GOP rebranding: Fire up the libertarian iron

Ron Hart | The Hart Beat

HOUSTON — Most old school Republicans remind me of a man running for mayor on a platform of outlawing dancing at the high school prom. Obama reminds me of the guy you have dinner with who orders an expensive wine and then makes sure he's in the bathroom when the bill comes.

What if there was a party that espoused fiscal responsibility and minimal government, like the GOP says it wants, and kept its nose out of your personal business as the Democrats purport to? There is. It's called the libertarian party.

 Republicans did an autopsy on why they keep losing to Democrats. They say they need to “re-brand.” I suggest the libertarian brand; it is currently not being used.

Instead of staying with an agenda of minimal government and concentrating on economic issues, the GOP always gets itself in the weeds on social issues and drives moderates and libertarians back to the "undecided" camp.

Republicans seem judgmental and odd, finding themselves out of touch with more and more Americans as they attempt to appease those social conservatives of their party who vote in primaries. The early straw polls are taken at the Iowa State Fair, presumably by Iowa fairgoers. They are given a choice while attending the fair: get in line to pick the GOP presidential candidate or buy a corn dog. Most decide what to do by which line is shorter.

Old school Republicans need to step aside or defer to fresher ideas instead of rejecting anyone or anything new. John McCain's resented Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., calling him a “wacko bird” when Paul took a principled stand on the use of drones against U.S. citizens on American soil.

Perhaps Sen. McCain was just envious of Rand Paul’s delivering a 13-hour filibuster speech without going to the restroom. It was a feat the aged "Flomax" McCain, whose Senate seat is located nearest the Senate men’s room, could only imagine. Rand’s filibuster was one the ACLU and Democrats, if they had any intellectual integrity, should have staged. 

Strom Thurmond still holds the record with his filibuster against the Civil Rights Act. Strom went on for 24 hours, stopping only briefly to father his biracial baby and demonstrate his sense of irony. Strom was nothing if not Jeffersonian.

Libertarians have the better argument on almost all issues. The Democrats are no longer a party with principles. They have turned into a Chicago-style political machine that rewards friends and punishes enemies under the pretense of high-minded ideology.

Obama’s entire national defense strategy seems to be drone spying and bombing, combined with threatening not to pay anyone back on our debts. He is determined to destroy capitalism, successful people, and the free market system. Yet he is so bad at it, the stock market has attained new highs.

Obama blames everything bad that happens on Bush, while the religious wing of the GOP blames everything on gay marriage. The Democrats could reach across the aisle on a gay marriage bill, but it would not work — old Republicans get uncomfortable when dudes reach out for them. The GOP says it dislikes new laws anyway.

Democrats don’t really read bills they pass, nor do they care what’s in the law as long as it's mandatory and creates a new federal agency. Getting a bipartisan bill through Congress is as forbidding as climbing a cactus.

When the GOP pushes its religious values on the rest of the population, it loses traction; Obama suddenly looks appealing to more scientifically-minded moderates. If you do not like abortion, don’t have one. If you do not support gay marriage, don’t get gay married or watch “Modern Family.”

When two winnable Midwestern Senate seats in 2012 were lost by GOP candidates who talked about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy resulting from rape as “God’s will,” the Republican Party needs to reevaluate what it has become.

When the GOP limits citizens' choices, when it strays from core principles of freedom, personal responsibility, and minimal government, it looks hypocritical — and it loses supporters.

The two parties entrenched in Washington have a lock on power and on our checkbooks. They know if voting changed anything, they could make it illegal. Maybe party leaders will start telling the truth some day. That day is known in Washington as retirement.

Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator, can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit www.RonaldHart.com