How should you vote?

(This started as a comment at Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy on a post referring to Lola-at-Large’s post this morning.)

Lola spent a lot of time and thought on her decision to endorse Mitt Romney. Was it well reasoned or merely rationalized?

Who can say?

Lola and I are internet friends – we have never met in real life. But we have been acquaintances for several years now. I believe her heart is in the right place and her intentions are good. I have absolutely no reason to suspect she is anything other than she claims to be.

I live in a blue state so I don’t have to choose between Obama and Romney. I can sit back knowing my vote won’t matter. I’m an idealist wrapped in the armor of cynicism. Each election I long for a hero but ultimately find myself trying to choose the lesser of two evils.

But I cannot gainsay anyone who votes their heart after careful contemplation. What more can we ask of someone?

As for “left” and “right,” they don’t seem to have much meaning anymore. For many people they are not ideologies, they are partisan identifiers.

There are a lot of reasons you can base your voting decisions on. Ideology is just one. You could base your vote on character, competence, experience, race, gender, party loyalty and/or religion. You could choose based on a single issue or on how the candidates stand on a combination of issues. Some reasons are better than others. You can cast your vote for which candidate is the coolest or smartest. You can take the advice of a person you trust or rely on your children or some celebrity to make the choice for you.

Lose your illusions. All candidates are human and therefore imperfect. You have to take the good with the bad, just make sure the good significantly outweighs the bad.

To me the three most important issues to base a vote on are character and competence. Ideology is important but it’s only a factor if the candidate passes the first two tests. Barack Obama has failed both of them.

In the past I chose party first and ideology second. Never again will I vote for a party. Four years ago I cast my vote for McCain/Palin. I have never felt a moment of regret or shame for that vote.

It wasn’t the choice I wanted, it was the only choice I had.

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85 Responses to How should you vote?

  1. Oswald says:

    If you vote for character you can never go wrong.

  2. votermom says:

    As for “left” and “right,” they don’t seem to have much meaning anymore. For many people they are not ideologies, they are partisan identifiers.

    Both left & right, if we look at Bush & Obama, believe in seizing power, power, and more power.

  3. I’ll just bring this up from downstairs:

    What these ideologues don’t get is that accepting the status quo–that both parties are corrupt, which I agree is true–is unacceptable. We should not be satisfied with that and we should not be looking to accommodate that system, which exactly what such passive thinking does. We should all be looking for people who can reform these parties from the inside out; if we fail to find them and support them to election, our only other option is revolution. And if there is one thing I abhor more than the status quo, it’s violence.

    This is the root of who I am. I will never be content just casting judgment and walking away. That’s passive and it’s a cop out. The only thing that has ever worked is people digging in and making it happen, and being careful to make choices that contribute to that effort.

    I respect our founders immensely for having the fortitude to take up arms against an unruly, abusive master. But they chose that as a last resort, and they did so with a plan in mind. Violence for violence sake, or because one is personally discontented is not the answer. I’ll be on board with revolution if ever it is called for, but it won’t be led by the kind of wankers who sit around all day and talk about what other, active people are doing wrong. It will be led by people who gave it their all and tried their best and found it was only way out. We aren’t there yet, thank goodness. In the meantime, I’m giving it my all and trying my best.

  4. I’ll say this. This little world of Obama haters has come a long way from “I own my vote.”

    • votermom says:

      I was just thinking the same thing.

      • Maybe that’s the difference between us and them. I never hated Obama personally. I didn’t need a human shell to pour my hate into. I had reasons.

        I hated what he did and the new brand of empty, shallow Democratic-affiliated politics he ushered in. And the lies he told and the people who still buy them even though he has demonstrated very clearly what lying hack he is. I’ll never forgive him for it. It’s the antithesis of what I’m about.

        • pghpuma says:

          likewise, I never hated him, I just didn’t know anything about him. My business experience has taught me to spend the money to run the background checks and be properly introduced through trusted, known channels. Will Bower gave me the courage to stand up to those who tried to cop my vote, but if anything has evolved in me, it’s the conscious awareness that I must fight back rage every time I have to change the channel or mute the TV

  5. DandyTiger says:

    I think the human scale for leaders is at one end someone with character and competence first, and leadership skills that allow them to work with people, find consensus, and get things done. At the other end of the scale are people with less nobel character (self centered or hateful or similar), less competence (esp. in working with people), and poor leadership skills (in that they don’t work towards consensus, etc.). That end of the scale is where you find your despots.

    With our two candidates, I think it’s clear that Romney is at one end of the scale and Obama is at the other.

    In political terms, I would characterize Romney as right leaning and Obama as left leaning. I wouldn’t say either is extreme in politics.

