From The Editorial Desk, intellego ut credam, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Status quaestionis, Weekly Politikos



Due to a health emergency, I am quitting the blog Libertarian Monks. It’s been a grand time, but all good things — as is true with bad things — must end.

Suffice to say, I would offer a serious and heartfelt thanks to all those crafty and intelligent band of classical liberal readers, however small a group they may be, who’ve stuck with us and read our brand x of vicious pontifications on limited government and the need for a constitutional revolution in these United States. You’re the best.

I appreciate everyone who ever read this blog.


Sincerely Yours,

David Joseph Beilstein

artium and moribus, From The Editorial Desk, intellego ut credam, Mr Robert Luke Capehert



By Robert L. Capehert

At least it has been for myself.

Dave Beilstein has been at it here as resident blogger (under two different site names) since around August of 2012.

I myself came on later to add some punch to an otherwise soporific blog—or at least to add a pinch or two of profanity now and again—with lean prose intended to rankle and offend the statist mindset.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to look back at LM archives: what a depressing glance back into recent history that has been. Ugh.

Nevertheless, Beilstein was all over a Romney victory (as were many others). And whilst the little man can be forgiven, reading column after column reporting good news for Romney and bad juju for Bam-Bam Obama is still painful.

One should never relive the past all that much–besides an effort to avoid the same mistakes. Albert Einstein said something about that I recall.

I too, figured good man Mitt Romney would pull a victory out of President Obama’s atrocious political hand. And I was utterly amazed to watch those aspirations dashed when the electoral wave—come to God or whatever—did not show up, electing Barack Obama to a second term.

That means three more years of Pres. Barack H. Obama’s scatological nonsense.

Certainly, it was the wrong year to run a venture capitalist regardless of Obama’s record. That’s not Mr Romney’s fault. It is the fault of a G.O.P base, however, which pitches such moderates to the base few are enthusiastic over.

Clearly, voting against someone—even a tyrannical impostor like Obama—is not enough to stoke bellies-of-fire-and-rage on the right, propelling even a moderate to victory. I can deal with reading this blog’s errors in presidential predictions. It’s common. Everyone makes mistakes—even Beilstein.

What is becoming increasingly hard to conceive of, however, is how G.O.P. establishment types—horrors!—like Karl Rove and company, continue to  tell conservatives how to win when all they do is nominate “moderate” losers. That’s truly where the shame really belongs, folks.

Truly, indeed.

artium and moribus, intellego ut credam, Mr Robert Luke Capehert, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics, Status quaestionis



By Robert L. Capehert

In American conservative circles, especially in our post-modern political discourse, confusion in regards to traditionalism as opposed to classical liberalism, often presents itself.

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, military historian and contributor to National Review, clarifies this “conflation,” writing,

A classical liberal was characteristically guided by disinterested logic and reason. He was open to the gradual changes in society that were frowned upon by traditionalists in lockstep adherence to custom and protocol.


The eight-hour workday, civil rights, and food-and-drug safety laws all grew out of classically liberal views. Government could press for moderate changes in the way society worked, within a conservative framework of revering the past, in order to pave the way for equality of opportunity in a safe and sane environment.

Dr. Hanson’s insights could easily be understood in light of fellow National Review contributor and former NRO editor, Jonah Goldberg, whose seminal book, Liberal Fascism clarified the American left by positing the idea that modern “liberalism” is the off-spring of twentieth-century progressivism, and progressivism sprang from similar intellectual roots as European fascism.

Still, the most valuable contribution of Mr. Goldberg’s book appeared in the paperback edition of Liberal Fascism, where Goldberg added a chapter entitled “The Tempting of Conservatism.” This game-changer of a chapter unpacked “conservatism” within its American expression, where it can easily go off the rails.

Even still, the chapter’s argument (in this author’s opinion) led to the self-reflective autopsy of the “conservative movement” in our time.

Goldberg’s warning in “The Tempting of Conservatism” defined much of what is called conservatism in our day as a type progressivism of the right – or, right-wing socialism – which cannot, and often does not, argue against government being the primal institution which “forms the habits of our hearts” as Americans.

Goldberg’s first target is nostalgia on the American right. Often plaguing shallow forms of conservative expression, like Mitt Romney’s ’12 campaign, it fundamentally conflates traditionalism with conservatism, making the mistake Dr Hanson refutes above.

