The Republicans’ Foolish Pledge

Picture from Reuters and Fox News
Picture from Reuters and Fox News

When Donald Trump refused to agree to support the eventual Republican Party nominee for president during the first debate, that move upset the Republican Party establishment.  After all, many worried that, given Trump’s current popularity in the polls, he could end up bolting the party and siphoning away enough voters to lead to a Democratic victory in 2016.

As such, many state parties, including Virginia, considered making each candidate sign such a pledge in order to be included as a choice on their primary ballot.  With the deadline to appear on the “first in the south” South Carolina primary approaching, after some tough decisions, or perhaps merely theatrics, Donald Trump ended up signing the pledge.

If case you haven’t read it, here is the text of the pledge:

I (candidate’s name), affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is.

I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.

Think about this pledge for a moment if you will.  It doesn’t pledge any of the Republican candidates to a certain set of principles.  It doesn’t even pledge the candidates to uphold the Republican Party platform.  Instead, it encourages unquestioning allegiance to the GOP and whomever ends up being their standard bearer.

The current field of Republican candidates appeal to different and diverse groups of voters, ones that increasingly don’t have much in common.  Are you telling me neoconservatives, like Lindsey Graham, will support a libertarian nominee?  Will constitutional conservatives, like Rand Paul, support a neoconservative nominee?  Will social conservatives, like Mike Huckabee, support a pro-choice candidate like George Pataki?  Will a candidate who has railed against the establishment, like Ted Cruz, end up supporting the establishment choice Jeb Bush?  Does it matter to any of them if their ideological opposition is elected?

Along those same lines, does it matter to you if the Republican nominee is a liberal… or a conservative… or a libertarian…or perhaps an authoritarian?  Is it important if he or she will work to shrink the size of the federal government…or expand it?  Or are you happy so long as a Republican is elected over a Democrat regardless of his or her positions?

When it comes down to it, do principles guide Republican politicians?  Or, like the Mafia, does blind and unquestioning support for the party and their candidates hold the greatest value?  As long as people like Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell have a willing accomplice in the presidency, is that all that truly matters to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and the Republican Party?

11951774_10204377543189733_4022918454679309719_nWill the Republican Party win the presidency in 2016 or will it fall for the third election in a row?  Although voters gave the party control of both Houses of Congress, given the GOP’s repeated failures to accomplish anything of substance, the 2014 election is a decision that more and more citizens are coming to regret.  According to Quinnipac, support for the Republicans in Congress has reached a six year low, with a 12% favorability rating and 81% disapproval.

Given this foolish pledge that the Republican Party has forced upon all of its potential nominees, one has to wonder if the party cares about anything other than gaining power for itself?  And, if principles don’t really matter, why would the American people send a Republican to the White House ever again other than as a protest to express disapproval of the Democratic Party?

Football & Politics

Image from waitingfornextyear.com

Today, like many other Sundays in the autumn, many of us gather together to cheer on our favorite football teams.  For me, that means the New York Giants, who have had a rather dismal season thus far and have already been eliminated from any hopes of a playoff spot.  When you look at it objectively, my life doesn’t really improve if my team wins or diminish if it loses.  The Giants blue and red has no greater value in the great scheme of things than the Redskins burgundy and gold or the Cowboys navy and silver.  Although fun, most of us realize that it is merely a game, a diversion to entertain us every fall and winter.  No team really subscribes to any kind of philosophy or ethic…the only goal is to win.

Are political parties any different?  Are they merely a collection of politicians and activists looking to get “their people” elected and to ensure that “their people” acquire power?  A number of my Republican friends are cheering Saturday’s defeat of Mary Landreau in the run-off race in Louisiana. But how many of us were a part of that campaign?  How many of us can even vote in Louisiana?  I wasn’t involved in either capacity.  Though, on the other hand, I suppose I did have a bit of a hand in the process, working for a pro-life group who supported Bill Cassidy.  Nevertheless, from my research it seemed that from an ideological perspective, Rob Maness would have been a far better choice than Cassidy.

