I voted for Obama, not because I approve of every foreign policy decision he's ever made, or his immigration policy, or was thrilled by his debate performance. I voted for Obama because I'm pro-life, pro-family and pro-growth, words that I think have been co-opted and misused by an ever-radicalizing right for far too long.
For me, pro-life doesn't mean protecting children between the moment of conception and the moment of birth. It means protecting the social programs — like Medicaid and public education — that are essential for protecting and shaping those same children after they leave the conveniently politicized realm of a woman's body.
Pro-family doesn't mean demonizing and dehumanizing a group of people because they seek the basic right to visit a lifelong spouse in the hospital as a legal family member, or the same estate tax benefits that so unquestioningly applies to a heterosexual couple married on a whim in Vegas. It means that the same-sex married couple moving in next door doesn't threaten the sanctity or integrity of my heterosexual family, but rather reinforces and models the values of lifelong commitment and partnership that I want to instill in my kids.
For me (and the majority of academic economists), pro-growth means that I don't subscribe to an antiquated vision of trickle-down economics that has been invalidated repeatedly by every modern-day economist who's worth his salt, or a misguided five-point plan that's been recycled from the utter macroeconomic failure that was the Bush administration. It means that a failure to address structural inequality (that's right, poor people are important, too) will slow long-term macroeconomic growth and undermine our ability to stabilize the economy. It means that a blind policy of deregulation will leave us vulnerable to the same financial risk-taking that drove us into the Recession in the first place.
For those who think that Romney's disproved policies will somehow magically pull us from the path of slow growth and unemployment, please read the Financial Times' or the Economist's endorsement of Obama.
I have no doubt that Mitt Romney may be a generous man in his personal life, or that Paul Ryan might have really enjoyed reading Ayn Rand. I even believe that the idea of small government might be a good one, so long as that idea also applies to our discussion of what happens inside a married couple's bedroom or who should control a woman's reproductive system.
I really don't believe, however, that the radicalized Republican Party behind Romney and Ryan belongs anywhere near the White House.