    I’m in Virginia. My vote will count. I’m voting for Romney. He’s not my idea choice on the political scale. I think he’s a fine choice on the human scale. Obama is a nightmare choice on the human scale. And even though on the face of it, he should be a better choice on the political scale, since he’s in the despot camp, he makes the political issues even worse. That is, in some ways I think it’s worse fighting against an evil despot that is more aligned with you politically than not.

    • I’m in Indiana, and it sure as heck ain’t going to Obama this time, not if I can help it. FWIW, Romney is as close as I’ve seen to the opportunity I had to vote for Bill Clinton in 1992. I didn’t agree with everything he said either, but he had it what it took to be a good leader and his character, his demeanor, his record, and what he actually said gave me every reason to trust him. So I did. And I have not regretted it yet, though he gave me ample reason later on to find disappointment in him. At the end of his terms, he had delivered the greatest good to the greatest amount of people, and that is what is America is all about, or should be, anyway. Certainly used to be.

      1992 was also a time when a lot of people had lost faith in the parties. That was the reason Perot performed as he did. I wasn’t of the mind then that giving up was the way to go, that hiding out in some third party closet out of cynicism* was a good idea, and I’m still not. I’m an idealist and a realist. That means I work for the best case scenario with the terms as they are, and then I make the most of it. There’s always something I can do to make a difference, to make the world better. To believe otherwise is to give your power over entirely to the forces of destruction. It’s like letting your abuser haunt you for 30 years and change who you are and the freedoms you’re willing to choose for yourself. I just won’t do it. I reject such victimizations.

      *Qualification: There are plenty of people who vote third party out of hope and a willingness to take a risk to change the system, and I’ve got no issue with those folks. I applaud them, in fact. gmx17 comes to mind. It’s just not my way.

      Enough of my ranting though. I’m not really sore at what haters say about my work, especially lazy self-policing ones like the commenters on that thread. I’m sore because I’ve had little sleep due to a rotten tooth and no relief. I’ll shut up now. Enjoy. I’m out to watch some Netflix.

      • elliesmom says:

        One of things that you learn as you really become an independent voter is that you will be “a smart, well-informed voter” to the people of the party whose candidate you are supporting, and misinformed or a ratf*cker to the other, and it won’t matter which party is which. And if you express any admiration for a candidate other than the one that a blog owner supports, on most blogs you will be called a troll. But it really isn’t personal, and it’s less pronounced when you’re f2f.

      • votermom says:

        I’m out to watch some Netflix.

        We are rewatching this ridiculous movie on netflix. I highly rec it if you are in the mood for mindless silly fun.

        • I’m still in the middle of season 4 of Breaking Bad. Gotta catch up before the Season 5 premier goes away on On Demand on cable. But thanks for the tip. I’ll add it to the queue.

          Thanks also for your words of support, elliesmom, both here and there. I appreciate your level head so much. You just have no idea how much I learn from you and enjoy participating with you.

        • elliesmom says:

          Thank you. I’m up to episode 7 of season 4. Not too much farther to go. The house guests were the sleep till noon type. I had to find something to do that didn’t make too much noise. 😉

    • WMCB says:

      That’s an excellent synopsis, DT. No candidate in my lifetime completely embodies my political preferences. No, not even Hillary. I was always choosing who I thought was best, but had no illusions about any of them being saviors. Party used to be a big factor in my choice, a big weight in favor or not. Now it’s a non-factor. I will likely swing vote on many occasions in the future.

      Personally, I’d love to see decent, honorable, hardworking people who love this country in BOTH parties. But now when I look at my choices, “which one is less of a corrupt lying asshole” (and all pols are, at least a little) is a much bigger factor than party or ideology. Right now, the Dems seem to be excusing and coddling their corruption and assholeness more than the R’s are. Give it a few years, and that will likely change, and I’ll vote for some Dems. Who knows? One thing is certain, NO party gets my lifelong loyalty anymore. None. I’ll vote how I damn well please, weighting ideology, history, experience, character, etc on my OWN personal scale.

      No one owns my vote, ever again. Ever.

    • angienc says:

      He’s not my idea choice on the political scale. I think he’s a fine choice on the human scale. Obama is a nightmare choice on the human scale. And even though on the face of it, he should be a better choice on the political scale, since he’s in the despot camp, he makes the political issues even worse. That is, in some ways I think it’s worse fighting against an evil despot that is more aligned with you politically than not.

      I love how you put this Dandy & I agree 100%.

      In a way, I’m glad I’m in a “swing state” & my vote for Romney will count too. He is the right choice on the human scale & I’m proud to vote against the despot.

      That’s the thing with these Obama supporters, especially the ones who are former PUMAs who have been assimilated into the borg & are now supporting Obama that really makes me say WTF? I was against the imperial presidency of GWB because it is wrong & not how our system of government is supposed to work. I am against the imperial presidency of Obama for the *exact* same reasons. It seems to me the Obama supporters were *only* against the imperial presidency of GWB because he has an (R) after his name — they’re rank hypocrites — and the former PUMAs who are now Obama supporters are even worse than hypocrites because they know *exactly* how bad Obama is.

