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Teh Conundrum

shystee's picture

Thank you Glennzilla:

It isn't that difficult to keep the following two thoughts in one's head at the same time -- though it seems to be for many people:

(1) What Barack Obama is doing on Issue X is wrong, indefensible and worthy of extreme criticism;

(2) I support Barack Obama for President because he's a better choice than John McCain.

Why is this so hard for so many in the progressive blogosphere and progressives in general?

Discuss...

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Submitted by lambert on

which is my point, and I do have one:

(3)If you want to be able to shove the Overton Window left in an Obama administration, the time to start preparing is now.

(If I actually answer your question "Why" I'll probably get in more trouble than I already am. And besides, I'd like to hear what others have to say.)

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

the time to shift the window was during the primary. Obama lied his tail off during the primary WRT Iraq, Iran, taxes, NAFTA, etc. with the knowing symphony of progressive adulation. Is it any surprise that he now thinks he can do what he wants and we'll sing him praise, albeit tepidly? Hell, he said it himself and flaunted it mockingly. And he was largely correct, even if we are going along tepidly rather than enthusiastically.

Perhaps a new term will go down for the ages: "tepid support". It's a lot like "bipartisan".

You can't negotiate after you've publicly capitulated. You can't seriously be surprised that he's now trying to push the limits as far as possible after you gave him the A-OK. Are you?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... when the GOP nominee was clearly not, say, Ron Paul or Bloomberg, or anyone else who might offer anything acceptable on some fronts.

He knows it, we know it. The rest is kabuki.

The only question is, if in his desperate race to the bottom of capitulation, is he going to (or has he already) hit a point where there literally isn't a dime's worth of difference or worse.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

What was the question again?

-----------------------------

Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

It's just a way of saying that Obama can sell out and suck as bad as he wants, since he'll always suck less than McCain, you should vote for him and quit bitching.

It's part of a cycle: every once in a while, one of the Mighty and Mysterious Corrente Senior Fellows comes out of the cave - where it fled from the Awful Unwashed Newbies - to teach us all a lesson in logic and Good Blogging... /snark

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

there's no straw that can ever break the camel's back because apparently at least he isn't officially a member of the GOP or something--not that you can tell a difference.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I just disagree with his second point.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

it's becoming harder and harder to disagree with you on that second point.

Obama's bar is low and he's not even meeting that (for me). His entire campaign has centered around blurring the distinction between liberal and conservative failures, between good government and bad government policy. On some micro issues, Obama may be better (given his proclivity to change positions at the drop of a venue change, I'm not entirely convinced), but on the more macro level, I see him as the worse alternative.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... I've been trying, with varying results, to help summarize the downsides (are there upsides?) of both candidates:

http://www.correntewire.com/obama_object...
http://www.correntewire.com/what_it_takes
http://www.correntewire.com/post_electio...
http://www.correntewire.com/just_askin

I think these are constructive endeavors (even if my morality and loyalties continue to be assailed by some Hillary and Obama supporters alike as I pursue them). I wish I had the time to do more than try to jumpstart the discussions and also make an effort to get the PUMA concerns heard in the Obama camp, but I'm bloggin' on fumes right now.

PUMAs have raised valid concerns about whether there is a point at which supporting Obama no-matter-what becomes (or has become) untenable. Directly or indirectly, Glenn has led us toward that water even if he's not considering drinking it, with his justifiable concern about some Dems' seemingly bottomless capitulation to Obama's seemingly bottomless capitulation.

Getting a little more precision about where we're at now, or where we expect to be at in an Obama or McCain presidency, could help define whether Obama has sinned to a point at which a no-vote, a McCain vote, or 3rd party vote is a sensible thing for a progressive to do.

A lot of bona fide concern about issues is being mistaken as emotion, but without careful and honest itemization of what the issues are and the net result of either candidate winning, our responses may be seen as more emotional than they are. And doesn't, I think, help in the leverage department, no matter how we're planning to play it.

Submitted by lambert on

Can't find the comment I want to respond to... but the argument is the well-known one that the Republicans represent 100% raw evil (a rather unexceptionable proposition) and that the Democrats represent only 70% evil (though the great Arthur Silber, though I'm too lazy to find the link, puts the difference at 100% vs. 98%).

OK, agreeing that's true, surely it's critical to make sure that the Dems don't move from 70% evil to, say, 90%? (I don't think they have the experience to be 100% evil. Yet.)

And surely it's true that with an influx of Blue Dogs, the percentage of evil is going to increase, not decrease?

Er, can anyone recommend a strategy to avoid or at least prepare for this?

NOTE Odd, isn't it, how the "They're both the same' discussion keeps resurfacing in different ways. I have to say that, although I still see differences between the two parties, it's crystal clear that they're both 100% Village, and that this is a real problem.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

unconditional support to any candidate simply because they have a D next to their name--and to support progressive primary challengers to all sitting Officials who are too conservative or suck.

As for 100% evil vs. 70%, Obama is raising that 70% daily, and by November will have positions indistinguishable from McCain (who is not 100% evil, btw), i'm betting.

Submitted by lambert on

... since I don't have the ability to lie well enough to claim to vote strategically for McCain, who represents a party of torturers and sex/power abusers, which, so far as I can tell, is what "leverage" boils down to, my definition of "conditional" is a little different from yours.

If PUMA the grassroots movement turns into a 21st Centry NWP, or a Human Rights Party, well, that's a different kettle of fish. But although I'd be more than happy if that happened, it hasn't, and I don't see that happening this cycle. Prove me wrong!

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

but to wait and see. After all, is really that impossible logically that Obama might do something that crossed the line for you?

Or at least to be quiet in solidarity with those who are trying to extract leverage because public admissions such as yours and VL does damage the cause of those who still want to fight for the Democratic party.

Submitted by lambert on

Certainly the "I'll vote for McCain" element was pretty strong on a lot of threads on a lot of sites. I'm reacting against that, and I don't think silence is the appropriate response to it. That said, my "tepid" is indeed "very."

On another note, this sounds interesting.

You know, in a lot of ways this whole discussion mirrors the Shut The Fuck Up permathread from the Obama supporters.

In both cases, the answer isn't either silence in solidarity (on the one hand) or singing in chorus (on the other) but posting and evidence and reasoning.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

has always been "friends don't let friends vote republican". As far as I know, she has not budged from that.

The issue then becomes when you or VL post something negative about Obama, the immediate question is "what's the point? you're gonna vote for him anyway." I think you might as well get used to that cuz you're gonna get it a lot.

Apart from speaking the truth (a worthwhile goal in itself, to be sure), what do you try to accomplish with posts critical of Obama? Beyond "he sucks but, heh, he sucks 2% less than McCain, so, I'll tepidly vote for him" (as if tepidity made any difference... just like holding one's nose does not).

Again, is there nothing he can do that would change your mind? At what fraction of percentage point of difference with McCain do you throw the towel?

And, of course, the point was not to tell you to shut (I wouldn't do that) but to question the wisdom of publicizing your vote. It's kinda giving Obama permission to sell out as much as he pleases, since he's got your vote anyway. That certainly does nothing to shove the Overton window to the left, that's for sure.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The point is to be honest and to highlight important things that few are highlighting. To make it harder for Obama to keep selling us out, without selling myself out by pretending that I'm not planning to vote Dem in November.

The option is John Fucking McCain. Obama has us over a barrel on that, but if the day comes when I can't take any more of his shit, I'll recalibrate my plans.

Sorry that's not some people's idea of leverage. I don't like dishonesty in other people, and I don't like dishonesty in myself.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

how are you stopping any of his daily and extensive selling-out?

why not get off that barrel until you actually go vote in Nov?

saying "my vote is worth something and i demand this and this" is not in any way dishonesty--you guys need to stop that.

It's dishonesty to purport to care about issues but to still support a candidate who's wrong on them.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

People prefer a simple lie to a complex truth. As true as ever. If not more so.

Submitted by cg.eye on

being able to eat babies on national television, before the citizens of this country would rise up against his crimes?

Well. Imagine a straw-baby. If Obama ate it, on national television, *then* would you withdraw your intention to vote for him?

The inverse of the question many been asking PUMA partisans on this blog: What would it take for you not to vote for Obama? Past selling out the Constitution, gutting nuclear plant regulations, opening the spigot of private financing with anyone with sense enough to money launder, slandering and staining several Democrat politicos' careers, what would it take?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"What would it take for you not to vote for Obama?"

It's such an open-ended hypothetical, I don't honestly know. I guess like pornography, you know it when you see it. I continue to look at the campaign with my critical faculties in place, and no question that Obama's actions continue to chip away at the certainty that he's a better choice.

Can I conceive of a point where I'd prefer a no vote, a third-party vote, or a McCain vote over voting for Obama? Yes I can.

But after eight years of Bush, and McCain with his hands positively soaked in the same pool of blood, it's a very tough bar. If Obama were against a relatively benign Republican, especially a genuine good guy like Lincoln Chafee, I'd already be there. But Mr. Bomb-Bomb-Iran is tough competition in a race to the bottom.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

This has been the issue most bothering me. Not that it matters my vote won't help Obama regardless if he wins or loses, and I think a low popular vote might knock some sense into the DNC.

As far as Iran goes, I think Israel will launch an attack on them before the November elections, so it really won't matter whose in office.

As much as McCain wants to warmonger, the reality of the state of our armed forces is going to put a damper on any plans he has.

