Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

April 10, 2009

Andrew Sullivan, astroturfing Republicans and GOP hypocrisy

by Stephen Gordon

Andrew Sullivan gets it right, and wrong, at the very same time.  He scribed:

The remarkable thing about today’s partisan Republicans is their capacity to forget instantly and entirely anything that went on for the past eight years. And so suddenly we are rushing toward socialism, even though by far the biggest jumps in state power and debt occurred under a president they worshiped and worked hard to re-elect. There were no tea-parties to protest the $32 trillion Medicare prescription drug benefit. There was no Randian rumbling as Bush took over local schools. There was no defense of the Constitution as Bush and Cheney secretly suspended the fourth and first amendments. But put a moderate Democrat in office tackling a historic collapse in demand – and spending must be frozen! Reading the partisan right blogs, this ability to disappear the past is striking, and it helps explain base GOP loathing of Obama (even if the base is much smaller than it was).

Sullivan has noted what many of us have been complaining about since the Tea Party craze started. At this site (even as late as last night), and many others, we’ve been screaming about hypocritical, astroturfing, big-government Republicans.  So much so that it may be time to coin a new term: RINOturfing.

However, some of us have always been vocally and actively opposed to the very issues Sullivan raises. Ron Paul supporters, Libertarians, libertarians, paleoconservatives and even some (primarily) fiscal conservatives have been hitting the streets as well as the blogs for years.  That we are frequently ignored by publications like The Atlantic (Sullivan did cover Ron Paul fairly well) may have something to do with Sullivan’s apparent forgetfulness on the issue.

Essentially, Sullivan is disregarding publications like Reason and American Spectator, organizations like Cato (and Heritage on some days), candidates like Ron Paul and Bob Barr, personalities like John Stossel and Andrew Napolitano, parties like the Libertarian Party, elected officials like Ron Paul and Jeff Flake, conservative icons like Bruce Fein and Richard Viguerie, pretty much any self-described libertarian, ad infinitum.

A good definition of partisan is “a fervent, sometimes militant supporter or proponent of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.”  It’s my opinion that all of the individuals and groups listed above indeed qualify.

There was plenty of  “Randian rumbling” and “defense of the Constitution” during the Bush years.  Perhaps Sullivan chose to ignore most of it.

In March, I wrote:

To be clear, I think it is cool that it appears that libertarians have some newfound friends on the small-government team.  However, it’s fair to color us a bit skeptical, as we are still licking our Republican-inflicted wounds.  It may take a bit of time for us to recover from the political PTSD we are suffering after fighting Republicans for the last eight years over government spending issues.

I still stand by these words.  It’s possible that April 15th may be the day that begins the healing process.  It could also be the day that the more cynical of us are proven correct.

UPDATE: I’d like to welcome our The Other McCain and The League of Ordinary Gentlemen readers.  I’d like to send a special medical marijuana smoking and lesbian loving shoutout to Moe Lane and our good friends at RedState.  I’m sort of curious about why the folks at RedState don’t approve of two women getting married to each other.  This sort of stuff is fantasy material for most red-blooded males that I know.

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  • trumpetbob15

    Glad that was all you quoted of his piece. I don’t think I could have kept going much after hearing Obama is a “moderate Democrat.” Perhaps that is the problem though. If a big-government, full intrusion Democrat is a moderate, then a big-government Republican is probably pretty darn conservative.

  • http://gordonunleashed.com/blog/ Stephen Gordon

    trumpet,

    All Obama is doing is building upon the foundation Bush laid. He’s now even toying with Bush foreign policy and civil liberties violations.

  • Akston

    Discussions like these remind me of that famous allegory attributed to Lincoln:

    “How many legs would a dog have, if we called the dog’s tail a leg?”

    Five?

    “No,” Lincoln says. “Calling a dog’s tail a leg, doesn’t make it a leg.”

    Call Obama a “Moderate Democrat” and Bush a “Compassionate Conservative” if you like. From my perspective, they’re both members of the same party: Big Government Authoritarians.

    As Stephen points out, many of us have been saying and writing that since well before the current administration.

    Partisan politics is a distraction.

  • trumpetbob15

    Stephen,

    I wasn’t disagreeing with you. I was merely pointing out that if our standard of a “moderate Democrat” is Obama, no wonder people think Bush was so close to being a libertarian, even if that idea is absolutely outrageous.

    I don’t care for stories with hidden biases and that word “moderate” makes the entire Sullivan piece worthless.

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  • chieftain1776

    Okay some credit is given to Ron Paul on this post. I partially recant my comment on the other thread. I would insist Ron Paul’s tea parties were the only ones tried on a such a large scale. And Santelli has had kind words for Ron Paul in the recent past. He was well aware of the details of his campaign and its positions. THE RELATIONSHIP IS OBVIOUS!!! Here’s Santelli talking about Ron Paul. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAlACZtfnb8

  • chieftain1776

    Oh and a summary of Ron Paul’s tea parties by the grassroots. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul_presidential_campaign,_2008#Fourth_quarter_2007

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  • Tlaloc

    Well Sullivan specifically and explicitly called out “partisan republicans” so how can you complain that his argument doesn’t apply to libertarians? Of course it doesn’t and he never said it did.

  • http://gordonunleashed.com/blog/ Stephen Gordon

    Tlaloc,

    Partisan means, more or less, to adamantly take a side. A Republican who has been ardently fighting big-spending politicians can still be partisan.

    Also, as I pointed out, libertarians who didn’t support Bush can be partisan, as well.

    Sullivan is a fine craftsman of political prose and certainly knows that sometimes words and sentences can be taken in multiple ways.

  • http://Redstate Raven

    You really seem to have a funny definition of marriage…

    2 women getting married to each other isn’t fantasy material. Married people are supposed to be faithful to each other. It’s 2 Unmarried women getting together with the possibility that, since they’re not permanently tied to anyone, that we, the men, might be able to join them.

    Thus, Polygamy is more fantasy material than gay marriage.

  • http://gordonunleashed.com/blog/ Stephen Gordon

    Raven,

    Are you stating that RedState is now suddenly pro-polygamy?

    Inquiring libertarian minds would like to know. :)

  • http://Redstate Raven

    Auhm. No, Stephen Gordon. Certainly not.
    I was merely commenting on the fantasy material of both gay marriage and polygamy.

  • http://gordonunleashed.com/blog/ Stephen Gordon

    Darn. And all of a sudden I was considering visitng RedState more often. :)

  • http://Redstate Raven

    Addendum: I am, after all, a red-blooded male.

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  • http://physicsgeek.mu.nu physics geek

    a moderate Democrat

    That rascal Sully, always making with the funny.

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