Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Libertarian's Version of the Obama Race Speech

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of [Barack Obama] that have caused such controversy [among libertarians who are considering supporting him]. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of [the free market]? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered [anti-market]? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from [politicians you have voted for] with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a [candidate's] effort to speak out against perceived [economic] injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of [capitalism] - a view that sees [government as the solution to economic problems], and that elevates what is wrong with [capitalism] above all that we know is right with [capitalism]; a view that sees the [troubles on Wall Street] as rooted primarily in the actions of [corporations], instead of emanating from the perverse [policies of the federal reserve].

As such, [Obama's] comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; [populism-]charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mark McKinnon Refuses to Attack Obama

I Just Thought This Was Interesting.

From a National Journal interview with Republican media strategist Mark McKinnon, who says he plans to leave John McCain's campaign if Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination (via PoliticalWire):

"Well, this goes back to a memo that I wrote to the campaign when I came aboard more than a year and a half ago, and I simply let them know that I had spent time with Obama and read his book and I like the guy. I think he has strong character and a fascinating life story, and I disagree with him fundamentally on issues like Iraq and trade and a number of others. But I just flashed forward to the improbable scenario, at that time seemingly improbable, that John McCain and Barack Obama might face off against one other. And I just told them at the time that I thought that I would be uncomfortable being on the front lines -- being as aggressive as you need to be in a presidential campaign -- and not only that I would be uncomfortable, but that it would be bad for the campaign, and that if that circumstance were to come to be, that I would just take a step to the sidelines and continue to support John McCain 100 percent and be No. 1 fan and cheerleader. But just kind of take myself out of the front lines."

The lesson here for me is: Even if you disagree with some of Obama's policies, you might consider voting for him based on his integrity and inspiring political style.

Update: The New York Sun reports on "Obamacans": Republicans so disgusted with their party's warmongering and profligate spending that they're crossing the party line to support Barack.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Barack Obama: Semi-Free Trader

When talking to skeptical libertarians about Barack Obama, one of the first criticisms I usually hear is that Obama is a "protectionist" on trade issues. Obama isn't a total free trader, but I completely reject applying the P-word to him. Obama's actual trade policy - like almost all of his positions - defies such simple labels in favor of nuance. Trade issues may not win Obama any libertarian fans, but I don't believe that he's nearly bad enough on the issue to negate all of the other points in his favor.

Connsider that Obama voted for free trade with Peru and Oman, while rejecting the Central American Free Trade Agreement. So what was the difference? Obama has said that he will support free trade with Central American countries if environmental and labor protections are included in the treaties. That's not the position of someone who believes in an unfettered free market. But it also doesn't make Obama a "fair weather free trader," as the Weekly Standard called him.

But what of Obama's plan to withdraw from NAFTA? There is no such plan. Obama blasted NAFTA to factory workers in Ohio earlier this month for the jobs that it has destroyed (it would be nice if he talked more about the jobs it created, but consider the audience). But the harshest policy proposal he has made is a plan to amend the agreement to include more environmental and labor protections.

In fact, one of the central planks in Obama's trade policy is to press the World Trade Organization to press foreign countires honor their commitments and stop giving out unfair subsidies. He has also called for America to reduce its agriculture subsidies. John Edwards-style populism this is not.

As I understand it, Obama's various positions and statements on trade can be summarized thusly: Trade is good for America and good for the world. But some people are hurt by free trade, and the government should help them through retraining and income support. The United States should also tread carefully as it moves toward free trade, making sure that trade agreements contain environmental and labor protections, and that other countries abide by their free trade commitments. We can not and should not stop globalization, but there is a role for government in smoothing over its rough edges.

As The Economist - itself a stalwart champion of free trade - notes:

Mr Obama understands economics better than he lets on. In his book “The Audacity of Hope”, he recognises that a tariff on imported steel may provide temporary relief to American steelmakers, but it will also make every American manufacturer that uses steel, from carmakers to housebuilders, less competitive. When put on the spot and asked whether he would repeal NAFTA, he says that would cause more job losses than gains.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Two Unlikely Endorsements

1. Freedom Communications CEO Scott Flanders. Freedom, which owns the Orange County Register and several small papers, is libertarian to the core. The Register was the only major American newspaper to editorialize against interning Japanese-Americans during World War II. From a Register columnist's account of the Flanders announcement:

Flanders said that in this election, for him, "the No. 1 issue is who will get us out of Iraq."

