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Whatever Happened To Good Old Republican Values?

PuritanChickens.jpg

Reason editor Nick Gillespie takes to the LA Times to remind Republicans of what they could still be -- the party of Goldwater. A Goldwater quote I love: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Nick suggests:

...The Craig scandal also provides the Republican Party, battered into minority status in Congress after years of domestic and foreign overreach, a golden opportunity to recover its attractive minimal-government heritage, at least when it comes to using the state to police sexual behavior among consenting adults.

At least since the opening of the impeachment trial of President Clinton in 1998, when House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston (R-La.) announced his resignation after his extramarital affairs were made public, the GOP has shot itself in the foot repeatedly in the regulation of sexual activity. Certainly last year's exposure of Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who bombarded teenage male congressional pages with racy instant messages even as he authored legislation aimed at online predators, played a key factor in the party of Lincoln's massive loss in the midterm elections. While it remains to be seen if Craig's scandal, or the recent revelation that the name of Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) appeared on a Washington escort service's client list, will have any electoral fallout in 2008, the time is ripe for the GOP to reclaim the heritage of "Mr. Conservative," the late Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.).

Goldwater, who inspired Ronald Reagan and helped lay the groundwork for the rise of the Republicans to majority status in the late 20th century, preached a small-government gospel that was appealing and logically consistent. To Goldwater, the state was inefficient at best and predicated on violence and coercion at worst. As much as possible, he argued, individuals should be left alone to pursue their happiness as they saw fit, whether in the workplace or the home. A longtime proponent of reproductive rights, Goldwater was an outspoken defender of gays and lesbians, noting during the original gays-in-the-military debates of the early 1990s that "you don't have to be straight" to serve, "you just have to shoot straight."

Partly owing to their own misbehavior, the Republicans have (thankfully) lost the culture wars, especially when it comes to shutting down alternative sexuality. They should follow the message of the architect of their success. As author Sheila Kennedy has written, "To Goldwater, government did not belong either in your boardroom or your bedroom." Or, as Craig might add, in your bathroom.

Posted by aalkon at August 31, 2007 10:57 AM

Comments

Goldwater sounds like someone I could vote for, rather than against. Too bad he's dead and too bad there aren't more like him in government.

Posted by: William at August 31, 2007 6:13 AM

I know. P.S. There was a story of how Goldwater didn't use some indiscretion of his opponent against him - even when his people wanted him to. I'll try to find it. He was a class act.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2007 7:00 AM

Can't find that link. I think I may have read it yesterday somewhere...Slate, Reason, somewhere. Anybody see it?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2007 8:10 AM

When did we republicans as a party get to where we wait for senators like Livingston, Craig and Foley to screw up and then we scramble for damage control and excuses? We're acting like a bunch of idiotic, pandering liberal asshole democrats who wouldn't know an ethic if it crawled up their pants leg and bit them on the ass. Our leaders aren't leading anymore, they're reacting to the crap throw at them by liberals. We better tighten it up or we'll have 8 years of Clinton to deal with.

Posted by: Brian at August 31, 2007 8:39 AM

Well, eight years of Bush hasn't done us many favors. Who, Brian, do you think is a presidential candidate worth voting for? Who's running, that is. If you have to choose from the available declared nimrods.

And is there a candidate you'd vote for (now running or not running) who you think would actually do a good job?


Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2007 8:58 AM

I'm not the brian you meant, but I'll bite.

None of them. Not a single one. If forced to choose, I'd pick Fred Thompson. I've got a list a mile long of reasons to NOT vote for each and every one of the other candidates (note, not long for each candidate, but the combined list is long, I assure you).

If you like, I can list them for you. Otherwise, I won't bore you with the details.

As to the other Brian: it's not just the last few years that so-called leaders have been pandering instead of leading. In fact, there was only one brief time since Eisenhower when any actual leadership was exerted, and that was when Ronaldus Magnus was in the Oval Office. Other than that little blip, it's been "all sound bite, all the time".

