I watched the debate last night. At one point I think I sank into a mild despair. At that point both candidates were promising more government, and neither seemed to understand the importance of a limited (and significantly constrained) government.
So, this morning I decided to give some thought to whether either candidate would be a friend of capitalism. There might be several things to consider in attempting an answer to this question, but I only have time to consider a few.
The National Journal vote rankings pick Senator Obama as the most liberal Senator in 2007 (running mate Biden is #3 most liberal). Senator McCain was not ranked because he had too few votes cast.
The Cato Institute calls Senator McCain a FREE TRADER, while it finds that Senator Obama's voting record makes him pretty much an INTERVENTIONIST. Last night Senator McCain called himself a free trader, and he was critical of Senator Obama for failing to support free trade efforts in the Senate. Senator Obama seemed to admit McCain's view of his position because he suggested there were more important concerns than free trade.
Citizens Against Government Waste ties Senator McCain for 2008 with $0 in pork and it ties Senator Obama with $89,784,790 in pork.
Then of course, Senator Obama recently told plumber Joe that he wanted to spread the wealth around, and last night Senator McCain made it clear he did not subscribe to the same policy ideas. I'm thinking that Senator Obama's attitude about spreading wealth around is so opposite the values that support capitalism that this alone should be sufficient to say that Senator Obama is not a friend of capitalism.
Over all it seems to me that Senator Obama is not a friend of capitalism, and I think his policies and views might even be called anti-capitalism. I think Senator Obama is a foe of capitalism.
Senator McCain seems a bit more difficult for me to characterize. His voter record is clearly one of a free trader, and that suggests he is a friend of capitalism. Many of his other policy views suggest he is a friend of capitalism as well. But, he also seems to have been a bit too comfortable with big government, not only with some past policy positions but also with respect to a significant number of his policies offered in his presidential campaign, not the least of which seem to be his reactions to the financial crisis. Over all, Senator McCain may not be a close friend of capitalism, but he does seem to be a friend of capitalism.