If You Choose Not to Decide You Still Have Made a Choice

I saw this earlier:

I know I am ignoring Tim F.s’ sage advice to just ignore the whole Conor Friedersdorf post, but I can’t resist. Look, there is a simple reason I have not responded to that bloviating magnum opus from Conor either respectfully or disrespectfully (until now, alas). And that reason is I have been blogging for a decade, and I know when I am being trolled.

Look- every fucking election cycle, some pseudo-intellectual wanker out to make a name for himself pens a 10,000 word screed with the novel thesis that… GASP… both candidates have flaws (SUCH A NEW AND NOVEL IDEA! WHY HAS NO ONE EVER COME UP WITH THIS REALIZATION BEFORE). I’m just over commenting on it. Yes, Obama has flaws, yes I disapprove of the drone strikes. But it takes a weapons grade moron to think that voting for Romney or voting for a third party is in any way going to change the status quo. It takes heightened levels of self-delusion.

First of all, the main reason that it will not change anything is because the American public has spoken- they don’t give a shit about drone strikes. There is no political pressure on Obama to stop, and there most certainly will be nothing keeping Romney from doing far worse- AS HE HAS STATED HE WILL. They don’t care about Gitmo, either, a lot of them support the death penalty, and they sure as fuck don’t care about a few bombs dropped on what the media and Pentagon tidily lable “terrorists.” You may not like it, but this is the reality we live in.

Second, the other reason it will not change anything voting for a third party is that the third party is not going to win. Period. End of story. No third party candidate has been elected President since, well, when? And if a third party candidate like Johnson won, then what? He’s just get blocked by congress every step of the way. Probably with bipartisan consensus.

Third, politicians do not respond to people who vote against them. Should Obama win, does young Conor think he will suddenly take his concerns seriously? “DEAR OBAMA, I FLAMED YOU AND VOTED AGAINST YOU, WILL YOU NOW LISTEN TO ME?” Good luck with that.

So for these reasons and many more, I just simply ignore idiots who say that one special issue means they can’t fulfill their obligations as a citizen seriously and make a choice between the lesser of evils. Sure, they can get off on their bad selves and pat themselves on the back for their bold and pointless stand. But they should at least have the dignity to shut the fuck up the next four years should Romney win and everything gets worse on the issues they care so much about they can’t be bothered to make a rational decision. Every election is the lesser of two evils in our current party system. Choosing to vote for a third party because of your personal issues doesn’t make you a principle thinker, it makes you a bloviating douchebag.

But, like I said, since we go through this same sort of Slate driven contrarianism and nihilism every two years, you already knew that. I simply refuse to take any one who votes for someone over Obama or Romney seriously. One of them will be the next President. Anyone who chooses to vote for anyone else has made their choice, and that choice was to be irrelevant.

*** Update ***

This will never not be accurate:

Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes. They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.

You don’t live there.

Grow the fuck up.

BY VOTING FOR GARY JOHNSON I ABSOLVE MYSELF OF ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS THE NEXT FOUR YEARS BUT WILL STILL NOT SHUT THE FUCK UP.

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189 replies
  1. 1
    beltane says:

    Green balloons?

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    You would think that *especially* if you believed it was a lesser of two evils choice you would be obligated to prevent the greater evil from winning.

    Unless you’re just a pompous blowhard.

  3. 3
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Yup. Thanks, John. That’s about all that needed to be said about Young Conor.

  4. 4
    WereBear says:

    I have lost all patience for people who not only don’t vote, but brag about it. Listen, stupid, it’s not about you.

  5. 5
    Cassidy says:

    a bloviating douchebag.

    Great. Somewhere, the dishonest shitstain kitchen implement felt a shudder. Now it will show up taking away any chance it will walk in front of a bus tonight.

  6. 6
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @beltane: I actually used that at work the other day to stop two colleagues from bickering. And then I had to explain myself. It only works on people who don’t visit this site.

  7. 7
    Mnemosyne says:

    Personally, I’m tired of hearing that the life of one American citizen was more valuable than the lives of the millions of American citizens who would be affected by Romney’s election, but I guess I’m just morally bankrupt that way. GG thinks I’m morally bankrupt for deciding that women who need healthcare are more important than al-Awlaki, but I’m okay with that.

    Also, Emma quoted one of my favorite authors on this subject in another thread yesterday: “When you choose an action, you also choose the consequences of that action.” Conor seems to think he can duck responsibility for the consequences of his action by claiming a higher moral ground, but it doesn’t work that way.

  8. 8
    Paul W. says:

    Sure, they can get off on their bad selves and pat themselves on the back for their bold and pointless stand… They’ve made their choice, and that choice was to be irrelevant.

    That about sums it up. If you aren’t voting you’ve told American politicians you don’t matter.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    I couldn’t care less about Conor. What bugs me is the underlying political culture that makes Conor possible. It always seems to be the Democrat that has to be perfect — while Republicans are lauded to high heaven just for being (or seeming) reasonable. And it has a real effect — left of center folks are far more likely to simply not vote than right of center folks, I think in large part because of the unrealistic expectations that are foisted upon Democrats. I’m glad that the community here largely pushes back against this type of rhetoric. It’s one reason this is my favorite blog.

  10. 10
    Robin G. says:

    Special snowflakes are not special.

  11. 11
    Alison says:

    But they should at least have the dignity to shut the fuck up the next four years should Romney win and everything gets worse on the issues they care so much about they can’t be bothered to make a rational decision

    This is what I always think about in response to these assholes. Okay good, you’re gonna be all principled and not vote for the better option because they aren’t your absolute bestest favoritest ever…so then what happens if the shittier person DOES win? IMO, someone like Conor would have zero fucking right to say one damn peep about anything a Romney administration did that he didn’t like. I mean…no, you can’t blame an election on a single person, but if you say “I’m not voting for Guy A because he’s no better than Guy B” and then Guy B gets in and is actually way worse, how do you then turn around and write SHOCKED, SHOCKED blog posts about “OMG look what Guy B is doing!!” DUH, MOTHERFUCKER, WE TOLD YOU.

    Of course, expecting that level of self-examination from someone like him is a fool’s errand. I mean, this is a douchebag who, while apparently caring ever so much about kids in Pakistan, clearly doesn’t give half a fuck about anyone in his own country – not the poor, not women, not LGBT folks, not the elderly, the disabled, veterans…and really, doesn’t actually care about those Pakistani kids anyway, since he seems fine with the idea of them (and people in various other foreign countries) being treated even fucking worse than they are now.

    Ugh. Yeah, I probably should avoid thinking/writing about these fuckers too. But sometimes you gotta vent…

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MikeJ:

    Voting for the lesser evil works just fine if the lesser evil actually wins. People who were saying it doesn’t work either forgot that necessary part of the equation or thought that George W Bush was the “lesser evil” when compared to Al Gore or John Kerry.

  13. 13
    eemom says:

    oh fer fux sake Cole. If you’re so bored on Friday night you gotta stoop to this, I’m joining the “get this man a girlfriend” brigade.

  14. 14
    Brian R. says:

    “Sure, I’d love to make sure that tens of millions of Americans have the health care they need to stay alive and avoid financial ruin, but Obama is a big poopyhead, so there.”

    Go fuck yourself, Conor. God knows no one else ever will, you navel-gazing narcissistic little shit.

  15. 15
    lacp says:

    I don’t agree with your take on third parties, but do fully agree that long gassy screeds about how the author has agonized over making his/her VERY PRINCIPLED DECISION to vote/not-vote/other are a waste of everybody’s time. Who cares why Fritters is going to vote or not vote or whatever he’s going to do?

