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"Please choose liberty"

Shikha Dalmia would have been more honest if she'd titled her recent piece in Forbes "Dear GOP: Please choose libertarianism!"


I guess it shouldn't be too surprising for a senior analyst at the Reason Foundation, which among other things publishes the libertarian magazine of the same name, to join the chorus of "moderate" Republicans (Colin Powell et al ) calling for the unwashed Traditional Conservative yahoos to be kicked out of the party. However, after the disasters of the Bush years, the notion that the GOP can be rebuilt by yoking "hard" libertarians with the followers of Ron Paul and Rockefeller Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger makes me go all :facepalm: at the sheer reality-defying madness of it all.

"Moderate" Republicans have been getting kicked out of office right and left since 1994 since they offer nothing the public can't get from Democrats. Same pork, same caving in to unions and other wealthy special interests, same willingness to sacrifice whatever principles they might have on the altars of "compromise" and "bipartisanship", qualities that have been noticeably lacking in the Democratic House and Senate majorities. Still, chattering intellectualoids like Kathleen Parker and Peggy Noonan* seem to think that we need more of these losers, and that the recent opportunistic defection of Arlen Specter was a horrible disaster. Well, maybe it is if the notion of Pat Toomey taking the seat back for the GOP in 2010 fills you with horror. Moderate Republicans have been losing because they have not only been alienating the libertarians among us by gorging on pork, but they've also been giving the back of their hand to the Traditionalists. If the seven million conservative Christians who turned out for Bush in 2004 had come out for Crazy Cousin John last year...well, maybe McCain would have let GM and Chrysler die quietly, and made sure anywhere in Iran we thought was working on nukes was a smoking crater by now, but since that wasn't going to happen after decades of McCain giving the finger to the Christian Right, it's pointless to talk about it.

Nationally, you can't get elected without having something to offer both the libertarians and the traditionalists. You can't rely on the Democrats to nominate idiots like Al Gore and John Kerry every four years; every so often they take advantage of the GOP's disillusionment and come up with a Carter, a Clinton, or an Obama, and then we're in for it. The great thing everyone remembers about Reagan was that he was able to motivate both the libertarians and the traditionalists; the same was true of W, at least initially, and Newt Gingrich as well. The party is looking for someone like that again; it's learned from bitter experience that a Dole or a McCain doesn't have the appeal to both wings of the party. Some folks are hoping it's Bobby Jindal, others Sarah Palin, and others don't care so long as it isn't Jeb Bush.

Related: Bloggers tell the NRSC to get their paws off the Florida Senate primary.






*We'll throw Christopher Buckey in here as well so I don't get ranked on for being a misogynist, not that I care much what other people think.