Category Archives: Libertarian

Updates on PA GOP Delegate Preferences

This page has been updated, accounting for all the GOP delegation candidates supporting Ron Paul, according to this link.

Jim McHale, running to be a delegate in the 16th district, got his start as a Paul supporter.  Upon witnessing more intimately the bursting inanity of Pennsylvania’s primary system is he decided the right thing to do was to simply reflect the will of his district.  He informs me, though, that in order to be designated a “Pennsylvania Patriot for Ron Paul” one has to agree to vote for Dr. Paul at the GOP convention regardless of the will of the district one represents.

I mention this because when I spoke to some of those people they claimed they would try and represent their constituents rather than the interests of Ron Paul.  So either they were lying to me, or they are being less than truthful with the Paul campaign.

So unless you hear otherwise from me, the people indicated as Paul supporters on that grid intend to vote for Ron Paul, which is absolutely their prerogative.  It is, of course, also incumbent to them to be honest with the voters about their intentions, and I am beginning to have my doubts about their veracity.

Your mileage may vary.

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Giuliani and Libertarians

A comment in the post below expressed bemusement that Rudy Giuliani could find sympathy amongst those with Libertarian tendencies.  This poster seems to recall Hizzoner as a “gun grabbing”, “police state” mayor.

I understand the question.  You have to look at it from a perspective that respects one of Libertarianism’s fundamental requirements of the State:  That of protecting private property.

Giuliani’s priority as Mayor– the reason he was elected– was to make the City safer and more pleasant.  Read that as “Protect their private property.”

Hence this person’s perception of him as a “gun-grabbing” and “police state” mayor.  I think Giuliani was wrong at the time with his handgun lawsuits, but he thought he had two opposing freedoms he had to prioritize: Civil order and the right to defence.  I am a pretty dogged 2nd Amendment advocate, but even I can appreciate how the priorities of NYC in a crime wave and Idaho are different, and probably require different approaches.  So while aspiring to be President, it is natural for Giuliani to become more sympathetic to gun owners, which he has.

It is enlightening to also understand that the protection of private property is why– as a mayor rather than the President– he was Libertarian-ish on immigration.  He wanted illegals to be comfortable dealing with the local gendarmes so they could report on the bad apples.

Some suggest the Mayor has been doing a lot of flip-flopping.  Without getting into semantical arguments, I think it is important to understand that those issues on which he has drifted rightward merely reflect differently weighted priorities of two different jobs:  That of Mayor of NYC and that of President of the United States.  As he has pointed out, it would have been easier for him to just complete the flip-flop and lie.  A look at the GOP field illustrates at least one candidate who is comfortable doing this.  One thing, though, that appears to be consistent with the Mayor is that at the core he is driven by a respect for the freedoms of law-abiding individuals to pursue their own happiness, and an understanding that it is the State’s role to defend these freedoms.

I do not at all suggest that Giuliani would be at home in the Libertarian party.  I do suggest, though, that he is Libertarian-friendly:  His first priority is to protect your property and civil society in general.  His second priority– as evidenced by his actions in NYC and the associated favorable reviews from the Club for Growth and endorsement by Steve Forbes– is to minimize the vigor with which government dips into your bank account.  After that, he pretty much feels the states should decide on all the culturally divisive social issues.

That, I say, is pretty Libertarian friendly.  Does he buy into Libertarian ideology?  Probably not, as his habits of character can be quirky and pretty hierarchical.  Note his apparent distaste of ferret owners.  But when the time comes in a general election for Ron Paul supporters to pull a lever, I hope those that aren’t using their support for Paul merely a way to promote isolationism will do the needful and vote for Giuliani rather than staying home or voting for his opponent.

Assuming, of course, Hizzoner can secure the nomination, which is a whole ‘nother article, as Nordlinger says.  I am not entirely sure how Paul’s supporters effect that process.  Not much, I tend to think…

Presidential Signage in the Commonwealth

I saw the first sign for a presidential campaign in my corner of PA today.  Someone has put up a Ron Paul sign.

For lots of reasons, I probably would have been on that bandwagon 15 years ago.  My first presidential vote was for Andre Marrou, who was actually Ron Paul’s veep choice in ’88 when he ran for president on the Libertarian ticket.

I have since diverged from my Libertarian brothers and sisters.  Getting married and becoming part of a community have steered me away from radical individualism, and I also happen to think the threat that radical Islam represents to Western ideals is something that must at least partly be dealt with actively.  A passive, isolationist response may very well end up being a demographic white flag.

That all said, I wish no ill will to my former comrades in freedom, and hope over time they will come to recognize that in lots of ways Mayor Giuliani– as a fiscally responsible, and socially Federalist candidate– is the most Libertarian-friendly aspirant to the presidency we are likely to see for some time.

At he is for those in the Libertarian party who take property seriously.  I imagine the more libertine sort of Libertarian bristles at the prospect of the Giuliani presidency…

Open Primaries

I was looking at a NH poll today showing Mayor Giuliani lagging behind Romney– which was a bummer as Hizzoner had tightened things up there during the last round of polls– and saw that the bulk of independent voters in NH still aren’t sure which primary they’ll vote in.

They get to make that choice as NH has an open primary: You don’t have to be registered as a member of the same party in who’s primary you’d like to cast a ballot.  I think this bodes will for Giuliani.  The GOP race will be more comeptitive, and hence should draw more independent voters.  I bet Giuliani is very strong with that crowd.  I have not seen commentary regarding this.

