The Mamet "conversion" read to me as much more libertarian than conservative (see its final graph), but there nevertheless has been some pushback from that supposed hotbed of "Libertarian Dem" thought, DailyKos. (As Will Wilkinson wrote, Show Me the Libertarianism.) Be sure to scroll down to the end of the post so you can vote in a poll on why Mamet so betrayed all the is good and pure in the world.
Mike Huckabee won the West Virginia State Presidential Convention today -- with an assist by the Ron Paul faction on the second ballot. The point, I guess, was to register antipathy to Romney by denying him delegates... and giving them to the big-government nanny-statist social conservative. Granted, Huckabee is probably the second-least hawkish candidate. But remind me again: Was Paul's candidacy supposed to have something to do with libertarianism?
This gives Huckabee all 18 of West Virginia's delegates.
It's worth clearing something up about the strategy that led to the Paul newsletters. Paleolibertarianism began as a way to get libertarian politics back in touch with the normal customs, habits, and mores of most people while keeping the focus on antistatism. The idea was that libertarian hostility to religion and to the nation-state was hurting the cause of more freedom and less government. Most people are to some extent religious. They don't reject all forms of social authority. When they hear that a country is just a bunch of people who happen live in the same geopraphic location, and that there is no reason to feel more loyalty to an American than someone else, it doesn't quite ring true to them.
Unfortunately, as evidenced by the types of people these newsletters were marketed to, some prominent paleolibertarians took these insights and then veered off into rather ugly directions with them. Ironically, by doing so they have probably strengthened the very tendencies in libertarianism they once sought to mitigate.
Now it's Paul's time to school. There's simply no ground for argument against his claim that the Republican party has deliberately and progressively abandoned its core policy commitments. As I've said elsewhere, the strength and vigor in Paul's candidacy, disorganized as it has been, came from his constitutionalism more than his libertarianism. But there's no doubt that a major dent has been put in Paul's campaign. There are few high-profile constitutionalists writing -- and few people who mention Taft -- but more libertarians, both cultural and political. Their despond over Paul's newsletters probably will suck all the wind from his sails. It's clear that Thompson's making a play -- despite what he's implied to bloggers today -- for Paul's votes and Huckabee's votes. As he should. Rudy continues to be limp by comparison. Thompson still, still has the unbelievable chance to make himself a real player. I'd encourage him, in the same way I encouraged him to declare in the first place, to get hopping.
As long as we're on the subject of Ron Paul: On Thursday, I expressed skepticism about a theory, advanced by Conn Carroll of Hotline's Blogometer, that Paul would hurt Barack Obama by siphoning off New Hampshire independents; Andrew Sullivan likes both Obama and Paul, and Carroll seemed to be extrapolating from Sullivan's views a bit too easily. I didn't get a chance to mention it (mainly because I was traveling over the weekend), but Carroll emailed in a response:
True Sullivan is rarely representative of others thinking, but we are already trying to shrink a pretty idiosyncratic crowd: Ron Paul supporters...
If we want to figure out who a well funded Ron Paul campaign will affect, we have to look at who potential Paul supporters probably are, and then ask ourselves who else is appealing to voters like that. A Paul voter is: 1) anti-war; 2) anti-Washington; 3) does not regularly participate in partisan primaries; and 4) is susceptible to grandiose calls for 'change'.
That is an Obama voter right there.