My coblogger Ilya Somin had an excellent idea — invite libertarianish law/history/economics/public policy professors we know and trust to tell us (and you) why they support the Presidential candidate they've chosen to support. Today, we'll post several responses from these professors, unedited by us (except insofar as our choices of whom to invite necessarily involved a form of editing).
We limited this to "libertarianish" because we wanted feedback that would be helpful to fellow pro-limited-government folks; the adjective is designed to cover a fairly big tent, but still focus on those who are generally not far from our views. We limited this to professors in law/history/etc. because we wanted someone who is more likely to have thought through the matter the way we're professionally inclined to, and to explain the matter the way we would. And we limited this to professors at least one of us knows and trusts because we are more confident we'll get candid and thoughtful feedback from them. We also deliberately sought feedback from people outside our little Conspiracy. These are all rough proxies, we realize, but our sense is that they are generally useful ones.
As a result, we're happy to say that we have short essays in hand from law professor John McGinnis, supporting Giuliani; from history professor David Beito, supporting Paul; law professor Brad Smith, supporting Romney; and from law professor Rick Garnett, supporting Thompson. We realize the choices of supporter for each candidate are idiosyncratic, and others may well have chosen other people. But we had to make some choices, and these reflect people whom we knew, who we thought would fit the criteria we mentioned, and who could respond on rather short notice.
We tried contacting someone we know who supports McCain, but didn't hear back from him, nor did we hear back from the campaign when we e-mailed them to ask whether they could recommend someone (though we'd then have to figure out whether that someone matches our criteria). We don't know anyone who fits our criteria who supports Huckabee, and we didn't hear back from the campaign when we e-mailed them to ask whether they could recommend someone. Our judgment was that Duncan Hunter and Alan Keyes were too marginal (nor did we know anyone who fits our criteria who supports them). And we didn't know of anyone who fits our criteria who supports the leading Democratic candidates.
I find it far more interesting who they didn't choose than who they did. Obviously, none of them have seen this Huckabee ad...
More thoughts from another libertarianish law prof here.