The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put out a hilarious press release slagging a GOP congressional candidate for his ties to the “right wing extremist group,” the “CATO” [sic] Institute.
Hmm. By my reckoning, Cato’s to the left of Obama on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, all issues related to the drug war, indefinite detention, state secrets, government transparency, extraordinary rendition, “enhanced interrogation,” and government surveillance. Cato has also filed pro-defense amicus briefs on the opposite side of the Obama administration on cases ranging from the civil commitment of would-be sex offenders, to suing prosecutors who frame innocent people, to compensating attorneys who win civil rights lawsuits against the government, to ensuring property owners who lose their property in forfeiture cases get their day in court in a timely fashion. Cato was also a hell of a lot more active about holding the prior administration’s feet to the fire for its abuse of the Constitution than the spineless Democrats were.
If Cato is extreme right wing, where does that put Obama and the Democratic leadership?
I’m not even sure the issue the DCCC is complaining about here–free trade–has an easily demarcated left-right breakdown. I’m also not sure how it’s “right-wing” to advocate unilaterally bringing down trade barriers to allow mutual exchange of labor and goods with the people of other countries. You could (incorrectly) argue that it’s unwise, but there’s nothing necessarily right-wing about it. Even if the DCCC is claiming Cato is right-wing corporatist (as opposed to right-wing populist), that doesn’t really hold water either, given that the organization comes down on the opposite side of Obama and most congressional Democrats on corporate farm subsidies, R&D boondoggles, and the bailouts. Hell, Cato wants to eliminate the Department of Commerce! That’s extreme (and correct, IMHO), but it’s hardly right-wing.
But what do I know? In lefty land, I’m just a Republican who does drugs.
(Disclosure: I should have added when I put up this post that I worked for Cato for five years, and now have an unpaid Media Fellow position with the organization.)