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Flip a Coin - A Recovering Physicist's Apology

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From:djstomp
Date:November 4th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
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I can't agree with this at all. No third-party candidate can possibly win this critical election. We had a chance to remove the Republican Party from power in 2004, and we failed. The consequences have been dire. We can't afford to fail again.

I'm not trying to change your vote, but I have to reject with the basis of your argument. The people who want things to change are the ones who are not voting for McCain. If half of them voted for a third party candidate, McCain would win. I must decline your deal.
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From:biggrumpy
Date:November 4th, 2008 11:24 am (UTC)
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It isn't about winning and loosing, it is about change. Things are not going to change under Obama, or, more precisely, things will change no better than the flip of a coin. That is unacceptable to me.

As long as the Democrats can "count" on your vote with no strings attached -- as long as they can yell "change" and offer none and you'll vote for them -- nothing will ever be done. I don't want the government listening to my phone calls, I don't want the United States in Iraq, I believe that gay/lesbian rights are the social crisis of our time.

Unless the democrats understand, clearly and precisely, that they actually have to earn my vote by forwarding my agenda rather than being able to spit in my face, stomp on my rights, and laugh about it with their lobbyist masters, things will not change. Not under an Obama, a Bush, or a McCain Administration.

By declining my coin flip deal, apparently the chance of 50% change is not enough for you either.
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From:djstomp
Date:November 4th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
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No, it is about winning and losing. Things are not going to change under Ralph Nader because he isn't going to get elected, period. There's nothing you or I can do about that.

50% change may be unacceptable to you, but 0% change is unacceptable to me, so I'm voting on that basis.
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From:biggrumpy
Date:November 4th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
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The Democrats need to be snapped from their stupor somehow, I've called and written letters. I've supported Kucinich. The last thing I can do is vote. If that is what it takes for them to wake up, that is what it takes. They need to be Democrats again. By blindly voting for someone who goes against your views on so many issues -- who votes with Bush 50% of the time -- you are enabling the monopoly of power. You are telling them, trample my rights, trample my gay/lesbian friends' rights, trample the Constitution, vote 50% of the time with the most anti-American president in history, stand for things that sicken and appall me to the core, BECAUSE I'll still vote for you!

If 0% change is unacceptable, at what point do you break? At what point do have the Picard moment and shout, "They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far and no further!" For crying out loud, the government likely listened to you call your parents, your sister, you friends while you were in Japan. They eavesdropped on you for no other reason than they could, and Barrack Obama thinks that's not only okay but it's a real crackerjack idea that we should keep doing. I'm not a one issue voter, but how in the world can you support someone that eavesdropped on you? Obama supports the Bush Doctrine and says we will go into Pakistan, we will go into Syria if the "threat" is there -- even McCain thinks that's crazy. Obama is to the right of John "Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb Iran" McCain in regards to the Bush Doctrine! At what point has it gone too far, at what point do we realize that both parties have failed us in such an epic and unforgivable way that to vote for even 50% deviation is still a validation of 50% their unforgivable madness?

I'm not being flippant. I'm seriously asking, where is the breaking point? For me it is has been crossed, and if I have to "throw my vote away" to prove my point, so be it, the line must be drawn here. This far and no further.
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From:djstomp
Date:November 4th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
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Now is not the time to snap the Democrats from their stupor. Now is the time to get the power out of the neocon-coopted batshit crazy Republican Party's hands before they run the country into the ground. That's all.

I am not "blindly" voting for anyone. I voted for Obama today because we would be more screwed under McCain. It's not worth proving a point at that cost.

I don't look at this in terms of a breaking point. I'm a pragmatist. I choose the best of the viable options. If it was a choice between 0% improvement or 10% improvement I would be obligated to choose the 10%. You can't change the world in a day.
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From:biggrumpy
Date:November 4th, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
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Okay, then let's look at this pragmatically. How has the whole "elect them now, hold them to account later" plan been working out so far? Do you like what the Democratic Congress has and has not done with the country? Even on votes requiring a straight up or down majority? Realistically speaking, how are we supposed to elect people that either claim to and then do not or simply do not represent our beliefs outright and then bemoan, "HOLD MY BELIEFS SACRED!"?

