Blogs > Liberty and Power > Hillary versus McCain? I'll Take Hillary

May 12, 2006 10:55 am

Hillary versus McCain? I'll Take Hillary

George Will reported yesterday that Sen. John McCain, a presidential aspirant, recently told radio guy Don Imus:
I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government.
In other words, his conception of" clean" government takes precedence over free political speech. As Will asks, if McCain ever takes the oath to defend the Constitution,"what would he mean?" It is amazing that McCain is seen as a refreshing political personality. He's as reactionary and as power-lusting as they get. (And a sanctimonious warmonger to boot.) Will correctly notes that people like McCain, obsessed with campaign finance, hold two propositions at the same time:
Proof that incumbent politicians are highly susceptible to corruption is the fact that the government they control is shot through with it. Yet that government should be regarded as a disinterested arbiter, untainted by politics and therefore qualified to regulate the content, quantity and timing of speech in campaigns that determine who controls the government. In the language of McCain's Imus appearance, the government is very much not" clean," but it is so clean it can be trusted to regulate speech about itself.
If in 2008 it's Hillary versus McCain, I'm for Hillary, for two reasons: It'll keep McCain out of office, and the congressional Republicans will act more like an opposition party. Yeah, anybody but McCain.

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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Anthony Gregory - 5/12/2006

As I wrote on the LRC blog in February:

". . . It seems to me that the two favorites for the 2008 pander-a-thon are McCain and Hillary. Shudder. Cringe.

"I despise the politics of both. They are both horrible on everything. Senator McCain might be a tad better than President Bush on torture, but a President McCain is hard to predict. McCain is terrible on the issues on which conservatives are supposed to be good: gun control, campaign finance censorship, etc.

"Hillary is, if anything, worse. That's my view and I'm sticking to it. She's as bad on war and civil liberties as the worst fascists on the right, and she also wants to nationalize the nation's children because it takes a village to mess up the world as much as she would like to.

"Okay, so why is there a case for Hillary? Why would any libertarian think that she would be preferable to McCain?

"Opposition. Liberals like McCain. They love him. All he has to do is promise to grab our guns and forbid donations to political candidates, and they somehow ignore his bloodthirstiness. If McCain is president, especially after eight unbelievable years of the smirking chimp, I expect more universal support for everything he wants to do.

"On the other hand, conservatives hate Hillary. If she tried to do half the oppressive things Shrub has done, they'd be marching in the streets. The conservatives were at their best in the 1990s, under Clinton, and their resistance to his excesses helped to slow down the growth of the state. They'd probably be even more on guard under Hillary, and will see what they have wrought with all the power they defended in Bush's hands now that it's in hers.

"So while Hillary is worse than John, there will be more tacit consent from the people if he's in power, and thus more power for the state. It's all counterintuitive. And I am not in any way advocating a vote or a dime for either campaign! I can also think of reasons to prefer McCain — for example, I think a Democratic Hillary could possibly get away with more war than a Republican. But I gotta say, you know things are messed up when there's any case to be made for Hillary Clinton."

Steven Horwitz - 5/12/2006

Indeed, both of Jason's points are spot on. Divided government is the realist's best libertarian outcome, and Penn would do more for libertarianism than any other than John Stossel has in terms of reaching a broad audience.

Sheldon Richman - 5/12/2006

Hear, hear for gridlock!

Is Penn talking about running?

Jason T. Kuznicki - 5/12/2006

It's a long way off, but I intend to vote in whatever way seems most likely to help divide the government. If that means voting for Hillary, so be it. And I am holding out hope that Penn Jillette will win the Libertarian nomination. Not only would he have my vote, but he would also expose a lot more people to classical liberal ideas at a time when they are sorely needed.