With Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s reelection coming up in 2014, numerous individuals have been looking at taking a whack at the Kentucky senator. He’s annoyed grassroots conservatives, libertarian Republicans, and Tea Party types for awhile now, both for his deals with Senate Democrats to keep things moving (such as the recent deal on filibusters) and just because he really hasn’t done anything to cut spending.
Recently, though, this irritation has built a bridge between Kentucky conservatives and Kentucky liberals, and an unlikely grouping of very strange bedfellows indeed are exploring the possibilities of an alliance against him. Seth Mandel at Commentary magazine doesn’t like this at all:
The sometimes contradictory nature of the grassroots conservative criticism of GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was apparent a few weeks ago when one conservative group began to advertise against McConnell from the right. It turned out this same group, which rates members of Congress on their dedication to conservative principles and freedom, gives McConnell a 95 percent rating.
As the presidential inauguration comes upon us today, I can’t help but think that we’re seeing Bush’s fourth term. Barack Obama, while talking up a good liberal game on international peace and social issues, is really quite similar to his Republican predecessor. He has widely broadened the use of drones pioneered with Bush 43. His signing of the NDAA act authorizing indefinite detention is merely a sequel to the PATRIOT Act Bush signed in 2001. And his recent executive orders on guns have elicited much the same outrage from conservatives that liberals had over Bush’s signing statements.
Combined with staying the course on military spending, staying the course on not making any significant reforms to entitlements, staying the course on the War on Drugs, and staying the course on corporate bailouts…
…and I’m wondering if George W. Bush ever left.
Certainly, there are differences. George W. Bush championed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, while the Obama Administration has just given up on defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama is also far more supportive of a woman’s right to choose, while George W. Bush was pro-life (mostly). But on nearly all other issues, ranging from torture, to war, to government spending, our 44th president is little more than an “expansion pack” to our 43rd — doing the same things, only worse.
Last week, Julie Borowski posted a video posing a question about why there aren’t more female libertarians. It’s an interesting thought, for sure. Her point in the video was that women have pressure to be more socially accepted, and since libertarianism isn’t exactly mainstream, women shy away from it.
There were a few responses – and a lot of chatter on Facebook – about Julie’s video. I saw a few times it was called sexist and over the top, and I suppose those descriptions aren’t entirely incorrect. Julie’s got her own unique style in her videos, and I think more than anything, her style was a little more pronounced in that video than it usually is.
Maybe that’s being nice. Either way, her video got me thinking about her topic, which I’m sure was one of her goals. I know that when I write, my primary goal is for the audience to give real thought to my content.
As I’ve been thinking about Julie’s post, I’ve come to the conclusion that she asked the wrong question. Sure, we want more libertarian women among us, but I think the real question to ask is why aren’t there more libertarians in general, not just women.
The answer, I’ve decided, is that libertarians are an obnoxious bunch of people who are difficult to deal with on a regular basis. (And I say this knowing quite well that I’m among that group.)
There is no doubt that the Republican Party is at a crossroad with many questioning the direction that should be taken to bring them back to electoral success. The biggest obstacle to moving the GOP back to its limited government roots is the political establishment — the dealers and the consultant class — who want to the party to take the road to victory by selling out limited government principles.
This creats a problem for conservatives, many of whom are still trying to make sense of the 2012 election. Many realize the dangers that lie ahead by kowtowing to the party’s political establishment, but they’re weary of trying to stand in their way. They’ve actually bought into the line that the freedom movement is to blame for the problems that have plagued the GOP. Yes, there were some bad candidates that ran in 2012, but the Republican Party’s brand was damaged long before voters ever headed to the polls.
In a recent piece at Commentary, Matt Welch, editor of Reason, explained that conservatives need to start actually practicing what they preach when it comes to limiting the size and scope of government:
Via Reason, Kennedy gives a rundown of the best and worst Christmas films from a libertarian perspective.
Here’s the latest video from Julie Borowski:
Libertarianism seems like an idea that the vast majority of people can get behind. More and more people are approaching me, describing themselves as mostly libertarian. The problem, as they describe it, is a matter of libertarians not really grasping the reality of the world we live in.
