A Libertarian’s Hopes for Obama’s Second Term

Let’s face it, the Obama Administration has pretty much been a continuation of the Bush years.  In Obama’s first four years in office, Americans continued to give up constitutional rights with renewal of the Patriot Act, enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act, and the institution of a presidential “kill” list.  Our foreign policy was just as interventionist if not more under Obama as he increased troop levels (the “surge”) in Afghanistan, increased drone bombings in Pakistan and Yemen, and invaded Libya under the pretext of imposing a “no-fly zone” to protect Libyan civilians from Qaddafi’s air force.  Lastly, the corporate bailouts, economic stimulus boondoggles, and the Ben Bernanke regime at the Federal Reserve all continued under Obama.  And to think in 2008 that candidate Obama promised Americans “Hope and Change”.

With the recent “referendum” on Obama’s performance, also known as the 2012 Presidential Election, now behind us, the American people have spoken, well sort of, and have granted Barack Obama four more years as president.  Of course, in that election, like all presidential elections since at least 1960, the two publicized choices for the American people were Establishment Frontman A versus Establishment Frontman B.

The point is that Romney would be no better than Obama at being president.  Neither man respects constitutional rights, has a foreign policy that puts Americans first, or has any clue about economics.  Both became the nominees of their respective parties because they represent the status quo – a status quo which has made several influential players and industries a lot of money over the years.

But, I am trying to look on the bright side of things.  Granted that “side” is a sliver and any brightness in it is shadowed by a federal government that under Obama has gotten huge to the point of absurdity

So here goes – three hopes that I have for Obama’s second term that I think have a reasonable chance of happening because he doesn’t have to run for reelection and as president he can do them without congressional support:

Direct the Justice Department to Nullify Federal Marijuana Laws

In a memo sent out in 2009 from the Obama Justice Department to federal prosecutors, the Administration was giving prosecutors wide discretion in determining which medical marijuana cases to pursue and which to ignore based on their interpretation of state not federal laws.  This gave many hope as it appeared that violators of federal drug laws would not be prosecuted as long as they stayed within the bounds of their own state’s law.  As reelection time rolled around, the Administration tightened its stance against pot distributors.

Given Obama’s initial leniency on pot, the fact that he will never run in another election again, and with Colorado and Washington legalizing recreational marijuana, could the time be ripe for the Administration to direct federal prosecutors to ignore federal marijuana laws and not prosecute violators? 

Close the Guantanamo Bay Prisoner of War Camp

Indefinite detention is not only illegal in our system of justice, it causes more harm than good.  As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh has indicated, if prisoners at Gitmo weren’t terrorists when they entered, they are now.

By closing Gitmo, Obama could save lots of money and improve America’s image in the world.  This was an unfulfilled promise of his first term.  Now, with no possibility that neo-conservatives will use the issue to scare Americans into preventing his re-election, there is no reason this can’t become a reality.

Meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

In Obama’s second term, he should fulfill his offer made in 2007 to meet with Ahmadinejad.  He should meet with him to chart a way forward away from what would be a destructive war for both sides.  Concessions would have to be made on both sides.  It’s hard to say what Iran would ask for in exchange for discontinuing its nuclear program, but Obama does have more than 40 U.S. military bases surrounding Iran to negotiate with.

So there you have it.  Three hopes for a second Obama term for a libertarian.  It’s not much, but just these three things would protect rights, go a long ways toward the promise of America, and make us safer.  Given that, I probably just put the kiss of death on any possibility of these things happening.


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