I Voted For Obama
Javeed Akhter, MD, Board Memebr of MCA

There is clearly none of the excitement of 2008. The sense that a vote for Obama was taking an active part in changing history is not there. Obama looks a much I have voted for Obama because Romney would be worse.
diminished person. His speeches don’t sound eloquent anymore, his rhetoric sounds empty and even contrived.
His self-described crowning achievement, Obama care, just does not go far enough and does nothing to mitigate the burden of unfair litigation physicians carry in our country. It does little to curb the choke hold the insurance companies have over patients and care givers. But there are clear positives like reducing the number uninsured, getting rid of the much abused pre-existing condition clause and letting many young people who are try to find their footing to stay on their parent’s insurance till they are twenty six. Romney and the Republicans may enact tort reform but they have offered nothing else. The uninsured and under insured who may continue to grow perpetuating the class based medical care that is both morally and fiscally untenable.
His economic plan has been too beholden to the Wall Street. None of the white collar criminals who committed malfeasance on Wall Street by their derivative schemes have been brought to justice. His economic schemes have focused on the middle class studiously ignoring the poor who truly are worse off in his tenure. The black unemployment rate is even higher than the rest of the nation. But my 401 K is back to the pre Bush implosion levels. The job market is improving steadily. Detroit has definitely made a comeback. Some judgmental errors he made were the result of inexperience; looks like he has learned from it. His plan to tax a little and cut a lot is more center or right center than left wing and makes decent economic sense. Romney’s plan of cuts only makes no sense whatsoever. It is another version of voodoo economics that has already failed. His would be an economy made to order for the rich, cleverly called the job creators or as the British right wing calls them the broad shouldered citizens. Our best hope is that he may do another etch a sketch and turn in to the guy who managed the Olympics successfully. The venture capitalist experience is destructive and would not apply. Our financial institutions that behave like casinos need more stringent regulatory oversight that will not happen with a Romney administration.
Civil liberties have taken a hit in the Obama’s first four years. ACLU feels his record is bad as that of George W Bush if not worse. He even signed the indefinite detention without trial bill. All of the provisions of the Patriot Act that have seriously degraded the tradition of protection of privacy and secret surveillance and entrapment are commonplace. Those laws and practices that made US a truly exceptional nation are gone looks like forever; we clearly as a society have thrown out the baby with the bath water. The Romney administration would not be any better and possibly worse.
Obama’s foreign policy has relied too heavily on the use of force mostly drones. It is as if he was trying to overcompensate for the old knock that democrats are too soft on national security. Much of the drone warfare is run by the CIA without any congressional oversight. History may remember Obama as the Drone warfare President. This is a counterproductive strategy as many civilians have been killed. His approval rating in the Muslim majority countries is lower even than of George W; quite a letdown given his administration’s stated objective of winning hearts and minds in the Muslim majority countries of the world. Romney’s advisors are all of the same neo-cons who played havoc with US foreign policy in George W’s first term. We may end up with ta third war in a Muslim country, Iran, that could be even worse than the two we have been embroiled in.
There are other major issues. Obama has done little to tackle large numbers of incarceration among blacks and gun violence. He has avoided dealing with racism. In fact racism appears to have worsened in the four years of his Presidency mostly as a reaction to having a black President.
Soft and sometimes overt racism, “you are a liar”, wagging a finger in the President’s face, has played a role in the way the right wing media and politicians have disrespected him. Additionally it also true that he was faced with one of the most ideologically divided congress with an intransigent ultra-right wing Republican Party drunk with Tea party rhetoric. It is clearly not all his fault.
Although Obama’s record is decidedly mixed, but on every single count Romney could be worse. Once elected will Romney turn in to the right of center moderate he was as the Governor of Massachusetts? This is highly unlikely as he would beholden to the Republican Party that is far to the right of the political spectrum.
For a moment in the voting cubicle I thought I would vote for a third party candidate. I think my vote should count for something; for half may be even a quarter of a loaf. Here is hoping that Obama’s second term will be much better than his first term.

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