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How Manny Klausner & Mike Rappaport are Voting:
Manny Klausner is the [co-]founder of Reason [Foundation and a founding co-editor of Reason] Magazine, stalwart supporter of the Federalist Society, and libertarian lawyer extraordinaire. When he was representing Matt Drudge, I once watched him brilliantly depose the charming Sid Blumenthal who had sued Drudge for defamation. The memory is bittersweet, however, because the other observer was Barbara Olson, who was murdered on 9/11 in the plane that was crashed into the Pentagon. Here is Manny's explanation of how he will vote this year:
I don't see any good reason for libertarians to vote for either Obama or McCain if they live in a nonbattleground state that doesn't look like a cliffhanger on the eve of the election.

Not voting at all is always respectable for libertarians, but not surprisingly, it isn't always applauded by others: for a hilarious take on this, see here.

Above all, it seems to me that the WORST move is to vote for a statist candidate who may win the election — which in my view implicates the voter in the bad policies pursued by the candidate once they take office. To me, the only exception to this is a close election where your vote arguably could be decisive, so that voting for the lesser of the evils may be appropriate.

As for me, I'm voting for Bob Barr in California, where Obama will win by at least 500,000 votes if the election is close.

The incremental value of a vote for Barr as an explicit protest of the war on drugs is a major reason for me to vote for the LP candidate. Primarily because of this, and for other reasons as well, I've consistently voted for the LP candidate for president since I voted for John Hospers in 1972.

On the other hand, I'm encouraging those who live in battleground states that still look close on election day to vote for McCain, as the lesser of the evils. As Tom Sowell has said, he's voting for McCain because he prefers "disaster to catastrophe." From another perspective, Burt Prelutsky recently wrote, "Obama doesn't have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn't the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."

Given Obama's credentials as a far left ideologue who adroitly camouflages his radical anticapitalist views, if the Democrats win the presidency and control of both houses of Congress — and particularly if Iran develops a nuclear bomb — I share Tom Sowell's concerns that we may reach "the point of no return."

No doubt we all agree that these are horrendous times for libertarians.
Another libertarian who very reluctantly reached a similar conclusion is USD law prof Mike Rappaport over at the Right Coast. I don't think he would mind if I reprint his post in full here:
This has been one of the hardest decisions that I have had to make about how to vote. As readers may remember, I initially leaned towards voting none of the above or writing in a candidate rather than voting for McCain. (I don't find the third party candidates palatable.) While I thought McCain would be superior to Obama in the short term, the long term situation was different. After four years of Obama, there was a decent chance that the country would have seen the results of his policies and might have rejected them big time as they did Clinton in 1994 and Carter in 1980. In any event, being out of power, the Republicans would have had an incentive to reform. In 2012, the Republicans might be in a position to take back the presidency or the Congress.

By contrast, if McCain won, the Republicans would pursue big government policies that involve compromises with the Democrats. The Republicans would be blamed for the resulting ills and the party would still be clinging to power without having reformed. In 2012, the Republicans might even be more unpopular than they are today. While a McCain presidency would have the benefits of divided government, McCain is a compromiser who might sign on to lots of bad stuff from the Democrats. It is not clear that a Republican filibuster would be that much worse than a McCain veto pen (although the Republicans may do so badly that they may have a very weak filibuster).

I wish I had the luxury to vote this way. It was always a close case, but I would have been comfortable doing it. Unfortunately, something happened in October to change all that: The financial collapse. There are two main aspects of the collapse that really change things. First, the financial collapse means that lots of new legislation will be passed and the Democrats are likely to pass pretty bad stuff in this area. Second, and more importantly, even if the Democrats do a bad job and the economy does badly, the voters might not blame them now. Things might get so bad that voters might just cling to their government, especially if it is good at speaking to them and reassuring them. Moreover, voters might place the blame on the prior administration, saying that the Obama administration had merely inherited the problems.

Thus, I have reluctantly concluded that I should vote for McCain. It is an awful pill to swallow. I don't particularly like the man, and really dislike his policies. But that is how bad things have gotten. So, on Tuesday, I will "pull the lever" for McCain.
On the other hand, Mike's co-blogger and USD colleague Tom Smith is endorsing Obama. His [satirical] explanation is too long to excerpt fairly here, but you can read it here.
Zywicki (mail):
Mike writes: "Second, and more importantly, even if the Democrats do a bad job and the economy does badly, the voters might not blame them now. Things might get so bad that voters might just cling to their government, especially if it is good at speaking to them and reassuring them."

One thing I've never really understood about the Great Depression and New Deal is why people kept reelecting FDR when it was obvious that his policies were not only not working but counterproductive (unemployment, for instance, kept getting worse under FDR than when Hoover left office). We now understand why the New Deal didn't work as an economic model but it was never clear to me why its counterproductive policies worked as a political matter. Was it just the absence of a viable alternative explanation--i.e., even though the theory wasn't working you still need a theory to beat a theory?
11.2.2008 12:57pm
Rock On (www):
I think Manny Klausner is completely and totally over the top. If Obama has radical anticapitalist views, I'm Mickey Mouse.
11.2.2008 1:02pm
gwinje:
Though I completely understand how a libertarian might see McCain as the better choice, This sentence--"Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."--sounds racists and is innacurate especially when you include "associates" (Sunstein, Powell, Buffett. . . ).
11.2.2008 1:05pm
Donny:
Why would you post such a delusional rant, Randy? Klausner is utterly divorced from reality. Colin Powell is "the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid." Do you believe that?

I expect you'll excuse it as hyperbole. But it is well beyond hyperbole. It is baseless smear. You should be ashamed.
11.2.2008 1:12pm
Light Hearted (mail):
I think the morally preferable position, if you live in a battleground state and agree with Manny's analysis, is not to vote for McCain, but instead to find one Obama voter and convince them to not vote.

On the grand moral chessboard, two less votes is better than an extra vote for McCain plus an extra vote for Obama.
11.2.2008 1:16pm
David Warner:
I've known a lot of hard left ideologues. I've worked with a lot of hard left ideologues. This is the primary reason that I'm not a hard left ideologue. Association is necessary but insufficient evidence to establish guilt.
11.2.2008 1:20pm
hawkins:

if the Democrats win the presidency and control of both houses of Congress -- and particularly if Iran develops a nuclear bomb -- I share Tom Sowell's concerns that we may reach "the point of no return."


How is this a libertarian view? Sounds much more neoconservative to me.
11.2.2008 1:27pm
Matt_T:
Colin Powell is "the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid." Do you believe that?

I wasn't aware that Colin Powell was a "friend, associate or religious mentor" of Obama's; as far as I can tell, he's yet another political figure who has endorsed Obama without necessarily having a close relationship to him. Of course, this is from what I've read in the past two weeks, so I may be mistaken. Then again, why pick Powell, when there are a few dozen slimeballs about whom that comment seems to be accurate?
11.2.2008 1:28pm
Angus:
One thing I've never really understood about the Great Depression and New Deal is why people kept reelecting FDR when it was obvious that his policies were not only not working but counterproductive (unemployment, for instance, kept getting worse under FDR than when Hoover left office).
Maybe because you are working on faulty assumptions? #1. FDR didn't take office until March 4, 1933, right around the time unemployment reached its peak. #2. The claim that New Deal "policies were not only not working but counterproductive" is a product of nothing other than counterfactual fantasies.
11.2.2008 1:31pm
Hans Bader:
What matters most are Obama's bad economic policies and likely appointment of left-wing wackos to high office.

Obama's proposed policies would destroy many American jobs.

One example is international trade. Making claims that both the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have described as dishonest, Obama opposes even trade deals that benefit America and create manufacturing jobs by leveling the playing field, like the Colombia trade deal, which would eliminate barriers to our exports to Colombia (imports from Colombia already enter the U.S. largely duty-free).

The second most important issue is appointments to key government posts, such as the Supreme Court.

Obama's likely picks for some key administration posts are politically extreme, like a law professor who blames America for 9/11 and says America is a racist country (these extremists will nonetheless likely be confirmed because the Democrats will likely have a filibuster-proof majority in the upcoming Senate).

As Manny Klausner notes, Obama has shown lousy judgment regarding his advisors, many of whom are kooks.

Charles Ogletree, Obama's top adviser on race, says that America is to blame for 9/11 and that Americans are stupid. He also says that America is a racist country, and that Americans will only vote for Obama because he is half-white.

Ogletree, a Harvard law professor, will likely be the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division during the upcoming Obama Administration, according to the ABA Journal. He is a member of Obama's inner circle, according to the National Journal.

Ogletree has attracted controversy in the past for plagiarism and his association with Al Sharpton. (The Washington Examiner declared him a “dim bulb”). He is a leading proponent of race-based reparations. See legal commentator Walter Olson's posts at Overlawyered and Point of Law for details.

