Tag Archives: 2012

Why I’ll Be Voting For Romney

I’m rarely this bold with writing about my political preferences on an individual candidate, but considering there are only two (real) options at this point, I figured there’s no point in pretending to be objective. I’m not going to go into deep detail here, everyone reading this is well informed enough to make their own decisions and vote according to their own priorities, but I have been asked by some of my (less informed) liberal friends “How could you vote for Romney?” as if it were akin to beating a puppy. As such, I decided to make my last minute case for why I’ll be voting for Mitt Romney in hopes that you can at least understand, even if you disagree.
He has the experience we need: Okay, so a lot of people don’t like Romney. There are a variety of reasons, some valid, some silly, but I can understand why he’s not the most popular guy on the block. Regardless, his resume (love it or hate it) reads like the perfect applicant for the job position right now. We have a country that is in bad financial shape and getting worse, and a candidate that has experience at… turning around under-performing or near bankrupt businesses. Sure, they’re not exactly the same thing, but they’re a heck of a lot closer than some people would like to believe. He’s proven that he can balance budgets and spend within his means, a lesson our country desperately needs to learn right now. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fun, but it needs to be done and Romney is the only candidate right now that has a resume showing he’s willing to get the job done.

He’s a leader: I can already hear the Obama fans starting to type angry replies. “You mean President Obama isn’t?!?!” Well, yes and no. I certainly don’t deny that it takes a great deal of strength and leadership capability to achieve the highest political office in the country. However, once he obtained that position he quit acting like a leader. Leaders don’t make excuses or blame their predecessors. Leaders don’t shift blame and focus away from their own short comings to put it on the people they work with. Leaders don’t base policy off the winds of political convenience. What leaders should do is develop a plan they intend to follow and keep their focus on their goals even when others doubt them. Leaders unite opposing views, they don’t deepen the divide. Leaders fix problems, they don’t push them off on future generations. Romney has shown, as a (moderate) Republican leading a solidly Democratic state, that he can be that kind of leader. Whether some of the President’s loyal followers are willing to realize it or not, we do not have a leader capable of uniting the opposing factions running our country right now, and until we have that kind of leadership, we will not break out of this unproductive political gridlock, and things are only going to get worse.

He’s not interested in expanding the government: This is the one that matters a lot to people regardless of their political affiliation (but I know it’s especially crucial to my libertarian friends). Romney has made it clear that his plan for getting the US economy and day-to-day government functioning back on track is shrinking the government. This is a clear distinction between himself and President Obama. This is not to imply that all Republicans are for small government, President Bush oversaw dramatic increases in government reach, intrusion, and overall size, but it is to explain that this Republican candidate disagrees both with his challenger and his predecessors over the role government should play in our lives. The simple math shows that the government has gotten larger, and most people believe that the government alone is not the answer to our economic problems and expanding it is a redistribution of resources to less productive measures at best. (Most economists flat out say that it’s a band-aid fix, and a dangerous one.) The President has shown that he thinks a government-centered approach to fixing the economy is the best path through his words as well as his actions. Romney’s intent to trim the government down will not please everyone, but history and economic theory suggests we’d be better off in the long run.

And finally, the one people like least:

“He’s not President Obama”: I hate it when people say things like this, so I can imagine what you all think as well, but let me explain what I mean by this. I don’t mean that it’s worth voting for Mitt Romney simply because he’s not Barack Obama, that would imply that Obama is somehow the political devil and anyone is better. I disagree with that view. I would suggest that Obama isn’t the best, or even one of the best, candidates on the ballot, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Romney is new to the job, and comes with a great resume. We know Barack Obama. We know his record. And honestly, it’s not good. His most significant achievement was the healthcare reform bill, a law which has already been shown won’t really fix the problems facing our healthcare system (at all) and was passed through less than kosher means with a whole lot of bureaucratic pork added on along the way. It’s a terrible piece of legislation with seemingly noble intent, and that’s what we’ll remember the first Obama term for. The economy is in a “recovery” that’s so slow many have wondered how we can pretend we’re not still really in a recession. Even though we emerged from that in technical terms, we haven’t shaken off the economic malaise our country has been in the past 5 years, and it’s no longer possible to pretend we can somehow blame everything on Bush. (If you chose to believe that, you’re in denial.) We’ve had four years of failed attempts to address the problems facing us. Four years of blaming others for his own short comings. Four years of slinging mud on national television at the very people he claims he is trying to foster bipartisanship with. Four years of broken promises. Four years of fiscal standoffs and deliberately polarizing budgets. Four years of the leader of the free world behaving like a celebrity instead of a leader. Four years of disappointment, not hope, or change, or progress. I don’t know if another four of the same thing would somehow destroy the US like some seem to believe, but I can promise you this: It isn’t going to put us on a better long-term path. I want an America where people work hard and reap the rewards of their work. A land of opportunity that sets a good example by not spending more than it can afford to or passing debt off to future generations because we don’t have the guts to fix the real problems facing us. The country I want will not come from a second Obama term.

