October 23, 2006

ANDREW SULLIVAN CRITICIZES ME for not voting for Harold Ford, Jr., saying that a libertarian would have supported him.

But Ford voted for the detainee military commissions bill, which Sullivan regards as anathema. And he took a hard-line stance on immigration. As for spending and pork, which Sullivan also mentions, both Ford and his opponent, Bob Corker, say they support spending reforms, porkbusters, and increased transparency. Ford also supports public display of the ten commandments, a ban on flag burning, and says he’s closer to Bush than McCain on military interrogations. I don’t understand Andrew’s views on what constitutes libertarianism but this wouldn’t seem to fit. (According to Wikipedia, Ford also supported a ban on same-sex benefits, and a ban on gay marriage, which makes me wonder what, exactly, makes Andrew so enthusiastic — Ford’s a nice guy, but to suggest that he’s more libertarian on the issues is absurd; by Andrew’s somewhat overexcitable standards he’s a pro-torture, homophobic Christianist!)

As for the “outing” business, I’ll admit that Republicans run on opposition to gay marriage, etc. — but so do Democrats (see John Kerry and Ford, above). And deliberately targeting individuals’ sex lives as a form of political blackmail seems to me to be nastier than policy positions with which, alas, most Americans agree.

Unlike Andrew, I’ve actually paid attention to this race, instead of merely forming phantoms of my own imagining. Which is why I voted as I did. In the meantime, I’ll view his comments on politics with increased skepticism, given the ignorance and inattention on display here.

UPDATE: Frank J. prefers the suggestion of reader Brian Gates, below: “An all Frank J. Congress would be awesome! No one could stop me from filibustering!”

I suppose that would be the true libertarian alternative . . . .

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