The Foreign-Policy Advantages of Obama as Bush III

Coming Anarchy, Phatic Communion, Soob, Tom Barnett, Weekly Standard, and zenpundit have thematically similar posts that boil down to a a discussion of America’s relatively talentless political class.

This is a good thing.

The most ambitious should be in the business of creating wealth, not redistributing it. I trust the emergent qualities of a free market a lot more than I trust the best plans in the world as far as it comes to global growth and global betterment. On a large scale, the role of government is exception handling, and I want those exceptions handled as smoothly (which means with as little divergence from the global system) as possible.

We’ve had about nine years of this style of leadership now (from the Seattle Riots to the Bush Administration). An Obama administration promises to continue this. Obam as Bush III is my kind of Obama: a long way down from the politician I once thought he was, but much better than I think many critics give him credit for.

An Obama Presidency offers a reasonable hope in the Establishment: a vote for Obama is a vote for the status-quo. As the status-quo is one of the best in world history, that’s a solid argument.

As it relates to Obama, many commentators are now raising the hope that Obama will be bureaucratically captured in the same way that Petreaues and Gates were. Even better for us, Obama will have little operational control over what actually happens.

John McCain, on the other hand, pushes well thought out ideas, eve if they are politically unpopular. This is dangerous. We had a good original thinker with Bill Clinton. But before Clinton, the last major American figures who were smart and energetic when it comes to economics were also disasterous and downright anti-Constitutional.

Great men make great mistakes. Weak men go with the flow. Sometimes it’s better to go with the flow.

McCain Flip-Flows Toward Truth

Nice that John McCain now supports expanding offshore drilling. I like it when politicians go my way, such as McCain on this or Obama on trade. With this new position, McCain makes up for any ground he lost by Obama’s good move:

The Weekly Standard
Congressional Democrats are attacking McCain for flip-flopping on offshore drilling:

“This week’s flip-flop on offshore oil drilling by President Bush and Senator John McCain is nothing more than a cynical campaign ploy that will do nothing to lower energy prices and represents another big giveaway to oil companies already making billions in profits,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

That might be an effective attack–if so many voters hadn’t flip-flopped on the issue themselves. As Jonathan Martin reports:

A veteran of Florida politics who is not tied to Crist says the gas price-driven poll numbers justify the drilling flip-flop (justify in the political sense, that is):

“[After many years working in the state], I would have told you that it was the single issue that would never, ever, ever change. Ev-uh,” says the source.

But “somewhere between $3.00 and $4.00, the [poll] number literally flipped upside down.”

Offshore drilling has a marginal economic value, but it’s real value (pace Shlock) is strategic. Expanded domestic production is a form of expanding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, protecting the US from world shocks in supply.

As Catholicgauze notes, expanding US production of petroleum complements US production of ethanol, US production of gasoline, and other projects as part of diversifying a weak link in our economy. It is good that McCain sees a least part of this.