Monday, October 27, 2008

Supporting A Left Turn For The Right

Right-thinker Andrew Sullivan offers ten reasons permitting conservatives to vote for Obama:

10. A body blow to racial identity politics. An end to the era of Jesse Jackson in black America.

9. Less debt. Yes, Obama will raise taxes on those earning over a quarter of a million. And he will spend on healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan and the environment. But so will McCain. He plans more spending on health, the environment and won't touch defense of entitlements. And his refusal to touch taxes means an extra $4 trillion in debt over the massive increase presided over by Bush. And the CBO estimates that McCain's plans will add more to the debt over four years than Obama's. Fiscal conservatives have a clear choice.

8. A return to realism and prudence in foreign policy. Obama has consistently cited the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush as his inspiration. McCain's knee-jerk reaction to the Georgian conflict, his commitment to stay in Iraq indefinitely, and his brinksmanship over Iran's nuclear ambitions make him a far riskier choice for conservatives. The choice between Obama and McCain is like the choice between George H.W. Bush's first term and George W.'s.

7. An ability to understand the difference between listening to generals and delegating foreign policy to them.

6. Temperament. Obama has the coolest, calmest demeanor of any president since Eisenhower. Conservatism values that kind of constancy, especially compared with the hot-headed, irrational impulsiveness of McCain.

5. Faith. Obama's fusion of Christianity and reason, his non-fundamentalist faith, is a critical bridge between the new atheism and the new Christianism.

4. A truce in the culture war. Obama takes us past the debilitating boomer warfare that has raged since the 1960s. Nothing has distorted our politics so gravely; nothing has made a rational politics more elusive.

3. Two words: President Palin.

2. Conservative reform. Until conservatism can get a distance from the big-spending, privacy-busting, debt-ridden, crony-laden, fundamentalist, intolerant, incompetent and arrogant faux conservatism of the Bush-Cheney years, it will never regain a coherent message to actually govern this country again. The survival of conservatism requires a temporary eclipse of today's Republicanism. Losing would be the best thing to happen to conservatism since 1964. Back then, conservatives lost in a landslide for the right reasons. Now, Republicans are losing in a landslide for the wrong reasons.

1. The War Against Islamist terror. The strategy deployed by Bush and Cheney has failed. It has failed to destroy al Qaeda, except in a country, Iraq, where their presence was minimal before the US invasion. It has failed to bring any of the terrorists to justice, instead creating the excresence of Gitmo, torture, secret sites, and the collapse of America's reputation abroad. It has empowered Iran, allowed al Qaeda to regroup in Pakistan, made the next vast generation of Muslims loathe America, and imperiled our alliances. We need smarter leadership of the war: balancing force with diplomacy, hard power with better p.r., deploying strategy rather than mere tactics, and self-confidence rather than a bunker mentality.

Those conservatives who remain convinced, as I do, that Islamist terror remains the greatest threat to the West cannot risk a perpetuation of the failed Manichean worldview of the past eight years, and cannot risk the possibility of McCain making rash decisions in the middle of a potentially catastrophic global conflict. If you are serious about the war on terror and believe it is a war we have to win, the only serious candidate is Barack Obama.

Nothing left to say. Sullivan and his contemplative band of brothers and sisters, stalwart and steadfast against the ambling rank and file of the Grand Old Party, rests its case.


Jack Knowledge said...

Not to pick nits here, but "George H. W.'s first term?" His "FIRST" term? As opposed to what, exactly? Bush pere's domestic and economic policies were such an unmitigated disaster that, foreign policy gravitas and real-politik notwithstanding, the American people ran him out of office on a rail made of the carton of milk he was so shocked over the price of.

It's a nice list, but come on Andy, step up your game, son.

Warm Apple Pie said...

Hey, Ross Perot doesn't run, Herbert Walker doesn't check his watch and blunder a grass roots economic question in the debates and more artfully colors his tax increase and you are talking about a two term legacy.

It ain't like Clinton had a resounding mandate - he hardly won a plurality and Perot suck up 19% of the vote! 19%!!!!!!

Defective Pants said...

I'm a big fan of Sullivan, but he has penned arguments for Obama that are much more powerful than this one. I expected better.

Jack Knowledge said...

