From 2000 to 2008, I was politically homeless. As a conservative I would’ve liked to have been a part of the Republican Party, but there was simply no conservatism in the GOP at the time. It was the Republican Party of Bush, Cheney, war, torture and executive orders, and it was anti-Constitution and anti-civil liberties. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan were nowhere to be found. No Child Left Behind and Medicare Plan D were front and center. The traditional conservatism of the Founding Fathers, Robert Taft and Russell Kirk didn’t exist beyond my bookshelf. The world-police and nation-building policies of Woodrow Wilson and the New Deal socialism of Franklin Roosevelt had become “conservative.” For constitutionalists and limited-government advocates, it sucked. Bad.
The presidency of big-government Barack Obama, who now leads the party of war, torture and executive orders, and has even upped the ante on Bush with his anti-Constitution and anti-civil liberties policies, has been a time of reflection for conservatives. It has also been a time of rejection — of what they deemed “conservative” just a few short years ago.
Tuesday, Thomas Massie won the Republican nomination in Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District. He won by a huge 16-point margin. For most of the right-wing media this wasn’t a huge deal. It was simply another Republican winning: Democrats are bad and Republicans are good, therefore this win must be good. Partisanship intact. Move along. Did you know Obama wants gays to get married? And he ate dog!
But for those who care about what the Republican Party actually stands for, this was a revolutionary victory. Massie is a fiscal hawk who wants to balance the budget now, not decades from now. He wants to audit and potentially abolish the Federal Reserve. He wants to get rid of the Department of Education and other federal departments. A strict constitutionalist, Massie supports not only the Second and Tenth Amendments, but the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments, hence his opposition to the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act’s indefinite detainment provisions. Massie believes in a strong national defense — which means using our military only for America’s actual defense and only when absolutely necessary, no policing the world or nation-building. Massie was the tea party’s candidate and the establishment’s headache. He was endorsed by Congressman Ron Paul and is considered a protégé of Senator Rand Paul.
And to Kentucky voters Tuesday, he was deemed not only the best candidate, but the most conservative Republican. This is amazing. From 2000 to 2008, Massie wouldn’t even have been considered a Republican, much less a conservative one. In fact, he wouldn’t even have been considered at all — much less win the GOP nomination.
Massie stands against everything that was considered “conservative” when Bush’s GOP defined that term — in both domestic and foreign policy — and yet today Massie is considered a conservative tea party “extremist” by liberals and Republican hacks alike. Massie’s primary opponent, establishment choice Alecia Webb-Edgington, tried to attack Massie on precisely these grounds, stressing that she was in no way a “libertarian” like Massie, but a real “Republican.” She was right. Unlike Massie, Webb-Edgington would’ve likely spent as much money as Bush, ripped the Constitution to shreds and abused the members of our military by sending them across the globe for no discernible reason. Watching her stump speech, I thought it was 2005 and she was a female Lindsey Graham. In the end, her “Republican” party was rejected in a landslide.