Sunday, October 28, 2012

On the 2012 US Presidential Elections

I haven't written much about the presidential elections this year.  The reason is in the two previous election seasons and the work I put in then.  They say that blogging is easy:  Just sit down in front of the computer screen and stick knitting needles in your eyes. 

Well, I said that, in an attempt to lighten the dull atmosphere.  But yes, I suffer from a tiny burnout when it comes to elections.  Too much circus, too little bread.

Yet Barack Obama is much, much better than Mitt Romney and his fundie homeboys,  for human beings,  for women as an often segregated subgroup of human beings, for the economy and for the environment.  Mitt Romney is a wingnut in the best Sunday suit and with his hair licked down.  Also, he has many more houses than the average wingnut.  Barack Obama is a moderate Republican of yore.

How should I put this best?  Voting for Barack Obama is like choosing shingles.  Voting for Mitt Romney is like choosing a terminal illness.  I prefer the former, though naturally I'd love to feel perfectly healthy.  But we are all going to have one of those two conditions, and in my view the Obama-condition is much more bearable and less dangerous.

And of course these elections are really about jobs and the economy, for the Democrats.  They are about cutting the federal deficit for the Republicans, because that deficit might necessitate raising taxes for the highest earners one day if not right now.

As I wrote, these are my opinions.  But they are based on as much study and fact-finding as I have been able to fit in.   Romney's five-point plan will not work.  Besides, it's not that different from the Bush plan which got us here in the first place.  So vote for Obama or repent at leisure. 

On the other hand, I have written quite a bit about the kabuki theater the Republicans have been acting when it comes to abortion.  That's because we have moved from debating what, if any, restrictions abortions should have to debating whether any woman, ever, can have a legal abortion.

The Republican approach might be interpreted as either stupidity or as their general plan of attacking the opposition where it is the strongest.  Because most people, even forced-birthers, agree that rape victims should have access to legal abortions, that's what the Republicans attack.  And suddenly we seriously discuss the extent of reproductive choice for rape victims!  How on earth can we ever return to discussing abortion access in more general terms?

I don't actually believe that the Akin-Mourdock debacles were planned.  But still.

We now get Ross Douthat (!!!) explaining (mansplaining?)  feminism to us!  We get Newt Gingrich, that old hounddog, sliding and gliding carefully around the actual question:  Should rape victims give birth to the rapist's child?  It's a whole sideshow in this weird circus, and it's a sideshow because, by definition, it's about those relatively unimportant people: women,  and their singular concerns.  Or so I am told.

According to the Republicans, what all Americans want are things such as zero corporate income taxes (so that the "job creators" deign to create jobs, in some country, at least), drilling in the national parks (so that oil becomes cheap yet again) and the gutting of all safety nets (so that we can lower taxes for the wealthiest).  If among the costs of these policies is the greater number of anti-woman initiatives and an even more anti-woman Supreme Court, well, women should want it that way.

Does that sound bitter?  It's not really bitterness that makes me sarcastic but the realization that facts matter so very little in politics.  The elections seem to be largely about emotions and the hindbrain, and I'm too tired to go on the kind of rant that would rouse spirits everywhere.  Duh.

Neither do I have any special insights into how tight the presidential contest might be or become.  I hope that Obama wins, because this country really cannot afford more of what caused the recession in the first place.  And don't forget the Supreme Court.