Obama, again

Four years ago I wrote about why I was happy that President Obama was elected. Or, more accurately, why I was anti-McCain/Palin. Once again, I supported Obama over the Republican ticket. Here’s why:

The biggest reason BY FAR that I supported Democrats in this election is that I am a social liberal. And I don’t want to support what I consider to be a socially backwards party. And a party that spends altogether too much energy on totally meaningless bullshit and doesn’t seem focused on making the country better. And that party is the Republican party. Forget the economy for a second — I will address that further down. The Republican party is ridiculously backwards — from my point of view. That’s not to say that every Republican is backwards. It’s people in the party leadership and people in the media who are prominent Republicans who make every Republican look bad. For instance, check out the Republican Rape Advisory Chart.

Republicans, to me, seem focused on silly things. Granted, they may be things that are important to their base. But they are not things that are important to me. Things like “protecting marriage” (which should not be regulated by the government in my opinion) and gun-control scare tactics (ie, “Obama is going to take away your guns, he was just laying low during the first term!!”) are total nonsense. Society is moving on. Republicans need to get with it. The Democrats might be silly in some ways but at least they get it to a MUCH greater degree that we live in a socially liberal society and not a Christian country. This is the way things are going and this is the way that things will keep going. Standing in the way of social liberalism is a waste of energy and it is not a winning political strategy — in my opinion. The internet and other communication tools will continue to spread social liberalism and social conservatives will see less and less support as time goes on.

So, the economy. It’s a big problem. Obama took the deficit from 10 trillion to 16 trillion. I am very unhappy about that. I don’t think Obama and other Democrats really take the problem as seriously as they should. They are seemingly fine with continuing to spend our way out of the big deficits. They might say they aren’t fine but their actions don’t seem to reflect that they have concerns. And, frankly, the economy was something that could have swung my vote to the Republican side. I am a social liberal but the economy is more important to me than whether gay marriage gets support. Here’s the problem: I never saw Romney’s plan laid out. I think Obama did a great job of drawing attention to this because his statements are what made me search for details on how Romney planned to cut the deficit. I didn’t find much of anything other than general statements and a couple of statements on cutting taxes. It just doesn’t add up that we’d actually see smart cuts in spending. I guess what it came down to is that I felt like neither candidate would be good for the economy. Romney and the Republicans are so hellbent on cutting taxes that I feel like they would do that whether or not economists recommended such a move. I don’t think cutting taxes is a good idea unless there are definite plans to cut way more in spending. We need to get spending under control and Mitt’s plan lists things that are pretty much peanuts in the grand scheme of things. The big issues are healthcare, military and a few other things that are the big items on the gov’ts bill each year. Privatizing Amtrak is not important. I’d love to see it happen but the bottom line is that Mitt did a very poor job selling me on the idea that he was the guy to reduce the size of our government. I know that Obama certainly will not do a good job of that but at least he wouldn’t try to set our country back socially like Mitt would have done (in my opinion).

Overall, I feel like the Republicans are total idiots. Obama was incredibly defeat-able this election. The Republicans, once again, put forward a terrible ticket. There’s a HUGE market in this country for a socially liberal and fiscally conservative party. Essentially, people find the Democrats more socially appealing (and it will continue to trend that way) but they don’t trust either party to handle the economy well. Firstly, the Republicans could easily move more to the middle on the social level and pick up a huge swath of voters. Way more than they would lose on the other end especially considering that the extreme social conservatives will not have anywhere meaningful to go. Granted, losing support (ie, social conservatives who simply stop voting) or votes to a third party is a potential issue but the current party platform is obviously not working either. Secondly, the Republicans need to convince me that they are not the party of hillbilly idiots who do not believe in science, evidence and smart decision-making. Because I currently think of them like a party of idiots — maybe because the loud voices of their party and outlets like Fox News make them look like total morons. I don’t think that fixing my perception of those things would require Republicans to give up their core values of smaller government, lower taxes, aggressive national security, protection of guns, belief in the free market and so on. They just need to dump some of their socially conservative policies and try to bring in more support from the middle.

