I’ve got one good reason why you shouldn’t vote for Mitt Romney, but I have many more merely adequate ones. If you’re the undecided voter I’ve been hearing so much about for weeks now, maybe I can help.
It’s no wonder you may be undecided about voting for Mitt, for not since William McKinley chose to sit on his front porch to campaign have we had a contender quite so opaque. For example, he is a man of immense personal wealth who has gone to enormous lengths to keep you from knowing about it. Days before the election, he still has released no more than two years’ worth of tax records and we still don’t know how he managed to amass a $100 million IRA account. He has big plans to balance the budget and reduce the national deficit, but says he will not explain the mechanism until he is inaugurated. He has governed as a moderate yet publicly espouses positions equated with the far right of the GOP.
You might be undecided about voting for Mitt Romney because it’s so hard to answer one question: who is this guy?
Another adequate reason not to vote for Romney is his need for secrecy, which has contributed significantly to his opacity. The last time we had a president obsessed with keeping things on the down-low, it was Richard Nixon, and I think we can agree that didn’t turn out altogether well.
Consider, for instance, the high-profile speech Romney made to deal with misperceptions of his Mormon faith. Oh, wait, he didn’t make one. I must have been thinking about John Kennedy and Catholicism, because Mitt hasn’t been forthcoming about his belief system. Would Romney’s fealty to the teachings of Joseph Smith negate any oath he took to uphold the Constitution? Don’t ask, because Mitt won’t tell.
Worse, we cannot be assured that, even if he did tell, he’d be honest about it. That’s my one good reason for not voting for Mitt Romney: the truth ain’t in him.
If we have learned any one thing about this candidate in the last four years of his campaign, it’s that he will say or do anything to get elected. Romney has been charitably characterized as a “flip-flopper”, but that’s like saying Charlie Sheen is a social drinker. On an astonishing array of issues, the candidate has provided an equally astonishing array of contradicting answers.
The issue he may be most conflicted on is affordable health care, which was enacted in Massachusetts when he was governor. He thought it was a good idea for the whole country in 2006, but five years later, he said he’d never impose a state’s plan on the whole nation. In 2008, Romney said health mandates work, but this year, he’s all over “job-killing mandates.” In June, he said his first order of business on day one was to repeal Obamacare. In September, he denied he’d get rid of all healthcare reform.
I think it has to do with the audience he addresses on a given day, because different venues seem to elicit confusing responses. Mitt Romney has doubled back on pretty much everything: Roe v. Wade, stem cell research, minimum wage, bin Laden, gun control, you name it. A pattern developed during the campaign whereby Romney would make a controversial assertion and later, in the day, his campaign would take it back for him, as though he’d never said it at all.
If Mitt Romney is not a pathological liar, then he has too tenuous a grasp on reality to warrant being trusted with the presidency of the United States. Take that to the polls with you. Romney’s election would be the vindication of the worst mutation of our electoral process, the so-called “post-truth politics.” It would augur ill for democracy.
I muse a good bit about posterity, mainly because I won’t be there in person for it. I fear that the curious researcher years down the line is going to look at accounts of this presidential election campaign and conclude that a significant portion of our citizenry took leave of its senses during its prosecution.
Barack Obama is not a perfect choice, far from it. There was some rapturous prose in this space four years ago extolling his virtues, but as often happens in long-term relationships, the flaws revealed in daily living trump the romance of courtship. That doesn’t mean you quit. That just means you’re human.
I have issues with the president on many policies, especially his apparent embrace of Grand Bargaining on economic matters at the expense of social justice. I don’t care for drones and I can’t believe he wouldn’t prosecute banksters, but I am persuaded that an imperfect Barack Obama is infinitely preferable to an unperceivable Mitt Romney.
The election of 2008 in many ways was an election about the past, about setting aside old matters and addressing new ones. The fallout from our economic crash has made it hard to undertake as many new things as idealists might have hoped. There wasn’t much realistic change that could be made, under the circumstances, but a few significant milestones—the Affordable Health Care Act; easing out Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; heading off another Great Depression—were achieved, despite the GOP’s intransigence.
There can be more milestones in the next four years, but not if radical Republicans are given sway. Mitt Romney and his wrecking crew constitute a clear and present danger to the future, from the pledges to undo Obamacare and maintain Bush-era tax cuts for zillionaires, to the blank check the GOP would be given to put more radicals on the Supreme Court in the next four years.
Posterity deserves a little better from us. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote in favor of the future.