Afternoon Inquisition

AI: American Politics

Today is the last day to register to vote here in Texas, so I’m heading off to the post office… because we’re also backwards here and don’t believe in internet. And instead of hating myself for putting this off until the last minute, I hate Texas for making me put it off.

But anyway… there’s an election here in the US. And it’s important because this year we have to choose between killing Big Bird or killing FREEDOM. It’s a tough choice.

So, let’s just get right to it.

Who are you voting for? Why do you hate children/freedom? Could someone please explain to me what the attraction is to Romney? Besides Paul Ryan’s abs? And… for real, can we talk about those too because HELL YEAH *swoon*. How many comments before I get called misandrist? But back to the thing… what gets you going or bores you this year? Why do third party candidates always suck so much? Are you opting out of voting? Why? In other words… OPEN AMERICAN POLITICS OCTAGON THREAD SAY YOUR PIECE! GO! 

ETA: If you haven’t yet, register to vote:

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.



Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. I vote in Boulder County, Colorado (for those that don’t know, a nexus of woo in the USA), and I found myself abstaining from a couple of the races for the first time ever. Not terrible important ones – I think they was county commissioners – but still, I’ve never done that before. The Democratic candidates both had GMO bans among their top priorities, which is a deal-breaker for me – and I couldn’t even find any information on their opponents, either Republican or third-party.

    Other than, I voted entirely democratic, abstained from reaffirming judges, and voted for all the taxes they were proposing – cuz I don’t live there anymore, anyway.

    Yeah, so, if anyone cares about the county commissioner in Boulder County, Colorado, you’re welcome for this comment.

  2. I’m a loathesome liberal, socialist, godless European so I don’t get to vote in merkin elections. If I could, I’d obviously vote Obama who, by Scandinavian standards, is a bit too conservative for my liking but that’s a lot better than Romney who breaks my conservativity scale and heads straight into crazy-land. I’d never even consider voting somebody who’d even suggest that creationism might possibly have some validity.
    I’d kinda prefer the person in the most powerful position in the world to be someone with a reasonable grasp on reality vs fantasy. I don’t really think that’s unreasonable.
    I hate children because they’re noisy and they smell bad.

  3. OK, flippant answer out of the way:
    I won’t be voting for Obama. I will be voting against Romney. And what kind of crappy electoral world do we live in where I don’t have a candidate I support but only a candidate I fear so much that I will expend all of my political capital voting for “the other guy” in the hope this will stave off yet another goose-step towards science-hating theocracy of the far right?
    Elections just depress me now.

  4. We need instant-runoff voting. Until that happens, and makes a vote for a third party viable, I’m voting for Obama. I don’t like the whole “killing (possibly innocent) people with flying robots in other countries” thing, but Romney would still do that AND make life even harder for people who aren’t white rich men… so Obama it is.

  5. Oregon voter here. Not much going on here. Two bad choices for mayor, Congressional districts set in stone. No danger Rmoney takes Oregon.

    Still, you do occasionally run into Rmoney-droids even in the People’s Republic of Portland. Last week, I encountered some of these Big-Haired Minions of Dread outside a grocery store. A woman wearing an Rmoney button tried to thrust a pamphlet into the hands of a woman entering the store ahead of me. The second woman waved her hands like she was being offered a smallpox-infected blanket and said, “I wouldn’t vote for Romney with YOUR dick!”

    The Romney droid, nonplused, tried to offer me the pamphlet, but I pointed toward the other woman who’d led the charge. “What she said.”

    There’s a part of me that wants to unpack the meaning behind the wording of the rejection, coming as it did from one woman to another, but the rest of me just enjoyed the moment.

  6. When I was in high school way back in the idealistic 80’s of the 20th century we were already tired of how politics worked so some friends put up posters around the school for the student body elections for Eguene Debs complete with where he would stand on important issues such as teaching, lunch, sports. No one got it, simply wondered who he was and why his parents were so cruel to name him Eugene.

    So another friend who to call him odd would be an understatement replaced the posters with “Vote for Ted! He can sing he can dance he has Jell-O in his pants! I was always affraid he might win.

      1. Looking back I wish Ted did win, his pants parties were the best! The guy that did win was of course very popular and quite stupid. One of his first actions was to threaten to throw the editor of the school paper off the roof for publishing an article critical of varsity sports. It’s been nearly thirty years but I believe he said, “I don’t know what that article meant but if you do it again I’ll throw you off the roof.”
        I later found out our fearless leader blew a full ride scholarship to a good college when he was arrested for driving around shooting out car windows with a pellet gun.

  7. It really seems like once you take religion out of things you really just have a choice between more rights or more money(for some)(hypothetically).

  8. Had my mind made up for a while that it may be Jill Stein. Wait, I’ll say it first: oh no, aren’t you AFRAID Romney will win? I’ve heard that like 40 million times since May. No, I’m more afraid that all we so-called “science” types are completely ignoring climate change and pretending everything’s just ducky. Listen:

    Romney wins = catastrophic climate change.
    Omama wins = catastrophic climate change.

    Any better ideas?

    1. Personally, I don’t think Romney will win, because for the past few election cycles, the Federal government starts with a majority in congress, and the same party in the white house, then congress changes hands, the incumbent president is reelected, then the whole thing flips. However, if I’m right, then that means it doesn’t matter what crazy the (R) submit in 2016, they are going to win. Usually, it’s the person from the last election with the most votes from the previous cycle who runs this time. So, had Huckabee run this time, he would have gotten the nom, not Romney – not that this would be a good thing. However, it means that Santorum is currently the most likely to be president in 2016, followed by Gingrich. I hope I’m wrong about that.

      BTW, if I am right, does that mean I get a million dollars?

      1. I sure hope you’re right. I was holding out for Obama asking Stein to be his VP but too late now. If only we could get rid of Ken Salazar.

        I hope you get that million. Maybe Bill Gates will trip and it will fall out of his pocket right as you walk by.

  9. I am campaigning for Paul Penzone, the candidate running against Racist Joe.

    Oh, yeah. I live in AZ. Heh.

    We do have some positive, progressive candidates. Dr Carmona is running for senate and is pro gay rights, for equal pay, and staunchly pro choice. Bill Clinton will be here on Wednesday to endorse him. I am sure he will win. Yay!

    Also, i have a hard time not objectifying Paul. Oh man.

    Also, this:

    1. That actually helps my choice, as this will be my first time voting in AZ (I was in Florida for the last election cycle).

      Not that I was going to vote for Joe anyway. No way I’d want to continue having someone that chases immigrants instead of taking care of sex abuse cases. Why didn’t Joe go to court for THAT?

      Carmona definately sounds like someone I’d vote for.

  10. Hmm.

    Obama – because the other choice is too either scary, or confusing. Either he would land in office, then sideline the Randian VP he picked, or he would follow the Tea Party/Radicals, and screw things up worse. Which means we either end up with someone doing marginally worse than Obama, due to needing to kiss some right wing asses, or someone completely insane. Since its impossible, from past results, to determine which one.. well, it doesn’t matter, because he would still be doing shit for the right wing, if for no other reason than to attempt reelection.

    His “popularity” comes, unfortunately, from a whole religion, and yeah, its basically a religion, that has become prevalent in the business world recently. While laissez faire economics has always been around, and most people figured out that it doesn’t really work so well, there has always been a segment of the population, often rich, but mostly just arrogant, to the point of believing they can’t fail, and if they do, its someone else’s fault, who also believe in some vague sense of aristocracy. Been slogging through Nietzsche, so I know *that* idiocy has been around a long time too, he called it “Will to Power”, and claimed that successful people had it, while the rest where inherently lazy. Ayn Rand codified this idiocy again, in Atlas Shrugged, and, with a mass of irony, the right wing Tea Party types, and a lot of business people, who have gone through programs run by fans of this dual stupidity of unrestrained markets, and aristocratic rule in them, have turned it into a dogma. Its hardly a surprise that “crank magnetism” has led to them to latch onto this crazy stuff, after all, they already believe in, or have claimed some level of possible belief in, everything from religion, to creationism, to birtherism, to you name it. And, as the principle of “crank magnetism” states, once your mind it sufficiently unhinged to believe several complete stupid conspiracy/hypothesis, its nearly impossible to not be attracted to even more of them, even the contradictory ones.

    In any case, there is a whole generation of business execs who have been taught by idiots that looked at Rand, and unshackled capitalism and went – “Ah, hah! If the world worked like that, I might be a billionaire, not a teacher!” And, all those people that actually are million/billionaires went, “Ah, hah! That is why I don’t own everything I deserve yet!” When your “heroes”, coming out of business school all espouse stupid shit like that, its hardly a surprise we now have a Tea Party movement, filled with people going, “Ah, hah! If we just ignored history and did this, I would be rich too, instead of paying money to the government!”

