The past month has seen the end, or the beginning of the end of several political monoliths. Barry Soetoro, AKA lifetime CIA-sheperded-asset-turned NWO puppet Barack Obama entered into his final year of tyranny as a constitutionally unqualified US President. As foreshadowed by seven months of campaign mistakes, Rand Paul crashed and burned in the latest unsuccessful national liberty movement campaign within the Republican primaries. Antonin Scalia, longest serving Supreme Court Justice of the modern era, unjustly “passed away” under the usual highly suspicious circumstances, setting off a Super Bowl blitzkrieg of acrimony over how, or if the vacancy created on the court will be filled in Obarry’s lame duck year.
More will be said about the Puppet-in-Chief and his actual pro-liberty accomplishments in a future discussion (yes, somehow, there are actually a couple of them). Of more pressing relevance to libertarians hoping to breakthrough to electoral success via the major parties, has been the push back against the liberty movement within the GOP, and Rand’s failing campaign. Instead of adding to the growth of the liberty base started by his father Ron in 2008 and 2012, and building primary-winning majorities in the 2016 cycle, Rand’s campaign seemed to result in that base getting cut in half, with no gains made in attracting larger voting blocs needed to win. Nor could he attract the kind of mega-donations his campaign rivals could (since he would not sell his soul to the “pro-war and spy on everybody 24-7” crowd showering money upon neocon robots like Mr. Roboto-Rubio).
Rand on the Run
Ted Cruz has taken millions from the Adelsons, and other elite sources, so he will intervene, and unconditionally bow to Israel as ordered. His posturing as an outsider is a pretense, but he did a better job selling being anti-establishment than Rand did. If Rand had made even a partial attempt to act like a real deal outsider, he would have enjoyed success similar to Trump’s, Cruz’s and Carson’s. The ‘real deal,’ in this context, is demonstrating you will confront the party leadership, elites and media, not whether you hold the best positions. In fact, Rand’s decision to attack the outsider trend, instead of triangulate it and Donald Trump, as Cruz did, was the crucial body blow to his campaign. Cruz also triangulated Rand by adopting his liberty positions, which eliminated the reason to go with Rand to begin with. Cruz and the others all had to deal with Trump’s domination, but clearly some (Cruz, and for a while Carson) navigated it much better than Rand.
If Rand had not positioned himself as a compromising libertarian, he would not have been vulnerable (or as vulnerable) to somebody else posturing as a compromising libertarian stealing his views. Not having the foresight to see his finessing of liberty issues could be matched by somebody counter-finessing them turned out to be a fatal mistake. Some suggest Rand could have simply tried new methods to finesse communicating the issues (e.g., by leaving most of his beliefs unsaid, or confining himself to speaking on tax and fiscal matters). The problem, though, is that we’ve already been through a campaign where Rand finessed communicating the issues. We found out that doesn’t work, in terms of building a winning coalition. And the candidates who did do better talked mainly about issues other than taxes and fiscal restraint of government—they spoke about immigration, protecting the national interest from trade to refugee policy, and cultural issues.
Our next liberty candidate needs to talk about the issues the voters actually want to talk about (not the stereotypical ones we think they want to talk about), BUT to talk straightforwardly to them with pro-liberty answers, NOT finesse them. If they want to talk about jobs, talk about liberty approach to job creation and a growth economy. If they want to talk about health care, talk about the liberty approach to health care and health freedom. And so on—talk plainly about what issue comes up, and when it does, things are not to be left unsaid.
Nor are we to think that a candidacy can be sustained based on a single age demographic. Rand spent much of his time, and credibility, talking up the youth vote he had behind him, that ultimately did not materialize. in essence, Rand was trying to come in on one engine, and kept selling us on that one engine, and the engine failed. Stepping back in hindsight, we can see that basing a campaign strategy on the one voting demographic that is the least reliable to turn out, was a dicey losing proposition. Young people know how to date, and know how to party, and that’s about it. They are not reliable about turning out to vote, and unless you conduct an aggressive absentee or early voting campaign that takes care of most of the steps for them, or literally drive them to the precinct center, they just won’t vote.
