Social Question

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

"Liberals"- Which Republican candidate would you like to see in the general election?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (10007points) January 4th, 2012

As an Obama supporter, who do you want to see Obama face-off against and why?
Are you more interested in seeing Obama have a serious debate on serious issues or seeing Obama slide by into another four years?

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62 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

I want him to slide right in there. Yep.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Either Santorum or Paul.

Either of them guarantees an Obama victory.

JLeslie's avatar

Probably Mitt Romney if he will shift center once he wins (if he wins) the primaries. I want the opponent to be someone I can live with if he is president. Hoping for a far right candidate so supposedly Obama wins by a landslide is taking too much of a chance. We elected Bush twice, think about it.

marinelife's avatar

I want him to win (I don’t care how he wins.). So, I want him to face off against one of the crazies.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m not an Obama supporter, I’m just liberal. If I had to pick one: Paul or Romney.

MrItty's avatar

Bachman, as the overwhelming crazy would drive Obama supporters to the polls in droves.

wundayatta's avatar

I am reluctant to say I want a crazy, because you never know what might happen during an election. I’d rather have someone like Mitt or Newt, because I think that if they win, they will do the least damage compared to Rick, Rick, Michelle and Ron. Of the two, I think I’d rather have Newt, mostly because Mitt is more religious. I don’t think Mitt lets his religion inform his politics all that much, but it’s a concern.

tedd's avatar

I would pick Obama overwhelmingly over every one of their candidates. If you want me to pick which Republican I’d choose if I had to pick one to be president, it would probably be Romney… If you’re asking who I think Obama will have the easiest time beating… I would say Paul, Bachmann, Perry… even Gingrich probably… would all be pretty easy.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m not an Obama fan and I will not be voting for him. I am also not a Republican, nor do I support their platform.

I’d like Mitt Romney. Once all that freaky Mormon shit comes out, he’ll never win the general election.

tedd's avatar

@tinyfaery might I ask why you don’t like Obama?

Qingu's avatar

I think Romney would make the best president.

But he’d be a terrible president, and he has the best chance to win. So I think I’d rather have Paul, Santorum or Bachmann, who seem to have the least chance to win. On the other hand, it seems irresponsible to wish for even the tiniest chance for those people to become president. Even though I’d like legal weed with a Paul presidency.

Qingu's avatar

@tinyfaery, you’re not voting for Obama, but you want the Republican to lose?

So… then why aren’t you voting for Obama?

tinyfaery's avatar

Obama went back on too many promises. And now this detention bill he signed. I HATE moderates.

Obama will win my state with or without me.

Qingu's avatar

You hate moderates… but Obama campaigned as a moderate willing to compromise.

The Republicans inserted the detention language into that bill. He signed it as the lesser of two evils. His administration has tried to close Guantanamo and reform the enemy detention process. They’ve simply been blocked by Republicans.

I also think it’s important to distinguish between moderates like Obama and moderates like David Brooks. David Brooks is a moderate reflexively, as a matter of ideology, which I also find repugnant. Obama is a moderate as a matter of pragmatism. He is clearly a liberal at heart, but he is willing to compromise in order to move the political progress slightly closer to those ideals, rather than get nothing.

And he has succeeded in doing just that. You can play armchair political strategist all you want about whether he would have gotten more by compromising less, but there is no question that Obama has made great strides towards liberal positions during the last three years, under incredibly difficult economic and political circumstances.

Frankly, I find your position here pretty self-serving. You clearly think Obama would be significantly better than the opposition for our country, but you don’t want to dirty your precious conscience by voting for a non-ideologue?

tedd's avatar

@tinyfaery What promises? I’d say he did pretty good. Troops are out of Iraq, they’re coming out of Afghanistan, he killed more terrorists (including Bin Laden).. organized a reduction of nuclear arms with Russia… passed a healthcare bill that while not public option, will insure another 30 million people and save the country 100 billion a year… 2 new, young, minority, liberal supreme court justices… more money spent on infrastructure, technology, alternative energy…. repeal of DADT

I mean to be frank, he accomplished more in ~3 years than the last two presidents did in 16.

