Monday, 5 November 2012
If I had the vote in the USA tomorrow........
Today marks the last full day of campaigning in the American presidential election, as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney embark on one final tour of the key states that will determine who occupies the White House. Both men, their running mates, and top surrogates are criss-crossing the country in search of vital electoral votes. Swing states are being blitzed once again as this closely fought election reaches its climax. What would I do tomorrow if I had to make a choice? A theoretical question, I know, with an answer that has absolutely no consequence. But I'm going to do it anyway!
I've always taken an interest in American politics and, since Obama's victory, I've watched events probably more closely than ever. Has he done enough to get my vote? My assessment is:
1. He inherited a very difficult set of domestic and international issues, most of which were largely beyond his control.
2. He came in with an impossible level of expectation.
3. He has not been the agent of change that he was anticipated to be.
4. I have been disappointed in many aspects of his foreign policy (increased use of drones, not closing Guantanemo, not making a bigger impact on the middle-Eastern debacle).
5. I applaud his success over Obamacare and have been amazed at the vitriol directed towards him over this. To describe him as a socialist/communist because of this is laughable.
6. He was faced with an unforgiving, obstructive and closet-racist opposition.
7. His heart is in the right place but, more often than not, his analytical approach gives a false impression of distance.
And what of Mitt Romney?
1. I can't forget that he's a product of the most odious opposition party I've ever seen. Tea Party anyone? The party that spawned Sarah Palin? Need I say more?
2. I think he is an arch political opportunist and has been saying what it needs to win. Underneath he is an unreformed right-winger who is at the behest of a number of very unsavoury characters.
3. I just can't believe the numbers he comes up with.
4. His choice of running mate. Paul Ryan, for heaven's sake. Joe Biden is never going to set the world alight, but Ryan just might - for the wrong reasons.
5. I think he shares many of David Cameron's characteristics and that's about as damning a comment as I can make.
6. I'm extremely uncomfortable about what I read of his foreign policy ideas.
That's enough to give a flavour of where my mind is running. If I had the vote, it would have an unambiguous X against Obama's name. He deserves a further term and, to my mind, Romney is not a viable alternative. I await the result with interest.