Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force. If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed. To achieve it, more than lip service is required. Two choices are available.The problem with the Republican Party is very simple: for the entirety of my life, they have been pretending to offer government number 1, but in reality, they have given us a whole load of number 2. As a result, we have seen tumultuous times, with financial booms and busts, a major shift toward government dependency, and never-ending international conflicts. People are not stupid, and they can see through this. Even the people who might not explicitly identify this, still have the natural instinct that something doesn’t add up. It all started with Ronal Reagan, who sounded a lot like Ronald Paul when giving his speeches, espousing the merits of freedom and the libertarian soul of conservatism, yet ended up growing the government dramatically. To his credit, Reagan tried to hold the line as much as possible, and he was a great speaker on the merits of liberty, but the end result is still undeniable. Since then, the party has been slowly but surely abandoning its principles, and it’s liberal governing style has been steadily accelerating. George W Bush campaigned on the merits of the free market and non-interventionism, but claimed to be a “compassionate conservative” who supported government forced charity for certain causes. As it turned out, he governed to the left of Bill Clinton, instituting the largest entitlement program ever, taking over control of education from the states, and launching an Orwellian, perpetual war on terror. Now we find ourselves in a state where the Republicans are raising spending by over 10% per year, and fighting to raise our taxes, while doling out special incentives and favors to certain (well lobbied) businesses. We find ourselves defeated nationally after running a presidential candidate who supposedly supported free markets, but also supported a state-level individual mandate, and made the ridiculous assertion that “a free market requires government regulations,” and supported the tyrannical policies of the Democrat incumbent. (Indefinite detention, Internet snooping, Assassinations, etc) Yet somehow, some people think the problem is that Republicans are “too conservative” and not “big-government enough.” How can any rational person hold such a belief, after simply observing recent history? How can any person who isn’t a Democrat think that it would be a good idea to move even farther to the left at this point? The reality is that people are thirsting for a real choice, a real answer. Even people who aren’t politically interested have the feeling that “they’re all a bunch of crooks” and are looking for someone to tell them the truth. This is the opportunity that the Republican party needs to take advantage of: distinguish yourself from the Democrats once and for all. Adopt the message of liberty and work towards achieving the government outlined in option number 1: the defender of individual rights. Stop sending mixed messages by taking inconsistent and hypocritical stances on things like national defense, taxes, prohibition, subsidies, etc. Start working towards real change and real reform in the direction of liberty. The alternative is to fade away into the history books and become largely irrelevant. The reason for this is simple: nobody wants a cheap imitation. We already get enough of number 2 from the Democrats, and so if that is the solution you offer, you’ll never win again. (Image courtesy: ernstl) Update: Video of Full Speech!
Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government. Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression. There’s no in-between. Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.
- A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective. The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty. Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
- A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations. Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer. This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages. Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible. It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously. Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that: “power corrupts.”
The Federal Reserve was created to stabilize the money supply and protect taxpayers, but after 100 years it has drifted farther and farther from that mandate to become an unaccountable banking cartel which functions as nothing more than a piggybank for out of control spenders in Congress, expanding credit, expanding the money supply and devaluing the dollar in a cycle which could very easily lead to hyperinflation and the complete collapse of the dollar which has lost 97% of its value, mostly in the last 30 years.
Although irresponsible leadership in Congress is a very large part of the problem with the Federal Reserve, Rep. Ron Paul’s Federal Reserve Transparency Act is the first attempt to reign in the Federal Reserve and reassert Congressional authority under the Constitution which has a real chance of passing the House and Senate. It would end the secrecy at the Fed and require a clear accounting of their monetary policies and practices. It can pass with your help.
Representative Justin Amash is one of the strongest supporters of the bill in the House and has worked as a close ally of Ron Paul in getting it this far. He assures us that just a few dozen calls or emails from constituents can make a huge difference in how Congressmen vote, and that’s just what we need to pass this bill and start the process to Audit the Fed. This won’t be the end of the fight, but passing the bill with a strong majority in the House will build momentum to get it through the Senate and into law.
Please take just a few minutes to send an email to your representative using this form. Customize the text provided to express your personal concerns and send it off as soon as you can.
Texas is one of a handful of states which use a primary runoff system which helps open up the process and makes it somewhat easier for insurgent candidates to challenge incumbents and establishment picked candidates. This process has created important opportunities for liberty candidates in this year’s Republican primary. The result is that out of a very large field of great liberty contenders we’ve ended up with four outstanding RLC endorsees in position to win their primaries. And in most parts of Texas winning the Republican primary is almost the same as winning the general election.
The primary was about a month ago and there are about two and a half weeks to go until the runoff vote. In the last few weeks these liberty contenders have been racking up important endorsements. The Republican Liberty Caucus endorsed them before the primary. This week the influential Young Conservatives of Texas endorsed all four of them. Local Republican parties, delegates and clubs are getting on board and momentum really seems to be building behind what has turned into a kind of liberty slate for the state.
Leading the pack is Senatorial candidate Ted Cruz. Cruz and the Texas RLC have worked closely together during the campaign. He was the headliner at a series of candidate events we held around the state, lending his coattails to other promising candidates and going above and beyond to meet with Liberty Republicans and grassroots activists whenever he had a chance. He made it to the runoff out of a very crowded field and is now running a very contentious campaign with a great deal of mud being slung at him by his opponent Lt. Governor David Dewhurst who is the ultimate wealthy and powerful insider – as close to an incumbent as you can get without already holding office. Cruz has taken strong positions in opposition to the NDAA, CISPA and other civil liberties overreaches from the federal government. He’s not perfect on every issue, but he has been endorsed by Rand Paul and Ron Paul and every other RLC endorsee in the Senate and they really want him in DC to help them push a small government, pro-liberty agenda. Ted’s opponent is spending over $1 million a week on deceptive attack ads. He could use your help to fight back if you can contribute anything.
