Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Should We Vote For Obama?

There's only one guy that I read religiously and that's Glenn Greenwald. If he writes it in his column I read it. I think he would advise the left not to vote for Obama in 2012. Obama is killing US citizens with no due process, gets lavish praise from people like Dick Cheney for his handling of our overseas wars, aggressively punishes whistle blowers, pressures attorneys to let Wall St bankers skirt the law. He's an absolute disaster. Greenwald seems to side with Ralph Nader who likes to point out that these spineless liberals repeatedly demonstrate that they just have no breaking point. You can give them absolutely nothing and they'll still vote for you as long as you have a D next to your name. You've got to communicate that you have your limits or they will give you nothing.

You know what though? I think we did communicate that in 2010. Democrats stayed home instead of voting. And what do we have to show for it? Did the Democrats move to the left? We got Republican majorities in Congress. And what has this done for us?

We've got an economic crisis right now and it could be solved. Yeah, we have a deficit problem. We also have an unemployment problem. We also happen to have corporations and wealthy individuals sitting on record amounts of cash. You can solve the deficit problem by raising revenue and by cutting expenditures. But you don't want to cut expenditures when unemployment is as high as it is. In fact you want to increase them. So what you do is of course you raise taxes back to something like the prosperous 90's level, or the even more prosperous (and more progressive tax era) pre-80's level. You use the revenue to reduce the deficit and also spend some of it to spur demand. This improves the employment situation.

OK, that's my fantasy solution and I recognize that Republicans aren't going to go along with that. But in a reasonable political climate what you do is you compromise. Maybe I'm not going to get spending increases. But I can at least get some revenue increases in a sane world. I might offer some spending cuts in a compromising move.

But that's not feasible post 2010. These Republicans won't budge. No compromise. You cut spending. In exchange we'll give you nothing. That's the Republican compromise. That's insanity. This is the result of the 2010 election. Is this good for the country? Had Democrats won I wouldn't be happy with the results. But it would be better than this.

Obama is a war criminal. If the Nuremburg standard were applied he'd be hanged. But that's true of every American president since FDR. And it will be true of the next President whoever he is. I think the question is, do you want a war criminal that crushes the American poor or do you want a war criminal that might throw the poor a bone?

Or do you want a war criminal that will wreck the climate at an extremely fast pace. Obama is nothing to brag about on the environment. But at least he's not a member of the lunatic fringe climate denying anti science crowd. He says climate change cannot be denied, and economic growth must be sustainable in that it must combat this change. This may be rhetoric. He may do what his fossil fuel burning owners demand in the long run. But the Republicans can't even acknowledge the basic facts.

It's up to us to do the work that provides voters with a real choice. But suppose November 2012 comes and we haven't done the work required. Should we step aside and let a Republican win? These are real people that will suffer immensely with prolonged unemployment and the minimal benefits they have getting slashed.

Take an issue like a Boeing effort to undermine their union. The National Labor Relations Board's job is to flag violations of labor laws. Under Bush there's no problem. Bush just didn't enforce the laws, so Boeing can run rough shod over the union. Obama serves the same cronies, but he had to appoint members to the NLRB and he did go ahead and appoint some pro labor people. So what did they do? When Boeing broke the law they actually did something about it. Boeing is outraged of course. And Obama is doing what he can to help them out. He's appointed a former Boeing director to head the Commerce Department. So both Democrats and Republicans work to undermine unions and people on behalf of corporations. But under a Democrat you still have a bit of a chance. Under a Republican it's just blatant law breaking on behalf of wealth. That's real people that suffer. Do we stand back and let Romney walk into the White House? That's imposing unemployment and reduced wages on a lot of real people that will suffer.

What we need is a Presidential candidate that actually cares more about what people think than what wealthy corporations think. Then the war crimes would be scaled back, the police state can be rolled back, health care can be fixed, etc. Our best hope is that the occupy movement (possibly in conjunction with the Tea Party) can produce something like that. But if they haven't by November 2012 I think you do have to support the least worst option, and that is Obama over Romney.


Paul said...

Jon -

There's only one guy that I read religiously and that's Glenn Greenwald. If he writes it in his column I read it. I think he would advise the left not to vote for Obama in 2012.

I appreciate Glenn but if this indeed were his advice to fellow lefties then he would be exacerbating his perceived problems.

Sheldon said...

I don't think the Occupy movement and the Tea Party are going to have anything to do with each other and I don't know why people keep proposing that they do. They are a deluded bunch.

And so what are we supposed to do? I haven't voted for a Democrat for president since,....?????? I don't know. In 2000 I actively worked for Nader, and in 2008 pulled the lever for him or McKinney, I don't even remember. But I admit I am torn every time. The two party monopoly must be broken, that is what I believe. But I am always partially persuaded with the likes of arguments like yours.

Jon said...

I think the tea party is justifiably mad. Take a typical tea party stereo type. Working his butt off. Getting taxed a lot. And yet he might be struggling financially. House is under water. College expenses are through the roof. Mom has to work now. It wasn't like that before. What is going on here?

The answer from Limbaugh and the corporate entity is that the blame lies with the poor. Illegal immigrants, welfare recipients. The leeches. Pay no attention to the health insurance companies that wrote Obama's health care legislation, or the billions in subsidies going to oil companies. Or the weapons manufacturers that profit from the drug war and other wars. Or the financial sector that takes home 40% of all profits made in the US by conceiving schemes that trick people out of their pensions. Just blame the poor.

It's kind of sick that people buy off on this, but it's a constant drum beat by corporate media. That kind of propaganda is effective. I know because I used to buy off on it. Getting the tea party to recognize the real reasons and getting them away from the corporate offered reasons won't be easy, but it seems possible. Worked for me.