This might just be my favorite result from yesterday »« Exterminate!

And the 2016 presidential campaign begins…NOW

The Republicans are always better organized than the Democrats, and they have already identified a clear front runner.

We will now spend four years moaning about the extra-special awfulness of the Republican candidate, pretending that a horrible half of the electorate doesn’t exist, and finally nominating someone notable mainly for their bureaucratic ability to blend in with the Washington beltway crowd. The Republican will still get a substantial percentage of the electorate and come close to winning (if not winning altogether), and then we’ll all wonder about those strange people who weren’t inspired by our lackluster candidate, and voted for the stupid party instead.

Comments

  1. machintelligence says

    For the Democratic nominee I am hoping for Colorado favorite son John Hickenlooper. Just think, if he were to reach out to the Republicans in a spirit of bipartisanship and choose Mike Huckabee for his running mate, we could see the Hickenlooper/Huckabee ticket!

  2. slowdjinn says

    @machineintelligence

    And at last the US could regain some respect in world international politics!

  3. anareenseer says

    and then we’ll all wonder about those strange people who weren’t inspired by our lackluster candidate, and voted for the stupid party instead.

    I really don’t know about those strange people, but lackluster always wins in my book against crazy. But maybe I am the one being strange.

  4. crocswsocks says

    Wow, this was hilarious until “Magical Ark of Empty Promises.” It should be “Unremarkable yet Tasteful Ark of Explicitly Non-Promissory Hopes and Intentions.”

  5. mothra says

    It is so wonderful not to see [fill in local disagreeable anti-human rights candidate’s name] political ads plastered all over FTB.

  6. says

    Eh, we already know that, barring accident or death, the Democrats will nominate Hillary Clinton. (Because it’s her turn, right? It’s not like every single candidate ever nominated by either of the two major parties on those grounds has failed — oh, wait, yes it is.) You know, the woman who is basically all the disappointing parts of Obama, melted down and poured into a #6 caucasian woman mold, but with a whole warehouses of propaganda against her already produced from the 1990s and ready to be aired by Fox. (And an embarrassing set of hypocritical and lying performances over the last four years, like the time she lectured an arab nation for executed their citizens without due process right after Obama had al-Awlaki — and his teenaged son, who was never even accused of anything — killed without due process.)

    The idea of actually running members of their party who actually have a history of standing up against the Republicans will be considered too silly to merit consideration. (So, for example, Barbara Lee, who was actually smart enough to notice that Bush was lying about Iraq and brave enough to say so out loud even amid all the hysteria, will never be nominated.)

    And, since Obama no longer even has to make a pretense of satisfying voters, and tries very hard to avoid doing anything to which Republicans might actually object, by 2016 the Democrats will be associated in the popular mind with foreign wars, cuts to Social Security and Medicare (coming along any month now, just you wait — Obama has the catfood commission’s report in a desk drawer for quick access), failure to prosecute national-level criminals (such as the “Too Big To Fail” bankers), and general bad policy. The Republicans will be able to blame all the failures of their own policies on Obama and the Democrats, and it will be entirely plausible because the Democrats will, at that point, have spent 6 years allowing the Republicans to dictate policy.

    Oh, but don’t forget: we’ll have to vote for Hillary to protect the Supreme Court!!!1!one!!! (Which won’t have moved one iota to the left under Obama because of his aforementioned unwillingness to upset Republicans; more likely the other way.)

  7. says

    Bravo machintelligence@#2 for an almost (not quite) alliterative ballot. But just how liberal a Dem is John Hickenlooper? Does he play a musical instrument? Can he harmonize with Neil Young, who he bears a slight resemblance to?

    Most importantly, can he disassemble and reassemble “Cloud Atlas” so everyone can understand the meaning (loved the movie and acting but the message is, as probably meant, f*****g vague.

  8. Reginald Selkirk says

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term? Presuming he doesn’t get impeached or assassinated, he’ll only be 55, which is pretty young for a former world leader.

  9. mikeyb says

    But there already is one raging sphere – Glenn Beck. He can be the second Mormon in a row to run in 2016 – against Hillary Clinton, and thus kill off the debris the tea party GOP once and for all.

  10. dianne says

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term? Presuming he doesn’t get impeached or assassinated, he’ll only be 55, which is pretty young for a former world leader.

    He’ll probably go play elder statesman and lecturer. OTOH, Kennedy is said to have asked himself the same question once…

  11. says

    @Reginald Selkirk:

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term?

    Some options:

    1. Go and work for Bloomberg, who believes that the Democrats are just too darn extreeeeme and that the American public really, really wants someone who is willing to be bipartisan (i.e. right-wing, but pro-gay-marriage and not too actively anti-woman). I think the guy funds a think tank; Obama would fit right in.

    2. Get a cushy job with one of the bomber drone manufacturers as a quid pro quo for using their products on a lot of innocent civilians, thus both producing enormous profits and setting precedents for them to be used by overfunded law enforcement within the U.S. (coming soon to a jurisdiction near you — really).

    3. Get a cushy job with one of the Too Big To Fail banks as a quid pro quo for ensuring that they were never prosecuted for fraud.

    4. Get a cushy job with a health insurance company as a quid pro quo for ensuring that they had a guaranteed noncompetitive market with a 25% profit margin for the foreseeable future.

    5. Get a cushy job with a right-wing think tank as a quid pro quo for arranging to have Social Security and Medicare cut while making it look like the Democratic Party’s idea.

  12. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Racism, ever the bosom companion of White Hot Republican Rage.

    Bedazzled shoes of the gods, that was funny…in a horrible, truthy way.

  13. says

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term?

    he is a millionaire and has revenue from his books. I’m betting on “charity”.

  14. Ichthyic says

    you know, Vicar, it would be nice if you shut up for just ONE day, and let people bask in the pseudo-glory of having prevented the mittbot from causing further destruction.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term?

    One possibility is Supreme Court Justice if appointed. Taft did that so there is presidence.

  16. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term? – dianne

    Well he could do a reverse-Bartlet and win the Nobel Prize for Economics to go with his Peace Prize.

  17. says

    @Ichthyic:

    That’s what we did four years ago. The results were profoundly unsatisfactory. (Two years of “we can’t even start to do anything about ____ because we’re busy with healthcare reform” followed by a terrible excuse for healthcare reform, followed by two years of “we can’t even start to do anything about ____ because the Republicans might possibly move to stop us”.)

    Supporters of the Democratic Party have made excuses for that by saying that anyone who actually wants Democrats to, you know, live up to the claims they themselves make should make a point of not relaxing pressure. I am taking them at their word.

  18. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term? – dianne

    Actually, of course, he’ll have seized power in a Napoleon-the-Third type coup and crowned himself Emperor well before then.

  19. says

    @Kevin:

    Much though I think Obama is a terrible disappointment, I would welcome him with open arms as a replacement for Rahm. (But that’s not saying much; I’d welcome Harpo Marx as a replacement for Rahm, and he’s dead.) (For one thing, he’d be great at Halloween events. *rimshot*)

    In fact, why wait — do you suppose there’s any loophole which would let Obama run for mayor of Chicago while still serving as President? Given the way Rahm forced himself into the race last time, it’s not likely that anyone else will be able to dislodge him.

  20. silomowbray says

    Nerd @ 21

    Taft did that so there is presidence.

    Was that on purpose? Because if so, I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. Also, well played sir, well played.

  21. Ichthyic says

    That’s what we did four years ago. The results were profoundly unsatisfactory.

    just..

    one..

    day.

    SHUT THE FUCK UP.

    seriously.

  22. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Eh, we already know that, barring accident or death, the Democrats will nominate Hillary Clinton. – The Vicar

    I’ll bet you were saying that in 2004, about 2008.

  23. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    It’s shit like this that makes me wonder at the sincerity of “Well yes, Obama has his problems but Romney is worse!” as an argument. This being ‘this thread’ – Rutee Katreya

    Why?

  24. Ichthyic says

    Because Vicar’s legitimate irritation with actual problems OBama has is getting brushed aside.

    bullshit.

  25. Ichthyic says

    ..look, nobody here has ever denied that there are problems with the democratic leadership in the US.

    but for FUCK SAKE, take a goddamn day off.

    you earned it!

  26. says

    bullshit.

    Well my confidence is restored.

    ..look, nobody here has ever denied that there are problems with the democratic leadership in the US.

    In short, “If the problem is just that you would like to celebrate, there’s much better ways of phrasing that than “SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR JUST ONE DAY”.

  27. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    In short, “If the problem is just that you would like to celebrate, there’s much better ways of phrasing that than “SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR JUST ONE DAY”. – Rutee Katreya

    No, I don’t think there are in this case.

  28. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Back to great future nominees –

    How about Tammy F*n Baldwin?

    I don’t know that she would be nominated in 2016, but if she runs in 2020 or 2024 -or if she does managed to get nominated in 2016 – I’d be totally on board.

  29. says

    @Nick Gotts:

    I’ll bet you were saying that in 2004, about 2008.

    No, actually. I was utterly flabbergasted by Hillary’s resurgence in 2008. I was happily expecting that the Clintons would never be taken seriously on the national stage again, and was disappointed to find that I was wrong. I have no respect for either her or her husband, who were instrumental in enforcing the Democratic Party’s official “move to the right as far as possible” strategy, and she is a worse candidate than a very large number of Democrats of national standing of both genders and a wide array of backgrounds.

    (And leaving aside her history of association with bad and failed policy, just on a practical level she is the only candidate the Democrats could possibly run who would stir up as much knee-jerk “I must vote to keep the Democrat out of office” action on the Republican side as they get out of racism against Obama. Given that even I agree that they are the worst party running candidates at the national level, why would anyone want to give the Republicans an extra edge in bringing out their voters?)

    I would entirely support a bipartisan agreement to ban both the Clintons and the Bushes from any role in the major parties for the remainder of the century. Or even make it general, and keep spouses and kids of successful candidates out automatically. That strikes me as an acceptable limitation of freedom, like the ban on shouting fire in a crowded theater. We’re a secular democracy, we don’t need no stinkin’ dynasties.

    @Ichthyic:

    Yes, yes. Yell at me if I try to say something you don’t want to hear, no matter how legitimate it may be. That makes me stop doing anything you might not like.

    Oh, wait, no, that’s Obama. Sorry, I get us confused; after all, just like Obama, I spend a certain amount of time every week setting targets for assassination without oversight, so it’s an easy mistake to make.

    Oh, whoops, that’s not true either. I don’t actually control any assassinations, but I do send legal teams into court to defend policies I claim to oppose when speaking in public, and both vote for things I have spoken against and sign them into law. No, I’m wrong again. I’m sure there must be some point of resemblance. Maybe I start negotiations with people who have already demonstrated that they are not acting in good faith by giving them everything they want? No, that’s him again. Perhaps I deport more people than any previous person to hold my job? Nope. Oh, I know, maybe I continue to enforce a costly and counterproductive federal ban on medical marijuana even though a majority of the country now disagrees with it! That must be it! No, wait, it’s all coming back to me, I don’t do that either.

    Well, shucks. I’m sure there must be some points of resemblance beyond those of the “both carbon-based forms of life” variety. If I come up with any, I’ll let you know, and you can keep confusing us. Until then, perhaps yelling “shut up” at me should be regarded as a futile tactic.

  30. consciousness razor says

    Oh, wait, no, that’s Obama. Sorry, I get us confused; [… long screed …] No, wait, it’s all coming back to me, I don’t do that either.

    Do you do anything except whine and bullshit?

    Hey, maybe that’s what you have in common.

    There’s got to be some reason why you’ve confused yourself with someone else. Whatever the case may be, it’s an odd rhetorical tactic. I’ll give you that much.

  31. says

    No, I don’t think there are in this case.

    You would be wrong, given the long history of democrats telling people to shut up and take it whenever they get thrown under the bus.

  32. consciousness razor says

    Rutee, who are you talking about and which bus?

    Should anyone be upset that Obama was reelected?

  33. John Morales says

    Vicar:

    We’re a secular democracy, we don’t need no stinkin’ dynasties.

    You claim to worry about electorally-determined dynastic succession?

    (Such futility! Demagoguery doesn’t count for much around here)

  34. says

    It’s arguable the dems did better than in the past regarding GOTV in battleground states this time. The Obama GOTV grassroots effort therein lasted for over a year, by the time of the election campaign workers were on a first-name sending-Christmas cards basis with dozens of voters each.

  35. says

    @consciousness razor:

    Do you do anything except whine and bullshit?

    Sometimes I change it up a bit by reversing the two. And on Tuesdays I have my macramé class. ୨_୨

    Hey, maybe that’s what you have in common.

    Interesting admission from someone who apparently supports Obama.

    There’s got to be some reason why you’ve confused yourself with someone else. Whatever the case may be, it’s an odd rhetorical tactic. I’ll give you that much.

    What, you’ve never seen sarcasm before? That was essentially stealing some shticks from George Carlin.

    Rutee, who are you talking about and which bus?

