I am going to vote for Barack Obama this November, but not for the reasons most people will. I didn’t last time. I didn’t vote for McCain either.
I believe that Barack Obama has been a bad President. He has shown little to no leadership, lack of backbone, a poor grasp of economics and has been in constant reelection mode since his inauguration. He’s made a bit of progress, but hasn’t proposed real solutions to any of the big issues. He’s spent huge amounts of money and continued to run up debt. And before you say it’s the evil Republicans’ fault, Obama had a filibuster proof majority in both houses for a year and a half and still couldn’t get things done.
During Obama’s term, he passed health care reform, but only went half way. Instead of leading, he outsourced all of the hard work to the very unpopular Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Whether you agree with Medicare for all or not, Obama could have passed it if he wanted to. He also could have tried to push for fixing the root of the problem: that healthcare is based on use, rather than outcomes. Instead we got Obamacare.
Guantanamo Bay is still open. Even worse, Obama has presided over some of the largest erosions in our civil liberties in recent history, many of which are unconstitutional. He signed a law that allows US citizens to be detained indefinitely in Guantanamo without a warrant, a trial or due process. He’s authorized the assassination of US citizens who “support terrorism.” He intervened in Libya and is thinking about it in Syria.
His TSA has introduced naked body scanners, pat downs of little kids and the elderly and is thinking about adding random TSA checkpoints complete with scans for cars on the highway! The Orwellian “if you see something say something” is coming out of Obama’s government. To not appear weak on terrorism, Obama has allowed all of this to happen under his watch. If a Republican had been in office, the left would be HOWLING, but since Obama is a compatriot, the criticism in muted.
Obama’s justice department and SEC have let Wall Street do as they please, presiding over huge bailouts while leaving mainstreet to pick up the pieces on its own. His administration has kicked the can down the road in just about every aspect of government, preferring to do the safe, hopefully crowd pleasing move rather than actually lead. Afghanistan is still raging and seems to be getting worse by the day. Our spending is out of control and our debt situation will be like Greece or Spain if interest rates ever rise. To me, his biggest success is that he’s gotten us out of Iraq.
So all of that said, why am I going to vote for Obama in November? Because since about 2008, the Republicans have been an unmitigated disaster. They’ve pushed out the moderates and become the party of fear. They’ve become anti-intellectual and incredibly social conservative. Instead of a primary, they’re hosting an old school Christian religious revival, looking for other people to blame. Illegal immigrants, Barack Obama, Islam, gays, college students…”others.” This is a very very dangerous path to go down.
That Santorum, a guy who lost his home state by 18% points a few years ago, and Gingrich, who was thrown out of the House of Representatives for ethics violations, are mainstream and winning states in primaries is shocking. Republicans are selling old policies, fear and religion. Many have much more in common with the Islamist fundamentalists than they would ever like to believe. They’ve started a war on contraception, gay rights and morality. We have candidates that say with a straight face that the devil is attacking the US and that we shouldn’t have a separation of church and state. We have states that are requiring candidates to sign anti-premarital sex pledges.
Unless something crazy happens, Romney will face off again Obama for the Presidency. He is more moderate than the other Republican candidates, but he’s decided to practice the anti intellectual, pro Christian, politics of fear that the rest of the candidates are using to try to win the Republican nomination. I don’t think Romney has much to offer as a President. I admire the work he did with the Salt Lake City Olympics, but I don’t think he will actually make the big changes we need to save the US. He’s not a transformational leader.
He’ll make some changes, while trying to get reelected in four more years. We don’t need that. We need a leader, someone comfortable saying that we need big changes and actually implementing them. Someone who’s willing to go after vested interests on both sides and tackle our long term problems.
Romney won’t do it. He’s going to try to get reelected. And I have no idea what he really stands for. I had hope for Obama, but instead he focused on getting reelected and staying popular. Maybe as a lame duck he will find his convictions?
Probably not. Obama will likely stay on the same path. But there’s a 10% chance he says “fuck it, I’m going to do it my way” and actually lead. We need motivation, inspiration, an “ask not what your country can do for you” moment. Someone who will not be beholden to vested interests to take on the military industrial-Wall street complex, plus social security, health care and our national debt.
I’m fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I don’t agree with Obama economically on the vast majority of issues. But I’m going to vote for him because Romney and the Republicans are going down a road that I find despicable and don’t think they are the transformational leaders we need. I’d rather take the small chance that Obama can be a game changer, because I don’t think he can really do much worse of a job. We’re already beyond the point of no return for spending/reform, so any extra spending Obama does wont really hurt much, it’ll just make our day of reckoning a bit sooner. His lame duck status might actually help him lead because he won’t have to worry about reelection. Romney will.
In short, if Obama wins, he might do what he said he would in his first campaign. If he doesn’t he can’t hurt much more than he has. And it clears the way for potentially transformative Republican candidates to run in four years. People like Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie or other potentially game changing figures. If Romney wins, we’ll be stuck with him as the Republican candidate for the next 8 years. We need a huge change and Obama is our best choice. For now.
What do you think?