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I recently had an email exchange with a fellow liberal who is in the process of vetting the Democratic candidates for disqualifiers w.r.t. her personal list of priorities.  I am tired of listening to people seek for reasons NOT to vote for a particular Democrat and told her to "hold her nose and just vote"!

The exchange started with a query to me about Ron Paul and how he only seems reasonable because (to quote her):

"how many right wing assholes has Bush turned into decent people by bulldozing over the limit of asshole behavior?"

After that our conversation turned into a list of reasons she couldn’t vote for one particular candidate or another – always finding something that she just couldn’t support and asking how I felt.  My first response was:

I really don’t know what I think right now.  The only thing I know I want is a NON-Republican – I don’t really care who.  I like the idea of a woman in the office and Hillary probably has the best organization.  Edwards would probably do the most to undo the damage the Bush admin has done to actual working people (erosion of benefits, loss of real wages, health care, etc.), but I think he’s probably too "left"-ish for mainstream ‘merika.  Obama sounds good until you start listening really close.  Nobody else has a real chance – so I’m not going to fixate on someone who matches what I want all the way down the line.  I know that’s not going to happen, so I’ll hold my nose and vote for the not-Republican – whoever it winds up being.

I know it’s good to stick to your ideals, but that’s what the re-thugs count on.  Spread enough confusion about your opponents and you can fragment the opposition enough to get your man in office.  They hold their noses and vote their party in – dems need to do the same this time or we won’t have a constitution at all in 4 years!

Her response to this was:

"I didn't think about that - but I personally would rather not vote than vote for somebody that actively promotes what I think is very wrong."

And then listed all the "reasons" why she couldn’t vote for most of the leading Dems.  I won’t get into the specifics, but I’ve heard every one of them listed in one comment / diary at some point on DailyKOS.

My ultimate response was:

OK, just remember while you’re keeping your vote "pure" – you will be enabling another for years of hell.  People like Rove depend on this and fan that seed of doubt – that "one thing" that gets publicized that caused you to stay home – that gets their puppet in place.

They did this last election by finding the "one thing" that would motivate the fundy base no matter what: fear of fags.  Black religious leaders just jumped in bed with white southern racists and far right bigots of all stripes just because of the homo hatred.  And not enough reasonable people voted against this obscenity because it wasn’t important to them.  Kerry was, after all a "flip-flopper" / "fake war hero" / "lib-rul" / "snob" / etc. (pick one...), so they were completely justified, right?

All of us in the "reality based community" (as opposed to the freak-show shadow "reality" Rove creates) need to get off our collective asses and caste our votes against this sort of cynical manipulation next cycle.  I don’t care if he or she doesn’t match everything on your check list.  It may be our last chance to do so... EVERY VOTE COUNTS (except in Florida ... or Ohio ... or any place Diebold voting machines are in place...).

My point applies to everyone here: If you don’t vote for whoever is chosen as the Democratic candidate – you are voting for their opponent, no matter how you rationalize your position.  Shut up / hold your nose / whatever it takes and JUST VOTE!

"<"/rant">"  OK, I’m better now – back to herding cats at a new house construction site I’m supervising.  Thank you for listening...

Originally posted to TechBob on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 05:43 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  you are (4+ / 0-)

    right.  Every one needs to vote and stop acting like there is some perfect candidate out there.

  •  I shouldn't get this worked up in the morning (9+ / 0-)

    But I just get tired of hearing excuses while I watch our country go down the tubes...

  •  Your friend has a point (5+ / 0-)

    There is no black and white here.  For example, in the 2000 election, we like to complain about those that voted for Nader.  However, that pretty much only made a difference in Florida.  In Texas, where I live, a vote for a Green for president is as much a throwaway vote as a vote for a Democrat is.

    Additionally, your friend's world view is going to bring about the most change.  As far as I'm concerned, Hillary is a right-wing warmonger.  She's not as bad as Bush, but that doesn't make her a good candidate either.  By voting in mediocre and right-wing Democrats, we will continue to be disappointed just as we are now after last year's so-called "victory", which has resulted in nothing to stop the war in Iraq and has resulted in Bush getting even more powers towards dictatorship.  The fact that the FISA changes were passed is a pretty good sign of just how idiotic and corrupt a lot of members of the Democratic party are.  We have the only "good guys" in government, but the majority of the Democratic party are not and get in the way of true liberals.

    So the only way to bring about change is to work for victory for good Democrats, and to not give a shit about bad ones.  We can't keep trying to put lipstick on a pig and complain that nobody wants to take it to the prom.  We can't afford to let another John Kerry be our nominee for 2008, unless we like constantly losing.

    •  That's fine (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for the primaries. Vote for whoever you want in the primaries. I think the point here is simply to shelve it temporarily for the general election.

      The friend's world view is going to bring about the most change, sure, but you have to create your playing field, and although I'm leaning Edwards (out of the Big Three; I think Dodd's my real favorite), I'd prefer my chances of getting FISA restored with Hillary in charge than Rudy.

      It took more than one election cycle to get the country into this mess, and it's going to take more than one to get us out. In retrospect, it seems that the Dick Cheneys of the world probably considered Ronald Reagan a good-enough-for-now candidate who would be a stepping stone on the way to creating the dictatorship we have now. They may not have gone so far as to hold their nose while voting for him, but surely they were looking down the road.

    •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

      our planet may not survive long enough for the purists to bring around the centrists.  If a John Kerry is our nominee, I will do everything I can to get him or her elected.

    •  "a point" is no excuse for inaction (0+ / 0-)

      It's fine to vet and criticize the candidates during the selection process and concentrate on your personal "hot button" (mine is LGBT issues).  But I'm tired of watching us systematically excluded from conversations to power because we won't compromise in any way.

