Protest Non-Vote

Conor Freidersdorf can’t vote for Obama because of drones, killing American citizens abroad and the Libyan intervention.

Let’s grant that despicable things are done in the drone war (for example, follow-up hits on rescuers and funerals – more here), that having a hit list of American citizens is morally awful, and that Libya was probably executive overreach, was at best a gamble, and there’s no way of knowing at this moment if it was the right thing to do even from realpolitik perspective. I’m more than willing to criticize Obama for these decisions.

But I know that becoming one of the 60%+ of people who won’t vote in this election is about the most feeble possible protest imaginable. Not to mention that “double Guantanamo” Romney’s foreign policy is far more likely to lead us to more war (with Iran for starters).

I also know that Conor Freidersdorf, Glenn Greenwald and other critics are right about the Democratic hackery/hypocrisy among those who support Obama’s foreign policy and criticized GWB’s.

That all said, after calling Democrats hypocrites, withholding a precious single vote for Obama, and writing daily thousand word essays about the latest awful thing, what’s next? What can we do to change the current direction of US foreign policy to get rid of drone strikes, avoid assassinations and maybe prevent other adventures like Libya? There’s a real lack of any kind of grounded political agenda among Obama’s foreign policy critics, and I’d like to see one since it would give me something to support.






216 replies
  1. 1
    thunderlizard says:

    Lawyers Guns and Money has a good riposte to Young Connor’s idiocy. TL;DR is that the only reason to deliberately abstain from voting for the lesser-evil is if you are currently engaged in an attempt to violently overthrow the government. Barring open rebellion, you are positively obligated to work within the system.

    Failure to recognize this obligation is almost purely the purview of well-moneyed white men who don’t have to worry about a 5th anti-Roe [hell, anti-Griswold] vote, GOP treasury-looting, radically anti-immigrant policies, and a destruction of the safety net.

  2. 2
    blingee says:

    Since everyone knows Cole worships Greenwald and as a result has a bug up his ass about drones this outta give him a woody.

  3. 3
    beltane says:

    Isn’t Connor Friedersdorf a Republican Libertarian anyway? I wouldn’t expect him to vote for Obama. The more important question is: Why isn’t he voting for Romney?

  4. 4
    Davis X. Machina says:

    There needs to be a serious Congressional faction dedicated to the issue. In slavery days, there were Cotton Whigs and Conscience Whigs, and the split eventually destroyed the party, with the Republicans rising from the ashes. The Democracy split as well, and a Republican presidency resulted.

    That’s how we know slavery mattered.

    It has to happen in Congress… waiting for an executive deus ex machina is an exercise in futility.

  5. 5
    Napoleon says:

    Connor would have a point but for the fact that the other party is batshit insane. You may not be so much voting for Obama but instead trying to bar the door to the White House from an insane cult like organization.

  6. 6
    Emma Anne says:

    I’d also like to hear about their alternative to fighting asymmetrical wars. They are a thing, even if Bush was a lying war monger.

  7. 7
    schrodinger's cat says:

    CF is long winded and boring. BTW whatever happened to E D Kain and his fangirl M_C?

  8. 8
    Libby says:

    Amen Mistermix. I would happy to be more supportive of the critics if I saw a path to some kind of positive outcome but all I see is the best way possible to hand the govt back to the real warmongers. I’m happy to jump on the FP criticism on Nov. 10th. Till then I’m going to try to get Obama re-elected because he’s still the best chance we have for change.

  9. 9
    Laura says:

    Oh, if only I could be a white man with a (most likely) well paying job like Conor. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about all those other things like women’s health care policy and tax policy and immigration policy and……..ahh fuck it.

  10. 10
    aimai says:

    There are plenty of white women who are just as determined as Glenn or Connor to withhold their precious bodily fluids from this election in order to prove something to someone about their political purity. Its a really short sighted view of the significance of any single election. If you were serious about affecting US foreign policy you would of course elect Obama and any and every Dem you could in this cycle, and then work on pushing them more to the left or slowly replacing them, one by one, with people further to their left who, once they were in position in the Judiciary or the Administration or in Congress would further your actual political program. What’s that you say? You have no actual political program except niceness and sunshine for all? What a pity.

    aimai

  11. 11
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Napoleon: This. When you have a choice between two and only two, and the other’s foreign policy is war with Iran, I don’t have to *like* anything that Obama has done or will do, I’m voting to save my children’s lives.

  12. 12
    Mark S. says:

    @beltane:

    He says he voted for Obama in 2008, which is becoming the “I have a black friend” of the 2010’s.

  13. 13
  14. 14

    People who don’t vote because they want to “send a message” end up sending a message, all right, only it isn’t the one they think they’re sending. They think, I guess, that President Obama, or Democrats in general will sit up and say, “Wow, these guys are truly principled. I guess I should change my ways to win back their respect.” But what they’re going to say is, “Shit, well, I guess I can write off those assholes. Who cares what they want? I’d better work on keeping the backing of the ones who will vote for me.”

    People truly thought that if they threw 2000 to Bush by voting for Nader, they’d usher in some Golden Age of liberalism. We all saw how welll that worked. It took eight years to get full control of the government back, and most of what the president has had to do this term wasn’t bringing on the New New Deal, it’s been cleaning up the mess from left by the assholes who shat the bed.

    If you want to change things, you have to vote. Sure, write about what pisses you off. Climb up on your soapbox and preach. Sing it to the high heavens. But don’t think you’re doing any good by being so noble that you just can’t do anything but withold your precious, precious vote. There are a lot of other votes out there. Politicians know that as a practical thing, your vote, and mine, are expendable. And as much as he’d like to believe otherwise, Conor Friedersdorf’s is, too.

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    Perhaps Conor will vote for Roseanne Barr and her Peace and Freedom Party instead?

  16. 16
    Chyron HR says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Instintively, ED Kain hurled the musical box at the gibbering lunatic, destroying both.

  17. 17
    aimai says:

    @Emma Anne:

    I was thinking about that, too Emma Anne as I was listening to the back and forth about the Libyan situation, Malawi, and HIllary Clinton’s UN Presentation. Not everything that happens in the middle east is about US policy, or even US drone strikes. 500,000 displaced people in Malawi due to their own internal politics and the politics of failed states? Libya a set of warring factions each trying to seize control of a power vacuum? The ambassador was almost certainly killed under cover of al quaeda and its issues with the US as part of an ongoing struggle within Libya itself for power in Libya. Somehow this is all reminding me of the ways in which the internal Vietnamese struggle for freedom from outside interference was misunderstood by the US as a specifically anti american/pro chinese movement. There are a lot of countries in the middle east, a lot of muslim countries not in the middle east, that are each undergoing nationalist struggles in which our drones or not drones barely make a dent in the death toll and are not responsible for the unrest. I also, personally, don’t see the difference between drone strikes and capitalist exploitation, as in Bhopal, which routinely kill many innocent people. I mean, I’m against it but I actually would vote on the basis of fewer bhopals, if I could, rather than fewer targeted strikes on US national enemies.

    aimai

  18. 18
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: @Gin & Tonic: Please, don’t say that name. She’s like Beetlejuice

  19. 19
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Punchy: Peace and Freedom, huh? Hell, I’d vote for either one separately. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate, but it’s a party.

  20. 20
    lonesomerobot says:

    I don’t think Obama’s going to miss Conor’s vote in California

  21. 21
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Gin & Tonic: There is no guarantee that we won’t end up at war with Iran under Obama. But that would be true of any democratic candidate at this point.

  22. 22
    geohawk says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Blogging video games at Forbes, of all places.

  23. 23
    hueyplong says:

    I sympathize with Connor’s concerns on this topic, but don’t see how his protest vote even rises to symbolic effect in today’s America.

    Our problem is the we live in a world in which the opposition party only gains traction criticizing foreign policy to the extent Americans get killed, regardless of how many “others” die, and the best way to avoid American combat deaths is to use drones (or bomb from the air as Clinton did in the 1990s).

    A Romney presidency would almost certainly see Obama’s use of drones and raise him a more intense deployment of same. The reason is that he’s such a loose cannon that we’d find ourselves in many, many more situations in many, many more countries in which the temptation to resort to drones is irresistible for a guy who is amoral on all topics. And Democrats wouldn’t complain unless the public could be convinced that a wave of anti-American terrorism is not only connected to that drone use but is also morally correct. Good luck with that.

    I’m not sure what will change the culture to create the conditions Connor wants, but creation of a Randian Dystopia pursuant to the election of Mitt Romney likely ain’t it.

    I feel bad for Connor, and I’m a little ashamed to know that my instant and lasting reaction to his concerns will be consciously to ignore them.

  24. 24
    Napoleon says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace:

    But if they happen to start one I feel far more confident that they would not totally bungle it because at least they are based in reality and not some fantasy land where nothing can ever go wrong for us.

  25. 25
    Cassidy says:

    I actively encourage people who call themselves libertarians, but will probabaly vote for Romney, to not vote. It’s very unfair that they can’t vote for who they want and should probably stay home.

  26. 26
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace: I’m voting the probabilities.

  27. 27
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Well things are not going to change substantively as long as we are an Empire, it goes along with the territory, check out the British foreign policy before and after WWII.

  28. 28
    Paul says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.):

    We saw first hand in 2010 what happens when people don’t vote to protest Obama. Abortion rights and voting rights were stripped away. People don’t have much to complain about when they themselves decided not to vote in the first place.

    Heck, compare the tea baggers vs those people who decided not to vote to protest Obama. Who has done a better and more effective job in organizing politically…

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    Obama has done little beyond what he said he would do in 2008. He has not systematically broken laws to do what he wants, despite the blatherings of the GG’s of the world. Most of the stock allegations in Conner’s piece are built on 6 degrees of separation between legitimate and the legal, and the illegitimate and illegal that Bush was all about in his abuse of longstanding tools.

    You can rightfully oppose those policies, as wrong or immoral, but if you voted for Obama in 2008, you should not be surprised and certainly not justified in pulling the Obama bad as Bush card, along with ‘stipulating’ that Obama supporters are guilty of hypocrisy and declaring this as some kind of universal truth when it is only firebagger dogma. That young Connor has regurgitated on cue to justify his above it all airiness both side do it nonsense. Which he has a perfect right to. but it is what it is.

  30. 30
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yeah. Me too. I just don’t want to start the theme that Obama means peace with Iran is a slam dunk in preventing a war.

  31. 31
    KJD says:

    As long as the Dem is better than the Repub on at least one policy dimension he should always receive unconditional support. Get in line granola people.

    A political realist understands that there are no political taboos. Torture, abuse, murder – stop freaking out and grow up! If a Dem president, let’s just say hypothetically, decides to assassinate American citizens and the Repubs think that is awesome too, then we cannot ever consider dropping our political support because, you know, TAXES ON THE RICH, or something.

    As long as The Previously Unthinkable which is Now Reality is biparitisan, all we can do is work within the system and take it. Or embrace it if that makes us feel better.

  32. 32
    jheartney says:

    It’s part of the long-term problem of having one of the two main parties slip into ideological extremism. You get the worst of both worlds; only one real electoral choice, but an absolute imperative to support that choice, because the alternative is putting much more dangerous people in power.

    (One interesting thing about our hyperpartisan times- the above sentence could be agreed to by partisans of either side.)

  33. 33
    matoko_chan says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I’ve been on my meds and have been too tired to correct your sorry asses so now all I do is lurk, you cudlip.

  34. 34
    Mark S. says:

    @KJD:

    As long as the Dem is better than the Repub on at least one policy dimension he should always receive unconditional support. Get in line granola people.

    I think the Dems are better on every fucking policy dimension. It’s not because they’re awesome, far from it. It’s that the GOP is so goddamn awful in every way right now. Seriously, is there one policy position that you agree with the GOP on?

  35. 35
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    Bah! I don’t care what anyone sez. I am following Ol’ Mom’s lead here (she’s 94) and voting straight Democratic (since FDR). My 3 kiddies will do the same, and, if ‘twarn’t for this damned voter fraud thing, my 2 grandkiddies (ages 6 & 8) would be voting Democratic as well.

  36. 36
    Robin G. says:

    I hate sardines, but I’m sure as hell not gonna eat cyanide tablets, and those are the only two items on the dinner menu.

    Freidersdorf can get back to us on the outcome of his hunger strike.

  37. 37
    Shinobi says:

    Ugh. I’ve definetly heard push back on the whole “If youd idn’t vote you don’t get to complain” front along the lines of “but none of the candidates truly represents my very important unique snowflake point of view.”

    Which makes me want to point out that since there are a very high number of possible combinations of policy points of view in this country, and that if we only voted for candidates who exactly represented us, each candidate would probably get 1 vote, from themselves. It’s just not realistic.

    I agree with Samuel L Jackson, Americans need to wake the fuck up.

  38. 38
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    I know what we can do: we can vote for the Green Party candidate! Yeah, that’s the ticket. It’ll fix everything!

    Just like it did in 2000.

