On second thought, I don’t know if I can bring myself to vote for Obama

But really, I want to talk more about McCain.  I used to think McCain was pretty cool.  For one thing, you never knew what he was going to do because he really was a maverick with his votes.  Sure, a lot has recently come to light indicating that he was plugged into the system of lobbyists more than one might think but the fact is, he didn’t vote along party lines.

That’s what really bugs me about McCain’s presidential campaign.  Suddenly he IS towing the party line and doing so aggressively, which is underscored by the sloppy selection of Palin.  To me, the whole thing seems forced.  He just doesn’t look natural at all going through the typical Republican dance steps.  I’m sure he’s doing it because of numbers that suggest the conservatives are uncomfortable with him but who cares?  What were they going to do?  Vote for Obama?  Probably not.

McCain’s biggest strength was that he didn’t fit tidily into Republican/conservative expectations, making him attractive to independents like myself.  Before the recent, super-conservative posturing I think McCain would have received all of the conservative votes, as reluctant as they may have been, plus a large amount of the independent voters suspicious of Obama’s posturing.

While McCain’s recent decisions and actions may have solidified the conservative base, I think he may have pushed several of the indie voters closer to Mr. Big Empty himself, Barry Herbert Walker Obama.



9 responses to “On second thought, I don’t know if I can bring myself to vote for Obama

  1. You’re very correct in stating that McCain used to eschew party lines–on OCCASION–during his tenure as Senator. However, McCain STARTED his lil’ round of “What A Rep Wants” pandering BEFORE the lead-up to the nomination process had even BEGUN (you know: just before there were 580 “Republican” nominees all running at the same time). He’s had a good two-years-plus of this dog- to show that, in the clutch, he has NO scruples whatsoever. All that time BEFOREHAND was just a show.

    Personally, Obama has yet to face the same “betrayal” in MY book/vote, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. However, he is ONLY, as far as I’m concerned, the (much) lesser of two evils. Regardless of what McCain might have once been, voting-wise, he is now PRECISELY the opposite of what the average independent voter wants. Very MUCH granted, Obama may have no idea what he’s doing, but McCain has no idea what he’s doing, PLUS he’s latching on, in the lack of knowingness, to everything the Bush Administration held dear.

    I don’t see how you can REALLY be this conflicted, given the obviousness of this trend. ARE you…? I could be completely backward on where you’re coming from.

  2. Well, it’s not that I’m choosing between McCain and Obama. It’s more that I’m choosing between voting for Obama (and against McCain) or voting for a 3rd party or independent.

  3. Okay, I gotcha. Thanks for the clarification. And said alternative candidate: If you vote for THEM, what would that accomplish, do you think? I’m honestly curious. I always am when people say this kind of thing to me. For instance, when either McCain or Obama is elected REGARDLESS of your vote—and one of them WILL be—and you’re forced for ANOTHER four year stint to weather one or t’other’s ridiculous policies, will you REALLY find some conscientious solace in the fact that at least YOU didn’t approve them PERSONALLY? You just have to ABIDE by them? Will that alleviate your frustrations?

    I’m really not trying to sound like a dick here, seriously. I just always think of third party candidates in metaphorical terms, as in the following scenario:

    They—the respective third party candidate—may support certain policies at least I know I can agree with. Let’s call their platform achievements “an orange”. The two major party candidates do NOT support the policies I want to see enforced, but to much different degrees. If I vote for said third party candidate, I seem to be doing NOTHING, realistically, to ever see the acquisition of that orange. My vote doesn’t have a literal effect; it is wasted, except as a faceless “activist” maneuver which can’t POSSIBLY ever reap actual CHANGE. It just makes me “feel better”—for two months, maybe, before said major party candidate takes office and starts to defy my will as a voter.

    Alternatively, if I were to support ONE of the two major party candidates, their policy attitude will generally be either “The orange is, likely, reachable at SOME point” (Obama), OR “There is no orange. Fuck you for looking” (McCain).

    You get what I mean? Although I understand the sentiment in perhaps voting third party, sentiment does NOT change anything in this case. It never has or WILL. That’s why I’m confused. It seems like a PUMA-type, “I’m taking my ball and going home” tactic to me. Can you fill me in on YOUR thinking here?

  4. mccain winning would be painful, but obama is not someone who i agree with either. i’m still using my vote to support multi-party democracy. the inclusion of a third (or 4th,5th,etc) party is where it’s going. i’m never going to vote for someone i don’t like just to make sure the other guy i don’t like doesn’t get in.

  5. Well, if and when the other guy you dislike more DOES win—in which case, I’m moving to New Zealand—and FURTHER invalidates the very multi-party democratic system you’re attempting to reach (which I AGREE with very much in principle, mind you), you can clutch your ideals tightly as a figurative security blanket of sorts, and, hopefully, that will give you some comfort… as your 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. party candidates march off to Mega-Washington for bar-coding and eventual extermination. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though.

