Friday, May 21, 2010

Paulism Meltdown Sets Political Record

We console our libertarian gentle readers with those most comforting of words: we told you so.

Rand Paul was triumphant in victory on Tuesday. On Thursday, he handed his opponents victory in November.

There are certain things in politics that one simply doesn't do. One is question the legality or applicability of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964. Once upon a time, one could have interesting discussions in public about whether such acts should extend to the regulation of private, commercial transactions. Those discussions are now widely regarded as disturbing--as those who want to hold them are widely regarded as disturbed.

Hey, once upon a time you could have interesting public discussions about slavery and property rights and restitution to slaveowners for emancipation. Try that one on for size sometime soon.

Rand Paul is officially a real-life Borat-from-Bowling-Green. Except no one's laughing. Maybe it's the lack of an interesting accent.

We anticipate the defiant rejoinder: Paul will still win in November. Fair enough. But if he does, Republicans are nationally stuck with the label "racist" for at least another generation, condemning them to a demographic disadvantage that will paralyze political discourse and condemn the Republic to social-democratic stagnation.

The GOP lost yesterday, and they'll need to work extra hard and fast and smart to limit the damage to one Senate election. We say it's time to defenestrate Paul, risk alienating Paulites for a season, let the Ds have the tainted KY seat, and go national with redoubled efforts to retool as a Contract-for-America-style smaller-government, freer-enterprise party pronto. Starting with a purge of the old-hand leadership for some insurgents (there are loads of keen minds in the party's second string--Ryan, Cantor, Daniels, Christie, Thune--all with curb appeal that shames the McConnells and Boehners of this world who can't think their way through the present opportunities) certainly commends itself. An announcement Monday after a round of condemnations of Paulism on the Sunday talk shows would be most excellent.

We quote the eminent social philosopher Forrest Gump, or his momma, to be precise: "Stupid is as stupid does."


farris said...

Krugman actually takes the backhanded view of the "racist" label as being a turning point for the Republicans in the south. Summarized but not necessarily endorsed: Rs were losing presidential elections because of a strong Southern voting bloc that turned in the 60s when movement conservatism criticised "Welfare Queens" a la RR.

Bryan D said...

It's a gaffe and an early gaffe at that—even a gaffe that will fly right over the heads of most voters it's not the be-all and end-all of this election. Not that the success of libertarianism as an ideology within or without the GOP rests with either of the Pauls.

I think SWNID yet still misses the point and pragmatism of the Pauls (where is his age-old adage "we have our loonies, you have your loonies, neither would trade his loonies for the other's"?). The point of the Pauls and their success is in the ascendancy of people like Newt Gingrich, people who are non-offensive enough to get elected to major office, but also fairly well represent the libertarian wing of the GOP.

If Romney gets the 2012 nomination, the Tories have won and the GOP will lose (again). If someone like Mark Sanford gets nominated, the Pauls win, and so will the GOP.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Bryan, a gaffe? He actually thinks this. The mistake is in saying what he thinks. When a candidate is honest about his thinking and says something so politically impossible and morally doubtful, voters have good reason not to trust him in office, yes?

Our concern is not that Paul's remarks about the Civil Rights Act will make him lose KY. We hope he does lose, but he may still win. Our concern is that Paul's kookiness will give blacks and Latinos a reason to fear the GOP for another 30 years, exactly as they have since Nixon's Southern Strategy, which is now demonstrably out of date as a means of winning elections, if it ever was a good idea.

Farris, on the side, Krugman is yet again simply quoting lefty boilerplate, but without soiling ourself by reading his nonsense we guess that he's saying Rand Paul is just another Republican who wants to get the white racist vote on his side. That's precisely the talking point that is the problem for the GOP now and in the future. They have to live like born-again racial reconcilers to live down their recent history of consorting with segregationists. Lord, send us another Jack Kemp!

BryanD, we True Tories affirm the small-gov message. You confuse Toryism with big-government, pro-business "conservatism." We dislike the retreat from the moral sphere at home and abroad that the Pauls represent. Libertarians and Tories agree that small is good. Libertarians also want gov out of morals, whereas Tories want to protect and promote virtue. That's why Paul wants to debate the Civil Rights Act while Tories don't.

Romney has no coherent political philosophy and can't possibly get the GOP nomination with RomneyCare on his record. Growing up Mormon doesn't help you with coherent thinking, and governing MA makes it all the worse.

