The Libertarian Case for McCain

Seven potential upsides to a maverick presidency

(Page 2 of 2)

5) He believes in the urgency of reforming, not adding, entitlements.

Another of the few consistent economic principles John McCain has shown is the belief that Washington needs to reform its massive entitlement programs today, instead of leaving a demographic mess to future generations.

Caveat: George W. Bush believed the same thing, had a Republican Congress for more than half his presidency, and couldn't do squat about it.

6) He would conceivably push for a more humane and open immigration system.

One of the more attractive aspects to McCain as a human is his transparent allergy to racism and xenophobia, particularly when directed at Latinos.

Caveat: As mentioned, McCain's previous efforts on this front ended up producing pretty gruesome legislation. After almost losing the Republican primaries over the issue, it's doubtful that a McCain immigration package would improve in 2009.

7) He would, along with Sarah Palin, bring sexual tension back to the White House.

Awkward hugs, an aging flyboy, a jealous wife...bring the popcorn!

Caveat: If you appreciate politics solely as entertainment, there's no caveat at all.

But if you worry about the accumulation of power in Washington, D.C., you should probably think twice before assuming that John McCain would amass less of the stuff than his opponents. Even if there are silver linings in his presidential clouds.

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  • Fluffy||

    Boooooooo!

    OK you got me, I didn't even read it yet.

  • kinnath||

    The only upside that I see is having an ornery, old-coot Republican in the white house when the Dems control both the house and senate. I don't want to see what Obama will do with a unified government.

  • Carl||

    A McCain Presidency helps sell copies of "Myth of a Maverick," and what could be more libertarian than capitalism?

  • ||

    Thanks, Matt, and I appreciate each of the caveats as well. While I look forward to a counterpoint on Obama, I'm feeling not unclean about pulling the lever for McCain. I want to vote for Barr, but here in Ohio my vote actually has a chance to matter, and I can't waste it on the change that Obama wins.

  • ||

    Regarding point 2, I see McCain as a principled believer in managed trade agreements, not free trade. Remember, free trade means no government interference with imports, no government interference with exports; not a document that runs into the thousands of pages.

    Regarding point 6, this is an argument that would interest the open borders (or no borders) lobby, some of which are also libertarians. Point 6 would also horrify other libertarians. Reason has a very nasty habit of essentially lying about this, and pretending that every libertarian by definition is in favor of unrestricted immigration, which simply isn't so.

  • ||

    Lost a bet, Matt?
    I'll go read your post now.

  • The Extispicator||

    Good article. Given that both want to spend us into oblivion and would both favor (if the technology were ready) legislation to implant chips into everyone's brain so DHS could monitor our every thought, we libertarians need to focus on the few positives that could come out of the 08 Nightmare election.

  • ||

    Wow, John-David thinks Ohio may be decided by his one vote? What are the odds? (Unless his dad happens to own Diebold or something.)

  • Brandybuck||

    Gridlock! I want a return of Gridlock! Obama allied with a Pelosi-led Democrat congress scares the shit out of me. McCain scares me too, but not quite as much.

  • ||

    1) He's a principled free trader, in a year that Democrats and Barack Obama are principled "fair" traders.

    Caveat: He's also one of the biggest Washington enthusiasts for economic sanctions, which is the opposite of "free trade."


    WTPF?
    That made me laugh.

    3) He would veto the crap out of spending bills, particularly those laden with pork.

    File that under, "I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it."

  • ||

    For those who want gridlock, realize that Congress' approval rating is so low that Hermes Conrad couldn't limbo underneath it. It might end up flipping over to the Republicans and then you'd want Obama as president, because McCain would then be free to war-war rather than jaw-jaw.

    Just a thought.

  • ||

    A good honest article. I'm looking forward to the Libertarian Case for Obama. It should be equally difficult.

  • Gene Berkman||

    The Libertarian Case for McCain is that he is not Obama.

    The Libertarian case for Obama is that he is not McCain.

    The Libertarian case for Bob Barr is that he is not Obama or McCain.

    The Libertarian case for Chuck Baldwin is that he is not Obama, McCain or Bob Barr.

    The Libertarian case for Ralph Nader is that he is not Obama, McCain, Bob Barr or Chuck Baldwin.

    I guess I don't have to state the Libertarian case for Cynthia McKinney...

  • St. V||

    The man voted for the Patriot Act and the FISA bill. There is no libertarian case for him. The same can be said of Obama.

    Well, the whole "at least we won't have a monoithic government" may be appealing... but still... McCain? EW!

  • Fluffy||

    OK, I suppose this is a fair article, but I have to tell you that I hate one part:

    4) He's against torture, and wants to close down Guantanamo Bay.

    McCain rightly believes that having Washington condone torture reduces America's moral high ground, puts U.S. troops at risk, and produces reams of useless and inaccurate information. He understands that such a policy greatly reduces the country's already-diminishing stock of "soft power," for no appreciable benefit.

    Caveat: As a legislator, most of McCain's handful of "reforms" that became law ended up enabling as much as reforming the stated practice. So it was with torture, where McCain's reform legislation ended up jeopardizing habeas corpus, an eight-century-old legal concept he's gone on to officially condemn.



    Matt, dude, you can't use caveats like this. I hate this Andrew Sullivan type crap.

    You simply cannot say John McCain is against torture after his role in the passage of the Military Commissions Act. Sorry. The third paragraph is not a caveat, it's a total rebuttal of the premise of the first two paragraphs. John McCain is pro-torture and pro-torturer. Repeat it, learn it.

  • ||

    St V....Obama didn't vote for the Patriot Act.


    Of course that is only because he wasn't in the Senate at the time.

  • ||

    Caveat: George W. Bush believed the same thing, had a Republican Congress for more than half his presidency, and couldn't do squat about it.

