Sandefur: Voting for Obama

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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Basically, Obama as a check on GOP rule.  Solid is correct.

    I actually expect that is more or less what the debates will consist of: whatever Romney’s positions on anything, Obama will just repeatedly press his opponent: “Will you actually fight against the GOP majority’s stated (if not already-voted-upon) desire to do X?” “Will you do all that’s in your power to stop Y?”  “do you vow to veto Z?” It may not matter much what message Obama has, but if there’s one that will help him, I think that’s it.  It will put Romney in some tough spots, though I expect him to handle it well.  Look for some gentle shoulder-touching.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I would go on further on one point on Mr. Sandefur’s list; everything that Romney has said, even when he’s not straight up pandering or being a not-Obama, has indicated he’s going to put back on the foreign policy clown shoes of the middle part of Bush Administration.Report

    • Avatar Scott in reply to Kolohe says:

      Kolohe:

      Given Barry’s impotent foreign policy a return to some aspects of the Bush policy could be good.  Let’s see the highlights, Barry dithers while Iran develops a bomb, Syria kills it’s populace while Hillary blathers and North Korea tests new missiles and will probably test a nuke.  Meanwhile Hillary is getting her groove on at a bar in Columbia.

      As far as Sandefur, he make a lot of claims about Romney, namely “But one thing a Romney presidency would certainly mean: it would embrace the worst elements of the religious right with no compensating benefit for believers in limited government” but hardly delivers the reasoning to back up his claims. As far as I can tell he he just a pro-Barry fear monger.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Scott says:

        Yeah, yet another ultra-liberal hatchet job by those Leninists over at CATO.Report

      • Let’s see the highlights, Barry dithers while Iran develops a bomb, Syria kills it’s populace while Hillary blathers and North Korea tests new missiles and will probably test a nuke. 

        Because what the US really needs to do is to invade those countries and set up new regimes.  Or better yet, it can invade a fourth country to serve as an example to those other three of what won’t happen to them if they continue to defy the US.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Scott says:

        (my response seems to have been nuked itself, so here it is again)

        Given Barry’s impotent foreign policy a return to some aspects of the Bush policy could be good.

        The policy that included killing Bin Laden, Al-Awlaki, and at least a score of #3’s across Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula, and Horn of Africa?

        Seems Viagralicious enough to me.

        Barry dithers while Iran develops a bomb,

        Because, as noted, the mistakes made from 2002-2006 severely constrain this administration’s options, both from an international relations and domestic politics point of view.   There is the sanctions, plus Stuxnet, plus the fact that it’s probably hard for Iranian nuclear physicists and rocket scientists to get a decent quote on life insurance these days.   (and it really doesn’t matter whether it was ‘Barry’ or the Israelis or real genuine accidents, the effect is effective)

        Syria kills it’s populace while Hillary blathers

        But you (the plural you) have the same taking point that bombing Qadaffi and throwing Mubarrak under the bus has unleashed the fury, and OMG the Islamists are now taking over.  You can’t have it both ways.  Granted, there’s a double (triple, quadruple) standard between Libya and Syria but sometimes *shrugs* what’s you gonna do?  Regardless, talk radio and the Romney campaign have been hacktastic on this issue.

        North Korea tests new missiles and will probably test a nuke. 

        I was in Asia when DPRK tested both the Taepo Dong 2 (heh heh, Dong), and their first nuke.

        In 2006.

        Who was president then, again?

        Meanwhile Hillary is getting her groove on at a bar in Columbia.

        One of the more important foreign policy objectives of the US currently is to get our relations more solid with Western Hemisphere allies and those on the bubble.  And wait for Los Hermanos Castro and El Caudillo Chavez to take the eternal celestial dirt nap.  Secretary Clinton’s actions did not hinder this, and in fact help this on the margin.

        We’ve seen what Bush Administration foreign policy means, and we’ve seen what Obama Administration foreign policy means.  You want to sell that head to head with the American people, in favor of the Republicans, good luck with that.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kolohe says:

          And wait for Los Hermanos Castro and El Caudillo Chavez to take the eternal celestial dirt nap.

          Heh.  Well turned, Mr. Kolohe.

          The handling of Mubarak and the Arab Spring is subject to second-guessing, however.  I do think there was a reflexive sentimentality for the putative “good guys,” the students in the streets, rather than an adult caution about a radical Islamist gov’t democratically rushing into the power void, as the Khomeneiists did in Iran and Hamas did in Gaza.  And Libya’s future is anything but clear.

           

          Police in Libya captured three members of an armed mob that  desecrated British war graves in Benghazi – but released them after a few hours because they were ‘too dangerous’.

