Should progressives vote for Obama?

Tomorrow is decision day in the U.S.A. The nation elects its new president, or at least, chooses among the choices on offer.

Earlier I called this a “Rorschach test election” for Democrats. It’s also a strategy election — progressives can completely agree on the facts in front of us, and still disagree about what to do and about what strategy is best given those facts.

As I read it, this is the state of the current progressive discussion — that the disagreement is mainly about strategy, and that good progressive brothers and sisters are on both sides of the disagreement. Do you vote for Obama strategically? Some, like Sam Seder, Noam Chomsky and a number of others, say Yes And Yes. As in, Yes he’s Evil (my phrase), and Yes he’s clearly the Lesser Evil. Others, like John Cusack and Matt Stoller below, say No — voting for Obama means no change in the Democratic party, no real change for the country, and/or no, he offends my conscience.

Either way, note that neither group differs in their analysis, just in what to do. (A third group, the “O-bots” — people who don’t at all get what’s wrong with Obama — are for me not part of this discussion. They have nothing to contribute that’s not contributed by progressives with working eyes.)

transcript of romney obama second presidential debateThat’s said, I want to point out two specific and offsetting items of analysis. I think both writers quoted below make true statements. The first is Matt Stoller’s recent Salon piece — “The Progressive Case Against Obama” — which has caused some stir, not for its analysis but for its recommendation. I won’t speak to the recommendation, just the analysis.

The second is an email correspondent, one of many, who hits the case against Romney on the its head.

What Obama is doing to the economy

Matt Stoller’s Salon article relates to Obama’s domestic policy, not his foreign policy, on which I’ve said much. Even with that limitation there’s still much to say. Let’s start with Stoller’s recommendation, which he places up-front:

A few days ago, I participated in a debate with the legendary antiwar dissident Daniel Ellsberg on Huffington Post live on the merits of the Obama administration, and what progressives should do on Election Day. Ellsberg had written a blog post arguing that, though Obama deserves tremendous criticism, voters in swing states ought to vote for him, lest they operate as dupes for a far more malevolent Republican Party. This attitude is relatively pervasive among Democrats, and it deserves a genuine response. As the election is fast approaching, this piece is an attempt at laying out the progressive case for why one should not vote for Barack Obama for reelection, even if you are in a swing state.

The reason is expressed in his subtitle:

Bottom line: The president is complicit in creating an increasingly unequal — and unjust — society

Looking at the reasoning behind the recommendation, I was especially struck by the following:

Many Democrats are disappointed in Obama. Some feel he’s a good president with a bad Congress. Some feel he’s a good man, trying to do the right thing, but not bold enough. Others think it’s just the system, that anyone would do what he did. I will get to each of these sentiments, and pragmatic questions around the election, but I think it’s important to be grounded in policy outcomes. Not, what did Obama try to do, in his heart of hearts? But what kind of America has he actually delivered? And the chart below answers the question. This chart reflects the progressive case against Obama.

Here’s that chart (the original image was small so I double-sized it; click to view it at 100% size) …

… about which he then says (emphasis and some reparagraphing mine):

The above is a chart of corporate profits against the main store of savings for most Americans who have savings — home equity.

Notice that after the crisis, after the Obama inflection point, corporate profits recovered dramatically and surpassed previous highs, whereas home equity levels have remained static. That $5-7 trillion of lost savings did not come back, whereas financial assets and corporate profits did.

Also notice that this is unprecedented in postwar history. Home equity levels and corporate profits have simply never diverged in this way; what was good for GM had always, until recently, been good, if not for America, for the balance sheet of homeowners. Obama’s policies severed this link, completely.

This split represents more than money. It represents a new kind of politics, one where Obama, and yes, he did this, officially enshrined rights for the elite in our constitutional order and removed rights from everyone else (see “The Housing Crash and the End of American Citizenship” in the Fordham Urban Law Journal for a more complete discussion of the problem). The bailouts and the associated Federal Reserve actions were not primarily shifts of funds to bankers; they were a guarantee that property rights for a certain class of creditors were immune from challenge or market forces. The foreclosure crisis, with its rampant criminality, predatory lending, and document forgeries, represents the flip side. Property rights for debtors simply increasingly exist solely at the pleasure of the powerful.

Pause to think about this. Obama has not just enshrined no Rule-of-Law for the Rich (Our Betters). He has created two kinds of property right — one for the Rich, who can never lose; and one for the Rest, who can never win. The graph you’re looking at above shows that the property-right-transfer has already happened.

When banks were bailed while mortgages failed, the new order was ordained. When bankers weren’t jailed, those newly split rights were enshrined in our “living Constitution” — the one we actually live by.

I wrote before that every property “right” starts with a theft. Also that property rights aren’t inherent, but granted by the social order. This is a perfect example, and the Rich are uncharacteristically making the point for us (normally it they crying foul when prop rights are violated).

Warrior Obama — he with Bin Laden’s head on the point of his spear and drone-strikes in his eyes — may not be your cup of tea. This is Domestic Obama — also problematical. For more, read the rest of Stoller’s piece.

The case against Romney

It’s entirely fair to note that the information above will not change under either of the two mainstream parties — the MoveCon–”Americans for Prosperity” (AFP) Republicans or the Clintonite–Rubinesque NeoLib Democrats. In fact, under one of them, you could argue that the situation will get far worse far faster. Not the dreamiest of choices.

My email correspondent makes this point, and more, in the strongest of terms. Note that he starts from Matt Stoller’s piece and moves on (my emphasis):

I think Matt Stoller made the point in other places and could have added it here: Obama is to the Grand Bargain as Nixon is to China. When Bush tried to privatize Social Security, Democrats had a clear path. Protecting the program was smart politically, so they stepped up, notwithstanding any pressures they may have felt from the the Pete Petersons of the world.

That said, I’m not with Stoller here. …

Romney means: the return of a Civil Rights Commission that protects white people’s civil rights… A Department of Labor that protects capital without even a pretense otherwise. An EPA and Department of the Interior turned over to oil and gas executives and mine owners. It’ll be run by people so lacking anything resembling moral fiber that they’ll lie to first-responders about the air they are breathing and look the other way while oil rig inspectors accept cocaine and prostitutes from rig managers, who, in turn, write their own inspection results.

I’m not sure what the answer is, because I don’t want my vote taken as an endorsement of oligarchy, unitary executive, and capital punishment by presidential fiat. But I have to play the percentages, and they tell me more people will suffer and die, in both short and long terms, as a result of a Romney presidency. And live in VA, where my vote counts.

Put everything together, and I think it’d be immoral for me to increase the chances of a Romney victory.

There’s much more he could have said. He could have mentioned that which some dare call treason in the winning of the 1980 election (October surprise plus Iran-Contra, two phases of the same op in my opinion). He could have mentioned what AFP–owned office-holders are doing in the Radical Republican states of Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and said what I’ve said, that’s these governors and legislatures are templates for the next Republican administration. He could have brought up Grover Norquist and his infamous “working digits”.

He could even bring up the post-Sandy shock-doctrine privatization scheme being worked on as you read this. (Yep, post-Sandy privatization; do click.)

Needless to say, the case against Romney is a strong one. But strong enough to pull the lever for Obama? That’s for you to decide.

It’s you and your conscience

So there it stands. You can vote for Obama, for Romney, or do something else. If you do something else (third party, stay home), you are accepting the ascension of the winner. There is no opting out of this responsibility. Until they take away your vote, you have one, whatever you choose to do with it.

I don’t in any way judge what you do or envy you this choice. I just want to lay down the markers. Good luck.

GP

To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     So is yours Obot—-The EC elects the President.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Thank you—absolutely right.

  • FLL

    Maybe the law in Florida changed recently, but this time around, anyone can get an absentee ballot, out-of-state or in-state. I had an absentee ballot mailed to my address in Fort Lauderdale, and many people that I know here did the same because they knew that the lines during the one-week-only early voting period would be long. The early voting on Sunday was madness, with people waiting in line for up to 6 hours and one location finishing up at 1 am. Rick Scott refused to extend hours or days for early voting. Even Chimpy’s slimebag brother, Jeb Bush, extended voting hours and days to deal with long lines when he was Florida governor. I don’t use the word often, but Rick Scott is definitely a sociopath.