JLeslie's avatar

@tinyfaery Is there any indication he participates in any freaky Mormon stuff? I don’t ask that to be challenging or sarcastic, I am asking as a serious question. I haven’t seen any indication that he participates in anything very bazaar regarding his religion.

Qingu's avatar

@tedd, he also passed the Ledbetter act, ensuring equal rights for women in the workplace, and he passed financial regulation—flawed, but better than the status quo. And just today he recess-appointed someone to run the consumer protection agency (finally).

I mean, when Obama compromises I get in this kind of mood too, like “he’s not accomplishing anything more than a Republican would!” ... and then I list all the stuff his administration has accomplished and I snap out of it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@tinyfaery So, who will you be voting for? A third-party candidate? Anyone specific in mind?

Do you hate a moderate liberal more than an extreme conservative?

tedd's avatar

@Qingu Yah the Republicans in the house had been stonewalling the CPA head… I’ve actually met Cordray… Wish he would’ve been re-elected here in Ohio… Very good guy.

Qingu's avatar

I think the biggest positive for Obama isn’t an “accomplishment” but rather just the general way he has handled foreign policy.

Look at all the shit that has happened this year with the Arab Spring and Pakistan. We could have easily been drawn into a war in any of those countries—Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Syria. Islamists have won democratic election in Egypt and Tunisia… which Republicans often label “terrorists.” There have been numerous incidents in Pakistan that almost erupted into full-scale warfare. Obama has navigated all of this incredibly deftly. It now looks like democratic parties—“Islamist,” but no more than 1950’s America was “Christianist”—will blossom in the middle east and will even take a friendlier tone to America than at any point in decades.

He also deserves praise for Libya. I opposed intervening, but it worked out. The NATO operations killed less than a hundred civilians, and they probably saved the lives of tens of thousands of civilians. We also spent relatively little money and we operated under international auspices. Compare this to, I dunno, everything the Bush administration did.

For all the talk about the domestic economy, a president doesn’t actually have much control over that—Congress has at least as much power, if not more. Foreign policy is where much of a president’s power lies. And I have breathed so many sighs of relief that we’ve had had a sane person at the helm for the last three years.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Not a liberal, and only an Obama supporter by default, but I’d like to see Ron Paul win just to see how the debates would go.

@Qingu Obama campaigned as a split personality. Sometimes he was an idealist appealing to liberals, sometimes he was a pragmatist appealing to moderates. It was extremely easy to see in advance how many of his supporters he’d be disappointing once reality set in.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Hah. Any one of the current offerings will do.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t feel the need to explain myself. I will vote 3rd party.

All Mormon stuff is freaky Mormon stuff.

tedd's avatar

@tinyfaery I don’t mean to call you out or offend you. I’m legitimately curious why you’ve fallen away from supporting Obama. Several liberals I know have stated this stance, and just looking at his accomplishments, in the face of everything he had to fight…. I just can’t fathom it.

tinyfaery's avatar

As a member of the LGBT community, he has let us down in many ways.

I really blame myself for falling for his spiel.

tedd's avatar

@tinyfaery Ok I’ll give you he hasn’t exactly tackled LGBT issues head on…. But he did remove DADT, and he hasn’t pursued any flat out outlawing of gay marriage (as all of his conservative foes seem to be).

What in particular did you want him to do/did he promise to do… that he didn’t?

Qingu's avatar

BS. no other president has done as much for the LGBT community as Obama. Good luck finding a third party candidate who has even said they’d like to do more, let alone would be able to accomplish anything.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu If I promise to give you a dollar and then give you a penny, you’re going to be upset even if no one else has given you anything at all or even promised to do so. That’s reality.

Qingu's avatar

Here’s the problem: you are viewing Obama’s stated campaign goals as “promises” that he is “breaking” by somehow not waving his magic wand.

Obama worked hard to close Guantanamo. He failed, but blaming him for that is insane. The people to blame for not closing Guantanamo are the Republicans who unanimously stonewalled it along with a few sick Democrats.

How would you have succeeded? Be specific. Or if that’s not your issue, be specific about what you would have done, exactly, to deliver the “promise” better than Obama did.

