Over the last few years I have written a great deal on presidential politics and politics in general. With the first debate this cycle coming up tomorrow night, I thought instead of rehashing what I’ve already said, I would simply link to what I’ve already said, specifically about Mitt Romney. I was surprised to see how far back I wrote my first post about him, 2007, when he made his bid then.
This was about Romney’s statement that he intended to put his religion in second place as president. As it has turned out, he has not said a great deal about religion this time around. His one stab against Obama on that basis—Obama’s supposed “war on religion” —apparently backfired. Since then, he’s stepped quietly around the issue, ostensibly because he is still viewed with suspicion by evangelicals. Romney’s a Mormon. Where that fits in the hierarchy of American religious advocacy is problematic, since it is to many barely recognized as christian.
This was more of an overview on the heels of the mid-terms that put the Tea Party arguably in the driver’s seat of the GOP, a context Romney will have to work with, deal with, should he win—one which has been a problem for him during the past year.
Just after Romney officially declared his candidacy in 2011 and some of the contradictions and conflicts his campaign might face.
This is more a critique of Obama. It has become apparent to me that I am more partisan this year than I like. Perhaps I’ve been forced to it, and somewhat reluctantly, but it’s true. I just can’t see Obama as the big demon the Republican Party is trying to make him out to be. Still, partisanship, while it has its place, bothers me. I don’t believe in being on someone’s side just because they wear a particular label. Partisanship to ideas and ideals, that’s different, but in that vein I have some significant problems with Mr. Obama, some of which I detail here. I have greater problems with the current GOP.
I discussed my views on the GOP slate prior to the emergence of Romney as their candidate. It’s useful, I think, to remember all this because much of it has gone into the GOP Platform.
I got testy here, true enough. I come from an attitude that says basically “What good is fixing the economy if prosperity flowers in a country wherein the rights and privileges I believe are fundamental to what being an American is are curtailed or gone?”
Most recently, obviously, this is about Romney’s 47% comments. Which were not, I might add, the most controversial statements in that video, but certainly indicative of a mindset I find troubling, to say the least.
You can scroll back to my latest remarks on Paul Ryan, who may have been Romney’s biggest tactical mistake in the entire year. I have considered Ryan a policy idiot since his election to congress—and so, apparently, have many of his colleagues in the GOP, so this is not just someone on the Left beating up on him, you know, just because. I suspect Romney made this choice for three reasons. Ryan is certainly “conservative enough” for the Tea Partiers and the envangelicals. He’s not afraid to be an attack dog and say all the outrageous things that Romney likely has sympathy for if not an outright belief in (which also means Romney can take a rhetorical high road and come across gentler and more humane than his running mate). And he has (presumably) the connections in Congress Romney lacks.
But it seems like every time Ryan opens his mouth, he makes us long for the days of Dan Quayle.
However the debates come out, the thing that I find the most important aspect of this election year is not the presidential campaigning, but the Congressional. Unless that contingent of intransigent ideologues are removed, we will have four more years of the kind of motionless sturm und drang we’ve been seeing for the last two at least. The Tea Party representatives did not “sweep into office” with a mandate. The 2010 elections were some of the lowest voter turnouts in recent memory and none of those elections were landslides, they were all close, marginal victories. If twice the voters had turned out then, it is my belief not one of those people would have taken office. I can’t prove that, of course, but I have some small confidence that the majority of Americans are not actually that dumb.
Of course, they may be.
For the record, I’ll restate my major reason for not voting for Romney. He is on record as an advocate of trickle-down economics. He hasn’t called it that, but when you look at his stated policies it is obvious. Basically, we have had over three decades now of supply-side economics and it has left us in a shambles. It does not do what it has been purported to do. Why would anyone vote for someone advancing a policy with a demonstrated track record of failure?
Of course there are secondary reasons I won’t vote for him, the number two being that he represents a Party which embraces a whole raft of positions I simply cannot support. No matter what Romney might think personally, he has the albatross of the current GOP hanging around his neck.
But I also do not think this is a slam-dunk for Obama, regardless what the polls may suggest. Presidential elections are historically fraught with surprises and upsets. I think it is therefore incumbent on voters to express their views and to show up on November 7th. Show up. Vote. Because we have a history of ambivalence and, often, apathy in this country when it comes to politics (people love to argue about it, but when it comes to actually participating, that’s another matter altogether), we have often endured government by minority veto rather than majority rule. Vote.
If you don’t vote, you don’t get to bitch afterward.