A few things
Wait...I'm confused...I thought that the Republicans didn't have a plan. I thought all they were was a bunch of obstructionists. So what the fuck is all this shit?
It's not an either or proposition. The notion that the Republican party has plans and the notion that the Republican party are "a bunch of obstructionists" are not mutually exclusive. In the House they have voted for the Ryan budget. In the Senate, they've used the filibuster as well as holds on prospective appointees awaiting confirmation at unprecedented rates.
In both houses they've opposed policies that they used to be in favor of, seemingly for the simple fact that Obama has come out in favor of them. The Affordable Care Act, for example, was based on Mitt Romney's health care plan in Massachusetts, which itself was based on a Heritage Foundation proposal that was the basis for the Republican alternative to "Hillarycare" in the 90s. They've also pursued economically insane ideas like not raising the debt ceiling.
Well then, the network news outlets and the Democrat party lied to me.
Why do people say this? I am a Democrat. My party is the Democratic
party. When did conservatives and right-leaning folks decide to make the switch? I don't remember hearing this until the 2008 election. Is it supposed to be a jab at me? Am I supposed to be offended? I'm just confused. I've never had someone explain this to me.
Think about this...The argument for more regulations on business and peoples lives hinges on the idea that we cannot be trusted to do the right thing without government oversight. We can't be trusted to make the right decisions for ourselves in homeschooling, medication, hunting, charity, recreational drug use, driving an automobile, sexual activities, reproductive activities...the list goes on and on.
I agree. But I think that the fact of the matter is that there are certain areas where we, as individuals or even as individual businesses or industries, cannot be trusted to do the right thing. In any intro to economics course you will learn several textbook cases (ie externalities, commons problems, collective action problems). There are all sorts of social problems that fall into these basic categories where for completely rational reasons, individuals will act in ways that would produce sub-optimal results for society at large. I don't think that it's somehow anti-liberty to believe as I do that we ought to organize ourselves through government to remedy these sorts of problems (ie provide public education, police neighborhoods, reduce pollution, promote food safety, maintain roads etc).
Basically, don't think that we can have an intelligent discussion about the proper role of government unless we accept, at minimum, that there are indeed areas where the government ought to be acting.
What one party pretends to defend the other pretends to try to take away...it's all a show to distract us. So, if we are too distracted, uneducated or uninterested to get involved then we can't be trusted to do anything ourselves.
So how can we be trusted to elect the right people to make and enforce legislation for us?
We can't. Or at least we usually don't. We make terrible decisions all the time. But we can do our best to make progress.
I have problems with the Obama administration, for example, but looking back at the previous administration and looking at our current crop of Republicans and trying to imagine what a McCain or worse, a Palin administration might have looked like, I have no doubt in my mind that Obama was an improvement from that of his predecessor and was the better of the two major party candidates. Even where I'm most strongly opposed to his policies (national security) I don't even want to think about what things would have been like under McCain.
Even if Romney wants to abolish abortion for good and all that doesn't automatically mean that this will happen if he is elected president. A vote for Romney does not equal a referendum against women's rights.
It kind of does.
If Romney wins he will almost certainly have a Republican House and Senate. If they behave anything like their compatriots on the state level have been behaving then we can expect to see anti-abortion measures put forth almost immediately. If they can figure out a way to accomplish that sort of thing through the reconciliation process, they can even do it without worrying about overcoming a filibuster from the Democratic minority. And there are things that I'd imagine would fit that bill, ie cutting funding for Planned Parenthood.
It's true that they will almost certainly not be able to actually outlaw abortion or contraceptives outright, as that's a constitutional question. But it's also true that in the term of the next president, it's not unlikely that a Supreme Court seat or two will be vacated (there are three justices in their late 70s). Who sits in the oval office will therefore more than likely have a hand in determining the balance of the Court going forward and therefore will have a hand in determining whether or not Roe and Griswold will be overturned if and when such a case came before the Court.
Honestly, I find the fact that the next president will likely make a few Supreme Court appointments (and many more judicial appointments) to be a very good reason to vote for the candidate that best lines up with your political views. It might be the single most important aspect of this election. Even if they're utter failures legislatively, even if their accomplishments are undone in the next administration, those appointments will have a decades long impact. Had Justice Roberts not changed his mind, for example, Obama's signature piece of legislation would have been struck down.
If Obama wins a second term it does not equal a referendum against gun rights or the evil rich people.
True. Since he ran state-wide in '04 Obama has been mostly silent on the issue of gun rights. It was one of several ways that he moderated his positions as he transitioned from a local to a national figure. And both parties love them some rich folks since rich folks contribute the vast vast majority of campaign funds.
Still, I find the view that the parties are identical to be absurd on its face. To make such a case requires that we ignore issues like the aforementioned differences between the parties on reproductive rights, as well as other issues like the enforcement of civil rights laws, where there is a stark contrast between the Obama administration and the previous administration. It makes a difference whether or not the party that will be in power next year wants to do something about climate change, wants to expand or contract programs like Medicaid and Medicare, wants to pursue supply side economics, is committed to gay rights etc.
This is not to say that there aren't areas where the election may not have an impact. We're not talking about mass incarceration, for example. We're not talking about our failed war on drugs that drives this problem. We're not talking about gun violence or easy access to firearms. And on issues of national security, while I doubt that a Romney administration would be preferable to another Obama administration, I doubt that this choice will have much of an impact on how many of our troops will be in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2016, however weak Republicans claim Obama is.
I'm well to the left of the president politically. In some areas there are Republicans like Gary Johnson that better represent my views than Obama. But our choice is not between Johnson and Obama. It's between Romney and Obama.
On a side note, the reason that Obama might have been up in an old poll of Tennessee voters is that it would have been conducted during the primary season when Republican animosity towards Mitt Romney was much higher. I don't think that any serious political operative thinks that Tennessee is in play in this election. Even Republicans that dislike Romney will jump at the chance to vote against Obama.