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September 23, 2012

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Their originalism stops exactly at the point that it leads to a conclusion they don't like.

see also: religion.

ok, to be fair, make that literalist / fundamentalist religion.

Back to the original topic of the thread, this article in the NYT today seems to be relevant to how Obama's policies would differ from Romney's:

The Romney campaign document, obtained by The New York Times, is a five-page policy paper titled “Interrogation Techniques.” It was a near-final draft circulated in September 2011 among the Romney campaign’s “National Security Law Subcommittee” for any further comments before it was to be submitted to Mr. Romney. The panel consists of a brain trust of conservative lawyers, most of whom are veterans of the George W. Bush administration.

The Romney campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The policy paper acknowledges that it is hard to know what would be different had Mr. Bush’s interrogation policy continued. But it argues that Mr. Obama’s approach has “hampered (or will hamper) the fight against terrorism” by forbidding techniques “that we should feel, as a nation, that we have a right to use against our enemies.”

In particular, it criticizes Mr. Obama for restricting interrogators to a “one-size-fits-all approach” designed for routine battlefield captures by ordinary soldiers, not high-level terrorist operatives in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency. It also notes that the Army Field Manual is available on the Internet, so enemies can study it.

Last December, Mr. Romney was asked about waterboarding at a town-hall meeting in Charleston. He replied that he would “do what is essential to protect the lives of the American people” but would not list “for our enemies around the world” what techniques the United States would use.

Mr. Romney also declared that he would “not authorize torture.” At the news conference afterward, a reporter pressed him to say whether he thought waterboarding was torture, and Mr. Romney replied, “I don’t.”

It also notes that the Army Field Manual is available on the Internet, so enemies can study it.

Study it to what end? I'm guessing they'd somehow prepare themselves for whatever it is the AFM allows, since the manual wouldn't tell anyone what specific interrogation methods, among those allowed, would be used in a given situation in the future.

But, is that really possible, and is the manual full of really super-secret stuff, anyway?

Or, might the commitment to a known and humane standard of treatment improve our moral standing as a nation? Is that not worthwhile? Could that actually improve our security?

But censorship is never the answer.

Couldn't agree more.

Yes, businesses, AND unions, are made up of people. There's nobody else there to censor.

And, as always, I feel obliged to point out that people who participate in businesses, unions, scrabble clubs, and baseball teams, all possess an inalienable right to say whatever the hell they like.

The business, union, scrabble club, or baseball team, not so much.

And that's all I'm gonna say on the topic, because we've been through it all a million times already.

Or, might the commitment to a known and humane standard of treatment improve our moral standing as a nation? Is that not worthwhile? Could that actually improve our security?

That was certainly the idea that I was brought up believing in.

Crooked Timber has a couple of posts up about whether one should vote for the lesser of two evils. They are thinking specifically about the drone policy. Here's the first--

link

Henry puts it in a more argumentative way--Is it moral for lefties to vote for Obama?


My own feelings these days are that it is a lesser of two evils vote, there are costs to doing so, but the costs of not voting for Obama are greater. Of course if you live in a safe state then you can do the protest voting thing, but in this case on this election I'm still voting Obama despite living in a safe state because the Republicans are sufficiently loathsome on so many issues I want them to be unmistakably defeated in the polls by as big a popular vote as possible. I don't think the media pays any attention to the protest votes as signalling anything--they'd only care if some "centrist" like what's his name in the 90's was running and won a big chunk.

And that's all I'm gonna say on the topic, because we've been through it all a million times already.

Dude, this is a blog, like, on the internet. You must remain ever vigilant of the wrongness thereon.

Donald, the Crooked Timber link was entertaining. I wholeheartedly agree with NBarnes when he said this:

I claim that choosing not to vote for Obama is a morally unacceptable privileging of one’s own sense of personal ethics over a very real and concrete improvement in human lives and happiness.

A lot of people who would live happy and healthy lives, all over the world, if Obama wins in November will die if Romney wins. This is very nearly settled fact.

I'm happy that you've chosen the "lesser of two evils," as you see it, Donald. I happen to think Obama is great (in the true sense of that word), not the lesser evil, so it's easy for me to support him. But that's not news.

Lesser evil, Green Lanternism, "it's all Nader's fault"....LGM has many very good threads on this topic.

