Can the Republican Party survive without its libertarian/fiscal conservative wing?

As we near Election Day it looks more and more likely that the Republican Party is going to suffer several staggering defeat across the country.  Is part of the reason for this the crack-up of the conservative coalition that has carried the Republican Party since Barry Goldwater?

Have libertarians been pushed out of the party by Bible-thumping-nanny-state-loons like Mike Huckabee?

Could eight years of fiscal insanity have something to do with libertarians & fiscal conservatives abandoning the party of Goldwater & Reagan?

What about Karl Rove and his famed Republican Realignment that was to last a generation?

Back in 2000, Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s political savior, Karl Rove, was performing nothing short of an electoral resurrection, running around South Carolina calling Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) an unpatriotic, illegitimate-black-baby-fathering Manchurian Candidate.

Who could have guessed that eight years later, the senator from Arizona would be dedicating the remainder of his political life to finishing Karl Rove’s good works on Earth?

And yet, as McCain runs around the country this fall, calling Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) an unpatriotic, socialistic terrorist-paller-around-with, it seems he’s taken it upon himself to complete what should be called the Rove Realignment.

No, not the once-envisioned “rolling realignment,” under which the Republican Party would add to its base of white Evangelical Protestants, bringing in Hispanics, culturally conservative African Americans, and economically vulnerable whites-those who supported Medicare Part D and opposed gay marriage in equal measure-to create a “permanent” Republican majority that would last at least a generation.

McCain’s working on the other realignment: The one where eight years of fiscal recklessness and cultural warfare alienates swing voters and withers the Republican Party until the very base of the conservative movement cracks in half-splitting a coalition that has endured since the Barry Goldwater campaign of 1964.

Can the GOP, at a national level, win without the libertarians they once cherished?

Ryan H. Sager, of reason magazine, asks these questions in his piece: The Rove Realignment – Have libertarians been driven out of the GOP?

There is no doubt that at the national level the party has shown a disdain for its fledgling libertarian wing. The marginalization of libertarian cult-hero, Congressman Ron Paul, at the 2008 Republican National Convention was a great example of that. Some state parties, like Massachusetts, have been more welcoming of their libertarian wing.

Does the Republican Party need to rebuild and rethink its struggling coalition?

Does the Republican Party even need libertarians anymore?

All major indicators say yes.

About ConcernedVoterInMass

  • Fiscal conservatives are absolutely necessary to the future success of the Republican Party!  

    I maintain that we need a return to first principles and truly embrace the Buckley/Reagan fusion of fiscal, social, and national security/foreign policy conservatism.  I firmly believe in & strive to adhere to this three-legged stool that served us well for so long.  I believe that any Congressional or Presidential failure in recent years is not a repudiation of conservatism but rather our lack of fully, properly, and faithfully promoting, enacting, and living out our conservatism.

    Let us return, at the very least, to the mentality of the 1994 Republican Revolution.  We need to hold fast to limited government, low taxes, vigorous national defense, respect for traditional cultural issues, and an optimistic sense of pride & patriotism.

    The GOP is indeed a big tent and we cannot & should not excommunicate anyone from the party for a lack of 101% adherence to an ideology… of course, personally… I try to adhere to the Reagan 80% rule. We can indeed be too ideological pure and too inflexible for our own good.  The entire point of politics is to obtain, maintain, & wield power and that requires building winning coalitions.  Yet, that does not mean that we can or should compromise our core principles.

    For my personal 2 cents, I believe that we must stop being “neo” conservatives.  We must stop being “paleo” conservatives.  Forget about “Crunchy Cons” & any other hyphenated conservatism.  WE MUST BE CONSERVATIVES!  WE MUST BE REPUBLICANS!

    That means we must reject the “they went native” tendency of gaining absolute power and having it corrupt us absolutely.  We must not purge ourselves of members, we cannot break out the long knives.  However, what we must do is rededicate ourselves to building the GOP back up, from the ground up, with a firm foundation that includes fiscal conservatism.  

  • Knightbrigade

    says it all—

    “I maintain that we need a return to first principles and truly embrace the Buckley/Reagan fusion of fiscal, social, and national security/foreign policy conservatism.

    I consider myself this kind of CONSERVATIVE, across the board on fiscal, social, and national security/foreign policy.

    Does the Republican party need libertarian/fiscal conservatives?…………… YES!!!

    Does it need to keep social/values conservatives and not mock religion?…….. YES!!

    Does the party need to support our military and put AMERICA first? …………..YES!!

    ALL (3) tenants MUST come together!

    Where ELSE can each group go? Liberal Democrat party? Some irrelevant 3rd party? …..NO!!!

    We must stay/come together and start COMMUNICATING to this country, exactly WHAT WE STAND FOR in ways they can understand.

    Big spending “feel good” Republicans have to knock it off. Republicans must also support the foundation of Christian values and principles this country was born from. Small Government, but easily meet basic responsibilities to the people. Last but not least all Republicans MUST support the defense of this country to ANY extent necessary to keep us strong and free.

    If we fail, and the LIBERALS divide and conquer us. We will have no one else to blame but ourselves.

  • gary

    The party behind in the polls questions the heart of the party.  In 2004, after Kerry lost, the question was does the party really need the whiny liberals to win, or the whiny Gay coalition or the whiny rainbow coalition (hmm…theme developing here). As it turns out, who else are those groups going to support if not the democrats.

    Same with the libertarians.  For example, libertarians (some conservative too) had to swallow hard to deal with the sign off by Bush of the Medicare Part D pharma bill, but in the end it was either support the Republicans who supported the bill, or else side with the Democrats who wanted an even bigger giveaway.  Who else the libertarians gonna support?  At the end of the day, the libertarians are a material faction, but probably no larger than the social conservatives, and neither faction ought to be the center of the party, but both factions are necessary for the party to succeed.

    The libertarians currently face a growing problem:  the virtue of individual liberty grows weaker, particularly in recessions, when confronted by a government and politicians who promise more and more perks.


  • geo999

    Conservatives of all stripes will need to coalesce if we are to be politically viable going forward.

    This will involve some horse trading on various planks, but the numbers just won’t be there if the various factions try to go it alone.

    Obama enjoys his lead right now largely because the whackjob/progressive wing that nominated him has been joined by the more moderate, traditional Democrats.

    You can’t win without the numbers.