The point, WAP, is that Bush I only had one term, so comparing something to his "first term" is either ignorant, misleading or sloppy. Ross Perot this, Bill Clinton that, "read my lips, no new taxes," etc. Bottom line is that he only had one term.

Warm Apple Pie said...

Disagree. You pinkos are some concerned with rattling cages and rousing emotion, that you forego hygenic, sound reasoning. "John McCain is a traitor" and "John McCain is a terrorist" are assorted bananas that don't win people to your cause or gather votes. "F**k you, Johnny" was much more of a metered spat of emotion than making lasting, disparaging remarks.

I derailed. Let's get back on the train: Sullivan's logic asks for GOP votes, doesn't demand them. He gives GOPers permission to do what they already want to do without forcing the issue.

Disagree, Pants.

Jack Knowledge said...

Again, not commenting on the substance of his article, which is fine. I only point out his reference to Herbert Walker's FIRST term, which implies, incorrectly, that he had a second, which he didn't. Now either concede the point or I will have no choice but beat you about the head and ears with a shockingly brutal savagery.

Warm Apple Pie said...

You're wrong, Jack Ignorance. Read Sullivan's HW point again - foreign policy is the analogy. Bush was given his walking papers (very similar to McCain's plight) due to a foundering economy and floundering moves by Bush I to combat the sink.

Does anyone think the prosecution of the first Gulf War wasn't an unmitigated success? Sullivan is simply drawing upon the high points of his one term.

Hey, JK: George W. Bush had two terms at the wheel? How yah like his driving?

Now, of course, your point is syntactical precision - he was sloppy with "first" instead of "one." Are you really taking umbrage with a lazy word choice and casting a Sullivan gaffe? Are you not voting for Obama then because he once referred to 57 states he had visited? Perhaps you should stop watching tv with Biden in 1929.

You ever poop a word-turd, JK? Attacking the analysis is one thing. Saying poor form on one word is another animal.

Defective Pants said...

You derailed, alright. Sorry I'm not very concerned about hurting feelings or appearing more objective than I really am for the sake of I don't know what. I'm happy to rehash the traitor/not traitor argument, but you have yet to even address the substance of my argument. "He once served this country honorably" doesn't address my argument.

And my point was that Sullivan has made more compelling arguments - that's all. Your fixation on Sullivan's willingness to let others decide, like that is some great feat, is a bit perplexing. Persuasion is just that - persuasion. Nobody's using coercion.

Jack Knowledge said...

A couple things: (1) Bush I's foreign policy was not an unmitigated success as you claim. Even his prosecution of the Gulf War was called into question by Dubya. Panama, with the exception of removing Noriega, was a disaster. He put our troops (he, not Clinton) into Somalia. He threw up on the Prime Minister of Japan.
(2) You are wrong about the election of '92. It was a landslide. Clinton won 370 electoral votes, to Bush's 168, to Perot's goose egg. Clinton won 32 states to Bush's 18, to Perot's goose egg. Landslide, WAP, landslide.
(3) Sullivan was wrong when he suggested Bush I had more than one term.

Warm Apple Pie said...

Um, actually you are wrong, JK:

Fact: 43/38/19. Clinton, Bush and Perot. You are the only semi-pundit in the world who would declare these empirics representative of a "landslide." Ignorant, misleading, sloppy word choice there.

Fact: I didn't say his foreign policy was an unmitigated success - I said his prosecution of the war was. Ignorant, misleading, sloppy reading skills there.

Fact: He put our troops there? Clinton pulled them out after 18 of our boys were killed, there bodies dragged through the streets. You love the Kool Aid!!!! Christ, even Clinton admits that is his biggest regret of his two terms.

You're right - GWH Bush was a traitor.

Warm Apple Pie said...

A return to realism and prudence in foreign policy. Obama has consistently cited the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush as his inspiration. McCain's knee-jerk reaction to the Georgian conflict, his commitment to stay in Iraq indefinitely, and his brinksmanship over Iran's nuclear ambitions make him a far riskier choice for conservatives. The choice between Obama and McCain is like the choice between George H.W. Bush's first term and George W.'s

Reading Sullivan's post again makes me think he intentionally use the word "first" instead of "only."