Sapient should check them out. Scott Lemieux and the gang are very persuasive (for your position)....almost enough to make me want to get my PCO card again. They have swayed me on this subject.

Thanks, bobbyp. I look at LGM sometimes, but have never bookmarked it. Now I will.

Much of the of the lefty purity bashing at LGM and other places seems as self-indulgent as the lefty purists they criticize. For all the talk of egoism on the part of the Naderites, there's more than a little ego and chest pounding on the other side too. People who say they stand for pragmatism should be scrupulous in acknowledging the validity of criticisms made by Greenwald and others and should also admit that when we vote for Democrats no matter what, it does give them a license to move to the right, just so long as they are still noticeably better than Republicans on other issues. Instead, I see people often (though not always) belittling the issues where Democrats are not good.

Republicans are so bad on so many issues they end up being the best advocates for the Democrats. Bad is still a lot better than awful. But I understand and can sympathize with people who say that we ought to be drawing a line somewhere. Personally, I'm going to come out of a voting booth feeling a little sick no matter who I vote for. But right now the Republican Party is completely insane. Their moderates are mostly extinct. So it makes it easy for me to vote for the Dems.

Without trying to get into why this is or how intentional it is, the way the political system in the US has worked since the late 70's is that Republicans stake out a far right position, Democrats move partway there, their position becomes the new leftward position, and then the cycle repeats. The one big exception to this would be the social issues, presumably because in that case only the conservative religious types are really motivated to fight against, say, gay marriage.

There's another post on the evils of lesser evilism at Crooked Timber--

link

I've only looked at a few of the comments in the thread so far, but it looks like both sides are making good points. This is way better than the usual foodfights I've seen when this subject comes up.

Not that it'll change my mind regarding what to do this November.

Much of the of the lefty purity bashing at LGM and other places seems as self-indulgent as the lefty purists they criticize.

I would point out that this most recent round (and in the comments, I think one of the other posters explains why the blog will often have a cluster of posts about the same topic) was started off by this Conor Friedersdorf essay that will probably find its way into a dictionary under the definition of a concern troll. That 'lefty purists' (Donald's term, not mine) pop up to contest posts that have the Friedersdorf pos as its origins, well, I guess he would say mission accomplished. Though I agree that there are points to both sides.

My favorite comment was this one

In the immortal words of Steven Brust, “I’m a leftist. I don’t argue with anyone unless they agree with me.”

"Republicans are so bad on so many issues they end up being the best advocates for the Democrats."

And visa versa. Both Republicans AND Democrats vote for the candidates their parties puke up, only as the lesser of two evils. While the two evils have crafted laws and practices which ensure that there will only be two real choices.

"I would point out that this most recent round (and in the comments, I think one of the other posters explains why the blog will often have a cluster of posts about the same topic) was started off by this Conor Friedersdorf essay that will probably find its way into a dictionary under the definition of a concern troll. "

Possibly so, because the term "concern troll" is often tossed at people to dismiss them if they fall outside the usual Democrat/Republican divide. It has its legitimate uses too, of course, but this seems to fall into the unfairly dismissive category.

I might start reading Friedersdorf. I won't take his voting advice, but it would be nice if the libertarians received much more attention on foreign policy issues and on the drug war, even if their market utopianism would wreck the country if ever enacted. Outside the blogging world, I rarely see the nastier violent side of US foreign policy addressed in mainstream progressive politics. The Democrats are mostly the kinder gentler face of the national security state and differences over torture and unjust wars are treated as policy differences (unlike whistleblowers, who are criminals), so most of the serious criticism is on the margins, where the lefty purists and the libertarians and other concern trolls hang out.

"Lefty purists" isn't my term originally, of course--it is commonly used in venues like LGM where this argument is a perennial one. I saw LGM taking shots at the pure of heart a couple of weeks ago, before Friedersdorf.

I agree with LJ, and think that "concern troll" is an extremely appropriate term for someone who is too conservative to vote for Obama, but is trying to rally liberals to reject him because he is insufficiently liberal, in favor of someone who is grossly worse.

it would be nice if the libertarians received much more attention on foreign policy issues and on the drug war, even if their market utopianism would wreck the country if ever enacted.

