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Posts Tagged ‘republicans’

Rand Paul “no longer outside the mainstream”

Posted by Richard on March 24, 2014

Scott Conroy has an interesting article about Sen. Rand Paul at RealClearPolitics. It’s clear that Paul is able to appeal to people outside the GOP, especially the young. But Conroy argues that many rank-and-file Republicans have shifted significantly in the direction of Paul’s more libertarian views:

With the Republican Party facing widening demographic challenges, the Kentucky senator has been aggressively presenting his libertarian-leaning brand of politics as an opportunity to expand the GOP’s reach.

To some, these efforts to emphasize his credentials as a different kind of Republican offer limited benefits and outsized risks in the coming primary fight.

…  

But a couple of factors leading into the 2016 election suggest that Rand Paul’s opponents won’t be as eager to challenge his national security views so vociferously and that attention-grabbing moves like his trip to Berkeley are grounded in sound political strategy.

First, he is a savvier politician than his father and typically calibrates his remarks to avoid raising the ire of a clear majority within the GOP. 2016 debate watchers can expect to hear Paul lambast the NSA’s domestic surveillance program and perhaps even question the “traitor” label often assigned to Edward Snowden, but they are unlikely to hear him question the almost universally praised killing of Osama Bin Laden, as his father did.

Second, mountains of evidence indicate that rank-and-file Republican voters have shifted precipitously in recent years toward Paul’s noninterventionist foreign policy stance and are now much more skeptical of government programs that infringe upon liberties.

In short, most GOP strategists agree, Rand Paul’s views on these matters are no longer outside the mainstream of Republican politics.

I certainly hope that’s correct.

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GOP leadership prefers Democrat to upstart Republican

Posted by Richard on March 12, 2014

Pat Caddell, for one, has been arguing for some time (most recently at CPAC) that the GOP leadership is part of the beltway ruling class and would rather see an establishment Democrat elected than a Tea Party upstart who threatens the current culture of cronyism and corruption. Rick Manning cites a Georgia congressional race that proves the point.

In Georgia’s 12th Congressional District, John Stone faced only a single primary opponent (assuring no debilitating runoff) and seemed poised to take the seat from Democratic incumbent John Barrow. Stone recently pledged to support changing the House GOP leadership, and a subsequent poll showed him leading Barrow by 74% to 15%. The GOP establishment’s reaction:

Suddenly, alternative candidate recruitment by the NRCC in this otherwise extremely winnable district became a priority.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that state Representative Delvis Dutton’s entrance into the race was orchestrated by NRCC operatives who have gone so far as to set up his consulting team and even managed his campaign announcement.   In addition, a fourth candidate, Eugene Yu, has left behind his longshot bid to become a United States Senator from Georgia to jump into the race at the last minute.

The impact is simple.

Democrat Congressman John Barrow is licking his chops expecting that he will, due to NRCC meddling, be facing a general election opponent who won’t even be chosen until a July 21st run-off election.  In Georgia if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in a primary, the top two candidates face off, delaying the selection of a nominee for two additional months.  That opponent is likely to have a depleted campaign treasury, and will have endured two more months of rigorous negative intra-party campaigning.  Meanwhile Barrow will be sitting on a $2 million bankroll ready to unleash a torrent of attack ads against the defenseless Republican who emerges from the nomination process.

There are only two possible conclusions that can be drawn by the NRCC’s blundering into the 12th Congressional District of Georgia race at the last minute and doing grievous harm to their nominee.  Either they are incompetent boobs who have made it exponentially harder for a Republican to win in this Republican district by accident, or they would rather have Democrat John Barrow in the seat than a reformer who understands how politics is played in D.C. like John Stone.

Although I generally subscribe to Hanlon’s razor, I’m pretty certain that this is not just incompetence. The Boehners and McConnells of the GOP, along with their staffs, consultants, and favored lobbyists, have only one goal: to maintain a grip on the levers of power. They’d rather share that power with the Democrats than risk having it reduced or taken away by a bunch of Tea Party troublemakers who actually take the party’s limited-government rhetoric seriously.

