In a previous post I revealed that I was, at that time, an undecided voter. No candidate had stepped up and convinced me that their leadership was the right leadership to help our country recover economically and play a vital, but incredibly tempered, role in international affairs.
I am no longer undecided and, when I get home this afternoon plan to fill out my ballot and turn it in at a ballot collection location here in King County tomorrow.
For me, Presidential elections have become difficult to watch and endure. As a young man I was staunchly conservative and Republican. As the years have passed my views have been informed by both my educational and life experience. The result is that today, I lean to the right on most economic issues and am centrist to left on social issues like abortion, gay marriage, etc… In other words, I am no longer a strict ideologue. Partisans often deride moderates as being wishy-washy, ill-informed, or unwilling to take a strong position. Of course this is absolute nonsense. Being moderate is an indication that a person is unwilling to drift to extremes and prefers a careful, thoughtful approach to political issues; being more concerned with candidates and issues as opposed to one particular political party.
In this election we have candidates who, in some very important areas, propose different visions regarding the proper role of government. There is a clear distinction and thus, a clear choice. My top concerns in this election have been the economy, taxation policy, and foreign policy. I believe that America must reestablish itself as a leader in manufacturing and eschew its role as the “Grand Middle Manager” of the world's supply chain. To do so, we must produce goods that are in demand both domestically and globally. I believe my candidate will help America achieve this goal and by so doing, contribute to our economic recovery.
Fair taxation has also been a primary concern. All Americans must contribute to the well-being and prosperity of this country — including the very rich, and the poor. It is absurd that only 1/2 the country pays Federal income tax and for someone to demand that the wealthy pay more when they aren't paying a dime, is as absurd as it is hypocritical. I believe my candidate will help create a tax system in which every American has the opportunity to contribute. Any business success is the result of a symbiotic relationship between effort and the We the People, as a united people, provide to all citizens. No single group should bear the majority of the tax burden. All should contribute and reap the benefits We the People, through the vehicle of representative government, provide to all citizens of this great nation.
I have been concerned about American's place as a leader in the world. It would be naive to think that America would remain the single world Super Power after the end of the Cold War. A world with the US as lone Super Power is a more dangerous world, in which too much of the burden to contain the dangerous threats of radical ideologies and rogue regimes. I envision a world where America works with other Super Powers like Russia and the emerging China to promote world peace. At present, our relationship with these nations is problematic but it doesn't need to stay that way. Having said that, good friends always talk and act firmly when necessary. I believe my candidate will improve our relationships with Russia and China as well as expand engagements with India, Vietnam and others.
One thing that has been lost in this contentious election season is the fact that once we peel back all of the political bluster, one-liners, shifts from the edges to the center, and all other facets that make up a modern political campaign, we are left with candidates who are good and honorable men. We have not always been so fortunate.
So, which candidate has gained my vote? Only myself, my wife, and my ballot will ever know. But regardless who wins on November 6th, the President will have my support as an American. I will vigorously oppose some policies and enthusiastically support others. There has been too much political division in this country for far too long. Gridlock and compromise are built into our system and serve a great purpose but we have allowed our passions to overtake our unity as Americans. When it comes right down to it, we all want to same things: peace, prosperity, and opportunity for all; not just for us but for future generations. I believe it was Ronald Reagan who once said that our liberty is one generation from tyranny (I'm paraphrasing). Let's never lose sight of this important fact. Liberty is never achieved but rather, it is maintained by a people united by a common dream.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am one of the many independent and undecided voters you may have heard about on TV. I know Bill Maher thinks we should have made up our minds by this point but what Mr. Maher fails to recognize is that to voters like me, asking us to make a definitive choice is like putting two types of dog food on fancy plates, serving it up and then forcing us to choose which delicacy we’d prefer. The problems is, we don’t like dog food and are hoping that if we hold out long enough, a nice steak will be served up instead.
Living in Seattle means that my vote for President is essentially meaningless. Washington State’s electoral votes will go to Obama no matter whether I vote or stay home. Unlike Al Gore, I’m ok with this. If my fellow Washingtonians prefer to reelect President Obama, then their collective voice represent the State as an autonomous entity. But there is more to my vote than simply whether it will influence the final electoral college vote count. Putting pen to paper in the ballot box is about principle, not strategy.
Below is a small sampling of issues that are important to me, and I’m guessing are important to many other independent American voters as well. I don’t think wanting adult and intelligent dialogue is asking too much of men who are seeking the highest office in the land. We’ve got six weeks so let’s see what happens.
- Fair Taxes: I don’t care what % bracket you fall within, all Americans should pay taxes within the context of a fair system. When a significant portion of the population pays no tax or a small portion at the top pay too little tax, there is a problem.
- Foreign Entanglement: You know that statement about fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me? I was fooled once about the Iraq war and I won’t be fooled again. Preemptive war is NEVER right and I’m ashamed that as an American I allowed the previous administration to convince me otherwise. Mr Romney: stop the sabre rattling with Iran. Mr. Obama: please take the time to meet with Mr. Netenyahu and tell him that if he chooses to strike Iran, he’s on his own. Mr. Netenyahu: do you really think Iran has nuclear weapons and that war will somehow make things better for Israel even if they do? All: Let’s take Iran’s nonsensical rantings for what they are, total BS. IF Iran is stupid enough to attack Israel, the US, or another US ally — especially using nuclear weapons — they would lose all friends in the world and all support. American should speak softly and carry a big stick. If Iran wants to put on any show of force — rather than just meaningless rhetoric — then the US should take that stick and beat Iran senseless. Until that point, let’s just speak softly.
- Fiscal Responsibility: the US is deeply in debt and our credit has been downgraded twice in just over 12 months. This is unacceptable. I appreciate that Paul Ryan has put a plan on the table that addresses waste and inefficiency in social entitlement programs. However, Mr. Ryan needs to sharpen his pencil and revisit defense spending. If we are going to trim the budget, let’s do it intelligently and eliminate waste everywhere — including the military.
- Calling President Kennedy: Can we please do something to counter, but not necessarily prevent, the rise of China and Russia? I don’t have a problem with a strong Russia or a strong China. Both can help contain North Korea. What I have a problem with is Russia discussing permanent bases in Cuba or their sending of warships into Syria. This is all a big game of Chicken but it’s a game we have to play. Take a cue from Reagan. Talk tough and then have a beer with Vlad. The US and Russia should be close allies, not bitter enemies. Working together, the US and Russia could bring a lot of stability to the world. As frosty friends or even as enemies, we make the world a more dangerous place. Stand up for US interests but be flexible enough to form meaningful alliances.
- China: It is time for the Chinese to stop manipulating the Yuan. This manipulation causes serious price distortion and is a major reason American manufacturing jobs are going overseas. We have plenty of partners to help us fulfill our production needs: India, Vietnam, Indonesia, just to name a few. If China doesn’t want to play fairly then we can take our ball and play elsewhere. Yes, I know that prices on some goods may rise if the Yuan is actually valued based on market forces but this is only an indication that these prices have been artificially low! Also China, stop all this nonsense about those small Japanese islands. I have an acre here in WA state with more natural resources and strategic value and I’m only asking $50M. That’s a lot cheaper than sailing warships and dropping bombs.
That’s it for now. If I think of additional issues I may decide to post again before the election.
During the many months we, as Americans, have endured the ongoing debate over President Obama's health care reform efforts many arguments, both pro and con, have been presented, argued for quite passionately, and ultimately ruled upon by the Supreme Court.
Having studies the US health care system as part of my Master's thesis I am aware of its absurd deficiencies and inefficiencies. I've also had an opportunity to see the UK's NHS at work; an experience that demonstrated both the positive and negative of a single-payer government funded system.
Of course I understand that President Obama's reforms do not call for a single-payer system. Something, for the moment at least, I am grateful for. I've watched this debate with great interest as it has truly demonstrated the fundamental differences in philosophy amongst the US populous when it comes to defining the scope of federal power.
The debate is also interesting because it will play an important part in the upcoming Presidential election.
What I find surprising about this debate is not what has been argued but rather, what has gone unsaid. Both liberals and conservatives — but especially conservatives — have framed this debate in perhaps the worst way possible by focussing much discussion on the ability of congress to legislate the so-called individual mandate that will require all US citizens to obtain private health insurance.
What I find truly puzzling is how conservatives have vilified Mitt Romney's efforts in Massachusetts where an individual mandate exists at the state level. Frankly, I see no conflict between the conservative position of opposing a federal mandate and the requirements of RomneyCare in Massachusetts.
I strongly support an individual mandate to buy private health insurance. Granted, in order to make this truly effective a lot of work must be done to streamline regulatory burdens. My concern, and the concern I have been surprised to hear very little about from conservatives, is with which entity mandates the purchase of insurance: the state or the federal government.
My layman's reading of the Constitution leads me to believe that individual states have incredible power; a power only constrained by the federal constitution. Therefore, Massachusetts, or any other state, has full constitutional authority to mandate the purchase of private health insurance. Massachusetts felt this to be appropriate for their state and implemented just such a policy. I am not familiar enough with the Massachusetts law and its consequences to comment intelligently on its effectiveness but regardless, there is no question in my mind that Massachusetts, just as any other state, has full authority to implement this policy.
Although the Supreme Court has ruled that the individual mandate is covered under the commerce clause and that congress did not exceed its authority, I just don't see how the federal constitution allows for this far-reaching power at the federal level. I'm sure there are lawyers out there who can explain it to me.
In any case, conservatives need to stop trying to downplay Romney's efforts in Massachusetts. As Governor, he acted with full authority in implementing a state mandate appropriate for the commonwealth. Romney should be held up as a champion of state's rights.
Also, this talk of repealing ObamaCare is just politics as usual and won't get us anywhere — at least in terms of the federal mandate. The discussion needs to be reframed to focus on the rights of states to implement, if they so choose, health policies appropriate for the people of individual states.
To me, this seems like a clear state vs federal power issue and further discussion should include this important consideration.