I'm sure many of you have been waiting with great anticipation for my take on the current campaigns and upcoming election. Well, this is it, beginning, middle and end. Truthfully, there isn't a whole lot to say, which of course will not stop me. This election is much like others in the recent past, just a little more extreme. The rhetoric is more aggressive and nastier, although the issues are similar: The economy (jobs), social issues like abortion (women's health) and health care especially for the elderly, and that old faithful, the middle class. Oh yes, I almost forgot foreign policy. Misrepresentations and outright lies abound. This, unfortunately, is what elections have deteriorated into.
What is new is the extreme polarization, the gap between left and right. The Obama administration is arguably more government-centric than, say the Clinton years (not all would agree), and Romney is somewhat more conservative than, say, the Bushes (again, not all would agree). The label "Socialist" is frequently applied to President Obama, with some justification, and a "Capitalist" sticker is slapped on Romney. In reality, that's essentially what this election is, or should be, about: philosophy of government.
All else derives from this factor, a consideration often lost in the fog of rhetoric. Domestic and world view depend on philosophical perception of solutions to problems. Obama and the current crop of Liberals have a centric world view that sees the solution to conflict as a meeting of the minds of all nations under centralized enforcement. Nationalism is undesirable. Hence a permissive and benign approach to the Middle East quagmire, an approach that currently does not seem to be working all that well. Our extended hand of friendship has been bitten.
Romney and most Conservatives adopt a more nationalistic approach to foreign relationships, a policy that essentially ensures an armed standoff among unfriendly nations. This, incidentally, is Benjamin Netanyahu's Middle East peace concept: an armed standoff, his version of MAD. But I digress. Both approaches are obviously flawed, but then the situation is intractable unless you subscribe to Jimmy Carter's solution: the elimination of Israel.
Domestically, the differences are classic liberal-conservative. Much misleading rhetoric abounds in this arena. For example, there is an Obama-Biden yard sign that reads, "Bin Laden is dead; the auto industry is alive; vote ... ." Not so. The assassination of Osama bin Laden was in the works for years, before Obama took office. It was authorized under G.W. Bush. Much planning and investigation, including identifying bin Laden's courier-driver and tracing him to Osama's compound, with subsequent mapping of the compound via IR satellite and drone analysis. Obama was called in at the last moment as Seal Team 6 was already in the process of executing the operation. Obama had very little to do with the operation other than giving the final go-ahead. Like he had a choice.
Insofar as the auto industry is concerned, GM and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy. The implication by the administration is that without the massive infusion of bailout--read taxpayer--funds, the two industrial giants and their hundreds of thousands of jobs would disappear from the face of the earth. Anyone familiar with Chapter 11 bankruptcy knows that this is completely contrary to the principle of Chapter 11, which purpose is to allow the company/corporation to reorganize and remain in business. Practically every major airline has gone through bankruptcy and is still in operation.
The real issue was the UAW union contracts, which would have been abrogated by the Chapter 11 process and subject to difficult and certainly less beneficial renegotiation. The bailout was to salvage critical union support for the Democrat administration. Yes, it worked, but so would have Chapter 11, without the huge commitment of government (taxpayer/Chinese) funds.
Romney on the other hand paints Bain Capital as a benevolent organization dedicated to preserving jobs. Hardly. Bain Capital was and is a business primarily concerned with making money. Certainly, the salvage of troubled companies is part of the picture, since could very well be financially beneficial to Bain. However, should circumstances dictate, shutdown of a troubled company and loss of jobs is also in the picture.
I have previously discussed this business of the "middle class," which has myriad definitions. I do not like the division of the American populace into "classes". This is contrary to the principles of this country and the economic system that made it great. "All men are created equal" is not just a clever phrase. It means we all start off even, regardless of circumstances, and our station in life is the result of our efforts. The "middle class" can become the "upper class" or the "lower class" depending on our skills and effort. The "middle class" benefits from the economic progress of the nation as a whole. Government has precious little to do with it except to screw it up.
So, whom do you vote for? Depends on your own personal socio-political philosophy. If you are a lover of government and believe in its efficacy in solving problems, then vote for what we currently have. If you favor independence and personal initiative and believe that the less fettered the economy the better, that money in private hands is better than in the government's, then vote for a change.
I think you know where I stand. Most of all, please vote, but only once.