Making Jesus Accessible

Debate Romney Obama AP173876662679 620x350

Obama or Romney for President? How I will decide.

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.”

Comments

  1. tjkilcup says:

    How does religious freedom rank for you? I would think Obama’s Mandate about contraceptives to the Catholic church would call his views on that into question. Also his frequent use of freedom of worship as opposed to freedom of religion make me a little nervous.

  2. Brian B says:

    Looks like lots of benefit of the doubt for President Obama and virtually none for Romney.

    Policy and attitude toward the poor rate an even? The poor would certainly benefit more from right policies than from nice attitudes. Just one example of rather odd scoring in favor of President Obama.

  3. Ann Rork says:

    Obama has made this a racial and class warfare issue. Don’t think his agenda is to unify this country. It is not popular to be successful anymore. He has succeeded in aiding people to believe they are victims and he is Robin Hood or the savior on the white horse that will deliver the victims from the evil rich people (who is anyone that has more than they do). If someone can believe it is OK to abort a baby through partial birth abortion than they have little respect for life…who is next. But then I am one of those evil white people so what do I know Carl.

  4. bruckoii says:

    Concur on the religious freedom oversight and want to note another. So far only the Republicans have tried comprehensive immigration reform. With both houses of Congress his first two years, I was sure the Democrats would finally be able to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform. Apparently their concern for undocumented workers is merely lip service. For people who care about the exploitation of undocumented immigrants I say give the Republicans another chance to attempt comprehensive reform.

  5. Carl Medearis says:

    I don’t see Jesus spending a lot of time thinking about “religious freedom” so I don’t either. I agree it’s a good thing – but not one of my top 10 for sure. There wasn’t much “freedom” of any kind in his day – religious or political or any kind. Didn’t seem to slow him down!

    1. tjkilcup says:

      Touche. Although we don’t see Jesus worried about most of your top ten either I don’t believe. Poor are mentioned and probably character. I guess I see freedom as a something given by God. So no one can take it away, but they can try which it seems is always bad for everybody and a step in the wrong direction. Is it of huge importance? Maybe not. But maybe enough to factor into my vote.

  6. ddkrutsinger says:

    Curious how your assessment would look like if you expanded your options and added Gary Johnson (L). He would likely lose points for #4 and 8 considering himself pro choice and atheist, but would likely beat both Romney and Obama on #2, 5, 6, not sure about the others. Personally I cant vote for either Romney or Obama due to #1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. That is just too many of my big issues to fail on and still earn my vote. Too bad Ron Paul wasnt still an option, I may just write him in and walk away with integrety.

  7. Carl Medearis says:

    Dustin – yes, I’d be a Ron Paul supporter as well if he were in. But not voting doesn’t sit well with me either. It is a sad day when our choices are so limited and so poor. Where are all the good men (and women) in leadership?

  8. joeklasko says:

    OUCH!

    I respect your opinion.

    I love your stuff.

    It’s good to know even you whiff sometimes.

    Joe

  9. Todd G. says:

    Hi Carl.

    I am honestly not seeing a huge difference nowadays between libertarian/conservatives. even the best of them like Ron Paul and the general philosophy of, Ayn Rand, the author of the “Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”. Ayn Rand is, in my opinion the predecessor of the Reagan revolution; I think her philosophy and her influence on folks such as Ron Paul are, now, finally, coming to light. Ayn Rand is among the most anti-Jesus philosophers I have heard

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ooKsv_SX4Y

    Of course guilt through association is a danger that perhaps I am practicing or I am close to practicing. I am aware of that danger, but I really do see a lot of her attitudes expressed, nearly verbatim, by the laiisez-faire, libertarian types.

    1. Jason H. says:

      Hi Todd.

      I do believe you are relying too heavily on basic similarities between libertarianism in general and Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism. Ayn Rand’s
      philosophy is an expression of where she thinks humans should get their morality. Ayn Rand was an atheist, so her atheistic views influence her philosophy. Since she doesn’t believe in God, she decides the happiness of self is the most important virtue. Obviously Jesus and his followers would disagree.

      In general, libertarian thought is based on two main principles:

      1.) Interaction and association between individuals should always be voluntary, not coercive.
      2.) The initiation of force against an individual is inherently illegitimate. (Non-Aggression Principle)

      So you could say that if one wants to follow libertarian principles, they should follow the Golden Rule. Now libertarians can come in all shapes and sizes, including but not limited to Christians and atheists.

      Now this does not mean that conservatives or libertarians couldn’t be influenced by Ayn Rand, but it does mean that they do not have to be influenced by her overall moral philosophy.

      A person like Ron Paul can agree with Ayn Rand on the free market, but easily reject her beliefs on God and where moral truth should be derived.

      Hopefully this overview was helpful.

      1. Todd G. says:

        This is somewhat helpful.

        Thank-you.