The first is nostalgia, a dangerous emotion in politics. American conservatives have long cast themselves as champions of hearth and home, traditional virtues, and, of course, family values. I have no objection when conservatives champion these virtues and values in the cultural sphere. Nor do I object when such concerns translate themselves into political efforts to beat back the liberal statist Kulturkampf. But conservatives get into trouble when we try to translate these sentiments into political programs at the national level. The beauty of American conservatism has been that it is an alloy of two very different metals, cultural conservatism and (classical) political liberalism. Whenever it is willing to sacrifice its political liberalism in the name of implementing its cultural conservatism, it flirts with a right-wing socialism all its own.

Part of the problem with the G.O.P of late, is, it does sacrifice its political liberal instincts with what Hillsdale College Professor of History, D.G. Hart calls a tendency to impose cultural uniformity (cultural conservatism) on the broader nation at large.

Even still, part of the “red meat” of being truly conservative in Republican circles in our times is the intensity “conservatives” seek to impose cultural uniformity on the nation.

Those conservatives, whom question the “conservatism” of such instincts, are often wrongly called “moderates.” Moreover, Goldberg is impeccable when attacking the problem of identity politics within the conservative ranks of the G.O.P faithful.

Lastly, there is the siren song of identity politics. White people are not above tribalism. It is right and good to oppose racial quotas and Balkanising logic of multiculturalism. It is worthwhile to defend the broad outlines of American culture, which multiculturists deride as white culture in order to delegitimise and, ultimately, destroy it. But it is dangerously corrupting to fight fire with fire. It is not that “white Christian America” is a bad or oppressive thing. Far from it. Rather, it is the desire to impose a vision of white Christian America that is dangerous, for in the effort to translate such a vision into a government program, an open society must become a closed one. Rousseau was right about one thing: censorship is useful for preserving morals but useless for restoring them. A Department of Judeo-Christian Culture would only succeed in creating a parody of real culture. In Europe the churches are subsidised by the state, and the pews are empty as a result. The problems with values relativism —the notion that all cultures are equal—is that important questions get decided via a contest of political power rather than contest of ideas, and every subculture in our balkanised society becomes a constituency for some government functionary. The result is a state-sanctioned multicultural ethos where Aztecs and Athenians are equal—at least in the eyes of public school teachers and multicultural gurus. In an open society, best practices win. And the conservative case is that best practices are best not because they are white or Christian but because they are plainly best.

All this affects how political campaigns are waged, for as Goldberg contends our politics are conditioned by a progressive outlook.

In Goldberg’s words, “people understand things [politics] in progressive terms.” Thus, classical liberals, whether American conservatives or libertarians, must address voters by first challenging the assumptions of the progressive context.

This becomes no more complicated than (for example) when conservative candidates run campaigns blasting “false religion” or who believes in Jesus more than another candidate, voters get the distinct impression such a conservative candidate is probably not a big proponent of the first Amendment. Hence, whatever “conservatism” is (in the mind of the voters) it must not be all that constitutional!

Sadly, this is one reason why as Americans grow more conservative, according to Kevin D. Williamson’s recent piece, they likewise grow less Republican.

In too many Republican, slash conservatives circles, conservatism has come to mean a lot more—or less, depending on one’s point of view—than a robust view of Constitutionalism. And the statist left (Democrats and progressive Republicans) have thus had a field day taking advantage of this miscommunication by American classical liberals, lampooning conservatives as out of touch and radical for a generation.

De Regnis Duobus, dual civium, Hooking & Jabbing, intellego ut credam, Mr Robert Luke Capehert, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics



By Robert L. Capehert

Talk about depressing.

Recently, over at, our fellow libertarians (whom often get a thing right now and again) posted a column originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch out of the commonwealth of Virginia, written by A. Barton Hinkle — a dependable, erudite, classical liberal himself.

Mr Hinkle’s article entitled, “Virginia Election Offers A Real-World Test Of Conservative theory,” describes three would-be Virginia “conservatives,” whom Mr Hinkle refers as adamantine when it comes to conservative principals, and lack, to conservative entheos, the RINO characteristics which have plagued moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney and before him, Sen. John McCain.

Hinkle starts simply enough, laying out a thesis I myself believe to be true — all things being equal. Perhaps it would be good to keep in mind, however, that life is hardly equal.