    You are cutting him WAY too much slack. Remember Bush saddled us with, a brand new, four hundred bazillion dollar, economy destroying, prescription drug entitilement. And that was before 9/11. This is just one of the many ways that GWB is lying piece of fucking shit.

  • ||

    If there is a libertarian case for McCain it is one that it is in the negative. McCain and his supporters don't

    1. hack into the private emails of opponents and gleefully publish the contents

    2. send mobs of cyber brown shirts out to shout down legit critics of McCaim. Imagine if McCain supporters bombarded a radio station with complaints if it allowed Matt Welch to speak.

    3. A McCain presidency would have to answer to the mainstream media as opposed to an Obama Presidency that wouldn't. At this point is there anything short of locking people up in camps that obama could do that the likes of the big three networks and NYT wouldn't defend him? Obama wants to bring back the fairness doctrine and his supporters clearly have no regard for anyone's free speech but their own. He has told them to "go out and get in people's faces". Between the fairness doctrine to go after talk radio and the finance laws to go after bloggers and with total media support and cover, Obama could do real damage to freedom of speech in this country.

  • BakedPenguin||

    As good a place as any to link to despair.com's take on government.

  • Kolohe||

    Matt Welch Makes the Libertarian Case for McCain

    Wow, had the check this to be sure.

  • ||

    creech,

    In Ohio, anything is possible ;) Actually, as close as Ohio was in 2004, and as close as the RCP polls are for Ohio, I'm not taking any chances. Here, a vote for Barr is a vote for Obama (and trust me, I hate that cliche as much as anyone else).

  • ||

    Kolohe,
    OK funny man, now get me a lint free so I can clean this screen.

  • Hogan||

    Good article. I understand and agree with the complaints about McCain but will happily vote for him in the face of the alternative - a leftist lightweight of questionable ethics with an adulatory media base, a fanatical cult following, a Messiah complex, majorities in the House and Senate, a quasi-socialist agenda, no experience of governance or accomplishment, poor judgment about foreign affairs and a FUNNY NAME!

  • ||

    The anarcho-capitalist case for Obama is that there's a slightly greater chance his presidency will hasten the collapse of the US government (in its present monolithic and leviathanic form). McCain will also bring us further down that path, but gridlock might slow it a bit, and his warmongering might make the future slightly more radioactive than we'd prefer. I'm not sure if there's enough distinction there to justify going to the polling place and standing in line, but we all do things that aren't rational, it's what makes us human.

    Rock the Vote!

  • Fluffy||

    3. A McCain presidency would have to answer to the mainstream media as opposed to an Obama Presidency that wouldn't.

    John, do you ever stop smoking crack? Even for like, two minutes a day?

    Let's examine the difference between the press treatment of Bill Clinton and of George Bush.

    How many years was Whitewater a story? How doggedly did the press stay with the Monica Lewinsky story?

    Now compare that to the press' completely lackadaisacal attitude about W scandals.

    When was the last time you saw an evening newscast talk about the mountain of subpoenas executive branch figures are ignoring? When was the last time you saw an evening newscast talk about the fact that the general in charge of the Abu Ghraib investigation now claims it was a whitewash? When was the last time you saw an evening newcast talk about the Downing Street Memo? When was the last time you saw an evening newscast devote any time to the Pentagon's illegal propaganda campaign involving military analysts? When was the last time you saw an evening newscast devote any time to the deaths at military prisons in Afghanistan?

    W's scandals get covered for three days and then dropped. Clinton's scandals were exhaustively covered for YEARS AT A TIME, and never dropped, not even for a second, ever.

    John McCain could rape and murder girl scouts in the White House every night for 8 years and no one in the media would give a shit.

  • LLStone||

    Can we expect the pro-Obama piece from Weigel later today?

  • ||

    1. hack into the private emails of opponents and gleefully publish the contents

    instead it will be McCains DOJ hacking into you private accounts and spying emails and listening to your phone calls. To keep us all safe of course.

    And really how pathetic an attempt is this to tar the Obama campaign because someone unrelated to the campaign did this. Sad really.

    send mobs of cyber brown shirts out to shout down legit critics of McCaim. Imagine if McCain supporters bombarded a radio station with complaints if it allowed Matt Welch to speak.

    As opposed to McCain who actually has his secret service detail order local police to block access to protesters and trample on your 1st amendment rights to assemble and protest your government.

    And really, "cyber brown shirts" ? Do you refer to the Dobsons and the Perkinses of the right wing nut jobs who petition the FCC to protest and demand action on things they didn't even watch???


    A McCain presidency would have to answer to the mainstream media as opposed to an Obama Presidency that wouldn't.

    Are you fucking kidding? The same McCain who gets labeled a "maverick" and straight talker whenever he is mentioned in the media?

    The same press that only recently has been admitting that they were McCain fan boys (see Richard Cohen and Joe Klein) and have been giving him a free pass cuz they have a crush on him and only because after they fact-check his bullshit and he still repeats it over and over do they finally step up and call McCain out (but only just a little) ? Is that the press he is gonna answer to?

    What a warped world view the wingnuts have.

    It's like those people who go around spouting off about how minorities and people have been routinely discriminated against are running this country and wield the most power. So sad.

  • Fluffy||

    Between the fairness doctrine to go after talk radio and the finance laws to go after bloggers and with total media support and cover, Obama could do real damage to freedom of speech in this country.

    This also made me laugh a little.

    John McCain, friend of free speech.

    Give me a fucking break.

  • ||

    John McCain could rape and murder girl scouts in the White House every night for 8 years and no one in the media would give a shit.

    They'd just say that it's understandable since he was a POW for so many years.

  • BDB||

    TheMedia* is the Diebold machine of the right.

    *TheMedia is not the actual media. TheMedia is the uber-powerful conspiracy in conservative's heads that they blame for every single election loss.

