Why Do We Have to Choose?

There’s a meme running around among some center-right wonks that I can only half agree with.

The meme goes like this: GOP domestic policy is hopelessly stuck in hyper-libertarian thinking, something that doesn’t resonate with middle class Americans.  These same Ayn Rand-loving Republicans go around supporting a more liberalized immigration policy and same-sex marriage.  What the GOP needs to do is stop supporting these silly policies and get back to a more conservative domestic policy that can help a struggling middle class.

Ross Douthat, a center-right wonk that I usually love, adheres to this view.  The most recent conservative pundit that supports this view is Robert Patterson, who worked for the first George Bush.

The GOP’s embrace of free-market absolutism also explains why party elites support the fiction of same-sex marriage and turning America into an open-borders, low-wage country via immigration amnesty, further weakening the social and economic foundations of middle America.

In the libertarian universe, “economic freedom” trumps everything: civilization, nation, statecraft, patriotism, industry, culture and family.

I get where Patterson is going with all of this, but personally, I tend to think adopting an anti-gay marriage, anti-immigration message with some more liberal economic policy isn’t going to help the GOP any more than what they are doing now.

What Patterson, Douthat and others want to do is pin the blame on libertarians and the elites for the current sad state of the GOP.  But the GOP hasn’t been losing just because of their economic policies; they’ve been losing because of their economic and social policies.  Telling Latinos that they need to self-deport themselves tends to make Latinos less likely to vote for the GOP, even if they have policies that might attract them.

The reality is that a hard-edged social conservatism and a hyper libertarianism has made the  GOP a less attractive alternative to the Democrats.  Both social and economic policies have to be overhauled in order for the Republicans to become a winning party.  The party doesn’t have to be pro-same sex marriage, but they do need to not look like hateful neanderthals.

I’m more than willing to accept that the libertarian economic policies of the GOP need to be changed.  What I won’t accept is throwing myself as a gay man under the bus just so that social conservatives don’t have to look at their own policies.  Clean up your own damn house before you go blaming others.

2 thoughts on “Why Do We Have to Choose?

  1. DonC

    Since the election, my greatest source of political enjoyment has come from watching the travail within the GOP. It marches with righteous indignation toward the dust bin of history, or chooses another path. Lots of forces pulling in lots of different directions.

    I view a rejuvenation of an Eisenhower GOP about as likely as a well organized centrist third party … slim. Maybe if the GOP takes one more swift kick in the pants in 2014, it will wake up and smell the coffee.

    Will be interesting to watch.

  2. Mike


    I remember your blog back when it was NeoMugWump and I still don’t get why you like Ross Douthat despite he has no respect for Moderate Republicans.


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