This latest hubbub over McCain's pick of Republican Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President has certainly made the entire 2008 race somewhat more interesting, in light of the fact that it's more of a response to Obama's pick of Biden as his running mate.
Palin has been deemed by many conservative and libertarian Republicans to possess an identical maverick streak that many see coming from McCain. As a pro-lifer, she claims to be in favor of "free market capitalism," hunts, and fishes. But, despite the fact that "libertarians" like Eric Dondero Rittberg branding Palin a "libertarian Republican," the woman governor of Alaska isn't as libertarian as her sycophants and she make her out to be.
For example, Palin, just prior to her election to the governorship in late 2006, campaigned on education, public safety, and public transportation, making them cornerstones of her administration. Interestingly enough, on her gubernatorial website, in the issues section of her website under the issue "Gasline," you will find the following disclaimer:
I am a conservative Republican, a firm believer in free market capitalism. A free market system allows all parties to compete, which ensures the best and most competitive project emerges, and ensures a fair, democratic process.
Let's re-read the first half of the first sentence again:
I am a conservative Republican...
She's not a libertarian folks. She's a "conservative Republican." She's a pro-war, pro-tyranny, and anti-freedom vice presidential pick. There's nothing consistently libertarian about her.
How is this, you ask? Let's take a good look at her short gubernatorial record:
- While she pushed for an ethics bill (strongly libertarian, but futile as well) and jettisoning some pork bills that called for further wasteful spending of tax dollars at the state level but were supported by her fellow Republican colleagues, she did refuse to use state tax dollars to provide funding for the Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere (that would have connected one of the state's islands to another for the purpose of providing access to one of its airports). While the $398 million bridge was abandoned and Palin did the right thing by not authorizing state tax monies to finance it, she did not even consider the option of marketizing (a true alternative to "privatizing") the ferry system to the private sector so that the market could provide better access to the airport without the government contracting it to private enterprise or even subsidizing it or both. How is that libertarian?
- While she rightfully opposed her fellow Republican United States Secretary of the Interior Dick Kempthorne's decision to place the state's polar bears on the Endangered Species list, she used taxpayer monies in the form of a lawsuit to stop the naming. How is that libertarian?
- While Palin publicly supported drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), she did support and help pass a windfall profit tax on oil company profits and formed a sub-cabinet full of government advisors to "address" global warming (now called "climate change") and "reduce" CO2 emissions in the state. How is that libertarian?
- She pushed for a state tax-funded $100-a-month energy debit cards for Alaskans in reponse to high gas and energy prices and proposed state tax-funded grants to electrical utilities in order for them to pare down their customers' monthly rates. How is that libertarian?
- She supports imposing creationism alongside with evolution in the public "government" schools, even though she said that she wouldn't use religion as a "litmus test" to select any public candidate for appointment to any government school board. She never mentions getting the government out of the schools. So how is this libertarian?
- She opposes legalizing marijuana, even for medicinal use, despite the fact that she tried it once and never liked it. How is that libertarian?
- Finally, she opposes gay marriage, which means she supports keeping the government in the marriage business (when it should be out of it once and for all). How is her position on that libertarian?
While there are plenty of other anti-libertarian views that she holds, she may be slightly better than, say, Senator Joe Biden, because she holds some libertarian views, but that's not saying much in the grand scheme of things. Overall, she's not libertarian, and any "libertarian Republican" who thinks that she is a libertarian and is qualified for public office needs to have his/her head looked at.