McCain, Obama, and the lesser of two evils principle

“The lesser of two evils principle is often used in reference to electoral politics. When popular opinion is confronted with two main candidates that are substantially similar, a voter is often advised to choose the “lesser of two evils” to avoid having the supposedly ‘greater evil’ get into office and wreak havoc on society.” (Wikipedia)

In McCain vs. Obama, does this principle apply? Are McCain and Obama “substantially similar”?

From the Clintonista PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass) to those wanting Obama to be the perfect progressive reformer, there are those who hold to the belief that McCain and Obama are similar enough to justify not voting for either of them.

This blogger is typical of many in the later group. He begins his post titled “The lesser of two evils” with:

There is, of course, a difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party. There’s a difference, a real difference, between Barack Obama and John McCain. The Republican party is the party of sexism, racism, stupidity and Christian fundamentalism, and it’s retreating from reality faster than the Italian Army. McCain is completely beholden to the party of insanity. The Democratic party is not completely insane, and Obama is not beholden, body and soul, to this sort of insanity. I get it.

He concludes with:

I’ve changed my registration: I’m no longer a member of the Democratic party. I will vote, and I will definitely not vote for McCain, but I will not vote for Obama either. If McCain wins, so be it. I refuse to take responsibility: It’s the fault of an elite that has given me bad choices, and has brainwashed half the country into thinking that John McCain might be anything other than a national disaster and a betrayal of whatever great ideals have been promoted in our society, from the Constitution to the New Deal. Compared to that great betrayal by the people who justify their power by appeal to their supposed intelligence, wisdom, and civic virtue, my refusal to passively accept their bullshit pales to insignificance. Read how the author concludes Obama is really a conservative, and the comments, here.

I believe that those who adhere to the belief that both McCain and Obama are “evil”, or totally unacceptable choices, are engaging in an odd sort of what philosophers call absolutism. I call it lazy reasoning.

McCain is unacceptable because of his right wing beliefs and positions.

Obama is unacceptable for various reasons, among them because hasn’t come out four square against the assault on our civil liberties and constitutional rights represented by the Patriot Act and presidential signing statements.

More or less opposite to absolutism is the philosophy or relativism. Adherence to this would argue to deciding whether or not Obama was significant enough a lessor evil than McCain to justify voting for him.

I suggest another mode of decision making using the schema proposed by the twentieth century philosopher Stephen Toulmin which he called practical or substantial arguments:

Toulmin’s practical argument focuses on the justificatory function of argumentation, as opposed to the inferential function of theoretical arguments. Whereas theoretical arguments make inferences based on a set of principles to arrive at a claim, practical arguments first find a claim of interest, and then provide justification for it. Toulmin believes that reasoning is less an activity of inference involving the discovering of new ideas, but more so a process of testing and sifting already existing ideas—an act achievable through the process of justification. (Wikipedia)

As an exercise I suggest those who are leaning towards a none of the above choice between the two major party candidates use Toulin’s model to decide if this is the best course of action.

Claim

I want to support the candidate that best reflects my views. The conclusion whose merit must be established is that I shouldn’t vote for either of them.

Data

The facts we appeal to as a foundation for the claim. Lay out the facts leading you to conclude that McCain and Obama are substantially similar.

Warrant

the statement authorizing our movement from the data to the claim. In order to move from the data established in the data, i.e., the candidates are similar enough to say you believe they are the same.

Backing

Credentials designed to certify the statement expressed in the warrant; backing must be introduced when the warrant itself is not convincing enough to the readers or the listeners. For example, if the listener does not deem the warrant as credible, be able to compare point by point the ways McCain and Obama are very similar or the same.

Rebuttal

Statements recognizing the restrictions to which the claim may legitimately be applied. Further analyze whether each point is applicable to your conclusion.

Qualifier

Words or phrases expressing the speaker’s degree of force or certainty concerning the claim. Such words or phrases include “possible,” “probably,” “impossible,” “certainly,” “presumably,” “as far as the evidence goes,” or “necessarily.” Look at all the qualifiers in your arguments as objectively as possible.

The first three elements “claim,” “data,” and “warrant” are considered as the essential components of practical arguments, while the second triad “qualifier,” “backing,” and “rebuttal” may not be needed in some arguments. When first proposed, this layout of argumentation is based on legal arguments and intended to be used to analyze the rationality of arguments typically found in the courtroom; in fact, Toulmin did not realize that this layout would be applicable to the field of rhetoric and communication until his works were introduced to rhetoricians by Wayne Brockriede and Douglas Ehninger.* Italics mine, the rest from (Wikipedia)

A few years ago a friend had some t-shirts made up and he sent me one. They said “Larry, Curly, Moe and George”. Yesterday he emailed me with the suggestion I cross out George and add McCain. By the reasoning of some I could write in both candidate’s names.