Many other of Obama's mentors and advisers are also wacky, such as Jeremiah Wright (his mentor and minister for 20 years, despite being an outspoken racist, race-baiter, and anti-American demagogue), the race-baiting priest and bully Michael Pfleger, the unrepentant Weather Undeground terrorist William Ayers (with whom he worked to divert millions of dollars in charity money meant for education by the late Walter Annenberg to left-wing political causes and race-baiters).
11.2.2008 1:31pm
DiversityHire:
The linked article is by far the best. Tom Smith has convinced me: I'm voting for Obama's "rather bearable lightness of being".
11.2.2008 1:32pm
nmpjp;ms:
LOL @ Tom Smith. Excellent satire.
11.2.2008 1:32pm
Angus:
the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid.
McCain has a lot of associates that I literally would cross the street to avoid, which is why I would not vote for the guy under any circumstances. Obama, on the other hand at least has a few I don't dislike.
11.2.2008 1:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Not voting at all is always respectable for libertarians, but not surprisingly, it isn't always applauded by others."

Count me as one who isn't applauding. The right to vote is one of the glories of modern history, and to casually toss it away merely because all candidates are not 'worthy' of your vote is foolish, and in my view, unpatriotic.

Too many of our forefathers died protecting our right to vote. Too many people in the world would love to have the right to a real choice in their leadership. No candidate is ever perfect with any particular person, so that can hardly be the excuse. There is almost always a choice, no matter how insignificant (ie., Bob Barr).

Furthermore, few places have just one election going on. There are usually many other slots up to vote for: governor, congressmen, state reps, town councils, local judges, not to mention any ballots that might be on the slate as well. So it is QUITE disingenuous to say, I don't like either McCain or Obama, so I refuse to vote for anyone on any ticket for any open office.

If you really want to be a libertarian and show your disapproval, then get your ass off the couch and go to the voting booth, just like every other concerned citizen. In the voting booth, just leave the space blank. This way, you are counted as a voter, and your nonvote will at least be recognized. That would at least have the value of a principle behind your nonvote.

But to blithely say that sitting home on election has any value at all is totally and utterly contemptible.
11.2.2008 1:34pm
hawkins:

Then again, why pick Powell, when there are a few dozen slimeballs about whom that comment seems to be accurate?


Maybe because Powell demonstrates that Klausner's statement is false?
11.2.2008 1:34pm
SKardner (mail):
hope McCain loses.

I hope Palin fades away.

I hope the Republican Party re-reads its Robert Nozick and its Richard Epstein and its Frederick Hayek.

I hope its intellectuals recenter around CATO and Reason instead of Heritage and National Review.

More Institute for Justice and Volokh Conspiracy. Less Focus on the Family and gay-bashing.

Perhaps then we will get a focus on the structural constitution (separation of powers, federalism, limited enumerated powers), preserving civil liberties, technological innovation, scientific progress, free speech, eliminating arbitrary regulation and bureaucratic waste, and promoting free market solutions to big problems everyone wants to solve, without the religious pandering on social controversies and hostility toward unpopular groups.

I hope the GOP relies on its deep bench of living Nobel prize winning economists and legal scholars and academics at universities like Pepperdine, George Mason, and the University of Chicago.

For that to happen, Palin must go down in flames.

May McCain-Palin lose and lose badly.
11.2.2008 1:38pm
Donny:
Matt_T writes: "Then again, why pick Powell, when there are a few dozen slimeballs about whom that comment seems to be accurate?"

Well, for one, the comment talks about all of his associates. So it is plainly false on its face. The only question is whether it is defensible hyperbole.

It's not. It's just smear. For every Rezko or Wright there's a Keating or Hagee. For every valid argument about Ayers, there's racist allegations about Khalidi. A neutral observer could conclude that Obama has weak connections to more radicals than McCain. That's fair. Only the delusional can conclude that Obama primarily or substanially--much less exlcusively--associates with slimeballs and that he is a "radical anticapitalist."
11.2.2008 1:41pm
DLL Circulation Worker (mail):
"Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."

Not a single one? That's bold.
11.2.2008 1:43pm
anonimator:
The level of delusion is somewhat staggering. Literally, we're to take seriously that "Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid." Or that "Obama [has] credentials as a far left ideologue who adroitly camouflages his radical anticapitalist views."

Come on, that's just plain stupid. Deliberately ignorant, the kind of stuff you saw in those youtubes taken during the primaries in West Virginia - except dressed up in fancier language. Shame on you. Obama's a moderate interested in empirics. He may not say all the right stuff on trade, but he's a moderate on just about every issue I can think of. Now that you can disagree with on substance. And we can argue about how effective the New Deal was, but the pretense of certainty about clearly contestable assertions is absurd.
11.2.2008 1:46pm
Observer:
"Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."

This seems patently untrue unless you do not believe Obama's claim that he is friends with Tom Coburn (which Tom Coburn himself never denied).
11.2.2008 1:47pm
hawkins:

The level of delusion is somewhat staggering.