    This asshat is blowing smoke up everybody’s collective ass. He’s simply another Embarrassed Republican looking for reasons to give him cover to vote for the crazies.

  39. 39
    MikeJ says:

    and other critics are right about the Democratic hackery/hypocrisy among those who support Obama’s foreign policy and criticized GWB’s.

    I don’t understand this. I didn’t really have a problem with airstrikes under Bush, but he didn’t limit himself to that. If Bush had dropped a Hellfire on bin Laden and not invaded Afghanistan nobody would complain very much.

    As for gitmo, go picket your senator. No matter where you live, your senator is the one to blame.

  40. 40
    Gex says:

    I note that this is only a deal breaker when it is carried out under a D administration.

    Don’t listen to these fuckers. They are “acting” principled, but you just have to look at a broader range of their actions to see that their principles are situational, and that tax cuts right all wrongs, regardless of how terrible those other wrongs are. (They voted W in 2004, I’m sure. A part of the reason Iraq got targeted in 2003 was the election…)

    @Shinobi: I tell those people that they don’t get to complain unless they have tried to participate in the candidate selection and/or platform writing process. Waiting until it’s all set in stone and then saying “I don’t want that” is a really childish way to be “principled” about our system.

  41. 41
    ericblair says:

    @KJD:

    If a Dem president, let’s just say hypothetically, decides to assassinate American citizens

    Just so we can skip about a hundred posts:
    The US constitution does not apply outside of US-controlled territory.
    Trials in absentia are flat-out illegal in the US.
    Awlaki’s organization and status fell under the AUMF authorization as passed by Congress. Go yell at them.
    Awlaki was under a dead-or-alive warrant within Yemen.
    US forces have killed US citizens fighting for the enemy in WWII and that little tiff called the Civil War. If this it’s a new outrage, it’s a pretty old new outrage.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled Obot/Firebagger cage match.

  42. 42
    Chyron HR says:

    @Mark S.:

    Seriously, is there one policy position that you agree with the GOP on?

    Duh, of course there is: Removing Obama from office.

  43. 43
    Gex says:

    Oh, and further, Americans are behind this or indifferent to this largely because guys like them have broken the middle class. Everyone is working to hard, too many hours to be able to effectively become informed and participate in politics. Stressed, angry, working white folk are both the GOP and Libertarians base, but they are the folks most behind this. To go after Democrats in a way they won’t and didn’t go after the people who started this is pathetic excuse making.

  44. 44
    the Conster says:

    Sports analogies are really useful in this argument. Not voting is like forfeiting – if a team forfeits, does the other team wring their hands and try to get the other team back in the game? It’s fucking retarded to believe that withholding your vote will make anyone take you seriously, about anything.

  45. 45
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Davis is right about what the political plan of action _should_ be: legislators of conscience working to make law that limits executive power. Members of the executive branch are inevitably going to want crucial decision-making powers related to war and peace to be their responsibility and up to their discretion. So… Come up with ways to scramble that, i.e., laws that are upheld by judges. Is anyone trying that? Because it would be a great test of the potential for liberals and libertarians to collaborate, the way the blogosphere has been hoping for about 10 years.

  46. 46
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Not voting: The Ultimate Chickenshit Passive-Aggressive Move.

    Don’t like Obama? Go down to the polls and vote for Romney. I urge anyone and everyone who feels this way to do so. Let’s at least get it out in the open which of the only two courses of action available you’d prefer; none of this “I’m withholding my pure virgin vote” horseshit.

  47. 47
    Paul says:

    @MikeJ:

    As for gitmo, go picket your senator. No matter where you live, your senator is the one to blame.

    Amen. Heck, even Bernie Sanders was against closing Gitmo. But this seems to be too fricking hard for a lot of hypocritical Democrats to understand. They rather have Obama go bush on them and close Gitmo with some kind of executorial order irregardless of where the funding is coming from.

  48. 48
    aimai says:

    I also find all this “oh, noes, killing american citizens” shtick weird. We dropped a bomb on the fucking MOVE headquarters and leveled a square block of Philidelphia. Fred Hampton anyone? We’ve killed more American Citizens than any other type of person right here in the good ol’ US of A and very few government agents have stood trial for it. There is always a reason for it. And if not we’ve locked up plenty of American Citizens with farcical trials. So, no, I’m not worried about thebringing of this wrongful death dealing drone stuff to the US. Its already here in fact, if not in name. The only thing you can do is truy to elect the kind of government that reserves its stealthy, death dealing, attacks for people not like yourself. I’d be a whole lot more worried if Obama was targeting, say, Quakers or Democrats than if he is targeting Al Quaeda.

    aimai

  49. 49
    1badbaba3 says:

    These poor fuckin’ guys (and gals). They keep sticking pins in the Obama doll, but he just keeps getting stronger. WTF y’all? Fix yer lame-ass voodoo.

  50. 50
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    But I know that becoming one of the 60%+ of people who won’t vote in this election is about the most feeble possible protest imaginable.

    Yes, indeed. Ideally, choose a form of protest that makes you distinguishable from some idiot who didn’t care enough to find out when Election Day was.

  51. 51
    Gex says:

    @Napoleon: Ding. Ding. Ding. Remember how W. didn’t like any of the military’s plans? I bet Obama will listen to the experts. And allow the State Department to participate.

    It would still be horrifyingly awful if we did it. But way better if it happens under a D. Everything the R’s do is just machismo posturing on that front anyhow. Good Lord, I do not want to see Romney in a flight suit.

  52. 52
    Scratch says:

    I’m fairly upset about the drone war and abridging of civil liberties of all people in this world. But cripes, while Obama has been a horrible disappointment there, there is absolutely no reason to think that Romney would be better or that using my vote for Jill Stein, which would increase the chances that Romney would win, would make a difference.

    There is a clear difference between Obama and Romney. Obama at least has some progressive tendencies, he got the Democrats rallied around health-care reform that passed and he seems to be aware that we’ve got turn around the 30 years of trickle-down economics. I tend to think Romney sees running for president as just a way for him to pass a generous tax cut to himself and his children, and there’s little doubt he would probably do more to escalate the drone wars and perhaps actually involve having the US putting ground troops into Iran.

    I’ll take Obama/Biden for 2012. Hopefully they win, the economy continues to turn around and maybe if the Republicans go full metal wingnut between now and then, it’ll give enough room for someone who is progressive on both economics and civil liberties to take the White House in 2016.

  53. 53
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    There’s a real lack of any kind of grounded political agenda among Obama’s foreign policy critics, and I’d like to see one since it would give me something to support.

    When Obama’s critics talk about policy, they have a point. When they talk about politics, they have it upside-down.

    The change they want has to come from the bottom up, from the electorate. Until such time as the electorate (and not just a bare majority but an overwhelming majority), decide that running an American Empire just isn’t what they want, the best we can do in terms of policy making is going to be exactly what we are getting with Obama: bog-standard American exceptionalism and realist-school graduated interventionism, run in a competent manner. You won’t get anything to the left of the Obama admin and/or the GHB admin until you change the electorate.

  54. 54
    jeremy says:

    The thing is that Obama said he would go after Al Qadea with pricision strikes vs. landbased wars. He said that he would end Iraq, ban torture, eventually end the war in afghanistan, and tackle arms control and loose nukes. And improve America’s standing. He has done all of those things. If some thought Obama was some weak guy who wouldn’t go after terrorists groups then you wre really naive.

  55. 55
    jshooper says:

    Can someone explain to me why libertarian paultards like douchewald and conor have become “respected” voices on the “left” when it comes to foreign policy…or ANY ISSUE for that matter ?…WTF

  56. 56
    Gex says:

    @aimai: It’s only okay when Eric Rudolph does it and it is women and gays dying.

    I’m pretty sure the default image these guys conjure up when they think “American” is white guy. Most see that guys as straight, except for GG.

  57. 57
    Gex says:

    @Gex: I know that’s not exactly the same, but it IS these fiscal conservatives that have invited in, AND REFUSED TO PROTEST, the extreme religious right that is at war with Americans too.

  58. 58
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Scratch: Why would someone think that Jill stain would be any better on foreign policy even if she were to win?

  59. 59
    eemom says:

    Oh, fuck this same old same old bullshit debate. Because it is not a debate, and it is bullshit, and this Conor clown and Greenwald and all of their ilk can suck my hypothetical dick.

    There is a choice to made, and a responsible person makes that choice, and furthermore a responsible person makes the choice that will make the world better and not fuck it up infinitely worse than it already is.

    Anyone who abdicates that responsibility for ANY reason has zero right to spew their bullshit in my airspace.

  60. 60
    twsprr says:

    I read Freidersdorf’s article. It’s wrong on so many levels. Thinking only the bad guys die in war is naive. Too much TV. Refugees? As for killing Americans, when German-Americans enlisted in the German army for WWII, no one asked for citizenship papers. Get real. You join the enemy’s army, you are the enemy. As for Libya, that was probably our best intervention ever. In and out. As for putting our troops in harms way without congressional authority, he must have missed the whole Viet Nam war thing. Lastly, wanting change and not voting leaves only one other choice: physical rebellion. Bad choice.

  61. 61
    jshooper says:

    Also this whole ” obama killed americans ” bullshit is REALLY annoying…it’s straight up Alex Jones demagoguing and is no different than death panels and fema camps…You wanna know how to NOT get killed ?…Don’t join fuckin al-qaeda during TWO WARS and plan attacks against AMERICANS around the world…funny how the paultard conspiracy loons like glenn beckwald NEVER mention the fact that the “american” that was killed actively planned and carried out mass murder against AMERICAN CITIZENS…funny how they ALWAYS leave that part out

  62. 62
    lacp says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: Exactly. If there was a very broad anti-government movement in this country that withheld votes as a way of protesting the illegitimacy of that government, not voting would be a political statement. Since most non-voters just don’t give a shit, non-voting isn’t a demonstration of much of anything.

    I suppose it makes sense if you really can’t find any sort of candidate or political party that represents at least a majority of your opinions, but given the number of parties and candidates in this country you’d probably have some damn strange opinions.

  63. 63
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    You won’t get anything to the left of the Obama admin and/or the GHB admin until you change the electorate.

    Too much work.

  64. 64
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Scratch:

    …there is absolutely no reason to think that Romney would be better or that using my vote for Jill Stein, which would increase the chances that Romney would win, would make a difference.

    You’d feel better about yourself, though, and in the end, isn’t that what politics is all about, self-expression?

  65. 65

    @Laura:

    Oh, if only I could be a white man with a (most likely) well paying job like Conor.

    This.

    The only thing more disgusting about the way these young, well-off white guys flutter their scented handkerchiefs at Obama’s insufficient purity is the way they make damned sure to announce their disapproval to anyone who’ll listen.

    We get it Conor, you’re better than us, just totally awesome. And no matter who wins, you’ll be doing just fine. How nice for you.

    Now kindly sit over there in the corner, STFU, and stay out of the way while those of us with more skin in the game do what’s needed.

  66. 66
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    We get the government we deserve, and we deserve it good and hard.

    EVERYTHING that is wrong with our government at all levels (federal, state, county, municipal) is because the majority of people can’t be bothered to participate in the process. A lazy, uninvolved electorate directly contributes to corrupt, ineffective government. Democracy takes work; it doesn’t run itself.

    If we could get turnout above 60% in all elections (including primaries) at all levels, then we wouldn’t be saddled with what “the base” wants; we’d actually get people who represent the majority opinions on everything. We’d have a conservative opposition party that isn’t obsessed with naughty bits, and we’d have a liberal party that isn’t afraid of its own goddamned shadow. Hell, it might even get to a point where ordinary people (read: non-millionaires) can start running for state or national office again.

    And for all the people who say, “let the Republicans win again, and everyone will see just how corrupt they are, and then we’ll all be living in a progressive paradise” we’ve had FORTY FUCKING YEARS of obvious Republican corruption and chicanery, from Watergate to Iran-Contra to the non-stop clusterfucks of the Cheney regency; if “the people” haven’t gotten it by now, then they never will.

    Obama isn’t perfect, and so far I’d give him a B minus overall, but he is QUALITATIVELY and QUANTITATIVELY a better candidate for President than Romney or any other Republican right now.

  67. 67
    srv says:

    What can we do to change the current direction of US foreign policy to get rid of drone strikes, avoid assassinations and maybe prevent other adventures like Libya? There’s a real lack of any kind of grounded political agenda among Obama’s foreign policy critics, and I’d like to see one since it would give me something to support.

    Well, I don’t think Connor and GG aren’t Democrats for one. If you don’t support baby killing for freedom, you’re a DFH or a RP nutter. Democrats don’t care about bombing people, as long as their guy is doing it. Reagan Democrats never had any problem bombing or massacring anyone (see Latin America).

    Here is Dennis Ross’ new leadership gig:
    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/experts

    He was special assistant to Obama with overall responsibility for the ME. A very, very serious person.

