An undecided voter on President Obama's convention

An undecided voter on President Obama's convention

Summary: It's the Democrats. What could possibly go wrong?

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Barack Obama

Finally, near the end of Thursday night, it was time for the President to step up to the podium. By this time, we already knew what he'd be claiming as accomplishments: the auto industry bailout, the healthcare reform legislation, the death of Osama bin Laden, an increase in job creation, a claimed turnaround of the economy.

But the entire theme of the convention was "forward," so where would the man who wanted to remain President take the dialog? Could he make the case that he was the better choice than Mitt Romney? Could he make the case that he did a good job these last four years? And how would that barely-experienced "hopey-changey" candidate present himself once he's had four years of the most brutal on-the-job training?

As I listened to the President, I noticed a theme I haven't seen in years being introduced back into the dialog: the importance of American manufacturing. Obama talked about the manufacturing jobs that have come back to the United States after being outsourced. Now, admittedly, there are still a lot more jobs being sent overseas than being brought home, but it's a start.

Even though many of us in the information industry are aware of the importance of what Steve Jobs once called knowledge workers, it's clear that unless America actually builds things, we're giving up our strength to foreign competitors. Unless we actually control our means of production, we are destined to become vassals to the large manufacturing nations.

That's why statements by Obama like "We are doing what America does best. We are making things again," are so important.

Another issue I don't recall Governor Romney bringing up is climate change. According to Obama, "Climate change is not a hoax." That's pretty obvious to almost anyone with eyes. Of course, the reasons for the changes and the methods of dealing with them are subject to enormous debate, but we're going to have to pay attention to this issue in future years.

It's clear that four years have seasoned Obama. It's almost painful watching old YouTube videos of the younger man talking about cooperation and how the parties will get along, and then watching this man, after four years in the White House, talk about the realities of the pushbacks from Congress.

On the other hand, with that seasoning in hand, Obama was able to clearly differentiate himself from the Governor on the area of foreign affairs, describing his competitors as, "They're...new." Foreign affairs were barely mentioned by Mr. Romney or Mr. Ryan, where President Obama clearly discussed issues of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran.

He also reflected on the challenges in the United States and how it's time to spend on our own infrastructure, by saying "It's time to do some nation-building right here at home."

Neither Biden nor Obama truly answered how they'd pay for all the social programs they support, but instead spent considerable time trying to show that the opposition couldn't pay for debt reduction, either. While they criticized the Romney version of trickle-down economics, they didn't spend nearly as much time and attention on how they'd stop borrowing from China and how they'd cover the costs of these programs.

Final thoughts

President Obama didn't win my vote with his speech, and neither did any of the other speakers. Nor did they move the needle any closer to their side. I think I'll need to see how the candidates debate each other, watch them side-by-side, to truly get the measure of who I think would be better for America.

But I did notice one very interesting difference between the two parties: the Obama speech was very inclusive of all Americans and the Romney speech was very angry about the Democrats. It was a very different tone, one coming from a President and one coming from someone who'd very much like to be President.

I find myself getting pissed because the Dems want to pay for this social program or that social program, this entitlement or that entitlement, this benefit or that benefit.

They're all valid and helpful, but where's the money coming from? What I don't hear is whether the actual systems we have in place are working, how we can keep costs down, and how we can filter the enormous waste out of the system.

The Democrats honorably want to help Americans, but they don't seem willing to fight the hard fights with the people they're so willing to keep paying off.

By contrast, the Republicans don't seem to want to pay for much (except unreasonably high tax breaks for the super wealthy), and seem willing to watch most Americans suffer if it means they get to spout their ideology and keep their cash.

I keep thinking the question is whether we want a CEO to run the largest enterprise in the world, or whether we want someone more focused on the well being of that enterprise's constituents? I really don't know, because the enterprise itself can't be bankrupted, or it will help no one. A sinking ship can't carry either its passengers or its crew.

On the other hand, CEOs serve to generate shareholder value and, in the case of America, those shareholders are usually the superwealthy individuals and corporations. Which leaves the rest of us out of the loop.

And so, here's what we're looking at. The Democrats are more inclusive and the Republicans more angry. The Democrats have social programs to show for their time in office and the Republicans want to repeal them. The Democrats have skyrocketed the debt and the Republicans want to stop spending on almost everything except military expansion.

The Democrats had two years where they ran everything and accomplished nothing. The Republicans had eight years in office, where they almost destroyed everything. Which is worse?

As you can see, I'm still not a fan of either party. There are only a few events left before the election, and I'm left with this very disturbing realization: come January 20 next year, either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be president.

ZDNet Government's coverage of Election 2012:

Topics: Government, Government US

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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Talkback

72 comments
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  • The real party platform:

    (Think of a 'Meow Mix' cat food commercial) God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god....
    robin@...
    • "Corporate should have losses!!"

