Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why Andrew Sullivan is voting for Obama

Andrew Sullivan, erstwhile writer for The Atlantic and author of the delightful "The Daily Dish," has written an essay detailing why he is voting for Barack Obama. The particulars involving the sins of the Bush administration and the details as to our country's present perilous condition are well-known. But Sullivan succinctly ties them together in all their gory perversity to argue that McCain offers more of the same.

Sulllivan speaks of 9/11 and the "war on terror" as that has taken shape in Iraq and Afghanistan. It isn't merely that most of the U.S. military has been trapped "in an unending counter-insurgency in one country [Iraq] where al-Qaeda was weak before 2002," or that "Islamist factions in Pakistan's government are horrifyingly close to nuclear technology," or that "Iran has gained in power and influence in the Middle East..." but that all these things derive from the incompetence and mistakes of our leaders.

"These mistakes," writes Sullivan, "were compounded - and in large part created - by what I believe will one day be seen as the core event of the last eight years: the collapse of constitutional order and the rule of law fomented in a mixture of hubris and laziness by the president himself. It is now indisputable that the president and vice-president of the United States engineered a de facto coup against the constitution after 9/11, declaring themselves above any law, any treaty, and any basic moral norm in their misguided mission to rid the world of evil. ...

"Cheney and Bush, unlike any presidency in American history, have dangerously pushed constitutional government to the brink of collapse. ...

"No economic mismanagement can compare with this attack on the basic institutions of our democracy and the constitution. No incompetence in conducting an occupation can be deemed comparable with this level of criminality and indecency. No reaction to a natural disaster, however hapless and negligent, is as grave as this crime. No financial crisis eclipses it in gravity. The president's oath is to protect the constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. Instead, the president himself became an enemy to the constitution he swore to uphold."

McCain won't do, says Sullivan, for "...in the end, McCain [...] when push came to shove ... acquiesced to the legalization of America's use of the very same torture techniques once used against him. And in this campaign, we have seen how no Republican candidate can escape the logic of bigotry, fanaticism and xenophobia that now grips and motivates the Republican party base."

McCain, says Sullivan, will follow the same road as Bush/Cheney. While in some ways, Obama's policies "are too liberal" for Sullivan, he believes "McCain is not serious on spending. But he is deadly serious on not touching taxes. So, on the core question of debt, on bringing America back to fiscal reason, Obama is still better than McCain."

But, the "task of restoring the rule of law and Constitutional balance" is the most vital thing. "Unlike McCain, Obama has never wavered on torture or habeas corpus or on keeping the executive branch under the law. His deep understanding and awareness of the Constitution eclipses McCain's."

After a long section of why Barack Obama offers a kind of last "hope" for our country, Sullivan concludes with this:

"I endorse Barack Obama because I will not give up on America, because I believe in America, and in her constitution and decency and character and strength."

This is a superb article. Please read it in its entirety here.

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