Most people, when they think of Massachusetts, would categorize it as a liberal bastion. In one sense they are correct as the state house is dominated by Democrat senators and representatives. But in another, they would be wrong. For the past two years the state has had a Republican U.S. Senator, and over the past 20 plus years it has boasted more Republican governors than Democrat, Weld, Romney and Celucci among others. The residents of Massachusetts are more centrist than most of the nation would believe, and I feel they prefer balance far more than one-sidedness.
I remember when Mitt Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts. The state’s Democrat Party brought into question his legal residence, saying he actually lived in Vermont while maintaining property here in Massachusetts. But through a legal technicality, the elections board was forced to allow his residency as meeting the standard. It always bothers me when someone gets by on a legal technicality. It makes me wonder about their ability to be entirely honest and forthright. It makes me question their integrity. Romney did an all right job as governor, not spectacular and not bad as his Republican predecessor Paul Celucci had done. But it was obvious that he was only interested in placing himself of a national forum as he was a one-term governor who did not try to serve a second term. Such action makes me question his commitment to the state he served as governor.
When Barak Obama came into office he made many promises, more than any politician should, and certainly more than even he knew he could keep. Washington politics, being what it is, seldom allows any president to “rule the roost.” FDR came the close to being able to do that and then Reagan pretty much had his way. And so when Obama took office he said he was taking a page from FDR’s presidency when it came to helping the economy to recover. Except for the government’s largess, his recovery program failed to come close to FDR’s vision. FDR started named government programs, most famous being the FRA (Federal Recovery Act). Others, the civil conservation corps (CCC) later declared unconstitutional, the Tennessee Valley Act, the Rural Electrification Act, and other programs put a name on his program and gave the general public something to look towards to measure success. All the programs, even the CCC, were hugely successful.
FDR’s success came largely because he kept the Federal Government in charge of its investments with the states acting as expediters but not overseers. Obama did the opposite. He meted out the money to all the states, with certain provisions attached, but then mostly gave up federal government oversight. The results were mixed at best. Obama would have been better served, as FDR did, by saying a certain amount of money will go towards rebuilding America’s highways and roads, possibly naming it the Infrastructure Recovery Act, and then putting heavy requirements upon states as to how they used those dollars. His focus on the use of the money should have been seeing that as much of the $780 billion went towards labor intensive work as possible. Inner city revitalization would have been another opportunity, although this seems to have been missed entirely. To be sure, America’s “Rust Belt” is no better off today than it was 4 years ago.
It is my belief that lack of federal oversight allowed too much of “Recovery Act” dollars to end up in the pockets of well-placed and highly influential individuals who did little to help America recover from its worst recession since the Eisenhower administration. To his credit, Eisenhower did his part in putting America to work with his vision of the Interstate Highway system that he fathered.
What scares me the most about Mitt Romney are his very conservative religious views along with those of his running mate. Let me be clear, when it comes to abortion, I am even more conservative than Romney as I do not believe in it regardless of the situation and have felt so since I was a teenager. But, I also recognize that abortion is an issue of conscience and I have no right to insert my beliefs as being superior to any other person’s beliefs. And that is why I believe in the absolute right of each individual, in the case each woman, to make her own decision of conscience. If I can influence her towards not having an abortion, great, otherwise I have no right to dictate to her what she should do. This to me is purely a First Amendment issue, the part that refers to religion, and nothing more.
I do not like politics in the extreme, right or left. I fear Romney is all about doing the bidding of the far right as that is where much of his campaign funding comes from.
American politics today, most unfortunately, seem to be like a scene from The Wizard of Oz. We should all be wondering who the man behind the curtain is. We have the man out front, Obama and Romney, but we must know who is pulling the strings behind the curtain. Who is it exactly that most influences these men and what is their agenda? More importantly, does their agenda align with the desires of 80% of the American public? I fear the answer to this last question is a resounding “no!” That is not just conservative politics, but liberal as well.
I think it the job of every American voter to ask the candidates one simple but tough question. Whenever one of them states that something is true, that their particular way of doing things is best, or any other boast, ask them to show definitive proof of their claim. Ask for details, facts, and deny them elusive or vague rhetoric.