Hi, Hello, Wake from Thy Sleep

Frederick, name of care, posting at his blog somewhere:

Mistermix at least attempted a response. But he ignored important issues of considerable substance: he ignored the fact that (and it is a bare fact) many in his community at Balloon Juice and the larger progressive world hate left-wing critics more than conservative Republicans, and this has serious consequences for our politics. He ignore my suggestion that, taking the “if you don’t support Democrat you support Republican!” thinking to its extreme limits, it asks you to support any reprehensible candidate whatsoever as long as the other guy is worse. Would Mistermix vote for Zell Miller, if the alternative were, say, Todd Akin? And would he be similarly angered by criticism of Miller as he is towards that of Obama? He doesn’t say. Nor does he address the issue of drones in anything like a substantive way. Like many of my critics, he addresses the drone killings by waving them away: I don’t like drones, but…. My purpose is exactly to make people stop changing the conversation and focus on the actual issue. I believe that the refusal to do so reveals that the continued support of Obama’s foreign policy is predicated on emptiness. More than anything, he has failed to articulate what I am supposed to do, given that these issues for me are truly non-negotiable. If people don’t want to engage with me personally, then fine, think of it as a hypothetical: what is someone who has a profound and unyielding opposition to our violence against the Muslim world supposed to do? If just getting over it is not an option, what are people supposed to do?

As I said in the piece, it’s not commenters on Balloon Juice who are keeping the drone discussion buried in the media and off the political agenda. Freddie can feel aggrieved all he wishes about the criticism that he gets, but  being criticized on a few blogs isn’t being silenced, and Freddie gets all kind of attention (example) that commenters here don’t, so there’s nothing being said at the small indy blogs he mentions that’s keeping him out of the conversation. Freddie’s argument isn’t going over well, so maybe he needs to work harder on convincing us, not bitching about some perceived lack of true progressivism.

Freddie can attribute any position to me that he wants, but the silly Zell Miller/”Democrats über alles” position is his attempt to muddy a clear choice between a decent Democrat like Obama and a really retrograde Republican like Romney. Betty Cracker and Noam Chomsky are right: in a swing state, there’s no other choice. Politics is not morality, and each political decision is made based on how that choice will advance the voter’s core principles, however imperfectly. The choice is often between the lesser of two evils. I didn’t make that reality, I’m just pointing it out.

Finally, what are people supposed to do? Pick something politically achievable on the path towards military disengagement from the Middle East. Here’s one: advocate an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan. Does anyone doubt that a hell of a lot fewer innocents would be killed if there was no standing army in the region?  As a political proposition, it’s probably achievable. Write your Congressman.

Update: I didn’t mean “write your Congressman and shut up” as jayackroyd took it. I meant that here’s something that if you write your Congressman, and advocate in other ways, would get some political traction and perhaps lead to positive change.






181 replies
  1. 1
    some guy says:

    Does this mean an accelerated withdrawal from the West Bank is off the table?

  2. 2
    amk says:

    so freddie is a firebagger ? who knew ?

  3. 3
    Zagloba says:

    mistermix @0: the silly Zell Miller/”Democrats über alles” position is his attempt to muddy a clear choice between a decent Democrat like Obama and a really retrograde Republican like Romney. Betty Cracker and Noam Chomsky are right: in a swing state, there’s no other choice.

    Or, you know, we might be intelligent enough to have both of those conversations at once. Especially since the left blogosphere is pretty politically irrelevant, so we don’t have to worry about only regurgitating the party line lest we discourage four undecided voters in Ohio somewhere.

    I think my favorite part of this discussion so far has been, in the monster 400-post thread, the chiding that the right time to bring all this stuff up would have been primary season. Conveniently forgetting, of course, that when we suggested that a primary challenge would force Obama to answer his critics on the left and engage a counterweight on national policy, we were told in every thread that this would only weaken the party and undercut all the awesome things that Obama is doing for progressive goals.

    Almost like there’s no right time in the democratic process to subject flawed leaders to pressure.

  4. 4
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    So some guy I’ve rarely heard of outside of BJ (Frederick), who gets tons of mentions from Andrew Freaking Sullivan, the biggest political blogger (arguably) out there, is feeling silenced? Fuck him.

  5. 5
    mcd410x says:

    Oh, blog wars. How very.

  6. 6
    Walker says:

    I tried reading the comment section on his blog. There were some people using the word “cognitive dissonance” to refer to people voting for Obama despite his issues. They clearly had no idea what that term actually means.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Jeez, get a room.

  8. 8
    Cassidy says:

    Squid cloud of butt hurt. That’s all you had to type.

  9. 9
    Seanly says:

    I agree with you. The choice is Romney or Obama. We don’t live in Gumdrop Fairy Land. It disappoints me that Obama is keeping much of the 9/11 security theater going and angers me that the drone war continues. But Mitt winning means a ground war with Iran, it means being a vassal state to Israel’s craziest leaders, it means yet more conservative Catholics to the Supreme Court & it means dismantling the New Deal. I’ll take a little anger over some indiscriminate drone deaths over seeing America destroyed by conservative Republicans.

  10. 10
    Eli Rabett says:

    Bank on it. Without NATO Afghanistan will turn into a blood bath as the pashtun Taliban tries to reassert power against the northern tribes

  11. 11
    Eli Rabett says:

    And the fate of the ladies will not be a happy one.

  12. 12
    redshirt says:

    I am so bored of drones. DRONEZ!

  13. 13
    amanda says:

    Just an FYI re excellerated withdrawal from Afghanistan…Elizabeth Warren supports it…not sure how many other candidates have made that position known, but I would guess quite a few.

    And could not agree more with Seanly and whoever commented on the fate of us ladies not being bleek under Romney. Let us recall that FDR interred Japanese Americans

  14. 14
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Boring Freddie is picking a fight with Balloon Juice front pagers to get more traffic to his incredibly wordy and boring blog. He is just trolling you guys.

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    I agree with Freddie that the best way to end the drone wars is to piss off rank and file democrats.

    It’s a strategy with a 100% success rate.

  16. 16
    Face says:

    Ahhh….Freddie deBore.

    His TL;DR screed just blew up my emo-meter.

  17. 17
    Cassidy says:

    @Zagloba: fuck it. I’m convinced. I’m voting straight ticket Republican because DRONNNNNEEEEZZZZ! and KAAAAAAHHHHHNNNNN!

    Fuck. Got a little carried away with my memes.

  18. 18
    The Red Pen says:

    it asks you to support any reprehensible candidate whatsoever as long as the other guy is worse.

    Is there some universe where allowing the greater of two evils to prevail is some kind of win?

    Would Mistermix vote for Zell Miller, if the alternative were, say, Todd Akin?

    Would any thinking person not choose Zell Miller in this example?

    I really don’t particularly like Claire McCaskill, but as a Missouri voter, I’m going to do my incremental part to keep Todd Akin out of the Senate. And yes, if it were Zell running in Claire’s place, I’d vote for Zell.

  19. 19
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cassidy:

    Squid cloud of butt hurt. That’s all you had to type.

    This.

  20. 20
    Raven says:

    “Does anyone doubt that a hell of a lot fewer innocents would be killed if there was no standing army in the region?”

    Uh, does that count the Taliban?

  21. 21
    Lojasmo says:

    that was simply terrible. What a bloviating assjack.

  22. 22
    Shadow's Mom says:

    @Seanly: What you said.

    And don’t just write your representatives!

    Call the committee offices when a house or senate committee is handling issues about which you feel strongly. Your representative does not need to be a member of the committee in order for you to make your voice heard.

  23. 23
    Sly says:

    Why would Zell Miller and Todd Akin run in the same party primary?

    Oh… yeah… he’s operating from the principle of I’m just too cool for political parties, man. No wonder he confuses hatred with patronizing contempt.

  24. 24
    jayackroyd says:

    Pick something politically achievable on the path towards military disengagement from the Middle East. Here’s one: advocate an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan. Does anyone doubt that a hell of a lot fewer innocents would be killed if there was no standing army in the region? As a political proposition, it’s probably achievable. Write your Congressman.

    Really? Pick something politically achievable, write your Congressman and shut the fuck up? That’s your response to that challenge? The whole point is that the policy discussion of the use of drones as a tool of state terrorism (and if you think that’s an exaggeration, you need to click through some links–or read Cole’s response to Sooonergrunt) has been moved into the sphere of deviance, where it DOES NOT BELONG. Sure, the framework of the discussion that Freddie has chosen is “can I vote for this guy, and sleep at night” but the point of the discussion is to get this issue into the domain of public discussion. Because it’s indefensible. Nobody here will defend it on its own terms. On “24” like “we gotta get them evil terrorists and the means don’t matter” terms, sure. But actually going through the exercise Cole went through is not happening. What’s happening is Team O is refusing to acknowledge what this policy is doing–that it’s evil, unAmerican, counter-productive in the short term, and just chock full of Chalmer Johnson blowback in the long run.

  25. 25
    General Stuck says:

    This is the problem when people make political ideology too much of their personal identity, rather than as a set of personal beliefs mostly for the purpose of solving problems created by imperfect hominids, and the doggies that love them.

  26. 26
    Punchy says:

    Is it true that Mitt Romney just has to keep breathing for the entire debate tonite to win it? And there are CPR crews standing by just in case he doesn’t? And there are backup CPR guys to replace the first CPR crew in case they fail? And there will be a CPR instructor on hand to retrain the crews should they forget how to do CPR? And then there’s the dedicated wireless access with a hotlink to the American Red Cross in case the instructor blanks on the proper steps?

  27. 27
    Xenos says:

    The drone warfare is the most limited way of continuing to be involved in the ‘war on terror’ so foolishly embarked on by the last administration. As soon as we cease to be on the offensive we take on a mainly defensive posture, which makes sense strategically but would be a grave act of political malpractice at this point in time. The first serious attempt at a terrorist attack on any American target will be taken as proof that the President fucked up when he stopped taking the fight to the enemy.

