Online Casinos and Poker Policy Test of Republican Party Future
An article published on conservative website biggovernment.com says the legislative battle over online casinos and Internet poker may hold the future of the Grand Old Party. Rich Muny of the Poker Players Alliance writes that social conservatives are growing alarmed at the emerging libertarian focus of the anti-big government movement, and may make the online gambling ban a point on which to draw a desperate stand.
Muny cites written opinions expressed by a number of influential Republicans opposing the prohibition of Internet gambling, from the PPA's own Alfonse D'Amato to Dick Armey, George Will, and Ron Paul. Muny says the social conservatives controlling such groups as the infamous Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council are feeling their strength sap away.
"In this environment, perhaps it is not surprising that some Republican lawmakers feel that going after online poker could shore up the support of the dwindling ranks of social issue statists," writes Muny. "It is up to conservatives to tell their lawmakers that they demand fidelity to conservative principles. If we do not want them wasting political capital on online poker bans, and if we do not want them fighting for smaller government fifty percent of the time and for larger government the remaining fifty percent, we need to tell them."
The article notes that Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association was quoted in Politico as saying, "There’s a libertarian streak in the tea party movement that concerns me as a cultural conservative."
The influence of religious fundamentalist groups has caused the banning of online casinos and Internet poker rooms to be carried as a plank of the Reublican platform. But the protests of hundreds of thousands of grassroots Republicans that the party should be supporting personal rights and freedom caused paroxysms in GOP leadership, which could no longer disguise the conflict between its libertarians and its extreme fringe.
Muny advocates the party return to the values of Barry Goldwater, the father of modern conservatism, and reject pressures to tear down big Democratic government only to set up another dysfunctional bureaucracy of its own. The freedom to play at online gambling sites would be a good start.
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