I’ve written posts about why I won’t vote to re-elect Barack Obama. But that doesn’t mean I would consider voting for Mitt Romney who is at least as bad and may well be worse on all the issues on which I find President Obama unacceptable.
Conor Friedersdorf summed it up well.
Romney and Ryan are perfectly comfortable with all of the most sweeping attacks on Madisonian checks and balances that Presidents Bush and Obama have presided over. The Republican nominee hasn’t just defended detaining people indefinitely without charges or trial. He’s called for doubling the main facility where it is done! Romney avows that he is alarmed by an advisory board that would decide which treatments Medicare and Medicaid should cover; yet he is comfortable with the literal death panel Obama runs from the White House, where he and his minions add names (including American citizens denied due process) to a secret kill list.
Did Romney defend the Fifth Amendment? (“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”) No. Rather, he defends actions that plainly violate it.
During the war in Libya, waged in violation of Obama’s own articulated understanding of the War Powers Resolution, Romney didn’t point out that the Constitution gave Congress the power the declare war. And no surprise. Romney subsequently said that if elected, he wouldn’t need to consult Congress before launching a war against Iran. Is that the position of someone who grasps the wisdom of the Constitution and champions an original understanding of it? In fact, it shows disregard for the plain text of the document, and ignorance of the reasoning for vesting war-making power in the legislature rather than a single man empowered like a bygone British king.
Other things Romney favors: a secretive federal agency that conducts warrantless spying on millions of innocent Americans; strapping terrorism suspects to boards and forcing water into their lungs right to the edge of drowning them; and constant invocations of the state secrets privilege to shield federal officials from being held accountable for past illegal acts they perpetrated. In short, Romney is a friend to neither liberty nor the rule of law nor a federal government limited by the Constitution. He should feel the ire of all limited government conservatives.
… … His position on Afghanistan is incoherent — he vows he’ll be out of the country by 2014, and simultaneously says it’s reckless to announce a date by which we’ll leave. Even in hindsight, he doesn’t understand that George W. Bush’s War in Iraq was a mistake, and has argued that the U.S. should’ve kept troops there longer. … …
… … The centerpiece of Romney’s campaign? A domestic agenda that he obviously cannot enact. As Romney tells it, he’ll cut tax rates 20 percent, repeal the estate tax, refrain from raising taxes on the middle class, refrain from cuts to Medicare, spend more on the military, possibly wage a war against Iran, and reduce the deficit. Doing all he’s promised is mathematically impossible.
via Conor Friedersdorf.
In much of what Friedersdorf wrote, the differences between Romney and Obama are mainly differences of degree, not of principle. But there is another important respect in which Governor Romney is more dangerous to American freedom and democracy than President Obama is.
That is the attack of his supporters on the right to vote. Republican state governments are throwing up obstacles to voting, ostensibly at the non-existent problem of voting by ineligible voters but actually intended to discourage voting by African-Americans, poor people, old people and college students. In a close election, this may be the margin of victory.
This is a reversal of the whole direction of American history, starting with the Mayflower Compact in which people who were not of noble birth asserted their right to form their own government according to their own decision, and continuing with the Declaration of Independence’s assertion of the right of self-government, and with the extension of the franchise to the property-less, to women and to African-Americans. In the civil rights era, people sacrificed their lives for the right to vote. Now leaders of the Republican Party are willing to turn back the clock to the days of the poll tax.
Click on Why I Refuse to Vote for Mitt Romney for Conor Friedersdorf’s complete article.
Click on Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama for Friedersdorf’s earlier article.
Click on Voting Wrongs by Elizabeth Drew and my earlier post on The new battle over voting rights for comments on voter suppression by Republicans.
Click on Romney’s Claims of Bipartisanship as Governor Face Challenge for a New York Times report on Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts governor. It was a mixed record, and not all bad. If Romney’s record as governor was all I had to go on, I might be tempted to vote for him.
Click on Greed and Debt: the True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital by Matt Taibbi for a damning report on Mitt Romney’s business career.
Click on At the Olympics, Mitt Tried to Convict an Innocent Man for a report by Lou Dubose of the Washington Spectator. [Added 11/3/12]
On the other hand, there is one respect in which Barack Obama is worse than Mitt Romney. Obama has been able to reconcile liberals to the policies of George W. Bush, which Bush himself was never able to do and Romney would not be able to do. In editorial after editorial endorsing Obama, the issue is framed as a greater or lesser degree of continuous war, a greater or lesser police state, a greater or lesser catering to the Wall Street oligarchy, rather than of how to achieve peace, liberty and justice.
I hope that principled Republicans will vote for the Libertarian Party ticket, just as I hope principled Democrats will vote for the Green Party ticket.