Why I am not supporting Obama (at the moment)

UPDATE AT THE END

In my previous post I tried to make a point about why I was expecting more from President Obama in his debate with Mitt Romney last week. And I’m not talking about the so-called “performance” factor. What I want is a solid refutation of Mitt Romney’s vision for America. If I don’t get that in upcoming debates, I’ll sincerely consider voting for Green Party candidate, Jill Stein.

This disturbed at least one reader, who took issue with this stance in the comments section. I would like to respond to that person in more detail here.

Commenter:

Dude, really? You’re not going to vote for Obama because you hate the right so much that you’re going to help them win? Jesus Christ, I thought Ralph Nader voters were irrational.

First of all, voting for the candidate who best represents my views is not irrational. In fact, it is the essence of democracy. Second, there is a world of difference between the 2000 election where Nader votes may have cost Al Gore the election. Al Gore had never been president. We didn’t have a track record to judge him on. Speaking for myself, I was glad to give him a chance. But in 2012, we have almost four years of Obama presidency to judge. And I find the president’s record wanting. I need from him some assurances that the next four years will be different. It’s my right to ask that.

Commenter:

Quoting me: And if enough liberal voters turn away from Obama, it won’t be us helping the right win,

Baloney. It’ll be exactly that. You can imagine otherwise, but the result isn’t going to be that the next Democratic candidate will move more to the left, but that the next Dem candidate will even further to the right, to try and pick off folks in the middle. The result will be that you and your ilk will have helped Romney win, all so you can imagine that you *protested* something.

What this commenter wants is for me to swear allegiance to President Obama no matter what the President does, simply because the alternative would be so much worse. This is nothing short of extortion really: Do what we say or there will be dire consequences. That’s hardly democratic. Worse though, doing as the commenter urges is relinquishing ANY leverage I have to influence Obama. If Obama knows he can count on my vote no matter what he says or does, then I have no chance of moving him more toward my views. I’m not suggesting that I alone have any such leverage. But if there were enough of my “ilk” who could affect the outcome by voting for a third party candidate (as the commenter surely fears), then maybe we all would be able to change the substance of Obama’s campaign and of what he might do with his next four years.

That the commenter is so willing to surrender any such ability to influence his* candidate is sad. It is this mindless support that candidates count on.

When it comes down to it, I may vote for President Obama. But withholding this support until I get into the voting booth is my right and it is my obligation. And I like Jill Stein.

*I’m assuming this commenter is a male mostly from the insulting tone adopted.

UPDATE – MONDAY, OCT. 8: If you want the evidence of what I’m talking about regarding Obama, just read this article about the future of Social Security and the non-difference between the President and his opponent.

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4 comments

  1. No, what the commenter wants is for you to recognize that–practically speaking–we live in a two-party representative democracy. Given the constraints of that, attempting to influence either party by throwing your vote away on a random third party candidate is simply helping the side you like even less win. This is what the Ralph Nader voters did in 2000, and it helped give us 8 years of Bush.

    If you want to influence Obama’s position, you need to get to work earlier in the process, during primaries. You also have to be involved locally, because that’s where substantial party change comes.

    You’re in the position of someone arriving at a car accident and announcing that you won’t help because someone was driving in a way you didn’t like. Well, congratulations, you’re letting them bleed to death.

    1. So what are you, an intern with the DNC? Is your job trolling for renegade voters like myself and condescendingly telling us how to vote?

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