Friedersdorf: Why I Won’t Vote for Obama

Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic: Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama.

To hell with them both.

Sometimes a policy is so reckless or immoral that supporting its backer as “the lesser of two evils” is unacceptable. If enough people start refusing to support any candidate who needlessly terrorizes innocents, perpetrates radical assaults on civil liberties, goes to war without Congress, or persecutes whistleblowers, among other misdeeds, post-9/11 excesses will be reined in.

If not?

So long as voters let the bipartisan consensus on these questions stand, we keep going farther down this road, America having been successfully provoked by Osama bin Laden into abandoning our values.

81 Responses to “Friedersdorf: Why I Won’t Vote for Obama”

  1. enkidu Says:

    bottom right

    Can’t argue much with his critique of Obama’s failure to do many of the things he campaigned on. Some things are conveniently ignored in this article. He tried to close Gitmo. He did stop the torture. But he didn’t prosecute, well, pretty much anyone. No bush, no cheney, no rummy, no woo or gonzo. No torturers, no shipping companies sending people to be tortured. Yes. All true. These are our critiques too. So many things not done. No bankers, no crooks, no titans or masters of the universe.

    But will the second Obama term recapitulate all the same errors and more? I doubt it, things are a whole lot better than the free fall from 2008. Would a Romney presidency be better? Only for millionaires (you know, the middle class). No, a Romney presidency might mean shooting wars in Iran and Syria (OK, we may do a Libya on them under Obama’s second term, I’ll acknowledge that reality up front). A Romney presidency would mean an explosion of debt, a slashing of safety nets, more jobs to China and a abdication of environmental responsibilities. Not that much of that laundry list hasn’t already, er, happened under Obama, but weighing their likelihood under future scenario modeling makes the choice pretty clear to me. A reluctant, hopeful vote for Obama is a better choice than a vote for Mr Nader, er I mean Johnson.

    I’d like to bring up one issue where there is a clear difference between the D and R candidates. Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Which course of action makes it less likely that a nuke (or a bunch) will be exploded in the Middle East (or the planet at large) in the next 50 years. Candidate Obama is for stronger sanctions, coalition building, restraining Israel and Iran from anything rash. A mature, diplomatic response that may or may not convince them that a handful of nukes just aren’t worth it. Combined with arms control, decommissioning and Global Zero (plus a 6000 warhead stockpile, ahem) makes this a pretty credible option. Or we go with Candidate Romney, who seems eager to bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran (well, this week anyway, it is hard to tell with a guy who will say anything). Which sets them back a few years, but sets the regime on a course of righteous retaliation. And yes, I do think there is a significant (but much lower) chance Obama would still, eventually, reluctantly go in w the Israelis and bomb Iran’s nuke program. But invade? No.

    Also, healthcare.

  2. knarlyknight Says:

    Good read. I went full circle after reading the article, his follow-up of today at , and the first two comments after the follow-up.

    Also, please for the love of god shcb do not comment until you have carefully read the full articles by Friedersdorf.

  3. shcb Says:

    eh, I read pieces and parts of the article JBC linked to and a couple of the internal links at lunch, not much here, Fox bad, Beck a bad man (I agree to a point), nothing on the left even close, hello! have you seen Maddow?

    I hope he doesn’t vote for either, I hope many, many, many potential Obama voters don’t vote for either, but in the end he will be in the polling place voting for the Democrat just as he’s done most of his life.

    I might take the time to read some more, or I might watch a Duck Dynasty rerun, hard to say which is more enlightening.

  4. enkidu Says:

    thx for the follow up link knarly

    Forgive me for repeating myself but these are exactly the sorts of disappointments and overreaching the progressives and liberals have been complaining about for years. But we can’t fix everything at once. A second term for Obama would be a better outcome for America and the world than a Romney presidency. Voting Nader, errr Johnson isn’t going to do much of anything other than give the reins to the worst choice. By far. Tho to be fair, Romney would do less damage than say a President Rick Santorum or Moon Emperor Gingrich.

    Pretend Racist Obama?
    (eye roll)

    Sounds like shcb hasn’t read either thru to the end. Real world example: Beck isn’t mentioned once in either article. If there is some link or comment or something, I must have missed it. Enlighten me.

  5. knarlyknight Says:

    For the love of god, yikes.

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    I agree with you Enk. It is easy to imagine Mittens fumbling with America’s future (or worse.)

    shcb, sigh, For the love of god, do not take the time to write here if you do not take the time to read the article first, because that makes your comments more inane than usual. Hint: While the article spends a lot of time on strategic or utilitarian voting, and the title coyly suggests that the article is about voting, in fact the article is not really about voting.

    The whole point of the article is consistency, as in ignoring or understating Obama’s significant shortcomings while being unwilling to do the same for hypothetical lessor transgressions, or as the author states: “The point is that without quite realizing it, a lot of progressives and liberals are undervaluing the importance of these issues.” Hint: “these issues” are listed in the article.

  7. shcb Says:

    Yeah… consistency in voting… that is all that matters, either your own vote or writing, talking or otherwise swaying others to vote the way you wish they would, perhaps with a person’s example via consistancy of conviction. But it’s about voting.

  8. shcb Says:

    I’ll tell you what, I’ll read the whole thing tonight, and the other piece, and the other piece, a dime to a doughnut it doesn’t make a difference to what I wrote. If you notice I also read some of his (her? Don’t care) linked previous writings, got a pretty good idea where it’s going to lead.

  9. knarlyknight Says:

    sarcasm. yippee, I look forward to that. end sarcasm.

  10. enkidu Says:

    Of course shcb knows it’s all bunk before he has read it!
    Here, I already know what shcb is going to say about it:

    ‘2+2=purple you filthy 47%er moochers! also, socialism’

    You can have the night off shcb, you’re welcome.

  11. knarlyknight Says:

    I realize that shcb probably cares about as much about what I think as I care about what he thinks, (i.e. this much .)

    However, in case I’m wrong let me suggest now that the only thing that I think might impress me is if he reads the articles and surprises me with his response. Stranger things have happened.

    On a completely different subject, I find this amusing.

  12. shcb Says:

    I’ve heard this same sentiment from frustrated voters since i started to pay attention, especially either people new to the game or single issue voters. Some of then quite knowledgeable, but caught up in the emotions of the times or issue. “A pox on both your houses!” I’m sure I’ve done it myself. One of the guys at Samizdata was grousing the pox to all just the other day.

    I don’t like either option so I”m going to pout! It makes you feel good but at some point you have to be practical. I remember saying when you were all so enamored with Obama and his closing Gitmo that he couldn’t close it, there were reasons Bush did what he did, legitimate reasons. I said if you believed Obama you were setting yourselves up for disappointment, and here we are.

    I’m amazed how people believe politicians are going to do something they have no control over and are then upset when it doesn’t happen.

  13. shcb Says:

    OK, read the whole thing, no changes.

  14. knarlyknight Says:

    okay, fine. thanks shcb. Better than average but I’m not surprised, not dissapointed either though, so that’s better than average for you in my eyes, as if you care, lol.

    Closing Gitmo is a sore point with me. Prior to Obama making that commitment, I was playing with making various wagers. Then the Gitmo contract came up, and I bet $20 against “Obama will close Gitmo by December 31.” Then Obama made his announcement, the contract settled, and I lost $20. But Gitmo did not close! Sour grapes, yes I’ve had a few. Wine is better, Spanish ain’t bad.

  15. shcb Says:

    It always boils down to someone pissing in our ricebowl :-)

  16. shcb Says:

    By the way, I do care, thanks

  17. shcb Says:

    Couple quick items, I just scanned Knarly’s link in the second comment, it looks like it might be worth looking at closer, if I have the time tonight I will try and get to it, re fi ing the house, getting all the paperwork together, have a new granddaughter a few days from being born, so kind of busy.

    Also the last paragraph of Enkidu (I will try and not use Enky) needs to be discussed if we can, some good thoughts there.

  18. enkidu Says:

    Only a few minutes until the first debate, and I’ll go out on a limb here and say it will be an unequivocal victory for Romney (at least in shcb’s esteemed estimation).

    Mitt could make nothing but blunders and I predict the Rs will declare a great and mighty, nay righteous victory! shcb will agree with Mitt 110%!

    Also, socialism.

    Just sayin.

  19. knarlyknight Says:

    Okay, debate is over. Obama must have the flu or something.

  20. shcb Says:

    I didn’t watch it, my wife said it was a good debate, she didn’t think either man had a decided win, of course she liked Romney, but that is just bias. My facebook friends in Utah in one straw poll were scoriing Romney on average 8 and Obama 6 on a 10 scale. Given their bias I would say that’s pretty close and fair.

    The one comment my wife made is that both men were cordial but also didn’t back down, and they have such different paths they wish to take this country there wasn’t a lot of agreement.

    I think this may be the first election in a while where it will be hard for someone to say it doesn’t matter which side you vote, although some may still say a pox on both your houses.

