For some time, I have contemplated writing this piece. Honestly, the main thing that kept me from posting it sooner was the idea of actually endorsing a candidate for President of the United States seemed rather presumptuous for a humble little blog like mine. However, I have sat on the sidelines watching the race get closer and closer to the finish line for long enough.
To start, I should clarify something. This decision didn’t come easily to me and I struggled with it from some months and didn’t come to my final decision till just a month or so ago. I, as many of my readers have probably figured out, am not an ideologue nor overly partisan in my political views. I have no problem pointing out the hypocrisy of Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives. As with many Americans, I don’t fit neatly into any of these political factions. I do admit though that when I started this blog four years ago I did lean to the left a bit (hardly uncommon for young folks my age right out of college), but as my more recent posts over the last two year show, this lean has largely disappeared as I have moved farther towards the middle and sometimes even to the right as with millions of other Americans.
Four years ago however, I was among millions of young voters who were fairly enthusiastic supporters of then-Senator Barrack Obama. I voted for him in the Iowa Caucus that year (I was adamantly opposed to Hillary Clinton for a number of reasons), and even got to see him in person when he chanced a quick visit to my small home town. However, I didn’t support him necessarily for the same reasons as many other young Americans did. Even at that age, I was something of a cynic towards politics (though deeply fascinate by it) and wasn’t under any illusion that Barrack Obama would be a truly “different” politician than any of his predecessors. I did however feel that his relative inexperience in politics could give D.C. a fresh set of eyes when looking at the nation’s problems and issues. Further, while I did like Senator John McCain, his pandering to the right-wing of his party and his choice for VP made the final decision for my vote that year much easier.
Over the last four years, I remained fairly supportive of the President because I held out some hope that he could break the partisan logjam in Washington D.C. and make some real progress in the recovery of our economy and maybe even get our government to work a bit more for us than for their own self-interest. However, over the last year that hope has faded away and I realized something very disturbing: Even if Obama was re-elected, what hope was there that anything would really change?
The answer is none.
It may seem like a rather simplistic way of looking at such a pivotal election, but it’s the truth as I see it. Even if President Obama is re-elected, what evidence is there that he will be able to implement any of his policies? If polls are any measure, it’s unlikely the GOP will lose control of the House of Representatives and the Senate will likely be very close. So regardless, a 2nd Obama term would logically follow the same path we are on currently: possibly the greatest and most stark political divide in American history. The President likes to point out that it’s the “obstructionists” in Congress (aka the GOP) that has kept him from keeping many of his campaign promises but Mr. President, what makes you think you’re going to have any better luck the next time around? Even if the Dems maintain control of the Senate, it will be by a very small margin and thus any bill trying to get through the Senate will NEED partisan support on a pretty good scale and in this charged partisan environment I don’t see how ANY of the President’s policies could make it through the Senate, and even less chance in the House. In other words, if President Obama is re-elected, his ENTIRE 2nd term would make Bush’s last two years of being a “lame duck” President look like FDR’s first 100 days in office!
It makes no sense to keep the President in office when he will only be able to move his policies via Executive Order, something the President is already making a bad habit of. Executive Orders have their purpose but the President’s heavy uses of them when he doesn’t get his way with Congress not only makes him look like a sore loser, it gives the impression that he thinks going through Congress is just a formality and weakens the Checks & Balances system that is supposed to make our government “fair”. Sure, the President managed to get some of his policies through Congress (notably the Healthcare reform bill and the ending of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell), but most of these victories came at a high price, too high in fact. Now, partisan bickering and mind games aren’t new to Congress but the level of such actions have reached all new levels the last two years and there is no sign this election is going to change that situation in favor of the President.
That’s not the only reason I am not voting for President Obama. There is another simple fact that inclines me not to re-elect the President: What change could we possibly hope for in a 2nd term? In other words, even assuming for a moment could get his policies through Congress, are these policies doing the US more harm than good? Whether it be his haphazard Foreign Policy, his questionable economic policies, his complete lack of leadership with our growing debt crisis or his questionable uses of Presidential power, the end result is the same. By in large, the President’s policies weren’t very successful even when he was able to implement them, why should we continue such policies given their “success”?
I do however want to give credit where credit is due. The President has accomplished several important things during his tenure that he deserves some credit for. His effort to end the idiotic “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military was a resounding success for common sense. Parts of his foreign policy have been successful (the killing of Al Qaeda leaders being a prime example). He efforts to help young Americans afford college education (via, eliminating the middlemen in getting Federal-backed student loans) have made it simpler for college students across the country get financial aid. But sadly, for as many good victories the President had, they are heavily outweighed by his failures.
Now, before you all get the wrong idea, this is not necessarily an endorsement for President Obama’s main opponent Mitt Romney.
I have a good deal of issues with a potential Romney presidency, chiefly that his foreign policy could turn out to be no better than the President’s, maybe even worse. Nor do I believe if Romney loses the election that our nation is going straight to hell in a hand basket. But when it comes down to the biggest issue of the election, the economy, Romney I believe is the better candidate. His policies are starkly different than the President’s and considering how “successful” the President’s policies have been the last four years, I believe some radical change in direction is needed. Of course, there are flaws in his policies as I see them but overall his economic vision plus his business experience I believe is the kind of change we need right now. But I will be the first to admit, I am not an enthusiastic supporter of Mr. Romney. I’m under no illusions that Romney will be a truly revolutionary president who will make Washington D.C. work better for us, he is a typical politician with no evidence he make the changes needed for major government reform. But, I do believe that he will make SOME changes and reforms to our government and even a little change at this point is better than what we have seen the last four years. Further, unlike if an Obama victory, Romney will not have nearly the same amount of political obstacles to his policies thanks to a GOP-controlled House and likely a much more even Senate.
When it comes down to it, we all face a very stark choice this November. We can vote for a President whose chances of getting any of his policies through Congress, regardless whether these policies are good for the nation, are quite grim. Or we can vote for a candidate who has a much better chance of achieving his policies; policies that may be just the kind of change we need as a nation to start moving us back in the right direction instead of just limping along as we have for the last four years.
Now I’m not telling you all that you shouldn’t vote for President Obama just because I said so or anything ridiculous like that. I am just trying to explain why I, a former Obama supporter and political independent, am voting the way I am. As always, my ultimate goal with this blog is help folks cut through the crap of American politics and help them find the truth for themselves. How my readers choose to vote on November the 6th is completely and wholly up to them. All I ask if you all think very hard about your decision and make sure it is your own, and not to let cable news commentators and political bobble-heads do your thinking for you. In the end, the choice is yours.
Don’t forget to get out and vote November the 6th and if you have already voted (via Absentee ballots, such as myself), kudos to you!
Any opinions and/or views expressed in the above piece are purely those of the author and not of any political or non-political organization. Any re-posting of this work MUST include this disclaimer.