    You have to have a systematic FOUNDATION before you can erect the infrastructure you seem to think already exists but, in reality, does NOT. I’m just sayin’…

  6. you point out that either mccain or obama will be elected, regardless, and then we’re forced into 4 years of their ridiculous policy. well this is true no matter if i vote for obama, mccain, or a third party. i’m not going to agree with either main party’s ridiculous policies (once we see what they REALLY are), so voting for one to keep out the other’s makes no sense to me. that means i’m still voting for a set of policies that i don’t agree with.

    i think that’s the problem with your scenario. you vote for one of your two-party candidates and your litteral vote does nothing to affect your candidates policy. it does as little as, if not less than, the vote for a third party. so knowing that your vote helped to keep the other party out of the white house, but did nothing more than that, will that alleviate your frustrations when you have to abide by YOUR party’s ridiculous policies? you can just say, “well, it could be worse…” and be content with that? the party you helped to win has no regard for you and will defy your will as a voter just the same as they defy mine. (unless your will falls right in with theirs, of course.)

    to me, the two party system is more or less the same party. i don’t think either of them is really trying to change anything. obama isn’t trying to reach your orange. it’s never been his intention to really change, and if elected he’ll slowly stop talking about it. hoping nobody remembers.

    i believe that my faceless “activist” maneuver really CAN reap actual change. i know that in this election and in plenty of future elections, voting for the third party won’t have a real impact on who gets elected, but if there are enough of us who actually SHOW that we won’t vote for either main party, because we don’t agree with them, then maybe people who are stuck in their way of “i must vote dem or rep” will realize they don’t HAVE to either.

    what could happen at that point is the ACTUAL inclusion of multiple parties, OR the two main parties will start looking towards the outside parties for help with policy, in order to try and get these stray voters back.

    i feel that my vote is actually worth a LOT more this way than by using it to support a system that doesn’t give a shit what you want.

  7. Well, that’s fairly cyclical and reductive thinking, in that you ADMIT that your vote—at least for a WHILE—won’t make any difference on who is actually elected, and yet, in voting the way you do, and by your own admission, you STILL ensure in voting in such a manner (via self-omission), that one of the two main parties WILL be elected. In essence, you’re actualizing exactly what you seem to abhor—just in a different, more circuitous fashion. Not to be all paradoxical and whatnot, but…

    You ALSO seem to assume that neither available major party candidate will make the future acquisition of the alternative party legitimacy MORE likely than the other. That’s not true at ALL. I don’t know what you know or don’t about Obama, but he is DEFINITELY more “democratic” in matters of civil dissent than is McCain. There is no approaching the matter this way. Unless Obama were to COMPLETELY backtrack on everything his campaign has stood for thus far—which IS possible, albeit quite unlikely (first term approval segueing into hopeful second term and all)—his “party’s” system of civil redress would FAR out-democratize McCain’s. So what YOU seem to be opting for is just being willingly mooted, and letting the chips fall where they may. That’s not what I’m doing. I’m hoping an Obama Presidency will set up the board FOR the type of LEGITIMATE alternative candidacy that you are questing for. He seems like his Presidency would entertain dissent, outside perspectives, all that crap that was—BEFORE Bush—SUPPOSED to render a Presidency malleable to the will of the voter. I think you’re letting your anti-Bush years sense memory get in the way of LOGIC here, a bit.

    Which reminds me: I’m not an “Obama booster” at ALL. He really IS the (much) lesser of two evils, as far as I’m concerned. I concede. However, his campaign principles ARE almost ALL directly contrary those of the McCain party. Your “independent voter”-propagated tagline of “the two parties aren’t that dissimilar” is COMPLETELY wrong in this case. That’s just propaganda from “the other side”. Go to the Obama and McCain campaign websites and read up on it, then get back to me, seriously. Or, just listen to them SPEAK, for fuck’s sake! Abortion? The Iraq “War”? Taxation schemas? Privacy rights? Gay marriage? Etc., etc., etc. Are you SERIOUS? They’re the “same,” huh? This was the ONE aspect of your argument that is totally ludicrous, m’man. Otherwise, I appreciate what you have to say.

    Your stance ALSO presupposes that you have a grassroots sort of “movement” behind you which will avail you in the face of an otherwise self-omitting methodology. That’s ALSO not the case. This country is HORRIBLE as far as voter turnout is concerned, and the demographic that actually HAS been on the uptake—the “youth” don’t generally share your fascination with alternative candidacy. They just DON’T. Check out the stats since back when Perrot threw his cowboy hat in the ring, and you’ll see what I mean. The youth of today is AS lemming-like as are their forebears. Just in a more socialized manner of being “radical”. Sadly, there will NOT be “enough of us who actually SHOW that we won’t vote for either main party”. It just won’t happen. The stats would have to COMPLETELY turn on themselves in one election cycle, which, while a nice IDEA, isn’t realistic, and doesn’t involve ANY real forethought on the voter’s part. It’s simply an ideological battle against the windmills, man.