    Look at the guy to the left of him. His name is Patrick Clawson. Here’s a video of Clawson which should make even a democrats brain explode, but won’t:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

    Anyone to the left of these serious people who might make it through an IR program isn’t going to get a job at State or the NSC. Thus, they’re never going to get on Congressional staff. This is a “liberal” country where the only network Chomsky appears on is RT. Changing the Democratic FP platform is a bigger fapfest than people thinking they’ll get real regulatory reform for Wall St.

    Dr. Strangelove learned to love the bomb Doug, you need step up and be a real Democrat.

  68. 68
    Emma says:

    @jeremy: This is the thing that bothers me. Who are those people who saw Obama as a sort of mega-pacifist? The guy told you what he would do. And even in the one thing I really wanted which he was not able to accomplish (closing Guantanamo), there were clear reasons why he couldn’t.

    Am I happy with all the man’s decisions? No. Even, in some cases, HELL NO. But I read the Republican Party platform and it scares bejeesus out of me. (edit) So I choose, as an adult would, to cast a vote that might make a difference (and here in Florida, even damned vote counts).

  69. 69
    jrosen says:

    Yes, the drone war is an ugly thing. But what are the alternatives? Sit back and let what’s left of Al Qaeda plan new outrages? (And how many in the Pakistani government and military knew that OBL was sitting in a villa a few miles from a major military base?). Or invade as in Iraq, make thousands of new recruits for the extremists, and truly bankrupt the US?

    There is certainly something chilling about pushing a button and killing someone 5000 miles away (yet how different is it from pulling a lanyard and propelling a shell over the horizon?). And killing bystanders and even family members is deplorable. But let’s remember that these guys made war on us; how guilty of anything were the people, the firefighters, the janitors, the office clerks, who died on 9/11 or in the night-club bombing?* The innocents who died in Tokyo, or Dresden, or Yemen, or even Hiroshima were killed just as much (more IMHO) by their own leaders that started the war as by those who fought back. (I expect to be pilloried for this one, but I will be happy to defend it in terms of what was known at the time of the decision, not decades later.)

    *On 9/11, had my son, who worked in One Liberty Plaza, been a half-hour earlier he would have been in the WTC subway station as the jet-fuel came pouring into it. So maybe I am a little biased.

  70. 70
    Todd says:

    President Romney gets you (more drones)+(boots on the ground and lots of collateral damage invasion). It also gets you some dissent-crushing domestic surveillance and militarized head splitting on more than just a few Dirty Fucking Occutards.

    The reign of Romney will make the Cheney Regency seem like a golden era of progressive enlightenment on security issues, and the successor regime will be positively toxic.

    This will work in tandem with the 6th vote on the reversal of Roe and the coming takedown of Griswald, not to mention the union busting, the regressive economy, and the return to a Jay Gould style Gilded Age.

  71. 71
    weaselone says:

    Only an an expert in focusing on the superficial and simplistic could mistake Obama’s foreign policy with Bush’s. Unfortunately, the world is full of Conor Freidersdorf’s who ironically possess a black and white world view similar to our previous President’s. Their world just has unicorns that piss Patron and crap caviar.

    The keystone of Obama’s foreign policy is not drones, nor is it a version of Bush’s cowboy diplomacy, it has been building and strengthening relationships and forging coalitions based on common interests and values. That and Realpolitik.

    Regarding Libya and drones, I have yet to hear compelling alternatives that would have prevented the slaughter of civilians in Bhengazi and other Libyan towns, or allow us to eliminate terrorist threats in failed states and lawless regions.

  72. 72
    geg6 says:

    Oh, wah wah wah…poor widdle Conor. He’s so principled and pure!

    Fuck that noise. He’s ratfucking. Young Conor is another in the long line of Randian dimwits that starts with Greenspan and ends with McArdle pulling up from behind. Hell, he’s probably only a slot or two ahead of McArdle in that contest and well behind GG. They’d love to pull another Nader debacle out of their asses so they can brag about how they brought down History’s Greatest Monster, Barack Obama.

    I am so deathly sick of wealthy, privileged, white mostly-males whining about their “ethics” and “morality” because of OH NOEZ! THE DRONEZ! I’d really love to hear their plans to combat al Qaeda and their offshoots, who (as we have just seen in Libya) are still around and trying to kill Americans anywhere they can find them. I, for one, support the use of drones, the targeting of al-Awlacki, and the Libyan intervention. I live in the real world where we have enemies and we can help others to break free, but we can do it with the fewest casualties on either side. If they have a better idea, let’s hear it. Put it on the table or shut the fuck up. And, please, I encourage them all to boycott voting. They are so stupid, self-centered, and selfish that I don’t want them voting. There is no difference among the Young Conor/GG cohort and the Young Republican cohort in those measures…they all suffer from a form of narcissistic personality disorder.

  73. 73

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Davis is right about what the political plan of action should be: legislators of conscience working to make law that limits executive power.

    Yes. To all the people claiming there’s no difference between Bush and Obama on executive power, I’ll say this: Bush explicitly stated time and time again that he was not bound by laws passed by Congress. Obama will test the limits of what is within his powers, but if Congress were to pass a law explicitly forbidding him from doing something, I believe he’d follow it. Challenge it in court, possibly. Look for angles and interpretations, absolutely. But to just flat-out say “your petty laws don’t apply to me?” No, I don’t think so. Let’s get some damn laws passed and stop relying on the executive graciously deciding not to use power Congress has ceded him. (And yes, I also said this during the Bush administration, but I had less hope that it would do any good.)

  74. 74
    kindness says:

    Conner is a tool. He and Andy Sullivan deserve each other.

    @blingee:

    Since everyone knows Cole worships Greenwald and as a result has a bug up his ass about drones this outta give him a woody.

    WTF? Why you gotta be an asshole so early?

  75. 75
    amk says:

    People who do not know the value of their vote are worth shit.

  76. 76
    eric says:

    This is really very simple. People want easy solutions to complex, seemingly intractable problems. You vote for the best of the choices, and then you act to modify the winner’s behavior. But, here is the crucial point, and one that many ignore: there are only certain rhetorical ways to engage in critical discourse while getting the result you want. If you call someone a baby killer or warmonger, then you are not likely to get the change you want. If, instead, you craft your criticism in a way that is first positive, the constructive (negative), then the listener is more apt to engage. In essence, you have to “manage up.” All of this is harder because the means of communication (major media outlets) are predisposed to support the MIC.

    So, you can support the lesser of two evils, while working constructively to affect change, bearing in mind that constructive discourse may require you to “pull your punches” initially to break the inertia and allow the change to start going in your desired direction.

  77. 77
    Kane says:

    There is not a politician alive that has made their constituen­­­­cy happy all the time. And there has never been a sitting president that was pure as the driven snow. Are we to assume that Freidersdorf has only voted for candidates that he agreed with 100% of the time?

    I don’t agree with President Obama on every policy decision, but as an adult, I understood that going in. Presidential legacies are complex. You take the good with the bad, and in the end, hope that it all comes out in the best interest of the country.

  78. 78
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    You won’t get anything to the left of the Obama admin and/or the GHB admin until you change the electorate.

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: This is so obvious that most people won’t accept that it’s true.

    Plus, it’s hard work. Really hard work. Much harder than giving money to ActBlue, harder than working a phone bank, harder than walking the streets for a month to GOTV. It takes decades, determination, and a clear set of goals that you want to accomplish.

    Shorter me: ain’t gonna happen in this country. Much easier to just bitch on the internet (the “circuses” portion of the bread and circuses that keep this current incarnation of Rome going.)

  79. 79
    MBunge says:

    “what’s next?”

    That’s really the point. Civil libertarians, especially conservative-leaning ones like Conor, have spent decades doing jack shit to build and sustain political and cultural support for the values and principles they supposedly hold so dear. They’ve sat back and relied on the courts and elite opinion to do the job and that clearly gone to hell in the post-9/11, post Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld America.

    Mike

  80. 80
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    WTF? Why you gotta be an asshole so early?

    @kindness: Our latest incarnation of Derf. It’s what it does.

  81. 81
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @TooManyJens: Self-government is hard work. and we are, a majority of us, by temperament monarchists. And that can be exploited.

  82. 82
    Enhanced Mooching Techniques says:

    Let’s grant that despicable things are done in the drone war (for example, follow-up hits on rescuers and funerals – more here), that having a hit list of American citizens is morally awful, and that Libya was probably executive overreach, was at best a gamble, and there’s no way of knowing at this moment if it was the right thing to do even from realpolitik perspective

    Your position is dishonest – you can not both demand moral behavior and the ends justify the means.

  83. 83
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @jrosen: “Drones” are not different from any other method of killing at a distance, ethically speaking, and it’s tedious when people pretend that they are. What people who say “Drones” actually mean, and will say when nudged, is “targeted killing at the president’s say-so rather than by some other better process involving a judge.”

    OK, fine, I’m all for that. Let’s change the laws and get better oversight in place.

    But let’s say the better review process were in place and everyone in it agreed that the targeted person was clearly guilty. Are drones OK then? I don’t think that’s what the response would be. It will go back to drones qua drones, because of the “flying death robots” and button-pushing and such. But military forces have been killing people without being absolutely sure where the projectile is going to come down for millennia. If that’s truly where you draw the line for what you cannot countenance, that means you have issues with bombs, guns, boomerangs, and catapults, too. And, you know, you don’t, unless you’re like a lama or something.

  84. 84

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    You won’t get anything to the left of the Obama admin and/or the GHB admin until you change the electorate.

    Agreed 100%.

  85. 85
    eric says:

    @Davis X. Machina: an interesting assessment, though would it not be more accurate to say that people are “by temperament serfs” hoping for a benevolent monarch (dictator)? since the majority dont wish to the monarch

  86. 86
    Gex says:

    It’s sad, really, when you think about it.

    These guys think they are geniuses who understand the free market in all its glory.

    Yet they don’t understand inelastic markets, nor do they understand why as consumers they are unable to signal on this particular issue. (Hint, if the two choices give you the same policy, your vote or lack thereof is not a signal.)

  87. 87
    NobodySpecial says:

    As long as we are still under the danger of weddings in Afghanistan, the bombings will continue.

  88. 88
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @jeremy:

    The thing is that Obama said he would go after Al Qadea with pricision strikes vs. landbased wars. He said that he would end Iraq, ban torture, eventually end the war in afghanistan, and tackle arms control and loose nukes. And improve America’s standing. He has done all of those things. If some thought Obama was some weak guy who wouldn’t go after terrorists groups then you wre really naive.

    All true…except the firebaggers never listened. I use the term Embarrassed Republicans for those who find slim reasons to keep voting for a party that’s been taken over by crazy people. Firebaggers are no different in that they come up with excuses for not voting for Obama. The whole drone program is simply another excuse. As aimai said above in #46, sheesh, we kill craploads of ‘Murkins every single day for far less and I don’t hear the firebaggers saying “I’m not voting for my Democratic gubinitarial candidate because he supports the death penalty.”

    We’re Democrats, we *never* agree with our candidates on everything, half the time we disagree on a fair number of things but the alternative? Again, I soooooo wanna go back to The Presidency That Never Was, Rmoney Edition.

  89. 89

    If you don’t like the Democrat vs. Republican choice, vote for one of the independent or minor party candidates.

    Not satisfied with any of them?

    Register yourself as write-in candidate and vote for yourself. And then ask your dissatisfied friends and family to vote for you also.

  90. 90
    eemom says:

    @geg6:

    I’d really love to hear their plans to combat al Qaeda and their offshoots, who (as we have just seen in Libya) are still around and trying to kill Americans anywhere they can find them.

    But that’s totally OUR FAULT, because we let assholes make movies that piss people off.

  91. 91
    KJD says:

    @Mark S.:

    I think the Dems are better on every fucking policy dimension. It’s not because they’re awesome, far from it. It’s that the GOP is so goddamn awful in every way right now. Seriously, is there one policy position that you agree with the GOP on?

    That’s the spirit! Sure the APA says that the extended solitarity confinement of Bradely Manning is torture. Less skilled defenders of the president might say “what do those psychologists know about mental illness!” but not you, oh no. See, the more adept political realist knows that Romney would make the tortue even worse by, say, putting copies of Atlas Shrugged in the cell with him!

    See torture is not really a problem to get worked up about once you reasonably realize that the real choice here is between torture and even worse torture. It’s a no-brainer.

  92. 92
    Rita R. says:

    Why does anyone give a flying f*ck who Conor Freidersdorf is going to vote for?? Bad enough an entire lengthy column was devoted to it in The Atlantic — and did he mention just how principled his decision is — but then multiple blogs, including this one, argue about his oh-so-weighty declaration. The narcissism on his part is flabbergasting. Honestly, I care as much about how he’ll vote as I do the guy who I get my salad from at lunchtime. In fact, I’d probably be more interested in what the salad guy had to say. At least what he does for a living contributes something to society.

  93. 93
    Citizen_X says:

    @Shinobi: Holy shit, that’s awesome! Hey GOP, our SuperPACs have Samuel L. Jackson yelling at people in their homes. Whatta you got?