      • angienc says:

        That last line was supposed to be “because they know *exactly* how bad Obama is on the human scale.”

      • HONK! I said in 2008 that Obama was Bush 2.0 and I still think that. I haven’t changed that much, though I have changed. The people who used to agree with me have. And so have the people who used to disagree with me. I’d be a blind fool not to see that.

      • cj says:

        For some reason they decided not to run a Democrat these last 2 cycles, so what are we supposed to do? Pretend they did?

        I just realized that Jill Stein is on the ballot in AZ, so if I’m not dealing with a swing-state situation, I’ll probably vote for her…if it not, because I honestly believe that Obama is dangerous & unfit to be POTUS no matter what the label, I’ll vote for Romney.

        Instead of calling Lola names, maybe the obviously superior commenters at vastleft can do us all a favor and explain why the hell any intelligent person would think that Obama’s the sane choice.

        • Better yet, maybe they can explain what’s wrong with Romney using actual examples and reasons, instead of some vague notion of ickiness over the GOP brand.

  6. myiq2xu says:

    If you want to rationalize your decision you can use the same factors but you apply them selectively to reach your preconceived decision.

    “Romney was a high school bully therefore he has bad character.”

    The dead giveaway to someone who is rationalizing is they never budge no matter what new facts are presented.

    “I am voting for Obama because he promised to filibuster the FISA revision.”

    “Obama not only didn’t keep that promise he voted FOR the FISA revision.”

    “He had to do that to get elected.”

  7. yttik says:

    I read the link. This made me laugh, “Going from dissatisfied left/liberal/progressive to Romney supporter on the supposed merits seems like an awfully twisted road to me.”

    Well what do people expect? Being thrown under the bus gives you a pretty darn twisted view of the road! You try being drug around the country on the under carriage of a bus! It really is a twisted road.

    Actually Dems/Obots remind me a lot of abusive men. First they say, “nobody else would want you so you have nowhere else to go.” Then they say,”you can’t leave me, the other guy is worse!” Finally when you do leave, they whine about how twisted and irrational you are and they can’t understand what you could possibly see in the guy!

    • votermom says:

      And don’t forget the classic abuser lines “you are helpless without me” and “you didn’t really accomplish that, the real credit belongs to me” (aka “you didn’t build that”)

    • leslie says:

      oh, yttik, that analogy re abuse is simply perfect. I can hear it because it – or something like it – was said to me in 2008.

      btw – yesterday I received a request in the mail from Howard Dean. They need my support and money. I said that I was too busy clining to my religion and guns. and that they were “different” and I was even less interested in them now than I was in 2008.

    • PWirth says:

      Yttik, did you read any of VLWC’s other posts? He’s neither a Dem nor an Obot. (He was one of the first people ghosted off Digby’s for refusing to toe the Obot line.)

      • I actually love his artwork. He (assuming here) actually often points out what I’m seeing on the ground, which is that there has been a discernible shift in rhetorical output between voters who left-identify and those who right-identify.

  8. Anthony says:

    In the past I chose party first and ideology second. Never again will I vote for a party. Four years ago I cast my vote for McCain/Palin. I have never felt a moment of regret or shame for that vote.
    It wasn’t the choice I wanted, it was the only choice I had.

    Dude, you read my mind and echoed my exact words to my fellow NYC friends and neighbors. There is a confidence in independence, and there are no regrets for a well informed decision.

    Lola-at-Large: Your post says everything that so many are feeling yet can’t articulate. Brava! Know that when the mindless become uneasy, they resort to attack. I think you struck more nerves than you imagine. Keep it up, and know that I and many others have your back.

    • Thanks, Anthony. I said the same thing about you at JWS the other day! I do feel an affinity with this group of free thinkers, even though I’ve never met a single one in real life. I’ve been participating with most of these folks for several years now, and day in and day out they confirm their character over and over again. It’s a good group. I’ll always appreciate Myiq stopping by P&L and alerting me to this place. I didn’t think anybody gave two shits about me. But I feel like I have a group of virtual friends now. we don’t always agree on everything, but we always find ways to get along. That is such a wonderful thing.

  9. angienc says:

    There’s a reason the voting booth is private. I share my thoughts here because we have anonymity but only my close friends & family know my political beliefs. It’s not that I’m embarrassed it is that I truly believe how I vote is nobody’s business. The only time I put myself out there, with bumper stickers on my car, etc. was for Hillary Clinton and that, as I implied in Lola’s thread, was because of the disgusting bullying tactics of the OFA. I want Obama out & the OFA purged from the party f/k/a Dems because maybe *maybe* the Dems will get their act back together and not skip around acting like everything is sunshine & rainbows as the POTUS makes habeas corpus disappear, guts Medicare to the tune of $500 billion and passes an alleged healthcare reform that is all about healthcare INSURANCE companies & has nothing to do with actual healthcare.

