By Rob Scharr
It is pretty clear to me that most of us are thankful that election season is winding down. The uncertainty of House and Senate contests, in addition to the presidential race, has not helped us formulate an opinion on what will become of the "fiscal cliff" we face at year's end. We don't know what the solutions will be or who will be implementing them. Accordingly, firms are holding back hiring until they know what fiscal and monetary policy will be, what healthcare policy will be, what energy policy will be, and so forth. One way or another, this uncertainty must end if our country is to move forward.
Furthermore, we have zeroed in on the lives of two men, our current President Barack Obama, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. And most of what we have heard about both these men over the past several months has been overwhelmingly negative, with each side portraying the other candidate as something akin to the antichrist. The toxicity of this "debate" is weighing on the minds of Americans as people tear each other down, attempting to make people feel bad about their candidate. This too must end if we are to have any chance at overcoming problems that will take cooperation from the whole country to overcome.
I am backing Mitt Romney. But I am one of the only ones I know who is not doing so simply because he isn't Obama. Had Rick Santorum somehow been nominated by the Republican Party, I would now be writing a piece expressing my guarded support for Obama, urging the country not to fall behind a fringe candidate like Santorum. Fortunately, with Romney as the nominee, I have not been forced to make that choice.
Mitt Romney is far from a perfect candidate. He has changed his positions on most social issues throughout his career (as did Ronald Reagan). He has said things that have allowed the media to characterize him as aloof and out of touch (as did Ronald Reagan). And there is plenty of uncertainty as to how he would actually govern, how many of his promises he can actually keep (as, again, was the case with Reagan). But Reagan silenced just about all his critics, and is now made into a deity by the Right, who has chosen to forget all about the liberal/moderate record he had as Governor of California. I suspect the same may be true of Romney in thirty years.
Romney will not be asleep at the wheel. He will not repeat George W. Bush's mistake of not paying attention to detail. Much as Clinton did, Romney will micromanage, and will appoint people who will micromanage- a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for government to run optimally. For his part, Obama's prior lack of executive experience is showing even four years into his presidency, with dubious investments by the Department of Energy, stonewalling by the Justice Department on Operation: Fast and Furious, and a State Department whose officials pre-empted their superiors in apologizing for a video after the 9/11/12 attacks, when we later learned that the video had nothing to do with the planning and execution of the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
My biggest problem with Obama is that he has actually been too similar to George W. Bush in just about every category. Both Bush and Obama supported TARP, which helped many of those who exploited mom-and-pop investors to the point of financial ruination to keep their positions of power. Secretary Geithner shows no intelligible difference from Paulson in fiscal policy. Bush's buddy Bernanke is now Obama's buddy too, feeding Wall Street its opoid of easy money, devaluing our dollar and sending commodity prices through the roof (is it any wonder that more people are on food stamps with the food inflation we've seen over the past four years?). The TSA, a big, bloated and largely ineffective agency created by Bush, is now more aggressive than ever protecting us from other people's toothpaste and asking us irrelevant questions about where we're going and what we will do when we get there.
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