My thoughts, succinctly, on California Proposition 8

Civil marriage isn’t a right — not for anyone; it’s a privilege. If the sovereign determines that it is in its best interest to permit any or all sorts of marriage, or to proscribe any or all, it has that right. Whether or not I like it, our nation is, ostensibly, one wherein power lies, ultimately, with the people. In numerous referendum cases, the Ohio Supreme Court relied on just this notion, recognizing that the people being sovereign, if they wish to reclaim some legislative power from their delegates, then this is their prerogative. That’s how things worked in California, and Proposition 8, insofar as it is an exercise of legislative power belonging to the people, is a good thing, whether or not I agree with, or even care about, the decision. To proclaim that “civil marriage is a civil right” is dishonestly to muddle a very clear-cut issue: It ain’t a right.

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President Obama: America’s New Faustian Bargain

On 4 November, and in the preceding weeks, in an election that was more a referendum on George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama than a contest between Obama and John McCain, Americans, awarding the boy-wonder freshman senator from Illinois at least a four-year-long stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, invested in their first (half-)African-American president, a chief executive exponentially more inspiring and articulate than George W. Bush, authority to save the nation and the world.

Cue Mephistopheles. 

Notwithstanding a few exceptions, Republicans generally bear little affinity toward organized labor; Mr. Obama, uncomfortably closely aligned with many of his Congressional compeers, revealed himself to be too friendly. To the dismay of, inter alia, Democratic patriarch George McGovern, who opined against this bill in the Wall Street Journal, then-Senator Obama promised to sign into law the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the name of which marks the epitome of doublespeak. Fervently championed by the AFL-CIO, EFCA will severely limit workers’ right to vote to unionize — or not to — secretly, compelling them to do so publicly, which, numerous observers have warned, easily permits pressure and harassment to be directed toward those hesitant to cast their lots collectively. Hardly advocating for “Joe Six-Pack” here, Mr. Obama has uncloaked his allegiance to the entrenched moneyed apparatchiki who masquerade as noble crusaders for blue-collar America.

Senator Obama, who, contrary to his promise to vote to repeal the USA PATRIOT Act, offered a “Yea” in support of renewing this heinous, totalitarian legislation, again, this summer, evinced his disinterest in protecting our Constitutionally guaranteed liberties, as well as his willingness to elevate political expedience above principle, by proffering his support for the FISA “compromise”, seriously consternating civil libertarians and his progressive base.

Having maintained seemingly consistent opposition to the American occupation of Iraq, the senator from Hyde Park presented himself as the antiwar alternative. Again, beyond the great chimera that is Obama the Exulted lies a harrowing truth: President Obama will not take employing military force to dispose of a particularly belligerent Iran “off of the table”. Had Senator Obama pledged this to another audience, one might rightly praise him for exercising the prudence required not to eliminate any option; addressed to AIPAC, an organization infamous for influencing heavily our pernicious, one-sided Middle East policy, this comment only further conveys that, behind the smokescreen, the Obama administration offers little change of which to speak, regardless of the cultish repetition of this refrain. 

A critic of what has amounted to the violation of Iraqi sovereignty, Obama nevertheless proclaimed that, were the government in Islamabad not to cooperate adequately, he would authorize, as President Bush, in the inchoate post-Musharraf era, has, American troops to disregard Pakistani sovereignty to eradicate any al-Qaeda operatives dwelling in the wilds within that nation’s borders. Again, change this is not.

Excepting support for EFCA, John McCain espouses all of these detrimental positions. He does so more recklessly than does President-elect Obama; however, a Republican president, even one as inclined toward bipartisanship as Mr. McCain, would face intense opposition from a heavily Democratic Congress. Having catapulted Barack Obama from his entering the Illinois State Senate to the White House in just more than a decade, the Democratic Party risks much by dissenting from the Oval Office; President McCain’s imperialistic tendencies, thwarted by the legislature, may well become President Obama’s “successes”. 

Prepare yourself, America: This time, the devil may snatch Faust before God can intervene.

Black Panthers Intimidate Voters in Philadelphia

Republican observer had to call the police: Really, a nightstick? “We’re tired of white supremacy.” Seriously? And so the bullying begins. At least it’s not ACORN.

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.

“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?)