Which points out the real issue. Whether the original liberty base was cut in half by Rand, or was too soft to begin with, it needed to be built on, but Rand (and perhaps Ron as well) was unable to. And you can’t win the nomination unless you attract a major voting bloc. The opportunity was there to engage the evangelicals, the anti-establishment folks, the Tea Party, etc, but it wasn’t taken. Perhaps the issue is that both Pauls are stellar liberty statesmen who managed to get elected in their states, but were not, and are not great national liberty candidates. Perhaps we should field someone from our ranks with full-fledged liberty views who happens to be an evangelical, Tea Party friendly, and overtly anti-establishment, in the cycles going forward.
The main issue hindering that building remains not the personalities, but the (until now) establishment-driven outcome of the primary regime. Our movement has tried to get an ideal candidate nominated across three election cycles, without dismantling or confronting the elite-controlled racket that is firmly in place to keep alternatives from winning. Naturally, the Pauls could not win, as the racket stopped them. That kingmaker system has pre-decided which insider will get to be the nominee for decades, and this year it was supposed to be Jeb or Rubio.
Trump has been riding the wave of an outsider trend that (should he get nominated) will have broken down that system for the first time in 36 years. That will be progress, which can make it easier for us in the years going forward. In the meanwhile, we’ve tried to crack the “getting a liberty guy elected” problem three cycles in a row, and we need to retreat to figure out a better way to proceed. To use the Star Wars analogy once more, our Jedis need to vanish, to work up a plan that will get us over the top in a future sequel. I’ll be focusing more on the Libertarian Party front the rest of this year, to review its ongoing effort to seed a liberty mindset within the public through educational campaigns.
Speaking of the LP race, in a year that has delivered us Trump and Sanders on the major party scene, maybe a Libertarian who presents as “nuts” like anti-virus software creator John McAfee will succeed. Gary Johnson, running a repeat of his 2012 campaign, is the most organized all around. Austin Peterson has been active in the LP, Paul, and FOX universes (having worked for Judge Napolitano). Peterson’s ambitions might be better served by raising money to run for Congress in MO instead on a fusion basis (LP/GOP), where he could wait for an open seat situation and win it. From there, he could be a potential future ‘favorite son’ pro-liberty GOP candidate for President, as his state is adjacent to Iowa.
The Pelican Brief 2.0—Scalia R.I.P.
Those seeking a proper summary tribute to the Justice may go here. For the rest of us, the urgent issue is indeed justice. So, who bumped off the conservative Justice? I mean, the body being found with a pillow over his head suggests something other than natural causes, doesn’t it? Scalia, though 79, was not known to be in bad health, so it is odd that a loss of this political importance is not receiving an autopsy. In many states, an unattended death automatically triggers an autopsy (yet in this case, the Justice of the Peace did not even look at the body before declaring the death to be from “natural causes”). The big rumor is that fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has already informed the White House of her intent to retire at the end of the 2016 term in July. In response, could they (i.e., a black ops team) have had Scalia bumped off (e.g., induced a heart attack using a modern variation of the “poison frozen dart” gun demonstrated at the Church hearings, or pumped CO2 into his hotel room), so Obarry could pack the court with not one but two more liberals in his final year?
That could have played into US Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to immediately declare there will be no hearings to confirm anymore Justices in the lame duck year of this President. Whereas, if he had green lighted a hearing for Scalia’s replacement, he would not have been able to credibly raise the lame duck issue later in the year, when Ginsburg retired. Whether the Senate will have the backbone to hang tough on this, has now become the big question of this election. If McConnell doesn’t give in, will the party lose enough seats over it to turn control of Congress back to the Democrats?
That’s what the MSM said when the Tea Party pushed for threatening a government shutdown, to get the leverage needed to really fight against Obamacare and debt ceiling increases. Next thing you know, the GOP picked up seats and now control the Senate. Unlike the shutdown, which the public perceives could have an immediate impact on them in terms of getting benefit checks and such, a Supreme Court vacancy does not impress that kind of personal urgency on voters. Thus, no pressure on the GOP to cave. So it may be possible for the GOP run Senate to ride out rejecting an appointment, yet still retain their majority. If Obarry makes a recess appointment, however, forcing the Senate to have to deal with it, that’s when the cave will almost certainly happen.