So, next year the Republican Party will increase its majority in the House of Representatives and gain the Senate as a result of the 2014 midterm elections.  The important question to ask is, what does this mean for conservatives and libertarians?  Will Congress now take a firm stand against the unconstitutional overreaches of the president?  Will they work to actually cut the size and scope of the federal government?  Will they try to cut the exploding federal deficit?  And if they engage in the above activities will it be because they actually believe that it is the right thing to do or merely to oppose a Democratic president?  After all, so many of the Republicans in office now were active conspirators in the effort to expand federal power under the presidency of George W. Bush.  The first test will be whether Republicans continue to give the reins of power to people with little ideological principle like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

I’m very hopeful that at least a few, solid individuals were elected in the Republican wave of 2014.  After all, the GOP needs a heck of a lot more people like Ron Paul and Justin Amash while at the same time rejecting the John McCains and Lindsey Grahams.

I do caution those of us who love liberty that while November 4th was a victory for the Republican Party, it wasn’t necessarily a victory for us.  In the next two years, will the government allow us to keep more of our own money in our pockets?  Will it work to restore our civil liberties here and abroad?  Will it curtail needlessly entangling itself in civil wars and the internal affairs of foreign nations?  Will it actually obey the limits placed upon it by the Constitution and insist the president do likewise?  If the answer to all of these questions is no, then the only thing that happened last month was that the red Republican team defeated the blue Democratic team and the most recent election was as meaningless and hollow as the Giants trouncing of the Tennessee Titans today.

Phoney Republicans

Real RepublicansLast night, I ventured over to the Harrisonburg Republican Party headquarters.  Given how many hours I had volunteered to the party over the years, I thought I should pop my head in to see how they were doing.  After all, I still have many friends who call the GOP their political home.

While there, one activist suggested that I should return to the fold, that I ought to re-join the party that I had been an active part of from the ages of 15 to 33.  I reminded her that I never left the party, it was the party which left me.  However, her suggestion reminded me of an email that I saw many years ago.

Here, let me tell you a story.

On June 26th of 2009, the secretary of the Republican Party of Harrisonburg sent out the email pictured above, lambasting what the city committee considered to be “phoney Republicans”.  In this case, they were a list of 8 Republicans who voted for Cap and Trade.

What made this message significant was that it conveyed the idea that the Republican Party stood for a certain set of values; furthermore, those members of the party who opposed these core values weren’t really Republicans.  These days, some might call these people RINOS (Republican In Name Only).  To me, it emphasized the idea that Republicans needed to stand on principle, and that merely following party labels blindly could get us in all sorts of trouble.

However, in the five years that have transpired since this email, unfortunately, it seems that the GOP has broken free of ideological mooring.  As far as I have observed, the party doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about issues anymore.  In my opinion, what any party worth its salt should be doing is promoting principles as their most important goal…as well as helping elect politicians who embrace these values.  Instead, it seems that the greatest (and perhaps only) priority of the GOP is supporting and electing Republicans…even if they embrace a philosophy abhorrent to the grassroots.  For a few notable examples, consider senators like Lindsey Graham, John McCain, or the late Senator Arlen Specter.  How Specter was seen as a good guy when he was a Republican and then a bad guy when he switched to the Democratic Party was beyond me.  After all, his principles remained more or less constant.  Today, where any politician stands on any specific issue is irrelevant.  Only complete and unquestioned loyalty to the party is all that is valued anymore.

I haven’t seen an email like this one from the city committee in a long time.  I do have to wonder though…what if the current secretary of the Harrisonburg Republican Party were to send out a message like the one I have shared with you?  Would the city committee even approve such as message any longer?  Would the establishment insist that he be stripped of his position immediately?

What do you think?  Is there such a thing as “phoney Republicans” anymore?  I think the answer is yes.  However, over the last several years, the party has become so saturated with these so-called “phoney Republicans” that those who point out this truth are becoming the minority and thus silenced or ostracized.  Don’t they know that they are sowing the seeds for their own demise?

Has the party label expanded so much so that one doesn’t need to believe in supposedly core principles?  Let me ask you this, besides Dave Brat, when was the last time that you heard a Virginia Republican stand up for or even mention the Republican Party Creed of Virginia?  Outside of a handful of exceptions, have both the label and the party been rendered effectively worthless?

Palin’s “Baptism”

Image from Gage Skidmore on Wikipedia
Image from Gage Skidmore on Wikipedia

This weekend, 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate spoke at a gathering of the National Rifle Association.  During her talk she stated, “If I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”  That line was met with considerable applause from the crowd.

Although I have a lot of areas of disagreement with Sarah Palin’s former running mate, Senator John McCain of Arizona, one position that I did appreciate was his steadfast opposition to torture.  Having served in Vietnam, we have been told that he experienced horrible treatment at the hands of his captors and thus knows firsthand of these loathsome practices.  As such, McCain believes that America should not embrace the inhuman tactics of torture.  Regrettably, it seems that Sarah Palin thinks otherwise.

Palin’s viewpoint seems to harken back to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who famously declared that anyone suspected of being a terrorist, whether proven or not, should not be afforded due process or legal protection under either the U.S. Constitution or international law.

Also, Sarah Palin doesn’t seem to understand that although torture can sometimes provide useful information, it can also be wildly unreliable as “people will say anything when subjected to intense pain“.

Not only are Palin’s comments on Saturday disturbing from the perspective of constitutional liberty and human rights, they also indicate a troubling theology.

Does she believe that we ought to forcibly baptize non-Christians?  Are her thoughts a nod to the idea of conversion by the sword, the same practice that many on the right condemn some Muslims for enacting on their non-Muslim neighbors?

And shouldn’t most Christians be offended by the idea of comparing baptism, which many of us believe holds deep theological significance, to the loathsome torture of waterboarding?  Do we honestly believe that baptism ought to be held up in the same light of simulated drowning?

Therefore, as they are an affront to both civil liberties and to Christianity, Sarah Palin’s comments regarding baptism by waterboarding must be completely and utterly repudiated.

Amash’s Tweet of the Month

After Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster over the use of drones to kill American citizens, Senator John McCain responded by calling him and several other legislators “wacko birds“.  In answer, Representative Justin Amash offered an amusing response on Twitter, which reads:

Amash TweetAs you may know, while Senator Paul and other supporters of liberty launched this filibuster, Senator McCain and others in the establishment crowd were absent from the fight, instead enjoying dinner with President Obama.

I’ll applaud the efforts of any legislator who is willing to stand up for our civil liberties against the ever-expanding encroachment of the federal government.  However, even though it is several days old, to offer such a witty reply, as Rep. Amash has done, cannot pass without mention on this blog.

Now I’m sure some politicians (like Senators McCain and Graham) would like nothing more than for the liberty wing of the Republican Party to shut up and go away.  I’m just glad that there are folks like Rep. Amash and Sen. Paul in Washington who are able to lead with both principles and humor.

You call join me in following Rep. Amash on Twitter here.

My Party, My Principles, and the Infinite Sadness

On Friday at noon, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republican Parties held their monthly First Friday gathering at the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg.  The featured speaker was Pete Snyder who is heading up the Republican victory program in Virginia for 2012.

The meeting itself was a fairly ordinary affair.  About two-dozen or so local Republicans attended, most enjoyed lunch, while I just had several glasses of sweet tea.  However, once just about everyone had dispersed, I paid my bill, sat on the bench near the entrance and wept.

As we live in a society which typically discourages most public forms of emotion, especially from men, it must have been a strange sight indeed for those around watching a thirty-one-year-old person cry for no discernable reason.

So what, may you ask, caused me to act in such a fashion?  The answer is boiling anger, overwhelming frustration, and infinite sadness triggered by the actions of one local Republican.

I wept for the sake of the party.  In the meeting, one person declared that our goal should be to elect “anyone but Obama”.  Really?  Has our party become so vapid and devoid of rational worth that we will gladly rally behind any man or woman regardless of merit simply because he or she is not Barack Obama?  Heck, Hilary Clinton is not Obama; does that mean we should support her if she had an “R” by her name?  And isn’t there is an ocean of difference between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich?  Don’t principles mean anything anymore?  And I started to fear that perhaps I was gravely mistaken to believe that they ever did.  Yet if we cast aside principles, what’s left to separate the parties other than a meaningless animal mascot and a color?

I wept for the state of Virginia and the nation as a whole due to the fact that we have so many leaders of both parties that seem to care nothing or at least very little about the values of the people and the society that placed them in their position of power.  Sure, we can criticize members of the other party who trample upon the Constitution, moral decency, or the rule of law, but calling out members of your own party who violate these ideals has become taboo.  Therefore, I must mourn the loss of political dialogue and freedom that have given way to strict and unthinking party loyalty.

