Why I Would Vote for Mitt Romney Instead of Obama

UPDATE: Boyd Cohen has recanted this position. For other perspectives on the candidates, check out these posts:

Boyd Cohen, Ph.D., CEO, CO2 IMPACT

I grew up in a conservative family. However most of my adult life I have leaned to the left, despite all my business training and capitalist tendencies.  I now live in Canada (Vancouver), but I of course continue to pay attention to developments in my native homeland. And naturally with my interest in promoting climate capitalism, I have been particularly attuned to the lack of progress towards embracing a low-carbon economy in the U.S.  I am watching the world pass us by (Canada is along for the ride since its stated policy is to follow whatever the U.S. does, which is currently next to nothing) in its adoption of renewables, promotion of energy efficiency, innovations in public transit and much more.

In the last Presidential election in the U.S., I predictably voted for Obama because I did want change in the U.S. on a range of issues, not the least of which is climate change.  When Obama came into office, I believed he was sincere about wishing to bring the U.S. more in line with Europe and that he recognized the economic benefits for transitioning the U.S. to a low-carbon future.  Honestly I think he still does believe all that but he has fallen WAY short on achieving U.S. commitment to a global treaty or binding targets on GHG emissions.

So I know this comes as a shock to some of my climate-capitalist leaning colleagues, but if an election was held today for the next President of the U.S., I would actually vote for Mitt Romney instead of Obama, assuming that Mitt actually wins the Republican nomination.

Why?  Obama has become a polarizing figure in American politics and despite promises to the contrary has failed to eradicate the bi-partisan behavior in Congress.  Climate change, health care, debt reduction, reform of financial markets, etc. have all been divisive issues and in almost 100% of the time, have led to votes completely down party lines.

What we need in the U.S. is to have a President who is capable of mending some fences and enabling more bi-partisan support for issues that matter.  I feel that as long as President Obama is in office, we may never get movement on some of the issues that matter most to me, like climate change.
Mitt Romney on the other hand is a conservative who recently reaffirmed that he actually accepts that climate change is a reality and is something we must tackle.  “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that. It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”

I know this statement and Romney’s track record on climate change is not going to blow away climate scientists and those concerned about one of the biggest challenges our world has faced since humans have lived on it.  But a legitimate, credible, respectable CONSERVATIVE Republican presidential candidate who is not towing the party line of denial is beyond refreshing.

Republicans who were once outspoken supporters of action on climate change have gone silent, or worse become critics of climate legislation. The most shocking example was when Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went from co-writing climate legislation to voting against his own legislation as he realized his stance was unpopular with the majority of his party.

There is still much to be seen on whether Romney will stay true to his word as the race for Republican nominee heats up because his stance on climate change is not popular in the Republican Party.  And as Climate Progress points out, Romney has a history of flip-flopping on issues, most recently on health care.

But if Romney can stay firm on the issue throughout the runup, and win the nomination, I would be inclined to vote for him.  I believe most of us concerned about climate change, at this point, would take any federal action on climate change as a baby step in the right direction. Putting a price on carbon, a carbon tax, cap and trade, binding GHG targets, or heck at this point a stated recognition that the climate science is valid would all be achievements compared to where we are now.

While I believe Obama is polarizing, I am hopeful that if Romney were President he could get some kind of agreement with the Democratic party and hopefully turn some Republicans who deep down are also smart enough to know that climate change is real and is already having impacts on their constituents (think the recent flooding in the Midwest and Southeast).

I hope Romney sticks to his guns on the topic of climate change and finds arguments, like climate capitalism (i.e. economic and job growth can be obtained by embracing the low-carbon economy), that will appeal to the right (and the left) in order to unite congress, and the American public, in becoming part of the solution rather than continuing to be a Fossil of the decade alongside its Canadian puppet.


Boyd Cohen is the CEO of CO2 IMPACT, a carbon origination company based in Vancouver, Canada and Bogota, Colombia. Boyd is also the co-author of Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change.

