Posted by James @ 11:16 pm on October 28th 2008

Stand back up.

I would like to thank Brad and his bevy of apologists that try to justify with Kool-Aid stained tongues the socialist agenda, made formal by Obamaís own words of late, that they claim has not only been made known by the O campaign from the get-go, known by the American electorate, but actually is a cornerstone of mainstream American economic opinion; and has been for decades. Please.

Iím sorry, but I canít do this. This isnít even a lockstep march anymore; it is a zombie conga line. Nope. Ix-nay on the ombie-zay for this guy. The alternative doesnít thrill me, but this has just gotten too frickiní weird when Libertarian Paulites are tongue-kissing people that defend and even advocate bigger government , more spending , and wealth redistribution. Paying taxes to pay for people/companies in the private sector that do productive things for ďthe governmentĒ (aka us) is not wealth redistribution, it is the free market. It is not always fair and never will be, but when you try to be fair winners lose and losers win just long enough to lose again. No.

Bitch at me all you want, but the risk reward aspect of this changed when I got a real gander at the extent of the clone army I am expected to enlist in. Libertarians defending increased taxation, spending, and wealth redistribution? WTF? Sorry, but I would rather be on the losing side of an election than on the wrong side of history.

I hereby withdraw my endorsement of Barack Obama and, albeit without great enthusiasm, return my vote to John McCain. My guess is that both elevators will be going down for a while, but my instincts tell me to be on the one that isnít full of the living dead. So sue me.

44 Comments »

  1. Ha. You guys. It’s starting to get vaguely cute.

    If you think we live in a pure capitalist system that in no way deals with progressive taxation, and that the thought of higher tax levels for the rich vs. the poor or middle class is a massive and frightening deviation from the present system, you’re the one drinking the Kool Aid.

    As for “defending” anything: all I added was that what Obama was saying in the quote that so startled you was factually, on-the-face-of-it true, and if you’re gob-smacked by it, that says more about you than Obama. Guess what James. The income tax is a progressive tax. The sales tax is a regressive tax. Both are redistributionist. Both are, and have been, integral parts of our system for 80 years. If you think we will not be living with a progressive income tax if John McCain is elected, you need to talk to your accountant. Note: In pointing that out, I am not justifying it, or saying that is a good system. But likewise, just because you don’t like something, does not mean that you can rewrite present reality to not make it true.

    The difference is in degrees of progressivity. Obama’s tax is more progressive than we have now, about on par with our 1998 levels of taxation. He couples that with lowering taxes on more people than either we have now, or in 1998 (ergo, more people will be paying less taxes than they do now). Ergo, less people will be taxed, we will be raising more revenue (vs. just adding it to the deficit, as has been the GOP wont), and yes, the higher ends of the tax bracket will have their tax level clocks turned back ten years.

    That is a lot of things: rampant socialism or startling deviation it is not. It is letting 2001 tax cuts on the top 1% of income earners sunset out as originally planned and that is it. It is, quite frankly, a pretty moderate tax plan—indeed, on par with the last four Presidents (Reagan through current). Discussing the relative merits of it is fine and dandy—I happen to think it’s a perfectly reasonable, though not ideal, tax plan given our circumstances, but I’m not even arguing that at present. I think, though, that what ye olde zombie horde are chafing at is the rampant panty-wetting hysteria about it, as exhibited by…well, you know.

    Comment by Brad — 10/28/2008 @ 11:26 pm

  2. Are you a Libertarian or not? C’mon, Brad. Listen to yourself for crying out loud! You are like Obi Ron’s Anikin right before the lava swim.

    Comment by James — 10/28/2008 @ 11:36 pm

  3. All hail the new libertarian purity test.

    Comment by Jack — 10/28/2008 @ 11:37 pm

  4. Or the Democrat one.

    Comment by James — 10/28/2008 @ 11:39 pm

  5. Um…James, I still don’t get it.

    You were clear on all this at the outset, or at least you seemed to be. You argued that the necessity of letting the people have their way in order to prove or disprove their new agenda outweighed this.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think your new reasoning makes more sense than your old reasoning, given your political proclivities. But I don’t see how what’s happened this week in any way disproves or cuts against the argument you made earlier for Obama. Why is it suddenly unimportant for the testing of the people’s agenda to take place?

    Were you unaware of the Obamite libertarians before, or something? They’ve been plenty vocal on this very blog.

    Comment by Rojas — 10/28/2008 @ 11:42 pm

  6. James, if you’d like to actually discuss this, I’d be happy to. Indeed, have been. Just start posting some actual thoughts (preferably ones that consider the things posted immediately prior to it) and I’d love to mix it up.

