Thursday, February 7, 2008
Mike makes an engaging case that a McCain presidency might either saddle Republicans with responsibility for policies they don't really support, or foreclose conservative/libertarians from re-emerging as a successful political movement; so it would be better if McCain were to lose the general election, assuming he is the Repulican nominee, and for Mrs Clinton to win. Mike seems less sure - for good reason, I think - about preferring Barrack Obama as well.
Mike takes an optimistic view - from a conservative/libertarian point of view - of what would follow from a Clinton administration. Optimism is very American, but pessimism, or at least caution, is characteristically conservative.
What can be expected from a Clinton or Obama presidency with a Democratic House and Senate?
(1) A quick withdrawal from Iraq, with every likelihood that Iraqi supporters of democracy and opponents of jihad will targeted as "collaborators" with the absconded Americans, and very possibly massacred. For years to come, this will be an object lesson around the world to anyone who considers making common cause with the United States. In Latin America, the Middle East and the Gulf, in Asia, everywhere, the lesson will be clear: never defy the anti-American Left, because the United States is always one election away from abandoning you and leaving you to your fate.
(2) Socialised medicine. It may transform medical care for the worse - and massively discourage the flow of research and new treatment that free markets have fostered in recent decades - but it will be virtually impossible to reverse or reform once embarked on. This has certainly been the European and Canadian experience. (Of course Canadians in very large numbers seek medical care in the US. Where will Americans go?) Imperfect analogy: many academics suspect or believe that the tenure system isn't good for the academy - but how many would willingly give up tenure once they have it?
(3) Effectively unrestricted immigration, at least from Mexico and Central America. Driving licences for illegal immigrants are the symbol (and effective vehicle, as it were) for such a policy.
(4) A leftist federal judiciary, and enlisting the United States in the "transnational" trends now fostered by the European Union and by the (very partisan and ideologised) world human rights lobbies.
John McCain has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate. His views about immigration are very likely different from mine. I think the McCain-Feingold law is thoroughly bad. But as someone has pointed out in the last few days, there has been only one ideological conservative elected President since Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan himself supported or acquiesced in many things (or at least some things) that conservatives-libertarians-fusionists might reject or even deplore.
Reagan isn't on the ballot this year. No keeping cool with Coolidge either. Winning by losing would be nice. Beware - says the chastened conservative voice - of losing by losing.