Libertarians tend to be isolationists. It's easy to rant against unjust wars, but solving the problem of how to engage in the world is a much more difficult project. I don't think that 9/11 is an excuse for bad foreign policy, but it is an example of what happens when malevolent groups of people become organized and aren't sufficiently challenged. Leaving them alone isn't an option, IMO. Whenever I request an answer as to what the policy should be against known groups of terrorists ... crickets ...

The reason why people choose the "lesser of two evils" is perhaps because people accept their policies as necessary evils.

And, Donald, when you said upthread that Democrats have found a license to move right: Most Democrats don't want to move right, and aren't looking for such a license. An active foreign policy, including some use of the military, is not necessarily right wing. Roosevelt was an interventionist.

Gee, I wonder who Libertarians vote for?

True, Phil. Libertarians also tend not to make any sense.

Well, I don't know if my advice carries any weight, but Friedersdorf is a libertarian thinker in the same way Michelle Malkin is one, in that it is just a stalking suit and when push comes to shove, he is going to go along with whatever bs is served up. I won't try and present some links, as it would invite an accusation of cherry picking, but look thru his postings here and tell me if he really is a person whose judgement you would value and whose concern you would want.

As far as the concern troll label, it's like that smirk that some pundits get when they catch flak and say 'well, if I am upsetting both sides, I must be on to something'. Just because concern troll gets used in situations you might think is not appropriate (and I don't believe anyone at LGM has referred to Greenwald as a concern troll and I'd be interested to know where you think I have used it where it was not appropriate) doesn't mean that the use of the term is proof that the person should be taken seriously.

Sorry, one more point. My attributing 'lefty purist' to you is not that I think it's your term, it's that I don't want to be accused of harboring all the attitudes that you feel someone using that term carries when you are the one who introduces it to the conversation. I have no doubt that someone over at LGM used it at some time, but that doesn't mean that I totally agree with how they use it or what they mean by it.

I'm not familiar with Friedersdorf beyond that one post, which seemed fine to me. I'll look at his history later--if I don't like what I see then I probably won't become a regular reader, but I do respect some people who claim to be libertarian and are opposed to our foreign policy. For a long time Jim Henley was in that category, though he seems to have returned to the liberal fold--as best I can tell his position and mine are about the same these days. Some of his commenters are in the libertarian group. "Thoreau" might still be. There are even self-described conservatives who I like. Andrew Bacevitch is a self-described conservative Catholic, or at least I think he is, and he's written some books criticizing our (bipartisan) interventionist tendencies. I might very well disagree with him on some domestic issues, but I don't know offhand what his positions are on such things.

It doesn't surprise me that most libertarians are Republicans in practice, but I wasn't talking about most of them, just about how I'd like to see libertarian views on foreign interventions and the drug war make their way into mainstream political debate.

On the lefty purity thing, I wasn't taking anything you said personally, LJ or really referring specifically to you at all when I use that term ironically, except that I think you used it here and I picked up on it. I'm making a comment more generally about how these arguments seem to go on liberal blogs. It usually turns nasty, with a lot of namecalling, and from my POV there's plenty of fault on both sides for that. The morally pure left (I'll use the derogatory term to describe people like me) tends to downplay the very real differences between Democrats and Republicans and the "pragmatists" or the "grownups" or whatever self-flattering term is in vogue for the opposing team often (not always) downplay the very real crimes of Democrats. Since both sides are being a bit dishonest when they do this, it's entirely natural that both sides will then turn to posturing, name-calling and the rest.

"Whenever I request an answer as to what the policy should be against known groups of terrorists ... crickets ..."

Oh brother. Here's my position. If you really know that high-ranking Al Qaeda members are in a given location and there's no way to arrest them, then I'm not going to get too upset if we kill them. I'd like to have another way, but if it really is impossible to arrest people who are plotting terrorist attacks against us, then on the grand list of things that upset me, an assassination of bin Laden (which appears to be what that was) is probably somewhere around number 123,000 on my list of things to be upset about. The same for other genuinely high-ranking Al Qaeda types if we happen to know where some are, and can't arrest them.

But the drone policy is clearly doing more than that. It's hitting low level people and it's killing innocents and it is making life hell for ordinary people. So yeah, that bothers me.

