The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama for President
Tom Smith

After some thought which I concede has not been all that deep, I have decided to announce that I support Senator Obama for President.  I have been inspired to take this step, which I know some of my readers will find shocking and disappointing, by the several other famous conservatives and/or libertarians who have thrown their backing to the Senator from the Land of Lincoln.  Allow me to explain.

Obama has made many insprirational arguments about why he should be the next President.  There is Hope, Change, the Audacity of both, the financial crisis's verdict on the failed policies of the last eight years, and transcending the politics of yesterday, which are narrow, in order to get to the politics of the future which are, I infer, very broad. But in truth, I am not sure what all of this means, concretely.  Thus I have tried to pay attention carefully as Obama and his many proxies have explained what his actual plans would be.  These are much more comprehensible.  With some gratitude I realize that all the talk of Hope and Change can be distilled into a two-fold message that is both direct and pure:  If Obama is elected President, the government will give me money.  And second, that would be fair.

To take the second point first, some might well wonder what is so fair about my getting more money from the government, or even their getting more money, though that usually provokes fewer objections. But consider the following thought experiment.  Imagine someone coming to you and saying "How about if I give you some money, and you have to do absolutely nothing in return?  Does that sound fair?"  Most of us, I hazard, would reply "Sure!"  I know I would.  Thus, by a kind of deontological intuitionist argument, we can see that my getting more money in this way is in fact fair.  Next, it is true that I would like more money.  Indeed, the prospect of getting more money does inspire in me a feeling I recognize as hope, and it would certainly be a welcome change.  Like many Americans, I get paid every month, and every month I pay bills.  I am struck by the frequency and intensity of the feeling that I could use more money.  This would be a change I could believe in.

Some readers may object that as a member of "the rich" who makes more than $42,000 per year, or whatever it is these days, I would be taxed more by an Obama regime, and not be one of those in the lucky 95 or 40 percent who are going to get checks from the government for having been so redistributed against over the last 8 years (of failed Bush-McCain policies), or perhaps even since this Republic adopted a Constitution that makes redistribution so legally awkward.  But this is taking too narrow of a view.  There are many ways to get checks from the government, and my sense is that an Obama administration would be amenable to all of them.  For someone like me, an academic, working in some way for the government seems promising.  So while I may be taxed more, I think the chances are good that I could find some job where I would be well paid and not actually have to do any work.  It could thus be a part time job that would not interfere with my current position.  It could be anything, really, so long as I could listen to my iPod during any meetings, which I assume, in a modern Obama administration, would be held in virtual government-space anyway.  Many people like me will be looking for jobs like this.  It may indeed usher in a kind of new age of entrepreneurialism, as people look for ways to get money from the government in new and creative ways.

Some long time readers may object that this endorsement represents a rejection of every principle I have ever stood for on this blog.  This may be true.  However, I would ask them to consider that standing up for principles against an enthusiastic mob is a good way to make yourself very unpopular.  I'm also not sure I have ever been to a conservative or libertarian party that was not a rather sad affair, with people standing around talking about the money supply or the importance of traditional values.  I mean, that gets old.  I'm 51 years old and I'm tired of it.  It just has to be the case that those redeemed by Obama are going to be having much better parties over the next several years, at least while the dollar holds out.  This may be a case for making hay while the sun shines.  Apres moi and all that.  

I do admit I am a little worried about Ahmedwhatshisname getting nukes and Putin rolling into Europe, with only Obama's charisma to stop them.  I had never really thought of let's all play nicely together as a foreign policy since it doesn't even work with kids.  But hey, is that really my problem?  He has like a zillion brilliant foreign policy advisers and I'm sure they'll figure something clever out.  I can no longer afford a trip to Israel anyway and I assume pictures of it will be archived on the internet.