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“The pursuit of power over principle”

Posted by Richard on February 28, 2014

Daniel Horowitz destroys the “wait until we control the Senate” argument:

The unambiguous strategy of the GOP establishment this year has been to avoid any and all confrontation in the hopes of gliding into a Senate majority in 2015.  To that end, they have capitulated on all of the major leverage points, passed a number of Democrat spending bills, and are in the process of pushing “small-ball” legislation in the House so as not to rock the boat before November.

This pusillanimous strategy is predicated on the false hope that a bare-minimum Senate majority – comprised of the same Republicans who support these Democrat priorities – will somehow alter the landscape in Washington.  They are misleading conservative and GOP activists into thinking that as long as the GOP can hold tight on the status quo until 2015 we will enjoy robust power to push for conservative priorities thereafter.

The reality is that nothing will change in 2015. …

Read. The. Whole. Thing.

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Gallup: Electorate decidedly more Republican than in 2008

Posted by Richard on November 4, 2012

Gallup has compiled demographic data on 2012 likely voters (sample size 9424, margin of error 1%), and in most respects the electorate is essentially unchanged from 2008. The only exception is party identification. The electorate this year is significantly more Republican (and leaning Republican) and less Democratic (and leaning Democratic). Here are the numbers:

2004

2008

2012

Democrat

37

39

35

Independent

24

31

29

Republican

39

29

36

Democrat/Lean Democratic

48

54

46

Republican/Lean Republican

48

42

49

Of course, state-by-state distributions matter. But basically, it looks to me like success for the Romney campaign depends on getting their supporters to the polls.

It concerns me a bit, therefore, that I’m still getting robocalls from both the Romney campaign and the RNC urging me to vote. I cast my ballot a week ago, and they should know that and stop wasting time on me.

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Rethinking Clint Eastwood

Posted by Richard on August 31, 2012

I want to retract what I said yesterday about Clint Eastwood at the Republican convention. I was clearly wrong.

That evening, I had C-SPAN on in the living room and listened to the convention while working on the computer in my office. When Eastwood came on, I dropped what I was doing and went out to watch. But I guess I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for his schtick, and I didn’t really get it. Apparently, plenty of other people did.

Based on the praise of Eastwood on talk radio and numerous conservative/libertarian websites, the positive reaction of some of my co-workers and friends, and the negative reaction of the Socialist Democrats and their media sycophants, I thought maybe I should watch it again. So I did, here. This time I got it.

Although surely not scripted, this was a carefully planned and well-executed comedic performance. It hit the mark. Read some of the comments at that Belmont Club post where I watched it. Eastwood reminded various people of Jimmy Stewart, Bob Newhart, Will Rogers, and his own role as Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino — and they’re all right! As Richard Fernandez suggested, it was Everyman quietly and simply poking fun at Obama and Biden (really, all the politicians who desire to rule over us), reminding us and them that “they are our employees” and that they’ve earned a poor job performance evaluation.

It was also very politically effective, as Belmont Club commenter Dworking Bariman observed:

This proves that Clint’s gambit was utterly successful and devastating. President Thin Skin just revealed a tell. Clint masterfully deployed Alinsky Rule #5 (RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.) The GOP must keep hammering at this chink in his armor relentlessly. Keep it funny and self-deprecating like Clint did, and you will also fulfill Rule 6 (RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.). That’s why Breitbart was the ultimate happy warrior. He lived and breathed this stuff.

What he said.

Boy, do I miss Breitbart.

(HT: Instapundit via Life’s Better Ideas)

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Romney’s acceptance speech

Posted by Richard on August 30, 2012

I haven’t posted anything about the GOP convention, although I’ve watched as much as I could in the evenings. I wanted to post about some of the significant speeches that weren’t covered by the broadcast networks in their one hour per night, and which cable news networks like MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN cut away from in their coverage, but that takes a lot of work and I haven’t had time. Maybe tomorrow or the next day.

