I. The Debate
Attend “Yesterday Was the Election: What’s Next?” — this coming Wednesday, November 5, at 8pm (basement level of 266 Broome St. at the corner of Broome and Allen St., one block south of the Delancey St. subway stop on the F, J, M, and Z).
This panel of night-after-the-election reactions and recriminations will feature Abe Greenwald (online editor at Commentary), Ben Geyerhahn (Democratic consultant to candidates and non-profits), and Marty Beckerman (author of the hilarious book Dumbocracy) — plus moderator Michel Evanchik and host Todd Seavey.
II. Kelo Fragments, Live!
Your host may put in a brief good word for prior Debates at Lolita Bar attender and current Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr at the end, even if Barr is not elected president (the polls can be slightly inaccurate!).
I will also unveil to the audience historic political relics that should not be forgotten in all this: actual pieces of the Kelo house from the infamous eminent domain Supreme Court decision.
With New York governor Paterson quoting Ayn Rand in congressional testimony this week — and sometimes opposing eminent domain — those pieces of pink-painted wood may not yet be as irrelevant as some would think. (And that Spitzer scandal keeps on giving.)
III. Aid for the Ignorant (and That Means All of Us)
If you’re one of those baffling and baffled still-undecided voters — or just have no idea who the minor-office candidates are in your area — this site Julia Kamin helped set up might be of assistance: a National Voter Guide.
IV. Strange Bedfellows
As if this election didn’t already frighten me enough for one Halloween season (and Month of Horror), I see that one conservative I’ve met is voting for Nader.
You gotta love Peter Brimelow’s title for the resulting explanatory article, though: “How I Became a Resentful Naderite.” Brimelow, who is an anti-immigration paleoconservative, once addressed my pro-immigration stance in what seemed to me a very odd (but by his standards, I supposed, perfectly logical) way by asking me: “Are you Irish?” (I am just slightly, but cosmopolitan child of the Enlightenment that I am, I never really thought it politically relevant — and still don’t). I can’t complain that he was the rude one, though, since I had been holding up an ironic “Keep out the limeys” sign during the anti-immigration speech he’d just given. Brimelow is himself an immigrant from England. You see the irony, even if he doesn’t. Primitive battles over bloodlines and geography merely delay the inevitable next round in the more-useful battle of ideas — to the great detriment of the latter.
V. Race, Tribal Affiliations, and Punishing the GOP
On a related note, I suspect the effect of racism in this election has been fairly small, with people both voting against and for Obama for racial reasons, it should be remembered — not that things balancing out makes everything OK. Overall, though, I am inclined to laugh if I hear leftists in the days ahead saying, somewhat paradoxically, that “President Obama may have a hard time governing this racist country.”
Howard Stern did a clever bit, I’m told, revealing that some black NYC residents support all of McCain’s most right-wing positions when told they are Obama’s positions — but then, even Reason’s Tim Cavanaugh says, with refreshing frankness, that he’s voting for Obama because he’s black, which makes about as much sense as the reasons given by other Obamatarians and Obamacons, who make up about half the respondents in Reason’s survey of who Reason-affiliated intellectuals are voting for. Most of them are more interested in punishing Republicans than empowering Obama, of course.
However, political parties are just a tiny bit like free markets: abandon them — in this case, the GOP — to buy Brand X, where Brand X is handsome-young-left-wing-demagogue, and all you do is make Brand Y’s producers think “Maybe next time we need a handsome young left-wing demagogue” — that’s no way to “send a message” if your goal is to nudge Brand Y in the specific direction of free-market thinking, obviously. Luckily, about half the interviewed Reasonoids are voting for Bob Barr, as am I, which at least sends a clearer message — unless, of course, lots of Brimelow-like conservatives conclude we voted for Barr because of his anti-immigration stance. So hard to send a simple message [CORRECTION: Actually, it works out to about 1/3 Obama, 1/3 Barr, and 1/3 miscellaneous on the Reason survey, but with more non-voters, undecideds, and outta-left-field responses than just-plain McCain votes in that final third].
In a venue loftier than this blog, though, I hope to have a piece in the coming days about a more high-minded, more long-term attempt (among scholars) to bridge the liberal-libertarian divide.
UPDATE: Paul Taylor notes this excellent IowaHawk comedy piece, which sums up the absurdity of the Obamacons — if not precisely the Obamatarians — beautifully.