The Obama Option

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 17 2007 @ 9:41am

Obamascottmorgangetty

I haven’t pretended he isn’t a liberal. But a small-c conservative can consider backing a liberal if all the viable "conservatives" are corrupt, divisive, shallow, in hock to religious fanatics or palpably unserious about national security. So far, that roughly describes the GOP candidates (excepting Paul and McCain). Hell, I was forced to endorse Kerry last time. Not because I like Kerry, or even agree with him on most issues. But when you have an unhinged, incompetent fanatic in power, unable to recognize let alone govern reality, sometimes you have to pick the least worst option. And when the "conservatives" explode entitlements, lose wars, legalize torture, violate the Constitution or abuse it for electioneering, what’s a real conservative supposed to do? Sometimes, punishing a party for its betrayal of core principles is a necessary act of cleansing.

Besides, I think two parties are important to the health of a democracy, and any political commenter who rules out every candidate of one party in advance is not being open-minded. We’re in a war we have to win. We have a constitution to defend. Those are my acting premises and guiding principles. Given that, I’m not sure we can afford more of this Republican recklessness and incompetence in foreign affairs – let alone their big government nannying and trashing of the rule of law at home. I see no reason to believe that Romney or Giuliani or Thompson are serious about national security. None has told us what they’d do in Iraq now. And hyper-ventilating about "offense" and torturing our way to victory is a mark of deep, deep unseriousness. Any candidate who can pledge to "double Gitmo" has forfeited the support of informed people. If Giuliani is elected, I don’t think the Constitution will survive another terror attack. It’s really that simple.

If Clinton is the nominee, of course, a lot changes. A lot of people will be forced to return to the GOP and struggle against most odds from within. So Obama is very much on the table. He has to be, by default. I’m reading; I’ve been observing; I’m researching more. That’s all. Could any Democrat have spent and borrowed more than Bush? Could any Democrat have damaged national security more than Bush and Cheney? This guy gets my drift.

(Photo: Scott Morgan/Getty.)