Fifty Ways to Leave Obama

The following article originally was published in the September 28, 2009, edition of Grand Junction’s Free Press.

Fifty Ways to Leave Obama

by Linn and Ari Armstrong

“I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free / There must be fifty ways to leave your lover.” — Paul Simon

If you’re a leftist Democrat, you may have started to question your love affair with Barack Obama.

Secularists of the left probably noticed that Obama has ramped up George W. Bush’s program of faith-based welfare, trampling the wall between church and state. Civil libertarians may scratch their heads at Obama’s fervor to extend the PATRIOT Act, and he has hardly been a friend to gay rights.

Pacifists can’t be happy that the military remains in Iraq while the war in Afghanistan flares. Anti-corporate Democrats may wonder why Obama advocates so many billions of dollars for corporate welfare and proposes that the federal government force citizens to buy (politically controlled) products from the insurance industry.

If you’re an honest leftie, Obama’s administration has got to seem in many ways like George W. Bush’s third term.

Obviously conservatives dislike Obama’s anti-energy policies and his plans to increase controls of medicine.

Thankfully, as Obama’s inaugural honeymoon comes to an end, there’s a new book out that offers fifty ways to leave Obama.

The book’s authors, however, are so codependent on the Chosen One that they write as though Obama walks on water — when he’s not changing it to wine. Thus, they titled their book, “50 Ways You Can Help Obama Change America.”

But if you get past the title, you will find that the book is mostly about civic participation. Thus, it might be moderately useful regardless of your political goals. Ironically, the book may prove most useful for those fighting Obama’s policies.

The book is written by Michael Huttner and Jason Salzman. Readers may recall that your younger author Ari and Huttner have had a couple of run-ins in the past. Last year, Huttner tried to go after the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara for saying “bitch slap” on the radio. Caldara was “demeaning women,” Huttner proclaimed. Unfortunately for Huttner, left-wing comments on his own web page used the same phrase, Ari pointed out.

Earlier this year, Huttner went after Michelle Malkin when some random yokel with a sign posed for a photo with Malkin at a rally. The sign inappropriately compared Obama with Nazis. Huttner also blasted gubernatorial hopeful Josh Penry for speaking at the rally, even though neither he nor Malkin had anything to do with the sign.

Again Ari pointed out that many leftists inappropriately compared Bush to Nazis, including posters to Huttner’s own web page.

The lesson in all of this is to adapt Huttner’s political advice with some common sense, lest, like Huttner, you end up looking like a mean-spirited hypocrite.

Though we often disagree with Salzman, we find him to be a more measured and thoughtful activist, and he graciously sent Ari a review copy of the book.

In its policy advice, the book is utterly worthless. For example, on medical policy, the book with apparently straight text cites union statistics on the uninsured and bankruptcy — figures that have been blown out of the water by serious analysts. So just skip the entire first part of the book.

We were initially fearful that you can “help Obama” if you “plant your own garden” or “quit smoking.” Neither of us smokes, and Ari and his wife planted 48 tomato plants this year.

But then we realized that Huttner and Salzman must be growing something special in their gardens if they take their own advice here seriously. “Eating food that’s grown nearby eliminates pollution,” these authors tell us. That’s nonsense: growing a garden requires production of soil, seeds, tools, etc.

Notably, production and distribution of the book also generates pollution, but strangely we found no advice for publishing only ebooks, not paper ones.

Huttner and Salzman also claim to endorse “supporting small farmers.” But doesn’t growing your own food mean you’re not supporting small farmers?

The key point the book misses is that, if you grow your own food, you don’t have to pay taxes on your labor or the produce, and that is surely not helping Obama’s (or Governor Ritter’s) tax-and-spend agenda.

So let’s move on to the serious advice. “Attend a leadership training.” We agree! Some of our friends attend Liberty Toastmasters, People’s Press Collective technology training, and the Leadership Program of the Rockies. Contact legislators and testify at hearings.

“Get news that’s truly fair and balanced.” For instance, read and, along with this column

“Stage or attend a rally, media event, or protest.” while the left obviously hates it when free-market advocates take to the streets, we fully endorse peaceful, civil protest.

We’ve followed a lot of the book’s advice in fighting Obama’s agenda of political controls. We urge you to do the same.

“Slip out the back, Jack / Make a new plan, Stan… Just drop off the key, Lee / And get yourself free.”

Linn Armstrong is a local political activist and firearms instructor with the Grand Valley Training Club. His son, Ari, edits from the Denver area.