‘A good rule’ for voting my values

“You and I are blessed to live in a country where we are born equal no matter what we look like on the outside, where we grow up, or who our parents are. A good rule is to treat others the way you hope they will treat you.”

That is a good rule. A golden rule, even. And the previous sentence may be more aspirational than strictly descriptive, but it’s a lovely expression of the American dream.

Those lines are from President Barack Obama’s letter replying to Sophia Bailey Klugh, age 10. Sophia had written to the president to invite him to dinner and to ask how she should deal with getting teased at school because of her parents.

I voted this morning to re-elect President Obama because of letters like this — because Obama was capable of writing such a letter, because he wanted to write such a letter, because the values expressed in that letter are reflected in the president’s words and deeds and life, and because it is clear from his policies and statements and priorities that those values are who he really is and who we can expect him to continue to be.

I’m proud of the vote I cast this morning. And I know that 20 years from now, when Sophia Bailey Klugh is 30, I’ll be able to still be proud of that vote.

* * * * * * * * *

Jon Chait: “Barack Obama Is a Great President. Yes, Great.”

Obama’s résumé of accomplishments is broad and deep, running the gamut from economic to social to foreign policy. The general thrust of his reforms, especially in economic policy, has been a combination of politically radical and ideologically moderate. The combination has confused liberals into thinking of Obamaism as a series of sad half-measures, and conservatives to deem it socialism, but the truth is neither. Obama’s agenda has generally hewed to the consensus of mainstream economists and policy experts. What makes the agenda radical is that, historically, vast realms of policy had been shaped by special interests for their own benefit. Plans to rationalize those things, to write laws that make sense, molder on think-tank shelves for years, even generations. They are often boring. But then Obama, in a frenetic burst of activity, made many of them happen all at once.

Bipartisan panels of economists had long urged Medicare to reform its payment methods to curb perverse incentives by hospitals and doctors to run up costs as high as possible; Obama overcame fierce resistance in Congress in order to craft, as part of Obamacare, a revolution in paying for quality rather than quantity. He eliminated billions of dollars in useless subsidies to banks funneling (at no risk) government loans to college students. By dangling federal public-education grants, Obama unleashed a wave of public-school reform, over the objections of the most recalcitrant elements of the teachers union movement. And he forced Wall Street to accept financial regulations that, while weaker than ideal, were far tougher than anybody considered possible to get through Congress.

It is noteworthy that four of the best decisions that Obama made during his presidency ran against the advice of much of his own administration. Numerous Democrats in Congress and the White House urged him to throw in the towel on health-care reform, but he was one of very few voices in his administration determined to see it through. Many of his own advisers, both economists steeped in free-market models and advisers anxious about a bailout-weary public, argued against his decision to extend credit to, and restructure, the auto industry. On Libya, Obama’s staff presented him with options either to posture ineffectually or do nothing; he alone forced them to draw up an option that would prevent a massacre. And Obama overruled some cautious advisers and decided to kill Osama bin Laden.

Michael Bloomberg: “A Vote for a President Who Will Lead on Climate Change

We need leadership from the White House – and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants … which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.

Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed on to a regional cap-and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. “The benefits (of that plan) will be long-lasting and enormous – benefits to our health, our economy, our quality of life, our very landscape. These are actions we can and must take now, if we are to have `no regrets’ when we transfer our temporary stewardship of this Earth to the next generation,” he wrote at the time.

He couldn’t have been more right. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.

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  • Robyrt

    Chait is wrong to discount Obama’s problems with the legislature and conclude he’s a “great” president. Part of being president is convincing members of Congress to vote for your policies, especially if your party has the majority. Obama has been fine when it comes to things he directly oversees – foreign policy, education grants, DOJ, etc. – but he resembles Charlie Brown to the Republicans’ Lucy whenever it comes to actual legislation that needs to be passed. Even when working with his own party, like with the health care bill, or with an explicitly bipartisan working group like Bowles-Simpson, he has not performed well. Some things like closing Guantanamo Bay just don’t get done at all.

  • spinetingler

    McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

    So, not really.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ericrboersma Eric Boersma

    With all due respect…this has been the most obstructionist congress in history. If Obama had even an average congress, we’d be questioning whether or not Romney was going to win a state today, not whether he was going to win at all.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

     http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/republicans-not-your-friendly-neighborhood-party/

  • Lori

    Part of being president is convincing members of Congress to vote for your policies   

    This is a tough, and probably unfair, standard to apply when the other party has openly stated that their goal is to be obstructionist.

    but he resembles Charlie Brown to the Republicans’ Lucy whenever it comes to actual legislation that needs to be passed. 

    I agree that this is true. Obama’s natural inclination is to achieve consensus and it’s long past time for him to have figured out that that doesn’t work with people whose goal is to avoid consensus like the plague.

    explicitly bipartisan working group like Bowles-Simpson  

    I really wish people would stop repeating this fiction. Bowles-Simpson   is not bipartisan in any reasonable sense of the term.

  • fraser

     And it’s hard to work with a group that couldn’t even agree on a plan.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YT2EEKDK4PIH7ONS7VTROV3K6Q yahoo-YT2EEKDK4PIH7ONS7VTROV3K6Q

    “Convincing members of Congress to vote for your policies” is hard to do when the opposing party leaders make it clear from the start that their main purpose is to make you a one-term president.
    And even “if your party has the majority,” it doesn’t make a difference when the opposition party threatens a fillibuster on every major (and most minor) pieces of legislation. The Democrats never held 60% of the House seats during President Obama’s tenure, and only had 60% of the Senate seats during two brief periods which lasted for a total of just over five months (and Congress was in its traditional summer recess for most of the July-August 2009 time frame).  See http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/did-the-democrats-ever-really-have-60-votes-in-the-senate-and-for-how-long/ and the Wikipedia articles on the 111th and 112th Congresses.