    A second-term president can switch to a defensive posture. A second-term president whose Secretary of State wants to run for President can’t even do this – Obama has to be willing to sacrifice the political careers of his entire national security team in order to stand down the drone offensive. I would predict a significant turnover of that team early in the second term if he should want to declare victory and get out of the droning business.

    Under this context, Freddie’s bitching is really idiotic and beside the point. See Tbogg re. Mumia t-shirts, etc.

  28. 28
    amk says:

    cole’s next butthurt post – you’re hurting my lil’ boy freddie. Fuck off, jerks.

  29. 29
    Steve says:

    If you want to talk about a substantive issue like drones, then talk about your issue. Why, I saw two very substantive posts from two combat veterans on this very blog last night.

    What these people are upset about is not that they’re disallowed from talking about drones, because that’s not true. Instead, they’re upset because when they take the additional step of saying they won’t vote for Obama because of drones, that sucks all the oxygen out of the room and the entire debate becomes about whether it’s helpful or harmful to withhold your vote.

    The thing is, they want to be able to play the “I’m not voting for Obama” card as an attention-getting device, but once they have everyone’s attention they want everyone to drop that point and talk only about the underlying issue. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. If you want to be serious, then talk about serious stuff.

  30. 30
    slightly_peeved says:

    As an Australian, every vote in the US looks a bit like Zell Miller vs. Todd Akin. But Australians always vote, and because of our preferential system we have to rank all candidates. It seems like every election in the US large groups of people don’t bother to show up. It seems from my end that refusing to participate in the system has already affected US politics, and it’s had the exact opposite effect to what Freddie proposes.

    If 90% of Americans voted, you’d be seeing Franken vs Feingold, not Akin vs Miller.

  31. 31
    Cassidy says:

    Man. If only emoprogs and fire naggers cared about the poor and hungry at home as much as they cared about DRRRRROOOOOONNNEEEZZ! Can you imagine all the people they could help if they channeled that energy into something with realistic, tangible results?

  32. 32

    I have to say that, in a Senate race, yes, I’d vote for Zell Miller over Akin. I’d rather have somebody who votes the way I want 20% of the time than 0% of the time. It’s true, the gap between 0 and 20 isn’t wide, and there might not be a whole lot of votes where his 20% really means a lot, but there might be some here and there it’s better than nothing. Sometimes we have to take the least shitty choice from a host of bad ones.

    In a presidential race, this wouldn’t even be a question, since the Democratic Party would never nominate Zell Miller to national office. It would never happen.

  33. 33
    pillsy says:

    In addition to all of the other things that argue for Obama in favor of Romney, Obama plans on a 2014 timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan, while Romney says he wants to remain there indefinitely. This isn’t a broader question about which is the lesser of two evils once you set aside an area where they don’t meaningfully differ–if you want to see few people getting blown up by drones in Waziristan then Obama is the better choice, and clearly so.

    The whole debate is frustrating for many reasons, but this is one of them.

  34. 34
    Xenos says:

    @Cassidy:

    Squid cloud of butt hurt. That’s all you had to type.

    Strunk and White would approve.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    mechwarrior online says:

    Just keep in mind that every vote for Obama is a vote for approval of drone strikes. That means liberals can’t bitch about this stuff anymore. We can’t bitch if the right bombs people, kills Americans, and tramples on civil liberties. Because when our guy did it, we voted in approval.

    The right did as well, but if you vote Democratic, you approve of this. End of damn story.

  37. 37
    jayackroyd says:

    Does anyone doubt that a hell of a lot fewer innocents would be killed if there was no standing army in the region?

    That’s actually a difficult question. It’s not at all clear that the US presence is not preventing a Taliban bloodbath. Of course, it’s also not at all clear that a continued US presence will not make the eventual Taliban bloodbath worse.

    There’s a reason to refrain, by default, from the use of force–it pisses people off, and makes it harder for those who would ally with your causes. There are even more reasons to refrain when you don’t really know whom you’re using your violence on. And still when those who feel under threat are expanded to a large fraction of the entire populace.

    I agree with atrios that the anthrax attack did more damage, ultimately, than the 9/11 attacks, because while the 9/11 attack was like a disaster movie, anthrax at YOUR post office was not. The drones are like anthrax–a pervasive threat that could strike at random at any time.

  38. 38
    MattF says:

    I can agree that ‘none of the above’ may be the right choice in an election, but I can’t agree that it’s the right choice in this election. Romney is just too dangerous and too weak– a fatal combination.

  39. 39
    nixnutz says:

    Personally I’m closer to Cole’s position, or Larison’s probably, than to soonergrunt’s but I still think it’s a valid argument and I don’t have anywhere near the certainty that Freddie does. And frankly I don’t trust anyone with that kind of certainty, innocent Muslims are going to keep getting killed, either we’re increasing or decreasing that number, reasonable people can disagree. But Freddie is giving the impression that he’d be perfectly happy to see more dead Muslims if he could feel less culpable and I’m not willing to cede the moral high ground to that position.

  40. 40
    Dan says:

    @mechwarrior online:

    Gosh, I didn’t know that a vote for candidate was actually a blood oath stating that I supported all of his/her positions unreservedly! The More You Know.

  41. 41
    Cassidy says:

    @mechwarrior online: that was some weapons grade dumbass. I am impressed with your ability condense so much bullshit into such a short paragraph. You should give lessons to Freddie and Slackjaw and Zzzzzwhateverthefuck.

  42. 42
    Taylormattd says:

    So even after being talked to by Cole, Freddie continues his whiny, Naderite jihad against other Balloon Juice front pagers, not here on the blog, but elsewhere.

    What a fucking puss.

    And all because they don’t sufficiently loathe Obama. I assume Cole’s response to this will to be to bitch out Soonergrunt.

  43. 43
    Ash Can says:

    Oh for fuck’s sake, not this shit again.

    it asks you to support any reprehensible candidate whatsoever as long as the other guy is worse.

    YES. IT FUCKING WELL DOES. Christ on a cracker, this is NOT rocket science. If we don’t support bad over worse, and worse wins, THAT’S CALLED WORSE. Do I need to draw a fucking picture??

    Yes, get the “reprehensible” candidate elected over the “worse” candidate. Then, by all means, go ahead and hold Mr./Ms. Reprehensible’s feet to the flame on his/her policy, debate the issues, make policy suggestions, criticize etc., up the wazoo. That’s what makes the world go ’round.

    But to refuse to support the Dems until bloody fucking Missouri sends a Bernie Sanders to Washington or to withhold your vote, or vote for Ralph Fucking Nader, because you can’t bring yourself to sully your sensibilities even though it gets Todd Fucking Akin named as head of Health and Human Services under a President Rick Fucking Santorum, is just plain drooling, blithering, mind-crushingly stupid.

    Yes, the killing of innocent civilians is bad, under any circumstances. Yes, the issue of drones is a troublesome policy that should be examined, and most certainly can and should be discussed. But for fuck’s sake, is it too much to ask for that discussion to be done intelligently?

  44. 44
    Sly says:

    @mechwarrior online:

    The right did as well, but if you vote Democratic, you approve of this. End of damn story.

    So you mean I’m approving a policy that will result in less death and destruction than the alternative? I truly wonder how I manage to sleep at night.

  45. 45
    geg6 says:

    @Zagloba:

    I think my favorite part of this discussion so far has been, in the monster 400-post thread, the chiding that the right time to bring all this stuff up would have been primary season. Conveniently forgetting, of course, that when we suggested that a primary challenge would force Obama to answer his critics on the left and engage a counterweight on national policy, we were told in every thread that this would only weaken the party and undercut all the awesome things that Obama is doing for progressive goals.

    Huh. Well, my favorite thing is how none of the so-called “progressives” who chide all of us BJers who don’t agree with them actually answered any of our questions about why they aren’t building support for their positions from the grass roots? Why do they seem to think that they should start at the top of the electoral ladder and not build from the bottom up, the way so many of us supposed Obot-blinded war mongers do? I’m working for the Dems in my locality, my state legislative district, my PA House district, and our Dem Senator. I don’t love Bob Casey or Mark Critz, but they are better than their opposition. And in the case of Critz, it was his primary against Altmire that proved once again that incremental change is about all one can wish for and that working within the party to get that incremental change can, eventually, lead to better candidates. Critz is a better choice for labor and the middle class issues and supports the ACA. Altmire was none of those things. That’s how you get your issues on the table. It’s up to you to drive them there and you can only do that in a credible and realistic way by working to get better candidates from the bottom up.

  46. 46
    JasonF says:

    BTW, how come we have two posts about the Obama tape from yesterday but not a single mention of yesterday’s Paul Ryan tape, in which he writes off 30% of the electorate as irredeemable moochers?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....33730.html

    I suppose now we can have a debate over whether the true number of worthless Americans is 30% or 47% …

  47. 47
    Cassidy says:

    Yup. We’re ghetto over 400 on this one. We have been effectively trolled. We are weak.

  48. 48
    Zagloba says:

    @Cassidy: Did you miss the part about having both conversations?

    Yes, the clear choice in the Prez race is between worser and less worse, and I’m going to vote for less worse. You should too.

    Now: how are we, the nationwide progressive community (and, in my fervid masturbatory dreams, the nationwide progressive voting bloc), going to put political pressure on our allies and chosen representatives in power to correct the evil/illiberal/antidemocratic things they are currently doing in our name?

    (And yes: drones are not the problem. Undeclared endless war on the excuse that those savages over there can’t police themselves is. And no, the AUMF isn’t a declaration of war.)

  49. 49
    Sly says:

    @mechwarrior online:
    Oh shit… I’m supporting a policy that will result in less death and destruction that the realistic alternative? How the fuck will I sleep at night knowing this?

  50. 50
    Sly says:

    @mechwarrior online:
    Oh shit… I’m supporting a policy that will result in less death and destruction that the realistic alternative? How the fuck will I sleep at night knowing this?

  51. 51
    Taylormattd says:

    @amk: lmao.

  52. 52
    ralphdibny says:

    Want to change American politics? You’ve got two options. Work to build a viable third party, or take over one of the two major parties. We’ve seen the Republican party taken over by a group of committed ideologues–it takes about 40 years or so, though you’ll start seeing results after about 20 years.

