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?
great post 100% agreed, i’ve been trying to find an article that expresses this for a while. These guys are straight scum bags as far as i’m concerned and are traveling down the opposite path of personal liberty. It would be a shame if we don’t see a libertarian in the white house in our lifetime.
It’s really sad what our country has become. An example:
66% and 60% of mississippi and alabama GOP voters don’t believe in evolution. 54% of mississippian GOP voters believe interracial marriage should be legal. 67% in alabama.
That’s messed up.
I find that shocking. When I left America almost 5 years ago, I thought we were a socially advanced society. However, when you compare statistics like that, to ones in the UK, Australia and Europe, we are not. Those abroad are dumbfounded at our sex ed classes, abortion controversies, birth control regulations, and that gay and lesbian marriage makes top agenda at every presidential election. Did I mention there is no country in the world where higher education cost averages are in the thousands and so many people are left without health care?
I think that I agree for the most part as well. I was a huge advocate for Obama, and remained so for quite some time until he signed the NDAA. My only issue with your article lies in that, to me, he was pandered not so much for voters (although he did a little), as to reestablish bipartisanship in Congress. Bipartisanship, in itself, is an idea that I dearly uphold, but I have to say that there is a line where that has to end, and he’s never reached it. The result is exactly as you described it. In trying to gain the respect and trust of Republican congressmen he’s done terrible things for National Security, and in trying to appease the Democrats, he left the healthcare debate half-finished and mediocre. I just wish we could have more than two major political parties.
I’m not sure he did it in the name of bipartisanship, or if he did, he did it really poorly. For example, in the health care debate, the republicans really wanted tort reform. Tort reform likely won’t impact overall costs very much and won’t hurt anyone but the trial lawyers, a large democratic supporter.
If he threw the republicans a bone with tort reform, he could have made them look petty and shown them for what they really were: the party of no. But instead, he just said no and gave up on the public option without any fight.
I think he didn’t know what he was doing and was terrified that he’d be unpopular whenever he pushed out any politics. So instead he quickly backed down.
Bush was a bad president, but he got his agenda passed, even with a divided congress. Maybe obama needs a bit more Bush in him.
Ok, you sold me on the healthcare issue, but as to most other things I really do see him as trying (as you said very poorly) to create a bipartisan bridge. For example, he extended the Bush tax cuts in order to get more stimulus money (which I think both are total shit, but whatever), a largely bipartisan measure.
I am still in support of bipartisan measures, but like you said, the president should not be the one worrying about it. That’s Congress’s duty, and it seems like they will never go back to it.
I think my point is that we should be willing to take the best ideas from both sides, rather than having two parties that move in monolithic support of each other. It seems like it used to be that there were 5 big issues that each party was always for, then the rest, they voted their conscience. That doesn’t happen anymore.
may want to read over your work before you post it…. see at least a couple obvious grammar errors from just skimming over, which reduces your credibility tremendously
While there’s no excuse for grammar errors, I’d be happy to hire you as my copy editor so I can get back to work!
2 comments –
1) Though I agree that Obama could have been a stronger leader in many respects, I think some of your criticisms are unfair. One example: He did not have a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate for a year and a half. Leaving aside the fact that not every Senate Democrat would ever be on board for all of his agenda, the fact is that by the time Franken was sworn in and Kennedy got sick, passed away and lost his seat to the GOP, Obama had somewhere between just 7 months and 14 weeks of a supermajority (depending on whether you think Kennedy was available to vote while he was sick – a potentially lame excuse, yes. But “a year and a half” is not accurate). See http://www.mediaite.com/tv/morning-doh-chris-christie-falsely-claims-president-obama-had-filibuster-proof-majority-for-2-years/
2) Obama is a “moderate,” but not in the positive way some commenters here are using the word. Rather, the moderate approach he took in his first term resulted in a lack of conviction and a failed attempt to make everyone happy by finding some common “middle ground.” First, see Krugman http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/obama-the-moderate/ for a discussion about his “moderateness.” See also http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/07/22/Barack-Obama-The-Democrats-Richard-Nixon.aspx#page1 .
The thing is, we don’t need moderate solutions to our problems. We need bold solutions. And we need someone to boldly speak the truth, which doesn’t fall on any political spectrum. As Christopher Hitchens once said, “The truth cannot lie, but if it could, it would lie somewhere in between…” and “If you care about agreement and civility, then, you had better be equipped with points of argument and combativity, because if you are not then the ‘center’ will be occupied and defined without your having helped to decide it, or determine what and where it is.” See Letters to a Young Contrarian. Thus, the “center” that so many people like to say they occupy is meaningless unless you speak up and can clearly explain what the center is.
