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What Makes a Theocratic Statist a “Liberty Candidate?”

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Prominent right-wing blogger (and apparent closet Bircher) Eric Odom has decided to spend a lot of his time covering the controversial special election for New York's 23rd Congressional District, in which liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava has received the backing of the GOP establishment, and her Conservative Party opponent Doug Hoffman has attracted the support of a lot of the more outspoken pundits on the right and a number of religiously extreme anti-liberty groups like Eagle Forum.

In his latest article Odom makes the peculiar observation:

The race represents a clear message being sent to the RNC. And the message is simple… the liberty movement is not going to tolerate liberal Republicans anymore.

Now, I'm not sure who appointed Odom the spokesman for the liberty movement, but he seems to have forgotten that an essential component of that movement is, oddly enough, support for liberty. In all its forms. Not just the economic liberty of lower taxes, but also the other liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and granted to all people under natural law; liberties like freedom of association, of religion, of speech and of privacy.

I don't know all that much about Doug Hoffman's politics. He manages to avoid mentioning most of the tough issues on his website. But I can guess what some of them are by his list of endorsements, which includes a number of groups which can only be considered strongly anti-liberty and even among the greatest enemies of liberty on the political right.

Eagle Forum is certainly the worst of the lot. This group of bigoted biddies is headed up by Phyllis Schlafly. They are in favor of war, torture, abstinence and creationism. They are strongly anti-gay, not only opposing gay marriage, but also actively homophobic and supportive of gay reeducation programs. They're also against gambling, divorce, pornography, immigration, birth-control, marijuana and vaccines. In my opinion no candidate endorsed by Eagle Forum could ever be considered a "liberty" candidate. Eagle Forum would basically like to turn the country into a totalitarian theocracy. Any candidate who loves liberty should publicly reject their endorsement.

Some of the other groups endorsing Hoffman are nearly as bad: GING-PAC is an extreme religious right group which promotes "family values" and "biblical government" which seems pretty ominous. The National Organization for Marriage is an anti-gay group claiming to be “the preeminent organization dedicated to preventing the legalization of same-sex marriage," which makes them strongly anti-liberty. Many of the other groups endorsing him are pro-life groups; in itself not a problem, but many of them also promote a religious agenda which includes opposition to gay rights and birth control, and even support for school prayer.

Now, I'm by no means a fan of Dede Scozzafava, but she does at least have a reasonable record on many issues of individual liberty. She's too supportive of unions and too tied into the New York leftist establishment, but she is relatively fiscally conservative, in favor of gun rights and for cutting taxes. I would never pick Scozzafava as a candidate or encourage a group I was part of to endorse her. But that said, she's still less anti-liberty than Hoffman is. If his endorsements represent his views, Hoffman is actively opposed to a great many of our basic liberties, while Scozzafava is just another opportunistic moderate-to-liberal Republican who will vote with other Republicans more often than most Democrats will, and certainly more than any Democrat far enough to the left to get elected in her district.

There are some Republicans who claim to be part of or even speak for the "liberty movement" within the party who are not really part of it. They're just religious fanatics and single-issue social conservatives who pay lip service to the idea of smaller government and want to cash in on the momentum they see growing. Their dirty secret is that they oppose Scozzafava not because of her level of commitment to liberty, but because she's pro-choice and pro-gay. Nothing else matters to them. They are one of the groups which got us in the mess the GOP is in today, as bad as the neocons and big-business Republicans. They're statists on too many issues and that makes them enemies of liberty.   They must not be allowed to hijack the liberty movement and drive the party in the wrong direction.

The truth is that liberal Republicans still have more in common with the liberty movement than Democrats or even most socially conservative Republicans, and while that doesn't mean you should support an uninspiring candidate like Scozzafava, don't let anyone get away with a big lie like claiming that a candidate like Doug Hoffman, who is endorsed and funded by Eagle Forum and other groups of bigots, extremists and theocrats, is in any way a candidate who supports liberty. 

Hoffman may be a conservative, but he's not a liberty conservative. He's just another statist who wants to use the power of government to dictate how people live.  He's not that different from Scozzafava, he's just bad in different ways.  Don't waste your time and effort on this pointless contest between two bad choices.  Spend your money and enthusiasm to support the many Republican candidates in other campaigns who are authentic advocates for individual liberty, free enterprise and limited government.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • Baronius

    Dave – Second last paragraph, did you mean to say that Scozzafava is pro-life? You might want to edit that. (Feel free to delete this comment too.)

  • Clavos

    Good point, Bar. I edited and published the article, but I’m going to leave it to Dave, who is not at his desk until later today.

  • TruthIsBiggerThanPassion

    Dave, you are either out of touch or misinformed. There is a difference between being “anti-liberty” as you call it and being supportive of basic decency. Many Americans are saddened by how far we have gone from the founding father’s original intentions. Having liberty does not necessarily mean “if it feels good do it”. It doesn’t mean anything goes. There is a greater good for society at stake. It’s possible to promote family values and the best things in life over the “what feels good for the moment” things in life and still be pro-liberty.It’s not religious facism to stand up for the values of decency that helped build our country. I can still support your religious freedom or your right to have no religion, I just want to leave to my children a country that still maintains basic decency and values.I also want a country that keeps BIG GOVERNMENT in check. Smaller government, lower taxes, (which leads to a better economy and actually greater revenues to the government), less government intrusion into my daily life. And that means no more liberal Republicans that are merely an echo chamber for Democrats.

  • Clavos


    Just FYI. I did some research and went ahead and made the change. Thanks for the heads up.

  • AvadaKedavra

    Truthisbiggerthanpassion… You are a FASCIST! The fact that you think you have a right to tell others (probably gays) how to live shows that despite all your empty rhetoric about freedom and liberty you are a Big Evangelical Government NAZI who supports the anti-gay Hitler Agenda. Your values are not the values of everyone and I am also willing to guess you are an anti-Semite as well. Just because you don’t share somebody’s values doesn’t mean you have a right to impose your own.

    If you believe government should be used to promote “common decency” it means your are so pathetic that you yourself have failed at promoting it yourself and need the Big White Christian Evangelical Dictator Theocratic Neo-Nazi Government to bail your pathetic soul out by telling you what to do. That is called WELFARE!!!

  • Stephen Staedtler

    Hoffman is the only anti big taxes and big government candidate. We’ve seen Obama over and over take attacks at free speech in trying to start a war on Fox News…the only media outlet to actually criticize or question him. He is trying to control the media and control what is taught in schools. There are many independents supporting Hoffman who are sick of establishment candidates.

  • Clavos

    …values of decency…

    As in most things in life, the above phrase is highly subjective.

    I’m fairly sure that what you consider “decency” will bear little resemblance to what I do, and yet I consider myself a conservative libertarian, with emphasis on liberty (for everyone) above all other values, including my version of decency, which actually includes “liberty.”

  • TruthIsBiggerThanPassion:

    It’s one thing to “promote basic family values and the best things in life” but quite another to force them on people through legislation, which is what most of Hoffman’s supporters seem to want to do.

    As AvadaKedavra observes, not everyone agrees as to what are “the best things in life”. Liberty, as your Founders therefore observed in 1776, is “for all” – not just for those who adhere to a certain prescribed set of values.

    By all means stand up for what you believe in, but understand that others have that same right, even though what they believe in may be anathema to you.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “…liberty…”

    As in most things in life, the above phrase is highly subjective.

    or at least it is now. it’s become a meaningless catch phrase, purely through overuse. everyone believes in liberty. (well, except despots.) and everyone is trying to achieve the most liberty they can.

    a great many conservatives will give up certain liberties for personal (and national) security. a great many liberals will give up portions of certain liberties if it means that more people have access to what remains. gun nuts believe that guns give you liberty, while gun opponents believe that guns limit liberty.

    the point is that “liberty” means so many different things in so many different circumstances, that to say that you’re “for liberty” is like saying you’re “for cleanliness.”

  • Clavos

    or for “decency.”

  • zingzing

    or “morality.”

  • Baronius

    TruthIs and I would probably vote for the same people, but I don’t like the reasoning behind his position. Likewise, I hope that some people on the left will distance themselves from Avada’s name-calling.

  • Likewise, I hope that some people on the left will distance themselves from Avada’s name-calling.

    Certainly. Calling someone a fascist (even if they actually are one, which no-one really is nowadays) is about the most unconstructive thing one can do in a political debate.

