Deserving of a second term
The stark choice of Obama vs. Romney
Published: October 31, 2012
"Republicans, however, are committed to an economic doctrine that has proved false, indeed disastrous, in other countries. Nor are they likely to change their views in the light of experience. After all, facts haven't gotten in the way of Republican orthodoxy on any other aspect of economic policy. The party remains opposed to effective financial regulation despite the catastrophe of 2008; it remains obsessed with the dangers of inflation despite years of false alarms. So it's not likely to give up its politically convenient views about job creation.
"And here's the thing: if Mitt Romney wins the election, the G.O.P. will surely consider its economic ideas vindicated. In other words, politically good things may be about to happen to very bad ideas. And if that's how it plays out, the American people will pay the price."
We wish there were some other practical choice — a viable third-party candidate that more completely embraced the progressive values this paper has championed since its founding more than 32 years ago.
But the reality is that, unlike times in the recent past, there's no candidate representing the left wing who merits anything close to serious consideration.
And so, progressives are left with two choices: We can stay home in protest of Obama's failings, or we can give him our vote — both to fend off the certain disaster of a Romney presidency, and to ensure that we have a president who will at least be cognizant of our concerns — on drones and truly meaningful financial regulation, even — and perhaps willing to move in our direction.
Not because we're knee-jerk leftists, but because history has shown that it's the progressive path — peace rather than war, regulation rather than unfettered capitalism, equal rights, concern for the environment, and liberal economic policies — that has been most likely to move us forward as a nation.
That's definitely not going to happen under Mitt Romney, who has moved further and further to the right to gain the support of the crazies now controlling his party.
Having pandered to the Tea Party in order to win the G.O.P. nomination, voters right, left and center are correctly left asking: "What does this guy really believe in?"
He was for Romneycare before it became Obamacare. He was pro-choice before deciding Roe v. Wade needed to be overturned. He believed that global warming was occurring and humans were contributing to it, until he decided he didn't know why it was happening.
At this point, the only immutable belief held by Romney appears to be his absolute certainty that he should be president. What he's proved is that he'll take almost any position to achieve that goal.
In Obama, despite his shortcomings, we've seen a president who remains calm in crisis and deliberative in his approach to governance.
He's withdrawn our troops from Iraq, and he's set a deadline to end the war in Afghanistan. He pushed through health-care reform that, although far from ideal, has opened the door to insurance coverage to 32 million Americans — including those with pre-existing conditions and people under the age of 26, who can now be covered by their parents' insurance.
Here in Michigan, the administration's successful approach to helping save the auto industry from liquidation can't be denied. Abroad, Osama bin Laden won't be masterminding any more attacks.
No president in modern history came into office facing the challenges that awaited Obama on his first day as president. With two wars under way and the economy on the verge of collapse, he faced a Herculean challenge.
Obama rose to that challenge. It seems that many have conveniently forgotten just how bad things were only four years ago.
In January 2009, Obama's first month in office, more than 800,000 jobs were lost. For Republicans to ridicule the recovery the Obama administration has engineered is the height of both intellectual dishonesty and cynical politicking. These are the same extremist Republicans who fail to admit their embrace of the economic and regulatory policies that led to the collapse in the first place, and who did everything possible to thwart the size and effectiveness of the Obama program to stimulate the economy.
Still, the Obama administration did halt the slide into an economic abyss, and a turnaround is under way. More than 5 million private-sector jobs have been created, and the economy has been expanding (albeit slowly) for 13 consecutive quarters.
And it's crucial to point out that the Republican opposition goes beyond usual differences over governance. More than in any time in our recent past, the party out of power has based its agenda on the raw politics of returning to power. Since the day Obama was sworn into office, the GOP's No. 1 priority has been to block progress in order to put their party back in the White House.
Republicans should not be rewarded for putting party interests so cravenly above the national interest.
As far as the best interests of not just this country, but of the entire world, the question of what to do about the threat posed by global warming must be considered, even though the issue has been almost completely absent from this campaign.
Does anyone in his or her right mind think that Romney — who seldom fails to mention how much he loves coal — would be more green than Obama? Of course not.
The same is true of a host of social issues — from a woman's right to choose to gay rights.
When the only pragmatic choice is between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, there's no doubt about where the hope for a better future lies. That future is with Obama.
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