Why I won’t be voting for Barack Obama, and you shouldn’t either
If a Republican balanced the budget by cutting heating subsidies for the poor in harsh winters rather than fossil fuel subsidies for the world’s most profitable corporations, liberals would scream. When Barack Obama does it, it’s “shared sacrifice.”
If a Republican implemented “universal health care” but left over 30 million people uninsured, and the people who are “insured” aren’t guaranteed to receive healthcare because their plan is still with a private company that profits and thrives off of denying sick people care they need, liberals would pitch a fit. When Barack Obama does it, it’s “a step in the right direction.”
If a Republican proclaimed an “end” to a war while leaving over 50,000 troops in the country, liberals would laugh hysterically and ask if anybody was really falling for such a ploy. When Barack Obama does it, he’s “keeping his promise to end the war.”
If a Republican appointed a Secretary of Education who said Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans” because it gave powerful special interests an opportunity to swoop in and “improve” the city’s failing schools by privatizing them, thus turning a profit from childrens’ education without them showing any academic improvement years later, liberals would not rest until either that Secretary of Education resigned or everybody in the country knew about it. When Barack Obama does it, he’s “getting us away from No Child Left Behind.”
If a Republican lowered revenues for Social Security via a payroll tax cut and subsequently declared Social Security revenues were in crisis, which would lead to changes in the program that would drastically impact the quality of life for “future seniors” so as to not impact the current voting bloc, liberals would make it a point to educate today’s young people so they’d know the decades-old promise of economic security in their twilight years was in jeopardy. When Barack Obama does it, he’s “providing tax relief and dealing with long-standing problems with our entitlement system.”
If a Republican stumped for a “universal health care” bill that, with the exception of tort reform and the ability to sell insurance across state lines, was precisely what the private insurance industry asked for shortly after the President was elected in November, with some language in the bill being word-for-word identical to what industry lobbyists had suggested, liberals would pitch fits about how this wasn’t what real, universal health care looked like. When Barack Obama does it, it’s “a necessity” because he wouldn’t be able to pass a bill without industry support, much like how their opposition stopped a different President four decades earlier from passing Medicare.
If a Republican pushed for an energy solution that involved almost entirely fossil fuels, including the mythical “clean coal” and natural gas, extracted via blasting a propiertary toxic liquid that includes rocket fuel into the Earth, polluting our water and land and air in the process it takes to perform the practice called “fracking” while approving a pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas to extract tar sands that hundreds of reputable scientists said could and probably would cause innumerable different environmental disasters, liberals would be begging for our leaders to change course so their children’s future doesn’t involve gas masks and/or oxygen tanks as a daily necessity for survival. When Barack Obama does it, The League of Conservation Voters, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club endorse him.
If a Republican publicly insisted that, as a way to alleviate the pain of dealing with private health insurance companies, there would be a public and non-profit public health care option citizens could choose to buy into, when weeks earlier he had made a deal with private hospital industry lobbyists that no such option would actually appear in any health care reform efforts, liberals would be infuriated at the denial of a chance to enter into a health care plan whose primary objective would be to care for sick people rather than profit off of them, and at the fact they were straight-up lied to so their support could be garnered for a bill that was already an industry gift. When Barack Obama does it, it’s alright because the bill can be “improved on in the future.”
If a Republican allowed tens of thousands of gallons of oil to gush into the ocean just shy of 3 months straight while allowing the company responsible for the mess to repeatedly try and fail to clean it up without sending in scientists who know what they’re doing to advise on how to resolve the problem as quickly as possible, liberals would point fingers at how the Federal government was acquieising to private interests even when the health of the public and environment was at stake, as well as the economic security of anybody who lived near and relied on the ocean for their livelihood. When Barack Obama does it, it’s alright since he appeared unhappy about the whole situation and said some words and made BP set aside some money to compensate some people to some degree.
If a Republican president presided over the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, caused by Wall Street bankers making bets with investors money, causing immeasurable loss for the lower class and middle class and wiping out untold pensions, and not only failed to prosecute even one individual responsible, but bailed out the firms who bankrupted so many – with a stern warning that the bailout bills would be vetoed if any restrictions were placed on how the money could be used, allowing for the bailout money to be used as bonuses – liberals would roar for impeachment. When Barack Obama does it, there’s dead silence, but raucous applause for a “financial regulation” bill that leaves open the avenues to every single mechanism that allowed the banks to cause the crisis the first two times – once almost a hundred years ago, and again right before he took office.
