Grappling with Obama's Un-Liberal Actions: A Voter's Conscience (Part 1):
The Rude Pundit remembers the moment in 1996, standing in the curtained voting booth in a church hall in the middle of nowhere in godforsaken Indiana. He stared at his choices: the incumbent Democrat, Bill Clinton; Republican Bob Dole; and the jug-eared crazy Texan, Ross Perot. There wasn't a force in heaven or earth, no promise of sex or cocaine, no amount of money, really, that could have made him vote for the despicable Dole or the bug-eyed Perot. And, sorry, historical revisionists who have given Clinton the same buff and glow as Reagan apologists on the right, many of us on the left were pretty pissed at Clinton. Just a couple of months earlier, caving to election year pressure, he had signed into law "welfare reform," which took away the guaranteed safety net for the poor. There were other things: the way Clinton had handled the gays in the military issue, the complete bollixing of the health care debate, the fact that, no, he wasn't the liberal we had fantasized he would be. Ultimately, his stomach legitimately churning, even though he was in a state that was going to go for Dole, he realized he couldn't just walk away without voting. So he voted for Clinton, reasoning that, in the long-term, Clinton might be able to nominate Supreme Court justices who would make up in legacy what damage had been done in governing. He wasn't proud or happy or relieved. He just hoped he hadn't fucked up his karma. He hoped he had made a decision he could live with.
You gotta know what you're doing when you vote. And you gotta accept the consequences of that vote. For instance, here's a consequence of voting for Barack Obama:
That's what's left behind in a town in Pakistan, a country that we are supposedly not at war with, after a U.S. missile drone attack, presumptively launched to take out a "terrorist." Or a "militant." Or something. About 85% of the drone attacks since 9/11 have occurred during the Obama administration, with at least a couple of Americans targeted and killed. The most recent attack in Pakistan killed at least 5 people. According to a Pakistani Senate Committee report, at least 20% of all those killed are civilians (and that's not to mention the damage done to the property of civilians when, you know, a fucking missile blows their shit up).
Just last week, we killed at least 10, in strikes in Yemen, where we are supposedly not at war. And, yes, this is complicated by the fact that, apparently, we do kill those who belong to al-Qaeda, although that's relying on information by the people doing the killing, which is, well, the Obama administration.
Want to complicate it further? Howzabout the rest of that Pakistani Senate study, which says that the drone attacks are destabilizing the nation? Or that the hundreds of air strikes have led to a "generation of resentment" in the Middle East towards the United States? Or that Pakistan's ambassador, in demanding an end to the invasion of his country's air space, has said the actions are creating more militants? Yeah, the United States could be reaping what we've sown under the next President, who might be a Christie or a Bush, not a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Sorry to piss on you while you're having a nice "Boy, Paul Ryan sucks" buzz. But you gotta grapple with this, with what's being done by the man we voted for, what's being done in our name. And it's not just what's done in the name of war against our "enemies." No, we've also got to wrestle with the executive powers that Obama is defending and expanding, the very kinds of powers we screamed and stomped about Bush having.
More on that tomorrow.