Kearney: Four more years for President Obama

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Kearney: Four more years for President Obama

Ryan Kearney, Columnist

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The past four years under President Barack Obama have been years of historical significance, big decisions and no small share of controversy. A term that began in the heart of a global economic meltdown now comes to a conclusion with millions of Americans still suffering from the aftershocks of that financial collapse. Yet through it all, President Obama has led this country with strength, solid judgment and a deep desire to leave this nation a better place. President Obama deserves another term in office for his achievements and his vision for this country. The character and policy shortcomings of his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and the party he represents make it critical that Obama leads us for the next four years.

The main attacks against Obama throughout his term have been that he is either a.) hopelessly out of his league and has achieved virtually nothing in office or b.) a radical Marxist who has succeeded in carrying out his top-secret socialist schemes to destroy America. These two critiques, in addition to being fundamentally contradictory (if he is so incompetent, how has he succeeded in transforming America?), could not be further from the truth.

In foreign affairs, the President has kept his promise to end the Iraq War, decimated the Al-Qaeda leadership, killed Osama bin Laden, helped topple a dictator in Libya without losing a single American life and rebooted America’s image and relationship with the rest of the world after years of President George W. Bush’s swaggering “cowboy diplomacy.”

On the domestic front, his administration’s bold actions helped keep the economy from collapsing into a depression. Today we are on the slow-but-steady road to recovery with more than two-and-a-half years of consecutive private-sector job growth. Contrary to Romney’s advice to “let Detroit go bankrupt,” President Obama’s administration took swift action to rescue the American auto industry when it was on the verge of collapse. Today that industry has made a remarkable turnaround.

Obama finally passed a health care reform bill that improves access for tens of millions of Americans after previous presidents of the last century failed to do so. The new law prevents insurance companies from barring anyone based on a pre-existing condition and is a far cry from the “government takeover of healthcare” that Republicans scream about.

The President has thus far made little progress in tackling the enormous debt that was left to him by his “fiscally conservative” Republican predecessor, but his vision for doing so, with a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases, is the correct approach. His plan stands in contrast to Romney’s refusal to accept any tax increases to pay down the debt, even if presented with a ratio of 10-to-1 spending cuts to revenue increases. 

Obama has also made unparalleled strides in advancing the main civil rights cause of our time by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”  and placing himself on the right side of history by endorsing marriage equality for all Americans. In contrast, his Republican opponent calls for a amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning all same-sex marriages.

Obama’s style of leadership stands in stark contrast to his GOP opponent. Romney has frequently flip-flopped from Massachusetts moderate, to self-styled “severe conservative” and back to his recent incarnation as a leader who is going to unite the parties in Washington.

His campaign’s brazen lobbing of outright lies about the President, such as saying Obama ended the work requirement for welfare, “apologizes for America,” and that his automotive bailout is causing production of American Jeeps to move to China, reveals Romney is a man devoid of any core motivation other than a sheer hunger to be president. 

Casting himself as the great economic wizard to get our country back on track, he has presented the American people with an almost insultingly vague set of proposals. Romney seeks to cut taxes by $5 trillion, primarily on the wealthiest Americans, repeal Obamacare and replace it with a nonexistent alternative, repeal the financial regulatory reform bill signed by President Obama and replace it with nothing, increase defense spending by $2 trillion that the Pentagon is not even asking for, and somehow balance the budget and create 12 million new jobs, paying for it all by closing unspecified “loopholes” in the tax code.

Throughout his campaign, Romney has shown no willingness to stand up to the extreme elements of his party. As president, Romney would be the leader of a party that has spent the past four years embracing the far-right Tea Party agenda and obstructing Obama’s actions at every turn. His catering to his conservative base and his privately expressed view that 47 percent of this country are freeloaders whom he will “never convince to take responsibility for their own lives” reveal a man who is deeply unaware of what this country needs and how to lead it.

For his record of success in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, his thoughtful leadership style and the gaping holes in the qualifications of his opponent, I enthusiastically endorse President Barack Obama for a second term, and I hope that you will reach a similar conclusion when you vote tomorrow.

Ryan Kearney is a Communication sophomore. He can be reached at ryankearney2015@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, email a Letter to the Editor to forum@dailynorthwestern.com.

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