  94. 94
    Culture of Truth says:

    I also know that Conor Freidersdorf, Glenn Greenwald and other critics are right about the Democratic hackery/hypocrisy among those who support Obama’s foreign policy and criticized GWB’s.

    That could be true, probably is true for some, but is not true for all. Among other problems, Bush was a liar, and incompetent, and waged “dumb wars” You can be mindless hawk or smart dove and still prefer Obama to Bush with consistency.

  95. 95
    BillCinSD says:

    So mistermix, you claim to not like some or much of what the Democratic Party does. What are you doing to make the Democratic Party better on any of these issues?

    Most every presidential election since 1980 has been pitched as vote for the Democratic guy because the Republicans would be worse and, regardless of the election result, the government has become more and more right wing. I mean sure that might be acceptable to Republican refugees, but sadly it’s only left wingers that have to eat a bag of shit when voting.

    It seems to me there is a real lack of any kind of grounded political agenda among Obama’s supporters who don’t like all his policies, and I’d like to see one since it would give me something to support.

  96. 96
    Suffern ACE says:

    @TooManyJens: Unfortunately we aren’t going to change the electorate until you denounce Stalin.

  97. 97
    lacp says:

    @Carl Nyberg: Agree. Instead of writing long screeds about the suckitude of Obama, endorse somebody or endorse yourself or (in the case of CF, whose principles apparently put him head and shoulders above every single contending candidate and party) STFU.

  98. 98
    Culture of Truth says:

    If you want to write a smart essay about foreign policy, then do it.

    Articles about withholding your vote are just “look at me, aren’t I wonderful” territory.

  99. 99

    Drones are different than dropping bombs from manned aircraft in one obvious way.

    If a manned aircraft gets shot down or simply crashes, there is a human pilot and perhaps crew who are exposing themselves to death and capture.

    By flying drone aircraft with controllers/pilots in the United States, the government has expanded the theater to include the United States.

    If people getting hit by drones started bombing in the United States they would have a reasonable argument that b/c the drones are being piloted by people in the United States that they have a right to go after pilots of these unmanned aircraft.

  100. 100
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    OT: Went over to RedState so you don’t have to, read EricKKK’s current top post about how the polls are right and Romney’s behind.

    The commentariat are knifing each other to death in the comments. Every single one of them is calling each other a troll. So delicious it’s got to be fattening.

    Also, it’s this kind of conservatard reaction to a threat that makes me feel really good about laws that ban concealed weapons.

  101. 101

    @Davis X. Machina: It’s hard work, but it’s not just that. We know how to win elections, broadly speaking. Campaigns are something people basically know how to do, not that you’d know it to look at the Romney camp lately. But persuading a nation to give up empire? How the hell do you do that? I sure don’t know.

    It’s not just that it’s hard; it also takes vision and creativity. It also takes willingness to work on something that for all you know may be completely the wrong way to go about solving the problem. It takes knowing that you will probably not see more than partial success (if you’re lucky) in your lifetime. No wonder elections are more satisfying.

  102. 102
    Culture of Truth says:

    If people getting hit by drones started bombing in the United States they would have a reasonable argument that b/c the drones are being piloted by people in the United States that they have a right to go after pilots of these unmanned aircraft.

    But not if they pilots’ commanders in the U.S.?

  103. 103
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Plus, it’s hard work. Really hard work.

    __
    Absolutely. Based on the historical examples of the empires that came before us it is bloody clear that Imperialism is a highly addictive drug and once it gets into the bloodstream of the body politic, getting it out it is damn near impossible without outside intervention.

    And that’s the good news.

    The bad news is that outside intervention usually translates to getting our asses kicked by somebody else bigger and badder than us (c.f. Japan ca. 1945), and/or a nearly complete collapse of the political economy for internal reasons (c.f. the Soviet Union 1991). The best possible scenario is to go bankrupt and sell off what’s left of The Empire to our creditors by way of foreclosure (c.f. the British Empire after WW2), and even that scenario sucks because an awful lot of the fucked up situations in our world today (Kashmir, Israel/Palestine) can be traced back to the cheap ass way the British folded their tent and ran for it when the time came for them to get out of the Great Game.

  104. 104
    Linda Featheringill says:

    This one thing:

    Libya was probably executive overreach, was at best a gamble, and there’s no way of knowing at this moment if it was the right thing to do even from realpolitik perspective.

    WTF? Are these the same people that criticize Obama because they want someone to lead by God and not be such a damned passive wonk?

    As the Chief Executive and the C-in-C, he has the right to take such actions. You might disapprove and you might think it was a foolish risk, but he was within his rights as President of the United States.

  105. 105

    Drones are also more politically acceptable as a method of killing because their are no family members of voters put at risk.

    Drones take war to a dangerous place.

    Drones keep the profitability of war and remove the American casualties.

    The casualties were the feedback loop that provided some negative incentive (not nearly enough in my opinion) for politicians who wanted to start wars.

    Without there being a risk of casualties, what’s to stop the Neoliberal Empire from using drones worldwide to kill anyone critical of the economic system?

  106. 106
    Steve Crickmore says:

    In the Orwellian world that most of the centre left and President Obama occupy, Obama continues to prosecute the few brave American whistleblowers who blew the whistle on torture, while giving amnesty to every American charged with torture. Why, because Romney and the Republicans might be worse? How could they be much more worse or hypocritical than this? What will happen when Obama wins, and his policies further damage civil liberties, and centre left ‘s penchant for supporting him unequivocally, without speaking out undermines his legacy and theirs.

    But power is incredibly destructive,” Drake said. “It’s a weird, pathological thing. I also think the intelligence community coöpted Obama, because he’s rather naïve about national security. He’s accepted the fear and secrecy. We’re in a scary space in this country.”

    Read more in the NewYorker. The time to mount a campaign, even of a fringe candidate was in the Democratic primaries, but Obama deserves some pushback on this issue and he is getting none.

  107. 107
    artem1s says:

    critics are right about the Democratic hackery/hypocrisy among those who support Obama’s foreign policy and criticized GWB’s.

    I find this to be a false equivalency. undertaking a massive ground assault and then decades of occupation is not the same as drone assaults in my mind. The way we have fought wars since WT Sherman has been to throw as many bodies and resources as you can at the enemy and overwhelm them with sheer numbers. This requires massive casualties and sacrifice amongst the 5-10% of those who end up as cannon fodder (higher % among the enemy, yes). We use the poor to fight our wars. And in this war in particular, we have been able to do it without disturbing the rest of the population. I find that practice to be far more reprehensible than targeting individuals with drone strikes.

    We don’t, can’t always declare war on an enemy state anymore and confine the combat to militants. It always bleeds over into the civilian population.

    It’s possible that we are seeing the advent of a new way of fighting a war. Considering we have been doing this since Uncle Billy took the fight into Georgia and cut off the Confederate supply lines at the source, I think it would be far more helpful to start talking about what this means in a larger picture.

    Having a privileged class of citizen who reaps the benefit of a war but never has to go fight or send their children to fight is not great foreign policy. We are just used to thinking in terms of noble causes(WWII) and those that are not (Vietnam, Iran). All war is hell. Threat of invasion has just lead too many countries to trying to develop nuclear capabilities. We invented the cold war to fight the Soviets vicariously through the third world. That was a disastrous and vile solution too.

    It seems like we need to start thinking about dealing with hostile forces in a different way than we have throughout the 20th century. Maybe this is an actual opportunity to have a conversation about how the US has been fighting not-wars since Vietnam. Putting the cold warriors back in place and pushing the real problem down the road another 20 years isn’t going to solve the problem of dealing with security threats without starting massive ground wars. It’s only going to make Haliburton richer.

  108. 108
    Bruce S says:

    “I also know that Conor Freidersdorf, Glenn Greenwald and other critics are right about the Democratic hackery/hypocrisy among those who support Obama’s foreign policy and criticized GWB’s.”

    That’s not necessarily true and certainly not self-evident. There is a world of difference between a post-9/11 anti-al Qaeda strategy that mandates calculated insanity like the Iraq invasion and the relatively narrow targeting involved in drone strikes. While it is reasonable to take issue with drone strikes, making comparisons between this strategy and the Cheney-Bush policies is contemptible, dishonest and signals, at least to me, that you shouldn’t be taken seriously. I accept that we are in some form of war against al Qaeda and their allies – and I’m persuaded that the drone strategy is the least of a bunch of bad choices. I don’t consider any war “just”, but some are necessary. Obama made a last ditch effort to rescue the Afghanistan ground force, counter-insurgency strategy from the abysmal failure of George Bush, he’s followed through on ending the Iraq war, and he’s de-escalating the large ground-force Afghanistan counter-insurgency strategy in favor of narrow targeting. This isn’t anything close to what we could expect from Romney’s foreign policy team (Dan-fucking-Senor & Co !!!) and it’s radically different than Bush-Cheney who gave us the Iraq war. I welcome criticism and serious discussion of the drone strikes and alternatives, if only because this is ugly stuff and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a descent into inevitably evil acts, as is all war. But these facile comparisons of Bush and Obama are total bullshit. They demean any serious critique of Obama’s current policies. Cheap shots by shallow critics.

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    Getting ready to read the thread, but I guess the question that comes to mind for me is, who does Freidersdorf think is more likely to listen to complaints and possibly change the drone policy: Obama or Romney?

    For me, that’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans. With Democrats, I at least feel that if we complain enough and make enough noise, the people in charge will take note and consider changing the policy. Republicans will always, always double down on doing the opposite of what liberals want them to do no matter how much it hurts everyone involved.

  110. 110

    @Linda Featheringill:

    As the Chief Executive and the C-in-C, he has the right to take such actions.

    The U.S. Constitution is clear that going to war (and lesser forms of belligerent activity) is a power reserved to Congress.

    However, we now have tradition and legal precedent that muddies the meaning of the Constitution. And we have a Congress that doesn’t stand up for its prerogatives because they want to be big shots but avoid taking responsibility.

  111. 111
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Ratio:
    People who are upset over the use of drones to those who really don’t give a damn about them is approximately 1:100.

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too — the choice here is not between an anti-drone candidate and a pro-drone candidate. It’s choosing between a candidate who uses drones and a candidate who wants to drop bombs on Iran.

    Obama may be the lesser of the two evils, but the greater evil is so much greater that I don’t see how anyone can claim that there’s no difference. To quote what I’m sure Freidersdorf’s favorite band once said, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice, and Freidersdorf’s choice has been to say Yes to war with Iran.

  113. 113
    geg6 says:

    That’s the spirit! Sure the APA says that the extended solitarity confinement of Bradely Manning is torture. Less skilled defenders of the president might say “what do those psychologists know about mental illness!” but not you, oh no. See, the more adept political realist knows that Romney would make the tortue even worse by, say, putting copies of Atlas Shrugged in the cell with him!

    I knew I should have placed a bet on how long it would take before the Bradley Manning Brigade and their fighting keyboards showed up.

  114. 114
    Scott de B. says:

    Far too many people treat voting for a candidate like converting to a religion. When I go to the store and buy some Cheerios, I am not saying General Mills is morally pure, I am not saying that Cheerios is the best food ever, I may not even feel that Cheerios are particularly tasty. I am simply saying that of the available options, Cheerios fulfills my need better than the others.

    Voting should be treated the same way.

  115. 115
    plosin says:

    This kind of moral preening is par for the course from Friedersdorf. But it’s the besetting affliction of many of his compadres. It’s a virulent bug and one of its side-effects is a complete and seemingly terminal lack of self-knowledge. George Will, Glenn Greenwald, Megan McArdle, Andrew Sullivan — all of them want you to know how thoughtful they are and how every position they adopt is arrived at by Serious and Thoughtful Deliberation.

  116. 116
    geg6 says:

    @BillCinSD:

    It seems to me there is a real lack of any kind of grounded political agenda among Obama’s supporters who don’t like all his policies, and I’d like to see one since it would give me something to support.

    Well, you may have noticed President Obama’s agenda. That would be the one supporters of Obama who don’t agree with all his policies would point to. At least, it would be the one I would point to and say I support all of that with the exception of one or two things. Which is pretty much what I’ve been doing in every election at every level of government since I began voting in 1976. Exactly what politician in the history of politics has had an agenda that every single supporter agrees with? Names, places, and dates, please.

  117. 117
    Sloegin says:

    Hand wringing Dems can be such twits sometimes. Don’t they understand that ‘the perfect is the enemy of the good?’

    I ran thru some Facebook survey last week as to which candidate matched my preferences the most. Green came up as highest. Obama scored with me in the mid-eighties.

    The chance I’d ever vote Green in our screwed up two-party system? Zero. Obama? Damn good enough.

  118. 118
    hitchhiker says:

    Hey, maybe Ed Schultz could organize a Democratic voter boycott? That would show Obama for sure.

  119. 119

    One thing that’s a bit strange about Obama supporters getting pissy about Americans voting for an alternative candidate is that votes in most states are irrelevant.

