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Vastleft Endorses Barack Hussein Obama

vastleft's picture

This November, I plan to vote for Barack Obama.

What do I plan to do between now and then?

Tell the truth, like I always have.

Some say that the opinions of us dead-ender Obama skeptics are a mere symptom of depression over losing. This is condescending and willfully ignorant.

Some say that to criticize Obama is to help McCain. That would rule out, for example, the idea that the Obama campaign might do well to understand why Hillary supporters are disaffected with his campaign and what he might need to do to bring about his vaunted “unity” (giving him the benefit of the doubt, despite the lack of supporting evidence, that lifetime Democrats are part of his unity agenda).

Some cling (but never bitterly, of course) to the idea that Obama is some kind of tonic for what ails America, an energizing agent of change.

I find that awfully hard to swallow in light of his pattern of unforced framing errors like his repeated praise for Reagan and propagation of the fake solution to the false problem of "excessive partisanship.”

This year, we had a once-in-several-decades chance to repudiate the Reagan Revolution, and Obama traded that in to become the cuddly Ponuppy, unharsher of mellows, because it may charm a few unquestioning boobs at the mere cost of selling truth, liberalism, and real change down the river. Given the tradition of running toward your base in the primary, and away from it in the election, would it not be healthy to have some skeptical, progressive voices keeping Obama honest?

Fundamentally, I believe that Obama’s approach is weak. Objectively, this has all the earmarks of a “change year,” and I expect Obama should win regardless of how pathetic his platform is. But running weak is worse than running strong, and running weak will surely beget governing weak. We can already see where Obama’s religious pandering has gotten him – a lifetime atheist ties himself to a church and it becomes an anchor to him. What will running against the traditions of FDR get him? What will it get us?

I will continue, as time permits, to practice the blogosphere's lost art of the media critique.

How many sites besides Corrente properly slammed the media’s latest full-scale meltdown, the RFK lek?

We didn’t turn off our critical faculties just because the Dem frontrunner was the beneficiary of the bullshit. I, for one, don't plan to turn off those faculties as long as I possess them.

But I can't fucking vote for John "Military Commissions Act" McCain, and I urge people of conscience to vote for the crummy candidate that my party (with its shitty, undemocratic processes) has put up against him.

At the end of the day, the lesser of two evils is less evil than the alternative. Even a paranoid holdout can see that.

Despite all the race-baiting, misogyny, church-and-state merging, system-gaming, rightwing-slime leveraging, GOP accommodating, personality-cult feeding, and happytalk bullshitting, Obama is better than the Iraq War's biggest cheerleader, John Sidney McCain III.

I expect that what's left of the leftysphere will continue to do a proper job of reminding folks of what a shit-heel the mythical moderate maverick McCain is. Pardon me if I don't make a full-time job of it myself. I've got my Klan meetings to attend to, and such.

But let us not forget how Progressive Blogosphere 1.0 all-but-completely debased itself by going in the tank for Obama (without regard to how many of us he and his supporters threw under the bus) and reveling in Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

I'm sure a few A-listers will get swanky jobs or at least some first-rate cocktail weenies.

I'm not so sure we'll get honest citizen journalism and a media critique under President Obama, at least not from the usual suspects... until the Kool-Aid wears off, anyway.

What will be left of America by then, I don't know. But it won't smell too good, that's for sure.

No votes yet


leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Didn't you?

I've been working on an internal Mighty Corrente Building memo for two days, and you have to go ahead and make it all but irrelevant.

Of course, that's why I love you.

Not only well said, but with you usual panache and wit.

I look forward to reading the coming comment thread, I think.

Do you do the graphic? It's wonderful.

Fellow "Fellows," I will still be calling for that discussion of our future, which I think we should hold in the third floor lounge, the one with the wet bar. Look for my revised memo to arrive over the weekend.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

Even a paranoid holdout can see that.

no, some can't. some *won't.* some need to Feel Right and Superior more than they need to remember dead iraqi children, and living iranian ones who would like to stay that way.

stellar post, dearheart. love to you.

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

some need to Feel Right and Superior more than they need to remember dead iraqi children, and living iranian ones who would like to stay that way.

...aren't entirely sure the alternative to McCain won't ultimately be as bad, or even worse.

Submitted by gob on

No, but McCain is a sharp stick in each eye.

After reading Obama's response to yesterday's Supreme Court decision and comparing it to McCain's, my emotions shifted just enough that I can see myself voting for Obama in November, and then hating myself for the rest of my life.

I hurt.

Paranoid holdouts for Obama!

Can't wait to put the bumper sticker on my car.

Great post, but I question the assumptions behind the phrase "keeping Obama honest."

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

That is my fervent belief. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can change my mind.

I love the Dems too much to see them lose the presidency for another 20 years, sorry. No vote for Obama from me.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Do what you feel you must. I will not be voting for Obama unless he has a come to Jesus moment and earns my vote. I won't be voting for McCain either. Downticket Dems are the only ones who will get my vote. At this point, I can't decide who is the most evil. I'm going with Obama. McCain is just trying to satisfy his Republican base. Well, at least he realizes he has a base he needs to satisfy, unlike Obama, who hasn't realized it yet.
But I am a little confused as to why you felt the need to endorse him at all. You have now joined the ranks of Dems who have given the milk away without making Obama pay for the cow. There was no reason to do this, The DNC will now feel it has even *less* of an incentive to appease you. Of course, it isn't too late to retract your endorsement and stay on the fence a little longer.
Come together at The Confluence

Submitted by lambert on

... and I'm not averse to it in principle, but I'm also not seeing anything "overground" as it were. Not that our famously free press would cover it; there was, so far as I know, exactly one story on the invisible women supporting Hillary. Now, if the DNC does something (else) degrading and insane, like forcing Hillary off the Denver ballot, I may have to reconsider.

Though it has occurred to me that one reason the DNC is imploding is that they are totally fucked financially, which they only deserve.

