Dumb quote of the day--goddamn all these trees, Google Maps says there's a forest around here somewhere edition
>> Friday, October 26, 2012
However, the overriding point is that for left-leaning voters, this election choice should not be seen as easy. It should be viewed as a complex decision about policy outcomes within the context of opposition politics. And here’s the inconvenient truth: with such similar presidential candidates, a lack of liberal opposition to a reelected Obama is arguably as frightening a prospect as a Romney presidency.- David Sirota, "In defense of the undecided voter",Salon, October 26th, 2012.
Confession. I've mostly stopped reading Sirota's stuff at Salon because I generally think he's a clueless hack. Stopped to the point that I've sometimes clicked on a link with an interesting headline, suddenly noticed his byline, and hit the stop or close tab button to abort before I wasted my time. So what made me read this one? I was looking for easy material for a short dumb quote piece for a quickie Friday posting.
Ha, ha: I won.
Look, this election is, in fact, easy for left-leaning voters. Too easy. It isn't that Sirota is wrong to be offended by drone strikes and the expansion of Bush-era security policies that are inimical to civil rights; or that he's necessarily wrong to feel betrayed by Obama's broken campaign promises (though some of those, on inspection, may be blameable on an obstructionist Congress); nor that he's far-off in thinking the President has pursued center-right economic policies and done things like, as Sirota puts it, "turning over his economic policymaking to corporate-connected insiders". All of that's fair enough. More than fair.
But any liberal looking at the situation faces a really numbingly obvious question: what, if anything, do you think President Mitt Romney would do better?
Because, you know, it's true that only Nixon--the legendary red-baiter who got into the House by accusing Jerry Voorhis of being a communist, into the Senate by accusing Helen Douglas of the same, into the national eye during his House career by going after Alger Hiss--could go to China. Nobody could accuse Richard Nixon of being soft on the Red Menace. But does anyone think Mitt Romney, the Etch-A-Sketch candidate, the weather vane, the guy who spent much of the Republican primary season saying what he thought ultraconservatives wanted to hear and much of the Presidential debates saying what he though moderates wanted to hear, does anyone think this guy has the brass, much less the credentials, to boldly lead from the center against his own party?
Supposing you even give Romney the benefit of the doubt as to whether he's ever said anything he meant (well... at least in public), what he said about drones (one of Sirota's big problems with the President) during the third debate was:
Well, I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.
On the issues Sirota thinks are important, Romney has indicated (where he's said anything on the subject at all) he'll either do basically the same thing as the President or he'll do worse (compared to what a liberal presumably finds desirable or acceptable). It really is that plain.
So what the question boils down to for a liberal or progressive... well, there is no question, actually. But we'll put it out there anyway. The only question for a liberal or progressive ought to be "Does my vote help Mitt Romney and the increasingly conservative GOP in any way?" It isn't even a question of endorsing Obama or endorsing everything Obama has done as President or might do if reelected. If the answer is an unconditional "no", perhaps because you live in a state like California or New York where the vote is pretty much a done deal, by all means vote for Jill Stein or whomever; but there's no reason to be "undecided" in that case, or pretend you are, just say, "Yeah, I'm going Green because I've done the math and I can't vote for Obama and assuaging my own moral ego in no way endangers any other cause I might believe in nor does it enhance any risk of something happening--a Supreme Court Justice appointment, for instance--that would appall me." But if there's any chance whatsoever that the answer could be "yes", you're an idiot for having had to ask the question, or for thinking there was any reason at all to stay on a fence. You really think Mitt Romney might be better for the country on any issue of importance to the left? Then yeah, you really are an idiot, because you really haven't been paying an ounce of attention.
Here's how simple it was for me: I went to the polls to vote early, and I voted straight-ticket Democrat in every partisan race, even where I knew with a moral certainty that I was voting for a corrupt or incompetent son-of-a-bitch. And I didn't vote for those candidates because I liked them, I voted for them because when I looked at the other side of the race, it was easy enough to say, "I'm not doing a thing to encourage those ruinous rat bastards and their reactionary, teabagging party." End-of-line. That simple. That black-and-white. I'll just go ahead and tell you: I voted for some real shits. But my "choice" was I could vote for someone whose party is hostile to nearly everything I think is worth fighting for or I could abstain and thereby do nothing to hurt that party that's hostile to nearly everything I think is worth fighting for (and maybe even help them by doing nothing meaningful against them).
If you don't get that, you need to give yourself a long look in the mirror and wonder what the hell you're thinking.