    Anti-war Democrats in 2003 by most of the party (the Dems went along with the Iraq AUMF) and pretty much continuously since 2008 by the Obama administration (we’re not only still in Afghanistan, we still have tens of thousands of personnel in Iraq — we’re just not calling them soldiers any more even though most of them are armed and fighting, and Obama has troops in, what, 6 other countries now, even though the central African campaign hasn’t been publicized much yet), anti-domestic-spying Democrats by Obama in 2008 (remember the FISA bill? The one Obama said he would never vote for, then voted for the minute he had the nomination sewed up?), environmentalists pretty much since 1992 (global warming was deliberately excluded from the debates!), labor unions likewise (NAFTA was passed by Clinton, and anti-union measures have been a regular feature of Democratic voting records ever since), underwater mortgage holders by Obama in 2009 (remember when we were going to have mortgage relief? Remember how it turned out that the funds were not released and the administration sent out confusing and contradictory instructions and let the banks refuse to comply so that lots more people lost their homes?)… In practice, homosexuals belong in the list, too — Clinton gave us DADT, and Obama enforced it along with every other discriminatory measure on the books right up to the day he suddenly realized he needed a wedge issue and had his legal team stop, and he hasn’t really done anything positive since then, not even one of his famous speeches which were supposed to be one of his major selling points. Or there’s reproductive rights — remember how a major talking point at the Democratic Convention in 2008 was how nobody actually wants there to be more abortions and we should all support more restrictive laws on the subject? Remember how the Obama administration let the Republicans dictate restrictions on the availability of “Plan B”?

    And the Democratic Party’s response has been — as stated explicitly by a couple of Obama administration members, my Google-Fu is failing at the moment but if I recall correctly one was Rahm, back when he was in D.C. — was that anyone to the left of Obama is insane and should shut up because there’s nobody else they can vote for. (Which is why I am making a point of not voting for Democrats for President any more, even if it makes no difference. Why support them if they actively dismiss me?)

  36. Ichthyic says

    Yes, yes. Yell at me if I try to say something you don’t want to hear, no matter how legitimate it may be. That makes me stop doing anything you might not like.

    you’re a complete fuckwit.

    you can’t NOT do anything I wouldn’t like, I’m betting.

  37. Ichthyic says

    double fuck you to people that can’t enjoy what they have, even for a day, before they start trying to pick it apart.

    fuck.

    you.

  38. consciousness razor says

    Hey, maybe that’s what you have in common.

    Interesting admission from someone who apparently supports Obama.

    Maybe it’s an admission, maybe not. Maybe you can avoid putting words in my mouth.

    Or was that an admission from you as well?

    By the way, when you support someone (other than yourself), does that mean you support everything they’ve ever done?

    What, you’ve never seen sarcasm before?

    No, I certainly have. Some of it has made sense. Have you?

  39. says

    @John Morales:

    You claim to worry about electorally-determined dynastic succession?

    Given that so many supporters of the “dynasties” seem to be unable to give any reason for supporting the later dynasty members other than name recognition or a desire to get the original officeholder back in an advisory capacity*, it is a worry, yes. There was a post on this very blog just a few days back about how we shouldn’t disbelieve in stupidity just because it seems ludicrous.

    *I actually heard a couple of Hillary Clinton supporters in the primaries in 2008 argue, as a last resort when they had otherwise failed to convince, that we should support Hillary because Bill would be a kind of éminence grise, and that would solve everything. So this idea really does exist out there. I hope it’s rare. I am not optimistic.

    It’s bad thinking along the lines of granting power to an office on the basis of the personality of the current office-holder. (You know, “it’s okay for Obama to have signed the 2012 NDAA which grants the president power to perform indefinite detention without trial on citizens, because Obama has promised not to use those powers“. Even leaving aside whether or not Obama can be trusted to uphold his promise after breaking so many others, what about the next president? Now that Obama signed the bill and the powers are law, what would have happened if Romney had won? What will happen the next time we have a Republican in office? How people can be so shortsighted is beyond me.)

  40. consciousness razor says

    (Which is why I am making a point of not voting for Democrats for President any more, even if it makes no difference. Why support them if they actively dismiss me?)

    It makes a difference. What I’m dismissing is effectively supporting Republicans, making progress impossible. We will not get perfection, but we can have progress. Those are not and will never be the same thing.

  41. cm's changeable moniker says

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term?

    Secretary-General of the United Nations.

    One World Government! /tinfoilhat

  42. consciousness razor says

    So what is Obama going to do after his second term?

    Secretary-General of the United Nations.

    One World Government! /tinfoilhat

    Nahh… just follow the money. He’ll be CEO of Tinfoil Hats Corp. Intl., Inc.

  43. John Morales says

    The Vicar @52, the basis for a secular democracy is fair elections by an educated populace.

    Perhaps it would be best to advocate for those, rather than for further restrictions on freedoms and more circumscription of the candidate pool?

  44. cm's changeable moniker says

    Tinfoil Hats Corp. Intl., Inc.

    Onshore company? At least he’d pay taxes.

    (Romney would be Tinfoil Hats LLP, BVI.)

  45. consciousness razor says

    Onshore company? At least he’d pay taxes.

    Don’t underestimate the Tinfoil Hat lobbying industrial complex.

  46. says

    @Icthyic:

    you can’t NOT do anything I wouldn’t like, I’m betting.

    Ah, well, if you don’t think I can please you, then there’s no point in trying. (There’s never any point in trying to conform to a rule which is impossible to obey.) So I may as well go on.

    @consciousness razor:

    What I’m dismissing is effectively supporting Republicans, making progress impossible.

    So, wait, you’re dismissing Democratic candidates like Obama who alienate likely voters? Finally, something we can agree on!

    It would have been really easy to get me to vote for Obama this time around — all it would have taken would have been for Obama to take a stand on even one major piece of legislation (the 2012 NDAA would have been an excellent one, and originally he said he was going to veto it, before once again giving in to the Republicans and signing it) (but let’s face it, by that time, we all knew he was going to do that), and maybe actually make visible efforts to do positive things, instead of declaring defeat before even trying as he did again and again and again and again over the last four years. He wouldn’t even have to succeed, he would just have to give signs that he was actually trying. (In fact, his behavior is entirely consistent with the idea that the status quo is exactly what he wants: the country gradually falling apart, the very rich getting richer at the expense of everyone else, the Democrats squeaking out victories with the lowest expectations possible from voters, etc.)

    Really, if you’re trying to bolster the Democratic Party’s position in the polls, you should be trying to recruit non-voters, not Green Party supporters. For one thing, there’s more of them — if, in addition to registered voters who do not vote, you count people who are citizens and old enough to vote but who are not registered, then there are many more non-voters than supporters of either major party. If you can find a good convincing argument for them to come to the polls and vote for the Democrats, the payoff in terms of voters added will be higher, easily more than you would get if you got all the Greens and all the Libertarians as well.

    But of course you can’t, because people who have stopped voting have come to the conclusion that nobody running for office will ever even try to do anything good for the population at large, and as far as the Democrats and Republicans are concerned, they are pretty much absolutely right. (And I think that if they were totally honest about it, a majority of Democratic voters would agree; most of them who I know personally were voting against Republicans, not actually voting for Democrats.) Since about 1998, the entire reason to vote for Democrats has been reduced to “at least we aren’t the Republicans”, and that’s not going to get anyone to spend an hour in line at a busy polling place on a rainy day. It’s not even going to get anyone to bother filling in a ballot and mailing it in.

    In fact, if the Democratic Party actually started taking serious action which would restore the non-voters’ faith in them, they would probably eliminate the Green Party as a matter of course, in much the same way that if people started walking instead of driving as much as possible to combat global warming, it would also make a huge dent in the obesity epidemic as a matter of course. Contrary to the image often painted of them, most Greens are entirely willing to compromise, and settle for a less-than-perfect candidate, and would almost certainly abandon the Greens in droves if a decent Democratic candidate were offered. The problem is, basically, in order for there to be a quid pro quo there has to be a quo to exchange for the quid, and the Democrats have stopped offering anything to the left. They aren’t pro-union, they aren’t pro-environment, they aren’t pro-civil-libertarians, they’re only barely (and by default) pro-reproductive rights or pro-minority. At the same time, Democrats have started taking, as a matter of course, positions which are actively repugnant — Obama’s foreign policy with much of the arab world can be summarized as “bombings will continue until you love the U.S.”, and almost all of the Democratic Party follows him blindly.

  47. says

    Rutee,

    I’m an anarchist. For me, it’s all about people, in the current system, having the best conditions for our movements. There’s an intuitively appealing idea that the most hostile political conditions are favorable to radical leftwing movements. In the cases I’ve analyzed, though, this doesn’t turn out to be true.

    The evidence I’ve seen shows that relatively more leftwing governments are better for anarchists.* So I don’t have to ‘believe’ in them or what they’ll accomplish, although I hope they’ll do the most good possible. And I’ll continue to criticize and protest them and the entire system.

    I think the joy here is about the avoidance of real catastrophe and even greater suffering rather than an uncritical view of Obama.

    *I don’t think people are talking about it enough, but this election happens in a global context. Developments in Latin America especially are important. We need to keep recognizing, and pushing others to appreciate, how this victory figures into hemispheric developments.

    Oh, and Brian Williams’ “Driven well past the last exit to relevance” is a classic.

  48. AussieMike says

    I wonder if the Catholics, Billy Graham and James Dobson will re-post their anti-Mormon pages.
    I also hear sales of white T-shirts and boxers have fallen through the floor.

  49. ibyea says

    @vicar
    How about you tell us things about the Democratic party we don’t know about. Obviously we oppose the Democratic party on those grounds. But if Obama had lost, the country would have had a catastrophic presidency. And putting pressure by not voting is not going to work. The claim will be that the Democrats lost because they are not centrist enough, that they are not reaching for bipartisanship. All lies of course, because as you had condescendingly lectured us, Democrats try really hard to be Republican lite. But they aren’t going to give a damn about that.

  50. consciousness razor says

    So, wait, you’re dismissing Democratic candidates like Obama who alienate likely voters?

    Yep, that election Obama just won sure does show just how alienated likely voters were. Hmmm.. wait, why are we talking about “likely voters”? And later on, what’s this about “non-voters”? An odd pair, wouldn’t you say? Explains everything and nothing.

    The one thing I am getting here is that I shouldn’t blame Greens or Libertarians (another odd pairing), for something I didn’t have a problem with anyway: that more-liberal politicans got elected instead of more-conservative ones … but not by a wide enough margin? Is that it? The demographic shifts already happening which are already in favor of liberals (Greens included, but not Libertarians) is not enough — for what?

    Finally, something we can agree on!

    Sure, if you distort it enough to fit the story you want to tell, we agree on everything. Or is this “sarcasm”? I thought you might want to take the discussion seriously.

  51. Amphiox says

    Given the political landscape as it was this year, and all the way back to 2010, the result of this election has to be virtually, almost, the absolutely best possible result imaginable (other than Bachmann holding on to her seat, maybe) all the way down the ticket, from a progressive and liberal point of view.

    So to those of you already complaining about how this really isn’t so good, I ask you, compared to WHAT?

    We are supposed to be scientific, skeptical, reality-based thinkers here, no?

    Well this is our reality. Today, this is as good as it gets.

    And if we want the chance for an even better reality, well, we have to work for it. Wishing does not make it so.

    And in reality, change almost always occurs in slow, small, sometimes imperceptible, steps. Evolution does not proceed through giant macro-mutational steps. Intelligent design (which partly applies to politics) does, but even then very very rarely.

  52. says

    @ ibyea:

    The Democrats will always assume — if no other definite information is available — that they need to move to the right. (To heck with “centrist”. They aren’t “centrist” any more. “Centrist” doesn’t mean bombing innocent foreigners and then doubling back to bomb the emergency services which show up to rescue people. The Democrats are right-wing now.) It’s like prayer; if you get what you want, it’s because you prayed, and if you didn’t it’s because you didn’t pray hard enough. If the Democrats win, it’s because they moved to the right so it’s a successful strategy; if they lose, it’s because they didn’t move far enough to the right.

    Voting for Republicans as a protest (which I have seen a few people advocate) is a dumb strategy, because it reinforces the Democratic perception that if they move right they will get more votes. Voting for big-L Libertarians is basically the same, because Libertarians have spent decades treating right-wing economics as more important than actual civil liberties, and thus all Libertarians are at least under heavy suspicion of being right-wingers, even if they genuinely are voting that way because of civil liberties. And voting for the Democrats anyway just encourages them to move even further to the right, because if they can move right without losing votes, it means the rightward move is not costing them any votes.

    The only thing which has any chance at all of actually making the Democrats as a whole move back to the left even slightly — and I freely admit it’s a slim chance — is to vote for someone to their left and yell about why you did it, in the hopes that the margin of victory (or loss) will be small enough that they will start to value the votes they are losing by being so far to the right. That’s not happening any time soon, thanks to the Republicans having so little discretion, but maybe someday it will. (Consider what the polls looked like before the pro-rape comments started making the news. Now imagine if the Republicans had just held their tongues while holding those same positions.)

    (And before you ask: I am currently a registered Democrat, and I vote in the primaries. But within the primaries, the selection of candidates is often limited to those who the Democratic establishment has chosen, and they chose rightward every time, which is particularly galling because you often don’t know a candidate’s practical politics until after they have gotten into office. There was, for example, no chance to vote for someone other than Obama to protest his policies this time, and last time he was largely an unknown factor.)

    As for Romney being disastrous: I agree, but I think Obama is also disastrous. He’s just a somewhat slower disaster. Instead of driving the car right off the cliff, he favors driving to the other side of the mountain first so we can watch the sunset as we fall. We’re not going to survive the crash either way, so I don’t see why I should be eager for him to take the wheel.

