Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The US Presidential Election from a Different Perspective

A some of you know or may not know I am an American who lives in Malaysia. The reason I live here is that I do not enjoy the same rights as other Americans in regards to sponsoring my family to come to the US to live with me. But that is another story. When Americans living at home in the US watch the presidential debates or other campaign events they get together over coffee or a beer to discuss politics. When I watch the debates I get together with my Malaysian friends and some British or other European friends to discuss politics. The results are a bit different.

Needless to say people over here are neither Democrats nor Republicans. At best they could be called Independents. To a person, people here do not understand why American presidential campaigns are so very long. They also think that the amount of money spent on the campaigns is obscene, especially in light of the number of Americans who are out of work and in need of assistance.

Malaysian and Europeans living here had and still have a strong dislike for George Bush and his policies. They saw him as an arrogant cowboy who completely disregarded the views and opinions of the rest of the world. To them Bush was the true definition of the "Ugly American". When Obama was elected people rejoiced. First of all he was of a different race and to them he personified the American Dream and the equality of all men. They didn't know that the very fact he was of a different race would hinder his presidency. They now know that America is not a country free of bigotry and racism.

During the campaign for the Republican nomination for President  my friends here were amazed at how much of a part the Christian religion played during the campaign. They thought that there was no connection between religion and the government. I tried to explain that there isn't a connection, but certain Christians try to force their beliefs on other people, as the Taliban does. They were also confused as to gay rights and women's rights being brought up during the campaign. They thought that ALL Americans have equal rights. Unfortunately I had to explain to them that even though the United States frequently criticizes other countries in regards to their human rights, this country does NOT grant the same rights to all of her citizens.

Another confusing segment of the campaign, to foreigners, is why there was such a fuss about granting healthcare to all Americans. My friends here wrongly thought that ALL Americans have affordable healthcare. They could not understand why the richest country in the world would not grant affordable healthcare to everyone. They also could not understand why people like the Republicans didn't want everyone to have healthcare. But one of the biggest confusions, not only of the campaign, but of our society in general is why are there so many mass murders and so much gun violence in the US. They are confused as to why none of the candidates argued strongly in favor of gun control and less violence. They do not understand that the gun lobby basically controls who will be elected President and the American people are forced to live with periodic shootings and mass murders.

In watching the debates no one here sees even the slightest interest in Mitt Romney. They view him as another George Bush. An inexperienced cowboy, albeit a very rich one. They view Romney as arrogant and not caring about the average person. They see him as wanting the office to merely increase his wealth. They do not believe Romney has shown an intelligent view of the plights of other countries and peoples of the world, especially Malaysia. They also tend to compare him to the elite royalty of some countries. They still see hope in an Obama second term and see fear in the possibility of a Romney presidency.

I am sure there will be some people who will discount what I have said here, saying that foreigners should have nothing to do with American politics, as it doesn't concern them. But it does. What America does effects, not only our country, but all of the countries of the world. Just ask the families of the thousands of innocent citizens of Iraq or Afghanistan who have been killed in the two Bush wars. And don't forget the present global economic mess which was precipitated by the greed of just a few of American bankers and mortgage lenders. It's time that Americans wake up and realize that Americans are NOT the only ones in this world who matter. We now live in a global community where everyone matters and every life has a meaning.

Round 3 of the Presidential Debates is Over

The third and final presidential debate is over. The results are that Obama overwhelmingly won the debate. Of course the Republican spin doctors disagree.

Obama showed that he was Commander-in Chief and had a commanding knowledge of foreign affairs. Romney simply agreed with Obama's handling of foreign affairs and kept insisting that he would show a stronger America. Throughout Romney's campaign he constantly attacked Obama on his handling of foreign affairs, but tonight he totally agreed with Obama and did not offer a single point where he would change America's foreign policy. It is interesting to note that at a number of times during the debate Romney could be observed to be sweating profusely. He was scared and definitely not presidential. In a few days the results of  a number of post debate polls will be announced. It will be interesting to see if there is any change either way.