    As for third party… Well, the only people likely to run, given the way the deck is stacked, are those that either have planned “very carefully”, or those that are driven, usually by ideology. The faster they rise, and the more pushy they are, the greater the gaping holes are likely to be in that ideology, and, thus, the greater the crazy there is likely to be hiding in their background. I have yet to see *any* real attempt, by any candidate to “plan carefully”. Why? Because third party are all trying to push through “this election”, and if they have the money and resources to do so, they are probably in the “nuts” category. If they don’t, they are just not going to make it. The rest.. Are all either trying to keep what they have, get more, etc. And have things to lose. Only someone with nothing to lose is going to run for a high office, based on almost no planning, no clear plans, vague promises, and their own personal bankroll (instead of money from contributions).

    Basically, anyone that would be worth looking at, doesn’t have the backing, or worse, needs to spend their time working another job, instead of “planning” for the election. Same for existing candidates from the two parties, but they have the advantage in a) everything “thinks” they know what the parties stand for, and b) whole hosts of other people have already been planning how to help them get elected. Thankfully, when you get the wrong sort of people doing that, you get things like Mr. Etch-a-sketch’s campaign, where all the ideas are more or less crazy, and they are forced to hop from one bit of crazy to the next, all of them 50 years, or more, out of date, to at least half of the public’s opinions.

    But no.. Any one “third party” will have to really have spent the time to put all their ducks in a row, and not be someone with something either side can freak, or make up fake controversy, over. Sure, they will do that anyway, with what ever proposals they make, but.. that is where having everything planned comes in. You could almost certainly predict what sort of nuts nonsense either party is going to accuse you of, by proposing something. If you are reacting to that as, “They said what?!”, after the fact, then you didn’t plan. If you are saying that because your idea actually is slightly nuts, and you can’t understand the objection… then you probably shouldn’t be running at all.

  11. I’m writing in “Big Bird” because really, who else can we trust at thing point?

    I’m in Virginia, where there’s a Democrat running on a platform of being more economically regressive than the Republican. Ugh.

  12. I hate freedom because it makes luxury goods cost marginally more.

    Or did you mean my freedom? I love that, and anyone who makes economic or regulatory changes that could curb my ability to buy that second yacht I’ve been eying is clearly a socialist. Or maybe a fascist. Or has been corrupted by free birth control or something.

    And fuck Big Bird. What has be done for me lately?

  13. I (unfortunately, and hopefully not for long) live in MO’s 2nd district, more commonly known as Dumbass Batshit Crazy Motherfucker Central, so I’ll be voting Democrat down the line. Seeing first hand how bad this waste of space is in the House, I really don’t want him to be my Senator. I suppose that if I lived somewhere more civilized, I could maybe consider the Green party, but right now it doesn’t make sense to cast a vote that doesn’t go for the best shot to get him out.

  14. Illinois actually has several congressional districts which could swing towards the democrats, a large number actually, like 6. Unfortunately I’m not in them to vote.

  15. “And it’s important because this year we have to choose between killing Big Bird or killing FREEDOM.”

    Are those two from the same person?

    “Could someone please explain to me what the attraction is to Romney?”

    Noting the reaction of my relatives that I’m living with, it seems he appeals to the religious types.
    Also, it seems anyone that bought into the message of “2016: Obama’s America” also feels the need to vote for Romney (whatever that “message” might be, as I never saw it, but only read the Wiki entry on it).

    Personally, I want to do a write-in. Just not sure who I would pick…

    1. Aaah! I really wish people would look at the options more before they voted, instead of just saying, “I”m going to vote for whoever is running against Sheriff Joe.”

      There are two guys running for Sheriff Joe.

      Stoufer is … not even in the running. He has 3% of the vote. A lot of people suspect he’s doing this on purpose, to take votes away from Penzone. I don’t know if I believe that he’s doing THAT intentionally, but it’s clear he is being a selfish asshole. There is NO WAY he’s going to be elected. And this race is going to be tight.

      Paul Penzone is the one to vote for. I actually really like him. I’ve met a lot of politicians. He’s one of the more normal ones, imo. He is also really, really interested in bringing the community together.

      What District are you in? Actually, otherwise, just vote Democrat. But if you have any questions, let me know. :)

  16. I saw Romney talking to the troops.

    According to him, we (the allies of the USA) are eagerly awaiting leadership (from the USA, but really meaning Him) to undertake the Next Big Adventure, which will be in Syria (or even, trembling to control his huge shiny purple one) IRAQ….

