Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Question for Liberals

Same question as the one for conservatives, also leaning on the 4th of July week and my Salon column yesterday about the importance of elections:

What politicians are you most proud of having supported?

38 comments:

  1. Russ Feingold. He was the first politician I ever saw speak in public and the first I donated money to.

    He was a lonely voice in favor of civil libertarianism and his absence is a real loss for the Senate.

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  2. Barack Obama, back when he was considered a longshot to Hillary Clinton.

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  3. Many on the local level, but to shout out two names that will be recognize by fellow Plain Bloogers, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Sherrod Brown.

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  4. I'd start with Gene McCarthy (I once heard Phil Ochs refer to him as "a poet among theives," which is a memorable line, if nothing else). He took on a sitting president, with little or no hope of winning (or financial support), made the war an issue, and won that battle even though he lost the nomination.

    Then George McGovern, a fine, fine man undercut by the times. I was one of two votes for him in my precicnt and was married to the other McGovern voter.) The appearance, within 6 months of the eletion of "Don't Blame me; I Voted for McGovern" bumper stickers was some vindication.

    I have a fondness for Tom Hayden, although I'm less than certain that he was all that effective in the California legislature. But anyone who could have written the opening to the Port Huron Statement ("We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit...") (think he was consciously trying to sound like Jefferson?) (http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/huron.html)

    Andy Jacobs, long-time Representative from the urban area of Indianapolis.

    Lately? Not so many.

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  5. Pat Schroeder in her early years, not so much later when she reverted to type.

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  6. Pete McCloskey, liberal Republican representative from what became Silicon Valley in the 60s and 70s. He used to show up on Stanford campus unannounced and just start talking to students about the war. A decorated veteran of the Korean war, he co-sponsored the Endangered Species Act.

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  7. First election I ever voted in was obama v. Clinton. I want hillary 2016 now, but still glad I supported obama.

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    1. I find it dubious that Biden can carry the day, no matter how nice he is. There just isn't the exposure and responsibility as VP, and he's often been characterized as clumsy in media. Just as the media called Gore wooden without cause, it's something that'll hurt his candidacy.

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  8. Jill Stein. I voted for Obama in the 2008 primary and general, and for the most part I still support him. But I don't think about voting as a big strategy thing and a few days before voting I realized that in my heart the ideas of Jill Stein more closely resemble my own. I still would have bet every dollar I had that Obama would win, along the lines of 538, but it was a vote of principle and ultimately I think that's what makes democracy awesome.

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    1. Which is a pretty good argument that politics is the place for pragmatism rather than simple adherence to principle.

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  9. Robert John BurkeJune 30, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    I used to be pretty proud of electing Barack Obama, because I thought we'd overcome incredible odds to elect someone with the potential for greatness.

    Then I started reading some political science blog, where I learned that his victory was inevitable due to economic fundamentals and the West Wing/Mr. Smith "great man" model of president is mostly a myth.

    ...now I GUESS I'm still glad I did it... sort of...

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    1. Robert John BurkeJune 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      (By the way, in case it's not obvious, I'm being totally tongue-in-cheek here. I mean, I do think political science removes some of the mystery and grandeur from politics, just like sabermetrics does the same for baseball. But knowledge is still a Good Thing, regardless...)

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    2. Robert John BurkeJune 30, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Erm, I had another post above this one. I'm not sure whether it went missing or was deleted. (If I gave any offense, I apologize, though I guess it may have been a glitch.) In any case, could you delete this one, too? It doesn't make any sense without the first one...

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    3. Don't know if anyone is still reading this, but: sorry, spam catcher for some reason ate this; restored now.

      Disagree on substance, BTW (both on politics and baseball), but I try to stay out of the Sunday Questions threads...

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  10. Dennis Kucinich.

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  11. Bill Russell for President. I don't really remember why I supported him over Gore, or if looking back and pretending they were both running today I'd still support him, but that's not the point for me. It isn't about Bill Russell why I'm proud of the support. To paint the stage, I was 18, senior year in High School. For whatever reason, supported Russell. My state worked by caucus, so went out and did the thing. Each town needed to send electors to the state Democratic Convention. For whatever reason, I volunteered. So one Saturday a month or two later, even though it was clear Gore won the state, I went out to whatever town it was in, did the job of an elector. Actually, the convention was pretty boring, and I don't really think I learned anything meaningful, but that also isn't the point. It's just an interesting experience I wouldn't have had, if I'd supported Gore.

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    1. I think you mean Bill *Bradley*...

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    2. I think he does, to, although the idea of Bill Russell as President is kinda cool.

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    3. Next thing you know, you'll be telling me Erik Spoelstra isn't the House majority leader...

