Note: This endorsement is specifically the endorsement of Kenneth Quinnell and is not meant to be the endorsement of any of the other members of Florida Progressive Coalition
This won’t come as a major surprise, but I am endorsing Barack Obama for president.
First let me tell you what that DOESN’T mean. It doesn’t mean I think Obama has been a fully successful president. It doesn’t mean that I agree with everything he’s done. It doesn’t mean I endorse everything he’s done. It doesn’t mean that I love or worship him. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think he could’ve done better.
To put this in context, if I’m going to a wedding and they offer me chicken or fish as my meal options and I prefer steak, I’m not rejecting steak or saying that chicken is the best thing in the world by requesting chicken. I’m saying that, of my options, chicken is the best. And if I don’t choose one, I’m not going to be able to eat. Obama’s my chicken.
What it does mean is that, with the choice we have to make, Obama is our best option. I have a newspaper from inauguration day 2009. The headline says “Hope over Fear.” In 2008, I was all about the hope. I wrote more posts fighting against McCain than any other blogger in Florida. I was at the convention. I was in the stadium (11th row) when he gave his acceptance speech. I was at inauguration. Obama had given me more hope than any presidential candidate in my life.
And I didn’t have the false hopes for him that many others did. While I was hopeful for positive change, I knew that he was iffy on some issues and flat-out wrong on others. When FPC endorsed John Edwards in the Democratic primary it was because his policies were more progressive than Obama’s (lets not get into his personal failings). I knew he wasn’t supportive of gay marriage. I knew he was going to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. A number of other issues gave me problems as well. So I knew all about that. But he was right on most of the issues. And after eight years of George W. Bush, he was something else, he was competent. His ability to take out Hillary Clinton in the primaries proved that.
This time around, though, I’m choosing more out of the fear emotion than the hope. I will say that Obama has disappointed me on a number of issues and his ability to maneuver the system and willingness to fight for important things has not impressed me. He had the chance to be a transformative president and he either failed at that or chose not to do that.
That being said, I’m not now, nor will I ever be a litmus test voter. There are problems with Obama, but the choice I make is a realistic one. In January 2013, either Barack Obama will be president or Mitt Romney will be. There are no other possibilities, barring an untimely death to one of those two. And while I agree that things haven’t progressed as much as they could’ve or should’ve under Obama, they have progressed some. In some areas, they’ve progressed a lot. If Romney wins, things will not only not continue to progress, they will regress. And they’ll do it at a time that is of vital importance for the country. Our economy and our general state of being is pretty iffy these days. A Romney victory would guarantee that tenuous state would collapse. And some of the things that Romney says are literally crazy. He isn’t as crazy as his primary opponents, but he’s more dangerous, because he could actually become president. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul will never be president, so their craziness isn’t particularly relevant. Romney’s is.
And, of course, Obama has done a lot of things I like and agree with.
So, in the presidential election of 2012, I think the best option, by far, is President Barack Obama and I encourage all Floridians to vote for him.
More endorsements will come later, particularly after district lines are figured out.