    Your question about why relatively poor people vote Republican is interesting. I wonder that myself sometimes. They know they are voting against their economic interest, so that’s not the reason. Even though they deny it, they know climate change is happening, and they realize that voting for a party that’s in the pocket of Big Oil is a bad idea, so that’s not the reason. By the process of elimination, there’s only one thing left. Either they think black people will get too uppity (which is relevant only during Obama’s term), or they think gay and bisexual men will get too uppity (which is relevant during any Democratic president’s term). These non-rich Republican voters are actually willing to throw the baby out with the bath water just to assuage their racial resentments or their sexual insecurities. I have a suspicion that when marriage equality and federal ENDA are in place, a lot of people who now vote mainstream Republican will switch to candidates that better serve their interests. What a strange way to save democracy: Tell people that the government will no longer cater to their sexual resentments, so they may as well start voting for sane economic and environmental policies. Oh, what a world, what a world.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Credit? for what?

  • JamesR

    Thanks FLL! We have had our disagreements, reasoned differences, but also agreements, common ground.  I enjoy reading what you post either way. And like this too if it’s not too self-serving LOL

    You raise a most excellent point when you talk, repeatedly, about Governor Scott. The word “insane,” “Sociopath,” and “criminal” are words tossed around casually at times. In Scott’s case it’s literally true and that fact must never be forgotten, and as frequently explained as possible. People roll their eyes when the State of Florida gets mentioned, I remind people what it’s like living there – that real people live there – that most all of them do not deserve what they’ve got.

    I am a legal Florida resident. Living out of state a lot, but still a resident. As Florida does… And from my perspective voting has been extraordinarily easy! Perhaps it’s because those who arrange such things or arrange to interfere with such things figure those who are out of state or snowbirds are most likely to have more money, be White, be Republican, who knows? Or mebbe they just haven’t gotten around to fucking with that yet. But either way, I was able to go online (I’d post the link but it’s a bit late, and you can Google for it) and found my registration still valid, not purged, and when I realized I wouldn’t be able to make it back when I thought and that early voting hours were cut there’d be krazy lines, I applied SO EASILY on line for my absentee ballot – just a few weeks ago – and it arrived within a week. [Florida will only mail an absentee ballot out of state, not in-state.] It was, of course, filled with ALEC inspired bullshit amendments but I was able to understand them and deal with them, though as an aside it made me truly wonder how they translated into Kreole of all languages and how a Kreole speaker would interpret them, GoodGod. I filled it out and the only inconvenience was it had to be IN the office by today so I express mailed it. $18 well spent, and my responsibility for acting so late.

    I had thought that Romney would be losing better by now. That those with the most skin ($) in the game would be / are much more secure with Obama at the helm, and happy also he does everything they want – and they can blame him too! Perfect. For them. BUT I fear it’s just gotten out of control and too many people have become too infatuated with their first crush on Mittens, and the apparatchiks who were supposed to be tepid and allow failure have thought they’ve smelled blood and got competitive and went for it anyway. Like those fictional vampire characters who feed off someone but planned to stop in order to keep the food alive but just get carried away and can’t stop.

    Who the Fuck knows!? All I can say is that it’s Romney who made Obama’s case. Romney being Romney. All the various Romneys he’s been is and will be. They are all so fucked up Krazy on so many levels, it triggered by survival-fear response I am not to proud to admit. In fact those who refuse to act on fear – real survival-threat fear, that’s appropriate and a sign of mental health and conscious awareness of surroundings – those who cannot or who not react to fear are living in a world they wish to live in rather than the world they do live in. Like the majority of Republican voters who vote like they’re rich rather than acknowledging that they’re in fact POOR and getting poorer thanks to vultures like Romney.

    Some see America as they wish it to be, and take any criticism or blemish pointed out as an attack. They react, and are manipulatable.

    Some see America as it IS so we know what to work on to make it what it should be. We act, and in time and by example will be joined. If we survive. God willing and da creek don’t rise and if the vote isn’t stolen by more than 3%  by the Repuke owned proprietary electronic vote stealing devices.

  • FLL

    I’m so very sure that “one hundred years down the line” sounds like a comic punch line to most Americans since real people would be hurt a great deal more under Romney than under Obama. If you give Romney a helping hand into the White House, what makes you so sure that American democracy will still be functional “one hundred years down the line”? Look at what the Republican governor of Florida is doing to destroy the electoral process in Florida. Get Romney into the White House, and that may become the norm in the U.S. If I were you, I’d drop the line about “one hundred years down the line” unless your going for humor, which I don’t think you are.

  • FLL

    Yours is the most thoughtful comment I’ve read on this thread (or many other threads), and I thank you for writing it. As you know, I haven’t always agreed with every specific point of your posts in the past, but you’ve nailed the most important issue confronting us in your comment: Obama in the driver’s seat has exhibited plenty of cowardice, equivocation and betrayal of his many promises of change, but if we let “BatShit Romney” drive the car off the cliff, there won’t be any chance to recover. And yes, real people with real lives will suffer as a result of a Romney presidency, and they will suffer to a much greater extent than they would under and Obama second term.

    You may think my claim may be overstated, but consider that I’m writing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The “Tea Party” abomination of 2010 brought in Florida’s current governor, Rick Scott, a true sociopath. He’s doing his best to turn Florida’s early voting into a chaotic mess and ensuring that he can deny as many people as possible the right to vote. Rick Scott’s Republican allies in the state legislature cut early voting from two weeks to one week. During recent months, he has tried to contest selected voter registration forms on the basis that the voters may not be U.S. citizens. I think you can guess the criteria Rick Scott’s state government is using to contest a voter registration form: (1) the person’s last name is Hispanic and (2) the person is registered as a Democrat. Rick Scott will no doubt win this year’s award for enemy of democracy.

    Now consider what would happen to the democratic process if Romney gets hold of the federal government. Rick Scott’s subversion of democracy in Florida may very become the norm rather than an anomaly, and we could be in real danger of losing our experiment in democracy that has lasted since the eighteenth century. Your metaphor of driving the car off the cliff is very apt. If that can be prevented, at least there is a chance that the near future will produce someone more committed to change than Obama. But I’ll leave you with one question. What if the reason for Obama’s subservience to right-wing forces is his own fear? You might ask what he has been afraid of these past four years. May I suggest that he’s been afraid of the 2012 votes from the several right-wing idiots in my extended family… or your extended family… or John Aravosis’ extended family. Once the fear of reelection is past, Obama might feel freer to act as he wishes. Or maybe Obama is just clueless by nature. I really don’t know which, and I don’t pretend to be a mind reader. My point is that although we all may have right-wing idiots in all of our respective extended families, we don’t need to kiss up to them by showing them how we’re enabling Romney to get into the White House by doing everything we can to ensure Obama’s defeat and Romney’s victory. I have to agree with your conclusion that saving the Republic is more important than personal distaste for individual candidates. After all, you’re deciding whether a candidate will do more or less harm, or more or less good, to the American Republic and our very system of democratic government; you’re not deciding whether to invite him over for dinner.

  • dula

    The only upside to a Romney presidency is that Democrats may actually start fighting for what they claim they believe in.
    It’s one thing for the Democratic electorate to feel trapped into the lesser of two evils dynamic but many on these types of political blogs are actually saying that it isn’t possible or wise to hold Obama’s feet to the fire in his second term because Republicans are so scary.
    If that is the case, it would be better in the long run for the sustainability of the USA if Romney wins. Not even trying to hold your elected leaders accountable is just as bad as not exercising your right to vote.

