Obamacon Watch

Warren Coates (a Milton Friedman student) provides one of the more grown-up, free-market defenses of the current shift to a reconstructed left in public policy. Disenchanted with the statist, utopian and negligent conservatism of the Bush years, he's ready to give the Dems a shot. The conservative failure has been so deep and its consequences so dire that a new start is needed.

Coates believes, as I do, that it will not be the end of the world for free market conservatives if Obama wins. It wasn't when Clinton won. Although there are many areas in domestic policy where I disagree with Obama - I'd pick entitlement cuts over tax hikes, I'm leery of cap-and-trade, I worry about the creeping socialization of healthcare - the much bigger issues of a return to constitutional norms, to a realist and prudent foreign policy, a return to the Geneva Conventions, a restoration of America's reputation in the world, and a rebuke of the Morris-Rove politicking of the past generation compel me more.

Read Coates' appreciation for Barney Frank's reconstructed liberal pragmatism on housing and you can see a conservative who is actually more driven by the common good and by political pragmatism than one who is driven by ideology, partisanship and cultural insecurity.

We need more of this sensibility. And the machine of Rove, having now swallowed the McCain campaign whole, will not provide it. It will, rather, extend the period in which the American president is as bellicose as he is weak, rather than as restrained as he is strong.

Money quote:

I am a Barry Goldwater Republican. I believe that we and our families and friends are largely responsible for our own well being,

that government should be kept small and focused on what only it can do well, that free markets are the most effective way to create and allocate wealth, that the individual freedoms, checks and balances on government, and separation of church and state in our constitution and its Bill of Rights provide the best environment for my personal moral and material development and in which I can live in harmony with my neighbors, and that if I work hard (which almost always means serving the needs of others) I have the best chance of doing well for myself and family. I believe in a strong national defense (but not empire building) and international collaboration and cooperation in today’s globalized world. In order to keep them relatively honest, governments operate under significant disadvantages relative to private enterprises with free trade, but there are some things that only government can do or do best and therefore they should be done well.

I think that these principles best serve the establishment of a just and prosperous society for all.