Although it may sound selfish, I wept for my future employment prospects and myself.  As I’ve mentioned to many people over the last several months, there are few things that I desire more than the chance to make a decent living promoting my political principles among my fellow countrymen, the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  However, my rugged insistence of clinging to my values is likely seen as a liability.  Who wants to hire a passionate paleo-conservative when malleable yes men are available? Which kind of person will likely cause less headaches?  Unfortunately, most of the powerful and affluent politicians scoff at liberty-minded constitutional conservatives while those companies and people who do value us either have no money and can only offer volunteer opportunities or give little better than subsistence wages.  Does the easiest, and perhaps only, way to succeed involve selling out?  Again, I fear that blind allegiance to the party and its leaders trump standing up for the creeds that supposedly guide their actions.

Lastly, and more importantly, I wept for the demise of a former political ally, a person who supposedly once held the political principles that I cherish.  To be fair, I had known for some time that this person had jettisoned our shared beliefs, but I now realized that there was no turning back, there is no hope for redemption.  Conservative/libertarian principles have melted away and have been replaced with a zeal for the establishment.  Now the ideological drift is simply too great; today we have about as much in common as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky does with someone like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina or Virginia Senator Steve Newman does with fellow Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment.  We might both call ourselves Republican but we likely have as many areas of disagreement as agreement.

This knowledge is particularly disappointing, but it alone wouldn’t have been enough to spur such a reaction.  However, after the Republican meeting was over, that same person savagely attacked me with an over the top tirade in front of a fellow activist.  At that moment, that person represented to me everything that is wrong with politics today; a person ruled, apparently not by principle, but self-serving ambition that is willing to use anything or anyone as a stepping-stone to greater influence.  Although I know that it only heightened tensions during the exchange, much like a scene from Fellowship of the Ring, I more or less inquired when did this person decide to “abandon reason for madness?”  This particularly ugly combination of events frays any past political ties and makes the hope of any future cooperation unlikely at best.

So, if you happened to have entered the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg on Friday and saw someone crying on the bench, now you know why.  I was overcome with grief and anger mourning the downfall of many things: the bastardization of my party, the way in which so many politicians continually deceive the public without recourse, the loss of a former ideological believer, the likely failure of my future, and the death of the principles which supposedly guided them all.

How would you feel if you discovered that so many of the activities and relationships you crafted over the past seventeen years might be meaningless?  What if your great passion created nothing but corrupted politics and false friends, and the only thing you had to show for your effort was a pile of crumbly ashes?  If so, you might say, as Lesley Gore wrote in her well-known song, “it’s my party…you would cry too if it happened to you”.

Disgraceful

Photo from Senator Graham’s website

For a moment I thought about ending this post with no text and only the above picture.  After all, one could write page after page about Senator Graham and only begin to scratch the surface on how he has betrayed the citizens of South Carolina, the nation, the Constitution, and the conservative movement.

When I head the news that four Republican Senators were now supporting the confirmation of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court, I instantly knew that Snowe and Collins (both from Maine) would be among them.   The other two proved to be a bit trickier.  Lugar (Indiana), I might of guessed but didn’t.  Then we have Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina).  This guy keeps making news for all of the wrong reasons.  Certainly there have been some surprises with Supreme Court nominees in the past, nevertheless, Graham’s sad eagerness to readily endorse Obama’s picks of Sotomayor and now Kagan is deeply troubling.  Having twice been censured by the SCGOP thus far, one wonders how he has been able to win the Republican nomination.  One thing is for sure.  If he is a conservative, as he claims, then I assure you the movement is doomed.

Please, please, please South Carolina voters.  I’ve met many of you during my work in your state.  You have elected one of the best and also one of the worst Senators in the country.  Can’t you find someone who better represents your values than Grahamnesty?

For more information try reading a recent post by the Conservative Examiner.

Disgraceful.  Utterly disgraceful.

The Establishment Strikes Back!