  • Wpfwfan

    They can vote for the evils of two lessers or they can vote on principle, either way they lose, but in the latter way they keep their integrity and principle.  Obama is an weak kneed, awful president whose word cannot be trusted, Romney is likely to be somewhat worse in the short run, but if Obama wins and continues to move the Dems to the corporatist, militarist right which he will do the person following him might be far worse than Romney.  We are pretty much screwed as a country when the likes of these two guys spending a billion dollars each for a 400K a year job are the only two possible outcomes.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/samella.williams Samella Williams

    I for one am very tired of these so called progressives who can’t give the President any credit.  Their main problem is that Mrs. Clinton did not win  the nomination and is not the President.

  • poechewe

    FDR was probably the most liberal president we had, at least in terms of the era he lived in. For some, he was not liberal enough. In truth, FDR’s presidency was not without major flaws. 

    I’m not going to argue that Obama is another FDR. He isn’t. For one thing, FDR had more maneuvering room. On many issues, he could count on Republican votes when he found it difficult to get a majority with Democrats alone. But I think of the people who voted for FDR. People who were trying to make it through the Great Depression. People who were not intellectuals and who had little knowledge of theoretical, though important issues. They were simply grateful someone was on their side.

    When I look at people waiting in line for hours to exercise their vote, it’s hard not to see them as the heroes of this election. I wish Obama had fought harder on a number of issues. But Obama is no Mitt Romney. He’s no George W. Bush. His actions have already made a difference for many people, including myself. 

    I respect people with principled views. Yes, Obama should have done more. And yet, if some principled voters have a problem with Obama, they should look at those voters standing in line for hours.  Those voters are making a stand. And they’re doing it now. I know I physically couldn’t stand in a line that long. We should admire them. And regardless of our concerns, we should join them if we can. I can’t join them physically. But I’m with them.

  • CAProgressive

    You may not “tolerate” derision and your decision may “express [your] moral and political beliefs” but the fact remains that your vote IS irrelevant….

  • Stanley_Krute

    Why ? 

    Because we are correct. 

    Facts are sometimes inconvenient things. That’s why the GOPs tend to choose a fact-free reality. The left fringes seem to share that dementia. Dunno why. 

  • Stanley_Krute
  • JamesR

    I love my country, I love our Constitution and the principles embodied within it, they are my principles. I detest what Obama has done and what he has left undone, in abiding by those principles and defending them. And for plenty more I have commented about over the years.

    I love and cherish my vote as my voice, my affirmation, my endorsement, my guarantee, the direct connection my vote is to the candidate I vote for – my complicity – my responsibility. For the first time ever in a Presidential election I voted FOR Barack Obama in 2008. For him and what I thought he stood for and what I thought he would fight for and who I thought he was.

    I was not wrong about my vote, in that had I known better I would not have changed that vote, (and you can’t really second guess a decision with after-the-fact knowledge,) but I was wrong about Obama.

    This time, the choice is not for a changey-Democrat and a crazy old man and loony harpy, but for a “Democrat” who’s to the Right of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, versus – I can’t think of a proper analogy – a BatFuck sociopath. Makes me want to chew my leg off to get out of the trap. Because it feels like a trap. I wish I could pretend I was not in it – and that this were a time I would not have to make a choice between the two but go for a third for the sake of my conscience, and to properly reflect what I am really for, what I really believe and what I really want.

    But when you’re in a Vietnamese prison you eat rats. When in a lifeboat or on a snowy mountainside awaiting rescue you may eat way worse. In order to survive. I believe, literally, there will be Americans who will not survive a Romney Presidency. The Republic might, after much tribulation but I cannot add my voice – by the lack of my voice on the other side – to that unnecessary suffering and pain and death. Literal suffering and pain and death. in addition to greater theft and destruction on so many levels.

    I posted I would write in my vote for Bernie Sanders because he’s qualified and principled and reflects what I want and who I want to be there, and that a showing for him and other candidates who are principled, from the base that had supported Obama, would send a needed and timely message to the Powers That Be. Counting, of course, on the easy victory Obama should have been having. Because in a real-world universe I would rather a real principled fighter and defender of the Constitution in office over Obama, but would if truth be told rather have Obama in turn than BatFuck insane Romney.

    I wanted to have my cake and eat it too – I did not want to get my hands dirty, I did not want to affirm Obama and his policies, betrayals, inertia and non-change – I thought my strategic vote for the lesser of evils was not necessary.

    That turned out not to be the case. And as I reserved the right to change as I saw fit before I cast my vote, I did. I am not too proud to admit that I voted for Obama this time, by countable paper absentee ballot, to be sure. I am not too proud to admit I did it because Romney scares the piss outta me. For real. It should not be so close, I don’t believe it is as close as the polls say, but there will be so much cheating and fraud – I feel like we’re in a failed Soviet state with the factionalism and vote stealing. Fear is not a shameful motive – it’s survival. We live, literally, to vote again another day.

    We need paper ballots, like we need paper mortgages… We need to abolish the Electoral College, we need Instant Runoff voting. We need our Constitution back. We need bankers in jail. We need to Occupy the White House. We need so many basic things.

    But first we need to make sure someone who’s – incredibly – worse than George W Bush doesn’t get a stab at driving us all through the ditch and over the cliff. We need to keep our outrage at Obama’s failing and work like Hell for REAL change. While we can enjoy what used to be a given but now is an optional political luxury, someone sane fielding the Nuclear football, heading FEMA, not destroying the safety net. (As much.)

    I respect those who cannot make the choice(s) I have made, how people manage moral conflicts is their own affair. One consolation for me is that Bernie Sanders himself will vote for Obama too if he hasn’t already. There are reasons Progressives can ethically choose between distasteful alternatives to save the Republic. More like what Lincoln did (We the People are rather than Obama is.) God help us.

  • CAProgressive

    Unless The Democratic Party has a way to count the dissaffected Liberals in swing states who are not voting for Obama, your startegy fails….

  • Tim Kane

    If Obama wins this election, then movement conservativism moves into its twilight.

    If things follow a normal course, Obama will create 5 million more jobs.  Then in 2016, the electorate will be confronted with this evidence:

    Clinton 20+ million private sector jobs created
    Obama 10+ million private sector jobs created
    Bush 0 (Zeer – Oh) private sector jobs created
    Reagan – Ancient History.

    This means, at 69 years of age, the Presidency is Hillary’s in a walk, if she wants it. It also means that the Republicans will be out of the White House until 2024 – and that’s only if they don’t re-tool – because as we move farther away from the Bush Presidency, the enormity of its debacle becomes more into focus AND meanwhile the population becomes less white angry males.

    Blaming Romney’s loss on hurricane Sandy indicates they aren’t all that interested in re-tooling.

    If they don’t retool, the Democratic party will continue to move further to the right to fill in the void left by the vacating Republicans – and that means for a new Progressive party to emerge to the left of the Democratic party.

    The important part of this process is that we will be cleansed of ideologicalism and will return, hopefully, to pragmatism as our national governing principle.

  • A reader in Colorado

    My candidate?  ::shakes head:: Nice try.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Love it! Barack as O’Hoover.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I concur. The ‘buck’ for the 2010 mid-term Dem losses stopped in the Oval Office, and in the offices of the Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker.

  • schotzki

    A vote for Barack Obama or a vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for Military Industrial Complex.  Shortsighted indeed.  Enjoy the Agent Orange!

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    I still maintain that, if Obama doesn’t win, he has his own awful decisions to blame. (Regardless of what my fellow Dem honks insist upon.)

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     I am your age my dear. Old but not as senile.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Very cute for a debil!

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     As always Becca, well reasoned, wise and on point.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     F”k that arrogance. Many progressive leftists do not vote protest, but for the values that express our moral and political beliefs. I voted for Stein and Honkala and will not tolerate that decision derided as irrelevant and that I should stay at home. Shame on you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Many of us agree.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Exactly my experience Basenji. We are on the same wavelength. Except, I wrote DiFi back and told her she lost my vote.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Not when it’s a volcano.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     History has demonstrated Nader was right. Gore pulled a major wimp and sunk his own boat. Good comment.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

    You missed the point. Nobody in their right mind would vote for Romney.

  • K_L_Carten

    The demographics in Tn. changed, the old FDR democratic voters more or  less  died out.  So in comes the republican social voters, yuck, anyway, Gore didn’t have a chance.  Just saying you can look back the prior four or five  presidential cycles and senatorial races.  Gore wouldn’t have had a chance to even keep his senate seat if he wasn’t the VP.   The problem with the south isn’t so much the civil rights movement, it’s the dying out of the FDR movement.  Many of these people remembered what FDR did, meaning TVA and opening jobs to dirt poor farmers and bringing their standard of living to the rest of the country.   I heard some stories when I worked at TVA.  The same guys that lived through the Great Depression and wasn’t crazy about civil rights still voted as a dem.  I live in Tn, and we had a great Senator that was ousted in the 90’s.  Sure Jim Sasser was more moderate, not a Blue Dog and not a true liberal, but  he voted more inline with they way I like than not.  The rightwingers targeted him and wanted him out, so no matter how uncrazy a politician was, if he didn’t pander to the new extremes views of the republican party he wouldn’t have gotten elected.  Gore would have lost anyway, the state trended against him.

  • ezpz

    Nope — to your first sentence.

  • Confus

    Is a mountain composed only of its peak?

  • Confus

    Is a mountain composed only of its peak?

  • Confus

    So you think progressives should vote for your candidate, Romney?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I can’t get behind the ‘hero’ label either. Voting, as I see it, is my sworn duty and responsibility as a citizen, and I have voted in every single regular and mid-term election since I was old enough to register in 1981. While fighting against the GOP forces for disenfranchisement and electoral shenanigans is admirable and necessary, it doesn’t rise to the level of heroism.

    Courage, as I liked to define it, is doing what you have to do, even though you’re afraid. Heroism is courage in extraordinary circumstances.

    Voting might be difficult or inconvenient or require some serious gumption to ensure your vote is recorded, but unless we’re talking African American voters in the 1960s whose lives were threatened when they tried to cast their ballots, we’re still not approaching hero status. It cheapens the term, especially when in so many cases now, all we have is lesser evils to choose from.

    Heroism is what we witnessed from the Hurricane Sandy first responders. And from the utility workers out in the storm itself. And those who risked their lives to help others get through the catastrophe.

    Don’t get me wrong: I am 100% in support of those who have voted, are voting now, or will before the polls close on Tuesday. As far as I’m concerned, not voting at all means a person isn’t really interested in living up to their responsibility as an American citizen, and I say this no matter the political affiliation or none at all. But I am with Reader in Colorado in that we desperately need to end the unceasing rightward ratcheting of American politics and find a way to take power back from the plutocrats and autocrats and return it to the people where it belongs. We need an alternative to a right wing party versus a crazy-right party.

  • A reader in Colorado

    How ’bout no?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That’s because whenever an election is lost or voluntarily forfeited (as in Gore’s case), a convenient and relatively powerless-to-resist scapegoat must be found.

    In 2000, it was the Greens. In 2004, it was gays for lobbying “too soon” for marriage equality rights, and those annoying anti-war hippies. (sarcasm-tag). 2010 mid-terms, it was gays again, but this time also the Hispanic vote. Any shortfall in 2012 is shaping up to be “any and all disaffected and discouraged leftists,” although I’m thinking Occupy Wall Street might be tapped for the role.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Do you really think that voting for Democrats no matter what they do will protect anything?

    If so YOU are the fool.  YOU, in your unconditional support, your lack of any conditions whatsoever will have destroyed that future.  Either is possible, and I don’t see Obamabots actually getting anything by licking the hand of the President.  They get smiled at and snickered at.

    We have seen what Democrats do with unconditional support.  What they get is nothing, and worse than nothing, Republican policies.

    Or are you just substituting your ego and your judgement for others?  Your line in the sand for other people’s?  

    Either way somehow you don’t strike me as someone whose judgement is somehow credible as a replacement for others’.

    And if it could go either way, I would rather be not be one of Teddy Roosevelt’s morally treasonable folks. I will swing in the last day in the last hour, if Satan himself were running against Obama, with every criticism I can think up. Because that, and only that is what saves the Republic. Even the vote is less important than that.

    Not servile authoritarian nonsense.

  • A reader in Colorado

    There’s absolutely nothing heroic about voting or about the current Washington politicians.  It’s the right of every eligible voter.  I voted last week, and there was nothing heroic whatsoever about picking through that pile of sorry characters.

    It was a national shame that we have such frankly evil people running our country and attempting to run our country. It’s a national disgrace that choosing among such frankly evil people has been let pass in the stead of civic duty here for so long.

    Choosing among the dastardly is not heroic. What one does aside from that, might be, it depends on what one does.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Sorry to have to disagree but that assertion does beg a clarification: “Your vote for president doesn’t count, unless you live in a highly contested swing-state.” Then it becomes true.

    Our current Electoral College system ensures that our next president will be decided by just a few million voters in a handful of states. And in both 2000 and 2004, it was just one state.

  • poechewe

    Right now as I right this, people are in line trying to vote. They are the heroes of this election. Something to think about.

  • neonnautilus

     Are you even old enough to vote?

  • Confus

    Stanley_Krute –

    Why do so many otherwise smart people continue to push the illogical argument that Nader is responsible for Gore losing the 2000 election?

    1st, Gore ran a really poor campaign. For example, keeping Clinton locked away was stupid.
     
    2nd, Gore failed to carry Tennessee.

    3rd, neither the Florida nor national Democratic organizations made any effort whatsoever to prevent 200,000 Florida voters from being disenfranchised. 

    4th, the Democratic clerk adopted a butterfly ballot that competent election officials stopped using years before.

    5th, local Democrats failed to teach Democratic voters how to use the butterfly ballots.

    6th, Democratic voters failed to properly use the butterfly ballots.

    7th, Neither the Gore campaign nor the national committee made any attempt to confront the mobs that Tom Delay threw at local election officials.

    If we had a month or two, we could list all the hundreds of various errors that caused Gore to lose. 

    Changing any one of these factors would have resulted in a Gore presidency. You need to ask yourself why you are so focused on Nader and who benefits from discrediting third parties.

  • Confus

    In states where the race is contested, progressives should hold their noses and vote for Obama.

    In states where Obama is certain to win, progressives should vote for the Green Party and help it get the percentages it needs to qualify for funds and participate in debates.

  • A reader in Colorado

    It is more accurate to say that Gore succumbed rather than choosing to fight.

    As President of the Senate, Bush and Katherine Harris may have stole the election, but Gore let them.  Gore is responsible for his own defeat.

    Many more independents than Greens didn’t vote for Gore.  But only Greens are mentioned, never independents.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah, that was the year that the “your vote doesn’t count” argument kind of went out the window (unless of course yours was one of the votes that Republicans threw out, then your vote didn’t count :)  Though, with a high enough margin, even the Rs can’t cheat enough to win.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Oh, Barack Obama is having a bare time of it despite running against a total fool and idiot, who is running as a Hood Ornament.

    This means that people like the Hood Ornament almost as much as they like Barack Obama. That speaks to me of the kind of job many people think Barack Obama did this last four years.

    Sorry, you can’t have most important elections of the century every goddamn election.  Last election was the most important of the century.  This election is the most important of the century.  Win or lose, people like you will be saying that election in 2016 will be the most important of the century.

    All because the stakes are the same, nothing has really changed and none of the real choices our country has to make has really been clearly made. That is why each successive election is said to be the “most important” and we simply must elect Democrats every single time despite that neither being realistic nor practical.

    One day you will have a Republican in the White House, if not today, then soon. Gods pray the Frankenstein Monster that Democrats have encouraged will have been tamed by then.

    By empowering Republicans Barack Obama is at least partly responsible for that lack of having made a clear choice.

    He chose to be a neo-pragmatist and muddy the water by running the country as if he was Herbert Hoover. And if he goes down, it will be because he did that.

    There will only be one person responsible for the election if Barack Obama loses.

