Election 2012

Freedomworks' Matt Kibbe on the Hostile Takeover of The GOP


"We understand that Republicans helped get us into this fix," says FreedomWorks president and CEO Matt Kibbe, who has been instrumental in supporting Tea Party challengers within Republican primaries. "It's a little bit like Groundhog Day: I feel like we keep teaching Republicans the same lessons over and over again"

Kibbe's newest book, Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government's Stranglehold on America, calls for a grassroots rebellion against the "upper management" of government.

"The phrase Hostile Takeover actually comes from an op-ed [former Rep.] Dick Armey and I wrote leading up the the 2010 election where we argued we had to beat the Republicans before we beat the Democrats."

Reason's Nick Gillespie caught up with Kibbe at FreedomFest to discuss the book, the power of the Tea Party, and the marquee races to watch in 2012.

Shot by Tracy Oppenhiemer and Alex Manning. Edited by Meredith Bragg. About 4:30 minutes.

Held each July in Las Vegas, FreedomFest is attended by over 2,000 limited-government enthusiasts and libertarians a year. ReasonTV spoke with over two dozen speakers and attendees and will be releasing interviews over the coming weeks.

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  1. The Tea Party agenda will never, and should never, sell with voting majorities in this country. Read the NY Times piece on the collapse of the California Republican party. The more dogmatic the party becomes, the more obsessed with purging heretics, the fewer elections it will win.

    Where, you may ask, does that leave small-government dogmatism? The dustbin of history, one hopes. There’s always a chance younger generations will be dumb enough to buy into it (essentially a prepackaged set of policies favorable to the corporate status quo), but from what I can tell the Tea Party relies on mobilization of old white people. I’m sure one thing we all agree on is that if a libertarian political movement is to prosper in coming generations, it will have to sever all ties to the religious fundamentalism that has until recently been the source of Republican power.

    1. Exactly how many stupid pills do you eat a day?

      1. Those stupid pills – he didn’t eat those.

        1. Notice he only bitches about religious fundamentalism, and never the secular kind, both of which suck ass.

          1. The truth being what? There is half a god and he sorta wants you to read part of On the Origin of Species?

            1. I don’t know, Tony. I’m not religious, so I don’t dwell on it.

              For a leftist who hates religion, though, you sure do go on about it a lot.

              1. I do think it’s relevant that the major political party that agrees with you guys on economic policy also believes that humans and dinosaurs coexisted, yes.

                1. Always blaming just one party for our troubles. You never will evolve, Tony.

                  1. Besides, economic policy and the existence of dinosaurs and cavemen are not the same thing.

                    And you claim you went to college. Fat lot of good it did you.

                    1. They’re not the same thing. Very good. But the important point is that they don’t have an empirical basis for your beliefs on anything, including economic policy.

                      So do you find it plausible that Republicans happened to randomly stumble upon the correct economics?

                    2. So they’re not redistributionists at heart. So fucking what?

                      We’ve spent literally trillions on the War on Poverty, and we *still* have poor people. Pretty shitty ROI there.

                      Oh, and “very good” = you being a platitudinous schmuck. Don’t fucking talk down to me like I’m less of a person than you are.

                      BTW, straight people die of AIDS, too, so don’t bring that shit up again.

                    3. For the record, “the correct economics” does not equal “Keynesianism”.

                    4. You seem to think you’re entitled to have your intellect respected regardless of the stupid things you say. Chip on your shoulder much?

                      And I’m sure AIDS was just randomly chosen among all the many ways to wish me death and suffering.

                    5. You being gay doesn’t give you a special pass on what people say to you, Tony.

                      As for chips on shoulders… I defer to you and acknowledge your superiority, but only on that issue.

                    6. And where are the “stupid things” I supposedly said? I presented facts.

                      We have spent trillions of dollars fighting poverty, and yet we haven’t cured it.


                      Keynesian economics is shit.


                      You being gay doesn’t shield you from being wished specific deaths.


                      You haven’t provided a link to that charge.


                    7. And your being a cretinous rube doesn’t give you dispensation from my reminding everyone how you once wished me death by AIDS. In fact, that’s sort of datum #1.

                    8. Link, Tony.

                      Why is any death by AIDS worse than any other means of death?

                    9. “cretinous rube”

                      Your hands are not clean, Tony.

                    10. And I don’t have a chip on my shoulder. In fact I find it very highly amusing that you think one can wriggle out of being seen as a bigot by waving a dictionary around or pretending you selected AIDS at random.

                    11. The fuck you don’t. You’ve been bitching about that “death by AIDS” thing for months now – and you still have yet to provide a link.

                      I hate racists. Of all kinds. Have YOU ever been cornered by a bunch of white supremacists, threatening to fuck your life up for the “crime” of disagreeing with them?

                      I thought not.

                    12. And – as I said a while back, which you either didn’t read, or just ignored – *in theory*, liberals should NOT engage in bigotry… and yet, here you are, and out there are more of your compatriots, engaging in bigotry.

