Saturday, February 23, 2008

Libertarians for Obama?

In my quest to find really good side-by-side comparisons of Obama, Clinton, and Mccain, I ran across this interesting analysis of the candidates from the Libertarian point of view. Obama comes out pretty well. Joanne McNeil is a libertarian that makes a good argument why she is supporting Obama and other libertarians should as well. James Joyner from Outside the Beltway has a more tepid support of Obama for his stance on Free Trade and Free Speech, but likes a lot that he sees.

"Many libertarians, faced with a choice between two non-libertarian candidates, will almost certainly vote for Obama. They may do it out of visceral reasons or attraction to him as a personality. They may do it on abortion, drug policy, homosexual rights, or a less militaristic foreign policy. But they’re not going to do so, if they’re honest with themselves, on free speech or free trade."
The Liberty Papers has and interesting thread about Obama as a candidate for Libertarians and Libertarian leaning liberals. Bricks is trying to argue to the conservative libertarians. Just a Girl in short shorts talking about whatever thinks that Obama's positions while he was a conlaw professor have lots to offer libertarians and lots to piss off liberals. I am happy to let her feel that way, even though his record suggest he is not as pro-gun or anti-reproductive rights as her reading of his writings suggests. See You At The Yard captures some Obama quotes that suggest that Obama's Second Amendment stance is more nuanced.

David Koffler and Andrew Sullivan both write about Obama as a man of substance and someone who is bringing a new kind of liberalism. Koffler calls it "left-libertarianism". This liberalism is less about what government can do for its people, and more how people can use government.

"Obama's liberalism that provides a bridge to conservatism. He is not a traditional top-down big government liberal. He's a pragmatist who believes in finding ways to empower people to run their own lives. No, he's no libertarian. But his view of government's role has absorbed some of the right-wing critiques of the 1970s and 1980s. Hence the lack of mandates in his healthcare proposal and his refusal to engage in racial victimology. This nuance is worth exploring. Unlike Hillary, he doesn't believe he is going to save anyone. He thinks he has a chance to help some people save themselves." - Andrew Sullivan
I have to say that before February 5th when I was still on the fence, it made me nervous to hear praise of Obama from the likes of Andrew Sullivan and those who I differed politically. I started thinking that this could be this elaborate ruse on the right. The problem was I could never quite figure out what these tricksters wanted me to do. Did they want to lure me into voting for Obama with the thought they could easily beat him? Did they praise him so we liberals would be scared away because they thought he was a threat to a republican candidate?

I did have problems with Obama's stance on tort-reform and made peace on the fact that I may not agree on everything on Obama's position papers. On the important stuff, he and I see the world in a similar way. I think he has the best chance of winning and hitting the reset button on our failed foreign policy. He has the intellect and has demonstrated good judgment and great tactical acumen necessary for being a good or even great president.