View Full Version : Libertarians are flexing their political muscle

William Tell
03-24-2017, 03:53 PM

Libertarians are flexing their political muscle Jack Hunter (http://rare.us/voices/jack-hunter/), Rare Editor

The American Health Care Act—the “ObamaCare-lite (http://rare.us/rare-politics/rand-paul-i-dont-think-obamacare-lite-is-what-we-should-do/)” legislation championed by most Republicans including President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan—is dead (http://rare.us/rare-news/the-media/paul-ryan-has-some-answers-after-making-the-decision-to-pull-the-house-republicans-health-care-bill/).

And it was the most libertarian members of Congress who did the most to kill it—from the very beginning.

Reason’s Eric Boehm writes (http://reason.com/blog/2017/03/23/congress-libertarianish-members-might-si), “On January 13, a week before Donald Trump would take the oath of office and just days after the new session of Congress opened, Republicans in the House passed a budget resolution that was the first step, GOP leaders said, to repealing and replacing Obamacare. The bill passed, 227-198, with just nine Republicans defecting from the party-line effort.”

“That January 13 vote was the first sign—a telling one, in retrospect—that the Freedom Caucus and other libertarian-leaning members of Congress (like Massie and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky) would become the biggest stumbling block to passing the House GOP healthcare plan,” Boehm notes.

And block it, they have. It has been the House Freedom Caucus that has been the most instrumental force in stopping the American Health Care Act, members of which—or even close caucus allies (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/obamacare-repeal-votes-thomas-massie-236408) like Rep. Thomas Massie—include the most libertarian members of Congress including co-founder (http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/justin-amash-freedom-caucus-house-republicans-214819) Rep. Justin Amash.

The most well known libertarian Republican active in politics in the U.S. today, Sen. Rand Paul, has also been arguably the most high-profile player in the fight to stop the American Health Care Act as written.

This is significant.

Before Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns spawned a “liberty movement” of activists and political leaders, the influence of which is still being felt to this day (just ask Barack Obama (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2013/03/07/white-house-obama-would-not-use-drones-against-u-s-citizens-on-american-soil/?utm_term=.9e42990b96ab) or Donald Trump (https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/839268048313929729)), you would have had a hard time finding libertarians in Congress period, with the exception of Ron Paul.

But today, and for some time, libertarian Republicans have actually had measurable political clout. This has certainly been true on the foreign policy (http://ideas.time.com/2013/09/04/sen-rand-paul-why-im-voting-no-on-syria/) and civil liberties fronts, where, in 2013, it was Rep. Amash who spearheaded the effort (http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/justin-amash-nsa-amendment-094722) to reign in the NSA’s controversial mass surveillance practices with a bill that was unsuccessful by only 12 votes. Some could argue that Sen. Paul has been instrumental in shaping President Trump’s state and defense cabinet with his denunciations (http://rare.us/rare-politics/rand-paul-will-donald-trump-betray-voters-by-hiring-john-bolton/) of prominent neoconservatives (http://rare.us/rare-politics/rand-paul-do-not-let-elliott-abrams-anywhere-near-the-state-department/) whose names were floated.

In the House, Rand Paul’s father Ron Paul would often be the sole “no” vote based on his strict constitutionalist principles (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ron-pauls-house-record-stands-out-for-its-futility-and-tenacity/2011/12/23/gIQA5ioVJP_story.html?utm_term=.a94122abe278). Sen. Paul has been known to be the sole “no” vote (http://rare.us/rare-politics/rand-paul-why-i-voted-against-the-new-cia-director/) in the senate—among Republicans or among everyone—where his single vote can sometimes be more effective than a representative’s would be.

Last week, Sen. Paul held up (http://www.businessinsider.com/john-mccain-slams-rand-paul-for-blocking-montenegro-from-joining-nato-2017-3) the Balkan nation of Montenegro’s entrance into NATO all by his lonesome, causing the hawkish John McCain to accuse (http://rare.us/rare-politics/issues/foreign-policy/john-mccain-says-rand-paul-is-now-working-for-vladimir-putin/) Paul of working for Vladimir Putin.

In 2008, McCain dismissed (https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/05/beyond-mccain-ron-pauls-supporters-hope-reshape-gop) Ron Paul during presidential debates as an “isolationist,” and most Republicans probably agreed with McCain in that still very hawkish post-George W. Bush GOP environment. In 2017, the son of Ron Paul is mucking up McCain’s ability to put America on the hook militarily for yet another foreign country, and while Paul doesn’t have much Senate support, he does have it elsewhere in conservative (http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/defense/324310-why-paul-is-right-on-nato-and-mccain-is-wrong) and libertarian (https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/montenegro-awaits-senate-verdict-president-donald-trump-should-end-nato) circles.
Things have changed, and libertarians have benefitted.

Rare’s Barbara Boland writes (http://rare.us/rare-politics/issues/obamacare-rare-politics/rebelling-against-a-rotten-health-care-bill-the-house-freedom-caucus-comes-into-its-own/) about how instrumental Paul has been in the House Freedom Caucus’ fight with the GOP establishment over the health care bill, “With the help of Rand Paul in the Senate, the caucus is coming into its own.”

“This time, instead of merely standing against something, the Freedom Caucus is standing for what the Republican Party repeatedly promised constituents: a full repeal of Obamacare,” Boland notes. “It also helps that Paul, a physician from Kentucky, has another replacement bill in the Senate that could actually lower the cost of insurance by eliminating government mandates, giving people the freedom to purchase insurance across state lines, allowing customers to join voluntary larger insurance pools and a host of other free-market reforms.”

Libertarians favor less government, individual choice and free markets in most things, including healthcare. Most conservative Republicans pretend to favor these things too, or at least when Democrats are in control and their hands are tied to actually do anything.

But when Republicans are in control, these one-time small government advocates behave little differently than Democrats in their zeal to “do something (http://rare.us/rare-politics/issues/obamacare-rare-politics/hey-republican-leadership-health-care-reform-isnt-just-something-you-do/).”



Indy Vidual
03-24-2017, 08:31 PM
Nice, but still a long way to go.

03-24-2017, 08:41 PM
I hear, "damn, it feels good to be a gangsta"

(every time I see those pics.)

r3volution 3.0
03-24-2017, 08:51 PM


Indy Vidual
03-24-2017, 09:05 PM
Libertarians are flexing their political muscle.
Libertarians are not supposed to want power. :p

03-24-2017, 09:06 PM
I'm glad at least some of them remember who they work for. We did not send them up there to replace ACA with anything. They had strict marching orders to repeal it and free up the markets.

03-24-2017, 09:12 PM
Ron Paul may of lost a couple battles, the movement was so strong I think eventually he will win the war of ideology. Removing the parasites without killing the host is tricky business though.

03-24-2017, 09:32 PM
Ironically, Rand has become a hero at the HUGE The_Donald Reddit community opposing the healthcare bull. There's 385k subscribers to that forum alone. Prob at least a million lurkers like myself. Rand's political stock has doubled over this whole thing.

haha...I meant healthcare bill but bull is a better fit.

03-24-2017, 10:16 PM
Ron Paul may of lost a couple battles, the movement was so strong I think eventually he will win the war of ideology. Removing the parasites without killing the host is tricky business though.

It's still a strong message, and Rand is starting to get his groove back. There is some realigning that needs to be done, but the liberty movement is set well for the long haul. After the economy inevitably craps the bed again, that will be a big opportunity for us.