    Oh, you want to change the world RIGHT NOW, without the 40 years of hard work? Tough sh!t.

  53. 53
    weaselone says:

    he ignored the fact that (and it is a bare fact) many in his community at Balloon Juice and the larger progressive world hate left-wing critics more than conservative Republicans

    Seems more like projection to me. A fair portion of the left-wing critics seem to despise the bulk of progressives for more than they do the Republicans. Republicans are just enemies. The rest of us are vile traitors to the liberal cause.

  54. 54
    slightly_peeved says:

    @mechwarrior online:

    It was good to see how Bush Jr was limited in his declaration of war in Iraq by all the people that refused to participate in the system.

  55. 55
    RSA says:

    @Steve:

    What these people are upset about is not that they’re disallowed from talking about drones, because that’s not true. Instead, they’re upset because when they take the additional step of saying they won’t vote for Obama because of drones, that sucks all the oxygen out of the room and the entire debate becomes about whether it’s helpful or harmful to withhold your vote.

    Exactly. These are two separate issues, in my mind. The party in power has a policy I really don’t like. There are ways to try to change that policy. The second-least effective way to do this is to make a statement by voting for a third party candidate with no chance of winning, reducing the odds that you’ll actually have a say if the opposing party comes into power with policies that are even worse.

  56. 56
  57. 57

    I had some idiot on Twitter tell me I HAVE to vote for Jill Stein because Obama put a Monsanto exec on the FDA. I was then badgered with anti-Monsanto tweets until I could block the person.

    I’m no fan of Monsanto but to say that’s my make-or-break issue is fucking retarded.

  58. 58
    srv says:

    Mistermix, you effectively wave away the topic from discussion. There are any number of criticisms of Obama’s policies which aren’t met with any rational discussion, but screams of firebagger, or just not covered by FPs. The BJ mob is quite definitely a toe-the-line echo sphere now and not a place in which many would feel comfortable being a contrarian or wanting to play a part in influencing opinion.

    Really, the only outlier on some of these topics is John, whether he really does believe strongly on one or two of these topics or he’s just trying to stir things up because the rest of you front pagers all think alike – whether that’s his fault or you democrat bloggers just can’t get outside the box.

    I know, I know, it’s much easier to assume Freddie has ulterior motives rather than think he doesn’t well know that expressing those opinions here would get a 100 comments of “

  59. 59
    Pathman says:

    @Walker: “Cognitive dissonance is the term used in modern psychology to describe the state of holding two or more conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment.[1]”

    So, Obama is a “decent democrat” who also does these horrible things like bombing brown children. Those aren’t two conflicting cognition’s?

  60. 60

    So what would these people do of they were lost in the wild somewhere for days, and came upon two pools of water, one of which had oily looking sludge running into it, and nothing alive in it at all, and the other thick with algae? Now, I’d be kind of unhappy myslef with this choice, but in a pince, I’d drink from the algae pool and head on, hoping to find cleaner water, or even to find my way back home, later on.

    Would these people indignantly and peevishly bitch and moan about the lousy choices and then leave them both behind because it’s better to die righteously of thirst than to drink dirty water? And more to the point, what if they had somebody with them, a child or somebody sick or hurt? Would they blithely pull their charges away from water that, if not really healthy, would at least keep them alive?

  61. 61
    different-church-lady says:

    Would Mistermix vote for Zell Miller, if the alternative were, say, Todd Akin? And would he be similarly angered by criticism of Miller as he is towards that of Obama?

    Jesus F. Pogostick, ZELL MILLER AND OBAMA EXIST ON DIFFERENT PLANETS. OBAMA IS NOT MILLER! This hypothetical is IDIOTIC AND USELESS.

    Seriously, Freddie, this is an insult you’ve earned: fuck your big brain if you’re going to waste it on completely stupid shit like this.

    It’s not about relative voting. It’s about the fact that Obama is not a monster. There’s a real damn election happening and you’re playing fantasy election in your own private think tank for one. Screw this noise.

  62. 62
    tomvox1 says:

    he ignored the fact that (and it is a bare fact) many in his community at Balloon Juice and the larger progressive world hate left-wing critics more than conservative Republicans

    Oh, come on now. Is Freddie 16 years old? I mean sure I and a lot of us might really, really dislike professional “progressive” demotivators and purity concern trolls like Hamsher & Greenwald. But hell, they really have very little power in the scheme of things, unlike, say, a cock like Mitch McConnell or even a rancid criminal like Ralph Reed, both of whom I hate infinitely more.

    And also, young Freddie should probably be reminded of that whole 2000 election thingy when pretty much this same argument was made about Gore = Bush and protest by voting for Nader or just take your vote and go home, that’ll show ’em. And the results of that election kind of, you know, left a mark on us Democrats. But maybe Freddie was still in grade school in 2000 and doesn’t have a real recollection of how that completely fucked the country for, oh, until right now and the foreseeable future actually.

  63. 63
    Karmakin says:

    Xenos is right. If you want to stop drones, you need to convince a good number of Americans not to freak the hell out if there’s another terrorist attack and not blame the politician who decided to take a more defensive stance.

    Good luck with that. And that’s not sarcasm, but I do think that it’s a tough road to go down. You’re staring American Exceptionalism right in the face there.

    Edit: When people talk about grassroots change, they’re not even just talking about local politicians. They’re talking about changing the minds of voters.

  64. 64
    Jim says:

    Funny how FDB squares “sneering liberal bloggers are afraid that their ideas won’t stand up if they actually have to debate them” with “tbogg is the reason we have drones.”

    It’s really pretty simple. Individual people can vote for whoever they want. One vote never matters and it never will, so who cares? Write in Jill Stein, sure. But if your proposition is that it would be better for progressive goals for Obama to lose the election, then you need to actually say that and provide at least some scintilla of evidence to support it. There’s a reason nobody can, and that’s because it’s self-evidently ridiculous.

  65. 65
    Zagloba says:

    @geg6: Well, my favorite thing is how none of the so-called “progressives” who chide all of us BJers who don’t agree with them actually answered any of our questions about why they aren’t building support for their positions from the grass roots?

    I do. I’m involved in local grassroots efforts, and hope to do more of that after I escape the clutches of grad school. One of the difficulties there is, most of the existing grassroots here (Tennessee) are in areas, like LGBT equality, that Obama and the Dems have been fairly good on — it’s much easier to do grassroots organizing on a cause if you’ve already got some power in your corner.

    (Or if everyone you know is dying. That tends to focus minds.)

    You tell me how someone’s going to get grassroots organizing built from the ground up on an issue like drone strikes in particular and low-level constant warfare more generally. Not one to move masses, that issue. Doesn’t make it any less of a horror.

  66. 66
    slightly_peeved says:

    @srv:

    So who called who a monster? Remind me.

    While refusing to vote for Obama has been called counter-productive, I didn’t think anyone was describing it as flat-out malicious. Or evidence of belonging to a cult.

  67. 67
    NCSteve says:

    he ignored the fact that (and it is a bare fact) many in his community at Balloon Juice and the larger progressive world hate left-wing critics more than conservative Republicans, and this has serious consequences for our politics.

    You know what I hate about “left wing critics?” I hate the fact that they hate the people to their immediate right more than they hate the people to their far, far far, right with real potential to do harm to them, to me and to the nation. People like Jim DeMint, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Todd Akin, Steve King, Pam Geller, Jim Inhoffe, or any of the other wingnut extremists who’d gleefully lock them up in concentration camps and make them do forced labor on an inadequate diet for the rest of their lives. The fact that their actions and words indicate that they hate me far more than they hate those people, or at least think I’m far more dangerous than they are, does kind of make me hate them back whenever I spare the time to think about them now that they’ve rendered themselves utterly irrelevant.

    Funny how that works.

    I’ll grant you that most of them don’t actually hate Obama as much as they hate his supporters. But ultimately, yeah, when I’m manning the walls of civilization facing down a barbarian horde that want to breach the gates, rape, pillage and plunder the city, murder everyone or thing that survives the pillage and rapine, and then burn down whatever’s too heavy or too cheap to steal, I have no use whatsofuckingever for people who’d rather stand behind me and whine about the general than get up onto the ramparts and shoot at the fucking barbarians.

    And I really have no use for the ones who’d rather backshoot the people manning the walls until only the ideologically pure and right-minded remain than get up onto the fucking wall with me shoot at the fucking barbarians.

    And, above all, I have no use for the ones who’d rather form “tactical alliances” with the barbarians and let them burn down the goddamn city than see it ruled by the splitters in the PFLJ. Yeah, I’m talking to you Jane “BFF with Grover Norquist Because You Didn’t Get Your Public Option Pony” Hamsher.

    But given that the above is just a metaphor, albeit one I think that is frighteningly apt, let add that the one single thing I find most infuriating about the firebagging freddies out here in the non-metaphorical world is their perpetual state of outraged grievance and self-proclaimed martyrdom because anyone dares to disagree with them. I’m talking about the towering self-righteousness that leads them to whine that anyone who dares take a position contrary to theirs is trying to “silence” them. The belief that their dissent is so intrinsically righteous and self-evidently correct simply by virtue of the fact that it is dissent, that no one is entitled to a contrary opinion. The self-assumed mantle of victimhood that comes with the belief that anyone who argues with them, whether about substance, about tactics or about timing, is some kind hobnailed jackboot wearing neofascist ally of the far right who’s stomping all over their sacred right to free speech rather than, say, just another person exercising his own right to free speech.

    Yeah, that’s the part that just makes me crazy. The “I have a right to free speech but if you use your right to free speech to oppose what I say, you’re oppressing me” thing.

  68. 68
    FlipYrWhig says:

    This person is a spectacular dink, and the idea that he is curled up in a ball under a blankie crying about the evil of this world is laughable. Go the fuck away, Freddie de Boer, and fuck you very much, John Cole, for making me in the least aware of his sorry-ass existence.

