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Betray Me at Your Peril

This week, for the first time in the forty years since I became eligible to vote, I will vote in the republican primary. I live in a red state and the victor of the primary will most likely be our next governor and I desperately want to cast an effective vote against the incumbent.

The republicans will then assume that I am actually a member of their party and start sending me crap in the mail just as the democrats have done for the 20 years since I moved to this state.

The republicans will be as mistaken as the democrats have been in assuming that I want to join their club. In the end I am an issues voter. I prefer to vote for a candidate that most closely appears, and believe me I recognize that appearance is a far cry from essence, to echo my views on the issues.

Unfortunately, I frequently find that I must vote against the candidate I most disagree with. Most often this strategy benefits democrats much to their delight and my dismay.

In the end, we may choose to be issues voters or club voters. Obama and the democrats benefited from attracting a lot of issues voters like me in 2008. Their dismal performance at governance caused many of us to stay home in Massachusetts a few weeks ago, an event that likely foreshadows the outcome of the elections in 2010. Democrats will lose, gain or stand pat based on issues voters like me, not club members.

Today, the president embarks on a renewed effort to market the Senate’s health insurance company profit protection act. As an advocate for single payer, the democrats left me at the alter before the first word of the first bill was written. I could have tolerated a compromise that included an expansion of Medicare or a robust public option. Instead of producing a bill that takes us a tenth of the way or a quarter of the way toward that goal, the democrats have chosen a strategy that takes us entirely in the opposite direction. The have chosen to promote and protect the very private, for-profit companies that created the need for reform in the first place. This is a betrayal of the first magnitude that I will not soon forget.

Not only will I make every effort to defeat this strategy, I will make every effort to defeat the proponents of this strategy in 2010 and beyond. Think of me as the progressive equivalent of a pro-life voter. I can accept a compromise that gets me closer to my goal. I will not accept a capitulation that takes us in the opposite direction.

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