On No Longer Waiting for Godot
Regardless of the cave-in question, the “pack the court with true constitutionalists” strategy has been failing for 35 years. Statists were better at packing it the other way, as half the GOP picks turned out to be disasters, while aging Democrat justices always made sure to stay on the bench until a Democrat won the office before retiring. It was only a matter of time before a Republican appointed justice passed away on a Democratic President’s watch, and there goes the ball game.
There was an opening on the issue to outreach to social/cultural conservatives that Rand (and even Ron) Paul did not exploit, namely, that the fixation of the Republican Party with foreign policy (or more bluntly, with starting wars) over the last twenty-odd years has cost it several Presidential elections, and thus the ability to make more appointments to the Court. Many won’t dare vote GOP as a consequence, knowing that it almost certainly means still more hyper expensive, no-win wars based on lies in the Middle East, while de-prioritizing doing anything on abortion and other cultural matters. This point could have been raised to drive a wedge between the pro-war side, and many on the religious right who want to see action on their issues, and are willing to consider a new solution.
With the repacking the Supreme Court path now blocked off, liberty activists and candidates should persuade the social right to hold Congressional conservatives’ feet to the fire, by demanding that they vote (as per the Constitution) to remove the jurisdiction of the federal courts to rule on issues like abortion and gay marriage, which would de-facto return these issues to the states. This would get the federal government out of the issue and overturn the toxic social left authoritarian case law over hanging these issues, and get us out of the “waiting for the magic five pro-life or constitutional justices” rut we’ve been in for decades.
If the Ryan/McConnell axis does weasel out and puts another Obama appointee on the court (to make it effectively a 6-3 left-authoritarian fortress on all major decisions), this might finally wake the right up, to finally vote the milquetoast set out. They bought into the passive “waiting for Godot” constitutionalist court majority strategem Republicans were supposed to deliver on, for decades. What has it gotten them, except still more decisions reinforcing the bad case law?
No more passive strategies, it’s time for an active approach, without cave-ins. In a year where anti-establishment anger is already expressing itself, this last betrayal could act as a rocket booster for fostering change. Tea-partiers within the Republican universe should primary any GOP incumbent who caves, and move the battle to overturn the liberal precedents to Congress, where it belongs.
The End of Reforming the GOP
These developments, from the Rand failure in engaging Republican rank and filers, to a potential monumental cave by the leadership on giving the Supreme Court away for another generation, signals the complete refutation of the “save the GOP” model for being “relevant,” or advancing the liberty cause. To those who would bash the third party universe and the grassroots as being “incompetent losers,” despite losing three straight times trying things through the majors, I say: less derision, more relevance. To somebody outside the Paul movement or the LP universe, there is no functional difference between a minor party that is structurally suppressed or marginalized away from winning, and an alternative liberty candidate running in a major party that is structurally suppressed or marginalized away from winning. The outcome is the same either way—we haven’t gotten anywhere, so our vote was ‘thrown away’ in both directions. It’s just taken us longer to notice that the Pauls also had 0% chance of winning.
Lots of changes have to happen, to realistically change that 0% outcome on either end. Indeed one can argue case by case, depending on the campaign, that several national LP candidates made fewer mistakes, and exercised more competence in their campaigns than Rand just did in his campaign. And clearly, the fact that all the other minor parties have had similar struggles, no matter who they ran, or how they ran, indicates the issue is the power elite that dominates the American electoral system.
If there were 100 districts that were specifically gerrymandered for libertarians, and the LP failed to win most of them, yes, perhaps we could concede the main issue was party incompetence. But of course, there are no such gerrymandered districts. The US political order is hardwired for ‘them,’ not for us, and that’s why we keep losing. Until we have a better handle on how to dismantle that order, the fix will still be in against liberty, whether pursued via the minor or the major parties. The entire liberty movement needs to cooperate to foster that end, not wax superior over our pot supposedly being less black than the other side’s frying pan.