A top contender among our congressional candidates is Wes Riddle who is running in CD25 just south of Austin. Wes is a former RLC of Texas board member, a military veterans and former instructor at West Point, and a leader of extraordinary integrity. He has written a very good book about his ideas on liberty and he exemplifies the kind of conservative-leaning libertarian leaders we tend to produce in Texas. Wes was just endorsed by Ron Paul, making him one of a small group Paul has tagged as his potential successors in the House of Representatives. Wes is running against a well-funded insider named Roger Williams who is a hardcore religious conservative and has a large fortune from his chain of car dealerships. He’s outspending Wes 10 to 1, but Wes has the grassroots support and they are neck and neck in polls. Williams was a big supporter of the auto bailout and his wife actually lobbied in DC for bailout money on behalf of GM. Wes needs all the help he can get to defeat Williams, so if you can give anything don’t hold back.
Jessica Puente Bradshaw is running in CD34 in southeast Texas against a party insider who has been running a pretty desperate smear campaign. She started out as an underdog, but with a cascade of new endorsements she’s taking the lead in her race. She’s been a big supporter of the RLC, appearing on our live video events and appearing as the featured guest at our RLC party at the state GOP convention last month. Her positions on liberty issues are excellent and she can be a real firebrand. Of the RLC endorsees who have made the runoffs she comes closest to embodying our ideal combination of strong pro-liberty positions and political pragmatism. Putting a hispanic Republican woman with the same philosophy as Ron Paul in Congress in 2012 would be a real coup. Help her out if you can.
Steve Stockman, running in the new CD36, is a former congressman who was an ally of Ron Paul during his brief term in Congress in the 1990s and got squeezed out by redistricting. Now he’s on his way back with a lot of support from an old guard of liberty-leaning Republicans in east Texas. His race is peculiar, with his main opposition from a wealthy former Democrat who seems to have almost no Republican credentials. Steve has backing from the RLC and local tea party groups and various statewide conservative organizations, but lags behind in fundraising. Nonetheless he has a real chance at a win and could use all the support he can get.
While it’s unfortunate that the Texas congressional delegation is losing Ron Paul next year, with such a great slate of candidates who have already made it into winnable runoff elections, it seems quite likely that Texas will have an even stronger role in promoting a pro-liberty agenda than we do now. No one can really replace Ron Paul, but four new Liberty Republicans in Congress and one in the Senate might be even better.
The runoff election is on July 31st and we’re expecting low turnout, normally a bad thing, but in this situation it favors informed and highly motivated voters and that describes the liberty constituency pretty well.
I, for one, was delighted at the surge of new, mostly younger people who registered to vote for the first time in order to support Ron Paul in this year’s presidential primaries and caucuses. I explained to non-Paul supporters that the GOP should embrace them because the Republican Party is aging and needs new blood.
However, I saw a study of new, mostly younger people who registered to vote for the first time in 2008 for Barack Obama which makes me wonder about the long-term impact of Paul people.
A study conducted by two political scientists at my alma mater The University of San Francisco discovered that of the 2.1-million first time voters in California who showed up for Obama in 2008, most left other offices blank and didn’t vote on major issue referenda questions involving gay marriage and parental notification of a minor’s abortion request either.
The authors speculate that in 2008 this was evidence that many of the Obama voters were just that — voters more dedicated to the candidate than his liberal causes.
And they tested their hypothesis further by comparing 2010 election data and discovered that most of these new voters did not even show up at the polls two years after voting for Obama. Voting patterns in 2010 were not much different from the voting patterns before this new bloc of voters registered.
As I watch the enthusiasm of the Paul people and meet many younger people who registered to vote for the first time because they believed themselves disenfranchised by the parties, I wonder whether the same results as the Obama voter study would ensue or whether they will stay active in the mundane lower ballot campaigns and become a force within the Republican Party.
My hope is that Paul people will follow the template set by we Youth for Goldwater of the 1960s and suffer through the mundane in order to build a movement within the party. Instead of disappearing after his trouncing by LBJ, we kept the Goldwater movement alive at the grassroots level. Within 20 years, most of us from Youth for Goldwater were either working in media, working as policy advisors in the White House and Congress or actually elected to office and Ronald Reagan, who gave pep talk speeches at Youth for Goldwater rallies, was POTUS.
On this Independence Day I had wanted to celebrate our freedom and not worry about politics. But I couldn’t finish this article yesterday and I realize our freedoms are being threatened here at home so standing up for liberty seems like a good way to celebrate. And a strategy to move this country and our revolution forward isn’t a bad way either.
Much like many young people in the liberty movement, I was upset with Ron Paul’s loss in the Republican Primary. I did not expect him to win, but I expected him to do better. The establishment had chosen Romney, and Romney it will be. But as the primary season went forward and the old doctor’s delegate strategy began to bear fruit I saw greater hope for the future of the movement. It did not come from the possibility that Gary Johnson, now running as the Libertarian Party nominee would continue the movement. It came from the Ron Paul supporters who began taking leadership positions in the Republican Party.
It mostly happened in small-to-medium population states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Alaska and Minnesota. Ron Paul supporters and Republicans with true libertarian streaks were usurping power in the state-level party organizations. The establishment didn’t like it, but they were having trouble stopping it in spite of their best efforts. It made something perfectly clear: Ron Paul laid the ground for the liberty movement to take over the GOP by the end of the decade. Perhaps his son, Senator Rand Paul would run for president in 2016, easily win the early primaries and use the momentum to carry himself to the nomination. But even if Rand did not do so, it became clear to me how the liberty movement could take control of the party by the end of the decade.
The Republican Liberty Caucus has been trying for 20 years to actually change things in the way the GOP does business and now, for the first time in history, the odds are in their favor. But the threat to the liberty movement comes from within itself. And so I am writing this appeal to the movement with the hopes that I can prevent the liberty movement from dissolving.
Let me first start by saying that political consultant Roger Stone is delusional for putting his faith in Gary Johnson. I like Gary. I wish he’d stayed in the party and ran for US Senate in New Mexico, but sadly he did not go that route even though it would have been an easy victory for him and a boost to our movement.
Have I got your attention? Good. Because I need to be blunt. There is a concept in public choice theory called rational voter ignorance that too few libertarians have ever even heard of. In a nutshell, this ignorance means that the two party system of America will not go away for at least another generation.