    It would be at least a bit understandable if he were trying to persuade others to take some sort of position, but he isn’t – he’s just telling everybody about what he’s going to do, and nobody gives a fuck what he thinks. About as interesting as a 10,000-word essay on how he pissed in the sink one night when he was drunk.

  16. 16
    eemom says:

    @RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    That’s about all that needed to be said about Young Conor.

    not counting the five posts and eleventy hundred comments yesterday?

  17. 17
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    “Don’t vote, it just encourages them!” That used to be funny but now I want to shake sense into people who say it.
    Another good one: “vote against all incumbents so they can’t become corrupt careerists”. Sure, maybe when there’s a lifetime maximum on months spent as a lobbyist. Until then, let’s not plan to send a roster of rookies into every legislative session, OK?

  18. 18
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    Did you really just use a Rush lyric for this headline?

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @eemom:

    This is what happens when Romney goes a whole day without doing anything overly embarrassing.

  20. 20
    burnspbesq says:

    I’m deathly afraid to see what Greenwald considers “a fair, respectful, rational response.”

  21. 21
    dedc79 says:

    we might not be using drones at all today if some of these same douchebags hadn’t voted for nader (or not voted, or voted for bush) because they claimed there was no difference between bush and gore.

  22. 22
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @eemom:

    not counting the five posts and eleventy hundred comments yesterday?

    I spent yesterday in a Mexican auto parts plant and missed the fun. Which reminds me I have to be in Monterrey by 8:00 am so it’s bedtime.

    RossinD +2 cerveza

    ‘night

  23. 23
    Brian R. says:

    The “I’m not going to vote because I’m so principled” speech is about as noble as the “I don’t watch television because I’m so cultured” lecture.

    Both are delivered by self-righteous assholes who care more about their own carefully-crafted image as a rare delicate genius than they do about the realities of their fellow human beings.

  24. 24
    GuanoFaucet says:

    slow clap

  25. 25
    beltane says:

    @Baud: Mitt didn’t say anything too embarrassing today but his wife sure did. Here she is saying that she fears for Mitt’s mental well-being in the event he is elected http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-25.....challenge/

  26. 26
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Actually, the main thing that seems to have happened is that a bunch of British and Australian leftists are chiming in about how he’s completely right and the problem with the Overton window of American politics is that Democrats don’t put their feet down and reject fascist assholes like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

    As usual, they understand how American politics works so much better than actual Americans do.

  27. 27
    dmsilev says:

    Second, the other reason it will not change anything voting for a third party is that the third party is not going to win. Period. End of story. No third party candidate has been elected President since, well, when?

    Abraham Lincoln.

    Which is to say, you can get a third party if and only if one of the two existing parties goes belly-up first.

  28. 28
    chopper says:

    I just love all the shit about ‘but you’re voting for the lesser of two evils!’ welcome to democracy, dipshits. every vote is for the lesser evil. the only person greenwald or conor could vote for who they wouldn’t think is ‘evil’ in some way is to write in themselves and I’ll bet 10 grand of mitt’s money that they’d still sell out in one way or another the week after they took the oath and had to deal with some crazy situation overseas.

    this isn’t American idol, fuckbags.

  29. 29
    jl says:

    Nice Cole rant there. Can’t figure out what the Greenwald tweet is referring to. Fired up the tweeter machine and found GG’s item, but clicking did not reveal exactly what the response was.

    Social media unsavvy me will need directions.

    But, yeah, I am sure electing Romney and full on GOP Congress will make the problems easier to work on, right?

    Right.

  30. 30
    Baud says:

    @beltane:

    At least she didn’t say ED.

  31. 31
    BC says:

    I guess if your conscience is so tender you cannot participate in this rough and tumble world, then you have no need to be involved in politics at all. But if you decide not to involve yourself because of the purity of your soul, then you become irrelevant if things you do not approve of happen. Those who don’t vote also should just STFU if the people elected are not to their liking.

    Wonder if Greenwald, like Nat Hentoff, is just trolling liberals all the time?

  32. 32
    joes527 says:

    Doesn’t CF live in California?

    All our electors are belong to Obama. Doesn’t matter. Move on. Find a swing state or a congressional race to worry about. CF is harmlessly irrelevant as long as he stays behind the Orange curtain.

  33. 33
    Bobbyk says:

    Obama has killed many thousands of women and children,that’s simply a fact, I’m not voting for him. What I am doing is giving as much money as I can to those liberal candidates I believe will help stop these attacks. The strident Obama supporters can deny it all they want but if shrub or some republican were doing this they’d be screaming bloody murder.

  34. 34
    Brian R. says:

    This needs to be repeated, often.

    Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes. They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.

    You don’t live there. Grow the fuck up.

  35. 35
    the Conster says:

    @beltane:

    Bill Marriott has a heartwarming tale of a plutocrat in need. It’s a game changer/

  36. 36
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @Bobbyk:

    I’m not voting for him. What I am doing is giving as much money as I can to those liberal candidates I believe will help stop these attacks.

    Because President Romney will give a shit how much money your liberal candidates have and listen to them?

    No.

  37. 37
    Bighorn Ordovician Dolomite says:

    Unimprovable perfection. You wrote it.

  38. 38
    Brian R. says:

    @Bobbyk:

    The strident Obama supporters can deny it all they want but if shrub or some republican were doing this they’d be screaming bloody murder

    No, I wouldn’t. You know why? Because I was fully conscious during the period of 2001-2009, and fully aware of what the American military was doing then, and I never screamed bloody murder about it.

    Go pour your money into Kucinich Jr. I’m sure that will bring about utopia by December.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    My favorite thing in the whole world is having foreigners explain how they understand America so much better than Americans do because they read about US politics on the internet and one time they came here on vacation for two weeks and visited Disney World.

  40. 40
    jayackroyd says:

    Third, politicians do not respond to people who vote against them.

    Actually voters that leave particular races blank are scrutinized. This doesn’t apply, really, to a 2nd term presidential, but an Elizabeth Warren considering a run would offer Obama getting vote totals that are less than the downticket totals would be used as a fundraising argument for a left wing challenger.

  41. 41
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    some pseudo-intellectual wanker out to make a name for himself pens a 10,000 word screed with the novel thesis that… GASP… both candidates have flaws (SUCH A NEW AND NOVEL IDEA! WHY HAS NO ONE EVER COME UP WITH THIS REALIZATION BEFORE).

    Yes, well, never has the argument been made with such care and in such detail before. According to all internet traditions, that puts Conor in good company.

    Yes, CF is trolling on the national stage. He should just STFU and drown his sorrows with butt chugging.

  42. 42
    Morbo says:

    In before The Shark.

  43. 43
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Bobbyk:

    Obama has killed many thousands of women and children,that’s simply a fact, I’m not voting for him.

    A bit of poetic license there, but OK.

    What I am doing is giving as much money as I can to those liberal candidates I believe will help stop these attacks.

    Who will certainly have an easier time with Mitt Romney in the White House, amirite?

    The strident Obama supporters can deny it all they want but if shrub or some republican were doing this they’d be screaming bloody murder.

    Not if. When. And when those in office do things of which I heartily disapprove, I look around to see who else is running. If the other candidate is measurably, empirically, better — then I vote for the better candidate. I don’t take my ball and go home based on a completely illogical approach to cause and effect.

  44. 44
    Brian R. says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Your understanding of American politics is about as sophisticated and accurate as my understanding of Australian culture based on a dimly-remembered viewing of “Crocodile Dundee.”

    Go blow a koala.

  45. 45
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Cassidy: I’ve known two people now who walked in front of buses and lived.

