In perspective: voting in election 2012

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With the election just a week away, five students share their view on voting for the top three contenders in the 2012 race for the Presidency of the United States.

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Matt deGrood makes the case for re-electing President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama –White House Photo

 

Comparing candidates, applying the principles of Catholic teaching, utilizing prudence and good conscience – this does not lead to an inevitable conclusion. In short, neither candidate’s platform is Catholic in its entirety. Thus the conversation, I firmly believe, must hinge on which candidate has the best overall vision for America.

With this in mind, I propose that Barack Obama possesses the greater vision for the future of America. While he is not without faults, all indicators suggest he is the candidate most interested in the well-being of its entire populace – a trait of prime importance: “Social and economic policies should foster the creation of jobs for all who can work with decent working conditions and just wages.” This passage from a letter by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is only one of many supportive of a liberal view of government.

As a candidate in 2008 Obama’s top priorities were to withdraw American troops from Iraq, to increase energy independence, to decrease the influence of lobbyists and to promote universal health care. As president, he withdrew the last convoy of American troops from Iraq on an early Sunday morning in December of last year, he nearly doubled the fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks (a tangible benefit for every owner of an automobile), he barred recent lobbyists from his administration and banned them from advisory boards, and he secured passage of a historic healthcare reform law, the most important social legislation since Medicare.

Perhaps it was the recently deceased George McGovern who summarized liberal policy best: “During my years in Congress and for the four decades since, I’ve been labeled a ‘bleeding-heart liberal.’ It was not meant as a compliment, but I gladly accept it. My heart does sometimes bleed for those who are hurting in my own country and abroad. A bleeding-heart liberal, by definition, is someone who shows enormous sympathy towards others, especially the least fortunate. Well, we ought to be stirred, even to tears, by society’s ills. And sympathy is the first step toward action. Empathy is born out of the old biblical injunction ‘Love the neighbor as thyself.’”

Next Tuesday, I’ll cast my vote for the candidate whose actions demonstrate his interest in the well-being of the entire electorate, and not the candidate who believes 47 percent of the population consists of dependent victims looking to the government for handouts. I invite all of you to do the same.

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Nick Harmon makes the case in favor of electing Republican Mitt Romney President.

 

Governor Mitt Romney –Campaign Pictures

Mitt Romney must be elected president this November or this country will be permanently damaged by the implementation of Obamacare. It adds trillions of dollars to our debt, employs legions of new bureaucrats, adds thousands of new regulations, makes it more expensive for businesses to hire workers and lowers the quality of health care. Our national debt is already skyrocketing due to our current entitlements, and it is already difficult for businesses to hire workers. Obamacare makes our problems even worse.

Obamacare was passed under the guise of compassion. I ask, is it compassionate to raise taxes on the middle class? Is it compassionate to pass overwhelming debt on to future generations? Is it compassionate for HHS to force Catholic schools and charities, hospitals and orphanages, to provide contraceptives for their employees or be forced to shut down? If Mitt Romney is not elected, will UD be allowed to continue as a Catholic university?

Even before Obamacare’s full implementation, some of its unjust mandates are attacking our liberty. The bill is 2,700 pages long. What other unjust mandates will be imposed on us in the future?

Obamacare was sold with assurances that it would pay for itself. I ask, has Medicare paid for itself? Has Social Security? These entitlements were passed under the same assumption, but now it is clear that they have been hopelessly mismanaged and are being paid for with trillions of dollars of borrowed money. Is there any reason to believe Obamacare won’t be the same?

In addition to repealing Obamacare, Mitt Romney has pledged to reform our existing entitlement programs, and that pledge was reinforced when he chose Paul Ryan as his vice president. For Medicare, Romney proposes to give young people the option of receiving a government premium to buy a private plan. That way, public insurance will have to compete with private. For Social Security, Romney proposes gradually increasing the retirement age and slowing the growth rate of benefits for those with higher incomes. Among other proposals, these practical changes would preserve entitlements without cutting benefits.

If Obamacare is implemented there is no turning back. Like with previous entitlements, once people become dependent on Obamacare they will never support its repeal. This is extremely dangerous, because long-term entitlement programs tend to expand beyond their original designs and cost even more.

Vote for Mitt Romney. He is the only candidate who has a chance of stopping this monstrosity.

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Killian Beeler makes the case for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

 

Governor Gary Johnson –Photo courtesy of Gary Johnson 2012

“Every election season America is presented with a series of false choices. Should we launch preemptive wars against this country or that one? Should every American neighborhood live under this social policy or that one? Should a third of our income be taken away by an income tax or national sales tax? The shared assumptions behind these questions, on the other hand, are never cast in doubt, or even raised … Anyone who suggests that the questions as framed exclude attractive, humane alternatives, is ipso facto excluded from mainstream discussion.

