Ron Paul

The Tea Party Playbook is more Ron Paul than Rick Santorum

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David Kirby, Vice President at FreedomWorks, and myself have a new op-ed published in Politico today discussing our research of the tea party movement. We argue the tea party has pursued a strategy that is functionally libertarian, by generally avoiding divisive social issues and sticking to economic issues.

Our evidence shows the tea party has thus far remained functionally libertarian because roughly half of its constituents are economically conservative and socially moderate to liberal. The other half of the tea party is made up of both economically and socially conservative voters. Although these two groups don't agree on social issues, they are both significantly more conservative on economic issues than their non-tea party Republican counterparts.

We also find evidence that tea party libertarians provided early energy for the tea party movement. Using American National Election Studies 2008-2010 panel data we find that:

"Starting in early 2008 through the early tea parties, libertarians were more than twice as 'angry' with the Republican Party as social conservatives; more pessimistic about the economy and deficit during the Bush years, and more frustrated that people like them cannot affect government. Libertarians, including young people who supported Paul's 2008 presidential campaign, provided much of the early energy for the tea party and spread the word through social media."

The conventional wisdom for at least two decades has held that Republican primaries are won by emphasizing social issues to win over social conservatives. Some point to Rick Santorum's rise in the presidential polls earlier this year as current evidence. However exit polls reveal that Santorum never won a majority of the tea party vote in any primary with a poll. Moreover, mounting examples in Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, Wisconsin, and Texas suggest that Republican candidates must increasingly reach out to Ron Paul and tea party supporters on economic issues in order to win.

Read more at politico.com

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  1. Emily you are messing up the narrative. The Tea Party was co-opted by SOCONs intent on banning porn and bombing and enslaving brown people.

    1. Yeah. I’ve never understood that sentiment. There are some individuals and groups claiming to be part of the Tea Party movement that are HURPA HURPA DUR GEORGE W BUSH FUCK YEAH, but that’s it.

      1. It is all culture war if you ask me. And my response was always that even if it was true the SOCONS co-opted the Tea Party, where the hell were the libertarians? Why weren’t they out co-opting it?

        And of course the funny thing is that if you listen to the socon establishment types like Santorum, they all say the Tea Party movement was corrupted by nihilist anti government libertarians.

        1. Yeah, but multiple factions competing for dominance in the movement doesn’t mean it’s been “co-opted”.

          Liberals, of course, are absolutely certain that the Tea Party just wants to lynch the negroes and burn Mother Gaia.

          1. No large movement is ever going to be true Scottsman enough for the die hards.

  2. The Tea Party may have started out as a movement mostly made up of people focused on fiscal and economic issues, but when push came to shove in the primaries, self-identified Tea Partiers put social issues and foreign policy (as usual) ahead of fiscal issues. There’s no way Ron Paul would have gotten fewer votes than Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum from these people if they seriously valued the economy and the debt above all else.

    1. Ron Paul is a socon. He is pro life and very religious. The reason they didn’t vote for him is that he totally mishandle foreign policy. You can’t win the Republican primary on the get the US out of North America platform.

      1. Ron Paul is a socon.

        Not by socon standards.

        He doesn’t want to legislate morality. He may share many of the same moral views as socons, but because he doesn’t want to use government to force those views onto everyone he’s not welcome in to their club.

        1. He never said jack about social issues. And when he did, he generally agreed with them. It was national security that did him in, not social issues. If people were voting on social issues, Rick Santorum would be the nominee.

          1. You’re right. People weren’t voting on social issues. They were voting on economic issues and yet they still chose Romney. This reveals the true opinion most GOPers have on economic issues. “Cronyism is ok, if our guys do it.”

            1. You’re right. People weren’t voting on social issues. They were voting on economic issues and yet they still chose Romney. This reveals the true opinion most GOPers have on economic issues. “Cronyism is ok, if our guys do it.”

              They were voting on who would control the state. In their minds it was “who has the greatest chance of beating Obama?” That was their only concern.

              1. I don’t agree with that assessment. Mitt Romney has no more a chance of beating Obama than Ron Paul or anybody else. If anything, Ron Paul had the best chance of anybody by stealing a good chunk of the anti-war Obama vote. The fact that Obama even has a chance of getting re-elected is just flat depressing.

                1. the anti-war Obama vote

                  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                  First off, the truly anti-war contingent among the Dems is very small, as we saw by the protests shrinking to near nothingness in 2009 even as the wars ramped up and multiplied. And the ones who are truly anti-war are mostly rank socialists and would never accept RP’s other stances.

                  1. Well, there are a lot of anti-war people who never went to any protest and still don’t. Because protests like that are pretty pointless. And I still see the old hippies protesting war every weekend outside of the town hall (not sure what they expect to accomplish).

                    I’m sure the big anti-war protests were largely anti-Bush protests, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of people on the left still opposed to the wars that Obama is participating in. It just means that people who attend protests, by and large, don’t know what the fuck they are talking about and aren’t all that sharp.

                    1. Yes, but a relative change in the number of people protesting is a good indicator of the change in people who silently support a movement too.

            2. Why is Romney a chony? I thought he was a RINO who invented Obamacare? That is a fair cop. But I have never heard that Romney was corrupt.

