The 20 most interesting Daily Caller op-eds of 2011

6.) The Huckabee you should have known (5/23/11): In May, shortly after Mike Huckabee announced that he wasn’t running for president, The Daily Caller published this op-ed by Rod Martin, a former Huckabee aide. In it, Martin argues that fiscal conservatives are wrong about the former Arkansas governor. According to Martin, Huckabee is not fiscally liberal, just misunderstood. Though Huckabee did support tax hikes when he was Arkansas’s governor, he did so out of necessity — he was working with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. But after fiscally conservative groups like the Club for Growth challenged his record, Huckabee fired back, calling the Club for Growth the “Club for Greed,” which reinforced the perception that Huckabee is fiscally liberal.

7.) How libertarianism helps the poor (6/9/11): Liberalism is based on the premise that activist governments serve the interests of the poor. Not so, says University of San Diego Professor Matt Zwolinski, the founder of the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog. Zwolinski argues that government policies are often designed to benefit special interests, not the poor, and even when they are designed to benefit the poor, they rarely do. “The single most effective way that we can help the vulnerable,” he says, “is to stop hurting them.”

8.) Why I’m suing the Obama administration over Libya (6/16/11): In June, a group of 10 members of Congress — including Rep. Ron Paul — sued the Obama administration for intervening in Libya without seeking Congress’s approval within 60 days of the initiation of hostilities, as specified by the War Powers Act. The day after the suit was announced, The Daily Caller published an article by Paul in which he argues that the Libya intervention is blatantly unconstitutional. “The last thing the Founders wanted,” Paul writes, “was an out-of-control executive branch engaging in unnecessary and unpopular wars without so much as a congressional debate.” In October, a federal judge dismissed the suit.

9.) What ‘constitutional conservatism’ means to me (7/11/11): After Rep. Michele Bachmann began rising in the GOP primary polls this spring, liberal pundits began speculating about what Bachmann meant when she described herself as a “constitutional conservative.” The New Republic’s Ed Kilgore, for instance, concluded that the term is a “dog whistle” that conveys “a decidedly radical agenda that is at least as congenial to rabid social conservatives as it is to property-rights absolutists or anti-tax zealots.” In this Daily Caller op-ed, Bachmann tries to clear up the confusion. A constitutional conservative, she says, is someone who recognizes limits on the federal government’s power, takes the Second and Tenth Amendments seriously and respects the Constitution’s system of checks and balances.

10.) Barbarians at Washington’s gates (8/2/11): CNN contributor Alex Castellanos begins this 4-page piece by defending the hard line that Republicans took during this summer’s debt ceiling debate: “Only in Washington are those supporting a balanced-budget mandate condemned as reckless, while those who haven’t balanced a budget since 1957 are lauded for their restraint.” He argues that Republicans are not only right about the need to rein in the deficit sooner rather than later, they’re right to insist on reducing the deficit with spending cuts, not tax hikes or a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes. As he puts it: “Leaving a dollar in someone’s pocket, it turns out, is more productive than taking it away, sending it to Washington, imposing the cost of bureaucratic friction and inefficiency, and then re-directing that dollar back into a similar pocket with artificially developed political restrictions and instructions. Who knew?”