Saturday, May 31, 2008

Huckabee and the final GOP repudiation of Reagan

Mike Huckabee’s comments this week stating that libertarianism is un-American signals the final Republican repudiation of Ronald Reagan, who said: “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”

Huckabee is right in stating that libertarianism is more of a threat to the GOP than liberalism, given that the GOP has become even more liberal in their use of government power to control our lives than the Democrats. Consider this: George Bush and his GOP Congress have presided over the fastest growth in federal spending since LBJ's Great Society. They created the largest federal intrusion into the classroom in history (No Child Left Behind), the most expensive public-works program ever (the 2005 highway bill), and the largest new entitlement program (the prescription-drug benefit) since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. They launched an alleged “war on terror” that spent upwards of $3 trillion, killed 4,000 Americans, and brought us $4 a gallon gasoline. They trampled on states’ rights over issues such as assisted suicide and medical marijuana. They expanded the government's power to spy on Americans.

Huckabee fits right in with this crowd. According to the Club for Growth, while he was governor of Arkansas, Huckabee increased state spending by 65%, increased the government workforce by 20%, raised taxes by 47%, and increased the state debt by $1 billion. He also had a strange penchant for releasing convicted murders and rapists from prison. During his tenure as governor, Huckabee issued more commutations and pardons than all of the six neighboring states combined. Those states include Texas, which has more than 8 times the population of Arkansas.

If this is what passes for "conservatism" today, please count me out.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Libertarian Party gets serious

I was briefly involved in the Libertarian Party 20 years ago when Ron Paul was their Presidential nominee. I left after the 1988 election because they seemed more interested in being a sanctuary for the faithful rather than an organization that was serious about actually winning elections and affecting change. I’m a results-oriented guy. I don’t have time to waste with people who aren’t serious about accomplishing their goals.

Their selection of Bob Barr for President and Wayne Allyn Root for Vice President this weekend indicates that the LP has changed in big, important ways.

Bob Barr was a four term Congressman from Georgia. During his stay, he was probably the second most “libertarian” Congressman next to Ron Paul. Yes, there were a few very public issues where he wasn’t libertarian at all. However, after leaving Congress in 2003 Barr has worked closely with organizations on the left (ACLU) and right (ACU) to oppose the authoritarian trends that haunt this country today.

Wayne Allyn Root is a businessman, Las Vegas television personality, author, and odds maker. He came from a blue collar background and became a self-made millionaire. Root has the energetic stage persona of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, coming across a bit like a guy you'd see on an infomercial at 3am.

Barr chose Russ Verney as his campaign manager. Russ was Ross Perot’s campaign manager. So, holy smokes, the Libertarian Party actually has a team that is serious about success and knows how to get things done. Given the mood of the voters this year, I suspected that the Libertarian Party will have its best showing ever.

It’s going to be a very interesting political year.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The return of Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson has returned to the public stage with a new blog and a wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: “The Death of Conservatism is Greatly Exaggerated”. Here’s what he said:

Some conservatives try to avoid philosophical confrontation with liberals, often urging solutions that would expand the government while rationalizing that the expansion would be at a slightly slower rate. This strategy simply has not worked. Conservatives should stay true to their principles and remember:

- Congress cannot repeal the laws of economics. There are no short-term fixes without longer term consequences.

- In a free and dynamic country with social mobility, there will be great opportunity but also economic disparity, especially if the country has liberal immigration policies and a high divorce rate.

- An education system cannot overcome the breakdown of the family, and the social fabric that surrounds children daily.

- Free markets, not an expanding and more powerful government, are the solution to today's problems. Many of these problems, such as health-care costs, energy dependency and the subprime mortgage crisis, were caused in large part by government policies.

Sorry, but one has to wonder why he never got around to saying these things while he was actually running for President. However, he is right -- many “conservatives” (and most of the GOP) do indeed advocate so-called "solutions" that do nothing but expand the power of government. That’s precisely the problem and it has to stop.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Gay Marriage: Conservatives are culpable too

The recent California Supreme Court ruling stating that marriage between gays is a constitutional right should be a big wake up call to conservatives. I for one don’t give a hoot what consenting adults do. If two people of the same sex want to have a contractual arrangement called "marriage", I don’t care. However, a lot of people do find the concept of gay marriage to be immoral. Now, they are going to be forced to recognize its legitimacy in their daily lives.

Here is the magic question that conservatives never ask: why does one need a government license to get married? Just try asking this question and you’ll find that most people will recoil on horror over the mere suggestion that government has no business being involved in marriage.