      Still, touche.

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  12. Barry Commoner for President, Citizens Party, 1980 (granted, a protest vote)

    George McGovern for President, Democratic Primary, Illinois, 1984 (granted, a nostalgia vote)

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    1. Sorry, three more:

      Harold Washington for mayor of Chicago, 1983

      Paul Simon for U.S. Senate from Illinois, 1984

      Grace Mary Stern for Lt. Governor of Illinois, 1982 (?) -- the last time I voted for a Republican

      .....so at least a couple of people on my list actually won.

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    2. I'm from Illinois, and Paul Simon is also one of mine. Illinois has had some excellent senators over the years.

      Also to be bipartisan, Jim Edgar for governor of Illinois.

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  13. As a follow-up, sometime you should ask: Looking back, which of the votes that you cast makes you cringe the most?

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    1. Or which votes are you really ashamed of missing? Like f'rinstance in my case -- I was registered in NY for years of college & grad school when I was not daily present, and the absentee ballot system is ... what it is, and therefore I missed a lot of votes. I know I didn't vote in the 2008 Presidential primary, which whatever, personal ambivalence plus foregone conclusion plus being in England. But I believe that I also missed the open Dem Congressional primary in 2006, a rare event in itself -- still rarer, a contested open primary -- one wrt which I had a preference, and further a minority preference. (I.e., my Assemblyman, whose district was only a small part of the CD.) It wasn't close or anything -- I think my guy finished fourth, with maybe 25% of the vote -- though the winner only had about 31% herself. But that's like the case where you should make sure to vote, isn't it? -- I mean, if you live in NY and your vote is never actually going to make a difference to the outcome?

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    2. That's an easy one--Ralph Nader, 2000. I really didn't think there was much difference between Bush and Gore. I lived in California, so my vote didn't affect the overall election, but it's still really embarrassing.

      Most proud is easily Obama. I think he's done an extraordinary job under really difficult circumstances.

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    3. I have not actually voted for Barack Obama. I was in England in '08, applied for an absentee ballot, but the LA County Clerk never sent it. Based on that experience (plus CA being no contest), I didn't bother in '12 while in the Czech Republic. So I have to content myself with having voted for (and stumped for, and been at the victory celebration for) the first African-American mayor of Chicago, a very closely contested race that really brought out the white ethnic backlash vote.

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    4. Ross Perot '92. It seemed to me at the time to be a "none of the above" vote, a way to flip off The Man. But in hindsight we probably would have been better off with Dana Carvey impersonating him in the White House than the real deal.

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    5. It's easy for me: Pete Wilson for Governor of California. He campaigned as a moderate Republican, which used to exist in that state. I was snookered in.

      Of course, he proceeded to veer hard right, apparently with national ambitions, and I was aghast. He also deliberately initiated the conditions that destroyed his state party.

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  14. Here's the arch-pragmatist for you: Bill Clinton in the Massachusetts primary in 1992. I was one of about three people I knew to support him (Tsongas killed it with two-thirds of the vote, and even Jerry Brown, my progressive friends' favorite, beat Clinton). I say this even though Clinton was not a very liberal candidate and not a very liberal president, because I thought then, and still think, that Clinton was by far the most electable candidate in the field. Jerry Brown would quite possibly have said enough crazy things to lose to George Bush (pere), and Tsongas, in addition to being more ill than we knew, was both less liberal than Clinton and far less electable.

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  15. Dewhurst in the Senate primary because I have such antipathy for Ted Cruz.

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  16. The vote that would be among my proudest had not an assassin taken it away: Robert Kennedy.

    I voted for McGovern in 72, in the only state that he won. I too had a bumper sticker (on my guitar case): Don't Blame Me, I'm From Massachusetts.

    The vote that finally made me happy: Bill Clinton, because I was pretty sure he was going to win. I played "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" on a tape loop in my car driving to the polls.

    I am proud I voted for Gore in 2000.
    And for Harris Wofford for US Senate from PA, the year he won and the year he lost.

    I'm proud to have voted for Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein when I moved to CA.

    But proudest of all of voting for Barack Obama, in two primaries and two general elections for President.

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    1. I've been proud of Boxer, but rarely Feinstein.

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    2. I second what Crissa said.

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  17. My best votes were for Clinton (92 and 96) and Gore (00). I supported Obama in the '08 primaries, and I now kinda wish Hillary had won. I've been more than a little disappointed by Obama. It wasn't much of a coin flip for me in '08, either...HRC's campaign as the frontrunner really cheesed me off.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. In college I kept my voter registration at my parents' so I could keep voting for (then) Rep Sherrod Brown

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