Endorsements 2012: State and national races

End the death penalty -- Yes on 34. Go Barack, and vote No on 35 for sexworker justice

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National races

PRESIDENT

BARACK OBAMA

You couldn't drive down Valencia Street on the evening of Nov. 4, 2008. You couldn't get through the intersection of 18th and Castro, either. All over the east side of the city, people celebrating the election of Barack Obama and the end of the Bush era launched improptu parties, dancing and singing in the streets, while the cops stood by, smiling. It was the only presidential election in modern history that create such an upwelling of joy on the American left — and while we were a bit more jaded and cautious about celebrating, it was hard not to feel a sense of hope.

That all started to change about a month after the inauguration, when word got out that the big insurance companies were invited to be at the table, discussing health-care reform — and the progressive consumer advocates were not. From that point on, it was clear that the "change" he promised wasn't going to be a fundamental shift in how power works in Washington.

Obama didn't even consider a single-payer option. He hasn't shut down Guantanamo Bay. He hasn't cut the Pentagon budget. He hasn't pulled the US out of the unwinnable mess in Afghanistan. He's been a huge disappointment on progressive tax and economic issues. It wasn't until late this summer, when he realized he was facing a major enthusiasm gap, that he even agreed to endorse same-sex marriage.

But it's easy to trash an incumbent president, particularly one who foolishly thought he could get bipartisan support for reforms and instead wound up with a hostile Republican Congress. The truth is, Obama has accomplished a fair amount, given the obstacles he faced. He got a health-care reform bill, weak and imperfect as it was, passed into law, something Democrats have tried and failed at since the era of FDR. The stimulus, weak and limited as it was, clearly prevented the recession from becoming another great depression. His two Supreme Court appointments have been excellent.

And the guy he's running against is a disaster on the scale of G.W. Bush.

Mitt Romney can't even tell the truth about himself. He's proven to be such a creature of the far-right wing of the Republican Party that it's an embarrassment. A moderate Republican former governor of Massachusetts could have made a credible run for the White House — but Romney has essentially disavowed everything decent that he did in his last elective office, has said one dumb thing after another, and would be on track to be one of the worse presidents in history.

We get it: Obama let us down. But there's a real choice here, and it's an easy one. We'll happily give a shout out to Jill Stein, the candidate of the Green Party, who is talking the way the Democrats ought to be talking, about a Green New Deal that recognizes that the richest nation in the history of the world can and should be doing radically better on employment, health care, the environment, and economic justice. And since Obama's going to win California by a sizable majority anyway, a protest vote for Stein probably won't do any harm.

But the next four years will be a critical time for the nation, and Obama is at least pushing in the direction of reality, sanity and hope. We endorsed him with enthusiasm four year ago; we're endorsing him with clear-eyed reality in 2012.

Comments

I enjoy reading the almost laughable excuse making for Obama: his naivete, his stimulus (mostly tax breaks for owners, not income for workers), his great "free market" loving Supreme Court appointments. Would the Afghanistan war be okay if it were "winnable" like Grenada or Panama? As if Romney will be much different.

I don't begrudge anyone for their enthusiasm four years ago, misguided as it might have been. Our choices are so limited in the two party duopoly, and lots of good people who want a different type society also want something positive in which to believe, so they drank the Obama kool-aid.

What happened to the days when the Guardian took a more radical outlook? I vaguely remember you endorsing a third party candidate for President once. Was it Nader? Now you are down to a "shout out." I suppose your evolution into a lukewarm liberal rag reflects the rightward shift of electoral politics of the last forty years.

Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein, really? How about no endorsement. Then again, lets give Feinstein six more years to funnel war, real estate, and education profits to her husband's many business ventures so he can kick back some crumbs to some liberal humanitarian causes.

Posted by Eddie on Oct. 03, 2012 @ 3:36 am

Eddie - Thank you.

BG write: "Obama is at least pushing in the direction of reality, sanity and hope."

I guess these are some examples of that (you can google them):

1. ACLU Report: Obama administration expands domestic spying.

2. ACLU trashes Obama over indefinite detention and torture act

3. “White House Mulls ‘Unilateral Strikes’ in Africa. White House said to be reassessing al-Quaeda’s franchise in North Africa.”

