Monday, September 03, 2012

Core Values

Jonathan last, writing about the liberal non-response to the assassination of Al-Alwaki and, collaterally, his son, complains:

The bigger question posed by Moe Lane’s vivisection is why more liberals haven’t turned away from Obama. There’s a small cadre of liberals, like Glenn Greenwald and Junod, who have criticized Obama on principle. And that’s great–God bless ‘em. But you don’t see–or at least I haven’t seen–liberals publicly turning their backs on Obama and jumping ship. And I wonder why that is. There were plenty of Republican types whom Bush drove out of the party. (Andrew Sullivan, Kathleen Parker, Andy Bacevich, Jim Webb, etc.–the list is actually pretty long.) Why haven’t any lefty Dems done the same? As Lane points out, if you’re a liberal and you fell a-over-t for Obama and now you realize that he’s elevated cold-blooded murder to the level of routine executive prerogative, why haven’t you clapped your hands together, stepped away from the table, and said, “I’m out”?

Okay, but the Republican examples he gives – Sullivan, Parker, et al. – were more liberal than Bush on several key issues, and were thus able to find more natural allies in the Democrat party.  Liberals tempted to bolt from the Democrats over Al-Alwaki, in contrast, would turn . . . where?  Labels of Left and Right get a little muddier in this case, but if Romney’s Republicans have any reservations about Al-Alwaki, then I sure haven’t heard about it.

An obvious rejoinder is that they had plenty of opportunity to throw their support to Ron Paul.  They didn’t, of course, and the reason is pretty straightforward:  whatever their protestations, the conduct of foreign wars does not, in and of itself, engage their core values.  That’s not to say that their stated opinions on assassination are in bad faith, only that compared to their opinions on Sodomy, Abortion, and Diversity (SAD), they do not actually make decisions based on them.

Sadly (hey!), this goes for their opinions on a range of issues.  Take, for instance, the rule of law.  Obama has abrogated any number of laws during his reign, without a peep of protest from his Leftist allies, whose only question about them is “who, whom?”  As long as the right people are benefitting at the expense of the wrong people, then all the “concern” for the rule of law just disappears.

I am not unsympathetic.  Al-Alwaki’s assassination troubles me on procedural grounds, but substantively he’s going to be a hard guy to miss, and I couldn’t see supporting a candidate over it.  I’d like to think I’m a little more attached to the rule of law – indeed, I spoke up about one of Obama’s early abuses even when I agreed on the policy.  But were I suddenly transported to the Bizarro World where a president Romney was likely to implement by executive fiat policies I approved?  When the precedent had been set by the Democrats?  I, too, would be hard pressed to abandon him.


Anonymous said...

I tend to get irritated with haughty "How can you support a candidate who..." as though support should be withheld on the basis of a single issue. Now, there are some issues for each of us where this is the case. But that list has to be small. If you ever plan to vote.

indeed, I spoke up about one of Obama’s early abuses even when I agreed on the policy.

Which, it turns out, was a non-issue anyway since they started deciding to throw the dispensers in jail anyway. Selective prosecution, since they seemed to just pick and choose which ones they would notice were in violation of federal law, but that seems to be how the drug war goes anyway.

Elusive Wapiti said...

"where a president Romney was likely to implement by executive fiat policies I approved? When the precedent had been set by the Democrats?"

I suppose when presented with a Hobson's choice where both candidates abused executive orders in that fashion, it matters little which candidate one opposes or supports. For it makes little effective difference.

Forgot you had written that piece back in '09 about executive order end-runs around the Legislature...very prescient of you in hindsight.

Dr. Φ said...

Trumwill: I didn't know that. Capricious enforcement assures the worst of both worlds: you don't enjoy the benefits of legalization (depriving criminal gangs of an income source) nor the benefits of prohibition (a reduction in drug use). This is the very definition of anarcho-tyranny.

"It matters little which candidate one opposes or supports"

Well, no, it surely matters. We want to pick the candidate that will abuse executive orders to ends we want over those we don't want.

Historically (in my lifetime), however, Republicans have done a better job of keeping their politicians in line. For instance, they turned their backs on Nixon over his abuses. I'm hard pressed to think of an example where Democrats have done something similar.