Virginia Turns Blue photo

My 2012 Presidential Election Motto Is No We Can’t (Have A Republican)

In my most political heart, I believe the presidential race should have the two best candidates for the job regardless of their chances of winning. That is the crux of a democracy — not parties but good people running for office.

But in my I-really-don’t-want-a-Republican-to-control-the-White-House heart, I don’t want the best Republican to win the nomination. (Or at this point, I don’t want Romney to win the nomination. I don’t know if Romney is the best Republican candidate for our country, but he polls the best against Obama.)

I catch myself hoping one of the more fundamentalist Republicans gets the nomination. I want the winning scenario even while putting the country at risk. I care more about a Republican not being in the White House than I care about our country.

I find myself playing political defense in part because I don’t want to campaign hard for Obama. I would like to quietly watch the race unfold, add a few jabs to the most ignorant responses, donate some money and have a Democrat in the White House.

Virginia Turns Blue photo
We really felt like we had joined with others in Virginia to do this with and for Obama. Will I ever feel this way again?

While I am very proud of the healthcare bill, which is a good bill to anyone who actually understands it, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and many other accomplishments (seriously, click that link because he has done a lot), I am also defeated.

The paternalistic response of blocking the over-the-counter access of Plan B is appalling. I don’t need another father, I need an objective president who makes decisions based on science and supports the evidence-based medicine, knowledge of doctors and the FDA.

However, the strongest reason for my disillusionment of a man I strongly campaigned for in Virginia is the continued existence of the Guantanamo Bay detention center and the policy of indefinite incarceration kept in place through acts such as National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA). These are, for me, the greatest failure of the Obama presidency, and while each time Obama states he strongly oppose the clauses that allow for indefinite detention, including U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism, he still signs the bills.

I don’t expect a president I elect to do everything I would like, but American ideals and justice die at the Guantanamo Bay gates.  It is a campaign promise that I have difficulty forgiving him for not keeping.  I will not withhold a vote, but will I withhold my voice?

Instead of feeling inspired, I imagine Election Day 2012 as something I watch more afraid of who could win than if President Obama loses.  I hope the next few months Obama helps me win back my idealism and trust in the political process.  If I can vote for President Obama and not against an unnamed Republican, it will be a win for both of us.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

37 thoughts to “My 2012 Presidential Election Motto Is No We Can’t (Have A Republican)”

  1. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I’ll be following your blog throughout this election season.

    You put to words exactly how I feel. And I imagine that when we may end up disagreeing, you’ll be giving me food for thought.

    I had to laugh when you said you care more about a Republican not winning than you care about your country. Laughing through the sadness of it all.

    Because I so get it.

    1. I found it to be an incredibly sad post to write. I reconsidered it many times as it felt like a betrayal of my country, my ideals, my party, my president. But it’s where I am at.

      I’m glad you’ll be here to comment, challenge and walk the election season with me.

      1. Please don’t feel like a traitor, Alex. Leaders on both sides have betrayed US. Media has betrayed us. Corruption is normal to them. It’s how the game’s played. We are the ones who’ve been betrayed. To them, it’s all a power play. We’re just the peasants who’ve been brainwashed into thinking we matter.
        I’m looking for a candidate who is anti-establishment. One not controlled by Big Money. Big money, whether it be corporations, or power hungry union LEADERS (not the workers) controls the puppets. Period. I believe I’ve found one & that’s Ron Paul. I’m keeping my eye on him 🙂

  2. I admit, I’m one of the Americans that does not feel much hope. I have always considered myself liberal which tends to equate to the Democratic party, but I am really quite unhappy with Obama- especially in the most recent signing of NDAA. I’m leery of the motives of ANY candidate these days. I like Obama as a person and I’m glad to see the more “human” side of him when he comes home to Hawai’i every winter (he stays in the town I live in). However, his politics are starting to bug me.

    For the first time, and it’s hard to admit, I actually like a Republican candidate. Although I don’t agree with his social opinions (like abortion), in general I like Ron Paul. I appreciate his ideals and quest for liberty. If I had to label myself, I’d say I’m not a “Liberal Libertarian.” I believe in helping oneself and pursuing one’s goals, but I also believe in the support to get to self-sufficiency- not a “sink or swim” approach. I doubt Paul will get the Republican nomination- he’s too much of a threat to the party. But I do like him.

