January 3, 2012

Maybe I’ll Just Sit This One Out

It’s only the third day of the year, but already I know one thing about the upcoming year. I will not vote for Barack Obama in November.

I voted for him in 2008, willingly if not enthusiastically. Since then, it’s not the domestic policies that have led me to this point (although many of those aren’t great). It’s been the complete embrace of Bush-era terrorism policies that shifted more and more power to the executive and made review of the exercise of those power almost impossible. It was a bad deal when Bush did it. It’s not any better when Obama does it, just because he’s got a “D” next to his name.

This, finally, was the last straw for me (via):
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today, allowing indefinite detention to be codified into law. As you know, the White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had ‘serious reservations’ about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use it and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.
More details on the NDAA here. Although the powers it sets out have mostly already been exercised by this administration and the previous one, codifying them in the U.S. Code will make it all the more difficult to reign them in at some future point. And while Obama promises not to make full use of them (although there’s no reason to believe that, given his record in the area to this point), that doesn’t bind future presidents.  Ed at Dispatches has more on that angle here.

I’m aware of the counterarguments. That anybody the GOP will field in November will be worse, overall. There’s the rallying cry of “what about the Supreme Court?” I don’t disagree, but I can’t go along with that anymore. There’s only so far I can go when it comes to choosing the lesser of two evils. If my vote means anything (logic and sheer numbers says it doesn’t), it has to be cast with some integrity.

So where does that leave me? Probably sitting on the sideline, unless something interesting happens with a third-party candidate (sorry GOP friends – I’m not that far gone). Sometimes the only winning move is not to play.

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