Yes, you read the hed correctly. Yes, it is a significant change in my position.
Yesterday I posted a comment on the site of a friend which was apparently so strongly worded in opposition to voting for Obama that it prompted the friend to remove the post and the entire comment thread. At least I cannot find it today.
Of course I regret any offense given, especially to people I admire, but these are parlous times, and we discuss things that evoke strong feelings even among people of good will. My hope in posting that comment was that it would provoke a lively discussion about the limits to the obligations of liberals to the candidates of the Democratic Party, especially their candidate for president. We will all have to do without that discussion now, but the whole affair had one salutary effect:
I have changed my mind about voting for Mr. Obama. I shall now hold my nose and do so.
Look: the United States is on a steep road to the bottom. It is probably too late to prevent the ultimate collapse, maybe five years from now, maybe 20 years from now. (A lot depends on the rapidity of global climate change and the tenacity with which America clings to fossil fuels for everything.)
I have no love for Mr. Obama and his policies: his frequent cave-ins to Republican pressures, his propensity to unitary executive actions against individuals who oppose him, and his willingness to bend the Constitution, including legal due process, well past the breaking point. He is not an admirable person.
But I believe that a President Romney, a man with a level of fundamental human sympathy inferior to that of a drunken wealthy frat boy, especially if he were to end up with a Republican Congress, would bring about at least America’s economic collapse almost immediately, while the re-election of President Obama would leave us not much worse off than we are at present… still nothing to dance about, but at least there may be some chance of a recovery in a few years. And perhaps a few radical social-conservative bills in Congress, of which we’re seeing a lot lately, will draw an actual veto from Obama.
I know… “maybe he won’t be unbearably bad” is not the strongest endorsement of the man, but it’s the best I can offer under the circumstances. Let me phrase it slightly differently: with Obama, perhaps the US will not immediately turn into Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.
If your outlook on Mr. Obama is similar to mine, you have a decision to make of far greater consequence than mine, because you probably live in a state that is not so red that Obama would never win it anyway… that describes Texas, of course. My vote means nothing. My lack of a vote would have meant nothing, too. So it’s up to you… not me… to see to it that Romney is swept into the dumpster of history. Help me out here!
(Click the graphic above to be taken to a place from which you can buy a bumper sticker. For the sticker in context, please click (link deleted… web site is registered to a web designer for the Republican Caucus of the legislature in a state out West). Something seemed fishy about the wording and by-and-large anonymity of the site. Worse, its list of links to major liberal/progressive sites was not labeled… are they participants? endorsers? just a blogroll? a fake-out to make you think it’s a progressive outfit? I don’t know why a Republican web designer would be tweaking liberals/progressives in that way, but it’s not the first such spoof I’ve encountered.)