Another Libertarian for Obama

Obama has received the support of Scott Flanders of the Orange County Register (Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan).

Flanders reasoned that Obama is the best candidate to work on four top libertarian reforms: 1) Iraq withdrawal, 2) restoring the separation of church and state; 3) easing off victimless crimes such as drug use; 4) curtailing the Patriot Act.

Compared to Ron Paul, Obama covers four while Paul only agrees with three of these criteria. In addition, with Obama you don’t have Paul’s baggage of conspiracy theories, racism, and a pack of irrational supporters who would unintentionally prevent victory even if Paul ever had a chance. While they both take relatively libertarian positions on Iraq, victimless crimes, and civil liberties, Paul denies separation of church and state. Besides the new problems of Iraq and the Patriot Act to arise during the Bush years, the most serious threat to liberty comes from the religious right and erosion of separation of church and state.

For those who still think there is anything remotely libertarian about the Republican Party, also note that, if we go by Flanders’ criteria, these are largely problems exacerbated by George Bush. Bush is responsible for Iraq, the Patriot Act, and further erosion of the wall of separation of church and state which was promoted by the founding fathers. The Bush administration also has a worse record than other recent administrations on drug use, considering how they are even cracking down on those who use medicinal marijuana in states where it is legal.

Iran: We’re No. 1

I’m not sure how well they do in the computer power rankings, but Ahmadinejad has declared Iran to be the world’s number one power:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Thursday that Iran was the world’s “number one” power, as he launched a bitter new assault on domestic critics he accused of siding with the enemy.”Everybody has understood that Iran is the number one power in the world,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech to families who lost loved ones in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

“Today the name of Iran means a firm punch in the teeth of the powerful and it puts them in their place,” he added in the address broadcast live on state television.

Ohio State made similar claims of being number one going into the BCS Championship game the past two years. That didn’t work out too well.  It seems to me that, while perhaps they are stronger now than in the past, Iran spent years in a stand off with Iraq. Iraq’s reputation as the world’s number four power after the invasion of Kuwait turned out to be greatly exaggerated.

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Even Clinton’s Expected Backers Have Been Secret Obama Supporters

Hillary Clinton expected to win the Democratic nomination with little difficulty and was unprepared for serious opposition. I suspect that the discomfort with the degree to which the Clintons acted as if they deserved to be in power, as well as opposition to the lack of principles they exhibit, was far more wide spread among Democrats than the Clintons ever expected. The New Republic has two stories which show that Clinton’s support among her “supporters” was far weaker than she suspected.

The first story involves her endorsement by The New York Times. Although Obama has dominated the newspaper endorsements, an accomplishment of questionable significance, I was not surprised that a New York newspaper would give the endorsement to their Senator. The New Republic reports that this was a split decision:

According to Times sources, the paper almost didn’t back Clinton. The divisions within the Gray Lady’s editorial board mirrored the deep divide that has split Democrats in this tightly contested campaign. The 20-member board had initially leaned toward Obama, Times sources say. But in January, after the board had debated the endorsement in two separate sessions, Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. decided to favor Clinton. Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, declining to comment on the internal debate, acknowledged that the vote was a difficult one. “It was a really hard one, no question about it,” Rosenthal told me. “We talked about this within our board for hours. It was a very lively, interesting discussion. Several members of the board said it was the best discussion they’ve had.”

As the primary season steams towards Ohio and Texas on March 4, some at the Times are now questioning the editorial board’s judgment. “We’re on the wrong side of history,” one Times staffer said. Indeed, the Times stands apart from the majority of major American newspapers. Obama has racked up endorsements from more than 100 newspapers across the country, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times Company-owned Boston Globe, the Newark Star-Ledger, as well as the four biggest dailies in Texas and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. (Here are lists of Clinton and Obama‘s respective newspaper endorsements.) “The endorsement didn’t win me any friends,” Rosenthal admitted to me.

Another article at The New Republic shows that the Center for American Progress, thought to be “an unofficial outpost” for Clinton, was actually full of secret Obama supporters: (more…)