          The extremists, who admitted smashing the gravestones with sledgehammers, belong to an Islamist militia with links to  Al Qaeda.

          During questioning, police were so nervous they made the men wear blindfolds so they would not be able to identify  their interrogators.

          Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116584/Libyan-police-scared-arrest-cemetery-vandals.html#ixzz1tTxKtU2pReport

          •  I do think there was a reflexive sentimentality for the putative “good guys,” the students in the streets, rather than an adult caution about a radical Islamist gov’t democratically rushing into the power void, as the Khomeneiists did in Iran and Hamas did in Gaza.

            It’s nice to hear that conservatives have finally dropped the neocon charade about how they just want democracy for brown people.Report

            • It’s nice to hear that conservatives have finally dropped the neocon charade about how they just want democracy for brown people.

              Don’t do me like that, Robert, it’s not right.Report

              • Half of that was mischievous stirring-of-the-pot; the other half was exasperated anger at the arrogant cultural double-standards that animate conservative foreign policy.  Yes, there are lots of religious people in Egypt who don’t always appreciate the virtues of liberal democracy, but we still let Alabama vote, right? And while there are disanalogies between the two, I haven’t seen any that can’t be chalked up to our neocolonial meddling in the region.  Maybe you’d like to take a stab at it.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Robert Greer says:

                I haven’t seen any that can’t be chalked up to our neocolonial meddling in the region.

                That’s just taken as axiomatic by the left. Insofar as any nonwestern culture is demonstrably inferior to the Anglosphere, it’s because of colonialism. Because any other explanation is racist, and therefore wrong.Report

              • I don’t see it as axiomatic so much as I see its falsity as invariably underdetermined.  It’s remarkably easy to come up with explanations for non-Western difference that don’t appeal to cultural differences that run nearly as deep as race.  It’s therefore awfully suspicious when conservatives (and plenty of libertarians) get huffy at any other explanation.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Robert Greer says:

                Gallup said that the terrorist supporters were also the democracy supporters.

                Reminds me of Jews in russia.Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Robert Greer says:

                I couldn’t say I agree with Tom very often but he has a point about sympathy for the protestors overcoming doubts about what happens next. Also, if I recall correctly, you let Alabama vote

                -with ‘federal interference’ to make sure they don’t go back to their old tricks of basing the franchise on skin colour

                -within a system where no matter what they vote for there are some limits (the US constitution) they cannot go beyond.

                For Egypt or Syria there are no equivalent limits, an Islamist government would have every legal right to write their own constitution and that should scare anyone who hopes for the benefits of liberal democracy.

                 Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Matty says:

                Matty, you’ll agree with me all the time once you get this old.  I’ll be dead and all, but that’s cool.  Being me is a dirty job but somebody has to do it.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                This is why I want to live to 100.  So I can win all the ad hominem arguments from age.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Matty says:

                sorry, I call bullshit. when we’re actively protecting people like Assange, then you can say that we’re proprotestor. until then…Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Kimmi says:

                You’re thinking of a different ‘we’, I meant the commentators on the interwebs and down the pub not any government. Also note there is a difference between supporting a particular protest and being proprotestor (very cromulent word by the way) in general.Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Matty says:

                Gallup said that the terrorist supporters were also the democracy supporters.

                Gallup is a polling organisation, have they expanded into commentary or is this the result of a poll and if so what did it show?

                -That some particular demographic (which?) thinks terrorist supporters are also democracy supporters

                -That people who support elected government are more likely to support violence for political ends (again who was polled)

                -Something else I didn’t think of?

                 Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Matty says:

                Gallup did a rather extensive interview of arabic speakers in the middle east (mostly talking with people, as a substantial portion are illiterate). Gallup asserted that the people who were most pro-democracy were also the people who supported terrorism the most.

                The book was reviewed extensively over on MuslimMattersReport

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Matty says:

                I’m being a bit slow but I can’t find this on the Gallup site or on muslimatters.org, please could you post a link so I can form an opinion based on something more than this thread?Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Matty says:

                Matty,

                http://library.duke.edu/research/subject/guides/mideast/mideast_gallup_2002.html

                well, that should at least give you some terms to google.Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Matty says:

                OK, the link in question sadly only tells me that the full results are in a library and available to academics (which I am not) but it is helpful, for starters I was looking way too recently rather than 10 years ago.

                The first thing to say is that even with that I can find nothing on Gallup.com that says supporting democracy is correlated with supporting terrorism. Not from 2002, not since. There is also no mention on muslimmatters.org but as their archive only goes back to 2007 I draw no conclusions from that.

                There is to be fair a 2005 paper by F Gregory Gause III arguing that elections in the middle east lead to government more hostile to the west but even that is a long way from saying that “people who were most pro-democracy were also the people who supported terrorism the most.”.

