Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama's Re-election: The Bright Side

As a believer in free markets and limited government, it is dispiriting to see the American people (50% of them anyway) choose European social democracy. However, there is a silver lining to the black cloud of Obama’s re-election: some of the Democratic party's policy positions are good. Obama is a mitigated disaster, and we can take some comfort in that.

Social Issues

First, the Democrats are more liberal--read libertarian--on the social issues. They do not want to revisit the criminalization of abortion, which would be a disaster for all concerned (I know: my godfather was on the NYPD abortion squad). The Democrats are generally more supportive of an enlightened drug policy, as opposed to the current prohibition that keeps the drug cartels, the prison guards and the DEA in business, and which is turning Mexico into a failed state which exports its illiterate peasantry. 

I wish the Democrats had the guts to advocate drug policy reform, but they don’t, probably because of the prison unions and other corrupt influences. It would be a great day for liberty if some future president could zero out the DEA and all of its infantry, weaponry and foreign adventurism. Forgive me for pointing out that the DEA is also 100% unconstitutional.

Monetary Policy

Second, the Democrats understand monetary policy much better than do the Republicans. It is an indisputable fact that the GOP is opposed to QE and to the reappointment of Bernanke as Fed chairman. The GOP is the party of hard money and flirtation with the gold standard. The US will never be able to correct its debt trajectory as long as it pursues European-style deflation. Growth is the only way to balance the budget and to grow the denominator of the D/GDP ratio. I have much more confidence in Obama’s choices for Fed governors than Romney’s. I hope that Obama reappoints Bernanke or a a man of similar excellence.

Foreign Policy

Third, Democratic foreign policy is much less imperialist than the Republicans'. The Republicans enjoy America's superpower status and seek to rule the world. The Republican party managed to start two disastrous wars in a part of the world where American troops should never be deployed, and where our strategic interests are debatable. Certainly, we have failed to achieve whatever our strategic objectives might have been. That is, unless our strategic objectives were to make Iraq an islamic republic, to endanger the oil kingdoms, and to give the stone-age Afghans better rifles. That we achieved. 

Obama’s “no boots” policy with respect to Libya and Syria has been prudent. I do blame him for stupidly overthrowing Mubarak and Qadaffi, but the GOP was no wiser. The GOP has a preference for intervention and elective wars which appears incorrigible. Obama is less likely to go to war with Iran than Romney, and he will be better positioned to rein in Netanyahu.

Defense Policy

Fourth, the Democrats are much less in thrall to the military-industrial complex than are the Republicans. The Pentagon is a  parasitical growth that manages to suck $600 billion out of the American taxpayer every year. That needs to be reduced. 

But the scandal is not so much the waste and corruption as it is the perverse incentive to seek out military conflict and imaginary enemies. The US military to this day remains equipped to fight a conventional land, sea and air war against the Soviet Union, which hasn't existed for twenty years. What are we planning to do with all of those carrier battle groups? Why are we spending $600 billion on the F-35 fighter? What or who are our hunter-killer submarines pursuing? Why are we provoking the Chinese with new bases in their backyard? I have little confidence in Obama’s ability to get control of the “defense community”, but even less when it comes to the GOP.


I certainly do not mean to suggest that the foregoing “silver lining” can adequately compensate for the corrosive crypto-marxism of the Obama regime. In my opinion, antimarxism is the highest form of political morality, while marxism and all of its malign offshoots is inherently evil and destructive of liberty. The marxism at the core of the Democratic ideology is indeed evil, but not all of the party’s policy positions are incorrect. Let’s take comfort in that.

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