Friday, January 6, 2012

Political Questions

In my last two posts, I have discussed the Republican presidential candidates.  The comments have me wondering, what should I be looking for in a candidate?  Several people have either commented that one issue was more important than the other, or on the other side of the coin, responders have stated that we should look at a broader picture.  I never look at just one thing when choosing a candidate.  There are, however, certain issues that rank higher in my choice.  How a candidate treats GLBT issues is usually at the top of my list.  I also want to know what that candidate intends to do if/when he is elected.  The economy is no doubt an important issue, but is not really an issue that I look at for a presidential candidate.  You might be wondering why I say that, and the answer for me is quite simple.  As a historian, I look at historical trends, and history shows us that a president has no immediate impact on the economy.  Usually it takes 5-10 years for a presidential decision to actually affect the economy as a whole.  Even when Franklin D. Roosevelt had nearly carte blanche to do what he deemed necessary during the Great Depression, his policies never truly affected the nation's economy.  Only the Second World War, and America's decision to enter that war ended the Great Depression.  That is merely one example.  It is in my opinion that the policies of Ronald Reagan during the 1980s eventually caused the economic downturn that was the cause for the end of George H.W. Bush's presidency.  Subsequently, it was the policies of Bill Clinton along with George W. Bush's economic policies coupled with their foreign policy, i.e. numerous wars and conflicts without the help of a total war economy, that has caused much of the current crisis to be extended.

Now quite frankly, this is my own brainstorming and truly what I believe; however, it points to my reasons for looking at more social issues as opposed to economic issues that causes me to question the current political landscape of Republican candidates.  Quite frankly, and excuse my bluntness, but we seem to be "up shit creek without a paddle" and, needless to say, our choices for presidential candidates stink to high heaven.  There is so much rhetoric and sound-bite pandering, until we look as if we have a group of the ridiculous running against the even more ridiculous.  So my questions are:

  1. What are we to do? 
  2. What issues should we be looking at?
  3. If politics really is about the lesser of two evils, who is the least evil?
  4. Can we afford to have a Republican who is going to do all he can to roll back the major steps we have made in GLBT rights?
  5. What are your opinions on the issues?
  6. What are you looking for in a candidate?
  7. Will you merely settle for the incumbent Democrat, Obama?
  8. Why can't we find a third alternative?
  9. Shouldn't there be some moderates out there, since both the Democrats and Republicans are taking things to the extremes on the Left and Right?
I am eager to hear what you guys have to say.  I have never, since I first voted, had such a quandary of who to vote for.  And the be completely honest, I sincerely doubt that I will vote in the Republican Primary.  I have always voted in the Democratic Primary, but where I live, the important ballot will be the Alabama Republican Primary on March 13, 2012, though there are some important local and state races, so I will have to decide when the sample ballots are posted, which primary I will vote in.


Bill Dameron said...

I'll vote to keep my marriage legal-Obama

drew said...

I don't think the clock can be turned back on gay issues. It will continue to move forward who ever is president. As I mentioned earlier, if we don't begin to get our financial house in order that is going to cause huge social unrest. We are currently paying basically no interest on our debt. What do you think will happen when the interest rates increase? The debt payment alone will begin to destroy our economy. I don't like Obama's use of class warfare in his campaign. We are campaigning against people who provide all the tax revenues for the country?? We have quite a few problems and Obama is a very inexperienced leader. We need real leadership now even if I am gay, I am going Republican. I voted for Obama in 2008 and have been disappointed.

Coop said...

I am also no fan of President Obama. I don't like the idea of settling for him.

I think we need more moderate candidates. Unfortunately both parties are so into their own platforms that they will slap around anyone who disagrees with leadership. They have also trained voters to vote (D) or (R). Party unity makes me nauseous.

There are people who will vote for Santorum over Romney or Ron Paul or... simply because he is a vocal Christian.
There are probably some gay people who think a guy like Santorum can actually get us rounded up and put into concentration camps. Or, more realistically, that he can get gay sex banned again. Give me a break!

The talking heads are calling Ron Paul the more liberal candidate, Santorum the religious conservative and Romney is somewhere in the middle. I lean conservative (used to be a registered Republican).I once believed that the party was committed to individual rights.
A lot of them still are, but the religious right rules the roost now. I think the spread of GOP candidates reflects that conflict.

I was nauseous when I voted in '08 and I'll take a dramamine this year. I'm selecting Romney in the primary. Huntsman was my guy but he's going nowhere. Unfortunately, as a non-Christian, he has to survive God squad country.

Coop said...

*Romney* has to survive God squad country.

fan of casey said...

Joe: I think you are correct about history, most presidents 1) don't act on their own, they need congress to get things done, and 2) presidents don't have this magical power to move the economy, so the charge that Obama is not doing enough is for job creation is bogus -- but people want simple solutions to complex problems, and 3) I agree the biggest problem is us the electorate, we want all the benefits of government yet complain when asked to pay for it. Or worse, we only put value in government programs that we use directly -- but other services that other people need are a waste, Don't get me wrong, government is a unwieldy beast -- inefficient, wasteful, and prone to corruption -- we need to do a better job of administering the laws we pass.

Take for example medicare, people claim it's a right because they paid for it during their lifetimes but the amount they paid (mostly 1.45% of wages, matched with another 1.45% of wages paid by the employer) no way covers the cost of providing the benefit, so it would make sense to try to slow the cost by limiting costly procedures that provide minimal benefit but then you get charges of health rationing that gets reduced to ridiculous sound bites of death panels.