    Unless one lives in what Nate Silver calls a “Tipping Point State” (Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, Nevada, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Minnesota), your vote doesn’t matter.

    If you live in a state that’s not on the precipice of the Electoral College, either Obama or Romney might win your state. And your vote (plus the people you influence) may decide your state. But if your state is close, the Electoral College won’t be.

    So, if you live outside the “Tipping Point States” or if the election is clearly going to be a blowout, you should vote for a candidate that reflects your values.

    To me Obama ordering the execution of U.S. citizens based on “due process” internal to the Executive Branch was a deal killer.

    As Glenn Greenwald noted, Anwar al-Awlaki was not even publicly accused of doing something that would be a crime. If calling for violence was a crime, a whole bunch of Right Wing gasbags would already have been convicted.

  120. 120
    Cassidy says:

    This kind of moral preening is par for the course from Friedersdorf firebaggers

    Altered to represent the thread and in no way meant to invalidate the original point.

  121. 121
    Emma says:

    @Carl Nyberg: However, we now have tradition and legal precedent that muddies the meaning of the Constitution. And we have a Congress that doesn’t stand up for its prerogatives because they want to be big shots but avoid taking responsibility.

    And not having Obama as President will help this how?

    The point a lot of people in this thread have been making is that we will not, not, NOT get any of these issues resolved without pushing the whole electorate over to the left, and that that is hard. It took the Crazy Conservatives 30 years to get a large portion of the electorate to the state of mental instability that they display.

    Are people who call themselves “left” or “liberal” willing to do the same thing? Ms. Stein may be wonderful, but she’s trying to be an outsider influencing events, as did Nader and Perot. Such efforts don’t end well. Until we mount the same massive effort the conservatives did, well, we’ll keep on cleaning up their messes.

  122. 122
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Obama deserves some pushback on this issue and he is getting none.

    @Steve Crickmore: Well, you’re obviously the smart one here. Tell us how you’ll fix that.

  123. 123

    I do think it’s fair to ask people who are raising questions about Obama’s shortcomings what they are doing to make the system reflect their values.

    If you want to change things, you have to participate in organizations that are engaged in the process.

    My beef with the Green Party is that I’m not persuaded it is engaged in the process.

    I’ve offered to help Greens organize, if they would engage in organization techniques I know to work. The Maryland Greens were actually pretty good about organizing. The Illinois Greens seem to be unwilling to do the kind of organizing that builds political power.

  124. 124
    Cassidy says:

    Are people who call themselves “left” or “liberal” willing to do the same thing?

    Short answer, no. They want a white knight to come in, throw up some authoritarian gang signs and be liberal dictator for life. Voting and allowing things to happen over time is hard. These morons just want to be told all is well.

  125. 125
    catclub says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way the smart money bets.

  126. 126
    Cassidy says:

    In the Orwellian world that most of the centre left and President Obama occupy

    This type of hyperbolic bullshit invalidates any point you tried to make. If you can’t have a rational, logical conversation with the adults, then you can go sit at the Dora table.

  127. 127
    weaselone says:

    @Carl Nyberg:

    Let me get this clear. You believe that the use of drones provides a good excuse to attack the US directly, but bombing runs by a manned aircraft can be carried out with no threat of blowback? You can’t be this stupid.

    Then you double-down. A random person doesn’t have anything which poses a real threat to a B-2. Cruise missiles don’t have pilots. Drones don’t have an unlimited range. The same pressures that prevent the government from killing people accross the globe for their political views still apply.

  128. 128
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Carl Nyberg:

    Unless one lives in what Nate Silver calls a “Tipping Point State” (Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, Nevada, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Minnesota), your vote doesn’t matter.

    So when FDR won in 1932 and 1936, all the votes beyond what he needed to get a bare majority in the electoral college didn’t matter? When LBJ beat Goldwater in 1964, a close win just by a whisker would have been just as good as a landslide? There would have been no impact whatsoever on the larger political environment and the progress of legislation thru Congress? I never knew that. Funny how you can learn something new here every day.

  129. 129
    Steve Crickmore says:

    Right now there is no protest movement, as there was in the anti-war movement in the late 60’s and early 70’s, so a protest vote would be wasted in a vacuum, but later when he wins the election, probably in some of his choices for appointments, in the Senate confirmation hearings. There has to be some leverage. Right now all the pressure is coming from the right, and that is the way Obama is bending. We will have to see how the House and Senate races go?

  130. 130
    Liberty60 says:

    Conor’s problem is not with Obama or Romney, but with the American public.

    Why is it that the only two viable candidates both support drone strikes? Because the American public supports them, for the most part.

    Sorry, but that is the fact on the ground. Until that fact changes, staging a hunger strike/ nonvoting/ self immolation won’t move the ball one inch.

  131. 131
    NCSteve says:

    It’s 40%-, not 60%+ who won’t vote. 61% of the voting age population voted in 2008. Counting kids and aliens is kind of silly.

    http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2008G.html

    And I realize that it’s not going to be a popular position, but the people who are upset about drones strike me as people who are horrified to discover that war is horrible and, more horribly still, innocents are slaughtered.

    But acting like drone attacks are intrinsically more horrible than, say, hails of bullets or artillery or bombs dropped from airplanes or being buried alive in your trench by an armored bulldozer is avoidance of the real issue, which is that war is, by definition, evil.

    Because there are only two real debates to be had. The first is between those who think war is sometimes a lesser evil and those who think there is no evil that is greater. The second is between those who think a given war is, in fact a lesser evil and those who don’t.

    And you’ll never find me saying the people who say that war is always the greater evil are worthy of scorn.

    But the people who engage in endless hand-wringing over our use of drones in particular strike me as either people who are utterly ignorant of the reality of what war is or people who are just flinching away from the real argument.

    Cole is obviously not ignorant of the reality of what war is and everything I’ve ever heard him say about the drone war reads to me like an indictment of war in general.

    Greenwald, on the other hand, really doesn’t seem to get this. He seems to think there is something uniquely horrible and evil about the use of drones to blow innocent people in to teeny bits, as opposed to all the other ways we’ve invented to do that, and, sorry, that’s just fucking stupid.

    Young Conor’s outrage is worse. Worse, because it reeks of “I’m against this because it’s Obama doing it.” He’s just another typical Republican “moderate” asswipe like Brooks who who knows his party has descended in to madness and evil but can’t face up to the reality that the madness and evil is a feature, not a bug, of his own ideology.

    Again, I don’t make it sound like I’m just here to kiss Cole’s ass, but this is the difference between John and people like Young Conor and Bobo. John faced up to the reality that it was his own ideology that was the problem, not a few misguided individuals who have betrayed a basically sound and wholesome ideology. And because Young Conor and Bobo lack the moral courage or self honesty to do that (and because that denial is integral to their continuing to get paid) they frantically manufacture moral-sounding pretexts for saying “none of the above.”

    Neither Freidersdorf or Brooks has an honest idea worthy of a second’s consideration between the two of them.

  132. 132
    eric says:

    there is no way that any candidate can rationally determine the reasons why you did not vote for that person. There can be statistical analyses, but simply not voting or voting for a third party candidate does no express the reason for the the vote. So, no matter how you vote you still have to engage in the political process after the election, and you have to do so with a rhetorical strategy to effectuate change, rather than establishing the moral purity of your position.

  133. 133
    mdblanche says:

    @MikeJ: Don’t blame me. I’m from Rhode Island. (Your move, Massachusetts.)

  134. 134

    Voting for non-major party candidates has zero effect on who wins the presidential race for the vast majority of Americans.

    If you live in the following states you should feel free to vote for whomever reflects your values:

    California
    Texas
    New York
    Illinois
    Georgia
    Michigan
    New Jersey
    North Carolina
    Massachusetts
    Arizona
    Washington
    Indiana

    etc.

    You should be thanking people for holding Obama accountable. But make sure they are also engaged in races for Congress. Tell them to find a progressive or civil liberties candidate they can support and that they should put their shoulder to the wheel and help get that candidate elected.

    This doesn’t need to be a zero-sum screaming match. The regular Democrats should figure out how to constructively engage Obama’s critics.

    Screaming at them is 1. unlikely to change their minds, 2. in most cases their votes in the presidential election are irrelevant, 3. makes people who believe in progressive issues suspect that Democrats are bullshit artists who pay lip service to progressive issues on the campaign trail, but are more interested in aligning with those in power (business interests) when elected.

  135. 135
    LAC says:

    @jshooper: How dare you, Sir!!GG is swanning about in a caftan in Brazil and Connor is working on pouting in the mirror and stamping his feet. For this firebagger, that is expertise! And let me tell you, nothing gets us hotter than doing nothing and whining! Alternatives? Ideas? That is for the corporatists who are are using capitalism as a means to oppress the masses.

    Now if you will excuse me, I am grabbing my Mac and heading out to Starbucks to get my pumpkin double latte and catch up with my sideline buddies at Firedoglake. Cenk is on You Tube with his face thisclose to the screen. Holla!!

  136. 136
    Lavocat says:

    Vote Green.

    Jill Stein in 2012.

    It’s not about winning.

    It’s about getting The System’s attention.

    It’s about refusing to accept the traditional two-party paradigm.

    It’s about raising a middle finger with a smile on one’s face.

  137. 137
    eric says:

    @Carl Nyberg: but this fails to address my point: how is obama to know whether your “protest” vote was because of legalized drug use, drone use, torture, coddling wall street? he can’t. further, how can obama know that you would ever vote for him? he can’t. i understand the desire to make a statement, but i don’t think a rational actor can legitimately infer your reasons such that there is no way for that person to draw any lesson and modify his or her behavior

  138. 138
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @beltane: That’s what I thought. Need to google him to find out.

    I will criticize actions President Obama takes with which I disagree and in my crazier moments have said that I wouldn’t vote for him if he did X. But right now, I am going to vote for him and criticize as necessary after he’s re-elected. It’s too frightening to think of Romneybot 2.0 as President with Ryan as co-President. Supreme Court appointees, anti-women’s rights legislation, anti-gay legislantion, restrictions on voting rights, are all reasons not to let the crazies run the asylum.

  139. 139
    Bruce S says:

    I don’t understand all of this bullshit about “killing an American citizen.” How does a scumbag holed up in Yemen overtly recruiting fighters for al Qaeda get to hide behind “US citizenship?” That’s irrelevant. From my perspective, which is that we are in an unprecedented form of warfare with al Qaeda, good riddance to this guy. And these strikes are far less deadly to innocents than “normal” warfare, which is what the Bush, Cheney, McCain, Romney “teams” look to using.

    As for Libya, Obama did the right thing.

    War is hell. If these critics are pacifists, more power to them. We could use more outspoken opponents of war as a political choice, if only to keep the “realists” honest and very careful in what we advocate. But arguments hoping to bring some pristine aura to war, which is inherently evil and hellish even under the most “justifiable” of circumstances, are not connected to the world that actually exists. Every bombing run John McCain did as a Navy pilot in Vietnam was weighed with less gravity and killed as many or more innocent people or very low-level combatants and conscripts than these targeted drone strikes.

  140. 140
    Liberty60 says:

    @Lavocat:

    Its about your self esteem, in other words.

  141. 141
    Cassidy says:

    The regular Democrats should figure out how to constructively engage Obama’s critics.

    I can’t even think of anything smartass to write because dumb shit like this makes me so fucking angry. Honestly, every left leaning person, every progressive, every liberal who spouts some “both sides do it” bullshit and votes for a useless lefty grifter needs a good swift kick in their reproductive organs.

    No, we don’t owe you shit. We have a system. It is flawed, but it’s what we have. If you’re not willing to be a part of it, then you don’t deserve to be counted and should probably go jump into a burning lake of gasoline.

  142. 142
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @beltane:

    According to wiki, he’s “right leaning”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conor_Friedersdorf

  143. 143
    burnspbesq says:

    @Carl Nyberg:

    As Glenn Greenwald noted, Anwar al-Awlaki was not even publicly accused of doing something that would be a crime. If calling for violence was a crime, a whole bunch of Right Wing gasbags would already have been convicted.

    False framing. Whether anything al-Awlaki did would constitute a crime under US law is, simply put, the wrong question. Greenwald conveniently omits that al-Awlaki fit squarely within the definition of the enemy under the AUMF (Greenwald probably omits that becuase he believes that the AUMF is not a valid exercise of Congress’ Constitutional power to declare war, and that’s a conversation worth having, but it’s analytically irrelevant to the conversation we’re having right now).

    Under every definition that matters under the Geneva Conventions, al-Awlaki was a combatant. He was fair game. The only valid argument Greenwald can make is to question whether reasonable steps were taken to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties, and he’s never bothered to really make it because it’s a complex factual argument and Greenwald is no more interested in complex factual arguments than Erick son of Erick.

    You’re smart enough to get this. Why don’t you?

  144. 144
    Steve Crickmore says:

    @Cassidy: Yes, I call this Orwellian

    <blockquoteAlthough (all) government torturers have now been fully protected by Obama from any accountability, those who blow the whistle on such crimes continue to be pursued by the same administration with unprecedented aggression.

