From the Wall Street Journal, “Wyoming Serves as a Campaign Cue,” by Nick Timiraos, March 8, 2008 (Page A4)

Tailoring his message to the state’s antigovernment streak, Sen. Obama put new emphasis on his criticisms of the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretaps and other heightened law-enforcement activities implemented as antiterror measures. “You can be liberal and a libertarian, or a conservative libertarian,” Sen. Obama told a crowd of about 1,200 at a recreation center here. But “there’s nothing conservative” about President Bush’s antiterror policies. “There’s nothing Republican about that. Everybody should be outraged by that,” he added.

Hat Tip: David Boaz

13 Responses to “Obamatarianism….”

  1. Tom G. Palmer

    I won’t argue there. But compared to McCain, Obama may well be the lesser evil. Someone needs to be outraged by Bush’s reckless foreign policy, his foolish interventionism, his sabre rattling, his trashing of the Constitution, and his disdain for and willingness to throw overboard limited government, the rule of law, and the rights of the individual.

  2. Greg Newburn

    People who have known me for a long time are shocked to hear that, if I decide to vote this year, it might very well be for Obama. They cite (correctly) Obama’s seeming inability to find even one problem for which government is not the solution. And they (again, correctly) point out that, frighteningly, Obama actually seems to believe his own rhetoric (I still can’t decide which is worse: a shameless demagogue who will say anything to get elected, or a politician who actually, sincerely believes that the only thing the federal government needs to solve all problems are will power and the right people in charge).

    However, I point out that the odds of McCain actually making a dent in the federal budget, cutting departments, sending functions back to the states, reducing taxes, cutting subsidies to powerful special interests, etc. are about zero. So it’s a wash on the economy (McCain may succeed in cutting the top marginal rate a point or two, and Obama may raise it a point or two).

    However, Obama is apparently open to marijuana decriminalization, and he’s gone on record saying he’d end federal raids on medical marijuana facilities in states where MM is legal. Further, his attorney general would almost have to be better than anyone McCain would pick (the exception would be John Edwards, which, unfortunately, might happen).

    And, of course, McCain is about as bad as one can get re: foreign policy and “national greatness conservatism”. Add to all of that the fact that the monster John Hagee has endorsed him (an endorsement McCain was “proud” to accept).

    All in all, it’s hard out there for a libertarian this year (when isn’t it?). Chances are, I’ll sit this one out, but for the first time in my life, I may vote Democrat in a presidential election.

    I recall an event at Cato where the discussion was how disappointed conservatives were with President Bush. Mr. Boaz noted that he was not disappointed because he never expected much. I suppose I shouldn’t expect much from the next president, but chances are I’ll just find myself disappointed.

  3. Tom G. Palmer

    You are not alone, Greg. As usual, the options are pretty awful….and we all know that one vote ain’t gonna make the difference, but at least we can have a preference as to which one makes it. I know libertarians who think that McCain would be better/less-bad than Obama, and people who think the reverse, but I don’t know one who prefers Clinton. When I saw her and Obama debate and she kept stressing how important compulsion was, I thought….ANYBODY but Clinton.

  4. The simple fact that Obama used the word “libertarian” and didn’t mean it as a pejorative puts him ahead of Clinton and McCain.

    It’s not strictly true that Obama thinks the federal gov’t is the cure for everything. Debating John Edwards, he argued there was no role for federal intervention in that case of the girl in CA who needed a liver transplant. He also told Edwards he had the facts wrong (stop the presses, a presidential candidate actually argued we should consult facts… and in a case where the facts supported a *health insurer*)

    Obama is a big govt statist, but he’s less likely to start W.W. III than McCain, and less likely to Sovietize medicine than Hillary. And more likely to inspire the few republicans who remain in Congress to stop acting like unrestricted growth of govt is a good thing.

  5. Chris Przywojski

    I don’t remember who, but some prominent conservative made the argument that: If a Democrat were elected president, we would more likely be at war with Iran. This is, according to him, because Iran will be less afraid of the United States and will pursue getting the bomb, as well as become more involved in the Middle East, thereby forcing the U.S., in the long-run, to go to war with Iran. I don’t buy the argument too much, but he mentioned that the Clinton years led to the War on Terror in the same way. What do you guys think of that…is it complete hogwash, or is there some thing to his argument?

  6. When people such as Mr. Newburn dismiss the idea that leaders can or will control government growth in any meaningful way (and they may be correct), then what really matters are the state governorships and the national guards.

    I would answer Mr. Przywojski’s question by saying that Bill Clinton did plenty of military activism himself as to Serbia. However, the Republicans wanted a reason to go into the middle east. They attracted terror with their itch for a fight. ‘Let all the men of war draw near’ (Joel 3:9) Call Rev. Hagee a monster if you wish, and he may be a messenger of someone you don’t like, but he is not foolish.

    In the 1970’s, Carter tried to make peace between Israel and arabs, and made American financial commitments to both sides. The hostage crisis in Iran came only months later while the Shah was away (that would be the Shah put there in a prior generation by America and Brits to protect oil interests). The hostages in Iran were released when Reagan took office, not because Reagan would act on them, but because he was a fellow warmaker. Arms selling to arabs, persians, and Israel. Beirut, etc. When George Bush came to office in 2001, they had a playmate again.

    The United States could choose not to be involved in the Middle East as an act of conscientious objection to reality, but if it chooses to be involved, it must choose one side, and it must be Israel. If she continues to be the whore of Babylon (if it is not already too late), spreading her legs for arab and jew alike, well, you can read about that for yourself.

    I know that doesn’t sound like normal libertarian talk about foreign policy, but the basic point is the same.

  7. I’m not so sure that McCain will be worse than Obama, overall.

    I don’t know how bad Obama’s foreign policy will be, but I’m certain that his domestic policies and Supreme Court appointments will be horrible, and will take a very long time to undo.

    I think I’d rather have McCain and gridlock.

    But, I’ll probably be voting Libertarian. My vote will not be decisive, so if I do it, it will be to express support for policies very different than those of either major candidate.

  8. I’d like to believe that the few issues where Obama is right would actually be raised after the election, but I’ve learned that libertarian views are quickly discarded as these politicians spend all their political capital expanding their own powers and the power of the government, only in their liberal or conservative ways. It wasn’t so long ago that Bush represented social security privatization, immigration reform, lower taxes, and even a non-interventionist foreign policy. While Obama does have a more positive voting record, it may be the result of having spent fewer years in Washington. He may be the best choice now, but I won’t be suprised if he disappoints us.

  9. I went into politics to reduce the size of government. And I intend to do so if I can. Because it’s the only reason I am in politics!

    Unfortunately all parties are coalitions – and all parties have their interventionists. It seems that only in moments of great economic crisis liberators have been elected (Reagan and Thacher). Whenever it happened at other times, it was more or less by accident.

    Why do libertarians in the US not organise as a voting block – and try to change the Republican Party from within rather than to vote for their token Libertarian Party candidate?

  10. Jon Schultz

    The last time I looked at Obama’s website, he was calling for a national usury law (interest rate cap) that would obliterate the payday loan industry. To me, that’s Obamatarianism.

    Hopefully he changed his opinion after reading George McGovern’s piece in the Wall Street Journal:


    But dammit, politicians are loathe to change their opinions cause they don’t want to admit they were wrong – and he might lose the election if he turned around on this one since so many people now hate the payday loan industry based on faulty arguments made by industry opponents, which the media for the most part presents as facts.

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