Campaigns/Elections

Republicans Become Campfire Girls. Can Libertarians Be Camp Counselors?

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welcome home

Good morning, Republicans! Welcome to the wilderness. We saved you a seat right over here, next to us. Looks like we'll have a lot of time to talk in the next four years.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) kicks off the conversation with an article in today's Washington Post:

In some respects, raising a new standard was made easier by yesterday's rout. The Republican Party is not bound by election-year promises made by its presidential nominee. More important, the party is finally untethered from the ill-fitting and unworkable big-government conservatism that defined the Bush administration. This is not to say that it will be an easy transition. Congressional Republicans picked up some unattractive habits over the years in an effort to hold on to power….

But there is reason for Republicans to feel optimism. Politically, America remains a center-right country, and America loves a chastened and repentant sinner. As surely as the sun rises in the east, the Democrats will overreach. 

Flake on reason.tv here:

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  1. I would love to work at a girls’ camp!

    Seriously though, I heard a Republican (can’t remember who) spout off on NPR this morning about Republicans getting back to their small government principles, and I almost drove off the road shouting at the lying, idiotic sack of faeces. If Republicans actually had those principles, rather than just paying lip service to them, the last eight years would look much different.

  2. When you get kicked in the balls, you rediscover your roots.

    It doesn’t last.

  3. The only way it will last (and I am hoping this will happen), is that when republicans retake seats they lost, the ones retaking it are not the ones that held it to begin with.

    New, small government blood would be great.

  4. Oh give it up already. Republican will never see libertarians as anything but bitches. They talk sweet to us to get in office and the fuck us once their there.

  5. Oh give it up already. Republican will never see libertarians as anything but bitches. They talk sweet to us to get in office and the fuck us once their there.

    You just don’t know the GOP like I do, I think they really mean it when they say they’ve changed, and this time it’ll all be different.

    What? Oh, those bruises – I, uh, fell down the stairs and walked into a door.

  6. Oh give it up already. Democrats will never see libertarians as anything but bitches. They talk sweet to us to get in office and the fuck us once their there.

    They call libertarians property rights nuts and gun nuts behind your/our backs.

  7. As surely as the sun rises in the east, the Democrats will overreach.

    Can you ever have too much HOPE?

    Oh, he means disincentivising hard work through byzantine regulation and confiscatory policies. Well then, duh.

  8. Intellectually it is quite fun to be in the minority. You are not responsible for anything and can just pick at the other side. There is a lot to be said for being a gadfly. Being in charge means you have to be a grown up and be responsible for things.

    It will be nice to agree with Reason a little more often. They won’t have the Republicans to kick around anymore. I am not optimistic Reason will be that hard on an Obama administration. Too many of the writers want to get MSM jobs to for them to be that hard on him. The vast majority of them voted for him so I expect more than a little bit of excuse making and defense of his fuckups mixed in with some half hearted criticism. The criticism part will be nice.

  9. This post made me laugh. Clever! I bet those cheerleaders at NRO are still in a daze over what went wrong. Um…big government?

  10. Too many of the writers want to get MSM jobs to for them to be that hard on him.

    Yeah. I mean, after all, there is clearly no room in the MSM for a person who will openly criticize a democratic president.

    Or a black man.

    What, are you slow or something?

  11. Well, all I can say on this day after the election is:
    Please use lubricant.

  12. Elemenope,

    That is an intersting question. What does the media do? Do they turn on Obam in an attempt to gain some credibility back or do they just say fuck it and become the ministry of truth to his administration? Certainly the real nuts like Oberman and the derranged like Sullivan will gladly become the ministry of truth. But I would like to think that most of them still think of themselves in some sense as “journalists” and will go after him hoping to get some credibility back. It is one thing to be in the tank for a challanger. But once you are in the tank for the President, you are in the tank for the government.

    I am not really sure what they will do. I could see them turning on him like wolves in an over correction to their election coverage and I could also see them just saying fuck it and kissing his ass for four years.

  13. “the ill-fitting and unworkable big-government conservatism
    that defined the Bush administration”

    Conservatism as a political philosophy has been bankrupt since before Goldwater was trounced. But as long as there are conservatives in the general population, making the requisite amount of noise, we’ll be stuck with its zombie-like corpse. Will eight years of Obama finally kill it?
    How exactly do you kill a zombie?

  14. How exactly do you kill a zombie?

    Are we following Romero rules or not?

  15. Are we following Romero rules or not?

    The Conservative Zombie? Hmm.

    Shambling? Check.
    Slow-moving? Check.
    Needs to feed on brains? Check.
    Is itself lacking consciousness? Check.

    I say shotgun. Aim for the head or the heart. Anything else, and it’s your ass.

