Is Romney the new Obama or is Obama the new Romney? And does it matter?

Here’s my personal top 5 reasons to vote “None of the above” this November:

1. Mitt Romney
2. Rick Santorum
3. New Gingrich
4. Ron Paul
5. Barack Obama

I feel this way because I am a far-left progressive liberal. If there’s a better term for my political position, I haven’t found it yet, but I keep looking. I’d say maybe “democratic socialist”, except I’d actually be willing to put my support behind a candidate willing to govern from a center-to-left-of-center position. The thing is, we just don’t have one. Oh, sure, there’s the Green Party and some other left-wing contenders to consider, but let’s get serious. If they end up on the ballots in states with enough electoral votes to make a difference, they still won’t have tickets for the Citizens United Big Money Bus. The air waves will still be dominated by one of the top 4 on my list and #5.

Maybe I should feel grateful. Mitt Romney is now the presumptive nominee (if various reports are to be believed). Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul may now slink back to irrelevance. At least we can hope so. What does that leave us with? A ballot that looks like this:

Democrat: The Mitt Romney We Know
Republican: The Mitt Romney We Don’t Know

Now, I’m sure there’s plenty of Republicans that would disagree with just about anything I have to say since I’ve clearly aligned myself with the forces of all that is wrong in the world. C’est la vie. Sadly, I’ll also earn the ire of a great many Democrats, primarily of two camps. Camp One dances the Obamabot in uncomfortable contortions and jerky little sidesteps to accommodate Saint Obama’s every little accomplishment. Camp Two just says, “Well, if you don’t support Obama, you’ll get the GOP.”

Last I checked, we’re going to get the GOP one way or the other. Here’s President Obama from the April 3, 2012 Associated Press Luncheon:

Cap and trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems. The first President to talk about cap and trade was George H.W. Bush. Now you’ve got the other party essentially saying we shouldn’t even be thinking about environmental protection; let’s gut the EPA.

Health care, which is in the news right now — there’s a reason why there’s a little bit of confusion in the Republican primary about health care and the individual mandate since it originated as a conservative idea to preserve the private marketplace in health care while still assuring that everybody got covered, in contrast to a single-payer plan. Now, suddenly, this is some socialist overreach.

So as all of you are doing your reporting, I think it’s important to remember that the positions I’m taking now on the budget and a host of other issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15 years ago, would have been considered squarely centrist positions. What’s changed is the center of the Republican Party. And that’s certainly true with the budget. [emphasis mine]

As usual, he doesn’t mention a single-payer solution.  As a means of distancing himself from the far-right contingent, maybe he could have squeaked that in here just by way of demonstrating how oh-so-very centrist-right he is by comparison?

Let’s not lose sight of some broader context here.

This is the same President Obama that signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act into law, a law so odious in its civil rights implications that he issued a signing statement indicating that his administration wouldn’t roll around in the worst of the offal included.  Just don’t look at his non-signing hand.  It was pointing at some future successor that might.

This is the same President Obama that not only denies U.S. citizens due process in the courts, since, after all, due process doesn’t have to be from the courts as long as it comes from him and his lunch buddies, but also has them assassinated.

This is the same President Obama that started out his term by surrounding himself with Wall Street insiders and then presided over massive Wall Street giveaways while singing plaintive little reassuring tunes to the middle class while Wall Street gets to party at a four-year long bacchanalian rave.

And let us not forget, this is the same President Obama who had this to say on the subject of prosecuting previous administration officials in regard to the use of torture (and presumably a host of other war crimes):

This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. Our national greatness is embedded in America’s ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.

The United States is a nation of laws. My Administration will always act in accordance with those laws, and with an unshakeable commitment to our ideals. 

This is the same President Obama that still can’t quite bring himself to release other memos, ones that, with their requisite torture of language and logic, would fully satisfy his Democratic base as to why he and his buddies, and not the courts, get to decide who gets to live and who gets to die.

Just what other investigations and prosecutions won’t this president of a nation of laws pursue in the interest of justice?  Oh, just the launch of a war predicated on the lies of one man.

In the face of all that, I can come up with only two reasons to vote a second term for the Romney We Know:

1.  Sonia Sotomayor
2.  Elena Kagan

I dread to think what the Romney We Don’t Know would do to the Supreme Court.  As for me, I have the luxury of living in a state with so few electoral votes as to  not matter.  I’m either writing myself in, maybe voting for Cthulhu or Dr. Who or Spider-Man, or just going to work that day, uncomfortable in my general irrelevance.  For you in the states that matter, especially the swing states, all I can say is vote for the devil you think you know. And start thinking now about what you want your government to look like in two years and in 2016.  We need to start grooming candidates that actually reflect the American values of truth and justice.

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Image credit: Photo of devil mask by nmarritz. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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