    HOWEVER, once Obama is out, I don’t really give a fuck if the Dems ever get their act together — I’ve been an Independent since May 31, 2008 when I ripped up my voter’s registration card & sent it to Howard Dean (Head of DNC at time) — I got no response & registered as “Unaffiliated” in my state (NC). From now on I vote for the person, not blindly for whoever has a certain letter after his/her name (although I will give preference to female candidates). The beauty of no longer being part of a tribe.

    Because I now live in what is allegedly a swing state, I don’t have the luxury of voting third party — if I was still in NOLA (which itself is Dem, but the state of LA is solidly red even if the GOP ran a potted plant) I would probably be voting 3rd party. Nonetheless, trying to pretend, that Romney is on par with some rightwing loon like Santorum is ridiculous (if Santorum was the candidate, I *would* be voting 3rd party even in NC).

    And I don’t care what the people on that VastLeftwingConspiracy blog want to label my 20+ history of always voting Dem in every election, but I’m a CLINTON DEMOCRAT — and Clinton *is* fiscally moderate, IMO — he *did* understand the importance of balancing budgets & paying back debt. And, honestly, I think Romney is closer to Bill Clinton than Obama is in that Romney’s smart, hard working (sorry, Mr. Obama — that isn’t as common a combo as you said it was in VA), and knows how to compromise. OTOH, Obama isn’t very smart, isn’t hard working & instead of compromising only demonizes & blames. Between the two, I’ve got no problem choosing to support & vote for Romney.

    The most accurate description for myself now is moderate fiscally but socially liberal. Nonetheless, I’ve also come to realize as I’ve gotten older that social policies are best addressed on the state level, not the federal level — there is too much diversity in this country to effectively or properly legislate social policy nationally. So social issues are IRRELEVANT to me now in presidential elections.

    If the Dems nominate a Bill Clinton again, I’ll vote Dem. But, as I wrote above, I was told in no uncertain terms in 2008 that the “new Dem” (i.e., Obama) Party didn’t need or want me as they disenfranchised my vote on May 31, 2008. I hate to quote Ronald Reagan, but I didn’t leave the Dem party — it left me.

    • myiq2xu says:

      moderate fiscally but socially liberal

      I’m not worried about Romney’s positions on social issues. Even if he really believes what he says and isn’t posturing for political purposes his record shows he doesn’t really care about that stuff.

      Many conservatives these days think government should stay out of social issues.

      • I was telling my husband today that Mitch Daniels did the GOP a HUGE favor when he fell on his sword last year by declaring that conservative voters should set aside social issues at least temporarily for the sake of fiscal policy. Since he did that it’s been like a cascading dynamic roiling through the GOP and I do recognize that he prepped the way for that.

        He got people thinking about it and getting used to it. Not everyone has given up on these issues, but enough have set them aside that they aren’t handicapping the party anymore. And in the wake of that, the party has absolutely become more inclusive. And that’s led to other changes as the focus has shifted. I read articles routinely now about how “too big to fail” is hurting free markets and other surprising points of view. The GOP is changing, and Dems better catch up or they will find so many of their hard-won constituencies up for grabs. You see it already with a shift among gays and women.

  10. votermom says:

    OT. I am shaking my head over this story about the shooting.
    Thank goodness they all managed to make it out alive.

    That dude might think about taking some basic self-defense classes though, sounds like he let panic overwhelm protective instinct.

    (And I hate to judge, but if I were the woman I might rethink the whole engagement thing. He.Drove.Away.)–child-rescued-mother-shot-leg.html

    • angienc says:

      OK, first of all, WTF taking a 4 month old baby to a MOVIE at all, much less a midnight movie? Don’t give me that crap as it says in the article that they “thought the baby would sleep through the movie” either. Those kinds of movies are even louder than others — and what if the baby didn’t sleep — just let everyone else be disturbed by your rudeness/selfishness because you *had* to go to the midnight screening & not go to the 5 or 7 p.m. show the next day & hire a sitter for the baby? Kids don’t belong at adult movies, period. And babies don’t belong at the movies at all. Hire a sitter, assholes.

      That said, if I was that woman (which obviously I wouldn’t be because I wouldn’t take my baby to a movie) I would divorce that asshole man so fast his head would spin. Panic, my ass — you don’t “forget” your baby on the floor when you jump over the balcony — you decide “fuck the baby, I’m saving my ass.”

      None of that ^^ is to imply I’m not greatly saddened by the tragedy of the shooting or that I don’t feel bad about what all those people — including that couple — went through. But the tragedy doesn’t excuse their stupidity in taking a baby to a midnight movie or the father’s cowardly actions.