“As far as politics are concerned, more than anything else in this world, it is imperative that the establishment elite in Washington, D.C., are dethroned.” —Chuck Baldwin
“The Kingmakers have picked our last bunch of losers. And there’s one loser after another because they were more interested in maintaining their flow of money from the big donors and their cooperation with the Democrats…” —Phyllis Schafly
I stress over and over the factor of disrupting (or at least confronting) the current system, because it really is the overriding factor blocking change. Many liberty activists are hard headed diehards, who still think trying to accomplish things by winning within the GOP is the only realistic path to gaining political influence, respect and unity for the movement. In fact, it was the adopting of that strategy that led to the co-opting and neutering of the movement, as immediately evidenced by Rand’s compromising approach to even stating a liberty position in the 2016 cycle. The temporary ‘influence’ the liberty side gained was not respected at all by the party leadership, who immediately yanked back control of most of the positions the Paulites gained circa 2012. In the end, the GOP is controlled by $25 billion special interest people like Adelson, every bit as much as the Democrats are by $25 billion special interest people like Soros. The takeover has to be of the whole rigged kingmaker process, not one of Hydra’s heads, in order to work and in order to keep the movement united.
By focusing on reforming one party, the movement abandoned the Democrats and Independents who were first attracted to Ron Paul in 2007-8. It also needlessly divided a grassroots that was based on liberty issues, by the top-down edicts that tried change the mission into ‘saving’ the Adelson/Koch controlled party system. Naturally, the liberty base was cut in half, not expanded by the time Rand tried to run, with many of its voters ultimately being co-opted by Cruz or Trump. Through such devices, the current system is designed to marginalize and defeat alternatives, be they operating inside or outside of the major parties. The current system has to be displaced, not worked within, in order for us to get anywhere.
Liberty Solutions: Our Own Cable News Network?
For now, one of the most helpful ways to build a national libertarian infrastructure that can engage mainstream audiences, would be to get a real alternative network on the cable dial (or through syndication), call it “Liberty TV” and promote it as the true remedy to pro-government, pro-war, pro-PC news and commentary stations. BUT FOR IT TO HAPPEN, AND FOR IT TO WORK, AND FOR IT TO NOT GET CO-OPTED:
Cooperation: The entire grassroots liberty movement needs to work with each other, by which I mean both the libertarian or constitutionalist wing, and the patriot or populist wing. Meaning, no sniping at, or put downs of libertarians over being too ‘pure’ or the minor parties as being ‘irrelevant,’ and no sniping at, or put downs of populists over conspiracy or truth advocacy. Programming of both types should be on the channel, possibly from using material already being independently produced (say internet talk show simulcasts, from Ben Swann to Infowars Nightly News, to Michael Rivero’s What Really Happened, to Abby Martin’s Empire Files, and so on). Respectability Napoleons need not apply.
Funding: A consortium or board of mutually agreed upon, grassroots-trusted independent voices should set up the network as a cooperative venture, and control both editorial and financial decisions. This is important to keep the network from being infiltrated by Republican, corporate or neocon operatives who will want to rope the content back within the two-party paradigm and turn it into FOX2. If most of the programming is reused from independent, but existing material, that should minimize costs enough for the channel to be sustained by grassroots donations or (case by case) selected big donors (e.g., Peter Thiel). The board should be committed to NEVER letting folks like the Kochs in as funders, or any advertiser who demands the channel “stop talking about X” as a condition for advertising on the network.
What would the ratings be for such a network, at least at first? Probably abysmal, but it could build from there. The point would not be to be ‘popular,’ but to be there at all. It would not be a for-profit entity, but a cooperative that made sure the average cable viewer had a reliable place to see news from the alternative, liberty perspective. MSNBC gets by with what, 200,000 viewers daily nationwide? Given that an internet based liberty-friendly network like Infowars has an audience of 3 million a day by itself, a cable channel running with re-used Internet show material will be popular enough.