      So says the Obama-loving communists at DNC. I just wonder how Obummer would get his donation then. Hoho. The liberals just could not use their brain.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07fTsF5BiSM
      LBiege
      • less than 20 people

        how many did he go through to get those 20 people?

        would be just as easy to find a bunch of democracy hating people to say obama's a communist, socialist, isn't a citizen, blah blah blah. you know, a president elected by the people of the country. hey wait! we can start with you! that's 1.
        oneleft
      • and btw

        your democracy loving party has done something never before done in the history of our country. congress averages a filibuster about every 10 years. in the last 4 years your patriotic elected officials from the right have managed over 400.

        really really really tough to govern when you can't pass anything. when you can't even get people approved for vital positions, positions filled usually within months of a new presidency that remain empty to this day, when the opposition is only interested in obstructionism.

        your flag waving leaders have held this country and economy hostage in their determination to undermine the will of the american people. you know, those people that elected the president to do a job. now good look up the word filibuster.

        but hey, stick a camera in the face of a couple of dozen people. use the word obummer like you actually have wit.
        oneleft
        • Please see my direct response to him, as

          that includes a few links - mostly to nonpartisan sources but I included a few from both right- and left-wing sources as well...

          These guys don't get it. If they really checked up on what politicians do, they'd find Obama by and large being "Bush's third term", and whose bipartisan and compromise has given the GOP a free ride. In 2003, Obama talked of single payer. After 2009, all he did was lift Romney's own plans, using his own people.

          Indeed, noting how the GOP loves to give corporate handouts to corporations, especially those that offshore, how Obama is the C-word is the biggest LIE being told. The GOP loves offshoring to C-word countries (China), and those sites that go into detail on votes tell it all...

          It's all documented stuff.
          HypnoToad72
      • LBiege ...your a F*****g jerk

        End of story.................
        Over and Out
        • Wow, my post with links to several sites has to wait

          but your immature slop got posted?!!!!!!!
          HypnoToad72
  • Neither were good, Neither were bad

    I feel like I am watching an episode of "I wish someone would figure this out" after watching both conventions. The sheer vastness of " they get it not" fom both parties leaves one wishing for a Kable third party.at this stage I am, either way - either party, looking at four more years of my wallet getting slimmer.
    rhonin
    • We really really really

      Need edit capability.
      rhonin
      • New CMS

        It's a new CMS. I understand that's many of the items the programmers are working day and night on. But, as with all mere matters of programming, when it'll show up is, well, a mere matter of programming.
        David Gewirtz
        • it's a tech site

          day and night and still not fixed? no other tech site i visit has this problem.
          maybe you guys should contract it out.
          oneleft
    • Well, since private industry creates jobs and sets their value,

      scapegoating any figurehead from any political party won't do you much good.

      Stop whining about wages going down. The politicians, dare they do something positive for you and me and others, will be called "comm unist" or something by the usual one-liner fluffheads...

      And it's documented, stagnant wages not keeping up with inflation... tons of articles exist online... you'd be surprised... Indeed, "The American dream died in february 1973" - web search that article. And "the vicious cycle of stagnant wages".

      Then look up corporate welfare, especially as handed out by the politicians that claim to love this country, hate "Communi sts", et cetera...
      HypnoToad72
      • in short,

        ask why corporate leaders devalue the worth of your labor, why you have to do more for less, give up vacation time, etc, etc... or do you choose not to defend your own value?
        HypnoToad72
  • Wrong Site Buddy...

    I though this was a tech website. What on earth does your blog have to do with technology? Use another forum to post political opinions.
    gribittmep
    • Go ahead

      glance at the top of this page where it says topic.

      It says "government".
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Since you say it's ok I'll post my opinion

        Obama has three "qualities": He's incompetent, He's a liar and He's a Socialist. He wants the government to control everything. All money is to flow through the government and they will decide what it is to be spent on and how much each person can have to spend. Obamacare is just the start. 49% of all Americans currently receive some type of government support. The Chosen One wants it to be 100% If that's the type of country you want then by all means vote for another 4 years of "Change".
        gribittmep
        • Oh no...

          Another idiot that doesn't know what "socialist" means trying to sound intelligent.
          Qbt
        • Did you mean to say Romney care?

          Maybe you should look that up.
          mrefuman
          • I put in some news articles

            but they're being vetted. It's worth the wait; there's nothing bad in that response...
            HypnoToad72
        • oh no you didn't!

          did you just use like almost every single sound bite the right and fox has been pushing for the last 4 years!?! SNAP! truly, a singular mind indeed. true, there's no real thought in there, no valid arguments, you know, just the talking points, but if you keep working on that soon you'll start believing that you can actually think! good job laddie, good job indeed.
          oneleft