Why I Won’t Be Voting For Romney

It may come as a shock to some folks, but—

No, that’s being coy.  I don’t think anyone who knows me would be shocked by my admission that I will not be voting for Mr. Romney this fall.  What always dismays me, however, is the reaction that gets from some people.  They give me a look, an attitude, a combination of disbelief and betrayal, an expression that is the epitome of an exasperated “But…why?”  As if I could not possibly have any valid reasons for such a stance.

Well.  I have to say, it’s not because I’m particularly in love with Obama.

I admit in 2008 I cast my ballot for Mr. Obama with a bit more optimism than my usual cynicism allows.  I actually thought there might have been a chance that something new would come out of this one.  I wasn’t wholly disappointed, but…

I also admit that I understand enough about how politics work that the business-as-usual parts of the last three-plus years do not dismay me.  Merely disappoint me.

Obama said he would get us out of Iraq.  I approved.  As far as I’m concerned, it was a boneheaded act of petty vengeance combined with a big dose of insider opportunism that put us in there in the first place.  It provided nothing but an opportunity for Bush to wave the flag and pretend to be Doing Something while Cheney’s cronies dipped their collective beaks in the public trough to drink of billions of still-unaccounted-for money.  Even if the nuttiness of the invasion had been handled better, it was clear what was going on when all the people in Iraq who might have made the whole thing work to the benefit of all concerned were summarily pushed aside and pissed on so KBR could get all the no-bid contracts and face absolutely no local resistance to the milking they gave both Iraq and our treasury.

Obama got us out of Iraq.  He did say he’d have us out of Afghanistan by now and that has yet to happen, but we’re drawing down.

He said he’d go after Osama bin Laden, no matter what.  He did that and got him.  He pissed off Pakistan.  Oh my.  Pakistan has been the seething pit of all this nonsense with Al Quida and the Taliban all along, so I’m not inclined to lose any sleep over their hurt feelings, but I am very irritated at our drone program and all the unnecessary and ill-advised killing that has resulted.

Obama said he would go to bat for the middle class and the working class.  He saved the American auto industry.  Bush saved the banks that caused the depression.  (Yes, I say depression, and I further say we’re not out of it yet.  Everyone else is afraid of the D word, but let us face reality.  Despite the “official” unemployment rate, actual unemployment is well north of 15%, I suspect close to 25%, but as usual we don’t count actual unemployed, only those still drawing unemployment insurance.)  Obama of course is being blamed for TARP, which was a Bush program, and I’m not sure I would not have felt a lot better if he had torpedoed it and let the damn banks flounder.  But I am not en economist, so what do I know?

I am very irritated that he kept many of the same people who put us in this economic fix for his own economic team—Summers, Geitner, et al.  (Yes, they were part of Bush’s team, too, and some were on board with Clinton for his ill-considered gutting of our regulatory laws, cheering us on into greater profits for fewer people.)

He has kept much of the Patriot Act, which I believe to be a wholly unConstitutional infringement on American rights and liberties.

Yes, he saw a health care reform through, and many of its components are pretty good, but it is not what we really need and he did not, in my opinion, really push for it, but I suppose that’s a quibble.

There are other things I’m not terribly pleased with about Mr. Obama.  But the truth is, much the same can be said by any reasonable person about any president.  Still, I would prefer certain priorities to change.

So with all that I am displeased with my president, why, it may be reasonably asked, would I vote for him again as opposed to Mr. Romney?

There are very simple reasons.

Mr. Romney is an advocate of trickle-down economics.  He may not call it that, but from everything he has said that’s his focus.

Top down policies have not worked.  We can imagine that by cutting the rich a break and giving tax breaks to large corporations might benefit us all by allowing them more money to invest, and on paper it sounds great.  But seriously, look at the last three decades.  That is not what has happened and we keep doing the same damn thing.  Deregulate, more tax cuts for the top in the hope that they will spend it on this country.  We have more unemployment, working and middle class wages have been stagnant for thirty years, our infrastructure is decaying, the bottom half is getting worse off.  It simply has not worked.  I will not vote for him because he advocates a failed policy.  Period.