  • MikeJ

    Chait is wrong to discount Obama’s problems with the legislature and
    conclude he’s a “great” president. Part of being president is convincing
    members of Congress to vote for your policies

    Bullshit.  Obama introduced a health care bill that was literally the same as that put forward by the Republican nominee and was called a socialist/communist/nazi for his trouble.  The Republicans went out of their way to try to destroy the US economy for the sole purpose of making Obama look bad.

    You cannot bargain with terrorists. The only thing you can do is grind them into the ground. It’s my sincere hope that Obama learned that lesson.

  • Paul Durant

    It isn’t just that the Republicans have been in full “blood for the blood god” mode, though. The stuff Obama tries to push through that gets blocked by the GOP doesn’t live up to his promises — like, you had to end up passing Obamacare without any Republican support, so why did you put so many god damn compromises to Republican positions in there? You have to jam it through an obstructionist congress anyway, might as well give us what we actually need instead of a watered-down version.

  • Carstonio

    That could have simply a lesson that Obama had to learn in dealing with obstructionists. Or it could have been a deliberate strategy to make the obstructionism more obvious, to make the political climate more favorable for eventual single-payer health care. I suspect that Biden’s comment about same-sex marriage was no accident but a calculated move – in the past Obama had cautioned supporters to wait until the time is right, and much has indeed changed on this issue since he took office. 

  • rizzo

     Bipartisanship is great if both parties are bargaining in good faith.

  • Morilore

    Older woman at the polls: “I need proof of your current residence and photo ID.”
    Younger woman at the polls (scowling): “You don’t need photo ID.”

    Heh.

  • Kiba

    My grandmother and I voted this morning and while I was filling in my ballot I heard this woman complaining. She showed up and was expecting the place to have electric ballots and was not happy that there were only paper ones. Her parting remark to the lady that handed her her ballot was, “Well, I’m not doing this again.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    This Canadian would like to LOL at her wankery about paper balloting. FPTP means one X in one box for one candidate for a given position. Geez.

  • Kiba

    Yeah, filling out the ballot wasn’t exactly rocket science.

     * Candidate name (with party affiliation info obviously) with empty circle by it.  
    * Fill in circle next to name of chosen candidate. 

    I know she had to have completed a form similar to that before (hell’s bells my gram has to do something like that every time she goes to the doctor’s office). Sad thing is the lady handing out the ballot had to explain the procedure to her three times. 

    @Lori-Yup. I wanted to beat my head on the voting booth when I heard her carrying on, but the thing wasn’t that sturdy and I didn’t want to break it. Personally I was thrilled that we had the paper ballots since I really, really do not like the electronic voting machines.

    @Morilore- Ha! No worries ^_^.

  • Lori

    The temptation is to think that anyone who is that hung up on voting machines is too ridiculous to be allowed to vote any way.

  • Morilore

    I’m conflicted.  I feel I should show my approval for you telling your voting story in this thread, but I don’t want to click the word “like” after reading that story.

  • P J Evans

     In California, that’s the only kind she’d see. It’s about as easy to fill out as it can get: ink stamps that fill the bubble, using guide holes so that you have to work hard to miss one. (You can mark your ballot as fast as you can move the stamper.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    (waves hand) “I don’t need photo ID.”

    “You don’t need photo ID…”

  • LL

    If I cared enough, I guess, I’d ask people who are proudly hateful (of gays, brown people, Muslim people, women who use birth control people, poor people) what they’re so fucking proud of. As Fred has demonstrated, they can’t possibly, actually think they’re on the side of Jesus, unless they actually believe Jesus’ philosophy is, “Fuck the poor and the whores and the fairies and the non-white people, I got mine.” 

  • Becca Stareyes

     People are very good at looking in a mirror and seeing the face of the divine staring back: I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the people do think they are on the side of Jesus.  Or have a strong cognitive dissonance to justify both the charity drives their church does for the ‘deserving poor’ and protesting increased social services for ‘welfare queens’.  (I’ve seen a lot of articles about folks on welfare or women seeking abortions who seem to argue that their choices are forgivable and just, but everyone else is abusing the system/a horrible baby-killer/etc.)

    People are very good at being biased monkeys, especially when it comes to themselves/friends/family versus strangers.  The first step is realizing that you have that bias and questioning your judgement. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    ask people who are proudly hateful (of gays, brown people, Muslim people, women who use birth control people, poor people) what they’re so fucking proud of

    I used to do this when I was younger. Mostly, the answer I would get is that drawing clear lines between morality and immorality made the world better, and the things they opposed (e.g., treating various minorities as fully human and deserving of dignity and respect) were immoral. (This was expressed in various ways.)

    After a while I became convinced of their premise that drawing clear lines between morality and immorality made the world better, so I began calling them out on their immorality. I was pretty proud of that.

    After a while I stopped being convinced of that.

  • Edie

    The thing is, my mother is exactly this proudly hateful type and really does believe she is on the side of Jesus and that I am “brainwashed” by the world.

    I have tried reasoning with her and she has an excuse for everything I bring up.

  • aklab

    @87d583fa9c57436d73234c6d05310469:disqus , same here.  Today marks, let’s see, 4 years plus 1 day since the last time I tried to discuss politics with my parents.  

  • Edie

    I try to let it go and not discuss it but she keeps bringing it up. Just last night over the phone she started at it again – for her religion and politics have become so entangled in her black & white world view that anyone who opposes her views  is not a “true Christian” and is “Ashamed of God”.

    It’s incredibly maddening.

  • aklab

    Yeah, that sounds familiar.  For me it’s “do you not even believe in absolutes?”  By now they’ve learned not to bring it up with me, but they haven’t yet learned not to bring it up with my kids, which is even more incredibly maddening.  

  • http://fiadhiglas.wordpress.com/ Pqw

    I was happy to be able to cast a vote this morning in favor of marriage equality in Maryland.

