The Difference Between Obama and Romney: Outcomes

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Ben Cohen
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In a thoughtful piece about the choice Americans have this election, Gary Younge concludes that despite Obama's many flaws, a vote for Romney leads to quantifiably worse outcomes:

Insisting it makes no difference who wins is not tenable. Last year Chelsea Shinneman of Roanoke, Virginia, had a baby, Harrison, who was born with a congenital heart defect. Were it not for the new healthcare act, Harrison would have been destined for a lifetime of sky‑high insurance premiums.

In Fort Collins, Colorado, the head of the Homelessness Prevention Initiative, Sue Beck-Ferkiss, could point to 36 families in the area who had been helped by stimulus money. Had there been any Latinos at the table in Akron, they might have added to Obama's achievements his executive order to halt the deportation of young undocumented immigrants. Had there been soldiers, they might have talked about the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq.

Younge is no shill for Obama, but he understands that whoever is President is hamstrung by an increasingly corrupt political system that makes significant change extremely difficult. Obama may want to bring about change in America, but political reality dictates that he can't. He must play the game and make adjustments where he can, or be replaced by a Republican who will not only play the game, but further rig it.

We keep hearing from the Glenn Greenwald/Jane Hamsher Left that a vote for Obama is an endorsement of all his policies - a position that simply defies logic. There will never be a candidate whose policies you agree with 100%, so unless Greenwald himself throws his hat into the political arena (and he'd last about 4 seconds if he did), voters have to face reality and go for the candidate whose policies net the better results. As Younge reminds us:

The case against the Republicans is not difficult to make. Their numbers don't add up, their arguments don't make sense, and their record in office contradicts virtually every one of their professed principles. During the eight years prior to Obama's presidency they ballooned the deficit, crashed the economy, increased the power of the state over the individual, and sent America's standing plummeting throughout the world. They built that.

In a corrupt political system you vote for the less corrupt candidate and you vote for the candidate who actually understands that the system is corrupt. Mitt Romney believes in the system - after all, it favors rich white men like himself - so he'll do his best to maintain it. There isn't a huge amount President Obama can do to change the system, but you get the feeling that if there was a window to do something, he'd at least try (and judging by the banking crisis, there's evidence he already did).

Sure, the choice isn't great, but it shouldn't be hard either because of how serious the outcomes are.

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