That's sanity and "hope?" (Hope is another form of prayer, BTW.)

Eddie told it like it is. And I'll add to that:

The Guardian staff = Obamabots. They will put up with anything and make excuses for it as long as there's a D behind the candidate's name.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 5:13 am

You poor thing you somehow mistook this for another free periodical, The Examiner. In case you aren't aware, and clearly you are not, most San Francisco citizens pick up The Guardian to get away from far right infidels like you. You could always move to Contra Costa county where your kind of rhetoric is more welcome. In the meantime, do us a favor, and go away.....oh and you be sure to have a nice day.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2012 @ 6:56 am

Obama's been acting like a half-assed Republican, which is better than the full-assed Republican he's running against, but fortunately we don't have to vote for either of them. Obama has a solid majority here in California, so it's safe to vote third party and remind the Democrats of who they're supposed to be. Jill Stein's my second choice, and I'd also vote for Roseanne Barr before voting for Obama.

But I'm a Libertarian, and I'm supporting Gary Johnson - he's against war, against the drug war, against the Pentagon's leftover Cold War budget, against the "tough crime fighting" that has more people in prison in America than the Soviet Union ever had. (And in case you think I'd still support the Republicans, they've long since abandoned any pretense of fiscal responsibility, which had been their main selling point; I disagree with the Greens' progressive view of how much of society should be run by the government, but even they would spend less money doing good things than the Republicans or Democrats are spending on corporate welfare and military empire-building.)

Posted by Bill Stewart on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

They want America to be a better version of what it already is. They don;t want it to be become France or Sweden.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2012 @ 4:57 am

A better version of what it already is or of the myth that we are taught to believe?

Posted by Eddie on Oct. 03, 2012 @ 5:12 am

than those cold, wet European principalities. America is great, not least, because of what it is not as much as what it is. We set out to be not-europe and, notwithstanding our cultural and historical ties thereto, we don't want a monarchy, high taxes and an unfettered government.

Just be grateful that you have a choice - another great American trait.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2012 @ 5:51 am

Venezuela. Yep. Hugo Chavez's Venezuela routinely polls to be either the happiest country on earth or one of the top few. So by your argument we should be more like them. I'm glad we can agree on something!

Speaking of myth vs. reality...
-Most Europeans no longer live in monarchies. Your information is a little dated (as in 19th century).
-High taxes are a myth, at least for the great majority. Europeans tend to have more *progressive* tax structures, with higher top marginal rates. But that obscures the fact that taxes for working class and middle class Europeans (ie., most people) are comparable or in many cases lower than here in the US.
-Government is quite "fettered" actually, in the important ways. There's less spying and war spending and jailing of their citizens -much less than here. What government does more of, is making sure that people's rights are protected from unfettered business.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 03, 2012 @ 6:52 am

While the Bush Dynasty doesn't quite count as a monarchy, the G.W.Bush supporters and their policy wonks were really hot on promoting a "Unitary Executive" whose powers weren't limited by Congressional interference or the Federal Courts, and who could start wars whenever he thought it necessary and declare people to be "terrorist enemies", torture them, and throw them in prison with no possibility of a trial, which pretty much covers the worst parts of a monarchy except for having an unlimited term and passing power to your kids.

The Republican Party really abandoned the values of the Enlightenment that made us America instead of Cromwell's England. On the other hand, financially, they've abandoned any sense of fiscal responsibility, pretending that debts aren't just future taxes - and Paul Ryan says that cutting the military budget is entirely untouchable, showing that he's no more serious about fixing the deficit than his predecessor was and that he probably doesn't realize that the Cold War is over.

And no, Obama's not much better, but Bill Clinton is the closest we've had to a good Republican president since Eisenhower.

Posted by Bill Stewart on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

A better version of what it already is or of the myth that we are taught to believe?

Posted by Eddie on Oct. 03, 2012 @ 5:14 am

I think it a bit unfair to characterize Elizabeth Emken as a "standard right-wing-nut Republican out of Danville." Purple party people for the purple people party say split the ticket. Emken has promised not to be a party line voter, and having a child in special ed makes her particularly sensitive to education issues.

