Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why I will I vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden in 2012

Barack Obama and Joe Biden for 2012

You've seen The New York Times endorsement of Barack Obama, you've seen Mike Bloomberg's endorsement of Barack Obama. You may even have read by now The Economist's endorsement of Barack Obama and now, if you choose to keep reading all my spew, you will hear mine.

I will readily admit to all readers of this blog that I have grievous issues and disappointment with President Barack Obama.  I disagree with him on issues of foreign policy, presidential directives that involve terrorism, telecom based (and other) surveillance of Americans, the dangerous use of  domestic 'fracked' oil and gas, bellicose rhetoric and unwarranted sanctions against the people of Iran, and CIA drone strikes against people of color throughout the third world.  And yes, I do subscribe to the Socialist Equality Party's newsletter and  yes I am sorely tempted to write in  their very worthy candidates Jerry White and Phyllis Scherrer. Why shouldn't I vote for candidates with value systems more equivalent to my own?

Here's why I won't do that this time. Here's why I will vote for Barack Obama  and Joe Biden despite my misgivings and my deep personal belief that we need an extended Marxist movement in the United States to sorely counter the unregulated greed of global capitalism and the imperialistic violence of America:

No wasted vote this time.

In 2000, I voted for Ralph Nader and I admitted to it.  For some years I had to take sh*t from the liberal democratic members of my family for it and in retrospect, they were right to dish that out to me.  Clearly, our planet would today be at greater peace and complete with greater environmental health and decidedly less poverty had Al Gore won the Presidency in 2000. Whether my vote for Nader in California caused the disaster of  American foreign and domestic policy of the last 12 years is questionable.  But it is clear to me that we would not have invaded either Afghanistan or Iraq quite so quickly or pre-emptively had Al Gore been President of the United States.

Marxist's who study American imperialism around the world will disagree with me. They will argue (correctly) that American imperialism is undeterred and under continuance no matter what American political party is in power and that those President's who choose another path end up dead or out of office. But I still wish Al Gore had been President instead of George W. Bush. Neo-liberal policies have been an economic  and national disaster for the third world. But neo-conservatism amounts to gun-boat diplomacy at best, continually hyper-bloated DOD budgets, and genocidal American military action in places like Fallujah.

Another victory for the Carbon Club?

The election of Mitt Romney would be an unrequited victory for the American carbon club. Regulations that might be passed to stop the burning of coal in the United States, to protect drinking water in local communities from 'fracking', to monitor cancer rates in local communities effected by carbon production, to acknowledge the problem of climate change and it's consequences would simply be trashed and/or rolled back. No questions allowed or asked. It would be that simple.  You think I'm exaggerating.? Then you can imagine President Romney appointing a 71 year old Dick Cheney to be the DOE chief for the next four years. The gas and oil boys would win. Again. Boy, that served us well for eight years, didn't it?  Compare that possibility to the brilliance, integrity and innovative leadership that Steven Chiu has brought to the DOE in the last four years.  Goodbye solar energy subsidies (however flawed). Goodbye heat pump subsidies. Goodbye Obama administration home energy conservation efforts. Definitely no possibility of even threatening a windfall profits tax or stopping harmful energy futures speculation. You see now, don't you? There would be difference between Democratic and Republican administrations.

The impending (and ongoing) destruction of the middle and working classes.

A Republican presidency by a candidate renowned for sheltering tax dollars in offshore havens would be disastrous for the working and middle classes of America. They won't admit to it, but clearly the wealthy elite of America harbor some equivalent of social Darwinism.  Subsidies to their industries are justifiable. Subsidies to the impoverished, the destitute, struggling working class families are all up for grabs under Romney/Ryan.  Those who believe that the profit motive is the most effective organizational force for an economy ultimately  dislocate those that don't . And this is a remarkable reality considering the right wing alliances with a Christian religion that has warned them that the rich will have more trouble entering the kingdom of heaven than an camel passing through the eye of a needle. Everything found by those of us who have studied that life of Christ allows us to believe that he was the world's first Marxist. He believed, as the beatitudes state, that his kingdom belonged to poor, the destitute, the unfairly treated.  Yet his followers among the Republican right wing preach the value of "market economics".  A market economics that leaves this country awash with the poor and the destitute even amid a concentration of wealth unlike any in recent history[1][2].

Obama's stimulus programs can only be faulted so much. Inside the perspective of a capitalist economy, the amount of dollars local and state governments received was unprecedented. The Obama stimulus prevented the erupting economic armeggedon left in place by the Bush/Cheney administration.  Amazingly, conservative rhetoricians like Mitt Romney condemned this government spending. In truth, they did so probably not because the stimulus didn't benefit the people of America, but because it proved Obama's administration could combine public sector spending with economic growth. A Mitt Romney presidency would unleash upon the working and  middle classes IMF style social austerity whose end result would be to poverty, dislocation, and disenfranchisement. In truth, these working and middle classes are the true target of the last 11 years of the "war on terrorism".