    The bad policies Obama has advocated, and will continue to advocate unless his second term is totally different from his first, are going to doom us all; if global warming isn’t immediate enough of a threat, consider that for every “enemy” we bomb in the third world we create several more — and at the same time, there’s very little doubt that those unmanned bomber drone systems are going to end up available to other countries before long. They’re mostly manufactured in China, and China is not concerned with keeping our technology secret. How long before the survivors over there are piloting their drones to bomb weddings in the U.S. and then doubling back to bomb the emergency services vehicles as well? I could go on — I once spent a train ride home thinking about it, a month or so back, and I came up with about a dozen plausible nightmare scenarios for how right-leaning Democratic policies could end up killing us painfully in large numbers before 2040, and as Terry Pratchett once put it, I hadn’t even started on the fine detail. Given that I think that right-wing Democrats are a serious threat, it would be irresponsible not to take the only course likely to pull them back.

  53. Amphiox says

    The Democrats will always assume — if no other definite information is available — that they need to move to the right.

    They do this because experience has taught them that this works. And if there is one thing that unites the Democratic party, it is pragmatism.

    If you want this to change then you have to change this experience going forward. And the best and safest way of doing this is within the Democratic party.

    And it should not be ignored that the Democratic Party Platform this year is the most progressive, most left-leaning platform they have ever put out, ever.

    So the idea that they will ALWAYS drift right is simply not true.

  54. says

    @consciousness razor:

    By “likely voters”, in that context, I meant “people who are definitely going to vote, but who are likely to vote for Democrats”. Obama hasn’t alienated enough people for this to be a serious problem… yet. But then again, as I said I don’t know very many people who were actually enthusiastic for Obama, just a huge number of people who were desperate to keep Romney out. If he was being honest, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to doubt it, the owner of this blog is one such voter. Had the Republicans nominated one of the less-extreme candidates from early on in the run-up (one of the ones who dropped out early, like Huntsman), these people might very well have been unmotivated, and might have voted for a third party or stayed home. But given how racist the Republicans seem to be, they were going to get a lot of anti-Obama voters no matter who they ran.

    As for “something we can agree on”, yes, that was sarcasm. You recognized it this time, good for you!

  55. says

    They do this because experience has taught them that this works.

    You must have a different definition of “works” than the commonly-accepted one. They started doing this as a deliberate move in the early 1980s, so during that time we’ve had the second half of the Reagan presidency, the first Bush Presidency, the “Contract With America”, and two terms of Bush II. They’re doing such a lousy job that the Republicans can run inept buffoons like Palin, Romney, and Ryan and still have a fairly tight race. And in poll after poll, a fairly solid majority of Americans agree with left-wing values even if they think of themselves as centrists.

    And if there is one thing that unites the Democratic party, it is pragmatism.

    I would have said “a willingness to compromise ethical positions for corporate money”, myself, but I am widely regarded as unnecessarily cynical.

    And it should not be ignored that the Democratic Party Platform this year is the most progressive, most left-leaning platform they have ever put out, ever.

    So? Obama claimed to have extremely liberal plans in 2008. He started actively contradicting them immediately after getting the nomination, and the process accelerated, hard, after he won the election. (Remember “if they bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun”? Then remember how Obama himself killed off the public option in the healthcare debate?) What matters is not what they say they’re going to do, but what they actually do. If they actually act on their plans, then you’ll have a point. Recent history suggests, though, that they’ll make a half-hearted attempt at one or two items — using their work on that item as an excuse not to touch any of the rest, and actively shutting down anyone who shows any sign of pushing left with any force — and then give up because of the Republican-held House of Representatives without even using any of the various options open to them to try to force things through. And then if there’s any time left before the midterm elections, they’ll spend it repeating that they can’t try any of the other items because the Republicans will just block them all. (Although who knows, maybe they’ll find a new excuse for not doing anything. They’re very good at that. But with the Republicans holding one side of Congress they don’t actually need a new excuse yet.)

  56. ibyea says

    @vicar
    Err, you repeated things I already said in the first paragraph. Anyways, better a slow disaster to give ourselves more time.

  57. petermountain says

    I bet God already told Pat Robertson who wins the 2016 election.
    But Pat? He knows how to keep a secret.

  58. says

    You must have a different definition of “works” than the commonly-accepted one. They started doing this as a deliberate move in the early 1980s, so during that time we’ve had the second half of the Reagan presidency, the first Bush Presidency, the “Contract With America”, and two terms of Bush II.

    So, you’re saying the Democrats moved to the right after losing 90% of the electoral vote to the Republicans in 1980, and 97% in 1984?

    Given all the races have been closer since then (and both of Clinton’s and Obama’s wins had wider margins than both of G.W. Bush’s), yeah, it could be argued to have worked.

  59. says

    They started doing this as a deliberate move in the early 1980s, so during that time we’ve had the second half of the Reagan presidency, the first Bush Presidency, the “Contract With America”, and two terms of Bush II.

    Nah. In 1984, the Dems nominated Walter Mondale, a Hubert Humphrey protege and an old-school liberal, and in 1988, Michael Dukakis, who was certainly painted as a liberal if not necessarily so.
    And by 1988 they’d lost 5 of 6 presidential elections, several by landslide. The only win (Carter) was close and involved, of course, a southern ex-governor.
    Since nominating Clinton in 1992, they’ve won four of six elections, five if you’re looking at the popular vote.
    So yeah, it may have been necessary, and seems to have “worked” as far as being a party able to win national elections.

  60. StevoR says

    @59.Crissa

    I’m pretty sure the poll at http://www.msn.com/ on gay marriage is being reverse-Pharnygulated.

    That poll has finished and linked poll is now :

    ***

    Do you think marijuana should be legalised?

    Yes = 24,466
    No = 40,191

    ***

    I voted yes of course!

  61. StevoR says

    @67. Amphiox

    Given the political landscape as it was this year, and all the way back to 2010, the result of this election has to be virtually, almost, the absolutely best possible result imaginable (other than Bachmann holding on to her seat, maybe) all the way down the ticket, from a progressive and liberal point of view. So to those of you already complaining about how this really isn’t so good, I ask you, compared to WHAT? .. (snip)… Today, this is as good as it gets.

    Well the Democratic Party could theoretically have won the Congress too. That’ would’ve been better wouldn’t it?

    And if we want the chance for an even better reality, well, we have to work for it. Wishing does not make it so.

    Very true indeed.

    And in reality, change almost always occurs in slow, small, sometimes imperceptible, steps. Evolution does not proceed through giant macro-mutational steps. Intelligent design (which partly applies to politics) does, but even then very very rarely.

    Oh I dunno ’bout that para though. The KT impact hit pretty quick with kinda a sudeen BANG! Ditto tleats geologically speaking the Permian mass extinction and quite a few others.

    Change can often happen very quickly politically too. In the 1980’s we had this nation called the Soviet Union – it vanished in a few years. Ditto Yugoslavia, ditto East & West Germany Germany and so on.

  62. says

    I still get the gay-marriage question. Weird.

    Also, the Vicar doesn’t seem to understand that bills in Congress can be amended or changed to include or preclude other things you might not be able to veto – like the checks to veterans and hospitals.

  63. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    The Vicar,

    (Having assured us that barring death or accident, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate in 2016, and indeed, that we all know this.)

    I was utterly flabbergasted by Hillary’s resurgence in 2008.

    So why should anyone take your prognostications for 2016 seriously?

    she is the only candidate the Democrats could possibly run who would stir up as much knee-jerk “I must vote to keep the Democrat out of office” action on the Republican side as they get out of racism against Obama. – The Vicar

    And of course none of the professional politicians in the Democratic Party could possibly work that out. Of course, by your logic, it was a supremely foolish move from the POV of a professional Democratic politician to support Obama’s nomination. I mean, how could he possibly win, when the Republicans could stir up racism against him?

    Conclusion: The Vicar is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.

  64. StevoR says

    @68. The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) :

    (To heck with “centrist”. They aren’t “centrist” any more. “Centrist” doesn’t mean bombing innocent foreigners and then doubling back to bomb the emergency services which show up to rescue people. The Democrats are right-wing now.

    Um, what the ..?

    Are you saying the Democratic party bombs people and then the emergency services c=going to the aid of those bombs? If so, then citation needed.

    Non-sequiteur anyhow.

    The left wing have committed plenty of wartime atrocities throughout the years – see Stalin, Pol Pot, the Shining Path terrorists, Baader-Meinhoff (sp?) terrorists, etc.

    Voting for Republicans as a protest (which I have seen a few people advocate) is a dumb strategy, because it reinforces the Democratic perception that if they move right they will get more votes. Voting for big-L Libertarians is basically the same, because Libertarians have spent decades treating right-wing economics as more important than actual civil liberties, and thus all Libertarians are at least under heavy suspicion of being right-wingers, even if they genuinely are voting that way because of civil liberties.

    Agreed – definitely especially for the Republicans.

    The only thing which has any chance at all of actually making the Democrats as a whole move back to the left even slightly — and I freely admit it’s a slim chance — is to vote for someone to their left and yell about why you did it, in the hopes that the margin of victory (or loss) will be small enough that they will start to value the votes they are losing by being so far to the right.

    (Emphasis added.)

    One way sure. But the “only” part I don’t agree about. That’s a very over used word and there’s usually an exception. How about joining the Democrats and arguing from inside to shift it further Left?

    Whether that’s more effective or not I don’t know but it strikes me as *an* alternative anyhow – plus changes in demographics, better education levels and the nature of the nation as are happening anyhow.

    As for Romney being disastrous: I agree, but I think Obama is also disastrous. He’s just a somewhat slower disaster. Instead of driving the car right off the cliff, he favors driving to the other side of the mountain first so we can watch the sunset as we fall. We’re not going to survive the crash either way, so I don’t see why I should be eager for him to take the wheel.

    We’re all gunna die one day. Would you rather die tomorrow or in fifty years time. Who chooses to die sooner than they have to? Who’d rather have less time before a disaster rather than more?

    D’uh!

    Obama may lead to the same disaster as Mittens – but if he does it slower there’s more time to change, more time for people to enjoy and learn and mitigate things and maybe change the journey we’re on. More time that something unexpected could happen. You’d rather not have than that than have it?

    @10.

    (And an embarrassing set of hypocritical and lying performances over the last four years, like the time she lectured an arab nation for executed their citizens without due process right after Obama had al-Awlaki — and his teenaged son, who was never even accused of anything — killed without due process.)

    Um do youeven know who Al-Awlaki was? Answer – an Al Quaida terrorists. Y’know one of those fighting a war against us. His son was following in his footsteps and doing the same.

    Y’know what war means? Enemies get killed.

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for any Al-Quaida terrorists. Far as I’m concerned they should be killed or captured.

    You disagree? You support Al Qaida and their ultra far right Islamofascist agenda? Really? What do you think we should have done with Al Awlaki? Given him a pat on the back and told him to please not kill us or something? Converted to his extrmist form of Islam so he’d and the rest of Al Quaida be nicer to us?

    Fuck that shit. Fuck appeasement. Fuck treating the Taliban and fucking Al Quiada like they’re rational decent humans. They ain’t.

  65. StevoR says

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for any Al-Quaida terrorists. Far as I’m concerned they should be killed or captured.

    And actually better killed than captured because, remember they love hijackings and taking hostages and so on as leverage for the release of killers to kill again.

    Problem with Gitmo is its too slow, too prolonged. My choice would be a quick trial establishing that captured enemy prisoners are either terrorists and terrorists supporters – or not.

    Membership of or any support for Al Quaida, the Taliban, Hamas or any other Jihadists terrorist group to carry and automatic mandatory death sentence. Those who are terrorists are promptly executed those who aren’t are freed.

    Only one possible exception to that penalty – turning informant immediately spilling the beans on all the prisoner knows and then sentence gets commuted to no less than twenty years gaol upwards to life depending on the individuals history and deeds.

    Trial and execution to follow no later than one year from capture.

    Think that’s harsh? Its nothing to what they’d do to us.

    Nothing to the consequences of life’s wrecked and risks taken to everyone if we’re soft and let them keep killing. When it comes to terrorism, zero-tolerance is, for once, the best policy.

  66. says

    As far as the discussion goes, suffice to say that while I’m happy (okay, not really because of personal mental crap) Obama won, I agree with what The Vicar is saying about the Dems. Entirely. Bill Clinton (and Tony Blair, and Jean Chretien in Canada as well) cribbed his entire economic policy from Bob Hawke’s Australian Labor Party and contributed heavily to the reduction of major left-wing parties the world over into laughable “centre-left” shadows of their right-wing counterparts with some leeway on ‘social’ issues and openness to raising taxes where righties scream NO. Even Francois Hollande’s “Socialist” government in France is still inflicting austerity cuts on its populace in tandem with its highly-touted tax increases on the rich.

    But more importantly, SC at #62 reminded me of (what I think is) a good summation of why the leftist base has not adequately responded to their representatives becoming shadows of the Right:

    Oh, and Brian Williams’ “Driven well past the last exit to relevance” is a classic.

    I lost all respect for Brian Williams when he announced the passage of the Affordable Care Act by calling it “the closest to universal healthcare that America is likely to get”. That is a fucking bullshit narrative that needs to die. The characterization of real, workable, equitable solutions as mere utopian fantasies in the ‘mainstream’ is what is killing the Left in the public discourse, full stop.

  67. says

    The only thing which has any chance at all of actually making the Democrats as a whole move back to the left even slightly — and I freely admit it’s a slim chance — is to vote for someone to their left and yell about why you did it, in the hopes that the margin of victory (or loss) will be small enough that they will start to value the votes they are losing by being so far to the right.