    But this is getting a little silly, and I think I’m going to stop bothering replying to your posts on the subject shortly. It’s becoming a waste of time. I mean, moreso than regular blog commenting.

    If the idea that our income tax is a already a progressive, redistributionist tax is a Kool-Aid-drinking zombie-horde-proving radical closest Marxist ideal for you…fair enough man. You do what you have to do. There’s not much more I can say.

    Comment by Brad — 10/28/2008 @ 11:43 pm

  7. I also note, with deep regret, that James’ retraction means that the Crossed Pond now apparently has NOBODY willing to formally endorse Obama.

    Nope. Not one single soul. Apparently.

    Surely our conservative credentials are reaffirmed.

    Comment by Rojas — 10/28/2008 @ 11:46 pm

  8. Ha. It is, however, the first McCain endorsement you will note.

    Comment by Brad — 10/28/2008 @ 11:46 pm

  9. Brad.
    Less commenting, more endorsing!
    signed,
    apparently not libertariany enough Obamite kook-aide drinker tongue kisser

    Comment by Jack — 10/28/2008 @ 11:53 pm

  10. Rojas 5: I argued the necessity of letting people have their way within the context of my own view of the risk/benefit equation. As I basically said in my earlier endorsement, we have a Barack Obama who might be the worst of my fears or he might be something much better that I don’t grasp. Obama is still an enigma under the spotlight of persona, and to say he is not simply means that one has been assimilated into that cult of personality.

    The revelation in the last week of the 2001 radio interview was the first time that I have heard from Obama’s own mouth (save the plumber quip) that he is, in fact, an advocate of wealth redistribution at what seems a socialist level was news to me, yes. Moreover, that it hasn’t been “news” since is another shell in my zombie gun.

    Comment by James — 10/28/2008 @ 11:59 pm

  11. James–FWIW, I understand where you’re coming from. Maybe it’s just my aged sensibilities coming through–or hardening of the arteries–but I’m baffled by the Paulites who have gone over to the Obama camp, as well. Fortunately for my sanity, no RSE blogger–or commenter (save one Canadian who just tries to irritate us) has even suggested that Obama is better than McCain. We have, however, suggested that they both stink (although some of us think one stinks a little less than the other). And one of us thinks that divided government is the only hope we have.

    Comment by Laura — 10/29/2008 @ 12:02 am

  12. Brad 6: Discuss what? That you still buy into the Obama agenda and hold Libertarian principles? How about we discuss the advantages of carpentry to people who are allergic to wood.

    I see where you are coming from, but it makes no sense; and discussing it might fill up space, but it won’t change the oddity of your position. A position that is even weirder than mine.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 12:05 am

  13. Also, Brad, and with all due respect, I don’t need a primer in thinking or posting my own thoughts from you just now. Thanks.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 12:11 am

  14. Chill, you two. It’s not worth getting this upset about.

    Comment by Rojas — 10/29/2008 @ 12:12 am

  15. I am not upset, Rojas. I am relieved.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 12:16 am

  16. I’m not upset either, just puzzled and bemused.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 12:19 am

  17. So, who are you endorsing?

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 12:23 am

  18. Order in the universe is restored.

    Comment by tessellated — 10/29/2008 @ 12:39 am

  19. Laura, I can speak as a Paulite hesitantly and slowly being pushed into the Obama camp. McCain has been my default candidate ever since Paul. That support is natural considering I’m an economically centered libertarian. Republicans generally get my support because they’re generally far better than Democrats on fiscal issues. However, the performance of the GOP in Congress has soured me with the Republican party and has convinced me that they’re in need of a swift rebuke.

    I cringe when I think about many of Obama’s policies, but I almost cringe more as I worry about a non-reformed GOP. I think a loss on all fronts here in November would create an environment in which the Republican Party can be rebuilt and retooled. I worry that the results will be socially conservative and embrace big government, in the spirit of Huckabee, but then I realize that’s much of what we have now.

    I do not relish years of a Democratic Congress coupled with a Democratic President. Horrible policies will undoubtedly ensue.

    I’ve come to a couple of realizations throughout the course of this campaign that have made the prospect of this reality bearable. The first is that Obama could very likely function as an incredibly positive influence in the Democratic Party. I’d love to see a more resounding New Democrat in the spirit of Clinton with an embrace of free trade and capitalism and a rebuttal of idiotic union demands. I want to see a Democratic Party of the 21st century, kind of like Blair adopting Thatcherism in Britain. Obama represents a fairly good chance of this compared to many of the older style of Democrats. I don’t have false expectations, but I do believe that Obama has at least some potential to swing rightward towards a more welcome fiscal outlook.

