Friday, September 21, 2012

Part 2: The Real Reason I don't plan on voting for Romney.


Policy, not gaffes, should always be the deciding factor in one's vote. This is why I have spent the majority of Reid's 2012 nap time pouring over political policy. I read everything from media interpretations to campaign releases to legislative law, and I watched multiple debates. I don't know what I'm going to do when Reid's nap time has to be used to take care of another child. I will sincerely miss those few hours of intellectual stimulation I have each day.

In my last post I mentioned why I no longer think a Romney Presidency might be a good thing. I want to say right up front, this doesn't mean I think a Romney Presidency will destroy America. I'm realistic. You can't read all the political policies and histories I've read and try to maintain some sort of doom and gloom attitude about either candidate. Romney will not destroy America. Obama will not destroy America. Pretending that either of them will is intellectually dishonest and only further divides our country's hopes of solving the problems we face.

Now, onto specific policy reasons I will (most likely) vote for Obama and not Romney.

Let's compare as much of their record as we can (obviously, as Governor of Mass Romney doesn't have a record on things like Foreign Policy, so for those issues we have to look at their campaign promises).

Healthcare always seems to be the natural starting place when comparing Obama and Romney. First, let's discuss abortion. Romney's healthcare reforms actually did more to further tax payer funded abortions than Obama's reforms. Re-read that. It should shock you. Remember those Executive Orders we all think makes Obama Hitler? Well, one signed March 29, 2010 ensures no public funds will be used to assist in abortions. Romney didn't address the issue in his healthcare reforms and the natural result actually increased the amount of public monies used to complete abortions. What really strikes me, is why did Obama need to sign an Executive Order? Wasn't there enough support from Conservatives that Congress could have just passed that bill itself? Probably. Then why didn't it happen? Oh, because Conservatives in Congress are so hellbent on not giving Obama any "victories" that they won't even work with him on their own campaign promises. Which leads me to another comparison, Obama has done much more to try and work with a split Congress than Romney ever did. Gov Romney was King of vetos when he had to work with a Democrat led Congress (he even vetoed bills that would improve the protective gear of firefighters).

One more healthcare issue worth noting: costs. Obama's reforms specifically attempted to address rising costs of insurance. I say "attempted" because we won't know if his measures were successful or not until his reforms have been implemented and running for a few years. We do know that Romney's reforms made no attempt to address cost (not something I really fault him for, he and the Mass Congress did the best they could). We can compare their current stance on medicare though. Romney's campaign promises will increase Medicare spending while Obama's current policy actually cuts it. I don't even need to analyze that, let me just repeat it. Romney's reforms will increase the cost of America's greatest contributor to debt, Obama's don't (it's worth noting that until Ryan joined the Romney ticket he actually agreed with Obama on these measures).

Another policy issue that is easy to compare is the two candidates record on Energy. As Governor Romney did more to cut emissions and close down coal burning power plants than Obama. This should actually make me want to vote for Romney. The problem is, as a Presidential candidate he has totally flip flopped on this issue.

Let me take a minute to discuss the flip flop characterization of Romney, lest anyone reading this think I'm just trying to sound like the liberal media (have you clicked on any of my sources? NONE of them are media sources ... they are press releases straight from Gov Romney's desk or legislative law, I go to great lengths to avoid media bias, I want to form my own opinions, not merely adopt someone else's). Back in 2008 I was disgusted by the media's representation of Romney as a flip flopper. I remember hearing Romney say it was only natural for one's opinions to grow and evolve over the course of their lifetime. This made complete sense to me (and still does). I vehemently stood up for Romney's claim that he had simply changed his mind. But one can only tolerate so many of these changes. I was ready to believe he honestly had a change of heart on moral issues like abortion. But I have to draw the line somewhere, one can't possibly change their mind on everything they once stood for. Romney is either so inconsistant I simply can't trust him as a leader, or he is so eager to please the political base he currently stands in front of that I can't trust him as a leader.

Back to energy comparisons. During Romney's time as Governnor, Massachusetts actually became more dependent on foreign energy sources. Keep in mind he was a state leader, so the word "foreign" includes both the Middle East and Texas. Obama's tenure has actually seen an increase in domestic made energy sources. Notice I said Obama's tenure; I don't think Obama deserves all the credit for this increase. His policies aren't the only factor driving energy production, however Romney's policies did have a direct result in increased energy dependence in Mass, and Obama's policies have assisted the increased production we see at the Federal level today. The same could be said for both leader's records on manufacturing jobs.

All this is important, but for me the two biggest policy stances driving my vote are Foreign Policy and tax reform. These are two areas where it is difficult to compare the candidates record side by side. Tax reform wasn't a part of Romney's tenure in Mass, and obviously Foreign Policy wasn't either. So for these matters I have to rely on the campaign news releases, platforms, and the upcoming debates.

My most recent post discussed my concerns of Romney's warmongering and lack of couth when it comes to Foreign Policy. So I won't address that any further.

