Free Markets, Free People

Big tent, little tent, both parties contend with tough changes

I‘m headed to CPAC this week. Just thought it would be a good idea – there’s going to be quite a libertarian contingent there. Doug Mataconis from Outside the Beltway, Jason Pye from United Liberty (and an occasional contributor to QandO), as well as members of CATO.

There’s a reason I think it is important to go and that’s to see what is in store on the conservative side of things for the promise of smaller government and less spending. I’d like to join other libertarians in influencing that move toward both smaller (and less intrusive) government and much less spending.

But I’m certainly not going to line up very well with the social conservatives. Such is life – my bet is we can find common ground on the fiscal and governmental side of things. And, if you’re familiar with the neo-libertarian strategy, it is to try to work within the existing system to influence and change those things we can by pushing for change that enhances basic liberty. Call it a bit of putting my money where my mouth is.

That’s also what I characterize as "the pragmatic approach". The system we have is what we have – I can stand outside and throw rocks at it, or I can work inside and try to change it. And no, working inside certainly doesn’t mean I "accept" the system as the end product or am "validating" it by working within it. I’m simply pointing out that the most effective way, in my opinion, of changing things is to work with those of a like mind and create a synergy that finally makes that change. I see CPAC as a valuable forum for such action. Lots of those who are actually involved at a national level in doing such things will be there (Rep. Paul Ryan, for instance, and Sen. Rand Paul).

It’s also an opportunity to network with a lot of bloggers I’ve known peripherally- mostly through email – for years (and some I’ve met and know personally as well).

All that to say there’s a bit of a debate going on about CPAC and who should or shouldn’t be attending. I’ll let you fill yourself in here. And here.

All that said I don’t feel "unwelcome". This is a struggle that goes on in every party. Don’t believe me? Check out the Democrats – especially in the South. They’re going through some major problems as many Democrats at a state level are switching parties in the wake of the November drubbing. The complaint? The Democratic party (national) has become too liberal and doesn’t reflect the values of the more conservative among them. Zell Miller, who made it clear he felt that way, was apparently only in the vanguard of the movement away from liberal Democrats. And those Blue Dogs left in Congress, now that they’re not needed by the majority, have all but been cut off from the Congressional Democratic leadership. They’re simply too conservative for the Pelosi crowd.

Anyway, this week should be interesting. CPAC is undergoing a bit of a controversy concerning the group GOProud being allowed at the table (it’s a gay Conservative group – well according to fiscal cons, social cons don’t buy that because of GOProud’s stance on gay marriage) and a new controversy which claims that the board of ACU, which puts on CPAC, has been infiltrated by Muslims.

And then there are the usual controversies.


Like I say, should be interesting. As the old saying goes, may the dragon you find be well fed.



16 Responses to Big tent, little tent, both parties contend with tough changes

  • IF we do not stop all this knife-fighting among ourselves, we assure Obama 2.0.  That would be colossally stupid.

    • Not if we also capture the Senate. 

      • shark, think about the power of the bureaucracies.  They are LARGELY out of control NOW.
        Obama has said he will veto efforts to rein the EPA, which is a VERY clear signal of his intent.

  • I so very much wish I could attend CPAC.  Promises to be very entertaining…

  • Hot Air has a post up saying that the DLC is on it’s last legs.
    You have to wonder what vehicle is there for the Democrats to get the independents back ?

  • It strikes me that, for the GOP / conservatives at least, these problems would be effectively eliminated by federalism.  For example, gay marriage is – SHOULD BE – a strictly local issue, not something that ought to occupy too much time at the national level.  If the feds contented themselves with the enumerated powers (national defense, roads, the postal service, etc.), there would be a helluva lot less contention at the national level.  That would leave the states in their proper role as laboratories of democracy.

    • I disagree docjim505,
      Gay marriage should not be a issue at any government level. Leave peoples personal lives out of it unless there is force involved. Then bring the hammer.

    • Civil Union – recognized by government.
      Marriage – recognized by religions.
      The two aren’t the same, and government should get OUT of the business of ‘marriage’.

      • “Marriage” is between two sets of ears, not a matter of legal edits or pompous ceremonies.

  • Last election we knew who was running in the Primaries by now.  From what I can tell, the Republicans are going to take a pass on this next Presidential election.  I see the Republicans wanting to bring back ’94, not 2000.
    Losing the Presidency and blaming infighting would then allow them to blame the loss on the Tea Party Movement and similar groups helping to silence them.

    • Yep. No one wants to run against the first black president, even if he is/was unpopular. No one wants to run against social security and medicare now either and that won’t change until the credit card is finally maxxed out. Not to mention the new Congress effectively stops Obama from doing dumb things so everyone can go back to mildly liking him now that he’s harmless. We are looking easily at 4 more years of Obama unless there is a large obvious foreign policy gaffe or another recession.

  • I applaud your position, Bruce.  Keep up the good work.