    McCain is wonderful on some issues that are near and dear to my heart like trade and subsidies. He also seems to be fairly decent in the realm of taxes and I suspect he would be better than expected when considering spending. Were he to be coupled with a hostile Democratic Congress, I’d relish fights and vetoes on numerous fiscal issues. His campaign has muted my support as he has not morphed into my ideal candidate. It’s as though I detect hints of policies that I want, but they’re obscured by a haze of idiocy and bellicose rambling. I’m not usually one to put too much stock in the performance of campaigns in comparison to governing style, but the resounding poor performance of McCain’s camp has not won many kudos from me. He has not stood up for what I believe to be most important with a voice that needs to be heard.

    There are two remaining sticklers in my support of Obama. Gun rights are also important to me and and would be vastly more secure under McCain than Obama, particularly in the Supreme Court. While gun rights are by no means the sole issue in SCOTUS nominees, they’re important. I would be happier with Obama nominees on issues of civil liberties and social issues, but I’d be happier with McCain nominees on free speech and economic issues.

    I yearn for both divided government. Divided government is a positive thing and while McCain would undoubtedly be an impediment to a wild leftist Congress, the lack of him will not doom our country.

    An election of McCain also does not bring about the revolution in the Republican Party that I yearn for. He doesn’t have much potential to break the cycle that the GOP is in, though he may stave it off for a bit longer. The GOP needs to be punished. From the ashes I hope to find a party again worthy of my support. I’m not seeing that right now.

    Obama won’t be that bad. He’s probably not a crazy radical socialist. Even if he is, things happen fairly slowly in this country thanks to our convoluted power structure and and the Congress will likely stand in the way of any truly horrible economic policies. I am willing to risk and take a few years of bad policy in exchange for more positive ones down the line.

    When I couple his potential positive influence in the Democratic Party with my guess that he’ll be no worse than Bill Clinton economically I reach the decision that he’s worthy of my support. Also, there are some indescribably positive ancillary effects electing him. I will be immensely proud of my country if we elect our first black and multi-racial president. He represents so much that is grand about this country. He personifies the American dream and his election deserves to be celebrated.

    So folks, you heard it here first; on next Tuesday, I’ll be voting for Barack Obama for the second time this year.

    Comment by Cameron — 10/29/2008 @ 12:42 am

  20. Oh and if you want to blame anybody, though I think my transition was somewhat inevitable, Brad can get your scorn (or love?). The realization of just how good a force Obama could be in the Democratic Party can be directly traced to a comment of his.

    Did I just write that?

    Comment by Cameron — 10/29/2008 @ 12:48 am

  21. Cameron, I hope you are right and that I am wrong. I have never wanted to be wrong so much in my life.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 12:50 am

  22. There is an addition I’d like to make.

    I would love almost nothing more than to see Obama supporters squirm if he lost. I have additionally been hesitant to support Obama simply because I am now in the company if people I truly despise. Seeing my ideological enemies stand in stunned shock after arguably their best chance in a generation to elect a liberal president faded into nothingness would be a sight of pure joy. I honestly don’t expect it, but I’d really relish seeing the left weep with incomprehension if Obama loses next week.

    I’d also be sad that perhaps skin color does matter to too many people. It would be an interesting morning and night to be sure.

    Comment by Cameron — 10/29/2008 @ 12:59 am

  23. Well, Cameron, I’m sure sympathetic to some of your ideas–and have become increasingly sympathetic to the notion that the Republican Party just needs to be handed its butt on a platter this year if there is going to be any change of direction within the Party. I’ve been a sort of libertarianish Republican (more so on economic issues) my whole life, and have become sickened by the direction that the Party has gone in the last decade or so.

    That being said, if there was even a slight chance that the Republicans would control (or even have a strong minority) in either house of Congress, the Obama option might be more appealing to me–perhaps on the multicultural grounds that you mention–and perhaps as a way to stop the never-ending “America is a racist nation” stuff (America may or may not be racist, but I just get tired of being forced to feel that because I’m white, I must be racist). And Obama may not be a crazed radical socialist (although there does seem to be some evidence that he might be), but I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of senior Democrat members of Congress (especially in the House) who are, and I don’t see the Congress as likely to stand in his way, nor do I see him likely to stand in Congress’ way. This is not a Jimmy Carter running against the system Democrat; nor does it appear that it is a Bill Clinton having to work with a non-filibuster-proof Senate and Republicans combined with conservative Democrats in the Democratically controlled 103rd Congress (nor, do I see any sign that Obama is one of the more moderate DLC-type Democrats that we saw with Clinton). We can only hope that the Republicans could regroup as they did in the 104th, but I’m not sure that there’s the principled (or even just strong) leadership in place that could lead that kind of revolution.

