07 November 2012

What went wrong

Why did President Obama win reelection? I think there are a few main reasons, which I'll look at below. I'm not interested in what Romney did wrong in the campaign. It's over, and may provide lessons for the future, but I think that the issues below were partly outside of his control.

1. The Economy

President Obama inherited an exceedingly difficult economy. I disagree in very significant ways with how he has handled it, but the nature of those disagreements is not something that can be communicated to the general public.
I think enough Americans gave the president a pass on the economy. For four years the President has been blaming George Bush for the slow recovery. Enough people believed that.

2. Changed Electorate

Latinos, young voters, and other emerging voting groups are more reliable than many people thought. They remained supporters of the president, in spite of his weak handling of the economy. They don't identify with the issues defining many Republican voters, and immigration is a problem for the GOP.

3. Republican Failures

I trace this back to the four year period, 2002-2006, when Republicans wasted their complete hold on Congress. They overspent, and squandered chances at tax reform and social security reform. They found religion under Obama, and won major gains in 2010, but failed to overcome Obama's partisan intransigence on the budget and debt. Without notable accomplishments to point to, they could not overcome the president's successful campaign.

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05 November 2012

Turn Down the Noise

While attending a conference, a speaker helped us remember the phenomenal time in which we live. The pace of technological innovation continues, medicine and biotechnology make impressive strides toward disease control and even eradication. Every ten years, 1 billion people will enter middle class. The opportunities are unprecedented. We are bombarded with contrary information, noise, and it is easy to forget these wonders.

And we can vote. By blessing or luck, depending on how you see it, I am a citizen of the United States of America. Tomorrow we will elect or reelect a president, senators, governors, representatives, judges, commissioners, sheriffs, property appraisers and other offices. The transitions will be peaceful, the outcomes accepted, and life will go on.

The election matters. To me it matters a great deal who our president is. I think that Mitt Romney is a far better choice than Barack Obama. I trust Mitt to make the more advantageous economic policies and have every confidence that he will be able to work with Democrats on bi-partisan initiatives. I believe that he will make good decisions with regard to foreign policy, and that our security and prosperity will benefit as a result.

What if he isn't elected? Then I hope that President Obama resolves to behave differently and to do what is required to work with Republicans. His greatest leadership failure was to set a precedent at the very beginning of his term, through the wholly partisan passage of the Stimulus, that as the winner he would do whatever he wanted. He allowed congressional democrats to steamroll Republicans, and the young notion of post-partisanship was a memory.

I hope the Republicans will also understand the need for painful compromise, regardless of the presidential outcome. No one will get exactly what they want, and understanding that at the outset will go a long way to making some real progress. One thing is clear, regardless of the victors tomorrow, Americans are rightfully fed up with the way that Washington has functioned over the past several years.

Bottom line- whether or not your candidates win, or mine, America is more than any one man or woman. It is more than debt, more than healthcare, more than war. It is, and will continue to be, the greatest nation on earth, and I am proud to be a part of it. I am sitting next to three young servicemen as I type this, and I will thank them for their service, and for their efforts to safeguard our sacred right to vote.

Happy Election Day!

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