And on the deeper level, you know that we do things overseas that give legitimate reasons for people to despise us. Not legitimate reasons to blow innocent people up--there is no such thing. We support dictators up until the point where it's clear that we can't do so safely anymore--I give Obama some credit for abandoning Mubarak at the last minute, since it sounds like Romney or at least some on the right think we should have backed him up if he'd gone the Tiamammen Square route. But it was up until the last minute. We are backing a repressive monarchy in Bahrain and our Saudi pals are the same. And of course there is Israel, which has been getting away with murder for a very long time, with bipartisan support and standing ovations to one of the dumbest leaders on the scene today. (Netanyahu in Congress in the summer of 2011 got 29 standing ovations. Bipartisan ones, of course.)

And the double standards issue is a core one. Americans seem to think it's some sort of legitimizing excuse to say that it is politically impossible to hold our own war criminals to account, people who are responsible for horror on a massive scale, and then we turn right around and award ourselves the right and duty to assassinate bad people elsewhere, and make excuses for when we hit the wrong people. I think a little moral consistency would go a long way to persuading people in the Middle East to be on our side. It won't change the minds of the worst fanatics, but it'll cut down on the recruiting. And I'll give Obama some more credit--I'm not sure if the Libyan thing was the right thing to do because I don't know enough, but it's pretty unusual for a Middle Eastern country to have the bulk of the people in the town supportive of us and angry at the people who killed our representatives. So for once maybe we did do the right thing. But that was an exception.

And yes, it would have been politically impossible for Obama to have prosecuted members of the Bush team for war crimes and expect to get anything else done. But then the proper response on the part of us ordinary Democratic voters is not to accept that and say nothing when Obama says we need to look forward (while not giving whistleblowers the same courtesy). The proper response it to act like Glenn Greenwald and scream and rant and yell about the hypocrisy. Say that you like Obama, if you do, and you understand why he did what he did, but what he said is BS. If he's really a liberal inside then secretly he will agree with you, and will hope that with enough people yelling we might eventually get to the point where politics will allow the rule of law to apply to everyone. I don't see how things change otherwise. Obama changed his views on gay marriage (his public views, that is) because attitudes changed.

And if, like me, you don't entirely trust Obama's motives here, point out that no President is likely to want to see a precedent established where any Western leader is brought to court on war crimes charges. Again, I don't see why any American President would ever want to change the status quo on this unless there is a lot of pressure to do so.

And as if by magic, Glenn has yet another story about who is subject to the rule of law and who isn't. This one is about an Iraqi in Missouri who has been convicted for violating the sanctions on Iraq during the Saddam era--he sent money to his family. This is a link to the local newspaper article on his case--

link

Here's Glenn--

link

There's a petition you can sign at Glenn's site.

I don't see why any American President would ever want to change the status quo on this unless there is a lot of pressure to do so.

Maybe. I think there's more at stake here though, which will take more than a few years to resolve. Namely, the national security establishment probably has a good deal of power of its own, and it's hard to assess how much, or how that power could be wielded. I would feel much more confident criticizing a Democratic president if Democrats had a longer and firmer grip on power.

When Obama was elected, I think there was a certain degree of "winning over" the intelligence services, which sounds creepy, but there you go. Obviously, this borders on conspiracy theory/spy novel theorizing, and maybe is totally off base. But things may be more complicated than they seem.

"I think there was a certain degree of "winning over" the intelligence services, which sounds creepy, but there you go. Obviously, this borders on conspiracy theory/spy novel theorizing, and maybe is totally off base. "

I'm in agreement there, by which I mean you might be right and then again you might also be right that it might be totally off base. It's pretty hard to tell when talking about organizations which are secretive by their very nature.

I looked at several of Friedersdorf's postings at the site you gave, LJ, and am somewhat baffled. It's a small sample that I read, so maybe by a statistical fluctuation I picked the more reasonable ones, but they don't seem so bad. That's not to say I'm going to agree with him on everything--as he is some sort of libertarian there's no chance I would. Here's one that irritated me slightly in a few ways--he seems to say that both the left and the right say stupid things, but I get the impression he thinks the right is more prone to this and less prone to self-criticism. I bridled a bit at the criticism aimed at Krugman (what did he have in mind there?) , but obviously some lefties do say dumb things from time to time and it'd be hard for a lefty to quarrel with his conclusion that the right is worse--

link

Here's an older piece tearing apart DInesh D'Souza and some stupid thing he wrote about Obama--

link

There's some other articles I glanced through there, one about how to fire bad teachers, which I didn't care for as it suggests he might think Bad Teachers are the big problem in public schools, which I doubt, but I don't expect to like him on everything. Anyway, there wasn't enough detail for me to tell how reasonable or unreasonable he is.