Posted by: brian at August 31, 2007 9:55 AM

It was directed at all the Brians and non-Brians out there, actually. (Suggestion: the newer Brian should be Brian Z. or something so we don't confuse your identity with brian just above.)


Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2007 10:03 AM

non-Brians. heh. I like that.

Here's something that I don't understand about this case. Did the Craig actually offer money for sex, or was it more a case of "why don't we go back to my place?"

Because if it's illegal to even proposition someone in public, we're all in a lot of trouble.

Posted by: brian at August 31, 2007 10:13 AM

I'm the original Brian!!!LOL. I'll change to B.J. since my friends call me that. No jokes please. You all made valid points about politicians, both previous and current. To be honest, I'm so disgusted with all of our leaders, I don't know who is worth a damn. The democrats spend all their energy bitching about how much Bush sucks but as usual they have zero answers. The republicans spend all of their energy answering th democrat's bitching points. Who the hell CAN lead when it's such a huge power struggle? By the way, I would vote for Fred Thompson right now.

Posted by: B.J. at August 31, 2007 10:15 AM

Okay, I'm confused. Just how many conservative Brians do we have running around this place?

And it's about time the party of "less government" gets out of the business of policing genitalia. But that won't happen until the Christian Right quits providing all the base voters.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 31, 2007 10:37 AM

I don't know how many of us there are, but we should organize into our own party and rule the world!! The "Brian Agenda" has a good ring to it. The first order of business is for one free case of beer per household.

Posted by: Brian(BJ) at August 31, 2007 10:50 AM

I'd be a Republican but for the religious nutwads running the place, and the fact that the Republican party is anything but the party of small government. All too often, it's really just the party of small government for poor people. The Democrats are the party of denial of economics and fundamental psychology of people. And, on a side note, lefty radio is a bore. (I catch Rush Limbaugh in all sorts of...shall we say...distortions, when I listen to him, but the guy is a brilliant broadcaster.)

So, I'm a Neither.

Who's the candidate for somebody like me? I'm a fiscal conservative (goverment shouldn't pay for NPR; pay for your own damn healthcare, and out of your pocket, not the collective pocket or your workplace; and people, except for the very poor, should pay for their own damn brats to go to school). Quite the grinch, aren't I?

And I think if you want to sell your body, kill yourself, ask somebody else to kill you in your inability to do it, take drugs (as long as you don't get behind the wheel while doing it, or steal my TV to pay for them), well, go with non-god, baby.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2007 10:54 AM

We could really use another Goldwater type. Even the much-adored (too much, in my opinion) Reagan pandered to the religious right all the time(I had forgotten about it, but Crid, whose memory is better than mine, reminded me of the Meese commission in a previous thread) and ran massive deficits.

Here's your story on the guy Goldwater didn't slime:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Jenkins

Brian, since you seem to dislike Fred less than the other Republican candidates, maybe you could explain the appeal to me? As far as I can tell, he's a former senator without many serious achievements there, he's a passable actor, and he's quick to turn a phrase. I did love his little anti-Michael Moore video, but I don't see much substance there. Plus, he worked as a lobbyist; always a negative to me. A lot of people seem to dig him, though, so maybe I'm missing something.

Posted by: justin case at August 31, 2007 11:07 AM

I'm in the middle of religious nutwad village in Colorado Springs, where Ted "who me?" Haggard and his ilk hold so much sway, so I'm following you on the stranglehold the religious right has on the Republican party. The "smaller government" aspect of what republicans are supposed to be promoting is a joke right now. And that is exactly why I'm so fed up. My party is going in all directions and all directions end up in the wrong place. As far as your values,ie; self-determination and self-support w/o big brother's imposition...I'm in.

Posted by: Brian at August 31, 2007 11:13 AM

Here's why. Comparatively, he's got no baggage.

Romney - aside from changing his views on core issues to suit the crowd he's hitting up today, he enthusiastically supported a law REQUIRING all citizens of MA to buy health insurance or face having their tax refunds garnished.

McCain - too mentally unstable, plus he has no regard for the First Amendment. Anyone who wants the government to be able to tell me to shut up cannot be allowed access to power.

