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The Case for McCain

I am not a lesser evil voter, by which I mean voting for someone because of who they are not. You won’t see me voting for Obama because he is not Bush or McCain. You also will not see me voting for McCain (like some PUMA’s will) because he is not Obama.

No, if you want my vote you got to earn it.   Frankly, neither of these two elitist have done anything thus far to earn it. I will vote for Nader because he most closely resembles my working class values. He has had decades of experience in taking the side of people power over corporate power. I won’t have to second guess, if he gets elected, what kind of leader he will be. I know if he gets into the White House whose side he will be on, mine.

One misguided liberal told me recently, well I don’t agree with Obama on everything, but he’s at least better than McCain.  One some issues that may be true, on others such as trade I am less sure. I am not going to argue that McCain is better than Obama, but what I will argue is that the Democrats will be far better with McCain than with Obama.

While not particularly my issue the Obama meme as of late is Roe vs Wade will be overturned with McCain.   Well only if the Democrats sign off on it. It is a reasonable expectation that the Dems will have a big win in congress come November. McCain would be a fool and be resoundingly rejected if he put up a Scalia to a Democratically controlled Senate.  I think there is a much greater risk of an Obama putting up a wishy washy nomination approved overwhelmingly by the Democratic senate who later votes to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Another meme is if we let McCain in the White House he will put forward a privatization scheme for Social Security. I say let him, and the Democratically controlled congress will send it right back to him. On the other hand if Obama is elected the chance of a “soft privation” scheme sailing though both houses is highly likely. One of Obama’s economic advisers, Liebman,  is one of the authors of the Bi-Partisan Commission on Social Security Reform which calls for an increase in the social security tax to fund private accounts. This is very similar to the privatization scheme Bill Clinton and Gingrich had in mind before Monica’s lips saved us.

The biggest threat of an Obama presidency is trade. All of Obama’s economic advisers are rabid free traders with Friedmanite connections to the Chicago Boys.  This will be a good year for Democrats, but ones of a particular variety. Democrats like Childers who ran in direct opposition to free traders like Obama. He ran as a non apologetic fair trader who signed a pledge not to vote for any new trade agreements. Democrats like Childers, Brown, Webb, Sanders will be leaders of the opposition under a McCain and will aggressively fight  his free trading ways. Under an Obama these voices will fall to the background as the corporate interests “rewrite” our trade laws.

The whole notion of defensive voting within lesser evilism does not hold much sway with me. But, if in a moment of weakness I was to partake in some defensive voting, I would pull the lever for McCain. It is certainly not because on any particular issue he is better than Obama, but as a whole the Democrats will become stronger, wiser, and a force to be reckoned with.

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14 responses to “The Case for McCain

  1. Nathaniel ⋅

    I noticed you recently posted on, and have a link to, the “Five Short Blasts” forum I found it interesting that he tried to repeat something he told me in his most recent post. I think this is especially interesting because we had a long discussion about that topic and did not come to the same conclusion.

    Interestingly enough, it will be harder to continue this discussion because he banned me from it and didn’t allow my last comment to be posted. You can tell me if you think it was but I believe my last comment was both civil and relevant to the topic. I wonder if he banned me simply because I turned his example on its head and he didn’t want others to see that happen.

    When banning happens simply because of the arguments one puts forward and not because the person making those arguments is uncivil that, I believe goes against the spirit of blogs and discussion in general.

    As someone who may know the author of 5 short blasts, if you are willing, I would ask you to remind him of this last point and undo his ban of me (and perhaps others that he may have done the same to if he does this frequently).

    Also thank you for mentioning Milwaukee and Madison-as someone from Wisconsin I find facts like that interesting.

  2. Nathaniel ⋅

    If you want to see just what was said so you can judge for yourself here is the comment he made and a word for word copy of the one I posted after it.

    This is a retyping of what he said:

    Nathaniel, I’m getting the impression you don’t understand the concept of population density. If ten people occupy an island and each emits two tons of carbon, then the total emissions from that island is twenty tons. But if 100 people occupy an island of the same size and emit only one ton each, the total emissions is 100 tons – five times as much. The total emissions from both islands is 120 tons. Forcing the people on the first island to crowd together to cut their emissions in half only reduces the total emissions to 110 tons. But reducing the population density on the 2nd island to match the first island reduces total emissions to 40 tons. The solution is fewer people, not more crowding and lower consumption.
    This is getting tiresome. Let’s let someone else comment if they would like.

    And here is a copy of my response:

    I apologize if I’m being too blunt but I suspect my comments don’t stop someone else from typing something.