As a matter of theory I don’t know how I feel about this.  On the one hand, we are a de facto two party system, if not a de jure one.  I used to be a registered libertarian, and one of the main reasons I now am a registered member of the GOP– and now a ward leader– was I became sick of having no voice in the primaries.  It was a real bummer to be unable to cast a ballot against Arlen Specter…

On the other hand, though, political parties are private organizations.  Now, I think it might be difficult for the Dems to restrict their primary to only illegal immigrants, and for the GOP to restrict theirs to men named Cleetus.  Still, as private organizations I instinctively support their rights to handle their affairs however they want.

I do wonder, though, if Giuliani’s fight for the GOP nod would pretty much be fait accompli if all states had open primaries.  It would certainly be the case here in the Commonwealth of PA.

It’s a problem as old as the GOP, actually.  The primaries are the place where minority factions carry the most water.  But does this end up giving us the best possible candidates for a general election?  Ronald Reagans aren’t very commonplace…

Why Rudy is so Boffo in PA

This news may be more appropriate for my Bloggers for Rudy platform, but I think it goes a long way towards explaining why Giuliani is so popular in Pennsylvania.

Here are the results of a Wall Street Journal poll on what matters to GOP voters:  The question asked was “Let me list some issues that have been proposed for the federal government to address. Please tell me which one of these items you think should be the top priority for the federal government.”

  Top Priority (6/07)
The war in Iraq 24
Health care 11
Illegal immigration 19
Terrorism 22
Job creation and economic growth 9
Energy and the cost of gas 7
The environment and global warming 3
Reducing the federal budget deficit 5

Now, we all know huge swaths of Pennsylvania– swaths I adore, mind you– more resemble Wyoming than what people think of as the Northeastern US.  But most of the voters are in more developed parts of the state.

There are a number of issues you DON’T see as self-selected priorities in that poll:  Stem cells, abortion, gun control, gay marriage, etc.  To be charitable, many republicans of a libertarian stripe– or rich, urban business people– don’t feel all that strongly about these “social” issues.

These same issues are also seen as Giuliani’s Achilles heel.

But, as reflected in poll after poll, PA republicans don’t care much about those things, and they definitely don’t care as much when they believe the War on Terror is a real war that needs to be won.  Not some bogeyman born in Leo Strauss’ lab for Karl Rove to use to make money for Halliburton on the backs of poor suckers tricked into joining the Army.

More importantly, even most social conservatives don’t care as much about these issues in this situation.*  They know that Abdullah really does want to kill Westerners to effect the coming of the 13th Imam who will bring us all sharia law as enforced by the world Caliphate.  In fact, Evangelical Christians understand this better than most of the elite in this country.  Evangelicals know about the book of Revelation.  They accept stories about the Rapture.  The opposing radical Islamic view fits nicely into their eschatology.  The editors of the New York Times, though, can’t believe that Muslims really think such things because it all seems so preposterous to them.

This explains why Giuliani is popular in Pennsylvania:  Most of PA’s republicans are of the more libertarian, urbane type.  They don’t feel strongly about social issues.  Furthermore, PA’s rural republicans are like social conservatives elsewhere, in that they will stop placing stem cell research top of mind as soon as they can be sure they are not likely to see the missus forced into a burkha.*

It also explains why pundits seem perpetually confused about Hizzoner’s popularity:  They find it absurd to imagine people really think congregants in the Religion of Peace want to kill heretics, and denigrate women to virtual slavery.

* I do note in passing that in Pennsylvania specifically I would expect gun-control to place higher than it does nationally.  But it sure didn’t seem to cause a hitch in Casey’s giddyup, recently, did it?

Will Pennsylvania Emulate Iowa?

Apparently the state GOP is considering a straw poll here in PA to officially determine which way the wind is blowing in the presidential primary. [HT Grassroots PA, although it is a Drobnyk piece in The Morning Call]

I imagine this has something to do with the fact that every GOP presidential candidate that beat the Pennsylvania bushes for ducats last week found the response underwhelming.  Except, of course, Rudy Giuliani.  I also imagine they want to encourage candidates to pay attention to the state despite the fact our primary currently will be a political vestigial tail taking place in April.

Interestingly, the reason the primary may not move up from April is because the state GOP is against it, as that will make it more difficult for them unseat new democrat incumbents in state elections.  See this older post from Tony Phyrillas on exactly why that is.  I suppose the state GOP wants the best of both worlds:  Attention from presidential candidates while simultaneously protecting their best interests locally.  I still need to learn more about this before forming a completely coherent opinion.

Charlie Roberts, GOP committeeman and activist from Bethlehem Township,  said he felt a straw poll would give “the average guy a chance” to have his voice heard in the primary process if the state GOP is successful in persuading all of us it is a bad idea to move up our presidential primary.  If by “average guy” he means the state GOP leadership, I guess he’s right.  If he means “nobody bloggers who pay far more attention to politics than most people but have no political connections and no money with which to make political donations” then I believe he may be mistaken.

I am open to learning in more detail why moving up our primary is a bad idea as it relates to promoting the conservative agenda on a local basis.  But even if I were convinced I would still be disappointed as I have never in my life cast a vote that matters in a presidential primary.  As a politically engaged conservative this stings.  I have never, ever been all that thrilled with GOP presidential nominations post-Reagan, and I am too young to have ever voted for him anyway.