  69. 69
    danimal says:

    Perhaps the way to change the fricking policy is to move the polls, which I’m sure show a hefty majority of Americans in support of drone strikes against terrorists. Blog outrages and campaigns against voting for Obama are only going to have tiny impacts. Too many Americans don’t think the drone strikes are wrong; this is the key issue that must be understood and then addressed. I’m ambivalent myself, drone strikes are better than invasions, but I would like to eventually pull out of the Middle East cesspool altogether.

    If drone strikes are your issue, your better off making your outrage about the immorality of drone strikes themselves, and not about your principled, moral stand against the president. One is centered around the policy, and one is centered around ego and publicity. Make the case that drone strikes are wrong, either tactically or morally or both, and give alternatives that sell to the American population.

    Also, too, pay off a number of senators and reps with more cash than the warmonger industry.

  70. 70
    geg6 says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Not much different than what we have in this little imbroglio here, is it? OBAMA: HISTORY’S GREATEST MONSTER! Because doesn’t conform to my opinion on some random given issue! I’m taking my votes and going home to pout on my FB page about how mean BJ frontpagers are making fun of my hard line on some random issue!

    I hate this shit. It’s stupid and juvenile and selfish. As I get older, the less tolerance I have for it. Which is probably why I don’t find many in my age group and social circle who say stupid shit like this. When these assholes can get as worked up about the thousands and thousands of innocent people in this nation alone who die horrible deaths from lack of health insurance, poverty, lack of gun control, environmental disaster, and the erosion of a woman’s ability to make reproductive choices as they do about the deaths of a few hundred innocents, I might consider taking them seriously. Until then, they are dilettantes who only care about themselves and their own feelings.

  71. 71
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NCSteve:

    the one single thing I find most infuriating about the firebagging freddies out here in the non-metaphorical world is their perpetual state of outraged grievance and self-proclaimed martyrdom because anyone dares to disagree with them.

    This. Motherfucking this, for all time, 24/7. It’s CONSTANT. It’s like how in the 19th century people would go to visit Niagara Falls just for the purposes of fainting at the overwhelmingness of it all.

  72. 72
    Egilsson says:

    The answer to Freddie’s perfectly legitimate question is not whether you express criticism but when and how you do it.

    I fully support bashing Obama’s foreign policy on drones, civil rights, whatever floats your boat (and I have done that). But when the time for the vote comes, you need to pull the lever for the guy who’s better than the other guy – particularly if the other guy wants to gut health care or shred the social safety net or totally empower the oligarchs. If you can’t recognize those priorities, your judgement is poor. All those Nader voters in FL have a lot to answer for, imho.

    I remember when Edwin Edwards was running for governor against David Duke in LA. Everyone knew that Edwards was a crook, but they had to pull the lever for him because a KKK member simply was unacceptable. The slogan was “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important.” Obama is no Edwards, and I’m proud to be an Obama supporter, donor, volunteer. However, I understand those who may not be proud about it… but they should still pull that lever. It’s important.

  73. 73
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    Since Obama is popular and direct attacks on Him over drones suck the oxygen out of the room, perhaps if one wishes to persuade others, the focus should be taken off Obama and directed somewhere else. I would be happy to start referring to Panetta as Leon Rumsfeld or Even the Democrat’s Rumsfeld if it gets us off this weeklong purity vs party feast.

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Zagloba: I think that, to a certain extent, once you get to the presidential contender level, the die is already cast. One must pick the best alternative or least bad if that is how one views it. The people who are seen as serious and presidential come with a limited set of views and thus options. The place where one can really make a difference is in selecting the new up and comers. Congressional primaries are a great place to move the Overton window. Push the leftmost person who has a chance of winning. Do it everywhere, every election. It will have an effect.

  75. 75
    Ash Can says:

    @Pathman:

    So, Obama is a “decent democrat” who also does these horrible things like bombing brown children attacks terrorists using drones because, while not avoiding innocent civilian deaths altogether, drones minimize those deaths, as well as the deaths of our own military personnel, relative to alternative means of warfare. Those aren’t two conflicting cognition’s?

    No, they’re not. Too bad about your strawman, sport.

  76. 76
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @danimal:

    If drone strikes are your issue, your better off making your outrage about the immorality of drone strikes themselves, and not about your principled, moral stand against the president.

    At this point it’s not even the president. The entire thing involves keening and wailing so that someone else will say, “so, what do you suggest that we do about it?” Whereupon you act grievously wounded that the other person isn’t wailing in the proper key along with you, which must be because he is insufficiently thoughtful, or insufficiently wracked by conscience. It also has the advantage of letting the discussion stay stuck with a bunch of wallowing in a well-nurtured performance of self-righteousness that never _does_ have to be translated into political action. Because translating emotion into political action denies the emotion its pure essence, or something. Fuck him and tell him to stop pretending to cry.

  77. 77
    Zagloba says:

    @Karmakin: Xenos is right. If you want to stop drones, you need to convince a good number of Americans not to freak the hell out if there’s another terrorist attack and not blame the politician who decided to take a more defensive stance.

    Exactly. There is a way that involves neither boots on the Middle Eastern ground nor drones in the Middle Eastern skies: it involves the US using good old-fashioned police work to detect terrorist plots here.

    Difficulty: one also has to somehow get Americans to stop losing their shit over any attacks which make it through that screen. And that fight is up against a whole host of human cognitive biases.

  78. 78
    Raven says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Dink must not mean what it used to.

  79. 79
    MBunge says:

    @srv: “There are any number of criticisms of Obama’s policies which aren’t met with any rational discussion”

    Only if by “rational discussion” you mean, “everyone must automatically agree with me without question”.

    Mike

  80. 80
  81. 81
    different-church-lady says:

    New tag: WOULD YOU VOTE FOR HITLER EATING A LIVE PUPPY IF HE HAD A (D) AFTER HIS NAME?

  82. 82
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Egilsson: Every decision we ever make is like that. Unless you’re a Native American subsisting on your own food and walking everywhere, you are in a position where you have benefited from something unethical or immoral that a government or business has done. Is Freddie de Boer consumed by guilt and heartache every time he eats a piece of fruit because by doing so he’s validating a system that exploits migrant workers and poisons the planet? I highly doubt that. He just wants to strut the strut of the histrionically just.

  83. 83

    @JasonF:

    I looked at the clip. Ryan is such a dickwad. This fuckface was born into one of the leading families, one of the richest families in his town, used government survivor benefits he got after his father died so he could go to college, and has done, what, since? Run for office? Keep himself and his family healthy through the government-paid health insurance he gets as a congressman? (Mind you, I’m not implying that those in public service or elected office are leeches, only that he himself doesn’t stack up as one of the “makers” under his own definition.)

    He’s a lying weasel, a self-absorbed, lying, hypocritical, selfish, sadistic asshole. This guy can’t fall into the political oblivion he has so tirelessly earned fast enough. The sad thing is that there are too many of these turds like him to count, and they’re all scrabbling their way up behind him. I fear we’ll never be rid of these creatures.

  84. 84
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Raven: I use it as a diminutive version of “dick.” Like “dick” plus “tool,” averaged out. If that’s wrong, trust me, I have more.

  85. 85
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Egilsson: Exactly right. I had a choice six years ago to vote for fake astronaut Blue Dog Bill Nelson or Katherine Harris, architect of the Great 2000 FL Vote Heist. I voted for Nelson. And I’ll vote for the bastard again this year over Connie Mack the 15th. I would have voted for Zell Miller if he were the only other viable alternative. How can anyone not get this, especially after 2000?

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Does it count as irony that any discussion of “drones” has become itself dull and monotonous?

  87. 87
    srv says:

    @slightly_peeved: the Conor example is an extreme and not a democrat to begin with. As John tries to make the point in his post, there are many who disagree on policy. They are larglely marginalized here or told to STFU or go out and create their own party. Many or most of these people are in fact going to vote for Obama, but feel marginalized because their pet issues are pilloried.

    I know it’s quite beyond the capacity of the mob here, but if the environment was more conducive to handling those disagreements rather than parody or strawmen, y’all might win over a few more folks.

  88. 88
    amk says:

    @NCSteve:

    I hate the fact that they hate the people to their immediate right more than they hate the people to their far, far far, right with real potential to do harm to them, to me and to the nation. People like Jim DeMint, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Todd Akin, Steve King, Pam Geller, Jim Inhoffe, or any of the other wingnut extremists who’d gleefully lock them up in concentration camps and make them do forced labor on an inadequate diet for the rest of their lives. The fact that their actions and words indicate that they hate me far more than they hate those people, or at least think I’m far more dangerous than they are, does kind of make me hate them back whenever I spare the time to think about them now that they’ve rendered themselves utterly irrelevant.

    This.

  89. 89
    Persia says:

    @Raven: The Feminist Majority Foundation first started their campaign against the Taliban’s brutal policies toward women in 1997, so….

    But of course us ladies don’t matter. We should shut up and let the men do what’s best for us like always.

    (And that was a five-second Google search. There’s plenty more out there.)

  90. 90
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Betty Cracker: And especially when, you know, holding out for a liberal hero is very unlikely to pay off in the vast majority of districts. Tim Kaine isn’t particularly liberal, but he’s about as liberal as a Virginia senator is going to get. Someone farther left and more exciting could have run against him in the primary, and that would have been cool, but at a certain point you have to think “defense” as well as “offense.”

  91. 91
    Cassidy says:

    @NCSteve: “You’ve gotta respect everyone’s beliefs.” No, you don’t. That’s what gets us in trouble. Look, you have to acknowledge everyone’s beliefs, and then you have to reserve the right to go: “That is fucking stupid. Are you kidding me?” I acknowledge that you believe that, that’s great, but I’m not going to respect it. I have an uncle that believes he saw Sasquatch. We do not believe him, nor do we respect him!”
    — Patton Oswalt

  92. 92
    RP says:

    The fundamental problem that I see with the people criticizing the drones is that they often beg the question by simply asserting that Obama’s use of the drones is indefensible and evil. e.g., “Given that Obama is doing something so horrible, how can I vote for him?” But it’s not a given that the drones are horrible; it’s a complicated issue and reasonable arguments on both sides. People like FDB kick and scream because many of us won’t simply accept their initial premise as truth.

