koshersalaami

koshersalaami
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October 01
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Male, Jewish, in my fifties, married with kids (well, at this point I guess that should be "kid"). Thanks to Lezlie for avatar artwork - sort of a translation of my screen name. "Salaam" is peace in Arabic, hence the peace sign. (No, my name doesn't mean "hunk of meat" and yes, the pun is intentional.)

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Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 17, 2012 3:47PM

Why I'm Going To Vote Democratic (and not Green)

Rate: 22 Flag


This post grew out of a comment I made on Tom Cordle's A Liberal Call to Arms.

I am going to vote Democratic in the upcoming election. So much for a secret ballot. I actually agree with the issue stands of the Green Party more, so why am I going to vote Democratic? Three reasons:

1. Voting Democratic does not mean supporting the Democratic agenda after the election, it just means keeping the Republicans out of office. If our first available course of action is, to use another blogger's terminology, to elect Evil in order to keep More Evil out of office, so be it. That doesn't mean we support Evil, it just means we're keeping More Evil out of office.

2. As was shown in the 2000 election, there is a very significant difference between the parties. The argument was made at the time that we should vote for Nader because there was no real difference between Bush and Gore. Had Gore been elected, we can be reasonably sure that at least the following differences would have been evident:

  •   No war in Iraq
  •  Much smaller deficits, if any
  •  Supreme Court that would not have made this Citizens United decision
  • Less dependence on fossil fuels, further along on renewable energy
  • Less global warming

Regardless of what you think of Gore and whose pocket you think he may have been in, the above differences are still pretty predictable. Those differences cannot be construed as insignificant by any thinking human being. This does not mean that we all would have approved of a Gore administration. We wouldn't have had to, because the question is not whether a Gore administration would have been Good, the question is whether a Gore administration would have been Better than the Bush administration was, because those two administrations were the only realistically available alternatives.

The differences in this election are likely to be smaller but we're starting out in way worse shape. Again, I'm not claiming that a second Obama administration would be Good, I'm claiming that it would be Better than a Romney administration. We can be reasonably sure we'd see certain differences, such as:

  • A difference in the makeup of the Supreme Court
  • Differences in where the tax burdens fall. Romney is unlikely to increase taxes on the wealthy (all he claimed in the debate was that he wouldn't decrease them but they're historically low now), Obama is likely to increase them
  • Differences in how much renewable energy is supported compared to fossil fuels, with resultant differences in global warming and oil dependence
  • Differences in the economy as a whole, because the more tax policy and government programs are skewed toward helping people lower on the economic ladder, the more business will be created
  • Differences in the economy as a whole in terms of different approaches to how to balance austerity and the deficit
  • Differences in support for social programs for those without resources in general
  • Differences in support for college/university education, which is critical for American competitiveness
  • Differences in how minority populations are treated, including support for or opposition to the Arizona approach to defining who it's reasonable for police to stop under what circumstances
  • Differences in womens' rights, including support for the Lily Ledbetter law, abortion rights, etc.
  • Differences in support for gay rights
  • Differences in the availability of health care and nursing home care for the poor and elderly
  • Differences in environmental policy in general. Whether or not you think Obama is an environmentalist, he's certainly more of one than Romney is
  • Differences in military spending. Romney is supporting spending the Pentagon is actually not requesting

I’m not saying that the similarities between the candidates are not greater than the differences. That’s beside the point. The point is that these differences would have a significant impact on many people’s lives. The only valid path to the conclusion that any liberal/progressive shouldn’t vote Democratic is to claim that the differences between the candidates, including those listed above, would not have a significant impact on many peoples’ lives. If that’s not your case, then

To ignore these differences is irresponsible, Period.

If it is your case, make it.  Not in comparative terms, in absolute terms.

[Note on 10/22: Due to a remark by Skypixeo on his blog, I will amend that last sentence to read: "Not in general terms, in specific terms." The point here is that simply stating "they're too equivalent" amounts to ignoring these differences. If you choose to ignore these differences, I ask that you acknowledge the differences you're ignoring.]

3. Without some sort of long-term agenda for replacing Democrats with something better, this posturing is useless. Fine, Democrats Suck. Now what? Voting for Jill Stein, as much as her issue stands are far closer to mine than Obama's are, is posturing because there's no way in Hell we could even in theory build enough support for her in this election cycle for her to have the chance of Half a snowball in Hell to get elected President.

So, to conclude, the best available damage control at the moment is voting Democratic. After that, if you want to either get rid of the Democrats or change their agenda, come up with a plan to do so. Or at least the beginnings of one.

Because of the significant differences between the parties, EVEN IF BOTH ARE EVIL, voting Democratic gets us a better result AT THE MOMENT than voting Republican does for the simple reason that it helps more people. That is why I am writing this.

I’ve seen loads of lists of Six Million Ways Obama Is Awful.  I’ve read them. I agree with some of the points I find on them. However, the category they fall into is Grievance Lists, not Plans. They’re kvetching. Withholding your vote will not make any of these grievances go away; it is in fact likely to make many of them worse.

If you want me to withhold my vote from any Democrat, you have to tell me what good that will do. Because that’s the thing: I’m not interested in making a Statement or a Gesture, particularly as an alternative to helping people, even if that help is relatively minimal. I don’t care if I am theoretically soiling my hands by the very act of voting for horrible people, because keeping my hands clean is not my biggest priority. Having clean hands doesn’t help anyone else.

If you want me to withhold my vote from any Democrat because voting amounts to fiddling on the deck of the Titanic, tell me what to do about the gashes in the hull. If I can’t do anything about them, I will do more people more good by fiddling on the deck than I would by running around screaming “Bastards! They put gashes in the hull!”

I want to know what to DO. I want a course of action that will actually help people. The course of action I have in mind will at least  help some people in the immediate future.

Frankly, if your suggestion helps people less than what I plan to do, your sugggestion is useless.

Let me repeat that in case you didn't get it the first time:

If your suggestion helps people less than what I plan to do, your suggestion is useless.

Got that?


--------------------------------------------------
ADDENDUM, started 1:41 AM, 10/25/12

I have come across what I would consider to be a valid answer to this post. I do not believe it was presented here. It's author is Skypixeo. The point he makes is that the US Presidential election is decided by the Electoral College, not the popular vote, so if you don't live in a swing state, your vote is screamingly unlikely to affect the outcome and is therefore unlikely to prevent Romney's election. If that is the case, you may actually help more people in the long run by voting Green, both as a statement to the Democratic Party for what they've gotten wrong as of late (and a signal of what they need to correct and that said corrections may be a matter of some urgency) and as a way of building a party whose views may reflect yours more closely than those of the Democratic Party.

I happen to live in a swing state whose result is far from a foregone conclusion, so my post still applies to me. It does not, however, necessarily apply to all those reading it.

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I'm with you, kosher. Even if there are sort of two Republican parties, I find it somewhat socially irresponsible not to support the more moderate, the substantively more humane Republican party. So I'm voting Obama/Biden 2012.
I don't think Obama is horrible or evil. I do think that the presidency is an impossible job and that no one can do even half of what they would like to do or avoid disappointing a portion of their constituency. Jill Stein, even if she were electable, would disappoint. I agree with your vote and hope you bring people on board.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In 1980, disappointed by Jimmy Carter, I voted for a third party candidate, John Anderson. I somehow deluded myself into believing it wasn't an implicit vote for Reagan. And here's the thing for 2012: the only way a vote for a 3rd party candidate will have any impact is if those votes deny Obama a second term. Whatever the disappointments with Obama, the thought of a Romney Presidency working with a Republican Congress should turn anyone's stomach. And if the 3rd party candidacy does not prevent Obama from being re-elected, the gesture will turn out to be futile and will give the Democratic Party more reason to disregard the defectors.
Laura,
Thank you and welcome.

jlsathre,
I'm not saying that Obama is either horrible or evil. I'm saying that even if you conclude that he's both, voting for him may still make sense. My feelings about him are way mixed.

Cranky,
Someone has to be straight about this. If we aren't going to be stuck with two parties, this has to be approached more intelligently than running a third party presidential candidate before that party has any base at all. Pour a fortune into a Senate seat somewhere and build from there or maybe a couple of Congressional seats.
I sent my vote off yesterday, doing a straight democratic ticket, except for local issues which are a horse of a different color. I quit the democratic party last year, now if I don't vote for them, I don't vote. My dad voted and I am going to vote, the lesser evil be damned.
Thanks for the shout-out, and as you know, we are in agreement on the matter. You like my coining the word Pyrrhicism to describe futile gestures and boastful claims of moral superiority for having made (usually very publicly) such useless gestures -- well, here's some more on the subject: Pyrrhic victories are for losers.
Scan,
I have to check out the local candidates before I vote early.
Tom,
Yes, I'm extremely aware that we are in agreement on this. We agree on what we want to do and why we want to do it.

Here's the thing:

My fundamental argument is that the moral high ground isn't.
ks -- you and others like you are contributing to the dead weight of the problem not the solution. everyone assumes everyone else won't vote for the best option so then THEY don't. What madness. triangulated and hog-tied citizenry. totally reactionary and not proactive and not like RFK encouraged asserting WHY NOT????

The secret of ending a no win game is to stop playing the game. Enuf of this evil.

so people admit Stein is a pro-people, -planet, -peace candidate who would be lightyears better than Obama and Romney and, who btw got arrested last night in civil disobedience showing up at the debates also with her courageous vp and Stein was handcuffed to a chair for eight hours to teach her not to mess with fascist government.

Stein will be appearing on 85% of the US ballots but because she didn't get 15% of the polled citizens declaring they will vote for her but 2-3% she is denied access to the debate which entry rules are arbitrary and exclusionary according to corporatists and corporate media which has been excluding her all along as Americans enable corporate media. And since corporations are bribing her with millions of dollars to vote their way she can't buy commercials on tv and since citizens rely on tv for reality they don't know of her and aren't sending in money to her either.

Even though with veritably NO national media mention of her, it is darn good she gets 2-3% declaring according to corporate-friendly polls they will vote for her which is a serious under-estimate undoubtedly.

from my september 1 blog:

http://open.salon.com/blog/libbyliberalnyc/2012/09/01/15_sobering_similarities_between_obama_romney

Bruce Dixon, managing editor of Black Agenda Report, in a recent article entitled "Closer Than You Think: Top 15 Things Romney and Obama Agree On" provided a list of the SIMILARITIES between Obama and Romney policies.

A distillation of Mr. Dixon's list:

15. Obama and Romney maintain that only the private sector can or should create jobs.

14. Medicare, Medicaid and social security need to be cut to relieve the “deficit”.

13. Climate change treaties and negotiations are to be avoided at all costs.

12. NAFTA-like “free trade” corporate rights agreements should continue to be established.

11. Banks and Wall Street speculators deserve bailouts and protection from criminal liability. Underwater and foreclosed homeowners deserve no moratoriums or help.
.
10. Palestinians should be occupied and dispossessed, Iran should be starved with sanctions and threatened with war, Cuba embargoed, and foreign policy should consist of bombing black and brown populations to expand global empire.

9. Africa should be militarized, destabilized, plundered, invaded by proxy armies or Western power aggression under the guise of “humanitarianism".

8. A US president can kidnap citizens of the US or any nation on the face of the earth and torture and indefinitely detain them or even murder them without trial.

7. Oil and energy companies and other mega-polluters may drill freely offshore almost everywhere, may be allowed to poison land and watersheds with fracking, etc.

6. The FCC should not regulate telecoms to ensure access to the poor or to guarantee network neutrality.

5. “Clean coal” and “safe nuclear energy” are to be promoted despite cancer epidemics and other environmental and medically devastating consequences.

4. Immigrants must be jailed and deported in record numbers, or locked up with little or no due process in atrocious privatized immigration prisons.

3. Private health care must benefit corporate vendors to obscene degrees at the sacrifice of accessible health care for all Americans.

2. There must be no minimum wage increases, no right to form unions, no right to negotiate or strike, no enforcement or reform of existing labor laws.

1. We must escalate the disastrous 40 year war on drugs and keep the prison industrial complex housing a shameful 2.3 million plus people continuing on.

This is what Mr. Dixon came up with but, as he admitted in his comments section, there are additional (equally chilling) similarities to be added to the list.

end of quote:

THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE ENDORSING BY VOTING FOR EITHER OF THEM, PLUS A WAR WITH IRAN COMING TO A PLANET VERY NEAR YOU VERY SOON!

WHAT THE HELL IS IT GONNA TAKE FOR PEOPLE TO SAY "ENUF"???? 30,000 people are dead in Syria because our government is enabling Al Qaeda terrorists to help try to topple Assad's regime. Just more craven war criminality. No biggie. Obama has gutted half the bill of rights. But we must keep him in because Romney will gut the other half? Do you think Obama is gonna stop gutting bill of rights because you think he will change? Change you can believe in or delusional thinking?

YEAH, SO EASY TO STAY PRO-OBAMA SINCE THE CORPORATE MEDIA WON'T SPOTLIGHT HIS AMORALITY AND INADEQUACY AND LEGAL CRIMINALITY, THOUGH I'M THINKING AT THIS POINT DENIAL, AND 5 STAGES OF GRIEF BARGAINING STOCKHOLM SYNDROME IS GETTING PRETTY OLD AND TRAGIC AND PATHOLOGICAL!!!

YES, REPUBLICANS ARE SCUMMY. BUT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS JUMPED THE SHARK!!!! YOU DON'T REWARD EVIL.

"THE POINT OF POWER IS ALWAYS IN THE PRESENT MOMENT." Louise Hay

TO VOTE FOR EITHER OF THESE MEN IS TO PLAY THE PROVERBIAL "GOOD GERMAN"! TO ENABLE EVIL BECOMES EVIL.

"If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

You are adding to the dead weight of the problem.

But that nice cronyism of the team Dem people. note: 50 million Frenchmen were WRONG!!!!

So, for four years people have been playing the "ain't it awful" game watching Obama do more and more anti-democracy things but unwilling to object despite outrage expressed by the serious left. And now they declare, "it is too late to do anything about our plight " as if it just happened last night.

SAY NO!!!

I can't hold my nose and vote for Obama cuz I'd be holding a vomit bucket if I tried to vote for him. i'm wearing a black arm band not only for the tragedy of obama and romney but the tragedy of a citizenry that got herded in pens and has decided to remain in them indefinitely. Will only exit the pens giving a guarantee that all of the others will have their backs and that things have not reached bottom yet.

Note to citizens: THEY HAVE!!!! or maybe not. YOU GUYS ARE BRINGING US TO AN EVEN LOWER BOTTOM BY ENDURING THE OUTRAGES OF A FAST-HARDENING SOFT-FASCISM.

best, libby
typo above, i meant to say since corporations are NOT bribing her, she can't buy all those insanely expensive commercials ...
The Bill of Rights are/were laws NOT suggestions. Our constitutional law expert president willfully gutted some very serious ones. Do people think he will put them back, keep the status quo as it is, or gut more? Answer is three, gut more.

What has he done for non-one percenters seriously in 4 years? Do you think he will do something concrete and helpful re jobs or foreclosures or for peace in the next four years if he hasn't so far? The corporatists WANT citizens to think Obama is the better candidate. So we got punked by Obama in 2008 but in 2012 you hope he gets re-elected so we don't get someone worse? Worst case of "battered citizenry syndrome" ever!!!!

Obama was the corporatist one percenters' Trojan Horse. So successful he is still being defended un-friggen-believably.

Ray McGovern maintains the administration suffers from CDD -- COMPASSION DEFICIT DISORDER.

Rosa Parks said NO. MLK said NO.

SAY NO!!!

Our corporate parties are rotten to the core. Murderers and thieves.

Don't compromise on fundamentals. Obama has done this since the get-go. MSNBC officially rationalizes and Obama keeps on going.

But in an ostrich society of cronyism, short-term comfort of denial and it is more convenient to blame the messengers and pooh pooh the GRAVITY of the message of said messengers.

OBAMA wants to lock up the messengers. Do you think that will change for the better, either?

Do you think it will get easier fighting back fascism in 2016? It won't. We are a morally and spiritually bankrupt war criminal nation. Sociopathic addicts are running things to destruction and the vast majority of citizens are enabling them. And corporate media propaganda is the opiate as well as the Springsteens and Morgan Freedmans and Ben Afflecks and Rachel Maddows to woo with personality for someone who has perpetrated evil and will continue to. Too bad.

As for climate change that no one seems to have time to address in this profits uber alles corporate-captured government, what a violent wakeup call that presidential/corporate party leadership inadequacy will wreak!

best, libby
Thanks for the correction of the typo. It did confuse me.

No, Libby, I am not endorsing Obama. I am anti-endorsing Romney. Obama has a shot at stopping him while Stein has none.

Actually, that list of their similarities isn't totally accurate. Obama, for example, has put a moratorium on offshore drilling. If you want to make points with me, don't get cute. I try pretty hard not to exaggerate because my credibility matters to me, so I try to limit my arguments to what I think I can defend and don't screw around past that. That's one reason I don't get demonized much by people who disagree with me on OS.

So you think that if all the liberals/progressives/whatever we call ourselves this year (like you, I prefer Liberal) voted for Stein, she'd get elected? I don't. Nor do I think the possibility exists of getting all of us to vote for her. It's been tried before. John Anderson was different. Ross Perot was different. In a negative way, George Wallace was different. It hasn't worked as far back as Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party. And him the public knew.

So if Stein got elected, do we think she'd be able to accomplish whatever her agenda is? I know I like what she stands for but I don't have a clue what she's done. I gather she has integrity and she clearly has sense but I don't know if she's capable. What she stands for is one thing; what she is able to accomplish is another. Sometimes in order to get something passed, particularly given that there's usually an opposition involved, you have to know what to trade and when and how to trade it. Obama's learning curve on this was a lot slower than I'd have liked, which is the main reason I regret voting for him the first time. Though I didn't know it at the time, Hillary would have gotten more done. I made the mistake of voting for the guy who talked a good game, who objected to automatically demonizing the opposition; he turned out to be more inept than I expected. I could make the same mistake with Stein. I'm not saying she isn't capable; I'm saying I don't know. Obama at least has a few years under his belt so there are mistakes I doubt he'll repeat and, as I said before, however Obama's been, Romney would be much worse.

Are you making the case that there's no difference? If you disagree with my list of differences, tell me which ones and why, then explain to me how whatever's left on the list as far as you're concerned is not enough to worry about. Sure it's OK if poor people and the elderly are uninsured, sure it's OK if Roe v. Wade gets reversed, sure it's OK if the Lily Ledbetter Rule gets defanged or overturned, sure it's OK if American income polarizes even more, sure it's OK to expand the Pentagon's budget way past what the Pentagon itself is asking for, sure it's OK to sell gay rights down the river, sure it's OK to defund solar and accelerate global warming even more, sure it's OK if the Supreme Court gets the kind of majority that will overturn damned near everything you value. Who's fates do you think you're gambling with? If you think this is all insignificant, say so.

You want to rant and say you can't stand the state of things? Great. I can't stand it either, but I'm not about to allow my ranting to hurt that many people by taking a gamble with such insanely long odds.

