Saturday, March 1

In case you never thought you'd see the words "libertarian" and "Barack Obama" in the same sentence . . .

A great column in the New York Times today by law professor Jeffrey Rosen about Obama's credentials as a defender of civil liberties. I'm glad to see someone give such a full explanation of the reasons why I'm supporting Obama over Clinton in the Democratic race -- I'm just a lot more confident in Obama's commitment to turning around the worst excesses of the Bush administration's curtailing of our Constitutional rights. That's not to say Clinton wouldn't do anything to combat those measures, but I just don't see her as doing so with as much determination or resolve as Obama would. This may not be a huge issue to a lot of other people, but it is to me.

It also ties into something I wrote last year, just as the presidential campaign was really grinding into motion, about how the various movements and re-positionings of the two political parties have put us in a situation where the Democrats are really no further away from Libertarians than the Republicans are -- maybe closer, in fact, given that the federal government expanded more dramatically in the last seven years under Bush than it ever did under Clinton or Carter. Insert knee-jerk right-wing responses of "Obama=soc1alizm!!1!1!!" here, and yeah, I know, there's a lot about Obama's platform, universal health care being one major example, that dyed-in-the-wool libertarians aren't going to like. All I'm saying is, maybe it's time to re-evaluate your stereotypes about the two major parties and start reconsidering whether the Republicans really do any better job than the Democrats do of standing up for individual rights.

Anyway, good column, give it a read and let me know what you think.

(Hat tip: Lawyers, Guns and Money.)

18 comments:

Nick said...

I agree wholeheartedly. There was this unfortunate period early in my college years when I found the whole big-L Libertarian position appealing (including some very unfortunate, but short lived following of a certain Russian expatriate "philosopher") and never lost that emphasis on civil rights. I just thought the Democrats had much more potential to protect them.

Robert said...

Amen, Doug. You should also add Kari Byron from "Mythbusters" to your smart & hot list. That just goes show you where my mind is today.

Shan said...

That view on Obama is reassuring, with regard to civil liberties and intrusions into the privacy of US citizens. Now, if he'd just come out and say he's going to stop the plunder of US citizens' bank accounts through excessive taxation, he'd have my vote tomorrow.

And robert, good suggestion on Kari Byron. Definitely smart and hot.

tantra flower said...

Agree. Libertarian here. I just became a registered Democrat this week so that I could vote for Obama in our May primaries.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned about the Bush administrations excesses as much as anyone, but I am also concerned that any candidate would have an over-riding commitment to one position, especially if that position is reversing the Bush administration's civil rights violations. Why? Because in politics, you almost always have to give something up in order to get something done. Imo, the Bush excesses will die a natural death much like McCarthy's and HUAC did in the '50s. Over time, people can see that they really are excessive, and perhaps most importantly, they aren't even effective at achieving their goal. They are more and more being exposed as Dean-Wormer-silly, so why sell out on that when it will likely solve itself and there are greater problems? I have said it before: I will vote for Obama and support him if he is the nominee, but I wish I knew a little more about him. The truth is, when I hear him speak, he sounds vague in the same way that Bush sounded vague when he said he was a "compassionate conservative". Obama may turnout to be great, but I am still looking for a fact or two to support that theory...

Anonymous said...

ugh. I'll be back to read your blog when football season begins. I can take anymore of your liberal agenda.
Go Dawgs

Anonymous said...

So desperate for a win that you would follow a non-ebonic black dude with absolutely no accomplishments to back up his talk?

A uniter? No evidence to support, much to the contrary. He's more notable for his no-shows on votes:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/more_evidence_of_obamas_bipart.html

National security? Cut and run regardless of conditions on the ground. Would rush back if al qaeda emerges in Iraq...they're already in Iraq. Very confusing.

Free everything for everybody. $4,000 tax credits for anyone that wants to go to college. Free healthcare. Yeehaaa! Don't worry, the "rich" will pay for it all.

He wants to reverse Bush's tax cuts to pay for his new handouts. The top 1% of earners covered around 15% of taxes before the cuts, 37% after! The bottom 50% of earners covered 6% of the tab before the cuts, 3% after! If you want to stick it to the man, cut taxes again, moron.

Hitler was a smooth talker that captured a desperate political cohort in search of a return to power. I suggest you be more circumspect and scratch the rhetorical veneer.

Doug said...

Wow, so he's like Hitler? I had no idea. It definitely took some keen insight and critical-thinking skills to come up with that comparison. I will definitely be exploring your points more deeply now.

Anonymous said...

You missed the point. It's not that Obama is like Hitler it is that many like you are so desperate to regain stature that you will follow an unqualified yet charismatic figure. Form over substance, as it were.

Anonymous said...

So the other 90% of the Obama issues offered you have no qualms with? Since you're not "rich" or a soldier wanting to finish the job in Iraq, I can see why you wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Please explain how such a great southern dawg fan can support someone who has absoultely no idea how to lead a country, no idea how to defend a country, and will continue to enable people. Do you not know that the worst thing to do to someone is enable them? Wow, I'm suprised at your ignorance.

zen bubba said...

How many anonymous's do you have here?

Anonymous said...

Obama is about as close to being a libertarian as the New York Times.

I guess if you will believe what the New York Times pens then you can buy snake oil from Obama.

You Dems beat all I've ever seen. The "Hope and Change" platform of Obama is nothing but feel-good BS.
There's absolutely no specifics. When he's nailed down on specifics he makes a complete fool of himself.

Louis Farrakhan would make a hell of Sec. of State. Then we could get Janet Reno back and, who's that dumb-ass drawf...oh yeah, Robert Reich. We could look like America again. HA!

Obama the libertarian. Does this mean he will change his mind about letting our borders stay open?

Doug, you're a Dawg fan. Sorry you have no other redeeming qualities!

ChicagoDawg said...

No, actually it is not time to "re-evaluate your stereotypes." We are about to endure 4 years, if not longer, of a complete and unadulterated assault on property rights should Obama win in November. There is NOTHING about such an unbridled expansionist view of Government that is in keeping with the spirit of Libertarianism. I think you be wise to just embrace his world view -- such as it is -- and hope that your guy wins. However, trying to make such a leap as you did with this thread is borderline silly - jmo.

Anonymous said...

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

the walrus said...

As an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne, I think I can address anonymous's concern about a soldier in Iraq wanting to get the job done.

Oh, heya Doug, love the blog.

At the end of the day, who sits in the white house doesn't really effect my day to day operations. He's a boss I often hear about but rarely see or talk to. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand what needs to be done as far as military and defense matters, the service branches take care of that, the president just approves the budget. I do want to finish a job I've started, but for the most part when I've been over there, we've done what we've set out to do. All that's really left to decide right now is how much involvement do we want to have in these rebuilding nations over the next 5 or 10 years.

Now, with my background in the military, I should normally have a gigantic hard on for McCain because he's a big fucking war hero. And I like the guy, I honestly do, I think he's a great man who's honest and has a better grasp on reality than most politicians I see on the tube, and I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. However, I don't think it's McCain's time right now. It's bad timing, and if this election's gonna go the the way I think it is, the Republicans are gonna carry McCain on a rail with tar and feathers when he loses, and he'll never run for office again, which would be bad.

It's also bad timing because I'm a democrat at heart, a Chicago native, and Obama is inspiring the shit outta me.

Watson said...

On another note:

Congrats Doug on winning Funniest Blog

Anonymous said...

I would it to be known that I am not any of the anons that posted on or after March 2. ;-)