Monday, June 4, 2012

Eli Lehrer: You may only be a Libertarian if I approve of you

So somebody's Bible-belt is showing.

Eli Lehrer uses his column at HuffPo today to be smugly dismissive of the Libertarian Party, so much so that he does not even deign to mention Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson in the entire post.

So let's see what has Mr. Lehrer's shorts in a bunch.

If you are a Libertarian, you
know that Starchild is the
one on the left.  He is ours
and we are proud of him.
1.  Libertarians don't conduct themselves with what he considers proper decorum for a national convention.  Leaving aside the question, "Have you ever actually watched the nutcase delegates at the Dem or GOPer conventions?" for the moment, let's tackle this.  Mr. Lehrer seems particularly upset by the presence of Starchild (now on the Libertaran National Committee after years of doing good work in the party), whom he describes thus:  "a well-known San Francisco "sex worker."

Yeah, so what?  His profession bars him from having serious ideas about politics?  At least you didn't make fun of his clothes (which, I must say, were too understated this year.  I like the wings better.  Maybe it was that whole running-for-the-LNC thing that made him so conservative.)  Okay, I'm going to use bad words here.  

Eli Lehrer is smiling because,
secretly, the thought of Starchild
in his most revealing outfits
makes him very . . . happy.
Mr. Lehrer, your particular fucking prejudices about people's appearance and/or work should remain between you and your therapist.  Given the number of Republican bigwigs who have been busted over the past five years for "having a wide stance," cheating on their wives, visiting sex workers, and engaging in same-sex affairs with their own young aides, you'd think you would be bright enough not to go there.

Apparently not.

Libertarianism happens to be about the rights of people to do what they want as long as they don't use force or fraud to hurt other people.  Last I checked, Starchild was far more of a keeper in that regard than the last fifty guys in Brooks Brothers suits at major "too big to fail" banks.

2.  Birther/truther conspirators mar our credibility.  Oh once again give me a fucking break, Mr. Lehrer.  Last I checked, Donald Trump was a Republican like you, not a Libertarian.  And Toure and Van Jones (truthers both) were prominent progressives.  Nice try, but no cigar.  Looney tunes have infected ALL political parties and opinions.

3. Ending the Federal Reserve is equally as nutty as birther/trutherism.  Well, let's see, the actual Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, whom you never mention, primarily wants to audit the Federal Reserve and limit it to its originally chartered functions.  It would be--oh, snap--Congressman Ron Paul in your own Republican Party who is slowly taking it over--who wants to end the Fed and replace it with a gold standard.  

Has anybody noticed a pattern here yet:  so far, everything Mr. Lehrer condemns in the Libertarian Party exists in his own Republican Party . . . but he is too dishonest to talk about it.

4.  Libertarians today disdain the Buckley bargain.  In case Mr. Lehrer didn't know, it was William Buckley who chiefly put together the Libertarian/Conservative fusion in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  And then it was socially conservative evangelicals who took it apart in the 1990s.  There has been no real Libertarian/Conservative fusion since about 1994, and in the (paraphrased) words of Ronald Reagan, "We didn't leave the conservatives, they left us."  Mr. Lehrer feels comfortable stooging for a party that demands adherence to specific evangelically based positions on everything from abortion to stem cell research to militarism.

A party that develops its positions based on arguments over policy must seem like something of a threat to a party that today appears to get most of its position statements about the 21st Century from Leviticus.

5.  Libertarian proposals are unworkable and fringe.  Nobody can imagine life without the Federal Reserve, cutting defense is not possible, interventionism is good, and modifying social security is bad.  Forgetting for the moment, Mr, Lehrer, that we're broke, that we can't have "guns and butter," and that your own party used to be the party of non-interventionism (remember Taft), your comments are revealing only of a stodgy and misinformed imagination.

After all, cutting the defense budget back to 2003 levels and only spending 21% of all world military expenditures is so . . . radical.

Being the world's policeman has worked out . . . so well.

Actually knowing what is going on with the people and processes that helped us fall into the Great Recession is . . . such a kooky idea.

Give me a fucking break, Mr. Lehrer.

When did the Romney campaign slip you the money under the table to write this article, anyway?

The final paragraph of this idiotic rant is the money quote:

The bottom line is simple: Simply wishing that government would vanish is no substitute for figuring out how to run it. When government gets cut, it's best to target first the obvious absurdities -- bailouts for beach-home owners, farm subsidies, and Warren Buffett's Social Security checks (none of which, its true are the causes of current deficits) -- and be much more deliberate about fundamental reforms. Libertarians can offer practical solutions. They don't need to get in bed with the political Left. But, if they want the fusionist alliance to keep going and the political right to remain in power, libertarians are going to have to stop being nuts.

Number one, Mr. Lehrer, we're running a candidate with more successful experience at governing than Mitt Romney by a factor of two.

Number two, your approach to cutting around the edges (as you manage, paradoxically, to point out in your own parenthetical comment) doesn't work.

Number three, we don't want a fusionist alliance to keep going, and we have no real concern with keeping the political right in power (now your agenda becomes clear; Mitt's check will be in the mail).

If this is nuts, I am proud to be nuts.

Mr. Lehrer's little essay constitutes the basic proof of the proposition that conservatives need libertarians far more than libertarians need conservatives, and the conservatives are waking up to that fact.

Libertarians, Mr. Lehrer, need you guys about as much as fish need bicycles.


Anonymous said...

Steve, I am unclear. How do you feel about Mr. Lehrer?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comments after reading the Bluff post article I had to look this fool up. I think your article does a good job of putting him in perspective. In the HP piece Lehrer writes about Burke as his baseline normal political thinking, wow Burke unbelievable admission. Again thanks for your words.