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Robert Scheer: Vote for the B-

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  • Ed Pearl
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/vote_for_the_b_20121105/ Vote for the B- By Robert Scheer Truthdig: Tuesday,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 6, 2012

      Vote for the B-

      By <http://www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer/> Robert Scheer

      Truthdig: Tuesday, November , 2012

      It's crunch time, and I want to be on record, just in case some still
      undecided independent voter cares what I think. And one might, since I did
      write a decidedly nonpartisan book on the origins of the economic crisis
      entitled "The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton
      Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street." I have been a
      harsh critic of Barack Obama for continuing that bipartisan capitulation to
      Wall Street, but on this and every other matter of serious contention in
      this election, Mitt Romney is decidedly worse.

      A vote for Obama in a swing state is a no-brainer, because, on a host of
      issues, including immigration, women's rights, gay rights, health care,
      campaign finance, income inequality, tax breaks for the rich and the
      legitimacy of trade unions, there is a vast partisan difference that should
      not be ignored. It matters greatly who appoints an anticipated two justices
      to the Supreme Court, which is already dominated by right-wing ideologues.

      In a state where a protest vote will not elect Romney, a vote for the Green
      Party's admirable Jill Stein, the consistent Libertarian Gary Johnson, or
      the populist Rocky Anderson sends an appropriate but measured signal of
      contempt for the sorry state of our two-party system.

      That disgust is warranted by the fact that this president has followed the
      broad ideological outlines of his predecessor on national security. Witness
      the continuing assault on due process that is the island prison of
      Guantanamo and the killing of innocent civilians through drone attacks, as
      well as the unwarranted Nixonian persecution of alleged whistle-blowers
      Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.

      But on all of that, Obama is the lesser evil compared to Romney, who has
      promised to increase military spending to fight a new Cold War that might,
      under his stewardship, turn hot against China, Russia, the forlorn
      Palestinians and anyone else with whom he can pick a fight. Romney is as
      dangerous as he is inexperienced in such matters. To compensate for his
      ignorance, he has turned to the same pack of neoconservative ideologues that
      lied us into Bush's invasion of Iraq.

      On economic policy, Romney has attempted to smear Obama as some kind of big
      government socialist, although the former vulture capitalist would surely
      have wasted just as much money as Obama rescuing his friends on Wall Street.
      Neither candidate would stop the Federal Reserve from continuing to purchase
      toxic assets to save the banks from their own folly. The candidates split on
      a bailout of the auto industry, with Obama helping save some decent American
      jobs, and they disagree about how much the obscenely wealthy should pay in
      taxes, although sometimes Romney disagrees with himself on that score.

      Obama sold out to Wall Street when he appointed Lawrence Summers, who had
      pocketed more than $8 million in bank and hedge fund fees while serving as a
      top Obama campaign adviser, to be his key White House expert on the economy.
      This was an egregious error vastly compounded when he appointed as his
      Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, former head of the New York Fed and
      faithful ally of the Bush administration in filling the lifeboats to
      capacity with bankers. However, Romney blasts Obama for not being solicitous
      enough in catering to Wall Street greed and defines the extremely minor
      reforms of Dodd-Frank as an attack on capitalism, when it is anything but.

      As Gretchen Morgenson, the sharpest business journalist of our day, noted in
      a recent column in The New York Times: "Many Americans probably think the
      Dodd-Frank financial reform law will protect taxpayers from future bailouts.
      Wrong. In fact, Dodd-Frank actually widened the federal safety net for big
      institutions. Under that law, eight more giants were granted the right to
      tap the Federal Reserve for funding when the crisis hits."

      But Romney finds objectionable even the slightest improvement in
      transparency and accountability in Dodd-Frank, including a much-needed
      consumer protection agency championed by Elizabeth Warren. He absolves Wall
      Street and the Bush administration that let greed run wild of any
      responsibility for the economic mess and, indeed, seeks to cut funding for
      programs that aid its victims.

      Romney's talk of the deficit is specious. He would spend multiples of
      Obama's stimulus on the military, alone, while relegating the unemployed,
      disabled and impoverished to the hope of charity and warm weather. Consider
      the millions of Americans kept fed by Obama's hard-won extensions of
      unemployment benefits and food stamps during the worst lows of the
      recession. How would President Romney have handled such a crisis?

      To employ the vernacular used in my day job teaching college students, I
      give Obama a generous B- grade for initiating a national health care plan
      that, while flawed, is a start, ending discrimination against gays in the
      military, easing the student loan crisis, signing equal pay legislation and
      appointing reasonable Supreme Court justices, among other achievements.
      Meanwhile, the rapacious capitalist turned candidate Romney-poster boy of
      the 1 percent-denigrates the less economically fortunate among us while
      growing filthy rich by slicing and dicing good American jobs out of
      existence and exploiting every tax loophole to aggrandize his own fortune.
      He earns a solid F and makes Obama look quite good in comparison.


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