Some homework for unhappy Democrats

By John Devlin of Portland, Oregon. John is a trial lawyer and coaches the mock trial team at Lakeridge High School. More info here.

The selection of Joe Biden, and the impending Democractic convention, has renewed the complaints of unhappy Democrats who don't like Obama, or don't like Biden, or wanted Hillary or Kucinich or someone else to be on the ticket.

Here's the thing -- the only goal of a Presidential election is to have your party win the election. I am a Democrat, although I toyed for years with being an independent. I want the Democratic candidate to win the 2008 Presidential election because I think the country will be better off under his policies.

I don't think Obama is the best person in the world. I don't think John McCain is the worst person in the world. I don't have to think those things. I just have to think that Obama's policies are better than McCain's policies. How could anyone who reads this website not reach that conclusion?

So here's a challenge for unhappy Democrats. Make a list of the 10 worst things about the Bush Administration -- the war, torture, extraordinary rendition, Katrina, the economy, DOJ politicization, rampant corruption, global warming denials, Roberts/Alito, the list goes on and on. Write down your 10 lowlights.

Now look at your list. How many would have happened under Obama? How many would have happened under McCain?

If that doesn't convince you, what will?

There are only 65 days left until Election Day. 65 days to make sure that a Democrat becomes President and starts to fix the damage to our country. Let's not spend another minute any topic that does not further that goal.

(By the way, near the top of my list is the fact that a McCain presidency means, in all likelihood, a hard-right majority on the Supreme Court for the next three decades.)

Comments

  • Chris #12 (unverified)
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    This seems pretty silly to me. Of course I think that "Obama's policies are better than McCain's". I just want them to be more better...

    As for your list, I would argue that at least four of the first five things you mention probably would have happened under Obama, albeit less horrifically.

  • Nick C. (unverified)
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    which 4 exactly? Unless I missed something, Obama isn't a neocon and he doesn't see the Constitution as an inconvenient "piece of paper".

    Mr. Devlin is absolutely right. The FISA "incident" took the wind out of my Obama sails for sure, but McCain cannot win. The madness must stop.

    I've talked to a lot of people who voted for George Bush the first time around and later said "who knew he would be this bad?" We all know that John McCain will be the same puppet that Bush is, except with an itchier trigger finger.

    This country is on the verge of fascism, if it hasn't crossed over already. Paving the road to a vibrant republic is not going to be easy and it won't materialize magically when Obama becomes president. But we need to start tipping the scales back in the right direction.

    It took the neocons 25 years to complete their power grab. It might take just as long or longer for progressives to fully implement their vision of America. It's gotta start somewhere...

  • Veteran (unverified)
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    "Here's the thing -- the only goal of a Presidential election is to have your party win the election."

    That’s the same feeling I got! That’s why I reregistered as an independent. I don't want to be expected to vote for a "D" just because I was one.

    As for McCain, I wouldn't vote for that steaming pile either, even if HE was the Democratic nominee. And explaining to me how bad he is doesn’t make me like Obama.

    That is why I am going to try and give a third party my little bit in hopes they can get 5% total vote. Then in the next election cycle we have public financing for a third party. How many would have happened under Nader?

  • Rulial (unverified)
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    Asking how much better the world would be under a President Nader is like fantasizing about how many tax dollars we would save if all the criminals just stopped breaking laws. It might be a nice mental exercise, but it has no bearing on real-world decision-making, as you are thinking about things that just aren't going to happen.

    We have a two-party system in this country. It's a common consequence of having a plurality voting system. I, too, wish we had a vibrant multiparty democracy, where the two major parties were replaced with a plethora of smaller, more specialized parties, and those smaller parties formed fluid coalitions. That would be awesome. However, it would require a complete reform in how we elected people, including changing the electoral college. It's a reform that would probably take decades to complete.

    Until then, it's dangerous to live in that fantasy world. I'll tell you why I have little respect for Ralph Nader. It's not so much because his candidacy caused the Bush presidency. You can make the argument that he couldn't have foreseen how absolutely horrible the Bush administration would turn out. I certainly didn't. I have lost respect for Ralph Nader because he has continued to try to spoil presidential campaigns, but yet has done nothing to fix the system that makes him a spoiler.

    Voters need to live in the real world. No amount of wishful thinking is going to overcome the inherent two-party nature of our political system. Sen. Obama is by no means perfect--I was profoundly disappointed after the FISA compromise, for example--but he is much, much better than Sen. McCain. One of these two will almost certainly be elected this fall. You have to decide if you're going to tilt at windmills or come help make the world a better place.

