Mike Kole has a great post on the war between neo-con/Rawlsian liberal + social conservative/modern Republicans and libertarian/classical libertarians/faux-cons. Read it here. This is the battle for the “soul” of the GOP.
I maintain that if the GOP continues to deny rights in the name of religion, they will become a permanent minority with my generation. We are entering a time where the media and American popular thought consider being religious (especially Christianity) as insane a belief as 9-11 truthers, and people who believe the free masons control the world. (For the record, I am a believer in Christ and proud of it. I believe 9-11 was as we saw. I also believe that the free mason’s are really just a boy scouts for old men.)
I wrestled for a long while with the question of honoring my religious beliefs by writing it into public policy, but I never could quite accept that I was denying rights to others. You are either denying a person’s first amendment rights, or denying their pursuit to hapiness. Most Americans agree. Most Americans want to be left alone, and want as much of their money as possible.
Unfortunately for the GOP, they couldn’t stop hammering away at the Gay Rights issue. Most under 30 have many gay friends, and are accepting of this different lifestyle. To millenials, the GOP looks bigoted, and hypocritical when it preaches freedom. They also look completely hypocritical when they preach free markets, capitalism, less spending, and less government. See this great break down of Bush’s recent bailout speech by Matt Welch. So there should be no suprise that 80% of my generation voted Democrat, and many others were fans of Ron Paul or Libertarians.
So if the GOP wants to ever see the majority again, they need to move to a more libertarian stance. Social Conservatives will dwindle as my generation moves up in years. But the GOP has no guts, and are afraid to take a stance on principles. They won’t fight for more freedom and less government, because one isn’t popular with the base (the Christian Right/donor base/talking heads), and the other part isn’t popular with the media. So they don’t want to lose power, and will continue to make mistakes, move left, and be made to look like fools. Principled libertarians like myself will figure it out, get frustrated, and leave in disgust. That is why I believe the Libertarian Party will be competitive with the GOP eventually. The GOP will soon be considered the whigs.
While watching McCain’s speech last night, I couldn’t believe they put McCain in front of a mansion with a GREEN lawn… Gawker best describes my thoughts:
“While watching the McCain speech last night, we suddenly noticed the big video screen background (which only looked cool when it was neat rippling water behind Rudy Giuliani) suddenly shifted to what looked like a greenscreen. Oh wow what a stupid and terrible f-up, we thought. Because everyone remembers what happened last time! It turns out the f-up was so, so much bigger and more hilarious: it was not a greeenscreen. It was a lawn in front of a mansion-looking building. Which was a middle school, called Walter Reed. Let’s actually try to itemize the f-ups here:
It looked like a greenscreen.
Then it looked like maybe one of John McCain’s many, many giant houses.
No, it turns out it was a middle school called Walter Reed, but it wassupposed to be a photo of Walter Reed Hospital.
Walter Reed Hospital, of course, being the scene of yet another horrible f-up by the Republicans. Why did they want to remind anyone of Walter Reed in the first place??
John McCain’s largest plank in his reform platform is the elimination of earmarks. As any politician does, he says one thing and then does another. I read an article recently that combs through the numbers of McCain’s proposals. The column is from the New Republic and can be read here.
But here is the part you need to know:
“McCain is promising to cut taxes by $300 billion per year on top of the Bush tax cuts, which he would make permanent. In addition to this, he promises to balance the budget in his first term. When asked how he could possibly pull this off, McCain has asserted that he could eliminate all earmark spending, saving $100 billion per year.
I don’t find this explanation persuasive. The first point I’d make is that $100 billion is, in fact, less than $300 billion. The second point I’d make is that McCain won’t even cut $100 billion, or anywhere close. By conventional measures, earmarks only account for $18 billion per year. McCain gets his number by employing an unusually broad definition of what constitutes an earmark. McCain’s definition includes things like aid to Israel and housing for members of the military that are not “pork” as the term is understood. When asked if he would eliminate those programs, he replied, “Of course not.”
So we’re left with a pot of money closer to $18 billion. And McCain surely won’t eliminate even that. He has frequently found himself campaigning at places funded by federal earmarks and beloved by the local citizenry, and he keeps inadvertently showing how impossible it is to fulfill his promises. Last month, McCain visited a hospital in Pennsylvania and met an ovarian cancer patient who’s being treated with a clinical trial program funded by an earmark. Asked if he would eliminate that program, he replied, “It’s the process I object to. … When you earmark in the middle of the night, you have no budgetary constraints.”