The Greater of Two Evils

Endorsements for candidates in posts here do not represent the opinions of all regular contributors, blue cheddar, or the blog’s many guest writers.

Some good folks on the left of the political spectrum, many of whom I respect very much, dismiss the notion of voting for the lesser of two evils. Certainly doing so can be disheartening and demoralizing. It can feel like there’s little real choice involved. When do we get to say what we really need, register our outrage at what offends us so deeply? But in these evil times, in this corrupt winner-take-all political system of ours, pragmatism points to just such a choice.

I appreciate that many women, families, and workers will likely do better with Obama in office for another four years. But given the drones, the war in Afghanistan, the NDAA, the record number of deportations, I cannot bring myself to vote for Obama. In other words, I am not “in.”

On the other hand, I will not miss the opportunity to vote against Mitt “Corporations-Are-People-My-Friend” Romney.

Romney is so saturated with privilege that he thinks the American people should vote for him and his so-called five-point plan without him divulging any details or offering any substance to indicate that the math might actually add up. (It doesn’t.) We’re supposed to just trust him. (*eyeroll*) He’s so truth-challenged that he doesn’t seem to know the difference between truth and lies. And far worse, he doesn’t seem to care.

Romney treats the American people (“you people”) with only the most thinly veiled contempt. He seems to think he’s entitled to the presidency, and he’s willing to do anything and say anything to make sure he gets it. I can’t imagine a more dangerous creature for our people or for the planet. Someone so morally bankrupt should absolutely not be allowed to choose the next two or three members of the Supreme Court, not to mention commanding the most powerful military force the Earth has ever known.

Daniel Ellsberg writes eloquently about the urgency of preventing a Romney presidency:

As Noam Chomsky said recently, “The Republican organization today is extremely dangerous, not just to this country, but to the world. It’s worth expending some effort to prevent their rise to power, without sowing illusions about the Democratic alternatives.” …

The election is at this moment a toss-up. That means this is one of the uncommon occasions when we progressives—a small minority of the electorate—could actually have a significant influence on the outcome of a national election, swinging it one way or the other.

The only way for progressives and Democrats to block Romney from office, at this date, is to persuade enough people in swing states to vote for Obama: not stay home, or vote for someone else. And that has to include, in those states, progressives and disillusioned liberals who are at this moment inclined not to vote at all or to vote for a third-party candidate (because like me they’ve been not just disappointed but disgusted and enraged by much of what Obama has done in the last four years and will probably keep doing).

They have to be persuaded to vote, and to vote in a battleground state for Obama, not anyone else, despite the terrible flaws of the less-bad candidate, the incumbent. That’s not easy. As I see it, that’s precisely the “effort” Noam is referring to as worth expending right now to prevent the Republicans’ rise to power. And it will take progressives—some of you reading this, I hope—to make that effort of persuasion effectively.

As disastrous as eight years of Dubya were, a Romney presidency would be even worse, in part because it would add to the damage Dubya did that has not yet been mitigated. And as deplorable as many aspects of Obama’s presidency have been, a Romney presidency would be much worse, even catastrophically worse, as Ellsberg says. A Romney presidency would greatly hasten our slide toward all-out corporate kleptocracy and modern-day feudalism. More privilege for the privileged. More austerity and suffering for everyone else.

In a little more than two weeks, I will be voting enthusiastically for Tammy Baldwin to be my senator and for Mark Pocan to be my representative. And as for that other race, as I draw a line next to Obama’s name, the enthusiasm involved will be in my wholehearted desire to prevent the greater of two evils.

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Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

$$ Voting Made Easy: Empowering the 99%

I’m about to buy a lawn mower, but I don’t want my money used to attack Wisconsin workers and families.

There are several lists of companies to avoid when making purchasing decisions, such as companies led by people who gave big donations directly to the Walker campaign. Buying local is usually a wise decision, but even that is problematic when most Wisconsin businesses support the Chamber of Commerce (national or local), or other organizations hostile to Wisconsin’s workers and families.

For example, Wisconsin-based Ariens is out because they belong to WMC. Illinois-based John Deere is even worse, because they not only belong to WMC, they also belong to ALEC.

It can be difficult to find a non-evil company to reward with my consumer spending, but it’s worth the effort. At the moment, I’m considering buying a Husqvarna mower. Husqvarna is apparently a Swiss company, although I’m not sure the where the mowers are actually manufactured.

Boycott lists are a good start, but aren’t enough. We need better ways to help each other identify and support companies that believe strong and prosperous families are good for the economy.

For starters, I need your suggestions on what mower to buy, and where to buy it.

Republican deception hits Wisconsin poll workers now

Republicans are reviving a state law which is already on the books but hasn’t been used in recent memory. It’s going to make being a clerk in Wisconsin more difficult at a time when clerks are already bracing themselves for implementation of the new voter ID law.

The law states that for *first consideration* for either a volunteer or paid poll worker slot, you have to be either a Dem or GOP member and appear on a list provided by the party. But the calls and emails put out by the GOP suggest that the  workers MUST join a political party. And they suggest that the workers must join the Republican party.

From an  article in Waunakee Tribune

“Deceptive tactics?
…First, the callers give the impression that the municipal clerks have referred them, and secondly, they tell elections inspectors that if they want to keep working, they have to join a political party, Hermann-Brown said.

“They can make the phone calls. They can submit a party list to the clerk, but the pretense they’re making these calls under is not right,” Hermann-Brown said.

Hermann-Brown added that most of the poll workers are independent and not affiliated with any political party.”

Diane Hermann-Brown, City of Sun Prairie Clerk, is the elections communications chair for the the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association.


“Clerks around the southeastern part of state became concerned last week when their poll workers reported that the Republican Party had contacted them and asked them to join. According to emails from clerks, election inspectors had received phone calls from Republican Party members who told them that to be included on their list of poll workers, they would need to join the Republican Party and send a check for $15….”

According to Anne Uecker, president of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association, most of the activity was reported from the Washington County area.

Is this an isolated problem? Knowing the Wisconsin GOP, I doubt it. Stay tuned.

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