I guess I finally figured out that I'm a citizen and a voter, and not a political operative. So I get to say whatever the Fuck I want, this being America.

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

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Was seeing the comment threads on No Quarter, where people are standing on their heads to portray McCain as an innocent.

It's a delicate balance between trying to save people from the brink of rationalizing McCain and the need to hold Obama's feet to the fire so he stops making the tactical and strategic mistake of disregarding his base. Both need to be done.

I will continue to not pretend away Obama's sins and the blogosphere+media meltdown that got us into this fix.

Without truth, we're fucked. And Obama is such a truthiness generator. And so is McCain.

My weighing of this sucky decision is as I describe it here. Obama is such a cipher that you may be right, and he's ultimately worse than McCain. But the GOP is the devil I know, and from Hell's heart I spit at them.

whaleshaman's picture
Submitted by whaleshaman on

I just spent the last hour writing a seriously straight answer to you -- and it disappeared when I checked out the input format one too many times.

And now I have to go, but I wanted you to know I hadn't just blown off your question.

Hint to self: Always highlight and copy comments until they're safely posted.


amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i'm still watching him like a hawk hoping he understands that the issues actually matter--i don't see it at all yet, and only see the very same "make the only issue of the day some personal attack on McCain--or responding to a personal attack" instead.

I'm not persuaded at all, and in fact am getting more disgusted by his absolute resemblance to Dubya and the Rovian methods of 2000--from excessive pandering and pledges to the religious right but no one else, to his utter lack of daily focus on bread-and-butter issues, to his turning the DNC into the Obama campaign office alone, to his continued denial that he ever makes a mistake, to his utter entanglement with and dependency on the very "broken DC system" and old hands he's supposedly running against, to the coordination of talkingpoints of the day (also always non-issue-related) .... (and even Dubya had a better resume than Obama does)

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on


My Friday started off far too well for that.

some need to Feel Right and Superior more than they need to...

Given the conversations that have gone on in the comment sections the past few days...

that's a loaded ass phrase right there. LOL.

Sometimes people say the darnedest things.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

i'm not sure what will.

chances that mcstain will do everything in his considerable power as prez to kill more innocent people: 99.999999999%

chances that obama will: less than that.

i don't know why that's so hard to understand. isn't even the chance of saving some innocents worth holding your nose and pulling a lever? and no one is telling anyone to shut up (not at corrente, at least). keep on keepin on, blast obama for anything and everything he does wrong in your eyes. i, like all the sr fellows here, welcome and respect such efforts.

but in the end, yes, willy: that's the moral calculus i employ. i know a lot of iraqis; some nights i cry myself to sleep,thinking what has happened to some of them.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Obama is for taking money out of public schools for vouchers for private ones, is pretty much absent on integration and equality of funding and opportunity in schools, has been absent on public housing issues and the homeless--many millions are kids after all--and considering the future, is not at all firm/tangible enough on trade and jobs lost, or job creation, and is all for stupid enormous corporate subsidies that drain the budget and do nothing for kids and families--like Ethanol, Farm, and Energy things, etc ...

Swift Loris's picture
Submitted by Swift Loris on

chances that mcstain will do everything in his considerable power as prez to kill more innocent people: 99.999999999%

chances that obama will: less than that.

...what are the chances that Obama will be responsible for killing more people unintentionally, because he won't know what the frick he's doing?

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

Though it has occurred to me that one reason the DNC is imploding is that they are totally fucked financially, which they only deserve.

Sen Obama bought over 50% of the voting stock, so he's taking over. Moving the HQ, putting in a new board of directors, etc.

I'm surprised he hasn't changed the name of the party yet.

Probably they're having some meeting with branding consultants, whalesong and burning joss-sticks about now to make it the Novvacrat Party or something.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Just sayin CD...

cuz Barack ain't ending the war either.


Me thinks you'll be cryin for a long, long time.

Besides the "think about the children!" argument usually comes from a place of wanting to "Feel Right and Superior" as you put it.

There are children dying everywhere, everyday.

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

*WE* know it exists. In fact, I don't expect the media to cover the "shrieking band of paranoid holdouts". It's Obama's loss if he pays no attention. Does the media have to highlight it and draw big red arrows at the problem before he recognizes it?
But even more important, do I need a huge, visible movement to feel safe? If he's a bad candidate, blending into the crowd of people who are endorsing him accomplishes what exactly?
I just chalk it up to my inability to feel intimidated by peer pressure. It's a defect but one I think many people share this year. Fitting in suddenly not very important.
Come together at The Confluence

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... for a reason.

Fuck the peer pressure. What's happened in this campaign is soul-shaking. Document it, never let anyone forget. Make the best decision you can under the circumstances, but don't pretend away the circumstances or gloss the future.

Let us not treat Obama as any better than he is, his words and deeds as any better than they are. I certainly won't.

I don't want truthtellers like you to start doing that go-along, get-along shit. And whether you believe me or not, I'm not doing that, either.

Nonetheless, you go to the polls with the shitty candidates you have, and not the not-so-shitty candidates you wish you had....

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

its still an endorsement...

You can't hold someone's feet to the fire if you've already extinguished the flame.

Submitted by gob on

- thank you for this. My own reactions sometimes seem completely over the top to me, and there's no one out here in RL that shares them. My nerves are unstrung, and it's unclear when life will be back to normal.

Submitted by lambert on

I've consistently said I'd vote for any [D] in the general. Since Hillary's suspended her campaign, Obama's the D. Does that suck? Yes. Is it good if that which sucks can be brought to suck less? Yes. But the way I read Hillary's suspension speech is that right now, the way to minimize suckitude is to hold Obama's feet to the fire on policy. For example. Or for example.

[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

holding his feet to the fire would be "i won't endorse or vote for you unless you swear do this and this, and "pledge" to make this and this a priority (like he unpromptedly pledged to the religious right this week)..."

