A Voting Guide For Independents And Undecideds

Original Article

Independent voters need only trust their common sense and instinct on the candidates’ basic attributes of character, temperament and leadership in order to make the right choice on Tuesday. Nearly four years is enough time for voters to know the incumbent and decide whether change is warranted.

The American two-party system of checks and balances works best when compromise can be accomplished between the parties. As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised to unite Americans, saying that “there are no red states or blue states, only the United States of America.” Once in office, President Obama revealed a deeply partisan character, driving a wedge between his agenda and Republicans, positioning his liberal-left policies as virtuous and enlightened, while casting Republicans as self-serving and narrow-minded.

Obama’s two signature legislative actions — ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — are already weighing down the economy, even as they are only partially implemented. Both pieces of legislation froze out bipartisan input and were passed along straight party lines, with few congressmen even reading the bills before voting.

On domestic policy, even after the Republican landslide in the 2010 election, Obama couldn’t pivot to find common ground with majority views expressed by Americans, but rather became more divisive and partisan:

  • To appease the Hispanic vote, the president opposed Arizona’s efforts to enforce federal illegal immigration laws.
  • To appease labor unions, the president interfered with South Carolina’s opening of Boeing’s new job-creating manufacturing facility.
  • To get left-wing appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Obama bypassed Senate confirmation with recess appointments.
  • To appease radical environmental activists, the president scrapped 25,000 jobs by opposing the Keystone XL pipeline — a project that would have transported Canadian crude to U.S. refineries and reduced oil imports from hostile Venezuela and the unstable Middle East.

On foreign policy, few would dispute that the world is a better place when the United States is strong and when it leads. As a great power, the U.S. must stand up to enemies and stand with its allies. Yet the Obama administration has taken confusing and unprecedented actions in theaters around the world:

  • Obama stopped deployment of approved nuclear defense anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and The Czech Republic, weakening NATO’s defense and appeasing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • The Obama administration hurt the posture of the U.S. in Latin America by supporting Honduras President Zelaya’s attempt to remain in power by circumventing the Honduran constitution with the help of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.
  • In the South Atlantic, the Obama administration stood with Argentina in its attempt break the Falkland Islands away from our most significant ally, Great Britain.
  • In the Middle East, the president repeatedly snubbed America’s most important ally Israel — recently declining two meeting requests from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the Syrian civil war threatened to destabilize NATO ally Turkey and after the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
  • In North Africa, the Obama administration’s failure to heed multiple warning signs of danger in Benghazi, Libya, invited the fatal terrorist attack on 9/11 this year, reinforcing perception that the U.S. is naïve and weak.

Obama has not only confused our friends, weakened our alliances, and resisted bipartisan cooperation with Congress, he has also been vindictive toward the Supreme Court when it handed down decisions with which he didn’t agree. A second term will likely provide a venue for Obama to “correct” the Supreme Court by replacing one or two of the aging justices who retire.

At time when the country needs bipartisan leadership to revive its economy and regain stature in the world, independent voters must answer the question: Do I want to take a chance on a second term with a leader of this temperament, character and judgment? The stakes are higher than ever as the next four years will likely witness a debt crisis at home and a nuclear threat from Iran.

Now that his temperament is known and it is understood that there are fewer constraints in a second term when there is nothing to lose, Barack Obama is a considerably more risky choice than he was four years ago.

Scott S. Powell

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Scott Powell has enjoyed a career split between theory and practice with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and rainmaker in several industries. He joins the Discovery Institute after having been a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution for six years and serving as a managing partner at a consulting firm, RemingtonRand. His research and writing has resulted in over 250 published articles on economics, business and regulation. Scott Powell graduated from the University of Chicago with honors (B.A. and M.A.) and received his Ph.D. in political and economic theory from Boston University in 1987, writing his dissertation on the determinants of entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.