    Ridiculous. Howard Zinn in 2008 (I quote him and link to his article here):

    No, I’m not taking some ultra-left position that elections are totally insignificant, and that we should refuse to vote to preserve our moral purity. Yes, there are candidates who are somewhat better than others, and at certain times of national crisis (the Thirties, for instance, or right now) where even a slight difference between the two parties may be a matter of life and death.

    I’m talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes—the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth.

    But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.

    Let’s remember that even when there is a “better” candidate (yes, better Roosevelt than Hoover, better anyone than George Bush), that difference will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore.

    ***

    …Trial and execution to follow no later than one year from capture.

    Think that’s harsh? Its nothing to what they’d do to us.

    Oh, for sure. Killing people is letting them off easy.

  68. Matt Penfold says

    Think that’s harsh? Its nothing to what they’d do to us.

    How strange you would the standards of people you claim to despise as your benchmark for moral behaviour.

  69. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Conclusion: The Vicar is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.

    That was obvious from its first inane pontification.

  70. consciousness razor says

    I’m talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes—the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth.

    But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.

    That. Exactly that.

    I wonder whether it “gets lost in the election madness” or if it was never found in the first place; but either way, a lot of people (probably including myself a lot of the time) do not have it.

    Anyway, why aren’t we (as atheists) doing that? It’s not over, for a while, because we got past election day. It’s fine to joke about how awful it would be if the 2016 election were starting now (I mean, I hope it’s a joke), but we do have to keep working. So what are we doing? Are we talking to people in liberal parties and organizations or to anyone, or doing anything in particular? I’m not asking about what an organization like AA is doing. I’m asking about what we as a movement are doing, specifically, in the next few months or years.

    Doesn’t that seem like a silly question? I guess we’re not much for setting goals, at least not very specific, attainable ones. Is it that we’re reactionaries? Do we like to argue too much, with ourselves or in debates with theists? I know we’re still an insignificant group, but whatever the problems may be, we can make a very strong case on lots of secular issues. We ought to be heard, not to get attention for ourselves but because we can make a real, positive difference. So why aren’t we? Maybe we are, and I didn’t get the memo. I’d be happier if that’s the case.

  71. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    You would be wrong, given the long history of democrats telling people to shut up and take it whenever they get thrown under the bus. – Rutee Katreya

    I assume you mean “Democrats” rather than “democrats”. No-one being addressed on this thread by The Rev. Pompous Sanctimony has said anything like that; nor are any Pharyngula regulars that I can think of fans of Obama – if there are any, they are a tiny minority; what they are is immensely and rightly relieved. The whole world dodged a bullet on Tuesday: had the election gone the other way, prospects for American women, LBGTQ people, ethnic minorities and the poor would have got drastically worse, prospects of war against Iran would have risen, the already poor prospects of serious efforts to mitigate climate change would have dwindled to zero. It is a foolish error to self-righteously deny people a moment of celebration when something has gone right.

  72. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Which is why I am making a point of not voting for Democrats for President any more, even if it makes no difference. Why support them if they actively dismiss me? – Rev. Pompous Sanctimony

    Ah. So it’s a matter of personal pique, not principle.

  73. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Membership of or any support for Al Quaida, the Taliban, Hamas or any other Jihadists terrorist group to carry and automatic mandatory death sentence. -StevoR

    So you’re back to proposing genocide. Unsurprising, if disgusting.

  74. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    mendiscontinued,

    Well I see someone has already scooped out your brains and replaced them with shit, so in your case extermination would hardly matter.

  75. anteprepro says

    And actually better killed than captured because, remember they love hijackings and taking hostages and so on as leverage for the release of killers to kill again….

    Membership of or any support for Al Quaida, the Taliban, Hamas or any other Jihadists terrorist group to carry and automatic mandatory death sentence. Those who are terrorists are promptly executed those who aren’t are freed….

    Think that’s harsh? Its nothing to what they’d do to us.

    Nothing to the consequences of life’s wrecked and risks taken to everyone if we’re soft and let them keep killing. When it comes to terrorism, zero-tolerance is, for once, the best policy.

    FUCK OFF STEVOR.

    How has this amoral, dehumanizing, bloodthirsty, blatantly bigoted assclown not gotten fucking banned yet? He’s almost worse than someone who is just blatantly fucking with us, because he shows glimmers of reason in other arenas. It gives off the illusion that he has a chance of actually having some sense beaten into him. But it really is just pure, unmitigated hate all the way down.

  76. says

    @StevoR:

    Are you saying the Democratic party bombs people and then the emergency services going to the aid of those bombs? If so, then citation needed.

    Ah, I see you haven’t been paying attention to the news.

    Yes, we have been doing both things: drone bombing on targets which turn out to be not only innocent but obviously innocent (including at least two wedding parties, one under Bush and one under Obama), and also having drone bombers come back a few minutes later to bomb the emergency response. Whether there is any single incident which combines the two I don’t know — and frankly I find both practices so horrifying that I don’t want to do the research to find out — but if and when drone bombers start showing up in the hands of people bent on revenge, it’s not going to matter.

    One way sure. But the “only” part I don’t agree about. That’s a very over used word and there’s usually an exception. How about joining the Democrats and arguing from inside to shift it further Left?

    Okay, tell you what: you and your fellow-travelers here are claiming that it is possible to push the Democrats to the left from within. Well, it should now happen, according to your hypothesis. We just had an election where the voters rejected a huge number of right-wing measures and elected Democrats, including a number who are supposedly “left” as far as the Democrats are concerned. If there is ever a moment when the left within the 21st-Century Democratic Party is ascendant, this should be it. But…

    The next budget is about to be hammered out. Here’s what I’d be willing to bet we’re going to see accepted by Obama:
    – Cuts to Social Security and Medicare
    – No cuts to the military
    – No significant new taxes on the rich
    – Significant cuts in services to everyone else (and maybe some tax increases as well)
    And the Democrats will, after some grumbling, line up and support all this. When it happens, don’t forget to come back and apologize for claiming that the Democrats can be moved to the left. If they don’t do it now, they never will.

    (And, incidentally, I’m looking for Elizabeth Warren to get muzzled by Obama, maybe even in person, within a few weeks, the way he did with Kucinich.)

    Obama may lead to the same disaster as Mittens – but if he does it slower there’s more time to change, more time for people to enjoy and learn and mitigate things and maybe change the journey we’re on. More time that something unexpected could happen. You’d rather not have than that than have it?

    Ah, there’s your problem. You think that Obama is buying us time, and it will be possible to fix things. That’s not the way it’s going to play out. Because of people like you, who will cling to the Democrats every time even though they are causing the problems, there will never be anyone in government who actually wants to address the problems. Obama and his successors will sell you out, and by the time you get dislodged from your partisan

    We’ve tried protests, we’ve tried petitions, we’ve tried voting in primaries, we’ve tried voting in elections, we’ve tried not voting in elections, we’ve tried raising money, we’ve tried polls, we’ve tried this, that, and the other… the Democratic Party is not interested in moving left. It is interested in chasing corporate money, both for election funds and for the “perks” offered alongside that money such as cushy job offers post-retirement, and that means moving right, no matter how far that may be. Until Sheldon Adelson and the Coch Brothers are funding the Democrats, they will not cease moving to the right.

    Um do youeven know who Al-Awlaki was?

    An American citizen. Forgive me if I, unlike you, can see how letting this happen sets a precedent which will be used in the future. Especially since our more authoritarian government segments like to call anyone they disagree with a “terrorist” — the charge was leveled at OWS protestors. Want to see them executed without trial? Who will be next, after them? I’ll spare you the Martin Niemöller lines.

    (For that matter, if we let Obama kill people without trial, what happens when the Republicans get back in? Either they or someone just as vile who rises to take their place will be back some day; Obama only won by a couple of percentage points, and only because the Republicans were dumb enough to show their hand prematurely. What happens when Jeb Bush runs in 2016 and wins?)

    And actually better killed than captured because, remember they love hijackings and taking hostages and so on as leverage for the release of killers to kill again.

    Yeah, right, people who rely on unexpected attacks to kill people because they can’t manage to do it any other way shouldn’t be given a trial because they might… break through handcuffs and restraints and overpower a plane-full of armed soldiers who are specifically watching them, and crash the plane into a public landmark? Is that what you’re saying?

    Or are you suggesting that terrorists who we have good enough evidence against to kill couldn’t be convicted in a court of law? (And don’t say “but the evidence might be too secret to reveal”, because courts can be closed to keep evidence secret.) If so, then you are frankly bloodthirsty and uncivilized, and I’m extremely uncomfortable with the idea that you’re out there at large. The idea that private judgement should be doled out as instant death is what the terrorists think.

    Problem with Gitmo is its too slow, too prolonged.

    No, the problem with Gitmo is that about three quarters of the people in it are innocent, even by our own “you’re a terrorist if we say you are” estimates. Because we filled it by arresting everyone in whole city streets at a time in Iraq, without bothering to see if there was any reason to take them in. That’s the mindset you are now defending.

    @Matt Penfold:

    Ah. So it’s a matter of personal pique, not principle.

    Right, because people who publicly dismiss anyone who thinks like me are so likely to agree with my principles. Heck, maybe I should be voting for Republicans; after all, their expressed contempt for actual left positions is no greater than those expressed by the Democrats in Obama’s administration. Since according to you, both public pronouncements and acts of policy should be ignored, that makes them my bosom buddies, right?

    @ Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Funny how I’m citing things which have actually happened, even providing links a few times when challenged, and all you’re doing is name-calling, yet you think you’re somehow disproving my points. Ah, yes, Democratic partisan atheists: demanding proof of assertions and following where the facts may lead — until someone criticizes Obama, and then it’s Cloudcuckooland Ho!

  77. says

    Ah, I skipped to a new paragraph and didn’t complete the one I was working on. “Obama and his successors will sell you out, and by the time you get dislodged from your partisan” should have concluded: “position, it will be far too late for change to actually occur.”

  78. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Scum manifesto = extermination of males = FEMINISTS

    I wonder how many male feminists would be killed off if such a purge happened…

  79. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    SteveoR:

    Nothing to the consequences of life’s wrecked and risks taken to everyone if we’re soft and let them keep killing. When it comes to terrorism, zero-tolerance is, for once, the best policy.

    Why are you so fond of talking about how we should kill all the Islamic terrorists?

  80. consciousness razor says

    Okay, tell you what: you and your fellow-travelers here are claiming that it is possible to push the Democrats to the left from within. Well, it should now happen, according to your hypothesis.

    First, “it could happen” does not mean “it will (probably) happen.” That said, I think it probably will, but whether someone like me (or you* or anyone else in particular) does the pushing is hard to predict.

    *But I guess not you, because your position is apparently that doing it from within the Democratic party is impossible. So you’re a Green, a socialist, or what? How could any of them, as great as they may be, make more of a difference? Unlike you, I won’t claim, based on no evidence, that they’re completely impotent; but it’s hard to imagine them being more effective, considering how small a minority they are and how little they’ve done in the past in terms of actual policy or platform changes.

    The next budget is about to be hammered out. Here’s what I’d be willing to bet we’re going to see accepted by Obama:
    – Cuts to Social Security and Medicare
    – No cuts to the military
    – No significant new taxes on the rich
    – Significant cuts in services to everyone else (and maybe some tax increases as well)
    And the Democrats will, after some grumbling, line up and support all this. When it happens, don’t forget to come back and apologize for claiming that the Democrats can be moved to the left. If they don’t do it now, they never will.

    I doubts all of those, but if (not “when”) any of that happens, what would there be to apologize about? It would be that we didn’t do enough (or the right things) to make it happen, not that we thought it was possible. It would still be true that the Dems can be moved to the left from within, even if in fact they weren’t moved. (That is, within the time period and on the issues you’ve decided to bet on here.)

  81. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Public Service Announcement for new and irregular readers:

    StevoR is a known racist and antisemite who regularly advocates genocide.

    His desire to extrajudicially murder American Muslims should not be assumed to be representative of Pharyngula commenters in general.

  82. says

    @consciousness razor:

    Unlike you, I won’t claim, based on no evidence, that they’re completely impotent; but it’s hard to imagine them being more effective, considering how small a minority they are and how little they’ve done in the past in terms of actual policy or platform changes.

    Most historians I’ve read seem to agree that the passage of the New Deal (and the associated bank regulation) was largely a reaction to the potential for Communist recruitment in the discontent during the Depression. The Communists were running presidential candidates in those days, and never even got half of one percent of the vote. (Just once, in 1932, they got a little over a quarter of one percent.) They didn’t have to actually have a lot of members, just get people talking about it.

    Since that’s one of the two big left victories of the 20th century, I would be a bit careful, were I you, to dismiss the effect of even a small group of left-wingers.

    For that matter, if we look at the other side, the successful right-wing push into civil rights destruction and war under Bush was made possible by a few hundred terrorists (at most) working in concert, and actuated by a few hundred well-organized right-wingers in key positions who capitalized on the attack. (Look at the way that the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, which is over 300 pages long, was assembled and voted on in — relatively speaking — the twinkling of an eye.) I won’t say that single individuals can swing things alone, except in very rare or artificial circumstances, but it clearly doesn’t require a lot of people to have a very large effect.

    It would still be true that the Dems can be moved to the left from within, even if in fact they weren’t moved.

    Nonsense. If the Democrats aren’t going to move left now, with this first act after most people are claiming this as a victory for the left, they never will. There’s no reason for Obama to become more responsive to public demand — he’s never going to be up for election again, and it’s pretty clear he doesn’t really care very much about doing the right thing, so it’s no skin off his nose if the Republicans even take the Senate in 2014.

