Obama, Romney & Enthusiasm

by Mike Kimel

Obama, Romney & Enthusiasm

We live in lesser times. The election is coming up, and our choices for President are pretty dismal. I mean really, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? This is what it comes down to? And the third party candidates, when one scratches below the surface, are not any better. An honest person must admit ample reasons to oppose everyone on the ballot.

With that said, there is one phenomenon about this election I find very curious. Until Barack Obama came around, the only Presidents since the end of WW2 to increase the national debt as a percentage of GDP have been Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and the two Bushes. So why is it that so many people who oppose Obama, who look to Reagan as a shining light, are yelling about financial responsibility and deficits? They weren’t supporting Democrats since 1976, that is for sure, and it wasn’t that long ago that Dick Cheney told us boldly that that deficits don’t matter.

I also don’t get the economic concerns that Republicans have about Obama. With the exception of Obamacare, essentially the same thing as Romneycare and very much based on a Heritage Foundation plan, Obama’s economic plan has been to continue GW’s policies. Tax rates have been kept constant, right where GW left them. The bailout was kept the same. What exactly did he change?

Which leads to the same question for Democrats too: what exactly did Obama change? From where I’m standing, on the economic front, all I can point to is that Obama has, if anything, done less to rein in financial abuses than his predecessor did.

After the dot com implosion, there were prosecutions. After the much bigger mess from
2007 to 2009, crickets. Similarly, when the dot com implosions were played out, none of the perpetrators were given handouts. After the 2007 meltdown, not only did Obama continue GW’s bailout giveaways, he expanded them and has encouraged the Fed to do the same. If there’s one class of Americans who are doing particularly well, its the folks who were most complicit in creating the mess the rest of the country is in.

I can say about the same thing with respect to social policies, foreign affairs, etc. All of which is to say, there are a lot of people out demonizing one of the candidates, a candidate who is following their party’s prescription as well as any of their own party’s standard bearers, simply because he belongs to the other party. And there are a lot of people supporting that candidate, that candidate who in deeds stands against what they stand for, simply because he is, nominally a member of their party. The reason we live in lesser times is because, collectively, we are lesser people.

The other day I held my nose, scratched off a mark next to the name of the marginally lesser of the two evils (I originally planned to have a blank vote for President, but the other evil worries me more than I expected), and mailed in my absentee ballot. I won’t advise you on whom to vote, but I would, strongly suggest that you not kid yourself. If, like me, you are holding your nose, don’t pretend you are doing it with a lot of enthusiasm. The stakes surrounding this election are far smaller than the stakes surrounding how we, the people, behave when it comes to politics.