“C” left a comment in another thread the other night asking how I can still vote for Obama after, among other things, his recent FISA vote. My short reply at the time was that he was still better than the alternatives. C went on to send me an email asking:
i understand the whole voting for the lesser of two evils thing, but he voted against the constitution! he will make laws against separation of church and state. he says he’ll pull us out of iraq but he’s done nothing to show us that (in fact, he continues to fund the war effort with billions of dollars).
it isn’t voting for the leeser of two evils, it’s voting for one evil that happens to give better speeches than another evil.
how anybody can vote for a person that makes unconstitutional laws…i just don’t understand it.
Obama didn’t vote against the Constitution, though the FISA bill may very well be unconstitutional. We should find out fairly quickly as the ACLU has already filed suit to try and stop the law. Still that doesn’t change the fact that I was very disappointed by Obama voting for it, but it’s not like I’ve not disagreed with Presidents I’ve voted for in the past. Bill Clinton signed a couple of laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, which I completely disagreed with and felt were a violation of Church and State, but he was still a decent enough President in my mind that I’d have voted for a third term had it been possible to do so. The number of issues I find myself in agreement with Obama on more than makes up for the ones I disagree with him on.
As for pulling us out of Iraq, Obama recently wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times in which he lays out his plan for ending the war in Iraq:
As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.
In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.
Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.
As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but that sounds pretty good to me. We’ve left Afghanistan as unfinished business while we were dicking around looking for non-existent WoMDs in Iraq and we’re starting to pay the price for it.
Your second paragraph implies that there’s no real difference between the two candidates in which case I can only assume you haven’t been paying attention. Go to their websites and read up on what their stances on issues and plans for the future are. You’ll see there’s quite a bit of difference. It can be hard to distinguish how McCain would be anything other than a continuation of the Bush Administration which has done such a fine job of screwing this country up so far. That is assuming that McCain isn’t just paying lip service to the Far Right and plans to go back to being the maverick he used to be once he lands the White House. That would be an improvement over how he’s presenting himself now, but not only is that a risky assumption to count on it’s also still not as good as the change in direction that Obama appears to be offering. By the same token it’s always possible Obama is selling us a bill of goods as well, but I think it’s less likely in his case.
How I can vote someone who “makes unconstitutional laws” isn’t hard to understand. People, including Presidential candidates, are human and they make mistakes. You have to look at more than just the one issue and consider the package as a whole. That’s part of why I’m not much for Ron Paul. He had some appealing aspects in his policy stances and then he has some that were way the fuck out in left field. The number of attractive stances he held were outweighed by the crazy he brought with him. When I look at McCain and Obama and the complete packages they bring with them I find that I’m still leaning very heavily towards Obama even if I’m not happy with every single choice he makes.