Over the last couple of days we’ve been discussing conservative/libertarian fusionism. Jeremy Kolassa got us started on Tuesday with an excellent post explaining that libertarians need to contrast themselves from conservatives, and not simply “go along to get along.”
While I largely agree with the substance of the post, I later posted somewhat of a rebuttal, in which I explained that we need not cut off our nose to spite our face when dealing with conservative groups that concentrate on issues with which we can agree; such as spending and taxes.
In my post, I pointed to comments made earlier this by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who, during an interview with Reason, said that the Republican Party should listen to libertarians. This caught the eye of my good friend, Chris Barron.
Yesterday, Chris pointed out that Sen. DeMint has been openly hostile to GOProud, a group of gay Republicans that promotes free markets and limited government, by opposing its inclusion in the most recent CPAC. Chris also pointed to a post that I wrote back in November 2010, in which I criticized Sen. DeMint for saying that one “can’t be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative.”
When talking about so-called “social issues” in politics, the subjects of same-sex marriage and abortion are very frequently mentioned in the same breath. The assumption goes like this – if someone is on the conservative side, that person will both favor banning gay marriage and banning abortion; if that person is on the liberal side, he will support gay marriage and abortion rights. However, in reality there is no fundamental reason that the subjects need to be linked. It is entirely possible, and in fact quite common, for someone to be okay with gays marrying but find abortion to be objectionable.
And in fact, the polls show this to be the exact direction that Americans are moving. Most people now favor gay marriage rights, and the amount of Americans calling themselves “pro-choice” has shrunk while “pro-life” has gained share. This fact should not be the least bit surprising to anyone who understands the issues at hand. Gay marriage will naturally become more popular because it is a message of inclusion; the arguments against it are weak and becoming weaker as more people realize it will not hurt them in any way. And as for abortion, improved medical imaging, the survival of fetuses at increasingly earlier stages, and wider acceptance of contraception has rendered abortion less necessary and more morally questionable.
Lately I’ve been wrestling over the intersection of two groups of people to which I belong: Christians and libertarians. On fiscal policy, there’s a lot of agreement between the two groups (on the surface, at least), but the great divide usually comes on the social issues.
On the social issues, Christians typically want government to enforce what is right (i.e. legislate morality), while the libertarians don’t want to be the coerced recipient of anyone’s morality, whether it’s good for them or not. As a member of both of these groups, I understand each viewpoint.
If the Christians’ goal were just to worship God freely, to share Him with those who will listen, and to set an example for others in the life they live, they could easily get along with libertarians. And if they really just want to be free to worship how they choose, they could even be libertarians.
The problem comes when the scope of Christians’ efforts expands to impede the freedom of others. I think everyone should be in church on Sunday, but it would be wrong for me to force people to spend their Sundays as I choose to spend mine. The same logic applies to every socially conservative issue Christians champion.
There are Christians – good, well-intentioned people, I might add – who support political issues that they agree with personally. For example, they’d never vote for a tax increase unless it was a “sin tax” issue. They’d support bans on things ranging from foul language to homosexuality because it’s part of their personal moral code.
I’m reminded of the people I’ve seen on street corners screaming at people telling them they should give their lives to God. While it would be great to see those people turn to God, I’ve never found screaming at people to be a very effective means of communication.
As he comes closer to securing the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul’s delegate strategy notwithstanding, Mitt Romney is no doubt weighing the various names that could partner with him on the ticket. There are a few safe picks that would appease conservatives, but not many that would appeal to independent voters; at least not without a proper rollout and a lot of selling.
But yesterday at the National Review, Robert Costa floated our old friend, Tax Hike Mike Huckabee, someone that has been under radar when it comes to a possible vice presidential pick:
[A]ccording to several sources close to the Romney campaign, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the vice-presidential search, the 56-year-old Arkansan may be included in the veep mix.
To many Republicans, a ticket with a Mormon bishop and a Baptist preacher isn’t far-fetched. “In a way, it’s almost a dream ticket,” says Ed Rollins, the chairman of Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign. “He’s substantive and knows domestic policy, and his personality wouldn’t overshadow Romney’s.”
For now, it isn’t clear whether Huckabee is going to be vetted, or that he’s anywhere near Romney’s short list. But he is, at the very least, being discussed. As one Romney ally puts it, tapping Huckabee would energize tea-party conservatives, evangelicals, and related voters who soured on Romney during the GOP primaries. He’s also not a sweat-inducing pick, since he was vetted by the Beltway press during his presidential run four years ago.
After being out of the race for the Republican nomination for a few weeks, Rick Santorum, who came out of nowhere as the “conservative” alternative, has finally decided to endorse Mitt Romney — or at least defeating Barack Obama:
Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum endorsed his one-time fierce rival Mitt Romney on Monday, a move that may help the party’s presumptive White House nominee win over religious conservatives.
