I have been blogging pretty exhaustively about a fissure in a traditional center-right coalition comprised of libertarians and conservatives (see here and here). The folks over at Reason have finally made video available of the three-way debate between the Cato Institute's Brink Lindsey, AEI's Jonah Goldberg (also of the National Review), and FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe:
I've been blogging as often as possible about this ideological spat because a) as a political scientist, it's a generally interesting phenomenon to observe, particularly when set against the backdrop of the rise of the Tea Party movement, and b) the extent to which this (hopefully temporary) rift gets smoothed over will have, I believe, a significant effect on the 2012 presidential election, if not this year's midterm elections. Of course, I don't have a wealth of empirical data on hand at this point to evidence my thesis - so we'll just have to call it a hunch.
Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic is smellin' what I've been cookin' for awhile:
Economic libertarianism is the message du jour, and Pawlenty's budget cutting in Minnesota may get some attention. But really, and he and none of the sober wing candidates have figured out exactly what the non-Palin wing of the party wants. There's no way to get social conservatives on board with Palin or Mike Huckabee in the race. So who's left to help you win primaries and caucuses?
They are -- they could be -- to the Republican Party what the anti-war left was to Democrats in 2003 -- the out-of-the-establishment power center that can drive the narrative of the race. How do you get the attention of libertarians without losing conservatives? You could shift positions on the war in Afghanistan, or try to fashion a more realist foreign policy. That seems to be a non-starter; the consultants for these candidates are fairly covnentional and are risk-averse. Endorse medical marijuana? Legalized gambling? Something else?