It is. Makes me embarrassed to be a supporter of Reason.
11.2.2008 1:47pm
anonimator:
Also, why shouldn't I conclude from the drivel in your blog post here that everything else you write and have written is worthless. That would also be absurd - some of your work is wonderful. But in politics we tend to apply just this sort of standard to those whom we oppose. It's really dumb.
11.2.2008 1:49pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
"This sentence--"Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."--sounds racists and is innacurate especially when you include "associates" (Sunstein, Powell, Buffett. . . )."

I'm glad you have some magical glasses that can identify racist language because nothing in that sentence seems racist at all to this man. Hyperbolic? Yes. Racist? Not even close.
11.2.2008 1:52pm
pireader (mail):
Professor Barnett --

Perhaps you recall how, just after 9/11, a fair number of people took leave of their senses, saying things that would--and should--embarrass them for years afterwards. At least they had the excuse of a mass catastrophe. This is just an election whose momentum you dislike.

Do you realize how silly you'll feel in the future when reminded that you just gave airtime on a premier law blog to some street-corner rant? Barack Obama the "far left ideologue who adroitly camouflages his radical anticapitalist views ... we may reach the 'point of no return'". Whew.

You're a distinguished scholar and author. You know that the gutters get clogged with crazy stuff like this right before an election. Don't make it worse ... show some judgement.
11.2.2008 1:54pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
Good god, what a pathetic attempt to stroke someone's ego there, pireader.
11.2.2008 1:57pm
Zywicki (mail):
And a third recommendation for Tom Smith too. Very clever.
11.2.2008 2:01pm
gwinje:
MisterBigTop

I think even among Obama's associates that are "creeps", there's only one kind that would cause Klausner to cross the street if he saw them coming. Unless he had magic glasses.

And I agree that it can easily be read as non-racist. That's why I said it sounded racist. Perhaps I should have added "to me".
11.2.2008 2:04pm
Matt_T:
--sounds racists

And here it is again, the discarding of the simple and probable explanation for one that transforms all criticism of Obama into "racism". Seems some of Obama's supporters really do fancy themselves the thought police.
11.2.2008 2:05pm
Norman Bates (mail):
No matter who wins, whether we end with "a disaster or a catastrophe", let us all take comfort from Mencken's observation "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
11.2.2008 2:06pm
byomtov (mail):
Zywicki,

(unemployment, for instance, kept getting worse under FDR than when Hoover left office).

Not true.

See here for example.

Unemployment was nearly 25% in 1932 and 1933. It declined gradually, to 14% in 1937. It spiked up to 18% in 1938, and then began to decline again, as war-related activity began.
11.2.2008 2:16pm
gwinje:
For the record:

I have no idea how Klausner feels about anything. Including race. The satement remains empirically wrong.

Still, if I picture Klausner coming upon a random sample of people including several Obama associates, I'm having a hard time trying to figure out the criteria he would use to decide to cross the street. Does he have "creep-dar"?

And as for thought police, I'm against them.

Oh, and what's the simple and probable explanation for using an obviously nonsensical phrase to smear Obama?
11.2.2008 2:16pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
"Oh, and what's the simple and probable explanation for using an obviously nonsensical phrase to smear Obama?"

politics
11.2.2008 2:19pm
PC:
Hans Bader = metro1? The posts have that same astroturfy feel to them.
11.2.2008 2:21pm
pireader (mail):
Professor Zywicki wrote -- One thing I've never really understood about the Great Depression and New Deal is why people kept reelecting FDR when it was obvious that his policies were not only not working but counterproductive (unemployment, for instance, kept getting worse under FDR than when Hoover left office).

Perhaps the country used Ronald Reagan's logic -- "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

Between 1929 and 1933, under Herbert Hoover, the US economy shrank by 27%. Between 1933 (when Roosevelt took office) and 1936, it expanded back to 1929's level.

For this point, it doesn't matter whether you believe that FDR single-handedly revived the economy or that he hindered its natural re-bound. Either way, people were undoubtedly better off. And Roosevelt got re-elected overwhelmingly(62%).

Here's the data on US GDP (in constant 2000 dollars).

1929 865.2
1930 790.7
1931 739.9
1932 643.7
1933 635.5
1934 704.2
1935 766.9
1936 866.6
11.2.2008 2:22pm
gwinje:
MisterBigTop:

Touché.
11.2.2008 2:22pm
byomtov (mail):
"Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."

This statement is ridiculous on its face. Klausner has zero basis for it. It's just a stupid insult.