Edit: what especially bothers me are when the same people who bitched about Bush abusing executive authority are now complaining about Obama not abusing executive authority and compromising with his co-equal branch of government.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Qingu I agree. I can’t remember when the US last had such a hard-working president. He has done so much that he promised to do, and in his first term, with such belligerent opposition (so much so that I would call it treason), that I am amazed that people can be resentful of what he hasn’t done yet.

JLeslie's avatar

Obama said during the primaries he believed marriage was between a man and a woman.

Qingu's avatar

I always thought he was simply lying to pander to the idiots who he would need to win for the election, but assuming he was genuine:

(1) He’s still done more for gay rights than any president ever, more than all other presidents combined,

(2) He doesn’t oppose legalizing gay marriage.

JLeslie's avatar

@Qingu Are you responding to what I wrote? I think he pandered a little about gay issues for the black vote, I don’t think he was pandering to the conservative Republicans.

I know he came out and said he changed his mind about his stance on gay marriage. Probably he was always in that place philosophically.

JLeslie's avatar

This is interesting. Shows a time line of the various statements over the years Obama has made about gay marriage. I don’t know how reliable the source is.

Qingu's avatar

I mean, I disagree with Obama. I think it’s important that we call it “marriage” and not civil unions, and I don’t believe we should give the word “marriage” to religions to define when the institution of marriage predates religion. And obviously, my stance on religion in general is well known, so if Obama is really against gay marriage because of his religion then I think that’s pretty stupid and he should know better (and probably does).

But I think Obama has been fairly consistent in his pragmatism about the subject. I thought this was the most interesting quote:

“Look, when my parents got married in 1961, it would have been illegal for them to be married in a number of states in the South. So obviously, this is something that I understand intimately, it’s something that I care about. But if I were advising the civil rights movement back in 1961 about its approach to civil rights, I would have probably said it’s less important that we focus on an anti-miscegenation law than we focus on a voting rights law and a non-discrimination and employment law and all the legal rights that are conferred by the state.”

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu I’m not saying he isn’t hard-working. I’m not saying the Republicans aren’t stonewalling. I’m not saying he should have done things that I said Bush shouldn’t have done. Do not pretend I am someone else. Do not assume my criticisms are necessarily the same ones you have heard before. There are many ways to disagree with someone, and it’s time you stopped pretending that politics is a game of “with us or against us.”

My problem is not that I think the president should have waved his magic wand, but rather that that I think politicians should stop pretending that the president does have a magic wand. They should be more honest when campaigning about what a president can and cannot do. Candidates make outrageous claims about what they’re going to try and get done once elected, often declaring themselves committed to projects outside the scope of the office they are seeking.

All candidates do this, and it disappoints me every time. I’m not saying I’m going to stop voting for anyone over the issue, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to wish there was a little more nuance in our political discourse and to be critical of those who trade nuance for expediency. Nor do I think it is unreasonable to acknowledge the blatant reality that politicians will lose support when their campaign rhetoric turns out to be just that (even if you think it is acceptable to lie or pander to win an election, as you seem to, and even if you think it was stupid to take his campaign rhetoric for promises in the first place).

So what would I have done differently? I would have immediately stopped enforcing DADT and DOMA on the grounds that they are unconstitutional. I never would have signed Executive Order 13535. Most of all, though, I wouldn’t have been so grandiose with my rhetoric during the campaign. Does that mean I never would have won the election in the first place? Probably. I accept that political reality, even if I don’t like it. Accepting it, however, doesn’t mean thinking politicians should be free from the consequences when their rhetoric doesn’t pan out.

Qingu's avatar

I’m not a political Manichaean. I’ve noted that I disagree with Obama on some issues. I agree that he should have immediately stopped enforcing DADT and DOMA.

But oh fucking well, he succeeded in repealing them—possibly by striking a nonconfrontational stance at first to win broader political support for doing so.

As for the Stupak thing, who cares? The order simply preserves a standing law.

Finally, about rhetoric: this is really a major basis of your disappointment? His rhetoric was too grandoise, and you would have preferred more qualified and accurately gauged campaign promises?

I think it makes no sense whatsoever to take issue with this to begin with. But okay, I’ll play along: can you provide some examples of Obama’s excessive campaign rhetoric that upset you so much and cause you to question your support of his candidacy?

