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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My vote this year

I’ve written fairly extensively in the past few years about how my political opinions have changed, and also about how to a considerable degree they stayed the same while the political spectrum changed. Two pieces I wrote for FrumForum, “How I Joined the Vast RINO Conspiracy,” and “How Did Libertarians Lose Their Way?” recount those shifts.

It might not be obvious from my recent political opinion writings as to how I’ll be voting in the presidential election this year. On one hand, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy criticizing Republicans, including by poking holes in a number of anti-Obama arguments. On the other hand, readers will not find much I’ve written that’s actually pro-Obama.

At FrumForum, I and other writers would sometimes get comments at the bottom of our posts from presumably Democratic readers sniping that our arguments count for little because “you’re going to vote Republican anyway” or words to that effect. Well, in my case, I can say with confidence that I would have voted against the GOP nominee had it been Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, Cain or Bachmann* (and there were times such an outcome seemed all too plausible). I would’ve chosen Obama over any of the above-listed Republicans (though perhaps not over Americans Elect in this parallel universe).

Back to reality now, and the Obama-Romney matchup. The criticism of Obama from many Republicans is that he’s a dangerous radical, a threat to America’s basic framework. I think that’s baloney. This president strikes me as cautious, even plodding; not a bold visionary or ideologue and not a particularly skilled deal-maker; someone who uses high-flown rhetoric that vastly outpaces his achievements; someone who spent two years letting congressional Democrats drive the agenda, the next two in defensive mode.

As for Romney, well, much of that description could apply to him too. A common complaint about him is that he shifts with the political winds. Conservatives worry that he won’t pursue their agenda. Progressives worry he’ll be a captive of conservatives. My guess is both sides will find some of those worries realized in a Romney administration. To me, that’s largely for the good. I want a president who upsets left and right.

It’s possible, but unlikely, that I’ll change my mind between now and November. As it stands, I intend to vote for Romney. A technocratic manager who knows how to restructure failing organizations (read: federal agencies, programs, and also his own party) is not a bad job description for a successful president over the next four years. I’ll have more on specific issues in future posts, and soon will have something on the question of who’s going to win.

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* - Update: The exclusion of Ron Paul from this list was accidental.

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