A dear family friend sent me an email yesterday outlining his reasons for why he would be voting Republican. This is my response and my counter-argument that came flying off my keyboard. I realized that perhaps, even as an ineligible voter, I felt more strongly about this stuff than I realized. Anyway I thought I’d share it with everyone so here goes:
I agree with many of your points and especially on both parties becoming so extreme/entrenched making it increasingly difficult to find any common ground and get things done.
But if I had a vote it will still go for Obama. He has definitely under delivered but I still think he is the best option for the country. The biggest mistake Obama made is that he never focused on the economy and jobs as the overriding priority to the exclusion of everything else. He got distracted with heavily partisan initiatives like healthcare and bank regulations when he should have been 100% focused on was the economy – finding solutions to bring back the growth and the confidence. He should have talked and listened to more business people, he should have delivered further tax breaks and taken away more of the regulation and bureaucracy that is holding back the growth. At the same time he became increasingly partisan and has not been able to find a way to work with the opposition to make progress – another campaign promise unfulfilled.
The trouble is when I look at Romney and the Republicans I don’t see a better alternative. I think Romney seems like a decent man and undoubtedly a proven businessman – maybe the economy would be in better hands. But even with the economy, that should be his territory to claim, there are all kinds of doubts and credibility issues. The numbers just don’t add up. You can’t just can’t apply a further 20% tax cut across the board, spend more on defense and protect all the major entitlement programs like Medicare (which apparently remain sacrosanct even to him) and expect still to reduce the deficit in any way.
It just doesn’t make any sense to me and completely undermines Romney’s credibility in my mind. To try to reduce the deficit with not only no tax increases but material tax cuts is madness. He wants to reduce taxes a further 20% below the Bush tax cuts and even they were supposed to be temporary. His plan will not reduce the deficit, it will increase it. Maybe the economy will grow a bit faster as a result of the tax cuts but nowhere near enough to make up for the loss of revenues.
So he will then be forced into either increasing taxes again (will never happen with Tea Party influence) or just take a large knife to all forms of government spending and the baby gets thrown out with the bath water. Many valid and important programs in education, clean energy, healthcare etc. will get indiscriminately slashed. I think it will be brutal. Plus the public sector is a driver of the economy in itself and this will put the brakes on any growth that might have been created.
Romney has also changed positions on just about every issue that’s important. His healthcare law in MA was a blueprint for Obamacare. He has also jumped around on abortion, gun control, climate change, gay marriage etc. Ultimately the changing positions make me doubt his character but, more importantly, convince me that he would merely be the instrument of his party and it’s a party with too many ideologues and extremists who will have a big influence over how things are run and that would just make me too nervous. How can you be pro-life when you think it’s fine to buy semi-automatic weapons in your local store or when you think climate change is a big hoax?
I don’t think Obama is a socialist. Compared to Europe, I think Democrats are right wing and Republicans are very right wing. Obama is only proposing that the tax rate for the wealthy returns to where it was under Clinton – a period of great economic prosperity for the country. He also proposes that capital gains is revised so investors who generate most of their returns from this don’t pay materially lower taxes – this will effect me greatly but I think it’s the right thing to do but should be treated carefully. I think he also recognizes that cuts need to be made but I believe that he will make them in a more balanced way and with a greater understanding of what will underpin the longer term prosperity of the country in areas like education and clean energy.
When you look at Obama’s endorsers like Michael Bloomberg, Colin Powell, Warren Buffett and even Lloyd Blankfein you can see that his support goes across the board and is not confined to the less well off like many people imagine. There are many businessmen who stand to lose a great deal in money from an Obama presidency but, on looking at the broader picture and the alternative, still think he is the best man for the job.
Obama has allot to learn and has to work harder at supporting business and also at working with the Republicans but I think he is a bright and proud man who will have reflected on his shortcomings and be determined to improve and do better the next time. This is especially true of the second term when you are less pre-occupied with getting re-elected. He can also only do so much and the Republicans will also have to let go of their extreme and entrenched positions if they are to remain relevant and the country is to start to move forwards with a common purpose.
So Obama gets my vote (just!).