How More Government Spending and Centralized Economic Planning could revive the Economy

Paul Krugman is right. Public spending has been inadequate to fully revive the economy. Those who spew "austerity rhetoric"  (e.g. slowing spending) are simply engaging in the propaganda of economic sabotage. But what neither Obama nor Krugman have seen clearly is how inefficient private and corporate enterprise truly is.  The command control economy is a necessity to prevent social revolution and national collapse and there are many ways Obama could extend such centralized economic control and still provide freedom of enterprise to small and large business alike. 

For example, the national laboratory system could be extended with satellites to one hundred small cities across the nation. Give each small urban area (preferably one that has proximity to reserach university)  a campus dedicated to solving one vexing, under-researched area of energy: Carbon reduction to Bellingham, WA, LFTRs to the Tricities, WA,  PBMRs to Missoula, MT,  Hollow (solar) nanotubes to Ogden, Utah, Lithium-Cobalt batteries To Arcata, CA., etc.  Develop (DOD) SBIR style funding for each of these regions so that researchers who live outside the beltway can develop small businesses based on local research and contacts.  The President could also take the existing national laboratories and 10X their funding. Government patented inventions could help our country build clean, decentralized energy production across the United States. Government run corporations to develop these patents and return their revenue to the federal government would assure the best technology gets used to promote a clean energy agenda and not simply more profits for the carbon club.  It would also assure the technology would be available to be sold to WTO nations in return for promises of carbon reduction.

This type of enterprise would certainly be in the spirit of FDR and the New Deal.  And it might help break the back of the carbon club, or at least focus private industry on non-carbon based energy solutions by providing government sponsored competition. At the very least, the most important employer of the last resort would be providing its citizens across the nation with jobs and training in science and engineering, something for which only very nominal efforts are now being made.

But these types of nationalized efforts will never happen under Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Government subsidies to big energy would flow like water. Small communities will be 'fracked' to death and the survival of American wealth would remain predicated upon our 'presence' in the Middle East. This would also surely mean war in Iran.

The impending Iranian War and the 'Cheney Factor'

Mitt Romney is a Dick Cheney friend and confidante.  They are not bragging about it in public, but odds are there will definitely be a place for Mr. Cheney in the Romney cabinet.  Cheney has admitted in public that he was fundamentally more hawkish on Iran than the rest of the cabinet of George W. Bush.  He recently upbraided President Obama for not punishing Iran for taking down an American drone in Iranian air space. A Romney presidency means another conflagration in the Middle East. Will a continued Obama presidency avoid this?  It has for the last four years. Ultimately we need to give up all of our imperial ambitions in the Middle East and South Asia. It is, however, doubtful that Obama will give us that. 


I know that I haven't represented the achievements of the Obama administration fairly here and to be honest there have been many. I know my life is short and that I should not necessarily waste it voting for someone I can't quite believe in.   I know that I am voting against Romney/Ryan more than for Barack Obama.   But politics is about the compromises we must make to solve problems like sustainable energy, universal health insurance, negotiated world peace, income equality.  Creating or driving solutions to such problems is ultimately more important than sitting by while another Republican hawk takes power and we wait  to see just how far our country will veer to the edge of complete social collapse this next time .

Barack Obama and Joe Biden for 2012.  

Some footnotes


Dan McShane said...

Maybe we could make you a poster theme of why compromise should be viewed as good thing in politics. Nice write up.

Ryan M. Ferris said...

It is sophomoric to think any candidate will be the culmination of your own political vision. But that's an easy one to understand at age 50. I remember being really disappointed the day after I cast my first presidential vote at 18 for McGovern. Nixon slaughtered him. The 'realpolitik' concept that our political activity must be strategic at all times might contribute to some of the shockingly low participation rates for voters under 25. Or maybe it's just the high unemployment rates for recent college graduates. See

Maybe many of the under 25 crowd are too angry and depressed or confused by the fervent political divide to participate or to believe they can effect political change. Maybe they are waiting for a man or woman of true vision they can believe in. Maybe they are just waiting for someone in a beret to hand them an AK-47.

That would make a nice poster theme for 'compromise':
A photo-shopped Che with an AK-47. At the bottom in bold, enlarged font it could say: "Please VOTE!" That might test the limits of free speech a bit in Whatcom County...

Ryan M. Ferris said...

Dan: Also, thanks for the compliment...