The authoritarian right tightens the noose around Iowa Republicans. by Random Outlier
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It was a tough day for libertarian Republicans in Des Moines Saturday.
The bedroom cops carried the day as party leaders revealed equal disdain for two universal human longings.
A simple cup of coffee. And sex.
To get the former you had to compete with some 1,500 other folks in the huge, sterile Hy-Vee Hall for elbow room at one very tiny kiosk. It "proudly served" Starbucks brew to anyone with three or four bucks to spare and vast quadrants of hours to spend in queue.
I won't line up 15 minutes for a tumbler of single malt, much less an over-hyped slug of caffeine, so I passed, hence spent the day grumpier than hell, which may account for some of the intemperate language here.
I mean, does the Iowa Republican Central Committee not understand that politics is a people business? That to deny its people the simple courtesy of a few cheap urns of Folgers raises questions about its ballyhooed adoration of the grass roots?
The corn-field apparatchik understands human beings about as well as it does politics, to wit: the recent loss of both houses of the legislature, the governor's office, all but two statewide elective offices -- one of them won on a fluke -- and a GOP congressional delegation falling from a 4-1 advantage to a 2-3 deficit in 2006.
It stands to reason. If you're not bright enough to offer a convenient dollop of morning coffee to your strongest supporters, you're too dim to make many friends among the million folks you'll be hustling between now and election day. Most of them don't like you anyway and have become Democrats or independents.
(Libertarian types are notoriously practical, so you're wondering why I didn't just walk to a coffee shop and quit griping. Because the nearest one was ten minutes away for an accomplished triathlete. That's why.)
The world's successful politicians profoundly understand that people like warm fuzzies, leading us gracefully from coffee to an exploration of sex amongst the Republicans.
To hear us talk, there's hardly any.
And since we don't much like it we're attracted to the notion that it ought to be like driving, a privilege. We go agog in thinking of the number of problems we could solve if only we could write citations for, say, reckless coitus.
Telescreens. Gee, we would like Telescreens in all new residential construction, Maybe tax credits for mandatory retrofits. Trouble is, too many proles get radical and start yelling about the Bill of Rights and so forth. They even sued us over traffic cams which, like sexcams would be, are strictly for their own good.
And besides, there's that Heller gun decision that was good for guns, sort of, but better yet left a hole for reasonable regulation.
Sure. That danged old court would probably rule that people have a Constitutional right to sex, but maybe we could get it to follow the Heller lead. The Rev. Robertson would surely pop for an amicus brief defining abomination and criminalizing all of its lustful manifestations.
If all goes well we could issue our decree: "Go ahead and exercise your constitutional right to a little private loving, but you'd damned well better do it our way. Reasonable regulation, don't you know."
Which, broadly speaking, in the extant GOP frame of reference, means only with a license, strictly for procreative purposes, preferably well after sundown, lights out, no weird posturing, and without the slightest trace of unseemly pleasure.
Of course, we don't make our position that plain in public just yet. We pussyfoot around it ...
It's amusing to poke fun at these folks. But there are consequences of narrow-minded compulsions to regulate private behavior at the expense of addressing real problems.
Personally liking neither the idea homosexuality nor abortion-as-birth-control, I'd still rather hear about a couple of gals getting hitched in California than read of the final capitulation of the U.S. dollar. I can tolerate a society allowing legal abortion better than one which routinely ships its young off to die for ambiguous purposes in faraway deserts.
Fellow Republicans: How about some sense of proportion? On Saturday:
Cognizant of our long and bloody wars in in Irag and Afghanistan...
Aware that Greenbacks are woven into door mats in Europe...
Understanding the next Roget's could list "American economy" as a synonym for "chaos" ...
... In solemn convention assembled you chose as party leaders the president of the Iowa Christian Alliance and the chairwoman of the Iowa Right to Life Committee a man and a woman who campaigned precisely as you would expect from their titles.
Thanks to superior organizing skills they won in a walk, and when the Republican National Committee next meets to help frame the great debate which we should (but probably won't) take to the citizens, the Iowa voices will counsel, above all, a more restrained national sex life.
Now that ought to scare Osama into the Boy Scouts and move the overseers of our economic life to mend their ways.
Some readers have stomped writers here for advocating efforts to move the Republican party closer to its Taft-Goldwater tradition and away from narrow-minded bigotry. Friends, you have a point.
I don't yet fully concede it, however. The events in Des Moines held sparks of hope. Just a few that I noticed, but two are worth mention.
The Republican Liberty Caucus was there, and the literature flew off its table, including several dozen copies of Dr. Paul's "The Revolution; A Manifesto." One man behind the table called the interest in RLC "somewhere between gratifying and excellent." (No, I can't quantify that; wish I could.)
And then there was the amazing Linda Harrington who can and has rebuilt a semi, hands-on and ground-up. She was an also-ran, not to mention the only interesting candidate, for national committeewoman with 128 votes of some 1,350 cast in the three-way race. I'd never met her and wish I had if only because of a line in her campaign statement:
"Our (traditional) Republicans are joining the Constitution party and the Libertarian party."
So right, Ms. Harrington but, alas, only in sufficient numbers to damage the GOP -- leaving the door open wider for worse statists -- without contributing much to the liklihood of success for either of those parties.
The interesting point was the similarity of the support for Harrington (who, by the way, doesn't look like a diesel mechanic and who sports an impressive political vita) and that of Ron Paul.
Each went before a large group of hard-core Iowa Republicans, Harrington in convention and Paul at the caucuses, and each captured some 10 per cent of the of the vote without the slightest aid of the media and in the face of some active hostility of the party machinery.
Call me a fool, but that I believe that level of support among the most active Republican adherents means the party can be saved. Maybe.
If you happen to be of like mind, join me.
I'll pop for coffee.
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Great post and great to hear liberty is - at least somewhat - represented in Des Moines and the Iowa GOP. I happen to work with a political nonprofit called the Sam Adams Alliance and we're actually going to be hosting a blogger/activist event in Des Moines on the 18th of this month. I'd love to have an individualist such as yourself be in attendence. If you're at all interested, please email me at email@example.com.