    I was probably the only Green at my voting place; northern Baltimore county skews conservative Republican. But then, every place I’ve ever lived has skewed conservative Republican, even if the state overall went blue. 

  • Tricksterson

    So either you’re a masochist or under a curse?

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I didn’t vote for Obama (or Romney), and I know the candidate I did vote for (Stein) doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning, but I will definitely be happier with Obama than Romney in office.

    I was tempted to vote for Obama, simply to increase the odds of Romney not winning the election, but I decided if I did that, I’m not really doing my part for democracy. I firmly believe it’s best to vote for the candidate you want to win, not against the candidate you want to lose.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I firmly believe it’s best to vote for the candidate you want to win, not against the candidate you want to lose.

    Yeah; I struggle with this a lot and end up making case-by-case decisions. In this case, I concluded that the popular-vote gap was likely to be enough of an issue that spending my vote on pushing it in the right direction was a reasonable move.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I firmly believe it’s best to vote for the candidate you want to win, not against the candidate you want to lose.

    I tend to do both. Australia has preferential voting, so I put all the people I most want to win at the top, all the people I most want to lose at the bottom, and then fill in the middle with the people I don’t really care about.

  • aklab

    @OriginalExtraCrispy:disqus , do you live in a red state?  I do (SC) and have to struggle with the same choice.  Our state is definitely going Republican anyway, so why not vote third party?
    Then on the other hand, SC isn’t quite as Republican as people may think — it’s pretty steadily 55% R to 45%, and even a few percentage of liberals voting third party instead would really strengthen the Republican stranglehold.  

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    Yeah. My state is going to Romney, no matter what I want.

    @openid-122622:disqus Jill Stein’s values match up with mine more closely than Obama’s do. Are you telling me I should not exercise my right to vote for the person I feel would be best for the job? That the only correct vote is the one for your guy? That’s utter bullshit. I researched the candidates. All of them, not just the two. That was the decision I made based on the information I learned. 

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     Cause that sort of reasoning worked out so well in 2000.

    Its because of people like you we got 8 years of Bush. Fuck your purity.

  • The_L1985

    I’m sorry, but it’s so very hard for me to read te sentence “Fuck your purity” and not giggle like a schoolchild.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    Yeah, damn people like me for taking the issue seriously enough to think about our voting choices instead of blindly taking one side or the other.

    FTR, I voted for Kerry in 2004, Obama in 2008, and Stein in 2012.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I realized my reply made it sound like anyone who votes for Obama is just voting blindly. I don’t think that. I believe a lot of people are voting for him out of a genuine belief that he’s the best person for the job. I just happen to not be one of them. 

    And although I would rather he win than Romney, I would rather Stein win than Obama.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     Yeah, you thought all right. Then decided to make the stupid choice.

    People who vote third party on the presidential level aren’t making a principled stand. They are engaging in the underpants gnomes theory of politics:

    1. Vote third party for president
    2.????
    3. Get the policies I want

    Just precisely how will voting for Jill Stein achieve your policy goals? Do you think the Democrats will care about the voices of people who are potentially throwing the election to the other side? Will Obama go, “Oh man, .3 percent of the country went for Jill, better dry dock all my drones,”?

    Hell, lets play pretend. Lets pretend that all the other candidates die, or are found with  the proverbial dead girl or live boy. So Jill becomes president. Why would anyone in Congress pay her any attention? They have no loyalty to her, either Democrat or Republican. And what incentive could Jill provide, given her total lack of ties to a political party? They can just twiddle their thumbs and she’ll be gone in four years.

    Do you think that Jill Stein would be able to just snap her fingers and stop the military industrial complex? Or halt the drug wars with an executive order? Just what planet do you live on? Furthermore, even if she could do those things, just what would stop the next president from erasing all her changes? Cause any third party president would be gone after one term. Or more likely, would start caucusing with one of the parties, and effectively become of that party.

    This is not a game. Its not a moment of personal expression of your special snowflakeness. You are voting for one person who will be president, or you are voting for the other. That’s how our system works as of now.

    You say otherwise? Please show me a single election where a third party candidate wasn’t either:

    A.) A spoiler
    B.) Irrelevant

    One. Single. Election. Good luck.

    And for emphasis, fuck your purity.

  • Mark Z.

    Shorter Nathaniel: “Since you’re not getting what you want anyway, you might as well vote for what I want.”

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     Shorter you: Gosh, that guy wrote a lot of words. Let me ignore that in favor of declaring he’s a hypocrite.

    It’d be nice if you’d actually respond to the arguments I write. Like I had the courtesy of doing for the poster I responded to.

  • Mark Z.

    Like I had the courtesy of doing for the poster I responded to.
    Oh, a tone argument. Never seen one of those before.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     Its not a tone argument. You can use however many curse words you want in your response. But have the decency to actually respond, rather than snipe.

  • LunaticFringe

    People are more likely to listen to someone who is willing to do the same, and who makes their points with courtesy and calm instead of insults, especially when it’s about an issue where emotions run high. This is not a fallacy. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    You are saying things that sound sensible but simply are not true. If I speak my mind forthrightly, I get called a bitch who ought to be more polite. If I speak my mind politely, I get ignored.

  • WalterC

     Don’t worry. I’m sure that if you keep desperately chasing after our constant barrage of unrealistic and contradictory expectations, we’ll eventually start respecting you. Or you’ll collapse in exhaustion. Whatever.

  • Emcee, cubed

    No. Shorter Nathaniel is actually: “You aren’t going to get 100% of what you want anyway, so if you want 70% instead of 20% (or less), then you should do what you can to make sure the guy with 70% actually does win.”

    There are some issues with that, admittedly. Most of the people saying they are voting 3rd party are also saying they live in either deep blue or deep red states. In those cases, it doesn’t bother me as much, as they are unlikely to affect the outcome in any meaningful way (which may say something else entirely).