    Modern trauma teams are amazing. Also people who give blood. Even if it saves the life of a young ninny who was blotto/talking on her cell phone and jumped into traffic.

  46. 46
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Baud:

    This is what happens when Romney goes a whole day without doing anything overly embarrassing.

    Okay, are we done with Young Conor’s Folly now? What if Mitt promises to go back to his regular programming tomorrow?

  47. 47
    Dennis G. says:

    Spot on.

    100 years ago, there were folks making Conor’s basic argument to justify not voting for Lincoln–and some wanker has done the same in every Election ever since.

    If somebody wants to waste their birth-rite as a citizen by not voting or voting for a vanity candidate, well that is their right. And some of these fools will treat that abdication of responsibility as a moment for celebration. The wankers in this group will try to monetize their idiocy with a word salad plagiarized from the word salads of the fools that came before them.

    Conor’s piece was one of these word salads and I would expect nothing less from him.

    Cheers.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    Spatula says:

    I haven’t read any comments yet, but wanted to acknowledge that this thread, wherein Cole pretends to be calling another blogger out on trolling while implying he does not also troll his own blog on a regular basis. :D

    Also too: People who do NOT vote because the choices suck dingle berries are history’s worst monsters.

  50. 50
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @chopper: I never cease to be amazed by the number of people who reach adulthood only to suddenly discover, or continue to be surprised, or claim to be surprised, that there is in fact evil in the world.

    @Baud:

    What bugs me is the underlying political culture that makes Conor possible.

    When you can go down to town hall and register to vote “Rag + Bone”, or “Carhartt”, or “Comme des Garçons”, “GMC” or “Audi”, or “No Logo” (which is a logo) instead of “Democratic” or “Republican” or “Independent”, then the problem goes away.

    Until then, we’re stuck with a not-inconsiderable slice of the electorate who come at politics mostly as a form of self-expression, as a way to inform people how you feel about yourself and the world by your choice in consumer goods candidates

  51. 51
    MikeJ says:

    @Brian R.: I assumed his last line was snark. Nobody is actually that stupid, but it does make for humour on the internet.

  52. 52
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Brian R.: I think Matt was making with the sarcasm.

  53. 53
    Bruce S says:

    It’s taken quite a few posts here at Balloon Juice, but I’m confident at long last with this one that the case has been made for the American electorate to reject the folly of…uh…some guy they’ve never heard of.

  54. 54
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Bobbyk: If it makes you feel better there is Rocky Anderson who is running for president.

  55. 55
    scav says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Did you mean that as an interesting variant of claiming certain people that disagree are unamerican aka don’t understand “real” ‘mercans? Debate seems entirely homegrown as far as I can tell — no clue what lurks under yours.

    But, until enough morally pristine lower-slate candidates get through to dominate all branches of government, I’m not abandoning voting for the best achievable outcome on the all the levers on power I can reach, including the top one.

  56. 56
    SarahT says:

    The Bloviating Douchebags are like my favorite band EVER !

  57. 57
    chopper says:

    @Bobbyk:

    Not to excuse obama’s, or any president’s, record, but we could put your ass in the oval office and thousands of civilians would end up dead no matter what you decided to do. again, welcome to democracy. it’s messy.

  58. 58
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Until then, we’re stuck with a not-inconsiderable slice of the electorate who come at politics mostly as a form of self-expression,

    That’s wouldn’t trouble me if it were even-handed. These folks seem to consistently direct their “expression” against Democrats.

  59. 59
    Spatula says:

    So cute and tragic: Despite switching tribes over the last twelve years, John G. Cole has learned almost NOTHING about critical thinking.

    And NOTHING at all about humility.

  60. 60
    ChrisNYC says:

    So funny that Greenwald has appointed himself the “fair and respectful” ness cop. Zero self awareness, just zero.

  61. 61
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Baud: I dunno… Does this vote make my ass look fat?

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brian R.:
    @scav:

    You may wish to have your snark detectors examined to make sure they are functioning correctly.

  63. 63
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    No, you look quite lovely dear.

  64. 64
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Baud: Dems are expected to be perfect by the electorate in general. Republicans are only expected to be morally perfect (according to a very twisted def of morality) only by their base. Probably has something to do with that authoritarian follower thing.

    There does seem to be a large, unacknowledged disgust with dirtying one’s hands with a filthy business. National politics are a filthy business since the onset of empire. Could this be the great unacknowledged truth about American political life? The real American left went huge for the Commies in the 1930s and 40s (anti-colonialist, anti-nationalist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist), and it utterly destroyed their organizations, power base, and political influence. After a generation had passed the religious right swooped in to try to scoop up their grandchildren, replacing Marxism with Jesus. They put Republicans in power but destroyed the church in the process.

    Am I all wet? Is there some other, older reason more than half of the US public sits out elections, every election?

  65. 65
    Bruce S says:

    @Spatula:

    “People who do NOT vote because the choices suck dingle berries are history’s worst monsters.”

    No…but contrary to the attempt at glib, ironic deflection, they HAVE given cart blanche to some of “history’s worst monsters.” Exhibit A: Dick Cheney. Certainly the worst monster who wielded untrammeled executive power in the US in recent history.

    I’d predict that, with the prominence of the repugnant NeoCon Pretty Boy Dan Senor as the “face” of Romney’s foreign policy team, we’d be in for the same or worse with Mitt.

  66. 66
    Brian R. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Duly noted. Sorry, but I’ve seen things close to that that were utterly sincere.

  67. 67
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    ARGH WILL EVERYONE PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT CONOR FRIEDERSDORF.

    ETA: Yes, you ‘simply choose to ignore’ Conor by writing a 500-word post about him, along with EVERY OTHER FPER ON YOUR BLOG. FOR FUCK’S SAKE, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO NOT FEEDING TROLLS?

  68. 68
    Andrey says:

    @Bobbyk:

    Obama has killed many thousands of women and children,that’s simply a fact, I’m not voting for him.

    If one man kills thousands of women and children, and the other one kills tens of thousands, not voting makes you a giant asshole.

    “I wipe my hands of this!” is not a noble gesture, it’s covering your ass from your own self-examination. Choosing self-satisfaction and a clear conscience over women’s health, gay rights, and health care for those who can’t afford it? That makes you a giant asshole. If you can’t sleep at night knowing you voted for Obama? Take some damn Ambien and vote for him anyway.

  69. 69
    Turgidson says:

    @burnspbesq:

    One that worshipfully agrees with him, of course.

    I’m glad there are voices like GG and Conor out there on this topic, at least in theory – what our military and intelligence apparatus is doing in our name often frightens and/or disgusts me, and Obama indeed has been a disappointment on this front in many ways. It’s good that people speak up about it.

    But I also agree with Cole and the consensus here that the only way shit like this will get better is to vote for the lesser of two evils and advocate that that lesser evil, in fact, be compelled to do better, once elected/reelected. If you really actually care about changing things for the better, it’s typically better to work on making the system as you find it accountable and pushing it to do better. Which is hard and often futile. And in this case, Cole is right – Obama pays no political price for this. Most Americans are fine with drone strikes. I prefer them to senseless and incompetent ground invasions myself.

    But having a public, whiny sad that your pony got lost in the mail and not voting or voting Libertarian is about as useful as sticking a pen up your nose until you puncture your brain. I think GG does feel passionately about these things and just channels it poorly. I am not convinced Conor actually cares – I think he just likes to feel smugly self-satisfied at his own independent thinking and thinks his shit don’t stink.

  70. 70
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    Another good one: “vote against all incumbents so they can’t become corrupt careerists”. Sure, maybe when there’s a lifetime maximum on months spent as a lobbyist. Until then, let’s not plan to send a roster of rookies into every legislative session, OK?