    (In fact, if Congress were completely controlled by Republicans, if would probably make Obama’s life easier — he could sit back and relax and just sign everything they give him. So far, Democratic partisans have been acquiescent every time he has signed a right-wing bill into law using Republicans in the House as an excuse, and your continued defense of him strongly suggests that this excuse isn’t going to stop working any time soon.)

    By reëlecting him without even a primary challenge to serve notice that he wasn’t totally satisfactory, you just lost all leverage you may have had to control his behavior. And the party definitely takes its marching orders from Obama — look at the way he led the charge to neuter healthcare “reform” to make sure it couldn’t possibly provide healthcare for everyone or endanger private insurance companies’ profits.

    So no, if the budget once again (italics for emphasis) turns into “let’s give the Republicans everything we think they might ask for in exchange for nothing except being able to claim we were bipartisan and got something done”, there will be no leftward push at all over the next four years. (And there is absolutely no sign from within the Democratic Party’s upper echelons of any desire to take a hard line against the right this time. Glenn Greenwald has it exactly right.)

  83. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Which is why I am making a point of not voting for Democrats for President any more, even if it makes no difference. Why support them if they actively dismiss me? – Rev. Pompous Sanctimony

    Ah. So it’s a matter of personal pique, not principle. – me (not Matt Penfold)

    Right, because people who publicly dismiss anyone who thinks like me are so likely to agree with my principles. Rev. Pompous Sanctimony

    I invite everyone to read Rev. Sanctimony’s comment to which I responded, and judge for themselves whether it represents principle or pique. Rev. Sanctimony, have you noticed yet that none of those you are lecturing actually take the position you are arguing against?

  84. consciousness razor says

    Since that’s one of the two big left victories of the 20th century, I would be a bit careful, were I you, to dismiss the effect of even a small group of left-wingers.

    I’m not “dismissing” them, but I don’t think there’s reason to think a larger group of left-wingers must have less of an effect. I say “must” because you claimed it cannot happen any other way.

    Would you answer my questions? What party are you advocating and how exactly will you/they do more? (Are you in the U.S. or Canada? The use of “reëlecting” makes me wonder.)

  85. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Most historians I’ve read seem to agree that the passage of the New Deal (and the associated bank regulation) was largely a reaction to the potential for Communist recruitment in the discontent during the Depression. – Rev. Pompous Sanctimony

    In the first place, [citations needed]. But assuming you can actually produce them, I suggest considering the broader context of that time: the Russian Revolution, powerful Communist or other radical left parties in much of Europe.

    By reëlecting him without even a primary challenge to serve notice that he wasn’t totally satisfactory, you just lost all leverage you may have had to control his behavior. – Rev. Pompous Sanctimony

    Has it even occurred to you that some of those you are lecturing are not only not members of the Democratic Party (SC has already mentioned she’s an anarchist, Strange Gods Before Me, who has argued here repeatedly and passionately against third-party voting in the election, is a communist), but are not even Americans (I’m a British ecosocialist)? What’s more, at least one of them (me) would, if I were American, have voted and campaigned for the Green Party if I lived in a state where the outcome as between Romney and Obama was a foregone conclusion. What I object to, apart from your self-righteous pontification, is your fuckwitted claim that it makes no difference who won on Tuesday.

  86. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    yet you think you’re somehow disproving my points.

    I met too many egotistical windbags in my academic days. You remind me of one. You aren’t worth engaging, as you don’t listen. You just preach.

  87. Amphiox says

    Nonsense. If the Democrats aren’t going to move left now, with this first act after most people are claiming this as a victory for the left, they never will.

    The Democrats ALREADY HAVE moved left now. Their platform this year was substantially to the left of any of their other platforms in the recent past.

    By reelecting him without even a primary challenge to serve notice that he wasn’t totally satisfactory, you just lost all leverage you may have had to control his behavior.

    What makes anyone think that “controlling” Obama’s behavior was in any way a motivation for voting for him? One way or another, the Obama era ends in just four years. Voting for Obama is just the first necessary step for laying the groundwork for a far longer game.

  88. Amphiox says

    And for emphasis I will repeat:

    This year the Democrats campaigned on a platform further to the left and more progressive than any other in their recent history.

    And they were rewarded across the board for it. They won the Presidency. They gained in the Senate. They gained in the House. Some of their most promising progressive candidates got a chance to make their first appearance on the national stage and looked good doing it.

    And as a party they will now get the opportunity to be seen as the party in power during a period in which the nation is expected to emerge from a terrible financial sag, and benefit from that, deserved or not.

    This, plus the demographic shift, and the not-small possibility that the Republicans will entrench right and self-destruct, allows for the opportunity of having the Democratic Party dominate national electoral politics for decades to come.

    This has several consequences:

    Firstly, the Democratic Party will have won this opportunity by running the most liberal and progressive platform they have ever run on in a long time. This sends the powerful and loud message that liberal and progressive causes are things you can run on and WIN.

    Secondly, the possible obliteration of a viable right wing threat in national electoral politics makes it safe to contemplate challenging the Democrat center from the left either from within or through third parties WITHOUT RISKING vote-splitting that would enable the most regressive and dangerous threats to win.

    This is what makes this election so important. None of these above gains will become possible without further hard work at the grassroots level, but none of them would be even imaginable without this election win.

    For those of you who pine for a viable progressive third party option to the left of the Democrats, this election win by the Democrats was an absolute precondition for such a third party to ever have a chance to grow and become viable.

    Well now you have it. The seed is planted. Time to go and water the soil.

  89. consciousness razor says

    I’ll take this opportunity to share CPUSA chair Sam Webb’s response to the election:

    Obviously, that means the CPUSA is too far to the right and has been infiltrated by centrist faux-progressives with blood on their hands. Or it means they have not lost all contact with reality. Probably one of the two.

  90. strange gods before me ॐ says

    An email correspondent sends the following essay by Rebecca Solnit; I’ve edited it somewhat for accuracy:

    Obama does bad things and I deplore them, though not with a lot of fuss, since they’re hardly a surprise. He sometimes also does not-bad things, and I sometimes mention them in passing, and mentioning them does not negate the reality of the bad things.

    The same has been true of other politicians: the recent governor of my state, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was in some respects quite good on climate change. Yet it was impossible for me to say so to [some] radical[s] without receiving an earful about all the other ways in which Schwarzenegger was terrible, as if the speaker had a news scoop, as if he or she thought I had been living under a rock, as if the presence of bad things made the existence of good ones irrelevant. As a result, it was impossible to discuss what Schwarzenegger was doing on climate change (and unnecessary for my interlocutors to know about it, no less figure out how to use it).

    So here I want to lay out an obvious principle that apparently needs clarification. There are bad things and they are bad. There are good things and they are good, even though the bad things are bad. The mentioning of something good does not require the automatic assertion of a bad thing. The good thing might be an interesting avenue to pursue in itself if you want to get anywhere. In that context, the bad thing has all the safety of a dead end. And yes, much in the realm of electoral politics is hideous, but since it also shapes quite a bit of the world, if you want to be political or even informed you have to pay attention to it and maybe even work with it.

    Instead, I constantly encounter a response that presumes the job at hand is to figure out what’s wrong, even when dealing with an actual victory, or a constructive development. Recently, I mentioned that California’s current attorney general, Kamala Harris, is anti-death penalty and also acting in good ways to defend people against foreclosure. A snarky Berkeley professor’s immediate response began, “Excuse me, she’s anti-death penalty, but let the record show that her office condoned the illegal purchase of lethal injection drugs.”

    Apparently, we are not allowed to celebrate the fact that the attorney general for 12% of all Americans is pretty cool in a few key ways or figure out where that could take us. My respondent was attempting to crush my ebullience and wither the discussion, and what purpose exactly does that serve?

    This kind of response often has an air of punishing or condemning those who are less radical, and it is exactly the opposite of movement- or alliance-building. Those who don’t simply exit the premises will be that much more cautious about opening their mouths. Except to [complain], the acceptable currency of the realm.

    My friend Jaime Cortez, a magnificent person and writer, sent this my way: “At a dinner party recently, I expressed my pleasure that some parts of Obamacare passed, and starting 2014, the picture would be improved. I was regaled with reminders of the horrors of the drone program that Obama supports, and reminded how inadequate Obamacare was. I responded that it is not perfect, but it was an incremental improvement, and I was glad for it. But really, I felt dumb and flat-footed for being grateful.”

    The Emperor Is Naked and Uninteresting

    Maybe it’s part of our country’s Puritan heritage, of demonstrating one’s own purity and superiority rather than focusing on fixing problems or being compassionate. Maybe it comes from people who grew up in the mainstream and felt like the kid who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes, that there were naked lies, hypocrisies, and corruptions in the system.

    Believe me, a lot of us already know most of the dimples on the imperial derriere by now, and there are other things worth discussing. Often, it’s not the emperor that’s the important news anyway, but the peasants in their revolts and even their triumphs, while this mindset I’m trying to describe remains locked on the emperor, in fury and maybe in self-affirmation.

    When you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail, but that’s not a good reason to continue to pound down anything in the vicinity. Consider what needs to be raised up as well. Consider our powers, our victories, our possibilities; ask yourself just what you’re contributing, what kind of story you’re telling, and what kind you want to be telling.

    Sitting around with the first occupiers of Zuccotti Park on the first anniversary of Occupy, I listened to one lovely young man talking about the rage his peers, particularly his gender, often have. But, he added, fury is not a tactic or a strategy, though it might sometimes provide the necessary energy for getting things done.

    There are so many ways to imagine this mindset — or maybe its many mindsets with many origins — in which so many are mired. Perhaps one version devolves from academic debate, which at its best is a constructive, collaborative building of an argument through testing and challenge, but at its worst represents the habitual tearing down of everything, and encourages a subculture of sourness that couldn’t be less productive.

    Can you imagine how far the Civil Rights Movement would have gotten, had it been run entirely by complainers for whom nothing was ever good enough? To hell with integrating the Montgomery public transit system when the problem was so much larger!

    Picture Gandhi’s salt marchers [complaining] all the way to the sea, or the Zapatistas, if Subcomandante Marcos was merely the master kvetcher of the Lacandon jungle, or an Aung San Suu Kyi who conducted herself like a caustic American pundit. Why did the Egyptian revolutionary who told me about being tortured repeatedly seem so much less bitter than many of those I run into here who have never suffered such harm?

    There is idealism somewhere under this pile of bile, the pernicious idealism that wants the world to be perfect and is disgruntled that it isn’t — and that it never will be. That’s why the perfect is the enemy of the good. Because, really, people, part of how we are going to thrive in this imperfect moment is through élan, esprit de corps, fierce hope, and generous hearts.

    We talk about prefigurative politics, the idea that you can embody your goal. This is often discussed as doing your political organizing through direct-democratic means, but not as being heroic in your spirit or generous in your gestures.

    Left-Wing Vote Suppression

    One manifestation of this indiscriminate biliousness is the statement that gets aired every four years: that in presidential elections we are asked to choose the lesser of two evils. Now, this is not an analysis or an insight; it is a cliché, and a very tired one, and it often comes in the same package as the insistence that there is no difference between the candidates. You can reframe it, however, by saying: we get a choice, and not choosing at all can be tantamount in its consequences to choosing the greater of two evils.

    But having marriage rights or discrimination protection or access to health care is not the lesser of two evils. If I vote for a Democrat, I do so in the hopes that fewer people will suffer, not in the belief that that option will eliminate suffering or bring us to anywhere near my goals or represent my values perfectly. Yet people are willing to use this “evils” slogan to wrap up all the infinite complexity of the fate of the Earth and everything living on it and throw it away.

    I don’t love electoral politics, particularly the national variety. I generally find such elections depressing and look for real hope to the people-powered movements around the globe and subtler social and imaginative shifts toward more compassion and more creativity. Still, every four years we are asked if we want to have our foot trod upon or sawed off at the ankle without anesthetic. The usual reply on the left is that there’s no difference between the two experiences and they prefer that Che Guevara give them a spa pedicure. Now, the Che pedicure is not actually one of the available options, though surely in heaven we will all have our toenails painted camo green by El Jefe.

    Before that transpires, there’s something to be said for actually examining the differences. In some cases not choosing the trod foot may bring us all closer to that unbearable amputation. Or maybe it’s that the people in question won’t be the ones to suffer, because their finances, health care, educational access, and so forth are not at stake.

    An undocumented immigrant writes me, “The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with.” Or as a Nevada activist friend put it, “Oh my God, go be sanctimonious in California and don’t vote or whatever, but those [complaining] radicals are basically suppressing the vote in states where it matters.”

    Presidential electoral politics is as riddled with corporate money and lobbyists as a long-dead dog with maggots, and deeply mired in the manure of the status quo — and everyone knows it. People who told me back in 2000 that there was no difference between Bush and Gore never got back to me afterward.

    I didn’t like Gore, the ex-NAFTA-advocate and pro-WTO shill, but I knew that the differences did matter, especially to the most vulnerable among us, whether to people in Africa dying from the early impacts of climate change or to the shift since 2000 that has turned our nation from a place where more than two-thirds of women had abortion rights in their states to one where less than half of them have those rights. Liberals often concentrate on domestic policy, where education, health care, and economic justice matter more and where Democrats are sometimes decent, even lifesaving, while [some] radicals are often obsessed with foreign policy to the exclusion of all else.