    And if he loses, in that unlikely event, he will have lost to a Hood Ornament.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Nate Silver’s prediction for New Mexico’s electoral votes? 99% for Obama.

    Presidential campaign commercials I’ve seen on TV in the last two months? None. Zero.

    The effect of my one vote cast here on the 2012 presidential election? Irrelevant.

    Message? Our next president will be selected by a small minority of voters in a small number of states.

    Bonus: Gore won Florida. They stole it from him. He was leading in late October in Florida by 46-42.

  • mjames

     So, if Obama wins and destroys Social Security as we now know it (after all, he is the one who brought the Catfood Commission into being), what will you say then (if anything)? Will you take some measure of responsibility for not fighting against the corporate and 1% takeover of the Dem Party? Or will you continue to say that Romney would have been worse? Or make excuses for Obama? And then back whatever supposed Dem is running next, even though the Dem Party no longer has a platform to run on?

    And what’s with the vitriol? It’s getting really tiresome. You don’t know me. You don’t know what I know. You don’t know how I’ve arrived at my decision. And we’re supposed to be on the same side, fighting for the same things. Yet you call me all sorts of names because I’m not doing what you’ve decided is the right thing to do.

    There’s something really wrong with that. So rigid. So authoritarian. So narrow-minded. So anti-Democratic. So know-it-all. Whew! (And, lest you scold, I am almost as old as you.)

     

  • A reader in Colorado

    If Obama governs like he has the last four years, it’ll be 2016, and you’ll still get a Republican, probably one worse than Romney and the Democrat will lose then.

    Same effect or even worse, only four years later, with a worse Republican than Romney and a worse Democrat than even Obama, who is the nastiest most right wing lyingest Democratic President I have ever seen in my lifetime.

    Or Obama will govern as a compromising pragmatist and will be punished by being given a Republican senate and even more Republicans in the House.

    Until the Democrats learn to stand up for what’s right, they will fail.

  • neonnautilus

     Shortsighted is the best I can say of you.  This is the most important election of my 51+ years of voting.  This article from TNR says it better than I can: http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/109648/case-for-obama-reelect-health-care-abortion-rights-romney-dishonesty

    If you live in a swing state and you don’t vote for Obama, you will have a heavy burden to bear if he loses. 

  • hollywoodstein

    Wow, let me give you the number for my therapist.  Pricey, but helpful.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Perhaps because the entire narrative is totally false.

  • Stanley_Krute

    neonnautilus nails it. 

    If one is prone to disagree, I have a simple reminder, that to my astonishment many still fail to recognize as truth: Florida 2000 Nader -> Bush 2

  • hollywoodstein

    Hopefully maybe just a little demon.
    Or Smeck.
    Or Hot Stuff.
    http://www.classicmedia.tv/pr/hotstuff/art/hero_art1.jpg

  • basenjilover

    As a lifelong Democrat, I voted Jill Stein for President (by mail) and left blank the box for CA senator.  I asked Diane Feinstein via email about her positions on social security and medicare.  I mentioned I only wanted a Yes or No on whether she agree to cutting those benefits.  Instead she replied back long unclear rambling forked tongue crap and wouldn’t commit to saving SS and medicare. The last two years I bitched and moaned when Obama veered to the right; gave his blessings on mega rich tax cuts and continued with Bush policies.  So I made good on my promise not to vote for Obama.   Mark my words, Obama will approve dirty sand tar pipelines, cut deeply SS/medicare (services that benefited Obama’s mother and grandparents) and host of other projects while increasing budgets for military; continuing with big oil subsidies, and more corporate tax cuts. 

  • A reader in Colorado

    We don’t have time for the scenic route.

  • A reader in Colorado

    The long term consequences for accepting Republican and Democratic domination are truly catastrophic.

  • A reader in Colorado

    By the way, If the two parties wanted there not to be so-called third party spoilers, and wanted NOT to lose the election by a few thousand votes or a few hundred votes to a Green, or a Libertarian, which Democrats will moan about seemingly forever afterward now,  every or almost every secretary of state is either a Republican or Democrat.  Every or almost every legislature is either a Republican or a Democratic one.  Every or almost every governor is either a Republican or a Democratic Party one.

    If harvesting a vote from everyone who could or would vote was a priority for either of the two parties, they could collude with each other and institute IRV voting in a heartbeat.  This would allow people to vote for third parties, but still “harvest” those votes.

    The truth is, if Obama could have his want of wants, if he were not to win, he would not give us Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson.  He would DELIBERATELY saddle us with Romney if he could not win.  Similarly Romney would NOT give us Virgil Goode or some libertarian.  He would damn the country (in his view) with Obama.

    The elections are built TO extort based on an unthinkable choice, which is why we are where we are and why it cannot get better in the present set of conditions, but only worse.  The contenders have adopted policy positions to make any other choice an exercise in blowing up the country.

    The elections are extortion and all the guilt tripping of third partiers is to mask the fact that the two parties are locked in a Devil’s embrace and care very much less about principle than they would have us think.

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    This Obama is not the man I voted for.

    I voted for someone who promised to end the worst of our so-called ‘national security’ policies.  What I got was a man who is so corrupt that Guantanamo has gotten bigger, torturers who kill are given immunity, who decided we won’t even hide that we have secret prisons, that it should be expressly legal to imprison and torture someone without trial, and that anyone is fair game for a drone strike, innocence be damned.

    I voted for a man who said believed in a strong middle class.  I got a man who rendered the middle class irrelevant to corporate profits by socializing the losses and privatizing the profits.

    I voted for a man that I believed was above behaving like George W. Bush. That man was completely silent as protesters got maced and the !@#$ beaten out of them, all for demanding that bankers be held accountable for perpetrating a con and destroying tens of trillions in wealth.

    I believed in Barack Obama. I was wrong.

    Though I will vote for a few dems at the local and state level who’ve actually fulfilled their promises and stuck to their ideals, I won’t be voting for this man.  I will be voting for the candidate I believe in: Jill Stein.  If Barack Obama loses this election, he has no one to blame but himself.

  • silas1898

     Bullcrap!  You sound like a wingnut.  BB is not my God and O is not my religion.

    Indoctrinated my ass.  The dumb Florida Greens own chimpy.  Don’t whine when Rmoney wins.  Green lady what’s her name has zero chance.  At least with the Lotto, you have at least a miniscule chance of winning. 

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Ironies: Nader was right!

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     same same

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Old troll shouts at clouds.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     nasty troll

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Exactly

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

    “They are fools – narcissistic, holier than thou narcissistic fools.”  For voting a moral conscience? The term  “holier than thou narcissistic fool” suits you to a ‘T.” How dare you pass judgement on a citizen’s vote….you Obat Nazi.

  • mirth

    Question:
    Think about Nov 7th. What situation is most likely to cause the Democratic Party leaders and its candidates to realize the people want their party back, that citizens have had it uptohere with phony choices while the country continues its steady march over the cliff, and henceforth the only way they can win elections is to give it back? 

    1. People continued to vote.
    2. People opted out of voting.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     thank you!

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     It’s working now….thanks John!

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     “you get the jist.” Yep, we get the devil.

  • kladinvt

    Regardless of Democrat, Republican or 3rd party candidate, real change will not happen until we get the mega-bucks out of the electoral process. Push for public financing of all local, state & national elections, then 3rd party candidates will have a fighting chance against the “corporate-citizens”. 

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     “and is struggling mightily against truly evil forces,” This has become the meme of rationalization to excuse Obama, Obama has for the most part solidified Bush’s extremist detention policies and in some respects gone further. He failed to close Guantanamo. He has instituted a massive drone killing spree in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He sold out health care to the Insurance industry and killed universal health care for generations to come. He’s on board with the ‘Grand Bargain’ that will make major cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicare Obama is smart for sure, but the idea that he is humane is absolute nonsense. When you vote against the lesser evil, you accept the consequences of evil and that is: Obama is an evil force.

