At CPAC, The Future Looks Libertarian

After a disappointing presidential election with establishment candidate Mitt Romney, the Conservative Political Action Committee looks to its libertarians for resurrection.

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Molly Riley / Polaris

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) arrives to address the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 14, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland.

National Harbor, MD — Give Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) points for timing: the 2013 Conservative Political Action Committee is shaping up to be a libertarian victory lap.

Riding high a week after his 13-hour filibuster against the Obama administration’s drone policy, Paul was greeted with wild applause and is seen as a lock to win the conference’s annual straw poll. The halls of the massive convention center and hotel were packed with “Stand with Rand” stickers and signs. Elsewhere the libertarian-leaning Tea Party News Network is a major sponsor of the program, providing complimentary wi-fi for all attendees. More moderate 2016 contenders like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell weren’t invited. Sen. Marco Rubio was greeted tepidly in advance of Paul’s address.

The libertarian domination of CPAC follows years of growing support at the annual conference starting from the final years of the George W. Bush administration, forming a schism in the Republican Party the GOP has yet to repair. And after the defeat of Mitt Romney, who won the nomination on the support of establishment conservatives, the insurgent and fiercely independent groups have claimed this CPAC as their time to shine.

(MORE: Rand Paul Steals Show From Marco Rubio at CPAC)

There are panels on the dangers of the United Nations, questioning climate science, and the National Rifle Association is impossible to miss with a massive studio just outside the main auditorium.

Helping their efforts in a presidential and congressional off-year and a diminished college crowd due to a new location nearly 30-minutes outside of D.C., the crowd is limited to the professionals: donors, activists and the die-hard grassroots. For Paul, who has long benefited from a strong tea party and libertarian base, that meant a guaranteed strong showing

Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul, won the 2010 and 2011 straw polls, and a self-described “severely conservative” Mitt Romney took the top spot in the midst of last year’s presidential campaign — owing largely to a better effort at busing college supporters than his less organized rivals.

The younger Paul even scored overwhelming applause at the conservative conference for decriminalizing drug use, speaking for the “Facebook Generation” that he believes that Republican Party needs to embrace at the expense of “moss-covered” stalwarts like Sen. John McCain.

(MORE: A Real Live Filibuster!)

"Stand With Rand"

Maunel Balce Ceneta/AP

“They are the core though of the leave-me-alone coalition,” Paul said. “They doubt Social Security will be there for them, they worry about jobs and rent and money and student loans… They aren’t afraid of individual liberty. Ask the Facebook generation if we should put a kid in jail for the non-violent crime of drug use and you’ll hear a resounding ‘no.’ Ask the Facebook generation if they want to bail out too big to fail banks with their hard earned tax dollars and you’ll hear a ‘hell no.’”

But mainstream conservatives, who have been somewhat marginalized at the public conference events, doubt that the Paul-fad will last. Indeed, Paul laid out an expansive agenda of shrinking the size of government both at home and abroad — a message that puts him at odds respectively with many of his party’s social conservatives and neo-cons, and the majority of his potential presidential opponents.

“What’s after drones,” asked Republican operative Matt Mackowiak, echoing the concerns of many mainline conservatives. “What’s the next constitutional fight on the horizon? Obamacare’s done. They need to show that this is sustainable.”

MORE: A Wake-Up Call On Drones: What the John Brennan Debate Achieved

119 comments
drudown
drudown

Libertarian = less federal, state and municipal regulation.

Please.

The ONLY reason that the future of the GOP "looks Libertarian" is that the special interests GOP puppeteer believes it can successfully fool the People to "vote in" Libertarian elected officials that are committed to advancing Big Business policies at all costs- fiduciary duties to the People be damned. 

JamesStevenson
JamesStevenson

TIME obviously doesn't have a clue what "Libertarian" means. 

StandWRandPAC
StandWRandPAC

Check out the new Stand With Rand PAC.  We would love your support!!!

Grim_Jac
Grim_Jac

%s then why was GOProud excluded? Not very %s.

JohnClemensMcculloughIII
JohnClemensMcculloughIII

‘Obama zombies’ invade CPAC after dark
By Chris Moody, Yahoo! News

Political Reporter

PostsEmailRSSBy Chris Moody, Yahoo! News | The Ticket

Lame: Actions that are reactive and not proactive. Need a people to officially be setting the navigation and journey of the United States to complete the voyage of sovereignty. Zombies are game over players. Is there anyone alive who can see and make the difference? The democrats wont make the United States completely sovereign. The democrats mission is civil right and the water down version of democracy on a global scale. Maybe we can get someone like Robert Irvine on Restaurant Impossible to rebuild the United States!