Some may say, and you call yourself a libertarian.  But I have decided I can be a kind of statist, big government, expansive regulation, high taxing, low investing, industrial policy, aggressive PC enforcing sort of libertarian.  If you look at libertarians for Obama, I would hardly be the first.  Besides, I never listen to Rush anymore and Fox I could even do without.  I have hundreds of books in my library I have yet to read, and this would give me the chance.  All that conflict in the media is a huge time suck anyway.

So think of it as kind of the rather bearable lightness of being for Obama.  It's not so bad really.  It feels kind of like when you wake up in the morning and your mind is kind of blank, but in a peaceful sort of way.  Rather nice, really. You know, healing.

In conclusion, I would like, instead of saying God Bless America, which is divisive, to wish everyone a really nice next four to whatever years. (If anyone connected with the forthcoming government is reading this post, and would would like an address to send my money to, please just email me and I will let you know.)

http://rightcoast.typepad.com/rightcoast/2008/10/obama-for-president-tom-smith.html

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Comments

I'd call this "Buckleyesque", but it's the night before Halloween, and I'm afraid the original eponym would rise up and do something to me even creepier than his son's endorsement.

Posted by: bgates | Oct 30, 2008 5:24:17 PM

Check out this map of the ideological distribution of Obama, McCain, Hillary, and Bush.

http://www.singularity2050.com/2008/05/us-ideological.html

See who is really at the center.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 30, 2008 5:27:16 PM

Congrats on the best Obama endorsement by far!

Posted by: LegalTender | Oct 30, 2008 5:30:07 PM

I sense that you're not really an enthusiastic supporter.

Posted by: Benson | Oct 30, 2008 5:31:15 PM

LOL! I love satire, intentional or not.

Hey, if you could get me and academic position, I'd really appreciate it. I have a master's degree, and I understand there's no real work involved... which makes me ask, why would you want a second no-work "job"?

Posted by: Hucbald | Oct 30, 2008 5:32:01 PM

Why wouldn't you?

Posted by: enemyofthepeople | Oct 30, 2008 5:35:14 PM

Honestly, Tom, you'll never miss that frontal lobe. And doesn't the world seem so much warmer and cozier now? At least until a Republican walks by.

Posted by: Mister Snitch | Oct 30, 2008 5:46:21 PM

Not sure how serious this is but reading the stuff over at "Reason" (those are irony quotes) solidifies my total disenchantment with libertarianism. With a straight face they all trumpet the blessings of the One. If it weren't for the likes of them, I'd take this as satire. Because of them, I wonder . . . and I wonder why libertarianism prostitutes itself to the likes of the Democrats.

Posted by: rrr | Oct 30, 2008 5:49:29 PM

The clocks aren't striking 13 just yet. We need an ad with Joe the Plummer throwing a wrench into a screen with Obama and Biden talking about wealth spreading and the proper way to pay your taxes (FYI, it's patriotically and without any backtalk).

Posted by: frege | Oct 30, 2008 5:51:42 PM

Boy, What some people do to avoid the re-education camps.

Posted by: Winston Smith II | Oct 30, 2008 6:03:04 PM

You can come over later and we can get baked and maybe watch O vids. I mean, I'm libertarian but I'm voting O because those Christians freak me out and are prolly gonna take our weed away and whatever.

Posted by: Jim Ryan | Oct 30, 2008 6:10:23 PM

you sound happier than Homer Simpson with a Soma donut.

mmm... donuts...

Posted by: mezzrow | Oct 30, 2008 6:12:02 PM

Let's hear from the "Fab Four":

Here comes the sun king
Here comes the sun king
Everybody's laughing
Everybody's happy
Here comes the sun king

Gotta deny-a racist-a sermon of Reverend Wright
"People" paparazzi take-a photo of Michelle
Obama charge-a more donations on-a Visa infomercial

Posted by: MarkJ | Oct 30, 2008 6:15:00 PM

You and this article illustrate perfectly why libertarians cannot come into their own as a political force -- and that reason goes far beyond "bad eclecticism," as it was once politely called.

