Today I took part in The Drive the Discussion forum in Live Oak Florida and was pleased with the overall atmosphere at the event. The event was well attended and the air was charged with energy. It was the perfect environment to germinate healthy discourse and foster a vigorous debate within the Republican Party on a local level.
I was very pleased with the array of speakers such as Marco Rubio, Janet Adkins, Dennis Baxley, Bob Smith and many others who helped to clarify the direction that the GOP is heading.
However, the purpose in attending this event was to define and contrast where we are, where we are going and how we are going to get there. I had the opportunity to ask several questions to the various speakers but the question that provoked the most thought for me was addressed to Sarah Lovett who sat on a panel to discuss States Rights. Sarah is an outspoken member of The Republican Liberty Caucus and as a panel member, I directed my question to her. The question was simply," As a member of the Duval County Republican Executive Committee, I believe a house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe that as Republicans we are fighting for the life of our Republic and am confused with the growing presence of Libertarians in the Republican Party and the division this is causing. Why aren't the Libertarians advancing their agenda in the Libertarian Party rather than the Republican Party?"
To my surprise, the question was not answered by Sarah Lovett nor the other panel members, but was directed toward Will Pitts who answered the question. His answer was that the RLC has worked very hard to bring independents and others who are disgruntled with the Republicans into the fold and that we should not alienate them. This is not an exact quote but immediately following the session, I had the opportunity to discuss the positions of the RLC and the divergence with these ideals and the Traditional Republican Platform. I ardently agree with certain values that Libertarians advocate such as 2nd Amendment advocacy and States rights, however, the Libertarian Platform is in direct opposition to several of the core planks of the Republican Platform.
I have done a little research and would like to present the facts on this issue. I have pulled the Platform of the Republican Party, the Platform of The Libertarian Party and the Issues supported by the Republican Liberty Caucus and was very impressed by the vast contrast that the Republican Party has with the National Libertarian Platform yet the striking similarities the the Libertarian Party and The Republican Liberty Caucus. But what was more appalling was the manner and language which the Republican Liberty Caucus attacked Traditional Republicans and the values that we hold near and dear.
The following is a direct quote from the Republican Liberty Caucus website which addresses the Republican Party Planks of Pro Life and Pro Family values. "The obsession with legislating morality and with opposition to abortion and gay rights is really not part of the core Republican agenda. These ideas and the fanaticism they inspire were brought into the party through its alliance in the post-Reagan era with religious conservatives. Historically, Republicans have had a laissez faire attitude, not just to the economy, but also on moral issues. Republicans used to be dispassionate, leaving moral decisions in the hands of individuals and keeping government out of the picture. It seems like the pendulum might be swinging back in that direction."
I do not know what direction that the Republican Liberty Party thinks they are going to take the Republican Party but I would personally welcome an old fashioned Lincoln Douglas Debate to define the role of Libertarianism in the Republican Party.
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