* I encourage readers to let me know if I’ve misapplied any of these principles. It’s been a long time since I took a philosophy course.

46 Responses to "McCain, Obama, and the lesser of two evils principle"

  1. Hal Brown  August 14, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Third party polling including numbers for Barr, Nader and McKinney, can be tracked here.

    In all the comments from those who plan to vote for a third party, unless I missed something, I’ve yet to read who people intend to vote for and why.

  2. pollchecker  August 14, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Great site, Hal. Thanks for the link. It will come in handy.

  3. Lillibet  August 14, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing an evil.

    Logic 101. Lillibet

  4. pollchecker  August 15, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Evil? Give me a break! It’s a saying for crying out loud. A saying perhaps older than most people here!

    You want evil? I will give you evil. Check this out!

    The Exotic Candidate Is The One With Eight Houses

    Evil is someone who lies. Evil is an adulterer. Evil is someone who believes they are above the rules that other people have to live by. Evil is someone who treats other people like they are irrellevant. I have heard a lot of people call Obama a lot of things but he is certainly not evil by these standards. But I can’t say so much for his opponent as characterized by the facts that the Main Stream Media seems to just overlook.

    Senator McCain met and fell in love with his current wife, Cindy Hensley, while on vacation in… exotic and elitist Hawaii. He was 42, she was 24. He was still married to his first wife at the time, who was disabled as the result of a car accident, by the way. The whole scene — Hawaii, cheating on a disabled wife with a super-rich beer heiress — is just about as exotic and elitist as it gets according to the standards of the script.

    To a lot of people who will vote for this hypocrite, that is the very epitomy of evil but they will still vote for him because he SAYS he will get rid of abortion (ain’t happened yet), keep gays out of the military(ain’t happened yet) and win the war on terrorism (ain’t happened yet).

    The modern Republicans have hijacked the label “real American” and stapled it onto the foreheads of a platoon of phonies. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney, John Sidney McCain, Rush Limbaugh.

    There’s the real evil. People who deliberately lie to gain power to start a war based on more lies that kills over 4000 Americans and countless others from other countries and give away our money to their cronies who paid to put them there at the rate of $4566 PER SECOND!

  5. Pablo  August 15, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Evil is…
    Supporting the Israeli torture and enslavement of the Palestinians, as obama has recently expressed. Evil is granting immunity to the telecoms for their illegal, treasonous activities, especially after promising to stand up to them. Evil is the war on terror which obama has assured he fully supports; evil is more violence. The non-evil approach to terror is to hold the true perpetrators responsible by having a decent investigation that answers all the unanswered questions regarding 911, holding the Israelis accountable for their human-rights violations for the first time, then withdrawal of all troops from the Middle East followed by staying out of their politics–obama doesn’t present these non-violent, effective solutions. Instead, cluster bombs, spent-uranium munitions, the bombing of weddings and collateral damage are all evils which obama appears to support.

    Hence, the discussion about the lesser of two evils. I cannot support the continued death and destruction in the Middle East.

  6. Pablo  August 15, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    You forgot to mention
    the 100,000+ Iraqis dead in your last paragraph.

    Oh, and adulterers are evil? Or perhaps people with weakness and poor self control? What about the man or woman who gets married to someone who has lots of sex with him/her and puts effort into the relationship to make him/her happy, then when they get married becomes something else? If that person messes around are they “evil”? Sex is a very strong drive programmed into most of us. So although aldultery is dishonest and wrong in a lot of cases, to call them all evil is over the top I think. Things are so black and white for you aren’t they?

    For example, was Martin Luther King “evil”?

  7. ekaton  August 15, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Wait until the real campaign starts after the conventions. The Karl Rove types will make sure we know of all the skeletons in Obama’s closets. That is, assuming the Clintons don’t find a way to sabotage their convention and nominate globalist warmonger Hillary Clinton.

    — Kent Shaw

  8. pollchecker  August 15, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    According to those crazy neo-con Christians that swarm to the polls to enable Bush/McCain, adultery is evil. I was Primarily addressing the hypocrisy of those who would say that Obama is evil for whatever reason which is what they are doing daily while overlooking the sins of their candidate McCain or the sins of their POTUS, GW Bush, etc.

    But perhaps all the grey crap isn’t what is best for our country….like a half truth or a little bit pregnant. In some circumstances, the grey stuff is just an excuse to enable the behavior. There is right and there is wrong and there is no grey area in between. There is no such thing as a little bit right or a little bit wrong and in my opinion, as a long as we continue to make excuses for people’s wrong behavior then I believe our country will continue to decay away into eventual anarchy. Because there cannot be two standards of right and wrong….one for those in power and one for everyone else. It doesn’t work that way.

