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Reading Noah Millman’s somewhat hair-brained scheme to try to oust President Obama, I found myself asking an unexpected question: Why would a conservative want to oust Obama?

I’ve felt for some time that Obama’s re-election is basically a lock, which makes the above question largely moot, but I realized that for all my time spent reading conservative commentators, I really haven’t seen a coherent conservative critique of Obama’s policy, or an explanation of why electing a Republican in 2012 would better serve conservative principles.  Conor Friedersdorf has criticized Obama’s security state apparatus along libertarian lines, quite validly in my opinion, but he hasn’t made much of a case that any Republican candidate would be better on civil liberties besides Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

I understand the basic logic here, that the Republican party tends to support more conservative policies that the democratic party and that thus, voting for a Republican–any Republican–would advance conservative causes.  But my sense is that:

  1. Contrary to the shrill cries of right-wing media, Obama’s policies really have been quite conservative, especially since the Republican party captured the house.
  2. The republican party is likely to retain the house and to capture the senate.
  3. The Bush presidency was pretty destructive both to the country and to conservativism, especially during periods when the Republican party also controlled the house and senate.
  4. The Republican field is extremely weak, to the extent that the potential nominee could easily be as bad or worse than Bush.

Given these factors, I actually expected thinking conservatives like Millman to simply write off 2012 presidential elections.  Unless there’s a coherent conservative critique of the Obama Administration that I’m not aware of, why fight for the Romney-Perry-Gingrich smorgasbord when the guy in office is doing a pretty solid job?

Update: I may have misread Millman’s post as supporting his hair-brained scheme, as opposed to merely proposing it.  He says he’s likely to back Obama.

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