OP-ED | Election 2012: The Hybrid’s Choice
The tagline on my blog, CT Devil’s Advocate, proudly proclaims the content to be “Red Meat For Mushy Moderates.” It sounds good, but I’m not sure it accurately describes all my opinions on the issues of the day.
Indeed, some of my views are immoderate. After years of agonizing, for example, I’m firmly in the camp that believes a big-government, single-payer system is the answer to the 10-to-20 million Americans who don’t have health insurance. On the other hand, I firmly believe in the wisdom of former President Gerald Ford, who said, “A government big enough to give you everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.” I deplore wasteful spending and am wary of government getting involved where it has no business.
So perhaps it’s better to call me a hybrid, which brings us to the next question: For whom should a hybrid vote in the upcoming Nov. 6 elections? Well, we have to think strategically. Let’s start with the big dogs first.
For me — and for millions of others — all that really matters is the economy because from that, everything else flows. I simply can’t get revved up about “binders full of women,” “You didn’t build that,” or some kook who redefines rape. So I have to ask myself which candidate, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, would do a better job of getting the economy back on track?
It’s an open secret that many in the business community can’t stand Obama. He has disparaged them—their motives, their methods—one too many times. I’ve personally spoken with businessmen who say they’re holding back from investing in their own companies, hoping they can outlast Obama so they can have an ally back in the White House. Others don’t want to hire more workers for fear of crossing the 50-employee threshold, at which point the expensive Obamacare kicks in.
It’s become clear to me that, for all his good intentions and his Ivy League pedigree, Obama knows next to nothing about economics. He sees the economy as a zero-sum game in which government should be the prime creator of jobs, supply and demand. Obama and many other lefties believe in what economics writer Robert Samuelson and the Wall Street Journal have derisively called “job creationism” and Romney has called “trickle-down government” — the notion that a government deity decrees, “Let there be jobs. And so there were jobs.”
There is no doubt in my mind that erstwhile businessman Romney, notwithstanding his unrealistic tax plan and his chronic flip-flopping, would on day one of his presidency signal that America is back in business. If, like me, you’re concerned about what his 20-percent tax cut would do to the deficit, rest assured that a Democratic Senate will filibuster it into oblivion. Romney’s not perfect by any stretch, but the federal and state governments, which liberals reflexively want to grow, can accomplish very little with a weak economy and the meager revenues that spring from it.
Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat isn’t as easy a call. In one corner, we have a political know-nothing in former WWE CEO Linda McMahon. She touts herself as a job creator with a plan — as if a freshman senator’s “plan” would ever see the light of day in Washington. And it’s difficult to take seriously any Romney supporter who, as McMahon did in a recent ad, cynically urges her supporters to vote for her and Obama.
In the other corner, we have a man who has been a legislator for most of his adult life and has done little to distinguish himself in his three terms as my congressman. Can you point to any significant legislation with Democrat Chris Murphy’s fingerprints on it since he brilliantly unseated 26-year incumbent Nancy Johnson in 2006? Ethics reform, light rail, making home invasion and vandalizing veterans’ memorials federal crimes?
These are largely symbolic issues that don’t typically propel a three-term congressman into the august body of the Senate. On the other hand, at least Murphy is a serious person who actually knows something about public policy and isn’t afraid to defend his views and answer tough questions from the news media. Even as his vacuous opponent offers nothing but poll-tested talking points, Murphy has a long record of public service that suggests what he might do in the Senate. And besides, Murphy would probably lead the filibuster against Romney’s tax plan. Advantage Murphy.
In the state’s only competitive congressional race, moderate Republican state Sen. Andrew Roraback squares off against another moderate, former one-term Democratic state Rep. Elizabeth Esty. While Roraback say he wants to repeal Obamacare, it won’t happen unless the Senate reverts to Republican hands, which is very unlikely.
Esty supports most of the causes of economic fairness embraced by the Democratic Party but she’s also a fiscal hawk who says she believes firmly that government isn’t merely a jobs program, but should be accountable to taxpayers at every level.
But all this is just so much talk. I’m a firm believer in the old maxim that we should pay little attention to what politicians say. Instead, we should watch what they do and examine their records. And on that count, Roraback’s long history of independence and common sense in the General Assembly wins him my full support.
So there you have it. A hybrid’s choice—as opposed to the Hobson’s choice of party loyalty. Now if we could only get power back on in my town, maybe I could actually vote.
Terry Cowgill blogs at ctdevilsadvocate.com, is the editor of ctessentialpolitics.com and was an award-winning editor and senior writer for The Lakeville Journal Company. He can be found on Twitter @terrycowgill.