Mr. Smith Goes to Romney

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The Volokh Conspiracy has an interesting roundup of presidential primary endorsements from "libertarianish" law profs. Biggest surprise for me was former FEC chair Brad Smith's full-throated libertarian case for … Mitt Romney. The pro-Paul position is manned by David Beito and Scott Horton. And, humorously enough, the Volokh-in-Chief says: "We tried contacting someone we know who supports McCain, but didn't hear back from him, nor did we hear back from the campaign when we e-mailed them to ask whether they could recommend someone (though we'd then have to figure out whether that someone matches our criteria)."

This bit from Smith jumped out:

Libertarians must understand that the Democratic nominee is going to be committed to a substantial growth in government[.]

Has there been recent evidence I've missed that Republicans are demonstrably less likely to grow the federal government?

Smith's 2005 reason piece attacking McCain's "war on political speech" can be found here.

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  1. Libertarians must understand that the Democratic nominee is going to be committed to a substantial growth in government[.]

    Yeah, the Republicans will grow the government at 5% a year, not 6% a year like those crazy libruhs!

  2. The Ron Paul Revolution would greatly increase the power of state governments. Would–what it actually will do is provide mirth and laughter for everyone who has watched the dreanged twits who support Ron Paul convince themselves that he has a gnat’s chance of winning. Can’t wait for the results of the Iowa caucuses.

  3. Awww, I thought Brad Smith was going to endorse McCain! 😉

  4. I love how Smith goes on and on about all these great tax cuts Romney will give us, and then neglects to tell us exactly how he will reduce spending.

    Is a balanced budget really that big of a demand?

  5. What does “‘libertarian’ law prof” mean? I hope it doesn’t mean they are Donderoeqsque libertarians committed to unending war against brown skinned people.

    Like “liberal” before it, “libertarian” is quickly losing its meaning.

  6. Ooo the comments read like Reason comments in 2006. “The Democrats will save us from the Republican menace!”

  7. Wait, Team Red fanboys think they can still woo libertarians with the “Team Blue will grow the government” line?

    Hey, dipshits, listen up. I’m going to type this in ALL CAPS so you can hear it better: SO WILL YOUR TEAM!

    Meanwhile, on UO, a few Team Blue fanboys still think they can woo me with the “Republicans won’t end torture” line.

    Hey, dipshits, listen up. I’m going to type this in ALL CAPS so you can hear it better: NEITHER WILL YOUR TEAM!

  8. Meanwhile, on UO…

    Urge Overkill is still around?

  9. I liked this bit:

    On its 2006 Governors Fiscal Policy Report Card, the Cato Institute rated Romney 12th overall and 7th of 26 Republicans. In 2004, Cato put Romney 11th overall, and 8th among Republicans.

    7th or 8th in a field of 26 Republicans? Damning with faint praise, I call it.

  10. thoreau, you’re not one of those third-party partisans, are you? 😉

  11. I’m more of the “screw everyone” mindset right now.

  12. I’m more of the “screw everyone” mindset right now.

    You heard him, ladies, now’s your chance! Form an orderly line to the left, please! 😉

  13. The funny thing about Brad Smith is that while he’s for Romney (which has been known for a bit of time), he’s also part of the Ron Paul Blimp’s legal counsel:

    http://ronpaulblimp.com/BradSmith.php

  14. I can forgive Smith’s Romneyism, because his take down of McCain Feingold was excellent.

    Urge Overkill is still around?

    I thought the same thing when I saw that. Thing is, who’d notice?

  15. Wow, recommendations from a bunch of guys who make their living deciphering the rules of a huge government. Super. Now maybe I can get recommendations from DMV employees too.

  16. WTF is Brad Smith thinking? Romney significantly increased the size of Massachusetts government with its health care plan.

  17. Libertarians must understand that the Democratic nominee is going to be committed to a substantial growth in government[.]

    Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
    NCLB.
    War in Iraq.

    The Dems would be worse? Than this?

  18. There’s Ron Paul and then there’s giant shitty douche sandwiches. I wouldn’t be any happier with Romney, than Huckabee, than Obama, than Clinton, than Hugo Chaves.

    I agree with Doctor Tee.

  19. That made for some strange reading. Everybody talked about shrinking government, nobody talked about habeas corpus or surveillance. It’s as if Grover Norquist did a leveraged buyout of Libertarianism.

  20. Smith is a good guy. It’s disappointing to see him spouting that “art of the possible” noise.

  21. Am I alone in finding Mitt Romney uniquely contemptible *because* of his social-policy flip-flops? Sure, Huckabee’s a rube and a retard, but at least he’s always believed his ghastly nonsense (i.e., “quarantining” gays re: AIDS in *1992*), and is running to achieve his vile ends. Romney, on the other hand, appears to have believed in social freedom once, appears unlikely to seriously believe now that certain basic freedoms should be drastically curtailed/denied, but is entirely willing to gut liberty for the single purpose of getting himself elected … to achieve any old damned thing that polls well once he gets there. I’d rather deal with someone who honestly believes evil to be good than someone who will happily embrace evil, not caring whether it’s evil or not, to achieve the end of his own pointless advancement.

