Wednesday, July 4, 2012

More About None Of The Above

Cory takes me to task a bit for giving aid and comfort to Mitt Romney when I urge supporting none of the above in November.

At the beginning, I have to concede one point; Cory writes,
But the best argument I can make is that Barack Hussein Obama is still more one of us than Willard Mitt Romney. Barack grew up in conditions much more like those in which LK and I grew up than silver-spoon Mitt did.
I can't argue the point.  In fact, I'll help him make it.  Actually, Mitt helps him make it himself.
In fairness, some of the statements may have been slips of the tongue or taken from the the context of larger remarks, but in total, they reflect that Romney has never worried about having more time than money between paychecks.

Further, during the primary, Romney told students to borrow $20,000 from their parents and start a business like the founder of Jimmy John's did in 1983.  Let's ignore the fact that $20,000 then is over $46,000 now. In 1983 my parents were eking out a living by farming far too few acres of North Dakota gumbo (the soil that becomes an extremely sticky mud not the New Orleans delicacy) and living in a house without indoor plumbing.  Mitt and I certainly come from different worlds.

Cory unleashes his inner deontological philosopher to argue:
If I, LK, and everyone else right through the Electoral College and the House of Representatives decline to vote for President, then on January 20, 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner probably assumes the Presidency. John Boehner is worse for America than Barack Obama or Mitt Romney (what’s he going to do when the Chinese invade, cry at them?), as is allowing anyone to become President by default rather than the active will of the people.
One could conceivably, if unconvincingly, argue that Boehner's orange makeup is America's best deterrent to an invasion, but the slippery slope doesn't seem to be the crux of Cory's point.  Partisans will vote; Cory is going to cast his vote for President Obama, and I'm certain that blogger Joel Rosenthal, frequent Madville Times commenter Charlie Hoffman, and former Huron policy debater Justin Bell will all cast votes for Mitt Romney. In short, partisans will ensure that Boehner's tears, orange makeup, and the sour mash or whatever it is that causes the need for both will never ascend to the Oval Office.

Cory offers Kant as criterion for his arguments. Attempting to win an argument with Kant is a fool's errand, but I will offer a universal maxim from a less respected but widely quoted source: with great power comes great responsibility.

In the matter at hand, that responsibility has two components. President Obama won the 2008 election.  The Democrats had both houses of Congress.  He occupies the most powerful office in the world and had more political capital than any recent predecessor.  The only one who may have had more is Ronald Reagan in 1984.  During 2008 campaign President Obama indicated that he would curtail the expansion of the security state, reduce dramatically executive over-reach, and fight back against K Street power.

Cory and I agree that he has done little about the first two issues. Granted, the economic situation he inherited was worse than anyone know at the time, but not a single person whose deceit and greed lead to that crisis has been charged with a single crime. What good is power if it's not going to be used to pursue justice?

The second component is the voter's power and responsibility. The ballot is a great responsibility, but it must be used to support a person who shares one's greatest values. Protecting civil liberties and refraining from imperialistic military actions top my political values hierarchy. Romney's rhetoric shows that he doesn't share those values. If I can't support Obama because of his record, I certainly can't support Romney based on his rhetoric.

The Romney vs. Obama debate blurs a larger issue: that the two party system is broken.  The various coalitions that constitute the parties now make little sense. The far right will declare a hypothetical pro-life Republican who advocates expanding social programs to assist poor women to be a RINO.  The left will accuse her of engaging in war on women. There seem to be no legitimate political mavericks in either party. (As a side note, the country would be better off if John McCain and Sarah Palin hadn't sullied the term.)

It's conceivable that the slippery slope argument that Cory uses could lead the way to a positive effect.  If independents and moderates stop voting for either of the mainstream candidates, a third or fourth party might arise.  I will look at the South Dakota ballot and determine if I can in good conscience issue a protest vote for a third party candidate. Partisans on both sides will probably accuse me of wasting a vote. If that sort of protest vote is a waste, it seems logical a vote cast for the person who least threatens one's values is also a waste.

Cory concludes:
Keep blogging, LK. Keep criticizing the President. But help me out: on November 6, check that Obama box. And tell your friends to do the same.
I will keep blogging and criticizing President Obama and, even though Cory doesn't ask me to, I will criticize Governor Romney vociferously and frequently.  I doubt I will check the Obama box, but I'm certain my wife, whom everyone likes better than they like me anyway, will vote to re-elect the President.

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