Leftist observer enjoys conservative/libertarian split at CPAC, supports strengthening Libertarian Party

Lubbock Left, a blog hosted but not edited by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

Social conservatives and libertarians don’t get along. Here’s a FOX News opinion piece about the recent CPAC Conference illustrating that point. (To my friends on the right: yes, I occasionally read FOX News, holding my nose the whole time.) Social conservatives can’t stand libertarians wanting a voice within the Republican Party, though they courted libertarians eagerly enough in the 2010 election cycle, mostly through the TEA Party concept. Now that the 2012 Presidential posturing is well underway, both factions within the GOP are openly rude to each other when the cameras are rolling.

I say: it’s time to break out the popcorn and watch the GOP self-destruct.

The Republican House of Representatives will be unable to deliver a Federal budget that satisfies its TEA Party constituents. That means strong primary challenges in “safe” GOP seats on one end of the spectrum, and growing disillusionment with the TEA Party concept on the other. With President Obama weathering 2010 with an approval rating still over 50%, the Democratic Party is poised to reclaim the House, keep the Senate, and keep the Presidency… IF Democrats get out there and work hard in all 50 states.

To my libertarian friends: this weekend’s spectacles at CPAC are exactly why I think the Libertarian Party deserves access to the kinds of infrastructure enjoyed by both the Democratic and Republican parties (ballot access, financial support from the states for primaries/caucuses, and so forth). As a proud supporter of one of the two major political parties in our country, I still see the need for multiple, strong, national parties. TEA Party Republicans are a mix of two factions (social conservatives and libertarians) that, despite all the media hype, are not a natural fit and never will be.

The author does not mention that many, although not all, Libertarian Party members oppose taking financial support from the states for primaries/caucuses on principle, and would prefer to see all parties stop receiving such government aid.

For background see:

Supporters of former Libertarian candidate Ron Paul heckle Cheney, Rumsfeld, call them war criminals at CPAC

Huffington Post on CPAC Straw Poll: Ron Paul wins Again! Gary Johnson tied for third place

Libertarians at CPAC present Republican Wall of Shame

Libertarian Party Monday Message: Video from CPAC 2011

Libertarian Blue: ‘Libertarians are Right Wing?’

Ralph Nader and Ron Paul on Freedom Watch: Alliance Against Corporatism

Ron Paul could lead a new libertarian/progressive coalition

Nader advocates for Progressive-Libertarian Alliance

23 thoughts on “Leftist observer enjoys conservative/libertarian split at CPAC, supports strengthening Libertarian Party

  1. David Colborne

    I can’t wait for the day that the LP starts pulling social libertarians from the Democratic Party and breaks the big government/social libertarian link.

    Little known fact: It’s possible to advocate for gay marriage (or, more accurately, equality in the law for consensual civil unions between two adults), legal equality for all races and creeds, and the freedom to do what you will with your body without demanding higher taxes and larger government expenditures to… do what, exactly?

  2. paulie Post author

    I can’t wait for the day that the LP starts pulling social libertarians from the Democratic Party and breaks the big government/social libertarian link.

    That’s already happening; it just doesn’t get publicized enough.

    (From http://www.lp.org/campaign-resources 🙂

    http://www.lp.org/blogs/staff/nc-poll-8-of-liberals-6-of-moderates-4-of-conservatives-support-libertarian-beitler

    http://www.lpo.org/news/press-releases/233-libertarian-voters-come-from-democratic-and-republican-parties-nearly-equally.html

  3. paulie Post author

    On the other side of the ledger, there’s bound to be some Democrats with money who think along the same lines as the author.

    If there is a way to find them and get them to help pay for Libertarian ballot access, that ought to be done.

    They were already busy in the last election sending out mailers on behalf of Libertarian candidates, aimed at conservatives, touting the Libertarians as TEA party conservatives and attacking their Republican opponents for being too liberal. Identify the people behind those mailers if we can, and hit them up for ballot access funding.