    Thank you! That happened in Mexico before they brought that failed idea here, but “it can’t happen here, besides I can’t hear you when you tell me what happens in furrin places”.

    It’s like high-stakes testing. It worked so fucking well in France (see: Renault) let’s bring that idiocy here! Ooo, it’s working so well in Texas, best schools in the nation, right? Let’s try it in Massachusetts, then they will be the besty bestiest.

    ps: I wonder if there is so little difference in black/white test scores in Texas public schools b/c white people of any means don’t send their kids to public schools, unlike rich people up north since the scores are a proxy for relative economic worth and social status.

  71. 71
    Maude says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    61 As wide as a barn.

  72. 72
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Baud: 200 person rally is pretty embarrassing. So is the background on that crying baby pic. Romney is the most human looking one–the others are cackling at teh bebeh’s distress.

  73. 73
    eemom says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    ARGH WILL EVERYONE PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT CONOR FRIEDERSDORF.

    fuhgeddabout it. He’s here to stay, might as well accept the inevitable.

    C’mon Cole, make him a rotating tagline. And a category. And a whatever the other thing is that you yell at the other FPers for making too many of.

    And put him in the Blogroll. AND the “Monitor and Mock.” That’ll save us a few thousand posts arguing about moving him.

    Hell, while you’re at it, just delete all the others and make him ALL the Blogroll.

    It’s Conor Jerkdorf’s world now, folks. We just live in it.

  74. 74
    Tractarian says:

    If Johnson won, he could stop drone strikes immediately and Congress could do nothing about it.

    Just sayin.

  75. 75
    Dennis SGMM says:

    I’m not gonna’ vote until the Democrats nominate Jesus H. Gandhi. So there.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    Daulnay says:

    There comes a point where a citizen can’t vote for the lesser of two evils. IF both main candidates were bent on destroying the Republic, to replace it with dictatorship, I would vote third party, no doubt. If the choosing the ‘lesser of two evils’ meant that, or something equally fundamental and extreme, wouldn’t we all?

    When the difference is only between two lousy but basically tolerable choices, it’s foolish to not vote for the ‘lesser of evils’. And if the choice is between an imperfect but ok candidate and a terrible one, the vote is easy.

    For someone in California, Massachusetts, or any very Blue or Red state, the calculus is different. Let’s face it, our vote will not make a whit of difference one way or the other, and one might as well vote for a third party candidate in protest. If Gary Johnson gets 5% of the vote in California or Texas or Utah, it won’t make any difference in the outcome, but will register discontent that will make the main parties notice.

    I live in a very Democratic district, and will vote for Obama anyway. While I worry about his policies on domestic surveillance, government secrecy, assassination, and detention without Habeas Corpus, he is excellent on other issues. I’m going to vote Green or other third party in all the open-and-shut races (Senate and House, mainly), because the Democratic party has been party to (and maybe even the driving force of) Obama’s security state policies. If we really want change, the way to get it is to pressure the House and Senate candidates, and to withhold funds and votes for those in easy races.

  78. 78

    The Jamelle Bouie article at American Prospect that Greenwald honors so highly:

    http://prospect.org/article/sh.....rack-obama

    It’s actually worth reading, and here’s the last paragraph:

    Whether he sees it or not, Friedersdorf is making a moral calculus by supporting Johnson. For him, the terrible effects of Johnsons’ policies on ordinary people—recession, increased joblessness, increased homelessness—is worth a world where the United States does not conduct drone strikes. I disagree, but unlike Friedersdorf—who sees the similar calculus among liberals as evidence of willful blindness to the consequences of drone strikes—I don’t think this makes him indifferent to the concern of poor people.

  79. 79
    Johannes says:

    @Baud: This, times a thousand.

  80. 80
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Bobbyk: Even the 2006 wave didn’t bring about the change the left wanted or needed. Maybe you should just give up.

  81. 81
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mnemosyne: It couldn’t possibly have been sarcastic; I have it on good authority that we Yanks don’t understand irony.

  82. 82
    kamalokitty says:

    Word. Dayum.

  83. 83
    Davis X. Machina says:

    too many links. Simplified below.

  84. 84
    Another Halocene Human says:

    OT: I’m trying mulled beer. WTH, I have a cold, I don’t even care. Will let you know how awful it is.

  85. 85
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Is there some other, older reason more than half of the US public sits out elections, every election?

    The Census asks, every two years. (Warning, file is csv — comma-separated-values, i.e. spreadsheet — format.)

    The answers are surprising. Politics doesn’t seem to have much to do with it.

    And a decade ago, the Shorenstein Center at the Kennedy School’s Vanishing Voter Project tackled the problem. (I used to have the book that resulted — but someone ‘borrowed’ that two elections ago.)

  86. 86
    Spatula says:

    @Bruce S:

    Exhibit A: Dick Cheney. Certainly the worst monster who wielded untrammeled executive power in the US in recent history.

    Hey Bruce, I voted against Dick Cheney TWICE, once for Gore, once for Kerry. I worked on the Kerry campaign. At the time of both elections I lived in Broward County, Florida.

    Fucking Dems couldn’t be bothered to MAKE FUCKING CERTAIN that all of our votes were counted in Broward or in Ohio among other places either fucking time, nor to make certain Gore took the White House even though he won the majority of the popular VOTE.

    THAT’S how important individual votes are: Not very.

    THAT’S how vigorously the Dems will fight for your individual holy vote: Not very.

  87. 87
    different-church-lady says:

    @Daulnay:

    If Gary Johnson gets 5% of the vote in California or Texas or Utah, it won’t make any difference in the outcome, but will register discontent that will make the main parties notice.

    That worked brilliantly for President Perot.

  88. 88
    Turgidson says:

    @beltane:

    Oh and on this one – I’m way ahead of you, Queen Ann. I’m already concerned for Mitt’s mental health.

  89. 89
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @beltane:

    Mrs. Romney told KTVN she hasn’t been a part of debate preparations, as she and her family members have been campaigning separately. She also revealed that she had “minor surgery on her right hand” last week to remove a small cyst.

    Cue jokes about what was left of her soul.

  90. 90
    Peter says:

    @Spatula: Go to bed, Timmy. Your milk is getting cold.

  91. 91
    Spatula says:

    It’s been said many more times than once around here that not voting tells politicians my vote doesn’t matter, that I don’t matter to them.

    I’m OK with that. Why do I care, why would I IMAGINE that a politician I have no contact with whatsoever would know to care or not care?

    And even if they somehow DID know that I didn’t vote, why would I care what they thought about me? If I don’t vote for a presidential candidate this time around, it won’t be because I want Barack or Mitt’s personal attention. wtf?

    Do Bots actually imagine that Barack actually cares about them individually and will come tuck them in at night?

  92. 92
    Bruce S says:

    Don’t vote because…FLORIDA2000!!!

    Yeah, that makes sense to me…

  93. 93

    When did civil libertarians and purist lefties decide that voting for Prince Perfect every four years, and then throwing a tantrum when he turns out to be the usual kind of asshole, was a smarter political strategy than actually working to influence the Democratic Party at the local level and then building from there (the strategy that, you know, has demonstrably worked for other political movements in the past)?

  94. 94
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Spatula:

    Also too: People who do NOT vote because the choices suck dingle berries are history’s worst monsters.

    Now we know why you come here on Friday nights instead of getting laid.

    Move to New York, Spat. That Boston puritanism is rubbing off on you.

  95. 95
    geg6 says:

    @Brian R.:

    This. And they know nothing about anything. I hate them wherever they show up, left or right. Self-important and self-satisfied assholes, each and every one.