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... my endorsement does not mean that all 18 million Hillary supporters are suddenly going to turn out for Obama.

They (we) have very legitimate grievances, and I'm going to continue to articulate them. But I'm not going to pretend to play footsie with McCain while I do it.

If I didn't see signs of magical thinking toward McCain, I'd be playing hard to get a little longer, myself.

I think it's important to admit that Obama is a seriously disappointing candidate who has a lot of 'splaining to do. I'm sure he'll make the Greatest Speech about Gender Evah, or something, but he's going to have to earn a lot of those 18 million.

He's got mine by not being John McCain. If you've set the bar higher, so be it. I will continue to argue for Obama to properly ask for your vote, and if he doesn't, he's making a very big mistake.

Are you making a big mistake, if you don't (grudgingly and clothespin-on-nose) hop on the Obamawagon without a proper reach-out to you?

Ultimately, I think yes. But I don't begrudge you your well-earned concerns. I share them. And will continue to share them until and unless I see something I've totally not seen for the two years Obama's been campaigning.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and this brings me right back to BIO's truth post--

i think pretending to play footsie with McCain is a really good strategic move, as long you make sure our party is watching and do it very publicly--an excellent move, actually, and guaranteed to plague and worry many nationwide who are very loudly assuring-- and falsely proclaiming --that people will all "unite" and we'll all come home in Nov. (of course, it's lying--on all sides, yet again)

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

--which he will have success with this cycle.

There are millions of Dems open to his overtures, and many of them went Reagan in the 80s so don't think swinging is bad--especially when our candidate has only insulted and dismissed them.

jackyt's picture
Submitted by jackyt on

For me, any support at this point, willing or not, undermines leverage on two fronts: policy and organization.

The hi-jacking of the party machinery is a huge issue for me, and hammering away at anyone who has any influence on reclaiming some degree of DNC autonomy is now (IMHO) the number one priority.

Policy positions rank 1.00000000000000000047nth on the list (a mere smidge) below machinery as a concern. I want to know exactly what I'm buying when I offer up my hard-earned. I do not know, and I can't even guess, what Obama's position is on dead babies, foreign or domestic.

And all the way down at 1.0000000000000000005 on my concerns list is Obama's lack of respect for his primary opponent. Matter of fact, I see no evidence that Obama respects anyone! People come and go in his campaign, in his life, without any apparent backward glance. It's ObaME... ObaMYWAY... all the time.

So for me, Obama has way too much work to do before we get to the subject of my vote. If he can convince me of his superiority to his extremely unsatisfactory republican opponent before the convention, more power to him. I'll be watching closely to see if ANY of my concerns are IN ANY WAY addressed. But I won't be rushed; there's plenty of time for me to make up my mind between the end of August and early November.

As the old saw goes, "I may be cheap, but I sure ain't easy!

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

it's about later. obama is going to continue to disappoint people like us, in the coming months. he ran an odd campaign. unlike most, he ran to the middle in the primary and now he's running to the right even more in the general. but there is a kind of sense to that. mccain isn't really so popular with rethugs, and if obama can "fool" some of them into overlooking his 'race,' it's a smart strategy for one who wants the Power.

but our job? what is it, again? well, i guess i'm not always so clear on that, but i am 100000% sure it's not "get J. Sidney 100 Years Depends elected."

one job i'd like to have is "progressive junkyard dog who won't let prez obama not-lead from the mushy middle." that's how i view VL's post too. *now* is the time to make up and focus on the prize. starting in late jan of next year....heh. that's going to be fun. because i'm petty and shallow like that, and i enjoy saying "i told you so."

and perhaps you can forgive me, but the "nationality" of children matters not at all to me; they are all equally important. we can have a long boring discussion about which (if any) adults 'deserve' the mess we all find ourselves in, but no, not even one single child is 'deserving' of the mcstain administration. not one. anywhere. laugh at me all you want, but the children really are our future, and i want them all to live and grow up and have a chance to redeem this generation, which has so utterly failed them. yes, american children will have the wealth and power someday to make changes that affect the entire world. no, that doesn't mean i won't also think about powerless brown children on the other side of the globe too.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

usually they have resumes and actual accomplishments as a start--this time no.

It's not that foreign lives are not important--it a hierarchical thing for me--i'm American and my government exists to work for me--and for all Americans--first and foremost.

We do evil abroad all the time, even when it's not an invasion/occupation like now--but i always focus on domestic issues overwhelmingly-- and those matter more to me than people elsewhere--it's just my priorities.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

No reason to accept the frame that to support Obama over McCain is the same as caving in on all progressive causes. Obama is the only tool I have right now. A pretty poor tool, but the only one at hand. If a more useful tool becomes available I would drop him and never look back, but until then I'm holding on to what I have. With Obama there is a chance that some right things will be done. With McCain, none at all.

Well stated, VL.

Submitted by lambert on

"Tepid" means exactly that. I plan to continue pointing out more opportunities for our presumptive nominee to lead....

