Sunday, August 31, 2008

David Weigel is Wrong on Democrats and Guns

David Weigel had an article in the other day lamenting the demise of the libertarian Democrat. As his evidence, Weigel points out that Brian Schweitzer, the Democratic governor of Montana, gave a speech at the Democratic convention Tuesday that didn't mention Schweitzer's strong pro-gun positions. But why should he? Everyone knows that Schweitzer is pro-gun. He's also pro choice, anti war, against the Real ID Act and the Patriot Act and he's trying to lower taxes in Montana.

I saw Schweitzer's silence on guns not as a muzzling but an acknowledgment that the Democratic Party is softening its stance on the issue. Take a look at the convention schedule. In addition to Schweitzer, strongly pro-gun Democrats Bob Casey and Bill Richardson also got prime time speaking spots. Kathleen Sebelius, who's pretty good on guns, spoke just a few hours before Schweitzer on Tuesday.

It's too bad that Barack Obama didn't pick any of these pro-gun Democrats as his running mate. I think any of them could have helped him immensely in the Mountain West. But I think the Democratic Party is beginning to turn the corner on guns. Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry all made stricter gun control a prominent part of their campaigns. Not so for Obama. He rarely speaks about guns, and when he does, it's usually to reassure gun owners that he doesn't support gun bans.

Of course, die hard gun banners do still find a place in the Democratic Party. But Democrats are also finding room for people like Travis Childers, the pro-gun Democratic Congressman form Mississippi. Even Obama, who supports local restrictions on guns, spoke out earlier this year about how the Second Amendment is an individual right. This is a huge change for a Democrat. Libertarians like Weigel might be disappointed that Obama and the Democrats aren't as pro-gun as they are, but they should acknowledge how far the American left has moved on this issue in such a short time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Republicans Lie": Another Libertarian's Take on Obama

Today I ran across this post that a blogger named lesowijs made back in February. Since it sums up many of my thoughts on Barack Obama and this election so much more eloquently than I could, I hope lesowijs doesn't mind that I'm going to repost it in its entirety.

"The hostility I see from the more right-leaning libertarians towards Obama is bewildering. I can understand that you disagree with virtually all of his positions - so do I - but there are two things to consider here:

"1. Republicans lie. They don’t care about small government. It’s time to face the facts and realize that Reagan was both an anomaly and not as libertarian as the paleo-libs who eulogize him today claim. Despite the rhetoric, we’ve been let down by every single Republican presidential nominee since Goldwater. John McCain stands for the continuation of virtually every un-libertarian policy Bush has pushed forward in the last eight years. The fact that anyone who claims to be a libertarian could even consider voting for him is astonishing.

"2. Libertarians need to examine this country and determine what the biggest threats to liberty in America are right now. The biggest threat to liberty is clearly the War on Terrorism. The second biggest threat is the War on Drugs. McCain and the Republicans stand for an even further increase in efforts toward both.

"Obama isn’t perfect, but he’ll do better on those two massive issues than any Republican besides Ron Paul would. Libertarians need to stop pretending that if we lower taxes enough everything else will turn out okay. It’s becoming increasingly clear that economic freedom will not lead to social freedom, in the country and in the Republican party - the most economically free states are frequently the most socially oppressive. On the other hand, it seems much more likely to me that modern liberals could be swayed towards the free market, once the realities of economics become apparent to them.

"Thus I suggest that the Democratic Party is a more natural ally for libertarians right now than the Republican Party, barring some sort of massive sea change within its ranks. Let the paleo-libertarians do what they want; they are more concerned with fantasizing about some ideal conservative libertarian society than actually promoting freedom the best they can. It seems clear to me that an America under Barack Obama or perhaps even Hillary Clinton will be far more free than an America under John McCain."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wayne Allyn Root's Foreign Policy

The web site Jewish Exponent has an article about Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate - and never-ending embarrassment to the party - Wayne Allyn Root. This is amusing because the site talks about Root's Jewish roots and Jewish upbringing, but never mentions that Root has since converted to evangelical Christianity, and now calls himself a "completed Jew" (I'm sure Jewish people love the implication that their faith is incomplete). But the Jewish Exponent article is still worth reading, since it sheds some light on Root's foreign policy beliefs.

On Iraq, Root says he supported the troop surge. On other occasions, he has said that he doesn't want the Iraq war to end.

On Afghanistan, he wants to "do the same thing," with a troop surge there, too.

On Israel, Root calls himself "as pro-Israel as any human being in the world can possibly be," and says that the U.S. should strengthen its alliance with Israel. "You don't abandon your friends."

On Mexico, Root wants to deploy the U.S. military to the border so that it can shoot at people who want to come and work in menial jobs in this country.

Bonus Root foreign policy position: On France, Root told an interviewer two months ago that "I usually hate France." Why, because the French didn't support this disastrous war?

Tell me again, why did this guy leave the Republican Party?

Does Joe Biden Still Plan on Breaking up Iraq?