I think it is better for our country and the party to weather "4 more years" than to put Obama in charge.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it's not about saying you'll vote McCain--it's about the necessary and essential pre-conditions for supporting or opposing all candidates. It's about what you demand in return for all votes and/or support for someone.

It's about not preemptively pledging to vote for a sucky candidate simply because they have a D--Especially when they truly don't stand with you on important issues, and have no record of achievement, and can't be trusted in any way to do the things you want done and that the country needs done.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

if we get the White House and we actually have more leverage and support for key issues there---as opposed to no support from Obama--we would not be able to push Obama to do anything once in office--presidents are never responsive the way Congress has to be (even if it doesn't always work).

No president is ever subject to pressure from normal people or even contactable the way Congress is---they're all in bubbles and we never get a say.

Submitted by lambert on

Go set your straw people on fire elsewhere, amberglow. I'm going to water the garden.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it's about your vote having real meaning and purpose, and about how and why you give support or not.

scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

I reserve the right to criticize the fuck out of him right up until I pull the lever and vomit like I just drank 2 liters of ayahuasca. If people don't understand this mindset then they haven't been paying attention.

But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists!!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Well-posed, point of the spear kind of question that will hopefully get a good airing here, much needed.

Cognitive dissonance is the term, and a grand device it is for progressive activism. It is also, as we are seeing daily in many places like the Middle East and the Democratic Party and what claims to be but no longer qualifies as a progressive blogosphere, a terrible tool when it is misunderstood and allowed to have free reign.

A brief dissertation is here, much more available here.

I have other demands right now, but I will be back. Well done, shystee; well done.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

--what about when it's every single issue that comes up? Everyday there's a new one lately, and new position on something ...

just today--guns-- "...The Obama campaign distanced itself Thursday from a statement made last year to the Chicago Tribune that "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional." Spokesman Bill Burton said that the statement "was not worded as well as it could have been" and that Obama believes that generally the Constitution "doesn't prevent local and state governments from enacting their own gun laws." ..."

"the statement "was not worded as well as it could have been" " -- WTF?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

someone supported Obama because of his rhetoric -- especially if they supported him for the "unity" and "bipartisan" bs-- McCain has a long record of getting bipartisan things passed, and Obama never ever ever has.

And Obama is showing daily that he has absolutely no principles or agenda beyond getting elected--none at all.

Today the Supremes struck down part of one of those laws on campaign finance -- the Millionaires Amendment

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

At what point do the sacrifices supposedly required to win the general election nullify the gains of winning the general election?

Submitted by lambert on

What's the marginal utility of the last Republican voter?

FISA? Guns? What next?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by cg.eye on

"I’m made more secure by the liberties in the Bill of Rights. I don’t believe the terrorist threat comes close to what the USSR provided and we made it through the Cold War even while continually fighting to retain and regain our rights against the encroachments of Nixon. It remains utter bullshit that the telecoms require this immunity with our representatives sanctioning their illegality.

Sure, Obama’s better than McCain. I will still have to consider voting for him. But I won’t attach my name and expend any effort on his behalf. I consider not voting to also be a viable option. I’ve never considered it important to be on the winning side, politically. I don’t seek a ‘pure’ candidate that I’ll save my vote for. But Obama has compromised on a key point for me: defending the Constitutional rights of all.

I may influence few, but I’ll be doing the right thing. It’s going to be nothing more than a lesser of two evils year. Which means a yawner."

Say what you will about my beliefs before the FISA vote, now Obama's actions have justified my faith in him: A miniscule faith, growing smaller by the week. I was content to see him as flawed but capable of listening and changing and seeing the value of pushing the Overton Window toward his base's concerns. No more.

Because of the compromises he has already demonstrated to be comfortable with, he will be unable to purge even one GOP partisan senior official during the administration changeover, even though the tradition is for appointed employees to submit their resignations. Bet you the goal of drowning the Government will accelerate through officials defiantly not resigning, because they know his promise to be non-partisan won't allow him to enforce the tradition.

Submitted by lambert on

Very tepidly...

As far as expending any effort? I've consistently said I won't. Maybe I need to qualify my tepidity even more.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by cg.eye on

You and I were skeptical of Obama from the first triumphs of marketing over substantive message. Hayden's clearing his eyes, and asking what that marketing hid from him.

It's like the child rapist and murderer in a Jack Chick comic book -- he gets to heaven with a deathbed conversion, while the heathen Catholics who never took Jesus Christ as their personal Protestant savior would burn in hell.

In the comic book, you understand.
And Hayden's a clean-cut sort of guy, who'd never truck with the murderers, etc.

I have no inside track concerning heaven or hell, cause if I did, Addington would be a nice spit of BBQ by now....

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

The last line of defense I have heard from Obama voters is, "Well, at least, we're voting for the first black president!" What they--usually rich, white liberals--fail to understand is that because he would be the first black president it's absolutely critical he be not just competent, but highly so. Think of it as the Jackie Robinson principle: you can't just be good but great to withstand the inevitable backlash and serve as a trailblazer who undermines racism and paves the path for blacks.

