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Wednesday, July 09, 2008


So if you want to be responsible (in your own small way) for impeachment being off the table, for supporting and funding the continuation of the Iraq war, for the threat of nuclear strikes on Iran, for expanded wiretapping, for telecom immunity, for corporate bailouts and tax cuts, etc, etc, etc, just vote for the Democrats again in 2008. After all, it's what they not only expect but demand that you do.

Dude, I'm voting for McCain -- not because I think he's the right guy, but for several very specific reasons:

1. Because *I will* not have my vote taken for granted, and the best way to hurt the democrats is to take a vote from their column and give it to the opposing column, even if I don't support that column.

2. Because I think that GWB has been a boon in awakening Americans to the values of progressives. In the words of Al Schumann, "...the challenge of progressivism, which appears to have been cursed by an activist base consisting of hundreds of thousands of overeducated, over-informed, under-experienced and occasionally vicious Arnold Horshacks...What makes the progressive agenda irremediably fatuous is that when push comes to shove, they settle for securing their leadership's privilege."

To the public, Democrats and progressives don't stand for change unless they're cornered by BAD Republican governance. And since Democrats and Progressives are so fucking weak, we should allow incompetent Republicans to push the majority leftward as they have been doing in the last 7.5 years.

Unlike Mike of Angle, I am actively doing something by voting for the "reset" catastrophe.

No, no, no! Come on, now! When you sit down to haggle with someone, don't you always begin by saying, "Hey, just to be clear, no matter how long this goes on, I'll gladly pay full price plus 20% and let you piss in my mom's face as a bonus"? It's only common sense! Who could possibly predict that the seller will respond by charging you even more than originally advertised?

I still don't swallow the concept of "make things worse in order to get better," * and once again your post treads verrrrrry verrrrry close to this line [without actually crossing it, though].

Problem is, I am a firm advocate that anyone has the moral right to vote any way they want, for any reason they want... and that fact alone apparently makes me the sworn enemy of truth, justice, "progress", and the Democratic Party, at least the way the Democrats tell it -- as any one who lived through the past two Presidential Elections can confirm.

* The main reason I don't buy "make things worse to get better" is because, in my life experience, it seems to me like things can ALWAYS get worse. Hey, vote McCain into office today, and after eight more years of abject Democratic servility, just watch Vice President Ann Coulter gearing up her election campaign against Democratic candidate Chelsea Clinton.

[email protected]#t, sorry for the typo, "CLOSE BOLD ! ! !"

I said, "CLOSE BOLD ! ! !"

Thomas: Fixed. Pretty funny that TypePad isn't smart enough to close it itself, and so the rest of the page ends up bold....

So, actually responding:

angryman: Man, you really are angry, aren't you? I admire your dedication to a principle, but I take the more mundane route of voting for people I actually support.

I've been thinking that it may actually be better if McCain wins solely because 1) we're within a few years of the tipping point on global warming and 2) McCain's position on that issue is similar to Obama's, but he'd be far more effective at persuading right-wing loons to go along with some kind of action.

Thomas: I still don't swallow the concept of "make things worse in order to get better," * and once again your post treads verrrrrry verrrrry close to this line [without actually crossing it, though].

I don't understand how you got that from what I wrote here, which was just that if you support the Democrats without conditions you share responsibility for what they do (which follows directly from the quotes I cited). I've never written anything about making things worse in order to get better, and I never would, since it's not what I believe. What I have written that I think you've read that way is that things will be just as bad either way, and therefore we're better off with the candidate who at least doesn't lull half the population (and most of the world) into complacency and inaction. As I've mentioned elsewhere, reading that as "heightening the contradictions" not only misconstrues my point but comes close to inverting it.

I'm with you 100% when you say that anyone has the right to vote any way they want. That's why I said "voting for Democrats despite your conscience"; if people genuinely think Kerry or Obama is the best option available to them and vote that way, fine. I'll do everything in my power to convince them they're wrong, but they're not the ones I was addressing here.

Sorry to monopolize the comments -- (really, the rest of the page was bold in my browser, somehow the error got corrected...)

One more thing: the reason Democrats don't "get" Gnome Chomsky's haggling analogy, there, is because the analogy assumes that the two parties haggling are basically antagonistic -- i.e., at cross purposes: the seller wants to receive maximum money, the buyer wants to pay minimum money.

Rank-and-file Democrats, however, seem incapable of admitting to themselves, that "their" selected leaders actually do not share their convictions. They keep finding excuses to believe that their candidates are not actually at cross purposes with their own principles, but "kitty-corner" or somesuch, and that will be "close enough" to make Progress! Sometime, somehow, somewhere.

During the 60s, Progressives argued fairly persuasively that "The System" changed people into automatons who were anti-human. Yet when the Democrats became a "system" unto themselves, somehow this point was lost on the Democratic voters.

Sorry, I guess I was mentally blurring your comments with angrybear's, whom I read in the same sitting. Like I said, your comment does not actually cross that line... but it's easy to misinterpret it that way when there are supposedly "only" two "reasonable" choices and you're advocating against the allegedly "saner" one. Of course, part of my problem is that I'm unwittingly, unintentionally internalizing the false model which Democrats have been beating me over the head with for years. Apologies.

And to angrybear, like I said, anyone should vote however they want for whatever reason they want, so I'm not blaming you for anything... after all, if Kerry and Clinton et.al. could claim that they voted to authorize war with Iraq in order to prevent a war with Iraq, then your vote is at least as logical as theirs.

if you support the Democrats without conditions you share responsibility for what they do

Okay, here's the $64Million question: what do you mean by voting for the Democrats "without conditions" ? What conditions can you put on your vote, and how exactly do you do that?

