I decided not to copy campaign rhetoric but just sit down and write out why Obama has earned my vote in 2012. Here’s why:
- The middle class is beginning to turn around. The gap between rich and poor is wider than any time since the Oil Barrons of the 1920s, entirely due to disastrous Bush years’ spending. Our financial systems grew a Meritocracy but the new super class has tried to shut the door behind them. As this article and the book Why Nations Fail describes, the super-rich are confusing their own self-interest with the common good and the system that helped to create them. I have read Ayn Rand (Paul Ryan’s favorite), and 99 titles on Riskless Wealth and Chronic Poverty. In the end , I believe, compassion is not weakness but an integral part of our humanity.
- Obama has controlled government spending; not just talked about it. The big truth is Obama is the smallest government spender since Eisenhower. And actual government employment has decreased over 500,000 employees since Obama took office. Added to expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the savings of ending our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and REAL entitlement reform will begin to address our future deficits.
- Obama’s Healthcare reform is controlling costs. It had to be done early on (even as he delt with financial crisis) to see the reforms take hold and help families struggling with healthcare costs (nearly the most cited reason for personal bankruptcy). “Obamacare” will be seen as monumentally positive for ALL Americans in the future. I believe Justice Roberts (one of the smartest minds in the world) understood the need for the individual mandate, his moment in history and allowed it to stand as a tax (the one word everyone contorted themselves in the commerce clause to avoid saying).
- Obama is ending our wars and “got” Bin Laden where Bush, Cheney and William Clark failed miserably. I personally know Army Rangers who circled above waiting to infiltrate Afghan/Pakistan border in Tora Bora and Green Berets who were less than ONE mile from Bin Laden in 2001. All were told to “stop and hold” until larger forces came in. They were infuriated. Obama has used and more importantly chosen NOT to use US military power the right way. He ended the war in Iraq (WITH a timetable) and will end the war in Afghanistan (WITH a timetable). He uses Special Forces, drone strikes and limited support in the Arab Spring countries to overthrow their own despotic leaders. Change was coming to these countries whether we helped or not. Clinton attempted to get Mubarak to see that before Egypt fell and he paid the price for a lack of quick reform.
- Obama has a genuine passion for equality . I was raised by a strong Mom who (though a Republican and Romney fan) taught me to believe in real equality presented by President Obama. He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act allowing women to sue when they do not receive equal pay for equal work. Romney’s comments about letting women who work for him “go home early to make dinner” and “binders full of women,” betrayed his real feelings about equal pay for women. I encourage equal time off whether for men or women when a child is born. I cook as many meals in the evening as my wife does. And the full repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell successfully pealed back another layer of inequality while maintaining all the strength of force in our military.
In the end, I believe Obama will win, the pain of the fiscal cliff will largely be dictated by our ability to fundamentally redefine our standard of living away from consumption and in a delicate balance with the rising Brazil, Russia, India and China, balance our trade and debt with a renewed focus on manufacturing and living within our means. The environment will be the big winner in all of that.