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Better the devil you know

James Robins | View Archive November 7, 2012, 9:26 am
Two juxtaposed images of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on the 4th of November, 2012 as they campaign in a last-minute rush to persuade undecided voters.

Gettty Images © Enlarge photo

In a hesitant endorsement of Barack Obama, The Economist magazine wrote that “for all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.”

I feel an enormous amount of pity for the average American voter, forced both by guilt and by popular opinion to vote for two faces of the same coin, and I wouldn’t begrudge the enormous section of the American population that refuses to vote year-on-year.

Stepping up to the booth, they face a choice between a former lawyer whose disregard for due process puts the security of the Western world at risk, or a morally-dubious former executive beholden to the fringe elements of the Republican party.

The Economist is right for pinpointing Romney’s lack of consistency and policies devoid of detail.

He’s an enigma on so many issues; the only real policy that came to light was during the debates: closing tax avoidance loopholes. But he wouldn’t specify which ones, or how. Why? Because he is a chronic tax-avoider himself.

Romney, in recent months on the campaign trail, has failed to move to the centre thanks to some woeful gaffes on abortion from Republican candidates across the board: Todd Akin (at least three times), Richard Mourdock, and Joe Walsh.

These stunning examples of belligerence have failed to overturn the notion that Republicans, moderate or not, wish to send women back to the Dark Ages.

The magazine also fails to point out that Romney is a figurehead and example for the kind of morally-reputable business practice that led the global economy in to its present chaos: outsourcing, blackmail, and gambling with other people’s money.

Simply because Romney is a rich businessman – the very platform he is running on – does not make him a good businessman.

On the other hand, for a former civil rights and constitutional lawyer, Barack Obama has performed impeccably in ensuring that vast inequalities within US society have increased, and anti-American sentiment spreads throughout the Middle East through terror campaigns.

While it is fantastic that Wall Street and the American auto industry have rebounded - big business profits have recently exceeded pre-crash levels –that relative curve has not been represented amongst a growth in wealth for the majority of the American population.

There is no doubt that the middle class in the U.S. – a middle class that fuelled vast periods of stability and growth – has been crushed within the last few decades under the pressures of outsourcing and predatory lending, yet neither Obama nor Romney are adept at tackling this critical issues head-on.

In many ways, Obama’s handling of the Benghazi embassy attack is endemic and representative of a belligerent attitude towards national sovereignty and anti-US sentiment overseas.

Obama’ White House conjured up an excuse from thin air, despite evidence and reports to the contrary, to explain systemic security failings at the Benghazi embassy. It has since emerged that there was no protest, but a pre-planned assault with military weapons.

He lied to the American people, and to the world, and there is no excuse for that.

I would agree with, and almost pity, the average American vote who decides to stay home today.

They’re faced with an impossible choice, but when push comes to shove, Barack Obama really is the lesser evil.

Better the devil you know, right?

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45 Comments

  1. Gill08:31am Monday 12th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Void, so a country, say the USA, that has fraudulent elections, prints fraudulent money, has fraudulent, damaging foreign policy, can assassinate it's own citizens without a trail, can assassinate citizens anywhere in the world without proof or trial, and wages relentless wars, backed by propaganda 24/7.....you call THAT a democracy?

    Reply
  2. Jenny06:35pm Sunday 11th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Void... so care to proffer an opinion on how this great recession and financial crisis began. ??? Any chance at all we are talking about the vast amount of money the US had to pay to pull a number of their industrial giants off the edge. ... due to Goldman Sachs, et al, creating fancy financial instruments which they then sold off to multiple countries around the world, including Australian Local councils, ripping them off millions and millions. Any idea how Greece got to be the most indebted nation in the world. Who advised them on their entry into the Euro, some 10 years ago. Wouldnt be Goldman Sachs by any chance. Obama had NOTHING to do with any of that... he just happened to get really unlucky and be the inheritor of some unbelievably dodgy financial companys who made disgusting illegal profits while the US Financial regulators sat on their hands, bound by Republican politics in the previous Bush Administration.

    Reply
  3. Void10:40pm Saturday 10th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    @OverL: regarding American debt and who is running it up: No worries for your claims and theory that stats show Bush increased US debt by $4.2tril during the 8 years of his time in office while Obama beat it easily with $4.3tril in just 3 (yes, just three) first years of his? The only surprise is that Americans voted THAT incompetent back in right now. -- The explanation is probably the very fundamentalist views of Romney (and Republicans in general) on many other issues. -- In all matters related to economics (at least) it would be hard NOT to best Oh-Bummer... by a wide margin too.

    Reply
  4. Overlord08:16pm Saturday 10th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    The American People are an enigma to me. I still cannot fathom how they could have voted in George W. Bush for a second term after the damage he did to the American Economy and Middle East Relationships during his first term. He blatantly lied to the American People and the rest of the world to trying to justify the American invasion of a sovereign country, (Iraq), and ran up huge debt so that his buddies could benefit from that and other invasions and yet the American People are so thick that they put him back in the white house for another 4 years. Maybe they are starting to wake up to the fact that war is not actually good for the American Economy after all and they would have had plenty more of that if they had voted Romney in as President. The American People are suffering economically now, will do so for a number of years to come and rightly so as they need to learn that putting war mongers into power will ultimately cost them a lot in the long run.

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  5. Void06:29pm Saturday 10th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    No Gill. What you describe is Federacy (or Confederacy depending on the details of how tightly coupled those states are) it is quite different to the republic/democracy deinitions. As for you claim that NZ is a democracy because we have one central govt... have you stopped to think before you hit that "Post" button? By your definition, the viliest dictatorship is a democracy as long as it has one central govt... which it does.

    Reply
  6. Gill11:22am Saturday 10th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    New Zealand is democracy because we have one central government. The US is a republic because each state has it's own government that governs that state, sets it's laws, taxes ect. It in turn, that state must comply with Federal Law, which are blanket laws covering every state. A republic, in theory, should be able to stop the federal Government getting too big foe it's boots.

    Reply
  7. Void07:27am Saturday 10th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    @Hebe: What you are saying is that Romney lost bacause he told the truth about those 47%

    Reply
  8. Void07:24am Saturday 10th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    @Gill: You are confused. Yes, there is a huge difference, Namely: "a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch". So yes, USA is or course a republic...but so are heaps and heaps of very different states and countries. If you want to be more more specific then, contrary to your claim, it IS a democracy. Sometimes rather vaguely called "republican democracy" but still a democracy.

    Reply
  9. Gill10:37am Friday 09th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Hebe, America is NOT a democracy....it is a republic. There is a huge difference.

    Reply
  10. Irwin terrysan10:14am Friday 09th November 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    @mrsax..... well for one.... john key isn't a liar..... he just cant remember

    Reply

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