  • SIV||

    Can we expect the pro-Obama piece from Weigel later today?

    Sure, if today is like any other day here.

  • BDB||

    Doesn't the "fairness doctrine" apply soley to broadcast TV? How many people here still get their news from the three networks? Seriously?

    If they go after talk radio hosts, they'll move over to satellite radio real fast.

  • ||

    I have to give Matt credit here. Being able to understand and articulate the good things about some one you oppose in an analytical fashion is a hallmark of intellectual maturity, and something that's extremely lacking in our childish sound-bite politics.

    Having said that, McCain is the personification of burning the bridge between libertarians and conservatives. The Goldwater-Reagan strain of libertarian conservatism is dead within the GOP, and libertarians have nothing to benefit from continuing to try to ally themselves with conservatives (which we never really gained much from any way). Fusionism is dead, and deservedly so.

    The only semi-convincing argument for McCain from a libertarian perspective is that divided government tends to grow slower than unified government. That really has nothing to do with putting McCain or what he advocates in a positive light, though. It's simply hoping neither him nor the Dems will be able to do what they want.

  • Joel||

    Er...before I RTFA...it doesn't involve Sarah Palin, does it? Because I can't take any more Reason articles about her.

    Seriously, I need reassurance here.

  • Ska||

    Fluffy -

    It's dangerous to have the words Clinton, George, and smoking crack in such close proximity when posting.

  • ||

    Gridlock! I want a return of Gridlock! Obama allied with a Pelosi-led Democrat congress scares the shit out of me.

    Old Man McCain starting a senility-fueled war with NATO by dispatching troops to destroy Coca fields in Spain scares me more.

  • ||

    "unnecessary earmarks"

    McCain and Palin have taken to condemning earmark abuse, which is meaningless.
    It allows McCain to approve every earmark he's sent, unless it makes him uncomfortable.
    Rather than being a principled stand against log-rolling, it's a defense of a purely subjective execution of the law. As long as he likes the earmark, it's necessary.

  • ||

    I don't see why there has to be a 'libertarian case' made for Obama or McCain. You might have a shot with Bob Barr, but I don't think you could get there.

    After reading the article, I'm not convinced. I don't just mean the issues mentioned in the first paragraph, but the items listed (except for the last) probably won't happen. He might sign a couple free trade deals with countries, but that's sort of weak.

    The caveat of #2 is pretty much it. He will enthusiastically embrace Democrat dumbness on a whole host of issues. Maybe he'll veto a couple bill, but if Democrats put a bunch of pork in defense appropriations, I don't see him vetoing it. With the possibility of a veto-proof Congress, it's even more unlikely. Vetoing pork is a perfect example of an empty campaign promise.

    He caved on tortue in the Military Commissions Act, and I don't believe he'll close Gitmo.

    The country won't accept a more humane and open immigration system, and we'll go through that business again like we did with McCain-Kennedy.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, I don't trust a word that comes out of McCain's mouth.

  • ||

    Doesn't the "fairness doctrine" apply soley to broadcast TV?

    The fairness doctrine hasn't applied to anyone since 1987, when it was repealed. And back then yes, it only applied to broadcast TV. And, somehow, free speech survived those 40-odd years with it in place, though sucky the regulations were. John is just trying to work himself up into Partisan Frenzy. It's hard for him, since McCain shares so many of Obama's flaws. Makes cognitive dissonance that much worse.

  • BDB||

    So unless you're so white trash you actually still use bunny ears to get your tv, it doesn't mean shit.

  • Robert||

    I see McCain as a principled believer in managed trade agreements, not free trade. Remember, free trade means no government interference with imports, no government interference with exports; not a document that runs into the thousands of pages.


    So what are you supposed to do, oppose such agreements? Those thousands of pages only constitute qualifiers on provisions to reduce costs & other barriers to trade, not increase them. Would you not rather have to jump thru hoops to redeem the prize rather than have no prize at all?

  • SIV||

    So unless you're so white trash you actually still use bunny ears to get your tv, it doesn't mean shit.

    Are all Obama supporters so elitist?

  • BDB||

    SIV-

    I'm not an Obama supporter, but it's 2008 and if you can't afford even basic cable you're either a cheep ass or extremely, extremely poor.

  • jasno||

    So rather than having two articles detailing why I should vote for asshole 'a' or asshole 'b', why doesn't reason just assemble a list of issues important to libertarians and show each candidate's position on each one?

    And while your at it, stop with the notion that because a candidate SAYS something he actually BELIEVES it(see McCain on torture for an example).

  • BDB||

    Besides, NBC, ABC, and CBS are leftist according to you so you should welcome the "fairness doctrine" if you're being consistent.

  • Robert||

    The fairness doctrine hasn't applied to anyone since 1987, when it was repealed. And back then yes, it only applied to broadcast TV.


    But it had applied to broadcast radio as well until about 2-3 years earlier. It began to be applied before there commonly was broadcast TV. And it's hard to say "repealed" to such a flimsy doctrine, which was never enacted in statute or even regulation. Rather, it was a semi-formal statement by the FCC as to how they would interpret the vague "public service" requirement in the Communications Act for licensure decisions in light of the Red Lion case.

    Note also that the Fairness Doctrine was separate from the statutory equal time-equal access provisions regarding political campaigns, and from the statutory provision re personal attacks.

  • ||

    So unless you're so white trash you actually still use bunny ears to get your tv, it doesn't mean shit.

    Now that's uncalled for.

    Some people just don't watch enough TV to justify the high cost of pay television -- and with Digital TV many people that had cable because they couldn't get decent reception might be able to drop cable.

  • BDB||

    Chicago Tom--

    You're right, some people don't watch a lot of TV.

    They get their news from the internet, which doesn't follow the fairness doctrine. They couldn't make the internet follow the fairness doctrine if they WANTED to.