Let us make no mistake: I loathe the politics of John McCain with all my heart and soul, but there is absolutely no comparison between these two, and nothing in the world could induce any true defender of liberty to throw in with a stated neo-Marxist, black nationalist, racist piece of shit, who believes, among other things, that "the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society.... didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution ... that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties ... says what the states can't do to you ... says what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government MUST do on your behalf, and that hasn't shifted, and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change...."

That you, pal, will throw in with someone who holds those conviction, and yet still call yourself a "libertarian" is an absolute joke.

At the very least, John McCain is not statedly anti-American -- let alone proudly so, like the brutal horse you and your "libertarian" buddies are backing.

You say "I have been inspired to take this step"

"Inspired" is certainly a curious choice of words.

You say "which I know some of my readers will find shocking and disappointing"

Try "embarrassing."

You say "Allow me to explain."

That's alright. There's really no need. You'd actually just be wasting your breath, because you've already said it all in your choice. And that choice is the reason libertarianism will labor endlessly under its disreputable chains.

Give you people enough rope, you hang yourselves every time.

Posted by: Thin king man | Oct 30, 2008 6:41:58 PM

you are not a lib. FOR CHRISTS SAKE!!

Posted by: doug | Oct 30, 2008 6:45:23 PM

You and this article illustrate perfectly the reason that libertarians cannot come into their own as a political force -- and that reason goes far beyond "bad eclecticism," as it was once politely called.

Let us make no mistake: I loathe the politics of John McCain with all my heart and soul, but there is absolutely no comparison between these two, and nothing in the world could induce any true defender of liberty to throw in with a stated neo-Marxist, black nationalist, racist piece of shit, who believes, among other things, that "the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society.... didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution ... that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties ... says what the states can't do to you ... says what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government MUST do on your behalf, and that hasn't shifted, and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change...."

That you, pal, will throw in with someone who holds those conviction, and yet still call yourself a "libertarian" is an absolute joke.

At the very least, John McCain is not statedly anti-American -- let alone proudly so, like the brutal horse you and your "libertarian" buddies are backing.

You say "I have been inspired to take this step"

"Inspired" is certainly a curious choice of words.

You say "which I know some of my readers will find shocking and disappointing"

Try "embarrassing."

You say "Allow me to explain."

That's alright. There's really no need. You'd actually just be wasting your breath, because you've already said it all in your choice. And that choice is the reason libertarianism will labor endlessly under its disreputable chains.

Give you people enough rope, you hang yourselves every time.

Posted by: Thin king man | Oct 30, 2008 6:45:29 PM

This makes perfect sense. Libertarians trust to the invisible hand of self-interest to set things right. As a libertarian, you SHOULD be concerned with your own self-interests and let everyone else worry about theirs. Thus voting for someone who gives you money makes perfect sense.

Republicans should also vote for Obama. Everyone knows that Republicans are primarily interested in making money. What better way to acquire money than to have someone give it to you?

Democrats, I shouldn't have to mention, will no doubt vote for Obama several times. Consider the rewards they shall receive. (You may want to change parties and think: why suffer from a Libertarian stigma that you can not possibly parley into victim status?)

Greens, Socialists, Communists, Methodists, Cut-throats, and Bull-Dykes all have something to gain, that being primarily a government check, from an Obama administration.

This is a beautiful thing, as you may have a little nuisance altruistic side to yourself that can be satisfied by the hope that everyone will get that change they deserve. If anything is self-evident, it is that Cash is King. Audacious!

Posted by: Dave from Nashville (Go 'Dores!) | Oct 30, 2008 6:51:08 PM

From Lincoln's First Inaugural:

At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.

Are you sure you want to do this? Lining up with James Wolcott?

Posted by: Stan Morris | Oct 30, 2008 7:04:35 PM

" I can no longer afford a trip to Israel anyway and I assume pictures of it will be archived on the internet."

Don't worry, the Ministry of Truth will delete all evidence that such a place called "Israel" ever existed.

You too will soon say things like "Israel? Is that a type of sandwich?"

Posted by: mockmook | Oct 30, 2008 7:07:48 PM

Uh, comment just disappears.

Can't you have a screen come up that tells us where it is: Moderation, Rejected, Deleted, whatever?

Posted by: mockmook | Oct 30, 2008 7:10:51 PM

Hey, you can flap around like a flag in the wind if you don't have any principles. I'm sure that's peaceful, too.

Posted by: TRO | Oct 30, 2008 7:39:32 PM

LOL. I needed that. Thanks.

Posted by: Jason Pappas | Oct 30, 2008 7:57:44 PM

It is good you are getting with the program, comrade.
Comrade Obama will be pleased if you follow the example of His life and eliminate SAT's and LSAT's from the academic tyranny. Obamaviously unnecessary.

Posted by: james wilson | Oct 30, 2008 8:17:45 PM

Thank you Tom!

You'll see "BarryD" quite a bit over in the Comments on the Reason "Who will you vote for?" piece.

I tried to ask what a libertarian would see in Obama. I don't think I ever got an answer, thought I got a lot of moonbat-style reactions, you know, a lot of heat with zero light and nothing that answered the question. I did get someone who said "Transparency", so I asked why they believed that someone who has been as secretive as Obama, and who has tried to use legal action to silence his critics, would support transparency when in office. His answer? The bill Obama co-sponsored with Coburn. When I responded that McCain was a co-sponsor of the same bill, so I still wanted to know why that would weigh in Obama's favor, I got... crickets.

Thanks again, Tom. At least now I can smile about this stuff (though my contemplated subscription to Reason won't be happening).

My theory... Look at the geographic locations of the Obama libertarians. They live in Obama-land. This supports the assertion that's come up a lot lately: voting correlates with geography. Looks like a libertarian in LA, Chicago or DC will vote for a socialist, just like all their neighbors.

Megan McArdle keeps pointing out things about Obama that for me would be showstoppers, then follows up with "but I still support Obama." WHY? Shit, nobody HAS to vote for ANYONE.

Thanks for confirming that at least SOME libertarians still think for themselves, Tom. Thank you!

Barry

Posted by: BarryD | Oct 30, 2008 8:30:11 PM

Thank you Tom!

You'll see "BarryD" quite a bit over in the Comments on the Reason "Who will you vote for?" piece.

I tried to ask what a libertarian would see in Obama. I don't think I ever got an answer, thought I got a lot of moonbat-style reactions, you know, a lot of heat with zero light and nothing that answered the question. I did get someone who said "Transparency", so I asked why they believed that someone who has been as secretive as Obama, and who has tried to use legal action to silence his critics, would support transparency when in office. His answer? The bill Obama co-sponsored with Coburn. When I responded that McCain was a co-sponsor of the same bill, so I still wanted to know why that would weigh in Obama's favor, I got... crickets.

Thanks again, Tom. At least now I can smile about this stuff (though my contemplated subscription to Reason won't be happening).

My theory... Look at the geographic locations of the Obama libertarians. They live in Obama-land. This supports the assertion that's come up a lot lately: voting correlates with geography. Looks like a libertarian in LA, Chicago or DC will vote for a socialist, just like all his/her neighbors do. Priority one: don't jeopardize cred with the cool kids.

Megan McArdle keeps pointing out things about Obama that for me would be showstoppers, then follows up with "but I still support Obama." WHY? Shit, nobody HAS to vote for ANYONE.

Thanks for confirming that at least SOME libertarians still think for themselves, Tom. Thank you!

(Sadly, you've also demonstrated that some libertarians don't get jokes. But I guess we already knew that.)

Barry

Posted by: BarryD | Oct 30, 2008 8:39:36 PM