    As time goes by, I get a little less hopeful for the future of the United States. I’m usually an optimistic and hopeful person so this is unfamiliar territory for me. I don’t know the right answer and I don’t trust any of the major contenders to make good choices right now. Politics is so corrupted by the faceless people that aren’t most politicians just puppets anyway these days?

    And now I’m babbling. I look forward to reading your thoughts as the year goes on and engaging in intelligent conversation that isn’t taken personally. Yay for respectful conversing!

  3. Oh, Alex. Really?

    “I care more about a Republican not being in the White House than I care about our country.”

    1. That particular line was in terms of wanting the Republicans to choose the easiest candidate to defeat rather than who could run the country well. Our of context it sounds much sadder.
      Although perhaps that’s the whole point of this post. Partisanship makes it more about parties and voting against others than voting for our country.

      1. I understand where you are coming from, and we have reached a point where we are voting for the lesser of the two evils and it is sad. I am not a fan of Romney at all. He is a big government politician as well, which I don’t like at all since I am more of a libertarian in my views.

        “I will not withhold a vote, but will I withhold my voice?” Your vote is your voice, but again sadly we seem to vote for the candidate were are against even if we don’t really like the candidate we are voting for, and I hate that our country has become that way.

        It’s a double edged sword because I may not like either candidate, but I still feel an obligation to practice my right to vote.

        I hope this all makes sense. I am operating on hardly any sleep and currently sucking down some coffee.

  4. I don’t know that it is possible these days to vote for someone and in that same act do what is right for the country. Because I can’t seem to find anyone on either side that truly has the interest of the country or its people truly at heart. At least they may start out with that lovely ideal – but oh how quickly they are spoiled, soured, and soiled. It is frustrating because it just sends us further into big trouble. I don’t think it will get better until a complete overhaul occurs – and I doubt that’s a realistic possibility.It all makes me very sad.

  5. You care more about a Republican not being in the White House than you care about our country?!? Sounds like you need some more patriotism. Sorry Alex, but this entire post is very close-minded. You’re basically saying that you don’t care who the GOP nominee is as long as they can’t beat Obama, without even exploring what they stand for or what their plans for the country are! I am a liberal and this still appalls me.

    1. Did the fact that this saddens me and I want it to change not come through?
      Also, I believe that going through a cynical or disillusioned time is not appalling but normal in the course of any period of change.
      Wishing to work through this rather than remain routing for a bad candidate is because of my patriotism. Although I do worry about our country’s ideals versus current reality.

  6. “I care more about a Republican not being in the White House than I care about our country.”

    no, you care about a republican not being in the white house BECAUSE you care about your country. barack obama has proven to be, in my opinion, a heartbreaking disappointment–in part for the reasons you cite above, and a laundry list of others as well. i have come to hate the democrats almost as much as i hate the republicans–they are cowardly, craven, unimaginative, frightened, and utterly incapable of standing up for any of the principles that distinguish the party. but the republicans, with their unapologetic (and mostly self-serving) evangelism, their naked pandering to the rich, and their reckless disregard for the deterioration of the global environment, are truly terrifying. four more years of obama is not much of a victory. but four years of mitt romney, with the lunatics who currently comprise the republican portion of congress pulling his strings? four years of newt gingrich, off his meds with his finger on the button and a wild hair up his ass? four years of ron paul, whose libertarianism somehow does not preclude interfering in the reproductive rights of women or the marriage rights of gay americans? god help us all.

    what i would like to see, however, is joe biden and hillary clinton swapping jobs. let hillary be VP this time around. then she can run in 2016. and she’ll do a better job.

    1. Hi Vikki,

      Although I firmly disagree with Ron Paul’s stance on abortion, the worst that would happen with him is it would go to state’s rights. As a whole, I believe in 10th amendment of our Bill of Rights so this particular issue challenges my views on that.