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    Asking how much better the world would be under a President Nader is like fantasizing about how many tax dollars we would save if all the criminals just stopped breaking laws. It might be a nice mental exercise, but it has no bearing on real-world decision-making, as you are thinking about things that just aren't going to happen.

    The response to this comment will no doubt be gnashing of teeth at Rulial--and how we won't get better if we don't aspire and push and prod and pull and constantly nag. And how we shouldn't have to vote "Democrat"..etc, etc, etc.

    I've been an independent since I moved back to Oregon (except for this year, when I switched to vote for Merkley in the Primary). I'm not a party loyalist and I don't care much for being shoved into it. But I've also watched what has gone on the last eight years...in part due to Nader...and it's completely unacceptable.

    As we saw in 2000--what Nader and his supporters are about accomplishes exactly the opposite of what they articulate.

    The greatest predictor of future events is history. And Nader has been on the wrong side of it.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Well, it looks like Nader has qualified for the ballot, albeit through what Jeff Mapes called an "unusually secretive" process.

    So it's clear now that Nader's mission of self-promotion will now relegate the concept of democracy and public participation to the back seat.

    Rulial, I laughed (with you) at your first paragraph... that's pretty much Nader in a nutshell. Good example! :)

  • Ed (unverified)
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    How about we address some of the rampant corruption at home in Portland not just on the national level. With the Democratic Party in total dominance of local politics, there is no accountability of our local politicians and selective enforcement of local laws. I can think of one issue of selective enforcement on my mind this morning: newspaper newsracks around the city illegally chained to city property in violation of City Code 17.64.040. The city refuses to act on complaints of this code violation for fear of retribution from local newspapers in an election year.

  • Veteran (unverified)
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    This was the question. "Now look at your list. How many would have happened under Obama? How many would have happened under McCain?"

    I just figured I would point out that there are many who would not follow McCain. Not just Obama.

    But the bigger point I was making is that I do not like either of the TWO major candidates. So should I not vote at all or at least try and add a third party?

    And if the idea is that we should vote for a candidate that has a chance to win, then you should know that I like McCain over Obama; simply because I do not want to appease the religious institutions in this country by adding them to the Democratic platform. I did not like faith based initiatives when Clinton started it or when Bush expanded it. I find it even more disturbing under Obama who wants to fully fund the program in the budget.

    And although Democratic, the congress is weak and will add it to the budget if Obama asks. If McCain asks, there is at least a chance that congress will refuse.

    A stalemate between the President and Congress is still progress if the alternative is stepping backwards when congress allows the president to run amuck simply because he says he is a “d”.

    Does anyone know how much the Democratic platform has changed since 2000? Or 2004 for that matter?

    I no longer fit into the Democrat’s platform!

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    I thought the goal was to choose the best person to lead the country. Clearly to me in this election it's Obama, but the idea that the goal is to get "your" party to win, sounds like a problem that deserves more focus than why everyone isn't on the Messiah train just yet...

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Here's the thing -- the only goal of a Presidential election is to have your party win the election.

    This goes a step too far. The goal of a presidential election is to elect the candidate who will be the best president. In my voting lifetime, that candidate has always been a Democrat, but I would never say that voting for the party is more important than voting for the person.

    Along with that first premise, it's every voter's responsibility to weigh the practical effect of her vote and to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It's far better to vote for a mediocre candidate who can win than a perfect candidate who cannot. That's basic common sense. But I would never argue that it's illegitimate for someone to vote against both major party candidates if they truly believe that both are unacceptable. But I would go on to argue that this is a rare occurrence that certainly didn't happen in 2000, and isn't happening in 2008 either. If you can't get behind Obama, even tepidly, then you aren't ever going to be able to get behind any major American candidate. Ever.

    Finally, criticism of one's candidate during the election is not necessarily wrong. If you believe the candidate has strayed, which Obama has on FISA, then it's essential to point that out during the campaign. Once elected, voters have much less leverage over a candidate's positions. If enough Obama supporters make their displeasure known, it might actually cause him to rethink his position.

    Disclaimer: I say all this by way of argument. I think Obama is the cat's meow, and I'm doing everything I can to make sure he gets elected in November.

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    If you can't get behind Obama, even tepidly, then you aren't ever going to be able to get behind any major American candidate. Ever.

    Heh.

    Miles and I agree.

    Alert the media.

    Or are we the media now...?

  • Walpurgis (unverified)
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    I thought the goal was to choose the best person to lead the country.

    In all seriousness, no. The goal is to choose the better person to lead the country.

    Spend all your time looking for the best person, and you will be searching the rest of yours days.

