Alex Cockburn says not to vote for Obama

The Southern Avenger has it here.

In substantive terms Obama’s run has been the negation of almost every decent progressive principle, a negation achieved with scarcely a bleat of protest from the progressives seeking to hold him to account.

So no, this is not an exciting or liberating moment in America’s politics such as was possible after the Bush years. If you want a memento of what could be exciting, I suggest you go to the website of the Nader-Gonzalez campaign and read its platform, particularly on popular participation and initiative. Or read the portions of Libertarian Bob Barr’s platform on foreign policy and constitutional rights.”

Alexander Cockburn is one of the craziest left-wing s.o.b’s around; his exhortation not to vote for Barry Obama should not be dismissed easily.

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“McCain is exactly the wrong kind of Republican to have as President during a Democratic ascendancy. “

I still stand by my argument that, even if Obama is, maybe, the lesser of two evils in a vacuum, we’re not in a vacuum, and the context of Democratic dominance of both chambers makes McCain the distressingly lesser evil. Mr Larison suggests otherwise. He makes a good point, no doubt about it.

What of McCain?  Leave aside for the moment that the outcome of the election is all but certain, and that McCain is probably going to suffer the worst defeat for a Republican nominee since 1964.  The divided government argument for McCain sounds appealing at first, and I can see some merit in it, but McCain is exactly the wrong kind of Republican to have as President during a Democratic ascendancy.  Eager to get back in the good graces of his first and true love, the media, and anxious to demonstrate his willingness to collaborate with Democratic leaders to re-establish the public persona he spent so many years cultivating, he will roll over for almost anything the Congress sends to him, unless it involves bringing an end to unnecessary foreign wars.  An amnesty bill is far more important to him and it is a much higher priority for him than it is for Obama, whose position on the question is admittedly no better, so I think it is correct to assume that an immigration bill is much less likely to be passed under unified government than it would be under divided government.  There was significant opposition for different reasons on the Democratic side to the last “comprehensive” bill, and there is an even greater chance of a purely anti-Democratic backlash if an Obama administration attempted to force the legislation on their reluctant conservative and marginal district House members.  As with the deeply unpopular bailout, the Democrats will want the cover of broad bipartisan support for an amnesty bill, and that support will be much more likely if McCain is in the White House.  

Nonetheless, unless the conservative Democrats, holding about one-fifth of the party’s seats (if Daniel is right, anyway), manage to retain their principles, rather than falling in line under the Anointed One, I remain frightened of the potential. 

“Endorsing” McCain; I didn’t vote for him, but here’s why you should

I had intended to write — to think — for myself on this matter, but I’m going to let Kara Hopkins do the work for me. I voted, if you must know, absentee; for president, I wrote in “Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzalez, (IND)”. Here’s why

I direct, then,  with little passion, this indirect endorsement not to those who intend, as I did, to “throw away” their votes; rather, I, recognizing that neither Nader nor Baldwin, Barr nor (Heaven forfend!) McKinney, will succeed President Bush, I seek to convince those voters undecided (If any remain) — or willing to be swayed yet — that, as contemptible as Senator John McCain is, and as much as the Republican Party deserves to enter the wilderness, so to speak, for the better of the party and the nation, we need to see the Arizonan in the White House. May we see this, and may God have mercy on our souls for it.

I may find time and energy to coincide in my favor, that I might add my own thoughts, seeking to make clear where I diverge from Ms. Hopkins; for now, though, the general of theme of her piece, part of TAC‘s colloquium of endorsements, suffices.

Kara Hopkins, Executive Editor of The American Conservative, on supporting John McCain:

A better writer said of a charmless woman that rousing any affection for her would be like “smoking an unlit cigar, walking a dead dog, swimming in an empty pool, or listening to the radio when it is off.” The same goes for the Republican nominee. When John McCain appears on screen, all vacant grin and Eeyore cadence, I reach for the mute button. I hate his wars. I don’t trust his maverick pose. When he says “my friends,” he doesn’t mean me. But I am voting for him.

Call it damage control. Come January, the Senate will be firmly in Democratic hands, perhaps with a filibuster-proof majority. And if current projections hold, some 30 House seats could shift left. Republicans face a long exile from the Hill—not that their presence has made much difference. They colluded with an ostensibly conservative president to launch a war we cannot win and swell federal spending by 40 percent.

Still, installing the Senate’s most leftist member in the White House, with a Congress eager to do his bidding, is to invite radical mischief. After a four-year tour through the outer limits of the liberal imagination, the Republic might not recognize herself.

