published Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Rebrand the GOP: Try making it more libertarian

Ron Hart

Most old school Republicans remind me of a man running for mayor on a platform of outlawing dancing at the high school prom. Obama reminds me of the guy you have dinner with who orders an expensive wine and then makes sure he’s in the bathroom when the bill comes.

What if there was a party that espoused fiscal responsibility and minimal government, like the GOP says it wants, and kept its nose out of your personal business as the Democrats purport to? There is. It’s called the Libertarian Party.

Republicans did an autopsy on why they keep losing to Democrats. They say they need to “re-brand.” I suggest the Libertarian brand; it is currently not being used.

Republicans seem judgmental and odd, finding themselves out of touch with more and more Americans as they attempt to appease those social conservatives of their party who vote in primaries.

Old school Republicans need to step aside or defer to fresher ideas instead of rejecting anyone or anything new. John McCain has resented Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., calling him a “wacko” when Paul took a principled stand on the use of drones against U.S. citizens on American soil. Perhaps Sen. McCain was just envious of Rand Paul’s delivering a 13-hour filibuster speech without going to the restroom.

Libertarians have the better argument on almost all issues. The Democrats are no longer a party with principles. They have turned into a Chicago-style political machine that rewards friends and punishes enemies under the pretense of high-minded ideology.

Obama’s entire national defense strategy seems to be drone spying and bombing, combined with threatening not to pay anyone back on our debts. He is determined to destroy capitalism, successful people, and the free market system. Yet he is so bad at it, the stock market has attained new highs.

Obama blames everything bad that happens on Bush, while the religious wing of the GOP blames everything on gay marriage. The Democrats could reach across the aisle on a gay marriage bill, but it would not work — old Republicans get uncomfortable when dudes reach out for them. The GOP says it dislikes new laws anyway. Democrats don’t really read bills they pass, nor do they care what’s in the law as long as it’s mandatory and creates a new federal agency. Getting a bipartisan bill through Congress is as forbidding as climbing a cactus.

When the GOP pushes its religious values on the rest of the population, it loses traction; Obama suddenly looks appealing to more scientifically-minded moderates. If you do not like abortion, don’t have one. If you do not support gay marriage, don’t get gay married or watch “Modern Family.”

When two winnable Midwestern Senate seats in 2012 were lost by GOP candidates who talked about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy resulting from rape as “God’s will,” the Republican Party needs to reevaluate what it has become.

When the GOP limits citizens’ choices, when it strays from core principles of freedom, personal responsibility, and minimal government, it looks hypocritical — and it loses supporters.

The two parties entrenched in Washington have a lock on power and on our checkbooks. They know if voting changed anything, they could make it illegal. Maybe party leaders will start telling the truth some day. That day is known in Washington as retirement.

Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at or visit

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
AndrewLohr said...

Abortion murders babies; what can be less libertarian than legal murder, denying all freedom to its victims? Politically, most people want more restrictions and less legal nitpicking about what restrictions are "Constitutional," though not a flat ban.

Letting 'gays' do something called 'marriage': would Mr Hart's libertarianism extend to letting Christian wedding photographers refuse to shoot a 'gay wedding,' or Christian landlords refuse to rent to fornicators? (I don't think the Bible requires this of Christians--I Corinthians 5:9-13--but would we be free to do it?)

Has Mr Hart considered whether the love of Jesus in dying for our sins is the greatest love available, and His power in rising from the dead the greatest power? Has he considered whether he had better follow Jesus? Some atheists have considered these things and become Christians (C. S. Lewis, Viggo Olson...)

I've posted that "Jesus is libertarian," preferring a much smaller government than what we have now, and that the Christian law of love is much better fulfilled by real personal generosity and business-sector accountability than by bogus tax-paid 'generosity' and impersonal unaccountable bureaucracy, so I agree quite a bit with Mr Hart; but let him question his own presuppositions.

March 22, 2013 at 2:40 a.m.
kellie2479 said...

