Saturday, September 7, 2013

Left/Right Libertarianism as the developing threat to progressive change

Three years ago when Jane Hamsher decided to team up with Grover Norquist to try to defeat Obamacare, most of us were shocked by her obvious Obama Derangement Syndrome. And yet today, that effort to hoodwink progressives into signing up with tea party libertarians is a pretty common phenomenon. Lately we've watched these folks:
  1. #StandWithRand on his ridiculous anti-drone filibuster
  2.  Suggest that we should join forces with the tea party to defeat a budget deal
  3. Tell us that America's only hope is Ron/Rand Paul and the Drudge Report
  4. Team up with tea party Rep. Justin Amash to defund the NSA
  5. Agree with Sarah Palin's "Let Allah sort it out" on the gassing of civilians in Syria 
As someone who is addicted to looking at the big picture, I think it behooves us to take a look at what is happening here. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is exactly the direction folks like Assange and Greenwald have wanted to see things go for a long time. But the question still remains, "why is this sort of movement gaining traction with progressives these days?" There are two things that make this all seem counter-intuitive:
  1. The Republican Party is pandering to its most reactionary lunatic base. Not in my lifetime have I seen so much distance between where the two parties would take the country, and
  2. We now have the most liberal President we've seen in a generation.
But if we dig a little deeper, those are exactly the things that are providing a platform for this movement towards libertarianism. We all know that Ron Paul actually getting the Republican nomination for president was a pipe dream. But with the disarray that we've seen recently, his son Rand is actually being seen as a serious contender. The Republican neo-cons failed so disastrously during the Bush/Cheney years that they gave an opening to the libertarian alternative.

On the other hand, folks are talking about an ascendant Democratic Party for the foreseeable future unless the Republicans can get their act together (which is clearly not happening yet). The trouble is, too many progressives have spent so long on the outside, that they don't know how to behave when they're finally on the inside. They've convinced themselves that any attempt to actually govern in a democratic republic (ie, compromise) indicates that our leaders have simply sold out to the oligarchs, plutocrats, and military industrial complex. They've perfected the art of tearing down the opposition but don't have a g-d clue about how to rebuild. And so, in their frustration, they simply continue to tear down - opening the gate to libertarianism. 

Oh, and did I mention that both the President and the ascendant Democratic base are neither white nor male? Yep, what's happening is that its time for the good ol boys to regroup.
Make no mistake about it...this is a re-invention of a 21st century southern strategy aimed at the idea of forming a national coalition of white male libertarians during a time when the rights of women and people of color are on the line.
I would suggest that going forward, this developing coalition between left/right libertarians will be a bigger threat to actual progressive change than the vestiges of the Republican Party in its previous incarnation. In the near future, keep your eye on Rand Paul. As long as his bid for the presidency is under the banner of the Republican Party, he's toast. But if he makes a break and runs as a third party candidate, its because he thinks this coalition is big enough to give him a shot.

In the meantime, lets keep our eye on the prize of what a true fusion politics has always looked like and the kind of opposition it has historically engendered. As the saying goes, "Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it."


  1. Big Picture! This is genius, Smartypants. You're absolutely right: the Libertarians are the KKK of today. They want nothing more than to obliterate our government and everything it stands for, but nothing so much as they want to get rid of Fusion Politics. I agree with the speaker in the video: The Third Reconstruction just might work this time.

    What I do question however is that an independent run by Rand Paul will ever have a coalition that will give him a true shot at winning a significant amount of electoral votes. He can throw a wrench in the works but that wrench could more likely look like what happened with Ross Perot. Rand Paul will be competing with the GOP candidate and message, not the Democrat's. If his desire is to woo disaffected white racists, he needs to get in line. Plus it it highly unlikely that an African American will be on the ballot. The nominees from the two major parties will most likely both be white. I just don't see Rand Paul as a threat.

    1. Tien Le - I HOPE Rand does not pull out a win as a Republican. As a third party, he's gutted. As a Republican...

      I have no good way of telling whether a Hillary run would bring the Emos back inside the Dem arena, but if that's what it takes, then I will swallow some of my worries about her. We can live with her. We cannot live with defections to Rand as a mainstream candidate if she is not there to pull the Progs back. They will be sorry, but they will vote for her thinking she's the real deal. White. Woman. Bill's wife. All the idiotic reasons, but hey.

      The pernicious in-gathering of not just Progs and Libertarians but even fascists now that Assange has supported the Australia First party is very worrisome I part because American Libertarians are moving toward fascism at a great pace. Those were the coalitions of fraudulent lefties with fascists under Franco, all lying low until they rose against their supposed allies. Fifth columnists scare the hell out of me. They have been game changers in other nations, other times. That cannot be dismissed out of hand as part of the 'Big Picture'.

    2. Libertarians have always been authoritarians, so anything that looks like a quickened pace toward Fascism is really just us finally waking up and seeing the trend that's been there all along. I'm glad we're finally able to identify the traits and the people behind this movement. Helps us marginalize them. The better we get at identifying who they are and what they believe and how many of them are members of the media (MSNBC) Jeff Bezos buying Washington Post, DKos, etc., the better we can mobilize to discredit them and their belief system. I like the idea of casting them as fighting the Third Reconstruction. The Fusion politics demographics are poised to out-number them. Then what will they do?