        I think your points 1 and 2 remind me a whole lot more of Simone Weil, an Anarchist that worked alongside the Spanish in the early 20th century than they remind me of Ayn Rand. Laissez faire/Tea Party folks from nowadays do not sound like Simone Weil, they sound like Ayn Rand.

        I don’t think the subject of Laissez Faire should be about where truth is derived I think it more a question about what values are and where values are derived.

  10. aggiejen says:

    Sorry, Carl, but unless all categories are equally ranked,this is faulty reasoning. If the vague “world in general” ranks on equal footing as the slaughter of millions of defenseless babies, then this makes sense. I think a better method is to assign values to each factor.

    1. Dasha says:

      Me too!

  11. jhippe says:

    Carl, I always appreciate your prayerful thought and analysis. I think that you bring a valuable perspective to the discourse in this country that is often lacking.

    As one a believer and follower of Jesus, I have to say that I generally agree with you in your analysis of the presidential race. While President Obama has not gone far enough, in my opinion, to promote the cause of peace and justice that Jesus teaches, he is much more in line with what Jesus teaches than Romney and the Republican party.

  12. dt says:

    The fact that you weight all of these categories evenly and give Obama the nod is breathtaking in its naiveté. I sure hope no one is calling on you to speak on this subject. Whereas i am not thrilled with either candidiate, Obama has lied on numerous occasions (not political spin)…goes to character.

  13. aj says:

    I so respect you and how you’ve helped our church in our Global Awareness, but I must confess, I’m very disappointed in your analysis of the presidential race.

    The fact that you equally weight each of your categories is the first thing I would challenge you on. The abortion one in specific really shows me how a person views the world and the value of human life, and it is hard for me to vote for anyone who is pro-choice for that reason.

    You also seem to give Obama the VERY generous benefit of the doubt and are pessimistic of Romney and even judge him based on a bad decision by Bush in one of your categories.

    Also, you don’t mention Obamacare anywhere in your analysis, which is the biggest “change” that is going to come out of the Obama presidency, and we cynically don’t really start to see any of the negative parts of it (except for insurance premiums skyrocketing the year after it was passed) until after Obama is re-elected. If that is not repealed soon we will end up with a program that everyone ends up hating and wonders how we ended up with it, but will be very hard to unravel later.

    Obama’s view of the government in not very limited (redistributionist), and if he continues to get to expand it like he did in his first presidency, we’ll see our personal liberties continue to get eroded.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me voice my opinion. God Bless!!

  14. Aaron says:

    SERIOUSLY? I’m saddened that a political post is the one that gets the most comments. How much time did Jesus spend on the oppressive Roman politics of his day? NOT MUCH.

    I also think it’s hilarious that Carl can’t have his own opinions, that some of you insist that everyone must think like you do.

    Not everyone has the same opinions, that’s why we have a Republic and we vote.

  15. chipdex says:

    Thanks for sharing Carl, as someone who used to avoid politics altogether but who is reluctantly trying to become more informed this is helpful to read.

    I do agree with the folks who commented that certain issues ought to weigh more heavily than others so perhaps it wouldn’t be just one point for each. What are your thoughts on that concept?

  16. andyyax says:

    To those asserting that abortion should outweigh the other issues I would like to know why? Why, should an issue that very rarely sees changes made in the legal and government systems be the one that dominates who we should vote for? I agree that it is certainly an issue that merits discussion, and reveals character and that a president’s opinion on this subject matters but I do not see how it outweighs other issues. Particularly issues in which we are likely to policy changes.

  17. andyyax says:

    To Carl,

    I agree with most of your opinions- of course there are some differences, but that is fine! I also generally agree with your stand on being opposed to war. I would just like to know your views on the Syrian crisis. I was recently visiting Syrian refugee families in Jordan and almost all of them want intervention. Most of them believe that without intervention the war will continue for a long time with many casualties. What do you think?

    Andy

  18. markb says:

    For me, truth and knowns give Romney the edge by a wide margin:

    1. Wow. Obama and integrity in the same sentence? This astounds me to hear you call it “even”. Please list one integrity issue with Romney. I’ll give you 5 Obama integrity issues for each one you list for Romney.

    2. “While Obama has not been great on this, he clearly leads Romney in this category.” Boy, that’s convincing. Please explain your reasoning. What we do know is that Obama has supported movements in the middle east that have resulted in radical Islamists now leading those countries.

    3. “Romney showed ignorance, even disdain for other nations on his July world tour.” I guess it’s ok with you that Obama shows disdain for America. He goes to other countries and apologizes for America? Another wow.

    5. Obviously, a libertarian point of view, but, really, why are you anti-war? You said “period”, so I assume if someone were to attack us (oh, say, fly planes in to buildings, killing 3000 or so people), should we just see if they want to talk about their issues with us?

    6. It’s clear at this point that you are going to make sure you don’t give Romney any points that would put him ahead. Romney has a lead here by a long shot. Obama knows nothing about economics, and he doesn’t care. In fact, he recently admitted he doesn’t keep track of, or worry about, the national debit or the deficit. He’s never held a real job in the private sector. Clearly, Romney, is a man that knows about economics and business, given that is where he has made a living.

