Brian Doherty on what’s next for the liberty movement
In case you missed it, Reason senior editor Brian Doherty, author of Ron Paul’s R3VOLution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired, had a piece in the New York Times earlier this month on the future of the libertarian movement after Ron Paul.
Now, it is inaccurate to say that the liberty movement is somehow in the “post-Ron Paul” era, as Ron Paul is continuing to provide leadership to the liberty movement through his work as Chairman of Campaign for Liberty. Congressman Paul is also writing, doing media appearances, and speaking around the country and overseas. Amidst all this, Congressman Paul is even going to be doing a radio show and a podcast.
However, Ron Paul’s departure from Congress does raise questions about who will take up the mantle of advocating limited, constitutional government in the “belly of the beast.” Fortunately, today there are more members of Congress than ever who, to varying degrees, are influenced by Ron Paul and the liberty movement.
Brian focuses on Senator Rand Paul and Representative Justin Amash and the success and struggles they are having in advancing limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a non-interventionist foreign policy in Congress and in the GOP. A theme of the article that should resonate with readers of this blog is that, contra Karl Rove and his cronies, the future of the GOP lies with the liberty movement, as these experts from the story show:
““There’s a whole swath of people not getting adequate attention from Republicans or Democrats,” Senator [Rand] Paul told me recently. These are independent voters who want to seriously cut government spending the way the Tea Party faction does but who also want a “foreign policy more of defense and less offense,” as Senator Paul put it, and a “more socially tolerant attitude.
While Senator Paul and Mr. Amash alienate some Republicans, libertarian stands against policies like the bailouts and the federal drug war have potential crossover appeal for Democrats and independents. “If we are ever going to win in California again, or Washington, we need someone who is a libertarian Republican,” Senator Paul told me.
Mr. Amash is sure that libertarian consistency helps him, and could help the Republican Party. “It gives you credibility with people who might be mistrustful because you are Republican,” he told me. “It shows you are serious about following the Constitution and defending American people’s liberties.
Mainstream party leaders are blaming failures with technology and grass-roots organizing for their party’s bad results in 2012. The libertarian wing argues instead that Republicans need to separate a core limited-government constitutionalism from the obsessions of other party factions, whether it’s the social traditionalism of the religious right (losing its grip on a changing America) or an expansionist foreign policy (unaffordable and dangerous). At stake, they think, is not just their party’s viability, but America’s solvency.”