Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Vote -- Revisited

Paul Mirengoff raises an interesting question on Power Line: whatever happened to the Obamacons?

Last November, as I described here, I voted Democratic for president for the first time since 1980, when I was still experiencing the hangover from my student-liberal days that had then been over for a year and a half.

Mirengoff links to a commentary piece that Christopher Buckley wrote in March, regarding his decision to vote for Barack Obama. If Buckley can't exactly be called the intellectual leader of the Obamacons, it's probably true that he, because of his surname and quirky writing style, brought more attention to the (what does one call it? a movement?) than anyone else.

I'm not sure whether Buckley has changed his mind in the meantime, but in March he said that, if he had it to do over again, he would still have voted for Obama:

Our choice, last fall, was between an angry 73 year old with a legislative record far from consistently conservative, who nominated as his running mate a know-nothing religious extremist; on the other side was an appealing, thoughtful man who--for a brief shining moment--seemed to be more than the sum of his ideological parts.

Buckley's view of Obama was more idealistic than mine. I've long since given up being idealistic about politicians. But I fully agree with his characterization of the Republican ticket, which is very close to what I wrote last November.

While this is not primarily intended to be an opinion blog (although I'm increasingly giving in to the temptation to turn it in that direction), I have criticized Obama. However, if given another chance to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket, I would decline.

Republicans who criticize Obama sound like Bob Taft or Everett Dirksen, calling for fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. That's fine, as far as it goes. But Republicans making those arguments in 2009 should, it seems to me, acknowledge their own party's dismal fiscal policy, especially during the 2003-6 period when they controlled both of the political branches of the federal government, and the fact that we're just barely emerging from a severe recession.

George W. Bush's deficits in the hundreds of billions during a time of economic growth are not that all that different from Obama's trillion-plus deficits in a time of recession. And those who criticize Obama's advocacy of increased federal government involvement in health care seem to forget about Bush's massive expansion of Medicare.

I was not one of the Obama voters (and there were many) who equated his election with the Second Coming. I voted as I did, hoping that, after some time in the wilderness (somewhat mixing my religious metaphors here), the Republicans will produce a ticket in 2012 or 2016 that I can support.

I've made no secret of my hope that Governor Tim Pawlenty, Republican of Minnesota, will head that ticket. I admit that chauvinism about my native state contributes to that feeling, and I'll be watching his performance over the next few months, to confirm whether or not he is really The One.

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