Guest Column: Evaluating our choice from 2008
November 6, 2012
In 2008, our generation overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama into office, throwing 66 percent of our vote behind him. We voted for hope and change, for a better future for ourselves and generations to come. What was it in him that we found so appealing? What was his platform and what did he promise?
Looking back, his platform was exceptionally clear: cut the deficit in half, cut taxes, salvage Medicare, pass health care reform without increasing taxes or the deficit and put America back on track. Think about those promises. Cut taxes. Decrease the debt and deficit. Fix Medicare.
Essentially, our generation elected a Republican for the first time since 1988, plain and simple. Those are central tenets to the Republican philosophy and essential for smaller, responsible government. But now we seem to praise the president for everything he’s accomplished while disregarding the fact that he has done the opposite of what he promised in 2008, the opposite of what we elected him to do.
We did not elect him to triple the deficit and increase the debt by 70 percent; we elected him to end the deficit and cut the debt in half. Federal revenue did not decrease significantly under Bush, and Democrats controlled Congress in 2007-08, so any deficits Obama “inherited,” he voted for himself.
We did not elect him to pass a strictly partisan health care reform that increases the debt more than $300 billion while taking more than $700 billion out of Medicare and adding 18 new taxes, all in spite of mass opposition from the country. And despite all 2,000+ pages of the bill, it never once addresses the true issue: fixing the cause of high health care costs. As students graduating into this system, we should demand better.
We did not elect him to ignore the insolvency of Medicare, take $700 billion out of it, and then criticize Republicans as anti-Medicare and gerontophobic when they proposed their own solution.
If Obama had done what he had promised, “College Republicans for Obama” would be rallying to his support all across the country, and he would be regarded as the Ronald Reagan of the Democratic party.
But that is not the case. Instead, it’s time for us to face the cold, hard truth that “hope and change” isn’t the change we hoped for, and while Obama may have had the best of intentions for four years, sometimes the best intentions in theory can become bad ideas in practice. In the words of Clint Eastwood, “When somebody does not do the job, we’ve got to let them go.”
Mitt Romney provides a stark contrast, and his greatest quality is one which President Obama lacks, though our generation constantly praises him for it: leadership.
Romney has spent a lifetime being a leader, bringing differing sides together in pursuit of a common goal. As Americans, we all have the same goal: make this country the best it can be. While our visions of achieving that goal are very different, strong leadership can unite our efforts. Obama, on the other hand, walks out of debt-ceiling meetings to go play golf, instead of bringing Democrats and Republicans together. Or he turns down meetings with foreign leaders to go on TV shows.
Between running Bain Capital, salvaging the Olympics, and being governor of Massachusetts, Romney brings to the table a unique set of skills that prove that he is highly capable and qualified to be president. In a Democratic state, he was able to cut taxes and balance the budget four years in a row. We voted for that plan four years ago, so perhaps it’s time to vote for that in someone who can do it, rather than blaming failure on past Presidents.
Romney also brings a set of ideas for saving the economy that history has shown to work. Unlike Obama’s plan to throw taxpayer dollars at the problem (which, historically, has never worked), we now have a chance to get government out of the way so the economy can thrive again and create the jobs that America’s unemployed and underemployed workers (14.6 percent) are eager to regain.
This election will largely determine the course of this nation for the rest of our lives. We have two very different paths before us; we can either continue on the path of large government, reckless spending, unaccountable representation, substandard legislation, and failed promises, or we can return to the America that draws its greatness from individual success and responsibility, a disinterested, responsible, responsive, and accountable government, a country that evaluates results, not intentions, and a bright future ahead that doesn’t accept mediocrity in any way whatsoever.
So you have to ask yourself: Are you going to stand by the values and ideas you embraced four years ago, or are you going to recognize mistakes at face value and give your vote to true solutions, leadership, and the right kind of change? I’m voting for jobs and a better future, and I hope you’ll do the same.
Dane Stier is a Weinberg junior and president of Northwestern University College Republicans. This column represents only the views of Mr. Stier and not necessarily those of NUCR. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, email a Letter to the Editor to email@example.com.