President and Vice President of the United States

In Washington, the choices on the ballot are the following:

  • Barack Obama and Joe Biden – Democratic Party Nominees
  • John McCain and Sarah Palin – Republican Party Nominees
  • Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez – Independent Candidates
  • Gloria La Riva and Eugene Puryear – Socialism and Liberation Party Nominees
  • James E. Harris and Alyson Kennedy – Socialist Workers Party Nominees
  • Bob Barr and Warne A. Root – Libertarian Party Nominees
  • Chuck Baldwin and Darrell L. Castle – Constitution Party Nominees
  • Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clementa – Green Party Nominees

Normally I am pro-Nader all the way. I am one of those people who voted for him in 2000 (Washington went for Gore though). The reason I am pro-Nader is that he advocates significant reforms of the kind I approve. Namely, reforming our corporate system. It’s not that I think corporations have too much power, though they do. It’s not the money. It’s that corporations are entities unto themselves. They are accountable to no one, not even their own shareholders. If they aren’t accountable to their own owners, then they aren’t going to be accountable to the public at large. I don’t think a corporation need operate in the public interest. But if government cannot restrain them then they are anti-democratic. I also agree with Nader on pretty much every other issue out there.

Why am I not voting for him this year? In the 2004 election his campaign used massive signature fraud to get him on the ballot in Pennsylvania. Did Nader direct it? I doubt it. Did he know about it? I doubt it. But he is accountable for his organization. If he can’t get a campaign organization to follow the law, I don’t trust his ability to run the federal government. Even if I agree with all his policy choices.

La Riva and Harris advocate anti-market policies and are woefully short of executive experience. Selecting Palin was a bad idea for McCain. Puryear couldn’t get elected dog-catcher.

While I am somewhat sympathetic to Libertarian philosophy, I generally don’t like how its advocates intend to implement their program. I also tend to dislike the Libertarian fuck ’em attitude. There are ways to promote equality that have only limited effect on freedom. Libertarians generally equate freedom with equality, and it just ain’t so. In addition to all that, they decided this year to nominate Bob fucking Barr, the scourge of Bill Clinton. Throughout the 90s, Barr put his nose into other people’s bedrooms, and pursued the impeachment case against Bill Clinton under a complete pretense. It’s only been recently that he’s converted to the Libertarian cause. I’m suspicious of it. I think it’s just a way to get back in to the spotlight. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t attribute motives to politicians.)

Consitution Party, ultra right wing fucknuts. Not overtly racist at least. Believe in a rigid constitution. Nope.

Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party. I’m also generally sympathetic to the Green Party, though usually their policy proscriptions are way too hand-wavey magic happens here things. McKinney herself… my impression of her isn’t positive. More of a speecher than a doer. Her VP nominee lists as a qualification helped form and coordinate the first ever National Hip Hop Political Convention (drawing 3000 attendees). Seriously? There are thousands of people who have organized far larger conventions and gatherings, and they don’t even need to use weasel words like helped and coordinate. No.

Which brings me to the two main nominees:

First, John McCain. The man’s policy prescriptions for the most part are a disaster. Health care? Ugh. Environment? Ugh. Energy? Drill? Seriously? Then there are the things he used to be for but which he dropped to appeal to the right wing of his party: torture, taxes, etc. And then… there’s his constant use of sliming tactics: Obama hangs out with terrorists, Obama was for teaching sex to kids, etc. As Brad Delong constantly writes: dishonest and dishonorable.

Lastly, Barack Obama. I like him. A lot. I wish he was more anti-corporate. And he’s sometimes too much of a incite the fear kind of guy with regard to Israel and Iran. But I think he’ll quickly get us out of Iraq, a war that I think was just but badly prosecuted and ill-timed. He’ll shut down Guantanamo and stop the government culture of secrecy. He’ll work better with our allies. He’ll have Gore to help us on the environment. He’ll get a solid (though it could be much better) health care system in place. He’s pro-urban centers. Rural is just fine, but it doesn’t deserve the accolades and bulk of attention that Republicans give it. He’ll do more for transportation. He’s solid on gay rights except for marriage equality. All in all a really good candidate.

My vote is for Barack Obama.