Since I started voting for presidents in 1976, there has been at least one good reason for me to vote for somebody.
Not this year. I want a do-over in the worst way.
Barack Obama is something of a fluke in high office, a one-term senator who caught a tailwind after a great speech back in 2004, then went through a weak field in 2008 because of his speaking skills, his novelty and the fact that most Americans wanted another Clinton in the White House about as much as they wanted another Bush. Still, his victory was not assured until John McCain bowed to the nutjobs who have taken over the Republican Party and picked their pinup girl, Sarah Palin.
Obama has proven to be ineffectual. He can point to two achievements - Osama bin Laden was killed on his watch, and he got a health care bill through. Both are mixed blessings. It would have been better to capture OBL and put him in a Nuremburg/Eichmann style trial, showing his evil to the world.
As for health care, the bill doesn't do what most Americans want - provide a safety net for those unable to afford or get insurance, and simplify everything surrounding it so that people can get the treatment they need. Instead of attacking those problems, the bill is a list of what one group of people wanted to see. It had good intentions but doesn't do the job.
Presidents don't fix the economy single-handed - not even FDR - and Obama has at least tried things. The last time we had a depression, Herbert Hoover just waited for things to right themselves, and they never did.
The true problem is that the economy today benefits only a small part of the populace - those who have advanced through office politics to run their organizations. Those who actually do the work - the employees - are considered to be liabilities rather than assets.
Which brings us to Mitt Romney.
His supporters call him a successful businessman; he isn't. He's a politician. His main business expertise was taking over failing businesses, wringing the remaining money off of them, and then killing them. Yes, he ran the Salt Lake Olympics, but except for sprucing up the ski hills and building a couple of facilities, most of what was needed - arenas, a big stadium for the ceremonies and so on - were in place. Facilities have been the problem with most Olympic budgets; get those out of the way, and you can make money.
As a politician, he has shown no basic beliefs. He is a Clinton in Republican clothing, twisting with the wind. He has joined the right wing because they run the railroad he has to ride on to become president; had the right-wing suddenly decided to make gay marriage and abortion legal, he would have gone out and married Paul Ryan just to make them happy. He is a man without a compass trying to go in a winning direction.
So we have Mr. Ineffectual vs. Mr. Inconsistent. Add to that their VP nominuees - loopy Joe Biden vs. True Believer Paul Ryan - and you have four people who shouldn't be left near a lawn mower, much less The Button.
It is so easy to just want to crawl into bed and ignore the whole thing. But I care enough about living here in America that I cannot.
What bothers me is the hatred. Both sides do nothing but attack the other. This is an old complaint, as old as the Republic, but it seems to have reached new peaks. Many of the lawn signs I have seen don't mention the candidate the lawn's owner is supporting; they just say things like "DEFEAT OBAMA." Haven't seen any in the other direction, but I see enough in the posts on Twitter and Facebook to see it is the same over there.
A pox on both your houses (and their lawn signs).
All I can do is vote for the one who scares me the least. And Romney scares me the most, because of his lack of a basic belief. This is the same person who put a health care system in Massachusetts but is fighting against it to please his party sponsors. His ignorance of other countries is scary. In short, he believes in a ruling class - white, above-average wealth, businessmen (emphasis on men) only.
Obama, at least, seems to realize that the vast majority of Americans don't fall into any of those categories. We are struggling to make ends meet, working in jobs that are available rather than what we can do best, in part because the businesses who support Romney would rather make more profits by sending those jobs to China.
I don't know how sincere he is, but Obama at least makes a show of listening to those who can't do something for him other than vote. Romney doesn't.
And on that small ledge, I cast my vote for Obama on Tuesday.