Friends Can’t Let Friends Vote Republican

I believe I mentioned before that I’m celebrating my release from academic administration by trying to read a library.  I’ve been focusing on recent books, and I’m on a mini-run of political books.  In that context I’ve recently finished Chris Hayes Twilight of the Elites — I have some nitpicks, but much more admiration, and I hope to blog about it soon; Christopher Hedges and Joe Sacco’s Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt — again some disagreement, but a must read nontheless.

Along the way I’ve been looking at some books calculated to raise my blood pressure in other ways — Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion, which I found to be not really worth bothering to argue with (such an embarassing display of poor historiography)!  I’ve also been dipping into Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, which combines an insight he shares with Hayes and a commitment to a prior conclusion that drives his core argument spectacularly off target.*  Still, it’s useful to get some sense of how the other side thinks and argues.

I do hope — I’d say plan, but I’ve learned how regularly day job stuff rises to intervene — to blog about at least some of these down the road. But I’ve just started the next book in the programme, Thomas E. Man and Norman J. Ornstein’s It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. 

Right away — in the introduction — I came across a paragraph that sums up, in the most economical form yet, what’s really at stake 100 days from now.  So let me turn this post over to them, and let y’all draw the obvious inference about what to do between now and November 6:

The second [of two sources of dysfunction in current American politics] is the fact that, however awkward it may be for the traditional press and nonpartisan analysts to acknowledge, one of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy  of its political opposition.  When one party moves this far from the center of American politics, it is extremely difficult to enact policies responsive to the country’s most pressing challenges.

I’d quibble with only a couple of words there.

I’d say the party has moved fromright of American politics over the last decade.  It took off from  the center in 1980 or so.  And “extremely difficult?”  Try, on the evidence that Mann and Ornstein go on to present in their first chapter (as far as I’ve gotten), “impossible.”

As I say.  Quibbles.  As a matter of sense, this is right on — made the more potent given who writes it: not a DFH like yours truly, but truly seasoned, deeply centrist, long term observers of the institutions of American politics.

More to the point:  there is no such thing as a good Republican candidate anymore, at any level.  Your city councilmember, your state rep., your congressional representative as individuals could be reasonable, smart, caring, trying to reform this failed party from within.  Mitt Romney himself may seem to the more credulous among our media elite to be a more thoughtful and moderate man than he is a candidate. (If you are truly credulous, or simply a hack, you may even bet on Romney’s “secret plan” to fix the economy.)

None of that matters.  “Good” Republicans are mere useful idiots, providing scraps of cover for the radical authoritarians wielding the real power. The party is committed to public policy stance that is destructive, both of American prospects and those of folks all around the world.  It must be driven so far from the political arena as to be destroyed, until whatever emerges from its wreckage, even if it persists in operating under the label “Republican,” is utterly transformed from the catastrophic clown show we now watch in horror.

Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.

Oh — and one last thing.   There are, I know, lots of flaws one can point to in the Obama administration.  There are plenty of warts on the Congressional Democratic caucus.  But the two parties are not the same and the consequences of getting it wrong this time are simply huge.  The politics of purity may be satisfying, but this time around such delicate sensibilities are a luxury we simply cannot afford.

And a very cheerful Sunday to you too.

*That would be — in cartoon form — his understanding of the way elites and the rest of (white) us now exist in geographical and social isolation, joined to his libertarian mandated conclusion that the obstacle to lower class advance is a cultural rather than a political or economic issue.  And while from within the assumptions of his project I can follow his argument as to why he focuses solely on white America, reading of Hedges and Sacco, for one example, makes it clear how doing is part of what allows Murray to ignore the ways in which he can’t account for the economic and social outcomes he seeks to explain

Image: Thomas Cole: The Course of Empire: Desolation, 1836.

Cross posted

78 replies
  1. 1
    TK421 says:

    Growth of Income Inequality Is Worse Under Obama than Bush

  2. 2
    EriktheRed says:


    And why would you say that is?

