Lingamfelter Wrong on the Liberty Caucus

Del. Scott Lingamfelter is a decorated combat veteran, a retired U.S. Army colonel, and candidate for lieutenant governor.  He’s an energetic, positive force  in Richmond, with a well-deserved reputation for leadership.  I admire and respect him and his service to country and Commonwealth.  However, I am disappointed by the divisiveness of his latest public statement.

Yesterday, Lingamfelter sent a heartfelt message to supporters rightly denouncing former Rep. Ron Paul for his disgraceful Twitter post about the tragic murder of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.  As a fellow veteran and American Legion member myself—and a huge admirer of Chris Kyle and his life’s work—I join Col. Lingamfelter and countless other veterans outraged by Paul’s insensitive and disrespectful remark.

But, Scott’s message on this came with an unfortunate subtext.  He did not stop with denouncing the remark and the man who made it, but instead seemed to lash out at a whole segment of our party.  Stating that the “Republican house is divided,” Scott then says that the problem is the fault certain conservative leaders  (i.e., Ron Paul).  He further writes that “those that follow him” are “worthy of utter disdain,” and that we are witnessing “the utter destruction of our Republican Party at the hands of those who would rather destroy than build-up our GOP.”

Respectfully, Col. Lingamfelter is way off base here.  Sadly, he’s not alone in his reflexive hostility to the new blood in our party over the last few years, whether it be from “Paulistas” or Tea Partiers, or others motivated by growing threats to liberty.  Leaders in our party too often forget that, as Reagan taught us, politics is a game of addition, not subtraction.  Instead of opening doors and opening arms to welcome newcomers, many party leaders instinctively sense a threat to their parochial interests and go to the mattresses against them (see, for instance, the recent drama surrounding the Northumberland County GOP’s handling of “newly arrived extremists“).

To be clear, Ron Paul deserves opprobrium for his tasteless Tweet.  But let’s not create division across the whole party because of it.  There is plenty of room for disagreement around the edges without alienating some of our newest and most energetic activists.  Libertarians and Tea Party-types have improved our discourse, and helped us as a party to sharpen our focus on bedrock conservative principles.  They helped fill the phone banks and campaign headquarters last fall.  Many of these new activists are already serving in leadership roles in local committees, and even on RPV’s Executive Committee.  The newcomers have made us better.  It is well past time to lay out the welcome mat—and begin building our future—instead of howling about invaders destroying our party.

Scott Lingamfelter is a good man, loyal to his brother warriors, who is righteously indignant about a stupid Tweet and its author.  But his reaction here is not the right one for the future of our GOP.


10 thoughts on “Lingamfelter Wrong on the Liberty Caucus

  1. I guess I’m worthy of utter distain. Is that better or worse than being called despicable? I don’t agree with what Ron Paul said in this instance (as a 22 year Army Vet); however, I don’t dismiss everything he has done in Congress or for America because of this one mistake. I also don’t appreciate (huge understatement, but this is probably a family blog) being dismissed over one tweet.

    To be dismissed as a Libertarian because of something one of our leaders said is a bit offensive; however, I’m glad Lingamfelter shared where he stands before the convention.

    Thanks for your analysis. think I kinda preferred being called despicable.

    P.S. Thanks for mentioning that perhaps we bring some new ideas into the tent… at least… into the tents that will take us. A check of VPAP will indicate that all of my campaign contributions have went to Republican Candidates because I feel the most welcome there.

  2. I agree with Al. Ron Paul clearly did not engage his usually sound mind before hitting send on that tweet. However, he is consistently the strongest advocate of small government and responsible fiscal policy in the Republican Party. He is also the strongest voice in support of not getting involved in expensive foreign entanglements in which we face no national security threats.

    Scott and other Republicans should take a deep breath and chill over this. Who among us can honestly claim to have never made a stupid comment that we later regretted?

  3. This had utterly nothing to do with the Liberty Caucus, and everything to do with whether Saint Ron Paul The Immaculate is infallible or not. For those that cannot divorce personality from philosophy, I am sure this was viewed as a broad attack on libertarianism. To anyone with a modicum of reason this is simply between the adherents to a cult of personality that would make Stalin proud, and a man standing up for American servicemembers who repeatedly risked their lives to defend this country.

    I stand with Lingamfelter.

    1. I agree Grg L, and I also support Lingamfelter. Ron Paul has consistently slammed America for most of the ills in the world. It is always our fault, including his own words on a debate stage that we got what we deserved on 9/11 for “invading their lands.” It’s sad to see that whatever Ron Paul says, even without the benefit of using logic many times, is picked up as words to be honored and upheld because they come from the Ron Paul bible.

      Just ask yourself this, if Ron Paul found himself in the midst of a group of radical ismalists (who Chris Kyle was targeting) would he wish that he had a sword or a sniper rifle in the moments before his executioner separated his head from his body?

      Barack Obama has done everything in his power to appease, help, and promote the radicals in the middle east with his push for the Arab Spring movement, and they still hate the Americans. We are the infidel that must be converted to the muslim religion, or die. It doesn’t matter at all if the first American boot ever touched the soil in the middle east, those that follow the teachings in the koran are obligated to kill all non-believers.

    2. There is no doubt that a lot of RP supporters are skeptical of U.S. foreign policy. Also little doubt that RP’s pronouncements on the subject (like his Tweet) are what made so many GOP primary voters mistrustful of him. But I believe RP’s core message about the role of government, the importance of the Constitution, and the primacy of individual liberty is fully in concert with the values of the GOP. We should welcome–not shun or vilify–people who join our ranks to advance those causes.

  4. Greg, one can criticize Ron Paul without casting aspersions on people he energized to get engaged in the process as authors of “the utter destruction of our Republican Party.” That type of rhetoric is counterproductive.

  5. I share the same admiration for Del Lingamfelter as you gentlemen have. BUT, i do agree with Scott that the Repulbican Party needs to change if it is to continue as a viable alternative to t=my now forceful and leading Dem. Party. And as much as i would like to continue to crush you guys, we do need viable alternatives in our democracy and that will only be achieved, in my opinion, if you listen to people like Scott!!!

  6. Ken, with great respect, 51% is not a crushing victory. Neither is a minority in the H of Rs or less than 20 governors mansions nationwide.

  7. The longer Scott’s supporters keep “defending” him, the more they hurt him by keeping this issue alive. Right now, he needs all the friends he can get.

    Further alienating the many Libertarians, Tea Party folks, and “Ron Paul Fans who consider themselves “collateral damage” because of Scott’s comments by bringing up issues and national policy disagreements that have nothing to do with Virginia politics (at the moment, thinking of the LTG race) perhaps isn’t really a good strategy if you really want to support someone looking for delegate votes. On the other hand, if denying him votes is the goal, the strategy is working just fine.

    Keeping this issue alive is like throwing logs on the fire around the stake your candidate is tied to. He would really prefer you help put the fire out. His “enemies” would prefer his “friends” keep this fire burning.

    Just as I suggested (in my comment above) we not dismiss everything Ron Paul has done in Congress or for America because of this one mistake, I don’t dismiss everything Scott Lingamfelter has done for the Commonwealth for what I consider some “less than artful” comments about a Libertarian Icon, and a fellow Veteran. Lingamfelter’s fiscal conservative, small Government record speaks for itself. One “aw s**t” doesn’t erase that.

    His friends will go silent on this issue. So, who’s his friend? I’m going silent, by the way.

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