Saturday, February 23, 2008

The conservative case for Barack Obama.

I posted a year ago that a McCain-Obama matchup would be a dream come true. It is exactly what this country needs right now - minimally divisive, with bipartisan appeal in both candidates. So who would I support? I consider myself a libertarian; socially liberal but economically conservative. As such, I disagree with just about all of Obama's economic policies. Conversely, I have parallel views with McCain on many issues. Yet, there is no question as to whom I am supporting in November: Barack Obama. Even if I was an arch-conservative, I would still be pulling for Barack Obama in November. Here are eight reasons why.

Reason Number 1: The conservative movement has abandoned its core principles. Anybody with half a brain will recognize that George Bush's administration has not been conservative. The conservative movement needs a timeout. They need to reduce the power of evangelicals and militarists. They need to once again espouse true conservative economic principles, and a more modest foreign agenda. Republicans should be downright embarrassed that Bill Clinton's economic record puts Bush's to shame.

Reason Number 2: Immigration is irrelevant. Regardless of one's opinion on immigration, they might as well forget about it this election cycle. McCain and Obama have very similar opinions on immigration.

Reason Number 3: John McCain is not going to usher in a new conservative economic revolution. McCain's biggest weakness is on economic issues. What a conservative should be looking for is the next Reagan - the next leader who can articulate a new conservative economic agenda. John McCain is not that man. Electing McCain for the next four years would simply delay the time when the next conservative economic revolution takes place.

Reason Number 4: Iraq is not strategically worth it. Despite initially opposing the war, I supported the war after the invasion because I believed we owed it to the Iraqis to try to piece their nation back together. After almost 4000 dead American soldiers, 4 years of battle, and trillions of dollars, we have fulfilled our moral obligation to the Iraqi people. The surge has been an amazing success, and I credit McCain for that (and wish he had been in charge sooner). However, surge or no, the Iraqi politicians are not making political progress. The state of Iraq is going to fragment. It will happen if we withdraw immediately, or if we do so in a decade, but it will happen nonetheless.

Many people believe we need to stay in Iraq to ensure a steady oil supply. This is not just the strong strategy - its the wrong frigging game. The oil is running out! We can deal with this reality now, or we can draw it out for another few decades when the wells run dry. Either way it will happen; the goal is to eventually no longer be reliant on oil.

Meanwhile, the occupation of Iraq does remain a rallying-cry for Islamic extremists. A withdrawal from Iraq, certain to happen under Obama but definitely not under McCain, will rob extremists of that rallying cry. After a US withdrawal from Iraq, no longer will Muslims read in the paper that US soldiers accidentally killed X civilians today in X Iraqi city. Instead, they will be horrified by the intense intra-Muslim violence that will inevitably follow our withdrawal. It will be a tragedy, but one that will quite clearly reveal the evil and hypocrisy of religious extremism for all to see.

Reason Number 5: Barack Obama would stand by far the best chance of any recent US President to solve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. This is in part because Obama is less biased towards the Israeli side of the dispute, and thus will be seen as more of a fair mediator. Additionally, Obama will have more credibility as someone who opposed the War in Iraq. Finally, having a Muslim father will give Obama a special credibility among Palestinians; a credibility that a militaristic white Christian in McCain could never have.

Reason Number 6: Barack Hussein Obama can fundamentally change the perception of America in the Muslim world and beyond. Obama is a multilateralist, and would help to mend our relations with Europe. As the child of an African man, he is positioned to forge ties to various nations of that continent for mutual benefit, and help curb China's malevolent influence there. Finally, as an opponent of the Iraq war, the child of a poor Muslim father, and having the middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama is going to send a strong message to the billion+ Muslims of the world - Americans do not hate Muslims, they just hate murderers and terrorists. I will quote Andrew Sullivan here, as his passage on this subject is the best I've read:

"Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can." -Andrew Sullivan, "Why Obama Matters"

Reason Number 7: Obama can do a lot for race relations in this country. Men like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton are political opportunists who exploit racial divisions for their own gain. The election of President Obama is going to shut them up for good. An Obama victory proves that their representations of the racist nature of America have been inaccurate. It proves that they are wrong to not give people the benefit of the doubt, and to assume the worst about their inclinations. Electing Obama will take the mantle of African-American leadership from those who exploit division for their own gain, and hand it to a man who preaches unity, reconciliation, and working together for the future.

Reason Number 8: Obama can restore this nation's balance. The Presidency of George Bush has been an absolute failure in every sense of the word. He has squandered our reputation abroad, and exhausted the vast reserves of American soft power (ie, our moral authority). His economic policies have been disastrous. He has exploited the religious, ethnic, and social differences of Americans for political gain. The result is a nation that is as divided as ever. The nation needs to be reoriented. All conservatives should know that the political scene needs to shift back to the left if it ever is to effectively move right again.

We can shock the world, and indeed even ourselves, by casting our votes for Obama in the fall. We can move beyond the old divisions and start with a clean slate after 16 nasty years of sub-par presidents. Every conservative should recognize that economic issues can wait. There are too many pros to pass up an Obama presidency.

Yes we can!

Yes we can?!