But I do want to offer a few thoughts about the Romney speech tonight. Stephen Green drunkblogged it (and my apologies to him and to you for not giving you a heads-up about that in advance). Reading it after the fact isn’t the same is following it live, but I still commend it to you, although I think he’s off-base on several counts.

Green was far too kind to Clint Eastwood, who had a few good lines, but was much too unfocused, rambling, and just plain weird.

Green was somewhat too kind to Marco Rubio, who gave a decent speech with some memorable lines — like noting that Obama’s ideas are what people “move to America to get away from” — but this certainly wasn’t one of Rubio’s best (search for “rubio” on YouTube to see what I mean). And Rubio flubbed one line big-time, saying future historians would say “we chose more government over more freedom” when he meant to say the exact opposite. [UPDATE: After seeing Rubio’s speech a second time, I think I was too negative after the first viewing. It was more than decent, it was really very, very good. But that one flub was still a big one.]

And Green was too tough on Romney, arguing that the first half was “almost pitch-perfect,” but not happy with the second half’s “partisan attacks on Obama’s policies” and “laundry list of policty details.” Although Green loved the finish, which he thought “was big, it was rousing, and it was inspiring.”

I agree about the first half, but I think the policy attacks were just about perfect, and I have no problem with Romney spending two minutes summarizing his five-point plan (as he apparently does every time he speaks).

I thought the balance between lamenting the current state of affairs and painting an optimistic picture of our future (given a change in policies) was just about perfect. Almost — dare I say it — Reaganesque. That’s exactly what Ronaldus Magnus did in 1980: take a failed president to task issue by issue for his disastrous policies, while holding up the hope for a better future. Romney didn’t mention the “shining city on a hill” in so many words, but that’s what his speech reminded me of.

I thought Romney’s emphasis on women came close to pandering, but I can’t fault him for that, given all the blather by Socialist Democrats and their MSM sycophants about a “Republican war on women.” And I thought he nicely tied his mother’s contention that women should have an equal voice in “the great decisions facing our nation” with the fact that the women who addressed the convention included three governors, a senator, and a former secretary of state.

My two favorite parts of the speech:

… the centerpiece of the President’s entire re-election campaign is attacking success. Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression?

In America, we celebrate success, we don’t apologize for success.

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans … [long pause][applause and laughter] … and to heal the planet. [another long pause][more applause and laughter] My promise is to help you and your family.

Bottom line: I was impressed and pleased. He addressed the Socialist Democrat attack on his history at Bain Capital head-on and turned it around on them, charging that they don’t understand “the genius of the free enterprise system.” The speech was all-in-all a powerful defense of capitalism, freedom, progress, and opportunity. Obama and the Socialist Democrats reject all those things. I think that come November, a significant majority of Americans will vote in favor of those things and against the Socialist Democrats.

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Preparing to embrace defeat

Posted by Richard on July 3, 2012

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell thinks that even if the Republicans take control of the Senate, repealing Obamacare will be hard and the odds are against it. I’m not surprised. This is the Mitch McConnell I’ve come to know and loathe. After all, it was only a few months ago that he blocked an Obamacare repeal vote and reportedly planned to do so all year in order to avoid angering Harry Reid, avoid a “procedural stalemate,” and “shield his Senate GOP colleagues from voting to repeal popular portions of the healthcare law.”

If this worthless wuss becomes Senate majority leader again in January, I predict he’ll do what he’s always done: He’ll start out talking a good game. Then he’ll mumble, fumble, and bumble his way toward compromise, concessions, and capitulation. He’s preparing now to embrace failure and defeat.

We need more than returning control of the Senate to the current sorry leadership of the GOP. We need the current crop of young limited-government, pro-freedom stalwarts like Jim DeMint, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul to get reinforcements like Jeff Flake (AZ), Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Mandel (OH), Richard Mourdock (IN), and Mark Neumann (WI). And we need them and whatever allies they can muster to fight for new, bold leadership. I bet Tom Coburn wouldn’t worry about angering Harry Reid or prepare to embrace failure and defeat.