  93. 93
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Raven: And the backers of Taliban, i.e. ISI and the Pakistani military that propped up the Taliban regime. They are not going to just sit and do nothing. Boring Freddie’s supposition is wrong.

  94. 94
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @srv:

    I know it’s quite beyond the capacity of the mob here, but if the environment was more conducive to handling those disagreements rather than parody or strawmen, y’all might win over a few more folks.

    The “left” critique is not known for its practitioners’ concern for winning over anybody. It’s all bomb-throwing and guilt-mongering and a complete failure to acknowledge that the people making the critique are small in number and hence necessarily _in need of persuading people_. But that is never considered. Only lofty denunciation punctuated by what Thomas Paine said of Edmund Burke’s writings on the French Revolution, “a weeping effect.”

  95. 95
    Dave says:

    “Politics is not morality” is apparently a very subtle proposition that self-styled critics from the left do not understand. It’s exasperating.

  96. 96

    @Zagloba:

    Forgive me if I’m misunderstanding you or mistakenly belittling you, but it looks to me like you’re complaining that wearying, tiresome, thankless organizing work is too damned hard to bother with. If I’m wrong, then tell me so.

    But, shit, who said this would be easy? Just look at how long it took the Republicans to get where they are. The reactionary, bigoted, sexist, WATB right-wing nuts began working to take the party over 40 years ago. A lot of these assholes never lived to see their hard work pay off. But they did it anyway.

    I’m all for wrenching the country to the left. I’d love to see a U.S. where, as somebody above wrote, Russ Feingold and Al Franken could run against each other in the primary in Missouri and either could go on to win in November. I want to see that happen. But nobody will ever bring it about by pouting or peevishly witholding their votes from the Democrats because they still have to run in states lile Missouri, so the party isn’t as liberal as we’d like it to be. Wishing for it or pouting because it hasn’t happened yet won’t do shit to make it happen. Only long hours of thankless work will.

    In the meanwhile, we have to work with what we have. And, whatever Freddie de Boer and Conor Friedersdorf and who knows what other tools say, sitting out in November or voting for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein doesn’t do shit to get the country heading the way we want it to go.

  97. 97
    different-church-lady says:

    I think I’ve finally put my finger on it: choosing who you vote for and undermining a different candidate are two different actions. Two different actions that get constantly, and perhaps deliberately confused for each other and rolled into one..

    If you find yourself thinking, “I like this Johnson guy, I’ll vote for him, he’s better than Obama,” fine.

    If you find yourself thinking, “I gotta convince people not to vote for Obama or the system’s never going to change…” The consequences of that line of thought have been explained innumerable times and the people who don’t get it by now willfully don’t get it.

    How about telling me what would make Gary Johnson a good president WITHOUT using Obama as a reference point?

  98. 98
    NCSteve says:

    Does anyone doubt that a hell of a lot fewer innocents would be killed if there was no standing army in the region?

    Um, yeah. I do. Do you really think there’s not going to be a slaughter if those fine, reasonable fellows from the Taliban take back over?

    The willful blindness of liberals to what’s going to happen to girls and women in that country if this is all for naught, or if we cause it to be all for naught, horrifies me.

  99. 99
    srv says:

    @MBunge: I know this is a widely held belief here, but even people who have pet issues are not as monoliithic as all that. There are any number of democrats or self-proclaimed moderates I’ve interacted with in the last few months who have pet issues concerning them, and we were quite able to talk about them, and I hope not screaming firebagger or wingnut or somesuch at them might influence their vote positively.

    BJ is not such a place.

    You can always find an extremist to rationalize a strawman. Both sides have gotten really good at it.

  100. 100
    Crusty Dem says:

    As I tried to post at Freddie’s (somehow it never appeared), the whole “I will not vote for a president who kills children with bombs/drones/bullets. Etc” is an effective emotional argument, but a really shitty rational one. In the end, if you demand that your president share your positions, you might as well go into the voting booth and write in your own name. Then you can spend the next four years telling everyone proudly how you voted for someone who would never _________.

    And if you think that’s a strawman, exactly how is voting for someone you know cannot be elected any different?

  101. 101
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @RP: Even beyond that, it’d be more accurate to say that “drone policy” or “drone accidents” are horrible. The signature of the bad-faith drone critique, IMHO, is the insistence on muddying the difference between drones done right and drones done wrong, such that you can say inflammatory things about how drones done wrong might as well _be_ deliberate policy, e.g., “bombing wedding parties” or “blowing up children.”

    It’s not that hard to realize that the point of contention is how to craft guidelines to minimize accidents and discourage cavalier trigger-pulling. If you can do that, then A Drone is no different from a gun, and no one pretends to lie awake at night because American soldiers have guns and sometimes the bullets come down where they’re not supposed to. And if you can’t do that, if it’s a kind of weapon that is just too inherently dangerous and unpredictable to use in any circumstances because its results are atrocious, we should know about that. It seems a bit far-fetched, but it has certainly happened before, e.g. napalm or depleted uranium.

    And that’s the real discussion Soonergrunt started the other night. And that’s not at all this bullshit Freddie de Boer wants to roll around in to feel like the great lefty martyr of the intolerant Obama-bot blogosphere.

  102. 102
    RareSanity says:

    Why doesn’t Freddie address his critics here directly?

    I saw JC’s post where he claims that he “doesn’t want to stir shit up”, but Cole addressed that directly, by saying, “WTF, Dude!? That’s how B-J rolls…we stir shit up!”

    But he is still “responding” in his own controlled environment? Seems pretty chickenshit if you ask me…

    The fact of the matter is, if the use of drones is really your single, non-negotiable policy item…the question is not, “Who do I vote for?”, the question is, “Which of the two candidates do I believe there is a better chance of convincing to cease the practice?”

    It’s not like Romney is promising to end the practice, or has any amount of conscience, to even think there’s anything wrong with it. In the reality that exists today, the best chance to end the practice, is to re-elect Obama, and then begin a concerted effort to convince the candidate that DOES have a conscience, to abandon use of the practice.

    He may not do it, but does anyone seriously think, that even if he didn’t stop it, that him not being President is in the best interest of the country right now? Or, do you feel like the country needs to experience the pain of a Romney Presidency, so it will magically attribute that pain to the use of drones, and demand an end to the practice.

    Everybody has a policy that they want to see happen right now. For me it’s the Federal government running fiber to every house, farm, apartment, outpost, and outhouse in the Union. Making high-speed internet access a Federally controlled, and maintained, utility. Tht shit’s probably not gonna happen in the next 4 years either. That doesn’t mean I start pouting and register a “spite” vote, against the better option for President.

    Geez, what a fuckin’ diva…

  103. 103
    Marc says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Freddie is the guy who writes rage-filled attacks on people. When you follow the links you find out that either he didn’t even get the author right or he generates arguments on the other side that the person in question didn’t even make. It’s stunningly bad blogging. He may or may not have a point in any given piece, but I can’t get around the virtual certainty that his stated opponent doesn’t actually say or believe the terrible things that they’re being accused of.

    This has nothing to do with drones or ideology. It’s reading comprehension, fairness, and intellectual honesty (or the lack thereof.)

  104. 104
    magurakurin says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    If I’m not mistaken, Raven is a Vietnam era veteran. The word had a specific meaning in that war, I believe.

  105. 105

    Wow, last time I was here Balloon Juice was a neocon hellhole. Now it’s a “progressive” hellhole. Who knew? Here’s some of your history, all you vote-for-Obama-and-shut-the-f-up “progressives”:

    “I wouldn’t mind if Justin Raimondo or Barbara Boxer or Sheila Jckson Lee or any number of chowderheads were silenced.” http://bit.ly/ODc4VE

  106. 106
    different-church-lady says:

    @RP:

    But it’s not a given that the drones are horrible

    I think it’s a given they’re horrible. But I also think they’re less horrible than almost all the other workable alternatives.

    I think what might be going on is that the hard left have realized they’ve lost the rhetoric war about getting out of Afghanistan and they’re trying a new trick to get attention. Honestly, I really don’t understand exactly what we’re trying to do over there, and I’d like to see us out. But I’ve lived in the real world long enough to realize that once you’ve gone in you don’t just pull up stakes and evacuate. Drones are a lot “better” than some of the other things we could be doing, and as long as we’re there, we’re going to be doing things.

    So, I humbly request people stop yammering about drones and start talking about how withdrawal ought to go. Because if you’re being genuine about your concern that we’re killing “brown children” then that’s the only way it’s gonna stop. Your fucking precious emotional franchise isn’t going to do it.

  107. 107
    MikeJ says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The signature of the bad-faith drone critique, IMHO, is the insistence on muddying the difference between drones done right and drones done wrong,

    That’s the second most annoying one. More annoying is “there’s no difference between dropping one bomb on one guy and invading the wrong country with half a million troops.”

  108. 108
    kwAwk says:

    Freddie makes a good point about Balloon Juicers. They hate the right wing, but any criticism of Obama from the left will get you labeled as a troll here.

    Cole will even go so far as to basically say ‘Get the fuck off my blog!’ if you aren’t in 100% agreement with Obama or atleast dare to publically criticize him.

    This shows up in the constant references to PUMAs to refer to anybody who expresses an opinion contrary to Obama from the left. As if the folks at KOS or FDL or Glenn Greenwald were all just bitter Hillary supporters who are still trying to take it out on Obama.

  109. 109
    Persia says:

    @Justin Raimondo: I don’t think that link means what you think it means.

  110. 110
    Marc says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    The people discussing drones on comment boards, by and large, are honestly motivated. The people egging them on – like Greenwald – are deliberately crafting deceptive propaganda. They have figured out that they can define a narrow metric (drones) that Obama has used more than Bush. So they can craft an “Obama worse than Bush” definition that is technically true but dishonest. Because, of course, the real question is that of civilian casualties. And on that score Obama is far, far better than Bush – and, of course, the Taliban slaughters many more innocents, and will kill vastly more if they get back into power.