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Murray identifies the symptoms, but cannot come to recognize that for the past 30 years, a deliberate dismantling of the conditions that brought it together in the first place has been going on.

    The top 1% don’t want a strong middle class. It renders them and their social position utterly superfluous.

  4. 4
    tcolberg says:

    I’m about 2/3rds through the Mann and Orstein book. It’s been excellent and pointed so far.

  5. 5

    That is always what totally baffles me about the US political system. I know the founding fathers thought that there should be some sort of check upon absolute rule, but they could not have foreseen the sort of total gridlock that we have today. I much prefer the British system, flawed as it is, if a party wins a majority (or in this case in a coalition with another party) then they get to set the policy and agenda. You might not like it (as currently the Brits do not) but you get to vote them out at the next election, but at least for a while the party that won gets to enact SOMETHING for gawds sake. If you have a POTUS of one party, a Senate of one party, and a house of another party they the sum total of fuck all gets done. How is that a viable system of government? Fuck all gets done for two years? Is that workable?

  6. 6
    jo6pac says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yep, thanks simple but correct.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    Thanks, Tom. This is pretty much how I feel. My only quibble is that I don’t just feel I have to support the Democrats – I actually want to support them. All in all, I think they’re/we’re a pretty decent group of people, warts notwithstanding.

  8. 8
    jo6pac says:

    @EriktheRed: Go over and take a chance and read the story, Matt’s not crazy. If you have time read this also.

  9. 9
    slightly_peeved says:

    My answer to the question ‘why vote for the lesser evil?’ is that Americans have been voting far less than their counterparts in other western nations, even when the differences between the policies of each party are far starker. Neither Sarkozy nor Allende were arguing against universal health care, and yet the french thought the differences were enough to go and vote. Voter apathy has allowed a relatively small group of dedicated right wing nut jobs to have disproportionate influence in the US government. Not voting isn’t the treatment of America’s problems; it’s the cause.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:


    Hmmm…I wonder why that might be? Perhaps Mitch McConnell can enlighten you by explaining his #1 goal.

  11. 11
    Matthew Reid Krell says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Worth noting that some argue that the Framers felt that “fuck all” was the right result when factions could not reach a compromise. The problem is that when “fuck all” is a higher-preference outcome than “anything else” for one actor, the system is structured to ALWAYS prefer “fuck all.”

    Regardless of whether that initial assumption is true (regarding the Framers), the modern Republican Party is most troubling in its naked pursuit of power over all other goals. They don’t even pretend to have a policy agenda anymore, other than “you can’t do what you want.”

  12. 12
    WereBear says:

    True. I’ve been going around saying, “This time, you have to pick a side. The world is at stake.”

  13. 13
    Walker says:

    Yves is hopeless. She is a purist who has regularly said that voting for the lesser evil is worse than voting Republican. She is effectively supporting Romney at this point.

  14. 14

    “Good” Republicans are mere useful idiots, providing scraps of cover for the radical authoritarians wielding the real power. The party is committed to public policy stance that is destructive, both of American prospects and those of folks all around the world.  It must be driven so far from the political arena as to be destroyed, until whatever emerges from its wreckage, even if it persists in operating under the label “Republican,” is utterly transformed from the catastrophic clown show we now watch in horror.

    Amen brother, amen. Not that I have a roadmap to get there, but that should be our goal. We cannot look only to short term electoral gain, but look for people who plan long term to either turn the R’s into a permanent minority party or force them to change.

    I have more confidence that changing demographics will cause this over any belief that Dems are talented enough to pull off this sort of political revolution.

  15. 15
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: The other related problem is there is no clear accountability why nothing is getting done.

  16. 16
    Boudica says:

    Living in Texas as I do, I don’t see how you change things. People in rural Texas are gonna vote for candidates like Louie Gohmert. And they have a right to elect people that represent their views, crazy as they are.
    Every time one of the front pagers references the cold civil war, I nod my head in agreement. And I don’t see a solution in the system we have.

  17. 17
    Culture of Truth says:

    But this morning Ruth Marcus told me that both sides do it

  18. 18
    Marc says:

    “But the two parties are not the same and the consequences of getting it wrong this time are simply huge.”

