If You’re in a Swing State, Vote AGAINST Romney & The Neocons

Long-time anti-war activist and hero of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg. (photo: Mark Constantini/SFChronicle)

Daniel Ellsberg, the world’s most famous whistleblower (and a 9/11 truth supporter) joins me on Truth Jihad Radio today (to be archived here) to discuss the burning question: Should you vote for drone murderer and Constitution-shredder Obama, just because the Romney-Netanyahu ticket is even worse?

Ellsberg’s answer: Only if you’re in a swing state. In that case, anything other than an Obama vote is a de facto vote to put Romney in the White House and let Netanyahu lead him by the nose into war on Iran, and maybe World War III.

If you’re a sentient life form (i.e. a VT reader) and not in a swing state, by all means, boycott the election or vote third party, says Ellsberg.  -KB

Defeat Romney, Without Illusions About Obama


by Daniel Ellsberg, ReaderSupportedNews


t is urgently important to prevent a Republican administration under Romney/Ryan from taking office in January 2013.

The election is now just weeks away, and I want to urge those whose values are generally in line with mine — progressives, especially activists — to make this goal one of your priorities during this period.

An activist colleague recently said to me: “I hear you’re supporting Obama.”

I was startled, and took offense. “Supporting Obama? Me?!”

“I lose no opportunity publicly,” I told him angrily, to identify Obama as a tool of Wall Street, a man who’s decriminalized torture and is still complicit in it, a drone assassin, someone who’s launched an unconstitutional war, supports kidnapping and indefinite detention without trial, and has prosecuted more whistleblowers like myself than all previous presidents put together. “Would you call that support?”

My friend said, “But on Democracy Now you urged people in swing states to vote for him! How could you say that? I don’t live in a swing state, but I will not and could not vote for Obama under any circumstances.”

My answer was: a Romney/Ryan administration would be no better — no different — on any of the serious offenses I just mentioned or anything else, and it would be much worse, even catastrophically worse, on a number of other important issues: attacking Iran, Supreme Court appointments, the economy, women’s reproductive rights, health coverage, safety net, climate change, green energy, the environment.

I told him: “I don’t ‘support Obama.’ I oppose the current Republican Party. This is not a contest between Barack Obama and a progressive candidate. The voters in a handful or a dozen close-fought swing states are going to determine whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are going to wield great political power for four, maybe eight years, or not.”

As Noam Chomsky said recently, “The Republican organization today is extremely dangerous, not just to this country, but to the world. It’s worth expending some effort to prevent their rise to power, without sowing illusions about the Democratic alternatives.”

Following that logic, he’s said to an interviewer what my friend heard me say to Amy Goodman: “If I were a person in a swing state, I’d vote against Romney/Ryan, which means voting for Obama because there is no other choice.”

The election is at this moment a toss-up. That means this is one of the uncommon occasions when we progressives — a small minority of the electorate — could actually have a significant influence on the outcome of a national election, swinging it one way or the other.

The only way for progressives and Democrats to block Romney from office, at this date, is to persuade enough people in swing states to vote for Obama: not stay home, or vote for someone else. And that has to include, in those states, progressives and disillusioned liberals who are at this moment inclined not to vote at all or to vote for a third-party candidate (because like me they’ve been not just disappointed but disgusted and enraged by much of what Obama has done in the last four years and will probably keep doing).

They have to be persuaded to vote, and to vote in a battleground state for Obama not anyone else, despite the terrible flaws of the less-bad candidate, the incumbent. That’s not easy. As I see it, that’s precisely the “effort” Noam is referring to as worth expending right now to prevent the Republicans’ rise to power. And it will take progressives — some of you reading this, I hope — to make that effort of persuasion effectively.

It will take someone these disheartened progressives and liberals will listen to. Someone manifestly without illusions about the Democrats, someone who sees what they see when they look at the president these days: but who can also see through candidates Romney or Ryan on the split-screen, and keep their real, disastrous policies in focus.

