Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Five Reasons Why I’m Voting for Romney

My vote won’t matter at all in California, but I sent in my ballot last week anyway, voting for Mitt Romney. Am I super excited about everything Romney stands for? Not at all. I’m uncomfortable with his Mormon faith, regret that he supports drone strikes & the use of torture, and absolutely wince when he says things like “America is the hope of the earth.”

I’m also not one of those people who thinks Obama is an unqualified disaster of a president. I like a lot of things about him and had high hopes for his presidency four years ago. I think he’s a good guy, a family man, and not the villain the Ann Coulter Fox News crazies would label him.

But for this moment in America, I think it’s wise to switch course and give Romney a chance. Here are a few of my personal reasons for voting for him:

Abortion. I’m pro-life and this will always be a deal-breaker for me. Fighting for the “reproductive right” to destroy a living being will always be sickening to me, and I’ve been particularly sickened this year with the Democrats’ tactic of equating the pro-life cause with some sort of “war against women.” That’s just silly and makes disturbing light of the real issue: the war on unborn children, which takes more than 1.2 million lives a year in America.

The Economy: I have real concerns about the U.S. economy, both in its current state and its long-term viability. And so much else depends on a solid, growing economy: national security, the effectiveness of our foreign policy, our education system, the plight of the poor, and so on. The federal government is addicted to accumulating debt and spending money that isn’t there. On the track of spending and debt-accumulation we’re currently on, the world my children will inherit will look something like the landscape of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Dire. I have hopes that Mitt Romney’s business-savvy and focus on private-sector growth and job creation will prove much more effective for America’s economic recovery and long-term fiscal stability.

Religious Liberty. The HHS mandate, which went into effect this year as part of Obamacare and which forces religious institutions to cover contraceptives (including abortifacients such as the morning-after pill and the week-after pill), represents a disturbing narrowing of the government’s understanding of religious liberty. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed (including by my own employer, Biola University) by religious organizations of various stripe, including both Protestant and Catholic Christian schools, nonprofits and companies fighting to retain their religious classification/exemption. What’s frightening is the extent to which Obama’s administration has narrowed the understanding of who qualifies for a religious exemption: apparently a Bible-focused Christian university like Biola and a Bible-publisher like Tyndale House are not “religious” enough to qualify. Only churches are. In what universe does that make sense? I agree with Alan Jacobs when he notes that the government’s position “suggests a move to confine freedom of religion to freedom of worship… to confine religion to a disembodied, Gnostic realm of private worship and thought. Even those who support abortion and contraception should not want to see the government defining religion maximally as private thought and belief. The social costs of that restriction will, in the long run and perhaps even in the short, be catastrophic, because churches and other religious institutions have long been attentive to ‘the least of these’ — the ones that government habitually neglects or even tramples underfoot.”

“The Least of These”: As a Christian, I want to vote for the president who I believe will be better for the most vulnerable and suffering in the world, the “least of these” (Matt. 25:40). I believe that person is Mitt Romney, because of the abortion issue but also because I believe he will get the American economy back on track and will help create a more jobs-friendly business environment, where real opportunity is created and government dependency (which only perpetuates cycles of suffering) is reduced. I also have hopes that Romney will empower religious institutions and faith-based charities where Obama alienated them, allowing them to do the humanitarian work they already do and want to continue doing. Meanwhile, on Obama’s watch, the welfare state has grown substantially and spending on means-tested welfare programs has increased by a third in just four years, to an all time high cost of $1 trillion a year. Obama’s own budget plans estimate this cost to rise to $1.56 trillion by 2022. Where is this money going to come from? Also, food stamps have surged, with 71 percent more spending on the program in 2011 than in 2008. This explosion in federal spending on welfare is simply not a sustainable solution. Furthermore, government handouts do not address the systemic issues and underlying economic woes that are the true scourge of the poor and low-income in America. Building a stronger economy and creating jobs is a much better long-term solution to helping bring people out of poverty.

Bipartisan Efficacy: I thought one of Romney’s most encouraging lines in the third debate came in his closing moments, when he pledged to work across the aisle and help facilitate cooperation in a divided, broken Washington. Of course Obama made this a big talking point in his 2008 election as well, and look how that turned out. But Romney actually has a history of doing it, having successfully governed Massachusetts as a Republican when the state legislature was 87% Democrat. People often criticize Romney for being vague or flip-flopping, which is a valid critique; but when it comes to Washington and fostering a cooperative, productive government, inflexibility (on both sides) is disastrous. We need a leader who can build consensus in a climate where political divisiveness and belligerence lead to fiscal negligence (see the 2011 debt ceiling crisis). Maybe its naive, but I sense that Romney will be a better politician and dealmaker as president than Obama was, and I think we need someone new to perhaps break the stalemate.

Will Romney win? Probably not. But that’s democracy, and that’s OK. My hopes are not pinned on either candidate, nor on any political party or government. My hopes are fixed on Jesus Christ, who reigns supreme over all things, now and forevermore, regardless of who is in the White House.

