Adding My Two Bits

A lot of folks dislike Romney because of his money, because he was born into riches. For the record, I don’t hold that against him. That he is exceptionally bright, much more than most, that he accomplished many a thing, only one of which was successfully establishing & running Bain Capital at a young age may invoke a twinge of envy in many. But again, that’s inconsequential to my argument.

What makes me uncomfortable (apart from his cyborg vibe) is Romney’s lack of integrity – that unique value separating the mere admirable from an admirable leader.

Romney made money but how much? Where is it stowed? We don’t know. Did he deploy exceedingly smart, albeit not entirely moral tax planning? That, we do know.
I have this argument with the husband, a Romney supporter, who argues that Romney’s tax breaks are provided for under the law. To which my question is – Why then is Romney so closed about letting the public see how much he lawfully paid? Yes, Romney may not have indulged in anything wholly illegal, but what he has indulged in is not something a leader with integrity would do. Constant flip-flops on health care, women’s rights, pro choice-pro life debates do not help his case; he comes off seeming more an opportunist than a man of beliefs and principles. And that, is a problem.

But.

Mitt Romney is the best that Republicans have to offer. In today’s day and age when folks want to move forward, Republicans are adamant on pulling America back. My list of grouses against them is longish &  it is easy for me to imagine why people might want to vote anti-Republican; but the good thing is the Democrats have Obama, whom I admire on certain issues.

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Republicans want to shrink the size of the government, get it out of people’s faces or so they say. But they also want the government to mandate what a woman should or should not do with her body. It’s 2012! Where is the option for not considering a pro choice argument? But of course the Grand-Old-fuddy-duddy-seriously-out-of-sync-Party does not get it. Reproductive choice should be left to the woman who is to become a mother (along with the man who is to become a father). Government has NO place in this equation. Politics has NO place in it. Period.

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Equal pay for equal work was the first bill Obama signed. What is galling is that  such a bill was signed recently. Sigh. For every dollar that a man earns, a woman still only  earns 77 cents. At least someone took notice of this. And a stand to fill this gap.

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When I came to the US from India, it took me a looong time to understand the US health care system. In fact, it is still WIP on that front, so convoluted is the subject. Let me put it in gently here, I fall in the much derided 1% bracket, with possibly one of the best insurance policies there is. I am well read and understand the fine print well. Yet , it’s extremely trying to peel this unholy nexus between health care providers, insurance companies and employers. So what becomes of the 99% ? Having lived & worked in Switzerland, with friends and family in developed countries around the world, I know that health care in US needs serious reforms. Obama pushed for it. (as did Governor Romney, but shhh!) Sure things can be improved, but Obama set the ball rolling despite unproductive theatrics of the Republicans. That takes serious balls. He’s got them.

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An under rated but path-breaking legacy of Obama’s first term will surely be his foreign policy: Prudence in matters of war and peace. He got out of Iraq, has a plan to get out of Afghanistan, took a tough stand vis-a-vis Pakistan and got Osama, chose carefully to not involve directly in Libya and Syria. He’s cyber-sleuthing Iran, but not attacking it to start another macho war. God knows the world & US can ill afford another one of those. He also understands one thing most Americans do not – that fostering further ill will with the Islamic world will not benefit either side in the long run. God and Jerusalem were kept out of DNC’s Day 1. Co-incidence? I recall watching Republican Primaries where all candidates (except Ron Paul) driveled on about how the entire world was colluding against America & needed to be shown who the boss was. Foolish, shortsighted and frankly, funny.. that is how they sounded. From what I have seen, Obama is not interested in showing American muscle off like a buffed up jock is wont to do. He uses it when it is required, as he did with Osama.

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Steeped in religion and prejudice Republicans cannot empathise with the plight of the LGBT community. By repealing Dont Ask Dont Tell, Obama has undone a mental barrier, just as he did with his pro gay marriage stance. Again, while the Republicans are loath to “government”, should they form one they seem really keen to interfere in what should be a strictly private space – an individual’s sexual preference.

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Now, the E word. Economy. Romney’s claim to fame is that because he has turned around corporations he can turn around America. The rich America believes him, wants him. Of course it would. Here’s what Obama did get done – having inherited 2 wars and a devastated economy, he reigned-in the free fall, supported & helped revive the automobile industry that many had given up on, helped banks at a time when not doing so would have led to far worse implications, recovered all the money he lent to those banks – with interest – within 3 years. Instead of cutting back on public expenses and embracing austerity like Europe, he pumped public spending. Of course the economy has not turned around fast enough for those impacted. It will take time, what with strained global dynamics at play. But as is obvious to see, economic indicators are on the upturn. Obama will not be cutting my tax rate (and that damn tax rate of nearly 50% hurts), but what is good is that he will not increase tax rates of the middle class. I respect that. Inclusive growth over partisanship has my vote.

Without slightest co-operation from the Republicans on critical issues like fiscal debt, health care, women rights it is obvious that Obama’s first term has checked some important boxes. And I really hope he gets a second one.

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3 thoughts on “Adding My Two Bits

  1. The writer very succinctly argues the case for Obama; I wholeheartedly agree with her. He has done a remarkable job over the past four years, particularly given the broken America he inherited: its tattered economy, war-weary state and eight years of republican centric policies that have cosseted the one per centers.

    The rationalisation of that one underlying Romney trait, the absence of integrity, also rings true. America needs a leader they can trust, and Obama, with his cool exterior and fiery passionate interior (in the words of Clinton), has more integrity in his pinky finger than Mitt Romney has in his entire body.

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