    My point is technology always outpaces government regulation.

  • Elemenope||

    McCain and his supporters don't

    1. hack into the private emails of opponents and gleefully publish the contents


    Heh. Because his supporters are too old to know how to use a computer? Ba-zing!

    But seriously, it's absolutely fucking *hilarious* to hear GOPers and their apologists say peep about privacy. I think Glen Greenwald over at Salon had a punchy article to that effect today.

  • ||

    Oh, one more good thing about McCain... he's My Friend!

  • SIV||

    Yeah BDB, as an anarchist I should support the "fairness doctrine" to keep the MSM from being so leftist.They let you comment on H&R at high school?

  • ||

    You're right, some people don't watch a lot of TV.

    They get their news from the internet, which doesn't follow the fairness doctrine. They couldn't make the internet follow the fairness doctrine if they WANTED to.

    My point is technology always outpaces government regulation.


    I don't think you and I agree on a lot of stuff politically, but I love that you made that point. Technology will always trump attempts to stifle discussion.

  • BDB||

    That's not what I was saying. People on the right imply that the fairness doctrines would put the right at a disadvantage, while simultaneously saying the big three networks (which it would apply to) are hotbeds of leftism. Both can't be true.

    BTW, if you're an anarchist, why do you vote?

  • BDB||

    Right, if the Dems actually re-instate the fairness doctrine and try to run Rush Limbaugh off the air with it, they won't be very successful because he will just go over to Sirius (and make a lot of shareholders very happy) as soon as they try it.

  • idiotface||

    threadjack warning: Fluffy, can you find me a link to Paul saying there were no WMDs in iraq?

    Thanks.

    I can only find the following: "Claim: Iraq has anthrax and other chemical and biological agents.

    Reality: That may be true. However, according to UNSCOM's chief weapons inspector 90-95 percent of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons and capabilities were destroyed by 1998; those that remained have likely degraded in the intervening four years and are likely useless. A 1994 Senate Banking Committee hearing revealed some 74 shipments of deadly chemical and biological agents from the U.S. to Iraq in the 1980s."

  • SIV||

    People on the right imply that the fairness doctrines would put the right at a disadvantage

    BDB
    No, they oppose it because it is wrong to let the government control political speech. The "Right" doesn't like McCain for the same reason (CFR).
    The Constitution puts it rather unambiguously in the First Amendment.

  • Matt Welch||

    Re: the Fairness Doctrine, Jesse Walker has a piece about that in the November issue, and one nugget that may surprise folks is that Obama apparently had his main FCC-type adviser announce this summer that he would *not* reimpose the Fairness Doctrine. Which would make total sense on any kind of practical level.

  • SIV||

    Yeah Matt, and he won't raise taxes on those earning less than 250 k either.

  • BDB||

    Heh, CFR is another regulation technology has rendered irrelevant.

    Who needs 250k/plate dinners and the K Street project when you can raise obscene amounts from normal people via email?

  • Obama Action Wire||

    If anyone says Obama will restrict free speech get right in their face.Shout them down so the lies won't be heard. Key their cars and poor their pets a nice drink of anti-freeze.

  • Elemenope||

    SIV --

    You're the funniest "anarchist" I know.

    And yeah, it's true, right-wingers just trip over each other to support the First Amendment. It's what they're known for!

    Call it their schtick.

    Hah!

  • ||

    The Fairness Doctrine only applied to political opinion stuff on TV and radio. In other words, Walter Cronkite was free to slant his newscasts all he wanted (with no requirement for 'equal time') because he was "reporting".

    Regardless of who would benefit, the Fairness Doctrine should stay in the dustbin of history. And yes, a hell of a lot of people still watch broadcast news.

    As to the libertarian case for McCain--it all comes down to a 'lesser of two evils' situation. There isn't a real libertarian case to be made for either McCain or Obama.

  • Stat boy||

  • jtuf||

    McCain is not libertarian enough to get my vote, but reasons 1-6 are why I hope he wins.

  • hamilton||

    Welch wrote this?

    Holy crap what a day this is turning out to be.

  • Matt Welch||

    Yeah Matt, and he won't raise taxes on those earning less than 250 k either.

    I agree with the skeptical scorn, but I think from a strategic point of view it makes zero sense for him to needlessly organize both his Republican opposition and the broadcast industry against him, for something that has no real intellectual justification or populist payoff.

  • dirty little bastard||

    If Obamahooer-I mean, Obamagirl-gives me a bj I might vote for Obama.

  • SIV||

    Matt, the Left outright worships "fairness" so I think there is a constituency there.Look at the Assault Weapons ban for an example of them doing something politically counter-productive.

  • SIV||

    jtuf | September 18, 2008, 6:14pm | #
    McCain is not libertarian enough to get my vote, but reasons 1-6 are why I hope he wins.



    I agree with jtuf. He must be a Republican shill too.

  • Palin Action Wire||

    If anyone in the media talks shit about our saint, here's there cell phone numbers. Send em death threats! Call them baby killing Commies!

    (This actually happened in Alaska).

  • BDB||

    Come on, LMNOP. Aren't you worried by the coming of Libruh Fascism and how Der Schwarze Führer will lock people like SIV in concentration camps?

    You better start stocking canned food now.

  • ||

    I don't use rabbit ears cuz I don't even own a TV - gave em all away. A widescreen PC monitor and projector (84" screen) meet all my needs just fine. No tuner card either. Fug it. I get enough moron box time when I'm at friends' houses.

    The girlfriend does have a TV in our bedroom though. She only watches Thai language shows on it (DVD, VCD, and VHS - no antenna or cable), and I on "rare" occasion watch "romantic" movies on it, but only for a few minutes at a time when she isn't home...

    I'm not income-impaired, but I am natural born white trash. I'd be trailer trash, but those trailer parks usually have too many rules. No cars allow up on blocks? Screw that.