Anyway, I feel pretty disgusted with the thought of what the economy is going to look like in four years but hopefully we’ll see something different over the course of the second Obama administration. I don’t think it’ll be different but we can always hope. The best thing I can hope for is that the Republican party stops acting so backwards and realizes that it has a huge opportunity in 2016 if they can get their heads out of their asses.

7 thoughts on “Obama, again

  1. Adam

    Having more than 2 core parties and eliminating majorities entirely in Congress would solve a lot of the problems – at least people would have to try and find consensus to generate progress, rather than viewing everything as a never-ending chess game with the only short, medium and long term goal of power over the other.

    I think a lot of our problem-solving needs can be addressed by simply listing out what our core problems are and why they’re core problems. For example, why is the debt/deficit such a big problem? The answer is that GDP growth has slowed and spending hasn’t slowed along with it. Debts really become a problem when they surpass a certain % of GDP, according to most economists (or as I call them, “smart people who know things”). If the debt is growing at a slower rate than GDP growth, we don’t really have a problem. I think the biggest problem is that when things are going well (ex. the post-Clinton budget surplus), there’s huge pressure on politicians to cut taxes because no one wants to be paying in more than is being spent. But then when things are going badly, it’s a terrible idea to raise taxes because it just speeds up economic contraction. If they could simply find middle ground that technically overtaxes during good times and undertaxes during bad times and stick with that middle ground, that would be tremendous.

    The other big problems I see are tremendous overspending on STDM (shit that doesn’t matter) and on helping out favored industries. People may disagree with Medicare or Social Security, but it’s hard to argue that they aren’t addressing problems that matter and need addressing. Spending billions of dollars keeping marijuana users locked up or keeping illegal immigrants who get a speeding ticket locked up is just retarded. No normal people agree with doing those things, but they get done because the private prison industry has huge influence. That’s a real problem. We can’t spend money on schools and infrastructure but have to keep spending to keep drug users in prison. Dumb. And the corn industry. Do we even need to get into High Fructose Corn Syrup? Why it exists at all, how it came to be, the problems it has led to and the fact that no one is doing anything about it?

    So….I’m convinced that there are two entirely non-simple steps that we can legitimately take that will lead to fixing all of our major problems:

    1) Genuine Tax Reform – not the kind Grover Norquist advocates which really just means people paying less taxes all the time. But similar to what was done in the Reagan era where permanent rates are established, there’s not a bunch of loophole filth and there aren’t any avenues for sleazy politicians to insert that filth in the future. Tax reform based on actually smart people’s projections on how much revenue will be needed on average over the years to combat our economic ups and downs.

    2) Genuine Campaign Finance Reform – I don’t kid myself that people more important than me will always have more influence on our country’s direction than I will. But if we can’t reshape this system so that our politicians are once again dependent on people rather than on large organizations and industries, we are really superfistfucked. This year’s election was an international disgrace and laughingstock. Trust has eroded substantially in our leaders and in nearly all of our core institutions. Anti-institution talk is no longer restricted to the fringes and young people; it’s everywhere. Making our politicians talk about what’s best for us, rather than what’s best for their donors, would be a big step in fixing that.

  2. Harry Balzer

    two parties beats a melee of everything, and republicans don’t have a monopoly on stupidity. obama’s the worst president in history (followed closely by bush jr.) because he’s spending the nation into oblivion. can any of you “poker players” do math? take the national debt to $25T (2020 – 2025), take interest rates to historic norms (4%-6%), and solve for debt service expense.

    http://www.amazon.com/Free-Choose-Statement-Milton-Friedman/dp/0156334607

    uncle milt could do math.

  3. Mike

    What do you think about your comment about Obama “not wanting to take away our guns” now? January 4th, 2013

  4. Nat Post author

    I still haven’t seen any action to the contrary. I don’t consider more restrictions on assault rifles to be “taking away guns”. If we’re using guns to protect ourselves from the gov’t, it’s not going to matter if we have assault rifles or not. Same with home and self defense. I don’t believe that Obama will do away with private gun ownership so let’s wait to see what actually gets passed as a law.

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