That’s not to say that President McCain would inaugurate an age of welcome gridlock. Indeed, he would count it a point of pride to work with the Democratic Congress to enact his worst policies—and he has many. But there is a sliver of hope that they will occasionally clash. He is, after all, a man ever in search of targets for his rage.

The great risk is that he would find them not in Harry Reid’s office but in Tehran. That is the worst-case scenario, but there is at least some chance that it will not come to pass. With Obama, the worst-case scenario—boundless expansion of federal prerogatives—is promised at every whistle stop. A compliant Congress would guarantee that the airy speeches become ugly reality.

So put me down as an advocate of partisanship and shutdowns, of do-nothing Congresses and presidents with time to practice their putting. Let ideologues mire themselves in fruitless debate, cancel each other’s mad ambitions, and tie themselves in such splendid knots that no one’s utopia gains an estate.

[All emphasis mine. – NPO]

The Washington Post Hates Liberty

In today’s issue, the editorial board offers its endorsements for four Congressional seats from Maryland. They offered all four to Democrats. The language and reasoning employed by the board suggests just what a joke American “liberalism” has become, neither particularly liberal nor “progressive”, but statist in the worst ways. Call me terrified.

Following are excerpts from the endorsement column.

WHEN VOTERS in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, which stretches from Prince George’s County into Montgomery, dislodged Rep. Albert R. Wynn in the Democratic primary this year, they put considerable faith in the potential of an energetic but untested newcomer, Donna F. Edwards. [ . . . ] Ms. Edwards has shown that she deserves a full term in Congress.

We’ve disagreed with some of her votes: against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, for example, and against the first version of the $700 billion rescue plan for the ailing economy. But Ms. Edwards supported the final version of the rescue after asking some reasonable questions about it. [ . . . ] Her opponent, Republican Peter James, is a crusader against deficit spending who endorses such extreme remedies as abolishing the Federal Reserve and who has issued a local currency to underscore his point. The currency hasn’t caught on; neither should his candidacy.

[ . . . ]

A similar showdown is unfolding in Maryland’s 5th District, where a likable challenger, Republican Collins A. Bailey, is attempting to unseat an accomplished incumbent, Democrat Steny H. Hoyer. As a longtime member of the Charles County Board of Education, Mr. Bailey has done an admirable job of managing the county’s schools. But his doctrinaire interpretation of the Constitution makes Ron Paul sound like a loose constructionist. Mr. Hoyer, who has represented the district with distinction since 1981 and has served as House majority leader since the 2006 Democratic takeover, is the superior choice. Mr. Hoyer’s pragmatic leadership on national issues has produced compromises on key issues, including the federal surveillance bill and the financial rescue plan. His sway has meant millions in federal dollars for the district, which stretches from Greenbelt to southern St. Mary’s County.

[All emphasis mine. – NPO]

Once upon a time — or so I’ve heard — the media comprised a Fourth Estate,and had some sort of moral obligation to advocate for sound policy. Maybe I engage in historical revisionism here; I don’t know. Whatever the case, the Post, in its reckless opposition to Constitutional limits, reveals exactly why so many individuals and organizations who may have opposed, say, the Iraq War or the USA PATRIOT Act (neither of which this establishmentarian rag opposes) nonetheless have been complicit in the acceptance of such pernicious policies — by being unwilling elsewhere (e.g. health care) to stand up against the federal government’s intervening where it simply does not belong.

Give someone an inch and he’ll take a mile; give the government an inch and it will defecate on the Constitution, destroy the country(ies) within its national borders, and drive the currency’s value to nothing. Impeach Congress and impeach the Post. (Can I receive a partial refund if I cancel my subscription?)

The Ron Paul Interview

On Monday morning, 13 October, I spoke with Congressman Ron Paul for about eighteen minutes. Find hereunder the edited transcript of that conversation, which I intend to publish in the forthcoming late-October pre-election issue of The Terrapin Times


NPO: I want this paper not just to offer commentary, but to have an intellectual tone to it, so I’d like to get your thoughts on a couple of American Founding Fathers to whom you suggest the conservative or libertarian really concerned with Constitutional issues might turn.

RP: Well, I like Samuel Adams. He was an intellectual behind it and he agitated and wrote about it, so I admire him, but I like all of them to some degree, some of them a lot more than others. 

Just the other day, on one of our news interviews, Steve Forbes was bragging that if only Hamilton were here, he’d love what we’re doing.

NPO: Yeah, I think he probably would.

RP: He was saying Hamilton would endorse what he was saying, so I had the chance to answer back. I said, “Well, if Jefferson were here, he would probably endorse what I’m saying.”

NPO: I think you’re right.

