Why This Libertarian Republican Is Voting For Barack Obama

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

Note: The following does not represent, and should not be taken to represent, the official position of The Liberty Papers, or the opinion of any of the other contributors. It’s my opinion and my opinion alone.

Virginia’s Presidential Primary is coming up on February 12th and, for some time now, I’ve been trying to figure out who I was going to vote for, or even if I was going to vote at all.

On the Republican side, before the election ended yesterday, my choices were bleak indeed. I’ve already reiterated before the reasons I can’t support John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee and there’s no need to repeat them here. Up until December or January, I probably would have cast my vote for Ron Paul even though I didn’t agree with him on two important issues — immigration and foreign policy — but, with the newsletter story being the straw that broke the camel’s back, I quickly became disillusioned with both the campaign and the candidate and now I don’t think that his campaign will have any lasting impact on the Republican Party. If there were still a race, I probably still would have voted for Paul just to cast a protest vote, but that seems utterly pointless now.

But, you see, I live in Virginia and we have completely open primaries. When Virginians go to the polls on Tuesday, they simply need to ask for the Democratic or Republican ballot, and they can vote for whom they please. While I personally think that party primaries should be closed affairs, the open primary presents me with a very interesting opportunity this year.

The Republican race is over, but the Democratic primary isn’t and it’s possibly the most important race that this nation has seen.

Issues aside, I have come to the conclusion that the worst thing that has happened to this country has been the fact that we’ve been living in a Bush-Clinton-Bush dynasty for the past 20 years. The first Bush Administration wasn’t all that bad, and George H.W. Bush was, faults aside, a relatively decent person. But you wouldn’t have known that from the rhetoric thrown at him from both the left and the right. Then, when Bill & Hillary Clinton came to power in 1993 — and, make no mistake, these two have always been a team — the political atmosphere in this country changed, and it changed for the worse.

It wasn’t all the Clintons either, almost from the day the Clinton Administration came into office there was this element of the right whose opposition to the President was nothing short of venomous. There were allegations that Bill Clinton was involved in drug-running (remember Mena anyone ?), that Vince Foster had been murdered, that Bill had an illegitimate black child, even that the Clinton Administration administered the Oklahoma City bombing. It was the era of the militas, and black helicopter conspiracy theories, and the Y2K nonsense.

And it was the era when the Contract for America died on the altar of the Lewinsky scandal and ill-considered impeachment hearings.

Then, George W. Bush came into office. I just knew things weren’t going to calm down when he won in a closely-fought disputed election that was, ultimately, decided by the Supreme Court (correctly I would submit), and they didn’t. The Loony Left picked up right where the Loony Right had left off.

And then 9/11 happened. For awhile, it seemed like something had happened that would, much like World War II, unite the country. For a time, it did, but only for a time. The conspiracy theories started almost as soon as the smoke stopped floating into the sky and the 9/11 Truthers are still with us. The political venom in the air since 2001 is, if anything, worse than what we saw during the Clinton Administration and, once again, both sides are to blame. Michael Moore is an idiot, and so is Ann Coulter.

We’re yelling at each other and accomplishing nothing.

What’s needed, I am convinced, is a break with the past and a new direction. In some sense, although I hate to admit it, John McCain represents that for the GOP but Barack Obama represents it even more and, more importantly, is running against the one person who, if she wins, would guarantee a return to same crap we’ve been dealing with since 1993 on both sides of the political aisle.

A few weeks ago Mark at Publius endures explained why he could support Barack Obama, and I agree with him:

I could not disagree more with Obama on many of his policies. Yet I find myself drawn to supporting him – passionately, even – because his goals are liberal in the classical sense. I repeat – I do not think his means are libertarian in any way, and are arguably not even classically liberal means. But the goals, so far as I can see, ARE classically liberal. His are not goals centered entirely around maximizing his own political power, and thus he is a candidate worthy of my deep respect. These ultimate ends are the same ends as exist for us perjoratively-named cosmo-libertarians (as well as for other derivations of classical liberalism).

For all these reasons, on February 12th, I will be voting for a Democratic Presidential candidate for the first time in my life, and I will be voting for Barack Obama.

Does this mean I would vote for Obama in November if he’s the nominee ? No, and, frankly I probably wouldn’t. I also won’t vote for John McCain. But the Democrats deserve to have their best candidate as their nominee, and they deserve to have the Clinton machine destroyed, and if I can help in that process I am happy to.