  • ContentiousMFR (unverified)
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    I can't get help but conclude that the nub of the argument of the Nader-bashers is that democracy is fine as long as no one who criticizes the prevailing paradigm ever dares to run for office.

    Miles writes: If enough Obama supporters make their displeasure known, it might actually cause him to rethink his position.

    Miles, do you really think that Obama was surprised to see a negative reaction from the left on his FISA vote? That displeasure having been expressed, has he reversed himself?

    Conservative Republicans worked arduously for the sixteen years between Goldwater's defeat and Reagan's election, and they didn't stop then. They are very effective organizers and a tireless opposition party when that is their role.

    "Impeachment is off the table" is not the rallying cry of an effective opposition party newly in control of the congress after an end-this-war referendum.

    If the party leaders start doing their jobs, they'll enable their organizers to be more effective--it's easier to organize the electorate when your party stands in clear contrast to the disastrous policies of the sitting Administration.

    Boldness, not accomodation, is required of the Democrats. That'll get the electorate's attention--the Republicans' wrath is a given no matter the strategy chosen by the Democrats.

  • LT (unverified)
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    What we have here is a basic misunderstanding of grass roots politics,

    "If the party leaders start doing their jobs, they'll enable their organizers to be more effective--it's easier to organize the electorate when your party stands in clear contrast to the disastrous policies of the sitting Administration."

    Grass roots organizers take their orders directly from the DNC and other "party leaders"? Guess that is why Merkley got 90% of the vote because he had DSCC support! :> Yes, that was being snarky.

    It could be argued that Obama is the nominee because he ran a grass roots, every voter counts campaign rather than a top down, big states matter more than small states campaign.

    Individuals think for themselves. They have a right to believe that one candidate is better than another. They have the right to believe that 2006 (with all the other things which needed to be done) was too late in the presidency for impeachment, which when done right with Nixon took a couple of years. (Besides, there are people who are already warning Bush, Cheney, et al that they'd better not leave the country after they leave office because they could be brought up on war crimes charges, no matter how slowly the legal process in this country might work.)

    And about this: "the argument of the Nader-bashers is that democracy is fine as long as no one who criticizes the prevailing paradigm ever dares to run for office."

    A person who runs for office needs to earn votes from actual voters. As has been discussed here at BO: no matter what else Nader has done in his career, 8 years ago he was on the radio here in Oregon calling all Oregonians who voted for Death with Dignity both stupid and disobedient. We not only voted for the measures, we used criteria other than what he told us to use.

    Nader is a man in his 70s. Any voter has the right to oppose any candidate of that age as too old, too cranky, not willing to listen to opposing points of view. Getting on the ballot doesn't negate those individual rights.

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    The FISA issue worries me. The faith based initiative worries me. But McCain scares me near to death.

    Look, we have seen what the Reich does with power. It ignores all other voices and makes corporate profits and the hyper rich its sole priority. The wealthy then took their money overseas. I really don't know how McCain can talk about tax cuts creating jobs anymore. The Republicans did everything they wanted and we see the result. It's insane to think if we keep heading in the same direction it will change. That is textbook insanity.

    With the Democrats, they strive to have all voices heard. Naderite voices can be heard on a Dem's website. Rebuked, but heard.

    It seems to me that Nader is all about his becoming President now. Not about having a 3rd party. If it was about a 3rd party, he would have remained focused on building that party. These past 8 years would have been a great time to develop a viable 3rd party. Disgust with our goverment across all segments of society has never been higher?

    In the past decade we have seen MoveOn develop, Progressive Democrats for America have developed, and a host of other liberal, progressive, democratic entities have grown into substantial organizations that are now being heard, loud and clear.

    Nader has gone nowhere. His stock is falling, not rising. If he truly intended to make a change, he could focus on the change and not his becoming President. If he was to buy all the electronic voting machines and become President, he would be powerless as he would have no support in Congress to change any laws. If Nader means to make a movement, he should do that. I just don't think that a movement is really what he wants. Like McCain, he wants the prize. He wants to be President.

    If I was to give Nader a TON of credit and imagine him President, I could see his Presidency being similar to Jimmy Carter. The solar panels came off the White House as soon as he left. Car makers managed to destroy Carter's gas saving initiatives, and where IS that peace he brought to the Middle East? Let's be real. Egypt still manages to stay clear of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was inconceivable before Carter.

    Nader has not succeeded in building any substantial movement and that is why his efforts to be President are worse then meaningless, they have been simply destructive, hamstringing the people who more closely share his purported values from making anything even vaguely resembling the changes he states that he favors.