The good news, it doesn’t need to for liberty to win in the short-term. When you look at the numbers, its impossible for a third party candidate to gain serious traction, even in the internet age. But could we use those numbers to gain faster results? My strategy suggests we can.
There is a coming generational shift that will make many Americans happy and make some angry: the inevitability of a secular society. Social conservatism, at least from a “we need the federal government to enforce Christian morals” is on life support. And the plug will be pulled soon. The Moral Majority types that took over the Republican Party in the 1980s probably have a half life of about 7-10 years at this point. Ron Paul, using the same strategy that they used in the 80s, brought thousands of liberty-minded Americans, many of them in my generation, to state Republican conventions all over the country. They showed up. They sent liberty loving delegates to the Republican National Convention. And while they didn’t send enough to get the nomination for Ron Paul, it is my belief that the Republican establishment will be shocked at what they see. A proportional decrease in the number of Bible thumpers at the convention versus 2008 and a massive new wave of delegates who are economically conservative but don’t believe the federal government has any more business in our bedrooms than they do in our wallets.
The Republican establishment, first and foremost, is concerned with political power. They are eventually going to see the rise in secularism and begin to ignore the religious right in favor of individual liberty, but this can only happen if we play our cards right.
The Coming Dichotomy
For clarity–mainly to any older generations reading this–I’d like to point out that secularism has become a dirty word in recent years due to the left. It should not be. Secularism merely means the government abides by the first amendment. It means that government policies are unbiased by direct religious influence. Laws cannot be justified just because a religion says so. An individuals liberty is protected if he is doing no harm to another, even if he is doing something that might be dangerous or stupid. It also means the government has no business in dictating to the church how it runs its business.
Secularism has gotten a bad name by those on the left who are anti-religion (usually biased against Christianity more so than other faiths) and support government policies that violate a person’s religious views (like the Obama Administration trying to force the Catholic Church to pay for contraception). This disdain for religion comes from the cultural Marxism in today’s American left.
My generation, often referred to as millennials, is overwhelmingly secular in that as a strong majority we don’t care if same-sex couples marry, we don’t want government to ban all abortion (even if many of us are personally opposed to the practice), we don’t want government to tell 18 year olds they can’t drink, we don’t support the war on drugs, and we don’t like politicians who try to use government to force Biblical principles on us. We’re less religious than our predecessors in terms of our church attendance and even our practice of organized religion. And for those of us that do practice a religion, we’re much less likely to aggressively proselytize it to those who have different views.
As our generation matures and begins coming to power, it will shift society with it and there will be an ideological dichotomy in this country: secular capitalists vs. secular Marxists. I use the term Marxist loosely. No, not all of them will be full-blown communists. But many of them will support Marx-inspired policies: government control of industry, redistribution of wealth, centralized economic planning, etc. Basically the failed ideologies of the 20th century. The cultural Marxists will be anti-religion. But the secular-capitalists are not anti-religion. And I am confident that when all is said and done the forces of capitalism will prevail.
Secular-capitalism is the future we need to restore American greatness. Its a good kind of secular because while its not going to use government to define marriage as between man and woman, its also not going to force churches to perform same-sex marriages against their will. Its going to let the private sector and private individuals solve the complicated social problems that government can’t (and shouldn’t try to in the first place).
Take drugs for example. The country is moving in favor of marijuana legalization. There is still strong opposition to this, but as the great conservative author William F. Buckley Jr. once suggested, drug legalization would not destroy society because there are still societal pressures for personal responsibility.
“And, by the way, there’s no reason not to encourage social sanctions against [illegal drug use], i.e., if you come to work for Mr. Heffner, you can’t take drugs. And if you don’t consent to have an occasional drug test, extemporaneously scheduled, then don’t apply for a job. I’m all in favor of social sanctions for use; it’s the legal sanction that I think is killing us.” — William F. Buckley, Jr. in an interview with Richard Heffner, The Open Mind, August 1996
If a person goes to work high on marijuana or cocaine, they would be fired just the same as they would if they came to work drunk. Its these pressures that prevent society from spinning out of control. The onus is on the individual to be responsible. And most individuals will. The ones that don’t will be irresponsible regardless of the substance’s legality.
We as libertarians understand this. The religious right does not seem to. But the establishment will see things our way not simply because our views are becoming more accepted by society and the “theo-cons” less so, but because they are realistic.
An Appeal to Ron Paul Delegates
When I was an alternate delegate to the Texas state Republican Convention, I saw a strong presence by Ron Paul supporters as well as other Republicans with some libertarian leanings. We stopped the theocrats from putting a plank in the state platform to restore “sodomy law”. We stopped protectionists from removing a market-friendly immigration reform plank. We put planks in the party platform calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve System, withdrawal from the UN, elimination of unnecessary EPA regulations and many other Constitutional policies. The end result was far from perfect, but I was amazed how good it was. I was also stricken with fear at what might happen. If those same delegates who helped get this done lose the faith simply because Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee and leave the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party or just to become independents, then all that work was for nothing. But if they show up in the same numbers with the same enthusiasm at the 2014 Texas GOP convention, they will proportionally be more significant. Since its not a presidential election year, the convention will have lower turnout by the religious right and even the establishment, meaning we would wield more influence.
So those of you planning on supporting Gary Johnson or writing in Ron Paul, I encourage you to read the rest of this article before making a final decision. The rules of the Republican National Convention permit the delegates to choose the vice-president. If there is not unity on Gov. Romney’s nominee, they can try to send their own nominee. I hope all Ron Paul-supporting delegates and all Gary Johnson supporters let it be known that YOU CAN force Ron Paul into the VP slot and you should. And then you should vote for Romney/Paul.
Many of you will criticize me for this and claim that Romney would still be Romney. Well, Romney is like tofu. You cook him in Massachusetts, he’ll be a liberal Republican. You cook him with Ron Paul…well, he might start throwing some bones to the liberty movement. This election is bigger than Romney, Paul, Obama or Johnson. Its about whether or not we are actually going to restore free-market capitalism and individual liberty.
