• Bruce Springsteen Makes the Lesser Evil Case

    October 19, 2012

    Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    I do not support either candidate for the presidency; I have a large “Nobody” sign in my yard and encourage my dog on walks to wee wee equally on all candidates’ signs. It’s the American way. If this blog appears more often critical of Obama, it is simply because he is the president and makes decisions and takes actions (or not) worthy of attention. Romney is just campaigning. I voted for Obama in 2008 and am deeply remorseful, especially over how he has failed on so many promises (close Gitmo) and expanded the drone wars to include the assassination of American Citizens without trial. I remain deeply conflicted on whether I should vote for a presidential candidate this year or not.

    I also love Bruce Springsteen, not in a romantic sticky way, but if anyone could draw me into that I’d probably go with Bruce. Bruce Springsteen wrote two of his more poignant songs about working life, The Ghost of Tom Joad (Rage Against the Machine offers a good, rough, angry version) and Youngstown, based on Dale Maharidgeand Michael Williamson’s work. Springsteen is the most relentless and prolific chronicler in popular culture of the plight of the working class, picking up the job from Dust Bowl singers like Woody Guthrie, and carrying the idea forward that America’s workers are resilient. Angry but ebullient, Springsteen echoes Maharidge and Williamson in believing that a new era will follow deindustrialization and that the men and women they write about will survive into it. For me, I am not as sure about the future, and that’s what my next book (called The People on the Bus, a Story of the #99 Percent) is about.

    Bruce supported Obama in 2008, and now has come out again for him. Bruce’s reasons– focusing mostly on social justice issues– are about the best-laid out “better to vote for Obama than to stay home” argument I’ve seen; well, the guy does have a way with words. I’ve also always respected Bruce for seeming to research his causes, and not just be some empty-headed celebrity who lends his name to whatever seems cool at the moment.

    So this is why I want to call out Bruce a bit over something he said at an Obama rally in Ohio on October 18. “I’m thankful GM is still making cars,” Springsteen joked. “What else would I write about? I’d have no job!”

    Bruce is of course referring to the $80 billion of tax payer money Obama handed to the auto industry. I want to call his attention to the fact that GM then turned around and shut down the Spring Hill Saturn plant after nineteen years of operation. The success we were told was that after GM agreed to restart the factory, many of those Spring Hill jobs were expected to go to Mexico but were able to remain in the United States only thanks to a deal that included a second-tier wage scale for new employees. About 700 older workers remained on layoff even as they hired new people at the lower wage. Pensions were cut, too. GM had a record profit of $7.6 billion last year. So tally that up: fewer jobs at lower wages, pensions cut, and GM still owes the taxpayers $25 billion while they pull in record profits. The deal is touted as a model for Ford and Chrysler.

    All on our backs. I might as well just write-in “Goldman Sachs” and leave out the middle man.

    I get the point Bruce: it could have been worse, in Spring Hill, at General Motors, in America. I just wish there was a candidate I could embrace in a sticky way, could support, rather than one that I could never vote for and one I am told is better than nobody. Jeez, I wish I could vote for Bruce.

    More? Daniel Ellsberg makes the same case as Obama the lesser evil.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Third Party said...


      Peter, I always enjoy your blog. I read it everyday. The question I have for you is: When are we going to say enough is enough with these two political parties that use fear and their power to persuade Americans to give one of them their votes and shut out third parties? These political parties have managed to crush the United States since he 70s. They’re killing the dollar, making us bankrupt, building a global empire, violating our civil rights, etc. etc.

      Have you heard of Gary Johnson? Have you heard of Jill Stein? Have you heard of Virgile Goode? It is time for us Americans to wake up, stop choosing between the lesser of the two evils, and vote for someone who, at the very least, will stop taking money from Goldman Sachs. We DO have a choice in this election.

      And to others who may insist that I am wasting my vote, I’d rather waste it then have it be bought.

      10/19/12 2:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Kim Matthews said...


      Two words: Citizens United. Until it is overturned, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, et al., haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell. Even if all the third-party voters got enough votes to qualify for funding, they won’t get enough to compete. Do us all a favor and vote against Mitt Romney. I’m no Obama apologist but we cannot afford to have a Romney White House. And if you don’t know the difference, you must be white, straight, and male, because the rest of us certainly do.

