Libertarian populism

I attended Friday’s event at Reason magazine’s DC office where Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr “debated” John McCain and Barack Obama. Barr viciously mocked the proposed bailout as a boondoggle: “The bailout plan, anyway you slice it, is a bad idea for America.” In doing so, Barr aligned himself with the firestorm of grassroots opposition to the bill — congressional staffers report that their phones are ringing off the hook and practically all the calls are from bailout opponents.

FreedomWorks — the free-market think tank led by Barr’s former GOP House colleague Dick Armey — has a list of “Ten Reasons to Oppose the Wall Street Bailout.” With Big Government coming to the rescue of Big Business, the bailout presents one of those rare occasions when libertarians find themselves handed an issue with widespread populist appeal.

Here’s video of Friday post-debate Q&A with Reason editor Matt Welch, in which Barr addresses foreign policy, the bailout and Ron Paul’s recent endorsement of Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin:

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

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