Now that the election is over and Obama has beaten McCain, now that the inauguration is over and Obama has replaced Bush, the question for libertarians is "now what?"
There are several things that a lover of liberty must do now that the socialist and reluctant warmonger beat the warmongers and reluctant socialists.
First, it is important to keep pressure on the Democrats to remember that one of the reasons Obama won their support was because he was allegedly the peace candidate. Granted that compared to McCain in the general election or Clinton in the Democratic primary he does appear to be a peace candidate, but compared to actual peace candidates like Paul or Kucinich he’s very much a hawk.
Pressure must be kept on the Democrats to actually work to disengage militarily. During the next year they are going to discover that they do like war after all, because the President leading the war effort is of their party instead of the other party. The appointment of Rahm Emmanuel to Chief of Staff is disturbing because it shows the process is already underway.
Second, all libertarians should prepare for when Obama (and a compliant congress) tries to introduce Universal Health Care or some other version of Socialist Medicine. It may even be necessary to work with the underdog Republicans on this. A necessary step for the Democrats to take if they want to implement this will be to change the cloture rules so that the Republicans cannot filibuster the proposal. Loudly and publicly proclaim any tinkering with the cloture rules to be a power grab and vociferously denounce it.
Third, be prepared to oppose calls for national service. Obama already wants us to perform national service simply in order to graduate from high school. His Chief of Staff has different plan for forcing everyone to do community service, and it is even less voluntary than the allegedly voluntary plan of Obama.
Fourth, many Obama supporters believed he was going to act in direct contrast to his record on issues other than the war, on issues like the USAPATRIOT Act and FISA Amendment, the Wall Street Crisis, and NAFTA, as well as a few others where (perhaps by accident) Obama was actually right and his supporters still believed he held the opposite view. Every time Obama acts in a manner consistent with Obama's record but inconsistent with how his supporters thought he would act is another moment to say "see I told you so." It will not likely work as on each of those positions his supporters will discover that the position Obama actually supports was what they supported all along, just like Oceana was always at war with EastAsia.
Fifth, the Republicans are busy trying to figure out where they went wrong. Be sure to tell them that they had a candidate who could have beaten Obama, and they wouldn’t even count his votes at the convention. Be sure to remind the local Republican organizations about that. Send them the message "don't blame me, I voted Paul in the primary." Even if it isn't true it should be said. Many libertarians didn't switch to the Republicans but instead cast primary votes Ruwart or Kubby or Root or Barr. It should still be said because all Republicans need to hear that.
Sixth, work should not stop on trying to open up the electoral process, a task that is never finished.
Seventh, there will be an effort by Democrats to blame the depression on a hypothetical laissez faire attitue of Bush that must be countered at every turn. Do not allow anyone to describe the financial meltdown as the result of deregulation as Hoover leaves office and Roosevelt enters office.
Finally, never forget to ask the Reform Caucus where are the additional votes Barr was supposed to deliver.
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