Giuliani - Running NYC is not sufficient experience to run the US. And the way he brought NYC to heel was with massive police presence. Other than that, the only thing he has on his side is the fact that he managed the disaster at Ground Zero.

Ron Paul - What needs to be said? He's a xenophobic, anti-semitic, isolationist in the mold of Pat Buchanan. In fact, he's just Pat in cheap sneakers. I don't like Pat, why would I like his protegé?

The various other third-tier governors - meaningless drivel. Most have no clear idea of what they want to do, or they want to do idiotic things.

As to the democrats? The only one that has a clear idea of what she wants to do is Hillary. And what she wants to do is emulate the Bolsheviks. And we all know how well that worked out for the USSR. All the rest of them are running on either "I hate GWB" or "I'm not GWB", or "I'm black" I'm sorry, but emotion is not a sound basis for public policy.

So, I'm likely to sit this one out. I don't like any of them, and since they are all equally harmful to me, it doesn't really matter which one wins.

Posted by: brian at August 31, 2007 11:18 AM

Also, Thompson first came to DC at the behest of the Nixon administration. Plus, he's had cancer. Plus, he has a sextoy trophy wife. Plus, he was stiff and unconvincing in "Hunt for Red October" (as was Connery's hairpiece).

Ii don't think it can happen for him.

Posted by: Crid at August 31, 2007 11:26 AM

I'm in the middle of religious nutwad village in Colorado Springs,

'Scuse me for taking time out for a commercial, but I hope you're reading me in the Colorado Springs Independent, and if so, I hope you let them know!

These are troubled economic times, and I'd be most grateful if those who read me in their local papers let them know, and those who don't, write either the features editor (of a daily) or the editor and publisher of an alt weekly and ask for my column.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2007 11:29 AM

Amy, as an elite and beloved writer, I know you run across billions of people wanting a millisecond of your attention, so I know you won't remember responding to an earlier e-mail I wrote gushing at how much I love your writing. You told me you were whitening your teeth while you were answering my e-mail I think. Since finding you in the Independent I've notified about 100 people that if they don't read your column I will come stay at their house for a long time. Trust me, I'll keep spreading the word and threatening them to read you.

Posted by: Brian at August 31, 2007 11:58 AM

Guys, new rule:

Brians must distinguish themselves with additional nicknames, geographic description, or intials. Same as with the Melissas...

Posted by: Crid at August 31, 2007 12:10 PM

I'm the Brian with the big B. You probably didn't notice that.

Posted by: Brian at August 31, 2007 12:20 PM

I never liked k.d. lang, either. God Bless the pinheads at the New York Times, those guys always capitalized it.

Dunno what they did with ee cummings. Anyone care to wager?

Posted by: Crid at August 31, 2007 12:26 PM

an earlier e-mail I wrote gushing at how much I love your writing.

Awww, thanks...I work my ass off at it, so it actually means a lot.

And thanks for calling me "elite and beloved."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2007 12:28 PM

I'm kind of amused that people consider Ron Paul to be anti-semitic; the reason he got into politics was to implement the policies of a jewish economist whom the Nazis wanted to kill: Ludwig von Mises. Please do not confuse Ron Paul's opposition to forcing U.S. taxpayers to subsidize a foreign government with prejudice against a religion.

Nor is he an isolationist. He wants people in the U.S. to be free to trade, converse or befriend anyone they want to. The only thing he wants the U.S. govt to stop doing is to stop threatening or killing people living in other countries. This is not isolationism, it's good manners. I mean do you pump a few rounds into your neighbor's house to let him know you still care?

Posted by: tarran at August 31, 2007 12:53 PM

I knew that mentioning his name would draw at least one of his acolytes.

tarran - please explain how his anti-free-trade policies square with your statement. Also explain how his willingly setting earmarks in the latest budget squares with von Mises. So he doesn't want to "force" U.S. taxpayers to subsidize a foreign government, but he has no problem forcing those same taxpayers to subsidize projects in his home state?