Twitter: boydcohen

This series uses the hashtag #climatecapitalism



Boyd Cohen is the CEO of CO2 IMPACT, a carbon origination company based in Vancouver, Canada and Bogota, Colombia. Boyd is also the co-author of Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change.Twitter: boydcohen

25 responses

  1. You really haven’t been following US politics closely enough if you think Romney would be a unifying figure who would get environmental legislation through a Senate which might be even more conservative (if you’ll remember, cap & trade passed the house – which was used to help defeat many democrats – and stalled in the Senate).

    If anything, politics will be even more toxic after the 2012 election. And that is not Obama’s fault. If anything, be spent too much time trying to get Republican votes for his legilation.

    And would Romney choose better people for EPA, energy, and interior than Obama would in a second term? Would the judges he nominates to the Supreme Court & other courts uphold environmental laws? And even if he did would they get through a Republican Senate?

    Obama should have done more, and may try to do more in a second term (though the chance of anything passing depends on if the Democrats can take back the House and retain the Senate – though that is less likely if Obama loses).

    1. You sir have no idea what you are talking about. Obama has done NOTHING to better this country. Everything he has done has been to make himself look good and push his own personal agenda which HAS NOT worked at all. Obama care is so costly it alone will bankrupt the country. He has failed at everything he attempted plus spent almost 6 TRILLION dollars we don’t have for NOTHING. WE are worse of now than when he took office and getting worse each day he is in DC. The best thing Obama could do is RESIGN and vacate the White House today. Biden would do better.That sounds crazy, but, I think Joe Biden could do a better job as crazy as he is than Obama has. My 3 year old nephew could out do Obama. Obama is the worst man to ever hold his office and he’s getting worse each day. IF you believe differently you are just blind and in denial.

  2. This post is so full of ifs and hopes about a flip-flopping political hack that it can’t be taken seriously. Obama is “polarizing” only because of the continuous and feckless Republican mission to demonize him. There is nothing inflammatory or polarizing in his approach to governing. You seem to have forgotten Obama’s wasted attempts to reach bipartisan agreements throughout his presidency–Republicans simply laughed in his face and said no. Romney’s one sentence on climate change pales in comparison to what Obama has said–and done–on the subject. Just look at what the EPA has done over the past two years. Do you think the EPA would even exist under a Romney administration?
    When he announced his candidacy Romney said, “We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy” because of Obama. This is nonsense of Palinesque magnitude and shows he’ll say anything to gain votes.
    If he does get the nomination how quickly will he back away from his climate change statement and tow the Republican line? I give it less than 10 minutes.

    1. Obama is a very polarizing president and his tactics, if used by a Republican president, would cause riots in the streets by the political left. The best example of this is the health care bill. Obama promised a national debate, transparent review, and bi-partisan collaboration for the creation of this bill. Instead, the proposed bill was never released for review, rammed through both houses of congress in less than a year, the Senate bill was forced upon the House ‘as-is’ even against Speaker Pelosi’s objections, the senate was held in session late on Christmas Eve (2009) until voting the bill through, and the President turned a 72% majority ‘for’ health care insurance reform into a 42% minority ‘for’ because of the lack of transparency. The president told the GOP to, “Go to the back of the bus…” and “Elections matter” in the process of forcing his opponents to swallow the pill. As an independent I do not see how this anyone can call this bi-partisan. The political right adopted a ‘no’ policy after this approach was used on three or four polarizing proposed bills.

      On Romney’s record: His ‘flip-flop’ mantra is largely a political construct. On healthcare he is for health insurance regulation on a state level after the budget is balanced. He is not backing down on his support for the MA law even when FOX and all of his primary opponents are calling for his head On the environment, as governor he supported a eastern states ‘Cap and Trade’ as long as it didn’t hurt state business interests. When it was shown that it would hurt business interests he withdrew his support. As a candidate he has taken the same position. This environmental position, although moderate, is very much opposed by the far right.

      I will be voting for Romney because of his consistent moderate right positions, his ability to find a working solution, and most importantly because of his expertise in turning financial failures into successes.

  3. I agree with the author. Obama has become a polarizing figure of his own accord. He refuses to even personally engage with Republicans on the budget issue, dispatching instead the equally polarizing Joe Biden. He can’t get anything done with Republicans. He’s a far cry from Bill Clinton who was able to work with Republicans in the 90s and produce an era of great prosperity.

