Sunday, August 22, 2010

Barack Obama Named "Man of the Year" by Libertarian Party

The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, but the Obama presidency certainly has sparked a resurgence in the limited-government movement. Professor John J. Pitney, Jr., explores this issue for Reason TV.

I actually wanted Obama to win in 2008 for precisely this reason. Yes, Obama is giving us bigger government, but a McCain victory also would have meant bigger government. Some people will argue, quite correctly, that we wouldn't have been saddled with Obamacare if McCain had won. My response is that McCain's healthcare plan also was bad, and surely would have become even worse as it meandered through a legislative process controlled by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Moreover, cap-n-trade and a value-added tax would have been much more likely under a McCain Administration.

With Obama in the White House, the free-market movement is enjoying a renaissance. That would not have happened under a McCain Administration. Moreover, Republicans on Capitol Hill are at least pretending they now believe in small government. That's only happening because Obama is in the White House.

In short, a McCain victory would have meant continued growth of government with no prospect of a conservative/libertarian renewal. Obama's victory has been giving us bad policy, of course, but at least there's now a backlash for freedom.

For what it's worth, I've always been a fan of this one-step-backwards-two-steps-forward strategy. I wanted Carter to win in 1976, Clinton to win in 1992, and Kerry to win in 2004. If we're going to have someone in the White House who is doing the wrong thing, it's better for it to be a Democrat. After all, Carter paved the way for Reagan in 1980 and Clinton set the stage for the 1994 GOP revolution. I suspect something equally interesting will happen this November.

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