There will always be boogiemen. Neo-cons are scary as hell, but they are going to be scary as hell next election too, and the election after that, and the election after that. If you are voting out of fear of the them you will never vote FOR a candidate. The Dems will never be woken up, because the boogiemen might get into power. And with respect, statistically now is the perfect time to vote for Nader. The Dems will increase their lead in both houses of Congress and, statistically, divided governments legislate to the middle, so even with McCain in office he will not be able push through a crazy Neo-con agenda(assuming he wants to given his voting record pre-post courting the base). Unless (of course) you don't trust the Dems to stand up for what they should believe in and would let a McCain presidency run rough shot over them. In which case the notion that you can elect a group now and hold them to account later fails outright.

I know it will not happen over night. I know Nader will not win this election. But I believe in the long run voting for people like Nader/Green Party will tip the scales back towards rationality. Your view of pragmatism fails in this case because it lacks a long term strategy. If you are always voting for which candidate is better at that instance there is no guarantee that the overall quality of the candidates will improve over time. For example, Clinton (decent) to Gore (bad) to Kerry (worst). Where I would say that I am also a pragmatist in that I take the long view that it isn't so much about the two guys running right now (because both of whom kind of suck) it is about next time and the time after that. I want the quality of my candidates to IMPROVE, even if that means that there are immediate consequences. Change, even from worse to better, is not always easy.
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From:djstomp
Date:November 4th, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC)
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You keep taking what I say about this election and projecting it to all elections, as though I'm arguing for ALWAYS voting Democratic. I don't think that's fair.
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From:biggrumpy
Date:November 4th, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
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I don't see how your voting strategy will not output a democratic vote in nearly all elections (certainly on the federal level). It seems to me for the immediate future the Dems will always be better than the Reps (however marginally). Because you vote for who is better at that moment in that race, it seems you will always be locked into voting for the Dem. because they are slightly better than Republicans. Also you seem to consider the electability of a president as a quality of measuring how "good" a candidate they are. Considering that dems are better than reps and that there will likely not be a highly electable third party candidate anytime soon, I do not understand under what circumstances based on this philosophy that you could vote for anyone but the democrat.
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From:djstomp
Date:November 5th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
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This whole time, I've been talking about voting for Obama in this election to get the Republicans out of executive power now. This isn't an overarching strategy. It's simply my conclusion that the country and the world will continue to get worse if Republican "leadership" continues. We can't take it forever. It has to stop at some point; I suggest now.

In no way is this meant to apply to all elections. Neocons are not lurking boogeymen - they are in power now and ruining the world. In the future, maybe the Republican party will swing away from neoconservatism. That would be great. Right now, I don't care. Pragmatism requires balancing long-term and short-term concerns, and there won't necessarily be a long term if we don't dig ourselves out of the mess we're in in the short term.
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From:biggrumpy
Date:November 5th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
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Okay, fair enough. I get it now. Then let's talk about right now.

McCain has voted with the President:
95% of the time this year (while courting the crazy base vote)
77 of the time in 2005
67% of the time in 2001 (link above)

I cannot forgive McCain for scrambling to the Right (just as I cannot forgive Obama for doing the same), but I am not completely convinced McCain would continue to kowtow to them if in office. His record suggests he may be using them because he needs them. PERHAPS NOT. Regardless, combined with the fact that the Dems will control Congress, McCain's ability to govern from the far right will be greatly limited. I'm not saying McCain would be better than Obama (he wouldn't), but I'm not necessarily convinced of the premise that Neocons would be large and in charge based solely on McCain in the executive branch.

Also keep in mind the perceived pottery barn rule. If the economy continues to fall (which it may regardless of McCain or Obama's plans -- because it is that broken) the ownership of the "fall" will be laid at the feet of the ruling party. That might not be fair (depending on if the Reps or Dems are in office at the time), but that tends to be the way it is. So if the Democrats are elected in a tsunami and they can't fix this (and I honestly believe they might not be able to) there may be such a huge backlash against the party in 2012 that the Republicans are right back in. Voting for the Democrats now may due more to set back the party in the very next election. That might be too long term, but it is something to consider.

Yes, Obama would be better than McCain, but I believe "throwing my vote away" for Nader would be better than either. I agree with you when you say that pragmatism requires balancing long and short term goals, the problem is I don't think Obama leads us out of the pit in (enough of?) a meaningful way, so the only thing I can do is help position a candidate that will be able to get us out of this mess. When neither guy can get it done in the present, I can only try and setup an optimized future.
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