Although I’m voting for President Barack Obama for president this fall, I’m mainly voting against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. I’m doing this not because I believe Romney is a bad person or poor business leader, but rather because I believe the values and perspective he brings to the job are not the ones these times call for.
In order to make this point in great detail, I would first have to be able to tell you what Romney’s values are. That’s the first problem. In the political environment Romney found himself in a year ago, there was no road to the White House that did not involve a significant amount of pandering, persuading and promising to all the wrong people, namely the ultraconservative wings of the Republican Party. Whether this pandering was domestic, in the case of Tea Partiers or climate change skeptics, or international, such as when Romney visited Jerusalem and to offer his simplistic, racist perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it was never consistent and often offensive. Although I don’t think that Romney entirely believes the gospel he’s been preaching, I am nervous about handing a blank check to someone who easily bends to the will of congressional Republicans. Unlike Romney, they have no problem telling me what they believe, and what they believe scares me.
The president of the next four years will not have to be a foreign-policy expert or a math whiz from the tax center. Instead, the next president needs to be a consummate manager, able to handle the inner workings of their own party with one hand, control the reach of the opposing party with the other and paint a grand picture for the American people with every appendage that’s left.
There is little doubt in my mind that in the managerial section of a hypothetical presidential exam, Mitt Romney’s score would dwarf Obama’s. Romney has built his career in the private sector on being the affable fix-it man. Whether as the “severely conservative” governor of liberal Massachusetts, the manager of a successful private equity firm or the savior of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Mitt has successfully billed himself as manager extraordinaire, the efficiency expert.
However, running a country is not the same as running a business. As anyone who used to have a manufacturing job can tell you, the clean efficiency of the market has human consequences. I’m not willing to elect a man who doesn’t see these consequences and doesn’t understand government’s role in alleviating them.
Obama got dealt a tough hand in 2008. With the economy collapsing around him he found a way to avoid depression, reform healthcare and pass a major stimulus package, all while preventing cultural regression of social issues. These accomplishments, and many others, earn him the title “good enough”. This Tuesday, vote for the candidate that stresses that old American value of equality among races, genders and economic classes. Make sure the American Dream stays American.
Nathaniel Olson ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science, history and psychology.