Regaining the trust of the small government wing of the GOP

Eric Kohn writes:

Right now, if the Democrats proposed a bill to burn down the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, the Republicans would compromise and agree to phase it in over 5 years. Is there any doubt this would have been the paradigm under John McCain? 

If Republicans ever hope to win back the libertarian bloc and reengage activism among fiscal conservatives, they need to take a look at some some potential leaders and possible presidential candidates they've been ignoring for the most part.

At this moment, Mike Huckabee is suggesting the purging of believers in small government from the party, calling libertarianism "a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism."

If some in the party get their way, Huckabee won't have to worry about internal competition from what he calls the  “real threat” to the Republican Party: “libertarianism masked as conservatism.”

Then there is Georgia's Saxby Chambliss, who is in the midst of a major fight to retain his Senate seat.  Things might have gone fairly well for Saxby if he hadn't voted for the bailout, opening the door for his opponent to be able to make this statement:

It's classic Saxby Economics - $700 billion for Wall Street, while Georgia families get stuck with the bill. That's just wrong.

While Saxby was busy justifying his bailout vote to unsympathetic Georgia voters, Libertarian Allen Buckley was placing signs around the state billing himself as the only fiscal conservative in the race.  If the DSCC hadn't made the mistake of going after Saxby on the Fair Tax in the heart of Neal Boortz territory, it's possible that Martin (who distanced himself from the ads) might have won.  As it turned out, the Libertarian forced a runoff which now has significant national implications.

Now comes the really laughable part.  Up until Election Day, media and local conversation (I was working in Atlanta until a week after the general election) about the race was centered around fiscal issues -- and primarily about the bailout.  So who does Saxby bring into the state to help him campaign? "Tax Hike Mike" Huckabee and bailout enthusiast John McCain.

It's not just the people, either. One also needs to look at the organizations closely affiliated with the GOP.  As one example, the NRA just joined in the flap over the Obama transition team asking potential appointees about their gun ownership and registration habits.  This is the same NRA who turned their back on one of their own board members to endorse someone with an abysmal Second Amendment record and an adversarial relationship to the NRA. How are people to trust an organization like this when they just chose politics over principle with respect to McCain?

If the GOP ever hopes to regain the trust of conservatives and the votes of libertarians, they need to be looking at people like Mark Sanford, Jeff Flake or even Gary Johnson -- as opposed to Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Saxby Chambliss.

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Comments

Seriously

Once again the attacks on Huckabee are senseless...#1 the man has a following that is critical to the future of the GOP...#2 the man has a history in Arkansas of successfully reaching out the blacks and hispanics...#3 if anyone is an idiot, its Mark Sanford...I have heard him speak and like most policy wonks, he left me rather unispired...Huckabee on the other hand has the charisma to go toe to toe with Obama...so attack Huckabee at your own peril...

He used the best resources

The paradox of decrying Saxby utilizing the highest profiled Fair Tax advocate in the nation (Huckabee) to help in a campaign featuring a maligned Fair Tax, is obvious.

You also choose to ignore the fact that Huckabee PWNS Georgia. Nobody has built in base support nearly as deep.

If he wants to win he has to get the base in GA to turn out again.

Makes sense that he called on the regions biggest players.

Huckabee Needs to Shut Up

Mike Huckabee is not a conservative. He has conservative social values. Good for him. However, he does not accept the limited-government principles that conservatives are supposed to stand for. It is great that he found a voice with the Evangelical wing of the GOP and socially-conservative Democrats. That is not the direction the country has been in for a while. I'm not saying conservative social values are not important. I'm saying that unless you are also a classical liberal, someone who espouses personal liberty, which begins with the acceptance of economic liberties, you are not conservative. You're merely populist. Let the culture change as it may. But let it be grounded in freedom from government intrusion, economically and socially, while still keeping people safe from others (i.e. protecting life).

To insist on increased government role in the economy does not leave a shred of difference in vision between conservatives and liberals. Do we really think that accepting larger government roles in life, whether it be economic or social, gives the American public a viable alternative, let alone an historical precedent, to the liberal agenda? Granting government increasing influence is dangerous, even when a conservative government is in power, because conservatives will not always be IN power. The current political atmosphere is a prime example. Unless you plan on a coup and some form of dictatorship or one-party rule, increasing government power at any level is not a good idea. But then you completely lose all principle. So, libertarian conservatism is the alternative in vision to the liberal/progressive agenda. We cannot afford a "nuanced" difference.