Who is electable?

Well, lots of people the establishment told us were not. And now, many establishment types are telling us Christine O’Donnell’s victory was pyrrhic: An ill advised spasm of childish petulance. They rush to tell us that William F. Buckley would have disapproved.

Buckley suggested this rule: Support the most conservative candidate who is electable.

In light of d’Tocqueville’s observation that a Democracy will tend toward statism, the Buckley rule can be a strategy of incremental retreat. The most conservative available candidate may drift leftward as the voters entitle themselves and Parties seek power rather than good governance. This consequence is quite evident today. 

Another problem: Taken as absolute by dedicated partisans, it will fail to take advantage of a period where the determination of who is “electable” is tremendously uncertain. The rule, therefore, tends to restrict the possible in favor of the “certain.” Following it we should have ignored Scott Brown’s candidacy, and Rand Paul’s. We should have ceded Wisconsin to Russ Feingold. Chris Cristie should never have run. Mario Rubio, electable as a state Senator and not as a US Senator, should not have challenged the GOP favorite.

I do not think Mr. Buckley would be pleased with these references to his “rule.” Mr. Buckley, after all, was a strong supporter of Barry Goldwater’s presidential candidacy when Nelson Rockefeller was arguably more electable, and as far to Lyndon Johnson’s right as is Castle to Coons’. I do not remember Mr. Buckley objecting to Goldwater’s acceptance speech line: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

Goldwater lost, but it is widely accepted that Ronald Reagan would never have been president if not for the work Goldwater did to prepare the way. It is a multi-year game and we accept the unprincipled, mediocre party hack at our peril. Electing a Mike Castle is an incremental defeat. It defines the deviancy from principle up.

Mr. Buckley never intended a refusal to test the limits of the possible. He certainly never believed electing Republicans was job one.


What Does the Future Hold for Rand and Ron?

Without that Tea Party enthusiasm (whose top three issues, he [Rand Paul] explained, are “the debt, the debt, and the debt”), it would be impossible to imagine his victory Tuesday. His vision of a smaller, constitutionally limited government that is less adventurous on the world stage is much easier to sell now that people are holding regular rallies against big government.

Kentucky primary hype: Tempest in a Tea Party

Paul has established that the Tea Party can be a disruptive force. In Kentucky, as elsewhere, the Republican establishment is having fits.

EDITORIAL: The Rand Paul uprising

“We need to be proud of capitalism,” Dr. Paul noted in an acceptance speech that hit on the fundamental cause of our current economic woes. The failure of arrogant congressional leaders to restrain themselves from spending other people’s money, not capitalism, created our $13 trillion debt.

Rand Paul confuses supporters, spurs anger with comments on Civil Rights Act

Paul, who won his primary election Tuesday, launched into what has become a national political storm by arguing the merits of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which legally barred racial discrimination in public and most private places, with liberal talk show host Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night.

On the show, he argued that the government should not have interfered with the operations of private business — even to enforce civil rights — while emphasizing that he does not support discrimination. He has made similar statements to his hometown paper and to NPR but the lengthy Maddow interview took off online.

Barry Goldwater, who had no racially discriminatory cell in his body, argued against the 1964 Civil Rights Bill on the floor of the Senate. He did so on Constitutional grounds. He did so in the midst of his campaign to be President: Which campaign he lost handily. He was right, and he was honorable. He did not abandon principle to expedience.

Credit Rand Paul for the same clear thinking and similar honesty. This single interview may cost him dearly; but he knows the Constitution, he understands the meaning of the word “principle,” and he is an honest, open man. There are pathetically few who are either, much less both.

The fact that he could have let this sleeping dog lie makes him a more attractive candidate to me. Barack Obama dosed the dogs with phenobarbital while he was tiptoeing past them. Look where electing this dishonest, secretive man got us.

Rand Paul’s Victory, Arlen Specter’s Defeat, and the Quest for Authenticity

Rand Paul is trying to peddle authenticity along with his dire warnings about federal spending and the national debt. “The one thing about my campaign is that I am not afraid to be not elected,” Paul declared as he brandished double negatives at his final pre-primary rally in Bowling Green. “That’s what it’s going to take: Someone who will tell the truth.”

If only

In Welcome to Palinland, Katrina Vanden Heuval says Sarah Palin is channeling AuH20:

In his 1960 manifesto The Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater wrote, “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden.”

Vanden Heuval thinks this is an “extremist brand of conservatism.” Which only proves she doesn’t get it.

Of course, since George Bush corrupted the concept of conservatism by making it synonymous with a slightly diluted brand of statism, it isn’t surprising she thinks that. And, of course, Vanden Heuval was only 5 in 1964.

Anybody who has not read The Conscience of a Conservative, is welcome to borrow my copy. It is even better than the quote Ms Vanden Heuval picks.

Wishing for AuH2O

When Did Freedom Become An Orphan?
By Steve Chapman

… it’s clear that collectivism, not individualism, is the reigning creed of Republicans as well as Democrats. Individuals are not valuable and precious in their own right but as a means for those in power to achieve their grand ambitions.

… [The primacy of individual freedom]… got lost somewhere between Thomas Jefferson and John McCain. What do Republicans believe in? McCain told us Thursday: “We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law. … We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities.”

Would it be too much to mention that what sustains the American vision of those things is freedom? That without it, personal responsibility becomes hollow and service is servitude?

Apparently it would.

Indeed. RTWT.