Republican Party

Liberty vs. Safety: The vaccine debate heats up in a fledgling campaign year

Rand Paul vaccine

The last few years have seen an acceleration of medical vaccines as a hot button political issue. As formerly dormant diseases have resurfaced along with communities that shun science and common sense, the backlash has been fierce. A USA Today columnist is even calling for criminal prosecution and jail time for those who don’t vaccinate their children. But in the land of the free is that really appropriate, no matter the public health risk? And do we really want our politicians weighing in?

Among growing dissent, Boehner braces for re-election

Speaker Boehner

House leadership elections will be held later today, amid growing concern among conservatives for John Boehner’s leadership as Speaker. The hard truth for conservatives is that it looks like Boehner will eke out a victory over any would-be conservative challenger. In the 114th Congress (this one), the Republican caucus has swelled by more than a dozen Members, making victory from the right close to impossible.

In the 113th Congress, Boehner faced uncertainty when his safe Republican margin was almost totally diminished by a handful of defectors — conservatives like Raul Labrador, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash. The blog FiveThirtyEight revealed the Republican defection in 2013 was the largest act of defiance against an incoming Speaker since at least 1991, where records became available.

With the Republican caucus even larger, it would take 29 votes to stop John Boehner from becoming Speaker — and then the defectors would have to find a viable alternative. Names being floated now are Ted Yoho or Florida and Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Among UL readers, South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy has considerable support, but he has not indicated that he would break with party leadership.

ALERT! Massie won’t vote for Boehner for Speaker

Massie wont' vote Boehner for Speaker

“For years I watched Washington from afar and suspected that something was broken.”

This is a sentiment we hear often from individuals who run for Congress. They see a broken system, and then run on a platform that promises to change the business-as-usual politics within the halls of Congress. More often than not, these same members fall in-line with with the leadership of their party and forget their real reasons for running.

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie likens this change in behavior as Members being attacked by zombies. Once they’re bitten with the “big government, go-along-to-get-along” bug, they’re lost forever.

Thankfully, not all members have chosen to blindly follow the leadership of their party. Some Members have decided to put party aside and vote based on their convictions. Massie is one such Congressman.

In a recent press release sent out today, Congressman Massie indicated that he would not be voting to re-elect John Boehner as Speaker of the House in the coming weeks.

This came just days after Massie tweeted a picture, likely a veiled jab at the Speaker:

2014: Obama’s Song of Himself

Obama Singing

Politically speaking, 2015 could shape up to be a very dramatic year, what with it being just a year away from the presidential election that, to my mind, will determine if our country has survived a fairly concerted effort to turn toward European Socialism. As the year turns, it’s worthwhile to look backward for a minute and assess the victories and wins versus the moments when things didn’t exactly fall into place.

The White House certainly agrees, and so has produced a slideshow highlighting this administration’s “accomplishments”. Oh do give it a look. It’s a glorious little vanity project that could make you laugh if you get past the annoying self love and glaring word garbage that makes each slide not quite a lie as much as a statement lacking context. As Market Watch notes:

To hear the White House tell it, the November elections never happened and 2014 was a super-duper year for President Obama.

Of course the Market Watch writer seems bitter than Obama is taking credit for all these great wins and yet those clever conservatives still managed to win a whole lot in the midterms. Harrumph. If you’re so great President Obama — he seems to say — why are we subjected to their new reign of terror?

Matthew Hurtt, writing here at UL, examines some of the reasons Obama’s approval rating has fallen low enough to hand control of Congress back to the right.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signs on to Rand Paul 2016

Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled his support for Rand Paul’s potential 2016 presidential campaign in a wide-ranging interview with the Lexington Herald-Reader after Tuesday night’s Republican sweep of key Senate races and McConnell’s own stunning defeat of his Democratic challenger.

From the interview:

McConnell also is intrigued by Paul’s plans for 2016, when Kentucky’s junior senator faces re-election to his Senate seat while potentially running for president.

It’s a safe bet that Paul won’t be the only member of McConnell’s GOP caucus who considers trying for a move to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Does that require a tricky balance?

“(It’s) not tricky at all,” McConnell said. “Obviously, I’m a big supporter of Rand Paul. We’ve developed a very tight relationship, and I’m for him.”

For president?

“Whatever he decides to do,” McConnell said. “I don’t think he’s made a final decision on that. But he’ll be able to count on me.”

Paul endorsed McConnell in early 2013, months before McConnell’s tea party-backed primary challenger — Matt Bevin — materialized. McConnell trounced Bevin in the May primary.by an almost 2-to-1 margin.

Sorry, Washington Republicans, but it’s absolutely acceptable to criticize candidates who want grow the federal government

Voters are often told that conservatives should not challenge Washington-backed big government Republicans, because doing so could lead to Republican defeat. Yet it often seems that Washington Republicans don’t follow their own advice. It prompts the question, when does the Washington class really view it as appropriate to criticize Republican candidates?

Mississippi is one example. Washington Republicans asked Democratic voters to support their candidate, Sen. Thad Cochran, in his primary election. This was a violation of Mississippi law, so conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel is challenging the result.

This prompted Ann Coulter to write that Chris McDaniel was a “sore loser” whose supporters “don’t care that they’re gambling with a Republican majority in the Senate.”