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

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on have to vote your conscience. It's not like I trust Republicans and I've often said that Freinds don't let friends vote Republican.
But McCain almost became a Democrat in 2004 and we all know how he struggled against the Bushies until political necessity forced in into an unholy alliance with them.
Yes, he's still a Republican and that's not good. But if he is more of the mold of the country club variety, I can live with it for four years with provided there is an appropriate balance of power in Congress. In any case, I am not voting for him.
Now, OBAMA is a different story altogether. I disagree that you don't really know what he's like. I think you gauge him pretty accurately based on his actions and the kind of people who are following him. And verily I say unto you, if he wins this fall, we will never get our party back. Never.
We paranoid holdouts are strong right now. In four years, we will have become resigned to our fate as outcasts. The working class, the poor, women, GLBT, elderly and just plain sensible will be nothing more than a memory. We will have no power to petition the government for anything. UHC? A pipedream. Social Security? Just a pot of gold that the privateers can't wait to get their hands on. Who you going to call? No one because w won't have the money to make people pay attention to us. The libertarian Democrats and Moderate Republicans who stole our party are going to change it all right.
Four years of McCain we can survive. We'll pick up the pieces of the Democratic party after the frat boys have trashed it and make sure it never happens again. Four years of Obama and you can kiss your party goodbye.
Now, I'm going to guess that Obama has as much GE support as Jimmy Carter did in 1980. Back then, Carter trailed Reagan by only 10% in the popular vote. Like Carter, Obama failed to win most of the big D and swing states. And that measley 10% turned into an Electoral College rout. Carter lost 90% of the EC votes. So, if just 10% of the Dem voters don't vote for Obama, that could make a huge difference in the EVs.
I either live to fight another day or I surrender completely. I prefer to live.
Come together at The Confluence

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

not voting the top of the ticket, ignoring the presidential race in favor of Congress, voting McKinney, pushing Obama to court us and making him sweat by making them afraid, ...

the problem with shrugging and saying this is the only choice is that it's enabling him to further ignore our issues and priorities and to ignore all Democrats--that's how i see it and that's how he's acting even now.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i think.

even pushing downticket people that their own careers are at risk because Obama's not speaking to our issues is another option...there are tons of options.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Had to do it. Sorry.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

And verily I say unto you, if he wins this fall, we will never get our party back. Never.
We paranoid holdouts are strong right now. In four years, we will have become resigned to our fate as outcasts. The working class, the poor, women, GLBT, elderly and just plain sensible will be nothing more than a memory. We will have no power to petition the government for anything. UHC? A pipedream. Social Security? Just a pot of gold that the privateers can’t wait to get their hands on. Who you going to call? No one because w won’t have the money to make people pay attention to us.

really, i think a lot of that is just silly.

naderites and superpurists said the same thing in 2000. and you know what? more states have gay marriage now than when chimpy took office. the young are energized for liberalism, or at least, most of them. yes, we're Fucked in a lot of ways for which we will continue to pay, but let's all remember: the MIHOP dark fantasy of cattle cars and concentration camps hasn't happened. chimpy only has a few months to go, and i don't think he's going to Hitler-Out on us in that remaining time.

back up, slow down, take a deep breath. and remember: who are the *most* unpopular, least effective voices in the left today?


don't make yourself follow in that tradition. it's fine to be 'right,' it's another thing to Change People's Minds.

bleh. i'm 1.5 hours past the time i'd said i'd turn off this stinking computer. later, kidz. there are flowers who need my attention.

Submitted by lambert on

... and I'm surprised that you didn't think of it, is that Nader didn't have the support of about half the Democratic Party--and, at least according to DiFi, the majority of the popular vote.

So, from a historical perspective, CD, the Nader dog won't hunt. Can you give a better example?

[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 mean the camps with the poison showers, or the camps where families are detained indefinitely, 'cause we've got those every time La Migra comes around with its raids (pre-announced for the convenience of the colluding meatpacking plants).

We've lost some serious effectiveness with many of the Amendments, and we might lose them all regardless of who's president, due to the permanent government that won't go away easily.

Still, what would it take for Obama to directly say, "I'll uphold my oath to the Constitution, even if that means investigations and trials"?

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

if Obama is not elected. In fact, I am quite aware of what is to come if McCain wins the WH. My brother will be going to Iraq as soon as he is finished with Officer's Training School. And yet, Obama does not inspire trust in me where Iraq is concerned. As for Habeas Corpus and the like, my own two senators in NJ voted for that horror of a bill that stripped it out. I was really angry with them over that. But after all, it is NJ and the hole in the sky where the towers once stood is visible from our side of the harbour.
I think politicians say what they have to say to appease their largest voting bloc and for John McCain that means Republicans. But I also know with 100% certainty that he has some very un-Republican positions too which he probably will NOT be highlighting. He has already put at least one industry on notice and he didn't mince words. (No, don't ask me. Just trust me on this. I've heard it from a reliable source) In many ways, he is very much like the Democrat you'd want to vote for.
So, do I want to elect a Republican? No. But if a Republican just happened to get elected anyway, this one would be the one that would be the least objectionable.
Yes, he has flaws. Yes, he is old. Yes, he sold out, quite a bit as it turns out. But with McCain, I get a shot to save the party I used to belong to. With Obama, I don't and he is likely to turn out to be even more like a Republican than McCain.
I won't lose a minute's sleep if Obama flames. And, if the Republicans run with a female VP, that could go a long to repair some of the damage that our own party has wrecked by savaging Hillary Clinton. The spiteful meaness that was launched against her by our own party will have repercussions throughout the culture at large. It gives men license to act badly and get away with it. McCain could actually reverse that somewhat by picking a moderate pro-choice Republican to run with him. Someone like Christie Todd Whitman would do quite nicely.
I am not advocating for McCain. I'm just trying to point out that it could be worse. The Democrats will try to strike fear into the hearts of us 18 million but what are they really saying? They are giving us very few reasons to vote for Obama and a lot of reasons to not vote for McCain. To me, a winning candidate is someone you feel comfortable voting *for*. McCain could give people a lot of reasons to do it. Obama is just going to destroy the Democrats. It will be the Democratic party in name only.
So, no, I have no problem with Obama losing. The world will not end.
Come together at The Confluence

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

...strategically, morally, etc. Not that you need or are seeking my permission.

I just ask you one thing: don't fall for McCain's fake left, throw right strategy, which he used so deftly on the MCA to claim the moral highground as a military torture victim... and then use that ground to ratify torture and the rescinding of habeas corpus.

He is one of the worst of the worst Repubs, and Obama's myriad ways of trashing our party won't make that not so. What you do about that, again, is up to you.

