June 23, 2012

Lesser evil cont'd

Those chastising your editor for favoring the lesser evil of Barack Obama over Mitt Romney might want to consider the pass half century of American political history, during which we elected a number of lesser evils including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Would it have been better to have four more years of Richard Nixon, Jerry Ford and George HW Bush - as well as four or eight years of Barry Goldwater, Bob Dole and John McCain? Would we have been better without the Peace Corp, a nuclear test ban treaty, civil rights, federal funding for education, Medicare, Medicaid and the war on poverty?

Imperfection sometimes has its virtues.

15 comments:

Dan Lynch said...

Only difference between Clinton and Bush I is that Bush I couldn't get the votes to pass NAFTA, but Clinton coerced D's to vote for NAFTA. So Clinton was actually worse for the country than Bush I.

Yes, we would have been better off with McCain rather than Obama. With McCain in the WH, D's would have gained seats in 2010, rather than R's.

With McCain in the WH, D's would have raised the debt ceiling and resisted cuts to social programs.

Only a Democratic president can kill the New Deal.

Only a Democratic president can twist Democratic arms to pass free trade agreements.

There is no comparison between JFK and LBJ vs. Clinton and Obama. JFK and LBJ supported the New Deal and Keynesian economics. Clinton and Obama don't.

Anonymous said...

Only that we'd accept the 'lesser evil' premise...aye, there's the rub.
Perhaps Black Agenda commentator, Glen Ford, expressed it best in describing Obama as the 'more effective evil'---
( http://blackagendareport.com/content/why-barack-obama-more-effective-evil )
Excepted from Ford's speech before the Left Forum:
"The prevailing assumption on the Left is that Obama has good intentions. He intends to the Right Thing – or, at least, he intends to do better than the Republicans intend to do. It’s all supposed to be about intentions. Let’s be clear: There is absolutely no factual basis to believe he intends to do anything other than the same thing he has already done, whether Democrats control Congress or not, which is to serve Wall Street’s most fundamental interests.

But, the whole idea of debating Obama’s intentions is ridiculous. It’s psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it."

Anonymous said...

The 'lesser evil' equation doesn't particularly irk me. It's how so-called Progressives and of course hard-nut Democrats have embraced Obama as-is. Obama supporters and apologizers are in it all the way.. It's all pom-poms and four-more years!

Look at what the guy has done! and what he has failed to do. Plus the betrayals and the way he dumped most of what he said he stood for during his campaigning. That cost him and the Democrats the mid-terms. Even so he didn't 'change'.

The least that could be done is to put his feet to the fire (figuratively) on these issues. Try to get something from him for supporting him and voting for him.. Even if that something is simply more promises he can toss out the moment the election is called for him..

Obama supporters.. have some dignity for heaven's sake! Even prostitutes have lists of dos and don'ts .. and neither do they work for free! Demand one tangible thing from Obama for your votes.. I dare you.

How about Free Bradley Manning?!

Adios!

Walter F. Wouk said...

Barack Obama has, for all intents and purposes, given us four more years of George W. Bush.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous commenter and would add one: demand that Brad be freed and all allegations against Assange be dropped such that he's free to continue his work.

If we can't even get those two non-monetary things from Obama as the price of our votes, then there is absolutely no sense (sorry, Sam) in voting for him.

(And, quite frankly, of your "Gang of Five" electees, the only one who did us any good was LBJ)

Gabe Eisenstein said...

I agree with Dan Lynch. Obama is able to pass parts of the Republican agenda that Republicans couldn't pass. Two new examples are the Pacific "free trade" agreements and the regressive position on climate change taken by the US delegation to current talks (refusing to follow agreements made by Bush Senior). Sam, do you think McCain would have gotten away with all the new powers of targeted killing, indefinite detention, etc.? What strikes me as un-Sam-Smith-like about this argument is that, despite the "one night" concept, it still puts more faith in the Presidential electoral process than in resistance at street level. Obama is unprecedented in his ability to suppress all such resistance.