OK, I'm thinking, if you really mean that, there's only one major candidate you can support. But there's no way you are going to stand there and say you support him.

Editorial writer Steve Greenhut told Flanders he thought he was really making an argument for not voting. Not true, Flanders said, and then he did it. He said the words, "Barack Obama." As in, that's who any true freedom-lover should vote for.


But there was a hush as Flanders reasoned that Obama is the best candidate to work on four top libertarian reforms: 1) Iraq withdrawal, 2) restoring the separation of church and state; 3) easing off victimless crimes such as drug use; 4) curtailing the Patriot Act.

Obama will probably raise taxes, Flanders says, (although, then again, maybe he won't, ala J.F.K.) and in 2012, it will be time to put a Republican in the White House.

2. Pepperdine University law professor Doug Kmiec. Kmiec, who was head of the office of legal council for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, is a conservative, not a libertarian. But I think libertarians might be interested in the reasoning that led him to come out for Obama. An excerpt from a blog post he wrote for Slate:

In various ways, Sen. Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals [the role of government, how to interpret the Constitution, cultural issues such as abortion], but I am convinced, based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing, that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view and, as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two More Points Against Barr

I don't hate Bob Barr. I think it's admirable that, after leaving Congress, he's repudiated many of his far-right positions, including support for the Iraq war and the Patriot Act. Barr and I agree on many issues. But I have trouble believing that the possible Libertarian Party presidential candidate is actually a libertarian, rather than a philosophical conservative who holds many libertarian positions.

As I wrote earlier, Barr opposes abortion and immigration (illegal and legal) and believes that it's fine for the State of Georgia to give a 10 year prison sentence to a teenager who received oral sex because
"the people of Georgia had determined through their lawful, elected representatives" that this is an appropriate penalty.

Now, LP presidential contender George Phillies gives me two more reasons to suspect that Barr isn't fully committed to liberty:
- Last year, while campaigning for the Republican governor of Kentucky, Barr attacked the Democratic candidate because she doesn't support prayer in public schools. Phillies puts it well when he says: "
No real Libertarian could endorse school prayer: forcing a Christian prayer down the throat of every schoolchild legally required to appear in school."
- Barr runs a PAC (political action committee) that gives money to conservative Republicans, such as Senators
Saxby Chambliss and John Sununu - both supporters of such un-libertarian positions as greater government spying, confronting Iran and not easing immigration restrictions.

"But Obama holds un-libertarian stances on plenty of issues too," you might argue.

He does. But I think there's a difference. Obama supports some non-libertarian legislation, while also believing in libertarian values like tolerance, individual choice and separation of church and state. Barr holds libertarian positions on many issues, while demonstrating intolerant, authoritarian and theocratic tendencies.

Voting for Barr - who can't be elected - instead of Obama - who can - in the hope that you're making a statement for libertarian values is truly a wasted vote.

Monday, March 24, 2008

More than 4,000

The media has been making a big deal this week about how the American military casualty count in Iraq has reached the grim milestone of 4,000 dead.

But that's not the only measurement of the horror of this war. Consider:

- The tens of thousands - or is it hundreds of thousands? - of dead Iraqis.
- Over 170 dead American contractors.
- Over 29,000 wounded American soldiers.
- Hundreds of dead soldiers and contractors from Britain and other coalition countries.
- Five million Iraqi refugees.
- $500 billion spent so far, with trillions more still to come.
- Torture. Eroded civil liberties. Increased anti-American sentiment abroad. Etc., etc., etc.

The 3,271 American soldiers killed so far in combat in Iraq are more than the number of combat deaths in the Mexican-American War, the War of 1812, all of the various Indian wars and the Spanish-American War.

Given all this, I can't for the life of me understand how people like Kevin Williamson can call themselves libertarians, and then say nutty things like this to explain why they are opposing Obama:

"Wars end. Entitlement programs do not."

And this:

"Unfortunately, libertarians are famously susceptible to this sort of temptation [to elevate the war issue], e.g. Murray Rothbard's counterproductive embrace of the anti-Vietnam war moonbats of his day, or Ron Paul's fevered courting of the hate-America Left."

