Saturday, February 2, 2008

An email...

I got a great email from my brother-in-law where he asked some thought provoking questions. I responded and asked if I could post his email and my response because I thought it was interesting. Maybe you will too...

Family,
Don't let the subject line scare you, I'm not going to get nasty or personal in this email. And by no means am I trying to "convert" anyone here.
But in watching both the Republican & Democratic debates this week, some fundamental questions bubbled up within me (scary imagery, I know!). Since we've had some relative "success" at debating politics over email, and since discussing the big issues with all of you has helped me narrow in on who I'm going to eventually vote for, I thought I would put my thoughts down to get your feedback.
So here it goes....Dems first:
1) HEALTH CARE: Both remaining Dem candidates were pushing health care for all. The phrase "mandatory" came up a lot. And so did "subsidies". But I think the most important point both Obama and Clinton were trying to drive home is that everyone in this country should have affordable health care. I couldn't agree more. What I don't understand are the following 3 points:
a) if the Dems are so "for" helping everyone when it comes to health care, how can they also stand for pro-choice? Who's standing up for
the health care rights, let alone the right to life of the unborn? Are the Dems just "for" helping those who are born?
b) How do you "force" everyone in a "democratic" society to sign up for health care? What if some people don't want it?
c) Subsidies is just another word for taxes. How can they claim they will help the working class if they increase taxes or decrease tax cuts
to the companies that are now providing health care at a fraction of the actual cost to their employees? Higher taxes is obviously a bad
thing for most people. And if business's tax cuts are reduced, they will inevitably pass on the higher cost to their employees in
the form of higher health insurance premiums. So higher taxes and higher health insurance premiums is helping who?
2) ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: It sounded as though Obama is in favor of granting illegal immigrants drivers licences. Is this true?
a) If it is true, wouldn't that take away some motivation of those that came here legally and just increase the illegal immigration flow?
b) WHOOHOOO! Sneak into America illegally and you'll get a driver's licence, a job, free health care, etc. What's next, a free car too?
This is where I see the Dems being totally hypocritical. On illegal immigration they say, "let's take care of those less fortunate immigrants
by giving them all of these benefits that most Americans work very hard to achieve. And yet in the same debate they "demand" that we
leave the Iraqi people without protection (i.e. withdraw our troops) to solve their "own problems". Which is it? Is America a welfare,
socialist state that protects all those who can't fight for themselves or not?
c) Hillary mentioned that if they were granted licenses, then their backgrounds would be checked for criminal activity. Now if I was a
criminal, would I voluntarily go down to the MVD and get a license knowing full well that they would run a background check and
potentially deport me? I don't think so....
3) UNIFYING THE COUNTRY: Obama is big on this. He is also big on forgetting the past and moving on to the future. Yet both he and Hillary vehemently state that they will change, undue, etc many of the bills the Republicans have passed in the last 8 years. I might also add that these bills passed by majority votes in both houses, which at last check had both Dems and Repubs. They allude to the fact that the Republicans have "screwed up" the country. Hmmm. That doesn't sound very "unifying" to me. Sounds like they want to go back to the way things were before Bush. I also think the Dems are blowing a lot of the issues of this country WAY out of proportion. Does America have problems? Yes. Is the country as screwed up as they say it is? Hmmm. I don't think so. Do we all drive Mercedes and sip champagne every night? No, but we are all free to our opinions, free to move about, and have opportunities that make us the envy of the entire world. Seems to me we Americans are the most fortunate people on the planet.
Repubs:
1) PARTY UNITY: I understand that there are still 4 men bucking for the nomination here. But it seems as though a war is raging within the party itself. McCain/Guiliani and the "Progressives" on one side and Romney and the "Old Guard" on the other. Ron Paul is just out in space somewhere (but I thought he had a few good pts in the debate Wed. however). I know this happens every election, but this time seems more divided. When are they going to come together as a party to take on the Dems?
2) FOREIGN POLICY: This one has me turning over at night. Which is better: a good diplomat who could debate the pants off his rivals and sweet-talk them into anything; but has little respect in the world community for military experience? Or a quirky, much less personable character with tons of military experience who has been known to lose his temper? If I were Al-Queada, who would I fear more as President? Who would I respect more? Not thinking in American terms, but in Islamic terms, for example.
3) THE ECONOMY: How much influence does the US President truly have on the economy? Sure, the President appoints people to the Federal Reserve. And currently, the Fed is short 2 people. And he helps to pass laws. But the House and Senate are the legislatures who draft the bills and laws that the President eventually signs. Would it be more important to make sure we have Reps and Senators that understand the economy better? I have no doubts that among the remaining candidates (both Dems & Repubs) Mitt Romney is the MOST knowledgable when it comes to corporate financial matters. But wouldn't other candidates lean on members of their cabinet to make decisions?
Well, I think that's it from me for now. Please tell me what you think on these matters. I think I've gotten so fired up on this because I've been schooled and trained at work to be a problem solver, and several of these issues are genuine problems. I did want to specifically thank Carli, Steve, Erin, Nick and Dad for challenging me to think about different perspectives and in different lights. I think it's good to see both sides of the issues and then form your own opinion.
Keep the rubber side down (biker speak for Peace),

