I am a registered Independent. I voted for Barack Obama. And for that, I am sorry.
I'm not sorry for you. I'm sorry for me. Because I voted for Obama for me, not for you. I voted for hope and change and all the intangibles that Obama was peddling in the wake of the financial crisis, Sarah Palin, Sept. 11 and all the other ills that shook our country in the last decade. I wanted something new. Something different. What I got was, I suppose, exactly what I voted for - a spin doctor. And not a very good one at that.
Before John McCain unwittingly picked a tabloid-magazine cover girl for his running mate, I was leaning toward going Republican this time around. I did the second time Bush was on the ballot and I very nearly did the first time, too. But as soon as Palin climbed out of her igloo and onto the national scene, well, there was no turning back for me.
You see, I felt my choice was to risk McCain dropping dead and letting the world's most well-known hockey mom run this country, or to believe that Obama would surround himself with educated people and that he was smart enough to take their advice.
I was right. He is smart enough to seek counsel. I'm just outraged at the counsel he's seeking these days. Key financial leaders who are tax cheats come immediately to mind, but as the recent terror attack made clear to me, the idea that a president of the most powerful nation in the world could think it was OK to have a Homeland Security chief with such a loose grasp of what terrorism is and how it works is troubling.
I was right there laughing when George W. Bush struggled with the names of countries around the world early in his tenure. And while my knowledge of foreign policy is limited, I thought Bush's was lousy, too. But after Sept. 11, I saw a man with no charisma step up and fight for this country, its citizens and its freedom. Bush became a leader.
Seven years later, I am ashamed to say that I was blinded by charisma. Obama was so convincing that I stopped caring about what he knew and started getting caught up in the euphoria. Imagine having a president who came from a broken home, who had money troubles, who did grass-roots community service? A young father. The first black president. It pains me to admit I got caught up in the hoopla.
But McCain made it easy. He's a smart man, I don't doubt that. But between picking Palin, suggesting that the first debates be delayed and, well, picking Palin, he made it easy for Obama to win. As Election Day drew near, all Obama had to do was keep his mouth shut to win.
All that changed when the Obama campaign became the Obama administration. I was a small business owner during 2008 election and my business ultimately failed under the weight of a horrendous economy. I am not ashamed. I worked hard. But I believed that Obama would try to level the playing field between big business and small, between thieves and honest business people, between greed and moderation. Instead, he bailed out the most wicked and left the rest of us fail.
I watched with horror as Obama followed Bush's lead in bailing out banks, auto makers, insurance companies, all of those companies deemed "too big to fail." What does that mean? My small company got thrown under the bus and my savings were ravaged - perhaps Wall Street is using them for bonuses this year.
Not to mention President Obama is recklessly spending our country's future into oblivion.
It was clear after just 90 days what a mistake I'd made. My taxes have gone up and my quality of life has gone down. Hope has given way to disgust and I see now that change is simply a euphemism for "big government."
Like many others, my view is narrow. I vote for the candidate I think will be best for me. I often define myself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. But above all, I want to feel safe and I don't want to feel that I am being ripped off. I want a president who inspires me and cares about my contribution to the fabric of the country. I want a president with experience and savvy, a Commander in Chief who puts our country and its citizens first.
I only hope the Republicans can find him the next time around.