Why I’m Turning Down Obama

wilknetwork.com / WILK-FM; by Steve Corbett; May 16, 2008

“Operation Turndown” has deep roots in my own personal radical politics.

If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for president, I will not vote for him.

I will turn him down.

Judging from callers to “Corbett” yesterday, so will many other Democrats.

Democrats must follow their hearts and their heads.

I’m part of an impromptu movement born of outrage and frustration to which Democratic Party leaders need to pay very close attention. I’m a radical Democrat and proud of it.

Radical politics is one reason why I majored in “Community Development” at Penn State in 1970, after showing up there in September of 1969 with an open mind and a head loaded with ideas – not all of them good.

By November I was on the street in DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C., getting tear-gassed by National Guard troops during an anti-war protest. The next day I watched the attack on the Justice Department. The next year I watched my state cop father show up on my campus in riot gear.

I spent the next 30-some years developing my perspective and my honor as a daily newspaper columnist and broadcast commentator on television and radio.

I’ve learned from it all. I’m still learning.

And all these years later I still value my community development education and my degree from the counterculture school of hard knocks. The lessons of Kent State, My Lai, and the mean streets of Chicago under the first Mayor Richard Daley remain a part of my pledge of allegiance to real change I can believe in.

I’m not some bizarre social isolationist who’s stuck in the past, either. I value lasting friendships with a wide array of people who hold extremely different political beliefs.
I’m even friends with some conservative Republicans.

But in my heart I’m a radical Democrat.

Yet I’m a model citizen who advocates non-violence and negotiation.

Although I would have likely joined the Molly Maguires back when coal barons oppressed my Irish miner ancestors in Northeastern Pennsylvania and I publicly supported the IRA against British tyranny during my visits to Belfast during the war, I’ve evolved into a principled person who values the power of the ballot over the bullet.

That’s why I’ve decided not to vote for Barack Obama if he wins the Democratic nomination to run for president. I’m with Hillary Clinton until the end.

If she loses and Obama offers her a spot on the ticket as vice president, I’ll consider endorsing the ticket. Still, I offer no guarantees and encourage Hillary to decline the VP spot even if she’s offered the job.

Hillary is the strongest, best candidate. Hillary can beat John McCain. Hillary is my Democrat.

Even if party bosses tell me that we must get behind the nominee and that the nominee will be Obama, I have a choice. Even if family, friends and colleagues tell me I’m wrong, I have a choice. Even if you hate my decision, I have a choice.

And I will use it. To do otherwise would violate the principles I work hard to uphold. I’ve made a decision – a well-thought out, reasoned and rational decision.

Besides, I’ve been here before. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 and endured the scorn of others who blamed me for the Democratic loss. Don’t blame me, I said. Blame yourselves for not being able to convince enough people to vote for the Democrat.

The same argument holds true today.

Don’t blame me if Obama runs and loses because too many rogue Democrats, independents and Republicans do not have faith in his ability to lead during some very tough and trying times.

Ralph’s running again today.

So are many other candidates you’ve likely never heard of.

America is caught up in a two-party madness that offers voters too few options. The same well-heeled donors contribute cash to both parties and conspire for access that most Americans can’t even dream of having.

What we do have is a choice.

And I’ve made mine.

I’m turning down Obama.



  1. Here is something I sent to Mike Malloy. I agree that you have the “right” to follow your “heart” but rational thinking NEEDS to prevail…

    Hi Mike…

    I’ve been off the treadmill for about 3 months now unfortunately…I seem to have thought I was back in my early 20’s again and over did the workout a bit resulting in a pulled back muscle. After regaining 25 lbs. of the 50 lbs. I had lost, the doc has cleared me to get back on the Malloy Workout Plan so I’m sure this fall’s campaign will provide me ample fuel to keep me running while profusely pissed off.

    But before I turn my rage towards Mc-Bush and company (I love that name!!) I find myself perplexed by the ability of HRC and her followers to continually enrage me. I didn’t think after Geraldine’s asinine ramblings I could be any more upset by the former first lady and her supporters but alas I find myself ready run mile after mile edged on by their insanity. I’ve been surfing the blogs and have found several “conflict profiteering” sites dedicated to HRC, and one in that I love (tongue in cheek) in particular is Taylor Marsh’s site where HRC supporters post the most inane thoughts and opinions.

    Now Mike, as a member of one of America’s most historically disenfranchised demographics I find it curious how HRC supporters have taken up arms against BHO and some have openly threatened to support the GOP nominee this fall.

    No where else in history can I find a group of people that have viewed voting against their own best interests as an effective form of protest. Other groups in this country have found themselves constantly on the losing side of many contests/issues but this is the first time I have heard SO MANY smart people be so intellectually dishonest and reactionary.

    Just to get to the main point I am attempting to make I will concede the FL and MI debate and capitulate that there have been smears against HRC (even though I whole-heartedly do not think this to be the case and feel that agreed upon rules cannot be changed at the end of a contest…duhhhh). But let’s just say HRC supporters are correct in their perceived slights against their candidate. The question that still begs to be answered is what will supporting the GOP nominee accomplish?

    OK, I’ll give them the “We sure showed the DNC and BHO supporters!” aspect to defecting to the GOP. But what do those defectors as American’s tell fellow HRC supporters who then lose sons and daughters in Iraq in 2010? What do those defectors tell my daughter when she asks why we didn’t address climate issues until 2013 when we get another shot at the White House? What do those defectors tell the rest of the world when they unite against us upon realizing we are so petty that we sent Bush-light to DC to run our nation? Do those defectors tell them that they became so enamored with a personality that they lost sight of the tremendous issues that we as a nation and world face? These are serious questions that need to be answered Mike.

    I will vote for HRC if she is the nominee even if I feel that BHO has been robbed. I will fight like the dickens within my party to make my feelings of slight apparent and to see that my grievances are addressed. But what I will not do is put my country at risk by voting for the GOP nominee or waste my vote by writing BHO in.

    As I stated at the onset, I am a member of a historically disenfranchised demographic in this great nation so I fully grasp how HRC supporters feel about being slighted. But at the same time I am well aware of the benefit of swallowing a sour pill to allow myself to live to fight another day.

    God’s speed in your efforts Mike and keep up the good fight.

    Your brother (and I hope we’re never forced to be brothers in arms),

    Co-owner The Vault
    CD’s, DVD’s and Recording Studio
    7846 Gerber Rd.
    Sacramento, CA 95828

    …I hope you’re open minded enough and remember where your radical roots were philosophically planted.

  2. BLAH,BLAH,BLAH….who cares how about your vote or lack of? Besides either McCain or Obama would make a great President compared to that lying sociopath Hillary.So you are doing the nation a service either way.

  3. The choice will be Obama or McCain, and “Utopia” isn’t running. It’s time for us to grow up and make a choice, or live with the results of shirking that responsibility.

  4. This is just schtick from this Corbett character. The proof is on his blog today quote
    “Some powerful people even suggested that I head up a national movement with a web site and an address and appearances all over the country. But although an organized and unified voice that Democratic Party bosses ignore is very much needed, I must humbly decline.”

    He doesn’t really care who the nominee is. He isn’t ready to do the work to get his “message” out. It is just a ploy to boost himself.
    How can we take him seriously if he doesn’t take himself serious enough to actually do something.
    Corbett is all talk, no action. He wants to leave the heavy lifting up to real democrats.
    What a disappointment.

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