Let's Decide Beforehand What Obama Could Do to Disappoint His Current Supporters

In a previous post, I admitted that I now feel quite foolish for being afraid that if Gore won the White House, he would have "wrecked the economy." (Again, I didn't vote for Bush, but I was rooting for him against Gore. I rooted for Kerry, though again I didn't vote for Kerry.) I warned that those who are pro-Obama because he's the "peace candidate" may have similar feelings, a few years from now.

So as a fun exercise, I would like the pro-Obama people to come up with specific things that would make them admit they are mistaken right now, in their advocacy of Obama. For example, if Obama orders the use of nuclear weapons on Iran, surely that would count, right?

To be clear, I'm not talking about things like, "Aww man, he could raise tax rates and cause slower GDP growth!" I'm saying, what if he starts arresting journalists?

So no matter how ludicrous you have to make the events, surely you will admit right now that there are some things President Obama could do, that would make you regret your current support. I would just like to have a record of those things, before he actually takes over.

What I'm trying to guard against is something like this: Surely if you had asked the average American in February 2003 whether we should go into Iraq, if no WMD would be found, there would be more than 4,000 US killed, and we would be there at least 8 years, there would be very little support. And yet, many of those same people still DO support it now, because it's already a done deal. Their views have morphed to avoid cognitive dissonance.

So I don't want that to happen here. Some of you very vocal Obama supporters, please write down some things, no matter how ridiculous they now sound to you, that would make you have to admit (should they come to pass) that you are being fooled right now.


  1. If the president pushed for harsher drug laws, particularly against users, I'd be disappointed.

    I support a national catastrophic insurance plan, as any self-interested Floridian homeowner would. I'd be disappointed if Obama didn't continue to support this option.

  2. Anonymous3:00 PM

    I would be disappointed if Obama forced the Mises Institute to pay royalties to Gene Callahan on earnings from his book, Economics for Real People.

  3. Anonymous4:14 PM

    I'm in the position of hoping for a crushing GOP defeat while acknowledging that this means a Dem victory. As a "plumb-line" libertarian, I'll oppose Obama just as vigorously as I did Bush. I think that Obama is by temperament more cautious, i.e., conservative in the traditional sense, than McCain. Think of Carlo Gambino as opposed to Crazy Joey Gallo.
    I can think of many awful things that Obama might do, but in most cases I think that McCain would be more likely do the same or worse; for instance, start a war with Iran.
    Anything that Obama might do that would cause me to regret not supporting McCain would involve him doing something that I can't imagining McCain doing, and that's pretty far out, but here goes: (1) orders the "expropriation of the property of the bourgeousie"; orders the enslavement of white people; makes Osama bin Laden his chief adviser.
    So you can see why I'm not that worried about President Obama as opposed to President McCain.

    Bob Weber

  4. Woody,

    You're not taking this seriously. (That's fine, nobody expects anything at Crash Landing to be serious.)

    OK I'll go first: If Obama reduces US troops in Iraq by 90% during his first term, and doesn't start any other wars, I will admit I was wrong to question his peacenik-itude.

    So besides your desire for some of my money, is there anything else that you hold dear, that Obama could do to make you regret your support of him?

  5. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Just to follow up on my comment from #3: I'm not expecting anything good to come from the Obama presidency, but if he announced an end to federal medical marijuana raids and pardoned Charlie Lynch and the like, or ended the War on Pain-doctors, or ramped back domestic spying, I'll admit I underestimated him. I'm not holding my breath.

    Bob Weber

  6. Though I’m breaking context, Marx famously put it in The 18th Brumaire, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the living.”

    I know that realistically I have two choices for president, and I believe Obama will make better choices under given circumstances than would McCain. I was serious about drug laws and insurance reform. It’s not merely self-interest, I think they would be good moves for future generations. Insurance today is a government sponsored racket. If it’s merely an actuarial game, I do not see why it should not be a state function.

    In matters of foreign policy, I believe Obama has a cooler head and will approach international relations more rationally. I believe Obama will cut the best deal that he can politically, but I’m not expecting miracles. I don’t think there’s any chance of getting out of Iraq with McCain. It’s religion for McCain. Obama will get us out if it’s politically palatable.