Santorum said in an unusual late-night statement that the two have differences, but that he came away from a meeting with the ex-Massachusetts governor impressed with Romney’s “deep understanding” of economic and family issues central to the campaign.
“Above all else, we both agree that President (Barack) Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious,” Santorum said.
“Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime,” he said in the statement, which was emailed to supporters.
Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be news, but Santorum remained silent for so long that some observers were questioning his intentions. In the weeks before his exit from the race, Santorum was looked at as the frontunner for the nomination in 2016, that’s assuming Romney doesn’t defeat Obama. And while he may still be formidable, many Republicans are still bothered by the fact that it took him so long to read the writing on the wall.
As you know, Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign yesterday, ostensibly handing the nomination over to Mitt Romney, who has been the target of ire from many conservatives during the race. Santorum’s decision doesn’t come with the best of circumstances due to his daughter’s recent hospitalization — and we may disagree with him, we do wish the best for he and his family.
But with his exit, let’s take a look back at some of the issues we had with Santorum, ranging from his statism on economic issues to his candidacy being a last resort for the anti-Romney faction of the GOP electorate.
Not a Fiscal Conservative: This has been a oft-repeated criticism of Santorum at United Liberty. While tried to pass himself off as a fiscal conservative, his record indicated otherwise. Santorum vigoriously defended his earmarks, supported tariff hikes, voted for Medicare Part D, was supportive of labor unions, and voted for every bloated budget passed under George W. Bush.
Yesterday, I laid out some reasons why most young voters don’t cast their ballots for Republicans. This was a response of sorts to Mitt Romney’s statement on Monday while campaigning in Illinois. Like I said in my post, it’s a valid question, but one that goes over the heads of many traditional conservatives and Republicans.
But over at the American Enterprise Institute’s blog, Henrik Temp shows data from Pew Research relating to social issues and foreign policy that really drives home why young Americans, or “millennials,” vote for Democrats:
Social Issues. As the chart below shows, millennials are significantly more liberal than older Americans on issues of the family, homosexuality, and civil liberties. My generation has been hearing about the benefits of tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance since we were children, both from popular culture and our teachers. These values are often as fundamental to us as religious values were to our parents and grandparents. They aren’t going to change anytime soon, and so long as the GOP is popularly perceived as being against those values (I disagree with that perception, but that’s the way it is), millennials will keep pulling the Democratic lever.
Yesterday while campaigning at the University of Chicago ahead today’s primary, Mitt Romney made a profound remark about young Americans voting for Democrats; one that needs to be addressed:
GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney said Monday he doesn’t understand how young people could vote for Democrats.
“I don’t see how a young American can vote for, well, can vote for a Democrat,” Romney said in a speech at the University of Chicago.
The former Massachusetts governor said Democrats were saddling young people with debt while Republicans are committed to reducing spending and balancing the budget.
“My party is consumed with the idea of getting federal spending down and creating economic growth and opportunity so we can balance our budget and stop putting these debts on you,” he said.
Given that Democrats seem to want to spend endlessly on government programs that will only add to the river of red ink flowing from Washington, Romney has a really good point here. But it’s not that difficult to understand why young Americans tend to vote for Democrats instead of Republicans.
Most of the young voters that I encounter are, loosely defined, libertarian. They consider themselves fiscal conservatives, but socially liberal. But when it comes down to it, in my experience talking with younger voters, that they care more about social issues. They’re tired of endless crusades by social conservatives against gays. They are also exceedingly weary of more wars, though that seems to be a lesser concern.
I’m not a fan of Rick Santorum, and my very direct opposition to the liberal Republican from Pennsylvania (see, there I go again) has brought several of my Christian friends to the surface to ask why I could oppose such a God-fearing, wholesome, family-oriented man like Rick Santorum. After all, isn’t that the exact type of person we need in the White House?
And, yes, the man Rick Santorum wants us to believe he is – that is the type of man we need in the White House. I want a President with a backbone, who knows when to put his foot down and stand strong against an issue, who has the moral character to stand against what is wrong, and who has the courage to stand for smaller government. That man, however, is not Rick Santorum.
Erick Erickson, who I don’t always agree with, but who is certainly right on Santorum, explains in great detail Santorum’s record as a liberal Republican. You can’t look at that record and still make the argument that Santorum is a conservative. It’s impossible.
But beyond his liberal record in Washington is his violent opposition to the concept of freedom. In this interview with Jennifer Rubin, David Boaz (Cato Executive VP) talked about why he opposes Santorum:
The blow-up over contraceptives has really hurt Republicans, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a point when it comes to whether or not taxpayers should foot the bill for them. Jacob Sullum, who is no social conservative, weighs the arguments that Sandra Fluke and others have put forward about the cost of birth control:
Although Fluke chose to attend a Jesuit university knowing that its student health plan did not cover contraceptives, she believes it is unfair that she has to live with the consequences of that decision. “We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health,” she said, “and we resent that, in the 21st century, anyone thinks it’s acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women.”