my thoughts on last night’s election (v.2012)

Obama Victory Speech
Four years ago I wrote a similarly titled post after a similar result to last night’s Presidential election. In it I lamented the dismal campaign that the Republicans ran, how they tried to appeal to the liberals by propping McCain up as a Democrat in a Republican suit, and how the McCain loss to Obama was a great opportunity to rebuild the party and go back to it’s core ideals.

A lot of the pundits today are talking about “what went wrong” and listing off the innumerable things that Romney failed to do in the final weeks of the race. So what did Romney do wrong? Nothing. He ran a fantastic, solid, classy, meaningful campaign. Granted, in Tennessee we were spared unending Obama vs. Romney campaign ads because we’ve been locked in as a Republican state since the Cold War (not entirely true, but close). I hear the ads got pretty negative, but I didn’t see many of them. What I saw from the Romney campaign in the debates and on the stump showed a candidate focused on the issues and passionate about the country. 95% of the time, Mitt Romney did exactly the right things. He nailed his platform down. He chose a killer running mate. He attacked strong in debate #1, and performed solidly in the final two. Whereas in 2008 McCain was the wrong choice for the Republican party and Obama was the wrong choice for the country; in 2012 Romney was the right choice for the Republican party and, well, I still believe Obama is the wrong choice for the country.

Going into last night, I was cautiously optimistic for a Romney win. I wasn’t necessarily surprised that Obama won – I was surprised at how fast it all ended. I really thought we’d be tallying votes well into November and wouldn’t hear from the Supreme Court as to who the President would be until mid-December. Wrong and wrong.

Thinking back, there are a few things that happened, hindsight being 20/20. I really thought the American people were more angry about the state of the nation, especially the economy, than they really are. Think back two years ago. People were absolutely up in arms – they were downright mad about the lack of progress on the economy. And the American people let their voice be heard by booting the Democrats out of the House. I really wonder if that shift in power in the House diluted Romney’s chance of securing the election yesterday. Did that burning anger get tempered in the 2010 election and the flames died out? Or did the ensuing political gridlock that occurred as a result of the House stonewalling Obama for two years turn the tide back the other way and push support towards Obama again? If so, was winning the House worth it? Obama’s far left agenda was stalled for two years, but now he gets a mulligan with a second term.

So maybe the House of Representatives power shift took a little wind out of the collective conservative sail. But what should be said about the ridiculously long Republican primary season? Frankly, I wasn’t paying too close attention when the entire army of candidates were seeking the party nomination back then, but you have to wonder if that many debates and a primary season that lasted that long had poor effects on the conservative agenda.

Then there was the hurricane. Hard to know how much of a bump the storm and Obama’s opportunity to show up and play hero gave the President. He was afforded the chance to “be Presidential” in a tragic situation on a very public stage in the critical days before the election. And you have to think, everyone watching Obama during those critical three days was weighing and comparing his response to George W. Bush’s response in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The Republican party has a tough road ahead of them. They ran a really great campaign and accomplished some of that rebuilding I was hoping they would accomplish in the last four years. But the message of conservatism does not resonate with the majority of Americans. While President Obama criss-crosses the country as the cool guy rallying “Forward!” with Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z in tow, the Republicans sound like the cranky old man yelling from the porch at the punk kids to “Get off the grass!” as they warn against the looming national debt and the dangers of a welfare state.

So here’s where we are. President Obama is in office for the next four years. He’s made some big promises (again), and he’s got a verifiable mess on his hands. But this time, he knows exactly what he’s getting into. While he’ll probably continue to blame the Bush administration for the current $16 trillion in national debt that we are under, anything added to it from here on out is squarely on him. Any negative turnaround in the economy – now that we’ve hit bottom and turned the corner – is squarely on him. Any shortcomings in our national defense and our inability to protect our interests, at home and abroad, are on him. Will he be up to the task? Will the 51% of the American people that voted for Mr. Obama hold the Democratic party accountable four years from now if he fails miserably?

