Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Democracy ought to be about choices

Arguably moderates carried the day. On the national scene - the Republicans have generously clothed themselves in the mantle of extremism offered by Fox News. Oddly - Romney is anything but extreme. But, he failed to shed the right wing cloak that he donned to win the Party's nomination.

Romney, although it is said he has been running for six years, wasn't prepared. By not being prepared he was left with striking out at Obama on issues that he in fact has agreed with, e.g., Obamacare;  or on issues that had little value in the eyes of the electorate, e.g., the  attack on the embassy in Libya.

It was items like the attack - where the president had no control - that made no sense.  It was irrational to blame the president for an attack in a foreign country that at best is teetering on the stability seesaw. Being filthy rich didn't help Romney. He couldn't seem not to gloat about his wealth.

Romney wasn't anything other than a moderate with an extremist facade. One might argue that had he stuck to his moderate credentials and owned up to Obamacare roots - he might have been elected.

It seemed that many in the Democratic Party were looking for someone else. Liberal and moderate Democrats were, and still are I suppose, unhappy with Obama's presidency, but unwilling to give a candidate regurgitating right of center views a leg up.

Yes there was a choice between Obama and Romney, but not a choice based upon solutions to immediate problems or that facing future generations. There was no leadership in this presidential campaign - it was only necessary for Obama to paint the right image about himself and that of Romney.

Foreign relations were not constructively discussed. Global warming or climate change, even if not immediate threats, deserved acknowledgement that never came. Illegal, I repeat illegal, immigration was ducked, fearing (one surmises) retribution from the Latino voters.  Oil dependency was a non-starter.

Romney had a "plan" that never had any legs or he issued threats, e.g., repeal Obamacare, that was unlikely to ever come to fruition. He seemed to know what he didn't like - he just didn't know what to do about it.

One wonders if he really understood the power of the presidency. And, he spent too much time trying to acquire votes from those who would have voted for him in any event rather than to attract those moderates looking for another moderate other than Obama.

There was never really any choice at the national level. Status quo rules. 4 more years of House Republicans fighting the good partisan fight against Obama.

At the local Portland level - choice was nowhere to be found. We were offered a Charlie Hales or a Jefferson Smith for mayor.  Charlie Hales who stood ready to tell you anything you wanted to hear versus Jefferson Smith who was a daddy's boy whose personal conduct was erratic to say the least. The story about striking a woman at a party (even though many years ago) sunk him.

Mary Nolan vs Amanda Fritz - who the hell was Mary Nolan? Why should I have voted for her? Voters seemed to reject the politician candidate Nolan in favor of the  non-politician incumbent.

Fritz is slowing turning into a politician, but standing next to a Nolan - she appeared squeaky clean. Arguably it is a better story that a local non-politician, do-gooder wins over someone with ties to Party politicos. Arguably Fritz stands to serve the community and not to serve some personal agenda to be a career politician.

Candidates at all levels seemed to deftly avoid taking a principled stand on any issue. Even after an untenable length of campaigning we know next to nothing about their solutions to national or local issues.

I am not sure that democracy was well served by these elections and candidates offered.