    I fear for my kids’ future. Big government and economic takeover by the government is, I think, inextricably linked to loss of freedom in other areas. And I can’t come up with a time when we’ve ever shrunk government, so absent a revolution, it seems that the best hope is to limit the growth–which is best done with divided government. (Whether you think Obama is a raving socialist or not is pretty much irrelevant–a simple look at the times in the last 75 years when there has been a one party government shows that those are the times when government grows the fastest–and that includes the one party Republican government of 2001-2007). Nothing good comes out of one party government–at least as the parties are currently constituted, so I’ll vote for divided government.

    Comment by Laura — 10/29/2008 @ 1:14 am

  24. Divided government is one of the few issues which have held me in the McCain camp for the latter parts of this election season. Let me be clear: I am completely sympathetic to your argument. It’s a very strong reason to yearn for McCain and one that still haunts me. However, I’ve eventually come to the conclusion that I can stand a few years of bad policies with the hope of better ones down the line. I don’t think the damage will be that extensive and as James kind of pointed out in his original endorsement, sometimes it’s useful to give the people exactly what they want in the hopes that they’ll realize just what they’re asking for and hate it as it comes. It could be very likely that if you give the Democrats complete control they’ll squander the opportunity and taint themselves in a way that the Republicans have with their go at complete power. I make no promises that the public will sour on the Democrats, but I certainly hope that 2 or 4 or, heaven forbid, 8 years of complete Democratic control will taint the movement as it has the neocons.

    Comment by Cameron — 10/29/2008 @ 1:24 am

  25. This is a complete tangent but it’s something I’ve sometimes heard from those (solely, I think) on the Right:

    “…but I just get tired of being forced to feel that because Iím white, I must be racist”

    I just don’t understand this feeling. I’m white, I don’t feel like I’m expected to be a racist. I can hardly even fathom this. Where do you live? Who do you talk to? I’m pretty sure people don’t walk up to you on the street and call you cracker unprovoked.

    Comment by tessellated — 10/29/2008 @ 1:27 am

  26. Great post, Laura. I have to say that if Obama wins, and he very likely will, the race barrier destruction might be the longest term benefit even if the long term situation might be grim in terms of our economic moorings. To quote Lord Marshal from the movie The Chronicles of Riddick, “This truly is a day of days!”

    Sorry, I have been wanting to use that metaphor for like four years.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 1:30 am

  27. Well, I hope you’re right, Cameron, and that the Dems will taint themselves. Because I’m afraid that we’re going to get the Democrats in overwhelming control of government. Problem is, that the Democrats have a tendency to give the masses goodies, which cause them to turn a blind eye to the more nasty loss of liberty. Doesn’t really matter if it’s Republicans or Democrats in control–liberty lost is awfully tough to regain, in large part because the “masses” become accustomed to the goodies, and the idea that you’ve got to accept the loss of liberty if you’re going to benefit from the good graces of the government. Ron Paul could have been elected President, and carried in a libertarian Republican Congress with him–but it still would have been tough to turn back the clock on a lot of government programs because “the people” would have rebelled when “their” programs were on the chopping block.

    Comment by Laura — 10/29/2008 @ 1:40 am

  28. tessellated 24–rural Nebraska is where I live.

    Comment by Laura — 10/29/2008 @ 1:41 am

  29. I again sympathize. I also worry about expanded government and the loss of liberty. I just don’t think this election is quite the be all and end all on those issues. While there will certainly be negative repercussions of all Democratic control, I think the potential positives outweigh the negatives in this particular matchup. And McCain isn’t good enough. He’s certainly less bad on many economic issues. But he’s not good enough to outweigh Obama on other non-economic issues. And I’m pretty sure that Obama’s not that bad. When you put those two things together, I’m fairly comfortable choosing Obama.

    As an aside, I’ll be voting straight libertarian party down ticket this year. Screw the GOP.

    Comment by Cameron — 10/29/2008 @ 1:50 am

  30. I meant “tess…25” I’m typing in the dark. And no, I’ve never had anyone walk up to me and call me a cracker, or outright suggest that I was racist to my face. But the race issue is all over the place in this election–Obama’s latest ad (or web ad–I don’t remember) emphasized the point about this being an “historic” election. My white liberal Democrat friends have actually suggested to me that the best reason to vote for Obama is because he’s black, and that this would usher in a new era of racial understanding in the country. Maybe. I prefer ideas, though.

