For our final entry, I'm going to throw out a bunch of bullet points. Whereas I tried my hardest to stick ONLY to facts in the first four, most of these are my own opinions, and I'm not trying to pass things off as anything other than that. These are primarily observations I've made over the past six months of campaign season.
- Mitt Romney said at the second debate that "government doesn't create jobs." Begs the question, then: why is he running for president if he believes that being in government won't create jobs?
- Mitt Romney's dad George ran for president. He released 12 years of tax returns when he was asked for just one. His reasoning? One or two years could be a "fluke" instead of the full trend. Mitt Romney released more than 20 years of tax returns to John McCain's campaign in 2008, and McCain picked Sarah Palin. That should tell you something about what's in those tax returns, people.
- Mitt Romney has a commercial out with five reasons not to vote for Obama. Two of the five reasons are outright lies, one is conjecture, and two are reasons that will not change under a Romney presidency. Lie: Under Obama, taxes on the middle class will go up $4000. The truth: "The ads cite a conservative group’s study, but even the group itself doesn’t say Obama will raise taxes on middle-income taxpayers. It says his budget could result in a “potentially higher tax burden” over the next 10 years." Lie: Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare. The truth: "Medicare’s money isn’t being taken away. The Affordable Care Act calls for slowing the growth in spending, a move that — if successful — would keep the hospital insurance trust fund solvent for longer than if the reductions didn’t happen." Of note, Paul Ryan took that same $716 billion out of Medicare in his own budget. Conjecture: 20 million could lose their employer based health insurance coverage. The truth: "The truth is that might happen under a very pessimistic scenario, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But the agency said it is more likely that about 3 million to 5 million fewer people, on net, would obtain health insurance from their employer under the law. The CBO said it’s also possible more people would be covered by employers, not fewer (which is what the CBO said actually happened in Massachusetts)." More on that one below. Same: Our debt will increase to $20 trillion. True, but Romney's proposals would increase the debt to $19 trillion by the same standards. Same: Energy costs will continue to go up. No president affects gas prices. They just don't. Neither candidate's energy plan will affect gas prices. If these five things are the core of Romney's argument, well, it isn't much of an argument.
- Some say regulations kill jobs. I say dirty air and dirty water kill people.
- Abortion rates are higher in countries where the procedure is illegal. To my right-wing friends, please explain to me how you can argue that making guns illegal won't get rid of guns and gun violence, but that making abortion illegal will suddenly get rid of abortions. Further, please explain how limiting or removing affordable access to birth control will lower the number of unwanted pregnancies and, by extension, abortions.
- To that end, please explain to me why any woman can support Mitt Romney, who cut an ad in Indiana supporting Richard Mourdock, who thinks it's God's Will when a women gets pregnant from rape. Romney distanced himself from Mourdock's comments, but won't pull the ad. Let's not forget that Todd Akin thinks a woman's body will shut down a pregnancy because it knows it's conceived of rape. Or that Paul Ryan was one of the guys who tried to write the law change to delineate some rapes as "forcible," and recently noted that rape was really just another method of conception. THESE ARE THE GUYS DRIVING YOUR BUS, REPUBLICAN LADIES.
- Please cite specific examples of voter fraud that necessitate all of these states--coincidentally swing states that Romney needs to win in which Republicans are in control of state government, hmm--creating laws that make it harder for people to vote. Go ahead. I'll wait. Maybe if you had good ideas, Republicans, you wouldn't have to try to suppress voter turnout.
- Just want to reiterate that tax cuts don't create jobs, but they DO create giant deficits.
- Republican policies over the past 10-15 years have completely favored the rich at the expense of the poor. I don’t like to ascribe religious leanings into politics. I hate the national myth that the religious and moral high ground belongs solely to Republican policy makers. I don’t think God is on anyone’s “side” when it comes to purely political issues. But I also don’t remember Jesus--in what I’ve read--ever talking about rewarding the rich at the expense of the poor or of minorities, and that’s ultimately what these policies of tax cuts for the wealthy and off-setting that by cutting things like education and Medicaid while destroying Medicare and Social Security do. Are there some magical benefits that we’re all missing that make it OK to do this, from a purely moral perspective? Or have I been misinterpreting the Gospels all this time?
- As we noted above, Republicans argue that Obamacare might (AGAIN: MIGHT) cause 20,000,000 people to lose their employer-based health insurance, though there are plenty of sources that call that claim false. In addition, the nature of Obamacare means that people that lose employer coverage can still get insurance through state exchanges. However, repealing Obamacare will increase the deficit, per the CBO. It will also DEFINITELY mean that people who couldn't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions STILL WON'T BE ABLE TO GET INSURANCE. Whether you like the machinations of the bill or not, IT EXPANDS INSURANCE COVERAGE TO 30 MILLION PEOPLE. So, if you're scoring at home, that's 30 million more insured people (not to mention easier access to preventative care) vs. 20 million people who might lose the coverage they have now but will still have the option to buy other coverage. Again, I hate to inject "morals" into politics, but which one is more moral, purely from a "love your neighbor" standpoint?
- If Paul Ryan's Medicare plan is so freaking great, why can't current retirees have it? Oh, that's right, because if you mess with their Medicare, they won't vote for you. Food for thought.
- Likewise, if we had privatized Social Security in 2005, how many people would have lost their entire life savings in 2008?
- Finally, they're called "entitlements" because we've been paying into them our entire lives. Thus, we're "ENTITLED" to that money.
- The current Supreme Court--at least a majority of it--thinks corporations should have the same rights as people. Mitt Romney thinks corporations are people. Corporations are not people, because as Elizabeth Warren correctly said: "People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that’s why we need Barack Obama." And, I would add, people can go to jail when they break the law.
- Along those lines, the next president will get to appoint two Supreme Court Justices.
- This president has been treated with less respect than any other president sitting in my lifetime. He has had his citizenship questioned (can't remember ANY other presidential CANDIDATE being asked to produce a birth certificate), he has been shouted at and called a liar by a sitting Congressman DURING the State of the Union, he has had a sitting governor stick her finger in his face while admonishing him, he has endured the mantle of being the first non-white president, and he has handled it all with a calm and cool we have not seen from nigh any other president. That, in my book, is the kind of leader I want: a leader that can ignore all of the noise and focus on his job. You need thick skin to be president, and this campaign has showed me that Obama has it, and Mitt Romney does not.
I thank those of you who've read this entire series of posts. It has helped me tremendously to write everything out, to organize what I think are both strong arguments for Barack Obama AND against Mitt Romney. Whatever you do, make sure that you vote. Not just for President, but for your leaders at every level of government.
Cheers. Obama 2012!