Prominent right-wing blogger (and apparent closet Bircher) Eric Odom has decided to spend a lot of his time covering the controversial special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District, in which liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava has received the backing of the GOP establishment, and her Conservative Party opponent Doug Hoffman has attracted the support of a lot of the more outspoken pundits on the right and a number of religiously extreme anti-liberty groups like Eagle Forum.
In his latest article Odom makes the peculiar observation:
The race represents a clear message being sent to the RNC. And the message is simple… the liberty movement is not going to tolerate liberal Republicans anymore.
Now, I’m not sure who appointed Odom the spokesman for the liberty movement, but he seems to have forgotten that an essential component of that movement is, oddly enough, support for liberty. In all its forms. Not just the economic liberty of lower taxes, but also the other liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and granted to all people under natural law; liberties like freedom of association, of religion, of speech and of privacy.
I don’t know all that much about Doug Hoffman’s politics. He manages to avoid mentioning most of the tough issues on his website. But I can guess what some of them are by his list of endorsements, which includes a number of groups which can only be considered strongly anti-liberty and even among the greatest enemies of liberty on the political right.
Eagle Forum is certainly the worst of the lot. This group of bigoted biddies is headed up by Phyllis Schlafly. They are in favor of war, torture, abstinence and creationism. They are strongly anti-gay, not only opposing gay marriage, but also actively homophobic and supportive of gay reeducation programs. They’re also against gambling, divorce, pornography, immigration, birth-control, marijuana and vaccines. In my opinion no candidate endorsed by Eagle Forum could ever be considered a “liberty” candidate. Eagle Forum would basically like to turn the country into a totalitarian theocracy. Any candidate who loves liberty should publicly reject their endorsement.
Some of the other groups endorsing Hoffman are nearly as bad: GING-PAC is an extreme religious right group which promotes “family values” and “biblical government” which seems pretty ominous. The National Organization for Marriage is an anti-gay group claiming to be “the preeminent organization dedicated to preventing the legalization of same-sex marriage,” which makes them strongly anti-liberty. Many of the other groups endorsing him are pro-life groups; in itself not a problem, but many of them also promote a religious agenda which includes opposition to gay rights and birth control, and even support for school prayer.
Now, I’m by no means a fan of Dede Scozzafava, but she does at least have a reasonable record on many issues of individual liberty. She’s too supportive of unions and too tied into the New York leftist establishment, but she is relatively fiscally conservative, in favor of gun rights and for cutting taxes. I would never pick Scozzafava as a candidate or encourage a group I was part of to endorse her. But that said, she’s still less anti-liberty than Hoffman is. If his endorsements represent his views, Hoffman is actively opposed to a great many of our basic liberties, while Scozzafava is just another opportunistic moderate-to-liberal Republican who will vote with other Republicans more often than most Democrats will, and certainly more than any Democrat far enough to the left to get elected in her district.
There are some Republicans who claim to be part of or even speak for the “liberty movement” within the party who are not really part of it. They’re just religious fanatics and single-issue social conservatives who pay lip service to the idea of smaller government and want to cash in on the momentum they see growing. Their dirty secret is that they oppose Scozzafava not because of her level of commitment to liberty, but because she’s pro-choice and pro-gay. Nothing else matters to them. They are one of the groups which got us in the mess the GOP is in today, as bad as the neocons and big-business Republicans. They’re statists on too many issues and that makes them enemies of liberty. They must not be allowed to hijack the liberty movement and drive the party in the wrong direction.
The truth is that liberal Republicans still have more in common with the liberty movement than Democrats or even most socially conservative Republicans, and while that doesn’t mean you should support an uninspiring candidate like Scozzafava, don’t let anyone get away with a big lie like claiming that a candidate like Doug Hoffman, who is endorsed and funded by Eagle Forum and other groups of bigots, extremists and theocrats, is in any way a candidate who supports liberty.
Hoffman may be a conservative, but he’s not a liberty conservative. He’s just another statist who wants to use the power of government to dictate how people live. He’s not that different from Scozzafava, he’s just bad in different ways. Don’t waste your time and effort on this pointless contest between two bad choices. Spend your money and enthusiasm to support the many Republican candidates in other campaigns who are authentic advocates for individual liberty, free enterprise and limited government.