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McEntee: Why I'm voting for Obama

Published November 2, 2012 12:55 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If I had my way, Election Day would be in the past right now. It's been a brutally long slog, both nationally and here in Utah, and it would be just fine to forget about it for another few years.

At this point, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama appear to be in a dead heat, and we won't know who prevails until late Tuesday — if then (can you say Florida, hanging chads, the U.S. Supreme Court?).

For now, most people I know are just tired of it all, the ads, the charges and countercharges, and the last-minute dreariness of a process that started too soon and lasted too long.

But there are a few things on which Utahns can count. It's a sure thing that the state's political power structure will remain as is. The governor's office and our largely GOP congressional delegation won't change much, even if Jim Matheson can stop Mia Love.

Neither, sadly, will our Legislature, for decades dominated by Republican men.

It's at the presidential level that I worry. President Barack Obama has done fine work during megastorm Sandy, steadying the afflicted Eastern states with prompt disaster relief and much compassion.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, who opposed the auto-industry bailout, lately has become obsessed with Jeeps. (FYI, those U.S. jobs aren't going to China. Really.)

Their campaigns have been at loggerheads on so many issues: jobs, deficits, taxes, health care, renewable energy, oil, gas and coal, contraception, abortion, marriage, foreign trade, diplomacy, the armed forces, the lethal Libyan attack on the American consulate, Iran and Israel and the war in Afghanistan.

Obama hasn't fixed everything he inherited four years ago; consider the rising national debt, the stubbornness of the recession and continuing unemployment (although the numbers are dropping).

On the other hand, he has led an intelligent, effective campaign, and his economic policies seem to favor those of us who live modest lives.

The Affordable Care Act, the president's signature achievement, certainly needs adjustment, but it has the potential to provide health care to millions who can't afford it now.

Romney, of course, once said the poor do have medical care. If they get hurt or sick, they can go to an emergency room.

The Republican nominee has been all over the map, courting tea partyers and then wandering back to what he must consider middle ground.

But it was his contemptuous reference to the "47 percent" that sealed my conviction that he never should occupy the White House. At a private fundraiser in Florida, he dismissed nearly half the nation's citizens. It was a moment that most unveiled his patrician inclinations.

Meantime, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by both sides, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's misguided Citizens United ruling. The ├╝ber-rich, such as the Koch brothers and their counterparts on the Democratic side, have shoveled big money into campaigns.

Romney has said he would end the Federal Emergency Management Agency and hand disaster relief and money to the states (which already do the ground work at home). He wants to drill and frack. He's a big fan of coal, and one of his most fervent supporters is Bob Murray, whose Crandall Canyon mine killed nine Utah men in 2007.

Oh, and Ann Romney wants to get rid of traditional public schools and teacher unions in favor of charter schools.

At the end, I just can't get my mind around what a Romney presidency would look like. Maybe he'll revert to his businessman side and methodically set out to do what he wants done.

But it may be that he keeps to his more radical ideas: making tax cuts for the very rich permanent, cutting deductions on charitable giving and spending much more on the military.

I'm sticking with Obama. He's disappointed me, certainly, but his conviction, integrity and intelligence are what this country needs right now. And if he makes it, I hope Hillary Clinton remains secretary of State (with an eye to 2016); her work for the world's women is matched only by that of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at pegmcentee@sltrib.com, facebook.com/pegmcentee and Twitter, @pegmcentee.






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