When people see me it is not unusual for them to categorize me as a Republican given my age, race and profession. Having been both a Republican and Democrat, I am now a true independent voter which gives me the liberty to be less influenced by partisan party politics. As context for this post, I vote for both Republicans and Democrats, having voted in 2008 for Senators Richard Burr (GOP) and Kay Hagan (Dem) and the same governor and presidential candidates that I voted for last week. I like John McCain as he is very similar to President Obama with both being more moderate in their parties, yet I gave the edge to the President in 2008 even before McCain’s less than judicious pick of a VP candidate.
Let me start with the NC governor race, then I will finish with the Presidential race.
Pat McCrory – Republican Governor Choice
McCrory is a moderate Republican having served as the mayor of NC’s largest city of Charlotte for 14 years. Winning seven elections has to say something positive about his service as mayor. One of the things I like most about what he did, he pulled out one of those long-range planning studies that cities often do and noted a few items that he championed and did. He successfully got through a transit tax (over his party’s objection) which led to the development of the first light rail line. The second light rail line has now been approved and funded and will start being built in the near future. A major city needs mass transit – it is that simple – and light rail is much more affordable to develop. The other item will sound small, but it actually is directionally strong. He advocated that all new neighborhoods have a sidewalk built by the developer at least on one side of the street. This enhances Charlotte’s image and being a city of trees, makes it a better place to live.
These are only two of the reasons, but as mayor he collaborated for the significant part with a heavy Democrat City Council to attract business and facilitate changes to the city. Charlotte exhibited a huge amount of growth under his tutelage. He is not perfect and has a thin skin on occasion, yet he served Charlotte well. His opponent, Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton is also a fine public steward with good ideas. If Dalton were to win, we would be in good hands as well. Yet, my nod goes to McCrory. Now, it is up to him not to go extreme conservative like his party has gone, but I do not think he will.
Barack Obama – Democrat President Choice
Here is where being an Independent matters most, as you can look to real data and real stories behind the candidates. The Republicans will disagree strongly, but Obama can run on his economic record, as well as many other things he has done. He has been far from perfect, but he has done a better job than given credit for by the GOP and even others who have tended to believe some of the rhetoric. I would invite you to visit www.vincentmudd.wordpress.com to check out his view of Obama’s performance on 18 different measures. Obama has kept us from a depression with the stimulus package, which did not “fail” per the Republicans, so says JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Moody’s, the Congressional Budget Office and a couple of other non-partisan economists. Romney likes to cite people who are partisan funded.
Obama followed the initial work by President Bush to bail out the US auto industry saving GM and Chrysler along with about one million jobs at these companies and in their suppliers. They both have paid us back with interest. I would add that it would have been very different under Romney who advocated at the time in an Op-Ed piece to let them go through the bankruptcy courts. The outcome would have looked very different for the companies and their employees.
The GOP likes to lump all of the jobs lost under the recession that occurred and were occurring after the financial crisis and recession. Jobs were lost for several months after Obama took office, but that is hardly fair to put those in his lap. If measured from the first budget he was responsible for in October 2009 to today, there has been significant job growth under his watch, due to the stimulus, emphasis on job training and gradually improving economy. He has not done a good job of managing expectations, though. Most housing based recessions take on average six years to recover from and that would place our recovery in 2013 based on the average recession. So, we have made slow, but steady progress, but that should have been conveyed from the outset.
And, my GOP friends do not highlight this, but the stock market has largely recovered since the fall of 2008 right before he took office. I would encourage you to pull out your 401(k) statement from year-end 2008 and compare it to today, if you do not believe me. As an investor, I am very happy with this result.
Where he could have done better is on the deficit. I would have embraced Simpson-Bowles as a working draft. I find fault with him but especially Congress for their failure to act. Speaker John Boehner and Obama had a deal worked out last summer which called for spending cuts with some revenue increase. Former Florida GOP Governor Jeb Bush said this was as close to a no-brainer that you could get for the GOP, yet our GOP led Congress voted it down as it had revenue increases. This is where I find huge fault with the GOP platform and Governor Romney. We cannot solve our deficit issues without tax increases and spending cuts. Romney’s proposal will increase the deficit, which is annoying since he is the one saying he knows how to fix this.
Under Obama, our image abroad has measurably improved with our allies in Great Britain, France, Germany and Japan, e.g. per a Pew Research study over the summer. This is important as we are a key part, but only one part, of the global economy. In fact, per this study, these allies overwhelmingly favor the election of Obama over Romney. That should be very telling to many. This is of even greater importance due to global warming showing its teeth more and more, as well as other crises around the globe, where we need concerted action.
Finally, Obama should be given great credit for getting the Affordable Care Act passed. We have 46 million Americans uninsured and we need to continue to let Obamacare be implemented. It is not perfect and needs further change, yet we are seeing dividends with the earlier features. The fact this is a variation of what was done in Massachusetts boggles the mind, since Romney is arguing against his greatest success as governor.
I don’t see many sound ideas from the GOP platform and Governor Romney. I am very concerned by the stance on global warming and the desire to double down on fossil fuels, when we should moving in a more concerted way with alternative energy. With wind energy in 38 states and solar energy continuing to take hold in 15 – 20 megawatts sites powering towns and manufacturing plants, this is where we need to invest more.
I am also concerned that the party overlooks the poverty we have in our country. We have to be very mindful of what we cut, as we cut spending. The 47 percent that Romney refers to in that infamous speech, which is in keeping with other comments, includes people who are working but don’t make enough money, as well as veterans and retirees. We need to help people with better paying jobs and I personally do not see a trickle down approach working for those people. Romney likes to talk about our disappearing middle class under Obama, but the trend dates back to when Ronald Reagan took office and implemented the first trickle down approach. It did not work then and it won’t work now. And, I don’t even need to mention not treating the LGBT community like everyone else in the country under the GOP platform.
But, what do I know? I am just an Old Fart. Yet, I am an Independent one. I would encourage you to think about the above before you vote. I believe the President has earned a second term and NC would benefit from Pat McCrory, our GOP candidate. How about that – voting for a Democrat and Republican? This is a great country.