  21. knarlyknight Says:

    Not a bad assessement shcb, ironically as you did not watch it. I’d give Obama a 3 or 4 and Mittens a 9 solely because both candidates deserved those scores based on their delivery. Content (platforms) sounded similar despite radical differences – Mittens “won” because Obama delivered details and complexity while Romney rebutted emphatically and pedantically while speaking in platitudes with such conviction that he nearly bamboozled me too. Obama was acting demure (maybe still trying to look Presidential?)

    For a decent summary real fast, scan Mike’s tweats: I thnk you’d enjoy it, for example:
    ‘To President Obama – “lemme get this straight. You can send in drones that kill civilians, but you can’t stop Romney or Lehrer from interrupting you?”‘

  22. shcb Says:

    My wife was watching the aftermath in bed, I was sort of half paying attention so I did see a few minutes of replays. I thought Obama looked a bit tired or something. I think what we might be seeing is a man that has experience as a president instead of the experienced campaigner that we saw a few years ago. It also seems to me that when he ran in the last election he had really never done much so he had never had to run on his past record in his previous elections, he simply didn’t have much of a record. Now that isn’t really his fault, he is an articulate man, intelligent, personable, confident and being at least half black didn’t hurt either. His wife is similarly desirable to a campaign, they have two lovely children and seem to be good parents. Neither of them seemed to have many skeletons in their closets, some of their friends do, but that is about all you can drag up. So he was moved through the ranks rather quickly, not his fault. But it may be catching up with him now.

    This isn’t exactly a bad thing, he may be able to leverage that as being more presidential, which of course he is. One of the reasons I didn’t watch it (minor reason, I just didn’t really have time and in this age of you tube I figured I could see anything major whenever I wanted) but one of the reasons was I wanted to see reactions of people without being biased by my own views (of the debate). I’m pleased that so far I haven’t heard anyone piling on one or the other because of some small blunder or one of them being over airbrush tanned, that tells me we have a couple good candidates and people are more interested in important factors.

  23. knarlyknight Says:

    Good assessment, except the last line which shows that clearly you have not been paying attention. Read friedersdorf-why-i-wont-vote-for-obama again.

  24. shcb Says:

    Ha ha, good point, I was just refering to the debate, and I know it won’t last, I imagine it’s already over. I have a friend who was a state rep and is running for county commish in Kansas City (he has nothing else to do) so he is an actual politician, second string to be sure, but still the real deal. He has been the worst on Obama of all my facebook friends, and as you can immagine I have some far right fb friends. Don’t know what that has to do with anything but it might be interesting to see how Terry changes his views or doesn’t in the next few days vs my farther to the right friends.

  25. leftbehind Says:

    And how about that debate? I’ll go out on a limb here and say, along with pretty much every major news source and editorial page in the country, it was an unequivocal victory for Romney. Have you guys seen the cover of the latest New Yorker? Ha! Ha! Ha!

  26. leftbehind Says:

    Not saying, of course, that Romney will ultimately win the election – Obama’s stylish ineptitude is certainly as popular as Romney’s brand of slick elitism – but I am planning my election night net surfing early. If Obama wins, I’m going straight to the new sites to get the breakdowns and statistics. If Romney wins, I’m hanging out here. I love you guys but, if 2004 is any indication, y’all’s funny when you cry.

  27. knarlyknight Says:

    Sadly, televised debates are judged by viewers by who was more confident, aggressive, and who threw the best zingers. I was also impressed with how clearly and pedantic Romney presented his thoughts, even while refusing to present details. Yes I was impressed, despite the fact that his policies suck. He was clearly the better speaker during that debate, which is paramount in reaching the audience, especially if you are lying.

    Yes, LIES . For example:

    “The second topic, which is you said you get a deduction for getting a plant overseas. Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant.” – Mitt Romney

    Romney really should fire his accountant, because the tax code definitely allows companies to deduct the cost of moving jobs overseas. You would think with the experience Romney has in outsourcing that he’d realize this, but in his defense, maybe Romney and Bain had a really bad accountant working for them.

    If you find that unlikely, perhaps a more accurate analysis is that Romney was simply lying, because it is outrageous that companies are able to get tax breaks for destroying jobs, and Romney would look like an awful person if he supported those breaks. Which he does.

    And Obama’s response to that rebuttal? A painful smile. Clearly, something strange was (is?) going on. Obama looked like he had the flu, his performance was a dramatic aberration from the decisive and competent arguments that we know him for. There could be a myriad of other explanation, like he had more important things on his mind than a debate, but the simplest explanation is that he had the flu.

    Top 7 Lies of the first debate

  28. leftbehind Says:

    Obama looked pretty healthy out campaigning the next day. Must not have been much of a flu. Maybe a four hour bug?

  29. leftbehind Says:

    I do agree with you about the tax break for sending jobs overseas. I sure hope Obama will do something about that if he ever becomes president..;)

  30. leftbehind Says:

    I think you can fairly argue that, much like Obama’s poor performance reviving the economy and stimulating job growth, the fault for the President’s poor showing at the debate falls squarely on the shoulders of the previous administration. Clearly, George Bush was such a poor debater that it’s still hobbling Obama’s ability to debate effectively three-and-a-half years later.

  31. shcb Says:

    Obama simply doesn’t know much about economics, he hasn’t ever been exposed to them. It isn’t his strong point. I actually think he finds economic matters boring, the primary purpose of money is redistribution. He isn’t the first, Pat Schroeder once said that all money belongs to the government, what is left over after taxes is what government allowed you to keep after it did what it wanted with the proceeds of your toils.

    This article explains the tax break pretty well
    So what’s going on here?

    It turns out that both candidates, in a sense, had it right. There’s no specific tax break for moving jobs or a plant abroad, but companies can deduct the expenses associated with doing so as part of the cost of doing business.

    Or, as Fox News put it, “a company can claim the deduction whether it’s moving operations to Bangalore or Boston, to Kuala Lumpur or Kansas City.”

  32. knarlyknight Says:

    “the primary purpose of money is redistribution”

    You say Obama doesn’t understand economics? Maybe not, but I bet he knows more about it than to say the primary purpose of money is redistribution.

    If you can deduct the expenses of doing something then that is a tax break for doing something, doesn’t matter how Fox news puts it.

  33. knarlyknight Says:

    lefty – good one about Obama and the tax break! What has stopped him from doing so?

  34. shcb Says:

    Yeah my typing ain’t so good tonight, I meant to say to people like Obama the primary purpose…

    Your last line, that is why both men were right. The telling part is Obama doesn’t know any more than his talking points in his ads or he could have explained that expenses are a deduction, then Romney would have explained that deduction is the same in or out of the country. At which point a tie would have been called. But Obama doesn’t know enough to tie so it was point Romney

  35. leftbehind Says:

    Honestly, Knarly, only two things stand between Obama and closing the loophole we’re discussing, at least if you’re talking about forces in the government: the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, both of which support and are supported by the same business entities, who would not want such a loophole closed. But let’s just pick on Obama and the Democrats for the moment. Had Obama targeted overseas outsourcing effectively four years ago when he entered Washington as the most popular, well-financed and well-backed single entity in American politics – a man who had clearly won a sweeping popular mandate with a campaign war chest that eclipsed the entire Democratic Party – he probably would have overcome this, had he tried. Had overseas outsourcing been as big a priority as, I dunno, Obamacare was. The Democrats enjoyed a fillibuster-proof congress for two years of Obama’s tenure – if this had really been a priority with any of them, something would have been done, and should have been done when the power was there to do so.

  36. knarlyknight Says:

    Thanks for the explanation lefty. In my books that can be added near to the bottom of the seriousness of his mistakes and transgressions – closer to the top for me is his allowing the increasing use of drone missile attacks, assassinating American citizen, reneging on closing Guantanamo, etc.

  37. knarlyknight Says:

    And in case anyone missed the underlying message, those are all things that we cannot count on Mittens to do anything about either.

  38. shcb Says:

    thats right, a difference of priorities and vision.

  39. leftbehind Says:

    Not sure I understood shcb’s last mark? Were you talking about Romny and Obama or Knarly and I? Knarly’s priorities are bound be different than mine; I’m an American who is affected daily by domestic economic policy; he’s a Canadian playing tourist in somebody else’s politics. It’s only natural he would fixate on the sexier, more exciting foreign policy issues. You can’t expect a foreigner to be all that interested in the mundane workings of a another nation’s economy. Our foreign policy has more bearing on other nations, it’s more extensively covered by foreign media and it provides more drama to the outside viewer.

    Short of all that, though, Knarly, you are absolutely correct; Obama has done a poor job on so many levels and, yes, the only chance we have to replace him is certainly as bad as he is on a lot of levels. Obama’s chief qualification for the Presidency was that his name wasn’t George Bush. Romney’s chief qualification is that his name isn’t Barack Obama. Considering the choice we’re faced with down here, you should be glad you really can’t vote in our election.