      This is crunch time and our constitution and personal liberties are at stake.  Too many of my friends just tune out and some point because of the negative (for them) issues raised and I'm afraid that's exactly what cynics like Rove et al are depending on.

      All I'm saying is: contribute to the conversation, argue for your agenda all you want - but at some point we must vote Democratic.  We may not get another chance...

      •  I see the problem differently (0+ / 0-)

        But I'm tired of watching us systematically excluded from conversations to power because we won't compromise in any way.

        I don't think that the "bad" Democrats (the ones we try to get rid of in primaries) would ever include us in conversations or share power with us at all.  Part of the problem is that there are members of the Democratic party that despite having some issues in common with us, such as being against the Iraq war, are at their core conservatives.  People like Joe Lieberman, for example, apparently do not believe in democracy or listening to the people.  Every candidate that does not vote the progressive way on issues such as healthcare, stopping the war, etc. are proving to us that we will never have any influence over them.

        All I'm saying is: contribute to the conversation, argue for your agenda all you want - but at some point we must vote Democratic.  We may not get another chance...

        Voting is important, but it's a small portion of what we do.  A good example is how people here at dailykos really supported Tester, who despite being openly against the Iraq war, had non-progressive ideas such as opposing gay marriage, wants to declare English as the official language of the U.S., etc.  We can't keep making progress in one area by stabbing ourselves in the foot on other areas.  If we donate money to candidates that are not true progressives, if we campaign for them, and do other things like that, we are spending time and resources that could be going to other candidates that would pursue our goals.  In the constant FP posts about Jon Tester, Markos never really focused on his views that are not progressive, and as a result people here put time and money into a candidate that they should have spent that time and money elsewhere.  Voting is easy and a very black and white issue, but the supporting of candidates is not as easy.

  •  I'll vote! (0+ / 0-)

    and given the choices presented, I won't even hold my nose.

  •  agree with theboz (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ghengismom, FrankieB, George Gould

    and I would just like to say I'm TIRED of "holding my nose" when I go into the voting booth.  What kind of ridiculously low bar have we set for these people?
    Why is it too much to ask for the Democratic brain trust to put forward a quality candidate?
    I'm sick of it.

    •  Meanwhile, you're giving them what they want (0+ / 0-)

      I've always watched Repubs hop in the boat and get to the "other side" while Dems sit on the dock arguing about who's going to drive, what the course should be, what fuel they're going to use and what banner they should display.

      That's all well and good - but meantime our constitution is being systematically eroded and our very freedom is endangered.

      But thank goodness we can rest easy because we didn't compromise our principles.  I want to do the right thing, too - but there is a bigger picture here that ignore at our peril.

      •  I give "them" nothing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I vote Democrat and always have.
        In 04' and 06' I did as much as my time and resources allowed and for what...
        for John Kerry (easily my next to last to choice in that particular field) to let his main strength be used against him...
        for Jim Webb, one of my Senators, to give in to scare tactics and vote for this FISA nonsense

        I'm angry, discouraged and I feel like my vote is taken for granted...and it is outrageous to me that someone like you feels like these things shouldn't matter and that I should "shut up and vote" anyway

        •  Me, too (0+ / 0-)

          I worked my butt off at local Dem HQ (in hopeless Harris County / Houston Texas...), fixed all their computers, upgraded their Internet link, set up a wireless hotspot (equipment at MY expense) for volunteer lawyers to monitor election fraud - the whole enchilada.

          I'm pissed, discouraged and the peg on my "outrage meter" is bent (and possibly stuck...) - but I'll vote for anybody but a republican...

  •  We have a great field.... (0+ / 0-)

    and I'm working hard to see that Edwards or Obama wins the nomination because they are the REAL agents of change. But, I will vote for whomever the nominee is for sure. Good diary.

    My quote: "If you want a candidate that agrees with you totally, run yourself!"

  •  I'll vote. But there's no problem in demanding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sliping through my fingers

    more out of our candidates.

    I'll always aim to elect the next FDR or JFK, but in the end I'll end up pulling the lever for a Stevenson or Dukakis - I'm a Democrat and I vote that way.

    Check out my new blog, dedicated to electing our boys in blue: An Enduring Democratic Majority

    by Skulnick on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 06:57:27 AM PDT

  •  Voting is always a lesser of two evils (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    unless you are the one running or agree with the candidate on EVERYTHING.  

    If the Republicans promise to stop telling lies about us, maybe we'll stop telling the truth about them..

    by Romaniac on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 07:27:05 AM PDT

  •  Everyone wants the " perfect" candidate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They shop their candidates like they shop for clothes or a new car. The only propblem, people, is in the end, there are only 2 brands to choose from... and that brand has to accomodate at least half the US population, hopefully more. Rich, poor, fat, skinny, old, young, gay, straight, black, white, brown, etc. See the picture? Americans are so use to getting EXACTLY what they want in a consumer society that they just can't imagine having to wear a pair or pants that doesnt fit quite right or com[promise their choice in politics. That's the 2 party system people. One size fits all. Is Hillary the best liberal? of course not. She's the generic brand that people can live with because she appeals to the moderate Republican also. Barack is a nice guy, but when he said Canada had a Presidnet last night, that pretty much sealed the deal for me on why he shouldnt be president. The man lives in Chicago. Though not a border state, its as close as you can get. If the man didn't know a basic reality that our largest trading partner and next door neighbor  has a Prime Minsiter and not a President, he is not ready to be Preisdent yet. Pretty packaging, but I need a product that performs.

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