It's irresponsible.

As bad as the status quo is, the alternative is far worse.

Don't ever think "How much worse could it be?" This has happened in the Third World over and over, where a group of citizens of some country or other get fed up with how incredibly corrupt their government is and they replace that government with Zealots. And then they find out how much worse. As little respect as I had for Chiang Kai-Shek, how many millions of Chinese died when Mao started trying to control an economy on ideological grounds when he didn't know what he was doing, where it didn't occur to him that even in agriculture, people who work at it have to actually know how to do it? Or how many were ruined by the teenaged Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution? Do you think when some Cambodians supported Pol Pot they had any idea of what was coming? To use a more recent example, when the Gazans voted for Hamas because they were sick of Arafat's corruption they had any idea that they were electing people who would shoot the kneecaps out of Fatah members because they were Fatah members? Or set fire to a United Nations camp for children because it admitted girls? Or herd civilians Into a building the Israelis announced they would bomb because their own people had more PR value to them killed by Israelis than alive? (No, the Israelis did not bomb the building while it was full of civilians.)

Yes, Obama has not prosecuted the Wall Street Bastards who did this to us. I get it. But I can't stand the fact that you don't acknowledge the fire you're playing with.

You claim to be making a moral stand. I'd love to be making your stand because I agree with you on most issues,

but it would be self-indulgent. And irresponsible.

That kind of a gamble is not moral.

If you want to lecture me, you're going to have to do a damned sight better than that.
Thank you for this, Kosh. You make mountains of sense...and obviously there are many of us who treasure the fact that you take the time to put the arguments in such fine order...and to present them so persuasively.

There are some people you will never convince...and so be it. With people like you and Tom making the arguments, the people with minds open enough to consider those arguments have something to chew on here.

I think what I call the "denial crowd" is deeper than it looks. I hear comments from people who are heading toward not voting or voting for a third party...in other words, voting against Barack Obama without actually voting for Mitt Romney. In the end, those lost votes will hurt. What was it...500 or so votes that decided Florida a few years back?

Keep fighting the good fight. It is well worth it.
Frank,
I appreciate it. We're certainly on the same side of this one.

My bottom line is this:

What are the consequences of each course of action?

I don't want to know how nauseating the pill is. I want to know what happens to me if I swallow it and what happens to me if I don't. Whichever consequence is worse, go the other way.

Really, a pretty straightforward equation. I'm sorry that all these people are gagging on the pill. I'm sorry that the pill doesn't cure everything. Right now, what I need the pill to do is vaccinate me against the dreaded Red Gop Crud. The pill might make me puke, but it's worth it.

In spite of what I'm hearing, swallowing a Tic Tac won't do the trick.

OK, down the hatch and bring me a bucket.
Thanks, Jon.

I get where Libby is coming from but I can't play that. To play that I need three questions answered:

1. Doing the math, how do you forsee Stein winning?
2. Who exactly, other than Romney and Ryan, will my not voting help? In other words, what will it accomplish? Not what will is SAY, what will it ACCOMPLISH? I don't give a sh*t what it says.
3. Are you characterizing the list of the extra costs of having a Republican President rather than a Democratic one as insignificant? If so, say it outright, cost by cost. Say that it's worth it to lose freedom of choice. Say that it's worth it for the elderly not to be able to afford nursing homes. Say that it's worth it for us to go back to a superemphasis on fossil fuels. Own up to the consequences of your stance

or shut up.
I'm switching from Bounce to a generic brand of fabric softener, a choice with equal import.
Obama endurers:

games people. The "yes but" game. Obama killed your mama. YES BUT Romney would have made her suffer more the way he WOULD HAVE killed her. Just fill in the last blank before the YES BUT.

So, we'll see how the world ends. WWIII or climate change disaster.

We'll see if they execute Manning and Assange. Intern big-mouths from pre-2012 election. Declare insurgents anyone who criticizes whichever mendacious corporate party president we get. Who will perpetrate impeachable acts but they'll change the right of impeachment, too.

might want to google Mark Twain's the War Prayer re massive national denial.

all the anti-war hippies of the 60s -- really selling out in 2012 if you are going for Obama.

So many great Americans risked so much for us, the gutless faux-pragmatic generation.

You know Obama's bankster BFFs are massively switching to Romney. I am assuming you'll blame Stein and me et al. if Obama loses not the sociopathic narcissists who took $10 trillion from our treasury and want our social security and medicare this go round and no longer need a Trojan Horse like Obama since the population is so whipped.

The Good Germans of the 30s and 40s and 2012 Americans voting for Obama. No serious difference.

championing "evil" ... pyrrhic is what it is.

corporate-capture government game. Election time, Dems play good cop, Repubs bad cop. Reality, we are so screwed because they are agents of oligarchical control.

But what the hey, Oprah likes Obama so there you go. Springsteen. Amazing how many fit into a national stockholm syndrome. mass murder, planetary devastation, homelessness, poverty. but remember, Obama's has a great smile and sometimes talks the talk. Maybe he will actually walk the walk. NOT!

Stein sits cuffed to a chair for 8 hours.

Obama never even scuffs his guccis.

the American ethical freakshow continues.

change? IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

best, libby
I agree. Just look what all the good folks who voted for Nader accomplished in 2000. I'm going with the lesser of two evils. R
kosher,

Don't you accuse me of being "cute" with you. I have been blogging the damn evidence of what Obama has been really doing for the past year or so with hard facts and quotes.

I wish I were being hyperbolic but I am not. Yes, I am being passionate and earnest. For all the good it has done me.

Visit my blogsite if you want the facts. Visit Stein's.

The YES BUT game continues.

You are part of the massive deadweight of the problem, kosher. Just cuz you got lots of company, doesn't make it the answer.

Too bad you and Cordle and Frank don't turn your debating skills for the real good guys advocating bottom line human decency!

libby
Nader was totally right about the corruption OF BOTH PARTIES. MASSIVELY RIGHT. Look at how saturated we are with it today. But go ahead and demonize Ralph for what the corrupt corporate-captured parties have wreaked! Blame decent people for wanting to lead a citizenry that wants the easier and softer way even if it means other human beings will be sacrificed as well as their descendants! Blame the voters who went for Ralph instead of the millions who didn't and look what we have now under Mr. Hopey Changey hypocrit, the American Judas.

libby
Libby,
The moratorium on offshore drilling is not, to my knowledge, fiction.

Tell me what plan you're suggesting. I hear a rant but I don't see how you intend to get anywhere useful.

Are you saying that which one is in office will make no difference on the parameters I've outlined?

Then say it. Don't ignore it, say it.
The Green Party is fine for those who want to join an organized, insular debate and complaint society. Fringe 3rd parties attract ideologues who then rant at everyone around them for being part of the problem the Greens will never solve. You don't like fascism? Well, you do if you don't join the Greens! Fight the Brownshirts while sounding just like one of them! Join or be the lumpen proletariat whose ignorance and subservience will change nothing and serves the fascist regime!

Of course it's the fascist oligarchs who are to blame for not letting a party that hasn't elected much more than a dogcatcher be in the presidential debates. It couldn't be because the Greens don't know how to accrue followers. After all, those followers are to blame for not following. They're part of the fascist regime!

Nothing worse than a 3rd political party that has no political sense or ability. It's a stylized way to wallow in ideological purity, annoy people and change nothing while blaming others for changing nothing. Because they're part of the fascist regime!

No Grieving Greens, you don't have a party, you have a religion. A religion surrounded by heretical apostates who are part of the fascist regime!

You'll never change anything because you have absolutely no clue of how to do it, and most Americans just aren't that into you.



PS--because they're part of the fascist regime!
moratorium -- so that can be ended as soon as the election is over. think of how obama handled one of his BFFs BP after that disaster. cherrypick a few issues and even cite some eleventh hour temporary actions for the con. For Lucy and the football election game of 2012.

Get played for Iran War the same way we got played for the Iraq War.

Stein said we are Titanic America for both of these guys. Maybe we go down a tad slower with Obama (but I doubt that) but we go down.

She also said Romney's a wolf in wolf's clothing, Obama a wolf in sheep's clothing.

But he's a less ferocious wolf? Right!

corporate-captured government's propaganda machine. wear the leash and diss those calling out mass criminality of our government here and abroad.

media is the opiate of America for sure.

best, libby
I am in full sympathy with the general aims of both sides of this discussion. The USA is in real trouble and something must be done to redirect activity to make a world that has the possibility of sustaining life and hopefully permitting civilization the necessary time for handling the several major problems that threaten total disaster.
The differences here are about how to attack the immediate problem of who is in control and what the aims are of those controllers.
Obama received a resounding victory at his first election by offering radical turnarounds of many of the G,W.Bush policies. That he was black presented a solid gain of votes of just about all black people who have been treated miserably for centuries and his message of hope seemed an achievement almost impossible before his actual election.
If Obama lived up to his promises the political scene indeed looked extremely good.

But as a leader he was granted four years to accomplish what he promised and he must be judged on in this second election, not on his failures, but on his successes. In general his policies not only did not succeed in carrying out his promised policies, his "successes" indicate a further demolishing of several of the important basic fundamental guarantees in the Constitution. He succeeded in implementing even further to a much larger degree many of the G.W.Bush policies he was elected to wipe away in the matter of openness of government policies, freedom to expose corruption and vile brutalities in the military prison system, undermining of foreign democracies in favor of totalitarian governments, promoting highly dangerous and inefficient atomic power projects, support of his black constituents who have suffered far more than whites in the financial scams of the banking industry, and many other very essential agendas for maintaining a dynamic economy and a decent political system. He must be judged on his performance, not his promises or his excuses for not being the expected leader to attain his promises.
In this current go-around he has obviously calculated that he cannot again rely on scamming the public with hopes he has neither the power nor (I suspect) the intention to put into dynamic operation. So he falls back on that powerful instrument used by all people of dictatorial intent, Stalin, Hitler, Pinochet, etc., namely, fear. It worked wonders for the disdained G.W.Bush who was characterized as moron before the 9/11 terrorist attack and he was transformed into a hero to permit him to lead the panicked nation into one of the biggest blunders in history, the attack on Iraq. And doubtless, the intense fear of the total maniacs who the Republicans offer to guide the world has generated the same panic ridden energies to effect another Obama victory which, as far as I can see, will result only in more of the same brutal vandalism of whatever little democracy is left in the nation.

I can only turn away in disgust. That political battle is lost. Other more effective means must be discovered and forcefully implemented or the battle is lost forever.
Well argued. I fully agree.
I love this entire post. Thank you for pointing out what has driven me crazy about the whole Jill Stein/Green Party argument. Dr. Stein runs for Gov of Massechutes twice and gets obliterated both times. Emboldened by her almost 1.5% of the vote in 2010, she decides to run for President. Good God. This is the kind of delusional B.S. that turns me off immediately. If she's so inspired to make a difference let's see her get into government, even in a low level office, and actually work. Then maybe she can advance as a reputable candidate.
r./
KS, you are raising the correct questions, ones each of us should have right behind our eyes. As bad as Obama has seemed, you can not ignore the fact that the alternative is the true unthinkable: it is the end of this country as we like to think of it. And, as much as Jill Stein is rich in vision, purpose and realigning are priorities, it is giving the evil empire a better chance. ( We really need debates with the Green represented -- the 2 party nonsense does not work.)
It's so incredible that Romney has the support of this much hate -- an egregious fissure in our systems; if we can manage to call it that.
Good stuff. Thanks for sharing. R>>>>>>
Did it ever occur to you that the only reason y'all only have a two major party "between a rock and a hard place" choices is because you play short-sighted "I want it NOW" games and won't use your votes to build a strong enough third choice that can provide a balance of power and get you off that Catch 22 hook?

You whine that the Greens are not strong enough to offer you a viable alternative to the major parties, which are destroying your nation, to induce you to vote for them. Yet you won't use your vote to help make them strong enough to offer you that third choice.

That seems about as selfishly, self-centeredly short-sighted as anything I've ever heard. Do you think a strong alternative to the present tweedle-dee vs tweedle-dum choice is just going to magically appear at some point while you continue to support parties that only leave you the choice of "least bad"?

Your insistence on instant gratification, with no thought for what kind of country you'll leave your progeny, is astounding!

Man up, bite the bullet, and help BUILD something instead of childishly supporting the status quo that you KNOW is destroying a great country. No pain - No gain.

.
If all the people who claim they don't like Obama and think Jill Stein would be better but are still going to vote for Obama put as much energy into supporting Jill Stein, maybe she would win.

As far as Gore, lets take your assumptions at face value and pretend he won. Then what. The broken system still remains. 4 or 8 years after a failed Gore Presidency, we would get Bush or some other moron, and we just delayed the Iraq war and all the other bad things. Nothing would have changed.

As far as all of the things you believe make Obama better than Romney, why hasn't he done those things in the 4 years he has had. Remember, he had both houses of Congress and a mandate from the people after the election to make progressive change. What did he do? He moved to the right. He is a Republican in liberal clothing. 4 more years ain't gonna be better.

As far as Obama's moratorium on offshore drilling. It was temporary. He is a shrewd operator for the corporatists. He lifted the moratorium and has allowed drilling in one of the most sensitive ecosystems in the world, the Arctic. We here in AK have been fighting it. Come join us.

The fact is, vote for whoever you damn well please. It doesn't matter that much. But, get your ass in the streets regardless of who wins and fight for justice.
"My fundamental argument is that the moral high ground isn't."

Right on. And yes, "self-indulgent and irresponsible."

And as I've said before, if (in some alternate universe) Stein got elected, how could she do anything, given that there won't also be a Green congress?
Well argued post Kosh. What I'd like to hear a Green supporter argue is that giving Romney the next two Supremes (who will replace two "liberals") and letting him have at the tax code, Obamacare, and reproductive rights will be worth it because maybe if Stein gets 3% this time round, that can be grown into victory by 2032 or so.

The Obama denunciations I've read here tend to focus on his shortcomings. It's two different, parallel and essentially non-intersecting mindsets. You vote Green and you're (logically?, psychologically?) impelled to argue that between Romney and Obama, it makes no difference who drives policies and makes appointments. Of course, the surest way to defeat Obama is to vote for Romney but that may not provide the comforting moral satisfaction that will help one get through a Tea-Partied Republican administration.
kosher, you already know me. It's me doloresflores_d. of course it's been awhile ;)
The vital element lacking in the US public is the proper fury. Obama is expert in administering the tranquilizing drug of hope and the phony pose of frustration with a futile legislature so everybody makes up excuses for this poor beleaguered ineffective president while he casually, almost absentmindedly , renders basic Constitutional guarantees into strips of toilet paper and smiles his beguiling grin that he is doing his best in an impossible situation. Who can get mad at such a handsome man with great kids and a beautiful wife who opens his hands to heaven while behind him his financial friends are plundering the treasury and his military friends are butchering thousands of innocents and creating new armies of people the hate the USA with blood in their eyes and all sorts of wicked thoughts about the dumb Americans who "there, there" their president and encourage him to try a bit harder.
What is needed is a government of obvious vicious assholes who can openly blunder into generating explosions of hatred and fury at the bunch of dumb bastards who are obviously fucking the entire country. Maybe then a firestorm of fury can wreck the monsters who are destroying anything left decent in the country.
The Green Party is politics without the essential polis. They want the trappings of a majority or near majority party without the people it takes to be one. It's ridiculous to think that you can skip the accruing supporters part and demand that if TPTB will grant you a cart a horse will magically appear.

Unless the Green Party can develop a workable political strategy that doesn't involve magical thinking or the current idea of screeching at heretics in hopeless hope of gaining converts, they are as worthless as teats on a boar hog. The problem with gaining the supporters they need is it's a good bet their laundry list manifesto isn't that appealing, and a safe bet that most Americans are predisposed to voting one party or the other.

So, Greens and Greenie-leanies, come up with a viable plan that doesn't involve the futility of thinking you can use a presidential election to puff your rice. In fact, come up with that Plan To Influence Voters before boring everyone with the list of laments/accusations of moral impurity.
If you don't have the former, the latter is just splatter and you purely don't matter.
Thank you all for responding.

Of those who don't like what I say here, the one thing I've read that makes at least a bit of sense is:

"The fact is, vote for whoever you damn well please. It doesn't matter that much. But, get your ass in the streets regardless of who wins and fight for justice."

Alaska Progressive said that, and it is the only opposing viewpoint I've read here that indicates what we should do that might in the long run work. Or at least accomplish something, anything.

No one else has. I spent the post saying that rants are a waste of time, and what I get are.......rants. I say: Here are the ways the candidates differ and, as far as I can see, these ways can affect a lot of lives pretty significantly so, if you're going to argue that which candidate we elect makes no difference, you're in essence saying that these differences are all insignificant. There are only two valid answers to this point:

1. That the candidates don't actually differ on these points, or
2. That these differences are too trivial to matter.

I haven't heard a word taking either of these positions. It makes me think I'm witnessing something I complained about a few posts ago: Pavlov's Bloggers. I say "Obama" and I get a canned response, one that doesn't answer what I say at all. Actually, I got a few of those.

The more I read about the Green candidate, the less of a shot I think she has. Viewpoints alone don't make a viable candidate and, from what I can see, that's what she's got. I haven't read anything indicating that she'd be viable under any circumstances, even if she got a decent bit of media, and I say that as someone who agrees with her. I have no idea what she's run. This isn't a personal attack, it's an observation. Onislandtime and Abrawang capture this phenomenon quite well. If she has no shot, and the fact that she hasn't had a lot of coverage isn't the only reason she has no shot, considering her as an option is a waste of energy. As I've said a lot in the past week or so: If you want to make a third party viable, raise money and attack a much smaller target, like a couple of seats in Congress, then build from there, because you won't have a shot at the Presidency from nowhere.

But, really, I made three points in this post:

1. Voting Democratic doesn't mean supporting the Democratic agenda, it means keeping the Republicans out of office.

What's the answer? I get accused of endorsing Obama. Uh, I just said......

OK, let's try #2:
2. There is a very significant difference between the parties, even if the difference is smaller than the similarities. (Condensed a little here.)

The answer, as I said above, is either that I'm wrong about the specific differences I've pointed out or that those differences are thoroughly insignificant, Point by Point, and don't matter. Has anyone who disagrees with my stand here taken either stand? No.

OK, let's try the third:
3. Without a long-term agenda for replacing Democrats with something better, this posturing is useless.

And, a corollary:

If your suggestion helps people more than what I plan to do, your suggestion is useless.

Any takers?
Will anyone explain to me how wasting a vote on someone who's destined to lose for a plethora of reasons helps people more than keeping the Republicans out of office does?

Anyone?

I have to tell you:
When I answer someone, I try to do them the courtesy of actually answering what they said.

Or maybe PART of what they said.

I make three points, I devote my post to three points, and I"m getting answers that don't address ANY???

What the Hell is going on here?

Isn't anyone who disagrees with me LITERATE???

(Aside from Alaska Progressive, who at least gave it half a shot.)

I'm not talking about the election now. I'm talking about how we conduct ourselves on OS. This is rude as Hell. It's also evasive as Hell, which is another way of saying it's intellectually cowardly.