Nevertheless, Hinkle observes,

You heard this again and again after Mitt Romney’s loss to Barack Obama. “When conservative principles are the focal point of the election, they win,” wrote Michael Walsh in National Review. “When ‘electability’ and ‘reaching across the aisle’ are personified in a middling candidate at the presidential level, they lose.” The trouble with Romney, Walsh continued, was that he “spectacularly refused to engage the Democrats on an ideological level.”

Red State’s Erick Erickson seconded that motion: “Romney barely took on Barack Obama,” he wrote as the electoral dust settled. “He drew few lines in the sand, made those fungible, and did not stand on many principles.” A few days later, he repeated the message: “Mitt Romney tried to blur lines with Barack Obama. He did not defend social conservatism…”

Chris Chocola, president of the Club For Growth, concurred: “The (Republican) party is rarely in a position to determine the best candidate. When you have someone who can articulate a clear, convincing, conservative message,” he wrote, “they win.”

Conservatism often attains victory when communicated effectively. Therefore, I can agree with many of the personalities Mr Hinkle quotes in support of his theory.

Still, conservatism is often miscommunicated. Especially recently!

The importance of effective communication in conservative politics  is essential to its comprehension by voters. In recent times, for example, cultural identity politics which often incorporate fundamentalist vagaries of one form or another on the American “right” replaces a vigorous debate about the role of government in American life.

The consequences of such befuddlement are severe. And they are a result of allowing cultural agendas rather than the U.S. Constitution nationally, and state constitutions locally, norm political expression and policy on the so-called American right.

Such cultural agendas become too easy for leftist statist candidates to straw-man fundamentalist-type conservative candidates on a host of social/cultural issues, illustrating for voters an ideology, a party, which is out of touch, and simply a collection of resentful barnyard petards whom desire to impose big government and it’s values on the private lives of American citizens.  And now we come to Mr Hinkle’s description of whom these so-called “adamantine” conservatives are:

[Ken] Cuccinelli’s conservatism is unadulterated: He fought the EPA over climate change and filed the first state suit against Obamacare. He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest; considers homosexuality “intrinsically wrong”; supports school choice, gun rights, and tax cuts; and takes a hard-line stance on illegal immigration. Three years ago, he even handed out lapel pins to his staff bearing a more demure version of the state seal — one that covered up the otherwise exposed breast of the Roman goddess Virtus. (Racy stuff, if you squint really hard.)

State Sen. Mark Obenshain, running for Attorney General, is less pugnacious but no less conservative than Cuccinelli. He has supported both fetal “personhood” legislation and requiring an ultrasound as a precondition of abortion; favors requiring a photo ID to vote; wants to drug-test welfare recipients; has a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union; and once introduced legislation permitting state regulators to yank the license of any business employing an illegal alien.

And then there is E.W. Jackson, the nominee for lieutenant governor, whose pronouncements on social issues go too far even for his running mates. An August Times-Dispatch profile summarized some of them, noting that Jackson has “linked homosexuality to pedophilia, called gays and lesbians ‘sick’ and ‘perverted,’ ridiculed President Barack Obama’s Christian faith and accused the Democratic Party of being ‘anti-God’. … Jackson (also has) said … ‘the Democrat Party and Planned Parenthood are partners in this genocide’” — i.e., the aborting of black children. Sunday before last, he suggested people of non-Christian faiths practice a “false religion.”

Much of this is troubling.  There is so much one would never confuse with “protecting” a free society (conserving the freedom of free minds) wafting out of the populous bromides of these “conservatives” it is difficult to know where to begin. But, I will start with the good. The policies which government should be about, or should not in the case of the EPA, are solidly limited government positions.

It is the social fundamentalism, on a political ticket that is the troubling news here.  In a nation that upholds freedom of religion, which is enshrined in our rule of law — the U.S. Constitution — (in the first Amendment!) what is the basis for describing other religions as false? What is the basis (besides protecting the free expression of religion) of putting Pres. Barack Obama and Christianity in the same sentence in a positive way, or negatively?

The other problem is theological and stems from a Christian faith unmoored from any discernible basis in biblical theological differences between the Sacred and the secular; the Holy and the profane.

Isn’t Christianity otherworldly, as Christ speaks in Sacred Scripture in St John’s Gospel? His kingdom is not of this world? The Son of God rules His Church by powers outside all human control or means; a constitution not of the secular, but of the Sacred. Is not Christianity to be understood not by political party, but of the Word of God, the Church — and the bread and wine of our Lord, for those whom believe — a foretaste of the powers of the Age to Come (Hebrews), which are most assuredly, not of this world?