    My recommendation, get off the Nader bus, it's going nowhere. Take the values you believe he represents and build another network without him. If the cause has merit, it will rise, but Nader is about Nader, and his pride has enveloped him.

  • Walpurgis (unverified)
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    CMFR, Let's be clear: It has been a long, long time since Nader actually "ran for office."

    Nader has been running not for office, but for influence. His goal is not to win, but is instead to crash viable candidacies.

    If Ralph Nader had really wanted to make a difference, there are dozens of Congressional seats he could have won handily by now, through which he could have actually built a career in politics and earned my respect through making an actual difference.

    But I can't respect a politician who asserts that he immediately deserves the Presidency and will settle for nothing less.

    I don't usually revert to name calling, but the phrase "pompous ass" describes Nader to a T.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    John Devlin wrote:

    [T]he only goal of a Presidential election is to have your party win the election

    I am convinced, like you, that Obama would be better than McCain. That is not a good reason to withhold criticism of Obama when he falls short of progressive positions and actions. To do so makes alternatives to the corporate consensus disappear from public view and even from the minds of many progressives.

    Politics is not football. Winning is not the only thing. People who are serious about politics are so because they care about governance and its effect of people's lives. Party politics is part of the process, not an end unto itself.

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    One more thing to add to the list, which likely candidate (Obama or McCain) and their policies most closely resembles Sen Clinton? I can't see a huge difference in policy position between Obama & Clinton, so those Hillary backers who are all pissed of better remember that Sen Obama is pretty likely to act on most issues (including Woman's issues, Minority issues, and the next Supreme Court nominees) as Sen Clinton. John McCain is not likely to act in the same way as the Dems, and looks to be a third Bush term just waiting to raise more havoc.

  • RW (unverified)
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    TC - this precise question was on my mind this morning. Are we now going to transform into Borgs for the duration of this election, or will there be healthy, well-researched dialog that goes somewhere (in other words, anybody here actually have access to anyone who cares in the campaigns?) so as to win but to win meaningfully? I was disappointed by that crap pulled by Madonna (I admit to Drudge Report - it often explains what the hell I just saw on the local news or heard on NPRs entertainment shows....) - and wondered if anyone here would take exception to the inappropriate parallelling of McCain with Hitler? There are so many BETTER candidates than poor, old, bedizened Hitler to get said what she and others believe they are saying... so how to comment on tripe from the campaigns as well as those nidgets externally stumping when it's maladroit?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    The reference I found was to video at Madonna's concert with a sequence containing images of Hitler and McCain along with several other things Madonna presumably does not like. If that's the extent of her comments, I don't think it's so far out of line. Shrub's approach toward government power and civil liberties, which McCain embraces more closely as his campaign progresses, is certainly authoritarian. Nazi Germany [and it's leader] is a handy icon for authoritarianism. If Madonna said that McCain was as bad as Hitler or some such thing, that would be clearly be silly, but then, she's an entertainer, not a politician.

    Drudge?

  • RichW (unverified)
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    The cold-hearted bottom line:

    There are only TWO viable candidates for the presidency. One is more progressive than the other.

    Perhaps my vision is wrong, but I see no way for Nader to get more than about 1% of the vote. We shall see if I am right after the election.

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    "In all seriousness, no. The goal is to choose the better person to lead the country."

    Given the profusion of candidates actually running for office, I'm happy to reduce the scope down to "best RATIONAL candidate." I don't agree you simply look for the better one, perhaps as much as avoiding the worse one.

  • RW (unverified)
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    I suppose, Tom, I wish that pundits as well as the entertainers (now called to rally the lowest common denominator any way they can)could reference a broadened array of authoritarians (indicative of respect for self and electorate with educated parallels as to historical context...), totalitarians, badass daddies -- try Tito, try Stalin, try Pinochet who was so darned good for BUSINESS! ... golly gee, try ANYONE but Hitler just once. Expand the vocab and the reference points.

    Entertainer ilk are not somebodys in your world - not for the thinking public. McCain sure had something to say about it! He should have ignored her and just admired her gams some more.

    The the mass are not you. I work with them. I carefully do NOT comment on the angry "political" discussions, even if they are Obama supporters. The rage runs my blood cold. Queried as to the thought of a Clinton/Obama ticket, I was treated to a cascade of anti-Clinton venom instead of some thought as to where that might take us. I mix with the common folk, being undeniably common myself, and I can tell ya that if 50 Cent, Bono, Madonna or whomever such listen to want to scroll that shit in front of those eyes, it'll do just fine. I feel just as plagued by the autoShouts and instaBoos during Obama speeches, frankly.