Given Obama's credentials as a far left ideologue who adroitly camouflages his radical anticapitalist views

We know he's far left because he disguises it. Is that Klausner's logic?
11.2.2008 2:23pm
Oren:

because the Democrats will likely have a filibuster-proof majority in the upcoming Senate

Odds are absolutely no better than 1:2. Currently, I see them as in the range between 2:5 to 1:4 (for non-gamblers out there, that's 33%, 28% and 20%).

I hope to god (and this as a Democratic voter!) that the Minority Senate will not disappoint in obstructing the more extreme parts of the Majority agenda. I supported the Dem fillibuster of Bush's judges, and I hope the GOP returns the favor. Same for the legislative end of things.
11.2.2008 2:27pm
Visitor Again:
"This sentence--"Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."--sounds racists and is innacurate especially when you include "associates" (Sunstein, Powell, Buffett. . . )."

I'm glad you have some magical glasses that can identify racist language because nothing in that sentence seems racist at all to this man. Hyperbolic? Yes. Racist? Not even close.

To say of a prominent African-American who is running for President that he "doesn't have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid" is racism of the lowest order. Klausner couldn't possibly know of all of Obama's friends. He certainly doesn't know of all Obama's African-American friends, and it's fair to assume that Obama has a fair number of them. And yet Klausner, quoting Prelutsky, is willing to say, sight unseen, that not one of them isn't the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid. Klausner is certainly the sort of racist creep I would cross the street to avoid.
11.2.2008 2:27pm
Oren:

Between 1929 and 1933, under Herbert Hoover, the US economy shrank by 27%. Between 1933 (when Roosevelt took office) and 1936, it expanded back to 1929's level.

Proving once again that it's a good idea to get elected at the bottom of the economy. This economic crisis is perfectly timed provided Obama doesn't **** up the recovery.
11.2.2008 2:28pm
Hans Bader:
Given that Manny Klausner's wife is apparently black, it is absurd for gwinje to claim that "even among Obama's associates that are creeps, there's only one kind that would cause Klausner to cross the street if he saw them coming."

It's yet more playing the race card by Obama supporters, who respond to all legitimate criticism of Obama's dubious associations and inexperience with charges of racism.

Of course, even voting FOR Obama won't keep you from being branded as racist by some Obama advisers -- like Charles Ogletree, who claims that Americans will only vote for Obama because he's half-white, and that they wouldn't vote for him if he wasn't biracial.

Charles Ogletree, Obama's top adviser on race, says that America is to blame for 9/11 and that Americans are stupid. He also says that America is a racist country, and that Americans will only vote for Obama because he is half-white.

Ogletree, a Harvard law professor, will likely be the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division during the upcoming Obama Administration, according to the ABA Journal. He is a member of Obama's inner circle, according to the National Journal.

Ogletree has attracted controversy in the past for plagiarism and his association with Al Sharpton. (The Washington Examiner declared him a “dim bulb”). He is a leading proponent of race-based reparations. See legal commentator Walter Olson's posts at Overlawyered and Point of Law for details.

Many other of Obama's mentors and advisers are also wacky, such as Jeremiah Wright (Obama's mentor and minister for 20 years, despite being an outspoken racist, race-baiter, and anti-American demagogue), the race-baiting priest and bully Michael Pfleger, and the unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers (with whom Obama worked to divert millions of dollars in charity money meant for education by the late Walter Annenberg to left-wing political causes and race-baiters).

I would be happy to vote for a moderate African-American, like former Virginia governor Doug Wilder, who inherited a structural budget deficit and got rid of it without tax increases.

But I see no similar sign of moderation or economic knowledge on the part of Obama, who has been rated as the most liberal member of the Senate, and whose views on trade have been criticized as dishonest and uninformed even by the Washington Post, a paper so liberal it hasn't endorsed any Republican for president since the 1952 election.
11.2.2008 2:28pm
Oren:

We know he's far left because he disguises it. Is that Klausner's logic?

Yes, if he says something moderate, that's proof that he's a radical.
11.2.2008 2:28pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
"To say of a prominent African-American who is running for President that he "doesn't have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid" is racism of the lowest order. Klausner couldn't possibly know of all of Obama's friends. He certainly doesn't know of all Obama's African-American friends, and it's fair to assume that Obama has a fair number of them. And yet Klausner, quoting Prelutsky, is willing to say, sight unseen, that not one of them isn't the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid. Klausner is certainly the sort of racist creep I would cross the street to avoid."

