11/04/2008 – Primary Election – President of the United States of America – Ralph Nader

Those I have told my intention to vote for Mr. Nader have generally had one of two reactions. Either they said I was throwing away my vote or they said that I was helping McCain to win. My response to these accusations is that my vote is about indicating where I want this country to go and I don't want it to go to the same corporate owned, poll driven, pork barrel politics we have had to date. I am confident that neither Obama nor McCain will make any substantive changes to what ails this country so I feel duty bound to vote for someone who I think will make a real difference. Therefore I am voting for Ralph Nader.

Barack Obama/Joe Biden

The question of who to vote for is tearing me apart. By rights I should be a reflexive Obama voter but to be blunt I just don't believe that Barack Obama will make a good president. It's not just his lack of anything that I would think of as being substantive enough, especially in the way of executive experience, to justify him running for president. Rather it is his numerous failures to show strength of character and leadership during the time he has been campaigning.

My first disappointment with Obama was when he opted out of federal campaign financing. His excuses for doing so were less than convincing. Obama has repeatedly come out publicly in support of government financing for campaigns (something I'm not a big fan of, but that's a separate issue), to have him then reject that funding and come up with less than reasonable excuses is, in my opinion, at best a failure of leadership and at worst a failure of character.

Next up on my list was the telecom immunity fiasco. The government broke the law and the telcos helped them do it by illegally wiretapping American's phones. Then, just to prove that the law really is meaningless, the FISA "reform" bill put to Congress gave teleco's retroactive immunity for their illegal actions. Obama spoke in support of the FISA bill but then made what I feel was a futile political gesture by voting for an amendment to the FISA bill that would remove the immunity. An amendment that went down in flames. Voting positions in the Senate are no secret and lopsided votes like this one are easily predictable. I am convinced that Obama knew when he voted to support the bill that he was approving immunity and the amendment was nothing more than political theater. And what makes it all worse is that Obama himself had said that immunity was such a big deal that he was willing to filibuster attempts to provide it. Obama's attempts to invoke national security as a basis for voting for this bill only further demonstrated how either calculating or clueless (I don't claim to know which) he is.

But finally there is the mortgage disaster and the damage this has done to our economy. Here was a chance for Obama to really show leadership. Instead he became a knee jerk apologist for the massive bail out without bothering to give any decent explanations for why it was necessary and instead just larding it with more pork to make sure it went down Congress's gullet. This was a massive failure of leadership.

What I have seen of Mr. Obama leads me to believe that he is just another political operator who will be mindlessly driven by the polls and so in the end will be just as much a tool of the existing power structure as McCain. In the end I don't think there will be any substantive difference between a McCain or Obama presidency other than in the crucial area of Supreme Court justices. But even there the very fact that the Congress has ceded some much of its power that the Supreme Court has become a defacto legislature demonstrates just how damaged our political system is. We need real change, real reform and I don't believe Obama will provide even the shadow of reform.

John McCain/Sarah Palin

From abortion to Iraq to embracing the most extreme wing of the Christian right there is simply no possible way I could vote for John McCain. And that was before he made the decision to put a corruption riddled governor of a welfare state as his running mate. Given his health that alone would be enough to ensure I won't vote for him.

Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzalez

There is a long list of things that I agree with Ralph Nader on. He is pro-choice. Pro gay rights. He wants to finally get rid of the horrible legal 'innovation' of treating corporations as people. He is against the death penalty. He is against the drug war. His environmental record is amongst the best and his positions on consumer rights and protection are the gold standard. Where there is the most daylight between my belief's and Mr. Naders is in the area of globalization and free trade. But even there I do have respect for his positions and can't say that I am untroubled by the issues he raises. I still have the exact same reservations about Nader that I had in 2004. But I have to pick a candidate from those available to me and of those available Mr. Nader is the one who I think will do the best job as President of the United States. Therefore he gets my vote.

Gloria La Riva/Eugene Puryear

I am not a socialist and I really don't want to see the economy nationalized so I will not be voting for these folks.

James E. Harris/Alyson Kennedy

I'm still not a socialist.

Bob Barr/Wayne A. Root

Mr. Barr is against freedom of choice, was an author of the 'defense of marriage act', voted against gay adoptions, supports racism (e.g. affirmative action), supported the anti-flag desecration amendment, is a strong supporter of the death penalty, against needle exchanges, supports a constitutional amendment to allow prayer in schools, supports drilling anywhere in the US we can find oil and against the Kyoto protocol as well as for repealing the gas tax, wants to withdraw from the WTO, against just about any form of gun control, against right to die, voted for the patriot act (although now he claims to regret that), wants English to be the official US language, wants to eliminate income tax and payroll tax and replace with a massively regressive national sales tax, wants to reduce capital gains and get rid of estate tax and was against the invasion of Kosovo. That's more than enough for me to not vote for him. That having been said he does have some views I like. He wants a balanced budget amendment, a line item veto, legalize Marijuana, supports school vouchers and is against our insane farm support system. But that isn't enough to offset our disagreements so I won't be voting for him.

Chuck Bladwin/Darrell L. Castle

Their Constitution Party's Platform provides a nice summary of why I won't be voting for these two.

Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente

McKinney's hatred for Israel disqualifies her for my vote. Not only does she accuse Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians (Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire Feb 3, 2008) she also supported sending American representatives to the UN's Durban conference on racism (she was a signatory to the Congressional Black Caucus's statement supporting American attendance) which was nothing more than an Israeli bashing farce. She also supports racism (known as affirmative action) as well as reparations for slavery. She is also a strong opponent of school vouchers as well as just about every international trade agreement of the last decade or so. She also voted against invading Kosovo as well as Afghanistan. That all having been said I must admit that there are numerous issues where I agree with Ms. McKinney. She has been a strong supporter of choice, privacy, civil rights, restricting our foreign entanglements, ending the death penalty, ending the 'war on drugs', preventing oil drilling in the US, raising CAFE standards, supporting Kyoto and so on. But on balance I find I have more things in common with Mr. Nader than Ms. McKinney so Mr. Nader will get my vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *