One of my biggest problems with the presidential election this year is the fact that politicians are trying to have it both ways; in other words, they’re not taking sides on issues. Sometimes, I’ve seen points brought up that don’t actually say that one candidate is better, and yet still seem to sway people's opinions.
Take this Romney advertisement. This video is interesting because it blames Obama for the closure of a car dealership. My most pressing problem with this claim is that it requires to be able to say, “I would do better on this issue,” which he frankly can’t do unless his views have changed. Romney didn’t support the bailout, without which there definitely would have been more closures of dealerships.
While there are legitimate reasons for not supporting the bailout, Romney is trying to have it both ways. The viewers' comments exemplify this logical inconsistency. One viewer mentions that upstanding Christian citizens in particular are losing their jobs as a result of Obama’s bailout. Another criticizes the spending required to save these companies, and calls them business failures for not turning a profit. Both of these are reasonable criticisms of Obama’s policy that can be addressed at length, but it is almost impossible to put them together and fire them both at Obama. Unless Romney takes the stance that he would have done the bailout and turned around the industry without closing a single dealership, he can’t have it both ways.
He needs to take a stand. Either he doesn’t support the bailout, in which case this ad is actually saying that Obama would be better on this issue (since the bailout saved dealerships), or he does support the bailout now, in which case his supporters can’t continue to charge Obama with a failed bailout. Luckily for Romney, there is an out. In order to win the support of both sides, he needs to say, “I don’t support Obama’s bailout; I would have supported a better bailout that my friends from Bain and I conceived that would have done a better turnaround of the company and saved more jobs for less.” This could definitely work to his benefit if he argues that a businessman who has successfully turned around businesses is more equipped to control bailouts than a community activist. People need to demand he take this position, or some other logically sound position, because his current one just doesn’t make sense.
To be fair to Romney, a lot of his trouble stems from his diverse crowd of supporters whose rally cheer seems to be "anyone but Obama." The problem is their diverse, often conflicting reasons for disliking Obama. If Romney takes a stance here besides the last one I outlined, he risks losing his supporters on the other side of this issue when they realize that Obama’s views are more in line with theirs. He faces the same risks on all of the issues in the coming election. It is often better for Romney to sit on the sidelines and let his supporters believe that he supports both sides of the issue. It gets him votes. But while this lack of a policy may be good for Romney, it is horrible for you, the voter. You could literally be voting for the man you agree less with on the issue(s) you care about most. And if you do that out of naivety, who’s really going to have buyer’s remorse come November?