I usually wouldn’t embed a video of Rachel Maddow’s show, but the following is compelling enough to share.

Long story short…abandon the culture wars, embrace real fiscal conservatism and stop being war mongers.

Can Libertarianism save the Republican party or will it split it in two?

Also, can election laws be reformed to allow a viable 3rd party candidate?

(h/t: Below The Beltway)

  • DK

    The Republican party is still chock full of religious social conservatives, who have major philosophical disagreements with libertarian concepts of personal freedom. Therefore, I don’t think its realistic to think the Republican party will move in a significantly libertarian direction on any issue but taxes and bailouts. If anything, I think the Democratic party has more chance to move in that direction, not now, but in the future after massive deficits down the road make it clear even to most liberals that we need to spend less. At that point, it may become difficult to distinguish the left from what we view today as moderate libertarianism.

    As for 3rd parties, they will not be viable in American politics until we have instant-runoff voting. Until then, the perception will always be that you are throwing your vote away. This means a 3rd party will have a really hard time mustering the thresholds needed to obtain automatic ballot access & public funds.

    However, if the Republican party continues to self destruct, perhaps enough digusted Republicans will feel they might as well “throw away” their vote. But I think it’s more likely they will just stay home, rather than vote for the Libertarian or Constitution parties (the second of which is a more religous/conservative variant of the Libertarian party).

  • Paul, as with most critics who object to the GOP fighting in the so-called culture wars, would have listeners take the impression that social conservatives are Imperial Germany shuffling abroad to find new cities to take. The demand that they stop fighting is seen in a quite different light once it is realized that the social conservatives are defending territory into which other forces are advancing.

    Take gay marriage for example. That issue was thrust onto the national agenda not by the Christian right, or at the inspiration of Karl Rove, but by the Massachusetts Supreme Court and the Goodrich plaintiffs. And much of the drive to amend state constitutions was supplied by fears–well-founded in light of the experience of Massachusetts, California, and New Jersey–fears that state judges would simply impose same-sex marriage whatever legislative action might be taken. (That these amendments will now fall on federal rather than state grounds is beside the point.)

    This discussion can’t be conducted in candor until the other side is willing to admit and acknowledge that it is no less deeply invested in the culture wars as the GOP, and that it has largely been the aggressor. Those are the facts of the matter: liberals demand radical changes in the status quo and then complain that their demands are resisted. I suspect that there’s a reason why such admissions aren’t forthcoming, however: Admitting those truths reveals the disingenuity of the demand that the GOP stop fighting the culture wars. It is a demand that social conservatives lie down and surrender on every issue that liberals have thusfar chosen to seek change on, and, implicitly, a preemptive demand that whatever traditions are targeted by the next liberal thrust, it not be met with a parry.

    Perhaps this liberal absolutism is a defensible position, but it should be acknowledged for the position it is, not hidden behind veils of mock nobility and disinterest.

  • wj

    An interesting discussion might be: on current trends, how long will it be before the Republican Party is a “non-viable 3rd party”? Then we can discuss which party takes its place as the alternative to the democrats. I suspect that it will not be the Libertarian Party, nor any of the other existing ones, but rather something new. Interesting times….

  • Johnny Rico

    Simon, I think you are missing Ron’s point. He is not saying that the culture wars need to end between conservatives and liberals. He is saying that the Republican Party should withdraw from them. By staking claims on some of the more controversial positions the Republican Party is limiting the base of supporters from which it can draw. Paul is saying that there are fundamental planks to the Republican platform that have won elections: small government, fiscal responsibility, personal freedom, etc. And that by adding culture war planks: gay marriage, school prayer, etc. The party is limiting itself unnecessarily.

    We can argue who started the culture wars or who exploited them until the cows come home. But the real meat of this message is that the Republican party should step back from some of these extraneous fights and focus on the big things that expand the tent. Not get stuck on the little things that shrink it.