If you're going to answer me, answer me.

I don't mean answer my Title. I mean answer my actual Post.
Ignoring a case doesn't mean you answered it, it means you ignored it.

I don't know how successful I am, but I usually try to answer arguments point by point, even the ones I can't handle, which I simply admit the other person is right about or that I have insufficient information to make an argument and so will refrain from doing so.

If you want to talk about this topic or any other topic without responding to my posts, go write your own post. I'm insulted by your ignoring mine in my own comment section.

The last comment I've read before posting this comment is one from Abrawang. Others have arrived while I was writing this and I haven't gotten to them yet.
Regarding a couple of comments that have landed since:

Laura, thank you for identifying yourself. Yes, been a while. Glad to see you.

Jan,
What you just said means you're at least taking a stab at it. I gather your suggestion is that we allow the Republicans to win because that will finally piss the population off to the point where they'll take drastic enough action to bring about serious change.

It's a suggestion. There's a little of "we may have to kill the patient in order to save him" about it but there's also the inherent answer of "if we don't do this, the patient will die anyway."

I don't know if it would work. It's at least worth analyzing.
However, I've seen a lot of cases of countries that got so frustrated they leapt at the chance of change and that change was way, way worse than what they bargained for.

I gave a bunch of examples of this in an earlier comment to Libby. I'll give a very different one to you, one you may be familiar with:

In a country long ago where conservative elements saw the culture get libertine past the point they thought was reasonable, a political party arose that ran on a slogan talking about the proper roles of women. That slogan translates to

Children
Kitchen
Church

That party won the election. They brought back order. The party is called the NSDAP. I assume you and probably a lot of other readers here know what that stands for.

However, everyone here is familiar with the abbreviated name for that party, what they called it for short. "N" stood for National, and they shortened the word in their language for National. And came up with:

Nazi

Sometimes a leap of faith lands you somewhere very, very different from where your faith led you to believe you'd land.
I have never had the power to convince anybody of anything and no magic will ever confer that on me. I can only observe the country like flock of chickens pecking at the bugs between the sleepers on a railroad track while the express locomotive is roaring down on them.
I am quite sorry for the damn dumb chickens but cannot see anything left of them but a swirling cloud of blood and feathers and a few loud squawks.
Jan,
You've got the chops to accomplish that. It may be a matter of the direction of your focus. I don't know; I'm kind of surprised to hear that.
Kosher perhaps the problem with the Republican party is that they are too forgiving of their candidates shortcomings. And the problem with liberals is that most don't seem to have a forgiveness zone when it comes to the shortcomings of Democratic candidates. I became a liberal because the black/white thinking of conservatives bothered me. And yet sometimes I'm surprised that liberals have as much black and white thinking (not literally but figuratively) when it comes to Democratic candidates including Obama. Obama's not much better than Romney? Not true. He's significantly better on the rights of women, on supreme court justices, on health care, and on the best way to stimulate the economy. More tax cuts anyone? Especially the top 1 percent? Four out of the five trillion in tax cuts Romney is proposing would go to households, individuals and corporations making more than $200,000 per year. Not even including the extension of Bush's tax cuts. That's not worth fighting against? Yet maybe the country will keep drifting rightward eternally for the lack of a Democratic candidates who can win elections. * sorry for my pessimism* Looking at Governor Romney surging in the polls today.
kosher, not only do our perspectives collide, but once again our temperaments.

I argue as best I can from my TEMPERAMENT which is a feeler and an intuiter. So emotion comes with me. You and certain others above, not all who agree with you or even me, are obviously not feelers and/or intuiters in temperament and that is not a judgment of superiority or inferiority on my part, it is just a statement of psychological temperamental orientation.

So I have to put up with some degree of what feels like to me some labeling as a "ranter" because of my temperament. It makes me an easier target for you and some of your comrade pragmatists. That is why for over a year I have supplied the vast majority of my blogs written by me the FEELER with an extraordinary amount of cited facts and opinions.

But I am a mere "ranter" as messenger it seems because of my tone, my emotional earnestness which I think is worthy of the dire straits we are heading toward and which the majority of Americans are willing to passively let happen. Who are willing to minimize the horrors already committing by this administration and over-focus on a Republican corporate party future when the Democrat corporate party present administration has been so betraying.

Feelings are not right or wrong. They are emotional energy. They are certainly inspired in the public by manipulative media and politicians. I think some of us citizens are valuable in fighting back with them with our own emotions. I think my voice is as important as other voices sharing our views of reality.

Feelings are required here. Conscience is served by both thinking and FEELING.

I am grateful for this post and thread. This needs to be discussed. But I am leaving feeling dissed yet again and frustrated beyond belief by the "learned helpless" peers many who have told me that my preaching morality is coming from my own inflated ego. I am a feeler so I do take that stuff to heart, right or wrong it goes with my psychological territory.

I know the tough position we are in as a nation. I appreciate people pointing out the reality of this moment with Stein's small numbers but I have been doing all I can to have created a momentum for a party supporting decency, peace and environmental rescue not just recently but for a very long time. During the Bush horror years up until today.

I have been and still am asking people to back up those standing by human decency. Not deciding to share the blood from Obama and getting it on all our hands at this point.

best, libby
There is an historical review at the Tom Dispatch site that is a must read for anyone really interested in the basic architecture of American foreign policy. It details all the hidden actions in the Cuban missile crisis and how the monstrous US hubris dominated the situation and damned near brought about the extinction of modern civilization, not to speak of that of humanity itself and much of life on Earth. It is at:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175605/tomgram%3A_noam_chomsky%2C_%22the_most_dangerous_moment%2C%22_50_years_later/#more

and is very pertinent to the current crisis in Iran and much of Obama's policies which seemingly violate basic US ideals and traditions but actually reveals a continuity that covers decades if not centuries of the delusive nonsense of US policies.

It strikes me as imperative to read and understand for anyone interested in truth.
Jan Sand, if you want to understand Obama's foreign policy, read Samantha Power's book, The Age of Genocide. She articulates better than he does reasons for cautious interventionism for humanitarian reasons.

When it comes to Libya, the intervention was cautious. It saved civilian lives. It was not for oil money. This blowback on the embassy is tragic, but look at the foreign policies of Bush and Clinton. Clinton saw a man dragged through the street in Mogadishu, and he turned the other way in Rwanda. He intervened humanely (but late) in Bosnia. Bush intervened clumsily and with great loss of life in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Libya and health care reform are the best reasons to vote for four more years of an Obama administration. Is he perfect? Not by a long shot. I disagree with his drones policy. I don't think heath care went far enough. But I resent the idea that I have blood on my hands to vote for Obama for president. There are thousands of civilians who are alive in Libya today because we intervened on their behalf. That is the opposite of blood on our hands. And health care reform, imperfect as it is, will save thousands more lives every single year that it is not repealed.

Those who put blinders on to the good that this administration has done, in the stimulus, in health care reform, in appointing the women that he appointed to the Supreme Court, in reforming student loans, in no more preconditions preventing health insurance coverage....Those who ignore all of this in order to point out what he hasn't done....

From my perspective this looks like a fatalistic liberal utopianism. Or a fatalistic liberal pessimism, however you want to add it up.

If Stein were elected I believe she would disappoint and betray people as much or more than Obama has done. This is the nature of what it is to be a politician. To do some good and to do some bad no matter what choices you make. I believe Obama has done more good than harm while he's been president. I believe Romney would do more harm than good if he is elected. And Stein is too much of a wild card (even if she had a chance of winning) for me to trust her with my vote.

But I don't blame anyone for voting the way his/her heart leads him/her. What else can any of us do?
It's evident you swallowed whole the US horse manure about Libya.Read, for example, http://www.workers.org/2011/world/libya_war_0804/
There are many other sites with the truth. Libya was amongst the most generous country with its oil wealth devoted to the public service of its citizens. That is all destroyed and the international oil companies now have Libyan oil at their disposal. Gaddafi defied the USA and was establishing an independent organization of African nations that defied US control and the USA couldn't permit that. Gaddafi tried to cooperate with the CIA torture programs and I in no way defend Gaddafi as a dictator as he was undoubtedly brutal but certainly not the most brutal of the governments highly approved by the USA. It was his defiance of US dominance of the area that brought about his downfall and you have a highly distorted view of the matter.
I'm not as of yet informed enough of the ins and outs of Libya to comment on that.

Libby,
I'm not arguing with your feelings. I'm not arguing with your advocacy of the Green party. The fact that I appear to be part of a team, gang, group, whatever is, from my standpoint, coincidental - I would and could do this alone.

If you want to talk about feelings, let's talk about feelings. From a personal standpoint, I feel ignored by you. You are responding to my topic but you aren't responding to what I'm saying. I make all of three points in a post (albeit with decent thoroughness) and you don't actually address any of them. As far as I can tell, I would have gotten exactly the same response from you if I'd written:

Vote for Obama
Greens waste of time

That's not what I wrote, but that appears to be all you read.

Feelings are all well and good, but they are not an excuse not to read, nor are they an excuse not to respond. You can claim all day that it's your passion that I object to. You have it backward. Your passion is why I respect you.

However, I don't respect your using your passion as an excuse to ignore what I say.

The name of the game here is not "the case against Obama." It's "the case against the case Koshersalaami made for voting for Obama."

I'm not saying you are incapable of answering me. I'm saying you haven't bothered to. I really don't appreciate your coming to my blog and ignoring me. I'm sorry you think that what I say isn't worth responding to.

For someone who is so feelings-based, you're being pretty insensitive.
Kosh, I have a friend I play golf with often who simply is compulsive about pissing and moaning; the kind of guy who could find something negative to say about an intense orgasm.

I think that is what's going on with some of the good folk here. They just have become so wrapped up in their disaffection; in their feeling sorry for themselves; in their need for self-congratulations at "seeing things more clearly than those others"...that they cannot get out of the psychological hole they've dug for themselves.

The problems are there for all to see. Society is very complex...running it efficiently is a very, very, very difficult thing to do. Some people want to think there are magical solutions...and consequently paint people like Jill Stein as "the savior." Often they are the same people who considered Barack Obama to be "the savior" and have become embittered because he did not meet their exceedingly unrealistic expectations.

There ain't no savior. It is a complex world filled with complex problems...and many of the solutions (even the decent solutions) have hidden, unintended consequences that complicate things even further. As you and Tom and others point out, we have to choose among the choices that result in the best situation for the moment. We cannot try for magical solutions.

You will never get through to some people...neither will I. I keep joining the discussions in their threads in hopes of opening a few eyes...and try not to be disappointed when the eyes are kept tightly shut.

Never give up, Kosh! Never.
Most amusing, Frank. Open your eyes.
Laura,
Thank you for making part of my case. That's exactly what the second point in the post was devoted to and you do a nice job. One of the things I haven't heard yet is a response to that point. I haven't heard anyone say:

"These differences between the candidates on issues such as 'the rights of women, on supreme court justices, on health care, and on the best way to stimulate the economy' (to quote you) are so insignificant that it isn't worth voting for Obama to address them. We're better off voting Green, even though the vote is presumably wasted, or not voting at all than we are addressing those issues,"

except, in all fairness, Jan Sand, who answers (and I'm paraphrasing, not actually quoting):

"The only way the US is likely to change is if things get bad enough to motivate the population, so you're actually better off with Romney in office because Obama won't make things quite bad enough soon enough." Which is an odd case, but it's a case.

Or, failing that, to say

"We wouldn't actually see significant differences in those areas for the following reasons:"

If anyone is going to persuade me personally of anything, they'll have to actually address my case, not the candidates I'm voting for. There's been a profound lack of that from those who disagree with me.

Frank,
I have to agree in that I'm not seeing a whole lot of analysis of consequences from those who disagree with me. If I do this it will result in this, if I do that it will result in that. Consequences are what's important. If I'm going to be shaken off my viewpoint, that's how it has to be done.
i prefer to keep my vote private.....and have no interest in convincing others how to vote....
I am quite curious on the proposal that an Obama addition to the Supreme Court would be directed towards someone less favorable to the corporate financial sector than one Romney might make considering that both of them are up to their eyebrows in financing their elections through money derived from these elite sectors.
Jan,
To come to that conclusion, you'd have to be unfamiliar with the Supreme Court. Let's start, just start, with the fact that Obama's nominees voted against Citizens United.
That's precisely my point. Citizen's United immensely extended the political strength of Obama's political sponsors. Why should his nominations vote against that?
Because, Jan, you can't micromanage your Supreme Court nominees to that extent. Those who are left of center tend not to let business interests ride roughshod over everyone else like those who are right of center do.

Obama does not have a history of nominating right of center justices. Because of the overall orientation of his party, he's not about to. It would be pretty much unprecedented for Obama to nominate someone supported by Republicans but not by Democrats in Congress. And no, it's not true that the whole party says "how high?" whenever the banking industry says "jump." Even now.
Hey Jan,
Go to the top of my Updates list and click on the new post by Pierre Angiel. He's making your case.
I'm terribly sorry, but I get the distinct feeling that you trust Obama to do the right thing and that gullibility after all his backtracks is disheartening. There is little point in my going on here.
It depends on backtrack on what, and also on what he has political cover to do. Simple demonizing isn't a good enough predictor of results
@Steel Breeze ~ I feel the same way, altho not because I have no interest in trying to persuade anybody to vote my way but because most people have no interest in being persuaded to vote any way other than the one they've chosen -- either intelligently or viscerally or the way the alpha dog in their pack tells them to. And once they've decided, they'll stubbornly keep their minds locked around that choice come hell or high water.

I do, however, have immense admiration for people like Kosh and Tom Cordle who earnestly, in the face of such massive resistance and stupidity, persist in making the case to any intelligent, reasonable being who might still have an open mind.
I have already cast my vote for Obama, but I agree with you point by point....but I am going to make a radical, impolite suggestion. I believe that you should remove Libby's comments from this THREAD and here's the reason why:

The time for rationale discourse is long over. The Republican machine is putting out a super-abundance of lies about Obama, utilizing the Big Lie technique as practiced by Adolph Hitler.

One of those techniques is to set up contradicting voices that appear to be more liberal than the liberals and to argue against supporting moderate candidates on the grounds that they are not liberal enough.

This tactic was one of the key parliamentary techniques used by Hitler and Goebbels to gain power in Germany.

Libby's comments are volatile, vitriolic, and distracting from the serious purpose of arguing for a serious course of action in the midst of a constitutional crisis.

Libby has a right to free speech. Let her argue her points on her blog, not here on yours. The right of free speech does not extend to inviting your adversaries into your living room to talk to your impressionable children.

I have stopped watching Bill Maher for the same reason, by giving various right wing nuts air time on his programs he has actually created some of the people who are now attempting to replace our democratic society with an oligarchic, religious dictatorship.

Libby is a distracting influence that undermines your efforts and I don't believe you have an obligation to give her viewpoints time and space. On the c0ntrary, I think you have an obligation to delete false statements and erroneous conclusions on the grounds that some people might read them but might not read your rebuttals.

You said that "If your suggestion helps people less than what I plan to do, your suggestion is useless."

Well, that's exactly the situation you are in with Libby's comments. they are useless, distracting and undermine your own thesis.

I doubt that you will follow my suggestion but if I ever post on OS again, I will rigidly follow my own advice. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Otherwise, don't bother. I don't want to hear it any more.
Kosh: Today the Huffington Post reprinted an essay by Daniel Ellsberg which basically makes the same arguments as you do, in even more stark terms.
Kosh, I disagree with Libby on many things, but I would be terribly disappointed if you followed Sage's advice to delete her comments. She puts lots of work into her posts...and they deserve to be read. Your responses to her and Jan are much more important than the kind of cleansing Sage is recommending.
Thanks CC

Frank,
I don't generally delete comments. The reason I don't delete them is not because I'm being polite, it's because I want the record. If someone doesn't argue ethically or worth a damn, I want the opportunity to look it up. I review old comment threads sometimes. Aside from which, if I ever get into an argument about how someone conducts themselves, I want evidence I can draw on.

Alan,
I very much doubt anyone reading this comment thread is going to read Libby or anyone else without reading my replies. That would just be an odd place to stop reading. Someone else might have trouble answering a particular form of comment and how I do it might give them ideas. Aside from which, I doubt Libby is a plant.

That being said, in some ways I'm beginning to shift my opinion about one thing, something you mentioned, if I may quote you:

" if I ever post on OS again, I will rigidly follow my own advice. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Otherwise, don't bother. I don't want to hear it any more."

I'm getting more and more tired of the Pavlov's Blogger phenomenon. I know a number of people here who do it constantly and some who do it intermittently. I just don't respect that approach. I've been pretty respectful to my commenters but, frankly, my patience is running out. I will become more openly hostile when I encounter this. You might notice if you follow the thread that I've started. No more free passes on that.

[For those of you who don't know what I mean by Pavlov's Blogger, this is my own term I introduced a few posts ago. It refers to people who react to the topic of your post rather than its actual content. In this instance, it refers to people who wrote about Obama without addressing any of the points I made about why I intend to vote for him. I'm not asking anyone to agree with my points; I'm just asking them to address my points if they're coming up with what they view as a counter case. As I said in an earlier comment, I really object to anyone treating this post as if its entire text consists of

"Vote for Obama, Greens Waste of Time."

If you want to disagree with my logic, address my logic.

If you're not commenting in response to my post as opposed to just in response to my topic, particularly on a contentious issue, you have no business being here. If you want to expound on this topic without addressing my post at all, go post on your own blog. That's why you have a blog. If your intention is to come into my house and ignore me while you're here, you are not welcome.
At least three people practiced Pavlov's Blogging on this thread; the count should probably be four.
I am late to this conversation, but in a way I'm glad I am. Here are my observations:

-This is no time to paint candidates with broad brushes of any kind. We are at the top of a steep mountain with our skis pointed straight downhill. We need to figure out how to get to the bottom of that slope as close to intact as we can get.

- I also agree with Jill Stein's positions. Does that mean I should run for President? No. Neither of us has the support we'd need to actually perform in office. She has to keep working to build a constituency, and I think she is. She is not ready yet.

-In the meantime, we have to make a decision NOW. All the shrill ranting or even measured ranting against Obama's record is more about punishing him for being less successful than we'd all hoped than it is about making the choice that is most likely to get us through the next four years as close to intact as possible.

-If we accept that there is little chance a Jill Stein or a Rocky Anderson -- even if one of them somehow managed to get voted into the Presidency --of having a snowball's chance in Hell of keeping even a fraction of the promises Obama has been able to pull off, then we must accept that a choice must be made between Obama and Romney.

-In my opinon, it is unwise to become a one-two-or-three issue voter at a time like this. Whatever one might dislike about the incumbent, is it important enough to throw the bum out in favor a someone who we know little about in the way of plans, except for the many times he has flip-flopped in the interest of political expediency?

I understand the feeling person that Libby describes. I'm more on the thinking side of problem-solving, but I am far more emotional than you are, Kosh. But there comes a time when feelings have to be put aside and replaced with point-by-point, issue-by-issue forecasts of outcomes of the choices we have, and not the choices we wish we had.