  16. I am not optimistic Reason will be that hard on an Obama administration. Too many of the writers want to get MSM jobs to for them to be that hard on him.

  17. Prove me wrong Matt. Prove me wrong. If you do, I will take it all back I promise. The fact that so many of you voted for Obama rather than Barr makes me suspicous but hey maybe you will. Be as hard on Obama as you were on Bush. No excuse making and no “the Republicans would have been worse” or “they inherited this problem” kind of crap. With leadership comes responsibility.

  18. Sorry, hard to type with one hand.

    Um, I took a job *from* the MSM, John. And to say “the vast majority” of our writers voted for Obama is to — what’s the word? — lie.

    But as concerns the thrust of your complaint, fear not: The Dems just won an overwhelming victory by campaigning against trade, capitalism, and “deregulation.” While magazines to our right go through the circular firing squad routine, and try to walk back their own embarrassments from the past eight years, we’ll be going on offense against the New New Deal.

  19. “Sorry, hard to type with one hand” – what are you doing Matt, ‘bating to Obama porn.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  20. Matt,
    Good luck fighting against the New New Deal. I intend to stash my gold in a secure location and buy some extra guns before the hammer comes down.

  21. I’m hoping Matt was referring to eating lunch. Not sure if he realized quite how that would sound, or whether he did and was going for wryness.

    If the latter — well played.

  22. bendover,
    No, Steve Chapman is the one who ‘bates to Obama porn. Though that brings up a question, Matt: Why do you print Chapman’s crap? I should think the Drinking Age article should have been the last straw.

  23. I’m hoping Matt was referring to eating lunch. Not sure if he realized quite how that would sound, or whether he did and was going for wryness.

    Actually I was holding my sick baby girl, you perverts!

  24. Matt Welch | November 5, 2008, 11:33am | #
    I’m hoping Matt was referring to eating lunch. Not sure if he realized quite how that would sound, or whether he did and was going for wryness.

    Actually I was holding my sick baby girl, you perverts!

    “Sick” as in “ill”, or “sick” as in “she’s a wicked bad chick, dude”?

    “Baby girl” as in “dependent minor infant, genetically related to me”, or “baby girl” as in “nubile young intern”?

    Not sure you’re fully appreciating the deprativity of your readership here, Matt. :o)

  25. And the appropriate term is:

    “you insensitive clod!”

  26. Gee, here’s an idea. Libertarians can encourage sympathetic Republicans like Jeff Flake to help remake the party in our direction.

    Or, I guess we could just sit and and make negative and fatalistic comments about the GOP. That seems to be the trend here. I’m sure that Obama will throw us a crumb or two while he’s making the leviathan even bigger.

  27. What makes Jeff Flake think the Republican Party leadership will start listening to him now? I though he, Jimmy Duncan, and Ron Paul were pretty much ignored up there.

  28. I wouldn’t tweak Mr. Welch right now, what with his sick daughter and inevitable vanishing of his cash cow from the political landscape.

  29. Gee, here’s an idea. Libertarians can encourage sympathetic Republicans like Jeff Flake to help remake the party in our direction.

    I say good on the vanishingly rare guys like Jeff Flake and Ron Paul. However, one has to remember that they are vanishingly rare and have little or no influence. The party is much more made up of the likes of Bush, Cheney and McCain, bible-thumpers, and power-worshipping statist yes-men like Glenn Reynolds and DONDEROOOOO.

    So sure, I’ll share some s’mores with Jeff or Ron, but the rest can and should get chased off with tent poles.

  30. inevitable vanishing of his cash cow from the political landscape

    I see that you don’t understand how the publishing industry works!

  31. Had to hear Limbaugh’s take this morning. This is nearly an exact quote: “The conservatives won not at the voting booth.”

  32. I say good on the vanishingly rare guys like Jeff Flake and Ron Paul. However, one has to remember that they are vanishingly rare and have little or no influence.

    This bodes well*:

    McCain, who made a poorly-received appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference last year, was not included on a list of major movement figures invited to next year’s gathering e-mailed to supporters Wednesday morning. More than a dozen conservative leaders made the cut – including McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have also been invited to address CPAC in February, along with McCain’s former primary season rivals Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

    I hope Flake, Sanford, Johnson and McClintock received their invites.

    *Exceptions being Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal.

  33. Two directions this could go:
    If Obama takes the leftward route and starts a massive increase in regulation and redistribution, then our job is to stand back and let the democrats fuck themselves with overreach. By that I mean, stick to pure principles, fight for free markets, and thus have the PURE version vindicated (instead of some sort of warped compromise version), when the crash comes.

    If Obama taks a more moderate route, our job is to fight hard, but be willing to compromise in a way that minimizes his gains. So when the pendulum does swing back, it will have less distance to go.

