Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ron Paul and the Future of Conservatism

It seems the Tea Party movement might actually be coalescing behind an ideology. Rather than being a plain corporate public relations creation, the Tea Party howled and roared for Ron Paul at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference. If Paul becomes the model for their cause, they may actually gain some legitimacy with rational conservatives and moderates. Up until recently, they seemed to be largely incoherent and raging, mostly against perceived threats against individual liberties and reckless spending: both of which were more flagrant hallmarks of the previous administration. If anything, the Obama administration has been at best tepid in its paring down of the national security state. Its health care initiative - the Baucus Bill from the Senate Finance Committee - was graded as budget neutral by the CBO, and even was projected to cut medical costs by 70 billion dollars over ten years. Yet, with all of that, the Tea Party seemed bound in its fealty to nativism and brutish authoritarian jingoism. Hopefully the enthusiastic reception of Ron Paul at CPAC will engender a strong libertarian turn for the Tea Party, if it has to be around at all. At least then there will be a legitimate political debate to be had between liberals and libertarians.

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