    Mitt Romney, in contrast, worked very effectively with a MA legislature that was so democratic it could override his veto at will. He compromised where necessary but got things done.

  4. You’d pin your hopes on Romney to stay tough on a difficult issue? As you say, he’s already proven that he won’t with respect to health care reform. He flip-flopped his position on health care because his stance on health insurance reform was too polarizing within his own party – and that was just to get into the race for the Republican nomination.
    Maybe you intended this post just to be provocative, but it makes me seriously question your judgment.

  5. I grew up being taught global warming in Cionecticut schools. It made sense, but is based on the now likely false presumption that greenhouse gasses cannot escape our atmosphere. In other words, science changed my mind about global warming as a threat. ERrh has a safety valve. My climate skepticism further increased when i read Al Gore statements suggesting it is okay to exaggerate climate data by 100 times to effect change at a political level, something we saw actually takes place this year at a top research lab. Apparently climate scientists value their funding enough to exaggerate and interpret data in their favor. This being said, I prefer a President who looks at the whole picture, and while I do not believe CO2 is a danger to Planet Earth, there are other gasses that are harmful to life as we know it. I’d prefer cars that are lighter on carbon monoxide, for example. Mitt won’t sacrifice the economy to cap and trade, but I think he does promote civility and has a healthy regard for science. (Mormons tend to like science, not considering it a threat to their theology but rather a tool for truth’s advancement.)

    Mitt 2012!

  6. Mitt Romney non partisan? Did you bother to LISTEN to his speech when he entered the campaign last week? OMG….I voted for Mitt for Governor and then watched him run around the country and trash his own state. Is there any major issue Mitt the Flip hasn’t flipped about ? One? Obama went more than the extra mile to reach across, but when you are continually called a socialist, muslim, non-citizen, kenyan colonialist when do you you draw the line? When? The Republican party has been hijacked and Mitt Romney is in the band of thief’s.

  7. What is crazy to me is how incredibly hypocritical these “anti-mandate” people are. They constantly talk about going back to our “Founding Fathers”, or going back to “Reagan” or following Paul Ryan. Yet EVERY one of these idols they drool over supported or is supporting Mandates, and not just at the State level, at the FEDERAL LEVEL.

    In other words, the irony here between Ronald Reagan, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney is that Romney is the only one who actually followed the Constitution on this.

    ReaganCare, or EMTALA (Yes I’m going to unfairly call it REAGANCARE since that’s the treatment Romney gets) imposed a FEDERAL MANDATE upon all 50 states which forces Doctors to treat everyone who walks in the door whether they can pay or not. In some cases, the doctor has to eat the cost when taxpayer money is denied or not fully covered. Isn’t that a form of Slavery? Didn’t we fight a war over that?

    RyanCare has a FEDERAL mandate for some qualifying seniors over the age of 55 to purchase their own insurance to reduce the tax-payer and debt burden on our collapsing Medicare system.

    Now I’m not bashing Ronald Reagan or Paul Ryan. For one, I think that in a modern society, we should be civil enough to help our sick and injured. But SOMEONE has to get paid for it. I think Ryan’s plan is tremendous. People SHOULD be responsible for paying for themselves. You don’t walk out of a grocery store with your cart full without being expected to pay do you? So why should you expect to walk out of a hospital with no obligation to pay the person who treated you? What’s the difference? Why is one called “compassion” and the other called “theft”?

    Hasn’t Conservatism always been about personal responsibility? Isn’t the opposite of Conservatism, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”? Isn’t that what is going on in America today when people don’t have to pay for their health care? If we’re going to say that Doctors are FORCED to treat someone, but we can’t FORCE someone to pay, what do you think will happen? The country falls apart.

    So we bash Mitt Romney to death for this? Why? I’m sorry to say this, but the #1 reason why we have the Health Care mess (and to a large extent our economic mess) is because of Ronald Reagan’s plan. That sounds awfully harsh, but it’s the truth. The mandate was unfunded from the start. Reagan knew this, and Congress knew this back then, yet they did it anyway.