          2. He never said jack about social issues. And when he did, he generally agreed with them. It was national security that did him in, not social issues. If people were voting on social issues, Rick Santorum would be the nominee.

            This in spades. I am cursed to be surrounded by mostly die-hard SoCon friends and family. Almost to a person they stated that they loved RP on economic issues, but his Foreign Policy was the number one reason they would not vote for him. (number two reason was the craziness of his cult of personality)

        2. To be fair, that’s not applicable to all social conservatives.

          Anecdotal evidence: A majority of the so-cons I’m acquainted with aren’t the legislate-it-unto-the-Earth types, though some are.

          1. Exactly. The difference between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum on social issues is that Santorum thinks it’s his business what other people do, while Ron Paul doesn’t. That’s a big difference.

          2. Most SoCons mostly just want to be left alone, including not having leftwing ideology forced on their kids in school.

            The stereotypical theocratic voters are mostly a strawman creation of the leftwing political-media axis.

            Huckabee tried going theocrat in the SC primary in 2008 and would up getting about 30% there.

        3. Well, if so then the socons are morons. If you play out a libertarian society, it tends to get pretty socially conservative pretty quickly. Absence of massive government interference creates a much bigger market for civil society and mass market civil society tends to be pretty conservative in their moral outlook. You add to that the fact a lot of bad behaviors tend to need subsidy to sustain themselves and you have a pretty good recipe for a very socially conservative society.

          1. 100% agree. I’ve never understood the socon mentality.

          2. If you play out a libertarian society, it tends to get pretty socially conservative pretty quickly.

            Explain why we’ve gone from school prayer as a major political issue to gay marriage as a major political issue in merely 20 years then. It wasn’t government interference, that’s for sure.

            The definition of “social conservative” has undergone a huge change as govt restrictions on sexual behavior in particular have eased up. If you told a political observer in 1960 that social conservatives would generally not support laws against sodomy 50 years later they would have laughed in your face.

            1. You’re only looking at one side of the government equation, Tulpa. What you forget is that, for every law telling people to be “good moral Christians”, we’ve got half a dozen subsidies paying for them to do otherwise. You cite school prayer. Well, isn’t it generally libertarian thought that education ought to be a private sector activity? There sure as hell isn’t (and shouldn’t be) any laws forbidding it there. You mention gay marriage, but I can think of few institutions that would threaten gay culture more than the widespread adoption of contractually enforceable monogamy.

              1. I’m indifferent toward gayrriage but even die hard opponents have to admit that it would have been unthinkable as a political issue 50 years ago.

                Even if schools were privatized, it’s highly unlikely there would be authority-figure-led prayer in schools, any more than there’s public prayer in Walmart despite it being eminently legal to prey in the toys section.

            2. A couple of additional points, Tulpa:

              * By using laws on the books as your measure of social conservatism, you kind of assume away the possibility of a socially conservative libertarianism. I can easily enough imagine a scenario where some things are not illegal but widely disapproved of.
              * It wasn’t government interference, that’s for sure. That’s not at all clear to me. People used to rely on their churches, their lodges, etc. for their social safety net. Those institutions generally insist that, if they’re paying the piper, they get to call the tune. Big Sugardaddy Government has largely usurped this role in the last three or four generations. And Big Sugardaddy Government isn’t anywhere near as concerned about your personal behavior, as long as your suitably politically servile.

              1. By using laws on the books as your measure of social conservatism, you kind of assume away the possibility of a socially conservative libertarianism.

                That would be so, but the pervasive attitudes have changed in a similar way. The same churches that would have called for a homosexual person to be sent to electroshock therapy 50 years ago are now offering gay ministries. (not approving of homosexual conduct but at least accepting homosexuality as a legitimate part of personality)

                People used to rely on their churches, their lodges, etc. for their social safety net. Those institutions generally insist that, if they’re paying the piper, they get to call the tune.

                That’s not a good phenomenon for either religion or society in general. People going through the motions of religion for some ulterior motive are the worst thing you can have in a church.

          3. Perfectly put, Bill. I agree 100%

    2. The sad truth is that more people vote based upon emotional issues like gay marriage and abortion than on economic issues like taxes and debt.

      1. But Ron Paul is pro life. And whatever his opinion on gay marriage, it wasn’t an important part of his campaign. People voted against Paul over national security issues not social issues.

        1. And that sucks.

        2. Yeah. He doesn’t want to use our military to police the world.
          What a bastard!

          1. I am not saying you have to agree with it. I am just saying that he didn’t lose because of social issues. And frankly, he could have handled the national security issues better than he did.

            1. You’ve got a point. Nothing gets a socon’s boner going like killing mooslems.

            2. ^^This
              The perception among a majority of GOP voters is that Ron Paul is an isolationist, which he has never claimed to be, and he’s never had a chance to explain how non-interventionist policies would keep is safe. Simply saying “Well, they have a reason to hate us” just doesn’t cut it.

              1. He always kept talking after that, but the debate moderators and media just cut off his mike at that point.

              2. I agree. If he’d actually given a more isolationist response (“Screw ’em. They’re not our problem.”) he’d probably have struck much more of a chord than he did with Republican voters. Instead, he touted the America’s-a-big-ol’-meanie line that is pretty much guaranteed to repulse Republican voters.

