Matt Welch: 'Every single GOP strategist under the age of 40' Might Be Unacceptably Libertarian

What the Liz Mair firing tells us about Scott Walker, GOP politics, and libertarianism


Last night I appeared on MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes to talk about Scott Walker hastily firing online campaign consultant Liz Mair (a past Reason contributor) over some mildly intemperate prior comments Mair had made about Iowa (and after a heavy-breathing Breitbart.com article about Mair's allegedly untenable views in favor of gay marriage, abortion, and legal immigration). Watch the whole segment below:

NEXT: Conservatives, Progressives, and Judicial Deference

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  1. 'Every single GOP strategist under the age of 40' Might Be Unacceptably Libertarian

    We can only hope.

    1. Well, Unacceptably Libertarian is a relative term. Unfortunately, for too much of the GOP, Barry Goldwater would qualify as Unacceptably Libertarian.

      1. I'd be happy with us digging up Barry's corpse and running him for president in '16.

          1. I've offered up Zombie Nixon as well. While not my first choice, Zombie Nixon would be a clear improvement over Barry O'Bama.

            1. but only as VP. It DQ's Richard from the one heartbeat rule and his being POTUS again might not go that well.

          2. I'd vote for him.

            The only problem is that he'd vote for the Democrat. The dead always vote for the Democrat.

  2. Given that Walker's the first mainstream GOP hopeful who's actually fiscally conservative, I'm not going to pass on him just yet.

    1. and that's where he needs to focus his message. The SJW campaign never wins for the GOPers because they are easily painted as moral scolds. The left has seen this in a sense what with blow back over "rape culture" and forcing bakers to make cakes for the gheyz.

      1. I'll take issue with the SJW moniker for those who want to just want to see the government get out of personal decisions and victimless crimes.

        1. fair enough. I tend to use it for those who see it the other way - getting govt INTO those things.

      2. I see an opportunity here for Libertarians who are kept off the ballot by hugely restrictive petitioning requirements: enter the GOP primaries (few signatures needed) and run a campaign as huge "moral scolds" which might embarrass many Republicans and certainly
        attract the attention of the media tuned to running with this ball. "My God, Jim XYZ, a Republican candidate for Congress in South Dakota, says 'We need federal legislation to ensure all women are kept barefoot and pregnant, while preparing three square meals a day in strict obedience to their husbands as our one and true God intended.'"

    2. Fiscally conservative, those are the guys who want to reduce the growth of government spending except on the military and the prison-industrial complex and buying the votes of old people, right?

      1. Well in his defense, he has actually cut something from the state budget. That's a step in the right direction at least. We'll see where his rhetoric goes over the next year. But you're correct, I probably won't like it.

      2. Yes, but that makes them liars and hypocrites and not fiscal conservatives - there actually aren't any fiscal conservatives in DC

      3. Yes. They want to cut government. Except any part where someone gets a paycheck or entitlement. But they really want to cut government.

    3. Wisconsin spends even more per capita than Illinois (2014)

      At least Walker reduced spending as a percent of WI GDP from 22% in 2010 to 18.9% of GDP for 2015:

      But spending did increase from $55.84 billion in 2010 to $57.25 billion for 2015:

      Still WI spends more per state GDP than Texas, which only spends about 15%. To match Texas, Walker would need to cut 20% of their spending.

  3. The Republican party has finally learned that humor and wit and honesty has no place in politics.

  4. Ethanol flip/flop is in a different category than the firing of Mair. There is no principle involved in hiring a flack. She's just there to help him win. If she makes it harder for him to win, she has to go. Ethanol and immigration are matters policy and principle. Flipping on them to please some morons in Iowa is a bad sign for Walker.

    1. They are not morons in Iowa. They are greedy bastards, but they are not stupid.

      1. Maybe. They may end up winning a battle to lose a war.

        1. It's not relevant to the war (between dems an repubs).

          Democrats support food stamps because they "feed the poor". Republicans support food stamps because they indirectly raise agricultural prices.

          Republican support ethanol mandates and subsidies because they directly raise agricultural prices. Democrats support ethanol mandates and subsidies because they're "green".

          Republicans support these things out of rational greed. Democrats, not so much.

          1. To clarify, Ag State Republicans and Blue State Democrats have overlapping interests that make subsidies impossible to kill.

          2. is power an irrational greed? Because the Dems' support of things is a form of vote buying and self-perpetuation, too.

            1. I was discussing voters who have self-serving interests that drive their votes. I expect you are discussing politicians who pander to those voters to achieve then maintain positions of power.

              1. yes, I am. Not intent to be contentious, just asking. Everybody loves their cronies and donors, but the Dems appear to have the added feature of pandering that is measured exclusively in votes since the free shit brigade is neither crony nor large donor.

    2. True, up to a point, but it's not just her. We are witnessing a struggle for the soul of the party between the old Socons and the young libertarian-friendly republicans.

  5. "a heavy-breathing Breitbart.com article about Mair's allegedly untenable views in favor of gay marriage, abortion, and legal immigration"

    Do you know who else thought some people's views on gay-marriage, abortion, and immigration were totally unacceptable?

    1. Reason Magazine?

      1. i think you self-flagellate over the abortion thing. there's no actual 'reason-wide' view on abortion that one must adhere to, or else be sent to the re-programming camp.

        in fact, in the last 10 or so years, i can't think of a single specific piece about abortion politics that really even got much traction. since the 1990s, it seems like sort of a 'meh' issue.

