Created on Monday, 29 October 2012 03:13 Written by Editorial Staff
No one would want to repeat the last four years.
Yes, the economy has begun a slow recovery from recession. The stock market is up, and unemployment has finally dipped beneath the level President Barack Obama inherited from the Bush administration.
But there is still much this country has to tackle. Income inequality continues to grow. Our generation, already the most indebted in modern history, faces a bleak job market, in which nearly everybody must work twice as hard for less and less to compete with a global workforce.
To top it off, those shrinking paychecks will not only be going toward our own needs, but toward the repayment of our massive national debt being passed on from our parents and grandparents.
Washington deserves ample blame for today’s situation. The reactive tea party contingent of the Republican party has made progress difficult. The serious problems we face have not been made any better by their obstination.
But Obama is not blameless, either. Handed the most impressive electoral victory since 1988, Obama squandered political capital through several poor decisions. The Affordable Care Act, while admirable in meaning and direction, was handed off to then-Speaker-of-the-House Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid to create. Without a firm, executive hand guiding the process, the legislation soiled the political climate on the hill, leaving the country fractured and small businesses confused and uncertain of the law’s effects.
The Dodd-Frank Act, the president’s signature piece of financial reform, represents another missed opportunity. With anti-bank sentiment high in the aftermath of financial calamity, the administration again handed off the bill to an ineffective Congress, which created a messy 2,319-page monster, written by regulators in bed with the large banks that failed in the first place. Today, Democrats claim the bill prevents bailouts, while Republicans say it enables bailouts: The fact is, we probably won’t know until it is tested.
With such strong winds in his favor at the beginning, the president’s noble intentions have seen poor implementation. This is not just unfortunate; it is a tragedy.
Yet over the past four years, there has not been a real oppositional party with a positive agenda. What we have, instead, is a group of men and women who are nothing more than impulsive obstructionists.
From a cohort of Senate candidates incapable of saying anything not offensive regarding rape to a foreign policy platform that basically seems reducible to “scream louder,” the Republican Party seems just as incapable of governing.
Heading this party is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Through the campaign season, the thing most clear about him has been his ability to change positions with chameleon-like precision to placate whomever he is speaking to.
And while a certain flexibility is desirable, it remains an open question as to what type of Mitt Romney we would get, if elected president. Would we get a sensible fiscal conservative, willing to face tough challenges and inevitably anger members of Congress, or would we get an oily snake oil salesperson, the arbiter of four years of unprincipled leadership and frustrating gridlock?
Policy-wise, there are things on which we agree with Mitt Romney. As the candidate more favorable towards American gas, oil and coal extraction, his proposals are more likely to stimulate the economies of much of rural America, while simultaneously creating more energy independence from the Middle East. As a business leader and professional waste-cutter, he is more likely to reform bloated agencies.
But with an impulsive foreign policy, a tax policy that moves us away from income equality and increasingly out-of-date positions on social issues, Mitt Romney seems less aligned with the ideals of our generation.
And while Obama’s record has often been a disappointment — he promised to close Guantanamo Bay, to end unilateral drone strikes and executive signing statements and to make progress on global warming — by signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, fighting for a more fair tax distribution and standing up for equal marriage rights, Obama has shown he will fight for the underrepresented.
This election, as with any election, we are presented with a choice between two candidates. An Obama presidency looks different than a Romney presidency. The system is not inexplicably broken, and it is important we realize that we have choice; a choice with consequences for the direction of the country.
With Obama, we can look forward to more moderate, at times progressive, policies and administrative continuity. With a Romney administration, we will see a huge question mark with unpredicable consequences.
For these reasons, we suggest you vote for Barack Obama.