    So Romney and Ryan say, “Hey, people HAVE to start relying on themselves to pay for health care. We’ve got to get people off of the taxpayer’s dime. It’s suffocating America”. Since you can’t hand an ambulance your debit card when you’re bleeding to death on the side of the road, Health Insurance is the most practical way to pay.

    I’m just asking for some honesty to all of this. I’m game to debate which candidate is the best for America, but the lies and misrepresentations are so damn hypocritical it has become pure insanity.

  8. “Climate Change” is the fudge phrase invented by Socialist when they failed to explain why their predictions of global “warming” panned out, and the planet actually got cooler. They switched from warming to “change”, so that they would never lose face. The one thing we can be sure of, things will always “change”. That way, no matter what, they can say they were right all along. But they are not … “climate change” that ask “rich” countries to pay poor countries to “modernize” is nothing but socialism wearing a new dress.

    1. Oh Bill… where do you people come from? “change” has always been the more accurate term, “instability” would be the most accurate term, and it has nothing to do with politics, and certainly not socialism.

      Your understanding of science and geo-politics is so lacking, it’s hopeless to even try to engage.

  9. I don’t think Romney was so much in your camp as you think. He will not flip flop from what he said but I don’t believe he sees it as you do either. Don’t get your hopes up. I like Romney’s balance and fairness

  10. Great post, and great conversation!

    I’m not particularly fond of either party, but I have my doubts that Romney will pay anything more than lip service to climate change for fear of the wrath of the most stick-in-the-mud members of his party. If he actually has the guts to stand up and make a green economy part of his platform, then it would certainly do wonders for both parties.

  11. I agree, I’m very liberal and I would’ve never thought I’d be ok with a republican president. But I can appreciate Romney’s moderate views. Yes, the republican stumping certainly had a great role in Obama’s inability to accomplish many of his initiatives. But I also think he carries some of the blame as well. In trying to be the president for everyone, he wasn’t aggressive enough in standing firm on his leftist goals. Conversely, the Republican party is so unapologetically right-winged that they really ban together. I’m not saying that strategy is healthy for a bipartisan system, but it seems to be working for them. I think Obama is simply too soft and should’ve fought fire with fire a bit more making the Republicans realize that the only way they’d get some of their initiatives across, they’d have to give and take. Now in a political climate so polarized, a moderate like Romney may be what we need. Conservatives won’t stump him because he’s on their side, and democrats would be more willing to work with him because of his relatively middle ground. Hopefully 4 or 8 years of someone like him will can quell the flames and open the floor to bipartisanship in the long-term future.

  12. I’m not fond of politicians in general but Obama walked into a real mess left to him by Bush.  Those thinking of voting for Romney need to read more about the Mormon religion and it’s beliefs.  Yes, church and state should be separate but in reality they are not.  The poor and homeless will suffer under any republican administratrion and no not all poor are just using welfare just not to work, I’m a disabled veteran on a disability pension from VietNam and can’t work though I’d love to.  Please read and research before voting..Thanks for reading.

    1. Obama has admitted to being a muslim and you’re concerned about Romney be a Christian Mormon?  And you’re a U.S. verteran and not concerned about Obama who wants a bill to make you pay your own veteran expenses?  Please you should be ashamed for those kind of comments.  I only hope you weren’t a Marine!

    2. Obama is a muslim….and a liar.  The poor and the homeless has more than doubled with Obama being in office. 
      As for the people on welfare…these types don’t want to work, they just keep kicking out babies, the more babies the more money. I know some that is getting welfare and working for cash, some selling drugs.
      Obama is doing nothing to stop a lot of the illegals coming into the usa……
      IF Obama cared for our vets, he would do so, its because he does not care.  He would rather give people entering the usa giving the thousands of dollars to start a business, I know for a FACT illegal mexicans are getting FREE medical, welfare, they show fake I.D.s, I know 2 of them, call ice nothing gets done.
      Obama does not care for our children, he has destroyed their futures…..
      As for you being a VET, would you please explain to me why when the Pledge was being said, he did not cover his heart?…
      Why did he try to hide his so called birth certificate.
      Yes, I will vote for Romney.