I’ll close with this: If the United States were a business with the taxpayers as its shareholders (and in many ways, it is), CEO Obama would have been fired at least a year ago and a new candidate with the right credentials would have been sought. In 2008 the company was hemorrhaging money and taking a public relations beating. We thought this new leader could turn things around and deliver the prosperity and change he promised the shareholders. He tried some bold, expensive moves, which ultimately were not successful. He kept the company limping along, but now in deeper debt and with even more executives and administrators than before and no strong benefit for the shareholders. Now the projections for the future health of the company have gone from bad to worse and our CEO claims to be able to fix that despite having shown no sign of being capable of doing so in the last few years he has been working here. So the shareholders have to make a tough decision and find a leader with experience at turning around this company that is now facing even bigger problems. Of the applicants, one has emerged that looks like he can pull it off, and that is Mitt Romney. We don’t know that he’ll succeed, but we do know that there’s no point in continuing on a path we can see isn’t working for our company. It’s time to move on.

Now, go vote, or you’ll lose the right to complain about the outcome after the dust settles.

-M

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Beware Throwing Your Support Behind Invisible Children and Their Kony Bandwagon

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Absolutely a must read. Please educate yourselves before allowing yourself to support a charity with questionable mechanisms of achieving their goals and inefficient use of your precious charity dollars. Stopping human trafficking is a very noble cause. Supporting the methods of Invisible Children, which involves even more bloodshed and allying yourself with a different group of unscrupulous “liberators”, and their opaque use of your money is not as noble. If you’re going to donate, at least read the articles out there and make sure your money is going to the right place. If you think that’s Invisible Children after reading all this, that’s your decision. Just make sure it’s an informed one.

-M

 

EDIT/P.S.- Invisible Children has released a response to critiques and I have had the post of an IC employee brought to my attention that tries to address some of the concerns as well. I will have a new post on Friday trying to give both sides a fair shake on this issue and breaking down my problems with Invisible Children as a charity as well. I apologize for the delay on this, as much as I would like to give you a good comprehensive post on the rest of the issue today I just can’t do it that fast with the obligations I have today. Please check back on Friday for the follow-up to this post.

thedailywhat:

On Kony 2012: I honestly wanted to stay as far away as possible from KONY 2012, the latest fauxtivist fad sweeping the web (remember “change your Facebook profile pic to stop child abuse”?), but you clearly won’t stop sending me that damn video until I say something about it, so here goes:

Stop sending me that video.

The organization behind Kony 2012 — Invisible Children Inc. — is an extremely shady nonprofit that has been called ”misleading,” “naive,” and “dangerous” by a Yale political science professor, and has been accused by Foreign Affairs of “manipulat[ing] facts for strategic purposes.” They have also been criticized by the Better Business Bureau for refusing to provide information necessary to determine if IC meets the Bureau’s standards.

Additionally, IC has a low two-star rating in accountability from Charity Navigator because they won’t let their financials be independently audited. That’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s a very bad thing, and should make you immediately pause and reflect on where the money you’re sending them is going.

By IC’s own admission, only 31% of all the funds they receive go toward actually helping anyone [pdf]. The rest go to line the pockets of the three people in charge of the organization, to pay for their travel expenses (over $1 million in the last year alone) and to fund their filmmaking business (also over a million) — which is quite an effective way to make more money, as clearly illustrated by the fact that so many can’t seem to stop forwarding their well-engineered emotional blackmail to everyone they’ve ever known.

And as far as what they do with that money:

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.

Let’s not get our lines crossed: The Lord’s Resistance Army is bad news. And Joseph Kony is a very bad man, and needs to be stopped. But propping up Uganda’s decades-old dictatorship and its military arm, which has been accused by the UN of committing unspeakable atrocities and itselffacilitated the recruitment of child soldiers, is not the way to go about it.

The United States is already plenty involved in helping rout Kony and his band of psycho sycophants. Kony is on the run, having been pushed out of Uganda, and it’s likely he will soon be caught, if he isn’t already dead. But killing Kony won’t fix anything, just as killing Osama bin Laden didn’t end terrorism. The LRA might collapse, but, as Foreign Affairs points out, it is “a relatively small player in all of this — as much a symptom as a cause of the endemic violence.”

Myopically placing the blame for all of central Africa’s woes on Kony — even as a starting point — will only imperil many more people than are already in danger.

Sending money to a nonprofit that wants to muck things up by dousing the flames with fuel is not helping. Want to help? Really want to help? Send your money to nonprofits that are putting more than 31% toward rebuilding the region’s medical and educational infrastructure, so that former child soldiers have something worth coming home to.

Here are just a few of those charities. They all have a sparkling four-star rating from Charity Navigator, and, more importantly, no interest in airdropping American troops armed to the teeth into the middle of a multi-nation tribal war to help one madman catch another.

The bottom line is, research your causes thoroughly. Don’t just forward a random video to a stranger because a mass murderer makes a five-year-old “sad.” Learn a little bit about the complexities of the region’s ongoing strife before advocating for direct military intervention.