            3. And frankly, he could have handled the national security issues better than he did.

              How? Without compromising his position, at least.

              1. By saying:

                The world’s a fucked up place and it is beyond the ability of the federal government to fix it. (Hell, the feds can’t even administer DC.) And all the money and lives that are lost in attempting that have been truly wasted.

                Instead, he’s all:

                Of course they hate us. We’ve been bombing them for decades. Wouldn’t you hate someone that was bombing America.

          2. He doesn’t want to use our military to police the world.
            What a bastard!

            It’s not that.

            He comes across as a blame America for all the world’s ills nut.

            The problem was the presentation not the core message.

            1. He only came across that way because most Americans are arrogant about our standing in the world.

              I think he could probably have massaged his message a little to play better, but to be honest, Americans to be called out for the horrors we’ve stood idly by and allowed our govt to perpetrate.

        3. I’m the first guy to censure the sort of pacifistic bullshit you’ll get from a great many liberals, but Ron Paul’s a principled noninterventionist. That people found that unattractive is sad.

          1. I agree with you. But Ron Paul bears some responsibility for getting tagged as an isolationist. He never explained his views very well at all and did so in ways that allowed his opponents to paint him as something he was not. And that is Paul’s fault. It is politics. It is his responsibility to define himself and not let his opponents do it for him.

            1. How the heck was RP supposed to define himself? He got zero media time except for when one of the other candidates was using him as a punching bag, or some sub-anchor on CNN wanted to spice things up with a heavily skewed interview with a loony nutjob Republican.

              1. “CNN wanted to spice things up with a heavily skewed interview with a loony nutjob”

                By coming across as less of a loony nutjob?

              2. I don’t know. That is Paul’s problem not mine. IF he honestly believes that US involvement in Iraq is like Chinese involvement in Tibet and that the US got what it deserved on 9-11 and that our foreign policy ought to be driven by the desire to placate murderous nutjobs, then Paul is the nutjob his enemies claim he is and he deserved to lose. I was just giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he wasn’t. Am I wrong?

                1. Well he did vote for the Afghanistan resolution post-9/11. Hardly the action someone would take if he wants to placate murderous nutjobs. Moreover, he was all about Letters of Marque and reprisal which essentially are assassination contracts sanctioned by congress.

                  From a completely outside the realm of politics, human perspective on any of this shit, if someone killed my kids via botched drug raid or random shrapnel from a smart bomb, they better be prepared to reap the whirlwind of their fucking actions. You kill my kids? Bodies are going to be fucking dropped.

                2. I don’t know. That is Paul’s problem not mine.

                  By saying it’s Paul’s fault that his message is rejected, you’re implying that he could have done something to prevent it from being rejected. That’s like saying it’s Radley Balko’s fault that the Huff Post hasn’t converted to libertarianism.

    3. There’s no way Ron Paul would have gotten fewer votes…

      Here’s a way: they didn’t think Paul could win.

      1. Why wouldn’t he? Most liberals I know say that they would vote for Ron Paul. Perfect recipe for a landslide if you ask me.

        1. Yeah, that’s like all the lefties in 06 07 that told me they really liked that McCain guy and would vote for him, but there was no way the rethuglicans would nominate him.

        2. Sorry, but most liberals I know generally say they’d vote for anyone but the actual conservative candidate. If Ron Paul were the Republican nominee, I suspect we’d hear no end to how he’s a racist anti-semite who wants to repeal child labor laws and leave the country illiterate.

  3. Yeah, well, call me a cynical fringe Libertarian type but I dislike the Tea Party smearing its moralistic crap on Libertarian think through the misguided brain waves of establishment right-wing writer-hacks who wouldn’t know what freedom is if it violently raped them in their typically white and pimpled asses.

    1. WTF? Are you off your meds again Mary?

      1. It changed its name again? Pathetic.

    2. Commas!

    3. This is far too coherent to be Mary.

  4. Alt text: “I find your faith in the Fed… disturbing”

    1. If I could like this comment I would.

    2. It works even better with that pic if you have color inversion turned on.

  5. Why am I getting State Farm ads en espanol featuring J-Lo and Enrique Iglesias?

    No quiero.

  6. “self-identified Tea Partiers put social issues and foreign policy (as usual) ahead of fiscal issues.”

    Gingrich and Santorum both tried to run on social issues. They were trounced. Foreign policy never registered as a concern in any poll in any primary within the GOP. Would have been nice to see a RP win, but to equate his win with people not caring about fiscal issues doesn’t compute.

    Foreign policy was indeed enough of a reason for many people in the GOP not to vote for RP and IMO it’s a failure of messaging more than substance. He scares the shit out of some people.

    1. He scares the living shit out of my conservative friends on Facebook. They denounce big gov’t, and denounce RP even louder. Makes no sense.

      1. They’re likely misconstruing his noninterventionism. Or they could be fans of the drug war, or something.

        1. I think it’s the non-interventionism. “if we don’t fight them there, we’ll have to fight them here!” And Paul could have done a better job of explaining “9-11 was our fault” because the right went batshit crazy over that one. We built a base in Saudi Arabia, Bin laden declared war on us. Not a big mystery.

