May 28, 2024

Switching Sides

Pete Abel says:

Last week, I crossed party lines to vote for Obama in the Missouri primary. Last night, I noted that I’m increasingly likely to do the same in November.

Challenge me. Rebuke me. Never let me off the hook. Make me work for what I am starting to believe.

Well, here goes, Pete. 

Barack Obama has been recognized as the most liberal senator in the U.S., including votes:

  • to NOT permit law enforcement officers to question individuals about their immigrant status if they have probable cause to believe that the immigrants are here illegally
  • to NOT make English the official language of the United States
  • to support embryonic-stem-cell research
  • to require U.S. troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq within four months
  • and many more

Obama’s liberal credentials are innate to the man:  he has been very liberal from the beginning of his term in the Senate. 

Pete, your letter to the GOP outlined many fundamental positions that Republicans, indeed all conservatives of good heart and sound mind should hold.  While Barack Obama does profess agreement with some of your more liberal positions, it is his express intention to raise taxes, increase entitlements, and lessen individual responsibility during his term(s) if elected.

None of these are compatible with the core principles of conservatism, which you quoted former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman as summing up thusly:

the defining feature of the conservative viewpoint is a faith in the ability, and a respect for the right, of individuals to make their own decisions

The 3 things that matter to most (wo)men are:  faith,  family, and finance, in varying orders.  A principle of conservatism is that the government should do as little as humanly possible to interfere with the "3 F’s".  But a Barack Obama presidency will result in higher taxes and a larger government (just as George Bush’s presidency has, to the disappointment of so many Republicans).  Particularly for the working and middle classes, financial freedom is restricted by taxation and the desire to excel and achieve lessened.  Do you suddenly sanction this?

Further consider Obama’s softness on the war in Iraq.  It’s clear that U.S. troops are making good progress there and that their presence is needed for the foreseeable future to ensure that reconstruction continues to move forward.  It is unthinkable for a president to withdraw our military from Iraq at this time, yet Barack Obama has thought favorably about – and voted for – that very outcome.

And then there is the matter of Obama’s foreign policy experience, about which not much need – or can – be said.

No, Barack Obama is the wrong man for the job of President of the United States, despite the wave of popularity he is riding at the moment.  He is a rock star politician, cool when performing on stage and far less inspiring off it, the great hope of black Americans who need a real leader to look up to and of neo-progressive mobs like dKos who merely want to tear down a nation whose principles they find to demanding to embrace.

This last is the true wisdom of crowds, the blind luck of probability and the destructive power of millions of know-nothings temporarily directed toward a goal – like "change" – and the vaguer the better. 

True, there is strength and accuracy in numbers, but both decline as, inevitably, the crowd grows to include hangers-on who love only the rush of belonging to the herd and understand nothing about the principles that started the crush in to begin with.

But you already know this.

I also know we can’t realize the crowd’s wisdom without the diverse and independent contributions of its members. If I simply ‘go along to get along,’ I don’t serve the crowd, I fail it.

The intellect of the crowd is an aggregation of its individual members.  A stadium full of Chia Pets knows no synergies and has no inherent rightness, despite their numbers.  Neither does a crowd of Obama groupies chanting "change!" at the top of their lungs.  They don’t even know what the slogan means.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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