Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Not looking forward to the first US Presidential election where I can vote. Largely because it looks like both candidates will be far to my right.

I'm desperately hoping the Republicans will pick a moderate like Romney. Romney is an out of touch conservative, and he has a number of views I strongly disagree with, but I believe he's a good man at heart.

This doesn't mean I'll vote for Romney however. As I said, he's far to my right. Neither will I vote for Obama, such a vote would be unconscionable. To stand as a liberal, and then when in office to promote extremist right wing policies such as torture, imprisonment without trial, extrajudicial executions, and more wars, is beyond forgivable. He will not get my vote even if the alternative is a wacko like Bachmann.

Obama isn't Clinton. Clinton stood as a right wing Democrat, made an effort (albeit a poor one) to promote the policies he stood for, and didn't drift far from what he always claimed to be, certainly never turning into an extremist. Obama essentially prevented the left from having a voice by stealing it, by saying "Oh, you're against the more extreme aspects of Bush's regime? Vote for me, I'll change it!", and then doing exactly the same crap.

So I'll vote, but I'll probably either pick a third party that's genuinely moderate or left wing, or I'll write in a candidate.


Wouldn't I be throwing my vote away?

Well, no. If you feel the same way I do, then I urge you to do the same thing. Obama won in 2008 because he courted liberals, something that neither Gore nor Kerry were willing to do. And Gore and Kerry didn't because, despite real records of liberalism, both were stuck in the Beltway Feedback Loop where it was simply taken as read that liberals were irrelevant and a bad thing.

Gore learned the hard way that this was a stupid move when Nader took enough votes in 2000 to make it obvious that had Gore gone a little to the left on certain key issues, he'd have had enough support to swing the election in his favor. Nader is usually criticized for taking votes away from Gore, but I'm not sure that's true. It's not clear to me that everyone who voted for Nader would have voted for Gore in Nader's absence, it seems more likely that most of Nader's supporters would have stayed at home.

Kerry didn't have a Nader either, but he found himself in 2004 fighting an election against an awful President... and losing. Even in 2004, Bush had lost his post-9/11 lustre, and I couldn't find a single person who had anything nice to say about him, but Kerry quickly gained a reputation, fairly or unfairly, as an establishment hack, as someone who would simply continue in the same mold as Bush even if he said otherwise. And the attitude I sensed from most liberals was that, if they were going to vote at all (and it wasn't clear they were), it was simply to get rid of Bush. And that wasn't enough for many, when it was assumed Kerry would do the same things as his would-be predecessor.

Obama's betrayal means it's going to be harder for some years to find a Democrat who can be trusted by liberals. It'll mean someone will need to have decades of political activism behind him or her, with a track record of promoting liberal causes. There are people who fit that - Pelosi is a name that springs to mind - but I'm not sure they have what it takes to get past the primary stage, and, for example, Pelosi has had enough demonization from the right that she'd find it hard to get broad based support anyway.

Either way, Obama needs to lose. It has to be shown that it's not enough to pretend to be a liberal when you have no power, you have to at least try when you're in office. I can handle Obama failing to push through liberal laws through a hostile congress. I can't handle the continuation of Bush's security state. And I can handle four years of a Republican President if that's what's necessary to prevent it from happening again.

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