There has been a lot of debate among conservatives whether libertarians should be welcome at CPAC, an annual gathering of right-leaning activists in Washington. The most recent CPAC saw libertarians left out in the cold thanks to a heavier emphasis on social conservatives.
While libertarians are often told by conservatives that we need to get on their “team” in order to beat back government overreach from Washington, they largely want us to take a back seat. Some libertarians have chosen to work inside the Republican Party through the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group that promotes our ideals. However, they haven’t been very effective.
But this past Thursday in Dallas, FreedomWorks hosted FreePAC, a one-day event that brought together activists, both conservatives and libertarians, to help plan a grassroots strategy ahead of the general election in November. Speakers at FreePAC included Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee as well as hopefuls like Ted Cruz and Richard Mourdock. Glenn Beck, Dick Armey, Dean Clancy, and Matt Kibbe also provided attendees with words of encouragement to help get them motivated to fight the growth in government that we’re seeing.
While I wasn’t able to go, what I’ve heard from my libertarian friends who went is that FreePAC is really the shot in the arm that the Liberty Movement needs. They did it with less controversy and no compromise.
The Republican Leadership Conference was interesting by all accounts as many Republican presidential hopefuls, including some that haven’t announced, made addressed attendees. From what I read, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was well-accepted. Here were the themes from his speech:
“This administration in Washington that’s in power now clearly believes that government is not only the answer to every need, but it’s the most qualified to make the most central decisions for every American in every area,” Perry said. He called Obama’s approach to the economy “an affront to every freedom-loving American and a threat to every private sector job in this country.”
“I stand before you today as a disciplined, conservative Texan, a committed Republican and a proud American, united with you in the desire to restore our nation and revive the American dream,” he said.
“Our goal is to displace the entrenched powers in Washington, restore the rightful balance between the state and federal government,” Perry said.
Perry has used his party’s control of Texas’s legislature to advance a stridently conservative agenda he can use on the campaign trail. This year alone, Perry’s 11th in the governor’s mansion, he signed legislation to require plaintiffs who lose lawsuits against corporations to pay additional legal costs and a measure that requires voters to show identification when they show up at the ballot box — a proposal that earned him a standing ovation. The 2010 midterm elections, he said, were evidence that the GOP has a mandate for such aggressive legislation.
“We’ve got the wind at our back right now. Americans are waking up to the realities of their previous choices,” he said. “We must keep America moving back to preeminence because our values and conservative ideas are the world’s greatest hope.”
Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.
From the group’s press release:
Thousand Oaks, CA — A national caucus of Republican activists has urged GOP legislators to stand firm against the “Paulson Bailout” of a corrupt financial regulatory system. “This proposal is a government takeover of the entire U.S. economy,” says Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman William Westmiller, “whose only purpose is to rescue those who made risky bets on bad mortgages.”
The Caucus [www.RLC.org] opposes any taxpayer payoff to rescue those who made bad investments in any sector of the economy. “The problem is not a lack of government control,” says Westmiller, “but rather the decades of market distortions imposed by Congress through subsidies, mandates, guarantees, andconstraints on free-enterprise mortgage offerings.”