    You get a lot of vague, largely unsupportable rhetoric on why drones by themselves are somehow worse – ones that have no empirical data, no relative comparisons (e.g. drones vs. air strikes), and some assertions that somehow the Washington politicians would care a little more if we adopted methods that killed more US soldiers. 10+ years of a ground war in Afghanistan suggests otherwise to me, but what do I know?

    At this point I treat the drone complainers (as opposed to those worried about civilian casualties overall, or war at all, whom I respect) as either people who have been misled or those deliberately stoking anti-Obama sentiments with a misleading argument.

  111. 111
    Karmakin says:

    To be honest, I was speaking out and trying to educate people about the Taliban way back in 1997. There was a bit of discussion about it way back when on alt.atheism.

    (Internet Old)

  112. 112
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Justin Raimondo: You are assuming that the same people who were commenting then are commenting now.

  113. 113
    Dave says:

    @kwAwk: Are you nuts? Cole is one of the biggest critics of Obama’s drone policy on this site.

    The issue is Freddie calling people “monsters” because they aren’t willing to engage in the inanity of “Obama is as bad as Romney so vote third party” or some other bullshit.

  114. 114
    different-church-lady says:

    @kwAwk: Yes, you’re so right, and the number of times Cole has slammed Obama for drones and agreed with Greenwald on the front page completely confirms that!

    You know who should get off this blog? People who say lazy-ass shit.

  115. 115
    pillsy says:

    @kwAwk:

    So since Cole just put up a post criticising Obama from the left, is he going to tell himself to get the fuck off his blog?

    Just curious.

  116. 116
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @srv: “BJ is not such a place.”

    I read Soonergrunt’s drone thread. People did a pretty damn good job of discussing real issues and not lobbing too many insults. It can be done; too often, the FPers start the ball rolling themselves.

  117. 117
    slightly_peeved says:

    @srv:

    The whole concept of vote deal breakers, as espoused by Freddie, prevents rational discussion. Rational discussion is driven by questions. Freddie already has his answers.

  118. 118
    Chris says:

    @Egilsson:

    The slogan was “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important.”

    The slogan in French politics in 2002 was “vote for the crook, not the fascist.” Which is essentially my view of U.S. politics.

  119. 119
    Alex S. says:

    Bloggers who blog about education always write too long pieces. It’s almost like Freddie is an alter ego of Erik Kain (who is now blogging mostly about video games and music).

  120. 120
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It’s amazing what can happen when the front pager puts in an honest effort, eh?

  121. 121
    magurakurin says:

    @kwAwk:

    uhh, no.

    What gets people “labeled as a troll” is saying things like “Obama is worse than Bush,” or by making the case that Obama losing to Rmoney will in anyway be a good thing for anyone anywhere. Cause it won’t. And probably least of all for a lot of “brown babies” in Iran.

    but, you know, whatever.

  122. 122
    Marc says:

    Oh, and the far left has always hated the left, and the left has always had to disavow the extremists to retain credibility. There is actually a long history of a parallel dynamic on the right.

    I view the Bush years as a temporary and anomalous alliance, not the natural state of things. Because we disagree on a hell of a lot of things, and these things matter deeply to the people involved.

  123. 123
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @MikeJ: That’s bad too. I’m even more annoyed than usual over the performances of being stricken by conscience over this. I just don’t believe it, not for a moment. No one’s conscience works that way, to be plagued like Lady Macbeth over the idea of drones in Pakistan but not at all bothered by innumerable other past and present objectionable policies overseen by the US government that have cost innocent people their lives. I guara-damn-tee you that Freddie isn’t going to write about how the understaffing of the USDA means more children dying of food-borne illness and thus he can’t sully himself by voting for Barack Obama, who hasn’t done enough to change that. If his conscience twanged the way he says it does, it should be vibrating constantly to the point where he can barely function and he has to lie in bed around the clock because of the onerous burden of his woe.

  124. 124
    srv says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Forest for trees.

    It really amazes me that this particular parody is based primarily of the likes of GG and Conor. Let me help you with that. GG and Conor are not democrats of the left. This should be a big shock to you, but I realize it is irrelevant to your memesphere. Freddie’s political stripes are pretty arcana and have been labelled so many times by the commentariat that I really don’t know what it is. But I do believe his pet issues are important to him and that there are many like him who might be won over or at least placated if there was a little more effort to persuade and not pillory.

    You people lucked out with Romney. Imagine if you needed those votes you are so eager to dismiss.

  125. 125
    different-church-lady says:

    @Marc:

    There is actually a long history of a parallel dynamic on the right.

    Yes, but it is now just that: history.

  126. 126
    GR says:

    It seems that (at least part of) the problem is that people view their vote in the presidential election as the only meaningful political act they have. But it’s not! In many ways, it’s probably one of the least important!

    While it’s true that the US is a republic and not an actual, honest-to-god democracy, the most important political acts are those that happen on a local level — talking to your neighbors, calling your congressunit, voting for dog-catcher, whatever. When a large majority abdicates the day-to-day politics to the Washington Very Serious Person class, we are in trouble. Think of what things could be like if the 2008 crowd hadn’t stayed home two years later…

    Look, I hate the dronz — I think using them without transparency or accountability is immoral, illegal, and likely setting us up for some major blowback in ten or twenty years when all those kids in pakistan grow up. And I’m going to keep bitching about it to my representatives in Congress (which in my mind, is as if not more responsible than Obama for this mess). But until a majority of Americans agree with me, witholding a vote from Obama isn’t going to accomplish anything useful, and may in fact lead to a much worse outcome. Yes, it sucks, but that’s politics for you — it sucks and is hard and requires compromise. But by all means get mad and protest and yell and get out on the streets. That’s how change happens, albeit gradually and slowly.

    It’s the same reason I think all the third parties are idiots for focusing on the presidential race every time… until you have a metrick fuckload of mayors, county executives, and local judges that are in your party (or at least share your beliefs), what’s the point? It’s just preening. The teabaggers and current Republican bumper crop of crazies didn’t just show up out of nowhere, they’re the culmination of a 40+ year project of delegitimizing the state.

    Our project of turning the United States into a socialist worker’s paradise left-leaning social democracy is going to take an equally long time, given all the damage that’s been done to the image of the State in the public’s mind. I have to believe that the arc of history does bend towards justice, and I’m not going to pout and take my toys home because we haven’t yet reached the promised land.

  127. 127
    RP says:

    @different-church-lady: As FYW noted, I should have been more specific and said that it’s not a given that Obama’s drone policy is horrible. Of course it’s a given that war is horrible, but that’s very different point. And it’s a given that innocent people being killed by drones is horrible. But whether or not drones are better or worse than other weapons, or the approval process for the strikes is lawful, or whether our strategy in general against AQ is logical, are complicated issues.

  128. 128
    kwAwk says:

    @pillsy:

    @different-church-lady:

    Cole does toss a bone about being against Obama’s drone strikes when he absolutely has to, but try having a discussion about Obama’s other shortcomings on this blog.

    Such as his fondness for giving the Republicans most of what they want and then reaching out to negotiate with them so that he can give them the rest of what they want.

  129. 129
    RP says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’ve been reluctant to make this point, but I agree 100%. I just don’t buy that this is a make or break issue for many people.

  130. 130
    Marc says:

    @different-church-lady:

    And how. Eventually the money people will retake the party and there will be a purge. But we may need to wait a decade for that, or more.

  131. 131
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Marc:

    Because, of course, the real question is that of civilian casualties. And on that score Obama is far, far better than Bush

    To flip the script for the moment, I think the critics would say that civilian casualties are a red-line moral issue that shouldn’t be discussed in comparative terms — to wit, any civilian casualty is a tragedy and guilt attaches to anyone involved in any incident. But I don’t think we’re ever going to get to a place where we declare that, since all civilian casualties are horrible and no ballistic weapon can reduce that number to zero, weapons just must not be used.

    Honestly, the whole thing smacks of obfuscation. I don’t see any way that “drones” are the issue, or even “drone policy” or “drone accidents” like I said before. The issue can only be “war with an ill-defined enemy.” “Because we can’t be sure who we’re shooting at, we shouldn’t shoot at all.” So, you know, say that. But for the love of God, don’t use this Focus on the Family-esque “poor baybeez” maneuver time and time again.

  132. 132
    magurakurin says:

    @kwAwk:

    why the fuck do you read his blog then, if Cole and the commenters here are a such a losers?

    I personally read it for the jokes, the varying degrees of insight, and the opinions that I consider to be sane and rational. When I read Google News, I get enough of the insane and irrational.

    Do you think you’re on some sort of mission to correct wrong thinking? Or are you just a socially inept fuckwit with literally nothing better to do than call the host and commenters on a C rank blog losers?

    either way, fuck off, mate.

  133. 133

    @Persia:

    Yes, you’re so right: saying you want to silence people you disagree doesn’t mean wanting to silence people you disagree with.

    Yesterday’s neocons, today’s “liberals” — they think alike, look alike, and act alike.

  134. 134
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @RP: I would argue that the number of people who consider the expanded drone program a dealbreaker are offset by a number of people who are happy to vote for a President who is “taking it” to an amorphous enemy and “keeping us strong.” Americans are just perverse that way.

  135. 135
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @srv: I believe in persuasion. The whole Jurgen Habermas deliberative public sphere and all that. But, I’m sorry, the self-styled “left” critics here and elsewhere have shown zero interest in such a thing. And that’s built into the whole stance: to be “left” means not sacrificing your principles to realpolitik or pragmatism, which means, in turn, that persuasion cannot work, because to be persuaded is to admit that your principles are malleable after all.

  136. 136

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    That was the Master of Ceremonies Himself, John Cole.

  137. 137
    amk says:

    @slightly_peeved:

    Rational discussion is driven by questions. Freddie already has his answers.

    Nice.

  138. 138
    Marc says:

    @Marc: (different Marc! honest!)

    When you follow the links you find out that either he didn’t even get the author right or he generates arguments on the other side that the person in question didn’t even make.

    Like his latest masterpiece, which actually ends with “My critics may believe…” So much easier than figuring out what they actually believe and responding to that.

    And this from a guy who bills himself as a teacher of rhetoric and composition. Explains a lot about the students who end up in my classroom…

  139. 139
    peorgietirebiter says:

    @srv: .