E_Wandersleben
E_Wandersleben

@randpaul16 I would support the party's candidates but as a parent, can't get past their position on abortion and hard core street drugs.

AlistairCookie
AlistairCookie

This is disappointing.  The Paulites are losing their edge.  The Rand/Rubio post from yesterday only generated 63 or so comments and this one is still less than 100.  Where's the swarms singing the Paul's praises from on high?  Or ranting about how the media doesn't take them seriously?  I'm really bummed out.  /snark

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

So when is the GOTP going to stop being the stupid party?  Not anytime soon, I see.

BobJan
BobJan

Stole the show from Rubio? What did he do, magic tricks for his audience?

BobJan
BobJan

What will the Libertarians have instead of the Republicans. Will it then be called the "L" Street Project.

The K Street Project is an effort by the Republican Party (GOP) to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995 by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and then-House majority whip Tom DeLay. It has been criticized as being part of a "coziness" between the GOP and large corporations which has allegedly allowed business to rewrite government regulations affecting their own industries in some cases (see Dick Cheney energy task force).

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

Oh, I LOVE the Libertarian party.  It's the ultimate expression of Caucasian egocentricity.  Everyone responsible for themselves. It works SO well in a country founded on democracy.  (/sarcasm)

If anyone starts a second U.S. civil war, it will be the libertarians.  Their concept of rugged individuality is merely a rationalization for ideals which aren't feasible in a modern democratic society.  A backwoodsman from the late 1800's embodies the essence of libertarian ideology better than a "Joe the Plumber", and fits into modern society just about as well as a backwoodsman from the late 1800's would.

Now, I got the Libertarian ideology from Ron Paul's campaign and laughed at it.  It's unworkable, not just in a democratic society, but in a multicultural country like the United States.  It may play well to the simple-minded Wonder Bread White Man crowd, but in modern society in a modern world?  The entire ideology flies in the face of human nature, historical behaviors and reality.

To me, it's a rationalized religion (as most of them are) based on (as usual) narrow-minded egocentricity - a "me first" attitude - which borders on terrorist thinking and is the antithesis of democratic ideals.  If one looks at the way the conservatives have gerrymandered Red states, it's obvious that they hate democracy and actively work to undermine the will of the people.  In more than half of the red states, the total number of votes cast for Democratic representative candidates for the entire state was greater than the total number of votes cast for Republican candidates.  But these states are overwhelmingly represented by Republicans.  The majority are not represented in those states.  This is how Libertarian thinking works. It's a "may way only" ideology.

Hence why the rest of the world looks upon it as an extremist ideology.  Extremism breeds terrorism.

So I foresee these yahoos doing all they can to take power.  So far, they've mostly stuck to the fringes of legality.  But given their "my way only" mindset, it won't be long before they firmly cross that line and the rest of us can finally do something a touch more permanent about these extremists.

tiktin
tiktin

It's encouraging, but with a majority of Americans now getting government benefits of one kind or another, either directly or indirectly, I fear that Paul and his supporters will not able to command a majority of the American people.

antonmarq
antonmarq

Hahahahahahahahaha, did he say Libertarian or Boozertarians?  Maybe they should banner themselves as the "Greedy Geezer Party" and least they'll be able to show off the Geezer Guns. 

BobJan
BobJan

Republican party,   Conservative    to       Severely Conservative      to       Libertarian         to        what's next???????     Seems like the GOP has an identity crisis every time they lose or don't get their way.     Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

antonmarq
antonmarq

This is what we get when we hired "Acme rent-a-ballot box" as our vote counter. Didn't they listen, the count needed to start at ten thousand for us, and zero for the. Not zero and zero. Next time will hire an real American company.  What do you mean we don't have a company that creates ballot boxes? "Outsourced, who decided that? I did, oh, hum, ah. Okay, call George and have his brother Jeb tell us how he did it.... 

SuzanneStewart
SuzanneStewart

Mantis are you a socialist democrat?  they usually say vile things like that.

SuzanneStewart
SuzanneStewart

Austrian Economists always have the right ideas for freedom and liberty .