    This time, and every time until the Republican party is utterly broken, defeated, or turned from its suicidal course.

  19. 19
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I think the possibility of utter gridlock has been a bug in the constitutional system all along, but nobody dared to make it a feature until Mitch McConnell.

    In essence, IMHO the whole apparatus of log-rolling and horse-trading that used to result in the making of policy moved entirely into the Democratic party, and the Republican party has become a vehicle for sheer symbolism and sabotage. They don’t want to use government resources to bend policy in a Republican direction, they just don’t want to make policy at all. People who felt that way used to be smart and/or cynical enough to leave governing to people who actually wanted to try. Now we’re saddled with a government occupied by people who don’t even care enough to try.

    Think of Bart Stupak. He wanted to bend the health care policy in a pro-life direction, so he used what leverage he had to make it happen. We hated what he was doing, but it made sense by the standards of a couple of centuries of American politicking. No Republican engaged even at that level, to wit, even at the level of wanting the policy to look more amenable to Republican interests. That’s pretty much unprecedented.

  20. 20
    gene108 says:

    The politics of purity

    As much as Republicans talk about and manage to display awesome levels of uniformity at any given moment, they are not purists; they are opportunists.

    When Bush & Co. were in the White House deficits don’t matter. The day Obama gets inaugurated and proposes fiscal stimulus to combat the recession deficits are the most terrible thing evah.

    Conservatives just agree and go along with the Republicans, accepting and vehemently defending whatever logic du jour is fashionable for the Party.

    Liberals lack the ability to be focused on winning the moment or how losing the moment can hurt any long term liberal plan.

    I really do wish you could combine Republican PR with liberal ideas.

  21. 21
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Walker: I should probably know who Yves is, but I don’t. Who is she?

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:


    Funny how the date that Obama is totally going to announce cuts to Medicare and Social Security gets pushed out every time the predicted date passes with no cuts.

    You guys are starting to sound like Harold Camping’s followers. You’ve been wrong at least five times before by my count, but you just can’t give up the idea that this time you’ll be proved right.

  23. 23
    gene108 says:


    They don’t want to use government resources to bend policy in a Republican direction, they just don’t want to make policy at all.

    They do want to bend government to their will and advance a specific agenda.

    They just realize the right-ward lurch of the last 6 years is so radical, they have to have absolute control of both Houses of Congress and the White House, in order to get it enacted.

    That’s why they are so adamant about sabotaging President Obama and grinding Congress down to a halt. They know, if Democrats get anything big enacted, people will start to appreciate what government can do again and they have nothing else to run on, but voter anger and discontent.

  24. 24

    […] Balloon Juice. Posted in Don't Take Any Guff From These Swine, politickin', Quotations […]

  25. 25
    General Stuck says:

    All of this thread is mostly true, but the problem runs deeper than just notions of good or bad republicans. As Bill Moyers once opined, ‘you think the politicians are bad, you should see their constituents’, and it goes further than the authoritarian greed merchant types that bankroll the right wing.

    The fundamental problem is what its always been. Inequality under the law. That feeds out into about every nook and cranny of this society. It is legal, social, and financial, and it must be broken before we can move forward from the current apex of conflict we are experiencing. It is the positive feedback loop of white plutocrats practicing the dark art of social engineering for profit to keep the status quo, by pitting one group of peasants against the others, in all sorts of ways. And buying off, or owning the supposed umpires of the fourth estate.

    Obama has kept the moribund economy alive that he inherited, but one man can’t change the status quo within the limitations of his office, in a relative short period of time. That is up to like minded citizens to take up the baton and fight the battles in the trenches of our democratic institutions, to act to realize the promise of all men are created equal, and put that to practice. And force the lollygaggers to either get out of the way, or help.

