By Scott Tibbs, November 17, 2008
There has been much said about supporting President-elect Barack Obama as the new administration takes office, in the spirit of bipartisanship. A caller to the WGCL Afternoon Edition a couple days after the election suggested that was the "patriotic" thing to do and invoked September 11 as a reason we should all be united. To this I say "hogwash".
People who have fundamental philosophical disagreements with Obama on public policy should not be expected to be silent when Obama proposes policies that we think are ineffective or destructive. I do not expect Democrats in Indiana to support Mitch Daniels in the spirit of "bipartisanship", even after he was re-elected with 57.8% of the vote on November 4. I expect both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, to continue advocating for the direction of public policy that they believe is best for the country, and to continue to explain why policies they disagree with are misguided.
However, in the spirit of bipartisanship, here are two areas where I am hopeful for an Obama administration.
#1. U.S. foreign policy
Five years after the invasion of Iraq, I came to the conclusion that this war was a mistake. While I am not a pacifist, I believe military force should be the last resort after all other options have been exhausted. Obama made a campaign promise to end the war. I hope that can be done, and done in a way that allows Iraq to be prosperous and secure after American troops leave. While Obama has talked tough about Iran, I hope his administration will be a bit less aggressive on foreign policy than the Bush Administration has been.
#2. Civil liberties
One of the problems I had with the Bush Administration right away was that the administration did not place a high enough priority on civil liberties. I opposed the Patriot Act from the beginning, and have expressed concern about the Bush Administration's other programs. Hopefully, some of this will be addressed with Democrats in control. I also hope that concerns for civil rights in the War on Terror will also be applied to the War on Drugs, and crime fighting in general. I need only mention the name "Mike Nifong" to point out the potential for abuse of power that has been facilitated by politicians fearful of being labeled as "soft on crime".
I will disagree with most of President-elect Obama's policies and I expect to harshly criticize him on many occasions over the next four years. However, on the rare occasions where I believe he is right, I will not hesitate to publicly support his policies.