Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Libertarians question Republican participation in Tea Parties

Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the Libertarian Party, issued the following statement today:

"Many Libertarians around America are planning to go to Tea Party rallies tomorrow. I also expect lots of Republican activists and politicians to be there. But frankly, I don't think those Republicans belong there. The people participating in these rallies are saying 'There's too much government spending,' but Republicans, decade after decade, have supported massive increases in government spending. During the George W. Bush administration, Republicans in Congress supported spending trillions of dollars on foreign wars, a massive Medicare expansion, and banker bailouts. Republicans doubled the budget and doubled the federal debt. Why can't the Republican Party just admit that it loves big government?

"If I thought there would be many Democrats at these rallies, I'd criticize them too. However, I think it's safe to say that they'll be few and far between.

"Many Libertarians are enthusiastic about the Tea Parties, but many are not. Many Libertarians are concerned that participating causes us to get lumped in with conservatives and Republicans. In our online poll at, 28% so far say that 'The Tea Parties have become too Republican-flavored.'

"Libertarians are often frustrated when the press characterizes us as 'right-wing' or 'conservative.' Although we certainly support reducing government spending, which most conservatives also claim to support, we differ from right-wingers on many issues: for example, we oppose foreign interventionism, support immigrant-friendly policies, oppose overreaction to terrorism, and oppose the War on Drugs.

"Libertarians are neither left-wing nor right-wing. We're in a different place on the political map, as illustrated by the popular World's Smallest Political Quiz.

"Some of the people in the tax day Tea Party crowds will be right-wingers, and some will be Libertarians. For those Tea Partiers who support Libertarian principles of very limited government spending, government tolerance on social issues, and a non-interventionist foreign policy, the Libertarian Party is ready to welcome them with open arms."

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