Here are the things I care about when I vote for a President:
1. His character. This is the most important and the most difficult to assess. I want the person I vote for to have integrity. To simply tell the truth. Not to turn every issue into political spin. In my opinion, the two candidates are even on this one. (Evenly in the negative).
2. The Middle East. What are their positions regarding Israel. Are they one-sided Zionist. Do they understand what the stakes are in a place like Syria, Saudi and Egypt? While Obama has not been great on this, he clearly leads Romney in this category. So he gets the nod here.
3. The world in general. The President of the USA has the most influence of any single person in the world. And they represent America to the world. Romney showed ignorance, even disdain for other nations on his July world tour. I believe that Obama’s mixed heritage and having lived outside the US for a while as a child, gives him the edge on this one as well.
4. Abortion. This is a serious issue. I am 100% pro-life. Romney is pr0-life and Obama is pro-choice. While abortions continue on regardless of the President’s stance, it does matter what he believes as he appoints judges. Romney clearly wins on this one.
5. War. I am anti-war. Period. Unfortunately Obama carried on what Bush began in Afghanistan, with little overall positive long-term impact. So while both candidates would likely consider themselves “Just-War” proponents, Romney is more likely to be hawkish on military issues. So Obama win on this one (although just barely).
6. Big government and economics. In some ways these are separate issues, but they are so closely related, I’ll place them together. Republicans are known for claiming smaller government and Democrats are known for raising taxes. However, if you actually look carefully at the record of all the Presidents in my life-time, that’s not so clear. Romney claims he wants to decrease the deficit (which every candidate has always claimed), and he wants to lower taxes and cut government spending, but he’s not willing to cut military spending – so it’s unlikely he’ll actually get that done. Obama has not done anything positive here. I’m a free-maket economist, so am against all bailouts. Bush started those and Obama has continued. I’d say they are dead even here. (Also, evenly in the hole).
7. Family and marriage. Both candidates seem to have great families and healthy marriages. I support gay rights (they should have equal rights like everyone else), but not gay marriage. Obama reluctantly recently supported gay marriage. Romney does not. it’s hard to argue that Mormons don’t have really good family values. I think I have to side with Romney here. It’s a close one though.
8. Personal faith. Romney is Mormon. Was a local bishop in his church. I don’t have a huge issue with Mormons actually, but some of their theology is pretty whacky. Obama is a Christian – although a very liberal brand of that. When I’ve heard him talk about his faith, he seems very genuine. On this issue, I’m still more comfortable voting for a liberal Christian than a Mormon. Obama gets my nod here.
9. Leadership. This one, like the first one (Character) is hard to define, but most of us know it when we see it. Obama inherited a tough deal. He’s exhibited positive leadership at times, and not so much at other times. Romney lacks charisma but clearly has leadership gifts. I think this one is a wash.
10. The Poor. I’m sure both are concerned about poverty. They have different visions of what the government should do about. I’m a fan of limited government and personal responsibility. But I also believe that some of this is an attitude toward the poor. Obama has been there, Romney has not. So attitude favors Obama, but policy favors Romney. I’ll call this even as well.
That makes 4 categories even. 4 are pro-Obama. And 2 for Romney. It’s a tough one – but Obama “wins.”