Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why I am happy about President Obama's reelection ?

I am neither a Democrat, nor a Republican. I tend to like positions taken by people who call themselves "Libertarian". Honestly, I don't like any label. I do not even want to be considered an "Independent". I would prefer to be labeled as "A Man With No Label". :-)

The ideas that appeal to me a lot are founded on fiscal conservatism, individual responsibility, personal liberty and small government. Especially the last one. Government ought to play as little role in our lives as possible. That sounds more like a Republican. So why am I happy that President Obama won ?

I voted for President Obama in 2008. I was very hopeful for a real change. I feel disillusioned like many others, but I still think it was a right decision to vote for him. He is not perfect, no one is. The types of issues a US President deals with are highly complex. It's not always easy to put the decisions in binary buckets of right and wrong. Reality is more nuanced, with very few moral certainties. I like his handling of foreign policy, especially ending the war in Iraq and hopefully in Afghanistan. The drone strikes are a much more complex issue. Such issues present very troubling philosophical questions. That's true even for the decisions about Economy. The bailout of the Auto industry can clearly be seen as against the principles of Capitalism. At the same time, it has been really positive. At least in the short term. These are issues on which arguments can go on forever.

My biggest disillusion comes from the fact that, the big boys on Wall Street have escaped without consequences for their actions that caused the economy to collapse. Maybe proving criminal intent is tough in such matters. Maybe their money has bought influence, and hence so few cases have been brought against Wall Street by the Obama Administration. A clear wrong decision was to appoint the same people - Lawrence Summers, Timothy Geithner - who share the blame for the crisis, in charge of solving the crisis.

The trickiest issue is of course the health care reforms. I do not know enough on this subject, so I am confused. Interestingly, that wasn't really a differentiating factor in the election, as Obamacare seems to me very similar to Romneycare.

These are matters of personal opinion. No president is ever going to make decisions that everyone agrees with. Some decision will turn out to be good, some bad, most both good and bad. So what, if there are decisions that I find wrong ? What matters to me is, does the President have the right intentions ? Does he really care about helping the nation ? I think President Obama does. I never thought that about Romney. How do I know that's how they really feel ? I don't. It's my perception based on their words, their actions and their life. You can say, the President fooled me. Maybe he did. But Romney certainly didn't fool many. And that's the point.

More importantly, most of the Republican Party seems that way to me. It’s not that the Democratic Party has fooled me. I don't believe for a minute that the Democratic Party is the party that cares for poor, and for minorities, and for immigrants. They just don't seem to be openly against these groups, they may be even pandering to them. The Republican Party on the other hand seems to be pandering to only rich, and to a small section of the country. If that's an incorrect perception, then the Republicans haven't conveyed their message effectively.

That's unfortunate. I don't want the Republican Party to be labeled as such. For better or worse, these are the only two parties we will ever have for the foreseeable future. I want both of them to be strong, to counter balance each other. I live in California, and the state government is scarily Democratic. It's a big government that seems to be controlled by public unions and always looking for excuses to increase taxes. I tend to vote Republican in local elections, but my vote hasn't mattered much.

Without a strong Republican opposition, the Democratic controlled government may very well spend us to bankruptcy. But how can I believe in Republican cries for fiscal conservatism when they care about it only when not in power ? When President Bush started two wars without funding, and was increasing the deficit by providing tax cuts to the wealthy, the Tea Party was nowhere to be found. How can I believe a party (or its candidate) when social welfare is claimed to be dragging the country down, but corporate welfare is seen as a solution ? How can a hard working person who fails to earn over the minimum income tax bracket is seen as a free-loader, but a corporation which succeeds in using tax loopholes to avoid paying a dime in taxes is something to be proud of ? It's possible that the people who give their vote to the Democratic candidates do not hate rich, contrary to what is often claimed, and perhaps they see that the rich have rigged the system, and hence support increasing the taxes on them.

The Republican Party's message about fiscal conservatism is muddled, sounds hypocritical and generates suspicions. That's not all. It comes with the baggage that's impossible for me to accept. For example, global warming to them is an opinion, not a scientific fact. What we need is a debate on effectiveness of the solutions, not a debate on whether global warming is real. Their views on the issues surrounding women's health are outright despicable.

It's legitimate for them to question President Obama's competency. He should be called on the embarrassing debacle on "Operation Fast and Furious" and complete mishandling of the Benghazi situation. But it has to be done in the total context of his foreign policy, which includes many accomplishments as well. He didn't sell out America, he made mistakes. Even Republican presidents make mistakes. He could have done more to help the economy, sure. But he did quite a few positive things, and recovery, albeit slow, is happening. Let's be real. Neither President Bush can be completely blamed for the economic collapse, nor President Obama can be completely blamed for the tepidness of the recovery. The repercussions of the deleveraging caused by the collapse of asset bubbles will go on for a long time.

The degree of competence of the Obama Administration is a matter of opinion, which as expected varies along party lines. Even if I agree with republican campaign about the level of incompetency (and I don't), what's the replacement ? Except Ron Paul, every one of their candidates in primary seemed plain crazy. I would have voted for Ron Paul, even with his controversial past. Because he would have been the right choice for our problems today. Put simply, the Republican Party failed to offer a reasonable alternative.

I am happy about the election result. Relieved, more than happy. President Obama's reelection was not just a personal victory. It was defeat of a vicious campaign that started right after his first election. I could never understand the hatred for President Obama. The man received very little cooperation from Republicans. It was as if they cared about defeating him more than helping the country. It backfired. In spite of the state of the economy.

I hope the Republican Party takes a cold hard look at their failings. I hope they are led in future by someone more like Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and not Paul Ryan or Sarah Palin. I hope they figure out that being compassionate is possible while being conservative. That science and God can co-exist quite well for most people. And managing perception about themselves is more important than creating misperceptions about their opponent. Because when both parties are strong viable alternatives, the country as a whole will benefit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...