    Again, it’s just a saying meaning there aren’t any good choices and we pick the one least offensive to each one of us.

  9. pollchecker  August 15, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    We don’t have to wait. There’s already a book out that alleges to do what you say. And it’s being heavily debunked even as we speak.

    And the Clinton’s will behave themselves. Why? Because if they don’t and Obama loses, they won’t stand a chance in 2012 and they know it. You can say what you want about the Clintons, but they are certainly NOT stupid people.

  10. pollchecker  August 15, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    In McCain vs. Obama, does this principle apply? Are McCain and Obama “substantially similar”?

    Hal — I don’t believe anyone answered your question. So here is someone who will. It’s quite ironic when you think about it.

    Pastor From Jenna Bush’s Wedding Rails Against McCain

    “Well, I don’t know a lot about John McCain’s family history, I do know, however, that as recently as last week I think it was, the Senator made a comment in South Dakota regarding his wife entering some Buffalo Chips contest which is this topless deal and if she were to enter she would probably win it and my personal opinion and based on my understanding of the Christian faith, that’s not not, N-O-T, not the type of expression that a presidential candidate, or anyone for that matter who is a follower of the Christian faith, ought to make,” said the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell. “I don’t know if that is a perfect case in point, but it surely does help to juxtapose the DNA of Senator Obama, if you would, versus the DNA of Senator McCain.”

    For those who aren’t familar with the word juxtapose it means…..”To place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/juxtapose

    But there is more…(directly related to one of my earlier comments)

    “His marital history has been duly recorded,” said Caldwell, referring to McCain, “and as recently as yesterday I think it is, our pastor from Saddleback, Rick Warren indicated that he would not feel comfortable voting for an adulterer and I don’t know exactly to whom he was referring but I think the data speaks for itself, and again, at the end of the day, and I really appreciate you raising this because, at the end of the day again I think the American public deserves full revelation of the candidate’s character and competency. Character and competency. So, whatever questions that should be asked that would give the voting public an indication as to who they are and what they’ve done should be fair game.”

    Sound to me like some people believe there is a definite difference between McCain and Obama. So perhaps the phrase “lesser of two evils” is not accurate except for those who believe both men are totally unacceptable.

    But that has always been the case in the past and probably always will. After all you can’t please all of the people all of the time, right?

    BTW, Rick Warren is the reverend who is hosting Obama & McCain in a forum tomorrow night. That is what the pastor is referring to. It ought to be good.

    Rick Warren’s Forum To Include Questions About Candidates’ Personal Life

    Watch him above talking about the character issue and how that is something McCain and Obama must address including their personal life. Transcription below:

    I’m going to ask them questions about character, competence, about values, vision, virtue, about their convictions in leadership, about their experience. And I’m going to deal with their personal life – because character matters. Their personal life does matter as a leader. God says so.

  11. Ardie  August 15, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    It all boils down to racism. Whites over 60, the majority, are not going to vote for anyone who has a drop of African American blood in them. Hillary’s supporters who refuse to support Obama and plan to vote for McCain, are white racists. Evidently, we are going to have to wait until these racist old farts die out to have a better America.

  12. keith  August 14, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Pollchecke wrote:

    If you live in the midst of these two crime families, who do you choose to go to when you need a favor? Or do you just move? But what if you can’t move? Then what?

    Well, you can either give up in disgust (as you and others here apparently have already done) or you get to work and try and change things.

    I’ve always found it fascinating how millions upon millions of people in this country still seem to myopically think that a vote FOR someone else besides a “Republicrat” is in some way NOT a “real vote”.

    To the contrary, I suggest that a vote for someone else in the upcoming election will carry a MUCH LARGER weight than voting for the “lesser of two evils”.

    That’s because doing so will send a POWERFUL message to these clowns that I am abslutely FED UP with the duopoly that now passes for a political system in this country, and that I’m not about to encourage its continuance by “playing along” with their crooked games.

    I would like nothing better than to see third party candidates rack up a 20 or 30 percent piece of the pie this time around. THAT outcome would send such a message to the lying, double-talking, Constitution-tramplers now running our country that the “hook” is now poised to yank ALL of them off center stage down the road.

    Besides, Pollchecker, to use your logic, the results of the election this time around are ALREADY a foregone conclusion. The millions upon millions of other “lemmings” in our country are going to decide it for you and me anyway.

