Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Realistic Opponents

I recently took a face book poll regarding whether I "would vote for Obama again." My response was "yes," with the added comment "Against any realistic opponent? Yah, you betcha." SHB left a comment on that post saying "Lockwood, can you name a realistic opponent? : )" I think that's a very fair question; I thought more carefully than might be apparent about how to word my original comment.

The meaning I intended to convey was that I would most likely vote for Obama over anyone that could realistically expect a chance to oppose him in a primary or national election. It's realistic (though horrifying) to suppose that he might face Huckabee, Palin or Romney (and possibly Jeb) in the national race in 2012. Obviously, I would vote for Obama.

As a counter example, it unrealistic to suppose that Kucinich would mount a plausible primary run in 2011. I had intended, as late as mid-April last year, to vote for him in the primaries (and I did in 2004; it was clear that Kerry had won). Oregon's primary is late- mid-May- and by that point Kucinich had dropped out. I don't recall whether he was still on the ballot, but by that time, Hillary had started her shenanigans, e.g., "I won the popular vote." I had been torn between her and Obama early in the season, but her behavior toward the end appalled me. By the time our primary rolled around, I strongly preferred Obama over Clinton. Under other circumstances, I might have voted for Kucinich (if he had been on the ballot, or even as a write-in, despite the fact he had dropped out) simply as a statement. First, he is the one person out there who doesn't look like a corporate tool to me, and second, while I wouldn't actually want him as president for a number of reasons, many of his ideas deserve more attention and respect than they get. For example, I would love to see him as Secretary of The Department of Peace, a cabinet-level position that he has proposed. How does one get to that level? By doing well in the primaries.

So while under certain circumstances, I might vote for Kucinich over Obama, I don't see any realistic scenario in which those circumstances might come to pass. I seriously doubt there will be any democratic primary in 2012.

And I can't imagine supporting anyone Obama might face in the national election in three years... in fact, let's make that an advanced directive: If I do support his opponent at that time, pull the plug. It's because I'm brain-dead.


Tucker said...

This is a topic I think about a lot when I am examining the role free choice plays in my life. I am free to vote for whomever I please, I understand that. But creating a better choice that puts me in a position to exercise the "free action" I would like to take is an impossibility for one person, and a damn difficult undertaking even for very many people working together. Hence, one cannot be a strict individualist and simultaneously "free."

For the record, I get lots of sideways looks when I tell people I didn't vote for Obama. It's strange how they get MORE sideways when I say I voted for McKinney.

Terrant said...

It would be interesting to see if the GOP fields someone worth voting for. We really need another party or two because I am tired of voting for tweedledee or tweedledum.

Lockwood said...

Tucker- the last sentence in the first paragraph would have made no sense to me at all without that preface... but it ends up being a very provocative idea to think about.

Terrant- I couldn't agree more. Both parties are owned by corps that couldn't care less who gets hurt as long as their quarterly profits are up.