    I’m with those who are horrified by Obama’s presidential drone wars, his dismal inaction on global climate treaties, and his administration’s soaring numbers of deportations of undocumented immigrants.

    At a demonstration in support of Bradley Manning this month, I was handed a postcard of a dead child with the caption “Tell this child the Democrats are the lesser of two evils.” It behooves us not to use the dead for our own devices, but that child did die thanks to an Obama Administration policy. Others live because of the way that same administration has provided health insurance for millions of poor children or, for example, reinstated environmental regulations that save thousands of lives.

    You could argue that to vote for Obama is to vote for the killing of children, or that to vote for him is to vote for the protection for other children or even killing fewer children. Virtually all U.S. presidents have called down death upon their fellow human beings. It is an immoral system.

    You don’t have to participate in this system, but you do have to describe it and its complexities and contradictions accurately.

    Bitterness poisons you and it poisons the people you feed it to, and with it you drive away a lot of people who don’t like poison. You don’t have to punish those who do choose to participate. Actually, you don’t have to punish anyone, period.

    We Could Be Heroes

    We are facing a radical right that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact. We face not only their specific policies, but a kind of cultural decay that comes from not valuing truth, not trying to understand the complexities and nuances of our situation, and not making empathy a force with which to act. To oppose them requires us to be different from them, and that begins with both empathy and intelligence, which are not as separate as we have often been told.

    Being different means celebrating what you have in common with potential allies, not punishing them for often-minor differences. It means developing a more complex understanding of the matters under consideration than the cartoonish black and white that both left and the right tend to fall back on.

    Dismissiveness is a way of disengaging from both the facts on the ground and the obligations those facts bring to bear on your life. As Michael Eric Dyson recently put it, “What is not good are ideals and rhetorics that don’t have the possibility of changing the condition that you analyze. Otherwise, you’re engaging in a form of rhetorical narcissism and ideological self-preoccupation that has no consequence on the material conditions of actually existing poor people.”

    Nine years ago I began writing about hope, and I eventually began to refer to my project as “snatching the teddy bear of despair from the loving arms of the left.” All that complaining is a form of defeatism, a premature surrender, or an excuse for not really doing much. Despair is also a form of dismissiveness, a way of saying that you already know what will happen and nothing can be done, or that the differences don’t matter, or that nothing but the impossibly perfect is acceptable. If you’re privileged you can then go home and watch bad TV or reinforce your grumpiness with equally grumpy friends.

    The desperate are often much more hopeful than that — the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, that amazingly effective immigrant farmworkers’ rights group, is hopeful because quitting for them would mean surrendering to modern-day slavery, dire poverty, hunger, or death, not cable-TV reruns. They’re hopeful and they’re powerful, and they went up against Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s, and they won.

    The great human-rights activist Harvey Milk was hopeful, even though when he was assassinated gays and lesbians had almost no rights (but had just won two major victories in which he played a role). He famously said, “You have to give people hope.”

    In terms of the rights since won by gays and lesbians, where we are now would undoubtedly amaze Milk, and we got there step by step, one pragmatic and imperfect victory at a time — with so many more yet to be won. To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.

    There are really only two questions for activists: What do you want to achieve? And who do you want to be? And those two questions are deeply entwined. Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style.

    That is the small ongoing victory on which great victories can be built, and you do want victories, don’t you? Make sure you’re clear on the answer to that, and think about what they would look like.

  91. lpetrich says

    According to the US Constitution, one has to be at least 35 years old to become President. So let’s see which Presidential offspring will pass that threshold in 2016 or 2020.

    * Chelsea Clinton, Feb 27, 1980 — 2016
    * Jenna Bush, Barbara Bush II, Nov 25, 1981 — 2016
    * George P. Bush, Apr 24, 1976 — 2012
    * Noelle Bush, Jul 26, 1977 — 2012
    * Jeb Bush II, Dec 13, 1983 — 2020

    As to Jenna Bush, I don’t know what she will do about this picture of her in action: http://skimble.blogspot.com/images/JennaBush.jpg

    Will she advertise it as evidence of what a forceful leader she will be? :D

  92. says

    @consciousness razor:

    Would you answer my questions? What party are you advocating and how exactly will you/they do more? (Are you in the U.S. or Canada? The use of “reëlecting” makes me wonder.)

    To be fair, as far as I can tell, you only asked the first of those two questions before, and it was in a barrage of questions which seemed rhetorical, so I didn’t bother answering all of them.

    At the moment, I am advocating the Greens, but anyone to the left of the Democrats would do for the most part. (The Libertarians are not to the left of the Democrats. My support for them is strictly limited to wishing Republicans would break off and vote for them instead because the tension they would have with the other parties, were they to get people elected, would be better for the country than the existing tension between the Democrats and Republicans. Even if you left the Greens out entirely, the presidential debates would have been dramatically better if Ron Paul had been there, just to criticize the other candidates in ways they would never dream of mentioning themselves. After all, as things went, on foreign policy there was essentially no difference between the two. It would have been extremely edifying to see someone start mentioning how the military is the thing actually bankrupting the nation and bringing us to the point where people can begin talking about austerity measures.)

    As for the second question, I’ll go further than I usually do and break a little corner off my anonymity: I was born and bred in the Chicago area, and am currently living there again. I have been a registered Democrat since I first registered to vote, and I vote in their primaries (for all the good it does). I voted for Obama in 2008; if he hadn’t been such an incredible, all-embracing disappointment and betrayal I wouldn’t be arguing against him now.

    Oh, and I used a dieresis in “reëlecting” because that (or a hyphen, which make the writer seem like they just woke up from a coma they entered in 1912) is proper usage, and although I have a tendency to fail to proofread I do make an attempt to get things right. (I always try to go back and reread what I have written before I post, but somehow I never notice The Big Error until after I post.)

    @Amphiox

    The Democrats ALREADY HAVE moved left now. Their platform this year was substantially to the left of any of their other platforms in the recent past.

    No, they have have already told you what they think you want to hear. Obama already did that one, back in 2008. And the various Democratic congress candidates did so in 2006 as well (result: no reregulation in any arena, no changes to tax law, no prosecution of Bush administration members for their crimes, no end to the wars). They won’t have actually moved left unless they act on it. After the last 4 years — or, you could say with equal justice, the last 20 years — the chances that they will act on it are essentially nil.

    (Oh, and incidentally: the British government reports that the Obama administration has requested access to their mideast bases for the purpose of an invasion of Iran, we have moved two aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf, we have been beefing up the staff of our many bases surrounding Iran, and we’re invading their airspace on a regular basis. What was that about Obama being less likely to start a war with Iran than Romney?)

    What makes anyone think that “controlling” Obama’s behavior was in any way a motivation for voting for him?

    Allow me to quote the ultimate authority on Barack Obama’s behavior: the man himself.

    You’ll have to hold my feet to the fire.

    That was Barack Obama speaking to Democrats in 2008. He says that if you don’t work to control him, he won’t do the right thing. Do you contradict him when he speaks about himself?

    Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

    Secondly, the possible obliteration of a viable right wing threat in national electoral politics makes it safe to contemplate challenging the Democrat center from the left either from within or through third parties WITHOUT RISKING vote-splitting that would enable the most regressive and dangerous threats to win.

    That’s “possible”. Funny, but we were also told in 2008 that the Republicans had been obliterated. Somehow they managed to take a majority in one house of Congress and come scarily close to getting majority in the other, and even now they hold 3 out of every 5 state governorships, a majority in the House, and ~49% of the popular vote for President. And this despite running a candidate who couldn’t maintain a steady position on any single issue for three days running at any time during the campaign. If you think the Republicans are obliterated, you are (and I say this unhappily) in for a big surprise in 2014. They’re going to do exactly what they did before: take advantage of Obama’s willingness to give them everything they want to make him enact their kinds of policy, and then blame the Democratic Party in the midterms and quite possibly make gains in both houses of Congress. (And lest you forget: in 2014 there are vastly more Democratic senators up for reëlection than Republicans. More targets, and if the last six years are any guide, those senators won’t be running on their accomplishments, because you have to have some accomplishments first in order to use that tactic.)

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Ah, well thanks for telling me what was wrong! I’ll tell my agents who were holding guns to your head, forcing you to read my comments, to disengage. There, now you can simply skip the posts instead of being so incensed that you were absolutely forced to post incredibly rude and childish replies. Why didn’t you say something earlier?

    @strange gods before me ॐ

    Wow, I can summarize that whole long essay from comment 110 in two sentences. Ready?

    “I don’t actually like most politicians, but I also feel bad when people overrule defenses of notably flawed politicians by pointing out the major and very real flaws which they usually have, which admittedly of much greater magnitude than any positive qualities they may have. Fortunately, by claiming the critics are just trying to be negative, I can feel smugly superior to both.”

    As for whether opposing a politician who has some extremely minor good points but huge failings is worth it, for some reason I was reminded of this cartoon. And this one. And while looking for reference links I came across this one as well.

    StevoR is a known racist and antisemite who regularly advocates genocide.

    I know it isn’t actually relevant to the argument, but I can’t resist pointing out that he’s also agreeing with one side in this argument, and it isn’t mine.

    @Nick Gotts (Formerly KG):

    (I skipped this one last night.)

    And of course none of the professional politicians in the Democratic Party could possibly work that out. Of course, by your logic, it was a supremely foolish move from the POV of a professional Democratic politician to support Obama’s nomination. I mean, how could he possibly win, when the Republicans could stir up racism against him?

    Trying to elect someone in the face of racism or misogyny (or any other prejudice) is an entirely different thing from needlessly putting up a candidate who has a whole anti-cult of personality against them in addition to triggering racism or misogyny or whatever. There are plenty of women who are Democrats who would probably make better presidents than Obama. (Barbara Lee, for one — only member of the House who voted against the AUMF in Iraq.) Hillary Clinton would not only be a bad choice on policy grounds but would face twice as heavy opposition as any of the others because she would have to face not just misogyny but also personal hatred. (Obama, on the other hand, basically only had to face racism — and I don’t mean to suggest that that racism was trivial, just that there were no Republicans with a long history of hating him who had already spent years coming up with every possible tactic, slogan, smear, and attack, which is the case with Hillary.)

    As for the Democratic Party not working out Hillary’s obvious setbacks as a candidate: she came very close to getting the nomination in 2008. So very clearly a large number of those professional politicians can’t see her problems.

  93. says

    @consciousness razor:

    Two more things. (Sorry, I didn’t think of these until after stepping away from the computer.)

    I’m not “dismissing” them, but I don’t think there’s reason to think a larger group of left-wingers must have less of an effect. I say “must” because you claimed it cannot happen any other way.

    How on earth did you get from “we don’t even need a lot of people to leave the Democratic Party in order to effect change, just enough to convince the Democrats that they need to pull back from the abyss to get enough votes to stay in office”, which is what I was saying, to “the fewer people are involved the more effective they will be”? That’s one heck of a jump!

    Secondly: you’ve been asking me a lot of questions, so let me ask you one. Obama has protected the banks who committed fraud from prosecution, likewise everyone involved in the Iraq invasion and the various torture scandals of the Bush administration, he has defunded social programs and offered to gut Social Security and Medicare (although that wasn’t accepted… yet), he has sent troops to attack other countries without Congressional approval (Libya is just one example), he is killing lots of random innocent foreigners via drone bombing (which, incidentally, is going to bite us in the ass at some point), he not only signed the 2012 NDAA which theoretically eliminates habeas corpus but has since had his legal team defend it in court. (He also had his legal team enforcing DADT right up to the end, but at least he finally stopped that.) So my question is: is there anything at all which Obama could have done during the last four years which would have caused you to actually say “you know what, this guy is not worth voting for, I’m going to jump ship and vote for Green/Libertarian/Republican/write-in/nobody”?

    …while I was away from the computer, I also had a sudden realization: I am actually having to defend myself from people who say that not accepting a president who will murder random innocent foreigners is being too perfectionist. This is not the proudest moment in the history of American democracy.

  94. StevoR says

    @100. strange gods before me ॐ

    Public Service Announcement for new and irregular readers:

    StevoR is a known racist and antisemite who regularly advocates genocide.

    His desire to extrajudicially murder American Muslims should not be assumed to be representative of Pharyngula commenters in general.

    Absolute fucking bullshit.

    And you have slandered and lied about me here and owe me an apology.

    You disagree? Show me one post, just one fucking post where I have said anything racist. Or anti-Semitic.

    No, being against fucking Islamofascist terrorist Jihadists who wish to murder us all and have values that are ultra right beyond pretty much anything on the planet doesn’t count.

    For the fucking zillionth time Islam is NOT a race & I don’t give a shit about skin colour.

    I don’t care whether an Al Quaida terrorist is white, black, brown, red or yellow – I don’t want them trying to destroy our way of life and committ atrocities against innocent people (whatever their skin colours) and I support teh Jewish peopel and their right toexist intheir traditional hidstorical, actual fucking homeland infucking peace.

    Go on. One post. Just one.

    You cannot do it. Apologise admit you were wrong and stop fucking lying about me.

    Right fucking now.

  95. StevoR says

    See also :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/11/08/lounge-379/comment-page-1/#comment-489036

    For a typo corrected version on the lounge. Comment # 105.

    Postscript :

    And no, I’m not going to take this to the “Thunderdome” (a.k.a. no rules and bullying bullshit) thread because y’know I’ve been bullied more than enough here and in life already, okay.

    If certain abusive bullies (yes Ing, that includes you) cannot contain yourselves enough to hold a civilised moderated discussion within a handful of basic moderated rules then that says something really bad about you and you might want to think about that a bit.

