On the Primary

On the Primary:

I am at two disadvantages in commenting on the primary election, one practical and one conceptual. The practical problem is that I have very little time or opportunity to read or write about US politics right now, being otherwise occupied. The conceptual problem is that the primary has already drifted so far to the Left that I really have given minimal thought to the programs now on the table.

Take health care, for example. Ezra Klein and MyDD have quite a lot to say about these issues, which they have considered at length. My response to the question, "What do you think the best way to achieve universal health care is?" would be, "Let's not."

Unfortunately, as in the 1990s, the debate is tracking that way anyway. "But do you think that universal insurance premiums is better (with an enforcement mechanism, of course, to attack the 'free rider' problem), or a single-payer system?" I must reply, "I really meant what I said at first: I'm totally opposed to any such plan, period."

This has made it difficult to follow the debate.

I have come to the conclusion, however, that Obama really appears to be a decent fellow; and we all know what Clinton is. They are tracking each other closely (as far as I can tell, given the conceptual problem mentioned above) in their rhetoric on every topic, which shows Obama's leadership -- he is putting forward principles he really believes in; whereas if Clinton is saying the same things, it's because that is what her pollsters tell her triangulation requires.

Oddly, sadly, this puts me in the position of having to oppose Obama as the first principle in the election. He does truly believe these things he's saying -- and I think he's wrong about everything. He is certainly wrong about Iraq, and seems not to have thought very deeply about the consequences of leaving it behind: even if you are not interested in the humanitarian consequences for the people of Iraq, the practical consequences to the world of leaving a power vacuum in Iraq, that will pull into conflict Iran and Saudi Arabia, the three main oil producing states in the main oil producing region.

He is wrong about Pakistan. He is wrong about health care, I believe; and indeed, on the entire domestic program.

He is wrong about the need for America to redeem itself: America is morally the finest nation in human history, and the light of future days. I have witnessed her efforts and effects from China to Iraq, and taken part in them; and so, if I am not a disinterested observer, I am an experienced one. No other has done more, inside and out, to hold itself accountable for its mistakes, and incline to its best nature in the brutal sphere of international politics.

This nation is the hope of the world: right now, as she is.

I oppose reflexively the concept that we should try to better each other against our wills. Bluenoses who want to fight obesity or alcoholism or "dangerous" things like guns and sexism whatnot represent the worst impulse regularly given license in American society: there are worse ones, but we normally restrain ourselves from them. There always seems to be someone ready to pass another law to put a leash and collar on their fellow Americans.

So we are told a good people must provide for each other's health care; and therefore that no one should be fat, or smoke, or drink too much; and all of us must pay, so there will be no 'free riders.' Ah, well, where then is freedom? Freedom includes the right to make mistakes, and more: the right to decide for yourself if what you are doing is a mistake in the first place. It includes the right to order your own values. Perhaps you value cigarettes in the morning more than life past 65: so be it.

Obama seems sincere and genuinely devoted to his principles: and as those principles are wrong, backwards and unAmerican, I have to oppose his nomination. Clinton, at least, will betray those principles if they prove momentarily difficult, and we can make them difficult. I say this with a real respect for Obama: good for him that he is honest and decent. It is only that he is honestly wrong, about every policy he has actually proposed to enact.

I would not, then, vote in the Republican primary if I were you, and if you are in a state where you have a choice. The most serious question is being resolved in the Democratic race: whether it shall be led by a candidate who is deeply devoted to bad principles, or one who is not.

If you are interested in the Republican race, Tigerhawk has thought deeply about it; but the only Republicans that were interesting to me have already quit the race. Neither of the remaining candidates appeals to me even slightly, though if required, I will vote for either in the general election to prevent an Obama presidency.

For now, vote Clinton! It's important.

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