    Personally, I have never had that luxury. Having lived most of my life in PA, and now in NV, 3rd party voting could definitely swing things. So I don’t. (And I wouldn’t vote for Gary Johnson anyway. I’d prefer him to Romney because of social issues, but as someone else mentioned, his economic and corporate policies are terrible. And I don’t know enough about Stein to make a judgement – not sure she was even on the ballot here, but I could be wrong.)

  • Lori

     

    Shorter Nathaniel: “Since you’re not getting what you want anyway, you might as well vote for what I want.”   

    More like: “Since you’re not getting what you want anyway would it kill you to consider the needs of some of the most vulnerable of your fellow citizens as more important than patting yourself on the back?”

  • J_

    Yeah except that ‘purity’ is a canard. So is ‘considering the needs of vulnerable fellow citizens.’

    YOU have decided that you’re willing to tolerate a few innocent bombed Pashtuns every week or two because you want your neighbor with the sore back to get free naproxen. That’s the calculus of values YOU have made. So maybe a little less loose talk about who is throwing who under whose bus, mmmkay?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Lobbing in a comment from outside:

    You guys are all involved in activism to change to preferential voting, right?

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     That would be lovely. But also would likely require a constitutional amendment.

    So it’ll be awhile. But yes, that would be something I support.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I was a citizen in a system without preferential voting. I’m sympathetic to both sides. The only thing I’m confident about is the need to transform to a more democratic electoral system–which, yeah, would take a long time. But I hope enough people work on and don’t give up. It’s a huge deal.

  • WalterC

    Hey, the people who voted for Bush are the ones who caused Bush to be elected. If you think that Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or even (ugh) Virgil Goode should be elected, then honestly I feel that you’re only responsible for that one vote, not for the vote of the millions of other people who voted for another candidate. 

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     Only in a world where actions have no outside consequences.

  • WalterC

     Only in a world where actions have no outside consequences.

    Hey, I get what you’re saying. I voted for Obama, but I don’t think that he or anyone else is entitled to even a single vote, and to me the only people who are “responsible” for a candidate’s victories are the people who voted for, caucused for, knocked on doors for, donated to, etc. him or her. Y

    ou seem to be assuming that people who voted for a 3rd party would have voted for Obama if the 3rd party wasn’t available; that might be true in some cases but it’s not true in all cases. If someone is disatisfied with all available candidates, they still have the option of doing a write-in or just leaving that line blank. They’re not obligated to vote for anyone and (assuming that they give each candidate a fair shake) the only person who can be blamed for losing that vote are the candidates themselves. 

    If Obama wanted to horn in on Jill Stein’s target market, he could have adopted some of her policy positions. (A lot of them would be impossible given the climate, but there are still a bunch that he could have done, such as keeping his promise to be more lenient on legal medical marijuana dispensaries. He could also have toned down the drone strikes or vetoed the last NDAA; all of those things are positions that he could have implemented unilaterally — at least, in the sense that he wouldn’t need Congressional Republicans to help him.)

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     This is an argument I can actually respect. But I still disagree. Especially with Nader, he got over 90,000 votes in Florida in 2000. The ending vote gap was 537. Can anyone seriously contend that if Nader hadn’t run none of those votes would have gone to Gore? Or not enough to swing the election?

    Thankfully, much of this is academic. The disaster Nader helped create has ensured that the Greens don’t get enough votes to matter anymore. Hopefully anyways. So that pretty much rids any incentive for Obama to adopt Green positions. Especially ones that could lose him votes from the mushy middle, like with drug war stuff.

    And as for drones, I don’t like them. But the majority of the public is fine with them, as have been shown with polls. So we need to make our case before we can expect our presidential candidates to oppose them.

  • WalterC

    Can anyone seriously contend that if Nader hadn’t run none of those votes would have gone to Gore? Or not enough to swing the election?

    I don’t doubt that. Obviously, it would be hard to prove, but I don’t doubt that.

    My point was more along the lines of — part of the reason that 3rd party candidates are appealing (apart from the “fuck the establishment” reason which I personally don’t value but won’t deny is pretty appealing) is that they offer . When you have both major candidates essentially endorsing a doctrine of nearly endless war with dramatic civilian casualties and severe erosion in civil liberties, I just can’t bring myself to criticize anyone who doesn’t want to pick. I can understand the calculus that says that Obama will do X bad things and Romney will do X+7 — that’s something I personally considered too — but I can understand also the notion of a “dealbreaker”, the thing that you just can’t bring yourself to endorse.  

    So that pretty much rids any incentive for Obama to adopt Green positions. Especially ones that could lose him votes from the mushy middle, like with drug war stuff.

    That may be so, but you have to understand why that kind of logic doesn’t inspire a Stein supporter to settle for Obama. If he doesn’t value the same things as they do, why would they want to vote for him? If those are the issues are #1, #2, and #3 for you, then from that perspective, Romney = Obama. They might be different on other, far less important issues, but how many people honestly base their voting decisions on their #12 or their #38 issue?

    And as for drones, I don’t like them. But the majority of the public is fine with them, as have been shown with polls. So we need to make our case before we can expect our presidential candidates to oppose them.

    Yeah, I get that, but I hope we’ve reached the point where we don’t let opinion polls substitute for moral judgment. There are a lot of things that a majority of the public have been “fine” with in the past and that doesn’t make those things any less appalling.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     So you’re saying that you are happy living in a Dictatorship where you’re manipulated by terror into voting for th evil guy so the marginally more evil guy doesn’t get in.

    Because that’s what you’ve got. A One Party State masquerading as a two party system using hot button issues the corporate overlords don’t actually care about to terrorise people.

    Because the only thing worse than the US’s so called Health Care System (which even after ACA is fundamentally CRAP) is the fact you guys think you live a democracy. Hell, the UK’s joke of a political system is head and shoulders above your dictatorship.

    The world would be laughing at your delusions if your government weren’t so fucking scary.

