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.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.