  40. leftbehind Says:

    The only hope we even have down here is that, should Romney even get elected, he is serious about trying something new in a way Barack Obama was not. Obama campaigned on a platform of change from the policies of the Bush administration, particularly in regards to the economy. Bush’s policies were failing, so let’s try something new. Only that wasn’t what happened. Both administrations dumped millions of dollars into bank bailouts that benefited the average American in no way. Neither administration developed an effective jobs program. Neither administration expressed any compassion towards mortgage holders who were drowning in any legislative gesture of substance. Neither administration made more than a rhetorical effort to discourage outsourcing of American jobs. Neither administration seemed at all interested in real regulation of Wall Street. Both administrations ignored immigration aside from cynical, transparent and superficial attempts to court the latino vote. Both administrations have handled the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the most morally dubious fashion imaginable. To be blunt; I don’t think that Mitt Romeny is much, but I hope to G-d he is. I don’t think we need four more years of George Bush.

  41. shcb Says:

    I didn’t mean my comment to be any deeper than people have different priorities. In this case I suppose it could be as deep as a stereotypical liberal/conservative conservatives more interested in economics and national defense and liberals more concerned with human rights, but that is about it. As an aside, I mostly work under the guise that Knarly and NL are Americans that can vote when having these discussions, to not pretend this would make these discussions pretty short, I could just do like they do with Fox news and say “you’re not an American, you can’t vote so your opinion doesn’t count” when I start to lose an argument or they have made a good point.

  42. knarlyknight Says:

    Lefty, I’d agree with much of that a few points excepted…

    Obama’s performance has been poor but considering his first term starting point was an economy FUBAR he has done okay on that front – the freefall has been kept at bay and the empire hasn’t collapsed yet.

    Adopting Republican economic policies in 2008 would have been financial armagedon. Adopting them now would in a few years cause the kind of severe economic pain and resulting social upheaval on the lives of regular folks that people would rally for any semblance of economic order and control – similar to the Germans’ support for their demonic economic saviour in the late 1930’s. Don’t ever forget the lessons learned from Germany’s decent into hell: given the right circumstances it can happen anywhere.

    Shcb, thanks for working under the guise that I’m an American voter even though I am Canadian. I try to see things through that lens, and it is surprisingly easy to do since the health of America’s economy has about an 80% or more influence on the health of the Canadian economy.

    While Lefty’s comments have some truth that I’d be biased towards foreign policy issues over economic ones, I think American people are sorely unenlighted as to how their foreign policies affect their economy, and I’m not just talking of the cost of wars of aggression. I’m talking about how actions that result in a lack of goodwill towards America splatters into a billion barbs, e.g. decrease tourism, unwillingness to do business or to offer the best terms, Americans travelling abroad not being offered decent exchange rates in small shops or not getting full value, lower level of interest in investing in America, etc.

  43. knarlyknight Says:

    In short, Obama’s bad, Romney is clearly worse.

  44. leftbehind Says:

    I’ll go you one better, Knarly – neither man has any business being President of the United States on any level. Anyone who has any great enthusiasm for either is too easily impressed, wants too badly to believe in something(…anything) or is an idiot.

  45. enkidu Says:

    The first presidential debate was a disaster for Obama. No doubt about it. He let Romney lie and flip and flop without much of any fight whatsoever. The media was primed for a Romney win and he has a good news cycle for once. Good. Sounds like it will help put voters in the booths. Complacency that this was going to be a massive blow-out just got a dose of reality. Meanwhile the Rs are focused on ‘Numbers-gate’ (BLS adjusts their gauge of unemployment to 7.8% and the Wingnutopshere (sometimes called Bullshit Mountain) explodes), benghazi-gate (impeach!) and some other redonkulous nonsense.

    Obama has done a decent job recovering from the worst disaster since the Great Depression. Voters clearly remember who was President at the time. To think that the things liberals, progressives and independents don’t like under Obama will be better under Romney doesn’t pass the sniff test: by every meaningful metric Romney would be much worse. Catastrophically worse. He promises things that just do not make mathematical sense. If you want more bush, elect Romney. If you want (slightly) less bush, elect Obama.

    I hope Obama crushes it in the next two debates, but we’ll see.

    The OReilly vs Stewart debate was actually pretty good. More laughs and fewer lies than the US pres debate.

    It’ll be interesting to see Joe Biden and Ayn Rand, errrr Paul Ryan debate.

  46. shcb Says:

    We don’t get to vote for the best man, just the best man willing to do the job.

  47. shcb Says:

    I’m confused at how Bush being the baseline, and Obama only being ever so slightly better than that baseline and Romney ever so slightly worse (or reverse if you like) electing Romney will somehow be catastrophically worse?

  48. enkidu Says:

    I think it is directly comparable. I know he’s the invisible man of late, but bush was president when we went from a $100 Billion dollar surplus to a $1.4 Trillion dollar deficit. Total debt run up by Rs dwarfs the debt run up under Ds including Obama. btw the current year’s budget deficit is actually down from the end of the bush years. But debt isn’t our problem. The world seems eager to buy our debt, safe haven and all that. Our problem is jobs, which the do nothing tea party and Rs seem happy to sabotage until their party gets in.

    I guess you don’t recall the crash of 2008?

  49. shcb Says:

    But that doesn’t clear up my confusion, if all three men are just itsy bitsy different how can Romney spell disaster? You’re not the only one to do it, people of all stripes do it in a moment of frustration. “Democrats and Republicans are the same! Neither is worth a damn! But if Foghorn Leghorn is elected the end of the world will be near!” You can have one or the other, but not both.

  50. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb, your confusion is because you are making things up in your head. I can’t see where anyone said or even impled that “all three men are just itsy bitsy different”. That’s a false construct.

    Altough I clearly think Mittens is much worse, for the sake of argument, and hypothetically speaking only: even if Romney was just a little worse that doesn’t mean that the end result on America would be just a little worse, there is no reason it would be a linear relationship. It’s sort of like a child being uncomfortable with a little poison swallowed, but if he has just a little bit more, just an itsy bitsy difference, death may result.

  51. __j__ Says:

    The author of the article and I don’t agree 100% on the details, but on the conclusions he and I are absolutely in alignment. “Obama soothes with rhetoric and kills people in secret…. I don’t see many Obama supporters feeling as reluctant as the circumstances warrant. The whole liberal conceit that Obama is a good, enlightened man, while his opponent is a malign, hard-hearted cretin, depends on constructing a [false] reality….”

    He ends up recommending that people who voted for Obama in 2008, should definitely not be voting for him again in 2012. That instead, they should be casting a protest-vote, because in 2016, maybe they’ll get somebody as the nominee who is *not* always lying and breaking promises and sending killer robots of death to destroy 50 civilians for every one *alleged* terrorist (not hyperbole… that figure was actually quoted by some serious source… although not having lived in drone-overflight countries I cannot verify full truthyness).

    Most of the comments on this thread show a remarkably poor understanding of the math of elections, and in particular, of the presidential election. Enkidu, right off the bat, says that “A reluctant, hopeful vote for Obama is a better choice than a vote for Mr Nader, er I mean Johnson.” He goes on to list all the Really Big Differences he thinks the candidates have (obamacare versus romneycare… since only fools now believe that romney does *not* plan to have some kind of repub-style socialist medicine scheme… he needs one to win the ecVote in Florida… plus some, to my perception, ever so slight distinctions on handling Iran… enkidu thinks Obama will stick with causing hyperinflation of the rial with sanctions, and drone strikes, whereas he thinks Romney will do those things plus also boots on the ground… and for some crazy reason enkidu thinks mitt will cause *more* debt than barack… sheesh.)


    Not in the slightest. Mathematically. What matters? Only the electoral college votes in the swing-states matter. If you, enkidu (and more generally you the abstract voter) happen to live in a swing-state for the 2012 election, then there is some possibility that your individual vote for either Romney or Obama will make a small difference in the final outcome. If, that is, the totals are close. But with only a month to go, we can pretty much see that for *any* state which is not in the small double-handful-or-so of swing-states, your individual vote cannot impact the outcome. If you live in CA, every single ecVote from your state is going to Obama, no matter how you vote. If you live in TX, every single ecVote from TX is going to Mitt, no matter how you vote. Ditto for 40 more heavily-leaning states.

    Which means what exactly? That you can afford to use your vote to send a message. That you need not fantasize about politicians and campaign-staffers in 2014 and 2016 being able to distinguish between a reluctant-hopeful-vote-with-misgivings for Obama, and a straight ticket love-me-them-democratic-policies-no-matter-what-they-are voting pattern. Cause, quite frankly, there *is* no difference. Similarly, just because your vote won’t change the outcome in 2012, does not mean it is wasted, and you should just stay home — your vote is only wasted if you cast it for the oh-so-similar oh-so-awful candidates which you were offered. Maybe you don’t like Gary Johnson. Okay, fine, then maybe Jill Stein is more your style, or maybe Virgil Goode, or maybe you are in one of the five or so states where Ron Paul is a certified write-in. But please, if you aren’t in a swing-state, don’t let your fuzzy thinking about election-math permit you to trick yourself into voting for the lesser of two evils. Mathematically, that argument *only* holds water in a super-tight swing-state scenario. Anybody living outside those places is liberated from that old chestnut, and can vote for the sort of person they *want* to see as a candidate in 2014 and 2016.