Apart from the fact that dead people don't come back after "wars end," Williamson ignores the fact that, under a John McCain or Hillary Clinton presidency, wars aren't going to be ending at all.

An Opening on Drugs

Last month, we learned that more than one of every 100 Americans is living in a jail or prison, mainly because of the insane War on Drugs. Will the next president end this madness and legalize drugs? Not a chance. Not even if the next president was Tommy Chong (a Drug War victim himself).

But maybe things could get better. Slowly. In baby steps.

One of those baby steps came today, when U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said that he intends to introduce legislation decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. Will Frank's bill pass? Not a chance. But maybe Americans are finally ready to talk about drug laws and their effects. And maybe there are some positive changes that could come at the margins. Like letting states decide whether or not they want legal medical marijuana. Or ending the militarization of drug police.

Last year in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton called for an end to federal raids in states where medical use of marijuana is legal, while Sen. John McCain backtracked on an earlier promise to end the raids.

And Obama? He takes it a step further than Clinton: Full decriminalization.

Take heart, libertarians. There's finally movement on this issue.

Update: Likely Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr was a pretty hardcore drug warrior back when he was in Congress. Now he says that drug laws should be left to the states, though he clearly still supports these laws. From a recent interview with KFNX radio:

"I'm working through some of those individual liberties issues but also believe very strongly that, just as when I was in the Republican Party, I did not agree with everything the Republican Party stood for, everything in its platform, and certainly there's a lot of room in the Libertarian Party for people who have differing views on drugs." (my emphasis)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

John McCain: Not-So-Reluctant Warrior

There's an interesting story in the L.A. Times today about John McCain's history of supporting the Iraq war. The highlights:
- McCain predicted a quick and easy victory.
- He didn't read the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate before voting to go to war.
- He co-sponsored the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which called for "regime change" in Iraq (Bill Clinton signed the law).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Enter Bob Barr

It's March: That time of year when the Libertarian Party traditionally rounds up its usual cast of characters to compete to be the party's sacrificial lamb in November.

This year's crop includes
ex-Nevada LP chair Jim Burns, bus driver Dave Hollist, software company owner Mike "Jingo" Jingozian, marijuana legalization activist Steve Kubby, college professor George Phillies, sports handicapper and gambling TV show host Wayne Allyn Root and research scientist Mary Ruwart.

What do all of men and women have in common? Not one of them has ever held elective office, and most Americans have never heard of any of them. That almost guarantees that none of them would have any hope of getting their message out through the news media. And as we've seen in the past, Libertarians who get ignored don't have very impressive results.

On Friday, however, The Washington Times reported that Bob Barr, the former Republican Congressman from Georgia, is interested in the LP presidential nomination. If Barr mounts a serious campaign, I have no doubt that he could be the Libertarian nominee. He might even have some success raising money and getting media attention.

Since leaving the Republican Party in 2004, Barr has been a vocal opponent of federal spying on Americans and other violations of civil liberties. But Barr is no libertarian.

- Barr opposes gay rights. He sponsored a law that barred the federal government from recognizing gay marriages.
- Until recently, when he reversed himself, Barr supported the Patriot Act and the War on Drugs. His new stance on easing drug laws seems less than wholehearted.
- He doesn't believe in sexual freedom. Last year he wrote an op-ed defending a 10-year sentence given to a 17-year-old boy who received oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. "
Wilson committed acts that the people of Georgia had determined through their lawful, elected representatives across the state ... should be punished," he wrote.
- He has consistently opposed immigration, both legal and illegal. He has voted against H1-B visas for high-tech workers, supported deploying the military along the U.S.-Mexico border and sponsored a bill to outlaw birthright citizenship.
- He opposes abortion, even though he reportedly paid for his second wife (of three) to have an abortion in the 1980s.
- In 1999, Barr tried to ban the practice of the Wiccan religion in the U.S. miltary.

If you're a conservative who thinks that John McCain doesn't want to cut taxes enough, then vote for Barr. If you're a real libertarian, you can do better.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Obama Endorsement

First Amendment champion Hugh Hefner supports the O-man. I note this mainly because it's just cool. But Hefner does consider himself a libertarian, of sorts.

