I got a call from my buddy last night to come watch Sunday Football, drink a couple beers, and just catch up. We talk politics like we watch football: We mutually respect each other's right to be who we are, but also take great pleasure in giving each other crap about our teams, our candidates, and our economic philosophies.
On my way over last night, I was smiling to myself while coming up with my top ten list of reasons why he should vote for Obama. Not to change his vote, mind you, but just to get him riled up and fire something back over beers. Deep down, I knew he was going to vote for Romney. His business ventures put him in the top one percent, income-wise; He is a big critic of the welfare state; He's a socially-moderate, fiscally conservative Catholic (rarely attending, though); He thinks and works hard to fulfill his own self-interest in his business and personal life, and feels no need to apologize for that.
So, I got to his place and settled into my beer, passed a round of chewing tobacco over to him (you can take the boy out of Missouri, but you can't take the Missouri out of the boy), smiled a smartass smile, and asked him the question I had been waiting for.
"So, who are you voting for for president?"
"I'm not sure," he said completely seriously, "but I think I'm going to vote for Obama."
I nearly choked on my Skoal.
If there's a slam dunk vote for Romney, I thought, this guy was it. I even half-heartedly tried to talk him out of it (I wasn't going to give up easily on having at least SOME sort of debate), telling him that his income bracket would seem to lend itself to Romney's economic promises just as much as his business management needs would find relevance with Romney's promises to ease the regulations governing short-term lending or whether he provided his employees with health-care. I talked about how critics of Obama's economic policies say that all of this uncertainty about government intervention/regulation makes banks/investors more skeptical about investment and has slowed the recovery. As devoid of legitimate talking points as the (R) platform is, there's enough nuggets there when, turned over the right way, are worthy of debate. I mean, who did he think he was, ruining my sparring match by freaking agreeing with me?
But, aside from not really liking that Romney is a Mormon, he said that his decision was based on, of all things, economics and prospects for his business. Without revealing too much personal information about him, his business caters to low to middle class families in an area with a large (nearly 50%) Latino population. He just said matter of factly (to paraphrase) - "I'm a numbers guy - and my numbers have been better under Obama, just like they were under Clinton. If those guys keep my customers coming through the door, I'll pay the 35% tax and not blink."
He added that a big part of it was that he can take (the equivalent of) food stamps for his business as well, so in a way the artificially-expanded middle class as a result of low-income entitlements is a big help to his bottom line. As long as a government is committed to maintaining a certain level of support for low income people, he will maintain the volume he needs to succeed as a business. In addition, he provides health care voluntarily anyway for all of his full-time employees ("It's just smart", he says, "because it allows me to find the right people, keep them healthy and happy, and keep them around."), so he's really not worried about Obamacare running him out of business - it will actually save him money to the extent that it makes health care cheaper.
On the Latino population, he also worried about what the immigration crusade mentality will do to his customer and employee base. This includes losing business from undocumented, poorly documented, or even legally documented families depending on how far the anti-immigration people (which includes Romney and more prominently Ryan) take that. In an area with a 50% latino base, this could devastate him. He also related a story to me of one of his regular employees, a green card holder who is paying the $800 to get her citizenship process dealt with. She was really nervous about the test and figuring out where to get the cash to go through the process, but she was more nervous about what people who advise that community are saying will likely happen if Romney is elected. Though most people think Obama is going to win, she didn't want to take the chance of being too far back in the line for citizenship that would rapidly form if Romney is elected and the Republicans start trying to get rid of Mexicans.
Life is Interesting.
Vote for Obama.
Thanks for the Rec List Guys. Only time in since I joined in '03 I've been on it lol.