The blowup between Chris Christie and Rand Paul is highlighting differences between libertarians (with a small “l”) and Republicans (with a cap “R”). From the Washington Post:
In the 1992 election, for example, a Cato Institute analysis found that the 13 percent or so of voters who were libertarian-minded—those who told pollsters they wanted smaller government but tolerant social policies—split almost evenly among Republican incumbent George H.W. Bush, Democrat Bill Clinton and third-party candidate Ross Perot. …
When libertarian Clark Ruper was a University of Michigan student from 2004 to 2007, he recalled, “there were, like, five of us on campus, and we all knew each other.” Now vice president of a rapidly growing organization called Students for Liberty, Ruper says of the dust-up between Christie and Paul: “I think it’s fantastic. When guys like Chris Christie are attacking us, we must be doing something right.”
Ruper, for one, rejects Reagan’s depiction of conservatism and libertarianism as being one and the same. “We are not a branch of conservatism,” largely because of social issues like same-sex marriage and drug legalization, Rupar said. “Those are real deal-breakers where we can’t get along with conservatives. We find our allies there on the left.”
Libertarians still count relatively few elected officials as their own. Rand Paul comes the closest. Libertarians have cheered his stance on surveillance and his 13-hour filibuster in March to protest the Obama administration’s use of unmanned drones. That filibuster brought withering commentary from the conservative establishment. …
Yet even Paul draws some skepticism from libertarian purists. They are leery, for instance, of his recent overtures to the Christian right, a constituency he cannot afford to alienate if he hopes to win his party’s presidential nomination.
Too often, it’s pick your poison—Republican religious rightists or Democratic total statists. But I think it’s evident that libertarians gay and straight in the GOP know they are battling for the soul of their party, whereas LGBT activists in the Democratic fold often embrace the worst aspects of their party’s bigger-bigger-bigger government agenda.
More. Enjoy 23 Libertarian Problems.