Monday, September 8, 2008

My sudden change...

Ok, I know people are wondering how in the world I could be supporting Barack Obama. After all, I've considered myself a lifelong Republican and was a very devoted Mitt Romney supporter during the Republican primaries. I even posted a month ago about about how Pelosi and the Democratic congress should quit playing politics and do something for America. Admittedly, I've never been happy with John McCain, and if Mitt Romney had won the Republican primaries, I'm sure I'd be just as big a supporter as I was during his candidacy. I think Obama appealed to me because, like Romney, he is not a Washington insider, and as Romney was fond of saying, you can't put the same people in different seats and expect different results. McCain has been there for 26 years. I began taking a serious, objective look at both candidates. I went to both candidates' websites and compared and contrasted their plans for the economy, Iraq, and taxes among a host of other issues. I also read anything I could from economists to party strategists and even pundits. Let me be clear, in the past I, like many others in the South (especially evangelical Christians), have voted mainly on socially conservative issues. Fiscal conservatism has also influenced me, but as we have seen by the years of a Republican controlled congress, they cannot be trusted to be fiscally conservative. In the history of the United States, I don't believe there has ever been a congress that has been as reckless and irresponsible as the Republican controlled congress has been. The pork barrel spending has been shameful and wasteful of Americans' tax dollars. Having said that, I am still socially conservative, but let me say this as emphatically as I can, abortion and homosexual marriage are non-issues in this election!!! There is too much at stake in this election to cast my vote based solely on social issues.

The number one issue in this election is the economy. The economy alone has been enough to change my way of thinking, but to be sure, is not my only reason. McCain's plan for the economy is, to put it bluntly, bone-headed and complete nonsense. Exxon-Mobil makes $12 billion in profits every quarter, and now John McCain wants to give them an additional $4 billion in tax cuts. What sense does this make? I'm paying upwards of $4 per gallon for gas while the oil companies are profiting $48 billion a year, and now their going to bank $52 billion?? How is that helping the middle class. He wants to give other big business billions of dollars in tax breaks - companies that are sending our jobs 0verseas. What tax breaks will the average Joe get? None. Zip. Zilch. Republicans think if you give the wealthy tax breaks, the money will trickle down, but it never does. The CEOs get a pay raise, but the average worker gets nothing. Since WWII, anytime we've had a Republican president, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the economy goes south. But when there has been a Democrat in office, the rich stay rich, many of the poor move into the middle class, the average American's income increases dramatically, and the economy grows dramatically. But this year is different, because America is no longer the economic power of the world. Competition from China and India is growing faster than we can keep up with. More on China later. We must make a stand and do something to remain the economic superpower of the world. McCain's plan for the economy is NO DIFFERENT from the current president's. Jobs will continue to go overseas and our economic woes will only continue and worsen. Thanks to Bush's brilliant handling of the economy 605,000 jobs have been lost this year. 85,000 just last month. We cannot afford a continuation of these same failed policies. Obama's plan, however, will repeal the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Big oil and big business will pay their fair share of taxes, and 95% of American workers will receive tax cuts. Think about what that would mean. The more money in the middle class families' pockets, the more likely they will be out spending that money purchasing products from businesses. This creates jobs in manufacturing and retail. His plans will also focus on new energy, creating hundreds of thousands of "green collar jobs." And the bottom line is this, we are borrowing billions of dollars every year from China to buy oil from countries who hate us and to finance a war that has been reckless and caused us to lose the respect of nations across the globe. As a result, in eight years, Bush has successfully managed to double the national deficit. China's being all quiet about it, but a day of reckoning will come and China will practically own the United States. How in the world can we pay down the national deficit when John McCain is cutting or eliminating taxes on those who should be paying the most?? It's absolutely senseless. There's a reason young voters are drawn to Obama. We don't want to be responsible for the debt incurred by the recklessness and greediness of today's president and his dismal policies and those of his preferred predecessor. If you're filthy rich, hey, you've got nothing to worry about. You do as well under Democrats as you do under Republicans. If you're poor or middle class, you have great reason to be worried if John McCain is elected President of the United States.

