Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reactions to Last Night's Election Results

I've been sick today, and so I've been too tired to write a post about last night's election results.  I feel a little better at the present moment, so I'll write my post now, but it will be a fairly light post rather than an in-depth discussion.

I was happy about four things last night.  First, there was the election and re-election of pro-life Democrats to various political offices.  The group Democrats for Life of America mentioned a number of pro-life candidates for the Democratic Party, such as Joe Donnelly, who beat controversial tea-partier and pro-lifer Richard Mourdock in the Indiana race for the U.S. Senate, and others.  Speaking personally, I do not know what the best law would be when it comes to abortion.  But I am appreciative when Democrats include in their support for social justice a high regard for the life of the vulnerable unborn.  2012 must have been an especially tough year for pro-life Democrats, as Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party emphasized their pro-choice position to get the support of women, as well as allowed their pro-choice position (among other things) to take them to victory.  I myself voted with the Democrats, notwithstanding my reservations about their pro-choice abortion stance.  And so it's refreshing that there were pro-life Democrats who won last night, and I hope that this presages more diversity on abortion within the Democratic Party.

Second, I appreciated the election of two solid progressives who are willing to fight for their beliefs and the well-being of the American people.  I think specifically of Elizabeth Warren, who was elected to be a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, and Tammy Baldwin, who will represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.  Regarding Warren, I enjoyed this passage in an article in Business Week, which has even more significance now that she has won: ""Congressional Republicans, Wall Street bankers, and business lobbyists will be confronted with the possibility that by driving Warren out of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB),which she helped establish, and which they agitated to keep her from heading, they created a far bigger and more threatening animal: a hugely ambitious senator with national star power, command of financial affairs, and the stature to influence President Obama (should he prevail) or play the role of maddening foil to President Romney."  Well said!  And, on Tommy Baldwin, she is a strong proponent of a single-payer health care system, and she has criticized Obamacare because she thinks that it is corporate welfare for the pharmaceuticals and inhibits Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices.  Both Warren and Baldwin will be needed voices in the U.S. Senate.

Third, I liked the attitude of conciliation, as Mitt Romney's web site played Obama's acceptance speech, and Obama pledged to meet with Mitt Romney to discuss the future of this country.  Obama also thanked those who participated in the Romney campaign.  While all this may look standard, it was meaningful to me because of things that I've heard (from watching pundits on Charlie Rose's show, for example) about Obama and Romney not liking or respecting each other, as well as constructive criticism of Obama that says that Obama will have to work harder in his second term to form relationships with a variety of people (i.e., supporters, businesspeople, legislators, etc.).  I hope that President Obama can do this, without compromising significantly on progressive principles.

And, fourth, there were things that I liked about Mitt Romney's concession speech, and Barack Obama's acceptance speech.  Mitt Romney said that Ann would have made a great First Lady, and I agree with him on that, as happy as I am that Michelle Obama will continue to be the First Lady for the next four years.  I have liked Ann Romney's participation in her husband's campaign because she added a human element to it, as she appeared on The View, hosted Good Morning America one morning, and was on late-night talk shows.  She was certainly an asset to her husband's campaign, and I could tell from what Mitt said about his wife in his concession speech that he really loves her.  Regarding Obama's speech, I thought it noteworthy that Obama mentioned the problem of climate change, for a number of leftists have complained that climate change has not been much of a theme in the 2012 election.  But Obama signaled that he is still committed to addressing it.

18 comments:

  1. Hi James
    You have a reasonable voice - and it becomes possible to dialogue - and I am grateful.

    Pro-choice is important but it doesn't mean that someone who chooses an abortion likes that option. I grew up when abortion was illegal, and the back-room butcher where abortion is done in secret is a far worse option. Better, if I must use that word, it is to have appropriate counselling and if abortion is necessary to have it performed in a controlled place.

    As to the acts that may lead to an abortion, this is a different problem set.

    Thanks for your reasonable note - and may the pro-life folks of all stripes learn to recognize the very difficult decisions being dealt with.

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  2. Hi James,

    I got a computer virus some months ago, and I've only just been able to find your site again! I've missed reading your in depth looks at the books you are reading and your various comments on things.

    The population of the USA is 312M, and there are 120M voters, and 58M voted for Romney. How is it that so many people would vote for Romney, when it is obvious he represents only those whose interest is in having more money and power shovelled their way?

    Regards,

    davey.

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  3. Hi Davey! I'm glad you got rid of that virus and found my blog. You ask a good question. I think they voted for Romney for a variety of reasons: the economy is still struggling, they believe that Obama's policies exasperate the debt and impose clamps on the economy, they think Romney would help the economy more than Obama has, etc.

