There are several good reasons to vote for Obama and many very good reasons to vote against Romney. The most compelling case to be made, however, is to vote straight party line Democratic regardless of the individual candidates.
Today’s Republican Party advocates a ratcheting up of the policies that have gutted the middle class and created a nation of rich and poor, including:
- Reducing taxes on the income and investments of the wealthy.
- Reducing programs that help the needy among us, including the elderly, poor and disadvantaged.
- Ending job creation programs, even those that build or repair our infrastructure of highways, bridges, mass transit, sewers and schools.
- Attacking unions and making it harder to unionize.
- Privatizing standard government functions, which turns the middle class income of government employees into profit for government suppliers such as Halliburton and Blackwater.
One can’t help but note that in articulating these positions, many Republicans use racial code words and insinuate that their version of us-versus-them has a racial and ethnic tinge to it. Republicans bite off these code words with a mean-spirited malevolence that advocates that we should always turn our back on our fellow humans.
Republicans also are opposed to regulations that protect workers, markets, the community and the environment. They do embrace regulations that impede minorities, the poor and students from voting.
While worshipping at the altar of the free market, the current Republican Party wants to take freedoms away from individuals, women in particular, but also gays, Muslims and poor. In the Republican fantasy land, there are no married gays, in fact no gays whatsoever, no abortion, homes full of pregnant wives and a landscape buzzing with houses of worship, all Christian. Everybody speaks English.
This combination of controlling private actions that hurt no one but allowing public actions that can hurt the entire community is the essence of what has led to the U.S. decline since about 1980. To reject it, we have to reject Republicans at every level of the ballot, from President on down to dogcatcher.
If Mitt Romney were a Democrat, I might urge voters to go third party, because his beliefs or lack of beliefs aside, he does not have the qualifications or capabilities to be President of the United States.
Here is my bill of particulars against Mr. Romney:
- Romney will do anything and say anything to get elected. We don’t know if the right-wing Romney of the primaries and early election season is the true Romney, or if it’s the more centrist Romney of the first debate and beyond. We don’t know and that very fact should frighten voters.
- Mitt lies way too much for an elected official: He lied about Obama cutting $715 billion out of Medicare; he lied about Chrysler shipping U.S. jobs to China. He lied about the impact of his proposed tax break for the wealthy on the tax payments of the non-wealthy. He lied when he said his health care plan would cover pre-existing conditions. He lied when he said that Obama was responsible for all the job losses of the recession (which came before Obama took office or during his first few months in office). The idea of an apology tour is one sustained big lie. There are many lists on the Internet of Romney’s constant lying: here’s one.
- He has proven to be a complete doofus on foreign policy issues: an inelegant bull in a china shop, shooting from the hip, insulting allies and seemingly dense to issues of foreign protocol.
- As Lee Fang and others are beginning to uncover, Romney is poised to turn the federal budget into a piggy bank for his supporters and cronies in the same way that Bush II did with the ill-conceived and costly Iraq War.
The case for Obama is the hardest to make. His record on protecting the environment and preparing the country for climate change is disappointing, as is his war on legal medical marijuana and his support of union-busting charter schools. From the standpoint of progressives in the George McGovern tradition, which constitute a large part of the Democratic Party, Obama has been a disappointment in foreign policy matters. When judged, however, by the centrist American imperialist and exceptionalist policies that have been in effect since World War II, Obama has been one of our most successful foreign policy presidents. He got Osama bin Laden, shut down Al Qaeda, has show a steady hand as middle eastern regimes have toppled and has managed our complicated business relationship with China.
To the positive is the Rube Goldberg machine called the Affordable Care Act. It provides coverage for an additional 30-40 million Americans, removes the financial onus of a pre-existing condition, covers children under their parents policy until the age of 26, removes lifetime limits and begins to address the inefficiencies in our healthcare delivery system. Also to the good is the economy, which is slowly nursing its way back to health. Yes, the economy could be better, but that’s the fault of Congress for not passing the broader stimulus bill Obama wanted and for not funding this stimulus by allowing temporary tax breaks for the wealthy to expire. It is true that Obama caved too quickly on all of these issues, another reason for disappointment. I’m also dismayed that Obama has said nice things about the Bowles-Simpson report, which ignored its charge to address the deficit and instead proposed a tax overhaul that would have the wealthy paying less and all others paying more.
We can divide our vote up into three parts: Centrists and liberals might vote “no” on the Republicans, “no” on Romney and “maybe” on Obama, which computes to a positive vote for Obama on election days. But even progressives who might vote “no” on Obama in their hearts must pull the Obama lever because of Romney’s incompetence and Republican intransigence. And the same holds for traditional Eisenhower-Rockefeller conservatives as well.
But I’m going to make it easy for everyone but the one-percenters or the 20% who are extreme social conservatives (the ones against vaccinations and abortion even if the woman has been raped): Don’t vote for Obama. Vote straight party line Democratic.