The Spectacle Blog

Obamatarians

By on 7.7.08 | 2:19PM

From the San Fran Chronicle:

"I do know libertarians who think Obama is the Antichrist, that he's farther left than John Kerry, much farther left than Bill Clinton, and you'd clearly have to be insane to vote for this guy," said David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. "But there are libertarians who say, 'Oh yeah? Do you think Obama will increase spending by $1 trillion, because that's what Republicans did over the past two presidential terms. So really, how much worse can he be?' And there are certainly libertarians who think Obama will be better on the war and on foreign policy, on executive power and on surveillance than McCain."

This is something I often hear from libertarians, and it strikes me as absolutely inane. The fact that spending has grown by $1 trillion under President Bush is irrelevant to choosing a president this time around. The only thing that should matter is who is better on spending between Barack Obama and John McCain. During the Bush years, McCain opposed many of the spending initiatives that drove up the cost of government. He never requested an earmark, voted against the energy bill, and the farm bill, and even campaigned in Iowa against ethanol subsidies. Obama has the opposite view of McCain on all of these issues, and has proposed hundreds of billions in new spending, including a health care reform package that creates a new government run Medicare-like entitlement as an alternative to private insurance. Furthermore, in 2006, some libertarians were arguing for a Democratic takeover of Congress under the theory that divided government produces the most spending restraint. Along these lines, McCain has promised, if elected, to veto any bill with an earmark in it. By contrast, Obama would be a rubber stamp for any initiatives proposed by the Democratic Congress. It's one thing for libertarians to vote for Obama because they think his foreign policy views (whatever they are today) are closer to their own, but voting for him over McCain because they think that President Bush spent too much money makes absolutely no sense.

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