    We have news. NOT IN OUR NAME, MUTHAFUKKA!

    1. Surely, Iraq was the Previous Big Adventure?

      (“Previous Big Adventure” sounds great! It should be an animated series for children.)

      1. I’m a fool. IRAN of course!! Sorry!

        I’ll bet he’s short stroking right now, thinking of the Super Carrier Mitt Romney, one day to be named after him.

        Not to mention all those trillions of WASTE he can strip out of the bloated health, education and social security systems!

  17. Another Oregon voter here. I haven’t checked out the local races yet, but I have a feeling my vote won’t matter any more than bcmystery’s: I live in a ridiculously conservative county. I’m tempted to vote for whomever is running for the Progressive Party (even if they have stupid positions on GMOs and nuclear) just to up their percentage (hell, if I convinced the rest of my family to, we could probably double it), but I have nightmares of Oregon turning into 2000’s Florida so probably won’t.

  18. Unless you’re a white, rich, straight, God-fearing male, I can’t fathom what anyone sees in Romney. If everyone paid attention, Obama SHOULD get all the women votes, all the black/Hispanic/other minority votes, plus a goodly number of votes from us white males. This election SHOULD be a gruesome landslide.

  19. As a resident of one of Romney’s many home towns, I’ve been working for the Obama campaign.

    If you live in eastern Massachusetts, we need people to help swing New Hampshire, which Gore lost by 7211 votes in 2000. Its 4 electoral votes would have made Florida irrelevant. We car-pool up there every Saturday and Sunday and canvass door-to-door, talking to uncommitted voters. The experts claim this is the single most effective way of convincing voters: talk to them face-to-face.

    Is Obama perfect? No, but he is far better than Romney has any hope of being.

    Social services: 1) Romney would repeal or gut PPACA (aka Obamacare), despite it being almost identical to Romney’s own health care law we have here in Massachusetts. 2) If Ryan has his way, Romney will privatize Social Security and Medicare which will destroy them and leave many people in a hole we (the taxpayers) will have to bail them out of in 15-20 years when all the private insurance companies decide they can’t afford to pay the benefits and go under (having taken the entire trust funds in the form of administrative fees and overhead in the mean time.)

    Education: Romney will gut Pell Grants, Federal aid to state and local schools, support for all the educational outreach programs that are traditionally part of NASA, the NSF, HHS, the National Parks Service, NOAA, etc. etc. in the name of deficit reduction. He will allow or even support the religious right in their campaign to subvert and destroy America’s public school system, partly by ensuring continued right wing dominance of the Federal courts.

    Environment: 1) Obama has proposed increased off-shore drilling (a horrible and useless idea), but he has raised the automobile CAFE standards for the first time in decades. 2) He recognizes global warming and AGW as legitimate, pressing issues, whereas Romney is deliberately appealing to the denialists. 3) He supports renewable energy, whereas Romney would virtually eliminate Federal support for everything except fossil fuels. 4) Romney is threatening to eliminate the EPA and gut the Endangered Species Act and all meaningful pollution regulation.

    War: 1) Romney is saber-rattling about Syria and Iran. 2) He supports dangerously inflammatory policies of the right-wing Israeli government, including the encroaching settlements, border fences (built through the occupied territories), the stifling economic policies that have made life so perpetually miserable in Gaza and the West Bank, and appears to support their threats to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. 3) He supports a massive US military build-up that the Pentagon regards as excessive.

    Civil Rights and Women’s issues: 1) A Romney court would eliminate affirmative action, overturn Roe v. Wade, and most likely support the voter ID laws that effectively nullify the Voting Rights Act and the Poll Tax amendment. 2) He would eliminate or severely curtail access to birth control and abortion. 3) People like Akin who share his “values” (scare quotes alert) would form the core of his administration.

    Courts: Romney would probably get to pick at least two Supreme Court justices, most likely replacing liberals or moderates with Alioto clones. This will ensure at least another 10 to 20 years of right wing dominance. “Citizens United” is only the beginning.

    Food and Agriculture: Romney would have Big Bird taken out and shot for his first White House Thanksgiving Dinner.

    I think there are a few other differences, but my fingers are getting tired…

  20. I am not an American, but follow the elections in the same way I follow international sports. If I could I wouldn’t vote for either, Obama is better but not enough. Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic sums it up best ( ):

    “I don’t see how anyone who confronts Obama’s record with clear eyes can enthusiastically support him. I do understand how they might concluded that he is the lesser of two evils, and back him reluctantly, but I’d have thought more people on the left would regard a sustained assault on civil liberties and the ongoing, needless killing of innocent kids as deal-breakers. “

    1. Responsible voting is very often about swallowing that last bite of breakfast that just crawled back up into your mouth and choosing the lesser of two evils.