    3. Lol at Rand Paul for president. I knew Romney was fucked against Obama when I saw McCain's research. I can imagine what 100 plus pages would look like with Rand Paul. No republican from congress should think about running for president. They burned that bridge when they tried to stop Obama at all cost. Rand's own party will crush him ruthlessly. The media will jump for joy at Rand making a fool of himself. I don't know how mean they'll be online. There's nothing to fear from the GOP. They just need their asses kicked.


  2. I agree with you that this is what the left and right libertarians want, but I don't think they will succeed. I, also, think that the so called progressives were never part of Obama's base. I think what the President did is actually expose the democrats in the party that talked a good game, but did nothing to actually change things to make things better for 98% of Americans.

    1. Those who hate Obama but pretend to be liberal-progressive spent all their time in 2010 and even 2012 telling people to vote for some utterly obscure candidate or not vote at all. Since they did not vote, they rendered themselves utterly without a voice or power. If they support Rand as a third party candidate, it will draw off more from the GOP than the Dems. We shall see, but I think as outsiders they are totally impotent.

    2. So this is the American manifestation of those right wing anti immigrant parties that keep popping up all over Europe and Australia.

  3. I think that the emos will come back as soon as a democrat that isn't Obama is running in 2016. (The last thing they want to admit to themselves is that they are neither democrats or the "real liberals" that they love to claim to be.) Then they will pout and go turncoat again as soon as that democrat doesn't deliver a glitter farting unicorn to their backyard the day after inauguration.

  4. As someone who is addicted to looking at the big picture, I think it behooves us to take a look at what is happening here.

    Why don't we?!? You do realize Bill "William the Bloody" Kristol is in favor of intervention, right? Given all that we know(or should), why would that be? He doesn't give a flying leap about dead women and children. Are you pleased he's on your side? See, it cuts both ways. Just remember that.

    1. Interesting comment, Phil.

      Once again we have a person too caught up in of the characterization BS mentioned by Hada Thought the other day. And as usual, this results in no action (even when its necessary).

      With the death that's going on in Syria right now, do I really care that Bill Kristol is on our side for this one issue regardless of his intentions?

      With Assad using chemical weapons on this own people, I really, really, really could care even less about him than usual.

    2. I don't care about your characterization nonsense, Phil.

      I care about the Syrian people more.

      You're lumping this situation in with Iraq. There are similarities, but there are also differences.

      There is a plan, but, since its coming from President Obama (who is the Commander-in-Chief), you wouldn't accept it anyway.

      The United States was founded on compromise. Our constitution is the exact result of a compromise between the Federalists and Anti-Federalist forces. So, there will be times, when being lumped in with an opponent isn't a bad thing.

      As long as you keep asking for purity, you will always lose and you will never change anything. All you will be is a complainer. You will never go beyond the complaining phase you are in now.

      As for proof of Assad gassing his own people, it's clear you haven't been following the reports. But, then again, you probably won't believe them.

      So, there's no need to argue with you anymore. No matter how the situation changes, your opinions will not. This rigidity may be useful in winning a political discussion, but it fails to actually accomplish change in Washington.

    3. Phil, there is a difference between someone having the same view as I do and me going to that person and joining in with them in some way. SmartyPants is talking about taking action WITH libertarians.

  5. Brilliant post, Smartypoints!

    A Southern Strategy for the 21st century. That's exactly what this is.

    I've just realized that a component of the original Southern Strategy comes from on why it was created in the first place.

    In 1968, Richard Nixon won by such a small margin was because of George Wallace. Wallace, who everybody here knows, was a huge, segregation-supporting Dixiecrat. He ran as an independent and splits votes from the Democratic Party by 20%. Seeing how much of a split the Dixiecrats created in the Democrat vote in '68, Lee Atwater, the mastermind behind the original strategy, built upon that.

    I believe Rand Paul will never be President. However, that's not where the biggest threat he poses lies. It's in that old "vote splitting" tactic used time and time again. The best Rand can do is split the vote. This may be an attempt by the right-wing to split the Democratic vote or at least discourage it from voting. But, this could also split the Republican vote, too. A lot of Paul supporters who are still in the party could very well only be staying because Rand is still there. But, if Rand goes independent, they will gladly leave the GOP in a heartbreak. It should be noted that the GOP has always treated the Paulites very, very badly for years.

    Either way, what Rand does will be interesting to see.

  6. Paul Canning had a couple of posts that add to your position where he is talking about Greenwald, the Guardian and the assault on government. The link is that corporations win, just as they do with Libertarians.

    A libertarian assault on the notion of government lies behind the reporting of the NSA 'revelations'. The left needs to step up, expose the con and defend government as a force for good.

    ...Promoted ad nauseam by The Guardian and reproduced without question, the link-bait 'revelations' about the American National Security Agency (NSA) are convincing more and more people that we live in a conspiracy, Jason Bourne world rather than the mundane reality....