Anonymous said...

If this lesser of two evils argument is valid, which I truly doubt it is in national politics. Only people in states that matter in electoral politics should bother voting for Obama. I live in Oregon, 7 electoral college votes and on the west coast. The presidental race is usually decided hours before our polls close, and Oregon's 7 electoral college votes don't matter in who gets elected, we are shut out by nature of modest population and geography. So it is unconscionable in a state where our votes don't count, to suggest that we should vote for Obama. No, in such a situation as mine, we should vote our conscience and vote third party. That is the only way I can convince myself to bother with filling in the check box for president.

Anonymous said...

You're living in the past Sam. The Democrats are the greater evil at this point. Proving that once and for all is possibly Obama's only real accomplishment. There simply is no way to justify supporting such a violent, corrupt, right-wing, corporate extremist as Obama. Romney may be a horrendous president, but there's no possible way he can be worse than Obama, who is certainly the worst president we've ever had. He's done enormous and lasting damage to this country, and if we make the mistake of giving him 4 more years we will surely regret it.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm tired of the "lesser evil" approach to elections. It's like a game show: here on the left we have Candidate B and on the right Candidate A. NO thank you to both. I will be writing in the name of Ron Paul, someone who would be different.

Dave A said...

So when does it end, Sam? When does one stop voting for evil? It's not semantics.

Capt America said...

If not now, when?

KM said...

Starting with Clinton, Democrats have in fact not been a lesser evil.

Anonymous said...

It's a lot easier for a "friend" to win your trust so they can stab you in the back; when you think a friend is looking after your best interests you let your guard down - you stop resisting. Obama has gotten away with things that "W" never could have. "W" energized resistance.

I've always suspected that Obama was a sort of "Manchurian Candidate" designed to destroy what's left of the pitiful, whimpy Democratic Party by creating dissapointment, discouragement, and despair among young and progressive voters.

The ONLY reason I can think of to vote for Obama is the Supreme Court, and I'm not even sure that I buy that argument any longer. It's clear that in America things have to get really bad before anything changes for the better. I'm thinking that the whole rotten establishment-controlled system has to crash before enough people wake up and force real change.

I've been thinking about the lesser of two evils argument for many years, and I just can't play that game any longer; the two(?) major parties are just playing us like a ping-pong ball while they shred the Constitution and get richer and more powerful.

We should focus on the House of Representatives and forget the White House. I will never again vote for a Democrat (or Republican) for President. From now on it's third party or not at all!

Anonymous said...

It's a lot easier for a "friend" to win your trust so they can stab you in the back; when you think a friend is looking after your best interests you let your guard down - you stop resisting. Obama has gotten away with things that "W" never could have. "W" energized resistance.

I've always suspected that Obama was a sort of "Manchurian Candidate" designed to destroy what's left of the pitiful, whimpy Democratic Party by creating dissapointment, discouragement, and despair among young and progressive voters.

The ONLY reason I can think of to vote for Obama is the Supreme Court, and I'm not even sure that I buy that argument any longer. It's clear that in America things have to get really bad before anything changes for the better. I'm thinking that the whole rotten establishment-controlled system has to crash before enough people wake up and force real change.

I've been thinking about the lesser of two evils argument for many years, and I just can't play that game any longer; the two(?) major parties are just playing us like a ping-pong ball while they shred the Constitution and get richer and more powerful.

We should focus on the House of Representatives and forget the White House. I will never again vote for a Democrat (or Republican) for President. From now on it's third party or not at all!

BARBBF said...

The lesser of two evils is still evil. I will not vote for evil..whether it is the lesser evil or not. I will write in Ron Paul. Considering the incredibly sad state this country has descended to under the "leadership" of Obama and the Dems..I cannot begin to imagine how and why anyone would want this country to suffer through another 4 years of Obama in the White House. As someone posted a few months ago.."If you voted for Obama the last time to prove you're not a racist..you have to vote for anyone else this time to prove you're not an idiot".