      10/19/12 6:14 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      I voted for Obama in 2008 and am deeply remorseful,…” unquote
      I did too, and it makes me puke. This sub-human psychopath conned me and I’m fucking pissed! Now that he has authorized the murder of 3 known ‘merican citizens, I can’t understand why the ‘merican citizenry aren’t OUTRAGED to the point of marching on Washington. The only rational I can come up with is an epidemic of national stupidity, or brain sucking Alien parasites..I mean..wtf is wrong with this PICTURE???????
      quote: “… I remain deeply conflicted on whether I should vote for a presidential candidate this year or not.” unquote

      Deeply conflicted?? Is that all? Deeply conflicted? This president should be be incarcerated already!! He has MURDERED three American citizens!!!! WTF??? And you are “deeply conflicted???? A coup has occured and everyone in this nation is so fucking stupid they think the elections really mean something. sheeeeezushfuckingcrist..what in the fuck is it gonna take for ‘Merica to wake up????? We’re talkin FEMA CAMPS, the MILITARIZATION of civilian law enforcement, 7 million rounds of ammo purchased by DHS, the FUCKING NDAA…MURDERING AMERICAN CITIZENS!!! I mean… were on the verge of something so massively evil and what does America do?? WATCH AMERICAN IDOL!! sheeezus..I’m just fucking dumbfounded. Well, all I can say is…’Merica…you fucking deserve what ever is coming, just for being so goddamned lazy, stupid, and pathetically ignorant. If I didn’t care, I would even bother posting this, but right now..’Merica makes me puke.

      10/19/12 8:09 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps…behold our current “rule of law”…BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH..rule of law..BWAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH..


      ya know…we’ve already sunk below the surface of the cesspool..but if this nation doesn’t come to it’s fucking senses pretty quick..we’re goin down…down …down the moral blackhole. And history ain’t gonna forget it. I just wish I could wash the stench off me.

      10/19/12 8:22 PM | Comment Link

    • Dale Maharidge said...


      Hey Peter,

      Thanks for the shout out in your post.

      Dale Maharidge

      10/19/12 8:36 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps..Springsteen may be a superb musician/songwriter..but he sure doesn’t have a fucking clue when it comes to Obombardiar..in that light I’d submit he’s a moron.

      10/19/12 8:51 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Pitchfork- PVB is pretty kind letting you blow off steam in huge chunks and bursts. We’re all outraged. I won’t vote but I hope Romney wins because he’ll speed up the hoped for collapse of the present dysfunctional governing algorithm whereas voting for Obama means you’d rather have a slower implosion.

      10/19/12 9:53 PM | Comment Link

    • Ken Hoop said...


      Obama’s drone bombing alone make him unvotable.
      Also his reneging on renegotiating NAFTA and his approval of the bankster bailout, his refusal to pressure for prosecuting or at least a public “reconcilation” trial/expose of the Bush-Cheney-Perle-Wolfowitz team of lying war criminals.

      But also, since the lib-prog-left has been so quiet on these issues, perhaps a Romney presidency will put them on the streets en masse where they should have been already in militant protest.

      10/19/12 10:33 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...


      As an old Blue Collar worker Youngstown says it all. It bring tears my old eyes when I think about who really built this nation, it sure as hell isn’t the new robber barons that have beaten down Main Streets everywhere.

      I knew what I was getting in 08 the lesser of 2 evils but as Glen Ford put it 0 is the more effective evil. In 68 I voted for the first time and since hhh was the begining of the take over of the demodog party I voted Peace and Freedom. This time it will be for Jill Stein. I would love to see if she and Gary could pull about 5% to 7%, I know we didn’t win but Greens in Germany and now the Pirate Party had to start somewhere.

      10/19/12 11:00 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Ken Hoop- exactly!

      10/19/12 11:10 PM | Comment Link

    • Third Party said...


      Kim, I’m white, a male, but not straight — But so nice of you to stereotype me. Real classy. I prefer to think of myself as simply an American.

