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THE DROWNING OUT OF MODERATES

Updated: September 15, 2012 12:19AM



In the current political and economic climate, there is little tolerance for moderates.

There are many of us who exist quietly as we process information from the left and the right. We are sometimes hesitant to discuss politics because extremists from both sides seem to enjoy drowning out our views.

According to UrbanDictionary.com, a moderate is “a sane person,” someone “with a political belief that sits between the two extremes of liberal and conservative, usually combining aspects of both.”

At his core, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a moderate. I see a man who understands the importance of health-care issues and learned from his failures after passing reform as governor of Massachusetts.

I also believe he would ignite job growth, a major concern for Latinos in this election that is underrated in news media coverage.

Yet I question Romney’s ability to unite the Republican party. He is alienating moderates because of divisive pandering to the Tea Party. He adopted a hard line on illegal immigration, supporting self-deportation, to win over those conservative extremists.

For all his flaws, President George W. Bush grasped the contributions Latinos by and large make in the U.S. A few months ago I mentioned this to Joshua Hoyt, chief strategy executive of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Hoyt agreed, noting that Bush understood that many Latinos are church-going, patriotic, entrepreneurial and socially conservative.

Yet Bush failed to bring his party together on the immigration issue. In 2007 he couldn’t get enough Republicans to agree to legalizing about 12 million illegal immigrants. At this point it seems Romney wouldn’t dare make a similar attempt if elected, and that’s disconcerting.

Obama has plenty of baggage, the first being unemployment. While I applaud his commitment to revamping health care, he hasn’t done nearly enough to address the unemployment rate that measured 8.1 percent in August. Among Hispanics, it was a staggering 10.2 percent.

Some of Obama’s health-care initiatives worry me. In dissecting the risks of Obama’s cost-cutting approach to Medicare against that of Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, the Associated Press looked at a nonpartisan analysis and wrote that Obama’s move to make cuts to hospitals, drug companies and other providers could make Medicare look “more and more like Medicaid.”

“Doctors will stop taking new Medicare patients,” the AP continued. “Many hospitals and nursing homes would start losing money, and some may have to shut down. Innovation would slow, as drug makers and medical device manufacturers think twice about bringing new products to market. Seniors would have problems getting appointments or face waiting times for elective surgery. Quality would decline.”

Scary stuff.

On immigration, Obama had been a complete letdown until he gave the executive order in June to stop deporting undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria. Immigration reform was a back-burner issue for the president, evident by the better-late-than-never temporary remedy.

It has been widely publicized that more undocumented immigrants have been deported under Obama than any other president, another knock on his tenure.

Still, I admire the president’s intellectual nature, that he seems to carefully weigh opinions. Raised to be socially conservative, I am far from that now. When Obama came out in favor of gay marriage, I was on his side. On abortion, well, that’s between a woman and her God but not the government.

But people need jobs. There is too much despair out there. I am having trouble getting around the reality that on this the president failed to deliver.



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