Is Obama really better than McCain?

May 24, 2008

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Before anyone jumps to conclusions: No, I’m not endorsing McCain (I’m voting third party), nor am I pulling some GOP “what about the judgesruse, nor am I even saying that McCain is the lesser of two evils. What I wish to address are the strategic arguments in favor of an Obama victory.

The weaker argument, which I’ll keep brief, runs as follows: anti-war libertarians have argued that Obama will end the war in Iraq?and this above all is the determining issue. There remains, however, no indication that he will end it, and if he does, Obama’s likely to launch more fashionable wars elsewhere (e.g. Darfur). Furthermore, Obama is just as bad as McCain on immigration and trade, and to boot seems to harbor an animosity towards working-class white Americans.

The stronger argument, advocated by some paleoconservatives (myself included), runs as follows: A McCain victory will be the end of conservatism. But an Obama presidency will be so bad it will spark a healthy right-wing reaction. 

This stronger account seems more plausible, I supported it for a while, but the more I think about it, the more holes I find.

First, the media will interpret an Obama victory as a general mandate for post-Marxist liberalism, which will push the political spectrum even farther to the left. One will have even more ground to back-peddle in 2012.

Second, an Obama victory will fuel the neocon media outlets, which could result in the election of another (albeit less ideological) neocon in 2012 (perhaps someone in the mold of Romney). In other words, an Obama victory will not necessarily discredit neoconservatism, but could only ensure its return (perhaps in a modified form) in 2012. Sadly, things may have to become worse for neoconservatism to be discredited. It may take yet another incompetent GOP administration finally to convince your average conservative Americans that the neocons are not their allies. They trusted for a while that Bush was one of their own (until immigration reform came along); but with McCain there will be no illusions. Instead of the AM radio talking heads attacking Obama, they will be compelled, by listeners, to assail McCain.

Third, McCain probably will not serve a second term, which will leave the GOP nomination open in 2012 (depending on who his VP is).

Fourth, a humiliating defeat for Obama could give leverage to an anti-globalist moderate seeking the Democratic nomination in 2012, perhaps someone in the mold of Lou Dobbs. (This is highly unlikely, but one can hope.)

Fifth, although America is in precipitous decline (especially in terms of her economy), what the United States does still has symbolic value around the world, especially in the West, and having a multicultural, untethered president like Obama could “send the wrong message.” Is it inconsequential that almost every Anglo or European conservative I know fears an Obama presidency just as much as, if not more than, a McCain one?

Finally, make no mistake about it, Obama is a radical leftist. He will establish a PC regime in DC (or rather, expand the existing one) in search of the dragons of inequality and social injustice to slay.  (Justin Raimondo and Caleb Stegall may finally get their purging from institutions in the small but remaining pockets of anti-egalitarian, politically incorrect thought.)  A few years from now, commenters might be posting at TakiMag about the good old days of the ADL, SPLC, and Waco. (Not that McCain is any better in this respect, but at least his dragons reside overseas.)

Come on, is Obama really any better than McCain? Or are they both, as Buchanan would say, “two wings of the same bird of prey”?

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