PaulPassarelli
PaulPassarelli

@drudown don't be a fool. Libertarians are NOT tax & spend Dems, or crony capitalists!

drudown
drudown

In other words, our leaders in Congress have a fiduciary duty to "tax and spend" for the People's general welfare. It is verily prescribed by the Constitution they took a solemn oath to uphold. 

As it stands, the GOP (whether or not a 'member' of the illusory factions therein: Tea party, Libertarian, et al.) requires that their elected officials sign an oath of loyalty to a lobbyist, Grover Norquist.

How patriotic of you.

drudown
drudown

@StandWRandPAC 

Why? 

Rand is just another "sell out" prating on and on about how "government is the problem" when, in reality, it is the only means to bring jobs back from overseas, clean up our rivers and streams and prevent widespread degradation in our supply chain (see, e.g., poisoned pet food from China).

For all your "feel good about Freedom" talking points, perhaps you'd like to humor me with specifics as to why, pray tell, the People of the United States should uncritically adopt Rand Paul's Big Business agenda? Maybe you can start by reconciling the undisputed FACT that (then) VP Cheney was WRONG when he asserted "deficits don't matter." How can you and Rand credibly contend that the People should raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and Corporations to help raise revenue? Let's hear it. 

jmac
jmac

@AlistairCookie They're the same place the big crowd that Trump thought was showing up got off to.  They're the same place Krathammer and Brett were - and it wasn't at CPac.  They spent an awful long time today on Benghazi.    Pickings are apparently slim.  Reality setting in? 

Diecash1
Diecash1

@Hollywooddeed Good luck with that.  You'd be hard-pressed to find a dumber group of people than the idiots at CPAC and that's unlikely to change any time soon.

reallife
reallife

@DeweySayenoff   and just as the post above about the slavery comment here is the post that confirms that there are morons on both sides - and this one has "7" likes(the usual suspects, la creme de la creme, lol) -

jilli.brown
jilli.brown

@tiktin I don't think Paul will ever get the majority because I don't think the majority wants to eliminate or rescind 200 years of social progress.  I still believe that the majority wants to live in a civilized society, and those folks realized that a civilized society comes with costs.  Nope, Paul is as intellectually immature as his father - we had good laughs at Ron Paul expense, and he earned them all.

BobJan
BobJan

@tiktin  'command" or should you say "obey". What a joke this Paul guy is. Going from Ophthalmologist to politician. 

He doesn't have anything for the rich either. He doesn't stand a chance. He sounds more like Jim Jones of Guyana fame. That was a tragic ending. Same ending for the followers of Paul.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@tiktin Especially in light of the fact that Paul and his supporters tend to be some of the biggest recipients of said government benefits.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@SuzanneStewart 

Wait what; A historic comment (accurate as well) is 'vile' and prove that someone is socialist? Jesus Christ and every internet warrior with enough 'freedom lovin' intelligence' to use a keyboard.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SuzanneStewart Vile things to say? You mean like running around calling a sitting president the Antichrist or a second coming of Hitler mixed with Stalin?

tom.litton
tom.litton

@SuzanneStewart Do you have a good austrian blogger?  Someone that can speak in laymen terms, but also gives solid data points to support their evidence.

All the evidence i've seen indicates they might have the right ideas for freedom and liberty, but not economics.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SuzanneStewart Yes the Hapsburg Empire was nothing but a model of freedom and liberty. Could be why it was the powder keg that started the first world war?

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

@SuzanneStewart Unlike certain GOTP politicians who boost their economic theories from drug-addled third-rate Russian novelists.

drudown
drudown

@PaulPassarelli 

What's your point? 

That our elected officials should not RAISE revenue via new taxation?

TyPollard
TyPollard

@ZacPetit @TyPollard 

Many people use "liberty" to mask douchbaggery. I have many agreements with Libertarians but unfortunately the brand is packed with this form of "freedom". It has become a magnet for these aggrieved white males that are sad they are no longer given preference to success based on an accident of birth. Some are racists, some want to have the freedom to pollute their land and air as they see fit, some think they are an island and that their presence has NO affect on others. Some are smart, reasonable and principled but it seems to me that they are a minority within the ideology.

reallife
reallife

@BobJan@tiktin"Going from Ophthalmologist to politician."

I suppose that going from "community organizer" to politician is much better in your eyes  LOL

BobJan
BobJan

@reallife @BobJan @tiktin  now why would a man who can contribute to mankind by way of medicine go into a profession where he contributes nothing ? Thats all.