    7. To me, this goes back to integrity. Obama has flip-flopped for opportunistic reasons. This is what he does. Has Romney flip-flopped on his gay marriage stance? Not that I know of. I may be wrong. If so, please provide a reference.

    8. Wow. I just don’t know how anyone can believe that Obama is a Christian, liberal or otherwise. Do you consider the church of Reverend White, where Obama attended for years, to be “liberal Christian”? Have you researched Black Liberation Theology? I’d take a Mormon over someone that thinks this way any day.

    9. Integrity, character; they usually go hand in hand. See (1)

    10. I’ve read numerous account of Romney’s kindness and charity towards those in need. He just doesn’t boast about his charity; he just does it. You should really do more studying here. Obama’s natural tendency for statism and marxism (redistribution) favors handouts that do nothing to help bring the poor out of poverty. Romney wants to help the poor get out of poverty so they can contribute to society and have a fulfilling life. “Handups, not handouts”.

    Romney “wins” by a wide margin. Obama is an embarrassment to our country, IMO. He has made us look weak to the world, has completely subverted the rule of law and our constitution (going around Congress, for example), exploded our debt and deficit, the list goes on. It really is an exhaustive list of failures in just 4 years.

  19. andyyax says:

    Mr MarkB much of what you have written is your opinion or a rhetoric of common republic noise about Obama and democratic politics in general (I suggest you take a real study of Marxism and Statism rather than repeat old misused cliches). You are very much entitled to your view and I will try to ask a couple of questions in a respectful manner (Which you might try to do in the future. Tearing into people because of a difference of opinion in politics, or just about anything else, does not make for dialogue and understanding. It’s the wrong path to take friend). However, I would certainly implore you to read things from both sides of the spectrum- pro democratic, pro republican and hopefully some neutral.

    But I have a couple of serious questions.

    What radical islamists has Obama helped put into power? And do either compare to helping to put in power the taliban in Afghanistan, or Ghedaffi in Libya or Mubarak in Egypt or The Ayatollah backed government in Iran???

    Why does appologizing for mistakes that a country has made mean that someone disdains that country? Do you disdain yourself if you appoligize? Is not humility one of the cornerstones of the teachings of Jesus… surely this should apply to our country too!

    Lastly, how does someone get to judge another persons religion or faith of choice? Obama says he is a Christian therefore a Christian. If he said he was a Muslim 100% of Americans would say he is a Muslim- even though most of the reasons people say he cannot be a Christian are just as against the teaching of Muslims. Remember to many people, myself included- and I am fairly sure Carl would include himself- someone who is a “Christian” is not necessarily someone who is a believer and follower of Jesus.

  20. Rejoicer73 says:

    I think many of your assessments were overly kind to our current President. I shudder to think of the state of the country with 4 more years of Obama.

  21. JohnM says:

    Carl– I love your books. I have given them away to many as they have changed my life in many ways, positively. But, you should stick to pointing people to Jesus, so that you don’t have to defend things that you can not defend. I’m sure you see your assessments of these two politicians as unbiased, but they come across as very superficial as to your reasoning to call some issues, for, against or a wash.
    You are influencing people here, as many respect you, as do I, so be careful that you are forced to defend those whose actions can’t be defended. Thanks for proving your humanity:)

  22. Aaron says:

    I’m guessing this is the last time Carl’s going to make a political post…

    I wonder if the folks that allow politics to drive a wedge into the greater church really have their priorities straight?

    “So we fix our eyes not one what is seen, but what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

    I’m not saying one shouldn’t have an opinion on politics, just don’t let it divide you and others. If you insist others should share your opinions, you’d fit better into an autocracy than a democracy…

  23. KathyM says:

    Like John M, above, I have also given away your book, Speaking of Jesus, several times and I think it has opened my eyes to a whole new way of living as a follower of Jesus. Therefore I was very surprised at your choice for president. While neither candidate inspires me much, one fact alone would be enough for me to NOT vote for Obama. I admit I disagree with virtually every policy he has but his pro-choice stand on the killing of the unborn is enough to make him NOT an option. I realize, as you say, the president cannot end abortion by himself but his thinking it’s acceptable to end the lives of the innocents simply because they are unwanted by their mothers and/or fathers speaks clearly of his moral compass.

    I also agree with Aaron. We shouldn’t let our opinions divide us. I still love the book and will continue to give it to others. It is full of incredible truth! And thanks for letting me share my opinion.

  24. Dasha says:

    What about the write-in candidates, for example Tom Hoefling? Seems we are choosing between the best of two terrible options with Romney and Obama. If they have no conscience about taking the life of an innocent baby (Romney’s exceptions), then that’s a good indication to me about their disrespect for people (ie Muslims, illegal or legal immigrants, prisoners, the poor,their wives;) in general.