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INDEPENDENT COUNTRY
How Obama Can Win My Vote
A little freedom would be nice.

by James Leroy Wilson
April 24, 2008

Two of the three front-runners for President must be considered war criminals for voting for the Iraq Authorization in 2002. For that reason, I can't see myself voting for either John McCain or Hillary Clinton; how can I vote for someone I believe should be in prison? The chance the Clinton may come back and get the Democratic nomination, then, is particularly disappointing. Barack Obama is the least offensive of the three, primarily because of his "inexperience." That is, his track record of supporting a horrible foreign policy and immoral domestic policies is shorter because he's only been a Senator for three years. Obama is also most likely to pull us out of Iraq, sooner.

That said, I am not inspired by Obama, nor do I trust him, and I am most likely to vote Libertarian if I am to vote at all. Nevertheless, there are some things he can say now that could tempt me to go his way in November -- if he's the candidate. And he could probably tempt many other libertarians and certain conservatives as well. Indeed, by doing the following he could fracture the Republican Party by becoming the candidate of individual liberty and market freedom.

Taxes. Although he may raise taxes on the rich, he could also call for the abolition of corporate income taxes and for the repeal or reform of Sarbanes-Oxley, in order to attract businesses and jobs to the United States instead of driving them away. Income from investments would still be taxed as personal income from dividends, capital gains, and stock sales, but more and more businesses from around the world will come (or return) to America and set up headquarters here.

Energy. Rail against corporate welfare and favoritism - and begin by ending corn ethanol subsidies. And then call for greater energy independence by legalizing industrial hemp, which is a far more efficient ethanol producer than corn and has many other practical uses as well, which could increase supply and drive prices down for numerous products. As Senator from Illinois, Obama supports ethanol subsidies, but if he wants to be a genuine statesman, he must put an end to this evil policy that favors big agribusiness, hurts the environment, and raises the price of food on the world's poor.

Foreign policy. It's a political necessity to talk tough on the War on Terror, but it can be mixed with Bush's "humble foreign policy" against "nation-building" rhetoric from 2000. Call for all interested parties - including Iran and all countries willing to provide peacekeepers - to come to the table about a settlement in Iraq and timely U.S. withdrawal.

Drugs and crime. No one will get elected by calling for the legalization of meth, but legalizing medical marijuana and reforming sentencing laws for non-violent "criminals" would be a good start. Don't blame racism for the number of African-Americans in prison, but blame the laws and the System, and do highlight the disproportionate effects of the Drug War on people of color, who aren't even the primary consumers.

Civil liberties. Affirm that the American people don't need the Patriot Act, Real ID, or warrantless surveillance to be safe from terrorism. Suggest that someone like Bob Barr would make a fine Attorney General.

Environment. Address environmental concerns by taxing pollution - called Pigovian taxes. Offset this revenue by cutting income taxes first by increasing the standard exemptions and then by slashing marginal tax rates.

Budget. Commit to a balanced budget. Affirm that increased spending in one area will mean reduced spending in another, or tax hikes - but also be against tax hikes. Propose means-testing of Social Security and Medicare, so we stop giving help to those who don't need it.

Health Care. Propose increasing exemptions so that more people can save more of their pre-tax income on retirement, health care, education, and charitable giving, as I proposed last week.

This will require some major reversals on Obama's part, but again he must ask himself if he wants to be an Illinois Democrat or a national statesman. The more points of this agenda he endorses, the more likely I will vote for him. It took a Republican to expand the Dept. of Education and give us a Medicare Drug Benefit. In the same way, it will probably take a Democrat to amke America freer for people to do business and live their own lives as they see fit - in the same way it took a Democrat to balance the budget in the Bill Clinton years.

I'm not saying Obama will adopt these points, I'm just saying he should.

About the Author:
James Leroy Wilson blogs at Independent Country and writes for DownsizeDC.org. Opinions expressed here do not represent the views of DownsizeDC.org.


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