RP: Jefferson, of course, there’s a lot to admire about what he said, and I think the whole atmosphere then, of overthrowing the king and tyranny and giving us not a perfect, or the best, document, that unfortunately has not been followed, but —–

NPO: No, it hasn’t.

RP: We can look to that period of time as being pretty significant in human history.

NPO: Okay, I want to play up on something that you just said. Now I don’t think anyone in our government more faithfully defends the Constitution than you. Is that because you believe that it is right; because it is the document given to us, and even if imperfect, it’s what we have; or somewhere in the middle?

RP: I think it’s the respect for the rule of law. I’m interested in having rigid restraints on the government and the Constitution was written not to restrain us but to restrain government. I see the imperfections; early on there were more than now, especially when it came to slavery. It’s still an imperfect document, but it’s reasonably well written.

There’s a need to adapt to current times and the possibility is there. People get frustrated and they say it’s too slow. The other side always argues, “Well these times are different, they’re modern, and it has to be a living document.” We say, “Sure, you’re right. There’s a way to do this: You amend it.” What they’re frustrated about is the slowness of it, but what they do is throw everything out. I’m more concerned about that than defending every line in the document.

Some of the things in the Constitution could probably be written better today. The Second Amendment could be a lot more explicit; it’s hard for me to understand why some of these debates come up, but maybe, if it were written a little bit differently, we’d argue a lot less about it.

I think the most important thing is the rule of law and that people follow the law and not do what they want today, whether it’s the executive branch, legislative branch, or judicial branch. I think they have essentially no respect for the Constitution. 

NPO: Okay, two more quick Constitutional questions. First, other than the Sixteenth Amendment, do any Amendments strike you a being particularly disconnected from the vision of the Founding Fathers?

RP: The Seventeenth is one. That introduced the notion that the states could be undermined. Senators had been elected by the legislatures to represent the states’ interests. It was recognized that the states were independent and needed protection; they were to stand up to the federal government and represent their individual states. I favor repealing it.

NPO: And the last one: Obviously, the Civil War essentially ended this debate, but what do you think of secession as a Constitutional issue? The Second Vermont Republic generally polls about thirteen percent; there’s a lot of talk about it in Cascadia; even Minnesota has the North Star Republic group. 

RP: In a free society, when certain groups came together, like the Colonies, it was assumed that if you came together voluntarily, then you could leave voluntarily. In the early part of our history, I think it was understood. That‘s one area where we could make the Constitution explicit. Think of how restrained the federal government would be if they knew that a state could just leave. I believe in the principle of secession. It has been part of our system that has been knocked out of us, especially since the Civil War, but we’re completely inconsistent internationally. Now we go and bomb and kill people from a country like —–

NPO: Kosovo?

RP: Like Kosovo. We allow them, and defend their secession, and at the same time we have no sympathy at all for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I think that principle, self-determination, we should defend.

NPO: Then the one gotcha question, as Sarah Palin has come to call it, of the interview. What happens if, tomorrow, the people of Texas vote overwhelmingly, fed up with the American government, to secede and to re-establish the Lone Star Republic? How do you, as a Texan and a congressman, react to that?

RP: Cautiously. 

NPO: Good answer.

RP: If that were the majority opinion and we were able to, I think it would be great, but I’m cautious, because I know that our state officers aren’t necessarily going to protect my personal liberties a whole lot better right now. It’s a system we’re up against. We might have even more state regulations. We have this whole idea that even our cities tell us everything we can do with our own property. We have too many regulations and very little respect for private property. But I think the smaller the unit of government, the better.

NPO: Now I’d like to talk a little bit about the movement — the liberty movement, the Campaign for Liberty, the Ron Paul Revolution. We saw, the other night in the Comcast Center, five candidates whom you endorse, Republicans in Maryland who support liberty. Has the GOP a future, with or without this type of politician?

RP: Well, if they do, it will be in spite of themselves; that was a good example. We have five Republican candidates who went through the process, ran in the primaries, and became their nominees. We plan a rally, and the Republican Party on the campus claim they’re going to help us and invite all the Republican students, and then they back out of it. It’s destructive. My guess is that they got word from higher up, whether it was the state party or the McCain people, and they said, “Hold up.”

If we were all socialists, you might understand if they said, “Wow, you guys have strayed too far”, but what did we do? We’ve defended what Republicans claim they believe in: limited government, free markets, private property, balanced budgets, and low taxes, and they don’t want anything to do with this. It’s strict Constitutionalism. If they continue to do that, they’re going to self-destruct, because they can’t do it without young people coming into it. Our campaign rallied as many young people as any Republican has in a long time.

NPO: Right.

