative journalist, about his transformation to libertarianism.
The libertarian philosophy is taking the Republican Party by storm, according to a poll conducted by FreedomWorks, a DC-based grassroots service center with over 6 million members.
With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and many other liberty-minded politicians gaining influence, libertarianism has generated new interest inside the Republican Party, much to the chagrin of the GOP’s political establishment.
Though still not a dominate view inside the party, there is no denying that the narrative inside the Republican Party has significantly changed. Moreover, libertarians have an opportunity upon which they can seize, if they’re willing to work within the system.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 41 percent of Republican voters hold libertarian views. Conventional wisdom is that many voters who are libertarian don’t know the word. But this may well be changing,” noted David Kirby, Kellyanne Conway, and Stephen Spiker in the report on the data.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 42 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the word ‘libertarian,’ and only 10 percent don’t know the word, compared to 27 percent who don’t know nationally,” they added.
And the term “libertarian” may still turn off some Republican voters, the basic message of the philosophy earns significant favor. The poll found that 68% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree with the statement that “individuals should be free to do as they like as long as they don’t hurt others, and that the government should keep out of people’s day-to-day lives.”
Don’t you just love it when people who don’t really understand your ideology decide to pontificate on just what is wrong with it? Well, that’s what happened over at Bloomberg when Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu took to the bandwidth to announce that libertarians are the new communists.
Oh yes, you read that right:
Most people would consider radical libertarianism and communism polar opposites: The first glorifies personal freedom. The second would obliterate it. Yet the ideologies are simply mirror images. Both attempt to answer the same questions, and fail to do so in similar ways. Where communism was adopted, the result was misery, poverty and tyranny. If extremist libertarians ever translated their beliefs into policy, it would lead to the same kinds of catastrophe.
This just tickles me because it comes from two progressives. You know, progressives: the guys who have given us the non-recovery from the worst financial crisis since the great depression? But catastrophe will follow if our policies were implemented?
Funny, if complete BS:
Let’s start with some definitions. By radical libertarianism, we mean the ideology that holds that individual liberty trumps all other values. By communism, we mean the ideology of extreme state domination of private and economic life.
Some of the radical libertarians are Ayn Rand fans who divide their fellow citizens into makers, in the mold of John Galt, and takers, in the mold of anyone not John Galt.
Way to completely miss the point on Ayn Rand’s works.
Via Reason Magazine on YouTube, Nick Gillespie chats with Ben Domenech, Tim Carney, and Jesse Walker about “libertarian populism” and the potential appeal it could have to Americans who are tired of cronyism and big government.
What’s more dangerous — a government that respects its limitations and the rights of its citizens or a government that can do virtually anything it wants under the guise of protecting the homeland? That’s the question that summed up the public debate between Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) that went down late last month.
George Will, an iconic conservative columnist, answered the question yesterday on ABC’s This Week, explaining libertarianism’s respect for individual liberty and noting that its Christie’s view of government that is truly dangerous.
“[T]here is a rising libertarian stream that Chris Christie has said is ‘a very dangerous thought.’ So let’s be clear about what libertarianism is and what it isn’t. It is not anarchism. It has a role in government,” noted Will during a panel on the Sunday talk show. “What libertarianism says — it comes in many flavors and many degrees of severity, and it basically says before the government abridges the freedom of an individual or the freedom of several individuals contracting together, that government ought to have, a) a compelling reason and b) a constitutional warrant for doing so.”
“Now, if Mr. Christie thinks that’s a dangerous thought, a number of people are going to say that Mr. Christie himself may be dangerous,” said Will in his usually clear and pointed tone.
Much is being made of this idea called ”Libertarian Populism” and its perceived value as a winning political strategy. The problem is, few seem to know what those words really mean. As such, a range of politicians and policies have incorrectly been grafted onto specific words that have specific meanings.
I’ve silently watched as this LibPop movement(?) has unfolded; see this litany of articles at this link roundup provided by Reason Magazine. The term seems to have been coined at a book forum for Tim Carney at the Cato Institute. In its next iteration, Ross Douthat succinctly defined Libertarian Populism as:
“A strain of thought that moves from the standard grassroots conservative view of Washington as an inherently corrupt realm of special interests and self-dealing elites to a broader skepticism of ‘bigness’ in all its forms (corporate as well as governmental), that regards the Bush era as an object lesson in everything that can go wrong (at home and abroad) when conservatives set aside this skepticism, and that sees the cause of limited government as a means not only to safeguarding liberty, but to unwinding webs of privilege and rent-seeking and enabling true equality of opportunity as well.”
In case you haven’t noticed, there is a big debate about the future of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. On one side you have the status quo — those who continue to grow government and get the United States in perilous military engagements overseas — and on the other, there is a new brand of fusionism that is gaining in popularity.
Ben Domenech, editor of The Transom, has dubbed this new fusionism as “libertarian populism,” which is part of the debate over conservative reform. In a response to a recent critique by Ross Douthat, Domenech outlines the tenets of libertarian populism and explains that it presents a path for limited government advocates to sell ideas to voters:
The appeal of libertarian populism is that it refuses to cede the philosophical battle to the side of big government – and the permanence of a broken welfare/regulatory state and convoluted tax code – before the argument is even joined. Instead, libertarian populism can and should be cast in the proper light: the sober reality of our dire fiscal situation; the abject brokenness of our welfare state; tax, education and regulatory systems that retard economic opportunity, punish success, hurt the poor and middle class, and reward cronies; and a federal government that wants control over almost every aspect of our lives, from the raw milk we drink to the lightbulbs we use and the toilets we flush.