    PLEASE don’t misapprehend me: I REALLY want “your” democratic reality to win out. It’s MINE, as well. But, given the choices, your schema for ACHIEVING it is nonsensical, given the realities of our country’s political landscape.

    Basically, I’m not voting for Obama to change HIS policies. His policies, as he’s revealed them thus far, are… “fine”. I’m more opposed to his lack of experience than an outright disagreement with what he has “to say”. But I’m not voting change him. I’m voting in hopes that his election will shift the paradigm TOWARD more “other” types of nominations—Green Party, Independent Party, WHATEVER! That paradigm shift you and I are BOTH looking for will NOT happen in ANY regard with McCain. That much is assured. So voting in a way that doesn’t lay that “other” foundation is ludicrous, no matter how much I agree with its stated intent.

    And as far as the main parties “looking towards the outside parties for help with policy,” that’s not how it works. They create their policy based on VOTER will, not inter-partisanship. At least that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to work. Your grassroots daydream COULD become a reality if enough youngsters like yourself had the savvy and motivation to write to or phone your Senator, Representative, or President with your concerns—all the numbers are listed in your phone book—or offer your services as a citizen advocate with a ledger of concern bearing thousands of names on it to bring to the floor of Congress. THAT’S how it’s set up. You don’t even seem to be addressing the non-partisan-inclusive democratic process our system has, pretty much, set in stone.

    In essence, voting to ensure a non-McCain Presidency—only according to history, voter statistics, non-ideological logic, campaign tenets, and so forth—would actually, likely, do MORE to ensure the system you and I are striving toward. I DO admire your moxie, Scott; just not your blind ideological DIY-or-die attitude CLEARLY not in adherence to REALITY. In this regard, voting for Obama is NOT doing “less” than voting third-party. It’s taking an incremental, calculating step in the right direction. Given reality, voting third-party is the pointless route.

    PS: I’m not even a registered Independent. I’m a “none of the above”. Democrats are not “[MY] party” by ANY stretch of the imagination. Just in case you somehow misconstrued that at some point along the way. It sounds like you well may have.

  8. i admitted that my vote may NEVER make a difference on who is ELECTED, but i wouldn’t say my voting is self-omissive. i’m not giving it to one of the two main parties, but i’m not avoiding the electoral process. i have a hard time putting my name behind things i don’t believe in, and in voting third-party, i don’t have to worry about that. but more importantly, it’s like signing a petition saying, “we don’t like what you have to offer. try again.”

    i don’t believe that electing obama will increase the likelihood of creating a legitimate alternative candidacy. the democrats are not in the business of helping other parties have a say in things. you can hope, but really, your hope is only a step up from my “letting the chips fall”.

    and as far as what these guys are saying? it’s like every politician before them. they can say things to get elected, but will they continue to push these issues afterwards? it’s obvious that obama is going for the more “progressive” voters, and in turn, mccain is trying to hook all the “conservatives”, but once elected will they both keep their “extreme” stances? obviously mccain is by far the greater of the evils, but i don’t believe obama is really a “change warrior”.

    for instance, regarding gay marriage, obama says, “I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. But I also agree with most Americans, including Vice President Cheney and over 2,000 religious leaders of all different beliefs, that decisions about marriage should be left to the states as they always have been.”
    “I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman.”

    granted, he DOES support civil unions, but those quotes have never sounded promising to me. sure, he’s not saying, “NO GAYS GET MARRIED HERE!”, but he’s not exactly a champion for equal rights.

    i agree that the youth vote is as lemming-like as everyone else, but does that mean i have to be a lemming too? people don’t think of alternative parties because they’re not supposed to. it’s not in the public eye. some vote because a party actually pulls for the things they believe in, but most vote for the party their parents voted for, or who their church tells them to, or who their celebrity heroes vote for, or, like you, they vote for the lesser of two evils. and MOST of these options are way more of a wasted vote than my “self-omitting” vote.

    i also don’t think that stats would have to turn in one election cycle. maybe in order to convince the people that the multi-party system works, but my other reason for doing this, to convince the two parties to adopt “radical” ideas from these alternative parties in order to get their voters back, that can happen this election and every election after. the stats are more important to these politicians than actual human beings.

    i’m not talking about inter-partisanship at all. i am talking “voter will”. yes, contacting your representatives, doing petitions, etc. all help, and voting for the third party is also a kind of petition. they will see this number of voters that refuse to vote for them, and they will work on how to get them back. if they think they can get more popular by stealing ideas from the green party, socialists, nazis, whoever, they will do that. you’re never going to have any real change in a short amount of time, unless there’s a revolt or a coup. that’s not going to happen here. i’m not assuming anything will change quickly, but i KNOW it won’t change quickly if i continue to support the current system.

    i can understand where you’re coming from as well, and i didn’t think you belonged to any party, don’t worry. i’m not saying that you shouldn’t vote for obama, if you think that’s the best route, but i don’t agree that voting third-party is pointless at all.

    your lesser-of-two-evils vote is really not a whole lot different than my third-party vote. they’re both based on hopes and dreams and chance. the only differences being that YOU can’t be blamed for the “most evil” being elected and that statistics can’t misunderstand MY vote.

    sorry this is so long, everybody.

    fun discussion, though!!

