Nov. 1 Daily News editorial
Four years ago, President Barack Obama promised hope and change. He’s fallen short on delivering both, and some of the changes he has brought, such as Obamacare, are highly controversial.
Still, Obama’s record and policies offer considerably more hope for improving the lot of most Americans over the next four years than do those of his challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Obama came into office just at the American economy was at one of its lowest points ever, thanks in part to the kind of limited regulation of financial markets that Republicans tend to favor.
Obama shepherded through several programs to stimulate the economy. He saved the auto industry and may well have prevented the country from falling into another Great Depression. The economy is slowly recovering, with unemployment back to where it was when he took office and the Dow Jones average higher.
Then came Obama’s signature legislative victory, the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. It’s a cumbersome mass of legislation that needs tweaking, but at least Obama accomplished what no Republican has tried to do: end the embarrassment of the world’s richest nation not providing health care insurance to 45 million residents.
Obama has a realistic plan to help get the country out of debt: both reducing spending and raising taxes. Romney sticks to the unworkable idea that alleviating debt can only be accomplished by cutting spending.
Two of Obama’s foreign affairs accomplishments are extricating the United States from Iraq and removed Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders. Obama ended same-sex discrimination in the military, a position that’s in sync with Washington state voters, who polls indicate may uphold same-sex marriage in this state.
Though Obama is the best candidate for the country as a whole, his policies are even more critical for the Lower Columbia area. We have higher-than-average levels of poverty and food stamp use, to name a few needs. Our unemployment rate has been consistently higher than the state and national averages. We need the kind of government involvement that Democratic leadership is much more likely to support as we cope with the decline in our industrial economy.
Romney’s infamous comment that 47 percent of Americans refuse to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives” is a particular shot at local people who are out of work or low-income.
Over the years, Romney has shifted positions on major issues such as gun control, abortion and immigration. In Massachusetts, he championed the health care plan upon which Obamacare was modeled; now he says he wants to repeal Obamacare. Or wait, maybe he’d repeal just part of Obamacare.
Romney has moved far to the right since he was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. Last week, however, Romney backed away from some of his previously tough stances on foreign policy during the third presidential debate.
If elected president, it’s hard to predict if Romney would continue to cater to the tea party or slide back toward the center.
Romney has had considerable success in the business world, but buying and selling companies to bring profits to the shareholders isn’t the same as leading a diverse democracy that’s the world’s major power.
Romney is a good businessman. Obama will be a much better president.