  • Mat

    I’m from NY-23 (I Live in Plattsburgh), I’m a full blown libertarian (I lean pro-life though), and I plan on voting for Hoffman. He isn’t a perfect candidate, but his rhetoric sounds like he takes the constitution seriously, so I don’t think he would meddle in certain affairs as much as other social conservatives. His foreign policy is a let down, but none of the candidates are pro-peace and non-intervention. So it comes down to economic issues and Hoffman is above and beyond the most free market, Owens might actually be more free market than Dede.

  • For what it’s worth, it’s been reported that Dick Armey and Sarah Palin have endorsed Mr. Hoffman. Maybe the upshot will be that the Democrat will win the district.

  • Goodness gracious, handy, really? Who’d a thunk it?


  • Baronius

    So did Pawlenty and Fred Thompson. It’s great to see the GOP finally coming together. Unfortunately, they’re uniting on the belief that their party stinks.


    Scozzafava is a RINO, supports Amnesty, TARP, Bailouts, Card Check, and a host of other scams. I don’t care what you think of Hoffman Mr. RINO I am supporting him to PUNISH the GOP for supporting RINO’s and not lisening to the People. All most of the top GOP seems to like to do is to turn around and tell we conservatives that we are a bunch of ignorant hillbilly’s. We’ll jackass how’s that working out for you? I’m taking the money hat I normally donate to the RNC and I’ve been giving it to conservative candidates instead.

  • zingzing

    “We’ll jackass how’s that working out for you?”

    jackass is a verb?

    “I’m taking the money hat I normally donate to the RNC and I’ve been giving it to conservative candidates instead.”

    they do need a new hat…

  • SPQR, in my opinion you and other folks who are trying to hijack the reform movement which real Republicans are embracing and take it in a very destructive direction are the real RINOS here. If you don’t support individual liberty and smaller government and free trade then you’re part of the problem in the GOP, not part of the solution.

    And read the last paragraph. The point is tha these candidates are both equally bad. Focus on another race where there are candidates who are actually worth supporting.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    (taking a break from writing, and waiting for classes to start)

    Very, very good article. You and I disagree on so many things, but you and I strongly agree that the Republican party’s been hijacked by those whose idea of liberty is the freedom to believe as they think one should believe…or else.

    If the Republicans can fight off the influence of the extremists (and the racists) and become a ‘big-tent’ party once more, then they will avoid marginalization…but only then.

    Again, kudos on your article.

  • Glenn, your own democrats have already established that even among the religious right racism is not actually a problem for the GOP.

    On the other issue, the problem is that the GOP tent has been too big. The party needs to clearly outline its principles and tell people from both extremes that if they can’t find a way to accomodate their beliefs within those very broad principles of respecting individual liberty and minimizing government then they can go elsewhere. Most sensible christians and moderates with any sense at all ought to be able to accept a set of principles that broad and inclusive.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Aw, Dave – I thought we’d actually agreed on something!

    But if you don’t think the Republican party isn’t influenced by extremists (i.e. pundits like Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Levin, etc.) and racists, then I must say you’ve still got your head stuck in the sand.

    Man! And I thought we were soooo close to a breakthrough….

  • Dave, as a conservative and a Christian it is a tough spot to be in when it comes to backing anyone that supports abortion. And I do see your point in comment #22. That said, I saw this Hoffman guy interviewed today on Beck’s show and he seems like a “doof”. I don’t know if he is capable of running a gas station.

  • It’s time for the “liberal” Republicans, in concert with Libertarians, to rise up and take the GOP back from the neo-Conservatives and Far Right Wingnut religious Christi-bans. There is a fight for control of the GOP and it needs to play out at state conventions across the country next year. Unfortunately, the majority of us are not engaged enough in our political process to realize that now is the time to get involved because in ten years we’ll be discussing how to divide up the spoils of a once united country. If you don’t believe me, talk to people who lived through it at the end of the Soviet Union. Many of my friends who were there when Gorbachev dissolved the Union will tell you there are eerie similarities in mentality. Seek and ye shall find, my friends.

  • Arch Conservative

    Gee another article and collection of ensuing comments about the extremist right whilst everyone continues to ignore the extremists on the left that are by far more of a danger to this nation.

