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I have had plenty of moments where I have criticized President Obama on this site and others for being, in a nutshell, "not liberal/progressive enough". I was one of a cadre of small but sometimes loud voters who were clamoring for someone such as Bernie Sanders to declare a primary challenge to the President from the left, because I felt our interests were being somewhere between ignored to quashed, either in the name of "bipartisanship" or out of some apparent desire to actually not pursue things we wanted when we voted for "Hope and Change" in 2008.

The more radical, malevolent, and patently Un-American the Republican Party has become, however, I have had my resolve to not only vote for Barack Obama again strengthened, but also challenge others to cast their ballots for him as well.

Today I read a piece that I think helps exemplify how I have felt, and how I believe others need to feel, and why anyone thinking at this late game of not supporting the President is set to deliver a very unpleasant if not "evil" hand to the country.

Via Balloon Juice earlier today, I found a piece on the New York Review of Books website by Gary Wills titled "The Curse of Political Purity".

Stop me if you've heard about purity trolls before. But that's not why I'm writing now.

Although I myself have certainly felt like voting "For the (candidate)" versus "For the Party", to read the words I read today provided I suppose a rather succinct reminder of what it means to actually vote for "The Party".

Mr. Wills takes to task Roberto Ungar, a former Harvard professor of Obama's, who apparently is making news for saying that Obama should be defeated for not being progressive enough. Wills even concedes that side-by-side, Barack Obama would not be nearly that great of a progressive next to his former teacher.

But in case anyone still had any doubts about why it is important to vote for Barack Obama, he offers the following:

To vote for a Democrat means, now, to vote for the party’s influential members—for unions (including public unions of teachers, firemen, and policemen), for black and Latino minorities, for independent women. These will none of them get their way, exactly; but they will get more of a hearing and attention—“pandering,” if you want to call it that—than they would get in a Republican administration.
In other words, if you belong to, or care about anyone belonging to any of those subsets of voters, voting for the Party that has (albeit not perfectly) stood up for them repeatedly is also in your best interest.

As a white male, I'll never know nor will I pretend to know what it's like to be Black or Latino in America. But I believe that everyone deserves equal opportunity under the law, and like the late Dr. King, that everyone should be judged on "content of character" not "color of skin". The Republican Party has made it clear with bills like SB-1070 in Arizona, with Mitt Romney's self-deportation folly, and Steve King's Muslim-witch-hunting hearings that they intend to profile all Americans to death unless you fit their mold.

To vote for a Republican means, now, to vote for a plutocracy that depends for its support on anti-government forces like the tea party, Southern racists, religious fanatics, and war investors in the military-industrial complex. It does no good to say that “Romney is a good man, not a racist.” That may be true, but he needs a racist South as part of his essential support. And the price they will demand of him comes down to things like Supreme Court appointments. (The Republicans have been more realistic than the Democrats in seeing that presidential elections are really for control of the courts.)
That's arguably the most concise summation of the current Republican Party I've seen in a while. The base is full of conspiracy theory anti-government (For you, but not For them), implicitly to explicitly racist Southern whites, religious zealots who are all convinced that they and they alone are "right" and we're all "wrong", and the warmongering profiteers from whom the suffering of real military families is never felt, because they never experience the war themselves, they just profit from it.

Wills continues on about "high minded" so-called "Independents" who think that not choosing a party even though there are very stark differences between them is somehow honorable, and how people who think we can change the entire system by burning it down and rising from the ashes will really leave us with only the ashes...I think the whole piece is a good read.

But more importantly than that, if anyone on this website or others who voted for Obama before, or doesn't already full-throatedly support the Decimate America plan put forth by Paul Ryan and endorsed by Mitt Romney still isn't sure of how or why they should give Barack Obama another 4 years...I am hoping that words as frank and clear as these, among others, can help put things in perspective for you.

No, this doesn't mean "every" Democrat is always good...and yes, we here should strive to replace bad Democrats with good or great ones at all times. This isn't meant to start any pie fights between "More and Better" / "Just Better" crowds (if they even still exist as such).

I've been disappointed with Obama a lot in 3 years, but I've seen a lot of good too. And more over, I have seen just how little the opposition thinks of everyone who isn't just like they are. Whether it's legitimate political belief or jaded political cynicism that keeps most Republicans from working for the majority of the country versus the Grover Norquists and Tony Perkins', it doesn't really matter.