I read through Obama’s Jobs Plan today and noted the campaign promises he has made in regards to his plans for the economy and creating jobs. Here’s what he needs to be held accountable for:

President Obama’s Jobs Plan Campaign Promises


PROMISE: Obama will cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years

Already I have questions on this one. He says he will cut the deficit by $4 trillion, but the deficit is the amount of cash shortfall we have each year as a result of our federal spending. Currently our deficit is a little north of $1.1 trillion annually. So…… um, I don’t know, is he going to give us a surplus? Or is this a typo and he really means cut the national debt by $4 trillion? I’ll assume the latter. He says that $1 trillion of this has already been accounted for as a result of spending cuts the President signed into law last summer. I can’t comment on the spending cuts, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, so that means Mr. Obama is responsible for $3 trillion in national debt reduction by the end of 2023. If these reductions happen linearly, Obama is responsible for cutting the debt by $300 billion each year for the next four years, amounting to $1.2 trillion in reductions by the end of 2016. So for the President to make good on this promise, the national debt needs to be equal to or less than $14.8 trillion by the end of his term.

PROMISE: Half of the money that has been / will be saved by pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan will be used to reduce the national debt; the other half will go towards government projects such as rebuilding roads, bridges, runways, and schools

That last part in liberal-speak is called “creating jobs”, AKA spending money.  I can’t speak to the cost of the wars – I don’t know how much that was costing us monthly, but I intend to look into it.

PROMISE: $2.50 in spending will be cut for every $1 in additional revenue received from taxes on the wealthiest families as well as the closing of corporate tax loopholes

So taxes go up on the millionaires and businesses, but at the same time cuts will be made to the annual budget amounting to 250% of whatever additional tax revenue is brought in. Ambitious goal. Governments don’t like cutting spending.


PROMISE: Obama will eliminat special loopholes and tax breaks that benefit big business and the wealthiest families

Already mentioned above. I don’t even pretend to understand the tax code, but I’m interested to see how all these cuts and loopholes play out.

PROMISE: Obama will reform the corporate tax code to bring down tax rates

Bringing down tax rates is always a good thing for businesses.

PROMISE: The President will cut tax rates on domestic manufacturers by nearly 25%

PROMISE: End tax deductions for companies shipping jobs overseas and use the savings to create a new tax credit for companies that bring jobs home

PROMISE: Take on China’s unfair trade practices through a new trade enforcement unit that will level the playing field

This I can’t wait to see.

PROMISE: Create a new network of 15 to 20 manufacturing innovation institutes to bring together business and research universities to ensure that the next generation of products are invented and manufactured here

This sounds like a bunch of bureaucratic time wasting to me. America has never been short on innovative products… Apple? Google? Microsoft? IBM? Oracle? Shall I go on?

PROMISE: Will cut taxes for small businesses that hire new workers or increase wages

Good, this will help our company.

PROMISE: Will extend 100% of expensing, letting businesses immediately write off the costs of new plants and equipment

PROMISE: Will extend the middle-class income tax cuts

So just to be clear, middle-class according to the President’s definition is any family making less than $200,000 per year, right?

PROMISE: Will ensure millionaires are not paying lower tax rates than many middle-class families


PROMISE: The President will expand the health reform tax credit to cover 50% of small businesses’ health care costs in 2014 and provide access to group rates, so small businesses won’t continue to pay up to 18% more than large firms for health insurance

Getting private health insurance as an employee working for a small business is expensive, and rates are not competitive for small businesses looking to do this on behalf of their employees. This sounds nice on paper. What strings are attached? How much will it cost?


PROMISE: The economy will create 12 million new jobs in the next four years and Obama vows to exceed this

This is an interesting statement. He has set the bar high here, implying that the economy as it stands today, barring anything crazy like a war or a default on the national debt, will naturally create for itself 12 million new jobs over the course of the next four years. The President says he wants to exceed this, but a finite number is not given by how much, aside from the additional promises listed below.

