Since we’re all voting tomorrow (right? *cough*) I figured I’d point where I’m at. Bear with me if you could, cuz I’m gonna pretty stream-of-consciousness.
So like, we can really sum it up by saying there are lots of blogs out there that’re result-oriented: Top-line accomplishments. Resume entries. Big picture. Etc. I’m more process-oriented: Details. How and why. Anal retentive. All that fun stuff.
Over the last couple years there have been reasonably decent results (in most areas besides civil liberties anyway.) I’m not here to shit on what has been done, because there’s a lot of good. Lilly Ledbetter, SCHIP extensions, etc. In an area of particular interest to me they hit student loan reform outt’ve the park by eliminating the middleman entirely. (Yeah, they’re still there administering the government-provided loans but that’s a compromise I really can deal with.) Long story short many good things have been accomplished over the last 4 years.
Now here’s the thing: I am going to drop a big runny taco-fueled growler on what hasn’t been done: No public option. No DADT repeal, and Obama’s “evolving” position on gay marriage. Not a single prosecution for any crime of national significance (war crimes, wall street swindles, etc) that took place over the previous 8 years. On and on.
If you’ll permit me, I’d also get fecal about generalities: a lackadaisical approach to speaking out in favor of any liberal policy whatsoever. A troubling willingness to treat the Republicans as though they’ve been behaving like reasonable people with reasonable ideas. The disconnect between Change We Can Believe In and re-upping with Gates, Sanders, Geithner, etc. The maddening tendancy to attack the liberal base rather than — or even, if we’re being frank, in addition to — record-setting obstructionism from the other party.
To me he seems more interested in trying to sway people who think he’s a secret Kenyan than in rallying the portion of the population who’re practically guaranteed to vote for him. I get that this isn’t a particularly novel complaint, but it’s how I feel nonetheless. I find this very disconcerting: it’s been a decade since Clinton left office and the Dems’ main tactic is still triangulation.
Why? What kind of rot has afflicted the party that the best they can do in times that’re practically screaming for reality-based populism is to continue propping up Wall Street assholes? Are they scared that they’ll have to face Mean Election-Season Ads funded by Wall Street if they don’t play ball? Well guess fucking what: Citizens United means the Dems are going to be hit with a jaw-dropping amount of corporate-funded ads regardless of what the fuck they do this election. Not only that, but if you consider CA a test case Meg Whitman is demonstrating that saturating all available airwaves may end up as a net negative. To me the benefits of Fellating Corporate America No Matter What are seeing rapidly-decreasing returns on investment, but maybe I’m just a crazy ultraliberal.
At any rate, I’ll finish this rambling post by saying that I’m voting a straight Democratic ticket this year. In my own worthless opinion the Tea Party / Republicans have lost their shit to the point that I’m scared of them taking office, which leads me to my real point: I’m tired of gun-to-the-head politics: “Vote for X or Y will take office and ruin America.” “Yeah, maybe we bent you over after you voted us in last time around but what’re you gonna do, vote for the other guys?” “Candidate X once said Scary Thing Y, so don’t vote for him or he’ll use an industrial assembly line to turn your kids into cat food. No fear real.” “Be afraid. Be afraid of your neighbors. Be afraid of strangers. Be afraid of your own family. Trust nobody. My name is Candidate X, and I endorse this message.” Etc.
The world isn’t going to fucking end if I sit out an election or two. Having said that I have no intention of sitting out any election at any point in the foreseeable future. Still, I’m sick of people acting like if I don’t personally vote for Obama/Dems/Whatever, that’ll be the one vote that decides it all and the whole thing will be my fault. Hey guess what: real life isn’t “Swing Vote.” Elections don’t get decided by one single vote, but rather margins that number in the thousands — at minimum — in all but the rarest of cases. When you’re talking about a thousand people at a time you’re talking about more in-depth stuff like voter motivation, assumptions of legitimacy, the “am I better off than I was x years ago?” test, etc.
Now, AGAIN, just in case it’s somehow unclear: I’m voting Dem. For now, ie. they are not guaranteed my vote in the future. If that’s a concept that you cannot accept then fucking deal with it. If the President can’t be assed to speak up in favor of his own fucking accomplishments — and if the Dems want to spend two years strategically shitting on their own base to try and curry favor from people who think they’re treasonous socialists — then I’m sorry, but the whole thing about this all falling on my shoulders doesn’t pass the laugh test.
TL;DR: Voting Dem — for now — but getting fed up enough to consider Green.