By now it’s no secret I was pulling for President Obama in the final part of this presidential election. My original preference was Jon Huntsman. Had he emerged from the Republican primary, I would have likely voted for him, depending on his stance regarding the Affordable Care Act. Any bulwark of Democratic votes protecting it will likely be eroded by the end of the 2014 mid-term elections, so it needs all the help it can get staying on its nascent feet. It’s an important piece of legislation addressing a very real problem and at the end of the day, the only reason Republicans hate it so much is it has Obama’s name on it – which they put there.
This campaign seemed to go ugly early. The Obama team pounced on ‘ol money bags quickly and ran that train into the ground something fierce. And apparently it worked. The “47%” comment, multiple houses and Cadillacs, and horse dressage certainly did not help dispel the idea. In the end, however, it’s hard to say there was a ton of daylight between these two, largely because Obama has not been any kind of super progressive fighter since taking office. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, simply that he has been pragmatic, and that’s exactly the kind of word you could use to describe Romney.
Yes, there are ideological differences: Obama’s decisions appear motivated by employing whatever mechanisms result in the entire collective doing well, whereas Romney is of the mind that the private sector and free market will accomplish the same on its own, particularly if pesky regulation doesn’t get in the way. There are merits – and pitfalls – to both schools of thought.
In the end, though, I think Romney would have continued a tone-deafness to the importance of the changing times. He would have been a perfect fit fifteen or twenty years ago, but we’ve changed a lot as a country in that time in a way Romney – and many of his contemporaries – have failed to accept. Any opportunity to put “the old way of thinking” back in charge would be like standing at the water’s edge and trying to stop a wave crashing.
So we have four more years of Obama. Four more years of a pragmatic, intelligent person who takes the job seriously with an awareness of how the world is in flux. In my opinion, he has made a lot of good decisions – and some very questionable ones. I give him a B+ so far, not that my rating counts for much beyond this page. But I also believe he’ll improve on his momentum thus far. Besides, the other side is simply too batshit crazy from its identity crisis. It has become more a bunch of ideologues than true conservatives, which may be a topic for another time. At least now there will be a reliable stopgap to contain it. That’s reason enough to be grateful for the outcome.
That and the respite from all of the political ads. For now. Which has me thinking, I don’t chime in as frequently as I could with longer political-themed posts. Maybe we’ll build out that corner of this blog a bit more. Maybe.