#628 – Dick Bernard: Election 2012 #49. Four Weeks to Election 2012
Four weeks from today, Tuesday, November 6, we Americans will vote as we always do: by secret ballot. Many of us have already voted. Some will vote informed, some uninformed. Huge numbers will not bother to vote at all.
Nov. 6, I will proudly vote to reelect President Obama, as well as for the Democrats in the race.
It’s an impossible task, but I’ll try to explain why I take this position in relatively few words.
This is an election pitting an increasingly extreme right wing faction of the Republican party against a far more moderate and reasonable Democratic party which, in most ways that matter, resembles how I saw old-line moderate Republicans.
For every one of us the 2012 election is one with big long-term consequences.
A few thoughts:
Point 1: I remember how it was four years ago this fall, 2008, as well as the seven preceding years beginning 2001. We in the U.S. were near panic and Depression four years ago this month, harvesting the consequences of many things. War was paid for off budget and thus on a credit card; we carelessly reduced taxes; dangerous deregulation had the predictable consequences; we enjoyed false prosperity on our own credit cards, etc.
It was the GOP leadership that orchestrated, enabled and facilitated this near disaster, for which we are now paying.
Like most any party, it was fun for us while it lasted, but the bill came due four years ago.
It is cynical for the Republicans to now try to forget what happened 2001-2008, their very dominant role in what happened, and the national crisis President Obama and the Democrats faced coming into office in 2009.
It is even more cynical for the Republicans to have made their entire program an attempt to make it impossible for Obama to succeed (they failed at this attempt; at the same time, the recovery is slower than it might have been with cooperation, rather than conflict.)
Point 2. It seems almost consensus that, on October 3, Mitt Romney “won” the first debate, and Obama “lost” (at least in terms that are understood in debate, where somebody wins and somebody loses). [UPDATE Oct 10: If interested, here is the transcript of the actual debate; and a long but interesting analysis of the liberal response to the debate.]
It’s not as simple as it seems: after the event, people who’ve known Obama very well, for many years, said that Obama’s personal style is instinctively to work for resolution of problems (I’d call that “win-win”), rather than to defeat an adversary (“win-lose”). You can read more on this here.
Our country seems waged in a battle between the Win-Lose folks (those who value winning at all costs, and disdain and dismiss “losers”); and those whose frame is “Win-Win” (who see our complex society as one which requires compromise and negotiations to thrive). (I am an instinctive “Win-Win” person. It comes from an entire career trying to resolve things.)
In my opinion, that distinction between Win-Lose and Win-Win is perhaps the major issue in the upcoming election. “Win-Win” or “Win-Lose”. Do we work for resolution, or for dominance? This is the major issue at all electoral levels. Do we choose Civil War or Civil Peace as our local, state and national and international leadership style?
Obama will doubtless be coached to be more aggressive in the next debate. Personally, I hope he stays true to himself; though I understand political realities in this country which seem to admire what I would call sanctioned bullying behavior.
Point 3. Win-at-all-costs is the radical Republican narrative in this election. In my own state, Minnesota, the two proposed constitutional amendments are ample evidence. Both were ram-rodded through without having to bother with the nuisance of other opinions or ideas. They are both dangerous amendments, taking away rather than adding to the rights of citizens in our Democracy. They are exclusively radical Republican, and they are repeated in assorted and coordinated ways nationwide. (Here’s my opinion on them.)
Point 4. Moderate Republicans have essentially been dumped by the radicals who presently run the Republican party, national and state. My friend, former Republican Governor Elmer L. Andersen most likely would have been purged from todays Republican leadership were he still alive.
Moderate Republicans need to take their party back.
Vote and vote well-informed November 6.
For other blog postings on Election 2012, simply enter those two words in the search box.
A directly related post is here.
In case you wonder, about me, personally:
My philosophy is open and declared on the right hand side of this blog: “Dick Bernard is a moderate, pragmatic Democrat who speaks from his heart in matters of family, justice and peace.” I know many so-called “conservatives”, and I have come to believe that myself, and the progressives and liberals I know are, if anything, more truly “conservative” than those self-proclaimed conservatives on the right.
My general attitude towards public policy was formed from 1963-65, when my bright and beautiful and young wife was struck down by kidney disease at age 22, and we learned first hand many lessons. A good life was ahead of us when we married in June, 1963. Four months later, that life was irreversibly changed ending with Barbara’s death two years after our marriage. As a result, I take nothing for granted. Here’s the story.
My political hero and, indeed, mentor, was my best political friend, former MN Republican Governor Elmer L. Andersen. Here’s the tribute I wrote, published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on November 27, 2004, shortly after his death: Elmer Andersen Tribute 001. Elmer was successful in all ways. I suspect he died Republican, though he was troubled by the direction his party was taking. He came from an age where adversaries respected and listened to each other, and came to negotiated agreements about things that mattered. This has been lost in this day of political rivals as enemies, rather than as colleagues and even friends.
(click on photos to enlarge)
Point one is well taken, but a case could be made that the eight years prior to GWB set a lot of the underlying causes of the financial collapse in place. Deregulation of the financial system, fostering of the global economy/globalization, support for NFTA and other treaties to name a few. I believe in these 8 years the moderate Democrats were in political power.
Point 2 is also well taken, but, again, you can’t deny the fact that the political system at the presidential level is a win/loose game. I think Obama was well prepared for the debate, which is contrary to common wisdom. He was ready to take Mitt down and effectively win the election on that night(contrary to Maureen Dowd). The trouble was that he wasn’t prepared for Mitt’s hard left turn to the middle and Mitt’s denial of his primary right wing rhetoric. So I believe he did the best he could,let Mitt be the aggressor, and counter punching when he could. See a short one minute video of Bill Clinton on the subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xes3S40hmh0&feature=player_embedded
On to point 4. In turning hard left to the center, Mitt threw the radical right he pandered two in the primaries off the bus. They are the big losers coming out of the debate. Those in control are the moderates in the Republican party. Mitt, himself, is more comfortable with this approach, because he’s one of those Republican moderates, and look it during the debate.
This election has narrowed. I don’t mean at the polls. The rest of the election cycle will be fought on a very narrow field. Center right v center left. Moderate Mitt will continue to disavow the right wing rhetoric that got him the nomination and make the case that he is a moderate(correctly so), while the president will try to remind the voters of Mitt’s right wing rhetoric of the last 18 months. There will be even less chance that any issue of substantive nature will be discussed. This maybe what the those that control the political process in this country wanted all along.
Now it appears to come down to is the country center right or center left. Its not a very large difference.