a bird and a bottle


2008
May 3, 2007, 10:30 am
Filed under: 2008, activism, me, news & views, politics

I’ve stayed silent so far on the 2008 presidential election — specifically, on which democratic candidate I will support in the primary. I still haven’t decided.

But I do have to say…it would be an easy choice for Kucinich if I felt he could win (and if he could promise support for abortion rights, which Alon points out has not been his strength).

Exhibit A (via Blue Gal):

Exhibit B:

He and Mike Gravel are the only of the Democrats to even mention the bad policy that is the War on Drugs on their websites.

So here’s the question: support the guy who can’t win the general but is the most inspiring in the primary? Or support the candidate who really has a chance to get a Dem back in the White House after 8 years of Bush disasters?

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14 Comments so far
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Honestly, I’ve never been into Kucinich for reasons that have nothing to do with electability. For one, he was pro-life up until the moment he announced his candidacy in 2003. But even if you buy his conversion to reproductive rights, he sounds incredibly New Agey (“Department of Peace”).

My take: there are three Democratic candidates who have a nontrivial chance of winning. All three are scumbags, as are to some extent the remaining five (at least Kucinich doesn’t support attacking Iran, I’ll grant him that). Of those three, any differences in electability are conjectural. Pick the one of the three you hate the least and go with him or her. Right now I’m going with Obama, but that might change in the future.

Comment by Alon Levy

hmmm… i didn’t know that about Kucinich’s stance on abortion rights. It’s not comforting….but the question is: what would he do now if abortion rights legislation came across his desk.

Comment by bean

At unfogged.com, Ogged had an interesting take on Kucinich. During an interview, Bill Maher asked Kucinich if he would support the assassination of OBL. Kucinich replied: “No,” adding that assassination was not a sound policy. No spin, no double talk, no pandering for votes. Regretably, Kucinich has no chance of winning the nomination, and even less chance of winning the presidency.

Alon is correct in pointing out his past Pro-Life position, an issue that will disappoint those of us on the Choice side of the debate.

Overall, my take: I do not want another red elephant in office and will vote for any democrat who wins the nomination. SCOTUS appointments are a big issue with me, and I will not risk another Scalia/Thomas/Roberts/Alito disaster.

Comment by Swampcracker

If a president is going to reform federal drug policy at all, she’ll only be able to do it incrementally and largely stealthily, at least for the time being. I don’t necessarily see how it’s the job of presidential candidates to beat the drum on that issue, especially if it means damaging themselves.

Comment by aeroman

I see what you’re saying aeroman. But I also think we look to the president for political leadership; each year in the state of the union, the president asks Congress to take up certain issues. I think this should be one of them. In fact, I think it should be towards the top of the list. So I do think it’s important for this to be on the president’s radar screen. Kucinich talks about it in the same Maher interview that Swampcracker mentions (which you can watch on his website).

I do have to say though, that his reformed abortion rights views do give me pause. The truth is, this is mostly an intellectual debate since I will probably not end up supporting him. I do, however, wish that he (together with Gravel) could push some of the other dandidates to cut through the BS.

Comment by bean

I do, however, wish that he (together with Gravel) could push some of the other dandidates to cut through the BS.

Yeah, me too. But domestic issues like this one are typically the domain of Congress. The President can steer things and get issues on the agenda, but criminal justice reform is a long-shot issue that right now has too little public support to succeed. For the moment, the most effective form of agitation will be ordinary activism, perhaps together with incremental bills in Congress. The only criminal justice issue there’s any serious support for progressive reform on in the US is death penalty abolition, and even that can take a while to achieve.

The issues the President of the US has the greatest power on are typically defense, foreign policy, and judicial appointments. On judicial appointments, the only candidate I really trust is Clinton. On foreign policy and defense, there’s a tradeoff, since Clinton understands those issues well but is a hawk, while Edwards has goals I support but is grossly incompetent. In addition, some civil liberties restrictions are up to the President – for instance, domestic spying and harassment of dissidents are up to the executive, while culture war issues like gay rights and abortion and free media speech are up to Congress.

Comment by Alon Levy

Thanks for the link. You didn’t need to do that, and I appreciate it.

One thing the Virginia Tech Massacre woke me up to is that I can no longer weigh what is right versus what is achieveable. When it comes to reducing violence, promoting peace, etc., I simply have to do “the right thing” as far as my conscience tells me to do. If I don’t make a stand, then my own sense of self is lost. Thanks again.

Comment by Blue Gal

I’ve had this dilemma before, but it quickly evaporated when I realized that voting my conscience means voting for the best result acheivable. If I’d voted for Nader in 2000, for instance, my conscience would be non-stop dry-heaving. That said, I like Obama. I like how he got the legislation passed in Illinois to make confessions in capital cases only admissible when the entire interrogation is videotaped. This is a huge victory and nobody had been able to get that done before. Because I like him I pay a lot of attention to what he says and maybe I assume too much good stuff, but he also said something – in the selma speech – about public school funding based on property taxes being idiotic [my words of course – he’s more tactful] and I sat up like a kangaroo as this is one of my pet whines. And it’s one I have never heard addressed by any presidential candidate besides Carol Mosley Braun. I think he has very good judgment, particularly politically, so if he’s silent on a topic, I tend to think he agrees with me and is letting sleeping unpopular dogs lie for the moment. Maybe that’s naive, but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far. And he could win. Disaffected Republicans seem to like him best.

Comment by Phoebe Love

Because I like him I pay a lot of attention to what he says and maybe I assume too much good stuff, but he also said something – in the selma speech – about public school funding based on property taxes being idiotic [my words of course – he’s more tactful] and I sat up like a kangaroo as this is one of my pet whines.

Do you have a link for that? I’d love for that to be true. It’d seal my wavering between him and Clinton.

Comment by Alon Levy

Ok, I’ll link to the text and the video, but first I’ll cut and paste the wee bit about school funding, since the text is pretty long:

“With the inequities of relying on property taxes and people who are born in wealthy districts getting better schools than folks born in poor districts and that’s now how it’s supposed to be. That’s not the American way.”

text:
http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2007/03/obamas_selma_speech_text_as_de.html

video:
http://www.politicstv.com/blog/?p=1766

Comment by Phoebe Love

If you want to watch the thing, it’s in part 2 of the video. You might want to start with part 2.

Comment by Phoebe Love

Ah, thanks, Phoebe. I’m sorry, but I must say this isn’t very impressive. Obama’s telling black people he cares about their issues, sure, but has yet to speak out about those issues to a white audience. When the cops shot Sean Bell, he had an opportunity to talk about police brutality, but stayed silent. Clinton’s silence was even more revolting, since Bell was a constituent of hers, but Obama has no excuse here, either.

Comment by Alon Levy

Ok so they both come out wrong on Sean Bell [I don’t know anything about Sean Bell, by the way]. So isn’t that a wash? What about your wavering between Clinton and Obama? How would Sean Bell affect that if they cancel each other out?

Comment by Phoebe Love

Sean Bell affects that because it provides evidence Obama’s a civil rightist of convenience. When he speaks to black people, he throws them some bones. When he speaks to everyone else, he ignores issues of racial equality completely. That suggests to me that as President, the last thing on his mind will be unequal school funding.

With Clinton, I already know she has no principles. The only three principles of hers that I’ve identified are that a) she should get more power, b) the US should have the same policy toward the Middle East as AIPAC thinks it should, and c) abortion should remain legal, roughly in that order. The third one isn’t nothing, which is why I’m considering her seriously. With Obama, my original assessment of him relied on the assumption he’s at least moderately non-opportunistic.

Comment by Alon Levy




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