Stu Bykofsky: Sorry, Mitt, I just don't know you that well

The debaters threw out a lot of accusations and campaign talking points. But which of the two do we really know?
The debaters threw out a lot of accusations and campaign talking points. But which of the two do we really know? (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: October 19, 2012

ON MONDAYS, Wednesdays and Fridays, I like Mitt Romney's policies. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, not so much, because he reverses what he said the day before. Sundays he refuses to give any specifics about his policies.

Half the time, I like Barack Obama's policies. When I don't, at least I know what they are.

Democrats rabidly call Romney a liar, but he's just playing politically smart hardball. He can attack Obama on his policies while not having to defend his own because they change faster than a runway model changes her dress.

It may be smart politics, but he's asking me to buy a pig in a poke and I don't eat pork.

Romney says, in effect, "Trust me." I'm sure he knows that Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, but verify."

I'm pretty sure Romney wants to cut federal income taxes, which are among the lowest in the developed world, but says he'll make it revenue-neutral by "closing loopholes." He won't say which ones.

He says that cutting taxes to stimulate the economy has worked before, and it has, but never when taxes were as low as we have today.

I know he wants to cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - bye-bye, Big Bird - but won't say what social programs would get cut, other than Planned Parenthood.

When you are trillions in the hole, you get a second job. You don't cut your income, which is what a tax cut would do to the government, at least in the short term.

I don't want to see lower taxes, I want to see higher taxes, at least on those who can afford to give a little more, and that includes me, even though I am well below the 1 percent. I have most of what I need, my kids are out of school, I own my home and even though my income (thanks to the near-death experience of my employer) has gone down in recent years, I can pay a little more. Those of us who can, should. Otherwise, we are saddling our children with our debt.

It isn't right. It isn't moral. Both Democrats and Republicans have been buying our votes with our own money, but that's a subject for another column.

I realize that Obama has no sharp plan to get rid of the debt, but he has been more open to inflicting pain than Romney.

On the other hand, Romney seems more open to inflicting pain on our enemies, and he's not afraid to name them. Obama made a fool of himself by banning words like "terror" and "terrorism" and "Islamist" from government jargon because some overseas Muslim somewhere someday may take offense. Truth is, some overseas Muslim somewhere someday will take offense at anything we may say. Obama is force-feeding us a debilitating political correctness.

I thought his "you didn't build that" revealed an enormous ignorance about American business - as if it doesn't pay the taxes that did build that.

I don't like Obama's foreign policy in the main, which coddles enemies and cold-shoulders allies. I don't like his whispered assurance to Putin's henchman.

I'm not likely to hear anything new from either of them Monday night in the tiebreaker debate on foreign policy, but Romney will be on the attack. Think Libya, an issue on which Romney has spun like a weathervane.

On domestic policy, Republican congressional behavior has occasionally crossed the line between principle and obstruction, between patriotism and insanity, such as balking at raising the debt ceiling, which contributed to the first downgrading of America's credit rating in history. They are so much about denying Obama a second term that they put themselves before their country. They don't deserve to be rewarded for that.

I don't like Obama's naivete, that all you have to do is be nice to bad guys - North Korea, Iran, Russia - and they will be nice in return. They won't.

That is quite a litany of complaints I have against the president. I am unhappy with Obama on several fronts, but I pretty much know who he is.

I can't say that about Mitt Romney. I simply do not know what he really believes, how he would really govern.

And I can't vote for a man I don't know.


Contact: stubyko@phillynews.com, 215-854-5977, on Facebook. Recent columns: philly.com/Byko.

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