tea party movement
Even though I’ve already come out in support of Gary Johnson, I have to admit that I’m kind of glad to see Ron Paul make this step forward. There are plenty of arguments in support (or against) either of the pro-liberty candidates we’re looking to have. I have my opinions, and other folks have theirs. It’s all good. However, having two candidates may well work out for the best for everyone.
I’ve been as guilty as anyone of thinking that the liberty movement can really only support one guy. In reality, that still remains to be seen. While Johnson is somewhat more likely to resonate better with independents and moderates, Paul will resonate better with the Tea Party groups. This adds a somewhat more diverse mix listening to the pro-freedom messages of both candidates.
Yes, eventually one candidate will probably bow out. Let’s face it, the odds aren’t great that even one of these men will win the nomination. The odds aren’t particularly great that both will make it all the way to the convention. One will, more likely admit defeat and probably endorse the other one. It doesn’t really matter either way. You see, those who liked the message of one are far more likely to find plenty to like in the other anyways.
The pro-liberty movement will, eventually, settle behind one of the two. Yes, I do believe the best man is Johnson, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t support Paul if Johnson bowed out. I can’t think of any other Johnson supporters who wouldn’t do the same. Truth be told, I suspect the same can be said of Paul supporters as well.
Last week, the Club for Growth slammed Donald Trump hard for his past support of eminent domain - essentially stealing private property for personal gain - laying out a few instances of his support of the tactic, which included an attempt to take the property of an elderly woman to build a parking lot for limos.
Mike Leahy has a great post over at Broadside Books that takes issue with Trump for backing big government over the Little Pink House; also noting that this behavior should rule Trump out as a presidential contender for anyone in the tea party movement:
As a developer, Trump is certainly familiar with the legal principle known as eminent domain, a notorious violation of individual liberty, which allows the state to seize the property of a private individual (usually at below market prices) in order to use that property for what the state determines to be a “public purpose.” Though the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment was intended to prevent the possibility that “ private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” the state in 20th and 21st century America often uses its overwhelming power to define “just compensation” quite differently than the owner of the private property being taken.
CNN reports that less than 50% of Republican voters are less than thrilled with their potential candidates for 2012, which is hardly surprising. Conversations with Republican voters have revealed the same thing to me. This could be a potential problem come November of that year, but there’s a possibility that there’s a silver lining for libertarians.
You see, the lack of a true front runner means that there are a lot of votes still out there. Without a candidate to rally behind, Republicans can take a look at the field with a more open mind. In a GOP that is starting to see benefits from a Tea Party movement that often shuns social issues, instead focusing on fiscal matters.
The door is open, at least for the time being. However, it’s essential that libertarian leaning candidates to make the most of it. They will need to make their cases clearly and coherently, but also understand that winning elections means not just using statistics, but emotions. Far to many people vote with their hearts, not their heads. However, that’s grounds for another post at another time.
For now, let’s take a look at the pathetic field the GOP has so far and it’s less than inspiring. Donald Trump is the only one I want to last the whole way, and that’s purely for entertainment value, not any real grasp of policy. After all, the man who believes Obama wasn’t born in this country thinks that there might be a right to privacy. Might. Let’s look at the rest of the field.
Sarah Palin - Enough said.
Mike Huckabee - Oh yeah. Raise my taxes. Please. What I really want is socialism with a religious flare instead of Obama’s socialism with a populist flare.
Mitt Romney - Well, we already have ObamaCare, so his worst screw up in Massachusetts won’t be replicated.
Newt Gingrich - See Sarah Palin
The power of Ayn Rand devotees has impressed some Hollywood distribution executives, who took note of the hefty $5,640 per-theater average scored by “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1” during its opening weekend.
“Shocking,” one executive said about the healthy business the low-budget film has been doing, considering its “awful” marketing plan.
Awful or not, business has been brisk enough for producers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro to expand from 299 theaters to 425 this weekend and to 1,000 by the end of the month. They don’t have enough film prints to fill all the orders.
“Things have turned for us,” Kaslow said. “When we started, exhibitors were not embracing the film like we thought they would. Now, we can pretty much go into as many theaters as we want. It’s just a matter of logistics.”
The producers stand by their marketing campaign, which relied heavily on the Internet to drum up support among members of the Tea Party, libertarians and other Rand enthusiasts.
The Tea Party. Love them or hate them, chances are you have an opinion on them. For many left of center folks, that opinion isn’t particularly flattering. However, far to often the assertion seems to be made that GOP = Tea Party. For example, Dana Milbank recently made the assertion in a piece that Reason felt they should address. Personally, I think they make some excellent points.
Milbank’s extended lead example was the disgusting comment by Kansas state Rep. Virgil Peck (R-Tyro, appropriately enough) suggesting that maybe we oughtta just shoot illegal immigrants from helicopters like feral hogs. Concluded Milbank:
Kansans may be surprised to learn that the immigrant-shooting idea was offered in their names, but they wouldn’t be the only Americans getting unwelcome news from their state legislators now that many Tea Party types have come to power.
When Louis Brandeis called state legislatures “laboratories of democracy,” he couldn’t have imagined the curious formulas the Tea Party chemists would be mixing in 2011[.]
Reading this, you would have the distinct impression that Virgil Peck is a Tea Party kinda guy. But is he?
Given his all but certain entrance in the Republican presidential primary, you’d think that Newt Gingrich would be shifting to the right on economic issues. He’s not. In fact, he recently told a reporter during a press conference that he doesn’t regret expanding Medicare, an entitlement already projected to have trillions in unfunded liabilities over the several decades, by supporting and lobbying for passage of prescription drug benefit - Medicare Part D - in 2003:
At a press conference on Friday, CNSNews.com asked Gingrich, “You were a prominent supporter of the Medicare prescription drug plan that President Bush signed into law in 2003. The Medicare trustees now say that plan is $7.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years. Do you regret your support for the plan looking back?”
“No,” said Gingrich. “I think that we—I mean, I am for dramatic reform of Medicare. I chaired the Medicare reform task force which saved it in 1996 when the trustees said it was going to go broke, and we passed changes which enabled them to say that we had postponed any problem for well over a decade.
Here is the video with Gingrich’s full comments:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a freshman elected with the backing of the tea party movement, is backing Rep. Jeff Flake in the GOP primary for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) wants Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to succeed retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R), marking the second time in as many weeks Lee has made an endorsement in a Senate primary outside of Utah.
“Jeff Flake’s record on fiscal conservatism speaks for itself,” Lee said in a statement. “He was offering legislation to cut spending, end earmark abuse, and limit government long before the Tea Party movement became popular. His election to the Senate will extend and build upon the conservative legacy of Senator Kyl.”
Flake also has the backing of the Club for Growth, the powerful free market group that endorsed him within minutes of his campaign announcement. The Club raised $100k for Flake within days of his announcement.
James O’Keefe has done it again. His group released yesterday video of an NPR senior executive on film slamming the tea party movement:
In a new video released Tuesday morning by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, [National Public Radio senior executive Ron] Schiller and Betsy Liley, NPR’s director of institutional giving, are seen meeting with two men who, unbeknownst to the NPR executives, are posing as members of a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The men, who identified themselves as Ibrahim Kasaam and Amir Malik from the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) Trust, met with Schiller and Liley at Café Milano, a well-known Georgetown restaurant, and explained their desire to give up to $5 million to NPR because, “the Zionist coverage is quite substantial elsewhere.”
On the tapes, Schiller wastes little time before attacking conservatives. The Republican Party, Schiller says, has been “hijacked by this group.” The man posing as Malik finishes the sentence by adding, “the radical, racist, Islamaphobic, Tea Party people.” Schiller agrees and intensifies the criticism, saying that the Tea Party people aren’t “just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”
Schiller goes on to describe liberals as more intelligent and informed than conservatives. “In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives,” he said.
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.
Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, came by Bloggers Row and sat down with me for a few minutes to discuss Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto (a book authored by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and Kibbe), the tea party movement, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the movement’s prospects for 2012 and more.
You can download the podcast here (8.5MB/9min).