    You may find this tiresome because I’ve made points which disagree. You’ve embraced the idea of continually expanding consumption which means that the island where each person produces 2 tons of carbon emissions will one day have each emit 3, 4, 5, and so on. Environmentally that leaves an even worse situation later because the carbon emissions from the island of 100 will be surpassed by the smaller group during a time in the future.

    This result would take place over time. If you are encouraging action right now (or at least fast enough that current habits, practices, technologies, and so on remain the same) then moving the 20 to the island of 100 would cut 10 tons of carbon emissions. If you want 80 of the island with 100 people to move to new locations where they mirror the emissions trends of the island with only 20 then you’ve added 80 tons of carbon emissions. This goes up to 100 more tons if the 20 people remaining on the island that formerly had 100 also start to emit at the same rate as the other island. The end result of these 2 options is a choice of adding 100 more tons of carbon emissions if everyone spreads out or lowering emissions by 10 tons if people “crowd” together.

    If you are advocating simply getting rid of 80 people from the island with 100 then that sounds like embracing things which I think each of us would find abhorrent. And this would be in addition to failing to prevent the growth in per capita emissions.

    You have tried to make the argument that efficiency isn’t important-which tends to go against some of the general concepts important to both economics and environmentalism. Questioning that argument does seem reasonable as well as fair.

    You can tell me if I was uncivil with my comment (and please point out why if you see a reason), but I think right now his main problem with my comment was that I disagreed with him and pointed out how more pollution would be generated.

    And thank you for your point about Obama (being relevant to your blog), I find it interesting as most of the trade related comments about Obama I see have been ones about how he would try to overturn NAFTA, not about him having Free Trade advocates as associates.

  3. I think you are missing his point.

    The point is if there is a smaller population density, there will tend to be larger per capita consumption. It is deceptive to use per capita consumption as a measure for Greener, or more environmentally friendly world. The reason is if population density increases, per capita consumption will decrease. This does not mean however less waste, production, housing etc,

    Lets say we have 1000 square miles of land. In that city we have 100 people with roughly 10 square miles of land per capita. Let’s say over ten years per capita square miles decreased. Instead of 10 it is now at 5. That could mean that the population density doubled. Or that it quadrupled while square miles per capita doubled.

    Would this 5 square miles per capita necessarily be a good thing. The population is much larger and so is the space used which could include malls, housing etc (sprawl). Or with the same square miles per capita you would have much higher population density with higher poverty, unemployment, and crime.

    I think your struggle is the assumption of population being an eternal variable. Yes, if population is X, then certainly a stable or lower per capita consumption is better than a higher one. What gets missed however is with a higher per capita consumption in a lower population density context, overall consumption will decrease. While the consequence of higher population density is lower per capita consumption, it does not mean overall consumption is decreasing.

    Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Mexico City will always because of population density have lower per capita consumption (more people, small space), but it would be a giant stretch to argue they somehow are more environmentally friendly than small town America (fewer people, larger space). The lower per capita consumption is a consequence of higher population density. There are many other consequences including unemployment, poverty, homelessness etc.

    No, we are not taking about taking 20 out of a 100 and shooting them in the head, unless of course they listen to Rush Lambodomie too much. The point is population density is intertwined with economic and environmental policy. To exclude it gives us silly ideas that somehow population centers are more environmentally friendly than sparsely populated rural communities. The point is that population density must serve as the foundation for discussing both economic and environmental problems.

    The whole free trade, growth based, economic policies is based on an ever increasing population density. That is why most trade deals are with densely populated countries. The measures our government uses such as GDP tell us more about population than economic growth. A sustainable economic and environmental policy will keep population growth in check. The emphasis will move from “growth” to sustainability.

  4. Nathaniel ⋅

    Thank you for your quick response.

    I agree that one would expect to see more pollution coming from a small town but that is where I think there is still an argument for per capita pollution decreases. If everyone moved to a smaller town then overall pollution levels would rise. Thus a number of smaller towns could well be collectively worse for the environment than one city.

    I don’t expect anyone to round up and shoot large numbers of people for the sake of getting rid of them.

    Though population control/limitation has been advocated as a method of avoiding environmental damage. However, many of the places where birthrates (a measure of population growth) have fallen are still seeing a rise in pollution levels. Europe has a shrinking population in some places but pollution levels have been slowly growing there. In addition China, with a policy that has been successful in lowering the birthrate from what it was before, has been seeing a rapid rise in emissions.

    I think this indicates that consumption, or at least the willingness to embrace consumption that produces high levels of pollution, will end up dooming efforts to save the planetary environment. As we can consume more any supposed reduction in pollution due to population limitation is more than made up for by addition consumption. Holding population levels in check does not appear to actually reduce pollution rates or even hold them steady (avoid an increase in rates) at this time.