And so every four years we are treated to the same tired, predictable routine: two candidates with few disagreements on fundamentals pretend that they represent dramatically different philosophies of government.” – Ron Paul, The Revolution: A Manifesto

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, is willing to ask questions outside of these “false choices.” He is willing to question whether we should have military personnel in over 135 nations, keep up 700 military bases in 40 countries, and spend, all totaled, over $1 trillion on defense; whether taxes on income for welfare are actually charity, or just plain stealing to alleviate personal responsibility for care of one’s fellow man; whether it is right for the United States to torture and deny due process to terrorist suspects (both U.S. citizens and noncitizens); and whether government should just get out of healthcare in general. Obama and Romney are unwilling to ask these questions. They agree that America must police the world; they agree that there should be an income tax and massive welfare programs; they agree on the Patriot Act and NDAA; and they agree that government has the answer for healthcare.

Johnson represents an option outside a continuous pattern of false choices. He transcends the two-party system and has shown practical application of his ideas. As a two-term governor of New Mexico, he vetoed 750 bills while still cutting taxes 14 times and never once raising them. When he left office, New Mexico was one of only four states in the country with a balanced budget.

We often joke about the Soviet Union’s election process (one candidate, 100% of the vote), but how different is our system? We pay $37 million of taxpayer dollars to fund the two main parties’ conventions, only to be forced every four years to vote for one of two candidates that nobody likes. It is time to vote out of this series of false choices. It is time to vote third party.

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Renee Davis makes the liberal case against voting for Barack Obama.

 

Back in 2008, the American people were tired. Tired of war. Tired of Bush. Tired of bad news. Exhausted, they turned to a message of hope and change.

Four years later, in a referendum on his presidency, President Barack Obama is having difficulty rallying the support of even the most liberal members of his base. Why? Is there any reason for the liberal voter not to support Obama this November?

Let’s look at his record.

First of all, Obama is an economic moderate. Instead of passing a “serious” stimulus package, the economic stabilization bill of 2009 failed to cover even one third of the spending gap in the lagging economy. Today the economy sits at nearly 8 percent unemployment with middling, at times declining, economic growth. The legislation was too widely insufficient for Keynesian economics to be the sole culprit for the bill’s subsequent failure, and Obama’s silence regarding any sort of follow-up has left progressives hanging.

Healthcare reform also failed to materialize a historic liberal dream. Since the 1920s, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has pushed for a single-payer or “public option” healthcare system. Instead, Obama hid behind a bipartisan compromise that pushes individual buyers back into the arms of the private healthcare system (i.e. insurance companies). The most critical issues of equitability and uniformity, which the market has repeatedly failed to address, remain unresolved.

Speaking of social policies, Obama’s response to Republican promises of Social Security reform has been soft at best. He has also failed to take significant steps toward real education reform, environmental protection initiatives, or policies advancing the dialogue of civil rights and gay marriage. Under Obama, deportation of illegal immigrants increased by over 50 percent, and Guantanamo Bay is still in business. For a candidate who emphasized the value of human rights and social responsibility, this does not look like progress in the right direction.

Foreign policy does even less for Obama’s liberal credentials. The bombings of Libya by executive order, increased troop presence in Africa, drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, and a terrorist “kill list” seem less of a humanitarian response to the challenges we face as a nation than a continuation of Republican doctrines. Pulling troops out of Iraq is not enough to justify liberal credibility.

For those who view our nation as a place where just, equitable and expansive policies are propagated by world leaders – does this look like your ideal candidate?

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Daniel Orazio makes the conservative case against voting for Mitt Romney.

 

The Republican Party is a party of big government.

The first GOP president after Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, declined to challenge the New Deal, conceding a giant permanent victory to the Left. The GOP successor to Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, not only legitimized but expanded the Great Society. Among other things, he gave us wage and price controls and affirmative action, and proposed a federally guaranteed minimum income as well as near-universal health care. Ronald Reagan, for all the good he did on taxes and foreign policy, could not win any significant reduction in the size of the federal government. Americans at times received mixed signals from Reagan, who, among other un-conservative acts, blackmailed the states (by threatening to withhold federal highway dollars) into raising their drinking ages to 21. The most recent Republican president, George W. Bush, fulfilled his campaign promises of a federal prescription drug benefit and the No Child Left Behind Act, the latter of which was sponsored in the Senate by Ted Kennedy.

The major reason why UD students say conservatives must support Romney is abortion. What they may not know is that five of six Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court in 1972 voted in the majority in Roe v. Wade. In 1992, Reagan-appointee Anthony Kennedy changed his mind after conference and provided the deciding vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey to uphold Roe. Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are exemplary conservative justices and certainly oppose Roe (one worries now about Chief “Judas” John Roberts), but the Republican Party’s overall record on Court appointments is depressing.

It is in the context of his party’s dismal record that one should begin to evaluate Mitt Romney. But even on his own terms, Romney is troubling for conservatives. He says he wants to balance the budget, but is vague about what spending he will cut and proudly favors continuing our budget-busting, possibly mad policy of constant foreign interventionism. He says he will fight to overturn Obamacare, but one struggles to believe the man behind Romneycare. America needs transformational leadership to solve its entitlement problems, but this “Massachusetts moderate” is no Paul Ryan, let alone Thomas Sowell.

UD conservatives who, despite all this, plan to vote for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party may hope for the best, but they should expect the worst.

 

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