Qingu's avatar

And if it sounds like I’m being too harsh… the stray cat liberal thing is the reason why America is the country it is today. Maybe I’m still angry when liberals didn’t turn out to vote for Coakley in Massachusetts because “oh she just didn’t campaign hard enough” ... resulting in the torpedoing of a truly liberal HCR law.

But this nitpicking and conditional support is ridiculous, and it’s pernicious to any attempt to make legitimate progress in this country. When I asked you for your complaints about Obama, you answered:

1. He enforced law for 2 years while working to successfully repeal said law instead of simply calling law unconstitutional during those 2 years

2. To win a conservative Dem support for health care reform he gave an order promising to enforce a law that he is already supposed to enforce

3. His campaign rhetoric was too grandoise and might have given some people the idea that a president has more power than he really has.

Because those are the three most important issues at stake in the next election, and so all this hemming and hawing and fence-sitting is really a genuine expression of doubt about the relative merits of the candidates.

JLeslie's avatar

The only thing I am pissed at Obama about is I wanted him to go ahead and let all the Bush tax cuts expire and to bring social security withdrawals back up to where they were. I wanted a different healthcare deal, but not one politician running for president is going to give me what I want on that subject. I really want someone to regulate and uncover the disgisting abuse within the healthcare system, God know how or when that will ever happen. The rest of it I think he just let it play out for whatever reason, DADT, even gay marriage I think of him as basically silent on the issue, as in he is not pushing for it to be legal everywhere. I have a feeling he believes it will happen on its own.

Qingu's avatar

@JLeslie, I was pissed about the tax cut deal at first, but

(1) he got Republicans to extend unemployment benefits significantly in exchange for it

(2) it’s actually not a good idea to raise taxes during a recession. Even if we were technically out of the recession. Economy was (and is) still in shit shape. Those taxes don’t actually matter all that much since rich people don’t spend much of their money, but it could have had a slightly negative effect. You raise rich taxes to pay down the debt, and paying down the debt ought to be second in priority right now to reducing unemployment.

And I disagree he let DADT “play out.” He actually ensured it was erased more permanently than it would have had he followed activists advice and simply ordered the military not to enforce it. If he did that, and didn’t secure legislation, then the next Republican president would just enforce it all over again.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu You asked what I would do different, and I answered you. Then you cast those things as disagreements when I did not present them as disagreements. I presented them as things that I would do differently. You need to look at my responses more carefully. I am not disappointed in Obama: I never believed he would live up to the hype in the first place, and it was not the hype that made me vote for him. I have simply explained that it is unreasonable to hype someone up to win an election and then not expect some people to be disappointed when the hype inevitably outruns the reality. It is in refusing to see this nuance to my comments that makes you look like a “with us or against us” type (something I do not think you really are at bottom).

JLeslie's avatar

@Qingu I actually agree with you on DADT, I worded my statement poorly. As far as the taxes, I will think about what you said.

Zaku's avatar

Ron Paul all the way. He isn’t just parroting drivel and has some good ideas for real changes. Unfortunately, there are too many retarded corporate pawn apes on the conservative side for him to be made the candidate.

ETpro's avatar

Ha! I’m just like 75% of Iowa Republicans on this one. Sign the ABM treaty! Anybody but Mitt.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, let’s see…

Bachmann is out, though I’d have loved that race for a couple reasons. One is she would have shown how completely unhinged she is (even more than she has), constantly spouting all sorts of crazy shit. It would have been like McCain/Palin on steroids. She has constantly accused Obama of being everything just shy of the antichrist. She would never have won a general election and it would have been a laugh a minute. The second reason is that she would not have any chance of retaining her house seat, which I fear she may now do. Most Minnesotans who aren’t batshit crazy have been trying to rid ourselves of her for 6 years, but somehow a long, skinny district that runs 30 miles to the east and 90 miles to the west of our one major metropolitan area, encompassing rural and suburban but not urban residents who share nothing in common but a district and communities where hate crimes flourish, has managed to keep her safely in Congress despite all logic.

Gingrich would be fun, because he’s not only crazy, but dishonest. Here’s a guy who cheated on his wife while she was dying. Unglued doesn’t begin to describe this guy according to people who know him. And yeah, the whole “Southern Baptist my whole life until I decided to become Catholic 2 years before running for President” would only be the tip of the iceberg.

