So Matt, on a personal note, what drew you to the RLC and how did you become Chairman of the California chapter?
After becoming actively involved locally in the Sonoma County Republican Party, I looked for a larger Republican organization that promotes libertarian philosophy. I discovered the RLC and was inspired by their Statement of Principles and Positions.
Several other Sonoma Republicans joined me and we organized under the banner of the Republican Liberty Caucus to do political activism in our neighborhoods, on the street, and within the county Republican Party. Subsequently, in February 2009, I attended the state convention of the California Republican Party. I connected with RLC'ers from other parts of California, and was elected chairman. It has been an exciting year!
I noticed that the RLC welcomes constitutionalists, libertarians, classical liberals, and free market advocates. Will you expand on that?
All of the groups you mentioned agree that the government, and specifically the federal government, is too big. Constitutionalists believe the federal government is too big because it is doing more than is authorized by the Constitution. Classical liberals believe that people can best improve their lives without government "help" (or interference) and without the temptation and danger of becoming dependent on government welfare programs. Free market advocates believe that the government should not try to regulate, "stimulate", "bail-out" or otherwise interfere our economy. (Yet strangely some self-proclaimed "free market advocates" support macro-level government interference in the economy via the Federal Reserve and the banking cartels controlling national lending policies and the supply of fiat currency.)
So all of the above groups believe that the federal government should be significantly smaller than it is today. That is a huge piece of common ground. The RLC comes into the picture because we take that common ground and work to turn it into a specific political strategy: we work as a caucus within the Republican Party to promote candidates that support these ideals.
Since I consider myself a conservative, what caught my attention was that the RLC welcomes "tolerant conservatives." How would you describe a “tolerant conservative”?
We welcome all who support the RLC Statement of Principles and Positions. And, to answer your question, I would describe a “tolerant conservative” as a fiscal conservative who believes the government should not attempt to regulate the private lives of citizens. By “regulate” I mean things like: restricting freedom of speech, compelling military service, interfering in relationships between consenting adults, outlawing adult consumption of recreational drugs, and requiring the use of a national ID card.