  • poechewe

    If President Obama were allied with the Koch brothers and company, I would throw up my hands. But he’s not. There are a lot of things I wish Obama would do different. But he’s done things that are right, including important steps in health reform (I now at last have health insurance despite a preexisting condition). 

    Romney? You’ve got to be kidding. This is not a choice between two people with little difference. Romney is a smug moralistic businessman who’s blind to the real lives of Americans. Do not underestimate the moral compass of a man who does business with El Salvadorean oligarchs. Letting him win, ignoring the tactics that have been used, shrugging off the tea party threat because Obama is not perfect is beyond my understanding. Voters should certainly vote their conscience, but they also need to recognize the consequences of their choices or non-choices.

  • kladinvt

    It does sound extremely naive (at best) to have this conversation the day before the presidential election, when in fact, it should have occurred during the primary season and/or back in 2008.
    Liberals or Progressives, going rogue, will have no effect on the direction of the Democratic party or the election, except to possibly help elect Romney and if you don’t understand what that would mean for the country, you, dear Progressive voter, are better off staying at home.  Instead start planning for 2014 or 2016.

  • cslib

    I know for me I am not voting for him as a progressive but since I live in the redest of red states so it’s not like my vote really matters in the Presidential election or any other really. But I will be making a protest vote it won’t do anything but I will feel better.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    When it comes down to something like this, the decision who to vote for in these waning days of the 2012 election cycle, I believe people should have the freedom and the responsibility to follow their own conscience, subject to having all reasonable and factual information in hand.

    There are plenty of folks who think Obama and the Dems are the Last Best Hope for America. (Ask Republicans and many of them will say the same thing about their candidate, and the believe it just as fervently as the Democratic loyalists.) Some see Obama and the Dems as either a necessary compromise or lesser evil that must be chosen because there are and forever will only be two choices in American politics, aside from choosing not to participate or to vote 3rd party (neither of which at most levels of our gov’t accomplishes much, but can satisfy one’s personal issues of conscience).

    I firmly believe that one of America’s most central freedoms is the right to vote however we please. Even when that vote cast is contrary to what my own choices would be. This is why, yes, I am especially disgusted and appalled to see what state Republicans are doing all over the country to limit, restrict, and deny that fundamental democratic civil right — but at the same time, I’m dismayed how big-D Democratic party responses seem to be limited to complaints and the occasional lawsuit, but mostly it’s just “go along with it, get that ID it cost you a day’s work and hours of waiting to acquire…oh, no valid documentation, well, I guess there’s nothing to be done.” This whole situation offered the Dems — and Obama — a wide open chance to say “We need national, non-partisan standards for voting in America, and we are going to propose reform legislation immediately.” They also seem not to be all that concerned about the Citizens United money gushers, even though this factor also threatens to unravel the very fabric of democracy in America.

    The ideal of progressivism (or liberalism or leftist philosophy) is empowerment and accurate information, backed up by the belief that people are capable of making their own rational decisions, and should be free to follow their own conscience — to the extent that it does not infringe on the rights of others.

    This, by the way, is where the far right has perverted this notion, because their ideal is”my rights trump your rights, and any complaint to the contrary is in fact infringing on my rights.” Thus is it they’re now arguing for raped women to be forced to bear their rapist’s babies. And for any religion other than far right Christianism to be essentially marginalized and/or banned. And for homosexuality itself to be re-criminalized. The Democratic response? Pro-choice on rape, incest, and health of the woman — but giving every appearance of being willing to compromise on everything else and carving out religious exemptions on insurance coverage for contraception. And the Dem leaders constantly trumpet how Christian they really are and how their belief guides their every decision. As for gay rights? Some progress, but mostly “our hands are tied” and nothing at all about how manifestly unfair it is for a majority to vote on minority rights. Always the Dems play the game on Republican ground, and by their rules, with those of us watching and wondering why today’s ‘centrist Democrats’ are now governing well to the right of what used to be conservative Republican positions.

    I could pull up posts and comment threads going back as far as there have been online forums like this and see the same pattern every two and four years, this sense of “must be party-loyal or the sky will fall.” But I’ve watched the Republicans gradually being taken over by its most extreme hard-line rightist elements, expunging and expelling anything with a whiff of sensibility or moderation — or even the notion of us all being Americans, and not just the straight, white conservative Christians. Meanwhile, the Democrats have drifted so far to the right that, for example, the healthcare reform legislation pushed by the current Democratic incumbent president is almost identical to that passed on the state level by his GOP challenger. (I’ll not get into my usual litany at this point, this comment already well into TLDR; territory.) Just a few years ago, Democrats put the kibosh on Social Security and Medicare privatization and cuts; now we have a ‘Grand Bargain’ president who keeps insisting on the rejected conclusions of two conservative men (one of whom, a Republican, frequently expressed his disgust for Social Security and Medicare) which would dramatically erode both of those programs, and who also keeps pushing for cuts in the payroll income tax earmarked specifically for these programs — which has the direct and obvious effect of weakening their long-term solvency. This is the Democratic position? Really?

    I said in an earlier query along these lines that my bright line was the assumed executive power to execute anyone, anywhere in the world with no oversight, total secrecy, and no restrictions on collateral damage (i.e., the slaughter of innocent bystanders who happened to be caught in the JDAM blast radius). If it makes me a bad person to have reached that point of electoral conscientious objection, so be it. I feel like at this point we’re all in a giant bastardized Milgram Experiment, with the test subject — America itself — wired up to electrodes and we’re being told, “Push the button and administer the shock, or the guy in the next room whose dial is three settings higher will push his and the test subject might die.” And we’re told there’s nothing we can do to make it less awful, that not pushing the button isn’t even an option, and neither is turning back that dial.

    So many of us push the button, the test subject screams in pain. Two years from now, we come back to find our button’s shock setting has been cranked two settings higher anyway, and given the same spiel about how the other guy’s button is still three higher than ours and we simply must comply.

    TLDR; summary: I’ll respect other people’s right to vote their conscience if they respect my right to vote mine. And I say this with full awareness of the similar attitudes expressed towards conscientious objectors received during wartime, even during unpopular wars — which is to say, it was often neither charitable nor respectful. So be it.

  • A reader in Colorado

    I respect everyone’s decision, including third partiers,but by voting for Democrats in general and particularly Obama, what is being accomplished?  If the Democratic Party can be improved, it is not being improved.  My question, is there anything left in the Democratic party for “progressives” at all.  If there is, will there be next year? My answer is no, my question is what are you going to do about it?  Be a so-called progressive Republican, with the Democratic label?  That’s one option.

    Both parties are on a strategic – that is, planned and considered – headlong race to the edge of the right wing universe.  The evidence is all around everyone, though the choosing to ignore what’s right in front of people has been stunning.  I mean, right down to people ignoring the very shift in positions and the speeches explicitly in favor of what has heretofore been Republican policy iterated by Obama that was explicitly derided as complete nonsense by knowledgeable people in the past, such as “north american energy independence through massive drilling”.  Just one example of an explicitly Palin position that Obama now endorses.  There are others, but the key point is it’s changing rapidly, and not for the better.

    The reasons, too, are clear.  Clear and simple ideological pushing with the goal of domination.  The Democrats care about victory.  And in the process, almost everything else has been lost.   

    This election was made about abortion, but it is not about that – or at best only superficially about that.  It was made about women’s rights, but it is not about that either.  Oh, yes, it is very true, the Republicans are knuckle dragging neanderthals who have less respect for women than they do for their cars.  The Democrats would sell women’s rights for a buck, and have done so.  Still, I don’t begrudge women, or anyone for voting against knuckle dragging neanderthals, just cuz.

    What is happening though, is that a decision has been made, or decisions have been made, not to simply muddle on corruptly and self servingly as possible, while performing business as usual.

