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Posts Tagged ‘democrats’

A pretty fair article by Ed Kilgore on the widening rift between progressives and libertarians.

One mini-saga of the past decade in American politics has been the flirtation—with talk of a deeper partnership—between progressives and libertarians. These two groups were driven together, in the main, by common hostility to huge chunks of the Bush administration’s agenda: endless, pointless wars; assaults on civil liberties; cynical vote-buying with federal dollars; and statist panders to the Christian right.

This cooperation reached its height during the 2006 election, in which, according to a new study by David Kirby and David Boaz, nearly half of libertarian voters supported Democratic congressional candidates—more than doubling the support levels from the previous midterm election in 2002.

Well, you can say goodbye to all that. The new Kirby/Boaz study reports that libertarian support for Democrats collapsed in 2008, despite many early favorable assessments of Barack Obama by libertarian commentators. Meanwhile, the economic crisis has raised the salience of issues on which libertarians and Dems most disagree. And there’s no question that during Obama’s first year—with the rise of the Tea Party movement and national debate over bailouts, deficits, and health care—libertarian hostility to the new administration has grown adamant and virtually universal.

[…]

So could “liberaltarianism” make a comeback in a not-too-distant future, when today’s passions have abated? You never know for sure, but the next major obstacle to cooperation may well be the Supreme Court’s decision on corporate political spending in Citizens United v. FEC, which libertarians celebrated as a victory for free speech, and most liberals denounced as a travesty if not a national disaster.

Cancel the Valentine’s Day hearts and flowers; this romance is dead.

I agree that “liberaltarianism” is kinda dead at the moment. Ed Kilgore thinks that progressives shouldn’t mind that too much. I disagree with his reasoning.

But 2008 showed that libertarian support is hardly crucial: Obama still won “libertarian” states such as Colorado and New Hampshire handily, even without their backing, and he generally performed better in the “libertarian West” than any Democratic nominee since LBJ.

I am sceptical of the claim that Obama lacked the backing of libertarians. Yes the Kirby-Boaz paper does say that McCain won libertarians about 70-30, but I suspect that study  oversamples southern conservatives. It is unfortunate they do not have a state-by state cross-tabs, which would give some indication how the libertarians voted in Colorado and New Hampshire. Moreover, even Kirby-Boaz conclude that Obama won the younger libertarians, the ones who will really matter in future elections.

True, most libertarians disagreed with large parts of the Obama agenda, but they also typically thought that McCain was far, far worse. Reason magazine’s survey of its writers in 2008 showed almost no support for McCain, almost everyone supported Obama or Barr. A majority of libertarian intellectuals, despite their misgivings, certainly preferred Obama over McCain.

Many of these people are now turning away from the Democrats. Kilgore is probably right about the inevitability of this break-up. From the point of view of electoral politics, however, the Democrats will ignore the libertarian vote at their own peril.

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According to the latest Five-Thirty-Eight projections, the Democrats’ odds of getting a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the senate are getting longer (currently Nate gives a less than 25% chance of this happening).

A filibuster proof Senate majority by a party that also has control of the Presidency and the House is always a disaster. I am glad this looks unlikelier by the day.

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The Democrats must learn some respect, says Clive Crook.

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Andrew Sullivan writes,

A meme is developing is that support for Obama is all emotion, fantasy, hysteria, etc. There’s no question that the emotions behind Obama are powerful. And any fool can see why. His oratory does what oratory should. He is the greatest public speaker in American life since Reagan….But the strongest case for Obama is not emotional; it is as coolly rational as he is … On the most critical issues we face – Iraq, the war against Jihadism, healthcare, and the economy – he makes more sense as a president than Clinton. And when you watch the knee-jerk opposition to him, I think it is actually more emotional and less rational than the support for him. Fear is more emotional than hope.

Check out the entire article. It’s worth it, especially the video at the end.

Elsewhere, Sullivan pinpoints the difference between Obama and Clinton in one sentence.

It’s ‘Yes, We Can,’ vs ‘I’ll Take Care Of You.’

And that is also the best synopsis of the libertarian case for Obama.

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