Tuesday’s Debate – A Swing State Voter’s Perspective

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I genuinely cannot decide whether to vote for Governor Romney or President Obama.  I divide the issues into three categories:

  1. The economy;
  2. Foreign policy; and
  3. Social issues (women’s rights, discrimination, immigration).

 I had a depressing exchange on the Daily Camera opinion page with some Obama supporters. I had asked them to explain what, if any, proposals the President had on the economy.  I was called stupid and sent multiple web links to useless regurgitations of meaningless phrases like “building the economy from the middle-class out”, whatever that means.  In essence, not even Obama’s supporters can explain any of the President’s economic proposals or how they would pass Congress.

Romney’s economic policy is depressingly short on details, but at least it is a proposal.

On foreign policy the Republicans continue to talk about “toughness”, “apologies”, and fantasies about our allies losing faith in the United States.  I have been overseas many times in the last four years, primarily to our allies.  President Obama, outside Israel, is much more popular than the hated President Bush.  The Republican talk merely reinforces my view that the party of Reagan has become delusional about the Middle East and morphed into the consistent war party – every foreign event requires American arms or troops.

On all the social issues Republicans resemble a US variant of the Taliban:

  1. A party dominated by men tells women how they can get contraception, abortions, and unequal pay;
  2. In a decade the current Republican party position on gay rights will look universally discriminatory and in two decades the generations hanging onto that prejudice will be dead; and
  3. On immigration the party of Reagan, who taught the world at the Brandenburg Gate that walls will never stop people fleeing to freedom, advocates building walls and fences.

The economy has to take priority, because without a growing economy we cannot maintain our standard of living, our tax base, and our military dominance. But my greatest concern with Governor Romney is he is just George W. Bush.  His principal economic advisor was the architect of the Bush tax cuts that changed the Clinton surplus into the Bush deficits.  Once in power he will honor his tax pledge, do nothing to cut the budget in any serious way, and wait for the “confidence fairy” to bring growth.

While I admire President Obama’s performance on foreign policy and social issues, I am not even sure he wants the job.  The principal problem for me in his prior debate performance was that he appeared tired and not up to a second term physically or emotionally.  If he does win, he is going to face the same obstructionist Republican Congress and that will require more energy than even the President’s 2008 victory.  If he has no energy Tuesday night and no real economic proposals, I am going to vote for Governor Romney.

But if Governor Romney does not flesh out his economic plans and the President does show up with some energy in the next two debates, a tie goes to the President.  It really is that hard for me.  It really is that close.


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