This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Michigan and Florida

In the extremely unlikely event that anyone on the Rules Committee is reading this prior to debating, let me offer a few thoughts about today's deliberations.

First, Florida and Michigan should be treated in the same way. If Florida loses half of its delegates, Michigan should too. It would seem that the Charter provision requiring that half of the delegates be excluded is correct in both cases. DNC members should be seated, while non-DNC superdelegates should receive half a vote.

Second, on the matter of splitting Michigan, the Michigan party approach is correct. The best answer is to split the difference between the Obama 50-50 split and the Clinton position that the delegates breakdown should reflect the votes cast. Given a 50% split in the delegate total, this would give Obama 30 pledged delegates and Clinton 34 pledged delegates (rounding to the nearest even digit). In Florida, splitting the delegations as votes are cast would be 40 for Obama and 52 for Clinton.

This doesn't do much for Hillary, but it does settle this fairly.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Is a League of Democracies Enough?

Jackson Diehl writes in today's Washington Post about how John McCain's "League of Democracies" has liberal roots. This concept also has its Neocon roots in the work of Aaron Wildavsky and Max Singer in their book The Real World Order. They propose an almost Bismarkian hybrid of representation by population and representation by a factor of GDP and would give democracies much greater weight. I have a different proposal along these lines, but it goes a bit farther than a league of sovereign states.

First, I would create regional governments within the larger nations in NATO (the U.S., Germany, France, UK) and give each region a great deal of autonomy on taxation, spending and regulation. The national and later allied government would coin and print money, suggest economic policy to the regions, homogonize regulation by regional consensus, regulate joint military affairs with a singe commander-in-chief and executive, deal with environmental issues and oversee equal protection rights vis-a-vis regional and sub-regional (state and provincial) governments, as well as human rights violations by employers. It would have an allied judiciary and directly elected legislators - 2 per region. The chief executive would be chosen by an Allied College consisting of the legislature and the chief executives of each region.

Most importantly, nations would not be allowed to join unless they actually adopted the same level of individual liberty as found in the U.S. and Europe. In essence, we would be joining the EU as 7 member states and insisting that it adopt a more federalist government than it currently has.

I don't think McCain will go that far - however I am not sure the rest of the alliance has much patience for the U.S. and NATO if we do not eventually go down that road.

The Democratic Race

In what is now ancient news, the AP reported last week that even with Florida and Michigan, Senator Clinton is behind in the delegate count, albeit in a closer race. Let's do the math.

First, the pledged delegates:

Obama 1596, Clinton 1439

Then, add the 17 Edwards delegates to the Obama total.

Obama 1613, Clinton 1439

Give Florida all its delegates and count its primary, but give Obama the Edwards delegates.

Obama 1693, Clinton 1544

Next, honor the Michigan party proposal to give Clinton 69 and Obama 59.

Obama 1752, Clinton 1613

As you can see, including these delegations only closes the gap by 35 votes.

Now add the Super Delegates:

Obama 2045, Clinton 1885

Adding back Florida and Michigan in this way makes the number needed 2182.

For Hillary Clinton, that means she must pick up 297 delegates compared to 137 for Obama. If Obama wins Oregon tomorrow and wins even a quarter of the Kentucky vote, the math is pretty insurmountable - especially if the Superdelegates decide enough is enough.

Obama has already stated he will not declare victory on Wednesday. He doesn't have to. We can count. While the Superdelegates can always change their mind until August, they likely won't, especially given the likely victory by Obama in the pledged delegate race. It will be up to the Senator from New York to state the obvious.

California's Marriage Decision

E.J. Dionne opines in todays Washington Post that it is good that the majority will ultimately vote on the California Marriage issue and hopes that they vote to affirm it.

I don't share his optimism on the ability of legislative majorities to respect the rights of minorities. Some things should not be put to a vote. Ultimately, this will turn into a federal equal protection question - I am frankly surprised that it has not already.

Should the California voters not agree with E.J., the matter will eventually go to the Supreme Court. When it does, even Justice Scalia will have to agree that equal protection is equal protection - especially in the California case, opening up the spectre of a federal marriage amendment or even the call to a constitutional convention on a variety of conservative hot button issues from taxation to abortion.

Time will tell.