I won't cut either one of them any slack, I won't assess either one of them more generously than they deserve. I've made a decision, and others will make theirs. It's certainly the toughest such decision I've ever gone through as a lifelong Dem.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

The question is not whether or not to vote for McCain, that one is easy to answer. The important question is whether or not to vote for Obama, based on Lambert's equally (if not more) important question "And we get?"

Why endorse now? There is no need for this. Actually, I think it is self-defeating. Now that you have given your vote away (for those on our side, that's the last important tool we have), there is no need for Obama to commit to anything you demand. He's got your vote already. You may write as many critical and relevant posts as you see fit, but now, it's more of an exercise in futility since there is nothing left at stake for you.

You also give ammunition to the OFB's contention that, yeah, we bitch now, but we'll come home, battered and bruised to be sure, but we'll come home because we have nowhere else to go. Yes, your endorsement does that.

As for whoever stated that Obama is our tool, albeit an imperfect one but the only one we've got... I think it's getting it backwards. WE are his tools, along with the media, the DNC / Dem leadership. The question is whether we want to be used that way.

And I agree that the time to resist the hostile takeover of the Democratic party is now, not in January, not later. If we do nothing now, we're signing on the capitulation of the liberal wing of the Democratic party. And again, we'll look silly writing posts about the absurdity of post-partisan legislations that are nothing more than less-ugly conservative policies.

Submitted by cg.eye on

They don't pay attention to marches, letters, faxes, boycotts, and if they did, the MSM would smear them as being captive to special interests, to the point of impeachment.

If he doesn't risk now politically, when will he? Once he has the nuclear football, and the most powerful government in the world, to tell him no? He will be entirely dependent on his advisors and his funders for his second term, and that won't be us, no matter how the good the propaganda is about his army of small funders.

If we don't ask for anything for our vote now, when will we? If Obama or his handlers know we're voting for him anyway, what difference does asking anything make?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

But I don't.

Obama skeptics / Hillary supporters have (despite all the BS and equivalation to the contrary) largely taken the high road throughout this process. I'm proud of us.

If some are harder or impossible to get than I -- so be it. I will continue to make it clear that it's Obama's doing, for running a divisive and disempowering campaign that pissed on and pissed off lifelong progressives, and which is likely to do so even more, as he tries to curry favor with those precious post-partisan indie voters that he drools over, whether they exist or not.

That said, I am now seeing signs among some (quite legitimately) aggrieved Hillary supporters of (quite unwarranted) generosity toward McCain, and that incites me to shit or get off the pot (we Americans have such elevating phrases, you know).

If others choose to keep holding out, I surely hope they'll be leverage to make Obama improve. That would be swell, but I don't see it happening. He'll pay a little lip service, perhaps, but that's about it. The damage is done, and his character (if not his agenda) is there for all to see, if only all would choose to see.

None of that changes the imperative of keeping the GOP the fuck away from the levers of power. I can't exaggerate how much I wanted the virtues of this year's Democrat, in a year when we really could have changed everything, to be more than "at least he's not John McCain." But that's exactly what's on the menu. Fucking sad, but fucking true.

Submitted by cg.eye on

"But I also know with 100% certainty that he has some very un-Republican positions too which he probably will NOT be highlighting. He has already put at least one industry on notice and he didn’t mince words. (No, don’t ask me. Just trust me on this. I’ve heard it from a reliable source)"

Just trust me on this.
I've heard it from a reliable source.

We got in trouble over trusting those who trust reliable sources, with Larry Johnson. And it's not just you; when CD said the Fix was In with Obama, she used the same tack.

How are we to trust what those sources say, if they are unable to publically stand beside their statements?

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

I've said many, many times I won't vote for McCain, that I'm not sure if I will vote for Obama, that I will vote down ticket, that I think Congress needs to grow a spine, that the only leverage I as a citizen have at this point is my vote and what I say I'm going to do with it.

That all still holds. There is plenty of time until August, there is plenty of time until November. I'm going to wait and see what happens.

But I respect others to make whatever decision they need to make, and won't call them fools or baby-killers in the process.


Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

I loathe those people. But I think the purists are in the Obama camp, not the "Paranoid band of shrieking holdouts" (PBSHs). The purists are the ones who couldn't come to terms with the fact that Hillary voted for the IWR but they had no problem with Kerry doing it. They hated the fact that she takes money from Lobbyists, but they had no issues with Edwards taking bundles from lawyers at law firms. There are probably a million other examples we could point to. But you get my point.
I'm no purist. I am voting strategically, not spitefully. There is a big differnce.
Come together at The Confluence

CognitiveDissonance's picture
Submitted by CognitiveDissonance on

My problem with that is the hostile takeover of the Democratic Party will become permanent if Obama is elected. That means it will almost certainly not change. The whole primary/caucus system will not change. I would expect it to get worse, now that the leaders that be know they can fix an election and get away with it.

I seriously doubt that criticism of Obama by progressives at this stage of the game will even be noticed. He has the Boy Blogz at his back. Why would he listen to or care about your critiques? I don't see you getting a single thing for your support, but a guarantee that the democratic party will have permanently lost their way.

This is precisely why I'll be a hold out and may even vote for the enemy. I can tolerate 4 bad years of McCain just as well as I can tolerate 4 bad years of Obama (and make no mistake about it - he is not a progressive and does not have an agenda in mind that any of us would ever endorse). I would rather tolerate neither. Thus I will scream as loudly and as often as possible into the faces of the democratic leadership for putting us into this no-win position.

BoGardiner's picture
Submitted by BoGardiner on

to vote for McCain... but I fear that day I'll just end up with a bottle in front of me.

Or my subconscious may arrange that I run out of gas on the way to the polls, which would then cripple me with guilt.

I need to know more about Obama still. I do know I can't muster the heart to do any of my usual Dem campaigning, which may affect my downticket efforts as well. But hey, the guy's gonna be the first Billion Dollar Candidate. Such an obscene amount of money for TV advertising in this suffering world makes me physically ill. He continues to signal he neither wants nor needs my efforts, so who am I to question His infinite wisdom?

