Monday, March 30, 2009

Daniel Hannan: Would've Voted for Ron Paul on Constitutional Basis

During his interview with Neil Cavuto, Daniel Hannan noted several mis-steps of the U.S. GOP, and made the statement:


European Parliament Member Disagrees With Spending to Get Out of a Recession

...CAVUTO: Well, we can actually beat you on the government spending, even on the per capita front. So, we have you beat there.

But here's where — where there is an interesting question, because I know your reputation, as being a sort of this young rising maverick, such a maverick, even among conservatives, that, if memory serves me right, sir, you had supported Barack Obama to be president, not that you could vote in the election.

But what was your argument for Barack Obama over John McCain, if you now know that — and he didn't exactly hide this — that he would be quite a big spender?

HANNAN: Yes, you're making sure I'm never going to be asked back on to FOX News.


HANNAN: I'll tell you what the — I'll tell you what the argument was.

The argument was — and I kind of still think this. And this may be something that you see a bit more clearly from abroad. It is really a unfair thing that this should be so, but the fact of the matter is that the election of a mixed-race candidate who had opposed the Iraq war from the beginning was going to make your country a lot more trusted and popular and, therefore, authoritative around the world.

And you know that that has happened. But you're right. We have paid a price for that. You have paid a price for it.

Let me — let me — the only thing I would kind of say in his defense is, I think the Republican Party didn't exactly have a brilliant record on this. And one of the reasons why I wasn't wild about the McCain campaign, even though I'm a — you know, more loyal generally to the Republican Party, more uncomplicatedly loyal, shall we say, than I am to my own, is that I think GOP had drifted away in the Bush years from what ought to have been its core principles.

It had become the party of federal deficits. It had become party of big spending. It had become the party of trampling over states' rights, particularly on the gay marriage amendment. And it had become the party of external protectionism with — with the steel tariffs.

And, then, of course, laterally, it became the party of nationalizations and bailouts with the first of the bailout packages.

Now, OK, here is an argument for Obama that maybe will go down a little bit better with some of your viewers. He has already united the Republicans around a more sensible economic policy.

CAVUTO: Well, let me ask you about his policy. Let me ask you then about...


HANNAN: ... Republican congressmen voted for the Bush bailout, but they opposed his.

CAVUTO: Right. Very good point.

But let me ask you now about his policies. He is going to be going to your country. I know you're in France right now. But he is going to be going to your country to say, we, together, have to address what is this global crisis.

And it is pitching your prime minister against the likes of Angela Merkel in Germany, who does not share that. In fact, she has said that, if governments spend willy-nilly, it can lead to hyperinflation, and, if her memory serves her right, the last time that happened in Germany, a guy with a mustache took over. And — and she doesn't want to go back there.


CAVUTO: But — but that is the great divide. And I'm wondering whether it's going to be a real tense meeting next week? What do you suspect?

HANNAN: I mean, you're right.

Obama and Brown are pushing for an especially bad policy. Let's not let others off the hook. I mean, all the governments have been doing this stimulus, bailout...

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

HANNAN: ... spend your way out of a recession. So, again, they are at an extreme end of the bad policy, but they're not alone in it.

And the French and the German governments have their own bad solution, which is more regulation of the markets, which is going to make it even harder to kind of crawl our way out of this place.

You would be amazed how much potency the name Obama still has abroad. The — the big argument that Brown is using, look, I can't be making a terrible mistake here, because Obama is doing same thing. And that's like a — like a kind of magic amulet that wards off any criticism. But, of course, the policy is going to get catch up with him and with us.,2933,510781,00.html


HANNAN: I don't think I'm ever going to be a prime minister.

And one of the reasons why is basically I — basically, I think that governments shouldn't do things.

You know, I will tell you, you said I supported Obama.


CAVUTO: You have got to whisper that. See, Mr. Hannan, you have got to whisper that.


CAVUTO: I mean, very few politicians say government shouldn't do things. That gets to be dangerous.

HANNAN: Right.


HANNAN: The guy I would have really voted for, had he been a candidate, the guy I would have really voted for in your election is Ron Paul.

CAVUTO: Interesting.

HANNAN: I like his interpretation of the Constitution. I like his — his — his view on fiscal policy. McCain had done a number of things that annoyed me, not least his support for closer European integration.

But, you know, hey, I don't have a vote in your country. It is not for me to say these things. But, you know, it is so hard for a politician to say, I don't know, that, you know, there's no answer to this. Over to you guys.

And that is a — and that is kind of partly a media thing. It's partly a modern expectation thing.

But I heard a really interesting story from a guy who was a minister in New Zealand when they had a banking crisis. It was when they had taken away the subsidies from their farmers. The land prices collapsed. Farmers were in negative equity. The bankers came to the government and said, we need a bailout. If we don't get a bailout, there's going to be a meltdown.

And the New Zealand government said, you know what, guys? That is your problem.

And you know what happened? The banks went away and said, yes, this is our problem. We had better sort this out.

And, so, they — they rescheduled the mortgage payments. They gave people interest-only options and this kind of thing. Within three years, land prices had recovered, no crisis.

Now, here's the real point. If the government had given in and had the bailout that the banks were asking for, it would have almost certainly triggered precisely the kind of crisis that they were aiming to avoid.

And, so, it is a tough argument to make.


CAVUTO: Well, you know, we say in this country, Mr. Hannan...


HANNAN: ... nothing at all.

CAVUTO: All right, I apologize. I know there is this delay here, and I apologize for that.

But there's an argument in this country that New York is not New Zealand, that when a U.S. bank is on the verge of collapsing or folding, we have to do something. That has been the argument of both the last Republican administration and this one.

If you were a leader either there or here in the same situation, would you have said, let 'em rip?

HANNAN: Yes, I would.

I mean, the trouble is that both of your parties, like both of ours, were allowing their policy to be written by bankers, who are not disinterested in this.

And don't make the mistake that a lot of people on the left make of thinking that financiers are kind of for free trade. They're really not. All financiers are monopolists. All financiers will grab a subsidy if they can.

Every big businessman, left to himself, is a corporatist. And the beauty of the capitalist system is, it doesn't let them indulge that instinct. Or, at least, it didn't until the last six months, when we have suddenly turned the clock back to this kind of — this economic consensus that prevailed between the 1930s and the 1970s, with disastrous consequences.,2933,510781,00.html

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