Friday, September 25, 2009

Can Sarah Palin bring libertarians back into the fold?

We have preached incessantly here that conservatives of all stripes must unite and bring those libertarians who were part of the Reagan coalition back into the fold before we can win back the Grand Old Party from the big-spending moderates and neocons who have nearly ruined it. We have also made no secret that we believe Sarah Palin is the one Republican who can accomplish the two crucial tasks. With her speech Wednesday in Hong Kong, an increasing number of libertarians are beginning to take a second look at the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.

From Phil Manger at Nolan Chart:
After decades of being forced to choose between voting for the lesser of two evils or wasting our votes on someone whose chance of winning was considerably less than that of the proverbial snowball in Hell, we libertarians — at long last — may have found in former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin a Presidential candidate who is both acceptable and electable.


There are a number of compelling reasons why libertarians should seriously consider her as a candidate:

  • She resonates with Middle Americans. I have talked about this in the past.

  • Libertarian candidates have never done very well with the Republican "base", the so-called "values voters" who often decide who gets the GOP Presidential nomination and who are essential to the election of the Republican Presidential candidate. Palin does.

  • She is libertarian on the issues that matter most. She is for smaller government, less regulation and lower taxes. Furthermore, she was governor of a state that, in matters of taxation, comes closest to the Libertarian ideal. Alaska has no income or sales taxes, relying instead on taxes on land and resource extraction — in effect, a Georgist tax regime.

  • People pay attention to what she says. Last month, with just two words — "death panels" — on her Facebook page, Palin changed the terms of the debate on health care reform. She did this even though the establishment media, which apparently never bothered to read her original post (which was about rationing, not end-of-life counseling), misreported what she said. If the Federal takeover of health care is defeated, she will deserve a large share of the credit.

  • Palin is a true "Teflon candidate". No matter how much mud the media slings at her, none of it sticks. In fact, with each attack she just becomes stronger. I cannot recall a candidate in my lifetime — not even Ronald Reagan — of which this could be said.

  • Ron Paul is not available. His views have been more consistently libertarian than Palin's, but he will be 77 years old on January 20, 2013. Furthermore, although his knowledge of the issues is stronger, he lacks Palin's charisma and political instincts.
  • Manger does have some caveats. He's wary of her connection to the neocons, especially now that it's known that Randy Scheunemann is advising her, he's not sure of her views on civil liberties, and he's not convinced that she wants to be president. Still, he's willing to give her a chance:
    Weighing all the relevant factors — including the inability of libertarians to agree on an effective political strategy (which should be evident to anyone who regularly reads Nolan Chart) — Sarah Palin is looking pretty good. She's certainly got the right idea about the economy. As for the rest, we'll just have to see.
    - JP

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