At his current Atlantic posting he just put out another post on drones, but I won't link, as I gather from what others have complained about that there's a limit on the number of links you can post. But I thought it was very good.

Well, here are the ones that stick out for me
Obama's grandmother
I found this one really vile where he argues that because Obama drew an equivalence between Rev Wright and his grandmother on his mother's side, one should also make Rev Wright equivalent with the black community.

in favor of a physical wall
Or this piece of wankery. Is it Swiftian or not? really hard to tell

I realize that those are not from the link I gave you, but I just pulled up the American Scene link because I assumed it would have links to what he wrote in other places (which also seems a bit dubious, but maybe he is unorganized like me. Still, if you want to live by what you write, it seems that you would want to be able to collate what you have written). He also subs for Andrew Sullivan, but I think he has kept a lower profile there, though I have a vague memory of various comments and such. As they say, the opposite of love isn't hate, it is indifference, so getting incensed about the odd conclusion, or the offhand comment means that I was actually interested in what he said and am willing to think about it deeply, and since I'm not talking to him, I'm really not. It's quite possible I had a preformed prejudice against him, just like someone rubs you the wrong way when you meet and you tend not to cut him any slack, so there's that.

I'd also point to Jim Henley who feels this is “quality concern-trolling.” and there is also this TBogg post that, after not beating around the bush, cites the tweets where CF admits that he's just stumped for the Libertarian candidate even though he has no idea what his economic policy means. Pushing libertarian candidates while ignoring there economic policy is like choosing a restaurant because you like the color of their walls.

It really underlines the point (I think first made at LGM, but I can't find it there) that CF is simply a privileged white man for whom the presidential election will have little to no effect on the way that he lives his life.

There's also the fact that Romney has advisors who are urging him to rescind Obama's limitations on torture that was in the 9/28 NYTimes (it is the end of the month and I'm past my limit of NYT articles, so if interested, please google)

I'm not trying to unload on you here, but it seems that this pundit niche where 'gee, I'm shocked at both sides, and therefore I'm above it all' enables a lot of crap and CF is a good example of that. This might be a silly parallel, but we call a person a bank robber even though they are only actually robbing a bank for a short period of time. I suppose on the other hand, someone is a good batter if they can get a hit 3 times out of 10. Still, it is not totalling up the number of times CF puts out idiocies, the test is whether he holds on to them, and when he employs them.

Well, Conor is a libertarian, so I'd expect him to have views on the economy that would smack of privileged white man status. It sorta goes with the territory. (Not in all cases, of course.)

What he said in your first link is this--

"It is weird, however, that the people who do think Obama's construction implies moral equivalence are outraged that he is comparing his grandmother to a bigot like Wright... and apparently totally untroubled by the fact that -- by their logic -- he is meanwhile drawing a moral equivalence between all blacks and a bigot."

He's criticizing the moral equivalence mongers and their logic, not endorsing any of the equivalences. Incidentally, I'm bothered by that post for a different reason, because I think that though Wright said some stupid things and even a few things that were bigoted, I thought that most of America trashed him unfairly. But I don't want to get into that.

Henley's main point was that Conor was making a legitimate point regarding drones and it should make progressives uncomfortable. I don't know what "quality concern trolling" means--I thought it was a cute way of saying he was trying to stir up a debate, and clearly he succeeded. I'm glad he did. Vote Democratic by all means, but there needs to be a lot of people like Conor and GG writing outraged pieces about policies that currently have no traction in mainstream politics (and almost never do).

Anyway, I haven't seen anything that will keep me from reading Conor--I read some people who I like on some issues and dislike on others. The only drawback to reading Conor is that he might be a sort of secondhand Glenn Greenwald on the issues where I think he's good--I might as well go straight to the source.

He's criticizing the moral equivalence mongers and their logic, not endorsing any of the equivalences.