  13. I was raised in massachusetts in a democratic family,but on just the issues of illegal immigration and seeing my own children and there friends not being able to get jobs.Just for the sake of our economy and the future of ssi,we(my whole family 80 yr old grandparents included are going republican on this one and Mitt will have our vote.Our economy is the most dire right now and believe me for those of you who havent felt its affects,you will.If we don’t have money,we have nothing.You need working AMERICAN citizens to put back into the economy not send it out of the country.Its American citizens who keep ssi going,does everybody think ssi is a bank account,no you need the younger generations working at all times putting into it.If illegal immigrants have the jobs then no ones putting into the pot,GET IT,WAKE UP SLEEPING DAYDREAMING AMERICANS<WAKE UP FAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Obama is a total failure as president and my pit bull could do a better job. Obama is the most dangerous ENEMY this country has at this time. Four more years of Obama and he will complete his socialist takeover and America, as we know it, will be DEAD! Any one who believes Obama is a good president is just foolish. Romney perfect, NO, but he will do significantly better than Obama. There is no reason to think he won’t. He is at least honest and has his own money. He won’t steal it like Obama. I wonder how much of that 6 trillion Obama has sunk away for himself!? I guess we’ll see later. I wish he was OUT right NOW!

  15. All politicians can (and usually are in some degree) be liars, and in truth Romney’s flip flopping scares me more than lying, because is demonstrates a lack of conviction, competence, and that he is more concerned about getting into office by putting out a face that is most appealing to the largest audience. To be honest i think he would switch over to the democrats to get a larger vote if that were possible. But to make a point, here are my arguments to at least question automatically voting for Romney:
    1. Money needs to go to the American public, and not to hand full of self serving millionaires. As capitalism dictates, people who hold money will try to find ways to make the most money for the least effort. This includes sending their massive amounts of funds over into other nations. The best and most efficient way to turn the Economy around is to get more funds to the people, who will then spend that extra money on goods, which stimulates businesses, which then will create jobs and cause an upward spiral. That or hope that the rich invest in america (which is not doing so hot).
    2. Obamacare may not have been a smart economic venture, but it is a humanitarian effort and i seriously respect Obama for trying something so selfless in such an economically heartless background. The bottom line is that this will help A LOT of people. someone smart enough to succeed it that is someone who i’d like running my country.
    3. I know everyone is tired of this argument, but i can’t help but feel that there are people (my parents included) who fail to see Obama in any sort of objective fashion. I hear muslim, antichrist, nigger, and i can’t help but question the intelligence of the person speaking. Contrary to what people would believe he is a person. An intelligent man who happens to not be white. A president is meant to be one of the people, to lead the people. if one is so blind to think that a white man is the only type of person who could handle the presidency then you must seeing and hearing a different reality than the rest of us. But my point is this: IF YOU ARE GOING TO HATE OBAMA, GIVE A REAL REASON. IF YOU CAN PROVE HE IS WORTH HATING, THEN BY ALL MEANS, GO FOR IT. BUT DON’T CALL HIM THESE AWFUL THINGS WHEN YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYTHING OUTSIDE REPUBLICAN PROPAGANDA (FOX NEWS & RUSH LIMBAUGH FOR STARTERS).

    and lastly, think before you speak, because hate without evidence just makes you sound stupid, regardless if it is accepted by a large group (because the collective intelligence of fifty pidgins is still not saying much).

  16. I still wonder why neither candidate has brought up the real fact of why jobs were lost and why houses were lost with a resultant problem with the economy. We all know that the banks, the loan groups and the stock market was the cause of all of this.. Country greed I call it! With so many folks, screwed up federal and state taxes – what really will be done. Lower the bar and cut deductions – that is quite stupid. This is a free society and those who had families with money did well, those that humped and bumped and cheated have it well. The rest of us have only worked for CEO’s that get large bonus’s. Now you want to know where the problem is…Not with the candidates, with the Parties in Congress. Lets vote for either candidate and impeach everyone in congress. Start with Boner, Pelosi, Ried and a few others and watch change happen.

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