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Hey, Massachusetts and California people. Are you going to vote in the primary? (Tuesday, Feb 5)

If so, who for and why?

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  • Yes, I’ll be voting, and I’d be happy to tell you for whom and why.

    While B. Obama is a fine candidate, and I wish his supporters the best of luck in defeating the far-less-acceptable H. Clinton, after the Democratic election of 2006, the Democratic Party as a whole let me down.

    Candidates do not become more progressive/liberal/leftist after the primaries, and Obama is insufficient in this direction. His emphasis on unity politics, targeting the center, and bipartisanship (all former Clinton strategies) are unappealing, as I feel the whole American body politic is right-shifted. His stance on gay marriage (“civil unions”), drug policy, etc are insufficiently progressive. He does not clearly lay out where he stands when he speaks, and instead spreads around bromides about ‘change.’

    (All of that said, I feel he is a strong enough candidate that I need to justify why I am -not- voting for him.)

    Clinton, and all of the Republicans, are right out (greater detail on request.)

    The Socialist Party of the USA isn’t conducting a primary, and I generally would only consider voting for the Green Party to throw the bird to (R) and (D) alike.

    Now, all of that said…

    I’m voting for George Phillies, in the Libertarian Primary. He has taken the strongest pro-atheist stand of any candidate for president I’ve ever heard of, and is spot-on on all the other civil liberties issues (“gay marriage,” pro-choice, pro-gays openly serving in the military, anti-“states rights so we can fly the confederate flag and hate ‘Canadians'”). He has refused a sizable bribe to support Ron Paul ($50,000), stresses the importance of balancing the budget and not starting foreign wars, would make judicious use of Presidential vetoes to free nonviolent drug offenders, etc. He is against corporate welfare. I agree with his aggressive position on forming a core of special prosecutors to try and convict those guilty of illegal acts during the preceding Presidency.

    I don’t agree with some of his smaller government initiatives, such as adding additional competition to the pre-college public school system through vouchers, and I am sorry that he doesn’t support Single-Payer health care… but then, none of the candidates (except possibly Mike Gravel, who just lost in Florida to 4 candidates who have left the race) are promoting Single Payer anyway.

    Phillies is working to reform the Libertarian Party, and it needs someone to sweep out its stables. I’m supporting the (right) Libertarian Party as a (left) Libertarian Socialist, and I’m doing so largely because of his strong stances on key social issues, positions which are to the ‘left’ of either Democratic candidate.

    It’ll also give the biparty something to think about, should he pull ahead.

    • disclosure

      I should add, for those who know Agthor but not me… I’m one of Phillies’ former students at WPI, but not a member of his campaign.

    • I used to think (vaguely) like you do, but with hindsight voting for Nader over Gore in 2000 rubs my conscious the wrong way.

      At least I wasn’t in a swing state at the time.

      • Historically, the Democrats start more wars than the Republicans, and Nader didn’t cost Gore the election… the Supreme Court and Jeb Bush did that.

        The Democrats were given a majority to end the war… I don’t even see an -effort- to end the war.

        • Historically, the Democrats start more wars than the Republicans, and Nader didn’t cost Gore the election… the Supreme Court and Jeb Bush did that.

          My vote for Nader, in Massachusetts, certainly changed nothing–but I still feel terrible about it. Bush and Gore looked the same to me, then. They look very different to me now.

          he Democrats were given a majority to end the war…

          That’s a pretty big generalization. Certainly some people voted for the Democrats for that reason, but do you suppose that some people voted for them for completely different reasons? (the abundance of flaws in the current administration seems to provide ample reasons to have voted Democrat in 2006 :-) )

          I don’t even see an -effort- to end the war.

          Bush would veto it and they don’t have the super-majority needed to override it.

          Also, only 20% of registered voters support immediately ending the war, according to a recent Los Angeles Times poll.

          • Well, so long as we agree they have supported and continue to support the war, then they’re complicit in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.

            If Congress doesn’t fund it, it doesn’t happen.

            If I was the only one in the country who thought senseless civilian casualties were wrong, I’d still oppose senseless civilian casualties.

            With other wordings, supermajorities of the public support speedy a withdrawal.