Reclaiming the Party: Part III

As you may know, WordPress alerts me every time some other site links to mine.  Some of you exploring types may have already visited the blog The Pink Flamingo as a result of the recent comment.  Although neither my blog nor myself are mentioned specifically by name, you will find a link to my work in the line “the far right nut-jobs hate him”.  So what is my great sin that causes the author of the Flamingo to label me like that?  My criticism of Senator Lindsey Graham.  Then again, most of the radio and TV talk show pundits dislike Graham as the writer points out including:  Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.  Now does agreeing with these famous folks automatically make me right?  Certainly not, but it does clearly illustrate that displeasure with Graham is widespread.  Going on, The Flamingo claims that I dislike the Senator primarily for being “honorable and courageous” First of all; I can’t really speak about Lindsey’s honor.  Maybe he is honorable (and I certainly hope he is), or then again he might not be.  However, being a political opponent of his does not require me to demonize him.  Just because I disagree with much of his politics does not automatically mean that I think he is dishonorable.  Is he courageous?  Again I can’t say for certain though it must take a good bit of courage to face the angry crowds awaiting the Senator back home in South Carolina.  Despite the total political assignation rampant in today’s society, character attacks and political sparring can be mutuality exclusive.  On the other hand, this article labels ideologues such as myself as “irrational, demigod with delusions of grandeur, a mentally unstable creep who thinks he is big enough now to destroy the GOP”, “hates Republicans”, “nasty little libertarian nut-job”, and “doesn’t believe in defending our country”.

But let’s change topics and move north to the special election in the 23rd New York district.  Due to the promotion of former Rep. McHugh, that district is holding a special election to fill his seat.  As in most races, both the Democratic and Republican Parties have their nominees, but there is a twist.  I’ve said in the past that a Northern Republican is simply a Southern Democrat.  Given their increased tendencies for social liberalism and government expansion, their positions are often radically different from Virginia Republicans.  Such is the case with the Republican candidate in 23, Dierdre Scozzafava.  She supports abortion, gay marriage, the stimulus package, bank bailouts, and higher taxes.

Now besides the two major parties, New York politics also has the Conservative and Liberal Parties.  As their names indicate, these parties support either conservative or liberal candidates or positions.  Although these parties do support the major party candidates, they break with them when the choices are deemed insufficiently conservative or liberal.  As Scozzafava is undeniably liberal, it should come as no surprise that the Conservatives have chosen their own nominee, Doug Hoffman.  Ah, but here is where the plot thickens.  As a conservative Republican, does one support Scozzafava, the establishment Republican nominee or Hoffman, the more conservative candidate?  Former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. King (NY-3) have endorsed Scozzafava.  RNC Chairman Michael Steele has also come out in support of her.  For Hoffman we have a laundry list including:  Governor Perry, Governor Pawlenty, Senator DeMint, Rep. Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Fred Thompson, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh to name the most prominent ones.  And just yesterday, Mitt Romney chose not to endorse any candidate, a clear slight of the GOP nominee.  For anyone who’s read anything on this blog, I don’t have to tell you where I stand.

Although the race in New York will not settle the feud between conservative and liberal Republicans, it, just as the case with Lindsey Graham, demonstrates the growing rift between the so-called establishment party vs. the grassroots base.  Can a party exist without principles?  Can principles be successful if not channeled through a party?  Are we truly “Republican for a reason” as the RPV slogan goes?  In order to avoid splitting the party and our own increasing marginalization, conservatives must stand strong.  To twist a quote from Gingrich, we have to simply, calmly, methodically reassert American conservatism.  Liberty, limited government, personal responsibility, these are our principles.  Does embracing these values and expecting our leaders to do likewise make me a “right wing nut-job”?  If so, so be it!  I’m not ashamed to say that I love our country and the Republican Party far too much to let it be devoured by the establishment jackals.  Now where do you stand?

Update:  Scozzafava has bowed out of the race!

Graham vs. Paul

Since this blog began back in June of 2008, I’ve written more about Lindsey Graham of South Carolina than any other Senator.  I suppose it stems, in part, to the fact he was (and still is) such a prominent and controversial figure in South Carolinian politics during my three month stint there.  Now there are certainly many issues that the Senator and I agree upon.  When it comes to both abortion and our second amendment rights, Graham is at the forefront of Senators.  However, once you consider his support for illegal immigrants (so-called immigration reform), cap-and-trade, Sotomayor, and bank nationalization one quickly comes to the realization that while Lindsey Graham supports a number of conservative viewpoints, he is clearly not a true conservative.