      • votermom says:

        Did you see near the end of the article- he didn’t just abandon them in the theater – girlfriend, 4 year old daughter, and 4 month old son, he actually drove away from the theater.

        The couple then reunited outside the cinema, after Ms Legratta phoned her fiance who had driven away from the scene.

        That’s real cowardice right there.

        • angienc says:

          Arrgh! No I didn’t get to the end of the article, I was so disgusted I didn’t read past the first paragraph. Even *worse* than I thought.

          And, obviously, I meant I’d dump that cowardly asshole so fast his head would spin — I did read they were “engaged” not married, but in my disgust I forgot.

        • That’s the thing. She referred to him as her fiancee; he referred to her as his girlfriend. That right there says it all.

      • Definitely time to reconsider the eventual divorce. It’ll end in tears. Best to just avoid that obvious bad choice entirely. It’s not too late. She’s the real hero here.

        I do understand their decision to take the infant son to the movies. I did as much with my daughter when she was 3 weeks old, and it was a midnight showing of Dazed & Confused (killer movie, dude). She didn’t wake up, but if she had, I would have left the theater. But the 4 year old I don’t get. I just didn’t attend movies during those years unless I had a sitter or it was a children’s movie at a normal hour. Too much chaos, and no way to control them.

        • angienc says:

          Dazed & Confused isn’t an action movie — which are extremely loud; much louder than normal movies and almost *guaranteed* to wake the baby up.

          Although I still wouldn’t take a baby to any movie, a “regular” movie is different from an “action” movie.

    • carol haka says:

      Self preservation. She looked a little iffy on the future. Another guy helped them out and was shot in the leg.

      • angienc says:

        That’s the guy I would marry. He could look like a troll with a hairy back but he’s a much better choice than that cowardly father will ever be.

      • carol haka says:

        Somehow I don’t think he’s getting father of the year. I’m sorry. Some people panic. We shouldn’t judge as no one was shooting at us.

        • I’ve been shot at. My best friend at the time was shot. I very calmly took command of the situation and saved her life. I could have run, but I didn’t. I was 18 years old at the time. I can judge.

        • angienc says:

          Oh, I’ve got no problem judging him. The *last* thing you do when you panic is forget your child — in fact, your child’s safety is usually the *first* thing you panic about. That’s why they have to instruct people that in case of emergency on the airplanes it is more safe for both parent & child for the parent to put the oxygen mask on him/herself first & then on the child because if the parents puts the mask on the child first they might pass out before putting it on themselves. Most people would die to protect their children; not abandon them to save their own skin.

    • angienc says:

      OT — I was going to see that movie tonight with a friend, but we changed our minds & just went out to dinner. I bet a lot of people did the same.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I had to front-page this shit

  11. DM says:

    “The best predictor of what someone will do is what they have done” — Hillary 2008 ABC interview

    That’s how I do it. I look at the candidate’s past votes and his/her life, the known known.

  12. driguana says:

    Tell you what, after having spent the last month in Europe I’ve come back and still find this the best blog for thinkers like myself….apparently there are a number of us. Thanks to all of you. I really liked Lola’s blog and I greatly appreciate myiq’s follow up here. While I, too, place great value on character and competence, I remain firmly lodged in the “problem solving” bracket. As our American society has evolved, more and more complex problems have arisen. If we can’t find ways to solve them, we don’t progress very much….one could argue we devolve. As we look around at the bickering, anger and animosity among ourselves, I’m not sure that we have taken the right paths to solving our many probllems. What have we done about our urban problems? Transportation issues? Character of built environments? I say this after have stood in places centureis old that still sparkle with dignity, pride and entusiasm…..and watched out for the thousands of bicycles that whirled around me. Obama has clearly NOT solved any problems that he promised to address. What can Romney do? I think Romney clearly shows more character and competence than Obama but can he solve problems???

    • myiq2xu says:

      Today’s leaders offer solutions to non-problems.

      California’s bullet train for example.

      • driguana says:

        …and New Mexico’s “bullet” train from Albuquerque to Santa Fe…Richardson’s grand prize to the state….faster than a speeding mullet, I say!

        • LandOLincoln says:

          Hey, don’t you be dissin’ my Rail Runner. I love that bird–and so do the people who live in Santa Fe but work in Albuquerque or vice versa. Can’t wait ’til it’s extended to El Paso. Meepmeep!