If a Republican were to make it so that women who wanted abortion coverage in their health insurance plans had to make two separate payments for health insurance each month – one for the normal coverage, and another small fee for the abortion coverage – liberals would rightfully insist in that this is another way to further marginalize abortion access. When Barack Obama does it as a way to pass health care reform, he’s endorsed by NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and Emily’s List.
If a Republican touted an education plan that touted “school choices” and “accountable teachers” but actually used No Child Left Behind standards as an excuse to close underfunded public schools and privatize them, liberals would be in shock at how it effectively transformed our childrens’ education into a commodity and broke teachers’ unions. When Barack Obama does it, he’s “working with communities to offer better education choices” which, stastically, overwhelmingly have either similar or worse educational outcomes than traditional public schools.
If a Republican had as part of their platform that they’d allow for drug reimportation, something practiced by most other countries in the world which would allow for drastically reduced prescription drug costs, but then when a Senator manages to whip up the votes to pass this promise the White House brings pressure down on some vulnerable legislators and gets them to withdraw support – and the Senator announces his retirement two weeks later – liberals would instantly connect the dots and chastise the President for using the bully pulpit to deny a public good while having his strings pulled by the hideously wealthy pharmaceutical industry. When Barack Obama does it, Democrats were too busy urging people to support the insurance-industry written healthcare reform bill to notice.
If a Republican asked Congress to pass into law something allowing for a commission to convene on how to approach the deficit, but they voted against it and the President commissioned one anyway, liberals would decry the abuse of power. When Barack Obama does it, it was a necessity because there’s no way he could have gotten that with all those obstructionist Republicans.
If a Republican said his opinion on gay marriage was “evolving” but that he was not in favor of it overall, only explicitly stating his support after his Vice President accidentally revealed his support in an interview to shore up votes for an election season, liberals would be happy at the progress but openly scoff at the lack of true conviction and appeal for votes. When Barack Obama does it, the reaction was so wildly positive you’d think he had found a loophole that allowed for gay marriage in every state.
If a Republican finger-wagged about the negative impacts of NAFTA and similar free-trade agreements that cost America countless thousands of jobs, but then entered into more free trade agreements with Asia, liberals would at bare minimum ask for Fair Trade rather than free trade. When Barack Obama does it, it’s ok because maybe it’ll lower the prices on some goods that were previously affordable.
If a Republican then hand-picked the deficit commission and stacked it with people who have explicitly stated they would cut Social Security and Medicare while lowering tax rates for the wealthy as part of their solution for the deficit, including one who described Social Security as a “milk cow with 310 million tits,” liberals would urge everybody to not heed the committee’s suggestions and be disgusted at the vulgarity. When Barack Obama explicitly states that this committee’s report will be the basis of his second-term “grand bargain” for dealing with the deficit, and that will be his focus rather than unemployment, rather than hold him accountable, liberals point and huff something about Mitt Romney, someone who they were never going to vote for anyway.
A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for the Democratic party. It’s not a vote for Democratic principles, as if you were to look at the party’s 2008 platform and compare it with the actions over the last 4 years, you’d find little if any consistency, and nothing on the huge issues that matter the most. Barack Obama has made spending cuts and deficit reduction a priority, rather than public spending to create jobs or extending unemployment benefits for those who were unable to find work and hit their lifetime limit on benefits after the arbitrary 99-weeks. The Supreme Court is already lost, and Elena Kagan has already voted to restrict reproductive rights. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for conservative policies with a more believable smile, and normalizing the blaming of the poor and downtrodden for our economic woes. A vote for Barack Obama cements a media landscape making the American public believe it has a communist at worst, far-left liberal at best set of policies in place, and that they’re what’s failing us rather than over-reliance on a free market whose invisible hand is taking money from your pockets and transferring it to those of the most wealthy at a rapid rate. The American political center will continue to rocket rightward – if the fact that 1990s Republicans are further left than today’s Democrats makes you shudder, think about how Obama’s failing conservative policies will be thought to have failed because they were too liberal. Consider what might happen if we just called a spade a spade: a conservative President for conservative policies.
Liberals only seem to care about the environment, economic justice, and powerful private interests prevailing over the people when a Republican is in office. So let’s make them care again, while you get to vote your conscience.
A ranked list of desirable things to happen on election day would look something like this:
1. You vote for Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Peta Lindsay, or Stewart Alexander
2. You vote for another third party
3. You don’t vote
4. You vote for Mitt Romney
5. On the way to your polling location in a swing state with fracking, fumes from a nearby well make you dizzy and confused and you think you already voted
6. You vote for Barack Obama
Update: The post previously erroneously stated Greenpeace endorsed Obama. They didn’t, it was The League of Conservation Voters I was thinking of and I should have realized and caught that.