Disecting a National Election

Election 2012

Today is a national election day in the U.S. Many people from countries around the world look to our nation and who it elects on the national level at this time. Of course people focus on who wins the Presidential race above all others but of equal significance are the Senate and House of Representative positions when it’s their turn. Clearly for me, this is an important year to carefully consider who you want to win these open elections and I hope everyone that is eligible and registered to vote will do that today. If anyone were to ask me who I thought might win the Presidential election this year, I doubt I can predict the outcome this time.

I’ve voted since the 1970’s however my interest in politics preceded my eligibility. I’ve been independent in my voting patterns over many years and find there are strengths and weakness in almost every candidate. If I were to review my elector patterns, it would be more Republican than Democrat. Sometimes I find the Vice Presidential candidate has a strong influence in my vote.Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York An easy example of this would be to recall when Mondale & Ferraro ran against Reagan & Bush in 1984. I liked the significant positive change Reagan managed during his first four years though I had voted for Carter in ’76. Ferraro was bright and capable but I knew Mondale would perform those duties as President in the same way he did as a Senator from Minnesota.

Contrast Ferraro with Palin who McCain ran with in 2008 and you have a night and day difference.

Sarah PalinSarah Palin isn’t prepared to hold a national office no matter what your political persuasion. Ferraro could have been President without a doubt should something have happened to Mondale. Walter Mondale is still very politically involved as of this writing however we lost Geraldine Ferraro in 2011.

Generally speaking I’m conservative in some areas and liberal or libertarian in others. To explain this further, I never have or ever will support the idea of abortion of human life. The exceptions, such as incest and rape were often used to justify support but in actual vast numbers it has been used as a means of birth control. To my way of thinking there are better and less emotionally damaging options of birth control, ie. condoms, pill, diaphragms, tubal ligation, abstinence, etc. I believe that a society unwilling to protect the defenseless and what will become a fully developed human being is degrading itself to prehistoric levels of human compassion.

This leads me to another peeve while on the topic of human value; wars. We declared a war on poverty, which was hugely unsuccessful and actually had the opposite effect. Our national leaders also declared a war on drugs and we all can see how effective that has been. For over the past 10 years we fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to what end? We lost a lot of valuable lives, damaged many others, disrupted productive families and significantly increased our national debt. I initially thought George Bush and his administration were right about going into Iraq after the attacks by terrorists on September 11, 2001. I was flat-out wrong. Yes, Saddam Hussein was an evil despotic man but he wasn’t alone in that category and I just don’t see it as the job of the United States to go onto the sovereign soil of another country unless and until we have absolute evidence they have or will continue to launch attacks on our nation. I’m sorry but I think we have generally not used the correct standards of judging our use of military force since the 1950’s.

iraqI briefly touched upon ‘the war on drugs’. The battle for the hearts and minds of a people and how they control their habit isn’t won through police action. That is to say we have a drug problem because we are losing the ideals of a society and how it chooses to conduct itself. Therefore I believe in order to wrest control of the traffic of non-prescriptive drugs in the hands of criminals, we need to at least allow the controlled distribution and sale of marijuana. I don’t use it or advocate its use but we seem to have permitted alcohol and to a lesser degree, cigarettes for many years. Perhaps we can take the money used by law enforcement in searching for marijuana agriculture and distribution and use that to feed our homeless, especially the children.

Now there’s one area which I believe both Democrat and Republican have been responsible over the past umpteen years and that’s the level of government spending. Our annual deficits, especially over the last 4 years have skyrocketed. Our combined national debt is astronomical. I’ll provide a few links for reference on the bottom of this page. When a nation’s leadership continues to pass unfundable ‘feel good legislation’ and passes this off as acceptable practice until we reach a point of default, like Greece, Spain and Ireland are now facing, we are in serious jeopardy. Our current predicament won’t be easily remedied because as soon as real cuts in spending are discussed, the organization and the people connected to it will claim we can’t live without it. When you have a personal household in financial difficulty, the family may want to eat out occasionally, subscribe to cable TV, go to a movie, smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, they eventually have to stop all that when outgo exceeds income. The collectors take over and your home may also be lost. This is analogous to what is happening with our country. I read figures which say approximately 60% of all American households receive some type of federal money / credit. This means the productive are being swamped by those receiving the benefits of their labor and you can guess which way the less productive will vote.

Over the past 4 years we have seen the national debt climb trillions of dollars while each year Congress spends more that $1 trillion over what we take in from taxes and fees. Partisanship has increased under President Obama because of what he says to his Republican contemporaries and not holding open bi-partisan meetings as he promised over the economy and jobs. He hasn’t met with the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for over a year. Meanwhile, health care legislation was passed despite overwhelming public opinion against while the economy continues to suffer. Democratic leadership stated they needed to pass the bill before knowing what it contained.

Using Republicans as the reason to blame unsuccessful or little effort isn’t going to mend any fences. Any company of national or international stature wouldn’t find it acceptable to hire a President or CEO and then listen to them complain about the prior administration for several years while expanding debt and working on the wrong priorities to help them become successful again. Nor would they find it acceptable for this new administrator to travel the world to apologize for past company failings in order to be found an acceptable member of their business community.

Here’s where I think you can differentiate between campaign and political rhetoric of the two viable Presidential candidates. Mitt Romney has largely been successful as a business person and a politician. He was able to work with both poltical parties while governor of Massachusetts, a traditional liberal state, and he didn’t find it useful to blame a prior governor for his lack of success. There are those that might argue a wealthy business person isn’t a positive resume attribute. Indeed, President Grant (for those who know their history) wasn’t, but in order to appreciate and understand the impact legislation and more government controls has on business, what better method than someone who actually was involved?

If you pay any attention to successful businessmen in this country who are not benefiting in some connected way with government spending, you will find some very concerned and worried people. Bernie Marcus, one of the founders of Home Depot says he seriously doubts he could have successfully launched his company in today’s economy. There have been many others who have stated the same. It now costs twice as much today to start a new business in the US than it does in the United Kingdom. We have to become competitive again and despite the rhetoric, Barack Obama as President hasn’t led us in that direction.

We have descended from our ability to disagree peaceably and find compromise into false accusation, sarcasm or stupid threats.

Michelle Obama said the president needs every vote he can get. “Don’t let anybody push you out of line.”  Where is this possibly going to happen?  I’m sorry to think she finds it necessary to go back to past generational history in order to drum up support on emotion rather than reality.

Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time; “If you’re thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, I would like to make this one plea: black people know who you are and they will come after you.” That’s a very sick joke.

This sort of veiled or in your face racial tone needs to be completely off the table for us to be the nation intended and fought for by any of us who have served in the military.

No matter who is declared the winner they will have their hands full. The nuclear weapons development in Iran, our support of the nation of Israel, continued political battles over health care, the economy, national debt, energy policy and who knows what other events and challenges will have to be met.

I will support whomever is our elected nation’s President.

US National Debt Clock   Bernie Marcus the Obama Economy   Politics at its Worst – Ken Langone