Libertarians and Conservatives Clash in GOP Identity Crisis

As Rand Paul and libertarians continue to become relevant in the GOP, will the conservatives embrace or reject these vocal constituents? Photo: US News

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2013­­—Rand Paul and Marco Rubio were the two biggest speakers of CPAC.

Rand Paul, fresh off of his filibuster, enjoyed a huge wave of support from attendees of all ages, and challenged the GOP to adapt to the changing political structure of the country.

Marco Rubio also enjoyed a diverse range of support, but stood firm on the veracity of the conservative movement’s ideals and argued that change was largely unnecessary.

As the GOP continues to meander about without a distinct leader, either of these men would arguably be more charismatic, more likeable, and seemingly less artificial than Romney often appeared. The primary season could yield an interesting battle in which we see one of the greatest in-fights since 2008 between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but the question is can the nominee of this battle prevail as Barack Obama did in the general election, or will the battle leave the GOP dismantled and too broken to win the 2016 election?

Libertarians and Conservatives have always had what one could call an interesting relationship. They both traditionally agree on economics and fiscal policy, but the points of contention often arise from social policy. This often becomes more than a disagreement often, but a full-on battle between who truly believes in the right to life, liberty, and property.

This became a huge debate at CPAC when a panel focused on connecting to Generation X and Y erupted into a debate on abortion and gay marriage. The moderator, Students for Liberty President Alex McCobin, squared off with the largely conservative panel, excluding Jeff Frazee, Young Americans for Liberty Executive Director. Kate Edwards, of the Young America’s Foundation, struck back against McCobin’s charge that “conservative is viewed as a dirty word.”  

With undeterred defiance, Kate Edwards and the other conservative panel members proudly upheld their pro-life and traditional marriage beliefs. While this may all seem like political theatre, this is a scaled representation of the relationship Libertarians and Conservatives are having on record, and would prospectively have in the future.

After Rand Paul’s filibuster, John McCain said that “I don’t think what happened yesterday was helpful to the American people…” and Linsey Graham also chimed in with a similar opinion, stating that the premise of the filibuster was “ridiculous.” Most recently, Rick Santorum, one of the most conservative candidates of the 2012 election, has addressed the issue saying that “If we do change, we’ll be the Whig Party….We’re not the Libertarian Party, we’re the Republican Party.” The identity of the crisis of the GOP is very real, and has already begun to sp

lit the party down the line of those who “Stand with Rand” and those who seemingly would gravitate towards Marco Rubio, or other more traditional conservative candidates. But after the 2012 election, it would be hard to argue that conservatives really can win running on the same platform.

The GOP was refuted on the basis of it’s social policies.

As tides shift nationally towards marriage equality, the right to an abortion, background checks on gun owners, and ending the drug war, the conservatives cannot win as is. Rand Paul, and moreover libertarianism, presents the GOP a chance to gain back some of those alienated voters, as well as capture swing voters in the same fashion that Romney could not. Rubio, while very polished, presents nothing new to the party platform, and nominating him is as foolish as touching the hot stove after you’ve already been burned. If conservatives prefer to be “right” rather than win, they should prepare to relive the 2012 election for many years to come.


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Taweh D. Beysolow, II

Taweh Beysolow II currently attends St.John’s University where he is in his Junior year of study for his Bachelor’s of Science in Economics. In addition to his academic studies within the classroom, Beysolow also is conducting 2 separate field studies, one independently on industrial organization and one with an LIU Post Biology Professor on the economics of conservation biology.

In addition to a strong interest in economics, Beysolow has become an active voice in the libertarian and conservative community within the United States as well as internationally. As a Treasurer for his Young American’s for Liberty Chapter at St.John’s, Beysolow has represented his university along with the chapter at the 6th annual International Students for Liberty Conference, the largest gathering of pro-liberty students to date. In addition to this, Beysolow has also attended other regional conferences and other events hosted by Students for Liberty, as well as CPAC 2013 with other St.John’s Students and the newly forming Young Americans for Freedom chapter.

Outside of these interests, Beysolow studies classical performance of the clarinet with esteemed recording artist Lawrence Sobol, and also performs with the New York Youth Symphony in 3 concerts per year at Carnegie Hall. In addition to clarinet, Beysolow also has played the piano classically for a representative number of years with numerous high schools and semi-professional groups across Long Island.

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