Rubbish. You keep inserting african-american into the discussion where the author didn't. There is nothing in his piece to suggest that he wouldn't feel the same way if Obama had a different skin color. It's clear that he thinks of Obama as a political radical with a group of radical friends and associates. His statement is absolute, hyperbolic, and silly, but not racist.
11.2.2008 2:35pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
From another perspective, Burt Prelutsky recently wrote, "Obama doesn't have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn't the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."
Come on, people, that wasn't meant to be taken literally, it's called "hyperbole."
11.2.2008 2:38pm
Oren:

Come on, people, that wasn't meant to be taken literally, it's called "hyperbole."

So we won't take his views seriously then.
11.2.2008 2:44pm
gwinje:
Again, I didn't say anybody was racist. I said using a phrase that implies an ability to visually identify Obama's (creepy) associates sounded racist to me. Poor choice of words, even for hyperbole.
11.2.2008 2:49pm
RPT (mail):
"Klausner:

Given Obama's credentials as a far left ideologue who adroitly camouflages his radical anticapitalist views, if the Democrats win the presidency and control of both houses of Congress -- and particularly if Iran develops a nuclear bomb -- I share Tom Sowell's concerns that we may reach "the point of no return."

Wow. Klausner was a pretty good litigator back in his Kindel &Anderson days. This is silly stuff. "Credentials"? "Anticapitalist"? "Iran"? If this is a reflection of the standards of hyperbole used when the neocon/libertarians litigate their cases, I'm surprised they ever prevail.
11.2.2008 2:56pm
byomtov (mail):
Come on, people, that wasn't meant to be taken literally, it's called "hyperbole."

Sounds to me like Klausner took it literally. The tone fits pretty well with the rest of the two anti-Obama paragraphs, which are hardly a thoughtful critique.
11.2.2008 3:00pm
Daniel San:
On the economy, if there is a rush to pass Statist legislation, I fear that the candidate whose first public Attempt on the crisis was to randomly fire the head of the SEC and whose second was to blame greedy capitalists is just as likely as Obama to support terrible legislation.

On foreign policy, McCain is more likely to talk tough than Obama and is more concerned about Iran, but in practical terms, options are limited. Yes, it is unacceptable that Iran get the bomb; but does anyone really expect either McCain or Obama to do any more or less than Bush to prevent it?
11.2.2008 3:03pm
Cornellian (mail):
On the economy, if there is a rush to pass Statist legislation, I fear that the candidate whose first public Attempt on the crisis was to randomly fire the head of the SEC and whose second was to blame greedy capitalists is just as likely as Obama to support terrible legislation.

A McCain administration will come up with another McCain/Feingold type of solution to the problem of regulating the financial markets.
11.2.2008 4:28pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
if the Democrats win the presidency and control of both houses of Congress — and particularly if Iran develops a nuclear bomb — I share Tom Sowell's concerns that we may reach "the point of no return."


How is this a libertarian view? Sounds much more neoconservative to me.


So your idea of neocon is someone who is concerned about the military aspirations of America's enemies?
11.2.2008 4:36pm
interested observer:
manny's wife isn't "apparently black," she is black.
They've been together a long time. But to the obama whackos, even marrying a black person doesnt immunize one from charges of racism if criticizing "the one."

Anyway -- go barr.
11.2.2008 4:38pm
David Warner:
It is well that Obama's supporters are so terrible, lest we grow too fond of him.
11.2.2008 4:39pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Palin must go down in flames.

Why the PDS, Skardner?

Seems to me those with the most virulent PDS are women who've had abortions, ostensibly to save their careers, and don't like to see a woman with 5 kids who is more successful.
11.2.2008 4:41pm
liberty (mail) (www):
Was that Obama endorsement by Tom Smith a joke? Redistribution is moral because "I want money"? Obviously, the money came out of thin air -- it wasn't taken from someone else. Free lunches all around! Cool, yeah, sign me up.
11.2.2008 4:56pm
DiversityHire:
Was that Obama endorsement by Tom Smith a joke?

A satirical take on the libertarians-for-obama apologias that are cropping-up all over. More subtle than T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII's send-up of class-based explanations.
11.2.2008 5:07pm
DangerMouse:
To say of a prominent African-American who is running for President that he "doesn't have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid" is racism of the lowest order.

Meh. All of us who oppose Obama are racists, I guess. Got anything else?
11.2.2008 5:14pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
Every "libertarian" who isn't voting for Sen. McCain is an idiot.

McCain has, for his entire career, been a steadfast supporter of free trade and in favor cutting spending. He said George W. Bush was spending like a "drunken sailor."

Supposedly these "libertarians" believe that if Obama is elected, the GOP will become more "libertarian." Like hell it will.