Romney and Obama are so similar on economics and foreign policy its not even funny. But Romney has something that makes him malleable which Obama does not. Romney would have to get re-elected in 2016. The majority of the American people are opposed to more war. So on the foreign policy, Romney is less likely to start another war because it would cost him the election. If Obama gets reelected he will be a lame-duck and if you think he’s been unconcerned with the wishes of the American people up till this point, just imagine how bad he’ll be when he no longer has to give a damn what they think. He is more likely to start another war and will add more to the national debt than Romney. There of course is the prospect of our economy being crushed by this debt and sending us into an economic downturn–as Peter Schiff suggests. With a President Romney, there is a chance of actually taking some of the right steps. With Obama, there is none. Will Keynesianism finally be blamed if Obama presides over this collapse? Or will he blame “obstructionist Republicans” and will the American people buy that? I’m betting the latter and its not a gamble I’d like to take.
We need to win the American people on the issues of the day and I think we are. Most Americans are opposed to more war, are leaning towards proposing an end to the war on drugs, are apathetic to or supportive of same-sex marriage, so if we win them on free-market principles they essentially will become libertarian-minded people! And if the American people lean in our direction on the issues, a hypothetical President Romney will be forced to in order to be re-elected in 2016.
This is not my endorsement of Mitt Romney. I am withholding my endorsement until after the GOP convention because I want to see just how far my fellow libertarian-leaning Republicans are willing to take things. I request of the Ron Paul delegates that you force Mitt’s hand! Its already public record that Romney and Paul are personal friends in spite of their political differences. This suggests they can work together and Romney can be molded in a more conservative direction on the economy and a 10th amendment position on social issues.
Of course this scenario I’ve proposed can only happen if Romney is president. The best way to solidify this is to get him to choose Ron Paul as vice-president. If he were to do so, he would undoubtedly have my vote and I know many Paul supporters who would only support Romney if Paul was his running mate. Independent voters lean positive on their opinions of both Ron Paul and Mitt Romney from the polls I’ve seen. I imagine that those who don’t care for Mitt like Ron and vice-versa. This is the ticket that will send Barack Obama packing!
Romney would have a hard time winning otherwise. Mitch Daniels or Luis Fortuno could help Romney win as well. But some of the names being tossed around like Rob Portman or Marco Rubio I do not believe would solidify a Romney victory.
Let’s go for it! A Ron Paul vice-presidency does two big things.
First, it brings the liberty movement into the mainstream. A vice-president is not easily ignored. Think about it. Every ridiculous thing that comes out of Joe Biden’s mouth is national news. It would give Ron Paul a greater degree of respect than he’s ever had by mainstream America.
Secondly, it is important to remember that while Romney needs to get re-elected, Paul would likely only serve one term. Romney can’t force Paul to resign. Paul will say whatever he wants. And he will use the power of his vice presidency to elect liberty Republicans to the Senate and the House of Representatives in the 2014 midterm election! A vice-presidential endorsement goes a long way in terms of improving name-ID and finances for a congressional candidate. Imagine a few more Rand Pauls in the Senate and 30-40 more Justin Amashs in the House!
It means we can’t be ignored anymore. And the Republican establishment will see how we are replacing the religious right and the war-hawks and they will want to move in our direction to stay in power.
I’ve also considered the proper strategy if Ron Paul is not chosen as Vice-President.
The Statistical Implications: An Appeal to Gary Johnson Supporters
I know many young libertarians who are turning to the Libertarian Party (LP) candidate Gary Johnson and believing that he and the LP are going to continue the revolution Ron Paul started. Hate to burst your bubble, but its not gonna happen. I referred earlier to rational voter ignorance. Just because you don’t like the two-party system doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. Its not going anywhere! And the Libertarian Party is not competent or resourceful enough to make a dent in the status quo. A better strategy would be for the entire party to dissolve, disband and all register as Republicans and help people like Justin Amash highjack a major party and oust the theocons, neocons and the Keynesians. I’ve met people in the LP who laugh at me and say that there is a better chance of the Libertarian Party winning than the Republican Party changing.
Please hear me out! You have to consider the numbers game. When you do, you’ll realize why–to paraphrase Andrew Wilkow–I’m right, they’re wrong, that’s the end of the story!
The LP failed to co-opt the 40% or so of the early Tea Party movement that wasn’t socially conservative. They didn’t even co-opt 1/4th of that 40% or so. They’ve never won a congressional seat, state house speakership, state senate seat in a large pop state, governorship, mayorship in a major city. And please don’t give me that “the GOP didn’t for years” crap. 19th century America when we had less than 100 million people in this country, before rational voter ignorance became pandemic, IS NOT a relevant comparison. The LP was started by billionaires–the Koch brothers–and even with the might of the internet they still haven’t accomplished these things.
There’s also the question of financing. Another third party was once started by a billionaire. But it went nowhere. Ross Perot’s Reform Party attempted to present an alternative in the 1992 presidential election and he capped at 18%. Romney and Obama will each raise half a billion bucks before this is over. Gary Johnson, over the course of a year in 2 different political parties hadn’t even broke $1 million. Romney, Obama, even Ron Paul can merely send out a simultaneous Facebook update and tweet saying “send me money” and raise that much in 48 hours. 48 hours vs. a year. Admit it, Johnson is more than a longshot candidate. He is statistically unable to make a difference.
Assume voters are 30% Dem 30% GOP and 40% independent/third party and from past polling we can see the Libertarian Party’s cap at about 3% in general elections. We’ve got 13-16% of the GOP already in support of Ron Paul based on primary results this year. There is anywhere from 2-5 percent more in the Republican with some libertarian leanings on various issues (they had either backed Cain or Hunstman in the primaries).
For this simply arithmetic demonstration I’ll go with the LP-friendly estimate. .16 * .30 = 4.8%. Add that to the 3% cap of the LP and you get 7.8%. Not enough to get Johnson into the debates (15% minimum). Which means he will never get the necessary name ID. He’s trapped in a vicious circle: he can’t get his name ID up without being in the debate, but he doesn’t have enough name ID to get into the debate in the first place. I feel sorry for him, but not too sorry because he hasn’t accepted he’s made the wrong move by joining the Libertarian Party.