It’s true that the differences between the major parties are not nearly as large as they and their candidates claim, let alone what we would want. It’s even fair to use Gore Vidal’s metaphor that they form two wings (“two right wings,” as some have put it) of a single party, the Property or Plutocracy Party, or as Justin Raimondo says, the War Party.

Still, the political reality is that there are two distinguishable wings, and one is reliably even worse than the other, currently much worse overall. To be in denial or to act in neglect of that reality serves only the possibly imminent, yet presently avoidable, victory of the worse.

The traditional third-party mantra, “There’s no significant difference between the major parties” amounts to saying: “The Republicans are no worse, overall.” And that’s absurd. It constitutes shameless apologetics for the Republicans, however unintended. It’s crazily divorced from present reality.

And it’s not at all harmless to be propagating that absurd falsehood. It has the effect of encouraging progressives even in battleground states to refrain from voting or to vote in a close election for someone other than Obama, and more importantly, to influence others to act likewise.That’s an effect that serves no one but the Republicans, and ultimately the 1 percent.

It’s not merely understandable, it’s entirely appropriate to be enraged at Barack Obama. As I am. He has often acted outrageously, not merely timidly or “disappointingly.” If impeachment were politically imaginable on constitutional grounds, he’s earned it (like George W. Bush, and many of his predecessors!) It is entirely human to want to punish him, not to “reward” him with another term or a vote that might be taken to express trust, hope or approval.

But rage is not generally conducive to clear thinking. And it often gets worked out against innocent victims, as would be the case here domestically, if refusals to vote for him resulted in Romney’s taking key battleground states that decide the outcome of this election.

To punish Obama in this particular way, on Election Day — by depriving him of votes in swing states and hence of office in favor of Romney and Ryan — would punish most of all the poor and marginal in society, and workers and middle class as well: not only in the U.S. but worldwide in terms of the economy (I believe the Republicans could still convert this recession to a Great Depression), the environment and climate change. It could well lead to war with Iran (which Obama has been creditably resisting, against pressure from within his own party). And it would spell, via Supreme Court appointments, the end of Roe v. Wade and of the occasional five to four decisions in favor of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The reelection of Barack Obama, in itself, is not going to bring serious progressive change, end militarism and empire, or restore the Constitution and the rule of law. That’s for us and the rest of the people to bring about after this election and in the rest of our lives — through organizing, building movements and agitating.

In the eight to twelve close-fought states — especially Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, but also Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — for any progressive to encourage fellow progressives and others in those states to vote for a third-party candidate is, I would say, to be complicit in facilitating the election of Romney and Ryan, with all its consequences.

To think of that as urging people in swing states to “vote their conscience” is, I believe, dangerously misleading advice. I would say to a progressive that if your conscience tells you on Election Day to vote for someone other than Obama in a battleground state, you need a second opinion. Your conscience is giving you bad counsel.

I often quote a line by Thoreau that had great impact for me: “Cast your whole vote: not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.” He was referring, in that essay, to civil disobedience, or as he titled it himself, “Resistance to Civil Authority.”

It still means that to me. But this is a year when for people who think like me — and who, unlike me, live in battleground states — casting a strip of paper is also important. Using your whole influence this month to get others to do that, to best effect, is even more important.

That means for progressives in the next couple of weeks — in addition to the rallies, demonstrations, petitions, lobbying (largely against policies or prospective policies of President Obama, including austerity budgeting next month), movement-building and civil disobedience that are needed all year round and every year — using one’s voice and one’s e-mails and op-eds and social media to encourage citizens in swing states to vote against a Romney victory by voting for the only real alternative, Barack Obama.

Daniel Ellsberg is a former State and Defense Department official who has been arrested for acts of non-violent civil disobedience over eighty times, initially for copying and releasing the top secret Pentagon Papers, for which he faced 115 years in prison. Living in a non-swing state, he does not intend to vote for President Obama.

The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICY

Posted by on October 24, 2012, With Reads Filed under Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

29 Responses to "If You’re in a Swing State, Vote AGAINST Romney & The Neocons"

  1. advocate4u  November 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    The worst is if enough follow Ellsberg’s Lesser-of-2-Evils logic and manage to re-elect the darling of AT&T, Barack Obama, what is he likely to do differently than the other Evil? If we can judge by the past 4 years he will go out of his way to prove how ‘tough’ he is, pushing for belligerency with Iran, cozying up to Netanyahu, more drone attacks, further deals on fracking, etc. In snort, in order to prove how he is the LESSER of the 2 evils, he will likely cut deals with ALL the power brokers, anyone BUT the people who most need lesser evil. He folded on health care, colluding with companies who first “bought in” to the new reform because they would benefit, then pulled out when they saw they could do better opposing his whole sell-out package. All in all will will be ALMOST as bad as a Bush (except on a few red-herring social issues) but get the nation to back the overall rightwing agenda without opposition which Romney could not hope to pull off. There you have it. Not much better, and in some ways a lot worse. David Swanson, long-time anit-war activist says it all in his letter to Ellsberg. Sorry, Ellsberg, you’re a hero, but wrong here. Chris, you get it.

  2. Dale R. Suiter  October 26, 2012 at 6:54 am

    The Commander in Chief – O.K. dosen’t seem to know a counter collum from a facing movement as evidenced by his recent bayonet and horses comment during the debacle (debate). (Special forces ride horses with indegenious personnel and bayonets are issued to Marines and Soliders. Baynonet useful for clearing trenches and close combat.) Our boy Mitt is vey qualified to be CIC. Look at his extensive experience traveling about the French countryside during the RVN special recreation program during the 60’s. Gee, America has to very great choices for CIC do we not? Gotta have a 3rd party folks. Don’t know how or if it is possible.

    Vote for the President? Nah. Vote for Mitt? Maybe. Don’t know what to do – yup.

    Dale R. Suiter
    Veteran – cannon fodder bridgade and
    1099th Mess Kit Repair Bn. Rivet Platoon

  3. Chris  October 26, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Not voting is one option but I prefer to lodge a protest vote of sorts and vote third party. IMHO the more people who vote third party the more the 2 major parties get the message that we are rejecting them. We already have a majority that doesnt vote. Apathy does not bother the elite parties. Voting for “spoilers” sure does though.

  4. Chris  October 26, 2012 at 5:00 am

    I disagree with the whole premise. Both parties are the problem. Even if one would do less damage in the next 4 years the other party will be right back in power. Both parties promote the phony “war on terror”. Both parties protect the 9/11 lies. Both parties serve Wall Street, Big Pharma, Israel, Big Oil and every other powerful interest in society. Again, even if one of them serves “less” than the other the fact is they both still serve the same interests. I agree that Romney/Zakheim/Chertoff/Bolton is worse than Obama/Geithner/Summers/Clinton. So? Is that really a good enough reason to vote for them? I dont think so. This is how they keep the 2 party sham going-by getting enough of us to vote for the “lesser of 2 evils” every 4 years. Im not going to be a part of it anymore. I voted for Obama. Hes been a failure. I like how Netanyahu hates him. Its a good sign. But its not good enough, especially when you look at Obamas actions. NDAA,Patriot Act,money still flowing to Israel, hiring Wall Street hacks to run his monetary policy etc. No, I cant vote for that.

  5. shachalnur  October 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    You’ll have to,though.
    Daniel Ellsberg knows what he’s talking about,this is strategical,to be able to fight another day.
    And if you dislike Israel than voting in a way that will leave Romney in power,will only empower Israel more ,inside the US.
    There’s a lot of stuff mr. Ellsberg can’t say out loud,but he knows what’s happening behind the scenes.
    Obama is following orders ,his puppetmasters have dropped Israel,that’s why Israel is so prominently supporting Romney.
    If Israel would have control over the situation they would do it covertly.
    Romney in power will mean Israel in power in the US.
    The Elite in Europe is weakening,Israel is desperate,Obama is wasted.
    Better a lame duck controlled by corrupt old men,you can fight,than Romney,controlled by desperate Israeli’s.
    That’s what Ellsberg is saying.
    The only person he quotes is chomsky,not a big hero,but a jew.
    Ellsberg was born jewish,got to very high positions,became a whistleblower and is still alive,that means he knows too much to be killed.
    This is war ,and we might win ,if we keep our heads clear.

  6. Mike Kay  October 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Mr. Barrett,
    This is the most significant election of the century.
    It is not so because of the material dilemmas, the wars, the economy, politics, or wacko repubs. It is so because of our soul, the soul of the Nation, and the desperate condition we are in.
    While I find your analysis deeply moving, and most likely correct, the ultimate issue here is if we will willfully allow the poisoning of ourselves, and our Nation to continue.
    For the first time sir, I am heartened by an awakening among Americans of what has been done to them. This is not the same as being led by the nose via various false front groups, from right wing tea party nonsense, to leftist hope and change propaganda. Rather this is a thoroughly native awakening that we have the proverbial knife in our back.
    We must regain our lives, our thoughts, our way. This is how we get that knife removed!
    Is it not so, sir, that to continue to support the hand that is responsible for that knife is a form of suicide? Is it not so that to support the vampire is to risk becoming one?
    Yes, R is capable of great, even terrifying evil-wrong so deep that those who do vote for him had better pray for forgiveness by the boatload.
    America, vote to get your soul back.Before you cast your ballot, ask yourself if it is a vote to get rid of that knife. Will a vote for Obama do that?

  7. PAUL LEO FASO  October 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Daniel Ellsberg’s call to vote against Romney and the Neocons is the correct answer.

    Here are the reasons why;



  8. Chris  October 25, 2012 at 5:20 am

    So you would rather endorse the 2 party stranglehold and give them more power huh? No thanks TJ. Obama has continued too many Bush era crimes/policies. I cant do it.

  9. lisawebb  October 25, 2012 at 4:45 am

    oops! should read “Tragedy and Hope”…my bad! Maybe a little Freudian slip, there…

  10. lisawebb  October 25, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Your blind, zealous faith in Obama is making you appear disconnected with the reality that BOTH parties are controlled by the Hidden Hand. WHY can’t you admit this?

    Need proof? Go read Carroll Quigley’s “Tragedy of Hope”….don’t worry…he was NOT a neocon…quite the opposite, I might add.

  11. lisawebb  October 25, 2012 at 4:38 am

    While he may have played lip service to “hating Israel and Nuttyahoo”, his actions certainly tell the story that he is just as subservient, in ACTIONS, to the ZOG. Support for Israel, both militarily and financially, is at an all time high in this administration…joint military ops, billions in unfettered American cash, and on and on…

    I would love to believe that Obama is “standing up to Israel”. I would sleep better at night! But actions speak louder than words. The sad truth is that BOTH parties are terminally infected by compromise, corruption, greed, and just plain evil. I can’t vote for the “lesser of two evils anymore”. The lesser of 2 evils is STILL evil.

    I will write someone in when the time comes.

  12. Martin Maloney  October 25, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Romney is elected.
    Netanyahu: Invade Iran.
    Romney: Yes, massah.

    Obama is elected.
    Netanyahu: Invade Iran.
    Obama: No way!
    Netanyahu: We have a nuke in Chicago. I can make a phone call. Invade Iran.
    Obama: Yes, massah.

  13. lola  October 25, 2012 at 12:10 am

    OK! I was going to vote for Gary Johson but being in a swing state (NC) I will vote for Obama. I am not an Obama fan but this Neo Con BS has got to stop. They are OVER THE TOP. No more Bush Inc. Barry clearly has his faults and I am aware of them but in this light I will oppose the Republicans….and I am a registered Republican/Libertarian.

  14. Brian  October 24, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Great comment. I was suggesting he has gone from being manipulated and blackmailed by those in the dark side to embracing the dark side creating Muslim hit lists. As you probably know, over 90 percent of the drone killings in Pakistan kill innocent civilians and the rest of his victims are probably just people who resent American imperialism but have no plan to kill American soldiers and especially not American civilians.

  15. wolf  October 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Gone over to the dark side? I submit that it was the dark side that nurtured him, coached him in neuro-linguistic programming and teleprompter reading, gave him a few hollow slogans to campaign with, and made him what he is today…the prefect bi-racial sock puppet for the AshkeNAZI bankers.

    The sad part is that many of us are wrestling with our principles and wondering whether to cast a vote for Soetoro in the interests of denying the White House to the evil phony, Romney. It is almost like choosing between death by firing squad or dying from a very aggressive and terminal cancer.

  16. Brian  October 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    If you have the time read this article Obama Moves to Make the “War on Terror” Permanent it’s at the Guardian.He’s gone to the dark side.

  17. DaveE  October 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    BTW, I have a question for y’all…….

    I got my absentee ballot form and noticed that my birth date was incorrect…… labelled month 02 instead of 12, the correct month. I have been a registered voter here for 14 years. VERY strange.

    Are they trying to set me up for the charge of voter-fraud if I vote by mail, using my absentee ballot?

    Or was this a simple typo? Anyone else out there with a similar story?

  18. DaveE  October 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    We love to flatter ourselves with the fantasy that somehow, some way, a savior is going to come and save us all from our own self-inflicted homicide / suicide.

    We’ve had 100+ years to stand up to the scum-of-the-earth zionists, but we did somewhat less than NOTHING. WE FULLY DESERVE the sickening predicament we’re in right now.

    I’m voting Ron Paul and I live in a critical swing state.

    The PTB have given me a choice between a black snake and a white snake, a known terrorist and a probable terrorist. I’ll vote for what I think is a HUMAN and hope that the snakes are returned to the snake-pit.

  19. Brian  October 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I’m trying to post this again:

    I don’t live in swing state however I can’t vote for the Muslim killer, Israeli blackmailed puppet Obama. He’s a fraud due to his secret personal life, just ask Wayne Madsen or Kevin DuJan.

    I guess I was in a goofy mood I voted for Roseanne Barr. I didn’t review much of her website but from her website:

    The Bankers and the Federal Reserve need to be brought down. They have stolen our money, our future and the American Dream and continue to enslave us with a broken monetary system. There is no scarcity; there is manipulation of the resources. We need to end the wars, bring our troops home and our jobs back, create new Green jobs and put people back to work. We need a resource based economy.

  20. Charlotte NC Bill  October 24, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I live in NC…I’m pro-Life and it’s STILL tempting to vote for ” the big O “….bc Romney is the maitre’de of WW III and Netanyahoo is the Chef….Evelyn DeRothschild and Sheldon Adelson own the joint….the neo-con journalists-so-called-are the busboys….the Fox News squawkers are the waiters amd it would be like eating in a really crappy restaurant for four years!

  21. Chris  October 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I’m in Pennsylvania and I’m voting for Jill Stein. Its bad enough that Obama let the Bush era criminals off the hook. Its bad enough he continued many of Bushs worst policies. Its bad enough that he did NOTHING about the 9/11 false flag. But NDAA was the last straw for me. Yes, I agree that Romney/Zakheim/Netanyahu would be even worse in just about every way possible. I still cannot vote for Obama. Lesser of 2 evils is still evil and I wont vote for it. I wont vote for the 2 party dictatorship. Because even if Obama wins you really dont think the next guy would be as bad or worse than Romney? You really dont think the same interests that own Romney wont own the next Republican candidate(and Dem for that matter)? Ridiculous. Its time we ALL reject BOTH parties and stop encouraging them. A vote for either is a vote for both.

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