When we comes to the hyperbole about homosexuality on the so-called American right we come to worse problems. If one is a minister of God in Christ’s Church, or called to evangelism, what Christianity teaches about homosexuality irregardless of cultural attitude is essential to the CHurch’s witness. But at the social level what is a politician doing standing on such a platform as homosexuality is intrinsically evil?

The role of mediating associations, or our social life, is to teach the building blocks of virtue and character, etc. But in order to protect against tyranny, we have decided as a people to decouple value judgments and ultimate authorities from the role of civil authority.

When one runs for governor or any state office, one is seeking to represent all people in a given electoral district and defend and protect individual’s constitutional rights, whether they be mistaken or not. Since we as a nation have agreed not to arrest people of homosexual persuasion, allowing them equal rights under the law. Therefore, it strikes one as pointless to have such a political position. If it’s not part of the duty of the civil magistrate to determine whether homosexuality is right or wrong — why do dopey conservative candidates insist on bombing campaigns with such brainless bromides?

In a word: Why divide people along issues outside state constitutions, or the U.S. Constitution in general? Those “issues” of conscious should be outside of government purview to begin with. One cannot consistently hold to limited government when one’s ideology is firmly based upon pontificating various detailed positions on things outside of Constitutional parameters!

If the reason is religious, then why not say not keeping the Sabbath is “evil.” Or not tithing 10 percent of one’s income? Or not bowing in faith and repentance to the Son of God, Christ the Lord, which Christianity demands?

Or fornication? Or selfishness? Or greed?

And what exactly does the Constitution say about these issues?

Still, many American conservatives pride themselves on being Constitutional — then turn around and run these populous campaigns filled with “red meat” which cannot possibly be defended by the Constitution because the U.S. Constitution leaves such issues up to individual conscious on one hand and individual state law on the other.

Even with that consideration in mind, the U.S. Constitution does hold one’s own body as their own property and what they do with it is not the state’s business in matters of private discourse.

All of this adds up to an ideological shuck and jive dance immensely unserious and laughable as a political arm of conserving our constitutional framework. Worse, over the last 20 years it has been this type of “gas” calling itself conservatism which claims to be connected to the same kind intellectual tether as William F. Buckley, Jr., and Barry Goldwater — a half-wit assertion that cannot be maintained when one reads these men’s writings and listens to their numerous speeches about conservatism.

Mr Hinkle then concludes with the “wait and see” punch in the “conservative” gut.

Talk about drawing lines in the sand. These are not milquetoast conservatives, hand-picked by country-club RINOs. These are red-meat conservatives of crystalline purity and adamantine resolve — picked at a tea party-heavy convention attended by 13,000 of “the most strident voices in” the GOP, as a Bolling spokeman put it back in May.

After years of enduring candidates too moderate for their tastes, fire-and-brimstone conservatives have the ticket they always dreamed of — precisely the sort of Republican ticket, they insist, that wins elections. It is also precisely the sort of Republican ticket dreamed of by Democrats — who, believing the GOP slate is far too extreme for any rational voter to support, have made its conservative principles the focal point of the election.

In 34 days, we’ll find out whose theory is right.

Nice of Mr Hinkle to stick the fork in…sloooowly.

But  numerous problems with Mr Hinkle’s exist. The first one is the one that continues to plague the conservative movement — that is, what folks mean by being really conservative isn’t so much conservative, but cultural fundamentalism unpacked above. True,  fundamentalism goes in and out of style in some places, but it is not all that popular in general — and it contains antibodies which are nevertheless authoritarian in more than a few years. Moreover, it becomes antithetical to a free society when imposed on others outside such beliefs and claims.

Just as importantly, one should keep in mind that a person can be very conservative and not be fundamentalist at all. Fundamentalism. therefore, is often confused about what it means to be a “conserver” of classical liberalism.

Fundamentalism might be what conservatism has become in too many instances, which is decidedly tragic. And I would suggest that is why conservatives are no longer winning national elections effectively. Instead, conservatives of our recent times often lose winnable elections mainly because statist campaigns tilled with the earth of scare tactics mimicking conservatives as back-woods fundamentalists whom the public understandable decries as unelectable.

Which brings us back to Mr Hinkle’s article. Much of of what made these conservatives “adamantine” in Mr Hinkle’s fertile libertarian brain (to repeat Hinkle’s adjective) can hardly be suggested by observers to be the statements of folks who value freedom of religion, and freedom of the individual. Civilly speaking, there is no such thing as “false religion” because separation of Church and state decouples such judgments from being made by civil government.

