Friday, May 2, 2008

On Being an Obamacon

Another year, another label.
So what exactly does being an Obamacon mean?

The other day I had friends round for dinner. That morning I stood in the supermarket, in front of the wines, wondering ... Do I now, as a newly minted Obamaphile liberal elitist, have to serve my guests Chablis? Or would any old chardonnay do? Must it be arugula for the salad; or would lamb's lettuce, dandelion and little gems in hazelnut oil be okay? What about desert? I had planned to make a chocolate soufflé cake. But baking ... are Obamacons allowed to bake, or is that too conservative? Am I even meant to admit to going to the supermarket? Should I pretend to only go to the local Farmers’ Market?

Most of my guests thought it would be funny to turn up with a bottle of Chablis. So, guess I’ll be swilling it for a while.

French fashion is now fine. No more cloth coats. And I can finally confess my passion for music from Mali (Amadou & Mariam, Toumani Diabaté, and Ali Farka Touré, are current favorites).

Like most of my friends, I am fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Do what you like, just don’t touch my money. I prefer lower taxes, free trade and globalization. I support the right to own a gun, and defend one's property. Rapists can be castrated with my blessing.

I want small government. But I don’t want the Federal Government in my bedroom - because I don’t do threesomes.

I consider abortion a tragedy that is best avoided at all cost, but which should not be outlawed - coat hangers belong in the wardrobe, not the uterus. I loathe the 'Sex and the City' culture of casual sex. I believe that it is best as an act of love - rather than a mistake made after one too many Cosmopolitans. I want my gay friends to find their soul mates. And when they do, for them to be able to commit to each other and create a union. As a conservative I'm pro Civil Union because it lowers taxes and encourages committed couples. I believe that the nuclear family is the ideal, but am happy for my friends who have chosen to become single mothers. I believe in God, but interpret the Constitution as saying that he has no place in politics. I don’t try to impose my views on liberals, and hate it when they refuse to reciprocate.

I expressed uncertainty about the Iraq War in February 2003 (and was given hell by my liberal Hollywood friends for being unpatriotic). At heart I’m probably an isolationist. As an historian, I know that Iraq is riven by religious rivalries, and only thrives under a firm hand. Whilst I think that we should try to sort out the mess we’ve created there, I will never be enthusiastic about it. Our intervention in Iraq has tarnished America’s reputation around the world. Any cost-benefit analysis of it cannot fail to lead to a damning verdict. The dollar has tanked, and our economy is on the brink of recession (see: Bartlett, Bruce; Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy). The money we are spending on the war could fund health care. Or education. Or something that might actually benefit the American taxpayers who are funding it. (see: Bartlet, Josiah 'Jed'; Fake President Endorses Obama).

Too many liberals prefer moral outrage to doing something concrete that might benefit people. The Clintons came out against Orasure and cheap HIV tests during their time in the White House. Senator Obama publicly had an HIV test in Kenya in 2006, to show people that it was nothing to fear. We need a President who can lead by example.
We need a President who has some knowledge of the world beyond the 50 States, and who reflects the overwhelming majority of Americans who are not White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

We need change - not another Clinton. Senator Obama may not be able to deliver it, but hope can be just as powerful and he has successfully harnessed that. America needs a regime change to restore its standing in the world, and Barack Obama seems to be the best option.

Andrew Sullivan is more lucid in his thoughts, so if you’d like to read why he, as a conservative, supports Obama, I recommend -
Goodbye to All That: Why Obama Matters.

I doubt that I will ever be a Democrat ....
but for now my heart belongs to Obama.

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