If this was not totally obvious to everyone who glances at this column from time to time, I’m endorsing
First of all, voting for Obama over any Republican is a no-brainer simply because the
A sheltered supply-side plutocrat like Mitt Romney is about as capable of facing the challenges of our times as his supporter
Secondly, while I will fully own up to admiring President Obama a great deal, I also do not fall into the whole-hearted Obamabot camp. His administration has plenty of policies with which I vehemently disagree, he has made mistakes as president, and it remains to be seen how great of an impact he will eventually have on a political and economic system that has some egregious flaws.
However, the narratives presented about his presidency are seriously thoughtless. The Republican critique specifically has almost nothing to do with reality. The Romney/Ryan ticket has premised its entire campaign on the terrible economy, but even if you can’t recall what happened four years ago, you can still read a book about it. The truth is that all the numbers about debt, unemployment,
To put it very simply, Barack Obama is the reason we are not in a much deeper hole, and history will give him much more credit for this than present politics does.
Obama's landmark accomplishment, Obamacare is the most important piece of legislation passed by an American president since Medicare. Once fully implemented, it will set the foundation for universal health coverage. Like Social Security, it can grow and change as needed in order to cover more people and steer doctors and hospitals toward better care while beginning to control costs by dispensing with expensive fee-for-service practices. Providing 30-35 million people with health care is the best anti-poverty, pro-growth program in a generation and will bestow benefits upon average Americans that another round of tax cuts never could. Even if it lacked everything we rooted for, even if it was not the perfect piece of legislation, there were many in Obama's own party who thought it was dead with the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and it's to Obama's enormous credit that he, and almost he alone, pushed it over the finish line.
Wall Street remains a hydra of mismanagement, risk, and greed, yet Frank-Dodd still has several components which make a repeat of 2008 (slightly) less likely. The most important of these is the
Though he failed to pass a carbon price, the president has devoted an enormous amount of money to green energy, which contrary to what has been reported, has a higher rate of success than Romney's time at Bain Capital. He raised fuel standards on automobiles, even while salvaging the U.S. auto sector from the brink of collapse—an action for which the entire industrial Midwest, especially my home state of Ohio, likely owes him their vote. For those always trumpeting how well the private sector works, Detroit is the prime example of how, while we may not want government running industry, we certainly do want forward-thinking people in charge and not those concerned simply with maximizing the next quarter's profit alone as their companies fall to pieces around them.
The president has advanced the cause of gay rights light years by ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, scrapping the Defense of Marriage Act, and publicly endorsing same-sex marriage. It sometimes amazes me that it was just 2004 when there was real consideration of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He appointed two highly competent justices in
Abroad, the president ended the war in Iraq, has committed to pulling out of Afghanistan, saved Libya from Qaddafi's mass slaughter, and killed Osama bin Laden. He has refocused foreign policy on the Pacific rim, tightened sanctions on Iran rather than rushing headlong into a dangerous military confrontation, and, let's say, done his best under the incredibly difficult circumstances presented by the Arab Spring.
I voted for Barack Obama enthusiastically in 2008 and I will vote for him with the same measure of enthusiasm in 2012. There is plenty I would object to about his first term as president: the unbridled drone war in