Bainbridge Asks

BODY:

Some good questions. I answered some of it here. But let me deal with them specifically:

How can a Tory like yourself embrace someone running as a change agent?

Because societies need to change, as Burke understood. The question is whether the change is organic, drawn from the traditions within the society, and responding to felt needs, rather than ideological abstractions. So a Tory could support Thatcher and Reagan - as radical change agents who sought to restore their societies to forgotten principles. It is the greatest canard that conservatives never seek change. They are cautious, yes, but sometimes the right kind of change is necessary.

What specific changes in law, society, or polity, if any, that Obama supports do you also support?

I support a fresh start in foreign policy, a willingness to negotiate where necessary, a new outreach to allies, and prudent, expeditious withdrawal from Iraq. I favor an end to poisonous partisan polarization. I favor strong measures to innovate new energy sources. I favor a restoration of the Geneva Conventions.

Why are those changes “necessary”?

Because the war is draining massive resources, and, despite recent tactical success, is clearly a historic mistake. Because the U.S. is extremely isolated and needs more support in the world, and especially a new appeal to moderate Muslims worldwide. Because the red-blue divide has poisoned our polity to the detriment of practical problem-solving. Because dependence on foreign oil is both environmentally fatal and dangerous for our future security. Because torture gives bad intelligence and is un-American.

What evidence is there, if any, that Obama would be prudent in effecting such changes?

Obama's legislative record, speeches, and the way he has run his campaign reveal, I think, a very even temperament, a very sound judgment, and an intelligent pragmatism. Prudence is a word that is not inappropriate to him.   

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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