    I know it’s quite beyond the capacity of the mob here.

    ..

    Probably the best opening line I’ve ever heard from anyone suggesting how we might create an environment more conducive to persuasion

  140. 140
    1badbaba3 says:

    Why can’t we all just get along, and agree that we hate the fucking firebagging fuckwads just as much (not more, mind you, we believe in EQUALITY here) as we hate the evil fucking dipshit republican fuckwads.

  141. 141
    Svensker says:

    @Justin Raimondo:
    Antiwar has been invaluable and I thank you for getting the info out there. Not sure coming here and insulting folks is the best way to win converts to the cause, however. Just sayin.

  142. 142
    Marc says:

    @Justin Raimondo:

    I don’t think that you understood the post, or the comments, to the thread that you linked. John was arguing that people like you *shouldn’t* be ignored on principle; he would instead listen to your argument. Here is the longer quote:

    —————————

    I served, so if you want my opinion to count and your opinion to be null and void because you didn’t, fine by me. I wouldn’t mind it if Justin Raimondo or Barbara Boxer or Sheila Jackson Lee or any number of chowderheads were silenced. I also wonder what the polls might look like if only military members and veterans were allowed to comment on the operations in Iraq.

    But, since that isn’t the way we work things, I am perfectly content to listen to them and ignore them at my leisure.

    —————————————-

    If you’re reading that as a demand to silence you then your reading comprehension is poor.

  143. 143
    sherparick says:

    @Zagloba: Reference the choice between voting between Zell Miller and Todd Akin, if that is the only choice, yes, I would take Zell Miller. In fact, Senator McCaskill, rich, pro-Guantanmo, Austerian, Neo-Liberal Democrat is not that far from ol’ Zell on the political spectrum and sure as hell I would vote for her over any random Republican, little lone Akin.

    Also, you and the rest can vote (or not vote), for whom you want. If Obama nauseates you so much that you prefer to see Romney elected, great. Our point is that you then have to own those consequences and not act like Nader and his acolytes and say no, not our doing. Especially when Romney is very explicit in saying his national security policies will be far more homicidal and extreme than Obamas.

    By they way, noticing how Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act and his pro-bank half hearted stimulus irritates you my oh so perfect liberal/Left friends, how many great social programs have been enacted in the U.S. since 1966? there was Nixon and the Environmental laws from 1969-1972 (NAEPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Speciies Act, but again, Humprhey would have put those through as well and the Vietnam War might have ended in 1969 instead of four more years of slaughter. After that, OSHA under Carter, who otherwise severely disappointed Liberals who did primary him with Ted Kennedy in 1980 and then abandon him for John Anderson (see Doonesberry of that era). How well did that work out?

  144. 144
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Justin Raimondo: He is with Freddie on this one, so I don’t get why you are complaining.

  145. 145

    @Svensker:

    When history is an insult, it’s time to start worrying.

  146. 146

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Just illustrating the history of “shut up and obey”.

  147. 147
    Kristin says:

    It’s the intellectual dishonesty that makes me write off people like Freddie. “You guys don’t care if brown children are being killed!” “I’m being silenced!” “I’m calling you a monster while I’m whining about being marginalized!” “We’re never allowed to talk about drones without being beaten to a pulp through the computer by Obots!”

    Jesus Christ. Make your arguments without all that shit, and maybe I’ll be able to read them.

  148. 148
    different-church-lady says:

    @1badbaba3: I just hate people who say lazy, off the shelf shit. I don’t care where they fall on the political spectrum.

  149. 149
    kindness says:

    Regarding the ‘cover-up’….well FDL & Glenn Greenwald have their place in this world. I’m happy for both of them as I do occasionally agree with what they say. In cases like this however, both the FDL/Glenn Greenwald factions of the political universe demand someone who agrees with them on everything.

    On that score they can all go suck eggs. Getting liberals together is herding cats and if they can’t see that they’re morans.

  150. 150
    catclub says:

    @Persia: I’m with you.
    “But, since that isn’t the way we work things, I am perfectly content to listen to them and ignore them at my leisure.”

  151. 151
    Bill in Section 147 says:

    Nixon or Humphrey. They are both the same.

    Will a pair of eights beat a pair of fours?

    But there are four Aces in that deck somewhere.

  152. 152
    Persia says:

    @Marc: In addition, the comments to that post are hardly a bunch of robots cheering Cole on. But again, all that requires reading, which is hard.

  153. 153
    MBunge says:

    @kwAwk: “Such as his fondness for giving the Republicans most of what they want and then reaching out to negotiate with them so that he can give them the rest of what they want.”

    Obama has achieved more progressive policy victories than any Democrat since LBJ. It’s okay to want even more than that, but real lefties shouldn’t hate the most liberal President of their lifetimes.

    Mike

  154. 154
    Rex Everything says:

    mistermix: You’ve said, repeatedly I think, that the BJ commentariat are not the ones silencing the discussion of state aggression.

    Freddie’s reading, as I take it, is that the BJ comments and similar fora are each a microcosm of American liberalism, a snapshot, a cross-section. I think that’s accurate. The political landscape bears it out.

    Agitating for change in re the microcosm close to you is an extremely effective method for eventually changing the macrocosm. In fact this is the way change happens and has always happened.

    Obama said several times in 2008 that we, his consituents, would need to “hold his feet to the fire.” We absolutely have not done so. We can’t do so if we keep acquiescing in all his failures, compromises, and betrayals, including the most baffling and strategically pointless, and dressing it up as loyalty. We won’t do so as long as we keep writing off any discussion of his failings as posturing, purity, or aid to the Republican cause. But we need to do so if Obama’s presidency has any chance of fulfilling a vision that’s at all liberal.

    We’re all responsible for Balloon Juice’s culture, but you front pagers have a bit more power than the rest of us.

    It just seemed someone needed to point all this out to you.

  155. 155
    Surly Duff says:

    Jesus this is all so tedious. There seem to be much talking past each other on this issue.

    IMO, the strangest thing of this whole discussion is the timing. Freddie suddenly feels that the best time to bring up the discussion of the Administration’s biggest failure, in his eyes, is immediately before the election? Why, in the past four years has he never discussed this topic? Sure, not writing about the killing of people with drone strikes neither means he did not care or was passionate bout the topic, nor does it indicate that this is not a serious issue to be discussed. All the rest of us ask is that if you do not care to bring up this topic and make an effort to raise awareness prior to one month before election day, you kindly fuck off for trying to shame people for not agreeing with you that the only way to demonstrate caring about the government killing with drones is to withhold your vote for Obama.

  156. 156
    srv says:

    @peorgietirebiter: I know BJ’ers like to think of themselves as the adults in the room.

    It’s just that most of them believe in beating the children.

  157. 157
    Kristin says:

    @Justin Raimondo:

    Yesterday’s neocons, today’s “liberals”—they think alike, look alike, and act alike.

    I’m not sure how this is any better than what you accuse Cole and the BJ commenters of doing. It’s pretty much the same.

  158. 158
    pillsy says:

    @kwAwk:

    It took you exactly one post to go from, “Cole et al. only care about beating the right!” to, “Cole et al. don’t care enough about beating the right!”

    That’s pretty fucking pitiful.

  159. 159
    kwAwk says:

    @magurakurin:

    You’re a good example of why I read here and don’t generally comment here.

    I find that I agree with 90% of what is said and I find the front pagers amusing but every conversation in the comments seems to turn into a flame war really really fast.

  160. 160
    WarMunchkin says:

    I’m one of the kinds of people who thinks that nearly every single person in the U.S. government for the last 32 or so years *probably* needs to be impeached, particularly in the defense and intelligence communities. Replace all the kids caught with marijuana bags with those guys.

    Thing is, even the “good guys” want to show strength by trampling over someone’s rights. Lincoln did it by suspending Habeas Corpus (fought later in Ex Parte Miligan in 1866), FDR had internment of Japanese-Americans (upheld-ish(wrongly) by Korematsu vs. U.S.). Obama has massive violations of civil liberties and drone killings. It basically follows a pattern of: there’s danger from the outside -> we must suspend your rights because of national security. And it’s declared constitutional or lawful pretty much every time.

    But I’m voting for Obama anyway because I’m not an idiot. It’s really freaking frustrating, however, being forced to affirm brazen injustice on issues I care deeply about (though that’s not to say I don’t care about abortion rights, health care, economy, etc, which is why I wouldn’t vote for Romney ever).

  161. 161
    ruemara says:

    Meh. Fuck Freddie. Fuck drones. Fuck firebaggers. When you start from a premise of “many in his community at Balloon Juice and the larger progressive world hate left-wing critics more than conservative Republicans”-which totally should be written atop that cross you’re carrying-while with the same breath declaring that those who do vote for Obama are cultists enabling a near or clear war criminal, you’re fucking stupid. When someone wants to discuss the strategy of building voter choice into elections via ranked choice, developing strong 3rd party local candidates and the issues of drone warfare versus airwarfare and how do we change tactics, then there’s a conversation. All I’ve heard since this shit started back in ’07, is bullshit petulance and hero worship. Not for Obama, just slap in any perfect leftist candidate. If fucking Jill Stein won the presidency, even if she had a portion of Congress with fellow Greens holding seats, you would not see most of the policies on her platform come to pass, at all. All the words wasted here on Freddie’s ode to his own magnificent morality and DRONES, are simply finger exercises.

  162. 162
    Egilsson says:

    You are right kwAwak. The comments devolve too fast into sloppy profanity.

    If Magurakurin had just omitted the last two sentences of his post, I’d be more interested in what he had to say. Instead, like what some other regular posters do, he can only express himself in over-the-top flaming.

    There’s a place for every method of expression but there’s too much of that kind here and it’s a drag. Plus it’s just a form of intolerant bullying, which is always ugly.

  163. 163
    taylormattd says:

    @different-church-lady: The sad thing is that is barely hyperbole for the Naderite Firebaggers.

    Barely.