Recently Senator Graham got into a heated exchange with some of his constituents over some of his voting as well as the subject of Congressman Ron Paul.  As I did with my earlier post, Graham Vs. Sanford, I was planning to write a bit comparing the two figures.  While I was compiling my thoughts, I discovered that Charleston political commentator Jack Hunter, a.k.a. The Southern Avenger, had already done so.  Given that his thoughts on the subject closely mirror my own, why don’t I let him do the talking?  Therefore, without further ado, here is what he had to say:

In addition, Hunter goes on to add the following thoughts several days later:

To add further fuel to the fire, Representative Paul sent out an email titled “Hey Lindsey” on Oct. 21, which includes the following paragraphs:

The other day when Lindsey Graham went after me, and accused me of trying to take over the Republican party, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Partisan politics is one thing, and about the only thing politicians understand. But ideas are something else. And our ideas–the ideas of liberty–are capturing the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, and that is what counts.

Ever since our presidential campaign ignited a prairie fire of freedom, especially among young people, I see our progress everywhere. The bureaucrats are right, for example, to be worried at the Federal Reserve. After putting us into this economic pickle, the Fed is under attack for the first time in all its years. The Fed has devalued our dollar by 95% since it was founded by the big banksters and one senator in 1913, but it took the recent boom-bust engineered by the Fed, and then our presidential campaign, to rattle the china at their marble palace on Constitution (!) Avenue.

The most important lingering question in my mind is this, who will ultimately lead the Republican Party and hopefully our country.  Will it be faux conservatives like Senator Graham or will grassroots conservatives realize that they’ve been duped by the rhetoric of leaders like Graham and embrace the notion of a limited constitutional federal government like the one Congressman Paul advocates?  Foreign policy aside, I strongly believe a majority of conservatives whether admitting it openly or just in their heart of hearts, would far prefer principled statesmen like Paul over Graham.

Graham Vs. Sanford

This evening, I received a rather interesting email from the folks at Campaign for Liberty.  Embedded within were two video links from South Carolina politicians.  One is Senator Lindsey Graham and the other is Governor Mark Sanford.  The comments that they make really strike at the conflict over the future of the Republican Party.  Before I continue, you should watch both…


The first point I’ll make concerns Lindsey Graham.  Notice that when a member of the crowd calls him a hypocrite, he doesn’t deny the claim, only pointing out that “I’m a winner pal.”  Now perhaps he touches on the subject during the obvious gaps in footage, but don’t you think it strange that he immediately counters with such a line?  Is he saying, “I may be a hypocrite, but as long as I keep getting reelected, it doesn’t matter”?  Is that the kind of politician you want representing your interests in Washington?  Then he goes on to bash Libertarian ideas and calls himself a Republican.  Note that he doesn’t say he is a conservative, but simply a Republican.  He then touts the merits of winning.  Now, perhaps you might think from my earlier article, The Minority, that I hold winning in high esteem and that I dislike Libertarian ideas too.  It is true that winning is important.  If you are unable to achieve victory in an election then you will find it difficult, if not downright impossible to promote your philosophy and agenda.  However, one should never sell out one’s constituents or principles for the mere sake of victory.  If you do, then you seek to serve only yourself and your own ambitions.  As for our Libertarian friends, I would argue that I have more Libertarian leanings than your run-of-the-mill Republican.  You all have points with which I agree as well as ideas to which I am opposed.  Regardless of your own personal feelings about Libertarians, how many administrations, either Republican or Democrat, have actually successfully reduced the size and scope of the federal government?  As far as I can tell, these days it is all about advancing one facet of the government over another.  As either a Conservative or a Libertarian, doesn’t such a realization deeply disturb you?

Then, we have the response by Mark Sanford.  Unlike Graham, he embraces overarching Libertarian principles and is proud of the supposed slur.

Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that the Libertarians and the Republicans merge, because there are a number of issues of great distinction between the two, especially when it comes to some important social issues.  But, I do think that the Republican Party must reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibly and uphold the distinct rights of states and individuals made subservient to the federal government.  People like Governor Sanford display this conviction in both word and deed.  On the other hand, politicians like Senator Graham seem to concern themselves with maintaining their own power and advancing the federal government to suit their own designs.  Given a choice, I know which of the two I’d prefer leading both the Republican Party and the nation.