Look, I can understand if you get frustrated with Barack Obama. Like all politicians, he’s imperfect. He has taken some positions that are completely wrong (his education policy leaps to mind; his foreign policy has been at best a mixed bag), and he certainly hasn’t done a good job of articulating the counterargument to the nihilism that defines current Republican policy. I believe that he’s better in many ways than his liberal detractors think, but that doesn’t mean he’s perfect, it doesn’t mean he never deserves criticism, and it doesn’t mean you can’t state that frustration and still be a supporter of liberalism. Indeed, sometimes being a supporter of liberalism requires it.
But when you take the next step, and declare that you’d rather vote for Michele Bachmann than support Barack Obama for president, you have completely lost the thread.
Barack Obama is imperfect, but he isn’t terrible. Even if one takes the most unfair emoprog criticism of Obama — that he’s just a corporatist drone trying to prop up our corporate overlords — he is still not working to make things worse than they are. At worst, he’s just trying to maintain the (admittedly bad) status quo.
Bachmann and her ilk are not satisfied with the status quo. They want to make things worse. Much worse. Bachmann wants to destroy what programs we have to help the poor, the aged, the sick, and replace them with nothing. She wants to give corporations more latitude to do whatever they will, to give the rich more tax breaks so they can become richer. She wants to destroy the right of women to control their reproductive destinies, of gays and lesbians and bisexuals to love the person they want to love, of transgender individuals to exist, and of non-Christians to freely exercise their religious beliefs (or lack thereof).
Obama, at worst, seeks to maintain the United States as it is. Bachmann seeks to destroy it, and replace it with something that resembles the Republic of Gilead. These are not minor differences. This is the choice between America and not-America. Between our existence or our destruction.
If you can look at Barack Obama and Michele Bachmann and think that there is any choice — any choice whatsoever — in who you support, you are quite simply not a liberal. If you are unwilling to fight against an existential threat to women’s rights, GLBT rights, religious liberty, and a basic social safety net, then what the hell are you willing to fight against?
Barack Obama is imperfect. I can understand being frustrated by him. I can understand even wanting to primary him with a “perfect” candidate, though I disagree strongly with the idea that such a candidate exists. But I cannot understand looking at a choice between Obama and any of the Republican candidates and thinking that the Republican would be better. The choice that progressives and liberals have is not between perfect and evil. It is between Obama and evil. And if you’re willing to choose evil to spite Obama — well, in my mind, that makes you as bad as the evil itself.