-Finally, my one little vote came to me at such a tragic price, I cannot and will not toss it in any direction without this level of thought, and I will never decide to withhold it.

For all those reasons, I am in complete agreement with your reasons for voting Democrat.

Lezlie
As I shared on Rockford's latest blog:

On Tuesday night Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president, spent 8 hours in those nerve-damaging plastic cuffs, directly cuffed to a chair in some kind of quickly organized government temporary detention center warehouse near Hofstra University in Long Island where at the same time Romney & Obama were debating on national tv.

Dr. Stein was "jailed" because she performed an act of civil disobedience in protest of, despite being eligible to be officially on 85% of the US ballots, she was not allowed to participate in the debate and explain her platform -- explain who she is and what she represents to 85% of the voters who will see her name printed before them in November. Many may even ask, "Who the hell is that?"

She ended up suddenly sitting down on the tarmac of a street with her vp candidate Cheri Honkala with a bunch of beefy cops surrounding her and threatening her and prepared to roughly lug her away which they did.

She and Ms. Honkala were put in some kind of nearby warehouse for the next 8 hours and when they appealed for the cuffs at least to be removed, 13 cops and 3 plainclothesman guarding at the warehouse which was for the most part empty except for these two ironically stunningly low-profile prisoners -- at least according to the corporate media and most American citizens -- asked at least to be uncuffed. They were told NO, their 16 guards didn't want them to escape. They assured the cops they would not escape but they remained cuffed to chairs for the next 8 assuredly uncomfortable hours. (I would call that a form of low-grade but not so subtle torture, but I wouldn't want to be accused of being hyperbolic.)

But, hey, you mess with the current scenario of national fascism under the lesser evil already president and you will be thwarted and punished.

But the real torture for Dr. Stein and her supporters is an American citizenry keeping its back turned to her as she sacrifices and struggles to help it. A corporate media that will not acknowledge her existence and the issues she is trying to address for struggling America. A corporate-sponsored tv debating system that won't let her in since she doesn't poll a popularity percentage (now 15%) of what they arbitrarily select, which is one they know she hasn't yet achieved. Why can't she achieve it? Because she is not taking corporate bribes and can't afford national advertising and even so-called progressive media treats her name like Rumplestiltskin.

So it is an UGLY catch-22 for her as a candidate who already has achieved the near impossible by getting herself on 85% of the ballots.

So we could have at least one branch of the government which is pro-citizen but of course we as a citizenry can't get it together to back her. As we watch what is clearly NOT a representative democracy sink deeper into the quicksand of corporate capture -- of fascism!

3 kinds of Americans. Those who make things happen. Those who watch things happen. Those who way too late ask, "WTF happened?"

Sorry, Dr. Stein. Not too many in first group.

Even people not intending to vote for her should be concerned by the lengths to keep her silenced! (But it is the Obama administration enforcing her silence. So the ends, lesser evil obama to be elected, justifies the means? Pro-Obama citizens collude with and support censorship by ignoring this silencing of a legitimate candidate on 85% of the ballots!

The American ethical freakshow continues.

best, libby
I welcome comments to my blog no matter what they may be since that indicates someone has paid attention. My point of blogging is to engage in conversation and if a comment seems not in direct response but is an exploration of other considerations, that also interests me as it raises other possibilities I might not have considered. Blogs intended to be offensive can, of course, be ignored, but they also offer an opportunity to play fun games in response. It is, of course, somewhat sadistic to poke sticks at a helpless animal and probably not very admirable but we all have our dark side. I admit that I sometimes walk a bit too close to that line but I live alone with few friends and can get involved in rough entertainments on occasion. Nevertheless, Libby's enthusiasms and concerns may not complement your views but they are genuine and deeply felt and her information is in no way fraudulent and usually pertinent in some manner.
One cannot deal with the present situation with Obama in simple terms since the man is undoubtedly moving in startling ways on vital agendas which can affect the future of many terribly important concerns whose implications and solutions can devastate much of the world. The forces waiting to be unleashed can be constructive or catastrophic. Whether the world is resilient enough to sustain major errors of judgment is very questionable and fate does not tolerate powerful fools. If it was only Obama's fate which is of concern I could shrug a shoulder but it is everybody now in the same frightful situation and it seems to me wise to keep an open ear on as many voices as possible.
Lezlie,
Thank you.

Libby,
If you want to blog about Jill Stein's unjustified arrest, feel free. If you want me to say that I don't condone her arrest, fine:

I don't condone her arrest.

What does that have to do with my post?

Nothing.

If every declared liberal and progressive in the United States votes for her this election cycle, assuming we all thought she was qualified and assuming we all thought she could work with the Congress she'd undoubtedly be stuck with, Damned big assumptions, our next President will be Mitt Romney because we are outnumbered by moderates and conservatives combined.

She has no way to reach those numbers, even if they did her any good. She has no way to reach those numbers with a four year head start.

Ain't happenin'. Tilting at a windmill.

Now what do you do?

Your feasible choices are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

What do you do?

Are you tellling me that under the circumstances it is better for the United States for Mitt Romney to win than for me to cast my vote for Barack Obama?

Are you?

This is a question you have to answer in some fashion if you're going to expect any respect from me at all, and I am dead serious about that. I don't care which way you answer it, as long as you answer it and tell me why you chose that answer.

If you answer that it is indeed better for the country for me not to vote for either, resulting in a Romney Presidency (assuming others of my ilk follow suit), are you then saying that your reasoning outweighs any concerns I might have about the functional differences between these two candidates? Outweighs differences in:

Womens' rights
Gay rights
Renewable energy support
Military budgets
Insurance coverage for the poor and elderly
Tax burden distribution on the very wealthy vs. the rest of us
Stimulus vs. austerity and effects on economy and deficit

?

And if so, why?

I will respect you for any case you make, but make one.
This is likely one of the finest examples of an update of the old, "You MUST answer with a 'yes' or with a 'no'; have you stopped beating your wife and kids yet?" question that I've ever seen. As I write this there are 67 comments above. All of those commenters, including me, missed this.

Good one Kosh! I learned something today! If I told you what, you'd more than likely find it offensive so I'll stay my tongue. I can see that there is no changing the mind-set of some - many - people. It's your country. Do with it what you will. I presume that you've noticed that Gallup has Mittens 7 points ahead now. Yeah, I too know that "the only poll that counts is in November."

;-)
.
Jan,
It occurs to me that I have not answered you yet, so now I will.

I have no objection to serendipitous content on my blog.

I have strenuous objections to a refusal, either blatant or tacit, to answer a question I ask, without providing an explanation for the refusal.

That's rude.

If I ask more than once and I encounter the same refusal,

That's more rude, particularly without the aforementioned explanation as to why the question is not being answered.

It wouldn't be acceptable in an interpersonal conversation. It's not acceptable on a blog.

I have strenuous objections to people commenting on my blog who leave me with the impression that they didn't bother to read the post on which they're commenting.

That's also rude.

If someone doesn't want to read my posts, that person should refrain from commenting on them. If I comment on a post that is really long and I don't get all the way through it, I pay the author the courtesy of saying that I didn't get all the way through it so as not to misrepresent myself. That is not too much to expect.

What you expect on your blog is your business. What bothers you is a function of your own makeup. What bothers me is someone who attempts to engage me in a discussion or argument while ignoring my side of the argument, because that's not a discussion, it's strictly a platform for the other person. I am not remotely interested in providing one under those circumstances. I have less of a problem tolerating actual abuse than I do of a one-way communication masquerading as a two-way communication.

It can actually be more than rude, depending on the rationale for avoiding an answer. If one does not have an answer and is unwilling to admit that one does not have an answer but expects me to keep listening, that is both inequitable and cowardly. It is a way of running from me. I have a profound lack of respect for that.

Some of the people who do this I actually like, even though they frustrate me. However, I think less of them for it. A lot less. I don't like being dismissive of people on OS but such behavior makes me dismissive. I try not to show it out of courtesy and I also, like Charlie Brown and the football, keep hoping I'll see them show some intellectual integrity. Sometimes they show some, though usually in other areas, rarely if ever in the area under discussion.

I can be courteous to people I think are idiots. Or intellectual cowards.

Sky,
Here's the deal:

You don't like the idea that I intend to vote for Obama. OK.

I lay out why I intend to vote for Obama. Still OK.

If you have the slightest interest in persuading me not to vote for Obama, given the fact that I've given you my reasons, the obvious thing to do is.....................drum roll, please..........................

Address My Reasons!

Wow! What a concept!

You might be interested in changing my mind, if your comments on a couple of posts are any indication,

And I've Just Told You How!

And you proceed to ignore that
And wonder why it doesn't work.

Does this make sense?

You can see how well this approach has worked for Libby. It doesn't work any better for you.

This concept is SO INCREDIBLY SIMPLE that I can't imagine how it is possible to miss it.

I would dearly love someone to explain it to me.

What is subtle about this?

What am I missing?

I'm feeling so damned clueless. I must be missing Something.

I don't think you're an idiot. I don't think Libby's an idiot. Jan's come considerably closer to answering me; though I don't agree with all his conclusions (like that Obama will take a completely different tack in a second term and start nominating conservative justices to the Supreme Court), at least I know some of what he disagrees with about the logic of my post, and that's really all I'm asking for.

So, lay it out for me.

What's wrong with the obvious path here?
As the saying goes in some parts of the world, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." R
I'm not sure that voting for either party will mean much this election. I believe that in any case, we will have the "Mayan End of Days" on December 21, and somewhere shortly thereafter, the second economic collapse that the fed has been staving off until after the election. Take your pick. I'm laying in food and firewood.
I think it will mean something, which is why I intend to do it.
Not voting is also meaningful and if that became a mass reaction it might have some positive effect.
Of all the smarmy back handed pro-Obama crap you could have come up with, you equate the Green Party and the Nazi Party to each other? REALLY???

BTW, you arguments are total BS. You have NO idea what a Gore presidency would have resulted in and your attempts at "damning with faint praise" of the Green Party not having congressional power or a majority in congress is fallacious. By your thinking ceding Poland was the right thing to do, "Mr. Chamberlain" and you should vote party line Republican because they will probably maintain the majority of congressmen.

As for not having a delineated plan? Have you READ the Green Party's Platform? Can you say that it it is less directional / more ambiguous than the Democratic or Republican ones that supposedly provide your alleged guidance? SERIOUSLY???
OK, Jan first.

Jan,
Either you're not thinking very clearly or you've grown unfamiliar with the ins and outs of American politics which, quite frankly, I began to suspect after your Supreme Court nominee remark. Here are the consequences of a lot of people not voting:

Assorted people will moan about low turnout. Make no mistake about it: a lot of people who don't vote for President will not bother to show up at the polls at all.

The Republicans will take full advantage of low Democratic turnout. This will not only be true at the national level, it will be true at the State and local level, where candidates are a little freer to vote their ideologies. If the Republicans get control of all those statehouses, they will redistrict as hard as they can such that if the Democrats get the message from the low turnout of the 2012 election, they will not physically be in a position to regain control of much of anything in 2014 or 2016. You will end up effectively disenfranchising close to half the country.

The end result could be the worst elements of the Republican Party gaining control of government at all levels. One of the ramifications of this is how badly they would gut civil liberties and antisurveillance regulations, effectively giving them the ability to become Big Brother with current internet technology. Or, even worse, giving their corporate allies the ability to become Big Brother with current internet technology, in which case we look a little less like 1984 and a little more like Max Headroom.

Maybe you're an Orwell fan but, as homages go, that one's a bit extreme.

Amy,
I've spent a lot of time yelling at people for not bothering to read this post before they comment on it. Giving credit where credit is due, you have at least skimmed it. I suppose that's an improvement.

You think it's the Greens I equated with Nazis? Let's see, first paragraph of the post:

"I actually agree with the issue stands of the Green Party more..."

which might, I suppose, make me the first Jewish Nazi. Uh, no. I don't think the Greens are in a position to take power under any circumstances.

I have no idea what a Gore presidency would have looked like? Are you telling me that precedent doesn't help you predict what's coming, as in the guy's record? That would be like saying that I could have expected you to show up here and agree with this post. Trust me on this one: I didn't. Call me psychic.......

No one ceded Poland. World War II was triggered by the German attack on Poland. Chamberlain did not cede Poland; Great Britain went to war over Poland. If you really think you're going to argue Nazi history with Jews, you're in over your head.

Regarding plans of the Green Party, I wasn't referring to the Platform. Anyone can come up with a Platform. Given a couple of weeks, you and I could develop a Platform. I was referring to plans to get into office so that whatever Platform they came up with had a remote chance of becoming policy. Frankly, their approach to getting into office is silly, unless they hoped to get their Platform in front of the public rather than to actually gain office such that some of their goals were adopted by some of the public; in other words they didn't expect to get into office and that wasn't the real point. When you have limited resources, you don't go after the United States Presidency, you go after something you might be able to land, like a seat in Congress or two, and build from there. So, to answer your question, no, not seriously, because that's not what I was referring to.

All of which was obvious. Read first, then comment.
The horror you foresee is half the country disenfranchised. With the current slate of office seekers I see the whole country disenfranchised right now.
Not on social issues.

And there are degrees of disenfranchisement. If you think this is bad, which I also do, wait until you see what it would look like after a Republican sweep.

What I think you're missing is how much of a downhill is possible from here. We are nowhere near rock bottom. We're in trouble, but we're nowhere near how bad things could get.

And I'm not about to advocate going there. Too many casualties. Real ones. In all sorts of ways economic, political, punitive.
What you don't seem to realize, Mr. salaami, is that an election isn't just about picking a winner.

You seem to have the idea that it's somehow a waste to vote for someone who won't win. Wrong. A vote for someone you consider a good candidate, a vote in support of a platform you want, isn't wasted. It's a statement, however small, that the two branches of our one major party aren't offering the things they should.... which they'll never start doing unless they start losing support for doing the wrong things.

Third parties aren't a waste--they're the key to progress. Let's recall that the GOP itself first started as a third party. They grew into a major player because their goals had enough support and weren't being advocated by anyone else.

The Progressive, Populist and Socialist parties never fielded a winning candidate in any election, but they got enough support that the major parties were forced to adopt some parts of their platforms in order to survive. Ross Perot didn't win in '92, but he injected the dialogue with some issues, such as the deficit, that Bush and Clinton wouldn't have even talked about otherwise. Nader did the same in 2000 (and the idea that he was the reason for Bush's (non)victory has always been a crock of shit).

So no, voting Stein or Anderson isn't a waste. If you want what most of the people seem to want--peace, healthcare reform, protection for Social Security and Medicare, sane economic policy that favors the 99% instead of rigging the whole game for the upper 1, transparency/accountability, civil rights, the rule of law, an end to the wars, an end to institutionalized torture, an end to arbitrary imprisonment and killing without any charges or trial--then by what possible logic will it help to give a vote to a president who's opposed to every single one of those things? If that's not throwing your vote away, I don't know what is.
Phil T…

…what YOU seem to be missing is that Koch is also saying that if you solution comes up with a result that is worse than the solution which he advocates…it makes more sense to head in his direction rather than yours.

You MAY make some sort of statement by voting for Jill Stein just as the people who voted for Ralph Nader made some sort of statement by voting for him…but in a close election the result of that could be to help elect someone who will not be as good for the country as the person being defeated.

Vote the way you will…obviously there are many here who simply will not see the problems their intransigence may (probably, will) cause…but Koch is trying to explain that you are heading toward disastrous unintended consequences…just as the Nader votes may very well have helped put our country in the hands of the likes of George W. Bush.

I want to say this as reasonably and courteously as possible, Phil, but frankly, I see those of you who have such scorn for Obama as being people who had absurdly unrealistic expectations of what the man could do. I now see you as having absurdly unrealistic expectations of what someone like Jill Stein could do…and also absurdly unrealistic views of just how devastating your move may be for America and the world.

Do what you will…but if Romney is elected and the conservative agenda is promoted at the expense of the progressive one…you WILL have contributed to it happening…and any protestations that you bear no responsibility will be as absurd as those expectations I just spoke about.
Strong coalitions are mightier than tiny, warring factions. FDR's New Deal succeeded and overcame the Depression precisely because he was able to take all these competing liberal, progressive and labor-oriented factions together, and have them cooperate to advance the common interest. Sure, they had differences. Major ones.

African-American Civil Rights leaders wanted more integration at a faster rate than FDR could give it to them.

Women wanted more rights faster than FDR or Eleanor Roosevelt could give them.

Organized Labor wanted to have increased bargaining rights for workers, but at the same time, they were mostly comprised of socially conservative white ethnic factions that were often resistant to gender and racial-based integration and economic opportunity.

And although the anti-war movement was more pronounced among the Republic Party of the time (a hangover from the Progressive Age, which had a major impact on major planks of the early 20th century GOP), Roosevelt still had a major anti-war faction to deal with among members of his own party.

He also had unreformed Populists, Grangers and Progressives to deal with, who needed to be wooed into the Democratic Party's fold.

The problem with the Democrats today is that they aren't very good at forming coalitions. We all think they are, for some reason, because the party is very diverse. That said, this diversity has ossified and has pretty much been the same since 1968.

Labor is now fair game for the GOP.

The McGovernite branch of the party (upper middle class educated white folks) tends to abstain from politics and vote Green.

And what's left is a combination of interest groups, factions and demographic interests that, while well-intentioned, good and decent, lack the numbers sufficient to overcome the GOP in really decisive ways.

Let's face it. Even when Bill Clinton was elected President, he didn't win by majority. His majority was nothing like Nixon's or Reagan's landslide. Clinton won a plurality of the vote, in a three way race. This was the case in both of his elections. Ross Perot and the Reform Party really hurt the GOP (and to small degree, the Dems, depending on the state, but this loss was more than offset by the damage done to the GOP).

The resulting vacuum in the Democratic Party has been filled by corporate money. Ironically, the Greens and labor now hate the fact that corporations have too much power in the Democratic Party. But this is precisely due to the fact that these groups have not been working hard enough to work for the Democratic Party. Labor abandoned the Dems in 1972 for Nixon and they again turned out in droves for Reagan. Then they wonder why their situation has deteriorated (granted, they did this for social issues, but its still no excuse).

Party discipline and morale is crucial. You can't keep a diverse coalition together without it.

In any event, to succeed, liberals, progressives and labor need to get their act together and reform the grand coalitions of the past. We need to come together within the Democratic Party.

The Greens need to come back to the Democratic Party, be a part of it, and act within the party to enact the change they wish to see. We will see more and more candidates, and more planks in the party platform, represent the Green progressive influence, if only they would exert that influence in a forum where it would have REAL IMPACT, namely, local democratic primaries, caucuses and the national primaries as well.

Until then, I really don't have time for their whining.
And if you think Obama's really this good progressive guy who'll make a decent second-termer, let's look at those supposed achievements.

Womens' rights
Decent here, especially when it comes to insurance plans.

Gay rights
He spoke a few words--nothing but words--saying that perhaps gays should possibly, hypothetically, maybe, perhaps, theoretically eventually have the same rights as everybody else someday. Of course, he also said that individual states should still be allowed to discriminate against them if they choose. And this speech was only damage control since a Biden slip-up forced him to say something, and only because there was no political risk to saying it.