Brian


Brian,
I'll let the dems handle that side, but those are very good questions.
As far as the republican side, I'll put in my two cents for whatever it is worth.
1) Party unity: I honestly don't know if that can be achieved if McCain gets the nod. He has stuck it to conservatives too many times. I am all for working across the aisle and I totally believe that needs to happen for things to get done. The problem I have with McCain is his stance on the bills he put forth. It is great to reach out to independents and democrats, but at the cost of leaving behind the base and some of the core values of the party? That does not seem like a good way to build unity. Personally, I want to elect someone who represents what I think the republican party should stand for: smaller government, strong and smart military, strong families, and strong economy (and not wanting to "punish" business). In addition, I think that McCain is more of the "old guard." He has been in Washington for almost 30 years and seems to be the definition of an insider and part of the "good 'ole boys" club. Can he truly be an effective agent for change?
I actually like a lot of things that Ron Paul has to say. I agree with most of his domestic policy -- his foreign policy is what I can't understand in a post 9/11 world. If he ends up running third party and McCain is the R nom, I will probably vote Paul.
2) Foreign policy: I so appreciate McCain's service to our country! However, being a POW does not entitle him to the presidency. He was correct in the surge (but I don't think he should get all the credit as he claims). Where I get very concerned with his ability is in two major things. First off, he is famous for his bad temper and lack of even temperament. This is not someone I trust to be our main representative to the world. Secondly, I also question his ability to approach problems with a clear, level head and not with an emotional response. McCain has shown that has can be mean and vindictive with those that do not agree with him. Not exactly someone I would trust with nuke codes. I know he has an understanding of the danger of jihadism, but I have not heard from him any plan on how to deal with the philosophy and culture of that movement. Because of the nature of that dangerous enemy, a strong military alone won't solve the problem. I also question his wanting to shut down gitmo. It is craziness to offer terrorists access to our justice system and the rights that go with that. I also think it dangerous to say to say what he won't do. I think a president, in order to keep our country safe, needs to keep all options on the table.
My father, who also has a lot of military experience, also says he does not trust McCain in this regard. That has a lot of sway with me.
3) The economy: While I agree that the president does not have a direct influence, I do think that the president would have a great influence on the policies set forth to promote growth. With the emerging markets in Asia, there also need to be trade agreements that would level the playing field. I want a president who will understand all of the nuances. Watching McCain in the debates it is apparent he is fairly clueless on the economy (but he does have Greenspan's book). All he does is name drop. I agree that any president would need to lean on his cabinet and his advisors, but I think anyone who understands the practical application of economics (and can communicate those clearly) will be more successful. I think it is inadvisable to make out business to be the "bad guy" as McCain has repeatedly done. We need strong business in America!
Having a strong economy is a major key for accomplishing our goals of having a strong military and strong families! It is all intertwined. "It's the economy, stupid!"
I think that we are at a crossroads in America and that makes this election extremely important. I didn't answer everything in detail -- I can talk MUCH faster than I can type :) -- but I did try to hit some major points. In conclusion, let me give you my final pitch for Romney.
Mitt Romney is the man we need in the White House! He has an optimistic vision for our wonderful country. He has the talents and abilities that can create real change in Washington. I completely agree with him, "Washington is broken." I believe that government is bloated and it needs to be streamlined to work more efficiently to be serve us, the people. We need to lower taxes and cut spending and use our resources wisely and Mitt has a plan to do those things. We need to strengthen the military. A strong military is our best ally for peace. We need affordable health care for everyone in this country. For all the plans out there, he is the only one that has actually passed health care and got it done in Massachusetts. It is not perfect, but I appreciate that it uses free market principals and has people take personal responsibility. He has a strong, good family and would be a wonderful ambassador in the cause of strengthing families. Mitt is very intelligent and has a strong grasp of all the issues. You only have to watch the debates to realize this. I trust his motivation for running for president. He has all the money he could ever need and could totally take it easy. Instead he chose to turn around the Olympics (without pay) and govern as a conservative in a liberal state (again without pay). Now he feels it is duty to try and help our nation but using the skills that he has honed throughout all his years of experience. More than any other republican running, he has an optimistic vision for our wonderful country. He has a plan and I believe that he can change our country for the better! Vote Mitt in '08!!!
Check out my blog (later today) to see pictures and video from the Romney rally here in Denver yesterday.
Best to all,
Carli

1 comment:

Coby & Codi said...

You made some very good points in the response to Brian. He as well did a very good job at trying to figure out what was truly important. Tomorrow we will see how things shake out more. I would love to see Romney get a big jump in the delegates and see McCain only get a few, but only time will tell. If McCain gets the nod, I hope Ralph Nader throws his hat in as he will be who I vote for.
- Coby