    I have been very badly wronged here.

    I like this blog, I try to make positive contributions here but I am sick to the gills with being so badly abused and mistreated and lied about.

  96. StevoR says

    @100. strange gods before me ॐ :

    His desire to extrajudicially murder American Muslims should not be assumed to be representative of Pharyngula commenters in general.

    Did you miss the bit about having trials there?

    Because in #83 I specifically wrote :

    Problem with Gitmo is its too slow, too prolonged. My choice would be a quick trial establishing that captured enemy prisoners are either terrorists and terrorists supporters – or not.

    Membership of or any support for Al Quaida, the Taliban, Hamas or any other Jihadists terrorist group to carry and automatic mandatory death sentence. Those who are terrorists are promptly executed those who aren’t are freed.

    Only one possible exception to that penalty – turning informant immediately spilling the beans on all the prisoner knows and then sentence gets commuted to no less than twenty years gaol upwards to life depending on the individuals history and deeds.

    Trial and execution to follow no later than one year from capture.

    Emphasis added to aid reading comprehension.

    Fair trials followed by deserved executions or aquittals as appropriate.

    FFS learn to read okay.

  97. StevoR says

    Oh and also not “Amercians Muslims” but fucking Jihadist terrorists specifically.

    Don’t care if they’re American, Chinese, Aussie or Antartican, if you belong to Al Quaida, if you joined an Islamofascistr teroirst group willingly and want to murder people because they’re non-Muslims then you deserve whatever you get and worse.

  98. consciousness razor says

    How on earth did you get from “we don’t even need a lot of people to leave the Democratic Party in order to effect change, just enough to convince the Democrats that they need to pull back from the abyss to get enough votes to stay in office”, which is what I was saying, to “the fewer people are involved the more effective they will be”? That’s one heck of a jump!

    You’ve said a lot of things. Maybe you don’t believe your claims that progress from within the Democratic party cannot happen. Maybe I misinterpreted them. That’s fine. But that’s why I asked you how voting for a third party and activism along those lines could be more effective (by itself, all else being equal) than engaging the Democratic party directly from within, to which you’ve never responded.

    But sure, if Democrats lose liberal votes (on a specific issue, and not right-leaning votes as well, since that’ll send mixed messages), they’ll do something differently. Probably. Who knows what. You might at least get a little more pandering on an issue or two or three.

    Voting isn’t exactly a good way of changing others’ minds. Think about it: it’s practically the minimum amount of information you could give, for someone else to work with to figure out what your priorities really are. That is, assuming you even know how you would prioritize things, which isn’t always easy.

    That’s not what voting is for anyway. It’s for getting the best results which you think have a good chance of happening in the real world. Not in fantasyland. Not in some distant future you hope for, which you don’t actually live in. Right now. Because whatever your decisions are really matter to real people right now. You want to say there’s no substantial difference between Democrats and Republicans? Then fuck you. You’re ignoring reality and erasing tons of fucking people. It’s fine with me if you’re upset about the Democrats. I am too. But don’t just toss your shit all over the place. Get up and do something about it that will actually work.

    So my question is: is there anything at all which Obama could have done during the last four years which would have caused you to actually say “you know what, this guy is not worth voting for, I’m going to jump ship and vote for Green/Libertarian/Republican/write-in/nobody”?

    Those are all very different choices, and it wouldn’t simply depend on what Obama (or another incumbent) did. It would depend on what the choices are and the likely results of any of them. Let’s put it this way: I don’t have the luxury of tossing away my vote because I don’t care who suffers when an even worse candidate wins. I’m not voting Green or writing-in myself (whose policies I would certainly agree with) if Republicans (or just a worse candidate) will probably win. I vote to get a result, not to get an “I voted” sticker or fuzzy feelings in my special parts or whatever.

    I also had a sudden realization: I am actually having to defend myself

    I’m still figuring out what the hell you expect anyone to do. Sure, I’ve finally gone on the offense quite a bit with this comment, but I think that’s justifiable.

    from people who say that not accepting a president who will murder random innocent foreigners is being too perfectionist. This is not the proudest moment in the history of American democracy.

    It isn’t, but there is no proudest moment. I don’t know what pride has to do with it, or why we only care about American democracy.

    And I have no idea what you mean by “accepting a president.” Obama’s the president. What’s not to accept? Would you have accepted Romney? Those are your only two options. What the fuck do you expect anyone to do?

    And what the fuck is wrong with people who always have to mention how “innocent” murder victims are? Does it make a fucking difference? Fuck, I’m cranky. Are you saying guilty people should be murdered?

    You know what? I don’t know why I bother with your bullshit rhetoric at all. It’s utterly transparent.

  99. consciousness razor says

    StevoR, all you get from me at the moment is a “fuck you” and utter contempt. Maybe I’ll feel like more later on.

  100. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Rev. Pompous Sanctimony,

    Trying to elect someone in the face of racism or misogyny (or any other prejudice) is an entirely different thing from needlessly putting up a candidate who has a whole anti-cult of personality against them in addition to triggering racism or misogyny or whatever.

    No it isn’t, from the POV of a professional politician simply looking for an electable candidate.

    There are plenty of women who are Democrats who would probably make better presidents than Obama. (Barbara Lee, for one — only member of the House who voted against the AUMF in Iraq.) Hillary Clinton would not only be a bad choice on policy grounds but would face twice as heavy opposition as any of the others because she would have to face not just misogyny but also personal hatred.

    Stone me, but you’re stupid. Of course Lee would be a far, far better candidate in terms of where she stands politically, but have you actually looked at her political resumé? How hard would it be to whip up an “anti-cult of personality” against a woman of whom wikipedia says the following:

    While a student at Mills College, she was a volunteer at the Oakland chapter of the Black Panther Party’s Community Learning Center and worked on Panther co-founder Bobby Seale’s 1973 Oakland mayoral campaign.[9] Lee was a staff member for United States Representative Ron Dellums and a member of the California State Assembly and the California State Senate before entering the House. As a staffer to Representative Dellums, she traveled to Grenada to have the government there vett [sic] the report Representative Dellums planned to present to Congress. In the report Representative Dellums planned to state that the airport would not pose a military threat to United States national security. As noted in Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the ’60 on page 163, “Another document retrieved after Grenada’s liberation provided he postscript. In a diary entry dated March 22, 1980, Grenadian Defense Minister Liam James had written: “The Revo[lution] has been able to crush counter revolution internationally. Airport will be used by Cuban and Soviet military.””

    (I’m not vouching for its truth, because that’s irrelevant here.)

    As for the Democratic Party not working out Hillary’s obvious setbacks as a candidate: she came very close to getting the nomination in 2008. So very clearly a large number of those professional politicians can’t see her problems.

    But she didn’t get it; so very clearly a very large number of professional politicians can.

  101. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I support teh Jewish peopel and their right toexist intheir traditional hidstorical, actual fucking homeland infucking peace. – StevoR

    I assume you’ll be leaving Australia promptly, so that the Aborigines can enjoy their “traditional hidstorical, actual fucking homeland infucking peace”. But please don’t come to Britain – we have enough racist bigots already. In fact, of course, while there have been Jews in Palestine continuously, they were a minority there for well over a thousand years, and most Israeli Jews are immigrants or the children or grandchildren of immigrants.

  102. says

    Funny, poor maligned StevoR how you conveniently forgot to quote this gem of yourself from the very comment #83:

    And actually better killed than captured

    So much for “fair trial” and stuff. You conclude beforehand that they are terrorists who should be killed, if you somehow have to capture them (because maybe CNN is just fliming how they threw up their hands and cried surrender) then you give them a little trial with the technical possibility of them being acquitted. Only that you already concluded that they should be killed and that capturing them and giving them a trial really is only the second best option. You’re not maligned, unlike people you want to kill for the crime of being muslim, you actually made that bad yourself.

  103. says

    @StevoR:

    I know you’re unlikely to take this in the friendly spirit in which it is meant, but when you post a comment which announces your intention to stop replying, it doesn’t make you look very sincere when you immediately follow it up with a reply post. (Come to that, “you’re all a bunch of meanies and I’m going to take my ball and go home” both gives you the potential to look silly by not following through and lacks the quiet dignity of simply stopping without announcing it.)

    @crissa:

    (Missed this one earlier.)

    Also, the Vicar doesn’t seem to understand that bills in Congress can be amended or changed to include or preclude other things you might not be able to veto – like the checks to veterans and hospitals.

    Obama could very easily go to Harry Reid and say “I’m not going to sign this unless you remove this nonsense.” He could then go and give one of the speeches he’s supposed to be good at giving (but actually turns out not to give more than about once every six months) saying words to the effect of: “some members of Congress want to limit your freedoms by giving the office of the president powers which are usually only associated with dictatorships. Your basic rights are being assaulted, right at this moment, by people who want me to be able to throw you in prison forever without a trial.” If nothing else, this would get the Republican base yelling at their Congress members immediately.

    Of course, in order to do that, he would have to be sincerely against dictatorial power for the office of the president. Given that he actively fought a lawsuit against losing those powers, and then appealed the decision when it against him, and has since claimed that people don’t have standing to challenge him over it (sorry, no link, because this is the last part of this reply that I’m writing and I’m in a hurry), he clearly wants that power and is willing to fight for it. Any display of reluctance was purely to deceive the rubes members of his own party who claim to be in favor of civil liberties.

    @Nick Gotts:

    I assume you’ll be leaving Australia promptly, so that the Aborigines can enjoy their “traditional hidstorical, actual fucking homeland infucking peace”. But please don’t come to Britain – we have enough racist bigots already. In fact, of course, while there have been Jews in Palestine continuously, they were a minority there for well over a thousand years, and most Israeli Jews are immigrants or the children or grandchildren of immigrants.

    If we’re going to hold StevoR to his own logic, he can’t go to Britain anyway. After all, the celtic peoples were there first; anyone with Roman, Norman, Angle, or Saxon ancestry needs to respect their rights to their ancestral land!

    Maybe he can found a colony in Antarctica, or become the first man to live on the moon. He can call it New Israel — but nobody else will be allowed, he got there first.

    Stone me, but you’re stupid. Of course Lee would be a far, far better candidate in terms of where she stands politically, but have you actually looked at her political resumé? How hard would it be to whip up an “anti-cult of personality” against a woman of whom wikipedia says the following:

    Well, (a) it’s sad that you’re holding “worked for a black panther” against her, and (b) at least, unlike Hillary, they would have to start from scratch instead of just calling up stuff they already have. (I remember reading a purportedly-true story in 2008 which said one of the various Republican rich backers had already composed a feature-length film “exposing” Hillary Clinton.)

    For that matter, I’m not sure why you’re so concerned about right-wing propaganda. They don’t stop just because there’s nothing there, they just make stuff up and start trumpeting that instead. Or did you miss the way Obama is a Communist Socialist Nazi Kenyan Muslim (who happens to be associated with a radical Christian priest for some reason)? Trying to appease the right wing noise machine does not work, either to lessen the amount of noise or to stop it. It just makes you forego options you would otherwise want to take. (It’s why Obama’s willingness to do things to try to appease the Republican Party is so incredibly foolish.)

    @consciousness razor:

    But that’s why I asked you how voting for a third party and activism along those lines could be more effective (by itself, all else being equal) than engaging the Democratic party directly from within, to which you’ve never responded.

    I told you already: people who want to move the Democrats to the left have been trying since the early 1990s to move the party left from within. Petitions, donations, volunteer work, campaign work, voting in primaries, voting in elections, donating money, bumper stickers, lawn and window signs, attending conventions, attending debates, writing to elected officials, meeting with elected officials, mass demonstrations, sit-ins, you name it. There has been no practical result; at best, you can claim that occasionally the party gives off some hollow rhetoric but fails to even make a pretense of following through.

    If you can name something which has not been tried, go ahead and do so. Otherwise, you sound a lot like a theologist claiming that just because every single proof of the existence of god ever devised has turned out to be logically faulty or based on false premises, we should still believe in god.

    Those are all very different choices, and it wouldn’t simply depend on what Obama (or another incumbent) did. It would depend on what the choices are and the likely results of any of them. Let’s put it this way: I don’t have the luxury of tossing away my vote because I don’t care who suffers when an even worse candidate wins.

    No, you have the luxury of throwing away your vote because you don’t care who suffers when a terrifyingly bad candidate wins.

    At least once a week, Obama has a meeting in which he gives the heads of the drone bombing campaign their marching orders for the week. He knows — and I’m sure he knew long before the study came out, since the military’s intelligence service would of course have some notion of the effects of the actions of the military, and civilian sources have been suggesting this for years now — that many more innocent people are killed by these bombings than “insurgents” by a factor of around 49. (So: for every “terrorist” we “get” using the drone bombing method, we kill 49 totally innocent people.) He also knows, because this wasn’t even close to the first notification — they’ve been around since Bush, that drone strikes — like torture — actually create terrorists at a greater rate than they can possibly wipe them out. The drone program is massively counterproductive and has no silver lining at all for Americans. Even if the idea were to keep killing people until there’s nobody left alive to seek revenge (which I don’t think anyone really supports, except maybe a tiny fringe on the furthest of the far right), the program is still massively wasteful — we could carpet bomb and get that result much more quickly and at far smaller expense. So why does he continue this?

    Maybe you can come up with a good reason why, but everything I can think of either necessarily requires that he is dangerously incompetent (to such an extent that leaving him in charge is actively dangerous) or else he actually desires these unnecessary deaths of innocent people.

