Saturday, April 19, 2008

Don't count on a candidate's campaign stances to tell you how he'll behave in office.


It might sound odd coming from a libertarian, but I wish the Pelosi-Reid Democrats had more in common with Franklin Roosevelt. Not the Franklin Roosevelt who occupied the White House from 1933 to 1945, but the Franklin Roosevelt who aspired to the White House in the election of 1932. The Democratic platform of that year is a remarkable document, considering the way the party's candidate went on to govern. It isn't a libertarian manifesto—it endorses several subsidies and regulations—but it hardly embraces the enormous expansion in federal power that FDR would achieve.


The very first plank calls for "an immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus, and eliminating extravagance to accomplish a saving of not less than twenty-five per cent in the cost of the Federal Government." (It also asks "the states to make a zealous effort to achieve a proportionate result.") Subsequent planks demand a balanced budget, a low tariff, the repeal of Prohibition, "a sound currency to be preserved at all hazards," "no interference in the internal affairs of other nations," and "the removal of government from all fields of private enterprise except where necessary to develop public works and natural resources in the common interest." The document concludes with a quote from Andrew Jackson: "equal rights to all; special privilege to none." It sounds more like Ron Paul than Pelosi.

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