Portrait of an Undecided Voter

We are all doomed!  Here’s why: Undecided voters like this will decide this and many other elections.  Things like this wake me up at night.

On Obama he writes:

I see things to like in President Obama.  If that gets your blood up, well, so be it.  He seems to be smart and he seems to think things through.  I believe he genuinely cares about ordinary folks, and feels like the game is usually rigged against them, and so government is supposed to provide a counter-weight against the bad guys. He hasn’t had stuff handed to him. He could have gone to a big Chicago or New York law firm and made a gazillion dollars, but he chose to work in Chicago neighborhoods helping folks with no friends in high places.  So I think he understands what a lot of people are going through.

So he starts off nice enough.  No real policy analysis to speak of but I assume he’ll ge to that later.  Oh how wrong I was.  He continued:

But watching him for four years, I realize what I should have known all along, which is that he didn’t come into office with any feel for running a big operation.  He has probably learned a thing or two, I’ll give him that.

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: Urge to kill rising!  Oh boy, where do I even start with this guy?  What is the “he didn’t come into office with any feel for running a big operation” hypothesis based on?  Seems to me when he passed the Affordable Care Act, that required him to work not only with Congress but also outside interests group in order to craft the bill, get in through Congress, and finally sign it into law.  That’s quite a big operation.

But he isn’t a good negotiator. I don’t think he enjoys the back and forth, or the sheer work. He strikes me as the type of person I have encountered, someone who makes what they think is a great argument, and then expects everyone to sign on to it. That’s not how things happen in organizations. Getting buy-in is hard work and has to be done on a retail basis. Lyndon Johnson was great at this, on the domestic front. He just had a lot of other issues that wrecked his presidency. President Obama is more like Jimmy Carter in this regard, a smart guy who thinks that smarts is enough.

Wow.  Usually when someone calls the President lazy, its much more offensively stated.  But let’s stick to the supposed lack of organizational skills.  What’s the basis of that claim?  Let’s take health care reform again as an example of getting buy-in.  The ACA wasn’t some crazy pie in the sky liberal ideal.  Its actually a fairly conservative bill.  Versions of the eventual bill have been floating through Congress for decades.  Health Care bills with an individual mandate was originally the conservative alternative to the single payor system that Bill Clinton’s proposed in 1992.  It’s a bill that recieved a fair amount of conservative support over the years including Newt Gingrinch R-Georgia, Bob Bennett R-Utah, Chuck Grassley R -Iowa, Orin Hatch R – Utah, and Richard Lugar R-Indiana.  Hell, it was the basis of Romney’s health care bill in Massachusetts.

How does one get buy-in from people who think its more important for the President to lose than the welfare of the American people?  Again, we’re not talking about bringing them over towards progressive principals.  We talking about getting them to agree with position they had just a few years ago.  In some cases, it was just a few months ago.  In 2009 Mitt Romney wrote an editorial in USA Today giving the President advice on health care reform.  Among his perscriptions was to model the national plan on RomneyCare.  But then, all of a sudden, the individual mandate became wholly unconstitutional.  Funny how that happened when the President would get credit for the political win.

Getting buy-in is based on rational actors on both sides.  The Republicans basically acquiesed all rationality as soon as the President took office.  So to say he didn’t work to get buy-in is not a fair assessment of the political reality.  But then he continued on the President and energy policy.

The president has talked about developing our energy resources, but I don’t think his heart is in it, to tell the truth. A significant part of his base is made up of people who really, really don’t like carbon, and so I get the feeling that the president often tiptoes around the energy subject and we won’t hear much about it in a second term.

Lord!  Why base your analysis in facts, when feelings will do?  Here’s some enegy facts for you Bill.  President Bush was one of the most enegy friendly Presidents we’ve ever had.  Or at least you would think so.  I mean this was a Texas Republican who family has part of its wealth based in oil.  Here’s the thing Bill, energy production is up under Obama.  You know the guy that you don’t think will be good for developing our own energy resources.  Well under his leadership, oil production has gone up.  And our imported oil has gone down from 57% in 2008 to about 45% in 2012.  Additonally, our renewable enegy has also doubled during that time.

Next he moved on to Romney’s characteristics.

Gov. Romney, like President Obama, also has many thing to recommend him.  (Other side of the hall is now getting its blood up.) One of them is not consistency. I don’t particularly like the whole “Who are you going to believe: Me or your lyin’ eyes?” aspect about his campaign. There is no question in my mind that he governed as a Massachusetts Republican. Surprisingly enough. Since he was governing in Massachusetts. So I start from the position that he doesn’t have very strong convictions on the issues he has jumped around on. I am under no illusions that his “thinking has evolved.”

So so far we’ve got Romney is a liar without any strong convictions whatsoever.  But this doesn’t appear to be disqualifying.  He continues:

What is admirable about Gov. Romney is that he is a phenomenal doer. He gets stuff done.

Anyone who has worked in a company knows that the organizational world divides into two kinds of people. The people who talk a good game, and the people who actually deliver. I believe that if I were Gov. Romney’s boss and I assigned him a big project, that he would get it done without me having to keep him focused and on track. Deadlines would be met. Things would get done the way they were supposed to be done, and he would sweat the details. And without necessarily talking my ear off about all those details he had sweated.

Again, he just asserts a bunch of stuff without any facts or even anecdotes to back it up.  So he’s a doer?  What has he done exactly?  It’s obvious that Romney been quite succesful as a businessman at Bain Capital.  But what about his business experience would make make him a better president?  There’s really not a lot of precedent for big business people having lots of success in presidential politics.  But then he goes back to Obama:

I don’t have that confidence about President Obama. Maybe he would get it done, maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe I’d hear about how the other departments or managers weren’t cooperating with him. Or about subordinates he had delegated to, who hadn’t gotten things done. But it wasn’t his fault, mainly.

Well at least he’s clear.  On the one hand you have a decent individual who’s lazy and would make excuses about not getting things done.  Not that it was his fault mind you.  And on the other hand, you have the “doer.” Sadly, he’s a lying person of zero convictions.  Here’s the thing, he has almost no idea of what he’s talking about.  I’m sorry, were you asleep the last four years?

President Obama signed into law the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus), and repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to name a few domestic bills.  He also saved the auto industry.  Internationally, he negotiated the START treaty with Russia, banned the use of torture, got us out of the war in Iraq, has begun the draw down on troops in Afghanistan, decimated Al Quada and ordered the raid that got Osama Bin Laden.  I don’t even know to whom you are referring when you say that the President doesn’t enjoy the “sheer work” or “a smart guy who thinks his smarts is enough.”

The scary part is that the author is very well-educated.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in wait for it…journalism.  He’s the senior editor the News Observer.  Look I know it’s not the New York Times or Washington Post but DAMN!  Are there no standards?  As opposed to analysis, he’s chosen to break down each candidate based on how he feels about them.  It like he read a short synopsis of both people and made most of his determinations based on that.

This is worse than low information voters.  This is the Senior Editor of a newspaper.  This a person whose specific education and career path should leave him uniquely qualified, to not only make a decision on whom to vote for himself but also help others reach a conclusion.

Categories: Politics Fix

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