Friday, December 28, 2007

The Publius Endures Blog En- and un-dorsements: the Dems

Starting with my Democratic primary endorsement, there is really only one serious choice for a libertarian with a focus on interest group politics: Obama-mama, although Richardson, Dodd, and even Kucinich warranted consideration for this choice. In the end, though, Obama gets this extremely coveted endorsement for several reasons:

1. Despite his railing against "special interests," he actually understands that all interest groups are "special interests," which is to be expected from a Con Law professor who has probably read Federalist Number 10 a few dozen times. In other words, when he rails against "special interests," he actually means what he says.

2. Because he understands that all interest groups are special interests, Obama is actually more willing to give opposing viewpoints a seat at the table. When Edwards or Clinton, however, rail against "special interests," they use a selective definition that allows them to keep opposing viewpoints from the table, since those viewpoints are "special interests." Viewpoints they do agree with are, by their definition, not "special interests."

3. No matter who they nominate, the Dem candidate will likely be the favorite to win the Presidency. Therefore, it is particularly necessary for them to nominate someone who will make a "reasonable" President. This unfortunately disqualifies Dodd, Kucinich, and Richardson from consideration, since they have no chance to win the nomination, making Obama the only option to stop Hillary and Edwards.

4. While he is certainly quite Progressive, this is mitigated massively from a libertarian perspective by the fact that he would give other groups a seat at the table. What I have noticed about Obama is that, while he has "Progressive" goals, he understands that Progressives do not have a monopoly on those goals- there are plenty of others who want the same results, but disagree on the means. He also understands that achieving those goals is what's important, not achieving those goals by virtue of means that are acceptable to key Democratic Party interest groups.

5. He is an optimist who actually means what he says when he talks about ending the bitterness that has characterized the Bush years. This sincere optimism and trust in the American people rather than the American politicians is something that is sorely needed in an era when the government has decided it needs to keep as many secrets as possible because it doesn't trust the American people to do the right thing.

So there you have it: Obama or bust on the Dem side of the primaries.

Now for my un-dorsement, which was a much tougher choice. This un-dorsement trend, by the way, is fan-tastic! Obviously this came down to Hillary or Edwards: the cynical triangulator with the sense of entitlement vs. the dapper class-warfare populist. Both of them love to attack the "special interests," but as I indicated above, their definition of "special interests" just means "groups that don't and won't support me." In other words, both define anyone who disagrees with them out of existence as a legitimate opponent.

In the end, Hillary gets the un-dorsement, though:

1. The possibility of 20 consecutive years of Bush-Clinton is too much to bear

2. Executive power is the most important issue to me in this election; on that issue, she would be every bit as bad as Bush-Cheney; where Obama would largely decentralize the political process, the unitary executive under Hillary would become massive. While I suspect Edwards wouldn't be much better on this issue ideologically, I also don't think he'd be able to get away with it in the way Hillary could.

3. She is in the running for the "Person Whose Voice Most Makes My Skin Crawl" Award. This is not merely an aversion to her voice, mind you; instead, it is a combination of her way of speaking ("Ack!ACK!Ackackack!ACKACK!"), the insincerity with which she does it, and the holier-than-thou attitude that underlies it. If I had to choose between listening to her speak for an hour and listening to Bill O'Reilly speak for an hour, I would probably choose to just get waterboarded for an hour.

So to any Dems who might be listening out there: for the love of all that is good and right in the world, please, PLEASE vote for anyone but her.