Ron Paul is not president material. He's barely Congressional material.

His foreign policy of anti-intervention (which is isolationism by another name) is certainly not going to protect anyone. And his anti-Israel stance is going to get a lot of people killed. Our funding of Israel is the only thing that gives us leverage against a massive war in the middle east. And if you think that's in anyone's interest, I have this bridge I'm looking to sell.

Posted by: brian at August 31, 2007 1:36 PM

One more thing.

My neighbor isn't in the habit of telling anyone who will listen that he intends to wipe me off the face of the Earth. Although I fail to see how Iraq and Iran are our neighbors.

We have a neighbor (Mexico) that has been firing at us. Would Ron Paul fire back? I suspect not.

Posted by: brian at August 31, 2007 1:39 PM

Brian, thanks for explaining the Fred thing. Makes a bit more sense now.

But this:

"I'm black"

I know you're no fan of the Democrats, but it befuddles me how you might have gotten the idea that the Obama campaign seeks to make a big deal of his being black.

Posted by: justin case at August 31, 2007 2:20 PM

Plus, he was stiff and unconvincing in "Hunt for Red October" (as was Connery's hairpiece).

I'm going to be laughing at this line for weeks to come, Crid.

Posted by: Rebecca at August 31, 2007 2:22 PM

Republicans only believe in small government when they aren't running it.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at August 31, 2007 3:00 PM

justin -

My analysis of Obama is simple. While HE might not be making a point of mentioning his blackness, what does he have to offer?

Less than nothing. He has no real voting record to analyze. His speeches make no sense if taken together. His positions change like the shifting sands. All he really has to offer is is color and his attractiveness.

So the media ask questions like "is he black enough" and "is America ready for a black president".

Remember, if you don't define yourself, the media will do it for you. They've decided that Obama is the "black" candidate. His utter lack of qualification for the position notwithstanding, he'll generate plenty of buzz simply because of his color.

Which is a shame, really. But no sane black man wants that job for the same reason no sane white man does. Who wants to take that kind of abuse?

Posted by: brian at August 31, 2007 7:34 PM

Todd wins the thread.

Posted by: brian at August 31, 2007 7:35 PM

You are never going to find a perfect candidate. Any human being that runs will come with some reason not to vote for them. If you don't like the current candidates from either side, who WOULD you like to see run? (Must be a living American)

Posted by: winston at August 31, 2007 8:12 PM

Barry got a lot of things right a long time ago.

The Republicans need someone a lot like him.

For that matter, so do the Democrats.

Posted by: Curtis at August 31, 2007 8:19 PM

as was Connery's hairpiece

Still, it was better than Grodin's.

Posted by: Doobie at August 31, 2007 8:46 PM

Grodin would do better with an old birds' nest from my bouganvillea.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 31, 2007 11:27 PM

what does he have to offer?

You have a point here - he hasn't yet done much to express specifics. What he offers is less tangible - he can really do the inspirational speech, in a way that motivates people and makes them feel good about themselves. He's the candidate the Republicans should be the most worried about - even the National Review people swoon over his speaking ability, while they deplore his liberal orthodoxy.

utter lack of qualification

So, just so I'm clear: 1 term in the Senate from Illinois = utterly unqualified; 1.5 terms from Tennessee = qualified?

I honestly think the #1 thing that qualifies someone for the office of President - personal strength and character - isn't a matter of elected office. How much experience in government did Lincoln have? Or Eisenhower? How much did Nixon, or Johnson?

Posted by: justin case at September 1, 2007 12:43 AM

Lincoln had something that none of the present slate do: intellect.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of our politicians are complete dolts.

I think the point I was trying to make about Obama vs. Thompson is that with Thompson, we know that he's thought about specific policy issues. We don't know IF Obama thinks about them, much less WHAT he thinks. Obama just comes across (to me anyway) as an empty suit with a pretty charm on top.

At the risk of invoking Godwin, we've seen historical examples of great inspirational speakers that were complete disasters for the world.