    So, what have any of us now got to lose by sending a strong personal message to the “Republicrats” to “stick it where the Sun doesn’t shine?”

    I firmly believe that a single vote can STILL send a powerful message. Doesn’t it make FAR more sense to use that single vote it to its BEST advantage rather than just wasting it on foregone conclusions?

  13. keith  August 13, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Pollchecker wrote:

    Here is reality….either Obama or McSame will be our next POTUS. End of story. The other alternative is that GW Bush and company suspends the elections and retains power for as long as they want which is a totally unacceptable alternative.

    Don’t like it? Get involved after it is all over and change it.

    What’s wrong with “getting involved” DURING the upcoming election by voting for anyone BUT the horribly corrupt “Republicrats”? Why wait?

    It would seem to me that is EXACTLY the kind of “involvement” that would send a very clear message to these boneheads that their days in office are very clearly numbered.

    The “reality” is that more and more Americans are totally fed up with BOTH of these clowns and the “well oiled political machines” that support them. More than at any time in our recent history, Americans are now seriously…SERIOUSLY…discussing alternative candidates besides those being routinely offered up by the Republicans and Democrats.

    And they are doing so BEFORE it is “all over”!

  14. pollchecker  August 13, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    I think that is great. I really do. There is nothing wrong with getting involved in the process…at any point.

    But it still doesn’t change the fact that our next POTUS will be McSame or Obama. The majority of the voting public will vote for one or the other.

  15. keith  August 13, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Pollchecker wrote:

    But it still doesn’t change the fact that our next POTUS will be McSame or Obama. The majority of the voting public will vote for one or the other…

    ….of these hopelessly corrupt politicians.

    As I have noted in other posts, there is an old Chinese proverb that says, “The longest journey begins with the first few steps”.

    The longer we as a nation delay in throwing ALL of these bums out on their ears, the longer we will have to endure their hopelessly corrupt shenanigans.

    And, all the while people like you and me continue to believe…nay PROCLAIM…that one or the other of their hopelessly corrupt double-talkers will always win, then that result will continue to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    The tide of disgust against these boneheads in is growing in our nation. What’s more, numerous “mainstream” political parties have come and gone in our history and there is absolutely NOTHING that says that can’t happen again.

    The only question is whether each of us chooses to perpetuate the problem or chooses to become part of the solution.

  16. pollchecker  August 13, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Reality may bite but it is what it is.

  17. ekaton  August 14, 2008 at 12:49 am

    And that reality is that both parties constitute little more than organized crime families.

    — Kent Shaw

  18. pollchecker  August 14, 2008 at 1:06 am

    And that brings us full circle to the title of this article. Which is the lesser of two evils?

    If you live in the midst of these two crime families, who do you choose to go to when you need a favor? Or do you just move? But what if you can’t move? Then what?

    Most people in this situation choose the lesser of two evils. If you want to call Obama evil, be my guest. But it won’t change the consequences of having McSame overseeing our judicial system.

  19. keith  August 14, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Pollchecker wrote:

    But it won’t change the consequences of having McSame overseeing our judicial system.

    Maybe not.

    However, electing a Congress that ALSO wasn’t hell-bent on passing laws that make a mockery of the inalienable rights guaranteed in our Constitution just might.

    It is important to remember that our founding fathers designed our government so that “imperial presidents” could be overruled….or impeached and removed from office.

    So, in that sense, I believe the debacle that is the Bush presidency is FAR more the fault of the “Republicrats” in Congress than it is of GW’s lawlessness.

  20. pollchecker  August 14, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Why? Because I don’t want it on my conscious if McCain wins, that’s why.

    I will fervently work for major changes after the election. I beleive these changes are long overdue. But honestly, I could not live with myself if McCain won and I voted for none of the above or didn’t vote.

    Contrary to what you may think, Keith, I am not trying to change your mind. But we went through this in 1992 with Ross Perot. Perot’s candidacy enabled Clinton to win. So for me to vote your way would be enabling more of the same aka McCain. Because you know those anti-abortionists, crazy neo-con Christians, and the haters in this country are going to come out like cockroaches at night to support the own agenda. If we allow them to win again, I fervently and passionately believe that the Mayan calendar and NOstradamus may end up being right.

    I am totally convinced McCain will start World WAr 3. So, I will one more time vote for the lesser of two evils. At least Obama is less likely to start another war especially where Nukes could get involved.

    That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it while it is still a FREE country.

  21. pollchecker  August 14, 2008 at 9:46 am

    You are ASSUMING that the Dems will have enough votes in the Congress to get something done…unlike right now where the GOP is DELIBERATELY standing in the way.

    I’m not so sure about that. I know what happens when I make assumptions. It usually means I have double the work to do.

