Libertarian Party Candidates Woo Tea Party Members

September 2, 2014 11:00 am

by Joash Thomas · 29 comments

“Politics makes for strange bedfellows.” In what could be one of the more interesting headlines you will come across this election cycle,  it seems like the Georgia Libertarian Party is trying hard to woo the Tea Party its way this November. Libertarian Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hunt and Senatorial candidate Amanda Swafford have been making the rounds, visiting Tea Party groups around Georgia.

Just to quickly recap from earlier this summer, Tea Party groups in Georgia suffered a resounding setback when almost all of its primary candidates ended up losing. Both David Perdue and Governor Nathan Deal had Tea Party backed primary opponents that they eventually ended up defeating.

The Libertarian Party (which I am told does not necessarily represent all libertarians) appears to be taking advantage of this Tea Party setback, and is even trying to capitalize (no pun intended) on it. It remains to be seen how successful it will be in this endeavor. From the original article that appeared in the AJC over this past weekend:

There was no guarantee that Georgia gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hunt was going to get an opportunity to speak, but he went ahead and made the 1 1/2-hour drive up I-75 from Atlanta to be at this tea party meeting on a Tuesday night. Once he did arrive, the Libertarian and nanotechnology innovator was given five minutes — more than enough time to get across the spirit of his pitch of more jobs, less government.

The night before, Hunt was more than 330 miles away, giving his stump speech to a crowded room of tea party empathizers in Savannah. There was a purpose behind his far-flung travel plans: finding common ground with these conservative activists is crucial for the underdog’s hope to compete with incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger Jason Carter.

The article goes on to point out that:

Hunt isn’t the only Georgia Libertarian to seek tea party support. U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Swafford played cornhole with constituents before speaking at a Gwinnett County Tea Party meeting on Aug. 26. Ted Metz, a contender for insurance commissioner, has joined Hunt on his grass-roots tour, while state House District 21 write-in candidate Jeff Amason has attended tea party events in Cherokee County in the past.

While the Tea Party and the Libertarian Party do see eye-to-eye on fiscal issues, it remains to be seen how the Georgia Libertarian Party ignores addresses the existing differences between its socially liberal platforms and the Tea Party’s socially conservative ones. What do you think about this interesting scenario? Could such an alliance ultimately be successful? Discuss.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

FranInAtlanta September 2, 2014 at 11:10 am

If it were 1990, I would have to think about voting for Nunn – however, it’s 2014 and we need to get the Senate out of Dem hands. I do not like Nathan Deal, but I am not quite ready to vote for Jason Carter (although a Dem in the state house might not be bad) so I can see myself voting for the Libertarian for governor in Round 1. For what it’s worth, I consider myself a Romney Republican.

Lea Thrace September 2, 2014 at 11:26 am

Serious question. Is Romney Republican a defined thing? And if it is, can you define for me?

Chris Huttman September 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm

2006 Governor of Massachusetts universal healthcare law signing and proud of it Romney?

Or 2012 whoops that never happened Romney?

Jon Lester September 2, 2014 at 11:32 am

I might have voted for Romney if he hadn’t gone so far out of his way to demonstrate his geopolitical incompetence.

Harry September 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm

On Russia Romney proved correct, unlike Obama.

Jon Lester September 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm

He also thought an ICBM is something you can strap to a bomber.

How many photographs have you seen of the alleged Russian “invasion?” Whose tax dollars created the Ukraine situation in the first place? What’s on those MH17 black boxes, and why haven’t we heard any more about that? Truth is, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Hillary, Brzezinski and the neocons when it comes to why our Russia policy is designed to make a few people rich, at the expense of millions, much as they’ve also done in the Middle East.

Harry September 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm

No, I’m with you. I don’t want to go to war with Russia and I’m not convinced there is an “invasion”. However, Romney correctly pointed out the issue with Putin while Obama was trying to schmooze him.

Jon Lester September 3, 2014 at 12:02 am

I appreciate that. I would also submit, George W. Bush had a better relationship with Putin, and did a better job of vetoing the neocon agenda, too, when the FSR Georgia thing happened in 2008, and I think many of us here would agree that Dick Cheney was a much more formidable personality to stand up to than Joe Biden and John Kerry combined.

Bobloblaw September 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm

why havent we head about the MH 17 Black Boxes??? Easy, it implicates the Russians and their Ukranian rebel allies.

Jon Lester September 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Why would the UK withhold that info?

Bobloblaw September 3, 2014 at 12:39 am

UK???? England??? They dont have the black boxes. The Russians do

Bobloblaw September 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm

“”I might have voted for Romney if he hadn’t gone so far out of his way to demonstrate his geopolitical incompetence”” Just WOW

Jon Lester September 3, 2014 at 12:03 am

That hardly distinguishes you as informed.

Jon Lester September 2, 2014 at 11:29 am

I wish Amanda Swafford weren’t so hung up on the “Fair Tax,” but it also doesn’t matter, because that’ll never become reality, and should she pull an upset, I’m confident she wouldn’t vote for new foreign military adventures.

Harry September 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm

You should support Rand Paul. He has a real chance to move the dial.

Jon Lester September 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm

When 2016 rolls around, I probably will, if for no other reason than to vote against the rest of the GOP primary field.

Arbitragian September 2, 2014 at 11:53 am

As a general rule people will vote their pocket books before they vote their sexual orientation. Nonetheless, there can be some hard feelings on both sides of the social issues. Somebody recently said, there are times to hold your nose and to hold your tongue. This may be one of them.