Richardson Endorsement Could Tip Libertarian Democrats to Obama

There are libertarians who want nothing to do with politics. There are libertarians who only vote for the Libertarian Party. There are even plenty of libertarians who align themselves with the Republicans. But there are also libertarian Democrats. And most of them lined up behind Bill Richardson this election cycle.

There is plenty about Richardson to recommend him to libertarians: He's anti-tax, pro-gun, liberal on social issues like drugs and the Cato Institute rated him as one of the top-10 fiscally responsible governors. I'm not the first to point it out, but it bears repeating: Whereas the roughly 13% of the American electorate that could be described as libertarian supported George W. Bush over Al Gore by 72% to 20% percent in 2000, by 2004, Bush’s margin among these voters had dropped to just 59% to 38% over Kerry.

Could it be that Bush's overspending, eavesdropping, torture and multiple wars might have soured a generation of libertarians on the Republican Party?

So while the press is making a big deal about how Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama today might help Obama among Hispanics or super delegates, maybe the most important thing about Richardson's endorsement is the help it will give Obama among libertarians.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

McCain's War Tour

John McCain has been on a tour of the Middle East this week. The trip gives us a nice idea of what a McCain foreign policy in the region might look like. Here are the highlights:
- On Tuesday, he told Israelis that their enemies are America's enemies too. Does this mean that a President McCain would start new wars with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran?
- He went on to tell reporters in Baghdad that things are going well in Iraq, but the U.S. can't pull its troops out any time soon.
- Yesterday, he demonstrated his ignorance of the region by saying that Iran was training Al Qaida members. Joe Lieberman had to publicly correct him. Wishful thinking on McCain's part?
- McCain later tried to weasel out of his gaffe by saying that "Al Qaeda and Shi'ia extremists — with support from external powers such as Iran — are on the run but not defeated." (My emphasis).
This sounds a lot like George Bush's tortured Iraq war logic: Saddam Hussein supported terrorist groups; a terrorist group attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001; the U.S. should therefore attack Iraq in retaliation for Sept. 11.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, opposed the Iraq war and opposes a war with Iran. Check out the speech he gave today on how the war has hurt the U.S. economy.

Libertarians and the Anti-Government Reverand Wright

A lot of the people commenting on Reason's blog about Barack Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, are furious that Obama could attend the church of someone with such fringe views. First of all: how can the type of libertarians who read Reason criticize anyone for having fringe views? More importantly, how can they criticize someone for having views that are, at their heart, anti-government? Wright doesn't slam white people for keeping black people down, he slams the U.S. government. Read some of his most controversial quotes here.

They generally fall into two categories: The U.S. government has killed foreigners by waging wars of aggression and getting involved in foreign conflicts. And the U.S. government has trampled on the rights of minorities, especially blacks.

Wright often expresses these sentiments in in-artful and intemperate language, but their underlying sentiments are thoroughly libertarian. And generally backed up by facts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Race Speech

This has nothing to do with libertarians, but I think I need to point out that Barack Obama gave a hell of a speech about race today. Read the full text here or watch the video below.

He may not want to repeal gun laws or privatize Amtrak, but try to tell me that this isn't a man would would bring dignity and reconciliation back to our national politics. That's got to count for something in November.

Update: Conservative/libertarian Charles Murray on Obama's speech: "As far as I'm concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we're used to from our pols.... But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Justin Raimondo and Libertarian Backlash

In a recent post on, longtime libertarian activist Justin Raimondo came out of the closet with his "man-crush on Obama." It wasn't quite an endorsement, but Raimondo made it clear that he'd like Obama to be our next president. More interesting, though, was the reaction on the blog. It's a pretty good indication of the difficulty of selling libertarians on Obama, no matter how much they have in common with him. The comments ran about evenly for and against Obama, but here's a sampling of the con viewpoints (and the categories they fall into):

"This is just a case of Obama being everything to everyone. He will end up the same as every other president from the war party, except he will be harder to oppose because he is more capable and will be able to fool more people."

(General libertarian distrust of all politicians)

"Obama has made it clear that he has no problem with US foreign interventionism in a general sense, using the US military to spread “goodness” around the world."