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Electoral signs of the times — or something

Posted by Richard on May 9, 2012

I’m not sure what these things mean, but I suspect they mean something.

In the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary, Keith Judd, a convicted felon imprisoned in Texas, got 41% of the vote in his run against President Obama, who got 59%.

In the Indiana Republican senatorial primary, incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar got 39% of the vote against challenger Richard Mourdock, endorsed by Tea Party groups and the Club for Growth, who got 61%.

So a convicted felon in West Virginia managed a better showing against the sitting president than an incumbent senator in Indiana managed against a Tea Party challenger.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin’s run-up to the June 5 gubernatorial recall election, Democratic voters by a wide margin chose Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett over Kathleen Falk to challenge Gov. Scott Walker, even though Falk had the backing of the labor unions who bankrolled the recall effort and made it possible (and who tried to pressure Barrett, who lost badly to Walker in 2010, into not running).

But here’s what’s interesting: The Democratic primary was hotly contested, while Walker faced no meaningful opposition on the Republican side. Nevertheless, 626,000 Republicans turned out to vote for Walker, despite no compelling reason to do so — almost as many as voted for the four Democratic candidates (665,000). That seems like a good sign for Walker.

Make of all that what you will. Being optimistic by nature, I’m inclined to see these as signs that the American people aren’t ready to emulate France or Greece.

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RINO Lugar given the boot

Posted by Richard on May 8, 2012

The French may have embraced socialism, and the Greeks may have embraced default, but Indiana Republicans have embraced Senate challenger Richard Mourdock, who was endorsed by various Tea Party groups and the Club for Growth. Mourdock crushed incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar (dubbed “Obama’s favorite Republican” by Tea Party critics):

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Lugar had just under 40 percent of the vote to Mourdock’s just over 60 percent.

Playing out in a conservative state, the race illustrated the electorate’s animosity toward many incumbents and anyone with deep ties to Washington. That was clear when Lugar, who hasn’t faced questions about his residency in decades, found himself on the defensive over whether he lived in Indiana or northern Virginia. Lugar also was cast as too moderate for the conservative GOP in Indiana, and he took heat for his work with Democrats on issues such as nuclear nonproliferation, underscoring deep polarization in the country as well as a split in the GOP between the establishment wing and the insurgent tea party.

In a statement, Obama praised his former Senate colleague as someone “who was often willing to reach across the aisle and get things done.”

Yet another sign that the Republican electorate is fed up with the ruling party Republican establishment. And that the Tea Party movement is alive and well.

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Adios, Santorum!

Posted by Richard on April 10, 2012

Rick Santorum has ended his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Good riddance. Apparently, he was headed for a humiliating defeat in his home state of Pennsylvania. Jennifer Rubin:

The race has been a foregone conclusion for weeks, but Santorum did indicate that the weekend and the illness of his daughter did cause he and his wife to reflect on the race and their responsibility as parents. In defeat he was humble and sincere, and in recapping the race he charted the improbable course of his campaign. For cynics, it was maybe the first speech of his next campaign, an option he leaves open by not fighting to the bitter end and by not making himself a pariah in the race. That he never mentioned Mitt Romney by name or offered congratulations is, well, sadly reflective of a smallness that he revealed from time to time.

Why didn’t he win it? Well, the real question may be how he did so well with virtually no name recognition or money or support at the get go. In part, he won by working his devoted base in Iowa and waiting for others to drop out until he was the the receptacle for the not-Romney voices in the party.

But ultimately his lack of organization, executive prowess (needed to organize a national campaign) and inability to stay on a blue-collar economic message doomed him. He is eloquent but excessively combative. He is well read but condescending toward fellow Americans. He was ultimately his own worst enemy.

