Build Your Perfect President
The 2012 election will be the first election where I have been a fully formed adult - relatively speaking - during the incumbents' presidency thus giving me the ability to really think of what we have now versus what we could be in the future. In 2004 during Bush v. Kerry, it was Kerry who employed me and kept me clothed in Banana Republic for six months so when it came time to cast my (absentee) ballot I chose Kerry even though I felt no real connection to him or his policies. Do I regret that now? No. I only wish that I had been more thoughtful at the time as opposed to voting for the candidate everyone else was voting for and without question. Always ask questions. That should be a given but it isn't. Also necessary for any voter is a prolonged look at the person currently residing in the White House. Never mind that you've straight down the ballot for the Democrat. Have you ever sat down and thought about why?
I ask because I have a little secret for you: There is no perfect candidate. There is no perfect President.
You won't find him (hopefully one day *her*) in this election or the next. To think that there should be a President with whom you can agree on every topic is not only naive but it also goes against the basic tenets of democracy. There should always be something the leadership is doing that pisses you off, gets you fired up, and makes you want to voice the need for one change or another. I'd much prefer to say that though I choose Barack Obama as my candidate for 2012 that there are things about his policies with which I disagree. Hell, there have been moments of anger but it is my belief that having any of the Republican contenders in office would be detrimental to the country and our relationships around the world.
I keep running into angry conservatives because of the choices they have been given during this primary. It seems that there is nothing that pleases them: Mitt Romney is a RINO and don't forget about "RomneyCare". Sure Santorum is a social conservative but the former Senator is also a "big Government" conservative and there is nothing they dislike more than the already bloated bureaucracy. And one cannot be a "real" conservative if they aren't willing to board the "let's get rid of the Department of Education" bandwagon. Despite Santorum's wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri on Tuesday evening, many are left to wonder whether or not he has the infrastructure to campaign seriously all the way to the convention in August. Newt Gingrich is fun to think about but this is a serious Presidential race, correct? With Paul we are privy to the thought that Civil Rights is a 'mistake' and severely isolationist foreign policy. While he could play to the ultra-right his ability to be elected leaves much to be desired. He's like your crazy uncle who gets invited to Thanksgiving: you nod and smile but you run away as quickly as possible. Huntsman worked for Obama, Tim Pawlenty couldn't handle it and Perry turned out to be a dud. I picture Conservatives walking around aimlessly until the contest arrives to their state then just closing their eyes and placing a finger on someone…anyone. I wonder what it is that Republicans are looking for and who would be their idea of a good, quality candidate.
Then there is the President. When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, there was a thrill in the air. He did what he could to keep people working and the same goes for the Education Jobs Fund. Then came the events in Wisconsin and Ohio last spring where his leadership left much to be desired when it came to the union workers who helped to get him to the White House in the first place. That said having a 'Right to Work' proponent in office would send me screaming for the hills. I've often wish that he could be stronger and take a harder line on issues instead of just sitting on the sidelines. Taking issue with his leadership came up again during the work of the SuperCommittee. I know that it was technically congress' responsibility but a little nudge to work harder and better would have been far more helpful than a pissing match with Eric Cantor and John Boehner. But he reformed Health Care, he has made great strides in education even though when I do a deep dive into his policies I question why grant writing takes precedent over educating. My point is that this President isn't perfect and I never expected for him to be. He was voted to bring hope and change. Not hope, change and being infallible.
It's not just the angry Conservatives but the annoyed Progressives that cause me to scratch my head. For the latter I wonder what exactly they were expecting? For Barack Obama to enter the West Wing, snap his fingers and suddenly everyone has free healthcare and a job? Did we not expect change to take years and realize that it was the hope that it can one day happen? It is to both Tea Partiers and Liberals, Republicans and Democrats that ask: What do you want in a President? Is there a 'perfect' choice?
Heather L. Barmore
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