March 29, 2008

"How The West Will Be Lost: Democrats' Strategy To Turn The Mountain West Blue, And What Libertarians And Conservatives Can Do About It"

"We lost our values. We lost our way"--Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute




Left to right: Ryan Sager, Jim Pfaff, Brad Jones, Jon Caldara and Gene Healy

There was an AFF Roundtable in Denver on March 26 entitled "How the West will Be Lost: Democrats' Strategy to turn the Mountain West Blue, and What Libertarians and Conservatives Can Do About It"--featuring Jon Caldara, president, Independence Institute; Jim Pfaff, president, Colorado Family Council; Ryan Sager, author, Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians and the Battle to Control the Republican Party; Gene Healy, senior editor at the Cato Institute and author, Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power; moderated by Brad Jones, Facethestate.com.

Topics included:
Have Republicans and the Religious Right put more libertarian-leaning mountain states up for grabs?

Looking at the primaries, does Huckabee's success indicate the growing or waning influence of evangelicals in the Republican Party?

Does Ron Paul's fundraising success indicating a growing influence of libertarians? And what to make of McCain?
Face The State had a recap of the evening:
At a Wednesday night event moderated by Face The State's Managing Editor Brad Jones, libertarians and conservatives came together at the Oxford Hotel for a panel discussion on what can be done to save the American West from a Democrat takeover. The conclusion: Republicans face an uphill battle due to serious fractions within what was once a solid coalition.

Jim Pfaff, president of the Colorado Family Council, opened the dialogue by talking about the social conservative issues that evangelicals hold dear, including ending abortion and fighting the effort to recognize safe-sex partners as married. Calling himself a "Christian libertarian," Pfaff attempted to present an optimistic and united outlook on the ability of social conservatives and libertarians to unite for this November's general election.
. . .
Gene Healy, a senior editor at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. expressed concern with the fact that too many conservatives have bought the liberal line that the president should "be a soul nurturer, life coach, buddy and supreme warlord of the earth."

Healy said people should “abandon the false idol of partisanship” because according to his analysis, history demonstrates that one-party rule in Washington results in spending rates three times greater than when control of the three branches of government is split between the two major parties.
Ryan Sager's post-discussion analysis was decidedly pessimistic, reflecting the commentary of the gathering:
CHEERED as Republicans may be by the Clinton-Obama wars, the fact is that long-term trends still favor the Democrats this fall. To see the problem, consider the interior West - the eight states between the Midwest and the Pacific Coast: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

This week, I spoke at a panel put on here in Denver by the America's Future Foundation, a youth-oriented libertarian-conservative group. The topic: "How the West Will Be Lost."

In fact, having heard my fellow panelists' takes on the situation in Colorado and the rest of the region, the use of the future tense looks optimistic: The GOP is already well on its way to losing the West.

The reasons were well summed up by the president of Colorado's Independence Institute and a popular conservative radio talk-show host in the state, Jon Caldara: "We lost our values. We lost our way."
. . .
As Caldara put it: "Colorado is, in fact, the test tube of how to export liberal expansion to the Western states." A moderately conservative state has been turned Blue, Caldara says, because of "the absolute demolishing of what the Right stood for, how the Republican Party turned into something it was never meant to be and went away from Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan ideas."

Of course, Democrats have worked hard to capitalize on the Republicans' carelessness. Liberal groups funded by folks like billionaire Quark founder Tim Gill have turned discontent into votes. And now they have a model to use in the rest of the region.
Face The State may have a podcast of the event up in the next few days, and when they do, it'll be linked here.

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