Thursday, October 11, 2012

Making the Case for Four More Years

Within the pages of its October 25, 2012, issue, The New Republic offers what may be the most thoughtful center-left argument for President Barack Obama’s re-election. The article reads, in part:
Health care reform, if it is properly nurtured, largely completes the social safety net. Financial reform, if the lobbyists don’t shred it, will curb maniacal risk-taking in the markets. The stimulus provided the seed money to launch Race to the Top--perhaps the most significant wave of experimentation in the history of public education--and to remake the energy grid. It created industries from scratch: biofuel refineries and plants that manufacture batteries for electric cars.

Obamaism itself is perhaps this administration’s most important innovation. The president has used New Democratic means to achieve Old Democratic ends. In pursuit of old liberal dreams, he has relied heavily on the insights of markets: spurring competition, reforming bureaucracies, and leveraging small investments to achieve big goals. Two of his signal programs--health care’s individual mandate and cap and trade--were tellingly conceived by conservatives. ...

At times, Barack Obama has failed to appreciate the virulence of the modern Republican Party. He has earnestly entered negotiations with adversaries interested in breaking his presidency, not splitting the difference. It took him painfully long to arrive at a realistic assessment of his foes. But over the course of this campaign, he has emerged as a different kind of politician—a populist bruiser capable of skillfully and passionately assailing his opponents, while remaining indifferent to the hand wringing of establishment opinion. Perhaps this is a style better suited for the next four years, in which his primary task will be managing a fiscal crisis that his opponents will cynically exploit. Having extended the safety net, he must now protect it. Without a second term, the accomplishments of his first would evaporate.
And the magazine doesn’t hesitate to cite the manifold weaknesses of Obama’s Republican opponent:
Mitt Romney is the perfect avatar for a party in the throes of ideological convulsion. When he first considered running for president, in 2006, he seemed an archetype desperately missing from American politics. As a governor, he presented himself as a rigorous empiricist; his record formed a coherent pattern of bucking GOP orthodoxy on climate change, health care reform, and gay rights. But six years of pandering to Republican primary voters and donors will apparently distort even a first-rate mind. Far more than Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, he has promoted a libertarian vision filled with substantive and rhetorical hostility to the poor. His foreign policy is similarly wild, urging the escalation of military hostility with nations who pose no meaningful strategic threat.
You can (and should) read the entire editorial here.

READ MORE:Obama’s First-term Approval Ratings Now Equal Clinton and Reagan,” by Jason Easley (PoliticusUSA); “5 Reasons President Obama Will Be Re-elected” (The National Memo).

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