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A couple incidents from the recent C-PAC Conservative conference led me to believe Conservatives are moving toward Libertarianism, a move I mostly welcome.
The first was Ron Paul winning the C-PAC straw poll vote for the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. Paul captured a surprising 31% of the vote, with Mitt Romney in second place at 22%. No other Republican tallied higher than single digits. Sarah Palin took third place with 7%. Paul's victory is probably due to the fact that over half the C-PAC attendees were under the age of 25. It's the younger conservatives who I feel are more Libertarian-leaning, which is borne out by the second incident I'm mentioning.
For the first time, a group of gay Republicans called GOProud attended the conference. This caused tension with the Religious Right wing of the GOP. I've never been a fan of the Religious Right. The gay issue is but one area where I have problems with them. The tension between the gay GOPers and the social conservatives came to a head as one C-PAC speaker condemned the conference for allowing the gay group to attend, in true intolerant fashion. Happily, the anti-gay speaker was booed. Here is the video:
If the GOP wants to be a big tent party, which I assume they do, it won't happen by excluding people from the movement, as that wrong-headed C-PAC speaker advocated. I'm of the opinion that in 2010 fiscal issues are by far the most important ones, and Democrats are dead wrong on almost every fiscal issue, but some social issues also matter. The Religious Right should be free to air their opinion within the GOP (even though they make me cringe sometimes), but so should everyone else. The upcoming elections, as with most elections, will be decided by independent voters. If Republicans want to win in the 21st century, if they want to attract younger voters going forward, they will encourage debate on the social issues, and not attempt to exclude what they don't like. George W. Bush was for gay marriage in the civil sense. Ditto for Dick Cheney.
The Libertarian party platform says the following - "we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power."
Nothing wrong there.
Memo to Religious Right - Gays don't tell you how you should live. Don't tell them how they should either.