Two less than inspiring choices

Two less than inspiring choices

Choosing someone for whom to vote for president will for me, once again, be an exercise in voting for the better of two less than inspiring choices. On one hand, we have a sitting president who has become a disappointment to many who voted for him, including me. On the other hand, we have a candidate seemingly devoid of any enduring principles who has reinvented himself as a “severe” conservative (his words) after being a moderate Republican in his first political life. I have no idea who Gov. Romney is or what he really believes about the controversial issues of the day. Since entering politics he has, at one time or another, been on both sides of almost every important issue. Had he run as the same person who was governor of Massachusetts, I believe he would be a more formidable challenger for the presidency.

While President Obama is a decent, likeable man, he has not demonstrated the kind of leadership the country has needed in the wake of the economic crisis that began in 2007. We have needed an optimistic, cheerleader type, a la Ronald Reagan, who could allay people’s fears and instill confidence that it is once again “morning in America.” Obama has been too cerebral when the country has needed an emotional lift. While he has proven to be willing to compromise with those holding opposing beliefs, he has not been assertive enough in his dealings with either the Democrats or the Republicans in Congress. His crowning achievement is a desperately needed national health care bill so complex that almost no one completely understands it. There is some question as to whether or not the bill will actually curb the exploding costs of medical care. This bill must be simplified and focused on reducing the unsustainable rate of growth of medical care while still providing affordable health care insurance for all. Republican input must be actively sought, their ideas seriously considered and where possible, included in the final bill as the magnitude of this undertaking requires bipartisan approval. Of course, this requires a willingness of both parties to work together, something that they have not recently demonstrated.

I presume Gov. Romney is also a decent man. His missionary work, charitable contributions and upstanding family attest to that. If elected, he has promised to reduce our national debt without raising taxes, something that virtually all reputable economists believe to be impossible. While offering vague solutions to our debt crisis like cutting governmental waste, revising the tax code, and cutting entitlement programs, he has offered no details on what programs would be cut or how the tax code will be revised or who will shoulder the bulk of the financial sacrifice. He has pledged to increase defense spending at a time when the U.S. already spends nearly half (41 percent-42 percent) of the total spent by all the nations of the world on defense, almost six times the amount spent by China (7 percent-8 percent), the second highest defense spender. One must ask how much is enough.

My hope is that President Obama has grown enough in these last four years to be a more effective leader in the next four. While not enthusiastic about an Obama second term, I believe the alternative is too fraught with uncertainty.

Robert F. Mollic, Liberty