    Now: you are saying that these totally needless deaths of innocent people don’t warrant voting the man out of office. Your argument is that the threat of Romney is so bad that it isn’t even worth taking a tiny, tiny chance at ending repeated, deliberate murder.

    There, I’m afraid, we disagree. As far as matters of immediate life or death are concerned, Romney and Obama are two peas in a pod. Under Obama, we have troops — for the most part without Congressional approval — in at least six countries, we’re gearing up to invade Iran (why, hello $10/gallon gasoline, we’ve heard so much about you, I hear the Strait of Hormuz is beautiful this time of year!) and apparently also Nigeria. And as for other matters, the practical difference between having Obama abrogate his responsibilities to Boehner and thus the Tea Party or having Romney do things is very small — particularly since, were Romney to have won the presidency, he would have been facing a Democratic majority in the Senate, which would have stuck a spoke in his wheel as far as appointments go, if of course you are right about Democrats being capable of actually acting like they care. Sure, higher-level civil rights (gay marriage, etc.) would suffer a hit — a hit which Democratic optimists are absolutely certain would be strictly temporary, because surely history is on the side of progressive causes and the Republicans are on the way out — but the number of people actually dying would be fairly small, probably much smaller than the number of innocents we’re murdering. In summary: I place the chance to stop the murder of an apparently ever-expanding number of innocent people, even if they are foreigners, above the secondary rights of my fellow citizens. You apparently don’t.

    (Oh, and incidentally, it was pointed out to me yesterday that the Roe vs. Wade decision Obama supporters claim we have to have a Democrat to defend was decided 7-2, and 5 of those 7 — enough to determine the outcome all by themselves — were Republican appointees. Although I suspect that any future justices nominated by the Republicans will be pre-vetted on that particular issue, it’s worth remembering that sometimes the behavior of a Supreme Court justice does not conform to the cookie-cutter outline you might imagine from party lines.)

    I vote to get a result, not to get an “I voted” sticker or fuzzy feelings in my special parts or whatever.

    And that result is: preservation of the miserable status quo. Well, at least you can congratulate yourself on your success.

    (There are already signs, by the way, that we’re going to see exactly what I predicted re: the budget. I saw a note that a couple of Democrats have announced that there will be no cuts to the military, and Boehner has announced that the House Republicans will present a budget to Obama as long as taxes on the rich are no higher than 35% and there are cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Obama has never moved to the left on a financial issue before, and those are all terms he offered last time around. Wow, the Democrats betrayed the left within 3 days of the election; that was fast! They must have gone digital.)

    It isn’t, but there is no proudest moment. I don’t know what pride has to do with it, or why we only care about American democracy.

    You have a remarkable talent for taking passing comments out of context, assigning unusual meanings to the words, and then taking them seriously. Are you sure you don’t work for Fox News?

    And I have no idea what you mean by “accepting a president.” Obama’s the president. What’s not to accept? Would you have accepted Romney? Those are your only two options. What the fuck do you expect anyone to do?

    Once again, this smacks of deliberate obtuseness. Either you need to get more sleep or work on your reading comprehension. Of course I’m not suggesting that Obama is not the president; I’m saying that he is an unacceptable candidate and I will not vote for him.

    As for Obama and Romney being the only two candidates: if all the people in the U.S. who claim to be against murder would actually put their money where there mouth is, then neither Obama nor Romney would have received enough votes to place in the top two (out of the four parties which had effectively-national coverage), because Obama has been committing it and Romney promised to step it up. You may have given up on the idea that people will actually vote ethically, but I have not.

    And what the fuck is wrong with people who always have to mention how “innocent” murder victims are? Does it make a fucking difference? Fuck, I’m cranky. Are you saying guilty people should be murdered?

    The differentiation is that you cannot claim that these people are being killed as retribution for their own acts; this is not a death penalty or even a revenge killing, this is just a murder.

    You know what? I don’t know why I bother with your bullshit rhetoric at all. It’s utterly transparent.

    It’s because deep down you know I’m right to take a stand, and it bothers you, so you — like Mr. Fish up above, or Nerd of Redhead, or Amphiox — are doing the online equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU”.

  104. consciousness razor says

    Once again, this smacks of deliberate obtuseness. Either you need to get more sleep or work on your reading comprehension. Of course I’m not suggesting that Obama is not the president; I’m saying that he is an unacceptable candidate and I will not vote for him.

    As for Obama and Romney being the only two candidates: if all the people in the U.S. who claim to be against murder would actually put their money where there mouth is, then neither Obama nor Romney would have received enough votes to place in the top two (out of the four parties which had effectively-national coverage), because Obama has been committing it and Romney promised to step it up. You may have given up on the idea that people will actually vote ethically, but I have not.

    That’s a non-answer. Let me ask again. Either Obama or Romney would have won. There is no reason to think anything other than one of those two things would happen. So of those two, which would you prefer?

    Don’t pretend like you’ve got ethics in your corner, if you’re not dealing with reality. Your answers show that you’re not. The reality is that either Obama or Romney would win. That is what you have to base your decision on for it to be ethical in any sense of the word.

    In what sense would it be ethical to vote for Harry Potter, let’s say, because you think he would do a lot of really good things with his magical powers, when you know there is no chance of him getting elected? I’ll answer that one for you: there is no sense in saying that would be ethical. Once you actually have a viable third party candidate, then you have a third choice to consider, but not until then.

  105. John Morales says

    [meta]

    The Vicar to Nick:

    (a) it’s sad that you’re holding “worked for a black panther” against her

    He’s not, he’s using your own gambit: “How hard would it be to whip up an “anti-cult of personality” against a woman of whom wikipedia says the following: [worked for a black panther]”

    (Also, didn’t you read the parenthetical disclaimer immediately succeeding his source?)

  106. Amphiox says

    Trial and execution to follow no later than one year from capture.

    In other words, SHOW trials.

    Because REAL trials do not set arbitrary time limits. They last as long as they need to to ensure a FAIR result.

    And note the telling omission. No mention of the words “execution IF CONVICTED”, because, you know, presumption of innocence and all that.

    StevoR the pathetic liar is simply beyond contemptible.

  107. says

    @consciousness razor:

    That’s a non-answer. Let me ask again. Either Obama or Romney would have won. There is no reason to think anything other than one of those two things would happen. So of those two, which would you prefer?

    Should we ever be in an election where those are the only two options, I will have to make that decision. Fortunately, we were not, and never will be again. (Even if Romney runs again, Obama cannot.)

    Or are you going to say “well, Americans are overwhelmingly Catholics or Protestants, so you have to decide whether you’re going to become a Catholic or a Protestant” as well? It’s approximately the same level of discourse.

    In what sense would it be ethical to vote for Harry Potter, let’s say, because you think he would do a lot of really good things with his magical powers, when you know there is no chance of him getting elected?

    Not comparable, because even ignoring the “fictional” part, Harry Potter has no explicit politics.

    By voting Green, there is a chance of the following scenario:

    – Greens receive X votes
    – Democrats either just barely squeak into office with a margin too narrow to count on, or lose by less than X votes
    – Democrats start whining about how Green voters owed them votes instead, as they do any time they lose and there are Greens in the election
    – Green voters point out that Democrats have moved so far to the right that Green voters can’t support them any more; also point out that most Green voters are open to compromise if the Democrats start actually acting on their own rhetoric
    – Democrats spend next 4 years actually acting to move the party leftward, instead of making promises which they never, ever act on (as they have so far and appear to be doing again), thus possibly becoming worth voting for again

    This did not happen; thanks to the “I will vote Obama no matter what Obama does” crowd — of which you are one — the Democrats had a margin of around a million popular votes as of the most recent numbers I’ve seen. Every vote Obama got was another reinforcement to the idea the Democrats have that they can move at least as far right as Obama has and still hold office, which means they will push even further until the electoral consequences start becoming serious. Congratulations on being one of the contributing factors to the upcoming Iran invasion!

    (I can’t wait to hear you afterwards: “But Obama had to invade Iran, approve the Keystone pipeline, and cut and then eliminate Social Security! If he didn’t, Fox News would have said mean things about the Democrats and then Hillary Clinton would lose to George P. Bush in 2016! And then we would lose the Supreme Court and lose Roe vs. Wade! How can you possibly vote for a Green?” We are always going to be on the brink of losing the Supreme Court; now that that threat is a successful vote-gathering strategy the Democrats are not going to let the court move leftward. It’s just a question of how many feces sandwiches you Democratic Party partisans are willing to eat before you realize that the menu will never change unless you threaten to leave the restaurant.)

    As for the risk of a Romney presidency, as I have said: Obama in practice is not sufficiently different from Romney in theory to make that a serious worry. If Obama even occasionally actually made a point of standing against things, that might be different. But — sticking to the realities, as you claim to demand — Obama is definitely right-of-center, possibly just outright right-wing, in practice. Why bother?

  108. consciousness razor says

    Or are you going to say “well, Americans are overwhelmingly Catholics or Protestants, so you have to decide whether you’re going to become a Catholic or a Protestant” as well? It’s approximately the same level of discourse.

    Sure. Because I get to vote on whether everyone else is Catholic or Protestant. Just like I get to vote on whether everyone else has either Obama or Romney as president. That’s exactly what it’s like.

  109. says

    @John Morales:

    My point is that there’s no point in worrying about association with the Black Panthers, so it’s a shame that this is still even something people are looking at. The people in charge of the noise machine will make stuff up anyway, so you don’t have to consider this sort of thing any more. Once you start saying “we can’t consider this candidate because of something which some people in the opposition might get upset about” you end up only considering nonentities with nothing in their background at all. That may be how Obama was able to run for the nomination in 2008, come to think of it — and look at how effective that choice was in keeping The Usual Gang Of Idiots from yelling about his history: not a bit.

    So why not run a candidate who actually has a history of acting on principles, and not worry about whether Rush Limbaugh’s comments are partially or wholly fictional this time? Think of the awesome campaign commercials for Lee: [dramatic voice] “out of all the members of the House of Representatives, only one actually saw the Iraq invasion as the waste of time and resources it turned out to be, and was brave enough to act on that knowledge. It’s time to elect someone with the wisdom to stop wasting our tax money and the willingness to make hard decisions. Vote Lee in 2016.”

    (And, incidentally, I am not particularly wedded to the idea that the Democrats should run Lee. I’ve been pitching on her merely as a single example of a candidate from the Democratic Party’s own ranks who would be better than Hillary Clinton.)

    (She also happens to be both black and female, which would be awesome, possibly even worth voting for on that basis alone despite my dislike of the Democrats, just to spite the right wing, the same way it was arguably worth voting for Obama in 2008. If she ran and won, I would be laughing about the reactions of various Republican media figures for days. I would be saving video clips to my hard drive and playing them back when I feel down for a period of years. The fact that she has more guts than Obama, either of the Clintons, or either of the current Democratic congressional leaders would just be icing on the cake.)

  110. says

    @consciousness razor:

    Sure. Because I get to vote on whether everyone else is Catholic or Protestant. Just like I get to vote on whether everyone else has either Obama or Romney as president. That’s exactly what it’s like.

    You’re insisting that I have to vote for either Obama or Romney, which is like insisting that I have to be either a Protestant or a Catholic. (There’s a joke in there somewhere about sex scandals and the Republicans, but it’s actually funnier as an idea than written out explicitly so I’ll let you just imagine it.)

    Coke or Pepsi — you aren’t allowed to have a glass of water, dummy, this is America!

  111. John Morales says

    The Vicar:

    The people in charge of the noise machine will make stuff up anyway, so you don’t have to consider this sort of thing any more.

    but earlier (my emphasis)

    Eh, we already know that, barring accident or death, the Democrats will nominate Hillary Clinton. (Because it’s her turn, right? It’s not like every single candidate ever nominated by either of the two major parties on those grounds has failed — oh, wait, yes it is.) You know, the woman who is basically all the disappointing parts of Obama, melted down and poured into a #6 caucasian woman mold, but with a whole warehouses of propaganda against her already produced from the 1990s and ready to be aired by Fox.

    Hm.

  112. consciousness razor says

    You’re insisting that I have to vote for either Obama or Romney

    It would be too late anyway, but I’m not saying what you have to do. You don’t have to vote at all. I’m saying you ought to vote for someone who could win, because that would be rational. The candidates are never the same person, so there are always differences, which makes one better than another. You get to vote based on those differences.

    Coke or Pepsi — you aren’t allowed to have a glass of water, dummy, this is America!

    It was my assumption (though I could be wrong) that we both lived in the same reality. So which president do you have beverage are you drinking? If it’s Kool-Aid, which flavor?

  113. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Vicar:

    As for the risk of a Romney presidency, as I have said: Obama in practice is not sufficiently different from Romney in theory to make that a serious worry.

    I forgot that Obama is against equality for homosexuals. Oh and he wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood, as well as turn the clock back on equality for women. They’re so similar it’s scary. You’re right, there’s *no* difference between voting for Romney vs. Obama.

    ::fucking eyeroll::

    Privileged twit.

  114. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    it’s sad that you’re holding “worked for a black panther” against her – Rev. Pompous Sanctimony

    It’s sad that your lies are so transparent – couldn’t you try a bit harder?

  115. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    For that matter, I’m not sure why you’re so concerned about right-wing propaganda. – Rev. Pompous Sanctimony

    It’s you who insists Clinton should not be the candidate because of right-wing propaganda. (And before you respond with another of your distortions, claiming I’m supporting a Clinton candidacy, there are plenty of reasons she should not be the candidate.)