Joash Thomas September 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Interesting perspective. Do you really think that holds true in this case though? Is it fair on the part of the Libertarian Party to shove it’s socially liberal platforms and agendas under the rug when trying to win voters who are traditionally social conservatives? Let’s say that hypothetically if a Libertarian candidate does end up winning, the Libertarian official should then be fully expected to further his socially liberal agendas. In a situation like that, would it be fair on the Tea Partiers who voted him into office? Just raising a few honest questions here. Full disclosure: I consider myself to be a libertarian leaning Republican myself.

Arbitragian September 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I do not think holding one’s nose and tongue amounts to shoving an agenda under the rug. One can only talk about one thing at a time. And despite all the recent hoopla, multitasking is really overrated. One must make certain objectives priorities, and everything else necessarily takes a back seat. Rand Paul and Cory Booker don’t agree on much, but they do agree that prison and sentencing reform is a priority.

More fundamentally, the Libertarian argument isn’t really “pro-gay” or “pro-drugs” per se, rather it is more accurately that government really has no business managing social issues. You will, for example, find many libertarians who would support gay marriage, and nonetheless side with the bakers and photographers who do not want to participate in gay weddings, and think it is not the government’s place to tell them what sorts of behavior they must support.

I’m reminded of something Martin Niemoller said about Nazi Germany:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Social pluralism is a good thing for any culture. It is one, if not the primary, basis for the First Amendment. We may not like what others say or do, but it really isn’t our place to prevent them from doing it, that is unless what they are doing causes palpable (as opposed to imagined) harm to others.

BTW I am a twice a week sing in the choir on Sunday Christian.

Will Durant September 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Yes but the co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots stated in this forum recently that our education system started going to Hell when the public schools started teaching children that they descended from monkeys, and she wants her religious teachings in schools. She doesn’t have any problems with Jody Hice suspending the Bill of Rights to Muslims. Condemns David Ralston for doing his job as an attorney defending a man charged and possibly wrongly convicted of child molestation as a result of a nasty divorce…

Just about the polar opposite of how Libertarians swing.

Joash Thomas September 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm

I’m completely on board with everything that you just said. Nevertheless, priority or no-priority, I would prefer candidates and parties to be upfront about their platforms and agendas while campaigning in order to be as transparent as possible with the electorate they seek to represent. Nevertheless, I definitely get where you’re coming from. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

Will Durant September 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Contrary to their own mission statements, etc., there are too many Tea Party members that are just to the right of Torquemada on social issues.

Joash Thomas September 2, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Absolutely. I would rather the Tea Party define themselves rather than leave it to the fears and imaginations of others. One key lesson is effective messaging is defining yourself and setting the conversation instead of waiting on others to do the same for you.

saltycracker September 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm

The Tea Party quickly grew out of frustration with a congress unwilling to rein in spending or administer and enforce its own policies. They put forth basic attractions most Republicans could identify with:
A Constitutional based, smaller Federal Government, fiscal and individual responsibility, taxed enough, spending and debt controls, free (responsibly regulated) markets, civic responsibilities, increased local control, accountability, do no harm and lawful behavior.

These were to be the stars for navigation but followers insisted on some directional stars on social issues being legislated. To this the Tea Party took a pass and let every group do their thing resulting in a billion points of light and no coherent direction.

Thus we saw many leaders in these groups go off on tangents many believing in the basics found unacceptable.
Examples: Rejecting plausible scientific findings, embracing fundamentalist religious matters, debasing the individual in religious or social matters by political redefinition or imposing absolutes.

With a movement that has no comprehensive or coherent position we need, the Libertarians would rue the woo as the aim is to disrupt their kinfolk Republicans with statements like the below:

“With few exceptions, REPUBLICANS IN WASHINGTON ARE TOO STUPID TO EXPLAIN THEIR POSITIONS AND TOO COWARDLY TO DEFIND THEM AND THEREFORE, NEED TO BE LED.”

Joash Thomas September 2, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Great perspective. As a Republican myself, I only wish the Tea Party would pragmatically work in collaboration with other Republicans to get their values represented instead of just focusing on booting Republican incumbents out of office. Doing something like that might benefit Conservative values and the Tea Party in the long run.

Bobloblaw September 3, 2014 at 12:42 am

That is precisely why I am not a TP supporter anymore. I got sick of the bad candidates, the inability to conduct introspection and the attitude that when the TP challenges an incumbent GOPer, the incumbent should just step aside.

Three Jack September 2, 2014 at 4:57 pm

If the current tea party groups were more like the original folks who dumped tea in Boston Harbor, they would not be floudering about aimlessly as has happened. Here is a good story about one of the originals that I honestly had not heard about previously – http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/09/original-tea-partier-atheist-thomas-young-110497_Page3.html.

Unfortunately far too many in the current groups began their involvement in politics as a means to push their collective social agenda. When they discovered that message was no longer popular, they pivoted to appear as if they were more about fiscal responsibility and less government. Thus we now have a discombobulated set of groups with no coherent message resulting in a lack of influence and/or relevance. Too bad there aren’t more like Thomas Young in the mix.

Bobloblaw September 3, 2014 at 12:43 am

The TP did start out as a fiscal not social movement

Bobloblaw September 3, 2014 at 12:44 am

In GA the Libertarians can woo anyone they want. Thanks to runoffs it doesnt matter