Conor Friedersdorf, a political columnist for The Atlantic and an Obama supporter in 2008 explains his views in “Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama”:
- Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn’t “precise” or “surgical” as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills; at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists. It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy. And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue.
- Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama’s kill list transgresses against the Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did. It is as radical an invocation of executive power as anything Dick Cheney championed. The fact that the Democrats rebelled against those men before enthusiastically supporting Obama is hackery every bit as blatant and shameful as anything any talk radio host has done.
- Contrary to his own previously stated understanding of what the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution demand, President Obama committed U.S. forces to war in Libya without Congressional approval, despite the lack of anything like an imminent threat to national security.
He goes on to say that, though he is not an ideological purist, Obama’s drone policy is simply a deal breaker, and that people who continue to support him in spite of the drone policy must rationalize their support as follows:
The whole liberal conceit that Obama is a good, enlightened man, while his opponent is a malign, hard-hearted cretin, depends on constructing a reality where the lives of non-Americans — along with the lives of some American Muslims and whistleblowers — just aren’t valued. Alternatively, the less savory parts of Obama’s tenure can just be repeatedly disappeared from the narrative of his first term, as so many left-leaning journalists, uncomfortable confronting the depths of the man’s transgressions, have done over and over again.
Well said, Mr. Friedersdorf.
People like me who don’t believe the president has much influence over what happens with the domestic economy (the Fed’s in charge of the economy, stupid), still think it matters what a president does internationally. George W Bush would never have gotten away with killing US citizens by drone strikes, and neither will Mitt Romney if he’s elected, because in the main, the people who howl loudest against such atrocities are not Republicans. Barack Obama gets away with it because Democrats crave power more than principle (Mr. Friedersdorf, et al, excluded). Thus the only way to get the benefit of the Democrats’ cynical objections to extrajudicial killings would be electing a Republican president. To save the Constitution, elect Romney, because Democrats will then rediscover their principles. Perhaps Romney should use that as a campaign slogan.