PROMISE: To create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2016

So that means 13 million new jobs in the next four years. Regarding manufacturing, I believe he’s implying that these jobs will be “created” as the result of new policies.

PROMISE: To create 600,000 new jobs in the natural gas sector

This brings us to 13.6 million jobs. Again, I believe we’re looking at policy changes here, specifically to expand domestic energy production.

PROMISE: Will recruit 100,000 math and science teachers

This reads like spending to me. Will the President fund the salaries of these teachers? 100,000 math and science teachers hired means 2,000 new teachers hired in each state. On average there are 62.8 counties in each state, so each county in the United States should (on average) see an increase of 31 new math and science teachers in the next four years.

Final total, the President will be responsible for the creation of 13,700,000 new jobs over the next four years; according to his plan he is directly tasked with creating 1.7 million new jobs as the economy is on track to create 12 million on its current course.


PROMISE: The President will train 2 million workers for jobs at community colleges

I don’t really understand this one and why it is the government’s responsibility to do job training.

PROMISE: Obama vows to cut college tuition growth in half

Yeah right.


PROMISE: The President plans to cut our net oil imports in half by 2020

Here’s the real question. Will the price per gallon of gas go down as well? He claims he’s already cut imports to a 20 year low, but prices have steadily risen since he took office. We need to cut our reliance on foreign oil, but a natural result of that should be cheaper gasoline. Right? Right??

PROMISE: To open up millions of acres for energy exploration and development, including undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic

This would be a change of course if he does so. He’s been nothing but clamped down on the potential for additional oil drilling in the Gulf and Arctic so far.

PROMISE: Will invest in domestic energy sources including wind, solar, clean coal, nuclear, and biofuels

PROMISE: Will double fuel economy of cars and light trucks to 54.5 mpg by 2025

PROMISE: Will position America to be the world’s leading manufacturer in high-tech batteries

PROMISE: Will extend tax credits that support clean energy manufacturing

PROMISE: Will ensure that 80% of the nation’s electricity comes from clean sources by 2035

Too bad he’ll be conveniently out of office by then… by 19 YEARS!!


PROMISE: Will oppose efforts to gamble Social Security on the stock market

I read this as a veiled statement that he will take no part in privatizing Social Security. There are definite merits to privatizing aspects of Social Security, especially for young folks like myself, but that’s a different fight for a different day. I’ll probably be too old to make that fight for my benefit by the time we get to that day.

PROMISE: Will fight for balanced deficit reduction, and extend the life of Medicare and Social Security without ending guaranteed benefits or slashing benefits

PROMISE: Stop proposals to turn Medicare into a voucher system

I think this was just thrown in there for good measure as an anti-Romney tag.

PROMISE: Save 60,000 lives and $10 billion for Medicare’s future by partnering with hospitals to reduce inpatient infections and needless re-admissions

I’m interested to see how we will measure 60,000 lives being saved, since the only way to know whether or not said life had been not-saved is if said life does in fact become dead. Perhaps we will traverse the country searching for old people until we find 60,000 of them that just wish they were dead. In regards to the second part of that promise, saving $10 billion, are we meaning we’re padding the Medicare savings account with an additional $10 billion?

So there we go. Anyone actually read this? I’ve always wanted to document campaign promises and go back and see how they stack up. I intend to do so. Truthfully, I hope Mr. Obama is able to accomplish a good handful of this stuff. There is much of it that would be a good step forward. There are also things I don’t fully agree with, but that is what it is. Admittedly, there is much of it that I am far to uneducated to even understand fully.

Whatever the case, I wish the President the best in his efforts to turn the ship around and right our economy. He has a tremendous job on his hands.

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  • Comments (1)
    • Meg
    • November 10th, 2012

    What a jump from Christmas in 2011 to the Presidential election of 2012! Glad you got a post in this year.