Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Give “hope” and “change” a 2nd chance

To me, at least, the third and final presidential debate held Monday night didn’t matter.
OBAMA: Seeking a second chance

For on Monday just a few hours prior to the event, I went to a local early voting center and cast my ballot for the Nov. 6 general elections – including a vote for Barack Obama to get a second term as U.S. president.

NOW I’M SURE people who have been reading the commentary published here throughout the years will yawn at this “pronouncement.” They probably concluded a long time ago that I’m not among the people in our society with a knee-jerk reaction against the Obama administration.

So the idea that I would cast a ballot for him over Republican nominee Mitt Romney shouldn’t be surprising.

But in the tradition of this particular weblog to offer endorsement-like explanations of my voting record as a way of expressing this site’s ideological anchoring, I will try to ‘splain myself.

And no, I won’t ramble on for more than 2,200 words (which I did back in 2008 when explaining my support for Obama over Hillary R. Clinton in the Democratic primary that year – still the longest piece of commentary I have ever written for this site).

YES, I’M MORE than willing to concede that there are people out there who backed Obama in ’08, but feel he fell short. Although I think many of those people were politically naïve in their expectations.

There always is a political opposition that desires to thwart anything an incumbent official wants to achieve.

And that opposition has been particularly fierce and outspoken when it comes to Obama. They made it clear they were appalled by his election up front, then took advantage of crummy voter turnout in the 2010 elections to get ideologically-aligned members of Congress elected.
RUSH: An 11th term in Congress?

Those officials have done little more than run interference to everything. It has been a do-nothing Congress that takes great pride in its lack of activity – because it’s not THEIR activity.

WHICH IS WHY when I stumbled across a recent editorial cartoon depicting a vision of an Obama campaign bus with a slogan painted on its site, something to the effect of, “He promises to do better in the second term,” I laughed.

Because there is an element of truth to that view of the Obama campaign.

He’s going to have to do better and be more productive if he gets a second four-year term in office. Which means he’s going to have to develop more of a political mean-streak. Perhaps the intellectual drive that some of us find appealing is going to have to accept the fact that he’s in a political “war” with his opposition.

He’s going to have to overcome them if he’s going to achieve anywhere near the goals he promised back then.

I’M SURE SOME (mostly the hard-core ideologues who have been the opposition) will argue that Obama had his chance, and should step aside to give someone else (such as themselves) a chance.

Yet I don’t buy that because it seems to me that what they’re asking for is to be rewarded politically for their obstructionism. I wonder how much better off our economy would be if we had officials trying to work together – rather than an opposition party that thinks it is acceptable for us to wait through an Obama administration of misery for them to “come to save the day” (envision Andy Kaufman’s “Mighty Mouse” routine as you read that line).

In fact, that same line of logic dictated my vote for Congress – where I live in the Illinois first Congressional district. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., has been around for two decades, and a legitimate argument could be made that it is time for him to step down – but he won’t.

He’s being challenged by long-time suburban Blue Island Mayor Donald Peloquin, who isn’t the most outrageous small-town official you could have to pick from. He has his qualifications.

YET THE PEOPLE he’d be aligned with politically would be counting on him to provide the basis for nonsense such as repealing health care reform –blatantly partisan measures meant only to “erase” the Obama image from history.

Rush gets my vote largely because I don’t want to reward the ideologues who have become the problem of our government these days. If I lived in the Illinois second Congressional district (located less than a mile from where I live), I’d cast a ballot for Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., for the same reason. Or for Tammy Duckworth if I lived in the Illinois eighth.
WASHINGTON: Similar to Barack?

There’s also the fact that this election cycle is so reminiscent of the 1987 mayoral election when Harold Washington sought re-election against (amongst others) Edward R. Vrdolyak (running on the Illinois Solidarity Party ticket).

Vrdolyak was hoping that the opposition that allowed him to defy Washington would make him mayor – where he could then go about undoing the acts of the Washington years.

ADMITTEDLY, MITT IS a political wimp compared to somebody like Vrdolyak (although some of the people reluctantly backing Mitt are capable of being despicable). But it would have been a significant step backwards for Chicago and its image if “Fast Eddie” had pulled off a victory.

Do we really want our nation to make that mistake?


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