  96. 96
    Drunken hausfrau says:

    I have to confess… As a stupid 18 year old, I cast my vote for John anderson… Thinking I was so principled to vote “for” someone and not just choose lesser evils…. Yeah. At least I grew up and starting drinking… And voting intelligently.

  97. 97
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    The answers are surprising. Politics doesn’t seem to have much to do with it.

    Actually (being serious for once) it seems to me that politics has everything to do with those answers. Not the politics of the non-voters, but the politics of the people who are making it bureaucratically or physically difficult for them to vote.

    I’m reading the comma-delimited file and it’s a bit hard to read, but it appears to me that “too busy, conflicting schedule” is the winning category for nearly all groups, with “illness or disability” in second place. There are obvious solutions for at least the first category; the question is just whether people are allowed to implement them. Early voting’s a great approach, but it appears to be under attack all over.

  98. 98
    GuanoFaucet says:

    @Spatula:

    Special snowflake is special.

  99. 99
    Baud says:

    Has Greenwald officially come out against Obama, or will we have to go through this again in a couple of weeks?

  100. 100
    Gwangung says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    When did civil libertarians and purist lefties decide that voting for Prince Perfect every four years, and then throwing a tantrum when he turns out to be the usual kind of asshole, was a smarter political strategy than actually working to influence the Democratic Party at the local level and then building from there (the strategy that, you know, has demonstrably worked for other political movements in the past)?

    IQ demonstrably not above room temperature.

  101. 101
    Bruce S says:

    @different-church-lady:

    “…discontent that will make the main parties notice.”

    Notice what? Pot smokers in California? Wannabe cowboys in Texas? People who hate paying taxes in New Hampshire? A handful of guys on the internet who think Obama is just like Bush when it comes to civil liberties and counter-terrorism? Who knew?

  102. 102
    burnspbesq says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    As usual, they understand how American politics works so much better than actual Americans do about as well as the average American understands cricket.

    Fixed in a probably vain effort to keep you from getting laughed out of this joint. You’re welcome.

  103. 103
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Tractarian: He could also dissolve the NLRB.

    I’m sure that would go a long way towards getting “more and better Democrats liberals lefties peace-mongers” elected.

    ETA: whoops, forgot hyperbole will get me in trouble. he could go as far as GWB did and farther, or do like Jeb! in Florida, making the board a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporate america which will utterly kill labor organizing

  104. 104
    jayackroyd says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    Yeah, that graph summarizes his argument–that “ordinary people” will suffer under a Johnson administration, while drone strikes (which magically don’t actually seem to involve “ordinary people” because foreign) is something we can all agree are not so good, but not unpopular, and it’s naive to think a principled stand on not murdering innocent people is something we should ask of a president.

    Arthur Silber

    This monstrous crime, what is in fact an ongoing, systematic series of monstrous crimes, is greeted by near universal silence in America. The U.S. government orders an unending series of Auroras: it ordered an Aurora last week, it will order an Aurora this week, it will order an Aurora next week. Almost no one cares. Almost no one even notices.

    With these facts fixed firmly in our minds, consider these words spoken by Obama after the events in Colorado:


    Now, even as we learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It’s beyond reason. But while we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living. The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved. They were mothers and fathers; they were husbands and wives; sisters and brothers; sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.

    And if there’s anything to take away from this tragedy it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another.

    Keeping in mind the murders regularly committed by the U.S. government, and the murders of innocent human beings regularly ordered by Obama himself, we must recognize that these remarks are the equivalent of the expressions of grief offered by the serial killer in my fictional exercise. These are the remarks of a man who has suffered an irreparable break with reality, a man who who has rendered himself unable to connect obviously related facts. If Obama genuinely meant these comments — if he understood how these remarks apply with far greater force to him (“we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this”) — his realization of the monster he has allowed himself to become would reduce him to gibbering incoherence for the remainder of his life. In varying degrees, the same is true of any individual who remains in the national government at this point.

  105. 105
    Daulnay says:

    @different-church-lady:
    Gary Johnson knows that he cannot win. We all know it, even the most die-hard libertarian knows it. He is on the ticket so that people can vote straight-ticket Libertarian, and to get the ideas out. Same is true for the Greens, and every other small party.
    @fasteddie9318:
    Exactly what we need to be doing if we hate the direction the Democrats take on the security state.

  106. 106
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Now, be fair: there’s probably a bunch of other reasons too.

  107. 107
    Gwangung says:

    @Daulnay:

    If we really want change, the way to get it is to pressure the House and Senate candidates, and to withhold funds and votes for those in easy races.

    Actually, the surest way is to get down and dirty, elbow deep, in the political machinery and become part of the power making process. None of this hands off stuff….

  108. 108
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Joseph Nobles: Really? No. He is indifferent. Anyone who can sit up there and say “you suffer for the sake of my moral high ground” is indifferent. And context: he’s a Republican operative. A libertarian. Libertarians don’t give a shit about the suffering of poor people losers. (Now scientifically proven!) So their suffering was never part of his moral calculus.

  109. 109
    different-church-lady says:

    @burnspbesq: Did you know a “leg before wicket” doesn’t have to be a leg?

  110. 110
  111. 111
    eemom says:

    @Drunken hausfrau:

    As a stupid 18 year old, I cast my vote for John anderson… Thinking I was so principled to vote “for” someone and not just choose lesser evils…. Yeah. At least I grew up and starting drinking

    We are the same age. I voted for Carter, but in fairness I was already drinking — legal then! Cheers. [clink]

  112. 112
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Thanks, that looks interesting.

  113. 113
    burnspbesq says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Did you know a “leg before wicket” doesn’t have to be a leg?

    I do know that. I’ve seen guys get called out for testicle before wicket.

    ETA: Did you see what Australia did to India in the 20/20 today? Unfuckingbelievable.

  114. 114
    different-church-lady says:

    @Daulnay: Yes. My point is that Perot got close to 19% of the vote and exactly what changed once he got the attention of the two parties?

  115. 115
    Bill Arnold says:

    @dmsilev:

    Which is to say, you can get a third party if and only if one of the two existing parties goes belly-up first.

    The election map for 1968 is interesting. Wallace won some Southern states. Curiously, he lost decisively in Texas (third place).

    Related, my first memory of voting was when my mom took me to the voting booth and I saw her vote for Gus Hall, Communist Party USA candidate. (This must have been 1968). This was NY State where the Democratic candidate always wins anything but a Republican blowout election; there is room for protest votes in NY State. Also you can vote for parties which usually but not always endorse a major party candidate (e.g. Conservative, or Working Families).

    It’s worth browsing all the historical presidential election maps.. The maps from 30-60 years ago are different from today’s maps.

  116. 116
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @fasteddie9318: We should emphasize that black people did it. Then it will be “cool”.

  117. 117
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @beltane:

    Mitt didn’t say anything too embarrassing today but his wife sure did. Here she is saying that she fears for Mitt’s mental well-being in the event he is elected.

    Let’s all relieve her of that onerous burden, shall we?

  118. 118
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Gwangung: Going vegan and living on adulterated GNC “vitamins” and “special herbs” will do that to you.

  119. 119
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @different-church-lady: He laid the groundwork for deficit-mania, and we’re still paying for it.

  120. 120
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Btw, mulled beer= not half bad.

  121. 121
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Bill Arnold: I expect those maps to change again as soon as the Civil War is over.

  122. 122
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Bruce S: To be fair to pot smokers, and as shocking as this sounds considering that they’re pot smokers, the pot smokers got politically organized and have passed ballot measures in multiple states. They have also successfully swayed public opinion nationally.

  123. 123
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Halocene Human: You mean entirely bad?