          1. Paul might as well have taken a shit on the podium when he said that. He was done from then on. It was a stupid thing to say. And who gives a shit why Bin Ladin attacked us? He was a homicidal lunatic with delusions of setting up a world wide Caliphate. Are we going to base our foreign policy on the desire to keep a lunatic happy?

          2. Where were Denmark’s bases?

            Ron Paul can blame himself. His myopic FP views, his emphasis of the parts the GOP would hate over the parts they’d like such as ending foreign aid, the bad messaging, comparing China to America, and the whole ‘not outing whoever was responsible for the Newsletters’ fiasco. It’s actually remarkable he got as far as he did.

            1. Myopic FP views?

            2. He didn’t compare China to America, he just used an analogy to illustrate that occupying other countries and fucking with their politics is a bad thing. I know it’s blasphemy to an American exceptionalist to even question whether America is doing something wrong, but it’s you guys who should justify your position, not the other way around.

              1. Comparing us in Iraq to China in Tibet is weapons grade stupid.

                The point of a political campaign is to win. And you are not going to win by comparing the people you want to vote for you to the Chinese. You can spin it all you like. But that was absolutely professional incompetence on his part.

                1. It’s not a comparison, it’s an analogy. Analogous things are not necessarily the same in aspects not relevant to the analogy.

                  I seriously don’t understand why people here have so much trouble with analogies.

                  1. Because they don’t want to understand it. It’s that simple.

              2. Instead, he stuck with the liberal exceptionalist line that would appeal to people who like having their egos stroked that they’re just so much more enlightened and sophisticated than all those sheeple in flyover country.

                1. Who the hell are you, Chris Wallace? Ron Paul IS flyover country.

          3. RP never said 9/11 was our fault. Fault implies a moral responsibility. He said it was blowback, which any intelligence expert will agree with.

            There have always been whackjobs who hate the US because they hate freedom. They’re generally harmless until we start giving people more tangible reasons to hate us, like fucking with their country’s politics for decades or incinerating women and children within their borders because we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing.

            1. He said it was blowback, which any intelligence expert will agree with.

              Any? You have citation for that?

              They’re generally harmless until we start giving people more tangible reasons to hate us, like fucking with their country’s politics for decades or incinerating women and children within their borders because we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing.

              All of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudis and Egyptians. When did the US ever bomb those countries? And the US had only been involved in one war in the middle east, the first gulf war, which was supported and very popular with the Arabs.

              That whole statement is idiotic Tulpa. Just fucking idiotic. And totally at odds with the facts. We didn’t start bombing the middle east until they bombed us. Yet, there hasn’t been another major terror attack on America since 9-11. If bombing them caused terrorism, why haven’t we had more 9-11s since we started bombing? The facts would seem to indicate bombing stops terror or as at least correlated with its decline.

              1. There haven’t been many major terrorist attacks in the US, period.

                A group of terrorists got lucky and our government declared war on the world.

                1. I would say demolishing a good part of Manhattan and killing 2800 people is a major attack. But again, if bombing causes them to hate us and that causes terrorism, why hasn’t there been more attacks on the US. We didn’t do shit in the middle east in the 1990s other than keep Iraq from taking Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In the 2000s we invaded Iraq and fought a nearly ten year war there.

                  You guys can’t have it both ways. You can’t on the one hand claim that terrorism is a made up threat. And then on the other hand claim that our involvement in the middle east is causing all of this blowback. Both things can’t be true. Yet, you claim them to be true depending on the argument.

                  1. I would say demolishing a good part of Manhattan and killing 2800 people is a major attack

                    I didn’t say “any”, I said “many”.

                    You need to get your eyes checked.

                    You can’t on the one hand claim that terrorism is a made up threat.

                    I don’t know who is making that claim, but it makes for an excellent straw man.

                    And then on the other hand claim that our involvement in the middle east is causing all of this blowback.

                    No major attacks since 9/11 isn’t proof of anything other than no terrorist have managed to pull of a major attack since 9/11.

                    That’s all it proves.

                    On this subject you’re as bad as liberals when it comes to confusing intentions and results.

                    1. Sarcasmic,

                      We have been involved in two land wars against Muslim countries for eleven years now. We have bombed any number of other Muslim countries and killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims.

                      Yet, there hasn’t been anything approaching another 9-11. Doesn’t that put lie to the blowback theory? We have had eleven years of real world testing doing everything people like Paul says we shouldn’t do, and yet, there hasn’t been another major attack on US soil. If Paul is right, why aren’t more Muslims attacking the US?

                    2. John,

                      How many major terrorist attacks were there before 9/11?

                      You’ve got the WTC bombing in 1993, Oklahoma City which doesn’t really count in this context, and what else?

                      Maybe there haven’t been any major attacks since 9/11 because there haven’t been many major attacks period.

                      Maybe it’s because it isn’t easy to pull off. It only takes one mistake. Governments can make mistake after mistake, and it doesn’t really matter, but terrorists only have to make one.

                      That’s why there haven’t been more attacks.

                    3. Khobar Towers, USS Cole. The first WTC attack, the African embassy attacks. Those were all terrorist attacks directed at Americans that happened in the 1990s.

                      And don’t forget the Iran hostages and the numerous American hostages in the middle east in the 1980s. They have been waging a terror war against the US for thirty years. Amazingly enough, when we started to fight back, those incidents kind of stop/. Funny that.

