Who Deserves to Be the Next President of the U.S.?
On Nov. 6, citizens will decide who becomes the next President of the United States. Election politics are filled with venom and childish antics as usual, but this year marks an interesting moment, as the result will serve as a referendum on the performance of the first African-American Commander in Chief. While a good number of pundits and politicians would like to downplay the racial element of this election, hard statistics show it to be a continued factor.
Challenging President Obama is the former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney. This man was most widely known for his sweeping healthcare reform in his state, a system that became the blueprint for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2011 (Obamacare), which was upheld almost completely in full this year by the Supreme Court. Since accepting the Republican Party nomination, Romney has attempted to distance himself from his own landmark legislation.
Proponents of Mitt Romney point to him as a stronger economic player than Barack Obama given his incredibly successful tenure as the CEO of Bain Capital, an alternative asset management and financial services company. This firm was established in 1984 by partners from a consulting firm called Bain & Company. Bain Capital specializes in leveraged buyouts. A leveraged buyout occurs when a stable company acquires a troubled company whereby the target’s assets are used to repay debt to the acquiring company. In short: A financially troubled company is able to continue operating under the guidance of the acquiring company while repaying them for their services with future revenue.
In some cases, the troubled company is able to pay off its debt and carry on successfully. In others, just as common, the company ends up operating for a short time while paying the acquiring company high sums of revenue and then folds under the pressure, while the acquiring company has just gotten richer. One can see why this strategy raises more than a few compassionate eyebrows.
Aside from Romney’s questionable profit-making strategies, his understanding of global issues is troublingly low. "I am not an expert on the practices of other countries, and don’t consider myself sufficiently qualified to characterize the practices of any one country," he once said to the Boston Globe when asked a question about China, a country he’s keen to label a currency manipulator against the advice of seasoned economists. He similarly showed an uninformed, and in this case outdated, perspective when he referenced Russia as, "without question, our number one geopolitical foe" (CNN).
In contrast, junior Senator-turned-President Obama has navigated tough economic waters with a respectable couth. One couldn’t call Mr. Obama an economic expert by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s completely avoided the pitfalls of Romney’s aggressive strategy of outdated economic geopolitical alienation. The President has applied the no-nonsense skills of a grounded community organizer, his profession pre-politics, to US economics. While this strategy is crude, it isn’t ineffective. By straightforward adjustments to tax policy, focus shifting to modern technologies, and a keen observance of labor rights, Obama has slowly course-corrected from a series of failed policy positions taken by the previous administration.
This assessment of the candidates makes the assumption that Governor Romney will hold to his own policy positions, a feeble assumption given Romney has been known to publicly alter his positions in periods of time occasionally under twenty-four hours. Romney has held opposing views to himself on the following non-comprehensive list of issues: foreign policy, domestic economic policy, health care, equal rights, parental rights, reproductive rights, and his legal first name.
Romney’s truthfulness has come under fire from numerous independent fact-checking sources. Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact currently has Romney flat-out lying at a rate over 400% of President Obama. President Obama’s ranking of flat-out lying: 2%. Not a bad record for a politician.
President Obama can be most accurately criticized for his dismal record on fair trial and wartime rights. The President has listed males over 16 as "militant combatants" to lighten civilian death reports, engaged in an unauthorized casual drone war internationally, and reauthorized George W. Bush’s abhorrent Patriot Act. The problem: Romney completely endorses Obama’s policy positions in these areas, advocating the President to go even further, a position Americans who value liberty rightly find insane.
While the President’s leadership in the aforementioned matters is incredibly disappointing, the fact that the American people have the information to properly criticize him is a breath of fresh air from the previous administration. Mr. Obama has led one of the most transparent administrations in history, with record numbers of government files being released to citizens via official channels. While his level of transparency hasn’t reached the fairy-tale levels promised during his campaign, his official tenure has shown a measurable movement in the correct direction.
His dedication to the citizenry has been most obviously expressed through his tireless, and mostly successful, overhaul of American health care. Fewer American citizens will die from health-related issues thanks to the leadership of President Obama. And his dedication to minority citizens, including his historical endorsement of marriage equality often considered a last-frontier, has left stunned citizens with an ally even they may not have expected.
President Obama isn’t perfect by any means, but he has steered the United States in a more positive direction. The average American is better off now than four years ago. We are safer, more stable, and better respected around the globe because of his leadership. Governor Mitt Romney would threaten to turn these successes back through a lack of core values and inconsistent leadership.
For these reasons, I fully endorse President Barack Obama for reelection as the President of the United States.
But more important than any candidate is the mechanism that keeps us among the freest countries in the world. No matter your choice of candidate, vote!