Merging Across Parties
Now, consider this. The Libertarian Party is 3% of the voting population. They DISBAND. They all register Republican. Add them to the Ron Paul supporters and the former libertarian-leaning Cain and Huntsman supporters and the liberty wing of the GOP is now about 20%. Its in the territory where it rivals the religious right. Come 2016, they’ll be over 20%
This sends a signal to two groups: the GOP establishment types who aren’t uber religious and are more concerned with winning elections than the social conservatism and the independent voters. The generational shift becomes irrefutably evident to all that secularism is rising and Bible-thumping is dying. The GOP establishment will finally understand the religious right is on its way out and will begin moving more in the direction of the liberty wing. This makes the party look more secular. Independent voters, who are overwhelmingly not socially conservative will be more inclined to join–or, in some cases, return–to the Republican Party.
By the early part of the next decade, you will see a Grand New Party, a party of secular capitalism. One that the Democrats will NEVER be able to stop.
By contrast, if the liberty wing of the GOP break away now, as I fear they might do. If they register LP. If they support Johnson. If they don’t show up at state and local GOP conventions in droves during the 2014 midterm to continue the push that Ron Paul started, then you will see two minority parties. A minority GOP and a minority LP. Both financially broken and statistically insignificant–meaning both unable to defeat the new Democrat majority that is so much larger.
You all know I’m right, and when Johnson fails to break single digits I will say I told you so. But I will also welcome you with open arms to accept my strategy as the most politically viable for the liberty movement. I can only hope that failure to see this now rather than after the November election won’t mean its too late for the liberty movement.
Aaron Alghawi obtained a B.S. in Economics from Texas A&M University in 2012. He is a national board member and Director of Student Outreach for the Republican Liberty Caucus.
As you all know, I’ve come out pretty strongly against these from the get go. I have always been against “anti-file sharing” legislation. I blasted Kimba Wood for shutting down Limewire. And I’ve been warning about SOPA for months and PIPA for weeks. Now, the American people are finally waking up. And all it took was 24 hours without Wikipedia. First, let’s discuss exactly what this bill is. Corporatist [quasi-socialist] Hollywood executives, the California Teamsters Union, and greedy entertainers got together with their lobbyist friends and said “hey, get congress to write a bill that lets us make money every time someone so much as looks at us or listens to us, we deserve it!”. Intellectual property laws in this country predate the world wide web by decades, and the lobbyists knew it would be easy to manipulate them for maximum control.
Government also liked the idea. Those in congress that wrote and supported the bill up to this point saw it as an opportunity for unprecedented government power over an area–both an economy and a society in and of itself–that has remained extremely free: the internet. These statists had the ultimate opportunity now to monitor us, influence us, control us, and further consolidate their power as time goes on. That is what awaits us if these bills pass. Unprecedented power for the political class. All it takes is a few greedy people to abuse their power. Let’s go back to the entertainment industry and how they’ve abused IP laws over the years to make a dime every which way they can:
You can clearly tell the effect of Big Hollyweird lobbyists on the net worth of entertainers. Elvis was once at the top of the world. At his death, his net worth was $7 million (1977 dollars) which is anywhere from 18-25 million in 2010 dollars. (see inflation calculator: http://www.westegg.com/inflation/)
Now compare that to Katy Perry. She’s a top artist of today, but she’s not as popular today as Elvis was in his time. Her current net worth after about 5 years being mainstream (and the entire time during a recession) is $55 million.
Someone like Snoop Dogg with 20 years of fame may be a better comparison. His net worth is $150 million.
I’m not trying to single out Snoop as greedy or anything, he’s had a lot of time to invest. And of course there are exogenous factors like a more globalized economy. Powerful emerging economies of like Russia, Brazil, South Korea and Taiwan wouldn’t have been able to access American entertainment with such ease and in such high quotas prior to the fall of the Soviet empire and the advent of internet music. But that can’t possibly be the only cause of so much more wealth among musicians (not to mention actors, directors, crew, writers, etc) today. I’m trying to point out that Hollywood corporatism has amassed what is a disproportionate and most-likely unfair amount of money for entertainers. Why do you think they have lobbied so hard for SOPA and PIPA? They are trying to milk us for every dime they can.
In a true free market, they wouldn’t make half the money they do. File sharing like Limewire would still exist without limits on their content. Youtube would stream content. Nobody could do anything about it unless the person sharing or streaming was making money off of the “stolen” content (like those bootleg DVDs from China). You wouldn’t be put in prison for playing a pop music song in a home movie uploaded to Youtube…a song that pretty much everyone has heard because we live in the internet age. File sharing of songs obviously occurred because the market did not demand the music enough to pay large amounts of money for it. iTunes came along with a la carte music purchasing and over time, people would switch to one of the two as opposed to buying CDs. Did this really make entertainers poorer? NO! They got richer! And so did the film industry! In 2010, in a weak economy, Hollywood execs raked in more money than they did in 2007 when the economy was strong; right before the recession began its onslaught on our jobs and investments.
It’s also been very interesting to watch America’s unity against SOPA. This is going hard! Liberals, conservatives, moderates, libertarians; all coming out against Big Hollyweird. I love it! Al Gore and Ron Paul agreeing on something? I don’t think America has ever been more united on something in my lifetime other than killing Osama bin Laden. (Now, try to imagine the blowback of a hypothetical Santorum Administration shutting down the porn industry )
As for Nancy Pelosi and even some of my fellow Republicans that have come out against this in recent hours….I mean days….it’s clearly to save their own skin. Let’s take a good hard look at the people who wrote the bill and pushed it for so long. Make sure to be unforgiving at the polls (Lamar Smith, look out!)
I do want to say one more thing. It’s amazing what 24 hours without Wikipedia can do. They and the folks at Reddit shut down to get people’s attention. It WORKED! This is an example of what will happen if we continue this move toward socialism and continue to raise taxes and regulations on the entrepreneurial class. One day, they will say “enough!” and quit investing and creating jobs. When that happens, this recession we recently had will look like a boom by comparison. Wikipedia can just go back online tomorrow. Economies….not so much. I am confident that the House will strike down SOPA. Call your senators, and make sure that their equivalent–the Protect IP Act–is killed as well!