    We can tack back and forth depending on the issue. Also, we should be forthright in supporting him on social issues, so people know that libertarians aren’t only concerned about economic freedoms.

    Moreover, ignore overheated political rhetoric of the moment. I do not believe the vast middle has en masse rejected economic liberty. The election was largely about the general incompetence of the Bush administration. Obama ran to the center, and tried to distance himself from the socialistic left wing. Meanwhile, McCain was tacking left. Free marketeers had noone to vote for and ended up choosing sanity and competence over the mash of inanity that the Republican party has descended into.

  34. One other thing: Liberty always wins.

    The left persistently underappreciates the human craving for personal, individual, self-determination, even at the cost of economic hardship. They place their faith much more in self-interest and personal greed than libertarians ultimately do, because they rely on “the people’s” desire for handouts. Free gas and mortgages for everyone. It’s an appeal to the low end of human nature, not the high end. Sure, they talk about “compassion”, but it’s never the middle class who has to give up anything. It’s always “the rich”, an unidentifiable minority that is easily targeted, but rarely seen.

    What they don’t get is the eternal, ever-present willingness of human beings to give all that up for the sake of personal autonomy. Freedom has always been something people are willing to sacrifice for. It’s always been preferred to comfort and safety. Else, why would slaves prefer starvation and death over three square meals and a hut to sleep in?

    Because of this, arguments favoring liberty will always have more inherent traction than arguments in favor of regulation and control. In the end they are in the untenable position of having to argue FOR power, and AGAINST freedom. The appeal of the pro-power pro-order position can only be sustained by resorting to fear.

    Ironically, the Democrats are benefiting from fears of an economic collapse in the same way that Bush benefitted from fear of terrorism.

    But, I predict that as soon as the economy recovers, the public will grow uncomfortable with the degree of economic control and regulation and will begin to push back. Naturally, the left will keep trying to spin out the fear by playing up the false narrative of deregulation, but they’ll be fighting on the losing side.

  35. Hazel Meade,
    While we’re engaging in unfounded optimism, I really think this lottery ticket I bought today is a winner.

  36. I tend to think that the term “sheeple” applies quite well to most voters.

  37. I know that Ron Paul would have lost severely in a general election, but I’m still going to say “I told you so” to McCain’s supporters from the primaries.

  38. I see that you don’t understand how the publishing industry works!

    As an aspiring graphic novelist, I’m all ears.

  39. economist:
    Well, what’s your analysis and prescription?
    Throw in the towel and become a socialist? Go along to get along?

    Or do you have some kind of unique pessimism-based philosophy for victory?

  40. Hazel,
    Throwing the towel in on electoral politics is something I did a while ago. I can’t really say that I can think of any viable alternate strategy, though.
    I don’t seriously expect that we’ll come out of this nosedive before hitting the ground.
    The only that we could possibly have a government that remotely resembles our ideals would be through an armed revolt, which is highly unlikely. However, that is more likely than the majority of voters suddenly becoming libertarians.

  41. I find myself incapable of throwing in the towel.

    But my plan B is to colonize Mars and turn it into a libertarian utopia.

  42. Yeah, nice sentiment that the GOP can “correct” itself, but even small-government candidates took a drubbing yesterday.

    It’s clear that Flake’s heart is in the right place, but not his head, or his ass. He and other GOP stalwarts are simply in denial that the neocons who have hijacked the party will loosen their grip.

    It’s time to leave the Republican Party to the ossified cadre of statists and social bullies and devote their energies to a true pro-liberty movement.

  43. Throwing in the towel on politics may be the best option for libertarians, but not in the obvious way. The best way to make the country more libertarian is to become deeply involved in strengthening all of the voluntary, peaceful, civil aspects of society that lie outside of politics: commerce, volunteering, church, family, community, social networks, clubs.

  44. Hazel:

    Good idea, but why not the Moon? Although I suppose she is a bit of a Harsh Mistress…

    :3

  45. Hazel Meade,
    Throwing in the towel is fun. Then, rather than having to care what the elected criminals in Washington and the state capitols do, you can just sit back and laugh at them. Unfortunately, the majority of people want an expansive government to provide for their needs and tell them what to do. I’ll venture that 51% of Americans would let the government set their bedtimes and tell them what to eat for dinner provided that they didn’t have to pay for anything themselves. I don’t think that the United States is unique in this respect. Most people are authoritarians by nature, albeit they can be divided by “hard” and “soft” authoritarians. Somebody is going to make about erections now.

  46. Mike Laursen,
    I think it’s better just to lay low. If we make ourselves unnoticeable, maybe they won’t bug us too much. Okay, so it’s unlikely, but everything else seems to have failed miserably or been written off as unworkable/undesirable.

  47. derp: FINALLY someone gets the reference. 🙂

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