    As to Drudge - handy jump-page to get to any variety of links I WANT to view -- Ed Vulliaumy, Helen Thomas etc. And rather than drink and eat bonbons, I ocassionally scrounge the Drudge Report in secret. I pleade plebian proudly...

  • RW (unverified)
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    Sorry: off-topic, lowbrow screed. And maybe Leonard Cohen or J. Mitchell would have something real to say. Maybe.

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    Rebecca, please withdraw your apology for the low brow screed immediately!!!!

    You are insulting all of us writers who can do no better, and indeed aspire to rise someday to lowbrow level.

    Thank you

  • With advocates like that (unverified)
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    (By the way, near the top of my list is the fact that a McCain presidency means, in all likelihood, a hard-right majority on the Supreme Court for the next three decades.)

    This of course, is the kind of deceit that demonstrates why people like Devlin are such a bad face for our Party to put forward rather than repudiate.

    In case you failed civics Joel, so long as the Democrats hold the Senate for, it will be up to Democrats whether or not we have a hard-right majority on the Supreme Court for the next three years. Take it up with Wyden who ended up voting for Roberts and who with the rest of the "it's just about winning" embarrassments to the Party like you refused to make a fight against Alito. (And maybe you can also explain how a pro-corporate majority that we will actually have under both Obama or McCain is actually less of a threat to our civil rights).

    In fact, if we get enough true Democrats in the Senate, not BO, Wyden, Merkley sellouts, they can even go back and start impeaching justices that stole the 2000 election and like this:

    Judge who denied jailed Democrat's motion for release was Karl Rove protege

    There are reasons to vote for Obama that mainly are about how he is marginally the lesser of the pro-corporate evil, and that our own Party is completely corrupted by narcisstic, privileged leaders and a contingent of syncophantic activists who will no longer stand up against corporate or right-wing America for working people, but Devlin obviously doesn't get the "values thing" well enough to make the argument. One legitimately has to wonder about the example you are setting for the students you coach.

  • inbf (unverified)
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    I am an unhappy democrat, so I guess I get to post here too. I am very undecided at this point, and many issues seem to be in play.

    I started with Obama and ended with Hillary. Frankly, I don't see that much difference between Obama and McCain. Obama voted FOR the Cheney energy bill and even McCain voted against it. Then he came out with the Yucca Mountain ad, but Obama voted for that site, twice. Add to that all the "present" votes, AIPAC, FISA, campaign finance, NAFTA, gun rights, abortion, off shore drilling, and more flip flops, and his poor relationship with the GLBT (very poor), his crowning by the DNC, religion in the govt., Rezko and his poor judgment with getting mixed up with some of his Chicago supporters (I'm originally from Chicago). He claims to be post-partisan, but if you want someone who often crosses party lines it is McCain, not Obama. What he says he stands for seems to melt with a breeze. So I have no idea if he would be better than McCain.

    Also, (and I'm not sure of this, and would not mind a bit of debate) I'm not happy with congress. Our rubberstamp congress. As I see it, in the early 2000s with all branches of government (esp the admin and legislative) republican the result was a power shift towards the executive branch, weakening congress. The dems have not reversed that or even slowed it. I do NOT see Obama simply GIVING power back to congress. Congress needs to TAKE it and empower itself. If a D congress is fawning all over Obama then it is reasonable to fear a further weakening of congress. We would further slide into simply electing a dictator. With divided government, McCain would really be watched, challenged, questioned in ways Obama would not, and I think that is deeply healthy.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    inbf wrote:

    He claims to be post-partisan, but if you want someone who often crosses party lines it is McCain, not Obama.

    This seems to contradict the list of Obama votes and positions you listed earlier in the same paragraph.

  • Walpurgis (unverified)
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    Good point Tom!

    I think the problem here is that when people say that they want someone who crosses party lines... they mean that they want someone who crosses party lines to their side.

    So yes, we have evidence of both McCain and Obama crossing party lines... when McCain does it, some Democrats are enamored, because he's coming towards our side. When Obama does it, some of the ultra-purists are enraged, because he's going away from our side! How dare he cross party lines in that direction!?

    Also, inbf seems like a Republican troll. Same old forumla: 1. I are a Democrat. 2. I am discontent because I disagree. 3. Perhaps we should vote Republican.

  • inbf (unverified)
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    Tom, I see your point, but flip flops are not the same thing as actually working across the isle to bring about a positive result (as in passing legislation -ie McCain Fiengold). McCain has gone against his own party so many times the republican extremists are livid that he will win the nomination. And he is personally not a religious extremist, while Obama promotes his religion. It is one reason Obama thinks he can get some of the evangelical vote from McCain, and he might be right. But the religious right extreme is very different from the left extreme (as far as my readings have indicated) and liberation theology is not going to go over with the rapture crowd. Again, tho, McCain is more moderate with the religion issue.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    inbf,

    McCain has bucked the Republican majority on some high-profile issues, but that independence has all but disappeared since McCain became the front runner for the Republican nomination. His position on torture is a glaring example of his flip-flopping toward the Shrubian Republicans.

