Posts Tagged politics

Libertarians for Obama



Personality does predict performance. We all knew GWB was insecure, not too bright, and even a little timid. He, in turn, appointed a cabinet of people who have bullied him about and minimized his sense of authority. I’ve long followed Barack Obama’s campaign, but it was his “there will be no yes men” comment, (repeated at the last debate,) that sealed it for me. “I want somebody who can be an outstanding president, should something happen to me. I want somebody who’s got integrity and I want somebody who has independence. I want somebody who will tell me when they disagree with me… I don’t like having a lot of ‘yes’ people around me who are just telling me what I want to hear all the time. That’s part of what happened with George Bush. He surrounded himself with people who were of the same mind. As a consequence, once he started making mistakes on things like Iraq, they just kept on saying it was going OK, when it wasn’t.

I immediately imagined a fantasy baseball-style cabinet – Richard Clarke, Samantha Power, etc etc – and then paused and realized, oh my god, I’m Obama-fangirl.

Obama’s promise of integrity shouldn’t disuade the hard “NT”s on the myers-briggs spectrum. We know that absence of corruption, more than anything else, accounts for the freedom of a nation. Why shouldn’t we elect the least evil candidate?

I wonder if Ron Paul were not in the race (not that I’m wishing he weren’t–quite the opposite) whether the support we showed Howard Dean in 2003 would have naturally flowed to Obama. There are a number of ways we could frame it, public choice, anti-war, and pro-term limits … and remember, this a man that taught constitutional law at University Chicago – free market HQ. He’s at least familiar, if not in agreement, with classically liberal arguments.

Secondly his stump speeches about never compromising, but convincing others to go along with his beliefs, are remarkable both in how obvious that value is, and yet how absent it is in current politics. It’s a value libertarians especially should take to heart, as most of our recommended policies simply can’t be compromised. Obama aims not to talk over our head, but to include everyone. So what if we don’t agree with what he says? At least we will be listening.

Maybe it’s extremely naive of me to believe this, but I honestly feel the election of Obama could pave the way for a libertarian Obama in our near future. No, not a black libertarian, but a libertarian that unites the country and speaks right to the heart of the dissatisfaction on both sides of the aisles, and off the spectrum. Ron Paul isn’t that candidate, (again, not that there’s anything wrong with him.)

Obama comes at a moment when race relations seemed irreparably stratified, offering an undeniably powerful history, “If I am the face of American foreign policy and American power,” he said. “I think that if you can tell people, ‘We have a president in the White House who still has a grandmother living in a hut on the shores of Lake Victoria and has a sister who’s half-Indonesian, married to a Chinese-Canadian,’ then they’re going to think that he may have a better sense of what’s going on in our lives and in our country. And they’d be right.”

More than anything, I respect him for standing up to the Iraq war. I’ve never been quite so disgusted with our government than back in 2002-2003, as plans for the war went underway. Many democrats I know seem to discount this fact in their decision, as Sen Clinton was actually in office, and just cowtowed to her constituents. Someone’s ability to pressured into a decision of that magnitude is disturbing enough, but secondly, Obama spoke out as he was running for senate – if anyone else, a tougher image would have helped him.

The difference between the two candidates in the Democratic race is clear:

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe. – – Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, October 2002 at the Federal Plaza in Chicago.


And perhaps my decision is influenced by my eight years of experience on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in the White House watching my husband deal with serious challenges to our nation. I want this President, or any future President, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country in the United Nations or in war. Secondly, I want to insure that Saddam Hussein makes no mistake about our national unity and for our support for the President’s efforts to wage America’s war against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. And thirdly, I want the men and women in our Armed Forces to know that if they should be called upon to act against Iraq, our country will stand resolutely behind them. – Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on S.J. Res. 45, A Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq

It is important to be right on day one.


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