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The Choice

November 1, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve held my tongue for a while, but now that I’ve put out a post about Romney, let’s keep it going. In that post, I outsourced most of my commentary to the Toledo Blade, quoting from today’s editorial. This time, let’s turn to Charles Pierce in Esquire.

From two days ago:

Based on what the various candidates actually have told the people whose votes they are soliciting, over the past 48 hours, it has been far better for the nation that Barack Obama and Joseph Biden are running the executive branch than it would have been had those jobs been held by Willard Romney and Paul Ryan. Both of the latter are on record — and on audiotape, and on video, and all over the Intertoobz, and, for all I know, bellowing from the fillings in your teeth — as recommending that the federal government’s responsibility for things like disaster relief be either handed back to the states, or privatized entirely. They have made this argument in public. They have made this argument as part of the reason why you should vote for them. They also have similar plans for the National Weather Service, and for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and they have made those arguments as part of the reason why you should vote for them. If those ideas had prevailed, and those plans had been passed through the Congress, and signed by President Romney, more people would have died because of this storm, and more people would still be dying from this storm two or three weeks from now.

What they are saying now in an attempt to walk back their earlier arguments is almost assuredly nothing but a barrel full of lies. They’d be out there saying the very same things today if they hadn’t gotten blindsided by this storm. Do you honestly think, absent the arrival of Miss Sandra along the east coast, Willard Romney and Paul Ryan would be out there refining their opinion on federal disaster relief? That they would have abandoned the notion of handing disaster relief back to the states, or to their various corporate cronies. That they would have distanced themselves from barely camouflaged bigots like John Sununu, who repeatedly calls the president “lazy”?

And, even given all that’s happened, if a massive stimulus bill aimed at reconstruction of the infrastructure damaged by the storm somehow miraculously got through this Congress and landed on the president’s desk, and he signed it, do you think Romney and Ryan would support it and, once it passed, do you think they would miss any opportunity to use the word “boondoggle,” or to intimate a program of political payoffs to the president’s east coast supporters, despite the fact that even my casual observations have led me to believe that New York City depends rather vitally on its subway? Please, stop. No, really, you’re killing me here.

For two days now, I have heard nothing but words of caution, even from liberal pundits, about how the president should avoid “politicizing” the storm, as though that were the most important consideration. Initially, I said as much myself. But, now, after these two days, it ought not to be beyond the pale to “politicize” the simple fact that, even though the Republican half of it was an embarrassing clown show, this election has come down to a battle between two visions of the the functions of the national government and, through that, a battle over whether the political commonwealth exists at all. It is not politicizing anything to point out the obvious fact that one side of these arguments is lying as a soggy pulpish object on the beaches of New Jersey, and the other one is out there trying to get the lights back on.

And from yesterday (an excerpt again, but please, read it in full):

Barack Obama owes more than I’d like him to owe to the Wall Street crowd. He probably at this point owes a little more than I’d like him to owe to the military. The rest he owes to the millions of people who elected him in 2008 — especially to those people whose enthusiasm I neither shared nor really understood — and he will owe them even more if they come out and pull his chestnuts out of the fire for him this time around. He may sell them out — and, yes, I understand if you wanted to add “again” to that statement — but they are not likely to revenge themselves against the country if he does and, even if they decided to, they don’t have the power to do much but yell at the right buildings.

On the other hand, Willard Romney owes even more to the Wall Street crowd, and he owes even more to the military, but he also owes everything he is politically to the snake-handlers and the Bible-bangers, to the Creationist morons and to the people who stalk doctors and glue their heads to the clinic doors, to the reckless plutocrats and to the vote-suppressors, to the Randian fantasts and libertarian fakers, to the closeted and not-so-closeted racists who have been so empowered by the party that has given them a home, to the enemies of science and to the enemies of reason, to the devil’s bargain of obvious tactical deceit and to the devil’s honoraria of dark, anonymous money, and, ultimately, to those shadowy places in himself wherein Romney sold out who he might actually be to his overweening ambition. It is a fearsome bill to come due for any man, let alone one as mendaciously malleable as the Republican nominee. Obama owes the disgruntled. Romney owes the crazy. And that makes all the difference.

In his time in office, Barack Obama has done some undeniable good for people. There are auto workers in Ohio with jobs, and women making equal pay, and young people freed from the burdens of health care because of some of the president’s policies. And he is running on that record, making the case for his second term based on the good he has done for people in his first. In his only time in elective office, Romney also did some good for people. He reformed the health-care system in Massachusetts in a way that made him far more popular up here than he ever will be again. And he has spent seven years now running against the good he did for people. What kind of a politician does that? What kind of a man does that? A politician who has counted the debts he owes to the people to whom he owes them, and a man who is willing to hock everything about himself just to get even.

This is not “fear” talking. This is simply the way things are. It is important to stand against the people and the forces to which Willard Romney owes his political career. It is more important to do that than it is to do anything else. It is more important to do that than to salve my conscience, or make a statement, or dream my wistful dreams of a better and more noble politics. And that is why, today, I will vote for Barack Obama, not because of the man he is not, but because of the man his opponent clearly has become. I will do so without enthusiasm, and without a sliver of doubt in my mind.

I’ve written 34 posts so far in my Change We Can Believe In series criticizing Obama. I have tried to be critical where criticism is merited. And sadly, that’s often. Nonetheless, I agree with every word of Pierce’s endorsement.

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