    Comment by Laura — 10/29/2008 @ 1:55 am

  31. Problem is, that the Democrats have a tendency to give the masses goodies, which cause them to turn a blind eye to the more nasty loss of liberty.

    I think at this point “turning a blind eye to the more nasty loss of liberty” is preferable to actively orchestrating it.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 1:59 am

  32. Man I love this place.

    Comment by Mortexai — 10/29/2008 @ 2:18 am

  33. Laura — I’d have to see the ad, but no matter who wins it will be historic. One first or another is going to be set. Regardless, I rather doubt that an Obama victory will bring peace and light on the racial front. I *do* think it will move the ball forward, but I also think these things are very much two steps forward and one step back. It will be very interesting to see how many racial abcesses get lanced along the way…

    Comment by tessellated — 10/29/2008 @ 2:45 am

  34. Oh dear. There goes any hint of credibility. Turned by a youtube vid after making a seemingly thought out endorsement. And not to not voting for Obama, which is perfectly understandable, but to actually voting for McCain, which is a sign of complete intellectual defeat.
    At least, no more ‘he’s a flip-flopper’ arguments from that side now, and thus the republicans manage to paint themselves into a corner time and time again.

    Comment by fred — 10/29/2008 @ 7:29 am

  35. For those of us who tend to focus on economic libertarianism: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122523927108878301.html

    Comment by Laura — 10/29/2008 @ 8:46 am

  36. I make no promises that the public will sour on the Democrats, but I certainly hope that 2 or 4 or, heaven forbid, 8 years of complete Democratic control will taint the movement as it has the neocons.

    Cameron 24: The only important difference between what Blair and New Labour got in the UK and what Obama and the Democrats are getting here is probably that Blair took over at a time of economic growth and Obama gets the opposite. So, unless you think that the economic problems really are going to rein in Obama and the Democrats and their anti-free trade and redistributionist fervour, I am not sure exactly what you do hope for. The Conservative Party in the UK is indeed finally making a comeback, in large part by abandoning conservative ideals and also by stealing New Labour’s “appearances and flash over substance” clothes. It’s not a happy outcome (the problem had its roots back in 1992, when the Conservatives won a narrow victory; I would contend that 2004 was the similar disastrous victory for the Republicans).

    Comment by Adam — 10/29/2008 @ 10:15 am

  37. Fred 34: A vote for anyone but McCain is a vote for Obama. Like it or not, that’s the reality.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 10:34 am

  38. The world learned a lesson, that a republican president sucked. You promised us we were going to learn a new lesson, that a democratic president sucks as well. Why must you deprive us our teaching?

    Comment by fred — 10/29/2008 @ 12:45 pm

  39. Alas, he can’t deprive you of it. You’ll get a Democratic Party President soon enough…

    Comment by Adam — 10/29/2008 @ 12:54 pm

  40. But I see James as the average American.

    Comment by fred — 10/29/2008 @ 1:05 pm

  41. Fred, Adam is right. If McCain can win this thing in the face of the mania surrounding Obama, it will be nothing short of a miracle. As for me being average, I rather wish that were the case.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 1:33 pm

  42. But I see James as the average American.

    Ah, good. So does he.

    Laura 35: that is a weird article. The markets are bad because they’re been contemplating Obama’s 1 trillion dollar slavery reparations project and a Treasury Secretary George Soros?

    He’s got some decent economic points in there. But he drowns it in stuff like that, and this:

    I could go on, but you get the point. Nothing reveals Mr. Obama’s visceral hostility to business more than the constant urging of our best and brightest to desert the productive private sector (“greed”) and go into public service like politics or community organizing.

    I have a feeling I know that guy’s type. Smart, old, and totally, utterly cynically partisan and twisted. Not in a mean way per se, just in a “okay, you’ve pretty much lost all perspective now” way. A guy for whom, if he and I were discussing politics, it would start amicably enough and then I’d quickly start looking for a polite but hasty exit. He’s like an market analyst version of “Obama is a secret muslim who may or may not be the anti-Christ”.

    Like I said, some good points; shame he wove them in with the bizarro hypotheticals and digs.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 1:37 pm

  43. Oh yes James 41, we all remember the miracle of 2004 where the USA narrowly secured the election of a totalitarian, socialist-for-the-elite republican, and since then the world has basked in the brilliant glory of his wisdom.

    Comment by fred — 10/29/2008 @ 3:38 pm

  44. Yes, but he was running against John Kerry, a mere mortal.

    Comment by James — 10/29/2008 @ 6:12 pm

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