If every one were to give in a little, take less benefits, pay a little more in taxes, we could find a way out of this financial mess but few want to sacrifice -- but we would are quite happy to extract sacrifice from the other side.

Getting back to your issue about who to choose. I would say it's the one person who can work with both sides to compromise because in this political environment, no one can force through an agenda. Politics is much about grand policy ideas coupled with sharp tactics to get things thru congress.

That's why whenever I watch debates, and I hear candidates say I will accomplish this and that, I'm not only assessing the policy goal but looking for the "hows" -- because how you are going to do it is just as important. When people like Cain was in giving their simplistic answers like "I'll just do this and that" it's clear he has no idea how government works. But like I said, some of the public loved the simple solutions because they don't have time or want to make an effort to be informed.

As have been said in the press many times before, campaigning is easy compared to governing. As a candidate you can promise the world but the reality is you need someone else to agree. So going back to my point, I'd look for someone who has demonstrated working with a hostile legislative branch and gotten results.

So with that said, the obvious choice would be Romney if I were a republican (which I'm not), because he had to deal with a Massachusetts democratic legislature -- but he had to compromise his view to get things done, which in the ideological primaries have led to charges of flip-flopping and that he's not a true conservative.

The problem for all candidates is in the primaries they have to play up to their base, but in the general election they need to appeal to independents and moderates to win.

Politics, while there is certain level of logic at play, often comes down to an emotional choice. Who do you like better? Who inspires you more? Who is lying less? No candidate is perfect, thus the lesser of two evils analogy.

And you have to consider the issue of electability otherwise you are "wasting" your vote on someone who can't win. But there are fanatics on both sides, uncompromising, where electability is not considered. Many of these supporters are the single issue voters, which in my opinion are so blinded because life is not just about a single issue.

Will said...

In point of fact I don't think that the candidates are polarized on the Right (Republican candidates) and the Left (Obama). Obama has caved and/or actually agreed with a great many Republican positions and in many cases has seemed more like a Center-Left Republican than anything else.

Yes, he has been a disappointment a great many times. BUT, listen to the Republicans but also to the groups to which the Republicans have sold out to and are allowing to drive their agenda more and more Evangelical-Right. No matter how lukewarm one might be on Obama, I truly think the alternative is unthinkable.

silvereagle said...

Joe - A lively discussion here. Maybe there is hope in this country after all...Not a hopey and changey thing, but real people looking carefully at the issues and the candidates and making a resoned choice. One poster mentioned the ability of the leader (president) to work compromise. The problem with the present administration is that word is not a part of the vocabularly--neither the president or the leaders of the senate and house can compromise.

Great fanfare was given to the beer summit early in the adminstration with the leader and the police officer. Beer in the rosegarden. Why in the name of all that is reasonable, can they (the leaders) sit down together on a Friday night around a table and have a reasoned discussion. I do not think this is possible with Obama, Reed, or the republicans either.

I will continue to listen for a voice of reason in the loud sounds, but fear the wailing and crying will drown it out.

fan of casey said...

Joe: Here's what it comes down to, we know how to fix the financial problems, there have been many commissions and studies -- the solutions have been identified. What's lacking is the political will to make some tough choices. If everyone, and i mean everyone gives in a little, and look towards the greater good of the country instead of focusing on self interest, then we could have a grand compromise - a mix of higher taxes and entitlement reform. But no, special interests are always out to try to come out ahead.

It is especially galling that our so called capitalist system wants profits to be privatized but losses should be socialized. At the same time, entitlement programs suffered from lots of inefficiency, waste, and outright fraud.

And I dare say the ones clamoring loudest for changes would also be screaming "No" at the changes if we did things like increasing the social security retirement and medicare age, start taxing insurance coverage benefits provided by employers, scale back mortgage interest and charitable deductions. Again, i got back to people being selfish in what they want but totally dissing other programs they don't use as wasteful.

If you want to make it fair, cut everything including military spending, foreign aid, corporate welfare, agricultural subsidies as well as entitlements. Have everyone pay a little more in taxes -- go back to Clinton level taxes for everyone, then offer some targeted tax cuts.

drew said...

I believe we will have no choice but to make deep cuts and raise taxes. We can only kick the can but so far. I don't think people understand what is coming. Our debt is over 100% of our GDP. The only reason we are not feeling it now is the printing presses are running 24/7... Most of the states in financial straits in our country are the blue states (Dems). Why do you think that is? Heavy on entitlement and unions. My biggest gripe with Dem party is they are buying their votes with entitlements.

Blue Wolf said...

I think Obama is doing as good a job as any democrat can. He came in during a perfect shitstorm of economic collapse; high unemployment; 2 wars, that he is African American, all of the "he's Muslim" crap and the birther nonsense, plus the Tea Party and a Republican party that created most of the mess who decided to say "no" to anything he or the Dems have offered. He certainly has the balls to be President, and there is no one whom the Republicans would be willing to "work with". So, I care about me and mine and will vote for him again. That any GBLTQ person could possibly vote for Romney or any of the other Republicans is mind boggling to me. No wonder the country is as fucked up as it is.

drew said...

Blue Wolf,
Don't you think you are ignoring some facts? Even Matt Damon who is a devoted Dem said he would have rather voted for a man who would run just 4 years and have a pair of balls!! His appointments were only 8% business people. Who provides the capital (taxes) to the government??? Business..large and small. I know you won't vote Rep but you are short changing yourself... I am gay.. I understand what you want but you have to have a more balanced approach!! Good Luck!!