Libertarians wonder: Should we have voted for Obama in 2008?

Dave Weigel

1. In 2008, you told that you were voting for Barack Obama. Do you stand by that vote? Yes, Obama was the best of the four options on my ballot: Nader, McKinney, Obama, McCain. All we need to know about whether McCain could have guided us through the crisis comes from the weeks around the collapse of Lehman, when according to everyone present McCain was erratic and unsure of what to do and say. He voted for the bailout, as did Obama, but Obama seemed to understand why he was doing so.

2. Have the federal policies and laws passed since Obama took office benefited or hurt the country? I’m very disappointed by Obama on civil liberties and disappointed but not surprised by domestic policy. I don’t actually have a problem with the size of the stimulus—let’s spend big when the economy is tanking and cut bigger when it recovers—but it’s pretty clear that the infrastructure spending was too random to do good. I actually think that the GM rescue worked, and was not a step towards total and eternal government control of the economy. Health care reform sucked, but I’m increasingly convinced that this is because we have the worst of all possible worlds—a big government that doesn’t work. You can have a big government that acts quickly, or you can have a small government that acts quickly. But this situation where we have a massive government that operates based on the compromise that can attract Ben Nelson and Olympia Snowe is a bigger problem than anything the people in government believe.

3. What is the first thing that the new Congress should do upon taking office in 2011? Our system is built for maximum intrigue and infighting—by system, I mean Congress and the media—but I’d love to see a tax-cut extension compromise passed immediately.

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