This Right, That Right, Who’s Right?

So, John Henke warns social-religious conservatives of electoral apocalypse should they excise libertarians:

Social conservatives have to realize that they need the fiscally conservative, socially moderate/tolerant voters if they want to be a part of a winning coalition. The limited government message won revolutionary victories for Republicans in 1980 and 1994; it is the only viable organizing principle for the current Republican coalition.

And Ramesh Ponnuru takes the opposing view:

His point that social conservatives need economic conservatives is well taken. But the reverse is also true, and indeed more true. So, in the bit you quote, he suggests that it was limited government that won the day in 1994, with social conservatives along for the ride. It would oversimplify matters, but be much closer to the truth, to suggest that “God, gays, and guns” powered Republican successes that year—and the “revolution” sputtered out as soon as Republicans touched Medicare.

There’s a group being lost in the back and forth, and I think it’s probably the largest of the three, or at least a sort of right-wing swing vote: social-religious-economic conservatives. We who fall in that category believe in limited government and low taxes, but with the consequence that the government and religion must have a working relationship, as it were, and that laws can and should have a moral component. We also believe, however, that too expansive and invasive a government will ultimately crush the values that we seek to instill in the American people.
We are wary of socially conservative big-government types, but repelled by the libertinism that underlies the libertarian movement. Come election time, we weigh the extremity of both strains in each individual candidate and would suggest that the winning conservative strategy would be to develop and promote a consistent political philosophy that balances the two right wings and doesn’t cede one-half of our agenda to the socially and economically liberal left.

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15 years ago

One libertarian-supporting economist recently in the news seems to have made some odd friends. Speaking with one of my family members earlier today, they asked “Have you seen this guy on YouTube who predicted the recession two years ago?” Well, yes, I replied. In fact I read his book. His name is David Schiff. He’s an economic conservative and a former adviser to Ron Paul. He embraces less regulation, free markets, and what would otherwise be considered Reaganomics. Yet he was maligned in the press and written off as a “doomsayer.” Now, he’s being embraced by the left (see RIFuture’s latest) prompting Mr. Jerzyk to add him to his “smart people” list. I’m so glad Mr. Jerzyk respects Mr. Schiff’s opinion. Let’s hope that he’ll start preaching what it is Schiff has said. Specifically: Free up the market, encourage saving, don’t bailout the mortgage industry, quit manipulating the market with such ideas as the 1999 Community Reinvestment Act (AKA the “I can’t afford it, but want it anyway act”), and keep the government’s hands out of people’s pockets. Recently he wrote of Barak Obama: “Obama has repeatedly heaped the blame for the current crisis on the excesses of unregulated capitalism and the greed of the wealthy. For him, the free market is the problem and government is the solution.” “The President-elect has promised to cage the destructive forces of capitalism, impose more regulation, raise marginal tax rates, increase government spending, and restore prosperity by redistributing wealth from those who earned it to those considered to be more deserving. Like most of his generation, Obama believes that economic growth results from consumer spending, primarily from the middle class. Any policy that keeps the consumers headed to the mall will be promoted…Reagan looked to unleash the pent-up free market forces that had… Read more »

15 years ago

Correction: It’s Peter Schiff. David Schiff is on my iPod.

15 years ago

There are plenty of pro-life, “pro-marriage”, pro-2nd Amendment devout Catholics, Protestants and Jews who vote consistently democrat.
When Republicans say they’re pro-life, “pro-marriage”, pro-2nd Amendment people believe them.
The problem is this: Now, when Republicans say they’re fiscally conservative, nobody believes them. Anti-pork McCain couldn’t even convince anybody.

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