It's my hope this site remains a relatively comfortable place for all the above opinions. It's valuable to have this rare moderate forum to share our diverse paths toward the issues that unite us.

I really appreciated your post, VastLeft, thanks.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Tavis Smiley was shouted down for doing as much.

Having the "nerve" to ask Obama what his intentions were prior to pledging his undying allegiance to him.

The rest is history.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Tavis is the dude.

He has my undying allegiance for having Prince and Wendy on his PBS show.


basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

tenderizing by a Democratic congress. With Obama, we can't run against him without fucking the party two elections in a row. I know of no pragmatic reason to support Obama this time out. In fact, this is a time for pragmatic progressives to take a loss. Obama is going to string the war out (60k troops in Iraq in four years according to his people), compromise social security and oppose universal healthcare.

Obama is going to go all LBJ on us - he won't begin to have the nerve to face down the military over Iraq. Well - LBJ without the experience, the brains and the tenacity. He's going to try and finesse ending the war and it won't work - and just as many kids are gonna die.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

could be written about what happened on the "black" side of this election season.

Eventually someone will.

Everything from "sellout" to suffering from a "slave mentality" have all been offered as reasons to why black folk would have the "nerve" to question Obama.

Ugly, ugly stuff.

Submitted by cg.eye on

One hell of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel will be written in the next five years about the terminal madness the Civil Rights Generation has undergone, from riots to rap to race-baiting.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

I don't know where you got that idea, but one of his education advisers hangs out with the best, most loyal and most democratic school reformers we have.

I intend to post on that, probably over the weekend, as part of a detailed analysis of one of Steve Diamond's posts on education policy.

UPDATE: This is an add-on to my original comment: It is possible, Amberglow, that you are confusing support for magnet and charter schools with vouchers. The movement I was referring to above is for school choice WITHIN the public school system. It is for a variety of types of schools, for small schools, and for community involvement. It has been valiant in its critique of NCLB, and especially of the received wisdom that national test standards are the way to improve education.

This is one of the areas in which I was disappointed in the Clinton administration.

More in my post.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on


dating back to 04-- Barak Obama: Strong on Charters, Open-Minded on Vouchers (Politics 2004)

Vouchers & Obama In The 2008 Primaries

"... As longtime readers of this blog may remember, Obama is not only strongly pro-charter schools, but also seemingly more open to the idea of vouchers than many of his colleageus. In an interview during the campaign, he's quoted as saying that while he is generally opposed to vouchers:

"I am not closed minded on this issue...the bottom line is--how are we providing the most effective education for students at every grade level and every economic strata...."

I wonder how many of his supporters know that. ...
It's hard to tell just what to make of the "innovation districts" he's proposing in the speech. Are they re-imagined district fuctions like Chicago is trying, or modeled on the Chancellor's District idea originally from New York is hard to tell. Among other things, all this also makes you wonder where he's coming out on things like the Katrina vouchers. ...
" -- Obama's Independent-Minded Education Vision Taking Shape

"... there is no taking away what Mr. Obama actually said in the interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentininal that was the subject of Ms. Green's dispatch. "If there was any argument for vouchers, it was 'Alright, let's see if this experiment works,' and if it does, then whatever my preconceptions, my attitude is you do what works for the kids," the senator said. "I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn. We're losing several generations of kids and something has to be done." .." -- Obama and Vouchers

Obama Open To Vouchers-- "Barack Obama told the AFT and the NEA last year that he did not support private school vouchers, but this week he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board that he is open to supporting private school vouchers if research shows they work.
...Most Democratic politicians see the private school voucher movement as just another way for the privatization folks to get their hands on public money and continue to privatize as much of the government as they can.

For example, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton see the issue that way.

But not Obama.

You see, he's a different kind of Democrat.

He tells the NEA and the AFT that he supports merit pay based upon standardized test scores and says he now could support school vouchers.

He also thinks the problem with the American economy is not a greedy multi-national corporate system that rewards hedge fund managers, CEO's and the rest of the investment class over the workers but an education system that doesn't educate students as well as India does (never mind that in class-stratified India, only 75% of the population can actually read and more than 1/3rd of the population live on less than 40 cents a day - Obama thinks it's a model for the U.S. to mimic.) ..."

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

when all the Dem presidential candidates (except Gravel) came to address the 10,000 or so NEA delegates (including yours truly). Obama totally bombed. The expectations were high but he hit all the wrong buttons:

- charter schools
- vouchers
- merit pay
- productivity pay

The only thing he got right was the need to repeal NCLB... but again, the alternatives he offered sucked.

(As a side note, of all the Reps, only Huckebee had the guts to show up)

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on --

"...BO: Well, look, we’ve talked about education. We actually had a roundtable here about what we need to do with the schools. I’ve consistently said, we need to support charter schools. I think it is important to experiment, by looking at how we can reward excellence in the classroom.

JH: Have teacher’s unions been an impediment to that kind of reform?

BO: What I will say is that they haven’t been thrilled with me talking about these kinds of issues. And my sister is a teacher, so I am a strong support of teachers, but I’m not going to be bound by just a certain way of talking about these things, in order for us to move forward on behalf of our kids. And I think a lot of teachers want to talk about how to continually improve performance. The broader point is that we’ve got to get beyond a lot of the traditional categories.

LH: Is there any one issue where the Democratic Party is out of step with the mainstream of America? Is there a position that you want your party to change?

BO: I think that the Democratic Party is a big tent, which means that there are positions I may not agree with. I mentioned one, charter schools, and experimenting with our school system, to make it work. I think that’s something we really have to pay attention to. ..."

"a lot of teachers want to talk about how to continually improve performance" -- and what the hell is wrong with that being the priority?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

You have a clear field as far as I'm concerned.

