Obama Qua Obama

This is a clever trick of zuzu’s:

So, here’s the exercise for Obama supporters:…what is your plan for reaching out to disgruntled Clinton supporters? What do you think Obama should do to reach out to these voters? And finally, please explain the reasons why disgruntled Clinton supporters should vote *for* Obama.
Please note — I said for Obama. I’m not looking for reasons why anyone should vote against McCain, or to preserve the status quo on Roe v. Wade, or to put a Democrat in the White House, or anything else. I know those arguments. I want to hear why Obama qua Obama is worth supporting.
As succinctly as you can, provide positive — and preferably policy-based — reasons to vote *for* Obama in November. Thank you!

See what she did there? She phrased the task exactly so that it’s impossible to achieve in a way that satisfies her. Let’s break this down:
“I’m not looking for reasons why anyone should vote against McCain” – here she rules out voting for Obama based on the fact that he’s better on Iraq, or that he’s better on abortion right and court appointments, or basically any argument based on the obvious and indisputable fact that Obama is much, much, much more liberal on everything than McCain. That’s an awful lot to rule out.
“I’m not looking for reasons why anyone should vote…to put a Democrat in the White House” – here she rules out voting for Obama for the same reasons Clinton voters voted for her, namely their support for things like funding stem-cell research, repealing DADT, repealing the Bush tax cuts, passing the ENDA, and implementing a fully-auctionable cap-and-trade system. Never mind that on 98% of non-foreign policy issues, Clinton and Obama are equally awesome – zuzu isn’t interested in hearing about that.
“I want to hear why Obama qua Obama is worth supporting.” – see, I don’t really believe this. Because zuzu already has heard the reasons why Obama, and only Obama, is worth supporting. She knows that he’s the only candidate in the race to oppose the war from the start, and that he promises a dramatic leftward shift in the political spectrum on foreign policy. She knows that he’s the only major party nominee ever to support marijuana decriminalization. She knows that there are serious experts who doubt that an individual mandate would do much of anything in expanding coverage. She knows that Obama has promised a more expansive pro-LGBT agenda than any major candidate. She knows that Obama has a record of successful legislative maneuvering, even against outrageously long odds. She knows this because she’s a political blogger, and like any good blogger she’s absurdly well-informed on all the candidates’ ins and outs. And the fact that she’s a Clinton supporter means these things don’t matter to her. She’s explicit on how unpersuasive she finds some of these facts, but the thing is, if she found them persuasive, she wouldn’t be a Clinton supporter. So the only arguments she’s interested in hearing, or so she says, are the ones she’s already, implicitly or explicitly, rejected. Clever, but not a good faith call to dialogue.
The thing is, any Clinton supporter who, like zuzu, seems to think that Obama’s infinite preferability to McCain on every level isn’t reason enough to vote for him, clearly doesn’t care about the consequences of their votes. I didn’t think there were many reasons to support Kerry qua Kerry over Dean or Clark in 2004, but I supported him in the general anyway. More to the point I didn’t think there were any reasons to support Gore qua Gore over Bradley in 2000, and so I supported Nader, and have not gone a day since without being thankful that 10-year-olds can’t vote. If you care about abortion rights, LGBT rights, getting out of Iraq, stopping global warming, getting universal health care, reforming the drug war, or any liberal policy goal you can think of, there is no excuse for not voting for the Democratic nominee in November. To fail to do so isn’t logical politics, it’s spite-based politics. It’s not making a statement, or doing a protest vote, it’s being an idiot.

1 thought on “Obama Qua Obama

  1. zuzu pulls this shit all the time. She says “I don’t want to hear about Supreme Court appointments, etc.” and acts as if that somehow were a refutation of the “better than McCain” argument. It’s not, of course, but she doesn’t want to be bothered with opinions that challenge her dearly held preconceptions. All part and parcel of the Clinton insanosphere.

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