Renewable energy support
This is the guy pushing the Keystone XL pipeline, who still to this day talks as if there's such a thing as clean coal.

Military budgets
He's increased the military budget every year and will continue doing so every further year he's in office. In case you hadn't noticed, when he talks about future "cuts," he's talking about reducing the amount of projected increases.

Insurance coverage for the poor and elderly
The guy had a chance to try to push for universal care or at least a public option, but chose to take the country in the complete opposite direction. Yes, a few more poor people will have insurance--not care, mind you, but insurance. Meanwhile everyone's costs & premiums are going to skyrocket. All but the poorest will be paying much more for inadequate coverage, with those costs jumping from, say, 5% of their income to 10%. And this is for coverage that'll barely cover 70% of the costs of care, with zero protection from bankruptcy or home loss as a result. But hey, the insurance & pharma corporations will be getting billions more in profits, so we know what's really important.

Tax burden distribution on the very wealthy vs. the rest of us
Let's remember that O willingly extended Bush's tax cuts on the super-rich. Then he tried to extend a cut on payroll taxes--a slight benefit to workers, but also a massive drain on funding for Social Security, which he wants to cut as much as Mittens does. Since then, the only quibble I've seen between them has been over ending or extending just one of the small Bush/Obama tax breaks for the super-rich, which at most would only return the top tax rates to where they were under Clinton. Essentially, we need to start injecting new revenue with a fire hose and he's offering a Super Soaker.

Stimulus vs. austerity and effects on economy and deficit
See above. This president wants a bigger military budget and pushes more wars and enormously epensive military campaigns, big and small, every one totally unnecessary. He has no intention of scaling back the US's empire of bases around the globe in any way. He's fought to make sure not a single Wall Street bank or banker can be held accountable for the rigging and fraud that crashed the economy. He helped make sure there was no genuine regulation or reform to prevent them doing exactly the same things again. Meanwhile, he insists we need to start making cuts to Social Security and Medicare, even though they have exactly nothing to do with the deficit.

Hardly a ringing endorsement for four more years.
You feel very strongly about this, Phil, so vote for Jill Stein even if you understand you may be contributing to a Republican victory.

I did that sort of thing back in ’80. I thought Jimmy Carter was a douche; refused to support him; and decided he needed to be taught a lesson. I didn’t even vote for a third party candidate…I was out-front and voted for Ronald Reagan.

Well…a lesson was taught. But I was the one who got the lesson…one I am still being taught, because that Reagan victory was the genesis of the shit we are going through right now.

So…I guess you’ve got to learn your lesson on your own. Good luck. I hope America and the world survives the lesson you are intent on helping to teach.
Koch is also saying that if you[r] solution comes up with a result that is worse than the solution which he advocates…it makes more sense to head in his direction rather than yours.

I understand that. It's just that the premise itself rests on some very shaky logical foundations. The 'reasoning' only makes sense if you believe that a), voting third-party actually helps a certain one or the other of the major parties win more than the other, which is hardly logical; b), that Obama would be a lesser evil than Romney, which is far from certain; and c) that Obama represents a progressive agenda, which is simply preposterous.

Where a) is concerned, you're apparently assuming that a third-party vote will be a vote taken away from Obama, based on... what exactly? Those votes aren't his to be taken away in the first place. If someone's opposed to both the Demicans and Republicrats enough to be voting third-party in the first place, why assume they'd suddenly support one or the other if those were the only choices? And what makes you certain that there aren't just as many (or more) third-party voters who'd go for Mittens instead?

All the polls showed Perot voters would have been pretty evenly split between Bush and Clinton. Nader's voters leaned a little towards Gore, but otherwise made a near-three-way split between him and Bush and Nobody. None of which meant anything, since Gore won and Bush was illegally appointed in defiance of the votes.

More on the numbers: http://tinyurl.com/9yvjm6t

b) and c) go hand in hand. It seems unmistakable (to me at least) that Obama is a much bigger evil. I remember George Dubya being pretty unpopular, with a lot of voters and the Dems and the liberal left loudly condemning the things he did. Starting a ruinous and unjustifiable war of choice not just once but twice. Eliminating more of our rights. Twisting, violating or simply ignoring the rule of law. Locking innocent people away when they'd never been charged with a crime and without even any evidence of wrongdoing. Having people tortured and protecting the torturers from all accountability. Trying to dismantle Social Security. Opposing workers' rights and trying to make it harder for unions to stand up for their members. Letting Wall Street gamble with the public's money and sticking the taxpayers with the bill.

Well, guess what? We've now spent four years watching a Dem president doing each and every one of those things--on his own initiative, independent of any pressure from that famously intractable Congress--usually taking them much further than George ever did, and.... barely a peep of protest. John McCain never could have implemented the GOP/neocon agenda the way Obama has. He would have been lynched if he'd tried to achieve even half of what's been done since '09. Mitt would certainly try too, but he's just not as slick. The people know he can't be trusted. They could very well start getting angry and protesting again. He doesn't have the finesse to pull it off.

No, it requires a liar as exceptional as Barry Obama to declare himself a dictator, put himself completely outside the law, completely usurp Congress's power to make war, terrorize not two but SIX foreign nations with bombs and drones, move us farther away from universal healthcare than we've ever been, finish completely destroying the first, fourth and fifth amendments, annul habeas corpus and push for cuts to the most vital social aid programs the poor depend on.... and STILL have this many Dems and so-called liberals pulling for his re-election.

It's staggering, it truly is.

I now see you as having absurdly unrealistic expectations of what someone like Jill Stein could do

Did I say anything about what I expected her or anyone to achieve? All I expect--or rather hope for--is for the vital issues that are currently being ignored by the major parties to get more of a public hearing. Green policies, WPA-style jobs stimulus, healthcare reform, foreign policy directed away from war, accountability, rule of law, business regulation... all the issues where my viewpoint (and usually the public majority's) gets ignored because both branches of the major party are in agreement about opposing my/our wishes.

What I want most is for the nation as a whole to begin breaking out of this idiotic team-red/team-blue mold and put policies above taking sides. That's all I think a third-party vote will achieve, and at least my conscience and I won't be supporting evil.

Do what you will…but if Romney is elected and the conservative agenda is promoted at the expense of the progressive one…you WILL have contributed to it happening…

You've got that only a little bit backwards. If Romney or Obama is elected, the conservative agenda will be promoted at the expense of the progressive one, and you and all the other lesser-evil voters will be responsible.
Phil, interesting game you are playing here…and I assure you that I am enjoying it.

Just a few things that I found particularly amusing:

Nader's voters leaned a little towards Gore, but otherwise made a near-three-way split between him and Bush and Nobody. None of which meant anything, since Gore won and Bush was illegally appointed in defiance of the votes.

C’mon, Phil. If you think the people who voted for Nader were taken just about evenly from Bush and Gore ranks, you simply are not thinking things through. I do not know a single Republican (and I know scads of ‘em) who would consider voting for Nader unless a gun were held to their heads. The Nader vote, Phil, hurt Gore immensely…and only people willfully refusing to see that think otherwise.

The Nader vote was almost exclusively from disaffected liberals, who if they had gone with Gore would have put him so far ahead, SCOTUS would have had nothing to decide.

It seems unmistakable (to me at least) that Obama is a much bigger evil.

Well, that is because you have decided that both sides are evil. Frankly, I do not see either side as evil…but I do see the Republican agenda as less appealing (much, much, much less appealing) than the Democratic one.

Yeah, I know…you see them as equally in the pockets of Wall Street or some such…but there is not an equality between them whether you can see it or not. I suspect Obama will be defeated…and we will all find out if things stay the same under the Republican agenda or if things head downhill.

It's staggering, it truly is.

It is staggering that you otherwise decent folk have allowed yourselves to get so out of control you actually accept this as truth. I hear all of you crying in abject despair about the fact that our country has become a fascist dictatorship with civil liberties gone forever…in post after post decrying the government and individual politicians. Wake up! You would not dare to post the stuff you post in a dictatorship…or even under mildly repressive governance. We Americans are freer to express ourselves than almost any people ever to inhabit the planet.

But going on is futile. So…vote the way you will and we will all “enjoy” the consequences.
Phil,
You're mixing valid arguments with invalid ones and all it does is kill your credibility.

If you want to talk about gay rights without mentioning the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, you're free to do that. It makes for an inaccurate assessment, but you're free to do it anyway.

I guess you haven't noticed how much crap Obama has been fielding on the basis of supporting a solar energy company that went under. Bad gamble, because there are apparently two technologies and in this case he bet on the wrong horse, but the opposition is unlikely to bet at all. You can pretend that the candidates are equivalent on this based on selective observations, but it is exactly that: pretense.

The contention that Nader drew off as many Republicans as Democrats is shaky at best; the contention that those who would vote for the Greens would be equally likely to vote Democratic as Republican is beyond shaky and well into asinine. Don't dilute what might be a valid argument with this kind of crap. If there is a baby mixed in with this bathwater, you're increasing the probability that a lot of us will throw it out.

I haven't claimed that Obama is a progressive. I've claimed that he's more progressive than Romney is, by enough to make a difference in a lot of peoples' lives.

Personally, I think the smartest course of action for the Greens is rw005g's suggestion (which wouldn't be the first time) but, failing that, I'd suggest taking what limited resources they have and going after something they have a prayer of winning.

So, of my premises:
1. I absolutely believe that voting Green would affect the parties asymmetrically, wildly so, if for no other reason than the Green agenda is a progressive one and that's at least the nominal orientation of the Democratic constituency.

2. I also believe, for the reasons listed, that there would be a significant difference to a lot of populations between an Obama second term and a Romney term.

3. I'm not claiming that Obama has behaved as a progressive.

You tell me that the election is not about picking a winner. I'm sorry, but in terms of affecting people's lives, that is its primary function. You're suggesting making what I believe would be an awfully expensive statement; not only that, but a statement that the right people wouldn't necessarily listen to. If I vote Green, the Democrats will get pissed and the Republicans will say Thank You.

Sorry, but an Obama vote beats that.
If you want me to withhold my vote from any Democrat because voting amounts to fiddling on the deck of the Titanic, tell me what to do about the gashes in the hull. If I can’t do anything about them, I will do more people more good by fiddling on the deck than I would by running around screaming “Bastards! They put gashes in the hull!”
Brilliant way of putting it, Kosh.
Green Party people, please remember this when you vote. Work AFTER the election for the Green Party and then you can have it both ways. R/R is too awful to enable. Please don't be enablers, please don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, etc. etc.
Thank you, Lea.

I had to fool with the post a lot to figure out where to put that.
I came across this interesting article last night. Here are some interesting quotes from M.G. Piety in On Wasting Your Vote:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32760.htm

"There’s been a lot of angry posturing from Americans who think of themselves as progressive about how the purported political center in this country has been moving inexorably to the right, yet it’s these very people who are directly responsible for the shift. If you vote for a candidate whose farther right than you would prefer, well, then you’re shifting the political “center” to the right. Republicans aren’t responsible for the increasingly conservative face of the democratic party. Democrats are responsible for it. Democrats keep racing to the polls like lemmings being chased by the boogeyman.

"“This is not the election to vote for real change” runs the democratic refrain. We’re in a crisis! We must do whatever it takes to ensure that the republicans don’t get in office even if that means voting for a democrat whose policies we don’t really like and which are only marginally distinguishable from those of the republican candidate. That “margin” is important, we’re reminded again and again. That little difference is going to make all the difference.

"Even if that were true, which it ought to be clear by now it is not (see Bart Gruzalski’s “Jill Stein and the 99 Percent”), it would still offer a very poor justification for voting for a candidate one doesn’t really like. Why? Because it is an expression of short-term thinking. Thomas Hobbes argued that privileging short-term over long-term goals was irrational, and yet that’s what we’ve been doing in this country for as long as I can remember. Americans are notoriously short-term oriented. As Luc Sante noted in a piece in the New York Review of Books, America is “the country of the perpetual present tense.” Perhaps that’s part of the anti-intellectualism that Richard Hofstadter wrote about. “Just keep the republicans out of office for this election!” we’re always commanded. “We can worry about real change later!”"

[WE CAN WORRY ABOUT REAL CHANGE LATER -- Yes, especially with the planet suffering a dramatic fever of climate change trying to SHOW us how time is running out!!!! But Obama and Romney both IGNORE THIS ALONG WITH SO MUCH ELSE!!!]

CONTINUING QUOTE:

"Of course anyone who stopped to think about it ought to realize that that mythical “later” is never going to come. Our choices are getting worse not better, and if we keep invoking the “lesser of the two evils” to justify them, we are in effect, digging our own graves."

snip

"Progressive political change will never be a fact unless we have faith in its coming, unless we have faith that others will back us up when we refuse to be forced to vote yet again for a candidate we do not like.

"I, for one, abhor cowardice. I’m not going to be intimidated into voting for a candidate I don’t like by threats of the “greater evil.” I do not expect that my candidate will win the election. I expect, however, that my vote will count for something and not merely in the sense that it will allow me to preserve my self respect. I’m not afraid of being condemned as naively optimistic. Without such optimism we’d never have had democracy in the first place. Democracy, one of the crowning achievements of human history, is precisely the product of the courage to act on one’s conscience and that faith that others will do so as well. If we’ve lost those things, then we will get the president we deserve."

best, libby
Well, Kosh, Libby has demonstrated that M. G. Piety is going to make the same ill-considered mistake she is.

Is that finally going to change your mind about this issue?
The discussion so far seems to break into three directions. Vote Republican and get horrible miseries. Vote Democrat and hope that Obama, who is a vigorous advocate of the same miseries that the Republicans promise, and retain the undemonstrated belief that Obama is a good guy helplessly forced to support the totally destructive bastards who put him in office and hope (aaah that wonderful unkillable hope) he will suddenly turn from the big bad wolf into Goldilocks, a miracle beyond the powers of the known universe. Or vote for the big prize of a candidate that has all the right ideas and not the slightest means to carry them out. Why should I get involved in this totally cuckoo mess?

The country now seems to be almost evenly split bobbing back and forth between the two evils who genuinely offer no real escape from the totally insane agendas that seem inevitably directed to destroy the country and much of the world. If the country is so abysmally stupid as to be entrapped in this useless nonsense and excited about which color necktie the candidates wear, perhaps it's not even worth the effort to try to save. No doubt there will be immense miseries but nature has a way of wiping the slate clean to prepare for the next experiment, whatever that might be.
Frank,
No

Libby,
I'm not trying to delay change. I'd accept change gladly. It's not available. Voting Green won't bring change, except in the sense that it would lead to a Romney presidency, which is exactly the wrong kind of change.

Jan,
Obama isn't horrible about everything. He's horrible about fewer things than Romney is. Some of those things matter. If you want to argue that none of them matter, argue it already.

Go ahead and say that nothing on the list of differences above matters. That will at least be an answer. Up to now, you're implying that a lot but you aren't saying it.

Or, alternatively, make the case that the differences I've listed aren't real, that Obama would actually not differ from Romney in the areas I've outlined.

However, so far you're doing neither. Libby is doing neither. Alaska Progressive is doing neither. Skypixeo is doing neither.

You can repeat yourself as many times as you like but you're wasting your own time as well as mine. I've told you why I have this viewpoint and you're not disabusing me of any of my reasons. Why not? How do you expect to persuade me or anyone who has reached my conclusion for my reasons to change views without addressing our reasons?

I'm serious. I do not get this.
Hypothetically, but analogous in my eyes. It's going to be a free election, Hitler versus Goering. You see Goering as slightly less malevolent than Hitler, who leads the polls. Goering is a lesser of two evils, shall we say.

There are two third party candidates are in the running neither have a chance to win:

"Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker. During World War II, she was a member of the Polish Underground and the Żegota Polish anti-Holocaust resistance in Warsaw. She helped save 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto by providing them with false documents and sheltering them in individual and group children’s homes outside the ghetto. As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto, to check for signs of typhus, something the Nazis feared would spread beyond the ghetto. During these visits, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people and so as not to call attention to herself. She cooperated with the Children’s Section of the Municipal Administration, linked with the RGO (Central Welfare Council), a Polish relief organization tolerated under German supervision. She organized the smuggling of Jewish children from the ghetto, carrying them out in boxes, suitcases and trolleys. Under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions during a typhoid outbreak, Sendler visited the ghetto and smuggled out babies and small children in ambulances and trams, sometimes disguising them as packages. Despite being tortured and imprisoned by the Nazis, Sendler continued to do all she could to help Jewish children in Warsaw. In 1965 she was made ‘Righteous Among the Nations’, and died in 2008."

"Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz was a German member of the Nazi party who worked as a special envoy to Nazi occupied Denmark. Although Danish Jews were initially treated quite favourably by the Nazis, by 1943 it was planned that they would be rounded up and deported to concentration camps. Risking his career, Duckwitz made a secret visit to neutral Sweden where he convinced Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson to allow Danish Jewish refugees to escape to Sweden. He then went to Denmark and notified Danish politician Hans Hedtoft about the deportation. Hedtoft warned senior rabbis in the country, and in the following two months, over 6,000 Jews were ferried secretly to Sweden in boats. After his actions, Duckwitz returned to his duties as a Nazi official, refusing to reveal what he had done in case of losing his job or worse. After the war, he continued working as West Germany’s ambassador to Denmark. He died in 1973. Due to his actions, it is estimated that around 99% of Denmark’s Jews survived the Holocaust."

Granted, as I've mentioned, this is an extraordinarily hypothetical question, but I'd like a serious response or, please, delete my comment and question.
Koshersalaami, there is obviusly within you a firm determination which is not unlike a religious faith which is unshakeable in that what exists in the good ole USA is genuine democracy which requires only a bit of care and a modicum of energy and encouragement to blossom into a garden of decency and good will and love and enough to eat for everybody and banks that behave themselves. It's a terrible thought but Obama is not Santa Clause who has been frustrated by naughty demons from opening his wonderful bag of gifts. You speak frequently of people not reading your proposals. But you have been entirely deaf or blind or whatever goes on the internet for not understanding that the monstrous destruction that Obama has inflicted on fundamental basic legal protections in the Constitution are not trivial wicked little practical jokes of no consequence. They have cracked asunder the basic architecture that has kept citizens safe from a tyrant for the life of the country. We stand today amongst the ruins of basic nature of a democratic government and whatever the hell Romney might do with his moronic government sledgehammer he can only pound into dust the broken fragments of a decent government. The structure never was as great as it was proclaimed, but it had possibilities. Today all sectors of the government, Democratic and Republican stand amongst the non-functional chunks of what was, at least, a half assed attempt at a functioning government. Obama holds up a decorative piece of a destroyed column or a broken fragment of a mosaic and claims he still has a decent government. I am speaking of what he has done, not what he might do further. This election is a decision of which wrecking crew can kick the remaining rubble around with more force. I am not interested.
Kosh, I totally get it. I disagree with both major parties and their policies today. Nobody's been straight with us since....well, perhaps they never have been.Th point is, we don't wish Romney to become the next president. Cranky's point is pertinent here as well. Excellently thought out post
R
Mark,
If it's reached that point, you organize an armed revolt or you leave the country ASAP.