    On top of that I assumed people were smart enough NOT to elect GW Bush and we KNOW how that turned out.

  22. keith  August 14, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Pollchecker wrote:

    Contrary to what you may think, Keith, I am not trying to change your mind.

    Nor am I trying to change yours.

    In fact, I’m now convinced it most likely WILL take a “World War III” (or something similar) to finally wake people up to just how many freedoms we have lost in this country.

    Clearly, the track our country is currently on WILL eventually lead to our ultimate destruction as a free nation. So, in that sense, I’m now convinced that short-term electoral “band-aids” simply aren’t going to fix it in any material way.

    Which is why I’ve chosen to take a “long” vice a “short” view of things. That is, it may well take one or two (or more) Presidential election cycles for us to thoroughly rid ourselves of the horrible scourge that is the lock the “Republicrats” now have on things.

    In many ways, the Presidency of George W. Bush has been a Godsend in that it has shown us what a Theocracy is like. Similarly, maybe a “McSame” Presidency (as you call it) would show us just what it is like to have the “anti-abortionists, crazy neo-con Christians, and the haters” REALLY in charge.

    The bottom line, Pollchecker, is that things are going to have to get a heck of a lot worse before our largely ignorant and illiterate electorate finally wake up and recognize just how far we’ve sunk.

    Then, and ONLY then, will things materially change.

  23. keith  August 14, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Pollchecker wrote:

    You are ASSUMING that the Dems will have enough votes in the Congress to get something done…unlike right now where the GOP is DELIBERATELY standing in the way.

    Nope..I’m not assuming anything…except, perhaps that our country is ALREADY largely in the crapper and that it’s still going to take some time before the REST of the population wakes up to that fact.

    However, my hunch is that the rebirth of a strong third party movement is ALREADY well underway in our country. It’s just that it’s being largely repressed by the mainstream media barons because it constitutes such a honorific threat to their “old order”.

    So, in that sense, the more the “Republicrats” keep getting elected and screwing things up (as the “lesser” of two evils) the better chances that third party movement has of ultimately succeeding.

    Or, to put it another way, it is usually best not to interrupt an enemy when they are in the process of destroying themselves.

  24. ekaton  August 14, 2008 at 10:39 am

    “At least Obama is less likely to start another war especially where Nukes could get involved.”

    Has Obama changed his mind about attacking nuclear armed Pakistan?

    — Kent Shaw

  25. pollchecker  August 12, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Great piece Hal.

    Of course there are differences! The list of differences is EXTREMELY long. In fact, they are as different as night and day when it comes to how they would approach governing our nation.

    I love the T-shirt….but don’t cross out Bush….just add McSame (grin).

  26. Flapsaddle  August 12, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    AKA the fallacy of the false alternative; there is no difference worthy of the name.

    The lesser or two evils? Decide whether you want to have leprosy or Aids. In either case you’ve got an evil of some degree, or you have a terrible disease.

    The only ethical choice is none of the above.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  27. Hal Brown  August 12, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    TJF: Ethical choices – simply put are your ideas as to what is right and what is wrong, or to be more precise “ethics is concerned with distinguishing between good and evil in the world, between right and wrong human actions, and between virtuous and nonvirtuous characteristics of people.” Bartleby.

    My column isn’t about ethics.

    I also don’t see how there is any fallacy of false alternatives in what I wrote. Consider:

    fallacy of false alternatives — A fallacy occurring when the number of alternatives is said to be fewer/less than the actual number. Common examples of this fallacy are statements containing either/or, nothing/but, all-or-nothing elements. Examples: “Is she a Democrat or a Republican?” (She may be a socialist, a libertarian, a Leninist, an anarchist, a feminist or any number of other things, including one who is strictly apolitical.) “If you aren’t for your country, then you are against it.” (One may be neither “for” nor “against” but may occupy a position of strict neutrality or be affirmative sometimes and critical at others.) LINK

    There are obviously two alternatives besides voting for McCain or Obama, voting for a third party candidate or not voting.

    If you’ve applied any type of rational reasoning to concluding that none of the above is your choice, and that choosing between McCain and Obama is akin to choosing whether to contract leprosy or AIDS, that is fine with me.

    I just recommend people use reason to make such a decision.

  28. woody188  August 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    When it comes to trade and foreign policy Obama and McCain are the same. Both are free trade globalists willing to use the military to enable corporate profits. This is probably the single biggest issue facing America, but it isn’t even brought up in the corporate media. Doug touches on parts of it, with Iraq War, Economy, and Gas Prices, but fails to drawl the conclusion that those issues are all part of trade and foreign policy.