The second major issue in this election, for me at least, is Iraq. Those who know me know I've been a big supporter of President Bush and going to Iraq and taking out Saddam Hussein and so forth and so on. That was, of course, until I realized we were spending $10 billion per month every month we are there. There's a couple of problems with this. First, Iraq is sitting on top of $80 billion in the bank that they are not using for their own reconstruction. Why should they? We're paying $10 billion on it every month. The second problem is the Iraqi government is asking us to leave. They feel they are sufficiently stable and no longer need us there to keep the peace. They want us out, they have subscribed to Obama's plan of a timetable for troop withdrawals. And even now, President Bush has seen the light and is working to come up with such a timetable. John McCain stands alone, wanting to keep us in Iraq indefinitely, indefinitely spending $10 billion every month. Just think what the U.S. could do with that $10 billion...perhaps invest it in energy sources that would free us from dependence on Middle Eastern oil, put it into social programs that will help Americans rise above poverty and illiteracy, fix our education system or Social Security or Medicare??? Hey, it could even go toward our ever increasing national deficit. There are any number of worthy causes that would benefit the American people. McCain cites national security as a reason for staying. Ok, but as far as I can tell, the longer we stay there, the angrier certain groups of people will become with us and may seek to launch an attack deadlier than 9/11/2001. Obama has it right. We need to leave Iraq, which was a distraction from the real problem, which is again growing in the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan - the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. This is where our our time and military resources should be and should have been from the beginning.

I watched both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. There was a stark difference between them. The Democrats, Hillary, and Barack all gave speeches that were substantive and relevant. They laid out their plans for change and improving American life and liberties. They defined for us what we can expect from a Obama/Biden presidency. On the other hand, the Republicans talked about John McCain's experience as a POW. Every one of them. That was the only talking point any of the Republicans had. They didn't even mention the words "middle class", spoke fleetingly about the economy, although refusing to discuss how they'd improve it, and other than yelling "Drill, drill, drill," ignored our growing energy crisis. John McCain wants us to Fight! with him. Fight for what? He hasn't told me anything he's going to fight for, except to lower taxes for businesses and oil companies who are already paying little to nothing. Oh yeah, he did mention his healthcare plan, although in his old age, he must have forgotten about mentioning the fact that his $5000 refundable tax credit will be considered income, potentially thrusting Americans into a higher tax bracket and thereby increasing our taxes. It's pretty pointless too, since insurance for a family would cost on average $12,000 annually. So let's recap, his healthcare plan will cause you to pay more taxes, and will be insufficient to afford a family health insurance. Obama, first of all, is going to lower 95% of American workers' taxes, and make available the same healthcare plans members of Congress receive at the same rates. If your happy with the plan you currently have through your employer, you can keep your plan and your premiums will be lowered. Hmmm...I wonder which plan will be better for more Americans?

John McCain likes to paint Obama as an elitist. This is the most laughable charge coming from the mouth of John McCain. As I recall, Barack Obama took out student loans to get through law school. Granted, he went to Harvard, that's pretty elite. But he also just finished paying back his student loans within the last few years. He got a nice home in Chicago, can't blame him for wanting to have a nice home in a nice neighborhood to raise his daughters. John McCain has SEVEN houses and he doesn't even know that fact. Who, I ask, is the elitist? If you can't even keep up with how many houses you have, you're pretty elite. I have an extremely hard time believing that John and Cindy McCain have an inkling of an idea what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. McCain, who jokes about the middle class being those making less than $5 million a year, is so out of touch with the middle class and our struggles. He thinks the economy is "fundamentally sound." His economy may be fundamentally sound, but I'm working two jobs as a registered nurse and having a hard time making ends meet. The economy I live in hasn't been as kind to me as McCain's economy has been to his.

And finally, McCain's serious lack of judgment has me scared out of my mind if he becomes president. I wrote at length in a post last week how I felt about his pick of Sarah Palin, and in the time that has ensued, I have only more questions than answers. He did not vet her at all. She was picked at the last moment to change the momentum of the campaign. This political pandering is dangerous to our national security and shows McCain is willing to do anything to win this election. After all, he's changed his position on almost every matter of policy except the war in Iraq. That will be the topic of my next post.

So, to my family and friends, I have not given myself over to the dark side. I still consider myself a social conservative, although I absolutely do not consider myself a Republican, and still have the values that I was taught and raised with. However, I also have an analytical mind and so have concluded that in order to have a stronger dollar and economy, jobs, national security, healthcare that works, and actual change, the obvious choice for president this year is Barack Obama.
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