Jan,
I don't agree with your assessment. If I did, I'd reach your conclusions. I think Obama has been pretty bad in a lot of respects but I don't get the impression that he's been quite as destructive personally as you give him credit for. (Credit is perhaps the wrong word.)

It doesn't matter, though. I answered Mark: If I thought he was that awful, I'd either help form an underground of some sort or I'd look to leave.

Poor woman,
Thank you.
It doesn't seem to me that You've answered MY question at all, but that's ok, I expected worse.
Both Mark and I have left the country although it was personal circumstances, not US politics in my case that made that necessary. Nevertheless I was born a New Yorker and I grieve for the wreckage that the USA has become. There are lots and lots of great creative decent people in the country and they don't deserve the vicious slide into victimhood and totalitarianism the country has taken.

The current situation is well beyond the condition that should boil through the passive mentality that seems to have petrified the country and I find it incredible that only a quickly and brutally smashed Occupy movement has momentarily popped to the surface and then disappeared. That smashing in itself should have inspired a quick and forceful blowback and nothing is apparent. The feeling is that the population is totally domesticated to fondle their popguns and reassure themselves that they can fight the evil government and they sit back with their guns in the closet and drink beer and chomp potato chips and watch TV and get excited about football and porn and decide which evil to sponsor in the next election while the authorities watch them carefully with drones and audit all their e-mails and Facebook comments and feel up their grandmothers and examine their baby's diapers for hand grenades.
If what is going on does not energize them while they are kicked into the street while the banks steal their houses and throw them out of work and into impossible student and credit card debts there is certainly nothing I can do inspire them to make vital action. They have turned into a nation of placid assholes and I pity them the punishments their vicious masters are preparing while the Judas goat leads them into slaughter.
Meanwhile you and Frank vacillate over which shit pile to leap into next assured you might come up smelling like roses.
Jan, with all due respect and You know the esteem I hold You in, comparing ANYONE with fRANK is disrespectful to anyone (and humanity, too), however if this isn't an Orwellian comment by our blogger, i don't know what is: "My fundamental argument is that the moral high ground isn't."

Furthermore, the blogger insists that others address his question, yet my comment CLEARLY posed the question"Who would you vote for?" and I get a third unrelated option in response.
Mark, I appreciate the disdain you hold for Frank but over time I have come to see Frank as a litmus test relating, not to what he might be and I have little idea of that, but as representative of a huge sector of the American public that cannot recognize the dreadful calamity their country is undergoing. There is a marked difference between the country as of now where the docile sheep peacefully piss and moan and hold picnics in the parks to commiserate and the reactions of the farmers in the 1930's who conjoined to vigorously fight back against the banksters and threatened revolution and scared hell out of FDR to nudge him into positive action against the financial crooks. There is a decided loss of backbone in the public of today and the police state is nicely settling into place.

I apologize to Koshersalaami for this side communication on his blog but the issue was raised and I felt it required a reply.
Jan, decidedly, discussion of fRANK is mundane, tedious, futile, and a waste of energy, but my original question was especially framed within parameters, and contained an easy caveat.

I asked kosh to please answer my question seriously or delete the comment entirely.

The parameters were set in Nazi Germany, and the response given was:

"If it's reached that point, you organize an armed revolt or you leave the country ASAP."

Can anyone see this as a serious response to my question?

I have to wonder whether kosh was playing a game of cat and mouse with me by suggesting that one could just waltz across the borders of Nazi Germany or organize a revolt within that regime.

If that was the best response he could come up with, why didn't he simply delete the comment as I offered?
Kosh, I've become disillusioned with this whole online phenomenon for a number of reasons, none of which are relevant to this post.....so I won't go into them here, except to say that the amount of time one takes up with tangential comments is inversely proportional to the amount of actual transmission of facts and clarifications.

When you give delusional people equal time with the cogent, you dilute the conversation with digressions and then you have to spend time refuting the digressions instead of defining your core arguments.

When the government limits free speech its repression. When we do it, it's good taste.

Insofar as those who are enamored with third parties are concerned, the mathematical evidence clearly demonstrates that had Ralph Nader not been on the ballot in Florida, Al Gore would have won that state and the election. (No one seriously believes that any Nader voters would have voted for Bush, nor would they have stayed home.) Even more to the point, had Nader not been on the ticket, Gore would have won the popular vote in New Hampshire and the election without Florida.

None of the current slates of third party candidates has anything close to Nader's star power, and they will evaporate into their rightful obscurity after this election is over....but they could pull a few critical votes away from Obama and leave us with the nightmare of a Romney presidency.

Third party candidates have no hope of winning the election, but they will divide the liberal vote and provide yet another advantage to the Republican monstrosity that is looming over us.

More to the point, without a majority in BOTH houses, no president can rule effectively. That was amply demonstrated during the past two years, during which the Republican-run House of Representatives has effective thwarted every effort by the current president to do anything of substance.

If the Democratic party loses control of the Senate, and the Republicans hold onto the House and win the presidency next month, you will have voted an oligarchic Republican dictatorship into power, which has been their goal for the past 50 years.

With both House of Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court under Republican control, as it will be once Ginsberg resigns and a Romney appointment replaces her, we will be facing a 12 year reign of terror, when Romney steps down after one term - as he will - and Ryan is then elected to two terms of office.

I won't live to see the end of that regime, but I won't die from ill health. I will die in the rebellion that is sure to follow a Romney election.

My vote - which has already been cast for Obama - was cast in the hopes that we might be able to forestall the installation of a fascist regime in this country...and if you don't think that Romney's a fascist you either haven't been paying attention, or you have failed to notice that his policies will result in a corporatist state, which is the definition of fascism.

Finally, and I apologize for abusing your blog but I no longer wish to bask in the illusion that posting my opinions makes any difference whatsoever to the conversation, my vote for Obama was not based on any policy matter.

It was based on the simple fact that Romney's economic plans are completely without merit. His tax cuts can only be achieved through draconian cuts in the budget. He offers a tax cut, and then takes away deductions so that the tax cuts are "revenue neutral" which means that we will end up paying exactly what we were paying before. He's offering a tax cut that isn't a tax cut at all, and the increasing number of people who think that Romney is talking sense are so stupid that they can't figure out that they are being lied to.

I am frankly disgusted with the whole damned thing, the lies, the innuendos, and misrepresentations and even more disgusted by the fact that no one seems to have to the nerve to call Romney what he is: a fascist.
Back. I was out this morning and a few people obviously need answers.

Firstly, Jan:
It is entirely OK with me to answer the comment of someone else on my blog. I have absolutely no problem with that. I do that on other peoples' blogs all the time. My parameters, which I obviously haven't been enforcing, are that if you're going to address my post (the "you" being generic here), address my post and not just the topic of the post.

Mark,
I answered you with complete seriousness. If I were in a country and Hitler was running against Goering with all other candidates being really minor, that would say that the country is really on the verge of something awful. If they are bothering to run for office, then chances are that "waltzing" over a border would still be possible, because by the time Nazi Germany became that kind of draconian, the elections were long over. If the only two viable candidates were Hitler and Goering, voting would be beside the point.

Now, if you're comparing Romney and Obama to Hitler and Goering, I'm afraid that represents an unsupportable exaggeration, so I'm assuming the exaggeration was intentional, saying to me "If two viable candidates were the most awful you could imagine and the Third and Fourth Party candidates were great, who would you vote for?" The answer is that non-viable candidates are functionally beside the point under any circumstances, more so if voting for a viable candidate prevents something worth preventing.

Alan,
No one is defending Romney. That isn't what this argument is all about, in fact this isn't what the argument is about at all.

To all concerned:
What this argument is really all about is whether Obama is actually either as bad as Romney is or so close for the differences to be insignificant. What bothers me about this argument is that I'm dealing with a lot of commenters who are implying this but appear to be unwilling to address it directly. I gave a list of differences. There are two ways to answer this argument that make any sense:

1. Argue that I'm wrong about the differences themselves.

2. Argue that each difference isn't significant enough to be worth voting over. Say something like "Given what else is going on, womens' rights don't matter enough, gay rights don't matter enough, differences in medical coverage for the poor and elderly don't matter enough, differences in the economy don't matter enough," etc. But people seem to be shying away from that. You won't accomplish anything by ignoring the list if you're arguing that the list doesn't matter. An implication isn't enough.

There is one thing I'm wondering about in looking where the opposition to my argument is coming from. Most of the people really maintaining arguments against my position are not living in the United States at the moment and eith haven't in quite a while or are actually not from here. Assuming that this correlation isn't a complete coincidence, there are two possibilities as to why that is, and these reasons are not mutually exclusive:

1. These people have the extra perspective of distance.
2. These people aren't inundated with enough of the day to day politics here to get a complete picture.

Frankly, I've seen some of both.
Alan,
I don't, as a rule, delete comments, not because I find them all tolerable but because I like a record of who said what. I look at old comment threads. It refreshes my memory. If I ever have the need to make a point about a given individual, I want the ability to provide evidence to make my point.
Well, Koshersalaami, thanks for the space. No point in throwing the same ball back and forth anymore. We both agree totally that the Republicans are the pits. Your faith in Obama and his Democratic cohort seems invulnerable to the actions Obama has willingly taken to demonstrate his enthusiasm for destroying the economy to further enrich the rich and give inadequate or no aid to the general public suffering under the vandalism of the corporate-military domination of society. Obama's much crowed over health plan is nicely examined at

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/19/turning-health-care-into-corporate-profits/

for who gains most out of it. It fits well into the total Obama agenda.

I do not demean the importance of women's rights nor gay rights but these in no way compare to the overall damage to the rights of all citizens which are being demolished at Obama's direction. I have said what I have said and I appreciate the opportunity and it seems my words are piss in the ocean.
One of the things that bothers me about this post and the comments is your pain and impatience - which I think are entirely justified, but which are not your usual demeanor. I will be glad to see this election over with, partly because I CAN'T STAND THE SUSPENSE and partly because at least some people can breathe easier (I'm going by the current polls and opinion that see Obama squeak in). (If he doesn't squeak in, I would like to be able to turn off the media, but will be too horrified to be able to.) (And no doubt you've seen the stuff about several of the third-party candidates banding together - one piece was on Salon at http://www.salon.com/2012/10/18/the_libertarianmarijuana_conspiracy_to_swing_the_election/ "Robocalls urge pro-drug legalization voters to support libertarian Gary Johnson, and could push the state to Romney". Take a lotta dope to be happy if they give Colorado to Romney and thus the presidency.
Jan,
OK. That's a decent summation.

Myriad,
I know I'm not as patient as usual but, oddly enough, it's not the topic. I've just decided I'm sick of being ignored on my own blog, of getting answers that aren't answers. I'm asking for answers and instead I'm getting speeches. It's like watching politicians: A whole lot of posturing without anyone actually addressing my questions. It's bad enough watching that on television; it's worse living it.
Hang in there, Kosh. You make sense to lots of people who don't comment and who perhaps are willing to think through about the ramifications of enabling Mitt Romney. I've voted since LBJ and understand that there will always be extremists on both the right and left. The problem comes when someone like Nader makes a difference in the outcome. Just know that many of us appreciate your efforts here, but you may not see them in the comments. Obama is far from perfect (as is Jill Stein) but he's far, far better than Romney, who would be a disaster for this country in almost every way. I have children and grandchildren whose lives would suffer along with millions of others if Romney is elected. That is why I'm working hard and hoping hard that Obama wins.
The best way to do that now is to bring like-minded voters to the polls. That's what I'll be doing in Florida. He's got a chance here if we get out the vote. I just hope that people vote their interests when they get to the polls.
Thanks, Lea.

I've never volunteered for a campaign before but I did some work for the Obama campaign last weekend, not because I love the guy, but because I see too major a difference not to.
There is one generality that might be worth noting and this is not to dispute any other comment. There is no doubt that pretty much all of the Republicans and a good many Democrats are business oriented and it must be conceded that not all businesses are thieves or without consideration for the public but the proliferation of misbehavior is quite general amongst a good deal of the more successful businesses and much of the strong push for deregulation is in the general prejudices to leave business free of prosecution for their damaging excesses.
The general philosophy of all businesses is very strongly directed towards totalitarian control of their employees in the matter of actions, speech, dress and most other behavior.Perhaps this is necessary for business survival and success but it is obviously in strong conflict with a democratic society and that is why one should be very suspicious of a businessman whose mind has been formed in the strictures of business when he is accepted as a governmental executive.
Jan,
How long have you been following my writing?

I've been in business my whole working life and I think the Republicans are the worst party for business. I've written about one aspect or another of this over and over, probably more than I've written about any other topic. Businesses need customers more than anything and Republican policies lead to the destruction of the customer base. I've written one post explaining how regulation is good for business, another about how the least regulated market isn't the most efficient, how the private sector isn't intrinsically more efficient than the public sector, etc. Personally, I think the Republican business model is based on a series of myths.
I accept you are more expert in that than I am but my comment covered a different aspect of the relationship of business and government. A matter of psychological mindset.
Nevertheless the Republicans seem quite popular with businessmen and, unfortunately to my mind, to the general public as well.
Jan,
I'm not about to argue with that. It's a great source of frustration to me. It's one of the problems I have with liberals/progressives in general: they don't make the case that their agenda is actually better for business, in spite of the fact that the case is a very good one. I've blogged about this.

I am in part a liberal for business reasons. I'm probably pretty close to alone in this respect. The social reasons also matter but, unlike other liberal business people, I'm not liberal in spite of my take on business, at all.

I should say that I'm not saying I'm in favor of graft. That not how I think we're better for business.

I could lay out this case if you wanted or some piece of it. If I felt lazy enough, I'd just provide a bunch of links to some of my old posts.
I'm with you, too.

I believe Al Gore would have been a better president than George W. Bush any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

For now, Obama is our best choice. It's not because I think he's perfect or because I've never disagreed with him. If we want to build a nation where we have better options in the future, we absolutely need to keep Romney and Ryan OUT. And off load as many Tea Party Publicans as we can.

Nor have I ever seen such a sorry-ass pair of woman-hating misogynists as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Who benefits except pale male members of the 1% if all the progress women and people of color have made in this nation for the last fifty years?

NOBODY.

And really, if we can't even afford PBS, then we can't afford a pillow fight with Cuba, let alone a war with Iran.

rated
I'm with you, too.

I believe Al Gore would have been a better president than George W. Bush any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

For now, Obama is our best choice. It's not because I think he's perfect or because I've never disagreed with him. If we want to build a nation where we have better options in the future, we absolutely need to keep Romney and Ryan OUT. And off load as many Tea Party Publicans as we can.

Nor have I ever seen such a sorry-ass pair of woman-hating misogynists as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Who benefits except pale male members of the 1% if all the progress women and people of color have made in this nation for the last fifty years?

NOBODY.

And really, if we can't even afford PBS, then we can't afford a pillow fight with Cuba, let alone a war with Iran.

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Thank you, Shiral. That's pretty much my viewpoint.
a mighty hard statement, kosh
"To ignore these differences is irresponsible, Period."
But i must concur.
The dream of a third party is on hold.
The nightmare of a Romney administration, with all it entails,
especially a "proactively "preppy longnecked punk like Ryan
issuing orders
is
in front of us. About to maybe just come true.
~
Voting Green or anything else this election cycle
is akin to , oh, i dunno, sending out a radio signal to that new
planet they found, and asking them to come help us out.
This should be pondered with a Calm Mind.
Distractions make brains go awry to Hells.
Politico's are Worldly Fools. Not You.
`
I use to try to follow these ` Fools.
They can not Grasp How so ` Duh.
You Wonder Why Fool go` Insane.
`
because they astray
and devil's tools
and them Fools
!
I will savor and read slow.
`
I wonder about` Jill Stein.
She's seems of Sane Mind.
She lost to Mitt Romney?

She was defeated in 2002.
She knows Government?
It's Goblin Season` gin.
I be poor hobo ` gin.
I always am a hobo.
I sing Weary Hobo.
I sing it in Choirs.
No ask me What?
I Know it Goofy!
`
No Jabberwocky.
I Being Serious.
I seem sane?
It fun to Play.
We Pretend?

Hamlet Sorta-
Act Crazy Too-
It Wild Days-
Oh, MaMa-
Kosh, if you re-read my second comment, it was exactly on point, if perhaps slightly obtuse. My opposition to Romney and support for Obama is based on one simple fact: to wit, that Romney's tax plan is an outright hoax that leaves in exactly the same position that we are now. Obama's plans for a tax hike on incomes over $250K is anemic, but it at least begins to address the real economic problem. Romney is all about destroying this government from the inside out by cutting off the income the government needs to operate.

I believe very strongly that, if Romney is elected with a majority in both houses of congress, that we will see an outright revolution in this country before the end of his first time.

It will begin with a tax rebellion by the middle classes, who will see their taxes go up along with decreased services.

It will come to a head in the 2014 by-election, during which REPUBLICAN voter suppression efforts will be confronted by a grassroots movement to take back the polls.

By the time we get to 2016, I think it is a toss-up as to whether we will be under martial law by the time the election comes around. By then, we will see a take-over of the Democratic party by more liberal elements that will create a start dichotomy between the two parties, along with a geographical distribution split in which the two coastal areas of Democratic dominance will become increasingly estranged from Republican core. The Republican movement is essentially the same state's rights movement that morphed into the Republican Southern Strategy and is now the core of the Tea Party movement.

The barbarians are at the gates again.
For all that I posted twice, by accident, I guess I shouldn't post late at night since I left out a few words. In my original reply, I MEANT to say "Who except the pale, male wealthy and conservative would benefit if all the progress women and voters of color have achieved in the last 50 years gets rolled back by Romney and Ryan?" The answer remains "nobody."

All those victories were too hard-won to just lightly throw away. Plus, Justice Ginsberg is in very frail health. I would not be a bit surprised if she resigned from the court before 2016. Since the SCOTUS is a life-time appointment and we're blessed--or stuck--with the justices long after a president's term in office is over, I'd infinitely rather have Obama appoint her successor than Romney. Obama did pretty well with Kagan and Sotomayor. I don't want to know who Romney would try to cram down our throats! But no matter who it was, it would be bye bye Roe V. Wade.
Here's a fun fact for your conservative/Tea Party friends:

Courtesy of Marketwatch (Not a liberal organization) Obama is not the big spender the extreme right wing paints him as:

•In fiscal 2010 (the first Obama budget) spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.

• In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.

•In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.

•Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion.

So why the deficits? A drop in revenue caused by the great recession (caused by the banks) and the failure of the tax cuts to spur growth. These are the facts.
I'm with you, too. Lesser evils are still...less evil. And votes for third party candidates are throw-aways.
Alan,
You could easily be right.

Shiral,
That would be enough reason by itself, Justice Ginsburg's health.

John,
I agree

Eva,
Thank you
4 Words Why I Am Voting Green: Thou Shalt Not Kill

The murderous military industrial security prison complex in this country.