                  2. demolishing a good part of Manhattan

                    Less than 0.1% of the land area of Manhattan was “demolished” on 9/11. It was a pin-prick when you look at how large and strong the US is compared to aQ. Leaving aside irrational responses, we could have a 9/11 every month and it would barely affect us.

                    But that’s asymmetric warfare 101: take advantage of the irrationality of your opponent and it will harm itself more than you could ever hope to do yourself. We played right into their hands.

                  3. You guys can’t have it both ways. You can’t on the one hand claim that terrorism is a made up threat. And then on the other hand claim that our involvement in the middle east is causing all of this blowback.

                    Of course we can.

                    1. Terrorism is an insignificant threat.

                    2. One particular terrorist attack (9/11) was blowback.

                    No contradiction.

              2. If you think Iraq I was the impetus behind that part of the world hating us you don’t know much about the history of our involvement in shit over there.

                Not that that gives them the right to attack us.

                1. Not that that gives them the right to attack us.

                  That’s the thing that gets John and his fellow hawks’ panties in a twist.

                  They interpret “Our government’s actions pissed them off” to mean “They had a valid excuse to kill thousands of people”, which is just plain false.

                2. Well they should hate us more now shouldn’t they? Again, we have done exactly the opposite of what people like Paul says we should do for 12 years. And whatever the effects of that are, it doesn’t seem to be causing them to hate us any more or less than they did before or at least make it any more likely they will attack us than they were in 1999.

                  1. Well they should hate us more now shouldn’t they?

                    I’m sure they do. I’m sure that the families of the people our military has killed aren’t very happy with us right now.

                    it doesn’t seem to be causing them to hate us any more or less than they did before

                    There is a big difference between hating and having the means to act on that hate.

                    The vast majority of these people are living in poverty. There’s no way they can launch an attack without some rich person like Osama to bankroll it, and he’s dead.

                  2. Well they should hate us more now shouldn’t they?

                    Looked at any polls of Middle Eastern attitudes toward the US recently, John?

            2. I agree with Tulpa. Pointing out that there is a reason for things happening is not the same as blaming the victim. No, we didn’t invade or bomb Saudi Arabia, but we do have troops there and we do support the hell out of Israel. I won’t comment on whether those are good things or not, but they are reasons behind 9-11. Paul got screwed when no one with any media presence made any attempt to honestly interpret what he was saying.

              1. Zeb,

                The only way to placate the people who are attacking us is to turn on Israel, a long time ally and Democratic country. That strikes me as pretty immoral. Basically Paul would have us run our entire foreign policy based upon the idea that we should do whatever we need to do to placate a bunch of murderous lunatics.

                What makes you think that they would like us and stop attacking us if we did everything Al Quada said we should? Why wouldn’t they see that as a sign of weakness and just demand more? It is not like they are particularly moral or sane to begin with.

                1. Basically Paul would have us run our entire foreign policy based upon the idea that we should do whatever we need to do to placate a bunch of murderous lunatics.

                  You and your straw men.

                  1. How is it not true sarcasmic? Don’t you have to placate our enemies to stop the blowback?

                    1. It’s not as much a matter of placating our enemies as not making enemies in the first place.

                      In general you don’t make enemies by minding your own business.

                      That’s all Paul is saying with regards to foreign policy. Mind our own business.

                      Don’t be World Cop with troops stationed all over the globe, in many cases where they’re not wanted.

                      The best way to win a fight is to not get into it in the first place.
                      That doesn’t mean to be a pussy, it means don’t go around poking people in the chest and then act all surprised when they punch you in the face.

                    2. Or you could just stop being over there.

                      And everywhere else around the world too for that matter.

                      Look. I’m not saying we should pare down our military to some drastic number. I’m not saying we shouldn’t attack when we are attacked. But occupying a bunch of shitty fucking desert countries and putting our dicks into every conflict we can is counter productive to creating peace.

                      And seeing as how 9/11 had been in the planning stages for years before they found the opportunity to pull it off, I’d be willing to bet that it’s a planning/funding issue not a “we hate you so much more now” issue.

                    3. Don’t you have to placate our enemies to stop the blowback?

                      No, you can just leave them alone. Refraining from bombing people and interfering in their domestic affairs isn’t “placating”.

                2. Well, John, I never said that we should turn on Israel or try to placate Al Qaeda. I’m just saying that pointing out that there are reasons besides “they hate our freedom” and acknowledging those reasons is not blaming the US for being attacked.

                  I really don’t know what, if anything, would stop AQ or other such groups from wanting to attack the US. And trying to directly placate them is definitely a bad idea. But I think that foreign policy needs to be pragmatic and you need to account for things like blowback from terrorists when determining what actions are in our interest.

                  1. Zeb, there isn’t anything that is going to make these people like us. The best we can hope for is that they fear us and respect us. That is it.

                    Since we did not occupy a single country before Afghanistan in 2002, the US occupying other countries could not be what caused 9-11.

                    1. the US occupying other countries could not be what caused 9-11.

                      Again, that’s not the argument. Shit you’re dense.

                    2. And one should also acknowledge that, even if actions we take are justifiable and in our interest, that those same actions may still spur some evil idiots to attack us. Everything has downsides and involves tradeoffs. As I interpreted it, that is all that Paul was saying.