Those of us of a libertarian or free-market conservative bent objected to Santorum’s self-described “Big Government conservatism,” history as a spendthrift and pork lover, rabid social conservatism, and comparative disinterest in economic and fiscal matters. In recent weeks, he’s tried to change that, speaking out (sometimes eloquently) more and more about federal spending, regulation, and the financial cliff this country is approaching. But many of us suspected that this was a matter of campaign strategy, not the result of a personal epiphany.

Of course, the same thing could be said about Mitt Romney. Or just about any other prominent politician. Sigh.

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Romney number cruncher thinks it’s all over but the counting

Posted by Richard on March 7, 2012

Hugh Hewitt quoted Romney supporter David Parker as having crunched the numbers and concluded that “there is NO scenario wherein Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, or anyone else other than Mitt Romney can accumulate the needed 1,144 delegates; unless of course that Mitt Romney withdraws, which is not likely!” The nut of the argument:

… With proportional allocations and 851 of 2,286 delegates having been through the primary/caucus process; Mitt Romney has won nearly 50% (he has also won 14 of 22 states), Rick Santorum has won about 19% and Gingrich has won about 12%. From another vantage point, Mitt has to win approximately 50% of the remaining delegates, Santorum and Gingrich have to win approximately 70% and 73%, respectively. …

Those numbers, if correct, don’t quite mathematically eliminate Santorum and Gingrich, but they sure make Romney’s eventual victory highly likely.

I suppose I’m OK with that. I’ve expressed before my strong dislike for Santorum’s big-government social conservatism. And Gingrich strikes me as narcissistic, unpredictable, and too clever by half (as demonstrated by his partnering with Nancy Pelosi on the issue of “climate change,” for instance).

Ideally, I’d like to see the Republicans nominate someone with a Reaganesque vision of a brighter future, not just a competent executive to “manage the decline,” in Gingrich’s memorable phrase. But, like many people today (most, I hope), I’ll settle for someone who can defeat Obama — and who’ll hopefully have a majority in both houses of Congress, where people like Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan can provide the vision.

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Is ABC News helping or hurting Newt?

Posted by Richard on January 18, 2012

Matt Drudge reports that ABC News is sitting on an interview with Newt Gingrich’s first wife, Marianne, that contains “explosive revelations.” On my way home, I heard Hugh Hewitt tell his radio audience that they’re withholding the interview until after the South Carolina primary in order to protect Newt and hurt Romney in that state. But now, on his website, he’s acknowledged another possibility:

… The leak of the story of the interview of Marianne Gingrich without details may actually do more damage to Newt than the interview itself, but it is amazing that a network news operation is sitting on a big story three days before an election.

I question Hewitt’s original contention, as well as his use of “actually” and “but” in that sentence. I think it’s likely that the story was leaked to hurt Gingrich, not Romney. The MSM have been largely pro-Romney (after the attempt to elevate Huntsman’s candidacy fizzled). As in 2008, they’re favoring the most moderate Republican — until after he’s nominated, and then they’ll suddenly discover that he’s a right-wing extremist.

South Carolina has a high percentage of evangelical voters. Leaking the claim that Gingrich’s first wife has dirt on him is going to be damaging even if her revelations later turn out to be no big deal. If nothing else, it reminds those evangelicals of Gingrich’s sorry marital history.

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Newt at his best

Posted by Richard on January 17, 2012

I’m not a big Newt Gingrich fan, but when he’s right, he’s right, and when he’s on his game, there’s nobody better. In last night’s debate, his response to Juan Williams’ race-baiting, “don’t you realize your wife doesn’t like to be beaten” question was simply masterful. He was unapologetic, forceful, articulate, and stood by his principles — qualities that are unfortunately rare among the GOP leadership. It’s the first time a presidential candidate in a debate ever got a standing ovation, and he deserved it.


[YouTube link]

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Anti-capitalist conservatives

Posted by Richard on January 10, 2012

Yesterday, I mentioned in passing the leftist-sounding attacks on Romney by Gingrich and Perry. Bobby Eberle has much more:

In their quest for the Republican nomination, it seems these “conservatives” will embrace any idea in order to attack another candidate. The latest is an assault on capitalism… yes, capitalism! What’s next? Supporting higher taxes and bigger government?

