Matthew Yglesias responds to a couple of pieces by Julian Sanchez and Matt Welch questioning the response of well-known lefties (as opposed to rank and file, who seem much more divided) to Kelo vs. New London.
Key quip from his pooh-poohing:
It speaks well of the intelligence of the libertarian legal community that when they try and establish precedents that will make it much harder to regulate large corporations and wealthy individuals in the public interest that they don’t choose the case of Mega Corp v. Cute Deer or Sick Child v. Giant Drug Company. Instead, they pick cases like Raich and Kelo, where liberal egalitarians may sympathize with plaintiffs ostensibly beseiged by Big Government.
Yes, because preventing local governments from becoming a way for businesses to circumvent the free market at the expense of the less-politically-connected doesn’t “make it much harder to regulate large corporations and wealthy individuals in the public interest”. It has zero, zip, zilch to do with regulation, and only the tiniest sliver to do with the public interest, which was the whole point. Or did he mean Raich, where activity that involved no commerce whatsoever was being regulated under the “Commerce” Clause? How does that favor big business? He doesn’t say, because there is no rational way to back that up. It’s just insanely random and desperate mud-smearing.
Think if the swing vote had been Kennedy but the affirmative votes were the conservatives–is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that Yglesias would be screaming about how this ruling shows that Republicans are firmly in the pockets of Big Business? I find it difficult to find a mainstream, popularly-read lefty who disapproves of the ruling. Yet from the comments on their blogs and from some liberals I’ve talked to, the base is not nearly so unanimous in their approval, despite the boot-licking of their punditerati.
Attention progressive pundits: Coalitions require compromise and finding common ground. If libertarians and “liberals” can’t find common ground on tyranny-of-the-majority issues like these, then there is no common ground and you will have lost another political constituency you might have used to chisel at the Republican base. This is a simple issue where your core principles, if those core principles are in fact greater than simply expanding government power at any cost, are not at stake. Your core constituencies are, in fact, at stake. This means that the Republicans will have pissed off a good portion of their base and you will have failed to pick them up.
Republicans have been on a drive for Big Business and Big Government at the expense of their principles, and it’s fractured the libertarian/conservative coalition and started to splinter the conservatives, as well. But since the liberal pundits have picked up the “libertarians are worse than conservatives” meme of the extreme left, they are blind to opportunities to expand their base because it means agreeing with Bad People. There are a number of libertarians who would be willing to vote for liberals if you agreed on issues of civil liberties (Raich) or corporate welfare (Kelo). However, if you can’t even be seen to get off the partisan “my guys can’t be wrong no matter what” spin-cycle for these issues, then there’s no net advantage for us to vote for you. I know this issue is pretty much making my mind up not to support the Democrats in the next election. Instead I’ll just vote for the Libertarian Party. They may be wacky, but right now they look positively reasonable by comparison.
Enjoy being the minority in a theocracy. You richly deserve it.