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June 13, 2008

An Open Letter To Anyone Supporting John McCain

by Doug Mataconis

Please tell me why anyone who believes in free markets should vote for that man after reading crap like this:

Speaking on Wall Street last night, Senator McCain of Arizona sounded more like an economic populist than a proponent of the kind of unbridled free-market capitalism promoted by many who work on the trading floors nearby.

(…)

“I believe there needs to be a thorough and complete investigation of speculators to find out whether speculation has been going on and, if so, how much it has affected the price of a barrel of oil,” Mr. McCain said in response to an audience member’s complaint about investors driving up the price of fuel and other commodities. “There’s a lot of things out there that need a lot more transparency and, consequently, oversight.”

(…)

“I am very angry, frankly, at the oil companies not only because of the obscene profits they’ve made but at their failure to invest in alternate energy to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil,” the senator said. “They’re making huge profits and that happens, but not to say, ‘We’re in this so we can over time eliminate America’s dependence on foreign oil,’ I think is an abrogation of their responsibilities as citizens.”

I think I finally figured out the only way the 2008 Election can make sense.

A unity ticket between Barack Obama and John McCain. Because, quite frankly, they agree a heck of a lot more than they disagree.

H/T: QandO

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9 Comments

  1. He’s not a populist. Populists are for that general imaginary construct known as “the people.”

    He’s a nationalist. He is for that general [imaginary] construct known as “the nation”. He believes that the goals of the nation supersedes our individual needs and wants. He believes that we exist to serve the nation.

    Listen to everything that comes out of his mouth, and it belies a completely foreign understanding of the relationship between an individual and the state to that of the majority of American history.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — June 13, 2008 @ 9:33 pm
  2. I thought of a campaign slogan for the McCain campaign:

    “Just like George!”

    Comment by inDglass — June 13, 2008 @ 9:37 pm
  3. Brad,

    Oh, don’t let those minor distinctions fool you…he’s plenty populist too. And when you get down to it, nationalists and populists both embrace statism so you and Doug are both right.

    Comment by UCrawford — June 13, 2008 @ 9:41 pm
  4. Doesn’t “populist” simply mean “panderer” these days? If “populist” actually meant something still, wouldn’t it be a synonym for libertarian?

    Comment by Jeff Molby — June 14, 2008 @ 6:52 am
  5. I wasn’t the one referring to him as a “populist”, but I have to agree with you, Jeff. Populist used to have a specific meaning, but I don’t think that’s the case any longer

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — June 14, 2008 @ 7:05 am
  6. Jeff,

    Actually, I’m of the opinion that “populist” always meant “panderer”. It’s just that in the good ol’ days with fewer media resources at our disposal it was harder to catch the “men of the people” when they screwed up and showed their true colors.

    Comment by UCrawford — June 14, 2008 @ 7:43 am
  7. Jeff,

    While I’ll agree that populist has become a broad label, I wouldn’t say it’s completely devoid of meaning, nor would I in any way say that it’s related to libertarianism.

    As an example, here is an example of a possible definition from the Wikipedia article on populism (chosen because this has often been my definition as well):

    In recent years, scholars have made advances in defining the term in ways which can be profitably employed in research and that can also help clarify the origins of such differences. One of the latest of these is the definition by Daniele Albertazzi and Duncan McDonnell who, in their volume Twenty-First Century Populism, define populism as pitting “a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous ‘others’ who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity and voice” [4].

    I have always viewed the definition of “populism” as inherently being a collectivist mindset. To me it’s always been a solidarity “us vs them” mentality, with the demagogue always identifying with the “us”, of course.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — June 14, 2008 @ 7:51 am
  8. No wonder Lou Dobbs leaves me with such a bad taste.

    Comment by Norm Nelson — June 14, 2008 @ 10:25 am
  9. Also…

    I am very angry, frankly, at the oil companies not only because of the obscene profits they’ve made but at their failure to invest in alternate energy to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil

    Oh…you mean like the nuclear plants that government regulations make impossible to build? Or how about the regulations that make it impossible to build more refineries? Or the regulations that make it impossible to drill in the ANWR? Or the government’s refusal to press our territorial rights in the Arctic Sea, where they suspect more oil reserves might be? Where’s McCain’s rhetoric about any of that?

    Typical statist, McCain is…always willing to blame somebody else for a problem he helped create and that he refuses to address.

    Comment by UCrawford — June 14, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

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