    @shcb, voting third-party, in cases where your vote for a dominant-party won’t change the outcome in 2012, but your third-party vote might change the available choices in a future 2014+ election, is not a mere protest vote based on pouting in frustration. It may be driven by frustration, but it is a very rational response, as long as you’ve done the math beforehand (statewide-polling math in the case of the presidential election).

    @knarlyknight, leftbehind said that Obama’s main qualification in 2008 was not being named Bush, and that Romney’s main qualification now is he isn’t named Obama. Later, he noted that the primary salient fact about both of them is that neither one has any business being the POTUS. (I agree on qualifications and also on absurdity.) That is what shcb was talking about. You assert that Romney is clearly worse, although I don’t know where you are getting that from … how did you manage to pin Mitt down to a firm position, on anything, that you don’t expect him to flip-flop on the moment he’s in office, should expediency beckon?

    Quite chillingly, Obama is just the same; his off-mic promises to Putin about having more flexibility after the election, and his cynical funding of the Spanish collapse (again — at least until after the election is decided) are indications that utterly terrify me. I have no illusions that we can avoid both of them; we’ll get one or the other, 4 years of Obama with no worry about re-election holding him back, or 8 years of Romney with congress in his pocket. Why are we getting these awful options? Because we didn’t look at the math back in 2004 and the earlier years, when we could have sent a message (at least if we lived outside the swing-states)

  52. __j__ Says:

    Also worth noting, is that Friedersdorf (the guy in the article voting for Gary Johnson) lives in CA, which is stochastically guaranteed to give all their electoral college votes to Obama. His protest vote cannot impact the outcome, unless something on the order of 10M people *just* in CA all will also vote for GJ rather the Obama. If he wants to see better options in the 2016 presidential primaries for the DNC, then his best option now is to protest-vote against Obama (especially since whether he casts a protest-vote or a reluctant-vote or a Mitt-vote… the outcome will not be any different… so he might as well vote for the guy who he most supports).

  53. shcb Says:

    J, you make some very good points. I voted for and was a passionate supporter of Ross Perot back in the day and saw how far that got me. Not only did I not get my first choice, what did Perot get, one ec vote? But I ended up with my third choice in a three horse race. I don’t think you are correct in your protest vote scenario however, because of your same math. If you vote for a third party your focused vote becomes diffused among all the small, mostly single issue candidates in the poling data, which is all that is left two or three years from now when political strategists start to frame their candidates positions. Unless of course that third party candidate has enough votes to have been a factor on his own, then that protest vote becomes real by your measure.

    I think we have seen with the Tea Party on the right and the Soros groups on he left that your protest vote needs to be in the primaries where a small vote can make a difference. Especially if there is a promise of support of both votes and money to the eventual winner of the primary. In this way you may not get the exact candidate you wanted but you will get the candidate you were going to get anyway a little closer to the candidate you wanted.

  54. enkidu Says:

    Welcome J. If you want to support a big push for third party candidates, that is of course your right. Go for it. But don’t expect everyone to forget that Nader put bush in office. Would Gore have been a better president than bush? While we can’t peer in to those quantum universes, my opinion is he wouldn’t have been quite as awful/disastrous. That is my opinion. You have yours. You are welcome to it, knock yourself out.

    Let’s say in the next three weeks there is a huge swell of ‘throw the bums out! All of em!’ And 10Million Ds vote for Gary Johnson gives CA’s ecVotes to Romney. Well played. Now you have the worst of all worlds. And to pretend this sentiment wouldn;t influence swing state voters is not credible.

    And to answer you on why I think Romney will blunder into conflict in Syria and Iran? Have you seen the list of bush era neocons on his advisors? These are the same bunch of warmongers we didn’t prosecute when Obama came into office. These folks are positive a war with Iran is in our best interests. My opinion is that a Romney presidency will significantly raise the possibility of a nuke being used on us or Israel.

    And this?

    since only fools now believe that romney does *not* plan to have some kind of repub-style socialist medicine scheme

    Please point out that plan to me. Link please. Currently it is repeal Romneycare, errr Obamacare and ‘replace’… with what? There is no plan. Less than a month before the election. Just like the R/R tax plan: trillions in tax cuts, no way to pay for it. Tax poor people (skin in the game etc) while giving millionaires and billionaires a tax cut. Big cuts to big bird (lol) but keep the money spigot at full blast for Wall Street.

    I think you tip your hand when you you use phrases like “socialist medicine scheme”.

  55. shcb Says:

    I don’t think it matters who is elected as far as going to was, in the last couple months I’ve been in two plants that have ramped up military production. Not big ticket items little things like 556 30 round magazines with incredible cosmetic specs, no shiny spots, M4 butt stocks, stock sides for transport trucks, things like that. Boots on the ground items.

  56. __j__ Says:

    Perot got zero ecVotes. Nada. Zilch. That will also happen to GJ, unless by a miracle the folks in Maine manage to give him one of their districts (they are big supporters of Ron Paul). But winning ecVotes in 2012 isn’t the point. Winning primaries in 2014 and 2016, is.

    Which, of course, if you’ve been following the repub-primaries, is why Gary Johnson is even running on the libertarian ticket. He *tried* to run in the repub primary, but was kept out of the primary-debates on technicalities (he’s a two-term gov which is more than Mitt can boast… cf Cain/Bachmann/Santorum/Pawlenty… rules were allegedly rigged against GJ specifically). Gary Johnson R-NM is the pro-choice flavor of Ron Paul, pretty much. Another guy that is looking for the Ron Paul voting bloc is Virgil Goode R-VA, who’s more of a traditional repub (and actually used to run as an independent and before that a democratic candidate).

    So, your vote for Perot in 1992 *was* just a toothless protest-vote, because in 1996 he created the Reform Party (and the biggest thing that accomplished was Dole refusing to debate until and unless Perot was *kept* out of the debates… and when push came to shove they cancelled the first presidential debate over this). Fade to black, after a dismal 1996.

    Now, in 2012, though, your protest-vote for certain third-party folks *will* send a message about what you want to see from liberty-candidates in 2014 and 2016; the folks on the repub side will be listening, at least. Gary Johnson is on the ballot in 47+ states and is likely to get 8% of the popvote in some of them; his votes are pretty solidly votes for Ron-Paul-style candidates. To a lesser extent, votes for Virgil Goode in 26+ states help (plus 11 certified-write-in states). To a greater extent, a write-in for Ron Paul (certified in at least one state and could be as many as five theoretically) obviously will send a very specific message.

    “I ended up with my third choice in a three horse race” Okay, if you say so… but, which state did you live in, back then? Did Clinton win the ecVotes from your state *because* of people voting for Perot, not for Bush1st? That was before the internet, so I’ve done a bit of research on the topic and came up short of conclusive proof, but I think the Perot-was-a-spoiler argument does not really hold water overall… and certainly only holds water even theoretically in about 15 states.

    The same utterly-predictable mathematics applies just as fully in 2012: favorite-betrayal, commonly known as voting-for-the-lesser-of-two-evils, is ONLY even theoretically helpful in the swing-states! Outside those rare places, protest-voting cannot change anything in 2012, and MIGHT just change things in 2014 and 2016. So, if you live outside FL OH NC WI CO VA IA and *maybe* NV NH PA (though by my calculations those barely qualify), then the electoral college votes for your state are already set in stone, and your protest-vote will neither-help-nor-hurt Obama — ditto for Mitt. Why not vote for who you really want, if you happen to live in California or somesuch, like the guy in the article? Why not tell your friends to do the same, as he is? (Although he ought to add a caveat for swing-states.)

    It sends a message of hope to the potential liberty-candidates of 2014 and 2016, who hate the kill-lists and the nsa and the tsa and such (not to mention deficits & debt & massive overspending). It also sends a message of fear to the elite pooh-bahs, the leash-handlers behind Mitt and Obama, who could care less which one you vote for, since either way they get what they want (more bank/auto/college/healthcare bailouts as needed, continued high-tension middle east policies keeping oil profits large & oil lobbyists powerful, and the uninterrupted march towards a police state governmentally & an aristocracy running the DNC and the RNC both).

    Anyways, to sum up, you are exactly correct that only the primaries matter; but in 2014 and 2016, I expect a lot of pauliticians to be trying to win primaries. Ron Paul doubled or tripled his 2012 popvote-performance compared to his 2008 performance, winning 2M votes even though he didn’t even campaign in all the primary-states, and I expect the liberty-candidate in 2016 will win a significant number of primaries… maybe even all of them? Nah, that’s hoping for too much. But I’m anxious to see how many liberty-votes are cast in 2012, which can be added up to guesstimate the strength of the liberty-bloc in 2014 and 2016.

    The real problem seems to be getting people to understand the math of the electoral college; even folks in utterly-safe-Obama-states like California are rabidly trashing the Conor guy for even suggesting voting for Gary… which cannot possibly hurt Obama, nor help Mitt! The winner-take-all nature of the vote, and the statewide-polling data, are the only facts that matter. The lesser-of-two-evils rule of thumb is being misapplied, in other words. (Of course, it’s not like Obama or Mitt actually *want* people to understand this math… they would rather that voters in every state feel pressure to only vote for them. But the math is what it is, and saying that a vote by somebody in California for Gary somehow hurts Obama is simply lying. It neither hurts nor helps anybody, in 2012. It sends a message to 2014.)