    And if folks didn’t notice, whatever you think about Obama, he is still the community organizer trying to rally the troops for the coming battles. It is no accident his successful efforts to fight bigotry best he can from the high perch he occupies. Repealing DADT, Lily Ledbetter, unequivocal support for women’s health rights, as well as the rest of us with approaching universal health care. Taking on the powers that be in the religious world, that are tireless to keep the female population in the pre 1960’s, for purposes of keeping house and spitting out little drones for the machine to use and abuse.

    I been on a stomping mad tear lately, for several reasons. One is the wingnuts building religious trojan jeevuses to wheel into our neighborhoods, to hind behind for practicing their wingnuttery on the populace at large. And complacency of some on the left to think outside the box to fight this turn of events.

    All in all, I think we are winning, and the wingnuts are retreating into some imagined safe harbors like religious freedom, and tenth amendment bullshit. We ought to follow them there, and drag their asses out into the sunshine of equality for all.

  26. 26
    PeakVT says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: The authors of the Constitution may or may not have foreseen the possibility for total gridlock in the system they were setting up. What they did not foresee is the need for a continuously active legislature that our modern world demands. We can’t really afford the kind of gridlock we are getting.

  27. 27
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    But this morning Ruth Marcus told me that both sides do it

    And yesterday on NPR, one of their reporters told us the same thing. Mann and Ornstein have the integrity to write and publish something that approaches an accurate description of reality (the Republicans have gone crazy and are overwhelmingly responsible for today’s political mess), and NPR even has them on for interviews, but probably worried about their funding, NPR continues to adhere faithfully to the “both sides are equally to blame” myth.

    In the US in 2012, it is the responsibility of the media to pretend that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.

    One indication of just how stupid and crazy the GOP has become is their insistence on cutting or even zeroing out funds for NPR (and PBS). When you’ve got two of the major, supposedly left-leaning, media organizations regularly carrying water for you, you don’t try to cripple them. Unless you’re an American Republican.

    If ideology tells you to shoot yourself between the eyes, darnit, you do it! Period.

  28. 28

    We’re not even voting for the lesser of two evils. We have a choice between a ‘good’ that some people are pissed isn’t ‘perfect’ and an ‘evil’ that is frightening in its psychotic absoluteness.

  29. 29

    Today’s New York Times Magazine did a Q&A with the author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.

    Looks good, I’ve added it to my list.

  30. 30
    MattR says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    In the US in 2012, it is the responsibility of the media to pretend that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.

    I agree for the most part, but I’d add that when the differences are too big to completely ignore they just pretend that they are something about which “reasonable people can disagree”

  31. 31

    I think that’s an aspect of the ‘both sides are the same’ mentality. If everybody’s side is completely reasonable, there’s no REAL difference, only opinion! Both sides are just as moral if it’s reasonable to believe replacing Medicare with vouchers won’t hurt anybody!

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    Our politicians are not required to be policy wonks. 27% don’t know the difference between policy and politics.
    I have found a solution for those determined to bitch. I simply say I’m not anti-government. America..fuck yeah.

  33. 33
    moonbat says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s the purist left’s version of the NRA freaks yelling that Obama’ deep plan is to win a second term so that THEN he will take away your guns.

  34. 34
    JPL says:

    Oh and when someone says I feel bad for our sons and daughters you might say, nah.. Once they see our generation struggling they will want to go back to the good old days. I mentioned that in 1965 not many insurers were willing to insure us.

  35. 35
    MattR says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I’d say that they are siblings in the “false equivalency” family.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @Southern Beale: I can’t ever imagine voting for another Republican in my lifetime but I’m sixty-three

    So whom are you voting for in November?
    Obama. I can imagine voting for a Republican for president someday, but I don’t think that today’s Republican Party could nominate anyone I would want to vote for.

  37. 37
    Tyro says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Give the Founders a break. They were embarking on a project that had never been done before and constructing a democratic form of government almost overnight. It’s stunning enough that they constructed something (granted, on the second try) that has held together as long as it has. If we were starting over from scratch, is this the system we would choose? No, obviously not– other countries wisely don’t imitate our model. But the Founders did pretty amazingly well given what they had to work with.

