Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Utterly Depressed - Democrats are Spineless

I'm feeling utterly depressed now about this FISA thing. As I mentioned yesterday, the Democrats yet again cave in completely and act like it is some sort of "victory". It is particularly galling to see Obama lining up behind this instead of acting like a leader and fillibustering the hell out of it. Probably his politicos are telling him that he has to support this or the GOP will make hay out of this in November. So once again, the GOP fearmongering sets the agenda.

And yet despite this, I still want Obama to win. Really, what choice is there? Based on this latest outrage, I can certainly understand being upset with the Democratic party. But voting GOP won't help with that. In the past, all that has done is made the Democrats afraid of their own shadows, eager to act more like Republicans to get elected. They seem to take GOP victories as evidence that the public wants GOP policies, when the reality is, on poll after poll, the policies favored by Democrats are by far the more favored.

Still, I can understand those who don't want to support Obama, particularly after this. What I still fail to understand is why anyone who is even nominally a progressive would actually want Obama to lose and see McCain win. That just doesn't make any sense at all. I've seen plenty of left-wing sites where basically they seem to have made it their mission to utterly destroy Obama. They'd rather see McCain win than let Obama in there. I don't claim it is out of spite for Clinton's narrow loss, but it could certainly be taken that way. Before I comment on that further, I wonder if a little thought experiment is in order.

If Clinton won the primary and she was the presumptive nominee now, and then certain supporters of Obama then claimed they were so upset with this, with Clinton's racism, with being "thrown under the bus" by the Clinton campaign that they would rather vote for McCain than Clinton, I think those progressives now out to destroy Obama would have a very different thing to say about those people. They'd probably call them misogynist. Ok, no probably there, they WOULD call them misogynist, and they'd argue that this was an appropriate label because there'd be no other reason for them to vote for McCain, someone much less progressive than Clinton, unless they had one overriding reason: the fact that she's a woman. Of course, they'd say that without realizing that the same could be said of them (except about racism) if the situation was reversed - oh wait, it is reversed. I'm not saying that either "ism" label would be appropriate in either case, I'm just pointing out that that is what would happen.

I don't think Obama is perfect. Far from it. There's a lot to worry about. The thing is, after Bush in office for eight years, any fool can see that we simply can NEVER trust the GOP with the office of the president ever again. In that sense, it isn't even about Obama - it is about not rewarding that level of criminal behavior with four more years of power. As far as I'm concerned, it is criminal to reward that sort of criminal behavior with another GOP victory.

And to use a last, probably offensive analogy - if you have two choices, one slightly sucky, one tremendously horrible, it is best to take the sucky one. Better to eat a stale cookie than a fresh piece of dung. If the two choices are either a man who has occasionally harrassed women or a rapist, you don't vote for the rapist if you have any claim to care about women. You could certainly justify not voting for either, though even there, in a swing state, if that puts a rapist in office, that is really not consistent with progressive values. Sure, it sucks to even have that choice, but there it is. If some horrible B-movie plot choice were placed in front of me and I had to choose between having my daughter raped or sexually harrased (with no option C) I 'd have to go with option B. And I would not get out of moral responsibility for any rape that would result if I did fill in a 'C' and as a result, it defaulted to 'A'. If you know not voting for B makes A happen, you are complicit. Now, it isn't quite that stark with the candidates - John McCain is not a rapist - but then one could say that our Constitution was pretty effectively shredded (raped?) by Bush. With the Democtrats meekly going along (even in the majority).

I don't expect I would change anyones' mind. Anyone out to destroy Obama is beyond any persuasion I could offer.

Barefoot Bum has listed the reasons why he's no longer a Democrat (and no longer will support the lesser of two evils), and it is hard to argue with any of them - I agree with so many. But one thing that I do wonder (as I commented on his site) - can you really say that voting always for the lesser of two evils doesn't have an effect? After all, we have often gotten the greater of two evils so many times over the past 30 years - and I still have hope that if instead we had always gotten the lesser of two evils - say in every presidential election of the past 30 years, that things would have incrementally gotten better. Sort of like a political natural selection. I think the opposite was what really happened - Democratic politicians faced defeat after defeat after defeat and so as a result, they saw the GOP winning and so saw that as what they needed to do to win - be more like the GOP - in that sense, the greater of two evils winning resulted in more evil - thus, I'd like to think if the lesser won that consistently, we'd go in the other direction. There would certainly be a rational reason to expect that to be the case.

I'd love to have better choices. I'd love to have a system where third parties were viable (which I think only happens where you have 2nd and 3rd choices on the ballot, so you know a vote isn't "wasted") But we have the system we have. And we have the choice now between a greater and lesser evil. And I simply cannot in good conscience let the greater evil win. The last objection to that would be if there really was no difference in evil between the two candidates, but after seeing what Bush just did with the presidency, it is simply beyond argument that the GOP is vastly worse.

I still have some hope about an Obama presidency. Not a lot. It shrunk a lot after seeing the FISA mess. But with McCain, I just see darkness.


The Barefoot Bum said...

I've voted for the lesser of two evils every time, and things keep getting worse. I'm going to try something different now.

I don't *want* to see Obama lose. I don't think he's evil, he's just a normal conservative -- as conservative as I might well be if things were better -- in a time that needs a progressive or even a radical.

Just like people, nations don't change until they hit "the wall": until the choice is change or die. And many of them just die.

DBB said...

I know you don't want him to lose - I was reacting to others I've seen who most definitely do - progressives with a "destroy Obama" mission, which is what I don't understand. I can understand your position. I am almost there myself.

I see what you are saying about the voting for the lesser evil each time - the thing is, I think what that is missing is who won - I mean, you could have had the same result voting Green party every election (or otherwise voting 100% for the candidate who exactly matches your position) - and it wouldn't matter because they'd lose. And then you could say that you tried voting your conscience every election and that it didn't work.

I think the lesser of two evils really does work in our favor - but only if we manage to actually have the lesser evil win and win consistently.

I think in some ways Obama can be that "wall" candidate - who would have guessed even four years ago that we'd have an African-American president? Bush put us as close to the wall as I hope we ever get - that's why I still have some hope, though as I indicated, it isn't much right now.