Monday, March 17, 2008

Justin Raimondo and Libertarian Backlash

In a recent post on, longtime libertarian activist Justin Raimondo came out of the closet with his "man-crush on Obama." It wasn't quite an endorsement, but Raimondo made it clear that he'd like Obama to be our next president. More interesting, though, was the reaction on the blog. It's a pretty good indication of the difficulty of selling libertarians on Obama, no matter how much they have in common with him. The comments ran about evenly for and against Obama, but here's a sampling of the con viewpoints (and the categories they fall into):

"This is just a case of Obama being everything to everyone. He will end up the same as every other president from the war party, except he will be harder to oppose because he is more capable and will be able to fool more people."

(General libertarian distrust of all politicians)

"Obama has made it clear that he has no problem with US foreign interventionism in a general sense, using the US military to spread “goodness” around the world."

(Conflation of support for small-scale foreign intervention with support for Bush-style total war)

"Ah yes, those PATRIOT Act enhancements and extensions were so appealing to antiwar libertarians. As was “tort reform”. And the pledges to expand the military. I may swoon any minute now."

(Libertarian doctrinal rigidity and refusal to support anyone who is not a total libertarian)

"O-bomb-a would likely send troops into Pakistan which would likely start a nice “little” regional war that would likely eventually involve Nuclear weapons."

(A misunderstanding for Obama's position on Pakistan that's widespread beyond libertarian circles. I'll address this in a future post.)

As I've said before, convincing libertarians to go for Obama was never going to be easy.

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