I believe the only party right now that's going to fight for the most rights for the most citizens is the Democratic Party. If you do too, you've got to agree that voting for Barack Obama a 2nd time is the only choice.

...I'm going to guess most of you already knew that. But in case you weren't sure, hopefully you are now!

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Comment Preferences

  •  The logic is unavoidable. (7+ / 0-)

    1.  We don't have runoff voting in federal elections.
    2.  That means split votes always punish the side of the spectrum they occur on.
    3.  Ergo, don't split the vote.

    Primary challenges are a somewhat different issue, and are a good idea if a candidate is (a)seriously corrupt, (b) unlikely to win, or (c) further right than is necessary for their constituency.  

    In a presidential election, primary challenges against incumbents are dangerously divisive, as occurred with Jimmy Carter (some on the left thought he was too conservative - how'd that work out for ya, fellas?), so they should only be approached with stringent criteria because they basically amount to an intra-party impeachment.  And even when an incumbent is repugnant or inept enough to justify being replaced, it's only worthwhile if the challenger is better enough to overcome the disadvantages of making it an open race.

    I've seen nothing from Barack Obama that causes me to change my opinion of him that he is the best person for the job, and I've seen nothing from anyone else that makes me think they'd do anywhere near as good a job either electorally or as president.  We are tremendously lucky to have him.  The vast majority of our politicians are lameness incarnate, always on the defensive or else, on the left, concerned only with symbolic stands rather than real achievement.  We're really going to miss Barack Obama come 2016.

    "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

    by Troubadour on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:25:25 PM PDT

    •  Spliting votes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      cost the people most responsible for the revolution in Egypt to lose a seat at the table in their own government.  Of course, they're new at this democracy thing.

      You would think we would have figured it out by now, though.

      •  Most active people get it. (0+ / 0-)

        Unfortunately, there will always be nontrivial numbers of people who value their own sense of catharsis over the national consequences of their actions, so once the memory of Ralph Nader fades they'll pull the same shit again.  For now they seem mainly content trying to undermine Democratic turnout rather than pretending to have a viable alternative.

        "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

        by Troubadour on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:31:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I susbcribe to turning in an empty ballot when (0+ / 0-)

    doing so will not result in a Republican or lesser democrat being elected.

  •  Agreed. Vote for a Democrat (0+ / 0-)

    if the name on the ballot is Barack Obama or John Kerry or Al Gore.

    President Obama isn't the transformational, once in a generation leader I'd hoped. I'll just consider him to be a version of Kerry. If Kerry had beaten Bush in 2004 would I have voted for him again in 2008? Of course, even though, Kerry being Kerry, we'd probably be where we are now on the social agenda.

    I would have expected it of him so I wouldn't have been disappointed.

    Even though I am disappointed with the Obama Presidency, to date, if I look at it without the buildup of the 2008 campaign and just see it as a typical Democratic administration....well I might not be thrilled but it's been ok, I guess, sort of.

  •  I am a white male but I know from pretty direct (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    experience. I once edited the NAACP Newsletter in a major city. I also sold debit insurance in poor neighborhoods.

    Politicians actions not words are what's important,

    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:45:00 PM PDT

  •  I am not a purity troll. I do not judge the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    President based on promises he tried to fulfill and was not able to. My criticism of the President is based on those things that are within the control of the office of President. Do I wish that he fought harder for a public option? Yes but that is not a reason to not vote for him. I did not expect pixie dust and I never thought of him as a progressive. He has had many disagreements with the progressive wing and told this our faces at a local party meeting during his primary campaign for the Senate. (I am from Illinois and worked on his senate campaign as a volunteer).

    But there are issues that are totally the domain of the executive. Where Republican obstructionism is not a problem. Where Congress is not really involved. And here I have real problems. The failure to investigate war crimes. The failure to prosecute financial crimes. The illegal use of drones. The continuation of the assault on the Bill of Rights. President Obama owns all of this and he owns it alone. And if I do not vote for the President it will be because of these issues. Not some sense that campaign promises were violated.

    The argument has been made "Do not judge me against the Almighty judge me against the other guy." How about we judge ourselves based on the international laws that we in part wrote ourselves.

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