Four years ago, the Daily News endorsed Obama, seeing a historic figure whose intelligence, political skills and empathy with common folk positioned him to build on the small practical experience he would bring to the world’s toughest job. We valued Obama’s pledge to govern with bold pragmatism and bipartisanship.
The hopes of those days went unfulfilled…
The presidential imperative of the times is to energize the economy and get deficits under control to empower the working and middle classes to again enjoy the fruits of an ascendant America.
So The News is compelled to stand with Romney.
Obama is the president. The buck stops with him. This is now Obama’s economy, even though the GOP shares in the blame for partisan games.
It was Obama and his fellow Democrats who went it alone on health care, making subsequent deals even harder to find. It was Obama who too often let Congress steer the ship in circles. It still is Obama who hasn’t laid out a clear vision for the next four years.
We endorsed Obama for change last time around. Now we’re endorsing change again: Mitt Romney.
Last week, I noticed this blog comment: “Romney was not my first, second, or third choice, but I will crawl over ground glass to vote for him.”
A lot of Republicans — and, judging from polls, a lot of independents — feel this way. If there are enough of them, Romney will win, and win big.
Are there? Well, there are some signs. I’ve written here before that politics is all about showing up. And in recent months, people on the Right have been doing a lot of showing up. They’ve showed up at Romney-Ryan events in unprecedented numbers. They made Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America” a huge hit despite a virtual blackout from traditional media. They stood in line for hours at Chick-fil-A restaurants to buy chicken sandwiches in response to politicians’ bullying. They packed houses at the “Hating Breitbart” premiere.
Will they now pack the voting booths and vote for Romney, and against Obama, in similarly unprecedented numbers? If they do, Romney will win in a landslide.
The 76-year-old retiree was a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, but volunteered for Barack Obama when he became the nominee. He’s been doing the same for the Democratic president’s campaign since March, door-knocking and phone-banking throughout Ohio, repeating shifts from the late morning until the evening, when it’s too dark to see outside.
Can the Democrat put his finger on the difference in energy in 2012?
“It’s hard to quantify, but there is significantly less enthusiasm,” said Roan. “I think there’s sort of grim determination on the part of some people, more than enthusiasm. … And it shows up in our volunteers. … We don’t have the number of young people volunteering like we did last time.”
Already our government redistributes too much from the young to the old, from working families to retirees, from productive entrepreneurs to protected clients. To accede to this government’s permanent expansion is to walk, with eyes wide open, into the kind of economic and demographic trap that has ensnared the weaker economies of Europe today.
President Obama did not single-handedly put us on this path. But he has kept us on it, accelerated our progress down it, and campaigned for re-election as though taking this course had no downsides whatsoever. He’s the candidate of the Medicare status quo in a country facing an entitlement crunch, of government bailouts in an economy with a crony capitalism problem, and of contraceptive mandates in a society with a birth dearth.
For an incumbent president facing a mistrusted opposition party, this may prove a formula for a narrow electoral victory. But for the country that might vote to re-elect him, it risks four more years of drift, stagnation and decline.
I don’t know whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can fix things, but I do know that Barack Obama and Joe Biden won’t even try — and that therefore a vote for Obama is a vote for the certainty of national collapse. Look at Lower Manhattan in the dark, and try to imagine what America might look like after the rest of the planet decides it no longer needs the dollar as global reserve currency. For four years, we have had a president who can spend everything but build nothing. Nothing but debt, dependency, and decay. As I said at the beginning, in different ways the response to Hurricane Sandy and Benghazi exemplify the fundamental unseriousness of the superpower at twilight. Whether or not to get serious is the choice facing the electorate on Tuesday.