    Any messing around with the bill of rights would be a problem for me. I think Obama is less likely to take away first amendment rights than McCain or his successor Palin. There are credible reports that Palin wanted to censor a library while mayor of Wasilla. Censorship in any form is a high holy. I said she scares me, and I mean it.

    My biggest worry with any party right now is about the reinstatement of the draft. Conscription is a terrible injustice, especially if there are resources available to pay for a volunteer military. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state… LOL” Bush’s adventure in Iraq certainly raised the price for volunteers. I’d be pretty disappointed to see Obama push for reinstating the draft.

    One worry with democrats controlling two branches is with the 2nd Amendment, but I don’t see any drastic changes coming. I’m not big on automatic weapons and I don’t believe I need bigger magazines for my 9mm. (I do have pre-ban 15s, but if I can’t stop an intruder with a pair of 10s, I don’t think I should have a gun.) So to me, BFD that the NRA supports McCain, I don’t have any automatic weapons around the house. I’d like to hear Obama on Castle Doctrine. He has the potential to disappoint me there.

  7. Anonymous3:34 PM

    Since I'm anti-Mccain (and not 'pro-obama), I'm still entitled to answer, no?

    I would say: if he doens't retread at least 20% of the troups (sounds fair - right?) out of Iraq, I was too optimistic.

    If he doens't retread any of them, I was wrong.

    If he sends more, he is as awfull as mccain, in my estimate, was.

  8. Anonymous8:40 AM

    You sound confused ... and confusing. Are you against most everything before you decide it might be kinda fun to be for it? Conviction, man ... try it sometime.

  9. Anonymous8:57 AM

    A ludicrous request. Passive-aggressive and... dumb. Do us all a favor (really) and get over yourself and just VOTE FOR OBAMA.

  10. Just so I understand fully this exercise before heading back to planet Earth: You have to be a 'current Obama supporter' to be disappointed by your hypothetical ordering of the the use of nuclear weapons against Iran?

  11. It's less a specific thing than a general governing philosophy. I'm voting for Obama in the hope that he'll be able to talk to the other side and form a governing coalition. In that sense, I'm hoping that he's not Clinton or Bush. Clinton allowed himself to be painted as a liberal while he governed as a moderate. His successes had more to do with abandoning his principles in favor of political expedience than with actually beginning a dialog that might move people's thinking on key issues. And Bush simply jettisoned any rhetoric about "compassionate conservatism" and simply governed from the far right. If Obama can't govern using a different strategy, then I'll regret not giving McCain a chance at it.

  12. I'm assuming the last batch of hostile comments are coming from Andrew Sullivan readers. I am surprised at how many Obama supporters refuse to answer my simple question.

    You know how it's really annoying that conservatives continue to support Reagan and Bush, even when they rack up the deficit (and violate "fiscal conservatism")? Well I am pretty sure the exact same thing will happen with the "peace candidate" Obama. So I'm asking you folks to go on record with what he cannot do, and still enjoy your support.

    Apparently, he can do anything he wants for most of you, just like the Republicans can do whatever they want and still count on millions of people to reflexively support them.

  13. "Passive-aggressive and... dumb."

    I love how "passive-aggressive" is now a catchall put-down, sort of like "fascist" was 30 or 40 years ago.

  14. Anonymous12:43 PM

    And these are the comments left by people who are capable of getting past the new captcha. Just imagine if all Sullivan readers, drooling all over their keyboards, managed to post their comments.

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Bob, I`m not an Obama supporter, but simply prefer him over McCain as I think the Republicans richly deserve a strong spanking (of course the Dems may as well in a few years). I will be disappointed if Obama:

    - bombs Iran without strong support from our allies;

    - does not close Guantanamo;

    - does not significantly erduce our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan;

    - does not cut defense spending;

    - does not increase spending on the State Department, and relative reliance on the foreign service as opposed to the military;

    - does not increase government transparency; and

    - acts in a way that significantly increases domestic partisan, ethnic and religious tensions.

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