  29. ekaton  August 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

    And, what enrages me is the fact that we spend TRILLIONS of dollars overseas on ILLEGAL wars with nothing to show for it. What economic benefit accrues when we drop a one thousand pound bomb on a mosque? Corporate profits would STILL be assured had we spent those TRILLIONS at home on much needed repairs to infrastructure, and investments in alternative energies. We would have new bridges and highways and more energy independence and corporations would have made just as much money at home as abroad.

    WAR IS STUPID.

    — Kent Shaw

  30. Pablo  August 13, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    I agree woody188! That is what is disturbing; they both are basically the same when it comes to foreign policy and trade. And don’t forget, they both think it is okay for the government to illegally spy on it’s citizens and that it is okay for the congress to interfere with the judicial process. Very scary the two of them. I’m voting green.

  31. pollchecker  August 12, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    McCain Assures Town Hall That Death Stalks The Supreme Court Justices

    ….he told the questioner that there were going to be two-to-three vacancies on the Supreme Court soon. This was, in McCain’s words, “According to people who decide these things.”

    Hal — here is a BIG DIFFERENCE between Obama and McSame. You don’t see this talk out of Obama.

    Sometimes I think these people who advocate not voting are just trying to enable the election of McSame.

  32. Flapsaddle  August 12, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    The ethical choice – for me – is “neither major-party candidate”; that means a third party, a write-in, or simply leave the presidential selection blank.

    I do not see any significant difference between either major party; thus, I regard the struggle to choose between them as succumbing to the fallacy of the false alternative. Of course, others may feel differently.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  33. TJsUnderstudy  August 12, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    It is clear the elites wanted us to have limited presidential choices, and they really don’t care if you vote for one of them, vote for a third party, or abstain entirely, they will still get what they want. In their eyes, it is too important a matter to be left up to us to decide. After all, it is their trillions of dollars riding on the business of the world, not ours. They would never want us to have a viable candidate that could upset their system, and to think or assert otherwise is just plain naïve, planned disinformation, or a lack of knowledge and understanding of how things really work in this world. There may not be much we can do about it (elite resources are far superior to ours), but I will refuse to vote for their kind at all.

    I don’t claim to know in what states it is permitted, but in my state, we may write-in federal office candidates; federal candidates don’t have to be formally declared write-in candidates ahead of the election. I will abandon my own third party’s candidate (Bob Barr, truth-be-known, probably another elite placement) and write-in Ron Paul, clearly the only remotely qualified candidate, and the only one of the bunch I’d be comfortable with sitting on my jury if I ever needed one. None of those other puppets come close to being my peer. Why anyone would want any of the main candidates deciding matters of extreme importance to us and our families is beyond reason, philosophically educated reason or otherwise.

  34. Flapsaddle  August 13, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I vote twice for Ron Paul.

    Once as a write-in for President, and once as my congress-critter (Texas 14th Congressional District).

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  35. adamrussell  August 13, 2008 at 3:27 am

    A big difference is that while Obama draws his support from the sometimes empty headed democrats, McCain draws his support from the culture of corruption that is the republican party.

    “The 11th commandment is to speak no ill of another republican”
    Ronald Reagan
    translation: If you see another republican doing something wrong just shut up about it. Party before honor.

  36. keith  August 13, 2008 at 10:11 am

    According to the mainstream media, it really HAS become a choice between the “lesser of two evils”, folks!

    However, I’ve now come to think of it as: “No choice BUT evil!”

    On the one hand, we can elect an aging, far-right, war-mongering authoritarian. Or, on the other hand, we can elect an inexperienced, far-left-leaning, charismatic socialist.

    BOTH of these clowns (and the political duopoly that supports them) should now be shown the door. In fact, there is a growing number of voters in this country (upwards of 20% in the latest polling when third party candidates are included in the mix) who now seem to wholeheartedly agree with that notion.

    Do your homework, people! There are any number of alternatives to the thoroughly entrenched, horribly corrupt political duopoly that the media elites would have us all believe is our “only choice” come election day.

    For those who truly want to investigate some REAL alternatives to the liberty-trampling war mongers, perverts, philanderers and/or double-talking thieves the two mainstream political parties keep dishing up for our continued acclimation, here’s an excellent PLACE FOR YOU TO START.

  37. pollchecker  August 13, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Here is reality….either Obama or McSame will be our next POTUS. End of story. The other alternative is that GW Bush and company suspends the elections and retains power for as long as they want which is a totally unacceptable alternative.

    Don’t like it? Get involved after it is all over and change it. Doug in fact attempted to get a new party started but could not get the people or the money needed to get the job done. Why was that? Because it is easier for most people to complain than to participate.