      As for gay marriage, in his newest book, Liberty Defined, Paul’s chapter on “Marriage” states, “In a free society…all voluntary and consensual agreements would be recognized.” He adds, “There should essentially be no limits to the voluntary definition of marriage.” He also states that government should get out of marriage altogether, for all people. He states that marriage should be kept through personal choice and churches. If you want to call your binding relationship a marriage, go ahead, but if not, that’s fine to.

      For me personally, I think it’s ridiculous that we attach marriage to rights. Make them all a civil union and if you want to call it married, have at it. If we’re going to keep calling what I have with my husband a marriage, that’s fine, too, but then it DOES have to be equal for everyone. As long as we all have the same rights in a partnership, I don’t care what it’s called.

      So, although I disagree completely with Ron Paul’s personal views of abortion and gay marriage, he does not support taking away the rights altogether. Libertarianism brings the 10th amendment in to full light which is something our extremely large government currently lacks.

      Respectfully,
      Nicole

      1. That’s the ‘safe bet’ with Ron Paul. Whatever his own personal beliefs are, he is strictly against imposing them on someone else. That’s what Libertarians stand for….the freedom to believe what you believe. Ron Paul is anxious to get in there and make changes that will wipe out some of the corruption & power leverages of those who abuse them. That’s what I like about him 🙂

      2. i hear you, nicole, and i wouldn’t necessarily oppose equalizing the situation by doing away with special rights for all married people, straight or gay–i do very much agree that “marriage” is primarily a religious concept, and have always felt that there’s no threat to religious people on this score, their sacramental rites have nothing to do with what the government sanctions or doesn’t. as for abortion, what i would say to you and to dana k below is, letting the issue go over to state’s rights may very well BE “the worst that can happen.” here in virginia, the republicans in our state government have made no secret of their pro-life agenda, and in my home state of ohio there is legislation pending that would devastate women’s reproductive rights. i think what bothers me most about ron paul is that he calls himself libertarian, which i can respect in philosophy even if i don’t agree on many issues, but he DOES seek to impose his views on others by authoring his “sanctity of life act” and promising to remove the federal judiciary from jurisdiction over these issues (and practically everything else!). i never heard him talk about his “faith” before this election cycle, and maybe that’s just because i wasn’t paying as much attention to him, but it seems like this time around he is right up there with the rest of the republicans, pledging his devotion to jesus. i don’t disagree about the forces behind both parties–but if i’m going to try to vote my principles, i have to go democratic, even if they have failed to live up to those principles on practically every score.

        1. Hi Vikki 🙂
          I am neutral on the subject of abortion. While I understand the ‘Pro-choice’ view, I also understand the ‘Pro-life’ view. The term for pro-choice seems a bit hypocritical to conservatives, because it doesn’t give the infant soul who wishes to take journey on this earth, a choice. Their rights & desires have been denied.

          On the subject of ‘states rights’ I guess I’m in favor of that. That would be libertarianism — to be free to live in a state where your point of view is respected and heard. There’s 50 of them, if you don’t like that one, go find another 😉

          I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ron Paul mention Jesus. He pretty much keeps his religion personal. Appreciate your input <3

  7. I feel this SAME way. I am frustrated with Obama despite the good I know he has done.

    And yes, right now? I care more about the GOP picking the biggest loony so that Obama will just win. Even though I am disappointed with Obama.

    It is SAD that in my mind the only thing worse than keeping things the same would be ANY Republican in office.

    But I am from Michigan where they kicked out a Democrat that was “disappointing” and voted in a “smart, nerdy” (his words) Republican who is effing things up so bad, you would think he has voodoo dolls of poor people and punches middle class kids for fun.

    So there’s that.

  8. It’s really hard to be optimistic during this election year (already, 5 days in). On the one hand, there’s a bunch of ultra-conservative whack jobs up for the Republican nomination, and then there’s Obama, who I was also so excited for and still I also feel slightly let down. I’m a registered Democrat, so I won’t be able to vote in the primaries. My future kind of rests in the hands of conservative voters. Which is REALLY scary. All I can do is hang on tight to the chair, and wait out the rough ride. Hopefully by November, we can all feel better about everything. And maybe Obama can turn things around for those undecided voters.