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  4. Hi James,

    Why would anybody believe that what Romney would do would help with the debt and unclamp the economy?

    (And I think the word you wanted was exacerbate, not exasperate!)

    Regards,

    davey

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  5. I think both words work----exasperate and exacerbate!

    In terms of the national debt, I agree that Romney wouldn't have been much better for it, since he supported tax cuts and a larger defense budget.

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  6. Hi James,

    Well, no, exasperate isn't correct!

    Plus you imply Romney would be better, even if not much. How is it possible to think that?

    Regards,

    davey.

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  7. One of the definitions in this dictionary (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/exasperate) says "To increase the gravity or intensity of". I don't know----maybe exacerbate works a little better. But a case can still be made for exasperate, I think!

    On your second question, I think it's important to distinguish what I believe from what I am speculating that people who support Romney believe. I voted for Obama. I think that Romney would be terrible for the deficit and the national debt. But people who believe differently look at the $15 trillion national debt under Obama, and the fact that Romney's VP choice Paul Ryan proposed a number of spending cuts, and conclude that the Republicans are more serious about fiscal responsibility. Are they right? A case can be made that such is not so. But it's still what a number of Republicans believe.

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  8. Hi James,

    Ok, but in England we wouldn't use 'exasperate' where you have! We would be exasperated by such a usage!

    I'm glad you don't buy into Romney-speak (I suppose you know what 'Newspeak' is in George Orwell's 1984). But, my question is not what do those who voted for him believe, but how it is they can believe such things! Why would nearly half the US population vote for someone who represents a small percentage of rich and powerful people who are only interested in acquiring more money and power for themselves, and which will result in everybody else being poorer. What is the mindset of that half of the USA? It looks like one factor is that they believe that by 'hard work' anybody can 'make it' in the USA (the 'American Dream'). Why would anybody think that, against all the evidence they can see that they never are going to 'make it'. Plus, how is it they cannot see that what is needed is not to 'make it', but for the USA to achieve a good society for all its citizens. How is it even such as Franklin D. Roosevelt is thought of as a Communist by large numbers in the USA?

    Regards,

    davey.

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  9. There is a book that addresses how people can vote Republican against their own economic interests: Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas. Essentially, it argues that Republicans use wedge issues----religion, abortion, and guns----to win people over to them. The problem with reducing the explanation to that, though, is that there are many on the low end of the economic scale who buy into economic conservatism, not just social conservatism. Why? Maybe because it provides them with scapegoats (i.e., big government, liberals), or plays the anti-elitism card. There could be other reasons.

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  10. Thanks for these exchanges, James - really good!

    Thanks for the book suggestion
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What%27s_the_Matter_with_Kansas%3F
    That and 'Pity the Billionaire' are available at my local library.

    "Maybe because it provides them with scapegoats (i.e., big government, liberals), or plays the anti-elitism card. There could be other reasons."

    Why select those scapegoats, when the real villains are eminently available to be selected. I'm glad you see that 'there are many on the low end of the economic scale who buy into economic conservatism'.

    Whatever reasons there are, it is surely very important to identify them and do something about countering them.

    Have you come across Thomas Pogge and global justice?

    Regards,

    davey.

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  11. Hey Davey, I got your latest comment by e-mail, but it's not showing up in my blog. I could copy and paste it from my e-mail, if you wish.

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  12. I've not sent you any emails, James.

    davey.

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  13. I get an e-mail whenever someone comments on my blog. But I found your comment!

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  14. My last comment was the one beginning:

    "Thanks for these exchanges, James - really good!"

    and it is on your blog as I see it.

    Now, what's your reply ...!

    I've just been looking at the following news item:

    http://news.yahoo.com/labor-tax-rich-dont-touch-safety-nets-085703375.html

    Why would anybody believe the whopper that rich people shouldn't pay up, but the poor should. In fact, people only get rich by ripping other people off, so they shouldn't be rich in the first place. Maybe stopping them before they get rich rather than taxing their ill-gotten gains would be better. Will the rich leave the country if you tax them - good riddance, since there are plenty of people who the rich are keeping down who would bring real wealth to the nation. Like I said at the beginning of these exchanges, why do half the nation believe the rubbish the Republicans want them to believe.

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  15. I hadn't thought of that. What if corporations leave? Maybe small businesses can fill their void.

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  16. Another thought that's come to me is that the big businesses threaten to leave if they are taxed. But they also plug the political line in elections of patriotism. These are contradictory, because how can they be patriotic if they also feel they owe America nothing and wil be off if their venal interests are threatened. They are their own country, so, why give them the advantages of citizenship. They should be treated as aliens, even as being at war with America, and traitors.

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