Libertarians are not the problem within your party. No, the biggest problem within your party is the establishment. I say this as one who was raised steeped in conservatism and Republicanism, who remembers watching the Bush-Dukakis debates at the tender age of six and who could coherently argue for Second Amendment rights and the pro-life platform by age eight. My parents raised me as a good little GOP voter, providing every opportunity to watch Rush Limbaugh in the morning and to listen to Michael Savage in the car. So, please understand, I say this in love.
The media tends to characterize all libertarians as the same. This is not so. I did not support Ron Paul in the primaries. I agreed with many of his fiscal ideas, but his foreign policy scared me to death. I will not be voting for Gary Johnson, because a vote for him in this election is as good as a vote for Obama—and while principles are nice, it’s going to be really hard to swallow that I signed our country over for another four years under Obama’s communist rule so I could feel better about myself.
In fact, Republicans, I agree with many of your issues—as do most libertarians I know. I like guns. I think our Constitution is probably the greatest thing ever written and I don’t think it should be termed a “living” document just so people can make things up whenever they feel like it. I’m pro-life. I like to do a little light bedtime reading of Hayek and Bastiat (that Nozick guy is hard core, though!), and occasionally, when I’m feeling frisky, I read Ayn Rand. I worry about Medicare being there for me when I’m older and I really wish I could be treated like the responsible adult I am and have control of my money in a private spending account.
I think our dependency culture has gone too far, and I would like to see unemployment benefits and our welfare system reined in. I want to see a Balanced Budget Amendment sometime soon, and while I’m not much on interventionism, I am all about retaliation. In fact, probably my biggest difference with the party is that I am a huge believer in individual liberties and would really just like to be left alone, and I think most others feel that way, too. As long as my actions aren’t infringing upon your liberty, then let me do my thing, and I’ll let you do yours.
That being said, what happened today was a travesty. Look, I’ve never been much of a Romney fan, but when he picked Paul Ryan as his running mate, I started warming up to him (yes, I am well aware of Paul Ryan’s voting history, but I totally fell for him over his budget last year). I was becoming okay with the idea of a President Romney. And then this nonsense about Rule 12 and Rule 15/16 came about today during the convention.
Look, y’all, I understand you’re ticky about Ron Paul and his delegates not automatically going over to Romney. Whatever. They were HIS delegates and he didn’t release them, and they weren’t going to make a difference. Why make yourselves look small by throwing a temper tantrum of this magnitude?
Now, the media will tell you that Rule 16-turned-15 went away. Perhaps. But let’s look at Rule 12, which DID NOT go away and basically says that once anything gets a majority vote on the Standing Committee of Rules and THEN gets a three-fourths vote of the entire membership of the Republican National Committee membership, then it becomes a rule. Even worse, Rule 12 was rammed through without the objections being noted.
By making this power grab this way, it just reinforces everyone’s worst fears about the Romney Machine. Of course, if you like, we can all believe that this will only be used just against Ron Paul delegates, and we can all try and believe that the RNC will never have anything but our best interests at heart. I mean, they would never bring Rule 15 back into play, right? (Rule 15, incidentally, would basically frontload winner take all primaries and allow the candidates to choose their delegates instead of the party at the state level; Michelle Malkin and RedState ’s Erick Erickson provide really great summaries of why you should care about this on their pages). But it makes me nervous, because it sounds like no one can ever dissent, and that kind of goes against that whole individual liberties thing.
So, see, really, it’s not the libertarians in your party that are the problem. It’s not even the people who supported Ron Paul. It’s the Establishment Republicans, who seem so desperate to maintain control after the Tea Party successes, who sound like they’re really trying to just do what’s best for us, so why don’t we just sit down and color our pictures, and the adults will sort everything out. They know that we’ll vote for Romney because we have no real choice left. But, don’t be surprised, Establishment Republicans—and those of you who agree with them—when after November, the libertarians and the Tea Party move on, or just simply find another way to take over the party from within.
A Concerned Conservative Libertarian
Image: Libertarian William Lloyd Garrison