  9. Just to clarify: I was speaking ISSUES-wise when I was naming gay marriage amongst others as token, more-“progressive” touchstones of the Obama campaign over the McCain campaign to illustrate the disparity between the two. I did NOT mean he “supported gay marriage”. I meant his policies REGARDING the issue are more in keeping with YOURS (and mine) than are McCain’s. By FAR. Yeah, he’s still a bigot, though. I’ll give him that. I would never work for his campaign, I can tell you that much. But at LEAST he’s attempting civil rights reform between partners of same sex unions. Wherefore art thou, Ron Paul…?

    As far as differences between our approaches go, however, I’m MORESO going with the “statistics are the substantive accounting of what actually TOOK PLACE and the generalized TRENDING of the populace-at-large” route of integration within my argument. In the end, THAT’S the only REAL difference. We are in pre-fab agreement, as I’ve said before, about the factor of chance and campaign tenet switcheroo being concomitant issues within each route of voter discretion (yours and mine). But statistics are NOT as up-in-the-air as are those factors, as you seem to want to paint them. That’s why they’re STATISTICS. THAT’S what I’M personally factoring in. Yes, we’re both hoping-beyond-hope given our respective theses of action, but MINE is based upon history, with an expectant smattering of ideology minced in—yours upon ideology ALONE. Otherwise, I’d PROBABLY be doing exactly like you.

    However, again you have a couple of theoretical missteps: First, the misconception of the historical practice that newly-elected Presidents don’t maintain party platform for at LEAST their first term in office. That they HAVE has, historically, been the case in MOST instances (not to mention that the majority of cases betraying this trend have been Republican nominees). They’re sort of REQUIRED to, if they intend to maintain their electorate through a second term. Just ask Bush, Sr.

    Second: “[T]he democrats are not in the business of helping other parties have a say in things.” That’s not true or correct at ALL, dearest Scott. While not by ANY stretch of the imagination is intra-party cooperation a VERBAL staple of the 2008 Democratic Party Platform, historically, they’re the one of the two major parties that A) does not require loyalty oaths as requisite statement-of-intent for inclusion in public policy panels; B) have, historically, been more motivated by citizen demand than by other influencing factors like PACs and lobbyist organizations; C) have been THE “party of civil inclusion” (um, the 15th and 19th amendments to the Constitution; heard of ‘em?); have been THE civil advocacy party—of the TWO, mind you—through their longstanding labor union ties and workplace development aims; etc., etc., etc. Reciting the verse that Democrats are, in some fashion, “elitist” to extra-party—and I mean “party” to mean demographic as WELL as voting affiliation—concerns is pretty lunkheaded, not to MENTION that it falls prey to the propagandist sort of vernacular spawned by the Democrats’ much LESS-inclusive “Republican” counterparts. *Tsk*

    Just out of curiosity, and as a semi-tangent here: What do you DISAGREE with concerning Obama? I realize in advance that he’s generic and full of platitudes in exchange of POLICY during his stump speeches, but what, with regards to actual, WRITTEN campaign policy, do you detest?

    Also, I DON’T think you have to, nor would I WANT you to be a lemming. That’s not what I’M doing, if that’s what you’re inferring (not saying you are; just covering my bases). I’m making an INFORMED decision based on more than ideology. Ideologues are just lemmings of a different colour, mind you. Being a reactionary to ANYTHING is retarded, if one doesn’t have the intellectual hoo-ha to back it up.

    Granted, as admitted, I believe I’m voting for the “lesser of two evils”. But that’s just because I’m honest. Self-deprecatingly so… Just as I’m being honest when I say the route YOU’RE taking that I would, otherwise, MYSELF enjoy doesn’t do much to bolster the future OF the route that you and I are both advocates FOR in the perhaps far-off future tense. Not at THIS point, anyway. Later on, it MIGHT, but not if McCain has HIS way and FURTHER marginalizes the system into TOTAL infeasibility, as Bush has attempted to do, thus far. That’s my MAIN point. I’m more “setting up shop for later vindication,” I’d like to think. But I don’t begrudge you your ideological escapism. Unless McCain is elected, that is. Then, it’s fisticuffs, sir. Have at you!

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