Mr. Romney claims he intends to repeal “Obamacare.”  He modified this claim by saying he wants it repealed and “something that works” put in its place.

He has not said what that would be and I find the hypocrisy both unsurprising and galling.  Many of the features of the Affordable Healthcare Act are the same as those he signed into law in Massachussetts and now repudiates, including the individual mandate.  (As a minor point, I find the Republican harping on “Obamacare” annoying.  Technically, Congress wrote that law, if we will all recall, not Mr. Obama.)  But more to the point, I simply don’t believe him.  Big Pharma and Big Insurance did not want health care reform.  They’ve been making plenty of money on things as they were and had absolutely no incentive to change anything.  They fought tooth-and-nail against the Affordable Care Act, they torpedoed single payer, they will certainly be right there at the table making sure that nothing gets put in its place if repealed.  The GOP has made it clear that they want no government controls over private enterprise whatsoever.  So I don’t believe Mr. Romney that he would do anything to put a better, or even a different, law in place.  He will sign the repeal, if it happens, and we will revert to accelerating costs and insurance premiums spiraling out of control.

Mr. Romney is one of a long line of people who claim that having been businessmen makes them ideally—or at least better—suited to run the country.  He is, like all of them, wrong.  The country is not a business and bottom-line thinking is a good way to hurt, damage, and destroy people through public institutions.   Right at the moment, he cannot even give a good account of why he maintains offshore accounts.  (This is done to avoid taxes.  No matter what  else is claimed, offshore accounts that are not simply part of a globally diversified portfolio are there as tax havens. I don’t care how you feel personally about taxes, this is a cheat, and I have no respect for it.)

The other reasons I do not intend to vote for Mr. Romney have less to do with him than with his party, which I feel is broken.  They have come out four-square against compromise.  This is insane.  This is a country of 300-plus million people, all of whom have needs that are not universal.  There is overlap, but not homogeneity.  The only way to govern such a country is through compromise.  To refuse to consider it is tantamount to saying that differences don’t matter and people who don’t fit in should receive no regard.  If such a party ends up in control of Congress—which I think is likely—then I want a Democrat in the White House to at least stick his thumb in the dyke of insanity.

How can I say that?

The GOP has conducted a series of campaigns against certain institutions and ideas which I find essential to the kind of country I want to live in.  They’re union busters.  They’re economic elitists.  They’re frankly warmongers and for the worst possible reason—they’re afraid of foreigners.  And they have embraced a constraining view of public morality that I find bizarre, one which as a consequence would see gains in equality for women reversed.

Here and there, but in growing numbers (because moderate Republicans keep leaving the party), they are anti-education.  Texas, as one example, is at the forefront of revisionist history and the purging of legitimate science from classrooms.  And they are more and more stridently theocratic.

Now, many people find nothing wrong with any of that.  There are many people who cannot stand to hear America criticized, so expunging certain episodes from history books seems like patriotism to them.  Many object to the ideas of Darwin, so deleting evolution from science classrooms seems like a good idea.  In the same vein, many think our biggest problem is that we as a nation don’t pray enough.

You are all entitled to your opinion.  I happen to believe truth and fact should trump wishful thinking and “belief.”

But I wanted to explain why I will not be voting for Mr. Romney.  The reasons are very simple.  I do, in fact, wish I had a better choice who I thought had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.  I am very tired of voting against something by voting for something less than I really want.  But there it is.  Mr. Romney and the GOP have a vision for this country which I believe will be very destructive.  It will be very good for certain people, but not for all the people, and the president in particular has to represent All the People.  I don’t believe Mr. Romney will do that.

I don’t think he has any idea who all the people are.

Published by Mark Tiedemann