Kyle Cupp Gets It

Kyle Cupp Gets It October 11, 2012

Sez he:

I want to echo what Jason Kuznicki writes on the front page about President Obama’s secret kill list and what it means for our democracy. Especially this:

He deserves to lose.

And worse. He deserves to walk onstage not to cheers, but to hisses, boos, and a shower of rotten vegetables. He deserves a place in presidential history somewhere far beneath Warren Harding or Richard Nixon, both now counted rank amateurs when it comes to subverting the republic. Obama deserves the reputation of a Catiline or a Hipparchus, if only we remembered who they were.

No, I don’t think Romney would be better. For the next four years, government by kill list is baked in the cake. Romney’s been mum about the whole thing, and that’s just what we would expect from someone who thinks himself worthy of the power, and who hopes to enjoy it come January.

Let that sink in: presumably both contenders for the presidency believe themselves worthy of the frightful and secretive power to craft, maintain, and execute a kill list, a list that can conceivably include anyone, you and me included. Obama asks us to trust him; and Romney, who wouldn’t dare apologize for the executive’s kill list, who’s not ashamed of American power and believes his country to be the greatest force for good the world has ever known, will surely follow in a killer suit. As we cannot see into the commander-in-chief’s Holy of Holies, we are told to have faith in the president and in his use of this deadly and secret power. It is for our safety, after all, and the salvation of all we hold dear.

Dear Obama Supporter: How can you sleep at night? How do you face the mirror in the morning? What lies do you tell yourself to pretend that this fraudulent tyrant is not a greater enemy of the Constitution than Dubya? What excuses do you make to turn a blind eye to the women and children this man has killed? Prescinding from your blind eye to aborted children, how many full grown civilian adults, teenagers, women and children does this man have to secretly and unilaterally butcher before you refuse to be played anymore?

Romney is a lying duplicitous cynic. Duly noted and fully acknowledged. That’s why I’m not voting for him. But at least he hasn’t (yet) secretly ordered the murder of civilians and then called them enemy combatants to cover his butt. Your guy has. And you are *still* voting for him? Wake up, sucker! Stop being played. Why vote for these clowns? Don’t waste your vote. Vote for somebody who will not fill you with burning shame.

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  • Tominellay

    …great remark: “Vote for somebody who will not fill you with burning shame”…

  • Mike Walsh

    Really, there is only one alternative for someone with such a vigorously-burnished conscience: write in your own name. The rest of us will make the best of an imperfect situation, in the reasonable hope that we may stave off some –but not all– of the worst excesses of the state for the next four years. Only by taking oneself way too seriously can one expect to feel “burning shame” by the mere act of voting –implying, moreover, that others who take the matter less seriously are insufficiently attuned to the source of Grace.

    • Jamie R

      There’s a big gap between merely imperfect and actively trying to make things worse. An Obama foreign policy that kept troops in Afghanistan, left Guantanamo open, etc. would be imperfect. An Obama foreign policy that embraces kill-lists is something different. If you think either Obama or Romney adds some good that’s proportional to kill-lists and our increasing hawkishness as to Iran, go ahead. If there’s no such proportional reason, and you vote for them, you should feel burning shame.

    • Ted Seeber

      I’ve felt burning shame over men I didn’t even vote for. The office of the President is a joke.

      Having said that, I’d settle for voting for the man NOT likely to send drones after me for my opinions on the personhood of the unborn or the dignity of labor. Right now, that’s looking like Virgil Goode, or Tom Hoelfing.

  • What’s so bad about Warren Harding? During his presidency, he didn’t start any wars, in fact withdrew American forces from the Red-White Civil War in Russia; he released thousands of political prisoners the Wilson administration had locked up during the First World War and the subsequent period of the First Red Scare; spoke out unequivocally, in a speech before a large crowd in Birmingham, Alabama no less, about the injustice of racial segregation; and when misuse of funds in the Veterans’ Bureau, which was the only one of the corruption scandals grouped under the umbrella term of “Teapot Dome” that actually centered on crimes committed while he was alive, was brought to his attention, President Harding called the director of the bureau into the Oval Office, took him by the throat, hoisted him into the air, and shouted “What have you done, you son of a bitch?” Two books published not so long ago, Robert H Ferrell’s The Strange Deaths of President Harding (1998) and John W Dean III’s Warren G Harding (2004,) detail these matters, and many other actions which should give our 29th president a place of honor in the USA’s public memory.

