by Quentin Smeltzer
My good, conservative friend recently sent me one of those emails detailing how Obama is destroying everything.
When I wrote back, "Four more years" he posed this question:
"I guess this is all Bush's fault? and that you advocate a socialist state and declining economic opportunities for your son in the future?"
To which I replied, G_, I value our friendship far too highly and value email far too little to believe we have a wisp of a prayer of successfully debating this here. But here are some views of mine:
1. I consider myself a centrist. Sometimes right of center, sometimes left of center, but a moderate centrist. I respect and listen to opposing views. I regularly find that I am wrong.
2. Obama inherited an economy in a death spiral. He has leveled off the plane and made it climb—with frustrating slowness—ever since. So yes, I still blame Bush for any statistics that show the economy or poverty is worse than when Obama took office. I consider this view to be factual.
3. Obama is competent.
4. He is tough on foreign policy and getting results.
5. His personal life and the way he conducts himself are impeccable.
6. I want low taxes but I think wealth disparity can be too great, especially if the rich are being taxed at historically low rates at the same time we are running huge deficits and live with decaying infrastructure. I don’t want to hear about cutting Social Security--which I may need, by the way--while Bank of America execs pay themselves 20 million dollars a year and pay on average 18% in income taxes after deductions. I don’t care if taxing the rich alone will not solve all of our problems: increasing their taxes is a step in the right direction.
7. I define rich as rich. It’s like porn: you know it when you see it.
8. I want an end to regulation and red tape, but at the same time I want industries that have shown a perfect willingness to blow up the entire economy in the pursuit of personal greed to be highly regulated.
9. I do not want the Healthcare Reform Bill or Dodd Frank repealed.
10. I don't worry much about Sharia law--not a big concern at this time.
11. I don't want abortion outlawed and I think a true Republican should not care about one's sexual orientation.
12. I am all for hard work and personal responsibility but I do not want to live in a Darwinian jungle. I think people are better than that.
13. This is about my son: the middle class has had no increase in wages for over ten years now. We have less upward mobility now than twenty years ago and less than many other countries. College costs are astronomical and growing. Putting some checks on the wealthy and investing more in infrastructure and education is exactly what my son needs.
So that’s where I’m at. Call me a raging liberal if you like; I think my views are healthy, centrist and grounded in fact. I am perfectly happy to vote for a Republican with better solutions to these problems but I don’t see one now. I am perfectly happy to call you my friend, listen to your arguments and adjust my opinions over time.