Perry is Bush II without the charisma, America is sick of that, he’ll never get the nomination…next…

Huntsman, you don’t get the nomination by saying that no one cares about Iowa, I don’t know a damn thing about him, and I’d bet I never will…next.

Now to the front runners….

Romney….he’d be boring, the most button down candidate, probably the least likely to beat Obama because the evangelical right just won’t vote or will go for 3rd party if he’s the nominee.

Santorum is the most polar opposite and would rile up the evangelicals. Probably the most “fun” matchup because the crazy would fly. I don’t imagine someone who doesn’t even believe in contraception winning the Presidency in 2012, but it would be a calculated risk. I think what he would do would be to whip up the liberals as much as the conservatives, it would be by far the most exciting race with the biggest turnout.

And finally Paul…a lot of people think he’s a joke, but a lot of people thought Obama was a joke 4 years ago. He’s the most dangerous candidate in my opinion. Romney republicans would end up voting for him, again, he’s the button down conservative, the most boring candidate, his supporters above all want a Republican and will vote for whomever gets the nod. The Evangelicals would vote for him, because he’s anti abortion and would leave a lot of rights to the states, meaning under his Presidency we could see havens of backwards craziness in certain states, which would appeal to a great swath of conservatives. He’s also going to appeal to the libertarians and tea party activists. Strangely enough however, a lot of liberals disenfranchised with Obama, young idealists who look for someone genuine who speaks his mind would migrate to the right. People in more liberal leaning states might have no problem with leaving more decisions to the states because it wouldn’t affect them in the slightest, and so many people can’t see beyond their noses. Of all the Republicans, Paul is most likely to be the combination that would draw the most Republicans and swing voters.

That said, I think I want to see Romney be the nominee, he excites no one, and I think Obama’s biggest problem is that he won’t have the enthusiasm he had the first time around, he needs an opponent who creates even less enthusiasm. As fun as Santorum vs. Obama would be, the risk of electing a gay hating Jesus Crispy is too great…with the economy as fucked up as it’s been, anger at the establishment (and Obama is now the establishment) is a tool that could be leveraged by an angry religious right winger.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu Some more things I would have done differently:

• I would not have interfered with the Arab Spring to promote the interests of American business rather than the people attempting to gain a real degree of self-determination.
• I would have vetoed the NDAA and any other act that I believed undermined due process to American citizens or anyone being held by the United States (one of the great things about the US being that we give non-citizens the same rights of due process as our citizens).
• I would have refused to reauthorize or extend any and all parts of the USA PATRIOT Act.

I’d also like to correct one of your implications. I would have worked for the repeal of DADT and DOMA as well as not enforcing them. These are not mutually exclusive options, so your characterization of my disagreement was really quite uncharitable. And as for the Stupak thing, I care. The standing law is absurd.

Moreover, let me remind you that I am not a “stray cat liberal.” I am not, in fact, a liberal at all. So if a liberal wants me on his side, he has to give me a reason. That’s how it works. As it stands, “consider the alternative” is a perfectly good reason in recent years. But I can’t really be cast as a traitor when I don’t belong to the group in the first place.

Nor am I a fence-sitter merely because I don’t agree with either your political views or the political views of your polar opposite. I have—unthinkable as it may be—a viewpoint independent of the two major parties. It’s almost like there is room for more than two opinions in the political sphere!

ETpro's avatar

@SavoirFaire I am so on baard with that. Still, I think the President captured the 2012 choice perfectly when he suggested, “Don’t Compare Me to the Almighty, Compare Me to the Alternative.”

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ETpro Indeed. I am not so foolish as to think there will ever be a candidate with whom I agree about everything. I don’t even agree with myself about everything.

ETpro's avatar

@SavoirFaire Ha! How well I know that cognitive dissonance.

Qingu's avatar

@SavoirFaire, maybe I was uncharitable. I’m confused as to why you don’t think of yourself as a liberal since your views on Fluther sure seem rather textbook liberal to me. Or to put it another way, very similar to my own, and I call myself a liberal.