      Citizens United hasn’t allowed anyone to buy my vote. Using your logic, Jill Stein wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell even before Citizens United because her campaign is not taking money from corporations, lobbyists, or any PAC. It’s going to be a long road, but so long as you think there are two choices and this election is so important not to vote third party, things will never change. Hell, when is an election NOT important?

      The time is now. Neither party is competent to lead, and they’re both wholly inept when it comes to foreign and domestic policy.

      Perhaps people will wake up soon. There will be another financial crisis. It will be more/equally serious than/as the one in 2008. All it takes is another margin call to wipe out some of the TENS (200+) OF TRILLION OF DOLLARS in derivatives contracts that some of the largest banks in the world have: http://blogs.marketwatch.com/great-columnist/2012/10/15/derivative-risks-more-than-morgan-stanley/?mod=google_news_blog ..That $6 billion that JP Morgan lost a few months ago? Pocketchange! Will Barack Obama do another TARP? Will Romney?

      I have hope for change in the U.S., but I know it’s not going to come from Goldman Sachs and its puppets in D.C. It’s up to us.

      10/20/12 12:59 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      John Poole said…

      Pitchfork- PVB is pretty kind letting you blow off steam in huge chunks and bursts. We’re all outraged.

      Ok, got that. But here’s the deal. HE set this comment section up for PUBLIC discourse. I didn’t. However…when it comes to what is happening ..I’ll be damned if I’ll bite my tongue or make my comments “soft and civil”. There is nothing soft and civil when it comes to murder. PERIOD. But if Peter has a problem with me posting here…let him tell me and I’ll move on.

      I won’t vote but I hope Romney wins because he’ll speed up the hoped for collapse of the present dysfunctional governing algorithm whereas voting for Obama means you’d rather have a slower implosion. unquote

      agreed..but I still can’t support nor wish for another murderer to become the POTUS… for ANY reason.

      look at this exchange from the Republican primary debate on November 12, 2011:

      Scott Pelley: And that is time. Thank you, sir. Governor Romney. Governor Romney, recently President Obama ordered the death of an American citizen who was suspected of terrorist activity overseas. Is it appropriate for the American president on the president’s say-so alone to order the death of an American citizen suspected of terrorism?

      Mitt Romney: Absolutely.


      I rest my case. Fuck Romeny

      10/21/12 12:49 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Be civil to each other please so we all have fun here. Insults directed toward me are encouraged, as long as they are at least moderately clever. Strong expression of opinion are welcome within the above bounds.

      10/21/12 2:25 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Pitchfork: So far we’re all civil except a few who are coming at PVB from his old work place with churlish taunts. Tom Engelhardt refuses to have his site open for reader comments but PVB may- by temperament- be able to better handle and blow off vile personal attacks.

      Since both candidates for the POTUS are dangerously flawed I want the one least capable of dealing with a loss lose while the one least adept at ruling during a time of siege win.

      10/21/12 3:12 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...


      I avoided this story until today.

      As a Westerner from birth, raised in the California Republic, the center of High Technology, where a High School diploma and some intelligence were enough to take me up a ladder for awhile, politeness came with the territory.

      Sorry Peter, I haven’t read your book. Can’t afford it. I’m not sure what it’s about. I’ll go check the write up.

      700 older workers bypassed for cheap younger labor. Sounds right for squeezing enough profit to reach goals. Baby Boomers might just have to exercise their muscles rather than go dumpster diving.

      @ jo6pac – Yup. I did some of the front end work in semiconductor manufacturing, while our host was still in school. The industry shipped production offshore to lower their costs, raise or maintain their profits. Today counterfeit parts are a problem, so why hasn’t the industry moved back to provide decent, fun, interesting work again, and have much greater security for these black epoxy packaged parts which are in a lot of public equipment? I’d think National Security would demand parts be made here. But, what? Oh, Capitalists! They’d do anything for a buck.

      10/22/12 5:32 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Jo6pac If America at one time worshipped the polytheism of Christianity, Democracy and Capitalism I think we switched over to monotheism long ago. I think we both agree on which God won out.

      10/23/12 7:21 PM | Comment Link

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