Isn't he missing the forest for the trees? The people who made that equivalency were right-wingers who were looking for a gotcha to appeal to potential racial animus in whites. This seems like classic concern trolling, that CF is worried that Obama is saying black people are the same as a bigot. This is completely separate from your point (which I agree with) that Wright was trashed unfairly. One could also say that Wright was expressing some uncomfortable truths so you could either be outraged that Obama 'threw him under the bus' (wasn't that the origin of that phrase in the campaign?) or understand that there were other considerations involved. Which seems to me something one also has to take into account when talking about drones.

As for 'quality concern trolling', since Henley cites Lemieux, I don't think he is patting CF on the back for being a stirrer.

I think you're misreading Conor in a really weird way--he's criticizing the conservatives in the moral equivalence post, not defending them or attacking Obama at all.

I also think you're misreading Henley and could get into that, but I'm getting sort of tired of arguing about Conor, a person I'd only read for the first time in the last day or two. I'll read him sometimes, probably, think he did a good thing writing that post even if his voting recommendation is wrong, but me convincing you or you convincing me on what he said or what Henley meant or the rest of it probably isn't the pressing moral issue of our time. Besides, there are other people being wrong on the internet that I've got to straighten out. Civilization hangs in the balance.

This isn't directly related, but looking at LGM, they had this in a comment
http://www.isidewith.com/ and got this (though at the bottom of most yes/no choices, there is a button to select answers with some nuance) The slider on the side of how much this matters to you, which is really hard for me to answer, seems to effect things and I suspect that choosing the more nuanced answers tends to raise the approval of the minor party candidates.


90% Jill Stein Green on domestic policy, foreign policy, environmental, social, immigration, and science issues

85% Barack Obama Democrat on foreign policy, economic, social, environmental, science, healthcare, and immigration issues

64% Rocky Anderson Justice on foreign policy, social, economic, environmental, domestic policy, and immigration issues

9% Gary Johnson Libertarian on social and immigration issues

6% Mitt Romney Republican no major issues

Virgil Goode Constitution no major issues

59% American Voters on foreign policy, domestic policy, environmental, social, science, and immigration issues.

Who you side with by party...
96% Democrat
93% Green
24% Libertarian
6% Republican

99% - Gary Johnson - economic, domestic policy, social, foreign policy, healthcare, environmental, immigration, and science issues

56% - Virgil Goode - environmental issues

52% - Mitt Romney - environmental issues

13% - Jill Stein - no major issues

9% - Rocky Anderson - no major issues

6% - Barack Obama - no major issues

88% - Libertarian
72% - Republican
23% - Green
3% - Democrat

I did the test too with similar results but checking the details it looks a bit shaky on the lower end.
94% Stein
64% Anderson
60% Johnson
83% Obama
4% Romney
3% Goode
---
94% Green
84% Dem
17% Libertarian
3% GOP
My similarities with Romney are not that similar (mutually exclusive caveats) while they match far better with Goode (should I rethink my position? ;-) )
As far as parties go it looks resonable.
Over here I tend to follow the principle of supporting small(er) parties on the local level where I agree on issues while concentrating on electability on the higher levels. Fortunately our mixed system of 1 vote for candidate and 1 for party allows high flexibility there, so my vote for favored party goes into the general pool and is not lost while not hurting the lesser evil party candidate for the district. In the US that would be Green party but Dem candidate, in essence a vote for a Green-Dem coalition with the Green party working as a regulative keeping the Dems from drifting to the right too much.

Try Project Vote Smart for another angle on candidate preference.

I think the isidewith is the better one since it allows for a far wider range of answers, e.g. allowing to differentiate between opposition to the ACA because it goes too far and not going far enough. It asks for the actual reasons and alternatives etc. How it weighs the answers is another thing but I have yet to find any tool that has no problems there.
In the case of Romney there is of course the problem that a lot of his 'views' change by the hour of the day (and so does his campaign but often out of synch with the candidate).

96 Stein, 86 Obama 79 Anderson (who?) 4 Romney and I forget the rest. I was 98 percent Democrat and 95 Green. I didn't like some of my answers, even with the other options feature, but I didn't want to take the time to spell out exactly what I thought. This came up in the intervention question, where I'd favor intervention in some Rwanda type situation with massive numbers of people being killed (and where it wouldn't trigger WWIII to intervene, since otherwise we should also have intervened at certain times in Mao's China), but otherwise would be anti-interventionist. I ended up picking an option that probably made me sound like someone who'd intervene every time someone said "human rights violation, we gotta go and stop this."