        • driguana says:

          Land of L……sorry but I DO live in Santa Fe and have been an urban and regional planner here for 37 years… fact, I was on the original Tony Anaya planning committe for his bullet train back in the late 70s and was involved in the initial planning of the Rail Runner. It was one of the most miserable planning processes that I have ever been involved in and while I agree with you that while it does well-serve a very limited few who need to travel between very specific parts of Santa Fe and Albuquerque, it serves no regional function, its linkages are non-existent and there is no State regional public transportation plan to deal with this. I fought almost single-handedly for the stop at 599 so that those coming in from the north would have a direct connection off the by-pass….when I first proposed that site I was practically run out of the room. My earlier comment about European systems reflects on the fact that those systems function well and serve large populations because they are planned on a regional and national level. I believe that myiq was making a similar comment. So there…..and given my experience with the project, it is unlikely that you will see a connection to El Paso during your lifetime…..

          • myiq2xu says:

            The proposed California bullet train will pass thru my home town but it won’t stop here. If you want to go from SF to LA or vice versa it will provide you with another option besides flying.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Good point, Myiq. Anything that helps people avoid the TSA has the potential to be good.

  13. vastleft says:

    A few things…

    I completely disagree with the idea that left and right don’t mean anything. I think D and R don’t mean much different from each other and that both parties inaccurately conflate D and “left.” That’s not, however, to say that we can’t meaningfully discuss where various policy agendas sit on the traditional left-right spectrum.

    Also, party is not a primary part of my objection to Romney (though the GOP is a pretty revolting brand, as I have come to see is also true of the Democratic Party).

    My objection is to conservatism (defined, roughly, as the various corporatist and militaristic and inhumane doctrines and practices of Reagan, the Bushes, Obama… and Romney).

    My third-party preference is not a naive, illusory quest for heroic perfection. So insulting and cheap when Obama fans play that straw-man card, and just as thoughtless here. (Also thoughtless and cheap was the snap “judgment” by a commenter on my site that Lola must be a GOP plant; it’s eminently possible [and my expectation] that she is fully earnest in her opinions, and it strikes me as terribly poor form to glibly jump to the conclusion that she isn’t.)

    My position is a combination of ideology and policy. Ideology (which, in less lofty circumstances, may mean nothing more than who pays the pol) matters, because it’s a guide to future policy decisions, not because of some expectation a given politician is going to be my hero or soulmate. I’d like to vote for a president who isn’t a finalist for evil vs. evilest. So sue me.

    I consider the conservative ethos and related policies evil, and I consider the Rs and Ds both practitioners of it. Nothing about Romney says to me that he stands outside of that. Ditto for Obama.

    One point of disagreement I’ve had with PUMAs, ex-PUMAs, and similarly minded folk is the focus on “competence” and Obama’s presumed lack thereof. I think this was also a misguided objection against GWB. All leading big-party politicians are thoroughly competent at feeding the poor to the rich, at shredding civil liberties, at bombing more Muslim countries, and so forth.

    I don’t care whether Romney was a skilled CEO or not. He will surely (and proudly) continue the philosophies and practices of Reagan, et al. I won’t vote for him, just as I won’t again make a handwringing/noseholding vote for Obama, who alas exceeded my expectations of proving to be yet another shitty Reaganite, and one who dragged the Ds further away from the left.

    IMHO, treating Romney as a wholesome alternative is another way of dragging the Ds (or ex-Ds) further away from the left. Stop the two-party ride, I want to get off.

    • Thoughtful response, Vastleft, and thank you for it. I understand your point of view on the bigger picture, but I disagree with you about Romney in particular. Can you point me to anything at all that suggests he’s just another corporate shill? That’s the one criticism I’ve seen that might actually prove valid, and yet I still see no evidence of it in the record. As I said at your place, I’m listening.

      • vastleft says:

        As I noted at my place, I saw him in action here in MA, have heard him in the debates this year, and he’s done little to distinguish himself as not just another horrible conservative, one who’s grown even more party-line over the years. Like Obama, he kisses Reagan’s late butt at every opportunity, and he even at one point in this campaign called himself “severely conservative.”

        The most memorable thing to me (other than his once pushing a nearly identical corporatist healthcare plan to what Obama did… and which he now seemingly rejects as being too generous), because it happened after I started blogging, was his disgraceful support for Catholic Charities’ bigoted opposition to gay adoption.

        His “Values” page should give a progressive, certainly a pro-choice and pro-gay rights progressive, full-stop pause:

        His imperialist foreign policy is eerily summed up by listing various countries and regions and juxtaposing “An American Century” next each, and (for example) making incendiary insinuations that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program, urging on cruel sanctions, and claiming it’s our right to bomb them if they did have the program he suggests they do.

        On his Iran page, “…the entire geostrategic landscape of the Middle East would tilt in favor of the ayatollahs” is naked race/religion baiting, in my view.

        He’s another conservative horrorshow. That Democrats are mostly hurling vapid crap (Seamus, car elevator, dressage, funny underwear, etc.) at him doesn’t change that, but it does show how weakly justified–and undifferentiated–their alternative is.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Is there any candidate out there that would receive the VL seal of approval? If so, who?