Aaron Alghawi ’12
Aaron Alghawi is a senior economics major at Texas A&M University, as well as an alternate board member and Director of Student Outreach for the Republican Liberty Caucus.
One of the arguments used to dismiss Representative Ron Paul’s viability as a presidential candidate is that he is a libertarian masquerading as a Republican who appeals to a limited but high intensity audience, a popularity which will not translate into victory in most states. This argument is being used by pundits and media spokespeople to explain his impending victory in the Iowa Caucus.
It’s a reasonable argument based on his small but loyal following in the 2008 election, but despite its basis in fact it is not sufficient to explain Paul’s current success. The problem is that Iowa is anything but a state dominated by libertarian-leaning Republicans. In fact, Iowa’s Republicans are 54% evangelical Christians who are strongly socially conservative and have very little in common with more libertarian Republicans. If Paul’s only appeal were to Liberty Republicans then Paul would be doing poorly in Iowa where voters are anything but pro-liberty.
One measure of how libertarian Republicans in a state are is how active the Republican Liberty Caucus, which represents libertarian Republicans, is in that state. Iowa is an extremely weak state for RLC membership and involvement. Unlike most states, especially Republican dominated states, it has no active RLC chapter and it offered a single endorsee for office in 2010 and he did not win election. Compare that to New Hampshire where the RLC offered over 100 candidates for office in 2010 and has 81 members in the state House of Representatives.
New Hampshire Republicans lean libertarian and those in Iowa clearly do not. If his appeal was solely to libertarian voters then Paul would be dominating New Hampshire and bombing in Iowa where a libertarian message is not terribly welcome. Yet Paul is likely to do even better in Iowa than in New Hampshire, finishing in first or second in both states. He may also go on to pass Gingrich and take second in South Carolina which has a balance of libertarian Republicans and more socially conservative Republicans.
All of this suggests that contrary to the conventional wisdom, Paul is not a single-constituency voter, but rather a double-threat with two bases of support. He appears to appeal not only to the expecte pro-liberty demographic, but also to more traditional conservatives including a lot of religious conservatives. Paul’s balance of libertarian policies and personal inclinations towards social conservatism seems to resonate with both groups, giving him a much broader base than just the high-intensity ideologues most commonly associated with him.
In fact, based on the combination of his personal views and policy positions, Paul may not be the marginal candidate many assume him to be. With the exception of hardcore neoconservatives for whom an aggressive foreign policy is paramount – a viewpoint in disrepute after the failures of the Bush era – Paul has something to offer most of the other constituencies within the Republican party. His hands-off policies appeal to many social conservatives as well as libertarians. His clear personal religious faith attracts religious conservatives. His fiscally conservative policies appeal to both those who want government reform and to pro-business Republicans. In addition, the latest FoxNews poll shows asked voters who was the “true conservative” in the race and 40% answered Paul while 34% answered Santorum. Clearly Paul has created a larger niche as both the most Conservative and most Libertarian candidate in the race.
As the returns come in from Iowa it seems likely that Senator Rick Santorum will hold a strong third or maybe even win second in Iowa, sharing the conservative vote with Paul. But unlike Paul, Santorum has very little money and even less appeal to voters outside of that hardcore conservative base. Santorum polls very poorly in New Hampshire and without money he lacks the legs to catch up with other candidates. As Santorum’s Iowa surge fades it’s quite likely that many of his supporters – who may be “anyone but Mitt” voters – will move to Paul with whom he shares conservative common ground.
If it proves to be true that Paul has two bases of support within the Republican Party, winning over both serious conservatives and libertarians, that puts him in position to be the preeminent challenger to Romney’s broad but lukewarm appeal. Though the media may continue to argue that Paul is unelectable, with this clear evidence that his base of support is much broader than originally believed, this may come down to a very close two-man race between Romney and Paul.
A slightly different version of this article appeared previously on Blogcritics Magazine.
After polling all of our state chapters and receiving their votes determined from the preferences of their members, on Wednesday the Republican Liberty Caucus national board held a special meeting at which we certified the decision of our members to endorse Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). The following press release was sent to national media in coordination with the Ron Paul campaign and we hope that our input will give Paul a little extra push going into the Iowa primary.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 30, 2011
CONTACT: Dave Nalle at 512-656-8011 or email@example.com
Republican Liberty Caucus Endorses Ron Paul for President
Paul Nomination Will Send a Message from the Grassroots that the GOP is Back on Track with its Founding Principles!
AUSTIN, TX – The Republican Liberty Caucus national board is proud to endorse Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for the Republican presidential nomination. In a field of candidates who show little genuine commitment to individual liberty or reducing the size of government, Rep. Paul stands out as a consistent champion of the values of the Republican Liberty Caucus; limited government, personal liberty and free enterprise.
“Ron Paul has been the one Congressman willing to consistently stand up against abuses of government power and for protecting the rights of citizens,” said RLC National Chairman Dave Nalle. “He has led opposition to the War on Drugs, REAL ID and the PATRIOT Act. Just in the past year he has joined us in fighting against unconstitutional military detention of civilians, government tracking of workers through e-verify and a federal takeover of the internet. These are issues which grassroots Republicans are concerned about, but the party establishment is not listening. Ron Paul is the only candidate who really speaks for the grassroots of the Republican Party.”
“Paul has often been a lone vote against big government and big spending in the wilderness of the House of Representatives, but as president that lone vote would become a veto and stop government abuses dead in their tracks,” observed Earl Bandy, Chairman of the RLC of Colorado. “That alone is a great reason to put Ron Paul in the White House and give him that power.”
A major goal of the Republican Liberty Caucus is to expand the number of Senators and Representatives who are truly dedicated to the principles of small government, free enterprise and individual liberty. We made a good start towards changing Congress in 2010 and with Ron Paul at the head of the Republican ticket and a great field of liberty candidates we can win even more seats in Congress in 2012.
