Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why I'm Voting for Barack Obama

Photo by:  jamesomalley of Flickr

This may be of no interest to some of you, in which case I respectfully tip my hat and thank you for coming, but I figured I would talk about the United States election for President coming up in a few days.

I will be voting for Barack Obama come Tuesday, and I think that you should, too.

1) Pros for Obama

Here's the thing about Obama's presidency: it had ridiculous expectations on it from the start.  That wasn't helped by his incredibly hopeful rhetoric and his embracing of his celebrity status when he was nominated, both of which fueled those unreasonable expectations.  All the same, Barack Obama has done a very good job as president.

On the social end of things, he's made violence against someone based on their sexual orientation a hate crime, he's expressed support of same-sex marriage, he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act ensuring protection of equal wages for women, and ended Don't Ask Don't Tell.  These are all, in my opinion, fantastic things.

On the economic end of things, he passed Dodd-Frank and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he passed the Recovery Act--which created 2.5 million jobs, pulled the country out of an economic free fall that would most assuredly have led to another Great Depression, and helped get us back on the road to recovery--as well as passing some of the first and most comprehensive reforms to healthcare in our history.

Unfortunately, a lot of these things have been spun negatively.  "Obamacare" was the victim of a ton of ridiculous political garment rending about socialism and communism and fascisim, and whatever other -isms the Republicans could come up with to make Obama look like a big, ol', black Hitler.  But it isn't true.  There have been multiple breakdowns of the benefits that his policies have enacted.

While Obama's foreign policies are not 100% the way I would like them, he has done much better than the previous administration at ingratiating ourselves to foreign countries.  He didn't allow Israel to attack Iran, preventing war.  He ended the Iraq War and brought many of our troops home.  He's winding down the war in Afghanistan.  He killed Osama Bin Laden.  He's put tough sanctions on Iran to convince them to stop with their attempts at developing nuclear weapons.

He got all that and more accomplished with an incredibly uncooperative Congress.

Say what you want, and affiliate however you like, but the current GOP, as realized by the Tea Party, are only interested in making political statements and don't seem to have the country's interests at heart, based on their actions.  Obama has proven himself willing to compromise on a lot of issues and piss off a lot of liberals in the process just to try to meet the GOP halfway.  Obama is so good at this, that many of the policies he enacted used to be Republican ideals until Obama decided to adopt them, which caused the GOP to abandon them like they were shit-caked copies of Mein Kampf dripping with STDs.

All in all, I am quite pleased with his performance.  Has he been the harbinger of change that many thought he would be?  No.  And it was ridiculous to think such a thing.  I always understood that Obama was a rational, thinking person willing to compromise rather than stubbornly hold the line if it meant getting some changes through the government.  I also recognize that economic recovery and any meaningful reform takes a long time, and Obama was only given 2 years to fix everything before people went to the polls and voted the other party back in.  If I can make an imperfect analogy, it doesn't take you long to fuck up your credit doing stupid shit, but building that number back up can take a looooong time.  And that's similar to the situation we're in now.  And, as I mentioned, he accomplished much of this with a GOP Congress that held the country hostage and cost the nation our pristine credit grade.

I like Obama's rational, thinking, careful style of government.  He's not exactly cuddly and friendly, he can come across a little severe at times, but I'm fine with that.  He's smart, both intellectually and politically.  I agree with him pretty closely--I believe the online quiz I took--isidewith.com--put me at an 89% agreement with Obama.

2) Cons Against Romney

Mitt Romney is a liar.  He is fortunate to have so much money, because he must have to constantly replace his trouser wardrobe with the number of flaming fibs that he flings daily.

Here's the thing: I know that all politicians to an extent are liars.  But Romney takes that to new levels, and he's shockingly cavalier about it.  He is on record changing his policies within minutes or having his very campaign walk back what he claims immediately after he says it.

For example, he once supported Roe v. Wade and said that abortions should be safe and legal.  Now he's for overturning Roe v. Wade and supports a constitutional amendment to ban abortions.  He once said that climate change is caused by humans, but now claims not to know what causes it.

It's not like Obama hasn't changed his position on things--like gay marriage.  However, Romney regularly changes his positions on everything.  His own campaign has likened him to an Etch-a-Sketch.

His economics, what little he's mentioned anyway, are silly.  He's talked about, in order to help get our country's debt situation under control, slashing the funding to PBS...whose cost is a whopping $1.35 per person per year for a total of approximately $444 million a year.  For comparison, we spent $711 BILLION dollars on defense in 2011.  Basically, PBS's funding is a little over 6% of that.

This is about far more than PBS.  Romney has blatantly refused to give up his tax information, which is a far more reasonable request that the request for Obama's birth certificate that fueled so many fires in '08.  Romney's argument economically also seems to boil down to "elect me and I'll let you know my awesome plan," which, as a business man, you would think he would know better than to argue.  And there's been the cavalier ways he's completely shifted his positions on issues since running in the primaries.

The recent disaster on the Northeastern coast is a very indicative example of this.  The day of the disaster, Romney announced that he would drop his campaigning in honor of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and instead would hold a relief benefit...in the same place his Romney Rally would be...which was a major swing state that he had been campaigning hard for...which also featured a campaign video.  In addition, many of the items "donated" during the campaign were purchased by himself and then given back to the participants to...donate again.  It's cynical manipulative movements like that that I feel reveals the man's true nature.

In addition, Romney's running mate has advocated draconian cuts to many of the government programs that offer aid to the poor, the disadvantaged, and those that cannot otherwise help themselves.  My mother used to be on those programs, and the idea that others could not benefit from the program that helped get me to the place I am today makes me shudder.

Besides my disagreement with Romney and Ryan, I disagree fundamentally with the current edition of the Republican Party.  I cannot morally support a party that has repeated stated abominably nasty things about blacks, women, and rape.  The fact that rape has been the fundamental part of so many gaffes this election makes me a little bit nauseous.  What makes more nauseous still is how many of those people will go on to be elected anyway.

Conclusion

Obama's presidency hasn't been perfect--obviously...because he's a human being and not Jesus.  However, of the two candidates, he's the most qualified for the job, and the most likely to get things done.  He's proven himself level-headed, a competent leader, and a willing compromiser even in the toughest of political situations.

Romney is inconsistent with everything, and his choice of affiliations--with both the GOP and Paul Ryan--are troubling.  It's difficult to get a read on where he stands on issues, because where he stands on those issues depends on to whom he is talking.  His complete inability to answer even the most simple questions with a straight answer, his cynical way of attempting to manipulate his image, and his completely mysterious economic and tax policies already paint him as a poor choice as leader, and that is not taking his backwards and in many cases cruel social policies he would enact.

Addendum

For information about how our national debt "problem" is not necessarily a problem, as well as a fairly in depth look at how this sort of thing works on a national scale, I encourage you to watch this video by John Green of the Vlogbrothers.

Further Addendum

I don't usually get a lot of comments, but just in case that should change with this post, note that I have my own version of the John Scalzi Mallet of Loving Correction carved from the bones of trolls long since slain.  Please, be polite to each other as well as to me, lest you face my smashy wrath.

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Links to places where I pulled a lot of my information for this:

http://pleasecutthecrap.typepad.com/main/what-has-obama-done-since-january-20-2009.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/27/why-obama-should-run-success-stimulus
http://www.pbs.org/funding
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/mitt-romney-tax-cuts_n_1778429.html
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-ol-defense-budget-size-and-potential-for-cuts-20121023,0,6396267.story
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/mitt-romneys-flip-flop-character-flaw/2012/10/16/6b9158de-17ad-11e2-8792-cf5305eddf60_blog.html