  • inbf (unverified)
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    Walpurgis, I have never voted republican ever. But since this the internet, you are going to have to take my word. So much for engaging in debate however, and exploring options. Just call me some names and dismiss my thoughts. Much easier that way, for you, you don't have to think at all, just emote.

    I am undecided for the first time, could go with Nader or McKinney or Obama or even McCain, but will probably not sit it out. However I will not be controlled by fear - "ohhhhh, you have to fear McCain". I don't appreciate the dem party using fear as a tactic. And so far, the DNC and DNC loyalists use mostly fear and guilt tripping. So calling me names won't work with me either.

    Also, (I personally am fiscally centerist, and socially very progressive, and believe in engagement and balanced government) IF I was an independent of republican Obama and the DNC will NEED some of their votes to win. Your non-engagement and arrogance will be very counterproductive to your preferred candidate and to the DNC.

    I would prefer a dem who is NOT post partisan, but if a republican is elected I would prefer a post partisan in that case.

  • inbf (unverified)
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    Tom, Yes, you are right. Most of McCain's working across the isle were before 2000 (I think - not sure of 2000-6 and post his run against Bush). And since becoming the apparent nominee he has pulled hard to the right - very hard. Trying to secure the republican base. He might even get Ann Coulter back. Goody.

    McCain has always had appeal with independents, but not the hard right of his party. Obama is assuming his base (not working for it, just using fear and guilt) and making plays for independents and evangelicals. He will be a very difficult opponent.

    Part of this is that many voters are not 20somethings and perceive McCain as a sort of independent maverick. One reason it has been sort of safe for him to pull so hard right. He is not perceived as a neo con - don't think he is actually. Demonizing him will not work, IMO. I think Biden has a better idea - to run against Bush/Cheney. Dems should sort of ignore McCain and run against the neocons and simply associate McCain with them (even tho he is actually different). If Obama continues making this election about the candidates' personalities that will make it much harder.

    Also, all candidates flip flop to some extent, McCain has certainly. Obama has to an extraordinary degree and lacks the voting records for voters to see if he just says what voters want to hear then does as he pleases (as in FISA). As you can tell, Obama was my last pick of the dems. Leave it to Howard Dean....

  • Walpurgis (unverified)
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    as in passing legislation -ie McCain Fiengold

    Worst. Campaign. Finance. Reform. Ever.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Gregor said, "My recommendation, get off the Nader bus, it's going nowhere. Take the values you believe he represents and build another network without him."

    My recommendation, get off the Obama bus, it's going nowhere. Take the values you believe he represents and build another network without him.

  • ORDemocrat (unverified)
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    Unfortunately, Obama apears to be going down. He wasn't smart enough to include Clinton on the ticket though 1/2 the Dem party wants her on it... seems like just another politician ignoring the will of the electorate. If he can't make this simple inclusive decision, how is he going to make more important decisions that affect the larger electorate? He's already proved he does not have the judgement to be President.

  • inbf (unverified)
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    Walpurgis, as in passing legislation -ie McCain Fiengold

    Worst. Campaign. Finance. Reform. Ever.

    Yup. You make it really hard to even try to make a case for McCain. :)

    Still, I think attacking McCain is a losing strategy for the dems. Attacking Hillary supporters, and the Clinton wing of the dem party, and the PUMAs is a mistake too. If Obama supporters want him to win then attack the neoconservatives. McCain is not one, but Bush/Cheney and their team are. It is the neoconservatives, rather than the traditional republicans, who have largely destroyed government in the USA. It is they who are the criminal element. It is they who are -actually- enemies of the USA. My worry about Obama is that he is a newbie and prone to being very influenced by $$.

  • inbf (unverified)
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    oops, trying to figure out the italics stuff.... meant to just highlight only the referenced text in italics.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    NEXT HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT:

    Top 10 Reasons To Be Totally Disillusioned with the Democratic Party:

    1) Almost immediately after being appointed Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi declared impeachment "off the table" and 99% of Dem bigwigs concurred.

    2) John Kerry promised to fight any election abnormalities, then abdicated within 24 hours of Bush's 2004 win. Hundreds of dedicated volunteers showed up in Ohio to catalog electoral fraud. He let them down. The Dem party leadership was silent. In the years since, overwhelming evidence has emerged that the election was either solen or won due to "errors" in the Diebold voting software.

