As anyone who reads this blog already knows, my feeling about this so-called "tea party" is that it's nothing more than an effort by the far-right wing of the Republican party to attempt to distance themselves from George W. Bush and act like they never heard the man's name, and to pretend that they've got one iota of actual concern about fiscal conservatism after the spending spree on Bush's watch with a couple of wars/invasions, tax cuts, prescription drug plans and you name it that were put on the credit card and weren't paid for.
Now they're all suddenly newborn fiscal conservatives who really care about government spending, which is of course nothing more than them using that as an excuse to be doing what Republicans have wanted to do forever, which is to dismantle every one of the social safety nets that have been established over the decades, and that they've hated ever since the New Deal.
I caught this segment Saturday on Mike Huckabee's show, where Huckabee was asking if Libertarians are a threat to the Republican party given the recent infighting, and found it fairly amusing that old HuckaJesus, along with his guests Sean Spicer, Dana Loesch and Matt Welch, managed to make it through the entire discussion without mentioning one thing, and that's who is bankrolling this so-called "tea party" movement.
If Huckabee thinks that Libertarians are potentially a threat to the GOP, then he might want to have a talk with the Koch brothers and their ilk and tell them to quit pouring money into the campaigns of these extreme right wing candidates, and while they're at it, ask the Republicans to decide they want to act like a governing party again instead of anarchists.
And I hate to break it to Huckabee, but if he wants to know what's wrong with the Republican party, he just needs to take a long look in the mirror, along with his wingnut guest Dana Loesch. The Libertarians aren't the only thing wrong with your party appealing to voters. You are.
Rough transcript below the fold.
HUCKABEE: Are Libertarians a threat to the Republican party?
WELCH: There is a very interesting and legitimate philosophical fight going on within the Republican party, within conservatism right now. Not new, Rand Paul didn't invent it. Chris Chrstie didn't invent it. It's been happening systematically since 2009, beginning really with the “tea party” election of 2010, when we saw so many insurgents, supported by the “tea party” go against the Republican establishment, and create this sort of new breed of political character, like the Rand Paul, like Justin Amash, Thomas Massie. Ted Cruz... all these people kind of emanated from this tradition.
There's a fight over, are you actually serious about cutting government, or do you just say like Mitt Romney does, I'm going to cut your taxes and I'm not going to tell you a single thing that I'm going to cut at all in the government while we boost defense spending and protect Social Security and Medicare.
Right? That has been conservatism under unified Republican leadership in Washington. It's not popular any more, that thing, so there is this fight and it's a fight over how much you want to limit government and it's also a fight about how you want to conduct and talk about foreign policy. Those are legitimate, huge differences of opinion. Republicans have got to fight it out.
HUCKABEE: But, Sean, let me ask you, is that an issue that Republicans are fighting about, are... I mean, the Libertarians do have a party, there is a Libertarian party, they have presidential candidates. Should there be a point at which you say look, if you want to be a Libertarian, there's a Libertarian party and that's where that discussion belongs?
SPICER: Of course, there's a separate party for it, but I think there is a strong home for these people in the Republican party. We are a party that generally comes together on lower government, less regulations, lower taxes, so a lot of the issues that Libertarians fight for are those principles. There's a huge home for them in the Republican party. They make us a better party. They had helped us win elections and I think that we, you know, would welcome more and more of them. And I think that that debate is a healthy one to have within the party.
HUCKABEE: It gets a little rough though when primaries end up becoming “Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose the most conservative of them all?” And, you know, the fact is maybe a slight bit of difference between a Republican and another Republican, but the damage done among Republicans sometimes makes it hard to win a general election. So Dana, how do we overcome a healthy robust debate, without destroying each other in a circular firing squad?
LOESCH: That's a great question, and as neither a Libertarian, nor a Republican and definitely not a Democrat, I mean, there are a lot of grass roots...
HUCKABEE: So what are you?
LOESCH: I... my tactic... my strategy is to vote... and I think this is true for a lot of grass roots, is to vote for the most conservative candidate, the most limited government, most fiscally responsible candidate who can win in a race. Because in order to storm a castle, you have to kick your foot in the door. So that's sort of the strategy that I look at.
In terms of the fighting between the Libertarian faction and the Republican faction, I love the Libertarian uprising, because I think it's helping prevent the word conservative from being co-opted, but at the same time, we're never all going to agree 100 percent on everything. That's never going to happen. I would rather try to accomplish the 80 percent on which we agree, and then we can fight like crazy over the 20 percent after we've won on that 80 percent. That's what we need to be telling individuals. Because the 20 percent, that can wait. The 80 percent, that's what the country is going to live and die on. That's what's going to be deciding the future for our children.