    “While no one has been prosecuted for the harsh interrogations, a former CIA officer who helped hunt members of al-Qaida in Pakistan and later spoke publicly about waterboarding, John C Kiriakou, is awaiting trial on criminal charges that he disclosed to journalists the identity of other CIA officers who participated in the interrogations.”

    Here, again, we see one of the prime precepts of American justice: high-level official who commit even the most egregious crimes are shielded from all accountability; the only real “criminals” are those who speak publicly about those crimes.

  145. 145
    LAC says:

    @Carl Nyberg: Isn’t this a message better stated to the folks at Firedoglake? Aren’t you the folks who love to look down at people, call them Obamabots, get all high and mighty about progressive issues, pout and threaten to walk away if your tenuous support isn’t matched with welcoming much like Jesus riding into Jerusalem? Whose ideas are generally “single payer or nothing”, who haven’t met a compromise or a political reality that they can’t shit on? Or who prop up candidates that are more scolds than folks that can lead and be effective?

    Really?

  146. 146
    Cassidy says:

    @Lavocat: Grow up.

  147. 147
    ruemara says:

    @lacp: This. Cubed.

    @Lavocat: Wow. Sober up, put on pants, do some chores, learn to think. Things you should do.

  148. 148

    I do not grant any of the points you bring up, because they’re distortions designed to imply your political opponents don’t have an argument, and that’s jackass and idiotic. People who bitch about Obama’s foreign policy – Hell, almost all of his policies – seem to have no grasp of context or memory of previous presidencies. Do you know what we did before we dropped bombs on people with drones? We shot cruise missiles at them. Or we paid the Taliban to overthrow their government, that was a good one. Obama may be a hawk compared to you, but he’s slightly dovish compared to previous presidents and US international policy in general. He complied with a UN, NATO, and Arab League request for military assistance, and then got the Hell out, which is damned dovish, thanks. Obama supporters aren’t hypocrites, we’ve noticed that this thing called ‘context’ exists, and things like law, treaties, knowing your alternatives, and historical comparisons are important.

    @Carl Nyberg:
    Greenwald did fail to inform you that Alwaki had his day in court twice, once to determine that he could not be tried in absentia, and once confirming that his execution was lawful because he had waived his right to fair trial. He received due process in the courts before federal judges. If you haven’t been told that, then it ain’t Obama who’s abusing your trust.

  149. 149
    burnspbesq says:

    ETA: If Greenwald is asserting that al-Awlaki did nothing that constitutes a crime under U.S. law, I would respectfully submit that he’s wrong.

    Treason is defined as, among other things, “levying war against [the United States].” Sending Abdulmuttalab out to blow up a plane full of Americans certainly seems to fit within that definition.

  150. 150
    Bruce S says:

    @Lavocat:

    I’m raising my middle finger to your “Green Party” bullshit, but not with a smile on my face.

    Thanks for 8 years of Bush and the Iraq war, “peacenik” motherfuckers who don’t care about winning, just want to get the System’s attention, etc. ad nauseum.

    If you ever DO have a chance of tipping a state by drawing votes from the national Democrat – which thankfully you don’t this time around because Jill Stein is a politically incompetent non-entity without Nader’s name recognition who has nearly nobody’s attention – Karl Rove will become your best friend and help get Greens funding. So much for “rejecting the two-party paradigm.”

    I will never forget that asshole Nader’s impact on the 2000 Florida vote count. Never.

  151. 151
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Are you suggesting that Kiriakou did not, as a matter of fact and law, commit a crime?

  152. 152
    Sly says:

    1) Without fail, anyone I meet who believes that they are “too good for politics” turns out to be an asshole, an idiot, or both. And none of these outcomes particularly endears me to listen to them pontificate on political subjects any further.

    2) The ever-so-terrible “drone strikes and targeted assassinations” came, as a policy set, after a policy set that was centered intensive and expensive, in terms of both blood and treasure, military interventions that involved exponentially higher civilian casualties. I suspect Freidersdorf understands the non-binary nature of progress, given that he takes great pains not to declare Obama directly to a 19th century slavery apologist. Very generous.

    3) The lack of any firm “grounded political agenda” among Progressives for redefining foreign and national security policy is a feature, not a bug. This is not about saving lives, it’s about a bunch of self-righteous douchebags polishing their halos on the internet. Why should I conclude that well-fed, white “civil libertarians” give a shit about poor brown people in Asia when they rarely, if ever, give a shit about them in North America?

  153. 153
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Oddly enough, I’m more likely to accept the judgment of career prosecutors who’ve actually seen the evidence as to what cases can or cannot be successfully brought than I am to accept yours. Would you really want those people to be tried and acquitted?

  154. 154

    This seems relevant:

    In one of his first acts, President Obama issued an executive order restricting interrogators to a list of nonabusive tactics approved in the Army Field Manual. Even as he embraced a hawkish approach to other counterterrorism issues — like drone strikes, military commissions, indefinite detention and the Patriot Act — Mr. Obama has stuck to that strict no-torture policy.
    __
    By contrast, Mr. Romney’s advisers have privately urged him to “rescind and replace President Obama’s executive order” and permit secret “enhanced interrogation techniques against high-value detainees that are safe, legal and effective in generating intelligence to save American lives,” according to an internal Romney campaign memorandum.
    __
    While the memo is a policy proposal drafted by Mr. Romney’s advisers in September 2011 — not a final decision by him — its detailed analysis dovetails with his rare and limited public comments about interrogation.
    __
    “We’ll use enhanced interrogation techniques which go beyond those that are in the military handbook right now,” he said at a news conference in Charleston, S.C., in December.
    __
    […] Last December, Mr. Romney was asked about waterboarding at a town-hall meeting in Charleston. He replied that he would “do what is essential to protect the lives of the American people” but would not list “for our enemies around the world” what techniques the United States would use.
    __
    Mr. Romney also declared that he would “not authorize torture.” At the news conference afterward, a reporter pressed him to say whether he thought waterboarding was torture, and Mr. Romney replied, “I don’t.”

  155. 155

    @burnspbesq:
    There’s the little fact congress retroactively made everything Bush did legal, too, including and especially the torture.

  156. 156
    burnspbesq says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    There’s the little fact congress retroactively made everything Bush did legal, too, including and especially the torture.

    Cite?

  157. 157
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    It’s not about winning.
    __
    It’s about raising a middle finger with a smile on one’s face.

    @Lavocat: Oh hey, you’re 15. Congratulations. One more year and you’ll have a driver’s license!

  158. 158
    Steve Crickmore says:

    @burnspbesq: John Kiriaku probably did commit a crime, but Obama has gone after the messengers of torture, not the torturers- no one has been prosecuted. Obama spoke out often against torture (this was illegal, in some cases resulted in death) but continues to prosecute ummercifully the messengers of this practice, I suppose to enhance his security strongman credentials. Now Obama and his team order pizza ala Sopranos, in the Oval office while deciding what Americans or foreigners are on their hit or whack list. You may feel comfortable about this because these are thoughtful Democrats and not Republicans doing this, but we are supposedly a republic of laws.

  159. 159

    @Lavocat:

    I can’t let this one go by. You can vote for whomever you want, for whatever reason you want, but you should keep one thing in mind: If you choose to vote for some other party than the Democratic Party, you are voting to fuck people’s lives over. Now, happily, your one vote won’t tip the election to Romney, but you are still voting to fuck people’s lives over. You might think you’re “sending a message” or “giving them the finger”, but all you’re doing is saying quite plainy, “Feeling pure and righteous means more to me than the lives of those little people Romney and Ryan would fuck over if they won. Those people don’t matter. Those people don’t count. Those people can fuck off and die for all I care.”

    That’s what you’re voting to do. You can tart it up all you want, but that is what you are voting to do. I’ve beaten this horse before, so I’m not going to beat it into the ground this time. I will say though, in wrapping this up, that even though you get to vote for whichever candidate and whichever party you choose, the rest of us get to jump all over your sorry ass and tell you what a dickwad you’re being if you vote Green and then come crowing to us about how moral you are. That’s one of the consequences of this choice you get to make. So don’t whine about it if we call you nasty names. Just deal with it.

  160. 160
    Cassidy says:

    @Steve Crickmore: Man, you know your red meat. Got all the cool kid buzzwords too. Seriously, we could play lefty jackass bingo with that paragraph alone.

  161. 161
    LAC says:

    @Lavocat: You could also just strip, pour lighter fluid on your genitals and light a match. It has the same effect as a Green Party vote and certainly will be something your mom can write about in her annual christmas letter to counter that feeling among others that you are wasting your potential.

  162. 162
    Spatula says:

    What’s cool is that it is my vote to use as I see fit or withhold as I see fit, and what the Bots here say about that doesn’t matter to me at all.

    After all, it is just ONE silly little vote, Bots, what’s the big deal? And many of you have told me you don’t need my stinkin’ vote anyway, so overall…yeah, I’m good with doing what my conscience ends up telling me to do. Which is, you know, none of your freaking business.

    Also, too, furthermore, and additionally: Right now I’m feeling good about the option of going to the polls and voting for Elizabeth Warren but letting President Drone Killer/ Wall Street Enabler fend for himself.

  163. 163
    Cassidy says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.): But, but, but…he/she/it has a Guy Fawkes mask and a Che shirt. Can’t you tell he/she/it is SERIOUS!

    @Spatula: Oh yay…you haven’t been hit by a bus yet. Lucky us.

  164. 164
    Spatula says:

    These Bot comments are hilarious.

    Can someone link to where the “obligation” to vote is enshrined in the Constitution?

    Or link to where the constitution declares that every citizen MUST vote or be jailed?

    Thanks.

  165. 165
    Cassidy says:

    Can someone link to where the “obligation” to vote is enshrined in the Constitution? Or link to where the constitution declares that every citizen MUST vote or be jailed?

    Why don’t you go ahead and link to where someone has said that in this thread you dishonest shitstain.

    Thanks.

  166. 166
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Let me toss something out there for the critics of Obama’s military/intelligence policies to mull over:

    Imagine the following statement being made to the President-Elect in late November 2008:

    Sir, there are a lot of highly skilled and fiercely patriotic Americans who have been working long hours to prevent more of their countrymen from dying in terrorist attacks. At times they may have been too zealous in their actions, may have crossed the line, but remember they did it because of their dedication to protecting this country….Now if your Administration were to actively persecute, sorry, I meant prosecute these patriotic Americans for doing their jobs as best they knew how, what kind of message would that send to all their coworkers? Would they hesitate to pursue any action that might get themselves in trouble? Would they feel that their hard work is no longer appreciated, & perhaps not go that extra mile or work those extra hours to run down a lead? And would that make it more likely that–just as with 9/11–no one will be there to connect the dots when another threat to America emerges on your watch? Who would the nation blame for that?…And sir, I truly hate to bring this up, but–do you realize how many threats to you and your family we’ve already received? The Secret Service & the intelligence community are fiercely loyal to protecting the Presidency & are doing a stellar job even in the heightened threat environment–but would you want them even for an instant, even in the farthest tiny corner of their minds, to entertain the thought that their careers might be forfeit if they make the slightest procedural error out of their desire to protect you?…All I ask, Mr President-elect, is that before you launch any massive attempt to investigate & prosecute the intelligence community for alleged wrongdoing, you please, please consider how the community might respond to what many of them will see as a “witch hunt”?

    Note that the person speaking could just as easily be a Democrat as a Republican, a civilian aide as easily as a CIA veteran.

    The one thing that could have sunk (& could still still sink) the Obama Administration–aside from assassination, which sadly will always be a threat no matter who is President–is a major terrorist incident with significant loss of life on US soil. That becomes a lot more likely if the personnel tasked with preventing such incidents believe that the White House is intent on second-guessing & punishing them.

    It is at least arguable that Obama has been “coddling” the intelligence community precisely to keep it functioning at a high level so that his Administration will not be brought down by sins of omission (if not commision) leading to another serious incident here.

  167. 167
    Spatula says:

    Maybe what a lot of “but you HAVE to vote” people don’t get is that many of us aren’t NOT voting to “send a message” of any kind to anyone.

    Not voting is simply one way of aligning one’s actions with one’s conscience, a combination which used to be called “integrity.”

    It is also entertaining to see the Bots mocking the concept of integrity, cause you know…I owe my vote to Obama. Or something…

  168. 168

    @Spatula:

    …yeah, I’m good with doing what my conscience ends up telling me to do. Which is, you know, none of your freaking business.

    Now here’s the thing I find funny about people like you. You go around telling us how moral you are, how your sainted conscience would never let you do anything so evil as to vote for President Obama; and then when people call you out for being self-indulgent and short-sighted, you come back with how what your conscience tells you to do is none of our business.

    Well, guess what, Sparky? If you kept your ethical superiority to yourself, then nobody would be getting on your ass about how you vote. When you make a big deal about it, then it’s laughable to whine that we’re nosing into “your business”.