    • His emphasis on unity politics, targeting the center, and bipartisanship (all former Clinton strategies) are unappealing,

      I did kind of a double take on this bit…

      So you feel the leader of our country should be a person who is at odds with the majority of its citizens? (i.e., “the center”)

      • The majority of citizens don’t vote.

        I require there to be at least two distinct political parties. This ‘biparty’ crap has to go.

        The Center has been artificially right-shifted through a sucession of undemocratic means, such as (but by no means limited to) the Macarthy Trials.

        • The majority of citizens don’t vote.

          False. See here, notably this graph.

          The Center has been artificially right-shifted through a sucession of undemocratic means, such as (but by no means limited to) the Macarthy Trials.

          Do you mean that:

          a) the center of elected politicians is artificially to the right of the public at large, or that

          b) the center of the public at large has been manipulated to the right through artificial means?

          • Both A and B, hence Obama (for example) is targeting a center which is to the right of where it would be, sans tampering, and is himself to the right of the public at large on a wide variety of issues.

            Looks like I was off by 5-10 percent, but in polls of those who’ve chosen not to vote, they’ve indicated that they do so because they don’t think who they vote for matters to them.

          • Both A and B, hence Obama (for example) is targeting a center which is to the right of where it would be, sans tampering

            I am curious as to how you ascertain the might-have-been world of sans-tampering, and what forms of public discourse are tampering and which are not. Where does civil discourse end and manipulating the public begin?

            is himself to the right of the public at large on a wide variety of issues.

            I find this position confusing, as you earlier accused him of focusing on unity and the center. On what issues is he to the right of the public at large?

          • Europe, which has seen less of this tampering, has a different political distribution. Debs, before WWI, represented a meaningful demographic.

            The alternative to my viewing the public as to the left of Obama is my hating the public. I don’t have far-reaching statistics, but I do know what people -think- the budget looks like, and what they report a fair budget would look like. (True Majority.org, etc.)

          • I can’t edit posts, but a correction/retraction.

            Obama is, at best, very slightly left of center. The Democratic strategy is, and has been, populism. Give the people what they think they want. Often, this takes a rather crass form.

          • and, since I’ve complicated things such that I need to clarify, I mean the the center of the public as they are.

      • to elaborate, slightly:

        Both major political parties are the party of business.

  • I already did… Obama, because he’s the first politician to bring a tear to my eye in a speech ever, and because something about Clinton rubs me the wrong way.

  • Obama. I’d like someone further to the left to capitalize on the huge advantage the Dems have in this election, but I like him and think maybe he can credibly move the country to the left. A far left candidate might be able to push some initiatives through, but they’ll just create smoldering resentment among the other half of the country, rather than change what people think is the norm.

    That and I vote for effect, and the Democratic primary is about as important a chance I’ve had in some time. While they carry similar policies I feel there are rather substantial differences between him and Hillary.

    Have you made a primary choice yet?

    • Have you made a primary choice yet?

      The primary here (Texas) isn’t until March 4th. I’m definitely looking at Obama. Lawrence Lessig’s endorsement had a big impact on me, since he really does know Obama personally and I have ample evidence to believe that Lessig, at least, is man of great integrity. Also, I like that Obama started out as an organizer and worked his way up. He’s actually been in elected office longer than Hillary, for all her talk of “experience”.

      Gore would have been my first choice.

  • I’m with Dirk. A vote for a Democrat or a Republican is fundamentally a vote for the same old song and dance. I don’t like the same old song and dance. That’s why I’m a volunteer for the Phillies campaign.

  • I’m not 100% yet, but here is my thinking (I’m registered R, so thats my primary focus):

    Mitt- The bastard we know, he sucks big rocks off the ground, but we know what sort of trouble he’ll cause. His pandering to the FUD crowd while promoting limitations on “weapons of extraordinary lethality” is an example. I like some of his social policies, but the Romney-Care thing we are saddled with here would be very bad
    news on the national scale.

    McCain- The bastard we don’t know. His support for McCain-Fiengold cost him my vote, but he is at least consistent in shitting on the _entire_ bill of rights. I’m also unimpressed with the ‘Amnesty’ BS he tried last year.

    Ron Paul- Crazy as a shit house rat, but I may vote for him any way. He’s a libertarian, which is the direction I think we need to go, and he might just win in a national election, depends how many people vote against the other candidate.

    AE

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