The limited statement that conservatism wins when it is run on is often true. But what is calling itself “conservative” has enormous inconsistencies with the intellectual history of American conservatism.

Yes, Mitt Romney and John McCain and other moderate Republicans are a problem. And moderate Republicans often lose national elections because they have none of the ideological firepower to dismantle the ideology of the progressive left.

But bare “reaction-ism” should not be the compromise conservatives make either. And cultural/social “conservatism” which fires itself up on value judgments and positions the U.S. Constitution leaves to free citizens whom occupy free markets with free minds have liberty to to make up their mind about. Thus, such issues are removed from governmental purview purposely by the founder’s vision and should not therefore define a political philosophy based upon the preservation and animation of a Constitutional Republic.


artium and moribus, De Regnis Duobus, dual civium, Hooking & Jabbing, intellego ut credam, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Politics



By David Beilstein

Could the Obama administration be beginning to feel the pressure of the partial government shutdown?

Recent reports indicate President Barack H. Obama has called upon Republican House Speaker John Boehner, for discussions over the continuing resolution.

To be sure, the two men have many another wishes and prayers to work out.

So far, Republicans have not committed any atrocious public relations missteps. Still, there are other reports of moderate establishment Republicans beginning to fold under pressure.

The usual suspects, guys like Congressman Peter King (R-NY), and a slew of Virginia status quo Republican quislings, are getting antsy.

Meanwhile, Michael Tanner of National Review Online fame and Cato Institute contributor, lays the blame for our current circumstances on big government in general. While I concur with good man Tanner, I am also utterly confused how citizens are surprised about government shutdowns when they continue to vote in larger numbers for a broader, bigger government.

In a government of separate but equal branches of government, the system only works when the government in question limits itself to enumerated, common good. Once government takes on the role of creating the perfect society, various levels internecine conflict will necessarily result — becoming a vera causa of political hijinks and political party warfare.

We again come to the illustration of religion and the state. The purpose of the separation of Church and state clause implicitly outlined in the U.S. Constitution is not to foment a society hostile to religion, but in contrast, preserve and protect religious affection decoupled from the superficial expediency of politics.

In short, Separation of Church and state, in contrast to pop conservatism bromides of late, is a check on government power, not the church, etc.

Insofar as it is possible, the classical liberal desires religion to be decoupled from politics for the health of religion, as religious affection plays an ever important “mediating association” in the development of a people preserving ordered liberty.

The same is true of government. When government intrudes where it does not belong, where there is primal disagreement decoupled from “the common good,” government breaks down.

The result, therefore, becomes those duties which government ought to be about, are left without attention to the denouement of civil society.

And as gentleman Michael Tanner aptly observers,

The Founding Fathers intended the federal government to have a minimal impact on our lives. As Thomas Jefferson said in his inaugural address, “a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement . . . This is the sum of good government.” One has trouble imagining Jefferson quivering in terror at the prospect that the federal government might cut back for a few days.


artium and moribus, Hooking & Jabbing, intellego ut credam, Weekly Politikos



By David Beilstein

I am myself glad to see political parties with guts — and something about Rod Dreher’s recent column over at the The American Conservative, angers me.

Still, I am not confident in Republican’s ability to communicate.

It’s not just the president having the bully pulpit, but the notion that it has been (since about late 2009) fairly easy to take apart the ideological premises in Pres. Obama’s agenda, exposing the detrimental consequences of those statist policies, winning winnable elections.

Yet, Republicans have failed miserably.

Pres. Barack Obama, regardless of all the “incumbents are hard to beat” horseshit, was an easy target in ’12.

Pres. Obama glided to victory.  Excuses aren’t going to cut it. Ronald Reagan beat incumbent Jimmy Carter quite easily, as did Bill Clinton rock George H.W. Bush’s world. So, I’m not buying it.

Moreover, except the ’10 midterms, Republicans are a colourless, banal, stiff group of petards — or, at least they come off as such, to be sure.

Such reality makes it difficult to come out on top in the eyes of the public during a government shutdown debate.

It is true government shutdowns have not impeded economic growth, neither in the 80s under Pres. Reagan, nor the 1990’s under then Pres. Bill Clinton, but antipode of that reality is already being presumed by the Mainstream Media.

