Progressives are likely to think, "I'm glad we have this common ground but we are worried that what you want to do is get our votes and then gut social security, medicare, and the rest of the New Deal and Great Society. Obama is far from perfect but at least he has begun a significant draw down in Iraq and is starting a reversal in Afghanistan. We would rather take the chance that America sees the Republican party for what it really is in 2012, and once an anti-war, progressive congress is in place, you can come on board and help us to roll back the military industrial complex and restore our civil liberties."
I am apt to agree with libertarians that Obama's track record represents who he will be until 2016. He is going to keep a significant force in Iraq, many of them hidden as military contractors. He is also likely to continue a counter terrorism strategy in Pakistan and nation building in Afghanistan. He has shown no signs of wanting to draw down forces in the other 400 plus foreign bases. Heaven help us if he gets inspired by winning in Libya.
Even if Obama's wishes are more progressive than his policies, he needs 60 progressive Senators to get anything progressive done. Unfortunately, the American people are not likely to give progressives a bigger victory in 2012 than they did in 2008.
Libertarians may shake their heads and throw up there hands given progressives' unrealistic hopefulness toward President Obama. That's also understandable but rather than stick with the same selfish game of flirtation liberals and libertarians have been at with each other for decades, why not offer a little bit more incentive?
Ron Paul's transition plan offers a template of how to reach out beyond the usual "do it my way and you'll be happy" game, and I suspect that he is willing to tweak it a bit to get the nation where he wants it to be in 2016. The tweak he needs is to expand on what that 50% of savings can be spent on. He opens the door by saying he is willing to use it for entitlements. If he promises not to veto any bill that uses it for other domestic purposes such as block grant funding to states and localities for green projects, he will awaken multitudes of progressives who are beginning to see that Obama will not or cannot provide the funding the peaceful green economy needs.
Rather than avoiding the tricky economic issues so as to be a good host, Koerner and other hosts who long for the libertarian utopia ought to take a cue from Ron Paul's realistic side. The principle is: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A good coalition economic agreement might look something like this:
During Ron Paul's 2013-2017 presidential term, we want to see an annual average of 1 trillion dollars reallocated from projected spending on war, military, security, drug wars, foreign military bases, etc. Half of this must be used to pay down national debt. The other half must be spent on social security, medicare, medicaid, green infrastructure or block grants to states based on population. Any new revenues arising from tax reform or economic growth must also be used to pay down national debt. Cost of living increases for entitlements must be granted throughout these 4 years. Any other savings from reductions in spending must be apportioned in the same manner as above.
Such a coalition covenant does not have to extend beyond 4 years. It would significantly reduce the overall size of government in accordance with Ron Paul's transition plan. It provides for an honest conversation about real tax reform. According to both libertarian and progressive economic thinking, it should create jobs on a much larger scale than is happening now. It likely puts the alternative before America of a truly libertarian plan versus a truly progressive plan in 2016 instead of the same old rerun of liberal corporatist against conservative corporatist.
Keep at the nice talk about what we already agree on and libertarian hosts will win a few of us over but not enough to get Ron Paul the nomination. Just think if the same coalition covenant were proposed by Bernie Sanders against Mitt Romney. Surely you would support the socialist while holding out hope for better things in 2016.