With leaders like Ron Paul this is the year when we can bring our government back to the values of the founders and put the liberty and prosperity of our citizens at the top of the national agenda rather than the bottom.
Founded in 1991, the Republican Liberty Caucus exists to promote individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise within the Republican Party. To find out more, please visit www.rlc.org. This endorsement decision was the result of a vote of RLC state chapters nationwide and certified by the national board. This is the first time the RLC has endorsed a presidential candidate since 1996.
There was something opportunistic about the Herman Cain presidential campaign from the get-go. No state campaign organizations, lots of emphasis on selling his recently released book, and issue positions which seemed to be made-up on the spot to entertain an audience. It worked for a while. It took him to the top of the polls in a number of states about a month ago in a surge generated by strong debate performances, but it couldn’t last and maybe it was never intended to.
Most of us who were waiting for a crash to follow his surge expected it to be on the basis of the illogic of his 9-9-9 plan which would have raised taxes on 80% of the population and subjected many in the middle class to forms of taxation from which they had previously been exempt. Once the novelty wore off it was clear that it was a recipe for disaster if it faced any serious examination.
Most probably didn’t anticipate the flurry of “bimbo erruptions” which filled the past month, a bulging handful of shaky accusations of sexual harassment and finally a full-fledged mistress with phone records and bank deposits which were hard to dismiss. It all raised the question once again of the seriousness of Cain’s campaign, because he is clearly no fool and has to have gone into this endeavor knowing that there was a strict time limit on his viability and a certainty that his rise to prominence would drag the skeletons of his past to the surface.
As he suspends his campaign we end with a sad commentary on the Republican Party which is so eager for someone to dislodge the mendacious mediocrities of the party establishment like Romney and Gingrich that they will turn to any charlatan with a good patter and the right brand of snake-oil in his hand.
With Cain proving to be just as corrupt in his own way as Perry and Gingrich and Romney, perhaps it’s time for the GOP constituency to try something different – a candidate with integrity. At the rate things are going they may be forced to this appealing last resort because the field of grifters and yes-men is narrowing and that leaves room for candidates with some integrity.
I’m not talking about Bachmann or Santorum here. I’ll grant they have a certain sort of fanatical integrity, but crazy trumps integrity every time and explains why they’re stuck in single digits and are never going to get out of them.
What the grassroots members who make up the backbone of the Republican Party are desperate for is a candidate with qualities which make them exceptional. Not exceptionally good at pandering and exceptionally good looking, but exceptional in the quality of their ideas and their character.
The irony of the race thus far is that they have had candidates of exceptional quality available to them all along and they have let the media minimize them and the party leadership marginalize them and they’ve gone for the flashier but far less substantial candidates who have let them down time and again as Perry and Cain have and as Gingrich and Romney are sure to do.
The three candidates who stand out as truly worthy of the support which Republican voters are Ron Paul, John Huntsman and Gary Johnson. They represent the highest ideals of the Republican Party, have histories of personal integrity and they have actual ideas which might solve the nations problems and put us back on the path to prosperity. They’re also far more likely to beat Obama in November than most of the other candidates if they’re given that chance.
Ron Paul stands out for having the strongest combination of integrity and proven ability to pull votes. Paul is already polling in the top three in almost every poll and has a powerful base of support which isn’t going to break and run and could easily push him over the top. Herman Cain supporters are already flocking to Paul, realizing that he’s the genuine version of what Cain was peddling in a watered down form.. Paul offers real reform, real fiscal conservatism and a record which suggests an absolute unwillingness to compromise with the leaders of both parties who have led us so far astray. His personal social conservatism gives him an edge in the primary and his libertarian principles could win over independents in the general election.
Jon Huntsman has a proven track record as a governor, an appealing personal charisma and a combination of fiscal conservatism and moderation on social issues which would win key independents and crossover Democrats in droves. He also has more personal money to throw into the campaign than most of the other candidates. Huntsman has some libertarian ideas and some original ideas and a streak of integrity a mile wide. His absolute refusal to pander to the religious right is endearing. He won’t go on Huckabee, he won’t have anything to do with events sponsored by the religious fringe and he won’t even campaign in Iowa with the compromises that seems to entail. And much to everyone’s surprise, before Cain had even bowed out, he hit 11% in the latest poll in New Hampsire, suggesting that he’s a real contender.
Of course, the best of the neglected candidates waiting in the wings is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. He has an outstanding record in office and some of the best ideas, including being the only advocate for the FairTax. He’s also been the whipping boy for the media and the party establishment. He’s been overlooked and excluded from debates and press coverage and left out of the polls, and he’s sufficiently disgruntled he’s even considered jumping ship to the Libertarian party. But despite all that he’s still in the race and if Cain’s departure opens a spot in the primary field then Johnson is the one who ought to be brought in to fill it. There’s no one more deserving and no one who could do more with another opportunity.
While the partisan press continues to prattle on about Romney and Gingrich, two candidates who no one really wants, one a replay of 2008 and the other a replay of 1994, there’s a real field of candidates out there that Republicans could truly be proud of. After all the disappointments and missteps of party leaders, a primary field led by Paul, Huntsman and Johnson might restore confidence in a party which is on the brink of failure and has broken faith with its own base too many times.
My Republican Party isn’t represented by the Newts and Mitts of the world. It’s not a party of tired old hacks and used care salesman smiles. It’s a party of smart ideas and responsible government and refreshing honesty. It’s a party which can celebrate candidates like Paul, Huntsman and Johnson, embrace them and let them show us what a real election with serious candidates can be like. They are the tonic for the disease which grips the party. They are the serious contenders to counter the damage done by flirtation with faux candidates like Cain.
Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party its first national victory with a “team of rivals” bringing the best his party had to offer to Washington. Paul, Huntsman and Johnson could be that winning team for a new era of Republican politics if we can discard the baggage of our old mistakes and believe in the brighter future which they represent.
This article appeared in slightly different form in Blogcritics Magazine.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy, but there’s everything wrong with the way he has been presenting them in his public appearances and in the debates.