    (Also when you care for your rights above someone else’s rights don’t be surprised when they don’t care about yours).

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

     Just stop. You’re insulting every single person who actually does live in a dictatorship.

    And I care about people’s rights. I care about the right of gay people to have legal protection for themselves and their loved ones. I care about the right of people to form unions and protect themselves from their employers. I care about the right of women to have sovereignty over their own bodies.

    Both Jill Stein and Obama support those rights. But only one of those people will ever become president.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Four years ago, I was on disability after my stroke wondering if I would ever again be free to change jobs, or whether the “pre-existing condition” clause had just barred that option from me. Now I’m not.

    Four years ago I had a President whose stated position was that families like mine weren’t really families and would be second-class in all situations where they weren’t outright criminal. Now I don’t.

    I think that stuff matters enough to be worth caring about.
    I care enough about that stuff to consider the 2008 transition a valuable one.

    If other people don’t, including you, they’re welcome to their values.

    I won’t apologize for mine.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     I don’t have a horse in this race (except in so far as what happens in the US effects the whole world)  – I’m in the UK.

    Your rights  are important but the right of innocent pakistanis not to be bombed are just as important. Non-Americans are just as important as Americans you know. The fact that Romney would stomp on more people does not mean Obama’s stomping shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

    No one votes for third parties not because they don’t agree with them but because they don’t  stand a chance.

    They don’t stand a chance not because people don’t agre with them but because no one votes for them.

    Voila! Vicious Circle.

    How is this healthy?

  • Gotchaye

     It’s not healthy, but that’s how a first past the post system works.

    One thing that often doesn’t come up much in discussions like this is that politics isn’t just about the general election.  A first past the post system means that voting for a third party is kind of silly if there’s a chance that your vote will help determine the winner.  But we have primaries where minority viewpoints can be much better represented, and where sufficiently motivated minorities can have a big impact on the positions eventually adopted by one of the two major party candidates.  Look at how successful minority interests on the right have been in swinging the GOP their way.  They did this by primarying a few Congresspeople and scaring the crap out of the rest, and by requiring their eventual presidential nominee to commit himself to all kinds of terrible ideas which Romney wouldn’t have dreamt of supporting four years ago.  Even Ron Paul fans had an out-sized impact on the Republican primary.

    Voting for third parties in a general election really only moves the median effective voter towards the other end of the spectrum and causes the two candidates with a chance of winning to move away from you in order to chase that median effective voter.  Pressuring potential nominees in the primary is how you fight back against their tendency to move as far towards the center as possible.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Admittedly, if I genuinely believed that Jill Stein could and would, were she President of the United States, govern this country in such a way that more people (American or otherwise) were better off in 2016 than if the better of (Romney, Obama) were President, I would much more seriously consider voting for her.

    But voting for her because the better of (Romney, Obama) does not adequately support the right of innocent Pakistanis not to be bombed, and she’s the most visible neither-Romney-nor-Obama candidate, I find less compelling.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Fine, but you shouldn’t yell at people who vote for third parties (yes I know that wasn’t you but shouting at people over voting in a way you don’t like triggers me like few other things).

    But I live in a FPTP country as well albeit one that’s not quite as skewed as the US (it doesn’t have an electoral college – do not get me started on the EC) and I’m a lifelong third party voter. The idea of voting for either Labour or the Tories makes my skin crawl. I don’t actually consider there to even be a lesser of two evils there to vote for – the Labour dealbreakers are different from the Tory ones but there are just as many but I still get yelled at for not voting Labour (in a safe labour seat no less).

    And no, I don’t consider the UK to be a democracy either.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > Fine, but you shouldn’t yell at people who vote for third parties
    (yes I know that wasn’t you but shouting at people over voting in a way
    you don’t like triggers me like few other things).

    Well, um… ok.

    I’m sorry you experienced whatever trauma is being triggered here, and hope your recovery from it goes smoothly.

    I agree that yelling at people over their voting choices isn’t a good idea. I’m glad you know I wasn’t doing that.

    Actually, I’m not generally a fan of yelling at people for other reasons either. I don’t enjoy it and I don’t endorse it. I don’t endorse insulting people, either.

    Voting for party C knowing that either party A or party B will be elected seems a lot more reasonable when I don’t see a moral difference between A and B, than when I do. As it happens, I do see a moral difference between the parties in this election.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Yeah, you’re quite right.

    I apologise for yelling. I don’t apologise for thinking that FPTP systems are not democratic and that people should realise that and work to change it rather than blaming people who feel disenfranchised by the system you’ve got.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Fine, but you shouldn’t yell at people who vote for third parties (yes I know that wasn’t you but shouting at people over voting in a way you don’t like triggers me like few other things).

    But I live in a FPTP country as well albeit one that’s not quite as skewed as the US (it doesn’t have an electoral college – do not get me started on the EC) and I’m a lifelong third party voter. The idea of voting for either Labour or the Tories makes my skin crawl. I don’t actually consider there to even be a lesser of two evils there to vote for – the Labour dealbreakers are different from the Tory ones but there are just as many but I still get yelled at for not voting Labour (in a safe labour seat no less).

    And no, I don’t consider the UK to be a democracy either.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Hey, hey.  Bush, Gore, AND all the news media tried to act like the only difference between those two was the color of their ties.  Then Bush got ‘elected’ and spent eight years brutally disabusing us all of THAT delusion.

    And that’s why I expect to be voting a straight Democratic ticket for the next few elections- the GOP has proven to me that they can’t be trusted with political power, and I prefer harm-reduction to ‘making a statement’.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I firmly believe it’s best to vote for the candidate you want to win, not against the candidate you want to lose.

    It’s lovely that you believe in your own personal purity enough to risk a large number of Americans’ right to health care, women’s rights, welfare, social security, the economy, and the environment. Really. Just lovely. How about you don’t share it next time, hm? You never know when you’ll share it in front of someone whose back is in severe pain and who is worried sick that she won’t be able to get surgery because of so many people caring more about their personal purity than about actually getting shit done. 

