Sunday, November 4, 2012

The 100 Percent

In regard to the extreme commercials Obama and Romney have used, there's a stark contrast to Romney's Jeep Ad and Obama's use of Romesia — it reveals the difference between a negative ad that is based on lies, and a negative ad that points out a critical truth.

Despite all of the bluster and dissembling from both sides,  several critical issues lurk in the balance with this election.

1. The economy. I understand the passion of those who fault Obama for the sluggish economy, just as I understand their weariness at the mention of the mess that led to the crash. Perhaps we can agree it was a bad situation that Obama did not make worse. Of course it could be better. Obama has admitted that, and in my opinion, it is not strictly Obama's fault that it is not better.

2. Women's rights, including abortion, contraception, and equal pay. I see some have discounted the Lilly Ledbetter act, but I happen to think that legislation is a big issue, and not just for women, but for households, where there's only one person working, and that worker is female. Equal pay should have happened in the last century, imo.

3. Foreign policy. Personally, I'm not in favor of drones, and both candidates have endorsed the use of that weapon. I wish Gitmo were closed, and I'm pleased we got Bin Laden.

4. Character. This actually evolved into an issue late in the campaign because one of the candidates veered sharply away from previous extreme positions. I've seen the word pivot used, as well as changing one's mind, and, of course, the old favorite, flipping and flopping. It's perfectly reasonable to change one's mind; sheite happens. But when one candidate seems to flip back and forth from positions, that's when doubt comes in as to what the heck he really is up to. In my humble view, it takes a strong amount of faith that the Mitt you want or expect is the Mitt you will get.

We are going to believe one candidate or the other. I wonder if we can agree that this election is particularly volatile because of so much uncertainty, mostly that either Obama or Romney is not going to have an easy time if the GOP retains the House, and the Democrats keep control of the Senate.

Our bigger problem is not who we elect president, but how we manage to reinvent the art of compromise. Some might say, for certain Mitt will boast, that as Governor, Romney had 87 percent Democrats, and that he worked across the aisle. His record tells us that he vetoed more than 800 bills, and 780 of those bills were eventually passed via override. Obama, as has been pointed out many times, has not been too successful working with John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the rest of that adamant bunch. And Harry Reid has promised Romney that if the Dems keep control the Senate, they will not work with him if he is elected.  We — the people — are screwed either way.

This is where the system is gouging us. The last two Congresses have passed the least amount of legislation in the history of the country. That's disgraceful. It's easy to see why many people are cynical about the process.

We can be passionate about one candidate or the other, but until we — the people that do the hiring and firing of these alleged public servants — demand more of our elected officials, rather than feeling smug that our side — whichever one we're on — won a political campaign.

In my view with what has transpired in the past 12 years and the growing rancor and discord that dominates our discussion and how congress operates, the country has lost the last three presidential elections. We — the 100 percent — need that to change.

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