  124. 124
    Kyle says:

    BY VOTING FOR GARY JOHNSON I ABSOLVE MYSELF OF ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS THE NEXT FOUR YEARS BUT WILL STILL NOT SHUT THE FUCK UP.

    Fuckin’ A. In ’96 I voted for Nader and therefore have nothing to do w/ Glass-Steagall repeal. One of my better calls. And no, I didn’t shut up during the 4 years of Clinton’s second term. I had opinions about the way he ran the country and the way the GOP tried to railroad him. Were they any better/worse than the opinions of people who had voted for Clinton or Dole? Better than some and worse than others. And whether they’re better or worse has nothing to do with what I did in the voting booth in 1996.

  125. 125
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Kyle: Between your virtue and your prescience, I am honored just to be in your presence.

  126. 126
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jayackroyd: So America is in a far-flung war with al Qaeda which you call murder.

    Americans also abort thousands of pregnancies legally every year. Some call that murder, too.

    Some call suicide bombers murder bombers.

    Amping up the rhetoric by prostituting the language is only convincing to the already convinced.

    Fucking ending what we’ve started will do more to remove the fear and allow the conditions to deescalate the attacks on our freedoms at home and the push to start wars abroad than anything else.

    Obama said he’d end the war in Iraq, and he did. He said he’d leave Afghanistan. Fucking in progress. He said he’d get OBL. OBL is kaput. He said he’d close Gitmo and suddenly the American public turned into WATBs.

    I’d bet in 4 years there will be a lot more support nationally for closing Gitmo.

    I prefer reality to your fantasies.

  127. 127
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @burnspbesq: I WAS BEING SARCASTIC OK

    Sorry for the Poe’s Law action.

  128. 128
    Bruce S says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    Yeah, I’ve voted for them. I was just ragging on the single-issue pot smokers. There’s definitely a “drug war” component to the Johnson base.

  129. 129
    AxelFoley says:

    Who in THE FUCK is Conor Friedersdorf and why should anyone care what this asshole thinks?

  130. 130
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Daulnay:

    and to get the ideas out. Same is true for the Greens, and every other small party.

    Apparently you are unaware of this thing called public campaign financing. The Greens made a serious run in 2000, galvanized by real anger over Clinton term II corporate selloutism but, when it became clear that the Left wasn’t that big of a constituency, suddenly changed their rhetoric to some Leninist notion that by removing the reasonable option they could further radicalize the US public and then win for realz. This turned out to be EPIC FAIL.

    Greens also OPENLY ADMITTED that their fundraising had suffered under Clinton and apparently were nostalgic for the Reagan/Bush years and so wanted a Bush back in office.

    Most people completely rejected Greens after being the spoiler that put W in office. In Mass, though, they were still organized enough to make a serious run for state office. This put Romneytron3000 in office although, to be fair, the Democrats helped. They made I dunno, 15% of the vote, not enough to really create a beachhead. I think they still exist as Green-Rainbow in Boston City Council elections but I might be wrong. (Where it’s needed because Boston Dem party are corrupt.)

    Nowadays they only exist to grift money, a la the Paul operation. They don’t try to win small offices–no gubmint cheese in that! Paul and Nader don’t care about getting the ideas out… they just want the dollars coming in.

    If Nader actually believed in his principles he would have been using PIRG to massively organize around single issues… you know, the way ACLU, AFL-CIO, etc do. Oh, and PIRG itself has been accused of being abusive and manipulative towards employees and volunteers, not LaRouchie crazy–same song, lower volume?

    So fuck him anyway.

  131. 131
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Green-Rainbow Party sounds like a nasty sex act.

  132. 132
    gerry says:

    Of course you are being trolled! No one could legitimately hold beliefs other that yours.

    This is one of my favorite blogs, but the intolerance on these issues of strategy simply amounts to screaming and yelling. If you would calm down and accept that others might have honest beliefs, then you might not give the impression that you were trying to convince yourself.

  133. 133
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @different-church-lady: The Republicans changed tactics, culminating in W.

    I personally don’t think NAFTA was the worse thing ever, but I think some of the details sucked, such as overriding local environmental and labor protections. Stamping your feet and saying no way! accomplished nil on that front.

    I’ve seen even more clearly in local politics where being a refusenik often results in an even worse outcome.

    Depends on the balance of power.

  134. 134
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    This put Romneytron3000 in office although, to be fair, the Democrats helped. They made I dunno, 15% of the vote, not enough to really create a beachhead.

    Wiki U friend: 3.49%, and if you gave every one of them to Shannon O’Brien she still comes up short.

    O’Brien ran such a crummy campaign it didn’t even feel as close as it was.

  135. 135
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Halocene Human: That’s the Green Balloon party you’re thinking of.

  136. 136
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @different-church-lady: No, entirely bad would be poured down the sink.

    The mulling spices don’t clash with the beer taste. And it’s perfectly okay warm.

    Granted, I am drinking New Grist (made from sorghum and rice), not Bud light (made from barley, rice, and watered down goat piss).

  137. 137
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I didn’t know they added other stuff to the goat piss.

  138. 138
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Kyle:

    In ‘96 I voted for Nader and therefore have nothing to do w/ Glass-Steagall repeal.

    Exactly. Ordinary people did not flood the Capitol switchboard when Congress was dismantling Great Crash financial reform. If ordinary people had taken that attitude towards SOPA and PIPA, er… not sure we’d even be here talking on this forum. I can’t afford “what the market will bear” for internet service.

  139. 139
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Bill Arnold: The “red state/blue state” divide we know today really only started to emerge around 1992. Though I think it was latent during the 1980s but obscured by the fact that Republicans were winning almost everywhere.

  140. 140
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @different-church-lady: Yes, I’ve been to Wiki.

    I meant downticket races. Although I see I was wrong. An Indy did get 15% but the Green-Rainbow topped out at 8%. My bad.

  141. 141
    Scamp Dog says:

    @dmsilev: Which is all the more reason, not just to vote for Obama, but to work to help him run up the score & send the Republicans the way of the Whigs.

  142. 142
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Ah, thanks for the clarification.

  143. 143
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Bill Arnold: That website is eyebleeding but what I notice is that the North/South divide is persistent but the upper West failed to flip following the Southern strategy, giving the Republicans a bigger electoral coalition. At the same time, the left coast emerges as its own bloc, which was not at all present in 1900.

    It also looks like Florida is leaving the Southeastern bloc, even as it moves northward, eating formerly staunch Republican states like IN, OH, KS, etc.

  144. 144
    Chris says:

    I’m a Balloon Juice addict, but articles like Friedersdorf’s bring out the worst of this place. No one here has directly addressed his arguments, and instead there’s mostly name-calling and ad hominem argument.

    “I don’t give a fuck about Conor Friedersdorf” is not an argument; whether you give a fuck about him has nothing to do with whether his argument is right or wrong.

    “Grow up” is not an argument, either.

    Friedersdorf asks: Can you imagine two candidates whose positions were both so offensive to you that you would decline to vote for either, even though you might admit that one is preferable to the other? I certainly can. For crying out loud, at least address his actual arguments.

    I will vote for Obama if it looks like my state will be close. But if Election Day comes and Nate Silver tells me that Romney has no chance of winning Iowa, I won’t feel compelled to help run up the mad-drone-bomber’s totals. It’s perfectly understandable to cast some other vote (Green?) in that situation to make whatever small statement you can make.

  145. 145
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Tractarian:

    If Johnson won, he could stop drone strikes immediately and Congress could do nothing about it.

    And what about the rest of his agenda?

