I spent a morning the other weekend compiling a list of all the things that make some of my friends and family members uncomfortable. These are all things I’d never put in a single place before, and once I did it galvanized my decision not to contribute to any PAC’s this election cycle. These are all reasons I regret voting for Barack Obama in 2008, and they are all things that John McCain, Hillary Clinton, or Mitt Romney would have also done. All of these things totally suck and are why no one in the presidential election of 2012 is worthy of your vote, but Obama did them in this particular case:
1) Total inaction on the climate crisis—Under Obama, there has been more oil drilling both on the continental shelf and off than there was under President Bush. Obama has done nothing to educate or warn the public about the scope of the climate crisis, he did nothing to help us understand the data or present it in ways that were accessible to the public, and he did almost nothing to change policy about greenhouse gases in his first four years. When Al Gore pointed all of this out, Obama responded a couple of weeks later by telling the EPA to stop pushing for more stringent air pollution regulations in big cities. (And if you think global warming is a “hoax” tell that to your corn farmers and your soon-to-be-astronomical food prices.)
2) Royally fucking over health care–Not only is Obamacare patterned after Romneycare, but Obama never pushed for ceilings on costs that hospitals and insurers can impose, nor did he advocate more stringent requirements for health insurance companies, which charge 40-60% of what the hospital or doctor charges to keep their own lights on and shareholders happy. After undermining several progressive proposals of doing healthcare better, he opted for a bailout of the private insurance agencies, using the Heritage Foundation as his muse.
3) A salad-tossing foreign policy–While liberals all hated Bush the W. for engaging in an illegal war in Iraq, Obama used military intervention in Libya without congressional approval, either. In Afghanistan Obama escalated the war, funneling more taxpayer money into the failed and wholly corrupt narcocracy than they knew what to do with. The number of civilians killed in drone attacks increased under Obama, and he even authorized the assassination of an American citizen abroad without trial (albeit a completely sucky one), later using John Yoo-style legal argumentation to justify this blatant Constitutional abuse. This Imperial Presidency continues to hide itself behind state secrets and executive privilege to prevent lawsuit, just like the last, and while candidate Obama promised to close Guantanamo, removing the P.O.W.’s from the Afghan war (many of whom are innocent), four years later it is still open. Apparently Obama is also not the man the Nobel Committee voted for.
4) Capitulating to the banks while they continue to rape us and other financial shit–Obama has made no steps to limit the pay of financial executives, as has been done across Europe, even though banking executives continue to earn record bonuses while the global economy continues to fester. Geithner apparently knew about the LIBOR interest-rate fixing and failed to properly sound the alarm. None of the banking executives responsible for the 2008 economic crisis are in jail (still), and Obama even attempted to weaken the Volcker Rule which was designed to restore some of the ideas behind Glass-Steagall to curtail conflicts of interest in the financial industry. Obama also extended Bush-era tax cuts in the middle of a national debt crisis and chose to offer draconian cuts to Medicare and Social Security when Congress was threatening to shut the government down during the debt ceiling negotiations, instead of making the Republicans threatening to default on the debt and ruin our credit rating look like the assholes they were.
5) Always putting pragmatism before inalienable rights on issues of civil liberties–What kind of hopey changey guy continues the Patriot Act–no–makes it more robust–after getting elected? The Patriot Act is the worst and most paranoid piece of legislation ever passed in the United States. Obama also continued Bush’s Orwellian Total Information Awareness and strengthened it, too (see: Utah Data Center) and perpetuated the Bush Administration’s war on openness and transparency. The Obama Administration has threatened journalists with jail time for protecting their sources, allowed whistleblowers to be kept under inhumane conditions, and allowed the DEA to attack the places that provide certain vegetable medications in states that approved these medications for very sick people after saying he wouldn’t on the stump.
6) Other bullshit–Obama barely supported the Employee Free Choice Act, reproductive rights for American women have actually been curtailed on his watch, and deportations have been up 20% since W.’s administration. Yes, the Dream Act is cool, but the empirically verifiable increased border Gestapoism should more than offset any perceived benefits to the Latino community that is designed to earn a vote for Obama. (And the Supremes said that the “show-me-your-papers” clause of Arizona’s racist new immigration policies was constitutional? In 10 years we’re going to have checkpoints throughout each city like those between Israel and Palestine.)
Obama is supposedly so socialist that he makes people stockpile guns and ammo. Item #5 above definitely echoes the scary kind of socialism Obama has been accused of, but items #1, #2, and #4 are all about kissing the asses of big business cannibal capitalists and captains of industry. Here we are presented with the worst of both worlds: all of the freedom restrictions that come with socialism plus all of the freedom restrictions that come with companies ruling your nation (WTO? Anyone?). Worse yet, I can’t see how these decisions would have been any different under anyone else.
So unless you own a multinational corporation, don’t vote this year. No one who is running is going to look out for your interests. They aren’t going to pay you, so why take time out of your busy day to select Manchurian Candidate A or Manchurian Candidate B on November 4th? If we can get the percentage of voters down as low as it’s ever been, maybe the argument that the voters haven’t been deciding anything lately (hence the above litany) will finally gain traction and everyone will realize that we live in an oligarchy, not a democracy…and the revolution we’ve been curating only our strongest Viagra and our loosest sweatpants for will finally dawn.
Chaos sucks, but four more years of Obama will only continue to placate the poor and middle class while their resources are slowly funneled to the rich without them knowing, as has happened over the last 40 years. A Romney presidency is more likely to force the tipping point and show the average American that the Emperor has never had any clothes for as long as they can remember. At least Romney clearly wears his enslavement to capitalism on his sleeve and attempts to obscure nothing about either who is eligible to run for President in 2012 or what their basic job will be once in office. He’s riding no tidal waves of false emotion that are going to make people think he’s someone better than he truly is. No international committees are going to be convinced of Romney’s prowess before he even does anything, and no one even really likes him ($77,000 in U.S. tax writeoffs on a fucking dressage horse?) except those donating to the Republican Super PAC. Romney’s transparency makes him the most cynical choice for the most cynical time in American history. Democracy is dead, and the American Experiment is over. Freedom weeps.