First, shifts in party ideology don't just happen all by themselves (anyone who doesn't vote for McCain because they want the GOP to become more libertarian had better WORK HARD to make the GOP more libertarian--you had better do more than just sabotage us at election time).

Second, depending on how popular Obama is, we might end up with a populist Republican like Huckabee. Or maybe Gov. Palin will swing hard towards populism in order to win the primary. I don't see anyone more libertarian than John McCain in the near future for the GOP.

If you want the GOP to embrace free trade and spending cuts, then put Sen. McCain in a position to reward people who favor free trade and punish people who push for wasteful spending. THAT is how to make the GOP more libertarian. Sabotaging us at this moment so that Barack Obama can bankrupt the coal industry is the stupidest plan ever.
11.2.2008 5:55pm
SKardner (mail):
First, shifts in party ideology don't just happen all by themselves (anyone who doesn't vote for McCain because they want the GOP to become more libertarian had better WORK HARD to make the GOP more libertarian--you had better do more than just sabotage us at election time).

You might be more persuasive to such libertarians if you didn't come across like such a Republicanist. Unlike you, I do not believe in party over principle.


Second, depending on how popular Obama is, we might end up with a populist Republican like Huckabee. Or maybe Gov. Palin will swing hard towards populism in order to win the primary. I don't see anyone more libertarian than John McCain in the near future for the GOP.


That is the problem. Perhaps the GOP needs to refocus on fielding a deeper libertarian bench.
11.2.2008 6:03pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
In addition to the good points everyone else made in response to Prof. Zywicki's professed lack of understanding as to why people voted for FDR in 1936, 1940, and 1944, I would add a minor point and a major point.

The minor point: Professor Zywicki ignores the fact that there are other issues at play in the elections, including the identity of FDR's opponents (a Catholic at a time when that was a huge electoral disadvantage, and 2 moderate Republicans who offered a "dimestore New Deal" alternative).

The major point: Professor Zywicki is ignoring that whatever one says about the New Deal as macroeconomic policy (though it's worth noting that outside of the libertarian right, very few experts think it caused a lot of harm), it was excellent microeconomic policy (or at least parts of it were). In other words, all those people who worked for the WPA and the CCC and the TVA, and all those mothers collecting Aid to Dependent Children, and all those elderly people who were signed up for Social Security, and all those farmers who benefitted from Rural Electrification were quite positive about the effects of the New Deal. Now, of course, this is the type of point that makes a libertarian scream, because essentially New Deal "worked" by bribing a lot of voters with government largesse. But what libertarians don't understand is that when people are hopeless, and farms turn to dust, and the middle class are forced into bread lines and soup kitchens, and nobody seems to be hiring, government largesse doesn't seem like such a bad deal, and nobody's really worried about government getting too big.

Indeed, if you want the real counterfactual, FDR saved capitalism. A government that doesn't provide this sort of aid during a period as dire as the Great Depression is a government in danger of violent overthrow.

In any event, I would suggest that rather than looking at GDP figures, Professor Zywicki and other libertarians consult a good social history of the period, to get an idea of what people were really going through and why they weren't particularly interested in economic theory.
11.2.2008 7:03pm
David Warner:
Daryl,

"Every "libertarian" who isn't voting for Sen. McCain is an idiot.

you had better do more than just sabotage us at election time)."

True, you seem to be doing all the sabotage necessary yourself.
11.2.2008 8:05pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Observer:

"Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."

This seems patently untrue unless you do not believe Obama's claim that he is friends with Tom Coburn (which Tom Coburn himself never denied).


Then again, some people might think that Coburn is "the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."
11.2.2008 8:17pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bader:

Given that Manny Klausner's wife is apparently black, it is absurd for gwinje to claim that "even among Obama's associates that are creeps, there's only one kind that would cause Klausner to cross the street if he saw them coming."


Just to be clear, the statement about crossing the street came from Prelutsky, not Klausner. But the latter did quote the former.
11.2.2008 8:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
db:

Come on, people, that wasn't meant to be taken literally, it's called "hyperbole."


I'm going to have to remember that defense for the next time I run into a situation like this.
11.2.2008 8:24pm
Floridan:
This election is certainly exposing all the so-called libertarians for what they are -- right-wing Republicans.
11.2.2008 8:35pm
Matthew K:
Like about half the above comments, I found this remark utterly moronic:

From another perspective, Burt Prelutsky recently wrote, "Obama doesn’t have a single friend, associate or religious mentor, who isn’t the sort of creep that most of us would cross the street to avoid."

Personally, I rather like Cass Sunstein. I met him briefly at a conference last year (no reason he would remember me) and I'm very much enjoying his book. Hmm, I think he even guest blogged for some far left outlet that I read occasionally. I can't quite recall the name now...