I happen to believe that this “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” is a false characterization of the center, since it assumes that Democrats are fiscally loose and somehow just love having enormous debts, something that history just doesn’t suggest. (see http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/how-congress-helps-republicans-but-not-democrats-weather-bad-economies-charts.php). Moreover, the “socially liberal” stance is something that deserves far more voices of support, and until you stand up for things like gay marriage and climate change and women’s health, just calling yourself a moderate is useless to the real people these issues affect on a daily basis.
Essentially, I guess I believe that the rise of the radical right in this country owes a big thanks to all the moderate Republicans that sat back and watched it happen without speaking up. Too harsh? Maybe. But the fact remains that this country is in desperate need of voices of reason from the GOP so we can have a real debate. No more hiding. Thanks Nate for speaking up.
Thanks for the comment.
1. He did not have a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate for a year and a half…Obama had somewhere between just 7 months and 14 weeeks of supermajority.
You’re right. I’ll make an edit. He still had a very large majority for a long time. While Bush II was a very poor president, he got stuff passed that he wanted with slimmer margins than Obama.
2. Obama is a “moderate” but not in the positive way some commenters here are using the word. Rather the moderate approach he took in his first term resulted in a lack of conviction and a failed attempt to make everyone happy by finding some common middle ground.
We need big solutions. When I say moderate, I really mean being willing to take from both sides. In my opinion, the left gets many of the social issues right, the right has some good ideas on business. Pull from both, take the best parts and go forward.
I need a new word to describe it. Not moderate. Takes big action, proposes out of the box ideas and is willing to take the best from both sides, without worrying about pissing off the base.
3. I happen to believe that this “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” is a false characterization of the center, since it assumes that Democrats are fiscally loose and somehow just love having enormous debts, something that history just doesn’t suggest. (see http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo…. Moreover, the “socially liberal” stance is something that deserves far more voices of support, and until you stand up for things like gay marriage and climate change and women’s health, just calling yourself a moderate is useless to the real people these issues affect on a daily basis.
It’s not that they love enormous debt. They love to spend. On many things that I don’t think the government should be spending on. They also don’t seem to care about debt. And like to regulate more than I think necessary. And get involved in places that they shouldn’t be. I prefer smaller government, that’s what I mean by fiscally conservative.
I don’t think climate change has to do with being socially liberal. Neither does many other parts of the progressive agenda.
I’m pretty much fine with whatever anyone wants to do, as long as it is not hurting anyone else. Drugs, gay rights, women’s health etc. Obviously within reason.
4. Essentially, I guess I believe that the rise of the radical right in this country owes a big thanks to all the moderate Republicans that sat back and watched it happen without speaking up. Too harsh? Maybe. But the fact remains that this country is in desperate need of voices of reason from the GOP so we can have a real debate.
I think the rise of the radical right comes from a ton of sources. Part of it comes from the left’s treatment of Bush during his time. While came from the right’s impeachment of Clinton. I’m too young to know if the left treated Bush I in the same way. And now it’s getting magnified by the 24 hour news cycle, social media and blogs.
The other big problem is gerrymandering. We used to have districts that were slightly republican or slightly democratic. Now with redistricting, we have 80% districts. That’s how the far right and far left get in and marginalize the moderates.
Mainstream voices in the GOP get voted out or pushed aside. Until they lose big in an election, the far right will keep the power.
I’m roughly in the same boat. Voted RP last election and likely will this year as well.
A few thoughts.
1. Obama merely kept to the timetable that had already been agreed upon (by Bush and Iraq). Not much of a “success” for Obama.
2. Romney’s “success” at running the Olympics was considerably dependent on meny spent by the federal government. Again, if that is a success, I’d like more failures please.
I’m not actually worried about the debt level as much as you are. We’ll never have the same debt problem as Greece or Spain b/c our debt is in our currency. Spending & revenue need to change, but “paying back the debt” will not be something significant.
One benefit of electing Obama is he will no longer be in campaign mode. Maybe he might get some things accomplished that don’t include further erosion of our civil liberties, increasing the drug war, increasing the attacks on foreign countries, or economic policies that are primarily gifts to large corporations (in all of these the Obama administration has been a train wreck, imo)
I won’t hold my breath. 🙂
Phil, I like Ron Paul just for the fact that he’s willing to say what he believes in, but too much of it is too far out there for me. We won’t have the same problem as Greece, but any time you create more of something out of thin air, its value goes down, aka inflation in the long run.