Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's My Vote And I'll Waste It If I Want To

Summer has yet to begin, and folks to the Left of the President are hearing the same thing we heard after the 2000 election: If Obama loses it'll be our fault.

For the record, I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 and I don't regret that vote one bit. If there was such a stark difference between the candidates, why did Gore win the popular vote by fifty thousand out of some one hundred million cast? If Gore would have been such an awesome improvement over Bush, how do these folks explain such an inept campaign that still managed to win the popular vote, albeit by such a slim margin? Given the historical circumstances in the following year, how would a Gore Administration have differed, substantially, from Bush? Would Gore have managed to eke out a second term, given the pasting he would have received both from Republicans in Congress and the slobbering minions on the right who think anyone to the left of Robert Taft worships Josef Stalin's memory? 
Considering how quickly so many liberals (*coughcough* MattYglesias *coughcough* KevinDrum *coughcough* JoeKlein *coughcough*) became enamored of our eventual invasion of Iraq, I'll just let the shouting of that particular word pass over me before I continue.

Here's the deal. Mr. Obama has failed to act decisively, through a variety of means both at his disposal and through fellow Democrats in Congress, to counteract the worst effects of the depression. He has more than flirted with an irresponsible deficit fetishism, rather than make the banal point that, were the economy righted through specific actions Congress and the Executive could take, the deficit would take care of itself. He allowed the Congressional debate over the Affordable Care Act drag out far longer than was necessary, vacillating at key points, while surrendering to rhetorical threats from the Republicans. He has failed to make clear to the American people why the Keystone XL Pipeline is not a good deal for the American people, in the process alienating potential supporters in the heart of Red America, Nebraska. The President has used his personal feelings for sexual minorities as an excuse for a failure to act more swiftly to support marriage equality, the repeal of DOMA, and the end of DADT. 

President Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan without a clear strategy; he has moved the war in to Yemen and Somalia, without so much as a serious Congressional debate; the expansion of the drone program to become one of war by remote control alters any understanding of what constitutes a combatant or a front line; he has explicitly targeted individuals, taking advantage of gatherings that include non-combatants, and defended his choice by claiming that these civilian casualties may well not be innocent; finally, he has arrogated to himself the decision to kill American citizens overseas, without so much as a fig-leaf of judicial action.

Finally, let me just say that as long as we continue to work within the current political status quo, we shall find ourselves shrugging our shoulders and accepting the candidate who sucks less. They insist we do the same, and call this realism. I, on the other hand, consider it realistic to accept that neither major party candidate is, or will be in the foreseeable future, worth a tinker's damn. As such, I am going to use the one precious thing I have to contribute to this whole thing, my vote, and give it to the person who actually deserves it. Others may do as they wish. Please, however, do not pretend that you are somehow more grown-up, more hard-headed, more realistic, or more anything because you are going to vote for Obama when, at the end of the day, the best argument any supporter seems to come up with sounds an awful lot like, "He won't be as bad as Romney!"

I'm not even sure that's true.

When November comes, I'll cast my vote for someone else for President, and the next morning, regardless of the outcome, I'll know I did what was right. Now go call Glenn Greenwald names and leave me alone.

Virtual Tin Cup

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