On Thursday, I ventured into a place avoided by much of the journalistic establishment: Reddit.
Famous for its sophomoric memes, the Reddit community can seem bewildering to people who aren’t: A) Under 25 — and B) Of a liberal/libertarian bent. But it was a lot of fun — and I received (and answered) close to 100 questions — many of them very insightful.
Here is a quick sampling of a few of the questions (my answers are indented):
Question from thewaybaseballgo‘: “Do you still believe that Rick Santorum is a viable candidate for future elections?”
Rick Santorum had the potential to tap into what I believe is an under-served niche within the American electorate — Christian conservatives who don’t mind big government.
There are a lot of struggling working-class folks who don’t like President Obama, but also don’t identify with Mitt Romney. In the past two cycles, candidates like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have appealed to these folks, and though it hasn’t been enough to win the nomination, it has elevated candidates whom nobody thought could compete.
Unfortunately for Santorum, he failed to fully brand himself as a hero to this populist audience. And I have no reason to believe that he will be disciplined enough to do so in the future.
The 2012 GOP field was incredibly weak. If Santorum couldn’t win this year, how can he compete in a field with potential candidates like Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, et al.?
Rick Santorum’s presidential hopes might be dashed, but I do think this campaign rehabilitated his image and helped him recover from the devastating loss in Pennsylvania a few years ago. He may very well go on to have a significant impact in the future.
Question from ‘Varo112‘: “One of the most oft repeated talking points of the Republican party is the claim that they want “smaller government” yet they often expand the government to place more restrictions on individual liberty Exe. the war on drugs, the patriot act and the NDAA. Is there no cognitive dissonance here among politicians, do they really believe in small government or just small government when it suits their interests?”
There is a lot of hypocrisy and it’s frustrating.
In a way, some of it sort of makes sense. (They don’t trust the other side to run a big government.)
Even if Romney wins and Republican politicians revert to their old habits, I’m hoping that conservative writers and opinion leaders don’t get co-opted this time around. Someone needs to point this out and hold them accountable.
Question from ‘Bootnuts‘: “I am an avid Ron Paul Supporter. What kind of impact do you think he has had on the Reagan conservatives? Has he changed/challenged your opinions at all?”
I think Ron Paul has made some positive contributions to conservatism. By virtue of running for president, he has brought issues to light. For example, conservatives are now more skeptical of the FED.
And while I don’t necessarily agree with his foreign policy philosophy, I definitely want someone like Ron Paul in the room every time a decision is being made on whether or not to send young men and women into harm’s way.
(I also think Sen. Rand Paul might have a very bright future.)