Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I can vote "present" too

Voting "present"

For quite a while now I have said that while John McCain's policy positions make it impossible for me to vote for him. But perhaps I, along with millions of other Democrats and Independents, have not been clear enough for Senator Obama - or Howard Dean or David Axelrod - to appreciate that Senator Obama has got a great deal of work to do earn my vote. I can withhold my vote from Senator McCain and I can withhold my vote from Senator Obama. It is so easy, I would not even have to break a sweat. I can abstain from casting a ballot for president this November. I can show up at the polls, vote for down ticket candidates that I support, and simply not cast a ballot for either Senator McCain or Senator Obama. Thus, I will be voting "present". I may be at the polls, but I could end up deciding not to take a stand for or against either presidential candidate.

Is Senator Obama paying attention?

When I say that Senator Obama must earn my vote, I am saying what is true for every politician who ever runs for any office. I dislike a number of Senator Obama's policies and reasons for them, particularly his health care plan, which will not yield universal health care and if enacted will simply make people feel complacent, I fear, believing that close enough is enough, when in reality close enough to universal is exactly the same as not universal.

Apart from the fact that Senator Obama has to convince me of the wisdom of his policies, he has another job with regard to earning my vote. I do not know whether the D.N.C. and Dr. Dean, Senator Pelosi, et al. believe they have been a help to Senator Obama's goal of becoming the next president of the United States. I do know they have been no help to Senator Obama with regard to earning my vote.

I object to unfair processes. I object to bullying. I object to mistreatment of Democrats who have spent years helping and working for not only themselves but other Democrats. I object to leaders who seem to think that if they keep saying that I will rally around the Democratic nominee this fall that this will magically make me rally 'round.

What isn't helping

I keep looking to see if Senator Obama wants to earn my vote - not just to have it, but to earn it. What have I found so far: not much.

Senator Obama has not objected to Dr. Dean's bizarrely monomaniacal effort to drive not only Senator Clinton from the Democratic Party but to once again tamper with a voting process by insisting she give up her delegates. Nor has Senator Obama said that he will champion the cause of the voters of Florida and Michigan, who simply had no other option but to vote in the primaries they did and whose votes are currently being discounted by half.

Senator Obama he has not denounced. repudiated, or even distanced himself from the continuing tactics of MoveOn, his surrogate financier. MoveOn has an enormous email list, one they shared with Senator Obama throughout the primaries, making it easy for him to reach a major body of willing donors. There are legal limits on what these donors can give directly to a Presidential candidate. So MoveOn has been encouraging its members to donate to them as a proxy for donating to Senator Obama.

Senator Obama continues to permit on his website commenst that are deeply vicious misogynistic and Anti-Semitic. Telling me that he thanks Senator Clinton for showing his daughters what women can accomplish and doing flip flops with regard to his policies in the Middle East pales when I see that Senator Obama allows people to his his online real estate as a place to spew hatred and bigotry.

It may or may not be Senator Obama's fault that he is surrounded by D.N.C. officials and Party leaders who are not helping him. It certainly is not his fault that some people think vile thoughts and write them down, just as certainly as it his fault if he posts those thoughts at his website, even if only to later scrub them. Senator Obama is not the head of MoveOn and he is not the Credentials Committee of the D.N.C., the group that could end up deciding the final status of Michigan and Florida's voters. But every good politician knows how to distance himself or herself from people and movements that are impairing their ability to earn votes needed to win an election. And Senator Obama could take stand on the MoveOn money machine or support the total enfranchisement of the voters of Michigan and Florida.

Today's setback

When I checked the news this morning to see what Senator Obama's campaign is doing to earn the votes of the 18 million people who voted for Senator Clinton, the only stories I found relate this information: Senator Obama's campaign plans to meet with some of Senator Clinton's major volunteer fundraisers to win them over, presumably to help him finance his planned general election campaign.

Senator Obama may earn the labors of those fundraisers. But this move by his campaign sets him back on the effort to earn my vote. Senator Obama may be interested in having other people work hard to raise money from me for him. That most certainly is not the same as displaying an interest in - let alone making an effort - to earn my vote.



Anonymous adamonins said...

He does not care-message to base-stay home

June 10, 2008 at 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Mirlo said...

Please read J.Cifre's post at http://savagepolitics.com "What Hillary Really Wants"

June 10, 2008 at 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was put to the test when asked this very question on television last week. I was rather surprised that his response was almost defiant and arrogant. The gist of it was "well if they want XY and Z then they'll vote for me."

My perception of his overall tone was - and if they don't vote for me well it's their loss not mine.

Posted by crack 39241957 of 18 million strong and growing

June 11, 2008 at 10:39 PM  

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