  • Miller||

    Matt,
    Kudos! Let's not forget that it is absolutely vital for libertarians to support McCain and Palin. I'd rather win in Iraq than lose at home.

  • ||

    It's really fun to be a libertarian. We get to stand on the sidelines smugly critiquing both major parties, pissing on their ideas and just talking about our own, among ourselves. We get to feel morally and intellectually superior without having to exert any effort really to implement our ideas, beyond chattering or supporting the laughable and pointless LP. In our own eyes, we're in the know, sort of intellectual and cultural elites, all without any effort beyond running our mouths. That'll work!

  • Fluffy||

    To the person who asked for a link on Ron Paul and WMD's:

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ron+paul+bill+moyers&search_type=&aq=1&oq=ron+paul+bill+mo

    YouTube has a 2002 interview Paul did with Moyers where he states that he doesn't think Saddam has WMD, that he doesn't think his military is a threat to anyone, and that claims to the contrary are war propaganda.

  • Fluffy||

    We get to feel morally and intellectually superior without having to exert any effort really to implement our ideas, beyond chattering or supporting the laughable and pointless LP. In our own eyes, we're in the know, sort of intellectual and cultural elites, all without any effort beyond running our mouths.

    No, we can do something else.

    We can not vote for that cocksucker McCain, and we can do everything we can to undermine attempts by his lackeys to get support for the GOP from advocates of limited government.

    By so doing we can help the GOP go down to flaming and humiliating defeat - their just punishment for their ongoing lies to the public about their limited government positions.

    After the absolutely obscene growth of government - its size, its cost, its power, its contempt for the rights of man - over the last 8 years, nothing is more important than beating every last Republican officeholder in the skull with the baseball bat of defeat.

    THAT'S what we can do.

  • ||

    Over at the lefto website "TruthDig.com" they have a "top story" on how Capitalism is dead and how "Marx was right" with a picture of the Marx and Engels monument in Berlin.

    It's communist propaganda at its worst. Total crap. But too many people take it seriously and believe that sort of stuff.

    There is your best reason for voting not necessarily for McCain, but against Obama.

    Stop Karl Obama and his Neo-Bolshevik wannabe's.

  • ||

    Viewing the "fairness doctrine" as a non-issue is somewhat dangerous. It would after all be Congress who would bring the subject up and its current leadership has been quite amenable to the subject in the past.

    So the question isn't so much whether Obama would push for it but whether he'd veto it if it came across his desk. I suspect he would not, partially because it would inevitably be tied into a whole bunch of other communications stuff which he could hide behind as "vitally important."

    It's difficult not to point fingers at the Democratic party on this particular subject. The support for it is virtually entirely in their camp, and the chances of it or something like it becoming law are non-zero.

    Obviously you can point fingers squarely at Republicans on a host of other issues too, but that doesn't excuse many of the Democrats here.

  • ||

    Now compare that to the press' completely lackadaisacal attitude about W scandals.

    They backed off a bit after Dan Rather got caught making shit up.

    -jcr

  • edna||

    For those who want gridlock, realize that Congress' approval rating is so low that Hermes Conrad couldn't limbo underneath it. It might end up flipping over to the Republicans and then you'd want Obama as president, because McCain would then be free to war-war rather than jaw-jaw.

    everyone loves their own congressman, it's those other pork-grubbin' assholes they can't stand.

    congress flip republican? suuuuuuuuuure.

    vote mccain, vote gridlock!

  • BDB||

    It's kinda pathetic when people confuse Keynesians with Marxists.

  • ||

    BDB,

    I know the difference between a Keynesian and a Marxist. These particular people at "Truth Dig" were blatantly Marxist. Try not to take sarcasm so literally.

  • ||

    Amazing how many comments on this site seem to involve sexual and/or violent fantasies. Apparently many "libertarians" tend to be expert at typing with one hand.

  • ||

    JohnL,

    Oh, ha ha ha... um no.

  • ||

    You know what I like most about Reason.com? They don't "moderate" blog comments like the "liberal" websites do.

  • Potts||

    Over at the lefto website "TruthDig.com" they have a "top story" on how Capitalism is dead and how "Marx was right" with a picture of the Marx and Engels monument in Berlin...

    So, Marxists misunderstand capitalism. Guess they've got something in common with Republicans after all.

  • Tsu Dho Nihm||

    WTF? McCain strikes me as a disciple of Mussolini. There's absolutely nothing "libertarian" in that.

    C'mon folks. There are no libertarian candidates. Not even libertarianish candidates. Just forget about the lesser evil and vote Cthulhu.

  • ||

    NAFTA isn't free trade. Once McCain starts endorsing a trade policy similar to that of Hong Kong's and supports ending the sanctions on Cuba and other countries then he can rightfully be called a free trader. But supporting increased bureaucracy and the evolution of supranational forms of governance is not the same as supporting free trade.

  • BDB||

    ABC-

    You're making the perfect the enemy of the good there.

  • ||

    The statists have made most of their advances by consistently supporting the most "liberal" candidate in any every election, from dogcatcher on up. Few of these candidates were overtly Marxist, but each one tended to move the dial a bit toward the statist direction and away from the libertarian. This incrementalism has worked pretty well for them. What has prevented them from winning the whole thing was the occasional election of "conservatives" who, while not really libertarian themselves were accompanied by aides, staffers and supporters who have had a bit of Goldwater, or Rand or Rothbard in their backgrounds. These are the people who have slowed or tempered the march to socialism. If you're waiting for a truly "libertarian" candidate to emerge and succeed on a national level, please don't hold your breath. If you want to truly help prevent the US from becoming more like France or the UK, I suggest holding your nose and voting Republican.

  • ||

    The only thing that will make me vote for mccain is an obama supporter.

    I don't think a nastier, more conceited, double standard having group of people ever existed.

    People may think of obama as a socialist but his supporters would likely make him blush. There is nothing an obama supporter doesn't think is entitled him/her and it doesn't matter how the entitlement is acquired.

    It's as though obama supporters seek to replicate the children programs they grew up watching.

    As little difference as there is between obama and mccain at least there is some restraint from mccain.

  • Tsu Dho Nihm||

    Wow, JohnL, you've got to be fucking kidding. Republicans are even worse than the Democrats because they consistently claim to be for smaller government but consistently increase the scope of government. At least the Democrats are honest enough to say they're going to get all up in your business.

    McCain is one serious statist, and I'd not want him in charge of a box of crayons.

  • Tsu Dho Nihm||

    As little difference as there is between obama and mccain at least there is some restraint from mccain.

    There's virtually no restraint in either of these jackasses. It just depends on exactly where you'd like to see the minuscule amount of restraint.

    I think they both go entirely too far, but that's just me. Maybe you like McCain's "restraint" in perhaps not using nukes when he bombs 3 or 4 different countries. Maybe you like Obama's "restraint" in not nationalizing every profitable industry. Either way, you're enabling some serious increase in government.

  • Miller||

    @Fluffy:

    Um, yeah. Let's join the whiny teenagers, nanny-staters and Marxists and vote for Hussein Obama. Because the Republicans haven't saved the world yet. Great strategy. Enjoy your temper tantrum, and thanks for the taxes and regulations!

    If you care about capitalism and freedom, you'll vote McCain/Palin. End of story. It does matter.

  • Tsu Dho Nihm||

    If you care about capitalism and freedom, you'll vote McCain/Palin.

    If you have a clue about what capitalism and freedom really are, you'll realize that McCain/Palin will potentially be worse for capitalism/freedom than George Bush the Lesser. First, Palin is completely irrelevant unless you expect McCain to die in the very near future. Second, McCain's voting record (and signature legislation) indicate that he does not respect freedom or capitalism in any way, shape, or form.

  • SIV||

    First, Palin is completely irrelevant unless you expect McCain to die in the very near future.

    The preeminent criticism of Palin is that she will assume the Presidency as McCain is a cancer-ridden old man.

  • Miller||

    @JohnL:

    You are right, of course. I just hope people realize it before they let Obama socialize the country. The GOP isn't perfect, but it's the party of Reagan and Palin, A lot of libertarians won't support it because, hell, we're an arrogant bunch. But we need to get real. When the Berlin Wall came down, I was ready to say goodnight to the American left. Funny how far people will go to feel like victims. If McCain wins, it will humilate the liberals. Let's put the kiddies to bed, and maybe we can get some real work done.

  • Miller||

    @Tsu Dho Nihm,
    The Republicans' inclusion of Palin means that they're willing to take libertarian principles seriously. If McCain wins, he will owe it to her, and she will have the administration's ear. Do you really think Obama is better than Bush? Who knows... maybe if you vote for Obama, he'll return your phone calls and explain all those taxes. Let's get real.

  • Conservative Wahoo||

    How is being against torture and wanting to close Guantanamo Libertarian?

  • Tsu Dho Nihm||

    The Republicans' inclusion of Palin means that they're willing to take libertarian principles seriously.

    No, it means they're willing to pay lip service to libertarian principles to win an election. The Republicans never have and never will consider libertarian principles as a part of their party platform.

    I'm not saying that the Democratic party is any better, because it isn't. But as long as libertarians are willing to accept the dried up bone that is a Palin VP nomination, they will never be anything more than the neglected dog out in the yard - kicked when it doesn't lick the Republican master's crotch or bark at the Democratic Boogyman.

    Seriously, until libertarians (and really anyone) actually vote for someone who actually represents their values rather than the "lesser of two evils", we'll be stuck with the same crap that the Republicrats have been feeding us for the last century.

  • ||

    "A McCain presidency would have to answer to the mainstream media as opposed to an Obama Presidency that wouldn't."

    Yeah, because during the Clinton Presideny I never read an unfavorable word about him in the mainstream press...

    Oh, I mean replace Clinton with "Bush" and "mainstream press" with "Fox" and now it makes some fucking sense. John, you see everything through hack-colored glasses...

    "The Republicans' inclusion of Palin means that they're willing to take libertarian principles seriously."

    That's hilarious. What is supposed to be libertarian about Palin? Palin is not the libertarian Obama, she's the libertarian Bill Clinton (where libertarians read their fondest desires into this figure, as liberals did for BC, that has no proven record of giving a shit about them).

    Have some fun, tool, and google "Republican Party Platform Alaska." Read. Enjoy. Libertarian? LOL!

  • ||

    Palin must be libertarian, b/c she has been photographed shooting a gun.

    Are you guys that easily bought? LOL!

    Will she speak in tongues at the swearing in?

  • ||

    "How is being against torture and wanting to close Guantanamo Libertarian?"

    Uhh, I'm not a libertarian, but maybe their answer would be that bodily integrity and liberty is a fundamental right that cannot be violated by a state upon mere supposition?

  • ||

    The GOP isn't perfect, but it's the party of Reagan and Palin,

    It's also the party of Nixon and Bush. The former instituted price controls and the latter instituted the largest expansion of the government since the New Deal. Those guys make Jimmy Carter look like a libertarian*. McCain is more Bush and Nixon than he is Reagan. Palin is no libertarian.

    * Airline, rail and trucking deregulation, Voelker

  • BDB||

    Palin is indeed the Republican Obama, in the worst possible way.

  • ||

    McCain is one serious statist, and I'd not want him in charge of a box of crayons.

    Not to worry. At most, he will be elected president.

  • Tsu Dho Nihm||

    Not to worry. At most, he will be elected president.

    Ah, true. My crayons should survive that. Thanks for allaying my fears!