                    3. Zeb, there isn’t anything that is going to make these people like us. The best we can hope for is that they fear us and respect us. That is it.

                      The US used to be relatively popular in the Middle East among the general population. There was lingering antipathy toward our association with Israel and disgusting Arab dictators like Mubarak and the Saudi regime but nothing close to what we see now.

                    4. I agree with you on this issue Tupla…

                      And that dislike of our support of the Israel, the Saudis, and Mubarak were the catalyst for Al-Qaeda’s attacks against us. Not to mention lingering hatred over support of the Shah in Iran and supporting Saddam Hussein during the Iraq/Iran conflicts.

                      It was the culmination of actions starting after World War II that built the resentment that led to the Al-Qaeda attacks against us.

                      Blowback – horrible unintended consequences of Government actions over a 60 year period.

                      Recognizing that fact and attempting to change American foreign intervention by removing our financial and tacit military support, is not the same as “placating” anyone.

                      Also, recognizing that fact in no way justifies the actions against us. It just provides a framework to understand why it happened.

                    5. And I agree with John. Even though I’ve long been in gen’l agreement with Ron Paul re policy details, his analysis strikes me as frighteningly naive, for the reasons laid out here.

      2. Makes no sense.

        Of course it doesn’t. It’s not rational.

        He disturbs people on an emotional level.

      3. I think he comes across to some people as someone that doesn’t think there is ever a valid reason to fight. Maybe if his message included some valid reasons for defense instead of almost entirely explaining why we should do nothing, people would be a little more receptive.

        Defending the country is a constitutional obligation. People want to know they are going to be defended.

        1. He beat the drum about protecting our own borders (specifically re: illegal immigration) pretty much constantly in the debates.

          If people think that defending the country includes invading random countries in the Middle East, they’re the ones with the skewed perception.

          1. If people think that defending the country includes invading random countries in the Middle East, they’re the ones with the skewed perception.

            I think that’s it.

            I remember when CNN was broadcasting from Baghdad and people were cheering as bombs blew up. Go USA! Fuck yeah! Take that bitches!

            There’s something about large scale killing that gets people excited.

            1. No there is something about not losing wars that gets people excited. The President’s biggest duty is as commander and chief of the military. And generally people are hesitant to elect someone who thinks the US losing wars is a good thing.

              1. Losing wars? What about not entering into them?

                The war on terrorism is a failed concept from the start, just like the wars on poverty and drugs, because there is no clearly defined enemy, strategy, or end.

                1. Which wars did we start? Afghanistan? No, Afghanistan started that war by harboring Bin Ladin and letting him attack us.

                  Iraq? No Iraq started that war in 1991 by invading Kuwait and then not abiding by the cease fire after the first Gulf War. When Saddam broke the cease fire, we had every right to go to war with him.

                  1. I see Afghanistan as legitimate, though it should have been in and out instead of a prolonged occupation.

                    Iraq was never a threat. That was just a bunch of dick waving.

                  2. Having a right to go to war with someone does not make it a good idea to do so.

          2. “He beat the drum about protecting our own borders (specifically re: illegal immigration)”

            There are times that defense requires more than stopping illegal immigration. Yes, everyone knows he is against invading random countries in the Middle East. Could there ever be a reason military action would be justified? Never heard it articulated. That is my point.

          3. I know Tulpa. We invaded Iraq at random. We hadn’t been at war with them for 10 years or anything. There wasn’t about a dozen UNSC resolutions they were violating. They were not violating a ceaseffire they signed with us in 1991 or anything. Yeah, we just chose them at random and started bombing. Just as easily could have been Jordan or the UAE. It just happened that Iraq’s name came out of the hat in the White House that day.

            This is why people don’t take Ron Paul seriously. Stupid shit like “we just randomly invaded Iraq” that his supporters insist on telling themselves.

            1. “Random” is certainly the wrong word. Iraq was not random at all. But I still don’t see that there was any good reason to do so. Sure, it may have been justified under international law, but so what? What was the benefit to the US?

              1. Got us out of Saudi Arabia, took out a government that was a threat to its neighbors and stability in the region.

                In 2003, the international sanctions regime had totally broken down. Our choice was either to invade or welcome Saddam back to the international community.

                You can debate the wisdom of the war all day. And since we will never know the counter factual of us not invading, you will never fully settle the debate.

                And that is a debate worth having. But the Tulpas of the world who claim we just invaded at random because we like to pick on people are full of shit. That was my only point.

                1. I meant random in the sense that there is little thought or plan behind it. Like “talking to random people on the street” which does not involve calculating random numbers, but rather talking to whichever person happens to be in front of you.

              2. Also, we must keep in mind that “law”, international or not, generally has nothing to do with morality, ethics or right and wrong.

            2. The ceasefire violations were incredibly minor. Not sufficient cause for war. Basically, the only violation that turned out to exist was that Saddam didn’t publicize that he had no WMDs.

        2. Both of my kids voted for Paul but I just couldn’t make the leap for the reasons you state.

          I don’t get where the idea comes from that the Tea Party is overrun with socons. Yes, I am socially conservative in how I live my life but I don’t have any desire to impose my values on anyone else. In my Tea Party group our focus is strictly on fiscal issues yet somehow that isn’t the message that gets across.

