Dear Esther: Why One Republican is Voting For Barack Obama

Bob in Ashville, NC

Bob in Ashville, NC

I received a note from my political pen pal, Esther.  Her note appears first.  It is short.







My response follows. 


Here is Esther’s note.


You are very likely a Democrat that wanted to put our nation in the hands of people that truly do not love America.  The Democrats love to spend money on themselves and not us low middle class people.



Bob’s Response


Dear Esther,


Actually I am a life long Republican.  I supported Ford, Reagan, the Senior Bush, and even the present president in his first election against Gore.  I was on the fence in his second election because I thought the hatchet job done on Kerry was abominable.  I actually can’t remember who I finally voted for – all I remember is confusion at that moment.  So I think I voted for Kerry, reluctantly.  No matter, I think the son of Bush would have been a bad vote.


My problem today is the Republicans are now the democrats of my youth.  They have outspent anyone in history; they took the country from 5 Trillion in debt (which took 100 years) to 10 Trillion in debt in 7 short years.  This year they will have a deficit of 1/2 Trillion dollars, not counting the sweet deal for the banks.  I received zero in tax reductions from the Bush cuts.  I wonder if you did.  So while I am voting this time for democrats, I’m really voting for my philosophy – balanced budgets, reduced debt and a reputation internationally as a leader and good place to live.  And, of all things, it is the democrats that will have to rebuild the military our good friends Bush, Rumsfeld and McCain (and Clinton) reduced to a midget compared to the giant it was.  We can’t even send 5,000 more men to Afghanistan; we don’t have the resources in place.


(I must admit I too now want universal health care and national standards for educators and students.  I also like Obama’s approach to business as outlined in his book “The Change We Can Believe In”.


I’m a former banker of all things.  My last bank position was in 1989, where I was (please sit down), president of NatWest Home Mortgage, a very conservative mortgage company.  (NatWest is a British Bank that purchased our formerly American owned bank).  I left and used all of my money to start a coffee business.


I rented a condominium for 12 years to avoid the expense of home ownership.  We lived on my wife’s salary from 1990 to 2002, the first year I was comfortable taking a salary from my growing, successful business.  I poured my money, sweat, tears and time into Kaffe Magnum Opus.  Not a cent did I take from the government, nor a dime did I get in tax breaks from Bush.  So I care less that Obama will stop the Bush tax cuts.  In fact, I look forward to this increase in government revenue from folks, like me now, who can afford it, so that we may have a chance at reducing the US government debt.


My son (who also owns a business) and I talked just last night (10/19/2008) over Sunday dinner about how the last 8 years reversed the long held policy of humane treatment for prisoners of war.  Now we torture people.  America tortured people?


I spent a week in Iceland a few years back in an effort to create a business in Scandinavia, jointly with a couple of entrepreneurs who lived in Iceland.  I was appalled at their attitude toward America.


We have family who fought to make our country a safe place to live.  Today, we are neither safe, nor prepared for another terrorist strike.  Where will you and I get smallpox vaccinations (the effectiveness of my childhood vaccination ran out 20 years ago) should some nut attack us with smallpox?  What will you and I do in the less populated areas in which we live if two big cities, say New York and Philadelphia are forced to evacuate on a few days notice?  How will we feed ourselves or get potable water.  And what will we do with 10,000,000 people?  Perhaps underpasses, big trees, garages and sheds will suffice for shelter, but unlike the South for Sherman (which too was horrible), there is not enough food or water in South Jersey.


Some say “this would be God’s plan”.  I say God would expect – as he did with the three men to whom he gave talents – that we would take the talents and have them work for our families and neighbors.  This means to me that we are now responsible to create a prepared nation, a strong nation militarily, with secure borders, and at the same time create a nation that is united again, as we were on September 12, 2001.  We are responsible to elect people who will get the USA prepared to help the people of this country when the next attack or natural disaster takes place.


You probably remember Peggy Noonan, who worked in the Reagan White House and was a strong voice for our Republican Party, and conservatism.  She wrote and published this month a book: “Patriotic Grace, What It Is and Why We Need It Now”.  I read it on Friday and Saturday as it is short and an easy read.  She is beside herself over what has come of our proud nation this past decade.  She also believes we will see in our life time another devastating attack in our country, and she knows we are not at all prepared to deal with it.


The nub of this is that the Republican way of governing has changed dramatically.  And as the old song goes “it ain’t what it used to be”.


It is hard for me to vote democratic.  I’ve read all of John McCains autobiographies (I’m done with them and would be happy to send them to anyone you thought appropriate).  He spent much of his life at the bar going after women.  When a pilot crashes a plane, normally they lose their wings and are moved out of the air command.  McCain crashed two planes, one in Texas and one in Virginia (on his way home from his girl friends home in Pennsylvania – in a Navy airplane – not a commercial flight as you or I would have to take), but he did not lose his wings.  Why?  I don’t know for sure, but I do know from his own words that his Grandfathers reputation as an Admiral helped his career, and his father, another four star Admiral, who was active while Senator McCain was in the Navy,  intervened several times to get Mr. McCain out of trouble.  It’s a funny thing, but McCain quit the Navy the day he buried his father.  My educated view is that he no longer had the support he needed to survive in the Navy.


So he married a multi-millionaire (actually he married Cindy before leaving the Navy so I ask for literary license) and goes off to Arizona where he could get elected to the positions he learned about as the Navies chief lobbyist for the six years prior to his discharge from the Navy.


On the other hand, Obama has several books, two of which I’ve read.  One, “Change We Can Believe In” is a list of what he will do in a first term.  I think it is the right plan.  The man is talented and a leader of the highest order.  Just look at how he has run his campaign for president.  He is organized, has a plan and has recruited the right people to run it.  Good for him.  He not only wants to lead this country out of the depths to which we fell, but he has the talent to get it done.


I like to say “we are where we are, and everything we did before got us here”.  It is true.  The fact that Obama is where he is, despite enormous obstacles, speaks volumes about his qualifications for president.  He has done what no man or woman before him did.


Just imagine Sarah Palin running the financial markets (the government now owns them) in this crisis.  She is simply not of this caliber and the folks who are thinking and seeing reality know this.  What kind of presidential candidate appoints a VP candidate like this?


My fingers hurt so I’ll close soon.


I am not a democrat.  And I wondered too what you base your observation that the democratic ticket does not truly love America (do you include Senator Biden?).  I respect your opinion but disagree strongly.  I am not stupid.  Nor are the people who love dearly, and fought fiercely for this country of ours.  We of all people see reality and know the difference between leadership and a fathers helping hand.


The democrats are spending on us Esther, so in a sense, yes, themselves.  But it is the so-called middle class who benefit, as a group, best.  It is the republicans who give so much to the super wealthy.  The whole Goldman Sachs team of Wall Street experts have made themselves wealthy under the Republican administration, and now, led by George Bush, are giving themselves $750 Billion dollars from you and I.  And it is my grandchildren, and yours, who will pay for the 10 Trillion in debt.  This situation is horrible.


I try now to be humorous, and I hope you will not take this the wrong way, but it seems to me that when Mrs. Palin appeared on Saturday Night Live, it was exactly where she is most talented to be.


I hope for all of our sakes that Senator Obama is elected.  Perhaps then the rest of this planet will see that Americans, you and I, recognize the plight we have caused and will take responsibility for it.  We are a good people, a good nation, but let us remember that it is you and I who put George Bush in office.  We elected him.





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