    As for President Harding’s successors, I can’t say that any of them has been truly acceptable. Some were more tolerable than others, and some were clearly preferable to their opponents. Indeed, horrendous as President Obama has been, I do not regret having voted for him in 2008. I expected in that year that he would be a terrible, terrible president, who would champion death in myriad forms and wage a campaign of fear to infantilize and degrade the American people. I expected that John McCain, if elected, would be a terrible, terrible president, who would do all of those same things, and who might also invade Russia. As Mr O has made no moves in that direction, I am confident he was the better choice then.

    This year, I did not consider voting for Mr O again. The assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, the kill list, the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, the expanding wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the new wars in Libya, Syria, Mali, Mauretania, and heaven knows where else tomorrow, etc, represent a form of government that is in no way constrained by the rule of law. A vote for either Mr O or Mr Romney would be a vote for the continuation and expansion of such policies. How a vote like that could fail to “fill with burning shame” anyone who casts it mystifies me.

    • Blog Goliard

      As someone who once attended a Warren G. Harding Elementary School, I’m always interested in defenses of the man…although you’re flirting with heresy there with the “I can’t say that any of them has been truly acceptable” statement. Harding’s immediate successor was much more than merely acceptable…and I’m confident our genial host would back me up on that point.

      • “When you see 10 troubles rolling down the road, just wait. 9 of them will roll of into the ditch.”

        Silent Cal was awesome!!!

      • Calvin Coolidge had his virtues, but he waged a remarkably unjust war in Nicaragua. That war was so unjust that it radicalized both the commander of the American forces, General Smedley Butler, and the top US diplomat in Nicaragua, Lawrence Dennis. General Butler, a former commandant of the Marine Corps who had twice been decorated with the Congressional Medal of Honor, would return to civilian life and write a book called WAR IS A RACKET in which he asserted that the war against Nicaragua had convinced him that his career was a waste, that he had been merely a “gangster” enforcing the will of the United Fruit Company. Imagine any current officer expressing that degree of alienation! Lawrence Dennis, the charge d’affaires who was ordered to send a message requesting intervention, testified before the US Senate afterward that none of the Coolidge administration’s publicly stated rationales for the attack was truthful. Dennis was even more deeply radicalized than was Butler; he went on to conclude that fascism would inevitably come to the USA, and that the only hope for the future was that it might be a relatively benign form of fascism.

        While the recent occupants of the Oval Office may have left us all longing for a president whose nickname included the word “silent,” his silence in regard to the Ku Klux Klan during his time in office was anything but admirable. So, while not all the voters who chose Coolidge over Davis in 1924 may have been filled with burning shame, I can’t say he was a truly acceptable president.

  • I don’t know Mike. I can’t help but sympathize with those who just can’t pull a lever for either one. I’m not there yet, but Romney seems to wake up every day and say ‘how can I get Dave Griffey to vote for someone else.’ I can’t in any form of conscience vote for Obama. But Romney? It isn’t easy. I’ve never not voted since I was able to vote. I’ve always been proud to vote, glad to vote. Heck, I enjoy voting. I’m not saying I won’t vote, but for the first time in my adult life, that’s where I’m beginning to lean, at least on the presidential level.

    • Please don’t not vote. Just leave the president blank, or if you fear Florida-style shenanigans, write in somebody who makes it hard to claim you were voting for those two. Then again, somehow voting for Pat Buchanan got counted as a vote for Gore in some parts of Florida, so ther emay be no solution.

      No matter where you live though, everything below that one entry on the ballot is probably hugely important. I know you know that, because nobody strikes me as being as conscientious as you about your civic duties. But it needed to be said, for lots of other folks.