                    13. How am I engaging in bigotry?

                    14. Anyway… I can’t hang around all night reading your “I’m so fucking superior, AND I have special dispensation that prevents me from being wished death by AIDS” tripe. My son and his GF have a baby on the way – here’s your chance to show more of your anti-breeder bigotry – and I’m going to spend some time with them.

                    15. You and your ilk do it all the time. You look down on and mock poor people (hillbillies, trailer trash, et cetera) unless they vote Team Blue. You, specifically, hate people who are straight. A quick perusal of DU or Kos will fill in the gaps.

                      Good night, and go fuck yourself.

                    16. Many of my best friends are straight!

                      For the record I also harbor prejudicial feelings against racial minorities. It’s just that I’ve spent so much time and effort working on those feelings throughout my life that I just have a little problem buying it when some redneck asshole claims to be totally colorblind, and that I’m the real racist for supporting welfare. And when we step into bizarro world, where white straight men are the real victims of prejudice, then all your cards are on the table.

                    17. And I’m sure AIDS was just randomly chosen among all the many ways to wish me death and suffering.

                      AIDS is a far better death than you deserve, Tony.

                    18. And I’m sure AIDS was just randomly chosen among all the many ways to wish me death and suffering.
                      You’re dying of AIDS?
                      Holy shit now I feel terrible.
                      /No, actually, I don’t.

                    19. “ut the important point is that they don’t have an empirical basis for your beliefs on anything, including economic policy.”

                      Except that’s simply not true. Whether the Republicans actually practice it or not, the bulk of the actual empirical evidence tends to support the notion that limited government and free markets work better than the alternatives. The research I’ve seen that runs counter to this tends to be derived, not from massaging the data, but from beating it over the head with a ball-peen hammer. Have you ever tried plotting or regressing a Philips Curve? It looks like someone took a diarrhea on the chart paper. Christ Almighty, do you really think your sides ability to fudge the numbers and circle jerk yourselves into thinking its legitimate constitutes “empirical economic policy”?

                2. The two parties are far closer to each other in economic misthink than to any even remotely libertarian ideas.

                  So no it’s not relevant, it doesn’t even exist.

                3. And democrats believe in magic aka keynesianism. You can spend and somehow magical forces make the country rich. “Keynesian” economics basically allows a politician to do whatever he wants and call it stimulus, infrastructure investment, fairness, etc.

                  1. You’re mixing up pro-growth economic policies with antigovernment principles. Libertarian concerns about the role of government won’t necessarily give birth to what is understood as economic prosperity.

                    Removing such a large share of the GDP as you slash government will do what, exactly, to economic metrics?

            2. I hope you die of a car fire caused by hybrid batteries, with NPR on the radio, wuss.

              1. Tony’s gay. Explains volumes.

      2. He IS the stupid pill.

    2. good point, libertarians are notoriously friendly with religious zealots.

      1. Libertarians are not anti religion. libertarians believe in total separation of religion and government.
        And libertarians believe that if you have a business youd did build that and can be proud of it and no magical charlatan has the right to take it from you because he hates people who stand by themselves and dont need his charity

    3. Small government dogmatism has never gone away, and never will go away.

      Extremist movements, though, are the ones that come and go. The Tea Partiers are already on the way out. It didn’t take two years before we already found out that 7 of them have spent more than $100,000 of taxpayer money so they can ride around in style. Power corrupts, and it corrupts self-righteous idiots quickly.

      Tony, you are wrong that the libertarians must divorce themselves from the religious for success, although I can hardly see how the two groups can really get along.

      Oh, I remember, by purposely ignoring the Bible and re-writing it to be a document for low taxes on billionaires. Camel through the eye of the needle and all that. Jesus said it, directly, so it can’t be that important to Christianity. Not like gay bashing, or abortion, which Jesus never mentioned.

      1. Have you read the latest cbo report? The tax code is very progressive, rich people pay and overwhelmig share of the tax burden, but yet statists like you always want to tax just a little more. Low taxes on billionaires? what the hell are you talking about?

          1. Figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure. From your own chart (which dishonestly omits the effects of child tax credit, earned income credit, itemized deductions, etc., effectively meaning that the bottom three quintiles pay little or no federal taxes, and have hefty assistance at the state level, too) the middle 20% pays, on average, $10,216 per year in taxes, whilst the top 1% pays, on average, THIRTY-SIX TIMES AS MUCH.

            Alex’s statement is true: the wealthy pay the overwhelming share of all taxes collected.

            1. And, in comparison to their share of collective income, they pay ever so slightly much more than everyone else.

              1. collective income
                I take back what I said about hoping Tony dies of AIDS.
                I meant I hoped Josh dies of AIDS.

            2. Have you never been at the bottom, like minimum wage subsistence? I have, and I sure as fuck paid federal taxes (pretty much just payroll taxes).