  9. I never, ever thought I would live to see the day I made the following statement:

    I would rather vote for Obama.

    But if Santorum is the only other option, I fear it will have to happen. It doesn’t mean, however, that I could be considered a Liberal, not that I am a Conservative anymore either.

    (I could just not vote, but I think that is a bigger crime than voting Democratic. /snark)

    I agree with your sentiment that there doesn’t seem to be anone who is genuine or wants to actually help real people. It saddens me as well because there should be men of that caliber, regardless of affiliation.

    Almost all the people I know and am friends with are Progressive/Liberal, which I think makes me a better Libertarian/Conservative. But I have never known someone as honest as you are about their feelings. It is a refreshing thing.

    I said to my husband tonight (who is a staunch Conservative, without the religious part) that I feared I was developing Progressive leanings. /horror
    We joked about it, but with so many of the issues no longer being as black and white for me it was partly true. For the first time in a really long time, bloggers like you are making more sense to me than the ones I usually read.

    Add to that the OWS movement (parts of it anyway), and the more I see that it HAS to be about more than simple political ideology. Both sides aren’t all bad/good, right/wrong. There has to be a coming together. There has to be true compromise.

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you made me think a little harder about the topic than I would normally have done. And I thank you for it.

        1. Plz elaborate. I’m still pondering him myself. But he seems to be the only one who may have a real interest in the little guy and our civil liberties. He’s had the same public stance on the issues for 40 years or so.

  10. I am in the same boat, Alex. Although I think Romney would perhaps be better than Sani-i-torium. He’s a freak.

    I am so sad and disillusioned, too. Why on Earth can’t the Republican party give us a candidate worth voting for? It’s been decades! I almost won’t be able to stomach pulling the lever this year.

  11. While I hope Obama is re-elected as well, I disagree. It terrifies me to think that some extremist nutjob could even have the potential to get back into the White House. I really wish that both parties could start acting like rational human beings and it starts with the electorate. It’s the trickle up effect.

    1. I have always felt that way about the nut job potential up until this election year.
      However, I have a hard time seeing it as a trickle up effect. With much of the mass media and politics controlled by corporations and PACs even getting involved in local politics, it takes work to see through the sound bytes and seize control.
      And even people have more say than my current cynic view of the US contends, people are working more and making less (of what they want at least). How many of us have the time or inclination to move beyond sound bytes and easy answers if we could?

      1. First off, I want to preface this with saying I respect you and your opinion, but dude, that is such a cop out. People say they don’t have time to research politicians? Really? Most people spend half of their day online. You mean, people can’t be bothered to cut out half the time they spend watching Youtube videos of babies dancing to Beyonce and read a bit about politicians’ track records? Please. Yes, politicians are controlled heavily, but it’s not hard to figure out by whom (or is it who? idk) if you spend a little time reading. In this day and age, it’s particularly easy to look around and figure out who and what they represent much easier than when I first started voting and back then, if you didn’t read newspapers, like the real physical paper, you were pretty much tied to commercials and the opinions of those around you.

        I think the biggest problem is people don’t know how to research and figure out whose opinions’ to trust and the problem is not too little info, it’s too much. People aren’t ignorant about the candidates, they just don’t know how to decipher the accuracy of the messages received. So, instead they rely on one-issue voting and sound bytes, but not because of lack of information.

        1. Thanks for pushing me to clarify.
          Perhaps, people (who aren’t working 2 jobs) would rather watch dancing babies and picking up sound bytes. But I also think it’s unfair to blame “the masses,” or a less weighted term “the voters,” for our political messes. For example, running for office takes money so our choices are already whittled down to the affluent and with bigger money taking interest in local politics, it’s everywhere. Media is definitely choosing which Republican to give attention too.
          I think we could all care more about our country not with flags but with the hard work it takes to vote by candidate rather than party or single issues. But I also think the system needs to change. I would like to see a 4 party system rise up. I think the existence of blogs and online media help with the media onslaught. I also think some mainstream media organizations still have amazing integrity.
          I think we are at a very interesting time in our country and I wonder which way we as a people and as system will go.