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Not really appealing arguments to me, for the following reasons:

          1) I understand the difference between a state’s ability to implement a program, and the fed’s ability. One is not constitutionally verboten, while the other clearly is (despite Robert’s ruling). I’ve also studied the MA healthcare program and the fed program in depth. MA plan makes more sense and has lower penalties, and has far fewer perks for “the industry.” I think Romney will eliminate the mandate as it stands, and keep some of what people like about the bill. That’s a compromise I can live with.

          2) Social issues are a dead issue to me this year. We’ve made tons of progress already, to the point that gays can marry in several states. Is the job done? No. But to me, the economic state of America is paramount. We’re unlikely to make more progress on social issues with this weight on us. People are far more inclined to shift their positions when their bellies are full and they don’t have to worry about not being able to pay the light bill because the rent check it due. And entirely disagree with the pro-choice approach as it currently stands anyway. While the Catholic Charities thing is problematic, it’s not a deal breaker for me. Plenty of gay people adopt kids every day. Do they need to have an open channel from the church to have the opportunity? No.

          3) I’m sorry, but the state of government structures in the Middle East is a concern for me. I don’t want theocracies there anymore than I want them here. FTR, I actually care about women’s rights the world over, and the biggest barriers to gaining rights for women in those cultures is the theocratic tendencies of men in power. Egypt’s transition is a case in point. And Iran’s program is problematic, if only because Israel will never let it go. This tension creates an atmosphere were war can break out whether we are a part of it or not. We need to be part of the dialogue.

          That said, I’m not anymore concerned about what Romney had to say to win the primary than I am concerned with Obama said (his attacks on Hillary and the naked sexism they unleashed notwithstanding). My opposition to Obama is firmly rooted in the mid-game rule-changes the RBC made to help him win, and in pledges he made and broke to the American people during the presidential campaign, as well as his performance in the wake of his win. I expect Romney will disappoint me on something if he is elected. But I also expect he’ll deliver on the issues that matter most to me: the economy, jobs, and the budget.

          Finally, you failed to address the argument at hand. No proof was offered that Romney is a corporate shill.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          On point #2 I would add that the economic suffering we currently have is a barrier to unifying on any social issues. Nothing breeds division like fighting over resources.

        • vastleft says:

          Why on Earth would anyone imagine a presidential candidate from the duopoly is not a corporate shill, especially the ex-CEO of a rapacious firm like Bain?

        • angienc says:

          Probably for better reason than someone would characterize Bain as a “rapacious firm” despite all the evidence to the contrary.

          Seriously, calling Bain “rapacious” exposes not only a fundamental lack of knowledge re: business but also a deliberate refusal to gain that knowledge. Accordingly, you have little credibility to conclude that Romney is a “corporate shill” as I imagine anyone who works in the business world would be labeled similarly by you.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          What Angie said. Also because I don’t make assumptions about individuals based on things like “parties.” Was Bill Clinton not a different kind of Democrat? Mightn’t it be possible that someone could arise from the GOP ranks who is also different? Honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever agree VL, because your world view is part of the problem for me. I don’t buy into the cynicism of it, and I can clearly see it’s based on a bucket system of just throwing information into various buckets of dysfunction. That’s simplistic to say the least.

          [edit] I don’t mean that in an insulting way. I mean it in the way simple actually means. What happens when you run across something that can’t be categorized according to the existing buckets? We see what happens here in this conversation. Mental shortcuts and arguing without enough actual information and data.

    • Oswald says:

      My objection is to conservatism (defined, roughly, as the various corporatist and militaristic and inhumane doctrines and practices of Reagan, the Bushes, Obama… and Romney).


      I consider the conservative ethos and related policies evil, and I consider the Rs and Ds both practitioners of it.

      Do you define liberalism by it’s ideal or how it is applied in practice and policy? Do you think those who self-identify as conservatives are evil?

      Do you think it is possible to find common ground between left and right?

      • vastleft says:

        It’s possible to find some common ground with most anybody, and no, not every self-identified conservative is evil.

        I (reluctantly, but I did) voted for the conservative Barack Obama. I hope that doesn’t mark me as evil for life.

        But I think the general political agenda commonly described by “conservative” in the modern era (pro-war, anti-civil liberties, solicitous of the powerful, stingy toward the vulnerable, jingoistic, faith-based, anti-science, anti-woman, anti-gay) has been and remains an evil, all in all.