    As for your statistics……over 30% of the population fails to vote for POTUS on a regular basis. In some states and/or counties it is as high as 45-50%. Not all of these non-voters do so because they don’t like the candidate. Many do so because they are afraid (as with hispanics), or they belive it is a futile effort (as with the young and the African American population). However, that apparently may change as we may actually see these people get actively involved in this year’s election.

    In the end, the numbers will explain it all.

  38. Pablo  August 13, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Obama is hardly
    what I would call “far-left-leaning”. If he was, he’d get my vote! He acts left-leaning sometimes, but he deceives. If he was left-leaning, he would not have funded this war over and over and over, nor would he be supporting Jewish cruelty towards the Palestinians or threatening the Iranians. And he certainly would not have joined the repugnicans in interfering with the court process and granting immunity to the telecoms!

    I think if we are going to allow corporations to amass any amount of wealth they want at the expense of the populace (Hell, we even let them run our government!), then we need a little socialism to help the others survive!

    The longer we allow the corporations to go unchecked, the more important it will be to have a social safety net! Besides, the amount of handouts to the needy is NOTHING compared to the amount of handouts we give to the corporations. I’d be much more concerned about a candidate giving my tax dollars to a greedy psycopathic corporation than to those in need.

  39. Tinker  August 13, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Sorry but my gag reflex will not let me vote for Obama. I find him that arrogant and repulsive. It is much the same reaction I have to Bush. For that matter I see them as being very similar, in opposite directions. McCain just plain sucks.

  40. Pablo  August 13, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    I think what they want is help the most powerful corporate interests to make the bucks, which also happen to be the most environmentally destructive interests, the petroleum and military interests. I agree Kent, that corporate profits could be assured by investing in our own country instead of investing in destroying another country. So I think the reason we go the route we have is the politicians want to help the most powerful ones (who can give the most bribe, err umm, I mean lobby money to their election campaigns). And you also must consider, apart from today’s profits, these evil actions which we performed will continue to help enrich the war profiteers, as we will be more in danger of terrorist attacks now that we have thoroughly pissed them off (Wow, imagine that!). And with more terrorist attacks, ignorant voters will encourage more military expenses for murder which will continue to feed the vicious cycle. These people know exactly what they are doing. May they rot in hell!

  41. ekaton  August 13, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Of course you are correct. Especially the vicious circle that begins here: “And with more terrorist attacks, ignorant voters will encourage more military expenses for murder which will continue to feed the vicious cycle.”

    — Kent Shaw

  42. ekaton  August 13, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Submitted by TJsUnderstudy on August 12, 2008 – 7:58pm.

    Your first paragraph is MOST eloquent and accurate. It is NOT a government of, by and for the people anymore if it ever was. WE do not govern. We are RULED. And the rulers are propaganda experts.

    — Kent Shaw

  43. ekaton  August 13, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    What tore it for me with Obama was his vote to exempt the telecoms from prosecution for their illegal monitoring of communications at the simple request, no warrants to specifically state the place and items being searched for, of the government. That is fascism, pure and simple.

    “Besides, the amount of handouts to the needy is NOTHING compared to the amount of handouts we give to the corporations.”

    Multiple billions (I think its 18 billion over a number of years) in tax credits for oil companies, but Bush says he’ll veto a 2.5 billion dollar increase for LIHEAP, low income heating assistance program. What the hell are we becoming in this country?

    A vote for McCain is a vote for fascism.

    A vote for Obama is a vote for fascism.

    Vote third party or don’t vote at all.

    — Kent Shaw

  44. pollchecker  August 13, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Although I am not defending this…..

    the strategy is to vote identically to McSame on National Security Issues so his vote cannot be used against him.

    The 2002 vote to authorize the war in Iraq and the consequences for those who voted against it are very FRESH in the Dems minds.

    That single vote cost them the Majority in the Senate and they are not about to allow it to happen again. And they (as in Dems)figure with a Dem POTUS and a Dem majority in either house and they can fix all the crap.

    I do not necessarily agree with it but I realize that regardless of what I do, either McSame or Obama will be our next POTUS…like it or not. McSame has proven beyond any reasonabnle doubt that he will do or say ANYTHING it take to seize control of the WH. The consequences to our Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc would be devastating in the continuation of the Bush policies of appointing members of the Federalist Society as judges and lawyers in the Justice Dept. (And if you are so afraid for your freedom is something to think about.)

    The mere fact that McSame is telling the Neo-cons that several of the Supreme Court Justices are close to death indicates that the neo-cons, who want to impart their values on the rest of us, understand the importance of this single issue.