  12. PUZZLE:
    Imagine that both parties are controlled by the same people…the wealthy elitists who actually run the world with their money. (Bankers & Politicians)

    Imagine they create extreme differences on both sides to cover the bases. Each side has a different agenda that will accomplish the same goal.

    Imagine that neither side really means what they say. They only love the power that they hold. Corruption rules them both.

    Figure out the goal and take a serious look at Ron Paul. He is not the quack the media (which is owned and controlled by the wealthy elitists) makes him out to be….they just don’t like him because they know he will attempt to tear them all down and they are scared to death of his win. Wake up & educate yourselves. We are at hanging in the balance. Don’t be fooled….It’s NOT Democrat or Republican, that’s a smoke screen….it’s FREEDOM!

  13. I really appreciate that there is some genuine civil discourse in these comments which I think is depressingly rare, even among people who generally agree. Alex, I did read your post partly as a statement on your own personal (political?) disillusionment rather than as any sort of assault on America or even on Obama. I know that you love our country dearly and that you are someone who takes your beliefs and values very seriously, which I think makes for a great citizen.
    I have also felt disappointed in some of what has happened since Obama took office. And I am someone who canvassed door to door for his campaign when I was working full-time with a very young baby at home. I have also debated about whether or not I will take the time and energy to support him as vigorously this time around; and I still don’t know what I will do. But I do think that as glaring as his failings may be we have to consider the environment in which he is working, and also look to the many successes you mention. Women’s reproductive rights and, even more so, human civil liberties are huge, huge issues, don’t get me wrong. But he has had enormous triumphs where many others failed, and in the end, there have been major efforts to derail his agenda and sometimes those efforts have succeeded. I am choosing to go forward with a lot of enthusiasm and optimism, not just because he is the lesser of two evils, but because I am genuinely proud of what he has accomplished, and hope that we as a country can get behind him and let him continue this work.

    All of that said, I am proud to say that I have never had a party affiliation and would happily embrace a Republican or Independent who more closely represented my own values and beliefs, many of which never even come up in the national debate and/or are thoroughly trashed when they do. In the end, I have also decided that I probably need to look more closely at my own involvement–am I giving money and/or time to the causes in which I believe? It is so easy to use having small kids as an excuse for not getting involved, but really, they should be my primary reason to become more educated and committed. I hope you can continue to use your blog to foster some good discussion during the election season and I hope we can all agree that our amazing country is well worth all the crazy BS we have to wade through to make change happen.

  14. I hate to say it, but I feel the exact same way– especially about No Child Left Behind. Have you ever read it? I bet not– it’s almost 800 pages long. It needs to be repealed– we don’t need to add to the burden of the education system by making them prepare elaborate requests for waivers, etc. And some of the policies that are hitting higher education right now (and flying under the radar for most Americans) are insanely inhibitive.
    I agree with universal care and and I’m proud of Obama for finding Bin Laden. I’m glad that we’re out of Iraq. And yet, I don’t want to overtly support him this time around. I sit back and watch the Republican party implode (while still being fearful– could we actually elect a man who thinks all birth control should be banned?) and hope that the least qualified candidate is put forth.

  15. You can tell from your post how frustrated you are with the whole government process… so am I. My biggest issue is that we are all pigeonholed into voting Republican or Democrat. Neither side makes good choices and neither side represents the stuff I want to see done in my country. It’s true, most of us vote the “lesser of the two evils” and that is pretty sad. I don’t think there has ever been a presidential candidate that I have truly been supportive of. I think the best you can do is decide which issue is the “most” important to you and go with that. Promises are pretty pointless when it comes to elections. We’ve definitely seen that.

  16. I’d like to know what Obama’s obstacles were which made closing Guantanamo not a priority. Any idea on that one? And I don’t think I could ever feel as much despair over the future of the country as I did when Bush (Jr) got re-elected.

  17. Yes. Yes yes yes. I absolutely agree. I like Obama, I really do. I WANT him to succeed. I’ve been patiently waiting for this success. Four years wasn’t enough time to fix everything, but I really feel like he could do more–there’s still time in this term, even.

    What’s that saying? “The devil you know…”. Yeah, that’s where I am. Obama is the devil we know. The GOP candidates are the devils who scare the crap out of me.

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