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:
- 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.
- The republican party is likely to retain the house and to capture the senate.
- 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.
- 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.