Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day

Only one more day until the election, which means soon enough this blog can hopefully get back to both non-political and more frequent posts. However, until the election is over it is hard not to think about that - especially when you are surrounded by it in Ohio. This has been an interesting race between two people that could possibly would make decent Presidents. The case for Romney as I see it is something of a peculiar one. I think Romney is like John Kerry in 2004 in that people like him because he isn't the current President. The true conservatives will vote for him because they hate Obama and the moderate conservatives will vote for him because they believe he was a moderate governor. For my standpoint he strikes me as a guy who will say anything to get elected. Lower taxes! Less debt! Better national security through increased defense spending! Medicare/Social Security stay the same! Vote for Romney and you can have it all.

I really think Romney would have done better in this campaign had he stuck to core convictions (even if he doesn't have them) and offered a moderate option. The crazies on the right would vote for him regardless, but when Romney tried to pivot to the middle it seemed awkward and forced. He also missed an opportunity to explain how he would simply the tax code. Currently taxes are too complicated and it seems right in the Republican wheelhouse to go for a simple tax code. (And by simple I don't mean a flat tax.) That being written I think if Romney is elected, then Democrats will work with him and there is a chance he would be a good President. He seems to be a little bit more restrained than other Republicans (ex. W), and my hope is that he would govern more moderately than he campaigned.

For Obama it has sometimes been frustrating. He hasn't always seemed willing to fight for this election, and more seemed hopeful that people would just start acting rational and understand on their own what he has accomplished. I don't think he really respected Romney as an opponent, and became somewhat complacent. (Of course he isn't complacent in asking me to give him $5.) He has accomplished a lot of the past 4 years, but it isn't something that he always sells to the American public. One big example that he rarely (if ever) brings up is how the stock market has done in since he took office. If you remember we were at a low point in 2009 and since then stocks have had a steady climb upwards. Anybody that invests through mutual funds,  401(k), IRAs, etc are better off financially then they were four years ago. It isn't great that 7.9% are unemployed (and many more are underemployed), but that doesn't mean that the middle class that both Romney and Obama talk about so much aren't doing better. My issue with Obama (and it really shouldn't be his issue) is that I don't know if the middle class knows they are doing better.

The main complaint I've had following this election is the lack of objectivity. Maybe it was never this way, but I feel like in the past people could at least agree on the questions if not the solutions. Now the questions are muddled with talking heads from MSNBC or Fox News taking sides. It isn't like there are options out there to weed through the partisan bs, but most people either don't look for them or don't want to hear unbiased viewpoints. It angers me to hear people on the right question the validity of Nate Silver's predictions because they go against Romney. It is upsetting when people question the stimulus when 92% of economists believe that it reduced the jobless rate. It isn't ok to say that "all politicians lie" without knowing that overwhelmingly Romney lies more than Obama and that Ryan is the worst of the bunch. People mistake not being 100% certain on something as meaning there isn't any value in that subject.

Also, people have invented their own reality. In the world that some people live in it seems like Mitt Romney is the savior and that Obama is a socialist. I heard from one Republican friend that he was going to move to Brazil if Obama is elected. Enjoy living in a country with a female president, who is part of the Workers' Party. In reality Obama is the worst socialist ever (capitalism is doing fine) and it seems to me that he is slightly left on social issues, slightly right on defense (hello drone attacks and killing Osama Bin Laden) and wants to be progressive on taxes.

The issue is that people don't do the critical thinking to come to their own reasonable conclusion. Obama is terrible and there is nothing anyone can say to make them change their minds. That upsets me. The level of finality due to being close-minded is something that I find hard to understand. There are things I think (and am willing to bet on), but besides a few issues there aren't many things that I am 100% sure on. I think the stimulus was a good thing. I think saving the auto industry made sense. I'm happy with how the stock market has gone, and I think that another 4 years of Obama probably won't hurt that industry. I think he has been a fine President, who has helped repair how other countries view us after the 8 years of W. I think Romney will say whatever he wants to be President. I think Romney/Ryan stand very little chance of balancing the budget in 4-8 years by reducing tax rates by 20% and getting rid of nothing substantial besides Obamacare. I think that overall Obama has done a good job and would like to roll the dice with 4 more years. And finally I think he will win tomorrow.

Am I sure about any of this - no? I will try to keep an open mind and look at things from every angle. I hope that in this day of biased politics that it is enough.

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