      Heck, even I vote, and in Georgia elections no less. And I have real good reasons for enmity between me and Georgia.

      • Yeah, that’s what I meant with ‘the presidential level’. But to be honest, I’m not sure how one goes about doing anything other than pushing the icon, since even as an independent, I found my self voting for one or the other major candidates.

        • On the diebolds we use here, there is an icon for writing in a name. Then you laboriously hunt and peck on the little touchscreen keyboard, one letter at a time.

          Of course, last time I tried to write anyone in was 4 yrs ago and since then my employer went to a touchscreen for all my paperwork, and I got this secondhand ‘droid, so I’m probably better at manipulating those now. But it was so frustrating 4 yrs ago that I quit my old practise of writing in various family member’s names for all the elected offices, and started just leaving them blank and only voting on the referendums and stuff.

          And even then, I only vote on the ones I know about and understand. And no matter my due diligence, there is always some referendum or other I didn’t expect, and is written in an impossible opaque manner. I’m not about to vote for a 1C reduction in sales tax if it doesn’t spell out why. For all I know, the state needs less money once we kill all (fill in your favorite group here) and that’s why we can afford to consider lowering the sales tax.

          • Blog Goliard

            If you’re not writing in the name of an officially-registered write-in candidate (which are rare), they won’t count it anyway, so I never bother with that.

            The one Georgia statewide candidate I’m promoting this year is Libertarian David Staples for PSC. There is literally no good reason for anyone, left right or center, to vote to re-elect Stan Wise in this race (unless you happen to draw a hefty income from Georgia Power and are interested only in keeping the gravy train rolling).

            • Spot on Blog!!!

              Where you stay at? I’m right in the heart of Sodom-on-the-‘Hooch myself.

              • Blog Goliard

                I lived inside the Perimeter for a couple years a decade ago, but then decamped down 316 and got myself embedded (at a very low level, alas) in the North Campus bureaucracy.

                • Would you let me buy you a tea or a beer sometime?

                  genetallent(youknow what goeshere)gmail(here too)com

                  • Blog Goliard

                    Only if you won’t let me buy. Cheers…I’ve sent you a note.

          • My wife had suggested doing a write in, but like I mentioned, it’s never come up before. We also have those little touch screen voting machines. Not as fun as the old hole punch method. We’ll have to see. Again, I’m not sold on not voting for the two majors, if only because I live in one of those swing states where it’s never a sure thing, and the stakes are indeed high. So we’ll wait, and probably read up on the alternate processes in the meantime.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Obama deserves to lose.

    The tragedy is that Romney does not deserve to win.

    Can we please have a do-over?

    • I think that hits about as close to my thoughts as I’ve read. Obama deserves to lose, but Romney does not deserve to win. That sums it up for me.

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    “Average Joe” Schriner. I keep saying it. Seriously.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Don’t be pressured into voting for the lesser of two evils. We’re called to be faithul, not successful. Vote your conscience.

    If your conscience will honestly not allow you to vote for anyone, then use that time in prayer or adoration. You know: If every single Catholic in the United States would tell the candidates: “You’re both losers. We won’t vote for either of you. Instead, we’re going to pray.” Then the parties might actually start to care. And prayer is far more effective than your vote anyway.

    • Blog Goliard

      Well put. I plan on voting for Romney and not losing any sleep over it myself…but I heartily endorse this plan as an alternative.

  • I think with Romney, you really just have to look at the man pre-politics. What you see there–Mormon, family man, business man, and son of his parents in a really thoroughgoing way–is what you’d get if you voted him in. More thoughts here:

    Dunno if it’s enough to make it worthwhile for a Catholic to vote for him. I think he’d tend to ruthlessly pragmatic on some issues where virtue ethics or a willingness to go down for principle would serve better, but I suspect he’d do a darn good job for the country when it comes to the economy, debt, and the structure of the executive branch. As to the rest…dunno.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Well, in other news, the VP candidates debate was awesome. It was like watching a fight between Sgt. Frank Drebin and Eddie Haskell.

    • I’d vote for Sgt. Frank Drebin any day!