RP: It scares them to death, but I think it’s the old guard. They don’t want to give up control. What are they going to have to guard? There won’t be much of a party left if they don’t welcome new people into it.

NPO: You’ve attracted a lot of support from the Left, as well as the Right. Before you officially endorsed Pastor Baldwin, you brought him, Ralph Nader, and Cynthia McKinney on stage and offered the don’t-vote-for-the-major parties endorsement. Do you think that, if not in the GOP, the future is in these left-right coalitions, even if they’re only short term, when we look at where we have common ground, rather than where we differ?

RP: It might be. And, you know, there are lot of Democrats — sometimes we assume that all Democrats tend to be overly socialistic. 

NPO: Bob Conley’s a great example of —– 

RP: Yeah. 

NPO: Of that sort you’re talking about. 

RP: Some Democrats do believe in the marketplace and — who knows? — it may be easier to build it with the Democrats, because there’s a tendency for them to be better on civil liberties and being anti-war.

NPO: Except for Barack Obama.

RP: Haha, yeah, that won’t work. 

I think that we need more Conleys joining the Democrats; it’s a philosophic struggle, not a partisan struggle. I’ll work with anyone; I want to bring those people together and worry about the other issues later. On the big issues, we should come together. 

NPO: Can we possibly, in our current state, recover from the Wall Street welfare that we’re witnessing right now?

RP: Yeah, but it’s going to be difficult if we continue to do what we’re doing. We’re going to go downhill until they throw in the towel and say, “You can’t just print money to solve they problem.” They’re destined to destroy the dollar if they keep creating new money and credit. What comes out of this depends on whether we come to our senses.

Right now, it doesn’t look too good in Washington, but outside of Washington, I’ve been encouraged to see these tens of thousands of young people listening to the message of freedom. People are paying attention to us because they know that things aren’t working. We’re not on the horizon of a victory, but I think that we’re going to hold our own, and there’s every reason to believe it’s worth the effort.

NPO: Okay. 

You believe that we need to withdraw our troops from Iraq; I do, too. Something that has bothered me is how we exit that country morally justified after leaving it in shambles. Hussein was a terrible leader, but at least stability existed. We have turned Iraq into a quagmire; we have made it possible for al-Qaeda to work there. How do we find an answer that gets us out of there, where we don’t belong, and doesn’t leave the people of Iraq worse off?

 

RP: I believe that Iraq will be better off. Maybe not immediately, but they used that argument in then 1960s: If we ever left Vietnam, the Soviets or Chinese would take over, and they’d be Communists forever. Well, we left and there was a bit of chaos, because we and the French had been ruining their country for twenty years. Stopping the killing never can be a bad idea. Just stop the killing and leave and let the people of the country take care of it. Let the Iraqis have their country back again; it may well be a lot better than anything we ever dreamed of. 

Continuing to do the wrong thing, to do things that are immoral and against the Constitution, that we cannot afford, doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. The good has to come by changing that policy, although there may be a short period where there may be some realignments. They would be better off, and we’ll be better off. We have to leave anyway, because we’re going broke and can’t afford it. We might as well do it under a calmer set of circumstances, rather than waiting until we’re running, panicking, and trying to get out.

NPO: Okay.

That’s about all I have. Anything that you’d like to finish this off with, anything to speak to the readership that we’re going to have at this paper?

RP: If young people read and study why freedom works and why the market works and why we don’t need the income tax or the Fed — if they read it and understand it and promote those ideas — things will change. The next generation, they’re the ones that really can make the difference.

NPO: Okay. Whom should they read? 

RP: The Law by Bastiat. Any book by Murray Rothbard, especially The Great Depression and What Has the Government Done to Our Money? A little more in depth, Mises on Austrian economics. I would certainly recommend the Mises Institute to find the books that would be very valuable for everybody.  Another book, Hayek’s book, influenced me a lot, The Road to Serfdom. That was one of the first books I read on economics.

NPO: Thank you so very much, Dr. Paul.

RP: Thank you.

Welcome to the world, Hazel Mae Iafrate!

Emily Iafrate, wife of Michael, of Catholic Anarchy, gave birth, today, to Hazel Mae — 6 lb. 10 oz., 20 in., born 1:43pm, lots of hair. Congratulations to, and God bless, them all.

Don’t blame the SoCons

Schwenkler:

To repeat: religious and social conservatives, like quite a lot of other conservatives, certainly deserve to be criticized for enabling the GOP’s collapse, and Rod isn’t saying otherwise. But causing it? By way of actual policy successes? Come on now …

This, in response to Rod’s piece, wherein he reminds us that blame for the GOP’s doom lies with the Establishment.