    Though the last point is one made above and in addition to my comments relating to Pete. I tend to think he banned me simply because he didn’t want to have me or points I brought up to be part of the discussion. Would you agree that doing so is counter to the point of a blog or discussion?

    I think that both of us agree sustainability is what we should work for/towards and thanks again for your quick response to my comments.

  5. Nathaniel ⋅

    I just realized I had a typo I meant to say that “I agree one would expect to see more pollution coming from a city than a small town” in the first sentence.

    I’m not sure I would use LA as an example of a city building up rather than out. LA is frequently mentioned as a sprawling city that is expanded outwards rather than up-perhaps similar to the way suburbs spread out.

    I apologize if I haven’t done justice to your own commentary which I was interesting and counterintuitive.

  6. Yes, I think your right about LA. I visited my brother in Phoenix and they are worried about LA sprawl there.

  7. jody

    Nate – it’s been forEVER! LOL no illusions that you missed me though. But credit where credit is due – you’re still a good boy. The new layout is AWESOME. I love it.

    I’ve been on total blog blackout and just for the shits and giggles ran through a bunch of recent Wisconsin “output”. What piles of shit! Apart from minor tweaks here and there the same people are writing about the same stuff as they were like AGES ago. And I don’t just mean in the sense that you can write repeatedly about Obama as new twists come up. But, Nate, you are still “engaged”, you are still thinkin’ and being “authentic” in the sense that you look at each thing within the framework of your beliefs. (as opposed to grinding up a bunch of events and ideas and stuffing them all into a pre-sized hot dog casing where it all comes out looking the same and you can’t tell WHAT went in there – end result – all identical) And you put it out that way, not pretentious, not self-congratulatory.
    I don’t know if I could stand reading blogs again (without ending up driving the porcelain bus several times a day) but if I could, it would be yours.
    Way to not curl up and die, Dude! o_O Too bad I can’t say that to myself !!!

    oh – one thing. I do not like the lesser evilism idea myself BUT back before I “quit” when Ann Coulter et al were hating on McCain so bad, She was addressing a bunch of dickless wannabes at some college somewhere. Going on (with TONS of dominatrix-style man-hate word choice that seemed to kinda “stimulate” the boys she was addressing, so that was interesting) about this –
    “McCain will SUCK so we need to get all of us inthere, Apply for any political job you can. Lie on your applications, get power, get influence. Infiltrate so that if/when McCain sells out the rest of us will be in key positions to keep control even if they are lower level. Yada Yada.
    So that, I thought, was a new twist on “lesser evilism”. The idea that we are voting for a GUY is an illusion. We are voting in an enormous army, a team, a bunch of mindless drones. Look at the party loyalty you see on each side. Freakin’ cyborgs, all of ’em. So it ain’t just McCain, honey. Looked at that way – Lesser Evilism rules.
    Which army of mindless and obedient drones will do the least damage? That to me is what my vote means now.

    See you in another 1- 20 years….

  8. Thanks Jody for stopping by.

  9. Nathaniel ⋅

    Thanks.

  10. Adam P ⋅

    I have a word or two in half-hearted support of ‘lesser evilism’ myself. Having twice voted for Nader in the past, and once foregoing the opportunity invoking lesser evil logic in hopes to oust Bush, all that I’ve been able to conclude is that, for a reflective prole, voting for an US president is an exercise in degradation.

    What did I hope to gain when I first agreed to vote for Nader?

    My primary rationale was that, theoretically at least, ours is a representative democracy and that if I could hold fast to that and work toward getting people like me who had
    been fed up with the parties of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dummer, then we could mobilize to open the door for a third party. What would follow would be a stronger democracy that actually reflected and represented it’s populace, not it’s corporations. I knew the odds weren’t good but I trusted Nader’s tenacity and followers. I stuffed envelopes and knocked on doors and talked up Ralph to any family or friend who would tolerate it. I hoped that even in the reality that Nader did not win, at least Dems would try to find ways to include Nader followers once we had made it clear we had some gravity and a few of his values would move the Dems in the directions of the working classes. At the height of this delusion I even thought Dems would institute some voting/campaign finance reform that would open the doors for regular folk to become part of the political landscapes without huge sums of money or major party affiliations.

    The second time around I voted for Nader under some of the same thinking but I was becoming aware of the enormous chasm that had opened up between me and my fellow party-loyal Dems. The nastiness toward Nader peaked. Rather than being seeing his core issues as fundamental toward an enlivened Democratic Party, they started to piss vinegar on him and his supporters for “spoiling”. This made me even more annoyed and disenfranchised by the Dems.

