Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations Barack! I Now Enter the Loyal Opposition

You might think that I'm thrilled that the candidate I've supported so strongly - with my money, my volunteer efforts and many hours of blogging - has now won. I am, of course, but I'm not reveling in my excitement. Not for a minute. I supported Obama because he was the best candidate in the race (the best in the last several races, really). But Obama isn't perfect, and I never thought that he was.

I encourage my fellow libertarians, no matter who they supported, to join me in the following:

Support the libertarian parts of Obama's agenda.
Ending the war, closing Guantanamo Bay and rolling back George Bush's curbs on civil liberties won't be easy. The same Republicans who called Obama a coward or a terrorist during the campaign will redouble their efforts when he starts to wind down the warfare state. He'll need all of the libertarian allies that he can get.

Stand up to him when he backslides.
Obama has made some bold pledges, including his promises to seek out and eliminate wasteful government spending and put caps on farm subsidies. Libertarians who supported him shouldn't let him get away with shying away from these promises.

Push him in a libertarian direction.
On several issues, Obama takes a liberal position that I don't think he passionately believes in. Consider gun control. Obama is in favor of some gun control, but it's never been a central part of his political philosophy. Now that he's done with a campaign in which he's seen the passion of the pro-gun community, maybe he can be convinced to move in our direction. Call me a starry-eyed optimist, but I believe that he's changeable on guns, military aid to Columbia, school vouchers and other issues. Let's help the change candidate do a little position changing.

Fight him on the issues where we disagree.
Obama believes in card check. I don't. I'm going to join with the Republicans on this one and fight him as hard as I can. Same for the Fairness Doctrine (though I doubt Obama will even try to bring that up).

Spread the word to other libertarians.
Obama is not our enemy. He's a smart man who believes in classical liberal values like tolerance, separation of church and state and the rights of the accused. He understands and appreciates the Constitution. Don't throw away a chance at a productive relationship by believing this crap about him being a communist or a dictator in waiting.

Bring libertarians in from the cold.
Bob Barr's candidacy was a complete failure. Same thing for down-ticket libertarians. I still like third parties, and I'm sure I will continue to vote for some third party candidates from time to time. But if anyone wants to make serious political change instead of just registering their dislike for the system they will engage more with a major political party. And I've got news for you, libertarians: The Republican Party is not your natural home. Look at the hatred that Republicans showered on Ron Paul. Watch the post-election fight for the soul of the Republican Party. If the libertarian faction takes over I'll eat my hat. No, the Republicans are descending into a Bible-thumping, war-mongering, xenophobic, populist party of the South. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is now swollen with young, libertarian-minded suburban professionals who've been driven from the Republican Party by Bush, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin. In other words, the Democratic Party is now ripe for change in a libertarian direction.

So the next stop in my political journey is the Democratic Freedom Caucus, where I hope to work with like-minded libertarian Democrats to advance my ideals. Consider joining me.


TC Fenstermaker said...

Oh. I had just commented on an older post that now was the time for big-L libertarians to join the Republican party and purge it. But I see you're making a case for joining the Democratic party instead. Well, both are good. Indeed, even desirable, I think. I'll stay with the Republicans, myself, as there are just too many unrepentant statists in the Democratic party who have no sympathy for libertarianism at all. Republicans can at least be approached on the ideal.

But in any case, I do think it's time for the LP to die. It does absolutely, positively no good off in its own amen corner. It hasn't one a single meaningful election in its 30+ year history. Worse, it marginalizes the voices of libertarians, who need to be in the mainstream, fighting the good fight.

TC Fenstermaker said...

"one" meant won. And to think, some SF-bay area Howard Dean/Dennis Kusinich/Obama-lover called me a "potted plant" and a "Ron Paul nut." I'm like, REALLY SMART! :)

BTW, those are the people you can enjoy working with in your attempt to influence the Democratic party--so, good luck w/ that :)

Anonymous said...

One more item: Fight to get as many Republicans (and conservatives, libertarians, and non-liberal Democrats) into Congress. Congress being of the opposing party as the President can lead to more conservative policies, at least on fiscal and anti-state matters - something we found out, during the Clinton years.

(I was quoted in Time Magazine, regarding this, in the last presidential election year.)

Mark said...

I wish you the best of luck, kerblam! If you can turn the Republicans in a libertarian direction, you will win my endless admiration. But I fear that we're in for at least two years of a bitter, populist, christianist Republican Party.

Either way, we'll still be libertarian allies even while working for opposing parties.

Polilla said...

Another point of view: Election results: Obama wins!

Brian said...

Mark, my guess is in about a year you will finally wake up after Obama turns out to be just another liberal Democrat as his record indicates.

The ultra left organization has issued a press release saying they raised $88 million on behalf of Obama's campagin. You know they wouldn't have spent that kind of money unless they had faith Obama would help advance their agenda which is about as far from libertarian as you can get.

I will never understand your naivety about Obama, but have faith you will return to your libertarian ideals in time for 2012.

Pedro Applebucks said...

Obama may be closing Gitmo, but he's just transferring them to Palau. If you are a libertarian, vote for one. Don't vote for socialist thief who believes that indefinite imprisonment without a trial is okay.