Posted at LP.org by Andrew Davis
Today’s “Monday Message” is primarily one for President-Elect Barack Obama. Though the Bush administration, which has undoubtedly been one of the worst in American history, will be leaving office on Jan. 20, there is little room for celebration as Obama looks to take over as commander-in-chief.
Obama’s attitude towards wealth, the marketplace and economics is reason enough to worry about his administration in this extremely fragile economy. But, there are other areas where Obama must tread with care if he wishes to follow the Constitution and foster an environment of liberty that has been lacking these last eight years.
Therefore, the Libertarian Party wishes Obama the best of luck, and offers him the following suggestions for his presidency in the following areas:
* Civil Liberties:
This is one area where we thought Obama could bring real change to the table following the Bush administration, which held the protection of civil liberties about as high as they regarded things like the flu and traffic jams. However, when Obama’s feet were put to the fire, Obama sold out and capitulated to the enemies of freedom during the reauthorization of the Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
It’s not unjustified to be skeptical of Obama when it comes to upholding civil liberties.
If Obama looks to separate himself from the Bush administration, he should—and must—work to undue the legislation of the last eight years that have left Americans incredibly vulnerable to government surveillance and spying. We must have our liberty restored and the despotic surveillance tactics of the “War on Terror” abolished.
Secondly, Obama must not use the Department of Justice as a tool to bend and break the law as he sees fit, as the Bush administration frequently did. The DOJ has much work to do to rebuild its reputation with the American public, and it can start with the Obama administration.
* Economic Freedom:
The necessity to defend and protect the marketplace from regulation and interference by the government is key to the long-term prosperity of the nation. This point cannot be stressed enough.
The Bush administration believed it had a right and duty to get involved in the economy when they thought it wasn’t working to their standards. Instead of letting the market work out its problems, Bush got involved and turned a bad situation into a worse one.
Obama should take a hands-off approach to the economy, stepping in only to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. Any attempt to “redistribute” the wealth through regulation or taxation should be avoided at all costs. If this is attempted, it will have dire consequences for the economy.
* Social Freedom:
Usually you don’t have to jump on Democrats about protecting social freedom, but as of late, Democrats have increasingly become more heavy-handed when it comes to personal choice in people’s lives.
The “global warming” hysteria and push for more regulation of Americans’ diets has put Democrats in the same corner as those who seek to institute moral standards through government regulation.
Obama must buck this new trend by Democrats and work to protect individual choice—even if it seems like the government needs to help people make these decisions. Obama can also take this opportunity to reform national laws that make victimless crimes a federal matter.
* The War:
This has to be one of the most obvious areas for improvement, yet one are that Democrats have consistently failed in since regaining control of Congress in 2006.
The power to end the war in Iraq is now in the hands of Obama. He also has a power to finally end what we began in Afghanistan long before we began military action in Iraq. What he must do is avoid moving troops from one theater to the other instead of simply bringing the troops home.
It is time for Obama and Democrats to follow through with earlier promises.
If Obama takes all of these suggestions, we will have one of the best presidencies in American history. If he takes none, then we will surely see times far darker than those under the Bush administration.
In all likelihood, we will see improvements over the Bush administration in some areas, and setbacks in others. This is why it is paramount that the Libertarian Party be a strong, shining beacon of liberty for all Americans looking for true change from the last eight years.
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