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Why I voted for Barack Obama

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  • | 12:56 p.m. November 5, 2012
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On Tuesday, Oct. 30, during the one week of early voting in Sarasota, I cast my vote for President Barack Obama. I voted for President Obama because I believe he is an honest and decent man who makes policy decisions based on what he believes is best for the United States of America---as opposed to what’s best for Big Business America, as is the case with Mitt Romney. I also admire Mr. Obama’s intelligence, sense of humor and sense of grace under pressure.

Last week, the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine arrived in my mailbox. On the cover was President Obama, and inside the magazine an excellent article written by noted historian (and Bob Dylan fan) Douglas Brinkley. 

Brinkley examines Obama’s first term in office and what to expect from a second term if the President is re-elected. Brinkley makes the case that President Obama’s job has changed from a position of “hope and change” to the much more important position of protecting Americans from the Republican-led movement to undo the "social contracts” created by Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt---the holy trinity of progressive thinking that created many of the social programs and infrastructure improvements that helped make America a better place to live.

Brinkley describes Obama as the “progressive firewall” whose job it is to stave off Republican attacks on social programs, affordable health care, women’s rights, environmental protections and much-needed business regulations.

I see Mitt Romney as an eager puppet who is more than willing to do Karl Rove’s bidding, catering to the far-right extremists in exchange for four years as the CEO of the United States.

 Mr. Romney may be a decent guy in his personal life, but he is not the kind of man I want leading my country. His views on women’s rights, his disdain for the “47 percent,” the fact that he turned his back on a health care plan modeled on his own Massachusetts plan, his track record as a business-killing Bain Capital takeover profiteer and his millionaire-friendly tax plan all add up to being a bad bet for America.

At a time when the White House is up for grabs due to the sluggish economy, I’m surprised that Romney was the best candidate the Republicans could come up with. Had they run a more moderate candidate, the Republicans could have probably won this election. I’m also surprised that the far-right continues to be the leading voice of the Republican Party --- at a time when more moderate views would probably enable them to seize control of the federal government.

My History as a Voter

When declaring my political allegiance, I like to say, “I’m not a Democrat, I’m not a Republican, I’m an American.” I wish more of our elected leaders would adopt a similar approach, doing what’s best for our country as a whole instead of playing partisan politics to the detriment of all but the richest and most powerful citizens.   

In truth, I am and always have been a moderate Democrat, but I am in no way a “bleeding heart liberal.” In fact, I’m actually registered here in Sarasota County as a Republican. I do this so I have a vote in the local county commission races that are usually decided by the Republican primaries.

I think the local Democratic party should be embarrassed by its inability to find and support viable candidates for important state and local offices, including the Supervisor of Elections and County Commission seats. I hate to say it, but the Sarasota Republicans do a much better job of supporting local and state candidates and the local Democrats still have much work to do in this regard, because those in power at the local and state levels often have more impact on our daily lives than those who work in Washington, D.C.

My political views are based on personal beliefs, not party allegiance. I am pro-choice even though I was put up for adoption when I was born in 1961. Had abortion been legal back then I probably wouldn’t be here, but I still support the right of woman and her mate to make these personal and life-altering decisions.

I believe in capitalism conducted on a level playing field, but I would not invest one penny of my own money in the currently corrupt and manipulated stock market.

I support government programs that help the needy, such as welfare, food stamps, unemployment and homeless shelters, but I have no interest in perpetually supporting folks who are too lazy to work. Life isn’t a free ride, and you’re supposed to work for what you want.

I support mandated national health care and oppose the current system of over-priced corrupt and controlled medical options that benefit Big Medicine while good Americans suffer and die because they cannot afford to go to the doctor.

I own two guns and I would not hesitate to use them if I felt my family or friends were in grave danger. I believe in the right to bear arms (handguns, shotguns and rifles), but I don’t think anyone can justify the need to own a machine gun or a grenade launcher.

I believe marijuana should be legalized and taxed in a manner similar to tobacco and cigarettes. The tax revenues raised by legal marijuana would provide a significant financial boost to state and local governments. Legalization would also alleviate the expense of incarcerating offenders and end the suffering endured by those imprisoned for victimless crimes.  

In regard to medicinal marijuana approved at the state level, President Obama originally said the federal government would leave it up to the individual states and stay out of the way. He then renominated Bush-era Drug Enforcement Agency administrator Michele Leonhart – an anti-medicinal hardliner that has pushed for crackdowns on local dispensaries.  

I grew up in Holland, Mich., raised by parents who at the time were Kennedy Democrats. Our family bookshelf held at least five biographies on the Kennedy family and the Kennedy name was held in high regard around our house.   


I cast my first vote in 1980, hoping Jimmy Carter would get a second term in office. Instead, Carter got whipped by his Republican challenger Ronald Reagan. I believe that was the year my parents switched political parties, much to my surprise, voting for Reagan instead of Carter --- or maybe they switched in 1976, preferring a Michigan native named Gerald Ford over a Georgia peanut farmer named Jimmy.  

My parent’s changing political preferences were based in part on the fact that my dad, a white-collar mechanical engineer, had worked his way into a higher tax bracket. They saw the Republicans as being the better of the two parties in regard to their own personal circumstances.

My dad voted Republican until he passed away in 2003, and my mom remains a loyal Republican. She voted for Mitt Romney despite my warnings that he is going to gut the Medicare system if he wins.  

In 1984, I voted for Walter Mondale and in 1988 I voted for Michael Dukakis. After those humiliating performances I quit voting until 2000, sitting out the Clinton years due to my overall disgust for politicians and politics.

In 2000, I got back on the horse because I dreaded the thought of another Bush living in the White House. I didn’t dislike G.W. because he was a Republican; I disliked him because I disliked his father and his daddy’s CIA buddies. I also liked Al Gore and I thought he would make a good president.  

We all know how that one turned out: The Republicans stole the election right here in Florida and my interest in national politics soured once again.

In 2004, I voted for John Kerry (another sure-fire loser). By then it was clear to me that other than his handling of 9/11, President Bush was an incompetent boob that I wouldn’t trust to walk my dog, much less run my country.  

I voted for Obama in 2008 when he ran against John McCain, but earlier that year I voted for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary. At the time, I preferred Hillary’s political and social experience, and the Clinton brand name, over a relatively unknown, inexperienced senator from Chicago.

When it comes to presidential politics, Mr. Obama is the only winner I ever booked. When he won in 2008 that was the first time “my candidate” won. That was good feeling, and one that I had never experienced before.

It is true that Mr. Obama has not made good on all those promises he made in 2007 and 2008, but all things considered, he’s done a good job of leading this country through some tough times.

I have faith that, if given another four years to finish the job, we will look back on the Obama administration in high regard, grateful that we had an intelligent, moral and emotionally grounded President to get this great country of ours back on solid footing. 

- This Week In Sarasota values open discussion and balanced perspective. If you would like to share your views on why you voted for Mitt Romney or another presidential candidate, contact TWIS Managing Editor Sara Moone at [email protected].




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