In the past couple of weeks the polls have tightened and show the nationwide race to be a virtual tie. In the key swing states Obama has a narrow lead over Romney. What puzzles me is why? Since Romney began his quest for the Presidency he has flip flopped all over the map, like a fish out of water. In order to kiss up to the hard core right wing of the GOP he has attacked social issues such as abortion, gay marriage and women's rights. He now has seen that is not what the average American wants. So he has backed away from that Mitt Romney and has reinvented himself and a centrist Mitt Romney. When he first began talking about foreign policy he did his John Wayne or George Bush impersonation and was all for attacking Russia, Iran and China. Now he has become Mitt the peacemaker. What amazes me is the number of Americans who don't see that there are several different Mitt Romneys running for office. Are they just plain stupid or are the so blinded by their bigoted hatred for Obama that they can't think rationally. Well if by some disaster Romney wins, we will find out the real Mitt Romney and by that time it will be too late.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Heeee's Baaack!

Round 2 of the Presidential debates is now over and President Barack Obama found his mojo. Once again both sides are claiming victory, but to me and the majority of people (according to the polls) who watched the debate Obama won, while not allowing Romney to get away with all of his fabrications and vague unfounded statistics. A sure sign that Romney was trounced is the number of Romney staff and the people at Fox News attacking Candy Crowley for not being nice to Mitt. Speaking of nice it was quite obvious that Romney was extremely disrespectful to the office of the Presidency.

All through the debate Romney appeared flustered, confused and angry. I think he thought because of his performance in the first debate he was unstoppable. He did not like Obama calling him out on his lies and asking him to explain his so called plans. Romney stuttered and stammered when he was called upon to explain his platform. He made a complete fool of himself when he talked of a having a "binder full of women" waiting to fill jobs in his administration in the Massachusetts Statehouse. He showed absolutely no concern for women in the workplace or women's rights in general. As anyone in Massachusetts knows (except for a few die hard right wingers) Romney did have a few women in government, but none in higher positions.

Romney was governor of Massachusetts when I lived there. I can recall that he did little or nothing. He was absent most of the time as he was constantly running for President. I do remember the unemployment rate went up and the state debt increased. He increased taxes and fees that hit the middle class, while reducing taxes for the wealthy. I believe in the last year of his administration he was actually in the state for less than 1/3 of the year. What really upset the people of Massachusetts was that Romney consistently mocked and derided the residents of the state whenever he addressed conservative groups on his campaign for the GOP nomination. Romney did not, thank God, seek a second term as his popularity in the state tanked to less than 35%. I still remember Romney in the first part of his tenure sucking up to gay groups. Back then he supported gay rights and civil unions, a woman's reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood . Now he has done a 180 degree turn to kiss up to the Christian Right. What a man!

If anyone really wants to know what kind of a man Romney is and what kind of a leader Mitt Romney would be  ask the residents of Massachusetts.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

What Would a Romney Presidency Look Like?

My biggest fear is that many Americans will stay home on November 6th and not vote. Many people think there is not much of a choice between Obama and Romney. The truth of the matter is that if Romney is elected, myself, as well as tens of thousands of Americans will be extremely negatively effected. Let's just take a very short look what a Romney presidency would mean to a lot of American citizens.

Let's first take a look at women. For a number of years women have enjoyed the freedom of having control of their own body and have enjoyed their reproductive rights. Because of the Supreme Court decision on Roe vs Wade abortion is legal in the United States. No longer do women have to revert to having an illegal abortion in a secret back ally doctor's office or be forced to carry and bare the child of her rapist. Roe vs Wade is the law of the land in our code of secular laws.  The other day we all heard Paul Ryan say that under a Romney administration abortion will be illegal. Well he can't do that immediately. Romney will have to appoint anti-abortion people to the Supreme Court. Ryan called on his Catholic faith beliefs regarding abortion as a basis for new laws. So with a Romney presidency, ladies,  you will lose control of your bodies and reproductive rights, and then have to follow the teachings of the Catholic and other Christian churches. So much for separation of Church and State!

