Skip to comments.Where Is The Libertarian Reagan?
Posted on 09/04/2012 1:25:02 PM PDT by Shout Bits
Last week at the Tampa RNC, party insiders employed parliamentary tricks to block Rep. Ron Paul delegates from casting their votes. States such as Mane and Colorado came up short as libertarians got a lesson in hardball politics. Party conventions have morphed into cynical spectacles since Ronald Reagan fought on the floor of the 1976 convention, so nobody should be surprised. Still, without their own Reagan, libertarians will remain vulnerable to the hammer of mainstream politics.
The Libertarian Party and libertarians in general are like alternative energy, the perennial next big thing that never materializes. Much as the conservatives had Buckley, the libertarian cause is full of intellectuals forming the canons of individualism. Libertarians embrace smart writers like Veronique de Rugy and Nick Gillespie, but mass appeal comes from the TV screen, not a pen. While social media has leveled the playing field once dominated by the Old Time Media, the most successful politicians remain telegenic prompter readers who speak to the heart more than the mind.
Consider the sad case of Sen. Hillary Clinton. While being a joyless technocrat is not a sin, it proved to be her political downfall. A stereotypical Wellesley 1960's radical, Clinton has a centrally planned vision for the US where good government is the core problem solver. She is contemptuous of any traditional value, and thinks the family unit is subordinate to the role of 'the village.' While her vision is broad, she is a small thinker who crafts many policies to advance her leftist agenda. Enter Barak Obama, then also a junior Senator. He, too, was a college radical, contemptuous of the established order and also raised by communists. Unlike Clinton, he had no ideas or policies, just Marxist principles. With no experience in work and little experience in government, Obama spoke to the heart and easily beat the seasoned Clinton. Clinton had the entire Democrat machine at her disposal, and her husband was the best fundraiser ever. Despite such an advantage, voters chose soaring platitudes over experience and substance.
In practice Obama and Clinton are the same politician. Both support socialized single payer health care and higher marginal taxes. Both support expanded social welfare programs and wrinkle their noses at traditionalism. Only a policy snob would notice a difference in that Clinton is more academic, dry, and clear-cut.
Similar to Obama, Reagan spoke to the hearts of voters. His "Morning in America" campaign made misty voters dream again. Reagan was surrounded by conservative technocrats who shaped his policies, but his gift was in speaking to the hearts of regular people. Reagan's version of hope yielded two of the biggest landslides in US history.
Obama and Reagan's lesson for libertarians is to stop arguing policy to people who will not listen. Every great person talks to those who would listen in a way they will understand. Pundits call it 'dog whistle' politics, but the winning strategy is to bury policy deep in the rhetoric of the heart. Some examples of good politics:
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There could not be a libertarian Reagan.
Reagan was pro-life as well as pro-military and defense of the USA.
They could also insist that the Defense bill be about Defense only not the catch all were every congress critter burys their favorite bits of pork
The congress critters bury pork in those bills so they dont get vetoed.
exactly, Reagan has sense and was conservative on social issues not liek the mushy liberal Paul lot
What Libertarians could use is the new Frank Meyer.
Reagan saw Meyer’s importance as the Libertarian voice spanning the small canyon to the conservative icons.
If Goldwater was the “conservative” and Reagan was conservative with libertarian understandings, you need the new Meyer as Paul is not it.
“There could not be a libertarian Reagan.
Reagan was pro-life as well as pro-military and defense of the USA.”
Exactly. I have heard an estimate that as much as 50% of the annual defense budget is nonsense put in the defense bill in order to make sure it passes. The sponsors merely manufacture some tendentious link to defense in order to justify its inclusion in the defense bill.
Reagan won his Delegates, fair and square.
Ron Paul lied, cheated and bullied to get his Delegates.
Ronald Reagan could not get nominated in today’s Republican Party - he was simply too conservative, too much of a boat rocker, too keen on trying to rein in spending and the growth of government, as well as simply being too socially conservative for the Party leadership and insider hacks to countenance.
The fusion power of politics. Success is always 20 years down the line.
How about picking a libertarian candidate who
- doesn't have "truther" leanings and
- has some concept on the realities of modern warfare (WMDs, proxy armies, cyberterror, the risks of open boarders, etc)
The justice department also went after pimps and escort agencies to a degree that has not happened since.
The current crop of libertarians, with their opposition to age of consent laws and agenda to legalize prostitution is diametrically opposed to the values which drew people to Reagan.
You lose my attention when you can’t even spell MAINE...credibility goes way down....
Instead of promising to cut welfare, promise to cut corporate welfare (which is by far the bigger problem)
This is possibly true, but I'd like to see some numbers. Distinguishing corporate welfare from legitimate tax deductions is not always clear-cut.
Instead of promising to cut military spending, promise to focus on defense before offense
Apparently the author never heard that the best defense is by definition a good offense.
As Paul Ryan says, instead of cutting middle class entitlements, promise to save them
What!! When did this become a libertarian policy! Middle-class entitlements are at the core of our fiscal problems.
Instead of legalizing drugs, promise to keep them out of children's reach through regulatory enforcement
Not very clear, but presumably this means they'll be legal for adults, and that will make it easier to keep them away from kids. Does anybody really believe that? It works so well for booze and tobacco. There are good arguments for decriminalizing (many) drugs, but this isn't one of them.
Instead of de-regulating industry, point out that laws like the minimum wage only hurt the poor
The problem is that this is not entirely true. Such laws help some poor people and hurt others. Probably the net effect hurts "the poor" as a group, but it's still not a very good argument. And what does the minimum wage have to do with deregulating industry?
What if a candidate actually made lucid arguments about the Constitution and the authority it actually gives the Federal govt (vs the states)?
The point is not that Reagan was a libertarian any more than Obama is. The point is that the libertarian movment needs communicators like these two politicians. I think I was fairly clear.
again - sanity
you and obama both think no one understands the brilliance of your theories
we HAVE heard them - and rejected them
its not a ‘messaging’ problem