Party Like It’s 1992

The leading members of the Republican Party have a lot of thinking to do.

What they’ve been doing lately hasn’t been working out very well for them. They can’t just be the “We’ll spend almost as much as the Democrats!” party. They have to decide what kind of a genuine alternative they can present. One way to go is the Mike Huckabee route, and be more socially conservative, and economically populist. I think that would be a disaster for everyone. The other day, Jeff Flake (probably the best member of congress) wrote a great op-ed that they should consider seriously.

I suggest that we return to first principles. At the top of that list has to be a recommitment to limited government. After eight years of profligate spending and soaring deficits, voters can be forgiven for not knowing that limited government has long been the first article of faith for Republicans.

Second, we need to recommit to our belief in economic freedom. Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” may be on the discount rack this year, but the free market is still the most efficient means to allocate capital and human resources in an economy, and Americans know it. Now that we’ve inserted government deeply into the private sector by bailing out banks and businesses, the temptation will be for government to overstay its welcome and force the distribution of resources to serve political ends. Substituting political for economic incentives is not the recipe for economic recovery.

As they say, read the whole thing.

I think the Republicans would be wise to appoint Flake House Minority Leader (or at least, Whip), and to follow his advice.

President Obama

I’m glad that Obama’s victory has made so many people happy tonight. Of course, I think they don’t understand that a united Democrat government will do a great deal of damage. I can’t help but think of this clip.

I understand the historic significance of electing our first black president, and I’m happy that the issue of whether the country was ready to elect one has been settled. I would have preferred someone with a better grasp of economics like Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams.

I’m afraid that all of the celebrants will get the government that they deserve.

Unfortunately, the rest of us will get the government that they deserve too.

Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Bob Barr

Thomas Sowell characterized (at around 1:30) the choice between McCain and Obama as one of disaster vs. catastrophe.

They both have very bad philosophies and I really don’t like either one of them.

And, since I live in Washington State, which will certainly elect electors for Obama, there’s no chance of my vote being decisive, so I’m extremely free to vote (or not) for purely expressive reasons.

So, I’ve cast my absentee ballot for the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr.

But, although I voted for Barr, I do have a preference between the two major-party candidates and (like Sowell) I prefer disaster to catastrophe and hope that McCain manages to pull out an upset.

The main reason is that I’m afraid of one-party executive-legislative rule, and worry about how much damage would be done. The second reason is that there is a very good chance that the next president will nominate two Supreme Court justices, and I expect much better nominees from McCain than from Obama.

McCain is bad, but he might actually veto the most outrageous of congressional mischief and slow down the damage. And, a Democrat congress might deny him his most outrageous policy goals.

But, I realize it’s a longshot. Intrade has McCain’s chances at about 11% at the moment.

So, I expect that people will tend to vote for change they can fantasize about, and will elect Obama. Hopefully, he won’t be as bad as I fear, and any damage can be reversed within a few years.

Unfortunately, I’m not very optimistic about it at this point.

By the way, there have been some interesting posts about how libertarians should vote at the Volokh Conspiracy recently.