    Then, get Republicans to also send out mailers to lists of progressive/liberal voters on behalf of Libertarian candidates to let them know that the Libertarian candidates will vote to end the wars, bring the troops home, restore civil liberties and stop corporate bailouts while their Democratic member of congress has voted the opposite way.

  4. paulie Post author

    “and yet the Ls”

    some Ls.

    “thot of as little more than Republican Lite”

    Seems pretty clear from the example of this article and the ones I cited for further reference that this is changing.

    Supporters of former Libertarian candidate Ron Paul heckle Cheney, Rumsfeld, call them war criminals at CPAC

    Huffington Post on CPAC Straw Poll: Ron Paul wins Again! Gary Johnson tied for third place

    Libertarians at CPAC present Republican Wall of Shame

    Libertarian Party Monday Message: Video from CPAC 2011

    Libertarian Blue: ‘Libertarians are Right Wing?’

    Ralph Nader and Ron Paul on Freedom Watch: Alliance Against Corporatism

    Ron Paul could lead a new libertarian/progressive coalition

    Nader advocates for Progressive-Libertarian Alliance

  5. paulie Post author

    Posted in 2006, but still largely true:

    http://freedomdemocrats.org/node/812


    Today, less than eighty days before Election Day, I am pleased to release the 2006 Freedom Democrats House Scorecard. This scorecard builds on the findings of our 2005 Scorecard, but makes significant changes in order to more accurately judge the House of Representatives. Before discussing the results, I would like to present the findings as displayed on the quintessential Nolan Chart.

    The two red dots in the libertarian quadrant are Ron Paul of Texas and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Democrat Melissa Bean of Illinois is just along the edge of the libertarian quadrant. Other notable members are Republicans Walter Jones of North Carolina and John Duncan of Tennessee, occupying the corner where Centrists, Libertarians, and Conservatives meet, and Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee, who is just south of the line between Centrists and Libertarians. The green dot is Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The dark blue square is the average for the Democratic Party and the dark red square is the average for the Republican Party.

    A detailed discussion of the social and economic aspects of the scorecards, including votes, can be found elsewhere on the site. The focus here will be on the scorecard overall. In brief, key changes were made to the economic scorecard to find better votes on spending restraint. This explains the significant drop in economic scores for the Democratic Party.

    The graphic helps to illustrate that the Republican Party has largely become an authoritarian party, despite the fact that the two libertarian members still affiliate with the GOP. Only a small wing of the party remains true to conservative principles of fiscal restraint and economic freedom. In contrast, the Democratic Party is largely a liberal party with a more populist wing that includes many members who are not consistent in supporting civil liberties and social rights.

    Polling information from the Pew reveals that this parallels the situation among voters. Democratic activists tend to be united on economic issues but divided by social issues. The reverse is true of Republicans; the Pew notes the recent rise of so-called “big government conservatives.” With both parties attempting to appeal to “populists” or “authoritarians,” it is significant that the Republican Party was able to win both “populists” and “libertarians” by the same 60-40 margin in the 2004 election. It is the belief of Freedom Democrats that the Democratic Party would have greater success if it focused its attentions to libertarian voters.

    This scorecard is both good news and bad news for libertarian Democrats. The good news is that the Democratic Party as a whole is “more” libertarian than the Republican Party. There is a significant gap between the two parties on issues of personal liberty. The new scorecard shows both parties failing on economic issues, but with the Republicans slightly ahead. This is the bad news for libertarian Democrats, that much needs to be done to encourage greater fiscal responsibility within the party. The focus of libertarians within the Democratic Party should be on promoting fiscally responsible candidates.

    The two high scoring Democrats may show the way. Melissa Bean of Illinois is still in her first term; she defeated long time incumbent Phil Crane in 2004. Although more to the right on social issues than ideal, she has shown herself to be a staunch fiscal conservative (according to the old, traditional definition of the phrase). She has received a rare endorsement from the Chamber of Commerce, an organization that typically supports Republicans, in her reelection bid.

