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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Barack Obama and Bipartisanship

Conservatives for Obama:

Conservatives, hungry for hope, may vote for Obama, by Melvyn Krauss, Commentary, Project Syndicate: John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee for president, likes to say that he was a "foot soldier" in the Reagan Revolution. So was I, working out of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. But ... I don't intend to vote Republican this November. I am voting for Barack Obama.

Meritocracy is at the core of American conservative beliefs. So let's face it: George W. Bush has been the worst US president in memory. His administration has been inept, corrupt, and without accomplishment. After this performance, why give the Republicans another turn at the helm?

Let's give the other party a chance, even if its policies are not exactly what conservatives may like. In America, we call it "throwing the bums out."

When meritocracy is downgraded, as it has been during the Bush years, bad things happen. Worst of all, racism has flourished, because productivity and social utility have become less effective in protecting targets of discrimination.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in America's current debate over illegal immigration. It is not so much the illegality of their entrance into the United States that riles many conservative Republicans; it's the migrants themselves, especially Hispanics who can't speak English. Never mind that Hispanic migrants are among the hardest-working people in the US. ...

Sadly, the Republican Party has been hijacked during the Bush years by sloganeers using code phrases like "illegal immigration" and "protecting the middle class" to mask their racism; and "economic incentive effects" to justify tax policies that are blatantly tilted to the rich. Responding to this politics of hate, Obama likes to call himself a "hope monger," not a "hate monger." It's a great line and it applies. Hope always sells well in America. Reagan understood that...

The hope that Obama is holding out for Americans is one of reconciliation - racial, political, between the wealthy and the poor, and between America and its allies. This is powerful stuff...

Just as Reagan had his "Reagan Democrats" who were attracted by his message of hope after the malaise of the Jimmy Carter years, Obama will have his "Obama Republicans," attracted by the hope of national reconciliation and healing. ... When conservative Republicans support liberal Democrats (Obama has been rated the most liberal member of the US Senate), "the times they are a-changin,'" as Bob Dylan wrote 45 years ago. ...

Indeed, I personally know a successful US hedge fund manager who is quite conservative and consistently votes Republican, but who is thinking of supporting Obama. ... There appear to be many Republicans and independents who feel the same way. Obama can lose these people, however, if he forgets that he is a reconciler, not a class warrior, and goes from tilting toward the poor to soaking the rich.

In any case, America's allies should feel relieved by how the presidential election is shaping up. America needs Obama, but McCain is a reasonable alternative. He is no Bush, and conservative Republicans' hatred of him is his badge of honor. He would stand up to the haters at home (including those in his own party) and to the terrorists abroad. That's a lot better than what we have today.

And here's the latest from Obama. This is from Brad at Sadly No:

Gulp, by Brad, Sadly No: Is it too late for me to take back my Obama vote?

Obama is hoping to appoint cross-party figures to his cabinet such as Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator for Nebraska and an opponent of the Iraq war, and Richard Lugar, leader of the Republicans on the Senate foreign relations committee.

I’ll be so depressed if he takes this “bipartisanship” nonsense seriously. Personally speaking, I’d like any Democratic candidate to spend their whole first day in office standing atop the White House roof dressed in pirate garb shouting “NOOOOOOOO PRISONERS!!!!!” at the top of their lungs. I want someone who will appoint Rudy Ray Moore as a Supreme Court justice, who will punish the Keyboard Kommandos by passing a Constitutional amendment banning Cheetos and Funyuns, and who will look into every Republican’s eyes and tell them that he drank their milkshake. HE DRANK IT UP!!!

As I’ve said before, there are more important issues facing this country than my bloody-minded quest for revenge. But even if Obama doesn’t plan on systematically destroy every Republican by using the Justice Department to slap them with bogus corruption charges, he could at the very least not appoint any to his cabinet. And while it’s true that Hagel and Lugar are some of the least objectionable Republicans out there, they are still Republicans. They bear the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored.

No prisoners, Hussein X. Please don’t disappoint me.

Is it time for me to rethink my partisan tendencies and lack of trust, or is Obama making a big mistake?

Update: PGL at Angry Bear says "Obama is doing the right thing."

Update: Robert Waldmann says "Brad at Sadly No is Sadly naive."

    Posted by on Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 12:59 PM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (52)


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