Home Politics Opinion: Six Reasons Both Candidates Worry Me

Opinion: Six Reasons Both Candidates Worry Me

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Ignore the gaffes, memes, lies and various political rhetoric and just think about the brass tacks of this election for a second. Despite the tone and attacks of political ads, most intelligent adults will vote based on current issues and candidates’ policies, not on whether or not Romney’s healthcare stance killed someone. But even getting down to policy, many describe the election as picking the lesser of two evils. Both candidates have policies and personal approaches that voters dislike or even downright hate. So what are some major reasons voters feel such negativity towards voting for either candidate?

Concerns about voting for Obama:

# 3: He will never, ever, ever admit to a mistake

Obama has made some mistakes. All presidents do, because they’re human. Think about your friends. You probably had some roommate in college who forgot to pay his bills or a friend who drunkenly broke your stuff before. Who do you like better, the friend who admits the mistake and tries to fix it, or the guy who vehemently denies he did anything wrong and blames someone else?

Obama’s the latter, in case that wasn’t clear. And it’s frustrating.

He said the economy would be doing much better than it is right now when he ran in 2008. Does he acknowledge that and take responsibility for it? No, he blames Republicans in the legislature that blocked legislation he advocated, or the situation he inherited from former President Bush. And those things, especially Bush, probably play a part. But he thinks he has absolutely no fault in it as president for the past four years? Ridiculous. That’s narcissism bordering on arrogance.

After the attack in Benghazi, he said at the most recent debate that he acknowledged it as “an act of terror” the day after the attack. And he did say it was an act of terror. But did he communicate that it was a terrorist attack when he said that? No. He said it was because of the anti-Muslim video, and that a riot had broken out. It took him two weeks to acknowledge that it might’ve been a terrorist attack, and he still won’t confirm it or take any responsibility for it. He does, however, like to cite Republicans voting to decrease funding for embassy security.

It may seem trivial on the face, and not really a policy issue, but if Obama doesn’t take responsibility for his mistakes, how is he going to fix them?

# 2: That tone no one likes in Washington

Obama can sell that he’s a man of the people, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a president that drives a more partisan atmosphere. We have that so-called fiscal cliff coming up at the end of the year, which is political speak for our economy is screwed if the legislative and executive branch don’t pass something. If it’s just left as is, a bunch of tax cuts on both the wealthy and middle class expire, and the federal budget gets some severe cuts. Pretty much all economists agree it would cost the country over a million jobs, since the worst thing the government can do in a recession is both drastically raise taxes (almost to 50 percent of income for some Americans in this case) and drastically cut spending.

Obama has told the Republican dominated House and slightly Democrat-controlled Senate many times that he will veto any bill that cuts taxes for the wealthy. Wealthy, by the way, means families with an income of $250,000 or more. I don’t know why that’s the standard of wealthy, but it is. Anyway, Republicans in the legislature can’t overcome Obama’s veto power, because they don’t have the needed 60 votes in the Senate. But when a president lays down the law and says no matter what, I will veto this, how on earth does that foster discussion across party lines? Obama’s put Republicans on the spot, and now we’ll all be forced to watch the game of chicken that ensues between the two parties throughout the lame-duck session. No one’s going to be happy with the result.

Further, Obama said a few months ago, and I’m only paraphrasing a bit, that it’s impossible to change the tone of Washington from within Washington. He said the only way to change the tone of Washington was from the outside. Excuse me? You’re saying as president, you have absolutely no power to change the partisan atmosphere, when you’re a major player? Not only is he personally fostering that tone, but he also says there’s nothing he can do about it. Interesting. 

# 1: Forward into oblivion

Obama has not been pushing any new ideas. Think about it for a second. His entire campaign slogan is “Forward.” That doesn’t say anything about his plans for office in the next four years. He hasn’t proposed any new economic plans, there is none of the “hope” that his campaign promised in the last election. Don’t expect him to reach out to take any suggestions either, because that really hasn’t been the tone of his presidency so far, and it’s not going to change if he’s reelected.

Obama’s ticket is running on, “I’m not my opponent.” That’s a common platform for the challenger, but an incumbent has a record to defend. The only record Romney has to defend, politically, is his performance as governor of Massachusetts. And guess what? That’s a pretty good looking record.

Want to know why Obama won’t bring up any new ideas? Because he doesn’t have any. He’s going to do the exact same thing he’s been doing, because he thinks it works. Now, I’m not saying it won’t; most economists agree the only thing the government can do is speed up or slow down the progression of the economy. It’s going to recover eventually, regardless. And eventually, we will hit a recession again. It’s just the way it goes. But Obama won’t say, in so many words, that we just need to continue down the same path because that plays right into Romney’s “Are you better off?” and “We can’t take four years like the last four years” campaign. It’s political suicide. 

Concerns about voting for Romney: 

# 3: Foreign Policy, that thing most people ignore until a war breaks out

Romney and Obama are night and day on foreign policy. Romney seems to support coming out, guns blazing, while Obama would probably be open to sitting down and having a talk with the Taliban. Obviously extreme diplomacy has its faults, but they tend to be a little less worrisome than over-aggression in our current climate.

The last thing most people want right now is a war. We’re deep enough in spending without something else breaking out and either causing a larger deficit or cuts in other areas of the budget, not to mention the dreaded possibility of a draft. But Romney’s already tended to rub some countries the wrong way. Putin said if Romney were elected he’d consider the U.S. more of a problem, because Romney decided to run his mouth and say Russia was our “Number 1 geopolitical foe.” He takes a hard line on China, a country we may dislike but kind of need to get along with due to the state of our debt. Pretty much the only leader who seems to really like him is Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. A love affair which then, of course, infuriates the rest of the Middle East. Romney isn’t even president yet, and he’s already made enemies with numerous countries.

I’m all for taking a hard line and standing up to countries, but not if it means more unnecessary war. We’ve been at war for over a decade. Americans are ready for some peacetime. Obama may be playing softball, but at least he isn’t lobbing the ball into other players’ faces, laughing hysterically and daring them to hit him back.

# 2: Everybody gets more money if he’s elected, but he won’t explain how

Everyone who doesn’t live under a rock has heard by this point that Romney is proposing a 20 percent tax cut for all Americans that will amount to $5 trillion out of the budget in the next 10 years. For citizens, this sounds great to pretty much everyone. You get more money you earn in your pocket to spend how you want to, what’s not to like? But Romney also said he won’t enact any tax cuts that increase the deficit. So how would he keep both of these promises?

Romney says he’ll do it by eliminating loopholes. That’s BS, short and simple. There are no loopholes you can close that amount to $5 trillion. So there are two options: either he doesn’t keep one of those promises, or he cuts an equal amount out of spending, which is very unpopular. And don’t pay attention when he cites “six nonpartisan studies,” that say this can work, because every single one of those is either a not very credible blog, or a very conservative interest group. There is no way for him to pull off those promises and make everyone happy.

One of my favorite points from Obama in the debates was his take on this: “If somebody came to you, Governor, with a plan that said, here; I want to spend $7 [trillion] or $8 trillion (he’s including other plans by Romney I’m not going to go into), and then we’re going to pay for it, but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it, you wouldn’t have taken such a sketchy deal. And neither should you, the American people.”

I’ve got to agree with him on that point. 

# 1: Who on earth is this guy?

Does anyone actually know what Romney we’re going to see in office if he’s elected? Here’s a list of issues (which doesn’t even cover everything) on which he’s “flip-flopped.”

1) He wants tax cuts for the wealthy, then he’s all about the middle class.
2) He passes a law stricter on gun control in Massachusetts, but says he wants either the same or more lax gun control for the country.
3) His healthcare law was the basis for Obamacare, but he says he doesn’t at all support Obamacare (to be fair he defends this by saying Romneycare was appropriate in his state, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate federally).
4) He wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood, but then he doesn’t.
5) He supports gay marriage, and then he doesn’t.
6) 47 percent of Americans are freeloaders, but then he says he was “completely wrong” to say that. Mostly when he figures out that 47 percent includes students, veterans and a lot of businesses.

Most of these flops occurred during Romney’s transition from competing for the Republican nomination and competing for the presidency. He’s more conservative when looking for the conservative vote, then more moderate when he’s looking for the independent vote. Americans don’t know where he stands on issues, and many wonder if half of what he says is just straight pandering to voters.

If a candidate will say anything to get elected, it’s hard to vote for him with confidence because you have no idea who he’ll be when he no longer has to worry about votes. For all we know, Romney’s actually a liberal who sneaked onto the Republican platform. I’d like to think it just means Romney is more moderate, which we need more of in Washington, but that’s not how it’s translating. And it’s making voters, myself included, apprehensive.

 

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