The fact that every Tuesday Obama sits at a table with a stack of resumes of the supposedly most bad-ass terrorists in the Middle East which probably means the ones most nationalistic and unhappy with their country being turned into a failed state by the greedy and lying US/NATO and Israel and Mr. Obama decides who will be droned for THIS WEEK! No due process. Just this horrible heat sucking the air out of your lungs in an excruciating death. Yup. Obama gets to play God -- or Caesar. Life and death. Doesn't matter if you are American, either. It is supposed to matter especially, but somehow that is part of the lesser evil blank check he is being given by the terrified ones of Romney.

So, the resumes are provided by our intelligence agents. And of course, they never get anything wrong. Well, maybe the WMDs mistake that caused approx. 1 million Middle Easterners to die and over 3 million to be displaced, but that was just one little mistake dontchaknow. And the guys in Gitmo and detention black sites all over the world. Our operatives never detained or tortured anyone not deserving of being detained and tortured. Screw the Geneva Conventions btw. And some of those guys will die imprisoned, their only way to escape, because our government sure wouldn't want them blabbing how they were innocent and embarrassing any of the important top echelon.

So you don't think maybe this every Tuesday ritual might desensitize one and he might keep escalating the death numbers as he checks off who is to be killed since it is KILLER TUESDAY. I never thought of that day watching those Mickey Mouse Club days. Was that anything can happen day -- Tuesday? I know Friday was the cowboy roundup. Hmmmm.

I mean the more frustrated Obama becomes and the more the Repubs try to convince the country he is "soft on terrorism" the more killing!! Pavlovian. Like an addiction. And what a rush to kill Americans!!! I mean, to be getting away with that!!! What power. Evil. But still power. Macho. Yang!

Obama showed them he wasn't soft on terror -- had to kill twice as many which was such a good campaign strategy and it is all about gamesmanship not human decency! Bin Laden! What a victory there, huh? Not.

And all that droning. So what if the collateral damage is causing our troops so much blowback that they are getting punished and killed for our "deciders'" incompetence and hubris!

Obama no longer has just a bully pulpit. He has a killer pulpit!

"Thou Shalt Not Kill"!!!!

best, libby
Well, Libby, it's at least good to know that if you don't read my posts you comment on, you at least read my comments on Skypixeo's blog. Perhaps I should double-post for you.

As I said over there, the American public doesn't seem to share your take on this, whether or not you're right, and that includes most of the OS readership. I'm not in on those meetings, so I don't know on what basis any of those decisions are made. I found it interesting watching Obama on The Daily Show a few nights ago that he chose to comment on a couple of these areas, notably Gitmo (which he said, whether or not I believe, that Republicans in Congress are keeping from being closed) and that he is working on putting some sort of oversight in place for rendition because it's a relatively new area and the American legal structure for dealing with it is not yet in place, saying that we need to reign in those involved in this, "including me." Given that the GOP has not made either area an issue and the Greens aren't getting any media coverage, he at least seems to be worried about these issues, probably because he'd rather not have sole responsibility for what he's doing.

If the GOP isn't making this into a campaign issue, and they're making damned near everything into a campaign issue, it either means they don't object to it or they don't think voters care enough to stop it, probably both. Most of what we object to about what the government does we object to because these actions are happening at the expense of the public and often over the actual objections of the public, like the lack of Wall Street prosecutions. In this case, I'm afraid the public is more complicit. All of which means that, from a bipartisan standpoint, we're not likely to be looking at a difference.

This is a close election. A vote for the Greens will stop neither evil, nor will it be a particularly effective protest. The best we can do is decide which one we have a shot at stopping and stop that one. By "best" I mean "the one we are most likely to have the ability to actually accomplish." I think that's important because, as I said in my post, not accomplishing anything doesn't actually help anyone.

So, this brings me back to my original question, or at least one of them:

Is it your opinion that Romney and Ryan aren't sufficiently worse to bother stopping? To use my above language, which I incidentally derived from you, is it worth keeping More Evil out of office?

What we get out of it is a better deal on womens' rights, a better deal on gay rights, a better deal on the economy in general (not a good deal, but a better one), a better deal on minority rights (see Hispanics in Arizona), a better deal on excessive military spending, a better deal on collegiate education, a better deal on insurance for the poor and elderly (and those with pre-existing conditions), a better deal on renewables (the Obama administration supports some while a Romney administration would probably support none), a detailed clue as to what our deal would actually look like which is something we can't get from Romney because his constant stance changes have made too many of his actual stances ambiguous and, most importantly, unambiguously superior Supreme Court nominees.

So, is it your opinion that the above list doesn't add up to enough to be worth stopping Romney/Ryan over?

I'm not going to attack you if you say No. On the contrary, I will respect you for finally answering my question and agree to disagree. I won't follow you there because of something expressed very eloquently by James Emmerling in a comment on Skypixeo's post about the consequences of my following you and voting Green:

(He starts out quoting Sky from the post)
“'You’ll encourage the development of a 3rd party from no viable voice to possibly getting a voice in future elections. And you avoid the dilemma of choosing between two evils. A win/win for you!'

"Wellllllllllllllllll. Good for him I guess, but what about the rest of us?"

Exactly, James.
These kinds of discussions are interesting. To continue the ship analogy that went over so well previously, we are the Titanic headed for an iceberg. Most of us want to steer left into waters that are more promising although still unpleasant. None of us want to steer right, directly into an iceberg.
And there are, of course, some of us who want only to talk at great length about how the ship should have been designed better and we should probably ignore steering but write letters to the ship-builder with our own, untested, ideas on ship construction - because that will mean more in the long run.
Trav,
That's an excellent assessment.
I'm not really playing a game, Frank, just trying to understand the logic behind deliberately betraying one's own interests. Lesser-evil thinking is logically bankrupt because if you only judge choices relative to each other, you're not applying standard principles to either (I mean the royal 'you,' not specifically you).

The Nader vote was almost exclusively from disaffected liberals, who if they had gone with Gore would have put him so far ahead, SCOTUS would have had nothing to decide.

Exactly. And Gore had a chance to earn those votes by... well, being liberal in some way... and blew it. If he didn't earn the numbers, it's his fault for not being a candidate good enough for those people to vote for. It's not Nader's fault for actually being one.

Frankly, I do not see either side as evil…but I do see the Republican agenda as less appealing (much, much, much less appealing) than the Democratic one.

See above. I'm not evaluating them in relation to each other, I'm evaluating them in relation to what I consider good... or even acceptable. And they both fail dismally.

Yeah, I know…you see them as equally in the pockets of Wall Street or some such…but there is not an equality between them whether you can see it or not.

I never said they're equal. It's that they're both destructive enough to our interests that I can't support them. A few empty speeches, and even a couple vaguely worthy acts, can't cancel out the atrocious things Obama's done.

I hear all of you crying in abject despair about the fact that our country has become a fascist dictatorship with civil liberties gone forever…in post after post decrying the government and individual politicians. Wake up! You would not dare to post the stuff you post in a dictatorship…or even under mildly repressive governance. We Americans are freer to express ourselves than almost any people ever to inhabit the planet.

No, we're not to the point of "papers, please" and gold stars yet, but that's no reason to think we aren't headed in that direction and object to it. The govt claims the authority to spy on us, ransack our houses, imprison us or kill us--to deny us any or all rights to privacy or due process or justice--without a word of explanation or a trace of accountability. This president has taken this principle farther, and seized more dictatorial power purely for himself, than any other in the past. They've imprisoned, tortured and killed people just for speaking their minds. Or for being Muslim. Or for living in the same area or walking along the same road as someone on their secret kill list.

As a wise man once said, rights aren't really rights if someone can just take them away. Government officials don't have to be lurking in every corner like the Gestapo and constantly cracking down on dissent everywhere. They have claimed the authority to take away any and all of our rights on a whim, so therefore, we're not really free anymore. It doesn't matter how much they've actually done it or to how many people. The mere fact that they think they can means they're impossible (for me) to support, with votes or anything else.
I haven't claimed that Obama is a progressive. I've claimed that he's more progressive than Romney is, by enough to make a difference in a lot of peoples' lives. ... You tell me that the election is not about picking a winner. I'm sorry, but in terms of affecting people's lives, that is its primary function.

Bad choice of words. I meant to say that voting isn't just about picking a winner, for the reasons I outlined above.

It's almost the end of the day and I don't have much time right now, but as I partially got at in that last post above, what I wanted to say boils down to:

a) An Obama victory may mean a less reactionary/destructive set of policies than under Mittens in some ways (disregarding for a moment O's greater success at quieting the public's opposition to his/Bush's policies), but;

b) The few pretty speeches and somewhat decent things he's done can't possibly justify or even balance out the atrocities he's committed and the destruction of our rights and rule of law that he's facilitated;

c) As Libby points out, voting for the lesser evil is extremely shortsighted. You think you're supporting a couple good things & policies now, and maybe you actually are, but in the process you're only further entrenching the vastly greater array of horrendous, terrible things O and his party have done. And if they keep getting support and votes no matter how evil they become, then they'll have no reason to become any less evil. Nothing will change unless there are consequences for presidents and parties that go so much against their base's interests & wishes.

Honestly, is there any point at which the Dems become so evil--so destructive of our interests and well-being--that a decent person simply can't support them anymore, regardless of whether the Reps are worse? And if they haven't reached that point yet, what would it take?
And I forgot to add: I still haven't seen any explanation of why supporting neither of the major-party guys somehow equates to helping one over the other. There's some weird logic for you.
And I forgot to add: I still haven't seen any explanation of why supporting neither of the major-party guys somehow equates to helping one over the other. There's a logic conundrum for you.
Phil,
It is not Nader's fault that he ran. If you do not vote, you are not by definition helping a candidate. Both those assertions are silly.

My decision to vote for Obama is not based on supporting everything or close to everything Obama has or hasn't done. As my first point states, my decision is based on stopping Romney, because I view him as substantially worse.

I don't have a ballot option that says "Against Romney." If I did, I'd vote that way, but I don't; the closest thing I have to it is For Obama. For Stein doesn't accomplish this. There is nothing ambiguous about that; it doesn't.

Now, if you want to argue that the differences are insufficient, I get that, But, just to be clear on this, I want to ask you the same question I asked Libby and I have, in one form or another, asked everyone who has commented who disagrees with my decision. This is my question. It is not a loaded question; I will understand either answer. I have answered it for myself and I fully understand your answering it for yourself. What bothers me about the comments answering this post most is that everyone who opposes my decision here, without exception, dodges this question. In its entirety, here it is:

What we get out of [voting for Obama] is a better deal on womens' rights, a better deal on gay rights, a better deal on the economy in general (not a good deal, but a better one), a better deal on minority rights (see Hispanics in Arizona), a better deal on excessive military spending, a better deal on collegiate education, a better deal on insurance for the poor and elderly (and those with pre-existing conditions), a better deal on renewables (the Obama administration supports some while a Romney administration would probably support none), a detailed clue as to what our deal would actually look like which is something we can't get from Romney because his constant stance changes have made too many of his actual stances ambiguous and, most importantly, unambiguously superior Supreme Court nominees.

Is it your opinion that this list doesn't add up to enough to be worth stopping Romney/Ryan over?
I'll make the question even easier:

Is it your opinion that the degree of difference on the issues I've outlined is insufficient to be worth voting for Obama to stop Romney/Ryan?
Is it your opinion that the degree of difference on the issues I've outlined is insufficient to be worth voting for Obama to stop Romney/Ryan?

That's easy. As I said under b), it's absolutely insufficient. Nothing can justify a vote for Obama.

This president has claimed the most extremist powers a leader can claim--the unrestrained power to start wars purely on his own initiative, the power to violate or ignore any and all laws with total impunity, and the power to murder absolutely anyone at all on his own say-so, without ever charging them with a crime, without any due process or transparency or accountability or legal restraints of any kind. He's not only claimed these powers but repeatedly used them.

He's committed to a full-scale campaign of terrorism with drones that's destroyed and ended countless thousands of lives. He's committed to bankrupting the nation by running unnecessary wars and keeping and expanding military bases all around the planet. He's committed to secrecy for all government activities and crimes; when it comes to transparency, whistleblowers are literally the only people he's ever tried to punish or prosecute. He's pushed for requiring every internet provider to build in backdoor access for government to spy on every person's every electronic activity.

He ensured there will be no healthcare reform for probably years to come and kept predatory private health corporations in charge of the system. He wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, leaving millions of people uninsured, underinsured and thus causing countless thousands of unnecessary deaths from lack of care. He's against unions and workers' rights (just read up on his positions on the EFCA and the FAA bill to start with). He's fought to protect every Wall Street criminal from liability or accountability and left them with free rein to continue exactly the same reckless gambling that led to the '08 crash in the first place.

A vote for Obama is a vote for terrorism, mass murder, war crimes, secrecy, spying, a further slide toward national bankruptcy, reduction in social aid programs, destructive environmental policy, loss of privacy, loss of what's left of our rights, and further elimination of our rule of law. In light of those things, it doesn't matter how bad "the" other choice (as if there's only one) would be. Nothing can justify supporting this man with even such a small thing as a vote.
And in return, how about my question? In all seriousness, is there anything O and his party could do to leave you unable/unwilling to support them, irrespective of what the other branch of the major party wants or does?

If you're willing to accept the things they've done so far, what won't you accept?
PhilT,
Assuming I agreed with all of your assessments, which I don't, to answer your question off the top of my head without a lot of reflection:

If I thought he was going after a minority, that might be it.

If I thought he was exercising murder without oversight domestically, that would be it.

These are hypotheticals.
You quoted me saying:

The Nader vote was almost exclusively from disaffected liberals, who if they had gone with Gore would have put him so far ahead, SCOTUS would have had nothing to decide.

And then wrote:

“Exactly….”

Since you feel that way, Phil, why did you earlier write: “Nader's voters leaned a little towards Gore, but otherwise made a near-three-way split between him and Bush and Nobody.”

You quoted me saying:

Frankly, I do not see either side as evil…but I do see the Republican agenda as less appealing (much, much, much less appealing) than the Democratic one.

And then wrote:

“See above. I'm not evaluating them in relation to each other, I'm evaluating them in relation to what I consider good... or even acceptable. And they both fail dismally.”

Well, Phil, I am not either. I am evaluating them in relation to what I consider evil…and they both come up very, very short of evil.

You wrote: “As a wise man once said, rights aren't really rights if someone can just take them away.”

Well I’ve got a flash for you, Phil. ANY RIGHTS CAN BE TAKEN AWAY. So with your definition, there are no such thing as rights. But I am not buying into that argument. We have rights…and despite all the crabbing and crying from your side about how we have become a fascist country…you people have absolutely no compunction about voicing your criticism of the government and the people who comprise the government day after day after day. And in posts that you would not dare to make if we were as lacking in rights as you suggest…or even close to being as lacking in those rights.

Respectfully as possible, I think you and the others have gotten caught up in your hyperbole to the point where you cannot detach and get reasonable on the issue.

But that is just my opinion. It is a free country and I am allowed to express it just as it is a free country for you and you are allowed to express your opinions. I assure you that I am trying to be reasonable and courteous, Phil, but arguing with you is, at times, like trying to nail Jello to the ceiling.
Frank,
If nothing else (and there is considerably more there that I agree with than "nothing,"), I may never forget your Nailing Jello To The Ceiling remark. I've been feeling a whole lot like that lately, though PhilT isn't for the most part the person who's been engendering that particular feeling.

I agree about the hyperbole, absolutely. There are a lot of people out there who seem to think that President Obama is sitting around looking at satellite photos thinking "You look funny, I think I'll send a drone to kill you just because I can. Doesn't the President get to play great video games?"

Now, there are things I disagree with. I haven't seen prosecution of any of the Wall Streeters who damned near killed our economy, and I don't know why that is (I don't think they own him to the extent that he's accused of being owned), unless it's because he has too many Wall Streeters in administration positions, where they frankly don't belong under the circumstances. Guantanamo Bay is still open, though he says he needs Congressional approval to close it and can't get it. (I don't know if that's true.) This rendition with no due process is dangerous as Hell, even if he said on the Daily Show a few days ago that he's working on setting up some sort of oversight structure where there hasn't been one previously because he thinks people ought to be reined in "including me" and this was without being asked about rendition at all - he just volunteered it. He was slow about gay marriage. He needed to stand up to the GOP sometime before they had a Presidential nominee for the 2012 election given that he took office in 2009. I'm not going to say the guy has no responsibility for his missteps and failures, not all of which are due to an unreasonable opposition without precedent, which he certainly faced.

All that being said, Romney's potential is too much worse. I stated it and I continue to mean it. And I absolutely believe that voting for Obama is the only feasible way to stop Romney's election, so there's only one sensible direction from here as far as I can see, unless you live in a state where the election isn't close and so can afford gestures without significant risks.
If I thought he was going after a minority, that might be it.

If I thought he was exercising murder without oversight domestically, that would be it.

These are hypotheticals.


Well, they're only partly hypotheticals (so far). O has had no problem with the persecution of

Muslims, and I for one don't see any moral difference between exercising murder without oversight

inside our borders and out. But thanks for an honest answer.

There are a lot of people out there who seem to think that President Obama is sitting around

looking at satellite photos thinking "You look funny, I think I'll send a drone to kill you just

because I can. Doesn't the President get to play great video games?"


That's not too far off the mark. I don't think he's exactly drunk with power in the giggling manner that description suggests, but it's been well established that he and his weekly death panel choose their potential murder victims based on photos and dossiers. (And not just the targets, but anyone who happens to be nearby when the target gets whacked, which is a whole other reason the program is wrong on every level.)

When it comes to Wall Street, I'm not sure whether he's owned body and soul by the banks or whether

he's just making the compromises he considers necessary, but does the exact reason really matter? The

result is that the nation's biggest financial criminals still get to run amok on the taxpayers' dime,

and Barry Obama and his administration are declining/refusing to hold them accountable. When (for

example) Citigroup was on the hook for fraud and the , (see Matt Taibbi's excellent write up: http://tinyurl.com/3bm3mrb). Nobody forced him to stock his economic team with exactly the same Clinton-era rubes that created the mess.... did they?

Re: Guantanamo, if you read up on the matter, you'll see that Congress blocked the prez's closure

order because all he wanted to do was relocate the prison while keeping every one of its policies intact. Obama refused to consider trials or due process or any kind of justice--his only plan was to move the prisoners to Illinois and pretty much keep them locked up there until they died. He could have had Gitmo closed years ago if he'd even considered honoring the people's fundamental rights.

This rendition with no due process is dangerous as Hell, even if he said on the Daily Show a few

days ago that he's working on setting up some sort of oversight structure where there hasn't been one

previously because he thinks people ought to be reined in "including me" and this was without being

asked about rendition at all - he just volunteered it. He was slow about gay marriage.


Uhhmmmmm, there already is an oversight structure--our existing legal system. The one whose fifth

amendment states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of

law. If Barry thinks he needs to be reined in, all he needs to do is follow the law. There's no rational reason why a president should go to such effort to claim unlimited power outside the law, even if this one promises he won't use it. If that was true, why claim it at all? And whether it's true or not, why take the risk of that power being available for a future President Romney or President Hillary or President Palin to use?