    The decision has been made, or decisions have been made, to explicitly turn the Democratic Party INTO a right wing party, not merely a neoliberal party, as a way to win, while leaving whatever right wing ideological debris (such as explicit homophobia) to the Republicans.  Explicit homophobia, explicit racism and explicit misogyny are not necessary, the Democrats have decided, to become a far right wing party.  Tacit homophobia, racism and misogyny do just as well.  And, Democrats have learned that all these are fripperies.  Homophobia is not necessary to have a far right wing party.  Misogyny is not necessary to have a far right wing party.  Democrats have learned to not sweat the small stuff in their quest to become as fascistic as the Republicans, just a whole lot more refined and focused on the big stuff, perhaps.

    Given the swiftness, the sheer speediness of this far right transformation, the Republicans, as was planned, find themselves without a leg to stand on.  All the right wingedness that is poll tested and that people can be fed, has now been coopted by the Democrats.  For Republicans, what to do, what to do?

    Why, double down, of course.  The Republicans have been shrinking into a sociopathic, corporatist and Bible thumping set for decades.  It would never occur to them to flank Democrats on the left, and they wouldn’t do it even if they could win.  So the only thing to do for Republicans is to castigate Democrats on not starting even more wars, not being even more hostile to women, not drilling even more.  And, by doing so – useful fools.

    Much of this headlong race has taken place in earnest over the course of Obama’s term in office.  We no longer have a Democratic Party that embraces constitutional guarantees of any type whatsoever, and anyone who thinks so is fooling themselves.  We now have the Bush doctrine of Endless and Undefined War Against Terror explicitly adopted by Obama for the purpose of what would otherwise be war crimes, mass murder and crimes against international law and the Constitution.

    So now the question is, what is being accomplished?  What can be accomplished?  I would argue, in this election, nothing.  Nothing except to keep the velvet glove on the iron fist.  And realizing that our country is being governed with an iron fist wielded by the two parties, but increasingly the Democrats, is the end.

    So, sure, vote for an illusion of small d democracy.  But the iron fist is still there, covered by velvet, even if you succeed in empowering Democrats in this election.  Make no mistake.

    The problem with the idea of taking over a party from the inside is that, in the best analysis, it’s too slow.  The Democratic transformation into a far right wing party is taking place over the course of months and years.  The taking over of a party from the inside could at best take place over the course of years and decades, not, as would be necessary to be effective, months and years.  Whether it could work or not, retaking the Democratic Party as a task is an order of magnitude too slow to even begin to address what I argue is happening.

    Deciding this election in favor of Democrats is, at best, a way of delaying a day of reckoning.  I would argue it’s largely irrelevant, because what the Republicans would have done deliberately will happen “by accident” with the Democrats.

    That delay could be good enough for people who have children to feed.  But it will change nothing in the end except to accomplish a delay, and the reckoning cannot happen WITHIN the two parties.

    The problem we are going to face, that we already face, is parties that are too powerful and filled from top to bottom with corpos.

  • goulo

    Huh? Serious question: I’ve never heard of any progressive unhappy with Obama who think Romney is more progressive and would therefore vote for Romney. Have you?

  • Guesto

    Romney will shove the Supreme Court hard right for the next 40 years.   

    Obama is smart, and humane, and is struggling mightily against truly evil forces, foreign and domestic.  What compromises might a humane president have to make in order to fight against such evils? 

     

  • Guest

    Yeah.  And one of these days, the international party will be the human race.  The problem with utopian approaches to electoral politics is its narcissisitic oblviousness to predictable consequences.  Behind that smarmy, unctuous face from Kolob that wants us to put him in control and just let him tell us what’s good for us — even though he can’t stoop to answering any specific questions now (and what makes anyone think he ever will — this is a guy who had the governor’s elevator in the Massachusetts sealed off for his use alone so he wouldn’t have to run into politicians with opposing views) lurks positive evil.  And fence-sitters and feckless idealists who can’t see that become its enablers.  There’s a real difference here.  It’s not illusory.  One candidate believes in representative democracy.  The other clearly does not.  For the Kolob Kandidate, politics is nothing but an irritating impediment to the realization of the will of people destined to be masters of the universe (hat-tip to Ayn Rand).  There’s no choice in this election for anyone who soundly considers himself or herself a “progressive” — whatever that means.  And, as more than one person below has pointed out, you don’t realize “progressive” goals by voting in elections and thinking the result you want will magically happen.  Change is accomplished through the building of movements  — day in and day out — with steps backward anticipated, planned for and eventually overcome.  That remains possible as long as the political system has some openness to it.  Romney and his ilk really want to shut the political system down — for good.  History is strewn with the wreckage to civilization such hubris inflicts.  I’m far from satisfied with Obama’s performance in his first term, although I believe in giving credit where it is due.  And I can’t see any sane “progressive” voting for Romney or throwing the vote away.       

  • schotzki

    Sorry.  My bad.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KQSAHCRKLDOE4VP7GRBOYPYKRI Jeffrey

    “Land-O’-the-Free All-You-Can-Eat Smorgasbord $5!” read the sign.

    Inside, the spread was huge, with everything you could think of beautifully displayed.

    So I got my plate and tray and went over to have a look: all my favorite choices!

    I started with the artichokes, but before I could scoop one up, the perky blonde hostess rushed over to stop me, “That’s not one of the choices.”

    “Oh, then I’ll have some salmon…””That’s not one of our choices, either.””Well then, let’s start with what the choices are.”She pointed to the center of the huge display.”There.”There were two huge platters, one with a large glob of Spam, the other with a similarly large glob of Velveeta.”That’s it?””Yes, here at the Land-O’-the-Free we are proud to feature two time-honored choices — oh, and we can also give you, as a condiment, unlimited Miracle Whip, and, of course, Wonder Bread and Diet Kool-Aid are included.”Is the US electorate so addled with HFCS, Aspartame, GMOs, and who know what else that they simply cannot see that the two-party system is just a monopoly with two corporate heads? That cynical globalist corporations have America by the Chef Boyardee Spaghetti & Meat-balls?

  • http://www.falconk9.com Ginger_FL

    Myself and all of my extended family have already voted for Obama so it’s a mute point for us. With that said, I think the phrase we’re better off with the Devil we know rather than take a chance on the one we don’t… you get the jist.

  • neonnautilus

     FYI: I’m a woman, not a man. 

  • mirror

    Because of climate change, we just can’t afford to screw around.  We have no time. With a Romney presidency efforts to address climate change get basically shut down or pushed back for 4 years.  With Obama, an unlikely amount of political pressure will have to be dredged up from somewhere within ourselves, but there is still some hope, however little.  Right now there are the bare beginnings of an awakening.  We have to go with it.

    The moment this election is over, we are going to have to start organizing and pushing hard on climate change.  And Social Security/ Medicare.  But it will be a bit less futile of Obama is president.

    Swing staters: please, with climate change coming down toward our heads like a piano dropped from the 49th floor,  even if  you don’t have kids or young people you know and care about, please do it for a chance at a future that isn’t some nightmare sci-fi movie.  Please vote for Obama.  We’ll slam the guy hard starting Nov. 6.  Promise.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    On-site Disqus login for Firefox and Chrome users has been broken here on Americablog for about a week now. I’ve filed a support ticket and a follow-up but haven’t heard back again.

  • schotzki

    You sad, naive, indoctrinated man.  I wish the best for your children and grand children.  But I guarantee you that the current Democrat and Republican parties will do nothing to ensure a better future for your family.
    Despite what you’ve been led to believe.

  • schotzki

    “You must vote for Obama!”  Who are these indoctrinated fools!  Obama is your religion and Ben Bernanke is your God!  Welcome to the Terror Dome!!!

  • Sei

    Hey, maybe you should read my post. It was all about getting help to 3rd party candidates down-ticket, ie the city council/school boards/state legislatures. Good gravy.

  • schotzki

    I agree that change must start at the local level.  Absolutely.  And if any Third Party wishes to become a part of the debate we need to start electing them to local municipalities and work our way up.  My main point though, is that in a Democracy, especially since the two main candidates won’t touch on the REAL issues, you can’t cut other parties out of the dialog.  These candidates have very good ideas that need to be debated not silenced.  If we allow Dems & Repubs to stranglehold the electorate with Billions of dollars in campaign financing we will never achieve true Democracy.