        1. It seems to me that a strategy of that nature would require the prescience of a mule or perhaps the Kwisatz Haderach, I think I’ll stick to real world practicality with my votes.

  21. I’m writing in “Mic Check!” The system is screwed up, and it’s culturally appropriate. (The due process violations, continuation of the war on terror, and the exacerbation of Bush-era police state measures by the O-man was just too much for me to vote in good conscious for him, even as a lesser of two evils)

  22. In good conscience, even though he is who I would align with most closely out of the two candidates, I cannot vote for Obama. It would make me a hypocrite. For all the years of the Bush administration I publicly and privately railed against their abuses of civil liberties. Obama campaigned on a platform of reversing this.

    Here we are four years later and he’s simply done worse than Bush on civil liberties. Undeclared secret wars with drones, targeted assassinations of American citizens without trial, and so on. Maybe I’m putting too fine a point on it calling myself a Cassandra, but when conservatives said I didn’t have anything to worry about with Bush, I retorted that it was future presidents I didn’t know taking advantage of that precedent that scared me. I didn’t think it would be Obama that proved me right.

    And, to me, all the other rights, privileges, responsibilities, and other good things rest on the recognition of those civil liberties. Freedom from religion, pro-choice policies, freedom of speech; to me once someone like Obama solidifies and makes “bipartisan” what Bush did, in some cases making it worse, it can’t be too far gone to think in a few short years there will be a president encroaching on all these other important things and succeeding.

    So, I’ll either cast a blank ballot or find someone third party. I know and have read all the arguments against doing so and have made all the appropriate arguments for doing so. I would assume someone will make them to me here, but they simply don’t overrule my conscience on this one. I voted for Obama primarily on civil liberties issues and have been burned. Unless there’s an explicit repudiation from him on this and a promise to reverse course, I won’t even consider giving him my vote.

  23. As an H. T. Duck supporter, I am affiliated with the All-Night Party. We’ve fallen on hard times since the Duck’s manager died a few years ago.

    I plan to vote for President Obama. I (mostly) don’t consider him the be lesser of two evils, though of course I don’t like/agree with every decision he’s made – I’m not a drone. I do like many of his decisions and hope for improvement or turn-around on others, as with his stance on “gay” marriage.

    Romney allows his religion (not his faith, his religion) to interfere with politics and his grasp on reality, so he scares me. I prefer politicians who actually think about issues and evaluate facts, even if they come to the “wrong” conclusions, rather than simply follow a platform, political or religious.

    And yeah, no one is completely free of certain prejudices or influences, but Romney’s foundation is radically flawed.

  24. I’ll vote pretty much for anyone who seems inclined toward a liberal or progressive point of view. In Washington State we have a governor’s race that seems fairly close but should swing for the democrat and there is a fairly close congressional race where I live that is also likely to swing to the left. I’ll vote for Obama not because I think he’s done a great job (I give him a B-), it’s just that any other potential choice seems so incredibly repugnant or a waste of my vote. We have a couple of state initiatives that are attracting some national attention and at this time both look like they’ll pass. So come 2013 in Washington hopefully you’ll be able to have a same sex marriage and light up some bud in celebration if these initiatives pass!

  25. Ohioan here. We have Issue 2 to change the way we draw districts. For weeks I come home to constant robocalls on the machine (yes, I have a landline) of “scary” messages warning me about the evil liberal plot to take districting away from voters, have secret meetings and have a “blank check”. We get tons of silly dramatic flyers from the GOP as well. And lots of pollsters calling.

    One nice thing about having a landline is that I was in one of the recent Pew religious surveys. They asked me how much I “trusted” university professors. Chuckle.

    Just got a creepy email saying, “Hi Ginger,

    Thanks for requesting a vote-by-mail ballot in Ohio.

    Good news: the county board of elections has informed us that your ballot is in the process of being mailed to your address — maybe you already got it?” This was from the Obama campaign, NOT the election board. They are stalking me! Banish the electoral college for us swing staters, please. I just want to be left alone.

  26. You don’t need any mystical power to realise, if you tell political party A that I will always vote for you as long as you are marginally better than the other party B, it will lead to you being completely ignored.

    Are there any values you hold where you would simply be unable to vote for a party, even if their policies where better than the other parties?

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