    How refreshing!

  • I agreee, Christine. After that Beck interview if I were in his district and agreed with him on most issues I’d still think 2 or 3 times before voting for him. He came off as a fool and that’s hard to do when Beck is interviewing you.

    As for the abortion issue, that’s one on which I think there’s plenty of room for disagreement and debate, but I wish more people would take a moderate position on it and agree that abortion is inherently undesirable, but should still be kept legal within reasonable limits and without government funding.


  • Arch, if you think I’ve done insufficient bashing of the left then you haven’t been paying attention.


  • Dave: LOL on first paragraph and well, the second is like you said “plenty of room for disagreement and debate”, and that is for another day.

    #28 in response to Arch…I do my share of “left bashing” too!

  • Dave- Your criticisms here seem to be pretty much entirely guilt-by-association – and not really association, in that it’s just that they like him and no implication that he has ever done anything like, for example (G-d forbid), speak to the Eagles Forum or such. You don’t make a single quote of Hoffman saying anything objectionable. Maybe a lot of the supporters that you object to are just drawn to a pro-life candidate.

    Not having spent a lot of time studying this race, I was tantalized by the implications that Hoffman is a hawk who might actually believe in killing our enemies. Can you or other commenters follow up with some Hoffman quotes to back this up? Enquiring rightwing nutjobs want to know!

  • Al, as I mentioned in the article, Hoffman specializes in saying as little as possible of any substance.

    He has, however, been outspoken in opposition to abortion, immigration and gay marriage, so he has more than just one issue to attract the support of groups like Eagle Forum.


  • “Doug Hoffman has attracted the support of … religiously extreme anti-liberty groups like Eagle Forum.”

    And I hear the president of NAMBLA prefers Coke over Pepsi.

  • Baronius

    Dave, is the liberty crowd unanimously pro-immigration?

    Al, that’s a valid point. You can’t control who endorses you. But I’d stay clear of the Eagles Forum, because they support my least-favorite team in the NFC East.

  • Dave, is the liberty crowd unanimously pro-immigration?

    Hardly. It’s a major bone of contention for some.

    Al, that’s a valid point. You can’t control who endorses you. But I’d stay clear of the Eagles Forum, because they support my least-favorite team in the NFC East.

    And they took their name from the mascot of a FDR-era bailout program.


  • Baronius

    A great example of media bias or stupidity in the NY Daily News that analyzes the NY-23 race without even a reference to Hoffman.

  • Did they just think that 20+% of the vote total had disappeared?


  • John Wilson

    “…the liberty movement is not going to tolerate liberal Republicans anymore.”

    Hoozat? Joe Leiberman.

  • …the liberty movement is not going to tolerate liberal Republicans anymore.

    Hey, this could start a new fad for slogans…

    The pro-life movement: “I wish Dr Tiller had never been born!”
    The anti-capital punishment movement: “Death to all executioners!”
    Concerned Women for America: “Fuck obscenity on TV!”
    The anti-immigration movement: “We’ve invited like-minded people from all over the world to come and show solidarity with us!”
    The anti-capitalist movement: “Invest in a fairer future!”

  • Edward McCartney

    Dear Mr. Nalle,

    I did not read this article; but looked it over.

    You apparently denigrated theocrats. Theocrats desire to obey God, and would like others to also. By reading Deuteronomy 28 you might understand why. Liberty or freedom is important if it is not abused. Abusing liberty to disobey God is not properly recommended

    Using liberty to obey God is right. Do we have that now in America? Are we the people free to publicly stone to death murderers and rapists in the city of which the sin or crime occurred?

    Do public school children have the freedom to openly read the King James Bible, which gives God’s guidance to them, and helps keep crime out of schools? The free exercise clause protects that God given liberty. But the United States’ Supreme Court doesn’t think so.

    If that court doesn’t properly understand the first amendment soon, and overturn its ungodly decisions, we the people may enact a theonomic amendment to the American constitution through our representatives.

    If you prefer to abuse liberty to sin against God, you might ponder II Kings 17.

    Thanks for your consideration.

  • Dear Edward,

    I did not read your comment but looked it over.

    You apparently talked utter nonsense.

    Thanks for nothing.