By the way, Mark Sanford has no political future, having used South Carolina's treasury to finance his sexcapades. Maybe they didn't cover that in the UK? If you want a real-life small-gov governor to run on the national stage, let's try Daniels or Pawlenty or Christie or Jindal (whose fortunes may turn as the bayou oils up). The list of potential candidates is growing, as is the SWNIDish confidence that someone good can run in 2012.

Bad news for Gingrich as for Sanford: too many skeletons, too polarizing, too likely to say something impolitic. Bright guy but out of juice. Truth is, we don't think there's a serious "libertarian" candidate, and your reaching to Sanford and Gingrich seems to underline the point.

And yes, both sides have their kooks. But it does no good when the kooks are running for the Senate.

Anonymous said...

But Rand Paul is right.

Bryan D said...

Had not heard about Sanfordgate. But you're still missing the point: the fact that people like Gingrich are making the news again is proof positive that the center of the party is moving in a more libertarian direction and that is precisely the point of supporting fringe candidates like the Pauls.

The true difference between Tory-style republicans and the libertarians is not just the moralising of the former. Your claim is that the tories are for small government—granted. But my point is that while they might be for small government in theory, they are perfectly happy to live with a conservative big government so long as they get to do their own particular form of moralising. Libertarians are for small government and will settle for small government. That's the central difference.

And, providentially, the word verification staring me in the face is "logic."

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Politics is about coalitions and compromise. Paul's problem is that he's so enamored of libertarian ideological purity that he'll talk about so-called constitutional issues that no one takes seriously (even a guy from the Cato Institute remarked about this), thereby giving the other side an easy means to label his party as extremist and racist and out of touch. And if they cuddle up close, they'll deserve what they get.

Finally Michael Steele did something right today by completely disavowing all of Paul's remarks about civil rights.

Wethinks Gingrich is on TV because he's good on TV, and because the party out of power lacks a spokesperson, so the media goes to old guys. We are puzzled that you think him a libertarian when he is the author of so many wild-and-woolly federal spending programs (in the early 1990s proposing federal funding of space stations to manufacture perfect ball bearings and such).

Still, we do agree completely that the financial crisis and ridiculous Obamanoid budget are driving people back to notions of limited government. The Republic flirts with Keneysianism about once a generation, just to be sure it isn't missing something. And this time the flirtation is over in record time.

Barry said...

"We anticipate the defiant rejoinder: Paul will still win in November. Fair enough. But if he does, Republicans are nationally stuck with the label "racist" for at least another generation..."

In this day and age we are labeled racist simply because our skin is white. I really don't think Paul's remarks make the racist argument any stronger or weaker. We are stuck with it no matter what we say, do, or believe.

I also think Paul speaks for a much larger segment of the population than you are giving him credit for...and I don't mean racists, but those who are starting to move beyond the PC rhetoric and look at the real issues. I certainly don't agree with Paul on everything, but in this world of rubber-stamped politicians and talking points it is refreshing to have someone who actually will speak his mind.

I'm reminded of having Jesse Ventura as Governor when we first moved to Minnesota. I barely agreed with Jesse on anything, but it sure was nice having someone who would actually answer a question and tell you what he really believed. And look at him now! He is the star of "Conspiracy Theory"!

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Barry, we note that Democrats are mostly white and are voted for by an incredible majority of people of color. Being white doesn't get a person labeled racist, but being Republican does, largely because of Nixon's southern strategy and the acquiescence of way too many GOP candidates to segregationist thinking. There's an unfortunate tendency for many simply to continue in their way of thinking about this by pointing to every Republican remark that could be construed as racist and then saying, I told you so.

Jack Kemp knew this well and tried to overcome it. It's got to be overcome if the Rs are going to be a serious party in a country in which a majority of voters will soon be non-white.

We agree that many agree with Paul. We insist that they don't agree with what makes Paul Paul, i.e. his nutty brand of libertarianism that leads to isolationism and questioning the Civil Rights Act's constitutionality.

For a real fiscal conservative, we applaud Chris Christie of New Jersey, who would make Rand Paul cry like a girl if the two ever debated.

Barry said...

I don't think white Democrats are voted in because non-whites think that they are not racist. There are various reasons why they keep getting voted in, but I really don't believe it is because non-whites think they are on the same team, racially-speaking.

It is common fodder in ethnic studies (and for liberals in general) to label all whites racists, and all non-whites incapable of the same. I think it is an impossible label to overcome and am not concerned about it in the least anymore. A lot of us are tired of trying to out-PC the democrats.

btw, I really like Christie. We could use about 49 (or we could go with Obama's count -- 55) more of him across the USA.

(before I hit "submit" I must inform you that the Word Verification is "prejew." Is there some kind of conspiracy and/or global organization behind this blog? :)