Election 2012 santorum_cartoon2

Published on March 1st, 2012 | by Guest Contributor

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David Brin: Rick Santorum is the last straw for the GOP (but good for Libertarians!)

By David Brin .

Okay, we’ve had a brief survey of our generation’s would-be Nehemiah Scudder. Just last week’s short list  of recent “Santor-isms” was enough to give any modern or compassionate or sane person the creepy heebie-jeebies. Do you doubt that I could go on and on?

Scary?  Sure. Can one envision the outcome, if a guy like this who wants “fire in the sky” and an end to the United States (all of it implicit in his prayed-for Book of Revelation End Times) ever gets his hands on nukes? Does he distill the terrified, future-shocked rage of those imbibing Culture War, making clear that this truly is Phase Three of the American Civil War?

(See  a much more detailed, though somewhat more partisan, litany of Rick Santorum’s astonishing views: Agenda for the Dark Ages. I say “more partisan” because my complaints about Rick have very little to do with old-fashioned “left-vs-right.)

“Oh, don’t worry,” our sincere “moderate Republican” friends tell us.  “Romney will get the nomination. And Mitt doesn’t mean all the extremist, red-meat, never compromise, worship-the-rich crap he has to shout, in order to appease the base and get nominated.  As soon as he clinches it- the very second that he has the nomination locked-up – Mitt will charge for the center as quick as a cat!”

Yep, that is what they are saying. And it’s a measure of how deep the moderate GOP “ostriches” have to stick their heads into a pit of rationalizations, that all that sounds like a goooood thing to them.  In my last installment, I explained how they are right about this, because it fits the nominating pattern that the GOP follows perfectly. And it is still depressing as all get out.

But for the moment, let’s ponder a different path. What might be some unforeseen consequences if the True Conservative were to come out on top with the GOP nomination, handing it to Honest Rick Santorum.

There would be silver linings!

Well, it could offer hope to guys like me  – (moderates with a strong Adam-Smithian streak, who dream of a return to Yankee-style pragmatic politics) – that a Santorum nomination might be the long awaited Last Straw.

Oh, what if! Suppose those millions of good, decent “ostrich” conservatives are capable – at long last – of recognizing and admitting how thoroughly their once-noble movement has been hijacked by cynical oligarchs and outright crazy-people. If anything could ever achieve that miraculous psychological breakthrough, then putting Santorum at the GOP helm ought to do it. At long last.

Some are calling it the GOP’s “McGovern Moment,”   but I look even farther back in time, to 1947, the year that democrats and liberals gathered the courage to separate from their own, in-house crazies. (And the left DOES contain those! In far smaller numbers now, than today’s right, but  lefty-loons do exist.) I call it the  Miracle of ’47. You should look it up.

Oh, but will personality trump common sense yet again?  So far a single mantra has worked for conservative ostriches to keep them allied with monsters – “Yes, my side has gone nuts, but Democrats are just as bad or worse!”  Will that crazy, fact-free chant finally fall apart? Indeed, maybe those millions will start to remember adults like Buckley and Goldwater and finally decide — after November’s trouncing — to stand up and retake their movement. Reforging an adult conservatism that America needs, for balance.

From hard experience, I won’t hold my breath.

The real winners in a Santorum nomination? Libertarians!

Oh, oh, but the GOP tent holds yet another group that’s exercising utter denial. I must now must turn and speak to my poor libertarian friends.

All right, your infatuation with Ron Paul has been fun.  And yes, I find him both admirable in some ways and spot-on when it comes to certain issues. But he has not been good for your movement.
Honestly. Do you expect Paul to change the GOP from within?  Or to affect at all the ongoing oligarchic putsch, combined with bedroom policing “social” hysteria?

The Paul Phenomenon only feeds a loony delusion that the GOP is somehow your “hold the nose” second-best choice. That somehow, in some twilight zone universe, the democrats are… worse?  A crazy idea if you actually list policies that might get negotiated with one major party or the other.

But here’s another thing that Libertarians ought to be pondering, right now: If, by some amazing twist, Rick Santorum actually gets the Republican nomination, then this will be the year that the Libertarian Party finally gets more than 1% of the national vote!

In fact, there will be a flood of liberty-minded refugees fleeing to the LP. A tsunami the likes of which you’ve never seen before. Who knows? If that surge waxed high enough in the polls, the LP candidate might even get in on a debate or two! Hey, it happened for Ross Perot in 92!

Am I off base here?  Just look at how many of Ron Paul’s supporters find they cannot stomach anyone else on the GOP side. “While other GOP presidential candidates have seen their fortunes wax and wane with voters, Ron Paul has enjoyed steadfast, if relatively low level, support from an obsessively loyal base of backers. But if his long-shot bid falls short, his supporters may balk at throwing their votes to a rival.”  

For that reason, ironically, it seems logical that libertarians in Michigan and Arizona should right now ponder voting Santorum! Forget nostalgia for Ron Paul. That love affair was sweet but it’s not gonna change anything if it leads to Romney and another 1% year for the LP. On the other hand, a GOP that finally ends the hypocrisy and confesses what it has become? A GOP that finally drives out freedom lovers?
That could transform everything. I salivate for the day when the Libertarian Party rises to replace the GOP as the main one opposing the democrats, arguing fairly and openly and sagaciously about market solutions as legitimate alternatives to state solutions.  The resulting discussions and arguments will finally contain substance!  They’ll be honest. And they won’t be about helping return us to feudal dark ages.

Think nationally. Think about the future of liberty-oriented politics.  Ron Paul has had his shot.  Now clear a path for Gary Johnson to actually get somewhere, in the fall.  Hold your nose one last time and vote… (heaven help us)… for Scudder.

Late Addendum

I know this will crush some of my libertarian-romantic friends.  But have you noticed how – in the debates – Ron Paul never takes a swipe at Mitt Romney?  Always, always, he comes out swinging hard at whomever happens to be Romney’s top rival of the moment!  This is too consistent for it simply to be explained by “Mitt and Ron are friends.”

Now see this analyzed in a very very disturbing article.

Or google “Paul-Mitt Alliance”. It seems, my friends, that you may have been sold out.

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(Cross-posted from Contrary Brin. Image by Terrence Nowicki Jr.)




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  • Bob

    I think you’re a little off base about how Paul doesn’t attack Romney in debates. He doesn’t attack anyone–he attacks their rhetoric, their policy positions, and their vote histories. The only time he levels charges squarely against one candidate is when asked by a moderator. Further, have you actually SEEN what Romney has been attacked for? “I like to fire people” who provide services to me. Meanwhile, Santorum & Gingrich are attacking Romney for wanting choices when dealing with insurers & various contractors. It’s a ridiculous perversion of “free market” rhetoric supposedly promoted by the GOP since. If Paul attacked on those lines or many others, he’d be taking cheap, unprincipled shots just like Santorum & Gingrich are so fond of doing.

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