Friday, November 02, 2012

Backing Barack

Heading into the final weekend of campaign 2012, let’s check out a few more of the high-profile endorsements given to President Obama’s re-election:

From The Washington Post:
Much of the 2012 presidential campaign has dwelt on the past, but the key questions are who could better lead the country during the next four years--and, most urgently, who is likelier to put the government on a more sound financial footing.

That second question will come rushing at the winner as soon as the votes are tallied. Absent any action, a series of tax hikes and spending cuts will take effect Jan. 1 that might well knock the country back into recession. This will be a moment of peril but also of opportunity. How the president-elect navigates it will go a long way toward determining the success of his presidency and the health of the nation.

President Barack Obama is better positioned to be that navigator than is his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

We come to that judgment with eyes open to the disappointments of Mr. Obama’s time in office. He did not end, as he promised he would, “our chronic avoidance of tough decisions” on fiscal matters. But Mr. Obama is committed to the only approach that can succeed: a balance of entitlement reform and revenue increases. Mr. Romney, by contrast, has embraced his party’s reality-defying ideology that taxes can always go down but may never go up. Along that road lies a future in which interest payments crowd out everything else a government should do, from defending the nation to caring for its poor and sick to investing in its children. Mr. Romney’s future also is one in which an ever-greater share of the nation’s wealth resides with the nation’s wealthy, at a time when inequality already is growing.
The Post followed up that editorial with another one, this titled “Mitt Romney’s Campaign Insults Voters”:
Through all the flip-flops, there has been one consistency in the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney: a contempt for the electorate.

How else to explain his refusal to disclose essential information? Defying recent bipartisan tradition, he failed to release the names of his bundlers--the high rollers who collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. He never provided sufficient tax returns to show voters how he became rich.

How, other than an assumption that voters are too dim to remember what Mr. Romney has said across the years and months, to account for his breathtaking ideological shifts? He was a friend of immigrants, then a scourge of immigrants, then again a friend. He was a Kissingerian foreign policy realist, then a McCain-like hawk, then a purveyor of peace. He pioneered Obamacare, he detested Obamacare, then he found elements in it to cherish. Assault weapons were bad, then good. Abortion was okay, then bad. Climate change was an urgent problem; then, not so much. Hurricane cleanup was a job for the states, until it was once again a job for the feds.

The same presumption of gullibility has infused his misleading commercials (see: Jeep jobs to China) and his refusal to lay out an agenda. Mr. Romney promised to replace the Affordable Care Act but never said with what. He promised an alternative to President Obama’s lifeline to young, undocumented immigrants but never deigned to describe it.

And then there has been his chronic, baldly dishonest defense of mathematically impossible budget proposals. He promised to cut income tax rates without exploding the deficit or tilting the tax code toward the rich--but he refused to say how he could bring that off. When challenged, he cited “studies” that he maintained proved him right. But the studies were a mix of rhetoric, unrealistic growth projections and more serious economics that actually proved him wrong.
Meanwhile, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg--who has shifted over the years from being a Democrat, to being a Republican, to finally declaring himself an independent--announced his support of President Obama on Thursday. He said his endorsement was heavily influenced by the damage caused this week by Hurricane Sandy, and the president’s commitment to leading on the issue of climate change. Bloomberg explains:
Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be--given this week’s devastation--should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.

But we can’t do it alone. We need leadership from the White House--and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year. ...

When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America. ...

One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.
Oh, and let’s not forget that the influential Lexington Herald-Leader, in the very red state of Kentucky, also supports Obama for a second four-year term:
Romney’s a great salesman, but it’s impossible to know what he’s selling or predict what he would do if elected. This makes him a risky choice.

Barack Obama has a record as president, and though he has not led us to his post-partisan promised land, he has provided steady, principled leadership during an economic crisis.

Obama's approach--tax cuts for working people and businesses combined with stimulus spending--pulled us back from a depression. If you doubt it, look at Europe, which chose austerity over stimulus and keeps sliding back into recession, while the U.S. economy slowly digs out of a very deep hole. ...

Despite Republicans' determination to deny him any victories, Obama has a list of accomplishments that speak well for his priorities: Consumers have new protections against rip-offs by credit card and mortgage companies. The student loan program is freeing up $62 billion over 10 years by cutting out banks as subsidized middlemen. (Romney wants to reinstate the banks and subsidies.) Obama also gave graduates longer to repay loans, making it affordable for them to work in public service jobs such as teaching.

Americans will no longer have to die or go broke because they fall ill or injured. Modeled on a Republican plan that Romney signed as Massachusetts governor, the Affordable Care Act is coming on line slowly, but already in Kentucky, 48,000 young adults have gained coverage and 477,953 Medicare recipients have received free preventive care. This year 249,275 Kentuckians will receive rebates totaling $15 million; eventually almost 700,000 uninsured Kentuckians could gain coverage.

As for protecting America from external threats, Obama has been smart and strong, as evidenced by Romney’s embrace of Obama’s foreign policy in their last debate. That might have been just for public consumption, though; Romney has surrounded himself with belligerent neoconservative advisors who led the previous president disastrously astray.
READ MORE:Business Abandons Romney as Bloomberg andThe Economist Endorse Obama,” by Sarah Jones (PoliticsUSA); “Mr Romney Is Stillin the Cloud-cuckoo-land of Thinking You Can Do It Entirely Through Spending Cuts.... Backing Business Is Important, but Getting the Macroeconomics Right MattersFar More,” by Kent Jones (The Maddow Blog); “The Simple Case for Saying Obama Is the Favorite,” by Nate Silver (The New York Times); “Frank Rich: Right Will Rage If Obama Wins,” by David Daley (Salon).

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