Special Issue Voter’s Guide 2012: Barack Obama

by Lindsie Trego

I remember about four years ago, sitting in my now mother-in-law’s living room watching the news as votes were counted. I sat in tension, quietly rooting for Obama in this conservative household. The country also sat in tension, waiting and watching as Obama garnered the most votes ever gained by a presidential candidate.

I hadn’t been old enough to vote in the election, but I had participated by wearing my Obama T-shirt as often as possible and by convincing everyone I could to vote for him. (I managed to convince both of my parents, my then-boyfriend and a bunch of others.)

Like many Obama supporters, I was swept up in the rhetoric. Like many Obama supporters, I’ve been disappointed. Like not-so-many, I will continue to show my support by voting for him in November.

Americans are a pessimistic bunch. We, as a general rule, like to complain. We like to seek out the worst in people. Most of us remember the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but fewer remember the good things the Clinton presidency brought us. We have a similar outlook on the current presidency. We all see the promises that Obama did not keep, but fail to see the many promises that Obama did keep.

How about the student loan reform that Obama pushed through Congress that allowed for the interest rates on student loans, which many Whitworth students rely upon to pay for school, to remain low while simultaneously saving the government $87 billion?

How about the pieces of Obamacare that, according to a June 2012 Wall Street Journal article, allowed more than 6 million young adults to have insurance coverage by joining their parents’ plans?

My point is this: It’s easy to see what Obama hasn’t done and quickly decide that he’s no good. But upon closer analysis, one will see that the things what Obama has done are quite incredible.

More than that, the next presidential election isn’t about what Obama has or hasn’t done, but about what he will do if elected. It’s about what Romney says he’ll do if he’s elected.

What we hear from Obama are clear plans regarding the economy, education and health care, among other issues. From Romney, on the other hand, we hear flip-flopping views akin to Hillary Clinton’s notorious flip-flops in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Does Romney support abortion regulation? I’m not sure, because Romney seems to change his mind every time it’s convenient. What’s Romney’s stance on cutting taxes for top wage earners? Well, that depends on if we’re looking at what he said during the Denver debate (during which he said he wouldn’t cut taxes for high earners) or if we’re looking at what he said on his website (which describes a plan for across-the-board 20% marginal rate cuts).

And when Romney’s not flip-flopping, he’s being vague. He can be so ambiguous in his political ideas that, according to a September Politico article, GOP leaders have even complained about it. Apparently, he has a plan when it comes to the economy. I’ve heard details on his running mate’s economic plan (which Romney claims he isn’t adopting), but Romney’s budget is still nowhere to be found. Apparently, Romney has a plan when it comes to health care. A quick look at his campaign website will show that his “plan” is that he “will pursue policies” to help states create their own health care systems. What policies, Mitt? What policies?

In the end, it makes more sense to elect the person who has already gained his bearings and is ready to put his plans into action than the person who can’t even decide what his plans involve.

Contact Lindsie Trego at lwagner14@my.whitworth.edu

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