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No More Mr. Nice Guy

What happened to Barack “I’m a new sort of politician” Obama? This is the guy who endeared himself to many, many people (even me) when he proclaimed that he would run a new, higher-brow campaign that eschewed attack ads and favored productive dialogue over the traditional mudslinging tactics. I was so excited to see a politician committed to being so nonpolitical. Alas, it appears that Obama has given up on that dream.

The nail in the coffin of that idealistic spirit came with the VP announcement of Joe “venom-spewing” Biden, an old-school Washington politician who runs his mouth off in negative ways better than just about anyone. If Obama had wanted to prioritize his “new politics” positivity, he would have picked a Washington outsider like governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. Instead, and clearly out of fears that the election is looking closer than he originally intended, Obama picked a blue-blood politico with the gall to fight back against McCain. It’s probably a shrewd move, but it’s one that really disappoints me. Obama is clearly resigned to waging a war, forsaking his (admittedly naïve) ideals of waging a “new sort of campaign.”

I suspect that these last few months of increased attack ads and pushback by Obama have disheartened more than a few Obama supporters. In surveying the message boards and blogs on MyBarackObama.com today, I found several indications that young voters especially (those, like me, who most responded to Obama’s anti-political persona) have indeed become a little disillusioned.

Take this confessional blog post (copied from MyBarackObama.com) from Alex Leo entitled “Why I am suspending my campaigning efforts”:

When I first became attracted to Obama as a leader, and as a candidate for president, it was March of 2007. The more I had learned about the political process and the more I understood about the framer’s intentions behind the Constitution, the more disillusioned I became with politics, the people in power, and the state our nation had come to. Disillusionment turned to Cynicism, and Cynicism to a total lack of Hope.

It comes as little surprise to Obama supporters why Obama’s message attracted me. Obama spoke to the corruption that was in Washington, spoke to the areas where the system had been crippled, and promised a campaign devoid of “that kind of politics.”

I believe that Barack Obama has reverted into the same level of politics that he so promised he would stand above. There were signs of it in the race against Clinton; the clever campaign slogans, the trite phrases designed for soundbytes. At the same time, he still held largely to his convictions and ran one of the cleanest campaigns anyone could have.

Not so, now. From political shifts to the center that underscore the campaigns expediency, to “response-to-attack” adds that utilize the same negative add tactics that McCain is using, Obama seems to have gone astray from the “different kind of politics” that he promised. For the time being, Obama stands as any other Democratic politician.

So, because much of my initial reasoning for supporting Obama has been undermined, I am suspending my efforts to actively campaign for him. I am still going to vote for him; I agree with many of his policies, and have no respect for McCain at this point. If the campaign cleans up, I may choose to resume my active campaigning, but for the time being, I’m going to hold Obama to the standard that he once demanded of Washington.

I agree completely with Alex. It would have been interesting to see if Obama could have won or lost the election had he stayed the revolutionary course of a “different kind of politics”; but now that he’s just another politician doing the tiresome mudslinging thing, we’ll never know. Thanks for trying to set a new example, Barack. A future leader will have to carry on where you left off.

Desperately Seeking Evangelicals

It seems that everyday there is a new story in the news about how evangelical Christians are “up for grabs” in this year’s election. On Sunday there was this article on CNN.com about Shane Claiborne’s “Jesus For President” tour, in which the dreadlocked neo-monk said, “With the respectability and the power of the church comes the temptation to prostitute our identity for every political agenda.” Well said.

Then on Tuesday there was a story about Obama “reaching out” to evangelicals–a story that featured quotes from who else but Emergent guru Brian McLaren, who claimed that “there’s a very, very sizable percentage — I think between a third and half — of evangelicals, especially younger [evangelicals], who are very open to somebody with a new vision.” I wonder who he means?

Meanwhile McCain continues to all but ignore evangelicals, adding fuel to the “up for grabs” fire that is so eagerly announced by the mainstream press. He did muster a meeting with Billy Graham last weekend, which seemed more symbolic than anything. I love Billy Graham very much, but is the 89-year-old really the best person McCain should tap to get some evangelical momentum on his side? While McCain continues to cater to the over-80 set, Obama is busy inspiring the formation of young Christian political action committees, like the Matthew 25 Network.

But is anyone else a little weary of all this “seeking the evangelical vote” spiritual gerrymandering? Obama plays his evangelical card with characteristic finesse, but ten years ago would he be caught dead with the e-word label? I doubt it. And McCain… well at least he isn’t trying to pretend he is or ever was a card-carrying evangelical. He straight-up flaunts his ambivalence to the Dobsons of the world… and that earns him more than a little respect in my book. He’s not trying to be someone he isn’t.

I’m not saying Obama is lying through his teeth; I honestly do think he is sincere in his Christian faith. But in the terms with which evangelicals historically define themselves, Obama clearly does not fit the bill. And that is fine. Christians: it IS okay to vote for someone who is not exactly like you! We should be voting on the issues and qualifications of the candidates, not their church-going practices.

I guess I’m just fatigued by the whole idea that I—as an evangelical—am part of some monolithic group that will sway the election. Am I not free to vote for the person I think will be a better president for us? Do I really have to be “courted” and convinced by the candidates that my Christian point of view will be reinforced by them as president? That’s what happened when George W. Bush ran for president in 2000. And did everything become Christian and wonderful in America? Far from it.