A little sorting out is in order. Many of us watched the horror in Chicago play out, along with the ridiculous NCLB, and welcome a more nuanced, more balanced approach to solving the challenges of public education. Higher teacher salaries seems to me like a very good place to start, but what with wars and tax cuts for the rich...Oh, wait, I said you have a clear field, didn't I?

Looking forward to your post.

Submitted by gob on

I'm the opposite of an Obama fan, but his voting record, his history of interest in poor people's issues, and his stated policy positions depict someone very different from McCain.

The problem for me isn't similarity to McCain, it's the way he's run his campaign, his thin record in government, and a seeming lack of conviction in anything other than the awesomeness of electing Barack Obama president.

campskunk's picture
Submitted by campskunk on

...because i live in FL, where the DNC threw away hillary's 3 point lead over mccain and substituted obama's 8.5% deficit. part of the 48 state strategy- disenfranchise and sacrifice the goodwill of millions of democrats to make sure obama gets the nomination.

i (and a million other disaffected floridian hillary supporters) could vote for obama, but those 27 electoral votes will still be bright red on the night of november 4th. they'll call florida for mccain as soon as the polls close. obama supporters too young to remember the 2000 recount say florida doesn't matter, it's solidly republican. well, it sure is with obama as the candidate. and it could have been competitive.

so it doesn't matter what i do in a mccain vs obama general election ;-)

i wonder how many of these obamazoids will show up at the first local democratic party meeting after the election loss, to help rebuild the party? not many.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

NY will go Obama no matter what, so whether i skip the top lever, or actually go McCain (which i don't want to do and never have gone GOP), he'll still get my state.

(NJ and PA are just 2 of other blue states where he very well might lose tho.)

FL and OH are lost for sure, i'd say, and they're totally gettable, and it's supposed to be a Dem year.

Submitted by PA_Lady on

though Obama's team shouldn't count on it. The areas he lost in PA are still stinging from the bitter/cling episode, have a large percentage of older women, and are mostly working-class.

As for me, I'm truly torn between voting for a person I dislike, don't trust, and believe is dumb enough to be dangerous, or skipping the Presidential race and voting down-ticket. I will not vote for McCain, but I don't know that I can vote for Obama.

After 20 years of voting straight Dem, I've been told to sit down, shut up, and be a good girl come November. And if I don't, I'm selfish, not thinking of the children, have a desperate need to be Right, or I'm a "low-information" voter too dumb and/or too racist to understand the greatness that is Obama.

This isn't just about Obama, though. I've lost all faith in the party as a whole because of everything that hasn't happened since January 2007. We expected great things after the Dems took control of the House and Senate, but they have failed us in nearly every area.

Yet I'm supposed to trust this same "leadership" when it comes to a candidate? I'm supposed to trust that this one particular Democrat is the only way to keep the Republicans in check? Really?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

from insulting on-the-ground workers in Philly by not doing that walking-around-money thing, to his extensive failure at pretending he was normal with Casey, to bitter/cling, ...--and he didn't even carry all the suburbs he was supposed to--and Kerry didn't do well there compared to previous Dems either.

And PA is very Catholic--they're watching him go on bended knee to the religious right--and i bet they don't like it either.

horseloverfat's picture
Submitted by horseloverfat on

to ask for your vote once you say "McCain is worse." And he won't. He takes Dem activists for granted as it is, I'd rather take my chances by disabusing him of his confidence. You think you can "hold his feet to the fire" with a sociopath, with a malignant narcissist? Good luck with that!

I look at Obama, his personality, his campaign, I see Bush 2000. Bush's real third term, I need like a lach im kop (or something like that, not too good on Yiddish spelling).

I'd rather go with McCain, at least we get our party back in four years. Perhaps the engine and wheels will be gone, but we can get them replaced.

Horselover Fat

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

: >

(and i see him as Dubya 2.0 too--from Uniting, not dividing, to needing other "experienced" hands all around him because people think he's a lightweight, to the religious pandering that's never been so extreme for a Dem, to the Rovian dirty tricks, etc)

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

on vast left's reason for stepping over the line to the obama side:

[ "You might as well be reading green tea leaves...

Submitted by whaleshaman on Fri, 2008-06-13 13:06.

if your decision making process — or pushed over the edge, as you call it — relies on seeing the comment threads on No Quarter. ...]

precisely the thought i had.

in other words, "something someone else did made me do what i did (decide to support obama)."

that was josh marshall's,

and steve soto's,

and kevin drum's

rationale for supporting obama.

it's seems like a way of backing into a decision.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Unfortunately, that's the kind of shitty choices we get. Like Howard the Duck, we're trapped in a world we never made.

Oh, and please fuck off for putting me in with the in-the-tank Obama crowd.

horseloverfat's picture
Submitted by horseloverfat on

I don't understand why people think past performance is indicative of future results.

I regard voting records as predictive only for candidates who have core principles, I do not take Obama to be the grounded sort of person who cares about stuff like that.

You might recall Poppy Bush was famously pro-choice as a congressman, that's how much voting records are worth.

Horselover Fat

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

That his nickname on Captal Hill was "rubbers".

Obama is from a blue state and needs to advance, at this time in Illinois' history, a fairly liberal agenda. But if you look at the issues that he advances when he is not set to benefit directly from them, it's very hard to make him out as a progressive.

We would not consider someone who ran an aggressively racist campaign, as obama did a misogynist campaign, progressive - regardless of how he voted on various issues. Nor would we consider them better than McCain.

On key votes with Obama, the signifiers are all bad. From the bankrupcty bill, to Kyl Lieberman, to his present vote on choice issues - he's unprincipled in both his absense and his presence.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

is not whether Barack Obama is a good Dem candidate. VL's PUMA illustration for his post clearly shows that he thinks Obama is NOT a good candidate.

