In the interest of transparency I thought I would offer this guide to my political history & views. Not that any of you should care but it might help people to get where I’m coming from in future posts.
Political background: I’m sort of a Utah Democrat and a California Republican. Which is to say that core Utah Republicans wouldn’t want me and core California Democrats would also chase me out. I think both parties have crazy people that they should keep locked up. I think that Republicans have, in recent years, done a better job of keeping their dementoids and blowhards in the closet (i.e. no one heard a peep out of Tom Delay during the Republican convention while Michael Moore had a seat of honor with Goofy Tooth Carter at the Democratic convention) but that Democrats were far more effective in the 1990s.
My only Capitol Hill experience was in the office of a liberal Bay Area Democrat and my family played a critical role in the election of Bill Orton (the only Democrat to represent the state of Utah in DC in recent memory). On the other hand we have been very supportive of Republican candidates in national elections. I have gradually, over the years, emancipated myself from party loyalties generally.
Markets & Fiscal philosophy: I favor open but managed markets as both more efficient and ultimately more capable of improving the quality of life in developing countries. I believe that government has a responsibility (which it routinely ignores and most egregiously under the Bush administration) to restrain its spending habits.
Environment: I’m a committed conservationist. I’m in favor of federal land grabs if they are protecting natural beauty and open spaces from strip mall expansion and opening it up to public use. I am also skeptical of the more dogmatic claims of the environmental priesthood and wish that there was a more credible center on environmental issues.
Foreign Policy: I’m somewhere between neoliberalism and neoconservatism but I mistrust the neoliberal reliance on talkshops, faux legalities and ineffectual multilateralism. I blame neoliberal inertia and the absurd multilateral impulse to get everyone (China? Oh yeah. Russia? You bet) behind every resolution for the lack of world response in Darfur and the delayed actions against Slobodan Milosevic (which, it should be noted, were ultimately taken without UN approval). I am also wary of the neoconservative impulse to overrate the value of democracy–I am with Fareed Zakaria in believing that liberalism and constitutionalism are necessary preconditions to viable democracy.
I am a bit of a Blairite idealist in that I believe that human rights should be a primary, not a secondary, consideration in shaping foreign policy. And I have never seen any convincing rationale for why the actions of the world’s most transparent and established democracies (the UK, the US and Australia) should be constrained by the “moral” judgement of an organization that hands its podium to the lackeys of every strongman, oligarch or sheikh who happens to have enslaved a country or run a failed state.
So there you have it.