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Why Democrats and Progressives Should Vote Democratic in November

Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been frustrated with President Obama and Congressional Democrats for awhile now. I think they’ve especially fallen down on the job when it comes to civil liberties and accountability for torture.

Despite this, I’m voting for Democratic candidates for federal office this November and if you consider yourself a Democrat or left-leaning in general, I’m asking you to get up, go to the polls and pull the lever for the Democratic nominee unless you have a really, really stellar candidate from another party to pick from.

Why should you? I think you should for two broad reasons:

1) President Obama and the Congressional Democrats have some actual accomplishments to their credit including,

– honoring the agreement to withdraw from Iraq, at least so far.

– repudiating the continued use of torture in a way that is believable (i.e. no hedging, no “as long as …” etc)

– passing any kind of health care reform. This law has problems, but eliminating denials based on pre-existing conditions is a big win, as is more health coverage for children.

– passing financial reform in a way that starts (admittedly only starts) to hold financial companies responsible for their actions. The new limits on credit card interest and fees will help too.

There are other Obama/Democratic achievements, but these will do for now. Feel free to list others in comments.

2. Republicans appear to have nothing to offer but warmed over Bush policies and divisive rhetoric. If there were a viable opposition party that was for the full restoration of civil liberties and promised to take the Bush-era torturers to court, I’d vote for them in a heartbeat. If there was a party silent on these issues but who offered constructive policies for our country’s problems, I’d consider voting for them. But instead we have a party that:

– call’s the relatively modest achievements of President Obama  “a radical agenda.”

– demands that we make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent in a time of deficits. And honestly, calls for tax cuts no matter how the economy or spending or anything is doing. When one economic prescription is “always” the answer, you know something’s wrong.

– officials and candidates, with a few honorable exceptions like Senator Hatch of Utah, who are attempting to dictate where Americans can build their houses of worship.

– with a number of current officials and candidates demanding an end to the citizenship by birth guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

– that generally spends its time dividing this country into the “Real Americans” who toe its line and everyone else who they portray as weak at best and in bed with the country’s enemies at worst. I got enough of that from the government 2001-2008, didn’t you?

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So sadly, the choice is clear. We vote for the timid folks who have made a few positive changes while leaving major human rights work untouched, or we hand the country back to people who want to party like it’s 2003. If you honestly feel that the President has foisted a radical agenda on the American people and it needs to be repealed or at least stopped in its tracks, then vote Republican. But if you think that the President and the Democrats haven’t hurt the country and could do more good, vote Democratic.

But don’t stay home if you’re a disgruntled progressive. This year that is the same as voting for the Bush Agenda, except that President Bush actually made efforts to distinguish between a handful of radical terrorists and the law abiding Muslim majority. He also supported freedom of religion for all. The majority of Republican candidates at the federal level I’ve seen around the country can’t even do that much.

NOTE: The remarks above only apply to FEDERAL candidates. While I try to not talk state politics much, it is my experience that there are many reasonable people in both parties here in Alaska. Additionally, State politicians are not usually called on to legislate/execute laws in national security or civil liberties, my personal two most hot button issues.  So my plea for voting for Democrats for Congress shouldn’t be construed as a blanket endorsement for Democrats at every level.

As a matter of fact, I haven’t made up my mind on the Governor’s race. When I do, I WON’T let you know because I don’t do state endorsements. Whether Parnell, Berkowitz or some other candidate gets elected Governor in November, it will be my duty and privilege to serve them competently and quietly in the department I work in. That’s my personal work ethic.

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One Response

  1. Great post Daniel! Thank you!

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