Pimp Hard, Libertard, Pimp Hard!

In which Reason editor Matt Welch grabs an anti-Koch conspiracy theory in his teeth and runs with it like a big dog

Matt Welch
writes at Reason:

Back in 2008, if you pressed a libertarian planning to vote for Barack Obama, chances are he’d yelp out the name Austan Goolsbee. The Libertarians for Obama website (which, appropriately, shut down after November 2008), claimed “Obama’s chief economic adviser—a friend from the University of Chicago, where they both taught—sounds an awful lot like a libertarian.” The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle repeatedly pinned her preference for the Democrat on his closeness with Goolsbee, “one of my favorite professors, and a hell of an economist.” The libertarian economist David Friedman cited Goolsbee when musing to the San Francisco Chronicle that Obama might end up emulating the liberals who launched New Zealand’s wildly successful deregulation project in the 1980s.

Two years later there probably isn’t a libertarian-leaning person on earth who still thinks Obama has it in him to pull a Nixon-goes-to-China when it comes to downsizing government. The president has followed up George W. Bush’s big-government disaster with a big-government catastrophe, setting consecutive annual records for spending, deficits, and debt while extending the pernicious too-big-to-fail doctrine all the way to the auto parts business. And every day on the hustings in advance of the Democrats’ midterm drubbing, Obama campaigned against a wholly fictional Bush record of deregulation and spending cuts.

“Between 2001 and 2009,” the president falsely claimed in September, “a very specific philosophy reigned in Washington: You cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires; you cut regulations for special interests; you cut back on investments in education and clean energy, in research and technology. The idea was if we put blind faith in the market, if we let corporations play by their own rules, if we left everybody to fend for themselves, America would grow and America would prosper.” As any good 2008 libertarian for Obama could tell you, that description does not square with Bush’s record of jacking up federal education spending by 58 percent in real terms, increasing significant regulations and regulatory spending at rates not seen since Richard Nixon, and boosting discretionary spending more than any president since Lyndon Johnson.

And what about our University of Chicago hero Austan Goolsbee? In September he became chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. Just before the appointment, Goolsbee gave a background briefing to reporters on behalf of the administration in which he trashed the most influential donors the libertarian universe has ever seen: Charles and David Koch, funders of the Cato Institute, the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies, and much more. (David Koch sits on the Reason Foundation’s Board of Trustees.)...
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