Losing Ohio or Texas will be the final nail in Clinton's coffin. She even tacitly acknowledged as much in the last debate. The only remaining question is whether she is going to accept defeat with any dignity.

The next thing we need to do is make sure that Obama has a very top-notch security force. I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the first African-American President of the USA might have some enemies. Its unfortunate, but its reality.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

She has been defeated.

I am calling the Democrat Primary right now - Hillary Clinton has been defeated. Barack Obama has won the Democrat Primary, and in November he will defeat* John McCain.

Recent polls have shown Hillary ahead by double digits in Ohio, and supposedly she is leading in Texas as well. However, for her to win at this point, the super-delegates would have to convene "in a smoke-filled room" and decide to pick Hillary over Obama against the wishes of the majority of Democrats. They would face open revolt if they attempted to do so. If Democrat super-delegates tried to install Hillary as the Democratic nominee, they would be handing McCain the presidency on a silver platter.

Had the situation of a couple of weeks ago persisted, with Hillary having a slight lead, the super delegates might have been able to get away with deciding the primary in Hillary's favor. They would have been able to tout the presumption that Hillary was the front runner anyways, so they had to make a tough but fair call. Now, Obama is clearly the front runner. Even a loss in Ohio and Texas won't change that.

If Hillary truly cared about the Democratic Party, she would exit gracefully and quickly to ensure the Democrats unite behind Obama against McCain. Dragging out the primary only strengthens the hand of the Republicans, who have pragmatically united around their strongest general election candidate. Alas, I think even life-long democrats have seen this election cycle that Hillary doesn't care about the Democrat party, she cares about Hillary. All thats left to see is how gracefully Hillary accepts her defeat. If history is any indication, I suspect that it will not be pretty.

Oh, and the latest numbers from Intrade? Obama - 72%, Hillary - 25%.

*Disclaimer: I could see McCain beating Obama if two things happened. First, the US economy would need to avoid recession, and be booming come election time. Second, Iraq needs to be completely pacified. If the economy is stagnant, or US soldiers are still dying in Iraq, Obama wins by a landslide.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Why can't people put two-and-two together?

McCain was dealt a firm rebuke by GOP primary voters tonight, winning only 26% of the vote in Washington and losing in a couple other states. Granted, McCain is still going to win the GOP nomination, but this shows how unhappy many Republican voters are with McCain's prospective leadership. Many Democrats realize this, and are collectively saying "Yay, now the GOP is screwed in November because Republicans are going to stay home!"

These people do not get it. They are correct in thinking Republicans will stay home if McCain's opponent is Barack Obama, but they are dead wrong if Hillary Clinton is on the ballot. In that situation, I assure you, those Republicans will not be staying home. If Hillary gets the nomination, the only people staying home would be Barack Obama's numerous disenfranchised supporters.

It is quite simple. If the Democrats want to win in November, they choose Obama. If they want to lose again, they pick Hillary. I am so not going to tolerate Democrats whining about another militaristic right-wing Republican president if they are the ones that pass up Obama.

I'll end on some good news. A week before Super Tuesday, Obama's intrade value to get the Dem nomination was 30% to HRC's 65%. The day of, it was 47%, tied w/ Hillary. As of now? 70%. She is losing. I am not 100% confident that she will lose, because I suspect she has some insidious plot up her sleeve to steal the nomination away from Obama. But it looks more likely that she will be stopped with each passing day.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My money goes with my heart.

For the last month or so, I've played the Intrade Politics Market with only logic, not emotion. It was more fun when I got to buy McCain and Obama, of course. Other times, like after Iowa, I knew the Clinton machine just wasn't defeated yet. Selling Obama and buying Clinton was depressing, but proved to be the right financial move at the time. I correctly predicted that Obama's surge after Iowa wouldn't last. Indeed, the numbers only a couple of weeks ago had moved back to their pre-Iowa state; 30% Obama for 65% Hillary.

However, as of now I have dumped the rest of my Intrade balance into various Obama contracts. I did so because I realized something. The implications of Hillary Clinton first defeating Obama in the Democrat Primary, and then defeating McCain in the general election, would be devastating. If this happened - if Hillary became President, I would be so disheartened, so disappointed, and so jaded, that I would probably stop following politics altogether. What need would I have for Intrade at that point, anyways?

Obama is going to win. I've always believed this, but never with more conviction than now. I know he is going to beat Hillary. I know it because I also know that this is a great nation. I know that the American dream isn't dead. America can still set a positive example for the world, and lead it to a better tomorrow. Hillary represents everything that is wrong with this nation. She is the continuation of George Bush. She represents division, the status quo, the political elite, dynastism, cynicism, and regression. We have had enough.

The American people are ready, but the fight against Hillary won't be easy. Behind her is an nearly invincible political machine that will stop at nothing to see her in the white house. Truly, the Clinton Machine would rather see the Democratic Party and the nation divided and destroyed than lose the presidency. Know hope! What as of late have we learned about evil, "unstoppable" machines? Are there any lessons that we could draw from recent history, like say 2/3/2008? It takes courage and hard work, but they can be defeated. Just ask Eli Manning.


And Hillary? No, you absolutely positively may not.