                So the evidence does not seem to support the contention that Gallup used their poll results to argue that supporters of democracy are terrorists.

                I would also note that.

                We do not know how opinions have changed in the past ten years, the protestors are typically portrayed as young men. If this is accurate they may well have been children at the time of the original poll.

                Interviews were conducted in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan and Morocco. Notably the countries most associated with the protests, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Lybia are absent from that list.

                To sumarise – no evidence Gallup said it

                -No evidence it applies to the current situation anyway

                I’m sure you can find a better example of anti-muslim prejudice than this.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Matty says:

                Matty,

                well, there you have it! I wasn’t going for “example of antimuslim prejudice” — just a characterization, which I understand, of the people in the protests in the middle east. In relating them to Jews in presoviet russia, I may not make much sense to you — but I encourage you to read up! Quite fascinating history, at any rate.Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Matty says:

                One more reply then I really must do something else.

                No one seems to have actually made that characterisation, certainly not Gallup.

                Even if that had been their conclusion the poll was about attitudes in different places at a different time not about the current protestors.

                The funny thing is I don’t even disagree with you that there are those who link the protests to terror groups or that this is in many cases unfair on the people involved. I just don’t understand why you argue this by misrepresenting a poll and the organisation that conducted it.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Matty says:

                hmm… found book report

                http://muslimmatters.org/2008/04/15/who-speaks-for-islam-introduction/

                enjoy. it’s multipart.

                I’m not slighting Gallup. it did a poll. the poll is insightful.Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Matty says:

                That is an interesting read, I was genuinely surprised by the finding that there is no relationship between religiosity and unfavourable views of the west.

                However, nothing cited seems to be claiming that supporters of democracy are supporters of terrorism. I trust you are withdrawing your original claim that “Gallup said that the terrorist supporters were also the democracy supporters.”

                 Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Greer says:

              Would you say that it’s as nice as watching Liberals reminisce fondly over RealPolitik?Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            Thanks, Mr. Van Dyke, I stole it from Neil Boortz.

            The Arab Spring is complex, and I won’t say we have made (or are making) mistakes.  On the other hand, just supporting bastards because they’re *our* bastards has a decidedly mixed record, too.  (exhibit A: Pakistan).  Either way, it’s the complexity and nuance that eludes that certain faction (i.e. the not-Robert Gates Bush Sr wing) of the Republican party foreign policy ‘establishment’. *cough*John Bolton*cough*  This faction appears to have Romney’s ear. And that’s the biggest thing I have a problem with.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Scott says:

        When did you last beat your wife Scott?Report

  3. I usually don’t agree with Sandefur, and I still don’t share a lot of his assumptions or his question-begging resort to the cant of “individual liberty.”  But he is making sense.

    I don’t know who I’ll vote for and I don’t think it matters.  Maybe I’ll write-in the name of a candidate.  Although I boycott the primaries–as a protest against the one-party rule in Chicago, or at least my portion of Chicago–I don’t boycott general or by-elections, or local elections.

     Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    I have an anti gay marriage ammendment sliming its way along the electoral process here in Minnesota. It’s a keen reminder of why I need to make certain I vote against republicans whenever I am able and why I need to try and convince those around me to do likewise. I’m no great fan of Obama’s (though certainly not as down on him as libertarians or cons are) but what can I say? I’m a captive vote.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to North says:

      I respect the gay marriage vote, Mr. North, just as I respect the anti-abortion vote.  We all do what we must.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        I disagree Tom. Some of us have to do what we must because others just do what they want.

        Personally it’d be nice to have a non-cut-your-own-throat non-Democrat alternative party in this country if for no other reason than so one could keep their Dems on their toes. But then I was raised mostly in a country with 3-4 adult parties so I may have grown up feeling entitled.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to North says:

          da, comrade. We are all waiting until the Republicans can become sane again.

          (I still vote republican when it won’t affect the legislature or the executive. the lawyers around here tend to be pretty good chaps).Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kimmi says:

            So are the liberals. The Democratic party these days is a very, very large tent — I’m pretty sure the liberals would like to have, you know, a party for liberals again.

            As opposed to “Generally more conservative than Reagan” and “Crazy Repeal the New Deal and Ban Contraception” republicans as the choices at the ballot.

            Although at this point, I’m just considering physical violence whenever anyone calls Obama a ‘socialist’. That word has a MEANING, and it does NOT apply to someone to the right of Richard Nixon on everything BUT gay rights.

            I got a little slap-happy about the word ‘facism’ and Bush too.Report

  5. Avatar MFarmer says:

    (snicker) I guess that’s as good a reason as any. Just like the French people should vote for Hollande to keep a check on liberalism.Report

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