              So, not that I am guessing you have any honor, but if you did, you would stop lying in my face, you rotting piece of excrement/garbage.

      2. eye of the needle

        the Eye of the Needle refers to the night gate of a walled city.

        At night the main gate was closed so people and livestock (camels included) would have to through the much narrower eye of the needle. Camels had a hard time of it because of their height and would have to duck in order to get in.

        Like a camel bowing through the eye of the needle a wealthy man would have to humble himself before God in order to enter heaven.

        If anything the term means Jesus does not care about wealth or non-wealth among men…he only cared that that wealthy remembered that they were below god.

        1. Should also point out Jesus was all about gaining ones own salvation.

          Almost in all instances he condemned judgement of a person by people.

          Judgment was the business of God and it is each person’s responsibility to find grace before god…not some government or some statist commenter on hit and run 2000 years later.

    4. As a California resident, I lol’d at the remark about the Republican party. It doesn’t matter if the Republicans win if they don’t actually believe in things like limited government; on the current path, our state is screwed. And it’s not because of hardline conservatives

    5. Clinton reformed welfare, balanced the budget, signed NAFTA, and declared the era of Big Government over.

      That did not hurt his election chances much.

      Also polls show that the majority of voters think the government does too much and spends too much.

      You are chasing unicorns again Tony.

    6. Let’s be careful to clarify which “Tea Party” we’re talking about…There is the original Ron Paul Tea Party which was as grassroots Republican movement in 2007 then, there is the “high-jacked” Tea Party that the mainstream media latched onto and completely distorted (Sarah Palin).

  2. Servile tony is right. Remember those dogmatic Whigs.

    1. The Whigs were around for about 20 years and disintegrated over the issue of slavery. The GOP will be unique in American history as a very long-lived party that disintegrated by reason of pure stupidity.

      1. The US is a nation which was essentially built by Radical Whigs (look it up).

      2. If only that happened to your party as well, Tony.

        1. The Democrats can’t disintegrate because of pure stupidity. It’s the very foundation of their party.

          1. Still would be fun to see them disband, though.

            1. They will when the money runs out. Like Grover Norquist said, the left is comprised of competing parasites. Too bad the host organism will probably die first.

              1. Sweet. I want a concession deal of some kind, maybe corn dogs to sell while the leftist Rome burns.

  3. The Republican establishment would rather lose to Democrats than lose to Tea Partiers. We’ve seen this already in their lack of support/passive-aggressive opposition to Tea Partiers who beat establishment Republicans in primaries.

    It comes through, especially, in conversation with establishment Republicans. They have little but contempt for Tea Partiers, even/especially those that win elections, as opposed to their sort of gentleman’s disagreements with Democrats.

  4. Ah yes…the old dream of making one of the parties in our own image. History always repeats itself.

    1. I am pretty sure Matt Kibbe is not as dogmatically micromanaging as you claim he is.

      He is more about pushing the republican party in a direction more to his liking rather then making it into his image.

      Perhaps you should read his book rather then spouting off bullshit.

  5. Freedomworks’ Matt Kibbe on the Hostile Takeover of The GOP…..

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  7. Let’s be careful to clarify which “Tea Party” we’re talking about…There is the original Ron Paul Tea Party which was as grassroots Republican movement in 2007 then, there is the “high-jacked” Tea Party that the mainstream media latched onto and completely distorted (Sarah Palin).

  8. The Tea Party…if they are at the vanguard of libertarianism, watch out. I have no doubt that Nick Gillespie was critical of the Iraq War, but Mr. Kibbe I am not so sure about. I do know that Dick Armey voted for it.
    But the bulk of the Tea Party folks you see at their rallies all support US intervention anywhere in the world. All these people were sitting on their hands when Bush invaded Iraq and ran up $1T in bills with no attempt to pay for it. And all these people will do so again when the neo-cons start rattling sabres over Iran.
    And they already are screaming about the miniscule cuts being planned in the military.

  9. Phonies Part 2-
    Now I read that Wes Harris, founder of a Tea Party in Arizona, has come out strongly against Sen. McCain for standing up in defense of an American citizen, Huma Abedin.
    Here is what he said:
    “Is [Abedin] a Muslim? Is she an active Muslim?” Harris asked the Times. “I rest my case. That’s all she needs to be.”

    So there you have it…not against limiting the freedoms of American citizens if they happen to be of a particular religion.
    Like I said, if the Tea Party is at the front of libertarianism, watch out.

  10. “For the record I also harbor prejudicial feelings against racial minorities”

    Hah. I’ve NEVER had that problem.

    Even when I was more-liberal than even you are right this moment, Tony.

    Hell, I’ve dated more non-white women than white women. No real racist or bigot would even entertain that idea, let alone be seen in public doing such.

    I’m going to allow myself a tiny smidgen of the same self-superiority you use on a regular basis. The difference being, I’ll eventually return to normal, whereas you will always be a smug, self-described brainiac.

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