Now I am not a believer in the two party system. I am not registered as a party member. I think the two party system is artificially divisive and contrary to a democratic system.
That said, I immediately eliminated all but the Republican and the Democrat from my list. Why? because the simple reality is one of them is going to be the winner. The other candidates are just background noise.They will grab a handful of votes, they might unintentionally cause a win for either the democrat or the republican by virtue of their not voting republican or democrat, but that is the end of it.
Yes, the two party system is stupid, but it can't be fixed from the top down (unless of course you want to go back to political poisonings, bedroom assassinations, and military coups. No? Didn't think so). No, this problem will need to be corrected from the bottom up (I will write on that subject later).
With that out of the way, I focused on a few criteria; qualities I felt were important.
Integrity - Romney finally released his taxes. Turns out he overpaid. That is a plus; making sure you are on the right side of the line. Obama paid his taxes too. So neck and neck on that one.
(You can argue all you want about "fair share of taxes", the fact is Romney paid what he was supposed to, plus a little extra.Yes, he gets tax breaks for large charitable donations, and investments... Maybe those deductions need to be reduced or eliminated (Then again charitable donations generally go to help those in need of help, and investments usually means money going back into the economy, creating jobs and such.... so... maybe not).
On the other hand, a large number of Obama's cabinet selections were tax cheats, does an honest man keep company with thieves?
I will give integrity a wash for now. Too much speculation is required to say otherwise.
Charity - I want a president who is compassionate. Charitable contribution is a reasonably good measure of that.
Romney's average annual charitable contributions are reportedly 13% of his income. I give him a B for that. It's okay, but not really anything to brag about.
"How can you say that?! Thirteen percent is well above the average (4.7%)!".
Romney's a Mormon, remember? They are expected to Give 10% to Church tithing (pays for buildings, church administrative costs, education programs throughout the world...). They are also expected to contribute monthly to a Fast-Offering fund (used exclusively to help the needy). The average I have seen reported for this is 1% of income. So an average Mormon (the "C" grade) is 11%. He is a few points above that. I Think a "B" is generous.
Obama on the other hand has averaged right around 3%. He is a wealthy American (even though he keep talking like he's just one of us average Americans). And with that kind of a record, he continues to go on about how Romney "Can give more". D-
Wisdom - Honestly, this one event all but locked my decision, even before I considered the other qualities. The Trayvon Martin incident...
It was big news, it had racial implications, naturally the candidates were asked about it. Every candidate said the same thing. Every candidate said it was a tragedy, and that it was terrible that the Police didn't already have Zimmerman in custody.
Every candidate... except Romney. He said it was a tragedy, and he expressed confidence that the police would perform a thorough investigation and act with fairness and impartiality. This displayed several desireable qualities:
- A positive approach to management.
- The ability to delegate responsibility, and get out of the way (you do NOT want a micro-manager trying to run a country!).
- Fairness, when everyone else immediately wanted immediate action, Romney wanted thoroughness. You also do not want a trigger happy president.
So that's it. Romney is my choice. I officially made it official and liked him on facebook tonight.