This week, an article by Walter G. Moss, “Why Leftists Should Support Obama’s Reelection,” drew the following response from Bob G.
I think the sophistry is on the side of those who are commenting here, suggesting that people should not vote for Obama because he is an imperfect vessel for their principles. They suggest that the alternative is to teach the Democratic Party that it can’t automatically expect leftist votes if it takes centrist (my word) positions.
Why do I say that this is sophistry? It’s actually simple: The argument assumes that the Democrats have room to maneuver to the left and still have a chance at winning. Two centuries of experience suggest that this is not the case. I would argue a different model for our system: There are two choices both in the short run and in the medium run (ie: the next 4 years and the next 25 years). One is Republican rule, which transfers money to the rich, refuses to fund social and medical services, and continues to whittle away at our freedoms including privacy, reproductive rights, and the right not to be spied on.
The alternative is the Democratic Party rule, which pushes (albeit slowly) for medical and social services, resists the hard-right reduction in freedoms, and resists the uncontrolled creation of new wars of conquest by the Republican leaders. I would suggest that there is no realistic alternative that includes a leftist government combining international isolationism with strongly redistributionist domestic policies. We can push for moderate redistributionism (my choice is to add a modest amount to the income tax equivalent to the current level of social security taxation, and provide each person the equivalent of minimal health coverage using that amount — in other words, the public option made as a default, which would get all the younger folks into the system).
I would suggest that the alternative to Obama is a president who will appoint more Supreme Court justices who side with the corporations and the very wealthy. We are dealing with that problem now in the form of uncontrolled political contributions by the super Pacs, which is the result of a very bad Supreme Court decision made by Republican appointed justices.
Shorter version: reality is what is left after you throw out all the wishful thinking. Defeating the moderate Democrat does not historically lead to a better set of Democrats. It just puts conservative Republicans in power.