  • J_

    Yeah, but no: You have an obligation as a thinking adult not to become a cog or enabler for an unjust system. Personal purity doesn’t enter into it: This is political decision-making, plain and simple.

    Fred’s been reeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaallll preachy in these pages about his love of The Wire. Seems to me that we all have an obligation to neither be nor to vote for the various Mayor Carcettis of this world.

  • JustoneK

    Sometimes we don’t have the privilege of refusing to be a cog or enabler for what we know is an unjust system.

  • J_

    Sometimes. But today is not that day. Today is ELECTION DAY. It’s the one 24-hour period within every biannum when we get that privilege in spades. You’ve just decided not to exercise it.

  • JustoneK

    I have exercised it.  I’m one of the lucky ones.

    Or do you simply not believe the stories about folks of particular demographics being turned away and/or rerouted at the polls?

  • J_

    I believe them. It’s a serious issue. But I doubt the issue was whether they planned to vote for one of the major vs. one of the minor parties. I think we’re talking about different things.

  • Becca Stareyes

     Let’s say I lived in Iowa (not a bad state; my family lives in the next state over).  Iowa is one of the handful of states that allows me to marry a person of the gender I’m attracted to.  This is still a second-class marriage, since the federal government doesn’t recognize it: I don’t get plenty of social and economic benefits as a result.   And if I went to visit my family in Nebraska, well, I cross the border and I’m single again. 

    Obama and Stein both promise the repeal of DoMA, which would grant the federal benefits for same-sex couples and (I’m not a lawyer) at least make it a lot easier for a court case to say ‘states have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other US states’  (or maybe that’s a given; I don’t know).  Suddenly my mobility would go up.

    Romney’s stated position is to support a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.  I don’t know what that would do to the ones that already exist, but it’s not exactly friendly for me and people like me to keep the civil rights we have.

    (I think Johnson’s views are all right, especially since he’s said that he recognizes the odds of getting every instance of marriage changed to civil union under the law isn’t a good short term goal, so he supports marriage equality: it’s more pragmatic than the sorts who seem to use ‘get government out of the marriage business’ to sit on their asses, though I disagree with it.)

    Now, I live in New York, which means I feel safe that I could cast a vote for a third party and still have the New York electoral college votes go to Obama who is my preferred candidate of the Big Two.  If I lived in Iowa, I don’t think I’d feel safe doing so; not until both major parties have a basic agreement on ‘Becca Stareyes is a human who deserves full human rights, which include these things’.  Frankly I’d rather vote for Obama, who is not ideal, and know my vote pushes a close state towards a candidate who is Not Unfriendly to People Like Me, then vote for Stein and have to wonder if I could have changed things if we wake up tomorrow to a President-elect Romney (or in a too-close to call situation). 

    Maybe you think this is selfish of me, but they are my human rights, and I want to protect them the best I can.  Maybe if I was a straight cis-male version of myself, it would be easier to stand on my principles, and not vote tactically based on minimizing harm to myself.  (Maybe not, since I still have female and gay friends.)

    (Of course, I don’t just limit this to election day: I totally nag my congresspeople, senators and the president on policies, even when I did end up with a Republican state senator who probably didn’t want to know my feelings on same-sex marriage and abortion.  I totally think that political action isn’t just for pushing a button on election day.)

  • WalterC

    Obama and Stein both promise the repeal of DoMA, which would grant the federal benefits for same-sex couples and (I’m not a lawyer) at least make it a lot easier for a court case to say ‘states have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other US states’  (or maybe that’s a given; I don’t know).  Suddenly my mobility would go up.

    You’re absolutely right. Contrary to what some people think, DOMA itself does not actually prohibit same-sex marriage. It is theoretically possible for all 50 states to allow same-sex marriage without repealing or amending DOMA. Basically, there are two critical issues with DOMA, and honestly I can’t say which one is more bothersome.

     Section 2 is the part that you referred to in your post; essentially, what it does is that it makes it so that one state or territory does not have to recognize a same-sex union performed in another state. The reason the anti-gay types wanted this is because of the full-faith and credit clause of the US Constitution; as you noted, that clause could theoretically require states to recognize same-sex marriages prformed in other US states. (There is one major stumbling block to this; the “public policy” exception which allows states to avoid recognizing judicial rulings and laws from other states that they consider contrary to their “public policy”, but that’s not an official written-down-in-a-book law and I guess they wanted more insurance on that). 

    The other main part, Section 3, is the one that officially defined “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman. If you’ve heard the horror stories of immigrants in (unrecognized) same-sex marriages  who have had issues with the USCIS, or same-sex spouses of government employees being unable to take advantage of the same benefits available to heterosexual couples, this is the provision that causes that.

    As you said, repealing DOMA will accomplish a lot by itself, especially Section 3. The public policy exemption will probably be the next battleground with regards to recognizing marriages in another state, so unfortunately I can’t say for sure that same-sex couples will be free to move around the country after repealing DOMA until/unless that debate is resolved. 

  • J_

    Oh and what is more: Why is it someone else’s fault that your guy’s policies suck so much that your only selling point is, “Better than nothing”?

  • hidden_urchin

    This is totally hilarious and more than a little awesome:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WHw32bv9BQ&feature=youtu.be

  • MaryKaye

    I voted for marriage equality and marijuana legalization (over a week ago–my state votes by mail, and a true election geek will now know where I live).  I don’t really know what will happen if we make marijuana legal while the Feds still say it’s illegal, and I would certainly not want to be involved in the early test cases in court–but it’s the best we seem to be able to do toward getting a change in this harmful law.

    I hope that Obama’s coattails are good for our governorship and other measures on the ballot, most especially marriage equality.