Posted by Guest SFreptile on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 11:28 am

By endorsing Barack Obama, the Bay Guardian has, for the first time in my memory endorsed someone who, by his actions can be described as a genuine war criminal. His subversion of our Constitution by supporting a pair of illegal foreign wars, as well as continuing the Bush surveilance state, prove to me that this man is no freind of those of us who truly believe in change and freedom.

In the half century plus that I have been on this earth, I have never seen a more deceitful, secretive, and openly manipulated administration than this one. But then, Obama's people were intimidated from the very beginning. His transition team feared a "revolt" from the national security establishment if they prosecuted Bush and his henchmen. And so Obama and his crew rolled on their backs and wagged their tails. Proof again why this nation has not had a real president since a November day in Dallas many years ago.

Posted by Guest JFD on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

Amen!

Posted by 99 on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

Then I guess you were in a coma when George W Bush was in charge since that was the most deceitful, secretive and manipulative administration that I have ever seen.

Posted by Jim M on Oct. 15, 2012 @ 11:15 am

Obama and Biden make Bush and Cheney look like Cheech and Chong.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

In its glowing endorsement of Tom Radulovich, the Guardian overlooked his enthusiastic support for DPT's recent efforts to blanket the Mission and Potrero areas with wall-to-wall PARKING METERS, which, according to DPT's first study, would have charged until 10 at night with no exemptions for local residents at all. DPT's proposal was backed up with a fraudulent survey taken in the middle of the day of people moving their cars and, yes folks, the people surveyed were commuters or people visiting local businesses. "No residents here" said DPT, ignoring the many working people, students, and artists who live in Mission / Potrero. The public hearing was overwhelmingly hostile to DPT's grab -- except for a supportive letter from Radulovich claiming to be a "private citizen" instead the government official he is. Apparently, Radulovich figured the meters would force area residents to sell their cars and increase BART ridership! (Conflict of interest?) A net search revealed a Tom Radulovich residing in the high heights of upper, upper Castro where there are, apparently, no parking meters at all (at least none that I could see on Google Streets.) If its the same guy, Radulovich's position is really the patrician "parking meters for you down, in the flats, but not for us, up in the hills!" Listen, folks, we may have to hold our noses and vote for the likes of Feinstein and Pelosi, but there is absolutely no reason to vote for someone who would impose this parking meter nightmare on our neighborhoods.

Posted by Nazcalito on Oct. 05, 2012 @ 8:12 am

The amazing thing about SFBG endorsements is that you haven't learned a thing about the nature of American politics over the past 40 years. In fact, Tim et al. used to get (most of) it. Now it's just one apology after another. Pathetic or delusional?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 07, 2012 @ 8:50 am

Isn't Tom Ammiano running for State Assembly District 17? You have him listed here as District 13 . . .

Posted by Kozmika on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

looks like the district numbers for many of these candidates are incorrect. per http://www.cadem.org/vote?id=0006

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2012 @ 9:34 am

Thanks for mentioning Jill Stein. It *is* an important opportunity that we have here in CA to vote for this strong, authentically progressive, articulate voice. The system is rigged to muffle these voices, and that is to everyone's detriment. We do have an opportunity here in CA to give her a boost since, if the Green Party candidate garners 5% of the vote, federal funds automatically kick in for the next go round in 2016. And as you stated, Obama is a clear winner in CA as it is.

As far as I'm concerned, if that's what it'll take for the public to hear these candidates, I'm going to exercise that power. You should consider it too. Here is the last lively, highly watchable (miracles do happen) 3rd Party debate, caught by too few of us:

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Third-Party-Presidential-Debate/10737435220-1/

Posted by Daniele E. on Nov. 03, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

A first term president always has reelection in mind. He will have his final term as president. As such, he will pull out all the stops (as much as he can). He has already come out in favor of gay marriage and health care for all. You'll see, he'll be the president in his second and last term when he doesn't have to worry about pleasing the center for reelection sake. He is smart and has the little guy/gal in mind. He's got what it takes to put the country on the right (and by that I mean left) track.

Posted by Andrea on Nov. 04, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

Obama will cut a "grand bargain" on "entitlements" that will screw Americans in the lame duck session.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

So why do you care?

Posted by Troll II on Nov. 04, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

Because our liberal friends will vote for Obama over Romney because Romney will decimate Social Security even though Obama is champing at the bit to decimate Social Security.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

improptu should be impromptu

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

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