I have read through Romney's tax plan. I'm not a math person, so this was possibly the least fun reading I've gone through all year. But it was important to me so I read it. And as simple as my math skills are, it's pretty clear that Romney's tax plan will either a) increase the deficit or b) increase the tax burden of middle class families. Romney insists it will do neither. So he is either a) lying or b) stupid. Okay, those two options may be harsh, but it really is impossible to implement the specific changes he plans to make without increasing the deficit and/or the working class's tax burden. Personally, I'm fine with the later. Yes, it would hurt the economy, but I think it's time we Americans were forced to live within our means. I apply this wish to individual homes and the country as a whole. We've gone too long expecting someone else will pay for our luxuries. I would actually welcome a Romney campaign announcement that said "I will end the child tax credit, the mortgage tax credit, and ..." add about 24 other items to that list. I'd jump for joy if he were bold enough to make those changes. But with all the information he has released to date I'm left wondering if he is just going to throw those kinds of changes at us unexpectedly or if he is going to ignore the deficit.

By comparison, the Obama administration (with the help of Congress, of course) is about to let Bush and Obama tax cuts expire and also let defense spending get slashed. Most economists warn the combination of these two things will hurt the already lagging economy. I think they're right. It makes sense that during weak economies you'd want citizens to keep more of their own money, and you'd also want Government spending to cushion parts of the sluggish economy. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, we have lived too long expecting someone else to pay for our luxuries, and it seems unrealistic to continue our spending binge even in a time where it economically makes sense to do so.    

Now, I feel like I may have been too negative about Romney during this post, so I'd like to add just a few important thoughts on why I AM voting for Obama. Candidates don't win if the only reason people vote for them is because they aren't voting for the other guy. Candidates win when the majority of their constituents actually want that candidate in office.

Obama has kept 4 in 10 of his campaign promises. This doesn't mean he broke 6 in 10. He kept 4 in 10 and compromised with (or "gave in" to) the GOP on another 4 in 10. The remaining 20% are either in the works or temporarily on hold. To me, I look at his 4 in 10 win and 4 in 10 draw as a sign of good leadership. It shows a balance of representing all the voices in this country. If Romney wins and keeps all his campaign promises (which is virtually impossible considering his tax plan contradicts his deficit reduction plan) I'd be disappointed.  I'd feel like he made no effort to represent the 40+% of Americans who didn't vote for him. If Romney wins and he keeps half his promises and concedes to Democrats on the other half I'd be pleased, maybe not thrilled (depending on which were kept and which were compromised), but at least pleased.

In 2008 when I voted for Obama there were two key issues that made me prefer him to McCain. One, health care reform and two, the Iraq war. On these two campaign issues Obama did not disappoint me. He reformed health care in a reasonable way and he ended the war in Iraq (which I was always more opposed to than the war in Afghanistan, though I would have been happier if he had ended both -- the war in Afghanistan is a perfect example of "compromise"  -- he stuck to the timeline of with drawl that Bush and Karzai agreed on instead of worrying too much about pleasing his base = leadership).

This year there are once again two key issues that lead me to prefer Obama, tax reform and Foreign Policy. I'm confident that Obama's plans (as detailed so far) are more inline with my hopes for our Country. Until Romney offers more specifics on either issue, Obama has my vote.  


Scott and Claudia said...

Sound reasoning.

Romney is a flip flopper, no doubt about it. He is a totally different candidate for president than he was governor of Massachusetts. Think about it. Massachusetts is a liberal eastern state, predominantly Democratic. He is a typical politician and had to cater to what the electorate wanted. You can argue he was politically savvy or untrue to his "values." Either way he was dishonest.

He now must cater to the right wing tea baggers of the GOP, which in my opinion have ruined a once fairly respectable organization, that I have voted for on occasion in the past. He is a total flip-flop on almost every issue he once supported as governor. You can argue he is politically savvy or untrue to his past beliefs and aspirations. Either way he is dishonest.

Do our values and ideas change over time? Absolutely. I'm just not convinced Romney "changed." He is quite simply an opportunist in my humble opinion -- and a very stuffed shirt one at that!
Totally unacceptable for this voter.

Go Obama!!

Love, Pa

Liz Szilagyi said...

What I don't really get is why the GOP has made Romney and McCain tilt to the right. Did they really think the fringe was going to vote for Obama?

I suppose the worry is that people will just stay home if they are unmotivated by a moderate representing their party ... but it seems foolish and appears damaging.

Looking at the records of each of the GOP Primary Candidates, it was unquestionable that Jon Huntsman was the most conservative ... but because he believes in climate change and equal rights he was run out.

Sometimes I wonder if the GOP actually cares at all about fiscal responsibility, job growth, and free markets. If they did Huntsman would be the man on their ticket right now.

Liz Szilagyi said...

Oh, and this moderate wouldn't be voting for Obama.

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