    3) Pelosi and Congress refused to force Bush to ask for permission, as the US Constitution requires, before declaring war on Iran.

    4) Pelosi and Congress have passed no meaningful legislation to repeal the Help America Vote Act. In fact, they have only strengthened the power for private corporations to control the outcome of elections.

    5) For two years now, the Dem congress has failed to compel a single Bush Admin cabinet member (Rove, Cheney, etc) to testify before congress.

    6) FISA bill passed in direct contradiction of the Fourth Amendment. Retroactive immunity for big telecom approved.

    7) Not one single war appropriations bill rejected.

    8) Record profits for Big Oil and Dem Congress unable or unwilling to impose windfall taxes, though U.S. is spending $100-150 billion annually to protect Big Oil access to Iraq.

    9) Dems allowing fenced in cattle pens... I mean, detention centers... For protestors at Denver convention.

    10) Dems refuse to hold impeachment inquiries or investigations into PROVEN war crimes by the Bush Admin for lying the American people into war.

    Wow, you're right! Go Dems! Go Obama! Go so long as Dem Convention Coverage doesn't interfere with reality TV or celebrity news coverage. Woo hoo! The perfect episode of South Park!!! F@#% the Constitution, it's almost football season! Go Broncos!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    It seems to me that Nader is all about his becoming President now.</i.<>

    This is another piece of utter rubbish in the stream of slander thrown at Ralph Nader. Nader is clearly an intelligent person, and you can bet your bottom dollar he has no illusion about becoming president. He is there to give the American people a choice, a chance to say they want what he would have for America and "no" to the hypocrisy and lies the duopoly offers. He also knows that he will only get a very small percentage of votes in the general election because most people will be voting against one of the two corporate-approved candidates as much as for one or the other. Nader will take votes away from the two mainstream candidates if he gets to participate in the debates and prove to open-minded voters he knows what he is talking about as opposed the the crap campaign managers will have their candidates regurgitate. Entrenched partisan voters won't change because they are locked into their programmed positions.

  • Rulial (unverified)
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    It might be too late, but I wanted to respond to something ContentiousMFR said above:

    I can't get help but conclude that the nub of the argument of the Nader-bashers is that democracy is fine as long as no one who criticizes the prevailing paradigm ever dares to run for office.
    I really, really hope you don't read my argument that way. I don't think democracy is fine with a two-party system. In fact, I think the two-party system is toxic for democracy. Yes, I am a Democrat, and I believe my party has better solutions than the other major party, but I would rather live under a system with a many smaller, more ideologically-focused parties replacing each big party.

    The reason I bash Ralph Nader is that he's not actually helping to bring about the end to the two-party system. Getting public financing for the Greens ain't going to make the Greens viable, because the barrier to the Greens' viability isn't financing, but rather the single-member district plurality system and (at the presidential level) the electoral college.

    If you don't like the two-party system--and I don't--then work to end conditions that create and reinforce the two-party system. Until then, let's try to help the better major party win important policy battles.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Unfortunately, Obama apears to be going down. He wasn't smart enough to include Clinton on the ticket ...

    Obama is going down (or nowhere) most likely for a variety of reasons. One of the more important factors is that he painted himself as an agent of change, change that apparently many people, especially the young, wanted. This proved to be a promise he has reneged on and recognized as such by all but party loyalists and the more naive. With his AIPAC speech the change balloon was seriously deflated. No "change" there with a promise to continue supporting the Israeli tail that has been wagging the willing American dog for decades. More air was sucked out of the balloon with his FISA vote showing little regard for the Fourth Amendment but more concern for protecting telcoms from the consequences of their illegal acts. For many the change balloon was completely cleared of air when Obama announced he was in sync with John McCain and would have our troops dig themselves into a deeper hole by expanding the war in Afghanistan. And just to make sure the change balloon would remain an illusion he capped the air inlet with Joe Biden, a man who has shown he can be as much of a war hawk as anyone else.

    What's left for opponents of needless and mindless wars waged for the benefit of the war armaments industries and the egos of our macho leaders?

  • ContentiousMFR (unverified)
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    Rulial,

    You're the only Nader-basher who's posted a comment that has even acknowledged the distortion of the voters' will imposed by the Electoral College.

    The willful and vehement ignorance of this aspect of the 2000 vote count by the rest of the Nader-bashers leaves me stunned. Their guy lost, but rather than acknowledge the systemic cause, which can and should be changed, they keep dancing around the carcass of their chosen scapegoat. Stunning...

