[My thanks go to Steve MacDonald, blogger/editor at GraniteGrok.com, for this guest post. I put a question to him: does he see any connection between pro-lifers and libertarians who are disenchanted with the Republican party, where so many such individuals once felt at home? Here’s his reply.]
The Republican 80-20 rule doesn’t apply to New Hampshire Libertarians, Conservatives, or anyone that has ever considered themselves aligned with the TEA Party. You are with the Republican establishment or against them. “Against them” means failing or refusing to toe any line laid before you by the NH-GOP or the folks with the money and power that yank their pull-strings.
Objecting to the musings of party-mouthpieces is met with varying degrees of outrage. If you offend enough of the right people you can expect to get a phone call or to be ushered aside at the earliest opportunity for a trip to the proverbial woodshed.
Now to put this in proper perspective, the left is no different, but socialism is a compliance-based world-view that relies on cookie-cutter obedience. Falling out of formation is not permitted, but almost everything else is. So as long as you are throwing bricks—real or rhetorical—for the benefit of leviathan-centrally-planned-government it is difficult to go wrong. But the left always defines the terms, the ruling class always gets better terms, and everyone else is a foot soldier for that cause or its enemy.
On the right the idea of conformance is not to orders and government but to ideals and principles. The State exists to keep everyone else’s hands off you so that you are free to interpret those principles and ideals within a limited framework of laws that are meant to apply equally to everyone. We are not foot soldiers of the party but principled idealists who would rather embrace the risks of freedom and liberty than risk the known dangers of an overprotective state. That a Party existed to represent those ideas at all is more of a testament to the ideas than to the party, but the party has been around long enough and “men” are not angels.
So the so-called party of local control, of limited and efficient government, even right here in New Hampshire, has turned against its own principles, and we know this to be true. We know this because the people who are still more devoted to those principles than the party that once existed to defend them are under attack by Legacy Republicans.
Conservatives, Libertarians, even undecided and independent voters who answer the call of the TEA Party are bad-mouthed in public and private for defending the principles the Republican party used to defend for them; and questioning the logic of abandoning them in the nation’s hour of need.
That need connects New Hampshire’s Conservative Republicans and Libertarians, regardless of their individual position on specific social or fiscal issues.
In New Hampshire, the NH-GOP appeared briefly to be a place for them to advance their shared principles. But as establishment Republicans display an increased willingness to abandon those principles (in pursuit of what I can only assume is the view that there are more votes to be had by doing so) every one of us has to wonder how long it will be before they chase that same chimera on life, guns, speech, local control, or taxes; and who will be remain to stand with us to defend it from them?
And this is not a phase. In recent years Republican State senators have proposed speech limiting legislation. They supported an initiative that open the door to federal intrusion through regional planning. Most recently they put low taxes and local control on notice as the State Senate looks for a way to accept some $2.4 billion in Federal money for Medicaid expansion.
This effort to tie us to D.C. is an assault on low taxes, local control, and personal responsibility. Expansion will remove decision making and chase it down the strings to the nation’s capital. It will increase taxes to meet rising costs, extracting wealth from an economy that might otherwise evolve to create jobs that allow people to care for themselves and their own. That will relieve many of the opportunity to strive and climb another rung of the ladder but who will instead drop back into the state’s hammock.
Each act appears self-serving. It suggests that Republicans are happier carrying the water for the left, even if it is only in tiny buckets at first, than standing up for their own platform. They have become…
“The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot (who) will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country;
The balance of the quote is, of course…
but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
We who stand..? Mocked by the establishment, often with the rhetoric of those who were once our shared ideological opposites. We are mocked for defending the Republican Party platform. Calls for reconciliation look not-surprisingly like the “reach across the aisle rhetoric of the left.” No one ever reaches over to the right do they?
So we are at an impasse. The NHGOP and the GOP have a platform. A menu of social and political dishes, advertised outside the door. But they are selling something else inside. In the free marketplace of ideas, people who hunger for limited government, local control, and personal responsibility, will find someplace else for their ideological custom, and they will take their money and their votes with them.