Granted, Congress has been hopelessly derelict in doing its duty to tie the president's hands. The only instance I can even recall was their vote directly against authorizing the war on Libya. But remember what happened then? Obama just thumbed his nose at them and continued his terorrist campaign without missing a beat.

He wasn't 'slow' about gay marriage, he was unprincipled and cynical. You may recall a certain Richard Cheney speaking in favor of marriage rights as far back as 2004. I for one remember Obama opposing it in '08. His latest Big Statement--his latest calculated appeal to that section of his base, a suddenly-prompted speech given shortly after the re-election campaign officially kicked into high gear--still specifically avoided condoning equality for all and basically did no more than catch up with Cheney. Let's also not forget how long he was for DADT before he was against it.

I absolutely believe that voting for Obama is the only feasible way to stop Romney's election, so

there's only one sensible direction from here as far as I can see


That's where we're just never going to find the common ground, I guess. Defeating one right-wing conservative by electing an even more competent right-wing conservative is as Pyrrhic a victory as I can imagine.
How does Citizens United not happen under Gore (other than no one would have probably cared enough to make a horror film about Clinton since Gore would have been running, unopposed).

Here's the thing about that case - it was, from a strict constitutional standpoint, the correct one. This was even noted in the dissenting opinion (yelling "MOVIE!" in a crowded firehouse exception was noted as the reason for the dissent, which I tend to agree with, but which reasonable people might disagree, should their job be to uphold the constitution through jurisprudence).

Also, in the modern era, only presidents Carter and Ford haven't started military incursions, attacks, invasions, etc in foreign lands, so if it wasn't Iraq, it probably would have been something else.

I tend to think that Bush 43 was a douchebag of massive proportions, and his ridiculous bullshit did make for a Reagan-esque shift in the average yearly deficit, but he was an exception to basically every rule and not one, as perhaps the 2nd worst president in US history, that is fair to use when comparing the parties.

Also, even in the midst of a ridiculous and unexpected economic boom, Clinton only was able to luck into a balanced budget/surplus one year out of eight. There still would have been deficits under Gore. He wasn't running for the King of Fantasyland, in case you forgot.
Frank
You quoted me saying: The Nader vote was almost exclusively from disaffected liberals, who if they had gone with Gore would have put him so far ahead, SCOTUS would have had nothing to decide. ... And then wrote: ... “Exactly….”

My mistake, then; I really wasn't clear. The "exactly" was referring to how Al could have had more of those votes if he'd appealed to those disaffected liberals, i.e. how it's not Nader's fault that Gore wasn't an acceptable enough candidate.

I am not [evaluating the parties purely in relation to each other] either. I am evaluating them in relation to what I consider evil…and they both come up very, very short of evil.

Maybe it comes down to how you define the word, then. I think it definitely is evil to sabotage people's chances at getting quality affordable healthcare, work to dismantle the safety net the poor and elderly rely on for living expenses, wage unjustifiable wars against populations that never did anything to us, murder innocent people by the thousands with flying robots and give vital aid & enabling support to the most brutal, murderous dictators on the planet. And no, I'm not saying Romney wouldn't do those same things too.

ANY RIGHTS CAN BE TAKEN AWAY. So with your definition, there are no such thing as rights. ... you people have absolutely no compunction about voicing your criticism of the government and the people who comprise the government day after day after day. And in posts that you would not dare to make if we were as lacking in rights as you suggest

True, I was a little over the top hyperbolically, but the basics are still there. The govt/NSA collects files of information on citizens without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Muslims have been spied on and harassed just for being Muslim. Some have been arrested for giving certain opinions on Youtube. Obama has personally had one American killed just for speaking his mind. First they're coming for the Muslims, but history has shown it most likely won't end there.
Also, you may have missed it, but Obama proudly stated in the 2nd debate, correctly, that he has expanded oil drilling rights into more Federal Lands than any of his predecessors, and even gave contracts where even Bush wasn't bold enough to give them - The Alaska shoreline.

Seriously, where did this Pollyannic view of the Democratic Party come from (though during Gore's tenure, I'm sure it would have been better, but only because Gore is Gore, not because of his party affiliation.)
Phil,

Current events have shown it won't end there. A girl in Oregon is serving an 18-month sentence for a "crime" of which she was never convicted as we speak.

First thing at her home that they confiscated - books.

I have no idea when people stopped paying attention to Orwell, but they have...probably because all his books have been confiscated.
Good example, Malcolm, and one I hadn't known about. I was thinking more of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange (and Thomas Drake etc) as the tip of the iceberg. But of course it's perfectly all right for the likes of Obama to torture and persecute them too, becuz..... becuz...... well, Mitt would do it too.
Mitt has shitty hair, though, and an awkward way about him, so from that standpoint, I give the nod to the president, but since you're right about Mitt, and also because the press would give him a pass on that shit like they do Obama, I think I'm secretly hoping that Romney takes it this November.
ED: wouldn't give him a pass...
Malcolm,
How does Citizens United not happen under Gore?
As it is, it went up by a 5/4 vote along ideological lines. Just look at why the makeup of the Court is what it is at the moment and how that is likely to have been different if Bush's last nominee was Gore's.
Roberts broke rank on the ACA decision, so who's to say that whoever was in there in his stead wouldn't have done the same (because, it is an incredibly legally valid decision), ESPECIALLY since it wasn't the majority decision, but Roberts's secondary majority decision, the one about ultimate judicial authority, that was the real kick in the nuts with the outcome of that case, and last I checked, most liberal judges are just as arrogant as the conservative ones, and if there is one thing they both like, it's power and the ability to exert it over others.
Frank
You quoted me saying: The Nader vote was almost exclusively from disaffected liberals, who if they had gone with Gore would have put him so far ahead, SCOTUS would have had nothing to decide. ... And then wrote: ... “Exactly….”

My mistake, then; I really wasn't clear. The "exactly" was referring to how Al could have had more of those votes if he'd appealed to those disaffected liberals, i.e. how it's not Nader's fault that Gore wasn't an acceptable enough candidate.


C’mon, Phil…the “exactly” applied to what I had said about Narer’s votes coming almost exclusively form disaffected liberals. Your follow-up comment establishes that. And the fact that it does apply that way directly contradicts your contention that Narer’s votes came almost equally from both Gore and Bush.

Nader did help to put Bush into office…and third party voting in this election may very well lead to putting Romney in office. I am not saying Gore or Obama are therefore blameless…but I AM SAYING that third party voting may very well lead to Romney getting the office…and I see that as damaging to the safety net programs and to the composition of SCOTUS.

Romney may win...and if he does all the people proudly proclaiming they are voting for third party candidates will have an opportunity to see the results of what they helped occur.
"Helping." That's what it keeps coming down to, isn't it? You think that those of us refuse to give any support to right-wingers and their policies... are the ones moving the candidates & public discourse farther to the right. Meanwhile, those of you who do vote to support candidates with right-wing policies aren't. No matter from which angle I look at it, it's never going to line up with logic.

You can only vote for somebody, not against. If you vote for a person or party, you're supporting them. If you don't, you're not. Such simple obvious reasoning, yet still so elusive to so many.

Bush stole the White House the first time despite Nader and his voters, not because of them. Whichever corporate puppet comes out on top this year will have won despite Anderson and Johnson and Goode and Stein and their voters, not because of them. A second-party vote has no effect on Tweedledum and Tweedledee. It doesn't add or subtract a single notch from their balance sheets.... therefore it doesn't help one over the other.

If you believe I'm helping Romney by not voting Obama, then you also believe I'm helping Obama by not voting Romney. So maybe you should be thanking me for helping your cause at the same time you're criticizing me for opposing it? Wouldn't that make more sense?
Phil,
You're waiting until the 150th comment to argue against the premise the post starts with?

"1. Voting Democratic does not mean supporting the Democratic agenda after the election, it just means keeping the Republicans out of office."

That might have been where I started if I were you.

No, Phil, if you don't vote you aren't helping to elect Romney any more than you're helping to elect Obama. No, if you vote for Jill Stein, you're not voting for Romney.

However, if you live in a state where the vote between the two major parties is likely to be close, a vote for Obama stands a far higher probability of preventing Romney from carrying the state than a vote for Stein does.

Therefore, if your highest priority is preventing the worst thing from happening, i.e. putting Romney in the White House, the most logical course of action is a vote for Obama. That doesn't mean you support Obama; it's just the closest thing we have to a functional vote against Romney. It certainly doesn't have to indicate visible support for Obama given that we have secret ballots.

In a close state, given that we already know it's likely to be a very close election, you can accomplish more by voting for Obama than by anything else. If you don't live in a close state, you may lead to more change by voting for Jill Stein or whomever. If your vote is most effective as a vehicle for protest, then sure it makes sense to vote Green. However, whever I live as an example, the state race is likely to be close, so here my vote might actually help stop Romney, and that is more important to me than sending a message to Obama.

I would advise putting your vote where it can do the most good.

I take issue with those who say that voting for Obama doesn't do the most good under any circumstances. I'll try expressing this as a fictitious mathematical model:

If Obama is 68% evil and Romney is 81% evil, then a vote for Obama potentially saves us 13% on the Koshersalaami Evility Quotient. If Obama is 68% evil and Stein is 19% evil (which she may not be but the main thing we know about her is her positions, not what she'd actually do), but Stein has a Chance Of Half A Snowball In Hell % probability of getting elected, her unusually low probability negates what we'd save because we're screamingly unlikely to save it at all. Savings drop to zero. (This is a crude model in that a real model would involve differences and mathematical probabilities, but I'm too out of practice on my math to create such a model.) So, as it stands, it's some probability of 13% savings vs. a negligible probability of 49% savings or, in practical terms, no savings at all, so the far higher probability of saving 13% wins.

You can look at Obama and, using my fictitious numbers, say But He's 68% Evil!

Fine, so how can you get me a probable savings of some sort from that 68%?

I don't see an available one, meaning that savings is currently irrelevant because it's currently unavailable.

That means 68% is the best we can do.

Sure, that's rotten, but stating that there's no point in not going to 81% is, well, irresponsible, because you'd leave the people really affected by the 13% high and dry and get nothing in return.

Nope.

Not my idea of moral.

Doesn't add. Or subtract. Or whatever the Hell the operation would be. This being a phony model for explanatory purposes.

And please dont' tell me my numbers are meaningless. Of course they're meaningless. All they're meant to illustrate is that some difference beats no difference.

What am I missing here?
You're waiting until the 150th comment to argue against the premise the post starts with?

"1. Voting Democratic does not mean supporting the Democratic agenda after the election, it just means keeping the Republicans out of office."

That might have been where I started if I were you.


I figured that wasn't worth a response, since the comment is so self-evidently nonsensical that it refutes itself. Of course voting Dem means supporting the Dem agenda. You don't get to attach a note to your ballot saying "I'm voting for you but I really don't support your goals," and even if you could, nobody would care. When pols and parties win elections, they take it as endorsement of their platforms (and for the incumbents, their track records). If Barry wins on the sixth, you won't find him sitting at his desk on the morning of the seventh thinking to himself "well, those voters sure were reluctant about casting ballots for me, so I really need to start earning their trust this time." The idea alone is absurd. He'll only take reelection as encouragement to continue what he's been doing--or at least take it as a sign that the base isn't too dissatisfied. And in a second term, without the threat of reelection hanging over his head, there'll be no leverage left for us to put pressure on him.

if your highest priority is preventing the worst thing from happening, i.e. putting Romney in the White House, the most logical course of action is a vote for Obama.

Aha. So the problem isn't just with numbers, it's with the starting premises.

As I think I said above, setting one side's defeat as the highest priority, without a cost/benefit analysis, is (at the very least) extremely shortsighted. In this case, opposing R by voting D is like fighting mold in your house by setting fire to it. It's hard to imagine a more self-defeating approach for anyone who cares about liberal/progressive values.

Secondly, you seem to take it for granted that Obama is the lesser evil, which is far from clear. Do you think John McCain could have fought for cuts to SS and Medicare the way Obama did and not suffered badly for it? Do you think he could have usurped Congress's warmaking power all for himself--and started twice as many unjustifiable wars as Bush did--without getting impeached, if not lynched? Under Romney, it's easy to foresee the so-called left and the Dem base waking up and opposing the Bush-Obama policies of the past decade once again. Under O, we've seen how much of the base will put up and shut up (those that aren't outright cheering for the policies they used to condemn).

Whatever your intentions, you are casting a ballot for a candidate with an established record, so it's very dishonest just to say "I want to keep Romney out of office." You should be willing to finish the rest of the thesis: "I'm supporting a known war criminal who claims unlimited power to attack other nations and populations on his own whims with no legal restraints, regardless of whether they've posed any danger to us or anyone, and to murder anyone he wants in secret with impunity. I'm aware that this man has worked to cut the social safety net, prevent affordable national healthcare, eliminate our rights, eliminate due process and subvert the fundamental rule of law, support torture and protect torturers, commit mass murder with drones, and severely damage the well-being of the nation and its people in order to benefit the richest 1%."

Try to justify it or excuse it with the prospect of Prez Romney if you want, but you should at least be honest enough to admit what you're endorsing in the process.
Phil,
I'm not endorsing it. Of course I can cast a vote as a preventative measure. It's been done loads of times by voters. Nothing dishonest about it. As a matter of fact, that's the very premise of most election advertising: Vote for me because the other guy is too scary. That's what negative ads are, and most campaign ads are negative.

Usurping Congress' warmaking power for himself is something that has been done by every President who has ever engaged in a "police action." The last time the United States was in a declared war was in 1945. Is it your contention that we haven't been involved in any military actions since then? Again, you have a propensity for mixing obvious crap into your case as if quantity helps. It doesn't.

He didn't prevent affordable health care. He attempted to make it affordable. The prohibition against preexisting conditions alone helped quite a bit. You can ignore it because he didn't achieve enough, which he didn't, but stating that he prevented affordable health care is a pretty strange contention.

Some of the rest is justifiable absolutely but not justifiable comparatively. The 1% stuff would absolutely be worse under Romney. I assume you noticed that Romney said during the debates that he wouldn't reduce taxation on the already severely undertaxed wealthy population but that he didn't say anything about raising those taxes.

In terms of committing murder with drones, another thing you might have learned from the debates is that Romney fell all over himself approving of what Obama did with drones. That won't change. If anything, it will get worse.

Of course I acknowledge that the baseline is, to put it mildly, inadequate. If you really don't think the Republicans would be worse, on the Supreme Court appointments alone, you aren't following politics closely enough.
They'd be worse on who gets taxed what.
They'd be worse on women's rights (like the Lily Ledbetter law and like Choice).
They'd be worse on gay rights.
They'd be worse for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. They'd be worse for immigrants and more likely to scapegoat them. They'd be worse about military spending.
They'd be worse at financial aid for college/university education.

Yes, they'd be worse. You can argue that point here or at any of a few (probably several) other blogs on OS, all of whom are presenting independently what are essentially the same case.
PhilT, I really don't understand why You don't take kosh's advice and come on over to my place, where FACTS are presented fully and dispassionately by a half dozen commenters.
Mark,
Quite a while ago, I agreed to stop visiting your blog because you thought I was giving you a hard time. May I assume those are still your wishes?
You certainly ARE welcome to visit as long as you keep it on topic.
I'm not endorsing it. Of course I can cast a vote as a preventative measure.

Point is, a vote for something is a vote in favor. Even if you mean it as a preventative measure, it's not taken that way. It's taken as active support... which is what it is. This thinking is exactly why both branches of the major party have gotten away with so much in the first place.

Usurping Congress' warmaking power for himself is something that has been done by every President who has ever engaged in a "police action." The last time the United States was in a declared war was in 1945. Is it your contention that we haven't been involved in any military actions since then?

Of course not. It's my contention that it's always been illegal and wrong, and Obama's war crimes aren't any less illegal and wrong just because previous presidents have done it too. If anything he's more wrong because he's taken the idea farther than anyone else, i.e. launching multiple unjustifiable wars without Congress's authorization, and in one case continuing it against Congress's explicit refusal of authorization.

[Barry] didn't prevent affordable health care. He attempted to make it affordable.

I said affordable national healthcare, which he absolutely did prevent for a bunch more years at least. And I've never denied there are a couple positive things buried in the ACA, but since it was designed to guarantee profits for the health corporations and does nothing to control costs, it's still difficult to see how it can be considered an "attempt to make healthcare affordable." As with virtually all Obama policies, it's simply an exercise in sugarcoating the poison pill so the public won't truly realize what a horrible thing is being shoved down its throat.

Some of the rest is justifiable absolutely but not justifiable comparatively.

Then why do your last few paragraphs boil down to "the Republicrats would be worse than the Demicans in these areas"? Seems like you can only justify supporting them comparatively.

Yes, one branch of the major party would possibly be more damaging in some ways for the reasons you mentioned. The other would probably be more damaging in other ways for the reasons I mentioned. Either way, those differences are tiny compared to the majority of issues where they're in full agreement. The question isn't which side would be worse; the question is why we should give any support to our enemies in the first place, especially when there are actual good choices on the ballot.
Thanks, Mark. I've looked around your blog too and been impressed with the things I've seen so far, so I'll keep poking around.
Because, Phil, the good choices on the ballot have so little chance of winning they might as well not be on the ballot. You can't stop the Republicans by voting for the Greens but you have a shot at stopping the Republicans by voting for the Democrats. If I could stop the Republicans by voting for the Greens, I'd consider it, even though I know precious little about the candidates personally, meaning I know a great deal more about their positions than about their experience or capabilities.

We clearly aren't going to agree on whether a vote for a candidate can function as a vote against another candidate. All I'll say further about this is that both candidates' advertisements acknowledge this approach in that the majority of the ads I've seen haven't said "my candidate is great," they've said "our opponent is awful and dangerous." The candidates are actively seeking preventative votes, so to claim that they don't count as preventative votes is disingenuous to say the least.
the good choices on the ballot have so little chance of winning they might as well not be on the ballot.

Well, as I said above, there are more important things than the chance of winning.

You can't stop the Republicans by voting for the Greens but you have a shot at stopping the Republicans by voting for the Democrats.

Avoiding one disaster is no good if you do it by encouraging and inviting another disaster... I'd rather at least do what little I can to avoid both.

both candidates' advertisements acknowledge this approach in that the majority of the ads I've seen haven't said "my candidate is great," they've said "our opponent is awful and dangerous."

All true, and all the more reason neither one deserves support as far as I'm concerned.

If you haven't seen them yet, these guys have provided some very instructive further reading:

http://www.salon.com/2012/10/27/the_progressive_case_against_obama/

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/26/a-letter-to-obama-supporters/
"Avoiding one disaster is no good if you do it by encouraging and inviting another disaster... I'd rather at least do what little I can to avoid both."

You have no chance of avoiding both. None.

The best you can do is avoid the worse one.

Pretending it isn't a lot worse is exactly that: Pretense.

Your argument is: Accept the worse one and make the gesture.

The consequences of what you're suggesting are too awful. The worse one is that much worse.
Your argument is: Accept the worse [disaster] and make the gesture.

No. My argument is: accept neither. We'll have to live with one disaster or another, but we don't have to just accept either, and we don't have to encourage or become complicit in something so destructive to our well-being.