Winds of change were at our doorstep this week in the form of Hurricane Sandy and its powerful impact on daily lives of citizens along the eastern U.S. seaboard and beyond. To his considerable credit, President Barack Obama’s focus was on the well-being of the nation throughout, setting aside campaign appointments in favor of exercising strong leadership. (Quite unlike his counterpart, Republican former-President George Bush, who was woefully ill-prepared and unfocused with the advent of Hurricane Katrina — the lingering, baneful results of which have been acutely felt.) Appropriate, decisive action in such situations lends impetus, then, to central government’s integral function in American society.
Until the first of three debates, incumbent Democratic President Obama had been generally leading, sometimes by wide margins, in election polls over his challenger, Republican former-Governor Mitt Romney. Consensus solidly declared Romney victor of the first (with Obama seemingly detached from the spirit of this encounter). Thereafter, Obama rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of debate, setting the record straight while championing his cause persuasively in rounds two and three.
A president’s function is, however, not about debate but leadership — making profoundly difficult decisions (ones sometimes politically unpopular or even at odds within his own party). Such far reaching policies guide our nation in matters of war and peace, international policy, economic prosperity, as well as Americans’ health, general safety and well-being among significant, numerous considerations.
Chief among credential cornerstones for presidential elected office is overall consistency and steadfastness at the helm of governmental rule. These qualities Obama has demonstrated with well-reasoned aplomb even as Romney has been at sixes-and-sevens flip-flopping on issues from this season’s vitriolic Republican primary until the present.
Americans of varying political stripes, including members of his own Republican Party, rightly took umbrage with Romney over his recorded declaration that 47 percent of us are lazy slackers, mooching on the largess of government. This overt lack of caring for those relying on safety nets — including veterans, the permanently disabled, seniors on fixed incomes and those who simply can’t get or afford health care — should give voters pause.
Sorry, but, as Obama avers, returning to the Gilded Age is not the answer. Let’s not attempt to voucherize, privatize or systematically end beneficial safety net programs while enriching corporations and one-per-centers’ lavish tax breaks and accommodating loopholes. Instead, modify that which needs fixing by achieving fair, sustainable, humane, bipartisan compromise.
Obama’s impressive record includes: thwarting a potentially massive economic Depression and banking/financial system collapse (inherited from the previous Republican two-term administration), ending the Iraq war, saving America’s auto industry, strengthening international alliances while zeroing-in on terrorists, killing bin Laden, championing the cause of America’s health care and ending an absurd “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy. By contrast, polls indicate that Romney’s “trust me” appeal to would-be voters is working, though bereft of policy specifics. It’s difficult to see how what he proffers will, in the practical, create 12 million jobs, or how not asking those exceedingly wealthy to do a little more will magically benefit America’s middle class and reduce deficits. It’s a quantum leap of illogic, far eclipsing Bush’s “fuzzy math,” as evidenced by Romney’s insistence that he can miraculously cut taxes, increase spending (especially military) yet achieve budget balance.
There exists an inexhaustible litany, vis-à-vis points of difference. For some, it’s pre-existent, deep-seated resentment that Obama won the White House. For others, it may be individual social liberal vs. conservative issues which drive a stake into the heart of productive discourse while generating electoral rancor and polarizing politics. Meeting half-way on the bridge of bipartisanship has all-but become a lost art of statesmanship.
It took years to create the mess Obama has been dealing with assiduously and painstakingly from day one in office. He admits freely to areas, especially jobs and the economy, needing improvement. Still, improving they are.
No human, no president is perfect. But Obama’s seasoned success and overall wise, thoughtful leadership coupled to his undeniable determination for excellence cause us to endorse him for a second term.