  38. 38
    Roy G. says:

    Speaking of the Harvard Bobo, here is an excellent sociological review of The Dark Knight Rises by Aaron Bady (zunguzungu) that puts Douthat’s pablum to shame:

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Say what you will about the tenets of National Socia1ism, at least it was an ethos.

    Which the modern GOP cannot claim.

  40. 40
    PeakVT says:

    @efgoldman: I certainly agree the filibuster is a problem, but it’s not the majority of the problem in the current Congress. It was in the last Congress (and heavy use of the filibuster then helped create the current Congress).

    @Tyro: A lot of countries have imitated our system, mostly in South America and Central Africa. Whether they were wise to do so is another question.

  41. 41
    Steeplejack says:


    Yves Smith, the creator of the Web site Naked Capitalism, linked to above.

  42. 42


    Yves is hopeless.

    On the contrary: “Yves” (aka Susan Webber) profits handsomely from her management consulting firm, and will be doing just fine no matter who wins the election.

    Like most of the purity set, she’s wealthy, has no real skin in this game, and doesn’t need ‘hope’ at all. She only needs your eyeballs on her site.

    Quelle surprise!

  43. 43
    S. Holland says:

    @General Stuck: Amen, amen….brilliantly stated!

  44. 44
    FlipYrWhig says:


    They do want to bend government to their will and advance a specific agenda.

    But, you know what, I don’t really think so. All they actively desire out of governance is low taxes and fewer regulations. Then there’s another cohort that cares about Bible-thumping BS, and another that wants to drop bombs on as many places as possible. But those two aren’t the ones driving the train. I think their objective is to take “laissez faire” completely seriously. That’s the opposite of governance. Their serious agenda is not to govern.

    I don’t think the people who came up with the structures of the US government, or anyone until relatively recently, expected this development.

  45. 45
    gbear says:

    The DFL (Democratic Farm & Labor) pavilion at the Minnesota State Fair has been selling ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican’ buttons for as long as I can remember. I always make a point of buying one and wearing it while I’m at the fair. One year, a neighbor of mine was working the republican booth and handing out pro-GOP buttons to people passing by. I smiled and showed him that I already had a GOP button. He fake-laughed and moved on pretty quickly.

  46. 46
    300baud says:

    The other day I was introduced to a friend’s friend outside the grocery store. She was extolling the virtues of the city park to which she had just taken her dog. Without any visible whiplash, she segued to talking about how terrible government is, and how she was a big supporter of the Tea Party, and how taxes needed to be slashed. And then she got in her car, turned on her GPS unit that talks to government satellites, and drove off down the public roads.


  47. 47
    mainmati says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: The Senate was set up to appease the slave states and future rural states because even in the late 18th century, the north was dominant by population. The South also insisted on the 2nd Amendment at the time, though, as everyone knows, the exact language is grammatically ridiculous because of a fundamental disagreement at the the time between all guns anytime and guns only for militia. You can guess who was on which side.

    So today, we have a similar cultural divide except that the parasitical bankster/Wall St. trader classes are largely in the North or multinational. So, the project of getting economic justice is much more difficult.

    This election will be defining. If the Democrats lose the Congress and the Presidency then we will quickly descend even more into 3rd world status. (We already are there on several health, violence and incarceration stats.)

    Most people alive simply don’t understand what the pre-1929 world was like because they weren’t alive and take for granted the modern social safety net-including all the Goopers voting for the party that wants to eliminate all that.

    With the GOP ascendant, we would eventually see a version of martial law eliminating virtually all civil liberties, leading to civil war as many people realize that their future would be little more than a version of a Chinese coolie.

  48. 48
    gbear says:

    OT: What the heck is going on with Balloon Juice that I either receive messages that a download has been blocked or a message asking me if I want to continue running script? What new junk has been added to the site to cause this?

  49. 49
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Indeed. It is the middle class, not the poor, who displaced the elites as thought leaders during the New Deal.

    Of course, many of the middle class had been born poor, but they had been transformed through education and a rapid change in status.

