Herman Cain visited the Bloggers’ Lounge yesterday for a few moments. He gave us a quick introduction and took a few questions, including a couple from me on his support of the bailouts (he gave a woefully inadequate answer).
After making the rounds, Cain came by for a quick chat with me on campaign finance, free trade and spending. You can download the podcast here (3.3MB/3:39).
Stand by, I hope to have a couple more of these tomorrow.
“…some Tea Party-backed candidates and other Republicans have taken positions that many voters consider extreme, like shutting down the government to get their way, privatizing Social Security and Medicare and ending unemployment insurance.” - NY Times
Extremism is probably the buzzword today in politics. By arguing against extremism from your opponent, you paint yourself as the defender of what is just and right. However, the thing to keep in mind is that extremism today is mainstream thought tomorrow.
For example, the idea of “medical marijuana” was extreme for many, many years. Today it’s becoming more and more common. Even more people are coming out in favor of legalization where as a decade ago it was an “extremist” view. The idea of legalizing any drug was a sign of being soft on crime and criminals. Today, it’s soccer moms and even police officers who are taking that stance, not just libertarian whack jobs.
Ideas like privatizing social security sound extreme because the propaganda machine has done a good job of painting it that way. However, as more and more people enter into social security with fewer and fewer people contributing to it, the Ponzi scheme will inevitably fail. What happens then? Well, for one, the system will need serious revision at least. That could mean privatization, or it could mean scrapping the system. Either way, something is going to have to happen and whatever it is will be something that the New York Times says is “extreme”.
Extremism is in the eye of the beholder, at least when it comes to American politics. The idea of government getting out of people’s daily lives doesn’t sound extreme, since that’s kind of what the United States is all about. However, when you argue against seat belt laws, or against the Department of Homeland Security, you get labeled as “extremist”. People forget that we lived just fine without this stuff.
Over the last few days, many Americans, including myself, have lost sight of what really matters overall. We have liberal bloggers pounding away at keyboards trying to show the Tea Party as evil. We have conservative bloggers pounding away at keyboards trying to show the NAACP as racist. We have libertarian bloggers pounding away at keyboards arguing against bloggers from either of the two primary affiliations.
It gets a little much and like I said, I’ve been as guilty (if not more so) than anyone. However, there are still real problems in this country that need to be addressed that shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle of who said what when.
We still have an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico to clean up, and there is need for a valid debate on whether more regulation would prevent another disaster like that one, or whether there were already plenty of regulations on the books that just weren’t enforced. There’s still room for a valid debate on how hard BP should get hit financially on this.
We still have sky high unemployment, and there is still a need for valid debate on how best to combat that. Folks like me see the best way is for government to get out of the way and let the private sector do it’s thing. There are others who think that government is the solution. Let’s have that debate in the blogs and the newspaper columns.
We have new financial regulations coming down the pipe. Let’s debate the merits and flaws of those, rather than what someone said in a speech. Let’s talk about whether the government had a hand in creating this mess or not. Let’s discuss the idea of “to big to fail” for a little while.
Interesting results from a Pew Research survey:
More than four-in-ten independents (44%) react positively to the word “libertarian,” while 32% have a negative reaction. Democrats are nearly evenly divided (39% positive, 37% negative). However, Republicans on balance have a negative impression of this term (44% negative, 31% positive).
In many ways we’re actually competition for Republicans and try to hold them to their principles and slam them when they don’t live up to them. But Republicans don’t like us on the social side of things
Commentators, from the left, of course, draw other conclusions:
The notion that Republicans are libertarian is ludicrous. They stick their noses into our bedrooms, into our doctors’ offices, into churches. They demand the roundup of people who don’t look like them. They whine about Miranda rights and due process. They are more concerned about the rights of big energy conglomerates, than they are about the rights of people to enjoy long walks on pristine beaches. They whine about true independent and free media that doesn’t validate their ideology. They freak out about anyone who doesn’t believe in their god, or worse, in any god at all.
For the American Taliban, “liberty” means their ability to impose their beliefs and lifestyle on the rest of society.
Mike Hassinger is a political consultant with Landmark Communications in Atlanta, Georgia. These views are his own.