  • inbf (unverified)
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    Rulial, could you comment further on this? I'd like to know more. "because the barrier to the Greens' viability isn't financing, but rather the single-member district plurality system and (at the presidential level) the electoral college."

    Another of Obama's problems (Axelrod's actually) is the strategy has been to promote the candidate's personality. His judgment, fairness, etc etc. This has made the campaign all about Obama and it has made him an actual issue so the repubs are sort of justified in attacking him. I don't even think it has started in earnest yet. The more Obama and the repubs make this election about Obama the harder it will be to win. Citizens want this election to be about them and many are wary of this message:

    1. a DC outsider, doing politics differently
    2. morally better than the previous president
    3. a man of deep obvious faith, apparently chosen
    4. a unifier
    5. brings hope and change

    These are exactly what Bush ran on and citizens just don't believe the advertising anymore. They want to see the record. Obama has a very short and, honestly, spotty record.

    The decision to promote Obama to the point of unethical (and possibly worse violations) was made by the DNC who seem to own Reid and Pelosi. The DNC seems to be trying to rid the party of the DLC and the Clinton wing of the party. Bad strategy Howard. Overconfidence that this election will be a breeze because of the very strong anti-Bush feelings.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    inbf said, "If Obama supporters want him to win then attack the neoconservatives."

    Obama's brainless trust is dominated by Kissingerian "realists". They, like the neocons, care about retaining the present polyarchy, whether or not they win. Explain Obama's positions and change of positions on NAFTA, FISA, Palestine, and general war-mongering in some other way.

    Your analysis that Obama's personality-driven campaign is "exactly what Bush ran on" is dead on. A vote for McBama is a vote for Bush.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    end italics, I hope

  • (Show?)

    Bill Bodden:

    What's left for opponents of needless and mindless wars waged for the benefit of the war armaments industries and the egos of our macho leaders?

    Not much. I feel I face a choice between the least of three evils -- a hyper-aggressive McCain, a stand-pat shift the militarism but don't really end the occupation of Iraq or cut the military spending that is breaking the back of our economy Obama, or variants of a meaningless abstention (actual abstention, abstention by Nader, abstention by McKinney, abstention by write-in, by Socialist Party, by spoiled ballot, etc., etc.).

    These are all evils IMO. An ineffective vote for a candidate who isn't even trying to build a movement or an organization and whose followers seem determined to follow suit is an evil IMO.

    Voting for Obama seems the least of the three evils because it has some opportunity of obstructing the worst.

  • Gregor (unverified)
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    This IS days later but I have to say that the Obama bus went to Denver and the Democratic National Convention. Only the McCain bus is anywhere in the rearview mirror. Nov 4 we will know who gets to the destination, but the Obama bus is going full speed ahead. It's irrefutable.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Chris L said, "An ineffective vote for a candidate who isn't even trying to build a movement or an organization and whose followers seem determined to follow suit is an evil IMO."

    I'm glad you didn't say, "IMHO". None of us here are humble.

    Your "Don't let the acceptable be the enemy of the bad but not utterly execrable" was funny and ironically appropriate, but you seem to be making just that argument now. I've informed you several times of the attempts by Nader to build a movement and to form a coalition with others.

    Nader, McKinney, Sheehan, Clemente and Gonzalez coalesced in Denver in their opposition to both corporatist parties. They are waiting for you and other progressives to join them in offering an alternative to McBama and in repudiating the status quo. Your attempt to impede them is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    "And there's no reason, other than the will to believe, to expect that Obama would be any better [than McCain], and it's entirely likely that in some ways - including those bearing on racial justice - he'll be worse, again by moving the boundaries of thinkable liberalism that much farther to the right. There is nothing in his record, much less his recent courting of some of the worst tendencies of the right, to reassure us on this front. The argument that he has to give away everything in order to get elected is substantively only an argument that we have no reason to elect him...

    But here's the catch-22: The left version of the lesser evilist argument stresses that it's unrealistic and maybe unfair to expect anything of the Dems in the absence of a movement that could push them, and no such movement exists. True enough, but where is such a movement to come from if we accept the premise that the horizon of our political expectation has to be whatever the Dems are willing to do because demanding more will only put/keep the other guys in power, and they're worse?...

    <h2>what makes the Dems every four years 'better' is always something that the hacks and yuppies are likely to imagine getting if they win, and their disgusting moralizing about the imperative to vote for their 'lesser evil'...means 'I may get what's important for me, but you have to recognize that what you need is naïve or impractical' -- is all about bullying the rest of us into believing we have an obligation to vote for what's good for them."</h2> <hr/>
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