  • ||

    Wow! There sure is a lot of poorly suppressed rage, spit-flecked posturing and infantile logic on display around here. Very ironic, considering the site's called "Reason"! Or maybe people just assume it's called "Hit and Run?"

    For those "libertarians" here who don't know of him, I suggest that you learn about, and perhaps try to emulate, John Hospers, the first LP presidential candidate. He was definitely the real deal and personified "Reason."

  • ||

    Very ironic, considering the site's called "Reason"!

    I'll drink to that!

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Those guys make Jimmy Carter look like a libertarian

    I was alive to live under Jimmy Carter. He ain't no libertarian and he cost me my business with his bullshit voo doo economic policies, double digit stagflation, and other assorted idiotic shit. Not to mention those trendy gas lines.



    No Thank You!

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Ah Hospers. My first libertarian vote and I've never looked back.

    Unlike many of my back-slidden brethren, I have never voted for a Republican or a Democrat. That's because, contrary to popular belief, there is no libertarian case for McCain or Obama.

    Drink!

  • Sam Grove||

    the Libertarian Case for McCain

    1 heart attack
    2 cerebral hemorrage
    3 etc.

    just kidding

  • voxpo||

    "the Republicans haven't saved the world yet"

    You know who else hasn't saved the world yet? Lex Luthor*.

    *I assume.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Remember Bush saddled us with, a brand new, four hundred bazillion dollar, economy destroying, prescription drug entitilement. And that was before 9/11.

    Uh, no. Not a Bush fan here, but he did that after 9/11.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Seriously, until libertarians (and really anyone) actually vote for someone who actually represents their values rather than the "lesser of two evils", we'll be stuck with the same crap that the Republicrats have been feeding us for the last century.

    How thick thou art.

    If all the libertarians in the US voted for "someone who actually represents their values", there would be 1.53 presidential candidates per libertarian (best current statistical estimate).

    And after the libertarian elite had all voted their conscience, they would still all "be stuck with the same crap that the Republicrats have been feeding us for the last century."

    Neither "Libertarian" nor "libertarian" has any popular appeal, nor does anarchism. None of them is ever going to win the popular vote in this country.

    As I always say, when the libertarians figure this out and start looking for alternative ways to get what they want, then maybe something will change. Like holding the nation itself for ransom, and forcing their way upon the American public.

    Oh I forgot, we're talking libertarians here and not Marxists.

    Well, at least libertarians can console themselves with their moral superiority, because it's all they'll ever have. When it comes to politics, libertarians will sooner compromise with anarchists than the American mainstream. And that is why libertarians are never ever gonna matter. Or win.

    Seriously, get ready for a whole lot more of "the same crap that the Republicrats have been feeding us for the last century", because no matter how you vote, that's what you're going to get.

  • Ghengis Kahn||

    Vote for me.

    I am certain that in today's world classical liberal values can only be imposed, at gun point, by a determined and ruthless dictator.

    I am not afraid, and will not shirk this noble task. I am your dictator, The One you have dreamed of.

    Vote for me.

  • Oregon Scott||

    "One of the more attractive aspects to McCain as a human is his transparent allergy to racism..."

    Are we talking about the same John "I hate the gooks" McCain? He made it abundantly clear that the only reason he quit using that word is political pressure.

    Wine Commonsewer: I wouldn't call Carter a libertarian, either, but most of his economic woes came from decades of easy-money policies from the Fed. His late-term Fed nominee Volker actually gets some credit for curing our woes by adopting a hard money stance (causing a real recession to stop the inflation). (Reagan's Treasury Secretary James Baker III tried to counteract this with increased government spending, but the two eventually came to terms.) The phrase "voo-doo economics" was coined by a candidate for the Republican party's 1980 presidential nomination, George Bush, referring to the ideas of his rival, Ronald Reagan.

    S

  • Sea of Liberty||

    Both are statists. What about the Supreme Court?

  • ||

    I don't want to see what Obama will do with a unified government.



    Fortunately, as the current Congress has demonstrated, the Democratic party is far from unified.

  • Fluffy||

    @Fluffy:

    Um, yeah. Let's join the whiny teenagers, nanny-staters and Marxists and vote for Hussein Obama. Because the Republicans haven't saved the world yet. Great strategy. Enjoy your temper tantrum, and thanks for the taxes and regulations!

    If you care about capitalism and freedom, you'll vote McCain/Palin. End of story. It does matter.


    W grew the size of government at a rate on a par with LBJ.

    W was the greatest enemy of libertarianism since FDR. And at least FDR was an open enemy - W was a liar and betrayer, on virtually every issue of any importance whatsoever to libertarians.

    McCain has signed on to the entire W package, but dresses it up with a brazen Peronism and a hatred and contempt for anyone who doesn't want to live in a barracks society.

    Palin has shown her true colors by even being willing to accept the VP slot and deliver the speeches McCain's people write for her.

    After the W Presidency, there are no grounds - none - for believing that the GOP will be better for libertarian or limited-government issues than the Democrats. None.

    Face it - we have two big government parties. This has almost always been true, broken only by brief interludes where the GOP hewed closer to libertarian principles under the influence of some particularly dynamic or compelling figure. So we have two big government parties, but one of them lies and pretends to not be a big government party. Their counterfeit limited government principles, like anything counterfeit, crowd out and drown real ones. In that set of circumstances the first and most important thing to do is to smite the counterfeiters.

    Libertarians have to learn from Willie Stark. Smash the guys who lied to you first. If that lets the other guy win and he gets in office and fucks up, go after his failures later. But you'll never get that chance if we keep letting our place in the political landscape be usurped by men who lie, claim to subscribe to our principles, and then govern in the exact opposite way.

  • ||

    TWC,

    A lot of those stagflation problems were the result of getting rid of the atrocious Nixon economic policies of wage and price controls. That was the price of getting bad policies. I'm not saying that he was a libertarian, I'm saying that relative to Nixon and Bush, who are as big government as it gets, he was.