As you might be able to tell, I am currently wondering about how to cast my own vote this year. McCain certainly crossed himself off my list when he kissed up to the Religious Right. Anyone who could do that with a smile, could easily change his tack on Global Warming or any other subject, after we vote for him. I don't expect much from John on the Global Warming front; I think we've already seen the zenith of his support for the issue, there will be a lot more and more powerful pressure for him to toe the George Bush line on that subject if he advances in power.

Ralph Nader, I believed, was the right candidate in 2000, but I'm not sure he still holds that title. I don't like most of the other 3rd parties. And because I agree with most of what you've said about Obama, that means I'm unsure I could bring myself to cast my vote that way either. Should I abstain? But when half the populace abstains out of sheer apathy, that doesn't send anyone much of a message either.

still talking about democrats...sigh...

"Should I abstain?"

is your state secure for obama? if so, then vote whomever, or abstain. if not, vote obama.

me, i'm voting barr, or maybe the SP. because either a libertarian or a socialist would chop away at the military and the security state, or at least would want to before they were assassinated.

Thomas: what do you mean by voting for the Democrats "without conditions" ?

Voting for them no matter what they do. Once when I was being Naderhounded by some liberal I asked: is there anything whatsoever the Democrats could do that would make you stop voting for them? Because if there is, then we agree on the principle and just differ as to where the line should be drawn (or whether it's already been crossed). The answer (you'll be shocked to hear) was no, because they'll always be better than the alternative.

About how you should use your presidential vote, honestly, I don't think it's worth that much thought. As for abstaining vs. sending a message: you're right, abstaining is lost in the noise of apathy—so voting for someone else is the only way to send any kind of message. Not that it'll be heard, since the vast majority of liberals are going to line up dutifully this year just as they always do, no matter how much noise they're making now.

Personally I spend far more time researching and considering my votes for local ballot initiatives and local offices, since that's where each vote really counts.

John, I salute you for trying to make a dent in the abused wife mentality of the left in re: the Democratic party, but spending time at sites like Hullabaloo and seeing Digby twist herself into a knot to the delight of her dipshit commenters has reduced me to hopelessness. These people are, for the most part, the rank and file Democrats you speak of, and they will never, ever get it through their thick skulls that Daddy doesn't love them or give a flying fuck what they think. Hell, just the other day she posted a long, pathetic, mewling defense of Obama's "centrism" (yes, it's centrism, not a deliberate and observable move to the right) that is one of the saddest and stupidest things I've ever read.

I think at this point it would literally take pictures of every Democrat in Congress and Obama with a Republican Congressman's dick in their ass/mouth before these idiots woke up, and even then there'd be a good portion of them conjuring up some tortured argument that the fellatio/anal intercourse is simply a feint to lull the Repubs into a false sense of security.

"if you've been voting for Republicans despite your conscience, you are personally responsible for what the Republicans are and for what they do,"

Just reminding people that it cuts both ways.

anon: ...spending time at sites like Hullabaloo...

See, there's your problem right there. I try to avoid the mainstream liberal sites—the pain is just too great.

I realize the chances of making a dent are small, but I still think it's worthwhile to have as much Democrat-deconstruction as possible out there since there are always people on the fence. Just call me Sisyphus. But don't call me sissy-face, or I might cry.

Dan: I get your point, but the key phrase in my version was "despite your conscience". I wasn't speaking to people who enthusiastically support the Democrats but to those who support them against their better judgment. So the both-way cutting would really only apply to the serious right wing nutcases who had to hold their noses to vote for Bush, since he never actually vowed to execute illegal immigrants and imprison all Muslims.

I think anyone who can look at the damage already done to the country in the last eight years and still proffer the bullshit line of "people have to see things get bad in order to vote for better" is nothing more than an imbecile. With 80% of the country in line for a change, it's more than obvious that the people who actually care have seen what's up, and the only ones left are the hardcore group that's never going to be convinced to begin with.


the bullshit line of "people have to see things get bad in order to vote for better"

Then kindly explain how it is that the candidates who actually offered to change things, with substantial policies and ideologies, are nowhere to be seen, and we're left with two corporate-safe goons from whom to choose — or rather, we're being told that they our only practical choices.

The inference to be drawn here is that things are not nearly bad enough. When I say bad, I mean really, fucking awful. I mean riots in the streets, incipient revolution bad. Because, apparently, that's what it's going to take to get people to really want to change things.

I think anyone who can look at the damage already done to the country in the last eight years and still proffer the bullshit line of "people have to see things get bad in order to vote for better" is nothing more than an imbecile.

What we've had in the last 8 years is worse than normal, but not nearly bad enough to get people to change the system. I don't want to do anything violent, just work within the system and within the rules to make things worse.

A bullshit line like "people have to see things get bad in order to vote for better" is exactly why we have an uptick and support for milquetoast change. Unfortunately the desire is for muddling, let's return to the fucked up status quo change within the accepted parameters of US liberals and progressives that anywhere else in the worlds would be middle-right in orientation. They want to return to the status quo that brings us greed, climate change, crony capitalism, empire building, etc. In other words, they desire to return to comfort.

You vote your way, I'll vote mine. Obama will probably get elected. He and his ilk don't need my vote.

Shorter angryman:

I don't care how many people die under President McCain, as long as I get to feel good about not voting for a candidate who disagrees with me on many things.

Kevin, if you're going to be doing shorters, at least get it right:

I hope President McCain kills a shitload more than the incompetent GWB managed to as long as it leads to a total failure of the Republican and Democrat parties.

That I feel good about my choices is paramount in my considerations. I am an American.

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