Paul basically believes that national defense should focus on defense and that overcommitting our resources in foreign wars and foreign aid missions weakens our ability to defend our own nation and undermines our credibility and effectiveness in foreign policy. Secondarily, the huge cost of our foreign wars has helped put us into a vast pit of deficit spending and weakened our economy, and that economic vulnerability is as big a threat to national security as all the missiles in China. This is a reality-based and absolutely reasonable foreign policy position to take.
However, because of the way he presents his positions, detractors have been able to paint Paul as an isolationist, as anti-American and even as a Muslim sympathizer – largely unfairly – but nonetheless pretty effectively.
Paul’s downfall comes in his apparent fascination with the theory of “blowback,” a not very insightful foreign policy meme derived from the CIA’s use of the term as presented in the book Blowback by Chalmers Johnson. Johnson’s development of the idea is naive and simplistic and basically comes down to the unsurprising notion that sometimes when people are angry with the United States it’s precipitated by something we did to them. Our foreign policy hasn’t always been terribly gentle and not surprisingly we’ve made some enemies. Blowback is more like payback, when people or nations try to get revenge for wrongs we’ve done them in the past.
As part of a comprehensive view of foreign policy the idea of “blowback” certainly has a valid role. But if you lead with it, as Ron Paul has an unfortunate habit of doing, it creates the impression that it is the entire basis of your understanding of foreign affairs and that you are essentially saying that whatever happens to America, from the events of 9/11 to the latest bombing in Afghanistan, is not the fault of the terrorists, but has to be blamed on the United States because we wronged them first.
This is a view which is both logically fallacious and offensive to a lot of people. If it’s the only part of your foreign policy which registers with an audience, then it’s not surprising that some of them conclude that you’re sympathetic to the terrorists. Even Neoconservatives can see the fallacy in concluding that primary responsibility for any action lies with someone other than the actor himself. While motivations are worth considering, no matter what they are, the person who consciously chooses to commit a new and original act of violence still gets most of the blame. No matter how he was provoked he could have chosen not to do wrong.
The problem for Ron Paul as a candidate is that you cannot explain the nuances of an idea like this or put it in the larger foreign policy context in a sound byte or a 30 second debate response. So the result of bringing it up without enough time to explain it is that all that gets through is that you’re blaming the United States for provoking whatever attacks it has received. Paul is not wrong to raise this issue, but if that’s all you’re going to be able to communicate about your foreign policy it’s not going to play well with a lot of people.
That being the case, it would be far wiser to express a simple and positive position on foreign policy and leave issues like “blowback” on the back burner to be explained in a position paper in the proper context. Leading with a controversial issue like this is a bad idea, no matter how much some of your followers cheer when you stick it to the neocons by bringing it up. Ron Paul doesn’t need to win over the folks at Antiwar.com. He needs to win over the borderline War Hawks who are far more numerous and influential in the Republican Party.
More recently Paul has faced a similar problem to the controversy he created over “blowback” with his apparent defense of the right of Iran to have nuclear weapons. On this issue he’s largely correct. Iran is a sovereign nation and we really don’t have any more right to tell it what to do than China does to tell us. And if someone is going to try to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons it should be those who are most threatened by them and the international community, not the United States acting unilaterally. But all of that doesn’t make a good sound byte, so he ends up being portrayed as wanting Iran to have nukes.
Tonight’s debate on CNN is specifically focused on foreign policy and, assuming they give him more than the 89 seconds he was allowed in the last debate, it would be a wonderful opportunity for Paul to counter some of the negative impressions he has created in the past and offer a simple and positive foreign policy statement which would win supporters he needs instead of being misinterpreted and taken out of context and used to fuel attacks against him.
He should avoid bringing up ideas like “blowback” which he won’t have time to explain and focus on short, clear and positive statements about how the role he would have America play in the world. Here are some simple statements which would fit with his beliefs and serve him much better than the things he has said in the past.
For a general statement on our role in foreign affairs he could say:
“I believe that America should lead by example and pursue peace through strength. A great nation does not need to meddle in the affairs of its neighbors.” (throwing int he right buzzword here could win a lot of points with GOP primary voters)
If asked specifically about “blowback” and 9/11 he could say:
“Our past foreign policy cannot be used to justify the actions of terrorists and murderers. One wrong does not excuse another and those who commit acts of terror should be held directly responsible.” (doesn’t rule out the possibility of holding the US responsible, but doesn’t push it either)
If asked about Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons he could say:
“Iran is already a threat to its neighbors and some of them have their own nuclear arsenals. Our primary concern should be the safety of our nation, our citizens and our property and so long as Iran does not directly threaten us we should respect Itheir sovereignty as much as we do that of other nuclear nations.”
If asked about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he could say:
“We should only go to war to protect our nation, its people and its immediate interests. Long wars for vague purposes are too costly and harm national security by weakening our economy. We should focus on retasking the military to be a more modern and effective force for defending our borders and protecting our citizens as its first priority.” (shows an interest in making the military better and more useful, not irrelevant)
If asked about how to deal with terrorists he should say:
“Terrorism should be treated as the most serious kind of crime. We should go after terrorists with every resource at our disposal, but our focus should always be on bringing the terrorists to justice with some due process of law. In fighting terror the military should act as an arm of law enforcement and with Congressional authorization, to apprehend terrorists wherever they are and bring them to trial and punishment.”
All of these statements are in keeping with Paul’s positions as I have been able to work them out from his more developed statements on these subjects. None of them is so long or complex that it could not be produced as a short answer in a debate.
How hard would it be for him to avoid his past mistakes and present his ideas in a more positive way? Why haven’t his advisors and debate prep team not tried to equip him with a better arsenal of responses? Or is it possible that he has been given this sort of advice and is too set in his ways and sees changing his presentation of these ideas as a concession he’s not willing to make?
I can’t answer these questions, but I sure would like to see him sell his ideas better to a broader audience in tonight’s debate. He’s polling surprisingly well and if he could lay some of these criticisms to rest who knows how well he could do in the primary.
This article appeared previously on Blogcritics Magazine