Barack Obama and Mitt Romney disagree on many things. But if deciding between them was easy, one would have 100% of the vote, instead of the race being virtually tied.
Deciding between the two is especially difficult for independent voters like me. I am typically very liberal on environmental and social issues. But I am usually very conservative on fiscal and moral issues.
I finally made my decision last night (Saturday evening, November 3, 2012) to vote for Mitt Romney in this year's Presidential election -- I think. I may still change my mind. Below is my analysis:
Compassion: Compassion is an intangible that is difficult to measure. But it is very important to me. Obama seems to care, but Romney seems to in more practical ways -- unlike many conservative Republicans. Romney seems to talk sincerely about the need to create jobs, keep certain aspects of health care reform, and the importance of charity. He donates much of his income to charity. And he has experience in a sense as a pastor/leader in a church caring for its flock. Romney seems to be a compassionate conservative.
Defense: I am basically a pacifist. I disagree strongly with the policies of both Obama and Romney and would prefer Ralph Nader's huge military cuts.
But Romney correctly notes that Obama's method of withdrawing from Iraq has left a huge mess. Also, Romney desires to put more of the defense budget into building ships, submarines, jets, etc.
In my opinion, new aircraft and naval vessels can be used for humanitarian aid delivering food, water, etc., around the world. In major humanitarian crises a big problem is lack of available capacity for delivering needed supplies quickly.
In contrast, Obama and George W. Bush spent huge sums on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The huge number of expensive bombs we dropped cost a lot -- as well as the damaged and destroyed equipment. I am hopeful that Romney will follow the guidelines he mentioned in the third Presidential debate about alternatives to war being preferable. Maybe (I hope) he will use a strong military as a deterrent to war rather than to fight it.
Economy: Romney's business background likely makes him much better suited to improve the economy. And he does have several ideas -- some I agree with and some I don't.
Environment: I oppose both Obama and Romney on their planned expansion of nuclear power and expanded gas and oil drilling. Overall, I seem to agree more with Obama on environmental issues. However, in the short term, we will likely be using gas, oil, and coal to some degree, while alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, etc., are developed. Obama has wasted too much money on alternative fuels, with too few results, though I commend him for the efforts.
In the short term, perhaps conservation is the best thing we can do to reduce the use of fossil fuels. I live in a studio efficiency apartment with fewer than 300 square feet, which has relatively small heating and cooling costs compared to a 1,000 square foot or 3,000 square foot house. Also, I use CFL bulbs. And I don't own a car. So I try to reduce my use of fossil fuels. But it will take time to progress toward alternative fuels -- and I hope Romney will encourage progress toward them.
Health Care: I commend President Obama for instituting major health care reform. But, I don't think ObamaCare is economically feasible as it is written. And I abhor being forced to pay money to insurance companies or pay a fine.
Mitt Romney plans to keep a few aspects of the reform, but sign an executive order giving states the right to opt out of ObamaCare, and ask Congress to totally rescind it.
If red states opt out and blue states keep it, maybe by trial and error we can find what works and eventually reach a balance between the two. I oppose Romney's plan to totally rescind ObamaCare. But I don't expect the U.S. Senate to totally rescind the law.
Personally, I'd prefer a single-payer health care plan such as Ralph Nader advocated. But due to the effective lobby of the insurance companies, the Democrats and Republicans won't go along with that. I also support attaining better preventive health care by avoiding abusing drugs and other risky behaviors.
I do hope Mitt Romney's experience with health care reform in Massachusetts will help him manage the federal health care reform plan, keeping the good and modifying the bad.
Moral Issues: As a pro life person who supports traditional marriage between one man and one woman, Mitt Romney's views more closely resemble mine. And due to his Mormon faith, Romney's views on tobacco, alcohol, fornication, and other "moral" issues are perhaps closer to mine than Obama's.
But Romney often seems to be a pragmatic Republican politician more so than a moral Christian. I trust independent candidate Randall Terry much more on moral issues -- though Terry is far too radical for me on several things.
Resolving Gridlock: Obama has not resolved the gridlock in Washington, D.C. between Democrats and Republicans. Maybe Romney won't either. But Romney has indicated a willingness to change his views on certain issues recently, so maybe there is hope.
Taxes: The most recent modifications of Romney's tax proposal seem reasonable. I hope he follows them rather than his earlier ones.
Here in Kentucky, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and independent candidate Randall Terry are also on the ballot. I looked at their websites, and I watched a debate that included Stein, Johnson, and two other candidates that are not on Kentucky's ballot. Each of them offers some things I like. But I decided not to vote for either of them due to strongly disagreeing with them on some of their views.
In summary, I reluctantly will likely vote for Mitt Romney, despite my dislike for his views on some issues and my uncertainty about how he may change his views in the future. But if he wins, I will likely be among the first of his "supporters" to criticize him if he seeks to abuse military force or go back to some of his earlier plans that I disagreed strongly with. Or if he seeks to compromise safety too much by eliminating (or improperly modifying) too many regulations.
And since I often vote for the loser in Presidential races (voting for Ralph Nader in the last four elections), it is likely that Barack Obama will be reelected. And despite his weaknesses, I do feel Obama has done a better job overall than his predecessor, George W. Bush. And if Obama is reelected, I hope his four years of experience will enable him to do a much better job in the next four years.
But I still feel Obama deserves to be "fired" for not doing well enough. And I'm sorry to say that the best alternative on the ballot here in Kentucky is Mitt Romney.
I will vote for Mitt Romney on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 in the U.S. Presidential election -- barring anything unforeseen.