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August 2011
Poll #1808266 worse president
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 0

Which would be worse, from a president of the United States?

View Answers
Signing into law indefinite imprisonment of US citizens without a trial.*
0 (0.0%)
Giving state legislatures the power to outlaw abortion.*
0 (0.0%)

And why can't a decent human being run for president?
  • i like the fact that some state have the power of federal recall

    and that some state apparently have banned certain people from running there :>

    but the states always have to the right, unless some uppity fed overrules that with great threats. i think it says that somewhere on a piece of paper. that which is not disallowed, is allowed. that is: they cannot grant power per se, just block it.

    we already know which guy to not vote for. or which party. sadly, it might come down to the lesser of weasels, though honestly, the guy hasn't committed "sin" yet, so, why not?

  • OK, I’m going to see if I can calm down enough to type an actual response.

    President Obama signed the defense budget. That was passed in the eleventh hour as a result of extremely contentious negotiations between the Senate, more or less in the hands of grownups on both sides of the aisle, and the House of Representatives, which would turn the United States of America into a totalitarian theocracy if it could. (Hint: The House of Representatives is not controlled by the same party as the President.)

    There is an awful lot of awful stuff in that bill. There is an awful lot of awful stuff in that bill in part because the GOP fascists (and I use that word deliberately; fascism is antithetical to the expressed values of the Tea Party ground troops, but it is the driving force of their puppetmasters and funders) in the House knew that it was a must-pass bill.

    Now, I don’t know the specifics about the negotiations between the President and Congress over the specific indefinite detention provision you’re talking about, but I agree that that’s utterly appalling. However, I do know that Obama said he would veto an earlier version of the bill that mandated that any judicial process about civilians so held could only be conducted by military tribunals, not civilian courts. Obama insisted that the Executive Branch at least have the authority to move such detainees to civilian courts. I.e., he was threatening not to sign the bill, and let the entire military shut down,* if Congress insisted that civilians held by the military could only be tried by military tribunals and were beyond the jurisdiction of civilian courts. (He also, according to my fuzzily-remembered source, insisted on removal of a provision which would have made it harder to prosecute torture of detainees.)

    So, the bill he eventually signed was awful, but he spent some political capital to make it a little bit less awful.

    Looking at The Wikipedia article, it looks like a lot of the controversial provisions in the bill were explicitly granting powers that W. and the hawks had previously said were implicitly granting (and also explicitly forcing the Executive to use them in certain circumstances). Obama managed to negotiate language that did not alter the status quo as much (leaving it legal for US citizens in military custody for terrorism to be transferred to civilian custody, and leaving a lot of the powers W.’s administration had de facto assumed for itself in their previous ambiguous state rather than explicitly granting them). [cont’d]
  • [part 2 — this was too long for an LJ comment]

    Do you actually want to make the United States of America a freer place through the electoral and legislative processes, or do you just want to overthrow the government tomorrow and not let anybody who disagrees with you have any role in government? If you actually want to work within the framework of the Constitution, you have to put up with a lot of sausagemaking, unfortunately, and sometimes the sausage is really really nasty. If you don’t want politicians to work within the constitution, fine — but then you have to admit that you don’t think they deserve to be in office because they disagree with you and your friends, rather than because they support policy that is unconstitutional.

    As far as Ron Paul, I don’t know for an absolute fact that he himself is racist in his own mind, only that he published a newsletter which used his name and purported to be from him and about his views which called for race war and gave advice for killing black people. And I sort of presume that the content of that newsletter which he published came up from time to time, even if he didn’t actually write its contents himself, given that he was a fairly high-profile gadfly and the newsletter was published for him and under his name. OK, yes, despite what a former aide said about him, come to think of it, sure sounds like he is racist, or at the very least willing to culitivate explicitly racist support for political advantage. And I do feel confident that he’s homophobic. (See that previous link. And of course, since that link is from a former Paul staffer, I hope it goes without saying that I don’t agree with all or most of the points of view in it.)

    So, Ron Paul is evil. Now, I support the right of people to hate whom they please in their private lives. [Edit: The legal right. I don’t think they should be immune to criticism. Ron Paul thinks if your boss threatens to fire because you won’t agree to have sex with him you should quit your job and not rely on the government to intervene. I think if your boss threatens to fire you because you’re a racist scumball you should quit your job and not rely on the government to intervene.] But if somebody is so morally messed up as to be racist (or at least happy having vile, violent racist stuff printed under his own name and presented as representing his views) and homophobic, doesn’t that make you wonder the slightest little bit about his moral compass? So, yes, I’d pick Barack Obama over Ron Paul. I’d also pick Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney over Ron Paul. And I think despite Nixon’s private racism and public “Southern strategy” and power-hungriness and paranoia, I’d probably take Richard Nixon over Ron Paul.

    * It’s slightly more complicated than this; I believe the consensus of Constitutional scholars is that the US could still constitutionally feed and house soldiers, and maybe even pay to bring them back from the battlefield, even without authorized funding, but my sense is that the constitutional issues are not clear. And I believe that the consensus of Constitutional scholars is that the US could not actually fight, or make payments on its procurement contracts. Many people, of course, think that would be a good thing, but in any case it’s a Very Big Deal with unpredictable constitutional consequences. Would you like to see it go to the Supreme Court and end up with a precedent that the President can tell the military to do anything even if it’s not funded by Congress?

    Edited at 2012-01-04 07:23 am (UTC)
  • PS — a couple more articles

    This story has some Paul quotes — both quotes from the ’80s and ’90s that are now coming under scrutiny and quotes from Paul now about those publications.

    And linked from that story, FACT CHECK: Ron Paul Personally Defended Racist Newsletters. A highlight (supported by Paul quotes):
    When the newsletters first arose as an issue in 1996, Paul didn’t deny authorship. Instead, Paul personally repeated and defended some of the most incendiary racial claims in the newsletters.

    This article and this one are, to be fair, mostly about a prominent Paul supporter rather than about Paul himself. But when Kayser initially endorsed Paul the Paul campaign trumpeted that endorsement as a demonstration that Paul’s small-(Federal)-government goals were compatible with the goals of would-be-theocrats like Kayser. (I would recommend reading all of that last article.)
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