  50. 50
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gbear: I’m using NoScript and Ghostery and only allowing balloon-juice and google (which is probably irrelevant to the overall functioning of the site). It’s probably one of those other half a dozen scripts that I’m not running with no loss in functionality.

  51. 51
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Our Exceptional form of Government was so successful, it made it 80 years before dissolving into Syria: The Prequel. (Oh, and the first 30-40 years don’t count–the first constitution was a failure and then there was the distraction of reprosecuting the war with Britain.)

  52. 52
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jo6pac: Der, we’re in a recession and the Austerity Boys are making sure a) it doesn’t get better and b) it doesn’t get better the right way. You’d better believe the very poor, the working poor, and even a goodly number of people who were in the 40-60% percentile are getting roached.

    That’s the whole fucking point.

    That’s why we need to elect better Dems at the local and state level and get better Dems in the farm teams. This isn’t getting fixed tomorrow but we need to get started now.

    Of course I’m one to talk… my state Dem party is full of grifters and clowns. They basically with a few exceptions suck stinky GOP balls. I’ve seen some DAMN good candidates this primary season, though.

  53. 53
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Triassic Sands: It’s all good. Zeroing out funding just makes them utterly reliant on oil barons and ADM and so on, ensuring their message will be even MORE in the plutocrats’ favor.

    C’mon, who is paying them to say stuff like that? THE SPONSORS. And by that I do not mean viewers like you.

  54. 54
    kuvasz says:

    A valuable quote for TODAY from Thucydides in reference to the civil war in Corcyra, circa 433 BCE:

    “To fit in with the change of events, words, too had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted fo action. fanataical enthusiasm was the mark of a a real man, and to plot against an enemy behind his back was perfectly legitimate self-defense. anyone who held violent opinions could always be trusted and anyone who objected to them became suspect.”

    Thucycides History of the Peloponnesian Wars (III, verse 82)

    Same as it ever was.

  55. 55
    Spectre says:

    RE: Lesser of two evils politics.

    Let me ask you something. If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?

  56. 56
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @kuvasz: Sounds like Mira Furlan talking about the Croatian-Serbian war. Even today if you click over to a youtube page of Serbian musicians or Croation whatever you will see Serbs and Croatians slinging fighting words at each other in comments. (She’s Croatian, married to a Serbian, and decided to GTFO, a very nice decision for us scifi fans.)

  57. 57
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Spectre: You’re assuming facts not in evidence.

    Such as the notion (giving you a big hint here, it WILL be on the final exam) that the same people decide every election. They do not.

  58. 58
    Spectre says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Am I, or is the OP? Exhibit A: ” The politics of purity may be satisfying, but this time around such delicate sensibilities are a luxury we simply cannot afford.”

    As such, your contribution here self-destructs into incoherence.

  59. 59
    pluege says:

    the point of fact is that republicans have dropped the “loyal” from “loyal opposition” a principal without which democracy and indeed civilized society can not exist.

  60. 60
    The Right Honorable Member for, the Very Reverend Mother, Her Duchal Serene Highness. Dr. Hortense Sussudio Fuuckerfaaster says:

    jysus christ do you ever even try to read your own insipid blather? more data points on how this place is becoming, or has become all parody all the time.

  61. 61
    katie5 says:

    @Southern Beale: I wouldn’t read it; it’s centrism of the worst sort.

  62. 62
    karen says:

    This is what I have to say to the “I won’t vote for the lesser of the two evils” people. To the firedog lake people. To the third party people.


    You may think you’re Democrats but you love Romney otherwise you wouldn’t be trying so hard to get him elected.

    Yes, in a perfect world I would love to have a pure candidate that I’ll vote FOR instead of against.

    But if you’re voting against Obama, congratulations! So are all the Republicans. That is what will motivate them to vote for Romney, not because they love him.

    If you can’t vote for Obama because your conscience won’t allow it or you’d rather not vote period then just go on your knees before Romney and suck because that’s basically what you’re doing. And 2012 will make 2010 look like a walk in the park.