The Tea Party movement has been ignored, mocked, dismissed, and cast as a collection of conspiracy kooks and racists. To become a genuine political force, this fledgling movement must face internal challenges of direction and leadership while under full assault from the statists on the left and their enabling lapdogs in the mainstream media. In one sense the Tea Party’s journey has been a compressed version of libertarianism -it took libertarians decades to become misunderstood and marginalized, whereas the Tea Partiers have done so in less than a year.
The Tea Party, as force in American electoral politics, stands at a crossroads –several crossroads, actually. Do they form their own political party, or back candidates from existing parties who support their views? Will they start small, with state and local races, or swing for the fences and jump into contested races in the house and Senate? The biggest question is going unasked: Will they co-opt, or be co-opted, and if they’re co-opted, who’s going to get them?
When I was sixteen years old — only one year after my conversion to Catholicism — I began looking into religion more seriously as a result of a persistent twinge of reason which plagues me to this day. Determined to avoid Atheists and Theists on principle, I instead looked to Thomas Henry Huxley and John Shelby Spong, an Agnostic biologist and a dissenting Episcopalian Bishop respectively. In conference with these two minds, I discovered myself for an Atheist, but also stumbled upon the first truly intellectual concept of my life: it is possible that each and everyone one of us is “right” in every way, shape and form.
From those early days of intellectual curiosity, thumbing through Spong’s “Why Christianity Must Change Or Die” and growing my understanding of the individual, I’ve sought autonomy in all aspects of my life. In short, it was no surprise to the few people who know me that I was attracted to the Libertarian Party. I’m a spiritual Atheist. I’m an intelligent idiot. I’m an optimistic cynic. Where else could I go?
I’ve loved the Party. It was a tent big enough to house possibilities, a place that wasn’t crowded with rhetoric and closed-mindedness and half-truths.
And then it happened: my partner informed me that Bill Maher is not — no way, no how — a libertarian.
Imagine my surprise. After all, Maher’s been something of a personal hero to me since my relative youth. If I knew and loved anyone, it was Lewis Black.. But Bill Maher … he was, like, second runner-up. To George Carlin. But I digress.
For the second year in a row, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) presidential straw poll. The poll also found that libertarians are increasingly growing in influence.
Paul took 31% of the 2,459 votes cast, up from the 25% he earned in the 2013 iteration of the straw poll. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) finished in a distant second place, with 11%. Dr. Ben Carson finished third, taking 9%.
“I am grateful to all the attendees who stood with me. The fight for liberty continues, and we must continue to stand up and say: We’re free and no one, no matter how well-intentioned, will take our freedoms from us. Together we will stand up for the Constitution. Together we will fight for what is right,” said Paul in a statement from RandPAC. “Thank you and onwards to victory.”
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at 7% and 6%. Rubio’s numbers are down from 2013, when he finished just behind Paul.
Tony Frabrizio, who announced the results to CPAC attendees, explained that 46% of straw poll voters were between the ages of 18 and 25 and 18% were between 26 and 40.
Despite the heavy emphasis on social issues during Friday’s speeches, 78% of straw poll voters said that their “most important goal is to promote individual freedom by reducing the size and scope of government and its intrusion into individual citizens’ lives.”
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.
The close race that was the Virginia governor’s race, where Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli lost by a smaller than predicted margin to Clinton campaigner-in-chief Terry McAuliffe, has led to some very interesting — although not altogether new — discussions about the role of a third party candidate in a tight election. And, while it’s becoming fairly clear that the, as Allahpundit at HotAir puts it, “fake libertarian didn’t cost Cuccinelli the election” in terms of vote count, that doesn’t mean that Sarvis being in the race and the support he was given by some influential power-brokers didn’t actually help to harm Cuccinelli in the end.
First, the argument that Sarvis had nothing to do with Cuccinelli’s loss. The numbers look right to make that argument. From new and compelling blog The Federalist:
Remember that the total difference between your average Cuccinelli county (R+25) and your average McAuliffe county (D+22) was a swing of nearly 47 percent, yet the difference in Sarvis support between those two massively different electorates was less than 1 percent.
Those numbers — namely the fact that there is so little difference in Sarvis support in counties with wildly different candidate preferences — strongly suggest that Sarvis was a “none of the above” candidate, not a Cuccinelli siphon or a traditional spoiler in the mold of Ralph Nader.
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.”