        • votermom says:

          Let’s unpack:

          the general political agenda commonly described by “conservative” in the modern era (pro-war, anti-civil liberties, solicitous of the powerful, stingy toward the vulnerable, jingoistic, faith-based, anti-science, anti-woman, anti-gay)

          You realize that that description is by the left? Although I am independent, I will take a stab at how the right would describe it:

          “pro-war” = defend the country’s sovereignty
          “anti-civil liberties” = I don’t know where you are getting this actually. It’s the right who are always talking about constitutional rights. Granted Bush trampled all over these, but so did Obama. And you can’t say that proves Obama is a conservative – that’s circular reasoning. You can’t say that anything the person in power does that you object to is by definition conservative.
          “solicitous of the powerful” and “stingy towards the vulnerable” – these both fall under “not the government’s business”. Conservatives would say that government should be limited because government always abuses its power. It’s better to let individuals and non govt organizations do the succoring of the needy.
          “jingoistic” = patriotic
          “faith-based” = the conservatives would say God, Family, Country. As an Indy, I would point out that the left is very faith-based as well in terms of “green lifestyle” “you are what you eat” “you are defined by where you shop” “mother nature” etc etc.
          “anti-science” = yup, there is definitely a group there. The same is true on the left, with voodoo economics, unworkable green energy plans, etc.
          “anti-woman” – that label now belongs to the left, sorry which treats all women as objects to be used
          “anti-gay” – still true for some, but there is a growing gay conservative presence for the “none of your damn business” type of conservative

          Edit to add: I forgot, also, from the conservative’s point of view, the left’s anti-semitism and pro-abortion (“murder of babies”) stances also prove the left is evil.

        • angienc says:

          Awesome deconstruction, votermom. While I don’t sign on to many tenets of the conservative philosophy, especially on social issues, it is the kind of knee-jerk reaction to dismiss their philosophy in simplistic terms that convey “evil intent,” such as “jingoistic,” “stingy” and “anti-x” that has caused such division in this country.

          You know, reasonable people should be able to discuss different viewpoints without resorting to name calling and automatic assigning of bad motives. Of course, you have to respect and acknowledge that some one else can honestly disagree with you on issues without being the devil incarnate first.

      • votermom says:

        Thanks angie. 🙂

  14. vastleft says:

    For some reason, there’s no “reply” link on the “VL seal of approval” comment. As of now, I expect to vote for Jill Stein for president.

    • votermom says:

      It can only nest up to 4 – if you reply to your own post (that myiq’ question was under) the your comment would go under his.
      And kudos for coming over to discuss.

      (I mostly disagree with you, ftr.)

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      I like Jill Stein, but since she has zero chance of winning and I’m highly suspicious of the male-dominated green movement and their solutions, she won’t be getting my vote.

        • votermom says:

          Yay, more big government. 🙄

        • vastleft says:

          Eek, more big government! What a horrifying outcome to a lefty!

        • Oswald says:

          Maybe it should be.

          If power corrupts, does less power (smaller govt) mean less corruption?

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Why bother? People who buy the uber-leftist stuff and spout nonsense about corporate shills can’t even see that with smaller government comes less money & opportunity for corporate welfare.

        • angienc says:

          Exactly Lola — lets assume both parties are corrupt corporate stogies (I actually buy that premise, btw). So, what’s the best solution: (1) give the government controlled by those parties less power or (2) give the government controlled by those parties more power.

          Only one of those answers is correct– and it isn’t the second one.

          • Oswald says:

            OTOH – assuming a clean bunch of politicians were found and put in power. Before long they would become corrupt too.

            Power corrupts.

        • votermom says:

          Eek, more big government! What a horrifying outcome to a lefty!

          Even when I was a lefty my home country taught me that big govt = corruption. In fact I became a lefty because I associated a corrupt big govt with rightwing martial law.

  15. WMCB says:

    My approach to govt power has evolved to be a very cynical one. Basically, my standard for any proposed program of the federal govt is now this:

    Take a look at how much POWER is being ceded (regardless of the good intent of the program.). Then imagine the most corrupt, venal, horrible politicians and bureaucrats you can think of in charge of that power. Does it pass the test? Are there hard and fast protections from abuse of power built into the legislation itself? Or does it rely on “don’t worry your head about that, smart people will appoint similarly smart people to make all those far-reaching decisions”?

    Because what I have seen in recent years from BOTH parties is a lot of needlessly complex, huge legislation and rule-writing that cedes humongous swathes of open-ended authority to unelected bureaucrats, with the teeth of the new rules and laws to be decided later, and expanded continuously, as the “need” arises. The great helpful legislation of the past did not do this. It passed basic laws and programs, that were understandable and relatively transparent, with a defined purpose, defined funding, etc. Not this bullshit of ” let’s just hand them a shitload more permanent power, and trust them on an ongoing basis as to how that power will be implemented”. NO. The Patriot Act and Obamacare are the two more egregious examples of late. Dodd-Frank is another.

    I’m done with this bullshit, and it matters not if I think the stated end goal of the bill is a good one. If it’s full of 2000 pages of weasel words, vague ( or no) limits on what they can and cannot do, and new depts with sweeping authorities subject to later ” interpretation” as to their scope, then my answer is going to be FUCK NO.

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