The Chris Christie path vs. the Rand Paul path

Washington Post political columnist Chris Cillizza has written an interesting column saying that the Republican Party must choose between two different paths, as represented by two likely presidential candidates:  the moderate pragmatism of New Jersey governor Chris Christie; or the purist small-government principles of  Kentucky senator Rand Paul.

Mr. Cillizza casts the Rand option in terms of being more conservative.  In doing so, I think he completely misses what Rand Paul represents.  He is a libertarian, appealing strongly to young people and the politically-disaffected.  But he is also pro-life.  He is also the peace candidate, stealing that issue from the left.

Someone who can attract the internet crowd and pro-lifers and free market business types and evangelicals and peaceniks and the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Streeters has the makings of a paradigm-breaking and very formidable candidate. [Read more...]

Rand Paul courts Christian conservatives

Sen. Rand Paul is presenting himself as a “libertarian Republican” rather than a “libertarian,” and is courting evangelicals and other Christian conservatives.  In an apparent effort to position himself as a credible GOP presidential candidate, Paul is backing away from conventional libertarian positions, such as legalizing drugs, and is nuancing his support for gay marriage. (I believe he has always been pro-life.)

I know lots of readers of this blog have long supported the Pauls, both father and son.  Are you bothered by Rand’s attempt to appeal to the GOP establishment?  Or do you support him in trying to make himself electable?  And, for you Christian conservatives leery of libertarianism, do these efforts  make you likely to support him? [Read more...]

Is libertarian economics what’s killing the GOP?

Most diagnoses of what ails the Republican party have been focusing on social conservatism, saying that Republicans need to stop opposing gay marriage and abortion if they want to start winning national elections.  But now some are arguing that the Republican commitment to libertarian economic policies–that is, a commitment to an untrammeled free market–that’s really to blame. [Read more...]

How today’s Republicans are like 1980s Democrats

Republicans have lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.  Demographics, geography, and the trends of the day are working against them.  Just like the Democrats in the 1980s.  See Dan Balz in Republicans today can learn lessons from the Democrats’ past. But will they? – The Washington Post.

Civil war within the Republican party?

The John McCain wing of the Republican party and the Rand Paul wing of the Republican party have been attacking each other over military policy and who is to blame for losing the presidential election.  Now at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, the so-called establishment Republicans and the so-called tea-party Republicans ridiculed each other.  Observers are seeing schism, if not civil war.

Interestingly, Mario Rubio and Jeb Bush are being described as “establishment” figures, though they used to be considered hard-core conservatives.  So I suspect some of this Republican break-up talk is wishful thinking from Democrat-leaning pundits.  But here is a prediction:  Both the “pragmatic” professional politicians in the Republican party–the ones fixated on winning elections–AND the newly insurgent libertarian wing associated with Rand Paul will come together to advocate gay marriage.  If this happens, where would that leave you (us) social conservatives?  [Read more...]

Big business vs. free enterprise

Ezra Klein tells about young conservative think-tanker Derek Khanna, who wrote at his bosses’ behest a paper criticizing the heavy-handed use of copyright law to inhibit competition.  Conservatives praised the paper, but then pushback from corporate funders caused the think tank to pull the paper and fire its author.

Khanna had unwittingly stumbled into a deep fissure in today’s Republican Party. The party sees itself as the champion of private enterprise. But which private enterprises? The ones that exist today? Or the ones that might exist tomorrow?

There’s a difference between being the party of free markets and the party of existing businesses. Excessively tough copyright law is good for big businesses with large legal departments but bad for new businesses that can’t afford a lawyer. And while Khanna, like many young conservative thinkers, believes in free markets, the Republican Party is heavily funded by big businesses. [Read more...]


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