Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What's your voting dealbreaker?

Is there one issue, above all others, that a candidate has to satisfy before getting your vote? Interesting discussion revolving around a column from The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf, a progressive who proclaims that he's not voting for President Barack Obama, as he did in 2008.

Actually, he says it in stronger terms. In Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama, Friedersdorf says:

Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn't "precise" or "surgical" as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. 
Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama's kill list transgresses against the Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did.  

Friedersdorf isn't voting Republican, either, by the way. But for him, the drone policy is too much to ignore. It's an absolutism that seems uncommon, but is it? Most of us have issues dearer to us than others - abortion, immigration and gay rights are among those we hear about often from readers. But for election years in which the economy is a primary concern, those issues tend to become more supplementary.

Some commenters said in response to Friedersdorf that having dealbreakers in a two-party system is irrational. I'd say "impractical" is the better word. Voting, for most, seems not to be an exercise of eliminating candidates issue by issue. It's choosing the person who would most often make the decisions you feel are correct, with a thumb on the scale for issues you feel are more critical. And those can change, too. If you're a fiscal conservative and social progressive, the former probably carries more weight this election than others.  

Or, maybe not. Friedersdorf says we're less utilitarian than we think - that if President Obama were caught on tape uttering anti-Mexican slurs, or if Mitt Romney were to utter a racial slur at Wednesday's debate,  many of their supporters would consider it a dealbreaker. But standing behind that voting touchscreen, making a choice no one will see, I wonder if even then, pragmatism might win out over principle.

Disagree? What's your dealbreaker?    

Peter St. Onge  



CommonCents said...

Pro-life(Abortion). I vote for those that do not have a voice, and that is the only thing I vote on, has been for years. Everything else is selfish voting, what is in it for me.

No_clue777 said...

DEBT, DEBT, DEBT.....all of the rest of these issues mean nothing. The country is going broke, and anyone with a brain knows it. And all of the tiny little cuts in the budget, or blaming the rich for not paying "their fair share" is simply a way to keep the public from asking the real questions that you on your high and mighty "editorial board" refuse to address. Balanced Budget Amendment!!!

Lance said...

Robert Wright's (another writer at The Atlantic, and author of The Evolution of God) response pretty much echoes my own.

Elections have consequences, and while agree with Conor regarding Obama's transgressions in civil liberties and foreign policy, the consequences of not re-electing him are far greater, especially with respect to Iran.

Wiley Coyote said...

If Obama is re-elected, America will officially cease to exist as the Republic it's been the past 236 years.

If Obama is re-elected, be on the lookout for a drone coming to a city near you.

BiBr said...


I agree with you. If Obama is elected this country will basically cease to exist in any recognizable way to its former self.

Archiguy said...

The ridiculous hyperbole of the usual right-wing zealots aside, the fact is that if Romney is elected nothing much will change except the rich will get richer thanks to a host of new tax breaks targeted directly to them. The middle class will continue to lose ground, and people who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act will go back to being unable to afford health care at all.

All attempts at financial reform will be rolled back and bankers and hedge fund managers will crawl back into bed together, eagerly crafting the next bubble that will enrich them even further but cause the NEXT recession. Spending on "defense" will increase to TWICE what the next 25 countries combined pay (24 of which are our allies) instead of simply equaling it.

Foreign policy, however, will stay EXACTLY the same. What other options do we have? Al Quada has to be confronted where they are hiding.

Contrary to popular belief and Romney's rantings, even the Republicans know giving Israel a green light to attack Iran will lead to catastrophe. Well, come to think about it, maybe they don't. They just couldn't wait to invade Iraq, could they? How'd that work out for us?

I'm betting the gentleman casts his vote for Obama after all. That's what the smart kids are all going to do. They figure they don't have a choice.

DMorrisPE said...

Things Obama has done that stick in my craw:
1. World Apology Tour, whereby he tells the world that we're sorry for being strong.
2. Spending billions and billions fo dollars on stimulus projects that, at best, created temporary jobs for a few thousand construction workers. Money dried up & workers were laid off.
3. Nationalizing our banks, even briefly, was a BAD IDEA. No institution is too big to fail.
4. ObamaCare health care mandates.
5. Refusal to wear an American Flag lapel pin for nearly 10 months. He does not seem to love or exalt our country.
6. Hell-bent to end the Iraq war but quixotically chose to extend the Afghanistan war.
7. Still blaming everything that has gone wrong on Bush or anybody else.
8. Consistently downplays or ignores events that portray his decisions poorly.
9. Tell outright lies to the media and the American public. (Libya Embassy bombing, among others)
10. Refuses to uphold Christian beliefs, while kowtowing to Muslim beliefs.
11. Eliminating work requirements from Welfare.
12. Refusing to outlaw Credit Default Swaps, which was signed into law by Clinton, and led to the Housing Mortgage bust that started this recession.
13. Has systematically denied our soldiers the opportunity to vote while overseas by not providing absentee ballots in time for voting.
14. Declines to treat Israel as our greatest ally in the Middle East.
15. Has told Russia's Putin that "more favorable terms for trading can be reached" after he wins re-election.

Wiley Coyote said...


America tried isolationism in the late 30's and early 40's, until December 7, 1941.

Look where that got us and how many Jews were killed by Hitler because we refused to do nothing.

By the way. Who has prostituted the war in Afghanistan and drone strikes in Pakistan over the past 4 years?

Skippy said...

6 trillion in new debt after he called Bush "unpatriotic" for 3,5 trillion over 8 years, unmitigated lies on Obamacare, lies about Fast and Furious, the unconstitutional amnesty waiver, unconstitutional czars, takes zero blame for anything goes wrong, record unemployment, worse post recession since WW II, highest corporate taxes on the planet, a massive new wave of taxes coming with Obamacare, the Bush tax cuts were not just for the wealthy the usual liberal lie, everyone will have higher taxes if repealed, the massive cover up happening as we speak about the death of our Ambassador that our media is doing it's best to cover along with this clown.

4 more years equals 6 trillion more in debt, 100 more rounds of golf, more lavish vacations, more spending, more demonizing the private and 4 more years of you didn't build that.

4 more years will will ensure we have "skyrocketing energy costs" as he promised he said and I quote "climate change will be my number one issue if re-elected". So he will continue to spend us into oblivion and not worry about the debt or the unemployment.

Perfect, lets elected this genius one more time.

After all he promised Russia "much more flexibility" if re-elected which means more appeasement and more supporting his colossal failure that is the Middle East and his support of the terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

What can wrong with that?

DMorrisPE said...

16. Told millions of of small business owners that they "didn't build that". Who did, if not them?
17. Insufficient real-world experience in anything useful prior to Presidency. Community Organizer and short-term congressman - that's it - and it shows.
18. Even lied in his autobiography about how hard he had it being raised by a single mother. Look at his school records- all were for well-off kids.
19. Is refusing to take a stand against Iran. His advisers have been paid large sums of money to speak on BEHALF of Iran.
20. Encouraging Justice Dept's Holder to stonewall Congress about the "Fast and Furious" investigation.
21. Has increased Income and Death taxes on small businesses, as well as many ObamaCare tax increases.
22. Recent UN speech declared that "future shall not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam". Anyone who is a Christian believes that Christ is the Son of God, which would be slandering Islam. Who does Obama support?

It just goes on and on.

Archiguy said...

What goes on and on is the right-wing effort to rewrite not only history, but every single thing the President has done or said. It's ridiculous. There are so many mistakes and outright lies in many of the fevered right-wing posts above that it would take an hour to refute them all with actual facts.

Do you people actually think you're going to influence anyone who has actually been paying attention with rantings you reguritate from FoxNews commentators, AM radio blowhards, and the Drudge Report?

You are preaching to your own choir and no one else. The electorate in general is not quite as "uninformed", to be kind, as you folks and that's why Romney is trailing. That gap will only increase after the debate tomorrow night. You can't fib quite so easily in one of those like you can on the campaign trail.

DMorrisPE said...

It must be so easy being an apologist for the Dummycrats. All you have to do is ignore the new, like NBC does, and pooh-pooh the rest. Why, you barely have to lift a finger.

Garth Vader said...


Why don't you name the guy who Friersdorf said he's most likely to vote for?

"His name is Gary Johnson, and he won't win. I am supporting him because he ought to."

The News department edited Johnson's name out of Sunday's article about medical marijuana advocates, and now you won't dare speak his name either.

Who is giving you that order?

Garth Vader said...

Followup with the URLs to the original medical marijuana article and the censored one in the Observer. You did this to Ron Paul repeatedly during the primary season as well.

Original Version:

Observer's Version Censored to remove reference to Libertarian Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson:

Garth Vader said...


The war that was properly declared after the Dec 7 1941 attack was the last war that the US definitively won. That is not a coincidence.

BTW, please learn the difference between "isolationist" and "non-interventionist". Is Poland "isolationist" because they don't have a military presence in Honduras? No. Actually, sanctions and trade restrictions are true isolationism.

Peter St. Onge said...

Hi Garth,

I linked to the Atlantic article for everyone to read. Glad you did. Johnson is not relevant to the point of this post, which is about dealbreakers.

If we were trying to censor Johnson, we're doing a pretty poor job of it. We ran this story just four days ago:



Garth Vader said...


DEALBREAKER - increasing the debt (Obamney supports; Johnson opposes)

DEALBREAKER - never-ending war (Obamney supports; Johnson opposes)

DEALBREAKER - financed by Goldman Sachs and other bankster scum Obamney is; Johnson isn't)

DEALBREAKER - unwinnable war on (some) drugs Obamney supports; Johnson opposes)

DEALBREAKER - TSA pedophiles, perverts and thieves (Obamney supports; Johnson opposes)

DEALBREAKER - drone attacks, indefinite detentions, assassination of American citizens without charge or trial while AIG and MF Global executives aren't even charged (Obamney supports; Johnson opposes)

There are your "dealbreakers". Deal with them.

Garth Vader said...

Regarding the marijuana story, I showed you PRECISELY where the Observer CENSORED Johnson. The ONLY piece of the story removed was the part about Johnson.

Johnson also had TWO Charlotte area appearances the week of the DNC - and the Observer didn't even send a reporter to cover either appearance.

You print story after story, run editorial after editorial, that paints this as a two-person race. Ditto on the OpEd page: have you ever - EVER - had a weekly/semi-weekly columnist who would be generally described as "libertarian"? About once every six months you print Walter Williams, but the steady diet is statist NorthEast corridor imbeciles like Krugman, Krauthammer, Rubin, Dowd, Douthat, Brooks, Collins, Marcus, and Nocera, with the token race-obsessed nutjob like Leonard Pitts throw in for "balance" (more like UN-balanced is Pitts).

As far as the Atlantic story goes, don't pat yourself on your back thinking that you "found" it for me - I'd read it days ago. As usual, the Observer is well behind the public.