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The Final Stretch

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Now that the debates are over, a decision has to be made on November 6, 2012. The choices are very different, or are they? Republicans, headed by Mitt Romney for president are offering a smaller federal government, decrease taxes for the wealthy, a weak Environmental Protection Agency, easing the restrictions on Wall Street intended to prevent private sector abuse and corporate greed, elimination of The Affordable Care Act, and a promise to appoint conservative justices who will overturn Roe v Wade.

I fail to see the difference between his approach and that of George W. Bush whose economic policies brought us to the financial disaster that President Obama inherited in 2008. Mr Romney has, in fact, shifted positions and contradicted himself so many times that its difficult to know what he really stands for. This observation has not been influenced by either side, but by my personal assessment based on Mr. Romney’s record and political behavior.

Then there is the issue of the 47% conversation he had at the private fundraising event. It was refreshing to be a fly on the wall listening to his full sales pitch without him knowing he was being taped. It revealed a great deal about his character, motivation and intentions, if elected.

Let’s not forget the open declaration two years ago of the Republican leadership in The House and Senate to do everything possible to make Mr. Obama a one term president then refusing to compromise on anything. Is it any wonder why The Congress’s popularity is so low?

During the last debate, on foreign policy Mr. Romney listened to President Obama’s answers and then essentially said the same thing in his own words, reiterating platitudes about making the US stronger by increasing the military budget, creating free choice for medical care using vouchers, promising job growth and reducing the deficit without presenting any credible plan as to how he would accomplish any of these goals other than by draconian cuts in programs that he never identifies, or closing tax loopholes which remains unspecified.

Mr. Romney seems to be going back to Bush’s policies and making them sound patriotic. Its to President Obama’s credit that he was calm and restrained during the first debate, probably unprepared  for the level of  Mr. Romney’s audacity, astonished that he sounded more like The Wizard Of Oz then the republican nominee, promising to get Dorothy back to Kansas without a clue how to do it.

The last time I checked, Mr. Obama’s policies have put us on the path of recovery. Nothing Mr. Romney says can obscure the facts. Economic indicators such as the job reports are unemployment numbers are improving. Housing starts are increasing and the value of the average house is rising. GDP has increased to 2% in the last quarter and millions of Americans without medical care will be covered. The fact that growth has been slower then one would like only reinforces Bill Clinton’s argument that, “Not I, nor any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage President Obama inherited in just four years.”

Mr. Obama’s foreign policy has been based on the presumption that diplomacy, a hallmark of his presidency, is the best approach given the current geopolitical reality and recognizing that military power should be the last resort to solving conflicts rather then the first. Mr. Romney doesn’t appear to have a  grasp of diplomacy. Declaring his intention to increase the military without considering the changes in the nature of global relationships of the twenty-first century or how to utilize the military to deal with this new reality,  makes no sense. Nor does his remarks that he would label China a trade manipulator on day one of his presidency display an expertise in negotiation.

History will lay the blame for the economic collapse in 2008 on George W. Bush and the neoconservatives who created the mess that President Obama was left to clean up. The fact that President Obama is taking longer then hoped underlies the fact that the situation was far worse then he knew when he took office but has still, despite all that,  done a remarkably good job getting the economy moving in the right direction. To deny him a second term because its not fast enough is more of a reflection of the electorate’s impatience. In Medicine, if the body suffers an illness, it can take up to four times the length of the illness to recuperate.

I have lost confidence in the judgement of the American electorate since the re-election of George W. Bush to a second term. The Supreme Court has the Karmic  responsibility for electing him to his first term, but the electorate is responsible for giving him a second term, the one that brought us to the brink of financial collapse.

For all these reasons, and more, I overwhelmingly support Barack Obama for a second term and urge the majority of electorate to do the same. We don’t need a CEO because the US is not a company, its a country. What we do need is a Commander In Chief and President Barack Obama has been a good one. But the electorate has to be patient, comparing where we are now against where we were when he took office, averting an economic meltdown. As the electorate makes this decision, lets not forget the control of the House and Senate when they vote for the Congressional candidates. There are real differences between the democratic and republican philosophies. That is the other choice that will be decided on November 6, 2012.