    Gary Johnson is on track to get (my estimate) between 5M and 10M votes this November, partly due to his own prowess — he vetoed more legislation as governor than all the other governors in all the other states put together during his two terms — but mostly due to Ron Paul’s utterly evil mistreatment during the primaries (broken fingers plus countless lesser offences… not in every state… but in ohhh-sooo many of them) and in Tampa at natcon (teleprompter-scripted last-second rules-change to keep Ron Paul from speaking on stage … even though he was mathematically guaranteed to lose to Mitt on the first ballot anyways!). Virgil Goode is probably going to get a few hundred thousand votes… but enough votes to likely spoil VA for Mitt, and maybe NC too, especially if you factor in the GJ voters. Ron Paul will get some write-ins, too, despite not actually running a write-in campaign — you gotta love grassroots dedication.

    So I think that Gary Johnson, at least, has enough votes to be a factor on his own, especially since he’s quite possibly (my opinion only — I have not heard anything specific) going to be back in the republican party primaries for the 2016 presidential primary. With luck, he’ll also run for the 2014 senate race in New Mexico, giving him additional fame and clout.

    At the end of the day, Gary Johnson and Ron Paul *are* single-issue candidates of a very special sort: their issue is freedom & liberty. But that issue is applicable in all policy-areas. Even if you decide against voting for a liberty-candidate in 2012, pay attention in the primaries of 2014 and 2016, because there WILL be liberty-candidates!

    Anyways, am I making sense here? Do you get what I’m saying, about the applicability of the lesser-of-two-evils rule of thumb varying STRICTLY on a state-by-state basis? That’s the math I’m interested in conveying. Not because I expect any ecVote wins this year, but exactly because I expect zero ecVotes for liberty-candidates. Only ecVotes matter, so giving your popvotes to a liberty-candidate cannot possibly hurt anything, as long as you live outside the rare swing-states. Later, in 2014 and 2016, those popvotes might just help.

  57. __j__ Says:

    @enkidu, sorry I was typing and didn’t see your post until I submitted. Your point is exactly correct — Gore lost the swing-state of FL because of Nader. (On the other hand, the only reason that made a difference is because Gore also lost NH to Bush in 2000… and for that matter, a bunch of other too-close-to-call races… any one of which would have made Nader irrelevant).

    My point is not that everybody can vote third-party, and ignore the rule about the lesser-of-two-evils. My point is that people in CA NY MA VT DC can vote for anybody they want — Obama is gonna win the ecVotes. Similarly, people in AK UT MT TX ND can vote for anybody they want — Mitt is gonna win the ecVotes. Very possibly, people that don’t understand this math are going to give the ecVotes in VA over to Obama, by voting for favorite-son candidate Virgil Goode, when their second choice is Mitt. However, whether VA is crucial to Mitt winning or losing the *overall* election depends on how he does in other states — maybe Goode will be the spoiler like Nader, but maybe the election will not be close enough to matter, and Goode will just be a one-state-spoiler. Gary Johnson is a different kettle of fish, since he pulls anti-war anti-gitmo pro-marijuana voters from Obama as well as anti-bailout anti-spending pro-constitution votes from Mitt.

    “Let’s say … 10M Ds vote for Gary Johnson, gives CA’s ecVotes to Romney” Sure, that’s a hypothetical situation where my advice could, on paper, theoretically, turn out to be bad advice. If mitt takes CA, obama loses. But can you fathom how unlikely that is? Let’s say obama is hit in the head by a freak asteroid fragment, leaving him alive but unable to speak, on live teevee during the second debate. That might give mitt the votes in CA, too! The math I’m talking about isn’t arithmetic, it’s stochastic. I can predict, with utter certainty, that Obama will not be disabled by a freak meteroid strike. NASA tracks such things, and can predict large strikes (for safety: dinosaurs). Also with utter certainty, I can say that CA will *not* go to mitt. PPP and Rasmussen track those things.

    There is no bleeping way. Do you see my point? Your CA argument is a strawman (unlike your FL argument — you are correct about FL voters!). People in CA can pay attention to the polls, which will be daily through election day. If there is a risk that GJ will overpower BHO by some Awesome Tsunami Seachange in the mere weeks remaining, they’ll see it coming, and realize the rule of thumb applies, and vote the lesser of two evils! Just check the polls the day before you vote, if you are worried that 10M californians will vote GJ. I’m not holding my breath. But I’d like to see 500k of them vote GJ. That’s conceivable, and if it happens, won’t hurt Obama any, but might help liberty in 2016.

    “To pretend this sentiment wouldn’t influence swing state voters is not credible.” Ahhh, here I’m not sure what you’re saying, but if I catch your drift, you are saying that, should GJ start to get really popular in CA (or some other non-swing-state), then the voters that do live in swing-states, but that don’t understand electoral math, might be ‘tricked’ into voting for GJ, and end up with the greater of two evils? I *guess* that’s a worry. But I think that GJ is already going to impact the swing-states; he regularly polls 7% in CO, which borders NM, and in one poll for OH he got 10%. So partly I think your argument is moot, in the sense that GJ will be pulling at least some votes from somebody in most swing-states. Not clear that he pulls more from Mitt, or more from Obama, though — in CO, for instance, he sometimes pulls 2% from mitt and 3% from obama, and other times pulls 3% from mitt and 2% from obama, depending on the poll. But 80% of colorado voters have never heard of GJ before, at all. He doesn’t have the cash to saturate the media, either, so they never will. Anyhoo, is that what you are talking about — popularity in CA may spill over into FL?

  58. __j__ Says:

    @enkidu, continued.

    p.s. I voted against Gore, since I thought he was a ludicrous robot (kinda like Mitt). But I sure didn’t like Bush either… two bad candidates, just like 2012. With predictably bad results, no matter who won. I didn’t understand the electoral math back then; wish I had of. I voted for McCain reluctantly, since his POW time in Vietnam guaranteed he would stop waterboarding, but I was glad Obama was going to be solidly against all the civil liberties violations… so I was not unhappy when he won. I thought the candidates in 2008 were not bad, compared to 2000 and 2004 (when I just stayed home in disgust). But as a president Obama has pretty much been nothing like he was as a candidate, on the issues that I cared about. He just unzipped his candidate-skin, and did what he wanted. Mitt the candidate is likely to be exactly the same — who really knows what he’ll do, if he gets the whitehouse? Point being, I’m unhappy with both groups, so I’m pushing for third-party votes. Not that I have any illusions a third-party will win. But because protest votes cost nothing in most states (the math is clear), and crucially, because liberty-candidates are in the primaries.

    p.p.s. Syria and Iran… sure, Romney might bumble into conflict there. But, umm, Obama has already started those conflicts. They closed the grand bazaar because of 75% inflation on the iranian rial (sanctions). Obama is wink-wink-nudge-nudge behind the stuxnet virus, allegedly. Remember that drone that crashed into Iran, and Obama demanded back? What do you think it was doing there? What about moving warships towards the strait of hormuz, and all the CIA/NSA/TSA covert ops that we cannot know might be happening now? (Okay I just threw that covert-tsa-operative thing in there as a gotcha.) Syria is already a conflict, and we are already in it, just at arm’s length, kinda sorta. You can argue about which guy might manage the consequences of these not-quite-declared-wars better, as you do… but you cannot say that Romney will bumble *into* conflict, because Obama already did. The best you can say is Romney will be more bumbley, or bumble us into *deeper* conflict. (Pop quiz: if the neocons mitt has on staff think war in iran is in our interest, and obama does not, why *did* he fail to prosecute them, and why *is* he bumbling into a war with iran? Maybe obama and mitt are two sides of the same wooden nickel on that one?)

    p.p.p.s. “What plan? Link please…. I think you tip your hand when you you use phrases like socialist medicine scheme” Um, –? While I heartily agree with you that romney will give no DEEP details of his plan for federally-run federally-regulated national healthcare system that guarantees every american has health insurance and allows insurance companies to sell across state lines, and constantly claims he likes some parts of obamacare only to backtrack the next day and say he didn’t mean it, isn’t that enough for you?

    That’s all I’m talking about by repub-style socialized-medicine. Which is the technical term for healthcare at the nation-state level — only in the 2012 election (or maybe the 2008 election) did calling nationally-run healthcare systems “socialized medicine” turn into some kind of insult… kinda like how only in 2012 did Chicago-style politics, a reference to the days of machine bosses like Mayor Daley, turn into a racist statement by some magic. Anyhoo, you can call it a federally-mandated healthcare system, if you think that socialized medicine is somehow politically incorrect, but they are the same thing. As you prolly have guessed, I’m against both romneycare and obamacare, and wanted repeal-period. That was Mitt’s slogan in 2011, too; he only started saying repeal (and sometimes adding replace) once the repub-primary-voters had gotten it firmly in their mind that he would junk it.

