Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Here's How Tea Partiers Are Like Libertarians--in Driving Republicans Crazy

A friend points out that the Tea Party is not Libertarian.

Indeed not, unfortunately. They only half get the Libertarian story.

But they are very similar to Libertarians in one important, interesting, and entertaining way. 

The Democrats and the Republican mainstream for the most part are only ideological to the extent that it doesn't interfere with party politics -- it's party before all, including the best interests of the country, the voters, et al. 

Thus you have the Democrats opposing the war when a Republican president is running it, then losing all interest in curbing US warmaking once a Democrat is running things. There are various reasons, rationales, and excuses for this (the Republicans do the same thing, except on the spending side), but mainly it's because the apparently ideological protests against war, or against spending, are just clubs to beat the rival gang with. An excuse; if circumstances change, they change clubs -- I wouldn't be surprised if you could find historical periods when the clubs were in opposite hands than they are now.

The Tea Party partisans, though, like the Libertarians, are extremely annoying to the mainstreamers because they act as if they believe their asserted ideological principles should actually be acted on once they get into power. Which is so insane that the mainstream members of the two main parties hardly know what to say. Thus the chaos in DC at the moment as the Tea Party-elected Representatives keep insisting, in the teeth of all historical precedent, on trying to actually *cut* the budget -- as in "spend less money this year than we did last year," which is not the standard DC definition of "cut," as you know. Libertarians like Ron and Rand Paul act the same way when in office, which leaves the DC residents reeling in incredulity.

And I enjoy watching them. 

Jerry Brown has a tendency to do things from time to time that give the unavoidable impression he'd actually like to achieve the results he and other politicians campaign on but never actually get around to accomplishing. So he'd like to help poor people - actually, not in theory. And improve the schools - really, not just in the sense that they get and piss away more money. And fix the budget - really, not just use the budget process as a political club and not care the actual impact on the state. 

I greatly enjoy that, too.

And I also enjoy the beneficial side effect of the greater mainstream media attention being paid to Rand Paul and to Ron Paul -- Ron is getting more MSM facetime than he's gotten in the whole twenty years he's been in office. This can only be good for the nation.

Mac McCarthy

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