In one fell swoop, Howard Dean has managed to expose his ignorance of libertarianism while making a stale and insulting joke about New Jerseyites.
Discussing on today's Morning Joe the dust-up between Rand Paul and Chris Christie and the broader issue of the philosophical rifts within the GOP, Dean declared that "Rand Paul is not a libertarian" because he is pro-life. Dean is apparently unaware of the lively debate over abortion within libertarian circles, with a reported 30% of libertarians being pro-life. Dean also warned Paul: "do not take on a guy from Jersey. Obviously this guy does not watch HBO." That was presumably an allusion to The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, two HBO shows featuring Garden State criminals. View the video after the jump.
As to the abortion debate among libertarians, the pro-choice side often cites Murray Rothbard for the notion that abortion must be allowed because of the principle of self-ownership, arguing that no one has the right to live, unbidden, as a "parasite" within another person's body.
Pro-life libertarians point to the principles that people should be responsible for their actions, and are not free to harm another human being.
If Dean doesn't want to educate himself about libertarianism, he should probably stick to his liberal knitting and leave libertarians to sort out their philosophy. As for Dean's New Jersey crack, imagine the outrage if he had said that anyone who picked a fight with an African-American politician obviously hadn't seen some show featuring African-American criminals. Lay off the stupid and insulting stereotypes, Howard. Some might even call it profiling!
JOE SCARBOROUGH: [Referring to the GOP] A party clearly in search of itself.
HOWARD DEAN: Yeah. It's fascinating to watch this. First of all, lesson number one, for Rand Paul, who is, by the way, not a libertarian. If you believe you ought to be able to tell women what to do with their reproductive rights you are not a libertarian. Lesson number one for Rand Paul, do not take on a guy from Jersey. Obviously this guy does not watch HBO, and, you know, you're not going to win a fight like this with Chris Christie. That's not the way it's going to go.