    I don’t care WHY you hate Obama. I don’t care if it’s for racial reasons or for policy or civil rights or any of that. Not voting for Obama is voting for Romney. It’s that simple. And if you can’t get that, if you don’t understand that the lesser of the two evils is really the difference between going to war with Iran and having more Scalias in the SCOTUS.

    It’s really that simple.

  63. 63
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @karen: I’d say they’re republicans because (at least in their perception, overall, many of them are just judging the situation wrong) they don’t see this election as personally affecting them. (This means they are probably white, straight, top 20% or better…) For example, married women often believe that attacks on reproductive freedom don’t affect them so they tune them out. Of course we all have to worry about that which is most salient to ourselves.

    There are plenty of comfortable people out there who will either be motivated by their disgust at what the GOP has become to pull the lever for the Democrats or who will start up their williams-sonoma air popper and watch the fireworks on election night, just more entertainment.

    Forget about the 27%ers. They’re a lost cause.

  64. 64
    Geoduck says:

    @karen: I will vote for Obama, but, man, I wish I could believe that doing so will guarantee that we won’t go to war with Iran.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:


    Sorry, but nothing except regime change in Israel will guarantee that we don’t go to war with Iran, and we don’t get to decide that in a US election.

    So your choices are between the guy who says he doesn’t want war in Iran and seems to be doing everything he can to avoid it and the guy who says he wants to bomb them immediately.

    Pick one.

  66. 66
    TenguPhule says:

    Living in Texas as I do, I don’t see how you change things. People in rural Texas are gonna vote for candidates like Louie Gohmert. And they have a right to elect people that represent their views, crazy as they are.

    Easy, first you let Republicans make Texas so bad only Republican Die Hards want to live there.

    Then you nuke it from orbit. Only way to be sure.

  67. 67
    El Cid says:

    This election, then, is not about choosing a lesser evil. It is about our nation’s future: are we going to move in a progressive-democratic or rightwing anti-democratic-authoritarian direction…
    …The people’s coalition must be a major factor in the primaries. It must reach, register and educate new and stay-at-home voters. It must guarantee a maximum voter turnout on Election Day.
    No less important, it must unrelentingly expose the reactionary positions of the Republican candidates and their racist and anti-democratic systematic campaign to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters.
    Not everyone shares this view. Some think the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans. Others go further and say that the Democrats are worse because they create popular illusions that change is possible within the two-party system. Still others say the electoral process is so compromised by corporate money that participating in it is a fool’s errand. And finally there are advocates of running a third-party presidential candidate in this election.
    I can understand these sentiments, but only up to a point. Like it or not, millions go to the polls in spite of their misgivings. They are invested in the electoral process. Voting is a sacred duty. And the Democratic Party is the vehicle of reform for tens of millions, the majority of whom are working and oppressed people.
    What is more, labor will throw itself into the campaign to elect Democrats, moderate as well as progressive, albeit from its own organizational base. Four hundred thousand campaign volunteers are going to walk neighborhoods this fall.
    Much the same can be said about the racially oppressed. Ditto women and seniors. The majority of youth will also take part in the elections, and like four years ago on the side of President Obama and the Democrats.
    A third-party presidential candidate would only help the extreme right as well as isolate the left from the broader movement.
    The two parties of the capitalist class have similarities. That is undeniable. But differences also exist at the level of social composition and political policies – policies that can be widened under the impact of a powerful people’s movement, as they were in earlier historical periods.
    The past three years have been frustrating to be sure; much the same could be said about the past three decades. But frustration and impatience are a poor excuse for a strategic and tactical policy in relation to the coming elections and politics generally.
    Only a very sober and objective analysis should guide our thinking and actions. It is easy to imagine any number of electoral strategies, but the question is: which one is rooted in objective realities and advances class and democratic struggles? Which one positions the popular forces to go on the offensive in the post-election period? Which outcome will clear the ground of neoliberal polices and debris? Which one will weaken the corporate class as a whole?
    To skip over the current stage in the name of militant radicalism may feel revolutionary, but in the end it is self-defeating and strategically misguided.