  • Nick M||

    As far as the media being hard on Clinton, isn't that attributable to the fact that the Republicans controlled Congress, and were thereby well positioned to make an issue in the media about his every deed?

  • JohnD||

    Fluffy wins the prize for being the biggest DUMB FUCK on the forum.

    What a moron!

  • Fluffy||

    Fluffy wins the prize for being the biggest DUMB FUCK on the forum.

    Rebut any of the points I have made. Any one.

    To do that, you'd have to show that W was not an enemy of limited government, that McCain is not at bottom a Peronist, etc. And you can't do that.

  • ||

    "Gooks" is kinda like "white trash" - only marginally unacceptable in polite soceity.

  • nj||

    I'll take a honest statist (Obama) over a dishonest statist ( McCain) any day of the week. Every republican administration gets associated with practicing laissez faire, despite the fact they are just as statist and anti-market as the dems. So naturally when shit goes haywire with republicans in charge, laissez-faire gets blamed.

  • ||

    Gosh, since when are libertarians endorsing 100 year occupations of countries that don't and never did threaten us? Maybe it started with manifest destiny.

  • ||

    Gosh, since when are libertarians endorsing 100 year occupations of countries that don't and never did threaten us?

    Who is talking about 100 year occupations of anyone?

    For that matter, is it still appropriate to speak of Iraq as if it is still "occupied" by American troops? It has an elected government, has at least some international recognition, has "security" control over most of its provinces, etc.

    If not now, what about after the status of forces agreements now being negotiated are signed?

  • Eric Dondero||

    These are among the weakest of Libertarian arguments to vote for McCain. It's almost like Welch did this deliberately, ignoring the much stronger Libertarian arguments in his favor.

    Look, the NUMBER ONE REASON FOR A LIBERTARIAN TO VOTE FOR MCCAIN IS THAT HIS VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SARAH PALIN ATTENDED TWO MEETINGS OF THE LIBERARIAN PARTY IN 2005/06 AND WAS SUPPORTED BY THE LEADERSHIP OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY FOR GOVERNOR!!!

    Can you imagine, Sarah Palin will be the very first, President or Vice-President EVER!!! in history to have an association with the Libertarian Party.

    Reagan never attended a Libertarian Party meeting. Bush I or Bush II Nope! Certainly not Clinton or Carter. And Goldwater was around before the formation of the LP.

    Dan Quayle? There were scattered reports very early on back in the 1990s that he might have attended some Cato Inst. meetings?
    But nothing I remember about the Libertarian Party.

    Cheyney? Nope. Nothing.

    Sarah Palin is it.

    That is hugely historic, and for Matt Welch to completely ignore that in his article is entirely disingenuous, and just goes to show his extreme anti-Republican bias.

  • ||

    You can't be serious!!! Do they pay you for this hooey?

    There is a virtual coup occurring in Washington, literally as I write this, and Reason is arguing about who is the best puppet to put a friendly face on it?

    You aren't libertarians; you're apologists.

  • ||

    I agree with fluffy....but Matt's article wasn't too bad....all of his caveats completely eliminated any validity in his 7 reasons to vote for McCain. I thought the article was jsut kinda tounge-in-cheek. If your libertarian and read it you'll say "ya, matt shows why there are no good reasons to vote McCain" and if you are a neo-con and read it you'll say "ya, 7 good reasons to vote McCain".

  • Lou Barlow||

    Matt's article is written up, sort of, here. It will be interesting to see what explicitly libertarian Republicans have to say about it.

    http://www.rlc.org/2008/09/19/the-libertarian-case-for-mccain/

  • Ghengis Kahn||

    Nobody has voted for me.

  • Lee Cruz||

    The Article could have been summarized as 7 potentials reasons to vote for McCain followed by 7 rebuttals why the potential is not really there.

  • ||

    I think a case can be made that Palin, historically, looks at least some libertarian. That was then, what about now? She's trying to make people wrongly believe that she wasn't for the infamous bridge, yet when cornered she claims she was doing her job of getting goverment money for her state. She's flipped on her position about the troopergate investigation, and she's allowing the republican spin machine to call it partisan when the republicans on the committee out number the democrats two to one. Deception and avoiding accountability is what we got over the last 8 years.

  • ||

    """There is a virtual coup occurring in Washington, literally as I write this, and Reason is arguing about who is the best puppet to put a friendly face on it?"""

    What do you expect? It's the year that we elect the puppet.

  • mw||

    I have been beating the divided government drum for two years on my blog. I voted for John Kerry to get divided government in 2004 and lost. I supported a straight Dem ticket in 2006 to get divided government and won. This year I will vote to re-elect divided government by supporting John McCain.

    This scholarly article from a Constitutional lawyer puts more than a little academic cred behind the divided government thesis.

    There is also a case to be made that libertarians could cure their chronic political impotence by voting consistently for divided government and establishing themselves as a critical swing vote in close federal elections.

    Anyway, Matt - FWIW I recently initiated a "Coalition of the Divided" blogroll for anyone who says anything vaguely positive about divided government. You are now a member in good standing.

  • Miller||

    @mw:

    Libertarians can cure their "chronic political impotence" by supporting the party that adheres more closely to their principles, and putting the Democratic party out of its whining, gimme-gimme misery.

  • Fraketrain||

    The article didn't mention two other issues: school choice and labor unions. Per his convention speech, Sen. McCain advocates school choice, whereas Sen. Obama doesn't. (The American Federation of Teachers, who are very anti-school choice, strongly support Sen. Obama.) Also, Sen. Obama supports card-check legislation that would seriously impinge on an individual's right to associate or not associate in labor unions. Sen. McCain, on other hand, opposes such legislation.

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