The momentum in this election has clearly shifted toward Romney. His debate performance erased Obama’s 15% lead among women, and over the last two weeks polls are putting Romney either neck-and-neck or slightly ahead. The data from Gallup, who has been tracking early and likely voters, suggests that not only is Romney winning among people who say they will vote on election day, but even among people who have already voted—a bloc that typically leans Democrat.
Many voters who embraced Obama’s message in 2008 are jumping ship—even some loyal Democrats, like this man, who will be voting Republican for the first time in 80 years.
Is it Romney’s charisma? No. His nice hair and good looks? Doubtful. What is sucking the air out of Hopenchange has less to do with Mitt and more to do with the sober realities of the last few years. For all his talk, Obama failed on nearly every front.
Aside from wrapping up a couple of loose ends from the Bush administration (withdrawal from Iraq and hunting down Bin Laden), there is little for this administration to be proud of. Obama railed against Bush for adding $5 trillion to the national debt, then added $6 trillion in just his first term. He promised hope, but oversaw record levels of poverty. He promised bipartisanship, then proceeded to become arguably the most divisive U.S. president in modern history, both in terms of his public rhetoric and his lack of cooperation in Washington, even with his own party. Obama’s 2012 budget failed to gain a single vote in either the House or Democratically led Senate. He promised to calm hostilities in foreign relations, but the world is just as hostile and American leadership in the middle east has become dangerously impotent. Obama has failed at getting our economy back on track, even after predicting that this would result in a “one term proposition.” Even race relations and class antagonism are on the rise.
“NO DOUBT, THIS PRESIDENT HAS FACED ENORMOUS CHALLENGES, BUT THIS HAS BECOME AN EXCUSE TO IGNORE ANY AND ALL OF HIS FAILINGS.”
No doubt, this president has faced enormous challenges, but this has become an excuse to ignore any and all of his failings. The fact is, Obama spent his political capital during his first two years passing three major initiatives: His massive “omnibus” spending bill was an “investment” disaster that illustrates the problems of centralized planning and crony capitalism; The Affordable Care Act has yet to reveal its total impact, but is already prompting insurance premiums to rise, companies to drop coverage (and cut jobs/hours), and religious institutions—like my Alma Mater—to file suit against the federal government; And the Dodd-Frank bill was a reckless attack on the financial sector that further stunted economic recovery.
Politically independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a painful, single-issue endorsement of Obama, but included a sharp criticism of the president:
In 2008, Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder. But as president, he devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists, which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction. And rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.
I flatly reject Obama’s worldview, which is a threat to liberty, international stability and economic prosperity. This is certainly not his intention, but it is the result.
But I’m not just voting against Obama; I think Romney would be a superb president. His record is exactly opposite that of his opponent; Romney has a history of enormous personal and professional success as a uniter and an effective leader in both the public and private sector. Moderate journalist David Brooks has endorsed Romney on the grounds that he is far more likely than Obama to work with Congress and find common ground. He has a close family, sincere faith and strong work ethic.
There is extremely little to dislike about Romney, save for envy. This is why Obama’s key objective has been to paint Romney as the rich guy who is the cause of all of your problems.
I would agree that Mitt Romney is no ideal candidate—I’m skeptical of his rhetoric on China, promoting manufacturing and job training programs, and his foreign policy views are still unclear—but ideal candidates are fantasy. Some of these policy details are useless anyway. As I wrote in my last post, “plans” matter very little when it comes to actually governing with a split Congress and a massive bureaucracy. When a presidential candidate says “I have a plan to…” it means: “Here are a few things that the moderate members of my party kinda like.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
When the smoke of campaign season clears, the best measure of a man is his record. Obama has been a constant disappointment and a divider; Romney has been a constant success and a uniter. Obama’s popularity is largely built upon hype, hope and a whole lot of media bias. But there’s little evidence that any of this has brought about a better world.
For the sake of full disclosure, I did not vote for Obama in 2008 and had no doubts whether I would end up supporting the Republican candidate in 2012. I knew after reading The Audacity of Hope back in 2006 that Obama’s view of the role of government is very different from mine, and it is a dangerous one. I disagree entirely with his understanding of how people work, how business works, and how government does not work. I can commend his good intentions and his charisma, but that isn’t feeding the poor or promoting opportunity.
Talk is cheap.