Prelutsky is apparently an idiot and, even given that he's an idiot, he must have been having an off day. Most unfortunate. More broadly, I have a reflective suspicion of those who approvingly cite idiots when the idiots in question are making idiotic comments (rare pearls of wisdom are exceptions, naturally).

I would love for the doomsayers to put in print a series of falsifiable predictions about an Obama administration. I suspect many will not come to pass (for one, I do not expect the creation of an 'Obama Youth' corp that encourages children to report on the capitalist inclinations of their parents*) In four years (very likely) we'll all be able to compare notes.

*I'm joking; I haven't heard that particular one.
11.2.2008 8:40pm
Doc W (mail):
One of the things FDR had going for him was the degree to which Hoover's meddlesome economic policies lowered expectations. Sort of like what we're probably heading into now with Obama benefiting from Bush's wreaking the economy by abandoning the balanced budget, small government approach he originally ran on.

McCain actually had a game-changing opportunity to do the right thing by opposing the idiotic Wall Street bailout. So much for the maverick.

Anyway, it's a lousy time to be a libertarian, indeed--but it could turn out to be the darkness before dawn. First, McCain and the neocons get flushed by the electorate. Then the Dems, with complete power, make fools of themselves as is the wont of both major parties in that situation. Finally, there's a political realignment offering a seriously peace &free market option with articulate exponents.

Not a likely scenario, granted, but neither is it likely that much good will come out of a McCain presidency. With an anti-free speech warmonger on one side and an anti-gun collectivist airhead on the other, voting straight Libertarian has never been a more obvious choice.
11.2.2008 9:29pm
byomtov (mail):
Dilan Esper,

I would suggest that rather than looking at GDP figures, Professor Zywicki and other libertarians consult a good social history of the period, to get an idea of what people were really going through and why they weren't particularly interested in economic theory.

While I certainly agree with your suggestion about a social history of the period, I still think it's worthwhile to ask Zywicki and others to actually look at the data before making claims about it.
11.2.2008 9:30pm
Jeffersonian22 (mail):
I'm in the fix Klausner mentioned. I've voted Libertarian since 1992, but this year I'm voting McCain because I'm in a battleground state. I'll grit my teeth, but I'll do it.
11.2.2008 10:59pm
Bryan Long:
It would take a considerable amount of either leftist or rightist Kool-Aid consumption to come to the conclusion that Obama was anything other than a political opportunist with no set of core beliefs, like every other politician in the Western world.

Of course, he'll be beholden to a certain set of special interest groups, as would any other Democratic candidate, and those groups only partially overlap with those to which McCain would be beholden. As taxpayers, you'll be getting fleeced either way, so vote for the candidate whose political benefactors are more agreeable to you.
11.3.2008 12:18am
Randy R. (mail):
Daryl Herbert: I'm confused. How is libertarianism different from GOP conservatism? Sounds to me like you believe they are one in the same. What are the differences?
11.3.2008 12:28am
David Warner:
Doc W,

"Finally, there's a political realignment offering a seriously peace &free market option with articulate exponents."

It's not outside the realm of possibility that we'll be electing one within the next week. If so, will you join him?
11.3.2008 12:56am
David Warner:
byomtov,

"While I certainly agree with your suggestion about a social history of the period, I still think it's worthwhile to ask Zywicki and others to actually look at the data before making claims about it."

What makes you think he hasn't?
11.3.2008 12:59am
benji:
One thing I've never really understood about the Great Depression and New Deal is why people kept reelecting FDR when it was obvious that his policies were not only not working but counterproductive

The New Deal, first term edition, was politically targeted. You can find plenty of sources that discuss how the programs were targeted in such a way to win over regions for electoral purposes.
11.3.2008 1:38am
gwinje:
mea culpa:

I sent the quote about "crossing the street" to a good Obama supporting black friend who's favorite expression is "fncking white people. . . ".

He responded "doesn't sound racist to me".
11.3.2008 2:24am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Supposedly these "libertarians" believe that if Obama is elected, the GOP will become more "libertarian." Like hell it will.

First, shifts in party ideology don't just happen all by themselves (anyone who doesn't vote for McCain because they want the GOP to become more libertarian had better WORK HARD to make the GOP more libertarian--you had better do more than just sabotage us at election time).


Good point, should McCain lose tomorrow doubtless the GOP will see this as a sign that they need to “move to the center” as they did in 2000 when after losing Congressional seats under then Speaker Newt Gingrich they decided to nominate a governor who ran on a platform of “compassionate conservatism.”
11.3.2008 12:40pm