  169. 169
    Yutsano says:

    @Carl Nyberg: In Washington that’s not even practical. Our ballot consists of the two top primary winners and that’s it. Not crazy about that as a rule but just how it is. But feel free to organize a write-in campaign up here. I might even bring doughnuts if I’m feeling generous.

  170. 170
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    no one has been prosecuted

    See comment 153.

    You may feel comfortable about this because these are thoughtful Democrats and not Republicans doing this, but we are supposedly a republic of laws.

    Actually, I don’t feel comfortable about it, but neither you nor anyone else has presented a workable alternative. The unpleasant but inescapable reality is that asymmetrical war presents difficult challenges to traditional law-of-war principles, and there is really no alternative to making it up as you go along, unless you are comfortable with giving our enemies unrestricted freedom of action.

  171. 171
    Spatula says:

    @Cassidy:

    Why don’t you go ahead and link to where someone has said that in this thread you dishonest shitstain.

    Why don’t you go ahead and link to where I said that anyone in this thread had said that, you pustulent bunghole?

    If your Bot brain allowed for nonhysterical thinking, you would know that words like “obligation” have been thrown around in this thread. I’m wondering where that obligation supposedly comes from, especially in a REPUBLIC like the U.S. where my vote in Mass. counts less than some moron’s vote in Kansas.

    P.S. You are a hateful, angry douche.

  172. 172
    Cassidy says:

    @Spatula: So you’re not gonna provide any links like I requested? You really are a chickenshit waste of semen. Actually, we gives a fuck of you vote, but we’re sick of people like you complaining about the gov’t but you’re too fucking lazy and/or stupid to do anything about it. You’re dumb enough to actually belive you’re sending a message by not voting, yet you actually don’t fucking coutn. At all. That’s the message you sent. You don’t give a shit. But heaven forbid you actually do something instead of coming here to be a fucking whiner.

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.): God, if only we were so lucky to have that shitstain keep to itself.

    @burnspbesq: They don’t need plans or details or anything like that. They just need purity of thought and ponies.

  173. 173
    burnspbesq says:

    @Spatula:

    Not voting is simply one way of aligning one’s actions with one’s conscience, a combination which used to be called “integrity.”

    A single mother trying to get by on a Wal-Mart paycheck in the Age of Romney won’t be able to feed your fucking integrity to her kids. Remember that when you go to vote.

  174. 174
    Cassidy says:

    @Spatula: Too easy, jackass.

    Can someone link to where the “obligation” to vote is enshrined in the Constitution? Or link to where the constitution declares that every citizen MUST vote or be jailed?

    You are insinuating that this is what has been said. You know it’s not and w eknow it’s not, but that’s what you’re doing. NOw we all know, you’ll do the cowardly little shit thing and say “I didn’t say anyone said that.”, but the implication is pretty clear.

    P.S. You’re sperm donor should have insisted on a blowjob.

  175. 175

    @Spatula:

    You may not have said in so many words that anyone had said that, but that was the clear implication, you dishonest shitstain (I like that phrase).

    I hate it when people like you get all pissy when others interpret what you say the way you meant it. You clearly meant what Cassidy said you meant, and hiding behind some pitiful claim that you never wrote those specific words is intellectually dishonest. So fuck you.

  176. 176
    lacp says:

    The whole idea of ‘sending a message’ by voting or not voting some particular way strikes me as goofy. I’ve voted third party for about 30 years and if I’m sending a message, it sure as hell has been an inconsistent one, hasn’t it?

    The President is a Democrat; common sense would indicate that messages he would be inclined to listen to would come from Democrats, not from me or Willard Romney or a non-voter.

  177. 177
    Mike Lamb says:

    @NCSteve: I’m not sure that the argument is that drones are “intrinsically more horrible” than other forms of warfare. It’s the idea that it’s much easier to launch drone attacks because there’s no real skin in the game for the US. If there were a number of planes being shot down or more US casualties, the decision to continue with the military operations likely gets much more difficult (at least from a public support point of view). It’s similar to what Maher argued just prior to getting booted off ABC–it’s easy to lob unarmed missiles at people; it’s not so easy when our soldiers might get killed.

  178. 178
    Steve Crickmore says:

    @burnspbesq: @burnspbesq: I don’t have time for a longer response, but Obama has not given up a inch of executive authority. Let’s not only talk abou the war on terrorism, but in less problematic areas- On Wednedsday, for instance he made a big speech in the United nations General Assemby “True democracy demands …. depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.” the usual rhetoric on freedom of speech etc.
    *According to an article in Politico, *my computer can-t give a hyper link at the moment’, Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978

    Even Reagan-s file as a informer for the FBI in the 50-s, Obama has not kept it-s words with the FOIA, and tried to suppress embarrassing parts of Reagan-s informer file.

    My particualr bogey is the land mines treaty where Obama has reversed himself and now opposes the US signing it. When he was a senator and voted for the the US to sign it… Indeed, the list is endless about his reversals that I no longer listen to Obama-s words anymore about hope and change.

  179. 179
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mike Lamb: But is it easier to launch a drone than to launch a missile from a faraway ship? Seems like six of one, half-dozen of the other. I’m not sure it’s possible to come up with a rationale by which the particular nature of drones is more objectionable than many other armaments. The objectionable part, as I said before, is the use of the weapon without sufficient oversight — and, I should have added, the use of the weapon without proper safeguards against civilian casualties. Those would still be serious issues if the weapon were mustard gas or trained yetis.

    Critics of Obama’s “drone” policies can push for better oversight and for more protections for civilians. Those should be the law, so they’re up to the legislative branch. The executive branch doesn’t want to have its range of action circumscribed, regardless of how much they do or don’t agree with the safeguards the critics would propose, because of inter-branch checks-and-balances dynamics. So… rally for legal action, make a stink, get civil libertarians elected to Congress, and so forth.

    Is there an effort, any sort of movement to organize around these issues on the legislative side, as opposed to editorializing about what the president does or shouldn’t do?

  180. 180
    LAC says:

    @Spatula: Hey, uh douche? How many different ways can I say that I couldn’t give a fuck on rat’s ass about you, your voting patterns, your reasons for voting, if zombies came out of the woods and ate you whole, if mother was your sister, if you were God’s second son. I don’t care and I am pretty sure that its a universal feeling. Staples also sells a “fuck off” button. Hit it…

  181. 181
    eemom says:

    @Spatula:

    Oh Spat — why will you never play nicely? :(

    We, or at least I, am talking about the moral obligation one has as a member of a civilized society. I had a dear, dignified, soft spoken Social Studies (as they called it back then) teacher in high school who said one day in 1976 that he believed it was every citizen’s responsibility to make a choice. I was impressed as hell and I’ve never forgotten it. Snicker if you must but I absolutely do believe that.

  182. 182
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Steve Crickmore: Why are you surprised that the head of the executive branch wants the executive branch to have a wider range of powers? Legislators want legislators to have powers. Judges want judges to have powers.

    I think it’s a massive mistake to ascribe all such decisions to ideological leanings rather than to the person’s position in the tripartite system of the US government. Running against Bush, John Kerry tied himself in knots trying to explain the difference between wanting the president to have authority to do something and not wanting the president to use that authority to choose a certain course, but it seems to me that it’s not that hard to comprehend — and that it’s also relevant to the Obama years.

  183. 183
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978

    I’m sure you understand the difference between anecdote and data. FWIW, my personal experience in FOIA cases is not the same as Ms. Meyer’s.

    I’m sure you also remember this.

    It’s a bit rich to criticize the President if certain agencies with long-standing anti-disclosure cultures didn’t hop to it immediately on day one.

  184. 184
    Linnaeus says:

    Drones ain’t going anywhere. The best option available is to 1) push for oversight with respect to when they are used and 2) ensure that heads roll when someone fucks up and blows apart a wedding.

  185. 185
    Lesser Of Evils says:

    When you continue to blindly support a candidate no matter what he or she does, that candidate essentially and rightly so ignores you. All of the people in here who continue to play tribal politics are to blame. The party leaders have you so fixated on the other team that you have completely lost sight of what is right and wrong. If you were against Bush for these policies you need to hold Obama accountable as well for he has moved the goal posts. The solution is holding people accountable to the law, allowing this president and future presidents a pass to commit crimes does nothing but ensure future crimes. It would be one thing if the guy didn’t campaign on these very subjects. He did, we all got hosed and you all are willing to vote for him again because the scary republicans. You are your own worst enemies.

  186. 186
    scott says:

    I don’t have a problem with it. I think you can view voting in a couple of different ways. The utilitarian view, which gets a workout around here, is that I have to choose between two candidates and pick the better one because of the positive things that can happen if the better guy wins and the negative things that can happen if the worse guy wins. OK, I get that, but that’s not the only way to look at it. Another view, the conscience view, is that you can pull the lever for someone if on balance your conscience taking everything about the person into account allows you to do it. Everybody’s different on where they draw the line, about how much they can stomach in making that choice. You have to make that decision, and so do I. Tactically or strategically, which is the focus of this post, is that the best way forward? Maybe not. But each of us has to live with that still, small voice inside us. If that voice tells someone (as it did Friedersdorf) that a candidate crossed a bright moral line and doesn’t deserve his or her vote, I’m not going to say that’s per se illegitimate.

  187. 187
    Greg says:

    While I admit Romney is worse than Obama on a lot of things, on the core economic and political issues they are not any different. I might still vote for Obama because of reproductive issues and LGBT issues, but now is the best time to hit Obama on the things he gets wrong. The only way to convince him to change is to hurt him when he is at his most desperate.

    He needs to worry that pivoting to the right for a handful of votes will cost him far more votes on his left.

    But to seriously solve our problems we don’t need minor reforms we truly need an insurrection. Perhaps throwing the election to Romney go a long way cause one. Most people are ignorant and bigoted, which is the source of most of our problems. Whole industries exist to keep people that way. I often think the only way most people will learn better is if they experience the policies they unthinkingly shout “USA,USA,USA!” at. Show them in real life what comes of abandoning unions, allowing the de-industrialization of America with “Free Trade”, allowing corporations and plutocrats to turn their money into political power, cheering for disastrous foreign wars, dismantling free speech, etc. Only then will they learn.

  188. 188
    Paul says:

    @Spatula:

    You don’t owe your vote to anybody. And you are free to stay home and not vote if you would like.

    But if you are not going vote, you have earned the right to be ridiculed if you start complaining when the new administration do things you don’t like.

    It just floors me how some people in 2010 decided to protest Obama by staying home and not vote. And now these same people have the audacity to complain that the GOP has gone too far with the war on women and voting rights. You made your own bed…

  189. 189
    SteveB says:

    Convince the Dems that they can’t take your vote for granted, and then they might listen to you, and progressives will have more political power than they have now. It’s not complicated.

  190. 190
    Nameless says:

    But I know that becoming one of the 60%+ of people who won’t vote in this election

    [Not voting for Obama, and not voting for Romney] = Not voting

    What kind of conclusion is that? This makes me sick.

  191. 191
  192. 192
    LAC says:

    @Lesser Of Evils: Oh, please. The minute the draft ever becomes mandatory and boots have to be on the ground, you and the rest of the pearl clutchers will be sobbing about the good ole days of “drones”.

    It is called realism, not tribalism. Some of us do not have the luxury of sitting in coffeehouses, playing the tired tune of purity politics. Contrary to the tired meme of firebaggerdom, Obama is not Bush, wars do not just stop themselves because shut up, he cannot executive order health reform, and Bush and Cheney are unlikely to be hung up by their thumbs at the White House door. That you folks there cling to those fantasies is tribalism. It’s 2012 and as Alec Baldwin said in “Glengarry Glen Ross” it is “fuck or walk time”. I am done replaying the great fauxgressive pout of 2010. And, gathering from the polls, I am not alone.

  193. 193
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @SteveB: @Greg: @Lesser Of Evils: These look like three variants on the same theme: find a way to punish or hold accountable the president and/or Democrats when they don’t do what they should, or what you want. Aside from “an insurrection,” which would look like what exactly? there’s a lot of How missing here. What’s the mechanism? How can a small group of people to the left of the president on a handful of issues, important though those issues may be, create action on them? The sad fact is that too few people hold those issues so sacrosanct that they can make them a condition of their vote. And the sadder fact is that in a binary system, withholding your vote makes it more likely for a much worse candidate to win. The calculus would be different if 25 or 35 percent or more of the electorate had those views and was willing to sit out over them. But not when it’s like 5 percent, which, IMHO, is a high-end estimate.

    At the 5% mark, you’re a nuisance; at the 20% mark, you’re powerful. It’s the matter of building from 5 to 20 that’s the rub, and it’s also what people tend to skip over in their calls for action.

  194. 194
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @LAC: There’s some value, at least from a venting standpoint, in saying “I’m pissed that Obama is doing X, and I want everyone to know about it.” The problem, obviously, is figuring out a way to get Obama to do Y instead.