I’m going to concede that they make a fair point. It’s not that libertarian ideals can’t be applicable to the real world. Instead it’s that so many libertarians don’t bother to look at things in the real world before opening their trap.
A case in point is Reason.com’s J.D. Tuccille. Yesterday, he arguing that right to work laws were actually not libertarian because they violated the power of the contract, telling employers and unions what they can’t do in a contract.
Needless to say, he was met with a great deal of resistance. Later yesterday evening, he posted this at Reason:
However, there is a group that benefits from responding to laws with more laws, and that group consists of politicians and government officials. Note that the long-standing positions of the major political parties are represented both in the federal legislation mentioned above and the current battle over right-to-work laws. With the NLRA, Democrats positioned themselves as advocates for labor, while Republicans responded to business concerns with Taft-Hartley. Republicans now champion right-to-work on behalf of beleaguered businesses, while Democrats tout their opposition to such laws to their union-member constituents. By intruding the state into labor-business relations, politicians elevated their own importance and power in a way that simply staying out of the matter, or repealing laws, never could,
One of the biggest struggles between conservatives and libertarians isn’t over gay marriage, abortion, or even the War on Drugs. No, its whether libertarians should be faithful to the Republican Party. This discussion has gotten even louder in recent weeks after Mitt Romney’s defeat at the hands of President Obama.
However, the question I personally have is whether or not libertarians would be even welcome within the party. My fellow United Liberty contributor, Kevin Boyd, wrote this regarding his thoughts on what libertarians should do:
The solution is simple, we must launch a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. We need encourage our libertarian friends to abandon the Libertarian Party, which has accomplished a grand total of nothing in its 40 years of existence. Conservatives and libertarians need to get involved in the Republican party, especially on the local level. Work your way up the party ranks and eventually become the establishment.
I see what Kevin is saying, and he’s right about the Libertarian Party’s lack of accomplishment. As a member of that party, I’m extremely frustrated with the poor showing during the last election by Gary Johnson, who I felt was a very solid candidate.
However, Johnson’s appearance on the LP ticket ties into my concerns about whether libertarians would be welcomed within the GOP. Johnson was a two term governor of New Mexico, a clear fiscal conservative, and a man with solid “small government” credentials. He was shut out.
Ron Paul made some waves this time around, and much of the derision he faced within the GOP could be argued to be the result of his fanatical supporters and their actions. However, four years ago, he was right where Johnson was this time around.
Our rulers in Washington DC are fighting over the so-called “fiscal cliff” which means that at the end of the year a bunch of “spending cuts” and tax increases will take effect causing all sorts of calamities. Our wonderful representatives in Congress and our brilliant President/Messiah, Barack Obama are trying to work out a “balanced” deal to make everything alright. The “balanced” deal appears to be we raise taxes today, especially on the evil “rich”, and that we cut spending in a few years (ie. never). No one on Capitol Hill dares to suggest that instead of asking American taxpayers to pay more taxes that we actually, you know cut spending. The fiscal cliff debate is actually America’s time for choosing of whether or not we will be a country that values freedom and liberty or we will be a country subservient to the state.
Both parties proposals’ are generally the same. Higher taxes, no real spending cuts, and no real entitlement reform. The only differences are the numbers and who benefits and who loses. There is no real choice for those of us who believe in liberty and freedom. The Republican Party, which is supposed to be the party of limited government, is now actively purging fiscal conservatives from important committee positions. What are those of us who believe in liberty supposed to do?
Since Jim DeMint resigned his Senate seat on Thursday to run the Heritage Foundation, there has been a lot of discussion about the the future of the conservative movement. Many conservatives are excited, a sentiment perhaps best summed up by Erick Erickson. They believe that DeMint will be free to say what he wants, no longer being pressured or restrained by leadership. Indeed, DeMint did just that on Thursday during an interview on CNN, telling Wolf Blitzer that he’s “not with Boehner,” who called for increased tax revenues in his counter-proposal to the White House. “This government doesn’t need any more money, this country needs less government,” said DeMint.
Other conservatives have used the news to take some shots at DeMint. For example, Jennifer Rubin slammed DeMint, writing, “He’s a pol whose entire style of conservatism – all or nothing, no compromise, no accounting for changes in public habits and opinions — is not true to the tradition of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and others.”