    2. Gingrich and Santorum talked War on Terror nonstop, dude. Romney talked a lot less about it and won. So what does that mean?

  7. We argue the tea party has pursued a strategy that is functionally libertarian, by generally avoiding divisive social issues and sticking to economic issues.

    This would be great if it were true. But when Santorum came in second in the GOP nomination fight, while Paul languished in the single digits, and did so with the overwhelming support of self-identified Tea Party voters, it’s obviously not true.

    As much as I’d like to see a libertarian resergence in the GOP, the fact is that the Tea Party’s libertarianism is largely rhetorical. It’s just the usual big government conservatives trying to act like libertarians (e.g. “Get the government out of my medicare”).

    It’s basically just the GOP version of the anti-war movement. Yes, some people in it actually care about the issue, but for most of them it’s just a partisan thing. This is why the Tea Party didn’t appear until Obama was elected, and it’s the reason they’ll disappear just as suddenly is Romney wins in November.

    1. This would be news to the establismentarians spending lots of time with their family.

      1. non-establishment != libertarian

    2. This is why the Tea Party didn’t appear until Obama was elected

      I guess the anti-TARP protests don’t count since the Tea Party moniker hadn’t yet been applied?

      Fiscal libertarians were already revolting when Bush was still in office.

      1. Even though TARP was passed in October 2008, the right wing protests didn’t begin until the beginning of 2009. There were protests of TARP in 2008 before the election, but they were organized by liberal activist groups like TrueMajority and the labor unions.

        1. No, you’re mistaken. TARP was much more unpopular on the right than it was on the left. The protests were simply anti-TARP, not left or right wing.

          1. Yes, yes, the Tea Party has always been at war with Eastasia.

          2. TARP was universally unpopular in 2008 and didn’t become popular on the left until Obama took office.

            1. ^Exactly. I began my conversion early in Bush’s second term and my membership in the Tea Party has nothing to do with who is in office. The Tea Party has done a fairly good job of ridding DC of career Republican politicians. Unfortunately, as a new movement we haven’t always had top quality replacements waiting in the wings. The Tea Party won’t be going anywhere if Romney wins the election. We are basically a watchdog group and I think we can all agree that Republican politicians need someone watching them.

    3. How many “pro war” Democrats lost their primaries to anti war candidates? I don’t remember any. The TP is making pretty decent progress at knocking off establishment RINOs. From Rand Paul in ’10 to Cruz just a few weeks ago the TP voters are racking up some fairly big wins.

      1. Joe Liebermann lost his primary. So did Arlen Specter, though for other reasons.

      2. See this is one of the big distinctions I think most people miss. The libertarian politicians who have succeeded recently (like Rand Paul) were all around long before the Tea Party showed up. They may have used the Tea Party, but they were never really part of it. The people who have come up from within the Tea Party (Christine O’Donnell, Adam West, etc.) have not been particularly libertarian.

        Some of them aren’t even non-establishment. In my area, the tea party groups all endorsed Gerlach, who’s pretty much the RINO posterboy.

        1. “Adam West, etc”

          Light the Bat Signal!

          1. Sorry, I meant Allen West. Adam West would be a far better choice for congress.

        2. Without the Tea Party, I doubt Rand Paul is in the Senate.

        3. That’s interesting. My tea party friends generally detested Gerlach (TARP vote) and backed his Ron Paul supporting challenger.

          1. I’m glad your friends are at least somewhat consistent, but the big groups like the Independence Hall Tea Party PAC endorsed Gerlach, and given Gerlach beat Sellers by 60 points, it looks like they were a lot more important than your friends were.

            There’s also the reality that since Sellers has never held elective office either before or since, we have no idea how sincere he was. It’s easy to talk a good game on libertarian issues, far harder to follow through on that talk.

        4. Rand Paul was “around” in the sense that he was already born, but he had no political standing until 2010.

          1. He founded the Kentuck Taxpayer Union in 1994, and was quite active in Kentucky State Politics since that point. In particular, he was one of the main players in the movement to block Gov. Patton’s room tax increase in 2000.

            That’s in addition to touring the country and speaking at rallies during his father’s campaigns.

    4. I’ll wager that there are few, if any Republicans that claim non -Tea Party status. I think Tea Party member = Republican pissed that Obama won. There was a great opportunity having 2 pimary candidates that espoused economic reform and liberty that the Tea Party refrained from in droves.

      1. “I’ll wager that there are few, if any Republicans that claim non -Tea Party status. I think Tea Party member = Republican pissed that Obama won.”

        You’d probably lose that wager. Polls on this very site had republicans split down the middle regarding the tea party.

        1. I stand corrected. I did not see those polls. Back to the craps table.

    5. Santorum came in second in the GOP nomination fight, while Paul languished in the single digits

      Paul got double digits in a solid majority of primaries and did quite well in a lot of caucuses. Just sayin’.

      1. Yeah, because caucuses are based on the depth of your support rather than the breadth of it. If it comes down to a contest of who has the most enthusiastic support, Paul will win everytime, but he does terribly in contests requiring the support of a large segment of the general public precisely because there’s no widespread support for Libertarianism in the GOP other than rhetorically.