This is not the first time Ann Coulter has complained about conservatives from the South or other locations around Middle America. Last October, she complained that conservatives in Minnesota had not done enough to help Sen. Norm Coleman win re-election against Sen. Al Franken, writing, “The inability to distinguish Coleman and McConnell… from Obamacare-ratifying Democrats is…insane.”

Americans are tired of war: Old Guard Republicans attacking Rand Paul show how truly out of touch they are

Power structures and ideological dynamics change quickly in Washington, and when a sea change happens you almost feel sorry for the losing side, who usually doesn’t realize it for a while, still clinging to their anachronistic worldview and thinking it’s mainstream. But there comes a time when you just have to point and laugh at people who have lost, and lost big, and don’t even realize it.

Politico has a new summary of all the defense hawk attacks on Rand Paul’s alleged “isolationism,” including Rick Perry, Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams from the Council on Foreign Relations, and Mackenzie Eaglen from the American Enterprise Institute. In denouncing the freshman Senator’s skepticism of interventionism, they cite the current situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and of course 9/11.

Yes, “it’s been a long time since 9/11,” as Cheney said, lamenting what he sees as forgetfulness about the threat of terrorism, but also, it’s been a long time since 9/11. At a certain point you have to stop buttressing your entire foreign policy narrative with the biggest failure of our national intelligence and defense systems since Pearl Harbor. We haven’t reverted to a pre-9/11 mindset, we’ve evolved to a post-post-9/11 mindset. The world has changed, again; global interventionists haven’t.

Perhaps sadder still than their reliance on the 9/11 shibboleth is the delusion that hawks are still the mainstream of public opinion or even the Republican Party:

#IAmUnitedLiberty: Matthew Hurtt’s fight to advance liberty within the GOP

Matthew Hurtt, I Am United Liberty

Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of UL contributors and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

This was actually much harder to write than I imagined.

The goal of this profile and the others we’re going to showcase on UL this week is to show readers the different ways we’ve all gotten involved in the fight for liberty. Everyone comes to this movement with different experiences, from different backgrounds, and with different goals.

Some want to win elections; some want to change the GOP; some want to educate.

I remember always having “weird” political views. Growing up in a conservative Southern Baptist church, I remember being confronted about my opposition to the Iraq War in the early 2000s. I remember voting against the marriage amendment in the 2006 elections in Tennessee. But I didn’t know what the philosophy was.

Two things helped me realize that I am a libertarian.

I ran for local office at age 19 in 2006. While on the campaign trail, a man named Clarence Jaeger gave me a copy of Frederic Bastiat’s The Law, an essay on the role of government. Clarence has since passed away, but I will always be grateful for his gift. It allowed me to define my beliefs as to what I thought the size and scope of government should be.

Make DC Listen: Don’t let John Boehner and Eric Cantor forget that voters want Obamacare repealed

The GOP is backing away from using the phrase “repeal and replace” when it comes to Obamacare. It’s a strategic decision, that may or may not be really useful, though.

The primary problem with the terminology currently used apparently is that “repeal” implies that Republicans want to go back to the pre-Obamacare status quo. In light of the massive problems — radical price increases, dropped policies, broken promises about keeping doctors, etc. — maybe that isn’t really a terrible thing.

However, giving the party leadership the benefit of the doubt, they could be right about not suggesting a return of the bad old days.

The real problem with the whole “repeal and replace” narrative isn’t completely about the first part. In order to suggest that there will be a replacement, the party would need to come up with one. Yes, there have been many options presented, but they have all gotten lost in the shuffle, since a majority of Republicans have never really picked a single choice.

That might be because they’ve all been making it far too complicated, just like the hated Obamacare. It remains to be seen if the GOP can marshal the political troops behind something simplistic - even taking the generally acceptable parts of Obamacare for their new solution.

Maybe if they chose to campaign on keeping the broken promises of Obamacare, allowing kids to remain on parents’ policies until age 26, and no refusals of insurance based on pre-existing conditions, for a start. Add on the idea of removing the “minimum coverage requirements”, and mandatory coverage for all, since those are the two primary issues that are annoying voters.

Rand Paul has already won: Republicans are rethinking foreign policy

Conservatism seems to be appealing again, thanks in no small part to the “get off my lawn establishment politician!” flavor of the increasingly-difficult-to-ignore libertarian wing of the big tent. And it’s not difficult to understand why. When a policy push advocates, generally, for a less intrusive government regarding taxation and electronic spying and nanny state moralizing, free people tend to sit up and take notice.

But there’s one area critics of libertarianism have at least a marginally sturdy leg to stand on: foreign policy/national defense. And it’s not because libertarians don’t care about these issues; rather, it’s that there hasn’t been a unified voice concerning these issues from a group that is fairly consistent on most other major policy ideas, making criticism an easy task.

In short, libertarians, as vocal a group on politics as any you’re likely to meet, shy away en masse from making definitive statements about foreign policy. But there may be some very good — and surmountable — reasons for that. One of them is an exhaustion with the interventionist philosophy of neocons, one many libertarians feel has kept the US in expensive and bloody wars and conflicts in different parts of the world for far too long. And it’s a philosophy that, oddly, continues still.

No one is suggesting it’s not an utter tragedy what happened to those Nigerian schoolgirls. But is it a conflict we should be involving ourselves in? And why? Those questions have yet to be answered or — frankly — even posed.

 


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