  • Fullcircle

    Ralph Nader got you Chimpy. How did that work for you? You want that result again? If yes, vote however you want. If not, you must vote Obama AND begin working for change at the local level.

  • http://www.lifeinspice.com/ rose88

    See http://my.firedoglake.com/jeffroby/2012/10/28/dump-capitalism-8-the-bloody-morning-after/ for the importance of going beyond voting Green to building Green.

  • schotzki

    It’s refreshing to hear from people who get it.  Thank you.

  • neonnautilus

     I’m 74 years old and I know exactly what Obama would like to do with SS and M/M.  I have followed it closely.   I also know what the other side would like to do and I know which side would be better for me, my children and my grandchildren. 

    I stand by my label of people who are so ideological to ignore reality are narcissistic fools.  Their pathetic purist votes for a third party , expecially in a swing state, run the risk of making things worse for everyone including their own high-minded selves.  Maybe they just like to have something to complain about. 

  • StevenAK

     Not in a swing state or a presidential election this close.  Wanna change the DEMS?  Get involved locally.  It will take time.  I just took the vote smart quiz and it was 90% Dr. Stein and 72% Obama—but 23% Romney!

    Be realistic.  VOTE OBAMA!  (you can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometime….etc.)

  • AnitaMann

    BTW WTF is wrong with disqus? 

  • StevenAK

    If you think you are dissapointed in Obama—–you might want to move to the Yukon with Romney.  Elections are realistic choices:
    Obama OR Romney

  • AnitaMann

    It’s a binary question, vote for this one or not this one. As if voting once every four or two years is all a progressive can do. Most people are not progressives. Most Americans are not politically active. Most Americans are not politically aware. Therefore true progressives have a lot of heavy lifting to do in order to advocate for their agenda. A vote for Jill Stein is like a fart in the wind until there is a critical mass of people who understand who she is and what issues she stands for. Building a movement is different than voting. It requires, for one thing, dismantling the duopoly of two parties that keep all the others out. That’s just one thing. Hard to do. 

  • Adams

     Social security and medicare?????  You haven’t been keeping up with the Grand Bargain, in which Obama will lead the Democratic Party in the further erosion of those bedrock New Deal/Great Society programs.  Coming very soon to a Congress near you.

    Not to mention that calling people names is counter-productive and irritating and usually a projection of the name-caller’s twisted inner psyche.  Meaning, to put a point on it, that you are a narcissistic, holier that thou fool.

  • hollywoodstein

    “I truly believe that if we can get the deficit and debt issues solved, which I believe we can get done in the lame-duck or in the immediate aftermath of the lame-duck, then that clears away a lot of the ideological underbrush,” he said. “And then now we can start looking at a whole bunch of other issues that, as I said, historically have not been that ideological.”

    Obama, appearing on Joe Scarborough

    We need to cut Social Security now because if we do nothing in twenty years Social Security benefits will need to be cut.  We need to trade cuts to Medicare, which Republicans hate, for some Republican cooperation to raise revenues to retire the deficit which they created, but which they hate, instead of simply stopping the wars and expiring the tax cuts for the wealthy, passing the Obama tax cuts for the middle class, and putting people back to work which will largely solve the deficit. 

    Makes sense to me.  Woo hoo.

  • schotzki

    I don’t expect one person to do it all for me.  I just expect that we have a fair and equal election process.  Excluding Third Party candidates from Presidential debates is not DEMOCRACY.  No matter what propaganda you seem to adhere to.

  • neonnautilus

    In all of the 50+ years I’ve been voting,  I’ve seen a third party candidate change an outcome only one time and that was Perot in 1992.  You may say that was a good thing for the left because it allowed a Democrat to gain office, but in reality it was a huge plus for the conservative wing of the republican party.  And the Democrats have been tacking to the right along with them ever since.

    The absolutely only way to effect change is to start at the bottom with your city council, school boards, state legislatures, governors. This is what the gop has done for the last 30-40 years. It’s not an overnight fix, but it’s the only way. You’re fooling yourself if you think voting for a 3rd party candidate will work.

  • schotzki

    I agree!  And any fan of Democracy should be appalled and offended that in this country a Third Party candidate, Jill Stein, has been arrested twice for trying to participate in the debates.  I will say it again.  The current Democrat & Republican parties work for the elite.  Period.  And if you don’t get that then you have been truly duped.

  • neonnautilus

    Obamacare, social security, medicare.  I stand by my statement: third party voters are narcissistic, holier than thou  fools.  I’d be willling to bet you’ve done absolutely nothing to change things except maybe camp out with OWS, which is the same thing as doing nothing.  If you want to change things, get active at the  local level and make the change happen there before you expect one person at the top to do it all for you.

  • Sei

    Not everybody lives in a swing state, you know.

    For progressives living in, say, Massachusetts or Texas, there’s no harm and lots of good in voting third party. For one thing, if third party candidates get enough votes in most states, they can automatically get on the ballot and get public campaign financing in future elections; that’s a big boost to down-ticket candidates in later elections.

  • schotzki

    Indeed, big things are at stake in this election.  Drone strikes, domestic spying, war on drugs, prison industrial complex, illegal foreign wars, bank bailouts, illegal military detentions.  Have fun with more of the same.  Change we can believe in?  My ASS!

  • nicho

    It’s a choice between whether you want the country to go to hell by the express route — or the scenic route.

  • hollywoodstein

    Is it over yet?

  • hollywoodstein

    Vote and GOTV!

  • neonnautilus

    If people choose to vote third party or not vote at all because Obama has disappointed them by not being “progressive” enough, then they are not progressives.  They are fools – narcissistic, holier than thou narcissistic fools.  Big things are at stake with this election and if third-party voters can’t think of someone besides themselves, then they are no better than the stupidest randian wingnut.

  • Pmd

     Agreed. Repubs know that Dems eat their own too. They laugh all the way to victory!!

  • http://twitter.com/Ruslanchik Ruslanchik

     The other option here is not to vote for Romney. Jill Stein and the Green Party represent progressives ideals perfectly. Casting your vote for her sends a clear signal that the Democratic Party status quo is unacceptable.

  • Schotzki

    Vote with your hearts!  Vote Third Party!  REAL change has to start somewhere!  These candidates and these parties need our support.  Regardless of the fact they will lose.  Perhaps one hundred years down the line we will actually have more choices, if we fight for them now.  I refuse to fit into the Democrat vs. Republican political battle.  It continues to get us nowhere.  The bottom line is it won’t matter which of these two candidates is elected.  They work for the rich.  So vote with your HEARTS!  Vote third party!

  • Seth Wright

    If you are in a swing state, please don’t vote 3rd party. I know, It’s on principle. I’ve done it myself but now regret it. Polls show Romney or Obama will win. Now is the time for pragmatism, not idealism. YOU will decide weather our next president is Mitt Romney OR Barack Obama… Remember, democracy is about compromise.. Compromise now and support the right guy with the best chance of winning. It’s too late in the election to bring in a 3rd party..

    Obama and Romney are not “mostly the same” as 3rd party people tell you.. On the issues that matter they would have TANGIBLY different effects on the lives of millions of people.

    A “principle” vote is a vote for Romney. It’s a vote to let millions lose healthcare, to take away women’s rights, to increase the burden on the middle class. Now is not the time to eat our own over drones, etc.. it’s the time to stand together as rational people and vote against Romney/Ryan fascism – vote for Obama!

  • Loona_c

    We Democrats eat our own.  Yeah, we’re unhappy with Obama so we won’t vote or would even consider voting for Romney (thinking to ourselves we are merely “not voting for Obama.”) The Republicans in contrast, wouldn’t ever consider NOT voting for a Republican.  I can admire their lock-step-ness even if it frustrates me. By Dems trying to be “reasonable” we lose.

    Again, while voters can be unhappy with Obama, I absolutely don’t understand how that translates into a vote FOR Romney.

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