Sunstein Appointment Receiving Praise From The Right

A couple of days ago I wrote favorably about Obama’s appointment of Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. This appointment is also helping with Obama’s efforts to attract possible support from the right with Instapundit noting the favorable response.

Glenn Reynolds writes in Forbes:

They told me if I voted for John McCain, we’d wind up with Chicago-school White House appointees who wonder if the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is unconstitutional. And, sure enough, I voted for John McCain, and we’ve got a nominee for head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs who has taught at the University of Chicago and who recently wrote an article entitled “Is OSHA Unconstitutional?”

After recycling this old joke to make a point, Reynolds later writes:

Sunstein’s most recent book, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,co-written with Richard Thaler, explored ways in which regulation could be made less heavyhanded, encouraging people to behave in particular ways while allowing them to pursue a different path if they so chose. Sunstein characterizes this approach as “libertarian paternalism”–a term that raised some hackles among libertarians–but it’s clearly a departure from the dirigiste approaches of the past. This is not your father’s regulatory state.

How much impact Sunstein will have at OIRA is unclear: Reshaping the federal bureaucracy in even minor ways is often difficult, and certainly previous efforts at regulatory reform have had mixed impact. But his selection is a sign that Barack Obama’s approach, despite all the New Deal symbolism of late, isn’t likely to look much like that favored in the 1930s. Certainly if Obama were looking for a regulatory Commissar, Cass Sunstein wouldn’t have been the one to pick.

The Wall Street Journal calls Sunstein A Regulator with Promise–Really

We still don’t know much about how Barack Obama plans to overhaul our financial regulatory system, but his reported appointment of Cass Sunstein to an important post is a promising sign.

Mr. Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School, is no conservative — far from it. But his writings on regulation and the herd mentality deserve a voice in the incoming Administration. From his new post as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs inside the White House, he would have an opportunity to put into practice some of the ideas he has written about as an academic.

Eugene Volokh writes that “Sunstein is brilliant, thoughtful, and ideologically probably as good as libertarianish/conservativish people like me can hope for from the new administration.” (Libertarinaish/liberalish people such as myself are also happy with the pick). He also links to guest blog posts written by Sunstein.

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  1. 1
    Eric D. Rittberg says:

    Who?  Sorry Ron, but nobody in the libertarian movement has ever heard of this broad. 

    Now, if he nominates someone like Virginia Postrel, or Gayle Norton, or Gail Lightfoot, or Toni Nathan to some post, than maybe we Libertarians will give a flying ‘F’. 

    Until then, spare us the citations of obscure individuals that nobody has ever heard of before, who might have some libertarian leanings on an issue or two. 

    I’m sure even in Hitler’s cabinet there were a couple of people who weren’t 100% Nazi, and might even have had a libertarian instinct or two.  Must have been, cause they did start the audobahn, under Hitler. 
    But that didn”t make Hitler, “open to libertarians.” 

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    Your own ignorance, about politics in general as well as the libertarian movement, doesn’t say anything about who actual libertarians know about.

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