    Well, personally, I am sick and tired of politicians legislating what I can or cannot do to my own body whether it has to do with if I give birth, when and how I chose to die, what I put into my body, etc. Perhaps as a male, this is not important to you. But as a woman, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to me.

    And once again…I must point out that people vote or don’t vote emotionally not logically. The very comments on this website (all of them, not any in particular) proves this point again and again.

  45. Pablo  August 13, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Pollchecker, your insinuation that we (assuming I am male by my handle) care any less about a woman’s right to choose because we are male is insulting. I think those kinds of comments are hitting rather low considering Kent and I have made it very clear why we want to go third party, and the reasons aren’t that we care any less about women’s rights. Besides, last time I checked, unwanted pregnancies were affecting men as well. Your comment would be like me saying that you don’t care about Middle Easterners because you aren’t one, as shown by your support of the one-party system that repeatedly slaughters or supports the slaughter of Middle Easterners. Our dear liberal Clinton, as I understand, through the farce “Oil for Food Program” and embargo indirectly killed well over 100,000 Iraqi children (Or was that 1,000,000? Anyway, Carl Nemo could help us on that #. Carl?). That was one of the three main reasons cited by Al Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks. Sorry, but guilt won’t make me vote for somebody that has betrayed our country.

    FYI I am deeply concerned about keeping abortion safe and legal. You make many good points on this site, points that have gone through my mind as well, over and over. I still feel wishy washy at times and feel like I might be forced to vote for the least evil. Obama will kill a lot of people also, and I feel sick that I will have to support him just because he is better than Hitler? I cringe to think what mccain will do to the entity that ultimately controls our destiny, the Supreme Court. The corporations and their “Christian” supporters will then have full control. But it will not be my fault, far from it. However, another part of me thinks more strongly, as Keith outlines quite nicely up above, that the republicrats need a clear message NOW. Their seven years of rolling over and playing dead is TOTALLY unacceptable.

    Those that repeatedly support the lesser of two evils also need a message. Perhaps after losing to the repugs a couple more times and seeing the horrific consequences, they will finally wake them up. They don’t get too worked up over Middle Easterners dying; perhaps when their own friends and family members start dying…This nation continues lazy, gluttonous, spoiled and ignorant. Until they start seeing some serious suffering they will never change. Perhaps a mccain administration will initiate the process towards change.

    P.S. The republicrats, just like the repugs (Funny, even their names are so similar!) will NEVER let you control what you put into your body, especially if it makes you more open minded.

  46. pollchecker  August 14, 2008 at 12:10 am

    perhaps when their own friends and family members start dying

    I use to think that way. That’s why I made the Iraq Memorial Quilt.

    You know what happened? Nothing except some really hateful emails which would make any insult you’ve ever heard sound like a nursery ryhme. People don’t like looking at the faces. It makes them think. And it doesn’t change a damn thing. Certainly not the killing. Not even politicians would acknowledge it because to do so would be to acknowledge their hand in those deaths.

    Perhaps a mccain administration will initiate the process towards change.

    Yeah, I heard that argument in 2004. People saying “let Bush clean up his own mess.” Well that certainly didn’t happen did it?

    And once again you keep forgetting our justice system and how it will be adversely effected by McSame.

    will NEVER let you control what you put into your body

    Well, at least the Dems have never attempted or promised to outlaw abortions since the Supreme Court decision. And the Dems weren’t the one’s in the middle of the Terry Schiavo case, now were they.

    A well known man has a saying which I have quoted before…

    The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior

    Keeping that in mind, I have a pretty good idea of where we would end up after 4 years with either candidate.

    As for being insulting…hmmmm, well I don’t mean to be but I am passionate about this! It is a single issue for me because I would NEVER VOTE for any candidate who promised to revoke a women’s right to choose.

    And I have never known a man that voted for POTUS because he was FOR “a woman’s right to choose.” I’ve known men who are anti-abortionists who vote on that issue. (I’m not saying they aren’t out there, I have just not met one…YET!)

    And you know why? Because MOST people (not all, but the !vast majority) vote emotionally and saving a “woman’s right to choose” just doesn’t push the button for most men.

    Lastly, I don’t how you associate “Clinton’s deeds” with Obama. But since you mentioned Clinton, who was considered by many people including myself, the lesser of two evils, he didn’t do such a bad job despite all the naysayers (just like today)that said America would come tumbling down if Clinton got elected. Last time I looked, we’re still here. And when Clinton left we had a budget surplus and was on our way to fiscal responsibility.

    So perhaps your assumptions that people will die with Obama as POTUS is not accurate. However, considering McSame’s response to the current situation with Russia and Georgia, it is very likely this warmonger will kill many more than GW Bush did.

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