Before he became Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden stuck out in my mind for only two things:
- His great quote about every sentence Rudy Giuliani spoke consisting of "a noun, a verb and 9-11."
- His monumentally stupid plan to partition Iraq into three autonomous regions.

Now, I'm sure that the Obama-Biden ticket's foreign policy will be Barack Obama's foreign policy: Diplomacy, peace and trade. But what if something happens to Obama (like the assassination plot uncovered today)? Would a president Biden still try to "solve" the mess we've created in Iraq by - against the wishes of most Iraqis - carving up the country? I think a lot of war opponents will be able to forgive Biden for his vote for the war, since he has come to renounce it. But when will he renounce his three Iraqs plan, and get on board with Obama's promise to end the war in 16 months?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Does John McCain Want a Draft?

At the end of this woman's very long question/comment, she tells John McCain that the U.S. should reinstate the draft. His response: "Ma'am, let me say that I don't disagree with anything you said."

Now, if McCain just mis-heard or mis-spoke or wasn't paying attention, fine. I'll give him a pass. But if he doesn't really want to impose a draft, then he'd better set the record straight right quick. Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic says that in context, McCain wasn't advocating a draft at all, but agreeing with other parts of the woman's question. He's probably right, but I can't find any sort of McCain retraction or clarification online. And with McCain's bellicose words toward Russia this week - saying the country deserves "harsh treatment" - I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. If McCain is serious about getting into a military confrontation with Russia, then a draft probably wouldn't be out of the question.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ron Paul Supporters Like Obama

Forget about the haters - the libertarians who call Barack Obama a Marxist, or start websites telling Ron Paul supporters that they'd better line up behind John McCain. Plenty of libertarians, it turns out, support Obama. More evidence from today: an Associated Press story about how supporters of Paul and Mick Huckabee plan on voting in November.

Some stats from the story:
- In June, 18 percent of people who had visited Paul's web site before John McCain clinched the nomination read at least one major conservative blog while 22 percent read at least one major liberal blog. Could it be because liberal bloggers tend to agree with Paul on the issue most important to him, reining in the American empire?
- Six percent of these people went to McCain's web site and 8 percent to Obama's. Could it be because Obama agrees with Paul on both the war and Paul's second favorite issue, sound money?
- These small numbers aren't just noise. The same data show Huckabee's supporters going strongly for McCain.

Ron Paul has asked his supporters not to vote for him. I would bet that at least a few of them will be pulling the lever for Obama in November.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chuck Baldwin on Immigration

Check out this voter guide from anti-immigration - and anti-immigrant - group Numbers USA. It's really an excellent resource for those of us who want to know exactly what Numbers USA thinks ... so we can vote the exact opposite way. While I had thought that Bob Barr was terrible on immigration issues, Numbers USA demonstrates just how much worse Chuck Baldwin is. This is a man who wants to surround the country with a giant wall, turn local law enforcement officers into federal agents for raids and mass round-ups and force employers to become federal immigration agents as well - or face prosecution. Just take a look at how federal immigration enforcement has ruined the town of Postville, Iowa. Why do some candidates spend so much time talking about reducing the power of the federal government, and then work so hard to make draconian immigration laws?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yet More Unintentional McCain Comedy: Black Men for McCain

I haven't figured out yet whether is a parody site or not. Here are the opening lines of the first post:

"Brothers, we are on the verge of a great American tragedy. Empty suit Barack Obama has brainwashed the good liberals in this country! He MUST BE STOPPED!"

Sounds like pretty standard anti-Barack Obama talk. But then the blogger goes on to make four posts in a row - the only other posts on the blog, thus far - discussing the merits of John McCain's campaign's "African Americans for McCain" T-shirts.

"If this doesn’t illustrate what makes America great, I don’t know what does. In response to my request, the McCain campaign is now offering an “African-Americans For McCain” t-shirt. This is within four hours of my post."

Several comments point out that McCain had been selling these T-shirts all along, the blogger apparently just couldn't find them. As with many blogs, the best material can be found in the comments threads. Let's just say that the site hasn't yet become a forum for black men to discuss their mutual love of McCain.

I link to this site mostly because it is hilarious, but also partly to show that a blog called "Libertarians for Obama" is certainly not the strangest thing the 2008 campaign has produced.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Obama Wants Sound Money

From a Wall Street Journal editorial today:

"The underreported economic news of the week is that Barack Obama favors a stronger dollar. Even better, he thinks a stronger greenback would help to reduce oil prices.
"That at least is what the Democratic Presidential candidate told a town hall forum in Parma, Ohio, on Tuesday. 'If we had a strengthening of the dollar, that would help' reduce fuel costs, he said, according to a Reuters dispatch ignored by most of the media. ... We don't know who is whispering in Mr. Obama's ear about the dollar, but he's on to a rich political vein."

Via the Huffington Post.

Who's whispering in Obama's ear? Austin Goolsby, his libertarian economic adviser, of course.