Lost Opportunities: What’s Not Being Debated By Romney, Obama


If you are a Mitt Romney supporter, the last several weeks have been pretty tough.

You have watched your candidate offend one of America’s oldest and strongest allies, disparage the culture of a people who trace their roots to the great Arab empires of the ancient world, and essentially dismiss half of the American electorate as a hopelessly dependent pariah caste.

In sophomoric fashion, he questioned the resolve of diplomats stationed in one of the most volatile outposts in the world because they chose prudence and diplomacy in the face of a brewing calamity. In his most recent national interviews, he flipped (after previously flopping) on issues like universal healthcare, abortion in cases of rape or the welfare of the mother, and the President’s record on taxes to name a few. In essence, the Republican nominee for the presidency has been running what was recently described by conservative columnist, David Brooks, as “a depressingly inept presidential campaign.”

Gov. Romney has paid the price in the polls and while the blame will surely be heaped at his doorstep if he loses in November, his campaign is merely a symptom of an ailing Republican Party whose failure to fulfill its current role as the loyal opposition carries disastrous implications not just for its prospects this Fall, but also for our national discourse.

Earlier this year, The New York Times published an article exposing the existence of a White House “kill list,” essentially a collection of targets “nominated” for elimination, which President Barack Obama personally oversees and that has apparently played a key role in his prosecution of the “war on terror.” Among the most disturbing concerns raised in the piece, and there are many, was the Administration’s vague method for counting civilian casualties, which appears to artificially suppress the true tally. The article also outlined the path leading to the President’s order to kill an American-born terrorist on foreign soil. Now, whether or not you take issue with the Commander-in-Chief adding calibrated assassinations to his repertoire, the fact that the issue has not yet warranted a vigorous debate between the two people vying to lead the country should be alarming.

To the list of substantive issues not being discussed by the candidates we can also add the following:

  • The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which, among other things, grants the Administration the power to detain anyone suspected of terrorist connections, however vague, INDEFINITELY;
  • The status of our troop withdrawal in Afghanistan (what exactly is going to happen in 2014 that cannot happen, say, next month?);
  • The status of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility (why is it still open?);
  • “The War on Drugs” (we are still losing);
  • Immigration (the Executive Order is a step in the right direction, but what is the plan?);
  • Dodd-Frank (is it working?);
  •  etc., etc., etc.

If Gov. Romney spent less time pandering to every crackpot constituency [insert here: birthers, nativists, Tea Partiers, etc.] that has sprouted within his party since the 2010 election cycle and devoted more effort to challenging the President on some of these issues…he would probably still be losing. But he could at least lose with the pride of knowing that if nothing else, his campaign served as a catalyst for holding the American president accountable.

Instead, if the election were held today, Mitt Romney would return to his lakeside mansion (or one of his several other homes) to contemplate a failed candidacy devoid of vision, laden with pessimism and false statements, and saddled with the burden of a withering party ideology that refuses to embrace a changing America.

To be clear, I continue to believe in Barack Obama’s vision for a more fair America.

And I continue to pour a lot of sweat and shoe leather into supporting his re-election and that of progressive candidates down ballot. I am not so partisan-minded, however, as to ignore the necessity for the balance provided by a strong, substantive opposition; which a GOP focused on birth certificates cannot provide. The resulting lack of a real national conversation cheats us all of the opportunity to gain real insight into the thought processes and motivations of our national leaders and those seeking to replace them.

The dangers inherent in this reality cannot be overstated because ultimately WE, each and every one of us, are responsible for America’s actions here and abroad. The President is merely the conduit through which WE exercise our values throughout the world.

It is only through forcing a vigorous debate during these election seasons that WE remind him or her what those values are.

(Elroy John, 33, was president of the Broward Young Democrats from Feb. 2009 to Nov. 2010.  A U. S. Army veteran and Florida Atlantic University graduate, John is current works for a non-profit organization that finds housing for homeless veterans.)  

11 Responses to “Lost Opportunities: What’s Not Being Debated By Romney, Obama”

  1. DeeDee says:

    Elroy John makes sense!

  2. christine says:

    Unfortunately I will hold my nose at the polls when I vote for Mitt, sad to say but the Obama experiment has failed.

  3. just saying says:

    I too will vote for Romney/Ryan.
    I did not vote for McCain or Obama in 2008.
    I also do not believe any of the polls and who is ahead of who. The subliminal seduction of prospective voters by these pollsters will not succeed. And if in fact 25 million are unemployed/under employed, do we really think these people will be voting for obama?

  4. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    The good news if Romney is elected?

    The Republican fucks in Congress will finally stop saying no.

    The bad news if Romney is elected?

    The Republican fucks in Congress will start saying yes.

  5. Lois says:

    I cannot imagine anyone voting for Barack Obama…not THIS time. He is an impossibly inept President, with an administration which I believe will prove to be as corrupt as any in our history. The dissembling on the Libya murders alone is frightening enough to send him back to Illinois.

  6. Not a Poll - a Market! says:

    Intrade isn’t based on polling. It’s a market in which people buy and sell shares which essentially amount to futures contracts.

    Like commodities traders who put their money at stake on the idea that the price of oil, coffee, etc. will be higher or lower in the future, the participants in the Intrade market are putting their money at risk if they are wrong, and stand to profit handsomely if they are right.

    Right now, shares of Obama winning in November are trading at $7.44, indicating a 74.4% chance of this outcome. Shares of Democrats controlling the Senate after the election are trading at $6.43, indicating a 64.3% chance that this will happen.

  7. Big, Big D says:

    You should know that real issues can’t be discussed by candidates. Romney and Obama don’t do it and neither do local candidates. The handlers say, “What You Don’t Say Can’t Hurt You.”

  8. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @Big, Big D says: You should know that real issues can’t be discussed by candidates.

    Unless you are secretly videotaped at a $50,000 per person event…

  9. just saying says:

    not a poll a market

    obama down 9
    romney up 26
    CNBC reports at 10:32pm EDT

  10. Antarctictoothfish says:

    0buma brought his lies and BS on the stage last night. But 0buma bumbled, 0buma stumbled and 0buma had no rumble. 0buma laid a big dump on that stage last night.

  11. Not a Poll, a Market says:

    Obama’s shares are currently trading at $6.80 per share, indicating a 68% chance of winning, vs. Romney’s 32% chance.