As noted in a story on CNSNews.com, GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is under attack by his fellow opponents, namely Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Why, you ask? Because Romney ran Bain Capital, which would restructure and reorganize companies in order to make them profitable. In doing so, everything that would be involved in saving a company was on the table: selling assets, trimming work staff, modernizing… you name it.

Oh the horror of it all! Gingrich and Perry are blasting Romney for not relying on the government, not going for corporate bailouts, but rather, for handling corporate woes in the private sector.

In National Review, Jay Nordlinger writes, “The last two presidential election cycles have revealed a stinking hypocrisy in conservatives: They profess their love of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but when offered a real capitalist and entrepreneur, they go, ‘Eek, a mouse!’ And they tear him down in proud social-democrat fashion.”

I’m not writing this column as a Romney supporter. I too would prefer someone more conservative. But in this race, the so-called conservatives are sure NOT sounding conservative to me. They are blasting Romney for engaging in capitalism. They are hounding him for turning companies around. That was his job, and apparently, he was good at it.

I said there’s no Reagan in this Republican field and no clearly best choice. The “conservative alternatives to Romney” have been making themselves less and less palatable to me.

Ron Paul is great on economic and fiscal issues and on the size and scope of the federal government, but he has some serious flaws: (1) that unfortunate association with the Lew Rockwell paleo-libertarians, (2) flirtations with 9/11 Trutherism and Bilderberger/CFR conspiracy theories, and (3) a dangerously mistaken and ignorant view of the Islamofascists.

I hate to say it, but Romney is beginning to look like the best (or least bad) that the GOP can offer this year.

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Anybody but Santorum

Posted by Richard on January 9, 2012

I mentioned my dislike of Rick Santorum the other day. I’m not alone, and RedState’s Erick Erickson, a social conservative himself, has shown that you don’t have to be a libertarian to reject Santorum’s self-described “Big Government conservatism” (emphasis added):

Santorum is a conservative. He is. But his conservative is largely defined by his social positions and the ends to which government would be deployed. But he has chosen as the means to those conservative ends bigger government. We see big government conservatives most clearly when they deviate from the tireless efforts of people like Mike Pence and Jim DeMint and the others who were willing to oppose George W. Bush’s expansion of the welfare state. Rick Santorum was not among them.

I and some friends, none of us Romney fans, have set about exploring Santorum’s record since Wednesday morning.  Here now is a non-exhaustive list of what we have found. It does not even include his support for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, debt ceiling increases, funding the bridge to nowhere, refusing to redirect earmark allocations to disaster relief along the Gulf Coast post Katrina, etc.

This is not the record of a man committed to scaling back the welfare state or the nanny state. Had he been up for re-election in 2010 instead of 2006, this is the record of a man who the tea party movement would have primaried. The only real justification for supporting him now is he is not Mitt Romney, but I still believe we can do better.

Check out Erickson’s very, very long list of Santorum’s votes for more spending, more taxes, more entitlements, more gun control, etc., etc., etc.

Adam Bitely of Americans for Limited Government, a free-market conservative, shares Erickson’s concerns about Santorum’s big government conservatism.

A real libertarian, Cato’s David Boaz, has also put together some damning evidence demonstrating that lovers of liberty must oppose Santorum, including this disturbing quote from Santorum when he was on NPR in 2006 (emphasis added):

One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. … This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.

Not only do I find that an egregious point of view, I think his conclusion is flatly wrong. As Boaz noted, there has been an individualist society where government leaves people alone. “It’s called America.”

There is no Reagan in this Republican field, and there isn’t even a clearly best choice (I was somewhat of a Perry fan until he joined Gingrich in attacking Romney with leftist anti-capitalist, class-envy rhetoric). But there’s no doubt in my mind that Santorum is by far the worst of the lot. If there’s one thing libertarians, free-market conservatives, and social conservatives should be able to agree on, it’s that, as Erickson said, “we can do better.”

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