Hart is probably the best writer I have read in awhile. He is gutsy, and says what needs to be said. The "reach across the aisle" quip is very good. Religious views are just that, nothing forbids them. Just always injecting them into politics hurts the GOP and makes them seem odd. There are 8000 different religions within Chrisianity. Up in Cleveland, the 7 Day Adventist think church is on Sat. Clearly their right, but to battle over that in the body politic is silly. Hart rocks!

March 22, 2013 at 8:43 a.m.
anticorp said...

I like your comments kellie. If there was more tolerance like yours from too many Christians we could find more common ground and get back to more harmony and quality of living on this good earth.

March 22, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.
anticorp said...

I would speak to some of your Mr Harts points. I invite anyone to differ and support your critique. I like to be corrected when I don’t get it right and sometimes I don’t.

This President’s administration (he doesn’t get all the credit) has been a real penny pincher except for the 800 bil stimulus which was set in motion before he took office and it was given tepid support by a nobel prize winning economist (thought it should have been larger) and the majority of them from all political angles. Since then the deficit, as a percent of GDP has been cut 50%. Medicare (growth) costs are way down from an avg. 9.7 increase per year to a mere 1.9%. The former is fastest decline in the deficit since WW ll. As for the mechanics of this fiscal responsibility, you can thank Obama and the Democrats for creating and signing into law without ONE GOP vote the Pay-as-you-go Act.

Rand Paul deserves credit for a real filibuster and I did so in a local op-ed. However he wasted those 12hrs by bleating like a nappy goat about something that was not, has not and never would be an issue, asking for “a promise” not to use Drones inside our borders on Americans. Of course they gave it.

The President and the military have stringent laws, the constitution and the right of arrest, judges and habeas corpus stopping them . Local sheriffs are another matter. We have a skin head in my town that has violated court orders and arrested citizen’s protesting and stated publically he’d “choose” not to enforce gun laws passed by congress and signed into law by the President if he thought they were unconstitutional. I expect he’ll be filing his teeth any day now. He has a taste for camo and military hardware. It is a forgone conclusion if we start using Drones to replace Red Light Cameras, and we will, he would use them to spy on, intimidate, if not project force on us citizens. They’re mobile and can multitask. That’s what concerns me. There is no congress to put the brakes on Skin Head Sheriffs.

Mr Hart must have missed the part when the President ordered the taking out of those Pirates off the African coast(oh and beefing up patroling)…oh and there WAS the helicopter assault and taking out OBL. Surely he doesn’t want to keep on with those two wars we were lied into. Bush did leave a historic mess. I think he deserves to be remembered.

I wish Hart would admit to the term he embraced to buoy R.Paul and it’s stealthy historic use to nullify the legislative progress by the House Republicans. It’s the chicken hearted version of the filibuster that can be done anonymously.

Mr Hart is way to kind to the GOP. They have sold their souls to Transnational and domestic corporate America. They do not represent the working class average citizen. They are the ones with their foot on the neck of this country by clinging tight to the Supreme Court Decision Citizens vs FEC.

March 22, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.
Leaf said...

The thing about Libertarians, is that a significant portion of them tend to over simplify things. They say things like, "He [Obama] is determined to destroy capitalism, successful people, and the free market system."

Obviously, statements like that are just results of paranoia and an unwillingness to think deeply about an issue. That type of Randian Libertarianism reminds me of Trotsky Socialism. It sounds good on the surface, and it would work fine if there were no people in the world who want to take advantage of others. I think if one has any notion of history or human nature though, the flaws in both of those crystal towers of social philosophy are glaringly apparent.

March 22, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

If republicans could embrace Libertarian principles I would be very pleased. The national republican party and the local county party are hell bent on supporting the neocon approach and work very hard to push away and marginalise or outright banish anyone with strong libertarian ideas. It is really pretty sad.

March 22, 2013 at 8:10 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.