(Conflation of support for small-scale foreign intervention with support for Bush-style total war)

"Ah yes, those PATRIOT Act enhancements and extensions were so appealing to antiwar libertarians. As was “tort reform”. And the pledges to expand the military. I may swoon any minute now."

(Libertarian doctrinal rigidity and refusal to support anyone who is not a total libertarian)

"O-bomb-a would likely send troops into Pakistan which would likely start a nice “little” regional war that would likely eventually involve Nuclear weapons."

(A misunderstanding for Obama's position on Pakistan that's widespread beyond libertarian circles. I'll address this in a future post.)

As I've said before, convincing libertarians to go for Obama was never going to be easy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Charter Schools

One issue where libertarians might be surprised to find themselves in agreement with Obama is charter schools. Here's an exchange from a Feb. 12 interview with The Politico:

John Harris: Senator, we’ve got a question that goes right to that. The likely Republican nominee, Sen. McCain, has regularly stood up against his own party and has some real scars that he’s wearing because of it, when he thought it was in the national interest to do so. Name some issues where you’ve been willing to stand up against your party, and also take those scars?

Barack Obama: Well, look, we’ve talked about education. We actually had a roundtable here about what we need to do with the schools. I’ve consistently said, we need to support charter schools. I think it is important to experiment, by looking at how we can reward excellence in the classroom.

JH: Have teacher’s unions been an impediment to that kind of reform?

BO: What I will say is that they haven’t been thrilled with me talking about these kinds of issues. And my sister is a teacher, so I am a strong support of teachers, but I’m not going to be bound by just a certain way of talking about these things, in order for us to move forward on behalf of our kids. And I think a lot of teachers want to talk about how to continually improve performance. The broader point is that we’ve got to get beyond a lot of the traditional categories.

This isn't just a one-off comment. Obama has consistently supported charter schools and experimentation in education. The web site notes that Obama supported charter schools as early as 1998, when he was in the Illinois legislature. He also supported charters in 2004, when he was running for the U.S. Senate.

John McCain also supports charter schools. But there's a very good chance that the next president will be dealing with a Congress controlled by Democrats. Any McCain charter plan would be a knock-down, drag-out fight that he probably wouldn't win. Obama, on the other hand, might be able to bring around his fellow Democrats on this issue.

Of course, the hardcore libertarian position on education is that it should be completely privatized. Obviously, this is not Obama's view. As I've mentioned before, he is not a libertarian. But his stance on the charter issue gives a clear indication of what he is: a politician who thinks that government programs are improved when they involve more choice and more involvement from the private sector. I don't know any libertarians who would argue that this wouldn't be an improvement over what we have now.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Only Candidate Standing up for Privacy

The House of Representatives grew a pair yesterday, passing a bill denying legal immunity to telephone companies that illegally violated the privacy of their customers. The bill won't go anywhere because President Bush has promised a veto. But what if there was a different president in the White House?

Last month, the Senate took up a similar bill, including an amendment to deny immunity to the eavesdropping telephone companies. John McCain voted against the amendment. Hillary Clinton skipped the vote. Barack Obama voted for it - a vote to hold accountable companies that break the law and help Bush illegally spy on Americans. That's a pretty good indication of how President Obama would view privacy issues.

As Cnet notes, McCain had earlier spoken out against immunity, before he was the presumptive Republican nominee.

Friday, March 14, 2008

David Friedman on Obama

"If I were voting in the Democratic primary, I would vote for Obama."
- David Friedman

Everyone's favorite anarcho-capitalist economist sees some libertarian traits in Barack Obama's interest in decriminalizing marijuana and the fact that Obama's health care plan doesn't force people to buy insurance if they don't want to. On his blog Friedman goes on to suggest two ways that Obama might be able to appeal to libertarian voters.

1. Obama could instruct federal law enforcement not to go after people using marijuana for medical reasons.
2. Obama could promise to use at least half of the money saved by ending the Iraq war to reduce the federal deficit. "That puts him in the position of the fiscally responsible candidate, which should appeal to conservatives as well as libertarians. And it is a pledge that McCain cannot match, since he supports the war and so is not going to have any peace dividend to allocate."