    They call people who don’t loath Obama cultists, fanbois. They refer to Obama as “Him” and “Dear Leader”. They write posts calling Obama a war criminal. They call people like DougJ “Manchurian Monsters”. They claim people like Imani would gleefully cheer Obama on if her raped a nun on live TV.

    And then they whine about being silenced, or about civility, or about angry responses??

  164. 164
    Daulnay says:

    @Zagloba:

    Almost like there’s no right time in the democratic process to subject flawed leaders to pressure.

    Your premise (that the leader is the problem) isn’t correct. The problem runs much deeper, through the Democratic party. The laws allowing these reprehensible acts were passed by Congress, with the help of some(but not all) Democrats and nearly all Republicans there. Without the AUMF and the Patriot Act, the President’s legal justification for the policies disappears.

    The root of the problem rests in Congress, and in the voters who send our Representatives and Senators there. Congress, much more than the Presidency, is our individual responsibility and where we must apply pressure. Congress, not the President, kept Guantanamo open.

    @mechwarrior online:

    Just keep in mind that every vote for Obama is a vote for approval of drone strikes.

    This is false. No one (unless you’ve been very lucky) approves of every policy that their chosen representative follows. We only get to pick the imperfect package, no line item veto. At the most, you can say we picked this package because we found other things more important, or because while this set of policies has bad parts, the other choice was worse (far worse).

    That means liberals can’t bitch about this stuff anymore. We can’t bitch if the right bombs people, kills Americans, and tramples on civil liberties. Because when our guy did it, we voted in approval.

    Since your premise is false, the conclusions don’t follow. If we had a line item veto, then you could argue that we are to blame for the result.

    As it is, we have more options than just voting/not voting for Obama. And those options are much more effective. I’ve been an advocate of drawing the line, and refusing to vote for the lesser of two substantial evils.

    The burgeoning of tyranny faces our republic with an existential threat. We mustn’t hope that it’s not a threat because the acts happen far away. At the same time, we mustn’t refuse to fight the threat with all the tools at hand.

    Voting for the lesser of two evils becomes an abdication of responsibility, when it is not accompanied by other significant actions to end that evil. Refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils also abdicates responsibility, when that (and complaining about the problem) accompanies a refusal to do more.

    The debate wastes our time. Bringing up the problems (assassinations, drone bombing) is worthwhile, but the dilemma (to hold the nose and vote for an evil or not) is false. This needs to change, and how we vote for President will have very little effect. Put your energy into changing the composition of the House and Senate.

    Easier said than done, for sure. We need to take a page from the ALEC playbook, and start vetting candidates at the state and local levels. After all, this is a character issue, and we need to prevent politicians of poor (or at least poorer, you cynics) character from having a career at all.

  165. 165
    Zagloba says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (Mumphrey, et al.): Forgive me if I’m misunderstanding you or mistakenly belittling you, but it looks to me like you’re complaining that wearying, tiresome, thankless organizing work is too damned hard to bother with. If I’m wrong, then tell me so.

    That is not at all what I meant (or said?). To clarify: I’ve got really limited time and energy, plus a job that doesn’t stop when I go home. Hence currently I’m limiting my grassroots efforts to things I don’t have to personally start — to initiatives that I can jump in on a meeting or a canvass or a phonebank, without having to be the driving force in the whole organization.

    And those organizations and initiatives, the ones which actually exist in my state, aren’t fighting against endless war. Which I totally understand and don’t fault them for.

  166. 166
    Tehanu says:

    @NCSteve:

    Everything you said. With bells on.

    @GR:

    Look, I hate the dronz—I think using them without transparency or accountability is immoral, illegal, and likely setting us up for some major blowback in ten or twenty years when all those kids in pakistan grow up. And I’m going to keep bitching about it to my representatives in Congress (which in my mind, is as if not more responsible than Obama for this mess). But until a majority of Americans agree with me, witholding a vote from Obama isn’t going to accomplish anything useful, and may in fact lead to a much worse outcome. Yes, it sucks, but that’s politics for you—it sucks and is hard and requires compromise.

    And this too. An election is not a moral test run by St. Peter to see who gets a nice halo.

  167. 167
    Daulnay says:

    @RSA:

    The party in power has a policy I really don’t like. There are ways to try to change that policy. The second-least effective way to do this is to make a statement by voting for a third party candidate with no chance of winning, reducing the odds that you’ll actually have a say if the opposing party comes into power with policies that are even worse.

    Where your vote really does not matter – in the bluest blue districts and the reddest red ones – voting for a third party candidate affects the political landscape a lot more than holding your nose and voting for the main party candidate that will win/lose anyway.

    I live in a deep Blue part of the country, and for the most part I will be voting third party, except where the Democrat can be a clear and effective voice against the AUMF, drone policy and for strong action on global warming. If I lived in Ohio, or in a purple district in my state, I’d vote for the lesser of two evils.

  168. 168
    Daulnay says:

    @GR:
    This!!

    Another problem comes from some on the far left promoting left/right division in order to drive people into their camp. When that extends to undermining a modestly acceptable candidate so that we’re facing a starker choice next time, and have to live with a terrible choice, they should feel flames.

    Note, it’s the undermining that’s the problem, not the trying to get people in your camp per se.

  169. 169
    patroclus says:

    Freddie has a point – I would probably not vote for Zell Miller; even over the execrable Todd Akin. But then again, I did vote for George Ryan over Glenn Poshard in 1998 for Illinois Governor and I have regretted that ever since Ryan took bribes for commercial drivers’ licenses and an unqualified truck driver killed an entire Wisconsin family. Poshard was a homophobic bigoted gay basher, but he didn’t end up in prison for rampant corruption and his corruption didn’t end in senseless death. It was a lesser-of-two-evils thing and I got it wrong.

    But Obama, who is hinged to reality, ain’t Zell Miller, who isn’t. And I support fighting al Qaeda; even with drone strikes, if necessary. They aren’t my favorite weapon, but choices of weaponry are a different issue than the issue of whether one fights one’s sworn enemies, who are impervious to diplomacy. So I think Freddie is wrong to focus solely on drones and I think he’s wrong on whether we should fight al Qaeda. The AUMF is good law, in my view. Especially after 9/11 and 7/7 and Madrid and all their other horrific attacks, which killed a lot of innocent people.

    So Freddie’s argument isn’t going to win me over. And it especially isn’t going to convince me when he plays the “I’m not voting for Obama” card. But I don’t hate Freddie because I disagree with him. I do hate what Dear Leader Greenwald writes though. Or anything that remotely resembles what Dear Leader Greenwald writes.

  170. 170
    Daulnay says:

    @Marc:

    And this from a guy who bills himself as a teacher of rhetoric and composition. Explains a lot about the students who end up in my classroom…

    He’s trying to teach us by counter-example. You can learn a lot by seeing it done wrong.

  171. 171
    Maude says:

    @patroclus:
    I only look for the words Balloon Juice Commenters in Freddie’s post. We is famous.

  172. 172

    […] in this post and (b) whose latest effort to troll this and other blogs seems to me simply sad.  Mistermix deals with that last and oddly jumbled cry for help more gently than I would, and I think it best just to […]

  173. 173
    patroclus says:

    @Maude: Indeed, Freddie should be commended for bringing Balloon Juice commenters into the national dialogue and making us and our views a central issue in this campaign!

  174. 174
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @srv: Imagine if you needed those votes you are so eager to dismiss.

    Wow, anything to avoid giving Obama and OfA and Axelrod a shred of credit.

  175. 175
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Now this is an excellent point.

    My father (life-long Dem) used to recount to me with glee how Mitterand had neutralized the Communist Party: he brought them into his government. Quickly the real work of governing made party members’ idols appear to have feet of clay, and French emoprogs were discouraged for a generation.

    Of course it wasn’t all wine and roses, and Mitterand wasn’t quite the genius my dad thought he was. Too much corruption and tepid economic growth led to right-wingers taking over government for a while.

  176. 176
    Heliopause says:

    Betty Cracker and Noam Chomsky are right

    Sometimes it’s good to have a full understanding of someone’s position before citing it as supporting your own.

    Chomsky considers the entire process of selecting a President to be mostly an exercise of the public relations industry and that choosing whom to vote for is a “tenth rate” decision not worth more than about fifteen minutes of reflection. Imagine if Balloon Juice had only two or three posts on the subject of the Presidential race over the last 18 months; that’s essentially what he’s advocating.

    Chomsky advises that sometimes you hold your nose and vote for the Democrat, sometimes you vote third party, and sometimes you don’t vote at all. All are viable options depending on the circumstances. In the current climate he counsels that in “swing states” vote for Obama, “without illusions.”

    Chomsky has been asked about this periodically over the years, not surprisingly since he has been intensely critical of all Presidents, including Obama. Implicit in his being asked is that the questioner doesn’t like the idea of voting for the Democrat. Chomsky manages to answer coherently and thoughtfully and without mountainous helpings of condescension, derision, strawmanning, and sarcasm.

    I’m limited in the number of links I can embed so take this one as a starter.

  177. 177
    Rex Everything says:

    The notion of a choice between Zell Miller and Todd Akin may seem ludicrous; 15 years ago the notion of a choice between Simpson Bowles and Ayn Rand would have seemed equally ludicrous. The “lesser of 2 evils”/good cop-bad cop routine has definitely moved us rightward over the long term, and continues to do so.

    Enjoy the dismantling of the New Deal, folks. Who knows, maybe Romney will win and you’ll oppose it.

  178. 178
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Rex Everything: Right. Because GWB came to power as a result of voters choosing “the lesser of two evils”.

    Your suasion-fu is weak.

  179. 179
    Rex Everything says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    We’ve been moving steadily to the right for the past 20 years; GWB was only president for 8 of them. He didn’t pass NAFTA, deregulate the investment banks, or end welfare as we know it.

  180. 180
    Kadzimiel says:

    “Politics is not morality”

    If politics has no connection to morality, what then is the point?

  181. 181
    Egilsson says:

    Patroclus, Ryan commuted death sentences in Illinois because he was convinced the sentences were unreliable and racially biased. That was a morally bold decision for no political gain. I don’t give a hoot about small bore corruption against that.

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