Over at LGM, Paul Campos has a post up about Obama, enthusiasm, 2012 and that whole dance. Y’all know the deal. Obama has been quite disappointing on a host of fronts, a couple prominent ones being his stance towards whistleblowers, his continuation of many Bush-era foreign policy initiatives and his rhetoric in general up until the last few weeks or so. Progressives have had quite a battle over how best to express their displeasure with the president while not handing the country over to dadgum lunatics.

I won’t quibble with the fact that opposition to Obama on grounds of principle is eminently possible. But opposition on practical grounds? I have a tough time buying that. Campos’ explanation for the practical problem is:

As a practical matter, the problem with lesser of two evils rationalizations is that at some point the difference for which one is willing to sacrifice one’s intellectual integrity is so small that one has ended up making that sacrifice for something that’s no longer worth defending. I’m personally getting quite close to that point when it comes to Obama’s civil liberties/foreign policy record. As much as I prefer his domestic policy to that of his likely opponents, there comes a point when it should become impossible to support someone who is carrying out policies that cross certain lines of basic decency. Again, certain conservatives reached that point with the Bush administration on the issue of torture, and certain progressives are reaching that point with the Obama administration when it comes to things such as unilateral executive branch decisions to assassinate American citizens without any legal oversight.

In the end of course everyone must decide for themselves what sort of things they are willing to lend active support. I may vote for Obama again, but if I do it will be with great reluctance.

I agree with pretty much all of this. But I guess Campos is a lot closer than I am to finding Obama’s record on civil liberties and foreign policy so abhorrent that sitting out 2012 is a justifiable option. To me, the difference in domestic policy is too great to sit this one out. Also too, I don’t see how withdrawing from voting gets the country any closer to a better foreign policy.


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