    Here is the most recent verbiage, subject to flip-flopping as always… but this has been his pretty consistent high-level plan for at least six month now. (Might be a distance record for him?) I’ve pulled the relevant quotes: “…tens of millions of Americans lacking insurance coverage. We can fix these problems [how to fix millions of uninsured? he never comes right out and says it, but the answer is by federally mandating that states must provide coverage to all aka fifty romneycares]. …a [federal] government takeover is the wrong approach… In place of Obamacare, Mitt will pursue policies that give each state the power to craft a health care reform plan [subject to federally-mandated strings]… to help the uninsured … to help the chronically ill … Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions … allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines”.

    You can argue that many details are still missing, and they are, but pretty clearly he plans to have a federal-level mandate, tied to medicare block-grants, that every state must insure all their citizens. Just like the obamacare penaltax, *technically* neither one is full blown socialized medicine as practiced in Canada for knarlyknight, or in France, let alone back in the USSR… but it still walks like a duck and talks like a duck, just more repub-style.

    p.p.(whoa). Better skip the tax-thing you brought up, except to say, yup, mitt is only willing to commit to cuts on PBS. But what significant cuts is Obama proposing, that will pass a repub supermajority in the House — and by implication, his tax-hike proposals are fantasy? Zilch. Both of them are gong to continue exploding debt by failing to cut spending, by wars and not-quite-wars, and by bailouts when Spain keels over. Arrrrgh. More than anything else, this is why I want some liberty-candidate to have a shot in 2016. We are heading forward, alright — into the abyss of Argentina-style hyperinflation and mob takeovers. Romney is going to slow down to 55mph rather than 65mph, nothing more… if even that!

  59. knarlyknight Says:

    Cheery spot of sunshine that. Welcome ___j____.

    As for Romney being a whole lot worse, in foreign policy I sense (meaning that I have a crystal ball) that he’ll overtly and bombastically do what Obama tries to accomplish sort of discretely, with predictable apocalyptical results (i.e. if mission accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan has after 12 years of war, how can one tell?) Domestically, it’s not hard to read between the lines (lies?) and see (again, the crystal ball) that he’d be comfortable returning to a 1920’s style social contract between the 1% and everyone else.

  60. enkidu Says:

    gish galluping over the facts seems to be in the conservative genome

  61. knarlyknight Says:

    Are you calling ___j___ a conservative? !

    I appreciate that he has kept to the topic of the article, that’s no small feat here. Just waiting for lefty to accuse him of being an Alex Jones fan, in 3,2,1…

  62. knarlyknight Says:

    Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer Said
    Oil Had Nothing Whatsoever at All
    No Way to Do With Plans to Invade Iraq
    “[Oil] is not a factor. This is about preserving the peace and saving the
    lives of Americans.” – Fleischer, October 9th, 2002

    Five Years Later, Alan Greenspan Explained Ari Was Lying
    “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge
    what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”
    – Greenspan autobiography The Age of Turbulence

  63. __j__ Says:

    @enkidu, oh come on, you can do better than say I’m a gish-galluping anti-factual … uh, wait, what does that even mean? [grin] If I’m off on the facts, please point them out to me. Cause I’m all about the cold hard facts. And saying gish-gallup is fun, but doesn’t point out any flaws in my actual arguments, right?

    @shcb, and anyone else interested in Ye Olde News — here were swing-states in 1992, which bush needed, and perot might have cost him, if you assume that out of any 3 perot-voters, at least 2 of them had bush as their next favorite:
    CT ME NJ (which nowadays are solidly dem)
    IA WI CO NV OH NH (also FL NC VA… albeit Bush won those)
    KY MT GA (which nowadays are solidly repub)

    Not much has changed since those days… swing-states in 2012: IA WI CO NV OH NH FL NC VA … mostly the same! some people claim PA is also a swing this year (not me).

    Which just helps to hammer home my main point: only in the swing-states does the thumb rule of voting for the lesser-of-two-evils (and thereby betraying your favorite candidate) ever actually make mathematical sense. Outside those states, the winner of the ecVotes is demographically set in stochastic stone, so voting third-party to send a message is worth it. Just don’t do it, if it so happens you live in FL during 2000, or VA during 2012, and so on.

  64. __j__ Says:

    @knarlyknight, enkidu is partially correct, fiscal-conservative (capitalist radical variety). But yes, as you perceive, I am not your everyday neocon-theocon repub, but a liberty-repub. Although I don’t know the guy from The Atlantic, he seems to be a liberty-dem, not voting for Obama nor Mitt, on the basis of civil-liberties issues, as I will prolly not be voting for Mitt nor Obama, also on civil-liberties issues. However, alex jones fanboy I am not, and though I will defend to the death his right to say what he wants (part of being a liberty-repub), and even his right to claim he is a member in good standing of the liberty-movement (which I strongly submit is incorrect), that doesn’t mean I would give him the benefit of my time.

    I prefer and similar; places w/ some substance. Not every guy who claims to like Ron Paul is an alex jones type — or for that matter a gary johnson type — the liberty-movement is fractally complex. You folks can consider me to be a special flavor of occupy-protest-person, if you like… this is our three minute theme-song which we try to live by…

    p.s. The iran not-quite-a-war of 2011+ which is jointly being waged at this very moment by both major-party nominees, is also going to be all about oil… and even more importantly about Looking Good To The Voters Back Home… just like Iraq (sigh). Plus maybe, if you want to believe Dinesh, also partially about anti-colonialist underdog worldviews? At least we didn’t have santorum as the nominee (‘Iran is evil cause they have the wrong theology’)

    p.p.s. knarly, if you think Romney wants to return to the 1920s, when we had a gold standard and a non-interventionist foreign policy (having just seen the foolishness of the opposite policy in The War To End All Wars during the 1910s), with govt spending perhaps 10% of GDP, then you have not been paying attention. Or, rather, you’ve been paying some attention, to the Obama campaign propaganda. Mitt is a progressive of the Wilsonian mold, or perhaps the Eisenhower mold. He’s a moderate-to-centrist republican from Boston & Detroit, which is like being from Ottowa & Montreal. That’s __not__ the 1920s.

    He’s perfectly happy with war, just like Obama, and with trillion-dollar deficits, just like Obama, and with govt in charge of 40% of the GDP (half federal and half state-level). Paul Ryan is the same; his tea-party cred is just a facade — he might be a bit of a theocon, where Mitt is not, but he’s no fiscal conservative, despite his fawning press. Ryan’s budget would not be balanced until 2039. Romney won’t even commit to that (and neither will Obama). Anyway as far as sunshine, the best I have is gallows humour for you today:

  65. knarlyknight Says:

    No, I don’t think that a return to the 20’s for the things you listed is in Romney’s agenda e.g. Gold Standard. the 1920;s was a poor example as all I meant to allude to was that Mittens would appreciate the 1920’s class divisiveness, especially w r t workers rights. Of course, with the decline of unions and disparity between rich and poor increasing to roughly 1920’s levels already on could argue we’ve already arrived there under Obama.

    Your last link (Patriot video game) much appreciated.

  66. enkidu Says:

    I just don’t have time to go thru your gish gallup and ‘debate’ you on the truthiness of some of this stuff. Obviously some of it I agree with, but some of it (more of it) I very much do not. For example: anyone who gives any credence to Dinesh D’Souza’s bullshit needs to check their bs meter. You might have the polarity switched.

    Far more likely you are just a sock puppet for lefty. Just sayin.

  67. knarlyknight Says:

    People, recalibrate your BS meters, Enk detects an odor.

    Enk, are you sure your meter isn’t just picking up echoes from the recent seagull overflight?

  68. enkidu Says:

    No, I’m pretty sure J’s good buddy ‘Dinesh’ is full of bullshit.

    “anti-colonialist underdog worldviews?”

    “socialist medicine scheme”?

    Obama just “did what he wanted”?
    Like restored confidence in our financial markets and the ability of government to weather the storm? Seems like he did a pretty damn good job at that. He wanted to close gitmo but was stymied on that.

    Won’t be long before the dog whistle comes out for a solo concert (I’ll pass on the whole underdog thing)

    J claims to have voted against Gore, but also to have sat out 2000 and 2004.
    Seems just like Romney’s ‘say anything’ strategy: throw out a ton of garbage and hope some of it sticks to the wall (or they are dazzled by lots and lots of shiny nonsense).

    I’m thinking this is the same seagull, just sayin.

  69. knarlyknight Says:

    Good call.

  70. knarlyknight Says:

    If you smell something fishy its probably a 1.5 metre long penis.

  71. shcb Says:

    J, I’ve used that line “I threw my vote away” for years but never really analyzed it. So I did. Turns out if 60% of Colorado voters for Perot had voted for Bush, Colorado would have went Bush instead of Clinton. I then made a spreadsheet of states and ec votes. You mentioned 2/3 of the voters would have probably voted for Bush (sounds reasonable). Turns out if 66% had voted for Bush he would have lost 267 to 271, if he had received 67% Bush would have won 274 to 264, crazy. Now I have heard in exit polls the number was more around 75% when asked if they hadn’t had voted for Perot, who would they had voted for so I think our 2/3 is conservative (pun intended).

    Now of course the reality is that not every state would have voted as my simplistic sheet shows, but I think is close enough that it is certainly reasonable to say I threw my vote away and at least plausible to say Perot cost Bush the election.

    That doesn’t lessen most of your points (or mine), 1992 was an extreme case. Just something fun to do for 20 minutes.

    My word count for you today is over 4,700, that’s jumping if with both feet!!

  72. shcb Says:

    For what it’s worth Iowa was the state that flipped between 66% and 67%

  73. __j__ Says:

    @shcb, yes your spreadsheet matches mine. Trouble is, we actually need the state by state exit-poll data, and apparently in those pre-webernet dark ages, such things were not made public. Everything rests on the assumption of what-percentage-of-perot-voters-had-bush-second. If you assume 3 to 1, uniform across all states, solid win for Bush1st. If you assume 2 to 1, ends up a tie (Bush by a hair or Clinton by a hair). But anything less than that, such as 50/50 split, and Bush still loses quite badly. Anyway, the primary difficulty is that the numbers *would* vary from state to state… 3 to 1 in MT seems likely, but 1 to 1 seems more likely in CT… and Bush *had* to have CT, by my calculations, or lose the ecVotes. But without the raw data, who knows? As for 2012, we’ll have enough state-by-state exit polls to see whether Gary Johnson and Jill Stein and Virgil Goode made a difference, or not.

    “My word count for you today is over 4,700, that’s jumping if with both feet!!” Yup. I do tend to run on, if the issue pushes one of my buttons. Enkidu seems less happy about it.

    @enkidu, you are under no obligation to deal with my verbosity. The kids these days just say tl;dr when their eyes glaze over at long logical arguments — I suggest you conform to the modern slang, rather than inventing gish-gallup as a synonym, though I do like your coinage better. Still, when you admit you didn’t read it, and then call it all shiny nonsense, you are kinda unfair, eh? Point out flaws if you see them, and verbosity is a valid flaw in the way an argument is presented… but does not alone indicate a flaw in the substance of the argument itself.

    Re: your concern with my political leanings, you misread my posting, although I admit it was ambiguously written. “I voted against Gore [in 2k] … candidates in 2008 were not bad, compared to 2000 and 2004 (when I just stayed home in disgust).” The parenthetical qualifier was only intended to apply to the 2004 election, since JK was such a weak challenger, and Bush such a poor incumbent. Sorta like the 2012 election, again with a poor incumbent and a weak challenger that is so similar on so many of the substantive issues. Sigh. I expect 2004 and 2012 will end similarly; incumbent stays in office, but Congress changes hands in short order, and financial crisis before the second term is up.

    Re: your concern I might be a sock puppet — I’m not. But that’s just what a sock puppet *would* say, now isn’t it! So that means I am! Maybe? You’ll have to decide on your own with that one. However, I might suggest that, the first time you see my username, and then tl;dr my arguments, would not be the best time to make up your mind on it?

    You do bring up one substantitive point, which is that you don’t see Obama as an anti colonial guy. Or at least, you don’t see Dinesh/Newt/myself as credible sources for such a claim. Besides that one concept, I’ve never heard of Dinesh before (or since), so calling him my bud doesn’t get you far. I read some paper back in ~December about it; I haven’t seen the movie, which seems to be just the one idea dressed up to take 90 minutes. But I do think the idea has some explanatory powers, more than the usual accusation that Obama is a secret marxist at heart.

    Pretty clearly he’s not that. But then what is he? Champion of the underdog, which in foreign policy terms translates to anti-colonialist, seems to be an excellent explanation for what Obama does. He’s not just a typical democratic party guy, like JK in 2004, right? Can you imagine JK sending civilian-killing drone strikes into Pakistani airspace, and helping overthrow at least two middle east governments, Egypt and Libya, maybe more? That’s more like Cheney, than like a typical democratic president! I’m not saying you have to agree with Dinesh (and in many details I disagree with him), but do you have a better way to characterize Obama’s worldview, given his record this past four years? (If your answer is tl;dr then you need not bother with a reply, I’ll understand the implicit connotation of crickets.)

    And, yes, Obama did do what he wanted to, and ignored any campaign promises that he later found to be inconvenient (or never meant in the first place). I didn’t vote for him, but I thought Obama-the-2008-candidate had some sweet rhetoric… that he then failed to even pretend to try and make happen. Here, for example, is 100 seconds of straight lying. All this stuff is something that could be done on his own, with a single executive order, no help from those darn old repubs in Congress needed, by the way. He has no excuse for not doing it, except that Obama-actual-2009-president and Obama-2008-candidate are not the same species, or maybe even the same phylum.

    Contrast his awesome ‘commitments’ … to the way Obamacare was actually passed.

    Arrrgh. I may not have voted for the guy, but I *did* believe what he said. Fool me twice, shame on me — the same position Conor of the Atlantic article is taking, with his vote for Gary Johnson in CA (that cannot hurt Obama but does send a message). Still, many people I talk with seem oblivious to the differences between Obama-2008 versus Obama-2009+. Are you one of them?

    Or do you just not prioritize the civil-liberties stuff? You mention e.g. the bailouts of the banks… do you also support the bailouts of the auto unions, and the bailouts of the solar industry, and then the last year of printing money wildly with QE1 and QE2 and QE3-aka-QE_to_infinity_and_beyond (this one is permanent 40B a month!) to drive up inflation… but keep the EU banks afloat until after November, and look good to the voters because the govt is Doing Something about the still-stagnant economy?

    To me, those are *all* crazy, especially QE3, which is *more* govt investment in toxic real estate! The first bailouts were crony capitalism, and both Obama and McCain were in it up to their eyeballs (that stupid ‘suspend campaign to run back to DC for my big donors’ gaffe may have cost McCain the election more than anything else… he is an economics moron even if I like some of his other positions). Obviously, you liked the bank bailouts and TARP. But if, as you say, Obama restored confidence in financial markets, then why did we just pass QE3, and why is Spain going under? If, as you claim, Obama restored confidence in the government, then why did that audit-the-Fed bill pass the house? (Reid has it bottled in the senate still.)

  74. shcb Says:

    J, I’m usually the one going on and on for interminable time so, no it doesn’t bother me, I, as a bullshitter, am just impressed. My wife got me a Duck Dynasty tee shirt with Si on the back, the front says “95% of what I say is truthful” she thinks that number is way too high! I’m going to sit back and see what happens to you and Enkidu, just one last point on ’92, there are so many variables it is impossible to know what would have happened. One variable is are people 95% truthful to exit pollsters? I’m 95% sure I am. How many would have voted for another third party taking votes from both men? Wouldn’t have voted if it hadn’t have been for that crazy little Texan and his pie charts etc. I was surprised the percentage was that low, I would have thought there would be one or two states that would have made it impossible without the percentage in the high eighties.

  75. enkidu Says:

    I read it all, just don’t have time to refute the easily refutable.

    I didn’t invent the term gish gallup. Try using google rather than conservapedia

    When even the most verbose amongst us thinks you are going on too much maybe you should think about focusing your arguments. Just backing up the truck and dumping a bunch of garbage from Dinesh doesn’t cut it. When shbc calls you a bullshitter, you are definitely brown-eyed and bad-breathed.

    Just to show you I do read your posts (and posts and posts, so.. similar to our local rightwing seagull) and do think about them, I’ll respond to the link you provided to the 7 lies in 2 minutes. Here is the short answer: laughable. I’ve been interested in the subject of when the internet and computing will really transform government, because I think we are a long way from net effects and moore’s law fundamentally transforming our relationship with guv. The gunmint is us, as Pogo spake.

    I’ll respond at length some other time. Gotta a business to run and another one on the launching pad.

  76. shcb Says:

    I tend to agree with you Enkidu as far as the 7 lies go, we get these little snippets with every president. I was critical of them with Bush and I’m critical with them with Obama. Just because someone says “I will do…” and then it doesn’t get done doesn’t mean he/she lied, it might just be they were wrong. Bush and the WMD in Iraq comes to mind. Now sometimes it would be better if they were lying, if they are lying it shows they actually had a grasp of what they lied about. Not lying and then being wrong may have been something happened unexpectedly, something happened out of control of the person in control or any number of things where the end result was different than what the accused liar said without him actually committing a falsehood.

    There is also the listener not hearing what the speaker has said or the listener hearing what the speaker said wrong, whether that error was malicious or not. Obama says he will make government as transparent “as possible”. If he didn’t do that was he lying? Did he not actually ever intend to make it more transparent? Did he find out after he got in power it was as transparent as is possible? When he got in power did he actually find our it was TOO transparent? In only the first case is he lying, in the others he may have been naïve, inexperienced, misled by others into thinking it was not transparent enough, but he didn’t lie.

  77. __j__ Says:

    @shcb, many of those particular lies are pretty glaring ones. I’m not talking about Obama saying he would save us from global warming, or give the nation hope, or “transparent as possible” or some other lofty promise that everybody pretty much understands is just rhetoric. I’m talking about the places where Obama is saying “I make this commitment to you, I will put every bill on the internet five (5) days before I sign it.”

    And then not doing it. For which there is no excuse. He could do it himself, with a $99 digicam and a free wordpress blog! Or he could have any one of his millions of minions do it. Maybe you can call it a white lie, or say he forgot, but you cannot say he was confused about what he was saying or that the topic was inherently difficult to pin down to specifics (e.g. gwb and wmd). Some of his other promises, like closing gitmo, you can argue were too hard or whatever. But not most of those promises about transparency. Even the biggie, the one where he said as transparent as possible, I would still count as a lie. He wasn’t saying, as transparent as possible unless I need to ram legislation through the Pelosi way. He was most definitely saying, as transparent as possible given technological limitations and human error. And he didn’t do that, either. (I sure wish he had! Neither he nor Mitt will even *say* such things in 2012… sigh.)

  78. __j__ Says:

    @enkidu [this one is optional reading], “I read it all” okay, I appreciate your time. And I don’t even expect you to rip up all your own thoughts, and replace them with ones I provide! I’m just a nice guy like that. You can even disagree with me, without pointing out where I’m wrong, and I won’t whine too much about it. But I’d rather you point out the flaws you see, when you can.

    “I’ll respond to the link you provided to the 7 lies… short answer: laughable.” Well, I thought it was kinda blackly humorous, too. But laughable in what way? You think those weren’t actually lies (e.g. because he did what he said and I missed it or because he was talking about something in a larger context not evident from the snippet shown), or that the congress kept him from doing it, or the clip was photoshopped, or something else? “The gunmint is us, as Pogo spake.” I Go Pogo 2012, woo! But seriously, I don’t understand what you mean, in how that ties in with the Obama video?

    “… just don’t have time to refute the easily refutable. I’ll respond at length some other time.” well, I guess I’ll wait around then. You probably realize that tl;dr is a permanent response of sloth, but that gish-gallop (a term apparently coined to describe mitt & dinesh in this election per rationalwiki… or at least, rare & unpopular until after the first prez debate) is in fact only really applicable to realtime verbal sparring. I’m not trying to win by putting up ’50 reasons enkidu is wrong about X’ you know.

    Maybe you should consider that I’m just responding naturally, which for me, means enough words to get my point solidly stated? I’m not one of those who likes imprecision, nor vagueness. Sometimes makes reading my stuff about as interesting as an inch-by-inch description of how to construct the space shuttle external tank, I suppose… but I try not to be *that* boring. Anyway, I’ll give you the stripped down version of the only thing I actually am interested in convincing you of at the bottom. I could care less about whether you believe anything dinesh says — I just use his concept for my own understanding of why things are the way they are. Mostly, I’m more interested in election-math than in the psychological motivation of some candidate.

    “Gotta a business to run and another one on the launching pad.” Cool. What do you do?

    “google… conservapedia” Heh heh. Welp, I took your advice, and googled your new made up word (so I thought!), and it turned out you were right about this one existing too. It is in fact the ‘American conservative, Christian, Young Earth Creationist’ version of wikipedia. Enkidu, have you really really never heard of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson before, or are you just trying to get me to go away? Sarah Palin is the kind of candidate that would be adored at conservapedia, or maybe Rick Santorum; those are a totally different universe from the liberty-republicans that I am interested in supporting. Sarah’s kind of a cross between a liberty-candidate and a theocracy-candidate, so I don’t *always* dislike her. She sometimes says nice things about liberty-candidates, unlike Santorum, for instance.

    Look, I realize you’re more of a democratic party sort of fellow (or lady), and may not care all that much about the factions within the repub party, but you do realize there are differences between C.Levin D-MI versus D.Kucinich D-OH versus J.Tester D-MT, right? Or at least, that there are occupy-leaning dems, and centrist-leaning dems? Some repub factions are more palatable to certain sorts of dems than others (like Gary Johnson is appealing to Conor of The Atlantic… because they agree on civil-liberties issues and the wars and such).

    Speaking of the political leanings of online encyclopedias, Jimbo Wales is an objectivist, I hear, which means his brand of politics is more my style than conservapedia. (Of course, the editorial policy of wikipedia does not necessarily engender objectivist or even libertarian-leaning content in the actual articles… that is more a function of the median internet user….)

    “When shbc calls you a bullshitter, you are definitely brown-eyed and bad-breathed.”
    Actually, shcb was complimenting me on my ability to shoot the shit. (Thanks!) (Err, wait… ok, sure, thanks. [grin]) You can tell, because right before that, he says it doesn’t bother him. Whereas, it does seem to bother you. However, you do offer a viable solution!

    “maybe you should think about focusing your arguments”
    Okay, see next posting.

  79. __j__ Says:

    @enkidu [this one is mandatory reading else severe civil and criminal penalties may result, the surgeon general was not consulted first, these statements not evaluated by the fda]

    Argument #1_D. Democrats living in CA, MA, IL, and pretty much any heavily-dem-leaning state (which of course does not include swing-states such as FL and CO and friends) can vote for a third-party candidate without *any* realistic worry that it will hurt Obama in the slightest.

    Argument#1_R. Republicans living in TX, UT, AK, and pretty much any heavily-repub-leaning state (which of course does not include swing-states such as VA and OH and friends) can vote for a third-party candidate without *any* realistic worry that it will hurt Mitt in the slightest.

    Argument#2_L. Many republicans from 1R who like Ron Paul, and many democrats from 1D who are pro-marijuana anti-war pro-civil-liberties anti-patriot-act, should vote for Gary Johnson. He’s on the ballot in 47+ states, he’s a former two-term governor, and he’s likely to run for office again in 2014 and/or 2016. Plus, the lesser-of-two-evils rule does NOT apply for the presidential race, because of electoral college math, unless you live in FL/etc.

    Argument#2_C. Some republicans from 1R who like Ron Paul or Sarah Palin, and some democrats from 1D perhaps (Virgil used to be a Virginia democrat), should vote for Virgil Goode. He’s on the ballot in 25+ states, and a certified write-in for at least 10 more, a former N-term congressman, and he’s likely to run for office again in 2014 and/or 2016. Plus, the lesser-of-two-evils rule does NOT apply for the presidential race, because of electoral college math, unless you live in FL/etc.

    Explanation & rationale of arguments above, optional:

    The article by Conor in The Atlantic is arguing #2L, but without #1D. I’m arguing all four, but at first, you cautioned me about Nader in FL in 2000. I know about Nader, but #1D shows that such a scenario is mathematically impossible for plenty of states that are *not* swing-states like FL, and therefore doesn’t *apply* to voters in 40 states or thereabouts.

    shcb similarly mentioned Perot 1992, in Colorado et al… I know about Perot, and if Gary Johnson manages to get *that* popular during the remainder of the month, where he is polling at 20% or 30% like Perot managed, *then* the mathematical rules in #1R and #1D will begin to stop working, and *then* the rule of thumb about the lesser of two evils will come into play, because if Gary is getting 25% of the voters in California, then quite possibly he really could hurt Obama there. The best Johnson has ever polled, in any state, is 10% … and in most states, he polls 2% to 7% … when they even can be bothered to mention him.

    At the moment, Gary’s getting way less than 5% of the voters in CA, which is unlikely to change much before election-day, so Californian dems are *perfectly* safe voting Gary. Obama’s gonna win all the ecVotes anyhoo, unless literally millions of dems defect (no way).

    By the same math, any Republican voters in CA should *absolutely* feel free to vote for Gary Johnson, or whatever type of candidate they wish to seen in the 2014 and 2016 primaries… because no matter *how* many repubs vote for Mitt in California, Obama is *still* gonna get each and every ecVote in the state. So why vote for Mitt, if you live in California, unless he really *is* the repub you’ve always wanted?

    The same logic in reverse applies to dems & repubs living in TX, or any other repub-state.

    The *only* places voters have to worry about the lesser-of-two-evils “rule”, and might want to betray their favorite, voting strategically for their second-favorite candidate so that their least-favorite candidate doesn’t accidentally win, are the 2012 swing-states:
    CO FL IA OH NC NH NV VA WI (mitt once claimed to have a shot in PA… pffft)
    Particularly, Virgil Goode polls 9% in VA, and Gary Johnson polls 7% in NH + 10% in OH.
    (Gary also polls 7% in TX but Mitt still wins it, and 7% in NM but Obama still wins that.)

  80. __j__ Says:

    p.s. Off topic, but since it’s come up often, here’s the dinesh thing I’ve read:

    You can see the speech by Obama that dinesh mentions here:

    By my count, ignoring the intro-fluff and the closing-fluff, about 35% of the content of Obama’s speech was on the cleanup, 21% on ‘free’ money redistribution, 21% on new ‘regulations’ for business, and 43% on stopping evil oil corps from evil drilling and getting evil oil users off their evil fossil-fuel addiction. The correction by forbes editors was false. My own analysis (verbose! so I’ll elide it) suggests Obama thinks oil itself is immoral, inherently, as a substance… like any other damaging & addictive drug. The fact that oil corps are his traditional enemy — big multinationals owned by rich folk — is just a bonus.

  81. shcb Says:

    J, I would agree with you on the 5 day issue, you can call that a lie, as far as I can see he never even tried to implement anything to that effect and certainly didn’t use it on his signature piece of legislation.

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