  195. 195
    Steve Crickmore says:

    @burnspbesq:Holder Announces Impunity for Torture-Homicides

    By Scott Horton

    John Durham, a career federal prosecutor and registered Republican who has done little to conceal his political sympathies…Notwithstanding the fact that in each of these cases clear, compelling, and admissible evidence existed to make out a prima facie case against the target, Durham decided to take no action entirely on the basis of prosecutorial discretion..The Durham investigation appears to have been prolonged for at least eighteen months beyond its actual conclusion in order to provide a pretext to block related foreign criminal investigations.

    When truth meets power, Obama- Biden are not so different to Bush-Cheney..Would President Obama have launched an invasion into Iraq on the manufactured consent hysteria of Weapons of Mass Destruction? Possibly, less likely but not unlikely!

  196. 196
    Paul says:

    Would President Obama have launched an invasion into Iraq on the manufactured consent hysteria of MAD? Possibly, less likely but not unlikely!

    This statement is based on the same alternate reality that drives the Republican world.

    Obama has for practical purposes ended the war in Iraq. And he is slowly doing the same in Afghanistan. It is beyond me how anyone can claim that he would have started the war in Iraq.

    And to say Obama equals is Bush – goodness…

  197. 197

    […] Mistermix has already discussed, the young, and earnest Conor Friedersdorf  wrote this yesterday: The whole liberal conceit that […]

  198. 198
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Look, I love Scott, and I respect his views on this subject, but he hasn’t seen the files, and Dunham has. And Scott’s got even less litigation experience than I do, much less what Dunham, a career prosecutor with a pretty damn good track record, has.

    All the advocacy-group and NGO folks who are saying the evidence is clear share one salient characteristic: a distinct lack of prosecutorial experience.

    By definition, Dunham’s view on what cases are winnable is entitled to greater weight that Scott’s.

    YMMV, but I repeat the question I asked earlier, that you have so far managed to elide: do you really want to deal with the consequences of a string of acquittals?

    ETA: That piece wasn’t one of Scott’s best. There isn’t a shred of evidence that Dunham’s political views colored his judgment.

  199. 199
    Steve Crickmore says:

    @Paul: Sure Obama is trying to wind down Afghanistan and American participation in Iraq. Even Bush would be doing that, but I’m bothered by Obama’s underlying compass guide of US interests, even in his address to the UN. It is good thing the neocons failed so miserably because Obama still views the Middle East out of the prism of what would be good for us..

    “The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America” (that is why we are interested) “We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people.” (after decades of support for the other side). We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were no longer being served by a corrupt status quo.” (except for the regimes, we still support in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia) etc.

  200. 200
    Steve Crickmore says:

    @burnspbesq: Yes, it may not seem fair to go after some low apples when so many of the higher officials were culpable. So a whitewash or taking the prosecutor at face value that there wasn’t enough evidence (which Horton and I find hard to believe..it is just too convenient for Obama and the Bushees). My real point is that Obama`s fine rhetoric about hope and change, not to mention transparency and transcendence has proven so illusory (I would say deceitful and and cynical). This is not about the economy as an excuse or Republican intransigence- It will be hard to mount another campaign in the future on these themes, unless the politician is genuinely strong.

  201. 201
    NCSteve says:

    @Mike Lamb: And again, that is intrinsic to the nature of war. If you make war in a way that doesn’t minimize your side’s casualties, ur doin’ it wrong.

    I will concede that drones are different in this one respect–they are clarifying. By taking the most fundamental imperative of war–maximize enemy casualties, minimize your own–to its final conclusion, they strip away the b.s. we use to shield ourselves from the horrible reality of war.

    Criticizing the use of drones is criticizing the clarifying agent to avoid confronting the reality that has been clarified.

    And taking that position to its logical conclusion, how much risk are we supposed to expose our troops to to give Maher and Greenwald their tripwire or skin in the game? Do they have strip down to their underwear and charge headlong into enemy machine guns armed only with pointy sticks? Is it enough if they drop a bomb from B-52 at high altitude that the enemy never hears before the bomb arrives?

  202. 202
    Spatula says:

    @eemom:

    Anyone who abdicates that responsibility for ANY reason has zero right to spew their bullshit in my airspace.

    With all due respect, Eemother, you are full of shit on this one.

    I wonder: Do YOU MUST VOTE people become so vitriolic and angry because they interpret another person’s choice to not cast their vote as somehow threatening the idea that THEIR OWN vote is less than as fabulous and snowflake special as they like to pretend to believe?

    Just a thought…

    I cast my vote in Broward County Florida in 2000 and 2004 and the fucking national Dems didn’t give enough of a shit about my or any other Dem vote to pull out every fucking stop, as the republicans would have done in the opposite situation. Instead we got Gore conceding before every possible avenue was exploited, Leiberman fucking us on national television, and Kerry conceding and leaving the country before the messes in Broward or in Ohio were cleared up.

    But yeah, EVERY vote counts, right? hahahaha

    THAT’s when the scales began to fall from my eyes…

  203. 203
    Spatula says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    EVERYTHING that is wrong with our government at all levels (federal, state, county, municipal) is because the majority of people can’t be bothered to participate in the process.

    Remember when Gore won a majority vote in 2000 and the Dems couldn’t wait to turn over the White House to Bush?

    Good times.

  204. 204
    Lit3Bolt says:

    GG is a huckster and is deliberatly building and creating an iconoclast image that will appeal to purity troll sensibilities who will then devote their lives in slavish fandom and buy all of his books that have done absolutely nothing to change the world or “teh system” but make a nice living for Mr. Greenwald.

    Conor is taking the same iconoclast stand and hoping his career takes the same trajectory; both have noted the niche market of Ron Paul value voters and know all they have to do to earn their bread for life is whisper the words “marijuana legalization” and “no imperial presidency” into the ears of the rubes and the cash flows like water for a doomed, pointless cause that just so happens to make people like Ron Paul and Glenn Greenwald very wealthy.

    The purity troll would like all the rubes and marks to believe that every day they weep hot tears of rage for the children of Pakistan killed by American missiles, while American foreign and domestic deaths are met with a blank stare or outright cheerleading.

    Conor and GG do not want change or consensus; what they want , delivered by their white male privilege, is exclusive access to the daily beat of sanctimony which they have reserved for themselves alone. As monks of the Journalistic Order of Holy White Knights, they alone can lecture each and every one of us how we should react to any and all foreign political issues, and then squawk and bleat in outrage when most of us can’t bring ourselves to care outside the daily domestic drudgery under which most of us live.

    To the firebaggers and purity trolls, you are the worst sort of rube, taken in by journalist whose daily beat is reading BBC World on his laptop and writing a daily article condemning US and Israeli foreign policy. The sooner you self-immolate yourselves on Pennsylvania Ave. to protest American foreign policy, the better off we’ll be. The stormdrains of history will give your ashes a hero’s welcome.

  205. 205
    LAC says:

    @FlipYrWhig: The value would be higher if Conor’s rant didn’t read like he was wanking off in a mirror while repeating his name. All about him, apparently.

  206. 206
    Spatula says:

    @Cassidy:

    If you can’t have a rational, logical conversation with the adults, then you can go sit at the Dora table.

    This, coming from “shitstain” Cassidy. lol

  207. 207
    LanceThruster says:

    In a perfect world, you’d vote for who you actually wanted to represent you, and not so much against those you wanted to keep away from the reins of power. I love the idea of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), or other vote systems ( Condorcet – though there are ways to game them as well), but I’d worry greatly about vote fraud/vote fixing considering that is a real danger with the two party system.

    The two party system currently in place is part voting for or against a candidate, and part handicapping the expected results, and hedging your bets. Spoilers/protest votes/ and abstaining or staying home are another wildcard.

    A long time ago when the alarm bells were being sounded about right wing SCOTUS appointees, I asked a lawyer for Americans United for Separation of Church and State hypothetically if a victory for reactionary right wing ideologues might swing the pendulum in the other direction after people see how screwed up things got.

    He pointed out (rightly IMHO) that the damage from terrible Supreme Court picks was lasting and cumulative, and consolidating power makes t harder to keep such forces in check. Two disastrous terms from Shrubya as well as the affects the Teatards on the body politic illustrate his point quite painfully.

    Any registered voter is entirely free to cast his or her vote as he or she sees fit. However, there are serious consequences for ignoring the damage inherent in certain uninformed choices, however well-intentioned.

  208. 208
    Spatula says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.):

    I hate it when people like you get all pissy when others interpret what you say the way you meant it. You clearly meant what Cassidy said you meant, and hiding behind some pitiful claim that you never wrote those specific words is intellectually dishonest. So fuck you.

    Excellent overall example of hysterical Bot thinking. lol

  209. 209
    Spatula says:

    @eemom:

    We, or at least I, am talking about the moral obligation one has as a member of a civilized society. I had a dear, dignified, soft spoken Social Studies (as they called it back then) teacher in high school who said one day in 1976 that he believed it was every citizen’s responsibility to make a choice. I was impressed as hell and I’ve never forgotten it. Snicker if you must but I absolutely do believe that.

    I absolutely agree, Eemom. MY choice may well be to not use my vote for the presidency as a way of not participating in that portion of the election, for my own reasons.

    If that’s not a CHOICE, what is?

  210. 210
    Paul says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Sure Obama is trying to wind down Afghanistan and American participation in Iraq. Even Bush would be doing that

    As with the previous post, could you provide evidence? You claim that bush would end the war in Iraq just like Obama is doing. Based on what? Do you really think Cheney, the GOP Congress etc would allow bush to do that?

    Heck, in 2008 McCain said that he would keep US troops in Iraq for the next 100 years.

    I find it interesting that people that claim they are on the left also claim that Obama equals bush when the reality is completely different. Bush would not be winding down the war on Iraq.

  211. 211
    lacp says:

    @Paul: Don’t know about Afghanistan, but the US left Iraq because of an agreement that Bush signed and Obama implemented. Unless you’re convinced that Bush was going to renege, yes, US would have been out of Iraq under Bush.

  212. 212
    Steve Crickmore says:

    I don’t know how useful this speculation is which I started with an offhand remark. But to continue … On December 14, 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush signed the security pactThe U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (official name: “Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq”) was a status of forces agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the United States. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011

    Obama is certainly not the early George W Bush of term one, in tone and in substance, but neither was Bush exactly at the end of his second term. Let us say Obama hasn’t been exactly the anti- Bush we had envisioned, but he neither has he led us, or been led by the Israelis and neo cons, despite the lesson of Iraq, into an elective war with Iran.

  213. 213
    burnspbesq says:

    Yes, it may not seem fair to go after some low apples when so many of the higher officials were culpable.

    No, it’s not. I’d feel better if Dunham had run his investigation like an organized crime case, using immunity to get line guys to give up supervisors. However, having stood in a courtroom and watched a case that I thought was pretty solid turn to shit because a judge buys into a pure heart, empty head defense makes me more willing to believe it when a career prosecutor tells me that a case isn’t winnable. You and I see this differently because our views are informed by different experiences. Fancy that.

    You and Scott are eager to see whitewash because it’s consistent with a narrative you want to believe. But even if there was a whitewash, consider the following: would not getting health care reform, Lily Ledbetter, and an end to DADT have been worth prosecuting the torturers? Because there is every reason to believe that the shit-storm that would have erupted if there had been prosecutions would have precluded any meaningful legislative accomplishments.

  214. 214
    CaliCat says:

    Without Huffpo or Keith Olbermann to amplify Firebagger rantings, hardly anyone will notice anyway. KO is gone and Huffpo has move into general election mode so the Baggers are mostly in the cold right now. Lord know they’re still trying though – Nader was recently lamenting “Obama is a war criminal who is worse than Bush”. Made it to HP but no screaming red headlines for Ralph.

  215. 215

    I agree with you.

    But two points. On “follow-up hits on rescuers and funerals – more here” I’ve been there and read that. I’m not sure it is happening. Of course I really really want to believe we aren’t doing that. But it seems a bit like the old game telephone.

    Greenwald quotes someone noting that Pakistani’s fear second strikes (it is not clear from the bit of the quote by Greenwald quoted by Drum that this fear is based on experience). Drum concludes that this is deliberate policy. You link to Drum and add funerals.

    On the Libyan adventure uh there was a war on. People were dying already. I note you mention you are not sure you agree with Friedersdorf on the issue, but in your conclusion you do. Sometimes bombing is the least horrible option.

    Of course your main points are first that as we should not let the best be the enemy of the good we should not let the decent be the enemy of the at least not as bad as Romney. Second that standing aside and remaining pure can be selfish not moral.

  216. 216
    Sondra says:

    At this point it really doesn’t matter if you dislike the drone policy or any other policy. Not voting, when the Republicans are busy disenfranchising so many people who really want to vote, is just stupid.

    I don’t think Greenwald is that stupid, but I could be wrong.Not voting means someone else elects our President.

    Do we want the rightwing crazies to be the only ones voting?
    Hold your nose and vote. Hold your breath until you turn blue after Obama is re-elected.

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