Now if you are gay and are hoping to have the same rights, in regards to marriage or immigration equality, that your straight countrymen enjoy, think again. Romney and Ryan don't really hate gays, they just want to relegate them to third class citizens. Romney has stated that he is firmly against same sex marriage, a complete turn around from when he was governor of Massachusetts. One of his many 180 degree turns. Romney and Ryan fully support DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which denies the legality of same sex marriage on the Federal level, even though it may be legal in a number of individual states. It is interesting how these staunch "state's rights" right wing conservative Republicans don't recognize state's rights when it comes to gay marriage! Romney and Ryan only recognize the Bible's definition of marriage. Also the dynamic duo is firmly against foreign partners of gay American citizens in sponsoring their partners for immigration purposes, so they may live together in the US. Once again they refer to the Bible's definition of a "family" in denying rights to the family of a same sex couple. Immigration laws will have to follow Christian teachings.

For a bunch of fanatics who are so worried about the possibility of  Muslims forcing Sharia Law on this country, they are doing a pretty good job of forcing Christian teachings and laws down the throats of the rest of the country. These are only a couple of examples of how people will suffer if Romney is elected. It should scare the hell of out people and make them vote for Obama.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Biden and Ryan Battle It Out

The long awaited vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and the Republican challenger, Paul Ryan, is now over. Before the debate all of the news media said that Biden had to be tough and attack Ryan on every front, in order to regain lost ground from Obama's catastrophe of last week. Joe Biden delivered. He trounced Ryan and called him out on his many fabrications and non specific plans for the future. Democrats were happy that Joe gave an aggressive performance and said that he won. Not surprisingly Republicans said Ryan outdid Biden and won the debate. The undecided voters were about evenly split on who won the debate.

What was interesting was that those very same news media correspondents who called for Biden to be more aggressive, suddenly condemned him for being too aggressive. Fox News was astounded at Biden's behavior and lack of respect for Ryan. This was a sure sign that Biden made a direct hit on Romney/Ryan. Another interesting point was the comments of the so called undecided voters. Those responding in favor of Biden sounded like life long Democrats and those siding with Ryan sounded like life long Republicans. Those who said they were still undecided just sounded like they were clueless and not educated instead of undecided. Sometimes I think these undecided voters say they are undecided just so they can get their 15 minutes of fame and feel important.

In a few days some new polls will come out and we will see what effect this debate had on the voters and we will be waiting for the next presidential debate. I just don't see how anyone who is truly a member of the middle class can look at robotic  Ryan and believe he wants to help them. I also don't see how people who have suffered through 2 Bush wars will want to vote for Romney/Ryan and be lead into another war in the Middle East. I think our military personnel will not want to have to go to war again just when it looks like they will be able to take a breather.  Maybe Mitt's boys will volunteer this time around.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Have We Seen the October Surprises?

As everyone knows,  in every presidential election there is the possibility of the "October Surprise". The October Surprise is when there is some event that occurs which gives a boost to the a candidate who is lagging behind in the election.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't, but everyone looks for it.

For most of this election President Obama has been running ahead of the Republican challenger Mitt Romney and he appeared to be a sure bet to win re-election. Then came the first presidential debate. Shockingly Romney won the debate as the President turned in a very poor performance. Everyone thought Obama would attack
Romney on his 47% remarks and other demeaning remarks about the poor and middle class, but he didn't. People thought Romney would fall apart and put his foot in his mouth, as he usually does. But he didn't. He lied, but Obama failed to call him on his mistruths. Because of Romney's performance he received quite a bounce in the polls, which put him back into contention. Was this the Republican October Surprise?

A few days later the latest statistics on the jobs numbers were released. Unexpectedly the unemployment rate dropped below 8% for the first time in 3 years. These statistics hit the jubilant Republicans like a ton of bricks. Before these results the GOP was taking the rather dismal statistics of a higher unemployment rate as gospel truth. With the new numbers, Republicans, predictably, are saying they were manipulated by the White House. They were shocked. Was this Democrats October Surprise?

There are still 20 days left in the month of October, which is plenty of time for a real game changer of an October Surprise. We have one vice presidential debate coming up in a matter of hours and 2 more presidential debates before the election.The race now is extremely tight and it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks before November 6.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Next Up: The Biden-Ryan Debate

Now that the lackluster performance of President Obama in the first Presidential debate is history and the Romney camp has been drooling and patting themselves on the back we can now look for the next debate. That debate will be October 11 between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan.