Friedman recognizes - as I do - that Obama is not a libertarian. But Friedman believes that either or both of these steps would be enough to swing a significant number of libertarian voters to Obama from the Republican camp which, he notes, "hasn't provided much for them in recent years."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another Reason for Libertarians to Support Obama

Nancy Pelosi said today - and she should know - that there is no chance that Barack Obama will pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate. Whew.

Five Years of Waste

Five years ago this month, the United States invaded Iraq. The war has killed over 4,000 Americans (including contractors), injured tens of thousands more, killed hundreds of thousands (over 1 million by some counts) Iraqis, cost taxpayers $1.2 trillion (at least) and ruined America's reputation abroad, making it more dangerous for Americans to travel and more difficult to do business overseas. It has also, as wars inevitably do, eroded our civil liberties. War is the health of the state.

John McCain and Hillary Clinton supported this war. Barack Obama did not. This alone should be enough to convince any libertarian to support Obama. But Obama's opposition to the war goes beyond his speeches against it. Obama has promised that if he is elected he will immediately begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. He has promised not to build permanent bases in Iraq. And, most importantly, he is far less likely than his fellow candidates to get us into a new war.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Iran War Critic Fallon Resigns

What perfect timing: Just as I launch my blog, news events are helping me more than I could have hoped to make my case for libertarians to support Barack Obama. This week Esquire published a story that Admiral William Fallon, a critic of war with Iran, might be fired by the Bush administration to clear the military of dissenters in advance of an attack on Iran. Shortly after the Esquire article appeared, Fallon abruptly resigned.

War with Iran is a real possibility, and not just because of George Bush. John McCain has been one of the Iraq war's greatest supporters. He continues to say that it's going well. He supports a hard line on Iran and says that "there will be other wars" - presumably when he's elected president. Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq war and refuses to admit that she was wrong in doing so. She voted to declare Iran's military "terrorists" (how can you not go to war with terrorists?). "We cannot and should not – must not – permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons," she said in a 2006 speech at Princeton.

Of the serious candidates for president, only Obama is not threatening war with Iran. Outlining his positions to the New York Times, Obama said that as president he would "engage in aggressive personal diplomacy" with Iran. He's taken a lot of heat from Clinton and McCain for saying that he would be willing to meet with the leaders of Iran to try to avoid a conflict. He even introduced a Senate resolution saying that Bush does not have the authority to attack Iran.

Obama has never explicitly promised not to go to war with Iran, but I think it's clear from his words and actions that he is by far the least bellicose of the three remaining major candidates. And if this issue is not important to you, then you haven't been paying attention. Anyone who is at all concerned about the lives, money and good will wasted in the Iraq war should be 10 times as worried about a war with Iran.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

No More Ron Paul

Ron Paul has conceded that he will not win the Republican presidential nomination. Anyone who cares about war, civil liberties and out of control federal spending owes Paul a debt of gratitude for so passionately championing these issues in the national conversation. Paul may even be able to make a nice stink at the Republican convention in August with the delegates that he's won. But a Paul is no longer a serious option for voters in the remaining primary states. And he won't be on the ballot in November. This leaves libertarians with five choices for the remainder of the campaign:
- Support Hillary Clinton
- Support John McCain
- Support a third party candidate
- Stay home on election day
- Support Barack Obama

This blog will make the case for Obama. I don't think it will take much to convince libertarians - especially those who, like Paul, believe that endless war is the greatest threat facing America - that Clinton and McCain don't deserve their votes. A small percentage of libertarians will switch their affinity from Paul to the motley crew of third party candidates who not only can't win, but probably won't even be able to get their messages heard. I don't know if I will be able to change these voters' minds.

But I think that most libertarians will struggle over the next several months to decide whether to support Obama or to sit out this election. These are the people that I want to reach. I do not support Obama because I believe that he is the lesser of the evils. I support him because I believe that he will bring changes to this country that libertarians can enthusiastically support, even if he is not strictly libertarian himself. On issue after issue - including ending the Iraq war (and its massive spending), restoring civil liberties, reining in the federal budget by enacting paygo rules and preventing a new war with Iran - Obama offers policies that libertarians should enthusiastically support.

If I haven't convinced you yet, I hope you will engage me in the comments section, or at least keep reading over the coming months as I make my case.