Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Confronting Prejudice: A message to Obama supporters

The two McCain voters I talked to yesterday both expressed concern that they were uncomfortable revealing their vote to their friends, and probably wouldn’t do so. I know the feeling. I wrote about it in the Stanford Daily in 2004. Back then, I declared that one of my main reasons for voting for Bush was to use it to confront people with their own anti-Republican prejudices.

Voting is 99.9999% symbolic anyway (there is a tiny percent chance you influence the election, but essentially zero). So it is the symbolism that matters most.

This time, I voted for Obama, because ever since I outed myself as a Republican sympathizer (partly by my CEA job, though that really shouldn’t count since most of my colleagues were Democrat), no one could believe that it is possible to be both a Republican sympathizer and an Obama supporter. I’d really like to advocate the position that both sides deserve sympathy and respect. And that it’s awful that people should feel uncomfortable discussing how they feel.

Of course, I’m not saying this is the only form of prejudice out there, or even amongst the more important ones, but it is one that people rarely talk about.

Why I like Bush. Why I like Palin.

In response to comments from elsewhere as to why anyone could like Bush, my answer reposted here: “long 7 year economic expansion (which the president really has minimal control over, but just to counter Clinton's claims to his economic record). no terrorist attacks on American soil for the past 7 years (unlike under Clinton). fundamental reform of US education. expansion of free trade. continued unprecedented growth in productivity. converting two autocratic regimes into democracies. (unlike Clinton's attempts at nation building by unilateral invasion which are largely forgotten), tremendous funding for addressing AIDS and malaria, more spending on alternative energy than the manhattan project, higher emissions standards for cars and trucks (the fruits of both will pay off in the next 8 years, and hence Obama will get the credit). Europe has pretty much elected all pro-US heads of state, so arguably stronger ties to Europe.”

In response to comments on how anyone could like Palin: “she has more executive experience than Obama, is less prone to mistakes than Biden, and has social policy preferences which I don't necessarily agree with but matches the majority of Americans.”


James Lin said...

Aren't you the one who normally argues that the President (and government in general) is largely ineffectual at improving economic expansion/growth/productivity? So why do you give Bush credit for that? Or if you he should take credit, should his administration also take blame for the current financial turmoil?

(I suspect the answer is going to be that even if he didn't directly help during the growth period, he left things alone and didn't mess with something that wasn't broken (or that didn't appear to be at the time).)

HoBs said...

yeah, bush shouldn't get credit for that. i probably should have been more up front about that. just reaction to pretty much every economic speech by Obama and the Clintons who gives Clinton credit for the expansion under his administration, and dings Bush for the current.