        1. He finished second in NH, genius.

          No doubt you’ll have add new epicycle to your theory to explain that.

  8. The Tea Party supports candidates who are for spending cuts against opponents who are for spend-til-you-drop.

    This isn’t the same as being socially “moderate.” It means that in Republican primaries, it’s not enough for a big-government candidate to try to press social buttons, (s)he will merit opposition from the Tea Party for spending the Republic into ruin (and taxing the unborn, a population whose rights are indeed a concern of Tea Party folks).

    Ron and Rand Paul are prolifers – the ultimate in “distracting social issues.” They simply don’t believe that prolifers have to support perpetual war and unlimited debt.

    Ron aspires to federal neutrality in marriage, but that would include letting companies like Chik Fil A set their own policies and speak their minds. Which from the point of view of the left culture warriors, makes him a reactionary Nazi.

    I don’t think the article shows any trend in the Tea Party toward making abortion more accessible, or letting the government promote gay marriage.

  9. However exit polls reveal that Santorum never won a majority of the tea party vote in any primary with a poll.

    Newt Gingrich consistently won among self-identified Tea Partiers, so this strikes me as a massive exercise in point-missing. Gingrich and Santorum are practically interchangeable.

    Of course, the value of those polls is questionable since a lot of people who never attended a TP rally identify themselves as Tea Party.

    1. Yes, but if that’s your criteria, the Tea Party is such a tiny slice of the electorate that it doesn’t really matter who they support.

    2. “Gingrich and Santorum are practically interchangeable.”

      Who there. I realize Reason loves to solely credit the balanced budgets (“so-called”, if you like) of the 90s to Clinton, to appear nonpartisan and all. But many who were old enough to be around back then (cough tea partiers are old) give Gingrich more of the credit for that. Certainly Gingrich for one…

  10. Only tangentially related to the topic, but the division of issues into “economic” and “social” is pretty artificial and doesn’t capture the differences between liberals and conservatives even.

    For instance, school choice and gun rights are not economic issues, but conservatives tend to have the pro-liberty view on them.

    1. The division of “economic” and “social” is based on the idea of a rigid separation of interrelated issues – a separation which doesn’t reflect reality but is merely constructed for the convenience of pollsters and journalists.

      The link between family structure and poverty, for instance, seems just as much a social issue as “middle class tax cuts.”

      1. just as much an economic issue

      2. There’s that too, but my point is that the division of issues seems to be tailor made to make the liberal and conservative positions look more consistent than they really are. Social issues are “things that liberals support liberty on” and economic issues are “things that conservatives support liberty on”.

        1. Which liberals? The ones who want to tell private employers, landlords, etc. whom to hire and rent to? An so on.

          1. Those are usually considered economic issues since money is changing hands. It’s inconsistent, I agree, but that’s the way they usually get divided.

            I have talked to liberals who came right out and said that they support freedom in your personal life, but once you make money or (God forbid) employ someone, you’re the govt’s bitch.

            1. Why would liberals think that one’s business isn’t part of one’s personal life?

              1. Good question.

              2. “Why would liberals think that one’s business isn’t part of one’s personal life?”

                Cause it uses roads and bridges that belong to the government. Duh!

        2. The Nolan chart has never been more than a fair approximation in terms of its ability to distinguish “left” from “right”. Some decades ago some people saw certain correlations that let them say, yeah, economic vs. social liberty — not that that was the only way libertarians or other neutral observers at that time tried to make sense of the “left”-“right” division.

          Even some of the things like drug war that seemed at 1st take to distinguish don’t when you look more closely. You might’ve said 40+ yrs. ago that legalizing drugs was a hobby horse of the “left”, but only if you limited “drugs” to things like heroin; when you threw something like Laetrile into the mix, the sides didn’t line up the same.

  11. We argue the tea party has pursued a strategy that is functionally libertarian, by generally avoiding divisive social issues and sticking to economic issues.

    How is avoiding social issues functionally libertarian?

    Libertarians take social issues head on every day. Just cuz their answer is the same for every social issue does not mean they are avoiding them.

    By the way the answer to all social issues is: “Freedom, bitchez!”

    1. Be careful with the word “freedom”.

      I prefer “liberty”.

      This is because many believe “freedom” means being free from something. Like being free from cigarette smoke, or free from being offended, or free from opinions that they don’t like.

      Liberty, not freedom.

      1. People do the same thing with liberty. The words are interchangeable in this context.

        1. “Liberty” is Latin, “Freedom” is German. That’s the only difference unless you first provide definitions for each that make some distinction.

  12. lol, tea parties are for little girls with invisible friends lmao

    http://www.in-privacy.tk

    1. Once again anon-bot Pwns the thread.

  13. Being a self-described Tea Party libertarian, I find Tea Party-related events the perfect places to mingle with conservatives without getting into arguments about abortion or gay marriage.

  14. Here in the Bronx the organized Tea Party looks very much like the John Birch Society did a few decades back, in terms of demographics, interests, and gen’l attitudes. They’re pretty much old people (age skewing more strongly than race or sex or religion) who hold conspiracies and hidden agendas to be of great importance in moving the world. It’s not so much the types of issues but the nature of the threat they perceive that diferentiates them from garden variety “conservatives” or libertarians.

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