I have some confessions to make. Yes, I stole this title from an episode of South Park. Yes, I was more than a little giddy when Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana. Yes, I couldn’t resist the urge to say “I told you so.” It was wrong of me to relish in the Republican defeat. After what they did to Ron Paul and his supporters, it was really tough to resist. That said, there are some things that I’d like to discuss about the election.
First, I think all of us can, in a way, take comfort in the 2012 election. Not only in the fact that it’s over (it is nice to have it over with), but also in the fact that we can all look back on it with clearer eyes… unless you drank too heavily in celebration or mourning and in that case I kindly ask you to stop reading this blog and go chug some Gatorade, take something for that headache, and head to your nearest IHOP. You’ll feel like a human being again in no time and you’ll be in better shape to read this post. You’re welcome.
So about last night. Like I said, we can all take comfort in it. We can all take comfort, in a weird way, that it really didn’t matter who won last night. Really. I know I’ve been ranting about how the two parties, including Obama and Romney, are the same. I’ve been at it for a while and according to the election results, it seems most Americans still buy into the two party system, which is a real shame. A Romney victory would not have radically changed the direction of the country. Not even a little, actually.
No matter who had won, we would still have a man in the Oval Office who would have fundamentally believed in a strong executive and big government. I’ll try to briefly explain.
What was the biggest grievance the Republicans had with Obama’s presidency? The health care legislation, right? Right. This was also, in the eyes of Obama supporters, his crowning achievement (aside from calling the strike that led to the demise of one, Osama bin Laden… which is an entirely different issue that I could get into, but I won’t). So what did the GOP choose to do in the face of this massive overreach of Federal power (objectively speaking, it really was a huge power grab on the part of Washington)? The Republican establishment chose Mitt Romney as their candidate. He was the one who would roll back Obamacare… even though Romney was the man who laid the groundwork for Obamacare in Massachusetts. In fact, even after the impressive mental and political gymnastics Romney had to go through to change his position on that particular issue, he still never fully denounced the Obamacare legislation. He made it perfectly clear that there were provisions in Obamacare that he liked and would keep in place. So Romney never was opposed to government intervention in healthcare – he just wanted it done on his terms.
What about the economy? Surely, Mitt Romney, the successful businessman, would unleash the power of the free market and allow America to finally get back on the road to recovery. Here was a man who had spent time in the private sector and knew how to run a business. Mitt was the Republican answer to the excessive government intervention of the Obama years. For Obama supporters, on the other hand, the thought of a Romney presidency must have been horrifying – what with the massive cutbacks in government spending and his desire to deregulate the economy. Mitt represented, for Obama supporters, the opposite of what we need to do to get jobs going in America. After all, the Bush tax cuts and deregulation were the source of our problems. The free market needs to be managed and it’s up to the government to protect the little guy, you know.
But what’s the reality? Was Mitt Romney really proposing anything radically different from Obama? Was he really a free market champion? Did he want to address the underlying issues in the economy in a fundamentally different way than the sitting president? The truth is, Romney was not at all what the media (liberal and conservative) portrayed him to be.
Did Mitt have a different philosophy when it came to economics than the president? No. And, like the president, he never saw the financial collapse coming. Just before the collapse in 2008, Mitt said the economy was “just fine.” In fact, there was only one candidate in 2008 and 2012 who saw the collapse coming – Ron Paul. Another thing worth noting is Mitt’s position on government intervention in the economy. That is to say, like Obama, Mitt supported the bank bailouts. This should be no surprise, since Bain Capital was bailed out during his tenure at that company. So much for being a business guru and champion of the free market. Yet another vital issue is the Federal Reserve – something that got no attention in the debates. Even in the face of growing skepticism about the Fed, Obama and Romney have no problem with allowing this institution to manipulate the market, print money out of thin air, and bail out banks (including foreign banks)… without any Congressional oversight whatsoever.
And for those Obama supporters who were worried about the infamous Ryan budget, it really wasn’t anything to worry about. Despite the media hype, the Ryan budget wouldn’t have balanced the budget until a few decades from now and we all know how good Congress is with sticking to their guns on fiscal issues… Further, Romney’s grand plans to somehow put forth a plan to balance the budget while at the same time spending more on the military and programs like Medicare and Medicaid (and cutting taxes) would have required more smoke and mirrors than Houdini could have even dreamed of. See? Everyone still gets their goodies. And the best part of it is, no one has to pay for it. The gravy train keeps on rolling… at least until we can’t print or borrow anymore money.
Now, President Obama, Constitutional scholar that he is, should have an extensive knowledge of civil liberties and State’s rights. And Mitt, “severe conservative” that he was, should also have a thorough understanding of Constitutional limits on government power. Unfortunately, neither of them cared much for upholding the Constitution or protecting the liberties of the people. In his first term as president, Obama has been responsible for the loss of several basic freedoms. He has renewed the so-called “Patriot Act”, which allows the government to spy on Americans without a warrant. He signed the NDAA, allowing the government to secretly arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial. He has presided over an increased use of drone strikes abroad and the use of drones at home to spy on Americans. He has raided medicinal marijuana facilities in States that have legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes – violating the sovereignty of State governments. He authorized the use of military force in Libya without consulting Congress, much less a declaration of war. He expanded the war in Afghanistan and would still have combat troops in Iraq if the Iraqi government hadn’t insisted on being able to prosecute Americans who commit crimes on Iraqi soil. To say the least, Obama has not lived up to his pro-peace, pro-civil liberties rhetoric. The president and those in his administration are responsible for all of this and more, but the champion of limited government, Mitt Romney, apparently had no problem with these actions taken by the president.
So, Republican or Democrat, Right or Left, Red or Blue, this election was nothing to stress over. The obnoxious political ads are over and the political elites are firmly in control. No matter who won, nothing would have changed – our liberties will keep disappearing before our eyes and the fiscal cliff is coming up fast. Go back to sleep, America, your government is in control.