        Gay marriage, ok. I personally think opposition to it *is* completely un-libertarian. I can't see any possible 'libertarian' justification for arguing that "gay people can't enter into the same 'voluntary contracts' heteros do". The times very few people have attempted such arguments... have been embarrassing, frankly.

        Immigration? meh. I think its like abortion, but only *spicier* - you can have a wide range of opinions and still be 100% 'libertarian'. Sadly, there's little talk about "policy specifics", so much as crazy back and forth about one side being "Open Borders" and the other fulminating about the Looming Reconquista.

        The truth is that 90% of people - libertarians included - would probably be happier with some kind of "immigration reform" - but that they're too busy insulting each other to get around to deciding what that actually means.

        1. Can you name one staff writer who is a pro-life libertarian? Can you name one who does not write as if pro-abortion rights position is not equivalent to libertarian?

          1. Please note = "in fact, in the last 10 or so years, i can't think of a single specific piece about abortion politics that really even got much traction"

            i.e. the magazine has not really gone out of its way to highlight any specific Pro or Con view on Abortion at all.

            Yes = there is no one at the magazine (AFAIK) who is Vocally Pro-Life. Would it make you feel better if there were at least one who *was*?...

            ...and that, having that 'token minority view' represented, the magazine then took a more ostensibly Pro-Choice stand, despite their one dissenter?

            While there is a "reasonable range of views" on the matter.... the pro-life posture is still the 'minority' view. That's not going to change either way.

    2. heavy-breathing Breitbart.com article

      We're entering Salon territory here.

      1. "We're entering Salon territory here."

        7 Vile Mouth-Breathing Right-Wing Attacks From Brietbart.com

  6. *note: I have myself advocated that Gay Mexicans should be able to count their abortions as American Citizens just by throwing them across the Rio Grande...hell, even if they fall a little *short*... (having a good throwing arm is *privilege*, people. check that shit)

    that said = while i think the other 2 socon gripes are bullshit - and stupid politics to boot - the immigration thing is basically a GOP 'red-line of death'. You apparently can't even talk about it without getting in trouble.

    as with the Mickey Kaus thing yesterday - while it might seem the completely opposite situation... *(Liz being canned for being too 'pro-immigration, mickey being canned quitting because of his insistence that "Fox News is *Dancing Around* Immigration!"*)... I think its basically the same deal = Republicans know that immigration is such a dangerous topic that if they have even *the slightest 'wrongish' view on the subject* (too tough? Not tough enough?) that they will be completely skewered by their peers as heretics..

    Consequently, it appears the GOP policy is to mostly STFU about immigration as much as possible, and pretend their view is whatever seems the most electable at the given split-second. Having a vocal pro-immigration member of your campaign was bound to be a problem in that respect sooner or later.

  7. it appears the GOP policy is to mostly STFU about immigration as much as possible,

    which is curious as those who tend to support it, from regular folks to pundits, have plenty to say. And more than a few legal immigrants are not thrilled with illegals.

    1. I think the GOP learned to their shock that the voting public is utterly incapable of 'nuance' on the matter of immigration

      particularly when the "comprehensive immigration reform act" was attempted. It tore the GOP to pieces just talking about it. Now, if you talk about immigration at all, one will suggest "Well, we need to secure the border first"... and the next will go, "BUT WE NEED LAZER BEAMS AND A SHARK MOAT TOO!!? THE NIGHT'S WATCH NEEDS MEN!!" They literally climb over one another to demonstrate their hardcore-anti-immigration bona-fides, and in the process of trying to win the "gop base", end up looking like utter morons to the 'less concerned' voters.

      I think FOX figured this out, and has helpfully decided to avoid focusing on immigration as the "#1 issue" to vet candidates on. Which is why Kaus got told to STFU

  8. It was funny to watch Chris Hayes flail his arms and raise his voice about "rent-seeking." I'm surprised he even knows that term.

    Now say something about GE or Comcast and their "rents."

    It's cute that Matt still thinks the Great Libertarian Revolution is just around the corner. Ultimately, it's not about Red or Blue, conservative or progressive, it's about power. Nobody who is selling the package of "less power for government" will ever get over inside of establishment politics, as the most recent burnt offering to establishment politics named Liz Mair proved.

  9. Part of the problem, as usual, is the misuse of the term "libertarian". I had never heard of Liz Mair before this, but apparently she is a very well connected person who has personal friendships with a lot of Beltway bottom feeders. From her social media presence, she appears to be essentially an activist for gay marriage. Beyond opinion, she is vocally and publicly in favor of it.

    That is not only not a conservative position, which puts her at odds with most Republican voters in the same way that hiring a Nazi to appeal to Jews would be a conflict.

    It is also not a libertarian position, despite the fact that it has been mischaracterized that way as a result of ignorance and/or bad motives. Having the government endorse, regulate, license and subsidize gay marriages is not libertarianism, and never will be. Having the government persecute people for disagreeing with that point of view is not libertarian, and never will be. But those are the goals of gay marriage advocates.

    She is also apparently "pro-choice", which isn't a libertarian position if you believe an unborn child is a human being with rights. Leftists believe women should be able to kill babies regardless of how you view them, and will increasingly tell you so.

    So you have a bunch of people calling themselves libertarians who are really just leftists on social issues, with views on economic issues that conflict with the left. That's not a libertarian.

    1. Welch's comment about "GOP strategists" is also telling, as are the howls of outrage from DC media over this unknown, and apparently incompetent, individual. There is obviously a class of people inside the Beltway who are nothing but mercenaries, willing to work for Republicans for the money, who nevertheless despise the very voters they're being paid to appeal to. She's a poster child for that issue.

    2. Nope, wrong. I feel no compulsion to elaborate.

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