Stein 95%
Obama 79%
Anderson 75%
Johnson 58%
Romney 7%
Goode 6%

I'm 97% Democrat, 85% Green, 36% Libertarian, and 1% Republican. I would have expected to reverse the Democrat and Green numbers. No surprise on the Libertarian and Republican numbers.

Apparently I side with 56% of US voters, which surprises the hell out of me. There must be some kind of Venn diagram thing going on there.

If Obama continues to be a slam-dunk in MA, I will likely vote for Stein for President. She got my vote for governor when she ran, and IMO it's actually useful to demonstrate some level of visible constituency for parties other than (D) and (R).

If Obama continues to be a slam-dunk in MA, I will likely vote for Stein for President.

That's cool, but are there states where Obama is winning handily, but the state could go to Romney if voter suppression gets ramped up? When I see stuff like this this, I get the impression that no state is a slam-dunk.

IMO it's actually useful to demonstrate some level of visible constituency for parties other than (D) and (R).

Why?

I realize that D or R might not wholly represent all that is russell, but please explain how having third parties would bring the country to a place that's closer to your point of view. All I see in countries with multiple parties is more instability, with occasional wins by both far-right and far-left candidates.

On the other hand, a huge outpouring of support for Obama would validate the things he's trying to accomplish in opposition to Republicans, which is the real fight the country faces in government.

liberal japonicus is correct that no state is a slam dunk, and even if it is, wouldn't it be better to give your vote to a popular vote nationwide referendum for Obama? Even if the electoral college went to Romney, it might be helpful to take away the argument for a mandate if Obama won the popular vote. Obviously, the Republicans would ignore that, but don't you want to stand in solidarity with Obama?

How perplexing, russell, and (excuse the term) disappointing.

IMO it's actually useful to demonstrate some level of visible constituency for parties other than (D) and (R).

Why?

Because it demonstrates a constituency for the issues that they (parties other than D or R) support.

Trust me, if I vote for Stein, it's not going to throw MA to Romney. If the Greens get 1% of the popular vote in MA, let alone in the US, I'll be shocked.

This will be my 10th time voting in a Presidential election. I've voted third party two or three times before this. The republic still stands.

We get into this every time anybody expresses less than full support for Obama. I don't really have anything new to say about it, above and beyond the same things I've said 100 times before.

People should vote for who they want.

That's cool, but are there states where Obama is winning handily, but the state could go to Romney if voter suppression gets ramped up?

Quite possibly.

Mine (MA) is probably not one of them.

People should vote for who they want.

No argument there, dude. Indulge!

I don't want to replay d'affaire de Conor here, and I'm not trying to sneakily trick anyone, just noting that with vote suppression, things become a lot less clearer, something that I don't think has been mentioned elsewhere, as the focus is on the individuals and their voting preferences. Apologies if it came off like that.

I think that's actually a good point to raise LJ, and if I didn't live in MA I would be more inclined to vote strategically, and less inclined to vote to "send a message" as it were.

I look at the option of voting for what is, in our political context, essentially a fringe party as something of a luxury.

And for the record, about an hour before engaging in the exchange with sapient, I sent Obama $100. He's not just running in MA.

I look at my vote as a resource that I have to spend. My decisions about who to vote for are basically a matter of what I think will yield the biggest "bang for the buck".

i wish more of the "protest" voters in safe states, especially influential and high-profile bloggers, would show that they realize that there are many states which are very close, and it's those states that are going to decide this election. and so, even if they don't lovelovelove Obama, but still truly don't want a GOP win, it would be nice if they could calibrate their criticisms of Obama so as to not turn off people in the swing states.

make the case that Obama has faults, fine. but, if you really don't want a GOP win, don't make the case that voting for Obama is a sign of outrageous and unprecedented moral bankruptcy. if you really don't want a GOP win, you have to acknowledge that, at this point, Obama is truly the only other choice there is.

(this isn't directed at anyone on this thread)

It would be very difficult to vote for an incumbent president without voting for someone who has engaged in some morally questionable activities. People who haven't held that office have the advantage of not having had the chance to get their hands dirty in the way presidents tend to.

(Should I bother offering my opinion that Jimmy Carter, a one-term president, may have been one of the cleanest in recent history?)

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