  146. 146
    jshooper says:

    WTF !!!…I nearly coughed up a lung reading Glenn Douchewald’s tweet talking about a “fair,respectful and rational” response to his paultard friend’s bullshit…this is the clown who called obama supporters NAZIS…who runs around calling obama a murderer…and the asshole who thought it was cool to double down on a joke about the 1st black president raping a nun…Beckwald has as much self awareness as cartman / kanye west in that south park fish dicks episode

  147. 147

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Jesus H. Gandhi is a lovely man. I met him in India in 2004 when he first ran for parliament. He’d run through all the money the Mahatma had left to his father George, and he needed a loan. Thankfully he was still pretty – this was before the disfiguring push bike incident in 2007 – so I took my repayment in services rendered, plus a couple of pounds of barely adequate hash Jesus had been trying to flog off for months.

    The Mahatma, of course, refused to acknowledge George as his son publicly. I suppose it wouldn’t have been very politic for Mohandas to own up to the torrid affair he’d had in 1945 with Abha Krishna, a Bombay dancer of decidely low reputation. This was after Kasturba died, of course, so you can hardly blame the dear old thing.

  148. 148
    different-church-lady says:

    @Chris: Yes, I can imagine it. I just can’t get from there to our current reality.

  149. 149
    Spatula says:

    @Chris:

    Chris, how dare you.

  150. 150
    j says:

    Billy Joel, “The Angry Young Man”.

    (LONG kick-ass piano intro, but follow the words.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpMv76SIUhg

  151. 151
    Heliopause says:

    Once again Greenwald demonstrates that the simplest of tweets can send a determined high school clique like the one here at Balloon Juice into a frothing death spiral.

  152. 152
    OzoneR says:

    @Tractarian:

    If Johnson won, he could stop drone strikes immediately and Congress could do nothing about it.

    They could impeach him for failing to defend the country.

  153. 153
    Lojasmo says:

    @Bobbyk:

    Bullshit. The current count is around 750. Frankly, I didn’t care much about drones earlier, and I don’t now. The brown people death count during the last administration was exponentially higher.

    Vote, don’t vote. Nobody here cares. Also, too; throw your money at lefties. Mucin inch and Edwards could each use a few bucks, I’m sure. (You did support Edwards, right? You seem like his type of wanker)

  154. 154
    jshooper says:

    @Heliopause: Hi glenn !

  155. 155
    Persia says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Personally, I’m tired of hearing that the life of one American citizen was more valuable than the lives of the millions of American citizens who would be affected by Romney’s election, but I guess I’m just morally bankrupt that way. GG thinks I’m morally bankrupt for deciding that women who need healthcare are more important than al-Awlaki, but I’m okay with that.

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that most of these brave third party advocates are white men in comfortable financial positions.

  156. 156
    patroclus says:

    Dear Leader Greenwald seems to have completely forgotten his one and only post praising Obama’s outstanding record on gay/lesbian issues. Or maybe he just doesn’t think any of our issues are all that important. I just watched HBO’s compelling documentary about the 17-year-long effort to repeal DADT and highly recommend that Dear Leader actually watches it.

  157. 157
    Svensker says:

    @Heliopause:

    determined high school clique like the one here at Balloon Juice into a frothing death spiral.

    Determined high school cliques have death spirals? Frothing death spirals, even?

    I am wowed.

  158. 158
    different-church-lady says:

    I don’t know if I’m more upset that I’m dying or that I’m frothing.

    Also too: BATLIGHT!

  159. 159
    mclaren says:

    Shorter John Cole:

    BY VOTING FOR BARACK OBAMA, I ABSOLVE MYSELF OF ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR TORTURE AND MASS MURDER AND KIDNAPPING OF ASSASSINATION OF U.S. CITIZENS BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND THE LIMITLESS GROWTH OF CORPORATE POWER, BUT I STILL WON’T SHUT UP ABOUT MY WONDERFUL SUPERIORITY AS A “PRAGMATIC” “TOUGH-MINDED” REALIST UNTIL MY RELATIVES START GETTING ROUNDED UP FOR INDEFINITE DETENTION AS “SUSPECTED SUBVERSIVES”

  160. 160
    Bobbyk says:

    @RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    Because President Romney will give a shit how much money your liberal candidates have and listen to them?

    I notice you conveniently ignore the first part of my post fuck nuts. The point is to get the liberal candidates elected.

  161. 161
    Bobbyk says:

    @RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    Because President Romney will give a shit how much money your liberal candidates have and listen to them?

    I notice you conveniently ignore the first part of my post fuck nuts. The point is to get the liberal candidates elected.

  162. 162
    Bobbyk says:

    @Lojasmo:

    Bullshit. The current count is around 750

    Good Fucking God, even if what you’re saying is correct, and it surely isn’t, it is still egregiously wrong. Maybe some of your loved ones getting killed might change your mind but I doubt it. Asshole. And yes I’ll give the liberal candidates I think have a chance to get elected money, it’s really the only way to change our current course.

  163. 163
    different-church-lady says:

    OK, you guys finally have me convinced: if I don’t vote for one of the two major party candidates there will be no more wars.

    Really wish I had seen the light sooner.

  164. 164
    patroclus says:

    @Bobbyk: I notice that you completely ignored all gay/lesbian issues.

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    Friedersdorf asks: Can you imagine two candidates whose positions were both so offensive to you that you would decline to vote for either, even though you might admit that one is preferable to the other?

    This is, of course, the problem: Friedersdorf is asking us to imagine a situation that does not exist six weeks before a national election.

    I don’t take single-issue anti-abortion voters seriously, so I’m not sure why I’m supposed to take single-issue anti-drone voters seriously.

  166. 166
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bobbyk:

    45,000 Americans die every year because they didn’t have health insurance. But, hey, drones are killing people overseas, so why should you spend your time worrying about your fellow citizens here at home?

  167. 167
    patroclus says:

    And millions of Americans (and non-U.S. citizens) lost their life savings or a good portion thereof because of the failure to regulate OTC derivatives and inadequate supervision of the banking industry. I’m sure Gary frickin Johnson and Dear Leader Greenwald are gonna solve that one too. Cause Mitt Romney sure won’t.

  168. 168
    Gian says:

    @Chris:

    If you want to focus on Drooones
    I have a policy choice between two canidates.
    one wants drones
    one wants to fucking go to war with iran for reals.

    I have no fucking problem figuring out that war with iran is worse than drone strikes

    cold war is better than hot war.

    there are only two candidates who can win. When you say not one, you implicitly endorse the other.

    let’s all sing like John McCain “bomb bomb bomb, bomb Iran” and help get the “start a new war” candidate elected.

    if my choices are another fallujah event, or drone strikes, I take drone strikes. Just like if my choice is cut my arm off or die from cancer, the arm is coming the fuck off.

    dumbass

  169. 169
    patroclus says:

    When asked in an online forum, Gary frickin Johnson’s solution to the economic problems we face is to “end the Federal Reserve.” So, basically, he’s after the same voters as the racist Ron Paul. I’m totally sure that terminating the principal regulator of banking activities is a wonderful way to curb rampant over-speculation caused by the dearth of regulation commonly associated with Republicans like Bush and Romney. I’m also sure that Dear Leader Greenwald is preparing a massive missive on this issue too.

  170. 170
    burnspbesq says:

    @Chris:

    For crying out loud, at least address his actual arguments.

    No, because the construct is inherently fraudulent.

  171. 171
    jayackroyd says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Did you click through that link? Did you see the body count?

  172. 172
    David Koch says:

    Oh, for fucks sake, this is so simple: how many division does GG have?

    Black Jimmy Carter is gonna drink Garry Johnson’s home state milk shake by 20 points.