    Jim Cooper of Tennessee is also a deficit hawk and an opponent of wasteful spending. He has received media attention recently for pushing to publish the “Financial Report of the United States.” This report, which more accurately tracks the budget and future financial obligations like Social Security than traditional budget methods, will hopefully help inform voters about the reality of our country’s coming fiscal crisis.

    A file showing the social, economic, and average scores for each member of the House can be found here. A detailed discussion of the votes can be found on the pages for the social scorecard and the economic scorecard.

  6. paulie Post author

    Worth repeating as often as possible:

    “We’ve already heard some talk about the Republican ‘three-legged stool.’ My view is, Republicans are wrong on foreign policy, they’re wrong on social policy, and they’re lying hypocrites on economic policy. Their stool has no legs.”

    -Wes Benedict

  7. Bryan

    When the “rubber hits the road” and people must choose…

    The Far right R’s see the LP social policy as a deal breaker.

    Moderate R’s may agree with the general LP platform, but (like Ron Paul, Gary Johnson etc…) not change party affliliation because the R’s have a “better chance to win”, and they are willing to make concessions on social policy as they seem to see it on a second tier to economic policy.

    Far Left D’s see the LP economic policy as a deal breaker.

    Moderate-right D’s may agree on many LP policies, but don’t “switch” because they have a “better chance of winning”, and they will generally make concessions to “conservative fiscal” policy in order to gain on social issues.

    Most LPers I know are former Republicans, and some have said that we need to focus on taxes and economics. Social issues are seldom on the agenda, rarely discussed and never promoted.

    I know there are exceptions (remember I’m in SC) but in my area the LP is so intertwined with c4l, tea partiers, and Republicans (it is generally assumed that you will support the GOP candidate in the absence of an LP candidate) I don’t see how the LP can ever expand into a “real” Big Tent Party.

  8. paulie Post author

    Bryan,

    The last ten press releases from LPHQ:

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarians-at-cpac-present-republican-wall-of-shame

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/america-should-stop-interfering-in-egypt

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarians-tea-party-betrayed-by-tiny-republican-budget-cuts

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarian-response-to-state-of-the-union-and-republicans

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarian-chair-sort-of-commends-obamas-cuba-decision

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarian-party-condemns-shooting-of-congresswoman-gabrielle-giffords

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarian-party-to-participate-in-stripping-of-freedom-tsa-conference

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/government-officials-afraid-of-a-full-body-scan-of-their-words-should-resign-say

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/wes-for-wesley-snipes

    http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/libertarians-oppose-republican-plans-to-hang-onto-obamacare

    Read these ten press releases. Does it seem to you that we never bring up peace/foreign policy and social/civil liberties issues?

    It seems to me that the national LP is doing a fine job of consistently presenting the message that the “Republicans are wrong on foreign policy, they’re wrong on social policy, and they’re lying hypocrites on economic policy. Their stool has no legs,” and that conversely, the Democrats are wrong on economic policy, lying hypocrites on social policy, and lying hypocrites on foreign policy.

    The LP’s three legged stool is peace, civil liberties, and free markets. It’s true that some (key word some) local LPs only showcase the “free markets” part of that trifecta, and don’t do enough to distinguish free markets from corporatist big government-big business collusion. Thus, naturally, people may be forgiven for assuming that in the absence of an L choice, Libertarians will vote R. The actual polling data of Libertarian voters (see comment #3) shows otherwise.

  9. paulie Post author

    Where do the biggest opportunities exist for expanding the libertarian base?

    Consider these facts:

    1) The vast majority of Americans do not change their political party after age 30. I have seen the statistic 90%, although I haven’t been able to find my original source for that again lately.

    2) In my extensive polling of general college-age audiences, I found a strong preference for small government on social issues and a generally moderate/confused/apathetic stance on economic issues. The social issues were clearly most important to the quiz takers.

    3) While the survey I used was the standard World’s Smallest Political Quiz that downplays foreign policy issues, from conversations I had while administering over 10,000 such quizzes on over 100 occasions I would say that most of them were strongly on the government-limiting side of foreign policy issues (IE for cutting military spending and bringing the troops home).