  22. I’d love to see a presidential primary endorsement round-up by the Reason staff under the condition you had to pick someone other than Ron Paul. Obviously, anyone you pick other than Paul, can (and will) make you look like an idiot. Even with picking Paul you’d have to answer the gold standard, FED, double border wall, evolution questions.

    Paul aside, Romney is a good as any of them.

  23. The advantage that Romney has is, that as an android, he could be reprogrammed follow a more libertarian agenda provided that who ever is minding his control panel at this time is retired with extreme prejudice.

  24. is bradley Smith a mormon?

  25. iowan is correct.

    Romney probably doesn’t believe the stuff he’s saying now, and will almost certainly just follow the path of least resistance once in office (which won’t be what I want him to do, but it will likely be better than the game he’s currently talking).

    Huckabee, on the other hand, really believes the insanity he talks about.

  26. I suspect that Romney would be the “CEO of America” that people expected to get with Bush. I imagine that the bulk of his efforts would run towards making life better for big business. As is typical, the social conservatives would be left standing on the side again. Romney is well down from the top of the list of candidates that I would hate to see win the office.

    At any rate, I will be caucusing for Ron tonight.

  27. I really wouldn’t compare Bush’s business history with Romney’s. Romney was actually successful; Bush fell flat on his face as owner of the Texas Rangers despite getting a taxpayer-funded stadium, etc.

  28. In the first race, Bush as promoted as the Havard MBA that would run the country like a business (weird premise given his run of business failures).

    Romney could actually run as the competent business man (which is part of his current ad package), but he is clearly pandering to the 40,000 social conservatives that will show up tonight.

  29. In the first race, Bush as promoted as the Havard MBA that would run the country like a business (weird premise given his run of business failures).

    Well, he ran the country exactly like he ran businesses: poorly.

  30. As is typical, the social conservatives would be left standing on the side again. Romney is well down from the top of the list of candidates that I would hate to see win the office.

    Excellent summation of my thoughts on Mitt, as well.

    Sure, he’s a pandroid, but there’s worse out there. Much worse.

  31. From the Beito/Horton endorsement of Dr. Paul:

    “Paul would follow the course recommended by Nobel prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek, fully legalizing competition in currencies as well as eliminating legal tender laws and capital gains taxes on gold coinage.”

    I have this idea which I hope someone adopts: A Paul-for-President poster with the slogan “legalize them!” and a photo of a gold coin *and* a marijuana leaf.

  32. thoreau wrote “Hey, dipshits, listen up. I’m going to type this in ALL CAPS so you can hear it better: NEITHER WILL YOUR TEAM!”

    Yeah, true. But I think they’re marginally less likely to avidly seek entanglements that result in the use of torture.

    I mean, if the GOP gets in, they’re likely to go after Iran or Syria, and whole new populations will be ripe for them to torture.

    If a Dem gets in (other than Clinton) I don’t think we’re as likely to get involved in that kind of conflict. They might be more likely to get into other kinds of deployments that don’t lead the administration into apocalyptic paranoia.

    Think of the Haiti deployment. I can’t see any administration feeling the need to torture the Haitians.

    I’d much rather the Dems take torture off the table again, pass a Constitutional amendment to kill signing statements and other Bush abuses, and prosecute the people responsible in the Bush administration.

    But I’d settle for having an administration in power in 09 that is less likely to seek torture-friendly situations, who can be lobbied intensively to enact the changes I mention above, combined with recruiting anti-torture people for Congress in each following election.

    Also, perhaps Reason could start canvassing likely 2008 candidates for their positions on various specific measures to unshit the bed.

  33. “Romney could actually run as the competent business man (which is part of his current ad package)”

    I dunno, he was a management consultant, and started a private equity firm.

    I’d want to see how his consulting clients fared after his work (fat chance).

    But since a private equity firm is in the business of spending other peoples’ money, maybe he did learn something from that career which says something about how he’ll govern.

    It’s not like he invented anything or built a business from the ground.

  34. “Am I alone in finding Mitt Romney uniquely contemptible *because* of his social-policy flip-flops?”

    Am I alone in thinking that employees should do what their employers want, and that elected officials are mere employees of the voters?

  35. I think that while the current Republican administration is reprehensible, allowing a Dem. takeover would be a grave mistake for libertarians. In “The Road Serfdom” we find that those who act to curtail economic liberties inevitably subsume all other liberties as well. There is a reason, after all, why Ron Paul is running under the Republican label. It is the only major party in America where those favoring the right of property, and the life and liberty that it supports, is not shouted down and called “racist”, “insensitive”, “fascist”, “uncharitable”, “evil”, or, ironically, “un-American”.

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