Romney vs. Obama. This is the exact matchup I was hoping for a year ago when the Republicans were looking under rocks and tearing up logs to find someone, anyone who wasn’t the former governor of Massachusetts and a Mormon. But at the time, Romney was the reasonable, adult candidate compared to the other candidates in the field. Perry? Newt? Santorum? Bachmann? Lunatics running the asylum.
There was a point in this election season when I wasn’t sure who I’d vote for in a (then) hypothetical Romney vs. Obama race. I was so unhappy about Obama’s lack of progress in solving our nation’s real problems (with one thoroughly mixed bag, namely health care) that I was ready to vote for a change.
But then Romney tacked hard to the right and started running against the very things that made me consider him in the first place. He went from being the moderate governor of a blue state to a firebrand Tea Party member in order to appeal more to the base of the Republican party, and in the process he threw away his own sanity and joined the lunatics.
When Romney did that, he made my decision easy because he demonstrated that he was a slug – small-minded, spineless, and slimy. If elected, would Romney run the country as he had the state of Massachusetts, or would he rule as a Tea Party king over the 99%? I don’t know, but I do know that his personal transformation clearly demonstrates that Romney lacks a properly functioning ethical compass.
I’m still saddened that voting for Obama became so easy, though. It’s not like I’m really voting FOR Obama, since he’s not really my candidate – he’s ignored climate disruption, expanded the use of drones, failed to shut down Guantanamo, expanded the imperial presidency, and adopted too many of Bush II’s policies just for starters – it’s more that I’m voting against Romney.
And when I fill in the bubble next to Obama’s name tomorrow, I’ll worry that I’m doing the wrong thing. Not because I think Romney would be good for the United States of America over the short run – he’ll be horrible for the country over the short run – but because there’s an argument to be made that Romney will be so bad for the country that the backlash will create a generation of honestly progressive leadership and change.
Romney winning would lead to an era of internal conflict that the USA hasn’t seen since at least Vietnam, and as horrible as that would be for us to live through, I’m not convinced that there is any way to avoid it. And if you can’t avoid the pain, best to get it over quickly so you can start healing sooner.
The United States faces real issues. The perversion of our election process by money, a faltering education system, pollution, industrial climate disruption (aka climate change), degrading soil, health care, a bloated defense budget, etc. all need to be addressed, and by leaders who are serious about addressing them. Back in 2008 I hoped that Obama would do that, and I have been largely disappointed. I will vote tomorrow in the hope that Obama’s second term will be when he can focus on the real, serious issues that need to be solved and turn away from all the stupid bullshit that merely distracts.
And I’ll vote against the candidate whose entire campaign has been about distraction.