    4) In standard quiz terms the most common score was about 80 social, 50 economic, and had foreign/military policy been a third dimension, I am guesstimating perhaps 80 on the small government side of that one. Furthermore, the economic issues were the ones that the quiz takers were the least knowledgeable and opinionated about.

    5) Of the issues they cared most about – peace and civil liberties issues – they already tended to agree with libertarians.

    6) Ron Paul captured the support of many people with similar views – despite being significantly more conservative than the LP on several social issues.

    7) He lost some, but not all, of that support due to the revelation of his connection to racist newsletters that came out about 20 years ago. However, the LP does not have such a past.

    8 ) There are numerous other demographics that are motivated most by small government views on social issues – gay people, marijuana users, immigration freedom supporters – and these just so happen to be groups that turn out thousands and even millions of people in public demonstrations and parades on a regular basis.

    9) Many people working in the creative fields are likewise primarily motivated by peace and civil liberties issues.

  10. Bryan

    I get those releases in my e-mail so I’ve read them as they appeared 😉

    I guess I should have qualified the entire comment above with the (remember I’m in SC).

    The national does a good job, and Wrights just had something posted here, so it shouldn’t be a blanket statement, but it is true for most in SC.

    The LP just misses the boat when it comes to non-economic issues…for the most part. There are so many possiblilities that are lost or ignored…especially in my area. When an event for Anti-War, GLBT rights, NORMAL ect… is held, the D’s and R’s may be there, the Greens will be there, even the few Socialists in the area will be there, but the LP….nope. Now the LP will be down at the local gun show and will generally be represented at tea parties.

  11. Fun K. Chicken

    Sounds like you need to start representing your local LP at some of the events you mention.

  12. Bryan

    Hell, I brought it up, that’s when they told me we needed to focus on taxes and economic issues.

    Frankly some of these events need more than one person to “represent” or in the events of parades or festivals have a charge for being there…

    And if I were able to “recruit” any new members, I would feel like I lied to them. The issue that I used to get them involved, they would find out is locked in the closet by most of their “fellow members”.

  13. paulie Post author

    The (SC)LP just misses the boat when it comes to non-economic issues…for the most part. There are so many possiblilities that are lost or ignored…especially in my area. When an event for Anti-War, GLBT rights, NORMAL ect… is held, the D’s and R’s may be there, the Greens will be there, even the few Socialists in the area will be there, but the LP….nope.

    Very unfortunate. There are too many LP locals that are the same way. Hopefully, that won’t be the case too much longer.

    Hell, I brought it up, that’s when they told me we needed to focus on taxes and economic issues.

    That’s odd. Flood and Dimit gave me a ride from Alabama to New Orleans and New Orleans to Charleston before and after the last LNC meeting, and we talked about this…they said they want to reach out to all those groups and just don’t know how. Were they among the people telling you this? Or have you talked to them specifically about it?

    Frankly some of these events need more than one person to “represent”

    Sometimes, one guy with a sign can make a big impact. See:

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2010/10/libertarian-sign-at-one-nation-march-in-dc-obama-out-of-afghanistan/

    or in the events of parades or festivals have a charge for being there…

    That does happen, but you can attend as a regular participant/observer, talk to people and (at least in most of these events) hand out Libertarian literature. I’ve done it plenty enough, and the reception was generally decent.

    And if I were able to “recruit” any new members, I would feel like I lied to them. The issue that I used to get them involved, they would find out is locked in the closet by most of their “fellow members”.

    You have to be up front with them and tell them about some of the other people in the local LP leadership and membership. It’s possible to bring in a new group and take over the leadership.

    Start chairing your own libertarian group – say SC Libertarians for Peace and Civil Liberties, and bring people to your meetings, not the other ones, until you have more people than they do (in most cases this shouldn’t take long). Do make sure your people at least pay minimum LP dues and stay current on them.

