Monday, July 20, 2009

No Room For Reason

Reason's Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie have a column in this weekend's Washington Post urging President Obama to avoid the trappings of the Jimmy Carter presidency and try and be a little more like Bill Clinton. Having read both Welch and Gillespie for a number of years, this comes across as a relatively tame piece as far as libertarians go, designed to appeal to the broader audience of the politically disaffected.

That, of course, didn't stop the Obama attack dogs from ravaging the comment section with baseless attacks and pointless defenses. I got through about half of the comments and I think I get the gist. Welch and Gillespie, lifelong libertarians who hated the Bush presidency, are described as Republican hacks. Many commenters ask why Welch and Gillespie didn't write such scathing attacks of the Bush administration, without bothering to check and see that, yes, they have numerous pieces to their resumes critical of Bush.

But the best were the spirited defenses of Obama, essentially arguing style over substance in pointing out that at least Obama is an articulate leader talking about important issues.

I'm sure I'm not the first to say it, but partisan party politics has so poisoned the political debate that there's no room left for reason. That's not to say there aren't honest conservatives and honest liberals out there, who understand opposing arguments and can find faults in their own political allies, but those sorts of honest thinkers are becoming harder and harder to find.


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