There is no black and white in the world. And going about solving important problems like there is just serves to make all those equally troubling shades of gray invisible.

[kony2012.]

Source: thedailywhat

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Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota…. Bad News for Ron Paul Fans and Romney, Good News for Rick Santorum.

Last night’s results were a bit of a surprise to me, as it appears they were to a lot of the pundits too. Santorum winning all three contests? There was a collective “What the hell?” around the internet and TV last night, and there are some big implications for future contests despite the initial opinions of pundits that Tuesday wasn’t that important. Here are my thoughts:

Santorum just got a huge boost of momentum. Although Missouri’s primary was basically an expensive hollow gesture (http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/07/opinion/martin-missouri-primary/index.html), he racked up almost 140,000 votes there, more than twice that of Mitt Romney, and won every county. Every one. Okay, so he’s the only one that really campaigned there and Gingrich wasn’t even on the ballot, but it’s still a huge dose of campaign ad friendly momentum. There was always a chance he’d do well in Minnesota and he did a relatively good job campaigning there too, but his margin of victory over Ron Paul was bigger than anyone I know of predicted. And Coloradowell that just blew me out of the water. That was highly unexpected by most and a blow to Romney and Gingrich. Santorum got a 3 state (2 that actually matter) sweep tonight, and you better believe you’re going to be hearing about it for the next couple weeks.

Romney just took a big hit to the “inevitable candidate” image by not just losing one state to Santorum, but multiple ones, and he lost them pretty significantly overall. His campaign ad machine will no doubt take a renewed focus towards attacking his campaign in the upcoming Super Tuesday elections and beyond if things continue in this fashion, but he’s going to have to start increasing his overall likability and getting punches in without causing his negative numbers to skyrocket again. Although he is probably still the most likely candidate, I don’t think he’s going to coast to the nomination like so many expected and I think the ride there (if he gets there) may render him unelectable come November.

Paul fans are in trouble if they still think he can win the nomination. Ron Paul said before Florida that he was putting his focus into caucus states, and he has done a lot of campaigning in Nevada, and made some reasonable time investment in Colorado and Minnesota compared to the others. He even thought he was going to win Minnesota. Despite all that work, he hasn’t even come close to winning a state. Sure, his most loyal fans will point to Minnesota or New Hampshire and say “He placed second! That’s really good!”. Well, sure. But you’re not going to win a nomination that way, and those second place performances were his strongest by far to date. He also is highlighting that recent poll showing him placing second nationally behind Romney. I’d offer the sliding Romney likability numbers and his barrage on Gingrich as what you have to thank for that, not anything new that Dr. Paul has done. Yes, I realize there are a lot of primaries still to go, but Ron Paul is the only candidate that hasn’t been able to garner enough appeal and support to win a state so far and there’s no reason at this point to believe he will be able to in the future. He can’t seem to get any momentum going no matter how much time he spends in a state that should be friendly to his views. So my words of warning to Paul followers: Ron Paul is happy to continue this all the way to Tampa with the goal of showing up with as many delegates as possible and making some noise for his beliefs. If that’s what you want, continue to donate to his campaign and support that ideology. But you should know that it now appears he’s not expecting or planning to win the nomination or being the next President of the United States, so keep that in mind when voting.

Gingrich also had a disappointing night. Although he put little effort into the recent primaries and seems to be placing all his bets on Super Tuesday (a strategy I’m skeptical he has the ground game to pull off), he was at one point projected to potentially win Minnesota or place second, instead he came in fourth. He was supposed to be able to have a good showing in Colorado, and he’s nearly tied for last with Dr. Paul. His performance is below expectations but with how little effort he put into these states, it’s hard to say what this really means overall. So the question for Gingrich and his supporters now is: Can he pull off an aggressive nationwide campaign for Super Tuesday and grab the momentum back (and some all important delegates)? With Santorum given new life once again and Paul’s supporters firmly in their camp, it’s going to be difficult.

So instead of a one man race, or a two man race, we have three “front runners” and an overall four candidate circus underway. I hope you bought ringside tickets.

Feel free to comment or ask questions. Just no glitter bombs, please. (Seriously, what is that supposed to accomplish other than make our candidates look like vampires in a Twilight movie?)

-M

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Filed under 2012 Election, Newt Gingrich, Politics, Santorum

A psychiatrist thinks that being on wife #3 might actually be a good thing?

This is an interesting take on the issue of Gingrich’s previous marriages by a psychiatrist writing for Fox News. I have to admit I’d never thought about it this way, but it is a line of thought that strikes me as particularly rational, even though I don’t like Newt’s past marital judgement issues. Check the link below to read the short article and see why this psychiatrist believes that having been married three times under those circumstances might mean Gingrich is an especially strong candidate for president. What’s your take?

-Matt

Newt Gingrich’s three marriages mean he might make a strong president — really

Newt Gingrich’s second wife Marianne revealed Thursday to ABC News that her former husband wanted an “open marriage.” But here’s my take — when three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.

Source: soc.li

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