What is under discussion is the wisdom of, and rationale for, endorsing him at this point, in such a reluctant fashion.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and because previous bad candidates at least had records and a history of action on core Dem issues and/or executive experience, etc, it was easier to hold your nose and find tangible rationales FOR the person.

now we don't even have that--and whatever people say, McCain is not Dubya--he in fact has a record of doing almost every single thing Obama talks about.

blogtopus's picture
Submitted by blogtopus on

But my nose will be taking a vacation in the Tropics. (it used to be on Mars, so that's an improvement)

AM5's picture
Submitted by AM5 on

"Was seeing the comment threads on No Quarter, where people are standing on their heads to portray McCain as an innocent."

well, then, you wanted to go there to begin with, probably.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Deleted my comment. Too much to say and veering off topic.

MOBlue's picture
Submitted by MOBlue on

First the "blood of innocent children on your hands" meme only works if you believe that Obama will end the occupation of Iraq. I do not believe he will end the occupation no matter what he currently says on the campaign stump.

The SCOTUS meme only works if you believe that Obama will nominate people who will make a real difference to court decisions. Roberts has been described as being a a proponent of "judicial minimalism." The one name that keeps coming up in regards to a Obama nomination is Cass Sunstein who is also a proponent of "judicial minimalism." Both the conservative and the more liberal version of this judicial theory believe that Roe v Wade was decided incorrectly and that it should not be overturned outright but continually modified to achieve the end result. IMO neither party wants to actually completely overturn Roe v Wade because it would eliminate the hammer used to coerce voters into voting for their party. I do believe that either candidate will nominate "business friendly" justices who will vote for business over people. Real people will lose no matter who is president.

The only real way to hold a politician or the parities feet to the fire is to withhold what is important to them. What motivate politicians and parties is power, money and votes. The Democratic Party will be getting obscene amounts of money this year from "Big Business" and from the OFB. While I will not contribute to Obama or the party, that action will not result in the Obama party modifying their position one iota. If I give my vote away without demanding anything in return, I lose any and all power to impact the party. The lesser of two evils meme has resulted in good people of both parties having to vote against their principles no matter which party they vote for.

This year a vote for Obama is not just a vote for a candidate but is also is a vote in favor of a new direction for the Democratic Party. The NEW Democratic (Obama party) to me is the equivalent of the Unity08 Party. The precedent for the unitary executive has been established during the last eight years and once Obama consolidates all funding under his umbrella and marginalizes outside activist groups, any decent within the party will for all extents and purposes be eliminated. They will be able to withhold funds and run primary challenges against any politician unwilling to toe whatever line the Obama party decides it wants to pursue. If Obama wants to take the steps leading to privatization of SS, a politician will be given the choice of supporting that position or losing their seat.

Did you ever wonder how the more moderate Republicans let their party get where it is today? I think they said exactly what is being said now. Something to the effect that this definitely goes against my principles (replace with Republicans equivalent: McClurkin, blurring the lines between church and state, disenfranchise voters, SS on table, working class no longer necessary etc) but at least Candidate X is not a Democrat.

By supporting Obama with my vote, I firmly believe that I will be supporting elimination of any people centered party. I chose at this time not to do that. Both candidates go against my principles and my interest and I chose not to vote for either.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and the unity party happily fitting into the unitary executive, i can see those happening under a president obama, and i want neiher of them.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

McCain is a sure bet do those undesirable things, Obama is a major risk to do them.

Given the two choices our media (with a boost from the DNC) gave us, I'll take the one who possibly won't do those things. I am so happy!

Submitted by cg.eye on

matters -- because when we compromise our core principles to stay with the party, the party's leaders know they once we fall for that, we'll fall for anything:

"Did you ever wonder how the more moderate Republicans let their party get where it is today? I think they said exactly what is being said now. Something to the effect that this definitely goes against my principles (replace with Republicans equivalent: McClurkin, blurring the lines between church and state, disenfranchise voters, SS on table, working class no longer necessary etc) but at least Candidate X is not a Democrat."

dogooder's picture
Submitted by dogooder on

have Obama up +2, +8, +6, +7, +9. And none of these were in June, so they lack the "unity" bump.

Submitted by lambert on

... and you'll able to see and respond to individual comments more easily (and we will be able to see too).

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

dogooder's picture
Submitted by dogooder on

I didn't notice the option before

MOBlue's picture
Submitted by MOBlue on

The one thing that everyone agrees on is that there will be a Democratic majority in the House and the Senate. It is a sure bet that they will do nothing to stop Obama from doing undesirable things if he choses to do them. There is a small chance that they will stop McCain from enacting legislation that is undesirable. Case in point, there is no way that a Democratic congress will let McCain privatize Social Security. A Democratic president who holds the fate of Democratic politicians in his hands via purse strings and primary challenges could achieve the goal of partial privatization.

The Obama party is spending more time trying to garner the support of the religious far right then it is trying to win back parts of the Democratic base. Why? Because they believe that Democratic voters have NO CHOICE but to vote for Obama. Seems that they may be correct in that assumption. When you have no choice, you have no power to change the agenda. Politicians don't really care how much you grumble, write letters or make threats that are not backed by action. As long as voters buy into the lesser of two evils argument and vote for them in the end they have a mandate to do whatever they please. There will be no choice in 2012, 2016 etc. no matter what the Dems do or fail to do during the four years of an Obama administration because they can always paint the Republicans as the lesser of two evils. There is no way to hold any politician or any party's feet to the fire if they have a built in guarantee that voters will vote for them regardless of their actions.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

He's running against a party -- and one of its key players -- who have willfully killed by their actions and inactions millions of people, and who have filed down the very foundations of American Democracy.

It's an easy act to follow. Is he capable of being as bad or worse? Quite possibly. But there's a plausible chance that he won't, and that's all I have to pick from... barring Hillary making a third-party run, or the SD's smartening the fuck up between now and the convention roll-call.