Salon has a positive cover story on Republican libertarians today
(calling them RINOs), specifically noting one member of the Senate, Sen. John Sununu (of New hampshire no less) who has led a Republican wave of criticism of the much-hated Patriot Act:
When George W. Bush inevitably launches into a “my opponents are weak on national security” attack Tuesday night in his State of the Union Address, a clever TV producer might order up a reaction shot from first-term New Hampshire Republican Sen. John Sununu. Make no mistake, the mild-mannered, 41-year-old Sununu is an authentic conservative — not one of those Northeastern moderates sneeringly referred to as a “RINO,” a right-wing epithet standing for “Republican in name only.” Rather Sununu is also emblematic of an under-appreciated libertarian strand in his party. And he and Idaho’s Larry Craig are the leaders of a quartet of GOP senators who are standing up to the White House over the Patriot Act, scheduled to expire Friday, but likely to be briefly extended as the battle over its future continues.
[…] Sununu, who as we talked was sitting under a brooding portrait of Abraham Lincoln, argued that many of his Senate GOP colleagues privately share many of his civil-libertarian concerns about an unmodified Patriot Act. “I think over half the Republican conference understands the basic issues at stake here,” he said. “They understand that we’re trying to draw common-sense boundaries between the need for law enforcement in terrorist cases and our need to protect the civil liberties of innocent Americans.”
The difference between Sununu and virtually all these other Senate Republicans is … well, moxie. Sununu, of course, will not describe it in such blunt terms. Instead he said gently, “A lot of members of the party are inclined to give a Republican president and a Republican attorney general the benefit of the doubt.” After five years of the supine refusal of congressional Republicans to remember that they represent an independent branch of government, these comments represented the ultimate in understatement.
Definitely a must-read. I’m happy that libertarianism is becoming so mainstream and so much positive press is being associated with the term libertarian. Now if only we could convince Republicans like John Sununu and Congressman Ron Paul to defect from the GOP and actually join the party they belong to, we might actually be able to jump-start the Libertarian Party into being more of a player.