Monday, November 3, 2008

Epic Post

I started reading Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish, a long time ago, after seeing him on Bill Maher and liking what I heard. Andrew's blog is one of the most highly-read on the internet. He sometimes posts up to 50 times a day, and draws from all sorts of influences.

As a lifelong progressive, I found much to disagree with him on, but I also heard a voice of reason, of intellect, and especially, a voice of truth before ideology. I saw how important it was to pay attention to voices on the "other side" because not all Republicans are of the same cynical stripe as Bush or Cheney, or as religiously fanatical as Falwell or Robertson (or now Palin). From Andrew, I learned to appreciate intellectual conservatives like Marc Ambinder, Reihan Salam, David Brooks, and David Frum, and more faith-based conservatives like David Kuo and Rod Dreher. I also came into contact with strong progressive voices like those of Glenn Greenwald, Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias, JoshMarshall, and DailyKos.

Andrew's most recent post is called "Barack Obama For President." Andrew's been an unabashed Obama supporter, at first because he loathed the Clintons and wanted them humiliated (he got his wish), but later because he came to exemplify the best and the brightest in this country. This post is long (hence my headline), but it is a must read. He sums up the failures of the past eight years and frames them as what they have meant for this country: added physical danger an imperiled Constitution. He then turns his attention to why Obama is the logical choice for president:

If I were to give one reason why I believe electing Barack Obama is essential tomorrow, it would be an end to this dark, lawless period in American constitutional government. The domestic cultural and political reasons for an Obama presidency remain as strong as they were when I wrote "Goodbye To All That" over a year ago. His ability to get us past the culture war has been proven in this campaign, in the generation now coming of age that will elect him if they turn out, in Obama's staggering ability not to take the bait. His fiscal policies are too liberal for me - I don't believe in raising taxes, I believe in cutting entitlements for the middle classes as the way to fiscal balance. I don't believe in "progressive taxation", I support a flat tax. I don't want to give unions any more power. I'm sure there will be moments when a Democratic Congress will make me wince. But I also understand that money has to come from somewhere, and it will not come in any meaningful measure from freezing pork or the other transparent gimmicks advertized in advance by McCain. McCain is not serious on spending. But he is deadly serious in not touching taxes. So, on the core question of debt, on bringing America back to fiscal reason, Obama is still better than McCain. If I have to take an ideological hit to head toward fiscal solvency, I'll put country before ideology.
The idea that Sullivan is a flat-tax supporter, a tax cut supporter, and a believer that Obama is a fiscal liberal -- coupled with his support for Obama as president -- should bring a grin to my more conservative readers. It also makes me wish that the progressive movement had this strong a voice. Glenn Greenwald strongly took Obama to task for supporting the FISA Reform Act, but that voice is coupled with solid progressive fiscal policy that believes in the benefit of government spending. What the progressive movement needs is a voice that hates taxes as much as the most rabid anti-tax Republican, but who recognizes that there are more important things to think about. If someone knows of a prominent anti-tax progressive, please forward me his name. (If there aren't any, then I guess I found my niche!)

It should also be noted that Sullivan is British, not American. He has adopted the US as his home, and his love for this country is clear in his post. He is gay and married and is HIV-positive. I send him every post I write, so if you're reading this Andrew -- thank you for your love of this country and your clear, reasoned voice. America needs you: stay healthy and happy.

No comments: