My Tuesday column questions the strategy of progressives who have decided to stay home on Election Day.
Over the weekend, actor and activist John Cusack posted an interview he conducted with George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley. You might recall seeing Turley on Countdown with Keith Olbermann over the years, and you probably know who John Cusack is. They’re both extraordinarily bright guys and they have some very strong arguments in support of their positions against the Obama administration, mostly from a far-left point of view.
That said, Turley and Cusack, like Glenn Greenwald and others, are known for what I would consider to be an absolutist posture regarding the president. Specifically, their “Rubicon line” as Cusack calls it (a reference to Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon River, an unprecedented act of insurrection) is the president’s record on civil liberties and foreign policy — his signing of the NDAA, his inability to close Guantanamo, his use of drones and, primarily, the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda terrorist who was born in the United States. Cusack also cites the continuance of the war in Afghanistan as a deal breaker, erroneously noting that candidate Obama opposed that war. Obama, like all of the Democratic frontrunners in the previous two elections supported “finishing the job” in Afghanistan. Consequently, neither Turley nor Cusack will support the president for re-election, and they consider him to be “worse than George W. Bush” in several of these areas.
Okay, okay. I know. Admittedly, this topic of progressive factional debate is one I’ve covered quite a bit over the last four years. But the angle I intend to cover today is one that’s considerably important for the future of the progressive movement and, subsequently, for a long-sought shift towards more progressive legislation at the state and federal level. Near the end of the interview, Turley and Cusack discussed the conundrum that many similarly-minded liberals face. If they agree with the anti-Obama left on these foreign policy and civil liberties issues — that the president’s trespasses are unforgivable — should they vote for his re-election? Continue reading here.