    Sam Webb, “Defeating the Rightwing on the Road to Soshullism,” Communist Party USA, April 27, 2012

  68. 68
    TenguPhule says:

    “Good” Republicans are an Oxymoron

    There are only two kinds of Republicans.

    Bad ones. And Corpses.

    Alas, both will still be voting in November.

  69. 69
    karen says:

    @TenguPhule: Would Cheney be the corpse?

  70. 70
    brantl says:


    I certainly agree the filibuster is a problem, but it’s not the majority of the problem in the current Congress. It was in the last Congress (and heavy use of the filibuster then helped create the current Congress).

    It was a serious problem then, too. And then we got Scott Brown, the tipping point for the Republicans.

  71. 71
    brantl says:

    As such, your contribution here self-destructs into incoherence.

    Are you really stupid enough to believe this, Spectre?

  72. 72
    WereBear says:

    @karen: What I tell such folks is: It’s not about you.

    It’s not some kind of consumer choice you make that will reflect on you; and Democrat and Republican are merely brands you wish to wear, or not.

    This is a choice, and not making a choice is the choice of not caring what happens to everyone around you.

    This is not the “lesser of two evils.” This is a decision about the direction we want the country to go in.

  73. 73
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I live in a county dominated by Republicans. The town folk are competent but everyone above them is dumb and/or mean. Corruption is rampant. There really are no good republicans.

  74. 74
    Hidden Heart says:

    It bears noting that the Founding Fathers did have experience with the sort of sabotage and gridlock we have now…and convened the Constitutional Convention with the specific intent of abolishing it.

    The US didn’t go straight from British colony to what we have now. For 13 years, the former colonies were governed under the Articles of Confederation. Congress under the Articles had to get unanimity from the state delegations. And, unsurprisingly, far too much that needed to get done couldn’t. The Constitution was designed so that things could get done even in the face of some states’ refusal to go along.

  75. 75
    RSA says:


    This is a choice, and not making a choice is the choice of not caring what happens to everyone around you.

    Exactly. Some of the “lesser evil”, third-party voters I talk to think it’s better to keep their hands clean than to vote for Obama, ignoring the practical certainty that a Democrat or a Republican will occupy the White House. As if the only possibility for being engaged in the country’s political situation is spending half an hour at a polling booth, once every four years. It drives me nuts.

    I’ve also argued that with their point of view, they’d have voted against Jefferson (slavery!), Lincoln (habeas corpus!), FDR (internment!), and other great Presidents going up for re-election. Nothing seems to help. They’re a little like single-issue voters, except that the single issue is “decides everything I would decide, in an ideal world”.

  76. 76
    AxelFoely says:


    We’re not even voting for the lesser of two evils. We have a choice between a ‘good’ that some people are pissed isn’t ‘perfect’ and an ‘evil’ that is frightening in its psychotic absoluteness.


  77. 77
    redshirt says:

    Not only will I never vote Republican again, I’ve become quite militant in person to any self professed Republican. I’m not going to be quiet in the face of outright evil, even when it’s nominally “nice” people as the footsoldiers of evil.

    We need to get fired up, at all levels.

  78. 78
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Okay, so this thread is a little stale now and probably a lot of folks won’t read this, but when it comes to the Republican party, I often wonder why more of them don’t just “snap out of it” and realize that they’re championing non-sense and toxic, antiquated ideas.

    My daughter was in 5th grade last year in a class of mostly boys. There were six girls total, and four of them decided they would be the school cheerleaders. They asked my daughter to join and she said yes. Then, when my daughter found out that the cheer girls were going to exclude the last girl in class, my daughter bailed out — she liked the other girl and did not want her to feel left out. I was extremely proud of her choice, I must say!

    The point is, why aren’t there more big-name Republicans bailing out of their party? Oh, I know that they’re quite invested in the party and would be ostracized, but why aren’t we seeing more Charles Johnson-like departures?

    If collectively the Dems became a bunch of science-fearing, hate-mongering morons, I’d leave at once!

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