The Undecided and Why I’ll Vote for Obama Again

Last night I spent a little time watching and reading about “The Undecided”. The Undecided is a collection of six undecided voters in battle ground states who tell their story about why they are struggling to make a decision on who to vote for in the upcoming election.  Unlike these six individuals I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem making a decision. Until 2008 I’d always made the decision that I didn’t care enough about politics to vote and then Barack Obama came along. Honestly I still don’t think I care a bit for “politics” but I do care for my country.

Watching and reading about these six individual, I noticed one common theme. Many of them voted for Obama four years ago.  Like them four years ago I was swept up in the excitement. What I found most reveling in watching these videos, is it crystallized in my mind why I will vote for Obama again in a couple of weeks. You see the reason that these individuals who voted for Obama four years ago and are struggling with casting their vote for the same man again is because they have struggled financially greatly over the past four years. A common theme was they felt like Obama didn’t bring the change that he promised. I found myself listening to them but completely disagreeing with them.

Obama Really Has Accomplished a Lot

When Obama entered office the US was in bad shape and about to get much worse. The government shortly afterward passed hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus to prevent even worse things from happening. The truth is Obama did quite a bit in his first two years.  In fact in Obama’s first two years they passed more legislation affecting more Americans than any time since the 1960’s. Some of the specific things he accomplished in his first term, Obamacare, bailouts of a handful of US banks, bailouts of two major automobile companies, new banking regulations, repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell”, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, ended a war in Iraq, bringing a second war in Afghanistan to an end and Obama won’t let us forget the fact he “got Osama Bin Laden”. I’d say that is quite a bit. I believe it’s also fair to say that it was Republicans who made it a point in the final two years of his presidency to stonewall any new legislation from happening. I don’t know if American’s are more ignorant or if this is a case of what have you done for me lately?

If you want to point blame on the economy I think it’s unfair to 100% blame Obama for what Bush and Clinton contributed to the “great recession”. Bush specifically put two wars on a credit card for future generations to pay (don’t even get me started about the fact that he lied to the US to get us to go to war with Iraq in the first place). Clinton’s contributions were in passing the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 which repealed parts of Glass-Steagall Act that allowed banks to do the risky profit seeking gambles that put us all at risk. Obama was dealt a pretty shitty hand to start with and we all seem to have forgotten that. We also seem to forget how completely uninvolved and distant Bush was the last six months or so of his presidency. Then there is the dysfunction on a scale not seen in remembered history of the 112th congress. That gridlock is what people most remember because it’s been embarrassingly taking place over the past two years. Hell I’d argue that it’s congress’s inability to do anything the last two years that has slowed our economic recovery more than anything.

When You Point A Figure At Someone You Have Three Pointing Back At You

I made the statement on this blog four years ago,

Let there be NO FALSE HOPE, going forward will not be easy and will require some very tough decisions.

There is no doubt that it has been a hard four years for a lot of people. Things did get much worse after Obama took office but we are now seeing signs that the economy is slowly turning around. People will complain that in most recessions the economy jumps right back but let’s be honest this isn’t a normal recession. Have we forgotten the shitstorm that is the European economy? At least we are coming out the other side of this recession where Europe appears to still have yet to hit the bottom. China’s double digit growth is slowing down and we don’t know how much of the continued growth is their government posting the economy up. The Middle East and Africa is full of conflict with civil war and major change happening as we speak. About the only continent that appears to be truly growing stability is South America. It’s simply much harder to right the ship when most of the advanced economies in the world are also struggling.

Another thing I’m afraid of in completely changing course from the current policies is that it would stall near term growth. This has been a long and difficult recession but we partially have to take the blame too. Credit card debt and buying houses we couldn’t afford is just as much our faults for taking the money as it was the institutions that gave it to us after all. Of course nobody likes accepting responsibility when we can point a finger at the people leading our country and completely blame them. With light around the corner on our current initiatives, changing course doesn’t help us get from point A to point B any faster.

What Lens Do You Apply?

I still consider myself an Independent and someone who looks at the complete macro picture as much as possible when making a decision. In my opinion it’s unfair to blame a decade plus of problems all on Obama and say that he hasn’t accomplished anything, because he obviously has. I still strongly support Obama. In watching these undecided individuals it solidified the why I’ll vote again for Obama in my mind. It also helps that Romney can’t seem to make up his mind on policies and the fact the single greatest political accomplishment of his career, “Romneycare”, is something that he can’t wait to repeal nationally once given the chance.

I’d encourage anyone who is struggling with who to vote for in this election to look at all the details. There is a LOT of mudslinging happening now. It might make for great TV but I’m afraid that it only makes our country more polarized. Also the fact finding exercises that have become popular after debates are very disappointing and misleading. After the debate last week I watched fact finders on CNN and Fox News come to completely different verdicts on both drilling in the US and “terror” in Libya. Data can be spun to say anything you want it all simply has to do with the lens that you apply to it. What lens are you looking through? It is true that “ignorance is bliss” but it doesn’t mean that it’s constructive or helpful in solving the big problems we face today.

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