  173. 173
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Dennis G.:

    100 years ago, there were folks making Conor’s basic argument to justify not voting for Lincoln—and some wanker has done the same in every Election ever since.

    In their defense, voting for Lincoln in 1912 would have rather silly.

  174. 174
    Bobbyk says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But, hey, drones are killing people overseas, so why should you spend your time worrying about your fellow citizens here at home?

    Again completely ignore INNOCENT women and children. If you can’t understand what you’re absolving there’s nothing I can do to make you understand. What an unbelievable fucking asshole.

  175. 175
    Citizen Alan says:

    @different-church-lady:

    That worked brilliantly for President Perot.

    Um, some of us are old enough to actually remember that. While I was never a Peronista, he did seem to be on his way to change the course of American history (for good or ill? who knows) until that bit of farce where he dropped out and then dropped back in again with some crazy tale about the Bushies threatening to disrupt his daughter’s wedding, at which point his campaign collapsed like a flan in a cupboard (as many reputable historians have said).

  176. 176
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jayackroyd:

    I read through the link. Calculating it out using the highest number given, I came up with 3,917 total killed between 2002 and 2012, or an average of 390 killed each year.

    In the United States 45,000 people die every year because they don’t have health insurance.

    But, sure, let’s get rid of the guy who finally got some form of national health insurance rammed through the system because a war he didn’t start has been killing innocent people since 2002. Somebody has to pay for the War on Terror.

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bobbyk:

    Again completely ignore INNOCENT women and children. If you can’t understand what you’re absolving there’s nothing I can do to make you understand. What an unbelievable fucking asshole.

    So none of the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they lack health insurance are innocent women and children? They all deserve to die?

    What crime did 12-year-old Deamonte Driver commit that makes you think he deserved to die because his mother couldn’t afford a dentist? Why was he not innocent enough for you to defend?

  178. 178
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I thought it was an American living in Australia.

    The concept of moving the Overton window is common across countries; the trouble is that across countries, one moves the Overton window by getting elected and implementing policy. Tony Blair and Bill Clinton didn’t shift their policy right just because their opponents shifted theirs right; they moved their policy right because their opponents kept winning elections.

    If Obama wins only the once, Republicans can write it off. If the Democrats win several elections in a row, they’ll either shift to the left, or they’ll die out.

  179. 179

    I have been a severe enough critic of the President and Congress to piss off… well, enough folks – but there is one thing I’m real sure of: an r-Money win does not qualify as an Obama protest by anyone other than the GOPers. A vote for anyone other than Obama or staying home is essentially a vote for the robotic plutocrat and the end results of his winning.

    I admit to being a little confused as to the identity of the Saint run by any Party at any time in history…

  180. 180
    Mino says:

    I don’t know if this has been said earlier in this posting, but Americans wouldn’t care if Americans were hit by drone attacks, as long as they weren’t being taxed for it. MOVE and Philadelphia, anyone?

  181. 181
    AxelFoley says:

    @Bobbyk:

    Obama has killed many thousands of women and children,that’s simply a fact, I’m not voting for him. What I am doing is giving as much money as I can to those liberal candidates I believe will help stop these attacks. The strident Obama supporters can deny it all they want but if shrub or some republican were doing this they’d be screaming bloody murder.

    This dipshit here…

  182. 182
    AxelFoley says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Actually, the main thing that seems to have happened is that a bunch of British and Australian leftists are chiming in about how he’s completely right and the problem with the Overton window of American politics is that Democrats don’t put their feet down and reject fascist assholes like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

    As usual, they understand how American politics works so much better than actual Americans do.

    You actually believe that, don’t you, asshole?

  183. 183
    AxelFoley says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    @Mnemosyne: It couldn’t possibly have been sarcastic; I have it on good authority that we Yanks don’t understand irony.

    Ok, I admit it, you got me.

  184. 184
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @slightly_peeved: What actually inspired my failed wisecrack was a whole series of articles on Crooked Timber. Admittedly I think one of them was by an Irish guy now living in the US.

  185. 185
    AxelFoley says:

    @jshooper:

    WTF …I nearly coughed up a lung reading Glenn Douchewald’s tweet talking about a “fair,respectful and rational” response to his paultard friend’s bullshit…this is the clown who called obama supporters NAZIS…who runs around calling obama a murderer…and the asshole who thought it was cool to double down on a joke about the 1st black president raping a nun…Beckwald has as much self awareness as cartman / kanye west in that south park fish dicks episode

    Bingo.

  186. 186
    LAC says:

    Do we have to see the Chinless Fuck’s tweets? Milady ought to just samba down to the beach and SHTFUP once in a while.

  187. 187
    J R in WVa says:

    Haven’t even seen Fukinsdorf in a picture, so I don’t know ’bout his chin. His verbal eructions tho, are nonsense.

    Obama knows that there are people out there in the world planning to throw acid in the faces of girls learning to read and write, and arithmetic.

    This is a side line to their stoning women who have been raped, and anyone who loves someone their “prophet” disapproves of. But of course their main line of work is to destroy the “Great Satan” . the United States of America.

    I am not in favor of throwing acid on little girls. It usually doesn’t kill them, it just makes the rest of their life a torture of pain, hideous scarring, blindness, fear and loneliness.

    I am not in favor of stoning rape victims to death for forcing some sick fuck to attack them. They have rules about the size of stones you can use. Too big and the first one might kill them before they are adequately tortured. Sweet, huh? The rapist often gets to help throw rocks at his victim! Extra sweet.

    I’m not even in favor of allowing them to plot the destruction of the Great Satan. There’s plenty wrong in America, people getting killed for being black, , not being christian enough, being gay, being a Democrat caught after dark in Republican territory (maybe a slight overage here, for effect) for all kinds of stupid.

    We have great health care for some people, and President Obama is spreading that around to folks who haven’t had such good care. We have freedom of speech beyond what any other country supports, even the liberal democracies of Europe.

    But America is still, after all the things that are wrong with us, one of the best places to live and work in the world.

    And anyone who is planning to attack us, torture little girls for learning to read, stone rape victims, kill gays for being different, I don’t care about them – they are not human beings, human beings don’t run on hate, torture, and murder.

    What should we do about people who throw acid on little girls, torture rape victims, and plot to destroy our country? Ignore them? Probably a bad thing – that’s what Bush did, look where it got us.

    Conor is obviously a principled pacifist who was (would have been) unwilling to serve in WW II to keep Germany and Japan from conquering the world. So I understand his inability to support President Obama, who will provide the world’s most advanced medical care to everyone in America, because the President is using the best available technology to attack our enemies, people who believe in throwing acid on little girls and flying airliners into skyscrapers full of innocent people.

    Not.

    Anyone with a developed sense of morality who doesn’t vote for President Obama, well they only think they have a set of morals – they’re really just asses.

    Screw Conor Fukendorf and his fanbois.

  188. 188
    prole pride says:

    No election has been this momentous since the Supreme Soviet election of 1937 gave the party vanguard a 99.3% mandate!

    Funny how no matter what kind of ruinous shit platform the Dems stuff up your ass from on high, you’re all gung-ho for it like you thought it up yourself.

  189. 189
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    This is my drone calculus:

    Right now, the majority of the drone bombings that we’re doing are to prevent Taliban fighters from crossing the border into Afghanistan and attacking US troops.

    Obama plans to withdraw the US from Afghanistan by 2014, which will greatly reduce the number of drone bombings there.

    Romney plans to cancel that withdrawal, keep us in Afghanistan, and go to war with Iran.

    Which plan is more likely to get the result that the anti-drone activists want?

    @prole pride:

    Yes, how dare the Democrats stuff civil rights for gay people up our asses?

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