Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Both of you. Who will SI endorse for President of the United States? I’m sure that if you’re a regular reader, you really have no idea, because I’m so obviously impartial in my politics, and I clearly lean in both directions depending on the issue, that you are all scratching your heads, trying to tease some sense of who I will ultimately pick. Let me ease the suspense, and give it to you straight.
There. It’s out.
Now I suppose you’ll be wanting me to give you reasons for this choice? OK. Here’s three.
1. The Republican Party itself:Yes, it’s the flag under which Romney has chosen to run. My problem with this is that the flag he should have chosen is the Stars and Stripes. The Republican Party has long chosen not to exist for the purpose of making America better, but for the purpose of making Republican’s better, which in my opinion is about as close to treason as one can get without the firing squad.
The leaders of the GOP made it clear four years ago, and have confirmed it by their actions, that their primary goal, as legislators and executives of their respective states, was to gain and maintain political power. This is contrary to the oath they took when sworn into office, and smacks of self-dealing, hypocrisy and downright corruption. They have stymied President Obama’s efforts to kick start the economy at every turn, not because of a heartfelt disagreement over the best course of action, but to ensure that the economy fails in the hopes that the electorate will then reject Obama for a second term, and then, as promised, blamed Obama for the failure of the country to recover in a timely fashion. That alone should be more than sufficient reason to not only reject Mitt Romney for President, but to reject each and every GOP member of Congress in their bids for election or re-election. Why reward them for their cynicism and duplicity?
More so, the Republicans in state government have been doing their share, by enacting blatant attempts to disenfranchise voters who they think won’t vote for them, with voter ID laws, purging of the voter rolls, and restrictions on early voting. More cynicism and duplicity, cynicism that indicates very clearly that they don’t have a strong belief in their own political platform, so they feel they must resort to subterfuge and lies to “steal” the election. As I’ve said elsewhere, if they don’t believe in themselves, why should we?
2. Mitt Romney himself: He seems like a personable and likable guy, but so is Big Bird. He was an effective chair of the 2002 Olympics, which he was able to accomplish with large infusions of government money, something he tends to minimize today. It’s unclear whether he was an effective Governor, although he was responsible for enacting the predecessor to Obama-care at his state level, and now most people in Massachusetts are covered with health insurance. Why he is now running away from that very significant achievement makes no sense.
There’s no doubt that he knows how to make money in private business. But at what cost? Jobs shipped overseas while he lines his off-shore accounts with the profits? Is that a good model for America? No. The corporate world is not the same as the government, and it’s a false equivalence to compare the two. Imagine Romney trying to make money at Bain Capital with a board of directors opposed to everything he proposed.
But more important is who Romney is, and what does he believe is best for my country? Do you know? Exactly. I have no idea either. I’ve been watching him run for President for six years now, and I have no firm grasp on what he proposes, or what he wants to do, other than the naked desire to be President. He has posited contrary positions on almost every subject, from heath care, to abortion, to the auto industry, to Iran, to taxes. I don’t know what he believes, so why should I vote for him in the hopes that in office he’ll come down on a position I’ll agree with? He could just as easily do the opposite, and be just as consistent. The Etch-a-Sketch is a very good metaphor for his political mind.
But he doesn’t just change positions. He lies. His characterization of Obama’s blame for the economy, when it was clearly the Bush era policies that put us where we are at, while failing to call out his fellow obstructionist Republicans for doing less than nothing to help, smacks of the highest order of dis-ingenuousness, if not outright falsehood, I’ve ever seen in a Presidential candidate, Richard “I am not a crook” Nixon notwithstanding. Not a very good quality in a President. I’m not sure he actually sees his contrary statements as lies, which makes those lies even more problematic, because he feels no compunction about looking us in the eyes and lying to our face about facts we can easily check up on, in the cynical belief that others may be persuaded to vote for him. It’s rather pathetic.
3. Barack Obama himself: So if Romney is easily rejected, is Obama easily accepted? Yes. Frankly, it’s a no-brainer. What has he done that allows me to say he should be given a second term? Obama-care for one thing. That was a major, earth shattering accomplishment, especially given the opposition. It is something that has needed to be done for decades, with past Presidents (notably Bill Clinton) consistently failing. Is it perfect? No. But it’s the base upon which it will hopefully be perfected. The alternative, Romney’s alternative, is not viable. Throw it out and start over? Sure. The doctors, and the medical care providers, and the insurance companies would all love that, but is that best for us? No way. Romney care in Massachusetts is still humming along, with 99% of the state population covered. What’s good for Massachusetts is good for the other 49 states and territories.
But that’s not all he’s done. Lilly Ledbetter, Iraq war, Osama bin Laden, Ghaddafi, an economy clearly on the rebound, Auto Industry bailout, the cessation of government defense of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and DOMA, and many, many more positive executive and legislative advances. He also continues to have a far more enlightened and progressive stance on women rights, science and education, unlike his Republican counterparts. He appointed two women to the Supreme Court, both highly qualified.
Am I happy with everything he’s done (or not done)? No. I deplore the continuation of our presence in Afghanistan. I am ambivalent about his use of drones instead of ground troops, as it has its advantages and its disadvantages. He should have closed Guantanamo as a prison four years ago, as he promised. The Patriot Act needs to go. I don’t like his pandering to religionists, but as religious as this country is, I understand it. He says he’s a Christian, but for the most part he exhibits those qualities of Christianity that Christianity stole from normal humanistic inclinations, like concern for the poor and oppressed, while avoiding the Biblical excesses of his right-wing, fundamentalist Republican brethren. It’s a step in the right (correct) direction, unlike the panderings and blatherskite of George Bush.
So, I’m in favor of the following:
- Women’s right to control their own health
- Gay rights, which is really just a subset of basic Civil Rights.
- A thriving economy based on the work and contributions of the middle class working in conjunction with the upper classes paying their fair share.
- A reduction of influence on the part of the religious right.
- A strong but lean military whose existence fulfills the requirements of defense, and not nation building or conquest.
- In intelligent, well informed, President
I’m NOT in favor of the following:
- A government that intrudes into the personal health and sexuality of its citizens.
- An unfair distribution of wealth with a top heavy upper class.
- Government run with biblical direction.
- A deteriorating physical infrastructure.
- Government that doesn’t participate in the economy.
- A society with no safety net to protect the less fortunate.
- Corporations having the same rights as individuals.
- A George Bush clone for President.
For these reasons, I will vote for and endorse Barack Obama for a second term.
I’ll bet he’s thrilled.