    Then, as we all know, Bush and his cronies rigged the election. Funny I even thought my vote mattered.

    Then came last election cycle. As I watched Nader’s run from overseas, outside Madison’s zone of control, I realized that in many ways he had set himself up to be ostracized from the beginning, by not finding _any_ middle ground to meet the Dems. Granted I realized why this made him so valuable as an agent of change from outside the system, but that I did not see him being someone who could even enliven a majority. He is just too unyielding to successfully play politics. Now in a fantasy world that’s a plus, because it means his principle are pure and his motives obvious. But this doesn’t make a movement of reform. I decided that Nader was better off putting his effort into fighting the courts from without.

    In the end I voted for Kerry because I just couldn’t see how Nader was helping or even could help our working people on a presidential ticket.

    Now I face a new situation. I still listen to Nader, read his emails, watch him run and care about his followers. I still distrust the Dems and loathe the Repubs. Who will I vote for?

    Probably Obama.

    Because I DO NOT believe the Dems will get with it if McCain is in power (c’mon–if 8 years of Bush didn’t do it, what will it take?).

    But I don’t kid myself that he will make a Shiny Happy Liberal Universe.

    I’m just beginning to realize that I have to compromise a lot if I even want to vote for president–then I’ll have to bend over and take it like the rest of the world.

    Perhaps Erwin Knoll was right to skip voting altogether!

    Anyway, I’m still not sure what I’ll do when it’s time to pull the lever but I have to at least say that voting for McCain is out of the question.

  11. Thanks Adam.

    As far as “lesser evilism” I think one has to separate the personal from the political. By which I mean personal individual calculation over political voter disenfranchisement. The whole notion of 1st past the post plurality is only the first two candidates votes are counted. That seems wrong and very undemocratic to my way of thinking. I may at a given point in time support a Democrat for the presidency for calculatable reasons, but that is different from denying the counting of votes because it is not a Democrat or Republican.

    The Democrats have had 8 years to pass IRV that would have solved this problem. In fact in every instance progressive put forward Instant Runoff Voting reforms the Democrats came out against it in full force.

    My argument in the post was if I was a lesser evil voter, which I am not, I would probably vote for McCain. Yes, you are right the Dems were not a very good opposition for Bush, but you really don’t believe they would have been a better one for Gore or Kerry do you? I am of the firm believe that Obama was selected not elected. That is clearly seen by his announcement today that he will refuse public financing.

    My post was assuming there will be a big Demo victory come November. What is important is not only those numbers but who those Democrats are. From state houses to congress fair trade Democrat are getting elected. This even has Al Fromm (DLC founder) nervous and Obama clarifying his strong support for globalization and free trade. This is a trend an Obama presidency will try to pacify, and which will strengthen under McCain.

    But, this is coming from an economic voter. There are other frames in which to make a presidential choice.

    As far as Knoll, it was national and state elections he avoided, I believe he happily voted in local races until his death.

    And yes, I can’t imagine voting for McCain. I am not a lesser evil or defensive voter. Voting, if it is to be done, must be a positive, affirmative choice, not a defensive, negative one.

    Thanks again for the comment.

    BTW, next Thursday at 4:30 I will be on Blog Bunker on Sirius Indie Talk.

  12. smitty187 ⋅

    In principle I agree with the”lesser evil” philosophy, but what stops me in my tracks is the Supreme Court appointments sure to come with this term. Do you really think the Dem Congress will stop hard right appointments like Alito et al? I’m just asking.

  13. I do. I think there will be a stronger Democratic majority with McCain. With that the candidates will be more moderate in nature. A lot happens before the actual televised process, sort of like with Bush with Meyers.

    As far as “lesser evil” what ever personal voter tactics someone uses is fine by me. While both Obama and McCain are on the outs for me, I had to decide who I liked better Nader or McKinney. Where I have a big problem is a non majority voting system that throws out votes that are not for the two major candidates, a media that only reports on and has debates on the two major candidates, and a Democratic environment of fear directed at those participating in politics outside the two part system.

    Even if one comes to the conclusion that yes Obama is better than McCain or the other way around, there is no reason to also embrace an undemocratic political system which limit or deny other voters there constitutional options.

    It is sort of saying, yes I am in favor of freedom of the press, but then arguing for impediments for news organization outside of the top two. If CNN was one of the top 2, I may personally prefer that one, but at the same time want to increase viewer options through more news organizations.

    Thanks again for stopping by.

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