A good friend, Jeff Laurinaitis, emailed me his response to today’s "Two Reasons to Vote for Mitt" post. While many of the comments were excellent, I wanted to post Jeff’s email response to foster more discussion. What do you think? Is he right?
Thank you Jeff for permitting me to post your words:
While I agree that many who vote for Mitt are actually just anti-Obama. I'd like to offer some conjecture on the topic.
I am a man with no party. If the far right was all that existed we'd have an absence of social progress. Over the course of history, it was progressive movements that ended slavery, created Unions that essentially created the middle class, introduced child labor laws, fought for racial, gender and sexual equality. The voices of the far right make me cringe and often ring with elitism and fails to integrate a heterogenous society of varying beliefs.
Yet the far left is more socially acceptable, if our government was filled with only their policies we would pay an unacceptable amount in taxes, our debt would be astronomical and we'd lose some of the greatest benefits of a capitalist society.
The failure of our politicians to govern for the common good has crippled our country and put our collective future at risk. I believe fundamentally if the politicians don't change this unproductive behavior that we should voice opposition to amend the constitution for term limits. If we conclude that the politicians are more concerned with pleasing the special interests groups and telling voters what they want to hear just to get re-elected then we must change the game. Maybe a president should only serve a single 6 year term and senators the same. Run on your platform but give them the liberty to do the right thing and compromise for the common good then refusal to work with the other political party, bicker and be critical while omitting the constructive component.
However, with the elections just weeks away this option doesn't exist so we are left with a choice. Hindsight is always 20-20 but having just survived the greatest depression (globally) since the 1930's one could argue it wouldn't have mattered who or which party was in office as they were all doomed to failure if measurement was bases on our impatient attitudes that have been formed by Wall Street's quarterly earnings. We have become a society of quick fixes, just see the growth of diet pills and diet crazes as proof. Unfortunately our economic mess was and is far more complicated then most will admit. Our real estate and subsequent foreclosure debacle were a result of Bush policies that deregulated the market. Yet I don't blame Bush. It's been the perfect storm to dig the hole and unfortunately the bigger the hole, the more time required to climb out of the depression. Yet the past four years the Republican Party, whose policies greatly contributed to our economic demise, also created a hostile work environment that crippled our government to produce results. At a time when our country and our citizens depended on our politicians to come together, unify and act like leaders they all seemed to fight each other on everything. They all have failed our country and not only failed but failed miserably.
To me, the choice isn't about what Obama has accomplished (like the automotive bailout) or failures (sluggish growth) or what he may do (like potentially raise taxes). In my humble opinion, a vote for Mitt Romney actually doesn't condemn Obama's policies. I believe that it actually condones the despicable behavior that the Republican Party (especially the Tea Party) have exhibited these past 4 years. It rewards them for failing to work with elected officials to find common ground. The economy and job market will turn around regardless of who's in office. But voting in the party who acted like spoiled brats rewards the very behavior that will ruin our society, a government that has stood the test of time over 236 years. We need both parties as our society is represented by both conservatives, liberals and everything in between. We need and should have all voices represented. But just because an elected party wins a simple majority doesn't mean you can run ram-shod over the other party and their citizens. We need to find a more constructive manner to govern. We need a more effective balance of political policies that progresses our country for the common good, not ones that benefit solely the far left nor the far right.
Obama may not be my first choice but rewarding despicable, contentious and non-productive behavior of the Republican Party with a vote in November sends a worse message. That message would also encourage both parties to continue this dysfunctional behavior after every election results. That will set our country back and disable future progress. Abraham Lincoln said it best "a divided house can not stand". We need to be united to allow future generations the same prosperity we've had in my lifetime. A vote for Mitt rewards dysfunction and will set us back and encourage dissension. I'll pass on that. I'll vote for Obama.