I do think it’s important to keep in mind the scope of the mistakes—the things you would have done differently—that you think Obama has made. I find myself in agreement with you mostly; I also think these things are largely a matter of political strategy rather than underlying ideology (unless you want to call Obama’s naive faith in bipartisanship and political institutions working “ideology”), and above all inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

ETpro's avatar

@Qingu There are a smattering of true conservatives like me here on Fluther. Look up the word. It’s been wildly distorted for partisan political gain. It basically means someone who wishes to preserve existing social institutions and who always looks first to tried-and-true solutions to new challenges, opting for new and untried ideas only when no known solutions address the new challenge.

Most of those masquerading as “conservatives” now are actually radical revolutionaries and regressives, bent on taking us back to the early 1800s or even to feudalism. The so called “conservatives” who swept into the New Hampshire legislature in the 2010 elections pushed through a bill requiring that they base every new law on the Magna Carta! The US Constitution and the New Hampshire Constitution aren’t regressive enough for these radicals. They want to base their state’s laws on a document that feudal lords forced a foreign king to sign in 1254 AD. That’s hardly conservative as the dictionary defines it.

Qingu's avatar

Yeah yeah yeah. I’m a conservative by some semblance of the Burkian definition as well; I’m also skeptical of revolutionary change.

For better or worse the word conservative has evolved in meaning in the common parlance, just like the word liberal. If everyone is using their own/archaic definitions then it’s just going to lead to confusion.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu I do not consider myself a liberal for several reasons. First, I believe that why you believe something is just as important as what you believe. Applying this to politics, I think that a conservative, a liberal, a right libertarian, a left libertarian, a communist, and an anarchist can all be against the death penalty (for example) even if they all end up to be against it for different reasons. Thus I do not think we should conclude from “S holds positions {x, y, z}” to “S is a P.” Yes, there are some positions that conservatives, or liberals, or libertarians (etc.) cannot hold, and there are certain positions that perhaps only people of one group hold. In general, however, I think the importance of reasons holds true.

Second, I am a fan of Political Compass, and my coordinate location on the test is quite at odds with the coordinate location of American liberals. As of today, here is where I am on the chart. I am sometimes a touch more up and sometimes a touch more to the right, but I am always solidly within that libertarian left quadrant. So even if we leave the technical terminology of political science behind and use the terminology of American news channels, I still wouldn’t be a liberal.

Third, I am somewhat uncomfortable with non-descriptive labels. I am willing to call myself an apatheist because that means something specific. I accept all parts of its definition. Calling myself a “liberal,” however, would not be very specific. There isn’t a good definition to accept or reject. Liberals run the gamut from Dennis Kucinich to Hillary Clinton (and beyond). I go back and forth on my willingness to describe myself as a left-libertarian for the same reasons.

Fourth, I prefer to argue over specific issues rather than group membership. John Adams said: “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, it to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” I agree, and thus find little use in adding my name to the list of any political army. You will get no disagreement from me that strategic voting requires looking at groups as well as individuals, but I find that I can do so without signing on to any platform other than my own.

And just in case I’ve been unclear, the things I would have done differently don’t change who I’m voting for. That I wish for someone with the courage to risk being a one-term president doesn’t blind me to what my actual options are. As it turns out, I actually disagree that all of the points I’ve raised are ultimately inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. What we’ve done in Libya, for instance, will probably come back at us. But that’s just one issue that few politicians would have handled properly. My own disinclination towards single-issue politics aside, however, we need to remember that only voters own votes and that those voters are free to use them in whatever way they like. Do I think there are wise and unwise ways to use one’s vote? Absolutely. But it is incumbent upon politicians to convince people to vote for them and to continue voting for them.

You mentioned how some of Obama’s decisions have been strategic. I agree. Some of his campaign rhetoric was also strategic, though, and if you stop providing the reason they came to you in the first place, voters are going to leave your side. Obama picked up a lot of single-issue voters through his campaign, and now he is losing them. We don’t have to like it, but it was eminently foreseeable.

And while it is perhaps tangential, I just can’t get this scene out of my head as I write this.

Qingu's avatar

Hrmph. You may not like the label “liberal,” but you certainly qualify based on how I and most political commentators that I’m familiar with use the term.

