Sunday, October 21, 2012

Swinging in Obama’s Direction

In the run-up to tomorrow night’s final televised debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Willard Mitt Romney, we’re seeing newspaper editorial boards across the country take sides in this increasingly important race. In addition to his big endorsements by North Carolina’s Winston-Salem Journal and, very surprisingly, Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune, this weekend has found the president three more important advocates, all in swing states.

Ohio’s largest daily, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, opines:
Today, we recommend President Obama’s re-election. He has led the nation back from the brink of depression. Ohio in particular has benefited from his bold decision to revive the domestic auto industry. Because of his determination to fulfill a decades-old dream of Democrats, 30 million more Americans will soon have health insurance. His Race to the Top initiative seeded many of the education reforms embodied in Cleveland’s Transformation Plan. He ended the war in Iraq and refocused the battle to disrupt al-Qaida and its terrorist allies. He ordered the risky attack inside Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. ...

Not only do we still believe this president can do those things, we think he can do it with policies most likely to lift Ohio and Ohioans. Obama's leadership has made a difference when it mattered most. His stimulus package helped avert an even worse economic collapse and initiated investments in education, manufacturing and green energy that should yet pay dividends. His commitment to a balanced path toward deficit reduction won’t please the most zealous members of either party, but it makes sense for the nation.
Meanwhile, The Denver Post begins by declaring President Obama “a steady leader who keeps the interests of a broad array of Americans in mind.” It then goes on:
The Obama administration can be fairly criticized for leaning too heavily on regulations that hamper business, but on balance we have seen enough to believe the president will pursue policies--and compromise, when necessary--that protect the vulnerable, invest in the middle class, and deliver an economy that drives us to a better future.

Obama has moved the country in the right direction on school reform. On higher education, he has taken steps to address affordability through increasing Pell Grants and streamlining the student-loan process. His executive order that allows qualified illegal immigrants brought here as children a chance to pursue college degrees is a positive step--though much remains to be done on immigration reform.

As commander in chief, he has demonstrated himself capable in a tough situation. He eliminated the military's discriminatory “don't ask don't tell” policy, limited this country’s involvement in Libya while still playing a role in the ouster of Moammar Khadafy, and hasn’t allowed the U.S. to be drawn into the Syrian civil war. He has remained a friend to Israel, but isn’t engaging in war talk over the Iranian nuclear issue. Moving forward, the administration owes the American public a thorough explanation of the troubling events surrounding the murder of four Americans in Benghazi last month.
The Post also raises serious doubts about the math Romney uses to support his still too-vague campaign promises:
We know that many have a different view, and point to Romney’s record in Massachusetts as ample reason for his election. Unfortunately, he never seriously campaigned as a centrist alternative to Obama.

From running to the far right on immigration and women’s health in the primary and then saddling his campaign with Rep. Paul Ryan’s extreme and unrealistic budget, the Romney of this election cycle is not the man elected in Massachusetts.

Instead, we must judge him on the menu of options he has repeatedly put forward during this campaign. On policies ranging from tax reform to immigration, from health care to higher education, none of Romney’s numbers add up. Moreover, he has been unwilling or unable to outline for voters specifics that demonstrate his math works--probably because it doesn't.

Romney has said he will repeal Obamacare, yet insists he can keep its most popular provisions without fully explaining how he would pay for it.

He’s calling for 20 percent tax rate cuts across the board. Independent analysts say the government can't come close to making up for that lost revenue without closing popular deductions like those for home-mortgage interest and charitable contributions. Romney’s explanations for how he would do that don't wash.

And his pledge to create 12 million jobs in four years sounds good, but Moody’s Analytics has predicted that type of job growth
regardless of who is elected.
Interestingly, the red-state Arizona Daily Star, headquartered in Tucson, recommends President Obama’s re-election as well:
When we look back four years, we see the steps we’ve made, not as quickly as anyone would like, but there is progress in health care, job creation and tax policy. It’s not an easy road.

Changing course would undercut that progress and create further uncertainty--two things we cannot afford. We can and must move ahead. And no matter who we elect to the White House, we’ll still have a divided Congress. Anything possible and good must first come through consensus-building leadership in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. No president will be successful without one unified American agenda.

Principled leadership, consensus and time are required. Obama’s accomplishments and positions on health care, higher education, and economic and social issues continue to make him the best choice for the interests at home in Southern Arizona and in our country.

This is why the
Arizona Daily Star endorses Barack Obama for a second term.
You’ll find still more swing-state editorials calling for Obama’s re-election here and here.

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