Now that the debates are over, unaffiliated voters and procrastinators who had deferred their decision on who to vote for as the next President of the United States, have run out of excuses to delay their decision. Voters have already received enough information to make an informed choice, and shouldn’t delay merely to watch more political ads. How to choose? Here is a guide.
In my previous blog on this site, I suggested that the first two debates, that focused on domestic issues, left voters with little reason to vote for Gov. Romney. He failed to offer any details of a plan to improve the economy and fix the deficit. Romney wants to lower the debt by $5 Trillion and to increase military spending by $2 Trillion. Where is this money going to come from? Not from the wealthy, whose taxes will stay low. It will have to come from reduced services and increased taxation on the middle class. This is not a good recipe for the economic growth.
Today, the economy is still not back to normal; it is, however, expected to come out of recession in 2013 or 2014. Unemployment is still too high, although it is now at the lowest level since Obama took office. President Clinton rightly pointed out that no President could have done more to stimulate the economy, especially when confronted by a hostile Republican-controlled Congress. Indeed, the Republicans, who felt that President Obama has done too much, have stymied the President by opposing legislation designed to create jobs. So, the same Republicans who have hampered the President’s efforts now hypocritically complain that the situation should have been better. The same Republicans who insist that economic recovery must come from the private sector, now complain that the government did not do enough. Despite Republican opposition, America is on the right road to recovery. Why divert it from this path?
On social issues, the Republican proposals would spell disaster for most Americans. The Republican platform wants to criminalize abortions, thus to return America to the time that illegal abortions caused unneeded death and suffering. Republicans generally want government to be less invasive of individual privacy, but are not abashed to deny women the right to decide the control over their own bodies. Republicans further wish to enfeeble or dismember Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare. Surely, attacking these beneficial programs cannot be a good idea.
After the third debate, we learned that Romney has absolutely no new ideas to offer in the area of foreign policy. Time and time again, with regards to the issues of drones, Egypt, Syria, Iran and others, Romney said that he agreed with the steps taken by President Obama. Romney even changed his previous positions – such as his opposition to setting a fixed date for departing Afghanistan, or engaging in discussions with Iran – in order to fall in step with President Obama’s lead. When asked about his vision of America’s role in the world, he sidestepped the question and discussed the economy instead. He was hesitant and uninspiring, while Obama was confident and presidential. Romney did not differ from any of the foreign policy decisions of President Obama, and offered no good reason to prefer his candidacy to that of President Obama.
When choosing a President, one must be mindful both of the character of the candidate, and the commitments he has made to people and principles. Both Obama and Romney are intelligent, competent and confident men, although in 2 out of the 3 debates, Obama came across as the better. Romney’s policies and plans are murky and indecisive. He has changed his position so many times during the campaign that it is difficult to discern what he truly believes. Moreover, Romney’s failure and/or refusal to provide details of the plans that he did propose, raises suspicion as to whether he has real programs at all. Is he a true Conservative, as he has proclaimed to please the ears of his party’s right wing, or is he a closet moderate? Is he really opposed to Obamacare, as his conservative masters would require, or is he secretly supportive of this program that is so similar to the one he had championed when Governor of Massachusetts. Romney’s waffling and flip-flopping does not demonstrate leadership as much as a desire to attain high political office by changing his message to suit his audience.
President Obama is a known quantity. His programs are working. He is a good leader. He deserves to be reelected. Governor Romney is a vague cipher, a politician who makes promises and changes his promised policies to suit the tastes of the audience in front of him. His proposed policies are vague and unconvincing. His administration would benefit the wealthy and enable them to earn short term profits at the expense of the American worker and the middle-class. He proposes a government that would do less for the people, while charging them more. Romney offers little reason to prefer his candidacy.
In a simpler earlier time, the decades following the Civil War until the Great Depression of the 1930’s, there was little need for a large or activist government, and entrepreneurs could advance their personal plans with little interference by the Government. This was actually beneficial, as the country could expand over the continent thanks to the new technologies of railroads, steel mills and the like. Since the Great Depression, the country’s problems have not been how to expand and grow, but how to economize and manage limited resources. This requires a more interventionist government. The era, and the type of world that is suited to a Republican vision of America, is over. Government must be suited to deal with the needs of the current times. The progressive leadership of the Democratic Party, which looks forward to the future, is preferable to the Republican Party, with its eyes glued to the rear-view mirror.
When governmental controls over banks were relaxed in the Bush era, it led to reckless loans that fueled the current recession. The Republicans’ plans to return to a period of lax administration are a recipe for future financial disasters, except for upper management bankers who would enjoy short term profits. Why would a majority of Americans support such a foul plan? The thinking that created the economic crisis is not the thinking that will solve the crisis, or prevent its recurrence.
For the majority of Americans, a Democratic Administration means more domestic jobs and an efficient government that provides necessary services. Only a limited few would benefit from a Republican Administration. Most of America would suffer.
The choice, it turns out, is not difficult. My recommendation is clear: to return President Obama to the White House and to give him a supportive Congress that will lead America to a better future.