Timberlake: Party affiliation shouldn’t dictate personal preferences

Ian Timberlake

Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama have all spoken counter to partisan politics. Historically, most politicians, whether bidding for office or long-time seat holders speak at least somewhat of across-the-aisle appeal. Partisan politics divides the nation and stupefy the commons.

Politicians are people-pleasers; while that may not be their job title or a component of their list of responsibilities, we all know that the electorate is highly capable at pleasing potential voters. Paul Ryan recently said: “We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric.” Whether or not a politician actually enacts across-the-aisle policy making is one thing, but it doesn’t take a wallflower to figure out why he or she might try to appeal to an opposing party.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said: “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” It seems bipartisan rhetoric is leaping out the window.

The greatest mistake you can make in politics is holding a certain belief because it conforms with the ideology of the party with which you vote. Straight-ticket voters are only checking the “ignorant” box on the ballot — and in Iowa, we do have a box that allows you to vote entirely for one party. As a citizen and a voter, you should know your own personal ideology and choose a politician who parallels that closest to your own.

Democrats aren’t supposed to be pro-gun-control because their party stands that way, just as Republicans aren’t supposed to be pro-life because that is their party’s stance. The question is, do you hold these stances because that is the party you support? Or do you wholly believe in the issue regardless of party?

A lot of what I speak out for or against ends up getting me labeled a “hard liberal” or “fanatical right,” when in fact I just so happen to support women’s right to control their reproductive cycle as well as the belief more citizens should conceal carry.

My ideology is exactly that: my own. The droves of Obama “Forward” clubites and the teeming Romney pseudo elitists are no better or worse than the mullet man in the casino betting red because it’s “his” color.

Partisan politics will never go away; don’t think I’m saying otherwise. But more citizens need to actually look at what a candidate stands for as opposed to what the party stands for. Assess the candidates character and leadership potential and make a decision based on his or her moral capacity to do what is right for the nation as a whole.

Obama is not my ideal president, but he knows when a decision is right for the country, even when it is unpopular. Good politics is not necessarily popular politics. He bailed out the banks, a decision he didn’t want to have to make, saying: “If there’s one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, it’s that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal.” But analysts from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve agree it was necessary in preventing a major economic collapse thanks to circular bank loaning brought forth by the Bush administration.

As far as the health care law is concerned, even Fox News wrote the president’s plan will reduce the deficit in the following years: “Republicans have insisted that ‘Obamacare’ will actually raise deficits — by ‘trillions,’ according to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But that’s not so, the Congressional Budget Office said. … It did estimate that Republican legislation to repeal the overhaul — passed recently by the House — would itself increase the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022.” We are essentially the last first world nation to adopt universal health care.


Both of these instances are cases where unpopular decisions were made but were a benefit to the nation. Instances of politicians making people-pleasing decisions are rampant. This is why I said runaway partisanship stupefies the commons. It’s no different than the mother who gives candy to her child every time it cries.

I am voting for a re-election of Obama. Difficult decision making and intelligence are my key reasons, and he has already shown those traits. He uses facts and numbers to make his political decisions, not partisan ideology, unlike the current Republican Party (note Mitch McConnell above).

Thomas Jefferson said: “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.” In this, Jefferson made a valuable distinction between policy and ideology.

Politics is invested in your submission. Seek humanism and dispel politics that challenges natural-born rights. As the voting booths are built, avoid the “ignorant” box and break yourself from the arbitrary figments of the imagination, or “mind-forged-manacles” of straight-ticket voting.