Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Libertarians for Obama

There was a moment during the 2008 campaign when there was this giant push that libertarians should seriously look at supporting Obama.

At the end of 2006, in the middle of what was that nearly three-year-long primary contest, Cato published Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas's "The Case for the Libertarian Democrat" and accompanying Cato Daily podcasts.

In early 2008, Cato drew attention to the comments of Scott Flanders, CEO of libertarian publisher R. C. Hoiles, who "reasoned that Obama is the best candidate to work on four top libertarian reforms: 1) Iraq withdrawal, 2) restoring the separation of church and state; 3) easing off victimless crimes such as drug use; 4) curtailing the Patriot Act."

And not longer after you had stuff happening like the launch of the Libertarians for Obama blog (tagline: Put aside your skepticism and read on.)

By September, you had people like Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution - a blog which I hold in high regard - making the case for Obama and having their case highlighted by The New York Times.

Fast forward to today.

I'm posting this blog post as a reminder for the next time libertarians start thinking "you know, voting for the most liberal member of the Senate is starting to make a lot of sense!"

Here we are, just shy of 8 months into his Presidency. We've seen the largest growth in government in 50-some years - and that's excluding whatever lurch awaits in his attempt to revamp healthcare via yet-more-government.

And, returning to Scott Flanders' laundry list:

1) We are still in Iraq
2) As the Washington Post reports today, Faith-based initiatives: still goin' strong. (And perhaps even stronger.)
3) And, did you really delude yourself that Obama would change drug policy? Puhleeze. Although, there is that whole Andrew Sullivan fiasco.
4) Which brings us to "Curtailing the Patriot Act." Um, not so much. I'll just quote today's AP headline: "Obama Supports Extending Patriot Act Provisions."

Mr. Flanders: You're oh-for-four. Zero. Out. Of. Four.

As Jon Henke rightly put it in July, here's the Obama response to libertarians: Thanks for the votes, now get lost.

Now, I'm something of a hybrid between a conventional conservative and a libertarian. I can appreciate the libertarian case for John McCain was pretty much nilch, and the case against McCain was tremendously strong. I, too, hate McCain-Feingold, and anyone willing to regulate our Free Speech Rights is no friend of our liberty.

However, please learn this lesson: A liberal is a liberal is a liberal as long as the day is long.

No matter how bad the conservative nominee, it can not justify voting - on a libertarian basis - for the liberal one.

And a second lesson: If you elect a liberal president, who has a liberal super-majority in the Congress, the policy they pass will not resemble what you want. Period.


r4i said...

Obama is the strong president of the world and it's really a great character..

Anonymous said...

As a card-carrying Libertarian I must admit I voted for McCain in 08. I read Obamanomics before the election and after that struggle found myself terrified of him getting elected. Fast forward 5 years and we're worse off than I thought we'd be. How any Libertarian, or libertarian for that matter, could support him on a liberty-based initiative is a fool. I stumbled across the 'libertarians for Obama' blog and it led me here. I'm right there with you when you say you have no clue how they ever supported a liberal. Especially a liberal with a manifesto that was published before the 08 election. It's surprising how no one reads anymore.