Some, I presume, will no doubt lament the death of the Mainstream Media and the newly ascended “conservative media” (which I must say, is more GOP tv, than classical liberal media). Nevertheless, that edge in the new media did nothing to help Romney defeat incumbent Pres. Obama at a time when the president was ready to be beaten.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is a disaster. And it seems he is drawing a line in the sand because his job depends on it. Classical liberals and Republican Party faithful have had a enough of Boehner’s sashaying.

But given media clips, Boehner cannot hang with Pres. Obama. He’s another colourless Republican — whereas Pres. Obama is halfway theatrical, and even to these 37-year-old eyes, impressive.

If the majority of Republican leadership were Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee, I’d recommend a showdown. But with the team lineup where it is, I am far from optimistic Republicans win the public relations battle on this.

It’s where they’re most weak and vulnerable.

artium and moribus, Hooking & Jabbing, intellego ut credam, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Status quaestionis, Weekly Politikos



By David Beilstein

FOLLOWING Texas senator Ted Cruz’s 21-hour standing filibuster, the political class once again chatters away, trying to foresee the stitching on the political fastball — grasping at thin air trying to prepare for whatever future awaits.

In the short term, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, seems to betting on Republicans continuing to struggle as a national party — presuming the future belongs to those moderate Republicans who build consensus; empower senatorial alliances, and work to put big government in control of the Grand Old Party.

Unless Sen. McCain lives longer than the normal lifespan, the war hero and former naval aviator believes small-ball is the right ball — and the only ball — he can and need play.

On the other side of the ideological divide of the G.O.P., a cadre of young, libertarian, Republican Turks, whom are witness to the evitable collapse of government as business as usual; the campaign against cliché has now commenced and constitutionalism means more than naked power for these too few individuals in the U.S. Congress.

Much of this is generational; much of it, too, based upon that old school notion of principal. Principal, that ever so sweet intoxicating wine, is often at the forefront of politics with purpose — a strong coil within a strident core of libertarian Republicans (fanned into a flickering blaze following the progressive missteps of the Bush administration), rising as a constitutional foil to the march of progressive tyranny loosed upon the nation under Pres. Obama.

There are some who look upon Sen. McCain with the sternest of angers. I cannot blame those who do. Still, McCain’s showboat antics — attacking senatorial colleague Ted Cruz from the Senate floor lectern — are the worst kind of political conventionality; and in some sense, meaningless.

We are fond of writing on this cyber space that history matters, and conversely, that history does not unfold in a vacuum. In which case, political change is not created by the conventional, but the unorthodox.

Technically, Senator’s Cruz and Rand Paul’s filibuster gymnastics are meaningless, but not so culturally. They are non-conventional tactics, which sure enough, are garnering all types of media attention. We used to have a saying in American life: there is no such thing as bad publicity.

And these young libertarian Republicans are using the kind of swift, quick-footed communicative tactics statists have used to dance circles around stiff-legged Republicans for generations.

One of the great appeals of Pres. Ronald Reagan for conservative Republicans, was, to be put it plainly, the Great Communicator’s comprehension of the median of media, its importance to dramatic theatre, by which Reagan used it as successfully as statist leftists in the past.  Reagan understood presentation was as important as message, something he improved upon over Sen. Barry Goldwater’s effort in 1964.

Given the political environment, too, differed from ’64 to ’80, Goldwater’s landslide loss to LBJ turned into a landslide victory for Ronald Reagan in November of 1980. And as William F. Buckley, Jr. stated, Reagan ran on basically the same platform in’80 as Goldwater did in ’64.

But Reagan did not communicate the message the same.

Yes, it is true Pres. Reagan was aided by the failed presidency of Jimmy Carter; a collage of social and fiscal malaise had enveloped the nation, and thrown an attractive key-light on Reagan’s candidacy. Of course, presidential contender Barry Goldwater had to march into battle against the perceived success, both fiscally and foreign policy-wise, of the recently martyred JFK.

Which quite comfortably brings us back to McCain, that crusty of progressive Republicans. McCain is old-hat, and like those who opposed Reagan, especially when Reagan ran against the then-President of the United States, and fellow Republican in the ’76 RNC primaries, Gerald Ford, McCain mind is tuned to the elevation of the current hill, not the one a mile up the road.

What this means is the Republican Party has a chance to be a powerful national party in the electoral majority over the next 50 years. What will determine that is whether the G.O.P. wants to court the kind of short-term theatrics of a John McCain, or realise that the small camp-fire of libertarian Republicanism will grow into a consuming bonfire if supported.