Don't expect the same kind of debate that we saw with Obama and Romney. Biden has had more experience in politics and political debating than all of the candidates combined. Ryan has had no experience debating on this scale, while Biden is a seasoned veteran. Ryan has never had to explain his or Romney's plan, or should I say lack of  a plan on healthcare, jobs, the economy or social security and medicare. I guarantee Biden will make sure Ryan does some explaining.

Because of Obama's poor performance in his first debate the pressure of Biden is at an increased level, but I am sure he is chomping at the bit to get at Ryan. With Romney's good performance there is a lot of pressure on Ryan to keep it up, so to speak. He won't be able to flip flop or offer fake or false claims to the audience and then tell them he will give the details at a later date.

Even though this is a vice presidential debate it is still a very important event. The vice president is just a heartbeat away from the presidency. The country knows Joe Biden fairly well, but is almost completely unfamiliar with Paul Ryan. Since he accepted his party's nomination at the Republican National Convention, he has not been able to warm up to the voters. Some of his views can be described as radical or extreme, so the American people will have the chance to see who he really is. Biden is known for his occasional gaffes and I am sure everyone will be looking for him to offer an example or two. All Biden has to do is refrain from making any gaffes and keep Ryan on the defensive to score a big win.

Romney received a bounce after his first debate, but this could be easily wiped out with a strong performance by Biden against Ryan. The election could either swing back to Obama or at least level the playing field, where Obama will have to finish the job with his two remaining debates.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obama-Romney Debates Round One

Well the first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney is now over. Predictably both sides are saying their candidate won. Democrats will stick with Obama and Republicans will stick with Romney. The small percentage of undecided voters will be the ones who will decide the winner of this debate.

Personally I thought Romney did a better job than I had expected. He didn't, however, offer anything specific, as usual. He also lost his temper on a few occasions and was a little disrespectful to the President and the moderator. He seemed a bit arrogant, much like a stuffed shirt. Obama I thought was too wordy and not up to par. I had expected him to be a little more aggressive with Romney and bring up Bain capital and Romney's 47% remark.

Definitely the real loser of this debate was the moderator Jim Lehrer. He was rather inept and lost complete control of the debate, with both candidates taking turns moderating. All in all I think this debate was a complete waste of 90 minutes. There were no defining moments, nor memorable lines during the entire debate. I doubt if this debate helped independent voters make up their minds on who to vote for and I am sure no one was swayed from one candidate to the other. Hopefully the next debate will be a little more lively with more specifics. Also, hopefully, Obama will be a bit more aggressive and force Romney to speak substantively.

Lowered Expectations

Right now it is almost 9PM on Wednesday night here in Malaysia and almost 9AM Wednesday morning in the US.  There are 12 hours to go before the first debate between President Obama and the Republican challenger Mitt Romney.  Obama has maintained a steady, but small lead in most all of the national polls since the Democratic National Convention. He leads by even larger numbers in the polls of the swing states that will ultimately decide the election. Obama is also highly favored to do better in the debates.

Leading up to the debates both parties have downplayed expectations for their respective candidates. In order for Romney to gain some momentum he has to score a big upset over Obama. Right now even his fellow Republicans doubt that will happen. Romney has failed to give any specifics on his plan for America. He has not offered anything of substance to convince the American people they should vote for him. On the contrary, he has insulted vast groups of people he needs to be elected.

The Democrats are also downplaying their expectations for the debate. Basically all Obama needs to do is look presidential and not make any stupid mistakes. He has said he will not throw any "zingers"at Romney, but will use the debates to talk directly to the American people.

By this time tomorrow the first debate will be history and both political parties will take their spin on them, with the perceived loser recalling the fact the expectations were not high. The debates will be fairly well scripted, which would prevent either candidate from scoring a major coup. I only hope that we will see some specifics from Romney, instead of promises to give details at a later date and that Obama doesn't get too long winded. I also hope they will stick to the facts, and Mr. Romney, I mean actual facts , not falsifications. It will be interesting to see what excuses the GOP comes up with for Romney's performance. I can't wait!

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