If you would prefer left-libertarian, that’s fine; that’s where I am, too. Semantics aside, I don’t think we have substantive disagreements over what is right.

It does seem like we have some disagreement about the importance of pragmatism. I value courage in a politician, but I think it’s irresponsible to suggest that it’s more important for someone like Obama to risk being a one-term president than it is for him to compromise and get two terms. Because in the grand scheme of things, 2 terms of Obama is going to be better for this country and the world—like, will probably result in a significant number of less civilians killed, not to mention economic and environmental terms —than one term Obama and one term Republican trogolodyte.

And there’s just something in your response that strikes me as too easy. It’s the easiest thing in the world to sit there and pretend like you’re above the fray, and write in the third person about how politicians have to appeal to voters this way and that way or else they’ll lose them, and how you can’t be grouped into one side or the other. When in actuality, by your own admission, your views tilt incredibly more to one side over the other, and—if you actually believe in what you say—you think the world would be a significantly better place if one side wins election over the other. With all due respect, I really find this sort of “I can’t be labeled, I’m not on anyone’s side” attitude ultimately self-serving. It seems like it’s more about your own image as an “individual” than anything to do with your beliefs or practical participation in the political system.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu We’ve had this argument before. I’m not above the fray, I’m in the middle of it. From my perspective, you’re trying to be to one side of it instead of dealing with the dirty truths in the center. I also value pragmatism: that’s why I’m not a single-issue voter. My desire for someone who would risk being a one-term president in part comes from the fact that I believe said person would actually discover himself or herself to be a two-term president. That is, I think people want and respect courage, but keep being forced to pick between the lesser of two evils.

Qingu's avatar

Can you be specific? What dirty truths in the center am I missing?

That sounds so vague so as to be meaningless. I mean I could interpret “center” as Obama’s compromise with House Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts. Or do you mean like supporting Obama on health care reform but also wanting to legalize weed?

I would also dispute that Obama has not engaged in some risk. For example, Emmanuel wanted Obama to give up health care reform, and the bill has been nothing but toxic for his politics. But the legislation did a lot of good. In general, though, it’s true he’s been a careful and risk-averse president. Which is fine. That’s his style. Maybe it’s personal, political, or both. We can play armchair politics all we want about whether it would be better for Obama to engage in more risk, more confrontation, less compromise—but that’s all it is, armchair political strategizing. And speculating on how voters would react to a riskier president is armchair political stategizing once removed. Who cares? Why are we even talking about this?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu I’m not talking about the political center. I’m just extending your own directional metaphor. If you find it so vague as to be meaningless, I would suggest going back to the source.

As for armchair strategizing, I will again point out that I’m not saying what Obama should have done. I am saying what I would have done. We are talking about this because you asked the question and I answered it.

Qingu's avatar

I’m familiar with the political leaning chart, if that’s what you mean by source, and I don’t see how that clarifies it. Especially since you and I both lie somewhere southwest of center.

And just to be clear: you don’t actually hold it against Obama for choosing a different strategy on the topics you brought up than you would have?

Brian1946's avatar


“Second, I am a fan of Political Compass….”

Why do you think their chart shows Thatcher to the right of Hitler?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Brian1946 Presumably, because Thatcher was more against social programs than Hitler was. You’ll also notice that Hitler is more authoritarian than Thatcher is.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Qingu No, the source is you. I’m picking on your directional metaphor (the one that pretends I’m trying to put myself above the fray). And no, I don’t hold it against Obama that he chose the strategies he chose. I wouldn’t have done it myself, but I understand why he did. My main point has just been that the loss of support he has seen for it is completely understandable: people who voted for him because of the hype should be expected to fall away when the hype proves unrealistic. In fact, I feel bad for the guy. No human being in history could have lived up to the hype that surrounded him by the time he got elected. And while I think that hype is partially his own doing, it is not entirely his own doing.

@Brian1946 Because Thatcher was to the right of Hitler. As explained on the analysis page, being authoritarian and being right-wing can come apart. History is a funny thing. Societies move left, right, up, and down, which is how New Labour came to occupy an economic position to the right of the pre-Thatcher Conservatives and why Obama is in the upper right quadrant of the chart.

fredTOG's avatar

Ron Paul can save this country!

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