Post-election ramblings of a conservative leaning/pragmatic/libertarian

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It is no secret that I have some concerns about Obama in several areas. I am not going to blog about those. I appreciate the history and want to let his die-hard supporters enjoy their moment. I found this post by Ilya Somin on Volokh, which has become one of my favorite blogs (besides ATK) because they take a reasoned approach to the issues and don't seem beholden to any party (for the most part). It is called, Three Positive Aspects of Obama's Victory and I think they bear consideration by Independents and Conservatives.


First and foremost, Obama's victory is an extraordinary milestone in the history of American race relations...As recently as 45 years ago, most American blacks did not even have the right to vote, much less any hope of being elected to the highest office in the land. Just a few decades before that, in the early 1900s, many southern blacks could not even freely change jobs, because of constraints imposed by state peonage laws.


Second, it is clear that Obama's win will improve the image of the United States throughout much of the world. I do not believe that pleasing foreign public opinion should be the be all and end all of American foreign policy. Sometimes, we can and should take unpopular actions. But it would be wrong to assume, as some conservatives have during the Bush Administration, that the good will of foreign publics is irrelevant.


Obama is an incredibly talented and charismatic politician. His meteoric rise from being a little-known state senator just four years ago is the most rapid ascent from obscurity to the White House in at least a century, if not longer. Conservatives and libertarians underestimate his competence and political skills at their peril.

The author ends with this point:

However, it is fair to say that Obama is unlikely to commit serious mistakes merely because of incompetence or stupidity. If he adopts flawed policies, it will be because of his ideology or because of perverse political incentives that enable him and his party to reap short-term political gains from policies that cause long-run harm.

I would be lying to say I am not a little bit frightened by one party controlling 2 of the 3 braches of government, but I am still cautiously optimistic. For now, congratulations to President Obama and his supporters on a well earned victory.


B Mac 1:28 PM  

A commentator last night (which commentator escapes me at the moment; they all blend together after a while into one person, Wolf OlberBorgeRobertson) about what Obama owes Congress and the DNC.


Dude did this on his own dime, and with his own political organization. That gives him a level of freedom that few presidents have.

He doesn't have to appease congressional Democrats hell-bent on retribution after years in the desert. Quite the opposite; many of them will owe their Capitol Hill office nameplate to Obama's coattails.

I think this gives us the best chance for a governed-from-the-center country since... hell, I dunno.

Andy 2:44 PM  

The only thing that I would add to this posting is that I would assume that Obama will bring in polished and seasoned staff and aides. That will make the difference. Rahm Emmanuel has been around and will be an excellent Chief of Staff. He will use Joe Biden. And he will surround himself with those that can prevent the big mistakes.

I am not sure the same can be said for Congress, though...

Smitty 3:04 PM  

My lesson learned: Don't judge a book by its cover. I read your title, steves, and said "Jesus Christ, you couldn't even wait a day???"

Those are good points, much bantied-about last night on NPR. I especially enjoy the foreign policy piece. The Bill Kristol/neocon mantra of American exceptionalism and dominance has undone much of the goodwill America has engendered over the years. It has instituted a "rule by fear" mindset that in the end hurts us.

I do feel that our standing internationally has a bearing on our success, the success of our markets, our overall competitiveness and...our karma. I like what Obama brings, even if it's just the fact that many people in other countries are simply relieved that Americans can elect a black dude.

steves 5:50 PM  

He will use Joe Biden.

Jeez, I hope not. Read my blog on Biden.

B mac, if he can tell the hard-liners to pack it, he will truly be a great leader and could potentially be one of those that come along maybe once in a lifetime.

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