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article imageOp-Ed: Friedersdorf — 'Why I refuse to vote for Barack Obama'

By Ken Hanly     Sep 30, 2012 in Politics
Washington - The headline is the title of an article by Conor Friedersdorf a writer at The Atlantic. Friedersdrorf outlines the reasons he will not vote for Obama even though he might be a lesser evil than Romney.
Friedersdorf notes that many of his liberal friends understand why he could not vote for a candidate who did not believe in evolution, or who opposed gay rights, even though the candidate shared more common policy positions with him than his or her opponent. Yet when it comes to the contest between Romney and Obama many of those same friends cannot understand why he could not vote for Obama even though he shares many more policy positions with Obama than he does with Romney.
Many liberals and progressives take it as somehow self-evident that if Obama is the lesser evil of the two major candidates then they should vote for Obama. While Friedersdorf understands the force of that argument he nevertheless thinks that if what a candidate does is exceedingly bad or a deal breaker as Friedersdorf calls it, then one should not vote for that person even if they happen to be the lesser of evils. One should either not vote at all or vote for a third candidate who even though he or she will not win is not guilty of any deeds that are deal breakers. Friedersdorf lists several actions of Obama that are for him sufficiently evil not to vote for him. Friedersorf claims not to be a purist. He does not expect politicians to be perfect and he does expect them to do things that he does not approve. However, at a certain level misdeeds are so grievous that he could no longer, in good conscience, vote for a candidate who committed them.
Obama's sanctioning of drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan are the first instance Friedersdorf mentions as going beyond the pale. The strikes, he claims, kill hundreds of innocent people as well as terrorizing innocent people in the communities where the drones operate. In summary, Friedersdorf says "It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy." Friedersdorf claims that Democrats who think that the drone policy is both moral and responsible are just as blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue.
Obama's view that the president can order the extra-judicial killing of U.S. citizens is a second act that is a deal breaker for Friedersdorf. In doing this, Friedersdorf claims, Obama has broken the U.S. constitution just as radically as anything George W. Bush ever did. It is as radical an extension of presidential power as anything Dick Cheney supported.
Finally Friedersdorf mentions Obama's committing the U.S. to war in Libya without first gaining Congressional approval as a further violation of the U.S. Constitution. For good measure Friedersdorf points out that Obama has done more than any other recent president to act against and punish whistleblowers. But if Friedersdorf is not going to vote for Romney or Obama what can he do.
Friedersdorf suggests that if he votes at al it will be for Gary Johnson because he speaks out against the violation of civil liberties and the U.S. Constitution that Obama commits. Johnson is the Libertarian candidate for president. Johnson was governor of the state of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. His economic policies are hardly leftist. He is for smaller government and initiated many budget cuts during his term of office. He was also for privatizing and pushed a voucher system for schooling. Given Friedersdorf's leftist leanings perhaps it would make more sense for him to vote for Jill Stein who is running for the Green party.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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