However, for most of western history marriage was a private contract between two families.

Government marriage licenses didn't start becoming the norm in America until the Progressive Era. In the late 19th century, state governments started nullifying common law marriages. By the 1920s, 38 states required government licenses to legally recognize a marriage. These marriage licenses were originally created to prevent whites from marrying people of other races.

During the 1960s, government used their power over marriage to create "no fault divorce laws" that enabled the dissolution of a marriage without any proof of adultery, abandonment, felony or other legally culpable act. This greatly increased divorce and illegitimacy, swelled welfare rolls, and led to the general moral breakdown and chronic crime in our cities.

Now, courts in Massachusetts and California have issued mandates that will once again alter the fundamental concept of marriage.

Government control over marriage started as a way to prevent people from exercising their right to marry whomever they want. Now, government control is being used to force everyone to accept marriages that many find objectionable.

As is the case with everything government touches, their control over marriage has corrupted and destroyed it. Today, half of all people between 25 and 29 are not married. 40% of babies are born out of wedlock.

Unfortunately, most "conservatives" don't understand this. Many are just as eager as the left to use government power to force their mandates on society. That's exactly the problem.

Marriage should be a private affair between the people who want to marry, their families, and their church. The government should keep their sticky fingers out of it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How much worse can Obama really be?

Newt Gingrich told The Washington Times yesterday that “Bob Barr will make it marginally easier for Barack Obama to become president. That outcome threatens every libertarian value Barr professes to champion”.

What has really threatened every libertarian value Barr professes is 8 years of George Bush and 6 years of his lackey GOP Congress who have rejected everything that Ronald Reagan stood for.

They put mechanisms in place like the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act that are destroying our civil liberties and will continue to do irreparable harm to Americans long after Bush is gone.

They did something that Ronald Reagan vowed America would never do -- start an aggressive war against a country that could not have possibly threatened us.

Their aggressive war brought us $4.00 a gallon gasoline.

They went on a drunken orgy of spending that doubled the national debt.

Their deficit spending and overly cheap credit have destroyed the dollar and the housing market.

It’s gotten to the point where many Republicans don’t even pretend to believe in limited government any longer. Now we hear about “big government conservatism”, “compassionate conservatism”, or “national greatness conservatism”. All of these labels are nothing more than euphemisms for “socialism”.

One thing has become very clear during the last 8 years -- Bush was worse than Bill Clinton on a lot of issues, especially those around fiscal responsibility. We don't need two Democratic parties. Yes Obama may be worse than both Bush and Clinton, but with the GOP back in opposition maybe they will learn how to oppose big government once again.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Enough Already!

Barack Obama won a decisive victory over Hillary Clinton in North Carolina, trouncing her by 14 points. She barely squeaked out a win in Indiana. Obama picked up four additional “super delegates” today. He’s about 170 delegates shy of the nomination. She is out of money and has had to loan her campaign $6.4 million in the last month.

The spirited contest has been great for the Democrat Party. At this point, it’s over. She should get out.

The big question that the Democrats need to ask themselves is which candidate will have the best opportunity to beat McCain. A lot of pundants have agonized over this. My view is that the answer is pretty simple.

The most important fact about the situation today isn’t who can attract the most “moderate” voters in the fall. Rather, it’s this: movement conservatives loath John McCain, but they have a visceral hatred of Hillary Clinton. If Clinton gets the nomination, they will hold their noses and line up behind McCain. If she doesn’t get the nomination, they might stay home on election day, or cast their vote elsewhere.

Where else could they go? Well, if Bob Barr can manage to get the Libertarian Party nomination a lot of folks could vote for him. Otherwise, a smaller number might opt for Chuck Baldwin who is the Constitution Party nominee.

Ron Paul demonstrated that a great many GOP-leaning voters are extraordinarily unhappy. The guy raised $34 million. He beat the presumptive nominee (Rudy Giuliani) in most of the caucuses. The latest news is that his new book is poised to top the New York Times best seller list. One of his most obscure issues – the problems created by the Federal Reserve – is starting to resonate with the American people, as evidenced by a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll.

Let’s not forget that 19% of Americans did vote for Ross Perot in 1992, even after we all knew he was nuts. So, it's not inconceivable that a 3rd party candidate like Bob Barr could make a big impact this year. A few points in a couple of key states and it's over for McCain.

A Hillary nomination will torpedo it all, because she is such a polarizing figure that people will line up behind McCain just to keep her out of office.