Tag: romney

Why I’m Still Voting for Obama

Back in March, I decided to vote for Barack Obama for President. Today, I’m even more convinced.

I still believe Obama hasn’t done a good job as President. He’s been a weak leader. He’s outsourced many of his major policy decisions to unpopular, hard left Congressional Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. He hasn’t done what he said he would. Even in the face of extreme opposition from Congressional Republicans sticking to fundamentalist positions, it’s no excuse. A leader must lead.

But I’m still going to vote for Obama because I believe a Romney Administration and Republican rule would be a disaster.  For a long time I’ve argued that both parties were the problem, that they did the same things. Much to my friend Erik’s chagrin, I refused to believe that the Republicans were really worse than the Democrats. The last six months have proven that he was right and I was wrong.

The Republicans have become dogmatic, anti-science and anti-thinking on the economy, national defense and social issues. They’ve become the party of fear. And fear leads to anger, which eventually leads to knee-jerk, dogmatic decisions, which many times leads to violence. Republicans are making policy based on dogma, religion and their gut.  Many Republicans seem to want to put us into a moral theocracy, an individualistic Ayn Randian dream world of the 53%, all the while increasing military spending. That’s a scary mix.

On the economy, the Republicans view any dollar that goes out of a government account as bad. They don’t differentiate between spending and investment. But anyone with a brain knows that it’s a completely different thing to borrow money to buy a new house (an asset) or borrow money to take a Caribbean vacation (an expense). The Republicans equate investing money in roads, bridges, schools, high speed internet or alternative energy with spending money on worker’s salaries, pensions, social security, health care, food stamps and other government services. That is just plain wrong.

I am extremely worried about our national debt and runaway spending and believe we have to make big changes to get our financial house in order. But Republican austerity for social programs while spending an extra $2T on defense that the Pentagon isn’t even asking for, at the same time cutting taxes, will destroy us just as continued runaway spending from a Democratic administration will bleed us to death. We need massive changes and at least an Obama administration will look at the facts and try to make policy, even if I don’t agree with it completely.

We are in the biggest period of economic structural change since the industrial revolution. Unlike other periods of rapid change, this time we are destroying many more jobs than we’re creating. Software is eating the world. It’s replacing jobs that people used to do with computer programs or robots. A factory that would have employed 50,000 people in 1950 would likely only employ 5,000 people today and produce way more.

We are shedding jobs at an unprecedented rate, not just in manufacturing, but also in white collar and middle management. In journalism. In government. The only sectors that are growing are highly skilled professional jobs, highly skilled service jobs like plumbers and nurse practitioners and low skilled service jobs like Walmart or Starbuck workers.

I used to lean Republican because I agreed with their stance on the economy and defense, but now that the party has moved so far right and embraced too many hard line, litmus test, far right ideas, I can’t support them anymore. Even though I believe that many Democrats are wrong on how to fix our economy, they at least have the social issues right, defense mostly right and at least know the difference between spending and investment.

I would have voted for the Mitt Romney who was the Governor of Massachussets. The pragmatic centrist in a liberal state who did what he thought was right after looking at the facts. But now that the entire Republican party has moved right, so has Mitt. He’ll do anything to win this election, even if it means pandering to the religious and economic fundamentalists that have more in common with the Taliban than they would like to think. If elected, he’ll continue to do the same.

We need massive change, a real leader. Someone to tell it like it is, not just try to get reelected. I’m voting for Obama because he might just grow a spine and say, “fuck it, it’s my last term, I’m going to lead and do what’s right.” Doubtful, but I know Romney won’t. He’ll just do what he thinks he needs to do to get reelected. An Obama win gives us a chance with a rejuvenated Obama and a Republican party that can push out the hard right, religious, anti science, fear mongering, anti-thinking conservatives and come back in four years with a real game changer.

Why I will Vote for Obama in November

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?