When you realize that we're in the midst of a global epic mess on multiple levels and it requires someone of almost heroic competence, courage, and vision, it makes nominating an unqualified, unprincipled, arrogant, dumbass empty suit all the more batshit insane. To have him be the first black president is just...beyond words.

Let's just put it this way: I thank God he's not Latino.

Submitted by hipparchia on

Let’s just put it this way: I thank God he’s not Latino.

yeah. every once in a great while i'm kinda glad hillary isn't likely to be the next president. chances are awfully good that the next president, no matter how qualified, how smart, how savvy, won't be able to extricate us from all the quagmires we're in. it would set women back 100 years if hillary were elected and she failed to be anything other than fdr, rfk, winston churchill, and the dalai lama combined.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

I don't think women (and girls) would have been as harshly pushed back as you think with HRC at the helm (central to that: Clinton's competence); in fact, I believe many women likely would have become emboldened by Clinton to meet the backlash with defiance. However, I do realize that having a "first" clean up the toxic mess of Bush/Cheney poses one hell of a danger--especially for a woman (Misogyny continues to be far more acceptable than just about any other bigotry in "polite" society). I find her "losing" the way she did to be a certain and (likely) greater detriment than her being president.

Clinton passed the Robinson test, in my opinion. Even better, she likely would have taken advantage of this particular point in time to take our country down a progressive liberal path.

A "first" always has to take incredible risk to forge forward. Since she also happened to be the best option we had, I was willing to take a chance.

Submitted by hipparchia on

far and away the most competent, qualified, and fearless woman we've got. i voted for edwards in the primary, i'd have voted for hillary in the general. in a heartbeat. full speed ahead, and damn the misogyny!

it's that widespread societal acceptance of misogyny that has me so pessimistic about how far back a woman's failure, any woman, to right the bush/cheney wrongs could push us though.

jimbo's picture
Submitted by jimbo on

1) What Barack Obama is doing on Issue X is wrong, indefensible and worthy of extreme criticism;

It's more than just what obama is doing. It is what the dnc and pelosi have done as well, and have not done.

(2) I support Barack Obama for President because he’s a better choice than John McCain.

I refuse to tolerate what howard dean, pelosi, the dnc and barry ballless have done. To do so seems to me just like obama failing us on so many fronts, like FISA. If we tolerate these actions, then we will always be saddled with them. Fuck barry, dean, pelosi, and as far as I'm concerned the democratic party, until dean, pelosi and others are gone.

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

The option is John Fucking McCain. Obama has us over a barrel on that, but if the day comes when I can’t take any more of his shit, I’ll recalibrate my plans.

Others have already reached that point. And this is difficult to understand why?

Personally, though I don't discuss my voting plans or even my votes after they happen, it makes little or no difference in the grand scheme of things whether I vote for Obama or not. Why? Because I live in New York. If he's going to need my vote in New York, then he's got bigger problems nationally than my one vote in New York can help him with.

Mostly, I vote for the downticket races, as well as on the many, many state third-party tickets. Often, they're the same candidates as the major parties, but under New York's public financing laws, third parties which get a certain percentage of the vote are eligible for public funding in future elections. So I usually pull the lever (and we actually *do* have levers, which I *always* screw up, year after year) for the Working Families Party candidate or similar. Even if they're simply running the Dem candidate. And even if I'd rather it be Working People Party, since I'm single and without children and thus the "Families" part is alienating to me personally.

jeqal's picture
Submitted by jeqal on

People are voting for Obama because he is black. We do indeed live in a racist society. The DNC was hopping up and down ecstatic because there are only 75% whites in the US. Wow, makes one wonder why I didn't vote for Edwards. Maybe we should buy all of these folks plane tickets to zimbabwe they seem to be fitting in with the zimbabwe attitude towards whites. And although white is not a race but a skin tone. I do find the amount of racial slurring of people of no color to be a sad commentary on The DNC, the US, and the world in general.

Maybe I should begin voting for people who look like me, which means Rosie O Donnell better get her tennis shoes on, cuz she is about all that I see in the media I can physically identify with.

Heck why even pretend to have issues, just begin putting people's skin tone on the ticket, could save a lot of trees.

and female candidates all you need is voice quality, weight and if she laughs at all men's jokes.

This is such a simple solution to what America has become.

"The great divide in this country is not by race or even income, it's by those who think they are better than everyone else and think they should play by a different set of rules," --Bill Clinton

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

"...I'm tired of having to make that assumption.

... Are you really better than McCain, Barak? Then show me. Do the right thing. Quit sound like just another fear-mongering, liberal-hating Republican and do the business. ..." -- sideshow