Posted by: brian at September 1, 2007 4:36 AM

tarran - please explain how his anti-free-trade policies square with your statement. Also explain how his willingly setting earmarks in the latest budget squares with von Mises. So he doesn't want to "force" U.S. taxpayers to subsidize a foreign government, but he has no problem forcing those same taxpayers to subsidize projects in his home state?

Ron Paul opposes agreements like NAFTA not because he is opposed to free trade, but because they are not free trade agreements... To establish free trade across a border merely requires the elimination of restrictions and customs imposts. A free-trade agreement could be written in a single paragraph on a single page. The tens of thousands of pages in NAFTA contain intricate regulations - making it a managed trade agreement.

As to the earmarking, you are right it is a contradiction: subsidies targetted within a country are just as bad as subsidies targetted to outside a country. In fact, opposition to the forcible transfers in wealth inherent to government action have resulted in a significant portion of Austrian Economists (Mises' school of economic thought is known as the Austrian school) becoming anarchists. Ron Paul is not willing to go that far, so he believes that some government intervention is OK.

On earmarks, Ron Paul argues that they do not increase the budget; For example, if he requests $10,000 for a facility to study boll-weevil's to be set aside in the USDA's budget, and the USDA budget was previously set at $5,000,000 the budget would still be $5,000,000 with the earmark, but the head of the USDA could only control how he spent $4,995,000 of it. Being a Rothbardian free-market anarchist (Rothbard is one of Mises' more, ahem, colorful and prolific students), I am opposed to this, but one can hardly claim that Ron Paul is wrong to do this if one accepts the legitimacy of the U.S. Government: according to the U.S. Constitution, this is what the Congress is supposed to be doing - dictating how monies in the public purse are spent.

As to non-interventionism getting alot of people killed, please. The U.S. just gave a bunch of military equipment to the Saudi king. The U.S. then also gave a bunch of military equipment to the Israeli's to maintain a balance of forces. So know, these groups that hate each other have more powerful weapons in their arsenal courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. The U.S. matches its subsidies to Israel with subsidies to the Egyptian government. Guess what the Egyptians do with that money? They purchase and donate textbooks that exhort Palestinian kids to kill Israelis to the Palestinian authority. Even if you ignore the elephant that is Iraq, U.S. intervention has been raising the number of people killed in conflicts over there since some officers in the State department decided to install a puppet king in Iran in the 1950's as a favor to their friends in British Petroleum.

Your "non-isolationist" republicans and democrats have been to be racking up quite a nice body count right now.

Anyway, the only real thing that Ron Paul has going for him, in my mind, is that he understands monetary theory. In fact, he is one only a handful in the U.S. government who does so. The Great Depression, and the current economic implosion taking place in Zimbabwe are examples of what happens when government officials use bad monetary theory in crafting laws. We have been very fortunate to date to evade the consequences of Greenspan's inflationary tenure in the Fed. The current melt-down in the mortgage industry, and the resulting threats to the major banks mean that politicians will once again be pressured to intervene heavily in the financial sector. These interventions have invariably caused misery in the form of shortages, increased taxes and the like. Ron Paul is one of the few politicians who would be able to navigate this mess without making it worse.

Posted by: tarran at September 1, 2007 5:19 AM

TO: Nick Gillespie
RE: Really???!?!?

"Partly owing to their own misbehavior, the Republicans have (thankfully) lost the culture wars, especially when it comes to shutting down alternative sexuality." -- Nick Gillespie

Interesting.

You think this is 'over'? The 'Culture War'? Just yet???!?

It's never over. It's an on-going event practiced throughout all of human history. And it always WILL BE.

The question becomes, "How is the 'winner' decided?"

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Either there are 'rules' or there are NO 'rules'.

The problem is determining what parameters provide the decision.]

P.S. Usually, 'political correctness' has too much to say. And in the end, certain civilizations 'collapse'.

P.P.S. I suggest that by the time you know the answer, if a society chooses 'poorly', it's the proverbial 'too late'.

Go look an Eurabia.....and consider.....

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at September 1, 2007 1:52 PM

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