2012 Presidential Electors

Arizona has four candidates on the ballot for President of the United States.

  • Democrat : Barack Obama and Joe Biden
  • Republican : Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan
  • Libertarian : Gary Johnson and Jim Gray
  • Green : Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala


Due to the laws in different states to get on the ballot for President have a high bar, not all states have a third party of any kind on the ballot. It is to Arizona's credit that the laws at least make it easy enough for the major Libertarian and Green third parties to get on the ballot.

Obama

Coming into executive power as the economy and banking sector was crashing cannot be fun. Given the constraints of the Republican filibuster in the Senate, of a Republican majority in the house since 2010, and the nature of modern media and politics, I think Obama has handled it as well as the power of the executive allows.

I also support government health care, I think it is absurd that in the US employers provide health care and are subsidized so much that it is cheaper to go with the three choices an employers provides than it is to buy it individually. I don't have any issues with Obamacare in trying to expand insurance coverage.

Where Obama has been dissappointing has been in the constant expanse of executive power. While he did stop torture which was an evil aspect of the Bush Administration, there has been the assisinations via drones in other countries of individuals the executive has decided to kill.

While the Libya intervention was well managed, once again it was the executive deciding to take a nation to war unilaterally. That is did not register heavily on the public scale like Iraq or Afghanistan did, this doesn't stop the reality that the executive now takes the US to war without legislative or judicial interference.

Obama has predominantly honored his promises and in terms of governance he has been way better than Bush. The Obama adminstration has been honest, competent and workmanlike. I also prefer Obama's judicial appointments to the ones that Bush managed to get through. Other than the constant concern of executive power growth I have no issue with Obama as a President.

Romney

I am not sure what to make of Romney. I follow politics enough that I was aware of his performances during the Republican primary debates. Of the Republican challengers to the primary he was the most polished and seemed far more reasonable that most of the others, excepting Huntsman.

But reasonable when surrounded by Bachman, Santorum, Gingrich et al, still leaves a candidate as pretty much right wing crazy when they go against a Democrat. These days there are few Democrats that can out crazy your bog standard run of the mill Republican.

I am also aware that Romney changes his positions to whoever he talks to and will willingly lie to make something more palatable to an immediate audience. The first debate against Obama he changed positions so rapidly and was willing to say whatever he needed to in order to win the debate that it is hard to understand what he will do when in office.

Ezra Klein might have the gist of it, where he will be an executive that will govern in some form of triangulation with what is possible, what the legislature will allow and what his base will support. Not a lot of conviction, however, politicians represent the popular will. Given that the Republican base and the Republican legislature do not represent an ideology or policies that I agree with, then that is probably enough not to vote for Romney anyway, his willingness to lie withstanding.

Johnson

Gary Johnson is a former Republican two term Governor of Mexico and the Libertarian candidate for President. New Mexico has a line item veto. Johnson used that, in addition to vetoing entire bills, to limit the growth of government. He left the state with a billion dollar surplus. He definately walks the Libertarian walk.

His candidacy for president started with the Republicans, but he was unable to get on the debates and with Ron Paul running, Paul was the leading libertarian Republican and made it difficult for Johnson to challenge. As a result he ran for the Libertarian Party candidacy.

Liberatarianism is seductive. The general principles of fiscally conservative, socially liberal, limited government and foreign non-interventionism match most people's view of government. The policies that Libertarian's would use to achive that goal tend to cut a little too far to the bone, and too quickly for most people to be confortable with.

For instance, Johnson advocates cutting Medicare and Medicaid by 43 per cent and changing them into block grants to control costs. This is the same as the Ryan plan, however, the central beauracracy of Medicare has been more efficient in keeping down costs as a single purchaser than anything else.

The block grants aren't a free market solution. The problem in health care in the US is that it is cheaper to buy health care through your employer even though there are only three choices, than it is to buy it through a health insurance company as an individual where there are thousands of choices. It is because the government subsidizes employers through the tax code if they provide health care and because employers can buy in bulk.

There is the added issue that even buying catastrophic insurance where you pay the first three thousand dollars yourself and then everything after that is one hundred percent covered is financially impossible for a family earning under bout forty thousand a year. The poor, disadvantaged and unemployed are always going to have to be covered by government and that is better done at the national level where the federal government can act as a single purchaser.

To be fair to Johnson and the Libertarians, the Democrats are closer to this solution than the Republicans or Libertarians are, but not by much. The Libertarians are also hostile to the Federal Reserve, yet experiences in Australia have shown that monetary policy in conjunction with fiscal policy can have effective outcomes.

One area I do like Libertarian policy is cutting the defence budget by half. The US military is far too big in comparison to the rest of the world and despite it being a manageable amount of GDP it can do with reduction. In civil liberties the Libertarians are ahead of the major parties and I agree with them on the drug war as well.

Stein

There is not a lot of information on Dr Jill Stein and the Green Party policies. The center piece of the Grean campaign is the Green New Deal. This policy statement is made up of four pillars. The Economic Bill of Rights, Green transition, Financial Reform and Functioning Democracy.

The Greens tend to have a very positive vew of government and many of their policies are a mix of moving more to government where they trust it and then devolving big government where they do not trust it. For instance Greens want to remove the national military and devolve it to the National Guard. However they want to collapse elections to the national government. While their policies may seem consistent with Green ideology, I am not sure how far it would get with having to deal with a Democratic and Republican legislative.

Conclusion

Obama gets my vote. I am happy with his governance this far and consider what he has done in the White House an improvement over the previous Administration who were largely a mixture of incompetent and reckless. I do not trust Romney and I think what policies the Republicans have put forward would not be good for the country. If I was to vote for those kind of policies I would rather vote for the Libertarians to do it as their views of civil liberties and militarism are closer to mine.
cam 2012-10-14 13:24:58.0