    When you have enough people, get better official leadership.

    415-690-6352 if you have any questions or want to share anything that you don’t feel like posting publicly on IPR.

  14. Gains

    B @15:

    Paulie is 100% right. Stop thinking about the party as “in charge”. It is an organization that represents a conglomeration of its constituents. For the organization to change, the people that make it up must change and that starts at home.

    You do not need sanction from anyone to organize Libertarians. Start your own meetings, do your own recruitment. Instead of lying about others, tell the truth to your recruits about what YOU and THEY are going to try to accomplish. Anyone else, is insignificant.

    When you have more people than those that are a bad example, you will become, de facto, the new local group at the next central committee election, if neccessary.

    That sir… is politics.

  15. David Colborne

    @16: Paulie, I can’t emphasize enough how strongly agree with this:

    Start chairing your own libertarian group – say SC Libertarians for Peace and Civil Liberties, and bring people to your meetings, not the other ones, until you have more people than they do (in most cases this shouldn’t take long). Do make sure your people at least pay minimum LP dues and stay current on them.

    One thing that always bugged me is how the GOP and the Democrats both have a healthy ecosystem of PAC-style organizations, while the LP almost seems to frown on them somewhat. Some of them are single-issue organizations promoting things like nuclear energy or animal rights, while others are more about steering their party in a direction more to their liking. On the LP front, though, we don’t really have those in most jurisdictions. Of course, part of that is due to most local LPs being rather small, so there’s no real need for a steering committee or anything of the sort – just show up with five of your closest friends and you’ll probably have enough to control more than a few local LPs. Even so, it’d be nice to see a well-developed Libertarian political ecosystem out there for candidates and activists to play in.

  16. Robert Milnes

    I find I cannot write here what I would like to due to the possibility/probability that what I write will be deemed **** related & then deleted.
    That makes me very frustrated that my time & energy & thought will be wasted so I tend to not risk it.
    Perhaps even this comment will be deemed **** related & deleted. Just have to wait & see & keep checking. Unlike before where I did not have to wait see & keep checking.
    The rest of you just write whatever you want. Wherever. & Don’t worry about it.

  17. paulie Post author

    Robert,

    Again, it’s not the acronym PLAS that is banned in unrelated threads. It’s the constant flogging of the concept, not what term you use to refer to it by, that is the issue. So, you are correct to be worried. Whatever you are bursting to say would probably be removed in this thread, by any number of IPR writers, not just me. And again, I did not come up with this policy on my own either; it was a group decision.

    However, you can post as many comments as you want about it in the special PLAS thread, and even refer to what you are responding to by thread and comment number if you wish.

    Please don’t post any more responses about whether this is a good or bad policy in this or other unrelated threads, either. You are free to discuss that in either your PLAS thread or in the one called debate on debate parameters:

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/02/debate-on-debate-parameters-plus-should-paulie-stay/

    Please direct all such questions and complaints to one of those two threads from now on.

  18. paulie Post author

    One thing that always bugged me is how the GOP and the Democrats both have a healthy ecosystem of PAC-style organizations, while the LP almost seems to frown on them somewhat. Some of them are single-issue organizations promoting things like nuclear energy or animal rights, while others are more about steering their party in a direction more to their liking. On the LP front, though, we don’t really have those in most jurisdictions. Of course, part of that is due to most local LPs being rather small, so there’s no real need for a steering committee or anything of the sort – just show up with five of your closest friends and you’ll probably have enough to control more than a few local LPs. Even so, it’d be nice to see a well-developed Libertarian political ecosystem out there for candidates and activists to play in.

    Totally agreed.

  19. AroundtheblockAFT

    Paulie at #11 demonstrates that libertarians absolutely need to support Students for Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty, Institute for Humane Studies, and LP campus groups – with their money and whatever other aid they can muster. Our time and money is better spent on those under age 30. Sure, some change parties or philosophies as they age (e.g. Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl) but by and large if we convince them of the value of libertarianism while in college, we’ll have a supporter for life.

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