Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In Our Last Episode: Bob Barr

Again: NO DEBATE TOMORROW (not until the 22nd). But instead, why not enjoy these links from last month’s event, our debate over whether to vote for Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr (which was attended by the man himself)?

[UPDATE 7/11/08: If there are any first-time readers who've been directed here from my guest entry on AlarmingNews, you might want to click on the ToddSeavey.com logo above to check out my main page and get the big picture: daily or so entries on politics, rock, sci-fi, scientific skepticism, and other nerdy fare.]

•This piece on the site of NYC’s Libertarian Party newspaper, Serf City, includes photos from the debate.

•The Serf City write-up was in turn noted by the New York Times’s City Room blog.

•See the closing remarks from pro-Barr debater Avery Knapp and from pro-McCain debater Ken Silber here, in video Ken’s brother put online.

•Ken’s brother also put up some of Bob Barr’s own impromptu remarks — he sounds pretty good to me.

•J.D. Weiner once more captures one of our Debates at Lolita Bar in his swell photos.


Incidentally, while it pleases me that Barr is something of a living bridge between the religious right and the fiscal right (with me hoping more people end up on the fiscal end of that bridge), it strikes me that Republicans who spent the past couple decades emphasizing religiosity instead of government-shrinking and free markets will have no one but themselves to blame if Obama now harnesses the populace’s stirred-up religiosity for left-wing, welfare-statist ends.

Maybe when we find ourselves living — like much of the rest of the world — in a stagnant, theocratic welfare state, intellectuals across the spectrum can finally agree that God and government, so often treated as opposing forces, fit together quite comfortably — and are rotten, oppressive forces.

Of course, Obama’s embrace of faith-based organizations as partners with the government in welfare or charity is nothing radical, but it will be amusing to see how unfazed are the same intellectuals who decried Bush’s emphasis on those institutions. It’s a good example of a phenomenon that I think goes far, far deeper than even most of the cynical intellectuals of our day realize: The same stuff keeps happening, but media decides whether to treat it as good, irrelevant, or disastrous based on whether “their guy” is in charge or what tone they think will get the biggest ratings this season.

The first President Bush, President Clinton, the second President Bush, and perhaps soon President Obama — they all like the idea of using faith-based institutions, but since we all know Bush II must be depicted as stupid and evil, coming from him, the same policies are a scandal. Coming from Obama, they’re cute, inspiring, and open-minded, or so goes the current, highly malleable narrative.

Here’s a different narrative or two: (a) having government do anything not specifically mentioned in the Constitution is a mistake, and (b) there is no God. But more on that first part later in the week.


Todd Seavey said...

I see that Nader takes a surprisingly big bite out of Obama’s edge if included in polls (getting something like 6%), but Barr polls so well in his home state of Georgia (around 8%, getting only about 2% elsewhere) that it could tip that state to Obama, for whatever current polls are worth (minor candidates tend to decline by election time, though, I gather).

In unrelated news, here’s a case of automotive trashiness for the record books:


Todd Seavey said...

Then again, this story from a Republican senator about McCain roughing up a Nicaraguan communist politician (noted on Drudge) is so cool America may just vote him in by a landslide — for good or ill, I mean: