With the current administration authorizing predator drone strikes, supporting NDAA, enabling megabanks and opposing legalization of marijuana, many left-leaning pundits observe that President Obama is not sufficiently progressive to deserve their votes. Some suggest not voting, voting third party, and some even suggest voting for Romney instead.
Only Nixon can go to China, and in Defeat Romney, Without Illusions about Obama, Daniel Ellsberg explains why he urges liberal progressives to vote to reelect Barack Obama despite their disappointments :
It’s not merely understandable, it’s entirely appropriate to be enraged at Barack Obama. As I am. He has often acted outrageously, not merely timidly or “disappointingly.” If impeachment were politically imaginable on constitutional grounds, he’s earned it (like George W. Bush, and many of his predecessors!) It is entirely human to want to punish him, not to “reward” him with another term or a vote that might be taken to express trust, hope or approval.
But rage is not generally conducive to clear thinking. And it often gets worked out against innocent victims, as would be the case here domestically, if refusals to vote for him resulted in Romney’s taking key battleground states that decide the outcome of this election.
To punish Obama in this particular way, on Election Day — by depriving him of votes in swing states and hence of office in favor of Romney and Ryan — would punish most of all the poor and marginal in society, and workers and middle class as well: not only in the U.S. but worldwide in terms of the economy (I believe the Republicans could still convert this recession to a Great Depression), the environment and climate change. It could well lead to war with Iran (which Obama has been creditably resisting, against pressure from within his own party). And it would spell, via Supreme Court appointments, the end of Roe v. Wade and of the occasional five to four decisions in favor of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Republicans and Democrats alike promise that there is a bright energy future if only we can A – pillage the land for unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands and fracked natural gas or B – invest in clean energy including “clean” coal and nuclear power. The Green Party and Justice Party have made a response to climate change and energy depletion some part of their campaign platforms.
Republicans and Democrats alike predict that their economic policies will stimulate growth, create jobs and return morning to America. The Green Party suggests that measures like their proposed Superfund for Workers will stave off further economic recession. The Justice Party suggests green jobs and infrastructure programs to keep people employed. I don’t believe any of them can deliver growth.
My belief is that austerity is coming, and that who we elect determines how it will be allocated. Much as I liked Dr Jill Stein, common sense tells me that only Obama and Romney have the chance to win and govern. It is very clear that Romney’s mission is to protect the very wealthy from any effects of austerity while Obama’s mission is to prop up as much of the middle class as he can for as long as possible while still satisfying his wealthy donors. From a selfish standpoint, I have to agree with Ellsberg about this election.
As austerity sets in, however, the choices will become less clear.