  • WalterC

    You have to jam it through an obstructionist congress anyway, might as
    well give us what we actually need instead of a watered-down version.

    You are making an assumption that many people make, that all Democrats are aligned and it’s only Republicans who block liberal/progressive policy positions. The reality is that in a lot of regions the “Democrats” are far to the right of the Nancy Pelosi or Ted Kennedy types that most people envision when they hear the word “Democrat”. I’m not running these guys done; a lot of this is regional and cultural — what passes for “liberal” in the South is a lot closer to what passes for “conservative” in the Northeast, for example.

    (A good example of this is former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat, who threatened to filibuster the health care bill if it included a “public option”. Other conservative Democrats have blocked liberal initiatives such as the closure of Guantanamo Bay, the establishment of a single-payer health care system, and the DADT repeal).

    It’s not just a numbers’ game; it’s not enough to just have 59 Democrats; if they simply don’t agree with your position, it doesn’t matter if they are Democrats or Republicans or Libertarians or Greens.

  • AnonymousSam

    Given that the voting machine in PA someone linked in an earlier thread had to be shut down for “technical errors” (you push Obama, it votes for Romney instead, will wonders never cease), I’d say paper is a marginally safer route anyway.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    http://www.thegreenpapers.com/G12/closing.phtml?format=gc

    Poll closing times, in case you’re wondering.

    This also means the first results will break in about 3 hours :-O

  • Carstonio

    Polls in Indiana and Kentucky close at 6 p.m. local time? I suspect that disenfranchises many commuters. 

  • Lori

     The polls open at 6 AM, so it’s not as bad as it sounds. I think they close too early, but it doesn’t seem to be a matter of controversy here.

  • JustoneK

    whoa what?  that fast?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I was surprised, too. I would have expected the polls to close around 9 PM-ish across the board.

  • J_

    Because drones are dropped bombs on Pashtunistan *today*.

    Because we’re in year 41 of the War on Drugs and cocaine is, in 1971 dollars, significantly CHEAPER than when we started.

    Because a John Michael Scott Nelson was sentenced to 10 years by the USDOJ for selling medical marijuana–legally so under state law.

    Because I don’t particularly care if Iran has a nuclear device.

    Because I don’t particularly care to send money to Pakistan. Or Libya. Or Egypt. Or Israel.

    Because the White House Office of Faith-Based Programs still exists.

    Because the Obama administration is arguing that it can wiretap you without a warrant, charge you with the evidence, withhold the evidence from you, then wiretap your *attorney*, further charge you with *that* evidence, withhold *that* evidence from you, and then says no one, anywhere, ever has legal standing to contest this practice because they can’t personally prove they were wiretapped.

    Because we got 1,700 pages of Dodd-Frank and we’ve *still* got Too-Big-To-Fail financial institutions.

    Because of the sexual torture of Bradley Manning.

    Because I live in a deep blue state.

    I voted Gary Johnson, 2012.

  • AnonVoter

    Agree on all counts (except for the deep blue state bit), except that I voted for Stein. 

    I’d write my reasons, but Matt Stoller already did a brilliant job: 
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/why-i-refuse-to-vote-for-barack-obama/262861/. My favorite excerpt:

    “… some actions are so ruinous to human rights, so destructive of the Constitution, and so contrary to basic morals that they are disqualifying. Most of you will go that far with me. If two candidates favored a return to slavery, or wanted to stone adulterers, you wouldn’t cast your ballot for the one with the better position on health care…  ”

    And then listing several ‘dealbreakers’ that I also agree with.

    He also did a follow up on the ‘I have no dealbreakers and will ALWAYS vote for the lesser of two evils’ response, pointing out that a lot of ‘strict utilitarian’ voters do in fact have dealbreakers, they just haven’t come up in this election: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/the-responses-to-why-i-refuse-to-vote-for-barack-obama/263057/

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     (nods) If these things were sufficiently important to me that I had no preference between incrementally enabling a candidate who would do them, and incrementally enabling a candidate who would do them plus some other bad stuff, then I would probably do the same.

    As it happens, that’s not even close to true.

    Values differ.

  • Münchner Kindl

     This would all be interesting if Lisa Simpson ran for dictator.

    But in this election, Romney is 10 times worse. And several of these things the POTUS can’t accomplish because he doesn’t run the legislative alone. (If you had a different system where the population elects a majority party to the house, and the party then elects the chancellor and thus governs with the support of the parliament).

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I’d have a lot more respect for the Libertarians and the Greens if they’d quite wasting their time with their doomed, pointless grandstanding Presidential campaigns and tried running people for spots they might actually be able to WIN.  Bernie Sanders is an independent, and he’s been in the House for 2 decades now, and regularly out-Liberals the Democrats.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Hold that thought two or four years; I’ll be old enough to run for state legislature in a couple months. I’m not sure I’d be a good candidate, and no way do I live in an area willing to elect anyone progressive enough to call themselves Green Party (we are a blue state because upstate is blue and that’s where all the population is), but I’m increasingly certain I’m going to try.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Go for it, and good luck!

  • EllieMurasaki

    :)

  • J_

    Oh and I left out another excellent reason I voted Gary Johnson: Because maybe I’ve read too much of the Vonnegut/Pratchett/Wodehouse/Adams/Franklin/Lem/Dick/Hitchens canon but something in me is *deeply* pleased to know that two behemothian organizations, plus many dozens of ideologue millionaires, just spent 13 months and $4.2 billion dollars to try and persuade me of something. And neither of them got me to do a single. Fucking. Thing.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Can you clarify why you consider that an excellent reason?

  • LunaticFringe

    Considering that Wodehouse was so out of touch with reality that he didn’t think the Nazis were a big deal, he is probably not the best person to base your political ethics on. 

  • J_

    Wodehouse wrote several satirical takes on the Nazis, particularly on their British affiliates, the BNS.

