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November 4, 2012

DUVALL: In increasingly ugly America, it's time to get serious

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — If your candidate for president, congress, city council or dog warden doesn’t have a good answer, one that makes sense to you, don’t vote for them. 

I’ve got some soul searching of my own to do between now and Tuesday. 

Mitt Romney does not, in my judgment, have a good answer. In fact, the detail-free campaign he’s run means he doesn’t really have much of an answer at all. A promise to “get the economy going again” isn’t enough when you never tell the people how you’re going to do it.

President Obama has been similarly light on details about his plans for the next four years. Given his record over the last four years, there’s substance for me to judge and it’s a mixed bag. Facing the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression he passed a pork-laden stimulus bill that yielded marginal results. He then pivoted to a health care fight that divided the nation and, though he won an important fight to extend health insurance to nearly all Americans, it came at the cost of three more years of even more bitterly divided government at a time when the nation desperately needed its president to bring everyone together.

I think the economy is improving, though I can’t say how much has to do with the president’s policies and how much of it is simply cyclical. Even doing nothing — which is essentially what Congress did this term — things were so bad they were bound to get better eventually. 

I wonder if we’ll ever return to the kind of country this was in the 1990s, when growth seemed inevitable and the horizon was bright.

So here’s what I’m facing Tuesday: I will walk to the senior center at the corner of my street, smile at the friendly old black lady I see every year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, sign my name in the book as I do have year, and take my ballot. I might sit down and color in the bubble next to Obama’s name. Or I might cast a vote in the other elections and leave the presidential slot blank. It’ll be a difficult decision.

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