Kicking Libertarians Out Of The GOPby Doug Mataconis
Over at Real Clear Politics, Jay Cost argues that Ron Paul should be excluded from the Republican Presidential Debates not because of what he said about foreign policy, but because he’s a libertarian:
I think Paul should be excluded because he is only a nominal Republican. He remains in the Republican Party because he caucuses with the GOP in the House and runs as its nominee in Texas’ Fourteenth District. If Republican leaders were not so risk averse, I assure you they would do everything they could to remove him in the next election (the last time they tried that was 1998). Paul’s seat is a safe seat for the GOP right now. A primary challenge would be messy in that (a) it might induce an internecine war among Republicans in the district (imagine allies of Paul abstaining in the general, or worse working for the Democrats, or even worse Paul winning the fight and then cutting a deal with the Democrats in the 111th Congress), and (b) it might induce a quality Democratic challenger to enter the race. Paul caucuses with the Republican Party, and that first vote every term is worth enough to GOP leaders to tolerate his presence.
But Paul is not really a “libertarian-leaning Republican.” He is a libertarian. It is hard to pick up this distinction in these debates. Libertarians and Republicans have seeming similarities in their desires to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. But it would be a mistake to think that the differences are only quantitative. They are also qualitative. It is not simply that Paul would cut more excess than, say, Jeff Flake. It is that Paul, as a libertarian, has a very different view of what excess is
Different than who ? Different than a Senator from Arizona who thinks that it’s appropriate to stifle political speech ? Different than a House Leadership that presided over increased spending at a pace that rivaled LBJ’s great society ? Different than a President who ignores the Constitutions limits on the Executive Branch on a regular basis ?
Apparently, and apparently this is the new Republican Party. No longer the party of the man who warned that the government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have. Heck, no longer even the party of Barry Goldwater. And, it would seem, a place where it is increasingly difficult for those of us who believe in limited government and individual liberty — but who find the Libertarian Party a waste of time — to find a home.