  • J_

    Oh and more concretely: No, that’s been cleared:

    “Documents declassified in the 1980s revealed that while he was living in Paris, his living expenses were paid by the Nazis,but papers released by the British Public Record Office in 1999 showed that this had been accounted for by MI5 investigators when establishing Wodehouse’s innocence; the money was, in fact, Wodehouse’s legitimate earnings, including an advance from his Spanish publisher, but had to be channelled via the German Central Bank.”

    Honestly, nevermind what MI5 has said: Wodehouse has the imprimatur of Stephen Fry, which is all the endorsement *I* need.

  • Robyrt

    I usually vote third party, but Gary Johnson’s economic platform is even more unrealistic than Romney’s and Obama’s, so I couldn’t do it this time. Fortunately, there is a reasonable independent in my district for the House, since the incumbent is a thoroughly unpleasant person (at least judging by his Twitter feed).

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Any country where people vote for a horrible candidate out of fear of a worse one does not deserve to be called a democracy.

    Any country where people are so terrified of an election result that they hate on people who voted by their values rather than utilitarianism does not deserve to be called a democracy.

    Any country where someone can poll less votes than another candidate and still win is not a democracy.

    It may not be the worst dictatorship in the world but your country is not a democracy.

  • JustoneK

    Let’s say this is accurate (and I’m not saying it entirely isn’t).  What choices does that leave us, those of us who still live here and really don’t have a way to change that or anywhere else to go instead?

    Do we abstain from the fake vote entirely as protest?  Would that even get noticed?

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Stop being afraid and try to persuade other people not to be afraid. Try and get the large chunk of people who don’t vote because they feel disenfranchised by the two parties there are out to vote.

    Protest! Protest! Protest!

  • JustoneK

    I’m sorry, I think you’re missing a big part of what I’ve been trying to articulate.  Fear isn’t something you just switch off when it’s become less convenient.  Fear is a survival response.

    Protesting is something I support, that needs doing, but by gum I don’t have the spine for it myself.  People are being hurt, and dying for it, and I am afraid of that also.

    In the same way, I have two vaguely effective choices in my vote – one that is distinctly for things I hate and one that is distinctly against some things I hate.  Outside of those choices, well, we just don’t have numbers.  We’re damn firmly entrenched in the two parties here.

    And it feels extra harsh on me to be yelled at for not using my only tiny token of personal power in the noble and just choice instead of what I deem the most effective.

  • WalterC

    I guess one of the things that I recommend to everyone is to get more involved in local and state politics if they are at all able to do so. 

    Romney, Obama, et al didn’t just materialize fully-formed from hyperspace; their beliefs and principles and attitudes towards politics were shaped by their experiences on the local and state level. Both directly, and indirectly (by the fact that they were surrounded by other people who were part of those local/state machines). If you like the Green Party, you can agitate for them on the local level and build grassroots support for their ideas among nearby Democrats.

    (I get the feeling that I’m preaching to the choir here, but I feel like it’s something that a few of us — outside this community — sometimes neglect; politics is local to a large extent and it’s a lot easier to get the attention and interest of a count alderman or a state legislator, and that low-level guy will more likely than not be a future Congressperson or Presidential candidate.)

  • Lori

     

    Stop being afraid and try to persuade other people not to be afraid.
    Try and get the large chunk of people who don’t vote because they feel
    disenfranchised by the two parties there are out to vote.

    Protest! Protest! Protest!

     

    Considering that this doesn’t directly effect you it might be best for you to stop telling USians how to feel. Especially since it’s not as if lesser of the evils voting is unheard of in your country. The real world is rarely what we would most like it to be. We work with the reality that we have, while trying to make it better.

  • J_

    *We work with the reality that we have, while trying to make it better. *

    Yes. Gary Johnson 2012.

  • GDwarf

    The problem with voting for someone outside of the big two in the US is that the way the US electoral system is set up you’re just throwing away your vote.

    If you feel that your vote is meaningless enough to do that, then by all means go ahead, but you also have to accept responsibility should the greater of two evils end up winning.

    And as to the “You wouldn’t vote for someone who wanted to bring back slavery!”, well, yes, I would, if my choice was between someone who would bring back slavery while killing 1/10th of all minorities vs. someone who’d bring back slavery but, I don’t know, build more hospitals vs. someone who wouldn’t bring back slavery but had no chance of winning.

    The FPtP system combined with there only being two viable parties means that every vote for that isn’t for one of the two is a vote against them. No amount of philosophy will change that.

    This blog often has discussion on intent vs. actual outcomes. Well, voting for a non-main party seems an ideal example of that: Good intent, but the outcome is far worse than the alternative.

  • vsm

    If you don’t live in a swing state, how are the consequences of voting for a third party worse than the alternative?

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I am eternally grateful that issues like Abortion and Capital Punishment are not political issues in the UK.

  • Münchner Kindl

    I feel reminded of that Simpson (Halloween?) epsidoe, where Kang and Kodos decide to take over the US (since the US= Earth) by election, so they abduct the two candidates, clone their bodies as disguise and run for POTUS. When it’s revealed that their both aliens who want to take over, they point out that under the 2-party system, people have to choose one of them. One guy in the crowd yells that he’ll vote 3rd party instead, and Kang derisivly says “Well if you want to throw your vote away…”

    Cut to the Simpsons and the rest working in chains while Kang and Kodos crack whips, and bickering that it’s not Homers fault because he voted for Kang, not Kodos.

    I wonder how that would play out in real life, given the 30% crazification factor of voters who will vote Republicans even if they were eating babies live on stage while praying to Satan because of tribalism.

    (This ep. also had the funny scene about pandering to the voters: one of the aliens is in disguise on the stage, and saying “Abortions for everybody!” Parts of the crowd boo. “Okay, Abortions for nobody!” Other parts of the crowd boo. “Well, then abortions for some, but not for others, miniature American flags for everybody!” Crowd cheers.)